Cutting Ties with Parents

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by walkthroughwalls, Aug 25, 2017.

    1. walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Has anyone here done this? If so, what are your experiences?


      I'm afraid I may have to do this sooner or later. It's easy to go into a long rant here, but I'll try to keep it short. My parents seem to have difficulty understanding that other people may have different desires than themselves, and they somehow cannot accept that someone else leads a different life. They had me go to schools that didn't suit me, threatened to kick me out of the house and cut off all support when I considered a different career then what they had in mind, and actively pushed to get me a mental disorder diagnosis. The latter almost succeeded, which was then used a trump card in any conversation ("You're crazy, so we're right. We won't even consider your opinion.")

      In daily life, I'm continually spoken to in the imperative, I get sarcastic remarks about the "weird music" I listen to, and how I spend my days in general. Studying art is "a waste of time", studying Computing Science is "academic nonsense", eating a vegan diet is "being difficult", tinnitus/hyperacusis is just me "overreacting", not having a WhatsApp account because of ethical reasons is simply being dismissed as being "not practical", etc. etc.

      There is this strange dichotomy, maybe best explained in this example: first they disagree with me moving to Amsterdam. Then they insist on helping move, because they care about me, I suppose. Me insisting that I move on my own will cause a riot, so I let them help. Then everything has to be done according to how they want it done. Even considering something else is "ridiculous".
      A while actually moving I have to listen to them curse all day long. "Couldn't you find another place to live?", "did you really have to take this?", "there are too many stairs", "this place is badly maintained" (student housing), "next time I'm not allowing you to live above a pizza place, because these are fire hazards"...


      Due to tinnitus and other circumstances, I'm forced to live with my parents again. Yesterday, my sister visited and when she left, she sounded the car horn "just for fun" while I was standing right in front of the car. No bad intentions, but very careless of her. It was almost traumatic to hear a sound that loud and I had a spike for the rest of the day. Then I had to deal with my parents who blame me for "being too sensitive".


      I feel that I need to start planning on moving out as soon as I can and cutting all ties. Even when I'm home alone, reading a book or listening to some music, I find myself mentally preparing and guarding myself for the sarcastic comments that I'm used to getting. This cannot be healthy.
       
    2. Julien87
      Happy

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      That may be the best solution to move out yes...
      Maybe you don't need to cut ties completely though, just keep it formal and see how it goes
       
      • Agree Agree x 3
    3. Starthrower
      Wtf

      Starthrower Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Surgery
      Hi WTW,

      Hum...this post made me think for a bit. How old are your parents?

      I have read your story a few times and my first gut reaction is that your parents are simply...kinda grumpy and set in their ways but not so much as abusive.

      It hurts to have the sarcastic remarks thrown at you. This is how you may be able to handle that situation.

      Do not take the remarks personally. Do not let it bring you down or affect your self esteem. Now this is not easy. But you sound very confident in many ways. Be proud of your accomplishments and the fact that you may have different ideas and music preferences.

      It probably would be best for you to move out on your own as soon as possible. But cutting all ties to your parents does not seem necessary unless you are experiencing really abusive situations. Disconnect the "child" they still see and continue with the life you want.

      When they fling sarcastic remarks...let them fly off your shoulder instead of feeling them.

      Self esteem cannot be taken away when you realize your self worth. Tinnitus/hyperacusis can add to the issues of being able to hang on to that notion.

      Never let anyone touch your self esteem. This is something we have complete control over but it takes time to develop skills to cope.

      Wishing you the best....
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks for you replies.

      This is definitely the first step. At the same time I'm trying to look further into the future. I've also seen how my father behaves when he was invited to my sister's place, and I can't see why I would invite all this negativity into my future house.

      By the way, my sister moved out when she was 17 or so. There was this special kind of arrangement from the city hall so she could get an apartment quickly, because the situation with my parents was that bad. Meanwhile I locked myself up in my room and became horribly depressed.

      Quite an elaborate reply, thank you very much.

      My parents are in their sixties. I should probably add that my father is the aggressive one of the two. I'm not sure he's capable of understanding how his behavior affects others, to be honest. I kind of get along with my mother, although she'll do things out of carelessness that end up having the same effect. At the same time, I cannot really bond with her, because of... I hate to say it, but I can only describe it as a difference in intelligence.

      If these remarks were occasional then it could be seen as grumpiness, but I think this is part of something bigger. The insulting comments are there nearly every day and have been since my teenage years. In addition there is the occasional silent treatment or ignoring me completely, random anger or nasty discussions, almost yelling that I'm psychologically not quite right, that I'll never be able to function in society, that no-one will love me, etc...

      There's just never the underlying assumption that my feelings are real and that my intentions are good. Instead I'm overreacting at everything and I'm treated like I'm always out to cause harm. I'm inherently worthless. When I fail, it's "told you so". And when I succeed, I was "lucky" and the bar is immediately raised.
      Sometimes I see the bond others have with their parents, and it's this safe place to be and to build your life on. I really miss this.


      Thank you very much for the comments about self esteem and letting negativity fly off my shoulder. I'm trying to do this as much as I can, and it's really nice to read this advice from someone else too :)

      I may have to give up getting a master's degree and find a job straight away in order to afford living on my own. It's choosing between two evils :/
       
    5. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      Dear @walkthroughwalls -

      Have you ever requested of your parents that they sit down and just listen to you? Then, hopefully.. you could try to make them (while issuing some examples of their behavior) understand how their negative comments impact you. Yes, they both sound like difficult people with whom striking some peaceful balance seems a challenge but their discordant behavior may indicate some level of anger and unhappiness.. possibly with themselves and it is being displaced upon you. Perhaps it is they... and not you as they want to indicate ... who needs some mental health evaluation. Usually, while parents may disagree at times with their adult child's decisions - they will at least try to support some of those if only to show emotional support. When your parents constantly try to dampen your spirits this is not appropriate behavior and can only serve to reduce you as apparently it is. It seems to me they have their own issues with which to deal and these should never affect your feeling of self-worth.

      While I can certainly understand your wish to move out since you are being castigated in different ways, it would be such a shame for your to forego the opportunity to pursue your Master's Degree since this is your immediate goal. Some times we may put something off and then one thing leads to another and our original goal may be postponed for a long while or even indefinitely.

      Perhaps if you can get their full attention and explain how you are feeling.. concerning the emotional/psychological harm they are inflicting upon you... they might then begin to understand the magnitude of their behavior and your ensuing unhappiness. Hopefully, then a renewed and stronger relationship can be forged between you and your parents. You may think they already understand what they are doing but they actually may not. You have nothing to lose by trying.

      Sending my good wishes and I hope you do have the opportunity to speak with both your parents. Take care.

      Barbara
       
    6. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      At first, I thought that perhaps your parents are not too unreasonable, but the above, as well as all of the other unpleasantness you described proves that you are right about considering cutting ties with them.

      I am fortunate because I have the same world view, preferences, tastes, politics - pretty much everything - as my mom.

      You might want to give them a chance, and see whether things will improve if you explain how their nagging makes you feel. It is unlikely, but it could happen...
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. Starthrower
      Wtf

      Starthrower Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Surgery

      Which is more important for you right now WTW? Advice is something that comes from each of our own experiences. At a young age I also made a choice to leave on my own for my own self preservation. That was years before tinnitus hit me though.

      It was the right decision to find a good job and get out of a situation that would only destroy me further. And it was the right decision for me. Because after about ten years I went back and got my higher degree from college.

      You have a wonderful gift for writing and describing your situation(s). A lot of good self insight also and I sense a good deal of confidence within yourself. But your parents having you back at home are affecting your abilities to move on.

      It isn't an easy decision to make though. The more you described your situation in the second post made me think that the mental abuse is greater than I thought at first.

      Break away and soar into higher places.

      I don't think talking with your parents would change anything right now. Unless you just want them to know exactly why you are making your decision.

      I read and can sense you have a great deal to offer as you get into the world on your own. That is a great attribute to have despite your home situation at this moment.

      You can do it!
       
    8. CrazyT
      Benevolent

      CrazyT Member

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      08-2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Doxycycline and Quinine HCL
      I have done it with one parent, only because they told me they disowned me and I wasn't their son. That was after years of yelling at the smallest mistakes or taking out their frustrations on me. Years of emotional abuse and I feel much better now that I don't have to listen to that person. However, it should be a well thought out choice and it may change as the years go by. Being a bratty teenager doesn't justify cutting ties. Doing so may also hurt relationships with your other family members. From what I'm reading I think you may be overreacting even if your family cannot relate to your tinnitus.
       
    9. Jordyn
      Angelic

      Jordyn Member

      Location:
      Ontario
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 10/17 - in remission, late July/17
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - possibly earphones.
      we don't know how old u are but i moved out when i was 23 or 24 because my mom drank too much and it upset daily life. best move i made because both my parents started respecting me as a peer and stopped looking at me as a child.

      i left abruptly and not on good terms and didn't communicate with my parents for 5 months. it broke my moms heart. i came back on xmas eve. she cried.

      mom passed away in 2013 and we were never closer than at that time.
       
    10. Kolisar
      No Mood

      Kolisar Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth?
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      @walkthroughwalls. While I agree with @Bobbie7 , and believe that you should try to talk with your parents to explain your feelings (and, art and computer science are perfectly valid areas of study, and if you want to be a vegan, that is your choice). As parent of an grown child (my son is 30 years old) I am guessing that your parents have their opinions on what is the best way to live a life and believe you are making the wrong choices. I am guessing that their motives are good, they just what the best for you, and in their experience/opinion some of the choices you are making are not the best. I think the problem is that they are not willing to let you make mistakes (just to be clear, I do not believe the choices you have listed in your post are wrong or mistakes). And, because they love you, it is very difficult to watch their child start down a path that they believe is wrong and will hurt you.

      You need to tel them that you appreciate that they are trying to protect you, but you have to be allowed to make your own decisions and be allowed to make mistakes. If all important decisions are made for you by you parents you will never learn how to make them yourself. You need to be allowed to make mistakes so you will learn. (again, I do not think you are making bad choices, I am trying to help you explain to your parents why they have to let you make the choices).

      And, if they cannot let you make your own choices you may need to cut ties with them (I had to do that with my family, and only seen them now at funerals). It is a difficult choice to make, but their behavior is obviously causing you a great deal of stress.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    11. Zorro!
      Wtf

      Zorro! Member

      Your parents most likely have "Narcissistic Personality Disorder". People who suffer from this mental disorder almost universally deny they have a problem and refuse therapy. Even the suggestion that they have a mental issue that needs addressing will cause them to freak out in spasms of denial. In short, there is nothing you can do to "fix" them. They will not change. Once you accept that you can start to move on with your life. And many, many children of narcissists end up going "No Contact" with their parents once they realize the parental negativity and craziness is destroying their own lives. Sometimes it's necessary for survival.

      You can learn more by researching Narcissistic personality disorder (or possibly Borderline personality disorder). Here is a link for a forum for people raised by narcissists. Check it out and see if any of the stories seem similar to yours.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/
       
      • Like Like x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Bobbie7 @Bill Bauer @Starthrower @CrazyT @Jordyn @Kolisar @Zorro!
      Thank you all very much for your replies. I've read every one multiple times now. I'd love to reply in depth to every sentence, but I'll try to not take up too much of anyone's time and respond to the main points only.
      I'm sorry to hear that some of you also have, had or have had a bad relationship with one of your parents.


      First off, my parents aren't nearly as bad as some of the stories from the narcissistic personality disorder page that @Zorro! linked to, but there are underlying similarities in their want to control, lack of empathy and just general meanness.
      All therapists I've had have indeed said that I should give up trying to bond with my parents, as it will never happen. I haven't given up on my mom yet, but in practice she'll always side with my father, whatever he does.

      I've tried talking to them, but my father will just shut the conversation down. This happened when I possibly considered studying music, for example. It just couldn't be discussed. He made me enroll for another bachelor instead.
      The second to last time I tried to talk about how I felt, it again turned into a "versus" argument quickly. My father was talking aggressively to me and I responded with: "For me, this feels more like you're attacking me, instead of that we're trying to work things out together." He immediately followed up with: "This is an attack!"
      My mom just sat there. My sister later on complimented me on how calm I stayed.

      As a result, I communicated with him even less. At some point he said that he was unhappy about that too: "We'd like to bond with you, really. But yeah, if you never open your [insert rude word for mouth]...!"
      Which pretty much sums it up. I've given up on talking at this point.


      Nowadays, we sort of tolerate each other. We'll discuss what we'll eat and who will cook, but that nothing deeper than that, or I'll immediately be in a debate again, endlessly defending whatever opinion I happen to have. I do get compliments on my cooking sometimes. There's still the "always on his terms"-type of control, the not-very-sympathetic remarks about my interests and general lack of emotional support.
      They didn't support me when I was bullied at multiple schools or when high school management was blackmailing me - threatening to kick me out of school. They teased me endlessly for being a nine year old in love and not being able to hide it very well. I was forced to do subjects that were too easy for me, etc. etc. Then tinnitus and hyperacusis happened and I had to give my musical career. I don't think it really registered with them what that meant to me.

      In a way, the worst should be behind me, but I do feel like I have bit of a wasted youth. I really had to reinvent myself starting from being around twenty-one. I've come a long way in being who I am, but there's a lot to improve still too.
      @Starthrower, thanks for the compliments. If I say so myself, I do feel that I have a lot to offer. I can write essays, poems and compose music. I can come up with original ideas and have visions for my art and science interests. I can have a relentless drive to work day and night to get things done. I try to listen to criticism and use it to learn and improve.

      Yet, I can't seem to let the situation now just fly off my shoulders. I must admit that it does eat away at me. And that I'm generally terribly unproductive. I wake up very stressed and tense, which remains throughout the day and this is my main problem nowadays. I always feel like I've worked for eight hours straight and it's time for a break. This feeling is there 24/7 and I have to force myself through it to get anything done.
      I'm a bit embarrassed saying that sometimes I visit other families and have a tendency to just sit there at the kitchen table, being mesmerized by how peaceful it feels. As if time slowed down and suddenly I can think much more clearly. I always want to stay longer than I should.


      Starting next week I'll be temporarily living in my sister and her husband's place for three weeks, as they're on a vacation and need someone to take care of their cat. It's going to be a bit of a sacrifice, as I'll be away from most of my instruments and I'm not even sure if the neighbors will tolerate me singing in there, but it should be an interesting experiment.

      I've also starting looking into getting a room myself. I'm in my early thirties, so if I'm getting a master's degree, I shouldn't wait too long. Maybe I can pull it off as I'll be eligible for subsidized education and a government loan. I hate going into debt, but the CS degree should pay itself back and open up (even) more job opportunities.
      At the same time, ultimately, I would like to work in computing science for four days a week to pay the bills and spend the other three days creating art.



      PS. @Bill Bauer Glad to hear that you're on the same page as your mother.
      It's not because I'm trying to rebel, but... Isn't it strange how I am this artist/scientist who is into human rights, animal rights and the environment, and yet I come from a line of butchers, dairy farmers and oil company engineers?
       
    13. CrazyT
      Benevolent

      CrazyT Member

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      08-2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Doxycycline and Quinine HCL
      Parents can be terribly stringent when they are paying your bills. Being the age you are, early thirties, means you should have moved out 10 years ago or stayed brief with a plan to move. At least that is the culture in the west.

      Also you are deluding yourself when you are already talking about getting a masters. Finish the bachelor, focus all your energy into that first. Think of the possibility of only having that bachelor and stopping there, before thinking about getting that masters. Don't even consider it before you have well established yourself in the middle of your bachelor.

      Computer science is a good degree with good job opportunities, tho it requires fundamental scientific math like linear algebra and calculus. Anyone can pull those classes if they have the discipline and responsibility. Can you see yourself studying 6-8 hours every week day? Would it make you more stressed? Do you have time for relaxing? If so, then you are ready.
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      walkthroughwalls

      walkthroughwalls Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      That is in the culture here, yes, but everyone is different. I've been struggling with depression since primary school with little to no help. I'm surprised I made it this far sometimes. I actually did move out years ago, but was forced to go back when someone pulled out of housing contract at the last minute and I was forced to leave at two weeks notice or so. At the same time, I got badly ripped off by some fellow musicians and lost a lot of work. Then tinnitus caused me to lose the rest. My financial situation has kept me from moving out. If I could, I would, believe me.

      I don't think my parents paying my bills justifies their behavior. And I don't live like a wild and messy teenager either, quite the opposite actually.

      I'm about to start the final year of my bachelor, I should be thinking about my master right now or I'll be too late when it's time to decide. Especially when it comes to choosing what master to do, at what university, how to fund it and where to find housing.

      I have passed the linear algebra and (multivariable) calculus courses already. The same goes for the theoretical computing science courses. I've been studying around eight hours a day for the last three years, and usually get a fair bit of work done on the weekends as well. I've been a teaching assistant too.
      It mainly makes me more stressed when courses are badly organized or when there are the typical problems with group projects, which is quite a bit, otherwise I mainly experience flow. I'm hanging in there, though.
       
    15. CrazyT
      Benevolent

      CrazyT Member

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      08-2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Doxycycline and Quinine HCL
      Ah ok, my bad. I misunderstood when you were talking earlier about whether to study music or CS and eligibility for financial aid. Good job so far then carry on :)

      Again, hats off. Your parents should be proud of how far you are already and that their son will graduate with a good degree.

      Yes, and what university. Holland has a good reputation for schooling. Also my favorite country, love it there :)
       

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