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Managing difficult parents
Possible no contact - how do you manage?


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#1 anonapuss

Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:43 AM

Hi

Going anon for this one and trying to be unrecognisable so giving the bare minimum but desperately need some advice.

I am happily married with a very young family. Long story cut short, my parents are incredibly controlling of me and disapproved of my husband so there was a period of time where we did not speak. They basically gave me an ultimatum - its either him or us so me being in a happy relationship decided on him.

A few years later I made contact with them as a family member on their side was sick and I wanted to put the crap aside (despite the fact that I did not drive it) and support them. So bit by bit they came back into our lives. I did not address any of the previous nastiness and walked on egg shells just to maintain the peace. Ive since had a family (they love the children but do play favourites) and the nastiness towards me and my husband has returned. I have my hands full with a large family of small children and work and I find I cannot mother and deal with the day to day with these hideous nasty attacks on my husband and myself.

If I try to address issues even current ones I get ridiculous accusations of what I think - e.g. "You hate us because we have blue hair" (Substitute blue hair for the reason but the reason is equally ridiculous because the word they use isnt even in my vocabulary and hadnt even crossed my mind).

Anyway the advice I'm after is: What strategies do you use to enable yourself to live with the horrible nastiness so that you can be as positive as possible for your kids and partner? How do you deal with the nastiness? How do you cut contact with your parents with minimum nastiness and how do you deal with the day to day. What contact do your parents have with the kids (my kids are very very young) so I'm thinking they are welcome to visit them while I'm there at my home during a pre-arranged time (not just a drop in).

Its just so upsetting, having going through this again but I cant deal with the constant attacks and productively raise my family and work.

I think I probably have depression anyway (I'm hammered constantly about doing the wrong thing and being a bad mother) but this situation has made it so that I cant even eat or go to sleep or talk to others. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

#2 Feral Alpacas

Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:52 AM

OP is the family member still sick? If not, I would start limiting contact with your parents again. They sound toxic and it sounds like they are damaging your self esteem. You have children and your own little family to think of now, they have to come first.

#3 mommyoffour

Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:54 AM

I would set boundaries and be prepared to follow through. For example, next time they say something like the blue hair thing, you say: "it makes me feel angry when you say things like that because it's not true. If you keep behaving in this way/saying things like that, I don'twant you in my life. I will cut contact with you". They'll accuse you of being ridiculous or threatening them or whatever, at which point you say you're serious and you need them to respect your boundaries if they want to be a part of your life. If they continue to belittle you, ask them to leave.

#4 JustBeige

Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:57 AM

I think you need to decide what you actually want from these people.  Then you need to look at what they actually can give to you.

Dont look at what you expect or mourn the loss of, but what they can truly give.   If your wants / needs are different to what they are actually capable of doing then the answer is clear.

Keeping them out of your lives doesnt have to be drastic, it can just be as simple as not calling, not returning phone calls or if you do, make it short and sweet.  I have always found that the less information people have about me the less they can interfere.

Dont have them in your lives out of guilt.  Your children dont deserve it and neither do you.

#5 FiveAus

Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:04 AM

I haven't had contact with my mother in over 12 years. My situation was a bit different to yours but I wanted to let you know you're not alone.

I had a pretty good relationship with my parents until I separated, then went back to work so I could support my 4 children. My mother became very judgemental, didn't like me working and did everything she possibly could to make life difficult for me. It got worse when I started a new relationship and came to a climax when she took my new partner aside and told him what a bad mother I was for not looking after my children, and for working when I should have been at home being a mother. Well, that's the short story but as you can imagine, there's a lot more to it.

I cut contact with her, and I have not seen her since. The stress I was feeling just rolled off my shoulders when I made the decision and all of a sudden I felt this freedom I'd not felt for years.

My kids were older (15 down to 5), so it was their decision as to whether they saw them or not, and they did. They'd arrange to go there for dinner or a BBQ or something and I'd drop them off and someone would drive them home.

The only downside to me was that in cutting off my mother, by default I lost contact with my dad, who I loved and who'd never sat in judgement against me for anything. I am their eldest child and I was always his "darling girl", even when I grew up.

Then one day, out of the blue, about 5 years ago, he came to visit me. He said he's missed me and was very sorry he hadn't made the move before. So we re-connected, just dad and me and he visits every few months and catches me up with all the family gossip etc. He does not expect me to be involved with the family because he knows I don't want to. He asked once if I'd visit my mother and try and "make up" and after thinking about it I said no. And he's never asked again.

My mother developed a cancerous condition a few years ago, and while it's not terminal and it's been treated, it could come back again and probably would be terminal next time. If that happens, I'll have some thinking to do and some decisions to make but right now, I'm very happy and comfortable with how things are.

#6 Guest_~Songbird~_*

Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:05 AM

Educate yourself on manipulative people and their behaviours, this will teach you boundary setting and tools to just let their bulldust go. You have my sympathy, dealing with manipulators is exhausting and damaging to your own mental health.

Here are some great links including one for a book and youtube videos

http://www.rickross.com/reference/brainwas...nwashing11.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBfvbWRDZN4...;feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUfNvswN7CE...feature=g-all-u

http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/book/in-s...people/9088183/




#7 Natttmumm

Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:40 PM

I think I would slowly cut them out again. I wouldnt make a big issue to them, I would just cut back - dont answer calls as much, if they say nasty things end the conversation quickly, dont make any arrangements to cacth up.

not easy to do - but sounds like they give you no other choice. You have your own children to focus on

#8 anonapuss

Posted 30 October 2012 - 08:25 PM

Thank you so much for your responses. I am still digesting all of this information.
Part of the way forward for me is looking for a way to be okay with all of this within myself and be positive and happy again. I was unhappy anyway due to the constant criticism.

So far its been one week and no contact. Ive at least been able to breathe.

#9 BucketONuts

Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:55 PM

I understand where you are coming from ...my mum has always had an issue with my husband, and now any opinion I have that is opposing to hers , she thinks comes from  my husband....what she doesnt realise is that all of this only makes me upset and not want to deal with her...
I realised early on that I could not confide in her anything I didn't want her to get  used against me at a later stage when she was angry with me. That leaves me quite dissatisfied with my relationship with my own mother.. sad.gif
In addition my dad just likes to let her do what she likes and say what she chooses because it helps him keep the peace...He doesn't oppose her at all so my relationship with my father ( with whom I was very close) has also soured...

They have rarely seen their grandkids ...they've usually blamed me for that as well...since of course I live several continents away and have a full time job, run my own home business and have two under 5...so of course its my fault I have to keep taking time off when my girls are sick....since we have no family I can rely on....DH gets paid by the day and works from home whenever he can when one or the other kid is sick but I have gradually eaten into my annual leave...My parents don't understand that and believe that I only want to spend time and let my kids spend time with my in-laws...fact of the matter is they are available to come in to cisit for extended lengths of time (6-8mths) the kids love it and my life is so much easier as they don't judge...or at least don't interfere ...My mum on the other hand think my DH is too "involved" in our kids lives and shouldn't be interefering when she is trying to do something for them...firstly she never does stuff for them as she is never around..but also as a dad he has to be involved in their life eh??

Contact is limited...that's the least I can do for my girls..



#10 RealityBites

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:13 AM

QUOTE (JustBeige @ 27/10/2012, 10:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you need to decide what you actually want from these people.  Then you need to look at what they actually can give to you.

Dont look at what you expect or mourn the loss of, but what they can truly give.   If your wants / needs are different to what they are actually capable of doing then the answer is clear.

Keeping them out of your lives doesnt have to be drastic, it can just be as simple as not calling, not returning phone calls or if you do, make it short and sweet.  I have always found that the less information people have about me the less they can interfere.

Dont have them in your lives out of guilt.  Your children dont deserve it and neither do you.


Excellent advice.

#11 Bubble11

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:34 AM

If you truly believe having them in your children's lives is a positive (overall) then I'd try to make the situation work, but you need to look at it and see, do they really add anything to you and your kids lives or is it all pain & negatives?  My older sister hasn't been part of my life for a decade now.  It still hurts me, but I was talking to my dad about it the other day, and I realised that I don't want her in my baby's life (currently pregnant with first), not the way she is, a destructive force tearing everyone around her down, I don't want my baby to be exposed to that.  So maybe that's another thing to consider, do you want your kids to see and experience the way your parents behave?  for them to see that behaviour towards you and your DH?  If you don't truly believe that having them around will enrich your kids lives, personally I wouldn't bother.  I'd at least distance myself from them, just the occasional visit, dont' bother calling, just a quick chat when they call you.

If you decide they're not worth fighting for, maybe just start by not reaching out to them, and see what happens.  If you don't try to contract them, if you don't return calls, don't set times to see them, don't reach out maybe they'll just fade into the background of your life, in which case you know for sure the relationships are not worth fighting for because they're not willing to put anything into the relationship themselves.

#12 honeylulu

Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:21 PM

QUOTE (mommyoffour @ 27/10/2012, 10:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would set boundaries and be prepared to follow through. For example, next time they say something like the blue hair thing, you say: "it makes me feel angry when you say things like that because it's not true. If you keep behaving in this way/saying things like that, I don'twant you in my life. I will cut contact with you". They'll accuse you of being ridiculous or threatening them or whatever, at which point you say you're serious and you need them to respect your boundaries if they want to be a part of your life. If they continue to belittle you, ask them to leave.


This.
If friends treated you like this, would you still be friends with them?If one of your children described being treated like this, what would you advise them?Nobody deserves such behaviour and if they can't treat you and your family with respect, they don't deserve your time. I haven't had contact with my father for nearly 20 years because I expect to be treated humanely. I didn't have contact with my mother for several years because of her hysterical b*tchiness. When my mother did make contact, she did so knowing I expected some civility and we have a surprisingly amiable relationship now.It is hard sometimes and I used to turn a little melancholy now and then (Xmas, etc) but the self-respect, the peacefulness and lack of family stress is soooo worth it.

#13 pinksky

Posted 26 May 2013 - 08:05 AM

I'm not the OP, but I did want to say that the advice that has been given is so helpful and calming to me and my situation. I am printing off this topic, and will be taking on board much of the advice given. Thank you, thank you, thank you, wise women of EB.

#14 miriams

Posted 01 June 2013 - 06:38 PM

You have my sympathies.   bbighug.gif I am going through similar situation at the moment (posted on WDYT about my grandfather). He was a bit nasty to me last year but he's been horrible about other family members (and expects me to listen/sympathise with all that crap). I am at a point where I just don't think it's worth it anymore. Please keep the good responses coming everyone original.gif




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