Parents Who Need Limits

“Thank you. I’ve waited my whole life for someone to do that for me.”

And then she began to cry all the tears she’d been storing for all the times she’d needed someone to rescue her. She cried all night.

We haven’t spoken to her mom since.

Unknown Husband

Reddit Poster – Heart_beat_thong

Added emphasis is mine.

via Her Mother Terrorized Her Family Until Her Husband Put His Foot Down

I have a HUGE problem with how this story goes. And there is one quote in the story that bugs the ever-loving crap out of me (seen to the right).

This opinion comes primarily from two personal experiences:

  1. For the last few years of my marriage, one of the wives experienced verbal harassment and stalking by her mom. Her mother was previously diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but every time she got that diagnosis and offers of medication to help her manage it from a therapist, she would immediately change therapists.

    Her mother would call the police, telling them that we were “keeping her daughter enslaved in the basement.” It got to a point where each time we saw a police car outside our home, we assumed her mother had called them yet again.

    It got so bad that at one point, her mother showed up and tried to drag her out of the house. At THAT POINT we convinced her it was bad enough of a situation to actually get a restraining order against her mother. Too bad she let it lapse.

  1. I too have issues with my own parents, though nowhere near as bad as my ex-wife’s experience.  The issues with my parents have more to do with high levels of codependent relationships in our family. I do understand that it can be very difficult to face those issues, particularly with people so close to you that the boundary between you becomes blurred.

    But, realizing those issues, I’ve focused on developing firmer boundaries with my parents.  Learning how to get rid of the knee-jerk reactions I have to both parents is a necessary part of ensuring I never get into a relationship with another man like my ex.  My mother tends to be a touch too passive-aggressive, while my father is very much like his mother, leaning more to the aggressively bitter side of the cynic. While their past histories explain their personality choices (not only their adult choices, but experiences in their respective childhoods as well), it is up to me to choose how I will interact with them.

    Since Dad and I have experienced a very tempestuous relationship for most of my life (more from teen years onward) There are some HUGE habits we have both gotten ingrained in us toward the other.

    I have no expectation that either parent will change. I do have an expectation of myself — to learn to deal with both of them as who they are now, not as some imaginary creation of my singular perspective, or how they have acted in the past.

But, in the case of this woman, and her abusive mother, there is ANOTHER issue involved. Being able to come to that moment in an abusive relationship where you are able to even SEE that there is an abusive relationship going on. It’s not that there aren’t any people out there that can actually help an abuse victim, it’s that the person has to be READY to accept the truth.

People told me time and again throughout the years that my ex was abusing me. I started to lose track of how many friends I lost because they could not bear to be around me when I was unable to see myself as an abuse victim.

The thing is, it is the VICTIM who should be able to …do that for me.” This isn’t about blaming the victim, it’s about needing to accept the help being offered her. She did — eventually — accept that outside help, but the whole …do that for me sticks in my craw.

Yes, I know…I am a stronger personality than many other women. Yes, I know … I am constitutionally unable to let someone else take care of me for very long (even if I desperately want someone to do so), and I’m stubborn and a control freak about my own life. Maybe my standards are too high when comparing myself to someone else. Maybe simply because something is hard to do, it makes me more likely to attempt to do it “all on my own.” Maybe it is that little bit of a superiority complex that keeps popping up and making me stumble.

Just, do me a favor. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, the next time someone tries to give you a hand at protecting yourself from abusive people – take that risky first step and agree to allow them to help you. Absolutely no one can help you unless YOU make that first step.

Categories: Mental Retraining, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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