Here’s the deal. My mother is insane.I met my boyfriend 5 months ago, and we have been happy together ever since. He is sweet as can be, and no one could ever think up a reason to dislike him.I live with my mother, I’m 22 and still in college. She seems to be so afraid of losing me that she is trying to sabatoge my relationship. My mother calls him, and his parents and yells at them. she lies, she backstabs, and she is generally evil.So far my boyfriend seems able to ignore her, but I can tell her attacks are affecting his feelings for me. What can I do to prevent the end of this relationship? (other than patricide).
It’s great that you are free enough to allow yourself to own your murderous rage toward your mother.Obviously, you can’t act on the feelings, so we need to find an outlet for the anger that will be legal and constructive.You have two choices here.If you think that your mother isn’t too far gone, you can try to talk with her. To do this, temporarily put your feelings of anger aside and talk to her like a therapist. Get her to say how she feels (that she’s afraid to lose you, etc. ) and don’t judge her feelings or try to talk her out of them.Remember that feelings are irrational and often crazy. They aren’t wrong or right. They simply are what they are.Now, if you can get her to own her feelings, then the next step would be for her to learn to talk not act. That is, she can tell you all about her fears and jealousies so long as she doesn’t act them out by her acts of sabotage.If you can succeed in helping her to talk about her feelings, she may not need to communicate these feelings in such destructive ways. To encourage her to put her feelings into words (not actions) you could say, ‘What are these phone calls trying to tell me? How should I interpret your actions? What do you want me to think and feel?’If you think that she is too disturbed to talk to you, then you can use a technique called the ‘Prognostic Intervention’. With this type of intervention, you predict, ahead of time, what you imagine your mother will do to sabotage you. By doing this, you remove the gratification she gets from her acts of revenge.To put this technique into practice you might say, ‘Here’s a checklist of all the ways you have tried to break us up. Have I forgotten anything?’ You can also predict on a daily basis what she might do by saying, ‘Today is Monday (or whatever day it is). I guess that you are going to place another one of your ‘calls’ to my boyfriend’s family.’Or you can vary the above by what’s called ‘Extension Joining.’ With this technique you not only go along with the person, you exaggerate their position. For example, ‘Here’s a list of all the recent acts of sabotage. I notice that you are using the same ploys repeatedly and you need to find some new ideas so we don’t get bored.’ By saying this, you will remove all her power and satisfaction and she may not feel pleasure in continuing to torture you any longer.A final idea is to unmask her. That is, let her know that you know what she’s up to. To do this you could say, ‘I know that you were abandoned as a child and that you have always expected me to take care of you and fill the void inside you. Now that I have found a boyfriend, you feel like I am abandoning you the way your folks did. And, you won’t feel satisfied until you break us up and have me all to yourself again.’You can vary the statement so that it reflects what you know about her history and problems. If you call it the way it is and unmask her, she may be too ashamed to continue. Also, feeling understood may feed her emotionally and by filling the void inside her she may feel less need to break-up your relationship.It is really awful when your own mother isn’t behind you. She is so disturbed that we may never be able to actually get her to root for you. But, the least we can hope for is to get her off your back.Please let me know which of the above techniques work for you.