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My mother threatens to cut me off over the clothes I wear

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (10 April 2019) 27 Answers - (Newest, 27 April 2019)
A female India age 30-35, *rystal_watz writes:

I'm a 31 year old woman who lives and works away from my parents. My parents were never the overly controlling kind, although my mother is kind of very conservative when it comes to certain things. She doesn't approve of partying or wearing revealing dresses.

She's always been kind of over-protective about me since I was an only child, and also very hands-on with me, especially in matters of education.

I've loved wearing revealing dresses occasionally; maybe a strapless here and a short-skirt there. My mother was never fond of these things; but recently she has started kicking up a storm about these. I live away from he and am 31 years old. But still she freaks out when she sees pictures of me wearing clothes that SHE finds 'inappropriate' (nothing overly revealing--- just a strapless dress). She was so upset about it that she stopped talking to me for more than thirteen days. I had to beg her to talk to me again.

Two months after that, I put a picture of another dress that was nothing too revealing, but just a little bit low-cut. Again she started with the same drama. Saying that she'll stop talking to me.

Now, I know that I have the option of not posting those pics, but it bothers me as a person. Why should I have to hide my true self from the world because of her? Isn't her behavior controlling and inappropriate? Should I continue to indulge her or put my foot down? Suggest

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (27 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Well, now you're contradicting yourself. You did say, "If your parents have authority on you then you're not an adult".

The debating point was authority of parents.

I didn't say that I have a low opinion on people of Asia, I'm an Asian myself (India is also in Asia, Asia is not only those countries with Oriental features) Middle East is also Asia. I said, that by YOUR LOGIC, people of Asia are all children.

Your point was clearly that adults who allow parents to have authority are not adults. Now you're changing your argument.

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (26 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony aunt"Going by your definition, a whopping 90% of men and women in such societal set-ups are "not adults". Which would mean that most human beings in the Asian continent are not adults because most Asian societies to my knowledge are this way.

Now do you see how myopic and absurd your thought is?"

The distinction I've made is choice. If you follow the traditions of your region because you value the relationships more than you value whatever you have to gain from going against those traditions and you choose to do so of your own free will, accepting the consequences of that choice, then that's adult behavior. If you choose to go against the traditions of your region because you value what you gain by going against them more than you value the relationships that will be damaged by doing so, and you're willing to accept those consequences, then that's adult behavior too. I'm not saying an adult has to like the choices they face, I'm saying an adult simply accepts their limited set of choices, makes the choice they believe is best for them, accepts the consequences of thar choice, and moves on.

What's not an adult behavior is acting as if you have no choice, and demanding that the consequences not apply you.

I would assume that the vast majority of the 90% you cited are exhibiting adult behavior based on my definition. A region of children won't last long.

It seems you have a low opinion of 90% of the people in Aisa. I don't share your opinion of them. I assume that most of them are voluntarily following traditions. They may not like their choices, but I assume most of them accept their limited set of choices and the associated consequences and move on. If they didn't then the society would change.

Maybe WiseowlE's explanation is more succinct when he said:

"Listening to your parents advice and taking orders from your parents are two different things. Obedience is voluntary when you're an adult. It is required of a young child; if they wish to avoid punishment."

That says much the same thing that I've been saying. I've repeated myself over and over trying to get you to understand the distinction that I've made but, so far, I've failed to explain it in a way that you understand.

Despite all of your bluster and debate, your situation hasn't changed. You're left with the same choices that you had before you started this.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (26 April 2019):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntOP, stop it. Either argue with your mum, put your foot down or accept that her views won't change and you need to adapt to that.

Complaining here and not listening to advice will do nothing to improve your situation.

ACCEPT YOUR MUM.

- OR -

PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN.

Make your decision and deal with the consequences. Weigh up the pros and cons of both beforehand. We can't help you because you're too determined to argue. That's fine, but it's not going to change anything.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (26 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Let me tell you something. In Asian societies, men and their wives often live with their parents traditionally. This is changing a bit since the past decade since more and more men are leaving home for jobs in other cities or preferring to have their own flat/apartment after marriage. We don't leave for college necessarily, so there's no compulsory 'moving out' concept. Same goes for the women except they leave house when they get married.

When a man lives with his parents, he adjusts with them and listens to them on certain things because he's expected to do so. This is the case with most households in this societal set-up. So parents (grandparents in case of the children) always have some kind of authority over the house and the family till they die. This has been the social culture for generations. And hence, we have been brought up to believe that we must honour our parent's wishes to a certain extent no matter how far away we live, because that's how the societal and cultural setting is. In our minds, parents always have some kind of authority over you unless they are very abusive or very bad parents.

Going by your definition, a whopping 90% of men and women in such societal set-ups are "not adults". Which would mean that most human beings in the Asian continent are not adults because most Asian societies to my knowledge are this way.

Now do you see how myopic and absurd your thought is?

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (25 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony aunt"Like I said, that is an extreme statement because by your definition, only a very small minority of people would be adults."

Perhaps that's true in the circles of people that you know. That's not true in the circles of people that I know.

"Can you spell out the difference between 'want' and 'need'?"

A need is something that you can't do without. A want is something that you can do without but would like to have. In the context of an adult relationship with parents it's easy to conflate need and want. Wanting something really badly, doesn't make it a need. I may want my relationship with my mother really badly, but I don't need it. If my mother passes away, I'll miss her terribly, but my life will go on. Therefore, I don't need her in my life, I just really want her in my life. You say you need your mother in your life, and if that's the case, then that implies that you will not be able to function without your mother. I believe that you're perfectly capable of living your life without your mother in it, you just don't want to. There's nothing wrong with that, but calling it a need really isn't accurate.

"Again, your definition of 'authority' is bookish and one-dimensional. Authority does not only mean legal or financial authority."

I mever defined authority, I merely cited examples of authority that were specific to the examples you cited that you chose to use as if they were a definition.

"Many people who are still in their 40's or 60's listen to their parents' advice on things and don't go against them on certain issues. Are they not adults even though they're functioning perfectly in their daily life?"

The distintion that I've made is that an adult is prepared to make a choice, accept the consequences of that choice, and then move on from that choice to the next life challenge. They do not consider themselves a victim. Children act as if they have no choice, claim they are being forced to comply, complain bitterly, and don't move on to the next life challenge. They consider themselves victims. Consequently, they build up a list of unresolved grievances and blame others for the consequences.

The adults in your example may choose to follow their parent's advice if they believe it's wise advice, but they don't feel obligated to do so. They may also choose not to go against their parents if they value the relationship more than whatever it is they will gain from going against their parents. In that case, the adult has accepted that going against their parents has worse consequences than complying with their parents, so they choose to comply and move on. A child complies, complains about being a victim that's being treated unfairly by their parents, and doesn't move on, they just build up resentment over time. An adult may decide, at some point, the sacrifices they've made to comply with their parent's wishes have simply been too great, and they will then choose to go against their parents knowing full well that doing so will damage the relationship, perhaps irreparably, and they are prepared to accept those consequences. A child that goes against their parents, knowing it will damage the relationship, refuses to acknowledge that the choice to do so was theirs, blames their parents, and demands that the parents accept their choice regardless of how going against them offends their parents.

You have a choice to make. You can either be an adult and choose to continue doing what you're doing, accepting the consequence that it might cost you your relationship with your mother, and move on from there, or you can be an adult and decide that posting pictures online isn't worth the risk of losing your relationship with your mother, and move on from there. Either of those is adult behavior. What's not adult behavior is acting as if your a victim of your mother, claiming that you have no choice, and claiming that you're being controlled. The distiction is that an adult does not consider themselves a victim and a child does.

"If your mother does not blackmail you with her choices and needs, then that's her choice. But she could if she chose to. That's because she will always have an emotional 'authority' over you as a parents, as the one she gave birth to and raised."

My mother has no authority over me. Period. If anything, at this point in her life, she acts as if I have authority over her. Because she chooses to believe that, I, in fact, do have authority over her. Your mother has authority over you because you choose to allow her to have authority over you, you just refuse to accept that it is your choice to remain under your mother's authority.

"The difference you're trying to draw between 'want' and 'need' is therefore, forced and largely imaginary."

No, the difference is pretty clear to many people reading these posts, it's just not clear to you, either that, or it was clear to you and you're arguing for the sake of arguing.

"If this is not absurd reasoning then I don't know what is."

The reasoning isn't absurd, it follows directly from YOUR definition of abuse.

It's YOUR definition of abuse that allows me to so easily demonstrate just how nonsensical your definitions are and that's the point. You don't seem to get that you made the definition that I used to cite an example of a scenario that fits your definition of abuse, but is clearly absurd. You don't appear to think about all of the ramifications of the definitions you create, you just blurt out superficial definitions that are easily shown to allow for absurd conclusions, and then try to claim that it's the person strictly following your definition that's got flawed reasoning. It never occurs to you that it's your flawed definitions that allow for it.

It's clear that I can't make you see that arguing with me isn't going to solve your problem with your mother. You can continue to post at me but it won't do any good because when it's all said and done your mother will still be there and her threat will still stand.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (25 April 2019):

If you were as assertive and persistent with your mother as you are with Code Warrior; I think your mother would back-off.

The threat of being cut-off financially, or disowning you, are common forms of leverage. It's an act of desperation or cruelty; when overbearing-parents want to keep you under their control. Obviously, you're going to wear what you want to wear.

You can't change your mother, or her traditional values. She was born in another era. Some of her ways are outdated; or she's too bossy and prudish for her own good. You can compromise and do things to please her; if you're that afraid of her disowning you.

Dupatta scarves normally worn with saris are just as pretty around your bare shoulders. If that will make her happy.

Be as assertive with your mother as you're being here; and perhaps she will realize that you're an adult who can make her own decisions. After-all, if a mother truly loves you; cutting you off would hurt her more than it hurts you.

Listening to your parents advice and taking orders from your parents are two different things. Obedience is voluntary when you're an adult. It is required of a young child; if they wish to avoid punishment.

Your mother is only human; and she is limited as to what she can do to make a full-grown woman in her 30's take orders, as if she was still a small child. Like any other human being, your mother learns that she can't always have her way. In reality, she didn't always listen to her mother either. I doubt she always agreed or was obedient to her mother. Apparently, her own mother isn't around to remind her.

This post can go on endlessly; but you simply have to show your mother with or without her permission, you will dress as you please. If she cuts you off, she also ends the relationship with her daughter; and it is cutting off her nose to spite her face. karma will settle that issue!

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (24 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

"Even if you were to tell me that most people you know need their parents, I would then tell you that most people you know aren't adults"

Like I said, that is an extreme statement because by your definition, only a very small minority of people would be adults.

Can you spell out the difference between 'want' and 'need'?

"If your mother is still in a position of authority over you, then you're not an adult. My mom has zero authority over me."

Again, your definition of 'authority' is bookish and one-dimensional. Authority does not only mean legal or financial authority.

Many people who are still in their 40's or 60's listen to their parents' advice on things and don't go against them on certain issues. Are they not adults even though they're functioning perfectly in their daily life?

If your mother does not blackmail you with her choices and needs, then that's her choice. But she could if she chose to. That's because she will always have an emotional 'authority' over you as a parents, as the one she gave birth to and raised.

The difference you're trying to draw between 'want' and 'need' is therefore, forced and largely imaginary.

"No, it's not abuse. If you decide to date a guy that your girfriend knows is abusive to women, and your girlfriend tries to stop you from dating him, is your girlfriend abusing you? After all, that would be an example of you doing something related to your life that harms nobody else"

If this is not absurd reasoning then I don't know what is. What my girlfriend would be doing is to prevent me from facing real, tangible harm. Wearing revealing dresses won't cause me harm. If you were to prove something by example, you needed to come up with a more viable example.

Trying to protect someone from tangible harm and imposing your will on someone are two different things.

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (24 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony aunt"That's a little extreme don't you think?"

No. I wouldn't have typed it if I thought it was extreme.

"Being an adult doesn't mean you're detached completely from your parents."

I didn't say detached, I said independent, big difference. Therefore, your entire line of reasoning after that, being based on the notion of detachment, doesn't apply to what I said. Therefore, it's a meaningless point in the context of our discussion.

"Saying that an adult should not be emotionally attached to their parents is downright absurd with no basis in reality."

Well, then it's a good thing I didn't say that eh?

"Your definition of abuse is also flawed.

Attempts to control and micro-managing every aspect of a person's life can also count as 'abuse'."

By that definition, raising an infant or young children counts as abuse.

"No, my putting up those pictures is not abuse on my mother since she can choose not to view them. She's actively seeking out those pictures despite my attempts to hide them. Also, by putting up those pictures I'm not actively seeking to cause harm to her. She, on the other hand, seeks to cause me emotional distress if I don't conform to her demands."

Well, your definition of abuse is based on your mother's threat causing you emotional distress. You know full well that posting your pictures causes her emotional distress, that's why you try to hide them. You make the one-sided claim that she doesn't have to view them, she seeks them out. I'd counter that with, you don't have to post them online, but you do anyway, and you take it a step further by hiding them in an attempt to deceive your mother. Seems like abuse by your definition.

"We all need our parents for some reason or the other. "

False. You're projecting and you're conflating want and need. They are not the same. YOU may "need" YOUR parents, but it's false to say that "We all" need our parents. All you can say is that some people need their parents. Likewise, some people want their parents in their life, but don't need them in their life.

"Most people I know have very close emotional connections to their parents"

Even if you were to tell me that most people you know need their parents, I would then tell you that most people you know aren't adults. Want and need are entirely different things.

"Even big shots in real life are often emotionally dependent on their parents."

Then I would say those big shots aren't adults.

"And like I said, interference and micromanagement that becomes too overbearing can count as abuse."

You didn't say that before. You added overbearing this time. At any rate, it only counts as abuse if it's a person in a position of authority who is micromanaging a person in a way that was not intended by the rules or policies that govern the performance of that authorties' duties. If your mother is still in a position of authority over you, then you're not an adult. My mom has zero authority over me.

"We are aware that throughout history, less privileged groups had to fight for their rights from more privileged groups, right? Because depriving them of their rights was abuse."

Well, that's covered under my definition of abuse where I cited positions of authority used in ways they were not intended to be used, i.e. they were abusing their authority.

"So, by your logic, can I say that, "the underprivileged groups are abusing the privileged by causing them distress (by claiming rights)?"

You can't say that by my logic, because my definition of abuse doesn't agree with yours. Also, that's not my logic you're trying to use to reach an absurd conclusion, that's your logic. Remember, I used YOUR definition of abuse to reach the logical conclusion that you're abusing your mother. All you really did here was demonstrate that your definition of abuse leads to absurd conclusions. Congratulations.

"I'm doing something that's related to my life and harms none else. So if someone else tries to stop me from doing it, then its abuse."

No, it's not abuse. If you decide to date a guy that your girfriend knows is abusive to women, and your girlfriend tries to stop you from dating him, is your girlfriend abusing you? After all, that would be an example of you doing something related to your life that harms nobody else.

"And no, it does NOT work the other way round."

Well, I think we already covered that.

You can keep debating with me if you want, but debating with me isn't going to solve your problem. And, don't forget, I think the dress thing is a trivial matter, but it doesn't matter if I think it's trivial because I'm not your mother. In the end, regardless of all your debating, your mother has the right to choose who she wants to associate with and her criteria doesn't require your approval.

Your choices haven't changed and debating with me won't change that simple fact. That's a fact that you can't escape from. Continue to post pictures and lose your mother, or stop posting them and keep your mother. Nothing you say to me makes any difference relative to your available choices.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (19 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Code_warrior: Emotional dependency on parents varies from person to person. It isn't the same as financial dependency. We all need our parents for some reason or the other. Because they're our parents. Most people I know have very close emotional connections to their parents, so don't know what kind of background you come from. Even big shots in real life are often emotionally dependent on their parents.

And like I said, interference and micromanagement that becomes too overbearing can count as abuse.

Let me give you an example, a very basic one if you will. We are aware that throughout history, less privileged groups had to fight for their rights from more privileged groups, right? Because depriving them of their rights was abuse.

So, by your logic, can I say that, "the underprivileged groups are abusing the privileged by causing them distress (by claiming rights)?"

You statement "You are abusing your mom b y putting up those images" sounds like the above.

I'm doing something that's related to my life and harms none else. So if someone else tries to stop me from doing it, then its abuse. And no, it does NOT work the other way round.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (18 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

"If a person isn't independent in every way from their parents, then they're not an adult"

That's a little extreme don't you think? Being an adult doesn't mean you're detached completely from your parents. Maybe in your family that is the case, but not in most people's families. Parents are parents, and we will always be attached to them emotionally. Saying that an adult should not be emotionally attached to their parents is downright absurd with no basis in reality.

Your definition of abuse is also flawed. Attempts to control and micro-managing every aspect of a person's life can also count as 'abuse'.

No, my putting up those pictures is not abuse on my mother since she can choose not to view them. She's actively seeking out those pictures despite my attempts to hide them. Also, by putting up those pictures I'm not actively seeking to cause harm to her. She, on the other hand, seeks to cause me emotional distress if I don't conform to her demands.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (18 April 2019):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntOP, it’s not abusive. It’s a strong disagreement about core feelings. I’m sorry she disagrees with you, but you’re going to have to accept it or stand up to her.

You shouldn’t be emotionally dependent on anyone now - emotionally attached, absolutely, but not dependent. You’ve upset your mum and she’s upset you. That’s not abuse; it’s a normal disagreement. It hurts both of you. How are you going to deal with it?

Turn your settings to private when it comes to your mum. That’s why the option is there, so certain people can’t see certain things you post.

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (17 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony auntNo, most children aren't emotionally dependent on their parents after they reach adulthood. The very essence of being an adult is to move from a dependent relationship with our parents to a fully independent one and to handle our responsibilities on our own, without our parent's help. If a person isn't independent in every way from their parents, then they're not an adult.

Abuse is simple: Physical harm used to force compliance, unjust verbal insults used to destroy someone's will, use of a rule, law, thing, or position of authority in a way that's contrary to it's intended use.

You seem keen on defining yourself as abused over a matter you consider trivial, yet you ignore the idea that your definition of abuse would also apply to what you're doing to your mother. By your definition, you're abusing her too because by posting those pictures you're knowingly causing her distress. But as usual with the use of watered down definitions of abuse that are designed to confer victimhood status on oneself, the definition is selectively applied.

There is no abuse going on here. There's just a disagreement between 2 people with potentially severe consequences if the disagreement can't be resolved.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (17 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Code_warrior: How is it not abusive? She knows that I'm emotionally dependent on her (most children are on their parents). Parents are not replaceable usually no matter how old you are. If she tries to deprive me of that using her power just because I don't live my life on her terms, that's not abusive?

It'd be interesting to know your definition of 'abuse' then.

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (17 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony aunt"because an attempt to control is as good as controlling."

I see, so if someone refuses to be controlled and chooses not to be by choosing the consequences of non-compliance, it doesn't matter because someone attempted to control and failed, but since they tried to control that's all that matters? That makes no sense to me.

"Because in today's world, there is no way you can control someone by direct physical or mental force"

That's not true. Crime syndicates and drug cartels use the threat of bodily harm to control people every single day. They also use extortion and blackmail. You should avoid sweeping generalizations. They're usually wrong.

"So this kind of manipulative and coercive behavior should be called 'controlling' in my opinion."

We already agreed that it's controlling behavior, we disagree that you're being controlled. I don't know if I'd call it manipulative, but it's certainly coercive. But, then again, all negative consequences are coercive to some extent. But manipulative? Your mother isn't hiding her intentions. A manipulative person would hide their true intentions in order to get you to agree to something that's not in your best interest without you knowing that it's not in your best interest, or convincing you that it is in your best interest when it's not. Your mother isn't doing that, she's being quite upfront about what she's threatening. Your choice hasn't changed. You still have a choice. You just don't like the choices you have.

"I'm not dependent on ehr for money, just emotional support. "

So your mother has no real leverage on you other than your choice to lean on her for emotional support. Again, it's your choice, or at least it should be, unless you're admitting that you aren't able to deal with your emotions without her help. You're an adult, so I would think you'd be more than capable of dealing with your emotions and providing your own emotional support. Perhaps you meant that you value her advice and counsel - except about the dresses.

"She's my mother and I love her very much,"

That's why it's a difficult choice.

"but I want to draw some boundaries now "

So draw them.

"and want her to respect those boundaries."

You can't force her to do that. She doesn't respect how you dress. You know that. That won't change.

"Threatening to cut off all relationship with me over a trivial issue is abusive."

No it's not abusive. By your implied definition of abusive, you're being abusive toward your mother by posting pictures of yourself that you know hurt her enough for her to threaten terminating her relationship with you. The words "abusive" and "abused" have been so watered down by people desperate to call themselves a victim that it's an affront to people who suffer real abusive behavior. What you have here is a simple disagreement between 2 people entrenched in their positions, nothing more.

Also, while we on this site may think your pictures are a trivial matter, your mother doesn't. In fact, it's so important to her that she's threatening to terminate your relationship over it. If I were you, I'd stop thinking of this as a trvial matter and I wouldn't discuss it with her as if it was a trvial matter. Frankly, you don't think it's trivial either because you're here asking what you should do. If the pictures were really trivial to you, you'd have given them up by now. Of course, this isn't really about the pictures, it's about the principle that the pictures symbolize. It's that principle that's got you both entrenched in your positions.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (16 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hi Honeypie,

She's very old-fashioned when it comes to these things. There is no such thing as 'believing in the arranged marriage tradition". It's like, you either have a boyfriend/girlfriend, or you choose arranged marriage if you're single and looking to settle down. So there's no issue on that front, but she's still very old-school in matters of clothes and drinking. She doesn't mind me wearing mid-thigh length clothes or narrow straps (not noodle straps), but anything other than that is an issue.

I want to tell her to back off, but she's stuck in the 'my little girl' mode as you said.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (16 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hello Code_warrior,

It's a matter of semantics. because an attempt to control is as good as controlling. Because in today's world, there is no way you can control someone by direct physical or mental force. So this kind of manipulative and coercive behavior should be called 'controlling' in my opinion.

I'm not dependent on ehr for money, just emotional support. She's my mother and I love her very much, but I want to draw some boundaries now and want her to respect those boundaries. Threatening to cut off all relationship with me over a trivial issue is abusive.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 April 2019):

Honeypie agony auntIs she doing this because she fears for your safety and reputation? Or "just" because she doesn't want her grown daughter to dress in a certain way?

While I think at 31 you are old enough to dress yourself and know WHAT is appropriate in certain situation and what is not. She still sees you as her little girl.

My advice? Up your controls for what she has ACCESS to when it comes to social media. And you CAN decide if you even WANT her to see your social media.

I know CULTURALLY, there is a BIG difference in what women can wear in India and STILL be safe compared to Europa and other Western countries.

From a "mom-perspective" I can SEE why she isn't happy with revealing clothing choices you make. I really NIP that in the bud with my daughters (however they are teenagers not 31 year old).

If you are unmarried and you dress like a "slut" (according to your mom) you might also be harder to marry off, if arranged marriage in a tradition your family believes in. And even if you DO NOT expect to be "married off" the likelihood (in your mother's eyes) of finding a DECENT man goes down if you have a "bad reputation".

So I can DEFINITELY see your mom's point of view. However, you have to LIVE your life as an ADULT woman, not her "little girl".

Which means, I think you HAVE to decide if POSTING pictures of you in provocative clothing (according to your mom) OR if you want to maintain a status Quo of NO DRAMA with your mom.

I'd choose to set your PRIVACY setting in a manner where SHE can't see your pictures (and if she has sisters/brothers/ other family members who will tattle set those to NOT allowed to view your pictures).

Or you MAKE yourself an Instagram for the more flamboyant pictures and don't tell your mom about it. (set that to PRIVATE as well so only FRIENDS you can trust and view them).

Some times parents have ridiculous standards and view, doesn't mean that we can't HONOR them as best we can. In your case, JUST not post pictures you know will offend her OR block her from seeing your pictures.

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (14 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony auntOf course it's a controlling tactic, and I agree that she's trying to control you, but that doesn't mean you're actually being controlled. That may seem like a matter of semantics, but to me, a person being controlled has no choice. In other words, they're a slave. As far as I know, you're not a slave.

I have no idea what it is that she's threatening to cut off. I assume that it's either financial support in the present, or some type of inheritance in the future, or both. Either that, or it's something else of value to you that you believe you need. I can only tell you that it's your choice to accept whatever it is that she's threatening to cut off. It would be one thing if she was threatening you with physical harm, then I'd agree that you're being controlled. However, if being cut off simply means that your lifestyle will take a hit, to me, that's an easy choice. I'll choose a lower standard of living if it means I get to make my own rules.

That's not just idle talk on my part. I chose to start providing for myself at the age of 18 when I went to university. I paid for university on my own without my parent's help, and I lived there year round until I graduated. I didn't live in the best accommodations, and I was forced to live in the dorms my first year, but after that it was my choice and I had to work 2 jobs while I was going to school. I had an academic scholarship, student loans, and my 2 jobs. That's how I paid my own way. I was barely able to do it.

My parents had no say about my life at university because they weren't footing the bill. They didn't get to discuss my grades or anything else about my life. They were certainly entitled to their opinion, but that was it. The same applies to my kids. They're paying for their own college, so I have no say in anything school related. However, they're still living at home, so, when they're here, they live by my rules.

I returned home briefly for a year the summer after graduating. As far as I was concerned, if I was living in their house, I had to accept their rules. I didn't view it as my parents controlling me, I viewed it as the price I needed to pay in order to get my finances to a point where I could move out again and live life by my own rules. That's exactly what I did.

So, as a 30+ year old woman, you can choose to continue to live your current lifestyle and continue to accept whatever your mother is providing, or, you can choose to provide for yourself and possibly have to sacrifice your current standard of living. If you were being controlled, you wouldn't have this choice. Therefore, you're not being controlled, you're choosing to allow your mother to use her leverage in order to avoid getting cut off. Outside of a threat of physical harm, just because a choice isn't desireable, doesn't mean that you're being controlled. You may choose to be controlled in exchange for not getting cut off, but that's YOUR choice. Nobody is forcing you to make that choice.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2019):

I would never disown anyone over clothing, nor would I dress to please others or give up my free spirit so somebody gets their own way. I would respect their choice of clothing and expect the same. It would have to be goodbye (WITH LOVE) from me until they learnt that nobody owns anyone's free spirit and free will. I would not be emotionally blackmailed, bullied or guilted into another persons mind set or their world view. This is not disrespecting your mother it is respecting your own values in your life. Every individual should have 'the right of choice to live their LIFE how they choose.

Be smart with how you use social media and it won't cause distress to anyone.

I hope you can sort your differences out, nobody likes to see families fall apart, don't know if it's easier to open a mind or close a mind.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (13 April 2019):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntJust be yourself and have better online security on who can see your photos.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (13 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Code_Warrior,

I understand what you're trying to say, but how can you say that I'm not being controlled? Since I live away from my motjer, she cannot physically or otherwise force me not to do what she hates. Threatening to cut me off is a controlling tactic as far as I know.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 April 2019):

I would put my vote in for putting your foot down. Your mother's behavior is out of line and if you continue to indulge her the boundaries will become even more frayed between you.

Have a conversation with her calmly and tell her that you are not open to discussing your wardrobe with her anymore. This topic is now off limits because you are an adult and can buy and wear any clothes that you like. You can also tell her that if she continues to berate you over pictures you post online that you will block her from access to these, then follow through!

It is emotional blackmail for your mom to give you the silent treatment just because she does not get to tell you what to do anymore. Very immature and abusive really on her part.

Remind her that she raised you well, and did a great job. You are confident and self sufficient, and healthy and happy. She also can no longer parent you as she did when you were a child, and tell her you will not permit this type of behavior to continue.

Then, even if it is hard, you need to follow through and walk away or end the conversation as soon as she starts in about your clothes next time. Remind her at this time that you told her this was an off limits topic, and that you will have to talk some other time.

Also try not to be the one to call to start your communications again. Let her cool off totally and come to you. Even if it takes a long time. It is her choice, after your explanation of your boundaries, to cross this and have the consequences of being blocked on your social media and not having you allowing her to speak to you in that way.

Best of luck, I hope that your mom cares more about your relationship than the power she believes she should still have over your life choices. I think she will come around.

Best,

R

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (12 April 2019):

Select who you post your pictures to. If you wish to share, just send your posts to selected individuals; and don't show them to your mother. Your mother is not being controlling, she's being the moral's police; and doing what very conservative and/or religious mothers do.

You have a choice with whom you share your photos on social media; and it would be best you choose the selective setting on each of your accounts. Arrange your photos on your phone so she won't find the saucy ones, unless she hunts for them.

Your mother uses a passive-aggressive approach to manipulation. She won't cut you off. If she does, you should make sure you are financially-independent; so you won't need her money. Her threats are only as effective as you make them. She forgets she's getting older, not younger. Who's going to take care of her when she can't care for herself?

You still have a father! Does she rule-over him too?

You're a grown-woman, as you've clearly indicated. You should have better control over your own emotions. The silent-treatment is her chosen weapon, and threatening to cut you off is ridiculous. She may be stubborn and strong-willed; but ruining her mother-daughter relationship is cutting-off her own nose to spite her face.

Old-school traditional-parents will never change their ways; but they do learn to adapt to the reality of the times.

Wear what you want to wear, and expect kickback when she finds out. Stop behaving so childishly; if you truly believe you're an adult. Let her throw her tantrums and ignore you. Who will she turn to when she's old and sickly, and can't tend to herself? Spiteful mean old-people don't get a lot of visits or attention. If that's how she wants to be, allow her to be that way. Leave her alone.

If she thinks maids and nurses will take her nonsense, she's fooling herself. They will take only so much from a grouchy old-woman. She'll miss you, you're her only child!

Be respectful of her, and stop showing her your flashy clothes. Dress appropriately, if you want to keep the peace and maintain class and respect.

You are aware of the limitations of your culture; and she only wishes that her child-rearing and guidance was effective. You represent your family everywhere you go, like it or not.

Carry a lovely silk scarf or shawl, when your shoulders are bear. It can be something shear and see-through. As long as you can cover your shoulders, she'll be happy. As for short-skirts, wear them whenever you like. If you say you only wear them now and then; how often can she complain about it?

How often do you post such pictures? Maybe she shouldn't have complete access to your social media photos.

Handle it like an adult; and stop falling apart because she ignores you. If she doesn't hear from you, she'll start to worry. Dress as you please! Just be considerate of her feelings; if you're going to flaunt your pictures in revealing outfits. For anyone, including her, to see.

Although you're an adult, she is still your mother. She didn't always please her mother either. Ask your grandmother. She might need to be reminded.

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A female reader, krystal_watz India +, writes (12 April 2019):

krystal_watz is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Sorry, I mean *Code_warrior

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A male reader, Code Warrior United States + , writes (12 April 2019):

Code Warrior agony auntYour mother isn't obligated to approve of your choices nor does she have to keep her opinions to herself just because you don't like them. Your mother has every right to decide for herself what she finds acceptable and if she finds your clothing inappropriate, she has every right to terminate her relationship with you over it. You don't get to decide other people's opinions.

Please understand that I'm not saying I agree with her opinion, nor am I making a value judgment, I'm merely pointing out that your opinion of her opinion doesn't really matter to her and you're just wasting your time trying to get her to see things from your point of view and prove you're right. There is no right or wrong in this case, there is only opinion. Nobody is obligated to see things from another person's point of view. It may be wise to try to see things from another perspective, but nobody is obligated to do so.

That being said, you're an adult and you have the same rights as your mother. It's a simple choice really. Your mother has made it clear what the ramifications of your choices will be to your relationship. You simply have to choose what you value more. Do you value putting pictures of yourself in revealing dresses on the internet more than you value your relationship with your mother? Your mother can't stop you from choosing to do as you please, but she's under no obligation to find it acceptable, nor is she under any obligation to maintain a relationship with an adult child that's offending her sensibilities. Life is a series of choices and consequences. You have a choice to make. Choose wisely.

By the way, you're not being controlled, you're being forced to make a choice. If you were being controlled, you wouldn't have this choice, you simply would be prevented from wearing those dresses by your mother. You can choose to keep doing what you're doing, but it may come at the price of losing your relationship with your mother. This is YOUR choice. Don't blame your mother if YOU choose to keep doing what you're doing and she then chooses to terminate her relationship with you over it.

However, understand that you both can wind up looking really bad here. Your mother looks bad right now because she's clearly wiiling to sacrifice her relationship with her daughter over something that most people don't care about. You'll look bad if you choose to keep posting pictures of yourself in revealing dresses because it will look like your vanity is more important to you than your relationship with your mother. Niether of these is a good look.

If it were me, I'd value the relationship over the pictures and I'd honor her wishes with the understanding that, in the future, she may try to push further and demand other things that are even more important to you by making the same threat. At some point such demands may become unacceptable to you and you may need to decide to terminate the relationship over them.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but it's the reality. Now you have a choice to make. You could be deceitful and find a way to hide the pictures from your mother's view, but something like that would almost certainly backfire since you can't control what other people share and she may find out about it through other people, so I'd advise against trying something like that.

Anyway, you have a choice to make. Make it a wise one and don't make a foolish choice that you'll come to regret later in life.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (12 April 2019):

N91 agony auntWell, you’re an adult. You’re living your life for yourself, not your mother, so I’d say do as you please.

She’d have to be extremely childish to disown her daughter over her dress sense. Tell her to stop her nonsense and you’ll dress as you wish.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 April 2019):

You are a grown woman. Your mum is no longer responsible for what you do, wear, live or behave. Emtional blackmail is such a despictable thing, especially from a parent.

Tell your mum that she cannot behave in this way towards you as it is urtful and unjust. Tell her that her judgemental attitude towards will destroy the mother / daughter bond if she keeps it up.

Live your life my dear and if your mum chooses to behave in sucj a manner then ignore her.

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