Feel smothered by parents(19 Posts)
I'm 36, married with 2 children, however feel like I'm still a child
My parents act as if I've never grown up, they live their lives through my children and I've often been made to feel like my children's nanny. They have an opinion on everything, and if DH and I decide to not use their opinion then it's always told you so etc.
They invite themselves round whenever they want, it's never "we're thinking of coming, will you be in?" It's always "we're coming"
Mum pushes her medical opinions on me and if I don't agree she gets very huffy . I just feel suffocated.
I'm an introvert, struggle with anxiety etc. I like a quiet life with my family, I love my parents, I really do but I wish they would back off a bit
We're going through a really stressful time at the moment and I know they're stressed due to it but I'm feeling like I'm having to deal with both our worry and theirs.
I just find it all weird, none of my friends seem to have the same sort of relationship like I do with my parents. It seems very much like my friends and their children are one unit and grandparents are the next level, whereas my parents act like we are one big family and they have as much right as a say to how the boys are brought up. They want to know everything and anything immediately and if they don't they sulk and make me feel terrible.
We have spent every Christmas with them since my eldest was born. They're rude about what we buy the boys as presents ( they think we get too much- yet they give them lavish gifts ), this year we are planning on staying at home and I'm really excited about it, however Mum is constantly talking about it and when I remind her were staying at home she sulks. My eldest is at his dad's for Christmas ( 1st time ever) and my mum has tried guilt tripping DS
I'm prepared to be told I'm being U, I should be grateful that they are alive and well enough to enjoy time with their grandchildren but I really struggle with how suffocated I feel. I've tried talking to them but they sulk
What do I do?!
It sounds as if they live quite close by.
Is moving a possibility?
Oh sorry mum/dad, what did you say? Gotta go, the line's breaking up...
verybitching, not really, but they're fairly young so distance isn't an issue really
Oh sorry Mum/Dad we're just going out, see you another time.
Let them sulk.
You are not responsible for them. They are trying to manipulate you by having a bratty sulk and you are responding in exactly the way they want. They are choosing to react this way to your entirely reasonable behaviour. Their choice, their problem.
Easier said than done I know.
Toxic Parents by Susan Forward is worth reading.
I was thinking quite a substantial move, Ie, hundreds of miles.
Quite a drastic act I grant you, and would necessitate a lot of upheaval/new jobs etc.
You will never change your parents but you can change your reactions to them. Lots of G/Ps are overbearing and don't respect boundaries, YOU have to toughen up and set boundaries and NOt feel bad.
Practice in front of the mirror saying 'Unfortunately this afternoon/tomorrow is not convenient for us but you are welcome on...'
If they criticise your parenting say ' l understand we have different views but we have to just agree to differ on this'
Also no one can make you feel terrible, refuse to feel bad because they disagree with you.
Expect opposing views and comments and criticism and be unconcerned.
It sounds like you are still playing the child role where they are always in charge, this is your family, and YOU are in charge so take charge.
Be calm but adamant and don't feel guilty let them deal with their feelings, you are not responsible for their behavior.
Lastly you don't have to put up with it so only see them when you want to and on your terms until they learn to be more supportive.
Good Luck and enjoy your Christmas!
You are not being unreasonable. I've not been in this situation exactly, but I am an only child and although I have a good relationship with my parents, they were very overprotective of me as I grew up and it was hard to detach from them, even as an adult. One thing I learned was - stop telling them stuff. They don't need to know. Telling them stuff just gives them an opportunity to disagree/criticise/worry/get involved when it's not their business. Secondly, screen your phone calls - don't answer unless you're in the right frame of mind to do so. Thirdly, decide what you want to happen e.g. over Christmas and tell them what you're doing. Offer them an alternative - i.e. "we're staying at home for Christmas Day this year, we want to have time alone just our family BUT we will see you on Boxing Day". Lastly, they will sulk so you have to steel yourself to deal with it. State what you want to happen as a fact, - "we're having Christmas Day at home alone", not "we'd really like to have Christmas Day at home alone" because then it's like you're asking permission. You're not, you're telling them. If they moan, say "I'm sorry you feel that way but we'll see you on..." and repeat calmly if they keep on.
Another phrase when they're criticising you're parenting is something, "that's interesting, I'll give it some thought", which acknowledges what they're saying but actually gives it no credence at all.
Oh I had a sulky mother, who was otherwise lovely, so I feel your pain. Parents really do get under your skin, don't they?
But you will just have to let them sulk. You are entitled to make your own decisions about your own family. I'm sure they wouldn't have allowed their parents to interfere to that extent.
You need to practice phrases that will help you, do them out loud to yourself.
'sorry but that doesn't work for us, maybe another time'
'you'll have to let us know next time because we have plans'
'oh that would be lovely but this time we've decided...'
'oh no we're not doing that this year'
'it's not a suitable time but we will give you a ring when it is'
'no mum, I've looked into it and I'm doing x'
'we've got advice and from that we are doing x'
'thanks but its okay'
those will help if you can get them out loud in the right way
You're not ungrateful at all. You need to stamp this out now. My parents aren't like this and I'd end up flipping if DP's were like this.
Sort of like they'd let you sulk when you were a kid, let them now. You need to draw a line when it comes to bringing the children into it by the way, you might not realise it but thats manipulative.
Put MindSweeper's list beside your phone to help you stop this. Eventually it will be easier for you to have the right answer programmed to pop out of your mouth without anxiety. You can break free, you can do it!
They are bullying you and your children.
They are not going to change.
Speak to your DH about how to minimise their presence/influence in your lives and then come up with a plan you can implement together.
OP i know exactly how you feel! You are certainly not alone. Mine are a nightmare especially my mum. As pp says stop telling them stuff, it is a shame not to share things, but it has to be done. Everything OneWaySystemBlues says is spot on, please take it on board, I do the same with phone calls etc. Christmas is always a pain as DH family live elsewhere, far away, but my parents expect us to always spend that time with them, which we have done for 4 years & they have come to us other years! Emotional blackmail is bloody awful, they try to make us feel like every xmas is their last, as they are both elderly, but mil is a widow now so we need to spend time with her! Sorry for the rant! Good luck OP x
Have a look at why you tell them stuff. For you it is probably just day to day chit-chat and habit.
For them it is that you are a child and still rely on their valuable adult opinion. Each time you tell them something reinforces that you are a bit crap without them.
So be an adult and share a lot less stuff with them. However be prepared for them to hate it as they probably really like the adult child relationship they have with you as it makes them very important. They will try to make you feel guilty but at the end you will all have happier healthier relationships.
You're all right, I need to try and back off them, not give them so much detail, will require a lot of phone call ignoring!!
I never had this but moved away to university age 18 and just phoned them every week or so and never moved more than 3 hours away from them since I started working. (not deliberately that was just where the jobs were).
I also do weekly phone calls not daily updates.
My son has been at uni 2 years and I get occasional phone calls and chats on messenger.
My parents moved away from their parents though for work so a lot of it is expectations.
I would start being briefer on phone calls, be in less often and tell them less stuff.
Sometimes you have to risk upsetting people to get them to back up. It sounds as though you're doing the teenage rebellion thing in your 30s.
They need to get their own lives as well.
If they say they're coming and it's not convenient just tell them it's not convenient. They have to start treating you as an adult not a child they can over ride. You may have to tell them this.
Oh it's tough isn't it? My mum is this way, or used to be and still tries to be. Took some therapy to break that tie.
They won't change, you have to set the boundaries and it will be so tough, but omg worth it when you can breathe again. The fact that she is now guilt tripping a d bullying your child means it needs to stop and now. Set the boundaries. Do not allow them in your house when you don't want it. Stop answering texts and calls and get uses to saying no.
This is your life and your family. They have had their time raising children, this is your turn, don't let them bully you. Get some therapy if you need to, but stop it, now.
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