Fight with my parents

GalaGirl

Well-known 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.

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.

Have you considered that being tactful is being honest with YOURSELF about the fact that you have nothing in common with your parents? And that's the best you can offer? Basic polite, and small talk chit chat? There's just not gonna be deep meaningful sharing here? It doesn't mean anyone is horrible. It just means... not a lot in common. :confused:

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 don't have a lot in common with my parents. OR some of my other relatives. I don't hate them. Just that we're not tight. Just because we are related doesn't mean insta-bond. Esp in larger families -- my mom is tight with 2 sisters, but not the other 2. I had to point that out to her when she was lamenting that I'm not close to mine. Why this expectation when she's not close to some of hers? She agreed.

Find the topics you CAN do. In my case with my father who is an Alz patient topics go like...

"How are you? How's Muffin (his pet) doing? What yummy food did you have for dinner? Has he heard about restaurant X? (he likes to eat.)"

Do I super care about the cat, his chicken dinner or restaurant X? I care some, but I could take it or leave it. Do I expect deep conversation here? No. Do I expect him to take an interest in MY things? No. Do I want to talk to him about things that are closer to my interests? Once upon a time I did, but I let the want to be a close knit family go a long time ago. My dad is just not that dad. I just have the dad relationship I have. Like even if he weren't a patient? He's just not into the things I'm into. Wasn't back then, why would he be now that he ill?

So one thing we can talk about we both like is shared memories and stories. I usually prompt him and then he's happy telling me family stories and I'm happy to listen about the time him and brother found a skunk in the woods and similar.

You may have to change your expectations of what sort of relationship you have with your parents "adult to adult" and have some boundaries if the parents are still trying to relate to you like "adult to kid." You are NOT a kid.

You also may not have your ideal close relationship with your parents as adult to adult. You just have the one you have.

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

Did something happen to it? Or is it that you aren't gonna be living there?

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

Keep it small and doable for you. Moving it forward in bite size pieces is totally fine.

Galagirl
 
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SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
I'm feeling uncomfortable how your parents are being made to appear like monsters in this thread and I'm not sure that was either your intention or your opinion.

I'd remind your mother that you'll be distant if she doesn't permit you to discuss the things important to you.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
I feel like with my whole life is hidden out of 'tact', but then there's nothing left to talk about. ...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.

You're right on schedule in human development, exploring this theme as you enter your 30s. Much of the work we do during this decade is recognizing how much of ourselves we can be with our families of origin and how much we must keep separate. Independence and separation issues do not end with the teens and 20s, but instead go on as we mature with more experience in the adult world. In our 30s, we often struggle with questions about how real we can be with our parents, whether their expectations and view of us jive with our own values and dreams for ourselves. The particulars vary, but this ongoing dilemma during the 30s years is totally normal in the individual human development timeline. Perhaps it's helpful for you to know that you're exploring territory that you should be exploring right now and that nothing is wrong here. This is a developmental stage of life that will serve you well.
 

Tinwen

Active member
I called to check about the theatre performance (and how they are), and they are not going, and I have a very sad mom. I know there's nothing I can do about that right now. I cried a bit too, but the process is ok overall, I hope.
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.
Galagirl said:
Find the topics you CAN do. In my case with my father who is an Alz patient topics go like...

"How are you? How's Muffin (his pet) doing? What yummy food did you have for dinner? Has he heard about restaurant X? (he likes to eat.)"
I know that dynamics. We (mom especially) has it with grandma.
It would be very sad if that's the best we can do, and no one wants that kind of a relationship. I think it's likely we can do better.

Galagirl said:
Have you considered that being tactful is being honest with YOURSELF about the fact that you have nothing in common with your parents? And that's the best you can offer? Basic polite, and small talk chit chat? There's just not gonna be deep meaningful sharing here? It doesn't mean anyone is horrible. It just means... not a lot in common.
Galagirl said:
You may have to change your expectations of what sort of relationship you have with your parents "adult to adult" and have some boundaries if the parents are still trying to relate to you like "adult to kid." You are NOT a kid.

You also may not have your ideal close relationship with your parents as adult to adult. You just have the one you have.
I have to think about all that, and find out what can be done. Small talk chit-chat is something I generally avoid, and also I think it's hard to do with parents because they are so invested in how I'm doing. I cant really conceal when I'm not well, which happens for extended periods of time. And they can't help and they are not handling it well.
So I'm afraid that cycles back to not seeing them much :(
I'm feeling uncomfortable how your parents are being made to appear like monsters in this thread and I'm not sure that was either your intention or your opinion.
I'm quite sure nobody intended to make my parents into monsters. They are just pointing out that relationships are limited sometimes.
You're right on schedule in human development, exploring this theme as you enter your 30s. Much of the work we do during this decade is recognizing how much of ourselves we can be with our families of origin and how much we must keep separate. Independence and separation issues do not end with the teens and 20s, but instead go on as we mature with more experience in the adult world. In our 30s, we often struggle with questions about how real we can be with our parents, whether their expectations and view of us jive with our own values and dreams for ourselves. The particulars vary, but this ongoing dilemma during the 30s years is totally normal in the individual human development timeline. Perhaps it's helpful for you to know that you're exploring territory that you should be exploring right now and that nothing is wrong here. This is a developmental stage of life that will serve you well.
Uh, I guess you're right, thanks.
Is that your observation, or are you citing some research? I'm curious if that's at least somewhat a cross-cultural thing, or if that's (Euro-)American adult development :D

Btw. I do realize this thread is really off-topic now after I stopped the comments on Idealist having a child here. I may still answer or post an update if the situation takes an unexpected turn soon, but I will try slowly to move back to my blog. Thank you very much, everyone, for your insights.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad it helped you some.

Just to clarify though...

I know that dynamics. We (mom especially) has it with grandma.
It would be very sad if that's the best we can do, and no one wants that kind of a relationship. I think it's likely we can do better.

You don't have to be doing "tact" forever. You might be able to get to a better relationship than that.

It just might need a period of "tact" FOR NOW while you are sorting out your new living situation so you get some breathing space and they don't have hard stuff up in their face cuz you live upstairs. Like... a transition strategy for the transitional time.

It's ok to take it in smaller steps. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. YKWIM?

Don't let anxiousness about it all make this bigger/harder than has to be. It is ok to slow it down.

Small talk chit-chat is something I generally avoid, and also I think it's hard to do with parents because they are so invested in how I'm doing. I cant really conceal when I'm not well, which happens for extended periods of time. And they can't help and they are not handling it well.
So I'm afraid that cycles back to not seeing them much

You could learn to do small chit chat knowing it's the "for now thing" and not a forever thing so you can have some peace finding a new place and moving back out. Then work on being more authentic so each has a place to retreat -- your own homes.

Or... you start speaking your authentic truth right now WHILE finding a new place to live. And accept there will be some extra weird because you are all under one roof right now. You don't get to retreat as far as you might like to cool off.

If they ask how you are? NO. You are not well sometimes.

And you learn to be ok with them having an authentic response/reaction to this new information they just learned: They worry and don't handle it well.

And you have YOUR next authentic response/reaction: Sorry you aren't handling it well. Would you prefer I not tell you next time?

Then respect the answer. WHILE practicing not taking on THEIR stuff on board for yourself. THEIR response or reaction is THEIR job. THEIR emotional management.

Letting them handle their stuff is not that you don't care about them. It's you doing your stuff your are responsible for, them doing their stuff the are responsible for, and being willing to talk and discern which (if any) parts is "our stuff" that all share responsibility for.

It CANNOT all be YOUR stuff.

If they overstep their boundaries like bossing you around like a child or screaming again? You can have your authentic response/reaction : I see you are worried. And that part is ok. It's your authentic emotion. But screaming at me? That is not ok behavior to me. I prefer you not scream at me.

Just up and telling me what to do like X or Y? I did not ask you for help. I answered your question about how I'm doing. I prefer you ASK me if I need help or advice at this time. Not just dump things on me from your own whooshing worries or anxiety when I just told you I am not well.

It ok to care, it is not ok to _______ (whatever it is they do that bugs you.)


Be calm. Just list the things and what you prefer instead. You are allowed to have your adult preferences. They may need some transition time to get to actually know what those are and who you are as an adult.

Lots of people write about the process of "becoming your own person" or individuation. From different angles too. But since you mentioned school, here's a school kinda article.

https://med.nyu.edu/child-adolescen...ge-separation-and-change-parents-and-students

Maybe that helps some? It's ok to be authentic. The main person you have to be authentic with first is YOU though. So... if right now you have all this moving stuff to do?

Maybe "Tact and small talk" could be it as a "for now" strategy. Solve the housing. Then the next thing. One thing at a time.

But however it is you choose to handle it... I hope things improve for you.

GL!
Galagirl
 
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FallenAngelina

Well-known member
Is that your observation, or are you citing some research?

If you've ever used the term "mid-life crisis," you are citing the work of Gail Sheehy, a literary journalist who coined the phrase in 1976 and whose work remains one of the most influential in our now-common view of adult development. Her most well known book is Passages, in which she analyses adult development in the 20s, 30s and 40s, but she has written many others.


"....a coherent vision of the passages we must all take through the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties toward what is potentially the best of life. Passages is a revolutionary book that changed the way millions of women and men around the world look at the stages of their lives. Passages remained on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than three years and has been reprinted in 28 languages. A Library of Congress survey named Passages one of the ten most influential books of our times......More relevant than ever, this timeless landmark book makes sense of the universal and inevitable passages we experience in our twenties, thirties, forties, and beyond. By illuminating these normal trials of adult life, Sheehy demonstrates how to use each challenge as an opportunity for creative change and growth toward one’s full potential."
 
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Tinwen

Active member
Or... you start speaking your authentic truth right now WHILE finding a new place to live. And accept there will be some extra weird because you are all under one roof right now. You don't get to retreat as far as you might like to cool off.
Just to clarify, I am not living with them right now. I have to move, so there was the offer for me to move home, but I still have the old flat.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Ah, ok. Thanks for explaining that.

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.

For some reason I though they made the space and you were already moved in and were living upstairs. And then you brought Idealist over to visit. And then it blew up with the shouting and accusations and things.

Galagirl
 
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Tinwen

Active member
Don't let anxiousness about it all make this bigger/harder than has to be. It is ok to slow it down.
That seems to be the right reminder for me overall, thanks.

As for my parents, they haven't written back. I called mom once more with a practical reason/excuse, she asked me to go visit grandma with them. I told her I don't want to take our misunderstandings to grandma's, she seemed surprised/angry that I won't act as if nothing had happened. I don't want to see her much, I'm quite clear on that.

I'm moving on with the decision-making process, now deciding about the new living arrangements.

I have two interesting living opportunities now, and I have to decide until Monday, as they won't wait much longer. One is a tiny one-room flat across the street from Idealist's. He would help out financially with that, as it still cost's more than I'm comfortable with, despite the size. The second one is house-sharing with some people I know a bit (but not so well as to know their stance on poly). Less comfort, more social risk, less financial risk.
One is a step INTO my relationship, the other one is rather a step OUT of it.

However I decide, it only determines my living situation for the next few months, it's not unchangeable. The relationship implications could be more tangled.

The flat has it's advantage (and disadvantage) in it's closeness. I could be there when the baby is born. Be more part of it. And if it doesn't work, hopefully, I can still close the door. There is still a big question mark above the relationship - yet I'm in no position to decide in advance how it pans out. Also, I hope to go deeper with therapy. I don't feel like doing it alone.
I'm open to poly comments again. Please be gentle though.
 
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Vicki82

Active member
I think that taking the flat across the street would be tough if you eventually decide that you want to take a step back. You'd be right there and you'd probably see them randomly, and more opportunity to hurt on both sides. Also, what would happen if Idealist was not able at some point to assist you with the payments? Do you have to sign a lease of a certain length?

On the other hand... I loathe living with people. The last thing I would want is to move into shared accommodation with a bunch of people, especially people I don't know well enough to know if we'd be compatible. So I'd be much more likely to gamble on the flat. Although if I did so, I'd probably also make the decision to go all in on the relationship and see how that works. I wouldn't want to leave things hanging and yet also be financially entwined without the commitment.

Maybe talk to your counsellor some more and try to make a decision about the relationship and go from there?
 

JaneQSmythe

Active member
I'd prefer a 3rd choice myself...but if that is unlikely to materialize before Monday (decision deadline?)? Personally, I would go with the housemates, particularly if there wasn't a long-term obligation. I would hate to be financially dependant on someone with whom I though I could conceivably decide to end the relationship.:cool: Complicated. Where do you and Idealist generally hook up now? I guess would be my other question. Do you always host? Why would they (the housemates) have to know about the poly aspect?

While I have, historically, jumped "feet-first" IN to all (both) my relationships, I always had the financial resources to back away. Money = choices in my book, so if something would stretch you thin if things went awry? Not secure in my view.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Also, what would happen if Idealist was not able at some point to assist you with the payments? Do you have to sign a lease of a certain length?
There's a way to end the lease in 3 months, which is quite ok - I can handle the costs short-term. It's inconvenient to break up and move, of course, should it come so far.
 

Tinwen

Active member
I took the flat, so I guess in a sense I am going into the relationship. It makes the logistics so much easier, with the baby especially. To be living 40 minutes away in the share house would almost certainly lead to seeing Idealist considerably less.
Maybe talk to your counsellor some more and try to make a decision about the relationship and go from there?
I will be exploring with the counsellor, but this is work for the upcoming month(s). So I could not wait with a decision.
If it all blows up, well,I'll have to handle that.
 
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Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I took the flat, so I guess in a sense I am going into the relationship. It makes the logistics so much easier, with the baby especially. To be living 40 minutes away in the shared house [with flatmates] would almost certainly lead to seeing Idealist considerably less...

If it all blows up, well, I'll have to handle that.

I'm glad. This is what I would have done. I've had 3 babies, so I know how demanding of your time and energy they are. Now, Idealist can just pop over to see you when the baby and Meta are resting, napping, or otherwise taken care of or occupied.

I am trying to read your blog, but I'm still having a hard time understanding why you mistrust this relationship so much. You've indicated you have anxiety. You've indicated that Meta is somewhat unaccepting of Idealist's poly desires, I think? And so she makes, or has made, things difficult for you sometimes? Is there anything else I'm missing?

It sounds like there's a lot of goodness between you and Idealist. Things that bring you joy and security. Gosh, I wish I had a bf who helped pay my rent! lol
 

Tinwen

Active member
I am trying to read your blog, but I'm still having a hard time understanding why you mistrust this relationship so much. You've indicated you have anxiety. You've indicated that Meta is somewhat unaccepting of Idealist's poly desires, I think? And so she makes, or has made, things difficult for you sometimes? Is there anything else I'm missing?
Magdlyn, this is a good (and complicated) question. I'll post about it in my blog.

Gosh, I wish I had a bf who helped pay my rent!
Yeah, that's actually a huge improvement :)

I think it's quite appropriate that he does contribute, because being with him means extra demands: having a bigger room so that a bed for two can fit in, privacy concerns, and a more expensive area of the city. Otherwise, I would compromise by having flat-mates, and/or living further away from the centre.

Also, Meta lives at his apartment for a third of the costs I'll be paying anyway.
I must admit I can't quite avoid jealousy on that. So this helps close that gap.

It's nice that he stepped up.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Update

Yesterday was the first time after those nearly four months that I spent more then an hour with my parents, in fact most of the day visiting grandma and talking. It went quite well, considering the magnitude of the disagreement. I told mum that Idealist's child has been born three months ago already. I even told her how hard it is for me to be separating my life with Idealist from the conversations with them. But she can't take it, that much was clear. The idea of Idealist (any father) leaving his wife and baby to be with someone else seemed profoundly traumatizing to her. She's imagining herself there, and I can't help that.

It's a little absurd, because, since Idealist has fulltime homeoffice, he's probably way more available to Meta then your average father with a fixed 9-5 working schedule + commute. But I didn't say so much, it didn't seem appropriate to try to explain anything, as mom was being quite emotional.

She also said she just tries to separate me from that relationship and not to think about it at all.

I'm very sad that I'm pushing her buttons so hard, but I don't think I can help it.

Me and Idealist, we are ok. He's managing to be there for the baby (sometimes) and also find time for me, which I didn't believe quite possible. Living across the street helps, as he can drop in just for breakfast, or a night, without much hustle. It's actually quite fascinating. I'm not very much involved with the baby, although I come to see it from time to time. I think Idealist had his share of internal turmoil, but for me, it has been more or less a smooth ride so far.
 
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ElMango

New member
Yesterday was the first time after those nearly four months that I spent more then an hour with my parents, in fact most of the day visiting grandma and talking. It went quite well, considering the magnitude of the disagreement.

That's awesome! BE proud of yourself for that. From what I read, that's a step in a better direction.

I told mum that Idealist's child has been born three months ago already. I even told her how hard it is for me to be separating my life with Idealist from the conversations with them. But she can't take it, that much was clear. The idea of Idealist (any father) leaving his wife and baby to be with someone else seemed profoundly traumatizing to her. She's imagining herself there, and I can't help that.

Do your best to not tae on her emotions onto yourself. I now it's hard, and I empathize with wanting to share things with your mom (I can't share my poly with mine either)

It hurts a lot to not be able to have that person to turn to, who biologically, we want to.

Me and Idealist, we are ok. He's managing to be there for the baby (sometimes) and also find time for me, which I didn't believe quite possible. Living across the street helps, as he can drop in just for breakfast, or a night, without much hustle. It's actually quite fascinating. I'm not very much involved with the baby, although I come to see it from time to time. I think Idealist had his share of internal turmoil, but for me, it has been more or less a smooth ride so far.

That's good for you for sure! Have you guys talked about the emotional turmoil of his? If you're comfortable sharing, what was it about?

Do you find yourself wanting to be involved with the baby more? Less?

How have things with Meta been?

Sorry for asking so many questions! Thanks for trusting us to give advice
 
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