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jessica653 Offline
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Advice for dealing with an unstable family (long) - January 19th 2018, 07:32 PM

Hi, I'm currently having a lot of family issues and I'd like some advice. My parents have never had a good relationship, but in the last year things have gotten really bad. They yell 24/7 over the slightest things and openly admit the relationship has no love. My father is very careful to prevent me from suffering from their conflicts and believes that should I get caught up, I should be able to express how it makes me feel honestly. My father is having a bad time due to the premature death of a close family member in late 2015, which he never quite recovered from. As a result he's really depressed. Despite this he is still extremely nice and supporting to me and I really respect him for that.
My mother on the other hand is more closed minded. I know she loves me, but she has no idea how much her actions hurt me and my dad. She uses me as her personal agony aunt and says really horrible things about my dad in front of me. Sometimes she insults me personally, about things such as my choice in career goal (social worker) and introverted personality. However, her worst flaw is the fact she is a massive gaslighter (if you didn't know it's when a person tries to convince someone they have a faulty memory so they forgive when the gaslighter says horrible things.) This is majorly affecting the emotional state of both me and my dad.
I have been learning to avoid my mother's wrath by sitting silently and nodding when she tries to speak ill of my dad behind his back, but today things took a turn for the worse. My mum was giving me and my best friend a ride home, when my mum decided to start complaining about my dad calling him insults such as 'childish' and 'anti-social.' When I reminded her of my friend she carried on talking, telling me my friend didn't mind (I could tell by my friend's face she absolutely did.) Later after my friend left the car I said to my mum 'I know you are going through a lot but could you please not discuss family problems in front of my friends?' She told me she would have said a lot less if I hadn't kept defending my dad. The 'defending' she was referring to was a suggestion I made that my dad was stressed in an attempt to remain neutral. Her claim this comment had made her talk longer was a complete lie as the conversation ended for about a minute half way through, until she restarted it.
Whilst I am finding ways to cope with the things she says to me, I am not at all OK with her saying those things to my friends. How can I get such an unapologetic woman to respect how I feel about the conflict (bearing in mind she probably will deny it ever happened?) I've talked to my dad and he sympathises with me, but is unwilling to confront my mum together about how I feel as he fears the marriage is on the brink of collapse. If this ever happened I am old enough to decide what happens to me, but he is afraid a seperation would harm my development. Sorry about how long this is, I just want to get it off my chest.
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cynefin Offline

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Re: Advice for dealing with an unstable family (long) - January 19th 2018, 09:58 PM

Welcome to TeenHelp!

Thank you for sharing this with us. Sharing can be difficult but it can also be quite a relief; hopefully talking about how you're feeling has helped you even if only a little bit.

It seems like you're finding ways to cope with your mom's behavior and it's awesome that you're doing that especially given how difficult it must be for you to experience this. However, talking about your dad in front of your friends must have been uncomfortable for both you and your friend.

Given what you have written about your mom it doesn't seem as though she would be receptive if you asked her to stop and told her how you felt about things. Perhaps you can find other ways to cope when your mom does this, such as trying to change the subject or leaving (if you can leave the situation). Another thing you can do is ask your dad or your friend's parents to give you rides so you aren't stuck in a situation you can't leave (the car).

Hopefully this helped in some way and please feel free to keep us updated.

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