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The Over-Controlled Adult Child

When I was little, I had a child's pocketbook story that illustrated, in soft pastels, the fruits of the Spirit. I could recite them in thirds like a clumsy waltz: "Love, joy, peace. Long-suffering, kindness, goodness. Faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Mom, what is long-suffering?" I kept these fruits close and studied them, for they were the marks of good Christians and mature people. 
source
     Patience was my nemesis. "Help me to be patient and kind!" I mourned daily, prayerfully. As the oldest, I regret how often I bossed my siblings and acted without love and gentleness. I didn't struggle with lack of faithfulness much; I was very loyal to others and while I might have felt unfaithful if I only read my Bible once per day, I placed the highest priority on my time in Scripture.  My love for Jesus and desire to be found faithful drove me to invest in my spirituality.
     But without a doubt, the most challenging fruit was self-control. It covered everything about me ~ watch what filled my mind, guard my thoughts, don't eat too much, don't overreact, watch what I say, exercise, and so forth. And as I grew, my concerned parents were careful to shelter me according to their best judgment from negative influences, ungodliness, the "world", and anything detrimental. Their control ~ of me, my environment, and my spiritual and psychological growth ~ was the result of careful consideration and their understanding of Scripture and righteousness.

The adult child
     The onset of adulthood is a convoluted subject within many conservative Christian homes. The legal age of 18 doesn't always carry weight for those concerned with being "not of the world." Yet as children mature and reach adulthood, healthy parents will relinquish the control they assume upon their offspring and trust them to God. However, as we see all-too-frequently within authoritarian households, excessive control upon adult children creates serious stumbling blocks that must be removed before we can continue to become spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy and mature.
     Within Christian parenting, an oft-quoted Scripture is found in Proverbs 22. "Train up a child in the way he should go," says verse 6, "and when he is old he will not depart from it." How this is done varies from family to family ~ rightfully so ~ and should even vary from child to child. But there is another passage with similar wording that caught my attention recently. God, the ultimate Parent, speaks to us:  
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you." (Ps. 32:8-9) 
The only way we can fully be open to His instruction, teaching, and personal guidance is to be self-controlled. Essentially this means not harnessed by any other person. With deep respect for parents trying to get it right, this also means that when we as adults are under the control of our parents, we are not fully submitted to God. And as long as we aren't wholly submitted to our heavenly Father, as long as we look to someone else, rather than the Holy Spirit, to instruct and teach us, our hearts will be divided. 
"But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ." (Matthew 23:8-10)
Parental over-control
     Unfortunately, many Christian parents treat their adult children as though they must be harnessed with bit and bridle so that they will "come near you" ~ do what they want, meet their needs or ideals, achieve performance and desired behavior. In their zeal for producing godly offspring, many well-meaning parents insert themselves in their adult children's lives in ways that are deeply inappropriate and hinders them from growth and maturity.
     Addressing the effects of this does not mean they are inherently bad parents or that we aren't loving or loved. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Healing from over-control and surrendering to the transformation of the Holy Spirit in our lives is crucial to our growth ~ because it is when we walk in the Spirit that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Our parents (or pastors, husband, and friends for that matter) cannot walk in the Spirit for us.
      Please join me next week for my new series about control.

Question for you:
     As an adult, perhaps even married with a family of your own, what areas of your life are still controlled by your parents? Physical control is what we think of most, but what about emotional control? Mind control? How does this affect your thinking, your living, your decisions, emotions, your significant relationships? This isn't to cast blame or to find fault, but to identify the areas of our lives that need to be healed and placed in order for God's glory.

Note: adult children from controlling households know the difference between over-control and simply "not getting their way." Comments that accuse or somehow suggest that the child is merely rebellious or restricted  or prohibited from doing "what they want" are not helpful or edifying and will be deleted.

25 comments:

  1. Thank you, Hillary...

    "Be patient, be patient!" is a mantra of most Christian mothers of little ones. "Be loving, be joyful..."

    But I have found such FREEDOM in learning that these beautiful fruits are all from one Spirit, and even called by a singular, Fruit of the Spirit. To have them produced in me is to simply allow Him to do the work in me as I abide in Him.

    Such a great place to rest!

    As for my parents, they don't try to control anything about me except whether my kids do soccer or not! :)

    Thanks again for working so hard on your blog. It's refreshing, eye-opening, and meeting many needs.

    Resting in Him,
    Karen

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  2. Thank you so much for this, Hillary. I have struggled greatly in the area of self-control since leaving home, especially in regards to how I use my time. It's not that I don't desire to be efficient, but that I just feel overwhelmed and at a loss as to how to go about it. There are other factors too (health, children, general life craziness) but I cry often because I don't feel like I have adult-like tools to manage my time and family, and I don't like the results. I've felt confused because I grew up in a very disciplined family and had no problem with discipline when I was still at home, so I feel like I "should" know how to do this.

    Your post brought so much clarity. I have known that my parents were over-controlling (they felt free to decide when I went to bed, how I wore my hair, my clothing choices, and severely limited friendships even when I was in my 20's and engaged to be married, just for a few examples). But I never connected the dots between that and my utter frustration in the years since. It was easy to be self-controlled when someone else was setting strict rules and parameters. Because they controlled everything for me, in some areas I have never learned to control myself. This helps me so much in understanding where I need to go from here to grow in this area. Thanks again.

    Grace

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  3. Let me add, this is not to absolve me of my responsibility to allow God to work His fruit of the Spirit, including self-control, into my life. I'm not BLAMING my parents for any lack of growth on my part, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wasn't permitted to grow and learn basic tools of self-discipline, which has made this particular area of growth very challenging and frustrating for me, if that makes any sense.

    Grace

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  4. Hillary,

    I could not have written this better myself, which must be why you were inspired to write it! It's the loveliest rendering of a most deeply heartbreaking subject I can imagine.

    I would weep, but I think that I'm all wept-out. Today as I read this, in awe at my amazement that someone has so succinctly summarized my experience so well, I quietly "ponder it in my heart." Maybe tomorrow, I will weep. Today, I'm too weary.

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  5. Hillary,

    This brings to mind a situation in my life that I feel the need to share with you and your readers.It isn't quite along the same lines, but it fits with the theme of this post.

    When I was leaving the IC about 15 months ago, my mother was very concerned that I was just following my good friends in their journey, it took awhile to convince her that I left because *I* saw things wrong with "her church". Anyway she went to her pastor and asked him what she should do. His exact words: "if she won't go to your church, kick her out of the house!" I was 22, and had been living in that house for 4 months alone BEFORE my mother moved in with me. My name is on the lease.

    Thankfully, the whole "control your children until they comply" thing was something Mama has never really agreeed with in the 1st place. So, she just tries to get me back every chance she gets. But it raises an interesting point - that a "man of God" would tell someone to kick their only child out just because they don't agree 10,000% with your beliefs is just CREEPY!

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    1. My parents are extremely close friends of Ron Williams and his late wife Patti of the Hephizibah House home for girls. Patti Williams repeatedly told my mom that she was to cut me off from the family and to shun me because I did not choose to live the way I was raised. Exp...I wear pants and shorts, , don't go to their church, go to the beach, go to restaurants that serve drinks even though I don't drink achohol, etc.... This all from a pastor's wife, but saying that, my mom did not need extra encouragement to cut me off since she already had been for years! They just liked to gossip on the phone for hours! LOL

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  6. I don't know, exactly. I wasn't raised in a Christian home. I'm speaking as a Christian mom with several young children.

    It is hard to let go. To let children grow and find their way. But I think one thing that many forget is just how young people were when they were given responsibility...to raise families, to make decisions in the synagogue...way back when Jesus walked the earth.

    We artificially hold on to childhood when we control them and don't let them make decisions. Even to fail.

    But it is easier to think that than it is to step back. Especially when your daughter is 11 and you are struggling to find the balance between the growing independence she needs and wants and the fact that she isn't quite mature enough to handle it all, either.

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  7. Excellent post. I have 4 children and came from a legalisitic stronghold church and it took me over a year to walk in freedom by faith. I began letting go of control from my teen girls a little at a time. Watching carefully to see how they responded. I taught them to always respect the freedom that is offered to them. It's been a great journey and it works! It has developed a deeper bond between my girls and I because they see that 1. I put my faith in God for their lives. 2. I am trusting them. It's huge when kids feel we trust them, let them make some mistakes on their own(with discernment)and dialogue with them when they do make a mistake. each family needs to decide when it's time to begin their launch sequence into life. Some days I am more firm, while others I give more freedom as it's earned. We talk alot about the decisions. It's going very well so far.

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  8. Grace, My heart aches for you as I read your two comments. Even in the second, I see you hurting because you feel a responsibility for letting the Holy Spirit create the fruit of the Spirit in you. While I don't exactly disagree, it feels like you feel a heavy weight for something that is pretty lightweight--it's fruit that the Holy Spirit does create in you, because he lives in you. It's not something you have to preoccupy with, as if if you aren't doing something just right, he won't be able to grow that fruit in you (I may be overstepping in my assumptions and response to you, but I say this because it's a personal frustration I have--how often the fruit concept of the Holy Spirit growing these things in us, is turned around and taught as if it's something we need to tape onto ourselves. The teaching frustrates me, but I hurt for people groaning under taped-on fruit, which they self-evaluate as insufficient, when it's not about that at all).

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  9. Grace, I do personally relate to the struggle for "self-discipline" (which I think is actually something quite different from the spiritual fruit of "self-control").

    The cause of my struggle comes from a different place--severe burnout after years of missionary life and an abusive marriage--but the reality is very similar to what you describe--inadequate planning and organizing and managing resources to efficiently accomplish the things that need to be done. In my case, a physical burnout left me without the internal thermostats and regulators to be able to manage much of anything anymore (money, body temperature, time, organization, etc.), even though I was previously a happily structured kind of person (by personality, I love order, categories, etc.)

    It sounds like your struggle is having done much in the way of disciplined living, but never having been handed over the reins of figuring out how to make skills work and fit for you, personally. I don't know if any of my struggle is a help to you, but here is part of how I think about it now.

    My inability to regulate and "self-discipline" is a reality. It is a loss for me, and I must grieve that loss (often). But if I try to force myself to do or beat myself up for failing to do what I don't have skills or resources (in my case, actual energy) to do only leaves me more depleted, beaten down and ineffective.

    I think in your case there is such a loss and grief, because it feels like such a comprehensive loss and even betrayal--skills you were going to need as an adult were never allowed to grow, and it is a loss that costs you every day.

    The other thing, though, is to begin to assess the resources you do have. Are there compensatory strategies for what you can't do well or naturally? Are there ways you can make do, less disciplined/organized than you long to be? Are there shortcuts and tricks that can let you "cheat" a little and feel slightly "more" organized or disciplined than you actually are, so that you decrease the frustration with what you can't do? Are there ways to learn and work on building one little skill you are lacking; and if so, can you cut yourself slack for the other ones and your lacks in those areas, while you grow in this one.

    I think being able to realize and say, over and over, I don't have these self-discipline or management skills, and that just is, can, sometimes, let you give yourself grace to work on building one skill, instead of trying to flail around, ineffectively doing many skills that you aren't equipped for.

    Another thing that might help is to think about someone else--a sister or daughter or someone--if they came to you, as a young adult, having been denied growing into necessary skills--would you be understanding and patient with them, as they struggle, step by step, or would you expect them to be able to do everything all the time, even without the skills? Sometimes it has really helped me to frame my situation as if I'm looking at someone else who I care about, and then I realize I would not find it so necessary or urgent for them to be able to "get it" as I expect of myself.

    I feel the risks of throwing suggestions out there to someone whose whole situation and story I don't know, and realize that my comment could come across as a reaction that misses the heart of what you are saying.
    Hugs to you in this struggle.

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  10. Dana, thank you for that and for distinguishing between self-discipline and self-control. I also agree 1000% about having grace on ourselves...especially as we are essentially relearning or re-teaching ourselves what is important. "Be gentle to yourself" is something I say often, just like we would be gentle and compassionate to a friend sharing her struggles. Or, like Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as your self."

    Lisa wrote I put my faith in God for their lives. 2. I am trusting them. It's huge when kids feel we trust them, let them make some mistakes on their own(with discernment)and dialogue with them when they do make a mistake. This is SO IMPORTANT!! Thank you for bringing this up...YES: it is huge when kids feel your trust!!! An environment where kids feel undermined, as though parents constantly expect them to walk "in the flesh" and see them through critical filters is not conducive to growth or wholeness.

    First Dana: that's tough. IMHO I believe this is why its so important to really know your kids and what makes them each unique, even and especially within a large family, and to seek the Holy Spirit (who knows them better than they do themselves) for wisdom in parenting that child. I know how hard it is, though, watching them grow up. It's hard for me to see my siblings or my friends' children grow up, and I know for fathers and mothers it can be heart-wrenchingly bittersweet. Thanks for stopping by! God bless you.

    {{Cassie}} Oh my goodness...I am so sorry to hear that happened to you! Thank you for chiming in.

    Cindy, I know that feeling re: too weary to weep today. {{hugs}} REST.

    Grace, yes it makes sense and :'( ... that kind of control is so crippling. I know you aren't blaming at all; understanding why we struggle in certain areas can help us pinpoint what we need to address and sometimes how. I am praying for you... <3

    Karen...thank you, and yes, REST. Abide.

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  11. While my parents were FAR from the patriarchal types of today, my dad was very old fashioned, having been brought up in the Great Depression by extremely conservative parents.
    My dad just kinda had that controlling personality w/o the trappings of a religious belief to go with it.
    At any rate, I don't think he was ever completely able to let go of control, due to his worrying nature, and his strong ideas of "how things should be done".
    He mellowed in his old age, but by then I was way past 40. By then, I, too, recognized that he only worried because he loved us and wanted the best for us. What was hard for him to accept what that what HE thought was best for us wasn't necessarily what was truly best for us.
    What was the saving grace for my husband and me, and our marriage, was that we lived about 60 miles from mom and dad for the first 15 years of our marriage. We had good counsel on "leaving and cleaving" without severing family ties.
    We had several confrontations with my dad....mostly my husband did, as he took on a leadership role in our marriage, and he knew how hard it was for me to confront my very strong father. (con't...)

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  12. One example was that Dad "gave" me some stock as he was gifting some of our inheritance ahead of time to help us not have so many taxes to pay when he would eventually die. Bob and I wanted to invest in the start up company he worked for. When I called the broker to see about cashing in some of the stock, I found out that Dad had kept it so that it was in myh name, but I had no power to buy or sell it w/o his approval.
    Well, we went to talk with my parents, and my husband basically told him that if it was a gift, it should be mine to do with as I pleased. And if it was still his, he should keep it in his name.
    That confrontation was the beginning of my dad finally prying his fingers off his right to control my life(it should be noted that I was 30 years old and married for 10 years at this time).
    He still tried, sometimes, to control things, but having those first years of our marriage far enough away helped.
    We did live int he same town with them for 8 years, but by then, my independence from them was well established as far as any control by my dad. And we had a fairly peaceful relationship with them and our kids were able to enjoy being with them, and they enjoyed the time with our kids. (con't...)

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  13. By the time Dad passed, I felt that my relationship with him had become much more mutually respectful. There was a time when, though I loved my dad dearly, I wasn't sure I'd miss him when he was gone. I do miss him, today.
    All that to say, over the years of our confrontations with Dad, and issues with my in-laws as well, I made a mental "in-law do's and don'ts" list, which was closely related to my "grandparent do's and don't's list" for myself when I became an in-law and grandparent. I have adjusted it for being a parent of unmarried adult offspring as well.
    I'm actually glad for the experience, because I see far too many of my generation of parents of newly emancipated adults holding on to them for FAR too long and FAR too much control. This is true among all varieties of Christian parents, not just patriarchal families, although they take it to extremes......and secular parents as well.
    I read an article recently on parents sleeping the first few nights in their children's dormitory rooms becasue they can't let go!! We, as parents, can stunt our children's growth into adults if we don't let them fly!! College officials call them "helicopter parents" because they just hover and hover....(con't...)

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  14. They have to struggle and learn and make some mistakes on their own. If we try to keep them our "babies", we will never have them as friends.
    I KNOW how hard it is to let them go, let them fall,let them struggle. But, if I have not raised adults whose relationship with God is THEIRS and THEIRS alone, then I have failed as a parent. If I have not raised adults who can figure out how to survive and take care of htemselves and their children, then I have failed as a parent.
    If I must continue to make their decisions, then I have failed.
    And I have failed. And I have succeeded. I have adult children in each camp...those that are independent, and one who cannot seem to get there.
    But it is not because I over protected or over controlled. It is because of their own decisions, and relationships with Jesus. I pray that each one will discover their need for God and accept Jesus as their savior one day.

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  15. I am looking forward to future posts you publish on this topic. I am 27, have been out of my parents home for 4 years, and it's only been in the past year that I've realized how much mind control they've had over me. Freeing myself from that control makes me realize how little self-control I own. It's like being a 5 year old again, and learning the basics of responsibility, making good choices, and being mature. I never realized until recently that one of my parents is a huge "control freak", and that parent's control has greatly impacted my and my siblings ability to function on our own, as well as foster strange relationships between certain family members. Now that I've realized this, many frustrations I've had regarding my family and my life are made clear and I'm able to see that freeing myself from that "control freak" is solving those problems.

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  16. Two thoughts come to mind, both of which others have written and I simply second their comments):

    1. self-control does not develop independently of love, joy, peace, patience, etc. It is not fruitS of the spirit. It is Fruit--singular, meaning that all the words we list are simply various descriptors of the same spiritual quality.

    1.5 we can do nothing--NOTHING--to cause this fruit to grow. We can't work harder, pray more, be better. It is the fruit of The Spirit. Meaning that this quality of holiness is the natural consequence of living connected to the Spirit, the source of all spiritual nutrition. If your efforts to grow spiritual fruit are getting you a bumper crop of guilt--get out of the gardening business. All we have to do, all we CAN do, is soak up as much of that Living Water as we can drink and let God do the rest. He is the gardener, not we ourselves. What a relief!

    2. I'm so there with Dana in living now with the physiological manifestation of over-control. I worked so hard to control every aspect of my life: my works, my words, my thoughts, my desires, my hidden secrets in my heart of hearts, that now my autonomic nervous system (the comptroller of the body--heat, digestion, heart rate, respiration) is all out of whack. I burnt my body out trying to control my soul.

    Now, all I can do--sometimes literally all I can do--is rest. Rest in the Lord. Be still and know that I AM.

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  17. For me it's a kind of emotional control. It manifests in 2 ways.

    1) If I inadvertently say something that my mother (she's the only one living) disagrees with, she will rage at me. She's even said my husband has brainwashed me. So, I've learned that, rather than discuss differing points of view, to keep quiet. It's a shame because we could both be growing if she weren't so ready to get angry and I weren't so intimidated - and I'm 48!

    2) She does not call me, but I'm expected to call her. She tries to give the "guilt trip," saying things like, "My friends say it's terrible that my daughter doesn't call to check on me more often."

    It's hard to be an independent woman in Christ and loyal to a parent who still seems to want a "mini me" of herself.

    So - I'm saying this to all moms with adult children: if you expect them to call all the time and you never call them, they feel as though it's one-sided. Also, your adult children have different life experiences than you do and may have a different - and perhaps deeper - point of view than your own.

    My daughter is now 21 and I do pray that I don't expect her to be a younger version of myself!

    Please, I don't want to say my name...

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  18. wow, some great discussion here! friend, you always challenge and encourage... thank you. i battle impatience daily. love the line "clumsy waltz." i hope you'll consider linking with me for imperfect prose. love e.

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  19. I look at various high-profile IBLP/ATI families [not just the Duggars] and see a 30 year old man living at home, being waited on by his mother and sisters but with no control over his own life and I just think WRONG!! I see a 19 year old girl being "given" in courtship to a 30 year old man who's never had to make his own decisions and I cringe at what the future holds for both of them. I could go on and on. There's a time to TRUST GOD to take care of the grown-up kids.

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  20. I have been reading some of the comments and your blog here, and I had a "light-bulb" experience tonight- I never grew up until I married and moved to live with my husband...I never understood until struggling through my decision to marry that I was an adult capable of choosing to be separate from my parents...my parents made sure I didn't get involved with anyone they didn't approve of- even godly men- until I finally read through 1 Corinthians 7 over and over and studied it and found that it was right for me to marry. I was ready at 24, but didn't pursue things against my parents' will because I felt it was rebellious. I have been told I am "rebellious" and "too independent" my whole teenage/adult life, even though I never had an adolescent rebellion, and was a model missionary kid, and I finally came to a place where it felt like obedience to marry and disobedience not to, and the people who should have supported me in loving God and my husband at first wondered if I had got pregnant, because we had to get married so quickly- I never would have done it otherwise. I have lived with guilt since then, though I knew, despite the pressures from home, that it was the right thing to do. I wish my parents had a more Biblical view of things, but they will always see me as a child, and still seem to think we must be under their authority, though I believe I must forgive, love, and respect them, under God's authority and with respect to my husband and new family. I have been so hurt by them, and still healing- and it is legalism plain and simple that has burnt me- only God can change them, so I will keep praying.

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  21. Anonymous, welcome! I'm heart-twisted over your story and your bravery and your faith. Your honor and love for them, the Lord, and your new family are so evident. I pray that you continue growing closer to the Most High (read Ps. 91 for deep comfort) and find healing in the shadow of His wings.

    I'm not writing new articles at this time, but please continue to browse the archives and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me at the link above.

    Blessings to you.

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  22. I've looked over an autobiographical thing of the Duggars (sorry for the tangent here), and while I don't know about ATI (is it even still thriving?), they specifically state that they are NOT part of the Quiverfull movement. I can't claim to have seen their lives "up close and personal," nor would I say that their lifestyle is for me (e.g., no birth control, and definitely a reality show!). I think that allowing themselves to be filmed has opened them up to tremendous criticism, but I would not lump them into the groups that some do. Apparently it works for them, and since only God knows the hearts, if they truly believe that birth control (of any kind) is wrong for them, they should be free to follow that leading...though they are surely a lot more fertile than MANY other couples practicing the same thing, which makes them an anomaly. As for how they are presented on the show or if it seems negative--again, one more reason to not get involved with TV!--but I wouldn't assume that what I saw on reality TV was "real." Just a thought. Just want to aim the criticism at the real enemies (wrong attitudes, sin, Satan, etc.).

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  23. hi hillary. thank you for posting this... my situation is a little different in that my mother (she's a single parent; my father passed away in 2004) is not a Christian, is wholly against me being devoted to my faith, dislikes my boyfriend because he's Christian and not Chinese (oh yes, i'm Chinese btw), and schedules out my daily life.

    i'm also 24 years old.

    sometimes i'm at a loss of what to do, because of course i love my mother, but she truly still treats me like a 14 year old. i'm not allowed to go out in general, but she will allow me to be at church on Sundays for a couple of hours. it's only during those Sundays that i spend time with any friends and my boyfriend, and i feel so lacking in the area of a social life.

    i'm also not allowed to speak on the phone with any pastors, and am allowed to speak to my boyfriend only 15 minutes a week.

    people have suggested moving out, but i'm actually supporting her somewhat financially right now; i get 3% of my paycheck and she takes the rest.

    i'm not sure what i'm really trying to say here, but i guess i just needed to vent. i feel like i missed out on so much God had for me all because i'm not allowed to go out and do things. and sometimes i wonder if God is angry at me for not being braver and for getting weary. i want to be an adult, learn from mistakes like an adult, and try to allow God to help me develop a sense of myself.

    but it's not possible, and i don't know how else to fix it. my mom doesn't listen to me about what's on my heart, and i really wish she would.

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  24. I finally left my mother's home (figuratively and literally) at 45 years of age. By that time, she saw herself as the controller of my career decisions, life decisions, work day, and romantic life (which I wasn't allowed to have). To be sure that she had me in her control, she (1) convinced me that I could not make it in life w/o her financial help and guidance (2) convinced me that she was in bad health (physical and financial) and needed for me to always be on hand (as her constant companion) and (3) bought me off (and, yes, I was easily bought thanks to low self-esteem) whenever possible with gifts, etc. When I finally was able to get and hold down a job, I moved out of her apartment. (Believe me, that move involved a HUGE fight.) I also met a man and fell in love. That's when she gave me an ultimatum: It's the family (meaning her) or this man. I chose him and got myself disowned. Just recently, she wrote a letter to ask me to put her name on some IRAs she had opened for me a long time ago. (I didn't ask her to make this investment; she simply didn't trust me to provide for my own future. Anyway, I don't care if I end-up living in a tent. I'm going to sign the things over to her. I don't want her money.) Funny...until now, I have felt a bit guilty leading my own life and enjoying the freedom. Her recent letter reminded me of something: Bondage comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of bad parenting. I think it would go against God's will for me to go back into a relationship with my mother until she is willing to respect me as an adult, willing to respect my choices in life, and willing to behave toward me and my significant other in a respectful fashion.

    I wish anyone going through this situation the best of luck. But hear me clearly: DO NOT wait to break free from a bad parental relationship until you are 45 and have wasted way too many years of your God-given life and freedom!

    Thank you for this blog. It's cathartic!

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