Here’s How to Set New Boundaries with Your Parents as a Grown Up

Here’s How to Set New Boundaries with Your Parents as a Grown Up

The Real Housewives of Potomac's Candiace Dillard Bassett wants her mom to listen to her.

By Marianne Garvey

Candiace Dillard Bassett is a grown woman still experiencing boundary issues with her mother, Dorothy. There was The Real Housewives of Potomac fight over Candiace’s half-brother Michael attending her wedding. Now, Dorothy is threatening to sell Candiace’s house every time they fight.

“For me, a boundary would be not using things that you do, because I’m your daughter and you love me, against me when you get upset,” Candiace told her mom over FaceTime on the latest episode. “Whenever you get upset you threaten to sell the house. If I want to live my life, I should be able to live my life without feeling afraid you’re going to sell my house because you’re mad.”

She added she feels her mom “belittles” her.

We’ve seen a similar mother-daughter relationship on Vanderpump Rules between Stassi Schroeder and her mom, Dayna. After Dayna told Stassi to not be herself with boyfriend Beau Clark, Stassi didn’t speak to her for eight months.

Dr. Elizabeth Lasky, Ph.D., LCSW, told Personal Space our boundaries, especially with our parents, change as we get older but that tends to upset the parents in many cases.

“Throughout our lives we will have strong boundaries, weak boundaries, and porous boundaries. As we get older our boundaries and values change. When we're young children it is not uncommon to have very few boundaries that can sometimes confuse us as adults. The reason for this is that sometimes we want our boundaries to change as we get older, especially in family dynamics, but it may upset the family system,” Lasky said.

Notice how you feel

“Pay attention to how you feel around certain people in certain situations,” Lasky explained. “If you start feeling uncomfortable, easily agitated, or like you are being taken advantage of, you may be suffering from a weak boundary. The second thing to do is figure out how you want to express your boundary. Some people might say something like I don’t feel comfortable, so I don’t want to come to the family barbecue. Others don’t give an explanation (which is understandable) and just say something like I’m sorry I can’t be there.”

Boundaries are a constant negotiation

“It’s important to put yourself first. Your physical, psychological, and emotional wellness comes first,” Lasky said.

“The hard thing about boundaries is that there are no hard and fast rules about how to set them and how to keep them,” she added. “We’re humans so we need human connection. Some questions to consider may include, 'What is the cost of being connected to that person? What is truly at stake? Is it your own sanity? Is it your own physical well-being? Is it your own psychological wellness?' If you feel like you are being pushed too hard, then it may make sense to set up a strong boundary. For some people, this may look like not seeing people or family members, or only seeing them for a very short time in a specific setting."

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