Positive/Optimistic vs. Realistic

I’m very close with my Aunt Terri and often in our deep life conversations I will choose to respond with positivity or optimism about a subject or circumstance and she usually will have the “I’m older and wiser” attitude and say something like “Well, that’s a nice thought but I’m more realistic and I think…” which precedes a negative and often useless way of thinking about something, usually creating a whole lot of anxiety and worry for nothing. I know that her thoughts have nothing to do with mine but I have a hard time responding to that without being disrespectful. Do you have a sort of neutralizing response to people saying stuff like that in conversation? I’m working on what boundaries I create within myself when I’m around her/thinking about her. I lived with her for five years in my early twenties, “escaping” my mom, so I have some deep thought grooves filled with what I call “Terri-isms” floating around in my head that I’m trying to get rid of and create my own beliefs about the world.

She has often lectured me about pre-marital sex, my career(s), how to keep a clean home, whether or not she thinks I travel on my own without a man, all kinds of opinions. I usually thank her for concern and just do what I want anyway but I’ve created this barrier between us with my thoughts and then I feel like crap and often act crappy towards her in the hopes to “protect” myself from her.

I think most people have this issue with their mothers. Funny enough, my mom and I are finally on good terms and she just loves everything about me and my life and never criticizes. I know Terri won’t change. I have to change my thoughts about her. I know she loves me. I know she is concerned about me and my life. Just not sure how to respond to her.

Thanks for your insights!

Emily Rose