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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » mom wont let me visit my bf away at college

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Author Topic: mom wont let me visit my bf away at college
kristink8
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My boyfriend and I both live with our parents here in Charleston. In about a week and a half he is going 4 hours away to Clemson for college. He'll be living in a house with 3 other male roommates. (He'll only come down every month or so and on holidays.) I start back the same week and a local college in Charleston. My mom thinks I'm a total prude and I'm embracing her naiveness. The topic of sex is a rare discussion. It's difficult to tell how my mom feels about some things so half the time I don't ask b/c she gets upset and we argue. Recently though she's been rather lenient and allows my bf to come upstairs in my room. Even with the door shut! Even when she's not home! I try to refrain from doing anything sexual with him b/c my mom is just steps away from the door and could easily hear us.
Now, b/c I don't have class on Friday I could easily visit my bf every few weekends. I brought this up to my mom and at first she immediately shot me down. I asked her again later and explained that I have Friday free and that if I didn't get to do this I'd have to go months without seeing him. Now... my mom hates to see me unhappy so she eased up a bit. Only problem is she said there must be at least one other female there. I know his roommates have girlfriends and one of his mates is hardly ever there. I feel like this might not be enough to convince her. She's just so paranoid that it takes me ages to reassure her!

Any ideas on what I could tell her? The whole "I'm an adult thing" is a bunch of crap to my mother. My cord is tightly wrapped around my neck and she doesn't like the idea of letting go so that's no option. (I'm thinking after my first semester I'll get a job and move out. Mom wont like it, but that's my plan and I hopefully will be able to stick to it.)

Thanks! & sorry for the long post. :-/

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Heather
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I kind of feel like the answer to this is one to find with more talking with your Mom.

In other words, it sounds like things got left at maybes in terms of negotiations with this, or at conditions you're not sure are doable for you. Working those things out isn't about any kind of magic Mom-mid-trick statements [Razz] , but about having more of those conversations, I'd say.

So, is where this is left that girlfriend's of your boyfriend's roomies will be there and you're not sure that satisfies what your mother is asking for? if so, have you asked her if it does?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I just read another post of yours and didn't realize you were in college, too.

So, are you over 18, and thus, a legal adult?

If so, then it seems to me that this isn't something you need your mother's permission for in the first place, unless, for instance, she's paying for your school and has put conditions like this on that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kristink8
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I would be more interested in having these conversations with if I didn't already know that she would shoot me down. These days, 90% of our conversations are arguments.
I may ask a question for example, and she'll reply with a heated response so I have to immediately say "forget it". It's too exhausting to fight with her because anything I say to her goes in one ear and out the other. She doesn't listen or consider. She's stubborn.

Yes, I'm 19, but my mom doesn't acknowledge that I'm an adult. She treats me like I'm 12, but also expects me to act like an adult. I feel like I've fallen behind in society because she never pushed me to do anything or be responsible. I don't even have my driver's license! She's not paying for my school or anything like that. The only thing that keeps me from doing what I want is that she'd go nuts if I did. I'm an only child and she has no friends so I basically play her husband, sister, and best friend. I just feel like I can't because she would fall into a panic and call me non-stop and whenever I returned I'd find her falling apart, crying, angry and then I'd be lectured on and off for days. She's very overprotective. I've always said to my friends that if I ever left without telling her she'd probably call the FBI to go out and find me.

This is also why I'm not sure I'd be able to move out. She would want to come with me. And I can just picture her face and what she'd say to me. "Kristin, you'd be to scared to move out. You wouldn't know what to do."
So I'm trapped.

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Heather
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So, you're living at home while going to school?

If so, I don't suppose you two have any kind of real agreements about what that means? Like, if you're not paying rent or for food: what's the deal? Is there an exchange, rules you have to sign unto, etc?

I think you probably already know that it's not remotely healthy for a parent to make a child into all those people and relationships you've listed. When you say she'd go nuts, are you earnestly concerned she'd have some kind of psychotic episode? or do you mean she'd be upset, would call you, and when you got back, you'd feel obligated to take care of her upset rather than her taking care of herself?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Also, probably stating the obvious here, but it sounds like there are WAY bigger issues afoot here than just the matter of you visiting or not visiting your boyfriend. Clearly, this issue with her is a symptom of a larger problem rather than the problem itself.

If you want to talk about dealing with the bigger issues -- which could very well take care of this smaller one -- we can certainly do that with you.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kristink8
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Yes, I live at home. My college is a 15 minute drive away. There's no deal. I just live here like I always have. Like I said before, she treats me like a child. What 12 year old do you know that makes deals with their parents? She's not the kind of person to make me pay rent or anything like that. The only rules I have are to keep my room spotless, do the laundry, wash my dishes, and the unsaid rule is to not rebel, I guess you could say.

She doesn't necessarily see me as all of those people, but when you take a step back and look at my life and how I participate in it, that's generally what it looks like to me.
And she'd be upset. Mainly because she's terrified of losing me. She doesn't have anyone else so I'm who she clings to. The only thing psychotic about her is that I'm pretty sure she's hitting menopause. She's 50. I think she has realized it, but is in denial about it.

Yes, I've known that it's a rather large issue, but I've been putting off dealing with it for some time. It's really just because I feel like I can't win. She thinks I'm incapable of being independent. I also don't really see how I could fight back. Words don't do anything. She doesn't hear me, unless of course I scream and then she starts to cry and I feel exhausted. I don't know what would happen if I left. She would try to find me and if she did she would probably ask to move in. This is because it's not just me and my mom. We also share the house with my 82 year old grandmother(her mother) and my aunt (her sister) who has paranoid schizophrenia and does not take her medication. And the rest of the family is very unwilling to help us. So she hates living here. My mom is jobless also. She gets temp jobs here and there and is a psychic medium and painter, but that's sporadic income and is never even close to enough for the bills. We make ends meet with my grandmother's social security money. My mom also has ulcerative colitis. If she's put under enough stress then she gets flare-ups and becomes sick for weeks at a time. So at her age it's difficult for her to get a job. She feels that with her condition she wouldn't be able to keep a job and I understand that. She's tried, but she is very picky about where she applies. This is why she would most likely try to move in with me. She'd take any chance she could to get away from living here.

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Heather
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Well, it sounds to me like this is bigger than her seeing you as a child, even though I can certainly understand why you feel that way, and that might be part of this. But, to me, this sounds more about...well, *her* being the child in some ways, and about a very codependent relationship, one that at this point likely enables how she is in terms of having you hold all her bags, as it were.

In a healthy parent-child relationship, a parent helps a child or young person develop autotomy, rather than trying to gold them back from it to keep the child with them forever. A parent also has their own relationships, rather than trying to get their child to be their everything.

Obviously, before you could legally leave, it wasn't like you could choose to enable this or not, especially if no other family members were trying to help change this situation. But you are a legal adult now.

So, how can you change it? Well, you mentioned moving out for next semester, and if you're asking my advice, I think that is an excellent idea. You don't have to "fight back" with her ideas you couldn't take care of yourself (which I'm sure you could, especially since you've clearly been taking care of her a lot AND yourself). The proof will be in the pudding, and even if she remains unconvinced, that wouldn't really change the fact of you not living there, know what I mean?

If she did something like show up to your dorm and ask to move in, you could say no. that said, if she did that, I'd strongly suggest seeking out some mental health help for her, because honestly, that's really outer limits, and would be a sign she's got some very serious problems she'd need pro help with.

I assume she has a doctor for her colitis? I don't suppose you have ever considered calling that doctor and asking them to evaluate her mental health? In other words, giving them some information about these dynamics -- like telling a college-aged child they could never take care of themselves, not having boundaries, you not feeling able to move into your adult life because of it -- and seeing if they'll do an evaluation?

For that matter, has your mother not ever looked into support services for caretakers per your aunt and grandmother? There are loads of support groups for people in that position; hospitals and community centers often offer them.

Alternately, have you accessed any counseling services your college might offer around this? A good counselor could help you work through this (including what sounds like a learned codependence that is obviously holding you back and has got to make you feel really horrible about trying to move forward in healthy ways, because this kind of stuff has that impact, and it sucks) and come up with some strategies so that you do not have to live the rest of your life this way and can start moving into your own life, which is what's supposed to happen.

If I can make another suggestion? Maybe some baby steps to some healthy separation. For instance, maybe you just go visit your boyfriend. You tell her you are going. You can offer to call when you get there if that's something you want to do. But then you make clear it isn't okay if she calls the whole time, etc. and you don't answer if she does. I know in this context, that probably seems like a huge step, not a baby one, but in the grand scheme of things, an adult going to spend time nearby with a trusted person for a couple of days without their parent or having to take care of their parent really is quite minor. And for you, it might both be what you want to do anyway, but also a step that can help you start to learn not to enable your Mom and to move forward into your own life AND also something SHE needs to perhaps force her to have to take care of herself and create her own life including with friends, etc. in a way she should have done a very long time ago.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with a family situation like this. This is really freaking hard stuff.

[ 08-08-2012, 08:17 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Also, just in case you weren't being facetious?

quote:
I've always said to my friends that if I ever left without telling her she'd probably call the FBI to go out and find me.
If she did that, they would tell her that chasing down a legal adult when there is no evidence they have been abducted is not their job, and ask her to not abuse the ability to call authorities like that. The police would say the same thing.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kristink8
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Oh yea, I know the authorities would turn her down. I don't think she really would do that, but if I went without responding to her for long enough she would most at least think about calling the police.
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Heather
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I'm about to pack it in for the day, but do you want to talk more about this tomorrow?

I'm happy to, if you do.

For the record, I personally -- rather than just as a professional -- get some of this. I have a parent who has a lot of things wrong, including having been homeless off and on, and who, sometimes in my life, I have provided care for. And when I left for college, I felt SO guilty and so terrified he'd fall apart. The difference is that my father always very much supported my autonomy and was very aware (he had an excellent therapist for years) that any feelings I had of having to take care of him at the expense of my life would be bad for me, him and our relationship, and so he never would have said things like that I was incapable of being without him, or followed me when I made steps for myself. Even during times I have offered again to full-time caretake him, he's declined, mostly because it's pretty much exactly the kind of situation you're in with your mother he is terrified I'd wind up in.

So, different situation, obviously, in a lot of ways, but I also am all too familiar with the kind of feelings that can go along with the dynamics you're talking about and how much they can really strangle the life right out of you sometimes, or potentially squelch the life you want.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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kristink8
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I believe my college counselor made that same suggestion. My mom has doctors, but she never makes visits just because she can't afford to. I'd say she makes visits once a year. If ever I she tells me that she has an appointment coming up I'll see if I can contact her doctor.
As for caretakers we can't really afford one for either. Even if we could I know my grandmother and aunt would object to it. If my mom and I both moved out I know the rest of my family would have to step forward and they would probably find a caretaker for my grandmother. As for my aunt, they may feel less responsible.

Like I mentioned before, I am seeing a counselor provided by my school. I also saw a psychiatrist for a short time earlier this year. They've both have been very helpful in keeping me "sane".

I think I will try going even if she says I can't. I think I'd rather deal with my mom than go without seeing my boyfriend for months at a time when he's just a bus ride away. My only other issue I'd be concerned about would be getting the money to go. My mom isn't going to help me if she doesn't want me to go. I'm guessing I'll just have to save up somehow.

Thanks for all of your help.

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kristink8
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I don't think I have much else to discuss, but thank you for the offer.
Thanks again!

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Heather
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You got it. If you want help making a plan for this or other things come up, feel free to give me a nudge. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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