Advice Column Thursday: A Guide to Your Parents

Dear ACT,

My parents are Conservative Christians and I am a gay woman. They are coming to visit next month and will be staying with me and my partner. How should I deal with the elephant in the room that will come packed in their suitcases?

Thanks,

Liberal Daughter

This is such a universal problem. Just stick any old “X” into the “and I” half of the equation and suddenly everyone everywhere has stood in your shoes. Therefore, we might as well leave the gay alone and talk about what to do when your parents are over and *any* animals arrive.

So this is for all kids, everywhere, regarding anything that’s hard to talk about with your parents. You’re not going to like it, but it’s true.

Stop.

Stop trying, stop caring, stop ruminating, stop worrying, stop crying. If they haven’t fucking changed by now, they’re not going to. Spend the time you have left on this planet forgiving your parents for whatever they did to you, and let them go. This is not to say that you have to stop loving them, stop interacting with them, stop contact with them… it’s just that the balance has to look different in terms of the power of the relationship.

Children are not used to setting boundaries with their parents. It goes against the natural order of things. But what happens when you realize that the things they taught you are the things that hurt you? Setting up an emotional fence that they can’t get past is not for them. It’s for you.

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