Question: Dear Luise I have a huge problem with my overprotective mom. I have never been allowed to be with my friends or go outside alone. I was never allowed to walk alone to my friend’s house, who lived 2 min away. She walked me to school everyday till 7th grade, and then my father took me by car. If something goes wrong, I’m always the one to blame. If she gets mad she takes it out on me. I’m 18 years old now and I’m still not allowed to do anything. I’ve been stuck all my life inside my house starring at the wall. When I try to talk to her about this…she just gets mad and starts a huge fight. She doesn’t care that this makes me sad and lonely. Whenever I tell her that I want to go out and I want to have a good life, she just laughs at my face. I’m going to university in 4-5 months. I’ve gotten accepted into universities abroad. My mother of course doesn’t support me studying in another country. When my brother went to study abroad she was supportive and loved the idea. He is always allowed to do everything he wants, while I can’t do anything. All my life I’ve been making up dumb excuses whenever a friend has asked me to be with them or whenever there was an upcoming event. I just got too tired of fighting with her to a yes. Without even considering anything she automatically says no to anything I want to do. I’ve never given her any reason not to trust me. I’m always there to support her, help and listen to her. She doesn’t trust me and I don’t know why. How do I make her listen to me without her getting mad? How do I make it “okay” that I’m leaving to study abroad? I’m tired of everything and I feel like nothing will ever change, and soon I will be too tired of trying… She thinks I’m a clown with no feelings and no needs. If I want to do anything serious or important she laughs at me and thinks that it is ridiculous that I want such things, or that I actually have such big thoughts. My life is hard enough as it is… and she makes it even worse. Sometimes it’s hard to find the strength to fight through this. N.
Answer: Dear N.: You aren’t going to change your mother. Your only solution is to endure her overprotection and unkindness. Very soon you are going to be able to have a life of your own and that’s going to be great.
There’s no explaining other people’s behavior and when you are a dependent child it can be miserable to be raised by someone who does not appear to be parent material…at least when the child is a daughter. If you marry and decide to raise your own family, you will probably get in touch with some of the fears that drive your parents, that don’t necessarily apply to sons. A lot of your mother’s laughter may be her discomfort in knowing on some level that she hasn’t/isn’t handling it well. Contempt often covers fear. It has nothing at all to do with how trustworthy you are; it’s about the scary world out there.
You sound like a daughter anyone would be proud of. I know I would be. Blessings. Luise