I sent my parents a letter about three weeks ago, detailing some of my issues and frustrations, and I finally talked to them (separately) about it last night. They were difficult conversations, to say the least–but good. My dad gave me practical advice and validated my issues, while my mom got very emotional and questioned my issues. I welcomed both. It felt good to actually be talking about me–the real me. I felt transparent. I felt naked. I felt vulnerable. I haven’t felt like that around my parents in a long time; again, it was good.
Afterward, I cried a bit, but I didn’t feel very emotional. I don’t understand why, beecause the conversations were so emotionally-charged. I thought I’d want/need to binge, but I didn’t. I ate a salad and went to bed. I’m proud of myself for actually having an “adult” conversation with my parents. They now know what I’ve been going through, and my hope is that I can now lean on them for support.
My dad’s highlights–
“I used to be very shy and had trouble communicating with people too, but my job demanded it. I found that I could use running as a form of mediation to help me relax and deal with my issues.”
“Keep your head up; you’ll get through this.”
My mom’s highlight’s–
“I don’t know what to say to you. I’m scared to say anything because it won’t be the right thing to say.”
“I thought we had a close relationship”
“You dwell too much on the past; you just have to let things go and live in the present.”
“I don’t know why you just can’t live your life like everyone else.”
“I’m sorry for getting angry. I’m hurt and frustrated and don’t know what to say. I feel like I failed you.”
I’m so glad for you that you were able to make this connection with your parents, especially your father. This will hopefully open up the path for more awareness in your relationship and possibly within themselves. And even if it doesn’t lead to anything, in the near future, it’s a start and a way to get things off your chest.
I hope you’re well and that the wedding is bearable this weekend. I have a feeling it will be fine.
Thanks! 🙂 I’ve been feeling pretty down about it today. I think last night I sort of pushed all the feelings aside – and now I’m feeling them. I really hurt my mom, and I know she attacked me because she was feeling hurt and didn’t want to address her feelings, but I can’t let go some of the things she said. I need to just let things sit for a while.
I’m glad the conversations with your parents were good. I don’t have the courage you do to be honest with my parents about my mental health issues. Hopefully this leads to more understanding in the future from them.
Hey Cassie- It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done. I don’t know how or if it’s going to help me directly with my social anxiety, but I really would like a closer relationship with my family. Sometimes I forget there are other things that need to be addressed besides my anxiety. I hope things are going well for you. It’s always nice to hear from you, by the way.
So brave of you to open up to your parents, wow! You know them better than anyone, so you must have had some idea of how they would respond. Was your intuition correct? Your dad seemed somewhat validating, but with the typical dad type of problem solving thrown in. He sounds like someone you can really talk to.
I like that your mom realizes that what she says may not be the right thing, that is a very good insight. Many people just plow right ahead with their thoughts and opinions, without realizing that despite wanting to help they may be saying the wrong things. At least she realizes that! And it’s great that she expressed her feelings of frustration and hurt, and that she takes responsibility, whether or not that is true. That is definitely a “mom” thing – because I feel that same way about MY son. The two negative things, are, well, her way of trying to help I suppose. People don’t get it, you and I know both know that. They try, though.
But I totally admire you for talking to them. I have never been able to do that, and I am now 50 years old. 😦
“Was your intuition correct?” Somewhat. I was surprised by my dad’s response, actually. He talked about himself a lot and his issues. It felt good hearing that he isn’t perfect. He has a huge ego, which sometimes gets in the way of our relationship. I wish I could talk to my dad more, but we’ve grown apart over the years. We are very different.
I know I hurt my mom. She blames herself. I knew she would do that. I told her that it’s not her fault and it’s not my dad’s fault – they did the best they could with the tools they had available. I think most parents are like that.
Harriet, I don’t know the situation with your family, but all I can say is that it’s never too late.
Mike, I think it’s so great you first wrote this, and then discussed it with your parents. I think the reaction from your dad is awesome. I think you’re mom’s reaction would be the reaction of most mom’s in that they are concerned, aren’t sure what to do, feel defensive they did anything to make this happen, and loving you insanely.
Good on you. You’ve done what most of us will never do!
Thanks! 🙂 Your words, as always, mean a lot to me.
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