Any ideas on how to minimize conflict while visiting with family (details inside)?
My conservative [read: Pentecostal, Evangelical Christian] parents will be staying with my partner and I for two weeks. Mom is known to poke at me by making instructive or critical comments. There are so many things she doesn’t like about me (my piercings, tattoos, the fact that I’m gay and have a partner, my weight, my hairstyle, the clothes I wear, the fact that I don’t dress or act feminine, etc. etc.)
No matter how many times I’ve asked or told her to stop, she’ll find a way to sneak in a poke. It can be quite tiring, frustrating, and hurtful. Sometimes Dad will step in and try to redirect her, but she always makes sure her opinions are heard. Sometimes she has a very sneaky way of emotionally jabbing me, sometimes she’s very direct. I’ve told her point blank how I feel when she says XY or Z, and it doesn’t seem to faze her.
I want my parents to see the real me, and I don’t want to regress to teenage me (the me that bends to their will in order to appease them). At this point, it will do no good to try to rehabilitate mom or try to persuade her to accept me as I am. She is extremely set in her ways (almost in a pathological way).
Even though she does this, I still love her and we have a good relationship otherwise. I do enjoy my parents in spite of all of this, and want to have a pleasant visit with them. It is a very big deal they are coming to stay with us! Travel is difficult for them, as they are of retirement age and in poor health – all the more reason why I want to minimize conflict.
Any suggestions on how to do this without shutting myself off or being inauthentic?
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