Please give me some advice


I am a single man in his early 40s. Some time ago having lived abroad on my own or sharing for many years I moved back to my home town and in with my widowed mother partly admittedly to ease my way back but mostly to help her living alone.

Thing is this time has dragged on into a habitual situation and I feel utterly trapped. I love her dearly and she me. She is in her late 70s and probably unaware of the frustrations and feelings of being trapped I feel at being the 40 yr old living with his mother ( a figure of fun in our society ) after so many years of being under my own roof. I simply do not run a social life at all apart from at work since I have no "base" of my own and am frankly embarrassed at my situation without a roof of my own.

I want to get away but don't want to hurt her. I want to be able to have a honest open heart to heart and see a better way but we were a typically secretive and bottled up traditional family and I find it torturously difficult to just come out and say I feel trapped for fear of hurting her. Whilst a mother who I dearly love she can be guilty as all mothers can be of thoughtless ofhand but to a sensitive guy like me utterly maiming emotional blackmail.

What do I do? Please give me a few honest responses and thank you all.


My first thought is that you might find a support-group for adult children who take care of their parents. You might find some ideas on how to get the personal room you need. You might also find friends, perhaps even a single woman of your own age, who appreciates your admirable willingness to take care of your mother's real needs, and who has done the same herself. (Who knows? Your parents might hit it off, too.)

You might also arrange to travel without your mom from time to time or to take advantage of other experiences that you couldn't if you had the expense of keeping your own home. It would turn your living situation into one that is mutually advantageous, rather than embarrasssing: "Since I like to travel the world and like to travel lightly through life, I never put roots down anywhere like Mom has, and since I spent so much time at Mom's maintaining her house as it was, it hardly penciled out to have my own place. I decided to just take care of her while I'm working, and then find someone to watch out for her and my few things when I'm gone." Again, this is something that friends who take care of their own parents are going to understand, and they are legion.

You don't have to tell her that you feel trapped by her. There is such a thing as too much honesty. Rather, tell her that you're 40 years old and you need to get out more. In spite of the good aspect of being able to spend time with her, you're used to being abroad and you need to get out in the world again, too. You'll make sure she has someone to look in on her while you're gone, but she's going to have to live with the fact that you haven't moved back home to be her constant live-in companion on an indefinite basis. That won't work, not after all the freedom you've had in your life. You're a grown son with a life of your own. You don't have to have a wife and children to justify that. Every mom may want to have raised a 40 year-old child that she'd actually want to have live with her when she's 70, it is great that she loves having you around, but the 4th Commandment doesn't go so far as to make that an entitlement. There are other ways to take care of her and honor her in her old age.

In other words, don't tell her you feel trapped. Just talk as if it is widely assumed that most 40 year-olds would consider living with parents after living alone in Europe to be a short-term or an on-and-off situation. If she says, "What? You feel trapped?" then say, "Trapped? Mom, you aren't dying. You could easily live another 20 years. Are you telling me you thought that I'd live here for the next 20 years? If that works out for both of us for awhile, great, but most middle-aged men keep a home of their own, even if that home is their suitcase. Otherwise, look down the road! Someday, I'm going to bury you a month after your 96th birthday and find myself a 65 year old who never bothered to make a friend. That would be a bad idea!"

You may find in your support group that part of the solution may be in getting her "out" more, too. She needs to socialize with someone other than you. You may be a great son, but you're not an old widow who knows what it was like to live through what she's lived through. Getting her into a book club of her peers or some other group of women with similar interests may be effort well-spent for you.

In other words, maybe it doesn't have to be either/or. Maybe you could try adding some balance, and see what that does for you. If that isn't enough, then go from there.

Good luck!


My cousin and his wife have moved back to his mother's home. She had a home that had a space that was unfinished. He and his wife and sold their home and had moved to an apartment. Aunt is in her mid 80s, and, used to living alone. So, the decision was to move into a nursing home, but, the house could not be sold. They then decided to spend $30,000 to update her part of the house, and to finish the other part which was supposed to be her late husband's office, but, he died some years ago. So, my cousin and his wife, no children, have a very lovely apartment, courtesy of a good carpenter in town. When I visit Aunt, her son and his wife may be home too; IOW, separate entrances. Another couple, no children at home though, sold their home and bought into assisted living apartment ... commonly done here. Assisted living folk, have their freedom, their vehicles, no lawn care, and, meals with the rest of the nursing home folk, usually I suppose. After their deaths, their estate receives $40,000. So, they pay for the living arrangement, and their is still a pay back to the estate. My parents should move to a single level home, at least, but, instead they are making their old home more convenient with updates. I certainly agree that it is almost impossible to have a life, but, people are not laughing, they respect you for what you are doing. Why, if you were not living with your mother, and single, there would be problems of loneliness, or just societal issues of being single. There are a number of unmarried but chaste girl/guy relationships, there are late marriages sometimes, often with previously married folk. The Catholic Faith says that being single is a choice and it is respected. There are many ways of becoming involved in the Parish, and, even though there may be folk who will consider that you are a catch for their daughters, you can simply enjoy your life, and become a very good Catholic. This Catholicity is healing. I don't exactly get the reason for the aggrandizement that you are getting from friends. A bad marriage is worse, certainly! Why people are forced to live alone, is a mystery. What makes life hard is jealousy. I have a sister who is very jealous of my living arrangement with my parents. We have a special relationship, and, it is more than parent child, it is loving, caring, respectful, mutually helping. We can even get upset with each other, and make up. It is healthy. I surprised someone the other day by saying that our bedroom doors are not closed at night. Actually, they are partly shut, I suppose, only because I read in bed .... Best wishes! I hope that you find a special gal to hang out with, if you wish. I'm sure that your mother may hope that you have a vocation. That is part of having Catholic parents. I am also surprised ... you can certainly say otherwise ... that your mother hasn't also played a little matchmaker. People need to have a sense of humor, and laughter is good for our souls!


Easter joy and Ohiozso thank you for taking the time to answer me. I have read and re read your posts and find them both caring and helpful. The position I find myself in is increasingly common in our days of increased longevity and smaller, much smaller, families and all the support we can get or share in dealing with this issue is invaluable.

Thanks again guys.


My own personal opinion, but it seems to me in your situation, your mother is living with you, you are not living with your mother. Your intent was to go home to help her, and that is what you are doing. There's nothing to be ashamed of.


She is your mother and you love her dearly. Let the love you have for her cover all the shame and let the love you have for her cover all that people will say. She is in her late 70s which means she is a good person and you are a lucky guy and you should be proud of her. Not so many people have moms. If you are lucky and you have one, take very good care of her.


[quote="HouseArrest, post:5, topic:201089"]
My own personal opinion, but it seems to me in your situation, your mother is living with you, you are not living with your mother. Your intent was to go home to help her, and that is what you are doing. There's nothing to be ashamed of.


I just wanted to add that another cousin bought his mother's home, so it is now his, although she lives with him.

Another cousin had his father's home transferred to him by his father, his father lost out on the homestead exemption, BTW, and found out about it through us. Within a year or so, his father was moved to a nursing facility and the home will be sold, now, to a grand-daughter.

Another aunt of mine, lived with her grand-daughter, until it was decided that she was a handful because of a diagnosis of Alzheimers .... this grand-daughter herself works as a dietician at another nursing home.

There are many elderly who fall, and fall again, in or out of nursing homes. Some never need surgery, others do. It is those who acquiesce to a family members wishes that are placed in the nursing homes. With their finances of out of their hands, I think!

But, your concern was not so much about having the house and moving mom, was it?


[quote="Aboveallbereal, post:1, topic:201089"]

What do I do? Please give me a few honest responses and thank you all.


You need studio space.

Ok.... so maybe you're not a sculptor, a drummer, a yoga practicioner, an experimenter, a photographer, a potter, a filmmaker, a recording studio, a jazz dancer, a set designer, a woodworker, an organic sustainable living guru, an architect, an actor, a writer, a painter, a restorer of antique aircraft, a kite designer, a political activist, a boatbuilder, a tree house designer....
but you need studio space.....
in which to freely experiment and develop and practice the art and creativity within you.... (the art and creativity within you that you haven't hardly even discovered yet!) and immerse yourself in it and surround yourself with it, and bring in others to share it and play too.

Part of what you went out into the world looking for..... was you.
Part of what you came home to find..... was you.
Why you now feel trapped.... is because there is a whole lot more of you inside you than you are even aware of.... and that seeks expression on the earth. You are a soul on the verge of expansion.

A whole lot of people are going through this right now....
they've been laid off from jobs or they've changed jobs.... they've moved all over the country.... they've lost relationships.... they've been forced by the cosmic hand of fate to go back and confront their old neighborhoods and their old issues....
it's a curse!
No, not a curse....they lost jobs they were trapped in, they lost relationships they were trapped in, they moved from places and roles they were trapped in..... it's not a curse, it's a blessing.*It's a blessing designed to bring them home to *themselves..... *to help them discover and develop who they are far beyond all the expectations and all the roles they've played in life....
and grow to become so much more than they ever realized they ever could be in life.
*It's to help them remember those powerful soul intentions they had deep within them, even as children....
those pieces of their hearts.... and souls..... and minds.... and dreams.....and visions....
that somehow got lost or broken along the way in life.

Life is not about where one lives..... life is about what one works on..... becoming!

Even if you have absolutely no idea yet of what interest you will eventualy study in your studio space and bring forth from inside you to share with the world and around which to build new friendships and relationships to last a lifetime....
the very first step is to create the space....
in which to make that possible.

I've known 2 different 40 year olds who built recording studios in their studio space....
you've got no idea how many women singers, dancers, musicians, performing groups, church groups there are out there who need guys who know their way around a mixer board and can run a sound system. It was a hobby, it was friendships, it was fun and evenings out with friends..... but when one of them got laid off from work.... an entirely different and better paying career opened up to him because he had that "amateur" expertise in sound production work.

If anybody scoffs or harrasses you about your need for studio space.... simply rent a violin for a couple of weeks, and tell them you built your studio space as a place so you could give the violin a try without driving anyone else insane. One brief demonstration of bad violin can send even the most curious runnning for the hills! Then you can contemplate your personal space and the direction of your personal growth in peace....

As for coming up with ultra small space living/ studio space ideas.... some people have been very inventive indeed:

Ok.... so maybe you're not a sculptor, a drummer, a yoga practicioner, an experimenter, a photographer, a potter, a filmmaker, a recording studio, a jazz dancer, a set designer, a woodworker, an organic sustainable living guru, an architect, an actor, a writer, a painter, a restorer of antique aircraft, a kite designer, a political activist, a boatbuilder, a tree house designer.... but you will be.... and you will find good friends and love to share it with.


If you believe that you would be better off with a space of your own, then I suggest finding a modest apartment or cottage that’s close to your mother’ residence. You’ll be able to make drop-in visits but both of you will still have a measure of privacy.


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