“My mother keeps saying I am making her sad and upset.
I don’t know what I am doing, but I don’t want her to feel bad.
How can I stop causing her to feel bad?”
Of course, sometimes we do or say something stupid, and it hurts the other person. Most times we realize what we have done, and we can apologize and make up for our mistake. No problem. What you seem to talk about is that you are constantly made to feel that you made a mistake like that, but whatever you do to make up for it, it does not work.
One of the reasons it does not work is because the rules keep changing. When you think you have learned your mistake, your mother makes a new rule that you don’t know about. It is very common for people who are unable to manage their own emotions healthily, to blame other people for the things that go on in their lives. By placing blame with someone else, they don’t have to look at what is going on inside themselves. It sounds to me like your mother may be doing just that.
If you feel like you constantly have to be ‘on edge’ around your mother, just not to upset here, then there is a problem. Find someone you can trust and confide in to discuss this issue. This will help you begin to process and think of solutions. It doesn’t matter how old you are when you feel your mother is rejecting you…it hurts. Her blaming you for her emotional distress is rejection.
I am sorry you have to deal with this, but please understand it is not your fault and does not say anything about you. Start creating boundaries with your mother. Create distance either by spending less time in her company, by being selective about what you discuss with her, and becoming shorter with your responses to her.