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Old 12-17-2007, 08:22 PM
 
1 posts, read 8,377 times
Reputation: 13

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I am a 22 yr old who has lived away from home since age 17 and have not been particularly forthcoming in communicating with my parents and/or making an effort to spend time with them. I do visit for Christmas and I respond to emails if they email me, and I make time for them if they visit the city I live in (there is another relative living in this city). I had a very fortunate childhood--parents read to me, had a very nice relationship with eachother (they're still together), were never violent towards me. I have been financially independent since I was 19 (they helped out w/ college). I dropped out of college after my first yr and got a job in healthcare, but realized quickly that I wanted to get a 4 yr degree and went back to school, where I am currently getting an engineering degree. I feel very guilty about being a bad daughter in that I don't put much effort into our relationship. I told them I don't have a phone so that they don't call me. The reason I do this is that I feel like I can't be honest with them and I feel like they are not very honest with me. I feel like I can't/shouldn't tell them about the unsavory aspects of my life--I use drugs (alcohol and marijuana) recreationally, I have had various short lived relationships as well as casual affairs. These things don't seem to jive w/ my parents' more traditional values. I am an atheist and resent that my mom forced me to get confirmed when I was 15 to humor her and other family members, and having to go to church on xmas to humor my family still bothers me(can't we be honest about these things? why does my mom insist on being in denial?). My parents are model people; I mean, I know that they must be human, but I can't really see it. They don't act superior--they are very humble and frequently self-effacing (midwest scandinavian passive aggressive lutherans...)--and they are truly extremely good people. I am not such a good person in that way--I swear alot, I am really irreverent, I hate tradition and I like to use alcohol and have casual sex and talk about taboo, TRUE, things--but to my parents I avoid being like that because I don't want to offend them, I just want them to be at peace w/ themselves in terms of how I have turned out--but how can this be if they don't really know me? It seems to me like an impossible situation. They people who really know me and who act like I think a family should are my friends--they call me on my bull**** even when I'm in denial about it, they have expectations for me--they are the ones who I really want to succeed for, in a sense, because I won't lie to them--if I fail, they will know, but I'll just lie to my parents and however transparent the lie, they won't call me on it. It seems like we are both tiptoeing around eachother, afraid to say what we think and offend eachother. I wish that we could have a real arguement where we would both say what we think. I don't know whether to just leave it as is, which is better than alot of situations--I think that my parents are okay with me and I'm not in jail or asking them for money or anything--but I think this will haunt me because I think they are hurt by my lack of effort, and I do feel bad about not giving them my phone number because it's not like they are emotionally abusive or anything like that--it's just that I can't stand the fake conversations w/ my mom--where she tells me bull**** drivel and I do the same. I would love for her to tell me about anything she feels bad about, or some time when she did something stupid or where somebody hurt her or just something other than complete neutrality! I just cannot function that way! Anyway, any advice from parents would be very much appreciated. Thanks for reading, I know this was long.
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
919 posts, read 2,858,314 times
Reputation: 251
It seems like we are both tiptoeing around eachother, afraid to say what we think and offend eachother. I wish that we could have a real arguement where we would both say what we think. I don't know whether to just leave it as is, which is better than alot of situations

Somehow somewhere long ago this was set in motion...you really should examine this here..why are you all afraid to express your feelings, if you came from such a happy well functioning family? Something is wrong...sorry. We see and believe what we want too, that is how most of us operate in life..I used too. I would show them this letter..and see how they react? Or are you afraid they will not APPROVE of it?
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:29 PM
 
4,541 posts, read 9,496,950 times
Reputation: 3848
Couple things because I can relate to a few.

First off - just because you have a certain lifestyle or things you do, does not mean it's either all or none with your parents. It's possible to have a relationship with them without having to air every aspect of your personal life.

You will never have a deep relationship with them until you start making the small steps first - which would be giving them your phone number and yes, having small talk. I hate talking on the phone. And my mother generally does most of the talking. About her health. That's just the way it is. Do we have a close relationship? Yes. Does she know every detail of my life? No. And frankly, I don't want to know every detail about hers.

I'm 40 now. Trust me in that living your life to please other people does not work. Took me a long time to figure that out. But there are some conversations that I totally avoid with my mother - politics, religion being one of them. If you think your life was screwed up by religious up bringing I can guarantee you I have you beat by a mile. I grew up in an extremely religious household and in a church that I now consider a cult. Non of my family is involved any longer, but I was part of that from 2nd grade to about age 25. I have a degree in theology. I am now an atheist. My mom does not know that and it's really not worth discussing and causing hurt to her. I'm also heavily tattooed - she hasn't a clue....

I've been married 20 years, have a wonderful teenage son, we own our own business. What more could a mom want for her daughter?

It sounds like you are beating yourself up because you feel guilt for not having a relationship with your parents like you have with your close friends. I can't ever imagine having that type of relationship with my mother. Wouldn't want it really. I need her there for me for different reasons.

Seriously - give them the phone number and at least start opening the door a little. As far as going to church to humor your family......either you learn to stick by your beliefs now, or suck it up and humor them. If they don't know you are an atheist then how should they know they are putting you in an uncomfortable position. It's not fair if they don't know. If they do know then it should be easy - just say you are uncomfortable going and that you'll see them when they all get back from church. Don't assume they should have "figured it out" if you haven't told them. You can't blame them and be mad at them if you haven't been upfront and honest either.

Trust me, as a parent you see your child in a certain way. There are many things over looked, etc. - things you may not want to see, even though it may be obvious. You might have to be the one to take the first step, take the chance and get some things off your mind. They sound like very loving parents who may be more understanding than you are giving them credit for.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:16 PM
 
2,222 posts, read 9,140,928 times
Reputation: 3225
Quote:
Originally Posted by mittens1234 View Post
I am a 22 yr old who has lived away from home since age 17 and have not been particularly forthcoming in communicating with my parents and/or making an effort to spend time with them. I do visit for Christmas and I respond to emails if they email me, and I make time for them if they visit the city I live in (there is another relative living in this city). I had a very fortunate childhood--parents read to me, had a very nice relationship with eachother (they're still together), were never violent towards me. I have been financially independent since I was 19 (they helped out w/ college). I dropped out of college after my first yr and got a job in healthcare, but realized quickly that I wanted to get a 4 yr degree and went back to school, where I am currently getting an engineering degree. I feel very guilty about being a bad daughter in that I don't put much effort into our relationship. I told them I don't have a phone so that they don't call me. The reason I do this is that I feel like I can't be honest with them and I feel like they are not very honest with me. I feel like I can't/shouldn't tell them about the unsavory aspects of my life--I use drugs (alcohol and marijuana) recreationally, I have had various short lived relationships as well as casual affairs. These things don't seem to jive w/ my parents' more traditional values. I am an atheist and resent that my mom forced me to get confirmed when I was 15 to humor her and other family members, and having to go to church on xmas to humor my family still bothers me(can't we be honest about these things? why does my mom insist on being in denial?). My parents are model people; I mean, I know that they must be human, but I can't really see it. They don't act superior--they are very humble and frequently self-effacing (midwest scandinavian passive aggressive lutherans...)--and they are truly extremely good people. I am not such a good person in that way--I swear alot, I am really irreverent, I hate tradition and I like to use alcohol and have casual sex and talk about taboo, TRUE, things--but to my parents I avoid being like that because I don't want to offend them, I just want them to be at peace w/ themselves in terms of how I have turned out--but how can this be if they don't really know me? It seems to me like an impossible situation. They people who really know me and who act like I think a family should are my friends--they call me on my bull**** even when I'm in denial about it, they have expectations for me--they are the ones who I really want to succeed for, in a sense, because I won't lie to them--if I fail, they will know, but I'll just lie to my parents and however transparent the lie, they won't call me on it. It seems like we are both tiptoeing around eachother, afraid to say what we think and offend eachother. I wish that we could have a real arguement where we would both say what we think. I don't know whether to just leave it as is, which is better than alot of situations--I think that my parents are okay with me and I'm not in jail or asking them for money or anything--but I think this will haunt me because I think they are hurt by my lack of effort, and I do feel bad about not giving them my phone number because it's not like they are emotionally abusive or anything like that--it's just that I can't stand the fake conversations w/ my mom--where she tells me bull**** drivel and I do the same. I would love for her to tell me about anything she feels bad about, or some time when she did something stupid or where somebody hurt her or just something other than complete neutrality! I just cannot function that way! Anyway, any advice from parents would be very much appreciated. Thanks for reading, I know this was long.
Mittens -

It doesn't sound like your parents need to be more honest with you, it sounds like you need to be more honest with yourself, sweetie. You seem to be avoiding your parents because they might be disappointed in you if they knew the truth. We all make mistakes, including parents. But parents don't usually talk about all the things they did in their youth to their children. We grow up and learn from our mistakes. I would say this is more of a self esteem issue you have.

And just so you know, you do not have to share everything about yourself in order to have a close relationship with your parents. They don't need to know you like to smoke pot, drink or have casual sex. But I have to wonder why you think so very little of yourself that you treat yourself this way.

Here is my suggestion: give your parents your phone number. It's OK to talk about the weather and other mundane things. You can begin to open up a little at a time, but it will never happen if you don't talk. It sounds like you all love each other but just need to reestablish a relationship. Not caring for tradition, religious beliefs, etc. should not get in the way of family. Mutual respect can be applied and most problems resolved so all can be free to be themselves and still have a family bond.

And take a good look at yourself. There is no shame in making mistakes. The wonderful thing about being young is you have time and energy to change things. Find out who you are, what you want, and get excited about life. These are things you can share with your family. And if you need a little help figuring things out, don't be afraid to ask for it. You seem like a great person, just a little confused.

I wish you well. Please include your parents in your life. I know they love you with all their hearts. Beth
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:43 PM
 
Location: NE Florida
9,362 posts, read 22,340,267 times
Reputation: 9263
Are your parents so judgemental or are you dealing with your own issues?

If it is the former, then you need to deal with them on your terms, if the latter, then know that they would rather have you in their life on your terms than not at all.

You sound like a great person. Guilt is over rated, you have nothing to feel guilty about. And the Cleavers have left the house. I expect that the older you get, the more you will see your folks for what they are- human beings. And human beings have flaws and imperfections. And family is about unconditional love. Give them a chance to show you that. (but don't go so far as to burn a doobie in their garage when you go to visit!)
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:05 PM
 
9,863 posts, read 8,983,408 times
Reputation: 7945
You need to sit down with your mom one on one and have a heart to heart talk with her. You don't have to discuss drinking or smoking marijuana with them. Just open up and tell your mom your real true feelings ... no BS. You need to do the same thing with your dad ... one on one. As a parent of grown children that have been out and on their own for sometime now I know one thing ... it's called unconditional love ... I may not agree with things they do but I love everyone of them unconditionally. A parent can't turn off love because one drinks or has casual sex. I can tell your parents raised you right or you wouldn't be having these feelings.

I know what you mean by the BS drivel conversations ... my husband and I had an accident in 2004 and almost died ... still in therapy and recouping now. It's been a long road for us. Things changed after the accident with our kids when they realized mom and dad are not invincible. Our middle daughter made a drastic change and even her mother-in-law has commented on the change and openess daughter now has.

My parents both passed away and I have to go to their graves now to talk things over with them. Please don't let this happen to you.

Give it a try and I hope things work out for you and your parents.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Chicago
2,467 posts, read 11,120,545 times
Reputation: 851
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolinaWoman View Post
You need to sit down with your mom one on one and have a heart to heart talk with her. You don't have to discuss drinking or smoking marijuana with them. Just open up and tell your mom your real true feelings ... no BS. You need to do the same thing with your dad ... one on one. As a parent of grown children that have been out and on their own for sometime now I know one thing ... it's called unconditional love ... I may not agree with things they do but I love everyone of them unconditionally. A parent can't turn off love because one drinks or has casual sex. I can tell your parents raised you right or you wouldn't be having these feelings.
I agree with Carolina above. You should be as honest with your parents as you are with us (but realizing that you might want to wait to talk about drugs/sex until later unless you feel that you need their support to make changes in this area...people with great relationships with their parents often don't share "every" detail). You can't change the relationship until you bring this all up with them. I'm sure they would like to be closer with you and have this talk as well. And, give them your phone number. That will help. My mom just had a 15 minute conversation with herself...I mean me regarding the things at the bank that suck up your deposit....not very interesting but I still let her talk about the mundane things.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:26 PM
 
4,541 posts, read 9,496,950 times
Reputation: 3848
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessiegirl_98 View Post
My mom just had a 15 minute conversation with herself...I mean me regarding the things at the bank that suck up your deposit....not very interesting but I still let her talk about the mundane things.
That really made me smile! That's a good way to put it. My mom has a lot of conversations with herself (me) as well. Unfortunately the things she talks about that I find so mundane, are things that are a big deal to her. So I listen. She's at a stage in her life where changing her cell phone service has caused a lot of stress, angst, etc.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:22 PM
 
358 posts, read 1,786,666 times
Reputation: 170
Sounds complex. Like with the current communication issues... maybe you'll have to gradually start making things more straightforward with them?
I'm early 20s and still talk on the phone with my parents regularly... they don't need to know all detail of me and I don't need to know theirs. You can still talk about general stuff about whats going on in your lives without having to discuss activities/beliefs that one or the other disagrees with.
Often especially when I was like 15-20, I felt my friends were my family, similarly to how you described.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:46 PM
 
Location: elk grove
3 posts, read 12,327 times
Reputation: 10
you have to grow up and be honest with yourself. tell your parents how you feel and what you beleive in. i know with my children i would never want them lying to me just to spare my feelings. as far as i know they have been honest with me ever since they could talk and there has been times thier honesty has hurt my feelings but i appreciated it nonetheless. you have a alot of issues to deal with good luck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mittens1234 View Post
I am a 22 yr old who has lived away from home since age 17 and have not been particularly forthcoming in communicating with my parents and/or making an effort to spend time with them. I do visit for Christmas and I respond to emails if they email me, and I make time for them if they visit the city I live in (there is another relative living in this city). I had a very fortunate childhood--parents read to me, had a very nice relationship with eachother (they're still together), were never violent towards me. I have been financially independent since I was 19 (they helped out w/ college). I dropped out of college after my first yr and got a job in healthcare, but realized quickly that I wanted to get a 4 yr degree and went back to school, where I am currently getting an engineering degree. I feel very guilty about being a bad daughter in that I don't put much effort into our relationship. I told them I don't have a phone so that they don't call me. The reason I do this is that I feel like I can't be honest with them and I feel like they are not very honest with me. I feel like I can't/shouldn't tell them about the unsavory aspects of my life--I use drugs (alcohol and marijuana) recreationally, I have had various short lived relationships as well as casual affairs. These things don't seem to jive w/ my parents' more traditional values. I am an atheist and resent that my mom forced me to get confirmed when I was 15 to humor her and other family members, and having to go to church on xmas to humor my family still bothers me(can't we be honest about these things? why does my mom insist on being in denial?). My parents are model people; I mean, I know that they must be human, but I can't really see it. They don't act superior--they are very humble and frequently self-effacing (midwest scandinavian passive aggressive lutherans...)--and they are truly extremely good people. I am not such a good person in that way--I swear alot, I am really irreverent, I hate tradition and I like to use alcohol and have casual sex and talk about taboo, TRUE, things--but to my parents I avoid being like that because I don't want to offend them, I just want them to be at peace w/ themselves in terms of how I have turned out--but how can this be if they don't really know me? It seems to me like an impossible situation. They people who really know me and who act like I think a family should are my friends--they call me on my bull**** even when I'm in denial about it, they have expectations for me--they are the ones who I really want to succeed for, in a sense, because I won't lie to them--if I fail, they will know, but I'll just lie to my parents and however transparent the lie, they won't call me on it. It seems like we are both tiptoeing around eachother, afraid to say what we think and offend eachother. I wish that we could have a real arguement where we would both say what we think. I don't know whether to just leave it as is, which is better than alot of situations--I think that my parents are okay with me and I'm not in jail or asking them for money or anything--but I think this will haunt me because I think they are hurt by my lack of effort, and I do feel bad about not giving them my phone number because it's not like they are emotionally abusive or anything like that--it's just that I can't stand the fake conversations w/ my mom--where she tells me bull**** drivel and I do the same. I would love for her to tell me about anything she feels bad about, or some time when she did something stupid or where somebody hurt her or just something other than complete neutrality! I just cannot function that way! Anyway, any advice from parents would be very much appreciated. Thanks for reading, I know this was long.
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