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My (25F) parents are upset I'm restarting my life in the middle of the pandemic.


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Posted (edited)

I lived with my family all my life, including the past 2.5 years of the pandemic.

My parents were, and still are, hella paranoid about COVID. To a degree, I understand, with their 60+ age. But for the past 2.5 years, they:

  • Double-mask and wear gloves EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere. Even outside on a 100+ degree doing yard work or a walk to the mailbox with not a soul around.
  • They turn the car A/C off when a car nearby has their window down OR when someone on the sidewalk is walking by. They do this on the freeway even, going 70+ MPH.
  • Wash every single grocery still.
  • If they take a walk in the park, they very obviously duck and dodge away from other walkers. If they're forced to walk by someone jogging, or close to someone in a store, they turn their head the other direction. Or walk off the path to pretend to take picture of flowers or whatnot, waiting until they pass.
  • They go to tons of stores, funnily enough, but no restaurants/movies/meetups with friends/large events/anything outside the essentials and small stores they can wear a mask in and get out of quickly.
  • Have made all the family do the same.
  • Have asked me to stop auditioning/performing (my career is music), and no one in the family is allowed to go out and do anything outside of school or work. (Of which, I do at home anyway. I nabbed a WFH job because that's the only job they would, basically, allow me to get.)

And they are fully prepared to do this the rest of their lives. They've even stopped critical, in-person events for their own small business which has really slowed its progress.

Some of this I understand and agree with. I'll wear a mask to protect my parents, of course. In the thick of the pandemic, I held off of going to places, of course. And I wore the thick, can-barely-breathe double masks. Dealt with their panicked fussing with me if I failed to wear gloves in the store. Held off from everything -- no events, no career progression, no social or romantic life. I held off because I cared about them, and held off because I needed to stay at home to land a job and save money and eventually move out. If they don't want me out and about doing things and coming back home, no problem, I'll move out.

Which I'm doing now. But they've learned I'm planning to restart my life once I do so. That means, I'm -- shocker! -- going to volunteer, go on dates, audition for shows, live my young adult life like my twenties require! I might even grocery shop maskless, oh no!

Because I have 0 friends. 0 romantic prospects. And my parents don't get it, and they can't handle it. I mentioned how I need my life "to begin." And they ask, begin how? To do what? Maybe it's because they lived their lives already and can afford to live in seclusion like this, but I can't.

I guess they want me to stay in my new apartment and work remotely on my computer and...that's it? Just be inside all day? Oh, an occasional walk in the park, as a treat. Sigh.

TL;DR My parents are upset with me for moving out and starting to go to public events again because of their intense fears of the pandemic. 

Edited by Lookingforadvice7777
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Posted (edited)

If you move out you can do as you wish and they might want to limit how you visit them because of covid.  We are in our mid 50s with a 13 year old and we were fairly strict and still are but not to the extent you describe (yes in the beginning when we didn't know about surfaces etc- I am likely higher risk if I got covid).  

My friends who are near 60 had their 20 something daughter and her boyfriend move in during the pandemic -both work in health care -so they stay in the basement and my friend and her husband mask if they are indoors together in the same part of the house/eating a meal together because of the high risk nature of health care jobs.  

When my relative in her 20s wanted to visit my 80s mom indoors with her young kids pre-vaccine I inserted myself because my mom was too scared to say no -awkward -and I told her no, you cannot go to my mother's home with your kids -it is too risky for my mother.  She agreed.  So I see both sides and I see that there's a lot of uncomfortable boundary-crossing "confrontations" because of this darn pandemic. It's stressful and I feel for you.

Can you just tell your parents less and follow their rules when you see them in person?

Edited by Batya33
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1 minute ago, Lookingforadvice7777 said:

Thank you, Batya. But they've already said if I move out and do all these things, "we basically can't see you again" if I wanted to visit. They don't trust the strength of at-home COVID tests or even ones from clinics ("what if you get a false positive and get us sick?").

You mean a false negative.  Tell your parents you are happy to Facetime until such time as they are comfortable meeting outdoors and staying 6 feet apart or you can accompany them on their shopping trips -didn't you say they will go shopping?  

So for example- I have a friend who is my age and extremely careful.  Early on in the pandemic her son contracted covid.  Her contact was limited to dropping off food at his apartment door and leaving.  She wanted us to meet up in a park for a walk.  I actually hadn't yet met her in person -we connected via a moms group during the pandemic -Facebook - talked a lot by phone and lived 20 minutes away with her kids living in my neighborhood.  Pandemic kept us from meeting.

At that time I was surprised she asked to meet me since she was so so careful.  I mean -she told me she'd had no contact with her son who had covid -but what if she wasn't remembering right? And if she brought her dog, what if I ended up getting too close to her while avoiding the dog?

She was so nice about my declining but it goes to show you - I may have been wayyyy too fearful -and she who was so much more fearful than me somehow felt ok asking me to meet even though her son was sick and who knows when he actually was infectious.  It's all so up in the air - that just cut your parents some slack - we're all on edge, still.  

Just tell them nicely "I understand your concerns and here are some alternatives I thought of" (I like the shopping one -you can just tag along and catch up, right?)

I'm really glad you're getting back out there -we slowly have been -we've traveled, including by plane, seen family indoors, etc. 

And - you can tell your parents -my son had his first bout with covid a few weeks ago after a whole year of crowded in person school/school bus -he got it at camp.  And.... neither of us got it.  And I was as exposed as can be even more than my husband who was traveling for part of it.  We're fully vaccinated and all but stil.  However - even though we tested and never felt symptoms I exposed no one, my husband exposed no one, and my son quarrantined/isolated until he was allowed not to and even then very limited.  But we did not get it.  Not even a symptom of it.  It's so contagious -I get it -but it's not a given especially from the highly limited exposure of you meeting them outdoors and distanced. 

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Posted (edited)

I think many are having mental health issues due to the pandemic. Many are going to need serious mental healthcare. At the height of the pandemic I had issues now I go about my daily life like before the pandemic. 
 

Tell them you will FaceTime them for visits . We can’t live terrified forever. 

Edited by Seraphim
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I'm reading your thread as you now have your own Apt, and no longer live at home.  Is that correct?

In any event, you can't change them, as they're already set in their ways.  Having said that, the best you can do is respect their opinion, and live your life as you see fit.

In short, you're an adult.

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I think part of becoming an adult does often times highlight where our values don't match those of our parents.

I love my folks and all that but, there are things we don't agree on and that's ok. I'm an adult and I pay my own way. I try to be soft with things we disagree on. I don't bring up sore subjects. I don't tell them everything.  I have a joke with mine that "I tell them enough to keep us close but hold back enough to keep us talking" and we laugh and get along fine. Keep the peace, buy when your on your own, you can decide for yourself what's right. 

if your parents are saying they can't see you because you are living your life, then as someone else said, use face time or offer to meet outside and wear masks.

You have to live your life for you.  Don't purposely hurt them but you're right to spread your wings. Give it time. Keep the lines of communication open. 

I used to stand my ground and defend my opinions but now my parents are much older and I just want to enjoy them and the time we have.  So many things are not that important.  Meet them where they're comfortable. in time they may become more open. 

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It sounds like you have already moved out and I certainly hope so.  Your parents are far too paranoid and it's not good but they are what they are.

Tell them less than you already do.  Live your life your way, get out there and do the things you want to do.

I think most of us followed the guidelines for 2 yrs until things started to lighten up, I know I did.  I haven't worn a mask in months since we dont actually have to do that where I live.

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6 hours ago, Lookingforadvice7777 said:

  My parents are upset with me for moving out and starting to go to public events 

Your parents are toxic and distancing yourself is the only way to normalcy. Your father is vulgar and abusive:

 

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Your parents are toxic and distancing yourself is the only way to normalcy. Your father is vulgar and abusive:

 

Totally agree. 

Your last thread indicated that you dad is inappropriate, vulgar and generally terrible to you. I believe their current treatment of you is an extension of their desperate attempt to control you and continue treating you like a child. 

There is a lot more going on here than fear of Covid. 

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I agree you should definitely move out. That's unfortunate your parents are so terrified of COVID but it's unreasonable to think you just won't do anything in life because of it. It's already been 2.5 years of the pandemic going on and in all fairness we actually don't know whether COVID will be around for a long time/forever. Your parents don't have to agree with you but if you get your own place they can't stop you doing anything.

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14 hours ago, Lookingforadvice7777 said:

Thank you, Batya. But they've already said if I move out and do all these things, "we basically can't see you again" if I wanted to visit. They don't trust the strength of at-home COVID tests or even ones from clinics ("what if you get a false positive and get us sick?").

Cross one bridge at a time. Do not panic about hypotheticals or what isn’t reality. Move out and go about your life.

Should you meet with them perhaps you’ll meet outdoors or on a patio but none of this is a reality at the moment and you are (at this time) meeting no one. Do get on with your life and don’t let anyone and others’ anxieties hold you back. 

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53 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

I agree you should definitely move out. That's unfortunate your parents are so terrified of COVID but it's unreasonable to think you just won't do anything in life because of it. It's already been 2.5 years of the pandemic going on and in all fairness we actually don't know whether COVID will be around for a long time/forever. Your parents don't have to agree with you but if you get your own place they can't stop you doing anything.

Unfortunately it’s not like there’s an end date where we can say ok long enough back to normal. But many have loosened their behavior and or taken booster shots etc.

 I saw firsthand the last few weeks it’s not over. We were very careful and my son just got over his first bout - exposed at camp - and while we didn’t get it it caused so much stress given our upcoming flight and trip.  

And luckily because we’re careful we exposed no one else during the time we were waiting to see if we would get it. By contrast many others go about normal socializing even after close contact exposure and to me the whole “well it’s been 2.5 years “ doesn’t cut it in the situation where you know you’ve been directly exposed.  
 

But yes I think those prone to anxiety disorders have felt the brunt and ongoing consequences of this long time of isolation and distancing. I feel for those people who don’t have the tools to start loosening up and returning to normal life. 

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Posted (edited)

I agree just move out. Yes they are concerned for you, but you are an adult, and can manage what you do. They seem pretty extreme but they are adults too, they can take whatever precautions that makes them feel comfortable. So don't worry about what they say, just go live your life. Once they see you thriving, happy, etc, they will relax a bit. 

Edited by smackie9
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Of course we all know the pandemic isn't over.  And we all also know that no longer following safety protocols will result in increased numbers of infections.  I know personally several people who managed to go over two years without getting Covid and once the safety protocols were lifted they got infected.  So it's something people will be risking in order to return to "normal".

I used to be as fearful as your parents and I did all the things they're currently doing.  But I stopped most of them.  I only wear a mask if I'm at the grocery store (extended time around unmasked, probably infected people in an enclosed area) or in a small shop where there's little room to avoid strangers and I WILL NOT travel via airplane.  And I'm too old to go to clubs or raves lol.  But that's it.

Your parents aren't going to change.  They are doing what makes them comfortable.  So the only thing you can change is your behavior by moving out and doing what you feel is right for you.  You will likely have to sacrifice seeing your parents in person but there isn't anything you can really do about that.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Unfortunately it’s not like there’s an end date where we can say ok long enough back to normal. But many have loosened their behavior and or taken booster shots etc.

 I saw firsthand the last few weeks it’s not over. We were very careful and my son just got over his first bout - exposed at camp - and while we didn’t get it it caused so much stress given our upcoming flight and trip.  

And luckily because we’re careful we exposed no one else during the time we were waiting to see if we would get it. By contrast many others go about normal socializing even after close contact exposure and to me the whole “well it’s been 2.5 years “ doesn’t cut it in the situation where you know you’ve been directly exposed.  
 

But yes I think those prone to anxiety disorders have felt the brunt and ongoing consequences of this long time of isolation and distancing. I feel for those people who don’t have the tools to start loosening up and returning to normal life. 

Well I actually had COVID and I had it very badly, despite being double vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. By law I only had to isolate for ten days, but I didn't basically leave the house or go back to work for five weeks because I was so unwell. My whole body and my chest hurt and had a very bad cough and wheezing. I couldn't really get up for a couple of weeks and mainly only got up to go to the toilet and drink water. I lost my sense of taste and smell and lost like 3-4 kg. 

Anyway I'm actually not complaining because I know some people had it much worse. I guess what I'm saying is, I do know what it's like and that COVID is serious. My opinion though is that it's possible it might stick around for a long time or even stay forever and that we do just have to live with it.

I know some country's governments have taken that approach as well, here in Australia for example. Our government basically mostly forced us to get vaccinated. In majority of jobs if you didn't get vaccinated, you got fired. Also I know not every state was as strict on this but in my state for a long time unvaccinated people weren't allowed to actually go anywhere except to the supermarket, medical and out for a walk. Places actually checked your vaccine certificate and if you didn't show it they didn't let you in. But in the recent months that's been removed and unvaccinated people can go anywhere they want. More job opportunities have opened up to them as well.

Here we don't even have to wear a mask now except on public transport and in medical settings.

Having said that, of course people are allowed to live their life as they want to. For example, there are some people who choose to wear a mask everywhere and not really go out anywhere and that's up to them.

I think for OP being a young person, being shut in at home would have very bad effects, especially if she's not a homebody. Also she doesn't have to do anything in terms of isolating, etc. that is not required by the government. So while living with her parents she does have to be respectful towards their beliefs, if she moves out she can do what she wants.

Edited by Tinydance
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14 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

Totally agree. 

Your last thread indicated that you dad is inappropriate, vulgar and generally terrible to you. I believe their current treatment of you is an extension of their desperate attempt to control you and continue treating you like a child. 

There is a lot more going on here than fear of Covid. 

Yes! 

I'm wondering if you could share more about that. Are they hyper religious? Is there substance abuse? Mental illness in the family? 

 

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OP, this will be hard but you need to learn to stop over sharing what you are doing in your life with your parents. You have to learn to develop some adult boundaries with them. Kids tell mommy and daddy everything. Adults do not. Boundaries boundaries boundaries.

Yes, it will feel odd and uncomfortable for you because you have been conditioned for so many years not to have any boundaries and to share everything. This literally has to stop and with time you will start to feel stronger and better about enforcing boundaries.

Learn to talk to them about neutral topics, but stop telling them what you are doing socially/professionally if they are going to react badly to it. Almost all parents in one way or another have a hard time letting their "kids" grow up and seek to continue to control. It's actually on you to cut the strings, to develop healthy boundaries, and to establish what an adult to adult relationship will look like for them with you. At times it will be an uncomfortable process, but it must be done for the sake of your own sanity.

If they are being extreme and overboard about something, it may also mean distancing yourself from them until they figure it out and moderate themselves. They can only control those who are willing to be controlled.

 

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Tinydance I'm sorry you had such a bad case.  I've been subjected to wayyy too many posts on FAcebook since March 2020 arguing about covid, restrictions, back to normal and I never go there - no interest in going there -the opinions are so varied, people get so sensitive, etc.  Thanks for sharing your perspective and I'm glad you feel better!

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The way to learn whether your parents want to see you rather than just control you is to offer to quarantine before seeing them.

If they won't go for that or outdoor visits while remaining distanced, then they're just being punitive rather than reasonable, and living on your own would be the best choice you could have made.

Your parents may be using covid to control you, and that's not healthy. Some time spent out on your own can give you a new perspective from hindsight.

I hope you'll let us know how things go.

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