Controlling and Overwhelming Parents

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I am 22 years old going on 23 with controlling parents. My parents aren’t religious but have very strong Mexican beliefs like for example getting married before moving out of the house, men have more freedom because they’re simply men, and the parents are superior to their children so they have no saying in anything.

Anyways, I have never really been a problematic child but I had been bullied up until high school, I had a elementary school teacher that liked to abuse her students verbally which I believe is the root of why I have a learning disability in math, and I had to go though therapy because I have a brother with cerebral palsy and at the age of 6 I couldn’t understand why he was getting all of the attention and I was being pushed aside. Everything was fine until I reached high school. My mom tried to get me to skip high school and go right into college because she had heard “horror stories” of how most kids begin to rebel and spiral out of control. In 10th grade I began to skip class because I was being bullied every now and then and because I did not understand math. Eventually I began skipping other classes, ditching, partying, taking drugs, and sneaking out of my house because my parents simply wouldn’t let me stay out as late as my other friends or whenever I would ask they would make a huge fuss. I did this until I was a senior in high school but I still managed to pass all of my classes, go to Saturday school, intersession, and night school, have more than enough credits but I was not able to get my diploma until 2 years later because I could not pass my math class.

After all this my mom began to guilt trip me for all those times “I messed up my life” and not listening to her. Deep down I felt sorry so I went to a community college and spent all of my time helping her with my brother. Everything was alright I guess until almost 2 years ago when I met my boyfriend. She began getting upset at me for almost anything and everything I did. For wanting to spend time with him, for going over to his house twice a week, for driving there, for him picking me up, him calling me, for wanting to stay out later, for wanting to travel with him, and the one thing that made her loose her mind was for wanting to move out with him eventually before getting married. My mom has managed to stick her nose so much into our relationship that me and my boyfriend are constantly arguing because of her, we’ve broken up a couple of times because of my mom, and he has slowly started coming over to my house less and less all because of my mother. My dad has even hit me for coming home at 2am at the age of 21!

Her belief is that the man should do EVERYTHING in the relationship and if the woman has to do one thing it means that he doesn’t love her enough. Almost everyday she is trying to put ideas in my head like all men are the same they’re good for nothing, don’t give anyone your all because they’ll just turn around and leave, if you move in with him he’s just going to use you for sex because ultimately that’s all men want, so on and so fourth. We are both madly in love and want to eventually get married but my mom doesn’t see that. I don’t know what will become of our relationship because I know I will have to either choose my parents or my boyfriend, being happy with him or keeping my parents happy and me just being miserable. I have tried to talk to her countless times and so has my boyfriend but she just looks down at us. I recently started working to slowly become more independent from her but she still manages to complain about me wanting to go see my boyfriend even when we haven’t seen each other all week. She keeps track of my periods and has blamed me for her rheumatoid arthritis and me not helping her with my brother.

I am desperate for help! She doesn’t seem like she is willing to get help because she thinks its me and not her. Somebody please help me! This is my cry for help!!!!!!!!

A: It sounds like you need to parentectomy. It is time to begin helping yourself by finding work and gaining some independence. This means detaching from your parents. If your father is hitting you and your mother is over-involved in your life — then this isn’t simply a cultural issue, it’s a matter of the situation being abusive and restricted.

Make a plan to have a life independent of them. Start looking toward becoming more independent financially and emotionally as you make plans to have less contact.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jul 2014

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2014). Controlling and Overwhelming Parents. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/15/controlling-and-overwhelming-parents/

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