{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Any fish here dealt with a lonely/toxic parent? I recently came to the realization that my mom is toxic (think guilt-tripping, saying mother-child bond is sacred, making comparisons, etc.) and has become very dependent of me, and as much as I want to be there I can only do so much since I have a family myself. She refuses to move to a nursing/retirement home, look for companionship, and seek professional help for tasks she needs done such as car maintenance, insurance inquiries, etc. (Cont’d)", "post_id": "615b059c01a61e00301dbe73", "reply_count": 17, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5a898b0457e95c001826dcad", "bowl_name": "Asians in Consulting" }

Any fish here dealt with a lonely/toxic parent? I recently came to the realization that my mom is toxic (think guilt-tripping, saying mother-child bond is sacred, making comparisons, etc.) and has become very dependent of me, and as much as I want to be there I can only do so much since I have a family myself. She refuses to move to a nursing/retirement home, look for companionship, and seek professional help for tasks she needs done such as car maintenance, insurance inquiries, etc. (Cont’d)

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It feels like I owe her a limitless debt with no end in sight that I never took out/asked for. I don’t want/mean to sound ungrateful but when do you get to live your life on your own accord?

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You don't owe her anything now. You choose to give back because of your own values. It's important not to let your parents dictate your life anymore given their heavy hand in your childhood.

I have the same problem with my mom. Idk if my experience and my choices will help you get some perspective, but here goes. So I came to a slow realization over decades that my mom has been an emotionally abusive person my whole life, but for a long time I accepted it as “oh that’s just because she’s working so hard,” “she’s just operating under a different cultural expectation” or “she has her own trauma.” Basically making excuses for the pain and humiliation I was taking to try and be a good and grateful daughter. But it’s literally never enough, and she still does the same guilt tripping tactics on me even going as far as saying she doesn’t “owe me” respect because I’m a disrespectful daughter. It’s classic emotional / relationship abuse and after years (and therapy) I’ve built up the courage and confidence to say it to her. I’ve even told her to her face that it’s because of how her parents treated her like an emotional punching bag and now she’s doing it to her kids. I told her to get help, too, so she can get on repairing her relationships with her family. She denies everything I say to her and says I’m ungrateful still. It just made me realize that as much as I love her and appreciate the care she gave me as a child, childhood is over and as an adult I can choose who to be around. I will return the favor one day and make sure she is not destitute in her old age, but for that SHE is lucky. I still send her messages on the holidays like “happy new year” just to show that I am still there if she is willing to change, but I am not allowing myself to be abused anymore for some false sense of loyalty to my parents. Respect is a two-way street. If she responds to my texts berating me or calls me to yell at me, I block her number. And then a few months later I unblock her and maybe try again. The thing is losing her kid is her worst fear, so sometimes she actually is nicer the next time I talk to her (for a little, then the cycle starts over). The other thing is I work with my dad and some friends I went to school with who still live in the neighborhood to make sure things are generally okay at home, so it’s not like I don’t have eyes on her if the house burns down or something. In my POV, and I know a lot of people won’t see eye to eye on this one with me, but your mom and my mom are adults and can make adult choices. They can choose to live in harmony with their family and they can also choose to ruin their own lives. That choice has nothing to do with their kids, but when they blame us it’s just them not taking responsibility.

likeupliftinghelpful

This is the best take. Just because they're your parents doesn't mean you have to take their abuse

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Set boundaries for yourself but do check up on her regularly and be prepared to assist. Divide up the work if you can with other family members so that she’s not completely dependent on you. My mother is the same way and the only way I can deal with her is by limiting contact.

likehelpful

Thanks for sharing EY1. Unfortunately I don’t have anyone else I can share the responsibilities/burden with…do you mind sharing some tips/advice on how to limit contact? I’ll still help out but just not at the rate she’s looking for…

OP—is she abusive, excessively needy, or both? Bc depending on the answer, I would say the advice would shift. If she’s excessively needy only, I would see if you can outsource the help she’s seeking by paying for the car maintenance/getting her a healthcare advocate, etc (word of caution—set up the legal paperwork ahead of time before getting her an advocate in case they prey on her and set up conservatorships for their own financial gain). Then use the time instead to do more meaningful things with her—take her to dinner, lunch, concerts, or just spend time if she’s just lonely. Maybe try to get her involved in the Asian community via a church, networking, etc. If she is at all abusive…then draw firm boundaries if she starts that. I had to have a very frank discussion with my dad about how none of his friends treat their adult children the way he treated me. Sometimes they need you to calmly list out what you will and will not tolerate anymore, and your expectations…and from there you need to be consistent in your reactions if they test the boundary lines. With my dad though, it also helped me to wait until he calmed down and as we patched things up, I recognized that he holds on so tightly with so much control Bc of the traumas of his past—he was abandoned by his family and grew up feeling alone…so when he tries to tightly control, it’s because it’s all he knows in terms of how to react when things feel foreign. I wanted him to start seeing me not as an object to own, but as a meaningful and rewarding relationship—he has so few of those in his life, so we started by doing things that don’t threaten him and make him feel incorporated and welcome…I call him more and share about things, I check in on him and my mom, I send them grocery delivery, etc. But, that took time, and I needed to heal first—take your time but set your boundaries and try to redefine your relationship. I hope this helps, I’ve been there and things are hard Bc we were conditioned to believe we owe a debt we never co-signed in the first place. I’m sorry you are going through this—I hope things improve.

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Btw, I don’t think this is said enough in our community but, I’m proud of you for taking care of your mental health.

Thank you so much for sharing SC1. Your experience sounds very similar to mine and it’s uplifting yet frustrating at the same time to know others have the same type of parental relationship as I have with my mom. It sounds like you do not live close by your mother, is this correct? I’m struggling because I don’t have other family members I can share the responsibilities/burden with and she lives fairly close to me (reasonable driving distance), so I feel stuck and limited to what and how I can establish boundaries with her. Tbh I’m still in shock of the sad reality I’m facing now and that it too me this long to realize… Any advice/examples you mind sharing on how to establish boundaries?

Btw, I don’t think this is said enough in our community but, I’m proud of you for taking care of your mental health.

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