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Author Topic: question about parents
Member # 11535

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I don't mean to offend any of you who have lost someone dear to them, so sorry if this post does.

I have recently stopped talking to mine over the ownership of an exercise bike. It is more complicated than just that that, and it is sad really, but I don't think I want my future grandchildren to have to deal with and put up with the nonsense of my parents (their grandparents). Obviously, there are two sides to each story, but mine feels pretty bad.

For those of you who have stopped talking to your parents, what are your reasons?

Do you regret it?

Do any of you wish you stopped?


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Member # 2001

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Errr, an exercise bike?

This is a pretty strange way to start a thread, asking intimate and probably painful questions of people while only offering the Reader's Digest version of the Cliff's Notes version of your own experience that prompted the thread in the first place.

There was a period of some months where I didn't communicate with my parents. It wasn't founded in a conscious decision to go incommunicado, though, on either side, but rather an unwillingness on either side to make the first step. Not quite the same thing. Either of the three of us would've spoken if spoken to, which sounds different.

I guess, in keeping with the extremely-bare-bones nature of the thread, though...we didn't like each other at the time, and yes.

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Glenn Arnold
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My biological father was a child molester. I think that about says it.
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I don't think I want my future grandchildren to have to deal with and put up with the nonsense of my parents (their grandparents). Obviously, there are two sides to each story, but mine feels pretty bad
I don't know what kind of crap is exemplified by the bike dispute, but if it's the sort of crap where facts are shrewdly misremembered, I can sort of imagine your angst.

The question is whether the kids will get something positive out of either the relationship with the grandparents OR the example of tolerance and difficult-relationship-management that you demonstrate. If the answer is "no" or "I can't manage the relationship in a remotely exemplary way" then...you gotta do what you gotta do.

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I dissowned my drug addicted mother when I was thirteen, I had already spent so much of my life wondering if she was going to come back this time or not that it was not a very big stretch just consider her dead already and tell her to leave me alone. She came back two years later sober and has made me very proud ever since.

If someone, anyone is a negative force in your adult life you should simply remove them from a position of influence.

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My mother stopped talking to her parents about eight years before I was born. I am 23. Both have died within the past four years. I never met either of them. We lived within an hour's driving distance, possibly a half hour of these people the entire time. My mother did not attend the funerals of either parent, though she communicates fully with her two siblings, but not one sister.

In general terms, my mother's parents were raging alcoholics and emotionally abusive, though worst to her half-brother. At 16, he came home from spending time with a friend's family with the revelation that other families had events and did things together without a knock-em up fight happening every single time. My mom has described her parents as bottomless wells that she never could fill, so she decided to stop trying.

I grew up wondering about these missing people, and fantasized a bit about what they thought of us? Did they know that I was valedictorian and got my Gold Award? Or that my sister studied at Oxford for a year? We're also good-looking, (from mom's side, actually), so we could have supplied some serious fridge fodder and grandparent bragging rights. By my teenaged and college years, after reading enough about dysfunctional families, asking some questions, and learning some stuff, I was no longer naive enough to believe that all people are good. Yet, the concept of not helping out a family member or even being more than an hour away from my own parents is completely incomprehensible. The fact that my mom doesn't talk to her own parents and sister goes against everything I know about the family I see and what family should be. We just sweep them under the rug, and now that they are dead and we didn't go to their funerals they are going to stay under that rug so my mom can pretend to be normal.

The thing is, my mom is the most other-centered person I know. She's the one who is keeping track of my ailing paternal grandmother, far better than my dad and uncle do. She cares about us and our lives. Sure, my mom has her angry and petty moments like people do, but it's our relationship that makes me incapable of understanding how you could not love a mother. But I know, that if a woman as tough, as generous and kind as my mother had to draw a line, it must have been a bad situation, and by drawing that line I will never understand what it was like to be her as a kid: in some ways, a gift to me and my sisters.

So there you have it, what it might be like to be your kids. They're going to be curious, and they aren't going to understand why you did what you did until they are old enough to get the concept of crazy parents (unless you decide to demonstrate). Now that google exists, I have stalked my mystery cousins and grandmother's obituary on multiple occasions.

An exercise bike seems small to me, but I suspect that was just the last straw in a long line of something you couldn't put your finger on until recently. If you think you can give something to your children by taking away their grandparents, then it's a decision you should make.

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Member # 8594

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Reasons for not talking to your parents: Abuse, neglect, molestation, drug/alcohol problems.

You're not being very clear and that's your prerogative, but except in these types of extreme cases, I tend to think it's a mistake to stop talking to one's parents. I considered doing this when I was a teenager for reasons that seemed perfectly good to me at the time, and then I grew up and realized my parents were human after all.

Frankly, I have kids now, and I'm making mistakes with them -- I'm not perfect. What do I want to model for them? That unless their parents are perfect, they should stop talking to them? Setting myself up for trouble on that one!

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I have only intermittent contact with my parents. I haven't cut them out of my life, but they are pretty much irrelevant to it. I haven't seen my father in fifteen years, and I speak with him on the phone once or twice a year. I speak to my mother twice a month about shallow things that aren't particularly important to me. I don't think of either of my parents as resources. I don't think that either of them would help me if I had a serious problem. My mother sometimes gives advice about small, practical things-- like cats or cooking. But I really feel like my parents don't actually want to know who I am or to hear about things that are important to me. When my mother came for a visit about a year and a half ago, I wanted to introduce her to my friends and show her some of the things I enjoyed doing, but she was rude to my friends, said that seeing where I work and what I do was pointless, and threw a tantrum when I tried to show her a board game I enjoy. (Board games were one of the few things we had in common when I was a child.)

Sometimes I regret the current state of affairs, but when I try to bridge the distance, I always end up feeling that it's not that they want to have a relationship with me-- it's more about what I represent as their offspring.

If I had children, I wouldn't keep them from my parents, but I would try to keep my children's expectations of my parents low. My parents are mostly well-intentioned, but my father is something of a flake, promising many things he can't deliver, and my mother has, I think, some kind of disability that prevents her from emotionally engaging with other people.

Considering my mother's attitude toward my brother's three children and my sister's five stepchildren and three step-grandchildren (particularly the step-grandson that my sister is raising), I would think it would be very surprising if my mother considered any children of mine to be her grandchildren. She has all these elaborate explanations about how she's not really related to "these people," and then mourns that she will "die alone." [e.g. Two of my brother's children were born in South America and speak Spanish as their native language, therefore they cannot be my mother's grandchildren because she can't communicate with them.]

My father takes the opposite tack and considers any number of folks to be his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. However, this doesn't lead to his forming relationships with any of them. He likes to know enough of what they're doing to sound as if he's involved in their lives, but he doesn't see or communicate with them much. (Also, my youngest sister claims that my father molested her and my second-from-youngest sister keeps her distance from my father as a result, she says as a precaution for her three children. I don't claim to know the truth of my youngest sister's claim, but it doesn't fit with my knowledge of my father. He strikes me as minimally interested and minimally motivated, not invested or energetic enough to molest anyone.)

In short, I envy people who have close solid relationships with their parents, and I try to have the best relationship with my parents that I can have, considering who they are and who I am. I think it's a situation that works okay for me. It's not that I've cut them out of my life, but I have curtailed their presence to a level I feel comfortable with. Within bounds, they're tolerable. When I have little-to-no expectations going into an interaction with them, I'm reasonably satisfied. When I try to relate to them as a friend or mentor or in ways I see other people relate to their family members, I'm invariably disappointed.

By contrast, two of my siblings refuse to have contact with my mother. As far as I know, my Dad has contact with all of us but one, but it's very limited except for with two of my brothers.

Sometimes it is necessary to end all communication for awhile or forever, but I think with people who aren't outright abusive it might be better to adjust expectations, to go a middle-route, to accept that perhaps that's just the best they can do.

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anonymous, I don't read your posts because I don't feel like you want me to know anything about you. Just so's you know. If you want to PM me elsewhere and tell me who you are, I would probably like that.

I'm pretty sure the exercise bike is some kind of last straw that revealed a pattern of broken promises or distrust about control.

I have had some relatives fall pretty close to the too crazy to deal with line, and I've had some I got over that with. I do sometimes feel my mom should have cut off her mother.

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PSI Teleport
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I've struggled for a long time over whether or not to cut off my mother. She's an alcoholic that goes back and forth from dry to drunk and was abusive when I was a child. During her drunk phases I usually do cut her off, in the sense that I don't answer her calls or return them because there's no point in interacting with her during those times. The longest I've gone without speaking to her is a year.

But right now she's in a dry stage. In many ways it's harder for me to know what to do about her when she's dry, because she isn't technically doing anything "wrong." Meaning that she isn't cursing me, telling me how evil I am and guilt tripping me for not letting her near my kids. But there's still something undeniably "wrong" with our relationship, because even when she's sober, she's still an alcoholic. She still has no capacity for relating to me, she still could care less about how I'm feeling or how her words affect me, and she lives in a fantasy world in which "she did the best she could" and my "childhood wasn't that bad." But when she's dry, I tend to be a little more lenient about interacting with her. I call her on holidays; I let her see my children about once a year, although I know she'd rather see them every weekend if she could. These are times that are very painful for me, but my kids love her a lot and she gives them things that I'm not capable of giving them. She cooks with them, something that they love and that I can't do because of my OCD. That kind of thing.

But the truth is, she's no different with them than she is with me: she doesn't listen to them when they're talking or notice when their feelings are hurt. But, as a result, the kids don't have any delusions about her. They know that Grandma has a problem that makes it hard for her to pay attention to other people, and they know that when Grandma wants to talk to them on the phone, that they won't actually get to talk. They've learned from an early age how to quickly and politely end a conversation with her, which is something I still haven't learned.

Sometimes I don't know if I'm doing the right thing with Mom and my kids; every interaction I have with her makes me nervous and sad for the next couple of days. But sometimes I think it's worth it, because this way my kids understand exactly why they only see their grandmother once a year, rather than forever thinking I've kept her away from them out of my own selfishness.

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Member # 6306

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Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
My biological father was a child molester. I think that about says it.

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I didn'tt talk to my parents for about a year, and it was tough for me because I was fairly close to them.

It also was a situation where both sides were right....and wrong. There was enough blame to go around, although to be honest most of it was mine. Their reactions were off the chart, and not good either, but I was a mess. Inside and out.

Not drugs, or drinking, just messed up and damaged emotionally. Most of which was my own doing.....affected by some serious situations outside of my control.

I got kicked out of my house, and stopped talking to them for about a year. My parents saw me in public a few times, and approached me, but I walked away from them leaving them in the street. It was really bad, and I felt like an ass, but it was what I needed to do at the time.

We made up gradually over the course of 2 months once we began talking again, and both sides tried to explain where we were coming from. I apologized for my actions, some of which I am lucky they forgave me for to be honest, and we now have a great relationship. They asked me to move back into the house, and I did. Some things had not changed, of course, but some had.....on both sides.

My father was my best man at my wedding, and I am lucky to have BOTH of them....as parents, and as friends. I talk to them several times a week, and go to see them as often as I can afford to. They live in AZ half the year and MI the second half, while I live in FL.

The year before I moved and my parents retired, I spent a ton of time down in RI with them, and with my sister and her family. Those were great days, some of the best I have ever had. If I had not reconciled with my parents, I don't know where I would be right now. I know I would have missed some of my favorite times though, and would have far more painful memories than good ones.

Sometimes, even if you ARE the one at fault, you need time away. It allows you to grow, to become more secure in who you are, and prevents you from falling into the same rut/groove. So much of family dynamics have to do with assumed roles and conditioned behaviors that taking a step away for some time can help break bad patterns of behavior.

Be careful, though. Don't burn your bridges unless you have to. Your parents don't have to be an every day part of your life, but they will always be your parents.

(Unless they are abusive, which to me is giving up your right to respect)

[ January 10, 2010, 06:39 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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There are sadly parents out there whose presence harms their children, and whose presence would harm their grandchildren. I see nothing wrong with cutting off contact with people who behave immorally and are unwilling to correct their behavior.
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Baron Samedi
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Originally posted by RivalOfTheRose:
I don't think I want my future grandchildren to have to deal with and put up with the nonsense of my parents (their grandparents).

Your parents will be your grandchildren's grandparents? Is this some sort of Chinatown situation? Sounds like the exercise bike is the least of your worries...
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What a strange reason for thread necromancy.
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New Member
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I only talk to my mother as sparingly as is possible in a small town. What happened was;

My brother has been best friends with the same kid since they were 12. My mother immediately accepted him [Jonathan] into our lives. He stayed almost every weekend and half the week at our house. Naturally, being only three years younger than Jonathan and my brother, we all became rather close. My mother doted on Jonathan as if he were her son, treated him better than her kids in some cases, and overall acted like she loved him.

Fast forward to about 11 years later, Jonathan and I have been in a relationship for a few years, and she tells me she can't stand to see me with him. He is no longer allowed in her home. I've moved in with him, and we are happy. But my brother still lives at home, so his best friend is not allowed to even visit him. My mother insists that Jonathan is a terrible person, that he's ruining my future and that we'll never go anywhere.

I'll grant her that we are not rich, by any stretch of the imagination. But we do get by, we pay our bills, our taxes, and lo and behold we still have money to have food in the house.
My brother's current (and most of his previous) girlfriend('s) has a child. Lives on food stamps and government housing, and is a general blemish on society, it irritates the hell out of me, and yet my mother is quite content to let her son be with people like this, and not say a word, while my boyfriend is fully more than 75% supporting us at the moment, we have NO food stamps [even though we qualify] and are doing quite well with ourselves.

Sorry, I didn't quite mean to go into my full life story there. The point I'm trying to make is, some parents just don't seem to grasp reality as well as they're children. I can only be thankful that I've gotten my brains from my father's end of the gene pool, and continue on my merry way. I am happier than I've ever been, and she can continue to be an angry person for all I care.

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Even more strange is that every single post before Baron's was made on the 1st of the month, (with the months varying). What's up with that?
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Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Even more strange is that every single post before Baron's was made on the 1st of the month, (with the months varying). What's up with that?

Perhaps your eyesight? Or mine. It doesn't appear that anyone's post was made on the 1st except Xavier's and Baron's.
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When I was thirteen, after more than a year of not seeing my mother only the occasional phone call I told her that I wouldnt let her drug abuse affect my life anymore. I think my exact words were "I never know if your alive or dead, so I'd rather not worry." Harsh yes, but she's close to ten years sober now and a home owner along with my step-father who followed her example.

Having kids of your own, I can understand why you might worry about what effect the interactions can have on the little ones.

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ROTR: 03/01/2010

Rakeesh: 03/01/2010

Glenn Arnold: 03/01/2010

scifibum: 03/01/2010

AchillesHeel: 03/01/2010

theamazeeaz: 04/01/2010

Christine: 04/01/2010

anonymous: 04/01/2010

pooka: 06/01/2010

PSI Teleport: 06/01/2010

romanylass: 08/01/2010

Kwea: 10/01/2010

Seatarsprayan: 11/01/2010


Am I misreading the timestamps?

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Day/Month/Year not Month/Day/Year
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BB, the posts in question all occurred in January of this year. It looks like you must have things set up in such a way that posts' datestamps are being displayed numerically using the European convention of having the first number represent the day, the second number represent the month, and the third number represent the year.

[Edit - Or, you know, what Mucus said.]

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My mother is a drug addict, I have no need to talk to her, nor do I think she deserves my presence!

I don't regret it, but she will [Big Grin]

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Originally posted by Mucus:
Day/Month/Year not Month/Day/Year

The stupid thing is that I actually thought to check for that, and somehow still flipped it all around anyway. Twice.
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Back on the original topic - I hope this is about more than an exercise bike!

My parents and I don't really get along very well most of the time. In fact, my mother and I have a very VERY rocky relationship. My mother really doesn't know the definition of unconditional love, and it was always clear that she kept track of everything she ever gave us (no, not literally, but it felt that way!) and was going to expect payment. My mother and I value almost entirely different things in the world, and that makes it difficult sometimes. There are times when I honestly said that I would never let that woman near my children, because she's managed to poison so much of my own childhood by constantly putting me down.

And yet - I remembered my grandfather. My grandfather was a horrible husband and father. He was an alcoholic who beat my grandmother and would have beat his kids if they hadn't stayed out of the way. He was moody and could go from the most jovial guy in the world to a full blown monster in next to no time. My dad has terrible memories of growing up in that house.

But he was the greatest grandfather in the world. My mother may not have understood unconditional love, but my grandfather was a rock of it. He was solid, always proud of us, almost an immortal god in our eyes. Some of that faded with time. As I grew into an adult, I could see signs of the strain in his relationship with my parents, and with other people. I could see some of his faults. He'd stopped drinking and hitting people before I was born, but some of the reasons he drank were still evident. Even so, he never wavered in his commitment to his grandchildren, never! Even when one of my cousins had a serious drug problem, my grandfather was there, trying to fix things, doing everything he could to help him. He was a marvelous man in that way, and I couldn't have asked for anything more from him.

And, in the end, I haven't kept my son from my mother either. Part of it, of course, is that I'm a single parent and I need my dad and brothers to be male figures in my son's life. My relationship with my dad has always been much better than my relationship with my mom. He can be hard sometimes, and says terrible things sometimes (having grown up in a physically abusive household, he's oblivious to how emotionally damaging things he says can be), but like his father, he understands the unconditional love thing. My father can call me a total failure in one breath, and be trying to fix all my problems in the next!

Still, it isn't just my dad that has been good for my son. My son loves my mother. He craves her approval and loves to show things off to her. She isn't perfect with him, and there have been times I've had to tell her pretty harshly to lay off, but for the most part, they get on well together. She certainly hasn't damaged my son anymore than I have, and she's given him alot of positives as well.

My point is, just because you can't get along with your parents doesn't mean your children shouldn't get the opportunity to try. Being a parent is a totally different thing than being a Grandparent. My family has some great examples, but I've heard them from lots of other people too. Don't write them off forever just because you can't seem to work things out now.

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