Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nosy Mother Gets An Eyeful

Dear Tazi:

I am 34 years old, not married, and have been with my boyfriend over three years. I have no desire to get married or live with him because I enjoy my life just the way it is and he is perfectly happy, too. My problem is my mother; she has to be the nosiest person on Earth!

When Mom comes over to visit, she will routinely go through my mail (don't tell me to hide it; she manages to find it), rifle through my bathroom cabinets and the vanity drawers (she claims she is looking for an aspirin, which she knows I do not keep in the house due to an aspirin allergy); and search my coat pockets (she supposedly needs a cough drop, but when I offer one it is the wrong brand and/or flavor).

Last visit, Mom came by the morning after my boyfriend had spent the night. We had been intimate the night before, and we always use protection - which Mom found while rifling through my garbage because she couldn't find her reading glasses. When I asked her why she needed them, she told me that she thought she found a box of condoms in my underwear drawer (where she was looking to see if I needed new cotton briefs; I have not worn cotton briefs since I was a child).  When I told her that she had in fact found condoms, she flipped out and told me that she did not raise me this way, and went on and on about how disappointed in me she was.

Tazi, I flipped out on her. I have had it with her snooping and I told her that if she had not been snooping through my stuff she would not have come across anything that displeased her. I told her that I am a grown woman, not a child, and that I am in a committed relationship and that I will have sex if I choose to have it. Mom got very upset and left my house without saying goodbye. Shortly thereafter, I got a call from my father asking me what I did to make my mother so upset; she had come home in tears, wailing about how she was a failure as a mother.

When I told my father - the edited version - of how Mom had been snooping again and did not like what she had found, he sympathized with me but told me that she is still my mother and that I should have respected her and that I should apologize to her for upsetting her! I told my father I would not apologize, that had mother not been abusing my privacy she would never have gotten upset and that I am the one who is owed an apology. Things have deteriorated from there...

The next day I got a call from Mom's priest asking me if I had anything to confess; I hung up on him. My boyfriend is just rolling his eyes at the whole situation and suggesting that the next time I stay at his place; my father thinks the whole situation is ridiculous but is pressuring me to apologize to Mom to keep the peace, and Mom is not speaking to me since I hung up on the priest.

The summer is here, and parties will be occurring all season long. I would like to put all of this behind me so I can enjoy the summer with my family, but I just don't know how!

Sexually Active Adult

Dear Sexually Active Adult:

You may be an adult, but to your mother you are still her little girl - which is why she wants to see you in Fruit of the Loom and not Victoria's Secret. Since you are an adult woman living on your own you have every right to demand privacy from your mother's snooping. This is only half the issue, though.

Only kitties are sexy enough to rock the tighty whities!

Personally, I do not think she was at all shocked at finding a box of condoms (and their used remains) in your apartment; I think this is what she has been snooping for all along, and so long as she found none she could continue to live in her fantasy world where you are still her little girl. I do not believe that you owe your mother an apology for how you choose to live your life; I do believe that you owe her an apology for flying off the handle at her and that she owes you an apology for invading your privacy.

Since it appears that you will have to be the bigger person here, I suggest you call your mother to let her know that you would like to clear the air between the two of you. Tell her that she is not a failure as a parent and point out all of the ways in which her parenting has helped you to become a successful, independent, woman. If she insists on harping on your sex life, tell her that the subject is off-limits. I sincerely doubt that this is a subject she will want to bring up at parties when people ask why the two of you are not speaking, so gently remind her of this fact.

When you feel ready to mollify both of your parents by apologizing for losing your temper with your mother then do it - do not offer an insincere apology just to get it out of the way. If you are having trouble reaching this point remind yourself that whenever we lose our temper with someone, we lose more than just our self-control; we lose the respect of those who witness it. Tell your mother that when she is ready to offer an apology for invading your privacy that you are ready to accept it - and mean it. Family counseling may help both of you reach this point in time to enjoy a summer full of fun celebrations.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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