family won’t respect my boundaries after grief


My mum passed away 6 months ago. Since then I’ve been living alone in our two bed apartment. I’m 20 and have taken in a lot since then but I feel like I’m coping and doing well considering everything.

In the first few months I spent a lot of time at my aunts house, I stayed nights and went over there literally any opportunity I could. We’ve never been a close knit family but I felt it was important to stay in contact after such a big event in my life. Now I’m at university and don’t go over as often, I’m quite busy but I like to be busy. I’m doing well I think. I still go over when I can but I’m feeling a lot of pressure to stay in contact with my aunt.
She keeps expecting me to invite her over to my home but I’m going through something where I don’t want any visitors. I’ve explained to her that it’s a really sensitive thing for me to have others in mine and mums space and for some reason the idea of it makes me very uncomfortable. I explained this to her and at first she said she understood that I was going through a lot, which was such a relief to me because I was so scared to tell her how I feel in case it upset her. But then a few days later she sent me a very long message saying she didn’t understand why I don’t want family over and that I should. She then went on to list how close her and my mum were and call me sensitive but I get the feeling she was trying to guilt me for not letting her over when I explained to her that I already felt terrible about it and hoped I wouldn’t feel this way in future. It really upset me to be told that my feelings don’t make sense, when all I wanted was for her to say okay and be patient with me like other family members were. It made me feel judged which was what I was trying to avoid. I feel dismissed.

I can understand that it’s apparently a strange thing to not want family in yours and you lost persons home? Is it? I feel so much pressure to make her happy because I feel like if she gets offended there will be tension and she’s the only person I really have. I have no parents now or siblings.

I spoke to my therapist about it a while ago and she reassured me that it was okay to feel this way and that they would just have to respect my boundaries.

Cut to a few weeks later, I’m out of therapy and my aunt has just sent me a text with a date of time of when she will be over at my house - no asking, just telling me and I don’t know what to do. I’m no good at confrontation, I am a people pleaser at my own expense. I just wish she would have respected me so that now I don’t have to repeat it all over again because it was so so difficult for me the first time I explained this feeling

What do I do? Do I just let her come over and be uncomfortable? I was so empowered after setting the boundary the first time but now I’m doubting myself. How do I re-explain it to her without her being offended yet again.

I feel under so much pressure to stay in contact and put in a lot of effort to when really, I feel like it should be the other way around. If it was my way, we would probably speak twice a year just like before mum died it I just keep putting the effort in to make them feel better. I feel like I’m handling things all wrong and it’s stressing me out. Am I being cold? I feel judged and spoken for and tense because I don’t want them to feel like I’m pushing them away. I just like my own space and privacy but they can’t seem to understand it. We never even saw each other much before mum died and now I feel like I have to give them a breakdown of everything I’m doing to save them asking me why I never stay in contact. I know that they care, but they can’t seem to understand when I ask for space and that I’m a private person. It’s just becoming something that’s difficult that I don’t think should be, it can’t all be my fault?

Sorry this is so long :frowning:

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Sorry to hear about your mum, sending you lots of love :heart:

You’re not at fault and don’t feel pressured into having your aunt at your home. Anybody that cares should respect your boundaries. Yes, she loves you and wants to be there for you, but at the same time she needs to understand your feelings and not consume you and force herself into your home. Kindly remind her that you’re not ready to have anybody over and that, in time, you’ll invite her. Tell her you love her and appreciate her being there but that you just need some me time for a while to process everything as it’s been a lot to cope with.

Unfortunately, sometimes the death of a loved one can bring so much stress/upset etc, for example, family members who have been out of the picture for years, may suddenly turn up because “money” may be involved etc if that makes sense. Sometimes they come out of the woodwork because they’re after something. Losing my dad in June brought some family issues to the surface and there’s some family members I no longer speak to (it’s a long story).

Your aunt looked after you after your mum passed which was amazing of her but don’t feel guilty if you don’t keep in constant contact. Like you say, you’re busy with uni and trying to carry on with life without your mum, it’s a lot to deal with, especially with not having any other family members.
Your aunt is grieving the loss of your mum too, and everyone’s grief is different, so perhaps she just wants to be close to you all the time to feel closer to your mum if that makes sense, I don’t know, I don’t know how she feels as her grief is unique to her.
Try to have a calm conversation about how each of you is coping with the loss of your mum and hopefully it won’t cause any added stress or upset.
Perhaps write it in a letter and post it to her?
I hope you can resolve this.
My anxiety has been through the roof when I’ve put too much pressure on myself. I’m a people pleaser and don’t want to let anybody down but I’m grateful that my mum and my sister are there for me telling me to look after myself.

I hope this message makes sense (it’s 6am and I’ve not slept, I hardly sleep these days).

Steffi, have looked at alternative therapies for you sleep problems. I had this and found that medication was not for me and I was offered aromatherapy and reiki both worked and now I use Reiki often, it works for me. When you get to the state you sound in, you may try anything. Take care. Sxx

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Hi, I can understand how you feel and I can also feel for your auntie. I think she just may be wanting to protect you. Yes, sit down and tell her about the counselling and what was said and that now life is different and so are you. Stay calm and don’t get flustered. Hope it helps just a little. S xx

Hi @SusieM I have had sleeping tablets and the first night was great. I don’t really take them now because my body clock has been messed up for a good few years now due to my work patterns, so it’s been an ongoing issue, working nights, days, mornings each week so my body is used to being all over the place. I’ll look into aromatherapy and reiki though thankyou. I think the darker nights and the closer to Christmas it’s getting, the more I’m not sleeping as I’m lost without dad and constantly crying, it’s only been 6mths. Christmas is no longer Christmas, the first one without him. I’m getting sleep, just not the “normal” time, I’m tending to sleep from 6am through the day. Thankyou for you help xx

Thank you both so much for your words and for replying - it means so much to just feel heard and seen. I’ve tried to do a compromise and asked yesterday if she would like to meet at a coffee shop instead, she hasn’t replied yet but hopefully she’ll say it’s okay. I’ve really got to work on expressing my feelings and communicating them more since I often avoid it and find it difficult because of how uncomfortable it makes me, usually because I’m worried about how he other person will respond and I don’t want to make them upset. I’m going to try my best to be more open next time I see her. Thank you again.

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Hope I goes well. Here if you need to chat x