In my situation, what would you do? I'm starting to notice I have a semi-toxic relationship with my mother. The thing is at the moment I'm not working because I'm trying to finish college (I'll graduate in May but I still have at least one more class left to take), so I'm working at home by doing housework and stuff. Well Mom seems to be taking advantage of that, making me practically 'serve' her. It's like I don't get any rest at home because I'm always on call.

For example, yesterday when Mom came home, she immediately handed me a check and a deposit slip and made me take it to the bank. Then when I got home I had to help her with dinner. All the while we were talking, and she constantly is saying, "No you can't do that." or "You have to do this." Like I have saved up enough money to buy something I'd really like, and when I mentioned it she said I have to save my money to put gas in my car or to buy groceries. I feel like a slave in this house, and whenever I talk to her she gets angry with me. It's hard to talk to her anyway since she's on the phone most of the time or watching some reality TV show that she absolutely cannot miss.

Whenever I ask for help about this, the usual advice I get is to talk to her. But that doesn't seem to work as behind closed doors she is infallable and I am a slave. I want to talk to my family about what's going on, but she's always so secretive about all of this, like "You can't tell (my grandmother) about anything or else she'll think I'm treating you like crap.", and so on. I've never been defiant of her because that's just the way I've been raised – to be a good little boy and obey.

You may ask what the consequences of saying 'no' are. For one, I'm afraid of being banished from the house. I'm afraid of her taking away the things that make me happy. I'm afraid of her destroying things and then telling me to clean it up because it's my fault she broke it.

My therapist says I need to be more assertive, because I am very passive and let stuff like this happen. I'm trying to learn that I can make my own decisions without someone pointing their fingers and telling me what to do. I'm trying to learn that I can say 'no' without World War 3 happening. But it's so difficult in a house where I've been told I cannot say 'no'.

Any advice would really help. I just don't know how to tell her that she's making me feel so worthless and inferior.


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