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praxis

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I was sitting in my living room today talking to my best friend on the phone. My front door was slightly ajar. My friend suggested we try an alanon meeting since we both grew up in an aloholic household. We were talking about co-dependency and stuff like that. I said something about how my feeling like a failure was a result of having such bad parents. Next thing I knew my mother was walking in my door! :)   I don't know whether she heard what I said or not. I told my friend I would call her back and sat and chatted with mom as if nothing happened.

She does this more and more frequently and it drives me crazy! I shouldn't have to keep my door locked  when I'm home during the day. When my dad visits, he walks all over the house, looking in doors, opening cabinets. This used to be their house, but I bought it from them 15 years ago. These are the parents who chewed me out for not knocking on my grandparents door when I was 7 years old! WTF is wrong with them that they can't respect the boundaries of their 40-something daughter? WTF is wrong with me that I let them get away with it? ;)

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I say if she walks in on something she wasn't meant to hear, then SHE can deal with the repercussions of that....everyone needs privacy. But part of the boundary issue might be the very thing you were discussing with your friend on the phone.

I look at it this way...sometimes setting boundaries (and enforcing them) is so damn hard just because we have never really been equipped with the skills and self-confidence and feeling of worth that we need to do this...it's like trying to build a house out of Silly Putty. It's not going to work. We just don't have the wood and nails and crap and feeling like a failure because we can't force the putty to do the trick is just silly.

But so is realizing this and doing nothing to develop those skills. Sometimes people develop them growing up in a loving and stable environment. And then the rest of us have to tough it out and learn new tricks later on in the game. But it CAN be done. In the meantime beating yourself up over it and blaming yourself is just absurd.

I could sit here and tell you to just put your foot down and lock them out of the house altogether if they won't abide by your rules, since the house IS yours, but I know from my own experience that family issues are rarely that easy and it is extremely difficult to risk severing those ties; there is so just so much baggage that goes along with the whole family thing. And then, these are still people you love no matter how crazy they make you.

But, I think that working on those skills is probably the first thing you need to do. Go to Home Depot, get the hammer and nails, and then work on building better doors. ; ) In the meanwhile having a little chat with your parents about common courtesy might not hurt, if you think you're up to it and that they might be receptive.

~Faith

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Ever heard of the "Open Door Policy"? E.g.  'My door is always open, come in and talk". 

You've got it baby. If you leave your door ajar, hell even unlocked, with your parents, you don't have any reason to be surprised or complain.

We all like to feel free and comfortable, but in this day and age, I doubt that few people don't understand the importance of keeping the front door locked to keep out criminals.

You can calmly and politely broach the subject of courtesy and privacy. But you are always going to be their child, and they will always feel that you are caretaking the family home, in a way.

Just as Robert Frost said that good fences make for good neighbors, locked front doors and doorbells make for courteous relatives.  ;)

A.M.

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Thank you both for the good advice. Can you believe she just tried it again  few minutes ago? This time my door was locked so she had to knock, and she only stayed long enough for me to help her add minutes to her cell phone. You're right, AM about them feeling I am caretaking the family home-badly!

Yeah, I think it is time to start working on dumping some baggage and picking up some skills and self confidence. I have big issues with aceptance and approval, dealing with authority figures, accepting criticism and more. All tracable to my childhood. I'm starting to work on it with my Tdoc, but I've learned my dysfunctional lessons well and it's going to take a while to unlearn them.

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  • 2 months later...
I was sitting in my living room today talking to my best friend on the phone. My front door was slightly ajar. My friend suggested we try an alanon meeting since we both grew up in an aloholic household. We were talking about co-dependency and stuff like that. I said something about how my feeling like a failure was a result of having such bad parents. Next thing I knew my mother was walking in my door! :)
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It took years but I eventually got my parents to phone me before coming over. It was a battle but so worth while. I hadn't realized how on edge I was when they would just show up. Part of my problem was that they too had once owned the house I'm living in and they somehow felt it was still theirs because they'd helped me pay for it. Bad situation and one I wish I'd never gotten into.

Still I finally got the message through to them. Gee, it's almost like being a real grown up! One thing that seemed to help was letting them know that I expected the same courtesy from my friends.

Good luck.

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If it's really bad you could probably get your house re-keyed by a locksmith for around $50 - $100 dollars. (Re-keying is replacing just the part with the keyhole, not the entire lock.) Then you could tell your parents some little white lie - you lost your keys and had to get new ones made, or you'd given a key to someone that you no longer want to have one; i.e., ex-sweetie, some tradesperson who did work and never returned the key, etc.

I guess to keep your dad from snooping around you could lock some of the inside doors when he comes to visit, and when he asks why/flips out, tell him that you got tired of him looking through your stuff all the time. Point out that you don't go snooping around his house when you visit and you just want the same respect.

Easier said than done, but if you're planning on staying in that house for a while it might be worth the short-term unpleasantness to get past it. I had to go through something similar with my adult siblings and it wasn't fun, but it eventually worked out.

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Funny you should mention siblings, Cat. We had a party a couple of weeks ago and my brother decided to show his girlfriend around. I came in from the back yard just in time to see them fail to get into a locked bedroom. He asked me why all the doors were locked. I laughed it off and said you know I can't keep more than 3 rooms clean at a time. I was upset, though. Even my daughter who has been grown and out of the house for a couple of years would never dream of barging in like that. ;)

Nobody who doesn't live here has a key, thank goodness, but it bugs me that they think nothing of invading my privacy. I think we probably will sell the house in a couple of years. The youngest just graduated from HS (hence the big party) so we'll be ready to downsize before too long. It's easier to move than to talk to my family- how wimpy is that?

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