Is my relationship with my parents fixable?
After I finished uni, I went to work at my parents company. I never thought I would work for them, I've always had a very up and down relationship with my parents, my mother espically. She has always been very controlling and self centered, some people see it some don't.
When they offered for me to come and work for them I thought this was a good start to improve our relationship. I realised that on my part, in my teenage years I had been probably been rebellious and at uni I didn't always keep in touch with them, and not always coming home in the holidays like most do. I thought if I worked hard, did a good job things would get better.
I was right our relationship improved a bit, I was able to go round to their house and not want to leave five minutes later because they had belittled me or angrered me. Things were going well for me in my personal life too, I had met a really nice, sweet girl, who is now my wife, she built my confidence up, made me believe they're was nothing wrong with me at all and was the happiest I had been in years. after a year of dating, we decided we wanted to move in together. During this process my parents were very uptight about where we choose to live, comigout with all sorts of negitives in the areas we were looking to live in. when we decided on my wife's home town, they claimed they knew that was going to happen and they accused my wife of 'forcing' me to move the very short distance, 20 minutes, away. My wife tried to talk to them but they twisted her words to what they wanted to believe and hear, concluding she was a very selfish person because it was about her and her family. we went ahead and moved to her home town.
Then we got engaged, all family members were excited, by this point my parents had seemed of come round as they seemed happy too. Then slowly as wedding plans began they started to make demands. Dispite the previous discussion with my parents, my wife was very accommodating, and she wanted to start again. she tried to include my mother in the planning but if she dared to disagree or say no to something my mother threw a hissy fit and would withdraw money that they had given to us to put towards the wedding. In the end I told them we were not accepting anymore money from them, it was clear in to was some sort of control game they were playing against and it was too stressful when the pulled the rug from beneath our feet each time. They stopped talking to us in some ways I was very happy with this space. Then they started threatening not to come to the wedding, which seemed to grab them attention with other members of my family asking me why, what had happened? In the end they did attend but they sat there looking miserable, not talking to anyone, nor did they congratulate us. it was only when they left early evening that I felt relief. Our honeymoon was good but there were days where I was furious and found it hard that my parents hadnt accepted us as a couple.
work was Unbearable, there was obvious tension and any meeting we had was torture, my father and I were civil to each other, keeping things very factual but my mother was childish and argumentative.
At this point my mother claimed that she had very high anxiety and would often get panick attacks, although I had never seen her have one. I believe my parents own us an apology to how they acted during our wedding, they own my wife an applogy because she's only ever been nice to them. But I've always been silenced in approaching this topic with them because apparently our wedding day is a 'trigger' to my mothers anxiety, which makes me furious, I mean how dare our wedding day be a trigger. If someone could help me get my head around that I'd be most grateful. I'm not completely ignorant have read up on anxiety trying to understand it but fail to see how the happiest day of my life could be so traumatising for her, that is makes her have panick attacks and suffer with this.
I was miserable and could feel myself getting more and more depressed so I decided to change jobs and become a teacher instead. When it came to telling my parents I was leaving my mother went blastlic and told me I was making a huge mistake and could grasp the concept of me wanting to work with children, teenagers at that. She went on about what a good pay package I had and one day I could own the company, which was never my goal. once again she blamed my wife saying it must of been her idea, she was taking me away from my family, and she had got what she had always wanted, so I got angry. My wife seemed to be blamed for everything, when actually all she's ever done is support me in my ideas. I demanded to know what they're problem was and the reply was they didn't know they just never wanted me to marry her, she was controlling. I told them they were very wrong about her, my mum seemed to blame all her insecurities on my wife and other people, but I knew no matter what I said it was a waste of energy so I left. I planned to work my notice but for my mental health I decided I was best I use the annual leave instead.
I tried writing an email to them expressing how I felt which got ignored. My wife and I have now moved on had a baby, my parents know but have attempted to come forwardt. Sometimes I feel depressed, parentless like I have no family, even though I have a brother who I get on well with and is supportive toward me, howeverI don't see him that often. When he goes to see my parents I feel jealous that they have a good relationship. I focus on being a good parent and on good days it's easy to forget what happened. we spend a lot of time with my wife's family now the baby is here, which I don't begrudge at all but I also wish we could jump in the car and see my parent. But I can't. My parents choose for it to be like this yet I'm left with the anger and no one else can fix it but them.
My wife is a very patient person, however she doesn't think highly of my parents and doesn't see her building a relationship which . If they ever want to meet are child I realised boundaries would be set but I want to do it with her not without her.
They got me on tender hooks waiting and wondering if they are ever going to come round. I know I should be getting on with my life and I do my best to but sometimes it's hard every time some one says to me my mother will never change or applogised, that bit of hope that I have built up and destroyed. Sometimes I seem to build up an iminagy relationship where we are all happy, were all friends we all love each other but I know it won't happen.
So I'm stuck. How do I move forward? How do I get past this depression before it gets worse. Yes I have been to counselling. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Cheers Knotty
Honestly, your parents sound like narcissistic bullies. They sound a lot like my parents. I cut off contact with my father years ago, and only keep in contact with my mom on a casual basis. And I am so much happier and healthier I can't adequately describe it. Not once have I regretted the decision. My kids, once they were old enough to see what their grandparents were like for themselves, made the same decision. We've found our own family- people that love us unconditionally. Once my parents realized I didn't need or want their approval or attention, they tried all kinds of crap to "make it up" to me. All of which were temporary changes made in bad faith. Lesson learned, and I moved on for good.
You are allowed to let go of toxic people, regardless of relationship. You have a wonderful wife, and now a child. Focus on what you have, and let go of what (who) makes you feel bad about the good in your life. Not all blood is family, and not all family is blood. And that's perfectly okay. You may be wise to see a grief counselor. I did. It helped SO MUCH. It allowed me to grieve for the relationship I'll never have with my parents. It also helped me realize I'm better off as an "orphan", then to chase after toxic parents. My counselor helped me get past the guilt of disowning my own parents. It was the first time someone told me I'm not obligated to people that hurt me. I still care about my mom, but from a distance. And we're both happier for it.
I hope you find the strength to move beyond the pain, and into the arms of people that really do love you, unconditionally.
Family ties are at times get difficult to mend. I honestly believe that you are a good person. A person who understands why someone is acting in this way. Someone who is willing to let go of your own ego in order to make the other person happy. You have been very nice in handling your parents uptill now. The problem about arguments & fights with your mother, this is something that is never going to change so easily. It is not right for us to believe that she will change as a person by us having a road map. As humans we get angry when we sense some kind of danger. Since childhood you have always been an abiding kid. Youve made your own decisions. You found your loving wife, had a kid and also found a fair job for yourself. Which is very nice.
So firstly you really need to give your self a pat on your back for going through all of this. If your mother does or says something bad ofcourse you shall have a fitting reaction to it. You are not meant to take torture all your life. I very well understand that they also mean a lot to you. They are important to you. But sometimes these things are just like that. I dont mean to be rude towards you mum, but because she has always been so controlling, she will never accept to be told that she is wrong. She will fight it out.
I have a very loving family. My father is extremely controlling at the same time. He loves me immensely but when there is something that doesn't go according to his way or something that he hasn't liked, the sky is the limit for getting mad. So yes, i clearly know what you are dealing with. And no am not 13 year old kid telling his sob stories
Over a period of time and loads of fights / arguments / counseling i realized that firstly always stand up for yourself. Dont give that up. No need of bending at all. Secondly, building that relationship is very important. Building that bond. And there was a phase in my life where i used to jut not engage in speaking with them because of these differences. We all live under the same roof. Since you have a kid now, it is a good excuse for you to bond with them again. A small child in the house will definitely help in smoothing things out. Keep making small visits to them. Let your wife be there with you at all the times. If your mum has a problem with it, let her deal it herself. She will come around it.
It is very fortunate that you have such a loving wife who understands all of these things. It is also slightly good that your dad is understanding is some ways. My honest advice to you would be that firstly stop beating yourself up so much for all the decisions that you have made in your life. You have the right to happiness and you should choose it. You have done very well in all the ways of dealing with them. In order to mend things with your parents, try and keep making small visits to them with your kid. It will help. Don't bother if there are a few bad incidents. They will be there but keep it momentary. You will have to keep standing up if they do anything wrong or speak ill to you in any way. Even if they dont like hearing all of this. I know you wouldn't speak awfully bad to them, but yes keep your cool and calm and make sure that all the ducks are in line.
I am very happy that you are also seeking counseling. Often we are made to believe that choosing happiness is something like being selfish. But thats what life is. We are here to be happy. We are here to live a good life. No one is the best judge of what job you should choose. But if you can't stand the tensions in the family business and not excel in it, you rather do something that you love.
Mamabear - thank you, your reply was exstreamly helpful.
Over the last day or so I have googled and done a lot of reading on narcissist people, it seems to me my mother has this personality disorder. From what I've read, my dad encourages her behaviour and strokes her ego, letting her know that her behaviour is ok. 'Closet narcaisst', it was called. Where as if they were a normal, healthy couple he would tell her her behaviour isn't right and she needs to apologise, but he's never stood up to her or defended me, instead he's backed her up, knowing what she was doing was wrong or he stayed quiet.
From a very young age i think ive always regonised something wasnt right and would often find myself asking, 'Why does she have to be in control of everything?', 'why is it always me who has to applogise, when I wasn't the one being spiteful/shouting/being insulting?'. As a child i wasn't awolled to have an opinion, i wasn't allowed to be naughty and if i was, the consquences for me were much greater then they were for my brother. A lot of favouring and comparing went on Between us but I've never disliked him for it, hes the least competeive person i know ,just very bright. She told family members i was a difficult and i always felt they disliked me or preferred my brother.
I never understood her behaviour and reaction if things didn't go her way, they were always exstreamly childish, as though she was 2 years old throwing a big tantrum . Now I know it wasn't me, when for years I was told the I was difficult and jealous and thats why she was unable to bond with me, when actually I wasn't.
My dad drilled it into me that I should not upset or disappoint my mum, therefore any decission ive made through out my life I've always run it past her. In my mid teens I started to rebel right before going to university, because I couldnt wait to get away from her. Then when i got to uni it knocked me a bit, i had discussions to make and it honestly felt like I could breath for the first time.
I have been thinking on how to move forward with my parents and at the moment its at a standstil, until they contant me. They know of my child, they recieved a text message on the day she was born yet they have not congratulated us. There choice. I will learn to live with this through grief counselling, I understand and feel the guilt that people must feel when not being in contact with their parents, more so when children are involved and i know thats something i will need to over come. If they do get in contact it would be very slow and a completely different relationship which i know they wont like because my mum will have no control.
I can't tell you how reliefed i am and how knowing this. Now i know i can probably move on and feel less hurt and angry . I wonder if you can relate to what i have written and if your parents were similar?
You don’t need to “move” anywhere in regards to this relationship.
You no longer need to seek her approval or to do what she wants - or even try to figure her out. You are your own man now.
Stand still, facing your wife and child. Learn to be a better spouse and father by continuing your counseling sessions.
No need to feel that you have to make any effort here to “fix” this dysfunctional situation. Stay away from these toxic interactions. Besides, why would you want your nice wife and child around them?
I very much agree with Susiendqq.
You wrote earlier, "Sometimes I seem to build up an imaginary relationship where we (you, your parents, wife, child) are all happy, we're all friends we all love each other"- it is always a child's fantasy to be loved by his parents. A child wants nothing more intensely, more desperately than the love of his mother.
I can relate to trying again and again... and yet again, to get that love I so desperately needed from my mother. I too have failed. All time spent trying to is a waste of time. My mother was born as loving as can be, I have no doubt. She became unloving, hateful.
It is devastating to have an angry, hateful mother. I have cut contact with my mother four years ago and regret not having done it sooner. I hope you stick by the people who do love you and stay away from those that don't. Fantasy will not change reality.