It is important to guard your heart, especially in close relationships. Parental ties that have become unhealthy emotionally need proper boundaries. You deserve to pursue your life and can do so without being disrespectful to a parent who needs professional counseling.
Kristina Asks Nancy:
I’m 23, the only child of a controlling, paranoid, hermit-like and hyper-religious mother and a peace-loving, passive father. I graduated from college last year. Shortly after, my boyfriend and I accepted dream jobs in the same town several hours away from my parents.
Mom was appalled. She “warned” me that I wouldn’t last and would come home. Instead, I have embraced my new city and job. Mom is at her wits’ end. If I tell her about a project I initiated at work, she says my employer is taking advantage of me. She calls me constantly, and if I don’t answer she leaves frantic messages about how “disrespectful” I am, and how she and Dad are “praying for my soul.”I try talking to her, but she won’t listen and laughs at the idea of counseling. She says it’s her “job” to tell me what to do.
My father agrees that her behavior and approach are wrong, but says she has good intentions and I need to “work with her.” I’m worried that my distance is affecting her health.
Your mother needs professional help to work through the phobias and fears that are affecting her life and your relationship with her. Please do not personalize her irrational behavior and try to make sense of something that cannot be rationalized. She is in dire need of a mental professional to help her. I understand how upsetting it is to receive such frantic messages from someone you dearly love.
For your own peace of mind, I do encourage you not to listen to those messages and communicate with your father regarding the new events in your life. Until she receives the help she needs, your attempts to have a normal relationship will continue down this path. Sometimes major life events such as a child moving out, growing up and becoming independent trigger an overpowering sense of fear of not being needed anymore.
As an only child, you may have provided her sense of purpose and worth while you were growing up. Without that duty, she may be reaching out in this manner to show you and prove to herself that she is needed. The best course for you is to continue forward with your life and pursue the dreams in your heart.