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I had some arguments with my mom before, such as, when she invested in stocks, she just guessed and listened to the radio, or watched TV. And then I asked her, if she knew what P/E ratio was, so that she could at least use it as some rudimentary guideline, she said she didn't know, but she just bought stocks on hunches. I then asked her, which stocks are you holding? She said, "Why should I tell you?"

And I think since about that time, she thought her way should be the way, and my way, which is to understand the company well, know what its earning power is, what the products are, is not the right way.

And then, she would see that I failed, in other things in life, and then felt happy about it. It was like, she felt she is competing with me now, and she has to be the one that is right.

One of the in-laws, however, just always gave her honey, or fake praises, so that she could have a lot of vanity. But when he doesn't see her, he really doesn't even care. He was merely to deal with her, and he also borrowed a lot of money from her. Since she got so much vanity from him, she actually very pleasantly lent money to him.

When I said to her, the work place is like a jungle, there are the tigers, fox, or wolf. Then she said, "how can it be a jungle? No! We are humans! We are civilized. You are talking all the gibberish." And then she talked to the in-law, and the in-law said, "It is worse than the jungle, because in the jungle, the tiger looks like a tiger, and the wolf looks like a wolf, but in real life, in the office, you really don't know what the people are. They may appear as decent, but they may be a wolf or fox, so it is harder." Then the next time, my mom talked to me, saying, "Tom (just an alias for the in-law) said, 'It is worse than the jungle'. Tom said, 'in the jungle...' and Tom said 'In the real world...'" and she pretty much repeated what he said like it was gospel.

In such situation, what can I do to bring back our relation back to a more normal situation?

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  • Hi @deeper-understanding! You've given some clear examples of what your mother does, but what could be more important to include: What is your usual behavior when dealing with this? What have you tried to get back to a more normal situation? You seem to recognize your relative has a way of dealing with this behavior, yet you seem unwilling to do the same? Or have you tried to do that too, and failed? – Tinkeringbell Jan 27 at 10:08
  • I would not give "one face" to my mom and be "another face" to my mom. Giving honey out, and then in fact, not caring really. Are you saying I should "dealing with my mom" with a fake face just like the in-law? – deeper-understanding Jan 27 at 10:16
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    I'm not saying you should! I'm asking you if you would be willing to try this much, or if you had tried this in the past. Because right now your post describes your mother's behavior quite well, but like I said: We can only help you adapt your behavior, so a good question should include information about that too. What have you tried so far in response to your mother doing this? – Tinkeringbell Jan 27 at 11:02
  • I tried to tell her, I talked to her with honesty, and told her don't always try to take in sugar, because why does something need to be sugar-coated, it can very well be that it has poison in it. That is what I did, to tell her that I like to be honest, in a way to tell her honesty might be something that is one of the most precious things she can get from other people – deeper-understanding Jan 27 at 11:08
  • I imagine you are unhappy with some of her choices, regarding the in-law for example. Is this what you were willing to fix, and consider abnormal situation? You may already know we won't advise anything controlling regarding her. So how would you consider the issue solved? – Arthur Hv Jan 27 at 12:19
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I've struggled with a similar situation in my life. My mother and I were the closest of friends when I was young; as I matured, I began to run into conflicts with her over things that were happening to me in my newfound adult life. She seemed more immature than I had known her to be, and it frustrated me. I struggled a lot in keeping our relationship in a healthy place.

When I became a teacher, I spoke with her about how the students were difficult to discipline. She used to give me very simplistic suggestions that obviously would never work in real life. Because I was struggling very much with some of the children, I became more and more frustrated towards my mother as her advice seemed less and less appropriate. She could tell that I was getting frustrated, and she started thinking that I was ungrateful for her life experience. This was a big, long debate between the two of us, and I struggled very much to maintain a healthy relationship with her as I continued to mature. Things never returned to the way they were before, however; I met my mother for a second time - this time as an adult - and now I saw her for who she was, a human being with shortcomings, just like me. We had some arguments, and some fights. What ultimately helped me (and our relationship) the most was accepting her for who she was, and focusing more on my own experience. It wasn't about returning things to the way they were before. It wasn't about trying to hold on to what we had. It was about me maturing, and realizing that my mother is just another human being who can't possibly know everything. In fact, in some things she was less mature than I was! My mother was like this already for a long time, of course - like I think your mother has been as well - but I was too young and naive to notice. As I matured, I noticed new things about my mother, and my relationship with her changed. That's what's happening with you too. We gain new perspectives as we grow up, and the best thing we can do is adjust to them. What helped me in my situation was to accept my mother for who she was, and to not focus on the need for us to be best friends, or agree on everything. I stopped talking to my mom about disciplining the children, and that worked a lot. In the beginning it felt awkward, but soon I learned how to handle my situation on my own, and then I could focus on relating with my mother about other things. It sounds like you are also noticing that your mother has some shortcomings: She wants praise even if it's fake, she competes with her own son (feels happy if you fail), she repeats what other people say even if it is different from what she thinks, etc. Our mothers are just human beings, struggling to manage with the world. They have their own problems, shortcomings, etc., and that's okay. The best thing we can do is accept what we learn as we grow, and learn to take care of our own situations despite these troubles.

In my situation, I began focusing more on myself. I began figuring out what I wanted to do with my situation, and I stopped worrying about my mother. Worrying about her, and arguing with her, and trying to always get along with her, made things worse. I needed to just relax and focus on myself a bit more. That was a part of my process of maturing. I didn't need to always be on the same level as my mother. I could mind my own business and we could get along fine. So, think about how you are going to manage this situation for yourself? How are you going to make sure that you don't contribute to a bad relationship, and possibly absorb the immature behaviors that your mother expresses? Maybe you need some space for yourself.

As you continue to grow up, you need to make sure that YOU become the best human you can be. Maybe some relationships will change; some relationships will come and go; it is not easy to accept this. But if you work towards it, like I did, you might find that your relationship with your mother improves over time, as your relationship with yourself improves.

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