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Emotionally Abusive Mother

Group Therapy: My Mother Is Emotionally Abusive

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I'm 26 years old and still live at home. I've never moved out and have always been close to both of my parents — even now. I don't drive so I go out with my parents almost every Sunday. I went to an all-girl high school so I never really had much interaction with guys until I got to college. I was never kissed or had a boyfriend until I was 18. After my first boyfriend and I broke up, I didn't date anyone again until I was 21. It was during that relationship where I would start to go out more and stay out later (I never really had many girl friends who liked to stay out late either). Well since I would stay out late, my mom would start calling me very hurtful names in Spanish that basically mean "slut." Even when I was younger, she would yell at me for the most mundane thing and call me things in Spanish like "b*tch." I've told her about this second name-calling being hurtful and she always says that she doesn't see those words as being bad words and that she doesn't really mean it but it still hurts.

Well now I've been dating my current boyfriend for six months. He's 28 and has his own apartment. I really want to spend the night at his place but I know how she's going to react if I do. There's times when I go out with him at 4 p.m. and come home at 11 and she scowls at me and says that I have no respect for her or myself. Both of my parents start texting me at 9 or 9:30 asking where I'm at and when I'm coming home. There was one time when I came home at midnight this past summer after spending the day with my boyfriend and she scowled and gave me the silent treatment. The next day she started calling me the "slut" names and when I tried to defend myself, both of us lost our tempers and she actually tried to hit me (I moved and she only hit my arm).


How can I get to stay over at his place without dealing with this intense anger from her? The only way I see of being able to sleep over his place is if there were a snowstorm that made it dangerous to drive on the expressway back to my house.

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Starsong Starsong 5 years
Honey, I think you need to move out. You are not 15 years old. You are an adult. Sadly, your mother is probably not going to change. You can't make her. It sounds like you have tried to talk to her and she just doesn't care. There is nothing wrong with you, it sounds like your mother is the bitch. She knows it hurts you when she says those things, but she still says them. Which means that she doesn't care how it makes you feel. You DO NOT have to put up with this. If you can put some space between you guys, she might be angry at first, but hopefully she would come to realize that you are not a child anymore and can make your own decisions.  Like many other people here are saying, DON'T move in with your boyfriend yet. Get your own place. If you have any female friends, maybe you can rent a place together, which would mean you would not be paying the bills completely on your own. You need to look after yourself and your needs. Don't Let her abuse you like this.  Remove yourself from what is clearly an emotionally toxic environment. Good luck to you.
Zoua2541317 Zoua2541317 5 years
I am american raised with parents from another country. I can relate to your situation as well. First off, you cannot change or make your mother acknowledge her actions. She is too deeply rooted in her ways. (Not saying she will never change, but don't lean on that happening anytime soon.) You need to woman-up to your own needs and grow. It sounds scary....because it is. I didn't leave my parents house until I got married at 22, which is traditional in my culture. Even if i was 42, I am not to leave my parents house til I get married. But the hardest part for me was to balance my parents' teachings in America. Sometimes, it didn't apply, and sometimes, I had to read between the lines. My advice is the same as most have already posted. Move out of the nest. I am glad I left my dad's house. I appreciate all the things they taught me and I'm definitely bringing those values with me. The best part now is having my own space and a better relationship with my parents. I wish you the best. 
henna-red henna-red 5 years
There's nothing odd about this for white parents! It's called overprotective. I think the recent term is helicopter parents, they're always hovering.
Merrywidow Merrywidow 5 years
I'm white and my parents are exactly like this, which is odd for whites. My parents are just like Asian parents. Nothing they do makes remotely any sense.They tell me to grow up, but then verbally abuse me if I do.They always use guilt trips. Their fave is "we were just protecting you".And " god your selfish".
Padawan-Pri Padawan-Pri 5 years
Move out asap! At 26 you should feel the need to experience life on your own as well. It's not right that she speaks to you like that, but in their opinion you are still under their control and sometimes it takes a bit of space to make people realize their being ridiculous. Also if you haven't left they haven't had a chance to see you as an independent adult, you're still a little girl who needs to be looked after, guided or told what to do. I left my job 2 years ago and had to move back in with parents at 24 for 2 months. We always had a good relationship, but within a few weeks the insults started, "you need to lose weight or no one will love you", "why don't you ever straighten your hair that's why you're single", "where are you going?". Sometimes giving your power away to absolutely anyone is a bad thing. Soon as I moved out it was fine, as I made it clear that this was my space and if they didn't like something it was none of their concern as I was an adult with my own life and money.
ehalverson ehalverson 5 years
Most people obviously think you need to move out, and I agree with them. Personally, I was kicked out four months ago; like you, I had no license, car or job, and I still don't. It hasn't been easy and I hate feeling like a mooch all the time, but I would still rather be couch hopping than live with my dad again. Since I left, a lot of stress has left the relationship, I don't have to listen to him rag on me for things I haven't done and, in case you're worried about losing the relationship you have with your parents, I still see him once a week. I don't think you should move in with your boyfriend, at least not yet, because your mom will probably take it out of proportion and moving in together isn't a step you should take just to avoid your parents anyway. What's beneficial for me might not work for you, but if you can, I think you should follow the advice you've gotten from nearly everyone so far; get a car, get a license and get a job. Once you can support yourself, move out.
subliminalseduction subliminalseduction 5 years
I have to agree with Lucy. You're 26, you've lived what sounds to be a pretty sheltered existence, it's time to spread your wings and get out of the house. I met a nice guy at 18 that I fell in love with, my mother hated him and my relationship was completely tense with her. So I got a job, I moved into my own apartment and that was that. Eventually she and I settled in to a better relationship. She didn't nag me anymore because I was no longer under her roof and I didn't resent her any more for telling me what to do as an adult. The fact is, as long as you continue to live at home and they continue to pay for you, you are subject to their rules because they're footing the bill. You have to grow up and leave the nest, this is coming from someone two years younger. Another thing you may not realize, your mother's interference is probably taking a toll on your relationship. Even if he is the perfect guy, it's hard when your 26 year old girlfriend is getting harrassed by her parents for being at your place at 9:30. Have you suggested the idea of getting a job and moving in with him?
Lucy2291046 Lucy2291046 5 years
so I hope this does not make you mad but i have two words. GROW UP. js. 26 and moms thinks you are a slit you old enough to be what you want when you want if thats a slit then thats your body. you really need to get out and let mom think about your dad and you about you. you are way to old to have moms in your ear with the bull and whats worst you have hurt feelings about what she is saying you know what you are doing its nagging at her because she does not know. and in moms house you have to respect the time she wants but in yours you respect your own, so grow up get out and get on with life and let moms worry about her own and have dinner on Sunday and always bring a dish. PS. please dont get a man that does what she does. brake the chin FORREAL
Christabel2290578 Christabel2290578 5 years
I grew up in a household w/ parents from a foreign country (one of them is old fashioned), so I know that people from foreign countries look at things from a different perspective, now I'm not excusing your mother's behavior or anything, it just looks as if she does what she does because she feels that because you're arriving home late that you are up to no good. Secondly since in her mind you're up to no good, you staying out late goes against the values that she and her father brought you up on, and finally your mother has been verbally abusive towards you since you were a child? Her upbringing was probably similar or a lot worse, parents tend to treat their children in the same manner as they were treated by their parents, but overall the only thing that I can recommend for you is to if you already work, save up enough to move out of your parents' home and live on your own, that way you do not have to deal with all of this. If you're not employed, I suggest you get a job, so you can save up and move out of your parent's home.
nLt328 nLt328 5 years
here's the heart of the issue. and you can disagree with me if you want to, but i lived with an emotionally abusive mother and father so i can safely say i'm speaking from experience. your mother is a controlling manipulative woman. the way you deal with her, is move out. you're 26 years old. you're an ADULT. you make YOUR own decisions. they don't. hell, they stopped making decisions for you when you were 16, i hope. you don't have to move in with your bf, but you can find your own place. you work? save your money and get out of there. what are you gonna do if you get married? you deal with this now by standing up and making your own decisions about your life. it is hard, especially considering your background from what you've mentioned on here. believe me, i've been down this road. its not an easy one, and you'll need all the support you can get. if i can leave you with anything its this, GET OUT NOW. God be with you.
Sara2277495 Sara2277495 5 years
I don't want to make stereotypes because I'm Indian and a foreigner myself.What i've noticed is that Indian women, Spanish women and some Middleeastern women have gotten the stereotype of being party girls or the girls that guys have sex with but don't marry. In fact, many of my friends from my own nationality and the other two listed live up to the stereotypes. Even our parents have become aware of the stereotypes...which I would imagine is very difficult for parents to live with. In addition, the parents we should be trusting are the ones we aren't. If we don't, then they are going to assume that we are living up to those stereotypes. I personally think you should live with the restrictions. That you are worth more than yoru sexy beautiful self. the best way to do that, unfortunately, is to be a cramped up within a four cornered wall with parents who are assuming the worse and trying to protect from the worse becuase they are seeing the worse brought out of the female children of their gender. Your boyfriend, if he's worth it, will stay around. If not, whatever. He's just a guy.
Staci2270443 Staci2270443 5 years
In situations like these,obviously your parents still love you. But it's very flawed love. What I would do is let them know I love them too but that I can't stand for such treatment anymore,should never have had to. And leave. Get a job if you haven't got one,learn to drive,and move out. I'm agoraphobic,anxiety ridden - terrified of everything social at all basically. I dropped out in ninth grade,self medicated with marijuana for years,and also have never learned to drive. But I've gotten to the point where I can no longer stand my own mothers constant emotional abuse. I've realized by holding my hand my whole life she hasn't helped me,and by going psycho on me emotionally every day or every other day she's only abused me further. It's just more than time to get out. By the way,you've done nothing wrong.
revolutionista revolutionista 5 years
it's a complex situation you are in. culturally and emotionally. i applaud your courage for posting your story to group therapy. and, i would encourage you to seek out a local counselor or therapist to support you in your transition. you might find someone who offers a sliding scale if need be. i wouldn't try to fix your sounds like she comes from a very traditional background and that some of her feelings may be deeply rooted in her heritage and relogious upbringing. i'm sorry that you are experencing this at home. i think you are brave. for reaching out. i think it is important to have counseling support during a transition like this because it will most likely be a challenging transition for both you and your parents. Your parents are doing what they think is right but that doesn;t mean it is right! you aren't a slut. even if you sleep with your boyfriend --you are not a slut! and you are not a bitch for having idependence. it may be time to leave the nest baby bird...time for you to fly into your independence and power as a woman. be gentle with yourself!
TurkishPeach TurkishPeach 5 years
I used to have a similar situation with my mom. I think my mom was possesive, and has some issues over me. She is taking out her anger and frustration on you. You really should decide when you are going to move out and live your life so that you can have a happy relationship and freedoms that you deserve. Unless you want your mom to end up with your mom for the rest of her life.
jenjen82 jenjen82 5 years
Good God! Move out already! Your mom should not talk to you that way, but you need to move on with your life! You speak of the experiences you are having as a 26 year old that are rebellious or risque for you when in reality this is stuff 16 year olds are doing. Staying out till 11pm? This is not rebellious, this is life. I hope you are saving your money, getting a loan, or doing whatever is humanly possible to get out of there and live an adult life. If not, I think it is a risk to your maturity and stunting your growth.
pink-elephant pink-elephant 5 years
Because you still live under their roof, your mother still sees you as her little child even though you are now an adult and capable of making your own choices. She doesn't seem to respect boundaries either or she wouldn't have ignored you when you've told her how her comments sting. It's not healthy for you to be living under their roof, especially with so much hostility and manipulation, but they're not likely to accept your choices as an adult as long as you are living there. I agree with others that you need to find your own place, one apart from your boyfriend, so that you may truly experience independence and not have to be totally reliant on him for your freedom either. Start looking for affordable places and start saving up now, find a friend you can room with who can share rent, possibly? Start setting some boundaries, your mother may not like them, but she has to respect them. And you have to respect yourself. Maybe your mother will finally start seeing you as an adult, but maybe she won't. I'm sorry but that's something you'll most likely have to face, Once you have made your decisions though, stick by them. DO NOT let her guilt you into something you don't want, especially by telling you ugly things! You are an adult now, and you don't have to take that kind of treatment. No one should. Best of luck to you!
JessicaM25 JessicaM25 5 years
I think you should start changing your lifestyle with possibly getting another job or second job. That will occupy your time. Your mother would begin to notice you won't be home and maybe, just maybe, get used to you not being around. Start saving money to put aside and once you have enough. Which I recommend around 5-10,000.00 which should take about 6-8 months. Then move out. Moving out with your bf might sound like a great idea but if it doesn't work you will be assed out. GL.
Dragonflye Dragonflye 5 years
You're 26? Move out.
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 5 years
I have a very stressed relationship with my mother as well (the name-calling and things she gets upset about are quite different though), and I think the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the situation. As others have said, start saving up to get your own place, but don't move in with the BF. No matter how much you love your parents, they can still be wrong and say some unkind things. No one deserves that kind of treatment. Good luck!
testadura67 testadura67 5 years
You can't change your mother, but you can change your situation. Move out! Find a roommate (not your bf) to save on rent. Your mother's opinions aren't going to change, but you can decide how much you let them affect and influence you. If you know that in her eyes spending the night at your bf's is going to make you a slut, decide if you'd rather spend the night at your bf's, or have your mom not think you're a slut. Decide what's important to you, go through with it, and make no apologies. You're a grown woman. Time to act like it.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
No one has the right to call you names and treat you badly. Lots of parents don't get that. if you said to your mother what she says to you she would be completely offended. There are certainly some cultures that don't learn these boundaries, particularly mother to daughter. I agree, that the best thing for you to do is to move out. If you want your parents to treat you as an adult, you need to behave as an adult. How do you repspond to anyone else who may treat you like this, or call you these names. It's abusive, and your mom doesn't get that. If you can't change a behavior, and you won't accept the behavior because it's unacceptable, then the only choice is to take that behavior out of your life. Good intentions don't excuse abuse. But cultural attitudes and choices are not always possible to change. I'm sure your parents love you, but they don't get how wrong their words are, how hurtful, how harmful. My mom and I used the phrase..."if you wouldn't say that to any other person on earth, if you don't want someone to say that to you, then don't say it to me." Learning that new boundary, adult to adult, from parent to child, can be really hard, and while you are still in their home, they will believe that they have the right to speak to you, treat you any way they want to . The only person who can teach them that it's not so is you. And you may not be able to teach them that in their house. So many parents don't understand how they damage their kids with this kind of abuse, or how they are affecting relationships of the future with their kids and possible grandkids by using this kind of abuse. Some kids get past it and some hold it againgst their parents for years. I hope you can get yourself to a more independent, more supportive living enviornment. I hope you and your parents can come to a functioning, happy, healthy relationship. The next step is yours. Blessed be, love and light to you and your family in this holiday season
vancelogan vancelogan 5 years
Reality check! Their house, their rules!. Your parents have a difficult time seeing you as being grown up. To them, you are still their little girl. The suggestion by annbaby is the 1st step. If things don't change you may have no other choice but to move out. However, make sure that you have 4>6 months worth of money in the bank. If you think moving out is difficult, having to come back home due to financial problems would only reinforce the idea that you are not adult enough to handle the real world. Female roommates are a must for you. You have had a very sheltered life, and it will ease your transition to adult freedoms, and responsibilities.It also lessens expenses, provides alternative viewpoints to methods of "getting things done" and provides a degree of "safety in numbers" should there be any problems w/ a bf.
lcrox07 lcrox07 5 years
^^^ Story of my life. Mexican-catholic. You're not alone girl! I'm in the process of saving for my move myself. Good luck to you!
pardevant pardevant 5 years
My parents are like that as well. Not only is my mom Mexican but she's also a really, really, really (i cannot stress this enough) a conservative catholic. You need to move out. In my experience, being super honest about your feelings and what you need/want to do don't make a're still a "slut/whore/prostitute". Moving out actually made our relationship so much better since I didn't have to put up with the ridiculous and over protective behavior and she didn't have to witness anything. Try getting roommates (all girls, of course) to easen up the transition for both you (financially) and your parents (psychologically).
annbaby annbaby 5 years
At 26 I think you're perfectly capable of making your own decisions. Since you're still living at home and putting up with this, I assume being close to and on good terms with your family is extremely important to you. Short of moving out, you could have a honest talk with your mom. Pick a day when she is not already angry and upset with you, then tell her that 1) You're an adult and think through your actions and are willing to take responsibility for them. 2) Your appreciate her concern and her point of view, but going to your boyfriend is something you want to do and consider perfectly normal- you will not lie to her about it because you respect her too much for lies, so please would she respect you as well by not saying hurtful things. 3) Say you love her very much, but you care for your boyfriend too. Ask her to please not make you choose between her or your boyfriend, because that would break your heart. She does not have to like him, but you would like peace.
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