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AIBU about parents who refuse to acknowledge/talk about my divorce? Anyone else experienced similar?

(8 Posts)
williaminajetfighter Tue 03-May-16 12:57:56

DP and I separated 1 1/2 years ago after 11 years together and 2 DC. Although we were never married, I'm now dealing with all the things involved in a break up including separation of assets, legal agreements and the financial & logistical challenges of looking after 2 DCs alone while working FT (in another city).

It's been tough but I'm finding it really frustrating that I've had a real lack of interest and support by my parents at a time when I would have expected to lean on them. We are relatively close although not in each other's pockets - we live in different cities but talk weekly and have an interest in each other's lives.

Since the separation my parents have barely mentioned it. If I start talking about it they cut me off and say they don't want to know as it's 'personal' and they never ask me about it either since, again, it's 'my business'. It's almost like they refuse to go there - either because they're not interested or don't have the emotional energy to get involved (they are 73). They've also not offered to help me in any way since the separation and have not visited (although they get out less these days) although I've visited them.

I don't think they're cross at me, perhaps disappointed, and although they liked ex-DP I don't think they feel much about his role in this or sad that he's out of my life.

Most of the time it doesn't bother me but I'm finding it really hurtful especially as they totally engaged in my brother's divorce, which went on for years. I can't force them to be interested or talk about something they don't want to talk about but every now and then I get down that I have so little family support during a difficult time.

Has this happened to anyone else? How did you cope? AIBU for not getting the kind of emotion and support I want from them?

GinaBambino Tue 03-May-16 13:08:02

No I don't think you are BU. My dad passed away before I left XH (he didn't see me get married for which I am eternally grateful) but I know he would have been supportive. My mum doesn't mention my XH at all, she refused to talk about it or offer any helpful advice even though she had been through a similar situation herself before she met my dad.
My sisters and friends were my lifesavers, all of them were supportive, absolutely hated my xh which made it so much easier to cut him off. My mum still has a soft spot for him, which upsets me and DP but I understand it, he was the most helpful, kind generous man when he wanted to be. Unfortunately he was emotionally abusive which my mum never saw as he was goodness personified around her.
Even 3 years later, she gets upset if I mention my divorce or closes up. I think she's upset more that she didn't see I was unhappy or being abused but my sisters did and she did nothing to stop her baby girl from getting hurt.

Anyway none of that is really helpful sorry! I think have a chat with them, sit them down (in their house so they feel on safe ground) and ask them if they are upset or angry at you for leaving your x. It could be a generation thing, they don't understand how you could leave someone they thought (and presumably you did too) you'd spend the rest of your life with, are they worried about the children?

They might also think you are coping really well, I don't suggest breaking down in front of them, but try and tell them how you feel. you want a hug and someone to say well done for doing this by yourself etc.

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-May-16 13:28:33

Thanks for your comments Gina. I know my parents are a bit disappointed so maybe they've decided better to say nothing at all than something negative. They can also be a bit sexist eg. a woman NEEDS a man and are probably baffled about how I'm getting on without one. I think as people get older (70s/80s) they tend to look inward and I'm also guessing they're just less interested than they might have been in the past!

brodchengretchen Tue 03-May-16 13:42:58

Could their disappointment be about the idea that you might ask for their help financially?

BoboChic Tue 03-May-16 13:45:29

Parents can be oddly unsupportive. My own parents (RIP) had great failings in that department on some occasions and yet could be supportive to the point of interference on others.

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-May-16 13:49:10

I think my parents have reached the tether of their support with my siblings (who have had LOTS of problems) and maybe they've 'closed shop' in that area!

I'm not asking for money although I'm sure they're concerned that my standard of living will not be the same as before....

mumndad37 Tue 03-May-16 14:14:56

When I divorced my parents would not talk about it for years! In the end I worked out that the issues in my marriage were very much like the issues in their marriage, and they were staying together - so in effect, I was making them look at their own issues. Does that make sense? They stayed married until one of them died, and were never happy, but thought I should have stayed married, too. Go figure!

BoboChic Tue 03-May-16 14:35:48

"so in effect, I was making them look at their own issues"

That makes a lot of sense. I have also known a situation where an adult daughter was unhappily married and her mother constantly reinforced the unhappiness rather than examining it because she didn't want to examine her own marriage.

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