Being told I 'ruined all my parents holidays' as a child whenever I call them out on anything(31 Posts)
I've recently had a difficult time with a split from an ex (quite a while ago now but still struggling a little bit) and the financial turmoil the split caused. Things are ok now but my parents have been less than understanding. Just before Christmas in a conversation I said I'm feeling a bit better and mum said 'does that mean we can have a nice Christmas now' - I don't know how me hurting would have ruined their Christmas and it just made me feel worse. She'll also call me and when I answer and start to talk, I'll notice she's talking with someone at a check out at a till or she's picked up her mobile while I'm mid sentence and she's having another call. I've said calmly please only call me if you can actually speak and other times I've got cross that I've called her back mid dinner or whatever else (after she's called incessantly) only for her to behave like that to me.
Whenever I call them out on the behaviour, they'll say I ruined holidays for them when I was a child and that here I am again making a fuss and they're 'too old for this now.'
I was an extremely anxious child and I do have menories of feeling very stressed on holidays. As an adult I'm wondering why they are bringing this up, though. And why they didn't help me as a child when I was suffering.
I don't know if I can take the guilt trips anymore - especially when I was a child and have very limited memories of it all!
It sounds like they didn't make you feel particularly secure/held as a child.
Can you ask them what they are hoping to achieve by bringing up something you have little memory of and only their interpretation of?
I would probably give them lots of space after such comments. Only give them your time when they are behaving well.
Just before Christmas in a conversation I said I'm feeling a bit better and mum said 'does that mean we can have a nice Christmas now'
From a few of the things you've mentioned, they seem fair weather friends.
Nice as long as you're nice, but if you have any needs that are inconvenient or troublesome they don't want to know.
In terms of dealing with it I'd go with omni's way. if they ring you incessently, then text them that you're busy and that you will ring them back at XXX time. Then (temporarily!) block them, but ring them back when you say you will.
Not sure if it makes you feel better or not but i think it's a real tactica of selfish parents. My dad often drops in to conversation how I made his life difficult as a teenager. I'm now 36 and he conveniently forgets that quite often he wasn't a great dad. It's a way of making you feel small. Ignore it and don't lean on them because they are making everything about them.
How annoying and hurtful for you. It's the parents, not the children, in charge of a family holiday, and it's their responsibility to encourage a supportive and happy atmosphere.
It sounds like they're often making things all about themselves, instead of wondering how you might feel. It also sounds like there are some really old habits there so that their default is to put you down. I don't know what makes people do this but I do know it can help to try to detach yourself, and be very firm in your knowledge it's not your fault. Speaking up for yourself and having opinions is a good thing, it isn't "making a fuss".
I suggest that you decide what your boundaries are and stick to them, so it doesn't feel so much that your mum calls all the shots. E.g. if she calls you when she's clearly already busy doing something else, say "Oh I can hear you're really busy, talk to you later, byeee!" I would also recommend reading some assertiveness books, as it helps with ignoring put-downs and giving your opinion calmly.
Sadly, no amount of talking it through with them will necessarily make any difference. They're still treating you like a child, and so you could try cutting this behaviour off whenever it starts, by ignoring any snide comments and changing the subject.
Thanks for replies! It definitely feels like they're treating me like a child.
A poster called them selfish and I would agree with that. I constantly hear about how 'it's their time to live now' after years of supporting me and my brother. They'll also say they never had the opportunities they gave to me and my brother. In many ways that is true (brother and I had s great education whereas parents did not), however neither parent has worked full time for the last 15 years, and they've been fortunate to live very comfortably at the same time.
They seem so bitter sometimes... it feels as if they think I have had everything so should be perfect, and if I'm unhappy in any way then that's a huge inconvenience for them.
I know they love me and they care, but equally I know they have very limited understanding or patience to ever even hold a conversation with me. It's ALWAYS been like that though since I was a child.
There is a quote that my Father told me when I was young which has stuck with me, here is a version of it.
You don't pay back your parents. You can't. The debt you owe them gets collected by your children, who hand it down in turn. It's a sort of entailment. Or if you don't have children of the body, it's left as a debt to your common humanity. Or to your God, if you possess or are possessed by one.
Your parents should not have been parents IMHO.
It is very hurtful to hear that being just you, ruined holidays. Where they get off on telling you that is beyond me.
I loved my mum but no matter how sick I was, she never took me to the doctors even though I was asthmatic and had chronic recurrent tonsillitis. Now, I have good health but a puff on an inhaler would have eased my childhood.
Step back, you don't need this and frankly they've been short-sightedly shit. One day they will need you. Think long and hard about what that will look like for you.
It's hard because I know they care. The poster's quote above is interesting - my parents seem to really have a policy of 'we did ALL this for you as a child so now it's our turn.' I can't remember one occasion when I felt properly listened to and understood as a child, and that's a theme that has continued into adulthood.
If there's ever any conflict, I'm told how terrible I was as a child, how difficult it was to bring me up and that it's 'their turn' now after the occasions I ruined. It's hard because at my lowest, I can feel totally shit about myself due to these comments. At my best I can rationalise it and know it is poor parenting.
Mind is all over the place to be honest.
My parents are like this too, OP, exactly the same. DF's new tactic is to let my DCs interrupt me every time I have something to say and then makes out like I'm being unreasonable not to let them talk. Every conversation is an effort and so disjointed I've mostly stopped bothering. I know it's them though because it doesn't happen with anybody else. DF also really obviously changes the subject if I mention anything from my childhood that he doesn't want to know, e.g. being bullied in high school. If he ever does entertain me talking about it, he always qualifies his position with some 'jokey' comment like, "Well, you've always been a bit odd," which isn't even true!
Just engage minimally. It really isn't you, OP, it's them and I completely get it.
They sound incredibly self-centred and lacking in empathy: they only seem interested in anything as it impacts them. You being upset is only important as it might out a damper on christmas etc.
Sounds like they made you feel very insecure as a child too as if they had a similar attitude even then - you were meant to be a nice accessory to their lives and they resented any hassle having a child might reasonably involve
Do you get much out of your relationship with them now or do they mainly take from you? Could you just take a step back and look to other people in your lives for support?
That's exactly what mine do - turn it into s joke! It's hurtful and yes I need to keep such topics minimal in conversations.
Are you my friend?!? Her parents always do the same, I don't think they have ever 'seen' her as a person. Years of processing through it all and she doesn't care but she does recognise that they were shitty awful parwnts and that its a miracle she has self esteem.
How great you are despite them.
It is never the duty of a child to make the parents' life easy or pleasant. It is the duty of a parent to do their best to support the child and make them feel secure and happy and comfortable and confident. That's our job. Sounds like they failed you. You haven't failed them.
The way you write about them suggests you still respond to them very much as a child to a parent, not as adult to adult. Understandable. Inadequate parenting enables that dynamic. But I'd back off for a while. Think about what you need in order to feel secure, strong, happy, motivated, and start providing it for yourself. If you learn good self-care, you won't get let down. Think about what you need emotionally and physically, financially and practically, then take steps to provide it all for yourself.
It can feel lonely realising that you were totally inadequately provided for as a child and that it's up to you and you alone to fill in the gaps but I promise you, when you bother to, it doesn't feel lonely afterwards, it feels great - you get to be strong and happy and self-reliant, like people who had better parents in the first place.
Maybe give yourself a little word to use in your head whenever they start rattling on about ruined holidays or good behaviour at christmas. Try 'inadequate' or 'inappropriate'. Just think it when your mother starts up. Also, a trick I've taught myself is to wait until they finish speaking, without showing any emotional reaction whatsoever to what they are needling away at, and then suggest something practical, to do with right now, that sets you firmly in adult mode. It baffles my dad.
My children are 17 and 19 so it's just about the moment when I can start living for myself again without all the responsibilities of parenting young children. I'm enjoying my freedom. But a) I would never say that to the kids as if I was pleased they were gone and b) I'm very much aware that I will still have responsibilities as a parent as long as I live. It was my choice to bring them into the world. I wasn't doing them any favours in doing so; I had children because I wanted to have children, so that I could have the family and life I dreamt of.
Maybe ask your parents why they had children?
That all sounds rather nasty. No wonder you've had issues. It's not your fault they are like this, you didn't cause it and you can't change it. Your mum sounds like a toxic narcissist and she won't change. The phone behavior is appalling, full of control and manipulation and guilt trips.
Read the book toxic parents by Susan Forward.
A kind loving parent would be glad to hear you were better, not full of snide remarks about Christmas. You only exist as an extension of the narcissist parent because everything is about them. They will always place their wants above your needs.
Watch what happens when you try to put in a boundary around the phone behavior. She will get enraged. If you hang up a call and say I see you can't talk right now, bye for now and she calls repeatedly, ignore it. Learn to put the relationship more on your terms as an adult who is respected instead of still being treated like an errant child who is unheard and has no voice.
I've had all that same crap with the phone behavior. They want to still control you and cannot stand it when you draw boundaries. It is disrespectful and they wouldn't tolerate it from you or others but they expect to do as they please as they have no role in anything. Remember that, they will never own their bad behaviour and will always blame it on others and if you react, you're the problem. Your feelings don't count, you are too sensitive or some other horseshit to minimise their behaviour and make you the issue. Minimising is a common tactic of narcissistic mothers.
i would cut contact with these idiots sorry, but its not on!
God my mum is the same.
You were such a pain. I gave everything up for you. It's my turn now.
Took me years to realise she was putting on me an adult expectation of behaviour. Even though I was 6,7,8 etc. But it was a good way for her to grind me down. So she did it for years.
I am nc now. So now I am just left with the healing
It's awful isn't it Aussie. When I see it written down how you've written it, I KNOW it's not right.
My parents have a brilliant way of making me feel guilty and like I've ruined their lives
I think they are in the wrong, 100%. But you can't change who they are, you can only change your responses. They seem to be clearly saying to you that they don't want to hear about and be involved in your problems. I suggest you accept that, keep contact with them superficial, and talk things over with friends and/or other relatives instead.
It's hard because I know they do care. And I even feel bad talking about them.
I just long to have an adult relationship with them. I often ask my mum why she can't treat me the way should would a friend - with more respect and understanding. I genuinely think she just doesn't think the relationship between us should be like that.
I can't count the number of times I've been told I was a nightmare to bring up. I don't know what she expects me to say to that. I have good friends and I hope none of them think I'm a nightmare as an adult!! It knows my confidence though even when she says it now.
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