Cutting family "ties"
I have been recently struggling with contact with my parents. We never had a good relationship with them anyway. When I was a kid I avoided any close contact with them. I really cannot remember why though. I pretty much wanted to disappear, thinking nobody would probably even notice. The times when I had a partner my mum didn't approve were not better. Being called names, told I was unworthy and that no-one would want me anyway, and that I have to endure this relationship and take responsibility for my choices, and not breaking up with him when she told me to do so. I was just 16-17yo then. And I bloody believed in what she said, and sank deeper in the abuse that almost ended with taking and shortcut to end this misery. And my dad was just a physical figure avoiding any troubles, just sitting there, and letting my mum put me through the mud, stepping in only at the times when she was upset after our arguments, telling me that I should apologize, that she is worried about me.
Since I had a break down couple of months ago, and I finally started understanding my issues and reasons for them, I have real difficulties to pick up the phone and chat with them. I am too angry, feeling too hurt, nauseous with the thought that I should respect them because they are my parents. (As a kid I sometimes hoped I was adopted)
I'm sick when someone tells me, that they couldn't be so bad, that they tried to do their best to raise independent and responsible adult. But as a result there is an ungrateful and defected product they didn't wish for.
Probably if I was physically and/or sexually abused, or there was alcohol and/or drugs involved it would feel more justified to just say 'Goodbye'. But after all, they provided for me, I had clean bed, roof over my head, 3 meals a day. Thanks to them I was able to learn music, and I am really grateful for that. But I just can't get myself to love them only for this. I only feel obligated to talk to them, because it is expected. But I always feel overwhelmed and hypervigilant around them, always having my own parenting judged, always walking on shells around my mother, to not upset her. I hate this feeling, that even though I am 36yo adult I still feel like unworthy little kid, that doesn't know her place and has no opinion. And the thought of cutting the contact completely gives me this feeling, that I am the bad daughter, when they did do much for me. And how come I am angry at them, when they worry so much.
It's a hard decision to make so allow me please, to advise of the alternative.
As a son that severed ties with his mother 9 years ago (my sister did also) due to her narcissistic ways, it took until I was 54yo to do so. Even though she'd ruined my first wedding and caused great harm in many ways.
I'm suggesting prior to cutting ties completely, that you go half way and that could include implementing new boundaries and personal rules that everyone has the right to make.
These can include-
- not visiting out of obligation e.g. birthdays, Xmas, even mother and fathers day
- same with cards
- limiting there visits to you and the length of time they stay
- answering their calls e.g. recognise their number calling? Answer it only when you want to
You can use fact effectively and diversion. You could be blunt too, it's all up to you as part of this alternative to keep them at arms length as a last step measure to find harmony with them in your life.
Something to consider. All the best
welcome and good on u for putting your first post out into our community - not easy to do!
I've often thought about a lot of the points you mention - unfortunately sometimes we have a narrow idea of what abuse looks like - and it seems to me that many many people who go through horrible mistreatment decide that it wasn't "real" abuse because it didn't look like what they thought it should.
You don't have to love them because they gave you music lessons. You don't owe them allowing to hurt you anymore, because they, at some time, provided for you.
It really hurts cutting off family. I agree with Tony that it can be done incrementally. I also think it helps to have support - like a support person you can call if you hvae to deal with them or are considering dealing with them.
You sound Gucia6 like you've made a decision to put yourself first. That itself comes from self love and realising that you matter. I hope this puts you in good stead to get the space you need and deserve from harmful people
Your last sentence about being the bad daughter struck a chord with me. I have recently severed ties with my family (again) and like you I feel terrible about it because there was no “real abuse” in my life but in reality there was. My parents & siblings view me as the bad one, the different one.
My mother blames me for ruining her life, if I hadn’t been born she wouldn’t have been stuck with my father, they hate each other and have for most of my living memory. I can’t tell you how often I heard as a child that “my life would have been better if I’d never met your father”. Neither of them have ever said I love you, they praise my brothers to the heavens and back but I’m a nobody to them. I moved away at 18 and have never been welcome since, they expect that I attend family events but then proceed to ridicule, belittle and bait me until I end up in tears or leaving which just gives them more ammunition.
Please don’t feel bad for making a decision to protect yourself. I wish I had been more self protective when I was younger, I may not have ended up being the sad, middle aged woman with few friends & no family if I had recognised earlier that it’s ok to say NO to family, you don’t have to be guilty because you deserve to be treated well by that family.
I am trying to heal now but if I had removed myself from their negativity & hurtful behaviours earlier I might have had a better chance at having my own happiness.
please know you are not the only daughter feeling this way
sorry chick for wht you have gone through
it's very hard to remove ourselves from family and what's horrible is how often society gaslights us and tells us we must be crazy to want to do so.
"your parents love you best"
I was recently gaslit by a FAMILY THERAPIST who said that it was so so unusual, strange and damaging that i wanted to cut off from my family. Go figure.
Chick it's a hard journey - i'm so proud of you for making it through - empowered woman - there are people who never realise and have toxic relationships with their parents in their 70s - my mother is one of those. I hope you feel okay and please let it out here if it helps
Sleepy, Chick, Tony,
Thank you for your responses and support.
Chick, I am sorry to hear what you went and still are going through.
I am a bit anxious today. I have not spoken to my parents in many weeks and I am really not missing it, but today is my girl's birthday and I guess they will want to get in touch with their granddaughter.
I actually noticed, that sometimes I look for a parental figure in some people close to me. I think I read somewhere that this is called 'reparenting'. But funnily enough, some of them are around 10 years younger than me lol
And the thing is, that as an adult I cannot just let myself to feel like this little lost kid, because it is expected that I should be reasonable, stable, mature, responsible and able to take care of problems.