I've been writing here on the forums for a really long time about how dismissive, invalidating and even cruel my mom can be. Therapist after therapist has tried to help me disentangle from her (although only one or two, maybe, have recommended cutting off contact) but I have worked nonetheless to win her approval to no avail.
This week my fiancé's mom came to town and met mine for the first time. We went to dinner at the country club. Mind you, my father died - had a heart attack and died - at this country club, and for some reason my mom has zero problem taking every out of town guest to dinner there. Even if it's not always conscious, the place creeps me out and bothers me. When I first got engaged, she wanted me to hold the wedding and reception at the club - in no uncertain terms because it would be easier for her. When I said it was a place with negative associations for me, she acted puzzled. Dinner is one thing - having my wedding there was an absurd idea, and I chose a different place.
I could go on for a long time about my mom, how shitty she acted toward me at dinner in front of my future mother-in-law, all the years of struggle and discouragement, and her continuing attitude of exasperation toward me that even my sister thinks is in my head. Y'all have been TREMENDOUS friends to validate me when I wrote on here about how shitty she's made me feel. Even though I got good advice from here, from my friends, and from professionals, there never seemed to be an escape - because I didn't break away from the idea that she's my main family.
My fiancé and I had a meeting with a really great minister who knew my family back when I was born/little. She asked us very frank questions for an hour and said the biggest challenge for me, and what I really have to do, is decide this is my family now and let this shit go once and for all. When she criticizes me in front of others, I have the power to say "I get pretty upset and embarrassed when you talk to me like that, especially in front of other people" and just walk away. The pastor also instructed my fiancé on appropriate ways to stick up for me.
It was revolutionary to sit in a room and be told, especially by a woman - a pastor, nonetheless - who knows everyone involved, "this is your family now - quit calling your mother, quit thinking of her as a main person in your life, respect Fiancé and invest your emotional energy in this marriage." After the wedding, we get to see our families of origin exactly as much as we want. We get to spend holidays wherever we want! I've lost a lot of time and energy not doing the right thing and setting boundaries...but admittedly that stemmed from loneliness and the fact that she was my anchor. That's over, Groupthink! Like, for real! I'm a little sad I wasn't strong enough to do it on my own, but glad to be on a team now.