08/09/2012 11:30 am ET

Overbearing Mother: 3 Ways To Tame A 'Momzilla'

By Dr. LaKeasha Sullivan for

Mothers all over the world have been taking control of weddings since weddings began. Oftentimes, it is one of the last "parenting" roles that mothers provide. As a result, some mothers take everything a bit too far and end up hijacking the wedding planning process. Although it seems like a daunting task, there are several effective strategies for dealing with this sensitive issue.

First, identify possible causes. Your mother controlling the wedding may be due to one of three problems: Either you have not been successful in asserting yourself as a fully competent adult; you have an overly close (or enmeshed) relationship with your mother; or your mother is simply providing much of the funding for this wedding, therefore she wants to control how her money is being spent.

Here are the corresponding solutions:

1. Demonstrate that you are an adult. If you have yet to become somewhat of an "equal" in your mother's eyes (within reason, of course), now is the perfect time to work on this rather confining dynamic. Essentially, your task will involve gently but firmly asserting yourself with your mother and demonstrating that you are a competent adult.

Asserting yourself will take some practice and work. Demonstrating that you are a competent adult means not reverting back to child when you are interacting with your mother (easier said than done at times) and garnering her respect by making sound decisions and following through with your promises.

2. Work on having a separate identity. If you have an overly close relationship with your mother, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with her at this time. Now, no one is suggesting that you become distant with your mother. After all it's clear that you've worked hard to have a close relationship with her. However, now is the time to separate yourself from her enough so that you can have enough confidence to appropriately assert yourself with her so that you can be the one making the decisions that are important to you.

3. Pay for the wedding yourself, or suck it up. If your mother is overly involved and/or controlling because she is paying for the wedding, then you have two choices: suck it up because you need the money (try asserting yourself as well) or forego the funding so that you can have more control.

If you choose to keep the money, you can engage in some self-talk surrounding keeping the wedding in perspective. If you choose to give up the strings-attached money so that you can have more control, know that this will likely upset your mother greatly, but it is a perfect opportunity to develop a more authentic relationship with her and demonstrate that you are a competent adult if you manage this conflict appropriately.

Your wedding can truly be an emotional minefield! But it is also a perfect opportunity for you to build a more authentic and mature relationship with your mother.

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