December 16, 2018

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Opinion

Manipulative mother doesn't deserve olive branch

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/4/2018 (243 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m writing in regard to Nervous Son. The situation created by his mother, who repeatedly called to berate this 29-year-old son who was having Easter dinner with his fiancée’s family, needs a different approach.

You suggested he offer to go to counselling with his mom, but his mother’s behaviour was outrageous. Since he has told her he wouldn’t be out to Winkler for a long time, he would be wise to act on that rather than hold out the olive branch. I think it’s highly likely she will refuse counselling anyway, and then what? At the very least he could tell her that visiting her will be conditional on her accepting therapy — and then he must maintain that position.

Another facet of the problem is a husband who has tolerated her behaviour. Perhaps he’ll grow a backbone if he realizes the consequence of enabling her behaviour is the loss of contact with his son. Parents who practise this kind of abuse (or any family members) need clear messages about what will not be tolerated. The tendency to normalize behaviour amongst family members, that we would never accept from friends or colleagues, is prevalent. At some point even kin need to know they can conclusively wear out their welcome. Also what is his fiancée internalizing if she sees that he is not up to dealing with a domineering mother? — Lots to Worry About, Manitoba

Dear Lots to Worry About: Excellent points. You can bet the mother of his fiancée, who was ticked off by the calls she asked him to silence his phone, will be talking to her daughter about marriage. She will no doubt point out this future mother-in-law will be a terror if she’s allowed to behave like this.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/4/2018 (243 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m writing in regard to Nervous Son. The situation created by his mother, who repeatedly called to berate this 29-year-old son who was having Easter dinner with his fiancée’s family, needs a different approach.

You suggested he offer to go to counselling with his mom, but his mother’s behaviour was outrageous. Since he has told her he wouldn’t be out to Winkler for a long time, he would be wise to act on that rather than hold out the olive branch. I think it’s highly likely she will refuse counselling anyway, and then what? At the very least he could tell her that visiting her will be conditional on her accepting therapy — and then he must maintain that position.

Another facet of the problem is a husband who has tolerated her behaviour. Perhaps he’ll grow a backbone if he realizes the consequence of enabling her behaviour is the loss of contact with his son. Parents who practise this kind of abuse (or any family members) need clear messages about what will not be tolerated. The tendency to normalize behaviour amongst family members, that we would never accept from friends or colleagues, is prevalent. At some point even kin need to know they can conclusively wear out their welcome. Also what is his fiancée internalizing if she sees that he is not up to dealing with a domineering mother? — Lots to Worry About, Manitoba

Dear Lots to Worry About: Excellent points. You can bet the mother of his fiancée, who was ticked off by the calls she asked him to silence his phone, will be talking to her daughter about marriage. She will no doubt point out this future mother-in-law will be a terror if she’s allowed to behave like this.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: The mother of Nervous Son is acting like a spoiled brat. The son found out she was actually faking it when she kept calling his fiancée's parental home to wreck his Easter dinner there. (His siblings reported she was just fine at the dinner at home in Winkler.) If he doesn’t stand up now and act like an adult man with self-respect and the strength to run his own life, when is he going to do it? I think this 29-year-old man should ignore his abusive mother until she learns there’s a big penalty for her behaviour. She doesn’t deserve the offer of counselling. — Stronger Stand Needed, Winnipeg

Dear Stronger Stand Needed: Since the couple love each other enough to get married, maybe they should both consider going for counselling together, and learn how they can work in tandem to handle his manipulative mother. I strongly suspect mama wants to keep her son single, and under her thumb forever.

Please send your questions and comments to lovecoach@hotmail.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6

Miss Lonelyhearts

Miss Lonelyhearts
Advice Columnist

Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.

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