Dear X-ATI Girl –

I know in comparison to many others out there, my problem is small.

Over the past few years, my parents have mellowed. I have been allowed to work outside the home, wear pants, live in an apartment, and most recently my parents graciously gave me permission to acquire a boyfriend.

Here is my problem: My mother and I are in a constant tug-of-war over my clothing. Literally. TUG-OF-WAR.

Imagine this: my boyfriend and I are at my parents for dinner. I am wearing a perfectly modest tank-sweater-jeans combination. Even as my mother is greeting him, she is forcibly pulling on the bottom and top of my shirt. Yank down that tank, yank up that sweater neckline. Even as I mutter “MOM STOP!!!!”, she stage whispers at me “not to let my bottom hang out” or “you had better not ever lean over”. It’s beyond embarrassing. I can’t be comfortable, and my boyfriend just looks on in horror and confusion as my mother attempts to power-staple my shirt to my chest with her eyes.

And it doesn’t stop there. She does it at the grocery store, at church, and in front of my boss. I swear if I ever get married we’ll have to edit the wedding tapes to splice out the part where my mother climbs on-stage and tries to forcibly pull-up my wedding dress.

I dress modestly! I don’t wear pants that look painted on, shop at Wet Seal or attempt to let people know what color my bra is. It really doesn’t even matter what I have on. She will find a place to tug on it.

I really think that my only option is to start wearing spandex bodysuits that are so tight she can’t get a grip on them anywhere.

Please, just tell me I’m not the only one having to live with this.

Yours Truly,

Frustrated in Fairfax


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5 Responses to “Tug-Of-War”

  1. Amy Says:

    Honestly, you need to have an adult conversation with your mother and respectfully and tactfully let her know that her behavior is disrespectful to you and to those around you. Would you allow anyone else to tug on your clothing? Your boyfriend’s mother for instance?

    Strict, religious, fundamentalist parents forget that their children are not extensions of them but are separate people. The common courtesies we are taught to display to others become null and void when control becomes the key attachment in a parent/child relationship. But remember that we teach people how to treat us. It is difficult to unlearn the ways of fundamentalism but it is not disrespectful to your parents to realize and act upon the truth that you deserve respect and have the right to set boundaries for yourself simply because you are a human being and not because they gave you permission.

  2. Em Says:

    I echo what Amy above is saying. You’re an adult. You wouldn’t let anyone else touch you this way. It’s okay to get angry. Insist that this is not right, she should not touch you. “Mom, hands OFF.” My mother started doing the same thing, especially when I started dating. If she says your neckline is too low, or some such thing, tell her you *know*. It may be too low by her standards, but you don’t hold to them any more. If she doesn’t like it, tough.

  3. mdiber05 Says:

    You sound like an adult. Quietly say to your mom, “If you do this again, I am walking away from you.’ And do it. By warning her quietly ahead of time, you will be respecting her and by following through you will dis-enable her from this behavior.

  4. KJ Says:

    Please don’t allow your mother to treat you in such a demeaning, disrespectful way. If you don’t set some boundaries with her in your own relationship, it will probably be very difficult for you to do it when she starts this with your children.

  5. Esbee Says:

    one day your mom is going to tug at your clothes in one direction and you go in the other direction and it will truly be an oops as your top comes completely off….

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