Good day, everyone! Today I would like to talk about one of the most common problems in family relationships when a mother manipulates her adult daughter. I tell you at once, such a behavior is not healthy for both. Thus, if you believe you have been a victim of your mother’s manipulations, you must put a stop to the abuse and take steps to build a fair and harmonious relationship with your mother. How can you do this?
Feeling like a puppet
Surely no one likes to be bossed around or constantly told how to do things. However, parents have a certain power over their children; the power that can be used in many ways.
Often a woman gets so over-involved in her motherly role that patronizes her daughter over every little detail. A young lady can’t breathe freely without her mother’s permission.
A manipulation entails control over a dependent person. It can be well executed through finances. As parents support their child financially, mother can make the child do what she says sealing the deal with financial reward or punishment.
Besides that, an older mother can use her health as a means of manipulation. If her adult child is doing something “wrong”, she starts complaining of never-ending chest pain, high blood pressure and so on.
A manipulator pushes your weakest point. Sulking is a type of control. When a person acts sulky, he or she wants to show you that you are at fault and should not only apologize but make sure this doesn’t happen again.
One lady I know is good at manipulating people through her mood. As soon as she shows a sign of sadness, you want to entertain her or pay more attention to her (or else) to make her feel better. Her manipulations can be hidden in a plain sight. However, if you see this kind of pattern on a regular basis, this is how you know it is a manipulation.
When you notice that somebody’s repeated reaction causes you to act against your will, this person is likely to make you do things on purpose.
If you pay a closer attention you will clearly see when you are being manipulated.
Put a stop to manipulations
I have to warn you, the outcome of resolving this problem can be sad. When a manipulator loses control over their victim, they may get disappointed, angry and cut off any communication. Be emotionally prepared for that.
This kind of cases are frequent in my practice. When for example a daughter frees herself from her father’s control, from despair her father decides to stop talking to her.
But communication with parents is an integral part of your life. You can’t just cut it off. Depending on what you want to achieve, choose your strategy accordingly.
- Do you want your mother to think that everything is the same and she’s still in control?
- Do you want to make her understand that she doesn’t have control over you anymore?
- Or do you want to change the way you two communicate and make your relationship healthier? Etc.
To start with, you yourself need to understand what kind of result you want.
When a person manipulates another person they pass responsibility for suggested actions on that person. And now the victim is responsible. To instill a sense of responsibility in a person is pretty hard, especially in adulthood, because the character is formed and everybody considers themselves smart, educated and knowing.
One of a mother’s traits is: I know better, I’m older, I’m wiser, I have more experience. These are the arguments your mother makes to retain control over your doings.
The most reliable way to stop manipulations is to start ignoring them. Stop doing what you’re told and start acting how you think is proper. Such a drastic change will be hurtful and troublesome for your mother. Expect her to attempt to regain control.
In the course of time, these attempts will decrease and gradually come to an end. However, your mother’s reaction to your sudden disobedience is unknown. Be ready for any outcome.
The conversation will be difficult but necessary
One of the ways to solve the problem is to have a conversation with your mother. I have always believed, that when two willing people hold a frank conversation, they can come to an understanding and settle any dispute.
It’s important to recognize whether or not your mother is capable of such a conversation. Your goal is to explain that her manipulations are oppressing and stressful. Converse openly and let your mother know that you don’t want to be dependant on her opinion and that you want to make your own decisions.
The conversation shouldn’t be turning into a fight with name calling and threatening. These are a manipulator’s devices. If she does exactly that, point it out. Tell her calmly that even now she is trying to control you. Explain how much you lose in your life because of her interference. Be specific.
Ideally you should get yourself prepared for this conversation. Make notes on a piece of paper, try to predict your mother’s reaction, find suitable answers to questions she may ask. You can even practice with a friend or a spouse.
There are types of mothers that don’t know how to converse, they don’t hear anyone but themselves, and think they’re always right. What to do if you have this kind of mother?
Let’s look at some other options if the conversation isn’t working.
If the conversation is not working, strike with the King’s Gambit
When a regular conversation doesn’t help, you might want to use trickery as an instrument.
One patient of mine in order to make her mother happy agrees with her and accepts her advice but at the end does what she wants. Her mother in her turn is calm because her daughter is agreeable, and the daughter is relaxed that mother isn’t stressed out. This is one of the ways to prevent your parents from messing with your life.
Another one is to show that your mom’s advice doesn’t work. If you think you are constantly doing wrong because your mother is never happy, you may try to do exactly what she says. As soon as something goes wrong, you can correct her advice accordingly.
If you’re financially dependent on your parents, you should urgently become independent in this aspect all of your life. When you find a job and stop borrowing money from your parents, they won’t be able to impose their rules on you. Until you start paying your own bills, you’ll be a direct object of manipulation.
If your mother interferes with your private life (“why you don’t have a husband?” “it’s time to have children” and so on) you can try to avoid discussing this topic with her. Simply shift your conversation to a different, more intriguing for your mother subject.
What you need to understand is that you are a grown and self-sufficient person. No one can dictate you rules because you make your own rules. This is your life and it’s you who decides how to manage your resources, time, etc.
Learn to say No when you don’t want to do something. Become more self-confident. Do not take criticism too close to your heart. Remember that every person has their own opinion so it is impossible to please them all.
Learn to be in harmony with yourself. Understand your goals and follow them.
Share your story with us. Tell us about your and your mother’s relationship. How does she manipulate you? What means does she use? What areas of your life is she trying to control? What methods do you use to fight her control?
Believe in yourself!