Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 12:47:24 AM

Title: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 12:47:24 AM
Background: I live on the other side of the country from my parents. There has been a lot of back-and-forth drama between us on how often I should call them. This has been a MAJOR source of contention and has led to some pretty big blow-ups.

Story: I haven't called my parents in a while (like 3 weeks or so), and keep putting it off because I don't want to deal with them yelling at me for not calling them for so long. So it's like a vicious cycle. However, I've been sending them occasional emails so that they don't freak out and think I'm lying dead in a ditch somewhere. Anyway, I just sent them an email yesterday letting them know about my upcoming plans --

Me: [blah blah blah]
My dad's responding email: I hate you.

Okay.... whiskey tango foxtrot???  >:( >:( >:( I am now incredibly tempted to cut off *any* sort of contact with him. Not forever... but for several months at least. Enough for me to cool off so that I can talk to them without feeling resentful. (I've been feeling resentful for a while. It's come to a head now.) I'm sick of getting chewed out for not talking to them enough. If they're going to snipe at me whenever I DO contact them... well, then, I just won't talk to them at all.

Is my reaction warranted? Keep in mind, this isn't a one-time thing. Like I said, there has been a LOT of previous drama (trust me) over this, which I won't get into*. My dad's email might just be the straw that broke the camel's back. And I would have to send them one last email letting them know what I'm doing, or else they'll probably just assume that I'm hurt or in trouble.

What do you think, Ehell?

* I mean, unless anyone really wants to know. I just didn't want to make the post any longer than it is.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: scansons on April 20, 2013, 01:52:09 AM
Umm.  Is he usually that immature?  It sounds like a child.  In fact I'm pretty sure both my boys have tried this at one time or another.  They are 4 and 7.  I usually respond with "And  yet  I am still your mother". 

I think you need to laugh at him.  I mean really, the fight is over you not contacting them enough, but he "hates" you.  Then why is he bothering to demand contact? 

I'm not saying you're wrong to be mad.  I would be.  I just don't think cutting off contact is going to get you what you want.  Unless what you want is no contact.  Then you, may get that.  If what you really want is them to respect your boundaries, they need to be very clear on what they are.  So you need to be very clear on what they are.  How, and when will you contact them?  How many times a week.  Lay it out for them.  And then stick to it. 

Also, I'm curious how long this fight has been going on.  It's sounds, well, kind of silly. 

ETA:  Also, part of what you lay out should be what happens if the try and trick you, or refuse to stick with your boundaries. 

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 02:15:43 AM
The problem is that they don't respect my boundaries or listen to me if I just ~talk to them. Past experience has shown me that the only way to get them to back off is to, well, go nuclear. Unfortunately. Inwardly they probably still think I have issues and that they're in the right, but I don't really care as long as the outward result is acceptable.

And yes, at this point, I just don't want to talk to them at all. For now at least. Nowadays just the thought of calling them fills me with this hot feeling of resentment because of everything that's happened. I'm pretty sure that isn't a healthy feeling to have, haha. So I just need to cool off, have several months without stressing about contacting them or not.

And the fight's been going on since I moved out of state 6 years ago. Not continuously of course, but it'll have flare-ups during the year. And yes, it's silly. The problem is that my parents are trying to use my cell phone as a sort of electronic leash to keep tabs on me. If I haven't called back in a week, it must be because I'm lying dead in a ditch somewhere. For ehell's sake, I'm 28 years old, I've lived here for six years without incident, and I'm like the most straight-laced person ever. (Sure, things can happen to anyone, but considering I don't engage in much high-risk behavior, I think my parents can afford to stop being so paranoid.)

Once my mom left me a voicemail, saying that she had been admitted to the hospital due to illness. Of course I called back as soon as I got the message. Surprise! She hadn't been admitted to the hospital at all, she just left that message to make me feel guilty for not calling as often as she wanted. I was ticked. So that's the sort of stuff I'm talking about when I mention past drama.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Danika on April 20, 2013, 02:23:38 AM
I have a similar family history. After seeking a lot of advice on a forum specifically dedicated to families like this, I learned that I should put my parents in a "time out." I wrote them one email and stated that I needed space and they needed to respect my decision. I told them I would contact them when I was ready.

I decided there would be no end time to the time out. That I would wait until I missed them and genuinely wanted to talk to them again. Instead of respecting my request, they called and wrote more and berated me.

I finally did end up giving them the cut direct. It's sad that it had to come to that. But after years of being micromanaged and criticized, these two years without dealing with them have been the best and most relaxing of my life.

I would recommend that you put them into an "indefinite time out" and just see how you feel. Don't tell yourself that it's a cut off, just that you'll contact them when ready. And if you have to, block their numbers from calling your phone. You can have all their emails go into a separate email folder and check it periodically when you are feeling strong and up to it.

If they don't add anything positive to your life, ask yourself why you're contacting them? Because  you were trained at an early age to respond to them and keep them happy? You are not responsible for their happiness. They are adults.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: cicero on April 20, 2013, 02:27:59 AM
Putting the 'I hate you' remark aside, why don't you call them? I understand that they kvetch about you not calling when you DO call, but that might mean you need to take control of the call. When they complain, you bean dip. Third kvetch and 'oh darn, cat's on fire, gotta go'

They miss you and for some parents the emails just aren't the same.

And personally, I wouldn't cut off both my parents if my father made a stupid remark like that. I wouldn't even cut off the one parent. I would ignore the remark for now ( keep an eye on him if he continues to make inappropriate remarks)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Please pass the Calgon on April 20, 2013, 02:31:21 AM
I'm sorry you have to deal with that. Honestly I wouldn't respond one bit more until he made contact with an apology! Not even a "this is what Im doing". He really felt that was an appropriate thing to say to his child? Then it's time for him to understand the consequences of his behavior. Enjoy a few days/weeks/months away from the insanity of being constantly worried about their behavior. Go out, enjoy life, have fun. The most thought I'd give this going forward to to print that last email of his and keep it by the front door in case he goes so far as to call the police for a welfare check..."I'm sorry officer, he said he hated me why would I continue contact with him??".
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 02:54:12 AM
Quote
Putting the 'I hate you' remark aside, why don't you call them?
Well, I did use to call them a lot more frequently - even though I'm really not a phone person, and I hate small talk in general; I'm independent, a bit of a loner, and I'm okay with going weeks without talking to someone, so I was basically just calling them to keep them happy, it truly doesn't add anything much to my life - until they started in with the kvetching this time around. That just made me want to call them less, especially when taken in conjunction with all the other times they've done this in the past. And I've told them this. I've told them that the more they keep doing this, the more they're pushing me away. But it's like they suffer from selective amnesia or something.

Sometimes I've managed to bean dip or hang up the phone when they've started in, but it's just getting exhausting to deal with at all.

Once, after my parents realized that they couldn't badger me into calling them as often as they wanted, they insisted that I install a free texting app on my phone. I said, sure, but warned them that I wasn't going to necessarily respond to all of the inane just-to-say-hi messages. They said fine. But the problem is that when I did respond to a few of their just-to-say-hi messages, they began feeling entitled and got mad at me if I didn't respond to all of them. It culminated when my dad texted me to ask what I was doing one week. I said that I was at the airport (I was going to visit a friend for the weekend), and then I turned off my phone since, you know, airplane! Later, I saw that there were a bunch of additional texts from my dad: "Where?? WHY ARE YOU AT THE AIRPORT?? WHY AREN'T YOU RESPONDING TO ME?? >:( >:( >:(" etc. When I called him back, as soon as he picked up, he immediately started screaming at me without giving me a chance to explain why I hadn't responded to his other texts. Okay, I understand being a bit surprised, but how about you give me a chance to explain instead of jumping down my throat and assuming that if I haven't responded to your text after mentioning the airport, it must be because I was killed in an airplane crash?

(After that, I uninstalled the texting app and refused to put it back in, even though my parents complained.

So. Yes. Definitely silly. And exhausting.)

Quote
Because  you were trained at an early age to respond to them and keep them happy? You are not responsible for their happiness. They are adults.
Yes, pretty much. "Filial piety" and all that. I'm starting to think that filial piety ain't all that it's cracked up to be.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: TurtleDove on April 20, 2013, 04:08:12 AM
Out of curiosity, how old are you OP?  Has this pattern been established for 20 years or 6 months?  Also, I don't understand why your parents didn't simply call you rather than berate you for not calling them. I am sorry this situation is happening - it sounds awful.

Personally, I would cut off contact with people who bring stress and drama into my life. At this point, your father (the jury is out on your mother) only brings stress and drama as opposed to support, love or encouragement.  I would probably send an email explaining the idea that I don't want drama or stress in my life so unfortunately I am not going to be able to stay in contact with my father unless the relationship changes significantly.

Best wishes.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: MariaE on April 20, 2013, 04:24:39 AM
Also, I don't understand why your parents didn't simply call you rather than berate you for not calling them. I am sorry this situation is happening - it sounds awful.

Exactly. If my mother wants to talk to me, she doesn't complain that I never call - she picks up the phone! The phone lines go both ways after all.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Nemesis on April 20, 2013, 04:59:59 AM
Hi OP,
You are a 28 year old adult. There is no need to put up with emotional blackmail and berating over phone calls. Seriously. I think as children, we are conditioned to please our parents even if they drive us crazy. Your parents know exactly which buttons to push to get you upset. Their tactics are juvenile, nasty and downright cruel. Lies about hospitalisation, emails that say "I hate you" are all targetted at making you feel bad so that you will give them what they want. There is no communication about what suits you, what makes you happy or what you are comfortable with. I bet your conversations with them are all about their feelings, their situation, their unhappiness and nothing really about you at all. Probably that is why you dread calling them so much.

Childish emails should be ignored. Honestly, do not dignify that email with a response.

And if you don't feel like calling, don't. There is nothing to feel anxious or guilty about. Or angry about. Just do not call, not because you want to "punish" them, but because it makes you sooooo much happier. If you focus yr actions on what makes you happy without having any thought on "that will teach them" or "I bet they are really upset now", then believe me, you will feel absoloutely no guilt. In fact, you will feel FREE. Because you have indeed freed yourself!

ETA : can you add them on Facebook and update your statuses so that they know you are alive without you having to contact them directly?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Octavia on April 20, 2013, 05:34:11 AM
I cut my parents off for similar behavior after a number of time-outs. They just would not respect boundaries.

You've given your parents several time-outs as well. And they have not learned. I do not think it would be an over-reaction to cut contact for good, or until you are good and ready to deal with them again.

I do not think you should connect to your parents on Facebook. Imagine all of the passive-aggressive messages they would clog your wall with! Plus, you would be rewarding bad behavior by allowing them to see exactly what you're doing, with whom, at any time.

Good luck, OP. I've been where you are and it really hurts.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Shortylicious on April 20, 2013, 07:13:42 AM
I wouldn't say that one email is worth cutting someone out of your life. Consider the whole picture in making your decision. For me, I like to give one last chance. So I'd say something like "I've told you in the past that in order for us to have a relationship I need a, b, c from you. And you can expect x, y, z from me. If you cannot agree to and respect these terms, then I will cut off contact". Set clear expectations and then stick to them. Good luck!
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 20, 2013, 08:12:31 AM
Background: I live on the other side of the country from my parents. There has been a lot of back-and-forth drama between us on how often I should call them. This has been a MAJOR source of contention and has led to some pretty big blow-ups.

Story: I haven't called my parents in a while (like 3 weeks or so), and keep putting it off because I don't want to deal with them yelling at me for not calling them for so long. So it's like a vicious cycle. However, I've been sending them occasional emails so that they don't freak out and think I'm lying dead in a ditch somewhere. Anyway, I just sent them an email yesterday letting them know about my upcoming plans --

Me: [blah blah blah]
My dad's responding email: I hate you.

Okay.... whiskey tango foxtrot???  >:( >:( >:( I am now incredibly tempted to cut off *any* sort of contact with him. Not forever... but for several months at least. Enough for me to cool off so that I can talk to them without feeling resentful. (I've been feeling resentful for a while. It's come to a head now.) I'm sick of getting chewed out for not talking to them enough. If they're going to snipe at me whenever I DO contact them... well, then, I just won't talk to them at all.

Is my reaction warranted? Keep in mind, this isn't a one-time thing. Like I said, there has been a LOT of previous drama (trust me) over this, which I won't get into*. My dad's email might just be the straw that broke the camel's back. And I would have to send them one last email letting them know what I'm doing, or else they'll probably just assume that I'm hurt or in trouble.

What do you think, Ehell?

* I mean, unless anyone really wants to know. I just didn't want to make the post any longer than it is.

For me, this would be the final straw, the culmination of six years of rude and boundary-trampling crap. I'd cut them off in order to get some peace and quiet. I wouldn't tell them I was doing so because it would only further engage the toxic crazy.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: *inviteseller on April 20, 2013, 08:26:39 AM
Can someone help me get my jaw off the floor?????   This is something a 3 year old says when they don't get their way.  Honestly, it would be a cold day in a very warm place before he heard from me again.  A 3 yr old says it because they can't verbalize what they mean.  An adult?  They have words, but he chose to use the worst ones to say to his own DD.  I wouldn't even say anything to him because that does not deserve a response. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: NyaChan on April 20, 2013, 08:50:03 AM
Ok I am going to preface this by saying that I completely understand that it can be hard to convey the nature of interactions and history over the internet in a couple paragraphs of text to strangers.  But I have to say, when you know your parents worry about you, why would you tell him you are at the airport, leave out why, not say that you won't be able to respond and then get angry when they get worried?  It seems really inconsiderate to me.  My parents are similar to yours, though my father wouldn't send that email, (too long-winded  ;))  but I would never just text them that I'm at the airport and then go into radio silence. 

I wouldn't cut them off over this email.  Is your mom perhaps less...I don't know the word for it - than your dad, even by a little bit? 

My family reached an uneasy peace by setting up a system of communication.  I told them outright that I would call or text my mom once a day, even if it was just to say "Checking in" so that they knew I was alive, but I wouldn't actually talk with them if I was busy.  If they call me anyways when I don't want to talk, I text back saying, "Can't talk right now." 

-Do they call you in the time that you don't call?  Are you just ignoring their calls?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 09:05:30 AM
I get the impression this is more about control than honest worrying. That the parents just want to hold that electronical leash on OP and haven't quite grasped the ol' "If you love something set it free" idea. 

That OP's mother pulled the despicable hospital trick on her to get her to call just really screams "control" to me.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: GrammarNerd on April 20, 2013, 09:05:56 AM
I would lay it on the line in one more email.

"I received your last email and honestly, I've been stewing about it, because really, how do you respond to a parent's email that only says, "I hate you"?  Since your, "I hate you" was very blunt, I will in turn be blunt for you: I have been delaying calling you on the phone because I dread being yelled at and berated on EVERY SINGLE CALL for merely living my life further away from you than you'd like. 

Yes, this happens every time we speak on the phone, and honestly, it makes me want to contact you even less.  Think about it...why would I want to do something that will invite someone to yell at me?  You may be my parents, but I'm an adult now too.  I won't put up with that.  You don't make me miss you when the contact we do have involves yelling and guilt trips.

So with your last message to me of "I hate you," I think it's best that I take those words at face value, because really, WHY would you say something like that to your child, who you supposedly want more contact with, if that statement wasn't true? 

So I will be operating under the assumption that you hate me and wish no further contact.  Likewise, I will not contact you.  This is best right now, considering the emotions on both sides.  I may contact you at some future date to see if your feelings for me have changed, but right now I don't know when or if that might happen.

Sincerely,
blahblah

------------
I think you need to call him/them on the "I hate you".  Notice I brought it up several times.  They have to know that they've crossed a line and they can't just jump back over it.

Have you considered getting a different cell phone number?

Good luck to you.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: lkdrymom on April 20, 2013, 09:09:25 AM
I think you should copy Grammarnerd's post and send it to him. it is perfect.   If I had gotten an email saying they hated me that would be it for me.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on April 20, 2013, 09:22:13 AM
I love Grammer's post.  Perfect.  Send that to them email and text.

Otherwise, I would have set up a weekly phone chat. Say, Sundays at five or whatever is convenient for you.  No more than fifteen minutes.  And if they start to yell or berate you, "I'm sorry, but our time is now up.  I don't call to hear you yell at me.  I call to talk to you.  IF you cannot do that, there is no reason to keep talking to you.  We'll try this again next Sunday, same time".

This way, if they have a set time and day for phone calls, this might pacify them, (although it sounds like not), but you can say you did your part. 

ARe you an only child?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: WillyNilly on April 20, 2013, 09:25:52 AM
I would respond to the email, but not to dad, to mom. I would simply write "You will never hear from me again until you get your husband under control, you both apologize for your hatefulness and you come up with a reasonable plan for contact that does not include insults, chastisements, yelling or contact more then 1 a week. You both have one chance to get it right or I will cut off contact forever. You both have caused this, you will be the ones to suffer for it and you are the ones responsible for fixing this. Your behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: AnnaJ on April 20, 2013, 09:37:03 AM
Is it worth cutting off contact?  No, not unless you have been wanting a reason to do so.

If you choose to stay in contact with your family then draw a boundary that you negotiate with them.  It really isn't unusual for parents of adult children to want regular contact and to do the "dead in a ditch" story.  It also isn't unusual for those adult children to feel frustrated and "leashed".

My solution as the adult child (OK, a strange phrase) was to set up a day and time each week - I think it was Wednesday evening - when I would call them.  Many of the calls were short, but they served the purpose of reassuring them I was fine and still let me feel like I was controlling the situation. 

Much later the phone calls became more frequent as they accepted my role as an adult, but for the first few years once a week calls worked for all of us.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: JenJay on April 20, 2013, 09:42:09 AM
I'd reply "And you wonder why I don't want to speak with you more often." and not contact him again. He can call or email you when he's ready to apologize and I wouldn't speak to him until he had.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Surianne on April 20, 2013, 09:44:32 AM
Okay, maybe I'm just crazy here since no one else has mentioned this yet...

You said you were emailing to tell him about upcoming plans -- not emailing him about how you planned to not call him.  So why do you think "I hate you" has anything to do with not calling?  Do you have a reason to think he even meant it seriously?

"I hate you" is exactly the kind of thing my dad would reply if I told him about fun plans.  As a joke.  In the "I hate you because I wish I were [going to X concert, flying to Y country]."

Since I don't know the background (it currently sounds like normal parent-child bickering rather than anything toxic), assuming "I hate you" is a) serious and b) related to not phoning seems a little hasty, to me.




Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 20, 2013, 09:46:49 AM
I would respond to the email, but not to dad, to mom. I would simply write "You will never hear from me again until you get your husband under control, you both apologize for your hatefulness and you come up with a reasonable plan for contact that does not include insults, chastisements, yelling or contact more then 1 a week. You both have one chance to get it right or I will cut off contact forever. You both have caused this, you will be the ones to suffer for it and you are the ones responsible for fixing this. Your behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Don't forget the horrific and manipulative lie her mother told about the being in the  hospital.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Jones on April 20, 2013, 09:59:29 AM
If my parent said s/he hated me, it would be a cut direct, even if there wasn't a previous pattern (sounds like there has been a previous pattern in your case).
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Venus193 on April 20, 2013, 10:04:45 AM
In view of all the information, I vote for the cut direct.

While I like the wording of some of the e-mail suggestions I suspect that your father might not read past the first line or two.  Don't give him any reason to get defensive.  I'm guessing that they resent your having flown the coop and the hometown and they're using electronic media to control you or manipulate you into guilt or insecurity. 

If it's possible, change your phone numbers and e-mail addresses.  If that is impractical block theirs.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: sparksals on April 20, 2013, 10:10:15 AM
I missed the hospital lie.   Anyone have a link?  Difficult to search from phone. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Yvaine on April 20, 2013, 10:15:24 AM
Okay, maybe I'm just crazy here since no one else has mentioned this yet...

You said you were emailing to tell him about upcoming plans -- not emailing him about how you planned to not call him.  So why do you think "I hate you" has anything to do with not calling?  Do you have a reason to think he even meant it seriously?

"I hate you" is exactly the kind of thing my dad would reply if I told him about fun plans.  As a joke.  In the "I hate you because I wish I were [going to X concert, flying to Y country]."

Since I don't know the background (it currently sounds like normal parent-child bickering rather than anything toxic), assuming "I hate you" is a) serious and b) related to not phoning seems a little hasty, to me.

This...is actually a really good point. "I hate you" is sometimes used for "I'm really jealous you're going to Aruba while I'm stuck here in the cold and rain." In person or with a smiley, it's really obviously a joke, but just in stark plain words, it looks harsh. Though with the history, it's hard to say.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Specky on April 20, 2013, 10:15:44 AM
If ending contact will make life easier/better for you, do it.  If putting them in a prolonged time out will help, do it. 

My parents earned their cut direct with what sounds like a very similar series of communications.  I don't need their mess dragging me down.  I didn't have a final conversation with them, or tell them what was happening.  I just did it. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: stargazer on April 20, 2013, 10:23:09 AM
I don't think there is a thread on the hospital lie.  The OP just brought it up as an example earlier.


Once my mom left me a voicemail, saying that she had been admitted to the hospital due to illness. Of course I called back as soon as I got the message. Surprise! She hadn't been admitted to the hospital at all, she just left that message to make me feel guilty for not calling as often as she wanted. I was ticked. So that's the sort of stuff I'm talking about when I mention past drama.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 20, 2013, 10:40:49 AM
I missed the hospital lie.   Anyone have a link?  Difficult to search from phone.

It's in her second post.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 11:03:41 AM
Quote
So why do you think "I hate you" has anything to do with not calling?  Do you have a reason to think he even meant it seriously?
Yes, he definitely meant it seriously. I mean, I doubt that he honestly, literally, 100% hates me - I think he was just lashing out - but it wasn't a joke. It is not the sort of thing he'd say as a joke. Like, he can and does tease me, but not like that.

I guess it's hard to explain since I know it can be used to jokingly rag on someone, but that's not his style of joke. (Especially since the plans I told him about involved going to see the circus, and my dad couldn't care less about the circus. He doesn't care for the theater and performance arts in general.)

grammarnerd, thank you for the sample letter! I am tempted to copy it verbatim.

Quote
ARe you an only child?
Nope. I have an older brother. But he still lives in the same county as my parents and sees them rather frequently.

I think my parents have always been more lenient with him though. They say they don't worry about him as much because he's a boy, even though he engages in more high-risk behavior than I do.

ETA: For the posters saying that I shouldn't even give them a final email and simply give the cut-direct without saying so...believe me, I'm tempted. But if I don't explain clearly what I'm doing, I don't think my parents would even get it. I stopped talking to my mom for a while after the hospital trick, and when I finally talked to her again, she acted all innocent and was chastising me for not calling her for so long.

I briefly thought about asking my brother to act as an intermediary to let them know instead of my writing an email, but it really wouldn't be fair to drag him into the middle of this, I know!
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: SPuck on April 20, 2013, 11:15:13 AM
I don't think there is anything wrong with cutting off you parents at this point, temporarily or permanently. If they are getting so angry over the communication methods (and it sounds like you have tried multiple ways to make contact work and it keeps failing) that is their anxiety, their problems, their baggage.

The only problem I see with a sudden drop off the earth is how they will respond. Would they be the type to start a campaign to contact you again? Such multiple calls, contacting police, or appearing on your door step with out warning. If they lean towards the latter examples you might want to sent Grammer or WillyNilly's emails or a variation of them.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Surianne on April 20, 2013, 11:21:14 AM
Quote
So why do you think "I hate you" has anything to do with not calling?  Do you have a reason to think he even meant it seriously?
Yes, he definitely meant it seriously. I mean, I doubt that he honestly, literally, 100% hates me - I think he was just lashing out - but it wasn't a joke. It is not the sort of thing he'd say as a joke. Like, he can and does tease me, but not like that.

I guess it's hard to explain since I know it can be used to jokingly rag on someone, but that's not his style of joke. (Especially since the plans I told him about involved going to see the circus, and my dad couldn't care less about the circus. He doesn't care for the theater and performance arts in general.)

That makes sense -- you know him and what he's likely to say in jest.  What an awful thing to say in lashing out, even if he doesn't truly mean it.  I can see why you're so upset & angry about this.   
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Miss Unleaded on April 20, 2013, 11:26:35 AM
 :o I cannot comprehend telling someone I love that I hate them.  That is just so very, very wrong. 

If giving both of them the cut direct would make you feel less stressed, resentful and angry, you would certainly not be wrong to do so in my opinion. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 11:29:06 AM
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The only problem I see with a sudden drop off the earth is how they will respond.
Yep, that is why I want to write them one final email so that they know what's going on.

Quote
I cannot comprehend telling someone I love that I hate them.  That is just so very, very wrong. 
Well, I'm pretty sure I've told my parents that I hated them. When I was a bratty tween.  :D But it's the sort of thing one should outgrow when they're no longer a child, right?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Magnet on April 20, 2013, 11:33:09 AM
OP, you have my sympathy and understanding.  I have always been the one who had to call my parents.  The phone never worked the other way.  Even on 9/11 when I worked in downtown NYC, my parents did not call me -- I had to call them.  My mom (who is now dead) pulled the "I'm sick" line in one call, and I got up from my desk, flew from NYC to Florida, only to find out that they were out to dinner.

I am appalled by the number of people who advocate cut-off.  If you continually cut yourself off from everyone, you will end up alone.  These are your parents, and while their conversation may be inane, I wager that there were a number of years that you didn't add any useful conversations  to their lives.  Inane conversations can be ok.  .

My advice would be to set up a day (I chose Tuesday at work) and call your parents.  The work factor adds a built in excuse to keep the call short.  Only you can decide what is best for your life, but cut off is an extreme decision.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Promise on April 20, 2013, 11:35:49 AM
Your dad was out of line. However, if you know that your parents would like to talk with you once a week why disrespect them by not doing so? OK, so it costs you a little time, but that is not a high cost, considering they won't just be showing up at your door if they don't hear from you. Why not give them the peace and show a little love by calling for 5 minutes once a week. Honestly, I think you are being selfish in this.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Allyson on April 20, 2013, 11:42:37 AM
To those who are saying she should is selfish/wrong for not calling as much as her parents want, I have to disagree. She is an adult and has as much right to compromise about contact as they do. I might agree if she was saying she never talked to them, but it sounds like she does. And I completely understand that feeling of 'oh no, I didn't call...now I'm going to get in trouble...' and putting it off a little more. They aren't exactly making it appealing to talk to them, they are making it a chore.

If I were you, I wouldn't do a permanent cut-off forever thing, that seems a bit much for this, but I would send an email basically saying, look, this was way out of line, if you 'hate' me then why do you even want contact, I'm taking a break for my own sanity. Make it more about you needing a chillout than you 'punishing' them, but definitely, with the way you're feeling, I think you're fine to take a break.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 11:52:16 AM
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I wager that there were a number of years that you didn't add any useful conversations  to their lives. 
Yeah, but I don't get mad at the other people if they don't respond to me as much as I'd like. e.g. my best friend, who is really sporadic and scattered when it comes to responding to emails. She too tends to ignore most emails that veer towards the inane or unimportant, but will always respond if the subject sounds important. I don't begrudge her that.

Quote
If I were you, I wouldn't do a permanent cut-off forever thing,
Oh yeah, I don't intend for this to be a permanent thing. I still ultimately love my parents, even if things are...complicated now. But at this point, I can't even think about calling them without feeling stressed out and resentful about it. So you're right, I might need this break as much for my own sanity as anything else, lmao.

ETA: Okay, a slight complication. My mom just sent me a response, and hers was just: "Have fun! :D" My mom has had her moments too (as evidenced by the hospital trick) but now I feel guilty about cutting her off when she hasn't done anything wrong this time around (aside from the general complaints). The thing is, to reiterate, I feel like I need to just not talk to them for a while for my own sanity and well-being, and my mom would be included in that. I don't know if that makes sense. Probably not. I just need a bit of space from my family as a whole, I think.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Auntie Mame on April 20, 2013, 12:29:34 PM
Putting the 'I hate you' remark aside, why don't you call them? I understand that they kvetch about you not calling when you DO call, but that might mean you need to take control of the call. When they complain, you bean dip. Third kvetch and 'oh darn, cat's on fire, gotta go'

They miss you and for some parents the emails just aren't the same.

And personally, I wouldn't cut off both my parents if my father made a stupid remark like that. I wouldn't even cut off the one parent. I would ignore the remark for now ( keep an eye on him if he continues to make inappropriate remarks)

That comment is really uncalled for and pretty cavalier.  I won't even attempt to explain what it is like to deal with toxic parents and what the stress does to your mind and body. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: ettiquit on April 20, 2013, 12:36:20 PM
Your dad was out of line. However, if you know that your parents would like to talk with you once a week why disrespect them by not doing so? OK, so it costs you a little time, but that is not a high cost, considering they won't just be showing up at your door if they don't hear from you. Why not give them the peace and show a little love by calling for 5 minutes once a week. Honestly, I think you are being selfish in this.

It is not disrespectful to not honor every wish your parents have after you are an adult.  Her parents are being controlling, and from the description of the phone calls (yelling, berating, etc.), it does appear that there is a cost involved. 

The OP is not being even the tiniest bit selfish.  Her parents are being immature and ridiculous.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Acadianna on April 20, 2013, 01:11:38 PM
Let me put it this way.  If I did to my children any of the things yours have done (lied about being hospitalized, saying that I hated them), then I'd fully expect to be cut off, and with good reason.

I think, at this point, you should do whatever you feel is best for you.  Your relationship with your parents is only growing worse, and perhaps even a temporary cut-off would help.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 01:32:22 PM
Update: I did it. I sent my parents separate emails letting them know of my decision to temporarily cut off contact. For my dad, I stole a lot of the phrasing from grammarnerd. For my mom, I adopted a more conciliatory tone - like I said, I realize that she's done her own share of messed up stuff, but she's largely innocent this time around (i.e. she's participated in guilting and criticizing me, but she didn't say anything like my dad did), and I wasn't up to rehashing hospitalgate - and explained to her briefly what had happened, and that I needed to just make a clean break and have some space because I felt like our family relationship had become a bit toxic and unhealthy. I apologized to my mom for getting caught in the crossfire. Maybe other Ehellions will disagree with my decision to cut off my mom as well, which I'd understand, but I felt like I needed time away from family drama as a whole, which I told her. I emphasized in both emails that I was doing this for my own sanity and welfare, and that I wasn't doing it to punish them.

...And as soon as I sent the emails, I felt slightly panicky, like, "Crap, what did I just do??" because I've never stood up to my parents like that before. But I think ultimately this will be good for our relationship. It'll let me cool off, and it'll let my parents know how serious I am. (as said before, I feel like they don't take me seriously until I do something drastic, which is when they realize, "Oh wow, she wasn't kidding!")
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Bethalize on April 20, 2013, 01:37:06 PM
Applause.

Now, what next? Two possibilities spring to mind.

Ideally, your parents would be a little hurt but very sorry that they had brought you to this point and would resolve to do better next time.

What will probably happen is that they will start pushing boundaries, trying to take control again. They will escalate. If this is the case your job is not to respond. If you respond after say 100 phone calls then you've taught them that you will respond, it just takes a hundred phone calls. Don't respond. Keep the control you have just won. It belongs to you.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: MerryCat on April 20, 2013, 01:52:47 PM
What Bethalze said.

Also be prepared to hear from your brother. Your parents may not be as considerate about not dragging him into things. Given that your parents seem to have treated him differently on account of "being a boy", be prepared for him not to get your situation and to pressure you to reconcile. Don't justify yourself to him though. Good luck!
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: violetminnow on April 20, 2013, 02:56:44 PM
I think you did the right thing. In my family saying "I hate you" would be an offense that the other person didn't get over for a long time. Hate would be considered cutting the other person off for good. We were allowed to dislike our family sometimes, but in the end we love each other so hate was off the table.

I know your family probably doesn't think of it that strongly, but I know words like that can hurt anyway. Not the hugs folder, but ((hugs)) anyway.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 03:50:48 PM
I think you did the right thing. In my family saying "I hate you" would be an offense that the other person didn't get over for a long time. Hate would be considered cutting the other person off for good. We were allowed to dislike our family sometimes, but in the end we love each other so hate was off the table.

I know your family probably doesn't think of it that strongly, but I know words like that can hurt anyway. Not the hugs folder, but ((hugs)) anyway.

And to hear that from your parents of all people, too.  I think you did well OP, with your recent update and here's plenty of hugs as I agree, standing firm with your choice is important.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 20, 2013, 04:32:12 PM
IF you decide to get back into contact sometime in the future, you could set up a specific time to call each week.  This is what I did with my parents when I was in University and in my first apartment.  Our call time was every Sunday at 1:00 pm.  It worked really well for us.

Of course, if there was an emergency or something important, either of us would call the other.

However, my parents weren't approaching toxic.  A little over protective, maybe, but not toxic.

I wouldn't fault you at all if you never decided to get back in touch.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: miranova on April 20, 2013, 04:39:44 PM
If someone yelled at and berated me every time I called them, I would feel zero obligation to ever call them.  I don't think that makes me (or the OP) the slightest bit selfish. 

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: TootsNYC on April 20, 2013, 04:54:44 PM
I had a friend who whined and berated me every time I called her. "I never hear from you."

I stopped calling. It was just really unpleasant. And there were times I'd think that perhaps I could call, but I knew that the first 10 minutes of the conversation was going to be her whining accusingly and me groveling, so I'd just not call.

Then I stopped calling our mutual friend, because every time I did, we'd have 5 minutes of her saying, "When I told other friend that you'd called me, she complained that you never called HER. It hurts her feelings, you should call her."

W/ that friend, I did finally say, "You know, every time I do, she whines at me about how I don't call often enough. You guys are lucky I call at all--I have new friends and a full life in a new city. And to have the greeting be, 'you're not good enough' is not encouraging!"

I eventually stopped calling either of them.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: violetminnow on April 20, 2013, 05:06:51 PM
I had a friend who whined and berated me every time I called her. "I never hear from you."

I stopped calling. It was just really unpleasant. And there were times I'd think that perhaps I could call, but I knew that the first 10 minutes of the conversation was going to be her whining accusingly and me groveling, so I'd just not call.

Then I stopped calling our mutual friend, because every time I did, we'd have 5 minutes of her saying, "When I told other friend that you'd called me, she complained that you never called HER. It hurts her feelings, you should call her."

W/ that friend, I did finally say, "You know, every time I do, she whines at me about how I don't call often enough. You guys are lucky I call at all--I have new friends and a full life in a new city. And to have the greeting be, 'you're not good enough' is not encouraging!"

I eventually stopped calling either of them.

That's a really mean thing to say to a friend. If someone is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable around them, you should speak up and ask them to stop. Saying what you said pretty much would end a friendship for me. I wouldn't recommend anyone do that to someone they ever wanted to speak to again.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: fountainof on April 20, 2013, 05:56:58 PM
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I wouldn't recommend anyone do that to someone they ever wanted to speak to again.

IDK, these "friends" seemed emotionally manipulative at best, abusive at worst so why would someone want to remain in contact.  Who would stay friends with someone who got mad at them all the time?  I must say this thread has been interesting as I would be a person who would cut-off contact the first time something like "I hate you" was said.  I just don't get how someone could say that, even if in the heat of the moment.  I have never said out loud anything I didn't 100% mean and would accept any consequences of what I said.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Two Ravens on April 20, 2013, 06:10:45 PM
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I wouldn't recommend anyone do that to someone they ever wanted to speak to again.

IDK, these "friends" seemed emotionally manipulative at best, abusive at worst so why would someone want to remain in contact.  Who would stay friends with someone who got mad at them all the time?  I must say this thread has been interesting as I would be a person who would cut-off contact the first time something like "I hate you" was said.  I just don't get how someone could say that, even if in the heat of the moment.  I have never said out loud anything I didn't 100% mean and would accept any consequences of what I said.

Well, I certainly would never want to be friends with someone whose attitude towards me was "You're lucky I can spare time from my fantastic life to talk to you at all." Maybe both parties would be well shot of each other."
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Contrary on April 20, 2013, 06:11:28 PM
My takeaway from this thread was; even though I don't complain about my son not calling often enough, I do fall into the trap of thinking it's somehow his job to keep in touch with me, as opposed to us keeping in touch with one another. 

So, I called him just now. Went to voicemail (of course! lol) but I'll try again later or tomorrow and often from now on. 

Blahblahblah, I hope your folks respect you in this and give you the time and space to miss them. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Iris on April 20, 2013, 06:12:40 PM
blahblah blah - No advice needed anymore, but I just wanted to say I think you did the right thing and keep it up! Sometimes otherwise non-toxic parents have a hard time letting go when their kids grow up. I went through something similar with my mother years (and years) ago and we survived (eventually) and even have a good relationship now. Admittedly we didn't get as far as fake hospital visits and "I hate you"s, but there was a pretty fiery time there. When you choose to reinstate communications I would advise consistency in enforcing boundaries. It took about 6 months - 1 year of me hanging up, leaving etc for my mother to get the message that I wasn't going to tolerate her behaviour and attitude.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Mental Magpie on April 20, 2013, 06:16:32 PM
Your dad was out of line. However, if you know that your parents would like to talk with you once a week why disrespect them by not doing so? OK, so it costs you a little time, but that is not a high cost, considering they won't just be showing up at your door if they don't hear from you. Why not give them the peace and show a little love by calling for 5 minutes once a week. Honestly, I think you are being selfish in this.

How is not doing something someone else wants you to do disrespectful?  How is what her parents are doing not disrespectful?  They won't respect her wishes, trample all over them in fact, so why should she respect theirs?  She is an adult, they are adults: their wishes to not supersede hers.  She gets to choose how she lives her life; they do not.


blahblahblah, stay strong!  Taking that first step into standing up for yourself can be really scary!  Remember: you are not responsible for their happiness.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: violetminnow on April 20, 2013, 06:18:21 PM
Quote
I wouldn't recommend anyone do that to someone they ever wanted to speak to again.

IDK, these "friends" seemed emotionally manipulative at best, abusive at worst so why would someone want to remain in contact.  Who would stay friends with someone who got mad at them all the time?  I must say this thread has been interesting as I would be a person who would cut-off contact the first time something like "I hate you" was said.  I just don't get how someone could say that, even if in the heat of the moment.  I have never said out loud anything I didn't 100% mean and would accept any consequences of what I said.

They may have been emotionally manipulative, and maybe Toots is better off without them, but saying what she said is cruel to people you're still friends with at that point. According to the post she said that before she gave up and stopped calling altogether. It sounds like they missed her and they were trying to keep in touch, admittedly in a way that was only going to drive their friend away.  I just think you can ask someone to change their behavior, you can back off and disengage with people when they don't, but you should never belittle people you're friends with.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: nuit93 on April 20, 2013, 06:19:54 PM

I am appalled by the number of people who advocate cut-off.  If you continually cut yourself off from everyone, you will end up alone. 

When it comes to toxic family members, sometimes being alone is the healthier choice.

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: Mental Magpie on April 20, 2013, 06:23:21 PM

I am appalled by the number of people who advocate cut-off.  If you continually cut yourself off from everyone, you will end up alone. 

When it comes to toxic family members, sometimes being alone is the healthier choice.

And if you cut out the weeds, you'll grow stronger and healthier.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 06:28:16 PM
I took Toot's response as "With the way you treat me when I do call, you're lucky I call you at all, and I have new friends who are nicer and don't take me for granted."


I am appalled by the number of people who advocate cut-off.  If you continually cut yourself off from everyone, you will end up alone. 

When it comes to toxic family members, sometimes being alone is the healthier choice.

And if you cut out the weeds, you'll grow stronger and healthier.

Poddity pod pod.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: GrammarNerd on April 20, 2013, 06:30:35 PM
One thing to think about: you may want to call your brother and give him your side of the story, so he at least has information from both sides and knows that your reaction was instigated by what your father 'said'; that it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Then, hopefully, you'll be able to maintain some sort of a civil relationship with him.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: SPuck on April 20, 2013, 06:31:48 PM
What I get from this thread is that if contact is emotionally draining for one person "just because they are family" isn't a good enough drive to keep in contact. I also don't agree on setting a schedule with people with control issues because their is the potential avenue for them to exert their influence. I can't remember if it was this board or another one but I remember a story where a MIL had issues with calling her son, DIL, and family constantly. They regulated it to once a week. Until that one time period they were a way on vacation, and during the middle of a hot busy day the son was having a conniption on calling his mother when everyone else wanted to continue with vacation. I don't think anyone should expect or give that level of commitment to a contact when it interferes with your schedule.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 20, 2013, 06:39:09 PM
One thing to think about: you may want to call your brother and give him your side of the story, so he at least has information from both sides and knows that your reaction was instigated by what your father 'said'; that it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Then, hopefully, you'll be able to maintain some sort of a civil relationship with him.

I agree.  While I do not get along with my parents, I do have a good relationship with my younger brother.  When we decided to move from my hometown after the cut off, I invited my brother over to tell him and give him my phone # and address.  He understood completely as he knew how they treated me.   They're not as rough on him as they were on me and to this day we still have a good relationship and he and my mother's youngest sister are the only ones of my family who have not told me I should mend fences now that my parents have a new grandson. 

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: blahblahblah on April 20, 2013, 06:43:41 PM
Quote
One thing to think about: you may want to call your brother and give him your side of the story,
I thought about it, but am taking a wait-and-see approach for now because I don't want to get him involved unless it's absolutely necessary. My brother and I aren't close at all - and I know everyone's sibling relationships are different, but we're not close to the point where I think all of our friends are kinda weirded out by it, lmao - but we're also not toxic. We're essentially like strangers/enigmas to each other; we hardly ever talk and never, ever hang out, but we never, ever fight either. And while I'm sure my parents will probably complain to him, I doubt that he's going to throw himself in the middle of it. If he does come to me, I'll be sure to mention the email and everything else, though.

ETA: Oh, guess what...my parents responded to the emails, even though I specifically asked them not to. I don't know whether to cut them some slack or not because English is not their first language and it's possible that they missed my request to not respond in the wall o' text I sent them. But I'm not going to read the emails regardless and I've set them up to filter 'em into a special folder so I don't have to see it. My hunch is that their emails are apologies, because that's how it usually works. And I'm worried that if I see their "CRUD MONKEYS! I'm so sorry! I love you!!!" my resolve will crumble and the cycle will continue. Because that's what always happens. So... I'm not going to read them. I've also blocked their numbers on my phone.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: *inviteseller on April 20, 2013, 06:45:10 PM
I don't think it is disrespectful at all to tell anyone, be it friends or family, that they are treating you disrespectfully and you no longer wish to put up with it.  Just because they are OP's parents doesn't give them the right to say mean and hurtful things (that she would not say to them) or pull tricks just to get her to call/visit as much as they want.  And if all your calls with a person are them whining that you never calll meeeeeee, well, then no, I am never going to call you.  I have friends that I am lucky to hear from every 3-4 months due to our schedules and you know what?  I am pleased as punch that we were able to carve out enough time to chat and I am not wasting any of that time chastising them for having a busy life.  My own dad has an issue with how to dial out, instead him and step mom sit home and wait for my sister and I's calls.  We try to each call 3 times a week (they have health issues so we do check up a bit) but Deity forbid we miss a day or 2..it is the whiny PA crap that makes me want to scream and I dread having those calls.  OP's parents may WANT more contact, but because OP has, ya know, a life outside of them, they will have to understand she is not at their beck and call.  Hopefully this will be a wakeup call.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on April 20, 2013, 06:52:20 PM
OP, a lot of your post could have been written by me in reference to my Mom (although not the I hate you).

I hate small talk, my life isnít interesting enough to have news on a regular basis that would interest anyone not involved, and Iím busy.

In college, I would talk to my mom every other day or two. 5 years later, we talk maybe once every three months. She is emotionally exhausting, both from comments about how she wishes weíd talk more, but she doesnít want to call because she knows Iím busy, to complaints about how sheís not busy because she doesnít seem able to keep a job (nothing new).

My other parents update me on big news, and we talk a few times a year otherwiseóthey never say anything about wanting more contact.

My other dad and I text back and forth once a month or so, just to check in.

While I understand that scheduling a normal time to talk works for some peopleÖ my mental health was suffering from the dread of contacting my mom more often than I do. And I still donít like to even that rarely. Our compromise (mostly never discussed, but what has worked out) is that she checks into to Facebook every so often and knows Iím still alive and doing well (and trusts that my SO would call if something was actually wrong). Thatís what my other parents also do (and what allows us to talk so infrequently).

In other words, I can completely understand your decision to have a time out from themóand some of the other suggestions above about exploring why you feel the need to contact them and what paramaters you feel comfortable with are very good.

Oops, three more posts while typing. I should add that I have 5 siblings on various sides of the parental divide. We all have an understanding that our parents issues with each of us are just thatówith that sibling. Iíve made it clear without actually ever having to say it that I wonít get involved with their relationships and thus, they stay out of mine (it helps that I live far away). Most of my siblings and I have relationships as you describe with your brother. Iím closer to my younger ones, but we have a silent agreement that we donít pass on nagging from the parents, and we tell said parent that we wonít do that if they try. Especially now that they are adults, it is great.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 20, 2013, 08:57:38 PM
My takeaway from this thread was; even though I don't complain about my son not calling often enough, I do fall into the trap of thinking it's somehow his job to keep in touch with me, as opposed to us keeping in touch with one another. 

So, I called him just now. Went to voicemail (of course! lol) but I'll try again later or tomorrow and often from now on. 

Blahblahblah, I hope your folks respect you in this and give you the time and space to miss them.

AWESOME!

((((((Contrary&son)))))))
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 20, 2013, 09:08:51 PM
Quote
One thing to think about: you may want to call your brother and give him your side of the story,
I thought about it, but am taking a wait-and-see approach for now because I don't want to get him involved unless it's absolutely necessary. My brother and I aren't close at all - and I know everyone's sibling relationships are different, but we're not close to the point where I think all of our friends are kinda weirded out by it, lmao - but we're also not toxic. We're essentially like strangers/enigmas to each other; we hardly ever talk and never, ever hang out, but we never, ever fight either. And while I'm sure my parents will probably complain to him, I doubt that he's going to throw himself in the middle of it. If he does come to me, I'll be sure to mention the email and everything else, though.

ETA: Oh, guess what...my parents responded to the emails, even though I specifically asked them not to. I don't know whether to cut them some slack or not because English is not their first language and it's possible that they missed my request to not respond in the wall o' text I sent them. But I'm not going to read the emails regardless and I've set them up to filter 'em into a special folder so I don't have to see it. My hunch is that their emails are apologies, because that's how it usually works. And I'm worried that if I see their "CRUD MONKEYS! I'm so sorry! I love you!!!" my resolve will crumble and the cycle will continue. Because that's what always happens. So... I'm not going to read them. I've also blocked their numbers on my phone.

Stay strong, blahblahblah!

((((((blahblahblah))))))
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: Danika on April 20, 2013, 11:13:10 PM
But I'm not going to read the emails regardless and I've set them up to filter 'em into a special folder so I don't have to see it. My hunch is that their emails are apologies, because that's how it usually works. And I'm worried that if I see their "CRUD MONKEYS! I'm so sorry! I love you!!!" my resolve will crumble and the cycle will continue. Because that's what always happens. So... I'm not going to read them. I've also blocked their numbers on my phone.

Great update!

I know some people love or hate Dr. Phil but I often think of what he says "You either treat me with integrity, dignity and respect or you don't treat me at all."
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Pen^2 on April 21, 2013, 12:00:23 PM
blahblahblah, well done! Keep up your resolve, though. If you back down, they'll just be getting the message that "we can pull this stunt again whenever we want and we just have to apologise and blahblahblah will submit to our will again in only a few days." I'm sure you realise this, but it can be hard.

My parents used to do this to me, for nine freaking years after I moved out of home. And when I did call, all they would talk about was how much they hated me for not calling. It's pretty hard to dial a phone when you know that that is what's waiting for you on the other end. My many siblings (some older) still lived at home, and I think they still do, under their constant influence. It is very much a control thing. Even if you don't call eighteen times a day or whatever, they still control you by making you sweat over it in the meantime. Very manipulative and immature and massively disrespectful.

I hope your family situation does not go where mine did. My dad said a similar thing to "I hate you". His was, "I wish you'd died so you'd actually have an excuse <for not calling more frequently>, but it turns out you're just a horrible piece of <excrement>." After I gave them the cut in a similar way to you, they began pulling out the big guns. My father would suddenly turn up on our doorstep, apparently "in the neighbourhood" (about 8 hours out of the way), and have nowhere to stay. Cousins and relatives would suddenly be calling and emailling asking why I did various untrue and ridiculous things to my parents (stole money etc.--they may pull this on your brother, watch out.) Letters containing enormous guilt-trips and huge inconsistencies came in the dozens. I started getting 'emergency' calls at my workplace (parent hit by a car, bleeding to death, minutes to live, have to talk now before they're gone forever, etc.) which were all bogus. My innocent husband had a similar escalation of things. I really, really hope your parents see some sense, or at least that they aren't psychotic. But you seem to be handling things very well. Good luck to you!
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - update, post 43
Post by: TootsNYC on April 21, 2013, 02:02:28 PM
I took Toot's response as "With the way you treat me when I do call, you're lucky I call you at all, and I have new friends who are nicer and don't take me for granted."


I didn't accurately choose my words here. In real life I said something like, "I have a new. absorbing life in a city far away, and I could have simply faded out completely. Some people do drop their college friends when they move away. I call you. But when I do, I get a guilt trip."

Oh, and no, they never called me. I wasn't as easy to reach as they were, but they sure didn't drop me a letter or try to make a phone call.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: cicero on April 21, 2013, 02:08:30 PM
with all your additional info, i think you did the right thing. I'm sorry you are going thru this with your parents and i hope that things either straighten out between you or you come to terms and closure with the situation.

Update: I did it. I sent my parents separate emails letting them know of my decision to temporarily cut off contact. For my dad, I stole a lot of the phrasing from grammarnerd. For my mom, I adopted a more conciliatory tone - like I said, I realize that she's done her own share of messed up stuff, but she's largely innocent this time around (i.e. she's participated in guilting and criticizing me, but she didn't say anything like my dad did), and I wasn't up to rehashing hospitalgate - and explained to her briefly what had happened, and that I needed to just make a clean break and have some space because I felt like our family relationship had become a bit toxic and unhealthy. I apologized to my mom for getting caught in the crossfire. Maybe other Ehellions will disagree with my decision to cut off my mom as well, which I'd understand, but I felt like I needed time away from family drama as a whole, which I told her. I emphasized in both emails that I was doing this for my own sanity and welfare, and that I wasn't doing it to punish them.

...And as soon as I sent the emails, I felt slightly panicky, like, "Crap, what did I just do??" because I've never stood up to my parents like that before. But I think ultimately this will be good for our relationship. It'll let me cool off, and it'll let my parents know how serious I am. (as said before, I feel like they don't take me seriously until I do something drastic, which is when they realize, "Oh wow, she wasn't kidding!")
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: VorFemme on April 21, 2013, 05:02:17 PM
(((hugs)))

Not an easy situation to deal with.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: HenrysMom on April 21, 2013, 05:12:35 PM
I don't get this - the phone works BOTH ways. 

My family and "friends" rarely call me, and usually only when they want something (information, favors, $$).  Otherwise, I was always the one to reach out, try to make plans, etc.  Within the past year, I've cut the number of people I'll cold call way down.  When they do call, it's always, "I miss you, you never call anymore."::) ::)  As much as I want to, I don't say, "Well, were YOUR fingers broken?" and usually end up bean dipping. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Venus193 on April 21, 2013, 05:56:46 PM
My late mother was always under the impression that I should always call her rather than she me.  It's like she was the Queen and I a mere peasant subject.  From a lot of discussions here I see that was not uncommon.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: NyaChan on April 21, 2013, 07:13:54 PM
I don't get this - the phone works BOTH ways. 

My family and "friends" rarely call me, and usually only when they want something (information, favors, $$).  Otherwise, I was always the one to reach out, try to make plans, etc.  Within the past year, I've cut the number of people I'll cold call way down.  When they do call, it's always, "I miss you, you never call anymore."::) ::)  As much as I want to, I don't say, "Well, were YOUR fingers broken?" and usually end up bean dipping.

This point does make me think more about how keeping in touch can't be entirely the burden of one person.  That is a problem with my extended relatives, or rather my parents as they get mad at me on the relatives behalf.  When I point out that I've never gotten so much as a text from the people they say I've been neglecting, I'm simply told that I should be the bigger person or that they probably haven't contacted me because they think I don't want to talk to them.  I just make faces into my phone at that point to amuse myself  ;)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: VorFemme on April 21, 2013, 07:58:09 PM
At that point, you could ask if the relative relaying the "you should contact them" comment could please give me their contact information, "as I don't seem to have it"............or don't have a current address (I get Christmas cards back - I don't get change of address notifications, for some reason - not even the automated ones that can be sent to the entire email contact list if you change providers).

Amazing how many time Great Aunt Matilda doesn't have Second Cousin Once Removed Roger's cell phone, personal or work email, or postal mailing address on hand, either.  So why is she telling you to contact them if she can't help put you in contact with them?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 21, 2013, 08:12:49 PM
I don't get this - the phone works BOTH ways. 

My family and "friends" rarely call me, and usually only when they want something (information, favors, $$).  Otherwise, I was always the one to reach out, try to make plans, etc.  Within the past year, I've cut the number of people I'll cold call way down.  When they do call, it's always, "I miss you, you never call anymore."::) ::)  As much as I want to, I don't say, "Well, were YOUR fingers broken?" and usually end up bean dipping.

This point does make me think more about how keeping in touch can't be entirely the burden of one person.  That is a problem with my extended relatives, or rather my parents as they get mad at me on the relatives behalf.  When I point out that I've never gotten so much as a text from the people they say I've been neglecting, I'm simply told that I should be the bigger person or that they probably haven't contacted me because they think I don't want to talk to them.  I just make faces into my phone at that point to amuse myself  ;)

In college my mother used to whine I didn't call her enough, but when I did I'd get nagged about this and that.  I'd bean dip with a more pleasant topic but she'd drag it right back to nagging.  "I'm not interested in that."  While they were paying for my education, I could understand wanting to know how I was doing but it was only how I was doing academically.  Never cared that I was happy because I no longer felt like an outcast and had a fresh start, socially. 

So I can understand that feeling of being made to feel guilty for not calling when you know it's not going to be a pleasant call. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Minmom3 on April 21, 2013, 11:18:33 PM
I HAVE asked people if their fingers were broken.  I have asked them to show me their hands, and then commented that their fingers look just fine....  One particularly cranky person I asked if she'd just gotten the casts off her hands recently...   >:D  Nobody gets to be snarky with me about a lack of contact when they haven't worked any harder at it than I have.  I haven't done it with my mother, but with other family members I have done it, and with friends.  With friends with whom it finally dawns on me that I'm the only one doing any work to keep up contact and maintain the friendship, I just quit doing it all.  I have friends I contact rarely, who contact me rarely, but with whom I'm still tight and solid.  I have had friends with whom I email many times a day, and we're good.  But if all the attempts are on my side and they are never reciprocated, then we don't HAVE a friendship anymore, so while I may be a little hurt, by the time I realize what's going on I'm also a little bit annoyed, so it's much easier for me to just quit working on that friendship anymore.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Adios on April 22, 2013, 04:46:49 AM
Aunt Mame, you are clearly commenting from a painful place and (((hugs))) for that.  I do want to gently point out that if you thought Cicero's earlier comment was judgemental, it may be because of your own experiences "colouring the comment", so to speak.  Cicero is one of the kindest and most gentle posters here and I doubt that she meant anything in a nasty way.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: blahblahblah on April 22, 2013, 09:59:30 AM
As the OP, I didn't really have a problem with cicero's comment either, even though I disagreed (obviously). Among the comments that disagreed with my plan of action, I actually felt that cicero's comment was one of the mildest.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: CakeBeret on April 22, 2013, 10:29:24 AM
First of all, (((hugs))) OP.

I've come to this thread, written out responses, and changed my mind more than once. This thread hits home for me--how far are adult children expected to go to please their toxic parents? Some posts have suggested that the OP is somehow wrong for not wanting to be abused and manipulated. I heartily disagree. The OP's parents clearly care more about controlling her than her happiness, and IMO at that point they deserve nothing from her.

OP, I'm glad that you are taking a break from them. I sincerely hope that this time away from them will give you some peace and also give you insight into what you want for the future.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: laceandbits on April 22, 2013, 11:37:47 AM
All this about one way phone calls brings it right back that my Mum particularly who was the queen of the snarky "So you're not dead then" when I did call (regardless of whether it was a day or three or a fortnight), said to me one day, very sadly, she wished that her grandchildren phoned her all the time and visited with her whenever they could, just like one of my aunts who was the centre of her extended family.

I was very tempted to point out to her that I was not the only one on the receiving end of her Female Dog.  If my children called her they got more of the same usually followed by an inquisition of how are you doing at school, did you pass your exams, have you got a boyfriend/girlfriend and other prying questions, so they hated calling her.

Aunt on the other hand simply greeted everyone, either on the phone or in the flesh, with "How lovely to hear from you/see you, tell me all the exciting things you've been doing" and allowed them to decide what and how much they wanted to talk about.  And they got the same warm welcome whether it had been a day or a year since they'd last spoken except if it was a loooong time she'd say "You must have LOTS to tell me". 

Even my daughter came home from a visit with my sister who lives near aunt, and said why can't Granny be more like Aunt x and I had to try to explain that they were both asking for information about what everyone was up to, but that Aunt was able to do it such a more diplomatic way so that everyone wanted to tell her everything and to confide in her and that Granny has just never learnt the art. 

As you can imagine, I try to be more like Aunt than Mum and never ever say why haven't you called or any other sarky snarky comment and I even call them if I haven't heard from them for a while!
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: laceandbits on April 22, 2013, 11:39:38 AM
Well, I didn't know I wasn't alowed to use *that* word.  It must be considered much naughtier in the US than the UK.    ;D
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: TootsNYC on April 22, 2013, 11:53:17 AM
... said to me one day, very sadly, she wished that her grandchildren phoned her all the time and visited with her whenever they could, just like one of my aunts who was the centre of her extended family.

I was very tempted to point out to her that I was not the only one on the receiving end of her Female Dog.  If my children called her they got more of the same usually followed by an inquisition of how are you doing at school, did you pass your exams, have you got a boyfriend/girlfriend and other prying questions, so they hated calling her.


I think you missed a great opportunity there. To explain, not to chastise. To say, "Mom, do you realize that every time we call you, you say these things in this way? It can feel like we're being attacked. It's sort of basic behavior modification. If you want people to call you, you have to go out of your way to make the phone call enjoyable for them. And it's not enjoyable to be greeted with resentment for not having called earlier, or to be questioned so closely."
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
Post by: cicero on April 22, 2013, 11:56:18 AM

Thank you Stormtreader and Ms Marjorie for your kind words, and especially Blahblahblah for being so understanding and gracious - I now understand how painful this whole issue is for you. In your first post (to which i originally responded) it seemed to more about the "calling" issue. Following this thread in its entirety I understand that that is just the tip of a huge iceberg.

hugs to all who are dealing with toxic families...



Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 22, 2013, 01:02:11 PM
Once in college my mother called me, gave me no indication of what she wanted to talk about and her tone was casual as she asked me to call her back.   Since her calls, as I've mentioned were of the nagging ilk, I had little interest in calling her back. 

My dad called that evening and as he didn't call often I thought "Hm, wonder what's up?" But since I got back late and had an early class I didn't have time to call and then when I got home from my 8 o'clock class my mother called and said "Your brother has diabetes.  I might have broken the news more gently if you'd called back right away the first time!"

I said "Well if you'd given me any indication it was a matter of some urgency or about brother, I would have called back right away!" (I adored my brother and still he's the only one of the 3 of them I still like.)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Cami on April 22, 2013, 02:29:07 PM
All this about one way phone calls brings it right back that my Mum particularly who was the queen of the snarky "So you're not dead then" when I did call (regardless of whether it was a day or three or a fortnight), said to me one day, very sadly, she wished that her grandchildren phoned her all the time and visited with her whenever they could, just like one of my aunts who was the centre of her extended family.

I was very tempted to point out to her that I was not the only one on the receiving end of her Female Dog.  If my children called her they got more of the same usually followed by an inquisition of how are you doing at school, did you pass your exams, have you got a boyfriend/girlfriend and other prying questions, so they hated calling her.

Aunt on the other hand simply greeted everyone, either on the phone or in the flesh, with "How lovely to hear from you/see you, tell me all the exciting things you've been doing" and allowed them to decide what and how much they wanted to talk about.  And they got the same warm welcome whether it had been a day or a year since they'd last spoken except if it was a loooong time she'd say "You must have LOTS to tell me". 

Even my daughter came home from a visit with my sister who lives near aunt, and said why can't Granny be more like Aunt x and I had to try to explain that they were both asking for information about what everyone was up to, but that Aunt was able to do it such a more diplomatic way so that everyone wanted to tell her everything and to confide in her and that Granny has just never learnt the art. 

As you can imagine, I try to be more like Aunt than Mum and never ever say why haven't you called or any other sarky snarky comment and I even call them if I haven't heard from them for a while!
Have you also taught your children to ask Aunt about her life?

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Eeep! on April 24, 2013, 12:56:17 PM
All this about one way phone calls brings it right back that my Mum particularly who was the queen of the snarky "So you're not dead then" when I did call (regardless of whether it was a day or three or a fortnight), said to me one day, very sadly, she wished that her grandchildren phoned her all the time and visited with her whenever they could, just like one of my aunts who was the centre of her extended family.

I was very tempted to point out to her that I was not the only one on the receiving end of her Female Dog.  If my children called her they got more of the same usually followed by an inquisition of how are you doing at school, did you pass your exams, have you got a boyfriend/girlfriend and other prying questions, so they hated calling her.

Aunt on the other hand simply greeted everyone, either on the phone or in the flesh, with "How lovely to hear from you/see you, tell me all the exciting things you've been doing" and allowed them to decide what and how much they wanted to talk about.  And they got the same warm welcome whether it had been a day or a year since they'd last spoken except if it was a loooong time she'd say "You must have LOTS to tell me". 

Even my daughter came home from a visit with my sister who lives near aunt, and said why can't Granny be more like Aunt x and I had to try to explain that they were both asking for information about what everyone was up to, but that Aunt was able to do it such a more diplomatic way so that everyone wanted to tell her everything and to confide in her and that Granny has just never learnt the art. 

As you can imagine, I try to be more like Aunt than Mum and never ever say why haven't you called or any other sarky snarky comment and I even call them if I haven't heard from them for a while!
Have you also taught your children to ask Aunt about her life?

What is the point of this question? The poster was merely discussing the topic of differences in how people talk to kids on the phone. Why turn it into some sort of analysis of her parenting?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Seraphia on April 24, 2013, 01:43:27 PM
I HAVE asked people if their fingers were broken.  I have asked them to show me their hands, and then commented that their fingers look just fine....  One particularly cranky person I asked if she'd just gotten the casts off her hands recently...   >:D  Nobody gets to be snarky with me about a lack of contact when they haven't worked any harder at it than I have.  I haven't done it with my mother, but with other family members I have done it, and with friends.  With friends with whom it finally dawns on me that I'm the only one doing any work to keep up contact and maintain the friendship, I just quit doing it all.  I have friends I contact rarely, who contact me rarely, but with whom I'm still tight and solid.  I have had friends with whom I email many times a day, and we're good.  But if all the attempts are on my side and they are never reciprocated, then we don't HAVE a friendship anymore, so while I may be a little hurt, by the time I realize what's going on I'm also a little bit annoyed, so it's much easier for me to just quit working on that friendship anymore.

I once had it out with a friend/acquaintance over this issue. She loved to be the center of everything, and would get quite hurt if people did anything from get married to get tacos without notifying her, but frankly, I wasn't interested in being close enough to her to call her up because "My BF and I broke up/Roommate found a job/I'm having pizza for dinner/etc."

She wailed: "You never calllll meeeeeee, how are we supposed to hang out?"
I replied: "I'm still in school and you're working. But, I can't remember you ever calling me to hang out either."
Pause. "But I'm workinnnnng. I don't call because I don't know how busy you are. I wait for you to call me."
"So, I'm supposed to call you when I want to hang out, but without knowing your schedule, and also supposed to call you when *you* want to hang out, without knowing your schedule? How is it only my fault here? I'm hardly psychic."
She didn't have an answer for that one. She also stopped bugging me to call her.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Thipu1 on April 24, 2013, 01:45:20 PM
I don't see any problem with the question.  To me, it seems sweet.

Aunt is genuinely interested in the children.  I'll bet that Aunt has plenty of interesting things the children would like to hear. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: weeblewobble on April 24, 2013, 02:23:26 PM
All this about one way phone calls brings it right back that my Mum particularly who was the queen of the snarky "So you're not dead then" when I did call (regardless of whether it was a day or three or a fortnight), said to me one day, very sadly, she wished that her grandchildren phoned her all the time and visited with her whenever they could, just like one of my aunts who was the centre of her extended family.

I was very tempted to point out to her that I was not the only one on the receiving end of her Female Dog.  If my children called her they got more of the same usually followed by an inquisition of how are you doing at school, did you pass your exams, have you got a boyfriend/girlfriend and other prying questions, so they hated calling her.

Aunt on the other hand simply greeted everyone, either on the phone or in the flesh, with "How lovely to hear from you/see you, tell me all the exciting things you've been doing" and allowed them to decide what and how much they wanted to talk about.  And they got the same warm welcome whether it had been a day or a year since they'd last spoken except if it was a loooong time she'd say "You must have LOTS to tell me". 

Even my daughter came home from a visit with my sister who lives near aunt, and said why can't Granny be more like Aunt x and I had to try to explain that they were both asking for information about what everyone was up to, but that Aunt was able to do it such a more diplomatic way so that everyone wanted to tell her everything and to confide in her and that Granny has just never learnt the art. 

As you can imagine, I try to be more like Aunt than Mum and never ever say why haven't you called or any other sarky snarky comment and I even call them if I haven't heard from them for a while!

My grandma had a very tense competitive relationship with her own mother and sister.  It was pretty ugly, from what I understand.  My great-grandmother pitted grandma and her sister against each other to vie for her attention and approval.  Great-grandma didn't seem to want grandma to do better in life than she did, so spent a lot of time criticizing grandma's career.  This tension carried on through their adult years even after great-grandma died.  Grandma and my great-aunt had been estranged for some time before my great-aunt died.

Grandma simply refused to believe that my mom, my sis and I enjoyed a close, loving relationship.  We squabbled like any siblings-generally about issues concerning our brother's refusal to do housework - but for the most part, Mom, Sis and I got along really well.  We enjoyed doing things together just the three of us- like movies and crafting and weekend trips.  Grandma couldn't grasp that it was because Mom made an effort to be loving and attentive to both of us.  That she made activities fun because she wanted us to have pleasant memories. That she didn't play mind games with us. 

Because Grandma couldn't accept that her own mother was deeply, deeply flawed.  She couldn't accept that pride and anger and deep-rooted selfishness between all three of them had made their relationship what it was.  Instead, she insisted that Sis and I were just good at covering up our emotions.  That we were secretly "seething with resentment" on the inside and that one day it would all come out and Mom would see what real mother-daughter relationships were like.

So far, so good.  We're still OK. :)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 24, 2013, 02:50:22 PM
My grandma had a very tense competitive relationship with her own mother and sister.  It was pretty ugly, from what I understand.  My great-grandmother pitted grandma and her sister against each other to vie for her attention and approval.  Great-grandma didn't seem to want grandma to do better in life than she did, so spent a lot of time criticizing grandma's career.  This tension carried on through their adult years even after great-grandma died.  Grandma and my great-aunt had been estranged for some time before my great-aunt died.

Grandma simply refused to believe that my mom, my sis and I enjoyed a close, loving relationship.  We squabbled like any siblings-generally about issues concerning our brother's refusal to do housework - but for the most part, Mom, Sis and I got along really well.  We enjoyed doing things together just the three of us- like movies and crafting and weekend trips.  Grandma couldn't grasp that it was because Mom made an effort to be loving and attentive to both of us.  That she made activities fun because she wanted us to have pleasant memories. That she didn't play mind games with us. 

Because Grandma couldn't accept that her own mother was deeply, deeply flawed.  She couldn't accept that pride and anger and deep-rooted selfishness between all three of them had made their relationship what it was.  Instead, she insisted that Sis and I were just good at covering up our emotions.  That we were secretly "seething with resentment" on the inside and that one day it would all come out and Mom would see what real mother-daughter relationships were like.

So far, so good.  We're still OK. :)

That's awesome to hear! It's inspiring to hear that your mother was able to break the toxic cycle and create a healthy relationship with both of her daughters.

My family is very toxic, like your grandmother's. When I see friends who want to spend a ton of time with their family members, I am very skeptical. I hope that it's true that they are loving and pleasant like I also hope that Santa Claus is true, but because I haven't experienced it, it's hard for me to believe.

I like reading posts like yours because I hope to have a healthy relationship with my own children. It's very hard to break out of the toxic cycle. I know what not to do, but I don't know what to do to have a healthy bond. So far, I see that I have done a good job of getting my little kids to get along with each other and not fight. They are very close. But I hope that when they are adults, they will want to be around me as well.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 24, 2013, 03:40:28 PM
I can understand that, as I'm the same way.  Trying to break the toxic cycle.  I envy people who honestly have a good relationship with their parents, and I remember not quite grasping the concept of getting homesick while at college. 

I always thought of the joke "I'm homesick." "But honey, you're home!" "And I'm sick of it!"
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: weeblewobble on April 24, 2013, 05:12:16 PM
My grandma had a very tense competitive relationship with her own mother and sister.  It was pretty ugly, from what I understand.  My great-grandmother pitted grandma and her sister against each other to vie for her attention and approval.  Great-grandma didn't seem to want grandma to do better in life than she did, so spent a lot of time criticizing grandma's career.  This tension carried on through their adult years even after great-grandma died.  Grandma and my great-aunt had been estranged for some time before my great-aunt died.

Grandma simply refused to believe that my mom, my sis and I enjoyed a close, loving relationship.  We squabbled like any siblings-generally about issues concerning our brother's refusal to do housework - but for the most part, Mom, Sis and I got along really well.  We enjoyed doing things together just the three of us- like movies and crafting and weekend trips.  Grandma couldn't grasp that it was because Mom made an effort to be loving and attentive to both of us.  That she made activities fun because she wanted us to have pleasant memories. That she didn't play mind games with us. 

Because Grandma couldn't accept that her own mother was deeply, deeply flawed.  She couldn't accept that pride and anger and deep-rooted selfishness between all three of them had made their relationship what it was.  Instead, she insisted that Sis and I were just good at covering up our emotions.  That we were secretly "seething with resentment" on the inside and that one day it would all come out and Mom would see what real mother-daughter relationships were like.

So far, so good.  We're still OK. :)

That's awesome to hear! It's inspiring to hear that your mother was able to break the toxic cycle and create a healthy relationship with both of her daughters.

My family is very toxic, like your grandmother's. When I see friends who want to spend a ton of time with their family members, I am very skeptical. I hope that it's true that they are loving and pleasant like I also hope that Santa Claus is true, but because I haven't experienced it, it's hard for me to believe.

I like reading posts like yours because I hope to have a healthy relationship with my own children. It's very hard to break out of the toxic cycle. I know what not to do, but I don't know what to do to have a healthy bond. So far, I see that I have done a good job of getting my little kids to get along with each other and not fight. They are very close. But I hope that when they are adults, they will waoant to be around me as well.

Actually the grandma in question was my dad's mother. Sorry.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 24, 2013, 05:55:31 PM
Actually the grandma in question was my dad's mother. Sorry.

Oh, that makes more sense. Your mother possibly had a better role model for what a healthy mother-daughter relationship should be.


I can understand that, as I'm the same way.  Trying to break the toxic cycle.  I envy people who honestly have a good relationship with their parents, and I remember not quite grasping the concept of getting homesick while at college. 

When I left for college, my mother kept telling me "You're going to miss us. You're going to cry without us." I was very worried about that even though I purposely chose to go to school 1800 miles away. I went as far away from home as I could before I hit ocean and could go no further. I was worried I'd miss home. Instead, the first week without my parents, I kept singing George Michael's song Freedom over and over.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: weeblewobble on April 24, 2013, 06:28:34 PM
When I left for college, my mother kept telling me "You're going to miss us. You're going to cry without us." I was very worried about that even though I purposely chose to go to school 1800 miles away. I went as far away from home as I could before I hit ocean and could go no further. I was worried I'd miss home. Instead, the first week without my parents, I kept singing George Michael's song Freedom over and over.

I see parents starting that bullstuff as soon as preschool.  When DD was four, she had a classmate, Brianne, who could have very easily been mistaken for the "cry baby" type, always in tears, unable to cope with any sort of difficulty.  But if you watched her mother when she dropped Brianne off at school, she would say things like, "No, try not to miss Mommy too much, OK?  Don't be scared, no matter who tries to take your toys.  Don't cry when Mommy leaves.  Even though Mommy is sooooooo sad to be leaving you at school and she cries all the way to work.  Don't you cry, OK?"

In order words, "CRY!!  Prove to me how much you love me and miss me!! SHOW YOUR LOVE THROUGH TEARDROPS!!"

So of course, Brianne cried.  She felt responsible for her mommy crying.  Her mommy was giving her the impression that school was something to be sad and scared about.  And that the other kids were just waiting to swoop in and steal her toys as soon as mommy left.  So she reduced the poor kid to a neurotic mess. 

It was way more important to that mom to feel like her daughter was missing her and that she was the most important person in her daughter's life than to make sure her daughter felt secure and safe.  And I think that's the problem with a lot of these parents in this thread.  THEIR feelings are the most important.  Reassuring THEM is more important than their children's feelings, schedule, comfort or priorities.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Venus193 on April 24, 2013, 06:42:23 PM
If every parent did that our species would have been extinct ages ago.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: weeblewobble on April 24, 2013, 06:52:13 PM
Actually the grandma in question was my dad's mother. Sorry.

Oh, that makes more sense. Your mother possibly had a better role model for what a healthy mother-daughter relationship should be.



Mom adored her mother.  And grandma had her moments where she and mom had a lot of fun together. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 24, 2013, 07:07:39 PM
When I left for college, my mother kept telling me "You're going to miss us. You're going to cry without us." I was very worried about that even though I purposely chose to go to school 1800 miles away. I went as far away from home as I could before I hit ocean and could go no further. I was worried I'd miss home. Instead, the first week without my parents, I kept singing George Michael's song Freedom over and over.

I see parents starting that bullstuff as soon as preschool.  When DD was four, she had a classmate, Brianne, who could have very easily been mistaken for the "cry baby" type, always in tears, unable to cope with any sort of difficulty.  But if you watched her mother when she dropped Brianne off at school, she would say things like, "No, try not to miss Mommy too much, OK?  Don't be scared, no matter who tries to take your toys.  Don't cry when Mommy leaves.  Even though Mommy is sooooooo sad to be leaving you at school and she cries all the way to work.  Don't you cry, OK?"

In order words, "CRY!!  Prove to me how much you love me and miss me!! SHOW YOUR LOVE THROUGH TEARDROPS!!"

So of course, Brianne cried.  She felt responsible for her mommy crying.  Her mommy was giving her the impression that school was something to be sad and scared about.  And that the other kids were just waiting to swoop in and steal her toys as soon as mommy left.  So she reduced the poor kid to a neurotic mess. 

It was way more important to that mom to feel like her daughter was missing her and that she was the most important person in her daughter's life than to make sure her daughter felt secure and safe.  And I think that's the problem with a lot of these parents in this thread.  THEIR feelings are the most important.  Reassuring THEM is more important than their children's feelings, schedule, comfort or priorities.

Ugh. I saw that on "Good Luck Charlie". The mother did that when her toddler, Charlie, didn't cry when dropped off at daycare.  The mother decided there was something wrong and tried to get Charlie to cry for her own good.   ::)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Iris on April 24, 2013, 07:48:16 PM
When I left for college, my mother kept telling me "You're going to miss us. You're going to cry without us." I was very worried about that even though I purposely chose to go to school 1800 miles away. I went as far away from home as I could before I hit ocean and could go no further. I was worried I'd miss home. Instead, the first week without my parents, I kept singing George Michael's song Freedom over and over.

I see parents starting that bullstuff as soon as preschool.  When DD was four, she had a classmate, Brianne, who could have very easily been mistaken for the "cry baby" type, always in tears, unable to cope with any sort of difficulty.  But if you watched her mother when she dropped Brianne off at school, she would say things like, "No, try not to miss Mommy too much, OK?  Don't be scared, no matter who tries to take your toys.  Don't cry when Mommy leaves.  Even though Mommy is sooooooo sad to be leaving you at school and she cries all the way to work.  Don't you cry, OK?"

In order words, "CRY!!  Prove to me how much you love me and miss me!! SHOW YOUR LOVE THROUGH TEARDROPS!!"

So of course, Brianne cried.  She felt responsible for her mommy crying.  Her mommy was giving her the impression that school was something to be sad and scared about.  And that the other kids were just waiting to swoop in and steal her toys as soon as mommy left.  So she reduced the poor kid to a neurotic mess. 

It was way more important to that mom to feel like her daughter was missing her and that she was the most important person in her daughter's life than to make sure her daughter felt secure and safe.  And I think that's the problem with a lot of these parents in this thread.  THEIR feelings are the most important.  Reassuring THEM is more important than their children's feelings, schedule, comfort or priorities.

Ugh. I saw that on "Good Luck Charlie". The mother did that when her toddler, Charlie, didn't cry when dropped off at daycare.  The mother decided there was something wrong and tried to get Charlie to cry for her own good.   ::)

LOL they would have HATED my daughter then. We moved house the *day* before DD1 was due to start school and it was unexpected so she hadn't attended any of the familiarisation sessions or anything at that school. I admit, I was terrified of how she would react to moving to a new city and starting school in the space of less that a week and was a bit hover-y that first morning. Until the eleventy millionth time I asked "Now, will you be fine if Mummy goes to work?" She fixed me with a stern eye and said "Yes! Go now, please. I want to colour!"  ;D
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 24, 2013, 08:32:41 PM
My older two cried when I dropped them off at daycare the first week and I felt awful, and even called once I got to work only to learn they'd stopped about 5 minutes later, and my youngest used to cry when dropped off in the church nursery.   

I felt so much better when they got to the point where I had to say "Um, don't I get a hug?" because they were so happy there that they couldn't wait to dig into the toys. 

But I totally get what a PP said about singing "Freedom" because once my parents finally stopped nagging me and headed home after dropping me off my freshman year of college, I was mentally going "FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I'M FREE AT LAST!"  And for the first time in my life I was counting down the days till I could go back to school during summer vacation.  My freshman year I wanted to take a winter semester class, and really really pushed for it.  It was technically to try and save my gpa because I'd done poorly in Anatomy and physiology but also because it meant getting to stay at the school.

Basically I completely understood why Harry Potter dreaded vacations.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: JenJay on April 24, 2013, 08:41:38 PM
When I left for college, my mother kept telling me "You're going to miss us. You're going to cry without us." I was very worried about that even though I purposely chose to go to school 1800 miles away. I went as far away from home as I could before I hit ocean and could go no further. I was worried I'd miss home. Instead, the first week without my parents, I kept singing George Michael's song Freedom over and over.

I see parents starting that bullstuff as soon as preschool.  When DD was four, she had a classmate, Brianne, who could have very easily been mistaken for the "cry baby" type, always in tears, unable to cope with any sort of difficulty.  But if you watched her mother when she dropped Brianne off at school, she would say things like, "No, try not to miss Mommy too much, OK?  Don't be scared, no matter who tries to take your toys.  Don't cry when Mommy leaves.  Even though Mommy is sooooooo sad to be leaving you at school and she cries all the way to work.  Don't you cry, OK?"

In order words, "CRY!!  Prove to me how much you love me and miss me!! SHOW YOUR LOVE THROUGH TEARDROPS!!"

So of course, Brianne cried.  She felt responsible for her mommy crying.  Her mommy was giving her the impression that school was something to be sad and scared about.  And that the other kids were just waiting to swoop in and steal her toys as soon as mommy left.  So she reduced the poor kid to a neurotic mess. 

It was way more important to that mom to feel like her daughter was missing her and that she was the most important person in her daughter's life than to make sure her daughter felt secure and safe.  And I think that's the problem with a lot of these parents in this thread.  THEIR feelings are the most important.  Reassuring THEM is more important than their children's feelings, schedule, comfort or priorities.

I've seen this, too! I worked in a daycare and we had a little 3 year old girl, Hailey. Hailey's mom would kneel down in front of her and say "Okay, Mommy has to go now. Did you hear me? I'm leaving. I'll see you later. I have to go..." on and on until Hailey cried! Then she'd leave. Well, check this out - after a few months little Hailey knew what the score was and she would FAKE CRY just long enough for the door to shut behind her Mom and then she'd perk right up and run off to play.  ;D
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Jones on April 24, 2013, 08:51:38 PM
That drives me nuts. It took several carefully executed sneak-offs to get my son to attend the childcare at the gym. Now he goes without complaint and a cheerful "Bye!" but really, after a few 20-minute scream fits (I could hear him elsewhere though the workers assured me it was all right), I simply don't understand why a parent would drive their child to cry on purpose.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 24, 2013, 09:25:17 PM
I simply don't understand why a parent would drive their child to cry on purpose.

Some of these parents do it to preschoolers. Some of them continue on when their children are in their late 20s, just like the OP. It reaffirms what a PP said. That the parents care more about their own feelings than those of their children.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: MommyPenguin on April 24, 2013, 09:40:35 PM
Wow, and I've always been so proud that my kids *didn't* cry on dropoff and just went right off and play.  I always thought it meant they were well-adjusted.  :)  I remember my first day dropping Charlotte (a little under 2) off at a morning program sort of like preschool.  The room was a mess of five little boys who were all red-faced and screaming their heads off for their mommies.  The three daycare ladies were all in rockers, several of them holding two little boys at once.  Charlotte looked around, took in the scene, then went for the trains while they were available.  I like to think that she gives the daycare ladies a bit of a break, at least *one* kid who isn't crying (and whose playing with the toys sometimes gets another kid or two interested).  Now I just need to figure out how to get the baby, Megan, to stop crying every time I hand her off to somebody else.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Pen^2 on April 24, 2013, 10:32:49 PM
Some parents are really, deep down, attention-seeking spoiled little toddlers, it seems! They make their kids dependent on them as a substitute for attention.

At my last job, which was in the field of special education for young children, there was one mother I recall very well. Her son would be in tears when they arrived, and she would say all the old, "now don't worry even if I can't look after you and stop bad things from happening, no, even if you fall over and get hurt and mummy can't make it all better, it's alright... It's so lonely without mummy and I know it's really hard for a little boy like you not to have his mummy making everything alright for him..." etc. And the first fifteen minutes of lessons were invariably spent trying to calm him from the hysterics his mother had induced. She would often drop by during the day with some excuse (a forgotten drink bottle or some such) and the whole exercise would be repeated all over again. She had trained her son to cry at the sight of her. No-one with an ounce of common sense would see this as desirable, but every day she kept laying it on.

Eventually we had to get the boss to intervene, because she was so disruptive. She was wasting her own money, among other things, by invalidating half of her son's time at an expensive place. And her son was not coping with all the stupid stuff she was saying. He was one of those unfortunate kids with mild aspergers where you can't tell how much of it he was born with and how much of it was made worse by his idiotic parent.

Kid says, "bye mummy/daddy!" and runs off happily to play? Healthy and very well-adjusted. Hooray for the kid! But if the kid cries hysterically and has to be surgically separated from the parent? Overly anxious, poorly adjusted, and needs help learning how to cope with the real world outside the parent's coddling. I have no idea why any parent with half a brain would aim for that end of the spectrum, but there are always some.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Nemesis on April 25, 2013, 04:23:22 AM
I simply don't understand why a parent would drive their child to cry on purpose.

Some of these parents do it to preschoolers. Some of them continue on when their children are in their late 20s, just like the OP. It reaffirms what a PP said. That the parents care more about their own feelings than those of their children.
I can answer this.

Some parents are narcissistic. My mother is one.

She had, in her mind, what 'role' she was playing in her 'drama' called "Life". I had my role too, a role she casted for me. In her mind, she is always the lead actress and everyone is the supporting cast. Her daughters exist to provide the most flattering angles for her role. In terms of reality, this means that we exist to make her feel good about herself.

She made up stuff like this to do to us since we were toddlers. Making us cry for her made her feel wanted, special, powerful, needed. Using emotional blackmail made her the martyr. Using anger made her the king. Using our emotional buttons made her the puppetmaster. our every interaction with her is meant to make her star shine brighter.

If we ever made her feel bad about anything, even in scenarios whereby our teachers would tell her that perhaps we need help, it meant that we were BAD BAD daughters. We embarrassed her. We made her look bad. It was all our fault that she hit us and got called out on. It was our fault that we couldn't act the way she wanted us to act, until she had to pull her strings and made people dislike her.

Well, you can imagine how difficult it is being a child of someone like this. People with loving families mostly cannot understand why I do not love my mother. I tolerate her, but I can never ever love her in the tender, trusting way.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 25, 2013, 05:56:11 AM
(http://Well, you can imagine how difficult it is being a child of someone like this. People with loving families mostly cannot understand why I do not love my mother. I tolerate her, but I can never ever love her in the tender, trusting way.)

I've run into that reaction too.  "But they're your parents! How could you cut them out?" Mind you it's people who don't know my parents from Adam and Eve but it's because they did have a good relationship with their parents that they just don't understand. 

Though there was one woman I used to chat with who didn't have a good relationship with her mother but kept trying to win her mother's favor when she was alive.  The woman's mother passed in the last few years and she's still trying to figure out how she could have done better to get into her good graces.  I distanced myself after a while when the woman kept asking about my parents when I really didn't feel like talking about them.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 25, 2013, 06:00:30 AM
Some parents are really, deep down, attention-seeking spoiled little toddlers, it seems! They make their kids dependent on them as a substitute for attention.

At my last job, which was in the field of special education for young children, there was one mother I recall very well. Her son would be in tears when they arrived, and she would say all the old, "now don't worry even if I can't look after you and stop bad things from happening, no, even if you fall over and get hurt and mummy can't make it all better, it's alright... It's so lonely without mummy and I know it's really hard for a little boy like you not to have his mummy making everything alright for him..." etc. And the first fifteen minutes of lessons were invariably spent trying to calm him from the hysterics his mother had induced. She would often drop by during the day with some excuse (a forgotten drink bottle or some such) and the whole exercise would be repeated all over again. She had trained her son to cry at the sight of her. No-one with an ounce of common sense would see this as desirable, but every day she kept laying it on.

Eventually we had to get the boss to intervene, because she was so disruptive. She was wasting her own money, among other things, by invalidating half of her son's time at an expensive place. And her son was not coping with all the stupid stuff she was saying. He was one of those unfortunate kids with mild aspergers where you can't tell how much of it he was born with and how much of it was made worse by his idiotic parent.

Kid says, "bye mummy/daddy!" and runs off happily to play? Healthy and very well-adjusted. Hooray for the kid! But if the kid cries hysterically and has to be surgically separated from the parent? Overly anxious, poorly adjusted, and needs help learning how to cope with the real world outside the parent's coddling. I have no idea why any parent with half a brain would aim for that end of the spectrum, but there are always some.

I must admit that the first time I took my toddler to a mom's day out group, I got a little miffed that he just took off without looking back! I felt superfluous, that he couldn't wait to get rid of me. But, I got over it quickly when I realized that it wasn't about me, that it was all about him.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Venus193 on April 25, 2013, 06:06:26 AM
For anyone who has the problem of people not getting how parents can be this way, I'm going to provide a solution.  Check the Entertainment folder in an hour.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: TootsNYC on April 25, 2013, 07:58:13 AM
Quote
http://Well, you can imagine how difficult it is being a child of someone like this. People with loving families mostly cannot understand why I do not love my mother. I tolerate her, but I can never ever love her in the tender, trusting way.

I've run into that reaction too.  "But they're your parents! How could you cut them out?" Mind you it's people who don't know my parents from Adam and Eve but it's because they did have a good relationship with their parents that they just don't understand. 

I used to be one of those people who didn't understand. My parents are great--my favorite people. And all the kids I knew in school who complained about their parents would give examples that just didn't seem unreasonable. She wants you to be home at 11 on a school night? She's always asking how your day at school went? And it just seemed that theirs was typical teenager grousing.

Then I met a friend when we were both 24 or so who said, "I ran into my mother and it ruined my day." Wow, I thought--really? I probably even said that briefly.

Then I went with her to a holiday dinner. My God! That woman said nothing--and I mean nothing--that wasn't picking at my friend. Why didn't she finish college? Why doesn't she get a better job? Why doesn't she wear a better shirt? It was relentless. I was nearly breathless.

I'm trying to make her look good by mentioning that she reads the latest books, and even her beloved GRANDMOTHER starts haranguing her that she should get books from the library instead of buying them.

My friend had been a little upset that her sister wasn't there when we arrived and was running late. I realized why when the sister arrived, because the first thing she did was to interject herself into the conversation--the mom said something critical to my friend, and her sister looked from friend to mom, took a breath and said directly to her mom, "I'm thinking of quitting my job." The mom instantly turned to the sister and started attacking verbally.
   I've never seen a clearer example of throwing oneself in front of the oncoming train, sacrificing oneself for someone else. The older sister knew she was stronger, and she *chose* the topic of attack, and it probably wasn't real anyway, so it didn't matter if mom hounded her about it.

I went home and went straight to the phone to call my mother to say "thank you."

Ye gods!

It was so incredibly, incredibly unreal to me. I'd seen other kids' parents, and I'd seen why kids might be irritated or mildly annoyed or embarrassed bcs of the parents, but I'd never seen ANYTHING that hateful.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: TootsNYC on April 25, 2013, 08:02:48 AM
On kids missing you--

I sent my 2 kids off to a week of Grandma Camp w/ cousins & great aunts (and, of course, Grandma and Grandpa).

They flew unaccompanied both ways, so a bit of an adventure.

My son was a bit clingy and feels his fears and anxieties far more strongly than my daughter (who used to literally push me and say "go to your office!" at daycare in the mornings), and he's a bit of a homebody.

So I was a bit anxious about whether he'd be happy, and I'd told my mom that he needed to get some spontaneous hugs and caresses, etc.

When he got home I was probing gently to see how he'd done. "So," I asked oh-so-casually, "did you miss us while you were there?" Trying not to set up the expectation that I was fishing for a yes.

"Oh!" he said. "I forgot!" I was never so proud. Then he said, "Well, when we got on the airplane, I did a little, but then we took off."
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: SeptGurl on April 25, 2013, 08:51:01 AM
My grandma had a very tense competitive relationship with her own mother and sister.  It was pretty ugly, from what I understand.  My great-grandmother pitted grandma and her sister against each other to vie for her attention and approval.  Great-grandma didn't seem to want grandma to do better in life than she did, so spent a lot of time criticizing grandma's career.  This tension carried on through their adult years even after great-grandma died.  Grandma and my great-aunt had been estranged for some time before my great-aunt died.

Grandma simply refused to believe that my mom, my sis and I enjoyed a close, loving relationship.  We squabbled like any siblings-generally about issues concerning our brother's refusal to do housework - but for the most part, Mom, Sis and I got along really well.  We enjoyed doing things together just the three of us- like movies and crafting and weekend trips.  Grandma couldn't grasp that it was because Mom made an effort to be loving and attentive to both of us.  That she made activities fun because she wanted us to have pleasant memories. That she didn't play mind games with us. 

Because Grandma couldn't accept that her own mother was deeply, deeply flawed.  She couldn't accept that pride and anger and deep-rooted selfishness between all three of them had made their relationship what it was.  Instead, she insisted that Sis and I were just good at covering up our emotions.  That we were secretly "seething with resentment" on the inside and that one day it would all come out and Mom would see what real mother-daughter relationships were like.

So far, so good.  We're still OK. :)

That's awesome to hear! It's inspiring to hear that your mother was able to break the toxic cycle and create a healthy relationship with both of her daughters.

My family is very toxic, like your grandmother's. When I see friends who want to spend a ton of time with their family members, I am very skeptical. I hope that it's true that they are loving and pleasant like I also hope that Santa Claus is true, but because I haven't experienced it, it's hard for me to believe.

I like reading posts like yours because I hope to have a healthy relationship with my own children. It's very hard to break out of the toxic cycle. I know what not to do, but I don't know what to do to have a healthy bond. So far, I see that I have done a good job of getting my little kids to get along with each other and not fight. They are very close. But I hope that when they are adults, they will want to be around me as well.

I worry about the same thing where the toxic cycle is concerned. My parents weren't good role models for parenting. It really is more that I know what not to do vs. that I know what to do. I have friends who are more experienced parents, so I observe them for clues and cues about how they interact with their kids. I also remember my friends' parents from when I was a kid. I remember how they interacted. Like you, I also have thought about the connection between how I treat DS now while he's living at home and whether he will want to be around me as an adult. That's a motivator for me. I worry about that and hope I'm doing the right things. I'm so not a perfect parent though.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 25, 2013, 09:05:38 AM
I wasn't very good at discipline for a while because I was so worried about being like my own parents.  Yelling, flying off the handle and other things, that I was always worried if I was being too harsh on my kids and always doubting myself.

And getting mad at DH when he'd yell at them and mad at myself when I'd slip and yell.  I didn't want to be a yeller and make my kids afraid of me.  Hah, no worry of that at all, they actually laugh when I give them a look because apparently my angry face is humorous.  ::)  They're good kids though, but it sure isn't because they're afraid of my "look"!

But it was my friend who is childfree who kind of taught me to be a better mother.  She understood why I had a hard time finding an effective middleground and kind of helped me find it. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: weeblewobble on April 25, 2013, 09:45:34 AM
(http://Well, you can imagine how difficult it is being a child of someone like this. People with loving families mostly cannot understand why I do not love my mother. I tolerate her, but I can never ever love her in the tender, trusting way.)

I've run into that reaction too.  "But they're your parents! How could you cut them out?" Mind you it's people who don't know my parents from Adam and Eve but it's because they did have a good relationship with their parents that they just don't understand. 

Though there was one woman I used to chat with who didn't have a good relationship with her mother but kept trying to win her mother's favor when she was alive.  The woman's mother passed in the last few years and she's still trying to figure out how she could have done better to get into her good graces.  I distanced myself after a while when the woman kept asking about my parents when I really didn't feel like talking about them.

For the record, even though I do enjoy a good relationship with most of my family, I do understand why people cut off contact with toxic relatives.  After watching friends struggle with the awful, selfish people who happen to give birth to them and having to cut off contact with DH's sister, I have come to understand that people do not owe lifelong loyalty/endless opportunities for harm to others just because they happen to share DNA.  I am actually really happy that you've cut off contact with your parents.  I've read your posts here, they sound awful.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 25, 2013, 09:53:30 AM
Well, they're not as bad as some others I've read about here, but my mindset is that if my life is easier without them in it, I ought to keep it that way. :)

I have known people who do have an understanding and are supportive of those with toxic parents even though their own were wonderful.  Though like yourself it's because they've seen the damage that toxic parents can do either in extended family or seeing what friends had to cope with. 

My best friend had a wonderful mother and father, misses them terribly, but had borderline toxic grandparents who were in some ways like my own parents, so she understood and it was really her who let me know it was okay to cut diseased branches off the family tree.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Allyson on April 25, 2013, 01:40:05 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 25, 2013, 02:04:32 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'

Funny, I was thinking of that earlier, myself. 
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: TootsNYC on April 25, 2013, 02:56:45 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'

Or perhaps (subtle but important, and more charitable, distinction), "I think family is important enough to hold on even through the awfulness--why don't you have the same, universally important values?"

Because our world absolutely sends the message that we should put up with stuff from the people who are our family. And bucking that message takes a LOT of strength.

And because LOTS of people are troubled when their own values are rejected by other people. It causes some disquiet for them, psychologically and emotionally.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 25, 2013, 06:22:12 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'

Funny, I was thinking of that earlier, myself.

Another POD
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Calistoga on April 25, 2013, 06:27:05 PM
Is it possible that the "I hate you" was like a playful "I'm so jealous" type?
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: reflection5 on April 25, 2013, 08:03:36 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'

Or perhaps (subtle but important, and more charitable, distinction), "I think family is important enough to hold on even through the awfulness--why don't you have the same, universally important values?"

Because our world absolutely sends the message that we should put up with stuff from the people who are our family. And bucking that message takes a LOT of strength.

And because LOTS of people are troubled when their own values are rejected by other people. It causes some disquiet for them, psychologically and emotionally.

Excellent observations from Allyson and TootsNYC.  I totally agree.

Some people feel that must, no matter what, stick by toxic family members just because they are family.  Or, they havenít summoned the strength to stand up and say ďIím not gonna take it anymoreĒ, and they resent those who have. 

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: stargazer on April 25, 2013, 08:35:08 PM
Is it possible that the "I hate you" was like a playful "I'm so jealous" type?

She mentioned that it wasn't earlier: Yes, he definitely meant it seriously. I mean, I doubt that he honestly, literally, 100% hates me - I think he was just lashing out - but it wasn't a joke. It is not the sort of thing he'd say as a joke. Like, he can and does tease me, but not like that.

I guess it's hard to explain since I know it can be used to jokingly rag on someone, but that's not his style of joke. (Especially since the plans I told him about involved going to see the circus, and my dad couldn't care less about the circus. He doesn't care for the theater and performance arts in general.)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: TootsNYC on April 25, 2013, 09:17:10 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'

Or perhaps (subtle but important, and more charitable, distinction), "I think family is important enough to hold on even through the awfulness--why don't you have the same, universally important values?"

Because our world absolutely sends the message that we should put up with stuff from the people who are our family. And bucking that message takes a LOT of strength.

And because LOTS of people are troubled when their own values are rejected by other people. It causes some disquiet for them, psychologically and emotionally.

Excellent observations from Allyson and TootsNYC.  I totally agree.

Some people feel that must, no matter what, stick by toxic family members just because they are family.  Or, they havenít summoned the strength to stand up and say ďIím not gonna take it anymoreĒ, and they resent those who have.

I want to stress--I want to distance myself from the word "resent."

I think they may be puzzled by someone else's willingness to jettison family, even if it is toxic.

Or they may be unsettled or feel threatened by someone else's very clear rejection of the values that they are holding on to, especially so when they are holding onto those values under duress.

Or they may feel that the only reason someone is lovable is because they are family, and if they reject that notion (that you have to love or value someone simply because they are related to you), then they may be rejecting *their own value.* So if *you* reject that notion, perhaps *you* are rejecting the notion that they have intrinsic value.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 25, 2013, 09:21:53 PM
I think some of the people who give lectures or get all shocked about others who've cut off their toxic relatives *don't* have great relationships with their families. But they haven't yet got to the point where they're able to stand up to them, so seeing someone else who has makes them feel worse. Like, 'I have to put up with this family badness, why don't *you*?'

Or perhaps (subtle but important, and more charitable, distinction), "I think family is important enough to hold on even through the awfulness--why don't you have the same, universally important values?"

Because our world absolutely sends the message that we should put up with stuff from the people who are our family. And bucking that message takes a LOT of strength.

And because LOTS of people are troubled when their own values are rejected by other people. It causes some disquiet for them, psychologically and emotionally.

Excellent observations from Allyson and TootsNYC.  I totally agree.

Some people feel that must, no matter what, stick by toxic family members just because they are family.  Or, they havenít summoned the strength to stand up and say ďIím not gonna take it anymoreĒ, and they resent those who have.

I want to stress--I want to distance myself from the word "resent."

I think they may be puzzled by someone else's willingness to jettison family, even if it is toxic.

Or they may be unsettled or feel threatened by someone else's very clear rejection of the values that they are holding on to, especially so when they are holding onto those values under duress.

Or they may feel that the only reason someone is lovable is because they are family, and if they reject that notion (that you have to love or value someone simply because they are related to you), then they may be rejecting *their own value.* So if *you* reject that notion, perhaps *you* are rejecting the notion that they have intrinsic value.

I agree with all of the above.

I think there's another component to it. I think people want others to not make hasty decisions that they'll regret. They ultimately want people to get along and they want to be helpful by trying to convince you to extend one last olive branch and try again. They don't want you to be sad or have regrets. What they likely don't understand is that people don't generally cut off family members impulsively. Generally, someone has extended 999 olive branches and is just done.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: reflection5 on April 25, 2013, 10:33:29 PM
Quote
What they likely don't understand is that people don't generally cut off family members impulsively.

True.

Outsiders often don’t know what really happened.  They might think “so-and-so has cut off his/her (family member).  I’ve heard that so-and-so angers easily and files off the handle.  In fact, so-and-so got upset with me back in (whatever year) over essentially nothing.  Therefore, so-and-so must have given (family member) the direct cut for no valid reason.  That’s terrible.”

But they often have no real clue about what really happened or for how long it’s been going on.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 26, 2013, 05:57:47 AM
Quote
What they likely don't understand is that people don't generally cut off family members impulsively.

True.

Outsiders often donít know what really happened.  They might think ďso-and-so has cut off his/her (family member).  Iíve heard that so-and-so angers easily and files off the handle.  In fact, so-and-so got upset with me back in (whatever year) over essentially nothing.  Therefore, so-and-so must have given (family member) the direct cut for no valid reason.  Thatís terrible.Ē

But they often have no real clue about what really happened or for how long itís been going on.

This.  Completely.  I've run into this with some of my extended family. I haven't shared any of my reasons for cutting off my parents, and really no one has even asked, but from what one of my cousins said to me last year, I get the feeling my parents have had no such trouble with sharing their side.    ::)  And so from my cousin last year I heard "Well they're hurting, don't you think you should reach out the olive branch now that you have another child?" He also played his "my beloved mother died, you don't know how much time you have." card..  >:(

I managed to stay civil and just said "I have my reasons" but really wanted to say "I'm hurting too, cousin, do you think I made that decision easily?"
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: postalslave on April 26, 2013, 08:26:28 AM
OP your relationship with your family and brother is so much like mine its scary lol.

I think you made the right call, both with the emails you sent and not involving your brother until absolutely necessary.

Hugs :)
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: reflection5 on April 26, 2013, 08:35:06 AM
Quote
I get the feeling my parents have had no such trouble with sharing their side.   

Yes, most likely.  And that’s tough.  It hurts :( , it makes you (general) more angry, and unfortunately there’s no easy way to “fix” it.

I had a couple of situations where I made the direct cut after many years of toxicity.  In both cases I found out that the other people had told very different versions of what happened.  Of course, they left things out to cover their own butts.  I had actual physical proof of what happened, but I refused to discuss the situation with others. The way I see it, it’s not the business of outsiders.  I simply moved on.  Well, not "simply", because I had to use tremendous restraint.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: TootsNYC on April 26, 2013, 09:06:14 AM

I managed to stay civil and just said "I have my reasons" but really wanted to say "I'm hurting too, cousin, do you think I made that decision easily?"

I honestly think you could say something like that. Follow it up with a conversation closer, like, "I do not wish to discuss it; I consider it to be between them and me only. But please respect me enough to realize that this was not easily done." And walk away.

But, of course, saying anything does open the door. So I wouldn't say anything at all unless I were confident I could "cut-and-paste" my way out of it.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 26, 2013, 10:39:04 AM

I managed to stay civil and just said "I have my reasons" but really wanted to say "I'm hurting too, cousin, do you think I made that decision easily?"

I honestly think you could say something like that. Follow it up with a conversation closer, like, "I do not wish to discuss it; I consider it to be between them and me only. But please respect me enough to realize that this was not easily done." And walk away.

But, of course, saying anything does open the door. So I wouldn't say anything at all unless I were confident I could "cut-and-paste" my way out of it.

True. I haven't seen that cousin since, mainly because we just live a good distance apart and don't see each other all that often. That and we're just not as close as we were as kids.   And he said he'd only bring it up once so hopefully he'll hold to that.

As it was I was worried "I have my reasons" would open a can of worms but he gave that "I don't need to hear it" hand wave which simultaneously relieved and ticked me off, if that makes any sense.

To OP, see? You're not the only one who's needed to take a break from toxic parents and there are plenty on this site that wouldn't fault you at all if you took a nice long break from that toxicity.  And I know you didn't ask for them but here's some (((hugs))), not only for having that toxicity to deal with but also to get you through any aftermath from relatives or family friends.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Bethalize on April 26, 2013, 12:22:57 PM
All this is why Number 2 on the Toxic People Survival Checklist (https://sites.google.com/site/toxicpeoplesurvival/) is "Lots of people don't comprehend what toxic people do or the impact they have. Don't be swayed by their views. The rules are different when dealing with a toxic person, especially if they are family. You are working on mental, physical and emotional survival."

It's second only to "It's not you, it's them".
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 26, 2013, 03:10:06 PM
I cut my parents off nearly two years ago now. Actually, the straw the broke the camel's back is what I posted about here when I was a newbie on EHell (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=93679).


I've heard various things from the "flying monkeys" (friends and relatives, who, like the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, do the witch's bidding).

Mainly, I've said nothing in my own defense because I feel like they are not the judge and jury. I agree with this:

I refused to discuss the situation with others. The way I see it, itís not the business of outsiders.

But I have so many responses in my mind, like to:

And so from my cousin last year I heard "Well they're hurting..."

I'd be like "What about me? When I'm with them, *I* am hurting. They are abusive. Whose feelings should I care about more? Theirs or mine? I've spent 3 decades prioritizing their feelings above mine. But now, I realized that I should not give a darn about the feelings of those who don't give a darn about mine.

To the few family members whose opinions I still value, I'm prepared to say "You know me. Am I impulsive? Do I take things lightly? Do I strike you as the kind of person who makes rash decisions about serious matters? No? Then, I didn't about this either."

But to the rational family members (and in my huge family, there are very few of these), I haven't had to explain myself. They know my parents well enough to have pretty much cut them off already too.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: LeveeWoman on April 26, 2013, 05:00:01 PM

BRAVO!!!!!

Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: LadyDyani on April 26, 2013, 06:26:57 PM
I cut my parents off nearly two years ago now. Actually, the straw the broke the camel's back is what I posted about here when I was a newbie on EHell (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=93679).

Danika, I just read through that whole thread, and all I can say is WOAH.  I'm sorry you went through all that.
Title: Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64
Post by: Danika on April 26, 2013, 06:33:45 PM
I cut my parents off nearly two years ago now. Actually, the straw the broke the camel's back is what I posted about here when I was a newbie on EHell (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=93679).

Danika, I just read through that whole thread, and all I can say is WOAH.  I'm sorry you went through all that.

Thank you! I'm rereading through it now, for the first time since I posted it. It's amazing how much I've changed in 2 years. Serious steel of spine I have now!