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Is mama just drama? Or has she got other issues?

There are plenty of forums out there that talk about martial relationships and parenting, but not so many that go the other way around. So I'm hoping I put this in the right place? My mother and I have always have a rather difficult relationship. I feel like she's been on a "woe is me" train since her first divorce with my father fifteen years ago and she thinks I'm a brat that's let money go to my head.

Right now I'm in the middle of planning my wedding (a wedding the fiance and I are paying for) which should be a happy time for me, but it's turning into an utter nightmare because my mom keeps making it about her. She's in the middle of a divorce and dealing with my brother who's out of rehab, but now in trouble with the police. So I try to be understanding, but I find it hard to let her step in to help because I'm trying to keep things low stress (I get really bad anxiety with my mom because of the drama). In return she lashes out and say's horribly mean things to me that are just down right wrong to say to your child, that's when she's not comparing my dream wedding to hers or threatening to wear HER wedding dress to my wedding or saying that all the things she's done in the past in her life (Ie: marry my father or marry her second husband) she's done for me or my brother as if that means I should do everything in my life for her now (ie: have my wedding the way she wants even though I'm paying for it).

I live in California and she lives in North Carolina. My fiance and I are doing a "Destination wedding" because approx 85% of our friends and family are flying in for the event no matter where we have it. The destination is close to where I live, which my mother has continuously complained about my not having it at home in NC from the beginning. The day we paid for our venue she said she liked the venue and then continued to tell me about what she had envisioned for my wedding, which lead to a huge blow up over me not having it "closer to home" - a home which I haven't lived near for 12 years.

Then the dress: I invited her out to go dress shopping in October. She couldn't afford it so I pushed it back to February to give her time to save to buy a ticket. Over Christmas break while I was home, she sprung a surprise trip to me to the bridal shop and I kept my cool and tried on dresses to make her happy. Then when February came around, she still didn't come out for the official bridal shopping weekend because she had been too busy trying to impress the fiance by buying unnecessary christmas presents that she couldn't afford a ticket again, but expected me to skype her everywhere I went so she could see. I didn't because I didn't feel it was fair for me to make changes to accommodate her for her for flaking on me again, I was upset with her. Instead we (my Maid of honor, who flew in, and I) sent photos. To which another argument ensued.

Fast forward to this week. She called yesterday and I asked if we could talk about anything but wedding stuff because I needed a break from planning (we'd just gotten back a proposal we weren't expecting from the catering and it was stressing me out). She proceeded to discuss wedding plans anyways. Talking about buying flowers whole sale and do I want her to call and get quotes. When I tell her my Maid of Honor is flying in in a few weeks to go flower shopping with me and I have a few places I'm already considering, she brings up the dresses again clearly still upset (as if telling me "well, when I look back at my wedding dress with your father, I don't regret it." didn't tell me enough of how she already felt the first time we argued about it). She proceeded to insinuate my MOH is jealous of me and persuaded me to buy a gown that doesn't look good on me. A dress that I chose because I not only loved it, but because I'm realistic and believe it's fitting for the type of wedding I want and the ceremony/reception location that was already chosen beforehand. No, it's not the dress style I originally wanted and no it's not the "Princess Diana" -esq dress my mom wanted me to wear "because it's my first wedding" - which she repeatedly says all the time though I've asked her not to say it because it sounds like she's expecting others. I still don't think that she had a right to say that to me. So I hung up on her because I didn't want to say something I'd regret later.

In return she sent me a 9 page rant praying for me first and then laying out how much of a witch -with a B- I am and how much my life wouldn't be what it is without her (just for the record, my parents 10 years of marriage was tumultuous at best and the other 8 years I live with my grandparents. Yes, she was supportive of my ballet career, but financially my parents were never able to support me the way most kids parents are. Instead a lot of time my grandparents or uncle footed the bill).

I need advice. I know she's manipulative, I know she's being verbally abusive towards me and I know that some of the things she's saying to me are because she's unhappy with where she is in her own life, but I don't know what to say to reason with her. I'm turning over the idea of counseling sessions, but I don't know if that will work? I cannot do this for another 8 months until the wedding. I spent most of yesterday in tears that I've waited 8 years for my dream wedding and my mom is ruining it every step of the way. On top of that, I'm worried to talk to the fiance about anymore because he's about ready to blow up at her too and though I love that he wants to protect me I know it will only make things worse for me in the end with my mother. She will hold all of this over my head for the rest of my life.
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replied February 21st, 2014
Extremely eHealthy

It would be a lot easier if you just eloped and found a small church somewhere or just had a civil wedding with whoever was there as witnesses.

I think your mother has other issues. If she was content and well-adjusted just now she might be disappointed you don't want to re-live her wedding and instead you want your own wedding but she would bear it with a wry smile and do whatever she could to help and try not to spoil the excitement of the planning stages you should be sharing with her and your fiance.

I don't think it will be possible to reason with her. She is using you as her private emotional punch-bag because she is dissatisfied with her own choices and her own history and is seeking to re-live it all through you and is determined to beat you in submission; probably more by instinct than design.

I know it doesn't come naturally but there is usually a time when the child and the parent must change places. This is usually when the parent becomes aged and infirm in though and deed and needs the security and support of the child but in your case you must adopt the senior role for your own protection. I think you have to lay down an ultimatum, make suitable parental threats and stick by them once they are made.

I think you need to tell her without entering into any discussion about it, that you are all grown and you are going to make all the decisions about your own life and about your wedding and if you want her opinion you will ask for it.
Tell her unless you ask for her opinion she should keep her negativity to herself and for once in her life try and be well-mannered.

Tell her you would love to welcome her as your honoured guest at your wedding but you won't hesitate to exclude her if she continues to make you unhappy.

It is ideal if a mother can share your life experiences with you and offer support when you need it but there is no law that says you have to tolerate endless drama and negativity or to constantly have your choices, not merely questioned by a caring parent but completely rubbished.

Blood isn't thicker than water...

If you had a gangrenous toe that caused you continuous pain and threatened your future life you would have it cut off even though it would take some time to adjust to having a foot with no toe.

I suggest you follow the advice given by the Desiderata most carefully.
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit".

Good luck!
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