Ask a Counsellor: How to get parents “off your case”

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My whole life, my parents have really encouraged me to go into business as a Slow Breather for Breathing-impaired Stalkers. But now that I’ve started the program, I’m not so sure – and yet they are still pressuring me! What do I do to get them off my case?

 

Parents, friends, partners, children, teachers – you name them, they’ve probably put some sort of pressure on you over the past few years. Sometimes, you love them for it – other times, you feel like your head is going to explode if you get one more text or message from Mom saying, “have you thought about this?” In order to deal with this pressure in an appropriate manner, it really depends on how and where this pressure is coming from:

1. Subtle (I noticed that your breathing is really heavy… have you thought about putting that into practice?)

This pressure normally comes from a place of caring and chances are the person is trying to show that they know you well. Remind them that you value their opinion – it could also be worth it to have a conversation about why other options seem more accessible at the moment. When you have the chance, check in with yourself about the options being presented… sometimes others’ ideas actually do turn out well!

2. Investment-based (It would be a waste of time to do anything else / I won’t pay for breathing lessons for more than two years!)

This person is likely concerned about “wasting” either time or money and perhaps they have their own histories that are biasing this concern. Try not to confront them with views/statistics that directly oppose their own ideas, but rather try to show them the value in what you’re doing/would rather be doing – are any of the skills you’re learning transferable, and therefore door-opening?

3. Future-oriented (You’ll have much better chances at getting a job in the stalker sector; it will be worth it in the end.)

Chances are, this pressure has its base in media stories or friend-of-a-friend rumours and this person is trying to look out for you. Be sure to thank them for the support and tell them how glad you will be to have support in the future in case things don’t work out. Remind them that most people cannot predict more than a few days in the future and that it’s not always useful to continually ask “what if.”

4. Threatening (If you don’t finish your certificate in Stalker Studies, I’m kicking you out!)

This person normally feels that they have some sort of power over you – and sometimes you may feel this way too. In this case, it’s best to talk things over with a counsellor in a confidential setting, because managing this sense of power/control is very individual and shouldn’t be generalized in a newspaper article!

 

As per usual, feel free to talk with a counsellor about any issues you may have! If you have a question for a counsellor, you can also e-mail it to sjcounsellor@unb.ca and see it featured here!