I just confronted my parents.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-06-2012, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wrote my parents an email confronting them about some issues that have been very difficult to approach them about. I tried to be kind, but firm. These issues range from severe family dysfunction in my childhood to their recent behavior towards me, my husband, and my kids. I realized that at some point soon my oldest son who is 3.5 will begin to notice and pick up on all of this. I want it dealt with now, so that my kids don't have to be confused or exposed to dysfunctional behavior. My kids really haven't seen them a whole lot and I'm not sure how much of a relationship they'll have with them.

There was so much enmeshment and all of that growing up. I joke with my husband that it is like Stockholm syndrome in ways. I've felt that I was brainwashed in ways as a child, and now as an adult I am just coming out of it and trying to 'reprogram' myself in healthy ways. 

Honestly though, I am feeling quite a bit of panic from writing them the letter. I know intellectually that it needed to be done, yet emotionally I am scared. Please tell me it's going to be alright...

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Old 03-07-2012, 05:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Christine08 View Post

I just wrote my parents an email confronting them about some issues that have been very difficult to approach them about. I tried to be kind, but firm. These issues range from severe family dysfunction in my childhood to their recent behavior towards me, my husband, and my kids. I realized that at some point soon my oldest son who is 3.5 will begin to notice and pick up on all of this. I want it dealt with now, so that my kids don't have to be confused or exposed to dysfunctional behavior. My kids really haven't seen them a whole lot and I'm not sure how much of a relationship they'll have with them.

There was so much enmeshment and all of that growing up. I joke with my husband that it is like Stockholm syndrome in ways. I've felt that I was brainwashed in ways as a child, and now as an adult I am just coming out of it and trying to 'reprogram' myself in healthy ways. 

Honestly though, I am feeling quite a bit of panic from writing them the letter. I know intellectually that it needed to be done, yet emotionally I am scared. Please tell me it's going to be alright...


It already is; you're seeing to it.

 

Susan Forward.  Toxic Parents.

 

Stockholm Syndrome.  If I didn't want to cry, I'd laugh.  hug2.gif

 

 


Empty-nesting SAHM to DS1 (1989), DS2 (1992), and an overachieving mother (1930). Married to DH since 1986.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:14 AM
 
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I watched my husband break free of his toxic family.  Congrats to you for taking that first, very hard step. 

 

Painting a rosy picture of childhoods is definately a trait toxic/co-dependent families share.   And that fear you mention is what toxic people count on, it is their way of controlling you.   No wonder your scared, you were programmed to be scared.

 

By setting boundaries, you are setting an excellent example for your children.  Stay strong.


Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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You're braver than me, and it will be alright.  smile.gif


lovestory.gif   And on 09/23/2011, we were three;  husband, daughter, and me!

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Old 03-07-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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It is going to be all right. And things will get better.

I once wrote my Mom a similar letter. I held onto it for a week before I got the nerve to mail it. At first, she was so "shocked and offended" by my allegations. But I refused to let her off easy. It was so scary, but I stood my ground and stood up for myself.

Later we had a heart to heart and our relationship has improved greatly. She thinks before she speaks. I think she has more respect for me now.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all of your kind replies!  My mom just wrote back and it doesn't appear as if she is understanding what I meant. In fact, it appears as if she's blaming me somewhat. I didn't expect the letter to change things overnight. I just knew it was time to stop putting up with bad behavior. I have a feeling this may be a long process....

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Old 03-09-2012, 02:23 PM
 
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perhaps she's trying to "play victim" thinking that it will "negate" all the stuff you've confronted her with ?

... that's what my MIL does ...

from what I read, confronting might work with some people, but won't work with others

even if it won't work in the end, at least you will have tried to address the issue by what seems best to you as a way to move forward

you might have to re-adjust your strategy in a little while if it's not effective

in the meantime, if you have felt that it was necessary on your part, then stick to your guns, make your stand and repeat the same things a few times ...

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Old 03-09-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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perhaps she's trying to "play victim" thinking that it will "negate" all the stuff you've confronted her with ?
... that's what my MIL does ...
from what I read, confronting might work with some people, but won't work with others
even if it won't work in the end, at least you will have tried to address the issue by what seems best to you as a way to move forward
you might have to re-adjust your strategy in a little while if it's not effective
in the meantime, if you have felt that it was necessary on your part, then stick to your guns, make your stand and repeat the same things a few times ...

yeahthat.gif I was thinking the very same thing IsaFrench.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It definitely seems that she is "playing the victim" to some degree. For instance, my mom is claiming it is my fault for her and my dad not seeing my kids more often when she has continually had things come up that were more important (to her) when we had made plans to visit. She pretty much went AWOL after I had my first son and the same thing continued after I had my second even though she lived less than a mile away and was told she was welcome anytime. I can count the number of times she did visit on one hand. I found it odd that when we did visit her she had purchased toys and clothing for the boys as if they were visiting all the time. It was a little unsettling as if she liked the idea of being a grandparent but not the reality. As this behavior has increased in frequency, I have become more frustrated and have just wanted to avoid seeing my parents altogether. Although I don't think it is fair to my kids or my parents...

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Old 03-12-2012, 03:04 AM
 
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the "not being fair to the kid" ... that has been me for about 12 years ...

now I regret it

I went beyond what what comfortable (understatement) for me // good for my mariage

=> turns out DH wants to keep most of his family at arms length ... but without it being said aloud ....

I thought it was unfair I would take the blame for the situation (HE moved us 1000 km away & refuses to go and visit them at Christmas "because the weather is not nice enough" .....)

so I made sure to arrange to see them (never more than twice a year, but usually once a year) and sent photos of the children

made sure DH would respond to her e-mails, or keep up with their change of address, their request of wish lists for birthdays or occasions ...

 

turns out also that when photos come from me, they are not capable of acknowledging them & saying even a most basic "thank you"

and the latest stuff is that MIL discussed in my back with DH the possibility that he might wish to go forward as a kidney donor for his brother

we've been married 17 years and have 3 children together, so the "in my back" thing didn't go down well AT ALL with me

I've put my foot down and sent a "family circular" to a few people (so that MIL and her husband CANNOT act as if what I said/wrote didn't exist) to express the view that it has been totally disrespectful and not acceptable ...

= they are playing victim now (apparently I didn't get the facts right & obviously it's my problem because I don't like them, & she wrote to DH that the rest of the family does'nt want to hear about me, .... as if it's her who decides who is allowed to contact whom about what ???) ...

as far as I'm concerned

I've left them to behave "not nice" for quite a few years for the sake of not rocking the boat

& the sake of having a few photos of my children with their only grand-mother ...

on retrospect, i believe it was a mistake

 

was talking about the issue with a friend who has a 10 yeas old & separated from a violent Ex. => she felt she had fallen in the same trap, going out of her ways to keep in touch with his family, when they didn't make much of an effort, Ex neither ... SO that he son wouldn't turn on her at 15 and reproach to her to have cut him off etc ....

 

it IS hard to decide what's best overall ...

what are the real needs of the children, what are my needs as a wife/mother ?

.... = when to say "no" basically ...

 

all this is still very raw

takes time to "get digested" ...

 

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Old 03-13-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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nak, sorry.

even small children notice when grandparents do not care for them. one of my 4 children is unliked by my mother and the child knew it from an early age. it caused the other children to not care to spend time with that grandparent. it really drove a wedge between us. other people even noticed the dislike :( yet she denies it. my father is alcoholic and the kids are uncomfortable around him. i mourn this loss for my kids (and myself!) but we do what is best. wish i could type more but baby is sleeping on my arm and this is very slow lol.


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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Old 03-13-2012, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was a very sensitive kid and I think many kids are observant and sensitive to the people around them, especially relatives. That is why all of this came up for me. As an adult, I have done a lot more questioning as to why I was exposed on a regular basis to some very dysfunctional family and friends growing up. When I had my son and felt the love and protective feelings for him, I began to wonder "how could a parent knowingly expose their children to such crazy and dysfunctional behavior?"

I am not sure how common this is, but my mom also let me know when we found out we were having a boy that she was "partial to little girls" and maybe "next time it'll be a girl." Next time was another little boy. She has from time to time continued on with the boy bashing which has become a very sensitive topic for me. At first I was a little shocked that she would actually say these things, but then I realized how domineering and mean she had been towards my dad while growing up (and now). I definitely don't want my sons exposed to this.

 

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