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I'm exasperated by the behaviour of my mother and I don't know how to make her stop, please propose some solution... I'm a 21 year old student far from home most of the year, and I'm currently in my summer break at home with my parents. To summarize my mother always has some "compelling" problem or thing she wants to externalize to me. Now, I perfectly understand she doesn't get to see me everyday but she's always been like that, growing up a little less so, but I always had to fight with my teeth and nails to prevent her from snooping around. It's not even about privacy really, it's just that I don't want to see anyone when I'm doing my stuff and it's easy for me to lose concentration. It really gets on my nerves to be interrupted by useless stuff multiple times a day and I feel like my mood & day-to-day relationship with my mother is getting strained by that. Now I never want to see or talk to her which is sad, but she completely crushes the boundary I try to affirm and I feel like I'm 16 again.

I tried to communicate with her and told her everything about how I feel, my desire of being left alone but she's completely ignoring anything I say, it's not like I don't explain myself well enough or she's misunderstanding: she's willingly downplaying and ignoring what I say to her.

I thought about

  1. putting a trap at the door, but I don't want to hit my father who has nothing to do with her behaviour and

  2. putting a barricade but I need some airflow in my room as it's too hot to let it closed and moreover I don't want to keep it shut if there is something really urgent and I can't hear it because of my headphones

So I conclude it's probably better to seek an interpersonal solution that can mitigate or make her behaviour stop, but how do I communicate with someone who's just not listening?

  • 2
    My mother still treats me like that when I visit from abroad and I'm 30 and not a student for a while any longer. I've tried... a lot of things. Now I try to limit my visits to the duration beyond which I know we usually start fighting, and try and cope with it while I'm there. I'd be really interested if anybody has a better idea. – penelope Jul 14 at 11:20
  • @penelope Yeah I think we're not alone here. It would be good to hear some advice... – Cris Jul 15 at 13:25
  • In my experience there was just a point where those visits dont work because I have an independent personality and my mother does too, but still thinks she needs to do all the mothering. Unrelated to the OP's question of how to deal with living there, the issue of visits is for me similar to @penelope - shorter visits. Maybe more phone calls/video chats in the meantime to feel more connected? Ultimately that is what they want. To feel connected. – JenInCode Jul 15 at 19:33
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I have a mother who lived with me for a period of time when I was an adult. It was difficult. She drove me nuts. I feel your pain, for sure. One suggestion I have would be to try explaining that when you are in your room, you may be working, and it would be great if she could "pretend" it was a work day - for example.

Mom, during the hours of XX and YY I will be working on (whatever you're wanting to tell her). It would be so great if you could avoid coming in during those times.

Then, in addition, let her know that you will spend time with her, because that is what she really wants here. She wants to hang out with you. So, try adding:

How about we have (breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea) at xx time and yy time today so we have plenty of time to catch up.

This way you are letting her know you don't hate her, you're just busy but that you value time with her, so you are going to make it.

My mom was super passive-aggressive so for me the only solution was to discontinue sharing a residence. I realize you are a student home only for summer hopefully but it may be a sign you are ready to live independently when you are able, and that is a good thing! She's raised you to be ready for the world.

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The transition of being the parent-of-a-child to being a parent-of-an-adult is tough. Some parents do not make that transition at all, some partially, and some fully.

One way to address the issue is to start with a conversation. Evaluate which parts of your life your mother considers OK (you are being responsible), which parts need improvement (you need help), and which parts need serious help (she does it for you).

Then take the feedback, evaluate each item for its merit, seriously consider whether it is valid or not, and try to talk about why the items are perceived as such, and see if your perspective on those items change her evaluation.

Your basic goal is to see where she is at, and where she can end up. You will have to formulate a course of action based on how receptive she is of your opinions; this gives you an idea of whether things will get better or worse.

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