Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cut the Cord

My mom is a micromanaging helicopter parent of the utmost degree. When i was still a minor, it was her absolute  right to parent in such a manner if she so desired. Now that I am an adult, she can still say whatever she wants, but I don't have to listen all that closely if what she says does not suit me. 

One could argue that because I'm living rent-free in a structure that she jointly owns and am subsisting mostly on food that she has financed, she still should have a say in what I do. I interpret it somewhat differently. If I were engaging in behaviors that went against everything she and my father ever taught me, she would have the right to ask that I either live within the rules of polite society or move out of the condo that she owns. I've banked enough money that I could support myself throughout the remainder of medical school if she pulled the financial carpet from beneath my feet. It's money that might be better spent on expenses when I am in an internship or residency and am not earning much money, but the vast majority of interns and residents survive on what they earn in their rather marginal positions.

Still it's good that I have the money that I've stored away. It allows for a level playing field in negotiating this game of territory as I'm finding my way to adulthood. It gives me freedom, in the event that a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce me under absolute despotism, so that I might  throw out such government and provide new power for my own future security, to borrow a few words from Thomas Jefferson. My mom can give me all the advice she wants. I can take it or leave it. If she doesn't like it when I leave the advice as opposed to taking it, she can evict me from the premises. If she evicts me, I can used my savings to live wherever i want. It works for me.

The situation in which my brother and I find ourselves is a bit unnatural. Brothers and sisters do not typically go off to medical school together. The fact that we did lends itself, sometimes through the most casual sharing of information with our parents on the part of either my brother and me, to intentional or unintentional blurring of boundaries. It's uncharted water for each of us to navigate. 

When i first began seeing the person I dated this fall, I asked my brother not to mention the relationship to my parents. It that I felt I had anything to hide from them so much as that I wanted to deal with the boyfriend on my own terms without any parental interference. I'm not sure how or even if they might have interjected themselves into the process even had they known, but it was easier with them not being in any way involved. It was not a hasty decision. I would do it again the same way if I had the chance to do it over. I probably will do the same thing again at least once. I won't marry a guy without allowing my parents to meet him first, but I can easily see myself carrying on a relationship of equal or greater length without their knowledge. My parents simply do not need to know every single thing I do.

In a few short years, my brother and I will each complete internships in cities away from each other and our parents. At that point the invisible tie that still provides a not-all-that-age-appropriate connection will likely disappear once and for all. Both my brother and I will always be connected to one another and to our parents in some intangible way. Right now, however, we're all a bit too connected. The metaphorical umbilical cord binding us all has entered the final countdown phase.


  1. Uh oh. Sounds like there was drama.

    1. We had a bit of drama. i said more but thought better of it and deleted the earlier reply.

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  3. Well what you can do is learn what not to do from your parents when it comes to your children. I feel that you are taking the best course given your circumstances. Here is what I would tell my best friend Molly who had kids. She did not like it. I said that whatever misery she causes her kids, her kids would cause for her.

    Of course the opposite is also true. Whatever joy you cause your kids, your kids will cause you. I used to see a massage therapist that worked deeply in the muscles called postural integration. She asked if her 17 year old girl could work for me. Her single mother made barely enough to support them. So I did not need any help but maybe I could buy her things just for the good karma.

    So I took her to a huge mall and she would ask for something and I would say yes or no, just like a parent. We spent many hours there and I bought her everything she wanted. On the way home she had trouble knowing if it was real or just a dream. She had a bald head since she was a skinhead.

    I bought her a leather jacket first, a skateboard, a bb gun, designer sunglasses, stereo equipment and other things. She said that her friends knew she was poor with no jobs and yet in one day she had all these things. I spent several thousand dollars. I use to make a lot of money in a multi-level marketing company that sold Chinese herbs for healing. I had tens of thousands of people in my downline group. Like we sold white willow bark. Do you know what that is? They get the active ingredient of aspirin, salicin, from that bark.

  4. I get that raising children can be a thankless job. It's tough on both ends.

    1. I guess being an empath makes things more clear and immediate. I can sometimes feel whatever others feel. A 6 year old girl lives about 40 feet from me. She was bored because her single mom was talking to a neighbor and her brother was riding a motor bike.

      So she wanted to put together a jigsaw puzzle with me. I did not know that no one else will do that with her and she does not want to do it herself. So we spent almost 4 hours putting together 3 jigsaw puzzles. So here is the question.

      Did she have more fun doing it or did I have more fun doing it? Note that she looks at me like her father and I look at her as my daughter. So I do not know who had more fun. But I do know that it was one the most enjoyable experiences of my life ever!

      Now I have never took drugs like pot or even alcohol but I felt so high after doing that with her. Those 4 hours were price less to me.

      Her brother is always there but was not there last Valentine's Day. So the mother and daughter got home at 7PM and I went over to wish them Valentine's Day. I ended up playing with the girl. We were playing in the kitchen and drinking hot chocolate. I made her laugh and hot chocolate came out of her nose and that made her laugh harder.

      It got to 11PM but there was no school tomorrow. She said to her mother that we were going to play on her easy bake oven and then we were going to do more (we already did some) arts & crafts. The mother said that it was 11PM and we can play more tomorrow. Raising children can be the most rewarding thing to do. Just ask your mother to tell you about the most enjoyable time she ever had with you. This little girl with blonde hair looks a lot like the picture of you. That is the face I am talking about. Not the hair since she has straight hair.

  5. I hope you had fun playing the cello. They say that it is the instrument closest to the human voice. They have a new psychology called Positive Psychology. It studies how to be happier. They found that the flow experience is the key to that. What is the flow? It is what you feel when you play the cello.

    Here is the director of Positive Psychology explaining it. "When does time stop for you? When do you find yourself doing exactly what you want to be doing, and never wanting it to end? Is it painting, or making love, or playing volleyball, or talking before a group, or rock climbing, or listening sympathetically to someone else's troubles." "These investigations have revealed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow-- a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to absolute absorption in an activity,"

    To put it other terms, the more you are in the present, the better you are at playing the instrument and the more you enjoy it. Some people love playing a sport so much they spend countless hours playing it and get so good they make millions a year.

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  7. Your parents really shouldn't have that much say in what you do. It sounds like they are having trouble adjusting to advising adult children rather than parenting them. It probably is harder for them because you lived with them in college and are much younger than the average graduate student.
    I remember having a fairly rough summer with my mom at age 21 and I was working full time over an hour away and was basically out of the house for 12-14 hours every week day and we still butted heads when she realized that she could no longer tell me what to do.
    Your parents also didn't need to know about the relationship unless your brother was concerned for your safety for some reason. My parents didn't meet my boyfriend until I announced we were moving in together the next week (I married him a couple of years later). And I was not that much older than you at that point and was just finishing undergrad.
    What has recently been helping me is DWIL on babycenter. It's a board that is technically for dealing with the in laws but many people come with dealing with boundaries with their own family too. And not everyone has kids. I reccomend reading a bunch of posts before you make your own, because many issues with boundaries are the same and you might not even need to make a post. They also reccomend several books on the subject of creating healthy boundaries. I will warn you that advice sometimes comes off as very harsh and they will probably tell you to get out of the condo, but I don't think there is anything wrong with parents who can afford it helping to fund education. I still don't think that should allow parents to control the student's life either.

    1. I'll check out the board. My mom is having trouble accepting me in particular as an adult, which is a bit odd as we all know i'm both smarter and more sensible than my twin brother is. My dad is probably doing OK with it. I think he was ready for us to fly on our own.

    2. I'll check out the board. My mom is having trouble accepting me in particular as an adult, which is a bit odd as we all know i'm both smarter and more sensible than my twin brother is. My dad is probably doing OK with it. I think he was ready for us to fly on our own.

    3. The board is very helpful for identifying dysfunctional behavior in relationships. My mother in law has not accepted that her son (my husband) is a grown man, married, with two kids. This has resulted in him getting numerous phone calls to give random advice that is not helpful and worse, whenever they visit they try and take over my house and pretend they are my kids parents. I'm incredibly independent and stubborn so this obviously doesn't go over well. She also doesn't take kindly to being told no so when my husband finally told her no and to stop she freaked out and started being incredibly rude to me. Thanks to DWIL the kids and I are now taking at least a 6 month no contact time out from her and she will not be staying in my house for the foreseeable future.

      I think this all could have been avoided if my husband had pushed to break away a little more when we were younger. We are almost 30.

      It's slightly painful and dramatic to have to give parents the heads up that you are in fact an adult (I had to do the same with my mom around your age). But it's ok and normal to need good boundaries. Your mom needs to see that you are becoming her peer, not her child. Try and rope your dad into helping you. Try and stay calm during conversations.

      I think some parents have major issues letting their kids make their own mistakes. I'm the grand scheme of things dating a guy and not telling your parents or making random purchases (I'm guessing this is what she is upset about) are really not that big of a deal. In general they aren't life threatening and it sounds like you won't be in the poor house for making one extravagant purchase. I know people who spontaneously buy expensive cars after break ups. It happens.

      Sorry for the novel, this issue has obviously greatly affected me as well!