Overly Controlling Family

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Good afternoon, I am 21 years old youngest of three. My mother had two children before she met my dad. Then she fell in love with my dad then I came along. I come from a very strict Hispanic family. My older siblings being my sister still lives with us, my brother recently got married. I just started my first year in college and Im doing well. But I feel like my family still controls me, when I go out they expect a phone call from the time of my arrival and departure, to who Im with and where Im going.

Im in a relationship but my sister tends to threaten me of ending the relationship, yet I only see my boyfriend a day out of the week, two if we’re lucky. My older sister tends to dominate my mother’s authority sometimes and I believe it’s not fair.

I plan on discussing this issue with my therapist to see what advice she can give me. I also plan on getting a job and moving out soon but my mother has told/ warned me if I leave that the financial support shall be gone. Im scared yet willing to take the risk but I do need help please.

Im willing to provide more information if necessary, thank you and have a good day.

A: I do understand how difficult this is. You want the independence you see other American women your age having at college. But you come from a traditional Hispanic family that is more protective. You want to be able to make your own decisions but it’s hard to cut loose from the financial and emotional support that your family offers. It can look like there is a big cost to whatever you do.

I’m impressed that you are willing to work hard and perhaps move out. That shows courage and strength. I hope it doesn’t have to come to a blowup with your family for you to be with your boyfriend and to pursue your own dreams.

I’m very glad you found a therapist to help you. That’s the person you should be talking to about these issues. She can learn your whole story, where I only have your short letter. She can provide you with ongoing advice and support. I’m sure the two of you can figure out how you can gain more independence and still be connected to the people you love. You may even want to invite them to come to a session or two to help you in the project.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Overly Controlling Family. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/20/overly-controlling-family/