Home Anger Management Why Am I So Protective of My Space?

Why Am I So Protective of My Space?

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a 15 year old young woman: I usually keep to myself when i’m home. I don’t like talking to my parents because we always fight over dumb things. So i just stick to my room. i like keeping my room the same, i like having my own space where i can just relax to get away from life. i like knowing where everything is and waking up to the same smell and room. (i’m pretty sensitive to smells and my parents smoke, my rooms the only room that doesn’t smell disgusting)

i’m very protective and cautious about people going into my room. if someone does enter my room i tell them to shut the door immediately because the smell of the house makes me want to stop breathing. i really hate when people go into my room when i’m not there. it gets me very very angry. FYI my mom knows this but chooses to not respect it. So now that you know how i feel im going to explain what happened today.

I get home from school and go to go in my room and relax. i noticed my door was WIDE OPEN. i could feel the anger rising inside me. how long had it been open? i thought worrying about the smell. i walk in and my room is cleaned. everything is moved (not the furniture) mostly everything i had on the floor, desk, bed, i was so angry i confronted my mom. she said she did then yelled at me to grow up, get over it. i went into my room and started balling my eyes out. i tried rearranging and trying to put everything back the way it was. i was so angry, sad, anxious, i just cried so much. the smell, my room. it wasn’t MY room anymore i kept thinking and repeating. everything was different. i was so mad and anxious. when i say mad i mean like very VERY angry, like fuming. why did i feel like this? is it because i’m a teen? is there something wrong with me i should know about?

Yes. Some of this is about being a teen, but that doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid. You are at an age where you are asserting some boundaries between you and your parents. You want more privacy. You want to have more say in many things. It’s normal to want to put a little distance between you and your folks.

There are two problems here as I see it. You think the room is YOUR room. Your mother thinks that the room in in HER house so she felt she had a right to be in it. She was probably “picking up after you” just as she did when you were little. That’s help that you no longer find helpful.

The other problem is that you are getting furious and fighting about it instead of communicating. That (plus keeping stuff on the floor, etc.) makes you look immature and reinforces your mom’s idea that you are too young to make decisions about privacy and how to keep your room.

There are also two ways to solve the problem:

First, start to keep an orderly room so that your mom doesn’t have reason to be in there.

Secondly, have a mature talk with your parents about your need at this point in your life to have some privacy. Reassure them that you aren’t doing anything you shouldn’t; that you just want to be treated more like an adult. Don’t yell. Don’t blame or accuse or make excuses — even if either of your parents do. Just calmly restate that you want to be given the chance to show that you are growing up and part of that is keeping your room reasonably picked up without “help”. It’s certainly okay to point out (calmly) that your room is the only smoke free part of the house and to ask (not demand) that they allow you the courtesy of keeping it that way. It will take some time but the more  you act like an adult, the more your folks will probably treat you like one.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

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