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Polite Way to Tell Parents to Mind their Own Business?

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  • #60471
    Trevor
    Participant

    I have a mother who is a bit controlling at times, which has given me a great deal of anxiety over the years. It’s a sort of triggering sensation – feeling like you are being watched, controlled, and/or judged and not given the right to make your own decisions. This, has, in the past, made me appear to be naive and unrelatable to peers.

    I am 22 now, and for financial reasons (and I’m still in school) I am living with my parents. This isn’t much of an issue, but there are times where I really feel on edge. When she tells me “pick up your clothes” or “do this” and “do that” and such, it really makes me feel anxious. Like I can’t just let my life flow, it’s always through her filter, and it really bothers me.

    This includes things that don’t affect her whatsoever (clothes on the floor in my room doesn’t affect her at all, yet she continues to bother me about it). I don’t like it. You might say, “why don’t you just do it?” but it’s not really about that. I just want to be able to do things as I see fit and not feel controlled with my things. I want to grow as a person, not have to blindly follow my mother.

    Can anyone suggest a polite way of saying something along the lines of “mind your own business, it doesn’t affect you” without sounding rude/like I have an attitude?

    Sometimes when I try to do this, I come across the wrong way… Like I sound nonchalant or she acts offended. Sometimes I feel the need to hide things, and this also brings me anxiety (at one point in high school, she wouldn’t let me go on youtube.com, so I bought an ipod touch and hid it. she found it, got very angry, and sold it – luckily she isn’t that controlling anymore, but how do I detach myself from this sort of control while still living my life?) She is usually very nice, but she acts offended, stonewalls, acts oblivious to what I am saying, uses ad-hominem attacks or emotional arguments, claims ownership over what I do since I am living in her house, and so on.

    I would move out, but I’m already stressed as it is financially and with my studies, and I need to maintain some sort of emotional balance.

    • This topic was modified 8 years, 2 months ago by Trevor.
    #60475
    Matt
    Participant

    Trevor,

    Consider “thanks for looking out for me, mom. A clean floor is less distracting than a dirty, and you’ve always been there for me, keeping me safe in your own way.”

    Your parents will always be your parents, and to be free of their control is to honor their imperfect attempts at showing you how to live. Said differently, freedom from mom nagging would take a miracle, that’s what moms usually do. Becoming free of the anxious response on your side is about forgiving the toe stepping they do in kind consideration of all of the shoes they’ve offered you.

    Said differently, wake up, kid! For food and shelter and freedom to find education, your cost is having to hear her bitch about all your clothes on the floor and other “improvement” ideas she grumpily tosses at you? She’s a parent! You’re her baby! Its been her job to teach you to wipe your own bottom, and that takes a looong time to erode. I’m 37, and my mom still does it.

    From another direction, consider how happy she would be if she came home and found your space sparkling. “Hey mom, it must be agitating to see my space dirty, and your shoulders are heavy with all that other stuff you do. Come see, I have a gift for us both.” How much effort would it take, really, to sidestep that whole situation proactively? Less than the struggle to “be a man”, “be independent” :). Almost always, when we set aside the nagging quality of a mother, woman, or anyone really, we find the kernel of a loving intention, a need, going unheard. I chuckle when men complain that their partners nag… “why might she have felt unheard?”

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #60481
    Suze
    Participant

    My boyfriends mother still treats him the same and he is 47.
    Best idea is to move out and be your own boss.
    Look up narcissistic mothers, it may be that you will never be able to do anything good enough to settle her emotions, maybe just being aware that some mums are control freaks will enable you to laugh it off or tell her to shut up in a kind of polite way.
    All the best
    Suze

    #60494
    rebecca
    Participant

    I can relate. I am currently in college and just transferred back to my home-town college to finish out my studies (didn’t like the other college I was attending). I am back living at home with my father (parents are divorced) who is very ‘my way or the highway’ and extremely sensitive. When I tell him I am going have dinner with my mother, he gets really offended and lashes out at me. When I sleep in late (Im a college student, that’s what we do) he gets upset because I’ve “wasted my day”.

    The best thing to do is to have a one-on-one, heart-to-heart conversation with your mother. Tell her how you feel, but also understand that you are still her child, and you still live with her in her home.. Respect your “roommates” and know your mom will ALWAYS treat you like a kid, cause you are her kid.

    If you can’t talk to her and convince her to back off you a little, then go find a roommate and move out. That’s what I’m about to do next month! But good luck, hope it goes well!

    #60497
    Trevor
    Participant

    I’m trying to be financially stable enough to move out, but at the moment I’m not really making nearly enough to pay for gas, phone, rent, food, etc. I feel really uncomfortable being treated like this

    #60498
    Trevor
    Participant

    And sometimes, it isn’t about trivial things – sometimes it’s a clash and imposition of beliefs that I might not agree with

    #60518
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear @Trevor,

    I can relate because this is also how I grew up. My parents used to be overly protective of me when I was younger, to the point where they controlled everything – the kind of friends I was allowed to stay with, the kind of clothes I was supposed to wear, the time I had to be in bed, you name it. I was very envious of my friends because their parents seemed “cool” enough to let them do whatever they wanted to. I was constantly afraid of doing something they wouldn’t approve of, and I couldn’t find the words or courage to tell them how they made me feel.

    Because we were living far from the city, I had to move out of my parents’ house right after graduating from high school when I was 17 to go to college. I was very excited because I thought I would finally be free. I thought it would make me happy to finally be able to do whatever I wanted to, just like my friends. But it didn’t turn out as well.

    I started doing all the things my parents kept me from doing. It was my way of rebelling after all these years, my way of being “my own boss”. I thought it would make me happy to go to parties, to drink, to curse, to smoke, to spend their money behind their back, to steal, to be like society wanted me to be. I thought I knew better than the ones who made me what was good for me, but I became completely lost and turned into someone I have been ashamed of for a long time. And the worst thing is, I was trying to hide the “new me” to my parents, so they couldn’t help me and save me.
    You could say I became an alcoholic, because I couldn’t go a day without drinking an entire bottle of vodka or rum. I stopped showing up in class, failed all of my classes, was put on academic suspension for a whole year, and got fired from my very first job at a great marketing company. Obviously I couldn’t hide myself from my parents anymore, and the much needed talk I have been waiting for years finally came along.

    We all sat down, my mother crying hysterically and my father being confused/furious and, well, me being hungover and high. I remember telling them everything I have been doing since I moved out of their house and why I turned into this person. They were disappointed, but explained to me that they raised me the best way they could – at least in their opinion, and would have never imagined it would have pushed me to go against everything they taught me and turned me into this lost person.

    It has been five years now since we have had this conversation, and the relationship I have with them today is perfect and I feel so much closer to them. Of course I learned my mistakes, but I also learned to let my parents give me their love – because YES, even if we, children, perceive them as being overly controlling, parents are just trying to show us their love. I learned to accept them as they are, even if I still don’t agree with some things they say or do. Like @Matt said, they will always be your parents and will always look out for you, whether you like it or not. And be thankful that you have someone who is there to guide you and protect you. I used to be jealous of my friends and how their parents let them do everything they wanted, but I now realize I would have felt like my parents didn’t care for me if they were like my friends’ parents.

    I am now 24 and live in a different country and continent than my parents. I am much more mature and I know it is my turn to give and show them love as they are getting older. I call them everyday. My friends constantly tell me “OMG I could never talk to my mom everyday, she is so annoying”, well there are days when I don’t feel like talking to my parents either, but I am sure there were days when they didn’t feel like taking me to the park when I was 5 but still did because they LOVE me and wanted me to be HAPPY.

    I know it is tough to take a step back and realize that your mom is not a “control freak”, as it has been said in a previous comment, but rather that she is doing the best she can to protect you and show you love. I know how it is to wish we could change our parents, but we cannot and that is a good thing! In a few months or years or decades, when all of this will be behind you, I hope you will be thankful for the way she raised you and looked out for you, even if you didn’t always agree with her.

    Emmanuelle

    #60519
    louise
    Participant

    You sound like a spoiled and resentful person.
    She is not asking much of you.
    you are her business.
    SHE Is feeding you and giving you a roof
    over your head. SHOW SOME APPRECIATION.
    try and do as she asks and stop being so resentful.

    #60521
    Trevor
    Participant

    Thank you for the positive words of encouragement louise

    #60522
    Trevor
    Participant

    As I said, I am not disrespecting them in any way, screwing myself over in an attempt to be rebellious, and try my best to act polite, but often times I disagree with lifestyle choices and beliefs that they may have, and do not appreciate being unable to make any decisions about myself that do not affect them whatsoever. This may sound trivial, but I have a great deal of anxiety over this

    #60526
    Cee Jay
    Participant

    Trevor

    Reading the last paragraph of your initial post reads as though your mother may have (MAY HAVE – NOT DEFINITELY) (MALIGNANT) NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.

    There are plenty of websites that will help you define this for yourself. You know your mother better than the participates on your post so you will know if she is borderline or full blown. I’m just trying to help you but apologise if I have spoken out of turn. No offence meant to you &c..

    Cee Jay

    #60529
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    You are not able to make any decisions about yourself for now because you are still under her roof. But that is only temporary, like everything else on this earth. You may not appreciate it right now, but try to think in the long term and know that some day, you will be able to take whatever decision you want to (just like I decided to start drinking when my parents didn’t allow me to..!).
    As of you disagreeing with lifestyle choices and beliefs, well that is how life is. But what is there for you to do? Nothing. I do not want to sound rude, but you need to try and stop focusing on everything you dislike about this situation.

    #60544
    Matt
    Participant

    Trevor,

    It seems like you’re stuck making all this discomfort about them. If only they… if only she… sarcastic responding to posts, etc. etc… but refusing to accept that you’re being pissy that your mom is acting like a mom. Its like getting worked up that a car isn’t a plane, a bird isn’t a lion. I agree with Louise, oddly enough,you seem to be acting spoiled and unappreciative… which is normal, usual, and part of growing up. Not meaning to judge, but look around you, goof ball, free shelter, free food, and yet your head gets stuck because mom wants you to be this or that? Unsticking your head is about resting in the bigger picture. Giving up whining about all she does that afflicts you, and instead accepting the yin and yang, the light and shadow, the tasty free food along with the preaching she does. Or, move out.

    This whole “hey, wise beings, what’s a polite way to tell my parents to fuck off” doesn’t lead you to freedom, only to further agitation. As soon as mom is out, there will be a boss, doing the same stuff. Quit that job, low and behold, the next boss, same stuff. Get married? Oh no, there it is again! Nip it early, find forgiveness and respect for the good she brings, and be free here and now… before it turns into a lifetime project. Or, expend your precious energy trying to prove you’re a man, while overlooking the kind of man you’re actually being.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #60545
    Vic
    Participant

    @aMatt said it perfect. You may find her ways annoying now but she does it for the better. She’s trying to teach you how to live, and if you’re a messy and disorganized person that doesn’t mind his room dirty… shoot, I don’t even know haha. I hate having my room dirty but that’s just me. Show some gratitude man, you’re richer than 75% of the worlds population. You have it good compared to most people, stop looking at the negative side of things. It will help you in the long run.

    Good luck Trevor.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 2 months ago by Vic.
    #60657
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Dear Trevor,

    I was quite intrigued by the title of your post and considered re-registering just to comment. I went through your previous questions to understand the context a bit better. I do realize that its not about keeping the room clean – nah, its not as trivial as that. While others may have dubbed you resentful and have asked you to grow up, i can only share with you a bit of perspective of a 22 year old. A very close friend of mine is in a similar situation like yours except in her case there is also a highly patriarchal structure in place – sort of like double standards of being a girl. Her parents, especially her father has very very strong opinions on everything a girl should be.

    She is resentful and yet wants approval but never really feels “enough” anyway. After a great deal of emotional turbulence, she is now slowly on the path to recovery and reconciliation. I have learnt the following lessons from her experiences – see, you cant change the basic beliefs of your parents. They have a life time of experiences that led to those beliefs, irrespective of whether you agree with him or not. However, despite all the control they exert on you, at the end of the day, it is done of out of love and care. The neighbors or those friends will not be there for you during the real shit in your life. Be grateful that they do bother about your well-being though it can be suffocating at times too. Second thing, you are responsible for your thoughts and choices – i think that was the hardest lesson for my friend to swallow – she was quite immature and confused, quite neurotic and pessimistic with clingy tendencies – she disliked most people of her age and yet wanted to feel worthwhile in their eyes.

    She didnt like herself much at all. Do you like yourself Trevor? Do you feel like your parents have turned you into this conformist alien among your peers? My advice would be to slowly make your own choices, be calm about them instead of nervously seeking approval for every single thing or getting aggressive about it. Despite all her complaints about their old-fashioned beliefs, my friend still cant seem to ever not tell her parents what she is doing – she craves their approval and yet she hates it.

    I know a bit of how you feel but believe me, you’re just 22. You will find your way through this confusing decade. Just remember that you have parents who love you and care about you. They need to mature too but so do you. Perhaps you cant change them but you can change your outlook – go out more, be busy and make friends – loosen up a bit but learn to be responsible too. Trust me, it will go a long way in ensuring your emotional stability. In fact, if you’re in the mood, i suggest you watch this movie – perhaps it will resonate a bit with you 😀 Its called “Bend it Like Beckham”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5_2NEAEdaQ

    You’ll be fine 🙂 Dont worry so much. More than half of Asia goes through this 😛 (probably worse cuz the parents dont let them date and fix their marriage, cant go out late at night, bring friends of opposite gender over to house etc etc lol)

    Anyway, best wishes and do try the movie 🙂

    – Moon

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