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Extremely Controlling Mum

Community Member

Ever since I was young my mum has been controlling, it was needed when I was younger. As I’m an only child, I’ve often been spoiled. My mum and dad both come from abusive homes where my dad was hit by his dad, and my mum was hit by both parents and suffers from PTSD from it. My mum is also very selfish as she never got anything from her parents as she was the eldest and the younger children where preferred.

There’s been two events that have caused me to really worry. How do I handle such controlling parents? I’m 20 now, not a teenager and need to be independent but I feel that they are holding me back.

My mum won’t let me drive my car even though I’ve passed my full license, she’s scared I’ll be killed or get into an accident.

I spring cleaned my wardrobe, and my mum went mental. She went into my wardrobe and started screaming at me as saying “I’m selfish and all I do is take.”

She believes I’m wasting her money, when in reality the clothes don’t fit and I’ll be giving them away to charities. I feel like I’m walking on egg shells, I didn’t tell her that I was cleaning my wardrobe as I know she would get so angry about it. I don’t like how she just goes into my room, through my belongings.

If I do anything my mum doesn’t like, it’s because “I’m selfish and spoiled” and always “take”. She’s becoming to much now, she only just stopped telling me what colour to dye my hair.

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Emily, and a warm welcome to you.

As you are 20 years old, you're an adult and your mum should not just walk into your room without asking, that's invading your privacy, just as telling you that you can't drive your car, just a bit too much control over you.

Are you able to break free by moving out, that's the first solution, but you will have to get everything organised before you tell her and don't give her a key, tell her you will visit her when you want to.

When I say this find a flat/house for yourself, if you're not working and receiving payments from Centrelink, then they can provide the bond money and 2 weeks rent, repayment is very small each fortnight.

You need to live your life, not one that's controlled by your mother, you don't have to server relations but it's now on your terms.

Best wishes.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi KitEmily

Parents are seriously quirky people! I should know, as I am one (my daughter's almost 16 and my son's 13).

As a mum, I try to remain conscious of how I act towards my kids as I know that I still have some pretty dysfunctional programs in my head, passed down from my parents via those that came before them. The 'fear' program is a pretty strong one, dictating that if we play it safe nothing can go wrong. Such a program rarely inspires confidence or a sense of adventure, such as with driving a car.

From what you say, I imagine your mum has some rather intense control issues. Most of the people I know with control issues have experienced a significant lack of control at some stage of their life. This lack of control shapes them in one way or another. I'll give you a relateable example of control:

  • If I was to place 5 coffee mugs on the kitchen bench and tell you to keep them all lined up perfectly, could you do it? Sure, no worries! Now, someone comes along and moves one out of place. Simple, you move it back, no big deal. Others come along and start moving the mugs out of place repeatedly. You start to get frustrated and even angry, perceiving these people as selfish & thoughtless. You start yelling at them to 'STOP!' You're losing control and want it back!'

You moved those clothes, you want to drive, you're taking away your mum's control (in her mind). You're moving coffee mugs out of place, so to speak. I hope that makes sense. Of course the issue is not with you, it's with your mum's inability to manage change as you become more independent. Considering the definition of 'control' is 'effective management', it may pay to have a think about how your mum could manage things more effectively, in a way that best serves you both.

It's hard to come to terms with our babies growing up as it involves adapting to a whole new and unfamiliar set of mental programs. Unless we're willing to consciously evolve with our kids, all we have to refer to is that old set of programs (some fairly destructive ones included). Our kids have to much to teach us. You may have to see yourself as the teacher in this situation you face: You can occasionally state to your mum the changes you are going to undertake and then ask her how she would like you to help her manage these changes. You will not be asking permission, you will be offering assistance.

Take care of yourself KitEmily and remember parents need guidance too, we can be delicate and confused creatures at times