My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy

Warning…this is going to be a mini-rant (ugghh it turned into a huge rant). I am not complaining…don’t want sympathy…maybe I just need some guts to stand up for myself? I am honestly wondering if anyone has gone through what I am going through, and what you did to resolve the situation.

My life is pretty great right now. I have a new job, great partner, and good friends. My anxiety and stress levels have definitely decreased significantly, except when it comes to my parents. I have discussed certain issues I/we have had with my in laws. But nothing compares to the issues I am currently battling with my parents.

Background:

I am Hispanic, if you hadn’t realized that before. My parents brought me to the US when I was 6, and I have grown up in the US for the majority of my life. Even though I have tried to remain very close to my culture (fluent in Spanish, studied literature and history, and keep up with current events), there is a part of me that has been Westernized. I don’t mind it. Why? Because I am not defined by a specific set of cultural rules. I am my own person with my own beliefs.

My parents are alone in this country, and have no significant family. Most of our family is eleven hours away, and they have been for the past 16 years. Let’s just say this has made our parents a little too attached to my brother and I. My parents have very good qualities. They have supported us, and always made sure we had the essentials: food, roof over our head. We were definitely not rich by any standards. I grew up in a financially strapped household, and I knew it from around the age of six. I realized that if I wanted to go to college, I would have to fund the majority of my way through it. So I decided to become an overachiever in academics, sports, and music. My extra curricular activities also provided a way for me to get out of the house.

There has always been a tug a war between my family and I. They will never admit the extent of it, but it was pretty extreme. One, since middle school I was accused of not wanting my parents around, and being ashamed of my heritage. Thinking back, there was probably a part of me that did not want to be Hispanic. I saw how we were treated, and I wanted to differentiate myself from that. I did not want to become a statistic. As far as not wanting my parents around, what teenager does? I thought parents were suppose to co mingle with other parents and let kids be? But since my parents don’t dominate the English language, they always wanted me to stick with them, and hated it when I would go hang out with my friends during events.

Let me give you some examples of their behavior. The summer after my freshman year, I did not want to go to on an impromptu family weekend visit to a cousin’s home in East Texas. I had to study for summer midterms, and needed to spend the weekend studying and completing papers. My mom got mad at me because I wanted to stay home alone and didn’t want to go with them. We had a huge argument. I spent a couple hours at the post office because it was the only place opened away from the house because I didn’t want to go. I had to study! Her arguments were: we don’t trust you to stay home alone (I had lived alone for a year…I was 19), you can do your work at the cousin’s house (the cousin lived in the middle of nowhere with no internet connection), and what will they say when they don’t see you (umm…I’m studying and working?). That same summer I had a road trip planned with a couple of friends, one which I paid for by working during the summer. They held the road trip over my head, threatening to not let me go, if I misbehaved. My mom made me go buy her eggs (the grocery store is a five minute drive) after taking 3 back to back midterm summer finals, and already being late to a close friend’s birthday party. By the time I did her errands, they party was over, and I decided not to go (what was the point? I was distressed and didn’t want to show up looking like hell), she made me go to her house. Also, they didn’t like it when I would spend too much time with friends ( I lost all my friends back home because I couldn’t hang out with them during break). They got mad at me when I decided to not live with them for a summer because I had an internship. When they would come up to see me, and I would invite a friend so that the could get to know them, they would get hurt because they didn’t have me to themselves. My mom got hurt when I decided to bring my brother up from for Spring Break, instead of going to visit her. Oh man…the list is endless…

It’s gotten worse since I got married because they didn’t agree with my marriage, and did not give me permission to do so. Well, they accepted it because they knew I had made up my mind, but deep down they did not agree. Although, I have never really asked for permission, especially since I always take care of my stuff. Really, I do, and I take care of their stuff too. Let’s just say they don’t like my hubby and his American way. And have said in more or less words that he is a bad influence, manipulates me, etc. Which kills me, because he is one of the most compassionate, kind, smart, and handsome men in the world. He takes care of me. I love him. And I want my parents to respect us.

I know I can’t change my parents’ minds, i.e. their opinions. They are the most stubborn people I know. That’s where I get my stubbornness….persistence :) I have tried talking to them, explaining to them, telling them. It always ends up the same way, they think I’m wrong and a bad daughter. Sigh.

I don’t want to be a bad daughter (there goes the old Catholic training), but I also am not going to let my parents tell me what to do. At the end of the day, I’m the one living my life. I should be happy.

So I have to figure out a way to tell them that I respect them, I have listened to their opinions, but their opinions are not mine, and I will make my own decisions as I always have. Because at the end of the day, it’s my life. I have made extremely good decisions throughout my life, so there’s no reason to believe I am making wrong decisions now. Thus, I would like for them to keep their opinions to themselves, and learn to respect the way I live my life.

Now, I have to figure out how to tell them something I have told them a gazillion times in my life.

I care for my parents, they tried their best to give me a good childhood. Their marriage isn’t the most stable, and that has affected them and us. I don’t want to resent them. But I’m starting to, which is not good. One of my goals for this year is to spend more time with family. But I dread spending time with family because of their reactions. I don’t want to be in that environment, can you blame me?

I have a lot of conflicting emotions right now. I love my parents because they are pretty good. I love my mom’s cooking, she shops for me, etc. But they are needy and so far seem, extremely jealous that they don’t have me. They think they should be “enjoying me” and they are not. I think I should really be spending more time with my brother. He is 15 and needs a lot of guidance and support. Which I try to give him. But even that time is limited because my mom wants to be number one. She thinks I’m her best friend, wants me to be her best friend. I don’t like that role. It’s really hard to be a daughter and a best friend when your mother is always pulling rank on you. Not to mention her problems with my dad start affecting my relationship with my dad. I’m tired of that…story for another post.

Every time I stand up for myself, my parents react by saying I am being disrespectful. That no matter how old I am, they will still be my parents and have a say in my life. Do any parents feel like that towards their kids?

I’m sorry for the long rant…I just needed to get it out of my system. There’s only so much I can keep inside.

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13 responses to “My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy

  1. I’m sure it must be tought, especially since it sounds like you don’t have a strong communication with your parents. I think you take them out for dinner to show how much you love them. No need to bring up anything, talk about something other than yourself, if that’s possible among your family. And maybe ask your mom for advice on certain problems you may have, even if you know the answer to them. You want to make her feel wanted. Just my thoughts! Good luck.

    • That’s the thing, I do take them out for dinner ( I live three hours away, so when I go visit them, or they come), I help them with certain bills. They need me, they call, and I figure it out. I already don’t talk to them about my life. Most of our conversation is around their lives. I edit a lot of my feelings and life opinions. I have been tired from work the past three weeks, so our calls have been limited, but on a regular basis we talk 2-4 times a week, for more than an hour. When I go visit them, I spend every waking moment with them. I help my mom at work, help cook, watch telenovelas, etc. I can’t even talk to my hubby while I’m with them. In June, I spent an entire week taking care of my mom because she wasn’t feeling well. I can’t give more….it’s come to that point.

  2. I HEAR YOU! I am Hispanic too and definitely grew up with that Latino stereotype family–and I bet your brother probably has a lot more privileges than you do because I know my brothers got a lot more leeway even though they are younger. Argh, it made me so angry.
    However, where we differ is that my parents always knew I was going o marry a white guy, and they love my husband.
    That being said, my husband DEFINITELY has the overbearing mother who has to talk to her son EVERY day and it kind of got the point where my husband had to take a stand. He had to let his mother know that I cam first and if she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to be part of our lives. Your parents are acting like the children here. And by you rescuing them, you’re allowing for this behavior to continue. I feel like you are just as much to blame as them. You need to take a STAND. You are not a little kid anymore and tthey need to recognize it and if they don’t–which they probably won’t–you just need to tell them, “”I;m sorry but I can’t talk to you on the phone right now -I am doing so and so with my husband.” Just keep putting them in check. The issue is that you are asking how to change your parents’ behavior–and the reality is that you can’t change anyone’s behavior except your reaction to it. Man, I got way too therapist on it, but I hope you get what I am saying.

    • You are right….I have to take a stand. So hard…I honestly can’t take a stand without completely breaking down and crying….takes me hours to recover afterwards.
      I just can’t think of their feelings right?

  3. Hmm that’s definitely a tough situation. And frustrating. I’ve only dealt with something similar with my grandma (dad’s mom). She never approved of my mom and that strained her and my parent’s relationship for years, and the only reason it’s gotten slightly better is because so much time passed.
    I’d say the only thing you can do is try to communicate your feelings with your parents about how you feel like they are being clingy and unfair and they are showing disrespect by not respecting your life and your marriage. If that doesn’t work I guess don’t get guilt tripped by them but do what you think is right for your life and marriage. You can’t please everybody unfortunately but life’s too short to live it for someone else.

    relationship for years. It’s

  4. Wow , I have to much to say about this I don’t even know where to start. As children become adults, I think it’s very hard for parents to understand their roles. It absolutely sounds like they love you so much, but their boundaries are confusing. Pace yourself, because you will probably always face a complicated relationship with your parents. But it doesn’t always have to be frustrating. Or I should say, you don’t have to let it affect you as much.

    The one key thing when you are having a difficult conversation with your parents is to first and foremost let them know how much you love and appreciate them, then proceed to tell them (calmly) how what they are doing is affecting you, and as an adult you need to be treated as such. Again, this is craft that takes a lot of time to develop.

    It has nothing to do with you. It’s how they feel about themselves, and how you aren’t their little girl anymore. YOU may feel different, but to them you are still their child.

    Anyway, know that this is very common! All I have time for tonight. lol!

    • Thanks…I understand…this makes me feel a little better :) It was good to just get it out of my head. I had been carrying these emotions around for about 3 weeks, and it was weighing me down.

  5. I agree with everyone: you do need to take a stand but that’s much easier said than done. The hardest thing I ever had to do was sit my mother down and scold her like she was a misbehaving child that she really was acting like. Our visit was a bit strained after that but shortly before she passed away, she thanked me for it. And it didn’t take the few years for our relationship to get better after that scolding–the next visit was great. Set boundarys and let them know the boundarys. When they cross them the first time, they get a calm and polite warning but the second time, you just walk away. Or something like that.

  6. I understand to a point of no return. My parents and your parents are cut from the same cloth. My mom once told me that I made her a promise when i was 5 years old that I would live with her for the rest of my life. On MY WEDDING DAY she told me I broke that promise. And she was DEAD SERIOUS. And told me that I chose my husband over her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – yes you read correctly. It got to the point last month at my house I told her if she can ‘t stop then she is no longer invited. I will not call her and have any contact with her. this is my life and I need to be happy. Period! i think that did it b/c she acted extremely different since. I am a person that I keep my word and God help me I wouldn’t speak to her again. I can’t take care of your problems and mine. I am now an adult that is married to a wonderful man and your problems are yours! sorry!- Whoff I had to rant a little also.

    So I understand! If your parents are suppose to love you and care for you are now the people that are causing you hurt then you need to cut them off. I am sorry, and I know its hard! but think of it this way… If it was anyone else what would you have done? Would you have kept them around?

    • Thanks Tam for replying. I actually feel not so alone, although I would not wish my parents’ attitude on anybody.
      I’m definitely trying to put barriers in our relationship, not because I’m selfish, but because I need to maintain my sanity. My mom, also, reminded shortly after my wedding that she felt betrayed. She was expecting to move in with me once I graduated from school. I made her that promise when I was young. sigh….nothing to say there.

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