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Does my mother take advantage?

Carol wrote:

My mother and I have a complicated history. She has been Physically and emotionally abusive my whole childhood. After not speaking for 5 years, I thought she had changed until this happened.

Then I realized she was doing the same things, but keeping it low key. I recieved a phone call from my mother at 11 in the morning, while I was leaving to take my 8 week old son to the doctor (He has a lung infection). She wanted me to drive 45 minutes to her work, pick up a check from her, then drive 20 minutes to her house and wait for a tow truck. I was to give the driver the check.

I tried to explain that my son had to see the doctor, I was to meet a freind at the park and I had to be at school an hour away, at 5. She said I could call my friend and cancel since it was suposed to rain. I reluctantly said I would help her, knowing I wouldn't have enough time.

I was at the doctors until 2, alot later then I thought I would be. She called me on my cell phone to see where I was. I tried to back out gracefully by explaining that my children where hungry, which they were, they had no lunch, I had to pick up a prescription and be at school at 5. Plus I was low on gas.

I didn't think I'd have enough time. She told me to hurry up then. My son cried the whole 45 minute ride because he was hungry. When I got to her work, I started to get the kids out of the car, so I could feed my baby. She expressed she was afraid that if I fed my hungry son, I'd miss the tow truck driver. I fed him anyway.

Then she said, "Next time I need help, I'll ask someone else. Since you are SOOOOOO busy. And since I'm putting you out SOOOOOO much. I mean really, after all I do for you."

Like what? I wanted to say, but couldn't because of fear built up since childhood. She didn't offer to give me gas money. She didn't even say "Thank you". She acted like she was the one doing the favor, not the other way around.

Here is my question; Does my mother take advantage of me? If so, how do I deal with it? Leave the state to escape her?

Dear Carol

Yes, she does, and you let her.

You do need to ask yourself how much you need her, and how much she needs you; Is she giving you a hard time because she never sees you unless she badgers you? It's not clear to me.

You need to decide, do you want her in your life, or not? If not, then it's easy, just say so.

If you do want a relationship, then if she's unreasonable, it's you who must take control of that relationship.

1. Contact her regularly, (once a week? whatever you can live with). Say you're just calling to see if all's well, an sometimes (not always) arrange to go see her. Ask if she wants something picked up on the way. Make time for the visit to work.

2. If she asks you to do something, think before you speak. If it's fine, then why not? If it's too short notice, or you might not have enough time, say no. Politely, but no: "Sorry, I can't help you this time".

3. Think about what she wants - does she want to see the kids? Then say "I didn't bring the kids, because it's not good for them to see us fighting". Let her know that if she's reasonable, she'll get what she wants, if she's difficult, she won't.

4. Be consistent, don't be afraid to say no. It'll be worth it.

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