I moved to a new country (Canada) for university about a year ago. I am doing well in my studies. I'm not so well mentally but that's always been an issue even back home.

My parents often come to visit and want to stay for about 2-3 months (which is a whole semester). Recently, my parents found out about my recent trips to the hospital because of suicide attempts from my land-lady (which I believe is way out of line).

My dad came out of nowhere during my academic term and it messed up that term for me since he wanted to 'spend time' and didn't realize that academic terms are so busy, especially if you're in science or math.

Now my mom is here and she is staying for 3 months. I'm on a co-op term right now. I don't enjoy my parent's company when they are here because they question and hate everything I do.

I am transgender so I started taking hormones about 7 months ago without telling them. They completely disapprove that and blame my suicidal tendencies because of it. They also blame my mental health issues on the fact I am not religious enough.

My mom hates it when I hang out with my friends or stay out late (which I do on the daily when she is not there). Recently, I got a haircut and I love it but, my mom looks at me with disdain and says that she hates it and would love it if I grew out my hair (to be feminine).

I tell her it's time for her to go home and whenever she asks for a reason I tell her that I do not like it whenever they are here because they control my life. I am 21 btw. She still asks for a 'proper' reason and I tell her the same thing. She refuses to acknowledge that she is controlling my life and uses the old line "you're still a baby to us."

She wants to visit again in August but them coming here is driving me nuts to the point where I had a mental breakdown in public and tried to kill myself last week and ended up in the hospital. She does not know about that recent incident.

Question: How do I explain it to them that I really don't like it when they're here and it makes me more mentally upset when they are?

Other details:

I live in a basement which has 2 rooms. I sleep in the lounge/kitchen area on a couch. I do that even when they are not there. Since there are empty rooms they sleep there, on the bed or mattress. They travel all the way from Pakistan, they do not live here. My family follows Islam.

They pay for my tuition. I am earning right now which pays off my books, medication and leisure.


4 Answers 4


It sounds like there's a couple things going on here...

Your parents aren't respecting your transition/gender. And they're not respecting your time and space. It may be a bit easier to separate these issues and focus on the time/space problem if they're openly phobic for religious reasons.

I know that's a crap position to be in, and really crap to have to focus on the time and space problem, but it may help to be pragmatic...

Framing it as a:

Please don't come for such long visits, I really appreciate your interest, but I need to focus on my studies.

Will probably go over better than:

Please don't come for such long visits, you're triggering dysphoria and literally driving me crazy.

Again I know it sucks to have to address it this way. Just trying to get to the desired outcome with a little less friction.

Beyond all that, if you haven't already, try to find yourself a solid support system. A "chosen family" can make the awkwardness and crappiness with your bio-family a little easier to deal with. Having people to turn to when your parents are driving you crazy will help.

Also, if you're able, cutting financial ties can make things much easier. I don't know your situation, but if your parents are paying for your education and/or housing you end up being somewhat stuck with them. Once you're financially independent it's a lot easier to firm up boundaries and simply tell them that they can't drop in uninvited. This was the real reason that my friend celebrated after graduation, she no longer had to put up with her mother's misgendering, dead-naming, and boundary crossing. She was finally free to fully assert herself when her mother could no longer pull strings financially.

Always remember that these are temporary problems, they're very real problems and I know it's awful, but they're temporary. It gets easier.


It looks like your parents care about you deeply, and do all the wrong things with their good intentions. (All the things that you feel are wrong, I mean.) It might help them to give you the space you need if you communicate to them not only where you don't want them (with you in Canada), but also where you do want them (on Skype every so often, for example). You could tell them:

It means a lot to me that you're willing to spend the time and money to come and be in Canada with me, but it would help me more if I could focus on my studies. My studies are important to me - that's what I'm here for, I really appreciate you giving me this chance to be here, so anything that distracts me from that makes me unhappy.

Acknowledge their feelings, without backing away from what you believe in:

I know this is not how a woman would wear her hair in Pakistan / how a student would act in Pakistan / etc., but I am not in Pakistan right now, and this makes me happy, and helps me achieve my goals.

(Leaving aside for the moment the question of when and how you decide to talk to your parents about being Trans.)

No matter how old you are, your parents would still worry about you, care about you, think of you as their little baby. It would help them to let go if they could be sure you'd be fine, and if they'd still have a place in your life. Try to give them that: share with them your successes, what you're proud of having achieved, what your plans and your hopes are. (You don't have to share everything, but give them something.) Share with them little things that are fun or exciting for you: an awesome view you saw, a movie you liked, whatever. Tell them about your friends, and how much those friends mean to you. Your parents want to help you, they want you to be happy and healthy. You just need to guide them along the right path. (Not that this is always easy.) But in the end, you have a common goal. You can even explicitly remind them of it.


I know you have a bunch full of problems and your parents are one of them, but try to see the situation with their eyes at least a little. They are very scared of losing their child.

You left for university (Are you the only child or the youngest? That could make it harder for them.). So they lost all the time they used to spend with you in daily life, you are gone locally.

You attempted suicide multiple times. To them, that means they could lose you forever any second. Without a chance to say goodbye. You have been trying to leave this world. If you succeed there is nothing they can ever change. They cannot make you feel better, they cannot apologize for what they might realize they did wrong. This is final. Of course they do not want that to happen, so what they tried is "setting up a watch". Your dad came to spend time with you (before it is too late, which could be any day, thus "in the middle of the term" does not matter at all to him). He could not "get through" to you, so I guess they decided it is now your mother turn to try to help and her way is not a short visit but "staying there until everything is okay again".

You are in the progress of changing your gender (from female to male, I suppose from the clues in the text, please do not feel offended if I got that wrong). They are losing a daughter. Yes, they are gaining a son, but this is not something they are used to. The feeling of loss is clear to them, while it is unclear what the future brings, what they could gain. I suspect they have not been in contact with any transgenders (as you describe their culture and religion) and they have no idea what else those hormones could do to you. They could as well make you suicidal. After all, people say it is chemicals in your brain that make you suicidal, and you are taking chemicals that alter your body. (I am trying to speak out of their parent's viewpoint, not my own perception of the process.)

They have lost track of your life and they feel like they are not wanted as a part of it. So what are your options? One option that you can try if you want to "regulate" your relationship without cutting all bonds is to let them back in. On your terms. But make amendments.

First of all, without any doubt, get help for your mental health. And explain to them what help you are getting, how often you have therapy sessions, what medication you take. Tell them about the Kung-Fu classes you plan to take up (and take them up). Casually mention how your therapist told you they like your haircut. Explain to them, what the progression into another gender means. What hormones you are taking and what the progressive changes happening will be. What the risks are and how you are in contact with doctors so the progression can go smoothly. If you are ready to put up with some harder discussions, explain to them (again) why you do this. That you still will be their child. That you plan on being a good son for them that they can be proud of.

Right now, all your parents are seeing is that things are getting out of control and you are keeping it secret from them. Get back in control and show them you are in control. They seem to really love you whatever you do. Even though they nag and complain, they are there to try and keep you from attempting suicide again. And of course, they offer their advice, they tell you what in their opinion would make you better. They do not mean harm with that. Show them you are working on getting better. And please, do.

When your relationship improves, it will be much easier to set boundaries on how much you see each other. Right now, they are in emergency mode. Your families "emergency legislation" easily overrides your right to privacy from their point of view.


I tell her it's time for her to go home and whenever she asks for a reason I tell her that I do not like it whenever they are here because they control my life. I am 21 btw. She still asks for a 'proper' reason and I tell her the same thing. She refuses to acknowledge that she is controlling my life and uses the old line "you're still a baby to us."

The problem is that you -are- still a baby to them. You're financially dependent on your parents who pay for your tuition (and perhaps your housing as well?)

If you want to stop seeing your parents, you have to stop taking their money. As long as you keep taking their money, you'll never be able to tell them you no longer want them to visit. Once you are financially independent, you can set your own terms and conditions on when and how you want to meet your parents.

Look at it from your parents' side; you are unable to provide for yourself and they just found out you're suicidal. They have no reason to believe you'll be okay on your own. You are in no real position to make demands about how often they visit, because they'll just consider you unable to make that decision.

PS: Get help for your suicidal tendicies

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.