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Manipulating parents(9 Posts)
Hello Mumsnet, I need some advice. My gf is pregnant (due anyday) but we've had nothing but hassle from my family. It's made me realise I've been getting manipulated my whole life to the point where I am brainwashed into backing down and not having an opinion (I've noticed this affects everyday life not just with them) The latest incident has been the worst, at christmas i fell out with my parents because they tried to manipulate me and my gf had enough. We told them some home truths but nothing you wouldn't sort out before Christmas. My dad has chosen not to speak to us ever since, he didn't wish us a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year (we are pregnant first grandchild for them). My Mam won't mention the subject and is trying to use other people's health as a way of manipulation to break me down. I stopped taking her calls and I got a voicemail saying she was coming round to my house like I'm a child. We told her straight but I also said I loved her and wanted her to be part of grandchild life. She has not responded. Basically my parents can't be told and don't accept when they are wrong. This has really spoilt our first child pregnancy, it causes us both severe anxiety and we can't have this behaviour when our child is here in the world. I don't want to cut my parents out my life but they aren't changing, an external perspective and advice would be greatly appreciated.
I sympathise. I have parents like this. They walked out of my house 8 months ago after I set boundaries over their behaviour (interference with my parenting, also repeatedly doing things in the house that I'd asked them not to). They live on the other side of the world so it's not like they could come back to apologise. No Christmas cards etc. They are very controlling and dysfunctional. In these scenarios you have to set boundaries though be prepared for them to kick and scream. Stand your ground politely. I really feel for you.
I've also noticed that my parents' behaviour has affected my confidence in everyday life as they brought me up to be overly compliant. I've become much more assertive and have made efforts to improve my self esteem. My parents' marriage is not happy and this results in them being controlling with one another and aggressive with others.
I honestly thought I was the only one. I know exactly how you feel, my confidence has suffered massively and because it has been so long my confidence in day to day life has decreased dramatically. There is no respect for my adult life, they always call when I am at work (they have even called my work phone forcing me to answer and speak) and they always want to 'pop in' unannounced or catch us up to something; always looking to get one up so they can black mail or manipulate to essentially 'fall in line' or please them. We have set boundaries and now there is still no response to my last communication, I don't think they are kicking and screaming feels more like sulking. Is it time to cut them out? My teenage years were awful especially when I met my gf (been together 13 years) I got harassed daily, they shouted nasty things when I was on the phone to her, didn't invite her for Christmas basically blanked her. I was physically attacked regularly when I came home, apologised to but told it was my fault for 'pushing buttons'. After all this I have still tried for a relationship but I can't go on and they aren't changing. Thank you for taking the time to respond to me and share your experiences it has reaffirmed everything. I am making efforts to improve my confidence, self esteem and assertiveness, I am booked up for a few different things, the change starts now!
Well done Lakerman. Try the 'But we brought you to stately homes..' thread on Mumsnet as you'll get a lot of support there. You could try low contact to see if they come to their senses at first and then move from there. Eventually I found I was happiest the less I had to do with my patents, which is sad.
I too find that my parents are disrespectful towards me. I've been told that I'm too nice and this annoys them. Unfortunately they equate niceness with weakness (I'm not weak). They value aggressiveness as they see this as being strong.
See the period when they aren't talking to you as a break from all the hassle. Maintain your boundaries. If they won't cooperate then it might be an idea to keep them at arms length. For some people that's low contact and for others it is no contract.
Enjoy being parents - it is the best thing. Just to say after having my son I felt very low because I realised that I had been treated very poorly as a child, never hugged or kissed and I felt so much love for my son that I couldn't understand why my parents treated me like that. I was very angry. Just be aware that parenthood sets off these emotions and, while I worked my way through this, some people might find counselling helpful. Good luck to you both.
Thank you for your support Lissette. Your situation with your parents seems very similar to my own in the sense I also didn't feel love growing up. I always felt no matter what I did it was never good enough and it still isn't to this day. This has created a lot of self doubt within myself but I have come to realise that the faults are not with me but in fact with my parents. I have realised with age that my parents behaviour is manipulative, controlling and self serving. They are are very difficult people to please and I no longer wish to seek their approval like I have all my life. I think you are right; now I am about to have my own son this has highlighted my parents flaws more clearly. I am currently undergoing some therapy to hopefully improve the damage that they have caused. I am also beginning to accept that there is a possibility that my parents won't be part of my life or my unborn child's; I now realise that I am not responsible for their actions and I am not prepared to enable their negative behaviour or have that around my child. Myself and my girlfriend have extended the olive branch numerous times only to be left disappointed at their lack of effort. We are at the stage now where the ball is in their court and what they choose to do is on them and not us.
I am pleased that you worked your way through your issues. Hopefully I will get there too. I have recently set polite boundaries with my parents which they have responded to with silent treatment. I will check out the thread you sent. Thanks again for your help and support. It was refreshing to hear from somebody with similar grievances to my own.
Actually Lakerman it helped me too, writing to you. Thanks for your kind words. It's not easy, is it? It's a pity our respective parents are so dysfunctional. They miss out on so much. I had to draw a line when they started to manipulate my 7 year old. I found I grieved for the family life I didn't have growing up rather than for a lost relationship with them. I think you will be fine and your self awareness will allow you to break the cycle. Best of luck x
Also Lakerman you definitely aren't the only person in this situation. We are primed to seek love and affection from our parents and if we are unlucky enough to have parents who are damaged in this way, it takes a long time to notice the patterns. I don't want anything bad to happen to my parents as I do love them. But as people I don't think they are very nice.
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