Teenagers and young adults are almost destined to have at least one argument with their parents about the way they dress or a particular item of clothing they love.
But what if your mom was so controlling she couldn’t let you, at age 21, wear a dress that had a slightly low-cut neckline? And she constantly commented on your appearance as well as sexualized you in a creepy way?
One woman with a controlling mother is finally taking steps to stand up for herself—starting with wearing what she likes.
“I (21F) have dressed somewhat modestly my whole life. Mom was until recently, in charge of most of my clothes. I could dress myself, but if Mom didn’t like the colors or the shoes I chose, she would physically stop me from leaving until I changed. This went on even in high school. I have more freedom now but have kept much of my wardrobe the same.”
“I turned 21 this year and chose to order a $300 dress not in my usual style. It arrived and looks great, but the neckline is lower than it looked in photos. I tried it on before final judgment, and I LOVE it. I’ve had an odd relationship with clothes, thanks to Mom and my larger size, so seeing how the dress fits is a boost to my confidence. Unfortunately, Mom hates it. In her words, she can ‘barely stand to look at [me] in it.'”
The OP says her mother is constantly ragging on her about the dress.
She’s tried to be respectful of her mother’s feelings by covering up when they go out, but her mother said she is “attracting the wrong kind of attention.” She even said that the OP’s boss “would rethink their hiring decision if they saw my clothes (I went to eat at my work on my day off, and my boss said I looked lovely).”
“Things reached a peak today when after a day out, I wished the sleeves were longer, and Mom said the neckline should be higher, to look more like a modest lady. I’d had enough and asked her to stop mentioning the neckline, she said it draws the eyes of perverts and I’m opening myself to comments on my body, specifically my breasts. I’ve had the dress for almost two months and the only comments about my tits I’ve heard are from her. I told her as much. She tried to ignore it, saying she only worries for me. I told her that if perverts are the people who talk about my tits and body, then her behavior since I got the dress makes her a pervert and that she should stop talking about my tits. She went silent, I took that as my cue to leave.”
The OP even included a photo of herself wearing the “offensive” dress.
Should the OP apologize to a mother who is deeply controlling and misogynistic?
“Stand. Your. Ground. It is so hard to stand up to the people who tell you all your life that your only worth is your body and how you display or conceal it. They’re full of shit. Your worth is in your intelligence, your compassion, your assertiveness, your honesty, your reliability, your sincerity. I don’t know you but I do know that you deserve to be surrounded by people more concerned with what they see of your character than what they see of your tits. Please, do not apologize. There’s nobody more important to have in your corner than yourself. Your ability to see and express what’s wrong with the situation at 21 is impressive and commendable. Keep being ready to explain when she’s ready to listen, but don’t go back to accepting the objectification. Rock that dress and own it,” advised Jazmadoodle.
“Your mom is seriously controlling. I can’t believe you are 21 years old and she is still telling you how to dress. You are an adult and can dress how you want. Of course, there is a time and place for different clothes, but this doesn’t sound like the issue here in the slightest. If you want to feel confident and beautiful by wearing a dress you love, do it. Calling her a pervert might’ve been a little harsh (just the choice of word) but sometimes you need to be harsh for someone to actually understand. That being said, you have no reason to apologize, and don’t. She is making unwanted comments about your body, harassing you, and doesn’t even see the problem with her behavior. Be proud and don’t feel bad for standing up for yourself,” said EselOzlo.
“Your mom is not worried about being a good parent or protecting you – this is about her, and she’s projecting her insecurities on to you. She’s been controlling you your whole life and now you’re starting to take control over your own life which, to her, means she’s losing her grip on you. Then when you don’t give her what she wants, she retaliates by giving you the silent treatment to try to get you to bend to her will (a classic manipulation tactic). NTA OP, and if it’s accessible/affordable for you, I highly recommend seeing a psychotherapist to talk about your relationship with your mother and you’ll begin to see all the ways she has unknowingly impacted your self esteem and your life. There’s also some great books about this if therapy isn’t an option,” suggested not_leah.
“NTA, what your mom is doing by exerting this level of control over you as an adult and maintaining it with physical intervention and verbally berating you IS ABUSE. Her emotional manipulation and silent treatment IS ALSO ABUSE. You deserve to live without being abused. Please consider lowering contact with your abusive mother unless or until she is capable of choosing NOT TO LASH OUT AT YOU,” emphasized JustJudgin.
“Your mom is a Grade A control freak. Seriously, my toddlers are allowed to dress themselves and if it’s a horrible mismatch they are all the happier. The fact that your mother has physically stopped you due to the color of your shoes is insane. And the fact that your clothing choices and well everything is about her. I’ll bet her main concern is how things reflect on her; not on being an actual good parent but being perceived as one. OP tell her to quit sexually harassing you, which she is by constantly commenting on your body. Kinda ironic that she’s sexually harassing you, in an effort to make sure noone else does… just wow,” said Purple_Elderberry_20.
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