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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:46 am 
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Thank you for posting your experience torque. I can't imagine going through all you did and then being treated like that by your Dad for BFing (breast feeding). Your post reminds me that things change all the time in life - ypu could go 8 years without seeing your Dad and then see him every weekend, and that nonattachment is so helpful here. My Dad will be 77, and he is always talking about wanting to die. He is a 2x cancer survivor, and I do think that he won't be around much longer.

Part of what I battled for years was thinking of my Dad as abused and manipulated and my SM as a harpy. And my Dad feeds that - it let's him be the victim and demand sympathy. The truth is my Dad let this situation happen. And he is responsible for it. My SM owes me nothing, she isn't my parent (she is a family friend I've known since I was 7) but my Dad should have stood up for me and our relationship if he valued it. But he didn't. It was more important for him to placate her. Once she and I had a huge throwing things fight, and she forked up my tires before I had to go on a 10hr drive home to Germany from Austria. My Dad swore he'd leave her after that, but within 12 hrs was back like nothing had happened. He hates being alone and he needs a woman so he'll put up with anything. The good thing about realizing that is that I no longer feel obliged to rescue him from his choices.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:07 am 
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As far as Leela goes, my father treated my sister horribly when she had her first son. He was allowed to visit her alone 4wks after her son's birth, but my Dad had to check in at specified times and was on the phone to my SM for hours. She also gave him tasks every day, so my sister had to keep taking her newborn into the freezing NH Feb weather to go to the shops for whatever she decided she needed that day. And since then, she keeps trying to get anyone she can to listen to her rant about my sister's poor parenting skills and asks them to get my sister to go to Vienna for parenting lessons by her daughter, because her grandkids are so well raised (my stepsister in fairness is a great mom, but so is my sister). Brett and I have agreed L is never going there, because it is too volatile and gets too nasty and we never want her to see her mother either being treated like crepe or going full on psycho screaming at people :) Plus money is tight, and I don't have an extra $2,000 for flights to visit someone who has now been retired for nearly 15yrs on a decent pension and goes on amazing vacations at least 2x a year, but hasn't come to see me since 2002. He says he doesn't have the money and he can't leave his dogs. He missed my graduations, my wedding, all my life events for the last 20 years.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:19 am 
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I'm sorry you have these issues.

It isn't the same for me because this is extended family, but I learned a huge lesson when I saw my mom's family after no real contact for 15 years: they welcomed me with open arms, and it felt like chatting with old friends. They cooked vegetarian stuff for me, found veg places to go, and kept the Baileys flowing (I was veg then, obvs).

My dads family had seen me periodically all along, yet they were always so cold, unwelcoming, and awkward. They would helpfully tell me that they saw soy milk at the supermarket an hour before in case I wanted to go get some. They weren't even much nicer to my dad. At his mothers funeral, a few times he had nowhere to sit, and he has a disability! I had to run around badgering people to help him! His own family!

At that point, I realized that you really can't control it. People are what they are. I could see my dads family every week and it would always be the same, just like my moms family will be the same even if another 10yrs goes by.

As far as my dads family is concerned, I changed my language. It was his mother, no relation of mine. His sister, his brother, etc. why the fork should I claim them? They don't want me. Screw 'em. They are miserable, cold people. Piles, and piles of money that they do nothing with. Not only do they not spend it on themselves, they don't do any good with it either--just millions and millions sitting in investments. It's a very sad way to live. They are all pretty healthy and long-lived. As far as I can tell, they just all choose to be as actively mean and miserable as possible. No thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Oh Tofulish, I'm sorry you're having to deal with all of this. I really don't have anything to add but want you to know that I'm thinking of you. Seriously, if you were my daughter, I would be so proud of you. You are an amazing person who has done some pretty amazing things with your life, and if someone can't recognize that, that is not a problem that needs to be set upon your shoulders.

My mom and Nate's mom bother me, to a much lesser degree, but there's definitely that feeling of uncomfortableness in the air when it's just me and one of them in the room. The biggest thing that helped me was my therapist telling me that I can't change them. No matter what you do differently or how you try to appease them, you will never have complete control on how they view you. So just stop trying and be yourself. I spent over two decades trying to be that perfect daughter to my mother, and it never got me anywhere. Because of that, it gave me the absolute worse self esteem and led to depression. Now I'm just myself when I'm around them. Of course I'm polite - that's just my nature - but I'm never going to try to be someone I'm not to anyone. It's such a simple lesson but it seriously opened a whole new world to me.

I'm the biggest advocate for therapy out there, but it might be something good to look into (I can't remember what your insurance situation is right now, so I'm sorry if this is a suggestion outside of your financial ability). Sitting down with a nonjudgemental individual who can look at the situation from the outside might help. He or she might be able to give you some advice on how to cope or how to handle your family.

You need to take care of yourself and your beautiful family. That's it.


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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:39 pm 
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I've mentioned my biological father a few times but I'm somewhat stressed because he was trying to get in touch with me again.

Quick summary - Father cheated on mother extensively during their 11 year marriage, left us when I was 6, sporadically saw him up to about age 16 as he really wasn't interested. He dodged child support payments until at which point he got a government job and was able to have his wages garnished a whopping $100/month, I think I was 13 or 14 when this happened. Oh and my mom worked 60-80 hours/week up until I was 14 or so in order to provide for us.

Anyway, he had heart surgery when I was in college and was desperate to get in touch with me. I talked to him a few times, moved to the East coast, he came and visited a couple times. He and his wife decided to stop making payments on their house and left the country. At which point, I started getting harassing calls from his credit union. He had apparently gave my name as a credit reference. I told them that they should've called me prior to loaning the money, not after he stopped paying. They stopped calling.

My grandfather, who was my only father figure after mine left me, died this past October. I've been devastated. I cry at random. It hurts so bad. Then a couple months later, I start getting calls from unknown numbers and I get a voice message from my father. I'm guessing he heard about my grandfather which is the only reason I think he'd call me. I have no desire to talk to him. I'm scared he is going to show up on my door step. I feel that after my teens, I didn't need him but I let him back into my life because he needed me. I felt bad but you know what, I'm done. I'm ok with being done.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Estrangement has been my friend for over seven years!

Brian's mom pretty much adopted me when my relationship with my parents went south, so it really hurt when we started getting pushed aside from That Guy She Is Now Married To (For Insurance). I could write a god damned novel about all of the bullshiitake and shenanigans she's pulled over the past few years, starting with when she decided that a good time for us to meet him was to invite him to spend the weekend at the same time as us on Brian's BIRTHDAY and not telling us until we had already packed and were about to leave. She knew we wouldn't come if she told us in advance, and she was right.

The only reason we've seen her in the last six months is because my sister-in-law's marriage broke up and we all went to help her clean up her house and what not. She got married on Christmas eve and then got mad because Brian's sister, who is a busy person, wouldn't come exchange presents with her as soon as she got home from Vegas (p.s. none of us were actually asked to attend).

And then, for some reason, Brian's sister gets treated differently than us despite the fact that she hates what's going on just as much as we do and has vocalized her feelings. Like her mom kept sending her pictures from Vegas while we were trying to have the best Christmas we could, and that just pissed her off and she ignored all of the messages. Also we will hear about how much dude has changed and Brian's mom has already uttered 'I shouldn't have gotten married'.

Ugh, parents, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:40 pm 
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I'm so happy this thread is back! Not happy we have to experience parental weirdness, but happy that we can discuss it openly in a safe place.

My heart aches for those of you who struggle with your own parents or with in-laws. When people tell me "that just comes with the territory" I get a bit resentful because that's like trying to tell a kid that bullying is a rite of passage.

The best thing I ever did for myself was go to Alanon. It's an advanced course in minding my own business and learning how to stick up for myself without hurting others--an art form with a real learning curve!

I don't have much to do with my parents. My dad is a homeless drunk and my mom is a crazy prescription pill addict/born again Christian. She is the stuff of Maury Povich shows. But I love them both. I am not responsible for their decisions and I am not responsible for their happiness, nor are they responsible for my happiness. I keep all discussions limited to gardening, weather, and the children. Sometimes I talk about my job, but everything else is off limits. I won't let them bad mouth each other, either. My mom said once, "It's like this boundary thing with you, if someone goes over the line, just a little, it's like GAME OVER!"

My reply? "Yep. Basically."

I never want to have that kind of relationship with my kids, ever. I want them to be their own people and make their own decisions no matter how much or how little I like those choices. They deserve the dignity of their own experience. My parents have no idea who they are, so how can I possibly expect them to be good to me if they're terrible to themselves? I really honestly believe that they are doing the best they can with the skill set they have. I struggled too, but ultimately turned out okay. To break the chain, I had to cut dad out and limit contact with mom. It's tough, but I know I wouldn't be where I am today if I had stayed family loyal. I made my own via marriage, expanded relationships, developing friendships, and online support like the PPK.

((((hugs)))))

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Jewy is so smart. That post made me feel a lot better for some reason. The rest of you too, I wish you the best.


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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:18 pm 
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I wish I could post more in this thread, but ya'know my nick isn't all that anonymous. Just sending the loves out to everyone.
xo
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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:31 pm 
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flava wrote:
therapy


I have been in different forms of therapy for years now, and that is part of the reason why I have been able to draw healthy boundaries for myself in my relationship with my father. One of the side-effects of having good boundaries, which are great for protecting my mental health, is that my father isn't getting his needs met from our relationship, and that is the reason why he has now cut me off. It makes me sad that I don't have a relationship with him, and that my daughter won't ever have a grandfather, but as an adult, I can choose not to fall into the trap of old family dynamics and can do what is best for me, instead of taking the bait, and going back to try and be a good daughter and inevitably failing, because what is asked of me is so draining.

I used to be my father's favorite, and for 20 years I was the one he'd call to vent, and I felt special because I was giving him advice etc. But on some level, that is really inappropriate because I found myself fighting to rescue him like I had in my childhood. My mother was our common enemy, and I'd get between the two of them to protect him as a kid. Now as an adult, he had me fighting to rescue him from a relationship he chose, because me listening to him and advising him made him feel like I cared. I'd feel exhausted and drained after our counseling sessions, but he refused to ever see a real therapist or have a real conversation with his wife about what wasn't working. So all my energy was going down a bottomless pit of need, and making no difference. My husband watched me interact with him and asked me why I was spending so much energy for these tiny crumbs of acknowledgement, when I had a loving relationship, great friends and wonderful people who returned my energy in very positive ways.

My current counselor advised me that I didn't have to cut off ties violently, like an angry child, but that I could calmly enforce my chosen boundaries, like an adult. And I did that and got a lot from it, but my Dad's response has been to cut me off completely. He isn't interested at this point in having a relationship that isn't based on toxic dynamics from my childhood.

I just wanted to vent, and to hear that others are in the same position, because there is still a place where it is a real loss - both of my actual father and the things he provided and of my idealized father, if that makes sense....

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:45 pm 
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Tofulish, I totally empathise with you about your father and stepmother. You seem a lot further along than me. How do you do it? Is it just the setting of boundaries? ("Just", like it's easy, ha.) How do you set boundaries with someone who picks you up and puts you down whenever they feel like it? I guess you don't let them pick you up. But what if that's secretly what you want, even though you know it's going to end in tears, like it did every other time? And you can't prepare yourself for it because you don't know when you are going to get that contact.

I simply can't join together my childhood feelings and my adult feelings. The childhood feeling of it being him and me against this mean invading woman, the adult knowledge that he was an adult, a father, my father! and he shouldn't have let her treat me like she did. It's like pushing magnets together, something, some kind of self-preservation is not letting me do it. Because if I admit that if both of these feelings are correct and based on the truth, which they are, it means he didn't love me. And though I very strongly dislike him, I don't want that to be the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:59 pm 
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rinabean wrote:
I simply can't join together my childhood feelings and my adult feelings. The childhood feeling of it being him and me against this mean invading woman, the adult knowledge that he was an adult, a father, my father! and he shouldn't have let her treat me like she did. It's like pushing magnets together, something, some kind of self-preservation is not letting me do it. Because if I admit that if both of these feelings are correct and based on the truth, which they are, it means he didn't love me. And though I very strongly dislike him, I don't want that to be the case.


I don't think it means that he didn't love you. I'd look at what you think love would mean here...

My father experiences his feelings as a deep love for me, even though he hasn't prioritized me and doesn't stand up for me. Are they really loving though? Maybe not.

I don't think he means to hurt me or to let my stepmother hurt me. He is just a product of his own weaknesses, conditioning and needs. Its just that those needs become toxic to me as an adult, because they tap into patterns that he created in me when I was a child. He was in a marriage that didn't meet his needs, so he went to his daughter to feel loved and validated. And even after his marriage ended and he moved into a new one, he still came to me when he felt like his needs weren't met, and looked to me to validate him. And now we have a situation where he takes a ton of energy from me but gives me almost nothing in return, so I no longer choose to put my energy there.

My parameters are: I don't listen to him complain about his relationship or his life if he isn't going to do anything about it. i suggest he see a counselor to help him, he dismisses the idea and then we hang up. I just don't choose to play therapist for him any more.

I don't know if that helps at all, but I am very interested in having the conversation....

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Even though my parents are great, it took me a long, long time to realize that parents are just as deeply flawed, weird, and wrong about stuff as other people. That sounds strange, but growing up, I didn't get it.


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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:10 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
there is still a place where it is a real loss - both of my actual father and the things he provided and of my idealized father, if that makes sense....

I think this makes a lot of sense.

It sounds like you have a great handle on what is going on and what you are willing to put up with. When I first read the thread i thought it was more of a "what do i do" instead of just a vent. You seem to have it sussed, and from what I know of you, you are not going to let this silliness anywhere near your own (freaking amazing) little family, so i am glad to hear you have your defenses all figured out.

I think it's only natural to mourn for the things that we expect of parents, of children, etc, and especially if we are always seeing how these people treat others to feel a bit deprived, or at least second-class. I know that with me a lot of my therapy work was moving away from trying to understand why and simply accept without wanting, and that is still sometimes really hard. I wish I knew WHY my father was the way he was and then realize that it is just so that I could think about what i could have done to change things (and didn't). So I need to stay away from that sort of thing (even though I would love to write about my father, for example, I know that's as slippery a slope as writing about my daughter, i will need more therapy if i start....).
You are still looking for something good, something to fix, something to salvage. For someone who has hurt you over and over again. It sounds like you want to do the right thing, and even still think well of everyone. You are a really generous, loving person, Tofulish, and your daughter is going to benefit so much from your willingness to continue to think well of people, while valuing yourself and setting boundaries.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:12 am 
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super torque wrote:
I wish I knew WHY my father was the way he was and then realize that it is just so that I could think about what i could have done to change things (and didn't).


This is such good advice, and I don't think I've ever seen it put that way. I sometimes go down the rabbithole of wondering why, and that just ends up in me wallowing in self-pity. Your take is so wise.

Thank you for the kind words. You are such an inspiration. I am amazed by everything you've done - you seem to have no fear and an inexhaustible supply of good cheer, common sense and courage. Sprog is lucky to be growing up with a loving mother who is such a Yes to life.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Some members of my Dad's family are coming to meet Leela tomorrow. I am looking forward to it, but dreading that it is going to become an intervention, where they push me to call my Dad and go visit him.

I haven't spoken to him in over 3 months. Nothing has changed on his end, and I am still not willing to waste time, energy and money on someone who is not able to actually have a real relationship with me. And by "real" I mean show the slightest interest in me and my life.

I am basically going with the "No" is a complete sentence approach. My husband's take is that we say "he is welcome here any time" and leave it at that. I hate that so many people in my family think that I am a horrible bisque and have so much pity for my Dad. Its funny though, that has always been his patterns in his romantic relationships, and now its his pattern in his relationship with me and my sister. He is only really happy when he is complaining to anyone who will listen, about how terribly he is being treated.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:08 pm 
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Stay strong. No means no in all sorts of situations. Your mental health and the health of your family is more important than the wishes of people who are not interested in that help (awkward sentence)

Hugs.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:19 pm 
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I've had alot of problems with my mother, and similar things with your father and stepmother so I can relate to some of what you're saying. My mother has never had the answers when it came to any of her children, and it came to a point where she was only glad that ''at least none of her kids were in jail or on drugs", which was kind of insulting. I was going to school full time and working 3 jobs, and had never touched a drink or done drugs (not that this means you're a bad seed) and never given her trouble outside of being a temperamental teen. We got into an argument in November in which my stepfather got involved and told me I did NOTHING. I left. It actually resulted in my applying and actually getting accepted into my choice school, living where I want to live with someone I love, and being a little more confident in myself. I think overall I miss and have alot of guilt that resulted from my leaving and not being there to protect my siblings, but they have the best of all of us, I think, and I'm grateful that my mom treats them alot better.

No matter what they do, for better or for worse, parents are people and we can never actually change anything they do. That's something I've been told time and time and time again but it's finally starting to sink in.


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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:13 pm 
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I missed this thread the first time around. But I am another person with parental issues. Both of my parents were awesome people and I think what upsets me the most is that they don't know me and my life now as an adult and I know they would be so proud of me!

My father passed when I was 12. My mom is still alive but I have chosen to not have her in my life. Both of my parents were drug addicts and after a very rough childhood I just couldn't take anymore. So I cut ties with my mom at about 17. She wasn't raising me or taking care of me anymore. So I just felt it was better for my mental health to be without her. It was the proper decision and I am better for it.

I think about my dad and how I wish he could have been here to know my husband and to know me now and I imagine what a great relationship we would have. But it is what it is!

My philosophy on this matter is that parents are people just like anyone else. If you have friends bringing you down and making waves in your life you can decide to not have them around anymore. And you can do the same thing with parents and family. I am thankful to be here and they brought me into the world, but I feel like that's what they were meant to do. Nothing more!

I spent a long time being hurt and angry and in a lot of ways I still am. But as I get older it gets easier and I have started to let shiitake go and move on. I finally understand that their addiction didn't have anything to do with me. Of course at times it felt like a personal attack! But it wasn't and I had to learn how to forgive them for their actions and the effect they had on me. All in all I turned out ok, and much of who I am is based on who they were.

Tofulish I hope this situation gets better for you! Just trust yourself. You know deep down what is right for you and your family. Don't feel pressured to have your dad and stepmom in your life just because others think you should.

Therapy is always good too :o)

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:36 am 
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The PPK has seen me through the tumultuous last handful of years- especially the last two. My mom kicked me out at eighteen, which was the trajectory our relationship was headed towards, anyway. She's used me as a bragging right more than anything- good grades, graduating HS with a college degree, etc., etc. She told my little brother I was a brainwashing bisque when I was fourteen and he was twelve. She's incredibly passive aggressive, insulting, and apathetic. Every time I had a triumph, she didn't give a single shiitake. I'm glad she's happy with her life, and we talk because I know it makes her happy, but my life would be so much better if we never spoke again. She gives me so much stress and makes me very unhappy. In high school, I basically lived by myself and took care of the house on my own- cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping; the only thing I didn't do was pay the bills. She was busy dating (and I'm glad she found a great guy for her who is her perfect match), but her daughter was...well, in an abusive relationship and ended up being raped, but all she ever asked was if I was pregnant when I was just ill; if I was getting A's in my courses; why I didn't do the dishes.

My dad is absolutely incredible and I couldn't ask for any better parent than he has always been. I'm so thankful to have had him in my life.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:36 am 
Has it on Blue Vinyl
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Posts: 2191
Location: Wet and Windy Wiltshire
My family are all quite distant from one another. I get on with my mother, but we can go for weeks without more than an email (I run her website so it's usually to do with that). That doesn't mean we don't get along, but just that we don't need to talk to each other very often. Lots of people I know talk to their own mothers every day, or at least more than once a week. I honestly don't know how they do it.

My father was never a relevant factor as he left when I was a baby. I bear him no malice, and I actually met him a couple of years ago which was pleasant but awkward. He's not a person I actually really know, and our relationship is purely genetic, so I don't really think of him family really. I have a half-sister through him, who I used to speak to periodically. She once sent me a link to her gaydar profile for some reason, so the only things I really know about her are that she's called Chloe and she likes fisting.

I'm very close with my littlest brother. Of my two other brothers, one I'm semi-close with and one I barely know at all (I'm probably closer to his fiancée than to him because it's hard not to be close to someone who explodes with kindness and benevolence to all around her). I really like my stepdad, and am friends with his sister who I call Auntie Kate in front of our mutual friends because it's fun.

Is it awful that I'm actually glad other people have families who don't talk? It seems like everyone I know has a perfect family who all sing round the piano together and knit each other matching cardigans.

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 Post subject: Re: Are your parents uncomfortable around you?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:14 pm 
Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:16 am
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Location: New Yawk
Gulliver wrote:
Is it awful that I'm actually glad other people have families who don't talk? It seems like everyone I know has a perfect family who all sing round the piano together and knit each other matching cardigans.


Umm, I can sympathize. I've spent alot of my time wondering if everyone had the same kind of family when I was living in the suburbs. Regardless of location though, I think everybody's got problems, just some are better equipped and some are more severe than others.


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