My Relationship with my Parents is Ruined

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by BlackholeKG, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    I'm not sure if we'll ever see eye to eye again. They are disgusted with me, and we're stuck... maybe I'm stuck, I don't know. But I'm fairly sure that the damage is deep enough and so intrinsic to the current state of things, that we will never be able to have the close relationship we used to again. I don't know how I feel about that. Kinda dull, really. I'm not sure whether the rest of the time until I leave is going to continue to play out with this thinly veiled tension between us or whether it's been expressed enough for it to be more of an open thing. Probably the former. It's going to feel super awkward though.

    I've felt the tension building from my mother all day, because this afternoon I was prone on the bed feeling depressed and she came in and was saying something about how I should be doing things with laundry, I responded but she said something else and so I just... put my face into my duvet and didn't respond, and she slammed the door angrily... Anyway she finally blew up when we sat down to eat dinner.

    I have no idea what to think about any of this. I'm so, so sad that we have ended up in this position. Because I do love them, but they... they hate me, now, and I don't know that I can ever fix it. This has been building for years, but it's so clear now that they have lost their patience with me, and they just...

    They say I am to blame for all of this. They might be right about that. I want to try and set out why this has happened, so somebody can tell me whether they are or not. And so, I should say, I know there is a sort of collective norm on Kintsugi, where so many people have had bad parents. My parents are not bad parents. They are not bad people. They are great at both of those things. We were so close when I was younger, and we were always happy. They still are like that with my three siblings. They give us so much care and attention. So, don't view this as an open and shut case, with the parents in the wrong, like is so cliche on this forum. This is not like that. Keep in mind that I am, certainly in a lot of contexts, shitty myself. You should respect my parents' perspective here and not dismiss it. You should try and judge this objectively, and if the opinion that you arrive at is that I am at fault for this, please tell me. I want to know, I need to know how much I need to apologize... I need to understand what is happening here. I am so confused... I'm...

    Okay so this might be kind of a mess but I'll try to put down based on what they said.

    They said that I am a very selfish person... who is content to "take, take, take" from them while giving nothing back. From their perspective, they see me staying up late, sleeping all day, living "like a pig" and putting in no effort, and it feels like I am "taking the mickey". I said that they do not see my perspective, and they said of course they don't see my perspective, because I never talk or open up to them. I said that I had a hard time opening up to them, and they said, well "what are we supposed to think". They say that I refused to empathize with their perspective (the one in which I am lazy, living like a pig, etc), and not giving anything back.

    They talk about how they do "everything I ask them to", which amounts to stuff like them leaving me alone when I'm in my room, accepting that I don't like talking about my life (secretiveness), not coming down and spending much time with them like I used to, and also taking care of me (bed, board, money spent on me, etc.). On the other hand, I do "nothing for them", i.e., I don't spend much time with them, I don't do things like cleaning my room when they tell me to - I said that surely cleaning my room would just be a thing that affects me, and I do do like, chores downstairs sometimes (although not enough/as much as they would like?) I just make my own decisions about my own stuff based on energy and such - and they were like, letting me decide things about myself like that and not listen to them is another "thing I ask of them". And I argued that, surely things like looking after me parentally are just "normal parent things" that are normal and that I don't then owe them an equal amount of stuff back in return, and that the other stuff was mostly just allowing me individual space to do my own thing when I'm at home in isolation if I want - but they said, that that's "not how the world works", that I "don't understand what it's like being a parent", and that all that stuff is stuff that they give me out of the goodness of their own hearts that I don't pay back, and rather I am selfish and only think about myself... they came back to that a lot.

    And I said that they have one singular perspective but they said, "what are we" (well it was my mother mostly) "supposed to think, we only have the information available to us." And I said that when I have tried to open up in the past, I've felt like she got angry with me, and so I keep my stuff to myself and I find it hard to open up. And I was kind of stuttering trying to say this because I find it hard to open up in front of them and also I didn't want to say anything that might make things worse. And she was like, "what happened? You used to be so articulate, and now you struggle to express yourself at all." Which is true, but that's mainly with them, and like...

    I tried to talk about how I've had trouble with things, and that that mileage varies in how much effort people can put into things, or at least, that was what I was trying to say, I don't know if I was, right or accurate. And she said that well, she has trouble with things too. And I was like, "do you think I wanted to fail that last year of school, and do you think I enjoy being in my room all day?" And then she was like "you put us through such a stressful year, where we were really worried and you just weren't trying", and I said, "I was having trouble, my trouble affected me more than it did you, me feeling bad makes me feel worse than it makes you feel", and she was like "you don't know how it makes me feel, what am I supposed to be feeling then, you don't know what it's like being a parent", and it was communicating, like, that I had through my lack of effort or whatever that year, made them have a really hard time which was harder than the time I was having. That was a thing "we have a hard time but we still put in effort".

    So they are very upset at that selfishness, and also my not spending time with them, and... urgh what was I going to say... Ah, yeah, when I tried to say "you have done thing and it makes me feel this way" it got all very, "so you think it's my fault", which was wrong, and "you don't understand our perspective", and emphasized, "this is your fault, it's you for being selfish and taking, you have caused this, if you just had 'small changes in your behaviour'", and I tried to say, that maybe I can't do the thing, that it just feels like what I'm capable of is not good enough for them, but that's not enough, because I'm being rude and not putting in enough effort!

    And then eventually my mother left and I went and ate my food upstairs, which my dad remarked was "food that he had bought for me", and...

    Oh yeah we talked about how they are/were going to send me money at uni to support me, and how they were thinking "why should we do this?" when I take and give nothing back, and I said that, no, I hated that they had to do that, and they were like "oh we have to do we", and I was like, no, I don't actually want them to (but it would be necessary), and then they were like "okay we won't then, you will have to get a job and work a lot to support yourself at uni", so idk what's happening with that, if they don't send me the money I will have real problems, but I mean... it's up to them and their money so... idk they might just still send it anyway

    And I said a few times, "well I'm so sorry that this has happened between us, I'm moving out in a month" and they said "well that's not the problem!" because I need to change my attitude, and put in more effort to give back, and I don't know, is this my fault? They are saying pretty strongly that it's my fault. It could be... shared fault of both parties? I tried to say that but they are adamant that I am the only one at fault. And I said that they were set in their ways and perspective and the scoffed.

    And just generally they are really, really disgusted and upset with me for being selfish and lazy, and want me to make changes, and... maybe I do need to make changes, but they want me to spend more time with them and I don't always want to do that... should I anyway? But they are upset with me now so... (And why should I have to spend time with them in my own home when I want to do other things, or do I owe them that time... it's just... I like being alone a lot and being in the house is the closest I can get to being on my own, but they think that I should be spending more time with them because they are ofc in the house also, and that it's not like I'm alone doing my own independent thing). Also they are so pissed that I don't open up, but... I can't! My brain won't let me do that, I stammered enough trying to have this conversation, as my mother noted. I think they feel like the fact that I don't open up is me being selfish, and not being close enough to them... I think they are hurt that I don't feel close enough to them? I'm not sure, those aren't their words that's an interpretation. I just... don't want to share some things with them.

    Also they don't know anything really that much about my problems... nothing about my being trans, and their encounters with mental health stuff have always felt, to me at least, stressful and like I was being blamed (hence hard time opening up). My mother once got angry at me because she saw my self harm marks for instance, which was crap but maybe about the other stuff it's not true and I'm just being unfair? Anyway, so yeah, that thing about perspectives is true, how can they see my perspective? All they see is the rude selfish layabout. I said that their interpretation was very unsympathetic, and that they have assumed bad faith... they said that they have been very sympathetic, and patient, for the past two years like during that last year of school, they say they have been very sympathetic, but now they are like at the end of their patience because I am still not putting in effort and being slovenly and sleeping all day and staying up too late... and such.

    I don't want us to not like each other and I don't know how I can stand if after all these years we have this rift and it's not going away... What should I do, and who is at fault (maybe both of us, maybe only me, but to what extents)?

    I'm sorry I don't do enough I probably am at least partially at fault in that given that I am "supposed to be an adult" (which is what my dad says). And adults are meant to help out more around the house etc.

    Help, what should I think/do...
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  2. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    Also my mother mentioned the letter I wrote in a really bitter manner, I think she is still really bitter over that even though I wasn't trying to be critical I was just trying to elucidate matters at the time, and then I mentioned that I'd heard her mention it last night when she was talking to my dad (I'm not sure if anyone was in the Skype chat last night when I mentioned that)... and yeah she thinks I'm blaming her and is angry because that's me continuing to be selfish, egoistical, disregarding their perspective and taking the blame away from myself.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  3. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    Oh yeah and when we were talking about parenting I tried to say that "parenting is a commitment to look after and provide for your child, that's not something extra that you're giving me, and I'm very grateful that you looked after me but that's just the norm and expected" and they (my dad?) was like, "yeah up until 18 years of age", like any looking after me beyond that was extra, and I was like "but it doesn't work like that, that's just a number" and... I don't know.

    I just need somebody to tell me objectively who is at fault in this, I am too deeply in the situation and too biased towards trying to think myself in the right, I suspect that that is not the case but I don't think that I am entirely/fully to blame either, really needing some perspective on all this.
  4. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    Also I tried to tell them that spending time with other people was stressful and sapped energy, even if it was them, but they just... actually I can't remember what they said exactly to that, it's probably in the first post up there in essence anyway...
  5. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    That all absolutely sucks. Allow me, an outsider, to tell you that your parents are definitely at fault. "Accusing a child of not empathyzing with their perspective of how much said child is horrible" is probably page 1 of the shitty parents manual. I won't dispute your affirmation that your parents are good, because that would be pointless of me, but they're definitely BEHAVING, right now, like bad parents.

    And excuse me, am I going insane or did I just answer a thread about you going to college in less than a month? How is that being a lazy person who doesn't try at all? That's so absurdly ridiculous overall, but it's made even WORSE in the context of you being about to go to college, a time in which they should be encouraging and supportive.
    • Like x 5
  6. electroTelegram

    electroTelegram Well-Known Member

    from an outside perspective, i think your parents are being really unfair to you. they're blaming you for a lot of stuff that is simply not your fault, and they're holding you to standards that are simply unfair.
    • Like x 1
  7. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    Again horrible parental behavior. Even more, whether they realize this or not, this is manipulative parental behavior. Parents point out a problem in very general terms ("you aren't trying hard enough" is super vague!) and then when you reply with very practical attitudes which you can take and are currently taking, they go "no that doesn't fix the problem", but clearly they haven't given you any idea of what DOES. What the hell even does "change my attitude" mean? How is it accomplished? What kind of "giving back" are they even talking about? Do they mean money? Do they mean, IDK, scheduling doctors' appointments for them and driving them to places? Washing the dishes more often? Complimenting them on their cooking more frequently? That is so vague as to be meaningless.

    In fact, I'd be willing to wager real life money with you that if you ask them for practical suggestions, you won't get them, and that if you make practical suggestions (including the ones I mentioned above) they'll turn every single one down. Really, try it. It's super enlightening.

    ETA: and the thing about the vagueness is they probably don't actually want a change in behavior from you, they want you to feel bad, which gives them control. Any practical suggestion is a way of giving control of the situation back to you, by giving you actual tools to fix whatever is wrong (ASSUMING that the problem really is you). This way, however, you get guilt and anxiety and nothing gets better except that you feel like crap, which gives them power over you.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
    • Like x 5
  8. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    I've asked them if they want money before, they have said no. It is somewhat vague, but I think what they want is a combination of me spending more time downstairs with them and talking to them (that's another thing my mother said, that I never talk to her any more), being more open and sharing things about my life/being less secretive, probably also helping out with things more, I'm not sure... and putting more effort into... my own stuff? Having a clean room, working and such. That's another thing they mentioned, and a longstanding issue, that I don't put enough effort into work, and should have been looking for/doing more. My dad said something about how I should have looked at temping agencies. (I do have a part time library job on Saturdays and sporadically throughout the week, which I've had this entire gap year (and the Saturdays since before the gap year).
  9. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    I don't think this is right, this doesn't sound like their motivation and it's inconsistent with how they've acted in the past and with my other siblings. I think they have a legitimate problem with my actions and perceived laziness/lack of effort.
    • Like x 1
  10. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    @BlackholeKG Haha, of course they don't want money, money would quantify things and give everyone easily accountable numbers of who owes what to whom. Here's a question though: if there isn't an issue with money, and you are, again, ABOUT TO HEAD OUT TO COLLEGE, so it's not like you spent the last months unemployed and with zero perspective of changing anything, why the hell is it so important for you to have, retroactively, gotten a job?

    (which, again, is something you can't fix now because 1) it's in the past and 2) YOU ARE ABOUT TO HEAD OUT TO COLLEGE)
  11. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    If it sounds like I'm wrong there, I probably am, since you of course have a much better grasp of the situation than I do!
    • Like x 1
  12. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    They think I should have been saving up more money, working more so I would have more money at uni. They also are annoyed because I spent a lot of the money I did make instead of saving it.

    They voiced the concern about me making more money in the past and to that end I asked for more weekly work and applied for a temporary position with more hours with my same employer, but I didn't get either of those things. At one point they got annoyed because I said (after I initially started doing the weekly work last year) that I might finally be making enough money "for them", which was bad phrasing on my part, but they were like, "it's not for us, it's for you!" and got annoyed. But that was a while back.
  13. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    Also, if this is actually not my fault, then;

    • Why is it happening?
    • And how can it be fixed?
    I don't understand, and it still feels likely that this is at least partially my fault in actuality...
  14. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    It was very accurate phrasing of you. Clearly they are invested in your potential savings in a way that you are not, for weird reasons neither me nor you seem able to grasp.

    And again, HOW DOES BEING ABOUT TO GO TO COLLEGE QUALIFY LACK OF EFFORT WITHIN ANY SANE MINDSET? If they perceive it as being lack of effort, isn't the issue here a distortion in their perspective?

    They may have an issue with your "perceived lack of effort" just as I may have an issue with strangers radiating negative auras that disrupt my chakras. Doesn't mean my issues deserve serious consideration.
  15. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    They are worried about me not being able to take care of myself I think, they think that I am incompetent in that regard, my dad last night when I heard them complained about my lack of "self reliance". I think their wanting me to have money is part of that. Also now they are bitter at the prospect of sending me money at uni when I don't/haven't put in enough effort to save up myself, from their perspective?
    • Like x 1
  16. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    Alright, again, this is an outsider's perspective and so it's one reading of the situation. I've Been There, Done That, but I'm not the expert on you.

    Why is it happening: your parents are dealing with their own stuff. Maybe they're confronting their idealized expectations of parenthood - which they formed long before you were even born, and which you're not responsible for - with reality. Maybe they're contrasting their experiences of being your age to your experiences of being your age and finding out that you happen to be (gasp!) different people. Maybe they're secretly nervous and scared about your future, because the times are uncertain, and this is misguided communication that comes from a place of genuinely caring about you. Maybe they realize they are getting older and it scares them a lot and they don't know what to do and it's easier to pick on you. None of this justifies the way they're talking to you. None of this is your fault for being a bad person or a bad child.

    How can it be fixed: as long as your parents are unable to admit that there may be issues on both sides, at least, then it can't. There's no communication when you're thinking of a conflict as Perfect Flawless People vs. Ungrateful Person Who Doesn't Try And Isn't Doing Anything Right. Speaking from experience, you going off to college will probably help a ton: distance and time are great elements in fixing parent-child relationships which are bad but are still salvageable.

    And regarding the last part, lemme ask you two super loaded questions. There's no right or wrong answers, but what you say will help me in giving advice in how to fix this:

    1. Do you love your parents?
    2. Do you believe that your parents love you?
    • Like x 2
  17. Carnivorous Moogle

    Carnivorous Moogle whose baby is this

    okay, i know i've said this already but especially after reading this your parents are way the fuck out of line, dude. i don't know if they say things like this when they're not blowing up at you but reading the stuff they said above legitimately made my stomach turn.

    it sounds exactly like the kind of thing my parents did and said during the stretches of time where they were Really Trying to Be Good Parents(tm), Honest, so overt abuse was more or less off the table, but they were absolutely fucking devoted to the idea that none of it could ever be their fault. like. that shit fucked my depressed ass the hell up and it did not work, and the way especially that they keep making all your feelings about them is extremely familiar and just. fuck, man.

    a parent can be a fantastic parent to their allistic kids, for example, and be a really shitty one to their autistic kid because they don't know what they're doing and refuse to be concerned about what their Perfect Parenting Style is doing to their kid, but boy will they get upset about what a burden it is on them!

    a lot of people can be great people in general, but then you put them up against disability and some real ugly shit comes out. even if they don't use the kind of manipulative, cutting stuff they say to you against their non-depressed kids, depressed people have a ''gift'' for bringing out that kind of thing in spades from people who have any inclination to it, and just because the person doing it doesn't say shit like that to non-depressed people doesn't do away with the damage it does to the depressed people they're fine with saying it to.

    it sounds to me very much like your parents are not being good parents to you, and that's shitty as hell whatever their excuse is for it, and it's not your fault. if there are ways you could be trying harder, i highly doubt they would work with your parents, because they're not working on the plane of reality where things get fixed, they live on the plane of reality where people are Just Intrinsically A Bad Kind of Person. they are not meeting you anything like halfway and i kind of doubt they would however hard you tried, if you didn't meet them there already Happy and Fixed and... Not-Rude???

    this post is probably kind of a mess and probably more than a bit colored by my own experiences with We're ''Holding Up Our End of the Deal,'' Why Aren't You,' where their end of the deal is really not that hard and yours is, for you, fucking monumental, but it sounds a lot like my old home situation. like, a lot. :(
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
    • Like x 5
  18. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    1. Yes. But we're not as close as we once were, and there's a distance... I don't really view them as peerfriends, or people who I could be open with any more.
    2. Yes... I think so. Obviously I don't know what they're thinking. But at the moment it feels like they do in spite of the fact that they don't actually like me.
    Love is to different degrees. It feels like there's been some diluting of ours.

    I don't know.
    • Like x 1
  19. BlackholeKG

    BlackholeKG I saw you making fire

    Okay, my mum just came into my room in a sort of "conciliatory" manner. She asked me if I was okay, then said that she "thinks we should just try and be pleasant." Actually, let me just paraphrase what she said.

    "I think we should just try and be pleasant. You know, seeing as we still have to live together for a little while. It's just a little while. Maybe just try to put in a little more effort. Like, when I ask you to do something, maybe try doing it? You just have to try and be pleasant. And you must understand, there's nothing I can do here. I don't know what more to try, there's nothing I can do. But you, you can do something. You can try and change things. Okay? Are you even listening to me right now?" (I say yes like I have been throughout this interaction) "Okay. Just try and be a little more pleasant."
  20. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    If you believe you love one another, that's a place to start. It's a foundation, even if everything else is a mess. If a person I love tells me "I don't think of you as someone I can be open with anymore, and sometimes I feel like you love me but you don't really like me", I'm probably gonna 1) get super angry and sad - like, levels of angry and sad that are so painful I can barely contemplate them-, and then 2) try to fix it.

    That second part can take a while to even get to, especially if one is deeply rooted in the conviction that one is Right. But eventually it comes through, if people do love one another. I'm not saying that you'll go up to them, remind them of the Power Of Love and then you'll all hug and everything will be fixed, or even better. I'm saying that, if they care about you, eventually all the justifications they're currently making for their crap behavior go away before the dawning realization of "I'm losing this person that I care about, and I don't want that to happen, and I'm willing to implement changes to make that not happen". That's the level of maturity and kindness at which you are now. They're not there yet. But that's where they need to get in order for things to start getting fixed. And that can happen tomorrow, or (as it did for me with my mom) several years after you left the house, or it can never happen - but the last one feels less likely, if they are the people you say they are (despite doing the bad things they're doing).
    • Like x 1
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