Author Topic: is my dad's email worth cutting off contact over? - updates, posts 43, 64  (Read 21613 times)

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Danika

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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.

MommyPenguin

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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.

Pen^2

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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.

Nemesis

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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.

Piratelvr1121

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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.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

LeveeWoman

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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.

Venus193

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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.

TootsNYC

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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.

TootsNYC

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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."

Coley

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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.

Piratelvr1121

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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. 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

weeblewobble

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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.

Piratelvr1121

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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.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Allyson

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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*?'

Piratelvr1121

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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. 
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata