Here are a variety of things you can do to get free of the bondage you brought on yourself while relating to your mother.
One. Know your mother and remember how she reacts to you.
Oftentimes people don't take the time to study their mother. They don’t bother to remember the things she does that upset them; therefore, year after year they keep falling in the same traps. For instance, rather than paying attention to your mother's mannerisms while visiting with her, you may be thinking about what you will say next or how she makes you feel inside when she says or does something you don't agree with so you become defensive. Instead of allowing yourself to get worked up before you arrive, the next time that you are in her presence, study her like a book. Is she looking ill these days? What is she eating or drinking that may be causing harm to her health? Who does she socialize with or does she do any socializing? What does she spend the majority of her day doing? How does she react when you come over? Do you observe the way she looks at you when she thinks you aren't looking? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand her as a person and not just your mother. You may learn that some of the things she is eating and drinking is affecting her mood. If she doesn’t want to follow doctor’s orders or get the help she needs and her actions is affecting you, you will have to consider what is important your own mental health being in her presence or her?
Two. Find out what others are saying about her.
It may be helpful to know what others' experiences may be like when they are around your mother. She may be saying and doing things negatively with relatives and friends too. Find out what is going on between your mother and others simply by making a statement like, "Mother said that you were over the other day. She told me you did..." The person will usually give up some details about the visit.
Three. Prepare yourself for her negativity.
When you know that you have to talk to her or go around her, prepare yourself for what she will or will not say by taking control of the visit. You will want to limit your visit to a time you can tolerate being in her presence. Find tasks to do so that you are not just sitting at her home, or talking with her the whole visit. Maybe she has phone calls that need to be made related to her bills, errands, laundry, dishes, dusting, mopping or vacuuming. When you find yourself beginning to grow weary of her complaining, yelling or cursing, excuse yourself and leave. Avoid arguing, hurling insults, and other things that will only make you feel guilty later. Share your experience with a trusted family member or friend.
Four. Never obligate yourself.
When you know that you and your mother don't get along very well, don't obligate yourself to do things you know you will later resent. She may threaten, cry, or complain about you to others to get you to do what she wants. Don't let her tactics get the best of you by dwelling on them or feeling guilty and then eventually giving into her. When you find yourself dropping everything you do for her including taking her phone calls, you are obligating yourself to her not only physically, but emotionally too! You will find yourself using your family to release some steam and in time they will grow weary of your negative stories about your mother which will later cause confusion between you and they.
Five. Address lies, criticisms, and other issues.
Someone in the family tells you that your mother said numerous things about you that are untrue. For years you let these things go and never bothered to address them, now they are sitting within your spirit making you sick! She also finds fault with everything you do including: your choice in birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas gifts, the frequency you bring the grandchildren over for a visit, and the help you provide her with managing her bills and house cleaning. It's time to speak up and create some distance. We tend to think that because our parents are getting older we must spend as much as time as we can with them even if it’s at the expense of our own health. Your children do not need to see or hear their grandmother belittling you, unless you are trying to teach them how to disrespect you, keep them out of the mess. Stand up for yourself and show your parent that you didn't grow up to be walked on especially by them!
Six. Break free from taking money and gifts from her.
Some mothers will use what they do for you to make you feel like you owe them something later. Learn to say no to her gifts when you hear stories of her talking about you and your family to others. By doing this, you are letting her know that you don't need her which will make her feel like she can no longer control you. Ultimately, that is what you want, not to be controlled by your mother!
Seven. Watch what you say to her.
Avoid confiding in her about the following: relationship troubles, places you shop, and personal matters. Good information can be used to control you especially if it is embarrassing or demeans your reputation with other family members. What better way than to get the best of you by spreading gossip about you to everyone else, hoping that the next time, you will do whatever she says or she will tell some more things to everyone else about you or your family.
Eight. Be cautious of family members and friends who will side with her.
Your mother may have told others about how awful you are supposedly. When this happens there isn't much you can do but to tell your side of the story and keep your distance not only from her, but the one who is siding with her as well. Sometimes people have to see the truth for themselves. Hopefully, she will do or say something to them as well that will make them later come to you with, "You know you were right about your mother!"
Despite her anger outbursts and the other crazy things she does, she is still your mother. Telling everyone you encounter how bad she is will not make you or the person listening to you feel good. Sometimes people tend to formulate opinions about you just because you have had a bad relationship with your mother. If you don’t get along with her most people will want to know why and you may share that, but when you start name calling and insulting your mother to other people, you may open yourself up for a dispute you rather not want, so avoid the temptation to bad mouth her.
Ten. Have a faith and your own network of support.
You will need some people around you that understand your plight. Spouses and partners aren't always helpful in this area especially if they have a good relationship with their mother. They tend to say things that actually bring you closer to a situation that is increasingly stressful when you should be stepping back from the negativity and getting some healing for yourself. Remember talking on the phone daily can be just as bad as visiting every day, so limit your phone use with a controlling mother if you intend to make your life just a little bit easier.