The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female company employee in my 20s. I live with my mother in her 50s, and I am annoyed by her because she wants to rearrange my room without consulting me.
She quickly buys whatever appears in mail-order catalogs, such as shelves. The other day, she started measuring the size of a low shelf in my room and told me to change it to a new one.
The shelf she recommended was bigger than what I had and would definitely take up space. We ended up not buying it this time, but she keeps telling me to replace my furniture.
She even changes the way I sort my clothes in my drawers without my permission. When I ask why, she unapologetically says, “It was recommended on TV, so I did it for you.”
This problem might be solved if I start to live alone, but I don’t think that is a fundamental solution. I want my mother to reflect on what she’s doing and correct her self-absorption. What should I do?
E, Chiba Prefecture
Dear Ms. E:
Your mother must have been eager to do something for you. She seems to still think of you as a child.
It’s natural that you are irritated because she treats your belongings in your room just like hers.
But such actions could be regarded as excessive meddling, and overwhelming care can be a type of abuse for not accepting her child as an independent-minded person.
You are saying that living alone wouldn’t be “a fundamental solution.” I wonder if that is true. I think you had better keep a physical distance from her. If you let her do whatever she likes, I’m worried about what might happen if you eventually get married and leave the house. She may interfere with your new family more than she needs to. It is wise to start keeping a distance now to avoid that.
Please thank your mother — who still is overly attached to her daughter — for doing many things for you, and also tell her, “It’s said, ‘If you love your child: let them fly away from the nest.’ I’ll be independent, so please watch over me.”