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  1. #1
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    How d'you deal when parents sabotage a relationship?

    After a terrible night's sleep, I needed to write some of the thoughts on my mind and put it out there. I don't know of many friends in my life who I can talk to about this, because on the surface of it, it may all sound like silly ..

    After a traumatic break-up last year, and giving myself several months to catch my breath and heal, I started to try to find a new person using online dating websites. It has been 6 months and during that I have been in contact with a whole bunch of women, but had dates with two. With some of these women, after initial contact and some emails, they decided it wouldn't go ahead; in some cases, it was me who decided they weren't the right women for me. My analysis of where I stand in the dating scene includes two important factors: firstly, I'm from an ethnic minority living in the UK (hence non-white), and secondly, I live in a city that is remote from the all the other major (ethnically diverse) cities in the country.

    Without making it too much of a sob story, I want to tell you guys that the two factors above have conspired to make things extremely difficult for me, and it is hard not to get worn down by them. I am caught between a rock (women of my own ethnic background live too far away, and often refuse to travel) and a hard place (women in my city, who are white, judge me because of race and religion).

    What really had me troubled last night is the influence my parents have over my future. They behaved in a racist way towards my ex-girlfriend who was white, which was a contributing factor to the break-up. I have distanced myself from my family since then, because I find it morally impossible to forgive their behaviour. I come from a religious community where the old way was of "arranged marriages" or, in the modern day, arranged introductions. The thing is, my parents have never once lifted a finger to introduce me to anyone or vice versa, BUT they are quick to criticise any new person I am with, and they effectively sabotaged my relationship that my ex and I had built ourselves. Not only am I angry with them for their racism, I am dealing with the knowledge that the only thing they do is find fault and criticise -- no girl I am ever with, white or otherwise, will ever be enough for them.

    I do live away from home, and my life is my own, but guys whenever I contemplate a relationship with someone new, whenever I try to look past the pain of the break-up, I am confronted with how my parents will react if and when I am with that new person. I am tired of their BS. At the back of my mind though I fear that they will sabotage me again if they have the chance. They will use every trick in the book (their poor health etc) to manipulate me - my dad has even been dropping hints that because they've got high blood pressure, I should do as they say, the subtext being otherwise they'll have heart attacks and drop dead.

    Is there anyone else who has dealt with difficult family relationships like this?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member chai714's Avatar
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    Icarus,

    Since your family does not respect any of your girlfriends, the best thing you can do (for her and for you) is to never expose her to their hostility. In fact, don't even share with them the fact that you do or don't have a girlfriend. With a family this hostile and ignorant, there's simply no need to give them any chance to ruin something important to you.

    By not telling your family, they will have no reason to fake illnesses. Then, once you're married you can introduce your wife to them. Of course, first warn your wife about their prejudices but by then it won't matter to her because she will love you for who you are.
    "Your mind is your greatest weapon." - David J. Lieberman, Ph.D

    "Most every person or situation can be influenced through the power of psychology."

  3. #3
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    Thanks chai. Judging by your username, I can guess you might be from a community background similar to mine!

  4. #4
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    Icarus,

    I guess this is a pretty difficult situation but you need to understand both sides - your family and yourself- to be able to find the best solution for yourself.

    To begin with your family, I am not trying to justify racism or discrimination or them sabotaging your life, but I do not think this is happening because something is horribly and particularly wrong with your parents. I mean, yeah, this is horrible and it is wrong but if you start fostering this hidden enmity, you will be putting too much blame on them. I am inclined to think that this sort of ethnic conservatism is an undercurrent in the UK, and it is not simply due to the ethnic minority's racist inclinations but also to the failure of a system in truly integrating its ethnic components. Under the guise of a truly tolerant society, white communities could well be acting along the same lines. Does it justify what your parents are doing? No. But perhaps it helps you to see that they are rather among quite common victims/perpetrators of some social ills who are employing defense mechanisms in a wrong way.

    Perhaps, they will never understand but also rest assured, if they die of high blood pressure -God bless them by the way- it will not be because of you. nobody can kill another like that, only people's own anxieties do. They are employing a guilt-trip on you - in the long run, this might be a guilt expedition as well. But this affects your life only as long as you choose to feel guilt-loaden and make your choices prioritising your own guilt-trip.

    You can draw a boundary in your mind - isn't it possible to be a good son who is with whoever he wants? Listen to your own conscience, mate. Find other characteristics of a good son and live up to your own definition.

    Then do the same for your relationship. How can you protect your beloved against your family's caprices? So far, it seems that you have sided with your GF in your mind but acted in accordance with your family's expectations. Define your own expectations from yourself and face them.

    Your parents may never understand where you are coming from. Resort to jokes and stuff. "High blood pressure, I have your genes, you might be killing me as well?" Do not take them seriously because they are being childish. Let THEM face the consequences of their own behaviours- in a non-threatening way. At the moment you are covering up for them. They are somehow threatening you with the loss of a parent. Do they themselves have the luxury of losing a son?

    The way to get out of this is to get out of the guilt trip, not necessarily out of the family. In the long run, they will forgive you anyway when you give them nice grandchildren.

    good luck,

    Zeino

  5. #5
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    Zeino,

    It was good to read your reply - it seems you have empathy with this kind of situation. However, I have to point out that I am writing this story very much post-mortem. We broke up (10 months ago) and I was left knowing that my parents' racism had a part to play in her walking away from the relationship. There were of course other issues - one thing I could have no possible control over was the fact that she graduated, and suddenly felt the need to be free.

    I had to take exception to one phrase:

    >>So far, it seems that you have sided with your GF in your mind but acted in accordance with your family's expectations. Define your own expectations from yourself and face them.

    Just to explain the situation a bit more, I did NOT act in accordance with my family's expectations. I had arguments with them (stand-up, raised voices) at their behaviour. My sister committed an extremely small-minded and petty act by refusing to meet my ex-GF and making such a strong point about it that I had to call the meeting off. And if you wonder, yes, I did let my ex-GF know that I was fighting for her. She was fully aware of it. In spite of that, she chose to blame me for my family's behaviour, claiming for example that I was taking things lying down.

    It is grimly sad Zeino, that you ended your post speaking of how people often come round when they see beautiful grandchildren. D'you know what my dad said to me? I never let my ex-GF know the horrible insult - he asked me whether I knew that the world will call my future children "mongrels" because they will be mixed race. It was a rhetorical question - he was stating simply that they will be little better than dogs.

    I very much agree with your analysis of "guilt-tripping". They have tried to guilt-trip me into doing a certain degree course, joining a certain profession, saying no to certain job offers, cancelling certain travel plans - and it has never worked. But, here's the rub - they know that their sabotaging behaviour is like a self-fulfilling prophecy - they know that if they make things sufficiently difficult for any future woman I am with, the relationship will break down and they will win.

    Even as I write this, I get angry and worked up. In the final analysis, there are times you just have to walk away from people who are toxic in your life. This may be one of them, sadly.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member Hellzapoppin's Avatar
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    Your family is making it crystal clear. They do not want you to have a relationship.

    The only way you will EVER have a successful relationship, and hopefully, marriage, is to put alot of distance between yourself and your family of origin.

    More than likely, you will have to completely cut all ties with them.

    Once you get married, your allegiance is to your spouse. Find your own place in the sun now, cut ties, so that you can have a peaceful life. Your parents' attitudes are not compatible with your having a happy marriage, if you have any contact with them.

    Good luck

  7. #7
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    heck yeah!! im living in one!! my mother AND father make it clear that they dont like my bf.... they try to be ambiguou with the reason. but...umm..yea. its pretty clear.

    it hurt, i was upset.. hell...this will probably be the first christmas that im not spending with them. but ill tell u how i dealt with it.

    i moved in with him. he makes me happy... yes we fight, yes we have reg. relationship problems...like this morning, i wanted to literally throw something at him....but its my business. im 26yrs old. i grew up in a diff. part of the world where dating outside ur race is unacceptable. my ENTIRE family talks about me behind my back..but when its time for bed... i go to sleep in love and content.

    its up to my parents whether they want to get over it. my bf will be my bf whatever race he is. if they cant get over that hump..then they gave me up. i never gave them up. and theyre the ones that are wrong.

    yes itll hurt...but in the end, u will be happier holding your woman of ur choice in ur arms....trust me - it would be wierd holding ur mother and father in ur arms at night.

  8. #8
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    Guys,

    Thanks for some words on this old thread.

    The thing is, my relationship didn't survive. This is a year ago now. With the perspective of time, I can remark that my ex's immaturity had a lot to do with it, but my parents' rude behaviour was a factor too.

    I believe people are responsible for the part they played. I have a lot of heartbroken and angry feelings towards my ex, but equally I will always remember that when I needed my folks to show a bit of open-mindedness, they couldn't come through.

    I would love to be able to believe in a brave new world where I am able to have the kind of meaningful relationship I want with someone, regardless of race. Seems i don't live in that brave new world now. I'm only saying this after the storms have passed through my life ... at the time of the break-up, I fought my parents' attitudes with them tooth and nail, all the time knowing that the very woman I was fighting for was at the same time, betraying what we had together.

  9. #9
    Your story is sad but all to common, and for me, close to home. I was the white girl, the girlfriend that would never be excepted. I learn about the religion and was looking into conversion, i am also learning the family language so i could communicate with them, and most of all I was supportive every step of the way.
    I never pushed him to tell them, we agreed to wait and see if we def wanted to marry and then tell them as dating is very bad in their religion...I found it hard but I believed when he said he would fight for me if it came to that, I remember early on in the relationship saying I had realised how hard it would be and had thought about leaving-he looked so distraught, he said of course he would fight for us. His parents have high blood pressure too...but hey so do most people over 60!!And when it comes down to it, they are being racist, they haven't been treated badly by white people, their children have suffered no discrimination and have had excellent educations here......but they are clinging to the country that they choose to leave, thats what gets me, why as two adults are they not willing to accept the consequences of their own voluntary actions-they choose to stay and bring up their children here, and now they want them to act like they were brought up in their home country?
    Using being ill and "weak" when your not can often be a sign of emotional strength and manipulation which is what it is. At the end of the day by giving in and saying that he can never bring himself to distress his mother, that she has high blood pressure, he is saying its ok to be racist, its ok to discriminate. And that he doesn't deserve a life of his own....and sadly that a person that truely loves u is worth less than a person you have been told to love and respect when they show no concern for his happyness in return.

  10. #10
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    twinkletoes,

    My heart really goes out to you, for taking the steps to learn about his faith, and standing by him. I think it is staggering hypocrisy on the part of the parents when they raise their son/daughter telling them about the evils of racism, then when it's convenient to be racist, fall into the same trap themselves. I fought for my relationship against my parents, I really did. And in my case, it was my gf who (has hardly had to fight for anything in her life) decided that it would be too much trouble and the relationship didn't "feel right".

    I have a younger sister who also showed startling coldness when I asked her to meet my then-gf for a coffee. She kicked up a big fuss about how she's not beholden to anyone, and doesn't have to meet if she doesn't feel like it. In the end it didn't happen. And my then-gf took this to be a sign that ALL of my family would never accept her. To this day, in my mind, I cannot forgive my sister for such unbelieveably churlish behaviour. Because her thoughtless act became the trigger for the break-up. I have since distanced myself from my sister and hardly talk to her.

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