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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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ilovetheocean Offline
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Trouble with mom - June 13th 2011, 06:34 PM

Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to make sure I gave you the full, honest story to get the best input...

I got in a fight with my mom today, and sometimes it's hard to tell if you were justified or not, so I would like to get your input. I'm in charge of doing the dishes every day, and while, during the school year when I had to do extra chores for my sister who was at college along with completing a lot of rigorous course work, I wasn't the best at getting them done, since my sister got back from college I have been taking the job very seriously. In the last month of school, I would wake up extra early to make sure I had time to do them before I left in the morning-- one time I overslept, and I even came home during lunch to make sure they were ready. I check the machine and do them immediately when I see that the cycle is finished, and I've been very good at getting them done. I know I've forgotten a couple times-- I'm talking five TOPS, probably fewer-- but I've generally been really good, and those few times I've had to be reminded, I did them right away. But today, I went to drop off my little brother at day care first thing in the morning, and when I came back I ate breakfast and completely forgot about the dishes. I had a phone interview for a job and had asked my mom's advice about it, then took it while she was on a conference call. Afterwards, I went up to tell her how it went, but she was still on the call. It didn't sound like it was ending any time soon, so I went outside to read. A little while later, I got a call from my mom asking where I was. She had been looking for me to do the dishes and to find out about how the interview went. So I told her I was out on the deck and came inside right away to do the dishes. But right away she started telling me how she couldn't believe she was doing the dishes AGAIN and started yelling at me about it. I just listened and continued doing the dishes. But when she immediately switched to asking me how the interview went, I was irritated and just said it was fine because I didn't want to have a long conversation after she just finished yelling at me, claiming that she does the dishes every day (I do them multiple times a day, so I don't really see how that could be true). Then she became irritated and said she would ask me for the third time how the interview went, and I got angrier and said with a tone, "It was fine. We had a terrific conversation. The woman was really nice." So she became really irritated and told me she didn't want to see my face and to leave the room. I went to get my tea pot, which was in my room to clean, stalled a couple minutes, then went back down to clean it and finish the dishes. She then told me that if you ask for someone's help with an interview, you have to tell them about it, and I told her that I tried but she was on a conference call and that later I didn't want to because I didn't feel like switching into pleasant conversation mode after she was just berating me for not doing the dishes. I said she acted like I was a total slacker when I was doing a good job. So she said that it's basic-- if she's doing the dishes every day, then I'm clearly not doing them every time. I told her that I didn't think that she was doing them every day. And though I meant that it probably just felt like she was doing them every day (understandable, but inaccurate and annoying), she misinterpreted what I said to be me calling her a liar. She then called me a f*ing b* multiple times and told me to go to my room, grabbing my arm to drag me out of the kitchen when I tried to close the dishwasher and grab my tea pot so I didn't leave a mess. I stayed in my room to fill out some papers I needed to do for school, and she found me and said that I needed to try harder. I then went downstairs to grab my tea pot to clean but couldn't find it-- she hid it! So I asked her if she knew where it was. She asked why, and I told her that I wanted it. She then said, "So you want something." I then confirmed that she had hidden it and said, "So you really want to play this game?", and she said, "Oh, I already started it." She told me that she wanted something too and that I wouldn't get the tea pot until I gave it to her. She wanted me to tell her about my interview! So I told her and said that she was acting like a 5-year-old (yes, I realize this was disrespectful, but I have NEVER said anything remotely this rude to my mother before in my entire life) and that she was delusional if she thought that I would so desperately care for a tea pot that I would do whatever she wanted. She then told me that it worked and that she had to "come down to my level". But I had only told her because I was trying to do the big thing-- I didn't need the tea pot right then! I told her I wasn't asking for the tea pot and that she could keep it, then said that she owed me an apology for calling me a f*ing b* (I would NEVER and HAVE NEVER used those words, regardless of how angry I have been). She told me that that's what I was acting like, and she didn't feel like she needed to give me an apology. I told her I would be shocked if she did (she is the most stubborn person I have ever met; she didn't talk to her sisters for YEARS when she was angry with them) and that if she wanted to have any sort of meaningful conversation with me, she would have to apologize first.

Now, I realize how rude this all sounds, but I just want to say that I have never said anything like any of this to my mom ever before. I just got so sick of her, for years, being wrong and never apologizing, so I finally said something. I don't think it's okay for her to use sexist words like those with me, regardless of how angry she is. Was I in the right, or did I get too emotional? Do you think that I took it too far? Should I apologize? How should I deal with this so that we can actually have a conversation at some point in time? How can I help her understand my point of view?
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Trouble with mom - June 15th 2011, 04:26 AM

Hello, and welcome to TeenHelp! =)

You were both in the wrong - but your mom definitely bears most of the blame in this situation. You forgot to do the dishes, which is not a big deal. Your mom got upset, which is understandable. She overreacted, but hey, we all do at times. Maybe she was just stressed out about something else, and seeing dirty dishes was the last straw. You let that get to you (most people would), which made the situation worse. From that point on, though, I honestly think your mom should have been the one to apologize and give you time to cool off. Instead, she escalated the fight by physically grabbing you and verbally attacking you. Sure, you could have been the "bigger, better person" by letting it go, but in the heat of the moment, many people can't do that. And since you've been putting up with this attitude for years, I guess it was only a matter of time.

I think you should apologize - but be sure you word it in a way that is both respectful AND only owning up to what you did wrong. Don't try to get your mom to apologize for anything she did wrong. Instead, say you're sorry for not washing the dishes, and sorry that you didn't tell your mom about the interview right away. After that, wait at least an hour or so before sitting down with your mom again. This time, ask her if you could talk about the fight itself, and how you felt when she called you those names. Again, you need to word it in a way that doesn't suggest she should apologize. The emphasis needs to be placed on how to avoid such heated arguments in the future - essentially, improving communication. Perhaps the two of you could set "ground rules". When someone feels like they're going to say or do something regrettable, they can signal that they need a few minutes to step out of the room and calm down. This isn't about being "right" or "wrong" - it's about discussing things more effectively. You won't always see eye-to-eye, but when you have disagreements, you can still come away from the experiences without hurt feelings. That is, if your mom is willing to work with you in return. And it couldn't hurt to ask her how SHE feels after those sorts of arguments. I'll bet she'd like to avoid the yelling and cursing as well! =)

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Re: Trouble with mom - June 15th 2011, 09:26 AM

Robin has said it all really.

I would appologize for forgetting about the dishes and reassure her that you try your best not to forget again. Do this at a time when your mum has had time to relax after work so that she has had time to carm down after a potentially stressful day. Also explain that her verbal abuse and her grabbing your arm really upset you.

Then hopefully your mum will be proud of you for trying to resolve the situation and will apologize herself.

Hope that helped and good luck.

"Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

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Re: Trouble with mom - June 15th 2011, 03:02 PM

hey there! Try not to worry too much, we all get in arguments with our parents sometimes, it's just a fact of life. It sounds like you care about treating your mum respectfully which is really good. Your mum is definitely in the wrong for swearing at you like that. Forgetting to do the dishes is not a big deal, so it sounds like your mum over reacted. Even the best of us get in bad or grumpy moods sometimes and pick pointless fights with people over silly things (like dishes) just to make ourselves feel better. It's wrong, but it definitely happens! You'd think parents would be more mature and try to keep their emotions/bad moods to themselves especially in front of their children, but you just have to remember that they are human afterall and we all have little meltdowns every now and then (my parents definitelyyy do!). I'd say your mum probably feels bad about what she said, but is perhaps to stubborn to apologise, or maybe even ashamed that she treated you that way so would rather just pretend it didn't happen. She should apologise, but in this situation you might just have to be the bigger person and let it go. It's hard, but it'll make you feel better. If you don't feel that you owe your mum an apology then you don't need to say sorry. Just keep doing the dishes as you usually do and your mum will see it was just a once off when you forgot If it will make you feel better, definitely talk to her about how upset it made you when she called you those things and grabbed your arm. Don't say it angrily, just calmly tell her how it made you feel. It's possible that she just didn't realise how much it hurt you. Good luck, I hope you guys work it out!

"He who does not weep, does not see" - Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.

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