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View Full Version : parents invading your privacy (as a child & as an adult)



bleeds
27 Oct 2006, 04:06 PM
Hi, I'm new to the board and I come packing with tons of questions.

I made the mistake of giving my parents a 2nd pair of keys to my apartment, thinking that they live far away enough that they will never use them ever. I was wrong. I went away for a couple of weeks and came back to an apartment that was rifled through. It brought back all sorts of memories back of how they violated my privacy as a child and how it's affected me as an adult. I often feel invaded by other people when I shouldn't. I'm suddenly realizing this is a big issue in my life.

Does anyone have issues with their parents violating their privacy as children? How does this still affect you as an adult? Did you have a mother that never asked you anything, but chose to rifle through your belongings instead? Did you have parents who invaded your blooming sexuality in subtle ways behind your back, that you feel changed your sexual dealings with potential partners as adults? Do you have issues with sharing yourself with people today, either for friendships or romantic relationships?

Moral Porn
27 Oct 2006, 04:35 PM
Tell them to stop bothering you.

PlayerOfGames
27 Oct 2006, 05:01 PM
If I were you I would take them to task for it - so they stopped by your apartment purely to go through your things?

Jennywocky
27 Oct 2006, 05:18 PM
I think, as an adult, you are within your rights to reassert the purpose of the key -- in case of an emergency, where they would need access to your apartment -- and otherwise request that they ask permission before entering your apartment.

(You might want to also preserve the same boundary when you visit them. Whether or not they live in the house you grew up in, you no longer live there and so, to respect their privacy and help them respect yours, you should knock before entering and/or make sure it's okay before hanging there.)

My parents were not purposefully cruel, but our family had a lack of boundaries / boundaries were not respected. (My father was an alcoholic, which greatly contributed to the blurring of the lines.)

That is why I spent and still spend much of my time alone; I have this nagging feeling that, as soon as I start interacting with someone, they'll encroach on my boundaries and I don't know how to effectively say "no."

(Well, I've been learning, actually. But it was something I had to work at. My relationships have been difficult, because I feel uncomfortable drawing hard lines that others should not cross. I also struggle with ego/identity issues and figuring out who I am; I'm still not quite sure what I want most of the time, i life. I've been surprised over the last number of months where I realized I actually DID have feelings and opinions about some things.)

Even now, when my parents come to visit, they used to not knock at all before entering -- they would just barge right into our house and not even say "hello," they would just start talking at us.

This really infuriated my wife, and so she began locking the front door shortly before they were due to arrive, in order to enforce the boundaries.

Her parents have keys to our house, but her familiy was much more "functional" and preserved boundaries. So despite their having keys, we know that they would never dream of using them except for good reasons, and they have always been very very good about not intruding on us and about respecting our boundaries. So we can trust them a great deal and feel secure giving them that access.

attila_the_hunny
27 Oct 2006, 05:41 PM
My grandmother was big on that. She would always be digging around, looking for something. Usually it was my journal and letters from people, but then I started keeping it in my backpack.
As an adult, everyone stays out of my business, although they are curious as to what is going on in my life.

nottaprettygal
27 Oct 2006, 05:50 PM
It brought back all sorts of memories back of how they violated my privacy as a child and how it's affected me as an adult. I often feel invaded by other people when I shouldn't. I'm suddenly realizing this is a big issue in my life.

I'm not so sure that feeling like you are constantly being invaded by other people is a result of your childhood. My parents rarely did anything to violate my privacy and always allowed me to have my distance. Yet, I still cringe when I'm around very intrusive people. To me, a need for privacy is something that all INTs experience.

bleeds
27 Oct 2006, 05:54 PM
I think, as an adult, you are within your rights to reassert the purpose of the key -- in case of an emergency, where they would need access to your apartment -- and otherwise request that they ask permission before entering your apartment.

(You might want to also preserve the same boundary when you visit them. Whether or not they live in the house you grew up in, you no longer live there and so, to respect their privacy and help them respect yours, you should knock before entering and/or make sure it's okay before hanging there.)

My parents were not purposefully cruel, but our family had a lack of boundaries / boundaries were not respected. (My father was an alcoholic, which greatly contributed to the blurring of the lines.)

That is why I spent and still spend much of my time alone; I have this nagging feeling that, as soon as I start interacting with someone, they'll encroach on my boundaries and I don't know how to effectively say "no."

(Well, I've been learning, actually. But it was something I had to work at. My relationships have been difficult, because I feel uncomfortable drawing hard lines that others should not cross. I also struggle with ego/identity issues and figuring out who I am; I'm still not quite sure what I want most of the time, i life. I've been surprised over the last number of months where I realized I actually DID have feelings and opinions about some things.)

Even now, when my parents come to visit, they used to not knock at all before entering -- they would just barge right into our house and not even say "hello," they would just start talking at us.

This really infuriated my wife, and so she began locking the front door shortly before they were due to arrive, in order to enforce the boundaries.

Her parents have keys to our house, but her familiy was much more "functional" and preserved boundaries. So despite their having keys, we know that they would never dream of using them except for good reasons, and they have always been very very good about not intruding on us and about respecting our boundaries. So we can trust them a great deal and feel secure giving them that access.


I made it clear from the very beginning why I gave them the additional keys, but I realize now it was a mistake, given my mother's extreme passive nature. This woman can only get to know someone by snooping, spying, rifling, or gossiping. She would never dream of having an honest one-on-one adult coversation with her daughter. This situation has upset me so much that I am calling a locksmith and changing the locks. It's good that you have a sense of healthy boundaries. I feel I have too many walls between myself and others and I'd like to change this aspect of myself. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

geniusndisguise
27 Oct 2006, 05:54 PM
I'm not so sure that feeling like you are constantly being invaded by other people is a result of your childhood. My parents rarely did anything to violate my privacy and always allowed me to have my distance. Yet, I still cringe when I'm around very intrusive people. To me, a need for privacy is something that all INTs experience.

Same here. My mother started to give me distance as soon as I showed that I needed and wanted some, and I'm also a pretty private person.

bleeds
27 Oct 2006, 05:58 PM
I'm not so sure that feeling like you are constantly being invaded by other people is a result of your childhood. My parents rarely did anything to violate my privacy and always allowed me to have my distance. Yet, I still cringe when I'm around very intrusive people. To me, a need for privacy is something that all INTs experience.

I find this interesting, though I am not an INTP. I'm an INFJ with a lot of INTP tendencies. That cringe aspect you mention, do you ever think it's debilitating to the point you are altering your own happiness?

bleeds
27 Oct 2006, 06:01 PM
My grandmother was big on that. She would always be digging around, looking for something. Usually it was my journal and letters from people, but then I started keeping it in my backpack.
As an adult, everyone stays out of my business, although they are curious as to what is going on in my life.

I used to keep a journal before I caught my mother going through my sister's journal. I never had the desire to keep one, until I moved away.

Jennywocky
27 Oct 2006, 06:22 PM
I'm not so sure that feeling like you are constantly being invaded by other people is a result of your childhood. My parents rarely did anything to violate my privacy and always allowed me to have my distance. Yet, I still cringe when I'm around very intrusive people. To me, a need for privacy is something that all INTs experience.

And especially INxP's, I think -- because the P factor means they aren't decisive in keeping the boundaries in place. I know my tendency is to flex and hope the other person stops (and otherwise flee, if they don't), instead of flexing only to a certain point and then putting my foot kindly but firmly down.

In general, when I've looked at many of the problems I'm experiencing, most of them seem to be my natural tendencies having been pushed to the extremes by bad experiences in my past. I consider my hypersensitivity/passivity in regards to intrusion to be one of those things.

Heck, I can feel intruded upon (irrationally) if I am alone and my wife comes to ask me a question or asks me to do something. I immediately feel obligated to do it and as if she violated me. That's mostly me not being able to say "no" in a healthy way.

nottaprettygal
27 Oct 2006, 06:22 PM
I find this interesting, though I am not an INTP. I'm an INFJ with a lot of INTP tendencies. That cringe aspect you mention, do you ever think it's debilitating to the point you are altering your own happiness?

To an extent, yes. It's much more comfortable for me to keep everyone on the outside, but sometimes I wonder if the temporary discomfort of being exposed would turn into something more fulfilling in the long run.

I'll probably never find out though.

PonderBee
27 Oct 2006, 07:32 PM
My mother would invade my & my sister's space by taking our stuff and throwing it out while we were out of the house. Nothing was safe. Anything that really needed to be hidden had to be placed in an inconspicuos spot outside of my room. We returned the favor by rifling thru our mom's things. I have 3 children & let them have their space and any secrets they don't want to share.
If someone I loved were invading my privacy and rifling thru my home I'd set them up and leave something wild out for them to find. They'd be forced to admit / say out loud to me what they were up to or be so freaked out that they'd learn to mind their own business.

ptGatsby
27 Oct 2006, 07:44 PM
Heck, I can feel intruded upon (irrationally) if I am alone and my wife comes to ask me a question or asks me to do something. I immediately feel obligated to do it and as if she violated me. That's mostly me not being able to say "no" in a healthy way.


Oh, I'm so with you on this one. My GF doesn't understand why I can't stand being interrupted when I'm doing something - anything! The level of irritation that runs through me borders on making me lose control, still I stuff it down and realise just how unfair that is.

Interrupt me a few times in a row when I don't want to me though... and then I have a very hard time choking it down. I remember getting so irritated once when she was leaving to go out with a friend and I was reading something technical (read: over my head and frustrated, but working through it :) ). She just wanted to let me know she was leaving but it took me about ten minutes to calm down after (I did choke it down till after she was gone - I know what's reasonable, heh).

That's the worst though... when I'm trying to do or understand something and someone stops me... if I'm already frustrated, bang... sort of goes off.

-

On the original topic. That is totally unacceptable. If you have moved out and live on your own, your independence as a person is established. You simply do not go into someone elses place and go through their things. Family does not change this. I would completely support changing your locks, but I do feel bringing it up with them is a good idea, if you can handle telling them how you feel and how serious you feel this is.

cafe
27 Oct 2006, 10:19 PM
I made it clear from the very beginning why I gave them the additional keys, but I realize now it was a mistake, given my mother's extreme passive nature. This woman can only get to know someone by snooping, spying, rifling, or gossiping. She would never dream of having an honest one-on-one adult coversation with her daughter. This situation has upset me so much that I am calling a locksmith and changing the locks. It's good that you have a sense of healthy boundaries. I feel I have too many walls between myself and others and I'd like to change this aspect of myself. Thanks for the thoughtful reply.
Good move on changing the locks. I am not above being snoopy myself, but I would hope someone would tie a knot in my tail if I went to my grown kid's place and used a key they'd entrusted me with to snoop around. If that's not bad enough, leaving things so they'd get caught. :rolleyes2

Dempsey
27 Oct 2006, 11:52 PM
I think it's a mother-daughter issue rather than a parent-child issue.

s0978
28 Oct 2006, 01:46 AM
but our family had a lack of boundaries / boundaries were not respected.
heh, I kinda think that's pretty much "families" defined, even the most happy healthy functional ones.



Moved from General Psych.

C.J.Woolf
28 Oct 2006, 06:30 AM
heh, I kinda think that's pretty much "families" defined, even the most happy healthy functional ones.
My family respects boundaries. Do we ever. We have virtual no-man's-lands between each other. We don't fight; we're just distant. Maybe it's a WASP thing; I don't know.

WraithM
31 Oct 2006, 07:35 AM
Sometimes I'll wakeup and hear my mother closing doors/cupboards in the bathroom that I use. She's looking for drugs and other illicit items.

I'm not the type of person who does drugs. I have smoked weed before, but I didn't really enjoy it too much. It was alright. No plans on doing it again.

She's just infringing my privacy at random for something that doesn't exist. I don't do anything (at least on purpose) to make her think I do drugs. I fell asleep once in my shower once (my thinking place) and she freaked out and blamed it on drugs... :wtf: Hehehe

My mother does go through my stuff, and I'm still in highschool so I can't really change the locks. :) I think that was a good move to change the locks, and as somebody else suggested, I suggest talking to them about it. It's wrong to go through your stuff.

My father is far less intrusive. He's an INTP like myself. I get along with both of my parents very well. It's other people in the town.

Though I have more trouble with other people in my town trying to go through my stuff. I come from a WASPy New Jersey suburban town, and everybody is nosey about everybody else's buisness. I'm not nosey by nature, nor do I care about what other people do.

I was once riding in my neighbor's car to school, and the mother harrassed me about trying out for wrestling. First of all, I'm not exactly built for wrestling, and I don't do sports. In the same neighbor's car, the mother kept asking me about my girl-friend (who lives in Princeton) and she assumed that I was dating a college student. (There's more to Princeton than a college, and I'm not dating a college student.) Which firstly is an absurd assumption, and secondly is bothering me about my personal life. Frankly, she doesn't need to be informed on my personal life.

In other people's cars the mothers critique me about my sleep habits. I'm an insomniac, and they will make really insane comments about that. Also, they make comments about my introversion-ness in general. It's rather annoying. Hehehe.

I can empathize with not wanting people into your buisness.

meshou
31 Oct 2006, 08:03 AM
Get a locksmith to change you keys. If your mom says anything, say you kept finding your things rifled through, and thought maybe your neighbor down the hall, who you gave a key to, may have been stealing. Tell them not to worry, you found someone else who you know you can trust, and don't need to bother them anymore if you get locked out.

My mom would go through my entire room, weekly. Also, if I needed medicine for a yeast infection or something, I'd hear about vaginal health from my extrmely liberal grandfather later that week. NO FUCKING SECRETS on my mom's side of the family when it comes to health. Fucking none.

WraithM
31 Oct 2006, 08:25 AM
That must have been interesting to have your grandfather speak to you about viginal health. :ph34r:

meshou
31 Oct 2006, 08:32 AM
That must have been interesting to have your grandfather speak to you about viginal health. :ph34r:My parents were fundies, and he was concerned I wasn't getting told at all. In some cases, he was absolutely correct about what I was in the dark about.

He worked at Indiana Univeristy in the late 1940s. He says that Kinsey was a great guy.

daughterofeve
10 Nov 2006, 11:25 PM
Comparing my experience to most of yours... i guess I'm only a tad paranoid.

Mom asked to borrow my cd player once, for something... and my cd player is right on the other side of my bed. I loaned it to her that one time, and then later i found that she took it again while i was gone. I was really upset at her, cause... you know, it's my stuff, in my room, by my bed! All she said was that she borrowed it because i told her she could (yeah, weeks ago, when i was the one going into my room to get it!). I was kinda freaked, because my sisters have told me all these things about how she's listened in to their phone conversations, and rifled through their rooms... and I have no evidence to suggest that she's done the same to me, but still, it was not a pleasant sensation.

I just let the cd thing go though, because mom will never really understand what my privacy needs are, and I'm tired of trying to explain it to her.

And for some weird reason, whenever my parents lose something, they go to my room and ask me if it might be in there!

Pooja
10 Nov 2006, 11:31 PM
My mom has never invaded my privacy- she completely respects my space.

joft
10 Nov 2006, 11:57 PM
:thelook:

Trillian
11 Nov 2006, 12:42 AM
Tell them where their boundary is - and a fair penalty for crossing it.
Confront them on violation and call them on their behaviour and listen to their excuse(s).
Judge fairly.
Carry through on that penalty if it is warranted.
Forever bar them (change your locks)
If, at a future time you wish to have their privileges reinstated, do so, with a warning.
If the offence is repeated, take it permanently away. Don't waffle on this.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!