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Thread: Parents of Adult Children being overly invasive- and not the fun kind

  1. #1

    Default Parents of Adult Children being overly invasive- and not the fun kind

    Anyone else college age and *still* have parents that snoop as if you were a teenager?

    I don't do drugs, don't drink, have never dated anyone as far as they know (I secretly date women but don't even do that anymore), my gpa qualifies for magna cum laude honors... and is raising.

    Yet my mother, real mother (not lucky enough to have a partner Mommy or Daddy) still finds some insane reason to snoop in my room a great deal. Just this morning she looked under my bed, in my closet, in all of my drawers and in behind my book cases. She found nothing of interest since I've used all of my diapers and am too broke to buy more at the moment. Thankfully. She does this periodically when I'm home, usually on break, maybe thinking that I'm carrying something or other with me back home. =/ She does this every break, so it's not an isolated incident. *Edited:* to add that she was looking for a flashlight. Supposedly.

    She has also completely rearranged my room without my permission while I was gone to college before. No nice new paint job, no new things... Just... Everything had been turned upside down inside out, furniture moved around. "Redecorating." I think not.

    I realize I've had past issues with depression. I realize that I used to have an eating disorder. I also realize that she has no clue what goes on in my life beyond a surface level so maybe she feels compelled to snoop. But that doesn't make my dealing with it any easier. I can't tell her about the preferring women. I can't tell her that I'm lonely. I can't even tell her that I'm extremely depressed because she threatens to stop assisting with college if I have any issues.

    And I'm honestly too immature to live on my own like a normal adult at this point. (I have too many issues I can't resolve and am not getting psychological treatment because it's expensive, mother won't pay, and I can't get a job. I also don't want to give up the financial help.)

    Basically, I want to ask... is this normal? Or is it still part of the horrendous relationship I have with my mother? Is it normal for a college aged person to have a parent go through their entire room all the time? Does it just feel abnormal because I genuinely have something to hide? Opinions?

  2. #2


    Given what you said about your past I can understand why they would be more concerned about you, but it still seems a bit excessive. You would have thought that if they were going to snoop around your room they could at least use a little finesse and not make is so obvious...

    My parents were never so intrusive at any point of my life, so I'm afraid I'm not really sure what to say. But you seem like you need a hug. *hugs*

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by kwis View Post
    Given what you said about your past I can understand why they would be more concerned about you, but it still seems a bit excessive. You would have thought that if they were going to snoop around your room they could at least use a little finesse and not make is so obvious...

    My parents were never so intrusive at any point of my life, so I'm afraid I'm not really sure what to say. But you seem like you need a hug. *hugs*
    We never really discuss things, and I never say anything to show I'm upset about it. Things went wrong family wise somewhere around middle school, and the family sessions in therapy and whatnot never fixed it. I think it's excessive too, but I really never know what's irrational paranoia due to have secrets like being an AB or it being part of the genuine family issues.

    *hugs* And thank you. I think I did need a hug.

  4. #4


    Might be a good idea next time to talk to her straight forward about it. Just tell her that if she is looking for drugs or other nefarious items that she should talk to you, her daughter, first and that she should trust you more.
    Being a parent, I don't understand this type of helicopter parenting. The way I got to where I am was for my parents to let me fail on my own. It seems that moms are much more susceptible to this kind of parenting and having a hard time of letting go of their "baby".

  5. #5


    Starbright, my friend, I know exactly what you're going through. My mother is a huge snoop. I grew up in a house where privacy wasn't allowed. She would constantly scream at me about my "terrible" grades in school (like you, I did very well in class), search my room, talk to my friends' parents to see what I was up to (the answer was always "nothing")...

    I can even remember her coming into my bedroom at night when I was young to see if I was asleep. If I wasn't, she would yell at me, even if I was just laying there, having a hard time getting to sleep.

    Coming home during college, she would look through my luggage. We were going to dinner with friends and in front of them all, (I don't even recall what this had to do with the topic at hand) told everyone that I wore Mickey Mouse boxers.

    Now, when she and I talk, she mostly tells me how I've wasted my life and how I should be married to someone else and living closer to her....etc. (Oh, yeah, she's called my wife a "b****" too)

    I am married and live in another time zone. I never visit my old home and she still doesn't get why. I don't think she ever will. She's convinced she's never done a thing wrong.

    The important thing for you to know is it isn't normal for her to do that. She needs to understand that all she's doing is pushing you away. Parents have a right, and should, ask questions and be concerned, but there is a line and your mom, much like mine, has crossed it.

    I'm sorry you can't move out yet. That is the only way I know of to stop it. Until then, we'll always have your back.

    Stay strong.

  6. #6


    The thing is, she hasn't found anything- because I don't have anything to be suspicious about. She would never find anything, since there's nothing to find. I'm extremely careful with the diapers/goodnites, and generally only have a couple at the house, if that, and there's never really been an opportunity for her to find them. I guard them, but I did have 1 the entire spring break- luckily already disposed of before the search this morning. O.o She does have a helicopter parent issue...

    And onecho, that sounds a lot like my mother, except I don't get complaints about my grades from her (dad does that).

    She did however check to make sure I was asleep at night throughout highschool even and I would get yelled at also.

    I imagine that I'll probably end up in a similar situation, living far away from home. =/ I have a lot of issues, but hopefully I can end up more stable eventually. It's just rough in the mean time.

    Thank you!

  7. #7


    Starbright, I wish I could say something beyond "some parents just can't figure it out." I can't.

    I had a mother who had the attitude that kids were to be dealt with when 'convenient' for her. Everything in my life was about what her desires were. She rarely paid me any attention and often belittled me for being like my father (the two of them had a VERY bitter divorce). I would be pushed into things like the local soccer league, but when it came time for a ride to the game, I often missed out because her or stepfather couldn't be bothered. I got straight A's in school, they couldn't care. I was pushed into going into a military academy when I started college and then had them refuse to help me on any level when I found I hated the military. When I married, I constantly heard complaints about my wife and how she wasn't from 'the right class of people'.

    When I was finally told outright that she was sorry she gave birth to me, our relationship ended. I've only had a couple interactions with her since then, and she's never apologized or said it wasn't meant.

    My father and I have a great relationship. He's told me (now that I'm older) that there were points in my life that he knew I might be making a big mistake, but he kept his mouth shut because sometimes I needed to learn it on my own. He has also let me know he is proud of me because when I did do something that was a mistake, I owned up to it and took responsibility. I've become successful and done well in the world and he has several times over expressed his pride and admiration. Even though I grew up with my mother, my relationship with my father is the best I've ever had.

    I wish you the best of luck. Helicopter parents are horrid, I see them with some of the kids that my youngest goes to school with. Your mother is not doing you any favors by being so controlling, she is trying to make it so you are dependent on her but instead is driving you away.

  8. #8


    I'm a parent and I can't imagine violating my children's privacy in that fashion. I really don't think it is at all normal for parents to act that way. I'm not sure if you are the confrontational type or not but if I were in your shoes, I would have to confront her and try to talk in a calm and reasonable way about boundaries and how it is inappropriate for her to violate your privacy now that you are an adult. If she isn't the type of person that will listen then I am not sure what to do. Being in school and away from her is probably a good thing. Maybe you should shorten the length of your trips home if this is the treatment you receive. Sometimes a bit of distance for a while can help out.

    After I moved out of my parents home, they still tried to parent me for several years after that. They didn't go through my stuff but they always tried to make things like dental appointments for me or push their financial advice on me even though I had a lot of financial responsibility at a young age. It was irritating so I told them they need to back off a little and I gave myself some distance from them and now our relationship is great.

    By the way Starbright, I've always really liked your avatar because of my love of books. Lots of hugs from all of us.

  9. #9


    I moved back with my parents at age 24 and stayed till I was 34. Thankfully they had retired to Florida and travel the country so they only reclaimed their house a few weeks a year but they were hell. My mother was a suspicious snoop even accusing me of stealing her silver she forgot she hid in the attic. I grew up without any respect or privacy but later in life it hurts even more. I'm 51 now and in my own home 18 years. My 82-year-old parents came to visit last year and I caught my mom snooping through my stuff. I guess she will never have any respect for another's space or empathy for their feelings.

  10. #10


    I too have to agree that your mom is way out of line. My mom did the same thing when I was in college. Like you, I had my issues. I was depressive, self harmed from time to time, and got into a lot of trouble. Sadly, she learned not to trust me, so she would find excuses to go through my room. She was very strict and so disapproved of my strange behaviors.

    Reading between the lines from what you've said, having to have family therapy when you were in middle school says a lot. Your mom clearly has her own issues and problems. It sounds like you have done well by not giving her any ammunition such as diapers. though quite frankly, they're none of her business. Sadly, my mom's attitude was, as long as I was living under her roof and she was paying the bills, I had to follow her rules. I certainly could understand that, but she couldn't understand me, that I had some serious problems, and that I would have to find my own way to deal with them. We learn more from our mistakes than our triumphs.

    As for my own children, my wife and I always gave them their privacy and their own space, certainly by the time they were in high school. We never rearranged their room or went through their stuff, unless it was with them in order to get rid of clothes that were too small from them, etc.

    There is only one solution for you and that is to weather this out until you get your degree. Then you can find a job and move out. That's what I did. In all fairness to my mom, she did love me with all her heart and soul. She often was worried about me. I came home from college one weekend and at dinner, just started crying. When I went back to college she went through my room, I think looking for drugs. She found gay porn and make shift diapers. The next week I was at a residential facility with a shrink. She simply was concerned for me, but I was quite upset. I got through the year and upon graduation, got a teaching job and moved from New Jersey to New York. Oddly enough, I came home every weekend. Things got better because I was on my own, could wear diapers in my apartment, and have my own autonomy.

    As smart as you are, you will make it. You need to find a real person at college that will be your friend, someone you can talk to, even talk this out. I don't think we should live alone. I had a very special person in my life, and he helped me get through all the crap. I wish you luck.

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