I am in my twenties and my parents are still hovering over me and trying to run my life. I don’t want to hurt their feelings but I’m suffocating. What can I do?
Parents act like this usually for two reasons. 1. They have had their emotional needs met by your needing them and they don’t know how to meet those needs without you. 2. You may think you are acting maturely but they are afraid that you will make choices that will bring hurt into your life so they try to make better choices for you at least in their minds.
To resolve the first problem sometimes a loving and grateful letter helps. Include what they have done for you as you grow up, how much you love and respect them and will always honor their wisdom and counsel. Tell them their wise leadership has prepared you well for life as an adult and thank them for that. Sympathize with how hard it must be for them to suddenly change roles from guiding you to simply being a part of your support network. Encourage them to re-boot old dreams they put aside to raise you and rejoice with them in their new freedom to live the life they once dreamed of. Often this is the stimulus parents need to realize this new stage of life could be fun and fulfilling as well.
For the second problem of not being appreciated as mature, you will need to start the job of evaluating your own maturity. I would encourage you to buy my book “The Four Seasons of Fruitful Parenting” and score yourself on the checklist at the back of each season for starters then work on other areas. For example, are you still living in your parents' home? Do they supply food, clothing, heating and water bills? Are they paying your car or health insurance? Are they paying for college for you? As long as they are footing the bills they are carrying the load as mature individuals and you are still acting like a child and they have the right to direct you. So figure out how you can become responsible for these costs of living. If you want to live in their home, find out what average rental fees are and start paying them rent. They may refuse it but if you want them to think of you as an adult you will have to insist on paying it. You can always tell them they can put it into a savings fund for you and give it back to you as a rental or house down payment when you move out. Find out what the weekly grocery bill is your parents' pay. Divide that by the number of people in the house and pay your share weekly and faithfully. Or find a place you can afford and move out. Pay your own insurances, car payments, etc. Give evidence to your parents that you are perfectly capable of carrying the responsibilities of adulthood.
They have a right to fear for you and grab control if they are carrying all the load. Carry the weight of adulthood yourself and set both yourself and your parents free. Assure them that you will always love and respect them and their advice but show them you understand the responsibilities of adulthood and can carry the load. You’ll be surprised how quickly your parents will give you the space and respect you desire.