Are you a “grown-up” who has finished their education, is growing financially and also think you make a reasonable romantic partner?
Are you also the same “grown-up” who still can’t make any major decisions and choices (or maybe even the everyday, minor ones) without the permission of your parents?
Whether it is your career, sexual orientation, who you will marry, when you will marry, whether you’ll marry or not, have kids or not, go on a trip, whether you can drink alcohol, wear that short dress or even who you choose as your friends!
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Are you able to talk about their “controlling” attitude to make things better or you are drowned in guilt and fear and feel perhaps the only solution is to move out of your house? If yes, then, for starters, you are not alone.
The Internet is flooded with stories of adults who admit leading double lives, as they feel that they have no option but to hide their true preferences and experiences from their not-so-understanding parents.
Why do parents control?
It is often hard to understand why your parents will say things like “you are not a kid anymore, act responsibly” or ask you to contribute financially in running the household, while the next moment they will give you zero independence and decision-making power that a responsible and financially growing adult should supposedly have.
The reasons for this ‘control’ can vary from parent to parent, such as not having enough trust in your abilities, unwillingness to let go of taking care of you, fear losing you, trying to raise you as perfect and ideal, or afraid you might make any wrong mistakes like they did in their past.
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Research says submitting won’t help you either
It is great if you are aware of your parents controlling you more than they should and are willing to find peaceful solutions.
A study from University College of London has shown the negative effects that controlling parents can have on their children.
According to the study parents, who are excessively controlling can cause their kids lifelong psychological damage. The study identified controlling parents as those who are invading the child’s privacy, not letting them take their own decisions, and encouraging dependence on parents. Here are some solutions that might help you gain more independence.
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1. Acknowledge the problem
The first step is to acknowledge guilt-free that your parents are controlling or not. As their child ultimately, you might feel guilty for being angry at them, or develop denial to avoid uncomfortable talk. However, it is important for you to figure out clearly whether their actions are a sign of healthy parenting care and expectations, or controlling ones. One such way is whether their actions are hindering your ability to become a self-sufficient adult with self-esteem.
2. Establish boundaries
If talking about controlling behavior does not help, then setting some healthy boundaries can help. Choosing to respectfully make a different choice than your parent’s suggestion/order. It may help to peacefully coexist. If setting boundaries doesn’t work, you might want to take some emotional space and distance that can modify the relationship.
3. Find supportive family members or friends
At a time when your parents feel the most controlling, a grown-up ‘child’ may need trusted outsiders to listen to them and provide support and even advocate on your behalf if needed. It is best to take the help of a family member or friend whom your parent(s) respect.