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Family & Relationship Issues

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Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

It's Me or It's My Mother?

Dr. Schwartz:

I hope you can help me to figure out what is wrong. In the past two years there has been a dramatic change in my relationship with my mother. I struggle to figure out whether I have changed, or she has changed, or I did something wrong. I am 33, she is 53.

In the past I used to have a close and good relationship with my mother. She used to communicate with me a lot, today she doesn't do it at all. She used to trust me, and now she is very secretive, never gives details of her long and short term plans. She doesn't even answer her cell phone in front of me. Most importantly, in the past she was very careful about not hurting my feelings and I never felt hurt by her words or actions. Now she is very much mean and cruel. She hurts me almost every time we talk, criticizing and minimizing everything I do.

She has somehow rewritten the past to make people think she did big sacrifices and never had anybody’s support. Then she says she is not willing to make sacrifices any more.

In the recent years she and my father had big economic problems. At 60, my father has not been able to find a permanent job in five years. She lost her own job one year ago. Also, one year ago they almost lost their house for lack of payment, which I helped to rescue. Since their economic problems started I always helped. Now, I am not only legally in charge of the house mortgage, but I also cover all the expenses of my two teenage sisters. So, I feel that I am helping a lot in these hard times.

Although my help did not solve the problems the way my mother wanted, the last thing I expected was to be constantly hurt by her. The last thing she did that hurt me was to bring my older brother and his family to live in her house (against my father’s will). My brother doesn't have a permanent job either, so the economy of the house will get worse. She did it without telling me a word.

My relationship with my mother has become so painful that I am considering not interacting with her anymore. But I am not sure if I should do it.

Please give me some guidance. Thank you for your help.

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