How to Cope With Controlling Parents

Do you need freedom? These tips on how to cope with controlling parents – who are also emotionally manipulative – may help. You’ll see from the comments from adult children who have controlling parents that you’re not alone.

How to Cope With Controlling ParentsAre your parents toxic, and perhaps even destructive? Read Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your LifeDr. Susan Forward draws on case histories and the real-life voices of adult children of toxic parents to help you free yourself from the frustrating patterns of your relationship with your parents — and discover a new world of self-confidence, inner strength, and emotional independence.

Here’s a surprising twist on living with controlling parents: “Giving up hope is one of the healthiest, most life-affirming things you could do for yourself,” writes Dr Laura Schlessinger in Bad Childhood – Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood. “If, of course, you…accept, and don’t pout.”

Giving up hope may sound negative and depressing — but after you read my explanation and tips for coping with parents who try to control you, you may feel differently. Giving up your expectations may be the healthiest thing you ever do in life.




Controlling Parents – How Do You Cope?

My husband and I attended a marriage course last night (it’s the fifth of seven sessions), and it was all about coping with your childhood family relationships. I wrote a bit about it in How to Go on a Marriage Retreat Without Leaving Home – and I encourage you to deal with your parental issues, because it has a huge effect on your intimate relationships!

Let go of your need to please your parents

We grow up seeking approval, affirmation, and even love from our parents. Part of why it’s so difficult to confront our parents is we don’t want to disappoint or anger them. Even as grown children, we want them to keep loving us – even when we feel like we hate them! A tip for coping with controlling parents – or any toxic person in your life – is to recognize your need to please them, and let go of it. Or, at least learn how to live with it.

Cut your financial ties to parents who want to control

On How to Cope With Difficult Parents, a reader asked for help with her father. He’s making her life miserable – not to mention the effect he has on her husband and child! She mentioned that her father helped her get a mortgage loan, and he holds that over them. So…instead of staying financially beholden, she might find ways to free herself and take her life back. This might involve getting a bank loan and paying her dad back – even if the money was originally a gift. It’s not a “gift” if it’s taking an emotional toll. Or, if everyone agrees that money isn’t owed (the mortgage help or special baby food was a gift, for instance), then she might get him to sign something that states she doesn’t owe him money and he has no right to lord it over her. This black-and-white evidence might help them take money out of the father-daughter relationship.

Learn to recognize emotional blackmail

This is one of the best ways to take your life back! If you have controlling parents, you may recognize that they disguise their criticism, try to make you feel guilty for past behavior, or constantly make you feel bad about your life. They don’t seem to want to let you live your life! Before confronting difficult parents, it’s important to recognize and learn to deal with emotional blackmail.

coping with controlling parents

How to Cope With Controlling Parents

Read books like the ones I featured, take a weekend workshop in assertiveness training, or talk to a counselor. Keep reminding yourself that you’re a grown adult – you’re not a child anymore, and you don’t have to succumb to emotional manipulations! A big part of this is learning to say “no” without feeling guilty.

If your parents are emotionally manipulative and controlling, read Surprising Examples of Verbal Abuse in Relationships. It may help if you learn how to recognize verbal abuse.

Separate emotion from an action plan

Emotion says, “But I don’t want to confront my parents or move to a different city – I’m scared/tired/frustrated/miserable!” An action plan says, “I want a better life, better relationships. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. To stop this from happening, I need to (insert action plan here).” To confront your controlling parents, you’ll probably have to do something you don’t want to do: quit a job you love, move to a different city, set and stick to your boundaries, talk to a family counselor, get emotionally stronger, and stand up to other family members. It’s not an easy way to take your life back, but it’s effective.

Stop wishing your parents less controlling, or different

These controlling parents are yours, and if you’re still wishing they were different, you need to stop! You don’t need to give up hope for a better relationship with your parents – but you need to stop hoping they’ll change.  They’ll continue to be overbearing and difficult to take….but luckily, you’re a grown adult and you are free to distance yourself emotionally, physically, socially, and financially. You can choose to live your own life!

If you have any thoughts on coping with parents who try to control you, please comment below. I can’t offer advice on coping with controlling parents, but it may help you to share your experience coping with difficult parents.




May you learn healthy ways to cope with your controlling parents.

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Welcome - I'm glad you're here! I can't give advice, but you're welcome to share your experience below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We are childless, & have made peace with it. It helps to love Jesus :-)

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133 Responses

  1. hanna says:

    I am a 30 yr old woman with kids. My mom lives with me. She has always been there for me but now it’s too much to deal with. She yells at me in front of my children all the time. I have asked her to stop but she gets even angrier. I am also engaged to a younger man in which she disapproves of. I want to be to myself but when I bring up us going I separate ways she gets to saying if I would have kept the job I had, you wait until I don’t have anything to put me out on the streets. I love her dearly but I can’t even tell my own children what to do without her screaming at me. I wanted to raise my kids in a loving environment but my mom and 20 yr old sister scream at them all the time. I am so confused. I don’t know what life feels like to be on my own although she is living with me . When I used to live with her all she would say is how she couldn’t stand me and she wished I moved out. Now that I did she slams doors around the house. I really need some advice about coping with controlling parents. She has helped me financially and she raised me as a single parent. I truly feel like if we lived separately that we would have a better relationship. But how do we get to that point without her getting super angry even calling me derogatory names in front of my children? Please help me a.s.a.p!!!

  2. Emmanuel says:

    I know exactly how you feel mate. The fees just hangs over you like a huge shadow. If I were you I’d think really hard about coming back to Nigeria though. I was in the UK for just 18 months and found life very hard when I got back. You can never get used to this. Wish we could talk a little more. Wish you the best, coping with controlling parents isn’t easy.

  3. Ty says:

    Hi Emmanuel, I’m 21 and also a Nigerian. I live and study in England with my parents. And I have your exact situation. My father frustrated me daily. I’m happy he pays my school fees, but that is all I accept from him. I pay my bills and feed myself because anything he buys or gives me would be taken away once he is angry. I am writing my final exam and my friends and I decide to stay together so we can read together. This is something we would do for only the exam period. But my father keeps calling me, embarrassing me and telling me to come home every day. He knows I read only at night and I understand better when people explain to me. Yet he wants me to come home. Why? Just because he wants it. I don’t understand how a father can be so controlling. I am done. Tonight I told him I wasn’t coming home. He threatened to disown me and I told him to go ahead. Now he sent a message telling me to come pack my things. I am moving out. I can’t take this anymore. After my exams, I have a full time job which I hope to save so much from. Then I’m moving to Nigeria. I’m done with my parents for now. I appreciate their paying my very expensive fees, but being a parent is more than paying your child’s school fee.

  4. Emmanuel says:

    I am 28, Nigerian and still living with my parents. What makes it worse is I was the best graduates from my uni and I studied a masters in England.. so I know what it is to be independent. Now, back to my parents and the first thing they tried to do was arrange a marriage. I don’t even have a job. Always broke and I think my father uses this against me. I have a non existent social life.

    Sometimes I feel like I hate my father so much. My dad is controlling, condescending, violates ones privacy, mistrusting, and I’m stuck at home because I don’t have a job. I developed high blood pressure just thinking and hoping I get to leave home and cut ties with him for good. Wish I could be closer to my mum but she’s over protective and plays right into his hands. He now complains I barely have a relationship with or talk with him. How am I supposed to have any sort of conversation with him when all he does it tell you how to live and control? I’ve started drinking a little excessively and even considering drugs. I can’t believe that I, the best student at all levels of my education has ended up living with my over controlling, obsessed father, unemployed while others who didn’t work so hard have got jobs.

    I’m slowly accepting this situation now and learning how to cope with controlling parents because it seems there’s nothing I can do about it. The irony of life

  5. Josh says:

    Hi my names Josh im 19 years old, I ised to live in a suburban town outa city of melbourne with my mum and step father but after a family break up after 16 years I went and lived with my real father 2 years ago now and I’ve gone into business with him.
    He controls all of my money that I earn in wages and due to past few mistakes he doesn’t let me go to my old suburban town to see mates or family their because he said it makes him look bad if I do something wrong.
    He is trying to help my buy a house and the business is doing well we have our moments but I’m not sure on that situation. What should I do?? Leave and go sail my own boat and do it a little bit tougher!!?? Or do I stay and let those 2 little things roll on for a long time, does time really heal everything ? Please if someone reads this try have an understanding and get back to me with a good response would be great thanks

    Josh

  6. Agustina says:

    Hi Laurie. I really liked your article but I while reading it, I came up with a question that (i think) probably has come to many minds reading this. How can we, kids, cut our financial ties??? (particularly me, I am 19 years old, studying Medicine at University and therefore dont have time to work). For example, one of the “threats” my mum always gives me when wanting me to do whatever she wants is “I’ll cut off your credit card and cancel your appartment contract and your University fee”.

  7. Lynn Simmons says:

    Hi Laurie,
    I am an only child and my mother is very manipulative, never satisfied, always sabotage things that make me happy, and she not a very good listener even when I trying to sit her down and talk to her. Because of her accomplishments in life, she doesn’t feel that she should listen to anyone even if they make sense. She just acts confused when I try to be logical. She feels that the way she thinks, should not be altered because she wouldn’t be as successful as she is if she had been any other way. I feel so helpless. She will go as far as harrassing me through text messaging just to manipulate me and make me do things the way she wants it. She constantly bad mouth my fiancé behind his back and through texting. But when she sees him she’s acts sweet. And sometimes she acts like nothing ever happened. I don’t know what to do. No one else in my family gives me useful advice. I’m at the point of suicide because it’s been going on since I started dating my fiancé. He’s such a great guy and is going through all this hell with me. He even convinced his parents to let us stay with them. But when I moved in with them, my mom moves all the way to California to give me a guilt trip. So of course I start to miss her and she buys tickets for me and my fiancé to come and visit her. As soon as we get there, halfway through the trip she starts manipulating and controlling me again. But now it’s much worse because we have no money to get back! She bought us one way tickets, and told us that things were going to be cool and that she has found peace and just wants us all to have fun. I feel very controlled. And I can’t just call her a liar. I don’t know how to make things work. Is something wrong with me?

  8. Kamrie says:

    Hello Laurie

    I have a rocky relationship with my father ever since I was born (2nd oldest child of 5) He always put me down emotionally as a child as I got older over the years.. I honestly dont remember when he was there for me emotionally other then a few times. But my mom just claims that he has my best interest..im 23 years old now and its at a worst rate its ever been. He has said the most messed up things to me that made me feel like im a bad person. Im seriously considering cutting him out of my life when im established because I dont need any negative people in my life who dont believe in me. He has a better relationship with the rest of my brothers and sisters but not me- I have changed so much over the years and he refuses to see it. What do you do with people like that??? I tried to express myself many times to him and he claims I havent changed. He made me feel crazythis week. I have been depressed to the point I dont have the desire to eat and I rather be in my room alone than to be bothered with anyone. Ihave an amazing boyfriend and I truly feel like the only reason hes acting like that is because im actually happy. My mother won’t stand up to him for him idk what to do

  9. CeeBooCee says:

    Ow so I’m not the only one. Thank God. I am not happy either. I found a teaching job earlier this year and had to move far away from home but my parents were against it. I moved anyway. Ever since I started earning I’ve never spent my salary the way I plan to. My father sends me texts to a point that I have decided to block him from all social networks where he can reach me. I have a younger brother, he’s my dad’s son but he has never treated him like his own and now that he has started earning he wants to know everything about him. He cares so much that he asks him when is he coming home and how much he misses him. We’re being used and made feel like we owe our parents for raising us. Last month I gave him my whole salary and he’s already got plans for my next payment. I wish I could get a comment from someone who has admitted to be a controlling parent.

  10. Laurie says:

    One of the most important things to remember when you’re coping with controlling parents is that you can’t change them, and you can’t change how other family members relate to your parents. The only person you can change is yourself – your reactions, actions, and thoughts.

    If you feel like your parents are so controlling and manipulative that you can’t cope with them, I encourage you to talk to someone in person. Get advice and support on your specific situation! I can’t offer personal advice, because family dynamics are incredibly complicated. You need to call or see someone in person, to talk through what’s happening in your family and your own head.

    Wishing you blessings and peace,
    Laurie

  11. DRL says:

    Hi Laurie,

    My brother and I are dealing with parents who are overly controlling. They have always been controlling but recently in past two years either we respond back or ignore them and that is driving them crazy. My brother and I are both married and have our own families to look after. My brother and my parents stay together and he has been looking after them, however they still have complaints and constant arguments because my parents feel that he does not do enough for them. If he goes out with his wife they want to know all the details. They constantly taunt him and his wife, give some looks or if nothing else pick up fight. Once they have fight with him, then my mother calls me and complains about my brother …hours at a time and constantly keeps calling to tell me how bad he is. I try to explain in a calmer way but she blasts me on the phone and then gets very angry. It is very difficult to explain the reason for their misery or loss of mental peace it their own behaviour. I am really lost. I love them and my brother and don’t want to see it all breaking. Please help!

  12. LEE says:

    My family never has praised me, whatever I did was never good enough or was wrong. I earned a Doctorate, but whenever they ask for advice, they interrupt, and say , oh I will ask a real doctor or my friends so and so, she’s an LPN! I went to national in bodybuilding after overcoming a severe orthopaedic disability, did they call me to wish me well, no! Did they say they were proud about all I overcame, no! and I am an only child. When I have received accolades and awards , even in my forties for humanitarian efforts working with children and animals, overseas and in the USA, they said , why don’t you take care of people in your own country and criticize me. I can never do anything right. I realize now, just please yourself, and do not try to live for them, they will never be happy, they never smile and seem truly miserable and have very few friends.

  13. Joanna says:

    Laurie, I do not know if my first comment on the matter has been deleted by accident, but I have mentioned that I’ve been having the worst time trying to find a job. Last week, I was turned down for a job that I was VERY qualified for, and I am having a hard time figuring out if I’m the one doing anything wrong or if it’s all the employer’s fault making it hard for anyone to get a job because of unrealistic qualifications. I’m trying hard to find one and I’ve even thought about finding jobs that WOULD give me an excuse to move away.

    I’m glad I have not had this desire when I was younger because I seriously would not have known what I was doing. I’ve been taking more time to research these things so I will not be in a bad situation.

    For the moment, I am trying to communicate better with my family, but they are too stubborn and refuse to see that I’m trying my hardest to get back on my feet. I’d rather they would respect my boundaries and not make me cave in to doing thing they want. Trying to get them to compromise is the hardest thing to do, but I’m trying to work on it.

  14. Laurie says:

    Dear Joanna,

    I don’t know much about you, your parents, or your personality…but I believe two things about parents and kids in general:

    1) the best way for you or anyone to get your parents used to the fact that you are a capable adult is to actually BE a capable, independent adult. This means living on your own, getting a job, paying your bills, and doing whatever it takes to be independent. You can’t have it both ways – you can’t rely on your parents for food, shelter, money, etc and also expect them to treat you like an adult.

    2) most parents never want to let their children go. They love their children deeply, and their instinct to nag, nurture, and mother is incredibly strong. So no matter how capable and independent you are, your parents may still hover and even suffocate you.

    You can’t change your parents, especially if they’re controlling. You can only change YOU and how you are running your life.

    What 2 things can you do to run your life more independently?

    Stay true to you,
    Laurie

  15. Joanna says:

    Right now, I’m not sure if they realize that they’re not making the situation any better. I’m glad that I’ve been performing at a Ren Faire this summer (It ends next month, though), but they’re pressuring me to get a job (Which they KNOW it’s not easy) and when I said I couldn’t audition for something overseas because it wouldn’t be enough time to get my passport renewed, she yelled at how bad I was with money! I really do think I need to be on my own, but how am I going to get them used to the fact that I can handle things on my own and have learned from my mistakes?

  16. Laurie says:

    Dear Angelica,

    Thanks for being here – I’m happy to hear from you!

    Here’s the article I wrote for you. I hope it helps.

    http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/how-to-become-an-independent-teenager/

    One tip that I that may help is to be open about what you’re doing with your friends. Your mom wants exact details because she loves and wants to protect you. The more open you are, the more confident she’ll feel. If she thinks you’re hiding stuff, she’s less likely to let you go out because she’s worried! Tell her everything. The more she knows, the more she’ll trust you (unless of course you’re doing immoral, illegal, or dishonest things).

    Read the article, let me know what you think.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  17. Angelica says:

    I am 14 years old and my mother in paticular is very contolling. I depend on my mother and I have to live with her because there is no where else I could live. She is constantly barating me mentally and sometimes physically. She barely let’s me see friends outside of school and the few times that she does she has to know ever exact detail. Your steps above referred to people who are adults but I was wondering if you could write some steps for people who are adolescents. I really need help with my situation I just don’t know what to do or how to change my life.

  18. Laurie says:

    Dear Fiona,

    That’s great that you set some boundaries! That’s a great way to start changing your relationship with your mom.

    It’s never easy to change a relationship, even if both people want to make the changes. It takes time and effort – your mom is probably resisting whatever changes you’re trying to make because it’s new and different. It’s easier to set boundaries than maintain them at the beginning, because it’s such a huge change from before.

    I don’t know your situation, personality, or your mom so I can’t give specific advice. But I encourage you to get help in person. Find a support line or social worker who can give you support as you move forward in this new direction.

    Please do come back and let me know how you are. Tell me what in-person resources you’ve contacted, and how they are helping you.

    Stay true to you,
    Laurie

  19. Fiona says:

    hi again laurie, ive got huge problem- i’ve set some boundaries & am sticking 2 them but mom is now acting rediculous! shes telling me off even more 4 almost everything, calling me stupid, getting VERY angry & storming out! help- PLEASE!

  20. Laurie says:

    Thanks for your comments David, Andy, Fiona. I’m glad you were here!

    The most important thing to remember is that your parents probably won’t change. The only person you have any control over is yourself. You can make huge changes and strides in your own life – and there is so much freedom in accepting people for who they are! It’s such a relief, just to stop resisting who they are and start getting on with your own life.

    Of course, there’s still work to do when you accept people for who they are. It’s difficult, especially at first, but it does get easier.

  21. David says:

    Dealing with these issues my whole life. 38 Years old now.
    My parents were abusive and neglectful growing up. Now they are controlling, manipulative and overbearing. I still love them. I still feel the need to make them happy and to get their approval. I thought I was being a good son by trying to do what they wanted. You know, honor thy father and mother thing.
    If I disagree or differ in opinion, my folks get touchy. Sometimes angry sometimes hurt. It’s very manipulative. Like I cannot have my own thoughts, ideas, morals, beliefs etc… I have to go along with what they want/say to make them happy. Even if I feel I have to sell out my own convictions.
    Anyways… Thank you so much for this article. This is very helpful and has lead me to positive ideas on how to handle the situation. I dream of them changing one day. But as they get older and more time goes by I can see that will probably never happen. It’s not something I can control. It’s also not something I should feel as though is my fault for how they are. I feel like at the very least I can stop blaming myself and understand that it’s ok to be my own person.
    Thank You!!

  22. Andy says:

    Dealing with this my whole life. 38 years old now.

  23. Fiona says:

    Hi Laurie, ive started setting boundaries & its already helping! im also going to see a therapist soon. thanks for your advice :)

  24. Laurie says:

    Dear Fiona,

    It sounds like you need to set boundaries with your mom, which will help you cope with her emotionally manipulative behavior. It is possible to live with her and be interdependent (help each other out), but also be detached emotionally in a healthy way.

    The tricky part is setting the boundaries, and sticking to them! I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that here. Have you read the book called Boundaries, by Henry Townsend? That’s a good place to start.

    I also encourage you to call your doctor or social services — try to get in touch with a counselor or social worker who can help you with the boundaries. Even a support group would be helpful!

    What do you think – could you try one or both of these options?

  25. Fiona Bennett says:

    im 34 with several health problems & a physical disability. i had a severely narcissistic father (hes now dead) & my mother can be very sweet/kind/helpfull etc but also emotionally manipulate/guilt trip/deny problems etc. i can’t detach from her due to my health but i dont know how to cope with her..i love the nice her but the bad 1 is awfull. any advice would be greatly appreciated thank you!

  26. Laurie says:

    Dear CG,

    The problem is that you’re living with your parents! In some sense, this gives them the “right” to say what they think about your boyfriend. I don’t think you can expect them to take care of you (which they are by providing you with shelter and safety), and yet not say what they think about your boyfriend.

    You’ll never be an adult in their eyes. You’re their little girl, and they’re trying to protect you. I don’t mean to defend them — I would be saying different things if you didn’t live with them. But I honestly think that living with them opens the door to more involvement in your live.

    I’ll pray you find that strength to move help your kids adjust to the change that’s coming up. I believe that’s the first step to taking back your life, and coping with the control your parents want to have over your life.

  27. cg says:

    I came across this website when I was searching for some help on dealing with my parents. I am 34, a mother of 2, and I live my parents. I have been with my bf for about 2 years now and they completely disapprove of him. He isnt welcomed in my home. My dad has literally told him he is not welcomed here! It is a sad, stressful situation because I feel they will never support my decisions. Im at still at home because my dad is unemployed, my mom has always been an at-stay home mom. According to them, I will inherit our home, but the way I see it, it will never be my home. It will always be their home, and I will never be seen as an ADULT. I need the strength to get out & get my kids to be ok with the change. My parents always impose their guilt on my and my kids if we left… its just a bad situation and all I needed was to vent. I see am not the only one who has controlling parents… I need to move on with my life & not feel bad about the choices I make!

  28. Laurie says:

    Does it help to know you’re not alone? It seems like controlling parents are all over the place! They want to protect you from everything and anything that could hurt you…and this is actually hurting you.

    It’s ironic, that your parents are trying to control you because they love you. But really, they’re hurting you in the long run.

    How will they see that they need to let you go?

  29. Going nuts says:

    I’m a 24 year old female, have been out of college, and working full time be it internships, or now, a paid job. My mom is trying to control my dating life and strongly insisted I not wear a bathing Suit to th beach with my boyfriend. If I mention him, you can tell she strongly disapproves and claims she knows better, and basically goes into panic mode. She’s totally fine if my little brother goes out, doesn’t inform her of his whereabouts; with me, I tell her for convenience and courtesy, and she uses this against me. I also mentioned if i were continuing on to grad school, i’d like to dorm and live away. her reaction was skeptical and sort of disgusted; no sense of support for me having independence. May I add she wa very pessimistic when my older sister brought up living on her own, and kept implying sh wouldn’t be able to. My sister has now lived independently for a few years now.

    This is taking a toll on me and I’m waitiing to save up so i finally can move out. Am I a brat or rebellious child for wanting to make decisions like who I date or where I travel to? I

  30. Hope says:

    Reading these comments and searching the Internet really shows me how much of a universal problem bad (and specifically controlling and psychologically abusive) parents are.

    My advice to younger readers is to not let the abuse drag on for years like I have. I am 24 years old, and due to the ripple effect of controlling parents have had a very painful time trying to reclaim my life (and my mind, and spirit).

    I found the ‘action plan’ component of this article inspiring. I’m going to create some serious psychological and physical boundaries between my father and I.

    I wish parents would stop seeing their (adult) children as objects and extensions of themselves. It’s just so painful and belittling.

    Good luck, everyone. Let’s not inflict the same damage on our own children.

  31. DJ says:

    I still haven’t told them yet. I’ve thrown hints that I wanted to move eventually and they freak out saying “don’t take my baby, I’ll die without her” my mom keeps trying to tell me my boyfriend won’t take care of me and I won’t be happy. Anything to keep me living right next to her. I’m still dreading the day I leave. It’s going to be crazy.

  32. Sarah says:

    Pretty much my entire life my mom has been overbearing, all through high school she rode me about schoolwork and it was horrible. Now I am 19 and still living at home. I live in Canada so I am legal to drink alcohol, but she gets mad whenever i want to drink and puts a limit on how much I am allowed… She doesn’t drink so she thinks that I shouldn’t either even though I’ve never come home drunk or given her any reason to worry. I’ve also told her how I want more space and I was thinking about moving in with my boyfriend and she immediately shot down the idea and says that she has had more life experience than me so she knows better. She never let’s me make my own mistakes… She is comepletely overbearing even though I want so badly to be independent. I’ve even started paying rent but she still tries to tell me how to live my life… I don’t know what to do.

  33. Bianca says:

    Hi, I am 21. I am currently a student at a University in Namibia. I have always had “issues” with my father. He hasn’t been part of my life while I was growing up – all I remember is being afraid of him, I do have a few good memories with him but those where a really long time ago. He never attended school functions or sport events. He never motivated us to achieve anything, my father use to tell me that I will never get anywhere in life, I will never finish school (guess I showed him). He has always made us feel bad, and tells us that he works so hard for us, he is the only one doing anything and that we are lazy – he even tell my mother that, who does all his paperwork, banking, cooking, etc (without her, my father would loose everything) When he tells us to do something – we literally jump.
    I am busy studying Business Administration which I really enjoy, but I am unhappy in this country. My Boyfriend recently left for Germany and I thought I wanted to move to be with him, but realized I want to move to get away from home.
    My plan is to move to Germany and carry on my studies there, which is cheaper than in my country. The education level here is really low. I am going to finance myself, break free from my fathers hold on me, and live for once.
    I told my father my plans and he told me it will never work and made me feel really bad and stupid, he advised me to forget about the entire thing. This is hard for me to accept but my father does drink and becomes really selfish, and when he isn’t drinking he is always moody – you can barely speak to him. When anything goes wrong he blames us for it and even if you have a question about something you don’t know what something is, he shakes his head and looks away disappointed.
    Now I am battling with myself with the idea of moving or not. I know I am 21 and can make my own decisions, but I am afraid.

  34. ON says:

    Hey there,

    I am 20 years old. I’m currently studying an engineering major at college. I’m not very sure if my situation is as dramatic as I think it is, but I still consider it as a major problem in my life. My parents are willing to control me about EVERYTHING and it is disturbing me a lot. For instance, whenever we go to a friends’ house, if I am asked if I’d like anything to drink, it’s my mum who’s answering instead of me. I warned her about this -perhaps a thousand times- but she is not listening to me, and she keeps doing the same things over and over. There are many different examples in my life, just like the one I’ve written, but I don’t want to keep it long. The main problem is actually about me and my boyfriend. we’re from different nations and are living in two different countries. Last summer I insisted a lot to go visit him -and by the way my boyfriend has a serious case of aerophobia,
    he can’t use planes yet- and my parents ended up letting me go there, not my own though, we went there as the whole family. I don’t care if they let me go on my own or not -or at least for now-, what really matters for me is the chance of being next to my boyfriend, as I miss him a lot. I’ve been telling my mum that I’m willing to go there again this year, to visit him once more, but whenever I talk about this she gets extremely mad telling me that it’s so “ashaming” for us to visit them again. I don’t get that logic, but that isn’t the only problem. She keeps controlling my life with this. For some reason I always feel like “I have to obey them” but at the same time I realize the fact that I actually am losing lots of time while bearing with this stupidity. These times of my life will never be back -soon I will start working, and things will surely change-, and I am fully sure that I want to spend this period of time with my boyfriend, but I can’t do anything about this. She just keeps controlling me by not letting me go there, and I want to get rid of this attitude of hers. I want her to realize the situation -not just this, in general- that she has to realize that one day I’ll be marrying or moving out. (oh and by the way she tells me that she doesn’t want me to marry anyone and live with her forever…and she sounds so serious whenever she says that, it’s scary.)

    I do consider the possibility that she may be over-protective, but she actually is controlling me, as this is not the only thing she’s doing. Whenever I tell her that I won’t go to the college just for one day, she yells at me so madly and makes me go there -if I simply don’t go there she won’t be talking to me for weeks, or even if she does she’ll be so cranky-; whenever I want to go to the gym, she asks me not to telling me that I’ll be tired… there are lots of examples like such.

    I believe that we are having a problem in communication. I can clearly see that I have to make my mum listen to me, but she never does -as I’ve already tried telling her how wrong her attitude is-. I don’t know
    if I’ll ever be able to change her mind, but I just keep trying. She simply knows that I hate seeing her so sad and cranky, so she’s making use of it. But it makes me think sometimes…why doesn’t she care about my feelings as much as I care about hers? This started to kill my respect for my parents -especially for my mum-, and it’s hurting a lot.

    I want to be able to take my decisions on my own, in any aspect; otherwise I believe that I’ll never be able to survive this life.

    Thank you.

  35. KW says:

    HI. Well ive recently gotten engaged to someone my mother doesnt exactly approve of. From the moment I told her that we had gotten engaged she has nothing my negative things to say about the whole deal. I have tried talking with her. Every time it turns into an argument. This isnt the first time she has something negative to say about who i am with. I honestly think she would be upset no matter who i was with. Im at my wits end on this. and I am getting very frustrated with her attitude towards my fiancee. Ive tried tell her that she needed to back off that it was my life. And that i was supportive of her Third marriage even though it has failed. And that the least she could do was to be a little supportive of the fact that i am getting married. Especially since i am her only daughter. I dont know what else to do here. Does anyone have any kinda advice on this? This is putting a great strain on my relationship.

  36. Laurie says:

    Dear LA,

    I do not have any answers for you…but I think that since you cannot change her and you want some contact with her, then you need to change how you respond to her. She is who she is, and she will never change.

    You may need to counteract her remarks about your sons dad with your truth. Find a gentle way to tell your son that your mother does not have a realistic perspective of his father, and that he needs to remember that her truth is not his truth.

    Does this make sense? Hopefully you can counteract whatever she says with the truth, and your son will be able to see her and not be overwhelmed by her comments and actions.

    Another option is to talk to her about what she should and should not say around your son. This is a more difficult option, especially when your mother is so controlling, but it may help.

    What do you think?

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  37. LA says:

    i have a very overbearing mother. When i was 18 i moved 2 hours away and never looked back. I did keep in contact but distanced my relationship and became financially independent.8 years later and I’ve had a child with a man she has never approved of (although i feel she has never approved of anyone in my life). I have allowed her to “help” me out with the baby but it is always held over my head as if i owe her my life. A gift is never a gift and it is almost always used to guilt me into getting what she wants. It is causing serious strain on my relationship and i feel like i cant go home to visit other relatives. how to i allow people, like my father, and other family members to have a relationship with my son? I would like her to be able to see him as well but i dont want her constantly bashing my sons father…and i want to stay sane.

  38. Laurie says:

    Dear Jake,

    It sounds like the time has to come to stop hoping that your parents will motivate or support you, and start figuring out how to motivate and support yourself! They don’t know how to give you what you need to do what you want with your life. My mother didn’t know how to support me, either…I had to figure out how to motivate myself.

    What do you want to do with your life? What 3 small, specific changes do you want to make?

  39. Laurie says:

    Dear DJ,

    I suspect you feel reluctant and even afraid to tell your parents that you’re moving out because they react so negatively to other things in your life! It’s hard to be criticized constantly…and you’ve made a major life decision that may not be taken positively or happily.

    It sounds like you’ve made a really good decision to move yourself and your child away from your controlling parents. I wish you all the best — have you told them that you’re moving? If you need to vent, please feel free!

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  40. DJ says:

    I’m a 26 year old mother of a 3 year old little girl. When her father and I split almost 2 years ago I moved in with my parents. I got with a new guy about a year ago and decided to move an hour away from them. They did everything they could to get me to stay and I did. I moved into a house rite next door to them that they own. I’m tired of them telling me how I should raise my kid and talking negatively about my boyfriend all the time. I have found the perfect place to move to but I’m dreading having to tell them. Idk if it’s cuz I feel like I owe them something or if I’m just scared of them. They have always been controlling especially when I was a child and even abusive. Now they are using my kid to get under my skin. I’ll tell her to do something or tell her no and my mom turns around and does the opposite and let’s her get away with everything. My child has become so diffiant and doesn’t listen to anything I say. I think it’s for the best if I move but it’s just scary.

  41. jake says:

    I’m a 34-year old guy who has never had a girlfriend, no friends, and my parents always tell me I can do whatever I want to do with my life. Every time I have chance to change my life they pull this over me. Just some generalized vaguely supportive comment without showing any love or support like “go out and seize the day” or “you don’t have a car.” I’m 34 and they are in their mid 60’s and they are still showing no sign of ever letting me have a life of my own. They like implying “the door is open if you want to take it, but I’m not forcing you to do anything.”

  42. Castiel Evans says:

    I’m 14 years old and can’t wait until I can get out of my life with my family. I HATE them. Sure, they’re alright for a bit but my dad and my mum and my sister are so annoying. My sister is a massive hypocrite. She’s always acting like an idiot and she’s 17 years old. I always have to be the responsible one since I was little and I dispise her for it. She ruined a good lot of my childhood because I have always had to pick up her slack and yet my parents trust her more than me. She has gone to over 30 sleep overs and 40 parties when she should have been studying for her exams. Her, unresponsable, arrogant and spaced out.
    But me? I might as well be in house arrest 24/7. I have never been able to go to a birthday, christmas or Halloween party and all my friends have started tiptoeing around me when it comes to parties because they don’t want to upset me because they know I won’t be able to go no matter what day it is.I always feel so mad because they know that I could be somewhere with people I actually like and they rub it in my face. I just don’t see there reasons for it. I’m responcible, humble and I know exactly what I’m doing all the time. Then there’s my Dad who thinks that just because he’s old he can act like a giant baby all the time. He complains about frikking everything and he’s enormous because he doesn’t do any physical activity. He gets mad when we deny him goodies and he chucked and fit and wouldn’t let us have any of the food he bought just because we wouldn’t buy him ice-cream. And then there’s Mother who literally thinks that she’s the Queen of Sheba. She’s an immigrant and has a family in another country where everyone is always dying. She can’t get over the fact that just because she is my mother doesn’t mean she can control me all my life. She won’t let me do ANYTHING. I’ve actually developed OCD and a highly functioning autism because of her Holier than thou attitude. When I was little she wouldn’t let me go out for sports, let me join scouts or go to camp and always degrades me in front of my friends. When I was getting bullied I had to deal with everything myself because she thought that they would go away. And all you other victumns out there know that they never never let you go. Then she was furious and proclaimed that I didn’t tell her anything which all my friends know was not true. My friends have offered me a place to stay and they’ve always been there for me. But my family? As soon as I can, I’m getting far away from my family as possible.

  43. terry maynard says:

    The only advice I can share is,if you have an adult child with bi-polar,Try to control them from hurting themselves and making BAD decisions!A 32yr.old,who’s buying a house with her mom,who sit,s all day long smoking pot, not doing chores,and had freedom.You have to show your parent,you’re an adult!She hasn’t lived with me for 4 months,I emailed and called to find out if she’s alive or dead! because she’s living with known convicted drug felons in a tent!she’s lost a lot of weight(from Meth)she’s changing alright,for the worst!she never tried to change or leave as an adult.Now she leaves all her responsibilities.No years of trying!31 years old and leaving home,WHY DRUGS!!!! “parents don’t need your help” She’s keeping alive?? Only by the grace of GOD!So my advice is, be a real adult and don’t HATE your mother who LOVE’S you more than anyone, other than GOD!!!!!!!

  44. Rayanne Maynard says:

    The only advice I can share to other adult children of overly controlling parents is,
    Get out young!! I am 31 going on 32 and it took me a while to understand that no matter what I changed of myself, or how much I contributed monetarily and household projects or chores, I was still only afforded a minor child’s amount of freedom. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the more you help your parents, the more they will see you as an adult. It won’t happen. I’m still getting calls and emails from my controlling mother even though I haven’t lived with her in nearly 6 months. In the emails she demands things of me like answering questions. She belittles me, attacks my choices, all because she craves that control, and by removing myself from the control equation, I have created a once controlling mother who is now trying to hold onto any control she can get. She has other issues as well, but I find it exhilarating not to have to answer those emails or questions!! It’s like a gift of power to myself that I don’t have to give in to the 3rd degree and be grilled for hours on end until I was made to divulge, make something up, or take her position or opinion on a matter. In short, you can’t love so much, pay into, bribe, write letters, beg, or pray a parent to change their controlling habits. However, you can change you! Your peace of mind is worth so much more than the effort of years of trying. If you leave early enough you will also get a better sense of your own identity, not one parents have created for you. 31 years old and barely leaving home is a by product of my parents manipulation and the “They need my help” excuse I gave myself for not having the strength to just get out. To have control over one’s self is a feeling of doubt at first but is followed by confidence and relief. After you keep you alive for a while without help from your overbearing folks you won’t ever wanna get yourself under their thumbs again. So just get away, and start being independent as young as you can.

  45. Amanda says:

    Well ever since I graduated from highschool just this summer my dad told me that quote “i’m so proud of you for doing so well in school,you can take the summer off” and I followed his advice and took the summer off and you know what it was relaxing but since its September now my father has started to tell me what i should be doing with my life and how to do it. I’m 19 now and I have been doing my very best to find a job, but most of the jobs do require a degree. I’ve had to start the apprenticeship and Trades workplace math 11 because I had to redo grad 10 math which required a provincial exam in my last year of high school. I started the math course a week ago and I had to work out a schedule of what I think when I’d finish the course and from September 14-May 15 it layed out 1 task a week with 3 hours a week to work on the tasks at hand and to where my teacher and I thought it was reasonable though when I showed schedule to my parents they said I should do more hours a day for the lessons like do 8 hours of Math a day. In those terms I don’t think I can do 8 hours a day of math that’s why I said 3 hours or more a week for me is reasonable. I don’t disagree with my parents but when they tell me quote “lets write a list of things you should do daily to fill the day when you do this 3 or more hours a day/week to even out the day? I say go ahead lets sit down and figure them out. My dad tells me I should tell him my plans and decisions for where i want to be in my life I say alright fine, but I don’t tell him because we sat down before and I told him the same story and tells me I shouldn’t start a cafe with my school because it ain’t happening and for that he doesn’t support me. He says I support you in everything you do and later doesn’t say it. That’s a contradicting statement. I’m barely out of high school and I don’t need my parents telling me what to or how to do it. I am so tired of pleasing my parents and what ever I do to please them doesn’t work.

  46. Sophia says:

    Im 17 and my relationship with my mum was great at first now its on and off more ofs than on, its turned out that i hate being around her now. in order to distance myself i absorb myself into my computer and as a result of that she told me that i have no life to quote her she said “your geek, but not the clever one your the one with no life” and that hurt be soo much now i know what she really thinks of me. also she told me i have bad interactional and social skills and she says i dont socialise with people enough i try to socialise and i went to dinner with some people last night and she got furious with me because it got dark i mean i know im not supposed to stay out late but i couldnt help the fact that the service was slow and i got hell for it she cut me off on the phone infront of the new people i was with and they had to walk me home so that my mum wouldnt upset me too much . she keeps saying shes sstressed and i try to help as much as i can on top of all the studies im doing to please her, its come t the point now that my grades are more important to her than me and theres a ton of other stuff and not enough space to right it in all i know is that my mum is insensitive i cant talk to her about how much she upsets me last time i tried she said she thought i had a neurological problem and she was going to take me to a psychologist since then i hold everything in and i never speak to anyone i have 1 friend who i talk too, but hes been having a few troubles of his own lately so i try not to stress him with mine so i hold it all in now i just want out all i want is out ive chosen a Uni thats a good 1hr 30mins on a train away from home my only regret is that there isnt a Uni that i need to go to further away…. only option is America but i cant afford it.. im just so stressed i cant think straight im not able to shrug things off like i used too… its all just too much now…

  47. JB says:

    I have been recently graduated from college for about a year, and I had to move back in with my parents, and I have regretted it every moment since then. My relationship with my mother has always been rocky, just because we are so much alike, but it’s taken a turn for the worse ever since I came back. Nothing has seemed to please her since I came home. She does not like my friends, she does not like my boyfriend, etc. She says she only wants the best for me, but her “best” and my “best” are totally different. We fight about absolutely everything, and it has gotten to the point of where I just don’t care of fixing my relationship with her. She constantly uses everything I tell her against me. She has cut me off from family members and cousins since I was little; and to make matters worse, I can’t talk to my father because he takes her side on everything. Nothing or no one is ever good enough. I haven’t been so tired of fighting in a long time..

  48. Heather Reed says:

    I have a father that constantly and hurtfully does things but does it in a way where he supposedly has plausible deniability. I moved out with my husband at the age of 19, and have a child with a special condition with my husband. I met my husband when I was 17 and have been with only him until present day. It has been a constant argument between my father and I, although he doesn’t say the specific words, my husband will never be good enough even if we become millionaires and very socially ept. It is always about money with my father. My very first car I needed to sell because it kept breaking down all the time. So I sold it when I was almost 20. I bought a convertable and found out 2 weeks later I was pregnant. I kept that car because I did not have the credit to immediately go and get another vehicle. But about a year later I needed a bigger car. Dad had to be the cosigner on the vehicle. My family does not make much money but we do have the ability to pay for the car and insurance. But he refuses to let me pay for it. I have tried to pay the vehicle off several times in the past couple of years, and it always resorts to- it is my father’s job to pay for the vehicle. But then he complains and bitches about it. Then he constantly belittles my husband and I’s parenting skills. If we discipline our child, at all, in any form or fashion, before we can even finish getting our words out, he is already “saving” our child from us. WHEN WILL IT END? I think when my husband and I get financially sound, we will have to literally move, pay off the vehicle, and then pay him back for everything he has ever helped us with. Heck, I might even give him the vehicle since he’s the one that has paid for it anyway. Although he claims it was gifts each and every time he helped, he holds it over our heads like we are a life-sucking burden.

  49. Tired of dad says:

    My father hates me. I am 34,married, and have 4 kids. I can tell him i am applying for a better paying job but have to relocate. I get youre not smart enough and u cant move that far away. I get phone calls everyday will u do this will u do that for me i cant even get a day off on my days off. If i have plans its put off cause my parents call wanting me to mow, take care of his dad for a bit,go to the store, help build, help the neighbor, the family. I dont even have time for my on family. I work 40hrs a week and then I have to help them. Im so tired of it. Whats sad is i have other siblings who are out of the house and they dont call them for help. I dont make a lot of money so im treated like trash compared to my siblings.

  50. Shannon says:

    My mother is so controlling and I think she has always hated me. I started to have a problem with DHS, I pretty much got them out of my life right away but she got my workers number and started to call her, telling her all sorts of things that wasn’t nessarry or true she has always wanted to take my children away. now she has suseeded she has my 3 boys,my daughter she said she didn’t want cause she was a girl. I don’t understand why dhs listened to them. I even had my parient mentor tell me she was the only thing that was making me lose my kids. funny how it was all lies. and now she has destroyed 4of my childrens lifes and mine is destroyed my depression is really bad now and i don’t believe it will get any better. I wish i had enough money to fight and somehow prove it all

  51. alexia says:

    i have just turned 18 and im ready to make my own decisions. my mom has recently divorced my dad and everything is basically ” complicated.” My mom relies on me for everything. for example, i cook every meal of the day, take care of my ( fully grown 12 year old sarcastic) sister who can most definitely take care of herself, clean, etc. All my mom does is come home from work and sleep. Oh and spend time with her boyfriend. My mom made me stay in town another year because she thinks im not mature enough. i dont understand what makes her think that if i basically do everything around the house plus fulfill my own needs and school work. Every time i try to make her understand that i am now an adult she tells me that ” im immature, that while i like under her roof i will follow her rules, and that im not old enough to be all that.” im working on getting my own place and getting a job but other the that i still feel like a child under her shadow. i dont know what to do, or if its me anymore.

  52. Bibi says:

    I have parents that never trust me. I’m 21 and I live with them. Everyday they bring home successful stories about other people my age. I graduated college and because of the economy I am doing a job tht has nothing to do with my degree. They blame me everyday. And I can’t go anywhere like meeting with friends, go to the beach.. Everything is at the same time dangerous and waste of time for them. They are never satisfied with anything that I do. Moving out is not an option cuz I got no money. I don’t know what to do!!! :(

  53. Kelly says:

    My mother just demands more and more money off me. If the bills were going up, which they are not, I would accept the fact that they need more money. But as I have pointed out, the bills aren’t going up. I’m 20 years old, and I want control over my life.

    If I didn’t get any money, I would be out on the street by now, I’m not even a daughter to my mother any more, even she has admitted I’m just a person who lives in their house. I’m treated like some finance girl, and I’m sick of it. She’s hit me in the past, she’s actually physically scarred me, I can’t get anything right, everything I do I get yelled at, I get no thanks when I try to help, when I try to do something, like wash the pots, she’ll tell me to leave them, and when I don’t do it, I get yelled at. I can’t freaking win.

  54. Erin says:

    My father has been overly critical of me my whole life even though he really hasn’t been in it much. He also likes to give “advice” which is basically telling me what I need to do. I have never followed any of his advice because he has the most miserable life and somehow I’ve managed to do just fine without it. I decided that not having a relationship with him would probably be better for me than having one. He is constantly talking about suicide and at this point I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t care if he finally did it and no longer put his baggage on my head. Perhaps that sounds cold but If I as his daughter am lower on the totem pole than his two dogs which are the greatest things that ever happened to him and the two sons he never had than so be it. I have a wonderful family that gives me more joy and blessing than he ever did.

  55. Krista Stevenson says:

    My dad is a very spiteful revengful man . Him and my mom had a nasty divorce and custody battle . Well I just got back from a 2 week visit with my mom , who I haven’t seen in 8 years , and he is mad because I want a relationship with my mom . He has told lies about her and I to my brother and sisters . I have been crying because that’s my dad and he shouldn’t treat me like this . He treats his dogs better than he treats me . I just don’t know what to do anymore . It’s like if I have a relationship with my mom I can’t have one with him .

  56. Mariana says:

    Well me n my mom have nevr gottn along. I ran away whn i was bout 2 turn 15! She always made me feel fat, whn she use 2 make dresses 4 my niece she would tell me she ddnt find a form 2 me. Now am 25 n she curses @ me 4 no reason. Idk wat 2 do.?

  57. Aisha says:

    Very painful,i hv alwys known tht my mom wud snap at me wenevr she felt like,frm a vry young age of around 10,she wud call me names lyk ‘witch’,fool,hit me wth anythn she lays her hands on,bt ths ws alwys disguised by wen she is happy she wud a luvn,carin,supportive mom,bt it wont last fr long…im nw 29 bt nothing hs changed,she stil snaps at me fr no reason,at tyms calls me a fool,she doesnt respect me,want to mak decisions fr me en wants me to follow watevr she says,its so hurting cz am scared to let her knw hw i feel cz i dnt want her to think im bigheaded nw tht im an independent person,i do earn my own salary en dnt ask fr anythn frm anyone…ths is so stressing me,she wants to boss me around…

  58. Leahna slaughter says:

    When you say because your not American and don’t have much freedom, well I’m American and my parents still control an manipulate me. I am adopted by this family and the minute that they stopped receiving money from me being adopted they wanted to kick me out of the house started ignoring me and everything else.

  59. Déniz Aydın says:

    I’m 18 years ond and i hate how my parents control me, like what to dress, how to acts, and now they want to move and the worst part is they dragging me with the too. But I don’t want to leave my life my friends my memories by boyfriends that loves me deeply, I love him too can’t imagine my life without him. When they told me that they want to move I was like no I don’t want to but they said we didn’t ask he. I got so sad when they said that, I felt like they didn’t care about me but they do, they parants so which parant wouldn’t cake about their child? I wish I had my rights like american people do, do what ever when they 18+. But I’m not an American I’m ahiska Turkish.. And i cant make my own chooses now I have to get married then make my own chooses with my husband…. Hated it really much all because of being controlled by my parants. Can anybody help me.. I really don’t wanna run away from home… Plz help anybody

  60. Leahna slaughter says:

    Here’s my question and situation. I know my parents are controlling me here it goes my boyfriend is 37 and I am 19 the controlling started off from the very beginning of the relationship on me having to tell them where I was going setting times for me and my bf really didn’t like that. It got so bad that it started to take a toll on our relationship and just kept getting worst. He did some really bad things so he’s not perfect but I learned to put those mistakes behind me and just move forward but with my parents they just kept keeping a grudge an hating him and the most recent situation is he got caught up in something with my brother that had to do with drugs ( that he never did get or do) and him and my brother got caught and my parents forbid me from even going out to date him which I think is extremely controlling when the decision who I date isn’t even there decision. So they threaten me and tell me if I want to date him then I have to get out of there house and I feel things are going so far south that when I do move out and marry my bf we are not going to even want them involved with our life because of all the drama they put us through. Any advice please give HELP!!!

  61. Argonaut says:

    I empathise with everyone here and I feel your pain. Many of the stories are mirror images of my own. At the age of 36, I am forced to deal with tirades from a mother who cannot understand that it is the natural course of life that when your offspring become adults they will go off and live their own lives and you will hear from them periodically.

    If I allow this to continue, I will end up having a breakdown or doing something crazy and that is unacceptable because I have a right to live my life in happiness, free from emotional blackmail, emotional abuse and domineering. My attempts to reason with her, placate her or reign her in with boundaries and rational thought have failed. The only way I can escape this is to go abroad where they won’t be able to get at me. A drastic decision but nothing else has worked.

  62. Vanessa says:

    I am working with my Dad overseas, he asked me to give it a year – but now he does not want me to leave.. I know he is maybe scared or finding it hard to let me go but i came to work with him and learn, and then go back to my home country and go to university.

    I had gotten in a relationship 5 months before i left and that has been another added element, in making my Dad not wanting me to go back i think, because i think he thinks i am giving up my opportunities here to go back just for him.. But that is not the case i always wanted to go back.

    It is hard to see if staying here is the right decsion or going back is. I feel as though my Dad is looking out for me ( in which he is disapproving of my relationship), but for what he wants, i feel homesick and although i am doing a good job here and i am enjoying it , i feel as though i am sitting in a movie that i dont want to watch.

    I feel torn, i have half my family here overseas, and i have another half back at my home country…. what can i do?? any advice??

  63. Meg says:

    Why do parents get offended when you want to leave as an adult?

  64. Meg says:

    My parents are exactly the same. They always lie and say no one leaves home at my age even though I’m 25! They always lie and guilt trip me like this. Why do parents always tell us to act our age, but if we want to leave home they get angry? Contrary to belief I’m not a child anymore.

  65. O-dog says:

    Im 14 years old and i was planning on buying Oblivion for my computer with my birthday money i got from aunt and uncle they didn’t have it at the store so i was going to buy the downloadable version from gamestop’s website my dad said that i could do it the next day, when i asked the next day after cleaning my room he told me, no you should really save that money, i got really P.O.ed and now im sitting in my room not knowing what i should do

  66. Brown says:

    My whole life, i have grown up fearing my dad even when i know i havent done anything wrong his presence around me makes me feel tense to a point a contemplated commiting suicide,am now 24years and he talks to me like am a 12yr old…it has affected my education,social life,my self esteem.

  67. May Go says:

    I am 14 years old. and my parents have been controling my life for as long as i can remember. first is which class to take in high school and then is which friends to have. they already planned my future for me. i rather not list them or eles i might start crying again. they don’t like the way i dress because is too “boyish”. they never let me do the things i want to either. i am a good football player and a medal-winning swimmer, but they made me quit those things so i can focus on piano which i hate. they hate my friends because they are guys but they’re not so bad as they look. i am TIRED of having them controling over me. i am a rebel girl and i stand up to them without a fear in my mind but they fight back like threatening to sent me back to my home country. please help!!! i already did what i can and they’re not budging.

  68. Rick says:

    My parents are completely psychotic. After I completed college, they threw me out on the street, because I was leeching off them. Plus, I had to learn to “suffer” in order to improve my life. The last six years have been a rollercoaster of jumping from job to job and constant uncertainty. The whole time, my parents are sitting in the background beating me down whenever something bad happens and ignoring me the rest of the time. When something good happens, they suddenly change their tune and want me around. This hot and cold behavior has completely messed me up in the head and heart.

    I realize now that I have spent my entire life trying to please and make them happy. I think that it is starting to sink in that it will never be good enough for them. Worse, I have always been on the edge of complete poverty, becuase my parents told me from graduation that I better learn to live in a cardboard box and eat grass before I come back to them for help. These things have scarred my psych and destroyed my faith in other people.

    I was brought up to believe that my parents were going to love me no matter what. Well, that is what they told me anyways, but one more lie that they told just to get me to do whatever they wanted. I really hate them with an all consuming passion and have cut all ties with them. In fact, I spelled in a long letter what they had done to destroy our relationship and why I couldn’t be around them any longer for my emotional and physical health.

    Still, they refuse to go away and claim to have no idea why I am so mad. I always ask people two important things about their parents: Will they help you out no matter the situation? Do they make you feel comfortable being yourself and making your own decisions? If both answers are no, then don’t waste your time with them. They will always be demanding that you conform to their desires and wishes. You will always be miserable.

    Most important, always keep telling yourself this one important thing. You can break the cycle!!!! You don’t have to be like them and you can be a better person. Don’t be afraid to fall in love, raise a family, or do anything you want. Yeah, you are probably going to need a hell of a lot of therapy, maybe some medication, and some life skills training, but your destiny is not set. I see too many people out there closing themselves off to life’s beauty and opportunities, because they are too afraid they will hurt other people and behave just like their parents. Don’t fall into this trap!!!!

    You will always be the child of your parents, but it is your decisions that determine your destiny. If you make the conscious choice not to follow their same destructive path, then you are doing a lot better job than most people. Hang in there, learn from every day, and never give up hope of having a truly happy life. Hell, everyone deserves!

  69. star says:

    No, You are in no way being irrational. I was in a similar situation and did what I thought my parents wanted me to do. Actually, it ended up really hurting me (quite badly) and then I thought, wow, they have to know now that they should let me make my own decisions and not get in the way. But, I don’t think they have even digested it, even tasted what I have been through. It feels like there is nothing that will help at this point to make them realize the effect they have on their adult kid’s life. So, all in all, you did a wonderful job and stood up for yourself. That is a great step, keep it up. I am focusing on that too, standing up for myself. Never think it is selfish, if you are doing what is right for you and what makes you happy, it is not selfish. All the best.

  70. Moussa says:

    I completely understand and fully aware of controlling parents. I’m 23 and climbing a tunnel that has light at the end of it, my Mother will do everything in her power to remind me of my past and continually call me an adolescent miscreant. SO i finally found out that its my family that’s slowing me down. Yes I admit to all my problems and will face it , live with it and learn to cope and make things better. Yeah it’s going to be hard to make these changes. We can spend all the time in the world typing about our issues and things that make us upset, we all have something in common. We want change , we would like to be free , but we have to acknowledge our cons and embrace our pro’s and we do this just for us and no one else (even PARENTS) . Yeah it’s a scary thing to lose your parents, im not asking you to leave or ignore them however learn to not tell them everything that happens and keep your financial information to yourself, your parents don’t have to be the only people in the world you have to talk to. Utilize change and embrace your skills , amplify your life to the limit and discover new aspects about your life, LIVE damit! in the end we are all every man to himself you know, Live be free.

  71. Stephanie says:

    My parents are SO controlling. I am turning 20 years old this year, and they tell me what to do constantly. I try to assert myself. But all they make is threats of taking my cell phone away, computer, and basically making my life a living hell. I have a boyfriend who is amazing, and treats me like a princess. And of course my parents hate him, all because he is 4 years older than me. If anyone can give me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it!

  72. Teira says:

    I am a 39 year old woman with a mother who has never helped me financially but tells my family IM crazy and am a terrible mother. I suffer from depression due to the way I was raised and have been on medication my whole life for it. When it came to my children if I ever wanted to take away a cell phone for bad behavior or any game systems they had my mother would call me run me down and tell em I wasnt allowed to take it away. I got so fed up with her interference in my life and being told I wasnt wanted and would be nothing in life I tried to cut ties. She has terminal cancer now and I tried to put my differences aside and tried to help her but even now she calls me and yesterday she asked where I was and I said at home. She started screaming at me and told me to start treating her better and hung up the phone. Its to the point where I need to be far away from her but I dont want to leave my job and spouse to do that. she wont attend counselling to get our relationship better and doesnt want to try as IM too blame for the way it is. I know Ill never be anything to her as she treats my brothers like Kings and me like a lowly servant. How do I cut ties with a woman who has a year to live without regret? I dread the phone ringing and am scared to answer as all she does is run me down daily. She wont admit shes doing anything wrong, its my fault all the time. This is not normal behavior.

  73. Parker says:

    okay :)so im 18 about to be 19, and i pay rent, and i buy my own food, and my parents say i still have to follow their rules. I do live in their house but how am i supposed to follow their rules? isn’t that the point of rent? they complain about the purchases i make such as a new laptop i bought for 400$, but i paid rent on time, EARLY EVEN!, and i can still afford to feed myself, yet they continue to bitch at my purchase and say that they feel used that im going to live there forever and i don’t have a game plan…. why do they care what i buy? i pay rent and buy my own food, it shouldn’t matter to them!, and they think i am addicted to World of Warcraft, so they say they are going to kick me out if i play it, or watch pornography. but they also said they are going to pay for the first months rent when i move out. which is fine, but they want me to be 19 to move out. and they compare me to them when they were 18 and 19, like i did this and we did that and blahblahblah… i mean i don’t care what they did, all i want to know is how do i get them to back off and let me do my own thing, i am really starting to resent them for the rules they are putting on me. and i am not addicted to world of warcraft. I work full time, and i still hang out with my friends and find time to work out. I have a very active social life, and even a gf! im busy all the time. So is it soo bad that i like to play video games like a normal teenager when i have nothing going on in the morning on my days off. I mean im busy mon-friday usually so i dont even play that much during the weekday, but how am i addicted to it, if i play it on my days off (sat-sunday). Please help!!! my parents are suffocating me. and telling me “why don’t you just tell us to kiss your ass im moving out??” i mean and after that they say “when you do move out we want you to be successful.” i mean i think they want me to move out soo badly they will do anything or say anything to get me out. I feel like love went out the door when i turned 18. i am starting to hate my home life. PLEASE HELP!
    sincerely
    Parker

  74. Mel says:

    I agree and feel for all of you. I am in the same situation myself. I have been married to my husband for 4 years, and we moved out a year ago, and due to some really bad things that happend to us, with loss of a child and other emotional strains I do not want to discuss, we both got laid off and were struggling, and my parents offered to help us by living with them for a bit until we step on our feet, and we are grateful for that, but the problem is is that my parents have been extremely critical and pushy since we got here, they dont give us any respect, and expect us to honor them. As us much as they helped us, we feel trapped and awful because of the way they treat us..like pets!! lol yes they feed us and help us out, but they cannot control every aspect of our lives as a married couple, we cant argue or disagree on anything like a couple and they are too involved in our private life, as well as any decision we make within our marriage, and I am constantly stuck in the middle of my parents and my husband, because he is fed up with the way he is treated by my father and I am stuck constantly making peace on both sides because they are my parents. I think that the best alternative is to move out as soon as possible and live our life the way we want because this situation is jeopardizing my relationship with my husband as a result. I feel your pain everyone.

  75. maria says:

    wow im 29 years old amd after readomg i feel better now because i felt like im the only one. i finally live on my own with my son who’s 6 years old. and my mom does what u mother does is decides for u or decides for my son well being like that her own baby. i guess over the years shes been doing this i just kidda giving up my dream to live my life and breath.
    my mom is still ruining my relationship with my boyfriend because i have no idea why. tonight i felt he gave up me because i am scared to loose my relationship that never have with my mom because i finally decided to date him. i have dated him for 6 years and it might end if i dont step up to her. it all started because i gave bith and the only thing she can hang on to is my son since i am grown and not realize my son is not hers she still likes to claim him and pretend to help me by finacilly supporting my son. that i can do my son. yet i am letting her oh my favorite just cause she claims that she is helping me she wants to take the liberity to claim my child in her taxes just until i get a real job of my own just because she helps by buying cloths that i easily do for him. my boyfriend gives me the money and i buy what I can. and no my boyfriend is not my son’s daddy but he wants to know where he stands. shich i love him for that. what should i do cause i know this will be ugly.
    for the taxes yeah im serious she has no right. right? my boyfriend will step out if i dont fight our relationship that is what i am affraid of too.

  76. Jacob says:

    I agree with most of this. My parents bought a car that I use basically for me to buy off them. With me being 17 soon to be 18 yet see me as not having a life. I remember my sister when she was my age had none of these silly rules yet they still use the car to their advantage. My room is messy. What 17 year old boy doesnt have a messy room. They take the car off me or my door. What use is taking my bedroom door off if my room is messy. I don’t care that it’s messy I can deal with it. Just close the fu@#ing door if u don’t want to look at it. Don’t come in my room and then complain about nearly braking ur ankle cause of sum cords that were on the floor

  77. Tracy says:

    Same situation. My daughter and I want to go back to India to live and my mother doesn’t want it one bit. She is trying to tell me to take a good job in Taipei and stay for three years. We are miserable here.

    I miss home and want to see them. My brother and mother gang up on me when I am home. I don’t want my daughter to see that. I have done so much process work on family issues. The only way I have been able to do it and blast through parent issues is to live literally half a world away. Family lives in Washington state. It’s hard, we have limited interactions and it’s great too; they don’t have to deal with me and we are all comfortable.

  78. david says:

    I know… right?
    If a parent really loves their child, they should let them follow their lifepath. Feeding me and giving me a home is not enough. Am I a f**king dog? A mongrel that needs only food to survive? As long as you are earning your own money, your life should be yours to live. Any objection to that is emotional blackmail, or a parents own insecurities about what will happen. Im so sick of hearing all this “they do it because they care for you” bulls**t. If they really care, ask them to visit a senior home, and ask around to see what the number one regret is: not living the life that you want, as opposed to what people expect of you. Congrats parents, you’ve fed your child food, but starved his soul.

  79. Jeanie says:

    Go back to the job in Alabama. Your parents have controlled you for 24 years and it’s time to break free of them. It won’t be easy for you, but you need to take a stand NOW. If you don’t they will control you the rest of your life and you will be miserable. Your parents need professional help. It only takes one person to make a family dysfunctional, from the little I’ve seen, it sounds like that person is your dad and your mother enables his behavior. Your father said you were selfish which is rediculous. It is HE who is selfish for not facing the fact that you are an adult now with a life of your own ahead of you. Believe me, when you are back in Alabama, and living you life as you see fit, you will have gained more confidence in yourself. You will be able to see the MANIPULATIVE tactics your parents use to control you and decide on ways to short circuit their tactics. The best thing you can do for yourself is put DISTANCE between yourself and them.
    That means ALABAMA and if they are too mean spirited in thier communications with you via letters, email, phone, you can refuse to get sucked into their games. Manipulative mothers love to use tears to get their way, so you’ll have to see those for what they are. It will be tough on you, I know from experience with my own controlling parents.
    I spent most of my adult life knuckling under to my parents in an effort to please them. Pleasing them only made me feel insecure and resentful of them. Your parents have to grow up and let you go live your own life to pursue your own dreams.

  80. Juan says:

    Cameron,
    I understand where you are. I left home at 17 and a half. Never looked back, ended up with a wonderful relationship with my parents. They have passed on, but I was able to finally get respect from my mother. I spent time in the service, went back to school and ended up a school counselor. No matter what job that I had, my mother thought that I should get a better one. She finally liked the teaching position and the fact that I ended up a counselor and then a principal.

    But the one thing that I have learned in life is that you gotta be happy on the inside. Where you are at won’t make you happy. I live in western Kansas and am as happy as a lark being here. Alabama didn’t make you happy, your situation and a job that you liked made you happy. A sign at a friend of mine’s home explains it best for me. It had a picture of a pretty flower in a flower pot with the following caption: “Bloom where you are planted”!

  81. Kitty says:

    Wow, you have a great self awareness and are able to communicate it well!! Darling, I’m in my mid 40’s and am still struggling with the same issues. I have a very very controlling mother who like yours, have showered me financially my whole life and really do have alot of love. But like you said, the need to be yourself and trust who you are will only happen when we can emotionally stand tall and strong. You are NOT being irrational. Its only a possibility of being irrational because of the negative harsh critics that have been around you like me. We are not irrational. Maybe a little selfish but who isn’t?

    I”m a super free spirit, hippy chick who has type a parents, over achievers and I have to admit they do have a lot of qualities I love and hope to learn from, like their strength. So my need to be free is so very important to who I am and for my success and I know this, have always known this and didn’t follow it because i was scared. Fear. I am going through really really good therapy now. There is a book I would recommend, I just bought it, and its a life saver. Its called, “there is nothing wrong with me” by Cheri Huber.

    Follow your dreams darling. If you do, you will thrive. Everything will fall in place. If you don’t, you will see that not honouring your lifepath will result in depression, failure, and resentment. I went through this because I did not follow my heart. I blamed my parents all this time and now realize at some point I had to stop and take responsibility. My best friend and I were supposed to move to hawaii 15 years ago. She went and followed her heart and I didn’t. I guess I just want to share with you so you will follow your bliss. I’m finally doing what i need to do. I wish you much support and love…in the end, you have me myself and I to deal with. Peace and light.

  82. Javaid says:

    I feel bad for u im in the same position
    I work for my dad at his shop hes asking me to leave his house and work
    Because my brother is mixing stuff and he wants to take over me im very good to him
    And they gang up on me

  83. Cameron says:

    I’ve been crying as I’ve read these posts. I just turned 24-years-old and am utterly afraid of disappointing my parents. They hated where I lived in Alabama for my first job in journalism out of college. In one sense, it was flattering, they felt that what is admittedly a crappy little town was not good enough for me, their smart and ambitious eldest daughter.

    But I was happy there with my job, I felt like I was doing rewarding and meaningful journalism. Still, their lack of enthusiasm for my life and how I perceived they were disappointed spurred me to take a job in Montana (out west, like they love as soon-to-be South Dakota residents, in the beautiful mountains, and somewhere they can be proud to tell people I live). Partly, it was because I thought I’d be happier if I felt they were happy with me and partly because I knew they’d be happier. And the upside was I’d still get to write for a paper.

    Well, one week out here on the job out here and I’m more miserable than I’ve ever been in my life. The quality of the paper is worse, the news material is non-existent and I miss writing about a community I cared about. I dread getting out of bed, going to work, working out, eating … the only relief I’ve had since I’ve been here is when I talked to my boss in Alabama and he said they’d gladly have me back ASAP.

    I’ll admit right away: this was utterly my bad decision. I jumped the gun, made the decision for the wrong reasons and knew it after the first day of work. But if i have the opportunity to correct the mistake, its my choice to do it.

    I tried to discuss my feelings with my parents, how I wanted to move back, how if I have the opportunity to correct, I should do it, especially because I am in my 20s, single, and have gainful employment waiting on me that I know I enjoy. Especially if the paper in Alabama will eventually lead me up the in the industry, and faster.

    My mother was shrieky and upset and told me Alabama wasn’t right for me and that I couldn’t afford to move back across the country and they couldn’t afford to help. I wasn’t asking for their help; I don’t need it. My father told me I was a selfish, selfish person, that it would be good for me to do something I didn’t like doing, that I made my own bed and should lie in it, that I was all about instant gratification and that he and mother for years have done things they didn’t want to do to raise my sisters and me. I know they expect me to get over this “irrationality” and stay in Montana. I know that my dad will continue to dangle his hard work, my years spent as his child in his care over my head. He’d honestly rather me be miserable here than watch me change my situation. I’m scared that I will stay just to please them. I’m paralyzed with fear to tell them, “No, I’m not living my life for you. I love you, but this is my decision.”

    They have been so good to my younger sisters and me in so many ways — paid for wonderful educations, raised us to be conscientious and hard-working, given us beautiful vacations and a strong sisterly bond between the three of us.

    But as the oldest, it has been so difficult to grow up and become my own person, because my father is so controlling and my mother is so acquiescent to his commands. Nearly every large decision I have tried to make for myself — my career in journalism, who I want to date, where I wanted to work for my first job — has been rife with push-back and emotional blackmail and accusations of selfishness and guilt-tripping from my dad.

    I know that I can be a selfish person. But I know that I am good-hearted person. I chose the career I did because it allows me to use my talents as a force for good, because I can make my own difference in the world this way. Is it so bad to want to be happy while I do that?

    Am I being irrational? I have a way out of a bad situation. But I’m afraid I’ll lose the careful balance of parental approval that holds our family together like glue in the process. I wish I’d never moved out here in the first place. I wish I’d just stayed true to myself.

  84. Amber says:

    I am a 28 year old lawyer. 8 years ago my dad moved in with me and my sister, as he was suffering from a illness. He’s still with us. And as much as I love him, he sims won’t let go of me and my sister and realize we are adults. For 8 years I’ve held down a job and done college, climbed up the promotions ladder, went back to college for a second degree and juggled two part time jobs and still he treats us like 15 years old.

    I gave up a safe career in law to become a film producer. I have a few interviews lined up next month and the first thing my dad said was that the pay wasn’t good and I’d be in a worse position then I am now. Hello! What could be worse then being on a student income? Nothing!!!! He has trouble accepting that in the film industry you are not gonna end up on a studio executive wage the moment you graduate from college. He always thinks he has to remind my sister and I to do things: like this morning we had a rainstorm. He rings up my sister to tell her to shut the windows. She said she already had. He got home and my sister asked him why did he think he felt he had the need to call her up and remind her? He had no answer. I don’t want to reminded of things like I’m a school girl.
    and then he will go and leave the tv on when he goes outside, leaves tissues in his pocket when the laundry gets washed and when I remind him not to do those things he’s gets real offended. Nine out of ten times he will be late if he has to meet me somewhere and then got so angry at me when I was 5 mins late the other day.

    He will turn up the tv way too loud. I’ve just been diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder and Trying to cope with him is driving me insane. When I have asked him repeatedly to not turn up the tv way too loud in my state he will turn it down but only for like 10mins. I feel he’s really disrespecting me, especially when he comes in and interrupts my meditation sessions. Sometimes I really really hate him. I need a friend now not a parent.

    My uncle (his brother) said to my dad today that the film job interviews sound really good and would be grat experience. My dad couldn’t think of a thing to say to that. He needs to let us go and exist in the house like a roommate now. My sister and I are constantly reminding him to let us go and treat us like adults. I know it is is common in single parent families, but the amount of absolute shit I’ve had to endure from him in the past in regards to other family stuff is lots and if I gave him what he has put my sister and I through he would never forgive us.

    He won’t change straight away and I can’t kick him out but he will have to learn.

  85. Thank you says:

    Another book I’d recommend is Leaving Home by David P Celani. Reading the case studies there and hearing about stories such as those in this blog brings me relief because I am also in my 30s and have an emotionally dependent mother.

    When I think about how for years I have been fueling her dependency I feel sick. I ran to her and my Dad whenever I had a problem. And now I am separating from them I feel pain. Real pain, guilt, anger and a feeling like I owe them something.

    My therapist says that being a parent is a sacrifice. A parent choses to have a child, a child doesn’t chose to be born. A parent choses to raise that child and then the child has to be set free. If you give the child sufficient nurturing the child will thrive in the outside world. Sadly those who have a deficit of nurturing and are either attacked or smothered tend to feel MORE attached to the abusive parents because they are seeking to make up that deficit! Children from emotionally abusive parents are more likely to stick close to home hoping one day to get what they didnt during childhood – unconditional love.

    That was the case for me. I have been hoping for my parents to truly validate and encourage me to become the best version of myself. A confident, separate adult. I feel disappointed that my mother looks at me as if I was a little china doll or a 7 year old child. Her perfect creation. Hers. Her little angel. I am none of those things. I am an individual. A separate individual. It makes me feel sad that she is not curious to get to know me but rather wants me to be an adoring daughter so she can feel comfortable.

    I am on a journey. Things have improved massively though. I told my parents some weeks ago that I needed to create psychological space in order to feel healthy (I’ve had emotional problems in the past) and so that I would be saying no a lot more. I also switched off my mobile and took no calls and told them to text or email in case of emergency. I told my mother I could talk to her twice a week and that was it. We picked the days together. I will be moving this to once a week over time.

    It was hard. They resisted. But its that or no contact. If they shout at me that’s OK. I don;t mind a separation at this stage. I have such a weak identity in any case. All of this had really brought to light how dependent I am on them and what a weak identity I have. So I just need to press on and continue setting boundaries. I pray to God there is a light at the end of the tunnel because right now all I feel is a bit despaired and afraid with glimpses of happiness and peace.

  86. Hayz says:

    Just reading through your comments and felt like i should contribute. You are right about giving up hope cause as soon as you do that you have accepted that things arent going to change and you have to rely on yourself.
    My story is long complex and in short this is it:
    My dad was a heavy drinker sobered up but i still resent him for ruining my childhood and taking my mums attention from me and purely on him acting a child. Hold big grudge but along the way mum would insult me call me fat and just be generally difficult. when i needed her she didnt help me. always been reclusive in my room avoiding their world. until i found drugs and raving and found a spark to stand upto her and live my life. Im not a junky and now 26 can reflect on what caused me to feel or act the way i do. My nan financially supports my older bro. She breaks promise telling me she going to put me through my driving lessons (i passed theory twice but expired due to her change of heart)very venomous and spiteful thru my childhood taking me on holiday for 2 weeks and really busting my balls for nothing when my cousin died week before, just feels she gets a kick out of it. sure she done good layed deposit down on my current rental house. But compared to my brother she has paid for 6 properties driving lessons he never took? each time he kept deposit. Opened a shop for him. Me? No driving lessons. I now realised last few months I deeply dislike her I have no bond with her as she has never tried with me when i was young. S o it cant be helped i feel cold towards her. but she will say comments “i got a grandchild that doesnt want to know me” YET she never took me out or even struck a convo which wasnt a down put. my mum fed her head a lot about me being rebellious etc. Especially watching her splash cash on another sibling and leaving me to struggle in countryside with no transport.
    Mother… well she got horrible attitude thru menopause and as ever wrapped up in their lives to care for me.
    Since moving out of town i feel better a little hateful BUT AS i realised they cant be bothered seeing me. S o i feel proud in myself not to ask them for anything. I rely on myself and I sure do have anger to em but best way to deal with that is avoid and leave em to it. I know that if i ever had a child of my own i sure as hell wont let them near it and il do a better job raising it then what them 3 have done to me…
    I get myself tattooed and i wear punk clothes which they hate and it makes me happy cause i know how much it pee them off. and im a true individual and strong enough not to care 2what them or the world thinks

  87. kiwi888 says:

    Speaking from experience, this is the best advice I can share with fellow sufferers. It’s up to you what you do with it. You don’t wanna end up 40, 50, or older still suffocating because of someone else’s wishes. Oprah has said it many times. And Maya Angelou has said it as well. This is not a direct quote but….

    People will treat you any way you allow. One phrased it like, ‘you teach people how to treat you'(from Maya and Oprah). I’m not talking about a 7 year old overpowered by abusers who are beating them. I am speaking to you adults. If your loved ones throw fits and attack you until you back down and compromise your position or decisions, their behavior is reinforced. They learn (from your giving in) that they are right. They learn how to control you (with guilt trips, crying, verbal attacks, threats, and even bribery).

    It never feels good to displease others, but you can teach yourself to grow thicker skin. It’s not like you get to live this life over again if doing it your parents’/siblings’ way made you miserable. And you will be miserable if you don’t stay on your own path. After a while, you’ll learn how to avoid ‘traps’ and ‘triggers’. If you roll out the red carpet for trouble, they will stalk you on Facebook, by phone, in person, by mail, and whatever way they can! Yes, they love you in their way, but Maya also said love doesn’t hurt! When a person forces their beliefs onto you, you’re gonna feel stress, conflict, and pain.

    The psych can give you a pill, the counselor can take your side and give you affirmations…but you have to take action and draw your lines/set your boundaries. You may have to move into your own place, out of your subdivision, city, state. I even know of some happier living in other countries. Other times, all it takes is saying “hey, we’re 2 different people and you will have to deal with your anger about my decisions. I can’t please everyone”.

    When I finally stood my ground about my mom trying to change our (non)religious choices for me and my sons, she learned. She doesn’t try to preach to me or sign my son up for vacation bible school or start debates with me. She will occasionally ask us to go, using Mother’s Day as an emotional bargaining chip. My 11 year old has been hip to manipulative behavior for many years. When he’s alone with my mom and she criticizes our choice in virtual public charter school (‘if you went to a REAL school, you’d get to do this or that’), he has no trouble ignoring her or even lancing through her ill logic! It’s been quite a while since she’s quipped any ignorant anti-gay remarks towards the telly as well. I also put my foot down about her comparing me to my sister (who has no children and lives in the city). I told her it’s wrong to treat us differently. I’m favored because I know the ‘pains’ of motherhood and I don’t ask for help.

    All that said, I still have a ways to go. My dad (who is divorced from her) doesn’t have the need to call me every day. He knows that I have little sleep, caring for a special needs son. He’s private and doesn’t like to intrude. He’s someone I would like to speak to more often because we can talk about everything without judgment or self righteous attitudes. I get calls from my mom almost every day, multiple times (especially when there’s no man in her life). I answer when I can. She shops a lot for the kids, and I say thank you, but encourage her to ask me if I actually need these things (hoarding tendencies in the family). My house is very small and any extra item looks like clutter. I’m finally realizing there are many ways my boundaries get stepped on. It’s a constant issue sometimes. It’s nowhere near as bad as some people’s families, but it is stressful.

    I’ve found peace 2 towns over, but will be moving back into the sub where most of my family is (which includes mom and a few addicts/alcoholics). But the house is the only deal like this. Already has a wheelchair ramp as well as enough bedrooms and a basement (plus a yard). This will be the true test. I’ve told certain family that I don’t like drop-ins (nothing like a relative on pills nodding off on your sofa while you’re busy). May have to hear myself saying NO a whole lot :-) My dad will get the spare key this time. No surprise of the door opening unexpectedly. Or questions about what car was in my driveway. My goal is to increase my income and live where I’d like (which of course will displease some!). I’ve read about and know some really awful people lately who will always equate love with obedience to them. I’m lucky because they DO know I love them.

    Good luck and inner strength to everyone here! :-)

  88. Alicia says:

    Dear Laurie,

    I am always second guessing myself because my boyfriend always has a reason for what his mother does. I’ve been with him for 3 years. His parents, usually his mom Is always looking for reasons to not let us do things. My boyfriend happens to be “a mommas boy”. I try to use that term with the most respect I can, but I’m not sure If it’s because he plain out loves his mom so much that she adores she attention or if it’s because he is afraid of disappointing her.
    Even when she is having a good day, (were both 18). And she is always controlling him, we’ve only been aloud to go to the movies once though we’ve asked about a thousand times. If it’s not planned it’s not allowed.( but that’s only toward me) it’s fine when he’s with his friends. He says he loves me, honestly we’ve been through alot. I feel like his mom Is trying to sabotage us on purpose. She dictates everything in our relationship, what is allowed when it’s aloud, what he’s aloud to open up to me about, how he should act when were in public, she’s afraid of losing him I think. But I get so irritated with her. He nevers stands up to her. She manipulates him. Well we had plans and we were talking about them, (we were gonna move into our own apartment) but then his mom said no. He said he wanted to but his mom won’t let him. Were 18, and his mom treats him like he’s five, she doesn’t want him to even talk to me on holidays “there only for family”. I’m literraly so angry I don’t know what to do, I’ve never been disrespectful (literally) even after she called me a “whore” 2 years ago I just I don’t know what to do it worries me. She and him joke about him living behind their home in a camper when he’s 30. She doesn’t ever want him to leave home. I’m sorry this is so long I just really need advice Laurie, I appreciate anything you have honestly. I love him and she knows that she doesn’t want him to love me (she’s said that) she’s constantly tried to pull us apart an it eats at him, because “he tries to make us both happy” but realizes he only hears her. We talk about it sometimes an he shuts down, I don’t know what to do..

  89. Megan says:

    Hello, I’m almost 25 years old and my parents still treat me like I’m 15. They say no one leaves home at my age, yet all my cousins my age have and have kids. So they completely lie. We aren’t remotely religious or ethnic, yet they think you have to be married just to leave home. We are Caucasian and that is very unusual for us. I’ve never met any that has. If I talk to them all I get is screaming and verbal abuse. Yet I’m not allowed to verbally abuse them. I loathe their double standards. I’m sick and tired of being treated like shyte. If I never marry, what am I supposed to do? Live at home until I’m 35? I don’t think anyone will marry a 35 year old living at home. I’m not allowed to have a boyfriend sleep over, which is very odd these days. So why would I want to be stuck living at home? My father says he’s nothing like his own father, yet does everything” just because” his father did. Whenever I question anything all I get is screaming or “do as your told”. I tried seeing a counsellor but it didn’t work.

  90. Anonymous says:

    My dad has been paranoid and controlling all my whole life. He doesn’t care about me or even my rights to choose; he just wants to control me and even my rights, all of my rights, to choose. He hates all of my choices and he refuses to see that I’m a grown woman and at my age I can make my own decisions! I’d love for him to really sit down and listen to me, which he refuses to do! I don’t know what to do! Any advice, guys?

  91. cma says:

    i lost my dad 17yrs ago and since than i have stopped to live for my self but today i am in love with a person but my mother and my sisters think i have done a crime,i am eldest in the family,is love a crime i am killing myself daily just to honour my mother and sisters,why don’t they see my pain

  92. Roger says:

    My mom and I live with a family(mom sisters family) from my moms side, that is not my family. My dad died so my mom and i live with them from my childhood. They make my mom feel hostile and i can detect that because i notice my moms behavior change. They do every detail pathway the way they want to do it and they make me feel like “My way or the highway”. I am giving positive opinions and good thoughts for them and they override them as if i was not even there. I lived with them since i was an infant and now i am 25 years old. I love there two sons and they are my blood cousins. But sometimes deep deep down inside I know there is something something wrong because i feel it deep down in my stomach. I am a Male and they make me feel like everything they done I have to end up owing it to them. I am feelings like they are “bloodsuckers” and by there behaviors, communications, dealing with me and mom on a daily basis feels like they are false and i will not put no hope no more and sustain this no longer. Everyone, what do I do? Please do not hesitate to write any good input on this.

  93. AtWitsEnd says:

    I apologize for screwing your name up, LAURIE*. :)

  94. AtWitsEnd says:

    Hello Laura,

    I am a 34 yr old female who has never lived alone. My parents divorced when I was 20 and my mother, sister and myself moved out of state. When I was about 22 my mother started developing health issues. They progressed until she was finally deemed unable to work and is now disabled. Since then, I’ve become the bread winner. My sister is 12 years my junior, she’s 22 and has a wonderful job. She and I share the financial load, along with my mom who contributes her monthly ss$ earnings to household as well.

    I come from a good family. I love my parents, I was never abused in any way, and I have always been shown love and affection. I grew up very close to my mom. She’s always been a control freak, always wanting to know where her kids are, never wanting them to leave the nest. I’ve always told her that I would always help take care of her no matter what.

    Well, 1.5 years ago I met a guy and we fell in love. Early on, he told me he would have no problem with me taking care of my mom, etc. My mom has always had a problem with him. She thinks he isn’t good enough for me, has many opinions about him, etc. A month ago he lost his job and was forced to move in with us. Being that my bf and my mom are both very opinionated, they have no problem telling each other what time it is and argue often. My bf has finally told me that he can’t take it, that we are grown people and in order to be happy we need to move out on our own. I’ve explained to him that he can’t just expect me to up and leave my mom and sister in the situation they’re in, they simply can’t afford it. He asked me to talk to my mom, AGAIN, about her lack of respect for him. I tried; she won’t hear of it. I tell her that I need to move out, she gets angry and hurt and claims I am ‘choosing’ him over her and my sister. She can’t get it into her head that I’m a grown woman who is practically 5 years from 40! She says that if I leave, she will have nothing to do w/him ever again and says she won’t speak to me. It hurts b/c our relationship is not the same, but as far as I see it, it’s her doing. She can’t accept that I am not doing anything wrong – simply doing what normal people do. I am stressed to the max. I feel bad for leaving my sister behind, but at the same time, I am ready to live my life for ME. I even told her I planned to still assist financially, but that isn’t good enough.

  95. Savannah says:

    Hey guys well I need advice for my friend she turned 18 jan 9 and she came to move with me and her mom didnt let her take her belongings or social security so I buy her thnigs what can she do to get her belongings back asap

  96. JojolovesJuan says:

    I am 26 years old and a single mother of 1. I have been dating my boyfriend for a year now. He makes me so happy. He accepts my little one as his own. We plan on spending the rest of our lives together and hope to be married someday.
    After years of dealing with tough relationships finding someone like him was a breath of fresh air. But my family will not stop judging him due to my past relationships. They can’t look past my mistakes and expect him to pay for whatever every guy did to me.
    He lives in California and asked me and my son to move in with him after I lost my job. This of course added more fuel to the fire and my parents refuse to accept the idea of us leaving. They have made my life a living hell here at home since. They have cut me off from talking to him over the phone and he is not allowed to come by the house. I feel like a teenager again to say the least. I feel helpless to think that they could be so cruel and selfish.

  97. ji says:

    Hi
    I am 17 years old and my boyfriend and I have been dating for 6 months. Our relationship is hard because my mom always makes up excuses why i cant see him and sometimes forbids me to go out with him for no reason. I have honors classes and a gpa over a 4.0. i have always listend to my parents and have been a “goody goody” because i never wanted to upset them or get them mad. Now when I finally have a good relationship and have a guy which i fell in love with for the first time my mom makes everything difficult. Me and my boyfriend have been fighting a lot lately that once it got to the point where we did not speak for a few days. these fights are usually caused because my mom does not let me hangout with him a lot and he hates it when i cancel on him becuase he says that he loves me very much but its difficult to have a relationship with me. but he said that he wants to make this relationship work. no other guy would go through all of this to stay with a girl who he is dating in high school. He actually really cares about me like no other guy i have met and i do not know what to do. I sat my mom down and she never wants to listen. I told her that i am growing up now and that can she please try to understand me. but all she ever says is that she is the mother and i am the child and i am supposed to listen to what she says and w=not what i say. she always says that. I honestly just dont know what to do now. i really want to make this relationship work but how can i when she does not let me hangout with him? she says that she likes him but that i need to concentrate on school and that my relationship is not important. she only always thinks of herself and not me. she never cares what i think or how i feel. Please can u help me? what should i do? i do not know what to say to my mom anymore to make this relationship work.

    Thanks,
    JI

  98. Mary says:

    My husband and I are middle aged. over 3 years ago he lost his job in the bad economy. He has not found a job in his field (graphic design) despite constant trying (and I do mean constant, and everything). A couple years ago, he took the only job available—as an assistant teacher of special needs children. He makes an insulting apprx. $250. a week after taxes. We couldn’t live on this. His parents kindly offered help, talking to him and promising to send $700 the first of every month. This is what we have been trying to scrape by on, and our lives have been a living hell for all this time. I should say here that we do not live ‘high'; we have a small, paid off house, drive 12 and 13 year old ‘heaps’, have no credit cards, and do not go out for meals, or spend on ‘frill’. The help from his parents pays for dire necessities—heat, car insurance, electricity and phone/internet (so he can continue to job hunt). Despite the fact that with everything, it is still not enough, and we are under trememdous stress, all was relatively fine until recently. We were extremely grateful for their help, and have always let them know this. We were not in the habit of taking help, and had to because we had no other choice, and had exhausted every other possibility.
    They come up from Fla. every Christmas and stay with my husband’s sister. She is a self-centered, manipulative prima donna, and we have never had much to do with her, due to her inexplicable negativity toward me even though she had never met me.
    My husband’s mother by all accounts is controlling and manipulative, as well as very punitive, and regularly engages in guilt tripping or hostage holding tactics. My husband and I married in 2007, and I have always made every effort to get along with her.
    My husband and I also tried in small ways to at least have a cordial if not a warm relationship with his sister. She really didn’t reciprocate much.
    The real doozie of a blow up has just happened this Christmas. When his parents would call us they would say things like “We’re so glad we will finally all be together this year at A’s house”–(his sister). Because of this, we ASSUMED we were to be included, and so said things like “Oh yes, we’re really looking forward to this Christmas with everyone”!
    Well, time went on, and in mid Dec. we still had NOT been invited by his sister to come for Christmas. Prior to this, we bought small gifts for her 2 adopted children, (which no one ever bothered to tell us they recently adopted), and some food items to make a cheesecake to bring. We really had been planning and looking forward to it. When no invitation was forthcoming, my husband called his sister and decided to just see if she would say anything. She seemed startled to hear it was him, and was “aloof” on the phone. He said it seemed as if she could’t wait to get off. He mentioned Christmas, and she stammered and said that mom and dad and her in laws were coming. He got off the phone.
    Now, I apologize for the length of this letter, but we are in such trauma right now, and I really wanted some, well, vindication I guess.
    We immediately emailed my husband’s parents and told them we had NOT been invited for Christmas at their daughter’s home, and so would not be there, but that we would love it if they would drive over and have dinner with us at our home (about an hour away) ANY DAY they chose, while they were up here. We were just trying to make lemonade from lemons.
    It was at this point that all hell broke loose, and they ‘shot the messenger’! We got a nasty—really nasty email from his dad saying we ‘wanted to be alone’, that we just did a ‘bait and switch’, and that we ‘don’t need an invitation—just show up’ (!!!!!!!) In addition he said he ‘had had it’. He then called my husband at work to see if he had gotten the email!
    We were completely taken aback, shocked, and hurt, and angry too. As soon as we could, we wrote a very long, point by point email in response, detailing his sister’s behavior toward us for several years, reiterating that we had NOT been included in the plans for Christmas, etc., and also again asked them to do the next best thing and at least come see us one of the days they were here, at their convenience. They never responded. They did come up and stay with his sister, and they never once called us.
    Jan. 1st came, and no check arrived. My husband called his dad, now back at home. He asked if his dad had sent the check. (He had not), His dad again started to blame us for not being at A’s home on Christmas. My husband patiently and very calmly spent an hour on the phone trying to again explain things and and come to some understanding. We really did feel terrible that they had tried to punish us by not seeing us over the holiday. His dad said he would send the check—that was all. The check arrived on Friday. It was for HALF the amount! We were sick. We had just mailed out checks for the bills, and now had no way to cover them! He called his dad, who wouldn’t say anything except “You have to talk to your mother”. She finally got on the phone. She said she had decided NOT to send “her half” of the money unless my husband would contact his sister and do whatever in order to have a relationship with her! (She called this “tough love”!!! (Yes, I am speechless too).
    It was nasty emotional blackmail pure and simple.
    They certainly know that we now have no way to pay for these necessary living expenses.
    We had a terrible weekend. We both however, have had enough. We knew that this was the end. We had to have our self respect, and we couldn’t stand another minute of her destructive and manipulative behavior.

    My husband sat down yesterday (Sunday). He wrote a letter. Very short: You have broken your promise to me and thrown my family to the wolves. He wrote that he couldn’t and wouldn’t be held hostage. Mostly we are so angry at them that they have no heart, and could do this to a hard working son just trying to survive. After much soul searching and discussion, he wrote that he is cutting off all ties with them permanently. We will never contact or see them. It was a huge relief, which is sad…

    We have no idea how we are going to live, but the price and the toll we have had to pay was just not worth it.

    I guess I just need some hugs…

  99. Maria Turner says:

    Hi my name is maria and i am 17 years old . i was going out and living with my partner for 8 months . We were engaged and i am totally in love with him . There was an argument between my mum and him . His name is Peter . They hate each other and my mum kept causing problems between us . The relationship has now ended and he doesnt want me back because i don’t know how to stand up to my mum . Help Please . Any advice on how to do this

  100. yasmine says:

    hi, i am 16 so i cant really do anything like move out any time soon not even when i am 18 becasue i need their financial aid. my parenta tell me they love me but they are the most criticizing, controlling parents ever( well in my mind they are anyway). they always make everything seem my fault. it would just be hell for me if i ever got a not so good grade or did something not so perfect. i cant live my life! they control every peice of my life and criticize and mock me in every single word. like these days they keep telling me how im soo fat and how they laugh at me and how my older sister is just perfect. ( i am normal weight not skinny nor fat). im currently dieting but their pressure migh very well lead me to an eating disorder. moreover i was depresed last year and used to cut myself for how worthless i felt. when my mom found out she called me crazy and laughed at me. when I TOLD HER i think i need to get help she took me to a therapist but when this therapist told them it was their fault for being controlling and criticizing me they made me stop going but thank god i made myself stop with the help of my newly found and only good friend who they used to talk shit about. what should i do? i always feel like i can never trust anyone because of how they treat me and like i can never let anyone in. im helpless and feel guilty most of the time. pleaee answer. thanks.

  101. americanraven says:

    People, listen!!!

    as Maureen said, above:

    “You teach people how to treat you and if they can’t respect your feelings they should not be allowed in any part of your life. Life is bad enough when it tests you, but when it comes to people….I don’t take their s*** anymore. I am grateful for growing less tolerant to the cruel or ignorant, and I will never back down from what is justified or relevant. Today is a reminder that I am safe from yesterday, and prepares me to be strong enough for what’s to come tomorrow.”

    ABSOLUTELY!! :) :) :)

    live your own life! life is difficult… but it’s what YOU make it!

  102. Tonya says:

    Hi Laurie,

    I have a difficult situation. I met this guy when I was in college about 5 years ago; he was a maintenance worker on campus but very polite and we had a lot in common. Well, as time passed, i got pregnant, decided to have the child and move back home with my parents at age 29 because the guy and I weren’t married. My parents were very helpful with my son, as I was living there for three years. My parents only met the father once, while I had the baby in the hospital. No words were exchanged, other than “Hi” from both ends but I was still happy because he built up the courage to come see his baby son. I forewarned him that my parents were strict, judgemental and overbearing at times, so he was prepared for the worst. My mom and dad were unwelcoming and uptight towards the father and his side of the family for no reason.

    Moving forward, five years later, I was still close friends to the father of my child and found out I was pregnant again in Jan 2011. I decided to go along with the pregnancy, in despite of my parents rejection and the father was supportive with my decision because I believe that two wrongs don’t make a right and abortion was wrong (in my opinion). At that time, I was still living with my parents but moved out in April because I was much more financially stable and they were giving me hell. I could not be more happy about moving out and living on my own and taking my son with me as well. They gave me a choice and told me I could stay if I had an abortion. I did otherwise, moved out and never looked back til this day! The father and I were always close but not enough to get married, we just had a soul tie. Well, now we have two beautiful kids and he is being more supportive financially than ever.

    On August 30, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl and my parents were put to shame after they saw a new bundle of joy, with me being able to support BOTH of my kids on my own. I tell my parents about the fathers involvement now and support but they don’t say anything (which is cruel and disrepectful to the father). The father loves his kids and want to be involved in their lives and help raise them, we just need to work on both of our ends; however, my parents would go crazy if they found out we got married and he moved in with me but why? HE IS THE FATHER OF THESE CHILDREN and I love him and he loves us. We have been through a lot together and have grown and want to grow even closer together. I’m still in love with him. I don’t see why they would be so upset with a father who is finally coming around and wanting to be part of a family now. This drives me crazy about how my parents won’t humble themselves and let me make my own decisions. I’m not afraid of them, I just want peace. I need your advice on how I should conservatively handle this situation.

    BY the way, I am 35 now and he is 36 and I limit help from my parents if they ask because I don’t want no strings attached, when I’m ready to confront them about our new profound relationship but I told him we should get married first, without their approval.

    Thanks Laurie,
    Tonya

  103. Rheshee Williams says:

    HI Laurie
    I have recently confronted my Dad, and will confront my mother any day now. I have been seeing a psych for over 2 years, and only with her help and lots of self work have I been strong enough to do so. Dad denied any abuse, and told my mother I was obviousely derranged and mentally ill to make up such a lie. This hurts, a lot, but at the same time I am finally able to see him for who he is,not the changed man I want him to be. I’m finding things difficult, as I am still frightened of confronting my mother who witnessed and allowed the abuse ( physical not sexual), however I realise how importnant it is that I do so.

    My hubbie has been extremely supportive, and we are going to move house as we live on the same property as my parents. Its worth it, though. I encourage any of you out there to read TOxic parents, and also find a good psych to help you think things through. ALthough the journey has been hard, it is possible to free yourselves from the hurt.
    THanks so much for your blog,
    Rheshee

  104. krista says:

    hi everyone on here:
    I am 20 years old and going to college. My parents are currently paying for everything but i have to pay back the loans.
    My whole life i always wanted to have the perfect family with my mom dad and siblings. All my life my dad has been very harsh on me saying to get goods grades and study. I understood why he said that and i did as he wanted me to. i was also a good daughter. i never drank, partied or anything else that could cause me harm.
    my dad has treated me like i am beneath him. that i am stupid.
    2 years ago i meant a guy friend that understood that my family life was a little messed up. so i used to hang out with this guy behind my parents back becuase i knew they wouldnt like him (at that time in my life i wasnt allowed a boyfriend, and i wasnt allowed to hang out with friends much)
    also 2 years ago i found out that the dad i live with is my step-dad. i found out becuase my bilogical dad contacted me. when he talked to me i asked my mom if she knew him and straight to my face she lied and said she didnt know.well i didnt belive her for some reason. so i decided to meet him and i brought a friend along just in case. and when i met him he told me he was my biological dad
    i eventually told my mom and she got upset. she told my step-dad(the guy i live with) and he got upset too. they were mad that i went behind their backs and talked to some ‘random stranger’
    (when i told my mom she asked me ‘who do you want to walk you down the aisle when you get married, not you biological father, he hasnt been here for you)
    they never wanted me to find out about it, but they said they would of told me when i could make a mature decisions about my biological dad.
    the parents i live with dont want me having contact with my biological dad because he hasnt been in my life. 2 years after i was born rob (biological dad) wanted to help out with finacial things. my parents by then were married and said no. rob also wanted to see me and they denied his request.
    when i found out about all that m step-dad asked me what i thought. and i said i guess i have 2 dads. he got extremly mad and started punching the wall, saying im the one that took care of you etc, etc
    i say all this because it brings me to my next point
    …every since the father episode and the guy friend episode i havent been treated well when i visit from college. my step-dad is always telling me to do this and that, that im stupid and such…my mom doesnt say much…she just agrees with him..shes like a robot now..she used to be happier…and smile more…
    i am really not sure what to do
    they make me feel guility for everything i do it can be as little as shutting the door too loud even if the wind slamed it shut and it wasn’t me.
    i can’t have a mature conversation with my step-dad becuase he always finds a way to be right and make me look like the underdog.
    i am dependent on them fincailly.
    the car i use to go to work is theirs..
    for the past 4 months my step-dad has been using my car when im gone from college cause his needs fixed (he works with his hands alot and is good at fixing things)
    im going back ‘home’ in acouple days and they said i wont have a car for a week-which means a week of no working even though the only thing they have to fix on the car is the brakes. so i had to ask my grandma to drive me to work for a week cause i need the money
    i dont know how to escape…they keep making me pay for things so i will never be able to leave
    they are controlling i know they are…
    then i wonder if they are not..and that its just in my head…
    many people dont know all this about me cause i have always been a hapy girl. i smile also. but if i think about my family…well few people have seen me cry before
    also another example-i have to call my step-dad, dad or i would be smacked, and guilt-tripped.

    i think i should leave…
    but im afarid of making another mistake…casue apparently i make alot and im worried i can’t accomplish anything because they say i can’t…

    *side-note* i have a sister that is my half sister-shes my step-dads daughter and she is only 13 but treated much better than i have ever been treated…its becuase she has his intelligence.

    to my step-dad i am only something else in his life that he can control.

  105. austen says:

    hello, i live with a stepdad who gets mad at me all the time, i do something like stay after school for tutoring and he gets upset at me for it and when i try to explain it to him, he tells me if i dont like it here, then theres the door, or i told him today i went to find a job(im 17) and he called me a joke, and he promised to make me miserable everyday, how do i deal with this? please let me know asap,

    thanks

    austen

  106. KJ says:

    Hi i wonder if you could give me some much needed advice.

    I am 22 years old, all my life i have been put down negatively by my mother. I blame myself for the things that she says, ‘cos to some extent it is true. She will say things like “you have never achieved anything”,”you have given me nothing but problems my whole life”. I have just recently come out of rehab as i suffer from an addition. This makes matters worse for me, as i have always felt that my mom has been controlling. She is controlling my life even more now,and effecting me negatively by having all this power over me. I have tried to speak to her, but she doesnt listen. I have also tried to speak to my dad but he wont stand up to my mom. I honestly dont know how to deal with this, i feel so trapped. I also feel so guilty to tell her how i am struggling with her cos she will get angry and tell me to go if i am not happy. She also says to me she will cut me out of her life, i believe this as she has done that to my sister.She makes me feel so insecure and like i have no stability in my life. What can i do to make my life easier..

    PLEASE HELP!!!

  107. donna says:

    my mother lives alone, my father passed away 3 years ago, she is 74. i am an only child and my mother is very irrational and gets confused and angry very easily. i do all i can to help her but she often times thinks i am trying to run her business even though she has asked for my help. she is a bitter women that has never enjoyed one moment of happiness and she does not want others to either. my question is this, when she is in a mood she is toxic, it ruins everyones day and i am torn as to whether i should just leave her be until she works out whatever is bothering her or should i continue to pet and humour her as much as possible, i do this out of guilt.

  108. Amina Burhan says:

    I am 21 years old and live with controlling parents. Last year I told them about a guy I like and they took it very negatively and started accusing me of being a bad daughter and my sister accused me of being a bad sister all my life. Later I decided that I wanted to travel on my own but they would never give me permission and fought over it and made a big drama out of it. My father has anger problems and whenever I tell my mother any of my problems or my sister they go and tell my father in return he gets angered and yells at me. Its really frustrating to live like this. So I have decided that I want to stay with my boyfriend and also travel without permission. But I dont know how to cope with my family in this situation. They make everything so hard and difficult. They want everything on their terms and will. The problem is if I travel and leave without telling them they will throw a fit. For any other info: I work currently and go to college and am a third year who lives at home. Please advice me.

  109. stuck says:

    Dear Laura,

    Hello. I’m 24 years old and married. My parents live just two houses down from us, and they own the house that my husband and I are living in. He has a very steady job, and I just graduated from college in July. We pay for almost everything ourselves except for a few minor things. We used to offer to pay for them, but my parents think that it’s silly and that we should just save our money for later in life. In fact that is what is said anytime we do want to pay for something. However, the moment I do something she does not like or disagrees with it is thrown up in my face that they still pay for some things. If I am put in an awkward position and feel like I want to say no because I am being taken advantage of, I really struggle with it and often just lie down and take it. On the rare occasions that I do say no, she throws a fit and says something hurtful. She is extremely overbearing, controlling, and manipulative.

    Ever since I was little she has come to me and only me when she has something to complain about and all of her problems whether it be marriage, family, or childhood memories. It is always from the perspective of “the victim.” Because of this I feel like I just cannot say no to her, and whenever I do I feel guilty because of all the other stuff going on in her life. It has become increasingly frustrating for me over the years because I’ve noticed that she only does this to me. My younger sister is treated almost God-like, and my mom never speaks to any of her friends or other family members the way she speaks to me. In addition, when she tells me that I am being unappreciative it really hurts because I feel like I have been there for her, without judging, ever since I was about four years old. Because of how she is with my sister, it has made me resent my sister especially when my mom comes to me complaining about all of the things that she is doing to hurt my mom’s feelings.

    My husband has been very understanding through everything and has encouraged me to stand up for myself and that it is okay to say no when it is justified to my parents. It has caused him to have resentment for my parents at times because he does not think that it is fair how they hold things over our heads and how she treats me especially in comparison to my sister. He has been fed up with living so close to them for some time now.

    There have been countless incidences that cause real problems, but the most recent one almost a month ago really stirred me up. I have been holding in resentment and hurt for years and years, so finally I just exploded and let her have it and explained that that was just the last straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. I also said a lot of mean things that were not necessary because I was so mad, frustrated, and hurt. She claimed to have no clue what I was talking about and thought that all of these problems were just in my head. I brought up how she manipulates me, how she treats me differently, several specific examples of when she hurt me, and how she holds money over us. She immediately went straight to “the vitctim” as well as getting defensive saying I should just count my blessings and how unappreciative I am and etc. I told her that I was moving out and cutting all financial ties with her because I was tired of them holding it over us. I know that I am not just the victim in this either because I handled it completely wrong. I should not have blown up at her like that, and I apologized for the unnecessary things that I said a few days after. I should have stood up for myself years ago instead of holding it in until I exploded. At least I am not alone in this though. My husband has been very helpful, and he is the reason that I have a backbone at all in all of this because he constantly encourages me to stand up for myself. He also supports me in no matter what I do which is a nice feeling, unconditional love. I know that I will never get that from my mother but I am getting better and better at accepting that and realizing that I just need to be proud of myself and not care whether or not anyone else is proud of me! It is easier said than done though. Over these few weeks i went from talking to my mom hours a day and seeing her several days of the week to not speaking to her at all. I was miserable at first, but then I have realized over the past week that I have liekd having this time to myself and getting to do what I wanted instead of constantly feeling obligated to please my mom’s needs or visit her anytime she or my dad throws out a guilt-ridden invitation.

    That was three weeks ago, and my husband and I have been searching for an apartment that is within our price range and is a safe place to live. Honestly I am so scared to move and know that it will be tough. It seems that my mother and I are getting closer and closer to “making up,” but I wonder if I don’t move, is it just seen as me making empty threats to prove a point instead of telling her what I really want to do? Moving away will be hard, but is it the best thing to do in this situation? From what I have been reading at multiple places, it is almost necessary that we get some space between us no matter how difficult it is. I am just not a person who likes change, and like I said I am scared to move. But I am realizing more and more that it might be a necessity. My mother and I have not spoken since a few weeks ago. However, we have texted some back and forth. . I have realized that this is something that I have to get over and cannot expect her to ever change or even realize how she has been to me. I have come to the realization that my mother is never going to change, and it stings; but I have to accept that truth. All I can do now is learn how to say no properly and how to set the proper boundaries. I am going over there today (soon) to speak with her in person. Usually when we make up after an issue she gives a “sorry I hurt you,” and I am fooled into thinking that she understands the situation. The thing I am worried about though is how do I know that after we speak today, that I won’t fall right back into her manipulative trap? How do I set boundaries, and how do I really get over all of the crap that I have been feeling all of these years? Will I just start biting my tongue again and build up another few months until I burst again? I just don’t know.

  110. Please? Anyone? says:

    Hi everyone out there,
    I don’t know if this is the right place for me, but I could really use some advice.
    I am eighteen, almost nineteen and four months Ago I chose to work full time and do a degree part time outside of work instead of going to university. My parents now think as I am earning some money (not a huge amount) that I owe them as my mum won’t recieve family allowance or something as I’m no longer a child legally. I have said I’m happy to help and pay not only for clothes, petrol, general money, car tax and car maintenance, but also match the benefits my mum is missing out on, but they want more. This is my first job and I really want to save so someday I can support my own family without getting into lots of debt. If I thought they were desperate I wouldn’t mind, but my mum spends money on clothes and things all the time. I feel like I’m stuck, my dad is always miserable and lectures me on how he works all the time and has done for us, and how he’s done it for twent years or so.
    I used to love being at home but now I dread coming here, it’s not the same. Please offer me some advice and support because I really cannot get it from anyone else, please.

  111. Linky says:

    Hey..

    I really want some good advise plz!!!
    im 18 years old and still living with my parents! I have a wonderful bf and we love each other so much!! We decided to move in with each other but my parents wont accept that!!
    We talked about getting married and he sed we will get engaged Next year June 2012!!! Any good advice??????

    I want to go but they dont want to!!!
    Plz help!!!!!

    Can anyone help me and tell me what must i do!!!

  112. Maureen says:

    I had very physically and emotionally abusive parents. The video of the Judge beating his teen aged daughter with the mother standing by brought back memories of my childhood. My mother died recently and now my younger sister has become very abusive. She was left everything in my mother’s will and my older sister and I were left nothing because we ceased contact with our mother several years ago. I have no wish to continue the relationship with my younger sister due to her abuse. I would rather be an orphan than have any contact with these emotionally abusive people. You teach people how to treat you and if they can’t respect your feelings they should not be allowed in any part of your life. Life is bad enough when it tests you, but when it comes to people….I don’t take their s*** anymore. I am grateful for growing less tolerant to the cruel or ignorant, and I will never back down from what is justified or relevant. Today is a reminder that I am safe from yesterday, and prepares me to be strong enough for what’s to come tomorrow.

  113. Desperate says:

    Hi,

    I am desperately seeking some advice. I’ve read every article I can find on controlling parents and I’m still searching for one that could offer advice. I’m a 33 year old professional working woman who lives at home with my parents. In retrospect it was a mistake to move back home. My parents violated my privacy by going through my room. When I went in search of records they hinted at having and I found some my mother accused me of planting them there! I had a curfew for a few months and now I’m on lockdown. Rather my parents do not approve of my group of friends and have threatened that I go to see them they will begin a relentless campaign of confronting my friends and in their words stopping at nothing. On more than one occasion they’ve revealed that they have had me followed and know details of places I’ve been and conversations I’ve had which I’ve never told anyone about. They know details regarding my personal life when I was in college that they would otherwise not have occasion to know. Anytime I attempt to distance myself they threaten to begin on a campaign of going to each of my friends homes to confront them and their parents. I am not allowed to see my friends, move out, or otherwise be independent because if I do they have promised to make good on these threats.

    My friends don’t understand what is going on and think I’m allowing my parents to control me. I haven’t told my friends about the threats my parents have put out there. My parents and I went to see a counsellor. He basically said what I’ve been saying – I’m an adult and at my age I can make my own decisions. They did not budge from their “we will stop at nothing to protect our daughter” routine. In a private session even the counsellor said to me that this is an impossible situation – that I basically have no choice but to cut my friends out of my life or he feels they will act on their threats. I should mention that they have said if I cut my friends off then they won’t act on these threats.

    I need advice – I’m miserable, fearful, and feeling like if I don’t do as they say I put my friends safety at risk.

  114. kept says:

    I can’t ‘break free’. I make $2,000/yr. I cant afford food. I cant pay bills. I live w/ my parents. They pay bills that I cant & give $$ for food/gas when I need it. but: they claim me on their taxes. If they didnt do that, I could get assistance and get out. They have always been emotionally abusive, and use my pets to threaten me or guilt-trip me. I stayed to help financially – it was only supposed to be for a yr. That was when I was 18 and got a check for my college fund from a settlement from when I was 4 yrs old. They guilted me, so instead of using the money for college, I stayed. Their car was totaled, so I loaned them money to get a new one. the deal was I would use it to get my license. I never even got to sit in the front seat. They sold it and got another car. I wanted my money back – they said ‘sue me, but u’ll never see the money.’ I have been stuck here ever since. No money for school. My brother sold me a car, but I only use it to go to work and back home. There are no jobs, and with no school, the jobs I can get wont pay for an apartment. I have no friends. I have nowhere to go. They are threatening my pets. I’m afraid to leave the house. I’ve seen mom kill some stray kittens that lived in our yard when I was 4, and I know she killed at least one of our dogs becuase she just didnt want him and couldnt find anywhere else for him, so she killed him with a garden hoe, the same way she killed the kittens. I need to get out, but what can I do? Live in my car with my pets until I can get housing assistance? The car is in dads name – he can report it stolen. They always tell me they wish I was dead andf they wish they’d had an abortion, but they wont let me leave. I’m financially dependent, and I was raised to fear anyone outside of family. Everytime I talk about getting out they say ‘you would never make it out there’. My whole family says that. And they talk to my supervisor at work and tell them I’m incapable of doing certain things, so I get less work, which means less pay. They tell ppl I’m retarded. I’m not. I need to get out, but where can I go? I’m getting really afraid, especially for my pets.

  115. Nicholle says:

    I am mother of 3 girls 15, 18 & 21 and a step mother to 2 boys 14 & 19 and I am 42 and my husband is 47 and I am in awe as to this generation, the total lack of respect, lack of motivation, the entitlement etc….this website/blog as to how to cope with controlling parents??? REALLY?????????? what about controlling selfish lazy disresctful children????

  116. taylor says:

    I need a little help…..I don’t know if my parents are controlling or not……I help out with money and I’m only 17 and I’ve been helping out since I got a job at 16 and I loan them money and they usually pay me back….except for the one time they didn’t pay me back the 600 they owe me and they keep telling me oh we can barely make it by with food…..and they only shop at our local grocery store which I work at which is much more expensive then going to wal mart or something and we do have food stamps but almost 15 days into the month the stamps are gone and were out of food and they seem to rely on me to help all the time or to listen to their drama….and my dad always says that guilt is a useless emotion but they still use it on me and it hurts….I don’t know what to do here anymore

  117. Kerri says:

    I’m 26 years old, have two kids 2 and 3.
    I rent from my parents and live literately a field away from them. The father of my children moved out after cheating on me and doing some other disrespectful things. I have now met a man whom loves me and my two children more then imagined. Immediately my step dad set rules that he had to leave when MY kids went to bed. ( as if to say when the street lights go on come inside) his response is this is you and the kids house where they are safe he doesnt need to be here. one day my bf came over to bring my boys and I to the hospital.( he lives an hour away) after wards he bought us dinner and helped me lay my boys down for bed. As we were saying goodbye my step dad pulls in begins to tell me my bf has 10 seconds to get in his truck and leave or he’s going to shove his truck into the ditch. Out of respect but total disgust my bf leaves . My step dad pelts his truck and tells him to never come back. I’d never been so disgusted,extremely embarrassed, and very angry in my life. So my boys and I started to stay with him on weekends to avoid any confrontation at my house. When I come back fathers day my step dad yells at me and threateners to hit me, and calls me a bad mom because I took them to me bfs. It ended very badly. He told me he’d hit me if I wasn’t holding my son. ( yet he’s worried about there safety) ?

    So I planned on moving to where my boyfriend is and getting a place together. I changed my mind when my boyfriend said this is my boys home and I shouldn’t move there to get away from my step dad &( mom. ) so I decided to stay. We have been talking about getting engaged and we are. My mom wants nothing to do with the idea because she feels it’s too soon and he hasn’t ” been there” for me. Which he has in every way imaginable! He even thought about giving my step dad a chance for him to ask his approval. My parents don’t even want to talk about it! I am26 years old and they are taking this moment away from me! I’m so depressed, I eat all the time, ( I’m a model so keeping my fitness is important) my patients with my kids have lessoned, and I’m not happy at all. ( my mom is a therapist) and some how she thinks all this is okay? I feel like my life is being lived for me and financial help from them is being held over my head. I finally convinced my boyfriend to live with me. Which is a big deal because he’d be leaving his family, driving further to work and living in a place where he would only have me and the boys and my family being rude to him. He hadn’t moved in yet. We wanted to wait till we were engaged to move in together. But I truly love him and I miss him very much when we aren’t together. I am tired of putting my life on hold for my parents and feeling limited to what I do out of their wants and needs. My mom and step dad moved in together after knowing eachother for 2 months. And were engaged after 2 months. It’s been linger then that for my bf and I. ( how hypacritical)
    But I do want him to move in soon. I know I need to talk to them about this due to the fact I am renting from them. How do I ask / tell them he will be moving in ? Or should I just move to my boyfriends town and let everything go?

    Thank you!

  118. Cheryl says:

    I am 29 and have lived with controlling parents for my whole life (up till recently). They always convinced me to stay home and save for a deposit on my first property, but now I see that they never really wanted me to leave. They just can’t accept that I am grown up.
    I left after a massive row with my controlling and abusive father, and found a room to rent. Almost immediately or a few days later in my own place I am starting to feel better. My whole life feels different, and I can BREATHE again. There is no better feeling. My advice to anyone in this position is to take charge of your life and do what YOU want to do.

  119. Sam ~ Isn’t it amazing that we can be almost 40 years old, and still coping with parents who control us and make us feel like we’re 12? I guess that’s part of why mother-daughter (or parent-child) relationships are so complicated.

    I encourage you to set boundaries that help you remember that it doesn’t matter what your parents say or do. This is easier said than done, I know, which is why reading books about boundaries is crucial. Or, talk to a counselor or therapist about how to detach from your parents.

    There’s a point in life where we have to accept that we can’t change or control anyone but ourselves. You can’t change how your parents are, but you can change how you relate to them.

    Lily ~ I wrote an article for you:

    When Nothing is Good Enough for Your Mother – What to Do

    This article isn’t JUST for Lily; it has tips to help all adult children who have hyper critical mothers (or parents).

    I hope this helps!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  120. Lily says:

    hello,

    i have an extremely overbearing and sensitive mother. she blows up at every single little thing. when i was young, she was an abusive mother who hit me and my brother when she thought we screwed up. i still remember some of the reasons that she hit me for and whenever i bring them up now she gets defensive and denies that she ever did such a thing. she likes to call her kids ungrateful and rude when we express the slightest dislike for her ideas. like today, when we approached a touchy subject, i told her that i didnt want to talk about it(i wanted to avoid an argument)but she blew up in the restaurant and started crying. she ALWAYS says that the way i turned out isnt her fault and that she tried her best to raise me. she also likes to use my friends as a weapon against me. she’ll ask ,” Does so-and-so speak to their mother like this? i dont think so!” she also often financially blackmails her children. she takes away our things and cuts us off when she doesnt feel like shes appreciated(or fawned over). she always talks as if we were a burden to her. like today she told me that she puts up with me because im her daughter and that if her friend or someone else treated her like that she would severe ties with them immediately. she also tells me that she doesnt ever talk to her mother the same way as i supposedly speak to her. but i know first hand from my grandmother that my mother has been rude and abrassive.
    i would love to have a normal family but right now, i am financially dependant on my parents and i cant support myself to graduate. i am currently studying overseas away from my parents and i would like to go home because i love my country and i have friends there. but i would have to live with my parents and that would mean my freedom would be nonexistent. i dont want to move back because i know that i will make decisions that will affect my own future(not in a good way) for the sake of getting out of the house. what should i do?

  121. Sam says:

    Hi Laurie

    I have controlling dominating older parents..
    Both are in their 70’s, and both were treated badly by their parents..and I’m a an only child.

    My Mum especially refuses to see that I’m a grown up – I’m 37 and my husband is 40. She freaks out at the littlest things, that most folks parents, wouldn’t like..

    Getting married – I was 35 for goodness sake..
    Moving house to a different town ..not that much further away..

    Getting a cat!! – I know!!

    I think she would FREAK big time if I said I was pregnant..cause you know what that means..

    I feel like I have to seek approval..and I would also like to point out that they do not and have not given me any money, for my wedding and house..

    My dad is quite stern, and isn’t the most emotionally warm person..he didn’t even talk to my husband at my wedding..

    Please could you offer me any advise…I felt tonight when I told them I was moving that I had just had my nose pierced like I was 18 again!!

    Any advise would be greatly welcomed

    thankyou

  122. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hello CR,

    As much as I wish I could say “this is how you should cope with your controlling parents”, I can’t! There are no easy answers, because it depends on your personality, lifestyle, history, spouse — and of course it also depends on your parents and how they react when you set boundaries.

    My best advice is for you to seek counseling on your own. I don’t think you can change your parents’ perspective on your life — family counseling will only work if everyone involved is willing to accept their responsibility and change their behavior. It doesn’t sound like your parents see that they’re doing anything wrong. And if they don’t see their own responsibility, you can’t force them to!

    So, I encourage you to get in-person support from a counselor. Learn how to set boundaries. It’s not easy, and it takes time and practice, but that’s the best way to cope with controlling parents.

    It may be time for you to learn what you can change and how you can respond to your parents — and not focus on what your parents need to do differently. They are who they are, and you must find a way to be who you are without feeling guilty, manipulated, or bad.

    I wish you all the best. I know how hard it is and how much energy it takes…and I wish things weren’t this way! But, as I said, there aren’t any pat answers I can give.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  123. CR says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks for your insightful article. Surprisingly there is not a lot of information out there about the issue of dealing with over-controlling parents and their impact as an adult.

    Things came to a head last June when I found out that my parents have been angry for 3-4 years because we don’t spend enough time with them…I started a very intense job that has me working long hours and traveling. When the economy got rough my husband and I had to work even harder. They say my “busyness” is no excuse and that we’re just incredibly selfish people. We probably see them every other month.

    We had a recent counseling session (I asked for one) and my father blew up, yelling at my husband, calling him names etc. My husband is an incredible man, husband and father. My father called me the next day and essentially said I needed to choose between my husband or my parents. I also ran a marathon last year which required a lot of time training. This was also thrown in my face “if you have enough time to run a marathon, you have time for us.” I know this is a very unhealthy relationship and my head knows I need to move on, but it still really hurts and it has shaken my foundation. What should I do?

    CR

  124. WK says:

    Thank you Laurie. I am definitely taking your advice. I will keep you posted on our progress. It is very helpful to get this all off of my chest and to see that there is hope.

  125. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear WK,

    I am so sorry for taking so long to respond to you! I’ve been on vacation, and am finally catching up.

    First, you need to forgive yourself and accept that you’ve been doing the best you can. You made decisions that seemed the best at the time, and there’s no sense in beating yourself up or feeling ashamed of the choices you made. Your children will bounce back, and will even learn and become strong from the childhood they’re experiencing! And they’ll become even stronger, healthier, and happier if they see you getting strong, healthy and happy.

    Second, you need to call a counselor or therapist for help. You need support, strength, and guidance as you seek to overcome all those years of control and manipulation — and it definitely doesn’t happen via one web article about coping with controlling parents, or my comments here! You need to get in person support from a trained professional who can help you each step of the way.

    Third, you need to keep reminding yourself that you are an ADULT, and fully capable of making the best choices for your life. You need to set healthy boundaries with your parents, and learn how to let their criticisms and manipulations slide past you. This isn’t easy, which is why it’s so important to get counseling support. You need to learn how to relate to your parents in a whole new way, which takes time, practice, and strength.

    Please call a counselor, distress line, or womens support group of some sort. Get help — it’s not too late to take your life back!

    Let me know how you’re doing…

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  126. WK says:

    I have been holding this in for quite a few years and really don’t speak of it. I know this is probably the source of my problems, but I really don’t know how to remove myself and I feel almost paralyzed. I am 46 years old.

    Here goes. I was sexually abused by my father (stepfather he and my mother have been together since I was 3) when I was 11 and 12. I finally gained the confidence to tell my mother, who then promptly sent me to live with her brother and his wife in another state. Things did not go well there as my Uncle’s wife was harsh and did not really want me around. I wanted to return home. I told my mother who told me I would have to ask my father to return, and I did. The years past not well, as my father was a heavy drinker, and since my mother worked 2 jobs, I spent the next 4 years avoiding him and even once or twice he made sexual advances, I threatened to tell my mom and he backed off. I went to college locally (my parents would not let me go away) and two years went by and I performed horribly, I was put on academic probation and had to sit out a semester. Went to live with my mom’s sister in another state with more dysfunctional people, did not go well and returned home. I went back to college and when my first oppurtunity came, I took a job as a flight attendant and lived far away from my parents. In my first few years of my life as a flight attendant, my dad cleaned up his act quite a bit, quit drinking ( for the most part, had occasional relapses) and got a rally good job, When we saw each other, we were happy family. My dad even became a born again christian. Once he even apologized to me for what he’d done to me as a child. these are his exact words “If I had done anything to you, I was drunk and I am sorry” As greatful as I was for that apology, I knew that it was not good. My father did things so deplorable to me that even now I cringe inside. The years seemed to go swimmingly I married, had cildren and lived abroad. However, I always seemed drawn to my parents. I would visit them with my kids most holidays. My husband was often not happy and I would still go. I know that sounds crazy, but my parents always made me feel that family was very important and visiting them was on that list. Sometimes on my visits, my dad would have outbursts and say that he hated me. There would be tears and then we would all be happy again. I was married 10 years and my marriage fell apart. My husbandhad affairs, and probably because of me. I was not very good sexually, and I had even shared with him why. He despised my parents and let it be known..I mysteriously always took their side.

    After my marriage failed, my parents convinced me to move back to the states with them. For 5 months I lived in he same house with them and my 3 young sons (10,4 and 2). They treated me abominably. They would scream at me. They would demand to know why I wasn’t home at certain hours. If I were on the phone (my own cell) they would interrupt me. I once had to hang up while trying to negotiate with a mortgage broker, because my dad started screaming at me while I was on the phone. I finally bought a place. Unfortunately, the nature of my job is flight attendant, I would have to go away at least 3 days a week. My parents would look after the kids. They would then find every reason to find fault with the way I was raising the kids. Shortly after purchasing the house I took a 30% pay cut, and almost lost my house..my parents bailed me out. Also my dad retired he said so that he could help me with the kids. Then 2 years later my mom retired too. They said that I could only work Fri. Sat Sun. on my job and for the most part that is what I do, however it has put me in a financial bind as I have been living paycheck to paycheck for 10 years. I substitute teach, but in the state I live that is very little money ($60 gross) I could earn my whole month of substitute teaching salaray in 2 days in the airline. My parents hold it over my head how much they do for me. They berate my kids so badly that my oldest as soon as he turned 17 left. My two younger kids are always telling me how they are berated and yelled at by my parents. It is so strange, beacuse if i so much as raise my voice at my kids in front of my parents they tell me off. And then they will scream at them for something as stupid a sticking thier fingers in their own glass of milk to retrieve a cookie (true story). I have finally reached the end of my rope. I am 46 years old and have watched my life slip away. My oldest son has returned home (he is now 21) and he said he would help with his brothers (they are now 15 and 13) I am ecstatic. I then told my parents what was happening. They are furious. they call they come to the house when I am not there. They tell me this is not the way forward. Which I know as I am looking for someone to help watch the boys when I am not home. As I do not think leaving the responsibility soley on my 21 year old is the thing. I am a financial mess, as I worked minimal hours at the airline for so many years to appease my parents. I want them completely out of my hair, but can’t seem to shake them.They are two of the meanest dysfunctional people I have ever met. My mom said that everything I touch turns to sh**. She tells me on a regular basis that she can’t believe I am her daughter. I am a size 10 and everytime I see her she tells me I should join weight watchers. She will mention a friend’s daughter and how beautiful they are and say you used to look like that. The list goes on and on. They force my kids to eat all the time and then complain they are too heavy If they don’t want to do something my did will call them “girls or even fagg***” My dad called my oldest son a “bast***” when he stood up to him when he was 17. What can I do? I know this is one sick messed up situation, but I have to get it together, I don’t know what to do. I am thoroughly ashamed that I have put my kids through all of this, but I do want to end it, and now. Please tell me how.

  127. chu says:

    I know what you mean about “losing hope” being a good thing…

    When I gave up on specific “hopes”, it was a reality check. Finally realizing having specific “hopes” can undermine logic and rationale, especially when it comes to “hoping” a person will change, will not continue being abusive…It’s not the way the world turns.

    When I finally learned what it exactly meant in my life, I learned to accept that people will be who they are (abusive) and that is their life and reality. It doesn’t have to be mine. I will not own what is theirs. Finally, FREEDOM! Freedom to let it go and let it be and to protect my rights by having and enforcing strict boundaries. As much as I accept people for who they are means I expect the same and if it does not happen, so be it. I am distanced enough to see that if those very people continue to have unrealistic expectations of me, is not my issue to deal with. It isn’t my problem to fix. Finally a sense of peace and finality. No longer conflicted. It is very clear to me now and with work, I will grow and learn to be who I am and not dismiss my feelings and experiences.

    Abuse comes in many forms. I reject it and I reject the abuser. I won’t let it happen anymore. The boundaries will help to keep abusive people at arms length.

    Finally moving forward…moving on…

  128. sarah says:

    I think the most important thing is to remember its YOUR life and as much as you love them you have to break free

  129. Jessica says:

    Laurie,
    I am 29 years old and have been battling my parents for the last 10 years. My mother is very overbearing and wants her children to live close to home(none of us do anymore). I live about 800 miles from the home I grew up in with my husband and our 2 children. We love our life here. I have been to numerous counselors about my mom. When I was 19 years old she had me committed to the psych ward when I got pregnant with our first daughter. She said she did it for my own good but the doctors said that there was nothing wrong with me and that my best bet was to get as far away from my mother as I could. So I did. Over the years I have tried to maintain a relationship for my children’s sake with my parents. My parents have criticized my children’s father because he does not work due to his disability. She says that I deserve better even though I have decided that I am not going to leave him because of his limitations. Whenever I talk to her she refuses to talk about my husband. She acts like he does not exist. I have told her that this offends me as we have been married for 10 years and plan on staying married for many more. In July of this year I let my children go to stay with them for a week and visit. When they were on the plane home my mother called me and pretty much told me I was an unfit mother. She said that I was “redneck trailer trash”. I have not spoken to her since.
    The holidays are here and she is wanting to talk to me again. I have changed my phone number after the last time she called me and told me how “rediculous” I am. My dad does not do anything except back my mom up. He nor anyone else in my family stands up to her for me. I am having trouble figuring out what to do. My mom says that I am being childish for not speaking to them but I am so angry and talking to them causes me more anxiety and stress than it is worth. I really don’t know that my children are benefitting from having a relationship with people who treat their parents this way. Do you think I am being selfish and childish or am I justified in cutting ties with my parents because of the lack of changing on their part?

  130. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Adam,

    It’s important to remember two things:

    1) Your girlfriend is dealing with habits and a family culture that is very, very ingrained in her life. That’s not to say she can’t change — I believe anyone can change! It just means that her lifestyle and ways of dealing with life won’t change overnight. Indeed, it can take years to change our patterns of interacting with our family.

    2) If you truly want to make her your girlfriend, you need to accept her for who she is right now. Today. You can’t love her conditionally! That is, you can’t love her if she’ll stop being a people pleaser, or if she’ll see you more than once a week. Either you love her for who she is right this second, or you let her go. Don’t try to change her.

    There’s a fine line between supporting someone’s personal growth, and trying to make them into someone you think they should be. I encourage you to find ways to encourage her to be healthy and strong — but at the same time, love and accept her for who she is.

    She may genuinely want to get out from under her family’s thumb, but she may not be able to. Family pressure is extremely difficult to shake off, especially if you’re living in the same household.

    I just wrote an article called How to Find Solutions to Relationship and Family Problems, which describes six ways to get help. Maybe you could share that article with her, and let her make the choice of what to do next.

    Take care,
    Laurie

  131. Adam says:

    Hello there Laura, I am a 20 year old man from California and this is what I havebeen looking for, for the longest time. There is a woman I have been seeing for a while and am truly considering making her my girlfriend. She is 26 years old, lives at home, has a single mother and her mother and her large family practically control her life. She still has a cerfew, shes called upon every waking minute of the day to handle family business and it has reduced her to nothing. She has no personal life with friends, and I only get to see her once a week if I’m lucky. All she does is give into pressure all the time to do things and handle things for her family, or is pressured to attend every single family get together and faces ridicule, when she speaks of moving out her mother puts her on a guilt trip and then decides not to leave, and she never has alone time, shes constantly doing things for her family, so she doesnt have “her own” life to live. Shes a pleaser, and I wnt to know how to break the pattern. What in the hell can I do to suggest a plan of action? Ive been talking her though it, she wants a change and doesn’t know how to pursue it, she really wants to change what is happening to her because she now realizes how overbearing everyone is to her and how she doesnt have a life because of it. PLEASE HELP. I want this woman in my life, and this is what is keeping it from being semi functional is a toxic family tree.

    Thank you!

    Adam

  132. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear AV,

    It might be helpful for you to talk to a counselor, because there are alot of things going on that can’t be solved in this comments section! Talking to someone in person can bring clarity and insight, and allow you to fully explore the solutions.

    That said, however, I think that your parents have a different set of values, expectations, and cultural norms that you have. That’s just the way they are, and you can’t change them. They’ve made their choices in life — and they have their reasons.

    And the same goes for you! Your values, life expecations, and cultural norms are different than theirs — and you need to free yourself to choose your own path. Your parents can’t force you to live with them forever or abide by their life rules.

    But, making your own choices (such as moving out) brings consequences. That’s the bittersweet part of being an adult: you are free to decide what to do with your life, but you have to live with the outfall.

    If you move out, you have to accept that your parents will be disappointed, even heartbroken. They may not realize that their job as parents is to foster independence, to make you a self-sufficient woman. I think that’s a cultural thing — some cultures put family and togetherness above all else.

    There are two things that I’d like you to hear: 1) you can’t change your parents, your sister, or anybody else — so don’t go there. Instead, focus on adjusting your expectations of your family members. Make your expectations realistic (for instance, your mom may never be honest with your dad…but there’s nothing you can do about that, after you share your initial opinion).

    And 2) choose to live your life the way you want and expect friction from them. Or, choose to live your life the way your parents want and expect friction from yourself. Either way, you’re making a choice that’s within your control.

    How you live your life is up to you; but you need to find the strength and courage to deal with the consequences. And, you need to accept reality: your family is what it is, and you need to embrace the good and accept the bad.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  133. AV says:

    Hi Laurie,

    I’m so glad I came across your website. I was searching Google on ‘how to deal with difficult parents’ because I am fed up with mine. There’s just no other way to say it, but that I am fed up.

    For the past few years, my father seems to have this dictator quality to him, and I recognize it more each time. I’ve realized recently (now that I am 22) that while he makes it seem like us kids are selfish, he himself is selfish because he can’t have it any other way than his own. We must follow what he says or he won’t speak to us for a week.

    I’m started really going out with people when I was 18, when I started going out with my boyfriend (we’ve been together for almost 4 years now). Most of the time when we’d go out it would be with his own cousins, so there’s no harm there. For the past 4 years, we’ve come to respect each other, and I know I can trust them and they can trust me.

    Anyway, everytime there’s a party that would require me to sleep over and such (because of drinking), I wouldn’t be allowed to do so and I’d have to get dropped home by my boyfriend. Mind you, I can’t even stay late, they expect me home by midnight at the latest.

    Now this could be because we were born in the Philippines and maybe this was the way my parents wanted to keep bringing us up. But I can’t stand it any longer.

    I feel like they are holding me back from my youth and all the fun I’m supposed to experience now before I settle down and have kids like they did so early on in their life. They couldn’t go on vacation when we were younger because they had to take care of us. Now that we’re all old enough to be left at home they can’t go out either because they have to take care of my grandmother who’s been living with us. My grandmother needs almost around the clock supervision.

    Another thing, I have an older sister, and she’s 25. She’s had a full-time job and even during then, she wasn’t allowed to stay out late or sleep outside our house. They expected her home, and that was that. No reason from them. I’ve asked my mother before why it was that I couldn’t stay out, she says that my father won’t allow it, and that was it. There was no reason at all, it seems.

    Which brings me to another problem in my family. Communication. There’s is none. When my older sister and I would get in trouble for staying out too late, that’s when my dad would talk to us, alongside with my mom. If it wasn’t as ‘serious’, only my mother would come in and talk to us, and she would say she’s relaying info that my dad wanted to say. It’s ridiculous.

    First, my parents don’t know how to trust us, and secondly, they don’t respect us because they don’t listen to what we have to say. They’re doing the typical, “You can’t do it because I told you so. And because I am your mother.”

    I mean, a child (albeit a grown one) can only stand that for so long and eventually want to leave her parents.

    I’ve thought about moving out as soon as I have the chance. I’m finishing up at internship at the moment so I can’t make the money that would allow me to move out. I’ve even thought about how it would break my parents’ heart, but I just couldn’t care less anymore, it’s that bad.

    Also, I owe my parents a great deal of money because of school and past debt. But it was their idea to help me, and while I am grateful for it, I’d gladly take my debt back if it means I can have my freedom.

    I don’t know what to do anymore. I know I have to talk to my parents about it, even if it’s just my mother first. Because talking to my father is like talking to a wall. I can’t say anything to him, but he can say whatever he wants to me, and I have to agree to it. Period.

    And another thing about communication. It seems to be a problem in my family. My mother loves my father so much that she can’t bring herself to tell him that having my grandmother in our house (for various reasons) is causing her to be depressed. She confides in my older sister and tells her to promise that she won’t tell my father. Secondly, my sister can’t tell her longtime boyfriend that he bores her, when all he does is what he wants, without consideration for what she wants to do.

    I feel like I’m not fit to be in this family. My boyfriend helped me understand that I don’t have to act the same as the rest of my family. I can speak my mind because it’s my life and I have to take matters into my own hands. Now I can honestly say that the fights I have had with my boyfriend I am grateful for, because it’s made us closer. And now I can see that holding things back from someone can tear the two apart.

    So what should I do, Laurie?

    I apologize for such a long letter, I really need an objective opinion.

    Thanks in advance,
    AV

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