Negative parent causing unrest

  • What do you do if one of your parents has become so negative and nasty over the years in your adult life, and it's causing so much stress and anxiety that the only thing left to do is cut them out of your life?

    This person is very selfish and self-destructive, manipulates people through guilt, will not take care of themselves properly, and makes your life hell through constant worry? Being nice never works, talking openly about your feelings doesn't work-- this person goes into attack mode because they think they're never wrong, etc. The only time I have any peace is when I cut off contact for at least a month. Been living with this for five years and enough is enough. It's so difficult to help someone who won't help themselves and who seems to love drama and discord. A good parent and a loving parent would not want their child to go through any of this, but this person's behavior is very disturbed.

  • This person has worked out that you eventually always return to them, despite their bad behaviour. It's like a power game to them. More drastic action must therefore be taken to lengthen the time period apart, until they learn that their behaviour is not acceptable - so make it clear that there will be no contact until this attitude and behaviour change has happened for real, not pretend. And mean it. Even if it takes years, you should not have to put up with this negativity which is dragging you down.

  • Thank you so much for your response, I really have been at wits end about this. It's my mother, and she has a long term illness plus emotional instability that she won't treat properly. And I think you are correct about everything you wrote. There was an instance while she was in the hospital where I was visiting on my day off and then during the week at work I'd have long phone conversations to keep her spirits up, as even though she has become toxic, I still care about her and want only good things for her, while at the same time needing to end the relationship on some level because it's affecting me in all sorts of ways.

    I had to hang up on her at the end of that week of phone calls because she called my sister a very derogatory name, and I had to abruptly get off the phone. The next day she left me a voicemail pretending to be a nurse who was telling me that she had died and that I was supposed to come down to the morgue to get her things. I responded with a polite but firm letter telling her how it upset me and why it was wrong, but she still thinks that kind of behavior is no big deal. I cut off contact but then mother's day came around, and I wanted her to have a good holiday, so visited her, but I'm still upset and feel very abused. She doesn't seem to care, and I have to rise above the guilt I feel at closing the door on this unhealthy relationship with her. There are things she can do to make the quality of her life better, but she just finds excuses and such. Sorry this is such a long post...

  • It sounds like your mother cares only about herself. She is emotionally very immature. Such people always end up alone unless they change their ways. Being ignored by everyone can be a wakeup call for your mother that she is not going to get her way by emotional manipulation any more. You should not feel guilty as she has chosen her own path. It's wrong for her to get a kick out of 'playing' her family - that was such a dirty trick about her pretending to be a nurse and telling you she had died. But she will just keep on doing this sort of thing unless you stop giving in to it. You have to think of your own mental, emotional and physical health that has undoubtedly been very stressed by her behaviour. You have given her way too much time and consideration and she has only taken advantage of it and not been at all grateful that someone cared about her.

    She has made her bed, now she must lie in it.

  • Yes, I agree. It's time for me to "walk away with love" and trust that things are happening in the way that they're supposed to happen.

    I really appreciate your thoughts on the matter, it helps to hear it from someone outside of the situation.

  • Anytime!

  • On reflection, I probably should've mentioned the fact that most of her siblings have cut contact with her except for on Christmas and things like that as we're all sick of her negative attitude. She doesn't seem to understand that her behavior is bad, she just seems to be addicted to complaining and feeling like a victim rather than making positive choices. In reality she may be unable to change because these bad traits are so deep-seated within her pyschology. So sticking around seems to create bad vibes with her and cutting off contact also seems to create bad vibes because she just chalks it up to her children being "bad". It's nuts. She's very obsessive, and I can feel it when she's having negative thoughts about me, I get shooting pains in my neck area out of nowhere.

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