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Topic: Talking about parents?  (Read 3480 times)

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Talking about parents?
« on: October 12, 2012, 02:38:39 PM »
Just a background: both of my parents are mentally ill and it was the situation where the kid sleeps on couches in different relatives homes until they finish high school.

My UK friend he seems to always want to talk about my parents. I thought he was just small talking so started to give a  brief everything is the same but he  goes so far to ask me detailed questions that just make no sense given the background.  

I end up feeling so disappointed because I wanted to spend time with him, instead I feel like I'm explaining away their lives to him.

He is so nice, but knowing the situation I don't know why he keeps bringing them up and then to ask questions like we all just got back from a weekend Poconos trip. :P Is this a cultural thing?

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Re: Talking about parents?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 06:13:06 PM »
Nope that's not a cultural thing, i've never had anyone weedle me for more info if i don't mention things or talk about certain people. Sounds like he has some bad boundaries around this, you may just want to tell him you don't want to talk about it and change the subject. He should get the idea soon enough.
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Re: Talking about parents?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 10:28:53 PM »
Not sure what you mean by your 'UK friend'... is this a boyfriend/romantic relationship?  If so... it is only natural that he would want to ask questions about your upbringing, particularly as the details you seem to have given so far seem... slightly unusual maybe, to what he has grown up with.

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Re: Talking about parents?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 07:35:08 AM »
Thank you for the replies!
It is dating but we have been friends for a while. I've always been open about living with relatives growing up and the situation with my parents. You are right that it is very different than what he grew up with, his family is normal and very close.

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Re: Talking about parents?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 08:24:07 AM »
My childhood, and my parents, and their relationship, and my relationship with them, is very, very different from that of most of my friends, and very different to my husbands experience.

Basically, to be coined as simply 'dysfunctional' it would have had to greatly improve! It was straight-up ODD, at best.

There are plenty of people who come from loopy childhoods who go on to have happy, healthy, successful adult lives.

Many of my friends are people that I have known for years and years, so they know the deal. New people are not really told the deal. If I get to know them better, over time, I will let them know the deal, in bits, as I see fit, and when, and how, I feel comfortable. I'm not hiding anything. I'm not ashamed. I just let trust develop at a natural pace, and then I open up about things like that. Which is actually quite healthy.

As for dating, when it gets a bet serious, because it is a different kind of closeness, it is something that gets discussed sooner, and in more detail. Which is always a bit uncomfortable. There is always a slight fear that the 'sins' of my parents will somehow transfer onto me. It would not be the first time I was unfairly judged for their behaviour.  ::)

I have also had the experience of having someone I was involved with get sort of 'stuck' on that topic. It is very frustrating. I really don't want to talk about my dysfunctional childhood over dinner at a lovely cafe. Who would? It is not fun for me. That is not a fun date.

I think there are a few reasons people involved romantically with someone who came from a dysfunctional childhood get stuck on the topic. It could be that they are so interested in you that they want to know more about you, anything and everything, and that kind of childhood is very strange and new to them, so that is what they ask about. It could be that they slightly fear that the person they are dating is 'more messed up' than they are seeing because of what they went through. And they are trying to figure out if that is the case, or not. It could be that they are thinking about children and wondering if the parents behaviour is genetic, and could be passed on the their kids.
It could just be because it is all so strange and unreal of a situation to them that they are fascinated by it all, as if they are reading a really good book.

I have asked people exactly why they keep asking about it. Many times, they were unaware that they were doing it. I have found, (for me), that that is the best way to start. When he/she asks again, politely ask them why they keep asking about it. If they say they do not know, I offer up some of the examples that I have provided above, and ask if it is any of those reasons. I think it puts their behaviour in perspective for them.

I then explain to them that I am happy to answer their questions (if I am happy to do so), and I explain that it is not something I really enjoy talking about. People usually understand that.

Also, just so you know, you have the right to say, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, because I care about you very much, but I don't really want to talk about X with you right now. I'm simply not ready yet. It is not a comfortable topic for me. I will talk to you about that when I feel ready."

Most people, if they care about you, and like you for who you are, just want to understand it all a bit better. And they do not realise that it makes you feel uncomfortable!

You have the right to disclose what you want, when you want too, to whomever you want to disclose it too - and you have the right to NOT disclose anything you are not comfortable disclosing, to anyone, whenever you don't want too - even if they ask.

And you have the right to ask people WHY they want to know, and decide what you want to disclose, right then and there!

I hope that helps a bit.


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