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Relationship Health Message Board

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wow, sunshine, I can sooooooooo relate to you.

My parents were overprotective like yours for my whole life. You don't realize it when you're a very young child, but thinking back now I remember how I wasn't allowed to go over to friends houses unless my parents knew the other parents super well, and even then, 99% of the time my mother wanted us at my house. Then, getting older it turns into not being allowed to go to parties and to the mall with friends, to not being able to drive with friends when they got their licenses, not being able to get a license period, not being allowed at school dances, the list goes on and on. I thought that when I went to college, that things would change because I would be out from under their grasp, and like you, I was wrong. Then it became other ways of keeping me dependent on them. Financially, it was always "we're paying your tuition, we're cosigning your loans", etc. I wasn't allowed to have a credit card, or a car at school. The choir I was in went on a trip to Ireland, which of course they wouldn't help me out with because "they didn't have the money." So when the choir director found a way to pay for me to go, I was given so much misery from my parents, who said it was too dangerous to fly overseas, that I was "brainwashed" by my college friends, all this crazy stuff. I absolutely dreaded coming home after school ended. My first summer after graduating was hell. I had a car (well, technically, it was in my dad's name), but wasn't allowed to drive it anywhere because " I might get hurt, and didn't have any health insurance." I was so depressed, I didn't have a job yet, couldn't go see my friends, was stuck at home where my every move was kept tabs on.

The only thing you can do is take every step possible to no longer be dependent on them. If you have a job, you can pay for your own car and insurance, and cell phone to start with. You can absolutely get a credit card without their permission. With the internet, even if you are unsure how to go about doing things like signing up for a credit card/what to look for to get good rates, you can find out online. I will tell you this--showing them that you have financial independence will go a long, long way. If they can't hold that over you, they will begin to realize that if you are going to stay in their lives, they have to be respectful and treat you like an adult. Without you being dependent on them for money, nothing is stopping you from leaving home, getting out on your own, and if you have a bad relationship, never seeing them again. I firmly believe that this is the only reason that my parents and I have recently begun getting along. I have a job, a fiance, the total means to move out on my own if I wanted. Right now, my fiance and I are house-hunting, and it makes a lot more sense for us not to move out and drain our money on an apartment, so we are both holding out and living at home until we figure everything out with getting a mortgage and finding a house. I would never even consider staying at home if things were the way they used to be with my parents. They have lightened up incredibly, and actually let me live my life, instead of making decisions all for me.

From what you describe, your parents do seem to care about you. Showing them that you don't need them for financial support will not allow them to hold that over you. It will also cause them to realize that if they want to continue to have a relationship with you, they need to do their part to get along with you. It may take awhile, and it may not always be pretty, but I think that you will see an improvement over time if you handle things this way.

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