I want to make my own decisions
I have a mother who is still running my life even though I'm almost 30 years old. I want to move out and live my own life, but it feels like as long as I do what my mom wants our relationship is okay. It's never okay if I don't do what she wants.
I don't know how to start making my own decisions and not worry about whether it's right in her eyes. Would it help for me to talk to someone about this?
ABSOLUTELY. Having someone who's outside the situation and, even more so, with knowledge and experience in human behavior and relationship dynamics such as a counselor can do wonders in helping us feel less alone in frustrating situations like the one you're currently stuck in with your mother.
A professional can also assist you in finding some assertiveness techniques, communication strategies, and coping skills to help you find your voice and stand your ground in a way that feels most authentic to you.
In a healthy parent-child dynamic, there comes a normal developmental shift when, as the child reaches each new stage of maturity and responsibility, the parent backs off to provide a more supportive role instead of directive role. We call this "redefining relationships." (We also do it with our friendships and colleagues here and there over time as needed). It's absolutely vital.
Sounds like your mom may have missed that memo.
Like many parents, she may feel your behavior and choices is a direct reflection of her. Or that her role as your mother allows her greater latitude than it should. Or like many other people in general, that her way is the ONLY way.
Regardless, this is YOUR life. And as far as we know, it's not a dress rehearsal. You certainly don't want to wake up some 50 years from now regretful or resentful.
That being said, there are certainly ways to show her love and respect while doing what makes you happy.
I would encourage you to Google therapists near you whose bios resonate with you and what you're looking for and start on a the journey towards a new chapter of freedom and hopefully a deeper, more satisfying mother-daughter relationship for both of you.
Tamara Powell, LMHC
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