Dealing with an Overbearing Mother (or Father)

Okay, I'm approaching thirty and have, over the past few months, been trying to set boundaries between my family and me. (We live in the same town, and I don't want them as involved in my life as they have been.) My mother assumes that my absence in her life is a result of my not taking care of myself, and she believes that the only way I will take care of myself is if she monitors me at all times. (She hasn't outgrown the habit since I was three years old.)


So this question is for adult type I diabetics who grew up with diabetes: how did you get your parents out of your hair? How did you convince them, "Look, I take damned good care of myself!"  (I don't have any major highs or lows; I've never had complications. Nothing.)


Thank you!

I am soo sorry hearing this.

Probably just like with children you set boundaries. I imagine that you just need to take it, your diabetes, from her. The diabetes is yours, not hers. You see for a long time... your diabetes was hers. In a strange paradox- as a parent of a type one she is supposed to outgrow it. I think that that is very hard for your mother. Point this out to her and tell her that the diabetes is yours, for now and forever. Not hers.

You need to take control and redefine your relationship based off of something other then diabetes. You may need to try out counseling to get some ideas. I'm beginning to think that it may not be your diabetes that is the problem, your mom may just having trouble letting you grow up. Getting some script and responses ready would be a great idea when making a new relationship with your mother.

I agree, your family needs to understand the diabetes is yours.  However, trying to do this on your on may not be the best idea.  If a child (and to your parents you will always be a child) says "Let me live my life" it can be ignored.  I would recommend a counselor, as this is someone who can be neutral and less threatening.  Believe it or not, some counselors specialize in the issues associated with childhood diabetes.  Also, this may not be about your diabetes.  Your mother may simply miss you and uses diabetes as a way to stay involved with you (or as a defensive mechanism against realizing you may have more interesting things to do than be with family).

Now that I am a mom, I can understand my mom's feelings but still not entirely.  I think the best way is to keep the ties close.  Pushing her away will probably really hurt her feelings and make you regret it later.  This probably does not have anything to do with the diabetes but just wanting to stay connected with you.

Be proud of yourself if you keep connected with her since it will be not easy sometimes.  If your mom is irritating you, force yourself to imagine how you would like your children to speak or stay in touch with you after you had taken care of them for many years.



One day the rolls will change and you will be supervisong your parents. It happens.

Maybe you could just tell her, "mom your babying me again". That's what I do and I'm a lot older than you. It breaks the tension.

I have a similar problem with my mom(I was dx at age 6) but i found that when she gets to the point of being over-bearing and protective and "babying" it's been easy enough to stop it by saying "Mom, stop. I'm 22, I take good care of myself and you know if I need help I'd ask for it". usually she ends up giving in and admitting she knows I take care of myself and she's proud of me but she just worries and that's the end of it for a while. They can't really help it, they were at one point responsible for you and your diabetes and it's hard to let go when it was such a major part of their life too.


When your mom or dad get in your hair, I would suggest trying the same. Reminding them how old you are, that you are taking good care of yourself and if you ever need help, you'll ask for them. I think that is the main thing, I don't talk to my mom about a lot of things and she just gets scared I'm not going to ask for help when I need it(though when it comes to my health and my diabetes, I don't hesitate to ask her for advice).

Hi Ana,  I guess the hardest thing is re-training other people how you want to be treated. 

My parents do not know about my doctor appointments, my medications, my last blood sugar reading, my aggravation with insurance companies, or my fits at the pharmacy - any more than any other of my friends would know.    The reason is in my behavior - I don't talk about it nor do I complain.  I don't call my parents with my last a1c to brag or complain.  Over the years a new mutual respect line was drawn, and now it would be just as rude for my mom to pry as the lady standing behind me at the grocery store.  Sure it took years,   of course I had to enforce my own rules (no bragging, no complaining, no asking for advice) but with patience and between 4-15 years things can change.

[quote user="Ana"]

My mother assumes that my absence in her life is a result of my not taking care of myself, and she believes that the only way I will take care of myself is if she monitors me at all times. (She hasn't outgrown the habit since I was three years old


now dont' get mad at me =)  but you don't know what your mom thinks.  aaaand she's entitled to think whatever she wants, she can believe in sugar plum fairies if she wants and it's none of your business.    mutual respect is a 2-way street, and I have also found that it's 2 lanes in the other direction.  =)

Does your mom trust you to earn a living, pay all your bills, do your own laundry, clean your house, and do all other adult things but not handle your D care? I'd just keep making those points to her, in a funny way. She raised you to be an adult in all other aspects, she also raised you to take good care of your D! (Compliment to her!)

Or if this approach isn't working, then just tell her you'll let her be involved in your D care if she also does your laundry, bills, and house cleaning (or whichever chores you really detest.)

I'd just keep the communication open and keep calling her on it, but in a lighthearted way when she brings it up. Otherwise, follow Joe's advice and don't talk about the ins and outs regularly with her.

hi Joe,you have to know that I love those sugar plum fairies ,hahaha :) Speaking for myself-I am looking forward to the day my daughter takes full control of her d and does as well as so many here have.I'll let you know when that day comes :) But d or no d-a mom sometimes just can't help herself-she never stops being a mom and she never stops caring.So-I have a feeling my daughter being strong willed will tell me when I need to help and when I need to back off-and I will-really I will try,HA :) Batts-your mom-the more you talk about her-the more I like her :)

[quote user="Ana"]

Okay, I'm approaching thirty and have, over the past few months, been trying to set boundaries between my family and me.  My mother assumes that my absence in her life is a result of my not taking care of myself, and she believes that the only way I will take care of myself is if she monitors me at all times.  


I am not diabetic, but I can relate to the overbearing mother. When I first got married (at 17), my mom drove me completely crazy. She just couldn't believe I could take care of myself, so she was constantly on me about all sorts of things. Honestly, I ended up letting the relationship drop quite a bit and rarely talked to her for several years (we lived in the same town also, and still do). Eventually she gave up trying to "mother" me and we became closer again (I'm 39 now, have three kids, and am still very happily married to the dude I married at 17).

I know this isn't the same situation, but as you live on your own, you can choose when to pick up the phone or visit her. As for me, I'm thrilled when my Sarah takes responsibility for her diabetes and I consider it my job to guide her to the point where she's 110% independent - as I will not always be around to take care of it for her, and she will eventually grow up and need to take care of herself. If you haven't had any health problems, it sounds like you're doing a great job of managing your health, so I agree with some of the other comments. Let your mom know that she did such a great job training you when you were younger that you're ready to take care of yourself now. And let her know that if/when she brings up your diabetes you will need to politely excuse yourself from the conversation.

I luckily don't have this problem -- moving away from my home town helped! (: I also think my Mom's too busy to even think about my BG's...

Have you asked your Mom, "What do you think will happen if I control my own D?" I'd mention *once* "My aic has been great, no extreme BG's, etc" like you told us. Once you've told her that you have good control w/o her help, then, let it go, change the subject when she brings it up...

After so many years of caring for your D, maybe she still feels very involved in T1. Could she volunteer for JDRF or something to put her knowledge to use w/o it being about you?

Good luck!