Nosy Mom

19 Dec

Letterbalm Letter in EnvelopeDear LetterBalm: My boyfriend is in his second year of college, and I’m a senior in high school. We’re not typical of most couples today – we text and e-mail, but mostly we like to write letters. But my mother is driving me crazy. Since my boyfriend returned to school in September, she’s been opening his letters to me. My boyfriend and I are good students and very motivated to succeed. Why doesn’t she trust me? I can’t even talk to her without her getting angry and yelling “It’s my house, and I’ll open whatever mail I want.” If my mom doesn’t stop this idiocy, I’m going to have my mail delivered to my best friend, who’ll give letters to me. What’s my next step? This lack of trust really hurts me because my mom and I were close before this.

–No Letter Unopened

Finally! A letter all about letters, which gladdens Ms. L.B.’s heart. It’s good to know that written correspondence, especially among the next generation, hasn’t died out. Your mother’s insistence on opening your correspondence is a gross invasion of privacy and certainly not conducive to mother-daughter harmony. Since you’ve given her no reason to doubt your good behavior, your mother’s violation is especially grievous. It’s the sort of thing that can irreparably damage your relationship. Don’t talk about this with your friends. Enlist the help of a trusted, responsible female relative or one of your mother’s most tactful, level-headed friends. Ask her to sit with you as you talk with your mom. Keep calm and don’t be accusatory; you want your mom to explain her actions. If she won’t explain, and you think she won’t stop, receive your mail at another address and keep the letters under lock and key. In the meantime, be mature in the sitdown:

Mom, I’ve asked Aunt Dolores to sit with me to give me moral support. I haven’t talked about this with anybody except her and Joshua because it’s our personal, family business. But it’s something that has upset me very much. Since September, you’ve been insisting on opening my letters from Joshua. This is a violation of my privacy. Mom, this is so unlike you. Why are you doing this, even after I’ve asked you to stop? [Listen to what your mom says, and calmly respond.] I’ve given you no reason to censor my mail – I get good grades, pitch in at home and do community work. You know all my friends, and they’re nice. And Joshua is the best. Even as a teenager, I’ve earned the right to be trusted. It hurts me, but if I can’t have privacy, I’m going to ask a friend to receive Joshua’s letters. I don’t want to do that – I love you, Mom – and I hope it doesn’t come to that. Please, please talk to me.

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