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I'm 18, almost 19 and I've been dealing with my parents' negativity as far as I remember myself. I'm currently a game programmer, something that isn't from the easiest. Still I manage perfectly to cope with it.

(Long story short) of the power of infinity, my parents always moan about me not communcating enough with them and not contancting them very often. I completely understand them but here comes the funny part. Every time we talk, we loop over same things all over and over again, like how hard life is, they not having enough time to do the things they want(a note, my mam is all day long in front of the tv, washing her brains out every single second more and more). If you have heard about back pain or joints pain in general in your life, trust me it's not enough! You have to hear how my parents are talking! They have everything actually... pretty much enough money, free time, everything that a person needs to live perfectly. Still this isn't noticed. Only the negative, which sometimes isn't actually that negative, just the way they present it....

I know I shoudn't try to change people at all but what if these people are my family and I want to get the best of life? I guess you would say smth like "well then don't pay so much attention to it". Okay that simple. But what about the emotions I get from them, being so negative, after all they are my family I don't want them to feel bad at all. But like I mentioned above I'm in a very competitive industry, where you cannot afford to waste time on useless talks, especially negative ones, which not only don't have any pros but also have many cons.

Every time I talk with them I leave with my head down, tired and disguisted of all the negativity they've got or I get away very angry, thinking about the scandals for days after. I am so lucky to have an amazing gf, who supports me in everything I do, especially in these hard times I have with my parents but still sometimes I feel that I disassemble her with my problems. I.e. one day she wakes up, I've woken up before her, have talked with my parents and in order to avoid having arguments with her I share everything that happened with me and them. This way, despite the advantages of doing this, she gets part of the negative energy that flows in our family and I HATE THIS! The worst thing of all I hate is their "useful" advices, even when I don't ask them for any. How I should be cautios about my diplomas and so on. How many cheaters in life there are, which is the reason why they haven't succeeded in life. haha because of the cheaters, this is so funny! They have excuses for every single failure of theirs. Still they manage to criticise me for doing the "wrong" thing every time my opinion doesn't match with theirs.

Another thing is GUILT. Many times I've tried just to ignore the things they tell me to do but then the next time we talk the following answers come along: Did you do this, did you do that? Why didn't you do it? Why did you do this? Why didn't you listen to us, don't you think we're right. They have smth like a desease for being the right people always... The problem is they never learn. I don't want to be offensive or rude or smth but they really have stopped growing since the age of 15 or so. They are almost 50 now. Or when I just don't call them because I don't want to get irritated and influenced with another bucnh of negative news, they are like "hey you don't even think about us anymore". Okkayyyy seriously totally understand them, but howwwww am I supposed to communcate with them??? I don't want to become like them. (Just a note I've been trying to listen to them, be patient and so on. This was the worst time in my life. I became exactly like them. Negative. Totally negative) So I ain't trying this no more....

Please help me out with this, I've never been feeling so confused in my life and drained! The problem, at least the main one, is that they have the attitude of knowing everything or enough to get the best out of their lives and do not try to improve at all. Also wanting me to change, to be like them, to live their lives, the way they would like to have lived them Long story short my family has always had everything needed to live happily but never have had! What should I do now?

P.S there are many more details that need to be written in order for you to at least partly understand my situation but I think this is completely enough for now. Please dear community help me! Also if anybody thinks that could really help me but need more info there is my email- v.marinov96@gmail.com

UPDATE1: http://textuploader.com/lsdj - a little bit of additional info.

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    Some questions: are you financially independent? Do you have siblings? How often do you actually call them? – anongoodnurse Mar 1 '15 at 5:47
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    I have been living with my grandmother for 2 years now. No siblings. Financially independent- not quite(using my savings and for meals and domesestic activities my 2 grandmothers are always there for me) How often do I call them- well, I'm not the type of person in general who calls people just for the sake of conversation, even with friends I just prefer go out and have a real one, of course except for when it's needed or the others aren't currently available, then we talk virtually. Anyway they call me every once in a while(every 5 days roughly) to let me know how "bad" everything is. – ZenVentzi Mar 1 '15 at 5:57
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    This may be the place to go: reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists – user11394 Mar 3 '15 at 4:42
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You may not agree with all I say, but please know that it comes from a place of wishing you to find some understanding and balance. Some of it, you will outright dislike.

You are in the unenviable position of being a young adult who views himself as more of an adult than he really is, dealing with parents who view you as less of an adult than you really are. So there is a bit of struggling and adjustment yet to be made in expectations on both your parts.

Typically yours is an age when kids want to define themselves as independent of their parents, resent their parents' hovering, and often distance themselves from their parents' beliefs and lifestyle as well. It's common to "emerging adulthood." Your feelings are fairly normal. It is your life; you get to define for yourself what you want from it.

In your parents' eyes, you are still a teenager and need their guidance. As annoying as that view is, the reality is that you're dependent on your grandmothers, and they see that as evidence that you're still not flourishing. Once that dependence is severed and you are taking care of all your own needs, you will truly be an adult. So, what to do until then?

Take a close look at yourself. Are you doing the important things for yourself that your parents are "reminding" you to do? Do they have a valid concern? If so, take responsibility for those things, which will show them you can be trusted to take care of yourself in those (and other) areas. It takes years for most kids to prove themselves to their parents, but it does happen eventually for most.

Your parents live in a telephone world. You live in a text world. Can you see yourself calling them once a week? If you could, it would definitely cut short their complaints in that department. If they have cell phones, you can text them from time to time as well, and call then every other week (really, twice a month isn't too much to ask, is it?) "Thinking of you, hoping you're having a good day. Anything new?" might cut off some of the complaints. Reply to the reasonable texts, and ignore irritating texts. You will sort of be 'training' your parents to be courteous, or they get no reply. And you can 'train' them to text instead of call you. It's a lot more effort to text multiple complaints than to speak them.

About their negativity: you have no obligation to listen to them complain about you, the hardships they've endured, their poor finances, etc. Do you want to have a relationship with them in 5-10 years? Then start establishing healthy boundaries based on what you want that relationship to look like in 5 or 10 years. You can help yourself by learning to set boundaries. From the article (abridged):

there are ten laws of boundaries:

  • The Law Of Sowing and Reaping - Actions have consequences. If someone in your life is sowing anger, selfishness, and abuse at you, are you setting boundaries against it? Or are they getting away with not reaping (or paying the consequences for) what he/she sowed?

  • The Law of Responsibility - We are responsible to each other, not for each other. This law means that each person refuses to rescue or enable another's immature behavior. (This cuts both ways; you don't let your parents constantly complain about their lives - an immature behavior - but you don't get to complain about life with your grandmother, etc.)

  • The Law of Power - We have power over some things, we don't have power over others (including changing people)... We can't change or fix anyone - but we do have the power to change our own life.

  • The Law of Respect - If we wish for others to respect our boundaries, we need to respect theirs. ...A person should have the freedom to to protest the things they don't like.

  • The Law of Motivation - We must be free to say "no" before we can wholeheartedly say "yes". One can not actually love another if he feels he doesn't have a choice not to. Pay attention to your motives.

  • The Law of Evaluation - We need to evaluate the pain our boundaries cause others. Do our boundaries cause pain that leads to injury? Or do they cause pain that leads to growth?

  • The Law of Proactivity - We take action to solve problems based on our values, wants, and needs. ...This law has to do with taking action based on deliberate, thought-out values versus emotional reactions.

  • The Law of Envy - We will never get what we want if we focus our boundaries onto what others have.

  • The Law of Activity - We need to take the initiative to solve our problems rather than being passive.

  • The Law of Exposure - We need to communicate our boundaries. A boundary that is not communicated is a boundary that is not working. We need to make clear what we do or do not want, and what we will or will not tolerate. We need to also make clear that every boundary violation has a consequence.

Setting boundaries is not about making threats. It is about giving them choices and then consequences for the poor decisions they make. We cannot be in a healthy relationship without appropriate boundaries.

Start small and work up. For example, set the boundary that you will not listen to them grilling you about what you did or didn't do. You can tell them, for example, that you can take care of yourself - and the mistakes you make - and it's no longer their responsibility to remind you of what you need to do. Later when they ask such a question, remind them again. If they refuse to stop asking, tell them, "Mom/Dad, As I've explained, I won't talk about this. When I want your advice, please trust me to ask for it. I have to go now. I'll talk to you next week."

Expect difficulties and misunderstandings at first. But it's worth it in the long run.

You cannot set their boundaries, though; only your own. Make yours clear and make them count.

About their 'demands': that you trust them, be like them, believe the same things they do, etc. You totally have the right to believe differently from them without feeling guilty. This is another healthy boundary. Again, this is reciprocal: they don't get to tell you who you should be, and you don't get to tell them who they should be. It leads to respect for each other.

Once there is less negativity coming from them, hopefully you will be able to see things about them that you're grateful for (maybe not; I haven't walked in your shoes.) Tell them about these good things. They will appreciate your appreciation.

If this isn't helpful, please let me know. Remember this will all be a lot easier once you are fully on your own.

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    textuploader.com/481v Sorry that I just send a link but I feel very, very limited for what I want to say. Just can't find a way to say it with a few words. Anyway like I started here with this link I think I might be able to give more detail in such a way, just by adding some additional info to a link in the question for the people who would like to learn more? Whatever happens in the future I just want to make sure that it's understood that I really appreciate the time spent thinking over my problem! – ZenVentzi Mar 2 '15 at 3:29
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    You can add more detail by editing your question. Chat is open to all members! :-) – anongoodnurse Mar 2 '15 at 3:48
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    @VentsislavMarinov - I read your other post as well. Yes, other people have gone through this. If you want your parents out of your life, that is a decision you can make. Others have; sometimes it's necessary. I would not change my advice except to add that if you have access to one, a therapist can help you sort through some of these issues. I hope someone else gives you advice as well. – anongoodnurse Mar 2 '15 at 6:08
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    Really good answer BTW. Having appropriate boundaries is generally the solution to many of life's relationship issues. – David Boshton Mar 4 '15 at 20:53
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Besides the very good advice of @anongoodnurse I think there is a major point to make: your parents can't magically drain any energy from you. Not at all. That's just a dangerously misleading figure of speech.

You can use each moment for good - or for bad: to fight, to block your feelings, to drone on internally about yesterdays problems, ... You feel drained if you mull unproductively over an internal conflict for a length of time, and the feeling stops immediately when you gather the discipline to stop this. And that's my point: this is nothing your parents can do to you, but something you do to yourself, again and again!

Yes, when talking to your parents you are in a difficult position until you manage to change yourself and the relationship to them. But watch out: if you blame them for what you do when they are gone, you eerily sound like your parents - you blame your own failings on others (that is, on them).

Actually, chances are that you would feel just as drained as you do if the contact would stop. The only way to find out what is really happening is to stop thinking this is something outside of yourself, and watch yourself lovingly and very closely. Then, change will appear naturally, when you are prepared to let it happen.

That said, your story is obviously something you desperately need to tell. You might regularily set some time aside to do this - to a sympathetic psychotherapist might even be best - but then stop until the next "round". Don't let it rule your whole life.

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    Hi @hstoerr, welcome to Parenting. Can you elaborate on the first sentence? While I suppose it's not physical energy, I think most people would be familiar with the term 'draining' used to refer to difficult relationships with constant conflict. – Joe Mar 6 '15 at 22:39
  • @Joe OK, I tried to. The comparison with physical energy probably fools a lot of people. And it's just too easy to seek fault only with the others, as we see here. – Hans-Peter Störr Mar 13 '15 at 21:26
  • @hstoerr I completely agree with everything you say. Just one thing is totally false. "Actually, chances are that you would feel just as drained as you do if the contact would stop." Here is where you're wrong. I might feel everything but not drained. Anyway I will really take into consideration what you say! – ZenVentzi Mar 16 '15 at 11:03
  • @VentsislavMarinov I hope you are right but I bet you are wrong. This sounds awfully like a family pattern that needs much work to be resolved. Well, maybe you'll think of it when the feeling changes its object. That might save you a lot of time and suffering. – Hans-Peter Störr Apr 11 '15 at 8:48
  • This advice swings a bit too far in the opposite direction (blaming the OP) without giving enough information to really help. I.e. no direct explanation of why it still feels like "parents are draining energy". I think the clue is that it is neither individual party that is doing any "draining" but rather the relationship between them that "drains". One big first step in altering that is "disengaging" (a.k.a. "walking away"). – Jeff Y Dec 28 '15 at 17:13
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That's a lot of text to go through. But after looking it over it sounds like a situation more common than you may know.

I'm not sure what the best path is for dealing with your draining parents, but maybe I can give some idea about how they got that way.

You ever notice that the news is pretty much all bad news? That television went from mentally stimulating shows like the twilight zone and star trek and over the years devolved into hour long bicker fests like real housewives and dance moms? If you haven't seen those shows, don't start. They're just more of the same thing you're talking about. I'm no psychologist but I think the world tends to feed off mutual complaining. It's possible they have spent so much time in a world that assaults us with plight that the notion of happiness or appreciation has diminished so much that it is difficult to even bring up in conversation.

When you're young - I was making video games when I was 19 too - it looks good. All of it. You feel like you can do anything and you probably can. It can all be changed by one decision, like moving to San Francisco instead of staying in your home town, working hard and earning degrees and such. But if their lives are like most of ours, the decisions we make in life lead to a continuous struggle that's not necessarily bad. Just not how we dreamed of our lives going. When you have a dream to think back on, a life of plenty can still seem like a life of deprivation. It gets heavier as time goes on until you hit that point where it no longer matters.

Having kids is a tough one. On the one hand, any dream you had will be a million times harder to achieve. Even if your dream was having kids. On the other, whatever dreams you had are probably nothing compared to how awesome it is to have your kids. Double edged sword.

They might complain about everything because complaining has been so deeply embedded in the routine that it has become necessary. They likely legitimately don't want you to be upset and never plan on your visits turning into anger or arguments. But you're their kid, so there's a degree of comfort in feeling like you are listening, even if it is the same thing over and over. For them, it is possible you are what they want most in life. You're old enough to move out. You're old enough to move away. You're old enough to choose for yourself. Maybe they're afraid of that and they don't know how to say it directly.

Despite reading of the aggravation it seems is between you and your parents, I don't get the impression you have a bad relationship with them. I don't get the impression you resent them as people, just the fact that it always seems like their only goal is to spread misery and blame everyone else.

Do you ever have good visits with them? Does it ever go smoothly? Or could it be that, like the news, you don't notice the good parts because there's so much bad thrust in your face that it seems like it is always bad?

I moved away from my family when I was 19. I chose to move to San Francisco. I was there for 8 years. In that time I realized how little I cared to be away from my family. I realized I didn't care if I was making video games or repairing buildings. I just knew I didn't want to think back on life and compare whatever it was I was doing with the time I could have spent with my family. Even though I live less than 5 miles from them, I still don't see them often enough. But I don't feel like it was a mistake moving back. Point being that for me it was time apart that got me to diffuse whatever was going through my mind. My struggle wasn't with my parents exactly. But I figure a lot of it was the struggle I had with myself.

Maybe for you, time away might be what it takes to get them to see how much they should appreciate the time they have with you. I'm not suggesting you move away and dismiss your family. It's not the place of some guy on the internet to tell you how to live your life. But maybe this story helps to see it from their perspective, as well as what time may do to that perspective.

  • Most of your answer doesn't deal with the OP's question (you seem to be defending the parents by explaining how they might have gotten that way). I think it would be a more valuable answer if you actually addressed the OP's question in the majority of your post. – anongoodnurse Mar 2 '15 at 21:59
  • @anongoodnurse - I don't know if that would help because I think your answer already does that pretty well. I think a lot of personal issues may benefit from a "why it (may have) happened" point of view, even if it does not specifically address how he can deal with his parent's negativity. Looking back on what I had problems with when I was younger, I could probably have used a little more discussion on outside perspectives. – Kai Qing Mar 2 '15 at 22:10
  • I've noticed how negative energy TV might emmit at times. Like I mention above, I don't want to talk with them until they start to improve themselves. Now I feel kind of guilty because I know changing people forcefully is bad. I know it from experience. Although I really think this is the right path I'm doing the same thing as they did when I was a child- trying to change them with force(more like consequences actually). Kind of feel very lonely and bad about doing it. Meanwhile I notice boost in my productivity like never before(don't really expect them to change). What should I do? – ZenVentzi Mar 3 '15 at 3:19
  • The older people get, the harder it is to change. So they say. I'd say putting distance between you and your parents might be the right move but only if they have some idea that the move is to be around more positive people. I wouldn't outright tell them they are dragging you down or anything. Just maybe that you need to be around some positive influences and absolutely zero yelling because it's making you feel too bad to live. Let them make their own connections. If after time you visit and they continue to be negative, just leave right away... – Kai Qing Mar 3 '15 at 15:40
  • ... like short with no further explanation than something like "I have to go. I don't feel well. See you soon" - calling them out directly might build another tension you don't want. If you're already at a distance then maybe you're on the right track. If not, it might take a couple visits where you leave abruptly when the negativity starts to lay a foundation. They don't need a thorough explanation. Short, quick actions will do just fine with enough repetition. And no matter what, you must never say anything negative around them. Let them notice you refuse to be negative. – Kai Qing Mar 3 '15 at 15:48
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I'm sorry it is so. The only way out is to minimize the time spent with them, and avoid topics that are leading to such psychic attacks. The best strategy is to not involve in any debate with them. Listen to what they say, do not agree, do not disagree. After the conversation is over, delete everything they said. It'll be easy because you haven't said a thing.

Despite all this, they are going to find a way to ensure that they drain you off your energy. I don't think they are interested in improving the quality of your life. At a subconscious level, they are interested in feeding off you, for the rest of your life. It need not even be a serious conversation. Start a conversation about a flower, and by the end of it, you'll be drained as hell. That's how they operate. Therefore, please be prepared to gradually cut contact and trust the universe to take care of them, provided they keep intensifying the drain.

A gentle reminder: A parent is one that cares deeply for the well-being of the child, at all levels. A true parental essence is mature and empathetic. They understand when the kid is not feeling well. There is no need for any verbal communication. Not one who projects one's insecurities on a being that happens to come through one into the world. There shall be parents that walk into your life, they need not be related to you biologically. All the best, Amen.

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