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Parents don’t respect my boundaries and feelings

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  • #383286
    Annie
    Participant

    My parents never respect my boundaries and feelings. They always come to me and ask for help every time, and I always help them. But when I have a busy week or feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I tell them to ask my sister for help instead of always relying on me to help them (they rarely ever ask her), and their stupid excuse is that she “doesn’t know” how to do it or how to help. (???) All she has to do is translate something from English to Chinese, and fill out forms generally on a website. I have tried to reason with them and explain to them that I want a balance of responsibility from my sister and I, so it’s not like I am the only one doing all the workload. They always brush it off when I try to explain saying “Okay, Okay.” But then the next day, they don’t even bother asking her and come straight to me for help even though I had warned them it’s a busy week for me and I have a lot of work to do, to ask my sister instead. I am resenting them more and more, and I am always guilt-tripped if I say no. Even when I say no, they don’t go to ask my sister for help. It drives me so mad. Lately, I’ve been so stressed it’s affecting me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am having chest pains and more anxiety. I feel they don’t care about how I feel. I feel like the only way they would leave me alone is if I die or something.

    I seriously don’t know what else to do for them to listen and respect my boundaries. Why is this so hard??? It’s not like my sister doesn’t speak English. All the pressure is put on my shoulders, and I already have my own problems I am trying to deal with. I’ve had a mental and emotional breakdown earlier today.

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Annie.
    #383315
    pink24
    Participant

    Hi Annie,

    I understand exactly how you feel. My mother is the same way. It’s time to enforce your boundaries. Your job is to take care of YOU. No one else is going to do that for you, not even your parents. Especially not your parents. Some parents believe they are entitled to their children’s time, and it’s up to you to make sure they experience that that is simply not the case.

    Just say NO, or some form of that. “Unfortunately I cannot help you.” is enough. Don’t explain. Just be very businesslike about it. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but after awhile they’ll get it.

    It’s called tough love for a reason.

    Good luck!

    Pink 🙂

     

    #383323
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Annie:

    Welcome back, but I wish you were back feeling better! A year ago, on July  12-13, 2020, you shared on the same topic. You were then 28 (now 29) and your sister was 20 (now 21). The two of you were living in the same room, but not only did you not have a close relationship with her, you also felt that she didn’t like you.

    You shared that your parents gave you a lot of attention for as long as you were the only child. But when you were 8, and your sister was born, both parents favored her over you, and “showered her with more attention and love”. You shared that the relationship between your mother and sister was “so close”, and you added: “I feel I won’t ever have that closeness and it’s killing me”.

    Fast forward a year, I assume that you still share a room with your much younger sister (?), and not surprising to me: you still feel that your parents are favoring your younger sister over you, by insisting on bothering you, the un-favored older daughter, with their requests for help, so to not bother their favorite daughter, your sister. At this point, you’ve been feeling unfavored for 21 years.

    Am I correct in my understanding?

    anita

    #383332
    Annie
    Participant

    @pink24: Yes, especially in my culture and how my family is, there is no boundaries and we are always taught to take care of parents. I guess my problem is that when I say “No”, I always end up feeling bad and end up helping them because I give in too much. Because if I don’t help them, my sister won’t do it and then my mom would cry and say things to me and I feel guilty to reject and not offer a helping hand.

     


    @anita
    : Hi anita and thank you! It’s nice to talk to you again. Yes, we are still living together and still sharing the same room.

    “You shared that your parents gave you a lot of attention for as long as you were the only child. But when you were 8, and your sister was born, both parents favored her over you, and “showered her with more attention and love”. You shared that the relationship between your mother and sister was “so close”, and you added: “I feel I won’t ever have that closeness and it’s killing me”.

    Fast forward a year, I assume that you still share a room with your much younger sister (?), and not surprising to me: you still feel that your parents are favoring your younger sister over you, by insisting on bothering you, the un-favored older daughter, with their requests for help, so to not bother their favorite daughter, your sister. At this point, you’ve been feeling unfavored for 21 years.

    Am I correct in my understanding?

    Yes, that is correct. Deep down, I guess I don’t mind helping them, but I just really wish parents would be more fair and split between asking my sister and I for help. And having built up resentment with my parents makes it so hard for me to help them because I feel (especially from my dad) that the only time he talks to me is when he needs something from me. And only calling my name when he needs help. With my sister, they would talk about anything and it’s like no tension. I just feel so unheard and unseen by my parents. I literally do not have any emotional connection and closeness with any family member. And it drives me crazy that my sister doesn’t even offer to help at all. When I do ask for her to help parents, she gives me an attitude.

    #383336
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Annie:

    I will read and reply to you either in a few hours or in about 14 hours from now.

    anita

    #383368
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Annie:

    I am sorry that this is your experience. It is very difficult to live feeling resentment day after day, year after year as a result of being treated unfairly, or unequally. Your family dynamics (who asks help from whom, etc.) have been established and continue habitually. It will be impossible to change them unless everyone is on board, meaning that a series of meetings take place between your parents, your sister and yourself where you have honest discussions meant to resolve problems and dissolve resentments.

    Is there someone, maybe an aunt or an uncle, or a grandparent, an older family member who does not live with you, who will hear and see you (“I just feel so unheard and unseen by my parents”), and who can help in maybe organize and lead such a meeting?

    anita

    #383371
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Annie,

    it appears that you pleading with them doesn’t help – they still behave the same. And no wonder, because you always eventually do the task they’ve asked you to do, even if you complain. So why would they change if they get what they want anyway?

    I think they will only change if you change your attitude and not do what they ask you to do – specially if you have a busy week at work and don’t have enough time.

    I know it’s a problem for you to say No, because you feel guilty if you don’t help them. It specially hurts you (and even causes chest pains) that they don’t really hear you, don’t really care about you. You feel they only care about your sister, but not you. That’s the pain in your heart that you’re feeling.

    I think the key thing you can do regarding emotional pain is that you work on healing yourself, and develop more self-love and self-appreciation, so you won’t be so dependent on your parents’ expression of love. Once you do that, you’ll be able to better set boundaries because you won’t feel so guilty about protecting your personal space and time.

    Also, when you feel a bit more self-confident, you can then talk to them and explain that you feel unappreciated and unheard by them, and that they don’t take you and your needs into account. But I think it will be easier to confront them once you start appreciating and loving yourself more.

     

     

    #383384
    Annie
    Participant

    @anita: Yes, because I’m the oldest one of my sister they always come to me for help. It just feels so overwhelming even if it’s something so small. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to ask my sister to help. She haven’t been doing anything at home other than play video games, and my parents know this. The also know that I am actually working. And it angers me that when they do ask her for help, it’s optional and always ask if she has time or if she’s not busy. For god’s sake, she’s just gaming!!! For me, they don’t bother asking me if I am busy or have time. They just shove any favors or tells me to help them. I don’t feel respected like they do with my sister and it makes me don’t want to do anything for them anymore out of free will.

    I can probably ask my grandma to talk to her since they are really close. But I doubt anything will change.

    #383387
    Annie
    Participant

    @TeaK: you are right, TeaK. I should learn to stand my ground and not give in.

    I have actually started taking a personal development course on healing emotional wounds but just haven’t had time to do any of it because I’ve been so busy with work.

    I feel like if I confront them, they will be offended. It’s easier for me to confront them in English than my native language and because of the culture, I don’t think they will understand.

    #383388
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Annie,

    I have actually started taking a personal development course on healing emotional wounds but just haven’t had time to do any of it because I’ve been so busy with work.

    That’s great! By all means do that course – find a time for it, clean your schedule, it will be a game changer!

    I feel like if I confront them, they will be offended. It’s easier for me to confront them in English than my native language and because of the culture, I don’t think they will understand.

    What exactly are you afraid they won’t understand? According to your culture, are you as the eldest daughter responsible to single-handedly help them, while your younger sister is spared of all duties?

     

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by TeaK.
    #383393
    Annie
    Participant

    @TeaK:
    What exactly are you afraid they won’t understand? According to your culture, are you as the eldest daughter responsible to single-handedly help them, while your younger sister is spared of all duties?

    That it’s selfish and that I only think about myself (I’ve been told that before). Their excuse for my sister is that because she doesn’t know how to do it (things they keep asking me for help with like filling out forms and stuff). She’s 20. When I was her age, I had to figure out a lot of things on my own to help them, and I don’t understand because nothing is hard about it as long as you can read English. She knows how to do it if she puts a few minutes into it. She just doesn’t care and just gives the excuse that she doesn’t know how and parents let her off.

    #383397
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Annie,

    well, how about teaching your sister how to do it (fill the forms etc), and informing your parents that from now on, she too can do it. If she refuses to learn it, you can blame her for not wanting to help them. Because she is most probably equally intelligent as you, it’s only a matter of will vs laziness (you can mention that too). I think this attitude might give her a headache and she wouldn’t be able escape doing her part of the job any more 😉

    #383418
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Annie:

    I read through your posts this morning, trying to understand your parents’ motivation for asking you for help, but not asking your sister. I think that their motivation overall is to do whatever is easier got them to do, and for them: it is easier to ask you for help than it is to ask your sister for help.

    I don’t understand why it’s so hard to ask my sister to help“- this is it, they don’t ask her because it is hard to ask her for help.

    Why is it hard for them to ask her for help? Probably because when they asked her for help earlier, they did not enjoy the experience: maybe she expressed anger and impatience, maybe she did a bad job helping them (purposefully or not), maybe they had to explain too much to her about what they wanted and it exhausted them.

    It is easier for them to ask you for help than it is to ask your sister for help.

    “With my sister, they would talk about anything and it’s like no tension”- I am guessing that for as long as they don’t ask her for help, she is somewhat calm and receptive when they talk to her about other things. On the other hand, when they tried to talk to you earlier about just anything, you reacted tensely (being that you are understandably resentful), and that made them feel uncomfortable. Fast forward, it is easier (less tension/ calmer) for them to talk to her about just anything than it is  to talk to you.

    anita

    #383438
    Annie
    Participant

    I hate my family. I’m at the point where they’re pushing me everyday and pressuring me about things. I just started learning to drive recently because my mom kept bothering and nagging at me that I need to learn. And I took a practice driving test last week, I didn’t pass. So I am paying to take more lessons but the instructor is booked all 2 months and I have to wait until September to get more lessons. They’re telling me to find another instructor, and I just felt so frustrated and stressed with them. I know they probably have good intentions, but I can’t see that right now. Because I’ve been feeling so mentally and emotionally exhausted from work, I just want to be left alone and not always taking about accomplishments. When they are mentioning to me everyday about driving, it just aggravates me so much, on top of that bothering me to help them with unemployment. I’ve also haven’t felt good physically, and I told them. Today, my mom was bringing the topic about driving again and I exploded. Of course, she went on yelling and nagging at me for a long time. And of course, she would bring up the past about how I should’ve learned a long time ago and everything I “should’ve” done.

    In my head, I can’t stop comparing that they NEVER put this pressure on my sister, would is 20 turning 21. When she would throw a tantrum or show her discontent, my mom just let it go and never yell and nag at her for hours. For me, even a small conflict and she would go off on me and saying other hurtful things like this is why she can’t talk to me and to me sounds like something is wrong with me. Yeah, I am certain that she is her favorite child.

    There is no tension with my sister and parents because they never put this pressure on her and never strict with her than they are with me. She gets away with everything and even when she kicks and throws tantrums, my mom would dismiss it and not discipline her.

    Why is it hard for them to ask her for help? Probably because when they asked her for help earlier, they did not enjoy the experience: maybe she expressed anger and impatience, maybe she did a bad job helping them (purposefully or not), maybe they had to explain too much to her about what they wanted and it exhausted them.

    It is easier for them to ask you for help than it is to ask your sister for help.

    I’ve expressed anger and frustration to my parents, yet they never resort to asking her for help. There were many times where I got really upset with them because I felt overwhelmed with my own things and problems. They would rather pay someone else to help them than ask her.

    #383441
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Annie:

    I wish there was a way for you to take a vacation away from your family- to travel far, far away, and be all by yourself for a few weeks.. or longer, just you alone on a beach somewhere, listening to the calming sound of waves.. take in the ocean air and relax.

    anita

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