I am a young adult woman living in the home she grew up in, with parents and siblings. My parents are NOT abusive - they have always provided me with a place where I felt safe and cared for. But the way they relate to me now that I've gone to college and come back has not changed since I was several years younger, and I think it's affecting me negatively. I need to figure out what my action plan is for establishing my independence, both materially and emotionally.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (78 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I am in my early 20's with a BA and a full time job.
I feel like my parents treat me as though I'm a younger child who is dependent on them, and I think it's damaging my personal growth. Examples (in which I will mostly sound like I'm "stealth bragging" about my nice, caring, obnoxiously upper-middle-class family, but the sum total of which will hopefully illuminate how I'm feeling):
-When I go out, they want to know where I'm going, who I'm meeting, what time I'll be back. When I come home, they ask me for a detailed account of everything I did. They ask me similar detailed questions about what I'm reading, what I did every day at work, my interests and activities, etc.
-My mother keeps a family calendar with everyone's appointments. She schedules my annual doctor's visits for me and tells me about them by giving me the calendar.
-My father controls all of my finances. He has joint access to my bank account. He knows my payroll schedule at work and checks the account each payday to make sure I have been paid. I also have a credit card which he tells me to use for as many expenses as I want, and he pays it off. He has maintained a mutual fund in my name since my birth, and I do not have access to it. He pays my taxes and told me in no uncertain terms that he would be paying them this year, and I would not. (I have been trying to fight back on this!)
-My mother buys clothing, food, and necessities for the whole family. She also frequently cooks my meals, often without telling me she's going to do so. (It's just "dinner's ready, come get it!")
-My father opened my mail and threw out the junk mail without telling me I had received it until just the other day I told them to stop.
-My mother tells me to go to bed when I'm up late. If I'm out past midnight, especially if I have the car, she doesn't sleep until I get home. She says she can't sleep because of anxiety, and while I believe her, I feel it's her problem not mine.
-My parents pay my phone bills and other expenses.
-My parents often explain extremely simple concepts to me like I don't understand them.
-My father drives me to and from work because his workplace is nearby. If I take the subway, my mother picks me up at the nearby stop.
-When the family goes on vacation, my parents buy plane tickets first and then announce "we are going on vacation, I bought your tickets from X - X".
I also note that when I was in school they were very concerned and involved with my grades, my course selection, my choice of college/university, my friendships, my activities, etc. and enforced a bedtime for me until I moved away for college.
Reasons why I haven't just moved the everloving fuck out already:
-I don't have a car. I live in a suburban area and even if I move to a more urban part of the area with a better public transit infrastructure, it will be difficult to participate in a lot of the social activities I currently enjoy. I'm trying to save up to buy one. Living at home helps me save considerably.
-Guilt tripping! :D My parents have repeatedly stated that they don't want me to leave and that they'll be so sad when I do, and that they are happy to provide all the things I need.
-I feel like I've internalized the message that I'm not actually a fully capable adult and that I need my parents to survive.
It's mainly the last one I want to work on. Do you have any ideas for how to start relating to your parents like you're an adult, establish boundaries, and have a personal life that your parents aren't involved with?
And also, should I buy a car before I move out or should I just GTFO? And if I do, how do I explain my desire to do so? I can't just say "I'm sick of living here because I'm an ungrateful little shit so I'm leaving, bye."