My relationship with my mom is impossible

Subject: Not Feeling Heard

Message: Just a short background, growing up, my mom could get mad whenever she wanted, but I couldn't express if I was upset. Even now, I am financially taking care of her and I am 24. My mom hasn’t changed, even now when i point out something she’s done to upset me, she doesn’t listen. It’s absolutely infuriating! I know she has a mental illness, even if she won't admit it, but living with her is hard. I pray quite often, but what would God want me to do in this situation? Why would He put me in a such a situation like this?

You’re in a tough situation! Sounds like it’s been a difficult journey, yet you are a responsible person, working and supporting your mom. You’re showing her honor even though she’s difficult and isn’t willing to listen to you or take your feelings into consideration. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with this!

First, I want to encourage you that God didn’t put you into this situation. It’s never been His plan for us to live in relationships where we’re not treated like He desires us to be. We live in a sinful world. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. But it’s true. Sin has impacted everything on our world. Mental illness isn’t part of God’s plan. It’s a result of living on a planet impacted by sin. God wants you to live believing you are loved, valued and cared about! And you are—by Him.

It’s true that He could change your situation or your mom. Many of us often wonder why He doesn’t answer our prayers and make things easier or better. Why doesn’t He just change your mom? There are no easy answers. However, one thing I believe is that God always hears our prayers and answers them. I don’t think His answers are as easy as “yes”, “no”, or “wait.” I think instead His answers are always more of Him. He wants you to experience Him in ways you haven’t before. So keep praying. Keep spending time with Him. Highlight the promises in your Bible that speak to you about how God loves you, sees you, hears you. The enemy will attempt to discourage you and tempt you to think God doesn’t love, see or hear you. He’s a liar! So arm yourself with scripture that tells you the truth. It does help. I often remind myself that God loves me. And that He gives me strength to handle difficult people.

See while I can’t totally understand your situation because every relationship and experience is unique, I do know what it feels like to have a mom who is tough to handle being around. Sometimes it seems like no matter how many times I tell her something, she just doesn’t listen and isn’t willing to change her thinking or behavior. I get very frustrated. And it was pretty hurtful as a teen and even after I moved out. I eventually accepted the fact that my mom will always be who she is—change won’t happen unless she wants it. God won’t force her to change.

But just because she’s frustrating and difficult, God’s expectations for us as children (even when we’re grown up) still stand. We need to continue to treat our moms with honor and respect. Sounds like you’re doing that by providing for her financially. I’m guessing you’re probably helping out in other ways, too. Talk to her with respect and not frustration. I know it can be hard sometimes. But when you’re feeling frustrated, just send up a prayer. I had that happen just the other week. I took my mom on a trip that she’s been wanting to go on for a long time, but can no longer drive herself that far. Her words and actions were really getting to me—and here I was, trying to be nice, spending my vacation time and money to do this for her. I sent up a prayer in that moment, and felt like God gave me peace and the next step to do. I followed through and things seemed to go better for a while. At least I wasn’t as frustrated!

Another important thing I’ve learned is to set healthy boundaries. Not in a mean way, but just knowing my limits. I no longer live with my mom, but I do call her regularly and do things with her (not as often as she’d like!) But I’ve learned how much conversation I can handle and when I start getting frustrated or angry, to respectfully  and kindly ending the conversation. Your situation is different because you’re still living with her. So for you, this may mean knowing when you need to go a space that’s safe for you. Maybe your room. Or go for a walk—a run or walk and fresh air often clears our head and gives us a renewed perspective.

It’s been helpful, too, to have others I can talk to about for those conversations where I wish I had a “mom”—in my idea of what the perfect mom would be. So finding relationships that are safe, where you can be yourself, vent (respectfully and not all the time! Save the all the time for God!) and have fun.

And never stop praying! Not only for wisdom on the situation, but also for your mom. God can do miracles. Nothing is too hard for Him. The Holy Spirit can soften your mom, cause her to hear you and want to hear you. I see changes in my mom from time-to-time. Even on the trip the other week—by the end of it she was no longer saying some really frustrating things she was repeating every day! But actually seemed to appreciate the gift of the trip for her.

I wish I could give you answers that would change your mom and make everything easier! But this world doesn’t have easy answers. The exciting thing is one day we’ll be living in heaven and on the new earth in the lives God intended all along. And how fun it will be to discover the cool women God knew our moms were all along—and will be when He completes the work in them (and us) and takes us home!