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“I’m Sick of My Mum Embarrassing Me By Flirting With and Harassing Random Men on My Behalf”

If you are shy, there is nothing worse than having attention drawn to you in a social setting, except maybe someone intentionally embarrassing you. That’s just cruel! One poor woman recently took to Reddit to ask whether she reacted too strongly to something her mother did when they were at a restaurant. In order to fully understand the extent of her anger and humiliation, the women provided some backstory for context.

I was a shy teenager, so my mom took it upon herself help me flirt with boys. If a cute boy so much as spoke to me, even if he was working and had to speak to me, she’d try to make me flirt with them or flirt with them on my behalf.

It started out as just her pointing out that the boy had smiled at me or looked at my boobs, but when I still wouldn’t flirt with them it escalated all the way up to the point of her flirting with boys on my behalf. And the way she went about it sounded like she was trying to sell a cow, like, “Isn’t my daughter cute? She hasn’t had her first kiss yet. You should ask her out!”

It’s contributed a lot to my anxiety; when I was 17 I had my first panic attack when we went to a cafe where my crush worked because I was so scared my mom was going to harass him. At one point when I was in college we had a huge fight at home after she told some man I thought he was hot, where I had to give her an ultimatum that if she did it again I would go completely no contact with her. She did stop for a long time.

No wonder the poor woman had anxiety and panic attacks if this was how her mother behaved. It sounds absolutely humiliating! Why on earth is she trying to teach her daughter that having her body objectified by boys is a good thing?

Whilst she says that her mum stopped for a long time, surprise, surprise, years later the behaviour returned after OP finds herself single after a long-term relationship ended.

Now I’m 28, and my relationship of five years ended just a few months ago. I am not over it, and even if I were, I don’t want or need her help flirting with men. Still, she’s started it up again. At first all she was doing was pointing out when guys might have checked me out or writing my phone number on receipts.

This weekend at lunch, our server was my type, around my age, checked out my chest, and laughed at a joke I made. I know he was just doing his job, but speaking with him was the first, like, heart-pounding moment I’ve had since my breakup, and although I wasn’t going to ask him out or anything, it was nice to feel attraction, I guess? It was just made me feel good.

Which, of course, my mom noticed and ruined. When he came to check on us, she very loudly said that our food was fine, but that “my daughter needs more coffee and your phone number.” He looked uncomfortable and shuffled back to the kitchen. I was mortified, so I put cash on the table for my meal and walked out of the restaurant without saying a word to her.

I drove home without her, which stranded her because she doesn’t know how to use Uber and my dad couldn’t pick her up for a few hours. She’s been sending me messages through text and our family like, “I forgot you were so sensitive” or “I embarrassed you, but you embarrassed me by making me wait for a ride, so we’re even.” I reminded her about the ultimatum I gave her years ago, told her I would talk to her when I was ready, and blocked her number.

do have pretty severe anxiety and sometimes over-react to things that aren’t that big of a deal. I asked my siblings if they thought I was over-reacting, and half think I am, and half don’t. So I guess since they’re split, I’m asking the internet instead: am I the asshole for over-reacting? Is she the asshole for harassing random men for me?

Reddit users were quick to condemn the mother’s behaviour.

Your mom is a bully and has been bullying and intentionally embarrassing you in public for most of your life. I’m happy for you that you walked out and I hope she was humiliated by having to stand around waiting for a ride. NTA

ETA: Oh, and saying you’re “too sensitive” is a fucked up manipulation tactic. Again: she’s a bully. – VictoryChip 

That and it’s sexual harassment, if this was switched to a father doing the exact same stuff to his son and with female waitresses. everybody would be saying OP’s PARENT was a predator (AS THEY SHOULD FOR BITH THIS AND THE HYPOTHETICAL) and that they should be reported. OP’s mum is also putting her in danger, she has no idea if one of these men is a psycho, and if they are, they could very well take this asan invitation to stalk op or even something much, much worse. If this was at night and they had each come separately, what is to stop the waiter (if he did have those issues, or even if he was just a plain old predator without the delusion and stalker crap) from following OP out to the dark car park and cornering, overpowering, and raping her, even killing her. Yes this situation is extreme and though unlikely, it is still a very real possibility and threat.

NTA OP!!! – AussieGirl03061996 

The harrassment of service industry staff is crazy high, of all different kinds. This woman needs to be called out hard for harassing those poor guys. -Pointeboots

One commenter suggested how Op should respond in future if her mum ever tries to pull her usual tricks.  “I apologize for my mother’s sexual harassment. I know that you’re simply trying to earn a paycheck and don’t need to be subjected to her gross flirting.”

Most people thought that her mother saying that she was ‘stranded’ was a gross exaggeration, and not being able to call an Uber was on her. As one commenter quipped, “She played a stupid game, she won a stupid prize. Your lift doesn’t stick around if you bully them.”

 I get your mom was stranded, but she was in an area with other people around, access to food & drink, and presumably a bathroom – so not exactly in the middle of nowhere. You have tried setting boundaries verbally, and your Mom chose (it’s a choice) to steamroll over those boundaries.  – AcuteDeath2023

NTA. Why is your mum so intent on pimping you out? She is making you uncomfortable, has specifically been asked to stop, and does not.

It doesn’t really matter what your siblings think: if you’re not comfortable with this, that’s that as far as I’m concerned. It sounds incredibly humiliating to be honest – for you and for this poor waiter.

You left her at a restaurant? Too bad. There are consequences for pushing against people’s very reasonable and clearly communicated boundaries and she just experienced one. Whether or not she or your sibs think the boundary is reasonable is completely immaterial. You get to decide the standard to which you accept to treated – not someone else. – EgoneOnTheJob

Other people pointed out that the mother’s behaviour wasn’t just humiliating, and creepy, it’s also incredibly dangerous.

NTA and since I only saw one other comment on it, DOES YOUR MOTHER NOT REALIZE HOW DANGEROUS HER BEHAVIOR COULD BE FOR YOU?! WHAT THE HELL?! she could literally be setting you up to be stalked!!! How does a grown ass woman IN THIS DAY AND AGE not be even a little bit aware of how dangerous giving out her daughter’s number and personal info could be?! FFS – Wonderful_Picture_82

We don’t blame OP for blocking her mum, just to safeguard her own mental health or leaving her behind at the restaurant. What a piece of work her mother is!

What would you do in this situation?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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