My mother drives me crazy and I don’t know what to do with her

            Every time after I hang up the phone with my mother, I just want to throw everything in my office in the air and bang my own head on the table. She is such an unreasonable, stubborn and annoying woman sometimes that at those moments I just wish she doesn’t exist, that there is no such a person called Linyun Feng on the earth.  My life may have been more miserable without a mother, but at least now in my adulthood I can avoid this periodic mental torture, this insurmountable challenge to my patience and virtues.

            This is usually how the conversation unfolds.

            “Ma, did you call my office number?” I get in work and when I see that she called I dial her right away. 

            “Yeah, are you at work? I saw on the news that an American flight almost crashed into the ocean and 40 people are injured…really scary. It’s the holiday in America, I thought you may be traveling, so I called you.”

            “Oh, Ma, I am fine. I am not going anywhere this holiday, I am staying here. This kind of thing happens. No big deal. Why does Chinese news always report bad things happening in America?”

            “Oh, no, they report stuff happening in other places, not just America.”

            So far, the conversation is still peaceful. I feel warmth and being loved because my mother worries about my safety.

            “Oh, Ma, could you ask Dad to take a trip to the bank and find out how I can wire money to you from America?”   

            I had just received my year-end bonus, majority of which will go to my parents so that they can buy a house or condo in a nearby town and move out of the Shen Hamlet, a polluted industrial dump at this point.

            She acknowledges my request and then starts to tell me about the local real estate market. Property prices have been skyrocketing lately, and for a family like us it is really difficult to find a decent property without a hefty price tag.  

            “Oh, Ma, can you not pressure Spring to fork out her share too? Her gift shop hasn’t been open for a year, and right now it’s tough to even make ends meet. Besides, she is a single mother now, and life is not easy for her.”

            “I know. But every one of us knows that eventually everything will go to her. You are not coming back. And if I don’t give her some pressure, how is she going to be careful with money and being frugal?”

            I sigh. “Ma, I don’t think she wants pressure. She’d appreciate some support from her parents instead I think”

            “Don’t talk much about her. How about yourself? It’s going to be another year since your divorce…the new year is coming. And look at you, still single. What are you doing? Are you planning to become a nun?” She questions me in a seemingly joking manner.

            “Who says I am not looking? I am looking every day, just not desperately. You cannot rush this kind of thing. Ma, do you want me to just grab someone from the street?”

            My voice is raised. I want to force her to listen to me. I want to get this idea across her head—that I had enough with my nine-year marriage unsuccessful marriage and this time I will be very careful.

            But she refuses to answer my question. Instead, the usual whining and weeping starts: “Can you imagine our anxiety level as your parents? We are here worrying about you, and thinking how bad it is, that you are still alone at this age. How can we parents be happy?”

            “Well, Ma, just because you are not happy, it doesn’t mean you can transfer your unhappiness to me and add to my own happiness! Do you know sometimes I am jealous of those kids who can get support from their parents instead of complaints?”

            “Those kids…those kids have happy families, stay with their parents, and their parents are happy! What about us…how can you make your parents feel like such failures?”

            “Ma, do I live for you or for myself? Do I owe you my whole life?” I am yelling to the phone.

            “Stop talking now.”      

            “Yeah, stop, I don’t want to talk any more.” So I hanged up the phone. And I am puffing and huffing. I am so angry at this point that my mind is like a vacuum, like a blur. I try to read my morning emails but I cannot concentrate at all.

            It’s a one-way street between me and my mother. The purpose of my existence is to make her happy by improving her life quality, by giving her money to get a better place to live, which I am happy to do, by marrying myself to a man as soon as possible so that she feels I have completed my duty and she can feel good in front of every villager or acquaintance. Every time when I question her ultimate motives, she gets offended, she weeps and cries, because of course she wants to see us happy, she says, and in her opinion happiness means lots of money, a husband and a child. So no matter how explosively angry I get, no matter how distraught she makes me and my sister feel, she will continue torturing us until she sees what she wants to see. Does she really love me? My mother. I ask myself this question every day but I still haven’t gotten my answer.

            Christmas is two days away, and I don’t feel any family joy at all. In fact, at this moment I wish I were an orphan.

6 Responses to “My mother drives me crazy and I don’t know what to do with her”

  1. A says:

    Im not Chinese, and not a woman, and I know this forum is kind of old. At any rate, Im in my early 30s and my Mom has always been cruel. She is an unhappy person and has been all her life. She works at a store and is treated very badly sometimes, and has come home crying and screaming from the bickerings there. My Dad never attained the salary or social acheivements that she may have wanted, but he is a great guy. I have very few fond memories of her, just a lifetime of finger pointing, wailing, and screaming matches in parking lots. Now she has been there for me in many ways, but I can’t think of any right now. Oh and she buys me lots of stuff, i.e. jackets, kitchen items, household items etc but it has always been forms of damage control and leverage. While she doesn’t hate me, her method of wanting the best for me is so flawed.
    I still visit them every weekend since I do part time work in their area, and this year was great up until July when sank into one of her depressive modes and she has tried to “turn around” for Christmas but half a year of nagging has seriously messed me up.
    One time I was staying over, and I was setting some items down in the guest room. I set a water bottle down on the bed. She comes in with a shocked face, hands on her cheeks in despair, and the uttered the words of evil – “WHAAAT! You cannot put things on the bed!” “Yeah Mom, its only a water bottle.” “NO, IT IS A BIIIIIG WATER BOTTLE!!!!” And she proceeded to rip into me for “being messy”. As silly as this scenario sounds, this is the same intellect and level-headedness she brings to many situations both minor and profound. She has decimated my self-esteem even at age 32. At this point I want no interaction with her since it only consists of her bringing her sour attitude to home and me having to stand my ground against her clumsy and ridiculous attacks weekend after weekend. The problem is, if I cut her out by not crashing at their place on friday and saturday nights, I also will cut my Dad out by way of association, and he’s an awsome guy. I will also have to change my part-time job, but I like it there. I am in a jam. She is TOXIC. The worst part is, I have a twin brother who is just as savage and rude as her :/

  2. Waverly says:

    I see my mom a few times a week when she watches my son and you never know how it will go. One little thing usually sets the whole thing off… then everything flows like a broken dam. I am happily married, but there is always criticism about our jobs, the money we make, how we are raising our son… She says she has things to do and it is an inconvenience to watch my son… I say I will stay home… she says “no” then you will have no money… but she upsets me so much that I am crying going into work, can’t think, can’t concentrate, and am a total mess. I do love her, but she does not give me the room to actually do better. They don’t understand that the “pressure” prevents us from living. Ironically she complained that her mother did the same thing to her. I like to believe I am better to my son, but how do you stop her from distributing her misery?

  3. David 13yrs Belgium says:

    I can easily relate to this, to be honest i think my mother has some emotianal and mental issues she has to work out.
    I mean she keeps using reverse psychology on me and it drives me nuts, i only manage to fight with her to :/

  4. Eggie says:

    OMG! THIS IS MY LIFE! No one knows the mental and emotional torture that is a crazy Chinese mother! My mother has lived here in the US for nearly 50 years, but somehow her first 20 in Taiwan is all that matters when it comes to relating to anything. She calls me to complain about politics in Taiwan, the latest Korean soap opera she’s watching, and other mindless stuff that she believes relates to my welfare in some bizarre imagined way. At least you’re splitting it with a sister – I wish I had siblings. (Although if she’s like my mom, there’s probably still enough crazy to go around.)

    I cry, or want to, almost every time I talk to her. I have broken cell phones, punched things, thrown things, and actually banged my head on the wall. I have had more than one therapist tell me to stop communicating with her or risk my sanity. I just realized that even though she has plenty of money to travel back to China or Taiwan every year, take two cruises a year, and buy pretty much whatever nonsense she wants off TV, she probably secretly resents that I don’t make enough money to further her flashy lifestyle. She also hates that I refuse to marry or bear her any granddaughters.

    She is the only family I have left, yet I too often wish that I was an orphan.

  5. Kelly says:

    This must happen in all cultures. I literally just hung up the phone with my mother and my stomach is in knots. She is always the victim and highly demanding. At times she holds me emotionally hostage and when I put my foot down and tell her it needs to end, I feel terribly guilty for being ‘mean’ to her. It’s really a no-win situation. She is hyper critical and brutally negative – everything is dark and gloomy in her world. My father passed away about three years ago and now it’s ten times worse — she hated the world before and now she’s on a rampage, fighting with everyone all the time from sales clerks in department stores to restaurant hosts to me and my family. She criticizes my husband and even my nine-year old daughter for not being nice enough to her. She is a royal pain and I am so very drained by it all. At any rate, I do find some solace in knowing I’m not the only one. At the end of the day we must do two things: 1) live our life the way we want to live it and be truly happy; and 2) never torture our children in the same way!! Enjoyed your story…thanks for sharing.

  6. Judith McCullough says:

    (Sigh) I feel you.

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