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Emotional blackmail from parents

Community Member

Hey everyone, my second post here!

A quick intro: I'm 17, mum and dad are separated and have been for many years. Dad is getting remarried to mum's previous best friend. This is very severely affecting mum.

This woman (I'll call her S, she lives in NSW and we are in QLD) clearly doesn't like me and I don't like her. I don't like her bratty daughter either, but her son is one of my best friends, though he has actually cut and run from the whole family at the age of 16 so I may never see him again. I have to be a bridesmaid along with the daughter for S which is something deeply against my morals and it is really upsetting my mum that I'm going through with this - so why do it, you might ask?

I guess loyalty. I am so loyal to my parents that I have been doing everything in my power to keep them both happy for 10 years, even when they have conflicting views. I love my mum and dad so deeply that I will feel physically sick if I disappoint them. I am exhausted as I haven't had the chance to put myself first for a long time. (My parents are amazing people but this just outlines what goes on.)

There lies the issue - dad is starting to take advantage of this. He is on good pay and will buy me things, then use that against me later. E.g. "I make sure you have the best (idk, something) at all times so how could you say this?". And he will do this for S too. "She bought you all these clothes and you're being so rude to her!!" - But he has no idea the amount of deep hatred I have for her and her motives. I know so much about her and I know she doesn't love my dad. But I could never say anything without dad immediately becoming defensive. (I feel like giving up on typing this because it's so hard to write everything down, there's so much more).

I live with dad almost full time but I feel trapped here. He says the worst things about my mum but I defend her always. He is very childish sometimes and gets defensive extremely easily. I am slowly learning to hold my own in an argument because he can be manipulative.

Mum is begging me to live with her for half the time but I don't even know how to approach dad about it. Then she too will emotionally blackmail me but in a different, passive aggressive way that makes me feel even worse, e.g. "Don't even worry about the dog. I'll just look after her." But mum knows me better than anyone and she is always there for me. She is struggling with money and mental health.

How do I keep them both happy? I don't know.

2 Replies 2

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

HI alsatianwolf

I myself have divorced parents. I struggled with both parents being divorced also. I didn't get along with my dads second wife either. I was between both houses equally then. When I was 14 I finally decided to talk to mum and disccused me living with her more. I honestly wished I had the discussion earlier. I wanted to make both my parents happy. I became so unhappy because the relationship between my dads then wife, and me was toxic. It still affects my mental health today. Looking back I wish I had followed what I wanted and needed. Maybe you should have a discussion with your dad, alone and discuss how you are feeling. How you don't want to disappoint him but how you feel conflicted. How you want to be with your mum more because you feel like connected with her and you want to be with her more before you move out as an adult. And how you want to not jeopardise your dad and his current relationship.

I know you have a lot of thoughts and you want to do what is best for your parents as well as yourself. You need to make sure you do what is good for you because you need to look after your mental health too.

Have you considered talking to someone about your stresses and feelings. You could always consider seeing the school counsellor to discuss these thoughts. There is also a youth mental health service called headspace. I went to them when I was at uni (through CAYMHS while at school) and I found them really good. It is a free youth service for people aged 12-25. They also have an online service. Have a look to see if you think it maybe helpful www.headspace.org.au

Hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. I know what it is like having divorced parents.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi AW, welcome

Ms Purple had great advice.

I had a partner gor ten years and one of my daughters lived with us. My partner was the step mother from hell.

I felt sandwiched and had to divide my loyalties. I also was unaware of the srverity of the emotional abuse handed out by my partner. Frankly my partner wanted me but not my daughter.

Eventually the abuse got too much and I made a stand and left my partner. But years later my daughter developed PTSD anxiety and depression which developed into bipolar. She was a teacher and now cannot work.

So you can see the possible consequences.

I would leave so you can salvage your relationship with your dad (not damage it further) and see how life is living with mum but when you live with her be patient, she wont be perfect. Calmly point out to her what you cant tolerate.

As for your dad, pount out to him (again calmly) that if your step mother wants to get aling with you that buying items gor you isnt the magic wand you need, friendship and acceptance is the priority. And that also should be your effort also. Eg when you say she doesnt live your dad- that isnt for you to judge,, that is for your dad to feel.

You have the right to make your own decisions with living location. Sit down with dad, alone, and tell him what you want. You are fearful of him but expressing your decisions is part of being an adult and you are close enough to be one.

I'd like to know how you went.