T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 17839
posted 10-20-2009 11:46 AM
Hey everyone, I really don't know where to start here so I'll give some background info. This is going to be long so I apologize in advance, and thanks to anyone who reads.
Ever since I'm able to remember, my parents can't stand each other. My father, who I have no relationship at all with (except for "hello" and "I'm leaving"), has, for as long as I can recall, always abused me, my sister, and specially my mother, both verbally and emotionally. He's the kind of person who looks down upon everyone and believes himself to be the best husband one could ever have - meaning "we have enough money not to worry about anything", which "ought to make us all happy". There's much more to his behaviour but I'd need a whole post for that so I'll leave it here. My mother is a very down-to-earth person who has always been unhappy in her marriage. She was forced by circumstances to marry my father when she was 23, but since they're constantly arguing about everything she's been thinking about divorce for some years now. She hasn't divorced because she doesn't want to lose the money income my father provides, and she makes excuses for that behavior saying that she's only doing it until my sister and I are done with college and able to find a job (I finished my degree this year but my sister won't till at least another 3 years, but we get good grades and would probably be able to get grants to keep on studying). She has no close friends or relatives to support her and so she's always tried to play the "I'm your friend" card on me and my sister, but that in itself has lead to some more problems between me and her so right now she doesn't anymore. Right now, my parents are on non speaking terms ever since 4 months ago, even though we all live in the same house. My father hardly speaks to me or my sister either, and as I mentioned before we don't have any kind of father-daughter relationship. As for my mother, both my sister and me get along fairly well with her. So, about one month ago, my mom found out an ex-boyfriend of hers, from back when she was in her late teens, was looking for her. She contacted him via email and they've been talking on a daily basis since then - both thru the internet and on the phone. Since she's always been unhappy with my father, it became pretty clear to me she was fancying this guy again when she started behaving all happy and giggly and stuff even if nothing had changed at home... and from the looks of it it seemed that guy felt the same way (he's divorced BTW). I don't think keeping something like this from my father is a good idea, because a) even if they're on non speaking terms, I guess he has a right to know, b) I don't think you can try to build a new relationship when you haven't freed yourself from the boundaries of the previous one, BUT... she's an adult and I really don't feel I should be the one lecturing her on how to do that kind of stuff. I'm glad she feels happier now, but she should be the one figuring things out and I don't want to get involved in this. Nor does my sister. So we figured we'd leave her be - we've been thru lots already because of our parents, we're now 23 and 19 years old, and we'd rather they figure things out themselves. The problem is my mother won't accept that we don't want to get involved. In the beginning she openly came to us and told us "I'm going to get involved in a romantic relationship with this man and I figured you had to know". She tells us stuff about him, tells us when she talks to him, tries to get us to say hello to him thru webcam, shows my sister the sms or voice messages she gets from him - telling her he loves her so much -, tells us when she is going to meet him, tells me to help her erase their messaging logs from the computer... and basically, tries to keep this all a secret from my father while at the same time trying to make it sound normal to us two. So far no one else knows except for us two (and my bf, I told him one day because I needed to vent about all this, but that's it). The thing is, I DON'T WANT to get involved. I have told her and she just doesn't get it. She's behaving like a 12 year old who goes out with her first boyfriend and proudly tells her friends but keeps it a secret from her parents. It's pissing me off so much that she doesn't respect that one and simple thing, and when this whole thing explodes - it will, because she just doesn't know how to be subtle enough to keep this going on for long, and to make things worse my father is just the kind of person who picks on quickly on this kind of things - I don't want to get caught in the middle. It's affecting my relationship with her as well, because this irresponsibility she's showing is making me lose all respect for her. It might sound cruel, but you can't cheat on your husband, whatever kind of husband he is, and expect support from your kids. Or anyone in your family for that matter I guess. If she has no outside friends, it's not my fault, but I'm definitely not the one she can come to talk about this with. Again, all this may come thru as insensitive and cold hearted on my behalf, but I've taken a lot of sh*t from my parents during my life and I don't want to put up with it anymore. I've told her this but she doesn't seem to understand that she's doing anything wrong - other than the "cheating" in itself -. Forgive me if I'm not making sense but this whole thing seriously pisses me off.May I ask, what are your thoughts on this whole situation, please? What would you do?
Member # 3
posted 10-20-2009 12:09 PM
Well, it sounds like your family has been very dysfunctional for a long time, and dysfunctional relationship do often tend to be made of dysfunctional people. In other words, while I understand how you feel per your mother, I think we can probably agree that in EITHER of these relationships, any expectation of her acting in an optimal way, in a very healthy way, probably isn't a reasonable one. I do also think you need to cut someone some slack about honoring their agreements when their partner has not honored theirs, either: in other words, your father's abuse is also him dishonoring his agreements and vows.
HOWEVER. It also is very clear your mothers' boundaries aren't healthy or good, but that's unsurprising: abusive dynamics are all about erasing boundaries or wearing them down, so if she's been in one nearly her whole adult life, I'd be surprised if she had healthy boundaries at this point. But as you know, it really isn't appropriate or healthy to ask your children to be the keepers of your secrets from their other parent or from other family members. And I do not think it is insensitive of you to ask for that boundary and do what you can to hold that boundary: those boundaries are healthy and important, for you, for your sister, for everyone. Do you think if you talked about it in that way, and with some of the thing I have mentioned in mind, she might be more responsive to your requests. What about if you (maybe you already have) made clear that you don't NEED a friend, you need a parent?
Member # 17839
posted 10-22-2009 05:33 PM
Hey Heather, thx a lot for your response. My "family" is definitely dysfunctional, I am aware of that. I remember, from when I was little, my parents arguing about *whatever* and then stopping talking to each other for some days, which always led to a) my mum complaining about about my father and asking me and my sister for support/advice regarding his behaviour, and b) my father stopping talking to me and my sister as well, out of the blue. My father has never acted like a father is supposed to (ie. make his children feel safe/comfortable), instead he'd always call us names (sometimes using those demeaning names instead of our real names) and put us on edge by shouting at us because of random things. My mother, isolated from the friends of her youth by my father (he's also the most antisocial person I know), has always seeked advice in me, even when I was 10 or 11, and as I've mentioned, thought it'd be a great idea for us to become "friends" - however, whenever she'd get angry at me, she'd tell me "you're just like your father", knowing how much I despised him and how much that hurt me, and she'd also make that comment in front of other people sometimes. My father won't talk to my mother's side of the family and my sister and I can't stand my father's. And everybody blames the rest for all this stuff happening. So yeah, it's not what you'd call an "ideal family" indeed. quote: I don't think keeping something like this from my father is a good idea, because a) even if they're on non speaking terms, I guess he has a right to know quote: I do also think you need to cut someone some slack about honoring their agreements when their partner has not honored theirs, either: in other words, your father's abuse is also him dishonoring his agreements and vows. I agree with you on that, and to be frank the idea of standing by my father, however slightly that might be, disgusts me. What I meant was that theoretically he has a right to know, and as I said he'll probably catch on sooner rather than later, so he'll be able to hold the fact that "she didn't tell him" against her, aside from the "you're cheating on me" part. Which means his reaction will be, at least theoretically, worse. Thus, I don't think that the fact that my mum is planning on keeping it a secret for as long as she can is going to do her any good in the long run, I guess.
Anyway, I had talked to her about my not wanting to get involved, as I said, and she just didn't get it. After I insisted plenty of times she went "fine, fine, whatever you want", then acted all offended towards me for a couple of days. However afterwards she started acting the same way as before. So I tried to explain it to her in the terms you suggested - the "boundaries are necessary" thing - and the same thing happened: she didn't get it at first, then got offended by "me wanting to put boundaries between me and everyone", then after a couple of days acting as before. It seems it's no use talking to her, regardless of my words. Also, whenever I bring up the topic, she starts acting all defensive and telling me off, insisting that "I can't talk to you about anything" and "I'm so alone". She's always been this way and for quite long now I've been aware that it's crucial for my emotional health to not get affected by this, but it's just so hard. I can't wait to leave - even if she pulls the "but why won't you take me with you?" card, which she has tried to. So... I'm guessing I should try my best to just ignore all this, and get away from it all as soon as I can. How sad. PS. The "I don't need a friend, I need a parent" issue was dealt with years ago, it's not taking place anymore (rather, she sometimes will remind me subtly of how "I didn't want her as a friend, so she *had* to retaliate") [ 10-22-2009, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: Kotori ]
Member # 17839
posted 11-10-2009 06:55 AM
Has no one been through something like this?
Member # 3
posted 11-10-2009 12:50 PM
Kotori, since you didn't really ask for shared experience with this before, let's see if anyone comes around with it now that you have.