Author Topic: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64  (Read 21975 times)

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blahblahblah

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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.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 07:54:09 PM by blahblahblah »

scansons

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 02:52:09 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. 

« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 02:54:02 AM by scansons »

blahblahblah

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2013, 03:15:43 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.

Danika

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2013, 03:23:38 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.

cicero

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2013, 03:27:59 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)

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Please pass the Calgon

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 03:31:21 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??".

blahblahblah

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 03:54:12 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 05:08:12 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.

MariaE

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 05:24:39 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.
 
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Nemesis

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2013, 05:59:59 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?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 06:03:17 AM by Nemesis »

Octavia

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2013, 06:34:11 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.
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Shortylicious

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2013, 08:13:42 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!

LeveeWoman

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2013, 09:12:31 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.

*inviteseller

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2013, 09:26:39 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. 

NyaChan

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Re: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2013, 09:50:03 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?