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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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BookDragon Offline
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Unhappy How can I establish boundaries between me and my parents? - December 2nd 2015, 08:44 AM

So a little bit of a backstory: I've lived in an extended stay motel for two years as of this last October. Two years in that little room with a kitchenette, a tiny bathroom and two full sized beds. It started out as the four of us, until my sister left to live with her boyfriend.

Now, all the attention is on me, since I am still there. My parents don't respect my opinions or beliefs, preferring to steamroll over them because "their house, their rules". I can respect that, but I feel I should have some sort of say of what goes on, considering it is my paycheck that pays the rent every month.

My mom has this thing where she thinks that because we live under the same roof and are of a similar build that we should share everything-clothes, makeup, and other products. I don't like to share, never have. Yes, the space is a small one but I feel I am entitled to having little things that are my own. I don't ask to wear her clothes or use her makeup or borrow her things. I refuse to touch them. But she does not extend the same courtesy to me.

She also has a habit of going through my things. I've asked her to leave my side of the room alone but she feels that if it's "messy" or she is looking for something, that it's fine to go through my things. I had to stop keeping pen and paper journals because I found her reading them.

Keep in mind that I have very little to my name. I have a suitcase of clothes, a few books I keep in a duffle bag under the bed and a small bag of little things I have picked up over the past two years. Nothing valuable but I keep it for sentimental reasons. I don't like my things touched and I don't like sharing things I have bought for myself.

My dad on the other hand doesn't really pay any sort of attention to me. I prefer it that way, but when he does speak to me, it is always condescending and meant to be hurtful. I try to do my fair share of the chores in the room, such as sweeping and doing the dishes, but that doesn't seem to be enough. I want to be a treated with respect but I can't find that here. They are always commenting on how my sister is ruining her life (and while I think so too, it's not my place to say anything) and how they are "trying to keep me from making her mistakes".

I am tired of living with them, but until I can get my bank account opened up on Friday and get some money saved up, I am stuck there. I don't know what to say to them when bringing up the topic of putting up boundaries. I'm nervous of saying anything at all because I don't want to get yelled at. My PTSD flares up very badly and sends me into a panic attack when I get yelled at.

I feel at 19 years old I should be able to speak up for myself but I don't know how. I just want to put some boundaries because I am tired of my mom treating me as her best friend and not as her child. (Not to mean I want to be treated as a child, but I am not her best friend and do not want to encourage that line of thinking in any way shape or form)


My body may be a temple but I am the god to whom it is devoted. Do not presume to tell me how I may decorate my altar.

repeat after me: i can and i will. i may not get there right away. i may fail multiple or even hundreds of times. but i am going to pick myself back up and eventually get to the point i want to be at in my life.
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Re: How can I establish boundaries between me and my parents? - December 3rd 2015, 06:36 AM

Hey, Caitlyn!

I am sorry for all of this, it sounds extremely frustrating to feel like you can't voice your views or beliefs, or even write in a paper and pen journal.

Having opinions and beliefs is what everyone has, and there shouldn't be a rule where you aren't allowed to voice that just because "their house, their rules." You should be allowed individuality in how you view things and what you believe, just as your parents should. Especially at home within family. And when you write in a journal, it is meant to be personal. After all, you write it down in a journal you own and you wrote it to vent out private thoughts. No one has the right to read through your journal, and as it's done, it can break trust between two people.

You're not a young child anymore, but chances are, your mom may be aiming towards protecting you by reading your journal and going through your stuff. The thing is, parents don't lose the side of them that loves, cares, and sees you as their baby. Even when you are an adult and that can both be amazing and cause conflict. You're their baby forever, and it can sometimes be hard for them to establish boundaries when you are older when they're so used to parenting you as a child that they need to help and look after. Boundaries are important to preserve a healthy relationship between you and your parents, though.

Can you ask your mom about having a calm conversation? Ask her kindly not to yell, because you want to talk to her about something that has been bothering you and you don't mean to annoy or hurt her by talking about it. Try and help her see it from your point of view; ask her that if she wrote her feelings in a journal, would she want you reading through it without asking? Then explain that's why it hurts when you find her going through your stuff, because you'd really like to feel safe and be able to trust her enough to have your private things around.

Explain that you do chores and do things to help out, and you feel like you aren't treated with respect. Ask them if there's anything you can do to change this. Secondly, you are entitled to having your own products because things like make-up is personal. Would your mom understand if you were to ask if it's okay to keep products and clothing separate? You could approach the subject gently by explaining that it makes you uncomfortable and that you feel as nothing is your own. This would be a good time to let her know you would appreciate a bit more space since you are older.

Asking her why she feels the need to look through your journal could be helpful. Understanding why she does the things that she does can be helpful so that you can compromise at the same time she compromises. For example, perhaps she just wants to know more about how you are feeling? That doesn't justify her invading your privacy, but if you are comfortable enough then how about slowly opening up to her? Even if you just vent to her after a bad day at work. Simple frustrations. That could reassure her a lot because it'd be you letting her in on your feelings, thoughts and frustrations. Most importantly, willingly - showing her she does not have to read through your journals to connect with you.
   
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Re: How can I establish boundaries between me and my parents? - December 5th 2015, 03:02 PM

That music be terrible for you. I'm so sorry that's happening. You sure legally an adult so I don't think they should have control of you anymore. Maybe you can think about speaking to them about how you feel and that you need to some sort of control as well since technically it's yours since you said you're paying for it. You can maybe try to explain that you'd like a little bit more respect and remind them how difficult this is for you. If you're paying for it, do you have to let your parents stay. (Oh yea, that would probably be good to help, sorry didn't mean to sound rude.) but my point is, you should have control over the situation since your paying for it. They are just visitors right? I mean my understanding of the situation is that you are paying for it and you are legally an adult so you should have control.
I sure hope this helps. Sorry if it doesn't. I hope it can get better for you and your family. Stay strong and never give up!
   
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Re: How can I establish boundaries between me and my parents? - December 6th 2015, 07:27 PM

If I had to live in an environment like that, I'd have to get the hell out as soon as possible, by any means necessary.

I'm good at sharing... when people ask me. I can tell if someone's been through my things, even if just the zip on my bag is in a different place, or the key in my door is turned the wrong way. Plus I keep my desktop on all the time and have two webcams running off it recording 48h compressed video before auto-deletion. Cheap & nasty webcams, and cheap software, and a cheap old desktop PC too, but it's a good deterrent if I'm living with other people that I don't quite trust.

When I was living in a student house a while ago, cretins took my laptop without asking because they lost their charger, and had a go at me for having a password on it and they "wanted to watch movies". I still don't know what the fuck I did wrong at which point, to lend those imbeciles the impression that that kind of shit would fly with me. Personal laptop, personal stuff, documents, history, website logins, facebook, etc. Like I said, they were cretins, and I don't think I'll ever figure out what they were thinking. I've given up ages ago. Like some things are are too "complex" for a person of certain intelligence to understand, some things are also just too stupid. I threatened them with police then, and reported it to the hall manager to show that I wasn't talking shit. I must have won the "unpopularity trophie" that year. That's also when I started using cameras and stuff to keep and eye out for me.

They tried taking other stuff before that. Didn't "try" actually, they did it. Stealing food was their favorite. I mixed laxatives and japanese wasabi paste and chili sauces (depends which ones dissolved easier) with things like my jams, milk, etc. The whole thing got me interested in foreign foods, because they were sometimes too stupid and ignorant to even know what a loaf of bread from a different country looks like, and didn't want to touch it not knowing what it is. I say that, because one asked me once if it was a "turtle", and I said "yes". In his defence, he was drunk then, but I don't think drink made him much more stupid than his usual baseline levels of intelligence.

Fucking oafs. Beats me how people like that make it to university. I never asked them how they got in. I presume it's got a lot to do with "positive descrimination" and whatnot.

I know none of that is any kind of advice. It's a completely different situation to laying down boudaries with parents. It is 10x harder with parents. If I've got to be brutaly honest here, I just lie to mine about many things. I hate it, but I've tried reaching a middle-ground, and failed on most fronts. I've tried for a long time. They are kind of aware of most of it. I've gotten better at lying, and it seems to keep the peace. I feel like I did what I reasonably could. Anything else, is up to them. I still live with them, but like I said, there is peace, and we even get along most of the time, and I don't buy into popular trends of "getting my own place" just because everyone else is, at almost any expense, unless it actually benefits me. Although thinking of it right now... I don't actually lie as much anymore. I suppose the trust has been restored a little. I often refrain from telling the whole truth even if I want to, but that's not the same as blatant lies.

It comes down to shit like if my mum asks me if I've seen some movie, and I say "yes", then my dad has a go at me for (according to him) doing nothing else with my time besides watching movies. I don't need those kinds of fucking comments and agrow, so I lie. He doesn't know what I do with 90% (or more) of my time anyway. My dad had a habit of installing keyloggers and spyware on any damn machine in our house he could. Even on my mum's. It kind of worked out well for me though. It's got my guard up. I use SED SSDs now with pre-boot passwords, anti-virus, anti-spyware, LastPass password storage with ubi-keys. I can change most of my passwords across most of my accounts and auto-generate new ones in just half an hour.
My machines are useless junk in the hands of anyone else but me. My mum on the other hand... just throws blunt objects at him and yells every time she sees him sitting in front of her laptop without asking... and yet, he still does it. Personally, I think he actually enjoys the attention. Fucking disfunctional if that's the case, but he's 40 years older, and I'm done arguing long ago.

Sorry. Not much "advice", I know. Real advice I have: focus on productive things. Don't argue if you can't win, whether you're in the right or not, because it is a waste of time. What do you want in life? Focus on that, not other nonsense.


.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.



Last edited by BDF; December 7th 2015 at 07:28 AM.
   
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