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Wedding Woes

I don't want 'mommy dearest' thinking she gets any credit.

Dear Prudence,

My entire teen years were spent in battle with my mother over my appearance. She wanted a doll she could dress up and dish about boys with, and she got a little hobgoblin instead. The more she pushed me to be “girly,” the more I clung to my weirdness. She refused to let me cut my hair, so I shaved my head before school. She gave me a $150 makeup kit; I gave it away. She got rid of all the pants in my closet, leaving me with nothing but skirts, so I stole my brother’s clothes. She said I would have to wear her clothes or go to school naked. I stripped my shirt off and walked down the street in my bra. We were at each other’s throats constantly, so I went to college on the other end of the state. I’m 19 now and feel a lot calmer. I’m mixing up my style, sometimes wear makeup, and even have a boyfriend. I haven’t told anyone in my family yet. I know my mother is going to gloat about how she was “right.” At that point, I might throw something at her head. How can I ask my mother to let it go or ask the rest of my family to intervene? At 14, I honestly thought I was unlovable because being pleasing to boys was the only measure of my worth. That was the message I got from my mom.

—Hobgoblin

Re: I don't want 'mommy dearest' thinking she gets any credit.

  • Your Mom may be mommy dearest but she’s clearly not changing. Own your style, shut down any conversation of your looks, put your foot down about how you’ll accept be long treated (and follow through). 

    Your job is not to be pleasing to men, your mother, or anyone but yourself. If no one stood up for you as a child they’re unlikely to start now. 

    You don’t owe your family, or anyone else for that matter, information about your relationship. 
    OliveOilsMom
  • If things got this heated over clothes and makeup, I suspect there's a lot more to this mother/daughter relationship than just what's in this letter. Mommy Dearest isn't likely to change and will probably still find something wrong with LW's appearance. 

    People are allowed to change their style. I know I have over the years. There's nothing wrong with it, and LW can't let anyone, including her mother, make her think there's anything wrong with it. If Mommy Dearest won't shut up about it, LW should just tell her that it's not up for discussion, that she did this for herself and nobody else, and that she's not going to respond to any more crap about it. 
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  • VarunaTT said:
    This is one of those situations where I think LW has to control her own emotions and reactions about her mother and set boundaries for her mother that she is strict about.  LW can't stop her mother from gloating or stop her mother from feeling the "I told you so" moment, but she can stop her mother from speaking to her in a manner she finds disrespectful, especially now that she has her own space to use as a backup.

    And kudos to LW, really.  She made it out and is becoming herself.  I'd encourage her to get some therapy, just to develop tools for handling her mother and working through any lingering baggage about her childhood.
    This.  All the way.  Therapy would definitely help LW find the validation she needs to set those boundaries and realize there's nothing she can do to control mom's words/actions.  Therapy will also help LW realize that it's trial and error and that you have keep moving forward after back-sliding. 
    charlotte989875VarunaTT
  • mrsconn23 said:
    VarunaTT said:
    This is one of those situations where I think LW has to control her own emotions and reactions about her mother and set boundaries for her mother that she is strict about.  LW can't stop her mother from gloating or stop her mother from feeling the "I told you so" moment, but she can stop her mother from speaking to her in a manner she finds disrespectful, especially now that she has her own space to use as a backup.

    And kudos to LW, really.  She made it out and is becoming herself.  I'd encourage her to get some therapy, just to develop tools for handling her mother and working through any lingering baggage about her childhood.
    This.  All the way.  Therapy would definitely help LW find the validation she needs to set those boundaries and realize there's nothing she can do to control mom's words/actions.  Therapy will also help LW realize that it's trial and error and that you have keep moving forward after back-sliding. 
    All of these!     
  • I feel so bad for her.  I was a bit of a "hobgoblin" as she calls it, though I would say tomboy.  My parents always supported me, and I can't imagine how damaging it must have been to have someone constantly making you feel like what you are is wrong.  I hope she finds someone who also supports her, as pp said either a therapist or hopefully her partner.  
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    charlotte989875MesmrEweshort+sassy
  • LW - BOUNDARIES!!!!  And BIG ones... That is all...  (And, when a relationship materializes such that marriage might be a possibility - even BIGGER boundaries!!!)
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    short+sassy
  • My heart goes out to this LW in feeling like she didn't have value in her mother's eyes, unless she was girly and "pleasing to boys".  It was difficult to even write out those last few words, it's just so gross!  Including insulting to males to assume that they all even want a June Cleaver type.

    I think the LW should continue being who she is with no apologies.  Because to "hide" that she has a b/f and/or sometimes wears make-up is STILL letting her mom control her.  Instead, the LW should try and change her perspective.  If her mom wants to think "she was right all along", let her.  The LW can gloat and laugh in her own mind, knowing that the changes she has made was in SPITE of her mother's influence.  Not because of it. 
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    MNNEBridekerbohlMesmrEwecharlotte989875
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