Author Topic: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement  (Read 13076 times)

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asta

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Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« on: September 30, 2007, 07:30:32 PM »
Am 51 years old and previously never told my parents "no."  Did whatever they wanted until I was about 23.  They disowned me, saying I'd be "crawing back" to them (financially, I guess).  The never gave me a nickel, BTW.

Being independent for several years, married, expecting their first grandchild.  My parents (with whom I tried to mend fences), told me what to name my child, what religion baby should be brought up in, and much more, none of it positive or nice.  I had enough and told my parents, just "no."  They then gave me the "cold shoulder" as they did several times in the past. 

After I told them "no" I felt relieved and happy.  That "no" was one of the hardest words I'd ever uttered.   

rosiecat

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2007, 07:35:54 PM »
Am 51 years old and previously never told my parents "no."  Did whatever they wanted until I was about 23.  They disowned me, saying I'd be "crawing back" to them (financially, I guess).  The never gave me a nickel, BTW.

Being independent for several years, married, expecting their first grandchild.  My parents (with whom I tried to mend fences), told me what to name my child, what religion baby should be brought up in, and much more, none of it positive or nice.  I had enough and told my parents, just "no."  They then gave me the "cold shoulder" as they did several times in the past. 

After I told them "no" I felt relieved and happy.  That "no" was one of the hardest words I'd ever uttered.   


I'm 52.  I never told my parents no.  But they never never never asked for anything.  Maybe a few more visits once we moved out of state, but nothing toxic.

Since you feel relieved and happy you said "no", you obviously did the right thing.

Too bad they're not going to get to know their grandchild.

Sorry you're going through this.

Venus193

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2007, 07:41:01 PM »
It takes a lot of spine to say "no" to control freaks.  You don't need people like this in your life.

Tanya

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2007, 09:38:15 PM »
My husband's mother is very controlling also.  We finally had to put our foot down and tell her, "No, I don't want to do that"  or "We don't do things that way".  It was really hard.  It made her extremely angry and she bad mouths us to the other members of his family, but I really don't care that much anymore.  It took a loooooong time to figure out that I am not responsible for her actions, only my own and if I keep doing the right thing I have nothing to be ashamed of.  You just have to do what's best for you and recognize that there's no reason to feel guilty.  I am a people pleaser and it just about killed me that no matter what I did, it was never the right thing.  So I just quit trying to make her happy (which is impossible) and did what made ME happy. 

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2007, 01:04:35 PM »
On a related note, my mother made my life miserable in many different ways, even after I moved out.  After a breakdown and in therapy, I learned how to stop it.

The next time she started harassing me, I said, 'You know? I don't live here. I don't have to put up with this anymore!' and Just. Left.  Walked out the door and drove home.  She yelled and screamed after me, but I ignored her.
It was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life, but after I did it a second time, she learned to control herself around me, and our visits because a lot more pleasant.  I was very glad about that because she died shortly after, and we had some very pleasant visits before she left.

Of course, it still left me with a very strong need to *never* be caught in a position where I couldn't just walk out of a bad situation.  I got *caught* like that once at my sister's place and it left me with actual scars (self-mutiliation) that remind me that I can't get into those kinds of situations.

Just leave.  It's the hardest thing in the world.


Lexophile

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2007, 01:12:15 PM »
Am 51 years old and previously never told my parents "no."  Did whatever they wanted until I was about 23.  They disowned me, saying I'd be "crawing back" to them (financially, I guess).  The never gave me a nickel, BTW.

Being independent for several years, married, expecting their first grandchild.  My parents (with whom I tried to mend fences), told me what to name my child, what religion baby should be brought up in, and much more, none of it positive or nice.  I had enough and told my parents, just "no."  They then gave me the "cold shoulder" as they did several times in the past. 

After I told them "no" I felt relieved and happy.  That "no" was one of the hardest words I'd ever uttered.   

You obviously have a much better handle on this than I do.

I was having work done at my house while I was on vacation - extensive, messy work that was MUCH better left to be done while we were not there. Dad called me the NIGHT BEFORE I LEFT FOR VACATION to tell me not to have the work done because I would come home and all my stuff would be gone.

It was 8 p.m. I had just dropped off my dog, hadn't packed, hadn't done any of the furniture moving I had to do, and was stressed beyond belief because my flight left at 6 a.m. the following morning.

Cue Redleo rage. I not only said no to my dad for the first time in my life, I threw in a few other choice words that weren't very nice or polite.
"Submission to what people call their 'lot' is simply ignoble. If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another." - Elizabeth von Arnim

DCZinger

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2007, 01:20:49 PM »
Standing up and saying "NO" to a controlling parent is one of the most difficult things an adult can do.  It's quite one thing when you are a child and depend on that parent for survival....but quite another when you are a self sufficient adult and your mother cannot accept you as that. 

I know.  It's difficult.   I'm so sorry.   Hope that you are seeking peace and healthy interactions from family who do accept you as you are.

I'm on my sixth week of no contact with my mother.  She's deciding NOW that I'm a horrible daughter for moving away 19 years ago...and has decided to disown me.   I told her to go right ahead....no amount of her verbal abuse is worth any inheritance she'd leave me anyway.     Thankfully,  I speak to my aunt, brother and sil who keep me appraised on mom (They don't blame me for not calling her after they heard what she said to me at the last visit).    It's sad, because I have a daughter too that should know her grandmother.   But at the same time, I'm sparing my daughter from getting screamed at too when she's older and decides to dress/talk/act/live  differently from what my mother expects. 

DCZinger

Venus193

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2007, 01:39:29 PM »
To everyone who has had to cut off contact with controlling or verbally abusive parents:

Do not allow anyone else -- relative, friend, clergyperson, fellow parishoner -- to guilt you into maintaining contact with any of these emotional vampires.  "But she's your mother" (or variation) is not a reason to maintain contact if s/he/they use that contact to abuse you and hurt your self-esteem or sense of self-reliance in any way. 

If you have children of your own it does not benefit them to see you treated this way.  There are several unacceptable outcomes to that:

  • They could lose respect for you, undermining your parenting
  • They could fear being treated that way themselves someday even if you currently are the best parent in the world
  • Your parents might begin treating them as they treat you

Many kids grow up without grandparents and they do just fine.  It is better to have fewer relatives than to have ones who treat you badly.

blue2000

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2007, 02:41:35 PM »
Am 51 years old and previously never told my parents "no."  Did whatever they wanted until I was about 23.  They disowned me, saying I'd be "crawing back" to them (financially, I guess).  The never gave me a nickel, BTW.

Being independent for several years, married, expecting their first grandchild.  My parents (with whom I tried to mend fences), told me what to name my child, what religion baby should be brought up in, and much more, none of it positive or nice.  I had enough and told my parents, just "no."  They then gave me the "cold shoulder" as they did several times in the past. 

After I told them "no" I felt relieved and happy.  That "no" was one of the hardest words I'd ever uttered.  

I can sympathise with that. When I was a child, we were not allowed to say no, no matter what the request. Adults were to be obeyed without question. I remember saying "no" to my mother for the first time, and being scared I would be severely punished for it (I got away with that one, but got punished for later ones).

I still have trouble saying no to people. But I have learned to say it to my mother. On the down side, she's very PA, so she won't make a direct request without a huge guilt trip, or occasionally outright blackmail. It is harder to say no to that.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

behindbj

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2007, 02:58:57 PM »
To everyone who has had to cut off contact with controlling or verbally abusive parents:

Do not allow anyone else -- relative, friend, clergyperson, fellow parishoner -- to guilt you into maintaining contact with any of these emotional vampires.  "But she's your mother" (or variation) is not a reason to maintain contact if s/he/they use that contact to abuse you and hurt your self-esteem or sense of self-reliance in any way. 

If you have children of your own it does not benefit them to see you treated this way.  There are several unacceptable outcomes to that:

  • They could lose respect for you, undermining your parenting
  • They could fear being treated that way themselves someday even if you currently are the best parent in the world
  • Your parents might begin treating them as they treat you

Many kids grow up without grandparents and they do just fine.  It is better to have fewer relatives than to have ones who treat you badly.

See, that "but she's your MOTHER!" thing always killed me.  I told someone who bleated this out to a friend of mine who just distanced himself from his abusive parents that if they were truly his PARENTS and not "parents," they wouldn't have treated him like that in the first place.

Goes both ways.  Now if you will excuse me, I am going to call my parents and thank them for being dull.

At least, compared to the people I read about here.

behindbj

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2007, 03:03:03 PM »

To everyone who has had to cut off contact with controlling or verbally abusive parents:

Do not allow anyone else -- relative, friend, clergyperson, fellow parishoner -- to guilt you into maintaining contact with any of these emotional vampires.  "But she's your mother" (or variation) is not a reason to maintain contact if s/he/they use that contact to abuse you and hurt your self-esteem or sense of self-reliance in any way. 

If you have children of your own it does not benefit them to see you treated this way.  There are several unacceptable outcomes to that:

  • They could lose respect for you, undermining your parenting
  • They could fear being treated that way themselves someday even if you currently are the best parent in the world
  • Your parents might begin treating them as they treat you

Many kids grow up without grandparents and they do just fine.  It is better to have fewer relatives than to have ones who treat you badly.

I also grew up in a household where "no" was not allowed. Dad was in the military. He was also very abusive. When my parents fiannly split, I lost contact with my father. Some of my relatives kept trying to guilt me "because he's your father..." I refused.

It has taken a long time for me to finally start mendding those fences, and I will not give in to pressure. I have not had a problem saying no since. I had to learn that the word "No," is very powerful. And it does not make me a bad person because I use it. I will not be taken advantage of ever again.

DCZinger

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2007, 05:47:51 PM »
To everyone who has had to cut off contact with controlling or verbally abusive parents:

Do not allow anyone else -- relative, friend, clergyperson, fellow parishoner -- to guilt you into maintaining contact with any of these emotional vampires.  "But she's your mother" (or variation) is not a reason to maintain contact if s/he/they use that contact to abuse you and hurt your self-esteem or sense of self-reliance in any way. 

If you have children of your own it does not benefit them to see you treated this way.  There are several unacceptable outcomes to that:

  • They could lose respect for you, undermining your parenting
  • They could fear being treated that way themselves someday even if you currently are the best parent in the world
  • Your parents might begin treating them as they treat you

Many kids grow up without grandparents and they do just fine.  It is better to have fewer relatives than to have ones who treat you badly.

Venus, thank you for articulating what I've been feeling since my last visit to my parents.    I don't share information about my parents with other people.     People know my parents live in another state, and that's all.   

Thankfully, the people who really know how my parents are...my DH, my closest aunt, brothers and SIL and MIL understand the situation and have been extremely supportive--giving me the peace of mind that many children of toxic parents don't have.

DCZinger

RegionMom

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2007, 07:51:27 PM »
I heard a great response on a radio show--
the mom had taken son and daughter's credit cards and run up huge debts.
Police involved?
No.
why not?
B/c she's my Muomuom!!!
uh uh.  No.  She tore up her mother card when she ruined you and your brother's credit.  She did not care.
Learn to say:
My mom is a bum.  I lost out on that chance for a mother daughter relationship.  But I can build new relationships with others.
:)

Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

lilfaerhie

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2007, 07:59:21 PM »
blood is thicker than water, but respect is thicker than blood.

that's my stock answer as to why i am not close to certain people, and why i don't respect or listen to certain people.

Venus193

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Re: Flat-Out "No" Causing Estrangement
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2007, 08:05:22 PM »
DC, have you read Toxic Parents by Dr Susan Forward?  This book was a breath of fresh air to me because while it is possibly the first book that acknowledges that there are such people, it even explains why you don't have to forgive them.

One thing I also discovered under the Birds of A Feather principle:  Children of toxic parents have radar for each other.  If this leads to healing and understanding, that's a great thing.