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Getting inappropriately roped into parents' intimate life??

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
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Edited by doulawoman - 9/27/12 at 3:34pm
post #2 of 13

So have you ever sat your parents down and told them that while you appreciate that they value your opinion and wisdom, you don't want them consulting you about issues between them or with your siblings?  If you did it, how did they react?  If you didn't, are you willing to?  That seems like the most important starting point: communication with love but with firm boundaries.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
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Edited by doulawoman - 9/27/12 at 3:36pm
post #4 of 13

Maybe it's a cry for help to try to get her motivated to once again take good care of herself?  I totally understand not wanting to hear about their sex life, don't blame you there.  Not saying that asking you is right, but maybe he thinks she will listen if you talk to her about exercise and eating right, etc.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
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Edited by doulawoman - 9/27/12 at 3:40pm
post #6 of 13
It sounds like your family's dynamic relies on a lot of triangulation. There's little or no direct discussion about things; instead, one of your parents uses you to convey uncomfortable or embarrassing information to the other one. Or expects you to step in and "mediate" their relationships with each other. It's totally inappropriate and puts you in an unfair, awkward position. You have every right to refuse to do it anymore.

"I appreciate that you're concerned about this issue, but you need to talk to [other person] about this directly. It's none of my business."

Rinse, repeat. People will still try to rope you in with things like, "Don't you care about [issue]?" and "But I'm making it your business!". Ignore these attempts at guilting you and repeat, "I'm sorry you feel that way but I'm not comfortable discussing this and it's really none of my business at all. Take it up with [other person]." Then change the subject. Do this every time and eventually people will realize they can't use you as their messenger and own personal family mediator. Get comfortable with ending conversations and changing the subject.

Also, your parents confiding in you about their own adult issues (sex, body image, etc.) is called parentifying and is very common in dysfunctional families. They have no right to ask you to discuss such private things with them and you need to get comfortable telling them so. They probably won't stop without a fight, but your happiness and mental health are worth fighting for.

Good luck, mama! When I was a young teenager, my mother used to tell me all the details of her and my father's sex life (and lack thereof), and my father frequently made inappropriate sexual comments about women around my siblings and me. Mere words can't describe how creepy and awful it was, and how bad it made me feel about myself, and about sex in general. Gross. grossedout.gif

 

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

peainthepod -I really was comforted and affirmed by your response. I have to learn to recognize that icky feeling as a red flag that my boundaries are being breached and I need to say no. I get into an internal struggle thinking I need to say yes, to "rescue' my dad or simply retain the relationship. It is so painful to realize, much as you love someone that their total lack of boundaries and awareness that they exist makes it really difficult to have a real relationship with them.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post

When I was a young teenager, my mother used to tell me all the details of her and my father's sex life (and lack thereof), and my father frequently made inappropriate sexual comments about women around my siblings and me. Mere words can't describe how creepy and awful it was, and how bad it made me feel about myself, and about sex in general. Gross. grossedout.gif

 

 

Yuck!  I wonder if that's why I have some issues with sex myself.  My mother and father pretty much hated each other while I was growing up, and beyond the non-stop fighting, my mother would tell me that she was avoiding having sex with my father until she couldn't help herself anymore.  Um, gross!  TMI.  uhoh3.gif   So dysfunctional.  She isn't evil or stupid....I don't know why on earth she thought this might be an appropriate topic to share with your CHILD.  Just bizarre.  And yeah, my dad drooled openly over other women.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by doulawoman View Post

peainthepod -I really was comforted and affirmed by your response. I have to learn to recognize that icky feeling as a red flag that my boundaries are being breached and I need to say no. I get into an internal struggle thinking I need to say yes, to "rescue' my dad or simply retain the relationship. It is so painful to realize, much as you love someone that their total lack of boundaries and awareness that they exist makes it really difficult to have a real relationship with them.


I get this feeling.  That you need to "rescue" them.  I feel the exact same way (especially growing up....I feared they would kill each other if I didn't help fix everything).  I'm sorry you are experiencing this feeling....it is less than pleasant.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well, I told my dad no, that I could not get involved and he could talk to her directly and/or see a counsellor. It ried to "hear" his "concern" for her health but was firm. He hasn't responded but I guess he was fearful I'd rat him out because my mom wrote to me and said he told her he wrote me (weird!) she said she didn't want to belly dance and the women  in the video weren't bellydancing anyway. anyway, I think I will just wait and see what happens....I have enough going on in my own life. Or perhaps I'll also tell my mom I don't want to be involved as the way she wrote to me seemed like she was trying to get me involved.

 

triangulation is right! Good thing i have an appt with a tehrapist booked.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

update...here is my dad's response. Pretty obvious he didn't get it. grrr

 

"This was meant to be a light hearted approach to encourage your mother to dance. I thought she, like you, have a beautiful mid eastern look and feminine qualities of these beautiful dancers. All I was suggesting is your input about the deeper cultural and meaning of this dance style.
Also this type of dance really works and tones the core area of the body. I thought it might be a fun, enjoyable way for your mother to get fit.
I have been totally loyal in every respect to your mom in our 28 + yrs and would not want to do anything to jeopardize our wonderful relationship.

Love Dad!!"
advice??
 
post #11 of 13
He's gaslighting you now. Trying to tell you that what you read with your own eyes wasn't actually what he meant, even though it was plain as day. It's a common tactic and to be expected, so don't let it sway you. The key to defeating this kind of slippery misdirection and rewriting of history ("All I was doing...") is to ignore it and repeat your earlier boundary-setting statements whenever necessary. Like a broken record, but politely. smile.gif

"Dear Dad,

I'm glad you have an appreciation for the ancient art of bellydancing. Thank you for respecting my wishes not to discuss my mother's body shape with me now or in the future. It makes me happy that you two have such a wonderful relationship and can talk about such intimate things privately, without involving me.

Love,

[doulawoman]"

Straight, to the point, polite, and leaves no room for him to pretend like he didn't "get" what you were telling him before. No need to try and be subtle; that only gives him an out to pretend he didn't understand what you were saying. And once it's in writing, you can always go back to it if he crosses your boundaries again.

"Oh, Dad, I'm sure you don't mean to be talking to me about this. After all, as you said in the attached email, you're perfectly capable of taking this up with Mom, which is of course more appropriate since it really just involves her and has nothing to do with me."
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

i hope it's ok, but i'm going to use your sample dialogue-thanks. I have a tendebcy to explain and even apologize -not on this one!

post #13 of 13
Perfectly okay--I'm glad you found it helpful. Good luck and keep us posted! hug.gif
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