We all got here because we all have a mother. Mothers bring us into this world physically, of course, but after that part is complete, their job is to nurture and support us. Mothers want their children to grow up to be successful and happy; at least that is what emotionally healthy mothers want. Unfortunately, not all mothers are emotionally healthy. Some mothers are different. They are insecure and jealous, and feel threatened when their adult children succeed. My mother is one of these people. This article is for those of you who have mothers like mine, and to give you some tips on how to cope emotionally with their jealousies and insecurities.
I am a grown adult child of my mother, and through my growing-up years, I have always seen the signs of her insecurities. When I was young, I was way too thin, and had really messed up teeth. She always said things like, “Well, she’s not pretty, but she’s smart.” Then I became a teenager, and things changed for me physically. I put on a bit of weight, became very involved in athletic pursuits and was in great physical shape. I also got extensive orthodontic care which made my teeth look much better. Suddenly then, I was a threat to her. Just when I needed her support the most, she failed me by becoming jealous of my physical growth. This example of her behavior has followed me since then, but has just evolved as I have evolved. When I succeed physically, financially, or emotionally with healthy romantic relationships or friendships with others, I get verbally abused, demeaned, and embarrassed by her in public, private, or wherever she can do it. This comes in the form of raising her voice loudly in public, throwing fits, insulting me in front of friends or people I do business with, and more.
Over the years, I have developed a thick skin. Yes, it hurt at first. And it still does, sometimes, on the days when I’m not feeling my strongest. The part that hurts the worst is the fact that since my father, who was my best friend, and who passed away many years ago, is no longer here, I would like to have a close relationship with my mother. I would forgive her all the hurt, embarrassment, and pain she has caused me, just for the chance to develop my relationship with her. But her character will not allow this, even now. I have and will always be, in her eyes, a threat to her, and she cannot treat me with the loving kindness that most all mothers give wholeheartedly to their children.
So knowing this, I simply must learn to deal. I have no other choice but to accept my mother’s limitations, and protect myself and my family from her verbal barbs. There are three steps I have employed to make this easier for me, and these are steps you can use as well to protect yourself mentally and emotionally from a jealous mother:
Step One: Keep communication of all kinds to a bare minimum.
The less information you give you mother about you and your life, the less ammo she has. I have learned this the hard way. For example, when I got a bonus at work based on the fact that I worked extra hard, I was excited to tell her, because I thought she would be proud of me. She doesn’t have to support me, I support myself, and I want to show her that I’m doing great on my own, so why wouldn’t she want to hear about my bonus? Well, she was not happy about it like I was, and basically said nothing, which is fine. Another example recently was when I told her, that because I had been working extra and taking on more work, I was no longer struggling with my house payments anymore. Her response? “Well, just keep in mind that not long ago you WERE struggling.” And then she told me “Remember, lots of people don’t have jobs.” Hmmm, this threw me off at first. Especially because I was not bragging. I was simply relieved that for once in my life, every month paying my bills was not a struggle. I understand and sympathize with anyone who does not have a job, or who is struggling. That was exactly my point, was the fact that for once, I wasn’t struggling. But from telling her this, I became aware of the fact that she gained some sort of pleasure from knowing that I was having a hard time making ends meet. She likes it when I don’t succeed, and dislikes it when I do. What is the answer to this? My Step One: Keep communication to a minimum. This way she does not know much one way or another.
Step Two: Downplay your success and achievements.
This second step is very closely related to Step One. Ultimately, at some point, you will be communicating with your mother. When you do, simply downplay any good things that have happened to you. For example, say you got a raise at work? Don’t mention it. When asked about work, just say that everything is fine. This is not false, everything is fine, but there is no need to elaborate on things that have been going well for you. Suppose you bought a new car? Don’t mention it. No need to. She may or may not see it eventually when she comes to your home, but until then, no need to make an “announcement” about it, even if you are excited. This will only be interpreted by her as you gloating about your new purchase. Perhaps you and your husband are getting along exceedingly well, or have been doing some extra fun things together. Maybe you are planning a fun trip together to the beach or the mountains or lake. Don’t mention it. Just leave this as something between you and your spouse. You may see this approach as overly passive, but I assure you it is not. Mothers that are jealous of their children lash out and act out in certain ways because they want the attention to come back to them, not to you. By reacting to their aggressive, angry, or childish behavior, you are in essence, feeding the beast. Being passive and downplaying your achievements and staying neutral keeps everything minimized.
Step Three: Turn your hurt and negative emotions into positive energy.
Step Three is one of encouragement. I know from personal experience that it is just near impossible to ignore the criticisms of a mother. They hurt deeper than anyone else can hurt you, especially because they are the very person that brought you into the world and are supposed to have your back for always, cheering you on, and encouraging your success. It seems to go against the very laws of nature that they would feel threatened or angry when you experience happiness, especially when you know that you are not presenting your success to them in the form of vanity or bragging. There is only one thing you can do when you get hurt. Turn your negative emotion into something positive. I want you to know that is the exact reason why I am writing this article today. I received a birthday card in the mail from my mother with a message that was so cold hearted, I was nearly reduced to tears. It hurt me terribly. It seems that since I told her about something good that happened to me a week ago, she is exacting her revenge by making sure she sent me a hurting birthday card. But instead of crying, I decided to write this article. I wanted to write it so that you, dear reader, can know that you are not alone. I am writing to help, and to say, that you do NOT have to internalize the negativity of a jealous mother. Vent it, get it out and away from you, and do something constructive with all that emotion. Just because you have a mother that is not proud of you, does not mean you can’t be proud of yourself. I am proud of you! And congratulate yourself for reading articles that pertain to how you are feeling and know that there are many, many people who feel like you do. Just be sure to take the positive energy and pass it on.
We are all here for a reason. We all depend upon our mothers for encouragement and support throughout our lives. It can be very disappointing when the person that is supposed to love you the most is threatened by your success, appearance, and/or happiness. It seems unnatural to limit time and communication with your mother, but in order to protect yourself, this is what you must do. Follow my three steps above to help yourself deal with a je
alous mother. And just remember, she is only jealous because you are doing something right. Just keep living, and being your best!