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Living at home with overbearing mom

Wed., Feb. 6, 2013, midnight

Dear Carolyn: My parents have been kind to allow my sister and me to move home due to the recession/higher education.

However, my mother has shifted her overprotective nature from “good intentions” to “overbearing,” wherein she feels she can dictate whom I associate with.

I am in my late 20s, I think I am more than capable of deciding whom I associate with. I have always been a good student and have never given my parents a reason to worry.

However, should my friends even breathe wrong in her presence … that’s it.

I’d move out, but that’s really not an option due to graduate school.

I just want my mom to trust me, and not badger me over “what people will think of me if they see me with” so-and-so. Sometimes the fights are so bad I cancel my plans. – Watching Her Friendships Sink

Stop engaging, stop behaving as if your mom has any say in your social life, stop explaining yourself.

That last one especially. High-achiever, substance nonabuser, good character judge – great stuff! And irrelevant!

What is relevant: (1) You’re an adult and it’s your social life. (2) It’s your mom’s house.

These realities allow you to decline to engage when your mother goes off. This is where your excellent track record does matter; at a calm moment when you’re not discussing your friends, say: “Mom, do you trust that you did a good job raising me?”

Pause while she responds affirmatively.

“Good. Now it’s time to show that by letting me handle my own friendships.”

She can, of course, kick you out, and those “so bad” fights suggest she might. If so, summon the discipline to remain so very calm, and say, “That’s your prerogative, Mom. I’ll start looking.”

Then, the kicker: Do it. If you’re unwilling to make the freedom-for-housing trade-off, then start job-apartment-loan- hunting.


 

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