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Has anyone spoke to their parent(s) about the impact they have had on them?

#1
Hi
I want to start by saying thanks for allowing me to be on this forum. I don’t post much but sometimes it helps to come in and read the posts and responses. It makes me feel that I am not alone when I feel alone.
I wanted to ask whether anyone has taken the steps of speaking to their parent or parents about the impact their upbringing has had on them and how it went.
I’m currently considering speaking to one of my parents (father) but stuck wondering how useful it will really be. My aim of having this conversation is that it would allow my dad to see how his part in my upbringing has totally influenced my life and give him a chance to have a better relationship with me for the future, by not continuing the same behaviour. Otherwise I’m at the stage of cutting him out of my life either fully or almost fully in order to stop hurting. And I’m quite comfortable with that decision (has taken me months to get to this stage where I would be comfortable with it) but my preference is for that not to happen, and for us to have a healthier relationship for whatever time we both have left on the planet.
My childhood was never abusive but it lacked the emotional support/learning that allows you to turn into a balanced adult who can handle emotion and feelings and who knows that boundaries can exist, and who cares for themselves as well as others. I have spent my whole previous 40 odd years not knowing that I’m allowed to have my own feelings, not knowing that I’m allowed to have and set boundaries and I care more for everyone else’s needs and never put myself first. In short as my dad was hardly ever there and my mum suffered badly from depression I had to step up and be a carer and a parent at times and become an adult before I should have. This has had a severe impact on my life and I’ve lived each day with my main emotion being guilt, about absolutely everything and anything. This impacted me so badly that I have at several times over the past 15-20 years tried to/really wanted to vacate the world - it was my default answer when I felt everything was getting too much for me, and still is sometimes. I’m changing this with the help of therapy and a lot of self reading and I’m almost there.
Recently I have had a burning desire to tell my dad the impact he has had on my life and that whilst I know it wasn’t deliberate on his part (he just didn’t have the skills to do it) I want him to know how his behaviour has impacted my life and that the way he behaved, still behaved even to this day really upsets me and why it upsets me.
I’d be interested to know if anyone has spoken to their parents and has it helped you? That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a positive outcome where you lived the rest of your life like you were The Walton’s, but did it make you feel better getting it off your chest? Or did you do it then wish you hadnt? If there are any parents reading, how would it feel to hear this from your grown up son/daughter? Would you want to know so that you have a chance to make amends or would you rather not know?
Thanks for reading
 

johnDoen

Outsider in the Realm of Lost and Found
#2
Hi
I want to start by saying thanks for allowing me to be on this forum. I don’t post much but sometimes it helps to come in and read the posts and responses. It makes me feel that I am not alone when I feel alone.
I wanted to ask whether anyone has taken the steps of speaking to their parent or parents about the impact their upbringing has had on them and how it went.
I’m currently considering speaking to one of my parents (father) but stuck wondering how useful it will really be. My aim of having this conversation is that it would allow my dad to see how his part in my upbringing has totally influenced my life and give him a chance to have a better relationship with me for the future, by not continuing the same behaviour. Otherwise I’m at the stage of cutting him out of my life either fully or almost fully in order to stop hurting. And I’m quite comfortable with that decision (has taken me months to get to this stage where I would be comfortable with it) but my preference is for that not to happen, and for us to have a healthier relationship for whatever time we both have left on the planet.
My childhood was never abusive but it lacked the emotional support/learning that allows you to turn into a balanced adult who can handle emotion and feelings and who knows that boundaries can exist, and who cares for themselves as well as others. I have spent my whole previous 40 odd years not knowing that I’m allowed to have my own feelings, not knowing that I’m allowed to have and set boundaries and I care more for everyone else’s needs and never put myself first. In short as my dad was hardly ever there and my mum suffered badly from depression I had to step up and be a carer and a parent at times and become an adult before I should have. This has had a severe impact on my life and I’ve lived each day with my main emotion being guilt, about absolutely everything and anything. This impacted me so badly that I have at several times over the past 15-20 years tried to/really wanted to vacate the world - it was my default answer when I felt everything was getting too much for me, and still is sometimes. I’m changing this with the help of therapy and a lot of self reading and I’m almost there.
Recently I have had a burning desire to tell my dad the impact he has had on my life and that whilst I know it wasn’t deliberate on his part (he just didn’t have the skills to do it) I want him to know how his behaviour has impacted my life and that the way he behaved, still behaved even to this day really upsets me and why it upsets me.
I’d be interested to know if anyone has spoken to their parents and has it helped you? That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a positive outcome where you lived the rest of your life like you were The Walton’s, but did it make you feel better getting it off your chest? Or did you do it then wish you hadnt? If there are any parents reading, how would it feel to hear this from your grown up son/daughter? Would you want to know so that you have a chance to make amends or would you rather not know?
Thanks for reading
I wish that therapist never told my parents about my suicidal attempt. I wish that I wasn't that weak to let her do that in the first place.
All I received was condemnations, "stupid", "man up", "weak", etc. It takes lies to put everything back to normal, with the exception of daily suicidal thoughts and now, an emerging decision to end it all.

My parents are not patiently listeners so it's hard to tell them anything the impact they put on me. I know they love me but I feel like a curse to them for having contrasting personalities and suicidal thoughts.
 
#3
I wish that therapist never told my parents about my suicidal attempt. I wish that I wasn't that weak to let her do that in the first place.
All I received was condemnations, "stupid", "man up", "weak", etc. It takes lies to put everything back to normal, with the exception of daily suicidal thoughts and now, an emerging decision to end it all.

My parents are not patiently listeners so it's hard to tell them anything the impact they put on me. I know they love me but I feel like a curse to them for having contrasting personalities and suicidal thoughts.
I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you. That is not what you deserved. You deserved support and a journey towards understanding why. I hope that you have this now from your therapist or are able to work through that journey yourself. The realisation that only me was going to be able to help me, that my overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness were always temporary, and that I had to start putting myself first like everyone else was doing, were the biggest steps forward that I took, but it was not an easy thing for me to do, I really had to work at it, I still do.
And an understanding that my parents were unable to deal with the emotion surrounding my ‘episodes’ so they couldn’t find the right words to ask me about it made it easier for me to process why they hadn’t. Our parents likely suffered the same growing up like we did so they are not equipped to deal with strong emotions and they don’t have the right words to use so inevitably they use the wrong ones sometimes - we re in a different world today where we are encouraged to speak about feelings, their world was different where people just didn’t do it. I give them the benefit of the doubt on this even although it still hurts me sometimes. Stay safe and I hope that you can find some internal peace soon, it does come with a bit work I promise - it doesn’t happen overnight, it comes slowly, but it does come so hang on in there x
 

Kiwi2016

🦩 Now a flamingo, not a kiwi 🦩
Forum Pro
#4
I can so readily relate to what you are describing as an only child of a passive mother who developed severe anxieties and early onset dementia and a father who was controlling and bi-polar. My mother passed away about 7 years ago and my father just this past June. So have had some time to reflect on their impact on me both positively and negatively. It is a mixed bag to say the least, especially as I have learned more about my father from his friends who have helped me to handle his estate as his executrix.

In thinking about this I am realizing that I have had to balance seemingly opposing thoughts simultaneously- Such as raised to be independent but in a co-dependent family dynamic, given education/travel but in my father's adage of "Guilt is the gift that never goes away", unconditional love but in reality strings attached and zero boundaries into my life and threatening behavior to my friends, professors, work colleagues and refusing to meet/acknowledge my husband.

I have spent my lifetime navigating this family dynamic and continue to work through the impact of it on me but I admit I never really spoke to my father about it. Because of his character and own issues, I realized that he would never be able to see outside his own perspective. So instead I guess I took what could be the high road and after a decade of almost no contact (e.g. annual Christmas card) when he reached out to me due to their declining health and his concern for future care for my mother I acquiesced and renewed a relationship with them. But it was on his terms with all the baggage and actions of before. So, I do admit part of me wishes that I had really talked to him but in reality I also knew that any chance of changing his perspective was unlikely.

So after this longwinded (I'm sorry about that) reply in response to your question... I believe speaking honestly and openly with one's parents all depends on their receptiveness if that makes sense. And as well if there isn't geographical distance those conversations can occur overtime as both the child and the parent(s) navigate towards a healthier relationship/dynamic which I do believe is possible.
 
#5
Thanks kiwi that all makes a lot of sense.thank you so much so taking the time to reply. I’m sorry that you too have also suffered from what I now know is called childhood emotional neglect. I wonder if you spent many years like me not really knowing why you felt the overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness - finding out that this has a name last year was the biggest moment in my journey for sure. From the outside it appears that we had what we needed but only we know the impact that lack of emotional support has on a person. As a result Guilt has been the overwhelming emotion that has ruled my life, and I have always put everyone else’s needs and happiness before my own. I’m glad you have, like me, started to analyse the impacts and that’s defo a step towards understanding it and being able to move on. I wish you the best of luck and if you ever want to chat about it I’m here 🥰 I’ve read a lot about it over the last year.

I could never speak to my mother about this as she wouldn’t be able to handle it and she did do her best but was in a situation herself with mental health issues and a husband (now ex husband) who was almost always absent as a husband/father/supportive partner. My father just continues to make things worse by his behaviour even now and that’s why I was wanting to tell him about the impact he has had on me (this has influenced my whole life up until now) - albeit I also now know he didn’t do it deliberately, he gave what he could/was willing to give. For now I just avoid him, and that doesn’t seem to bother him either so that tells me all I need to know really. He has a new life and Me and my siblings are probably just a hassle for him - he has a new (extremely manipulative) partner who has grown up kids and he seems more at ease with them than he does with us. I have went through a process of grieving for the parents that I needed/still need but that I now know I am never going to have. That has helped. I’m almost sure that I will have this conversation with my father at some point when the time is right and I think I am ready for any consequences from it - I already don’t have him in my life so that can’t get any worse...... I think I need to have my say so that I can truly put this behind me.

Take care x
 

Sunspots

To Wish Impossible Things
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#6
Hi Warriorden

I've never been able to find the courage to speak to my parents. My mother was emotionally and physically abusive. My father was neither there or interested. He finally left for good when I was 15 and married a hideously manipulative younger woman. Both of my parents are now in their 80s.

I cut off contact with my father four years ago as his bigotry and general nastiness finally got too much. I've never spoken to him about it - I just stopped phoning and he never tried to contact me. I feel better for not having him in my life although I do feel guilt as he is elderly and I do feel a sense of duty. I wonder how I will feel when he dies but I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it.

My mother on the other hand is very much making her presence felt. My brother (who could never do any wrong in her eyes) moved abroad 30 years ago so I am now all she has close by and she makes it very clear that it is my duty to look after her. I'm still frightened of her. I finally snapped four years ago and tried to take my own life. All hell broke lose and things were hideous for a couple of years. I don't think she ever even considered that it could possibly have anything to do with her. My brother knew and told me he'd been waiting for me to snap. He remembered the things she did to me which helped to make me feel less mad - sometimes you end up wondering if things really were that bad but knowing he saw it helped. We decided together that it's probably not worth even trying to make her understand. It's just not within her capabilities to grasp the damage that she's done.

There's a part of me that would love to be able to scream and shout in her face. But I know that nothing I could do would change anything in her. It would shatter the relationship we do have and the guilt that would leave me with would be unbearable.
 
#7
Thank you for replying sunspots. I’m sorry to hear that you experienced this and I totally understand the impacts it had and still is having on you. The guilt that we feel is unbearable but it’s also a feeling we shouldn’t have to endure - but we do feel it, and it takes over our lives.

A big turning point for me was understanding that my parents didn’t do what they did intentionally, they did try their best (their best just wasn’t good enough and had consequences for me unfortunately). I tried to understand why they were the way they were, that really helped. For my own situation, in part, it was down to how they themselves had learnt to behave as they were growing up, they were also denied the required type and level of emotional support they needed and/or they also had their own childhood trauma to deal with. They didn’t quite know how to deal with that and so they then got it wrong when trying to care for us. They just didn’t know any better, they done what they thought was best. Understanding it wasn’t on purpose brought some perspective to it for me - any thought that they might have done it on purpose didn’t feel right to me and it would have been harder for me to bear had that been the truth.

Also a big one for me was the realisation that people don’t automatically deserve a right to be in your life just because they are related, and that goes for parents too. Yes we owe them a bit as they gave us life, but we also didn’t ask to be born. They made that choice for us. I felt burdened and trapped by a feeling that I had to continue being the perfect daughter and always being there for them, and always putting my own needs well after theirs........ Then I slowly realised that actually I didn’t need to feel like that, that I had the right to chose who was in my life and what part they played in my life. That took that massive burden away. After that I felt more in control as I had actively decided to keep them in my life, it was my decision to do that (as I genuinely loved them), and not because I felt I had to out of a sense of genetic duty. If I then chose to have them in my life I also had to learn to accept their failings. I could do that without really thinking about it with my mother but I’m having trouble now continuing to do that with my father, as his reasons for not being a responsible parent appear more selfish - and that goes against my own values. I can’t accept that and as such I will probably cut him out my life, either totally or partially - I’m still working through that process now. The guilt has almost got me at times, I’m not going to lie, but I’m getting there.

I shared a bit of this as I wonder if going through a similar thought process would help you? I know our situations are similar but also very different so please ignore if it doesn’t help in any way. 🥰Realising that Your mother doesn’t automatically deserve your care and attention, and that you choose to do it because you WANT to, not because you feel you NEED to do it, might help? You can also be in control of when you do it and for how long. I learnt to limit my time during visits until I sort myself out. Don’t get me wrong this was hard to do and the guilt was horrendous until I fully learnt that I didn’t need to feel this guilt at all. I should say that I also had the help of a therapist as I done this. It’s not easy at all for us to change our thought processes but as I’m finding, it can be done, but it takes time and some help from others. And it’s bloody hard work! But defo worth it x

I absolutely get why hearing from your brother helped as our brains do convince us that we made things up or that things weren’t as bad as we remembered. It’s great that you can chat to him about it x I’ve had some of my memories ‘confirmed’ by others and I found it a great help x

What I’ve captured here is only part of the story and of course it wasn’t as simple as I’ve made it sound - this is a journey that has taken me over 15 years but what I’ve wrote above is work I’ve done over the last year. For the first time in my adult life I feel like I’m getting to a place where I understand where my issues have stemmed from and I’m learning for the first time thats it’s ok to put me first and it’s ok to have these things called boundaries - foreign concepts to me but I’m getting there x

This forum has helped me a lot as I haven’t often shared my feelings throughout my life (I’ve actually had to learn that there are other feelings other than guilt!) and I never said out loud anything about my thought processes so getting to even type these words out is a huge help with that part of my journey x even if no one reads them, it helps to get the words out x if I could help even one person with one thing then it’s been worth the cramp in my typing finger 😂 x
 

Kiwi2016

🦩 Now a flamingo, not a kiwi 🦩
Forum Pro
#8
Thanks kiwi that all makes a lot of sense.thank you so much so taking the time to reply. I’m sorry that you too have also suffered from what I now know is called childhood emotional neglect. I wonder if you spent many years like me not really knowing why you felt the overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness - finding out that this has a name last year was the biggest moment in my journey for sure. From the outside it appears that we had what we needed but only we know the impact that lack of emotional support has on a person. As a result Guilt has been the overwhelming emotion that has ruled my life, and I have always put everyone else’s needs and happiness before my own. I’m glad you have, like me, started to analyse the impacts and that’s defo a step towards understanding it and being able to move on. I wish you the best of luck and if you ever want to chat about it I’m here 🥰 I’ve read a lot about it over the last year.

I could never speak to my mother about this as she wouldn’t be able to handle it and she did do her best but was in a situation herself with mental health issues and a husband (now ex husband) who was almost always absent as a husband/father/supportive partner. My father just continues to make things worse by his behaviour even now and that’s why I was wanting to tell him about the impact he has had on me (this has influenced my whole life up until now) - albeit I also now know he didn’t do it deliberately, he gave what he could/was willing to give. For now I just avoid him, and that doesn’t seem to bother him either so that tells me all I need to know really. He has a new life and Me and my siblings are probably just a hassle for him - he has a new (extremely manipulative) partner who has grown up kids and he seems more at ease with them than he does with us. I have went through a process of grieving for the parents that I needed/still need but that I now know I am never going to have. That has helped. I’m almost sure that I will have this conversation with my father at some point when the time is right and I think I am ready for any consequences from it - I already don’t have him in my life so that can’t get any worse...... I think I need to have my say so that I can truly put this behind me.

Take care x
Yes it has and continues to be a journey for me like you. I think my turning point was when a therapist gave me a book about co-dependency and for the first time I realized that as an only child I had had to "play" all the roles. So that of course resulted in my behavioral tendency and emotional expectation that I should put myself last. I continue to struggle with this as my therapist says I am the master contributor to the minimization of my feelings/thoughts/wants. And as much as I love my husband and know he loves me over the last year with covid and his isolation at the house full-time...I am realizing that I have continued this to a degree as his emotional caregiver if that makes any sense. So as they say life continues to give you similar situations until you figure out a balance of what is best for you.

I can fully understand having some distance but also wanting to talk with your father about it as well. I think for me if I had been geographically closer I would have made more efforts in that direction. However, the few times I did make steps in that direction...he reverted to his mantra that I was selfish and didn't understand the sacrifices my mother especially made for me and threatening behavior towards me and my husband. And unfortunately my mother's severe anxieties, her natural passivity and then early onset dementia which all began in high school made it impossible and unrealistic for me to talk to her. So now I find myself still working through this all even though they are both gone now. So I fully appreciate you wanting to have your peace as they say so that you are able to put it behind you. Sending you *hugs
 

Kiwi2016

🦩 Now a flamingo, not a kiwi 🦩
Forum Pro
#9
Hi Warriorden

I've never been able to find the courage to speak to my parents. My mother was emotionally and physically abusive. My father was neither there or interested. He finally left for good when I was 15 and married a hideously manipulative younger woman. Both of my parents are now in their 80s.

I cut off contact with my father four years ago as his bigotry and general nastiness finally got too much. I've never spoken to him about it - I just stopped phoning and he never tried to contact me. I feel better for not having him in my life although I do feel guilt as he is elderly and I do feel a sense of duty. I wonder how I will feel when he dies but I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it.

My mother on the other hand is very much making her presence felt. My brother (who could never do any wrong in her eyes) moved abroad 30 years ago so I am now all she has close by and she makes it very clear that it is my duty to look after her. I'm still frightened of her. I finally snapped four years ago and tried to take my own life. All hell broke lose and things were hideous for a couple of years. I don't think she ever even considered that it could possibly have anything to do with her. My brother knew and told me he'd been waiting for me to snap. He remembered the things she did to me which helped to make me feel less mad - sometimes you end up wondering if things really were that bad but knowing he saw it helped. We decided together that it's probably not worth even trying to make her understand. It's just not within her capabilities to grasp the damage that she's done.

There's a part of me that would love to be able to scream and shout in her face. But I know that nothing I could do would change anything in her. It would shatter the relationship we do have and the guilt that would leave me with would be unbearable.
I am so sorry that you too have experienced this and continue to do so. Like you I too realized that I had to ignore/put aside the guilt that i felt as being the responsible one. With my father's passing this past June...I find that I feel a sadness for what his life had become and the realization that he was never content or happy. And though an only in speaking openly and honestly with his friends as they continue to help me handle his chaotic estate affairs, I am realizing that I could not have changed him as he was stubborn and very single-minded in his perceptions of things. As others who did not truly know him may have perceptions that I was in the wrong for keeping distance...those that truly knew him (or as we've discovered thought they knew him) do really understand. So that has helped to assuage my guilt a bit. But I admit that I have yet to cry over his death so not sure how healthy that really is.

I am so sorry that you are the responsible one for your mother who impacted you so much in the past and continues to do so now but was heartened to read that in talking with your brother you have an emotional support system to confirm that it isn't just your perceptions/memories but that they really did happen and that you are allowed to have the feelings/thoughts that you have - a validation which can be so important. Even if she is never able to see or understand it. Sending you peaceful thoughts your way today.
 
#11
No, talking seriously makes me cringe
Hey thanks for posting princesspure. I totally get that feeling - it has taken me years to be able to say truly what’s on my mind. It always felt selfish and self indulgent to do it and I worried too much about hurting other peoples feelings - but now I can force myself to do it, with many years of practice and therapy...... although it’s not natural to me yet x sending lots of hugs x
 
#12
So that of course resulted in my behavioral tendency and emotional expectation that I should put myself last.
isnt is amazing (but not in a good way) how we become conditioned to think that we should always put others first and that our own feelings don’t matter. With hindsight and when you analyse it, you can see exactly how it happened, but you only see that when you are forced to really look. I am just learning to have feelings other than guilt (who knew there were over 2000 other feelings you could experience!) and I really really need to think about it and focus on what they are.


And as much as I love my husband and know he loves me over the last year with covid and his isolation at the house full-time...I am realizing that I have continued this to a degree as his emotional caregiver if that makes any sense

In times of crisis, we revert right back to what’s comfortable and to what we know, to what is easy - to be the caregiver of everyone. I really need to force myself at times not to turn back into that person, albeit there are times when it’s the right thing to do. It’s finding that balance.

Sending lots of hugs and a reminder that your feelings are just as important as anyone’s else’s x *hug
 

Kiwi2016

🦩 Now a flamingo, not a kiwi 🦩
Forum Pro
#13
Yes you are so right about the 2000 other feelings...I too am slowly learning there are others as well. I think part of my struggle is that I worry that if I do start to express them that given they have been bottled up/suppressed for so long may come out "messy" if you know what I mean.

And yes it is so easy to revert back to the "rut" of the comfortable and expected....and I would be lying if I also didn't admit that when I put myself last there is a feeling that I am doing something admirable eg being self-less rather than selfish. But objectively I know that being selfish in the good sense is ok eg taking taking care of yourself.

Wishing you a good day and lots of *hugs
 

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