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Mentally Abusive Mother-Daugher Relationship!
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Mentally Abusive Mother-Daugher Relationship!

My wife, 35, is in what I think is a mentally abusive relationship with her mother. The mother through the use of guilt tactics and

manipulation forces her to call her 1-2 times a day, with each call lasting anywhere from 10-90 mins. During these calls the

mother dictates how my wife should lead her life, what decisions she must make, what to do, on any/all subjects. The mother is

highly anxious and is literally not able to stop talking.

These calls often end in heated arguments with my wife either trying to end the call or trying to get a point across.  She usually

has to defend herself or me. I feel as though her mother not only controls my wife to a degee but is eroding her confidence by

constantly telling her what to do & how to do it. My wife usually has no patience after these calls.  I would think that her mother is

causing self-doubt in my wife.

My wife has been in therapy for almost a year to help her handle her mother and these situations. She has just recently

completed her last session.  Although she has learned to limit the things she tells her mother, she is not able to significantly

reduce the # of calls per day/week, has hard time ending the calls, & cannot break free of her mothers grip. The mother sees nothing wrong with her behavior & refuses counseling.

What would you call this relationship?  How do I find out more about it?  What are the mental health issues?  Is this a type of mental abuse or am I overboard?
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This is definitely an unhealthy pattern. Your wife needs more help. Its critical that she break the hold her mother has on her. She should ask her therapist about support groups for women in this situation.

She might also benefit greatly by taking one of the masteringstress (link above) sessions that will help her deal with her mother's behavior..and show her her choices,in print. If she does that, tell her to choose having tension with her mother about the way she is treated.
9 Comments
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Is there a name for this type of relationship?  

Where do I find out more about it?

I need to be able to show my wife that this IS a problem.  She feels as though this might be the norm and that she must accept it.
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I am a 65 year old female, and I have had the same problems with my mother.She is 83 now, and still trying to make me feel guilty, she is very spiteful towards me, and all the time my 6 children were growing up, she underminded me, by always telling them I was spoiled, selfish, wouldn't do anything for them, and telling them all my bad points.She is still at it to this day.
I suffered from genetic depression all my life, so I took her actions to heart and that made things worse, but recently, after 25 yrs. of taking 6 different antidepressants, and not doing any good,A wise Dr. finally found a combination of drugs that has changed my life. I said all that, to say, my mother is,and was my biggest problem,and for my own well being, I have stopped having anything to do with her, no 10 phone calls a day, no telling her every time I leave the house, no calling  about anything, I just simply leave her alone, and let my older sons deal with her. It may be hard to stop seeing your mom, but if it is so stressful that it interferes with your life, so be it!
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Thank you Betsy for your comments.  It is a truely terrible thing when someone who's supposed to be protecting you is the one destroying you.
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I am with Betsy.  I am 38 years old.  I broke the ties with my Mom, Dad and youngest sister 2 weeks ago.

I have lost a child, suffered severe panic attacks, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrom (syndrome) amongst other things.  My family was less than supportive.  

Before you wife gets physically ill from her mother and they want to medicate her, explain to her that this is unhealthy and there are others of us that are and have gone through it.

In my case, I call her so much and tell her so much because I respect her and don't want her to hear from someone else what I am up to.  The truth is, I am looking for acceptance from my parents.

I have come to the realization that it is NEVER going to happen.

It hurt at first, but I am now living my life with my family (husband and children) and things are great.  I didn't die and either did they because I am not speaking to them.  I still get the urge to call and say I am sorry.  But, for what I ask myself.

Your wife learned this at a very early age I suspect and her mother may have gone through the very same thing.  I could be wrong - like I said, I am not in the medical profession but have suffered alot in the past year. (and learned alot about myself and my family)

My sisters and I are very different with my parents. It all depends on the individual and how you deal with it.  I was insecure.  I got over it.

It took three doctors telling me repeatedly, just "take a break from her/them" to finally make the break.

She can do it, but you will have to be there or someone else to be the ear her mother always was.  That will be tough also, because she will be looking for that acceptance or direction.  She needs to learn to stand on her own two feet and go on.  

She will know that she can do it.

Have her find a new challenging hobby, even something that exhausts her so that she doesn't have time to make the calls, then she won't feel the guilt of not talking to her.

Good luck.

Kim
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Avatar_n_tn
What is going on is verbal abuse. The following website has helped me through some very tough times, and the people in the message boards are also very helpful. It is possible that your wife is being verbally abused by her mother, and she should not have to put up with it any more...

http://www.drirene.com/

Good luck!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
YES there is a name for it, most likely her mother is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

There are many support groups online, and many books that can help both you and your wife understand the patterns and behaviors and learn better copng skills.

Check out all the resources at:

http://home.hvc.rr.com/helenbpd

and

http://www.bpdcentral.com

Best of luck!!

Helen
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Avatar_n_tn
There is a name for this, it's called Co-Dependency. There are lots of CODA support groups run by the 12 steps, u could find out by looking in phone book under alcohol anynomous.There is also a support group online called Codameeting place in health and med. msn.
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Just read the problems with the abusive mother-daughter relationship.

I am a 51 year old female, with the same problem. I divorced my mother after 49 years of abuse and suffering from PTSD as a direct result of her verbal assaults. My family (siblings) divorced me as a result, but in the two years, slow contact is being made between us (siblings and me). My mother needed a new focus of abuse; of course, it had to be a family member - as her behavior to the public is of a "saintly" nature. Since I am no longer in the picture, she has started on my sister, and now my sister is "divorcing" her.

This problem will not change until the daughter decides it "costs too much"  from her; not her husband. SHE needs to make that decision and no one can show her. She will need to have the energy and determination to take care of her needs instead of taking care of her mother's needs (which are never ending).

I hope for the husband there are not children involved, because until this sick mother is out of the immediate picture, the daughter will continue to be a daughter and not a mother to her children nor a wife to her husband....she is too busy trying to appease her mother, which will never happen.
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