7 Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents

Whether you’re an adult child or living at home (or an adult child who lives at home!), these tips on how to deal with controlling parents will help you see your situation – and your mom and dad – differently.

I was inspired to write this article for Andy. “Growing up, my parents always had a way of making me feel crappy about myself,” he said on How to Cope With Difficult Parents. “Criticism after criticism, controlling me in different ways. Madly praising others’ kids in front of me. Always have to give me orders on what to do around the house, even when I’m right about to do a chore, they just have to tell me to do exactly what I’m about to do so it seems like ‘they won.’ My parents are controlling and childish at the maximum level. I’m now 36, they visit me once a year and yet they still do the same crap. I’m never good enough for them. Someone else’s son is always better than me. My parents are the most negative people I’ve ever known, and they dreain me of my spirit and energy. I’m trying to learn how to deal with controlling parents but it is destroying the family love. If you have tips or advice for dealing with parents who try to control adult children, I’d love to hear them.”

I can’t give personal or specific advice on how to deal with controlling parents, but I’m happy to share a few ideas. Please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts on dealing with parents below. I can almost guarantee that if you share one tip on how you’re learning to deal with parents who try to control you, you will feel better about your family situation! Just focusing on what works for you is enough to brighten your spirits just a little.

Whether you’re a teenager or an adult child living at home, the most important thing to remember is that you can’t change your parents. You can only change how you deal with their controlling parenting style.

“Giving up hope is one of the healthiest, most life-affirming things you could do for yourself,” writes Dr Laura Schlessinger in Bad Childhood – Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood. “If, of course, you accept [your controlling parents] and don’t pout.”

Giving up hope may sound negative and depressing — but after you read my explanation and tips for coping with parents who try to control you, you may feel differently. Giving up your expectations may be the healthiest thing you ever do in life.

7 Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents

My husband and I recently attended a family dynamics workshop (it’s the fifth of seven sessions); it was all about coping with your childhood relationships. I wrote a bit about that workshop in How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough.

Since all families are different there is no “one size fits all” answer when you’re looking for ways to deal with controlling parents. Every family is unique. Your parents are unique, you are unique, and your patterns of relating to each other are unique. Families have their own cultures and ways of communicating, which makes it difficult for me to give advice or specific tips. These are general ideas for dealing with parents who tend to control and manipulate their adult children….and all of my tips revolve around changing the only person you have control over: you.

1. Let go of your need to please your parents

We grow up seeking approval, affirmation, and even love from our parents. Andy referred to this when he mentioned his parents’ constant criticisms of him and praise of other kids. He may not admit it, but he really wants to make his mom and dad proud of him. This is normal and healthy; of course we want to make our parents proud! We love them, and we want to know they love us.

6 Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents

How to Deal With Controlling Parents

So, part of why it’s so difficult to confront our parents about their controlling behavior is because we don’t want to disappoint or anger them. Even as grown adult children, we want them to keep loving us – even when we feel like we hate them! The first tip on how to deal with controlling parents (or any toxic person in your life) is to recognize your need to please them. Accepting that you really want your parents’ approval and love will help you communicate with them better.

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It’s also important to remember that every interaction with our parents is a reminder that we are their children. No matter how old we are, we are our parents’ kids. This is partly why some parents are so controlling; they see us as little babies, toddlers, 10 year olds, 14 year olds. They see us at all ages of our lives, from dirty diapers to crying in pain. They don’t just see us for who we are now…they see us at all ages and stages of our lives. Part of their need to control us comes from their need to protect and keep us safe.

2. Take power when and where you can

“Perhaps you feel that you have been wronged by a family member, a friend, or a coworker,” writes Allan Klein in You Can’t Ruin My Day: 52 Wake-Up Calls to Turn Any Situation Around. “You may even feel justified in being angry with them, and you may be right. However, what you may not realize is that holding on to your anger or carrying a grudge against someone never serves you. It closes doors on relationships. It weighs you down and holds you back from moving forward. It zaps your energy – energy that you could use more productively to fully get pleasure from your relationships and enrich your life.”

Yes, you may have every right to be angry at your controlling parents! Maybe they really are negative, horrible, critical, controlling, and abusive. They are wrong, and you are right.

But staying in that position does not give you power. It diminishes your power, in fact. Why? Because you can’t change them. It’s like your parents are a horse racing around a racetrack. You can’t stop the horse – you need to ride the horse in the direction it’s going. Ride the horse, and take back your power. How? By doing the work it takes to learn how to deal with controlling parents.

3. Cut financial ties to parents who want to control you

A reader emailed me, asking me for help with her father. She’s an adult child; her dad is making her life miserable. He’s also having a negative effect her husband and child. She said her father helped her get a mortgage loan, and he holds that over them. He’s one of those controlling parents who thinks he has the right to dictate how she spends her money, and she asked for tips on dealing with him.

My first and most obvious idea is to pay her dad the money back. Instead of staying financially beholden, she might find ways to free herself financially so she can take her life back. This might involve getting a bank loan and paying her dad back the money she borrowed – even if the money was originally a gift. It’s not a “gift” if it’s taking an emotional toll on her and her family.

Or, if everyone agrees that the money wasn’t a loan and thus isn’t owed, then she might get him to sign an informal that says she doesn’t owe him money and he has no right to lord it over her. This black-and-white evidence might help them take money out of the father-daughter relationship.

If you live at home and are financially dependent, you will find it more difficult to deal with controlling parents. “Their house, their rules”, right? Read 10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students – even if you’re not in college yet.

4. Learn to recognize emotional blackmail

This is one of the best ways to take your life back! If you have truly critical and controlling parents, you may recognize that they disguise their criticism, try to make you feel guilty for past behavior, or constantly make you feel bad about your life. They don’t want to let you live your life. Before confronting this type of difficult parents, it’s important to recognize and learn to deal with emotional blackmail.

How to Deal With Controlling ParentsRead books like Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You by Dr Susan Forward. She defines “emotional blackmail” as a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us (controlling parents!) threaten to punish us for not doing what they want. Emotional blackmailers know how much we value our relationships with them; they know our vulnerabilities and our deepest secrets. They are our mothers, our partners, our bosses and coworkers, our friends and our lovers. And no matter how much they care about us, they use this intimate knowledge to give themselves the payoff they want: our compliance.

I guarantee that you will NOT learn how to deal with controlling parents simply by reading one blog post! You need to learn specific ways to communicate with your mom and dad. Take a weekend workshop in assertiveness training, or talk to a counselor. If you’re an adult child of controlling parents, you need to keep reminding yourself that you’re a grownup. You’re not a child anymore, and you don’t have to succumb to emotional manipulations. A big part of this is learning to say “no” and stand up for yourself without feeling guilty or scared of your parents’ response.

If your parents are emotionally manipulative and controlling, read Surprising Examples of Verbal Abuse in Relationships. It may help if you learn how to recognize verbal abuse.

5. Recognize the difference between emotions and action plans

Emotion says, “I hate you! I want you to leave me alone forever! You are the worst most controlling parents ever and I can’t stand dealing with you! I’m sick of your attempt to control me and I don’t want to learn how to deal with you because you suck. And I’m scared/tired/frustrated/miserable!” Those are your emotions, and they are normal.

Your emotions are not an action plan. Whether you’re an adult child or a kid living at home, you need to come up with an action plan for dealing with controlling parents. An action plan says, “I want a better life, better relationships. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. To stop this from happening, I need to (insert action plan here).”

To deal with your controlling parents, you will have to do something you don’t want to do. May you’ll have to quit a job you love, move to a different city, learn how to set boundaries with family members, and force yourself to actually stick to your boundaries. You might have to talk to a family counselor, get emotionally strong and healthy, and learn how to deal with controlling parents in different situations (eg, when you live at home, when you’re an adult child, when they’re dealing with health issues, etc).

No, it is not easy to take your life back. Yes, it is possible! It’s definitely easier when you’re an adult child who lives on your own, but even when you live at home you can separate yourself emotionally.

6. Start creating your action plan

You can’t change who your parents are (or how they try to control you), and you may need to keep living at home with them for the next few months or years. Don’t let these facts get you down! There are ways you can deal with controlling parents – and most of them require creating a plan of action.

Examples of action plans:

Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents

6 Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents

  • Commit to learning how to deal with controlling parents by reading books or talking to a family therapist.
  • Decide in advance how you’ll calmly and rationally respond to your parents when you feel they’re trying to control you.
  • Practice what you want to say to your mom and dad when things get crazy.
  • Arrange to phone a friend or family member when you feel like you’re losing control.
  • Take care of your emotional and spiritual health. Get healthy and strong, grounded and peaceful. Decide that your parents can’t control your emotional and spiritual life.

If you’re a teen or child living at home with controlling parents, talk in person to an adult you trust. Don’t rely on the internet or forums for advice! There aren’t any quick tips on how to deal with parents who want to control you; you need to find strategies that are geared to your specific family situation.

7. Stop wishing your parents less controlling, or different, or better

These controlling parents are yours. If you’re still wishing they were different, you need to let go of your desire that you were born in a different family. Accept reality. This is your life, and the sooner you accept it, the happier you will be.

You can still hope you’ll one day have a better, healthier relationship with your parents. But, you must stop hoping and wishing they’d change. Your mom and dad have found that their controlling parenting style works for them, and they won’t give it up without a huge fight. They may continue to be critical, manipulative, overbearing and difficult to live with no matter what you do. But, luckily, you have control over your thoughts and feelings! You are free to choose to distance yourself emotionally, physically, socially, and financially.

You can choose to live your own life even if you live at home with controlling parents. You can choose to be emotionally and spiritually free even if you’re an adult child of 40, even if you’re taking care of elderly parents, even if you know they will never ever change.

Resources for Dealing With Controlling Parents

How to Deal With Controlling ParentsYou Can’t Ruin My Day: 52 Wake-Up Calls to Turn Any Situation Around by Allen Klein is awesome! What a fun book, so cheerful and light – it is guaranteed to make you feel better about your life. It’s not about learning how to deal with controlling parents; it’s about coping with any and all negative, bad, critical, unfortunate situations in life.

“The next time someone pisses you off, mentally take a half step sideways and see him or her from a different angle,” writes Klein. “See their good side. See that they have wants and needs just like you. See that they are not out to get you; they are just people with a different opinion than yours. See them as an ally instead of an enemy.”

How to Cope With Controlling ParentsIn Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your LifeDr. Susan Forward draws on case histories and the real-life voices of adult children of toxic parents to help you free yourself from the frustrating patterns of your relationship with your parents — and discover a new world of self-confidence, inner strength, and emotional independence.

I can’t offer advice on how to deal with controlling parents, but you may find it helpful to share your experience here. Sometimes writing about your family brings insight and clarity, and can help you cope.

And remember: to heal from the past – and cope with controlling parents – you need to let go of your wish that your family was different. They are who they are, and you can’t change them. Stop wishing, and start learning how to change your response so you can be happier and healthier.


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251 thoughts on “7 Tips for Dealing With Controlling Parents

  • Alisha

    My mother is over protective and now she believes she should control my life. My dad left us and since then I live with my grandma and mother. My mother wants me to eat, sleep, bath even read when she wants. It’s getting horrible day after day. Since childhood I never talked over my mom or broke any rules, but now I am fed up. She is emotionally and physically abusing me. After she comes back home, she hits me for little mistakes and my grandma and relatives encourages her. They told her that she should hit me to keep me in control. She calls me names and says things that hurts- I am a mistake, No one wanted me in this world, I am a load to her and she hates me. She even tells how sweet her friend’s kids are. She doesn’t let me wear what I want, she let’s my grandma choose my clothes which are no good. Every mistake my grandma makes is blamed on me. She believes that if she controls me I could be good human. I am not allowed to go to my friend’s or invite them over even on special ocassions like my birthday. I don’t blame her, it’s my grandma and relatives and her friends who got this idea of control in her mind. But I am tired of this. This is too much, I think I can’t live longer if this process continues.

  • sarj

    Thanks for this very insightful article. I can definitely relate to this. I am of Asian background and our set of traditions and family dynamics are quite different from the Europeans and Americans however this article spoke to me in a way that I could put myself in the exact situation as a person with over controlling parents. I am turning 25 and I have recently been feeling the suffocation of not being free to live my life and make decisions on my own. I am not even allowed to go out of town with friends and my boyfriend because my mom fears that I might do something I’d regret. I put myself through school and do not rely on them for any financial help, in fact I provide for them since both my parents don’t have any jobs. however I am not free to spend my own money and even decide to live on my own. I am afraid that by ending my financial ties with them so that I could live on my own and start supporting myself, is that they will completely hate and disown me. I am not just tied to the ground with my parents but I feel like I’ve been working for them now and not primarily for myself. The feeling of not having the freedom and will to live my own life has been emotionally debilitating and had at most part had caused me to breakdown. I feel like my only way out now is to get married and have a family of my own cause as long as I am single I they would depend on me for money. I feel trapped and obligated to provide for them because they have no source of income and I am technically just working for myself.

    Everybody says I just need to move out to gain control of my own life but how can I when they will eventually blame and think of me as ungratefully selfish for considering my side alone and abandoning them with their finances. I feel helpless

  • Laurie

    When you live at home, I’m sorry to say that the best way to cope with controlling parents is to follow their rules. I know it’s a pain! It’s not fair and you’re old enough to be trusted to make the decisions you want, but part of living with parents is having to abide by their rules.

    That’s why I moved out when I was 16! Actually, I moved from my mom’s place when I was 14. I lived with my grandmother for a couple of years, then moved into my own apartment.

    I’m not saying you should move out…but honestly, that’s the best way to cope with controlling parents. Get out from under their roof, and then you can have the freedom you want.

    You might also try negotiating with them….but every situation is so unique, I don’t even know where to begin! Every person’s relationship with their parents is different, there aren’t many tips that cover all situations.

  • Lexii

    Hi Laurie,
    I’m turning 21 next month and I recently moved in with my dad and by default, stepmother along with their child.
    Now the only reason I moved in was because my roommates boyfriend is abusive and threatened me on the daily until one day it went to far; I called everyone in my phone to get away but for some reason he-my dad- answered for once in 4-5years.
    I told him what was going on while me and my boyfriend sat at the bus stop away from all the commotion.
    Even though he said I would have to wait a day and sleep there at my room are and I house until he talked it over with his wife he came thorough.

    The main thing for me being here is to save $$ to get my own place but they are becoming extremely controlling .
    One of my co workers is my dad’s wife’s bff and tells her every little thing that concerns me no matter how minimal or incorrect it is.so I end up getting chewed out for every thing for gods sake I’m 20 you’re damn right I’m going to mess up some times.it wouldn’t be so bad if that was all I had to deal with.
    I’m not allowed on my phone (that I bought and pay the bills for) after ten(she(the Mrs. Thinks IRS brain damaging)
    I’m not allowed out late (after9:00 pm)unless I’m going to work or just getting off.
    When I spend the night at a friends they get upset.
    My room quote’needs to look like no one lives in it)
    And once my dad thought it was funny to make a hurtful remark about my panic attacks and anxiety.

    I quickly am becoming’ocer the whole issue and feel like if it dies not change I’ll be forced to get a hotel until I save enough for a apartment.

    • Lexii

      Any helpful tip(s) on what to say/do to help the situation (I really don’t have a say so or voice to voice my opinion)
      How are you coping with your controlling parents?

      • fran

        yeah, it is not healthy to live that way honey. for now try as many relaxation techniques as you can. Google them and really do a lot of them. If u can get another job away from the friends. Exercise it really helps keep you sane. Move out really soon. Life is not meant to be lived like that. Get a safe place. After you are gone you can write your dad a letter with all the details of what bad and controlling parents they were to u. Maybe they learn something or not.

  • Andy

    Growing up, my parents always had a way of making me feel crappy about myself. Criticism after criticism. Madly praising others’ kids in front of my face. Always have to give me orders on what to do around the house, even when I’m right about to do a chore, they just have to tell me to do exactly what I’m about to do so it seems like “they won”. Controlling and childish at the maximum level.

    I’m now 36, they visit me once a year and yet they still do the same crap. I’m never good enough for them. Someone else’s son is always better than me. Always complain, always criticize. The most extremely negative people I’ve ever known. Seriously sucking me dry of spirit and energy. That, is a very effective way to diminish and eventually destroy the family love. And it’s getting there. Those two are really the worst of the worst.

    • Lexii

      I completely know what you’re talking about with the childish need to prove they are (or think they are) superior and must out rank you.

  • R.Sparkz

    This article relates to me in every single way. I keep screaming yes!! After I read each sentence. My mother is very controlling and over protective. I almost didn’t have any social life because of her. She never allowed me to go anywhere and even if she does she keeps calling to find out if I’m home as yet. I got pregnant at 18 and had my baby at age 19. She was great with my baby father until he suggest me and the baby come spend a few weeks with him. She got so angry.. She hates him. And now it seems she hates me. She always said I chose him over her. She went as far as telling me that I have to choose between her and him. I cry almost every day. I do am not happy because of the way she has been treating me. She lashes out at every one who try to make her realise that I’m now grown. Even my dad!!. I live in her house and I want out. I will be 20 soon and I cannot take this any more. It’s breaking me emotionally. I even stopped eating once. I lost my appetite for everything. Life doesn’t seem excited any more. My mother doesn’t talk to me but when she does, she’s one of the coldest person. I love my mother we’ve been through alot together. I want things to be great between but I cannot put up with this much longer. It’s killing me. I thought about speaking with a family counsellor and a pastor. I’m suppose to go bk to school because I had took a semester off. Now she’s not even interested in sending me bk. My dad alone can’t manage and my baby father (who goes to the same school) has his tuition to deal with. I’m starting to lose hope.

  • Corine

    I wanted to add that I never had my own room. When I grew up, I told her I need to sleep alone, I need privacy and she said no way. I was sleeping with my mother, we shared the same room. She thought I have some nasty reasons why I need privacy and she would never let me home alone of room alone if I can say so. If I needed friends to talk, she would only let me speak online with people I never met face to face and she was always there, reading everything I write. She even learned a bit of english so she could understand my conversations. If she was out to spend time with older neighbours, she would force me to go out too with her and stay next to her. I wasn’t allowed to be alone in the home, because “who knows what you’re going to do, or speak to ?”

  • Corine

    I’m glad I could find this article and I really need to get this out of my chest. My mother was very manipulative ever since I was a kid. Since I was a kid, I was never allowed to have any friends, play with kids and so on. She would ask our neighbours to keep an eye on me and my sister while they were at work. And if we ever did something which wasn’t “allowed”, she would know instantely. Growing up was hard. I was always bullied at school for not being let to go anywhere. I wasn’t allowed to go to my proms (first and last year of highschool) and I wasn’t allowed to have friends of be late at home, not even 1 min. After highschool, I took a job so I could pay for my studies, and I would also provide money in the house. I would buy food, pay bills, pay for their medical interventions and so on. If at the end of the month I would tell her I don’t have enough money to give her, she would question me where are all my money, what did I spend them on and so on. She was expecting me to call her 3 times a day when I was at work and especially when I left work to let her know I’m coming home. The real problems started when I had my first boyfriend (I was 21). She didn’t agree with him, because he was a bit shorter and because he was living in the same neighbourhood with my brother in law and that is such a bad thing, cause I would end up unhappy just like my sister if I continue my relationship with him (wtf ?!). Anyway, because I refused to broke up with him, she would yell, we would fight. She would cry and blame me for making her sick, not being able to sleep, eat or think normal and would tell me “is this what you want ? do you really wanna see me in a grave so you can live as you like ?”. But when she needed money, she should ask me nicely and when I gave her money, I was the best daughter. Anyway, I finally decided to broke up with that guy cause I really couldn’t handle it anymore. After some time, I met my husband and things got worse. If I was late at home from work, let’s say 30 min, she would accuse me for hanging on the streets like a cheap woman. When I came home from dates, she would wait for me and then she would start yelling and calling me bad things. When she did laundry, she would check my underwear and would throw them on my face, saying she won’t wash her clothes with my underwear, because she doesn’t want to wash my dirt. She said she’s not going to get sick from washing my clothes from the dirt, from sleeping with men. I have to add I was still a virgin that time so .. dirt, sleeping with men ? She called me a prostitute and told me I should be ashamed for sleeping with men everytime I go out, even for 30 min. WTF ?! Everytime she was a victim. We would fight daily and she even slapped me so hard and pulled my hair. When I told my dad the way she was treating me, he couldn’t believe his ears. He tried to talk to her but that didn’t help. She was nice everytime he was around but when he was out, hell was unleashed. One day I told her I’m going to move out cause I can’t live like that anymore and we fighted so much. I quit the idea, cause I was afraid my dad would suffer too much for leaving home like that. I would stay there and live in that hell, trying to stop caring but that was impossible. When I finally moved out, I heard a discussion between her and my dad, where my dad told her “you should be careful the way you treat her, cause anyway soon she’ll move and we would lose her financial support and it’s going to be tough for us”. Anyway, after some time, I tried to talk to her and remember her all these and she says I’m making stories, that these things never happened (she was ashamed I guess, cause my husband was there). I told her that everything affected me, since childhood to adult age and because of that, I’m shy, I’m not being able to socialize, I still have no friends and I sometimes turn into her. She says she never did anything to me and if I continue, she finally smiles and says “and what are you trying to prove now ? if you’re having issues, it’s because of you not because of me”. Anyway, I love my mother, I forgave her for everything she said and did, but those things affect me daily and still hurts a lot.

  • Laurie

    There are no quick and easy tips on how to deal with controlling parents, especially if you live at home! I left home when I was 16 years old, and I couldn’t wait to get out. I don’t recommend this strategy, but it worked for me.

    What is one thing you can do — one thing that might work for you? Before I finally left home, I spent alot of time with my best friends. That helped me cope.

  • Dianne May

    Hi Im Dianne, 27 years old. Im from Philippines. I am single and has no child also. I thought of becoming an old maid. Reasons… We were 6 siblings in the family. I am 2nd to the eldest. My sister who is our eldest had her own family and has one child. We grew up with a lot of shouting from our parents, everyday they love to fight. (Sorry for my english) Despite of it all me and my ate remain as achievers in school academically and with other curricular activities. My father is a tricycle driver and my mom is a house wife. 2003 came when my father had an accident, he fell from a tree. He was not able to walk for 2mos. He ask for help from his younger brother abroad. My Uncle who is a nurse in California. My Uncle right away helped us, 2003 to 2011 every month my Uncle send us money enough to support our all needs, even studies. So blessed to have Uncle Nong in my life. 2003 to 2011 my parents didn’t stop fighting. They become worst. Esp when they feel scarcity of money because they only depend with the money sent by my Uncle. i remember one day, when i was reviewing my notes preparing for my examination I was crying because my father is shouting at me. That I spend most of the money to my school needs esp. to my Tuition fee. I took up nursing as advised by my uncle. I dont know if i will continue to read my books or to stop reading and sleep and go to school the next day to tell my professors that i will stop schooling. Most of the time my parents were angry at me back in college because of that. I wanna finish college to help them in the future but they became my first obstacle. Oh life. There was also a time when I was reviewing and my father is again angry and he hit me in the head and my head bumped into the bamboo part of our table. I dont know how to take things that time haha. i even asked myself “DO I REALLY NEED TO STOP STUDYING?” then asked myself “BUT IF I STOPPED, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE FUTURE LIVES OF MY SIBLINGS, WHO WILL SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR NEEDS?”. Surprisingly I graduated in April 2011, took the board exam by August and passed the board exam. My uncle stopped his financial support right away May 2011 he stop sending us money. That’s why i did not enroll to review center cause I don’t have money. i study and read my books and i held on to my FAITH in GOD more deep than the deepest ocean. thank God i made it. The result came out August 2011, i was already working to a flight booking company, an agency. San to say I was not able to work as a nurse until now, because I cant afford to lose a job with enough compensation for our family’s needs. That time nurses were voluntary workers or paid only as allowance because of the huge number of nurses that time the govt and private institutions were overwhelmed with a lot of nurses.Now i am still working and I was able to send my sister to college and she will finish college this coming April 2016. I am very happy but my parets are not haha. They were demanding a well off life. Maybe they get tired of waiting for us to get rich hahaha. i dont know why they are pressured of getting rich. My mom keeps on telling us that if not because of them we will not be who we are today. My eldest sister and i dint stop supporting our family since Uncle ended his support to us. i was crying this morning upon receiving annoying messages from my mother. They were very unhappy with their present lives. I was wondering, my sister and i were providing for the whole family and not them for 5years now. how come they still complain of everything in life. It’s okay with me to become an old maid , because im willing to support all of them till i die. I just cant take it when everything we do for them seemed never enough 🙁 I know i cant choose my parents but for how long will I ask myself if i could get another set hehe 🙁
    BUT guys don’t worry i can do this. WE can do this 🙂 just have faith in God 🙂

  • Nichole

    Hello There,

    Lately, I have been experiencing family issues that have just gotten out of control and I am in need of some help/guidance. My name is Nichole and I am 23 years old. I live with my mother and father however just purchased my first home with my fiancé of 7 years now. We plan to get married this summer, however, now it seems that everyone in my family disapproves of our marriage. My fiancé and I got engaged September 2014, we planned to have our wedding this year, April 2016 but that has been pushed back to July 2016 due to some family difficulties.

    Throughout the seven years, the first five to say exact, my parents loved him. He did everything for my parents with pretty much anything and everything they asked for including helping out at my dads shop. Lately the past couple of years my dad has grown against him for reasons I cannot understand. My fiancé and I are both college graduates with great stable jobs. To help save money for our marriage and future we both decided to live with our parents. He lives at home with his mother and I live at home with my parents. However, I am unable to save any money at all while living at home. This all started in April of 2014 when my father saw a text on my cell phone that said something on the lines of “they need to start buying their own things”. This was said due to the fact that both of my parents do not work. My father is “disabled” and receives social security while my mom chooses to not work. My father not working I can understanding. My mother on the other hand has chosen not to work for some time now. She took care of her mother years ago, now she is deceased, but now her reasons not to work is to “potty train” my niece and watch my niece “grow up” (my niece does not live with us and her own mother works and is not able to watch her “grow”).

    My father has sent me numerous text that are emotionally abusive and have left me crying while at work. He talks behind my back including turning my grandparents against my fiancé. I just found out this past weekend from my sister when I asked her “Do you know why pawpaw wants to talk to me?” her response was “Well all I know is that at y’alls wedding he is going to standup and say something/speak his mind”. I feel as if I am in a never ending cycle. There is always something going wrong and someone is always unhappy. I finally broke the news to my father that there is a contract pending on the house we looked at two weeks ago when he asked about it (my father knew we went to go look at the house). He became upset and said that he asked for an “advance” of me moving out so that way that would give my mom time to find a job (I told my mom in advance which my dad does not know she knew these). Apparently that was not “advance” enough. I even called my fiancé after my dad said his two-cents and told my fiancé that I did not want to get married anymore because I cannot choose between two people I love..my family and him because I love him. No one is able to be happy all because of my dad. My mother will not even stand up for me. My father has now threatened to take the car I drive away from me. Even though I pay the insurance on the car, parts, gas, etc. and the car is under my moms name he said that he needs to “sell it” to have money since I am moving out. Now on top of paying off my debts, trying to juggle to help pay for a new home on top of paying my parents (since now I am not able to move out until I am married according to my dad), buying a car that will at least get me from point A to point B, and paying for a wedding (which my parents will not be helping much with if even at all).

    I am having difficulty trying to juggle things financially and emotionally right now. My dad has made me feel as if I have done everything wrong in my life. I graduated high school, went straight to college, graduated with a great degree, and now have a great stable job. I do not go out and party. Most days, I come home from 12 hour shifts, eat, sleep, and wake up to do it all over again. I only go out with one person and that is my fiancé. On the other hand, my half brother is in jail, my sister made my dads life hell when she lived at home with us and now has a child. Most of the time, parents are happy about their kids growing up and starting new chapters in their lives. With mine on the other hand, they are angry and the hatefulness towards me has been growing. My father has been making sarcastic remarks towards me on a daily basis. My parents even said “we just feel like you will not have any choices in your life when you get married” all because the home we brought to them is “not my style” when in reality I am the one who chose the home. Not once has my mom offered to help me plan our wedding. On the other hand, she helped constantly with my sisters baby shower. With everything that has gone on over the last two years, I just do not know what to do anymore. I try to make everyone else around me happy, when all I get in return is expectation and hate.

    Any ideas on how to handle this situation will be greatly appreciated, Thank you.

  • sabina

    Hello am sabina 24, a final year student at university, recently i told my dad about my 5 years relationship with a hindu boy, a very hardworking person, being a muslim, my dad refused to accept my relationship. He makes life miserable and control it, am just tired emotionally, physically, i just want to go away and be independent, I want to find a job and be independent,.Everyday i try to be a helpful daughter and assume my responsibility as a daughty and as a student . I have very good grades during my first and second year at uni.But since i’ve told him about my relationship, he always ill treats me and controls my life please help me.

  • Jack

    Like AV above me, I too did a Google search on how to cope with controlling parents, and came across this site. I’m 28 years old, moving onto 29 in May. I’m a full-time college student taking care of my own thing. However, I still live at home for a variety of reasons–but the biggest standout reason is that I have a verbally abusive, emotionally-blackmailing, and totally self-centric alcoholic stepmother that throws guilt trips at me every time I even come close to discussing moving out.

    My father is almost no better, except that unlike my stepmom, he actually works and doesn’t even drink. Aside from that, my dad likes to throw backhanded comments about how much he appreciates having me around and that he’d be nearly hopeless without me around. Him and my stepmom like to joke about having my nephews and niece come out to visit once I move just so they can help them out with little house chores.

    My parents own three mastiffs. I have no say in decisions they make. Yet despite that, both of my parents leave it up to me to take care of their dogs for them. Sometimes I’ll have night classes that prevent me from making it home until at the latest 9PM, and yet the dogs will still be outside, waiting to come in from the cold and recently snowy weather. I’ll get especially mad about this, not because I have to take the time to walk dogs that really aren’t mine, but because the poor dogs have to stay outside because their other owners refuse to take even a few minutes to walk them in, for whatever reason. And when I do take them to task about it, I always get the same “It only takes two minutes, what’s the big deal?”

    And if I use that logic on them… oh man, I won’t even get started on how angry they get.

    As for me… I’m gonna be 29. I want to move out, get independent, and get my own life started. However, I have a manipulative stepmom that, if she had her way, would make sure I stay with my parents as long as they’re alive… and I have a father that kind of enables the behavior instead of defending me.

    When I did bring up the idea of moving out to my stepmom recently, all she did was go into a semantics rant about how selfish I would be for abandoning them and leaving them to their own devices, while I go and enjoy my life. She literally wants to control my life as long as she’s alive.

    I need to find the strength and the courage, but more importantly, the right things to say to both of them.

  • Laurie

    One of the best ways to cope with controlling parents is to focus on the things you CAN control.

    You can’t change the way your parents think or act…but you can change how you respond to them. You can’t change who your parents are or what they say to you…but you can change what you say to them and how you interact with them.

    It may not seem like helpful or powerful advice, but the simple fact is that your parents are loving you the best way they can. They aren’t perfect, and they are making mistakes. They may be doing everything wrong! But you won’t be able to convince them of that. You won’t be able to convince them that they’re controlling or that they need to change.

    Keep expressing your feelings. Get a journal, and write write write everything that you’re going through. Process your experiences, get all your thoughts and emotions out. It’s good that you’re sharing here! Express yourself, for you will save yourself that way.

    What advice would you give your younger sister or brother about coping with controlling parents?

  • Victoria

    I have many other things I keep hidden but right now I just want to really know what to do about going to uni next year… I feel as if that’s my deadline to make up my mind on who is really in control of my life.. (Sorry for my bad English, particularly if anyone got lost in the past/present/future tenses.. English isn’t my first language.)

  • Victoria

    I have only read a few of the comments and so so far I guess I would probably be the youngest here. I hope no one will judge me for any lesser for that.. I am 17 turning 18, and I love my parents as I know that they love me. But my whole life growing up I have grown accustomed to being alone.. Both socially and emotionally. I love meeting new people but I set boundaries so that no one can get close, afraid of my parent’s disapproving of them.. They say that they would “love” to see me be more socially active, but every time I do they end up disliking them, saying that they are a ‘bad influence’ and when one reason doesn’t fit the description (when I and/or my friend(s) prove to them otherwise) they’d just keep wriggling out reasons for why the are all ‘bad people’.. I hate being the cause of pain to someone important to me, so I stopped making any real friends to protect them and myself from that pain. Emotionally,.. Now this is a biggie… Ever since I was a babe through to childhood to now my father would scold me for crying calling me ‘crybaby’, telling me that if I don’t shut up I’m in HUGE trouble.. Which I often end up in anyway. So I haven’t cried since, or at least in front of them or anyone because well it’s how I was raised. But recently I am under quite a bit of stress from school and all the extra cirucular activities I do (I am really involved with my school performing arts centre). I love doing it of course, but that doesn’t mean it makes it any less stressful. Anyways, I was in a bad mood and as hard as I tried to hide it, my dad pointed out how ‘disrespectful’ I was being in not being too happy about making a sandwich for him…. .__. So anyways, bawling my eyes out, I tell him what’s up and they only thing he told me was “toughen up, that’s your problem don’t share it with others”. … I just turned 15. I remember feeling a sharp coldness seep through me remembering why I don’t cry to them ever. Another thing I have always wished is for them to be more supportive of me.. When I’d invite them to my concerts or performances, they’d skip out and say that they are ‘busy’, and their ‘busy’ is sleeping or playing games on their phone. … The major issue of this is that, I’m graduating high school this year and they want to send me to college/uni overseas. I don’t really want to go to uni, but if I have to I woul love to do tourism and hosiptality. This is what I’m planing on doing anyway too, maybe just working at a hotel or something I really love meeting new people and think it’ll be more adventurous and fun! I told them this but the only response I got back was a 2 hour lecture about how, and I quote, “it’s a stupid idea and I’m being a retard” ….. So I really don’t want to go anymore and rather want to travel with my friend (I know I said I was alone, but somehow I managed to make a few true good friends behind my parent’s back, and they’re the ones who taught me to be open with my emotions and that it’s okay to cry and that there’s nothing wrong with who I am and the things I want to do and love doing.. It’s because of them that I’m still going on..), but I’m terrified of disappointing my parents about my decision.. I’m terrified of what they’ll do once they find out I’ve skipped out on their plans for me, because last time I told them they said that they’ll disown me as a disgrace and being disrespectful to our family name… Anything I wan to do seems to be a disgrace to our name.. So right now I’m torn between breaking myself to keep my parents happy, or breaking my parent’s heart and be selfish so I can live my life.. Sometimes I wish I’d give up so that I wouldn’t have to decide, but that’s selfish of me anyways so…. I know many people and my true friends tell me that I shouldn’t let them live my life for me, but could I really do something like that to them..? Despite everything I still love them so much it’s killing me I swear…. And one other thing is I don’t feel appreciated for anything I do for them.. The things I give up and sacrifice for them, they dont even notice or disregard it saying ‘why don’t you ever think or anyone else but yourself?’.. I get they do things for me to but the difference between them and me is that I appreciate it.. I take the time out to show that and I respect them in every way, but it’s like they don’t respect me.. They even said that “you don’t deserve our respect, we deserve yours.” … I feel so trapped.. What am I to do… ?

    • Gina

      your not selfish, if anything your parents are being selfish. You need to stand up for yourself or accept them the way they are. Some parents have this innate nature that “we do everything for her, yet this and this is lacking or not good enough”…they will never change. Respect them and love them, but don’t take their harsh critisizim to heart. That will be easier for you, be strong and believe in yourself. And try to get out of there as soon as possible. Parents are parents. Some are very easy to get along with and some very difficult. But don’t take their stuff to heart.

  • Sean

    I don’t believe my problems come any where near the level of pain or hardship so many of you deal or have dealt with. It’s disheartening to see how many people suffer due to over controlling parents. I don’t believe my dad was always a controlling guy. While he was in the military he almost always treated me and my brother like we were his pride and joy. He would bring back sweets from the states, toys and gizmos. Spoilt us a lot really. I did notice a change when I turned 11 and he left the military to become an estate agent. We moved to the other end of the country and I started secondary education in a new school. My grades started failing, I didn’t have any friends, I started skipping school and not doing my homework all the while my dad was at the office doing 12 hour shifts to keep the business afloat. I guess he started to resent me because he saw me as lazy and not putting effort into anything any more and he was doing more than he wanted to just so we could survive. When he used to take us all out for family walks, I used to get tired and hungry, these were long 4 hour walks that my dad insisting on taking us all on. I used to complain so much. One day we were on a cliff edge in Dover for a day out and I guess he just had enough and grabbed me on the edge of the cliff and shook me, saying how he couldn’t believe I was his son. I was 12. I was genuinely afraid for my life. It wasn’t the last time he said that either. Well, when I finished School, got average but not amazing grades, I went to college and did a year long course in cookery. When I finished that I spent the next two years in my room playing on my Xbox. No joke. I didn’t look for work, I didn’t know how to right a cv (resume) so I avoided my problems and chose the easy option. Well that was 3 years ago now. I’m 21, I have had 3 jobs since we last moved and have been paying my dad rent and buying my own food. I was recently laid off from my last job and have been applying for work ever since. My dad keeps telling me how bad and lazy I used to be and how he doesn’t believe people change. Despite my improvement. He doesn’t want me in the house, that I now help pay for, during the day and insists I look for work on the computers at the local library so I’m away from the distractions at home. I try to defend myself by saying I have changed, the boy I was didn’t face his problems and hid in his room playing games all day. I am working as hard as I can to find another job but it’s as much a numbers game as it is the quality of the applications. There aren’t enough jobs for me to sit behind a computer 9 to 5 every day and apply for. And he would have me apply for 20 jobs a day if he could force me to, no matter the job. He even came into my room yesterday and had a go at me because it was 4pm and I was on my playstation. Am I in the wrong? Is he right about me? Am I still lazy and doing nothing to find another job, or are his expectations completely unreasonable? I was so excited this weekend because I had heard back from 4 employers saying they’re interested and would like to see me. Then my dad walks in, tells me I’m not doing enough and this is exactly why I should be out of the house. I’m going crazy. I have no time for myself, have no one I can spend the day out with and the threat of eviction if I don’t find enough work to support myself in the next month. I want to know if I’m in the wrong because at the moment I’m torn.

  • Giselle Perez

    Hello Laurie

    My name is Giselle, i am 29 and live with my parents again. Reason why i say again is because i lost my husband of eight years about a two years ago. I had nowhere else to go but to my parents place. My mother and i get along pretty great. Now my father and I, not a chance. Ever since i can remember he’s always been very mean and very very controlling. Because of his lack of being a father i now have a fear of dating, and becoming independent. Till this day i still hear the word NO. Always. I dont know what his fear is of me leaving and becoming and adult. This is torture that he cant even trust his own daughter. Ive always been there for him and my mother i have always respected him, but yet he cant show me respect. Yes he helps me out financially but honestly im scared to go back to work. I feel like my childhood was horrible. I never remember having fun with my parents. I dont know what else to do. And hes not the easiest person to talk to. I also feel like i have not grown up in so many ways. I wish i was a stronger person. Ive become weak because of him. He makes me feel like im not worth anything. And it hurts that my own mother cant even have a say in anything.
    Please i need some advice.

    Thank you.

  • William

    My name is William and I rent an apartment from my father. The apartment is in a large building that is also rented to a business. I help with building mantinence and really enjoy the area I occupy. The problem I have issue with, is, my father constantly questioning me about talking to the ” wrong” people in this small community. Often he receives mail that is mine due to name/address similarities- he opens and reads nearly all of it. A more recent problem is that he is demanding to know who is on the phone when I recieve a call in his presence. And to top it off I noticed he had been examining my garbage- this coinciding with the demand to examine the contents of the trunk of my car . this is the part where I tell you I am 40 years old, he is 73. Not a very inspiring story, but it felt good to share.

  • Tasha hall

    Hi there,
    What a helpful website, I really do need help with my overwhelming parents.
    My father is currently in hospital, he’s frail and just turned 77years.
    My mother has been asking me to visit everyday which is physically draining and now I have got sick as I’m worn out working all day and visiting in the evenings. Now I am sick she is texting my hubby to find out if he’s visiting- which he does sometimes. Saying- he’s not good today a visit from you would help him feel better
    I feel she is emotionally blackmailing us…
    We just need a break from her and her controlling games ? Just feeling so low