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When did our adult children become perfect?

Posted by alyce56 (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 8, 08 at 8:04

Why is it that adult children are super critical of their parents? As a parent there's no going back if you think your not cut out for the job. Most of us think we're doing or did do an ok sort of a job and then we have these so called experts telling us, we are doing it all wrong. Then further on down the track even more experts have now disagreed with the previous experts and we are still doing the parenting thing all wrong.

Why is it not forgiveable when I make a mistake? If I keep doing the same thing over and over again, fair enough but give parents a break. Most are trying their best which is usually never perfect but we have a good go at it. We are still only human afterall. We didn't take on superior abilities that prevented us from making those forgiveable mistakes that our children seem hell bent on making us pay a life time for. Needless to say you might get it right with one child but if you've had more than one then it's a gamble to see if the others approve of your parenting skills.

What I can see is a clear lack of respect for parents and this seems to be a sign of the times we are living in. A breaking down of the family and the authority within the family. A lack of respect not just for parents but authority in general.

When did our children even as adults, start holding themselves up as judge and jury of their parents? Seems to me we have a generation of sorry, sulky, sookie adults that still need their egos stroked a little to help them feel good about themselves. What are they going to do when things get a little tough, have a bit of a cry baby because they think they've had this terrible childhood?

Before anyone gets on my case, I am not talking about those who have been genuinely neglected and abused. They have a legitimate case but I do know of some who have had the most horrendous time of it as children but have come through it, landed on their feet and who you will never hear a single complaint from about how difficult they had it growing up. There seems to be a quiet strength and determination about them and I applaude them for not letting their experiences determine their lifes outcome.

I am just a tad annoyed with the self righteous attitude of some of these adult children. I can't live up to other people's expectations and I can't go back in time and change the way I did some things. I can be sorry about some of my choices but I can't let any mistakes rule the rest of my life where I'm afraid to have a go and take a risk.

So to all you big kids out there who are feeling very precious about themselves and their self righteous attitude, tuck those tender emotional bits away, pick up your toys and join in with the rest because this life is no dress rehearsal.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

You said a mouthful there, couldn't agree more! My daughter is one of those adults you describe! To hear her tell it, every single choice I ever made was the WRONG one and I must be punished for it now! I have no problem owning that some choices I made weren't right and I sure as heck was not perfect, but at every turn something gets thrown in my face that I did wrong, ie We moved to a new school district when our daughter was a freshman and that "RUINED her life" or we didnt fork out enough money on her wedding and thats "why the marriage failed", per her words she "deserved a fairy-tale wedding with no financial limitations nomatter what it cost", shame on me for not taking out a second mortgage to pay for her fairy tale wedding! The list could go on for days, all of it petty and ridiculous.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

what they don't seem to get is the day they realize (or think) it's all our fault, from that day forward it's their fault. my son's wife was not making their mortgage payments when he came to me for money to catch up those payments i agreed it was her fault. BUT i told him if it happens again, it's your fault for letting it happen again.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I think what really gets me is that I tried to hard to be a good mother and no I obviously did not hit the mark or my daughter would not have turned out to be so self-serving, self-righteous and self-absorbed. When she told me what a horrible mother I was, I told her she must be absolutely correct, just look at how she turned out. Her real problem with me is that I am the only one who has ever corrected her when she was misbehaving and she definely does not like to be told no. But if I corrected her, she just went to my mother, sister or x and they validated her feelings that she was right and I was wrong. If I told her she couldn't have something, she went to them and they got it for her. They undermined my authority from the very beginning. And now, we are all paying for it.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

The present is always a prologue to the furture. Some children have learned to become expert manipulators and are practicing covert aggressive agendas, because they know they work. My sil behaved this way all the time and it worked for her (her father and relatives enabled her). She was very good at reading people's emotions and playing on their guilt. I had to protect myself and remove myself as much as I could from that situation. She and they didn't want me around anyway. It's difficult watching my husband not stand up for himself and get used, but there is little I can do, if he is complicit in the process. Sadly, I've lost a lot of respect for him and that doesn't feel good to say that. It's much worse if you lose respect for yourself, by allowing situations where you cave in to unreasonable demands and requests.

I started researching and reading for answers. I've kept many books to refer too. One on emotional blackmail says:

"Training the Blackmailer Ourselves:

Emotional blackmail takes training and practice. Who provides the training? You do. Who else could tell a blackmailer with absolute certainty and precision: This is what works on me. This is the kind of pressure I always give in to. This is the tool that was custom-designed to probe my most sensitive spot."

I thought that was hard-hitting...behaviors are built on a series of tests and it starts with the little things. It starts small scale and builds in more significant ways. When we give into pressure or discomfort, we're providing positive reinforcement and rewarding bad behavior. The hard truth is that every time we let someone undercut our dignity and integrity, we are colluding and helping them hurt us.

On my journey, I've had to start looking inwards and ask myself how did I comply and how was I complicit in allowing their behaviors to continue. Recognizing the ways you may contribute to the problem is NOT blame. Habitual responses are hard to change, but there is a lot of value in looking at them. And in looking at them, I'm not saying that thoughtless, destructive behaivors will stop. I learned that they will not. When you do stand up for yourself with the self-absorbed you will risk abandonment and that choice is not an easy one to make. I'm personally still dealing with each and every day, and the feelings are much stronger during this time of year. Protecting one's integrity can be frightening and lonely, yet it's an improvement over feeling "manipulated," or that your value to other people is only recognized in what you do for others, instead of feeling valued for who you are. You have to start evaluating your beliefs that contribute to the problem and standing up for yourself puts one at risk for incurring the disapproval of people we care about, and it may even jeopardize a relationship. It's a hard decision.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Our children become perfect when they become "adults", then our children realize how imperfect they are when we (their parents) die.

As tough as it is, we probably behaved no differently, and the cycle will continue in the generations to come.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

ALYCE...

THANK YOU so much for putting it beautifully!
I am so tired of trying to examine me and what I should apologize for.. yes, by no means was I perfect, but I know that I loved these two boys with all my heart. Maybe I should apologize for that!:-)
While working on this documentary, I interviewed Mark Sichel.. if you haven't seen his site there are some interesting character descriptions.. www.psybersquare.com
anyway.. one thing he said that really struck me was:

I dont think parents do anything wrong generally, or more wrong than their children are going to do wrong when their parents.

Please read it again.. Parents don't do anything more wrong than their children are going to do wrong when they are parents!!!!!

Helloooo...


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

"What I can see is a clear lack of respect for parents and this seems to be a sign of the times we are living in."

I disagree that it is a sign of the times!

I have not seen that at all around here. I know many wonderful 20 somethings and 30 somethings who get along with their parents.

I have great hope for the future. These young adults will do wonderful things, even though we are giving them a mess to work with....


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

"A lack of respect not just for parents but authority in general"

Maybe,just maybe,because authority isnt always right!

And I happen to be one of those self rightous kids you speak of.
And I can tell you this,my feelings have NOTHING to do what happend in the past! The past I can forgive.The past I can say that not all parents are perfect.
I'am concerned with the HERE AND NOW.Has my mother changed? Learned ANYTHING? Grown at all from her Mistakes? No no and no.

And maybe even as adult children,we are tired of the "you must respect your elders bit".WHY??? Do they always respect us? Do they always do what is right for us? The way I see it,NO!
So please,step off the soap box.

EVERY person's situation is different.You cannot speak for all nor judge for all when we are all different!


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I think the subject is estranged adult children of the posters, not you in particular iloveexercise unless one of the posters is your mother.

I agree with you completely that not everything is the childs fault, there are some rottem parents out there. I doubt very seriously that they are on a forum trying to figure out what went wrong, but they are out there. I had one like that for a mom.

But I also have a 38 year old daughter that is being described on this thread as if the other posters knew her personally.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

momj,
No, it wasnt that way between myself and my parents, i didn't behave that way at all. There were two years where there was some distance but never disrespect, that was in my early 20's. From my mid 20's my mom and I were closer than we ever had been....right up until she passed away 10 yrs ago. Following the loss of my mom, we moved my dad from az to tn so he wouldnt be totally alone. He has a home 2 miles from us and is here at our house EVERY day cuz he's lonely...and yes sometimes that gets to be a bit much! LOL I wish he would date, he's just 65, any volunteers?! LOL (btw thats why my & hubby & i "run away" from home at least once a month-for some alone time lol) I can tell ya that if my dad was the person that he was when I was a kid....we wouldn't be close now, he made way more than his share of mistakes as a dad when i was little, my mom didn't call him "little hitler" for nothing! LOL But most of us know our parents are human and they weren't perfect and nomatter how old we are--we are all still learning and growing from life experience :)


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Sort of a broad brush you are painting with, isn't it?

I have a great relationship with my father, and did with my mother as well (she's passed away). Most of the adults I know who don't have good relationships with their parents had pretty crappy parents.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

sue36..

love to know what you mean by "crappy" and from whose perspective? yours or your friends?
wonder what their parents would say about them...
crappy kids?
talk about a broad brush?


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Sue, most of the adults MY AGE that I know, have good relationships with their adult kids..even those of us whose parents were less than perfect, because most of my generation that I KNOW OF-have respect for their parents. However, MANY of those in my kids generation-I can't say I have seen the same, even my son has commented on so many of the people his age that he and his wife know-treat their parents terrible. My son spent a lot of extra effort even as a teenager trying to make up to me how my daughter treated me because it seriously bothered him. Now he gets mad at me for taking her crap, lol If anyone asked my daughter-she would say I was a terrible parent and still am (especially if i didnt give her something she wanted recently lol), but that was NOT the case. I wasn't perfect, but I wasn't the monster she has portrayed me as either.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

"I think the subject is estranged adult children of the posters, not you in particular iloveexercise unless one of the posters is your mother."

Yes I know she wasnt speaking directly to me.But GENERALIZING (which this thread seems to be all about) is never a good thing to do.And I think It was pretty clear I was just trying to answer some of the questions she brought up.
Some of the greatest people in history questioned and went against so called "authority".So my question is why do adults think their grown kids should just do whatever they say/want/feel? And respect them no matter what?
See,the coin goes both ways...


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

iloveexercise:
Your question, why do adults think their grown kids should do whatever they say/want/feel? Cant say I have known any parents of adult kids that think that at all, as a matter of fact, those that I know expect their grown kids to DO for themselves without expecting their parents to bail them out every time they make a poor decision and when the parents dont do that-THEN their adult kids revert to acting like two year olds. At least that is MY experience with my daughter and what I have seen happen with a lot of other parents my age. I am well aware there are some parents who still expect to control their adult kids....heck I dated a few mammas boys in my day! lol


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

So my question is why do adults think their grown kids should just do whatever they say/want/feel? And respect them no matter what?
See,the coin goes both ways...

Yes, it does go both ways but your question is generalizing also. I don't think I have ever expected my grown children to do whatever I want them to do/say/feel.

Every time my grown daughter has had a major problem with me has been over a situation of her own making. Every single time she has gotten into a problem, either legal or financial, I have been sitting at home, minding my own business, living my own life and bam! WE now have a problem because she has gotten into another mess. NOW, when I bail you out of a situation because you have come to me to be bailed out, you have made it my business and I will tell you what I think and I do expect you to adhere to the terms of whatever arrangement that has been made between the two of us. It is now MY business also.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

dear flowergardenmuse

i find your post very insightful. i appreciate how much you've dug below the surface of appearances. i share your observation that ultimately it comes down to self-complicity. how do i validate and enable the very behavior in others that i find offensive? i have found confronting the other person rarely leads to anything benefical; in most cases it tends to make people more defensive and ironically it reinforces the undesired behavior. i think that's how we fall into a pattern of enabling in that we remain non-confrontational in order to "keep the peace". where is the middleground? the answer is there is none. when i began to realize the nature of my own complicity my estrangement with my parents ceased but then a new one was born; my older siblings began to estranged me along with my parents. it seems as if this very act of contemplating my own complicity seemed to antagonize my siblings. there is no middleground. you just have the live the best you can with the consequences whatever they may be. confronting ones own self-complicity is going to alienate certain people who aren't comfortable with what insights they will bring. my decision to own up to my own illusions about the past and become aware of my own biases and stop blaming my parents actually was looked down upon by my siblings. it was like i was leaving a cult and they were banishing me from their presence; it was like i had a disease inwhich they didn't want to become infected with. there is no middle ground. like you said "it's much worst if you lose respect for yourself". it was a hard choice to make, but in the end it wasn't really a choice at all.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

mssd:
"I have been sitting at home, minding my own business, living my own life and bam!"

I can SO relate to this! Weeks or even months can go by that I don't hear from my daughter....until she is in a big jam (always financial) and EXPECTS me to make her problem MY problem! lol And the kicker is, if I don't...then I am told I am the cause of all the problems in her world! Um, I was minding my own business, doing my own thing and she spent herself silly (usually clothes) and then gets a disconnect notice for her phone....how is THAT my fault?! LOL She has her mail sent to my address because she usually doesn't stay any one place for very long (not paying ones rent has that effect) and just three weeks ago she financed jewelry but sent me a text two days ago telling me she needed groceries....and just a few weeks ago she was "done" with me because I wouldn't pay off her overdraft fees! But DARE i say "if you cant afford groceries why are you financing jewelry?" .....all hell would break loose if I dared because thats just "none of my business"! She had concert tickets come in the mail here in October-but thats NOT my business even though it is ME that she asked for money that week to cover her truck insurance! Instances like this are exactly why bank of mom closed last year. I have not handed her money in a year and yet she still calls me crying the blues and asking for money and when I decline-I get nasty emails from her and cut off from my grandson for weeks or months at a time. She didn't attend THanksgiving because I failed to give her money a few weeks before.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

My stars, there are some very angry people posting here. How sad.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Tell me about it! I co-signed for a vehicle (I know, really stupid on my part) she just about ruined my credit rating, and everytime she got mad at me she skipped a payment. Then when the company was going to repo it, I told her to bring it over to my house and park it because I did not want a repo on my credit. Well, when she brought it back, I don't know how they got it to my house but guess what? It needed a new motor. I bought one, my husband, neighbors and son put it in and I let my son take up payments, because I didn't need another vehicle and he did. I should say my daughter had two other vehicles at her disposal and he did not. He never once missed a payment or was even late on making the payment. Anyway, a year later, a teenager pulled out in front of him and he totaled the vehicle, when the insurance company, cut the check for the vehicle, the check was made out in my name and her name because I had co-signed. She refused to sign the check unless I gave her half the money. Her part came to $2000.000 and I told her of all the poor financial decisions she had ever made, that this was the poorest one because she could consider that $2000.00 her inheritance. She never once thought about all the money, I had to put into the vehicle or the payments I had to make for her when she wouldn't. But the thing that really got me was that she knew her brother needed that money to get himself something else to drive and she took it anyway.


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estranged grammie

Posted by estrangedgrammie (My Page) on Tue, Dec 9, 08 at 11:30

My stars, there are some very angry people posting here. How sad.

Well DuH! Of course we are angry, sad and hearbroken, sometimes all of them at once. Did you not get angry when you were estranged from your loved ones?


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

There is "anger" and then there is "ANGER", missd_2008. I'm talking about the second type of ANGER.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

mssd: I can match that.....i got a new car a few years ago and my daughter convinced me to let her assume the payments on my old one (which was only 2 yrs old) instead of trading it in. She made 2 pmnts, then the timing belt broke while she was on the highway and she just LEFT the car there and called me to say "that car is a piece of crap so I left it". I paid for it to be towed to my house..there was a big dent in it where I guess she hit a tree, cigarette burns on the interior and food GROWING under the seats...it was disgusting. THree months later she was pregnant and wanted to come back home. I didn't let her have use of the car again until she repaid me for the repairs/damages/towing. After she had the baby, I knew she couldn't afford car pmnts so I let her have the car....a few months later she sold it to a friend for a fast 2k knowing I still owed 7k for it (had shifted it to my heloc as that was better interest). I was an IDIOT for ever giving her the title! She pissed away the 2k and then wanted me to sign for her to get another car...well i wasn't THAT stupid! lol She got a tax refund and bought an OLD torn up truck that spends more time broke down than on the road, owes more on it than its worth and pays high interest and she didnt speak to me for months last year because I refused to bail her out of that mess and get her a NEW car.

And to estranged grammy, you bet i get angry about it, more hurt than anything else and I have every right to be, however I am NOT an "angry person", I can actually laugh at some of my foolish mistakes now and own that I enabled the situation to go on as long as it did, but there is nothing wrong with venting frustration over it all, forums like this are GREAT for venting and even better for connecting with others that have been thru the same stuff and are feeling the same way....it helps to know one is not ALONE in this experience. Most of us keep all those feelings bottled up most of the time so as not to upset those around us but forums like this give us a place to air it all out so it's not such a burden to carry around anymore and sometimes great friendships are made as well. Sixteen years ago there was a forum like this one only it was for widows.....we vented all the things we couldn't vent to our families/friends and it HELPED the healing process and I made two of the best friends I have ever had through that forum....we actually talk on the phone regularly and meet as often as we can!


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Well I'm glad you know what you are talking about because I sure don't.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

^^^^That's because you are so angry! LOL!

It IS sad, estrangedgrammie. But it seems that many on this board love to hold on to that anger.

Such a waste.....


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I'm really sorry you don't like what I have posted, I thought that was what this board was for. I am new to it and did not realize we were not supposed to say what we were feeling. Today I am angry, tomorrow I might be sad, don't know, it changes from day to day like grief has a way of doing. Thanks for the encouragement. grannie and luann. Now, go find someone elses house of cards to kick down.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Miss D,
I think Luann was laughing with you, not at you. And I think Egrannie was saying it's sad that you are angry, not that you are bad for being angry.

I could be wrong...


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

"Now, go find someone elses house of cards to kick down."
Sorry... not kicking anyone's house of cards down!

You are right silversword!

"LOL!" should have been the BIG tipoff.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Yeeaahh.... ok if you say so.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

"At least that is MY experience with my daughter"

Right,that is YOUR exprience.I have been caring for myself for as long as I can remember and living on my own since 16.So you see what I mean about everyone so not being the same?

"Yes, it does go both ways but your question is generalizing also"

Yes I know my question was generalizing...I did it like that to prove a point.You dont like it when I try to generalize either? That was the point.


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missd 2008

Does seem as though you have some issues with your daughter...but rest assured not all adult children are like that.
I have been the one to bail my mother out.I have been treated by her as a friend and never a daughter.I have felt so many times that I'am the mother and she is the daughter...which is just too sad when I have real children of my own who need me to be their mother.

My mother never wanted to have me.She just did to trap my dad into marrying her.

I'm not trying to jump on you.I think alot of people on these forums can be overly harsh.I'm just saying please do not generalize.We are all different.Come from different backrounds,life expriences,classes...


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

iloveexercise,

I went back and re-read all my posts and could not find one that I thought I was generalizing, if I was, I am sorry. The only generalizing I will do on this thread is to say that all the mothers on here that are estranged from their children, and all the adult children on here that are estranged from their parents are just trying to find some solace with like minded people. I don't think that the ones we are estranged from would EVER find themselves on a board like this one. They are too self-absorbed.

Having said that, I also think that the adult children on this thread are probably people I would be proud to call my child (probably the kind of child I wish my daughter had turned out to be) and I am truly sorry that you all have been hurt so badly.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

missd 2008,it's my bad because the generalization remarks were actually directed toward OP,not you.The begining post to this thread I found some what insulting.But I found NOTHING in your post to be that way...so,sorry about that!

My whole family is estranged,so I'm not sure it is really just about the parent/child issue.
Hey,at least we can all rest assured that our familes arent the only dysfunctional ones,eh?
:)


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

You are 100 percent correct about that! I just keep telling myself that I still have a very full life to live and I just need to get on with it. This is nice to have a place to talk though.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I don't have adult children. That's my disclaimer. But here's my 2 cents anyway.

I don't think your children do think they are perfect. Actually, I think they feel inadequate, flawed, and generally screwed up. And they want someone to blame for it, someone to fix it, because it is too overwhelming for them to look at. Maybe they compare themselves to some ideal, people they know or just see, and they fall short. Even if your kids seem to live a lifestyle that implies they love themselves, it's a facade. Maybe they think they are *supposed* to be perfect, and when they realize they aren't, they look for someone to blame it on, someone to fix it. So they look around, say "Hey, my parents are not perfect, that's why I can never be perfect!"
Does that even make sense?

I know people like have been described, who hold someone else responsible for everything in their lives (usually their parents). What I see in each of them is that they just don't get that everyone struggles, everyone has tough times, everyone makes mistakes. Somehow they've got this idea that life is supposed to be perfect, and because theirs isn't, it must be their parents' fault.

They do not truly accept themselves, so they don't accept where they come from (their parents) either. I think their emotions are more complicated than thinking they are perfect. At the same time, I don't think the adult children are aware of all that. They just do whatever comes to mind to make themselves feel better for the moment.

I'm not trying to be more sympathetic to whiny adult kids than they deserve. I'm just suggesting that their behavior has more to do with how they feel about themselves than how they feel about their parents.

I don't know if that applies to any of you personally. I was just giving it some thought, questioning what makes people do what they do. So often bad behavior comes down to feeling bad about oneself.

My oldest is 15, so I am blamed daily for everything from lost shoes to bad weather to not having a frig full of soda (poor deprived child). LOL. But I don't accept the blame, I let him know he needs to rethink that and remember who wore his shoes! And that I don't drink Coke, that's why I don't buy it, get a job and get your own. For some of your adult children, it's like they are still emotionally teenagers.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

dear beginnerseye,

Thank you for what you wrote. I appreciate it. I've been doing a lot of work on myself--just to gain some insight and understanding. I know I can't change other people, but reading and researching has offered me a type of solace through understanding. I agree with you that often confronting the other person doesn't work. I don't like conflict, but I believe it is part of the human condition and I've also found that peace at any price leads to an undesired outcome--something that I couldn't live with either.

It does feel like a no win situation at times and I can empathize with what you said about estrangement from your siblings. It's terrible to feel like you have to choose between one or the other. It takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to persuade ourselves that we can accept something that's not OK for us. We pay an agonizing price for our rationalizations.

For what it is worth, if you were my sibling I would not look down on you. I've had similar mistreatment from my siblings. I resented their small, petty tryannies and the both of them placing me a situation where I felt like I had to choose between them or my mother. It's an impossible situation. These small tests of loyalty hurt everyone. It costs me and it costs them...it costs all of us, although they are too stubborn to look at their own behaviors. For self-survival and for my own mental health and wellbeing, I had to make the choice for myself, really the only choice, because in the end I have to live with me and the loss of self-respect is no longer an option. We may not like the sound of the truth, but when we pay attention to it, it leads us toward wisdom, health and clarity. You have to stand up for yourself and your own truth.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

missd " I just keep telling myself that I still have a very full life to live and I just need to get on with it. This is nice to have a place to talk though."

That's what I keep reminding myself of as well, I have a very busy and very full life and I have recently filled my plate with even more as I am finally getting out there and doing some of the things I have always wanted to do. I spent last evening down at our local homeless shelter as a volunteer-i signed up a few weeks ago as that is something I have always wanted to do and being down there last night was a real reminder of how lucky I really am! I have committed to working there 3 hours every week and I am really looking forward to it and hope that I can somehow make a difference for someone.
I am also very grateful for a place to share with others who are dealing with the same struggles I am on this board.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Stephanie in ga

That is a very interesting and insightful view. I believe you are correct. I know my daughter has always lived life like she would like it to be not like how it really is and she gets so angry when her princess lifestyle seems to be threatened. And it is usually me she gets angry with.

Cheli

I think what you are doing is wonderful and it really does get your mind on what you do have and not what you don't have I bet.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

missd " I just keep telling myself that I still have a very full life to live and I just need to get on with it. This is nice to have a place to talk though."

That's what I keep reminding myself of as well, I have a very busy and very full life and I have recently filled my plate with even more as I am finally getting out there and doing some of the things I have always wanted to do. I spent last evening down at our local homeless shelter as a volunteer-i signed up a few weeks ago as that is something I have always wanted to do and being down there last night was a real reminder of how lucky I really am! I have committed to working there 3 hours every week and I am really looking forward to it and hope that I can somehow make a difference for someone.
I am also very grateful for a place to share with others who are dealing with the same struggles I am on this board.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

stephanie...

Thank you so much for that...
I think you are so right.. in fact, one little story that underlines that for me...
My oldest came to talk to me at one point when all this mess started... we were talking about his younger brother and he said...

You know sometimes when you start to grow up and look at yourself and realize what you have done and how you have behaved.. it's just easier to walk away than to face all that.

I think that thought is prevalent among these kids.. again, going back to personal accountability.. I thought i did what you are doing with your son, but something slipped by I guess! Somehow that pavement did jump up and hit them in the face when I wasn't looking! :-)


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

@stephanie_in_ga

"Actually, I think they feel inadequate, flawed, and generally screwed up. And they want someone to blame for it, someone to fix it, because it is too overwhelming for them to look at."

I think you have hit the nail on the head with this statement, Stephanie. Thank you so much.

--

From time to time, I will search for my daughter's name on the internet and never got a hit until today. What did I find? That she has signed herself up, with her married name, on a social networking site using the name of the high school and the time frame I was in that high school. (She also has herself signed up on the same site using her maiden name at the high school from which she graduated during the time frame during which she attended that school.)

Hopefully, this is a positive step. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I believe this plays a role as well. My daughter has revealed it several times in a very telling statements. She also has jealousy issues which to me is also the result of lousy self esteem.
When my son married heather she already owned her own condo, she is a very sweet girl and has always been very responsible as I understand it from her mom :) Well after they got married they sold that condo and bought a home and my daughter was very jealous about it and she said "perfect little heather just gets everything she wants" and I said "well she worked hard to do what she has done" and my daughter said "yeah shes just so dang perfect with her college degree and good credit and savings account and perfect job and she got to have the perfect wedding" I didn't say another word as I knew it would just make her more pissy! lol


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Well,
We can still have a life and we should...though I know my children don't expect it.
Actually I can plug in my daughters name and get a hit on the Internet, but I tell you all that her success and her brother's success is their's alone. In their eyes-they did "it all" by themselves; emotionally, financially, physically, all-all by themselves. Maybe they can "clone" that ability and sell it. I am sure many people who have children would like to see their children's names up in lights and sit on their butts.
Well, it's Christmas after all and I guess I just have to celebrate.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

straycat:
"Actually I can plug in my daughters name and get a hit on the Internet, but I tell you all that her success and her brother's success is their's alone. In their eyes-they did "it all" by themselves; emotionally, financially, physically, all-all by themselves."

LOL-yup, to hear my daughter tell it, and she tells it to anyone who will listen, I have NEVER helped her or been there for her. Her online page even says "I have NO family"

straycat:"We can still have a life and we should...though I know my children don't expect it. "
Yeah my daughter certainly doesn't expect it and she is actually snotty to me if I have plans to do something or am doing things she didn't know about. When she found out that I was taking photography classes at the college she was extremely snotty. Tuesday she called and I said I was on my way out the door and would have to call her later, she wanted to know when, I told her I don't get off work until 8pm, she said "you have a business, since when do you have a job" and I told her it was working at the homeless shelter and her response was "since when do you do that? guess you dont have time for me then" This is the same daughter that told me two weeks before Thanksgiving she was "done" with me, couldn't even return my call on thanksgiving, and who sent an email last week telling me i wouldnt be seeing her or her son for Christmas because she doesn't have a mom as far as she is concerned! Go figure! LOL I have to just laugh at her crap, I have run out of tears.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Cheli and Straycat,

How right you both are, when my children were growing up, I had them in church all the time, read bible stories to them, talked to them all the time about God, and one Christmas about two years ago, everyone was at my house and the girls were talking about the preacher the night before wanting everyone to write a letter to the first person that had ever talked to them about Christ. My daughter was naming people that she did not even know until she was a teenager then she finally said, "well mom always has but that doesn't count." I just shook my head.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

dear stephanie

thankyou for your observation. it really helped to hear your perspective. i don't believe my older siblings do recognize on any level that they are flawed. i don't think they feel overwhelmed, i think they enjoy the status of having someone in their lives that they can point to and blame. if you can make other people feel responsible for all your mistakes why would you give something like that up?

i think you are right in saying that these adult children are acting like teenagers; and i believe are they are replaying an old tape from way back in time. i think because my mother was the disciplinarian they began to resent her at an early age. they lied to her alot when we were growing up. they said it was because they were afraid of what would happen to them, but i think they lied because they felt she was not worth telling the truth to. how true is that today; she still gets no respect and they tell her it's her fault. for what? doing her job as a parent? talk about spin!

it gets real complicated when you begin to infer that adult children on some level feel they are bad and subsequently feel compelled subconsciously to sabotage their relationship with their mother. are you saying they feel unworthy? and is that the fault of the parent as well?

i'd like to know your thoughts because i think you are on to something. how do you know your kids are not going to resent you someday for setting boundaries and standards of behavior. it seems the one who disciplines is the one who gets it in the end. no good deed goes unpunished.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

it seems the one who disciplines is the one who gets it in the end. no good deed goes unpunished.

AMEN beginnerseye!!!


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Good grief!!

I have been saying this forever..
I was "strict" .. I required my children to come home at a reasonable hour! I know there were many parents in town who had no curfew for a 16 -17 yr old and even one mother who used to call here and ask if her son had spent the night here because he didn't come home.. WHAT!

i know my children must have complained to anyone who would listen about the fact that I wanted them to follow some rules.. my older son was picking up his brother at his gf's house and the gf's mother said.. "why is you mother so hard on him?" .. excuse me??? hard on the boy that wrecked cars, or was drinking at a b'ball game or trashed someone's home?
yeah.. I did ground him.. but I am strict?

miss d.. you are so right!


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Sarahsmom;

I would like to take credit but it was beginnerseye that said it in the post above mine. But I agree with you and the way you raised them. No you were not too hard on them, but I bet you were just about the only one that did the discipining so that made you the bad guy.

My daughter resents me for the discipline while my son and I get along fine and he knows when he got into trouble that he deserved everything he got. Why one of them gets it but not the other, baffles me sometimes and then I remember that she was grandma's favorite and daddy's favorite and auntie's favorite and whatever I disciplined her for, they took the opposite stance against me. So I had no crediblity with her because of them. My son, not being the favorite had no such interference from anyone.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I guess I'm the opposite of you guys.My mom wasnt around to disapline me.Sometimes (before I moved out on my own at 16) she would leave to be with her BF for days and not come home leaving us by ourselves.
She'd give us grocery money for the week and we'd spend it all on candy.
In my case,I'd respect her more if she HAD disaplined me and gave me bounderies.

Now,I'am a pretty strict parent myself.For now,my kids are respectful of it and know I'm trying to do what is right for them.But they arent teens yet,so I hope things dont change.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

First of all, I want to make sure you all know I do not presume to know or understand the various situations you describe in your families. That would be very arrogant of me. Even though I do not have adult children, and I'm not even involved in family dynamics that you describe, I keep coming back and reading your stories because I do have compassion. It is sad that it is sometimes just so darned hard. I never post to point blame or even to suggest that I know the answer to your problems. Again, that would be very arrogant. I try to avoid taking sides, for the parents or the children. These things are complicated, there is at least one other side to it, and I want to remain neutral. My intent is to be objective yet compassionate. So if I ever post a reply that comes across as anything less than that, let me know and I will correct myself or stop posting.

Second, just so you know the person these posts are coming from, I am 38, married 16 yrs with 4 kids (15, 12, 9, 6). I live far from my family, but I am not estranged, we all visit as often as we can, phone calls and email. My relationship with my parents is easy and comfortable. DH's relationship with his parents is difficult and stressful, but we keep working at it. I have a degree in education, not family therapy. ;o)

So, to respond to beginnerseye.
Subconsciously trying to sabotage their relationship with parents is not what I think the adult children are doing. I think they are trying to get some feeling that is missing. Instead of looking into themselves for that feeling (which is the only place to find it when you're an adult), they try to demand that someone else provide it for them (which is impossible, thus doomed to fail). If it's not with a parent, it might with a spouse, making that relationship fail.

Unworthy isn't quite the word I'd use for how I think they might feel. I think they feel entitled, actually, as compensation for whatever that feeling is that's missing. I guess maybe they feel like "everyone else" still has something they do not have, and that is still owed to them, someone else has to give it to them. Whatever that something is (power, success, prestige, love, praise, validation, approval, etc), it is probably different for everyone. And I am definitely NOT saying it is the parent's fault the adult child feels that way or that the parent should (or even can) give it to them. Maybe the most a parent can do is encourage the adult child to find it, show them parts of their life where they can already find it, and love them until they do.

Like any other relationships that falls apart, from marriages to friends to siblings, I think *most* of the time, it is not one person's fault. My mother used to say "It takes two to make it work; it takes two to make it fail." I think 97% of the time, that is true. I think there are various complicated reasons on both sides why things are harder than they should be. Expectations are not met, miscommunications happen, false assumptions are made, and people are not really OK with themselves. Hurt leads to anger, which makes it all worse. It's sad for everyone involved.

If the adult child does not think they are flawed, or that their life has flaws, they have nothing to blame anyone for. Whatever they are angry/blaming for, that is the part of their life they think is not good enough. They want to feel empowered, but they go about it in a way that only gets a temporary fix instead of genuine empowerment and freedom. They need to learn that they are in control of their own lives, but not of anyone else's.

I can't predict how my kids will feel about me in the future. I hope that our relationships will be as easy and comfortable as mine is with my parents. My parents set boundaries for me, laid out disciplinary action when needed. They had high expectations of our behavior and achievement (study hard, get a job!). And I can remember sometimes feeling angry at them, thinking their expectations/rules were tougher than other parents. But I have never in my life doubted that they loved me, that they are proud of me (even when something I did disappointed them). I've always known they were in my corner, but on the outside of the ring, believing that I could do for myself, only stepping if I really needed it then right back out. At the same time, one of the Momisms from my teen/college years was "Don't call me from jail at 2am, because I won't come get you." Luckily, I've never called her from jail at any hour. But I knew she meant it without having to test! ;o) As an adult, my mom once told me that she was proud of who I am, and her part in that, but that my accomplishments are not hers, they are my own. If she wanted to take credit for my accomplishments, she'd also have to take blame for my mistakes, and she wasnt willing to do that. ;o)

My point is, given the evidence, I have faith in my parents' way of doing things. My goal is to give my kids what my parents gave me. Maybe not down to every detail, but the intentions and guiding principles. I always knew I was lucky to have them, even if I didn't admit it as openly as I do now. I don't think they were always perfect, but I am happy with the results. ;o) I'll give it my best, that's the best I can do, dealing with what comes as it comes. Just like all of you, I'm sure.

If you made it this far, thank you, and I'm sorry I don't ever say things briefly. ;o) I genuinely wish and hope for all of you that solutions will come, that your children (or parents or siblings) will get to a place where they want the same kind of real relationship that you want. I hope you never give up hope of having that someday.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I have given up...my children are not the people who will support or nurture, they are too busy looking for something to be upset with me about. Yes, I've done everything they ask and it's never enough. I've missed so many important events in their lives these last two years that can never be replaced or my feelings ever made the same. I fear they will always be estranged and I do know after talking to one of them one day they feel the same. It's a loss all right I think for all of us, but they are happy, successful people and that is the most important thing of all.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Stephani, that was a nice well thought out post and yes I made it thru the whole thing! I am often not very good at being brief, just happens that I have had more on my plate than usual so not much time to post.
I agree that often it takes two to mess up a relationship, but often times there is one person working at it and the other just won't. That was my experience with my late husband (who was an alcoholic and bipolar), and I know that I have walked on egg shells with my daughter who I believe is also bipolar. She has been difficult since she was a baby, docs wanted me to put her on ridalin but I refused. At four yrs old, two years after she was potty trained, she would go into rages so fierce that she would pee herself-she did it in one doctors office and he was floored, she has always been a pistol.
My daughter does have reasons to be angry and she had been very very hurt at just 7 yrs old, unfortunately I get all the blame for it because I am the one left to blame. While I have shared that my kids dad is deceased, I have not disclosed how. I usually like to get my bearings and a feel for other posters before I put it out there. My late husband died when my daughter was 7, we were separated due to abuse and a few hours after he was served divorce papers...he ended his own life and my kids found him. Yes my kids went thru counseling.
My daughter has built her dad into a saint since his death and I am the "evil b..." she blames for his final act. While the subject rarely comes up, occasionally when she is spitting nails mad because I didn't give in to her....she screams that it's my fault her dad is dead. I am not sure if she truly feels that way or if it's just a weapon she knows will hurt me because that girl will go to any extreme to hurt someone when she is pissed. She used to tell her brother "i will stab you while you sleep" when he pissed her off when they were teens.
When she was on just 50mgs of zoloft at 16 for a few months, she was NORMAL, no mood swings or rages, unfortunately she refused to take them for more than a few months. Then at 19 when she was pregnant, all those extra hormones from pregnancy must have been good for her because she was totally normal and rational....but then 3 weeks after she had her son-she was back to her angry self again.
She is 23 now, her moods still swing and she refuses to consider counseling or meds and there's just nothing I can do about is try to stay out of her line of fire.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

stephanie thanks for your response especially given the time constraints you must have with family and job. i value your perspective because you're able to go at the center of the issue and are able to empathize with both sides.

i think for many on this board the main frustration is not that there is estrangement with close ones, we can accept the fact that something is wrong, but it's the resistence and unwillingness to participate in a process from our estrange ones that is frustrating and sad to us. many of us are not sure what to do anymore because the more time and energy we put in to the hope we can find someone to help us, the other side becomes more defensive and rooted in their old beliefs. i am not a control type person. i am not a professional psychologist and either are my siblings. why then would it not make sense to defer to a professional family mediator. they say that it's i who has thrown them away and yet i was the one making appointments to find someone to help us resolve our differences. what greater gesture can one make about how important a relationship is than to subject themselves to an intense process of examination that calls into question ones own, perhaps false, motives and rationalizations. if i am at fault i'm ready to change my ways. and you see most of us here are ready to do that but like you said it takes two. what is one to do when they just won't show up for the dance? in there minds i'm just not worth it. does that say something about me or more about them? how do you motivate people like this to take a chance and try? i don't believe hard cash will do it. is there a side door somewhere?


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

beginnerseye,

I don't know how to get someone to show up to the dance as you say, other than to let them know that if they choose that you will be there. They may not be ready and they may never be ready and I don't believe that there is anything that you can do about that, because you cannot control other people. I used to tell my mother that I felt my sisters issues with me (those in childhood) had to do with her. It also comes down to family roles. I believe that they were acting out their anger towards her (and my father) on me (reasons are not excuses). I cannot force her to take responsibility for her part in the relationships either. I believe it would promote a lot of healing in my family dynamic. The same is true for the issues in my husband's family. He needs to address his issues with them. It cannot be forced.

I think it helpful to acknowledge people's feelings (no judgments, criticisms, etc.). People's feelings are not good or bad, they just are. They have their own personal truths. I want to make it clear in writing this that I'm not suggesting that you judge or criticize either. I'm writing in general which is informed by my personal circumstances and the therapy and research that I've done and continue to do. Listen to them and hear them out...I believe good relationships foster and support healthy changes. I don't think there are not very many people who couldn't afford to make some changes to be more connected and more emotionally available to the people that they love.

I don't know if this helps or not. I wish that it did. One thing I do know is that a good relaitonship can enhance people and expand them, but it cannot change them. The only thing that ever changes a person is his or her own choice to change. If a person is willing to make a change in how he or she processes and experiences the world, you will know. The battles begin when he/she wants you to change in unhealthy ways or to function in a less fully emotional way...I just don't believe there is a magic formula. You can ask for what you want and work for change or make a firm stand. If that works,good. If it doesn't, I don't know the answer. You cannot control other people or outcomes. I feel you are better off using your time to work on strengthening yourself to work towards healthy relationships and to do your part...changing others is something you cannot do.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

dear sephanie thankyou for all you've said. it's been helpful. i think it's important to know your limits, i'll wait for them and keep an open mind.


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A few good quotes on the subject...

"Without question, the relationship with our parents is the most complicated of all our life relationships. It's what sets our feet on the emotional and psychological path we travel throughout our lives. It's the relationship that defines, in one way or another, all our other relationships, and it has profound pull on how we connect with our children."

"No parenting is going to be perfect. Perfection is not the human condition. But let me repeat: this is an explanation, not an excuse. I'm not suggesting that parents should be blamed for the emotional distances between themselves and their children. What I am suggesting is that we learn our style of emotional connection from our families of origin. The hope is that we don't perpetuate negative behavior."

"Parents who are emotionally unavailable raise children who are emotionally unavailable."

All these quotes are taken from a chapter called, "Emotionally Unavailable Parents" and the book is called, Emotional Unavailability.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

dear flowergardenmuse,
once again i appreciate you sharing your hard earned insight. and i agree with you change must come from within them. you can't change other people. and yes it's better to work on yourself; and all of us here have spent many hours researching estrangement and we try to implement these insights inorder to try to facilitate resolution.
i'm not out to change anybody but what's wrong for wanting peace, healing and closure. i'm not trying to prescribe what people should be or how to behave; but is it wrong of me to expect them to be open minded and have some sense of of wanting it too. it just seems as if they don't want it bad enough. it's odd to me that here is their oppurtunity to express themselves directly to the source of all their issues and yet they refrain from doing so. why? is it because they are not ready as you say? or is it because they fear what they may find out about their own complicity? is that fear of facing themselves also the fault of the parents or does it not become a crossroad for each individual; to face their own selves for once. isn't this an important aspect of growing up and becoming a real authentic person/mature adult? why the resistence? we've all learned from our working on ourselves but what good has it done us? we've tried to make ourselves emotionally more accessable by being open to dialogue and yet they can't motivate themselves to try and participate? that's what blows everybodies mind.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

wow.. beginnerseye..

You put that in such a concise context...
well said..
I ask the same questions all the time..


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

beginnerseye,

Thank you for what you say here. I appreciate it. There's nothing wrong with wanting peace, healing and closure. I desire that too. I also wish for and desire change. Sometimes I feel that I have achieved healing and a type of closure and then other times, I realize I don't. It's a complex situation and it is difficult living with conflicting emotions. To morn the loss of family is huge. And no, I do not think it wrong of you to desire them or wish them to be open minded. I think it a bit of everything that you mentioned above--yes, fear and complicity. I don't think the fear of facing oneself is the fault of the parent. I do think that there is a lot to be said for learning our emotional style of connection from our parents and that is a long way from blame. You are right and I agree that an important aspect of growing and becoming our authentic selves is facing ourselves, but if people lack introspection or problem-solving abilities, then what? A good many people lack self-introspection--that takes a lot of work and effort and learned behaviors, responses and reactions are habitual.

I, too have tried to make myself more emotionally accessible and the results often have left me feeling that I've failed. I was constantly judged and dismissed as "too sensitive," for being emotionally aware.

I wish I did know why people become so entrenched in roles or why it becomes so hard for them to participate. I can only speculate--that they cannot connect with themselves and so they cannot connect with other people and participating would force them to become more fully emotionally present, which may be overwhelming to them. The only response I have is that it must meet some kind of need for them. What that is I don't know. Behaviors are not always rationale.

In my reading, a book called Emotional Unavailability struck a cord with me. I've tried some of the techniques with my mother with varying results. It made her very angry with me and she hung up the phone. I didn't hear from her again for another 3 - 4 months. I felt empowered stopping some of her negative behaviors, but I also felt a loss, because of her unwillingness to look at how her behavior was impacting me. Being who she wanted me to be was destructive to me. I've tried to tell her this, but she refuses to listen and denies the problem. I try to hold on to some sense of myself. It is painful and it is not easy, and there is nothing I can do. I've changed, but she refuses to see this as positive, because she is unwilling to change herself. I try to keep an open-heart, because she is my mother and I do love her, but my heart is guarded too. My mother has found some type of emotional safety in her role and she is heavily invested in that, but that doesn't mean it is safe for me or that it is healthy for either one of us. Changing a familiar dance is a lot of work.

I know this response is long and I wish that I knew the answer. I feel during this season it gets particularly difficult for people because of the emphasis is on family. I'm looking for something I found in a book that made a lot of sense to me, and if I can locate it will post it here.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

My heart goes out to the posters with such difficult family relationships. I am very, very lucky to have very good relationships with my mom (dad is dead), brother, and kidz.

I am saying that NOT to brag or be smug -- but to tell you that even in an "easy" family like ours, we get the same thing! I am sure it's not as dramatic or as painful as in the context of estrangement, but believe me, my daughter DAILY points out my flaws and shortcomings! She is a young adult, college freshman, but I am sure there is more than just a little more of this to look forward to in my future. My mom, with whom I have a GREAT relationship, says that I was not quite as bad when I was a kid, but I did my share, too. (She assures me I don't anymore.)

It is immaturity. My daughter is STUNNED when, every now and then, instead of ignoring her or arguing or defending myself, I just say something like, "Enough! Would you please give me a break here? I am tired and I don't want to listen to any more of this right now!" It is always a huge surprise to her that my protest could actually be about MY feelings, not about perfecting her character or behavior. My son outgrew this, and I hope she will, too.

Not everyone outgrows this immature narcissism, unfortunately. Think of families in which ONE child behaves this way forever, while the others grow out of it.

But even though they don't outgrow it by their 21st birthday, as we would like, most of them eventually get better. When it's little whiney stuff, I love an approach a smart friend of mine used with her teens: "Take it out of my tip." For the big bombs, listen to flowergardenmuse and try to focus on the part you play in the dynamic. It is NOT your fault, but you do have some control.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

I have no control anymore. I don't even see them!
I don't think mine will "grow out of it" they are much too old already. They are 32, almost 31 and 23 much to old to grow out of anything I think.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

Merry Christmas everyone. I am looking forward to a holiday without anyone that does not like me, or resents me or does not appreciate me. Those people can go celebrate somewhere else. I am going to enjoy myself.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

The pain, it's out there isn't it and it's not going away anytime soon. Relationships are difficult at the best of times but relationships with children, the adult ones, I would put very high upon the most difficult list. Whatever you do or don't do it is never okay. I'm sure sick of being on a rollercoaster and sounds like there are a few with that same feeling. Not sure what the answer is, leave home, leave the city or leave the country, still the desire and the memories of that small dependent child, that child who enjoyed your company and thought the world of you and in whom you long for just a glimpse of, that bubbly effervescent personality without a care in the world and who enjoyed spending time with you too. Those were the days, not so anymore.

I'm getting over the whining, woe is me attitude. The sympathy banks are getting desperately low and I need what is left to keep myself together. Time to step back a little further and give myself some well earned time out and a good talking to if I find myself yearning for some distant past. I know it wasn't all great but there were a lot of great times still that were had. Now I need to make some great moments for my life once again, so that I can have some new memories that will bring an upward curl to the lip when sit and refect upon them oneday.

Maybe the secret is to let others see that I am getting on with and taking joy in achieving some new goals and purpose for my life. You never know, I may even become interesting again to all those who have lost interest in me.

What a wonderful avenue this is to write about those things that are affecting my life with those who are willing to share the pain of my triumphs and tragedies if only for a few minutes.

Thankyou.


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RE: When did our adult children become perfect?

hi alyce 56-i really encourage you to come to esstranged stories where you will meet many parents going through this and the support is immeasurable-no cost to join and the rewards are many-i find if i can help one person make it through the the day I can too. Hope to see you there-take care and god bless-


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