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I'm chummy and cozy with my brother, but he has very loose lips and can't keep secrets - peradventure because he has genetic disorders? Of course my door is always open to him! Rather, my parents are the issue. If I tell him my home address, he'll let it slip to my parents.

As most of our family still suffer from genetic disorders that can cause developmental disorders, I've decided not to reproduce. If I want kids, I'll adopt.

But my parents still fail to acknowledge this no-brainer! For the past four years, they keep showing up at my house unannounced and claim to be in the area — they pretend to bring gifts, buy groceries for me. Their real motive is to waste a few hours trying again to persuade me to reproduce. What's worse? They regurgitate the same reasons for reproduction that I already rebuffed.

The only stopgap that comes to mind, is not unveiling my new address to my parents. I'm moving in July 2019. My brother agrees with my reasoning on not reproducing, but he's still requesting my address. I'm afraid that I'll upset him or smudge our relationship if I withhold my address from him.

  • Hi Amanda! There are two distinct issues to me, the first thing being your parents trying to convince you to have biological children and the other one being about your brother that you think may not be able to keep a secret. I understand you moved out recently, otherwise your parents would already be there starting to trying to convince you again?(that part is a bit unclear to me). – avazula Jun 24 at 5:42
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    Also, I'm not sure whether we would be able to help you with how to tell your brother not to disclose that information when we do not know anything about him or which genetic disorder he has. In case there is not enough information about your brother to help you with how not to disclose that information without offending him, would it be interesting for you that we try to help you with how to tell your parents you're uncomfortable with them constantly questioning your decision? Because this I'm sure is something we could address. I'll let the other users tell us what they think :) – avazula Jun 24 at 5:45
  • @avazula Hello! "I understand you moved out recently, otherwise your parents would already be there starting to trying to convince you again?" Actually, I moved out 4 years ago, but they still keep dropping by. – Pamela Lee Jun 25 at 7:49
  • @avazula "we try to help you with how to tell your parents you're uncomfortable with them constantly questioning your decision?" Can we focus on this question now? My boyfriend and I have explained way too many times to my parents for the past four years, and they still don't get it. I don't think they will get it if I try again! – Pamela Lee Jun 25 at 7:50
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    Thanks for the reply Amanda. I struggle to understand, your address didn't change over the past four years, and they already went to your place to challenge your decision, right? If I understood right, could you explain why it would be an issue to tell your brother your address (since your parents already know it as they come to your place and dismiss your decision)? – avazula Jun 25 at 7:58
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I love you, and I wish I could give you my address, but our parents harassed me about having children constantly by showing up at my home. It really was very stressful, I don't want to deal with this anymore, and for now that means I'm not giving my address to people close to them. This sadly also means you. I'm sorry, I want to invite you to my home, but right I don't want to risk our parent knowing where I live. I hope to find another solution soon.

I would say something like that to him (you might change something based on the details of your situation). Here are the key parts I'm trying to convey :

Reassure him. Tell him you love and appreciate him, and that under normal circumstances you would have loved to give him your address.

Focus on the real problem, your parents. Again, this reassures him that he is not the issue here. Also, if he isn't aware how pushy your parents have been or how it made you feel, share that with him if you're comfortable. The more he understands where you're coming from, the less likely he'll take this personally.

Try to not mention his specific shortcomings. Instead of saying that you don't specifically trust him, say that you won't give away your address to people who have a high chance to give it to your parents. This again shifts the focus from him to your parents : it's not about him not able to keep a secret, but about your fear of your parents finding out. That's why you have a blanket rule.

This of course only works if you're not sharing your address with other people. If he is the only one you're hiding your address from, try again to shift the issue to your parents : you know how difficult it is to keep a secret from them, how persistent they can be, and you don't want to put him in that position. If he still pushes at that point, only then remind him of the other times he did spill secrets, and that this in addition to everything else means you're not going to share your address.

Say it's temporary. This should make it sting less and make him more patient, knowing that you plan on being able to share your address with him. Again, only say this if true, but I don't think this is a viable long-term solution. When you're ready, I'd advice talking to friends or a psychologist to figure out another way to establish healthy boundaries with your parents (like refusing to let them into your home unannounced).


EDIT : I forgot we have to add personal context now. I don't have a specific example in my life about this kind of issue that comes to mind right now. In general, when I have an issue which is a mix of a specific someone and a situation, if that specific someone has an involuntary impact on that situation I try to reassure them and to keep the focus on the situation. This keeps from things getting personal and avoids unnecessary hurt feelings. Often people still get a bit hurt (you're still at the implying that person did something wrong) but if they understand where you're coming from and don't resent them, it doesn't affect our relationship and once the situation is resolved all is forgotten.

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