My Parents Are Trying to Control My Life at 25

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.: I am an only child and since I was born my parents have been extremely overprotective. This was a problem throughout high school, because I could never stay out late, sleep over my friends house, go to any parties not even a movie past 11:00pm. This made me an outsider at school. When I went off to college it was still a local school, but my parents allowed me to stay at the dorms. This was the best thing that could ever happen, though I did not go hog wild, I did experience things my parents would never allow me to do. This is also were I met my first serious bf that I dated for over 5 years.

My parents don’t usually let people into there lives, but they let him in and really liked him. Unfortunately, that bf was not the one for me because he was extremely abusive verbally, and emotionally he was never there for me. We were living together for over 3 years, and finally one day I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to move out.

My parents told me to come stay with them, but knowing how overprotective they were I got my own apartment with their help, because they got me the furniture to fill it. I have met a new bf and he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. My parents do not want anything to do with him until we are ” engaged or married”, because they don’t want to get hurt anymore. They don’t even want to give him a chance. I know want to move in with him, and my parents think it is a mistake. I also want to buy a car with him to save some money, and my parents totally flipped out on me. Told me I am making the biggest mistake of my life, threatened to stop paying for my phone bill and end our relationship.

Regardless of this situation, my parents get upset at me every other day for something new. These new occurences range from
1. not visiting them enough
2. not visiting my mom enough when she was in the hospital
3. checking my bank account when I bought her flowers for mothers day ( to see where I bought them, and how much) to get upset that I do not care, and I didn’t take the time to get her a present
4. tell me what to do with my jobs

And the list goes on……

What should I do, I want a good relationship with them, but its their way or the highway

A: At 25, it’s well past time for you to renegotiate your relationship with your parents. I completely understand that they want what’s best for you, and they don’t want you or they themselves to be hurt by another break-up. What they don’t yet understand is that keeping you dependent is keeping you from coming into your own adulthood. What you don’t seem to understand is that you are cooperating with it.

You’ve colluded in this more than you realize. You want your independence yet you let them furnish your apartment. They still pay your phone bill? Really? And somehow they have access to your bank account. You also apparently share information about your jobs with them and discussed your plan to jointly purchase a car. None of this is necessarily the business of the parents of an adult. If you want to be treated as an equal adult, you need to reassess where you are still acting like a dependent teen.

It’s wonderful to have a close, caring relationship with parents, but for you to come into your own you need to take charge of your finances, your responsibilities and your choices. That includes your choice about who to love and how to live your life.

I don’t know how serious your folks are about cutting you off if you don’t give in to their emotional blackmail. You need to decide if you are willing to take the chance. I suspect they don’t want to lose you any more than you want to lose them but people sometimes do hurt themselves and others just to prove some ridiculous point. I hope their love for you is strong enough to tolerate you becoming a grown up.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). My Parents Are Trying to Control My Life at 25. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/29/my-parents-are-trying-to-control-my-life-at-25/