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Thread: A wonderful relationship with my parents is breaking down

  1. #1
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    A wonderful relationship with my parents is breaking down

    For a little background: I am 21 years old and currently live with my parents and younger sister. My elder brother currently lives abroad and comes home for a week or so around every 2 months. I live at home still because when I went to university in 2016, I became very ill and my parents asked me to come home so I could look after my health. I am due to leave for university this September again.

    Growing up, I had a better-than-average relationship with my parents. I wasn't rebellious, I did (most of) my school work, I didn't party. They didn't invade my privacy, they respected my boundaries & we had a lot of fun together. Still, we argued & I was most certainly not the easiest child (we have recently discovered that this is because I was misdiagnosed with an anxiety disorder at 16 and I have a personality disorder). But for all intents and purposes, we had a really mutually stimulating relationship.

    Of course, all relationships have bad patches. We've just come out of the end of one. But usually, that would mean other things (e.g. work, money, home, friends, church, etc etc etc) would also start looking up as we emerged from The Tunnel™. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

    So, in January this year, I took the reins of my mental health in my hands and began really, really making progress. I was doing ever so well & I entered into a relationship. I won't go into the details of this, because what is important is that the relationship broke down & I was broken up with (horribly). My mental health began to plummet. I tried so, so hard to reign it in but it was completely out of my control. I have since been diagnosed with BPD/EUPD, which explains a lot & has begun making things easier to navigate again. However, for four months, the subsequent impact of my mental health on my family was dire.

    This was not entirely down to me however. My dad is not the best communicator (he words things awfully, doesn't really express how much he cares, is awkward with conflict, and often just appears not to listen at all). My mum is hyper sensitive (when she blows, she says really awful things), has a long history of depression, recently left a job (12 months ago, which is also really impacting her). Unfortunately, this means we are also really struggling for money. I lost my own job through wrongful dismissal in March & haven't been able to contribute. This has led to a LOT of arguments. Nasty, nasty arguments. And the fact that I was so low that all I wanted to do was sit in my room, self harm and fantasise about dying did not help. My fuse got shorter and shorter & whilst I didn't yell or have outbursts like my mum, I was irritable and unpleasant to be around.

    So

    The issue then faced was that a lot of arguments began because my irritability lit a flame under both my parents and they would blow at me. The argument was never really ABOUT me (e.g. they would start arguing about money, which was the underlying issue), but it was always me that seemed to start it. I'm a very thorough-thinking person & I have repeatedly apologised to them both as of late, because I acknowledge & seek forgiveness when I am in the wrong. It takes me a couple hours but I was able to talk (somewhat calmly, but I don't seem to be able to stop myself crying) about the issue with them.

    But the problem is that neither of them are able to admit that they are part of the issue. Ever. With me or with one another.

    And although things are improving mood-wise following my new diagnosis (we now understand why we can't understand one another's emotional reactions to things & it's making it a lot easier to wade through all the ) the actual situation is not.

    Here's the run down:
    • My mum has not been active in seeking a new job despite me gently pushing her in the right direction, as she has done me.
    • My dad seems unable to alter his approach to emotionally-charged situations and as a result constantly offends my mum
    • My mum is now physically poorly (trapped nerve) and spends ALL of her time in bed. This is, of course, influenced by her depression.
    • ALL (and I genuinely mean ALL) of the housework is left to me. I work 9 hours a day, 6 days a week. And the mess is making me extremely uncomfortable.
    • I can't approach my mum about this because she is hyper sensitive and thinks we're all against her.
    • My dad seems not to have realised that mum feels she is blamed for all of our financial difficulties & keeps ranting about it.
    • My mum seems not to have realised that it IS a problem (e.g. I have suggested shopping somewhere cheaper for groceries - but we couldn't possibly do that because the shopping is left to mum & she feels so energy-sapped that she doesn't want to leave the house).
    • We have no bloody food in the house anyway.
    • The list... goes on... and on... and on.


    & when I say it goes on, I really mean it. I have used every single one of my days off since starting my new job (despite picking up 20 hours of overtime a week) to clean the house from top to bottom. I can do it to a pretty damn good standard in 5 hours. But I have 1 day off a week. And I woudldn't mind continuing the cleaning when I come home from work if it was just a bit here and there, because I've been where my mum is & i understand how horrid it is to not want to do anything. But they seem to undo it all in one day. And it's NEEDLESS mess. E.g. leaving dirty dishes out when we have an empty dishwasher. Leaving washing strewn all over the kitchen when I have cleared the utility room for that use...

    So I'm really beginning to lose my patience. And so is my dad. And I don't want to because I want my mum to feel loved & appreciated. But I also feel like I'm kept as a child in this house when it is convenient. I'm expected to take on adult responsibilities but I don't feel I can go to my mum and say "I know you're down and I know you're hurting. But rather than cleaning during the day, can you just try and be mindful that you're making a mess where there doesn't need to be one?"

    My sister, of course, doesn't contribute AT ALL (12).

    And when my brother's home, he makes matters a good 10% worse.

    I cleaned the house when he was home last time, came home after work the next day and the whole place was a tip. I walked in and an "oh" sort of popped out. So he asks "what" and I say "it's a mess again".

    All I got was "well what did you expect?". I feel the cleanliness and to some extent the running of the house (I don't cook or iron for the family because I'm a veggie & they aren't, and because my mum just reirons all my ironing) is down to me at the moment. To some extent I'm having to mediate between my parents. When things are really bad between us, I try and do a nice big chunk of the housework as a sort of peace offering... y'know "I love you guys & I'm sorry the three of us can't talk at the moment but here's something that I hope will help a little". But it goes unnoticed. Even when we've argued and I've expressed that I don't feel I can talk to them when I'm down so that's WHY I opt to try and alleviate the pressures of the house instead, it gets ignored (i.e. they ignore the housework and focus on the fact I don't want to talk).

    I'm sorry this has gone on so long. I feel it's important to have this detail because I don't want my parents to be painted as horrible people. They're gorgeous and loving, and they have their quirks, but I know that when you peel back everything else that's going on, everyone in this house loves one another to bits. And that's why this atmosphere is killing me. I don't want to be in the house because the filth makes me very anxious, but my parents think it's them & I don't know how to approach them about it because when it's an argument, everyone blows, and when it's done quietly/reasonably, I can see the hurt in my mum's eyes thinking "everything going wrong is my fault because I left my job". I just want to make things better because they're such good people and I want them to feel loved and appreciated and happy. But I'm worried sick, and I'm going to uni in September and am worried it's going to make matters worse.

    Does anyone have ANY advice as to how I might approach this?

    That & my break up are all that fills my brain at the moment. It's my day off and the place is such a mess that I just don't have the energy today. Any advice at all is hugely appreciated.

    (and I hugely appreciate anyone who has made it through this Oddyssey of a post).

  2. #2
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    For you own health and mental wellbeing, move out. Sooner, rather than later.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Is your mother getting any kind of medical care for the neurological issues/pain and also mental health care for the depression? She needs doctors, not you and your father telling her to clean up.

    On that note, it's your parent's house. How they choose to keep it is up to them. Your only choice is how you keep your personal room. Not up to do you to determine how your parents live or how they keep their house.

    In all honestly, the ideal situation is for you stop stop playing martyr, caretaker, mediator, cleaner, therapist for your parents and move out and start living your own adult life.

    If you are really concerned about your parents and their health and well being, talk to a family counselor and maybe arrange an intervention. Sorry, but it sounds like your parents need help that is beyond your capacity, aka they need professional help to solve their issues. You need to step out of that.

  4. #4
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    Here's the run down:

    My mum has not been active in seeking a new job despite me gently pushing her in the right direction, as she has done me.
    My dad seems unable to alter his approach to emotionally-charged situations and as a result constantly offends my mum
    My mum is now physically poorly (trapped nerve) and spends ALL of her time in bed. This is, of course, influenced by her depression.
    ALL (and I genuinely mean ALL) of the housework is left to me. I work 9 hours a day, 6 days a week. And the mess is making me extremely uncomfortable.
    I can't approach my mum about this because she is hyper sensitive and thinks we're all against her.
    My dad seems not to have realised that mum feels she is blamed for all of our financial difficulties & keeps ranting about it.
    My mum seems not to have realised that it IS a problem (e.g. I have suggested shopping somewhere cheaper for groceries - but we couldn't possibly do that because the shopping is left to mum & she feels so energy-sapped that she doesn't want to leave the house).
    We have no bloody food in the house anyway.
    The list... goes on... and on... and on.


    Your mother's job search is none of your business.
    Your job search is.
    Mom can't work if she tried if she is in pain - i would encourage her to see a doctor.
    Do not psychoanalyze your parents - your parents are the same parents you got along with as a kid.
    Sometimes when you grow up, move out and move back in, it creates a strange dynamic.

    If you get a job and move out - then you can not cause your parents more financial trouble by them needing to support you as well.

    And honestly, when you are in a good place mentally, don't dive into a relationship right away again. The more time you are healthy and don't get into a relationship the higher quality/the more stable of a man you will meet.

    Its ironic that you say you have a personality disorder but don't believe you are contributing to the stress.

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  6. #5
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    To begin with, I was hoping that the advice I might receive on this forum would be understanding, kind and actually useful.

    As I stated at the beginning of the post, I am moving out. I have heavily acknowledged that I contribute to the stress. My parents and I have a very open relationship and they like to include me in things such as job searching. I no longer have a job seach, as also mentioned. Yes, she has sough medical attention. No, I did not come here for further criticism.

    I left the house for all of 6 weeks.

    That last comment was completely unneccessary & if you'd read the post thoroughly, it would be clear that I DO acknowledge that I contribute to the stress. In fact, I think I'm one of the worst contributors because they worry about me. However, what I have said is that I am very good at admitting when I have been in the wrong.

    I understand my mum's stress and pain. I am also stressed, in pain etc etc. But I'm doing everything despite that. I just need some bloody help.

    It was not anyone's place here to comment on the dynamic of our relationship. I was asking for help to stop it going further down the drain. "just move out and stop whining" is not useful. I can only assume your relationship with your parents is vastly dissimilar & I'm sorry for that because being best friends with your parents is super rewarding.

    Thank you for making me feel like a bad person for not wanting my relationship with my parents, and their marriage to deteriorate. I'll just leave my 12 y/o sister to pick up the pieces shall I?

  7. #6
    Bronze Member Camber 2019's Avatar
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    I think ABB was merely telling you like it is... Do you want advise, or do you want us to poo-poo you with empathy? Sometimes advice is a bitter pill to swallow.

  8. #7
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    I wanted advice, so neither lol.

    This wasn't advice, it was "poo-poo"ing on the way my family operates.

    Why should the blame all fall on me for the state of the house when I'm the busiest person living there? Why should I be shouted at for accepting my parents can't support me financially trhough uni as they did my brother, and saying I'll get a job?

    There is a huge difference between mollycoddling and empathy.

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by confused259
    I wanted advice, so neither lol.

    This wasn't advice, it was "poo-poo"ing on the way my family operates.

    Why should the blame all fall on me for the state of the house when I'm the busiest person living there? Why should I be shouted at for accepting my parents can't support me financially trhough uni as they did my brother, and saying I'll get a job?

    There is a huge difference between mollycoddling and empathy.
    Is the blame really truly falling on you? Or does it seem that way due to the rest of what is going on?

    Your parents are in a different financial position right now than they were with your brother. It is unfortunate. But it is something that you have to accept. This is probably incredibly stressful to them. And most 21 year olds don't live at home on their parents' dime. This is added stress.

    You mentioned personality disorder. Do you have BPD? Or something else?

  10. #9
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    It genuinely does. I have one day off a week & have been using it to clean from top to bottom. I can do the whole house to a superficial level in 6 hours, but cannot deep clean.

    More often than not, I come home the next day & the house is back in the same state. & I don't mean there are a few plates on the side, I mean total bedlam. The washing has migrated from the washroom back to all-over the kitchen, the sink is piled high (how?! in one day?!) my sister's stuff is strewn everywhere and the things that belong to my parents that I've put away in their room are back in the living room, etc etc. You walk in the door & trip over their bags and coats, on the floor, outside the cupboard specifically for bags & coats. & then if I bring it up, I'm shouted at by my sister because she "doesn't want to" (okay, she's 12 but still!), my mum gets annoyed because she feels she can't do anything (which I understand, but there's a difference between asking her to tidy & asking her to not un-tidy) & my dad just rants and grumbles at everything.

    I've been shouted at multiple times for not contributing financially to the house this year when my old job wasn't paying me & then not contributing enough as housework goes because I don't cook for the family, but I'm never home when they eat (I work until 7 with the commute). Sometimes it's just unreasonable & I genuinely understand the struggle & wish I could take it away for them, but I need to be doing something other than work work tidy work work chaperone my sister work work get yelled at work clean etc etc etc because it's driving me mad.

    I'm not getting 6 months wages back because I apparently missed the deadline for employee tribunal so I'm doing my best to remove myself from my overdraft so I don't have to rely on my parents for anything (which I don't - just the actual room, which until my pay stopped I paid £40 a week for, and maybe 2 meals a week, otherwise I am self sufficient). & sorry, I've phrased my previous comment poorly - I am not saying I'm angry my parents can't support me! Quite the opposite. I've acepted it and said "don't worry i'll get a job".

    The conversation has gone like this;
    - when i go to uni i'm probably going to work in [my friend's] cafe in the evening for a little extra money
    - you won't have time your course is 40 hours a week minimum
    - i'm gonna have to because student finance isn't giving me much of a loan and i don't mind, [friend] & i get along really well
    (huge argument ensues).

    My dad's said it's because mum's sad she can't support me through uni but I shouldn't be getting the flack for it! i'm genuinely not complaining to them about anything (except perhaps the fact y trhaot is sore from working 10 hour days on the phone, but who wouldnt?) because i don't want to rock the boat.

    BPD is what i've been diagnosed with yes.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by confused259
    I wanted advice, so neither lol.

    This wasn't advice, it was "poo-poo"ing on the way my family operates.

    Why should the blame all fall on me for the state of the house when I'm the busiest person living there? Why should I be shouted at for accepting my parents can't support me financially trhough uni as they did my brother, and saying I'll get a job?

    There is a huge difference between mollycoddling and empathy.
    I did not blame you for anything - that's what you interpreted out of it.
    I am saying is that your parents decisions and lifestyle is not your circus/not your monkeys.
    Do not expect them to change or do anything different. Do not try to diagnose them in you mind.
    The only thing you can change or control is you.

    When i moved back in with my parents - the parent/child dynamic was altered - and its the same way with every adult child that moves back in.

    And i meant it - do not get into another relationship for awhile - get strong and stable so that your fall back is yourself - your backup plan and savings, not moving back in with the folks. There was a long time when my parents had a more expensive house than they would have liked because they were always thinking they had to keep their X amount of bedroom home in case any of the kids needed to move back and at a certain point they were satisfied that everyone was okay and that wouldn't happen and so they have downsized, own a home with two bedrooms - their room and a guest room and they are so much more relaxed.

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