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I'm my mom's only friend... how do I convince her to make friends with her peers?

We're an immigrant family. My younger sibs don't live nearby. 10 yrs ago my dad was in an accident that left him brain damaged. My mom takes care of him, but he's like a child cognitively, & can't communicate well. W/o me she stays sort of isolated. She reminds me a lot of her mother, always wanting to be right, actually believing that she can do no wrong. When I can't hold it in any longer, I've started blurting out "I don't want to be perfect" or "just because you know a certain way doesn't mean it's the only way". Sometimes she completely misunderstands what I'm trying to tell her. She doesn't take criticism well, & I feel guilty for being honest w/ her. She agrees that she should make friends, but hasn't done anything about it. (Their friends all abandoned them after my dad's accident.) I don't want our mom-daughter relationship to suffer on account of this unnatural friendship. How can I help her make friends?

Answer Question
Karolina D.

Asked by Karolina D. at 7:23 PM on Dec. 16, 2010 in Relationships

Level 3 (14 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Having her agree that she needs friends is a huge first step. Try and search for age appropriate groups there. Lots of the groups are based on activities too like dancing, singing, tennis, swimming and so on. (Some of the dance groups are not for couples but are for line dancing, etc)  You are so dear to care enough about her to help her.  I wish you both all the best.


    Answer by elizabr at 7:41 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • You can't convince her to make friends dear especially if she is uncomfortable with it but you can maybe introduce her to some people that may have similar interest and help her feel more comfortable around others. This may help her adjust. As for those who abandoned her, delicately inform her that they were never real friends to begin with. A true friend would never walk out on you in your time of need. Also, not pushing the issue verbally is best to keep your bond strong

    Answer by Cheveyo1 at 7:48 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • Great idea elizabr - and what about church groups? You might need to go with your mom at first so she doesn't feel alone and intimidated.

    Have you sought in-home care to come in and give your mom a break? There might be some funding available through social services where you live ...

    Answer by tasches at 7:50 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • You can offer to stay with Dad while she makes her own friends.

    Answer by mrsljamieson at 10:12 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • It sounds to me like she has a full plate caring for your father. She has been running the show since the accident and I think that is one reason you see that controlling, always have to be right, side of her. I imagine this accident really traumatized everyone, and maybe she had to quickly figure things out for herself. She might feel that she can't afford to be wrong...or afford to lose some control. She is holding it all together she might think...just a guess.

    Being an immigrant makes it harder for her to get out, possibly. I would also venture to say. I think you would be best to find peers for her that share some of her cultural values. Do you have a cultural club that hosts various events where people her age might attend? That would be a good start...and I would suggest that you go with her, if possible. Help her break the ice a little. It might be really scary for her to step out on her own.


    Answer by spottedpony at 11:37 PM on Dec. 16, 2010

  • Well maybe considr she should go to a senior citzen center to meet new friends.Good luck

    Answer by Betutah at 9:18 PM on Dec. 17, 2010

  • Me and my mom don't have the greatest relationship, so I hope that you and your mom can remain in a wonderful relationship, that is such a blessing. Also, try to understand that if she spends most of her time taking care of your dad she probably doesn't have a support system besides you and she may feel like she doesn't have the time to meet friends besides you if she is wrapped up with helping your dad. Good luck for both you and your mom.

    Answer by kimann at 10:37 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

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