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Controlling your adult children

(40 Posts)
Imaginosity Sun 04-Sep-16 01:12:43

I drifted apart from DB a few years ago. No major issues - our personalities just clash and we have not much to do with each other.

My mother wants me to make things up with DB. She is obsessed with it and now has my father involved. They are both very angry with me - fuming - because I won't 'obey' them and make things up with DB. My mother drags the issue up in every conversation. Now i find myself avoiding her too as she always tries to bring up DB and pressure me to act the way she wants.

The thing is i probably would have made it up years ago with DB but my mother stuck her self into the middle of it and escalated things hugely. I totally get why they want us to be friends but surely I'm NBU to think a parent needs to step back when their children are in their late 30s and let them deal with things themselves

TowerRavenSeven Sun 04-Sep-16 01:17:40

Yanbu. I have cousins that have been going through exactly this for over 25 years. Put your foot down now or it will continue on forever like theirs will. They are both late 40's and I don't see it happening soon unless my aunt passes away.

OrsonWellsHat Sun 04-Sep-16 01:20:03

Yanbu, I'm nc with one of my brothers. I know it pains my DM, but she accepts my reason and doesn't force the issue.

Sn0tnose Sun 04-Sep-16 01:54:45

If you've just drifted apart, is there anything to actually make up? And how does your brother feel about this? If you clash, I'm guessing he's not up for family barbecues either.

TheMaddHugger Sun 04-Sep-16 01:56:38

I could have written this for my Hubs :'(

(((((((Hugs))))))) You

((((((((Hugs))))))) You some more

diddl Sun 04-Sep-16 02:11:21

Does he get as much grief as you??

My sibling & I aren't close.

We get on when we see each other, but we've not much in common!

citychick Sun 04-Sep-16 02:13:38

YANBU. Of course you should be left you sorts things out yourselves.

Good old " divide and conquer "
Are you the eldest? Why are you the one who is expected to fix things? Does your mum see it as your fault that your brother and you don't see each other? So maybe it's your responsibility to patch things up?

It's really hard, isn't it? I hate this dynamic within a family, but we have it.
DF divided my dbro and me. Favoured him. Watched me get thoroughly cross about it. Dbro and I now have a fragile relationship. And I am the one who is expected to cave in, apologise and make up. Whilst DF takes the credit for bringing us back together.

It's all about control, and the parent making themselves look like a hero.

(Hugs) for you. Try and put your foot down. Be your own adult, not their child.

Good luck!

Wishfulmakeupping Sun 04-Sep-16 02:17:20

My DH has exactly the same it's such a pain sad his dm pushes him far more than his dsis who he's nc with though I think she believes he's more likely to initiate kiss and make up. The truth is they probably would have made up a long time ago but all the meddling has made things quite nasty and they've passed that point now.
I can see why mil doesn't like it but she won't face up to truth.
No advice just like others saying you're not alone in this.

PerspicaciaTick Sun 04-Sep-16 02:21:39

So you don't have a lot of contact with your DB but there is no animosity?

Well maybe now would be the time to have some minimal contact with him. Not with any view to becoming bosom buddies, but just so you can present a united front to your DMum about your relationship with each other.

Why not call him, text him or email him directly and ask if he is happy with the situation. If he is, then you can honestly tell your mum that she doesn't need to worry as you've discussed it with him and you are both happy so drop it.

Letting her assume the role of go-between gives her way to much power and importance. Cut out the middleman and speak direct.

citychick Sun 04-Sep-16 02:29:40

I completely agree with Persp

Talk direct. But your DM might not like it, so prepare for more fun and games

KittensWithWeapons Sun 04-Sep-16 02:41:29

YANBU. DP's parents are awful like this. They've all but cut off the rest of their children on the say so of one evil little prick son. He's the one that stopped speaking to all of us, as despite his disgusting behaviour we all tried to keep things civil for the sake of the PILs. It would be better if they came right out and said to their other children 'we want nothing to do with any of you on the behest of this evil shit'. But they pretend that they want a relationship. So when DP or his sister or other brothers ring (if either of the fuckers answer their calls) and say that they want to see them / pop down with a birthday card etc, they say yes, we'll be here on such a day. Then aren't home, and don't answer calls or texts. They've done this to DP and his siblings numerous times. Then they bleat to anyone that'll listen that their children don't visit them, and oh, what did they do to them to deserve such treatment. It's hideous, and so upsetting for DP and his siblings.

Italiangreyhound Sun 04-Sep-16 03:18:07

Imaginosity if you would like to make up with your brother, please do so. Do not involved your mum in any way shape or form.

If in the future you choose to tell her you and db are all made up, so be it.

The relationship with your mum is at risk because of her attitude.

The relationship with your db, such as it is, is also at risk because of your mother's attitude. It would be a shame for you and your db not to become at least a little closer because of your mum.

In your shoes I'd speak to db separately and make peace. But I'd also tell your mum she is jeopardizing her relationship with you by this, and is also invoking your father.

I might even say (after talking to db) that me and db are now on speaking terms so there is no need for her further input in the matter.

She may well, wrongly, assume she has had some part to play in it. So be it. Do not engage on this, just say all is well and carry on with life.

If anything were to happen to your db it would be appalling for your mum to be the reason you did not 'make up'.

Life is too short for this shit, BUT also life is too precious to allow other people (your mum) to walk all over you.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sun 04-Sep-16 03:45:50

I've been there too.
Brother and I weren't close, after I left home we drifted, he got a girlfriend who wasn't particularly pleasant to any of our family (him included) and we drifted more. Mum was always trying to get in the middle of it "you should make it up with him, talk more, blah blah - I was an only child and I made sure you had siblings because I hated it so much, you should be friends with them" - yeah, ok. Maybe if she'd had siblings herself she might have realised it's not always the way it is in books and films.

Eventually we stopped talking to each other entirely, and after a few other things, he refuses to speak to, see or be in the same room as me. I can't be doing with it.

Mum is no longer with us, and Dad was always less involved in this situation anyway, but every now and then he mentions it. He did have a brother, so has a better idea himself how things can be - but he at least has the sense to accept that you can't force people to get on, and that trying to only creates more resentment and bad feeling.

I sympathise, but have no useful advice as I never resolved it myself.

saintagur Sun 04-Sep-16 05:10:07

As a mother of young adults, I do have some sympathy for your DM, especially as two of my DC have not been in contact with the other for a few months (mainly due to her dick of a BF but that's another story).

One of my DCs says 'you can't force me to have a relationship with X', and I say that I know that I can't and respect their decision. But it is desperately hard as a parent to watch the situation unfold and feel helpless to do anything, especially as they were previously so close. I will be following this thread with interest, as it is helpful for me to see the situation from the siblings' point of view.

I think that you always naturally see your DC as your DC even when they are adults, and that it is understandable that your DM wants healing and reconciliation. I expect she is afraid that she will die and there will be a legacy of family break up. She probably sees it as her fault in some way, even if it isn't.

Would it not be better maybe, as a PP suggested, to initiate some sort of contact/make up with your DB, unless circumstances make you feel that this would not be possible, but I don't get that impression from your post. Life is short and a small gesture might make a big difference, both in terms of getting your DP off your back and preventing further erosion of the family relationships.

I don't think you should regard the situation of them trying to make you 'obey' them, although it sounds as though you have all regressed to parent/child mode; they want you to 'obey' like a good child, and you are being a little pit petulant, saying 'can't, won't'.

Instead, I think you should see yourself as being the mature adult here and taking control of a situation, which is causing upset - for your own peace of mind, if not for your parents.

Imaginosity Sun 04-Sep-16 07:03:51

I've been painted as the one responsible. DB and me clashed and I have low tolerance levels. DM has escalated things so much that I feel like I've been painted as the 'bad one'. She's made things do awkward that I feel awkward even talking to DB.

Things came to a head when I met my parents the other day and it was like they were in agreement that they were going to confront this head on. It was led by my DM and DF sat there looking grumpy. It was very passive aggressive. Every single topic of conversation was twisted somehow back to DB. Any unrelated hardships DB was facing were somehow implied to be my fault. Big mistake was when DH mentioned something we'd done with BIL and DM's face clouded over. Like we shouldn't have a relationship with BIL if I'm not close to DB.

Then she started openly sadly pleading that I let DB visit and acting like DB is desparatly sad about the situation. I was at breaking point with her. I'd bitten my lip for the past few weeks but I couldn't take anymore and stormed out. DH was left taking to them try to keep the conversation going while I sat in my room crying quietly. They left shortly after and DH said they both had cross looking faces.

My parents aren't really 'normal' or people that are easy to get along with. Maybe I also find it hard to get along with people but I'm not as bad as them.

I can't even describe DM's personality. She's difficult. She only has minimal contact with her own family. She is extremely insecure and jealous. Ever since I met DH she keeps accusing me of preferring MIL. When I was going to visit MIL she'd send passive aggressive texts implying I was obviously going to be much happier seeing MIL than her. There's been a million incidents like that, She also drinks too much at night and gets angry so I avoid her in the evenings. She drones on and on with dull stories about people I don't know and she hardly knows. She tries to find out lots of things about me especially about PILs but if I tell her anything she will angrily throw it back in my face a few weeks later. Now I can only give her bare minimum vague replies to everything. She saw a photo once taken in PIL's house with a cushion in the background and next time I visited her house she'd bought the same cushion. On the one hand she appears to look down her nose at my PILs and sneers about them but on the other hand seems jealous of them because they've done ok in life despite being 'inferior' to her.

DF would be OK but is very domineering and thinks he knows absolutely everything. He is used to having his close family hanging on to every word adoringly. He won't stand for anyone saying 'actually, no dad, I've heard that isn't that case...'. He was a good dad who worked hard but also had a temper and used to roar extremely loud if he was annoyed. He used the fact that he was quite well built to intimidate aggressively when we were children without actually hitting us. It was scary though to have a grown man angrily doing that. It seems maybe not to have been totally unusual back in those days. I think he expects that even now at my age I should hop to it and do what he says. He is only really in contact with one of his family members and fell out with others.

i feel like I'm minding my own business living my life. I have a few very stressful things going on other than this and I just don't need this drama and judgment and anger. I'm prone to anxiety and I've been doing relatively ok for the lasted while despite everything but I'm afraid about this tipping me over the edge.

I don't feel like I can be around my parents now because of the way they goo on. If i avoid them too they'll be like 'first she falls out with DB and now us, how horrible is she'.

PILs are so different. Their children are forever falling out - sometime a for long periods of time. PILs never get involved and don't even seem to care or mention it. Then yge dispute blows over and everyone gets on with things.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 04-Sep-16 07:09:23

I'd be upset if my children grew up and didn't speak to each other. I guess I might try to get to the bottom of it and I suppose the reasons would have to be pretty bad if siblings don't speak?

user1471552005 Sun 04-Sep-16 07:13:46

quitelikely- but it's not your call is it. You can't have a say in whether two adults have a relationship- even if they are your offspring.

It is years since i spoke to my sister, we don't even send each other birthday cards.
It's not our mother's business.

thecatsmiaow Sun 04-Sep-16 07:33:39

Families are a pain, aren't they? I have had a horrendously complicated relationship with my mother for years. I finally went to see a therapist about it. He was very straight talking, which I loved. He told me that I am at an age where in another ten years or so my mum will be dead anyway and that once that has happened things I have said and done will come back to haunt me. He said not to do anything that I will feel guilty about once she has gone and it's possible to love her whilst also refusing to allow myself to get entangled in her b=llsh!t ....

I think this is solid advice with relatives, I rarely see my younger brothers and sisters, I am 16 years older than them and don't feel guilty and if one died I wouldn't feel haunted.

Re your brother - that's what it boils down to. Sit and feel how you would feel if your mum rang and said h had passed away and what you would want to say to him, then text it. Chances are he feels the same but doesn't know how to reach out and then if you make up then your mum will shut up anyway. IF he writes back and tells you to stuff it then you can show that to your mum. I think as our parents get older they start wanting to put the family back together so the kids all have each other for support once they have gone. The cold hard facts are that no-one will be here forever.

The thing is it's more of a hassle to be annoyed with someone than to just make up but hardly ever see them.


Wolpertinger Sun 04-Sep-16 07:35:12

Honestly having heard your story about how much your mum goes on about it I'm surprised you put up with it so much.

Personally, I would agree with your DH to see her a lot less. Ideally on neutral ground not your house so you can leave when she becomes unpleasant. And next time she starts on about your brother give her one warning that you will leave and then do it. Not just you, but you and your DH.

Eventually she will learn.

Phineyj Sun 04-Sep-16 07:41:25

This isn't about your DB really, is it? Your parents sound like a nightmare and your life growing up sounds scary. No wonder you and DB don't want reminders of that time.

I don't get on brilliantly with my DSis. My parents don't really interfere, so as a result DSis and I have got a working relationship, just about, and our DC get on. But only because I try to speak to her directly, even if it means biting my tongue a lot.

thecatsmiaow Sun 04-Sep-16 07:49:49

Wolpertinger - your advice is absolutely spot on when you say: "I would agree with your DH to see her a lot less. Ideally on neutral ground not your house so you can leave when she becomes unpleasant. And next time she starts on about your brother give her one warning that you will leave and then do it. Not just you, but you and your DH."

The thing is i think that many of that post-war generation don't ever learn.

The majority of them are like 60 something teenage girls who never grew up emotionally; they're so self-focused, needy and insecure it's ridiculous. I'm not sure if there was too much copper in the pipes of the houses when they were growing up, or if it is because many of them had kids in their late teens and were so emotionally traumatised that they've stayed at that age, or if it's the early stages of dementia and a fear of old age, but they're infuriating.

Add booze into the mix, which makes people depressed and anxious and it's one awfully toxic situation.

With my mother I keep her firmly at arm's length, but I made a family Whatsapp group with her in it so she gets attention and told she is loved every day and then I can make excuses not to physically see her! hahaha.

juneau Sun 04-Sep-16 07:53:54

I think I'd have blown my top by top if my DPs had been badgering me in this way. Its none of their business if you and your DB don't get on! I can appreciate that they're sad about this state of affairs, but do they honestly think they can bully you into having some kind of a friendly relationship with him? If so, I'd set them straight on that one. It sounds like they've actually made things considerably worse and you're much less likely to make an effort now. The pair of them sound awful actually - needy, insecure, jealous and bullying.

FrancisCrawford Sun 04-Sep-16 07:59:57

This is much more common than you might think, siblings who simply do not get on and do not speak.
Your situation has the additional twist of a parent who sounds very, very controlling and who is determined to take the side of one child. Does she perceive you as "weaker" in some way?
Are you the younger child? I know of a number of similar situations where the older child has always occupied the golden position and continues to do so despite really crappy behaviour. The younger child is continually being made to feel inferior to their older sibling.

I think that there is no chance that your mother will be able to change her behaviour, which she probably doesn't anyway, so all you can do is ignore, or tell her firmly that you are not going to discuss the situation.

You mentioned her drinking - do you think this is an issue?

Tinklypoo Sun 04-Sep-16 08:05:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DoreenLethal Sun 04-Sep-16 08:07:10

I can see why you are prone to anxiety with all that going on in your childhood and it being dragged into adulthood.

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