Relations and relationships
Having someone in the family you can trust and build a strong relationship with can help build your confidence. They don’t necessarily need to know every detail of your relationship with your horrid parent.
Be aware that confiding in them could make them feel uncomfortable if your parent is nice to them but not to you.
Good friends can be a tremendous source of comfort and support, but do hint at your difficulties with your horrid parent before you fully confide in them.
Trust your judgment when you decide on a partner.
Your parent may run you down and compare you unfavourably with your partner.
Or they may disapprove of your choice for no good reason.
Stay strong and in control of your life.
Once you are firmly linked to someone you love your parent’s power will diminish. Genuine intimacy between two people is life-enhancing and healing.
Falling in love.
A child with a horrid parent has a powerful need to love and be loved.
Be wary of this neediness. It can override the reality of a relationship.
Don’t give of yourself too easily.
Beware of falling for someone who has similar traits to your parent.
Don’t move in with someone and certainly don’t marry as a way to escape from your horrid parent. You could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Opening yourself up to intimacy will make you vulnerable. Take it slowly.
Being pregnant doesn't suit everyone. Nor is it always easy. You or your partner may feel sick, tired and vulnerable and your horrid parent may seize this opportunity to undermine you. They may:
- say you will be a hopeless parent.
- tell you that you will find out what it is like having a child like you.
- criticise your timing.
- try to insist on choosing your child's name.
If this happens limit your contact. Instead, work on increasing your self-confidence during your pregnancy.
- Tell yourself you will be a better parent than the one you had.
- Work out with your partner what type of parents you'd both like to be and also choose your aims and values.
As your children grow:
- your parent may continue to criticise you, your partner and even your child.
- your parent may try to get your children to side against you.
- they may make up nasty stories about you and ask them to keep them secret.
- they may make them food but refuse to serve you.
- they may tell them they will inherit all their money, not you.
However poor your relationship, encourage your children to be polite and let them find their own relationship with their grandparent. Accept that they could grow fond of them.
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A first-time parent
You have moved into a new world. It is okay to feel:
- exhausted, vulnerable and worried.
- when your new baby cries it is normal not to automatically know why.
- you can feel lonely and overwhelmed by the responsibility, especially if a friend’s baby is docile and sleeps well and yours does not.
- remember every baby is different and problems are not necessarily the parents' fault.
Your difficult parent may insist on telling you how much you are getting wrong, try to take over and state how unlucky the baby is to have a mother/father like you.
If this happens:
- ignore it.
- try to find like-minded new parents to befriend for mutual support.
- lean on your partner.
- choose an encouraging and positive child-rearing book or website. .
- Try not to stop visits, it will give your difficult parent an excuse to complain about you. Instead, prepare yourself in advance and let your partner support you.
- Try to keep visits short and make excuses to leave if your parent behaves badly.
- Afterwards talk about both good and uncomfortable things that happened. It will help air complicated feelings.
- If your visits become too awful, you could choose to stay away.