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New to this board - looking for support w/ parent issues

This is probably going to be long but I'll do my best to abbreviate....

My parents divorced when I was 13.  I'm now 32.  I've been married for almost 2 years and have an 8 month old son. 

My mother and I have always had a hard/terrible relationship and as I got happier (married to a great man, had a baby) she ramped up her manipulative behavior, started backstabbing, talking about my husband behind our backs to the rest of my family, etc.  When my son was born I had asked her repeatedly NOT to come to town until after he arrived to give me and DH some time to adjust (honestly I really didn't want her in my face at the hospital and I knew she woudln't respect my wishes).  Long story short, she INSISTED that she come to town on my due date "in case something happens, I need to be here!!".  So she did, I was induced 2 weeks later and ended up having a C/S.  She left town w/ her boyfriend the NEXT DAY.  Basically she bargedi nto the hospital room 20 minutes after DS was born, claimed rights as the first grandparent to meet him and then fled town when I needed her.  This is how she has been my whole life.  She also announced her "engagment" to her current BF the day before my wedding - it's been 2 years and they are still not married.  A month later she sent me a big email guilting and harping on me and I was so fed up that she was making my child's birth all about HER - it was the last straw.  I haven't spoken to her in about 4 months. 

Ok, so then - my dad and I have gotten along very well since I moved in w/ him at 13.  However since I've gotten married I"ve noticed that perhaps my dad only liked having a daughter who was a little girl/teenager and doesn't respect my relationship w/ my husband nor respect that I am an adult.  He treats my husband like some 16 year old boy I brought home.  He is always trying to one-up him and be "the man in my life".  He also flew into a big fit for not being "included" in the birth of my son.  Um...hello?  You're my dad.  You're not looking at my hoo-ha for 34 hours while I try to squeeze a baby out.  Anyway he called me in the hospital and yelled at me the night my son was born.  My husband basically wrote him off at that point. 

So - I am clear that I probably need serious counseling.  I think my mother is a sociopath and my father is a narcissist.  I'm armchair diagnosing them - but I'm serious. 

Once they started messing with my husband/family life and then my son I couldn't bite my tongue and play their toxic games anymore. 

The problem - I cannot stop thinking about my parents and wanting them to love me and give their approval.  WTF?!  Does anybody have any advice on how to move past all this?  I cannot afford counseling right now (my DH and I just moved across the country to get away from my family).  My brother is going through the same things w/ both our parents - strangely he is engaged and happy now too.  It's like they are out to get us.  Are they so miserable they cannot stand to see us happy?  I don't understand and I'm terrified that these toxic relationships will dominate my happy life with my husband and baby. 

Help!!!!

Re: New to this board - looking for support w/ parent issues

  • I think you said it right, you need counseling. If this is not an option financially, look in your area for support groups for people in a similar situation. Also, see if there are any services through your city/county health department that are offered on a sliding scale.

    In the meantime, you and your H are on the right path to steer clear of your family for the time being. Remember, your parents have only as much control as you let them have. You have a husband and a baby who need your love, attention and time right now. Focus on them, and give yourself some time & distance from your family to figure out how to cope. 

    And counseling. Immediately. Make it a priority. 

  • image MKESweetie:

    I think you said it right, you need counseling. If this is not an option financially, look in your area for support groups for people in a similar situation. Also, see if there are any services through your city/county health department that are offered on a sliding scale.

    In the meantime, you and your H are on the right path to steer clear of your family for the time being. Remember, your parents have only as much control as you let them have. You have a husband and a baby who need your love, attention and time right now. Focus on them, and give yourself some time & distance from your family to figure out how to cope. 

    And counseling. Immediately. Make it a priority. 

    This.
  • If financials are your only barrier to begin and engage in counselling, then you may be fortunate to to find some really good opportunities.  A few options, in no particular order, include contacting a local university/college with a program for the local community.  You could get stellar services as part of a teaching program or community engagement initiative.  Another option are local non-for-profit mental health clinics.  Also excellent services by grant funded and/or private fundraising, probably with a sliding scale fee or no fee schedule.  And support groups, usually sponsored by volunteers and community groups, open to the public with an open membership and some structure for newcomers. And new national and state laws have required all insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health and/or counselling services. So you may only be responsible for a co-pay, even if the number of sessions are limited, and that can be negotiated.

    So, with a bit of work, research and follow-up you may find excellent, affordable counselling services.  If finacials are in fact your barrier, and not just a convenient reason to avoid it.  Which is quite common.  

    I wish you the best of luck.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Once they started messing with my husband/family life and then my son I couldn't bite my tongue and play their toxic games anymore. 

    Indeed. They're toxic and you're much better off excluding them from your lives.

  • I sent you a PM SeaMama, hope that helps.
  • Your situation sounds like my parents - only they never got divorced. I have been in counseling for a few years and it has really helped me break away and create boundaries. I have lost most of my relationship with them, but realize that there was never really any relationships to begin with. I just did what they wanted me to do to gain their approval.

    I recommend looking into counseling at your school like PP mentioned, also do you have insurance? Some insurance companies will cover a therapist visit. Last resort - some counselors will see people on a "sliding scale" payment, which means their bill is based on your income and amount you are able to pay.

    Sorry you're going through this - I know it's really hard and feels unfair. I've always wanted (and think I will always want) normal parents who cared about my well being. I know that'll never happen so I do a lot of things to take care of myself and that makes me feel good about myself. I don't have control over them, but I do have control over myself.

  • I agree with pps - find counselling you can afford, it's out there!

    It sounds like you have hit the point where you need to greive and let go of an idealized version of your parents. They are deeply flawed individuals who happened to procreate and raise you and your brother. But they will not behave according to idealized forms of "motherly" or "fatherly" behavior. 

    Yes, it is sad and hurtful that they can't be supportive of you during this important, wonderous and stressful time like a "normal" parent would be. But you need to accept they are flawed and lower your expectations. This is not easy to do and where the counseling comes into play. You are correct to call them on bad behavior and limit contact with them for the betterment of your new family.  Good luck.

  • My dad is a narcissist and also mildly sociopathetic. And yet, I wanted his love and approval more than anything else. When you are raised by a narcissist, you are a "non person", you are just a little extension of them. You aren't treated an an individual that might grow up, have great sex with a spouse and eventually raise a child.

    I haven't read the PP yet, so this might be a duplicate, but you need counseling. I went for 9 months and it eventually allowed me to cut my dad out and have healthy relationships with men that weren't like him. (Frankly, I'm impressed that you were able to do this and marry a good guy.)

    You could find counselors that do sliding scales or try to scrape some money from your budget in order to see someone once a month.

    Some books you might want to read:

    Toxic Parents by S Forward

    The Dance Series by Harriet Lerner (I rec these for a variety of situations)

    I haven't read it, but I've also seen K McBride's Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers get a thumbs from other people.

     

    Hope is not a strategy.
  • My mom doesn't like me, partially because I moved away from their little hick town to give my family a better life.  Yes I love her and I want her approval and love, but in reality, I realize that so much of her behavior is toxic, so I keep my distance as much as possible.  It will never be easy, but it helps.

    Yes, you need counseling.  There are counseling centers with sliding scales and I know the college in our town has a student counseling center where you can get counseling from grad students that is very affordable.  Check for those in your area.

    Reading is also a great source of soul searching.  I am definately going to check out the book Lime suggested.

    Good luck and hugs!

    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
  • Thanks everybody! 

    I will look into some of the low cost counseling options - DH and I have been discussing this and he is definitely supportive of me getting the help I need. 

    W/ regards to finding a great husband - I did a lot of looking at mySELF over the last 5 years and what I DID have control over.  I am now sober, healthy, take care of my well-being, etc.  I learned to value myself which I think made me feel finally worthy of a nice guy....my ex-bf was a real piece of work, and looking back = ALSO a narcissist and really manipulative. 

    Anyway - I feel so lucky to be in a good place with my own little family that I want to ensure that my parents and their toxicity doesn't impact my son and husband in their day to day lives. 

    I'm now left struggling with the ACTUAL problem which is my relationship to each of my parents.  I guess I"m finally strong enough to face it all and deal with the loss of my hopes for how I wanted my family to look. 

    Anyway, thanks again, ladies - I will seek out alternatives w/ regards to the cost of counseling. 

  • image doglove:

    Your situation sounds like my parents - only they never got divorced. I have been in counseling for a few years and it has really helped me break away and create boundaries. I have lost most of my relationship with them, but realize that there was never really any relationships to begin with. I just did what they wanted me to do to gain their approval.

    I have been exactly where both of you are.  You give me hope for my own sanity.

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