Missing parents-daughter openness

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    Dear Tinybuddha members,

    I have received wonderful support here before! I hope you have some advice for me on following, as well.

    I have noticed that my family does not have a very good emotional hygiene. We get along well and from outside you would call us a happy family, yet when it comes to emotions, it can get quite draining. I have a great and successful mom, who also happens to be an anxious perfectionist with a low self-esteem and high defensive barriers. From my childhood I remember a lot of preventive questions, such as „you will not be like him/her when you grow up, will you?“, which sure turned me into the nicest shy little girl. Her restrictions extend into the present day, as whenever we go out as a family, one of us certainly gets a warning of not to touch certain topics or talk too loud, because „someone might not like it…“ She says that we can do what we want, however, everything usually still turns out her way, as she would „jokingly“ nag you until you give in. Several relatives have confirmed my opinion that you cannot win with her: she has to have the last word, always. She knows that she is not very self confident and actually searches for approval for her whole being from the family. Yet, she would not really approve our ways of going through life. I feel sorry for her, but I struggle with showing compassion, while I constantly find myself scanning the house, fearful that something insignificant she expects to be done is not done before she comes home.

    So does my dad. Often I hear him saying „Otherwise, mom will get angry at me…“ I honestly think he tries to escape from my mom’s demands. He also shuts down very easily on emotional matters and for my whole life I have struggled with asking something from him, as it always seemed to somewhat disturb him. Recently I got a proof that he just cannot stand strong emotions, whatever the matter at hand. Well, I would say we are all highly sensitive and therefore not in fond of arguments and conflicts anyways. But now I find myself in a situation, where nothing even close to an argumented conversation is allowed. My dad will simply state that he will not say anything, ever, anymore, and mom will put us down with „I don’t like your tone.“

    I struggle with my own anxiety issues and understand that the world is just as pink/grey as I want to see it. I have decided to be more loving and vulnerable with less fear, but find it difficult to practice in this household. I feel trapped in a little box of my mom’s boundaries she has put up for herself. And walking on eggshells inside it, as my dad cannot tolerate emotionally loaded conversations. My main question is, how do I set up my own boundaries, so that they cannot be constantly violated by my mom? And how to discuss important topics with my dad, when he only supports staying neutral at all times?

    Thank you for your time! 🙂


    Hi Line,

    If you live at home, get your own place. If the occasional visits and phone calls still annoy you, limit the visit to an hour or two and the phone to fifteen minutes. If they still make you uncomfortable, it could just be your “allergic reaction” to them. Like, you know they will be this way, then when they are, you’re all, “I Knew It”! At some point you have to accept them as the way they are. They are this way out of years and perhaps decades of acting like this. It is all a bad habit.




    Thank you, Inky, for your response. I have been thinking about the same things, so I guess I will just try to accept things the way they are.


    Detach from them…live on your own, and spend Very little to no time with them. You can’t change them and while they are certainly not healthy, there is nothing overt that you can charge them with. Placing boundaries means making space away from them and going on with your own life. Nothing they can do, as an adult, can hurt you. You surround yourself with happy, healthy people and limit any time you are with them. If they ask why…tell them the truth. They might get mad, but at least you have your say and can respect yourself. I know you love them but unfortunately, they aren’t treating you with love. Therefore, in the name of self preservation and happiness, feel compassion but make space.

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