Fight with my parents

Tinwen

Active member
Would appreciate some help on this.

Prelude:
  • I date Idealist for five years now. He lives with Meta and spends a night or two a week at my place. Idealist and Meta are going to have a child. At her age, this was very uncertain even with medical assistance, yet Meta's huge dream. Idealist has agreed to the child with reservation, their agreement is (wise or unwise) that while he's willing to help provide financially and with a limited amount of his time, most of the childcare is on her.
  • I did have an emotional breakdown over the morality aspect of dating the father of a child, yet didn't break up in the end. For reasons beyond my capacity to understand and express myself, I'm still happy with this man, and also, I don't really see how me leaving is gonna help Idealist's and Meta's relationship or his willingness to do more childcare.
  • Since I moved away from my parents' house one and a half years ago we've been in infrequent regular contact. We don't have a history of fighting, but I also don't enjoy time with my parents very much.
  • I have to move mid March. Since my grandma is in a retirement house now, there's an empty floor in my parents' house. It's an entire floor but in need of reconstruction, and the staircase up there goes through my parents' hallway.
  • I know my parents have a problem with me dating Idealist, however, in the past they have been like 'We will tryyy...'. They met before.

Christmas, time to spend some time with family, right? So I talked with my parents about the possibility to move home, and they were like sure, and since I'm having a big exam in February, they offered to make the space ready (getting Grandma's stuff out etc.) so that I can just move in.
Well, that lasted until Idealist came to visit. I did want the to meet, so I took him upstairs asked my parents if we could join for dinner, and they agreed (yet just aking on spot and not in advance was my first unforgivable transgression). Followed a bit of a tense evening where nobody said anything of substance, the hell broke loose in the morning.

Apparently, in my parents' eyes, I'm not only ruining my life, I'm also totally selfish, irresponsible, immature and immoral, and so is he (just worse since he's harming two women, but I'm harming her too), and they don't want to meet him again, and if I live at their house he's not supposed to be visiting. Not to mention how I lack work ethic and basically just have the wrong lifestyle in every conceivable way.

This has been like an hour of my mom shouting accusations at me and me mostly suffering through it unable to say a word in my defence. (I'm not very fast at responding and these are hard and in some ways legitimate issues which can't be addressed by her black and white thinking.) Not cool. Needless to say I won't be living at their house anytime soon, even if I may have to flat-share.

If their goal was Idealist not visiting their house (and me not living there), they could have just said so directly. I'm incredibly hurt by the judgement, and that kind of communication style is absolutely unacceptable. Yet I'm not sure I communicated either of that. I packed my stuff and left, which was mostly planned anyway.

I'm not sure how to proceed, however. Should I just not contact them and keep myself out of the line of fire until my life is sorted in such a way which I can present to them as a 'viable future plan'? Should I, like, write them an email stating how calling me and my partner names is unacceptable? Should I act as if all is good and just not talk about Idealist at all (which is what has been mostly happening in the past years)? Wtf do you do if your parents have a problem with your basic personality?

My temptation is to, like, demonstratively disinvite them from our theatre performance, since after all, they don't want to see my partner (though my feeling is it wasn't that literal). Only communicate with them from now on when I have a very good reason to, no more courtesy visits, no more trying to keep contact and find my way to them. But I know it's anger-fueled and cruel, I may regret losing whatever rest of a relationship there is as much as they will.
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I can't help thinking that they'd be at least a little more flexible if they could see their daughter was genuinely happy in the relationship she finds herself in. You've wanted monogamy from him and are devastated by their choosing to co-parent. Parents generally know their children

I've known several couples who have decided that one birth parent will play a minimal role... guess what? Every single one I've known as fallen desperately in love with the child as most parents do and has been a full time co-parent. I wouldn't be too comfortable thinking he won't be a full-time dad to the child.

At this point, I'd be doing what is best for my future.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
Sure, your parents could be a little more open minded, but their reaction to your being romantically attached to a man who is having a child with another woman is well within the realm of understandable. It's a rare parent who would not be alarmed. Should they have behaved better? Yes, but here you are. In the end, it doesn't matter what your parents think, it matters what you think.

Are you 1000% at peace about his fathering a child with a woman who is not you? I rather suspect that if you were, your parents would pick up on that peace and there would not be nearly so much turmoil among you all. You cannot expect your parents to feel what you, yourself do not even feel.
 

Tinwen

Active member
I can't help thinking that they'd be at least a little more flexible if they could see their daughter was genuinely happy in the relationship she finds herself in. You've wanted monogamy from him and are devastated by their choosing to co-parent. Parents generally know their children

I've known several couples who have decided that one birth parent will play a minimal role... guess what? Every single one I've known as fallen desperately in love with the child as most parents do and has been a full time co-parent. I wouldn't be too comfortable thinking he won't be a full-time dad to the child.

At this point, I'd be doing what is best for my future.
Fair points.
More confidence on my part would surely help.
I disagree though that my parents know me. They have no fucking idea who I am outside of the family. They haven't understood my emotional needs since.. never.
If Idealist takes up the parental role, at least that answers my moral reservations. If that means family focus which doesn't leave time for me, then I walk. I think it more likely he's going to bring the child sometimes over, though. I have no idea how I'll react and if that can work or not.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry this happend. FWIW?

Don't live with the parents at this time. Make alternative arrangements.

Let everyone cool off for a few days -- at least 3 maybe more. When I emotionally flood, it takes me at least 3 days to clear all the adrenalin and grrr feeling. I quote just to visually block it off.

When cooler, say something like this. And be calm about it. Even if it feels weird like YOU have to the adult and the parents are all temper tantrum or something.

"I wish we could communicate better.

I know you don't like some of my choices. It is ok not to like them.

I need you to understand this: Even if I choose things you don't love? You have to be ok with my being able to make MY own choices in MY own life.

If my living here is too challenging, that is ok. I can rent a flat with roomies.

If you prefer not to see Idealist, that is ok. I can avoid bringing him over here when I visit you.

You do have to understand that I've been dating him for 5 years and its not stopping any time soon. I don't know if this will be a long lasting thing, but it's not a short term thing either. He is in my life right now. You might not love the poly thing, but that too is part of my life.

I feel hurt by the shouting accusations and name calling at me. It's ok to disagree. It's not ok to shout and name call. I would like an apology for the yelling part.

I apologize for my part in the situation making. Perhaps it caught you off guard to have me bring a date over here so soon and perhaps the reality of living with an adult child as a roomie was ok in theory but ended up being too weird in practice. I see now that we could have talked that out more. It may have all been too fast.

I am willing to talk things out, but not be screamed at. What happened there? Did it come out that way because you've been holding things in?

What sort of relationship would you like to have with me? I'm willing to try. Are you?

Should I act as if all is good and just not talk about Idealist at all (which is what has been mostly happening in the past years)?

Do you still want to go to our theatre performance?

Do you still want me to visit and call? "


Be direct.

And this might not be one conversation. It could be a series of them. Put a timer -- like 30 min. and if there's more still to talk say "I appreciate you talking to me more REAL. But I don't want to wear us all out. It's been 30 min on this. So how about we bookmark it here and pick it up again later?"

I'm not very fast at responding and these are hard and in some ways legitimate issues which can't be addressed by her black and white thinking.) Not cool.

Can't get upset with them for bringing up legitimate issues you yourself are grappling with. HOW they brought it up with the yelling? Ok. That's not HELPING you. But the issues? I wonder if they need to hear something like this from you when you talk.


"Look, you brought up some hard and legitimate issues that I already grapple with. Maybe you need to be reassured that I do see the problems and that I am trying to resolve how I feel about things. I'm not just sailing blind here.

But it does not HELP ME figure it out any faster when you scream at me about it. Just because I don't share my deeper problems with you? That doesn't mean I don't know they are there.

At this time, I choose to continue to date Idealist. I don't know if that will be a long term thing or not, but it's been 5 years so it's safe to say it is not a short thing. In the meanwhile, could you please be willing to be basic polite to me and give me space while I'm figuring my stuff out rather than yelling at me?"

Galagirl
__________________
 
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Tinwen

Active member
Sure, your parents could be a little more open minded, but their reaction to your being romantically attached to a man who is having a child with another woman is well within the realm of understandable. It's a rare parent who would not be alarmed. Should they have behaved better? Yes, but here you are. In the end, it doesn't matter what your parents think, it matters what you think.

Are you 1000% at peace about his fathering a child with a woman who is not you? I rather suspect that if you were, your parents would pick up on that peace and there would not be nearly so much turmoil among you all. You cannot expect your parents to feel what you, yourself do not even feel.
Here I am, but what am I supposed to do now?
I can't possibly have a good relationship with people who honestly think I'm self-centred, lazy, immoral, immoral once more, not to mention how all that should be pathologized by my psychiatric diagnosis.
If this is how they see me, why would they even have any relationship with me at all? I probably shouldn't intrude into their orderly world anymore.
It's not just a matter of poly, it really seems lately I can't do anything right.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Galagirl, your conflict resolutions theory (and skills, I assume), are just so great. I hope I'll be able to implement that, three days from now. Thanks a lot.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad it helped you some.

You might also consider doing it over email. Then you cannot be yelled at but you can still move the discussion forward. And if they piss you off in the reply?

Well, you can not answer back right away Take another 3 days to cool off.

Remember that THEIR anxiety about their child (you) is not YOUR anxiety.

Their poor communication (if they've been gunnysacking and then popped) -- is not YOUR poor communication.

Something else to keep in mind -- some parents suck at cutting the apron strings.

It's on you to maintain your adult boundaries.

Yeah, once upon a time they diapered you. But NO. They don't see you naked any more.

Yeah, once upon a time you told them all your little kid worries and upsets. But NO. You might not share everything about your adult life with them.

How I put it to mine -- who struggled with changing from a parent-child relationship with me to an adult-adult one:

"You will always be my Family of Origin. Always. But you people are NOT my immediate family. You do not live in my house. My spouse/kids do. THEY are my new immediate family. You people are EXTENDED RELATIVES that live over THERE.

One day? Kids will leave here. I will always be their Family of Origin. But they will have their new immediate families over THERE in their new homes. We all get a turn being the kids, the parents, the grandparents and so on. So stop getting in the way of the circle of life already.

It's weird to tell my own parents this but I'm gonna tell you any way. MOVE OVER. Stop trying to hog all the spaces in the Game of Life! Be the grandparents over THERE. WE are the new parents, THESE are the new kids!"
It made them laugh, and things were a bit better then. (As a family we do play that board game -- Life.)

They got reassured they were still important in my life.

I got more space and them to stop acting like they are still immediate family and they are the ones in charge of all. Because they are NOT. *I* have to be in charge of my adult life.

Galagirl
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi Tinwen,

Sorry your parents acted that way, it sounds like your mom acted the worst, but I might have read that wrong. In any case, I think it is appropriate to put some space between you and them at this time. Maybe not too much and maybe not for too long, but enough that you get a chance to catch your breath. And enough so that they calm down a little. GalaGirl is right, give it at least three days before you talk to them again, and maybe even then just do it by email. And if they start acting unreasonable toward you again, excuse yourself and walk away. Maybe give it a week after the second time they act that way, a month after the third time, and so on. You don't have to be spiteful toward them, but you do need to be respectful toward yourself. Sometimes that means walking away.

I hope you will be able to work things out with them. Keep us posted on that if you're willing.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Thank you. I may send an email (it's a relief to think I could), although they might consider that rude or cowardly in itself. I'm way better with written communication, and probably better any communication than none at all at this point.

Hi Tinwen,
Sorry your parents acted that way, it sounds like your mom acted the worst, but I might have read that wrong.
My mom is the speaker of the couple :eek:
 

MeeraReed

Active member
Your mom is an idiot. Her reaction demonstrates some majorly conservative beliefs about sex, relationships, and even about women. She's not being very nice to you. And she's not listening to you.

Don't move into your grandma's apartment. It would make you miserable to try living there. Find other living arrangements.

I think you've been happier since you moved out of your parents' house, no? You've been able to become more yourself?

Keep on living your life.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thank you. I may send an email (it's a relief to think I could), although they might consider that rude or cowardly in itself.

So? Could let their thinking be THEIRS. That part is not your problem. I grey it out.

If you need to be free from yelling? Well, meet your own need! Communication over email stops yelling. So does a mailed letter.

Do it the way YOU need it to be so YOU can feel ok having the discussion.

What are they going to do? BIG FONT at you that you are a coward because you write them letters?

You can just reply calmly that you don't like being screamed at and haven't figure out how to talk to them in ways other than letters so there's no yelling. When they demonstrate they can talk without yelling you can try oral communication again at that point in time. At this time, they yell. So... you are only willing to do written word.

Be ok having your own boundaries with parents. Let their behavior (yelling) lead to natural consequences (people don't want to talk to them in person.)


I'm way better with written communication, and probably better any communication than none at all at this point.

If you need it to be NO communication? Be quiet and do nothing for a few days. Then send an email if/when you are ready.

Be ok taking care of YOU and putting what YOU need to have happen FIRST.

You are 29. You seem to have managed thus far. Be ok keeping on.

Galagirl
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I and many people see our parents and siblings as immediate family along with our spouse and children. For me, extended family are aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. My parent's immediate family differ from mine.

I don't know if I use the words as the Dictionary Deity intended, but it's how I've always spoken of them.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
If Idealist takes up the parental role, at least that answers my moral reservations. If that means family focus which doesn't leave time for me, then I walk. I think it more likely he's going to bring the child sometimes over, though. I have no idea how I'll react and if that can work or not.

I encourage you to focus more on this aspect and not so much on whatever opinions your parents may hold. I know that it's painful to fall out with family of origin, but many of us do in one way or another, poly or not. It's part of the natural process of maturity to find ourselves in a controversy over which we must stand by who we have become and what is important to us. Often times, the distance serves to create a better relationship in the long run. As you do not care to be dismissed over superficial judgements, neither do they. From where I sit, what you're asking them to accept is a very tough sell - for anyone. Yes, they seem smaller minded than most, and yes, they don't really get you anyway - but I encourage you to just allow all of that to be what it is and focus more on Idealist's impending parenthood and whether you will be happy there.

How people imagine parenting and what parenting actual is - two very different things. The plan is for Meta to take on the main role, and she likely will, but he is still the father. Having a child in this world is so very much more engulfing than the time involved. He very likely will have time for you, but he will be changed. Parenthood just does that. He will be changed. You can't know how you will feel and my point isn't for you to waste your energy forecasting the unknown. My point is that your parents disapprove, but as best you can, accept that as the best they can do. It's their limited expression of love for you. Let them have their perspective, as you have yours - which means that they won't be much in your world for awhile. That's OK, most of us (poly or not) go through something similar while finding our way. Your parents will not be lost to you forever. Focus your attentions on what you want for your own life. Take some time and really ponder: Is continuing to attach yourself and deepen with Idealist what you want, now that he embarks on a parenting journey with Meta?
 

WhatHappened

Active member
Sure, your parents could be a little more open minded, but their reaction to your being romantically attached to a man who is having a child with another woman is well within the realm of understandable. It's a rare parent who would not be alarmed.

I'm in agreement with this.

In the end, a lot of people are looking to force others to change their minds and their beliefs. They have a right to their beliefs about being with a married man as much as you do.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Your mom is an idiot. Her reaction demonstrates some majorly conservative beliefs about sex, relationships, and even about women. She's not being very nice to you. And she's not listening to you.
... Keep on living your life.
As others have pointed out, she most certainly isn't an idiot. She's a worried mother with a few terrible communication habits that I don't know how to deal with.

But no, she's not being very nice, and yes, I've become more myself since I'm on my own. No worries, I am not moving in. I take up the additional responsibility of not relying on the family property. Thanks.
What are they going to do? BIG FONT at you that you are a coward because you write them letters?
The idea of my mother BIG FONT-ing made me smile :D

No, they are going to write a polite (or even welcoming) answer, but the next time there is an argument they may use it to support whatever theses they hold in a kind of "You won't even talk about important stuff in person..." way. I can see now how that's a guilt-trip. A desperate attempt of manipulating me caused by whatever feeling she can't handle better.

The more I'm looking at it the more I see that it's going to be hard to do better conflict resolution as a family, these are ingrained patterns, just as I have developed the pattern of shutting down in response to real or perceived accusations.
Be ok having your own boundaries with parents...
I'll do my best.

My point is that your parents disapprove, but as best you can, accept that as the best they can do. It's their limited expression of love for you. Let them have their perspective, as you have yours - which means that they won't be much in your world for awhile.
Yes, I can see that :(

I encourage you to focus more on this aspect and not so much on whatever opinions your parents may hold. ...
Take some time and really ponder: Is continuing to attach yourself and deepen with Idealist what you want, now that he embarks on a parenting journey with Meta?
As much as I value your perspective overall, this is not the right thread and not the right time. There was reflection and there will be reflection, but a) the family shape changing is urgent, that's why I asked for focused advice on that specifically, and b) I need my psyche as stable as possible for the next two months because of an exam. This is NOT the time to go deep.

In fact, this is a more complicated, vulnerable and entangled topic than most people can even imagine, and at this point in time, I don't want forum advice on it at all. I'm sure I'll post sooner or later again. Thanks for understanding.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
but the next time there is an argument they may use it to support whatever theses they hold in a kind of "You won't even talk about important stuff in person..." way.

And? You can say "That is correct. I prefer written word." And leave it there.

You can have a boundary. When the parent demonstrates they can handle hard conversation without screaming? Then you can change where you draw the line. But I think it is reasonable to not want to be screamed at. Who does?

The more I'm looking at it the more I see that it's going to be hard to do better conflict resolution as a family, these are ingrained patterns, just as I have developed the pattern of shutting down in response to real or perceived accusations.

Could play a new record. AGREE!

My Dad likes to do pull the "you are too sensitive" card when HE has done rude things. Usually screaming. If I call him on it? He says I'm too sensitive. Hoping to make change the spotlight from (his rude behavior) to (whether or not I'm the right amount of sensitive or too much).

Instead? I AGREE. "That's right. I'm too sensitive. So you cannot talk like that around me. I expect an apology." I bring the focus back to the topic at hand.


He's got Alzheimer. He screams. I don't care if he screams at the squirrels, the AC temp, the lawn. He is not allowed to scream at ME. He gets 3 chances to apologize and if not? I get up and go home. Start over tomorrow. I don't get paid to do eldercare. Why am I gonna stick around for free to be screamed at?

Mom says he calls me a bitch behind my back. I laugh and tell her that is HER problem at that point, not mine. I'm not there. To my face he behaves.

You prob aren't in that Alzheimer space with a parent. But you CAN choose to NOT play the "same ol' record." Try a new one.

And if you don't live there? You don't have to be held "captive audience" if a parent goes on a roll.

You can say "Well, it looks like you are upset and I've worn out my welcome for today. I'll relieve you of my company. Excuse me."

Then go home and watch a movie and relax!

Galagirl
 

MayDecember

New member
I take up the additional responsibility of not relying on the family property.

Good!

You said one other very important thing about your mom not being a good communicator. She was your most influential teacher. Think about that.

I had written a response about diplomacy and tact. It got lost in the ether. But there are things we either don't mention, or mention obliquely to people that are offended by it.

In their own homes especially. There are things I can never talk about with my Mother. Like poly. I do not conceal it, she knows. But I never put it in her face.

Politics is an example of something extended families are infamous for fighting about. Sports. Religion. So you try to be tactful.

Living under the same roof is not a good idea.
 

Tinwen

Active member
You said one other very important thing about your mom not being a good communicator. She was your most influential teacher. Think about that.
Indeed :(

On the idea of 'tact', I'm not sure that's the way to go. I feel like with my whole life is hidden out of 'tact', but then there's nothing left to talk about. Mom doesn't want to hear about my partner, mom obviously doesn't want to hear about shibari (which is fine, but as I spend evenings and weekends and vacations on workshops, I have to make up excuses), mom isn't interested to hear about meditation or that I started a personal development group with my friends, and mom is worried when I tell her my problems - which means work isn't a safe topic anymore, neither is health, mental or physical.
I'm not doing that many 'safe' things to talk about at the moment. Which leaves me with 'I'm fine' (which I'm most certainly not at the moment) and no real topics of conversation.
I feel like this idea of 'tact' is being misused to avoid honesty, which is what has created this distance in the first place. Or maybe we're just too different.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, they had called for new year's eve and they were sweet. Which was nice and reassuring, and made me want to skip talking about the conflict too for a while.

I also had to grieve the loss of my childhood home.

Today I finally sent that email (I wrote most of it a week ago, but had to reread it and dull the edges). I stated I was bothered by the name calling, that I'd prefer to talk about stuff sooner and not have them "try" again, and that it's ok for me to live elsewhere. I kept it short, not sure if it really conveyed what I wanted to show, though. Hopefully, it's still a good step. Time will tell.
 
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MayDecember

New member
On the idea of 'tact', I'm not sure that's the way to go. I feel like with my whole life is hidden out of 'tact', but then there's nothing left to talk about.

You have my empathy. I get it. It is too late for me, my Mom is in daily care and mentally deterioraring.

Personality traits get exaggerated as they get this close to dying. She tells the staff and anyone else within earshot how full of shit I am. Not just a lack of respect but incessant emotional abuse.

You have to really be on top of your game because after 85 years of practicing she can shift from playing the victim to rage to guilt-tripping and shaming, etc. and the instant something works on you she's digging in hard.

So you have to stay on top of your emotions: always be prepared to catch the anger, the resentment, whatever button she is pushing before it gets ahead of you. Because in her mind the biggest victory is getting you to explode in anger.

When you leave it's "whew!" like the pressure is suddenly off. Every question has a booby trap, every word of your response is policed, and she is relentless.

Gee, I would like to talk about homeschool but she was president of the teacher's union and hates homeschool. Politics, nope. Legal pot, nope. It is at this point a son humoring his mom out of loyalty. I love her.

Some of the literature I have read is especially poignant about people who ground themselves into dust trying to get someone like a spouse, parent, children, whomever to "see", to "understand" us and really connect in communication. In empathy.

It would be in vain. For me to try. And I am totally at peace with just keeping it to the weather, what's for supper, and talking about the things we do with our kids that Mom did with us when we were young.

Mom doesn't want to hear about my partner, mom obviously doesn't want to hear about shibari (which is fine, but as I spend evenings and weekends and vacations on workshops, I have to make up excuses), mom isn't interested to hear about meditation or that I started a personal development group with my friends, and mom is worried when I tell her my problems - which means work isn't a safe topic anymore, neither is health, mental or physical.
I'm not doing that many 'safe' things to talk about at the moment. Which leaves me with 'I'm fine' (which I'm most certainly not at the moment) and no real topics of conversation.
I feel like this idea of 'tact' is being misused to avoid honesty, which is what has created this distance in the first place. Or maybe we're just too different.

Honesty means my Mom knows about poly. It was spoken of exactly once, and that was the end of it. By her request. So we are not being dishonest with her. It is humoring her, sure - and it would be great if my Mom was cool about pot or multiple women, but she just isn't. It would be cool if Mom could morph into Jennifer Aniston too. But the odds are about the same.

If you know the serenity prayer, then you know wisdom is knowing the difference between what things you can change and what things you cannot change.
 
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