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How do I build a better relationship with my difficult/broken parents?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

***This is a subforum/spinoff from a thread I started here: http://www.styleforum.net/t/275388/help-me-save-up-and-move-out***

 

"You can't change your parents but you can change the way you deal with them."

-Some random guy

 

PLEASE READ!

 

First and foremost I would like to say that I do not hate my parents. I love them and am very grateful for everything they've given me. They honestly have been great parents, made sure I had a great education and always looked out for me while making sure I stayed out of trouble.

 

That being said, like most people, they have their issues. Not with each other but with their character. 

 

Growing up, people did a lot of nasty things to our family (put nails under our tires, throw eggs at our house, break in and steal things), and I never understood why it only happened to us and no one else on our block. The most recent and startling instance happened a few weeks ago when someone sent a note card with no return address to my father and it read "You are a disgusting piece of trash." This made me sad and I could only imagine what he did to recieve this.

 

As I've gotten older though I've noticed that my parents are both borderline "bad" people. My mother, to certain degrees, is selfish, inconsiderate, self-centered and sometimes just plain mean. My dad on the other hand is a bit controversial, cynical and thinks very backwards.

 

After attending college and just growing as a person, I've moved back and discovered the character flaws my parents have. A lot of the times these flaws prevent me from getting to know them better and build a better relationship.

 

So I ask to all of you who might have had experience with difficult parents: How did you build a stronger relationship with your parents despite them being difficult people to deal with?

 

I ask this because a lot of you pointed out that a main reason why I shouldn't be so quick to move out of my parent's house is because this time (right after college) is the best time to grow close with your parents. However, they continue to stress me out and irritate me with the way that they are.

 

Thanks in advance for all of the help and I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving. :)

post #2 of 21
Hm. this is difficult... I am/was in a similar situation as you, although mine isn't as difficult.

Just try to talk to them, tell them what has been bothering you for a long time. Tell them cautiously but plainly. Wait a bit for it to settle (maybe in smaller bits), see how they react. Then you can decide if it's worth proceeding (that you have a chance of actually bettering your relationship with them) or not.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sander View Post

Hm. this is difficult... I am/was in a similar situation as you, although mine isn't as difficult.
Just try to talk to them, tell them what has been bothering you for a long time. Tell them cautiously but plainly. Wait a bit for it to settle (maybe in smaller bits), see how they react. Then you can decide if it's worth proceeding (that you have a chance of actually bettering your relationship with them) or not.


Good advice. I have been bringing it up to them in little bits.

post #4 of 21
Sounds like you need to move out.

Hit up Fora memeber GreenFrog for more advice. You both seem about the same age and mentality.
post #5 of 21
move out, getting to know your parents can also be done whilst at a distance. Also, you seem to be in the transition phase between seeing your parents as parents and seeing them also as just other humans (its comes out a bit weird, its the translation issue and im too tired to work that out). The latter is where you figure out their character flaws and accept them for who they are. the accepting part is a lot easier when youre not there all the time..
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bringusingoodale View Post

Sounds like you need to move out.
Hit up Fora memeber GreenFrog for more advice. You both seem about the same age and mentality.

I'm right here budday.

Edit:

Not much advice I can offer you here because I think you need to flesh out some more details.. for example, do you find it difficult to deal with them because you resent the fact that other people don't like your parents? Do they treat you the same way they treat others (i.e. selfish, inconsiderate, etc)?

Since I've seen your other thread, I think the answer is really simple. If you find that you're clashing with your parents more often than you'd like, then maybe you should move out and become independent, even though it will strain you financially. Also, I firmly believe that both parties have to be in the same mindset of forging a stronger relationship. Right now, you definitely seem to have it, but whether your parents do or will is a separate issue.

As for me, I discovered that golf is a great way to bond with my dad, for example. I only started learning it recently because I've discovered that it can actually be fun when you hit the sweet spots, and it's also a great business tool when you network with other people. Nothing worse than having to decline an invitation to play golf with a senior leader because a) you don't know how to play, or b) you suck. My dad told me that he would invite subordinates to play golf with him all the time, and even though he knew it was irrational, those who played golf very well also tended to score well on performance reviews :P. But that's beyond the point of this topic.

Try to find some bonding activities you can share with your parents. It might be difficult to find ones that you can share with your mom and dad at the same time, but maybe on an individual level, you can find something. I've realized that my dad enjoys giving me tips and pointers on how to play golf because it still gives him that sense that he's teaching his son. He's very sensitive towards treating me like an adult now because I'm finally financially independent and have joined the rat race, if you will. So he purposely doesn't tell me that I should do this, or do that. But with golf, none of that really matters. It's just a father teaching his son how to play a sport he loves. My father also used to play a lot of golf with his father, so I guess there's that aspect as well.

For me, it'd be like teaching my son how to drive a manual car, for example. Sharing a passion and hobby with your parents is a great way to bond.

Also, if it turns out that your parents are sort of insufferable and you can't bond with them.. then maybe that's that. I know all family dynamics are supposed to be rosy and picture-perfect, but you'll find that a LOT of people have strained relationships with their relatives, whether they be direct members or more distant ones. Just take a look at that thread here that discusses fora members' relationships with their fathers. A lot of them show disdain towards their fathers.
Edited by GreenFrog - 11/26/11 at 1:48pm
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post


I'm right here budday

Cool. Now tell this guy to move out.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post


I'm right here budday.
Edit:Not much advice I can offer you here because I think you need to flesh out some more details.. for example, do you find it difficult to deal with them because you resent the fact that other people don't like your parents? Do they treat you the same way they treat others (i.e. selfish, inconsiderate, etc)?

 

 

It bothers me that they are this way to other people but they treat me the same way also. My dad is a little more understanding and tolerable but he has his crazy moments.


Great advice though. I'll definitely find something to help me bond with my parents. I tried a couple of months ago, took my mom to the Sade concert at the Staples Center. Spent $300 on the tickets and she didn't really seem to enjoy it that much or appreciate it. I thought she'd like it seeing as Sade is her age and all but she wasn't really impressed. Golf is definitely something I can try to learn with my dad because neither of us know how to swing a club.

 

Also, what is "Fora"?

post #9 of 21
Fora = correct (latin) plural of forum.

I don't know your exact situation, but moving out was really good for me in a lot of ways.
post #10 of 21
good luck.

sort of a strange sitution - I feel badly for you and for your parents that people don't like them, there is probably a back story that you will learn one day.

my parents have their flaws, and their strengths. I learned, a long time ago, to accept both. I don't let me parents give me advice, or really get involved in the raising of my kids, or much, really. but I do call them both on a regular basis, and invite them to visit once a year (and pay for thier tickets). I try to spend a little quality time with them, when I can. one of my siblings has nothing at all to do with my father, and I think that is a mistake.

anyway, good luck to you.
post #11 of 21

 

I Don't Need A 
Better Relationship I Need A New One rotflmao.gif
 
post #12 of 21
All parents have flaws, they are human and having offspring can bring on pressures that exacerbate their issues. I often think I'm the worst dad in the world and always seek to improve.

Sometimes you can't build a relationship. Some parents have such deeply ingrained disorders that they simply won't go away. Google "Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms" for an example. A child really can't overcome this.

Take notes, make lists, look for patterns. Try to figure out things that consistently bother you in your relationship with your parents and then start exploring what might be going on.

Probably not what you want to hear, but I hope this helps.
post #13 of 21
always hard when you reach that certain age where you realize that your folks are as fucked up and flawed like everyone else in the planet. just sayin'
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for your advice and words, I appreciate the help and will be applying it to better my relationship. Just to make sure I'm not overreacting I'll give you some examples of my parent's character flaws and hopefully you can see how they bother me:

 

 

1. A couple of summers ago while I was still in college but on summer break I noticed that my mom had been coming home later than usual and when I would ask her where she was she would say she was with her co-workers somewhere. I got suspicious and went through her phone when she accidentally left it at home one day. I found texts and pictures of her that showed she had been seeing some other guy who wasn't my dad (my parents have been married for 26 years). I asked my older brother to ask her about it since he's closer with her but he refused to so I did. When i brought up this man to her she completely changed the subject by yelling at me for going through her phone. Yes, I was wrong for going through her stuff but my suspicion led me to this. I never told my dad because I didn't want to tear the family apart but I think she's stopped seeing this man.

 

2. My dad is the type of guy who will say "Chinaman" instead of Asian or "Faggot" instead of homosexual.

 

3. Last week my mom had me run errands at Costco for her while she cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. She gave me her membership card and Debit card. When I got everything she needed and went to the cashier, he told me I couldn't use my moms card unless she was in the store because of Costco's membership policy. Long story short, she ended up coming to Costco and causing a huge scene and even slapped the manager. I understood why the man wouldn't let me use my mom's card, he probably didn't want to lose his job. I tried to tell my mom this and told her to calm down, it's the store's policy but she wouldn't let it go...

 

4. My dad is very narrow minded and thinks he's always right/the smartest which of course leads to a lot of clashing with a lot of people. 

 

5. He's also a bit cynical. The other day i tried connecting with him by telling him I was going on a date with a girl. I told him she came up to me at the bar and asked me to dance. Immediately he asked me if her motivation for talking to me was that she thought I had a lot of money. I tried to explain to him that she probably just thought I was cute and wanted to talk to me but he couldn't wrap his head around this for some reason...

 

So what do you guys think?

post #15 of 21
You sound like you are describing your parents from the perspective of a teenager who wants his freedom.

I say move out and live your life.
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