Hey Amber, Other people are always telling me what to do. I married young so between my mom, MIL, and husband, I feel like everyone has an opinion of what I should do or not do. I struggle with telling them how I feel and wish they would listen to me more but, I don’t want to make them upset with me or like I don’t value their opinion. At the same time I’m sick of being pushed and pulled around. Is there a way I can get them to stop talking to me like a child without them getting upset with me? Great question - This is a great communication question that has to do with speaking up for yourself. The first stop on this journey is knowing that you have to take personal accountability that you have allowed this type of communication or behavior patterns to go on in your relationships. Not only are they coming at you all the time telling you what to do, the receptive side of this is that - you’ve allowed it to happen. This isn’t meant to be a judgmental response, it’s purely an acknowledgement that you have to have in order to move forward with the change. That’s because communication is a two-way street. People can’t tell you want to do and feel confident about continuing to tell you want to do if you don’t continue doing what they are telling you. Furthermore, they won’t feel that confidence to keep at it if you learn how to not accept it. This will take effort on both sides. And you can do it!! By asking this question, I know you’re ready to do it :) When it comes to parents, they come from a place of thinking they always know what’s best for you because they are your mother and they are your child and “allow me to continue to tell you as I have all your life what is good and bad and etc.” It can be hard to break this cycle when that behavior has carried into adulthood. Having an honest conversation with your parent(s) about how you’d like your communication/conversation dynamics to change is a good first start, to get everything out on the table. I know it can be nerve-inducing having those conversations with your parents because - truth - they come from a different generation of parenting. Kids played outside, they are seen and not heard, they aren’t used to kids coming to their parents saying “hey, I have new boundaries. Can you please respect me and the way I want to be spoken to.” This just means you get to set the precedent of the conversation by making it safe *for them* so that they don’t feel attacked by your request. R E M A I N C A L M You don’t want these conversations to come at a head from an explosion, or you being at the end of your rope and snapping at them. Think about what you want to say to them. Have a plan. I also like to proactively think of what they may say and how I can respond. You can use words of emotion but you want to keep the actual emotion out of the conversation so people can hear you better. They may also get defensive or try to belittle your request.
Keep your emotions level and come back to the facts
*Even if you (mom) don’t like it, I’m still asking you to meet me on this.* Then you get to practice acting accordingly. This includes how you respond to them moving forward. “I appreciate your opinion but I made up my mind on what I wanna do.” “I’m not asking advice, I more just wanted to share with you.” “I appreciate your concern. I think my decision is a better choice for me.” The more consistent you get with not allowing them to tell you what to do, and the more you remind them it’s not an exchange you enjoy having with them, the more things can shift. There may be resistance if they aren’t used to interacting with you this way. That is why consistency is key. The more you stand in your truth, the more they will witness it and see that you’re serious about making this shift. Good luck with your conversation! You can do it and get what you want. xo