Am I doing the wrong thing?


#1

I usually don't write about these things online, but...

My parents are splitting up and I feel like my mom is forcing me to choose a side. I have always been on her side just because she's my mom and I've always defended her. But to my mom, I'm betraying her if I even talk to my dad... recently I've been trying to just be friendly with everyone and talk nicely to both of my parents (I thought that would be good!), but since that involves talking nicely to my dad, my mom sees that as betrayal and she's really mad at me and wants nothing to do with me now... btw I'm in my early 20s. My parents have been fighting nearly all my life. I can't take this.. I dont know what to do. I feel like my mom wants me to hate my dad otherwise I'm a traitor and a bad person. But I don't want to hate anyone and I want to follow God...

I really don't know what to do in this situation and I was wondering if anyone has any advice. I would talk to my friends about this but since they know my family I worry about that being too much like gossip. Here online no one knows who my family is so I feel like I can be more open.. I'm really seeking some advice cause I'm not sure what I should do morally. I feel like I'm making my mom really angry and hurting her, on the other hand, I don't want to hurt my dad either... it makes me sad that apparently I can't have a relationship with both of my parents.

What is the Christian thing to do? :( I'm really hurting over this and on top of this I'm going through a really rough time spiritually... I was really hoping that my parents could stay together and I was praying that they would come back to the Sacraments, but it looks like the opposite is happening. There's so much hatred at home it's really hard to deal with.


#2

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:203189"]
My parents are splitting up and I feel like my mom is forcing me to choose a side. I have always been on her side just because she's my mom and I've always defended her. But to my mom, I'm betraying her if I even talk to my dad...

[/quote]

You tell both of your parents the following:

[LIST]
*]You love both of them
*]You will not choose sides
*]You will not play any games or be emotionally manipulated
[LIST]
*]You will not listen to either of them talk about the other or their problems
[/LIST]
*]If either of them chooose to stop tallking to you, so be it
*]If either of them brings up the other or makes derogatory remarks you will cease contact with that person until they change their behavior
[/LIST]

It's their decision. They choose their behavior, and they choose the consequences.

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:203189"]
it makes me sad that apparently I can't have a relationship with both of my parents.

[/quote]

Yes, you can.

Your parents (or more accurately, your mom) will stop her bad behavior when she sees you are serious. If she starts bad mouthing your dad, cut her off. Warn her that continuing that line of conversation will result in you hanging up/asking her to leave/you leaving (depending upon where you are, etc). Then do it. Lay out the boundaries. Let her decide whether she will abide by them or if she will cease contact.

If she chooses to cease contact, she wille eventually come back around and then you will have peace because it will be on your terms.


#3

It seems like your father is OK with you talking with your mom so I would just continue to try and be nice with him.

It seems like you mom is really hurt and needs support. Unfortunately, you are not the one to give it to her (daughter's especially in their early 20's are not meant to care of mother's feelings). I would say to your mom 'I realise you are mad at dad and I don't need an explanation as to why. But I also think you would obtain better support from other people (friends, support groups etc) He is my father and no one else can ever be that for me. I would like to continue a relationship with him.

If there is some way you can help you mom get the support she needs, her anger will eventually go away

CM


#4

As someone who went through this and still is I can only say that this will not get any easier over time. It will get harder. Especially if your dad starts dating other women. My mom blamed me for her divorce and she blamed everyone but herself. She tried to make my dad to be out to be a horrible person. For holidays it will be a problem too. Birthdays, Christmas and New Years will be a time when one of the parents might be upset if you choose to go visit the other.

The best advice is to stay emotionally unattached. Let your mom vent. Dont take it personally. Just look at it as her dealing with a tough situation. The more you try to convince her and get emotional the more she will try to guilt trip you. I know its hard but I have been through it. The worst feeling of a divorce is the loss of the comfort and security that comes from having mom and dad together. I realize the pain your mother feels is partly felt by you because it is a bad feeling to see a parent heartbroken.

This is a long term thing. Stay closest to the parent that is most religious. If none are then spend as much time in a religious environment as possible. Pray for your mother and father. Pray for the strength to be as emotionally detached as possible. The more emotionally involved you are, the more difficult it is for you to not be in a position where you feel you are needing to choose one or the other.

You cant choose between the two overall though. Dont disown either. Try to have as normal a relationship as humanly possible with both. Divorces are a terrible situation. They are not the natural way things are supposed to be. Learn from their mistakes. Never get divorced. This is a message to you from God that marriage requires sacrifices. If you cannot make sacrifices than your marriage will not work.


#5

Both are your parents. Without them you could not exist. Talk to your mum and let her understand that your dad will always be your dad just like her she will always be your mum. You are not doing nothing wrong, you are just doing what a child is supposed to do. Pray to God always for this conflict to end. :cool:


#6

This situation is very common when there is a divorce between parents.

I've watched my husband and his siblings go through this. What my husband finally had to do was sit his parents (I think it tends to be the mothers who are the worstit but I'm sure there are fathers who do this too) and say, "Listen, I'm your child and I love you but I don't want to be your therapist or your best friend and you are trying to put me in those roles. I don't want to know the details of your problems with Dad and I don't want to have to chose between the two of you. So if you are going to say negative things about Dad or my relationship with him I'm going to have to leave."

And my husband frequently did have to leave the conversation. Eventually things got better. My husband eventually learned that he could not be around his mother for more than about a day and a half without the conversation going sour so we learned to plan family get-togethers accordingly.

Now I do think there are situations where one does have to cut off one parent and truly side with the other. But I think that such situations almost have to involve criminal behavior or matters of physical safety. Infidelity is kind of a gray area because while it is objectively wrong, it is often a symptom of problems that are not just the fault of one parent.


#7

I've been though a parent's divorce, although I was lucky enough to have a mother who wanted me to have a relationship with my dad. I was the one who didn't want to have anything to do with him... And from the experience of not having a dad around for most of my life, I can say this:

My dad missed out on my critical years of growing up, and I too am now in my 20's and hardly know my dad. And I know both he and I have serious regrets. We're practically strangers.

You should talk to your mom and tell her that while you understand this is hard on her, she has to understand that the divorce is also hard on you. The divorce is hard enough with your parents splitting up, don't make it harder by having to choose one parent over the other. Tell her that you need a relationship with your dad, and that at the same time, you aren't betraying her. Loving your dad does not make you love her any less.

I understand in divorces, pride is often a factor for both parents. In a sneaky way, you can use this to your advantage. Maybe you should suggest to your mom (subtly) that she should be the "bigger man" by not letting this divorce affect her so much as to forbid you to see your dad. She loves you right? Then she should put your well being over her pride.


#8

It is like with anyone else. You can choose to have a relationship with your parents, but they have to also choose to have a relationship with you. It is a mistake to let one person choose the other relationships in your life for you, as well.

It is bad enough that part of parenting is hanging in there with a 2 year-old or a 15 year-old who says, "You don't understand me! You never do what I want! You only care about what you want! I hate you!" Unfortunately, this is something adults do at times, too, even though they usually veil the language a little more.

If a 15 year-old wants to turn inside out and decide she has bad parents because they are strong enough to set reasonable limits, we can all see this as the 15 year-old's issue. We can all see that the parents must not cave in, for the good of everyone involved. It is a lot harder when the tables are turned, but the principles are the same.

You are right to decide not to reward the parent who is trying to use emotional blackmail on you. That is what your mother is trying to do, whether she realizes it or not. As another poster suggested, it is important for your own peace of mind not to take this personally. Take it as a scream she is letting out on her emotional rollercoaster, and do your best to let it go.

Like the parent dealing with the unreasonable 15 year-old, I wouldn't burn any emotional capital explaining your position. I would stick with, "I'm here for you, Mom, I will try not to bring up the topic of Dad when it is avoidable, but it doesn't hurt you when I treat someone else well, even when that someone is Dad. Try to see that, but if you can't see it, then learn to live with it."


#9

I was much younger when my parents divorced, but am thinking that I'm so thankful my mother never did this. Like another poster, she did the opposite. She would try to get me to encourage the relationship. She NEVER spoke about the bad things he did; even when I found out (by accident) about one of his girlfriends. The woman told me. I was older, they'd not dated for quite a long time, I don't know if she knew they were married at the time or forgot that they were. But, when she met me she said she had dated my dad and I asked her when, she told me "oh you were about 2 or 3" :tsktsk: they were married til I was about 4. :doh2: Anyway, the point is that my mom never said anything to us about his failings.

You REALLY need to have a sit down with your mom. I did have to do this with my dad because 20+ years after their marriage was over, he decided to blame my mother for everything that went wrong. :shrug: I told him that I didn't really care what had been done to hurt his feelings, that it wasn't my place to know these things. That the relationship that I had with my mom and with him were due to one thing: the effort put into it by the respective parent. We're in a better place now...he'll never be "daddy" (my step-dad is), but I respect who he is to me at this point in my life. If you don't tell her how her manipulations (that's what it is) are making you feel, she won't/can't know.


#10

Is the split up a done deal?


#11

[quote="Monica4316, post:1, topic:203189"]
My parents have been fighting nearly all my life. I can't take this.. I dont know what to do.

I would talk to my friends about this but since they know my family I worry about that being too much like gossip. Here online no one knows who my family is so I feel like I can be more open.

There's so much hatred at home it's really hard to deal with.

[/quote]

You need to start seeing a counselor regularly to work through not only this immediate dilemma, but also the many other scars you undoubtedly have from all the parental fighting you were exposed to growing up.

You have already been hurt psychologically way too much by this parental battling. The fact that you don't feel you can be open in person, the fact that you don't know what the moral course of action is now, ..., these are all warning signs / red flags that indicate you need to figure out now just how your upbringing has interfered and is still interfering with you being the person God wants you to be.


#12

My parents split up when I was in my mid 20s. My mom tried to emotionally blackmail me and even blamed me for my dad leaving. My dad lied a lot and tried to convince me she was crazy. It was bad. They tried to manipulate me into taking sides. It seems that so many of us have had very similar experiences. You've got some good advice here. Don't let your mom manipulate you like this. She is basically trying to deal with pain by involving you and trying to get back at your dad. Be strong, tell her you refuse to be used like that but that you love her and will try to help her in other ways. Thing is, you can't fix this problem for them and the most important thing is that you take care of yourself because it seems that at the moment nobody is really thing about you and how this is affecting you.I think that Just Lurking is right in suggestiong councelling. I wish I went into councelling immediately, not after a year. So many issues came up and I realised that the bad relationship that my parents had hurt me very much when I was a child and a young adult. I suggest you get a therapist/counsellor who is a Christian, who will understand you and your faith and will be able to talk to you in a way that a non-religious therapist won't be. This is also my experience. (I learned from her that my parents don't own me and that God is my Father - that was the most liberating thing ever and helped me see my duty as a daughter in a new and healthy way).

I'll be praying for you. I know it's tough but I promise it will get better. As one poster said, things might not get easier and their divorce will always be a dark shadow in your life but after a while you will learn to deal with it and it will hurt a bit less. Hang in there hun, and keep praying.


#13

My mom does the same thing. Don't put yourself in the middle of everything or choose sides. Be nice to both and set boundaries. I know it stinks. Be strong. :hug1:


#14

What I would do is love them both. I've been dating my boyfriend for 4 years and my Mom has done everything in her power to break us up. I also ADORE my Mother and it broke my heart to "hurt" her by loving my boyfriend. She told me at one point that she'd disown me if I married this guy!

In the end, I basically had to bite my tongue and I decided to continue loving my Mom and continue loving my boyfriend. While I would have loved to call her out on what she was saying and tell her I wanted her out of my life, the fact is that doing that would have just left us both hurting really badly (and I wouldn't even mean it--- I don't ever want her out of my life).

So I spent the last four years praying basically every day about it. A few weeks ago she was coming to visit (as a surprise for my sister) and she specifically asked that my boyfriend be there. It also happened to be when my boyfriend decided to ask my Mom for a blessing to get married. (Hasn't happened yet.... but soon)

Anyways, my Mom apologized for everything she has done and explained why (long family history) and she did give her blessing to us so we can get married.

It is my hope that your Mom will get through this too. You may want to share with her your feelings, but I was never comfortable telling my Mom how much she was hurting me. I do remember being as patient as I could possibly be when she asked me why I was with this guy--- always have patience for your Mom as well when you speak to her and when she may say things about your Dad.


#15

Thank you for the advice everyone :)

My mom and I have found peace again, and I'm trying to not say anything that might cause an argument.. I feel like she's hurting now so I don't want to make it worse. This situation is difficult for everyone.. if this happens again I do want to talk to her and just say how I feel, that might help.

God bless!


#16

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