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Feel like I always have to seek approval from my parents

First let me say that my mom is very judgy. Ever since I can remember I have always felt like I need their approval with everything. In high school I felt like I had to hang out with the rich, popular kids because those were the kind of people my parents expected me to hang out with. My parents made no secret of the fact that they wanted me to date people that were of the same socioeconomic status and who looked a certain way. One of the nicest people I dated, and who treated me the best, had tattoos and was short, plus he had two children already (my mom said he made her want to throw up in her mouth). She didn't like H in the beginning either and thought that I made a mistake marrying him (he is divorced and has a 9 year old son). I feel like it is getting even worse now that I have DS. She is always telling me what I should be doing with him, or what I shouldn't be doing. DH travels for his job and my mom always wants me to stay at their house while he is gone so they can see the baby. Now that DS is much easier for me to take care of I would like to just stay at my house but I am made to feel guilty for not going over, and question my ability to be able to do everything by myself while DH is gone. However, if I am at my parents for 2.5 days then I get nothing done at my own house and feel overwhelmed when I get home. DH and I are also looking to either buy or build a new house and my parents have been very vocal about what we should or should not buy. What they don't seem to realize is that although it would be nice, we can't get everything that we "should" have in the price range we can afford (attached garage, large basement, spare office, nice backyard, nice neighborhood). I feel so frustrated feeling like I am being judged on everything and if they don't approve then it is like I am letting them down. I also don't want this to rub off on DS and him to be raised in the same way. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents and they are wonderful people, but sometimes I feel like they are too involved and if I don't follow what they think is "best" for me that they will be disappointed. How do I get over this? I am feeling really down and depressed today.
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Re: Feel like I always have to seek approval from my parents

  • Sorry you're feeling so bad. I used to be like that, too. Then I realized that there came a time when I needed to live life the way I wanted in order for *me* to be happy. If they could not approve or be happy for me, it is their loss.

    If trying to seek your parents' approval is a lose-lose situation, you can change the situation to be at least win-lose in your favor.

    As for guilt trips, don't let them work or your mom will keep using them since they worked. Let her know that they can backfire, by suggesting her insistence would make you feel like doing the opposite of what she wanted. Or say "no" no matter what she says. Eventually she should give up because what can she do... ground you?

  • Sorry this is making you feel bummed out today, but just remember that YOU have control of YOUR life.  They can have their opinions, but ultimately you have to choose what you want to do based on what you think is best for you and your family. 
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  • You get over it by taking control of your life and start making decisions with your DH and DH alone.  Your parents did their job, time to cut the umbilical cord.  They're (hopefully) always going to care about you and how you're doing which is understandable - they're your parents after all- but once you become a grown up, you get to start directing your own happiness and make your own choices.  Their opinion doesn't really count anymore.  You're not accountable to them anymore and you need to address this with them. 

     

    I would guess that it is not going to go over wonderfully, in full disclosure.  They're accustomed to bossing you around.  You need to stand up for you, your DH, and your kiddo or it will NEVER end.  If they get judgey, tough.  They can play nice with your choices or they can decide to keep meddling in which case I strongly urge you to ignore them until they do play nice.  I'm guessing they'll come around when they realize that they no longer have you firmly in their grasp.

  • Ditto the pp's.

    You may want to see a counselor to help you get over this feeling/need to always please your parents.

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  • They should know from experience that the next generation is going to "look" nothing like what their generation looked like at that age.

    Take a stand on this.

    Tell your parents once and for all that you are a grown woman and you will do what you need to do and you're sick and tired of them passing judgement on your H and other people --- I'd go as far as to tell them you're cooling it with them until they come to their senses.
  • You just say "no" a few times then stand back and watch while the world doesn't fall apart at their disappointment.

    Just keep in mind that your parents are heavily invested in never giving you the satifaction you need to be 'good enough' in order to keep you in their life and at their beck and call.

    The very thing you crave would ruin the control your parents have over you - so they'll never let you feel good enough to be independent.

    You have to do that for yourself.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image dirtyred:

    Ditto the pp's.

    You may want to see a counselor to help you get over this feeling/need to always please your parents.

    This! I could basically write your post; except we don't have kids yet. They judge everything about me! How clean my house is, what I wear, my friends.... I am currently seeing a therapist for counselling and she is amazing and hs been a great help already!  

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  • image livinitup:

    You just say "no" a few times then stand back and watch while the world doesn't fall apart at their disappointment.

    Just keep in mind that your parents are heavily invested in never giving you the satifaction you need to be 'good enough' in order to keep you in their life and at their beck and call.

    The very thing you crave would ruin the control your parents have over you - so they'll never let you feel good enough to be independent.

    You have to do that for yourself.

    So true.  Remember, nobody can make you feel anything.  You are doing it to yourself. 

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  • why do you continue to tell them things then? you dont have to tell them when DH is away, you dont have to talk to them about houses or anything! it's always been like this. stop expecting it to change and limit what you tell them will limit what they can comment on.

     

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    I had to learn to re-train myself to deal with my mother. 

    For example, when my sister's child (who would be my Godchild) was getting baptized, my mom volunteered to make the christening outfit.  My mom called me and said "I thought you'd like to come along and help me pick up fabric, since you are going to be the Godmother."  (Note: My sister was the Godmother to my child, and didn't help pick out an outfit, I wouldn't be sewing anything myself, and my sister, the MOTHER of the child was not going). 

    Instead of saying "oh yes, of course!" (being guilted and feeling that it WAS my job), I told her "No, I'm not really interested in picking out fabric."  Actually, later I told my mom "If you would like some company, I would be happy to join you, but that was because I really DID NOT mind going, but I didn't like THE EXPECTATION that I would go.  My mom had to tell me "yes, I would like some company."

    Have you read the book "Boundries?"  Some people have recommended it.  I think there is also a book called "When I say no, I feel guilty" (from the 70's). 

     

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

    She makes you feel this way because you allow it. You're no longer the 15 year old girl trying to please her parents. You are in charge of your life now... live it as you see fit and make no apologies. If she doesn't like it, that's on her.

  • I have to wonder, in general, why you were so drawn to guys with a lot of baggage.  I'm sure your parents are judgy, but might they be right about what you shouldn't have settled for in dating?

    As far as your current life, though, I do think you should just talk to them less and tell them your plans less often.

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  • My mother especially was very judgy and opinionated.  She always thought she knew best.  I find that dealing with her (since she will never change) is easier when I just say NO.  Simple sounding sure but it works.  so next time DH goes away why do you have to tell mom. if she happens to call you and tell you to come over while DH is away just say "Nah I am all set. i have things to do around here".  if she wants to see your DS so much she can come over for a visit.  I think sometimes moms like this have a hard time letting go.  Now that I say NO to my mom when I don't want to do something, I feel so muich less guilt about it and I feel like our relationship is all the better since I am not resentiing her all the time

  • I understand where you are coming from, but one day I had to get myself together and say "My parents didn't raise me to be their obedient little girl forever, they raised me to be a strong,  confident woman who can use her best judgment to make decisions for her own family." 

    Every once in a while when I know that my parents will be disappointed in one of  my decision,s I have to tell myself that mantra " My parents didn't raise me to be their obedient little girl forever."

    Trust me,  the more you disappoint them or simply make your own decisions; the easier it will get. 

  • image stw_77:

    I understand where you are coming from, but one day I had to get myself together and say "My parents didn't raise me to be their obedient little girl forever, they raised me to be a strong,  confident woman who can use her best judgment to make decisions for her own family." 

    I kid you not - I told my mom something like this one day. And she responded, "Right, I raised you to be confident and independent with everyone else. Not me!" And then we both burst out laughing.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Ditto PP on the Boundaries book recommendation--it's a great resource.

    Also, no one can *make* you feel one way or another.  You are in charge of your actions and emotions, as are your parents.  If they don't like your choices, at this point it's up to them to deal with their feelings constructively, not up to you to bend over backwards to please them.   

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