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I would like to share more of my life with my mum. I feel it would benefit me personally to open up and listen to her advice and comments, and also benefit our relationship.

The problem is that I never did this growing up, and recent attempts resulted in a sudden vast over-compensation that I could not handle. Hopefully some Inter Personal Skills can allow me to try again, but this time steer the conversation/s in a way that I will be able to share things slowly or at my own pace.

In my recent attempt to share, I had just planned a first date with a girl who I did not know too well, (getting to know each other was the entire point of the date). I figured that if I could share this with my mum at such an early stage, it would serve as a sort of ice breaker, making it easier for me to continue talking about it down the road. So I brought it up, and although a standard first date is not a very big deal, because this was the first time I have ever mentioned something like this to my mum, it was. She asked me a barrage of personal questions, most I did not know the answers to and all of them I felt too awkward to answer. In the end, I ran away like I was still a teenager without telling her a large amount of what I set out to (where I met her, what sort of date it will be ect.)

I still feel like sharing things as early as possible will help make it easier down the road, but now that we have been on the first date I am unsure how to do so while avoiding a similar situation to what happened last time.

Edit: Another way of rephrasing this that might help is "You simply want to steadily share more of your life with your mom. You want to figure out how to start said task. But, incidental to this desire, there are some mannerisms that might be a possible road block." - @BenjaminStarkis

How can I share my personal life with my mum at a rate that I am comfortable doing so?

(Some details about me, mum, our relationship and our culture) We are working middle class in Australia. Family culture is pretty mixed, mostly Irish, English, Kiwi, Australian, Romanian and Maori. It is not a big part of our lives. My mother and I get on well with plenty of mutual understanding and occasional bickering. We live together. (I recently moved back in to be closer to work and save money) It is very obvious that she has always been interested in learning about my life, growing up her embarrassing overreactions led to me never sharing anything personal at all and only recently have I tried to change this.

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She asked me a barrage of personal questions, most I did not know the answers to and all of them I felt too awkward to answer.

Tell her how you feel.

The easiest way to make your interactions with her easier is to tell her that the barrage of questions makes you uncomfortable. Make sure to start you conversation by making it clear that you are making an effort to include her in your life, then you can ask her to make an effort to help you.

Mom, I know you want to be involved in my life more. I want that too, and I'm trying to make a habit of telling you about things going on in my life, but it's really uncomfortable for me to answer all of the questions you ask when I do.

My mother asks me a lot of questions when I tell her personal things. Bringing my concerns to her has always helped us communicate in a way that is better for both of us. It's important to remember that your mother has communication habits that have been built up over her life. With this approach you would be asking her to change those habits, but depending on how long she's been doing them, it could be very difficult for her to change.

So what to do if she keeps asking too many questions?

There are a few options that you can try if your mother isn't able to provide the level of communication that you are looking for.

Option 1 - Change how you communicate

If you try to tell her things in person and then she barrages you with questions, then don't tell her things in person. Other forms of communication, such as text messages, slow down conversation (thus limiting her questions) while also allowing you to be more selective about what you respond to.

Option 2 - Change when you communicate

Pick times to tell her things when there won't be much time for follow up. To use your situation, instead of telling her about the date in advance, tell her right as you are leaving for the date.

By the way Mom, I won't be home for dinner because I'm going on a date with a new girl I met. I'll tell you more about it later.

This approach gives her the promise of more information, but gives the responsibility and control of that to you.

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Transparency about your personal space is paramount

When you share details to your mom, she asks questions at a rate that is uncomfortable and causes the reactions stated in your question. It doesn't seem clear to your mom that it bothers you when she reacts with a barrage of questions when you open up.

I'd say if she questions you at at a rate that makes you uncomfortable, make this known. Your mom does not want to make you uncomfortable on purpose. Tell her that you want to open up, but not feel coerced into doing so. She loves you, but you need your space.

  • I like this answer, it is nice and sweet +1. However, my mum has seen my already fairly transparent reactions first hand and is not clueless by any definition. Although putting it into actual words may help I don't think it will be enough. – Jesse Mar 8 '18 at 4:27
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    Try what feels right to you. What I say might do nothing. But it might do something. Worst that happens is nothing changes. Best that happens is you feel more comfortable with your mom. – isakbob Mar 8 '18 at 4:29
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As kids, parents are active participants in their kids' lives. Once you become adults, they are more spectators. It's harder for some people to switch roles than for others and a lot of it depends on how the parents taught the kids to live as adults.

If she's really intrusive, it may because she still wants a more active role. That's up to you to assert yourself and limit your mother's role to "inactive observer".

As a grownup, you get to determine what you will share and what you won't. When overly personal questions start, I'd first respond with something like "Whoa! When did you open a confessional?" or something absurd to make a joke about it and show that you aren't interested in sharing that detail.

If she persists, then I'd step to "You know, I'm just not comfortable sharing something that personal. Let's talk about..." and change the topic.

Even more importantly, control the conversation. Start by telling her what you want her to know. Don't let yourself get sidetracked. I'd suggest using the telephone first; let her get used to hearing you on the phone (assuming you don't live there...), telling her about what's going on. As a side bonus, if things get out of control, you can always say, "Well, it's been fun but I have to go. Bye!" and hang up.

  • "We live together" - But I still like the point about controlling the conversation, perhaps if you can swap out a new method and/or reason – Jesse Mar 8 '18 at 22:23
  • @jesse I'd still suggest at first using the phone - just do it when you're out and about. "hey, I'm out and about but wanted to touch base with you on this..." Husbands and wives do this all the time. The important thing with this is that YOU control precisely how long the conversation can go on. "sorry, other call coming in. I'll talk to you at home!" and hang up is a great way to break off a lot of personal questions you don't want to answer. Stay out for an hour or so, and she may have mentally moved on by then. – baldPrussian Mar 9 '18 at 20:49
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Don't share everything

I'm not a big believer in sharing your relationship details with your parents.

You need the freedom to become an adult and part of becoming an adult is to become less dependent on your parents and more independent. Additionally, your mother needs to become less dependent on you. She needs to develop a life of her own now that her role of a parent is diminished as you become a responsible adult. This transition needs to eventually happen with every mother child relationship. It is just part of growing up and it is a healthy change. With your description, I'm not sure you two have gone through this change yet but you should.

You don't need your parents permission or opinion on everything you do as an adult. When they ask awkward questions, you need to just let them know they were great parents; they gave your good values and thanks to that you'll figure it out on your own and that they need to trust you.

As you become more of an independent adult you will take some calculated risks (e.g. ask a girl out) and make mistakes (e.g. not every date will go well.) The last thing you want to hear after a date didn't go well, is an analysis from your mother.

Improving communication with your mother

Start by focusing on creating healthy adult communication with your mother about topics other than girls by sticking to life topics like: work, finances, hobbies, health/sports/exercise or even daily hot news politics. Also instead of just sharing your life, ask her about her life. Be supportive of her developing her life outside of taking care of you. Be supportive of her work, hobbies, etc.

If you do eventually get a girlfriend and you want to share. I suggest only sharing things like outings you went on, events your attended together, etc. Never get into feelings or details about your significant other. Keeps those conversations private between you and your significant other.

If you do this well, when you eventually move out and live with your partner, you'll have the foundation to keep the communication going with your mother without it being awkward or intrusive.

Trust me, this will all make sense eventually.

  • My situation is basically the opposite of how you describe. For years I lived alone and the only topics I would talk to my mother about are work, finances, hobbies and general news. I do not need to limit the amount of personal details I share with my mother because currently that amount is none. The whole point of my question is to turn this none into the desired appropriate amount. – Jesse Mar 9 '18 at 7:41
  • I do still think this is solid advice, just better suited towards someone who is young and looking to adapt their relationship with their parents from a very personal and dependent one, to a more adult relationship. – Jesse Mar 9 '18 at 7:55
  • I am unclear what an appropriate amount is. I have an awesome relationship with my mom (and dad) and I never feel the need to overshare my relationship details. I have relationship conversations exclusively with my partner. Isn't that the whole point of haven't a special trust relationship with your partner? – Brian G Mar 9 '18 at 9:28
  • An appropriate amount would be different for different people. In my case it would be enough so that I feel like she is aware of the major personal events that happen in my life or at least so that I feel able to tell them to her if I wanted, but not so much that I feel overloaded by going into unnecessary detail. – Jesse Mar 9 '18 at 10:58
  • The current "amount" is zero and reducing that is redundant, to improve the relationship with my mum I would like to increase it to something above zero, sharing every personal moment of my romantic relationships with my mum is not about to happen and nor would I let it (for similar reasons to what your answer gave). I just want to be able to share at least something – Jesse Mar 9 '18 at 11:12

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