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Parents

(19 Posts)
financialwizard Fri 02-Nov-12 09:05:18

Ok, this is the first time I have plucked up the courage to speak about this because to a degree I am wondering if I am being unreasonable or my parents (more specifically my mother) are really a bit too much.

I am 35, married with 2 children - to give perspective.

I am an only child, so they only have me to concentrate on. I talk regularly to both parents (practically every day) just to have a general chit chat - more so when my husband is away. I should stress I only want a chat not help.

Anyway, my parents are always keen to help (whether we want it or not). They always try and give sage advice etc etc.

However, I am beginning to think that this is bordering on the interfering. For example my mother constantly demands to know our financial situation. Give her her due she did help me out 10 years ago when I left my first husband (DV) and moved into my own home, and she also helped me out when I got made redundant for the fifth time in five years (second time in six weeks) seven years ago too.

The other day she told me that I must not go car shopping without my Dad when I mentioned that I will need to get another car when I get a job (just relocated).

We have just bought a house and are having some work done to it (nothing major mainly re decoration and flooring installed) and she insisted that we speak with Dad's long time friend (that he has not seen or spoken to for ten years) as he has people in the know. I have had to let this person down yesterday because 'his man' was taking a very long time to quote us (over a week) and we have a very tight schedule and I feel very awkward about it.

If Mum does not like something I have done she gets all sulky and 'cats bum face' on me and stops talking to me for a while. Yet if I ask her advice and then don't take it, or even if I just chat about something we are going to do and she suggests something and we don't do it she gets like that as well. She can be very nasty, and I feel quite manipulated at times.

My husband and I made a conscious decision to live a couple of hours away from my parents because we wanted to be able to get on with our lives without her having to know every little detail and now she is selling up and moving to where we will be living. She says it is so that she can help with child care, etc, which is very kind but if I am honest I don't want her to have that level of involvement in my life because I have a distinct feeling that it is going to end in tears.

I do love my parents, and I am very grateful for the everything that they have done for me but I am now getting to the end of my tether and I really don't know what to do.

financialwizard Fri 02-Nov-12 09:06:08

Sorry about the length.

There have been many other incidents as well, but I would be here forever listing them all.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Nov-12 09:21:12

How does your H feel about them?.

Their level of control towards you is unhealthy, they still regard you as a child and thus incapable even though you are married with two children of your own.

Such women always but always need a willing enabler to help them so I would not let your Dad off the hook either even though he is not the main instigator.

Do you feel like this as well:-

Ten Signs Your Parents May Still Control You

Even today as an adult, you...
1. Feel disloyal when acting or feeling differently than your parents
2. Feel easily annoyed or impatient with your parents without knowing why
3. Feel confused by parental mixed messages
4. Are afraid to express your true feelings around your parents
5. Feel intimidated or belittled by your parents
6. Worry more about pleasing your parents than being yourself
7. Find it hard to emotionally separate from your parents
8. Talk to your parents more out of obligation than choice
9. Get tense when you think about being around your parents
10. Want to temporarily reduce or sever contact with a parent

You need to raise your own boundaries a lot higher than they currently are with regards to your parents. You do not need their approval nor need to call them every day for a chat. Taking little steps like that are a start. Are there not other people you can talk to?.

Are they definately moving nearer yourselves?.

I would seek counselling for your own self regarding your parents controlling relationship towards you. BACP are good and do not charge the earth.

Another suggestion is for you to read "If you had controlling parents" written by Dr Dan Neuharth and to look at and post on the "Well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Nov-12 09:25:28

1) You Aren't Responsible For What Your Parents Did To You As a Child, They Are

2) You Are Responsible For What You Do With Your Life Now, Your Parents Aren't

Healing from growing up controlled has three steps:

Step One: Emotionally leaving home by separating from the hurtful aspects of your upbringing, parents and family role.

Step Two: Bringing balance to your relationship with your parents.

Step Three: Redefining your life.

Emotional healing is like physical healing. If you cut your finger, you clean the wound and protect it from infection with a bandage. If you break your leg, you set the bone and wear a cast to protect from further trauma. This allows your body’s natural healing process to work.

It’s the same with emotional healing. When you’re emotionally wounded by a controlling childhood, "cleaning" the wound means facing your true past and speaking about it. And the "bandage" or "cast" that protects these wounds from further injury is emotionally leaving home. This doesn’t necessarily mean a physical separation from your parents, but it may entail letting go of counterproductive links with them and your upbringing.

You cannot mend a broken bone faster by telling it to "heal quicker." Healing a broken leg means wearing a cast, which can make walking difficult. Similarly, emotional healing may mean changes in habits that at first feel awkward.

Like physical healing, emotional healing can happen 24 hours a day without conscious effort. You may not know exactly how a cut heals; you just notice that each day it gets a little healthier. Similarly, people who begin emotionally separating from a controlled upbringing frequently notice over time that they develop more positive values and a greater sense of freedom, often without knowing precisely how.

Emotional separation opens the way for you to bring balance to your relationship with your parents, whether they are living or dead. Emotional separation also permits you to redefine your life and yourself in terms of who you really are and where you really want to go, not in terms of your parents or your past.

financialwizard Fri 02-Nov-12 13:10:20

Attila,

Thank you for your words. Up until today I thought I was the one who was awful. Not them.

My husband feels that they are very interfering, just that they wrap it up in the form of wanting the best for us. He thinks that I should ignore them.

You're absolutely correct with regards to my Dad being the enabler. He has always said in his defence that he will do what he can to keep the peace, and 'you know what your mother is like'. I have always had a very difficult relationship with her. My Nan (her Mum) has always had a dim view of Mums behaviour but shares the same attitude as my Dad. I can't live like this any longer though.

This:

Even today as an adult, you...
1. Feel disloyal when acting or feeling differently than your parents
2. Feel easily annoyed or impatient with your parents without knowing why
3. Feel confused by parental mixed messages
4. Are afraid to express your true feelings around your parents
5. Feel intimidated or belittled by your parents
6. Worry more about pleasing your parents than being yourself
7. Find it hard to emotionally separate from your parents
8. Talk to your parents more out of obligation than choice
9. Get tense when you think about being around your parents
10. Want to temporarily reduce or sever contact with a parent

scared me if I am honest because I could answer yes to everyone of those questions.

With regard to your questions:

There are some people that I can chat to. I don't have any other family apart from them and my Nan though so feel a bit isolated in that respect. My husband is great, and we talk a lot. Tbh it is normally when he is away that I tend to drift into calling my parents a lot. Which is very frequent at the moment. Must get out of that habit.

With regards to their move. They have put their house on the market and are looking at property up here. I am trying to push them into buying further out so that they cannot see me drive into/out of my street. Otherwise Mum will be on my doorstep as soon as I get in.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 02-Nov-12 14:14:46

This sounds very suffocating. It's as if her helping out when you needed it in previous situations has given her the green light to jump in now. Resist phoning her when DH is away and you are bored or lonely. I realise I have referred to your mum as though she is your only parent but your dad is complicit in all this. Short of moving yourselves if your parents relocate which is cleearly impractical I don't think there is going to be any way forward other than to develop a deaf ear and thick skin.

pictish Fri 02-Nov-12 14:21:07

Given that she is moving so she can meddle and dictate further, you are going to have to learn to assert yourself with her.

Narked Fri 02-Nov-12 14:35:14

In the short term, try calling less and not discussing the details of your life with them. Yes, your mother is very overinvolved, but you said yourself that you call them more when your DH is away. You're leaning on them when you feel lonely, totally understandable, but a really bad idea when your parents are pushy and don't respect boundaries.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 02-Nov-12 15:02:53

FW

Can only reiterate that its not you, its them.

Thought your Dad was one of her enablers in all this, such women always but always need a willing enabler to help them. I see that your Nan has enabled her as well; all these two have done is just served to make your mother's controlling behaviours worse.

I would not let your Dad off the hook either as he has and continues to fail you as well. He like many weak bystanders (there in a nutshell is his role in this family's dysfunction) acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life.
By you copping her toxic crap he avoids it.

Do consider having counselling re the dysfunctional relationship with your parents, visit the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these pages and certainly read the book I've mentioned.

You need to establish boundaries re your parents and what is and is not acceptable with regards to them. Your boundaries too need to become a lot higher than they are currently.

financialwizard Fri 02-Nov-12 16:05:55

I have started to read that thread Attila it is shocking how similar my relationship with my parents is to many on that thread.

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.

Salbertina Fri 02-Nov-12 16:38:58

Wow, OP some excellent advice on here, sure it will help and hope so.

Attila, may i thank you so much for such profound, incisive advice -i know it was for OP but i find it v helpful too, the best summary of it all I've read (and I've read a lot around this sorry subject, believe me; you should write your own book, seriously!

One suggestion - maybe tell your mother you are considering moving to another area/country - let her move there - then tell her that your move is off?! (say it was in relation to your DH's work perhaps?)

financialwizard Fri 02-Nov-12 18:12:19

I wish bottom but she knows we have just bought our house, and we have just got back from being overseas for 5 years (was BLISS)

DeckSwabber Fri 02-Nov-12 19:20:25

Is there any way you can get your parents to re-think the move? What about them leaving friends and social networks behind? Could you approach your dad about this and tell him you are worried that your mum has unrealistic expectations about what it will be like?

You could even tell a bit of a white lie about not being sure about staying in the area for long even if you have bought a house - say there is a possibility that your husband will be moved again or that you prefer the schools on the other side of town.

Bottom line, what would happen if you just said you were not happy about them moving so close?

BerthaTheBogBurglar Fri 02-Nov-12 19:31:50

I say this every time someone posts that they're afraid to do xyz with their mum because if they do, she'll get the hump and stop talking. Does it matter if she gets huffy and stops talking to you? Is that a problem, or is that quite nice?

It was a breakthrough moment in my relationship with my parents, the realisation that I didn't have to keep treading on eggshells and doing everything they wanted, because if I spoke out, the very worst they would do was leave me in peace.

Tell your mum you don't want her to move close to you because she'll want to be too involved in your life, and she interferes too much already. If its a really good huff it might get you past Christmas grin.

You're not 5 any more, she can't hurt you now ...

Kundry Fri 02-Nov-12 20:05:09

Bertha puts it perfectly. You do realise you actually hold all the power in your relationship with your mum, you just aren't using it? This was my lightbulb moment in counselling (it's fun being an only child isn't it)

Think about it - you've grown up, got married, had children, you have everything ahead of you. For her, she only has you and your dad (who is getting older). You control her access to yourself and your children which are probably the most important things in her life. But so far you have let her set all the rules.

You can change this very quickly by simply not phoning her as often and not sharing so much about your lives. Instead of telling her you are choosing a car and then having her muscle in on the choice, why not wait and then say 'we've bought a new car?' Don't phone her for a few days and try to spend most of the conversation about her - if she points out you haven't rung, well she hasn't rung you either. And if she does ring more often, you don't have to answer your phone every time it rings. You might be out, or busy, or just can't be arsed - she doesn't need to know.

Good luck, it's hard but either she wants contact with you and the GCs so will learn, however painfully, or she doesn't - in which case why let her dominate your life?

Mayisout Fri 02-Nov-12 20:59:08

Some excellent advice on here.

Why are you constantly phoning them????? You need to be honest with yourself, are you lonely or frightened to go out and find new interests/ friends?

Also do not pussy foot. You must tell her some home truths. And plan what you are going to say, no apologies, no justifications, just tell her the truth ie she pokes her nose into your business and you don't like it, you don't want her advice because you can manage things with your DH, she and DF need to get a life of their own, you have your own life to lead. Or something like that, keep it simple and make it clear.

There will be fall out but if you don't do something you will be posting on here annually with the same problem (or worse as they get older and become more dependent).

Oh, and for heaven's sake stop them moving nearer before it's too late.

financialwizard Sat 03-Nov-12 08:40:46

Mayisout I think I probably call her through habit now. When I lived overseas I didn't call her like I do now, and we have only been back 2/3 months now.

I would say that I probably am lonely to a large degree. I do have friends, and don't find it difficult making friends but I don't like to live in anyones pocket and a lot of my friends live overseas. Wrt interests, well that is a very big problem for me. Partially because of my confidence, but also partially because I have two DC, one 11 and one 2. Due to my husbands job I don't generally get any free time at all as he is away a lot (for example next year he will be home for four months out of twelve, and the following a maximum of eight).

I do enjoy having a job, and that makes me feel more confident about myself, so moving back to the UK and having to give my job up was quite a hard thing to do. I am looking now, but I am not very confident of gaining employment due to following my husband around the world for his career.

I know you are right, and that I have to put my foot down at some point and say I don't want them moving up here, but to be honest I doubt that I will be listened to anyway. So I am going to have to learn to grow a back bone and tell her to sod off aren't I?

Kundry I am reading your 'it is fun being an only child* as being said in a sarcastic tone! As I get older I feel the pressure of it more and more, I actually feel it is a massive burden I fucking hate it more than anything in the world. My Mum, who is also an only child, said to me the other day 'If you want your inheritance you will have to help me look after Nan when she is incapable of looking after herself'. I was proud of myself at that point because I told her that I would rather not have the inheritance. I also said that I have two children, a husband and quite possibly a full time job at that stage to worry about and that they were going to be my priority. She thought I was joking. I had a moan to my Dad about it and he said 'Does she forget I am here'. I think he feels it too, he is just in too deep now (40+ years married).

So today I am going to start my 'Do NOT phone mother/father unless life or death situation'. I have to. You are all right. I am going to end up having a breakdown if I don't or it will cause me to turn into her, and above all else, that is something that I could not bear.

I expect that typing everything out that she has been like over the years will probably make me feel a thousand times better, but today I am going to see an old friend and have some fun.

Kundry Sat 03-Nov-12 11:14:51

What a nasty thing to say about your inheritance! I'd be tempted to tell her that you'll be choosing her care home so she should watch what she says grin

Yes, definitely sarcastic about being an only child. My mum is currently threatening to move near me and my DH so she can see her as yet unconceived grandchildren. Seeing my DH's family has made me so much more aware of how he can share his parents' woes with his siblings and for me, well it's just me. I think they also have a better chance of separating from their parents while only children and their parents are so wrapped up in each other, toxicity can develop without either party really intending it. You are right about your dad too - mine was lovely and hadn't meant to be enabling but by the time he realised, it was all too late for an elderly man to change it.

However my mum has changed (although she still tends to the toxic sometimes) after I implemented boundaries which she realised weren't changing. She has a go sometimes but I never back down.

Enjoy your evenings without those toxic phone calls smile

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