rage & parents

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rage & parents

Unread post by babywitchdoctor »

Hi everyone!
I'm really struggling with an ongoing situation involving my parents and I would love any feedback or support that y'all might have. The gist is that 6 months ago I went to my mom to tell her about the growth that I was engaged in (much of it having to do with coming to terms with past experiences of sexual assault). My mom reacted in a mildly non-supportive manner, in which she turned the conversation around to herself and imposed her views of the world/sexual assault onto my story. For the next 6 months, I tried a handful of times to tell her how she was hurting me and ask for her support and curiosity about my lived experiences, but these conversations got met with increasing hostility and defensiveness. At one point, she told me that I was "fundamentally wrong in my perceptions" and that she "wasn't curious about my experiences". Ooof. She also began to gaslight me and after months of feeling crazy and confused, I asked for some space. This hasn't been well-received, as you might imagine, so my mom and my dad started to threaten to stop helping me with rent (I'm a full time student and can only work 15 hours/week) if I didn't start communicating with them. They told me that my distance felt "dirty" and like I wasn't trying to mend the relationship, despite me telling them over and over that taking space is a decision with the longevity of our relationship in mind. They keep telling me that I have a choice, but I truly don't-- if I want to have a roof over my head next month, I need to start talking to them again even though doing so is so harmful at this moment. My parents' coercion is especially hitting a nerve because of my past experiences with sexual assault-- I didn't have a voice to say no, but I was told that I had a choice. I didn't. You never truly do when your body is being violated. This is bringing up a lot of that and so I am full of rage. I want to scream NO for all of the ways that my boundaries and my voice hasn't been respected, but I don't know how to do it when the reality is that I'm still financially dependent on my parents for rent. I also don't know how to express my anger in healthy ways because anger has been an emotion that I've been terrified of my entire life. Any advice is appreciated!
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Re: rage & parents

Unread post by Mo »

First off, I want to say that it's absolutely justified to be angry here! I also understand how it's uncomfortable or scary to feel a lot of anger, but anger is a valid response to many situations, and I certainly think it's valid here. So, just in case it helps to have someone say "it's fine to be angry at your parents," I'm happy to be that person. :)

Because you're financially dependent on your parents for now, I think it might make sense to try and figure out the safest way (both in terms of retaining that support, and in terms of sheltering your own heart and well-being) to keep in contact with them. That might involve doing the bare minimum in terms of how often you talk to them, figuring out what topics feel safe or unemotional enough that you can spin out a conversation for a reasonable length of time (I've leaned heavily on talking about food I've cooked, cute things my cat has done, or recent craft projects during times when talking to family is difficult), and finding ways to shut down or dodge conversations about sensitive topics if they come up. It sounds like talking with your parents right now is causing you a lot of stress by default, but maybe there's a least-possible-stress approach you can take for now, while you're still relying on some financial support.

In terms of expressing anger healthily, I think talking about it here where you can vent some of those feelings is a good start! Writing or art can be fantastic outlets for anger, too; maybe that's something you could explore.
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