Torn Apart

I've had a volatile relationship w/ my parents much of my life. My mother has abandonment issues, and projects her insecurities towards other family members. My father, while acknowledges my mother's problems, is passive towards taking direct constructive action with her.
I've been affected by their actions/non-actions.

My wife and I have been married nearly five years, she's gotten full glimpse of the issues I've carried. I suffered a breakdown three years ago, and have pieced myself back together emotionally through therapy, medication, and her support. We're now new parents, our son recently turned two months old.

The last visit from my parents two weeks ago ended in disaster. Visiting w/ my younger sister and her family (my brother-in-law and two nephews, aged 16 and 6), my parents were visiting their grandson for just the third time since his birth. The day ended w/ my mother becoming upset w/ my wife, my wife confronting her verbally, and my mother pushing my wife as a result, all w/o me present (I was driving w/ my son - it's a long and ridiculous story).

After months of pleading w/ my dad each time my mother has had a blow-up to seek help, my worst fears have come to fruition. My wife will absolutely have nothing to do w/ my mother, refuses to visit w/ my parents, will not let her see my son. And, out of my own cognizance, I absolutely support my wife.

My family has skirted my mother's issues for too long, and I can't let this go on any longer, it just gets worse and worse. I've tried to share my own emotional recovery as an example, but to no avail.

I love and support my wife, and cannot allow my son to witness my mother's behavior (my nephews have been affected by her actions). I support and stand by my decision, but I'm just torn apart.

My wife, and her family, have been nothing but loving and supportive, but I'm struggling with the fact I am estranged from my family.

Welcome your thoughts and comments.
Hoven Hoven
36-40, M
2 Responses Aug 11, 2010

I can relate to your story also. My parents sound very similar... my mother is and was extremely abusive, she is unhappy with her own life and thus likes to bully, judge and manipulate me. My father doesn't pay much attention to that and he is an emotionless man... and also a right-wing bigot full of disapproval towards anyone or anything who is different, and always full of comments about certain people/certain minority groups who "should be shot" etc. I cut contact with them about a month ago, because I was sick of their negative and judgemental comments. My mother especially wanted to keep in touch with me all the time - she would email almost daily, asking a lot of personal questions, and demand a weekly phone call, in which she would assassinate my character and make nasty and judgemental remarks about me and others. If I did not take her call or was busy or whatever, she would go NUTS, calling and texting every 5 seconds. I am 25 now but my childhood was one of misery. I cut contact with them a month ago, and now they are demanding I re-establish contact. No way am I doing that. I am currently going through therapy to try and fix myself... I have a lot of issues and extremely low self-esteem as a result of being bullied all my life. It's funny because my mother was always dead against me doing therapy - she would always say things like, "you're not depressed, you're just lazy and self-pitying" - maybe she feared that all of her abuse towards me would come to light if I get therapy! I would really recommend therapy to anyone who has the same experiences and please feel free to message me if you need someone to talk to.

I can relate to your story, I am now 47 years old and have two adult sons. My mother has abandonment issues and what seems to possibly be personality disorders. My father allowed my mother to set the tone of the family even though it was highly toxic for me and my siblings. After years of one reconciliation after another I decided to agree to try therapy with my mother about 18 months ago. We failed to gain anything from the sessions and never began any sort of healing, I haven't spoke to anyone in my family for about one year. <br />
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Years ago when my husband was 21, he confronted my mother and ultimately it ended in my husband giving her a short version of what he thought she was acting like (a "b#%th") and my father punched my husband in the side of the head. The confrontation was caused by my mother cornering me in their ba<x>sement, I was 6 months pregnant at the time. She was hysterical, I believe she felt she was losing control of me. She was aggressive both verbally and physically. I was scared, crying and he was trying to protect me. That was the first time I ever stood up to my parents and told them I wanted nothing more to do with them. 25 years have come and gone since that day and I have been drawn back in by my mother many times and have been harshly reminded of why our relationship wasn't healthy. I gave her so many opportunities to prove that things could be different. What I believed at the time, was that I had to find a way to have them in my life. I never took the time to think of what I was taking away from my boys. I have a wonderful and supportive husband and a very close relationship with my two adult sons. But I feel that I did allow my mother to rob my family over those years when she would act out and cause hurt and confusion that would effect our family. My sons ultimately lost a part of me when I was in anguish over my confusion over how I should handle the situation with my parents. It was not easy to hide my mini depressions over my longing to have a different relationship with my parents. One time I summoned my siblings to support a healthier environment. Unfortunately they were all dealing with it in their own way and found it was easier to enable my mother. I realized that I needed something from all of them that they were not equipped to give me. <br />
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Bottom line is, you have a young son...find out before he gets too old what you really need from your parents. If it will cost you and your family more than what you are willing to lose, then it is time to be that father to your son that you wished you had. Don't take precious time away from your son worrying and feeling confused and empty inside. Feel the pride and love that you can experience from doing things right for him. <br />
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I am now going through this process at age 47, my sons are young adults. I will not allow this to take more time from them. I have to stop myself from resenting the fact I wish I hadn't suffered from my parents inability to recognize how their dysfunctions were effecting me and my family. I must go on and never allow my sons to have to pay for all of that past hurt and selfishness. <br />
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I'm sorry that you are hurting and I hope this helps you.