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Abusive Mother

Question:

Hello Anne my problem is when it comes to my mother. I love her but I don’t like her. Over the years my mother has been physical and verbal abusive towards me. I am now an adult and for some reason I thought I was over this so I bought a house with her to have her near. All was fine for a good year then the abuse started again. She likes to put me down she cant beat me anymore so she uses words. And I never fight back I just take it and walk away. Now she has cancer and I am practically taking care of everything all the repairs for the house,what ever she wants. I don’t mind helping my mom when ever I am able but its not enough for her. If I go away with the kids she argues,if I spend my money on something I like she argues. I also have a cripple sister that she tends to and I help when ever I can sometimes it gets so bad for me that I want to runaway but I wont because I can not leave them. My husband walked out on me when I found out about my mother illness he told me good luck with all the bills thats another story. I just feel I cant take it anymore if at least she liked me and didn’t call me names would help a little. But I cant even tell here how i feel because she gets upset. I know I’m a total mess. HELP ME

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

Your dedication to your family in the face of this abuse is commendable. However, that you would choose to take this abuse for so long and not separate yourself from it suggests how comfortable the family role of “passive martyr” has become for you. This is not a healthy role for you to occupy, and it may be time for you to examine how you might take on a new, more healthy role. The key here will be your decision to learn how to be assertive. Briefly, assertiveness training involves you learning how to stand up for yourself and not allow yourself to be taken advantage of, while also not becoming aggressive and harming those you care about in the process. You can read about how to become more assertive in books (search an online bookstore using the keyword “assertiveness” and you’ll see many different selections; the classic work is “Your Perfect Right”, however.), but you may have better results if you make an appointment with a professional therapist. A therapist is able to answer questions and provide feedback in a manner that a book cannot. However you choose to go about it, learning to be more assertive will help you improve the quality of your family relationships.

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Comments
  • Lucy Beard

    I am 51 and have been told by many vocational counselors that my main problem is my mother. I have believed her so long that I cannot work. I have been told daily that I am ugly and stupid and she wished I'd never been born.

    I work so hard to get these comments out of my head but being dependent on her now it is almost impossible.

    My IQ is 135 and I have 3 years of college but all I know is that I am awful.

    Thank you

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