1. Become Financially Independent
It’s extremely difficult to become emotionally independent from your mother if you’re still financially dependent on her.
Now, I understand that this can be complicated because it might involve getting a job, getting a career that you love, doing something that you enjoy that is financially rewarding, to the point where you do not need your mother’s financial assistance any more, or your father’s financial assistance, and the ability to move out of home.
It’s very difficult to maintain clear, healthy adult-adult boundaries with your parents if you’re still living under their roofs. A lot of parents don’t have the emotional insight and the self-awareness to handle that kind of transition from adult-child to adult-adult, which is really what we’re talking about here, if you’re still living in their same physical space.
So becoming financially independent is a very important step. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who was complaining about her controlling mother and the way that she dominated and controlled her and made her very depressed by the way her mother behaved. She was whining and complaining about, “My mother does this and my mother does that and I hate it when my mother does this.”
My friend was never really standing up to her mother when she did these things that really upset her, and at the end of it my friend said, “Look, she even gives me an allowance; can you believe it, I’m 55 years old and my mother still gives me an allowance.”
And I just said to her, “Well, hang on a second. You complain a lot about your mother, but you’re taking that allowance from her. Like, you’re still allowing her to control you financially by accepting the allowance, which you don’t need. Like, financially, it’s a token amount. You don’t actually need the money, but as long as you keep continuing to accept it from her she has that control over you. So, you know, it’s time for you to stand up for yourself and stop accepting the allowance.”
And this is very much the case with you guys as well. If you’re still accepting money from your mother, it’s time for you to stand up for yourself and stop doing that, rather than blaming her for trying to control you all the time. You’re letting it happen.
Now, the way the universe works is that it always puts us to the test when we say these brave, bold things. So, sure enough, the very next day after telling my friend that she should stop accepting the allowance from her mother that her mother’s using to control her, I get a Christmas card in the mail with a very generous cheque for $500.
And this particular month I’d allowed my credit card balance to go negative and I actually really needed the money, but if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll be familiar with my relationship with my mother and at the moment we’re not speaking and I really felt very uncomfortable about the whole idea of accepting money from my mother when what I’m really wanting is emotional respect.
So she’s offering one thing when I’m wanting something else. I wrote a letter back to her saying, “Thank you very much for the Christmas card and the very generous cheque, but I’m including the cheque and I’m returning it to you because I just don’t feel comfortable accepting money from you when what I really want is a commitment that you’ll treat me with respect.”