for the amount of abuse I’m willing to take from family. Pseudo transcript of a conversation between myself and my mom.
I called her yesterday morning and that was by far the worst conversation we ever had. She attacked me every which way she could.
“You haven’t done anything with your life…
You haven’t amounted to !@%# in your life…
Every decision you’ve ever made has been wrong…
you never stick to something (there’s been truth in this one)…
You would be a man already established if you were in Miami instead of a 32 year old boy still floundering in life…” and the “support” just keep going and going and going…
When I presented my successes she quickly, methodically and surgically picked those apart. After all was said and done I was “thanked” for being the son she had always prayed for. I was “thanked” for being so kind…considerate…accomplished… If I didn’t understand that this was sarcasm she again aided me in the fact that all those are things she prayed for but never ever received because I couldn’t be a bigger disappointment. There hasn’t been a thing I’ve done in my life which was right and even the things that were right were meaningless, small, trivial things that a child could have gotten right.
I pointed out the fact that I’ve made it for the past 14 years on my own and again she quickly pointed out that I’m a big boy and that’s what’s expected…??? So there wasn’t anything I could say that could redeem my worthless status. I was left with more confusion, anger and resentment than I’ve ever felt. She tried her damndest to completely obliterate my self-worth. I asked if she feels this way about me and my decisions then why should I come down for this type of “support”. She said that it was exactly this kind of support which would propel me forward.
See the issue is that some people have been coddled there whole lives with no one there to tell them the hard truth. I’ve had this “privilege” my entire life and while I can overcome it coming from everyone else I’m wide open to it from my mom. I can’t handle her version of the truth. I wasn’t born to be completely torn down to then be rebuilt in the image she has for me. She doesn’t want a son she wants a robot which will do exactly as she commands, when she commands and not reply. She does not want 2 way conversations. She wants to be heard…she wants to be able to tell you exactly what’s wrong with you and you say "thank you for your keen insight, what should I do to correct this?"
How can she really think this way? She feels that when people push you down that you should get back up and use their negative statements as fuel to propel you forward…I do. I just can’t with my own mom. The rest of the world is putting you down and your fighting them off. I call home or visit and talk about my victories and what I get is more of the same negativity, only this time wrapped in a veil of “what’s good for you”? As if I need her to co-sign on the naysayers and dream thieves. As if I need to talk about how I overcame only to have her tell me how I could’ve done it the “smart” way. How "great…your going to be this world famous doctor…why now? You should have done it at 20 but you decided to completely waste your life and…and…and…and…and…
I had prayed about whether or not I should go down to Miami and had asked God for confirmation. My sister and I speak the following day and she quite out of character tells me “NO! You will be miserable here and your marriage is going to suffer.” I was awe struck because she has said “you’ll be fine…” up to this point and then POW!. I call my mom and the explosion occurs.
I felt like I did when I was living there and realized that I can not expose my wife to this kind of treatment. My mom is great when she’s great but when she let’s loose…look out! It’s too bad because I really want to be back in Florida and if it was just me I would go but it isn’t.
Things are looking up… I’m in Maryland working with researchers and doctors in some exciting science. While I’m the admin guy I have a small network of people at various med schools throughout the nation and locally. The new development is I’m now taking the slower path to medical school. Not what I wanted but probably what I need. My wife and I have decided to continue with the plan of having her finish her degree and I work. I make enough that I can support us while she goes to school. My job will pay for 2 classes a year so the other ones I will pay for myself, not a big deal. We’re buying the condo we once rented and renting it back out to her parents at cost. Then we’ll take out an equity loan and adopt 2 kids and the rest as they say is history.
I apologize for taking up so much space with this but I felt it might help me in dealing with this. Perhaps in some way this might help someone else. Sometimes the biggest challenges we must overcome is learning how to best deal with the “love & support” family and friends give you. Please feel free to post your own feelings and thoughts. I didn’t post this just to vent but get some kind of dialogue about how others have dealt, are dealing with or would deal with something like this.
for the amount of abuse I’m willing to take from family. Pseudo transcript of a conversation between myself and my mom.
Mom’s have a way of cutting to “whatever jugular” they see exposed. After all, they gave birth to you and know you pretty well. The truth of the matter is that you have to love them anyway and internally smile when you get that “you haven’t done anything with your life” speech because as you know, it’s your life even if she did give birth to you.
As I sit here comtemplating attending law school at UVa versus William & Mary, I can hear my mother chiding me about spending the rest of my life in school. She has a point but I have various interests. Right now, health care reform and tort reform legislation are interesting in addition to all the operative cases that I can get done in a day. Again, it’s my life, my money and my time here on earth. I thank Mom for giving it to me, along with her wonderful love of people.
Smile at your Mom, love her but don’t ever expect her to understand your career choices. For as many times as she put your shoes on and tied them for you, she hasn’t walked a single step in them.
Law school…hehehe It seems OPM’s seem to think along the same lines. I mentioned to a friend about getting a law degree as well. Not in spite of medical school but because of medical school. There are too many actions being taken against doctors and medicine and it seems without reprieve. A good amount of JD carrying MD’s who get involved might help to turn the tide of stupidity.
I love my Mom’s. I just can’t go back to that kind of “encouragement” when I have my own insecurities to deal with. I don’t need my thoughts magnified ten fold with an ongoing barrage of “support”. I’m living my life as best as I can and when I sit here and think about it…it ain’t dat bad.
I just sit and wonder who exactly is she comparing me too? My friends have no degree, don’t make over $20k, live in apartments never owned a home, some still live home with their moms, didn’t join the military…they haven’t joined life but I’m $%^! because I choose not to move back to that???
Don’t tell your mom what’s going on anymore. Just smile and say everything is fine. That will drive her crazy cause she doesn’t know what’s going on. Then you will realize you don’t need her validation to feel good about what you are doing.
I would hire you as my lawyer anyday! Go for it.
Crooz, you just gotta hang in there. Try to laugh at your family’s foibles rather than taking those criticisms too seriously. That’s what I do! Parents can be kinda weird. Good luck.
Distance helps a lot when parents are that intrusive. You’ll get along with her so much better if you never tell her what you’re doing. It’s hard to do that laughing and loving 'em anyway crap* when you’re still bruised, so try to get some time away from Mom’s cheerful voice for a while, first. It’ll come.
*(I mean crap in the nicest possible way, of course. It’s not crap when you reach the point where you can do it.)
Don’t let it get you down…after all, I’m considered the “black shhep” of my family. My mom is an Olympic Gold Medal winner in the 1960 Olympics, past president of AAHPERD(American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance}, and too many other honors to mention in this post. I have heard the speeches about what I should have done when(especially becoming a physician), asked why I’ve taken the path I decided to take(military para-rescue specialist to EMT/Medic to Respiratory Therapist to finally and hopefully an EM/CCM Doc, asked why I’m gay…asked a lot of questions by my family about the way I live my live. My mom used to get really upset about things…she still does when I screw up but, now, she seems to take the approach of as long as I’m doing something I like, staying out of trouble(quite had for me at times!!!), and doing something positive with my life to help others that it’s okay with her. I’ve always marched to the beat of a different drummer and as I approach 42, that will never change. Hopefully she will be around long enough to see the culmination of my dreams to become a physician and, I hope she’s proud of me as well.
Never stop loving your mom because, they may say things that hurt us and make us think that they don’t love us but, in the final analysis, when your back is against the wall, they are always there for you…at least mine is. And, I had to remind her once or twice as Doc Nat so eloquently put it, “you might have tied my shoes but, you haven’t walked a mile in them”…Take care and God Bless!!!
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know she means well she just can’t put it in insults I can digest.
Do I understand this post! Please understand that you’ll never get what you need/want from her. But it is never to late to create it for yourself.
I travelled the world by bicycle for 3 yrs, moved to New Zealand then Australia – and every phone call home (at my expense) was torture. It didn’t matter that I was the one who financially supported the entire family at one time or another. If I could have moved to Mars I would have.
Yes, distance helps but therapy is better. This is not support she gives you; this is abuse. It serves her needs, not yours; therefore it is not love. My advice is to say, as someone else already did, “everything’s fine” from a distance; support yourself with family who may not happen to be relatives.
However, I do agree that keeping it civil is critical. When my dad was dying, I had not yet resolved my anger for him, but I was close to it. I had to separate that person I was angry at from this invalid who needed my compassion. Monumental task, let me tell you. I thought I was benefiting him, but I was the one who grew because of it.
Loving compassion for yourself is key. It doesn’t matter that you can’t handle what she says–you shouldn’t have to. I belive emotional distance/geographic distance/few phone calls are also therapeutic.
If she visits, limit them. Plan & prepare so that damage is minimized. Structure required events/phone calls to minimize what you hear. Tell you you’ve heard it before, and change the topic. Be a strategic machine about it and enlist help.
Then, when you are ready, you can look upon her as someone who needs your compassion, not anyone from whom you need anything at all.
Barb…is that you? Name’s same as my sis… Please read my own sarcasm in the “support”. Where do you think I learned the sarcasm from…
I’m calling mom’s tomorrow with sis by her side. This idea will minimize the “support” I receive. See…on Saturdays sis brings by the grandbabies so showing them her “supportive” side doesn’t happen…yet.
Distance isn’t a problem…we have about 6 states seperating us.
Just called dear ole Mom and our conversation lasted 1.25 minutes…mostly with 5 second silences. Prayer, distance and patience will have to be my allies. It’s difficult being hispanic and doing this because we’re not supposed to leave our family’s side. No one I know of except those in the military do this…
If your wondering if this bothers me…it does. I would love to leave everything and start over but to be dealt this level of “support” just wouldn’t be worth it. Leave a $60k/year job where there are 6 med schools within 45 minutes from my house…I work with docs who I can go to for advice as well as LOR’s and depending on the schools have friends on admission boards…
If in Florida, I would only be home with her for 2 years before I would have to move again. My wife would only have just finished her degree in interior design and then we’d move to whichever school would be the best fit for us…Two moves in two years…
Right now the plan is for my wife to finish her degree…2 years and I take the pre-reqs at night. Should take about 3 years for me so about 4 till I get to begin MD school. After my wife finishes school we adopt 2 infants and continue to handle all of life’s little surprises.
The weirdest thing is my mom left her home land to find a better life. I’ve done the same but only left my state…
Thanks for the post. I didn’t expect this to bother me so but I also didn’t expect to receive the same level of “support” I did as a teenager.