My Girlfriend's Mom...

<p>Hello, I thought I'd get the parents' perspectives on this one since you might have a greater understanding of the problem than I. </p>

<pre><code> I’m dating Lisa. Her GPA and SAT scores are abysmal. That’s irrelevant, but this is CC so I thought you guys would want to know :)

The problem I’m having is with Lisa’s mom (LM). For the life of me, I cannot figure out LM. She is extremely overprotective. She is still very afraid that her 17 year old daughter will be kidnapped (and she lives in a very nice neighborhood.) She will not allow me to drive her anywhere. For the most part, her 19 year old brother follows us around on “dates.” Lisa was homeschooled until 6th grade due to this overprotectiveness and need for control (this is also what destroyed any potential she once had in math…and negatively affected her social skills.)

LM utilizes emotional warfare as her primary parenting tactic. Whenever Lisa does something she doesn’t approve of, she will say some hurtful things, which Lisa is amazingly receptive to. By amazingly receptive, I mean that she *ing cries and submits, every time. Once, this even caused her to attempt suicide. While that’s disgusting in its own right, it’s even more despicable when she uses it. She does it when Lisa talks to me too much, saying that she shouldn’t get too “hot and heavy” ( does that mean?) and that she’s neglecting her “responsibility as a daughter and sister” by not hanging out with the family 247 (who treat her like ****). Summer started a few weeks ago, and LM told Lisa that she didn’t want her to see me more than 2 times a week (even though neither of us are doing anything). Recently, LM has taken Lisa’s phone (and other communication devices) and will only give it to her for about an hour for which we can talk per day.

All of this ******** aside, I’m just trying to figure LM out. Does she just hate me? I am much more respectable and “nice” than her previous boyfriends and both Lisa and LM say that LM likes me. Does she not want her daughter to date anyone? She has a sister who is 22 and still lives at home…she is emotionally crippled and antisocial, likely by her mother. Is she just insane?

All prejudices aside, LM is very Spanish (grew up in Puerto Rico) and very Catholic (works for the Church…hasn’t missed a service in years.)

What are LM’s motives? And more importantly, once I find that out, what can I or Lisa do about it? Can you guys please just explain to me what might be going through her head?

<p>PS - If you would like any additional details, just ask. Thank you for any help. This has been really bothering me and I think parents might be the best people to ask in this situation.</p>

<p>-B Man</p>

<p>I'll PM you.</p>

<p>Thank you. It is appreciated.</p>

<p>I don't know what Lisa's mother's motives are. She's wacky, what difference does it make why? Maybe Lisa will survive her childhood and maybe not, that is up to her.</p>

<p>What is your motivation here? Are you thinking you can fix anything? Are you thinking you can save Lisa. The hold Lisa's mother has over her is 1000 times stronger than anything you can bring to the table.</p>

<p>What are Lisa's plans here? Does she cave in to the manipulation? Is she going to move out when she can or will she still be living there when she is 22? It's all up to her. Until she can stand up to her mother you are superfluous. Why are you getting drawn into this?</p>

<p>That is a very good point, Pea. Part of it is my curiosity...I just hate not understanding people. Another part is that yes, I'd like to "save" her IF I CAN (If I can't, at least I can say I tried.) And then there's the selfish part in me that would just like to actually be able to spend more time with her.</p>

<p>Find a girlfriend that doesn't need to be saved.</p>

<p>Sounds a bit like my fiance's mom. I don't know about Lisa's mom, but I get the impression my fiance's mom is just very insecure for some reason-- she needs to control everything. She has the only computer in their house password protected, and even her husband doesn't know the password. If anyone wants to use it, they need to ask her permission. And that is just a small slice of her behavior. She is horribly threatened by me because her son has stopped caving to her emotional abuse and manipulation with my support. </p>

<p>I can't tell you what Lisa's mothers motives are just based on this. It will be up to Lisa to rise above until she is old enough to get out, and then get out. You just kind of have to deal, and there is not anything anybody can do. I make it a point to stay the HELL out of any conflicts with future mom-in-law, he needs to stand up and handle that on his own. He'd never recover from the emotional abuse if he didn't see for himself that he could handle it without my direct involvement, so I just cheer him on on the sidelines. If we were minors and still under our parents jurisdictions, so to speak, I would also be adhering to any rules she sets, no matter how ridiculous they seem. I would not encourage Lisa to defy her mother. She only has a year of this left, and you don't want to cause problems between them, it will only make Lisa's life worse. That would be my advice for you. This comes with the territory of dating people with crazy parents. You can support, but do not get involved or you are at risk of making things worse for everyone involved. It is not your place to get involved.</p>

<p>I know I spoke harshly to you. The situation hits a nerve, not your part in it but I hate seeing mother's like this. I think you'll find the whole situation very frustrating. Ultimately the only person you can control is yourself. You can't change Lisa's mom's behavior, you can't even change Lisa's behavior. But hang in the situation for as long as you can want.</p>

<p>There is hope for both Lisa and her sister. If they ever realize how unreasonable and damaging their mother's behavior is they can choose to get away from her. But the change has to come from within, until they decide they won't put up with the control anymore there is nothing any outsider can do.</p>

<p>Thanks Ema. That helps a lot. I do feel the same sorta thing from LM...that she feels threatened. The advice is greatly appreciated and very helpful.</p>

<p>Thanks Pea. It is very frustrating. It takes all the will power I have to not have a nice long talk with her mom, even though I know it would not help. I guess in the end Lisa is the one that should be thinking about what she can do instead of me. I'll just survive until she does.</p>

<p>Going to war with Lisa's mother will not (a) make your life any better, or (b) make Lisa's life any better. As much as you like Lisa, you are not in a position to replace her family, and it's not likely that you have any real idea of the depth of Lisa's ties to her mother.</p>

<p>Lisa's mother probably dislikes you because she senses that you have the attitude you in fact have. Plus, you're a boy and you are probably trying to get into her daughter's pants. (Something else that is also likely to be more accurate than not, although Lisa may be an active volunteer in the project, which her mother also suspects.) One thing you have going for you -- whether or not you recognize it -- is that Lisa's mother is probably also aware that there are far worse boys in the world; she may even like you a little, too. (If it happens that you are a girl, not a boy, there is a whole laundry list of other issues she may have.)</p>

<p>There isn't any kind of simple solution to this conflict. (Besides finding another girlfriend, that is.) You have to play by the mother's rules the best you can. You can cheat a bit, but no whining if you get caught. Negotiate some. They want her around more? She should ask that you be included, too, sometimes, and that she be permitted to do reciprocal things with you and your family. In addition to the twice a week dates. Be polite and thoughtful, to Lisa AND to her mom. You may think her mom is psycho, but treat her like the queen.</p>

<p>It's a long campaign -- but you WILL outlast her, if you are willing to keep at it. She knows it, too; that's part of why she's reacting so irrationally.</p>

<p>Thanks JHS. That's helpful. So far, everyone has told me that straight up confrontation is not the answer, and I agree. Pretty much, it's down to finding ways to deal with it the best we can until LM either loses control by age or willingly gives it up...or when Lisa decides she's had enough and finds the courage to stand up to her mother.</p>

<p>That's about the gist of it. My fiance is 21 and his mom has not relented at all yet, and we have to appease her at least somewhat or she will pull the plug on his dad paying for his last year of college, which would not be ideal. She is really going to have a cow when she finds out we plan to marry. I suspect her reaction will determine how much involvement he allows her to have in our lives, so hopefully she does some soul searching soon. I don't know if she'll ever give it up.</p>

<p>Does she have any plans for college yet? Until she turns 18 she really just has to cope and there is nothing you can do but hang in there. Once college starts, sometimes more options appear. I think the best thing for my fiance and I is that he is away at school most of the time. In fact he just went home for the summer for the first time in two years, he's been going to school year round. They are only an hour away, but far enough that she does not typically interfere with our day to day interactions. So we only really have to deal with her antics occasionally. That is thankfully generally how it is in the adult world. It's just hard when you're a minor and you have to deal with crap at home every single day. But she is almost in the clear there. And once you can get a break from it, the occasions in which crazy mommy rears her head are a little bit easier to cope with.</p>

<p>She would like to go to a nice college far away, but the reality of the situation is that she'll either go to the community college or a nearby public school (which really isn't that bad by normal people's standards.) She's a smart girl, but her math is atrocious...ironically, due to her 5 years in home school (her mom is terrible at math and did not think it was important so she hardly taught it.)</p>

<p>I'm glad that it gets easier once college starts. Good luck with your fiance and thanks for giving me some hope :)</p>

<p>Is Lisa's dad in the picture?</p>

<p>Lisa's dad is in the picture. He's sane. He actually agrees that his wife is crazy overprotective and controlling, but he says that he's tried to make her chill out for 20 years and he's given up. He's there, but LM makes all of the decisions regarding the kids. He is white.</p>

<p>I think you have hit on one important issue here -- cultural differences.</p>

<p>In my family's experience, too, we have noticed that Hispanic parents seem to be more protective than white parents.</p>

<p>We are white, but my son's first girlfriend was Hispanic. She was younger than he was, so he got a driver's license first. But they would not allow him to drive her anywhere for more than six months after he legally could have done so. They wanted him to have more experience behind the wheel first. She also had a much earlier curfew than most of her white classmates did, and when she and my son went somewhere, her parents expected more details about their plans than most white parents would have expected.</p>

<p>But my son's girlfriend was nothing like your Lisa in temperament. She was mature for her age and very independent. There's more to your difficulties than cultural differences. Part of your problem is the difficulty of teasing out cultural factors from individual ones.</p>