Yeah, some mothers have this real need to be needed. It sounds like your mother is priming you so you never leave her because maybe she is afraid of being alone?
I have a friend whose mother does the same for her three brothers, and they are all mentally ill. I think she doesn't help the situation though as she does everything for them...in a way it's enabling them to stay unwell.
It's selfish and it's also encouraging arrested development in you and your brother. The fact that you are wanting to be more independent and take care of yourself, it's a bit funny that she isn't encouraging this in you.
You say she sulks for weeks and gets angry...wow, I'm reminded of the mother from "waterboy"
Seriously...19 years old. Legally you are an adult...and she needs to let you dress yourself.
I'm not a psychiatrist, but she sounds kinda mental...sorry. Controlling you with anger...that's not very caring and it's not in your best interests that she is doing this...it's purely her own. I keep getting "Borderline Personality disorder" coming into my head. If not that, then it's a really extreme case of control-freakitis!
You know how she will respond, that's predictable, so just say what you need to say and be done with it. She'll get mad, so just cut her off and say "you can get as angry as you like mom, I'm not gonna back down and I'm not scared of upsetting you anymore...that's gonna happen anyway...I'm an adult now and you need to back off and let me grow...it's not about you!"
Originally Posted by Elfwing
Late response, but: oh man, my brother is turning into this.
My mother can be controlling, she treats us like children and gets really angry if you try to learn not to be one. She's furious I want to go to the library and insists I use her books for my schoolwork instead -- not gonna happen. She hoards the laundry so you have to raid the basket for clothes, and she gets really pissed off when you do and she'll only get angrier if I don't let her pick out my clothes (I'm nineteen years old, for Christ's sake). So I have to wait until she's gone out to rescue my clothing from the pile she keeps in the living room. She never let my brother or I do chores growing up because "you're children, you're supposed to play!" I used to ask her to buy me a road rules' book so I could learn to drive, and she constantly "forgot" to pick one up for me and she'd get angry if I said I'd go get it myself. (So I'm downloading it from the internet and when I'm ready to take the test, I'm going to brace myself. Her anger is not pretty. She sulks for weeks, and she STILL brings up things I did years ago that angered her.) When I wanted to get a job years ago she told me, "But you can't do that as a career! You deserve better!" I was *fifteen*. And I could kick myself for having listened to her.
I'm responsible for feeding and cleaning the seven ferrets we have, and I'm surprised I'm allowed to do that much.
I make my own breakfast and lunch. Half the time I'll get my own dinner, and that's the only time my mother doesn't actually act ticked off -- if I'm looking in the cupboard/fridge when she's around (the fridge is in the hallway, so if she's home I cannot avoid her seeing me do it) she will come over, act all long-suffering, and point out every single item of food there is in the fridge. Telling her I'm fine will only make her angrier. Sometimes I am so tempted to tell her, "I'm nineteen years old, I am capable of looking inside a fridge."
I hate it. My brother, though? He loves it. I have never, ever seen him cook his own food. If he wants food, all he has to do is ask my mother and she will drop everything to cook him something. He hasn't done a single chore in his lifetime and he's never asked, either. (When I was a kid I offered to help out all the time, and that just pissed my mother off.) He's seventeen years old and in his last year of high school.
I realise it's my responsibility to stop walking on eggshells around my mother and cope with her sulking so I can learn to be independent rather than a pathetic basement-dweller, but oh man, is that anger potent. The last thing I want to do is end up the way my brother's going to. My therapist is actually going to help me learn to cope with my mother's anger. I am so lucky I have a therapist. I'm actually even luckier my mother is still paying for it -- my mother hates her ever since my psych taught me how to take the train. "Why do you need to take a train?! You have us to drive you around!"
I think I'm going to lash out at her one of these days. I'm terrified I'm going to be too scared to learn independence and that I'll still be here in five years. It's my responsibility, after all, to grow up. I'm not a child anymore.