Dear Blake,

Throughout my childhood, my mother was controlling in many ways. One of them was my clothes. She dressed me in ridiculous outfits that I found humiliating. If I expressed an opinion about anything, I was treated as being “bad.” It affected my mental health, which resulted in me hating the way I look.

I went through multiple eating disorders and addiction, and I had plastic surgery 15 years ago. After many years of therapy, I am now doing better emotionally. I also endured many years of heart-shattering infertility, but I am finally a mother, working hard to give my child a better life than I had.

My mother continues buying clothes for my child, and receiving these “gifts” fills me with rage. My 7 year old son is too young to pick out his own clothes, but I know what he likes and choose clothes accordingly. I allow him to select which items he wears, guilt free. My mother seems to buy clothes based on my son’s interests, but I resent her buying any clothes for him. I want her to stop. It’s my turn to be a parent!

I feel so much guilt, anger and shame giving away or selling clothes I don’t want, like I’m being “bad.” Despite therapy, my childhood trauma persists. How can I ask my mother to stop buying unwanted “gifts”?

Signed, Melissa
From Chicago, Illinois

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Dear Melissa,

It appears to me that your mother is way too overbearing with her gifts. What I recommend is, you should overexaggerate the attire she picks out for your son, to the point where your mother gets a panic attack by being anywhere near a clothing store. Here are some suggestions. Tell her one outfit she bought for him, made him look like he was homeless, with the only missing thing was an empty can he could use to shake as he begs strangers for some loose change. Or, tell her a set of clothes she bought for him makes him look like a hitman for a Mafia consisting of dwarves. Or maybe this idea. Tell your mother that the coat she bought for you little boy make him look like a skilled shoplifter… and a flasher. And lastly idea. If your mother meticulously picks out for your son, an expensive suit and a matching tie, tell that woman that your son now looks like a well-dressed Juvenile pimp, for high end call girls. I hope this helps.