Psychotherapy

Ask Dr. Schwartz
Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Wanting a better life

I think my mother has a toxic influence on my life. As a child I attended 17 schools. My mother constantly moved house, from one crisis to the next. When I have attempted as an adult to discuss the negative social aspects of this, my mother has always found reasons why it was "not her fault." Also, having trouble fitting in at school, I had a lot of "sick" days off, all with my mother's blessing and encouragement. She appeared to enjoy my company on these days. She also expressed a low regard for both formal education and peer relationships. Mum's ideal peer relationship for me appeared to be peers' being envious of me, eg: smarter, prettier, etc. When I sometimes got teary about my disappointments with school friendships, mother would usually tell me it was due to my peers' envy. I am now in my mid 30's and have a very unsatisfying social life with very few and light friendships, and no partner (fortunately I overcame my scholastic disadvantages, made it through university and have a very good career). I have had very regular ongoing contact with my mother over the years. She has recently moved to my neighborhood and I have had even higher contact, seeing her most days, and speaking on the phone around 10 times per week. I have actively sought conversations and time together. I am now feeling that my relationship with my mother is very unhealthy, and having a negative effect on my ability to form satisfying relationships, but am unsure about what to do.

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