My relationship with my parents

Our relationship with our parents is, of course, an important one. From our earliest years, psychologists tell us that the bonds we form (or don’t) with our primary caregivers can dictate how we develop, and form relationships with others – as well as relationships with ourselves.

In many ways, I feel very fortunate when it comes to my parents. On a basic level, I have a mother and father who are in a relationship together, and both are relatively happy (they have their moments, for sure) and healthy. In addition, they both had a very different childhood/youth to myself and my brother.

Mum was the eldest of a group of siblings, and was helping to run the household from the age of about 10. My dad was the youngest of a group of siblings, and the first to go to university. My grandparents on both sides had been born in India, only to latterly move over to India. Mum and dad both worked incredibly hard to create a better standard of living for themselves, and as a result my brother and I were given a good education, a decent standard of living and annual family holidays.

Mum is a worrier. She’s a warrior, too, in many ways – but she’s also a worrier. I picked up on this from an early age, and I learnt to act/respond in a way that’d put her at ease, not stress her out, and keep her off my back. I’ve always been closer to my mum than my dad. I still give her hugs and enjoy time we spend together in the evenings, watching something together (including most of the ‘What I’m watching’ items on the last (and very first) awkward newsletter – e.g. The Assassination of Gianni Versace, and Rebecka Martinssen: Arctic Murders).

Am I a mummy’s boy? Aware that this has all sorts of connotations and can put off girls/women in a heartbeat… I probably am in some ways. My mother and I are quite close. Even if I didn’t talk to her about stuff/my worries and so forth (I didn’t talk to anyone about these). Whilst dad was working, mum spent time raising me and my brother, from feeding us, through to picking us up from school (I was 14 or 15 until I started getting the train, and mum or grandad stopped giving me lifts #spoiltIndianboy). It’d be mum that’d ask how school was, about how we had done in the Maths test, and so forth.

MUm is a do-er. She’s one of those people who feels dissatisfied if she’s not done very much in a day. And by ‘not very much’, I actually mean a lot. My mum and dad also work together, which has it’s challenges. I sometimes question if they’d get along better if they didn’t have to see each other all the time at work, as well as live together. Who knows. I’m not sure if I could do that with my future lady.

My dad is pretty different to my mum. He’s a bit more chilled out, and a lot more closed-off. He’s a closed book when it comes to emotions. This is common amongst Indian men – particularly of that generation and older. His mother raised several children, and his father was often away travelling from work, passing away when my dad was in his late teens; it sounds like my father was raised by his siblings. It’s not easy to communicated with him, and we’ve clashed in the past. We went through a period where we barely interacted; especially as dad often does his own thing, anyway. I’m pleased to say that we both make a bit more of an effort now. It can still feel awkward when I’m talking to my dad, because it’s not something we really did for a while, despite being under the same roof for most of my life. My therapist says this is to be expected, as we get used to doing it more. It feels like we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Or for a long time.

Mum, Dad and I are off to the cinema together next week (at time of writing), something we’re all excited about. Younger bro is away having fun of his own. We’re going to watch Oscar-nominated Lady Bird.

They say our personalities are a mix of nature and nurture. Whilst I don’t blame my parents for my being the way I am, my feeling is that my mum’s being so worried coupled with my dad being a closed book, are both things that have constituted to my being so guarded and private. And  my finding it so difficult to express my emotions. Bottled up emotions can lead to unhealthy actions and addictions. When my dad is stressed, he seems to drink more. When I’m stressed, I go in on myself and spend time mindlessly surging and flicking through the internet. And eating junk. It’s a pattern, and it can happen without my realising it.

I’m hoping to become more authentic, and by doing so also develop a closer and more honest relationship with my parents. As I’ve lived at home for all my life bar the two university years, it’s been difficult to break from the parent-child relationship, to more of an adult-adult one with each of them. It’s tricky, but we’re getting there.

Hopefully, these relationships with positively impact my wellbeing, my life, and the relationships I have with myself and others.

✏ Written: Saturday, 24th February 2018 @ 12.30pm

the abg | articles | awkward newsletter 💌

What about you?
What is your relationship like with your parents? How has it changed over the years, from childhood to adulthood? Are you closer with one, than the other? I’d love to hear about what it’s been like for you.

23 thoughts on “My relationship with my parents

  1. Hey there! I was SO happy that you followed my blog, that I decided to “pay it forward” and come here and check out yours. And I am so glad that I did!! It’s so amazing how this little “internet world” can bring people closer together, isn’t it? Anyway, I identify with this post A LOT, I mean so much so, that its almost downright scary! I am West Indian myself, (both parents from Guyana), and my dad is pretty much EXACTLY like your dad, I mean like right down to the “drinking while stressed” thing. I mean I can admit to you now, that I picked up my nasty habit of alcoholism DIRECTLY from my dad, and from his dad before him. Anyway, me and my dad had such a volatile relationship when I was growing up – him being the ABSOLUTE totalitarian, (I don’t have to explain to you how Indian men discipline their daughters), and me being the rebel that I am. We TOTALLY clashed on all frickin’ levels and it led to such an explosion, that I dropped out of high school and left home at the age of 15, with absolute HATE and DISGUST towards my dad that it ended up lasting for YEARS!!

    As I got older, I dealt with a lot. As you will read about in my blog, I have bipolar disorder, and that didn’t go over well with my parents, (you tell me what Indian parents wants to deal with that crap), and I ended screwing up everything I had worked so hard for. BUT, at the end of it all,I find myself living back home with my parents, after almost 20 years of complete distance from them, and realizing that my parents love me MORE deeply than I could have ever imagined. The relationship with my father has been fully repaired now too, and I am realizing that it is my DESTINY that things have come full circle this way, and it is now MY turn to take of my parents so they can live in comfort into their twilight years. My mom is an ABSOLUTE worrier too, as well as warrior, (how funny is that), and since she has been ill recently it has been an endless cycle of “Oh, I am going to die I can’t take this, what am I going to do” song from her, that really drives me nuts. But as I said, DESTINY has brought me full circle because since my dad is busy working on the new house we are planning on moving to, it has fallen on MY shoulders and has become my responsibility to take my mom to all her appointments and fight with her doctors when they try and give her the run around, (two months wait to get an appointment while she’s suffering, screw that! I get in there and make that appointment happen within a week!).

    Anyway, sorry to ramble and overwhelm you with this ridiculously long comment, but this post of yours really inspired me and brought things “home” so to speak and came close to my heart because I absolutely LOVE my parents and would do anything for them, more than you believe. It is my ABSOLUTE responsibility now to take care of them so they don’t end up in an Old Folk’s Home. NO WAY, NOT HAPPENING!!

    But I look forward to reading your posts – I mean its kinda nice to read about the life and stories of a fellow brown person. And where I am not a COMPLETE and 100% Indian person, I am still brown, and WEST Indian, but I figure that’s close enough right? Haha. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello! Oh my gosh, this made me so feel so light & happy when I read this 🙂 I’m glad you stopped by too! And wow, your parents *do* sound a lot like mine! I think my dad tried to my strict-ish with me, like his older brothers were with him & how their father was towards them. I found it difficult that he seemed to be different/less harsh/nicer to my brother, also. He’s a softie really. I do think that generations of dysfunctional (though coming from the right place) parenting has all sorts of problems. My grandparents are obsessed at going to the doctors at the smallest hint of a cough haha, it’s so funny.

      I actually haven’t hugged my dad in years. It’s quite sad really. And it feels strange/scary at the thought of doing it almost, but I’m sure it’ll happen. Like you said, they’ve done so much, I’ll feel bad if I don’t look after them, too. My mum worries that me and my brother (unlike a daughter) will get married and then abandon her lol… I’ve told her that’s not gonna happen.

      No one is 100% anything! So much of our “differences” and prejudices are sooo pointless. Thanks so much for stopping by – and looking forward to reading more of your stuff too! x

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m currently reading your ‘About’ section. My psychiatrist once expressed that I *may* be on the bipolar spectrum, but then later withdrew it and has said I probably wasn’t. I have wondered though.

      And *oh my gosh* – online relationships. This is me. When I was about 14/15, shy little me got into MSN Messenger (back in the day) and it went from there. Speaking to strangers and girls that I’d be too shy to talk to in real life. Even, admittedly, pretending I was someone else – the person I thought I “needed” to be to be liked, popular, attractive. All online. I got into sexual conversations and all sorts online. And became reliant on it – and I think that was my version of alcohol addiction.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am so happy that you are taking the time to read about me and my blog!! That makes me really happy, truly!! You know, I was NEVER bipolar, let me tell you. I went my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE being a little crazy and driven, but does that make me bipolar?? God, you know, I went to a psychiatrist and asked for a little help when I was struggling when I was 24 and he just threw some pills at me and it sent me into complete psychosis!! I never had any kind of delusions in my entire life before that!! Granted, I should have been smarter about just popping pills, but I was really in a bad place and very vulnerable so I thought, “he’s a professional here to help me, I can trust him,” right? WRONG!!! UGH!! What followed after that was just years and years of absolute HELL!

        But yeah, I wouldn’t be so quick to get a bipolar label just yet, maybe a little anti-depressant to help with some confidence issues and mild depression, you know? I mean my mom just recently told me that she thought the psychiatrist I went to see way back when would just give me a pill to help me sleep or something, not give me something that would end up destroying my entire life!!! So, if you do think about medication in the future, do your research, get an AMAZING doctor you trust, and be really smart about it. You don’t want to end up like me!!

        Oh and as for online relationships, don’t EVEN get me started on that whole mess! I literally spent YEARS of my life sucked into the black hole of “online interaction addiction” in which I would spend hours upon hours just GLUED to the screen to get a rush out of meeting and interacting with someone new, sexually or otherwise. So yeah, my new friend, been there, done that, and got the damn t-shirt!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gosh, that sounds frightening. Thanks so much for your perspective on this. I’m on sertraline at the moment, and seeing a therapist which is helping. Ah – for me it remained online (though I steered close to the line) – chat rooms, snapchat, etc etc. Getting a rush out of getting girls to engage with me and send me stuff. It became an addiction, and a dirty little secret I felt like I couldn’t control myself over.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It really was frightening! I mean I deal with A LOT of frustration and anger when it comes to this. If you have a minute check out my recent post here: http://unchained-heart.com/2018/03/15/frustration-and-anger-how-do-you-deal-with-it-in-life/

        I go into detail about what that first trip to the psychiatrist did to me – It may be helpful to you!

        I never heard of sertraline but if it is working for you, then I am happy for you then. I have had my therapist for 11 years and he has been an absolute Godsend to me, let me tell you! So I am glad to hear that being in therapy has been helpful to you too. Thanks so much again for reading! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ll take a look! I had a time during group therapy last year where my anger *really came out*, it was surreal. Sertraline is also called Zoloft I think (thanks google).

        PS. I’m obsessed by this song at the moment, it makes me emotional. I’m not a Christian, but I’m going to Church on Sunday and can’t wait. Something about singing together. Anyhow, here’s the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPuj6UISMhs

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Wow what an amazing video and song!! Can I tell you that it moved me to tears???? WOW!!! You know, call me crazy, (well I know I totally am), but it almost seems like fate that we met like this and we are sharing stories and videos you know? As a matter of fact this WHOLE thing about God, Jesus and Faith has caused a major RIFT in my road to healthy living, in which I am trying to pray and find peace and understanding and especially with my relationship with “Him” I know I have been asking you to read A LOT of stuff, and I apologize, but since you are going to Church on Sunday and you deal with some form of mental illness yourself, you will ABSOLUTELY be able to relate to this post I wrote called: Why Believe in God When You are Told it is Mental Illness here: http://unchained-heart.com/2018/03/14/i-sit-here-and-ask-myself-why-bother-and-believe-in-god-when-you-are-just-told-it-is-mental-illness-shocking-update/

        Trust me you WILL relate to this, and you WILL appreciate what I have to say here. I promise it will be the LAST post I will ask you to read. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I found it really moving too. I used to cry at songs/films when I was younger, now I sort of just get like shivers/butterflies.

        Keep sending them my way 🙂 This must be my 4th or 5th blog, and I never realised WordPress had such an amazing community until now. I’ve been missing out. So amazing to meet so many likeminded souls. No apologising needed – keep sending em 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂 He’s more similar to my mum in personality, but also a mix. My dad treated him a little differently when he was growing up, and they’ve had a closer relationship in the past (my brother and dad).

      Like

  2. I have a somewhat turbulent relationship with my parents. I never felt close to them and sometimes being around them feels like being stung by jellyfish as they are often quite barbed in their comments. It led me to be very withdrawn and private, to struggle with my self-esteem and feel unwilling to share any part of my life with them. As to do so would give them more ammunition to tear me down.

    I don’t think they do it maliciously and in fact I don’t think they realise just what they are saying… even when I’ve politely pointed out when their barbs have been even more cutting. In the end they consider it just another weakness of mine that I would react like that.

    I don’t live up to a very specific expectation they have of what I should be like, how I should act. It has taken a long time to become ok with myself and while just a few hours in their presence can chip away at that sense of “okay-ness”… I continue to build up my crumbling temple in a hopes that it never fully falls…

    Good article. It is interesting to see other people’s relationship dynamic with their families.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Ari. Ah parents are an interesting one, aren’t they. Our relationships with them affect us more than we might realise. I also feel this is all affected by the relationships they had with their own parents.

      Fundamentally, I feel we are hardwired to want & need their love and approval. Coming from them, these barbs must have felt particularly hurtful and difficult to deal with.

      “I continue to build up my crumbling temple in a hopes that it never fully falls” – aw, this made me a little sad. Our experiences make us, and I’m sure you have grown in some way from this. Thank you for reading and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words, yes I do think each previous generations relationship will colour the one that comes after.

        It is sad that we are hardwired for that love and approval. I think I was in my teen years when I realised that was never going to come and started to let the hope for it go.

        Now as my parents have started to ask more about my life, I feel unable to share it. As if, it is too late as when it mattered, they didn’t care. Now I refuse to open my life to them as it would be more fodder for them to throw back.

        🙂 I do feel I have grown and while my temple is crumbling, I hope it still gives shelter to others. I believe in supporting people, building people up with praise and encouragement not tearing them down with criticism and judgment.

        I could have taken the experiences with my family and lashed out at others, but I am not built that way. I want people to feel good about themselves and their achievements no matter what those are.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s