update: my mother is a destructive force in my professional life

Remember the letter-writer a few years ago whose mother was contacting companies on social media to tell them to hire her daughter, despite our letter-writer asking her to stop? The first update is here, about how the mom was financially controlling the letter-writer on top of everything else, and here’s a new update.

I was thinking about the post a few days ago and it occured to me that I didn’t write in with an update, so I figured now’s the time!

I’m now 24, and in a different job to the one I was at when I last wrote in.

I unfortunately only lasted a couple of months at the social media job I mentioned in the previous update. I made a huge mistake one day at work and I was publicly fired in January 2017. That really knocked my confidence, so much so that I actually attempted to take my own life shortly afterwards, as I couldn’t cope with disappointing my family and myself again.

A few months later, I found a new job, and was there until January this year. I now work in finance (I started 2 weeks ago) and I’m very happy. The salary is much better than my previous jobs, I like the work and my coworkers, and it’s 9-5 Monday – Friday, which is much better for me. The job is also in a city 30 minutes away from where I live, so I can escape my own neighbourhood for a while, and I no longer feel ‘claustrophobic’. My life has completely turned around in the space of a year.

The main topic in my previous post was about how my mother controlled my finances. Well, I’m happy to say that thanks to the support of your readers, I finally bit the bullet and opened a new bank account. It took me a long time, but I read all the positive comments, and they helped me find the confidence to stand up to my mother and tell her that enough was enough. I went to my bank and explained the situation — they helped me set up the new account and lock down the old one so my mother has no access to it whatsoever. She also has no access to my new savings account, which I’m using to fund moving out. I’m almost at my goal, and if I keep going, I’ll be out by June. I still deal with my mother and her negative comments, but thanks to the supportive comments, they don’t affect me as much as they used to.

I found the courage to not let her walk all over me plus control me and she’s backed down – I now finally have a sense of freedom that I always wanted. Since standing up to her and gaining my independence, I’ve ticked items off my bucket list, such as travelling on my own (I went from Scotland – London, which is a pretty big distance, considering that I’d never been outside of Scotland by myself), and actually making preparations to move out into my own place.

I still am dealing with severe depression, which is painful and difficult, but whenever I feel really low, I read the comments on my posts, and the wonderful words left by so many people help lift me back up.

I honestly wouldn’t have been able to do this without your readers. I want to apologise for not replying to a lot of the comments, but I can promise you that I read every single one, and took them to heart. Some touched me so much that they made me cry — people saying they were rooting for me and wanting me to succeed is something I’d never felt before, so it was incredibly special. Even people defending me and supporting me when my post attractive some negative and harsh comments. I’m not used to support, so I cannot explain how much it meant to me.

I hope that they know what a huge impact they’ve had on my life, and just how much they’ve helped me achieve. Random people on the internet that I’ve never met actually changed my life, and I will forever be grateful for every single one of them. Please let them know how much I appreciate all of them. Thank you to every single one of them from the bottom of my heart! If any of them comment on this post, I promise I WILL reply this time!

Thank you so much Alison!

{ 357 comments… read them below }

    1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      Ikr? I’m not crying…

      it’s just raining…

      on my face.

      OP, congratulations on… well, everything. I wish you all the best in your new career and your new home.

      1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

        Making a lasagna? For one?

        Seconding those congrats. Gaining control over your life and finances can be difficult in any situation, and you are succeeding. Best of luck to you!

          1. AlligatorSky*

            Thank you guys! I’ll provide the complimentary umbrellas. I keep the one with the middle finger on it for my mother. You guys can have the nice ones :-)

            1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

              Hahaha! The best middle-finger umbrella you will ever give her is to live your best life on your own terms, and you’re making it happen, and that is amazing. Keep being awesome.

            2. Friendly Hi*

              You sound so sweet and so happy and it makes me tear up with joy to hear that the comments helped you feel less alone :) :) :) Sending you all the very best wishes in the world. No need to reply but I just wanted to add my happiness for you in the comments.

      2. JessaB*

        Onions, someone is cutting onions here dammit.

        Congrats OP, glad things are going your way.

          1. Khlovia*

            Anti-onion goggles! This is actually a thing that needs to be invented! You’ll make a fortune!

    2. BRR*

      I’m going to have to look back at the first post today for tips on controlling crying.

      I’m so trilled for the OP and wish them continued happiness. I feel so good after reading this update.

      1. AlligatorSky*

        Thank you everyone! I’ve found an amazing flat/apartment and I’m moving in with a friend to split the rent every month, so it’ll be easier. I’m also really close with the friend I’ll be living with, so I’ll have positive support 24/7!

        1. Parenthetically*

          Alligator! It’s you! Oh boy, I’m so glad things are looking up — I was hopeful for an update this week and here one is. :) You rock.

        2. LSP*

          Congratulations! On everything!

          It can be incredibly tough to keep yourself mentally and emotionally healthy when you have someone close to you who is a negative force, so everything you have accomplished, while wonderful on its own, is infinitely more so given what you had to deal with to get here!

          I wish you all the best!

          (Also, I have a friend who swears by the book “Dear Daughter of a Narcissisitic Mother…” – by Danu Morrigan, who has dealt with a lot of similar issues, so I wanted to pass that along as you get some much needed time and distance from the situation.)

          1. AlligatorSky*

            Thank you so much! I was talking to a friend recently about everything, and I described my life to her like this:

            Before, I felt like I was on a never ending escalator that was going the wrong way; not going anywhere and if anything, just getting further and further away from where I wanted to be.

            I’ve finally pressed the emergency stop button, and I’m heading to the place I want to be! (General happiness).

            Sounds crazy, but that’s how I look at things. Also, thank you for the heads up on the book – I’ve just bought it on my iPad on Amazon!

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              I am seriously so thrilled and excited for you. If I were the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes after reading your letter! I’m hoping you’re getting the support you need (therapy? I am a huge therapy proponent), and I’m glad that you’re building a supportive community.

            2. Specialk9*

              Nothing about that analogy sounds crazy.

              The analogies that worked for me for the detox period after leaving my abusive relationship were:

              1) Disentangling the root systems of two plants. It’s normal to miss someone so badly, especially at first, even if you know they were bad for you. Your roots grew together, and until you regrow new roots you feel unstable and those torn roots HURT! But plants are adaptable and so are you — you’ll grow those new roots, but it takes time.

              2) Floating blissfully on a cloud – and every now and then a donkey appeared in the mist and kicked me in the head. Being in that kind of situation is so stressful, and the relief is so vast, but also you need to process and hurt, because you were harmed (and it can hurt more when you realize how thoroughly not-ok that all was). Don’t be surprised by all kinds of emotions, amid the joy and relief of freedom.
              I rarely get donkey kicked these days though, so it gets better!

        3. Jadelyn*

          I’m so happy to hear that! Gods know, if anyone ever deserved a break from the crazy, it’s you.

          I do want to leave you with one gentle caution, though – speaking as a depressed person who nearly ruined an amazing relationship by depending too heavily on the other person for that kind of support, be mindful of how much you’re leaning on your friend and roommate. It’s great to have that positive support close at hand, but just be careful to respect their boundaries and make sure you don’t wind up accidentally giving them responsibility for your mental health, cause it’s an easy mistake to make for a lot of us struggling with mental health Stuff, and that’s not a good situation for anyone.

          1. FD*

            +1 I’ve been on both ends of it. It doesn’t mean you have to deal with everything yourself, but be careful of leaning too much on any one person. Depression is a heavy rock and it’s best if multiple people can help carry it (both professionals and personal).

          2. Not So NewReader*

            This is great advice for people in all kinds of settings. When my aunt lost her husband she indicated her daughter would do this, that and the next thing. I said, “Wait.” We talked about burning other people out. We talked about things that Daughter did not have to be involved with. And we talked about picking people. To make her laugh, I said, “For example, you would never pick me to repair your car!” She agreed and chuckled. I said to pick people who are well versed at the particular problem you are asking about.
            Spread it out, ask different people for different things. Choose people strategically.

            1. Linden*

              This is really good advice in general! I think we have a tendency to just contact the one or few people we are closest to, trust, and feel most comfortable with, regardless of whether they are best suited for the task.

        4. Specialk9*

          I’m so stoked! I love that this is working out. Seriously, so many supportive thoughts your way.

          One thing to know about living with friends is that it can create new strain on that relationship. That’s normal, and gives you a chance to practice using your hard-but-necessary skill of using your words (kindly and at a good time). I suspect you were taught to swallow your feelings, and that can make open communication hard. You can do it! And yes, it really is incredibly hard for so many of us too. We do it anyway because it creates better options in life.

          The key strategy with roommates is to have a *written* plan about toilet paper, groceries, cleaning, and guests, AND to have a standing monthly/quarterly roommate meeting. Be specific – how much and what kind of toilet paper (‘I bought a big case of fluffy 3h ply and you bought 4 rolls of cheapass 1 ply?!’), whether you share groceries (recommend not, except for a sharing shelf and communal meals; be specific about milk and tea, and any special treats you don’t want to share). Cleaning (what exactly, how often – and one of you will almost surely still end up annoyed, just expect that). Guests (how often, what level of vetting, can their partner move in, at what point do they pay more for partner’s food/power/water if they’re always there). And then meet to talk about issues, openly and negotiate a solution that make both a little happy.

          Also expect that you’ll go through a detox period in relation to your controlling mom. I’ve been there, and it’s liberating but also overwhelming! You may find yourself being obsessive (reasonably so), angry, sad, guilty, etc – a whole barrage. That’s totally cool! But while you can share, don’t make your roommate be your unpaid therapist, and expect them to drop their own stuff at every point to support you emotionally. If you can, check out a therapist or support group for those who have been emotionally abused. If you don’t have those available to you, try journaling, online communities, and reading about disentangling from controlling parents.

            1. Specialk9*

              Each roommate is different, but there are consistent themes.

              I’m curious if there are other regional ‘core roommate conflict’ variations. I mentioned tea bc OP is in Scotland, but in the US the contentious beverage has been coffee. (And memorably once, kombucha.)

          1. Parenthetically*

            Yes yes yes to all this advice about negotiating solutions about household staples! My dad and husband both lived in sharehouses where there was a shared food budget and a cooking rotation, and I’ve lived in roommate situations where we shared nothing, not milk or tea or olive oil or salt. Both worked fine — because we negotiated them in advance. Schedules and preferences will drive that kind of thing, and wherever you land on the spectrum of “shared food budget/cooking” to “that’s my salt and that’s yours” is great as long as you work it out openly!

          2. Jen S. 2.0*

            This is killer advice. Agree, agree, agree.

            AlligatorSky, you rock! Standing on your own won’t be easy (that is normal; most of us have stumbles and missteps as we figure things out. Hoo, boy, I have some roommate stories), but it will be so very worth it. You literally have hundreds of us supporting you!

          3. Tim Tam Girl*

            A+ advice here! I wish I’d had it in my first roommate situation. Also love Jadelyn’s advice above, and the replies to it. I’ve been there too, on both sides. Turns out in most cases you just need to use your words – which took training, but I got there and I’m much better for it.

            AlligatorSky: You are a badass and I was so happy to wake up to this update. Thank you for checking in. You have accomplished so much in such challenging and disruptive circumstances, and you have proven that you can get through hard times and create better for yourself. I hope that when future challenges arise, you are able to look back at how much you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come and get strength from that. You have every reason to believe in yourself – and if you *ever* question that, you can borrow the belief that hundreds of Internet Strangers have in you until you’ve found your own again. We know you can do it. :)

        5. Reba*

          Been thinking about you and SO SO HAPPY to hear this great news. I can even hear/read the change in your tone in the update–your bravery and hope are shining through. I’ll be toasting to your progress tonight!

        6. lazuli*

          How wonderful! Good for you for doing all the work you’ve done to get your life on track, despite so many obstacles. You are awesome!

        7. tangerineRose*

          I’m so glad you can move out! You’ve been doing a great job taking care of yourself!

        8. Personal Best In Consecutive Days Lived*

          I’m so glad you’re doing better. You deserve a happy life. You deserve freedom. And you’re amazing.
          Keep on keeping on!

        9. Not So NewReader*

          AS, this news makes my week… nope, it makes my month. I am so happy for you. You are a very strong person. You did not let that soul crushing person crush you, this is what power/strength look like, AS. I think you might not be too sure that you are very strong. Give it time and you will see more and more that I am telling you the truth.

          Your “voice” sounds so much better. I can’t get over how far you have come. Dang. How did we all end up with onions next to our computers?

        10. MtnLaurel*

          That’s awesome! Though I didn’t comment the first time around, I’ve been thinking of you and hoping things are looking up. I’m so glad it’s so! Big hugs and support. You are making it and you are powerful!

        11. Batshua*


          If you are not in therapy, please read up on recovering from parents like yours and creating safe and healthy boundaries for yourself. I know it will take practice — it might take practicing your whole life. I don’t know this personally, but I have two close friends with deeply problematic parental situations, and I know they still struggle with that, but that’s okay! They have made enough space to protect themselves, and the rest of their lives are good, and they are getting stronger every day. You can, too.

      2. Jesca*

        Yeah, I now know that the penis/vagina thing does work …

        And I am so sorry OP. My parents were never this bad, but they were bad with the negativity. My mom did also try to control my finances when I was younger. Just because I feel for you so strongly, I will share that getting away from there will change so much. And if you ever want to change your thinking at all, I recommend You Can Heal Your Life by Louis Hay. Yeah, I rarely recommend that one as far as self help goes because people do have a tendency to make fun of it, but coming from a house hold of really negative, cold, controlling, and judgmental people, this was the ONLY thing that helped. I don’t buy into the whole you-can-cure-your-cancer or that manifesting things through thought, but the actual exercises to release all that garbage thought is really amazing. And you don’t have to tell anyone you read it either (even though I just outed myself)!

        1. Amber T*

          God I forgot to try it. Don’t care – these are happy tears, and quite frankly those are always welcome! OP, you have a whole bunch of people rooting for you!! <3

        2. MoodyMoody*

          It’s actually Louise Hay. I was so unhappy when I heard about her death last year.

          1. Jesca*

            Yeah yeah autocorrect doesnt like Louise. But once googled, I think it becomes pretty obvious …

            And Yes it was sad about her death.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          I love her. AS, she can show you how to change the tape recorder in your head. It takes time. But her affirmations do eventually help.

          I have long been interested in the myth we can blow out our own pain with our thoughts. So I’d been dabbling with this concept for a couple decades. And then one day, it happened. I had the worse pain ever. I could not get to the phone. I had never had pain like this. I started doing some affirmations. I hit one particular affirmation and the pain went out. Instantly. So now this is no longer a myth for me.
          If I had not been practicing with affirmations right along I would not have been able to say my affirmations because the pain was intense.

          What we tell ourselves matters, big time. Remember the rule, “If you cannot say it to a friend, you cannot say it to yourself either.”

    3. EddieSherbert*


      OP, your update and kind words for us is bringing me to tears! So very very happy for you.

  1. it's all good*

    thank you for the update! I am so proud of you. Keep your positive actions going, you can do it. All the best.

  2. Massmatt*

    Wow, what an update! So sorry you are depressed, I hope you are getting treatment and that you feel better. It sounds like you are going through enormous changes, good for you! Some of these things (like moving out to live on your own) may seem scary especially at first but that’s OK. Best wishes to you for your continued growth, and I’m glad the comments here helped!

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Thank you! Depression is tough, especially since I’ve been trying different medications for almost 7 years now and nothing has worked so far. On the plus side though, I move out in just under a month! Super scared but also incredibly excited!

      1. CM*

        That’s amazing. I’m so impressed by all you’ve managed to do while struggling with depression — spend years trying different treatments (that alone is amazing, it’s so easy to give up and decide that it’s too hard to keep trying), job hunt and find a better work situation, pursue your goal of moving out, and stand up for yourself with your mother! Honestly, from your last update, I didn’t think that openly standing up to your mother would be an option, but you did it. I’m so glad to read this update and hope that you continue to do well — and when you’re not, come back and read all these comments!

        1. AlligatorSky*

          Standing up to my mother was probably the MOST terrifying thing I’d ever done in my entire life. I honestly haven’t been so terrified since I went on a tree-top obstacle course when I was 14 (and I’m TERRIFIED of heights). It was very hard and there was lots of tears (from me) and shouting (partially me) but I somehow got through it.

          We had an argument (screaming match more like) about my finances and how much rent I would pay her. I earn £300 ($401) a week. She wanted all of it. I told her I would be more than happy to give her £50 ($66) a week to contribute to monthly bills, groceries and the laundry bill every month, and if she didn’t like it, I would refuse to give her anything. I know it sounds harsh, but I have stuff to pay for and can’t afford to give her ALL my money. (Plus, I’M the one earning it, so I’m entitled to it!)

          Safe to say I don’t know how I did it but I won that argument and now I give her £50. Even better is that I personally give her it or transfer it, so she can’t take it out of my own account :-)

          1. Jules the Third*

            Go you! Wishing you the very best of the rest of your life.

            For recommendations on how to work while depressed, you might check out Captain Awkward, there’s a post specifically on that.

            There’s also a lot of overlap in the commentariat.

          2. A tester, not a developer*

            On another forum I visit, they talk about ‘growing a shiny spine’ (in a good way, not in a mean ‘you are so spineless’ way) when we start putting normal healthy boundries in place. So congrats on your new shiny spine! :)

            1. sigh*

              Oh hey I’m on justnomil too! Always love it when theres overlap in my internetting

          3. Jadelyn*

            Holy hell, that kind of conversation takes brass balls – I salute you! I’m stunned that she thought $400 a WEEK – your whole freaking salary – was a reasonable demand, good lord.

            1. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

              I know – how did she expect her daughter to have any life of her own…oh – I get it.

          4. Elizabeth the Ginger*

            Good for you! I don’t know where in Scotland you are, and I don’t know real estate prices, but a quick search I just did turned up rooms for rent in the £200-£450/month range – so asking you for £1200/month is outrageous! (And even if what you’re paying is a little below market rate now, IMO that is more than balanced out by the fact that in the past she *took* more than a reasonable amount without your permission.)

            The sooner you get out of that house the better, in my opinion. I’m glad your plans are shaping up to do that.

          5. Observer*

            The fact that she thought that this was something she’d be able to get from you speaks VOLUMES.

            This must have been a really, really tough conversation. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have guts. Courage is not necessarily about not being afraid. It’s about what you do when you are afraid and even terrified.

          6. designbot*

            I am so excited on your behalf for the day when you move out and don’t need to pay her another cent. The level of freedom and relief is palpable.

          7. Batshua*

            It might /seem/ harsh, but if she was taking boatloads before, think of the fact that she was overcharging you and now you’re evening it out. :D

            You are so strong and brave!

        2. Specialk9*

          I was on a lot of medication when in an abusive relationship. I’m not now — though of course the underlying stuff is still there, it’s just that I can manage it with my own resources now that they’re not being vampirically drained at every turn. Not everyone has that chemical setup, sometimes you still need meds, but the point is that being in a toxic relationship sucks away so much resilience and reserves without you when realizing it — I suspect you’ll find that life is more manageable, even as you’re doing scary new things and setting up healthier systems.

          1. Observer*

            That’s a really good point. AlligatorSky, please consider the possibility of revisiting medications that did not work before. Being a a reasonable living situation could make a huge difference.

          2. ByTheWater*

            This is exactly what I was going to say. One of my loved ones just had a similar experience. He was not experiencing benefits from medication and was hide-in-bed-all-day levels of depressed for months, but once he got out of his mother’s house, the medications worked, and soon he was actually even able to get weaned off of them. He’s doing great all on his own again.

            I’ve been on meds for 20 years, because chemically, I just need them. But not everyone does, and for those that do, they’re definitely more effective when you aren’t in a hellish situation.

          3. Mad Baggins*

            So true. I was in a really dark place when I hated my job. Now that I have a new job, I still sometimes struggle with things and breaking bad habits is hard…but it’s more like learning to swim with a life vest instead of drowning without one.

            Hopefully once you’re out of the house you can revisit the meds issue and start swimming with your head above water (or just on the surface, however alligators swim)! Your courage and resilience fills me with determination :)

          4. RainyDay*

            Yup, wanted to say this. I was deeply depressed while in a relationship that I thought was fine, but wasn’t (nothing overt like abuse, but I was trying to fit myself into a life that wasn’t mine, had given up on most things that I loved, just genuinely letting my soul slowly die a perfect suburban death). Once I moved out and got my feet under me, I got better more quickly than I ever could have imagined. Once I was able to find the joy in life – CREATE my own joy – I was able to wean myself off the meds. (This is not the case for everyone, of course – long term medication needs are absolutely a thing!)

            OP, you may find your depression looks much different when you’re out of a toxic household. CONGRATS on the progress you’ve made thus far – you’re amazing!

          5. Sylvan*


            I also want to add that, once you have left the bad situation and you are no longer in crisis mode, you can find yourself ~processing~ a lot of that bad situation. You might have a phase like this before the “life is more manageable” part starts. It’s okay. It’s normal. Check in with any support system you have.

          6. Not So NewReader*

            I totally agree with this.
            AS, you needed a mother-ectomy first and foremost. They do not make pills that would make that woman appear nice to anyone.

            Because you have made such a huge change in your life, plan on locked doors suddenly flying open for you.

            I have a story- Louise Hay style story. I fell on my tailbone when I was 16. According to Hay tailbone is connected to family and community. Well this made sense, when I fell I was feeling pretty disconnected from a lot of people because of my mother. And I injured my tailbone. I carried that injury for five years. Five years of starting to brown out dozens of times a day. Then I moved out. My tailbone healed up six months later after I left. It has been 30 plus years and I have not had any tailbone pain since then.
            Toxic people erode our health. My tailbone was not treatable, fixable until I got out of my house. And something similar MAY happen for you. It’s not coincidence if it does.

          7. Heynonniemouse*

            ‘Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.’ (Notorious d.e.b.)

          8. TootsNYC*

            That happened to my niece–she was on meds for anxiety and depression. When she broke up with her shiftless drifter of a partner/husband, she found that she didn’t think she needed them anymore. She felt she had been medicating herself to cope with the stressful, unfulfilling life she had.

            I asked her to be alert, and perhaps to talk w/ a psychiatrist anyway, just to be sure. But she just has many more emotional resources to use to cope when an anxiety bout hits.

            So, maybe you won’t be able to drop all the meds, who knows? But you certainly should have many more emotional resources to cope with your depression.

      2. Dragoning*

        I’m so glad you’re moving out! I got out of a similar situation in December, so, word of caution: you may not immediately get better, or get worse once you move out (I had some rather dark thoughts after living on my own about what I could do if no one was there to see the results).

        But, that’s normal, and you can get through that, and it will be so much better!

      3. Good feeling here*

        Have you tried the book Feeling Good by David Burns? It’s really cheap on Amazon and it’s been proven to help most people.

          1. Good feeling here*

            It’s great. And Dr Burns is amazing, I like listening to his podcast. He’s truly devoted to helping people.

        1. London Calling*

          I LOVE that book. It has helped me so much in so many ways. As has Louise Hay.

          LW, many congratulations on the changes you have been able to make in your life. I’m doing a little happy dance for you.

          1. Good feeling here*

            It’s written by a psychiatrist who uses CBT and other techniques. It has exercises and it’s also very compassionate. It helps you identify your thinking patterns that lead you to depression. It’s evidence based and it’s amazing. It’s also an easy read.

      4. AKchic*

        You’ve got this! You can do it!

        Yay! I’m so glad for this update! *happy dancing*

  3. JustThisOnce*

    Best kind of update to read. That’s incredible, OP, I’m so very happy for you.

    I hope you’re getting all the support you need however you need it – in person too. I promise you that people in your everyday life care about you and want you to succeed too – even if you don’t realize it. Even if it’s not the usual suspects (like family). I wish I could offer something more – but count me among the people who are rooting for you :)

    Best of luck and so very glad to hear this!

    1. AlligatorSky*


      My family are very on the errr side and I don’t really get along with them, so talking to them is like talking to a brick wall.

      It makes me feel pretty damn cool knowing there’s so many people out there rooting for me. You are the best, thank you!

      1. Kobayashi Maru*

        I can remember my mother justifying everything with; “but I love you” it took me into my 20’s before I learned to reply that there were also unhealthy types of love and I had just as much right to live my own life as she had to live hers.

        1. Khlovia*

          I hear that. Gives you such a screwed-up notion of what “love” is supposed to feel like, doesn’t it? Fun stuff.

  4. Marley*

    *tears in my eyes*

    Good for you, OP! Well done! Best wishes in your continuing independence.

    1. Queen of Cans & Jars*

      OMG, me too! OP, I’m so happy you’re taking control of your life and are also reaping all the wonderful benefits! :)

  5. AH*

    I’m sorry you had such a bad time but you should be so proud of yourself for how far you’ve come and how great you’re doing! We’ve all made huge mistakes at work, and it’s especially hard to come back from that when you’re dealing with mental illness and lack of support, but you did it and you’re wonderful for having done it. You’re doing great! Keep being great!

  6. Bookworm*

    I don’t think I had read the original letter or the first update but I just wanted to chime in and thank you for this update, anyway. I can feel you on financially controlling parents and how difficult it can be to break away. It sounds like things are on the up for you and that’s really fantastic.

    Thanks again for updating us. :)

  7. KatieK*

    So glad to hear you’re doing better!! You deserve love and support not…whatever you might call what you were getting from your family. You must be incredibly strong to build and maintain those boundaries and work toward your independence.

    Keep working hard to open up this exciting new chapter of your life and don’t be afraid to ask for support from friends, therapists/doctors and anyone who isn’t your mom when you need it.

  8. Hosta*

    This is wonderful! You’re doing some really big, tough things. You should be super proud of yourself! And gentle to yourself too, when you’re feeling down. It can be hard to treat yourself kindly and lovingly when depression grips at you.

    I hope you update us again – it’s really exciting, watching someone succeed!

  9. LBS*

    Oh OP, I am so happy for you. I hope you can reflect on just how strong and amazing you are! I will continue to root for you and your continued success. You are going to continue to do great things- I totally believe that (and in you!)

  10. Knitting Cat Lady*

    Oh dear, do I ever feel you on the depression.

    I’ve been there myself. And it does get better eventually.

    Hang in there.

  11. Matilda Jefferies (formerly JMegan)*

    I was actually thinking about you just the other day, and wondering how you were doing. I’m so glad you wrote in, and absolutely thrilled to hear that you’re doing so well!

  12. Angela B.*

    All the best to you and a huge CONGRATULATIONS on taking control over your life and your imminent move-out! You’re awesome and you’re going to get over this last hurdle, no question–you’ve done so much already!

  13. Captain S*

    I love this update so so much. I’m so thrilled to hear you’re doing better – you absolutely deserve it – and I’m so proud of you for standing up for yourself. I’m not sure it’s something I could’ve done.

    Sending you healing thoughts in managing your depression.

  14. Kix*

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and you’ve taken that step on your way to an awesome journey!

  15. Foreign Octopus*

    So, so proud of you, OP! I struggle with depression myself and I know what it’s like to be in such a dark place that suicide seems the only way out. I’m glad that you were able to move past that and come out of the other side stronger. Good luck with moving out. I was 24 when I moved out for the first time due to mental health issues and I honestly think it made me a stronger person as a result. I can’t imagine living with my family again, however much I love them.

    All the luck in the world!

  16. Nuala O Dwyer*

    I must have something in my eyes. Definitely not crying. So so delighted for you xx

  17. Gingerblue*

    OP, I am so, SO happy for you. Thank you for the update, and congratulations!

  18. NW Mossy*

    *gets misty* OP, that’s such encouraging progress! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve found a professional niche that’s working for you and you’re on your way.

    Stories like yours are why I love commenting here – it demonstrates how much the community’s developed over the years and how we can rally to support someone we’ve never met achieve their professional (and sometimes even personal) goals. Sometimes we can feel a bit alone in the work world, but on AAM, you never are – there’s always someone here with sage advice and a shoulder to lean on.

  19. Scotty_Smalls*

    I’m so happy you are doing so much better. I want to encourage you to keep going and getting help. Keep focused on what you want out of life and working to it. I’m rooting for you!

  20. The Tin Man*

    I never saw the first update to this one. I have to say, I went from horrified by your mother’s behavior in that one (it reminded me of behavior I have seen in reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists) to full of warm fuzzies in this update.

    Thank you for the update and I am wishing you the absolute best living your best life. You deserve to.

    1. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      I was thinking that, or JustNoMIL. OP, if you read this, you may find people who understand what you’re dealing with on Reddit!

      1. AlligatorSky*

        I’ve made a few posts in that r/raisedbynarcissists sub! My last post was a month or two ago, before I shut off my old bank account. My username is the same on here but with an extra Y at the end, since AlligatorSky was taken.

      2. WannaAlp*

        Yes, the http://www.reddit.com/r/JUSTNOMIL/ sub has more specialist advice in dealing with mothers who are controlling of their offspring.

        OP, the experience of posters on that sub indicates that controlling mothers don’t often let go lightly. You have taken an AMAZING and important step towards having your own say over your own life, but that doesn’t mean that your mother will cease to cause problems for you. You still have a journey to go in negotiating how (if at all) you want your relations with your mother to go in the coming years. This sub can provide a lot of tools, support, and help with any resetting your “normal meter” needs. I strongly recommend it to you.

        1. sstabeler*

          to be fair, I suspect it depends on why they are controlling. Sometimes- we’ll call this the Molly Weasley variety- they are controlling because they don’t actually realise you are an adult in your own right. That variety probably won’t keep making problems for you provided you maintain a clear boundary as to what’s acceptable. However, some are just plain controlling, and they won’t stop, since for them, being your mother is just an excuse to be controlling. THOSE can be a PITA to get to knock it off short of waiting for them to die off, or outright breaking off all contact.

    2. Kitty*

      Yes, that Reddit is so helpful to people with extremely difficult or toxic family, it helped me for a while too while I was figuring out how to deal with my mum.

  21. Higher Ed Database Dork*

    Hi OP, I’ve grown up with a controlling mother myself, so I understand some of what you have experienced. I just wanted to say congrats on the new job, and I hope your new home is wonderful. June is right around the corner!

  22. Someone*

    I have no idea how I would have made it on my own when I first moved out, got a job, an apartment, and everything without my extremely supportive mom. It is so hard to get a start now, and it is even harder with mental health stuff- and you are doing it! Don’t be hard on yourself- you are doing great, you are moving forward, and I’m happy that things are getting better for you.
    Sending love <3

  23. HigherEdPerson*

    Omigosh – we are SO rooting for you!!!!!!! Keep going, keep growing, keep trying new things. You’re on you’re way, and you’re doing a GREAT JOB. HOORAY, YOU!!!!!

    Remember, depression lies. She’s a lying liar who tells dirty dirty lies. When it gets hard and dark, come back here, and ask for help.

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      I wish I could find the comment now, but I recently read a comment from someone saying whenever the negative/depressing thoughts began to intrude, she imagined them being said in Tomi Laren’s voice. Since that bench is a liar, she immediately knew not to trust those thoughts (but it was said in a much funnier way, argh, I wish I could find it!). Anyway, I really like that tactic and your comment reminded me of it.

      And yes, OP, as HigherEdPerson said, come back here anytime! We’re here for you.

      1. Hosta*

        I keep a notebook of all my little successes, including the times where I feel terrible but did the thing, or felt terrible but dealt with it in a much quicker, less traumatized way than I once did, or even just when I did something mundane in a particularly well organized or effective way. I write down nice things people say to me, too. When I’m really low, it helps to have a record of not-failure to read through.

      2. Specialk9*

        I used to imagine those bad thoughts as an evil worm. There’s only so seriously you can take a worm, even if it says really mean things in its wee tiny squeaky voice…

  24. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

    We’ve got your back, we love you, OP! I understand depression and suicide attempts quite well, and won’t say more on that except that I am so proud of you! Wow, you’ve done so much and are still moving forward, this is just amazing. You might not realise this, but your story will almost certainly inspire and help others. There will be someone reading this who’ll find the courage to take the first step in their own journey. I’m so glad the bank helped you. For people who have trouble trusting institutions, knowing that a bank was on your side could help people in similar situations ask for help.

    I’m sorry for the bad times and hope they’re behind you. I’m smiling so much at all the good things in your update. You are truly a delight and I’m so happy for you! Ten thumbs up, keep up the amazing work!

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Thank you! You guys are honestly so unbelievable wonderful, I wouldn’t have been able to get through all of this without you guys. Even going to the bank was scary, but everyone’s comments were amazing and gave me the courage to go. The bank staff were wonderful and so helpful and not at all judgemental, and helped me every step of the way. They called me today at lunch just to see how everything was going – Little things like that are things I appreciate SO much.

      Thank you guys again, I’m so thankful for all you wonderful readers, commenters, and people I can call my internet friends :-)

      1. WellRed*

        I take it that bank has made a customer for life! Take this to heart that people (even banks) want to help. You turned this situation around even quicker than I had hoped.

      2. Kobayashi Maru*

        Good luck to you! I wish you all the best. Some people here may have inspired you, but now you are an inspiration to those coming behind you, who are hoping to finally get to where you are now.

        Here are some books and songs that you may find useful:

        “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist”
        by Ramani Durvasula Ph.D. (Author)

        “How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving”
        by David Richo (2002, Shambhala).

        “If you had controlling Parents” by Dan Neuharth.

        “From Panic to Power” by Lucinda Bassett

        “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker (because I think everyone should read this)

        • “Fight Song,” Rachel Platten
        • “Human,” Christina Perri
        • “Praying” Kesha
        • “Rise up” Andra Day
        Excerpt from a post:
        Setting boundaries has two parts:
        1) Telling the other person what you need and then
        2) Following through with what you need to do to protect yourself from the situation if the person doesn’t respect your boundaries.

        The second part is the hardest one because ultimately your behavior is the only thing you can control, and it involves setting boundaries with yourself, like, “If he/she keeps doing this I will really have to….”

        It’s the only way you can really count on making the bad behavior stop.

        1. Specialk9*

          To the last part – about setting and strongly defending your boundaries: it gets easier, but you have to fight hard early on. But it really does get easier!

        2. wendelenn*

          I’d like to add “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Awesome power anthem celebrating being “who I’m meant to be”!

  25. kerfuffle*

    I think this is the first time an AAM post has made me truly tear up. I am so happy to hear that you’re doing well and I know we all wish you nothing but the best. Best of luck in your next chapter – such an exciting step!

  26. EMW*

    This is such wonderful news to hear!! It’s such a difficult thing to learn how to stand up to your parents.

    1. JaneB*

      Seconding that. And depression is a sneaky mean vine that tries to pull you down – but it’s not all you are, and you are proving that day by day.

      GO YOU!!!

  27. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

    Awesome, yay for you! Wonderful news, I am so very happy for you! <3

  28. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    Well done, you!
    I like updates and I love this update.
    Is it weird that so many people you don’t know and will never meet were cheering you on and are genuinely happy for you?
    Do care. We were and we are.
    Carry on.

  29. silvertech*

    OP, you rock! Seriously, it takes a lot of courage and strenght to do what you are doing… I promise you that depression is a liar and a monster, but you can get better (I did!). I wish you the best in your future mother-free life :)

  30. De Minimis*

    I am so glad things are improving for this letter writer!

    I have been there too with depression. Please know we are all cheering you on.

  31. Ms. Pear*

    My favorite line: ” My life has completely turned around in the space of a year.”

    Wish everyone dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts could read this post and find the hope these words provide.

    Very happy for you, OP!

  32. AnonymousBird*

    I am so proud of you! I was very recently diagnosed with depression and just thinking about what you did even while dealing with a mental health issue – locking down your bank account and taking a stand with your mom – I can’t even imagine the amount of strength that took! You are so strong! I really hope things continue to get even better. We’re all rooting for you!

  33. Luna*

    Way to go, OP! I’m so glad you are doing better and have been successful at chipping away your mother’s control. Moving out on your own can be scary but also really exciting!

  34. CaribouInIgloo*

    OP, you’re gonna kick depression’s ass!
    Been there, done that. It’s incredibly hard to adapt when you first break through that shell, like when you scratch off the scab of your wound and it’s still raw underneath. But it does get better!
    When you do move out and gain your footing, please update us and let us know you’re doing well.
    Best of luck to you!

  35. Cassandra*

    OP, I am counting the days until June on your behalf. I’m guessing you will feel at least somewhat better once you’re out of your current living situation, and I so want you to feel better!

    Very impressed with how much you’ve already accomplished. Rock on you!

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Thank you so much! June 16th, 2018 is the BIG DAY. Aka THE DAY. Aka the day I leave all this crap behind and start the next chapter of my life. I’ll make sure to check in that weekend and let everyone know how everything’s going!

      1. Rogue*

        Yes, please let us know how it goes! We all hope it goes smoothly without complications and hope your new living situation with be awesome and stress free.

      2. PlainJane*

        Woo hoo! Add me to your cheering section. It may take you a bit to adjust to your new life, but you can do it, and it’s going to be so much better than what you’re leaving behind. You’ve got this!

      3. SansaStark*

        Mine was Jan. 5, 2006. I celebrate that day every year – sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways. But on Jan. 5, I take a minute to be proud of breaking away and creating my own life. It’s so nice to hear how appreciative you are of your internet cheering section, but remember that YOU are the one who took all of that encouragement/support and turned it into your own strength. You’ve done great work and I hope you have all the success you’re working towards!

      4. Not So NewReader*

        June 16 and I am already throwing confetti.

        I know it’s a bit much to ask but if you can post that weekend in the open thread, I think, probably a 1000 people will be looking for you to make sure you are doing okay.

      5. Blue*

        This is fantastic – so happy for you and proud of you for taking such a big step! I find it so much easier to fight my depression when all my energy isn’t being drained by hugely negative presences in my life. I really, really hope that’s the case for you as well. Sending positive thoughts your way! <3

      6. Batshua*


        Srsly, tho, this is a HUGE step and we are all so so proud of you!

  36. Andy*

    O my goodness I’m so happy for you! I hope if you get down again you picture all us intertubes peeps up in the bleachers cheering for you!
    Straight You Hooliganism! Super Fan of You!

    1. NW Mossy*

      Well now I’m inspired to come up with an AAM cheer:

      Who will succeed professionally? O! P! O! P!
      Who has a way with a resume? O! P! O! P!
      Who speaks up when the going’s tough? O! P! O! P!
      Whose references say that they’re grade A? O! P! O! P!

  37. DaniCalifornia*

    This is such a great update to read! OP I am glad you are finding happiness at work and in your personal life. Good for you for standing up for yourself. You can do this.

    On a side note: I reread the original post and 1st update and it got me wondering. Some sites/social media don’t allow doxxing of other users. In the original post the OP mentioned her mother was on Twitter saying OP’s name, age, location, etc. Would this be considered doxxing? Just wondering since she would be revealing information. I realize Twitter may not have those rules but I know on reddit that’s a big deal and will get you banned.

    1. Specialk9*

      I was wondering that too. Especially with GDPR in effect as of tomorrow, and OP in the UK.

  38. Liz Lemon*

    Well now I’m crying.

    OP, your so clearly a kind and gracious and loving person. The universe has more good things in store for you.

  39. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I am so proud of you, OP! I’m sorry things got so bad there for a while, but you are on an amazing path forward and I have no doubt that you’ll be successful.

  40. Shona*

    Wow, LW, this is an incredible update! Sounds like you’ve made a lot of really big, really important changes in your life. That’s not easy to do, especially when you aren’t supported by family. I’m so impressed with you and happy for you. Good luck on your move!

  41. Drew*

    Trans-Atlantic cheers and hugs if you want them – this is the best possible news and we are so happy for you and proud OF you! Well done!!

  42. Hayley Steptoe*

    You’re doing SO WELL. I’ve been in your shoes — well, not exactly, but near enough — with my own mother. AAM, Captain Awkward, a couple Reddit communities focused on these issues, and a big old dose of self-compassion helped me too. Remember, if you ever feel scared or overwhelmed or like you can’t deal with living in the Real World on your own — 1) it’s normal to feel that way as a young person; 2) nearly anything you need to know can be found online or by asking someone; 3) we’re supposed to fail and make mistakes and try again/change tactics, and your mistakes have no bearing on who you are as a person or what you deserve out of life and relationships; and 4) the Real World is actually much kinder and more forgiving than the world you grew up in.

    Therapy will help so much, once you’re out of your mother’s everyday reach. Until then, maybe mindfulness meditation? I know it helped me a lot when I was still unable to move away from my mom’s house. It helps remind you that your reality is real, your feelings are okay, and you are not responsible for your mother’s emotions/reactions/choices.

    You got this. I promise you do. That doesn’t mean you need to feel like you got this — what you’re doing is scary and confusing and so very draining — but you’re SO resilient (slowly bouncing back from getting fired? NOT EASY for people from our background! All the props to you for moving on from that blow!) and SO on the right track. Establishing your life and freedom isn’t going to be easy or linear. There will be setbacks, and that’s okay. You’re not alone. <3

    1. Thursday Next*

      Points 3 & 4 are so important! Growing up in an oppressive environment, you never learn that making mistakes is not just okay, it’s expected. And once you have the chance to widen your circle, you have the opportunity to meet kind and supportive people.

      May I add, feeling overwhelmed has no age limits? :-) There are unfamiliar and challenging experiences at any age, and the same coping skills—asking for more information, leaning on or building a support network, knowing that mistakes are okay—help get you through them.

    2. Positive Reframer*

      I have a message in my line of sight that says, “I will make mistakes, I will learn and grow.” It helped get me through a few anxious weeks in a new position.

    3. Specialk9*

      “Remember, if you ever feel scared or overwhelmed or like you can’t deal with living in the Real World on your own — 1) it’s normal to feel that way as a young person; 2) nearly anything you need to know can be found online or by asking someone; 3) we’re supposed to fail and make mistakes and try again/change tactics, and your mistakes have no bearing on who you are as a person or what you deserve out of life and relationships; and 4) the Real World is actually much kinder and more forgiving than the world you grew up in.”

      All of this.

  43. Future Homesteader*

    Yay, OP!! You are amazing and strong and a bad@ss, and you’ve done SO, SO much so far. When my depression and anxiety get me down, I’m going to think about YOU and what you’ve been able to achieve. You have lots and lots of people rooting for you and sending you good wishes.

  44. littlemoose*

    Great job on all of your hard work and progress, OP. I’m so impressed by your resilience, and I wish you all the best in your new job and your new flat!

  45. tangoecho%*

    You proved that the way you eat an elephant is one bite at a time. I’m proud of you. Keep up the good work and I hope you find a great new place to live when it’s time!

  46. AlligatorSky*

    This will probably get lost in the wave of comments, but thank you to everyone so far for the amazing comments, you guys are truly the best. I’m slowly replying to each and every one of them.

    Happy to say that June 16th is THE BIG DAY!!!! I move out and into my own place (well, with a friend, but still!) for the first time! I’m so happy!

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Congrats! OP, I’m so glad for this update, and so glad that you’re getting out of there! It’s going to make so much difference for you to get out of that atmosphere.

    2. Dr. Doll*

      Setting a link on my calendar for June 16th to give you a big “YAY!” –please come to the weekend open thread and tell us how it went!

    3. Specialk9*

      Also, you don’t have to reply to each of us! We know you’re reading this, and that’s enough. You have a lot on your plate!

    4. WannaAlp*

      Woo hoo!!!

      Make sure you’ve got your important documents (birth certificate, National Insurance no., NHS number etc., job records like P45, etc. etc. ) retrieved and stored somewhere safe offsite well before then. You don’t want your mother to “put them somewhere for safe-keeping”.

  47. ZSD*

    Congratulations! We’re all SO proud of you for standing up to your mother, traveling on your own, and finding a new career that you’re enjoying. Thanks for updating, and know that we’re still rooting for you.

  48. BadWolf*

    Wow, OP, you are doing amazing. Many people faced with similar circumstances would just give up and stay under parental thumb. Making those hard and smart breaks with your money and job and moving plans are awesome. You might have bad days, but looking at it under a movie style montage, you’re moving forward.

    I hope that someday the firing story can be a great dinner story with big arm gestures and roaring laughter from the crowd from the drama and shared embarrassment.

  49. animaniactoo*

    OP, this was awesome to read, and I’m glad that you have found such comfort from the comments here. Write us back when you manage to move out, k? Doesn’t matter if it takes longer than June or even this year – we just want to know you’ve managed it and celebrate your independence with you, however long it takes to get there. Good luck!

  50. Weak Trees*

    And you’ve made a random stranger on the internet cry. Way to go, OP. We’ll all keep rooting for you.

  51. Not a dr*

    This update makes me so happy that I am happy crying in the office.
    I also wanted to say, OP, you a random stranger on the internet, are making my life better. I have been going through an anxious spiral about potentially being fired recently. It feels like it would be the end of the world. Thank you for reminding me it isn’t. That you can start a again. Maybe even in a new industry. And it is also a kick in the butt to keep saving, so I can stay financially independent.

    Thank you for this update.

    I’m rooting for you.

  52. AFPM*

    What a wonderful update, OP! And a BIG congratulations on taking control of your life and standing up to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. And as much as you think others have encouraged you, you are an inspiration that we can all overcome seemingly impossible circumstances. I hope you are also getting help for your depression and deprogramming the negative impact your mother has had on you. Please let us know when you’ve made the leap to move out. Very very best wishes on your new life!

  53. Anon Accountant*

    There’s a lot of pollen in here. Yup it’s the pollen.

    OP you’re amazing!! Best wishes and keep posting to the boards. You’ve worked so hard and all the best.

  54. Anon Accountant*

    And to quote another poster who used this phrase on another great update “It’s a wonderful update”.

  55. RJ the Newbie*

    That was a wonderful update, OP! Please forgive if this comes off as maternal. I may not not know you, but I am very, very proud of you and your strength of character. You’re going to make a wonderful life for yourself!

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Thank you so much! My family haven’t been the greatest, so someone being proud of me makes me so happy! You’ve made my night, thank you so, so much! <3

      1. Kuododi*

        My dear one… I want to wish you Grace and Peace in your time ahead. May the Holy One bless, preserve and keep you all the days of your life.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        You know, lots of people can be proud of us and what really matters the most is when we are proud of ourselves. AS, you are conquering your Mt. Everest. Chin up and walk tall, the world is just waiting to meet you.

  56. Observer*

    Congratulations! I’m SO glad that the comments here helped you to do what you needed to do. But, please take the credit that really is due to you. You did something that is really hard and scary. Remind yourself of this when you fell like you can’t get things done or you’ve made a mistake. We ALL make mistakes, so you know it’s going to happen. But you don’t have to let it get you down. You’ve made mistakes, and still been able to come back and accomplish some really tough stuff that most people never have to deal with.

  57. JustDessert*

    So happy for you. I have also struggled with depression for most of my life and sometimes all it takes is one thing to help push forward. If your dr hasn’t already tried this, after years and years of switching meds, I finally am on a combo that works for me. Sometimes you need more than one to really get the job done. I spent most of my adult life thinking I would be stuck at home and just this past December, I was able to purchase my first house! It can be done!!

  58. FormerHoosier*

    Thank you for your post. I am glad you are getting stronger. You have taken some incredibly positive and brave steps and I wish you all the best.

  59. Lou*

    So pleased for you! Well done on your determination and strength. You’re doing us Scots proud! :)

  60. Razilynn*

    OP, reading your first two letters broke my heart. Being in abusive relationship is such a nuanced situation. Many people don’t realize how difficult it is to get out, especially if you depend on that other person for financial support and support in general. Because the thing is, an abuser is controlling and manipulative, but other times they can be charming and caring. It’s kind of like stick with what you know: I might be in pain, but at least I know what to expect; breaking the cycle is scary and hard and how could I possibly do things on my own when I’m so worthless and weak?

    I can tell by this new update that you have found your voice. Life is sometimes tough, and you won’t always know what to do, but you deserve to be in charge of your own destiny. I’m so happy that you are finally putting yourself first (because you should!) and taking the risk of moving on. Once you’re settled in your new place, take a moment to reflect on everything you’ve been through and what the future can hold. You will be glowing!

    1. Specialk9*

      Yes, this. And controlling people are SO GOOD at guilt trips, and at making other people feel guilty when they deal with the consequences of their own actions. It’s so hard to see all of it when you’re in the middle, though.

  61. Dr. Doll*

    Plus one to all the “wonderful!”s! Congratulations and hang in there. Si se puede!

  62. Mananana*

    Oh, this update makes me so happy for you! You have made AMAZING strides since your first letter to AAM — you have much to be proud of.

    So congrats on your new job, your own bank account, saving towards a goal and, most importantly, finding out just how strong you are. Prayers for continued success, AlligatorSky!

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Thank you so much!! Life is so much better and will continue to get better! <3

  63. junipergreen*

    OP I’m so glad to hear about all of these wonderful developments – which YOU made happen! Congrats on all your hard work – it sounds like you’ve got some fantastic opportunities ahead of you. Know that this whole community is cheering you on. Internet high five!!!

  64. Dame Judi Brunch*

    Congratulations! Love how great you’re doing!
    Thank you for the update!

  65. ScoutFinch*

    1. So happy for you. I know how hard it must have been. My mom was so overprotective and it warps your sense of normal.

    2. But MOST OF ALL, I am so happy that this is YOU, Alligator Sky. Back when I first started reading AAM, I would look for your posts. I was rooting for you then, even though I never posted so. I apologize for not posting my support for you.

    Then, your posts kinda went away. I missed you and worried about you.

    So glad to see you back on the boards again. Best to you in your newfound independence.

  66. Lynn*

    OP, it sounds like you’re really getting things under control. Best wishes with your upcoming move and your new job.

  67. Amber Rose*

    Depression is the worst, but you are the best, so you win. ;)
    Write in with more updates if you ever want a cheer squad again, because we are all happily waving imaginary pom-poms for you.

  68. Viola Player*

    Congratulations on all you’ve achieved, OP… what a wonderful update! Good luck with the move, and all the best for the next phase of your life.

  69. Cait*

    You are a rock star!! Don’t ever doubt yourself, you’ve come so far and the adventure is just starting! Best of luck with your move and keep your chin up! xxx

  70. NitaSC*

    *high-fives AlligatorSky*
    You are going to be so amazed at how much your new situation is going to strengthen you. Living on your own can be occasionally scary or overwhelming, but that’s when you remind yourself that you are Captain of your own ship, and you put your mind to it and figure it out. Every experience will build your confidence. Enjoy!

  71. I Didn’t Kill Kenny*

    So happy for you! You took the first steps in a long journey. I feel inspired just reading about the strides you’ve made.

    Remember, you’ve had a lifetime learning to acquiesce to your mothers control. Don’t give up if you find yourself in a difficult situation. God bless you! You can do this!!!

  72. Archie Goodwin*

    Much, much applause to you from this corner of my cubicle, now the internet has returned. Maybe a little cheering as well. :-)

    (I’m currently the only one in this part of the office, so I don’t think I’ll be getting any funny looks…)

  73. Curious Cat*

    Very, very happy for you OP! This is lovely update, so glad you’re doing better and have found a job you love. Rooting for you to officially move out! You’re so close!

  74. Emmie*

    My heart is exploding with pride for you, and my eyes are misty. OP, I am in awe of your accomplishments and your strength. You are making all of the right moves – including having a roommate. Keep up the great work! I know you will continue to do extraordinary things in your life!

    1. Emmie*

      One other thing . . . this poem helped me in tough times:
      Good timber does not grow with ease:
      The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
      The further sky, the greater length;
      The more the storm, the more the strength.
      By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
      In trees and [wo]men good timbers grow.
      – – Good Timber – by Douglas Malloch

  75. OlympiasEpiriot*

    Well, HEY!!

    I am terrible at remembering names, but, I vividly remember your initial letter and I occasionally asked (with your correct user name) on Open Threads if you had turned up again. I am very happy to read this update and I’m over here applauding for you.

    One bite at a time, that’s the only way to eat it all. Congratulations.

  76. NotThatGardner*

    OP, I am so proud of you! These are major steps to take – and getting your own place, even with a roommate, is still getting your own place!

    i kept reading this with a “go get your dog”-style “GO GET YOUR LIFE!” in my head. you’re at the start and it’s gonna be amazing. can’t wait til 6/16 for you to let us know how it’s going!

  77. Annie Moose*

    OP, this is an amazing update and I’m so excited to hear how much you’ve accomplished! Can’t wait for June 16 for you!

  78. KT*

    Is there any way we could contribute to OP? To help the move, give you some more financial cushion, or just to have a celebratory “I’m free!” Dinner? I would love to send some money or set up a GoFundMe

    1. Anon for this today*

      I would be very happy to contribute.

      I had an invasive parent who did very similar things to me (sans social media, which didn’t exist then), destroying my education and professional development. That on top of abuse by another relative.
      I broke out and survived, incurring deep hatred from them, badmouthing me, stalking… oh, the stories I could tell.

      In a nutshell, dear OP: You Are.Not.Alone.
      Please run far far away from these people and build your own family.
      You can do it.

  79. Akcipitrokulo*

    That is such a wonderful update! You can be really proud of yourself for how you’ve come through this and done brilliantly!

  80. a name*

    It’s interesting how many people with crazy,suffocating parents struggle from depression.

    Hm. I wonder why. Hm.

  81. Emily S.*

    This is extremely uplifting to read. Makes me smile and feel warm fuzzies!

    LW, congratulations, and best of luck for your future! I’m so pleased you found a place to live (saw your comment above) and share with a pal. I hope there are more good things coming your way — and I feel sure that there are.

    Enjoy the bank holiday weekend!

  82. kitty*

    Thank you for the update, I’m sorry to hear you suffer from depression but it sounds like your life is so much better now and that’s wonderful! Keep on truckin’!

  83. BK*

    I want to give you the BIGGEST hug, now and every single time you need it!
    You’re amazing, keep going, keep kicking depression in the butt and lifting yourself up. You’re so strong!

  84. Dame Edna*

    Oh dear, my eyes are leaking. Letter writer, I’ve thought about you from time to time and wondered how it all worked out. You’ve brought me so much joy today–I wish you the absolute best!

  85. Cristina in England*

    Yes!!!! It is so good to hear your story that you have your own bank account now and that you’re moving out June 16!! It’s great that you’re moving in with a friend. What terrific news!! Well done. You are finally getting a chance to have your own life. Thank you so much for sharing your updates here. There have been a few weekend threads over the last year or two where we’ve given you a shoutout in case you were reading—we think of you regularly and we care about you. Lots of love and hope for your exciting new chapter! I’m putting the 16th in my diary. X

  86. Suzy Q*

    Oh, this is so good to hear! All the best to you, OP, as you learn to navigate the world independently.

  87. Bea*

    It took me what felt like forever to wrestle my depression and come out on top. You are doing so much and learning this entire way. It’s a battle that’s long fought but always remember you’re not alone.

    I’m relieved you’re moving out. That will lift a thousand more bricks off your chest. You are loved and cared for, even if the woman who is supposed to be doing that is failing miserably at it. Build your own chosen family and stay as positive as you can.

    Welcome to finance. It’s such a blissful controlled environment to be in when you’re escaping chaos and things you feel out of control of. Xoxo

  88. Paloma Pigeon*

    More than anything, AAM is a community. OP, we are here for you as you move forward on this journey. You have made so much progress! It will keep getting better.

  89. SpaceNovice*

    Congratulations on standing up to your mother and working on getting out! You’re doing amazing. I wish you the best of futures, OP!

  90. Sarah Peterson*

    You don’t have to reply to this one, but I couldn’t let your update go without saying you’re amazing – that was a lot of really hard stuff to do when you’re also working through depression. And that feels like the understatement of the year – big things with lots of baggage attached, and you not only overcame them, but even went on to do some traveling and made a plan to move out that you are successfully working on – wow, amazing, you are awesome, and I hope you are incredible proud of what you’ve done!!!

  91. Trillion*

    I am so glad things got better! What a bit of a devastating yet uplifting update.

    Congratulations for starting down the road of achieving your goals and living the life YOU want to live!

  92. There All Is Aching*

    AlligatorSky, you are a lightning-bright example of the power of the family you choose. Glad you’re in the AAM fam (and not in the toxic office, “we’re all family here” kinda way)! Keep on filling your life with people who are generous with their help, encouragement and so-proud-of-yous. All the claps — standing Os, supportive claps on the back, inspirational ’80s slow claps — to you from here in NYC.

  93. Robin Sparkles*

    I remember your first letter so well – yours is the one that stayed with me and made me an askamanager fan because of the support you got in the comments. I remember being really worried and hoping you were able to get out from under your mother. And you did! I am SO SO happy for you. You are amazing for having done so much and well in a year. I mean you not only got a new job but you achieved financial independence, have enough to move out, AND stood up to your mother. Holy smokes that last one takes YEARS for most people. Heck -many of us are still working on boundaries with strangers let alone a loved one. You really should be proud of yourself. Thank you for updating us!

    1. AlligatorSky*

      Aw, thank you so much! I’m honoured that you became a fan because of me! The readers on here are truly the best, and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve all of this without their love and support. I’m so thankful for all the help they gave me, and for all the courage they helped me find. I get so emotional when I think about how amazing and lovely and friendly and open everyone was. I have so many things I wish I could say to everyone that I could write a novel!

      I actually used to write professionally. Maybe I could write an article on my experience and how the readers here helped me through all of this. hahhha.

      In other news, LET’S GO TO THE MALL!

      1. Batshua*

        I forgot to mention this …


        I know you probably didn’t see a future before, but now you have one, so make it one where you are financially secure!

  94. AlligatorSky*

    Checking this thread on and off tonight as I’m currently simultaneously packing for my London trip this weekend and also packing my stuff into boxes to move out! Will start replying to comments again, sorry for any long breaks between replying! Also, if anyone here is on Twitter, I’ve been replying to some people who tweeted the AaM page after my update was published. If any of you are the people I spoke to on there, it was lovely to talk to you and thank you for the lovely tweets!! <3

    1. Parenthetically*

      I’m soooooo excited about your trip! Can’t wait to hear all about it! If you happen to drink an Anspach & Hobday beer, raise your glass in my direction, will ya? :)

    2. Famous Blue Raincoat*

      I remember your initial letters so well, AlligatorSky, and I am so so so happy to hear this wonderful update. It sounds like you’ve been dealing with a lot in the last year, and it’s so incredible to hear how you’ve been able to empower yourself in a really difficult situation.

      Depression sucks. I’ve been there. Try to remember it’s not something to be guilty or ashamed about, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You’ve got a pretty big corner of the internet cheering for you! Sometimes music helps me feel a bit better-not sure what you’re into but I would recommend the song Fill in the Blank by Car Seat Headrest. :)

      I’m packing this weekend for a move myself, and I have to say it feels great to start a new chapter. I’m sure you feel the same in a much bigger way! Hope you have an amazing time in London and that the move goes well. You got this!

    3. Anon for this today*

      And when you move out, don’t let your mother guilt you into staying!
      Even if she “has a heart attack”, or calls the police on you, or pulls some other stunt. (I had all of this.)
      Stay strong, stay true to yourself.

  95. Jackson*

    My first post on your site and totally worth it to say congratulations. What an outstanding update!

  96. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

    OP, this update made my shriveled, black heart grow three sizes! I’m so proud of you! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  97. Baska*

    Well done, OP! I hope things continue to get better for you as you move out into the world on your own. We’re rooting for you!

  98. sonia*

    Admiring your strength and resilience, and wishing you more of the same great things for your future!!!

    thank you so much for sharing!

  99. Bazinga*

    So this made my whole day!! I’m thrilled for you!! Congratulations on taking steps towards your future and freedom from your mother. I know it wasn’t easy.
    You got some great advice above, so I just want to say best of luck to you and please keep us posted!!

  100. Colorado*

    My heart skipped a beat and I had to reread the line about trying to take your own life, then I cried, at work, in an open office area. The only thing I could think of is if I ever drove my daughter to feel this way, I’d be the one contemplating suicide. I will go home and hold her extra close tonight. I’m so sorry you were born into an awful family but the best thing about growing up is your choices become your own! And OP – you are making great choices and I sincerely wish you the best life possible. Take care of yourself. It’s a long life, I hope you enjoy every second of it.

    1. AlligatorSky*

      I’ve been battling suicidal thoughts for years; I actually had my first when I was around 9 or 10. First attempt was when I was 13.

      It sounds eye-roll worthy now that I look back on it, but back in January (31st to be precise), AaM was on my mind. Not going to go into details because it could be triggering and it’s very personal, but after I made my attempt, I was just pretty much waiting to die. As I was waiting, my thoughts actually crossed to the site. I starting thinking all sorts of crazy things, such as “Will people notice I’ve stopped commenting? Will people remember me and wonder what I’m doing? Will they try to search for me? What happens if they do find out what happened? How will they react if I die? Will they miss me? I wonder how they’d feel if they knew this was happening.”

      Even when I was at my lowest and was near the end, I was still thinking about the site. It’s such a huge part of my life and always will be. I’m so thankful for everyone on here, including yourself. Thank you so much! <3

      1. Colorado*

        The world would miss you dearly. I too have experienced suicidal thoughts since I was a young teenager, I’m now 46. My biggest fear has always been, “how am I going to make it through this life alive?” I’ve been on medication for a few years now that keep the lows somewhat at bay. When I feel that way I remind myself how could I ever leave my 7 year old alone in this very scary, confusing world. Her life would be shattered knowing mommy made that choice. No matter how low I go or how those thoughts completely take over, I must find that last bit of strength, not for me but for her.

        The best revenge is living well OP, go live well! xo

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Yes, people noticed that you did not comment.
        Yes, people remembered you BY NAME.
        Yes, people wondered how you were doing.
        Probably some people searched but won’t say because that sounds stalkerish and they were not stalking.

        If you died, the world would have grown just a little darker. And we all would have noticed the difference.

      3. Indie*

        It’s……not eye rolley.
        It makes me think how brave ten year old you was. That you got braver every year. Waiting. It also makes me think that you’re scrappy enough to survive any of life’s cliff falls.

  101. AlligatorSky*

    Honestly can’t explain how overwhelmed and floored I am by all these wonderful readers, thank you all so much. Slowly but surely replying to each and every one of you!

    Writing all these comments has made me realise how much I express myself through writing. If Alison was okay with it and I had permission, I would be down to writing an article about this wonderful site and how all of you amazing people helped me get through everything. Considering reaching out to Alison to see if I can get a heads up about it. If you guys think it’s weird I won’t do it though, I know this probably sounds totally bizarre!

    1. Lady Ariel Ponyweather*

      It doesn’t sound bizarre at all, it sounds beautiful. If you get permission, go for it! We’ll all read what you have to say for sure.

      1. AlligatorSky*

        That’s so great that you’d be okay with that – thank you! All I need to work out now is where I would publish this article. None of the previous magazines/sites I’ve written for covered these sort of areas. Will have to do some searching/research!

        1. AlligatorSky*

          I’m officially writing about my experience and how this site and the readers helped me. If you’d be okay with me talking to you about this and/or mentioning you in the article, please let me know!

          1. Cassandra*

            Like, any of us, or just Allison?

            You’re welcome to use any comment posted under my handle, “Cassandra.” It’s not my real name, and AFAICanTell no one else here has used it.

          2. Tim Tam Girl*

            If I’ve posted anything you want to quote, feel free. I think I’ve always been Tim Tam Girl; it may also have been TimTamGirl or TimTam Girl (whatever spacing is whatever). I think I’m the only one who’s used any of those variants.

            I can’t wait to see what you write. You express yourself so beautifully and I am excited to see how you craft this story.

          3. Batshua*

            I can’t remember if I commented on your previous posts or not, but if I was helpful in some way, I’m happy to discuss and/or be mentioned.

    2. Sam*

      I wrote a reply before but the server went down so not sure if it got through! But if not:
      I help run a website called How Dare She? and we are always looking for stories from girls and women who have kicked butt. You’re more than welcome to send us a submission, and we can keep it anonymous if you prefer.
      We’re based in Australia but publish stories from around the world :) feel free to reach out to us if you’d like!

      1. AlligatorSky*

        I would love to! That’s so amazing, thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I’ll get in touch with you/the site at some point this weekend. (Crazy busy weekend!!)

        Thank you again! :)

  102. Emac*

    That is such an amazing update, congratulations!! I somehow missed your story until now though I’ve been reading this blog pretty regularly for a couple of years, but going back to the beginning to read the whole thing made me teary and gave me a huge smile. It’s good to have concrete examples of how good people can be and the positive effect that the internet can have sometimes.

    And AlligatorSky, I want to add my plus a million to all the other comments saying that you rock and are so strong. I think I saw you say somewhere that you felt bad for not knowing how to deal with everyday things even though you’re in your 20s, and I can definitely understand that feeling – I’m almost 43 and still trying to figure things out, including how to set boundaries with my slightly controlling (though nowhere NEAR as bad as yours) mother, after having to leave my job a year ago because of severe depression and anxiety. But there’s no shame in not knowing how to do something that you were never taught, and that is difficult for you to learn on your own for whatever reason. I feel like most people have this secret fear that there’s some instruction manual for life that everyone else has gotten – but if there is one, I definitely didn’t get it either! There’s a great podcast that I’ve recently gotten obsessed with that sort of deals with this called the Made of Human podcast. The host is a Danish comedian, Sofie Hagen, who lives in London who started it so she could talk to other people to figure out how to do life. I highly recommend it.

    And good luck with the move, that must be so exciting!!

  103. Granny K*

    If I were closer I’d help you pack! Congratulations on some HUGE steps in your life in such a short period of time. It’s great to learn the lesson “Put the airmask over your own nose and mouth before that of your neighbor” early! I wish I had.

  104. Thursday Next*

    I teared up first at the update, again when I realized it was Alligator Sky, and a third time after reading all these comments. What a truly amazing community this is.

    Alligator, I’m impressed by all the work you’ve done recovering from a professional setback, and in sheer awe of the personal progress you’ve made. Many congratulations to you!

  105. TheNotoriousMCG*

    I just came to add to the chorus of HOORAY!!!!!!!!

    I am so glad that you were able to extricate yourself from the toxic situation and have a plan in front of you for how you will move forward and grow into an even stronger and more amazing person than we already know you are! Whenever you are feeling down, come back and we’ll all remind you how awesome you already are.

  106. KLH*

    I think anyone would struggle with depression from growing up with a mother like that, but not everyone would be able to overcome it and have the successes you have. You’ve shown a lot of personal strength, and I’m betting there’s a whole lot more of that that hasn’t even been tapped yet. You go girl! Keep on growing!!!

  107. Anonforthis*

    LW, I’m so glad you wrote back with an update – I don’t have the issues with my family that you do, but I had a similar experience in my first “real” job out of uni, down to becoming suicidal after being fired (it was a truly awful, toxic environment) and I’m so glad you’re doing better!

  108. Random Poster*

    So happy for you, OP. Keep up the good work.

    My mother was a bit like yours. It took me much longer to stand on my own.

  109. VolunteerAuntie*

    AlligatorSky, you do your thing! You are one strong person!

    So many times those of us who struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues think of ourselves as weak. I explain it to my kids this way: Imagine two people running a race, one unencumbered and one who has to race with an anchor strapped to their back. They both finish the race. Does that fact that the person with nothing to carry finished first mean they’re stronger? Or is the stronger one the person who finished while carrying the anchor?

    Overcoming depression without family support is hard. If you need one, you have a volunteer auntie right here. You can find me at Aunt Central on Tumblr. That’s where I give loving encouragement to both my blood and adopted nieces (and/or nephews). Long-distance though it may be, I’m happy to give you support and motherly advice if you want it.

  110. Aphrodite*


    Each update has heralded changes for you. It matters not that they were small or large, they were positive changes moving in a positive direction. I am so happy for you. And I am also beyond thrilled that next month you are moving out! You must be over the moon happy.

  111. MF*


    LW, I’m so impressed by you. To deal with severe depression and a controlling parent with such strength is a HUGE feat.

    And I’m so excited that you’ll be moving out soon! Not only will you have more freedom from your mother, but you’ll have the opportunity to make the life you want and grow fully into the person you want to be. I would say good luck, but you totally don’t need luck. So instead I’ll say congratulations and best wishes!

  112. Meghan Trainer*

    OP! You have overcome so much! This has made me reflect on how lucky I am to not have a controlling mother. Yours has really given to some unnecessary challenges to overcome. I hope you realize how incredible your strength is. I certainly find it inspiring! Best of luck!

  113. bunniferous*

    I am so stinking excited for you! And PROUD OF YOU!

    (I also suspect you will have a much easier time defeating depression once you are out of that toxic atmosphere. I know a little something about that…..)

    I myself have a decent relationship with my own mother but that was only after riding those boundaries hard. It was not instant. I still occasionally have to do maintenance. ;-) But yes, distance is your friend there too.

  114. Bibliovore*

    Wow. Don’t read AAM on the reference desk. Its my allergies. Really.
    AlligatorSky Thank you for sharing.
    We will continue to witness your hard word and perseverance.
    We “not-so-random” strangers are so proud of you.
    Depression is a horrible chronic illness but it can be put in remission.
    I am proof of that as are so many others here at AAM.
    And yes, I have written how life changing this blog is for me, not only in the work sphere but in the living life, practical advice, latest medical scare, and relationships with others sphere.

    Recently there have been comments of how negative people can be on this and other sites. Alison’s practical work advice brought me here. The amazing miraculous good and generosity of the commentariat keeps me coming back.
    Enjoy your new job and your travel adventures.

  115. OhBehave*

    This is an amazing update. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us. I echo others’ thoughts that you seek out a professional or clergyperson to speak with. Medication can be frustrating to get right. Keep at it as it’s really a great tool to help maintain good mental health. It was literally a lifesaver for me.
    My daughter (23 yo) moved in March. I cannot imagine being a mom who would drive her child away. I feel so bad for the young child you were who didn’t have a supportive mom. I feel even worse for you as a young woman. Now that you’ve updated, I’m almost as excited as you are! There is nothing in this world like leaving home; fear, excitement, control, self-reliance, and self-confidence. I’m sure we would all love to come help you move ;)
    I am so very happy for you. I am so impressed by your bank caring enough to help out and by calling to check on you! Wow!
    Keep building your savings. Grow healthy relationships. Brush your teeth. (sorry – Mom moment there!).
    Wishing you all the best and hoping for an update after you move.ove.

  116. Hey Nonnie*

    I somehow missed this the first (and second) time around, so I wanted to add my voice in support of you. Please know that the way your mom treats you IS NOT NORMAL, and good on you for carving out a path to protect yourself and move out.

    In the interests of being really, really clear so you have all the information you need moving forward: what your mom was doing to you was abuse. Financial abuse is its own distinct category, as is emotional and verbal abuse, as is acting in a way to ensure your dependence on her — I don’t think her efforts at torpedoing your job search were about helping you to gain your independence, nor was helping herself to exorbitant amounts of your money in the name of “rent.”

    You have a right to establish your own boundaries and have them respected. I’m glad to hear that you have been able to carve some of that out for yourself already. Distance will also make this easier; so all my best wishes on your planned move.

    You are not obligated to invite your mom into your life any more than you want to. Blood ties don’t give her a right to whatever she might want from you. While it’s really difficult to extricate yourself from the emotions tied up in family — especially realizing that those who were supposed to be the most positive force in your life are destructive to you, instead — please know that you have the absolute right to decide how you will allow people to treat you, and who you invite in, how much, and how often. In case it needs to be said, “never again” is a viable option; so is “only on holidays and only with truly supportive family members present to act as a buffer.” Mom doesn’t get a vote here, and neither does anyone else — do what’s best for YOU.

    As a last note, once you are able to move out, I would strictly control the flow of information that gets to your mom, to ensure she knows only what you want her to know. If she’s the type to show up on your doorstep to cause a scene or lay down a guilt trip, don’t tell her your new address. If she’s the type to text at all hours of the day and night, get a new phone number and don’t tell her what it is. YOU are in control of how she can contact and interact with you. You are not obligated to cede any of that control to her, if you don’t want to.

    All my best wishes.

  117. Kitty*

    YASSSSS! You go, lady! Fingers crossed that everything works out for your move out in June. :-)

    I know first hand what it’s like to have an overbearing, boundary stomping mother, and it is bloody hard to stand up to them. Good on you!

    If you haven’t already checked it out, I definitely also recommend the blog Captain Awkward that Alison linked to in one of her previous responses. Honestly Captain Awkward changed my life in the same way that Ask A Manager changed yours. It gave me the tools and confidence to set and enforce boundaries and I have never felt freer. Captain Awkward also has posts with advice about moving out, for people in similar situations to yours, which might be helpful as you set up your plans to move.

    Best of luck! ❤

  118. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

    So I’m late to the party, but…holy cow, dude, you’ve been through hell and back. (And I missed the first letter and the update! I’ve just seen the weekend threads.)

    I’m seriously really happy for you, and hoping you can move out ASAP. It sounds like you’ve grown a LOT as a person over the past few years, and I’m sure you’ll do even more awesome once you’re out on your own.

    1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      This is super late, but after posting, I read the comments and noticed you’re moving out in three weeks! Best of luck, and you’ll do great I promise!

  119. knitcrazybooknut*

    OP, I’m so excited for you! I started rebuilding my life over five years ago, and I can tell you it’s more freeing than you can ever imagine. The amount of energy that you free up for positive, amazing things that you’ve always wanted to do – you can use it to become whoever you want. I never thought I could be this happy with my life and myself. I’ve made many dramatic changes, and some very non-dramatic, and I love who I’ve become.

    If you want to read some stories that might be similar to yours, I do have a blog. It’s at http://donnalmason.blogspot.com/ Good luck with everything, and you can reach me at the blog or @gmail with this handle. You can do this!

  120. MissDisplaced*

    I’m sorry about your ongoing struggle with depression and that you attempted to take you life. That’s pretty shocking to hear, and I sincerely hope you’re getting professional help with some of that. Life can be hard, but you cannot let it get to you like that.
    But it sounds like you’re making good progress with life now in general and becoming more independent. Keep it up!

  121. LadyCop*

    Oh my Goodness!! I LOVE this update! THIS is an OP I really feel for (and do in some ways relate to.)

    My heart really sank to hear that you are dealing with such difficult depression. I know it’s hard for some people to understand that losing a job can really throw your whole life out of whack like that.

    But on the positive side, I am PROUD you took ownership of your money, and are making big steps in the right direction. OP, you are overcoming the unfair hand you have been dealt by your family. At the age of 24, that is no small thing, seeing as so many of us struggle with it, and some people never overcome it. I think you’ll find that once you are on your own that you are capable of so much, and that life will have a lot to offer you.

    Please try not to beat yourself up. We’re here to cheer you on, even in those times you can’t do it for yourself.

  122. buttercup*

    This was such a heartwarming update. LW, I hope you move out soon and also get help with your depression.

  123. Cat owner*

    Oh my gosh, congrats on going from Scotland-London on your own!

    I think people don’t realise how big of a deal that can be for people with mental illness – even though I have travelled on my own a lot after I got over agoraphobia, that first time I did it (Australia-America) I still feel like is one of my biggest personal achievements. Congrats, it is such a big step when you are dealing with severe depression!

  124. miyeritari*

    THIS IS SUCH AN UPLIFTING AND HEARTWARMING POST. You are ROCKING it, OP! We are supporting you! You are doing great!

  125. Elizabeth*

    This is so absolutely wonderful! CONGRATULATIONS from across the pond!

    I certainly know what it’s like to lose more than one job within a short amount of time. (3 layoffs in 3 years to be exact). All of them being jobs you loved. That’s devastating enough.
    But to not have even just moral support from your family, especially your mother?! That’s unthinkable – and beyond unbearable. I am so impressed at your strength and tenacity through all of this. You deserve all the wonderful things that are sure to come to your way!! Sounds like they already are :)

    BEST of luck to you, love. Keep at it. You’ll do great!

  126. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

    This update is the best thing I’ve heard today, no, this week. You deserve good things, keep going!

  127. JS*

    Keep it up OP! You may fall down many times but you are strong and will always come out on top! Sometimes we need to fail and fall in order to grow and appreciate once the better comes into your life! Sending good energy and well wishes!
    I have an overbearing mother as well, we fought and bickered all the time when I lived at home so I understand how it can be hard to need to separate from your parent without upsetting them or causing a rift in your relationship because its still your mother. However your health and happiness is whats most important so never feel bad/guilty (even though its tough) for doing whats best for you!
    I don’t know you but you have my 110% support!!! You are AMAZING! Keep it up! :)

  128. Growingaspine*

    Please, please as someone else with a difficult mother, read Captain Awkward’s blog. I had to read the entire archive to see boundaries and healthy conflict modeled over and over again. Also, the book “Feeling Good” is great! And, petting dogs and cats helps me a lot! Perhaps you could volunteer in an animal shelter for some unconditional love?

  129. Woodswoman*

    AlligatorSky, this is such wonderful news! Huge congratulations on claiming your life, honoring that you deserve wonderful things, and finding your own place with a good friend. Extricating yourself is so brave–and it’s just the beginning. You can embrace joy and independence. After standing up to your mother in that huge first step, it gets easier going forward. Each success lays the groundwork for the next one.

    I echo what others have said about how removing yourself from that environment can improve your depression as well. As an example, I have a friend with MS whose emotional and physical symptoms flare with stress. When she worked in a toxic work environment, she was depressed, in a lot of pain, exhausted, and unable to work full-time. Now that she’s in a more positive work environment, she’s happier, working full-time, and emotionally and physically feeling great.

    While some things of course will be difficult, there’s a whole world of positivity before you–and you’re the one making it happen. There are countless people here, from across the globe, cheering for you. Like so many others, I’m looking forward to updates. Bravo and sending you hugs!

  130. Other Duties As Assigned*

    I have been more interested in hearing an update from this OP than any other one on this site, and it was an amazing one–it made my day. All good wishes and continued success to you OP!

    Kudos also to everyone else who weighed in today and who responded to the original post. I mentioned once here that the responses to the original letter have bolstered my faith in humanity. To see the outpouring of empathy, honest advice and even offers of assistance from those here to help out a total stranger was special indeed. Thanks to everyone here for your common decency and to Alison for developing this civilized space.

  131. Stinky Socks*

    Oh wow, you are just a rock star! This is such an awesome update!

    It’s so good to hear about all the steps towards independence, but what really stood out for me was how matter-of-fact you are about dealing with your depression. I think that just speaks volumes about the successful path you will carve for yourself. Onward and upward!!!

  132. banana&tanger*

    I read somewhere once, “it all works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end.” I’m so glad your journey continues. It was brave to go to the bank and tell them what was going on. I’m glad they listened. June isn’t that far away, you’ll be in your own place soon. Maybe AaM can have it’s first photo-essay update and we can all celebrate with you!

  133. sequitur*

    Hey OP, I just want to leave this here in case it resonates for you either now or in the future. I also grew up an an abusive home but I’m a few years older than you and have been free for a little longer. Lately my lifelong severe depression has been manifesting more like PTSD, with flashbacks and dissociation.

    There’s a subcategory of PTSD known as complex PTSD, where the trauma exposure was repeated and pervasive. The main difference in how it presents compared to “simple” PTSD from an obvious single trauma is that as well as nightmares, dissociation and flashbacks (these can be emotional and fragmented as well as visual/whole memories – e.g. flashing back to overwhelming feelings of shame or feeling like you get stuck in the terror of being a vulnerable child who isn’t being treated right), complex PTSD also involves intense feelings of internalised shame and self-loathing.

    The theory is that after years of abuse you basically get conditioned to continue abusing yourself – the cage door might be open but you’re still huddled inside beating yourself up about how worthless you feel or what a terrible person you are, repeating the messages that an abusive parent gave you constantly during childhood. A crucial part of recovery is being able to dismantle this inner apparatus and start treating yourself kindly and with respect.

    It took years for me to realise that this was going on, and minimising what happened early on in the recovery process is really common. Human children are wired to know that if their parents (particularly mothers) abandon them, they will die, so it’s very common to be in denial about how severe the stuff you experienced as a kid was – it can feel like admitting that your parents abused or neglected you in serious ways will cause any remaining sense of self to disintegrate, almost like you can’t survive the idea that you didn’t get your needs met and find you have to keep idealising a lousy situation to push away the pain of just how badly you were treated. You might also find you minimise what happened to you compared to other people’s experiences, like it doesn’t “count” if it happened to you.

    I tried treating severe depression with depression-treating tools for years and got nowhere. I tried endless antidepressants, mood stabilisers and antipsychotics and none of them made an impact on my depression – in retrospect this was another sign that the root cause was trauma that needed to be dealt with rather than just depression that was happening for no obvious reason.

    If any of this resonates, I’d encourage you to look into complex PTSD and developmental trauma. There’s a book by a guy called Pete Walker which is good at laying out the kinds of developmental trauma that can cause these feelings and symptoms and some practical strategies for dealing with how you feel in the moment (he leans a bit too hard on left-brain/right-brain for my tastes but is otherwise helpful).

    You said you’re in Scotland; I’m also in the UK and know how hard it can to try and access mental health services on the NHS. Some areas are behind on recognising this as a distinct flavour of PTSD (I hate that you have to have the wherewithal to seriously advocate for yourself on stuff like this when you’re already suffering a lot, the system is so broken) but you can definitely push for psychological treatment (which is much more useful than medication for PTSD). Some GPs are more receptive to the idea if you can identify a specific trauma and frame your symptoms as “simple” PTSD from that traumatic event, then you can go into more details about pervasive developmental trauma when you get referred to someone who hopefully has a better understanding and can help more.

    It sucks to have your life constrained and your internal structure messed up just because the people who raised you weren’t fit to do that job in a compassionate and healthy way. I still experience severe depression, and still sometimes feel suicidal, but I’m also getting a lot better at recognising and derailing flashbacks before they completely sink me and I’m increasingly hopeful that I can work through this and get to a more stable place in the future.

    The other thing I would recommend, if you can swing it financially, is saving up for private psychotherapy, ideally with someone who has a background in complex trauma work. It can be expensive, but it’s often a lot faster to access than NHS services and you can start getting some structured help that recognises the roots of your problems more quickly.

    You’ve come a long way since you first wrote in and you should be really proud of that – I strongly believe that you can continue distancing yourself from your mother and build a better life for yourself than the one she wants you to have. Sometimes part of the problem with abusive parents is realising that it’s okay to want more for yourself than they want for you, and that you deserve more than they tell you you deserve. I’m rooting for you!

    1. WannaAlp*

      I just want to highlight how important this comment is.

      sequitur. Exactly. What follows in OP’s life is going to need attention too.

    2. WannabeAlligatorSkyFanClubMember*

      I agree that this could be key if it applies. A few years ago I went through a somewhat traumatic event and my therapist gave me a book on PTSD to read (can’t remember the title). I immediately started weeping but I also didn’t think it was related to the recent event. I recently finished up a course of EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy, which has been life-changing in terms of recognizing that a lot of my self-loathing was installed in early childhood, and that no, everything is not always my fault. I think those intermediate years of therapy were necessary for me to come to a place where I could admit that my parents were emotionally abusive and seek out EMDR, but I’m not sure that’s always necessary.

      TLDR; you might consider EMDR therapy if what sequitur posted rings true (you have a lot of negative, repetitive thought patterns that you think are linked to traumatic early childhood events).

      1. Michaela Westen*

        I also get EMDR therapy for PTS from parent abuse and it has been very helpful! Things that had held me back all my life are gone.
        Here in America it can be difficult to find a good therapist. I tried three and the third one is an angel and EMDR expert. :)

    3. Old Admin*

      Yes, I applaud this thoughtful comment based on personal experience.
      It really should be highlighted, or pinned, or added to the update – it is that important!

  134. Flash Bristow*

    I am so very pleased to read that update! I know it isn’t easy so well done.

    As someone who also has a controlling mother (tho I’ve escaped; I’m married and living a few hours away) I can wholeheartedly recommend the forum reddit.com/r/justnomil which is for people with overbearing mothers or mothers in law. I know that reddit – like the whole Internet – has some offputtingly offensive sections, but I benefit hugely from that particular forum and I think you’d find it worth a look. You can let off steam in the company of so many others who totally understand and will support you.

    (Alison, I hope it’s ok to make a comment like this with a link elsewhere? If not, please accept my apologies but please let me know, so I can learn. Thanks!)

  135. Sunday Anon*

    Wow! Good for you! Depression is lots of ups and downs, good days and bad days. You’ve made so many positive steps to improving your quality of life – remember that when you’re feeling bad about yourself.

    You’ve got this.

  136. Tuesday*

    Good luck with moving! Having a difficult and controlling family is one of life’s toughest challenges, but if you survive and stand up for yourself you’ll find you’re incredibly strong. You’ve already come so far and even if you have future setbacks, know they are temporary and you can pick yourself up and carry on. Your time, desires and dreams are important. I hope you fight for them. Believe in yourself and keep crossing items off your bucket list. Best wishes!

  137. Erin*

    OP, I wish I could just give you a hug. You are doing so well, and I know you don’t always feel that way, but what you did and are doing takes a lot of strength, you are one brave young woman! Good luck with moving out!

  138. NonprofitUS*

    So proud of you and happy that things are turning around! Depression is so hard to deal with on its own, let alone when the people around you do not support you. Keep fighting the good fight.

  139. Lavender_stingray*

    OP, you deserve support and praise!! You have done an amazing job of navigating an incredibly, incredibly difficult family situation. You are strong and valuable and people are rooting for you. You don’t owe us, especially me, a reply. Just know I am on “team you.”

  140. Zweisatz*

    Hi LW, I am SO glad to read that you’ll likely be able to move out soon. I am wishing you all the best and want to tell you two things, from experience: 1) You will feel *so incredibly free* once you’ve moved out. 2) Paradoxically, you might also feel really bad for some months, maybe the first years. This would be your psyche catching up with everything you’ve experienced now that you’re able to build a life for yourself that you’re in control of.
    If that (2) happens: Do not get discouraged, if possible I can definitely recommend going to some kind of therapy. Don’t worry that the bad feelings will be permanent, it will look better every year from here on out. I promise.

  141. NARF1234*

    This one definitely made me tear up too! You’re doing a great job, OP, we’re all rooting for you!

    1. NARF1234*

      As an additional note, I wholeheartedly second the recommendation to seek therapy. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, OP. As someone who’s benefitted greatly from therapy, it can definitely help put things in perspective and help sort through your thoughts/feelings. You deserve to feel great in this world and succeed. We’re all behind you.

  142. Michaela Westen*

    OP, I’ve been where you are. I have abusive parents and I felt the same as you.
    For me the key was distance. I moved to a big city far enough that parents visiting was inconvenient. This gave me some breathing space and I started to recover.
    However, it wasn’t enough until I stopped having relationships, even long-distance, with both my parents. In my case it was obvious I needed to end things with my verbally and emotionally abusive father.
    My mother’s abuse was more subtle and it took longer to get a handle on it. She wasn’t obviously abusive but she never treated me like a person or cared how I felt or what I needed. It was all about what she wanted from me.
    After I stopped having a relationship with her my life got much better! I didn’t feel controlled, demanded of, or dominated anymore. Since then I have better friendships and a better job and I’m much happier!
    No matter who they are, anyone who doesn’t treat you with basic respect and courtesy should not be in your life!
    I don’t know if you’ll have to go to the length of ending relationships with your parents or family members, but if it is necessary for you to be ok, don’t feel bad about it. They had their chance with you. Move on to better people and a better life. :)

  143. Kathy*

    It is a difficult process to try to set boundaries with a domineering parent. (been there myself). It’s important to set them and to be firm, not wishy-washy. People can’t respect boundaries if they don’t know where they are. I am so happy for this OP for her continued growth towards independence. She is on the right path and I’m sure she will be happier with each step along the way, difficult as they may be. You go Girl!

  144. Marty*

    OP: You are brave. You are strong. We need you on this planet. Sometimes in life, things come up that feel insurmountable — but you find a way to get through them, and they look much smaller in your rear view mirror. Keep fighting, keep working towards building the life that you want to have. I will add that sometimes there are people in your life who are toxic, and sometimes you have to cut them off to stop their toxicity from poisoning you. It is okay to do that if you decide it’s what’s best for you. You can also draw boundaries and demand that people respect them, and not feel bad about it. Protect yourself as you would protect anyone else that you love.

  145. Jan M*

    I am so happy for the OP! Congratulations, OP! I have been where you are, and I’m so happy that things have worked out. Keep looking up. I’m behind you all the way!

  146. AlligatorSky*

    Hi all!

    I made it to London, and I’m currently typing this from my hotel room! I tried replying to some comments on the train, but my motion sickness kicked in pretty quickly, so I had to shut everything down very fast or else it wouldn’t have been a nice sight :o

    Thank you again for all the love and support, I can’t tell you guys how much every lovely comment means to me. I’m going to reply to as many people as I can, and I’ll pop up in the weekend thread to join in the conversation!

    1. PurpleNovember*

      Hey, there. If you need a little extra backup, there’s a forum on Reddit called Raised By Narcissists. Despite the name, it isn’t strictly for people whose parents are diagnosed NPD, or who are even suspected to be NPD. It’s “…a support group for people raised by a parent with toxic, self-absorbed or abusive personality traits, which may be exhibited by those who suffer from cluster B personality disorders.”

      So if you need to vent to people who get where you’re coming from– who aren’t going to make excuses for your mother, or tell you to be the Bigger Person, or whatever, then RBN might help you out.

      Best wishes to you as you move ahead!

  147. Red*

    Wow, I just want to say that I’m so, so happy for you! Dealing with depression is hard enough by itself without having to stand up to a parent to asset your independence too.
    Well done, you’re absolutely amazing and I’m still cheering for you!

  148. Way over yonder*

    How wonderful! Well done.
    Best of luck in all things. You have come a long way and have much to be proud of!

  149. Gallahad*

    OP, such a great update. We are all your supporters here, but always remember — YOU are the one that made this change in your life happen. YOU wrote the first letter to Alison, YOU got the job, the new bank account, and YOU are the one that is going to move out. This was incredibly hard, and many of us would not have succeeded in your shoes.

    If you can do this, you can do anything.

    Good Luck.

  150. OdinsValkyrie*

    What an amazing journey your posts were! I can’t even begin to tell you how inspiring your story is and how crazy proud I felt reading each update. I’ve battled with anxiety my entire life and had some mother that used that to manipulate me. From someone who’s been there, I am so, so damn proud of you for standing on your own two feet. Yeah, you had some setbacks and wobbled a bit, but you kept going. That says a hundred times more about the type of person you are than the mistakes you’ve made. You are way stronger than you realize and you absolutely got this.

    Everyone has their own story to tell and there’s no right way to tell it. At the end of the day, never forget that it doesn’t matter what your story is about as long as you keep writing it. You should be do proud of what you’ve accomplished and what you’re working towards. Keep learning, growing, and exploring who you are. Don’t be afraid to try new things and figure out what you love. May be it’s cooking, maybe it’d pottery or singing or running or anything. Keep doing the things you love and before you know it, you’ll wake up one day and realize that you love the person you’ve become. Because it will be truly, authentically you and you are amazing!

  151. Ladybugger*

    Congratulations!! Oh I’m so happy for you. You’re making such amazing strides, and you’re doing it in extremely difficult circumstances. I hope you know that means you’re a strong person and you have the fortitude to get through this and live an amazing life.

    I have a hunch you’re going to feel miles better when you move out, and things are going to continue to look up for you. <3 This internet stranger is proud of you!

  152. North Dakota Jones*

    Just want to drop in a comment and let you know how much I’m rooting for you, OP. Good luck and good skill, and fingers crossed that you get you move out soon.

  153. HyacinthB*

    What a great update! I’m so glad you are preparing to spread your wings. You got this!!!

    AAM may to be the last bastion of decency and compassion. Thanks to all the posters who make it so!

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