My boyfriend's mother is very controlling and it affects our relationship
Hi! I'm nineteen and have been with my boyfriend a few months short of two years. We get along really well and we're good together and I know that he's someone I would be happy with in the future. We've been having big problems the past few months however because of his family. I'll give some background information to explain the situation a bit better so please bear with me.
He has an older brother who's twenty-five and a younger brother (16) and younger sister (12). His dad had an accident at work so he can't work anymore and his mam hasn't worked in years. His mam is the boss in the house, his dad hasn't got a say in anything (it's relevant ). When we first started going out we had small problems because of his mam - for the first seven or eight months she rarelt let him see me outside of school. We were only seventeen at the time so even though it was very annoying and weird we figured she would calm down once we turned eighteen.
My mother's family lives abroad so every summer we stay there for two months. Obviously this is hard on our relationship but we managed it. His mam is a bit odd. She controls what everyone (bar his older brother ) does and most of the time doesn't let them do things that they want to do. I'm not talking about going to a party or drinking but harmless things like if his younger brother wants to go out to play football with his friends she'll tell him that he isn't allowed. She's very critical too and gets into moods where she's angry at my boyfriend for no reason. Today for example she got annoyed and told them that him and his younger brother weren't allowed to go and see their nanny while the rest of the family did. That's not the problem though.
My boyfriend was diagnosed with depression in February and the past few months have been very hard on both of us especially because once he told his mam she's gotten even worse. At times she's supportive but mostly she just doesn't let him do things and tells him that he has to relax at home and that he can do things once he gets better. Whenever this happens I feel so so sad and helpless and it brings me down a lot. It's even worse when she gets angry at him because it makes him feel so hopeless and brings him down a lot.
The problem is that she doesn't let him do things with me even though we've been together for a good while and she seems to like me. She's always nice to me and chatty when I come over. But he isn't allowed to stay over in my house (even though my parents have no problem with it), when he comes over he has to leave at eight and he's insured on her car so she tells him that he isn't allowed drive to my house.
We planned a holiday abroad once I come back from visiting family and although at first she said that she didn't care now she says that he can't go because of his depression and it's been really hard on both of us. She told him to focus on himself which makes me feel very unwelcome and insignificant.
She lets him stay in his friends' houses until twelve and let's him use the car whenever he wants, just not with me. She didn't talk to him for two weeks after I came to one of his doctor's appointments because she had told him not to bring me and wouldn't let his dad talk to him either.
She's very supportive of his older brother's relationship though and even though they've only been together a few months longer than we have they're all going on a family holiday abroad, and I wasn't invited. I don't mind not going on a holiday with his family but I'm devastated that we can't go abroad together like we wanted to. She won't even let him go away to a hotel with me for a weekend.
It's caused a lot of problems between us because I feel so unwelcome and disrespected and stupid. I feel very stupid and small and little because I wanted to go away together and she doesn't even care that maybe I'd be upset about it. We had a hotel booked and everything and it really hurts. I feel so upset because it feels like my boyfriend doesn't care about me and that no one in their family takes me seriously. He hates the way his mam acts and I know that he loves me and wants to do things with me but it's so hard.
The reason he can't just go anyway is because she'll get so angry that she'll kick him out of the house. He's paying for university himself and uses her car to go to work so he can't just leave and come and stay with my family because he wouldn't have a car to drive to work.
I just feel so horrible and upset about everything. And I don't want to break up because I love him so much and he's the perfect person for me but his mam is making our relationship so so hard. And I bring him down too when I get sad and that isn't helping him get better. I feel like emotionally all of this has destroyed my nerves, I cry almost everyday and I haven't felt properly happy in months. But I feel like I would still feel like this even if we did break up because I would miss him so much.
All of this makes me feel insecure and unwanted and jealous of other people's relationships and how they get along with their significant others' parents. I hate feeling this way but I can't seem to move past it.
A part of me feels sad too that he doesn't stick up for us and show that we're serious. I know that it would make things awful for him at home because when he tried to talk to his mam about how this makes him feel bad she just got annoyed at him but because if it were me (and my family is completely different ) I would kick up a huge fuss if my parents did anything like that, especially if it hut him, I feel like I'm not as important to him as he is to me.
But I feel like his mam makes everything really toxic and I want things to get better because we fight a lot now because I've been very moody and sad. I think that a bit of that is because we haven't seen each other in a month and a half but I can't keep feeling this way and I'd really appreciate some advice. It feels like I'm not important in our relationship because we haven't really progressed in our relationship and I really want to, and I really wanted to go abroad together to relax after how hard the year has been. Hopefully there's some way to stay together and work through this.
Thank you in advance!
After two years, the dynamics in this house must be very clear to you. It's mama's world, for sure!
You two seem to be on different levels. You are free spirited and want to travel with him. He acts very conservative and is hesitant to confront his mother for his independence. His mother does not think he is capable of handling things at 19. He is compliant in order to get what he needs (job and school)
This is NOT going to get better, believe me. Mother's heavy hand is too entrenched in this family for anyone to be themselves.
He is getting therapy. Has his behavior changed any?
I think this is narcissism, if not, I'm sure I'll be corrected
Yep, she sounds very controlling and it's her way or nothing. Sounds like all her kids are quite scared of her and they don't want to upset her. Poor them!
Not really surprised your bf is depressed.
Interesting that's she's not like this with the oldest brother though. There is a six year age gap sooooo I'm Wondering if she was the same with him when he was younger, do you know? and she maybe just backed off a little as he got older? If so, then there is a tiny bit of hope she'll do the same with your bf. Like said above his mum clearly thinks your bf can't handle things at 19 but it's sounds like she's stopping him from learning/experiencing things like going on hol with you and letting him go out and do his own thing.
Try not to get upset by this, and try not to argue with bf; even though it must be really hard, and it might feel like this is what she wants, so don't give it to her. You said your bf has tried talking to her but it didn't work. He wouldn't of done that if he didn't care about you or your relationship. Sounds like she puts him in a very difficult position, and it's very hard for him to confront her/kick up a fuss and if he does his home life wouldn't be easy.
the best thing you can do it learn what she's like and how she works, the better you understand her, the better you'll be able to deal with this.
This is what his mum is like (unfortunately) and I don't think there isnt much hope in her changing. I'm sure venting on here will help you though
Hey..he needs to grow a pair! In this situation u or his mum..say u like her but if he serious about being with u shit has to change
. Good luck..
Hi, thank you so much for replying.
His mam was definitely the same with his older brother. But he didn't let her stop him from doing things and she kicked him out of the house a few times for disobeying her. His gf lived nearby so he was able to stay in hers. He moved out of the house as soon as he could so that's the only reason that things changed I think and I don't think that my bf would if he could. It hurts a lot that he wouldn't go that far for me because if it were me I definitely would.
Regarding his behaviour, he's gotten a little more vocal I suppose but it doesn't really make a difference. Whenever he tries to talk to her she ignores him or gets annoyed at him and tells him to leave her alone and he does.
I really don't want to break up because I really do love him but it's so so hard and it makes me feel insecure and paranoid and like I'm not good enough. Hopefully ranting a little will help but it's the hopelessness of the situation that makes me feel so down. It feels like nothing will ever change and like I'll always be miserable.
I don't know if there's anything I can do to make myself feel better and to not let it bother me as much as it does.
I think you need to ask yourself if he is CAPABLE of making changes that you want for this relationship at this time in his life when he faces so many challenges.
It really doesn't look like it, from what you have described.
You said, "it makes me feel insecure and paranoid and like I'm not good enough." That's not a good outlook and I encourage you to talk to someone about how the (in)actions of others is pulling you down.
It is sad that this may be the wrong time and place for you and him. But that's what you may have to face right now.