I’m not lazy, I’m stressed!

School is super-stressful right now and Mom’s criticism is not helping. How can I tell her I just need to relax? 

Don’t take it personally, says our elder. Here’s how to set some boundaries.


Dear EWC

I have been under a lot of stress lately and it’s been affecting me mentally and emotionally. I am normally under stress because of school, and I can cope with it. But it’s the end of the quarter, midterms are starting and I am just super stressed. I’ve had to take upon multiple group projects on my own because of the people in the group being childish. The last couple of weeks I have been overboard with stress. My mom has recently started to get a foggy memory. I normally have to remind her about events and deal with her asking me the same question each day. It’s gotten to the point where I just want a nice relaxing day off. No family or school, just me. Thinking about all of this has made me become a little depressed or not carrying what happens when I get home. I normally try to keep my cool at school and everything. Once I get home, I am just so mad and just so angry. I’ve honestly started to cry about all of this, and I’m not sure what to do. My mom has started to say that I’ve been just coming home and being lazy on the couch. I just want to come home and relax though.


Grandpa-Matt replies

I believe that your stress, anger, upset and depressive feelings have arisen not because of the workload you have taken on, but because of the lack of support from your mom. I think that is so because if your mom gave you acknowledgement, praise and acceptance for the work you are doing things would most likely be different.

Mom is not going to change. If she blames and criticizes you, it is really about her and her mental challenges. Maybe what your mom wants is some attention and seeing you as a potential caregiver for her. It is a difficult situation.

You cannot take things personally. The best bit of advice is to never take anything personally. It is not about you. In a movie theater many different things are projected onto the screen. Sometimes a comedy, sometimes, a war story, sometimes a love story, etc. The screen doesn’t care what is projected on it. Realize we are all screens that others are projecting their thoughts and opinions on us. 

No one can anger you or hurt your feelings unless you permit it. You are 100 percent in charge of your reactions to anything people throw at you. You are not Mom’s victim. You can begin to take responsibility for your reactions. I often say what anybody thinks about me, is none of my business. What I think about me is everything!

Your job is to create personal boundaries that will protect you in this situation.

See .

You have to communicate with her in a respectful way that you are doing your best and that you have to take care of yourself because she can’t take care of you any longer.

When she becomes bothersome to you, there is an article on this website called The 90 Second Rule to Control Your Emotions that I recommend to you. If you want to know how to be more self-controlled, this article spells out the chemical basis of what goes on when your anger hijacks your mind, and suggests the way to handle things. 

It could be that she needs medical and/or psychological help as time goes by. But you come first. Know that you are doing your best and deserve to relax and balance your work and relaxing time.

Good luck

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