parents vent..

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
1360 posts
Bumble bee

This sounds like a multi-faceted problem. You have two parents, both of whom are clearly suffering from one or more ailments, compounded by the fact that their spouse is also suffering, and neither of whom probably have very fulfilling lives.

Then you have a daughter who recognizes how dysfunctional this is and how it would be best to distance herself emotionally from such troubled people but who nevertheless wants an emotionally-fulfilling relationship with her parents, just like anyone does. 

I can’t speak to your father’s behavior in particular, I suppose, but I had a serious eating disorder for several years, so I can understand a bit about your mother. Eating disorders are absolute hell. It is by far the WORST thing that’s ever happened to me. Ever. You are angry and ashamed and hopeless and terrified all the time, and it is SO, so easy to lose control of your emotions and lash out at everyone around you. It’s incredibly difficult to care about or otherwise focus on anyone else, as the ED absolutely requires CONSTANT vigilance. And everyone else around you gets to eat and not care and have fun and–they’re FAT. Or they’re not fat but they’re TESTING that by eating. How can they do that?! How DARE people allow themselves to do that, to be fat, to lose control, to be happy instead of angry. Disgusting. They’re all disgusting and you’re better than they are, just as long as you remain above the needs of your body. But really you’re just jealous that they get to live a good life and you want to die. 

Eating disorders are unbelievably fucked up; they make you crazy. And I mean it: a person with a serious eating disorder has no business making decisions about food, obviously, as well as a host of other things. Regardless.

I’m sure your mom loves you to whatever extent she does, but an ED can be stronger than love, at least in the moment. It’s still an addiction. So, yeah, you’re unlikely to be the first thing on her mind almost ever. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you, but it DOES mean that she probably can’t show it or allow that positive feeling to lead her toward loving behavior. And, frankly, you probably eat like a normal person, which likely causes her additional emotional trouble. 

At any rate, it’s tough–if not impossible–to have an emotionally-fulfilling relationship with people who are deeply suffering and basically incapable of being emotionally healthy. They need to get help. Your dad’s behavior sounds quite a bit like someone suffering from depression, lashing out and the like. But who knows. Obviously he’s not happy, regardless of what’s causing him to suffer. And people who are suffering REALLY have trouble being happy about the joys of others. That’s just the way it is.

Until they get help, I suspect this dynamic between you will remain unchanged. It’s probably worth a sit-down of some kind with them, but it may not do much, at least not initially. I know it’s hurtful to feel such a void between yourself and one or both parents, but you can’t change that on your own. I’d have a sit-down, explain your perspective and feelings (either before or after the wedding, whatever you think is best), and then expect to distance yourself after that. Let them know that doing so is necessary for you so that you can begin your own healing process. If they’re not interested in joining you in that process, let them know that your dynamic may have to change permanently. Stage an intervention of sorts. But be incredibly ready to start a new life without them in it much. 

Best of luck in this. 

Post # 4
2400 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

So. Your parents are introverts & you wish they weren’t? How about love & respect them for who they are. IDK. You seem to really want them to put on some show or something. Just be happy that they love you. 

Post # 5
974 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

aybeecee :  the ladies of DWIL Nation are good at helping with weird, difficult, narcissistic, controlling, abusive parents, not just ILs

Post # 6
120 posts
Blushing bee

aybeecee :  it’s easy to waste a lot of years wishing your folks were different people. It’s great that you found parental figures and a family structure that matches what you want to build with your Fiance, but you’ll be denying yourself some life fulfillment if you can’t learn to accept your parents. 

Post # 7
2471 posts
Buzzing bee

My mother was severe agoraphobic, and she’d also cycle between living a more normal life and not leaving the house for months and months and months.

She came to my HS graduation and sat in the car in the parking lot, then never came to another school event, literally never set foot on my college campus. She also had a severe eating disorder, cycling over 100 pounds several times as I was growing up.

For me, the best path was accept her as she was in a given moment, and impose no expectations of any kind on her.We grew very close after my father died, and she became a wonderful grandmother to my children.

Enjoy your inlaws and respect whatever your mom and dad are able to do.

Post # 9
2471 posts
Buzzing bee

aybeecee :  That’s true, and it became better for me when I sort of stopped trying to fix the way my mom felt about herself and just began to admire other things about her.

She could have a wicked sense of humor, was generous and thoughtful in a general sort of way., and very late in her life she became slightly more open, and I hope also aware, of her own feelings and reactions to events in her life. But she never shared much, never acted in a cordial or generous way about herself toward me, and I always knew that her sisters came first, before me, in her life.

One day before she died I was telling her something about one of my sons and I said “….but of course you were raising a nasty little snot so you……” and she stopped me mid sentence and said “That’s not true at all, you were a wonderful child and a wonderful daughter!” And I was floored. She’d never asked that way when I was growing up. And I still cherish that.

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