My mother is trying to control my life and I don't know what to do

I am in my early 20s and I still live with my parents because I can't afford to live alone.

My mother says that if I live under her roof I have to follow her rules. She is trying to control my life. What should I do?

Elissa Gross
Elissa Gross
clinical psychologist

Hi!   I'm sorry you are having such a tough time with this situation.  I have worked with a number of young adults in their 20's who have had to move back home after college , or even stay at home through the college years.  Bottom line is that either way , it is so difficult when you are trying to discover who you are and what you want your life to be , to have to live at home.   I have even heard much older adults clients  say that when they visit their childhood home , they suddenly feel like a "kid" again .  The old dynamics between adults and their parents and siblings can pop right up as if they have gone back in time and are no longer adults !

I would suggest that you approach your mom and say something like "I am hoping we can talk about the best way for us to manage me living here.  I really appreciate that you are giving me a place to live until I get on my feet , and I want to be respectful of you and our home ; at the same time , though, I feel like it's important for me to have more independence than when I was younger because I am growing up and trying to learn more about myself and become more autonomous. Can we talk about what might be fair rules that we can  both live with ?" 

If she is receptive , maybe you can each write a separate list of what you think would be fair and reasonable and then compare lists and try to make compromises and come up with a list of "guidleines" that feel fair to you both .   If this is too hard to do alone , perhaps you and your mom can meet with a therapist a few times who can help you to come  up with some kind of "compromise contract."   This is not an easy situation , but if you can approach your mom in a calm and "mature" way and suggest a planned, structured discussion that doesn't take place in the heat of the moment , your mom may be impressed by your maturity and even more receptive to working out some rules that you can both live with.

Good luck !!

Elissa Gross

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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