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  1. Needing a shoulder to cry on :(

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    Lou232 [sign in to see picture]
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    Hello, just needing a little support and friendly advice. I'm at my wits' end. This isn't about sex, this is about issues between my parents and my OH and I. And it's killing me.

    Basically, the OH and I have been together well over 2 years now. We're extremely happy and my parents know this. However, they persist in treating me like a child, despite me having mostly moved out 3 years ago. The first year I got my own place for a job and the last two I've been going home in the uni vacations, but never for any extended time. They also are deeply resentful of my boyfriend (who is 6 years older and has a house in the city I'm at uni in) to the extent where me suggesting I leave a couple of boxes of bedding and crockery in his attic rather than bringing them home triggers an enormous argument. And forget renting a spare room in his house instead of paying the ridiculous amounts it costs to stay down over vacations...

    He comes over regularly and they are always polite, but very distant. However it's wearing me down. I've tried talking to them about it, being as independant as I can, being a very consciencious daughter, even trying to be more dependant but to no avail. They get angry and upset when I go away on holiday with him, despite going away with them to try and balance things out. It's worse as his family is so amazing and lovely. His mother is wonderful to me and his extended family is warm and welcoming. My parents are together, but the rest of my family is very fractured.

    My issues with them stem back a long way. I can't really tell them much about myself and I feel they don't know me. The issues got so bad that my school forced me into counselling at one point. I have tried so hard to make things work with them and this is really destroying me. I love my OH with all my heart and I want to spend my life with him. We've talked about getting moving in together, but how can we even consider it with my parents being like this? I really just want hugs and someone to give me some advice and make me feel less helpless.

    Thank you, Lxxx

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    Puppies77 [sign in to see picture]
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    Hun you have my sympathy, My parents are the same with me and im 32. They don't have a problem with my OH but they do try to control me and my mother in particular wan't me to love her soo much that over the years it has forced me away.

    I finally broke away from my parents nearly a year ago, but just to make it more difficult for me they said they won't see their grandchildren unless they can see me. Pretty fucked up eh.

    Do you feel your parent control you still, how old are you??

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    Lou232 [sign in to see picture]
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    Thank you :) I have tried sitting them down and talking to them, but it isn't very easy. My father has a rather incredible temper and so will start screaming and being incredibly insulting. My mother simply cries and sulks. They are both extremely controlling and want to know every decision I make so this makes things very hard. I had managed to patch things up a bit before I met my OH, but I had moved out because I find it very very hard to be with them for any extended period of time. I generally come back from theirs really quiet and stressed.

    I haven't told them about the counselling at school, but they know I've been in and out at uni. On the one occasion when I told them how unhappy they were making me it ended in a huge argument and me feeling absolutely terrible - I hate conflict. They have emotionally blackmailed me over it since too. I have asked if they don't like my OH and they always say they do. However, they have said that they think he is too possessive because once we spent the afternoon cuddled up on the sofa (just cuddled mind, nothing else) watching a movie. Apparently shows of affection mean he is too possessive, which is hard as we are very affectionate people - we give friends hugs, kisses and massages and are perfectly happy to curl up on the sofa or platonically share a bed with them. We tried being very distant with one another at theirs too and that didn't work either :(

    I still love them and this really hurts. Their families are fractured so I guess they're passing on their fear but it's breaking me into pieces. I don't want to cut away from them, I've seen that too much with my other family, but it's getting so tempting. Lxxx

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    Wizzie86 [sign in to see picture]
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    I can really empathise with you hunny. My parents have always been unbelievably controling and hated my ex boyfriend & to try to make me break up with him by making my life hell. I'd just finished uni & couldn't afford to move out on my own. I also worked in the family business. I was crying morning, noon, night... The only time they backed off a little was when I was close to having a nervous breakdown & was physically shaking. They said my ex had 'changed' me & that he was wrecking my relationships with them! Ironically, he always encouraged me to stay around home & spend time with my parents. I would sit your parents down and tell them exactly what they are doing to you. Write everything down beforehand so that you can structure your argument. Make sure you point out how much time you have been trying to spend with them, how they make you feel when you do spend time with them, why their requests are impractical and why you can't deal with it anymore. It's down to you whether you have your partner there for support. You seem really happy with your partner so don't let your parents spoil it by bringing constant tension into the relationship. Hope that helps in some way! Good luck, let us know how you get on xxx

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    Lou232 [sign in to see picture]
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    @Wizzie - that sounds scarily like my own situation, only a couple of steps further on. Would you mind me asking if you managed to sort things out and if so, how? I'm perfectly happy for you to say no as this is very personal (sorry if I offend you too).

    I will try very hard, but they're coming up tonight for a parents' meal with all my other uni friends and their parents. I will die if they act as normal, they're already turning it into a nightmare. Will start planning my argument now I think.

    I'm also really sad to hear that so many people have such issues with their parents. It really really sucks. *hugs* Lxxx

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    Wizzie86 [sign in to see picture]
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    You didn't offend me at all Hun. My ex broke up with me in June last year, 8 months after my parents started their vendetta. He had a lot of other problems & couldn't deal with the stress. It was really important to him that my parents liked him. He did make a lot of mistakes but nothing that warranted the way my mother treated him. They were thrilled when we broke up & I was devastated. I have never loved or been drawn to anyone like him. He is seeing someone else & I'm sort of dating someone but we are still very much in love. Maybe one day, when circumstances change, we'll get back together. The only thing I know is that I will never see my parents the same way again & I will never trust them to judge what is best for me because I now see how clouded it is by what they want for me. It's very sad because it makes you feel like you are on your own. On the surface, everything is back to normal but deep down I know things will never be the same again. I wish that I had moved out very early on - even if it meant crashing at a friends. Distance would have gone a long way to solving the problem. If I'd have cut my parents out for a while, maybe it wouldn't have left such lasting damage on our relationship. As long as I live, I swear no-one will ever make me feel like that again. I'm very thankful that I had the support of my Auntie through the whole thing. Sorry I can't tell you we lived happily ever after. If you do want to ask anything Hun, feel free - it takes a lot to offend me x

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    Ilovemyman [sign in to see picture]
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    Hiya i can see it from both sides, as a mum i know i have to let my children grow up and make mistakes and just be there for them, my mum was so overprotective she would try to choose my friends and my dad was even worse.

    But now 10 years in to a relationship that my in-laws have tried to make as difficult as possible it had all come to a head and i have said i no longer want to be a part of the family

    I'm not sure what to say as it will be hard for you to stand up to your parents and tell them you are old enough to make your own decisions, they may not even realize they are doing it, they probably just want to protect you but you are not there little girl any more and they need to understand they are making life difficult for you.

    I hope you can sort this out now and it doesn't go on and on! xxx

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    Tigerlilies [sign in to see picture]
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    My heart goes out to you, Lou. I was lucky to have a rare pair who were always emotionally open with me and supportive. Other members will be better at offering first hand experience but I would like to share some things that my friends have used to deal with this difficult situation.

    Do keep in mind that your parents love you and it's your well being they put first. When you're a parent, everything comes second to that. It sounds like they are struggling to cope. Parenting doesn't come with a handbook and we all have to feel our way through things. A big help is seeing them as people who love you but people who make mistakes. Instead of people who want to ruin your life.

    It's natural to feel angry in these situations and feel like our parents are controlling us. Unwilling to trust us or wanting us to be happy. Unfairly, this understandable reaction will not help you get anywhere and not contribute to finding a compromise that you can live with.

    One of the most common reasons that parents disapprove of a man in our life is that they're not convinced that we are mature enough to deal with any problems that they think this person will give us. This concerns them because they worry there is potential for this person to hurt you.

    The best resolution is to show your parents that you are a mature person to be trusted. You are no doubt already this person but they need to see it in full. It's easier to split into two people. The persona we have in our independent life, and who we revert to at home. Old teenage habits are easy to get back into when we are with the people we grew up with. Think of all the situations in life that have tested you? They're usually in the 'real' world, at work, with your partner, with friends. Your parents don't see this side and you need to demonstrate behaviour that shows the person you've worked hard to become.

    Sit down conversations aren't a great remedy to this but actions speak louder than words. Make sure when you're back home that you're helping around the house, discussing your work and plans for the future. Your parents might not be emotionally open but just sitting down to discuss finance with them, or asking their advice on practical problems will show them you're determined to be able to look after yourself in a mature way. You may even find these topics, which aren't emotional, open a door to bonding with your mum and dad. They'll be touched that you see them as people to turn to for advice as well.

    Your parents have been in your life a great deal longer than your lover and unfortunately, no matter how mature we are, are parents are simply are parents. Whether at 3 or 35, this establishes a power dynamic that we have to live with. The trick is learning how to navigate this relationship in a way that will serve everyone.

    Coming around to accepting your boyfriend may well be a dialogue stretched over a long time. Your parents won't open up about a sensitive subject over night, or over dinner. It will take months of establishing exactly what your parents fear and showing them that whilst you may not be a full grown adult, you are mature enough to discuss adult issues with them.

    To find out what they're concerns are you need to ask them in a way that shows concern and maturity. If it sounds like protesting or exasperation (even if it's justified) the reaction will be an emotional show down. It's best not to open a talk with these topics either. Start off with something you know is safe, then work from there.

    A good tip a friend picked up is when they got into this conversation is to calmly repeat what they say. To ask 'so what you're saying to me is......is that right?' This way if your parents feel that they made a mistake with their words you are giving them an opportunity to correct themselves and it helps you to get to the bottom of what is bothering them.

    If you come against a wall of shouting and NO, remove yourself and retreat. There is no way to get to them in this state and they feel as your parents they are justified to tell you these things. Step back, and try again another day.



    Controlling parents are often fuelled by neglect they experienced far back in their lives. So even though times are hard, do make an effort to call them, suggest days out with them and spend quality time with them. Again this will comfort them that you are taking the initiative and making an effort with them.

    Our parents are individuals. It may be best to communicate with your mother and father separately so you can employ methods that suit them personally. If your father is aggressive and your mother not so, they need different approaches. Have you thought of writing letters to them? Calmly detailing your concerns for them, that you love them and you want to make this work. Include your understanding of why they might scared about history repeating itself too. They might be unaware that you're considering their perspective and feelings on things.

    Try to look for opportunities where you and your boyfriend can spend time with your family around a dinner table and discuss aspirations, family memories and goals. Generation divides and the gulf between who you are as a daughter and who you are as a lover can make it hard to unite the two camps but it does help tremendously if your parents feel they know your partner. It also helps if you show your parents that you want to demonstrate the importance of your relationship with them to you partner. For them it's comforting to see that your partner knows they're in your life without having to assert themselves with hostility towards him.

    May I ask if you spend time together as a family much? Rather than sitting down for a talk alone but having a meal together, going out somewhere etc?

    I hope this helps in some way. I do feel for you, it's very difficult. My friends situations were compounded by religion, culture and a lot of heartbreak but they did get somewhere. A long difficult journey is far more preferable to estrangement. You partner will have to be patient for this to work but it sounds like he will be willing to stick it out. But be aware that anyone who requests you to cut your parents off, is a red flag in your life. I'm sure this won't happen but it's healthy to know in your heart that your parents are an established thing in your life.

    Good luck, and I hope having the forum is a comfort to you.

    Tigerlilies.

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    sweetlove666 [sign in to see picture]
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    hello and welcome to the OA. I cn certainly see where you come from. my pearents were ( and to some extent still are) emotionally abusive, my mother in particular.

    with parents like this control is a major factor, and seeing you with your OH may make them realise they have less control over you then they used to which can lead to them using more tactics. A way to deal with this is being calm and collected, althouh it is going to be hard.

    It is very hard because as your parents you love them, and i'm sure they love you too ( people often have funny ways of showing it) Self confidence can be a massive help in dealing with confrontations like this, as well as assertivness. If you want it im sure your uni could do life coaching or councelling to help develop theese skills. Another thing I've found useful is the "rules of assertivness" http://www.wikivorce.com/divorce/Divorce-Advice/The-New-You/123721-The-Rules-of-Assertion.html it helps if you can get a friend to say things like your pearents would, so you can formulate arguments and defenses ( while staying calm) upon theese points.

    while doing this you could also prove to them how much your OH cares for you, and you for him. if you know you are due a visit, make plans so that you have somewhere to go if things do escilate so you can remove yourself completley from the house. if you're on the phone with them explain you will hang up and call back when you've all calmed down.

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    Ecksvie [sign in to see picture]
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    I do sympathise with you, my parents are evil sometimes in regards to my OH. There's been alot of good advice and I'm not gonna write another essay post because I'll just repeat what other people have already said.

    It sounds like your parents are being completely unreasonable. I think it might just be parents though. Especially when girls are concerned, alot of parents think no matter what partner you get, they're never good enough. It may be that they miss you since you're away at uni, and maybe they resent (either consciously or otherwise) that he's spending time with you that you could be spending with them.

    I know it can hurt when your parents don't approve or make things difficult, but I've found there has to come a point where you ignore it and don't let it bother you.

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    Lou232 [sign in to see picture]
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    Wow, thanks everyone :) I'm slightly overwhelmed by all your responses! There's some amazing advice there, but sadly I've tried a fair bit of it. Still, I guess it never hurts to try things again and maybe if I try very hard to be as grown up as I can at home, it may ease the situation. It does seem that there are an awful lot of people who have had problems with their parents too. It's really sad and horrible all round, but I suppose it's nice to know I'm not alone in this - looking at other people's families it has always felt like I got dealt a bum hand.

    @Wizzie - I'm so sorry you had such a terrible time. I really do feel for you, it's awful. I really really hope things look up for you. And thanks for not being offended :)

    @Tigerlilies - we do spend quite a lot of time together. When at home we eat together every evening, often watch TV or movies together and will go out places, even on holiday if circumstances allow. So it's not as if I'm shutting myself away from them.

    Ah well, I'll try to act on your advice and not be resentful or anything else I'll start coming across as whiney. I guess it's just going to be a really long road which I'm going to have to travel. Hopefully the OH will stick around to help me with it. And at least I have all you lovely people to talk to :) thank you so much Lxxx

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    Wizzie86 [sign in to see picture]
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    Always here for you Hun, *huggles* x

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    Tigerlilies [sign in to see picture]
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    Sounds like you've got a fantastic attitude towards the situation and that's half the battle. Good luck.

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    masterandslave [sign in to see picture]
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    Have you asked them what they don't like about him?

    Have they done this with past relationships?

    If so they need to keep clear or they will be projecting ideas of the perfect man who to them seems to be impossible to find in anyone!

    x

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    Alicia D'amore [sign in to see picture]
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    Wow wow wow!

    Lots of people with difficult parents!

    I tend to be more optimistic - my mum can be hurtful sometimes, but she's jealous. I'm young and good looking, I have a good brain and a good life, I have more confidence than she's ever had or ever will have.I know she's proud and happy for me but she wishes she could have made the most of herself a little more when she was young and healthier.

    My dad can be hurtful sometimes, but he gets angry easily, he is a man with little patience and I'm very similar too him, I annoy him. We get on better than we did (had some blazing rows but I give as good as I get and have never felt abused in any way). he can be unreasonable when he thinks he is doing something for the best but he is protective.

    My point is....try as best you can, to see the situation from your parents point of view. It is very unlikely that they are spiteful deliberately just to hurt you! They will see it as if there is good reason. You may not AGREE with their reason, but if you understand it, it may help a lot! It can help you judge what topics are good to discuss and which ones should be avoided (I can't talk about my teenage years with my mum, she just winds me up and I wind her up). You'll also find it easier to broach topics in a less inflammatory way.

    I've come to the conclusion with my parents, that whilst often they are wrong, and often they are unreasonable, they are so set in their ways that it isn't worth the hassle of trying to change them. So I modify my behaviour slightly when I'm with them - not to a massive degree, but enough to avoid the arguments. Afterall, we can't choose our family so we can't expect a flawless relationship with them (we don't even expect that of our partners and we get to pick them!) so sometimes it's about give and take.

    I'm deliberately avoiding giving advice on what you should do as there is good avice here already, but if you can change your perspective on your family life slightly, it may be easier to cope with emotionally

    Good luck

    Ax

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    Alicia D'amore [sign in to see picture]
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    I don't mean to say *more* optimistic - that sounds wrong. I admire those who have the strength to stand away from their families! I just try and look for alternatives. My relationship with my family is wayy better than many other people too - I'm lucky!

    Ax

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