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?
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 !!
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Typically people have rules for a reason; this is not to say the rules are valid, it is to point out that there is a need your mother is trying to fulfill with these rules. Maybe that is just control just so she doesn't lose you, but maybe there are other things she is wanting and another way she can get them that will make you both happy. If it is safe to do so, maybe talk about why she has these rules and form a compromise. If not, we implement something called 'harm reduction techniques': how do you make the best of the circumstances?
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One of the biggest issues emerging adults face while living with their parents is boundaries. It's important to establish strong boundaries. Yes, you are living under her roof and therefore have to follow her rules. It's possible that your parents may still view you as a child. Yes, you're an adult now but it's hard for them to stop parenting, despite you being an adult. Nevertheless, you can work on boundaries with them. Pick a convenient time for all of you to sit down and talk. You'll want to stay calm and avoid arguments or anger as you address your concerns with them. Try to express your concerns without hurting your parents' feelings. Give them a chance to respond and ask questions. The key is to let them know that you're not comfortable with some of their rules. Gently remind them that you are an adult and respect their opinions, but ultimately you're responsible for living your life.
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These things happen and it is her roof...
If you can try and stay busy avoid situations that make you feel like this. Be Kind and Courteous as if you were living with a room mate. You can also pay some kind of rent. Don't feel bad even adults face this with their parents even when their 80 and you are 50. Some children take care of their older parents or deal with family responsibilities. Try and do what you can to move forward in your life or ask her to help so that you can live on your own and maybe she just needs to feel needed.
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Unfortunately you seem to have yourself in a double bind. By living with your mom she is not going to stop her attempts at what you perceive as "controlling". There is no use in trying to debate or get her to "see your point". As long as your there and you personalize her attempts at control, then you will find yourself frustrated and resentful. Try to find an extra job or a roommate so that you can do the natural process of moving on out.
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Unfortunately I think most of us have heard this, so you are not alone. If you are still under her roof she has leverage as to what her expectations are while you are living there. I would consider therapy for the both of you to see if there could be a middle ground that could be agreed upon. Often times a 3rd party can help with conflict. If there is no resolution then I would look to get creative in finding a place of your own.
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That is a really tough situation that a lot of young people are experiencing right now. The first thing to under is that you can’t change who your parents are and cannot change their behavior. The thing to keep in mind is that you can control your responses and actions.
You may need to keep living at home with them for the next few months or years and the best way to do this is to have a plan. The second thing is to keep in mind that their controlling behavior is most likely not about based your behavior. Controlling parents are often driven by their concept of what will keep their children safe and happy. Unfortunately this is not always accurate but keep in mind it is not a personal attack.
There are ways you can deal with controlling parents – and most of them require creating a plan of action.
Examples of action plans:
Decide in advance how you’ll calmly and rationally respond to your parents when you feel they’re trying to control you
Arrange to phone a friend or trusted adult when you feel like you’re losing control
Talk in person to an adult you trust. There aren’t any quick tips on how to deal with parents who want to control you; you need to find strategies that are geared to your specific family situation.
Get specific coping tips from books about family dynamics, such as:
Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward
Cutting Loose: An Adult's Guide to Coming to Terms with Your Parents by Howard Halpern
A counselor can be a good resource and provide support and guidance about issues addressing normal growth and development during periods of transition.
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You're among many millennials who live with their parents due to financial reasons.
Does your mother mean rules pertaining to the way your family household organizes its daily or does she mean something else?
Every household needs rules as responsibilities to keep the house clean, who does the grocery shopping, the way costs are distributed for this and all the other carrying charges and tasks of maintaining the house in decent order, as well as respecting the privacy and noise level requests of others who live in the home.
This set of responsibilities applies whenever more than one person lives with another person.
Have you tried simply telling your mom that you're willing to be a responsible household member and that you prefer to keep the details of the way you live the rest of your life, to yourself?
This would show respect to your mom and start the discussion as to the areas of your life you feel deserve privacy and how you would like to handle when your right to run your own life overlaps with any household duties.
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