parents cross boundaries too much

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2011
parents cross boundaries too much
12
Tue, 11-22-2011 - 7:30pm

I'm in my mid-30s and although I'm in a 3-year serious relationship I'm very happy with, my parents simply cannot stop asking me when I'm getting married. They have always considered our family "close-knit," assuming that their children have no reason to be uncomfortable talking to them about anything. The truth is, I don't like to talk to them about my personal life. However, my father in particular feels that if I cannot give him answers to his questions about my relationship-- when are you getting married? Has he talked about it? Have you brought up marriage? Why not? You're not getting younger, do you realize that?--then there is something terribly WRONG. I've tried to tell him nicely that it's none of his business, but he just shrugs off my words and says, "you're my daughter therefore you are my business." It makes me feel like I'm his property, not his daughter. He calls me once a week and because we live in the same city, he asks me to meet for lunch, but those lunches end up turning into grilling sessions. I no longer want to meet up with him. The last time we spoke he told me I'm going to end up becoming an old maid. What a wonderful thing to hear from one's father, no? Honestly, it all just makes me want to pull away from him, and my mother doesn't help much either. She's all up in my business too. Most of them time whenever I talk with them on the phone both of them get on the call and start yelling at me about my age and that I should dump my boyfriend.

I don't know what to do anymore. I know some might say, they're your parents, they're getting older, that's just how they are and they love you, but quite frankly, I'm sick of it and I'm sick of their lack of respect for personal boundaries.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 3:31am

So, just stop talking to them about your personal life.

Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 4:29am

" I've tried to tell him nicely that it's none of his business, but he just shrugs off my words"

Then maybe it time to tell him not-so-nicely. They are crossing boundaries because you ALLOW them to. Be calm and respectful but firm and direct: "Dad, I'm not comfortable talking to you about this and I'd really appreciate it if you would stop bringing it up because I'm not going to answer your questions anyway. It doesn't make me enjoy our time together which is sad because when you're not grilling me over this, I love being with you."

Perhaps even tell him that the way he talks about it makes you feel like you're his property... that should be a major wake up call. I don't think he means it that way, he just means that you're his daughter and therefore he cares about you and wants to see you happily married. He's probably just not expressing that very well.

If he still carries on after you've been direct about how you feel, just say to him (in the short term) "I've told you I'm not going to talk about that". Long term, just stop meeting him for lunch. I'm not saying kick him out of your life completely - but reduce your time together and maybe it will finally sink in that his behavior on this is actually driving you away from him. I know some people find it hard to stand up to their parents because they still view their parents as authority figures. But you're an adult in her mid-30s - if you want them to respect your boundaries YOU have to lay those boundaries down, loud and clear.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2011
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 8:21am

Thanks for your replies. Unfortunately, I've already gone the "avoid them" route. As a result my mother declared that she finds it disrespectful that I don't visit them more often (I've asked them to come see me because I have gone to their place more than they've come to mine.) I've told them nicely that I don't always enjoy going to see them but they just give me blank stares and say I'm ungrateful. And when I've declined my father's invitations to meet him for lunch, he just keeps asking to pin down a date to meet. When I met him the other day and he started in on my business, I asked him if this is really what he wanted to meet me to discuss. He said, "yes, we're talking about it, tough if you don't like it." I really wanted to just walk out of the restaurant.

(BTW, I recently did ask my boyfriend flat-out when we're getting married and let him know the importance of it to me. He said soon. I'm going to see what happens this holiday season. If nothing happens, then I do need to move on, but not according to my parents' timeframe. It's sad, but it seems that in this world, especially from the parent's POV, a woman is still judged by whether or not she is married, regardless of her education, career success, owning a home, involvement in her community, rich friendships, etc. Men are bachelors who decide if and when marriage is for them, women are unwanted, bitter old maids.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 9:55am
No! I disagree with your thoughts on old maid-dom. If you think this and you're only in your mid 30's this is on you. I'm 52 years old and never married and I'm far from an old maid and I refuse to even think that way. It's all how you perceive yourself.

My thoughts on this is.....that moment when you're at lunch with your Dad and he starts in and you THOUGHT to get up and leave would have been perfect if YOU GOT UP AND LEFT. Show them you're serious. This is about power and manipulation and you continue to surrender the power to them. Gain it back. Be stern. Be strong. Be the woman you desire to be and not your parent's little girl.

San
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2008
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 11:08am
Oh hun I know exactly what you feel like! I have dealt with so much with my family the past four years bc of not being married! My mom has ran her mouth so many times about me needing to "grow up" bc I don't have a ring on my finger! Even going passed the point of convincing my younger sister that she's so much more mature bc she has a ring on her finger! Mind you she's 23 and Mom won't let her go to Walmart alone! Here I am been out of the house since I was 19 supported myself with two jobs for the past 9 years...also paying my parents first mortgage when they moved into their new house when I was 20.. I'm sick of it!! Bc of so much going on between my family I have chosen not to spend the holidays with them...I'm distancing myself....bc I am tired of dealing with hippocrates
Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 11:32am
"Thanks for your replies. Unfortunately, I've already gone the "avoid them" route. As a result my mother declared that she finds it disrespectful that I don't visit them more often (I've asked them to come see me because I have gone to their place more than they've come to mine.) I've told them nicely that I don't always enjoy going to see them but they just give me blank stares and say I'm ungrateful."

So? Let her find it disrespectful and ungrateful. What she's doing is called emotional blackmail. You're allowing her to have power over you by caring so much what she thinks or says about you. That's understandable, she's your mom... we all want our parent's approval. But there's comes a point when you have to put your overall emotional well being before your need for approval. Will it cause relationship problems between you? Probably. But if you want them to respect your boundaries, that's a risk you're going to have to take. If you're not prepared to do that, there's no other advice I can give you.

"And when I've declined my father's invitations to meet him for lunch, he just keeps asking to pin down a date to meet."

So keep telling him you're busy.

"When I met him the other day and he started in on my business, I asked him if this is really what he wanted to meet me to discuss. He said, "yes, we're talking about it, tough if you don't like it." I really wanted to just walk out of the restaurant."

Then you should have walked out. Show him that you refuse to spend time with him if he insists on spending that time talking about something you've made clear you're not comfortable with.

You're allowing your parents to treat you as though you are still a child. You don't have an adult relationship with them, you still have a strong parent-child relationship with them. And until YOU make it clear that it's not going to be that way anymore, he will continue to treat you like a child. You're an adult and you don't have to discuss something with anyone if it makes you comfortable - make it clear you simply won't discuss it - if he asks about it, remind him "I told you I won't discuss this anymore". Tough if HE doesn't like it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2002
Wed, 11-23-2011 - 2:22pm

I would probably cut them off at the pass.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2005
Fri, 11-25-2011 - 7:32pm
Your parents sound horriable. I agree with everyone else: If they start in on you in a resturant then WALK OUT.

If they give you crap when on the phone then tell them to lay off. If they continue then tell them you are not having it and say goodbye and hang up.

You are not a child. Too bad they have to act like children themselves.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2008
Sat, 11-26-2011 - 3:47pm

OK so, don't listen to anybody else's advice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2005
Sat, 11-26-2011 - 9:26pm

I didn't mean in my earlier post that you should

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