View Full Version : Controlling Parent
02-27-2008, 03:09 AM
I'm sure many of you have heard of the not-exactly-peaceful relations with my ISFJ mother (I've heard that ISFJs love tradition. Maybe the "five relationships" of Confucianism is right for her. Filial piety, parent-child, parent's superiority. Go figure). On normal school days, she would call like, once every two hours to check what I was doing. If she was in the house, she would constantly come upstairs to check on me. And if I didn't tell her EXACTLY what I was doing, she's bound to ask. It's like she needs a tab on me 24/7, like I'm some lunatic in a mental asylum who needs constant supervision. Well, it has happened again, and this time I felt that she has invaded my freedom.
Today, my French teacher took us out for the last period to eat lunch in a French restaurant about 30 minutes from school. We were supposed to be back by 3 PM to catch the school bus, but we were nine minutes late, resulting in my classmates and I missing the bus. However, after some contemplation, I decided to stay at school with my friend who requested that I help her review for Physics test. I stayed until 5 pm and took a taxi home. Today, I also took my computer to school.
When I came home, I was to call my mother as told by my maid. So... I called her, and she was livid all right. She asked things like: "How could you stay at school on your accord? Take a taxi by yourself? You just wasted 40 CNY for goodness' sake!" And I explained to her. "It's not like you're a child, you should be more responsible than that! If she wants your help, SHE should pay your taxi fees." At this point, I didn't even bother to point out that I would have to pay the taxi fees regardless if I stayed longer than necessary.
She then proceeded to tell me that if this EVER happen again, I would never get allowance again. "If you ever want to stay after school, you must ask my permission!" she yelled. Her PERMISSION. That's right. At this age, my peers can decide at will, and I still have to ask PERMISSION. I'm not her slave who's not allowed to leave the house! My friends get to stay after for whatever reason, when they like it. They are allowed to take a cab back and forth freely; any fees involved would be provided. They are allowed to independently shop for what they need with their friends. She did get one thing right. I'm FIFTEEN, not FIVE. I have independence enough to hail a cab; I have independence enough to decide when I want to stay after school and how long I want to stay. It just happens that I didn't bring my cell, and she acted as though she was afraid that I would be kidnapped by the... taxi driver or something. "Have you ANY idea how WORRIED I was?" She did not know that I took measures to ensure that it did not happen; I didn't bother to explain due to my haste to end the conversation. Please. I CAN think, and I CAN plan. She, as my mother, should know me well enough to judge my competence to make it back home on my own.
And she wasn't done yet. "Where have you taken your computer?" Obvious if you ask me. "Why did you do it?" Do I need a reason to take MY 14th birthday present; MY property to school whenever I felt like it? Am I still (again) FIVE? Again, I explained that I want to use it during study hall. She forbade that also, and I did not try to argue.
I didn't even try to argue with her. I just agreed with whatever rubbish she spewed. All I want to do now is to kick something. She's limiting my freedom, something I will not allow, and I think being INTJ contributes to that. I do realize that I'm angry right now. I'm sorry :cool:
How should I deal with her? With her 'parent-should-control-child' mentality? We disagree on so many issues and I'm afraid my fuse would burn out soon. I might just explode on her when I let my temper slip, and we have identical temper intensities. It's not going to be pretty, for sure.
02-27-2008, 06:36 AM
To be honest, I'd absolutely hate to have your mother. I would refuse to accept any of her over-protectiveness. My mother is basically just a figure head, I'm really autonomous, I pretty much do what I want (I'm not wild or crazy, just independent). If I were in your shoes, I tell me mom to stop bugging me and let me live my own life. Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself, your mother is WAY to over-protective. She seems to be invading your privacy too. Just tell her to leave you alone and that she is really bothering you. Tell her how much you dislike her parenting style or something, that will probably appeal to her F and allow her to understand more. Don't just sit down and take it though, you should always stick up for yourself, no matter who it is to.
02-27-2008, 07:23 AM
Hmm, well, you're Chinese aren't you? I suppose that the cultural differences are pretty vast when it comes to parents.
For what it's worth, what I did with my ESFJ mother was just simply not back down. It took about half a year of heavy conflict, but in the end freedom is worth it. I would say...don't be too nice, I really had to be ruthless and tear myself free. In a way - especially for INTJs - it's either them or you.
Doesn't mean we don't still fight from time to time, of course.
And I can understand that your mother is worried when you come home later than expected, but the whole permission thing is too much.
02-27-2008, 09:57 AM
I guess as parents SJs have their own sets of rules that their children are expected to abide and unfortunately I guess Confucian ideals say "your place is your place". I also suppose since she's an F it will make it extra hard to even negotiate. I actually have been successful in negotiating with my mother. I plead to my mother "I don't feel I'm ready for whatever" and she'll have more understanding provided she's in a good mood. Of course never negotiate only oblige (provided you still want to live at home) when they've blown their temper, otherwise they will consider it talking back and then it turns into a volcano and who knows what they'll do.
An example of one thing I negotiated with my parents: "I'm not the parent of my brothers, you two are"
so now they plead "help out since we go to work" instead of "you have to because older brothers are supposed to look after younger brothers". Not exactly free of it, but notice I'm not divinely entitled to watch my siblings anymore, and they aren't as aggressive at it as well there's a bit more mutual respect.
Now I have defied my parents before (I believe both of them are Ts so may not apply to you) and there were only two outcomes. They either give up if provided I've shown to them that it was unreasonable or they will threaten "do that one more time and you don't get to live in the house".
However I most certainly agree that your mother is too restrictive, I guess you'll just have to find a way to subtly show her without making it look openly defiant. Show her what it will cost if she is openly restrictive, use her own goals for you to show that she's keeping you from meeting those goals.
Example: I showed my parents I can't do my homework if they locked my computer and that it'd be contrary to their goals for my success; they don't lock it away anymore.
Another thing with Chinese parents, your property argument won't work (note: I don't even get allowance I just save up from New Year). They consider that they have fed you, clothed you, housed you, raised you, paid for your education and therefore you are all indebted to them and they are completely entitled to you. Since allowance is the money they gave to you, the only way you can refute, is if you worked (ie had a job) for your own money to buy things.
Anyways have a bit more patience, show her subtly, failing that wait till you get into post-secondary then plan to pursue your post-secondary away from her. Parents tend to get a lot more loose once you don't live with them.
Then again my end is a bit different, both my parents are more results oriented (ST type) and once I go by their rules they don't care about me at all as long as I have results. So consider what you feel is relevent. However I do relate in where they infringe your independence. I just hate it when my grandparents do everything for me, like if I was a baby, it implies I'm useless.
02-27-2008, 10:31 AM
I can understand your frustration with overprotective and strict parents. My parents would ground me for 2 weeks for being less than 5 minutes late, even if I wasnt the one driving and they knew exactly where I was. I always had to check in, and was the only one in my group of friends to do so.
However, i do understand from your mother's point of view on checking in to make sure youre not dead or kidnapped or anything; especially considering the world we live in and your gender.
15 years of age, however, is old enough to have the responsibility for making your own decisions like staying after school to help a friend or taking a cab, and your mother seems like my father when he would overreact any time one little thing didnt go the way he asked.
Now that im "technically" an adult and I live at school, checking in with my parents is no longer an issue. They dont ask it of me because they know that im mature enough to make my own decisions and they trust me (no idea why). When I am home instead of asking them if I can go somewhere I tell them where I am going, who I will be with, and an estimate of how long I will be gone. They dont ask for it but I know that they appreciate it and it helps to always have someone that knows where you are in case something happens.
My advice would be to show your mother that you can handle responsibility and deal with the issue maturely. (and to me it sounds like you have, well with your mother at least. Its cool to get angry and kick things...thats my retreat too haha.)
But anyways, respect from parents takes time to earn, whereas respect towards parents is kind of expected. I know that this really sucks when youre becoming a mature adult. I do, however, feel incredibly lucky to have been brought up by my father, as strict as he was.
02-27-2008, 10:38 AM
What you're describing isn't uncommon for mothers and teenage daughters. I went through something very similar with my mother (ENTJ, and apparently they're very controlling) when I was a teenager. I did have one advantage though, in that my mother is still an NT and is therefore susceptible to (some) logical arguments.
I think that parents still view their teenagers as children. It can sometimes be difficult for their mental ideas of you to catch up with the reality of your maturity level. I remember that it was overwhelmingly frustrating when i was a teenager, that my mother still questioned my every move and every decision and that she still required me to ask her permission for things I felt I could decide on my own just fine. Another factor (i think) is that parents of teenagers, and for some reason especially teenage girls, worry A LOT about their children. That may be some of the reason for your mother constantly checking up on you.
Why did she buy you a laptop if she didn't want you to take it to school? It sounds like she was worried about where you were (maybe you'd been kidnapped or something). Often when parents get worried about their children it manifests itself as anger. So she was worried and angry and as a result she made some silly rules about asking her permission before you took your lap top anywhere. I don't know if she's the type of parent to do this, but she may calm down and see the foolishness of that decree and withdraw it.
What I found worked with my mother when I was a teenager was compromise and (attempted) understanding. In your situation I'd say, "Listen, I'm sorry if you were worried because you didn't know where I was. In the future I'd like to be able to stay after school if I like, but I'll make sure to call you or leave a message or something to let you know where I am and when I plan to be home."
Many teenagers (myself included) interpret this constant need to know where you are by their parents as controlling and not letting them be adults. That may be some of it, but I think that most parents are just genuinely terrified that their teenager will be hurt or kidnapped or something else equally awful.
What I did when I was a teenager and my mother was being unreasonable was (partly) to scream and argue with her (we had our share of those), OR to just calmly agree to whatever she said and then do it my own way anyway. She worked full time so I had a certain amount of leeway when it came to that.
02-27-2008, 11:17 AM
Lucid (Save me the trouble of quoting the whole thing): Now that I've calmed down, I can really see her point of view, at least partly, from your analysis. Thanks! But unlike your ENTJ mom, it's harder to talk to my mom. She thinks she's really calm, but even a small dispute can set her off. I was talking to her about homosexuals and expressed my own views about why it should be legal, and she went on to explain that it would be encouraging the gays to 'convert' people to be like them. I was puzzled and said it wouldn't be encouragement. Smoking is legal, is it encouraged? But she insisted that it is since "we let it happen, then can promote themselves". Then I asked why they would do that and pointed out the flaws in her arguments (slippery slope fallacy). She said: "They just would! Stop using your debating attitude on me; we're not debating. Of course they would want more potential partners!" and glared into space. I asked her if she got mad and why she did, she snapped: "I'm not angry. I'm just frustrated you can't tell right from wrong." So basically... Anything she disagrees with is wrong. She even says: "You'll think like me when you're my age. I'm more mature and experienced than you." The latter might be true, but that still doesn't excuse her conviction that everything she does not agree with is wrong. She also hates it when I question tradition, and questioning her 'rules' would just set her off. Again.
02-27-2008, 11:31 AM
There's a method I learned for lowering the temperature for people who seem to be getting angry or hysterical. Say back to them what they are saying to you. Just as a calm statement. "Gays would want more potential partners." "You feel anxious when you don't hear from me."
It helps the person feel they are being listened to, which calms them down. That makes it easier to move on in the conversation instead of going in circles.
Some of what she's saying isn't completely out of bounds, but it sounds like there's a lot of emotional baggage or over-reaction. Hate to say it but sometimes the kid unfortunately has to be the mature one. Take a deep breath and good luck.
Oh, that sounds nearly identical to my mother, who is an ESFJ. Mine has a couple interesting differences - she's more prone to seeing my way of things, but she's also more prone to attempting to pull emotions out of me. With almost physical effort if need be. She will go to any bounds to understand and control me.
I am now in college, and things are much improved. You need to understand that you will never, ever, see eye to eye with her, and she feels that as the parent she shouldn't have to budge or change. She considers herself in a position of higher authority and wants you to respect that (the SJ temperament acting alive here). Now, I never did (and still don't) but I did learn to treat her opinion as a fact of nature. I'm sure you know how immutable it is.
Try not to get so upset about it, and when you argue against her, try to reason along her lines - not yours. It might seem perfectly reasonable to you that you had to take a taxi home, but I would consider a more effective arguing strategy here to be emphasizing how much you wanted to help your friend, and how you're sorry for deviating from the plan that your mother knew about - and thus worrying her. She worries about you a lot! And I'm sure she loves you deeply, because I know mine does me. If you acknowledge the intense personal straits she goes through for your sake (and she probably does), she will be immeasurably more likely to acknowledge yours in return.
Basically, learn to bend for her, and she'll bend as well. On the other hand, don't expect her to ever give you the kind of support or understanding you likely, and naturally, crave from your mother. Things will get much better once you're not living with her, but in the meantime, accept the situation for what it is.
She thinks she's really calm, but even a small dispute can set her off. I was talking to her about homosexuals and expressed my own views about why it should be legal, and she went on to explain that it would be encouraging the gays to 'convert' people to be like them.
That sounds exactly like my mom! Ugh. There's just no point arguing with her. I've simply given up in having an intellectual meeting of minds with her. Especially about money, which has been mentioned before in this thread - she believes that even after she's given it to me, it's "hers" and I can only use it at her discretion. Simply absurd.
For what it's worth, what I did with my ESFJ mother was just simply not back down. It took about half a year of heavy conflict, but in the end freedom is worth it. I would say...don't be too nice, I really had to be ruthless and tear myself free.
I have an ESFJ mother myself, and I have to ask - did that really work for you? Because I tried that for ages, and she wouldn't accept it! She is convinced that if she is persistent enough I will one day magically open up to her and see her side of things. She still gives me unconditional support, which I really haven't asked for. She has backed off somewhat, but the woman doesn't know the meaning of "cut off".
02-27-2008, 06:41 PM
Depends on what you mean with "work", she'll never naturally get me, but I've "trained" her so that she doesn't do the things that made it impossible for us to be together anymore (and yes, I know that I'm the cause of that situation too). An example would be phonecalls - she's stopped calling me, she sends me e-mails from time to time now. It requires additional "cutting off"/rejecting from time to time, you'll never really change her as a person. I almost never let my shield down when I'm around her, I don't think this will ever change. I'm very blunt with her about things that bother me, this works, but only because I'm unphased by the hurt look on her face. I can express an enormous hardness and coldness when I feel that I'm threatened, I think she interprets that as punishment, as rejection. Yeah, sometimes I feel like I'm the parent and she's the kid.
Now this may sound cruel, but don't worry, I do love my mother, I just don't think that loving her excludes not being nice to her from to time to time for the overall improvement of our relationship. And I try to actively understand her too. For example,I always stay up late and they go to bed early, so one night I just drew her a funny little thing (half bear/half flower/half clown) and put it on the table so she'd find it when she woke up. I know she appreciates such gestures a lot (in fact she dates the things and keeps them in a folder or something :p). This way, she understands that my appreciation of her is there, but that it doesn't manifest in the conventional "OMG, I love you mum!' way. I also give her a lot of random hugs. :p
Honestly, when I'm away during the week, I don't think about my parents very often. Out of sight out of mind...is that and INTJ thing?
I believe my mother is an ISFJ as well. My way of handling it when I was younger was blatantly disregarding her wishes, and always be at least 15 minutes late. Then when she would get upset I would explain how it's no big deal, so she should stop worrying. Then after doing that for my teenage years around the age of 18 or 19 she slowly let go. Now thinking about it she never really let go that much. Another way to get rid of a controlling parent is to move really far away, and don't call ofen.
02-27-2008, 07:04 PM
My mother's an ESFJ as well. And yes, personality type can be useful in trying to solve relationship problems with friends and family. Growing up with an ESFJ mother and an ISTJ father taught me that I had to use very different approaches to deal with each of them.
BUT... most of what you describe is just typical parent-child stuff, and has very little to do with personality type. Most parents want to keep close tabs on their kids. Most kids find their parents too overbearing and controlling. It's just part of growing up.
Cheer up. Your relationship will improve in a few years.
02-27-2008, 07:11 PM
Well I for one regret how cold I was to my mother at times. I didn't know the half of what she was dealing with and what her life had been like up to when I came in. She deserved to have someone visibly care about her, and I could have done more.
You may find yourself in a similar position in the future.
02-27-2008, 08:26 PM
Lucid (Save me the trouble of quoting the whole thing): Now that I've calmed down, I can really see her point of view, at least partly, from your analysis. Thanks! But unlike your ENTJ mom, it's harder to talk to my mom. She thinks she's really calm, but even a small dispute can set her off.
I hope you found some of what I said to be helpful, but I understand that what worked with my mom won't necessarily work with yours. But I do remember thinking that my mother was a complete lunatic when I was a teenager. Try to be patient with her. As her to be patient with you (if you think it would work). Good luck with her and keep in mind that in a few more years you'll be in charge of yourself and won't ever have to ask her for permission for anything again. :)
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