Jump to content

Do You Have To Become Emotionally Hard With Family


Mutate
 Share

Recommended Posts

My family are quite unassertive and often use guilt, nagging manipulating etc to get us to do what they want to do. Its got to this point where my mother is always coming to me to chat and then dropping hints about trying to get me to go to a penteconstal church and then going into guilting. Ive never given into her but always feel really hurt and guilty for letting her down and making her sad. Do you have to just become more hard. When I was a teen she would try to talk me out of going to bands and say i needed to make friends in youth church instead, I would just tell her to leave me alone and go to the band, but feel sad and worried all night and the show would be ruined for me. i feel still as sad now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom uses guilt with ruthless effect. I think most moms/women have it in them. I suspect it's something that evolved in women to make up for the difference in physical strength (your mom probably hasn't been able to PHYSICALLY force you to do things for a long time, right?). If she's like my mom, she's probably only vaguely aware she does it, but even if she DOES know she's doing it, she probably feels guilty about doing it, and only does it because she loves you and thinks that's the only way she can "save" you. That does NOT excuse it or make it right...but it does make the whole affair that much sadder and harder for both you and her to bear. I suspect that the older you both get, the worse it will become, as she will likely get more desperate to convert you as time appears to be getting shorter (sorry to be so morbid). So, yes, I'd say doing what you can to cultivate the thickest skin possible is probably a good idea. And, of course, you definitely don't want to get to the point where you'd actually Give In and go...that'd just make it worse when you inevitably left again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My grandmum used hard core emotional blackmail to manipulate my mother. I think my mom was forced to go to Presbyterian church as a form of torture and coercion rather than through religion or faith.

 

Recently she has been full on stockholm syndromized and has fully integrated herself into a cult-like fundy church. And she has become a total nightmare to deal with or be around. Every third word from her now is either jesus, god or prayer. Her theology doesn't make much sense either. It seems to be based solely on in-group/out-group social reinforcement. I can't even discuss real theological or even philosophical issues with her anymore because with just a few questions her whole world view falls apart resulting in her rather violent and extreme emotional reactions and outbursts.

 

The Trouble is that religion is all she wants to talk about anymore. So she is stuck with a bunch of moronic racist white trash fundy friends who just reinforce each others delusions through a very reductionist and simple-minded belief system.

 

She's been sucking on anti-depressants for almost 20 years now. Anyway, my relationship with my mom has gone totally numb. I don't even recognize her anymore. Any attempt I make to bring her out of her trance or remind her of the capable strong minded person she used to be and she starts rolling around on the floor hacking and crying and screaming violently and making out-loud prayers to "the spirit world." It is pathetic and heart breaking.

 

I have cut my communication with her to a minimum. I got sick of constantly hearing about how I need to be grateful for her endless prayers for me rather than praying to put a stop to any of our many wars, nuclear bombs, torture chambers, etc.... I moved far away to allow myself some small space for sanity. She constantly forwards me fantastical christian propaganda full of lies and fabrications and she always implores me to put jesus in my life (even though I was baptized and went through 20+ years of constant church going).

 

I have been in mourning more or less for the past 3 years because the woman who raised me in my youth is gone permanently - more or less dead - and replaced by a collection of sickening, poison memes now residing in my mom's body. Kind of like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except this is real.

 

I blame the religion, the drug companies (and their PR firms) for preying upon my mom's insecurities, good will and good heart like a pack of vampires, sucking out her soul - and leaving me to deal with the trauma and fallout. Anyway - I told you this story to give you a point of reference for your problems. I hope you never have to reach the point that I am at now. Stay strong and keep your head up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

I don't mind taking a stand on anything, and I don't feel responsible for how others react or feel. I guess I'm in the minority.

 

As an alternative I guess you could do a reverse guilt trip. Just get really sad and upset that you're not understood and accepted. I don't get it - people have differing opinions on many subjects and we all have to live with those who disagree with us. What's the big deal?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't get it - people have differing opinions on many subjects and we all have to live with those who disagree with us. What's the big deal?

 

 

Misery loves company?

 

Holdover genetic herd mentality?

 

Trying to reinforce and/or give credence to one's own delusional thoughts?

 

I'm going with all of the above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My family are quite unassertive and often use guilt, nagging manipulating etc to get us to do what they want to do. Its got to this point where my mother is always coming to me to chat and then dropping hints about trying to get me to go to a penteconstal church and then going into guilting. Ive never given into her but always feel really hurt and guilty for letting her down and making her sad. Do you have to just become more hard. When I was a teen she would try to talk me out of going to bands and say i needed to make friends in youth church instead, I would just tell her to leave me alone and go to the band, but feel sad and worried all night and the show would be ruined for me. i feel still as sad now.

 

Like florduh said, you are not responsible for how your mum and family feel and react. You are only responsible for your own feelings and actions, no one else's.

 

I'm not saying to be intentionally offensive or hurtful, but it is perfectly within reason to be assertive and stand for what you wish to do without having to worry about offending or upsetting them. If they chose to be offended or are saddened by your lack of interest in church then that is *their* problem, not your own! I don't even think that you need to become hardened to them, you can show love and empathy and understanding for how they feel and why they are feeling so, but that doesn't not mean that you have to accept responsibility or guilt for that. It may be best if you just calmly and gently explain that you have made your own mind up about church/christianity, and that whilst you love and respect them very much, you'd prefer that they don't keep trying to encourage you to go to church as you are not going to and you don't like to see them upset and let down unnecessarily.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't get it - people have differing opinions on many subjects and we all have to live with those who disagree with us. What's the big deal?

 

 

Misery loves company?

 

Holdover genetic herd mentality?

 

Trying to reinforce and/or give credence to one's own delusional thoughts?

 

I'm going with all of the above.

 

I'd add insecurity and feeling threatened by difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I'll add "just don't know any better communication skills".

 

I've got a lot of the same sorts of problems with ignoring my own needs to make other people happy (I'm empathetic enough I do sometimes literally feel other people's emotional pain, or at least feel my best guess as to what their pain feels like). So I'm learning about setting boundaries and communicating how I want and feel without being accusatory or manipulative. Here's one small example that's been on my mind:

 

Mom says, "Want to help me with dinner?" Generally when she asks this, I'm in the middle of something I'd rather keep doing, and don't "want" to help. However, I do realize that since I'm going to be eating too, it's rather more polite and practical if I do help. So I either end up feeling manipulated and helping out but being pissed about it, as if my helping is saying "oh yes, I really wanted you to interrupt what I was in the middle of!" or like an awful person if I answer the question that was asked and say no. It really should be a little thing, but the phrasing of that question drives me nuts. Sometimes it helps me if I respond with "no, I don't want to, but I will anyway", but then I feel like I sound kinda grumpy and rude.

 

I have a friend who handles his phrasing of things much better. He'll say "I am working on project X that I thought you might find interesting. Do you want to help out?" This leaves me free to say no without feeling like I'm being mean. Or if he really wants help with something, he'll say "I want help with X at time Y. Are you available and willing?" And again, I can answer him honestly, and separate how I might feel about the matter from how much I'm willing to do a favor for a friend. Notice how my mom's words are asking whether my wants get her what she wants, but my friend is stating his own wants with no assumption that I do or should share them.

 

My family has never been good about communicating wants/emotions, and someone always ends up feeling ignored or offended. Until I met my friend who phrases thing differently and started working with my shrink on setting boundaries, I never realized it was possible to communicate openly about emotions without someone getting hurt. This knowledge doesn't always help me out around family when they are communicating poorly, but it does help me see where communication with them goes wrong and try to be a little more clear from my end. So when they are being manipulative, I can tell myself "mom meant to say she wants X for her children and the fact that I'm not makes her upset and afraid", which validates her emotions, but also tell myself "it was wrong of her to use her emotions to attack me". Keeping those separate makes me feel like less of a bad person when I do assert myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Women. Sheesh.

 

Eh, my dad is manipulative too. He's very passive aggressive, never tells my mom what he wants or how he feels (because he's too much of a "man" to have emotions), and then plays patient-husband-martyr when she doesn't do what he wanted. Or with my unchurched sister, he'll ask her to events and carefully leave out the fact that it's a church event in the hopes of tricking her into showing up. At least when mom screams and yells and whines she's not lying to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your support everybody much appreciated.

 

"Or with my unchurched sister, he'll ask her to events and carefully leave out the fact that it's a church event in the hopes of tricking her into showing up"

 

That is exactly what my family do and always have done. For example, just come along on sunday, no pressure, just come along. Oh you didnt fall to your knees and have an amazing conversion, just go along on friday, just to chill out and hear music. Oh you have to go to camp to be included in the friend group...and then at camp pressured and bullied into "getting saved". Each step of the way family expecting me to just walk in and get a hit of the holy spirit and fall to my knees weeping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I have a friend who handles his phrasing of things much better. He'll say "I am working on project X that I thought you might find interesting. Do you want to help out?" This leaves me free to say no without feeling like I'm being mean. Or if he really wants help with something, he'll say "I want help with X at time Y. Are you available and willing?" And again, I can answer him honestly, and separate how I might feel about the matter from how much I'm willing to do a favor for a friend. Notice how my mom's words are asking whether my wants get her what she wants, but my friend is stating his own wants with no assumption that I do or should share them.

 

 

 

I like your friend's methods! I think I'll try that myself in an effort to be more considerate to others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.