What Should I Do When My Mom Says I Remind Her Of My Dad?
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I’m not in the exact situation where my parents divorced, instead my dad passed away from cancer a few years ago. My mom has always associated me with my dad, I don’t know how to tell her that it hurts me when she tells me I’m just like my father; I loved him, so why does she think it’s alright to say things like this to me?
I behaved poorly around my family members during and after my dad’s passing, and I still seem to push people away from myself because in the back of my mind I know they won’t be around forever. It’s as if I want to be mentally detached if they are to pass, but I alienated my mother. I know it takes two to start an argument, but how can I diffuse one when it is going to start? How can I make her aware that there is no need to argue about something? Can anyone please help me? It’s gotten so I feel uncomfortable when I’m around her, it’s really getting difficult. Please contact me at the email provided, I would appreciate some outside opinions.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Catherine, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father and the situation you find yourself in with your mother. As someone who lost his own mother when I was six, I understand the tendency to not get too close to people. It took me years to realize that a life with only superficial relationships isn’t much of a life at all. We were made to live in relationship with one another and to care about one another, and sometimes that does lead to hurt and pain when people hurt us and when they leave us too soon. I will try to address each of your questions individually, but if I miss something, please let me know.
I assume when your mom says you’re just like your father that she is using that in a negative light. Unfortunately, it sounds like you might not be in a position to sit down and have an unemotional conversation where you can tell her how much that hurts you. Perhaps you could write her a letter (not an accusatory letter, but an informative one) that tells her just how much you missed you dad and let’s her know that you know (and regret) having pushed her away during that time. In that letter, you can include a paragraph about how much your dad meant to you, and when she focuses on negative aspects of him that she sees in you it brings all the pain of his passing back to forefront and you grief his loss all over again.
The best way to diffuse an argument is to recognize when your own blood is starting to boil and ask if you can continue that conversation later when you’ve calmed down. Another option, if you are fighting with your mom a lot, is to agree with her to schedule a time (maybe an hour a week) when you both agree to talk to each other about the things that are bothering you. You’ll need some ground rules for that conversation, but the important part of this plan is that you both agree to limit your negative comments to that time period. Keep a list if you need to (she can too), but addressing negative comments is limited to that time. If it needs to be more often, you can do it twice or three times a week. Whatever works for you guys.
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