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Ask Rene: My Mom Won’t Let Me Live My Life!

Conflict between mother and daughter. Quarrel

Ask Rene:
My Mom Won’t Let Me Live My Life!


Hi Rene:

Ever since I was seven-years-old, I’ve been helping take care of my mom. She was practically trying to raise two kids on her own, so she taught me how to clean, do laundry, and cook at such an early age. I always thought of it as me being a helper around the house.

Now that I’m older (mid-twenties), I’m still at my mom’s beck and call. I would even come back to the house to help her out when hanging out with a friend. My friendships started to dwindle, and my relationships started to fail, because they all felt that she wasn’t allowing me to live my life the way I wanted to. When I managed to get out of debt, she would find ways to put herself in trouble with money to the point of where bills were way past deadlines, and I would have to pay them, or something was needed for the house. It ended up putting me in debt all over again, and unable to move out on my own. She has requested that I practically hand over all of my paychecks seeing as I’m underneath her roof, because she “needs help.” However, she will spend $500.00 on an entire thing of yarn (no joke).

I have been physically and verbally abused by her, and I’m at a loss of what exactly to do. If I don’t tell her everything about my day, or what is going on in my life, she gets extremely dramatic, and says that I’m “always disconnecting from her, and she wishes I was never born because I’m disrespectful.”

I’m so confused as to why this is happening. Any advice on what to do?

Sign me: 

Overworked in Omaha


Dear Overworked:

I can tell that, even though you’re conflicted, you really love your mother. I guess the part that bothers me about this is that, at least as you have described, your mother doesn’t seem to have a daughter as much as an indentured servant and that’s just not right. And under NO circumstance, should you stay in a place or situation where you are being abused. So here’s what I would do if I were you.

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No one is responsible for your happiness except you. That means that you are going to have to make some decisions about what  you want. Where do you see yourself in 3, 5, 10 years? Do you still want to be living with your mother and having her take your paycheck or do you see yourself on your own, using the money you earn for your own housing, car, expenses and luxuries? If you live under her roof, yes you should pay something for rent (you would be doing that if you were living on your own) but you don’t have to tell your mother every single aspect of your life (as long as you’re following the rules of her house) and she shouldn’t get angry for not knowing it. That sounds  an awful lot like emotional extortion.

Read more: Life Connections: Eye On The Prize… Head In The Clouds



Once you’ve identified your goals (and I HIGHLY recommend writing them down), it’s time to get busy. I’m always astounded  by how few people understand simple goal-setting. So write them down then find a mentor in the field you want to work in, ask questions, join professional organizations and squirrel away some cash. Because one of your goals should be getting a place of your own. That means talking to your mother about some uncomfortable things…. (keep reading)

Read more: Monday Morning Motivation: 3 Ways To Make The Most Out Of The Life You DIDN’T Plan!



Ultimately this is about boundaries. How do you progress beyond the mother-child relationship to one of adult- to-adult? It can be tricky territory to navigate but not impossible; people have been doing it since the beginning of time. The first step is setting up boundaries. You’re going to have to have a very adult conversation with your mother about what you feel is appropriate to share with her and what you simply will not discuss. This is also a great time to negotiate an amount to pay for rent. And don’t give her your money when she makes financial missteps; if you continue to do so, she will continue asking.

As I’m fond of saying, things typically get worse before they get better and that could happen here so be ready for that. Her little girl is going to be talking to her like an adult and that might be hard for her to understand.

Read more: Ask Rene: My Mother In Law Is A Monster!


It sounds to me like your mother is laying a guilt trip on you so you have to refuse to take the ticket. You did your part while you were growing up.. you helped out. Now you’re an adult, ready to start your own life.

That’s my advice. GEMNation, what do you think is going on here? What would you advise Overworked to do? Leave your comment here or over on the Facebook page. And don’t forget to follow Rene on Twitter too!

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away. Don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!





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  1. Demond Lee

    November 19, 2013 at 10:52 am

    You can’t help your mom while you’re in debt. You have to cut her loose and let mom know that she can not be a crutch to you. . Guilt trips are for those who seek to destroy you, not uplift….even if it is your own mother.

  2. Rene Syler

    November 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

    So true!

  3. Keisha

    November 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    As I was ready, I was like “Wow, someone else in the world like me. I need to follow this advice.” I then realized the difference between the author and myself. I am now 42 years old, and mom is 73 with dimentia, deteriorating health, and limited mobility. She has to be cared for… I am the youngest of 3 children and they dare not to switch places with me. So, my advice is GET OUT as fast as you can. She has affected every aspect of my life from career moves, to my children, to my non-existent love/social life. I am afraid I have signed on through the rest of her life which could be another 20 years (I HOPE).

  4. Momarchy Ladies

    November 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I think it’s important to know that this will be a thing that hurts. But Rene came up with some very solid steps that can bring you some happiness and peace with the situation! Good luck!

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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