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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Stress and relationship with mother

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Question
I am a 39 yr old woman, married 15 yrs, finally about to have a baby. I suffer from anxiety and have problems dealing with change. I also suffer from several autoimmune diseases and don't work due to my symptoms. I've been in counseling for several yrs, and my relationship problems with my mother is a constant subject. I am considering limiting my contact with her to as infrequently as possible. The problem - my mother has tried to control and manipulate me for as long as i can remember. If something doesn't go her way, she tries to put guilt trips on me, or tells me i'm wrong. My husband and i have decided we do not want anyone at the hospital until at least the day after our baby is born, as we feel this is our bonding time, and also not knowing how i will feel. She said that i am being selfish and ruining my relationship with her, and that she has been waiting a long time for us to have a baby. She brings up the fact that she had cancer and it could recur anytime and I'd feel bad if i made her miss out on precious time with her granddaughter. Other examples of her controlling behavior - when my grandmother was alive, she constantly told me i'd feel bad when she passed away because i didn't spend enough time with her, even though i don't think my time with her was anything but frequent. She also tells me i'm going to hell as i am no longer a practicing catholic. I really consider my relationship with her to be a toxic one, and would seriously consider terminating it all together. My husband, though, thinks our daughter should know her grandmother. I am concerned what she might tell my daughter, especially with regard to religion. How do i tell my mother she has no control over me, and that i find her behavior unacceptable?

Answer
Hanna

I am very sorry to hear about your, selfish domineering mother.

Congratulations to you and your husband on the upcoming birth of your child.  Remember this is your child and no one else's.

If everything you say is true now is the precise time to distance yourself from your mother, before your baby comes into the world and she feels she can dominate your motherhood and she feels entitled to tyrannize your adulthood.

Protecting your child is about to become the most important thing in your life and if you believe your mother is a toxic influence on you, make sure she is kept out of the danger zone as far as your new baby is concerned.

Telling you you will "ruin" a relationship that is already one sided and horrible is a bad joke on you.

Assert yourself now in the name of protecting your precious baby.  And keep away from anyone, blood relative or no who has the temerity to assume they know God's plan so well they can speak for God, especially by telling you you are going to hell.  Please do not wait  until you have to listen to her saying your baby is going to hell.

The way to stop your mother is to stop her and to stop trying to find a way to explain something to her that she does not want to understand.  The way to stop her controlling you is to act like the grownup you are and the mother you are about to become and tell her your child is off limits until she finds a way of behaving herself -- which she will not.

People will take advantage of you if you let them and this person is no different.  You know how she is and how she will act towards your precious child.  Make a pact with your husband that the two of you will stand firm and keep her away until you are ready, which can be as many months or years or forever from now as you decide.

Best always,

Dr. Elmore

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.

Expertise

I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.

Experience

30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

Organizations
American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

Publications
The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

Past/Present Clients
Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

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