Can you relate? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)
Asking For A Friend is the series where we answer the questions you don’t want to ask.
Covid created a generation of boomerang adults who moved back in with their parents during lockdown, when it was no longer viable (or necessary) to pay rent for a flat in the city.
But now, the cost of living crisis has exacerbated the trend. According to research by Capital One, one in five young people are planning to move back to their family home due to unaffordable rents and living costs.
For many, moving back in with parents is dreamy: they’ll be able to save the majority of their wages while getting home cooked meals and spending some quality time with their family.
But we aren’t all so lucky as to have a glowing relationship with our parents, and having to abide by someone else’s rules when you’re under their roof can feel like a big step backwards after you’ve had a taste of independence.
‘Moving back in with parents can trigger a variety of difficult emotions,’ Heidi Soholt, an accredited psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), tells Metro.co.uk.
‘There may be a sense of failure, guilt, even shame, about needing to move back home.
‘Our self-esteem and sense of identity can take a real hit when faced with moving back in with parents due to factors such as job loss or a relationship breakdown.’
This, coupled with tricky family dynamics, can be overwhelming.
Moving home can be challenging for your mental health (Picure: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
‘Challenging family relationships can be extremely stressful, and leave you feeling drained,’ Heidi adds.
‘Living with family who constantly push your buttons can lead to negative consequences such as poor sleep, difficulty focusing due to stress, anxiety, anger, self-blame, low mood and even depression.’
Depending on where this negative relationship stems from, moving home can be highly triggering.
‘If problems stem from unaddressed trauma, then the consequences for mental and physical health can be serious,’ says Heidi.
‘Moving back into a family environment where there are, or have been, problems such as alcoholism or domestic violence can be highly triggering.
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‘Returning to a place where trauma has taken place can trigger intense emotional and physiological reactions, causing symptoms such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, dissociation, and even suicidal ideation.’
These feelings can come out in anger, too – you may overreact to things your parents are doing or saying, getting annoyed by tiny little things.
So, it’s important to understand why you find your parents so annoying to begin with.
If it’s down to trauma, journaling and therapy might help you to come to terms with it.
If it’s just that you find your family extremely irritating, that’s a different story.
Not everybody has the ideal family dynamic (Picture: Getty Images/fStop)
Here’s how to deal with it.
Learn to switch perspectives
As Heidi says, ‘people aren’t generally born bad, difficult, manipulative and so on.
‘These traits tend to manifest through challenges individuals have faced such as difficult upbringings.
‘For example, if your mum grew up feeling rejected by her family then she may have difficulties expressing authentic emotion, and this can present as being overly defensive or even passive aggressive.’
Try seeing your mum’s behaviour from her side and rationalise it instead of taking it personally – it might help you to stay calm and, in turn, create a healthier dynamic.
Setting boundaries – and sticking to them – is challenging when it comes to family, but it’s also vital.
‘Boundaries are about being assertive,’ says Heidi.
‘They are about standing up for your rights to things like privacy, while respecting others’ rights to the same.’
You can tell your parents that they need to knock before opening your bedroom door, that they can’t open your letters and parcels, and that you don’t always need to let them know where they’re going.
‘Pick a calm time to discuss your boundaries and be clear and reasonable about what you expect from your family, and be direct and firm,’ says Heidi.
‘It may mean repeating what is important to you until you feel heard.’
Don’t forget that they care about you deep down
Given this isn’t a domestic abuse situation, it’s important to remember that your family are there for you and they love you dearly.
This means also taking accountability for family disagreements and arguments.
‘It might be worth having an honest look at how you may have contributed to family tensions, and finding better ways to communicate,’ says Heidi.
‘It’s very easy to fall into the trap of assuming you know what a family member really means, or predicting what they are going to say, forgetting to really listen.
‘Practising really listening to others, and noticing when our biases show up can be transformative for our relationships.’
Do you have a story to share?
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The struggle is real for Generation Boomerang.