my mother is a destructive force in my professional life

A reader writes:

I emailed you back in August when I was struggling to find a job, and I was worried about the backlash I would get from my family if I went on benefits. (Note from Alison: This was a private email exchange rather than a post, so there’s no past post to link to.)

I decided to apply for benefits, and joke’s on my family because I’ve landed a job through the benefits center! It’s a four-week admin contract, and it’s great. I love my job and my coworkers are great too. I started on Friday, and my boss pulled me aside today to say that three customers came to him to say that I did a great job with them and really helped them.

However, my family are still on my back. My mum is insisting that the way to get a job is through social media. I already know that this is a big no no.

She’s insisting that I should send Facebook messages and tweets to companies to ask about vacancies and apply through them. She has her own Twitter account, which is VERY political. It’s dedicated to all things politics, and is very heavy towards the party she supports. She’s tweeting companies in our area to tell them I’m looking for a job and asking if they have any vacancies. It’s very embarrassing, she’s tweeting them my full name, my age, location and the type of work I’m looking for. I’ve asked her to stop so many times, but she downright refuses and keeps doing it, which is reflecting terribly on my behalf. I know you said to never take your parents’ advice, but she’s doing this herself and insists that this is the correct way to find a job these days.

She’s insisting that she’s going to set up a Twitter account in my name, and she’s going to tweet companies saying: “Hello, my name is Jane ____, I’m 21, I live in ____ and I would like to work with you. How can I apply to work for your company?” This is incredibly embarrassing and she won’t stop. She’s also writing on companies’ Facebook walls and sending them messages telling them I’m looking for work.

Do you have any advice on how to deal with this? It’s making me feel so embarrassed, and it’s honestly harming my chances of finding a job.

Whoa. This is awful. Leaving aside the fact that she’s 100% wrong in her beliefs about how to find a job (and she really, really is), forcibly insisting on “helping” you in ways you have clearly said you do not want is so very much not okay.

Honestly, I’d lie to her and tell her that you have permanent employment (not just the four-week contract), because that might be the only way to get her to stop — or at least the fastest way, the one that doesn’t involve you spending weeks/months having to convince her to stop harming you. And if she continues after that, I’d tell her that she’s jeopardizing your job by making your “current employer” think that you’re still looking for a different job.

I’m not a fan of lying to people, but she’s ignoring your direct requests and potentially causing actual harm to your professional reputation and chances with these companies if you ever want to apply to them yourself. She’s putting you in a position where she’s being so unreasonable that lying may be the only way to protect yourself. I don’t really see what other choice you have — she’s out of control and potentially doing real damage to you.

More broadly, what’s up with your mom? I’ve got to think that this isn’t the only area of your life where she’s violating boundaries and running roughshod over you. It must be incredibly hard to grow up with a mother who acts this way, and who’s now actively attempting to thwart your adulthood and independence. I know enforcing boundaries is far easier said than done when you have a parent like this, but I would think very seriously about what other measures you might need to put in place to give yourself room to establish a healthy adulthood without her tearing it down as you try to put it up. (Captain Awkward is extraordinarily good with advice for people from boundary-challenged families, so you might consult her extensive archives.)

Also, for the record, you do not deserve this kind of crap from anyone, least of all your family, least of all your mom. I’m sorry you’re dealing with it.

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 366 comments… read them below }

  1. fposte*

    “It’s Rose’s turn!”

    Seriously, this is awful, and I’m sorry. Does everybody in your family bend to your mother’s will or is there a sib or parent who can tell your mother that she’s proposing ruining your job search?

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Everyone in my family just seems to bend to her will. My family is…complicated, I guess. I have no siblings, and my dad seems happy without me in his life, and no matter what I do, he won’t let me stay with him. I have a grandpa and an uncle on his side, but I’m distant from them, plus contacting them would have to be done through my dad, who already doesn’t really want to talk to me, which makes it harder.

      I do have the possibility of moving in with my grandad. He’s been on his own since my grandma passed away, and could do with some company. I’ve mentioned it before, so something may come out of it. Sadly, he’s not doing very good. We found out recently that he has a cancerous tumour. We just lost my grandma to cancer, so this is like another never-ending nightmare.

      I have family on my mum’s side, but they’re distant too. Moving in with them is definitely not an option. They’re in different parts of the country, and moving in with them would just be impossible. Things are strained, I guess you could say. It’s hard to explain, but my family isn’t the happy close family we seem to be. Rifts and other things have been coming out since my grandma died, and I’m just starting to realise how complicated and strained my family is.

  2. jhhj*

    Say you have a job! When you don’t have a job, lie and say you private messaged all these facebook and twitter accounts yourself so she doesn’t have to.

    If this doesn’t work, I’d consider also using your middle name on applications, so when you apply as J Charlotte X they don’t immediately associate you with Jane X.

    1. The Artist Formally Known As UKAnon*

      I think the middle name is an excellent idea. I’d even toy with the idea of simply going by my middle name on resumes/applications and “forgetting” to mention it to your mum (not that you should have to at all. You really shouldn’t. But in terms of damage limitation, it might help)

      Something this out there almost demands an equally bizarre response, like getting a friend to call your mum and pretend to be from one of the companies and explain she’s just torpedoed your chances of working there.

      But honestly, I think finding a way of getting to the initial interview is best – like using a middle name – and then maybe having a script prepared for if they ask about it (unlikely, but it might come up so it would be best to be prepared)

      1. jhhj*

        Oh, absolutely you cannot tell your mother about using your middle name on your application, then she’d just tweet as J Charlotte!

        Having a friend or coworker leave a voicemail at your house saying “please stop sending facebook/twitter messages as you have been blacklisted for this” isn’t a bad idea either.

      2. Ashling*

        I love the idea of getting a few friends to call her as an “employer” and tell her how her actions aren’t helping and are actually causing harm!

        1. LabTech*

          Unless OP’s mom responds by sending angry tweets and Facebook posts towards the company, outraged that they won’t hire OP and trying to dissuade others from using the prospective employer’s products or services…

          1. Excel Slayer*

            I think if the friend words it well enough, they could avoid mentioning an actual company name. Which would probably be for the best.

            1. SteevT*

              Have the friend say they are a representative from an employee placement company contracted by companies v, w, x, y, and z (among others) They noticed that 1, the inquirerys were sent to the wrong location, 2, in entirely the wrong format, and 3, if the candidate needs their mother to send the information in, then maybe they aren’t the right candidate for the position.

      3. Excel Slayer*

        I really like the getting the friend to call theidea, expecially if OP knows someone with an excellent phone manner. It’s devious, but this is exactly the kind of situation that calls for deviousness.

      4. A Cita*

        Wouldn’t have the friend call unless OP has an older, very phone voice polished friend to do it. You can tell a really young voice and someone with no business experience on the phone, so a friend might not be believable.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          This. Also, experienced/polished professionals know how to expertly respond on the fly to anything the mother might say back to them, including how to smoothly end the call once they’ve said their piece. Amateurishness is not going to be very effective in this context.

    2. Jane*

      This, along with the advice to grab your Twitter handle, is great advice. Honestly, this question reminds me of the revenge porn question from a few weeks ago. The advice for reclaiming your identity might be applicable in your situation. I’m horrified that your mother is doing this.

      1. A Cita*

        Yes, OP **must** grab any twitter handle with her name or even close to her name so her mom cannot set up an account. Every variation: first last, first initial last, first last initial, middle initial, middle name, etc.

          1. mander*

            Yes, I was going to suggest the same. I had someone set up a twitter account using my university email once (how they planned to use it, I don’t know, because the email account had not been hacked as far as I could tell). Getting it removed was very straightforward.

    3. Aunt Jamesina*

      Does the OP live at home? It sounds as though they’re young. It would be pretty hard to fake full-time employment in that case!

      1. Anonsie*

        Since the mom is this scary, I think OP should definitely fake full-time employment if she’s not found a new job at the end of her one-month contract. I read an article about a guy who was long-term unemployed and spent every day at Starbucks on his laptop applying for jobs, because he wanted his daughter to see him leaving the house “to go to work” every day. Coffee shops, the library, the local college’s student center–there are places to go. All OP has to do is put on some office casual and walk out the door at the right time each morning. And preferably go to a different neighborhood so mom won’t accidentally find her.

        1. Boundary challenged*

          I’ve been thinking about comments on this, because I’m not totally comfortable with lying about having a job. What I’m thinking now is that whatever works for the OP is good. And even if OP isn’t pretending to be employed, this still should let OP’s mother know that she’s making an effort. It might be the exact same effort OP would make at home in her pajamas, but it could look completely different to mom. It gets OP some time to herself, too.

          1. Evie*

            Yes and no boundary challenged. “This still should let the OP’s mother know that she’s making an effort”.

            For a parent who was reasonable and rational, or who was doing this out of desperation to find work for a lazy child that might work, but it is hiiiiiiiiiighly, highly unlikely to work here. What makes me think this? The OP has already got a job and there’s no celebration, just this crazy , controlling BS. More importantly, the OP’s effort to ACTUALLY HAVE A JOB (even if it was found with help) – not make a effort, HAVE one- retain it, and have positive feed back is doing nothing to stop the crazy.

            Part of this is because the mother has already decided what does an doesn’t work – being nuts on social media good, traditional methods bad – so any actual, same effort by the OP is likely to be viewed with about as much grace as would the OP’s choice to job search by wearing Pj’s to interviews – it’s seen as totally wrong and not doing things at all worthwhile.

    4. Jamie*

      My first thought was to change your name completely. Because YIKES to that mother. I am so sorry you have to deal with that, OP, and I second the recommendation for Captain Awkward. She’s great with concrete, specific advice and scripts.

    1. Basiorana*

      I would stop talking to her, period. Send her an email explaining that she has directly cost you jobs (even if that’s not true) and you cannot afford to prioritize her feelings over your job search. Then stick to it, and use the middle name recommendation to distance yourself.

      But she will keep doing this the rest of your life until you cut her off and make her understand that this is unacceptable behavior.

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      Break off all contact until she stops, I would suggest, and follow through. If your relative has no boundaries, you have to make them yourself. It’s hard work but the alternative is worse.

      (My mother did something similar, applying for freelance work on my behalf and circulating a website with my CV that I put together to practice making a website, without my knowledge. I was offered a nice contract from a big company I might have liked to work for some day, and had to turn it down because I wasn’t looking for freelance work and didn’t have time to do it; I was more than fully employed for a nice salary. I’ve had to keep all details of my career from her, which prevents me e.g. from using LinkedIn (if I block her, she logs on as my dad or brother)).

      1. Tess McGill*

        Agree with this but worried … does OP still live with Mom? Might be the case if she was at the point of applying for benefits. If that’s the case, it becomes harder to break all contact. I don’t know if OP does live with mom, but the thought occurred to me.

        1. RVA Cat*

          Honestly with this boundary-violating crap, I think the OP should seriously consider searching for a job in another city or state where she would like to live.

      2. Squirrel*

        …which prevents me e.g. from using LinkedIn (if I block her, she logs on as my dad or brother)).

        Is there any way you could ask your brother and father to change their passwords *and* not share them with your mother? Short of that, why not block them as well? It sucks that you have to go through that, but it might send a message to your mother. Although she could always make a different account and look at your profile that way. If nothing else, be direct and tell her to stop or else you will [insert specific action here, like not talking to her for X amount of time] and then stick to it.

        1. themmases*

          Yep. There is little to no benefit to adding family on LinkedIn anyway, because they are almost never valid professional contacts. And even innocuous stuff they might do can make you look bad. (E.g. my mom clicking “yes” when LinkedIn asks her, “Does Emma know about Research”?)

          Personally I would consider blocking the mom on all social media to prevent her from tagging me in stuff– although since she could still just write out the OP’s contact information, maybe she’d rather be informed.

    3. Evie*

      Some of you are assuming she had the choice here to break contact or dictate terms, and I’d be wry surprised if that was the case – she’s young, financially vulnerable enough to need benefits and joyful over a 4 week contract. This suggests to me that she lives at home, or possibly still is in a position where she’ll need the option available when the extremely short term contract runs out, and possibly will still require financial help from her family. Don’t get me wrong, if OP is in the position to do it I think it’s worth considering, but I really feel that the advice isn’t very helpful if they’re still under the same roof.

      Also it’s sometimes just hard to do – especially if you are from a “oh aren’t we just sooooooo close!” Boundary issue-y family.

      1. Artemesia*

        I suspect you are right here which is why if that is so the OP needs to be creating an escape strategy. This involves lying, and actively searching for employment far from home and creating a bank account in a bank different from the one the parents use and stockpiling as much money as she can so she will have a nestegg when she needs it.

        I hope since she is doing such a great job in the short term position she has that this will be leveraged to a full time position that will afford the chance to move out or at least put her in a position to squirrel away as much money as possible. She should make sure that paperwork from the bank does not come to her home address. A post office box is actually not very expensive per annum in the US — I don’t know what it would be where she is. But finding a way to manage her legal/financial life below her mother’s radar is important. Just having a plan about how to become independent will give her a lift in spirits.

    4. _ism_*

      I have a mother a lot like the OP’s. I’m completely independent from her, and have refused her “help” and asked her to stop doing what she does multiple times. She still won’t. She just steps up her boundary-steamrolling in an effort to “reach me.”

      Going no contact and refusing to be in her life isn’t guaranteed to work. It could result in getting the law involved in a worst case scenario! I’m currently trying to get an order of protection against my own mother, myself. She loves to post things about me on the internet, and has for years. I can’t stop her. But now that I’ve cut her off, she trespasses on my property and calls people who might know me to ask for info about me and is basically stalking me, a 35 year old independent adult.

      So yeah. Consider it carefully. I recommend RaisedbyNarcissists on reddit too. There is much support there for whatever you choose to do about your mother, OP, and they can point you to some very good resources on how to manage your adult life when a crazy parent is interfering hardcore.

      1. Andrea*

        I second the /r/raisedbynarcissists subreddit. Great advice there on no contact and setting boundaries.

  3. Mena*

    Check out Raisedbynarcissists for some support.

    And grab the Twitter handle that most closely fits our name (before your mom does).

    Ugh. Good luck.

    1. knitcrazybooknut*

      +1. Captain Awkward is a great resource. “No” is a full sentence, and anything you need to do to preserve your good reputation is justified. You are a good person. Your mom’s actions show her complete disregard for you. Consider going No Contact, or at least research the concept of Medium Chill. She’s shown that any information you give her will be misused. Take that into consideration when you give her information.

      Good luck.

      1. Alison with one L*

        Your comment about “Medium Chill” may just save my Thanksgiving vacation – which is a week in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with 14 members of my crazy family.

        1. knitcrazybooknut*

          Think “robot” or “small grey stone” every time your temperature rises. “You may be right” is a great response to something you think is crazypants. Sure, it’s possible, because anything is possible. “I’ll have to think about that” is another helpful dealio.

          If all else fails, just google the Saturday Night Live video on How To Save Thanksgiving.

        2. Artemesia*

          The concept of the ‘cordial stranger’ is useful here. You are cordial and charming as if just meeting these people and not quite being able to place them — all surface charm, no emotional entanglement. In the woods? Far from civilization? 14 nutty family members? Hope we aren’t reading about you in the news.

    2. Boundary challenged*

      RBN, by the way, is at reddit dot com/r/raisedbynarcissists. I don’t know if you’ll feel that most of the information there is relevant to you, OP, but you will find a lot of advice on handling parents who are controlling or just plain strange.

      Also, grabbing Twitter handles first is a great idea.

    3. A Teacher*

      Thank you for this site. I sent it to my own mother for her parents, my mom is not a narcissist, my grandparents can be and raised two of them (my uncles) and its something my mom has had to deal with for many years.

    4. nonegiven*

      Grab all the twitter handles that aren’t already taken, full name, name without initial, name with one initial, name with both initials. You just need to use a new email address for each. If she already has one, does twitter have a mechanism for taking down fake accounts?

    5. Jenny*

      Thanks to all used the word narcissist before I had to. Totally sent my radar pinging. I agree don’t lie about having a job, grab all social media handles that resemble your name and if you live with your mother or even if not create SOLID boundaries. That means though since she is your Mother you want to run and get assurance, support etc she will take that information and use it for guilt, ammunition and control of your life. I have get the rest of the family will hear how you aren’t letting her help you, you are headstrong and don’t know what you are doing, she only wants to help etc. All lies to make her look like a selfless martyr. I found out about this condition 2 or 3 years ago at 40 and they will ruin your life under the guise of helping. Have a nice case of PTSD from it. You are young enough to create a nice, satisfying and mentally healthy life. Allison thanks for the link to the Captain Awkward site.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        What Jenny said.

        Dr. Susan Forward has a book called Mothers Who Can’t Love (or something along those lines) and she has a lot of strategies in there for managing a mother with no boundaries such as having tea party conversations like you would with a total stranger. Light, frothy about her and what she’s doing, switching the conversation away any time the subject is you or your life.

        In the meantime, especially if you live with your mother, phrases such as “I’ll take that under consideration” and then a quick topic change are the way to go — ask her a question about herself. That or fake something you have to do to leave the room/house.

        If you don’t live with your mother/parents, then voicemail is your friend. Let all your calls go to voicemail if you don’t have call display. Call your mother back when it suits you, preferably between places so you have a reason to hang up. “Oh, sorry mom, I have to go do X with Y because Z. We’ll catch up later, bye!”

        The hardest thing to give up is the hope and expectation that one day, you’ll do it “right” and get the pat on the back you deserve. Those goalposts are always going to shift, that football is always going to be pulled away, no matter how hard you try. It sucks and it’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.

  4. Boundary challenged*

    Ha. Yes, +1 to Alison’s rec for Captain Awkward’s advice for the children of boundary-challenged parents.

    OP, I just want to say that I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.

  5. Viktoria*

    This is terrible. I hope you can get her to stop. I don’t have anything to add on that end, but should she go ahead with her whackadoo idea to make a Twitter account in your name, you can likely get it removed. I don’t know how easy that process is but I will link to the Twitter policy below, just in case. (Hope it doesn’t come to that, though!)

    1. Lizzy May*

      I was going to say this. There’s not much Twitter will do if she uses her account, but the moment she pretends to be you that will be covered in the TOS. If she does start impersonating you on Twitter, reach out to them and they may be able to remove the account.

  6. Miss M*

    If all else fails, create your own Twitter handle. Or if you have to, you can argue to your mom that she is impersonating you on Twitter and if you wanted to you, you can report her for it.

    1. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

      I wouldn’t even tell them mom I was going to report her; I’d wait to see if she did it, then I’d report her without saying anything to her about it. Don’t borrow trouble, you know?

  7. BuildMeUp*

    LW, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this! I second the suggestion to lie to her. Once you’ve told her you have a full-time job, something that may help is to just stop telling her anything related to your job or personal life that could cause her to start meddling. Tell your family that you’d rather they don’t share anything with your mom, and cut them off as well if they share anyway. It’s tough to do, but your mom has proven that she will do this if given the chance.

    As far as Twitter and Facebook go, there are ways to report things she posts that involve your personal information. If it’s damaging you professionally, I would do as much as possible to get those things taken down.

    I believe it’s also against FB and Twitter terms of service to make an account impersonating someone else, so you can get that taken down if she makes one.

    1. svb*

      This. You should get the social media platforms on your side and have them take down unauthorised use of your personal information and, if she does start an account for you, likeness.

  8. Turanga Leela*

    If your sets up a Twitter account pretending to be you, report it to Twitter and ask them to suspend the account—it’s a violation of Twitter’s terms of service. I don’t know how responsive they are, but it is worth a try.

    1. Sunflower*

      Yes I was going to recommend this. Report the heck out of her to twitter. She’s pretty much spamming the company accounts she is tweeting at.

    2. sam*

      I was going to recommend this too – it’s a violation of the TOS on both twitter and facebook. Facebook in particular is very strong about enforcing “real name” accounts – sometimes to the point where it’s even problematic (i.e., with regard to trans people, human rights activists in repressive countries who could be in danger if they used their real names), but in this case, that policy is definitely on your side.

      1. Sadsack*

        Good luck with FB. I found out that someone created a fake profile of mine after my email had been hacked. The fake Sadsack friended people whose names they found in my email contacts, people I was both FB friends and not friends with. FB “investigated” and found it to be a good account, even though the fake Sadsack had barely any profile, no photos, and no posts. I got it taken down by writing to the fake account and letting them know I was on to them.

          1. Kyrielle*

            I have, in the last couple years, seen a series of accounts for friends that were “second” accounts for the same person and really fake. With one exception – the first one I encountered – they are all gone now, and many were gone within hours of my first awareness of them.

    3. MinB*

      I recently reported someone for a different policy violation and Twitter responded with a followup email within 24 hours. I emailed them back with answers to their questions and the account was suspended a day later. Considering all the things I’ve heard about how bad Twitter is at protecting users, I was actually pretty impressed with their turnaround.

      It’s worth a shot reporting your mother if she does make an account for you, OP.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        They have gotten a lot better precisely because they were so lax earlier on, and took a lot of heat for ignoring bullying and death threats and doxxing and lots of other types of harassment.

  9. TotesMaGoats*

    That’s just…that’s just…I don’t have any words for this. I’m so sorry OP. I also don’t support lying but this is one of those situations where you have to from a survival stand point. Congrats on your contract job and I hope it turns full time!

  10. Ell*

    My parents never got directly involved in my job search, but they were very very over-involved, as it sounds like your mom is. They wouldn’t let me pick up my own health care for a long time because they wanted to exercise control over that part of my life. The only thing that eventually worked is basically what Alison suggests – I had to cut them off from information on large parts of my life. That involved lying to them about my relationship status, my healthcare, details of the job I was doing (they would call me and insist I quit because my boss was being unreasonable), and friendships.

    It was no fun basically lying to my family, but it did improve the quality of my life when I didn’t have to worry about them interfering all of the time. Good luck to you OP.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      If people cannot handle information responsibly then they do not deserve to have that information.

  11. Gandalf the Nude*

    PS, what your mom has proposed re: creating a Twitter account impersonating you is a violation of their TOS. Feel free to report it if she follows through against your wishes. And I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.

  12. BadPlanning*

    Maybe this is a good time to tell your mom about a “Friend” who got through most of the interview process, but then was dropped because the company matched her up with twitter/facebook requests and decided the Friend didn’t know how to use social media professionally. But this scare tactic would probably only work on someone who was only suggesting these actions, not already doing them and disregarding the OPs demands otherwise.

    1. BadPlanning*

      On a side note, based on previous crazy AAM letters, I would be pretty careful about separating work/private life lest your Mom try to facebook friend your coworkers or tries to text your boss on your job (this one or the next one).

        1. A Cita*

          And on the flip side, don’t connect with family on LinkedIn. It’s a professional networking site, not a social one.

      1. Windchime*

        Situations like these make me very, very happy that my parents don’t have a computer and don’t know how to do things like Facebook. Not that my parents would interfere in these kinds of things anyway.

  13. BRR*

    Wow, some other thoughts:
    -She’s exposing you to identify theft by listing your information (why is she putting your age?).
    -She might be violating twitter’s terms of service if she sets up an account in your name.
    -You might be able to report her for tweeting about you (I don’t have twitter so I’m not sure on this one).

    Some other possible actions
    -Once again not a tweeter but if it’s a small number of companies, can you somehow get into her account and block the companies so she won’t be able to contact? Hey maybe they blocked her ;)
    -Tell her you’ll do it by direct messages so she won’t see them but that you’ve definitely done it, because it looks better for you to do it than her. Maybe mention how some people don’t like politics in the work place too.

    1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      She’s exposing you to identify theft by listing your information (why is she putting your age?).


      1. embertine*

        Just coming in here to say this. Tweeting someone’s private details in most definitely a violation of their TOS. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, LW, but I think you are going to have to get her account suspended to stop her. She doesn’t need to know it’s you; one of the companies she’s tweeted your details at could well have reported her.

        1. LizNYC*

          YES!!! Report her! No need to get into the drama, but just tell them that this Twitter user is spreading your personal information without your consent on her account, and she’s refused to stop, despite you asking multiple times.

    2. Ad Astra*

      She’s including her daughter’s age because:
      1. When you think of your children as babies, their age is a supremely important detail that you must share all the time, sometimes down to the month.
      2. A lot of people think of jobs in terms of age rather than experience, especially with younger people. Annoying, but not unique to OP’s mom.

      I hadn’t considered the identity theft risk here, but it’s another good reason for OP to take action rather than just grinning and bearing it.

    3. Honeybee*

      This this so much this, but especially the age. Why is she listing your age? This would still be problematic if mom knew how to actually find a job using social media but it’s made so much worse by the fact that she’s pushy AND she has no idea what she’s doing.

    4. Jake*

      So much this. I know she’s your mom and all, OP, but I’m wondering if it might be time to involve the police. This could maybe qualify as criminal harassment.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        IANAL, but my first thought was how much would it take to get a court order. I assume OP Is over 18. OP has tried the normal avenues of handling the problem.
        FWIW, OP, I had a long and serious road with my mother, so my response to this behavior would tell her to stop or I will call the police. Even if it’s a bluff, it might be a chance to get your points across. I have heard of this in other relationships- where one person believed they could not get their point across so they called the police into the situation to speak to the second person.

    5. ScarletInTheLibrary*

      I suspect if mom is willing to do this, she will try to get OP to show her the direct messages. And if OP refuses, mom may contact the company anyway. My hope is that when mom is contacting them through social media, the person in control of the account is referring mom to the application page or list of open positions. But this may not be the case depending on the locale.

  14. Bend & Snap*

    Would there be any legal standing here? It’s extreme but I’m wondering if a letter from a lawyer would help.

    1. Sunflower*

      I was thinking this too. Even if there is no legal standing, sometimes just the letter is enough to freak people out. It would depend on how OP thinks her mother would perceive the letter. She sounds a little bonkers so she could either 1. Halt all activity immediately or 2. Go after the ‘person’ threatening to sue her and find out there’s not much there.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      A cursory search turned up that in the US, 9 states have laws against impersonating someone online, but it looked like it had to do you harm. I’m not sure if this meets the threshold (I’m thinking more like an ex posting private photos and pretending to be you as the type of thing these laws are for).

    3. Ad Astra*

      There wouldn’t be much legal standing in the U.S., assuming the mom is sharing true information. Maybe if the information was truly private information, there’d be a case, but I’m not confident there. (Also, IANAL.) The way the letter is written makes me think OP is in the UK or some other country, so I have no idea what the laws are there.

    4. Liana*

      I’m not sure what the illegal part of this situation would be, though. The OP’s mother isn’t impersonating the OP, she’s just taking the overbearing parent trope to a whole new level. And tweeting personal information is certainly Not Okay, but it’s not illegal either. I think if the OP brought this into a lawyer’s office, they’d just give her the phone number for a local family therapist and send her on her way (not to mention the emotional stress of bringing legal action against a parent, which isn’t something I’d wish on anyone lightly).

      1. AnotherAlison*

        She’s insisting that she’s going to set up a Twitter account in my name, and she’s going to tweet companies saying: “Hello, my name is Jane ____, I’m 21, I live in ____ and I would like to work with you. How can I apply to work for your company?”

        Sounds like impersonating to me. Tweeting from the mom’s account isn’t impersonation, but if she sets up this account, what about this would not be considered impersonation?

        1. Liana*

          But she hasn’t done it yet, is my point. I don’t know there’s anything a lawyer could or would do if nothing has actually been done. And even if she DID create a Twitter handle to impersonate the OP, I just don’t think that’s enough to start legal action against the mother.

        2. Miss M*

          Employers also would view this as spam too. So it’s honestly work going to work in her favor, either way.

    5. MK*

      In my country there would be legal resource, a “cease and desist” judgement. And if my mother did anything like this, I would ask for an injunction asap; not that I would really take her to court, but to give her a jolt and make her realise I am serious.

      1. Dan*

        I was married to a narcissist (raised by one too) and let’s just say that for them to take you seriously, you have to get past the point of no return. By that, I mean that “asking for an injunction” wouldn’t be enough, because they wouldn’t take you seriously. You’d actually have to take them to court, get a judgement, and enforce it before they figure out what’s up. By then… it’s probably “too late.”

        That’s what the legal system is for, in part — to deal with folks who don’t play by the rules that “society” has established.

        1. MK*

          I am sorry about your experience and I am sure you are right that some people would not be detered unless forced. But there are others who can be shaken into a sense of reality or at least scared into stopping the crazy before then; and you have to go through the steps ( letter from lawyer, serving papers, etc) anyway.

    6. Temperance*

      My mother is mentally ill and boundary-challenged. I’m a lawyer. I assure you, certain people, like LW’s mother, cannot be stopped by a mere letter from someone like me. Trust.

  15. Anonymous Educator*

    In addition to the above advice, I’d actually recommend reporting her Twitter account as either spam or as an impersonation account. Twitter may just de-activate the mom’s account.

  16. Ad Astra*

    I can’t stop cringing. I would be so upset if my mother, or really anyone, did this to me.

    OP, I agree that lying is your best bet in this situation, and in the future you may want to limit how much information you give her about your personal and professional life. It’s clear that she can’t or won’t handle that information appropriately, and she’s certainly not entitled to it.

    Also, if she does create a Twitter in your name, be sure to report her to Twitter support. It’s flatly against the rules to impersonate someone. You may also be able to report her tweets that share your personal information; I’m pretty sure that’s a violation of Twitter’s TOS as well. You may have some success getting those posts taken down, and possibly even having the account suspended. It’s hard to tell how seriously Twitter will take an individual case, but I think it’s worth an attempt.

  17. Jady*

    Legally change your name and never tell her what it is!

    Seriously though – that’s a huge boundary that I would not personally tolerate. I’m sure you love your Mom, but if she’s interfering like this… she’s probably doing it a lot and causing you a lot of problems. I’ve had bad interference from family in the past myself, and the only answer that ever worked permanently was to demand that they stop and threaten to cut them out of your life if they do not. And follow through.

    In my experience, when they realize you’re serious they will stop immediately. And even if they don’t, it’s a negative force out of your life.

    I’m not arguing one way or another whether anyone should follow this advice, I’m just sharing my experience. I think it’s a solution that everyone should consider when things get extreme though. If the people in your life are more negative than positive, everyone should remember that life is short.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Legally change your name and never tell her what it is!

      I know you’re joking, but this is honestly something for the OP to consider… not in the short term, but maybe in the long term to avoid future scenarios like this. If it’s not social media, it’ll be something else. If it’s not job hunting, it’ll be something else. As long as the mom knows her daughter’s legal name, it’s a lot easier for Mom to mess up her daughter’s life.

      1. Jady*

        Half-way joking but half-way serious. I’d probably recommend this route if she decided to cut her mother out of her life.

        If she chooses not to and does change her name, the likelihood that her mother would figure out the new name (snooping through mail or wallet, asking friends who aren’t aware, etc) would be pretty high.

      2. Honeybee*

        You don’t even have to legally change it – you can go by whatever name you want to professionally. My professional surname is different from my legal name, and a friend of mine went professionally by a different first name before she changed her name legally. You just have to specify the legal one once you get hired for I-9 and all that, but nobody much asks questions I’ve noticed, and even if they do OP has an ironclad reason (“Someone in my past life was harassing and impersonating me, so I have to go by a different name” or something similar).

    2. Llauren*

      I agree with changing your name, and I speak from experience. (Thankfully, not for reasons like the OPs.) It is an easy thing to do, and you can even do it yourself with the Nolo Press book on it.

      While you can change only your first name, it is no more difficult to change your first, middle and last. Going through the court system, it will take a couple of months but the court order allows you to get everything changed–banking, IRS, passport, driver’s license, phone, etc. I wouldn’t normally suggest this, but your situation is bizarre and potentially dangerous to you.

      1. pony tailed wonder*

        I have a friend who has had 4 different legal names through her life through marriage and dropping her first name and other combinations. She said it was worth it each time. She changed her first and last name once to get rid of associations with her parents and ex-husband to one she had heard of and liked.

  18. AW*

    *She’s insisting that she’s going to set up a Twitter account in my name*

    You need to beat her to the punch. Create a Twitter account using your real name (block your mom’s Twitter account immediately), put a link to your LinkedIn profile in your bio, and then only use it to tweet the occasional article or whatnot. This way your name is tied to a normal looking account and if your mom makes one later it’ll be obvious that it’s some kind of troll account.

    Also: You’re going to need to start hiding things from your mom. That sucks a lot but she’s proven to not be a safe person to tell things to. This will also require not telling things to people who will immediately run to repeat them to your mom as well.

    I’m so, so sorry. You deserve better.

    1. AW*

      only use it to tweet the occasional article

      Amending this since, “If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates” it might look like spam. Just make the occasional tweet.

    2. KH*

      You need to beat her to the punch. Create a Twitter account using your real name (block your mom’s Twitter account immediately), put a link to your LinkedIn profile in your bio, and then only use it to tweet the occasional article or whatnot.

      100% agree with this advice. Immediately set up your own Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts. Block your mom from all of these accounts and then post a few normal, innocuous types of things. Cat pictures are a perennial favorite. :) Doing so establishes a record of YOUR appropriate and normal social media use that is completely separate from your mother.

      Also it’s worth reporting her posts and tweets to Facebook and Twitter. Twitter specifically has rules against Impersonation and against posting personal information about someone else without their express permission (their TOS and rules are here: . I know FB has similar rules.

      Good luck to you – both in dealing with your mother and in your ongoing job hunt!

    3. Observer*

      I was going to suggest this.

      Set up twitter and linkedIn accounts. Use them sparingly, but just enough that if someone looked for it, it would look reasonable. If you tweet links, add a short comment. And zero personal stuff. In other words, an account that belongs to a real human who doesn’t overshare.

      Also, check the TOS on both twitter and FB. As others have noted, it’s possible that your mother is violating them by sharing your information.

    4. themmases*

      This is a really good idea. If the OP has their own normal internet presence, it will look more like their mom’s posts are someone else or like she is just a troll. It also gives them the opportunity to link the social media accounts together, so it’s perfectly clear that this normal LinkedIn account goes with this normal Twitter.

      I would suggest that the OP go ahead and grab any Gmail variations on their name as well. It can come in handy sometimes to have an alternate email address that isn’t just a burner, and it will make it easier for OP to register multiple social media accounts if needed to preempt their mother. It will also make it difficult for their mother to impersonate them over email if the professional-sounding addresses associated with their name are already taken.

      If there’s anything the OP is willing to do online under their real name, that can be a great opportunity to link to their normal LinkedIn and establish an internet presence unassociated with her.

  19. Artemesia*

    This is so completely beyond awful. You have my full sympathy. I would use the nuclear option here. I would not have anything to do with her including Thanksgiving and Christmas and would be searching for a job as far away as possible. If you are in the Northeast, check out jobs on the west coast.

    If you live at home then your energy should be on escaping that and moving far away. In that case, pretending to have a full time job that this is jeopardizing is a good idea and if this one ends, leaving the house every day as you search for a new one should be in your plans.

    This is so awful and has such potential for ruining your ability to be employed that I would do anything I could to shut her down. If you know anyone in the workplace who might assist or have adult friends who might help you, you might have a couple of ‘bosses’ call her and tell her that they would never hire someone with a family that might cause these kinds of problems, so ‘please stop emailing me these messages begging for a job for your daughter; she is on our permanent do not hire list.’

    I shudder to think what she will do to your love life. Flee!!!! Run to the opposite side of the country and don’t give her your contact information.

    1. AnotherAlison*

      +1 for the nuclear option

      My parents interference in my career has been minimal, but they interfere in every other way possible. THIS ISN’T NORMAL. Beyond the extremes of your mom’s social media job hunting, you may have it in your mind that some of her behaviors are just normal parenting and “mom knows best” type things. I assure you, they are not. There is a good chance you also have friends who have grown up in similarly dysfunctional households (we seem to attract each other), so your frame of references is off. Read through RBN as others have suggested. Once you’re more established in your life and have your own insurance, I strongly suggest therapy for dealing with this. I carried guilt that wasn’t necessary for about 15 years, and was ~35 before I really started to understand my parents. You have a huge head start on this now. Good luck!

      1. Artemesia*

        Such great advice. I knew a woman whose entire life was held captive by her parents. She did not live on her own till she was 45 and then in an apartment her parents selected. (she was a CPA and not mentally handicapped at least intellectually) She was her mother’s slave pretty much all her life till they passed. And by then she was in her late 50s and life had pretty much passed her by. The mother of the OP is deranged — this is NOT normal parenting, even normal over involved parenting, this is a total failure to see any boundaries at all between her life and her daughter’s life. Escape is necessary.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          I, too, have a friend who is essentially being held captive by her parents. She is 42 years old, still lives at home, and is terrified to do anything that her parents (especially her mother) might disapprove of. They don’t like me, so she has to lie to her parents when we get together. (She’s 42!) But when I suggested that she move out and cut off all contact for at least a few years, until she gets her bearings as an individual, she had an emotional meltdown at the thought of not talking to her mom every single day of her life.

          It’s so sad that her parents raised her to be an emotional invalid who will be dependent on them for the rest of their lives. OP, please don’t become this person! There is so much more to life than pretzel-twisting yourself in order to please your parents.

          1. Kairi*

            My friends mom is living like this! She’s in her 40s, and her grandmother lives in the same house. Her mom needs to turn in her cell phone for the night, and is only allowed to date with her grandmother’s permission! I’m just glad my friend got out of the house before this happened to her.

            It’s terrifying to hear stories like this, and it makes me so much more appreciative of my parents.

            1. dragonzflame*

              So much Principal Skinner here.

              “Seymour! Tell me what time it is! Now!”
              “Seven o’clock Friday night, Mother! Time for our weekly silhouette!”
              “No! Cutting out your ugly nose gives me a hand cramp!”

    2. AndersonDarling*

      Agreed. The OP’s mother does not understand that what she is doing is having a massive impact on the OP. It sounds like it is just a game, or she is trying to make the OP popular by tweeting about her.
      The OP needs to draw some sharp lines to make the mom aware this is beyond what anyone should be doing.
      I’d sit my mom down and say, “This needs to stop immediately. You think you are doing me good, but you can’t see that you are harming me because you are being too selfish to think of me.” Then break off contact until she apologizes. I really really hope this is just a phase and the OP can snap her mom out of it.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        True narcissists don’t apologize, though. The best she [probably] can expect is that her mom will stop (probably because the OP gets a job or the mom gets bored, though, not because the OP asks her to stop). Her mom might say the words “I’m sorry” but the apology will be couched by weasel words deflecting blame back to the OP.

        Most likely, the OP will have to dictate terms of when/where/how she sees her mother, and how much personal information she shares with her mother for the rest of their lives because the mom won’t change.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          “I’m sorry you feel that way” is a phrase that cuts both ways — whether it’s a Narc putting you down for trying to enforce your boundaries or what you say to one in response to their temper tantrum about not having full access to your life. Omitting to tell everything isn’t lying. As Not So New Reader said, people who can’t handle information responsibly shouldn’t have access to it — or loose lips sink ships if you prefer. Pretend your Mom is a ____ spy and you have to be very careful what you saw around her.

  20. ZSD*

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this, OP.
    And I’ve never been so glad that my mother is technologically inept.
    On the issue of generally dealing with a parent who ignores boundaries, I’m wondering if a counselor/therapist could help you with that. I don’t at all mean that this is your fault; it’s entirely your mother who’s acting inappropriately. But talking to a counselor could help you work out strategies to combat your mother’s behavior.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      And I’ve never been so glad that my mother is technologically inept.

      Me too, although my mum would never do this. If she did, that would be the end of any relationship we ever had. This is absolutely NOT normal and NOT okay.

      The counselor idea is a good one.

    2. Jenny*

      I broke out in a cold sweat reading the OP. I am glad that my Mother who is only in her early 60s still pretends not to know how to use email and DVR (or will not learn to so others will have to help or instruct a million times). Good God she is crafty though so she may secretly know high end hacking and spy technology and the rest is to throw me off…

    1. AW*

      Now that I think about it, I can’t recall how I first found her blog. IIRC, those posts about being creepy (#322, #323, & The “C” word) were one of (if not the) first ones I read so I probably followed a link from another site.

      Anyway, there’s a ton of awesome advice there and awesome commentors as well.

    2. Purple Dragon*

      I still use her advice for dealing with depression at work – I have it bookmarked at work and at home !

  21. Ashling*

    Jeez. Getting a job is difficult enough without that sort of “help”.

    I’d seriously consider breaking up with your mom at this point. I know she gave birth to you and raised you and that at the heart of this she’s “trying to help” but this points to a serious boundary issue that can’t really be fixed if mom doesn’t see anything wrong with this. This unfortunately also means she’s got a distorted view of you-she doesn’t think you’re trying hard enough/trying at all/able to job search on your own.

    This stuff is (probably?) going to come up anytime an employer looks up your name. Anyone have any tips on counter-acting it, aside from a name change? Even though it’s probably clear you’re not doing it, you’ll still look weird by association- and it’s not fair. I know Alison has answered several letters in the past about this sort of guilt by association, but it’s reality.

    It’s probably not the Worst Thing- a criminal record/scandalous online presence would probably be more toxic to employment opportunities but it could still give employers pause. What if they hire you and your mom starts stalking them online any time you don’t get a promotion or a day off? What if she calls constantly to speak with you during the work day?

    Short term-start lying to your mom. Inform her you got a job that’s working out great, thanks. Then cut all contact so she doesn’t find out otherwise through other sources.

    Long term-still cut all contact until she gains some sense of personal boundaries.

    1. Ad Astra*

      If it’s on social media, this stuff may be slightly harder to Google than some other things, but it’s still definitely out there. (If the mom succeeds in impersonating her daughter, it will be out there a whole lot more — it’s far easier to find a person’s social accounts than it is to find the name of someone mention on another social account.)

      The best way to counteract any kind of bad press online is to come up with good press. Start a blog with your name attached, write a column for the local newspaper, do something positive that gets you in the news (obviously not totally within your control), etc.

  22. Bend & Snap*

    Also this board is a little crazy but the DWIL Nation board on BabyCenter is all about dealing with crazy families. They would tell you that you need to give your mom a boundary and a consequence. Example: Mom, if you take one more action on my job search, I will not be speaking to you for 3 months/will skip Thanksgiving/whatever.

  23. ZSD*

    I don’t actually think this is a good idea, but it’s really tempting to have the OP release her mom’s Twitter handle so that we can do a massive cease-and-desist Twitterstorm.
    @pushymom Please stop doing this to your daughter. She will never get a job like this. #boundaries

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I know this is not what we do here, but the thought does feel soooo good. I could get behind this, even just if it’s only in theory.

  24. Grey*

    Create a Twitter account for a fake business in the area and make sure your mom finds out about it. When she tweets them about you, you can respond as the hiring manager and tell your mom how inappropriate that is.

    1. nicolefromqueens*

      If OP lives in a large town or city this is a very good idea. Though she may not be able to get away with it so much in a small town.

      God help OP if Mom finds out about Yelp.

    1. Kyrielle*

      If it didn’t, it would give away all the strategies suggested to the OP, some of which are deceptive – and wouldn’t work after seeing this. (Worse, OP might get a real, full-time, permanent job and OP’s mother might believe it was just a story! Yikes.)

    2. Sunflower*

      I was actually thinking maybe OP should show her mother AAM or suggest she write into AAM to settle who is right.

    3. LBK*

      I suspect someone like this is going to react to any advice from outsiders with something along the lines of “How dare other people try to tell me how to take care of my own child!” She thinks she’s doing this in the name of “knowing what’s best,” and it’s nigh impossible to dissuade people of that notion. That’s why most of the advice isn’t for the OP to try and convince her that she’s wrong, but to minimize the consequences, assuming that she’ll never stop believing that what she’s doing is right.

    4. Temperance*

      I really do not think that it would. I have a toxic mother who is opposed to boundaries, and the response would be:

      “You just don’t APPRECIATE me enough!”
      “I’m doing what’s best, THEY ARE ALL WRONG!”


    5. Liz*

      I was also going to suggest this. If there’s a reasonable person in there somewhere, OP’s mom would see all the cries of NOOOOO (as well as Alison’s expertise and sound advice) and come to her senses. If she doesn’t… it’s time for Captain Awkward style action. If mom can’t be trusted, she can’t be given information to be armed with in the future. I’m sorry, OP — hope things work out!!

  25. ReluctantBizOwner*

    If you already have Twitter and Facebook accounts and follow your mom, report every post and tweet she makes with your personal info. They’ll remove them, and probably lock her account if she does it enough. Then adjust your privacy settings on Facebook so she can see very little of your posts and information.

    And nthing the suggestions to follow the advice in the post recently on reclaiming your online identity/ google results given to the OP who was a victim of revenge porn. Good luck, OP. Keep us updated.

  26. Spooky*

    Can you report her to Twitter saying that she’s making unauthorized Tweets from her account on your behalf and get them to step in? At least then maybe she’d see how insanely far over the line she is.

  27. YourUnfriendlyPhlebotomist*

    I agree with everyone and I think you should lie to your mother. I would set up a fake interview at one of these companies and get an email after the interview saying that your black listed, maybe an actual email that you can print for her to actually hold in her obnoxious hands and put on the fridge would help her realize that she isn’t helping. You can set up a quick email for hopefully she emails them back and you can have yourself some fun.

  28. Helka*

    This may sound hyperbolic, but I really don’t think it is. Your own mother is doxxing you, OP.

    She is posting your information, including where you live, with the specific intention of getting strangers to reach out to you. That is beyond messed up.

    1. The Strand*


      OP, re-read what Helka’s saying.

      You’ve got to put an end to this. Cut the cord, move somewhere, and change your name.

      I’m so sorry. I really am. My mother is also a narcissistic loon. But this is some of the most extreme behavior I’ve ever heard of from a helicopter parent. You really have to take charge, as scary as it is going to be with the track record she undoubtedly has in your past life.

  29. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    I totally sympathize. You’ve probably seen some previous posts of mine. Earlier this year, my mom kept withdrawing ~50% of each monthly salary amount from my joint account with her, for “savings.” In July I’d had enough and established a separate account with a different bank. When I had enough, I created an additional side-account for savings.

    My dad never intervened (he’s nice but my mom’s a bull in a china shop). It was all up to me, and now it’s all up to you. Do you want your mom intervening for the rest of your life? I know you don’t.

    Here’s some ideas. (Desperate times call for desperate measures…)
    -Do you visit your mother often/have her Twitter account and password details? If so, log in, and see if she’s created any account similar to your name or follows any, and delete it/block it promptly.
    -Be proactive and go on and apply to jobs relevant to your role/roles that sound fancy. Then text her/leave **copious** voicemails and **copious** emails detailing every job, every job description you applied to, to the point she gets overloaded and tells you to stop. (If you don’t/can’t/don’t feel like actually applying, just send the relevant job descriptors her way. Peace and quiet is never overrated..)
    -Every step of the way, send another 10 emails detailing your actions. Or texts. Or both. (Like overexcited energized preschoolers, you need to exhaust her before she can calm down successfully).
    -Do what she’s doing to you so she can see how/if it’s backfiring (age, where you live). What she’s doing is highly invasive and a violation of your privacy. Give her a taste of her own medicine (within reason).
    -If she tags you on Facebook messages to companies, block her and assume your middle/alternate name.

    My mom isn’t as… yours when it comes to job-hunting, but I’m in Senior Teapot role and she assumes its temporary (it’s actually long-term, knock on wood) so she texts roles/emails constantly and tries to engage her friends in helping me.

    I usually am 3 steps ahead of her when she texts about a job, and impress her now b/c I say I applied for the job with exact title location and code 3-5 days before. To ward off her friends, I connect with them on LinkedIn and/or email them describing the perks of my job and skillset, and tell them politely I’ll look….later.

    1. Squirrel*

      Off topic but I’m curious, did you ever get your money back from your mom? Did she really steal from her own child? That’s pretty bad and I’m sorry you’re going through that.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Nope, didn’t get back the ~$3000. But I did learn to save, and do have much more saved in the savings acct to the point that amount is but a drop in the bucket, tg.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          You go, Lady! I hope OP sees your post. That was really hard and you did it ANYWAY! Yea!
          OP, you do not have to live like this. Honest.

        2. Dynamic Beige*

          I’m sorry you lost that money, but I’m happy that you have cut that crap out of your life. Onward and upward!

    2. Beti*

      “detailing every job, every job description you applied to”
      I would be cautious about the details you gave your mom. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if she found out you were applying at Chocolate Teapots, Inc., she would call them and talk to them about you and why they should hire you. Good luck, OP! You can do it!

  30. LizNYC*

    In addition to reporting her Twitter account, if she’s leaving these Facebook posts as public messages instead of private ones (which, trust me, most of the companies’ social media people are probably thinking “what a loon”), she’s also creating an ugly trail that’s easily searchable on Facebook these days. If other tactics don’t work, you could say that by her leaving your name and info on multiple companies’ public Facebook pages (as comments), she’s actually hurting your chances since companies don’t want to know you’re interviewing at multiple places.

    That said, yes, you can find a job via a social media posting, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a posting say “please bombard our accounts with your info!” I’m so sorry she’s putting you through this. But one boundary created here could result in an advantageous domino effect of future boundaries.

  31. caligirl*

    OP, so sorry you are dealing with this! Everyone has posted great ideas so I don’t have anything to add, but just wanted to send you some support and good vibes. I’m pulling for you. Please let us know how you are doing!

  32. Nanc*

    I second (or whatever number) the suggestions above to file a complaint with Twitter. She’s broadcasting your personal information and you’ve asked her to stop. She’s going to be angry, but is that really worse than what she’s doing?

    The suggestion to set up and lockdown your own social media accounts is a good one–LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. It’s a pain but your Mom has some serious boundary issues and you should be proactive about this.

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this, but good luck in your “proper” job search–it sounds like you’re doing all the right things!

  33. Minister of Snark*

    People who ignore your “no” do not have your best interests at heart. At this point, it sounds like your mom is way more interested in being “right” about your job search than being a caring parent. Her end game is being able to say, “HAHA, I told you that harassing employers in a ass-backward manner was the best way to find a job!” instead of, say, you finding a job you love.

    AAM’s advice is spot on as always, but I would also add that you should report her twitter account for harassment. Let the admin’s at Twitter know that the person using is harassing you, interfering with your job search, sending out tweets in your name and planning to open an account using your identity. And then report every tweet she makes about you until her account is shut down. A little scorched Earth? Maybe. But she stopped giving a crap about your feelings a while ago. It’s time to stop protecting hers. She’s not being a good mom. She’s being an interfering bully.

  34. Katie the Fed*

    Going to echo everyone else here that you need to take a strong line against this, now.

    Like “Mum, you are hurting my ability to get a job, and frankly making it hard for me to have a relationship with you because I don’t want to tell you things about my life if you respond this way. I am telling you to stop. I am capable of finding employment, and I don’t need your help. If you continue to do this, I can’t continue to have a relationship with you.”

    And then act accordingly. I know, it’s a power play, but frankly she NEEDS you. She needs to control you. You don’t need her. The power is in the one who needs less – that’s you. If she can’t respect your boundaries, she doesn’t get to be in your life, at least until she can.

    It’s like teaching a dog to walk on a leash. Dog pulls, you stop walking. Don’t start until the dog has let up on the leash. It takes a few tries but the dog usually gets it. Hopefully your mother will too.

    Sorry you’re dealing with this.

  35. Boop*

    This may not work, but you may also suggest to your mother that she may be putting your safety at risk. By tweeting your name, age, and general location, she is giving many unsavory people some very personal information. Give her a copy of the Gift of Fear. Then cut her off.

  36. Ask a Manager* Post author

    One thing that I think is often true in situations with boundary-violating parents — and which makes them much harder to deal with — is that it’s hard for the adult kid to really recognize exactly how warped and not normal the parent’s behavior is, and it’s really hard for them to take the actions that people not raised in those families would consider obvious next steps. Our sense of “normal” is usually established by our parents, and if they’re boundary-violators, they usually wire it into their kids to accept that as a normal and not totally outlandish thing.

    So I think it can seem really easy on the outside to say “just do X or Y,” but the person in this situation will find it much, much harder … or will think “I could never get away with that” or “she’d be so hurt and it would destroy the relationship (and that’s not an acceptable outcome)” … or so forth.

    I’m curious to know from people who have successfully freed themselves from this kind of parenting, and I think it would be really helpful for the OP to hear it: What did it take for you to be able to do that? What would you say to someone who may be having trouble seeing their own situation clearly for the reasons I describe above?

    1. Katie the Fed*

      My mother isn’t QUITE this bad, but for me it took therapy to even recognize the problem, and my therapist had to coach me through baby steps.

      One of the first things I did was not respond to her if she hung up on me in a huff or sent me a pointed email message. Before that point our dynamic had been (for my ENTIRE life) – she gets mad and either hangs up or gives me the silent treatment. Then I apologize and grovel my way back into her good graces.

      When I finally stopped, it had a drastic effect on our relationship. She got salty with me and hung up (and it was over something benign like me not taking her advice on something) and I just let it ride. It took three months but she finally reached out to me again like nothing ever happened. In the meantime my dad was emailing me begging me to apologize and I just said “no, sorry dad. I didn’t do anything wrong and I’m not apologizing. I’m happy to talk to Mom when she’s ready.”

      That was a seismic shift in our relationship. She knew I’d call her bluff and she lost that power over me.

      The other thing was to just stop telling her a lot of things, because I don’t need or want her approval. So now as far as she’s concerned, everything in my life is just great, my health is great, job is great, everything is great! It’s sad in a way, but it’s much easier to not give her fodder.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        BTW, the latest was that she feels like I spend more time with my in-laws than I do with my parents, and she gave me the silent treatment over that when she found out I wasn’t visiting my parents for Christmas. Three blissful weeks of silence. I wonder if she’ll ever catch on that’s it’s not a punishment anymore? :D

        1. Temperance*

          OT, but my mother had the same complaint – the kicker is that it was because my husband’s parents are divorced and live hours apart. Apparently, she shouldn’t be punished because his parents are no longer married.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            It must be miserable to be so insecure, ya know?

            (truth be told – I do love spending time with his parents. Everything is just so EASY and nice and they’re such loving and wonderful people. I totally hit the jackpot in the in-law department.)

            1. MashaKasha*

              Hear, hear! I had the best in-laws that I still miss! Shoulda signed a prenup or something saying that, in the event of divorce, I get to keep the in-laws.

              My own parents are/were… um… very well-meaning and diligent. Let’s just say that this whole thread sounds very familiar.

        2. manybellsdown*

          I spend more time with my in-laws too! They think everything I do is the most amazing and wonderful thing ever. My mom is more like … “Hm, don’t you ever dust your windowsills?” Gee, I wonder why I prefer to visit the other parents.

          1. Artemesia*

            LOL. When my daughter married, I told her that I realized that now her holiday life was complicated. Divorced in laws, two sisters in laws who themselves had to coordinate with their in-laws etc etc. SO for holidays, just let us know when you can get together, we don’t care when, we just want to see you. (we were not living in the same state then but did live near some of her in-laws) The result was that for years we had her family for Christmas Eve and Morning and they moved on to his family for Christmas dinner. And now that we live near them, we spend most holidays with them — although they are heading for the other state this Christmas. We see them almost every week, so who care if we have to adjust Christmas?

            People who enjoy your company and don’t hassle you about your schedule and try to guilt trip you end up getting more of your time because they are more fun. Go figure.

            1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

              You sound like my mom. My in-laws are decent people, but my mom is incredibly accommodating for the holidays. She shifts the times for meals because all the family (my husband and I, my parents, and my in-laws) live in the same metropolitan area so we do two thanksgivings, etc. I always feel pulled in multiple directions and it’s nice to have my mom be understanding of the situation. Being a daughter in law is hard!

      2. neverjaunty*

        “Also, Dad, maybe you could stop enabling this?”

        Parents who get a charge out of playing ‘good cop’ to their toxic spouses are…I don’t want to say “equally bad”, but there’s something especially vile of that dynamic of pretending to be on everybody’s side.

    2. Boundary challenged*

      I think you’re right. About your second paragraph: Also, people coming from normal families or easier relationships assume that acting as if your parent is a logical, reasonable person will get the best results. But people who are familiar with their own unreasonable relative will know that the logical, reasonable advice that starts with “just” will play out differently.

      1. Artemesia*

        Someone else noted the key law of all relationships. The person who care the least has the power. The important moment for an abused adult child in this situation is to reach the point of caring less about losing the relationship than being abused. My mother was nowhere near this awful and not a boundary crosser but was a bit difficult and it transformed my life the day I said to myself ‘if anyone is going to have hurt feelings in this relationship, it is not going to be me.’

    3. Three Thousand*

      My mom is pretty similar to the OP’s, except she would stop short of actually creating the Twitter accounts or posting the Facebook spam. She would nag and harass me to do it and not give up until I agreed to do it, so I would agree and then not do it.

      I don’t know of any way other than lying to a parent like this to protect yourself and get anything done, especially if you’re depending on them financially or otherwise while you look for work. They’re completely convinced that they’re right, that they know more than you, and that you need them to take care of you, far beyond the point of being able to rationally listen to anything you say. My mom wants to be agreed with more than she actually wants me to do what she says, so if I agree with her on something she’ll usually be satisfied, to the point where she’ll literally forget a few months later that she had ever made the original suggestion.

      The most harmful thing about having a toxic relationship with a parent is the way others will excuse it by saying “well, she loves you,” or “she’s done so much for you, you should be grateful,” or “that’s just how mothers are.” In my case, most people who witness her behavior toward me now agree that her browbeating is ridiculous and that she should stop, but nothing anyone says seems to do any good. Eventually, I had to forcefully remove myself from the mindset that my mother knows better than me, and it’s wrong not to do exactly what she says or lie to her and hide information to keep her out of my business.

      1. Temperance*

        There is another way – cutting off or limiting contact. You don’t owe abusive and toxic people access to your life.

    4. Temperance*

      My mother has borderline personality disorder and a whole host of other mental health issues. (Just to be clear, not dxing LW’s mother.) She is a Grade-A steamroller, boundary violator, and all-around jerk, to be blunt. We don’t have much contact because she’s toxic.

      I didn’t realize what a healthy family looked like until years after college. My own mother tried to trick me into dropping out of college when she realized that a degree would help secure my independence, and she begged me not to go to law school. That was totally normal to me. It was even normal when she enlisted my father and grandfather to call me upwards of 12 times each day for two weeks straight to tell me that I had to move “home” after graduation and become a manager at the movie theater where I worked part-time. This is just a snapshot of the things my mother did. I first realized there was an issue when a high school friend pulled me aside and called her the b-word.

      What honestly made the change for me was my mother’s actions after her sister was killed by a drunk driver. No normal, sane, or nice person would say the things that she said, and my husband gently reminded me that good people don’t do what she did. She accused my uncle of being upset only because “he lost his meal ticket” (he’s unable to work due to epilepsy), she accused my aunt’s friend of being the reason that she died (because her friend asked for a ride to the pharmacy, and the DUI happened on that errand), and she told my uncle that my aunt should have called her more while she was alive. She did other awful things, too, like demanding a copy of my victim impact statement because “only she had permission to send them to the DA”.

      LW, I recommend reading up on Captain Awkward and building some boundaries. Also the Twitter thing – you can nip that in the bud.

      1. AMG*

        This. Use the word no. Be direct and firm. Don’t underestimate the use of repeating the same sentence over and over. ‘I am not going to do that’ or whatever. After a dozen or so times, she will see that she isn’t getting anywhere. That’s when you get blamed for being irrational. That’s how you know you are winning. Be evasive and hard to reach. Be firm, even if you feel enraged, afraid, guilty, whatever. Those are her buttons that she installed and not yours. Deactivate them in spite of how you feel. It gets easier. :)

    5. xarcady*

      I had a controlling father, with a temper. Spent a large part of my childhood tip-toeing around so as “not to get Daddy upset.” Absolutely the best times of my childhood were when he was stationed overseas and we couldn’t join him (he was in the military).

      One day, when I was in my 20s, I asked my sister a question. An ordinary, normal sort of question, along the lines of “What kind of computer did you end up buying?” And Daddy Dear threw a fit. Yelling and screaming and telling me that I was all sorts of awful to be demanding personal information from my siblings.

      I’d been out of the house for about 7 years at that point–4 years of college and 3 years in my own apartment. I’d had the chance to visit friends and their extended families and to see for myself that not all parents acted this way. That the way Dad acted Was Not Normal. I had seen Normal and my family Was Not It.

      And that day, something inside me snapped. I was home for a weekend, but I went upstairs and packed my things to go back to my own home, my apartment. When I came downstairs, two siblings were upset with me, because I had “made Dad mad.”

      “No,” I replied. “I did nothing wrong. Dad is making himself upset. I’m leaving.” Because something else had entered my mind–either Dad is going to be happy, because I groveled and apologized to him, or I would be happy, by leaving and never having this sort of discussion again. I decided that my happiness counted, too.

      There is frequently an “extinction burst” after you make the big leap and face up to the person. They will call and text and email non-stop. Ignore these. Stick to your guns. It will eventually die down.

      Related to Katie the Fed’s story, I’m not sure I could have done this while my mother was still alive. It meant so much to her that the whole family get along. I remember one time my father had done something mean, and I announced that I wasn’t speaking to him. (I was probably 16.) At church the next morning, I refused to shake his hand at the Sign of Peace. Mom came to me after Mass and gently told me that I had greatly upset my father. And I got mad. “What about how much he upset me! When is he going to apologize to me!” Yeah, like that was going to happen.

      I never did apologize, though. It didn’t bother me to hurt Dad’s feelings; he hurt mine often enough. But I did care about Mom’s. And I also noticed that my 6 brothers were not treated the same way as I was. Dad didn’t mind when they stuck up for themselves, but he did mind when I did. They were not made to apologize, but I was. And that just made me angry. Perhaps it helps, having to grow up fighting with 6 brothers. You learn you are tougher than you think. And a little righteous anger never hurts.

      You have to get to a place where two things happen. You realize that what is going on is not normal. And you realize that you, as a person in your own right, matter. Your happiness matters as much as the other person’s. Your life matters. You have the right to make your own choices. And if those choices are legal, moral, and ethical, it does not matter if someone else gets upset with them. That’s their feeling, their emotion, not yours. They have to deal with it on their own. Because that’s what adults do.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        This. My counselor had me repeat multiple times per session, “I am not responsible for anyone’s feelings or actions but my own.”

      2. Afiendishthingy*

        OT, but I got really excited that you used the term “extinction burst”. Hooray for behavior analysis!

        Also, have you read the memoir “House Rules”? It was very good, and it sounds like your experience was similar to the writer’s.

        1. Xarcady*

          Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look it up.

          And for any other grown-up military kids out there, there’s a interesting book, “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress,” that covers a lot of issues kids growing up with a military parent face.

    6. Roly Poly Little Bat Faced Girl*

      Frankly for me it took time as well as exposure to healthy relationships to see that the parenting I received wasn’t healthy or in the “normal” range. Then I could become more comfortable separating myself from my parents. It will never stop being difficult and hurting, but time and the support of loved ones is what has gotten me to the place where I can comfortably set boundaries. Over time, I established various boundaries (such as, my finances are my business, not theirs, once I was on my own and self-supporting) and doing that gave me confidence to stick to them, to set them where the stakes are higher. Hearing what Alison said at the end of her post, and not hearing the kind of comments Three Thousand listed, are helpful. The first step is really realizing that what my parents said or did was not healthy or loving or supportive.

    7. AnotherAlison*

      My parents (mostly dad) are very manipulative, without any of the obviously toxic berating or silent treatment-type behavior. It took me a long time to recognize that their behavior was narcissistic, but I think that’s 90% of the battle in overcoming this type of parenting. OP is getting advice here,but she now needs to do some outside reading to confirm it for herself.

      What helped me was that my husband forced me to set boundaries, before I even recognized that their violations weren’t normal. They would want XYZ and my spouse wanted ABC, and I had to make ABC happen because that’s now my primary relationship. At this stage, I was torn up with guilt over telling them no.

      I gained experience doing that, and later my therapist showed me that they were the crazy ones. Now I can set boundaries without guilt.

      But you have to be extremely committed to setting boundaries and saying no. Case study: Christmas Eve. We used to spend Christmas Eve with my parents and do gifts with them. They would buy unauthorized gifts for our kids (i.e. big extravagant gifts that Santa would be bringing). We couldn’t stop their gift-buying, so we stopped spending Christmas Even with them. My mother will continue to ask us every year if we will please spend Christmas Eve with them, and I have to say no every year, and hear how they miss it, blah blah blah.

      The important thing is to keep saying no to the little interferences. My dad has tried to interfere in stuff that has no real major consequences, but I have to say no to keep him in his place on the big things.

      I’ve managed to do this successfully for the past few years while living a few miles away, having the only grandchildren, and having let things go on without boundaries for ages. If the proximity makes it too difficult, or your parents are more abusive, the nuclear option is not a bad choice.

    8. Student*

      For me, it was the revelation that (1) my parents are “the bad guys” and (2) that me being the spawn of Satan doesn’t mean I need to grow up to be Satan, too.

      It took some extremely harmful behavior on my parents’ part for me to hit that revelation. In their own way, they do actually love me and want what they think is best for me, which is what made it so hard to get there. It was hard to separate the “good intentions” from the “extremely bad outcome” for a long time. But, they’re fundamentally operating off a set of assumptions that I think are wrong, even outright bad and immoral. I don’t want to turn out like them; I need to work off a different set of base principles to reach a different end outcome.

      I think it’s really, really hard to recognize that our parents are flawed to start out with. Then, it’s even harder to admit that despite their best efforts, they did a really miserable job. It’s hard to say to yourself, “my parents are far below average on parenting” and then also say to yourself, “…but that doesn’t mean I can only be a below-average person myself.” Otherwise, the realization that your parents are fatally flawed can make you feel personally fatally flawed. I know I went through a several-years-long phase thinking that, before I finally realized that I didn’t have to accept their limitations. We tend to see ourself in our parents, and it’s hard to imagine a very different fate than what they’ve envisioned for us and trained us to expect.

      There’s a huge cultural belief that parents play a huge, defining role in their children’s lives – see the “helicopter parenting” thing, all the fussing over what babies eat, listen to, watch, how children are treated in school, whether kids play enough or too much or the “wrong” way, the overwhelming tendency to judge parenting skills constantly. Part of that cultural belief is this expectation that parents are the dominant input into a child’s eventual development. You kind of have to reject that entire huge cultural train of thought to truly free yourself of lousy parenting and rise above it – you have to really believe yourself to be more than the sum of your parents.

      1. fposte*

        Judith Rich Harris’ _The Nurture Assumption_ is a really interesting book for exploring that; she essentially surveys research that’s been claimed parenting influence (as opposed to genetics) is key in child development and notes its weaknesses; she theorizes that it’s actually peers, especially older peers, who matter most on the “nurture” side.

    9. anon this time*

      It took lots of time. I moved out at 17, and about 3 or 4 years later I had a crisis brought on by the realization that my childhood had not been just frustrating-but-normal, but actually a problem. I’ve lived at least an 8 hour drive away from my parents for the rest of my life, and I’ve done what other people mention: months of not talking, willing to hang up if necessary, sharing as little as possible. Visiting was still a nightmare until one year when I was 27 or 28, and I realized for the first time that I had the ability to leave if I wanted to — mobile phone, cab money, friends less than an hour away, and the ability to just go buy a plane ticket home if I actually needed to. Never did walk out, but I could have, and knowing that made the difference. It’s the knowing that’s the hardest part.

      I’ve noticed in friends from a variety of backgrounds that being around family makes them “regress” a bit, acting like kids or teenagers again, teasing siblings, etc. Falling into old patterns. If “feeling like a kid” = “feeling helpless and hopeless” then it helps to recognize that and consciously remind yourself of how much is different now.

      1. AnotherAlison*

        The only problem is that the mean ones live forever.

        My husband’s step-mom is a horrible person. All her brothers and sisters have died, and despite having RA, nearly fatal complications from diverticulitis, and 45+ years of smoking and drinking she is still around.

        1. olympiasepiriot*

          True. It is true. Blunt and true. I ‘solved’ the problem earlier by strick boundaries and by negotiation across international lines; but, ultimately, there’s something to be said for being an orphan, even if it doesn’t happen until you are in your 40’s.

          1. olympiasepiriot*

            *strict*, not strick…although one was ‘stricken’ in the midst of all my sturm und drang.

          2. AnotherAlison*

            I do think her time is limited, but she’s survived a lot that I thought for sure she wouldn’t. The good news is she lives 24 hours away by car and won’t fly. Her daughter lives next door to her. I couldn’t imagine. . .The daughter has said she is ready to move away.

          3. Dynamic Beige*

            I agree with you — the first funeral I ever went to was my mother’s. It was odd, not even being 20 and having to pick out a plot and a marker. The problem was that although I knew she wasn’t within reasonable tolerances of what could be called “normal”, I didn’t know what the problem was — mainly because *I* had always been the problem. Yay scapegoats! It was almost 25 years before I happened across the clinical definition of narcissism and some related tests before that penny dropped. While she didn’t get to plague me more with Her Stuff, there was a lot of guilt for not being the dutiful daughter who wasn’t all broken up that her mother had died and other self-punishing things, the shame (and fear) of being essentially an orphan. Because that was what I was taught, it was all my fault and I should beat myself up over whatever it was. It’s a hard thing, learning to be kind to yourself when you’ve never really had that supportive upbringing. There are days when I crave it, fantasize about how nice it must be to have had normal parents who genuinely cared.

    10. nicolefromqueens*

      You don’t know what you don’t know.

      It took me until I was in my mid-20’s to realize that some of my relatives are shat bit crazy. Growing up in a working class/working poor community, all of my friend’s parents had strict boundaries so I thought my relatives were on the strict side of the scale.

      It wasn’t until I started working when they really got out of hand, but slowly so it wasnt a sudden change. Again I didn’t realize that they were extremely abnormal. I thought they were doing this because of my mental health problems (more like the other way around!) or perhaps I was starting to venture into unknown territory for my family (college and a real job!)

      But the truth was they didn’t want me in the real world, otherwise I’d come to get a sense of normalcy. They didn’t want me to save money otherwise I’d move out. They wanted me on welfare, home and under their thumb. News of getting a job was for one reason or another always bad news, but they had no problem taking my money. If I took home $300/week, they wanted $250/week. And they wanted to boss me around and make my life miserable all day. One was very, very vindictive and spiteful.

      I didn’t realize any of this until I started getting to know (relatively) normal people as an adult. Two people (separately) said to me that I had to leave for my own good, or become one of the wolves. They did the same and it was hard at first but worth it and in time it paid off.

      So I had to move. But I couldn’t tell them that I was going to move. I had to come up with places that I was at instead of work, and come up with expenses that didn’t exist, or were inflated. I had school projects that didn’t exist (I had to borrow friend’s papers to bring home), doctor’s appointments that I never went to, driving lessons that I never took. When I had everything together, I got an apartment and just stopped coming home. A few weeks later I got my stuff out.

      1. nicolefromqueens*

        And they will tell you other family members “won’t appreciate this”, and manipulate them into not talking to you. The best you can do is separately offer your side of the story, and maintain a healthy distance from them if they agree, but only under the circumstances that they are not a package deal. If not, you’ll have to accept the fact that they’re gone too. Maybe eventually they will also see the narcissist for who she is, but if not they are or will become a wolf one way or another.

      2. Temperance*

        Just chiming in to show support – your family is very similar to mine. I will never, ever forget my mother trying to charge me “room and board” while I was in high school and legally couldn’t move out. (I will also never stop being proud of myself for advocating against it – I was splitting 95% of the housework with my younger sister, and pointed out that as a tenant, I wouldn’t have to do my mother’s chores any longer, since I would be paying for the “privilege” of living there.)

        1. nicolefromqueens*

          Yes, while other people (not related) got to live there rent free and do nothing. And steal from me. And everyone trying to drag me down mentally. Jail was the only thing preventing me from burning the house down on my way out.

          The best was trying to hide fact that I was working, full time to boot.

    11. Lily in NYC*

      My mom is controlling and manipulative and it’s caused by insecurity/anxiety. I cope in a few ways:
      1. I learned by college not to give her any info about my romantic relationships. I have not introduced her to any of my boyfriends since I was in HS.
      2. It took me 40 years to realize she needs consequences – everyone in her life kowtows to her because “that’s just the way she is”. Too bad. Her main problem is manipulation – for example, she will lie in order to get me to attend something. Or she will tell someone I’m attending and then tell me I have to go or else she’ll look bad. So, I warned her and told her if she did it again that I would just let her get embarrassed. She thought I was bluffing but got the shock of her life when I refused to go to someone’s dinner party because she didn’t ask me first and she just assumed she could bully me into it. I stood firm and she hasn’t done it again.

      Another time, she asked me if I wanted a piece of pie and I said “no thanks, I’m full, maybe in a bit”, and she got so mad that she threw the pie on the floor – things just have to be her way or she can’t take it. I changed my flight and flew home the next morning (the day after Xmas) and she couldn’t believe it. The rest of my family was upset with me but I am positive I did the right thing because she is scared to piss me off now!

      It was such an eye-opener for me. Once she realized she couldn’t pout or bully me to get her way she has gotten much better. She still has a mean streak and worries excessively over everything but that’s never going to change.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Mine is very much like this, but without the lying–she’s more of a drama llama. She helicoptered me to DEATH; I still have trouble doing things on my own because of it. I don’t ask her about adulting now; I go to my friends because when I ask her, she wants to take over and do everything for me.

        I still talk to her and tell her stuff, but now I refuse to let her make me mad. She’s mellowed a bit. I actually was happy because she was telling me about a problem one time and I gave her support, rather than the other way around. It almost felt like she saw me as an adult for a second. Halle-f*cking-lujah!

        I am really interested to see what will happen (when, please God) if I have a kid. But I finally think I could handle it.

      2. Artemesia*

        The best response to ‘that’s just the way she is’ is well ‘I don’t put up with this carp and that is just the way I AM.’ It drives me nuts that ugly abusive people are catered to and pleasant congenial people who work hard to please are abused.

    12. LQ*

      People in my life have been either not as bad or simply different. I tried all the nice things. I tried the sitting down and talking things. I tried the writing letters things (oh the letters I’ve written). (I did not try enlisting my sibling because her experience was radically different than mine.)

      Finally, against a lot of advice I started lying. First just small lies. “Oh I have to go because x.” And sometimes I went way overboard, sometimes I felt so bad about it I actually scheduled something then, but that was just beyond what I could handle. She would come and stay for a long weekend in my studio apartment. Etc. So I just kept eating into those times, little by little. Lie by lie. Lying has been the best thing for my relationships with people who refuse to accept reasonable boundaries. I tried setting them, they wouldn’t have the truth, so they are no longer entitled to the truth. I have a much better relationship now, something I can manage, something in bite sized pieces, something that doesn’t take over my life.

      She thinks I have a way more active social life than I do but I’m ok with that. (And sometimes I still try to find a truth, “Hanging out with a friend from out of town so I can’t possibly reschedule.” Might be a half hour skype chat with a friend elsewhere.)

      You’ve tried the truth, you’ve tried being reasonable. Your mother is not. My mother was not. It’s time to try something else.

    13. Pennalynn Lott*

      For me, it took 5-6 years of counseling before I got the courage to “break up” with my mom. I moved out (for, like, the 3rd or 4th time) and she gave me a 5-page, hand-written letter letting me know that she’d changed the locks on her house (so my key wouldn’t work anymore) and that I was only welcome in her home for one day a year, at a holiday meal, and that even if I became homeless and was starving she’d merely give me the names of some shelters in my area. The whole letter was designed to make me run screaming back to her, begging for her forgiveness for hurting her by moving out.

      What it did, instead, was give me a clean break point and a HUUUUUGE sense of relief! I didn’t speak to her for 6-7 years. She tried calling; she tried showing up at my apartment at ungodly early hours on the weekend and pounding on the door (I called the police); she then backed off and started sending me chatty “Here’s What’s Going On In My Life” letters. I wrote her, one time only, and told her to knock it the fuck off. That I get to choose who I interact with and it sure as hell wasn’t her. And that if I ever wanted a relationship with her again, I certainly knew where to find her (for that one holiday meal a year). She finally let it go. And I was finally able to discover who I really am when I’m not living under a narcissist’s thumb.

      I reconnected with her at the end of the 6-7 years, after I’d done a lot of “me” work, and was able to hold my boundaries quite firmly (and drama-free) with her. So much so that she now lives with me. She tried some of her old tricks when she first moved in, like rearranging all of my furniture while I was asleep one night. But I calmly let her know that those behaviors are not acceptable in my house, and that if she wishes to engage in them then she needed to find somewhere else to live. [She got rip-roaring mad when she woke up to find that I’d moved all my furniture back to their original spots. Instead of responding to her anger with my own anger, which I would have done in the past, I simply said, “I am the owner of this house and of all this furniture. Therefore I get to decide where it goes. You’re welcome to make any suggestions about placement or decor, but please understand immediately that I make all the final decisions. If you can’t abide by that, then you’ll need to look for another place to live.”]

      She pushed at my boundaries pretty consistently for the first year or two, but when nothing worked she finally gave up. We now have a peaceful, pleasant relationship.

    14. Anon Because Mom's a Stalker*

      My mother is awful and did similar things not with work, but with both my husbands. Once when I was out of town, she went to visit my then-husband at my house to “apologize for raising me to be so recklessly irresponsible.” My daughter had just weaned after previously refusing to take a bottle. She was nearly a year old so this was my first separation for more than just a few hours in almost a year and I had the audacity to leave her with my husband for the weekend to go on a short trip with friends. She did similar things with my current husband, and she’s even recently contacted my ex-husband about things I’ve done she doesn’t agree with. Luckily he knows her game and we’re amicable, but she could have seriously mucked up a pretty harmonious co-parenting arrangement. I’ve known she’s ill in a mean and vindictive way since high school, and I had intended to sever the relationship when I left town for college (intentionally in another city), but I’ve kept going back over the years. She moved far away a few years ago and when she moved back I found I no longer had any tolerance for the toxin, so I have cut off all contact with the caveat that I’ll reconsider if she gets psych help. I’ve heard some of the lies she’s told to avoid responsibility, and I know she will continue to claim that I won’t forgive her for something I won’t tell her she did, but I was very explicit in my terms — psych help or no contact. There’s no forgiveness at issue here. I just can’t have her destroying my life and my family the way she does so she needs to take steps to fix herself, which she will never do. The unfortunate moral of the story is that sometimes you can’t fix the situation. You can only choose to protect yourself by removing yourself from it. OP has to do what’s best for them, but she may need to seriously consider severing that relationship.

      1. LabTech*

        There’s no forgiveness at issue here. I just can’t have her destroying my life and my family the way she does so she needs to take steps to fix herself, which she will never do

        This is such an important point. I hear plenty of people advocating “forgive and forget,” as though these behaviors happened in the past, but they’re ongoing! And would continue without severing contact!

        1. Anon Because Mom's a Stalker*

          I’ve found that people really do have a hard time getting this. It’s not that she’s done something; it’s that she’s ill in a profound way that prevents her from controlling her destructive conduct. Before she moved back to my area, she didn’t have ready access to my family. After she did, she was like a crazy destructive hurricane. We’ve been discussing how children often can’t see that things are wrong because it’s what they know. Another component of that is that we’re somehow willing to accept the dysfunction because we’re used to it or we think we deserve it. It’s something else entirely when it’s directed toward our loved ones. It would have been much better had I gone through this process before I also had a family she could harm. I have an enormous amount of sympathy for my mother. I really do think she’s ill and very unhappy as a result. That understanding was very liberating for me because I don’t feel guilty because I don’t hate her or feel angry toward her. That she can’t help it doesn’t mean that I have to risk the health and safety of myself and my family for the sake of contact with her.

          1. bearing*

            I had a similar epiphany with regards to my parent. Realizing that the parent probably has narcissisistic personality disorder opened — simultaneously — the path to no longer being angry (because I now believe that the parent literally *cannot* treat people with authentic love and respect) and the conclusion that I am free to never go back.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          I don’t think that forgiving and forgetting are inseparable partners. I think forgiving is a peace type of thing that some people have found helpful, but you don’t truly forget. You have to remember because you cannot allow yourself to be repeatedly injured. And you have to remember because there are too many valuable lessons along way. Lessons about what healthy relationships look like and lessons about what love is and is not.

    15. Just another techie*

      My parents were controlling and awful, not quite to this degree, but for example, one summer I worked as a civilian intern at the military base where my father was stationed. He outranked everyone in my department and would show up at random times of the day to loom over me to make sure I was working hard, and to loom over my boss, to make sure he was giving me enough interesting work to do. It made my work environment really fraught and awful for everyone. Or the time my parents grounded me for a whole year because a boy gave me a ride home from school during our lunch break so I could pick up a very important assignment I had left on my desk. Or the time my dad freaked entirely out because I giggled at the wrong time and started screaming, cursing, and hitting me in the middle of a museum. Or the time my mother faked eating poisonous mushrooms and dying to “get back” at me for misbehaving when I was in primary school. Anyway.

      This behavior was “normalized” in that I thought everyone’s parents secretly behaved like mine did, but I never felt like their behavior was okay. I guess I’m lucky that I was born with an anti-authoritarian streak a mile wide? Anyway, as soon as I was done with university, I picked up sticks and moved to Japan, which was as close as I could get to the literal opposite side of the planet from my parents. (The actual literal opposite side of the planet is somewhere in the Indian Ocean.) It took another decade or so to realize that the level of control, emotional manipulation, gas lighting, and cruelty they dispense are Not Normal, but it didn’t matter, because I was far away. I also didn’t give them my contact information, or even tell them what province I was living in. I debated long and hard before I told them what country I was going to. And ever since I’ve moved back “home” (although I still live several hundred miles from the parents) they’ve been very careful not to act out, because now they know that I can and will remove all possibility of contact between us if they start behaving ridiculously again.

    16. LabTech*

      I don’t know if I ever saw the abuse clearly while I was getting out. I just had a voice in my head telling me I absolutely needed to leave in order to live my life. That said, one thing that helped me see it a bit more clearly was that respect was only given in one direction. OP, you probably put a lot of thought and consideration into your mom’s feelings. Does she do the same for you? Namely, could you imagine doing to her what she’s doing to you: impersonating her while ignoring her clear instructions not to do so?

      Remind yourself that her behaviors are the problem, not you. By leaving, you are not breaking the family; the family was already broken, and you’re being driven away out of self-preservation! If you do decide to eventually limit contact, remind yourself that it’s her fault, not yours, for treating you so poorly, and that if she stopped treating you as though she owned you, you could have an actual relationship with her.

      As for how I got out of my situation: My very first step was moving away from college (about 3 hours from home), and making my long-term employment a priority by gaining as much relevant work experience as I could. Soon followed by my own apartment and full-time summer jobs on campus.

      After graduating, I had a temporary job at my alma mater that had a toxic, abusive boss. I only lasted for six months before I couldn’t take anymore and left without a job lined up. When I realized several months prior that the position couldn’t last, I started saving for the inevitable, and decided to take an sort of life inventory of people who treat me badly: one was my boss, and the other was my mother. One paid me and the other did not, and I only had the patience to put up with one, so I gradually started cutting communications with my mom and brothers (who were also terrible). She did not take kindly to it (as expected), but eventually limited communication became the new normal rather than a deviation from expected.

      What helped at first was to assuage any fears of hers that I was in mortal peril or lying in a gutter if she said as much in a voicemail or text. Essentially, keeping lines open for emergencies and “Yes, mom, I’m still alive.” check-ins. That worked up until every message seemed to be an emergency. And my lack of communication was construed as “something must be wrong,” leading to surprise check-ins (despite the 3 hour drive), which I pretended to not be home for.

      Eventually, I walked out on my boss and ended up unemployed. By then, I had cut off contact with my family almost completely. Even if they would have been willing to help me out, I knew it would have come with the condition of move back home – seemingly reasonable, but I knew my mom’s boundary-pushing and over-involvement would destroy any chances I had at employment. So I told them I was working for the 9 months I was unemployed, scraping together rent and losing weight from rationing rice and beans.

      Eventually, my mom decided work was interfering with family, and took it upon herself to look up my boss’s contact information to try and sabotage my employment. She thankfully reached someone who had zero connection to my former job. I got several emails detailing concern that I should contact my mom, and sooner or later one of the many she contacted told her I was no longer working there.

      Once she found out I was unemployed, she arrived unannounced the following weekend, borrowing her friend’s SUV, fully intending to forcibly move me back in to her place. While she didn’t have my address, she did find me while I was out on campus. I was literally running away from her on the quad, as she was trying to grab my arm and screaming my name. I stowed away in the library for several hours until I felt safe enough to go home without being followed.

      At the time I was waiting to hear back from an interview at a different department of the university and was fretting over whether or not the hiring manager would catch wind of my family drama. Thankfully, it never came up, and I got the job. I’ve been here for two years and now the family harassment seems limited to insults sent via emails and text on birthdays and holidays trying to shame me into visiting.

    17. Corrupted by Coffee*

      First, I moved out. Then, I refused to let them pay for anything, because they were using payment for things as leverage. Something would be couched as a gift and then used as emotional blackmail for years.

      Then, when they tried to dictate how I would do my taxes after a particularly bad and controlling year (weird I know) I refused to speak with my mother for approximately a year. When we finally spoke again, she was much better. She still has no sense of personal boundaries and us incredibly judgemental, but she now knows I won’t let her get away with saying and doing whatever she wants just because “that’s what family does.” (Ugh). She censors herself to some degree.

      When I started talking to her again, I very much limited the information I gave her, and still do. I just don’t tell her about most things. Moving across the country really helped with this. It’s harder for her or my MIL, who has even bigger issues, to interfere or pry from across the country.

      1. Corrupted by Coffee*

        Just as an aside, Alison is right. I never realized how completely disfunctional my family was until I got away. It took me YEARS to realize how screwed up the situation had been. I was kept somewhat isolated as a child, and I didn’t realize that normal people didn’t act that way.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          What is the deal with the isolation? I was fairly isolated, too. I had some friends, but I spent much more time with family & extended family (there was no one else my age in my family – closest are 8 years older/8 yrs younger). I never really learned to fit into my peer group & always gravitated towards adults.

          Then, once the damage was done and I was in my middle school years, my mom would verbally beat me up about it. . .why aren’t you more friendly? Why don’t you say hello to other kids? Why don’t you go sit with the other kids? This is part of the damage I still haven’t rolled back. . .I’ve been using avoidance for sooo many years.

          1. Dynamic Beige*

            Like Elizabeth West says, isolation makes for better control. We lived in an area with no public transportation. My life was home-school-home. Whenever I made a friend — which wasn’t often and didn’t last long — my mother always said they were “trouble” or there was “something wrong with them.” After school job? Forget about it. Driving a car? Nuh-uh. Boyfriends and going out on dates? Oh hell no. Books were the only place I could escape.

            Also, when you isolate someone, it makes it harder for them to compare their situation to other people’s, to have a support network that you can reach out to for help. You know it’s wrong, you know you’re not happy, but you don’t have any way to fix it. I never realised until I went to college (planned, far enough away that I would have to move out but not so far that it would look like a slap) that other people’s families were just as screwed up as mine, only in different ways.

      2. LabTech*

        Wow, that first paragraph is eerily similar, from the “gifts,” down to the very heated argument over how to file one’s taxes as a breaking point.

    18. Lizzy*

      I have been keeping tabs on this thread and was going to post something similar to what you wrote, Alison. Specifically, I wanted to reiterate how having boundary-violating parents can really screw with your ability to deal with conflict resolution. Not only has your concept of normal been damaged by your parents, but you learn to fear confrontation because you have grown up always losing that battle; instead, you learn techniques to minimize confrontation, including hiding information, lying, or just ignoring the problem altogether. And this is one of the reasons I think we see a lot of letters to Alison asking about resolving a workplace conflict that seems so easy to the rest of to deal with (“Just talk to your manager about it. Problem solved!’).

      Personally, I know one of the reasons why I struggle with conflict resolution is due to growing up with an overbearing, aggressive, boundary-pushing mother. I learned to internalize my feelings and just default to deference because I was fearful of confrontation with her. And with my mother, you were never going to win (even my father would agree with this sentiment). Because of this, I believed for the longest time that all aggressive personality types like her could never be reasoned with; you just had to maneuver yourself around them.

      It is only now at 30 that I am starting to shake this type of thinking off. But it is hard and not something that changes overnight.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Good stuff here. If we were not able to effectively resolve conflicts at home, then it would never occur to us that we could actually resolve conflicts in the workplace. If you have never seen it, you do not know it exists.

      2. Dynamic Beige*

        I tell people I know who are parents now — when they are having some issues with their kids acting out — that they should let them learn how to stand up to an adult. Because your parents are the most powerful adults you know. They control everything, your food, your clothes, where you spend your time. If you never allow your children to stand up to you, how do you expect them to be able to stand up for themselves to other adults? I’m not talking about letting kids walk all over you, but there must be a way that a child can express what they need or want, back it up with considered reasons so that their parent relents/agrees. I remember a few times where my mother was just steamrollering over me because of some issue and she stopped for a moment and was all “I can’t understand why you won’t stand up for yourself” before continuing on her warpath. Uh, because you won’t let me? She had no problem me standing up to *other* people — occasionally, if they were really in the wrong, otherwise you must mind your elders and betters and do as you’re told — but her? Never.

      3. JL*

        My parents didn’t play mind games like things I’ve seen in this thread, but we did have a relationship in which everything was made easier if I just avoided conflicts. They very much had an attitude of ‘adults are always right, so if you disagree, you must be wrong.’ I never learned to push back, and still today cannot handle conflict very well at all.

        It’s something I’m working on, but it does make advice like ‘just talk to that person and stand your ground’ sound so far from reality it’s practically impossible.

    19. Sam P*

      I did not realize how bad it was until I moved out. My mother carefully stacked the deck against my independence, and it was hard to leave, but once I finally moved out, and had the benefit of reflection I understood why I had always preferred spending time at my friends’ house. I had never understood the close relationships those families seemed to have, or why my friends could confide in their parents, even as teens, without fear of reprisals. I spent a few years with no contact at all with my mother, naively thinking she would “see the light” and apologize or something. That didn’t happen. It will never happen. I mourned for the mom I wished I would have had, and know I’ll never have that.
      What we have now is a relationship where we can spend limited amounts of time together, discussing superficial topics without anything unpleasant happening. I always have an exit plan if I go to visit her, but it only took a few times of saying, “Looks like this isn’t a good time for us” and standing up and walking out before she stopped stirring up drama when I came over. This is the best it’s going to get. I will never be able to share a tender moment with her, I’ll never be able to ask for her advice on anything deeper than a recipe. As Captain Awkward puts it “there is no other victory coming.” It makes me a little sad, but it’s much better than the anxiety, fear, anger, tears, confusion, self-doubt and depression that smothered every interaction with her like a fire blanket.

    20. Jenny*

      I have PTSD from my Mom and 3 relationships. All were narcissistic or sociopaths. Counseling, which I would advise 100% for the OP helped me put it all together. If you are raised by one you do not notice subtle ( or glaring) red flags and they can pick up on and home in on you. Less work for them I guess. Counseling will help you try to learn what is normal, if any gaslighting occured to deal with the effects and loss of self esteem and learn boundaries. My biggest struggle is realizing that my Mother won’t ever love me and I was emotionally abused because I don’t have a separate identity to her. All people are just extentions of her and that is just how she is wired. I cant change it, it wasn’t my fault and cognitive dissonance will be terrible if I pretend it is anything different.

      Stick to non personal topics with her. Movies, weather and the like but do not divulge personal information. I will warn the OP when her mother figures out she is placing boundaries the behavior will escalate and gaslighting and manipulation will increase. No control sends them spiralling. It is up to the reader to decide how much contact ( Regular, Low, No). In many ways you are fighting a losing battle and trying to deal with someone who is completely wired different. Be sure to set this up before you try to have serious relationships or God forbid children. They will do it to them as well. Be the one who stops the cycle.

    21. The Strand*

      My mother is a plutonium-grade narcissist. Really feeling that I had the power to decide what our relationship would be like, and that it would be something I could survive? It took a lot of time. I became depressed while I was still a teenager, and luckily talked to a counselor for two years, which is when I first had a chance to start assessing toxic patterns. A really good counselor can give you back years of your life and help you recover from feeling guilty and worthless.

      But to make the big break… two things happened. One, discovering my mother’s horrible behavior towards her own mother in the last years of her life – stealing her money and denying her attention, socialization and basic health needs, which clinched it for both me, and my father, who had to field the calls from my poor grandmother. Sometimes you have to watch other people being treated like crap to take it seriously. If that’s you, then you may need to remind yourself of the bad things she’s done to other relatives and friends. Still, you do have to eventually face the fact that you deserve to be treated well, also. Again, a therapist can help with that.

      Two, going away to college in another state. You’re not running away from your problems, you’re putting distance between you and the narcissist, giving you a chance to really assess what you want, and see yourself as something other than their “object” of pride.

      It’s important to share with people who will support you and not badger you. You know, the “you can’t treat your mother like that, she gave birth to you” crowd. My mother showed up on the “Family weekend” apparently expecting to save on the cost of a hotel room by sleeping on the floor of my dorm room. I was never where she expected to be, and my friends covered for me. At 19, I finally decided that it was my choice when I wanted to see her, or interact with her. It wasn’t easy: occasionally my father would forget and accidentally cc my email on one that went to my mother.

      Later, I eloped with my husband so I didn’t have to deal with her trying to hijack my wedding the way I’d seen her do the same with my oldest sister. My crazy sister-in-law tried to guilt trip me… but that was before my mother decided to make herself a fixture at the sister-in-law’s house every Thanksgiving and Christmas. (After ten years of this, my brother finally gave my mother an ultimatum and said she couldn’t come back. But think of the wasted years!)

      Once I put major distance between myself and her, I’ve been able to have a surface but decent relationship with her. I have my husband read the notes and passive-aggressive gifts she sends, and decide whether it’s worth telling me about. We see her every couple of years, on our terms, not hers. If she suddenly decides she wants to meet us at a coffee shop at 11 AM, the day we’re scheduled to drive back home, that’s just too bad. Having a boundary-busting parent means understanding that they will ALWAYS keep testing you, always return to the same bad behavior.

      You can do this. It’s worth doing for you, and for the people you love in your life – not only your family of origin, but your friends, and any family you wish to create down the road.

      1. Jill of All Trades*

        I tried to go to college OOS to get away from my mother. 2 weeks before school started she called them pretending to be me and said unenrolled me. By the time I found out the school had moved people from the wait list into my spot for the class of 2000, my scholarship, and my dorm assignment. They felt terrible when they found out but I never blamed them: no one can steal your identity like your parents can.

    22. Sara M*

      My mom is problematic in a very different way. It took me years of therapy to recalibrate my sense of normal. I had no idea (none!) what a family was supposed to be like.

      But the therapy was very important.

    23. _ism_*

      I had to completely disappear from my mother’s life.

      The first time, she used everyone she could think of to track me down. She talked my college administrators into giving her my address and information about my student job. She called the office I worked in to ask how I was doing and if I seemed healthy and normal. She talked the city police to come “check on me once in a while.” All of this from hundreds of miles away.

      The second time I made sure to leave no trace of where I was going, and I got sloppy after a few years and social media was starting to get popular. She figured out what city I lived in and my boyfriend’s name, and he unwittingly led her straight to our front door for an unannounced visit.

      It’s happened a third time. I agree +1 with Alison about those of us raised by this kind of parent. I obviously still have issues sticking up for my own boundaries if I’ve let this woman do this to me more than twice!

    24. Jill of All Trades*

      I didn’t burn the bridge with my mother; I went for the nuclear option. I cut her out of my life once for ~6 months and I was very specific about what behaviors were unacceptable, why they were unacceptable, and how they needed to change. I let her back in and was again very clear about what needed to be different. I called her out on her unacceptable behavior for about a year, and then explained that she was still out of control and that I was not going to have that in my life, and that it was obvious she wasn’t going to change, so that meant she could no longer be in my life at all. It’s been about 7 years now (I was 30) and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I still don’t feel bad about cutting her out, but I do mourn the mother I didn’t have. And I feel bad for my brother who, bless him, is still ensnared. She stalked me for a few years (calls, texts, dropping by my house and work, emails, letters, etc). People got a lot of calls from her bemoaning what a cold hearted, ungrateful daughter I am and she just doesn’t understand how she could have raised someone like me when she did the best she could.

      It’s hard to recognize when it’s all you’ve ever known and it’s all “in your best interest” but this is definitely not ok. There are lots of support options that have been listed here that I wish I’d known about. I also probably should have gotten some therapy.

    25. Blue Anne*

      My mom has a narcissistic personality disorder. I moved to the UK from NYC the week after I graduated from high school. It took me another 5 years, and intimate experience of other people’s families through my boyfriends, to realize that the way I was brought up was not normal, and my discomfort with the things mom said to me wasn’t actuallh due to my being sensitive, socially awkward, lazy, etc. I cut off contact for a few months and then did not see her for another 2.5 years but did talk on email every few weeks. I have been doing intensive therapy and anxiety medication for that time. Now I can deal wth her for a few days at a time for important family events. I treat her like she has Alzheimer’s or Tourette’s.

    26. YogiJosephina*

      Mine wasn’t a parent, but an extremely toxic aunt.

      My mother’s older sister has always struggled with emotional illness, even since they were children, from what she tells me. She’s not a mean or malicious person, but she is BEYOND volatile, and I think might suffer from bipolar to an extent. She grew up her whole life just flying off the handle at anyone for the mildest perceived slight. Because she would get so ballistic and hysterical over the smallest thing, the script that was formed in our family was to acquiesce to anything she wanted the second she started to show the slightest sign of losing it, to avoid confrontation. Eventually, she (albeit subconsciously) learned that she could always get her way and get whatever she wanted/could completely control situations and interactions by unleashing her wrath. She would manipulate any situation she was in to “win” simply by yelling, screaming, crying, and going generally berserk. She is also a pathological liar, and invents grandiose stories to make herself look good or twist facts of what happened between her and others to paint them as awful people who “attack” her and her as the helpless victim of their terrible treatment of her.

      Add to this to the fact that she is hyper, HYPER critical. She never had her own kids and didn’t really understand the details of raising them, nor did she have any grasp on normal child development. She was very much someone who expected 5 year olds to basically be little adults. So when I was a small child and acted like a…small child, instead of a grown adult who knew exactly how to clean up after herself or what to say perfectly in every situation or how to do her hair “correctly” or essentially breathed the wrong way, I heard about it. It followed into adulthood too – I could never do anything right, and every single thing I did was met with criticism, judgment, scorn and catty comments. Any challenge to her was met with swift, brutal emotional outbursts so that she could keep the interaction under “her control.” I was ALWAYS the bad guy. The other person was ALWAYS the bad guy. She was a perpetual victim to everyone else’s awful treatment of her, and didn’t we know that if we just gave her everything she wanted and didn’t “provoke” her by not putting the knives back in the spoon drawer or folding towels the right way everything would be okay?

      She treated me like an infant until Christmas of 2010. Up until then, I tried my hardest to have respectful dialogue with her about why her actions hurt me and her treatment of me. I was shut down, talked over, ignored, and victim-blamed. I wrote her emails calmly and respectfully explaining my stance. All ignored, deflected, and told I was wrong and how dare I and I’m just so DIFFICULT to get along with and don’t I see how much she loves me? Anything and everything I said, any attempt to be taken seriously and respected fell on deaf ears.

      So finally, that Christmas, she unleashed into me for something so small it was beyond ludicrous, and true to her lying nature, made up a whole big lie about something I had apparently done (that didn’t happen). We were standing in her kitchen, and something in me just snapped. After 26 years, I was SO done.

      I turned to her and shut down the conversation. Hard. Brutally. Unforgivingly. I told her I would not entertain her ridiculous, over-the-top dramatics, I was done with her shit, and that this conversation was over because I was refusing to have it, and that she could essentially go you-know-what herself. She fled the kitchen in tears, screaming and crying at me for “ruining her Christmas,” and “not giving her the one thing she asked for, which was a Christmas where we all didn’t fight.”

      I returned home, pulled up my email, and wrote her a very brief message. One paragraph. I told her, calmly and coldly, that our relationship was over. I had tried time and time again to heal the rift between us, and she wasn’t interested, and quite frankly I just didn’t care anymore. I put it ALL back on her. I said her behavior would no longer be tolerated, that her attitude towards me would no longer be tolerated, that I had better ways to spend my time than entertaining her ridiculous behavior, that I knew EXACTLY what she was doing with her emotional manipulation, and that I would no longer stand for it. I ended it telling her to never contact me again until she was ready to apologize.

      It caused AN INSANE amount of drama in our family. INSANE. 2 months of ABSOLUTELY INSANE DRAMA. And through it all, I would not back down. My other family members got involved and begged me to acquiesce to her. I refused. I told them all that this was my line in the sand 25 years in the making. She threatened to not come to my sister’s wedding because she didn’t want to see me. I was taken out of the will. Everyone ended up in group therapy (minus me). I refused to budge, and told anyone who pressured me to to back the hell off, and reiterated that I was only doing what everyone had been wishing for years – YEARS – they could do. They all admitted I was right, but were so terrified of how catatonic she went after receiving that email that they were desperate. I stuck to my guns that I would not speak to her again until I got an apology for the way I’d been treated my whole life.

      3 months went by. I got an email from her about something totally unrelated. I knew at this point I would never get an apology, and answered it, distantly and coldly. But I did notice that her tone was COMPLETELY different. Respectful. Cordial. Like she was speaking to another adult.

      We slowly, VERY slowly, began to talk again, mostly about shallow, mundane stuff, and ran into each other from time to time, where she was the epitome of polite, respectful and cordial. I had never been treated well by her before and it really threw me. The ice began to melt and I realized it wasn’t just a phase; this was the new way. For the first time ever, she was taking me seriously, and treating me as an adult, who she now realized was grown up, not a child, had agency, and had power to call the shots in our relationship and dictate the terms.

      That was 5 years ago and it’s been that way ever since. We actually have a really warm relationship now – HELLA FREAKING BOUNDARIES, but we get along pretty decently. That one big explosion FINALLY got through to her. I had to go REALLY FREAKING FAR, but it ended up changing our relationship for the better. I agree with the above poster; with narcissistic people, they ONLY understand extremes, and will only respond to extremes. You just need to be willing to do it, and then dig your heels in and NOT budge. If a relationship forms again, you need to be VERY VERY forceful and clear with the new boundary that has been built. You need to be okay with not having a relationship with them, in case they violate you again. In our case, she knows that I mean business, knows that I have no qualms – not one – about calling it quits if she tries her crap with me again. That knowledge is what has made our relationship work.

      This was very long. I apologize. But yeah. tl;dr, go to the extreme, see it through, then STICK TO YOUR GUNS and do NOT back down no matter how hard your pushed. Then keep those boundaries up, should you decide you want this person back in your life, and make it clear that YOU dictate the terms of the relationship now, NOT them, and YOU have the power to pull the plug whenever you want. It really is the only way of functioning that folks like this understand.

    27. Catchleen*

      I read DWIL and Captain Awkward for months and months until it sank in just how fucked up my family’s non-boundaries were, and then at the ripe old age of 29 I started to extract myself from my parents’ control.

      You need to find an environment like those ones, where you can have you warped perception of normal (given to you by your parents, for their benefit) challenged over and over until it starts to undo some of the programming.

    28. Cassandra*

      Without rehearsing the mama-drama I escaped, here are a couple of techniques/tactics I found useful that I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

      Sometimes the inner war is key to the outer one. I had what my now-spouse called a “mental Mom” in my head who was every bit as poisonous (if not more so) than real Mom. One day now-spouse sat me down and said, “In your head. Right now. Tell her to shut up. Then say it out loud: ‘Shut up, Mom.'” It was a turning point for me, teaching me not to internalize my mother’s opinions and (often mistaken) beliefs.

      Don’t feel that whatever action you decide to take has to happen perfectly or it wasn’t worth doing. (I believe “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy” is a Vorkosiganverse-ism.) The first time I actively defied my parents did not go gracefully, to put it mildly. I was a snivelling wreck the whole time! But just like a wedding… if you get it done in a not-great way, it’s still just as done at the end of the day.

      The classic negotiation book Getting to Yes is worth a read, if only for the concept of BATNA: “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.” This idea helped me learn to be concrete and moderately realistic about “what’s the worst that could happen?” instead of wildly catastrophizing.

    29. Finny*

      Both my parents were abusive to me in many ways.

      I did not realize any of it until my third, and final (I graduated in three years), year at university. The summer before that year, I tried to escape to a friend’s house. I was dragged back, my mother sending my father (from whom she’d been divorced since I was sixteen) to retrieve me.

      That night, she made me sit on her bed, threatened to take all the food she’d just bought (with a bad check, as she had a habit of writing such) back to the store, leaving no food in the house, if I did not write her a check for all the money in my bank account (which she only knew about because she stole and opened my mail), money which a different friend had given me to get away from her.

      I wrote the check. She also took my keys and id and wallet. Later that night after she was asleep, I left her house, barefoot, carrying my shoes. Put them on at the end of the block and waited for my friend’s mother to pick me up.

      I stayed there until the end of summer, then went to university for the last year. When I came back to live with her after I graduated (I didn’t know what else to do), I let her think I’d had a psychotic break related to bipolar disorder (and let her shrink put me on assorted antipsychotics, the side effects I still suffer from over ten years after I stopped taking all of them). It was a lot safer to let her think I was crazy than to let her know I knew how abusive she was and that said abuse is why I’d tried to leave the previous summer.

      I didn’t escape for another four years, at which point I flew to Canada, leaving in the middle of the night so she could not stop me, and started the immigration process with my now-husband. A year later I had to cut my mother off entirely for a year.

      After that, we started a relationship again, helped by me being in a different country and her not having a passport.

      Four years ago this coming January, she died in her sleep. I had to fly down, as her next of kin. Worst three weeks of my life, and I still haven’t sorted out all the feelings.

  37. Lamington*

    I work as a webmaster for a Fortune 500 company and get tons of unsolicited resumes, they go straight through the trash with no second glance. I even set up an automated response and rule to make it more efficient. we do the same in social media, we asked people to apply on the site for openings.

  38. Sara M*

    I’m so sorry.

    I like the advice about using your middle name on resumes, especially if you have a common last name. If you end up cutting her from your life, legally change your name. Good luck!

  39. Student*

    I have a similar mother.

    I left and cut off all contact. I have no regrets whatsoever.

    Before I was in a position to cut off all contact, I lied prodigiously to her. I had a two-pronged strategy: (1) never tell her anything where she could actively potentially harm me (2) give her some fake or trivial thing to be deeply upset about and attempt to meddle with, to distract her from anything important to me. It was highly effective. Fake boyfriend is a good one. Fake pregnancy, fake drug problem, fake activity she disapproves of, fake medical problem. Anything to keep her too busy to meddle with your real life.

    1. xarcady*

      I had a similar strategy. I told my parents nothing that was important, but rambled on and on and on about stuff that didn’t matter to me at all. So they *thought* they knew everything that was going on with me, but in reality knew less than 50%.

      Both my parents wanted information and would ask question after question in order to get it. I babbled on, and they were satisfied. My brothers chose to clam up and not respond, and it just got them more questions and poking and prodding.

    2. Just another techie*

      My sister faked being a lesbian for years because she knew my parents were too uncomfortable with the idea to pry into her love life if they thought it involved another woman.

      1. Jill of All Trades*

        This is awful and hilarious. I sort of wonder if it would have worked with my mother, but I don’t think so since she decided I must be a lesbian and that’s why I cut her out of my life (she has zero listening skills).

  40. nicolefromqueens*

    I have a few narcissistic relatives. They only care about your well-being as it applies to their wants and will stop at nothing to get you to acquiesce, so you do have to cautiously and deliberately sneak your way out. It sucks to have to stoop to their level, but if you can’t cut off immediately, it’s likely the best option you have. You have to tell yourself it’s for the better and it’s only temporary. In the long run it will pay off, I’ve been there.

    OP, do you live with your mom and/or do you “have to” give her (some of) your money? If so, telling her you have a job when you don’t could create a more problematic situation.

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Yep, I live with her, and she takes £200/$302 a month out of my bank account to ‘help’ pay for my ‘upkeep.’ It makes no sense, and she’s insisting she’s going to double it soon. She also has total control over my bank account, I have no access to it.

      1. HateTheCold*

        Get your own account! Redirect your funds. Begin thinking about your exit plan. Do you have friends relatives you can stay with?

      2. Afiendishthingy*

        Are your paychecks getting direct deposited to that account? If so that needs to stop! Get a new account.

      3. misspiggy*

        Please set up an account at another bank in your name with your ID. It shouldn’t take long. (You can have multiple accounts, and let the existing one go dormant.) Then you just tell your payroll people that you have a new bank account and to direct the money there. No need to mention anything to your parents; why would they need to know? Your mum can take housekeeping/upkeep costs out of the existing account until there is no more left, and then you can have a discussion about how much you’re willing to give her.

        There is a great recent Captain Awkward thread on getting your life back from controlling parents, and I think lots of relevant advice on the AAM archives. I really think the bank account thing is a very urgent issue. It’s abusive for your parents to have access to money that you earn and for you to have no control over it. If you’re in the UK and are having trouble getting set up to live independently, for example getting hold of ID documentation, Citizen’s Advice Bureau can probably help.

  41. Observer*

    I want to reiterate what Allison said about taking other measures. That includes finding a way to separate your fiances, if you have not yet, and moving out if you are still with your parents. Also therapy. Even if you are on your parents’ insurance, no decent therapist will discuss with your parents.

  42. J-nonymous*

    Something to consider: when your mom says she plans to create a twitter account under your name, calmly say “That’s a violation of Twitter’s terms of service. The account would get shut down.” (You can certainly add “Because I would report you” if necessary.)

    Look into Facebook’s privacy settings about who can tag you in posts. I believe that you can set those granularly enough to prevent a group of people (maybe a group of just your mom!) from tagging you. It may not stop her from posting about you on social media, but it would prevent her from using the linking capability that would associate your account with her posts.

    Ultimately, though – you’ll need to decide whether you want to manage this behavior on an ongoing basis or if you want to prevent her from having this access into your life at all.

    In a totally different arena, I had to manage a toxic parent who involved himself in my life despite my telling him it was unwanted. I did try an escalating series of steps to manage his behavior (1. telling him it was unwanted & setting boundaries, 2. enforcing boundaries by cutting off certain forms of contact) but what I noticed about my father was that he would continue to find ways to trespass over my boundaries…because that’s what he does.

    I finally blocked him from all social media and email, and I blocked the phone numbers. About twice a year I get a random message from him on a new telephone number. It took a few years of being angry about those intrusions but I’ve finally gotten to a place where I just add the new number to my blocked list.

    Maybe it’s better for your psyche to preserve the parent/child relationship and simply manage your mom’s behaviors over time. Privacy setting and TOS reporting will become your friends if that’s the route you choose.

    Who knows, maybe your mom can be reasoned with; you’ll know better than most of us here on the internet. But she would have to be willing to change a lot about herself if she’s already this far-gone in overstepping boundaries.

    Just remember something Alison tells a LOT of letter-writers here: You’re not the jerk for setting appropriate boundaries. The other person is the jerk for tap-dancing over them in the first place.

    Good luck.

    1. Anon Because Mom's a Stalker*

      “It took a few years of being angry about those intrusions but I’ve finally gotten to a place where I just add the new number to my blocked list.”

      It’s been over a year of no contact now and I was worried that it was still bothering me, but just very recently I seem to have mostly stopped caring. It’s reassuring to hear it was a few years for you because I know that I will still go through streaks where it bugs me and I was worried it was taking me too long to get over the rift despite knowing that it’s the best thing and not actually having feelings of affection toward her at this point.

      1. J-nonymous*

        For me it was a final clicking-into-place that my parent was never going to change. I think most of my anger in the last years was really around expecting him to change his behavior. Once I accepted that wasn’t going to happen, I could stop being angry that he wasn’t taking my cues (regardless of how loudly I gave them).

  43. Van Wilder*

    I don’t know if someone else has suggested this but if she sets up a Twitter account in your name, you should contact Twitter and have it taken down. I think they have rules against people impersonating private figures, even if it is their daughter.

    Sorry – that sucks.

  44. KMS1025*

    As a mother of adult daughters, I hate to admit that I occasionally strayed into the “over-involved” mother territory. I hope I have NEVER set foot into Crazy-Mom-Town though! It took an awful argument with my oldest daughter and not speaking with her for about a year for me to realize that my time of actively “mothering” her and her siblings was over. I painfully realized that my new role is to be there for their moral support if, and only if, they actively seek my advice on something. They are all well-adjusted, intelligent young women and I need to relinquish the Mama-Bear role. They all know that when they need me, and if they need me as that Mama-Bear, she’s just a call away lurking beneath my skin :-) Please OP, tell your Mom in no uncertain terms…cease and desist or she will not hear from you, see you, or otherwise be engaged in your life. It will be rough for a time, but she’ll get it because she loves you. She just needs to learn her new role.

    1. mel*

      It’s really really nice to hear from an actual mother in this category who has been reasonable enough to adjust. I have a mother who is similar and I’m not sure I’d ever do something drastic like cutting off contact for a year – but it’s nice to see there’s hope for someone self-aware!

    2. Temperance*

      This will absolutely not work with her mother. You are coming from a reasonable place, you learned your lesson. Her mother sounds like a malignant narcissist.

      I tried what you suggest with my own mother. Instead of looking inward at herself, she decided to get even with me by spreading lies to our entire extended family about me, turning them against me because I didn’t love her enough.

      1. knitcrazybooknut*

        +1. I appreciate your intent, KMS1025, but I don’t believe that you and the OP’s mom are on the same wavelength, or even in the same galaxy. You want to maintain a relationship. OP’s mom wants to win. Not everyone has your same good intentions. I am glad to see a posting from someone who has changed their behavior, because it gives me hope for the future. I don’t, however, misapply that hope in the direction of my parents, because they will never change.

    3. The Strand*

      If you worry about setting foot into “Crazy Mom Town”, or being a narcissist or whatever, it’s usually proof that you’re not!

  45. Jeanne*

    I actually saw someone else doing this on Twitter. A woman who was a fan of Kate Gosselin was constantly tweeting her son’s qualifications and school he graduated from and what job he would be good at for that company. It looked really embarrassing.

    I’m so sorry OP. Follow the advice everyone gave above. Good luck in your career.

  46. JMegan*

    I have no advice for you, OP, but sending you tons of strength and support. Sounds like you have some difficult choices ahead of you.

  47. been there*

    I would also suggest going to a therapist. The issues go beyond her mom and her career… I would bet that her mother is involved in all aspects of her life (more than she should be). It will be very helpful to have a 3rd party reminder that saying NO to your parents is ok.

  48. TotesMaGoats*

    I wanted to follow up with a quick story that hopefully will encourage OP to set those boundaries with the least amount of guilt.

    My mom had a mother like this in some ways. She absolutely could’ve been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She came from a backwater South Carolina mill village. No college education. I’m not even entirely sure that she graduated high school, child of the depression. She ended her career as the executive assistant to president of one of the largest manufacturing companies in the south that was also international. She was loved and feared at her job. Quite the ladder climb. Impressive in its own right for the time and her background. She was demanding but okay until her husband died. Then all hell broke loose. He’s pandered to her for years. She didn’t know how to pump gas, balance a check book or really do anything. He did it all for her. In her world, since my mother was her only child, it was now her responsibility. She was a horribly mean, vindictive woman. That we actively wished was dead from a very young age. (All those people who love their grandparents and still mourn their death, I don’t know that. I was and still am glad she’s dead.) The running joke in our family was that when she died we’d parachute her ashes into SC as we continued to FL to celebrate in Disney. I’m not even kidding.

    Things got worse in the last 5 or so years of her life. Partly due to decaying cognitive abilities but also because my mother had no boundaries. The phone calls multiple times a day about nothing. The hang ups and huffiness. The I’m made at you, so I’m not going to answer the phone and you’ll assume I had a heart attack and died and will come check on me. The cooking enough on Sunday to provide a week’s worth of food but no thanks given. The digging out of her car after a snowstorm even though she’d never drive unless the roads were completely clear. It as awful. To the point that my mom started have chest pain from the anxiety. She talked a good game from time to time but never really put into place the boundaries to have a better relationship for her or us. That’s what she regrets. That she let her mother hurt us, my dad by the things she said and did. She regrets that her behavior meant we wanted our grandmother dead. But that first family vacation after my grandmother died was the best one she’d ever had. She doesn’t regret feeling relief anymore only that she didn’t do more sooner.

    The moral of the story is that is doesn’t have to be this way forever. You hold the control even though it doesn’t feel that way.

  49. neverjaunty*

    OP, in addition to all the good advice above – get a new phone number. You can easily do this through Google Voice, and if you like, have it forward to your current number, or to a different phone. DO NOT GIVE YOUR FAMILY THIS NUMBER. Use that number for job hunting, work, maybe to trusted friends if you are 100% positive that they will not give it to your mom and that your mom couldn’t con it out of them with lies. Your mom will continue to use/call the old number, but you can use the new number knowing that it won’t be her and that employers will reach you there.

  50. CAinUK*

    OP, others have given practical advice about the immeidate problem, and also good advice about long-term distancing.

    So the only thing I can perhaps add are a couple scripts for when you’re ready to have this conversation again with your mother.

    When she asks you about your work or tries to offer advice:

    “I’ve told you repeadedly that I don’t want you invovled in this, so I’m not going to share that with you. Please stop asking.”

    When she threatens to do what she wants, even when you say no:

    “I told you not to do that. This is not your decision, and if you do this I will stop involving you in my life. Can you agree to let me handle this and not get invovled?” If she says no: “Okay, then I need to leave/hang up now.”

    It’s tempting to offer more comments on your hurt feelings or WHY you are saying the above, but that is actually counter-productive. Just tell her your stance, and then the consequence. It is not a discussion, it is a direction.
    You can and should lie about already having a ful-time, permanent job in this immeidate instance, but eventually you’ll end up with the same problem on another issue. So keep repeating the above as necessary, while working on the long-term boundary-setting (or parental break-up).

  51. Donna*

    OP, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. The people here have given great advice. I would also take screenshots of her comments on Facebook and Twitter and send them to yourself via email, so you have a record of what happened just in case you ever need it.

    It occurs to me that if you’re not physically present in the house, it’ll be more difficult for your family to fish for information on your job search. Is it possible to stay away from the house and avoid them as much as possible until you get a job? Maybe hang out at a friend’s house, volunteer as a dog-walker at the local animal shelter, read books in the library, work out, or clean houses for elderly people–anything as long as you’re not readily available for their questions.

    Good luck to you and congratulations on the temporary assignment!

  52. nicolefromqueens*

    As far as keeping her at bay, open a twitter account without your name, and casually tweet some businesses. Do not use your name though.

    Another thought I had was if you live in a larger area, create a fake business page in your area. When you (or she) posts there, have this fake manager read her the riot act!

    Maybe a friend can pretend to be a social worker from the social services and speak to your mother about her approach?

  53. Nelly*

    My mother did something a little similar, but while I was working – for the government at the time – she was trying to get unemployment benefits for me as well. I just wrote to Centrelink (unemployment benefit government org. in Australia) to apologise and said she had mental health issues, please ignore any comments from her. Not sure if that would work in the face of the breadth of your mother’s inappropriate behaviour, though, but if you ever get any ‘WTF?’ comments from those organisations it’s a way of addressing what she’s doing.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Great advice for the OP. And also could be used as a bluff- OP, you could tell your mother that you are going to write every one of those companies and apologize for her emails because “my mother is not a well person”.

  54. AlligatorSky*

    WOW. OP here. I just spent a REALLY long time reading all these comments, and I just wanted to say thank you SO much to everyone who has offered advice, support, and their own stories/experiences. I’ve been a lurker/reader on here for over a year, and I finally decided to write in, because you guys seem like an amazing bunch of people, and Alison is great too :-)

    Just to clear up some assumptions/mention some things:

    – I’m in the UK. Scotland to be exact.

    – Yep, I still live at home. No siblings. (I live with my mum and stepdad. Sadly, he also treats me like crap, and encourages her weird behaviour.)

    – I’ve actually asked my doctor about therapy. I confessed absolutely everything I’ve mentioned on here, to a couple of close friends a few months ago. They suggested I try therapy, as it’s also good for people with depression and anxiety, such as myself.

    – I have another job now. This one is in a call centre, and the contract is until January. Unlike my last job, I unfortunately do not enjoy this one. I hate it, and I wish I could leave. I feel sick in the morning knowing I have to go to work, and I could honestly cry when I have to get up.

    – I LOVE Reddit. I’m a daily user of the site, and I’m actually subbed to r/raisedbynarcissists and I’ve made a couple of posts on there. If you guys wanna read up about my oh-so-loving mother, search this username on there, but add an extra Y on the end.

    I realised a long time ago that my mother is a narcissist. She thinks the entire world revolves around her, and she knows how to get what she wants, and when she wants it. When she wants something, NOTHING will stand in her way to get it. She’s good at deceiving people. She looks like a lovely, caring person to those on the outside. (Even my family.) She’s stalked me on Facebook and Twitter in the past. Currently there’s no Twitter account set up in my name, but no doubt there will be one soon.

    She treats me like absolute crap, and has called me every single insult you can think of, under the sun. I permanently have the memory of her telling me I’m a waste of space burned into my brain. She’s told me things such as “I wish it was you who had committed suicide instead of _____” (Her brother), “If I were a person your age, I wouldn’t want to be your friend, you’re a horrible person”, and that I depress her. I have depression and anxiety, and my family don’t believe in mental illness. They think it’s a bunch of made up crap. You’d think that after losing one family member to suicide, she would do anything to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, with the way I feel everyday, and the way she treats me, she’ll no doubt lose another in the near future.

    She turns EVERYTHING on me. My grandma passed away last month, and she was the only person in my family who knew about the way my mum treated me, and who treated me like an actual human being. My grandma was my best friend, and I miss her dearly. I was called an ‘attention seeker’ for crying when she passed away, and for crying at her funeral.

    My mum throws tantrums and does other weird crap when she wants attention, or doesn’t get what she wants. She’ll slam doors, throw things, shout or storm out the house. There’s been a few occasions where she’s demanded I do something, for example, tidy my room, so I’ve done it. She didn’t like the way I tidied it, so she threw my stuff around my room and made me do it all over again.

    If I’ve got a cold, or don’t feel well, I’m an attention seeker and I need to shut up. If she’s even got a headache, the WHOLE WORLD needs to stop, and we need to wait on her, because she is the only person in the entire world who is feeling so incredibly ill at that point in time.

    In April, I came out to her and my stepdad as asexual. I was instantly labelled as ‘selfish’ and ‘an attention seeker who is a total prude.’ I’m selfish for not wanting to have kids, because I’m an only child and will be destroying the family line. In August, I was sexually assaulted on a train, and after telling her, in near tears after what had just happened, I was told ‘I probably brought it on or deserved it.’

    Everything to her is a competition. I’ve been on Twitter since 2009. It’s my personal account, and only my first name is on there. I don’t tweet anything that could give away my personal details or identity. Over the years, I’ve gained quite a few followers. I passed 10k a couple of years ago. After finding out I had so many followers, my mum joined Twitter (yep, THAT account!), and made it her mission to get more followers than me. She’ll constantly boast about the many more Facebook ‘likes’ she gets more than I do, and boasts about how she has SO many friends, and how many retweets she gets, ect.

    If I like something, she HATES IT. I love country music. She despises it. I love theatre and musicals. She thinks they’re the worst things in the whole world. I love playing my Xbox. She thinks it’s for immature people. She’s never happy with anything I do. Nothing has ever been, and never will be, good enough for her.

    I could go on and on, but this is the way I’ve been brought up, my whole life. This is normal to me. I’m jealous of people who have supportive parents, and who don’t feel like useless human beings everyday. I can’t move out, because I’m literally ‘broke’. My dad has a new life, and has made it clear that he doesn’t really want me in it.
    Sorry to end this on such a downer, but my life kinda sucks. I feel useless and crappy 24/7. I get treated like crap at home, then I go to a job which makes me feel want to cry nonstop for 8 hours a day.

    1. Delyssia*

      You’d think that after losing one family member to suicide, she would do anything to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, with the way I feel everyday, and the way she treats me, she’ll no doubt lose another in the near future.

      Please get help. I don’t know what the resources are in the UK, but find a suicide hotline or a therapist or whatever you can find. You deserve to get help. You deserve to feel hope. Happiness can happen, though it may take a while. But please get help.

      (Reposting as a reply instead of a new comment.)

      1. F.*

        Yes, PLEASE get help!! You do NOT have to live like this! I know. In my case, it was my father. Despite being an excellent, well-behaved student and doing the housework and being responsible for my younger sister, he threw me out at age 18 for pissing him off once too often. Then I ended up in a marriage to a similar personality type for over 17 years. I finally had a major depressive episode at age 38. Now, nearly 20 years later and 1000 miles away and after years of therapy and being hospitalized for depression, I am happily married, and as normal as I will ever be. I haven’t seen my parents in over 12 years and will never see them again. Get help now. Don’t let her win!

    2. Observer*


      Get therapy – you should be eligible and don’t need your mother’s help.

      Are there any abuse hot lines? Perhaps these folks could help you create an escape plan. If not, please talk to the friends who suggested therapy, and ask them for help. Perhaps you could couch surf with them till you get access to benefits. I’m fairly sure that the UK has a halfway decent safety net. Also, maybe you’ll be able to find yourself a an inexpensive living arrangement with room-mates or the like.

      1. Observer*

        I meant to say that you don’t need your mother’s permission for therapy and no competent therapist will discuss ANYTHING about your case with her without your consent.

        1. Blue Anne*

          Yeah, it’s quite sad. I’m an auditor and was doing a public sector job recently, which involved a crash course on the benefits system. Basically, if you’re 25 or under, the assumption is that you can go to your parents for food and shelter. Which doesn’t help if they’re abusive… anyone want to guess why so many LGBT kids end up on the streets?…

    3. Colorado*

      Ohhhhh OP, I wish I could hug you right now. Your post absolutely breaks my heart. I have to quote Kathryn Stockett from The Help because that’s the first thing that comes to mind…“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
      I am so sorry your dealing with this. Your mother is a monster. Please seek therapy for your sake, someone who can guide you out of this horrible situation. Is there anyone you can stay with until you can make it on your own? Can you move in with someone who needs a roommate? You need to leave these toxic people. Leave and never look back. Build your own family with people who love you, family isn’t always blood. You are worth it and your life is worth it. Please don’t ever give up. There is a much better place waiting for you out there filled with people and employers who will appreciate you. Keep looking for a job. Many warm wishes, luck and love.

      1. Colorado*

        Also, is there any way you can talk to your dad about taking you in, even if temporarily? Have you expressed you are in a very bad place not only with your mum but also with yourself? Does he realize the severity of it? Can he give your support money directly to you and then open a separate bank account so your mother cannot take it? I really feel for you. I know I don’t even know you but I really want you to succeed and tell those horrible people to suck it!

    4. neverjaunty*

      I am glad that you are finding online communities for support – because you know, at least I hope you know, that it is not possible for her comments to be true. Her entire worldview is that she is the center of the universe, and you are there for her to abuse. That’s not an objective statement of reality, so how could anything else she says be?

      Please take up the offer of therapy (lie and tell her it’s a doctor’s appointment, if necessary) and find ways to get out. You are being abused and there is help out there for you to escape.

    5. Basiorana*

      You need to leave that house.

      Seriously. Get a po box. Take nothing you didn’t buy on your own, plus your important documents. Leave in the middle of the night. Crash with a friend or go to a shelter. Change your phone number.

      Now is the time to do this, while you have a contract job, with the goal of getting enough money in the next few weeks to get a shitty room somewhere.

      Think of it this way. If a friend came to you and said their father or spouse was beating them, what would you tell them to do?

      You are being abused and you need to LEAVE.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Start looking for a new job now so that when/if your contract runs out in January, you have something else lined up. Make a plan that when you get your new job, you won’t tell your family. Leave every day, to go to work, but say you’re down at the Jobs Center doing training or applying for jobs at the library or even walking around town applying to help wanted signs. Doesn’t matter. Unless your mother has spies on every street, she can’t follow you about. Have your new job direct deposit your cheque into a bank account your family knows nothing about. And while you’re searching for new jobs, look for apartments or people looking for roommates. Unless they’re the people from Trainspotting, they can’t be worse than your family. Once you’ve got some money saved up and away from their poaching, leave — in the middle of the night if you have to. These people are not doing right by you. There is nothing wrong with wanting to save yourself from them.

    6. Afiendishthingy*

      Oh, sweetheart. Any chance any of your friends and/or their families would be able to take you in for a bit? You cannot stay there. and therapy, definitely. You are not worthless, but that must be hard to believe when you’re living in such a bad environment and hate your job. You’ll be in a better position to find a better job if you can find a way to feel better about yourself. Good luck and take care of yourself.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      OP, it is just as bad or even worse than we thought.

      Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

      And please, hang out here. You now have (how many is it now, Alison?) 12 million plus friends. These people are all cheering for you. Picture it, OP, millions of people all over the world are cheering, praying, and wishing only the best for you. Think about that. All these people that think you ARE worth it. You are worth writing in to talk with and you ARE worth looking for in future posts. Your mother LIED, OP. She lied. You are worth a lot and to a lot of people.

      You found this blog. It’s like just one of the coolest places in the world, my opinion of course! But you found this blog. Right away, we know that you are sharp, you know a good thing when you see it. You wrote in, yea, YOU! So you have already made that first step that is soooo very freakin’ hard. Baby steps, OP. Take a look at the stories written here. These people got out and so will you. Think about what people did to change their situation, can you copy something you read here? How about the websites and books people mentioned, is there a resource in there somewhere that grabbed your attention?

      Don’t let your mother suck the life force out of you. Tell her to go find her own life force, you cannot be living and breathing for two.

      You have made it into adulthood, you survived! Think about that one- you are a legally autonomous being. You did not go through all you went through just to give up now. Decide. Decide that she is not going to win, rather you are.

    8. olympiasepiriot*

      Yank here, I lived in Scotland many many years ago. Thatcherite times. North Sea oil boom.

      There used to be bedsits. Some were pretty depressing, but a couple of friends were in actually lovely places. Even if the place was a little rundown, if the others there were friendly without being up in your biz all the time and everyone kept the kitchen clean-ish, it was pretty nice. IMO, better than living with a crazed termagent.

      If you are close to somewhere larger (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee…even Perth or Inverness), can you just pick up and arrange to have everything switched on a single day? Like gather all your identity stuff you need (in case she holds it hostage), have your bank account switched to a whole other bank, have already removed a lot of your things from the house bit by bit, storing them at a friends or even a storage locker if you can come up with the cash, have a new job to go to and then just m-o-v-e.

      Hell, go all out and dye your hair and get a new (or not new, but definitely totally different) coat so it would be unlikely you’d be spotted randomly on the street.

      If there is any way you could get yourself a job doing something like pulling pints in Mallorca for a few months, getting physical distance could be helpful. Being in an expat environment can come with its own issues, and being away can be isolating, but it can also be liberating…or both at the same time.

    9. Chalupa Batman*

      I just had to chime in to tell you I care about you and wish the best for you. I’m fortunate enough not to have a horrible parents horror story to add to this heartbreaking comments section, but as someone who deals with anxiety and depression, I know how painful it feels to think you’re literally all alone in the world. I’m glad you found your way to our caring community, and that you’re seeking out the emotional support you need to get into a healthier situation. Even commenting to an anonymous board is you saying “I see this isn’t ok, and I’m thinking about making a change.” There are real people on the other side of these comments, and we care about what happens to you in a real way. Please get help, and hang in there. It can be better.

    10. Brightwanderer*

      Hey OP, just wanted to offer some resources in case they’re any help. If you’re having trouble with the NHS waiting times for seeing a therapist (I know that feel!) there are a couple of good self-help websites that I’d recommend –

      The first one specifically walks you through things to think about and address situationally, the second two are broader CBT-style programs.

      In terms of how to get away from your parents’ house while broke, one thing to look at might be jobs that require you to live on-site, for example house-sitting or caretaking of some kind. This site is an example of what’s out there – a lot of it is short-term holiday stuff but there are longer stints where people want someone to look after a second home or similar –

      Going more drastic, as olympiasepiriot suggested, there are a lot of programs for teaching English in other countries (if that appeals to you?) that could just get you right away for a while. The JET program in Japan is the one I’m most familiar with, though I will add the caveat that going to live in Japan while depressed is not necessarily the best idea (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything) – however, it’s certainly a nuclear option. The JET program places you in a school somewhere in Japan (can be anywhere from Tokyo to right out in the country), gives you an apartment, and pays you a good wage.

      Finally, Alison already mentioned Captain Awkward, but you might find it helpful to check out the semi-official forums at (you need to register to view the forums) – there are a ton of people there who not only Get It but may be able to offer you more specific advice or just a huge number of sympathetic jedi hugs. Speaking of which, if you want them, please accept mine.

    11. JL*

      OP, you have all my sympathies.

      As has been mentioned above, cutting your mother out of your bank account should be a priority. Additionally, start looking into temporary housing solutions. This website has a lot of tips for you:

      A more random tip: If you want to move away and cut all ties properly, something to consider could be working as an au pair for a while. The pay is low, but you do have housing included, and it gives you a chance to be far away from your mother for some time. English speaking au pairs are particularly sought after in other European countries – many parents hope to get their kids hearing English from an early age will give them a good start in life. It’s not a long term solution, but it’s a good mid-term one.

    12. Brat*

      OP I understand. I went through so many of the same things you did. Especially the grandmother thing. My mom manages to bring up at least once a year that she should have gone to my grandmothers (dads mom. moms horrible mom is probably immortal) funeral looking for forgiveness from me, which she won’t get. I think
      I became a real adult the day my grandmother died, and barely recovered until I met my mother in law. She’s a friend and advice giver, something like the mother I never had. I hope you have someone like this in your life one day.

      I have cut off most contact with my mother except the occasional text. Gone to therapy. Maybe once every few years we have a good convo and then she goes back to being racist and manipulative or hateful. This year she visited my home for the first time in my adult life and I spent the time trying to keep her from being hateful to my niece. Hurt people hurt people. She’ll never be invited to my home again.

      Do you have any other relatives or friends that could take you in? I escaped when I was 17 when a coworker recognized I was in an abusive situation and let me live with her so I could keep my job. Summers in college were spent with relatives. Otherwise I lived in some of the worst places ever. Worked three retail jobs at the same time. But it was always better than being in that abusive home. Eventually I made a great life for myself, so you can escape. I hope you do.

    13. Blue Anne*

      OP, I’m in Edinburgh and have a lot of overlapping experiences. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve just messaged you on reddit.

      I’m nearby. What can I do to help? I messaged you my mobile phone number. If you want to use my address in Edinburgh for applications etc., that would be fine. If you get your vital documents out of the house and want to store them somewhere safe, we can sort it out. If you can’t get through to Edinburgh I have very trustworthy friends in Glasgow who would be happy to help.

      Let me know what we can do. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. Your mum is unhinged. It’s not your fault.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        OP, I hope you see this.
        Blue Anne, you are a walking miracle. You’re awesome. I hope OP contacts you.

      2. Carrie in Scotland*

        OP, I’m over on the city on the other side of the country from Blue Anne and used to live in the NE of Scotland. I’m having a bad time also – maybe we can become lifeboats for each other? my email is: tartanbelle7(at)gmail(dot)com. If I can help you in any way I will. I’ve done counselling in my old city that I could help you with if you’re thereabout.

      3. Cassandra*

        It’s an Edinburgh thing.

        True story: My spouse and I were stranded in Edinburgh by the Iceland volcano eruption. Through a chain of friends-of-friends, we were introduced to someone in the process of moving in with someone else, who lent us the fully-furnished apartment being moved out of for the entire week we were stuck, and would not take a penny in compensation.

        Edinburgh. For that and many other reasons, my favorite city in Europe.

    14. JMegan*

      I want to give you a hug right now. So sorry you’re going through all this, and I’m wishing you all the love and strength and support you need to get out. I know you know this, but it bears repeating – you deserve better.

  55. Delyssia*

    You’d think that after losing one family member to suicide, she would do anything to prevent it from happening again. Unfortunately, with the way I feel everyday, and the way she treats me, she’ll no doubt lose another in the near future.

    Please get help. I don’t know what the resources are in the UK, but find a suicide hotline or a therapist or whatever you can find. You deserve to get help. You deserve to feel hope. Happiness can happen, though it may take a while. But please get help.

  56. HateTheCold*

    OP, there are resources out there to help you. May I suggest that you also look up DWIL Nation? It is a fantastic site, and whilst American, it has a lot of experiece and Been There DoneThat people who can advise.
    Nothing but hugs for you. Stay safe.

  57. Not So NewReader*

    I just wanted to say, thank you, Alison. Thank you for taking this question. Thank you for steering the conversation in the middle of the responses.
    We will never know how many people are reading tonight that never post, never write in but are sitting there with tears running down their faces and deciding “I am going to make some changes in my life.”

    OP, you have lots of courage, more than you realize, I think. It’s not just you going through this, quite a few people know all too well what you are talking about. You can get through this and you can go on to a rich, full life. That’s real, I promise.

    1. Jenny*

      I’m crying as well. It’s my N Mom’s Bday and though I am the only one who bought her a card and the cake she isolated me from the rest of the family tonight including my father who enables and my son and his girlfriend. The triangulation is starting to be complete. Because I called her a psycho because while staying at her house she knew I was going out and put disinfectant in my contact case which then burned the piss out of my eyes when I put them in and took my SS card out of my purse and it “disappeared”. Some see through her, some don’t but again people don’t believe mothers do this or “we were always so close”. Well duh I was a child and really had no say in our BFFs status or how she would always try to sleep in my bed or I was supposed to be her mini me. I WAS A KID. OP please and I mean please I beg of you to get the hell out of there. Usually when people who are close to the situation ignore it it means they have issues of their own-personality disorders, co dependency and the like. All run in families as I now realized my grandma was a total malignant naricissist and had 10 yes 10 children. My Mom was the oldest. The rest besides one or two are codependents, alcoholics, drug abusers with shitty marriages. They are in their 50s and 60s and still use the terms wasted and party. Uneducated, not changing their ways. I love my family but it isn’t healthy. I also thought all this was normal because I grew up around it.

  58. MsChanandlerBong*

    OP, I don’t have any advice, but I can empathize. My MIL is a dear woman, but her views on job hunting are quite outdated. My husband has been looking for a job for almost three months, and she thinks the best way to land something is to go door-to-door. She even advised him to “Sit down with the manager and tell him/her you have a family to support.” When I step in and say, “That is not how things work” and “Employers hire based on qualifications, not on the fact that you are desperate for a job,” she thinks I am being negative and shooting down her ideas. She is not destructive, but she has a very different view of the way the job hunt works.

  59. AlligatorSky*

    OP here again. Currently on my break at work, so I don’t have time to write everything I want to, but I promise I will later :)

    – I am pretty isolated. I didn’t have many friends as a child, so I spent a LOT of time around my parents. I had no social life at all as a child. I have friends now, and I have an occasional social life, but the isolation thing is not new to me. She’s given me so many reasons to force me into cancelling plans with friends so I have to stay home. When I say force btw, I actually mean force. I had no choice.

    – Yeah, the boundaries thing in my situation is very different to other people who aren’t really familiar with this sort of situation. I know a lot of people are telling me I should get out and get away, and I would if I could. Sadly, especially with my family, it’s not as easy. It would be near enough impossible for me to get away.

    – I’ve spoken to my dad on many occasions about this. He knows what my mum is like, (God, he put up with her behaviour for over 20 years), and he knows how I despise my stepdad. Stepdad is also a possible narc, and he has anger issues. He’s thrown me across a room before and screams at me for minor things. Unfortunately for me, my dad is happy with his new life, and doesn’t seem to want me in it. I’ve begged him so many times to let me stay with him for a while, but nothing ever comes of it.

    – My mum has complete control over my bank account. I have no access to my funds, and I have no idea how to go about getting into them.

    – I definitely want to try therapy. I’m not on any medication for my anxiety and depression, so you can imagine how great that is. It really sucks, I just want to feel normal. I tried going to the doctor once, when I was 17, and I was given antidepressants, but my mum (somehow) found out I went and took the pills off me, and banned me from seeking help for my ‘attention seeking’. She insists depression and anxiety don’t exist. I also have ADHD and my doctor thinks I’m bipolar, but apparently those doesn’t exist either. I’m not on any medication for any of these.

    I have to go back to work now, (yay), but I will respond later with a much better and longer post.

    Thank you to everyone who commented. Honestly, you guys are amazing :)

    1. misspiggy*

      Just in case you don’t see my other comment, please go to Citizen’s Advice and/or Mind. With Citizen’s Advice you can call or send a message from their website to request an appointment, and then they will set you up with somebody whom you can spend a good amount of time with. They can provide information on how to get legal advice as well. I’m thinking if you started with the bank account issue they could help you get that sorted out, as well as helping you with finding somewhere affordable to live. I’ve used them recently and was really impressed.

      1. misspiggy*

        Just wanted to add; you are amazing for getting as far as you have in such grim circumstances with so little support. Don’t ever take that lightly or do yourself down. Hopefully now you’re over 21 and in the world of work it will get easier to get out and get the support you need.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Of course she has your bank account. She has to have your bank account in order to control you. That is YOUR money. Okay, bear bones, go to a different bank set up a new account in your own name. Get a no frills account, you can change it later when your setting gets better. Don’t tell anyone you have the new account. Do you have direct deposit? If so change it to this new account. This will take a bit of time, be patient and keep going.

      Next go to your old bank and ask how you can close your old account. I am not saying you have to close it, I am just saying you should learn about how to go about closing it. Get that much info collected up.

      You mom does not think depression and anxiety exist? Yeah, I went through this with my parents also. Well, you have tried her method and her method is not working for you. And if you check, her method is not working for her,either. She has made herself into a despicable human being. It’s pretty clear here, that you want something different/better for your own life. Yes, that will be a tussle in the beginning. Stay strong, it’s worth the effort.

      I am sorry about your bio-dad not being supportive. Maybe you know the song, if one door won’t open keep going until you find a window. Think about people in your life that have been kind to you= these are the folks that you feel a bit of relief when you are near them. Think about those folks. Think about someone whose opinion you respect and almost trust, these are the folks that will help you in some manner. See, we don’t get to pick who helps us and the people who help us usually are not the people we think should help us. So with this in mind look around with you with fresh eyes. Notice people as if you are seeing them for the first time. Spend an extra minute or two talking to people who seem to be taking an interest in you. Don’t blow by them, stop and chat. See where that puts you.

    3. ChristyB*

      Oh, OP. Big, huge hugs!

      You have internet access, right? Open a bank account. It will take you all of 5 minutes. I just opened a new account the other day (to hold communal funds for a girls’ weekend). It’s very easy. Have the postal address be a friend’s house, so that your mum can’t intercept the new bank card. As soon as you know the bank details (should be as soon as you’ve opened the account), get work to change the details of the account they use to pay you. Presto! Your wage is your own. (Although sadly getting hold of the money in your old account will prove to be a lot trickier.)

      I bet you’re hyperventilating just at the thought of “defying” your mum like that, yeah? I understand, and that’s a natural reaction to someone who is so unstable. To help you through this, I recommend that you (secretly) go back to your doctor. Make an appointment for during work hours (they will give you the time off). Explain the situation to your doctor, INCLUDING that your mum withholds your medication. If you and your doctor decide that medication would be helpful, HIDE IT. Keep it in your bra at all times if you have to.

      I’d also highly recommend talking therapy. You can arrange this through your doctor or google local mental health charities. Here is a free helpline based in Scotland, The person you speak to should be able to point you in the direction of free or low cost local resources.

      Ultimately, you are going to have to leave the household. Your situation sounds a hell of a lot like domestic abuse to me. This is (weirdly) helpful to you, because it means that your local council HAS to house you somewhere (including temporary accommodation while they evaluate your case). Look at this site for more information:

      While you get up the courage to leave, Captain Awkward has some great posts on how to survive and how to secretly build up your resources.

      You are braver than you think, OP. I wish you all the joy and luck in the world. Some day, you’ll find your safe, clean room, with a door you can close.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I second breathing space.

        I left a longer note above, near Blue Anne’s, if you’re still reading I’d like to help if I can.

    4. Bostonian*

      We’re all rooting for you, OP. I’ve never dealt with a family like yours, but I have two thoughts:

      1. I hope that you can find someone to talk through the details of your situation with. On a thread like this, it’s easy for us to all say you should get out, and for you to tell us that’s impossible for XYZ reasons, and for someone to counter that with ABC, but without really knowing you and your family it’s impossible for us to really help. But you are a legal adult and you cannot be forced to live that house with those people forever. If you walk out, they can’t call the police and have them track you down and bring you home. Getting out will take hard work and careful planning and a willingness to cut off contact or deal with emotional backlash and maybe some time in crappy apartments and on friends’ couches, but it can be done, so find advice from people who’ve been there and start to believe you can do it.

      2. If you’re young and your mother has always controlled your money, dealing with banks and things can seem mysterious and impossible. But a basic checking account is actually pretty easy. You usually need some form of ID, like a driver’s license, and some money to start, but that can be the $20 bill in your wallet, or your latest paycheck. Walk into a bank and tell them you want to open an account. They’ll usually have you go sit at a desk with an account rep rather than doing the paperwork at a teller. That person will show you the different types of accounts – what fees go with each, what services they offer, etc. Explain that you’re opening your first account that’s separate from your parents and that you want something basic. The paperwork should be pretty simple – in the US you need to know your social security number, I think, so there may be a UK equivalent, but that’s about it. When you fill out the paperwork, list a friend’s address so that your new debit card and stuff will be mailed to your friend’s house and your mother can’t get her hands on it. Then log in online and switch everything to electronic communications. Once you have your account number you can go to the payroll people at work and change or start your direct deposit, if you have that set up. Once you have your card you can withdraw money and deposit checks and cash via ATM (and in the meantime at a teller in the physical bank). So you may not be able to get at funds from the past, but going forward you can start controlling your own money. If your mother is used to you handing your paychecks over, there will be repercussions, I’m sure. But remember, you are a legal adult and it is your money. Anything beyond saying nasty things or yelling that she does to try to get at your money is theft (or assault), and you could call the police if you wanted to. Whether you want to or not is a whole other question, I realize.

      If you are handing your paychecks over and don’t even know what bank your mother is using for them, contact your payroll department, tell them there’s been a mixup with your account and that you need a copy of the cancelled check from your last paycheck. It will usually show at least the bank, and I think the account number where it was deposited. Go to that bank with a copy of the cancelled check, explain the situation, and see whether that account has your name on it anywhere. If it does, ask what you need to do to access the money, then withdraw it and put it in the account your mother doesn’t know about. If it doesn’t have your name on it, that money is probably lost to you.

      I’m sorry if this is too simplistic – you may know all of these things. But I know when I was 20 or so financial stuff seemed complicated and overwhelming, so I thought it was worth spelling out.

        1. ChristyB*

          It’s great advice in principle, with a small tweak: there’s no such thing as a “paycheck” in the UK. EVERYBODY (ok, there may be some exceptions which I have literally never heard of) is paid directly into their bank account, unless they are working off the books and getting cash (since this is a call centre job, I’d be VERY surprised if that was the case).

          You can still find out the details of the account you are being paid into, just contact payroll. You can also get them to change the bank account they use for you.

          Here is an example of what you need to open a bank account:

          If you do not have them (by which I mean you should have them safe and physically in your possession, somewhere your mother can’t get them), and can get together the money to buy them, I’d STRONGLY recommend applying for a passport and a provisional driving license.

          Have them sent to a friend’s home (use the friend’s address as the address on your license). I’m not suggesting that you learn to drive or travel (though if you wanna!), but these documents will be proof of identity and address and using them you can open a bank account, rent property, etc.

          1. Blue Anne*

            OP/AlligatorSkyy, you can use my address for all of this if you need to, including storing your documentation safely. (I have a few locking cashboxes, I can give you the keys for one, you can stash it in our guest room and we won’t have access.) I live in Edinburgh and I’m through to Glasgow reasonably often so it would not be a big deal at all to meet and sign documents, etc. I’m sootika on reddit. Just let me know.

            My nMom is bad enough, I can’t imagine living with yours.

            1. ChristyB*

              Came back to say: looks like a great resource for young people in your position.

              I also realise that this flurry of advice might be overwhelming. Especially to someone like you, who has been actively discouraged from being proactive in their own life. These might all seem like things you can’t do yet. That’s ok.

              What would be enormously helpful is if you picked just one thing to do this week. Make a phone call. Set up a doctor’s appointment. Whatever it is (and no matter how small it is), do one thing.

              Next week, do one more thing. And so on! If you do one thing a week, you’ll have done 5 things by christmas. What a great gift to yourself!

              Ignore the voice that says “how far is one thing a week going to get me?” That’s your mother talking. One thing gets you further than no things. It’s a scientific fact.

          2. Bostonian*

            Thanks for the clarification re: direct deposit. Most US workers are paid directly to their accounts, but some contract, short-term, and other workers still get physical paychecks. Since OP has no idea how to get at the money, I thought she might not even have the bank account details that she would need to set up the direct deposit.

            In the US many companies let employees split their paycheck between two accounts. OP, could you check and see if yours does? If you aren’t ready to fight a huge battle over it, can you ask your company to start putting a small portion of your check into a private account that your mother doesn’t know about? Pick a number that’s as much as you think you can get away with – make up some sort of notice that the company sent out about a tax change or that they changed the clock-in policy so you’re getting paid for slightly less time or they’re taking some sort of training fee out of your check or something to explain the reduced amount if she asks. You could even use a savings account rather than a checking account, which typically has lower fees.

      1. Bostonian*

        Also, your story reminded me of one of the calls on episode 469 of Dan Savage’s podcast, where he talks to a near-suicidal lesbian trapped living at home with her parents who are being crappy to her:

        I think he does a really good explaining why it can be so important to get out, even if it means debt or crappy roommates or whatever. Living in a situation like yours means walking on egg shells, and you need to find a way to get out and breathe freely for a while. Even if it means the nuclear options that others have suggested of doing a program that takes you out of the country.

        (Warning: Everything associated with Dan Savage is NSFW. You may want to skip to the call in question if crude but funny sex advice isn’t your thing.)

    5. Temperance*

      Hi OP:

      I understand where you’re coming from. You will be able to get away one day, I promise. Until then:

      Go to your bank, in person, with identification, and ask them about locking your account or closing it. If it’s just in your mother’s name … easy enough, open a new one! If she’s on it, ask to have her removed or set a new one.

      If you are receiving benefits, you can contact your social worker or case worker to ask them to sent them to the new account.

    6. LabTech*

      OP, you’re the one putting in hours to get that money, and working a job you hate to get that salary. That money is yours. If restricting her from your funds is too big of a step for you right now, then start with something smaller. Assuming you’re old enough and your mother hasn’t barred access to necessary identifying documentation (not sure what that would be in the UK), open your own checking account by discreetly scraping together whatever minimum amount is needed. Ask the teller about access to your account so you’ll have an idea of what your mom would need to do in order to fib her way to withdrawing your funds (and also ask about fees so you don’t get charged for any minimum balances or not using the account). Alternatively, if restricted access to your identifying documentation is preventing you from opening your checking account, make that your goal: getting back your SSN/birth certificate/etc., or at least know precisely where they are so you can take them with you when you do finally get out that door.

      These are small steps, but important ones. One of my babysteps was when I realized I didn’t have to trip over myself to immediately open the door the second my mom knocked. I waited a beat, she knocked again, impatiently the second time, and I calmly opened the door. Minor enough to avoid a confrontation, but it helped shift the dynamic, and that’s what you want to do here. Just having your own account – even if you can’t bring yourself to weather the abuse from changing where your pay is deposited right now – will give you a semblance of independence and be a first step to getting out. It will be your account, and no one else’s.

    7. Igor Ragusnik*

      OP, you’re living in a domestic violence situation. Your stepdad is physically abusive, your mother is emotionally and financially abusive. There are people that can help you, to talk through your options. Take a look at this site: I’m not sure of your gender but this organisation is very good if relevant to you because it’s one of the biggest. They have a Scottish-specific site too:

      There are some other organisations too – list here:

      You can get through this. You can find a way out. I believe in you, and there are people who can help you.

    8. Isabelle*

      OP, you have call centre experience. Even if you don’t currently enjoy the work, there are plenty of different roles in a call centre and they always have some open vacancies.
      Would you consider moving to another area in the UK or Ireland? Some call centres are so desperate for staff than they even provide shared accommodation. That would get you started with a job and a place to live. You need to get out of your mother’s house ASAP. Once you’re safe, start therapy as soon as you can.

      Also open a new bank account immediately, put your new bank card, passport, birth certificate, degree certificate, and anything you will need or that has sentimental value in a safe place she that can’t access while you plan your escape. Keep your escape plans a secret and move out at a time you know they’ll both be out for several hours.

    9. Observer*

      So, a lot of what I am saying probably overlaps what others have said.

      1. Go back the to the doctor and tell him that he MAY NOT speak to your mother about anything. Explain what happened the last time, and the your mother has forbidden you to seek help again. If he seems in any way to minimize it FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR. No competent and ethical medical professional will betray your confidence, or minimize your problem if you are clear and up front. And, in a reasonably well run practice, the staff won’t gossip either.

      2. Open a bank account. As others have said, it’s not hard. Have all mail regarding the account go to someone else’s address. And, if you can’t do direct deposit make sure you have deposited your check into your bank account before you get home.

      3. Are there any shelters for abuse victims in your area? If so, get yourself a small locking box, big enough to fit your important papers in. Then one day, take your box and your stuff with you to work, and instead of going home, go straight to the shelter and ask for help. Explain that you are being abused, your mother is denying you medical care, and when you got to the doctor yourself, your mother took the medication away from you.

      I realize that from a psychological point of view these are not easy things to do. But, you know that you have what it takes – after all, you DID get yourself to the doctor once, and you ARE keeping down a job.

  60. Brat*

    The first step is recognizing the problem and reaching out. I really hope you find the strength and means to leave. What you are going through is not ok, none of it.

    And I know. My mom followed me to the first place I lived when I moved out and the people I lived with were good enough to stand up to her and let her know they would call the police if she ever came around. Someone will help you. <3

  61. ChristyB*

    Oh, OP. Big, huge hugs!

    You have internet access, right? Open a bank account. It will take you all of 5 minutes. I just opened a new account the other day (to hold communal funds for a girls’ weekend). It’s very easy. Have the postal address be a friend’s house, so that your mum can’t intercept the new bank card. As soon as you know the bank details (should be as soon as you’ve opened the account), get work to change the details of the account they use to pay you. Presto! Your wage is your own. (Although sadly getting hold of the money in your old account will prove to be a lot trickier.)

    I bet you’re hyperventilating just at the thought of “defying” your mum like that, yeah? I understand, and that’s a natural reaction to someone who is so unstable. To help you through this, I recommend that you (secretly) go back to your doctor. Make an appointment for during work hours (they will give you the time off). Explain the situation to your doctor, INCLUDING that your mum withholds your medication. If you and your doctor decide that medication would be helpful, HIDE IT. Keep it in your bra at all times if you have to.

    I’d also highly recommend talking therapy. You can arrange this through your doctor or google local mental health charities. Here is a free helpline based in Scotland, The person you speak to should be able to point you in the direction of free or low cost local resources.

    Ultimately, you are going to have to leave the household. Your situation sounds a hell of a lot like domestic abuse to me. This is (weirdly) helpful to you, because it means that your local council HAS to house you somewhere (including temporary accommodation while they evaluate your case). Look at this site for more information:

    While you get up the courage to leave, Captain Awkward has some great posts on how to survive and how to secretly build up your resources.

    You are braver than you think, OP. I wish you all the joy and luck in the world. Some day, you’ll find your safe, clean room, with a door you can close.

  62. Donna*

    OP, this really sounds like domestic abuse to me too. Your mother is essentially holding you prisoner.
    Please talk to the local council that Christy mentioned. Even if you aren’t ready to act yet, there’s no harm in finding out your options.

    I don’t know how Scotland helps abuse victims, so I’m going to pass on some advice that was given to me by a counselor. Tell the people at your local council that you are afraid for your life. If you have to, tell them what your mother has said about suicide and that you’re terrified she’s going to try to do something to you, especially if you try to leave. You don’t have to be able to prove it–most abusers don’t do it in front of people anyway. Say whatever you need to say to get away from your parents and keep asking for help until someone helps you.

    I’m sorry about your horrible call center job. Hopefully it’s a stepping stone to something better. (IMO, call center work is one of the hardest customer service jobs there is, so it should at least look good on your resume.)

  63. Carrie in Scotland*

    I’ve left a few notes above, OP but for you and anyone else who has been in/is in this situation with their parents makes me sad. Even though my mum died when I was 23 (I’m now 30) I know she loved me and wanted the best for me. And for that, I’m truly grateful and sad, too, that some of you have missed out on that.

  64. DSU*

    OP- I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I really hope you’ll update us on your situation. I’m rooting for you.

  65. AlligatorSky*

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I had a really shitty (Can I say that? Is that allowed?) day at work. I actually hate my job. I don’t hate it in an ‘ah man, my job sucks! I hate it so much’ kind of way. I genuinely despise my job. My last call of the day was a woman who called in, who wanted to pick a fight with me. She wanted me to do something that we’re not authorised to do; only she herself could do it, and I explained this to her, and she pretty much went off her rocket at me. She argued with me and wouldn’t stop, even when I requested her to stop yelling at me. The conversation eventually ended, in which she proceeded to call me a ‘useless PoS.’ She also took my name and the centre I work for, and told me she was going to report me to my manager. Even though I know I did nothing wrong, that really set me off. I was so upset after the call ended, that I clocked out of my shift a few minutes early. I didn’t even care, I just couldn’t handle any more calls. Today, I’ve been called ‘ridiculous’, a ‘terrible staff member’, a ‘bloody moron with a stupid accent’, and many other things.

    People keep telling me to ignore these comments, and suck it up. The thing is; I don’t know if it’s the way that I’ve been brought up or not, but I’m INCREDIBLY sensitive. Always have been. It literally does not take much to make me cry. I can’t just ignore these comments, or brush them off. I try, but they stay with me. Like I mentioned above, my mum called me a waste of space a few years ago, and I honestly still can’t get over it. These sort of things stay with me, and I can’t shake them off, no matter what I do. I was forced into applying for this job. I got it when I was still on benefits. I was told I had to either apply for it/attend the interview/accept the offer, or my benefits would be cut. I wouldn’t get any money for about 2-6 weeks if I refused a job. It’s a catch 22. This job makes me cry when I’m getting ready for work and when I’m travelling to work I always start to tear up again. I get so nervous and dread going to work so much, that I can barely sleep at night. I’ve been surviving on very little sleep during the past few days. I think in the last 3 or 4 days, I’ve gotten about 7 hours of sleep in total. I barely make it through the day, and I’m relying on energy drinks and caffeine pills to keep me awake. I end up crashing as soon as I get home, and even then, I’m barely asleep before I wake up again, feeling like I’m going to be sick.

    My mum is very good at overreacting. She can turn any simple thing into drama. The TV remote stops working? EVERYTHING must stop until we get it fixed, and she instantly pins the blame on me. I get the blame for EVERYTHING in the house. Bulb stops working, my fault. Cooker won’t turn on, my fault. Fridge door won’t shut properly, my fault. Last year, the coffee machine in our house broke. It just stopped working, and the handle snapped off. I’d never used the thing in my life, because as weird as it may sound, I preferred instant coffee over over the coffee from their machine. I didn’t use it, and I never had any reason to. I had no idea how to work the thing and couldn’t make myself a coffee with it, if I’d tried. As soon as she discovered it was broken, she went nuts, and claimed I must’ve tried to make myself a coffee, gotten angry when I couldn’t work out how to use it, and flew into a rage, and snapped the handle off. Apparently because I prefer instant coffee, I went into an absolute violent fit and decided that EVERYONE else must drink instant coffee too, so I destroyed the machine so nobody could use it. That wasn’t the end of it, oh no. She took money out of my bank account, to ‘charge me the price of breaking the machine’, and took even more money out of my bank account once again, when they got a brand new one. Apparently I helped pay for this new one, yet I’m not allowed to use it. Joke’s on her though, I read the manual, and after several trips during the night, I know how to use it, and how to make myself a coffee with it.

    She’s hit me once or twice. I remember she hit me on the knee, once as a child. I was incredibly scared, and the threat of her doing that again scared me into keeping silent, instead of not doing what she wanted to do. She hit me again, not too long ago. I’d gone to clap the dog, but he moved so fast that my hand accidentally clipped him on the nose. He was fine, if anything, he thought I was playing, and was being cute with me. She saw this however, and decided that I had tried to hit my dog. My dog is my whole world. If it wasn’t for him, I can honestly say I would not be sitting here typing this right now. She decided to teach me a lesson, and gave me an almighty whack on the back of the head, that still hurt a day or two later. Apparently that was to show the pain the dog must’ve felt, when I ‘hit’ him.

    As I’m sitting typing this, I’m getting so many memories coming up and some of them are ones I’d rather forget. There was the time when we had a fight, about a trip my college class was going on, and she didn’t want me to go. It escalated, and it got to the point where my stepdad picked me up, and threw me across the room. I tapped her on the shoulder, literally just a very light tap, to get her to listen to me. She instantly screamed at me that I had just assaulted her, and my stepdad backed up her claim. She threatened to call the police, and to my 17 year old self, this was the most terrifying thing ever. Being accused of assault with a ‘witness’, I backed down, and didn’t go on the trip. That way, she won. I missed out on a great trip, and she knew how to get me to back down, and how to threaten me.

    She gave me a bedtime until I was 19. She also took my phone and my laptop off me every night, and if I refused to give her them, all hell would break loose. The wifi got cut off, and she insisted that every 19 year old in the world still had a bedtime, and that taking my stuff off me every night was normal. Nothing would change her mind. I once decided to challenge her, and refused to give her my phone. I locked myself in my room, and was hellbent that she was not getting it. She forced her way into my room, and physically struggled with me to get it. I still refused to give her it, so she locked herself in her room, and loudly screamed and sobbed. Eventually she came back out, and threatened to smash up my Macbook, (which I bought myself), if I did not give her the phone. When she says she’s going to do something, she means it. I’d spent 3 years saving up for my Mac, so the last thing I wanted was for her to smash it up. Eventually, she won again, and got my phone.

    I’ve been reading all of these comments, and I am honestly so grateful for every single one. I’m going to look into setting up a new bank account. It’s very overwhelming, and because I’m new to this whole ‘doing stuff on my own’ thing, I’m finding it hard to tell myself that I can actually do it. I’m sure it’s simple, but to my brain, it looks incredibly complicated and difficult and confusing. Oh, and I noticed some commenters were trying to work out my gender. I’m a girl, my username is inspired/directly taken from my favourite song of all time. Just wanted to make sure nobody was confused.

    Without giving too much of my location away, I am close to Glasgow. Edinburgh is also a possible option for me, and I can travel there easily. I messaged Blue Anne on Reddit, and we have each other’s contact numbers now. Also, Carrie from Scotland, I’m going to send you a quick email as soon as I’ve finished typing this. Thank you so much.

    It’s so good knowing I have people out there, strangers on a forum, who have read my story and either been touched or have wanted to reply with support and advice. It’s great knowing I have all these people who support me, and believe in me. I’ve never had something like this before, so I honestly cannot say thank you enough. This is actually amazing.

    I hope this doesn’t get *too* dark, but as you know, I mentioned suicide above in one of my previous posts. I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve wanted to give up, and thought about it. I wrote a suicide note when I was 14 and going through a mental breakdown due to bullying and my mum found it and thought it was hilarious. I’ve been thinking of suicide for a very long time now. Years, to be quite frank. I think about it so often that it scares me. I planned it out years ago, and recently, I’ve been finding myself thinking about this plan, a little bit too much. I’m even dreaming about it, I just can’t escape from it. One half of me just wants to do it, and just end it, as I feel like I’ve outstayed my welcome here on earth. I feel like my life has gone nowhere in the 21 years I’ve been alive, and I do not see it improving to be perfectly honest. If this is the sort of life I’m going to lead in the future, I do not want to be alive for much longer. I’m not even alive anymore, I’m just existing.

    The other half of me thinks about the things I haven’t done yet in life. I want to visit NYC, and maybe even move there one day. I want to get a verified Twitter account and I want to be in a feature film. (Managed to tick off ‘Be in a documentary/something on Netflix’ earlier this year). I want to meet Anna Kendrick (swoon <3), and I want to visit Los Angeles. I promised myself when I was 16 that I would one day visit the grave of Judy Garland. I still haven't achieved it yet, and I really want to do it. I also want to publish my own book some day. I've had several articles on the internet published already, so I guess I'm kinda a little bit of the way there.

    In other news, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist tomorrow, and I'm incredibly nervous. Does anyone know what I can expect? I've never seen a psychiatrist before, so I honestly have no idea what is going to happen.

    1. Another person rooting for you*

      I’m so sorry to hear how awful your job is, on top of the abuse from your mother, but first I want to try to reassure you about the appointment tomorrow. A psychiatrist appointment is often a lot like a regular doctor appointment–they will ask you a lot of questions about your feelings, but usually they don’t really do therapy, so they are trying to figure out what medication might help you. Be honest about your suicidal thoughts and your situation and hopefully you get a good one who can really help. Sometimes you have to keep trying to find a good one (I realize that may not be an option, but I don’t want you to give up if they have poor bedside manner).

      It totally makes sense that you can’t just suck it up with the horrible things people are saying to you, but if you can try to just distance yourself and observe these people being idiots, it might help. This is about them, not you.

      And I know you are overwhelmed and there is too much sh*t to deal with, but your life can improve. Please hang in there.

      I’m so glad you are making contact with folks from here. Keep reaching out.

    2. olympiasepiriot*

      I don’t have experience with psychiatrists, but with a psychologist or a psychotherapist and I assume the initial appointment is pretty similar. There’ll probably be a bit of ‘so what brings you here’ and some background questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of her/him/zir. Speak off the top of your head and listen carefully to yourself as you do. You have been writing well here and pouring things out that are important, but, in case you haven’t listened to yourself as a friend would, know that a therapist’s office should be a place you feel safe doing so.

      I’d also say that if you don’t feel like things are going anywhere after a few visits, discuss *that* with the therapist, too. Feel free to question what “better” might look like. Feel free to question, always.

      I went to see one therapist who didn’t work out At All for me. I suspected she was a strict Freudian. The next one was great. I didn’t need to like the person, but ‘clicking’ meant I felt respected but they were working there, they picked (kindly) apart my words and helped me look at what I was saying. I was (and am) getting Cognitive Behaviour Therapy from a therapist I found through the William Alanson White Institute in New York. There are people all over the world who have studied there (it is a post-doc research place, not a school/college/uni of any kind) and you may find some interesting things to read through their website.


    3. Blue Anne*

      Hey lady. We’ll talk more on reddit. But I just wanted to say hang on to those things you want to do. It might sound stupid but when I was at my absolute darkest, the only thing that really kept me going was “But I wouldn’t see the next Marvel movie!”

    4. Bostonian*

      Thank you so much for coming back to give us an update, and I hope the appointment goes well. I’ve been to a couple of psychiatrists and therapists, and one thing that has helped me is to remember that this is one of the major things they are trained to do: meet a new patient who is in emotional distress and help them figure out what would help. They’ll ask questions and listen to your answers and probably make another appointment for not too long from now, because you’ve got a lot going on and it may take a little while to explain your situation and your feelings and symptoms well enough that the psychiatrist has a good handle on what might work for you, and if you do try a medication the psychiatrist will want to see you again soon to know how it’s working. So if the first appointment is kind of anticlimactic, that’s ok. Stick with it for a little while.

      Most commenters will stop checking this now that it’s a couple of days old, so I wanted to suggest that you hang around the weekend open threads, post to let us know how you’re doing, and ask questions. Also, I bet if you email Alison again she’ll find a way to connect everyone with you again, like posting a link back here at the bottom of that day’s morning post or something. We’ll all be thinking of you, even if the comment thread has died down.

    5. LabTech*

      It’s very overwhelming, and because I’m new to this whole ‘doing stuff on my own’ thing, I’m finding it hard to tell myself that I can actually do it. I’m sure it’s simple, but to my brain, it looks incredibly complicated and difficult and confusing.

      Just want to briefly comment on this. Transitioning to independent adulthood is scary and overwhelming even for people who have a good job and come from a supportive family, so don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling that way. You’re right that the logistics are straight-forward once you know what you’re doing, but it’s the learning-what-to-do step that’s the hard part.

      Also, I’m sorry for all the abusive customers you’re fielding at work on top of your home situation. I hope for the best in landing a not-awful position!

    6. spocklady*

      OP, just wanted to chime in and say:
      a) Seconding what others have said regarding: tell the psychiatrist about the thoughts you’ve been having, and what you’ve said here about what’s going on at home. They will probably have lots of questions, with the goal of figuring out how to solve the most pressing problems first. I’ve also had more than one therapist over the years; first one was amazing, second one was sort of ehhhh. I hope you click with this person, but if you don’t, hopefully you can find someone else you can click with better.
      b) Yes yes yes please keep hanging on to all those things you want to do! It can get better. Better exists. We’re all pulling for you and sending jedi hugs your way. So glad to hear you’ve made contact with @Blue Anne!
      c) Regarding your job — I had a supportive upbringing, and it sounds like your job would honestly reduce me to tears as well. Even if everything else in your life was going great, jobs like working at a call centre and taking abuse from people are REALLY DIFFICULT for, I think, literally most people. Having conversations productively, with people being mean, is a special skill set that many many of us don’t have; having conversations productively with them AND not getting upset about it is even harder. Those jobs are notoriously hard on people; please try not to be too hard on yourself for what seem to me like really normal reactions to being yelled at. That is, I totally get what you’re saying that it’s probably EVEN WORSE for you given your home situation; I just wanted to make sure you know that the work you’re doing isn’t, like, supposed to be easy. Maybe you already know this, I just wanted to point it out.

      Sending all kinds of jedi hugs. I’ll have intermittent internet access this weekend, but if you can I hope you’ll post updates to the open thread on Sunday. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping for good things; I’m sure many many of us here will be too.

    7. Wanna-Alp*

      OP, I’m really really sorry to hear that you’re going through this. In a few years time, you’re going to be having an amazing life, and you’ll look back at this and it will seem like a bad dream. I’m so sorry that you have the hard work ahead of getting free of this situation, but it will be so worth it!! I believe in you.

      I wanted to comment on one aspect:

      People keep telling me to ignore these comments, and suck it up. The thing is; I don’t know if it’s the way that I’ve been brought up or not, but I’m INCREDIBLY sensitive. Always have been. It literally does not take much to make me cry. I can’t just ignore these comments, or brush them off. I try, but they stay with me.

      I hear you. This is actually a common symptom of ADHD (I have it too), and for the likes of us, this sensitivity is normal. But it certainly doesn’t help when you’ve got a family that knows all your sensitive buttons and exactly how to press them. I heard that family always know how to push your buttons because they are the ones who installed them!

      I’m in the UK too; I can offer some practical help and I’ll message you on Reddit.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Wow, your mother is a witch, with a capital B. She is what-NOT-to-do parenting guide. Everything she has done, no parent should ever do.

      Best wishes for your doctor’s appointment. Some people go to a few doctors/counselors before they find the person that is right for them. I hope you have a great doctor on the first shot. You are interviewing him, just as he is interviewing you. Both of you have to decide if you think you might work well together.

      I now understand very clearly about the crying all day at work. Of course, you’re sensitive to verbal abuse, you have had mostly abuse all of your life. The additional abuse at work is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We can only handle so much bs and that is it- so by the time you get to work you have had more than your full of it. In your setting, one call would put most people in tears, OP. Several such calls would make most people cry for days. Think of it this way- it probably reminds you of your mother’s crap and who needs more of that garbage?

      Bank stuff. Just like you have to explain stuff to people in your job, so do bankers in their jobs. If you have question go ahead and ask. They will answer your questions. They will ask you some questions in order to figure out what type of bank account is best for you. Their job is to make sure you have what you need and that you understand what you have. That is their job. This will probably go a bit easier than you think. If you have a question later, go back to the bank and ask. It’s okay to do that.

      I am really glad that you caught up to Blue Anne and Carrie. Remember good people lead us to more good people. Keep that in mind as you go along, it’s handy to remember. I am sure these two ladies will be very helpful for you. And in some strange way, you will end up helping them.Because that is how these stories go.

      You are moving right along here, it may not seem that way right now, but in years to come you will see that you are doing a lot to get yourself to a better place right now. You are actually a very smart woman, and I think your mother is afraid that you will figure that out. Go ahead and use that bright brain of yours, that is why you have it, you are supposed to use it.

      I’ll be buying that book of yours.

  66. AlligatorSky*

    Just noticed my picture is coming up at the side next to my comments. Hello guys, have a photo of my face! Haha. My tongue is blue in it, because I’d just finished a slush puppy when it was taken. Completely useless bit of information for you all :-)

      1. Carpe Librarium*

        Yes, please have another blue slush puppy ASAP, if you think that would help! I will go have one tomorrow in blue-tongued solidarity!

  67. Blj531*

    Op, I’m so glad you’ve sought help! I’m sure all of this is overwhelming, but as others have said, do one thing. Just one thing. You wrote in here, so you’ve already done one! Every one thing you do will give you confidence that you can do the rest. I hope you are able to get away and get help. Chooselife dot org seems to have support hotline info for Scotland- there are even email addresses you can contact for support. The us national suicide hotline also has an online chat you could access. Please, stay alive. It gives you options.

  68. Student1*

    If you go through “The Twitter Rules” page at Twitter Support, you will find that impersonation (should your mother do this in the future), spam, and release of other’s private information are against their policy. If you visit you can provide detailed information and evidence for an issue. It might be worthwhile to attempt to report your mother’s account if she is sending the same tweet over and over to different companies over a short period of time, as this is in violation of Twitter’s spam rules. Also block her and any accounts she has access too on social media sites so she can’t publicly send you messages or monitor your current employment info online.

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