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It is a horrible feeling not being able to trust your mother. Recently, I have had to draw some pretty thick and deep lines in the sand when it comes to my mother. It has not been easy.

I know she did not mean to do it maliciously. I know she thought she was doing the right thing. And I have no intention of trying to change her. But she can be very controlling and sometimes in her need to control her environment, she can be insensitive to the people around her. She can be extremely hurtful.

I do not blame her. It is my fault and the fault of my wife’s for not addressing the issues earlier. It is my fault and my wife’s for not enforcing our boundaries and reminding my mother of them when she first crossed them. Instead we ignored it and my mother mistook our passivity as our condoning her actions. Now, I have stopped it and my mother says she does not understand.

I have to be very rational and very clear with my mother. I need to control the conversation. If I do not, she breaks off into hysterics. She gets emotional. When she gets emotional my wife buckles to her whims. When she gets emotional, I hang up the phone.

She used to be able to manipulate my sister and I that way. She used to manipulate us by crying or screaming and yelling. But we are grown now and somewhat more self-aware. All sincerity is lost in the knowledge that she has used this tactic to gain control in the past. My sister has not spoken to my mother in 12 years. I am not my sister but I am tempted. All I have done is restricted her visits with my children to once a month.

She kept saying she “didn’t understand.” I told her that she is very controlling and that sometimes her need to control hurts people’s feelings. I told her that my wife does not stand up to her and that is a problem when it came to decisions regarding our children. I kept on at her, listing instances of when she crossed the line with me, until she relented and said, she didn’t agree. I told her not understanding and not agreeing are two different things.

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