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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to deal with a narssicistic mum, physical & emotional abuse?

    I am 28 & married. I have a mum that has abused me both physically & emotionally my whole life. She is aggressive & nothing is ever her fault. She is controlling with anything & everything I do even though I have my husband and own life now. It has affected me so deeply that I have nightmares & confidence issues. I have tried seeing a counsellor who helped me and told me that I should try distancing myself from her. I tried talking to her & then her verbal abuse continued & I distanced myself for a little & she drew me back in her life again. She is so controlling & manipulative that I got a tattoo a few years ago that means so much to me & she has forced me & threatened me to remove it or else, so now I am getting laser removal done because of her. This is just an example of how she is. She calls me or I call her & she yells at me and everything is my fault. It has always been like this since I was little. I have been emotional lately & it is unusual for me. Please help.
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    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    It sounds like you benefitted from counselling in the past to help you put some healthy boundaries between you and your Mum. Putting boundaries in place may mean having more distance at times. It will also mean learning to stay strong and hold your ground. You can't change your mother's behaviour; the only thing you can work on (and change) are your responses. It's recognising you have a choice -either to go along with what your mother wishes, or to say 'no' - this does not need to be done reactively or aggressively; in fact you willl be more powerful when you are calm and measured in your responses. Holding your ground may also mean letting your mother know that it is never OK to use abusive words when talking to you, and to have a consequence when she does this (i.e. not continuing to have the conversation with her until she is able to speak respectfully). To do all of this, you may need to resume counselling, to help you learn strategies and skills, and to give you the support to apply these. These strategies and skills need not happen at the expense of your relationship with your Mum - in fact, they may improve it for both of you. All the best.

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