Vent post about your relationship with your parents

(Turns out I’ve had an RSS feed here the whole time: http://askmoxie.org/blog?format=rss)  

It feels like there’s a lot of emotion out there about people and their parents. So I thought I’d create a safe space today to talk about whatever you need to say about your relationship (or lack of) with them. Just put in fake info to sign in to the comments and say what you need to say. 

As usual, everyone’s pain is valid. No Misery Poker. If you have a little extra today to give someone else some support, give it, but don’t feel bad if you’re tapped out. 

Hugs all around.

0 thoughts on “Vent post about your relationship with your parents”

  1. My husband’s only living grandmother is home with hospice. We’re not very close with that side of the family, but the thing that gets me is that she is younger then my parents. I was a surprise baby late in life, almost a whole generation behind my oldest siblings. My parents are doing well, but just took a bucket list trip abroad, and then traded in their car to lease a new car. I think their mortality is in the front of their mind and it’s strange for me to watch. I know their greatest fear is needing long term nursing care, which we went through with both my mother’s parents. I try to be thankful for their health and admit I hope they have a quick exit from this world when their time comes.

  2. Due to divorces/remarriages, I have four parents. I think we all get along pretty well. But they, along with my in-laws and every single other relative I have on earth, live 1500 miles away. So they aren’t here for the day-to-day, and then when we visit them or they visit us, it ends up being too much time together.

    Also, lately I’ve been having a really rough time going on and off various medications. I NEED my mom. But she is taking care of her elderly parents, as well as her disabled brother, and my own brother and his family (including less-than-a-week-old baby) are temporarily living with them. I feel like I am imposing on her limited time and energy whenever I call.

  3. Timely chance to vent as I prepare to visit my mother over the long weekend. She is an unhappy woman, and has been as long as I can remember. It is extremely hard to visit her as she smokes, has dogs that are only sort-of house trained, and my alcoholic brother lives with her. She is also an indifferent housekeeper, at best, and the house is often filthy. There are often pills of various sorts on the floor, she keeps her knives in a drawer at 4-year-old height, there is never any food in the house. None of these things individually is an insurmountable deal, but taken all together, I can’t take my kids there. At least not to spend the night. We’d end up on the floor anyway because two beds are unreachable because of piles of clothes, and my brother sleeps in the other. And I am not sleeping on her floor. Gross.

    When I lived 90 minutes away, this wasn’t a big deal. I would go down and spend the afternoon with her, then drive home. But we live 5 hours away now. So I drive down and stay with my girlfriend from school, who happily puts me up with my two kids, but she has a tiny house and her own family and pets, so no one is comfortable.

    Every visit makes me angry and resentful. I am angry that my kids don’t get a real grandmother in her, at least not the kind of grandmother I had, and not the kind they have in my husband’s mother. I am angry that I have to impose on my friend. I am resentful that the whole visit is logistically and physically uncomfortable. I am resentful that she makes me feel guilty for not staying at her house or visiting more often. She gaslights me on this issue, so that I don’t know where the appropriate boundaries are, I don’t know if I am being insane or cruel or judgmental, and I don’t trust myself. She is depressed, and always has been. I try to be understanding, I try to help, I have tried to get her help.

    So I will drive there this weekend and the whole thing will feel awful and upsetting. I can feel my shoulders creeping up around my ears as I type.

  4. Oh, hugs to all of you.

    I was also a late-in-life (for that generation) baby, and am firmly ensconced in the "sandwich generation" right now, where my kids are little but I know I’ll be taking care of my mom soon. And she is the only one who ever took care of ME, and I still NEED HER, and of course I feel like a whiny little brat for saying so, so I don’t. She has always been extremely negative, and her lack of mobility is making her more so, and it is exhausting.

    My dad, on the other hand, has remarried and is much younger at heart even though he is 2 years older than her. I’m resentful about this because of course it’s easy to feel young when he didn’t spend a lifetime bearing the responsibilities that she did, but I also know that she chose to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. But because he is out there living, I find myself in the weird position of identifying more with someone I never respected.

    ILs are 3000 miles away, FIL has Parkinsons, MIL is an alcoholic and a guilter, and we’re going there for Christmas, WOO!

    Yes I am rambling and whining but thanks to Moxie, that’s why we’re here, right?

  5. I’ve been struggling since my mom died about 4 months ago. It was sudden and unexpected (pneumonia). It’s hard for so many complex reasons: we were close, and she was a part of my routine in that I talked to her on the phone almost daily; she and my dad were divorced, and my dad is doing his best to support my sister and I through this hard time, but we both know that he and my mom didn’t have a good relationship; my sister and I both have very young kids, and being a grandmother was one of her greatest joys in life–it’s so hard to watch my kids reach milestones and not have her here to share them with; finally, she was a former-recovering alcoholic. As in, she was in recovery for years, but about 3 years ago relapsed. It was getting bad, and my sister and I had to make decisions about things like not leaving our kids alone with her due to safety reasons, and she had started to physically look unwell. I think she succumbed to the pneumonia that killed her as quickly as she did due to her underlying disease of addiction. It had become more difficult to talk to her on the phone lately, and I’d get so frustrated and angry when she sounded not-quite-sober. I’d been miserable about her condition before she got sick and went into the hospital, which led to feelings of regret and guilt when she died. I miss her so, so much. My dad and stepmom, who I love and have a fantastic relationship with, have been great. But they’re not my mom, and couldn’t possibly act as stand-ins (not that they’re trying…they understand these things). I find myself getting frustrated with my dad when I tell him something or have a conversation about something that I really want to talk to my mom about, and he just can’t BE her. I’m lucky to have a close family, and we’re all handling this as well as anyone possibly could. There have been no feuds, fights, resentments, etc. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that my mom isn’t here, and that I have to deal with fact that she was tormented by the horrific and debilitating disease of alcoholism while she was alive. Sorry to be such a downer…feels good to get that out.

  6. My new-ish mantra/secular prayer whenever I have to deal with my parents is one of acceptance of their limited natures: their worldviews; understanding of human nature; their acceptance of my decisions and authority over my life, home and children. It boils down to: they don’t know any better, like small children don’t know any better. My irrational rage at them only made me angry at myself: I wasn’t abused, I just felt as if they willfully misunderstood/undermined all the time as a child and as an adult, despite trying to explain myself. Now I just try to reframe this as they’re just incapable of making any reasonable judgement on my life and focus on dissipating any anger that might form as a result. I worry that not enjoying my parents’ company makes me seem like a terrible, ungrateful person: I dread calling, I dread asking my mother to come be with the kids (I had worked so hard not to need my parents from a young age: I worked at being happy independently from their approval and I worked at being financially independent), I dread my father’s upcoming visit (the last time he came, he was a terrible imposition on me when I was alone with my first newborn; now that newborn is almost 7 yo and I have 2 other children). I dread having to take care of my parents, but my mother will have major surgery early next year and my father has many bad health habits he’s had for most of his life.

  7. I worry. My parents live 1,000 miles away in the mountains of NC. They are co-dependent and always will be. They spend money way too much. They love to gamble. They put down my sister and I. My kids love them, but hate to be with them.
    A few years ago, my parents gave me a box of school things. In there, I found a letter from my GT teacher to my mother. The GT goes on and on about how I deserve to be in that class. It’s clear that my mom wrote to her asking why would stupid me be in a GT program.
    They told my older sister that she was too stupid to go to college. She believed it.
    They let me go to college, and my sister resents that.
    I married a Jewish man and my mom still tells people in a way that makes "Jewish" sound like "leper".
    I don’t usually let this much out.
    My parents, I love them, but I would not like them if I were not related.

  8. During our last visit, FIL made rude derogatory comments about gays, gay marriage, etc. complete with "words we do not use" while MIL made agreement noises. I just tried to make sure 2 year old DD didn’t hear/repeat the bad words. It really offended DH, so he decided to ask them not to use "words we do not use" in front of DD and to try to avoid topics on which we don’t agree. Being asked to watch what he said offended FIL to the point that he decided not to talk to us for the rest of the visit (about 36 hours), refused to be in the same room with us and deliberately left before we did the morning that we left so that he didn’t get guilted into talking to us. Pretty sure this also caused (non-small) problems between FIL and MIL (who is from a background where you just DON’T treat guests this way, even family). He still isn’t talking to us and I’m not really sure I care (other than it really hurts DH to be treated this way). Can’t talk about it with friends and family because there’s no reason to bad-mouth him to people who barely know him, but this also means I can’t vent (other than in a pseudo-anonymous way like this). REALLY annoyed that he pulled this crap and decided to act like a hormonal preteen girl.

  9. I love my mother, but I intensely dislike her. If she was not my mother, I would have written her off long ago. She suffers from depression and a myriad other physical ailments, but makes them worse on purpose (probably unconsciously, most of the time) in order to get attention. She never listens to what other people, even her kids/grandkids, have to say, just interrupts with her own story about how what she experienced was worse/better/scarier/somehow more intense than whatever you were trying to say. A one-upper. She takes zero responsibility for her life. It’s just a series of things that have happened to her, as opposed to the life she is actually living. She alienates everyone she knows, to the point where she has barely any friends. Like maybe 2? She blames them for this, because "they cannot deal with sick people like her". My brother & I continuously need to apologize for her to people we know, at parties, holidays, even wakes. She cannot open her mouth w/o putting a foot in, cannot keep a secret to save the world, and has no concept of TMI. She will tell a stranger at the store about her sex life, or lack thereof. She stressed me out so much during my 2nd pregnancy 4 years ago that I stopped speaking to her for 6 months, midwife’s orders. It was glorious. Now she refers to that "episode" as "how {she} gets when {she} is pregnant", like my illness takes over my brain just to be mean to her. I only keep up with her due to a sense of obligation and karmic justice. I would never want my kids to break ties with me, so I don’t with her. Somehow, they think she is great. I don’t get it. I think frequently about what we will do if she dies. I don’t even know who would come to the funeral. And she has no clue.

  10. Yes, timely. Every time I think I have accepted my father for who and how he is, some new disappointment pops up and stings me. I had just done pretty well with a visit that was ostensibly about him coming to visit his grandchild but which included very little paying of attention to said grandchild, who is thankfully young enough to not have noticed in the least. But this week, the smallest, stupidest thing: we’d been having what I thought was a civil, thoughtful conversation about a social issue on his Facebook wall, and when he decided he was done with it, rather than bow out gracefully he chose to make a personal, dismissive comment so he could have the last word whether there was substance in it or not. It was surprising, because he’s more of a thoughtless/selfish person than a mean one, and because it was a public forum. I have been noticing how he will react to me as, yuck, a strong woman rather than his daughter- how his misogyny colors his response to certain situations. But somehow I had this expectation that he would treat me with respect in that kind of situation. And I don’t know. I can assimilate a whole lot of not-a-great-fatherhood into my acceptance of him, but ‘doesn’t respect me’ puts me over the line. Sad.

  11. My mother has a serious mental illness, and she is minapulate, mean and abusive. My father is her enabler and they are very much codependent. I was my mother’s punching bag growing up, and my father did nothing to stop her. I have only spoken to them twice in the past ten years and I was okay with that. As of late my father has said that he would like to open a dialog; I was open to that as long as it was on my terms. But, he has since backed out, citing a fear that my mother would find out and he would be "in trouble". I am frustrated with myself because I am actually hurt by this, eventhough I know how they are. I wish that I hadn’t fallen for their crap again.

  12. My parents are difficult, but they’ve been there through thick and thin in the way that they could. It’s hard for me sometimes, because one sibling has written them off, so all of the child responsibility to parents sits on me. I get why my sibling wrote them off, but I harbor a lot of anger (1) because I don’t get to do that (2) I have to take even more crap than if I could share it.
    That sounds weird…what I just wrote. But it’s how I feel. FWIW, I learned a lot of how not to raise kids from my parents, and that has been a blessing.

  13. I did not love my mother. I wanted to. I wanted desperately to be accepted by her. But I was of value to her only in the ways in which I reflected well on her. I was a trophy child when I did something that got positive attention from others, but…She didn’t want another daughter. She wanted another son. So when I was 2 she gave me to my 8-year-old sister as her responsibility. I didn’t realize why my relationship with my sister was so fraught until we discussed this when I took her on vacation a few years ago. Now I know better than to say "You’re not my mother" to my sister, because really, she is my mother in the ways that are important. She loves me and worries about me and likes me. When I was 8 my mother became a drug addict. It’s funny how people try to distinguish between prescription and street drugs. If a mother is nodded off in the afternoon it doesn’t matter to the predator that your mom took tranquilizers and not heroin, she’s still left you vulnerable. In my late 20s I revealed the man I was involved with was black. She didn’t speak to me for 17 years. Until she had Alzheimer’s and forgot she hated me. I was there for my dad, not for her, as she deteriorated and eventually set us all free by dying.

    Although I am mad at my dad for not standing up to her more in that 17 years for me. I am grateful that he was in touch the whole time. And that as soon as her Alzheimer’s allowed it, he got me integrated back into the family circle. I am grateful he protected me from the worst of her anger and unfairness when he could when I was a teen. And I’m so grateful for him and his girlfriend’s including me in their lives as a loved and valuable person, now. He can try to be controlling, but somehow I have the relationship with him that I can challenge him and he backs off. He just wants me to be in his life. And he worries about me being alone, which is funny. When he challenged me about the black boyfriend I said, when I’m old, you won’t be there, maybe he will. Well, the boyfriend and I ended because he couldn’t deal with the brokenness of my family. And here I am and dad’s still here (and has never once thrown any of that back at me).

  14. I haven’t seen or spoken to my biological father since I was 11– he was only around sporadically before that. He beat my mother, took me with him to buy drugs…not a nice guy.

    My mom, well, she has a lot of grit. She had me at 17 and did her best. But it wasn’t really good enough– she wasn’t old enough to have processed the emotional abuse she suffered as a kid, so, naturally, it was visited upon me. She was mean, critical, controlling, jealous and sometimes sabotaging. My step-father probably has narcissistic personality disorder– he does it all: criticizing, gas-lighting, forcing you to participate in his grandiose notions of himself, emotional manipulation.

    Last year my mother nearly died of a serious and rare neurological disorder. A few months previous she had called me on my birthday to tell me how horrible I was, how I was ruining my children’s lives, how I was an ungrateful bitch, etc., etc. So I cut her off. Then she got sick and I was placed in the awkward position of being the point person for information for my extended family, many of whom do not speak English. My step-father was a monumental asshole to me and point blank told me her illness was all my fault. But, I did my daughterly duty– I visited her in the hospital, I spoke to doctors, I called. She’s on the mend now and we talk about once a week. No, her nearly dying did not result in some big epiphany and cause everything to heal and be better. However, I was really proud of myself for being able to move through the last year with boundaries and politeness as my weapons. I just kept it light and kept it polite at all times, even with my a-hole step-dad.

    And you know what? After years of therapy, the support of a loving husband and great friends and growing into motherhood myself, my parents are no longer the larger than life demons they once were. They are not all powerful giants who can crush and annihilate me anymore. They’ve shrunk down to size and I see them for what they are: flawed, broken people who are in a lot of pain themselves. I look at my step-Dad and the way he absolutely alienated anyone who tried to help him through my Mom’s illness and I just think, "Wow, as hard as it is to spend five minutes with the man, he has to spend all day, every day with himself– and at his core is a pain and fear so deep and gnarled and embedded he can’t even acknowledge it to himself. What a drag it must be to live like that." I see how my Mom is so utterly helpless, so completely without tools to engage in a loving and supporting way with me– she honestly does not know how and is incapable of identifying it, taking responsibility for it, or doing something about it…she thinks I’m a disloyal monster for not letting her verbally abuse me whenever she feels like it. As a mother myself, I know she must be in agony not to be able to properly connect with me.

    I spent many years mourning the relationship that would never be, but now, I’m at peace with it. I don’t have supportive, loving parents and our relationship will never be normal but I’m ok. And! I’m a really good Mom.

  15. I just found out I’m pregnant with #4. I hate the fact that my biggest worry is what my mom’s reaction is going to be. The only pregnancy that I felt she was happy about (and happy is sort of a stretch. Suprised and not negative is more like it) was my third. By then I was old enough and had a wide enough spacing that it was sensible to her. Or maybe it’s all in my head. My husband thinks I’m exaggerating the whole thing. But when I announced my engagement at 20, she asked if I was quitting college and planning to work at a gas station. When I announced my first pregnancy at 24, she was shocked because I was too young and hadn’t been married long enough. When I announced my 2nd pregnancy at 26, my oldest wasn’t old enough yet. Now I’m 35, which is how old she was when she got pregnant with my sister. So I think I’m okay there. But 4 is just going to be too many. Being a Catholic convert in a family full of people with 2 kids isn’t fun. I have no cousins! I just want my side of the family to be clearly excited and not make snide remarks. I’m debating how long I can wait to tell them. I’m thinking at least Thanksgiving, maybe Christmas.

    Mostly I’m annoyed at myself that her opinion (or what I guess is her opinion) matters so much to me.

  16. I love my parents so much and I am heartbroken about our family’s current situation. My mom was shockingly diagnosed with ALS about a year and a half ago. She went from super active and involved mom and grandma to now paralyzed and unable to speak. She probably doesn’t have much time left. My dad takes care of her and it is so hard for him. He is also still working and he’s pretty overwhelmed. I wish I could help more but I have a 5 year old in half-day kindergarten (least convenient hours ever!) and a 7 week old baby, and we live about 40 min away- not far but not exactly local either. I need to tell my mom how much I love her (I tell her I love her all the time, but I need to tell her why and just how lucky I am to have her for my mom) but it’s hard because I’ve always got my kids and plus when she gets emotional it’s hard for her to breathe. I am so afraid of the day we lose her, but it is also so so so hard to see her suffering like this. There is so much more to say but I’m typing one-handed while nursing…

  17. Ungrateful Daughter and I might have the same parents.

    My sister and I are amazed that we turned out to be normal functioning adults (at least we hope so) since our parents are incredibly selfish, self-righteous, self-involved and judgmental. They like the idea of being grandparents but not any of the practical aspects of it-like visiting, talking to my kids, or interacting with them when they do visit. It’s like having two more kids around when they are here. Instead of offering to take the kids so they can spend time with us and give us a break, their first question is, "what are we doing this weekend?" followed by, "can you get a babysitter so we can take you out for dinner?" Um, how about you babysit so we can get out for once?? They mock their friends who watch their grandchildren regularly and are amazed at my (awesome) in laws who pick my kids up every day at school and babysit all the time-they keep asking me "do they offer to do that?" Um, yes, because that’s what grandparents do!!

    When I talk to them on the phone, they do not listen, and just repeat the same stories about random people over and over. They have nothing of substance in their lives, and just compain as if everyone is out to get them. It’s painful and sad. I am thankful I live very far away, but my sister lives nearby and they are not helpful to her at all, and when they "try" to be helpful, it just ends up being more work for my sister.

    I look back and see my behavior at certain times is very similar to theirs, and even today it happens. My greatest fear is turning into them. Everytime I feel like I may have acted like them (self-involved, bragging, etc), I am horrified and ashamed and it makes me want to hide in my house forever. I have become more of an introvert in response to trying so hard to not be like them.

    My sister and I have decided that since they are 72 and incredibly set in their ways, there is very little we can do other than to just accept them as they are, and try to manage our expectations better. They are in good health (although the way they act and limit themselves, you’d think they were 100) so we are lucky we don’t have to manage their health right now.

    My father is overweight, does not watch what he eats, and drinks more than he should. He takes tons of medicine and it’s almost like he’s proud of it, v. making some changes (eat better, drink less, exercise) that would improve his health and reduce the medicines. It’s frustrating to see him almost deliberately slowly kill himself. My mother is referred to as the "big talker." She talks about all the stuff she wants to do with the kids but never actually follows through. When they visit, she’s either reading the newspaper or talking on the phone and my dad is on his laptop and they ignore my kids except for maybe 30 minutes. It’s painful and sad to see.

    I know this was rambling but it was nice to just get it out. They are visiting next weekend so I need to start lowering my expectations and planning activities while trying very hard not to get mad at them all the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *