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    Old 06-05-2006, 09:43 PM   #1
    sunshine1984
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    very controlling parents

    hi guys, i've lurked the boards for a long time but never actually posted. However, I now have a pretty big problem that I don't know how to handle. It doesn't have to do with a romantic relationship, but instead a relationship with my parents.

    I am 22 years old, the only child, and female. I will graduate from college in 5 days. My parents have been very overprotective my whole life, but it goes even further than that. I feel that I am completely under their thumb because of their manipulation, and I am afraid that our relationship is close to being completely destroyed because of my angry feelings for them.

    When I was in high school, my parents would compare me to my friends and my mother would do things like cry if I didn't get into the National Honor Society (I missed it by four hundredths of a point). When it came time to go to college, I decided that I really wanted to look into music therapy as a major because I am very musical and I love to help people. However, to my parents, this wasn't an option, and they informed me that they would not be paying for my college if I chose this major. Since I figured that it was my life and my career, I offered to help pay for it, but they told me it would be absolutely impossible to get a loan because not only would no one actually give me one, but if they did it would require a co-signer, and if any of my grandparents co-signed they would never talk to them again. Reluctantly I applied to the journalism school at a state university and am about to graduate with a bachelor's degree. Throughout college, the quarters that I didn't make the dean's list, my mom would send me newspaper clippings of my friends that did and highlight their names. When my mother realized that I would only be starting out with a salary of about $26,000, she commented that "I should have done music therapy." She said this jokingly, but I found myself very angry by her comment and her previous actions.

    Earlier this month, my mother was calling me every day after scouring job-search updates, and then calling me to make sure i applied to those companies. she would read my school newsletter and call me reminding me to go to certain job-hunting events. it was like she wanted some credit for any job I got so she could hold it over my head. After awhile, I applied and got offered a paid internship on my own. Instead of taking the internship, my mother advised me to "live at home and waitress for awhile," and later admitted that she just wanted me to stay at home. I get the feeling that they are absolutely terrified of me making my own decisions and becoming financially independent. I have not been allowed to have a credit card and when the discussion came up, they responded with a firm "no" without talking about it. It just wasn't an option. I am leaving college with absolutely no credit built up, which scares me. Since it has never been an option or barely ever discussed, I am completely in the dark about how to apply for one or what to look for.

    These are just a few examples, but I really feel like my parents are using financial means to manipulate me. I realize that I am very lucky that my parents pay for everything, but they are also very controlling and my entire life has been changed because "they are paying for it." They constantly remind me of what a financial strain college is for them, which I can appreciate, but I OFFERED TO PAY FOR IT WITH LOANS and they refused to let me because they didn't want me to be a music therapist. Anyways, I have really been looking forward to next Saturday because I thought I would finally be out from underneath my parents, but it turns out that isn't the case. When I brought up the idea of going to the beach with my boyfriend and his family next week, my father refused to discuss it further than saying "no, you are not going, and if you disobey me you will be paying for your own car insurance and cell phone." Which is FINE with me, I would PREFER to pay for my own things, but I don't even know how to go about switching over car insurance and cell phone bills to my name. I feel like my parents have left me in the dark about this because they want me to have to depend on them for things like this, so that they can keep making decisions and justify them by saying "well, we pay for this, we paid for this, etc." I feel like the beach thing is the last straw, because it is a harmless beach trip for one week, my last chance to spend time with my boyfriend before we transition into a long-distance relationship for at least a year. It's not even about going to the beach, it's about being able to make my own decisions as an adult, but it seems that I am not allowed to do that. If I try to talk to them about this, they refuse to listen to me...trust me, I've tried. The sad thing is, the issues I have mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg with them. I find myself growing angrier and angrier with them every day for trying to control every aspect of my life.

    I hope I don't sound like a spoiled brat here, because I know that I am VERY lucky that I have financial support. However, I feel like I am paying very much for that support by sacrificing my own life decisions. Any advice on how to handle this?

    P.S. sorry this is so long.

     
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    Old 06-06-2006, 05:22 AM   #2
    StenoLady1
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    Re: very controlling parents

    Well, to address two specific things you mentioned, car insurance and cell phone, it's easy to switch. Call your insurance company, as well as others to compare rates, and let your own insurance company know you'd like to be on your own policy, not your parents', and ask for a quote. Have a sheet of paper and a pen handy and write down everything all the companies say. Important questions are specifically what's covered and what's not, what your deductible is, and what the limit of your PIP benefits are -- usually it's 10K for medical.

    Cell phone is basically the same. Cell phone shopping is fun, since most of the companies give you a phone for free if you're a new customer. It gets a little trickier later after you're an established customer and have signed a contract. Make sure to ask how long you're tied in to your contract. If you've been satisfied with the service of the provider your parents pay for, I'd start with them and see what deals they have.

    I think you should be able to see your boyfriend based on what you wrote. You're graduating from college, obviously have a good head on your shoulders, you're going with his family to the beach -- not Amsterdam with his college buddies to explore the Red Light District and hash bars! At some point, you will end up "going against your parents wishes," on an issue. It's up to you whether this is going to be the one.

    Eventually you will need to find a way to express your feelings to your parents in a way they can understand. I'm not saying you haven't tried talking to them -- I'm sure you have. But it's just not reaching them.

    FWIW, my grandmother was the same way with my mother. My g-ma was rich, and my mother was a struggling single parent. G-ma always held money over my mother's head and what she'd paid for. Very, very manipulative. My mom always said, "She'll break off her arm and give it to you, but she'll beat you with it 1,000 times before it's actually yours." There was no physical abuse by that statement...just constant reminders of what g-ma paid for and what she's entitled to in some weird way.

    What helped my mother the most was talking to a shrink about ways to deal with it. She didn't look for a shrink. Our neighbor happened to be one years ago at a place we lived, and they became very good friends. I'm sure money's tight for you being a new grad and all, but possibly there's someone you could speak to at your college in the psych department you'd feel good about or a counselor with student affairs/guidance.

    Keep in mind, your parents will be your parents for an awful long time. Today it's college-type decisions. Next month it might be finding an apartment for yourself. Next year, it might be wedding plans, then children. You're going to have to figure out a way to speak to them in terms they can understand, or you'll need to develop your own mental tools to just deal with the way they are and take it with a grain of salt.

    They've obviously done a wonderful job of raising you. I hope they give you the opportunity to shine on your own and make them even more proud of their daughter.

    Best of Luck

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 09:20 AM   #3
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    Re: very controlling parents

    You know my mother is the same way. I was 21 and had a cell phone she would take it away saying I talked to my now fiance too much. But I paid the bill! So my fiance and I got our own plan under his name. Still she tried taking it from me, which really upset my fiance because he paid for it.. and we were paying the bill.

    If you look at my post about problems with parents it shows how bad her behavior got towards me. This is the 2nd or 3rd time I have been black-sheeped. First when I moved out... then last spring we fought, last summer, last fall and now I am officially no longer her daughter.

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 10:52 AM   #4
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    Re: very controlling parents

    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.

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 01:32 PM   #5
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    Re: very controlling parents

    I feel for you because I too have felt manipulated by money given/loaned by my mother. A wise person once told me something and I will probably never forget these words........if you take their money, you have to take their craap.

    parents, partners, whoever......

    I agree, get your own cell phone svc, car insurance, etc.

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 01:58 PM   #6
    sunshine1984
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    Re: very controlling parents

    Thank you for your replies.

    I agree that it would be best for me to get out from under them financially. The main problem is, right now, I don't have the means to. Is it possible to get a loan for a 22 year old fresh out of college with no credit? My parents have told me that it is, but I have a feeling that this is another one of their lies so that I have to rely on them for money.

    I know my parents care about me. The problem is, they have major tunnel vision and if my major (even MINOR) life decisions aren't in line with their vision for me, they refuse to see things my way. For years I have thought that they were just trying to do what is best for me, but looking back on it, if they wanted what is best for me, they would have let me have some say in the decisions in my life. It's like they want a robot instead of a daughter. They think I am not mature enough to handle my own decisions and don't trust me to take care of anything. Last year, when I needed an internship at an advertising agency (this is the field I am going into, and it is impossible to get a decent job coming out of school without an internship at a reputable agency), my parents refused to believe me that I needed one and tried to get me to stay at home and work at the truck factory where my dad works. I explained it to them over and over again that although the factory would be more profitable for me, in the long run I needed an internship to further my career. They refused to listen to me and instead CALLED MY COLLEGE ADVISOR, who told them the same thing I did. I was extremely embarassed that my parents called my college because they didn't believe that I was smart enough to make the right decision about this.

    I have already been looking at sublet apartments in the city that I may get the internship in, and I am really getting the urge to just handle the whole thing myself (as in, drive there by myself, tour the apartment by myself, and pay the rent by myself) but I am afraid of what might happen if I do this--both with my parents, and financially. My parents have taught me to believe that I should never have to take out a loan or be in debt EVER, and I don't even know how to go about making these financial changes without their help. I might be in way over my head here.

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 02:48 PM   #7
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    Re: very controlling parents

    angel_light, I just wanted to say that I read your other post and it is terrible what happened with you and your mother. It sounds like you need to remove yourself from her, at least for the time being. Hopefully in the future she grows up and realizes the wonderful relationship she lost with her daughter.

    Last edited by ohiogal23; 06-06-2006 at 06:02 PM.

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 02:53 PM   #8
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    Re: very controlling parents

    go to visa dot com. You can get a credit card as soon as you are 18. If you have a job, at 22, you will easily qualify. Call your parents and ask them to cancel your car insurance and call State Farm, or Geiko, or any other insurance agency and sign up with your own name for a new list. Tell your parents to cancel the cell phone as you will be signing up for your own contract then call verizon, or singular or whoever and sign up! You can definitely do this. It's really not as overwhelming or scary as it may seem having never done these things before, but it's okay to ask a million questions while you learn. Work with friends who have dealt with these responsibilities before and get some tips.

    Letting them continue to keep you in debt to them in some way (ie: financially) is definitely keeping their hold over you. The first part is to definitely break away. You are 22 years old, and graduating from college. You do not need your mom or dad telling you when you can and can't see your boyfriend! You are an adult and it's high time they start respecting that... I know it's not easy but you should let them know this is destroying your relationship with them...

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 02:56 PM   #9
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    Re: very controlling parents

    Sorry I just read your additional post...

    Do you have a paying job? Will the internship pay you? You can get a loan if you have a job - period. You can get a credit card as well when you have a job. It may take a little bit of debt to start your life on your own - but that is completely normal for most graduating college students (ie: they have student loan debts). Obviously you can't pull this off without some sort of income, but I assume you'll be making money right? Find a place where you can live with roommates to save on money, does your school have free financial counsel? some places do, that might another option! Even talking to an enonomy teacher could help...

     
    Old 06-07-2006, 08:41 AM   #10
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    Re: very controlling parents

    Sunshine, unfortunately it sounds like your parents are talking out of both sides of their mouths. Of course they care about you, they're your parents. But it's like they take care of you and then they hold it over you. They'll pay for your college as long as you go along with their decisions. They'll pay for your phone, as long as you don't talk to people they disapprove of. They force you to major in what THEY want you to major in, but then when they realize your starting salary doesn't meet their standards, they doubleback and say half-seriously, "Gosh, yeah, maybe you should have majored in what you wanted to major in."

    They sound incredibly controlling and manipulative, and not just financially. They have high expectations and when you don't meet them they act out, when what they really should be doing is loving you for who you are and all your amazing accomplishments (and you sound like you've given them lots to be proud of)

    My guess is you are their only child and they have put all their energy on you and they are having a difficult time letting go of you - and their control over you. If you leave, what will they have left to focus on?

    You need to slowly pull away from them so they don't have things to hold over your head. Certainly financially, try to make your way alone so you don't have to depend on them. Look into credit card companies, Capital One is good also. But my advice about the credit is - look at it as a way to get good financial standing in the world, not as a way to pay for things. You are doing it to establish credit, not as a way to pay for that new Ipod. If you view it as "free money" without having the means to pay for things you will be up a creek. Just my two cents from someone who's been there.

    On an emotional level, you need to find a way to establish your freedom. You don't have to go all James Dean rebellious on them, you just need to show and prove that you are becoming an adult and you can handle your life just fine by yourself. My guess is this will irritate them to no end but the more you don't need to depend on them there will be nothing they can do about it. They'll just have to suck it up and deal with the fact that their little girl is growing up.

     
    Old 06-07-2006, 10:37 AM   #11
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    Re: very controlling parents

    When I turned 18 i went and got a CC from the Bon Marche. It was harder to get a major credit card from Visa and Mastercard...they wanted a secure line of credit, which is a good option also if you want to build up your credit. You dont want to max out your bon card but you do want to make payments on it. It shows that you are responsible in making payments and it looks good on your credit. Anyways I got a couple more departments store cards and then a capital one card. I now have really good credit and I am 24. I bought my house by myself and car, etc. The one problem I have now though is that my debt to income ratio is high, so I would advise you to limit the amount of CC you get...I think I went overboard. So now, slowly I am closing some of my CC. But the Bon is a good one to start out with because they are willing to give a cc to people with no credit...good luck and make those payments on time and you will build up credit faster then you realize.
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    Last edited by mrzshorty; 06-07-2006 at 10:39 AM.

     
    Old 06-07-2006, 10:53 AM   #12
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    Re: very controlling parents

    My parents never manipulated me with finances, but my father was VERY in control of my money. I really think it helped in some ways, and did me a disservice in some ways. Like you, my parents paid for my undergrad. Like you, I did not get a credit card until I graduated college. My father would take my waitressing earnings at the end of each summer and invest them for me, leaving me an allowance for during the school year. My father did my taxes, FAFSAs, car insurance, etc. I never got a credit card. When i finally tried to get one, at 23, it was a huge pain b/c i had so much student debt (from law school). My father finally had to co-sign for a $1,000 credit card loan! And I was more than halfway to being a lawyer!!!

    First things first: debt is a way of life. Many types of debt are actually helpful to you--student loans, mortgages, etc. They can help you get tax breaks and such. No debt is bad debt unless you aren't paying your bills. Even credit card debt, when kept under control, gives you a credit history and, if you're lucky, airline miles!

    YOU NEED TO STOP LETTING YOUR PARENTS PAY FOR THINGS. That's just the way it is. Your parents may be manipulating you, but you're letting them by taking unpaid internships, etc. Waitress on the weekends, if you have to. Your parents won't be able to see you as an adult (and you won't feel like one) until you're financially independent. Your ego demands it.

     
    Old 06-07-2006, 11:05 AM   #13
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    Re: very controlling parents

    I also believe that it's never a good idea to be in debt, but sometimes you need to invest in yourself. For instance, I'm probably going to have to borrow money for law school, but an Ivy League law degree will pay for itself in time, so I think it's a smart investment. Don't be afraid to borrow some money to get where you need to get in life. You sound like a really smart, responsible, mature young woman, and I really doubt that you'll get into trouble spending money you don't have on stupid stuff and getting into lots of debt. Some debt is ok, most people owe money on mortgages and student loans even if they aren't dumb about running up credit card bills etc. Anyway I admire you for being so independent and I really hope everything works out well for you. Try not to be overwhelmed, just take baby steps toward being on your own and having the life you want. And don't be afraid to ask smart people for advice/help like professors, college advisors, friends, and even people who work for banks/insurance companies/loan companies. Most people are happy to help when you are asking for advice and not money! Try not to listen to your parents too much and to get away from them as soon as you are able; it sounds like they want to hold you back and keep you dependent, and so hopefully other influences/sources of advice will prove more valuable and influential for you.

     
    Old 06-07-2006, 01:39 PM   #14
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    Re: very controlling parents

    I also want to reclarify that I don't think it's as much a money issue as much as an emotional one - but they find that USING the money to hold over your head and control you is powerful stuff. I think that is the only way they know how to be able to pull the puppet strings and get you to do what they want. But what is going inside their heads seems to me to be much more about emotional conflict. They seem to have emotional issues with dealing with your growing up, and they find that being in control of your finances is a great way to maintain control over and keep you "their little girl."

     
    Old 06-08-2006, 10:06 AM   #15
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    Re: very controlling parents

    Sunshine,

    I sound like a broken record, but could your mother by any chance have Borderline Personality Disorder? If you look it up and read the description, you can see whether or not it fits her. If it does, check out Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder (Paperback) by Paul T. Mason, Randi Kreger.

    It's a good book, and under 11 bucks where I saw it on-line (just checked). It will provide guidance to help you deal (ie. set boundaries) with your mother.

    wb

     
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