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I left my mother's home to live on my own 8,5 years ago. Since then, no one in my family has visited me once. Some years ago, my mother even dismissed my idea to visit me when I suggested to do so, I guess because she didn't see any reason if I was the one always taking trips to visit her, or to meet her in my grandma's city.

Now things have changed. My grandma died one month ago, and the funeral will happen in October. My mother is coming to the funeral, and after that, she plans to come to my place for the first time.

This is not the only thing that has changed. The last times I visited her, I noticed how she refused to respect my boundaries, even when I explicitly told her to do so. The heaviest example was when last time she would harass me for days because I didn't want to eat meat (I have become a vegetarian, but I respect other people's choices and I leave them alone), until I got really angry. Then she became sexist, pretending I was that angry because I had my period. After that I began to almost not talk to her, and when I explained her why I'm taking this measure, she was dismissive again, telling me I was either wrong or that she was "concerned", and she didn't do anything wrong at all.

I'm afraid that if she comes to my place, she will again pretend my boundaries don't matter, harass me for my choices, even if I respect hers, or criticize me for how my home looks like (messy, I never managed to tidy up properly, plus I tend to forget my stuff everywhere).

I just don't want to have to fight again for my boundaries to be respected, to only be insulted for standing for my rights. Unfortunately, I have no idea how can I best communicate to her that I just don't want her visiting me, at least in my home. How can I best communicate that?

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    Is she planning to visit because it's a convenient place to stay when she's already traveling for the funeral (in which case you might want to help her find a different place), or is it just "social"? – Em C Aug 25 at 17:12
  • It's social. I don't live too far away from where my grandma lived, so it's sort of convenient for her to use the trip to also come to my city. – DarkPurpleShadow Aug 25 at 18:50
  • Would be satisfactory to meet her somewhere else? Like at a restaurant or a bar? Or do you not want to meet with her at all? – Caroline Aug 27 at 9:10
  • It would be ok to meet her somewhere else like a museum or a park. Since she has issues with my food choices I would prefere to avoid restaurants with her. – DarkPurpleShadow Sep 1 at 13:01
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Well, your home is your private space and it's understandable that you feel vulnerable inviting people, which you don't feel safe with. This does include your mother.

And you have a good reason not to feel safe with her.

If we refer to the western morals, based of one of the Ten commandments: "Honour thy father and thy mother"... You can express gratitude for everything she did for you (thank her for your life for example), but that does not make you obliged to invite her to your place or do whatever she thinks you are obliged to do.

The best and also simplest way to communicate this is just to express how you feel, for example:

Mom, I don't feel like inviting you at this moment. My place is my intimate space and last time we met I felt like my boundaries are not respected.

Do not say anything about her. No judgements, no accussations. Just speak about how you feel. This is one of the best way to get around communication. Providing you actually want to have a good relationship with your mom. You could just make some excuse and avoid the communication. But that wouldn't shift your relationship. If you want it to shift, you need to let her know how you felt.

PS: I taught this from teachings of Teal Swan, she has a lot of material on YouTube in that regard. We were actually doing some practical exercises on this matter and it was really a complete quantum leap for my personal growth.

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Unfortunately, I have no idea how can I best communicate to her that I just don't want her visiting me, at least in my home.

How to communicate is really easy : just say no. What is very complicated is the hidden question : how to make her understand and have her behave reasonably. That is very tricky, and honestly not up to you. You have the power to be very clear, to set your boundaries and to enforce them. You can't force your mother yo be happy about them or to not fight back.

From experience, the best way to handle the kind of person your mother seems to be is to not argue with them to begin with. No is a full answer. Don't give her reasons why, this will only make her argue with you, as I'm sure you've experienced when having a "conversation" about your dietary choices.

You won't be able to stay with me, you'll have to stay elsewhere. Do you want me to look a hotel up for you ?

She'll push back, she'll ask why and she'll probably insult you. Don't let her rope you in in this argument, refuse to participate.

I'm sorry, it's just not possible for me. Do you want my help finding something or should we talk about something else ?

You can also leave the conversation when it becomes too much. Either by trying to change the subject, or by just stop talking to her. Hang up the phone, leave the room,... you're not obligated to hear her out until she releases you.

We're going around in circles now. I won't be able to have you stay with me, that won't change no matter how much you argue with me or insult me. If you can't accept that and talk to me respectfully, I'm hanging up.

I would really recommend reading some books or articles about how to set boundaries, since your mother seems to be someone pushy and unreasonable. Those should help you being able to have a relationship with her where you don't bow to her wishes and retain your sanity in her presence. Here are a couple :

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While it might be 'nice' to have your mother visit you, your description indicates already that you're setting yourself up for failure. I'm describing the known concept of subconscious self-sabotage. This escalates the situation by making you a contributor as well, knowingly or not.

Unless there's is a specific reason mother needs to visit your home, maybe not exposing her to that triggering situation is best for both of you.

how can I best communicate to her that I just don't want her visiting me, at least in my home

The simplest solution is just don't. Don't invite her home and don't even mention your home.

If (though most likely when) she asks, recite your prepared statement (a tactic I frequently use) about why doing whatever else you've planned is so much better. The truthfulness of this statement is entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable saying.

Please understand, your situation is in no way unique or special and most probably, you didn't cause this. Parents disapproving of children's life choices is very, very common and often forces accepting some uncomfortable things. "You are waiting for them to be the people they should be -- irony alert, just as they're doing with you"


References:

From How to reassure my boyfriend: Very often, I know someone is waiting for a some kind of update, this happens frequently in personal and professional settings. What I do is prepare a statement that will, hopefully, satisfy their expectations without leading to discussion or further questions.

  • I'm affraid that there is a little misunderstanding here. While it's true I tried to invite her once, this happened like 3 years ago, and then it would have been ok for me. Now she is basically inviting herself. I'm also not sure if I understand what you mean with "setting yourself up for failure". Do you mean that the visit will probably be stressfull beacuse I expect it to be stressfull? – DarkPurpleShadow Sep 1 at 13:10

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