Good afternoon, Dear Readers! I hope this post finds you well today & ready to enjoy a lovely autumn weekend!
Yesterday was a very trying day for me. I had to run to the vet’s office & get some medicine for my kitty, Pretty Boy. With agoraphobia, even leaving the house let alone driving 15 miles to the vet is a challenge. Thankfully, the vet’s office is usually one place that I can handle fairly well. For good measure, I took my dog, Dixie along for a ride- her presence helped calm me. So I got home & was quite proud of myself! I did this trip with no panic! YAY ME!
I saw when I got home that my mother called while I was out. I changed into my bumming around the house clothes & was going to call her back when she called me instead. While I am glad to say she is still not deliberately being cruel to me, it was a rough talk. She explained what it’s like to have back problems (as usual, not acknowledging the fact I had back pain for 10 years resulting from her throwing me into a wall when I was 19). She also complained so much about my dad & the problems between them. *sighs*
After I hung up from that call, I made some chamomile tea & sat down with my computer to goof off for a bit. As I sat here, snuggling kitties & reading email, a few minutes later I heard a sound.. I knew it was my car- I thought maybe a branch fell off a tree & landed on the car. I got up to check & saw my dad. He had a doctor’s appointment not far from me & stopped by on his way home. While he was here, he spent his time complaining about my mother. *sighs again*
This is what is called Emotional Incest or Parentalizing. When a parent treats their child (of any age) as an equal by confiding in them about personal problems (especially romantic ones), expects that child to take care of their emotional well being & fix their problems, it is emotionally damaging to the child. Some problems resulting from being parentalized are:
- An over-developed sense of responsibility (if someone is upset, you feel it’s your job to fix the problem & make them feel better).
- Putting others first, even when you have genuine needs.
- Low self-esteem.
- Feeling “in the middle” with your parents.
I have experienced all of these things & more. On days like yesterday, I was physically shaky for a while. I also was achy all over, for no physical reason. This also made the Complex PTSD flare up- I normally cry easily but yesterday was worse, & I was so anxious. I also felt like I was a child again. The same fear & anxieties of my parents arguing when I was a child rose up in me.
Unfortunately I have not found a way to stop my parents from doing this entirely. The best things I have found to do are:
- Set & enforce boundaries to protect myself.
- Keep a distance- only talking to them when I am able to handle it emotionally.
- Change the subject often. When they start complaining about each other, I bring up any other topic I can think of. Often, they go right back to their conversation, so I have to change the subject again. Eventually, they will go along with me.
If you too go through the pain of being your parent’s parent, please know I understand. You are not alone in this, even if you feel like you are. Hugs to you!!!
Also, please check out my website.. I have some information on there for adult children of abusive mothers the following link: http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/Problem_Mothers.htm. And, on my free ebooks page, I have a free ebook available on the topic of Emotional Incest. Check it out..
God bless you & I’m praying for you! ❤