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How to deal with controlling behaviour?

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Posted on Thu, 6 Mar 2014
Question: I am 46 years old. My Mother came across to Australia when she was 7 as a refugee (she is fairly healthy 72). My two brothers were killed in separate car accidents within 6 months of each other. My father died of cancer when he was 53. My family husband, daughter (20) and son (17) are the only family she has. Mum suffers from depressive episodes but won't admit it. However her obsession with controlling and interfering has driven a wedge between her and her grandchildren, they want very little to do with her. She says she wants to be more involved in our family as she feels she is no longer valued. If I do get her to help eg. gardening she feels free to interfere in other general household happenings. She wants to know where I've been who I'm with. If I go to the pictures with friends she is jealous. If my husband and I visit his parents she is jealous (she says they're lucky to have such a big family). She wants me to attend events with her and friends constantly. I feel it is unhealthy, she and I should have our own friends. She never announces when she is visiting and constantly wanders through my back door and looks for me. How do I set boundaries without her making me feel guilty of being a bad daughter? How can I help her have a good relationship with her grandchildren without us all being smothered?
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Answered by Dr. Lohit K (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: Life style changes, positive atmosphere, engaged Detailed Answer: Hi XXX, Thanks for using HCM. I went through the query and understood your concern and also appreciate your care towards the family. Since you need to manage for years it is better you make her busy in some work, activities and also to spend some time in relaxation techniques like yogasana. Spend some time with her every day during your leisure hours and make her understand gradually about the generation gaps and also make her understand that every one like their own style of living. Once in a month or fortnightly you can ask your children to spend some time for her (better is outside home in some cool and calm place) so that she can feel happy and comfortable with your children. Since she is depressed and if you leave her alone her mind will be filled with negative ideas more than positive ideas, so keep her engaged in some works but without telling the reason for involvement. Keep giving some pleasant surprises to her so that for next couple of weeks she should involve in them (surprise activities like editing photos, paintings, fishing, stitching etc) and mean time she as well as your children will also feel good among themselves. Avoid talking the past events and also any bad incident or if anything that hurts any of the family members to create positive atmosphere in the house. I hope these may help you to have a good relation. If this fails after applying for at-least couple of months then she need to visit a good psychologist / psychiatrist for her management. Hope this helps you. Feel free to ask if any further information and I will be glad to answer them. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Lohit K

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2007

Answered : 1648 Questions

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How to deal with controlling behaviour?

Brief Answer: Life style changes, positive atmosphere, engaged Detailed Answer: Hi XXX, Thanks for using HCM. I went through the query and understood your concern and also appreciate your care towards the family. Since you need to manage for years it is better you make her busy in some work, activities and also to spend some time in relaxation techniques like yogasana. Spend some time with her every day during your leisure hours and make her understand gradually about the generation gaps and also make her understand that every one like their own style of living. Once in a month or fortnightly you can ask your children to spend some time for her (better is outside home in some cool and calm place) so that she can feel happy and comfortable with your children. Since she is depressed and if you leave her alone her mind will be filled with negative ideas more than positive ideas, so keep her engaged in some works but without telling the reason for involvement. Keep giving some pleasant surprises to her so that for next couple of weeks she should involve in them (surprise activities like editing photos, paintings, fishing, stitching etc) and mean time she as well as your children will also feel good among themselves. Avoid talking the past events and also any bad incident or if anything that hurts any of the family members to create positive atmosphere in the house. I hope these may help you to have a good relation. If this fails after applying for at-least couple of months then she need to visit a good psychologist / psychiatrist for her management. Hope this helps you. Feel free to ask if any further information and I will be glad to answer them. Regards