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Newsflash:
Sunday, 25 March 2001

How Do I Relate to My Mom Now That I'm an Adult

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By Karen, age 21

Ugggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh is the only thing that comes to mind when I think about my current relationship with my mom. Things just seem to get worse all the time. Everyone says raising teenagers is one of hardest parts of being a parent. But I feel bad for my parents now.

For all those moms out there, with daughters in their early twenties, who may be displaying signs of this kind of conflict, please know two things...

When I was a teenager, I was allowed to be a pain in the ass. I was allowed to be moody and nasty to my parents, ignore them and get mad at them for not letting me stay out later than 11 o'clock. I had my days when I lied to them, telling them I was going to football games, when I was really at a party, with booze and boys. But see then, it was alright, because teenagers feel no guilt -they are supposed to drive their parents crazy. Sure, I felt bad for lying and I came clean later, but my parents treated me like a kid, and I let them treat me like a kid.

Then it all got topsy turvy.

I started really growing up.

I went off to college far, far away. I called home only once a week or once every other week, and they always gave me space to call them...when I wanted to. I didn't want to drive them crazy anymore. I wanted to treat them with respect.

They started to let me loose, and I became emotionally independent. They were my touch-basers. I went to them for friendly chatting and how's the weather, but at the same time I started realizing that they were real people.

Now we can joke about this childhood revelation, and laugh about it: "Wait, my parents really DID have sex?" (I'm still in denial they may be having sex NOW). But when a kid actually comes to this revelation, it is major, and for me, it was traumatic.

My mom and dad were always just mom and dad to me. I don't know much about their childhoods, their teenage-hoods, their feelings, their goals, their dreams. Ugh, and I don't want to. I just wanted to know what was for dinner, and if they could give me 20 bucks. I still don't want to know so much, I still just want to be a kid. Life was so comfortable then.

I want to tell her I love her but I can't. I want to tell her thank you for raising me so well, but I can't. I want to tell her I miss her, but I just can't.

My problem now is: my mother. See, I am kind of like a quasi-adult now. I think a lot like an adult, live like an adult, feel like an adult. My mom wants to be my friend now and I cannot handle that. She tries to be affectionate with me, or talk to me about guys in my life or relationships, and I turn into stone; aloof, cold, edgy, and unresponsive. Even thinking about it makes me tense.

She wants us to have an adult relationship, but I just want pancakes.

It confuses me so much because I love my mom. I beat myself up with guilt about not letting her love me or not letting her into my life.

But I just can't right now.

The adult part of me wants her to be my friend, because, well, i just do. She is quite a wise woman, and I am starting to see her as an individual, not just as "mommy".

I'm going through a very hard stage in my life right now. It is exciting because I am single, having fun with friends, meeting interesting people, and starting new things. But at the same time, I do not have my own home yet and my old home isn't mine anymore either. I am still financially dependent on my parents and don't want to be. I want to be with my own mom and dad, and at the same time, I want to be a mom myself.

So I have this incredible tension in my life and maybe it expresses itself through my mom...is it only coming from me or is she also doing something? Is she reacting to my stress or is she creating tension too?

She wants so much to be my friend, but I refuse to let her.

I look at her and the one hand I feel this guilt and love well up in me, and on the other hand I have this bitterness and resentment toward her. I don't want her to continue to give to me, because then it just makes me feel more guilty for not telling her I appreciate her.

I want to tell her I love her but I can't.
I want to tell her thank you for raising me so well, but I can't. I want to tell her I miss her, but I just can't.

I can barely have a normal conversation with her.

She wants us to have an adult relationship, but I just want pancakes.

I can't even imagine what my relationship with her is going to be like when I get married.

A big part of the tension with her has to do with guys. I want her to know I am normal and like men, but at the same time I want to close her out from my personal life. I don't ever want her to know I am a sexual being. The thought disgusts me. As much as I am in denial about her and my dad having a sex life, I NEVER want her to know mine is even a remote possibility. Basically, I don't want her to know I am a real person.

I don't know how this happens, but I find myself treating her like she is the daughter and I am the parent. And then the guilt-cycle continues. Damn guilt. I hate it.

My sister who is 18, and has always been more affectionate and lovey-dovey with my mom, seems totally fine with her. Maybe because home is still so close to her. Our parents are still her parents in the growing up sense of the word. So it's natural for her to reach out, and love what she gets in return.

I don't like my mother right now. I love her, but I just want to cry when I think about her. And I have no idea why.

As far as my dad goes, I have a little of the same thing, but he's my pal. Always has been. We listen to rock and roll together and chew the fat together and watch Red Wings hockey on the couch with popcorn. And we are still chillin'.

For all those moms out there, with daughters in their early twenties, who may be displaying signs of this kind of conflict, please know two things...

1. We love you very, very much -- we just can't show it, (that hurts us too) and

2. Back off a little. If you back off, we will have no choice but to come to you (when we're ready).

As for now, I am sitting in the stage of "ugh-ich." I just want to go away. By myself. Away from my parents. Just me on a small square of grass, for the next five years.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 09:45
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