Re: Grown Children

1

All the Hanoverian/Saxe-Coberg-Gotha/Windsor kings of Britain up to 1937 hated their fathers, with the possible exception of George III, whose father died when he was 14. This sentiment was reciprocated most notably in the cases of George I/George II, who weren't on speaking terms; George II/Prince Frederick, who weren't on speaking terms; George III, who on one occasion tried to strangle the future George IV; Prince Albert/Edward VII, who simply loathed each other; and George V who emerged from a coma to find the future Edward VIII at his bedside, and growled, "What the bloody hell are you doing here?"

So yes, it does happen. It seems to run in families.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:15 AM
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Sorry, heebie, by "grown children not being particularly close to their parents" do you mean "grown children not liking their parents", as opposed to a general lack of closeness? Because otherwise I find it difficult to contrast with your second paragraph.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:30 AM
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What about the British royal family is normal or well adjusted?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:30 AM
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I mean grown children not liking their parents very much. Seems to be a relatively common experience.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:35 AM
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3. You have a touchingly upbeat view of what constitutes the "normal range of well adjusted".


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:38 AM
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Presidential I'm not sure why.

Sometimes it's one-way. My sister seems to regard us as pretty close and I have a really hard time relating to her, basically since college. We were really good friends before that.

This in fact makes me sad, but I don't know what to do about it. It's not like I intentionally don't have much to say to her. She's not an uninteresting person; we just turned out really different. It bums me out that if we weren't related and met now, I don't really imagine we'd be friends.

Therapy session over! Here's your 5 cents!


Posted by: Hubert Humphrey | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:49 AM
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My mother dislikes me. She doesn't like lawyers. And she likes to create drama, but I just ignore it so she gets mad that I don't feed into it. But she doesn't like anyone except her husband, so she's a bad example.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:13 AM
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I'm pretty sure my mom doesn't like me. In any event, she very frequently appears hellbent on convincing (herself? me? the world?) that I don't like her. I don't entirely understand it, though I think it may largely just be a result of her need for drama and my decreasing willingness to feed it. I'm not entirely sure she liked me as a child, either, so this may not fit your post.


Posted by: Chelsea Clinton | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:19 AM
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To determine if this could happen to you, don't ask about people in general; think about your relationship as an adult with your parents, and their relationship as adults with their parents. Etc.

For me, I get smothering on one side and chilly on the other, so I don't know where that leaves me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:31 AM
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think about your relationship as an adult with your parents, and their relationship as adults with their parents.

My mom adores absolutely everyone she meets, including me and my siblings, and my dad is pretty indifferent to everyone he meets, including me and my siblings.

My mom's mom is super nosy and adores her family, but demonstrates it by being hyper-critical. My dad's dad was indifferent to everyone, I'm pretty sure. The other two grandparents died before I got to know them.

Hmmm. I'm definitely not indifferent, so I suppose my only task is to try to keep the kids from disliking me.

Am I the only parent that spends way too much time wondering about your relationship with your children when they're adults? It seems to be such a large chunk of your relationship with your children.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:39 AM
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In the deadly embrace of a Yeti.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:41 AM
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I suppose my only task is to try to keep the kids from disliking me.

I'm always curious if people having kids remember that there are going to be a few years, more likely than not, that they can't stand you just because teenagers don't like having parents. I may be wrong, but I don't think good parenting can get you around this one. I remember how much I just wanted my father not to exist for a few years, and I feel bad about it as he was doing fairly little to deserve it. (I would say "nothing to deserve it" except my parents were actually overprotective in a way I wish I had known how to tell them was really not good or helpful or easy for me to deal with.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:58 AM
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My mother claims to love me but criticizes almost everything about me/what I do. So I don't know if that counts as an example.


Posted by: Ponder Stibbons | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 9:02 AM
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I'm always curious if people having kids remember that there are going to be a few years, more likely than not, that they can't stand you just because teenagers don't like having parents.

I certainly do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 9:07 AM
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I'm always curious if people having kids remember that there are going to be a few years, more likely than not, that they can't stand you just because teenagers don't like having parents.

Yes.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 9:36 AM
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The tricky part to me seems to be navigating the shift from roles in the family unit to roles as independent adults. This is from both ends- it's hard to relate to your parents and siblings as people who are separate from you, instead of people you imagine as secondary characters in your own life. But it also seems to be hard for parents to imagine their adult children as actual grownup individuals rather than just "my daughter".

I don't really have a solution to this except that it seems like consciously thinking about it and trying hard to break out of teenager-based interaction patterns is required. Unfortunately you can't really make the other people in your family do this kind of thinking and I think it only works if both sides do it.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 9:46 AM
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I'm always curious if people having kids remember that there are going to be a few years, more likely than not, that they can't stand you just because teenagers don't like having parents.

Of course.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 9:50 AM
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I'm always curious if people having kids remember that there are going to be a few years, more likely than not, that they can't stand you just because teenagers don't like having parents.

Ohhhh yes.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 10:36 AM
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But not the kids of the unfogged people, because we're so great! Or you all, with the kids, anyway.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 10:58 AM
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I'm always curious if people having kids remember that there are going to be a few years, more likely than not, that they can't stand you just because teenagers don't like having parents.

I figure I probably won't like him all that much during those years, either, so it'll work out.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 10:59 AM
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My teenagers don't seem to hate me. Kid A and I get on well. Things have always been more complicated with Kid B, but have improved as she's got older, rather than deteriorating. Perhaps the younger two will turn against me.

Heebie, I'm sure there are parents who realise they don't like their children. But if you're a reasonably decent person/parent, your children will probably turn out ok, and you won't have reason to dislike them.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:19 AM
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Not having a reason has never stopped me from disliking other people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:21 AM
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I never really had a teenage difficult relationship with my parents. That is, I had trouble with the relationship, but not in a way that was particularly more acute than it's been as an adult. Sally's not particularly hostile at 13 -- I mean, she's surly and volatile, but still affectionate and engaged with us.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:25 AM
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22 - oh, surely there's always a reason, Moby? Just not usually one you could justify to other people.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:29 AM
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And it'll stay that way, or only improve, LB. You and Buck are wonderful parents and she is, I infer, a wonderful daughter.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:36 AM
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That's not it -- I mean, her possibly, but we're not doing an unusually good job or anything. We're all pretty stolid (not Buck, but the rest of us. And while he's not stolid, he's cheerful), which makes things easier -- I called her volatile, but she's doing volatility as schtick more than actually being emotionally out of control.

And we just like each other a lot. My parents had an absolutely terrible marriage and should have run screaming in opposite directions when they met, but they've always found each other very appealing on a conversational level: the same dopey jokes and political theories. And that's passed down through the family: it's probably narcissistic on some level, but my parents and my kids are both a lot like me, and there aren't many people who are, and I like being around them for it. Dad just spent the morning hanging out here, and he's very fond of my kids not so much because they're his grandkids, but because they're the kind of people he likes.

I'm sounding awful, aren't I. There are all sorts of dysfunctional family dynamics going on that I'm not going to get into. But we do like each other a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:56 AM
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I figure I probably won't like him all that much during those years, either, so it'll work out.

Word. My wife and I have this going on a bit with my younger one (eighth grader). Nothing too bad, but she's definitely going through a butthead stage.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:01 PM
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Parenting definitely has a way of bringing out people's insecurities, though. I think my parents and I had a lot of unnecessary anxiety about making mistakes when I was growing up. In retrospect, this anxiety didn't actually reduce the quantity or severity of the mistakes; it only made life unpleasant.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:01 PM
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I'm sounding awful, aren't I.

Let me guess. The kind of people your dad likes are people who get into elite schools???


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:11 PM
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I wonder if the asymmetry around how there seem to be more grown children who want to avoid their parents than vice versa is about learned patterns of dominance. I would much rather avoid my parents than fight with them -- there aren't all that many people who intimidate me, but my parents definitely do (to the extent we're in conflict at all). And that's probably going to be a common pattern, given that almost everyone's relationship with their parents starts out with about two decades where the parent has all the hard power; all the resources, all the legal power.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:11 PM
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29: No, no, much more specific than that, although booksmarts is part of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:13 PM
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Everybody loves Book's Mart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:27 PM
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16 is smart.

This is from both ends- it's hard to relate to your parents and siblings as people who are separate from you, instead of people you imagine as secondary characters in your own life. But it also seems to be hard for parents to imagine their adult children as actual grownup individuals rather than just "my daughter".

My parents and I didn't actively like each other, once I grew up, but I'd say it was chiefly a function of (more or less secretly) disapproving of one another. My father felt the need to be controlling, king of the castle; my mother accepted a stereotypically female role far too much, which sometimes disgusted me. Some of that is down to simply generational difference: I grew up in the 70s, while they were a young married couple in the 50s.

In my late 'teens I had the opportunity to view, fairly up close, another family's dynamics, and the difference from my own was remarkable. In that family's case, parents did not try to control the children, and had well-developed interests of their own, but took an active interest in their children's pursuits. A perfect example of this: the mom came to a couple of her eldest son's gigs to serve as 'official' photographer for the band, then collaborated with the band to choose the best ones, and circulated those to bandmates and fans. My parents would never have done something like that.

Anyway, it was clear to me that both parents and children in that family *worked* at it, worked at understanding one another as independent beings. And they learned from one another in an ongoing way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:30 PM
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Sorry, that came out long and slightly mournful or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:32 PM
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16: I'd missed that until parsimon highlighted it. Once I reached 16 or so, my dad stopped giving me direction for basically that reason.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:35 PM
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He also quit smoking at the same time. I have no idea how you both become calm around teenagers and stop smoking at the same time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:37 PM
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I mean aside from drinking a whole ton, obviously. But, he wasn't doing that either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:42 PM
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There are all sorts of dysfunctional family dynamics going on that I'm not going to get into. But we do like each other a lot.

FWIW, this describes my experience growing up with my family -- various dysfunction, but always gotten along well with each other (and I was somewhat mystified by my peers, when I was a teenager, who had very contentious relationships with their families). But I think personality-wise we all tend to be a bit conflict-averse and that helped actually. I'm sure there are various tensions that just got repressed, but mostly we were each inclined to give ground.

And, for whatever it matters, none of us went to elite colleges.

But I am also, personally, on the least rebellious and most boring people you will meet.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:43 PM
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I don't know. I used to ride the bus with actuaries.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:50 PM
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I used to ride the bus with actuaries.

Okay, I appreciate that. That gives me a slender thread with which to hold onto some sense of myself as independent and free-thinking.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 12:56 PM
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My similarities with my father were certainly at the root of our dysfunction. Things improved remarkably when I moved out of the house.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 1:45 PM
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42

Were your similarities limited to your residence?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 1:59 PM
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As far as I can tell, my parents like me fine but also think I'm kind of an idiot and disappointment, and frankly they have a point.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:21 PM
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44

You're saying that the key to family happiness is low standards?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:25 PM
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It's really the key to happiness generally.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:32 PM
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Still, it doesn't hurt to strive for improvement. Maybe your parents could take lessons and learn how to hide their opinion of your talents.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:34 PM
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42: No. Well our address, I guess. We just got along better when we had a chance to avoid each other more often while I had the chance to grow up a bit.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:45 PM
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41: Exactly the same here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:46 PM
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I don't know. I used to ride the bus with actuaries.

Are they really boring? I would have thought interestingly morbid.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:52 PM
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For me, I get smothering on one side and chilly on the other, so I don't know where that leaves me.

Molly points out that this was ambiguous. I was referring to my parents relationship with their parents, who are all now deceased. I would not describe my relationship with either parent as smothering.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:55 PM
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I'm probably a good data point for this one. I talk to my parents maybe once every two weeks or so, and my brother talks to them once a month. He and I have only seen one another maybe five times in the past fifteen years, and I've only seen my six-year-old nephew twice. After college, he changed his name and moved away and we didn't hear from him for a few years altogether.

My mother says I'm her best friend, the only person she really trusts, which is fucking sad because we very rarely talk. But I'm a good listener and I try to give her decent advice. Most of the other people she knows are either really dumb or incredibly selfish. There's not much of a "friend" culture in her church community, as it's the kind of place where married folks talk about their marriage all the time; there's no other topic, like books or movies, or even faith or politics or anything.

Anyway, so she likes talking to me about all that stuff. The converse, however, is not true. I hate talking to her about anything having to do with my interests or personal life, and she hates hearing about my interests and personal life, because it reminds her that she doesn't care about the kinds of things I care about. She told me while visiting, about a year ago, that she wanted me to stop talking, in the middle of a sentence, because it sounded like I was about to say something she didn't want to know about me. (We have all always known that I am not a heterosexual, for example, but this is something I have been explicitly forbidden from bringing up in conversation.) Direct quote: "There are things about you I don't want to know."

So it's hard for me to feel close to her. I'm able to be more honest with almost everyone else in my life because they're willing to learn something about what I care about and who I am. For my mother, however, I am a part of her body that broke off at some point in the past, and being reminded that her amputated limb (i.e., me) is out in the world doing things she doesn't like is horrifying. Yet she wants the limb close. (That is all her metaphor, by the way. She's a poetic person.)

But yeah, I'd say the happiest parent-offspring relationships seem to be ones in which the parents have reconciled with the possibility that their children are not exactly like them.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 2:55 PM
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My father hasn't wanted anything to do with me since I lost my virginity at 19. It's pretty creepy and weird. I've been trying to cultivate a relationship with him as an adult, but he is extremely awkward and silent most of the time. It's been getting better recently, but, one of the last times he came up to visit, he got intimidated by some of my male friends, whom he expected to be nebbishy dweebs, but are mostly tall and funny. Very frightening.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 3:00 PM
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51: A teacher of mine in grad school described being the parent of small children as like having a parts of your body that have broken off and no longer be trusted not to do things like touch a hot stove.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 3:07 PM
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51: Speaking of limb injuries, how's the broken arm?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 3:27 PM
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Cast off on Thursday. I am so so so so sick of it. But the good news is that it almost never hurts anymore, just a little aching, and I get the cast off a few weeks earlier than initially projected. I can pretty much use my hand now, except for the cast being in the way. That is, it doesn't hurt to hold a pencil or a knife anymore; it's just awkward.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 3:31 PM
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Sounds like about the best-case scenario for recovery from a fracture, so that's good to hear.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 3:34 PM
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That is, it doesn't hurt to hold a pencil or a knife anymore; it's just awkward.

[Thousand-yard stare.] You don't want it to get too easy....


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 3:49 PM
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I actually don't know what my parents think of me. For years I assumed they worried about me because frankly I didn't feel like a very successful person--I once even said this with the whole family present, just so "but then I'm not a very successful person" and nobody said anything. A little polite contradiction would have been nice!

These days I think they probably find me a bit cold and unrelatable. Because I find it very uncomfortable to be worried about, I try to project as little vulnerability as possible, and it turns out a kind of aloofness is a pretty easy way of doing that. It is not an ideal solution.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:16 PM
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Because I find it very uncomfortable to be worried about, I try to project as little vulnerability as possible, and it turns out a kind of aloofness is a pretty easy way of doing that.

This resonates for me, though in my case it was discomfort at being offered advice (which was nearly always wildly off-base). Projecting a kind of 'please don't interfere unless I specifically ask' worked well. I certainly didn't mean any rudeness by it; it seemed the best way to sidestep controversy.

Good grief, I'm sounding to myself like a terrible person.

OT: on an entirely different note, are there any coffee machines people know *not* to get? Just the regular automatic drip coffee maker. Mine kicked the bucket last week, so I'm in the market. I hear from time to time that people hate some coffee maker they've acquired, and since for the most part a coffee maker is a coffee maker, I thought I'd go by *dis*recommendations rather than recommendations.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:42 PM
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As far as I can tell, both my parents like me a fair bit. We certainly get on well enough, however, from my teens onwards, we always had a bit more of a peer type relationship than a super conventional parent-child type relationship. Possibly because I am the oldest, and they were very young when they had me. I know both of my parents have gone through periods when they really didn't like my sister much. However, she was pretty obnoxious for a fairly long time from her mid-teens on. Anyone would have struggled to like her.

That said, I'm not sure I'm quite as close to my mum as my sister has been at times, partly, I suspect, because I've not _needed_ my parents for a long time. I've been self-sufficient (financially and largely in all other practical senses) since I was 16. So that introduced a certain distance quite early. So, more peer-like and certainly more mutual respect and an adult friendship, but perhaps a certain distance, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:42 PM
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re: 60.1

She (sister) is a perfectly nice person now. Just a long difficult teenage period.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:43 PM
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59.last: I've just get whatever drip machine takes the same kind of filters you've already got in the house and looks like it won't start a fire.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:48 PM
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Unless you've just run out of filters anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:50 PM
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Because I find it very uncomfortable to be worried about, I try to project as little vulnerability as possible, and it turns out a kind of aloofness is a pretty easy way of doing that.

I don't mind being worried about - I quite like it when I want sympathy. What drives me nuts is that my parents/family are pathological problem-solvers - dare not complain that your pinky toe is chafing or you'll find yourself on the hook explaining why this hasn't been solved, and why don't you do X? and Y? and Z? and each of these? And can we check with you tomorrow afternoon and verify that you've done these? If not, why? Why? We're just so curious.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 4:55 PM
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You could make a coffee machine from raw materials and then you'd get to give a TED talk about it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:09 PM
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64: That would drive me bonkers. Although as you say, it's lovely when you want sympathy. What you don't want is advice that's completely uncomprehending, like, say, that if you're not seeing anyone since the last guy, maybe you should shave your legs or put on some makeup. No no no, mom! I appreciate the helpiness, but really, that doesn't make any sense.

65: True. But I just want a $20 coffee machine -- how hard can it be? Yet I heard from someone recently that their new coffee machine turns out to have a dribble carafe (the coffee pot itself). Like you can't pour the coffee from it without it dribbling down the side of the pot. Another friend mentioned that some friends of his have a new coffee machine every few months, because the old one had some problem. Geez, who knew that coffee machines were so fraught?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:25 PM
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Our coffee pot dribbles down the side if it hasn't been washed in a while. I have no idea how that could even be, but after washing, it is fine for a couple of weeks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:33 PM
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What kind is it, Moby? I want to avoid that one, even though of course I can wash the pot every couple of weeks.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:41 PM
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Can't miss a chance for cross-thread synergy-
I think the angriest my dad got (in a long-term disappointed way, not a heat of the moment way) is when I was accepted to H'vd, where he had gone to law school, but I decided to go to that trade school down the street instead. I did go up the street for grad school which satisfied him somewhat, but I think possibly it was a "I didn't have this opportunity and you do and you're blowing it off" kind of thing.
His mother also did something ridiculously obnoxious as well- I was dating future wife in high school, that summer before starting college we were working at different summer camps, her family was taking a trip to California in August and invited me so I quit my camp job to go with them. She wrote me this whole letter about how I shouldn't make rash decisions based on "puppy love" (yes, really wrote that phrase) and essentially that I should forget about my girlfriend because when I started college I wouldn't have time for her between all my studying. Now she's 90 and I'm sure has no memory of writing the letter, but she does like seeing the 4 great-grandchildren that resulted.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:42 PM
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68: It's a very nice, shiny Cuisinart. Our first one lasted a dozen years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:43 PM
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Ignoring the "normal range of well-adjusted" clause, I can update y'all on the Teapot Zucchini situation: still no contact from my parents. I'm continuing to email them baby photos and updates (although I have no idea if they're opening or reading these) as though nothing was wrong. This is either the right thing to do, or infuriatingly passive-aggressive and making them angrier. Or both! It's hard to tell.


Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:48 PM
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It is hard to tell. My sympathies on a bad situation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:49 PM
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70: Okay. I think I'll just get a Mr. Coffee or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:49 PM
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I don't recall the Teapot Zucchini situation, but my sympathies on what sounds difficult.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:51 PM
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You could get a Braun. Tell Hitler that you're not afraid of him by making his wife provide hot beverages on demand.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:52 PM
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The capitalization makes me think it's something involving selling zucchinis at a farmer's market at artificially low prices in exchange for kickbacks.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:54 PM
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71: Oy. It's definitely the right thing to do, though. It gives them the opportunity to respond at some point as if nothing has ever been the matter.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:55 PM
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43: You went to a top law school and are, as far as I can tell, a successful lawyer. What standards are you judging yourself by?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 5:55 PM
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74: http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_12812.html#1560953


Posted by: Scomber mix | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:00 PM
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What a terrible mistake they're making, sm. One hopes they'll wake up some day soon and realize it . . .

I never didn't like either kid, although they certainly had (and in the boy's case are having) their difficulties as teenagers. They may have not liked me, but I never took it personally.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:01 PM
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Right, baby names- our choices caused some friction because we didn't go with the tradition of naming after a deceased relative, and my brother did for all of his. Nothing that extreme though- if there's any advantage to my family's oddities, it's that people silently nurse their grudges instead of making them public.
We inadvertently named our most recent kid after my brother in law's girlfriend. Didn't know her middle name, and that's what we picked for first name.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:05 PM
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What standards are you judging yourself by?

I don't know what standards Halford's using but his parents are probably disappointed that he hasn't smashed the state yet.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:21 PM
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Neither the Dwarf Lord or I are anything like as hardworking and successful as our parents. However, it's clear to most of us that this is partly because they -- intentionally -- did not install all the fear and self-doubt their parents gave them. We should have done more from the pure love of doing, but... one of the things we really love doing is sleeping in and reading science fiction.

On the other hand, all sibling and child-parent bonds are trusting and we all like talking to each other. My mother was taken aback when a friend of hers asked what we did, when the kids visited: surely you can't talk for more than an hour? (Well there's also firewood, and pie, and Bananagrams, but yes we can.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:34 PM
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Random people who share a name with our future child are thrilled with out choice of name, and cheerfully wave off our insistence that 1. we aren't naming the kid after them and 2. we are using an entirely different variant of the name than they do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:42 PM
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future child is Dandelion-13?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:43 PM
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I always figured my parents would be really happy if I ever got my shit together and had success, and I think they are, but they also seem maybe mildly puzzled, like "what is this weird new thing?" Actually I think my mom was sort of disappointed for a while, maybe.

Anyhow I like 'em both fine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:43 PM
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"what is this weird new thing?"

The brain is a passing fad.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:48 PM
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86: To ease the transition, you could try something vaguely wrong and stupid, but not actually self-destructive. Maybe Bitcoins?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:53 PM
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Or Philadelphia Eagles fandom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 6:56 PM
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Both of those seem at least potentially self-destructive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:30 PM
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My mom and I went to holy war over my refusal, starting in seventh grade, to attend Catholic Mass. The war waged off and on well into high school, broadening to the general terrain of autonomy and my perceived lack thereof. (In hindsight, she says she regrets withholding car privileges from any child who hadn't attended Mass that week.) Eventually, we both chilled out around eleventh grade, and she cut me more slack. For instance, she basically butted out of the college-application process, which must have been hard for her as a teacher.

Everything worked out fine, and we get along great nowadays. I'm definitely the more distant son, though.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:39 PM
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My mom and I went to holy war over my refusal, starting in seventh grade, to attend Catholic Mass.

Well that would be the kind of war, wouldn't it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:39 PM
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92: I may have been redundant, not to mention my redundancy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:42 PM
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I want to move back closer to my family. As much as I didn't like unemployment, I was able to spend more time with my sister and her family than I had in years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 7:57 PM
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I wish I could see my parents a bit more often. They can be a pain, but in the last few years they've aged noticeably, and we've mostly stopped fighting over how I should lead my life. Also I've become more aware of the fact that when they're gone, I'll have no other close relatives.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:15 PM
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When I was in high school, I could not stand my mother. She was so smothering. I went to college 800 miles away and then grad school. My relationship totally improved with time and distance and not living together. I probably talk to my parents 2-3 times a week, and I talk to my sister the same amount. We're all pretty close. Sometimes you have to move away to get closer. Also. My mom went on anti depressants, which totally evened out her terrible mood swings which had also made my teenage life unpleasant. So don't discount the power of drugs. But she is still the most judgmental person in the world. Even the drugs couldn't change that.


Posted by: Miranda | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:50 PM
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I think my mother likes me, but I've also thought at times that maybe she hasn't liked me. But that has seemed irrelevant somehow...I've always known that whether she liked me or not she couldn't help loving me in some primal way. When I felt bad she felt bad, when I felt good she felt good. Like some weird telepathic bond. Maybe it's sexist but I've wondered if that's a part of motherhood. I see it some with my partner now -- she seems to feel physical pain when the baby cries in a way I don't. But I could also see how depending on the parent's personality that could end up being bad for the relationship too; I see in both my mother and my partner that they just have a hard time turning off the worry switch about their kid. That could lead to weird resentments if the parent wasn't self-aware enough.

Perhaps relatedly, Heebie's comment 64 definitely reminded me of my relationship with my mom. But she is self-aware enough to be able to cut off the advice for a while when I tell her that she's crowding me.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 8:54 PM
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They may have not liked me, but I never took it personally.

This the key, isn't it? It's taken me more than a year to get comfortable with this with my new teen. But it helps me like her more of the time too.


Posted by: Simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 9:38 PM
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My parents and I have all sorts of unpleasant thoughts about each other, I'm pretty sure. But we're WASPs so no one ever says anything. And thus we all get along just fine.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 10:01 PM
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I see in both my mother and my partner that they just have a hard time turning off the worry switch about their kid.

I definitely see this with my mom. It hasn't been a problem for our relationship, but she definitely worries about me to an extent that seems excessive given that I'm basically fine and able to fend for myself if I have problems. She also worries about my sister, who has more problems and needs more help than me, and in practice that takes up most of the effort she puts into worrying about her kids.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 10:23 PM
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My mother once told me that she felt she had to get smarter to have a relationship with me. That made me sad. And now that the damage is done and I haven't remained nearly as smart as I was when it happened.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:47 PM
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Wow, that sounds like a really depressing thing to hear.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:49 PM
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I'm definitely closer to my dad, probably because we're similar in a lot of ways. I also think it doesn't hurt that out of his five married kids my wife is probably his favorite in-law.

The not being able to stop worrying thing I'm sure is still an issue with my mother with both her sons being cops.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:56 PM
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I mean, she doesn't come out and say it, at least not to me, but my dad's mentioned that she worries about us getting shot or something. The kinds of stories my brother and I are telling back and forth at family gatherings probably aren't helping.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-14-13 11:59 PM
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My mother was taken aback when a friend of hers asked what we did, when the kids visited: surely you can't talk for more than an hour?

Heh. My mum was here last week for a day, and whereas in the past when visiting we used to arrange to do things (and my sister often still does), we just sat around all day playing with the baby and chatting. It's great. When I used to go home from university (when I was still in Scotland) we could just spend a weekend mostly chatting and listening to music.* I think my sister finds that harder as she's more of a busy person.

* amusingly, some of my high school friends who hadn't moved away continued to drop in at weekends to spend a few hours chatting with my mum, even when I wasn't there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:20 AM
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As far as I can tell, my parents like me fine but also think I'm kind of an idiot and disappointment, and frankly they have a point.

My relationship with my parents is definitely impaired by my conviction that they ought to be thoroughly disappointed in me, though they do not in fact seem to hold this belief, or in any case they refrain from expressing it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:26 AM
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For not taking teenagers personally, I recommend Harry Enfield as Kevin. (And talking to other parents of teenagers.) There's one sketch about Kevin avoiding washing the car, which we made Kid A, then 13, watch. We were pissing ourselves, she sat there stony-faced claiming not to know why it was funny.

I found it a lot harder with Kid B, because there was so much history, and I was too worried that this would mean another 5 years of misery to successfully laugh it off. But I've got better.

A friend of theirs stayed here for a couple of nights last week, as he'd had an argument with his mum, and she'd taken his keys away when he stormed out, so he didn't want to go home. I was asking him about his approach to sorting it out, and his plan was to wait for her to apologise. Hmmm.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 1:44 AM
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Does this happen the other way? That the parents don't like their grown up children, in the absence of anything unusual?

DEPENDS HOW ONE DEFINES "UNUSUAL". AND "GROWN UP", FOR THAT MATTER.


Posted by: Opinionated Tywin Lannister | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 5:18 AM
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Huh. My grandfather and his wife were just shot and killed in what seems to be a home invasion--in that most dangerous of urban dystopias, Davis CA--and I think my father's pretty shook up about it. I don't think they ever fully reconciled--"you always think there'll be more time", &c. (Abusive childhood, that sort of thing.)

Not exactly on-topic, but closer to on-topic here than elsewhere. Just one of those reminders that if what's keeping a relationship distant is past Issues, rather than general not liking the person, sometimes there's less time to get around to dealing with it than you expect. Ugh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:24 PM
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What?? Bloody hell trapnel, that's awful. Sorry for all of you, hope the repercussions aren't unbearably unsettling.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:35 PM
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Wait, what the fuck? So sorry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:38 PM
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Jesus. That is certainly reason to be shook up. Are you doing okay, trapnel?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:39 PM
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111: Heh, was thinking of linking to this thread in response to your 90210 comment...

Yeah, I'm ok. Because I'm history's greatest monster, I'm actually slightly relieved--my father's text ("Please call ASAP") implied a small set of really bad things, out of which this was one of the least awful. I was expecting something about my mother or sister.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:50 PM
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Wow, 113 really does sound awful. Oh well.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:53 PM
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trapnel, I'm so sorry, and do think this is the right post for it. How scary! I've learned that lesson the hard way, sort of.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 12:57 PM
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Oh jeez, trapnel. That's terrible.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:15 PM
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Jesus Christ, trapnel, that's awful. I am so sorry. Peace to you and your family, because that is certainly fucking scary.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:17 PM
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Trapnel, how awful, I am so sorry.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:29 PM
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Yeah, scary. It was this incident, for Davis-dwellers.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:33 PM
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My thoughts with you and your family. How horrible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:34 PM
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Christ, trapnel, that's unspeakably awful. My condolences and best wishes to you and your family.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:37 PM
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Thanks, everybody. I don't mean to be trying to yank the spotlight from the Boston thing, which is of course terrible and affects many more people. Carry on, folks.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:45 PM
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122 -- just because some asshole bomber is in the news nationally doesn't mean you personally shouldn't get sympathy for a truly horrific tragedy and story.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:47 PM
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122: Many more people injured, but about the same number dead. And that's not the point. We know you as an internet friend, so your suffering is in an important way more immediate to us.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:47 PM
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My condolences. Christ, how awful.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:51 PM
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That's really terrible. Peace and positive thoughts to you and your family in dealing with this.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:52 PM
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122: What Halford and BG said. It's horrible and you shouldn't feel bad about bringing it up.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:56 PM
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Lord, Trapnel, that's terrible.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:58 PM
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So sorry to hear that, trapnel.

I've been having a difficult time lately with this particular issue. My dad and I were quite close during most of my childhood, but I've had a hard time talking to him since he started recovering from alcoholism. It makes me feel like an ass, but I'm relieved that he's giving me space without making me feel guilty about needing it.

That's not the problem, though. The issue is with my mom, with whom I've cut off contact for the past several months. I intend to re-establish connection at some point, but for the moment I find even minor phone interactions re-traumatizing. A friend whose mother died unexpectedly a few years ago warned that I might regret my decision, but at the moment I can't think of a healthier option.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:59 PM
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My god, trapnel, that's awful. Condolences.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 3:59 PM
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122: It all counts because everybody counts, though.

As an ex nurse's aide, I noticed how short the silence was before your grandparents had family worrying over them.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:01 PM
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129: well, "live every day as if it were your (or your parent's) last" is an insane decision-making strategy; people don't usually die suddenly. While it makes sense to think about concrete steps that would make it feasible to reestablish contact, it just doesn't follow that merely because you would feel awful if she died tomorrow and you never got a chance to reconnect, you should therefore try to reconnect today. The latter is probably not feasible or wise, and so trying to rush things may just delay any eventual reconciliation.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:05 PM
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129.last: I'm fully in favor of cutting off parents if it's the way to make yourself healthier and happier. And bear in mind, while you *might* regret your decision in the future, right now you *definitely* regret the interactions that have led you to make the choice.

Just make sure you scrub your address from Google.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:14 PM
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people don't usually die suddenly.

MAYBE NOT AROUND YOU.


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHARLES CULLEN | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:16 PM
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As an ex nurse's aide, I noticed how short the silence was before your grandparents had family worrying over them.

Yeah, very true. I don't know about his wife's family--and it was her daughter who called it in--but my grandfather had three of his grown children, plus his ex-wife, living in the same town, and another living in Stockton, not too far away. It's really kind of impressive, given the horror stories I sometimes heard about my father and his sibling's childhoods, how close (geographically and otherwise) [most of] the family stayed. I think there'd even been some real reconciliation, w.r.t. those who hadn't, in recent years. IIRC, when my cousin got married a year and a half ago, the uncle of mine who hadn't been to any family gatherings in 25+ years flew out to be part of it. But, yeah. My father thought he'd have more time. I hope I have plenty of it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:18 PM
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133: Just make sure you scrub your address from Google.

How does one do this?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:25 PM
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136 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:25 PM
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136: I doubt you can. I was just making a funny based on my mother showing up at my door.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:30 PM
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But, Josh, she just wanted to help you move!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:44 PM
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138: That doesn't beat the trip my uncle took visiting all of his estranged family. He contacted me in advance, and I met him for lunch. My cousin, his nephew, had a different experience: one day he came home to his college dorm room to find his uncle sitting on the bed.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:44 PM
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Holy shit, Trapnel. Condolences.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:49 PM
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That's terrible, trapnel. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 4:57 PM
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140 is awesomely close to that scene in 'Life During Wartime'.


Posted by: X.Trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 5:00 PM
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Not that I'm saying your uncle was a pedophile.


Posted by: X.Trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 5:01 PM
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I'm so sorry, trapnel.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 5:39 PM
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144: I think he's still alive. I don't know, because he disappeared despite his children's attempts to rescue him.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 5:57 PM
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I'm so sorry, x. trapnel. That's horrible.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 6:00 PM
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trapnel, how terrible. Condolences.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 6:01 PM
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Holy shit, I just saw this. I'm so sorry, x.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 6:14 PM
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Holy shit. I'm so sorry, x. trapnel.

(Also what Halford and BG said above.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 6:17 PM
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Condolences, trapnel.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 6:24 PM
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Our thoughts are with you, x.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 6:47 PM
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Take care, trapnel & family.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 9:35 PM
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109: those were your grandparents? Oh, man, I'm so very sorry.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 9:40 PM
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Holy crap, trapnel, that is awful. I'm sorry.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-15-13 9:54 PM
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Condolences, x.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 4:30 AM
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And also, it seems they weren't shot, they were stabbed to death. WTF. I just ... how can you stab a 76 and 87 year old to death? What the fuck? Who does that? Ugh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 11:50 AM
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(And again, thanks to everybody for the condolences. You're all very kind.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 11:53 AM
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Oh no. I'm so very sorry, trapnel.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 12:01 PM
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Whatever your grandfather's faults, he and his wife sound like they led very rich lives. Their church sounds a lot like the one I grew up in. Very sad.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 12:04 PM
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Who does that? Ugh.

So sorry.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 12:16 PM
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157: That was my exact thought when I read the other article last night. Thanks for the link to the new one - it was nice to read a bit about their lives.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 12:22 PM
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Echoing 157. Thanks for sharing the article -- it was nice to get some more information on their lives. Again, I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 12:52 PM
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I mean, echoing Blume in 162.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 12:54 PM
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Bloody hell, trapnel, just seen this - it's appalling. So sorry.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 1:31 PM
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Oh heavens, I've just seen this as well. My condolences, trapnel, to your father as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 5:32 PM
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only catching up on threads later also--I'm really sorry trapnel, and especially for your dad. but for you also, it would be horrible to lose grandparents that way, even ones from whom your family is estranged. mad love.

I make this recommendation tentatively as someone with an abusive childhood, but obviously I don't know shit about your dad's situations or feelings so totally ignore me as needed. I was just thinking if it were ever appropriate you could remind him he has every right to feel sorry for himself, if there was a reconciliation he was hoping for but never got, but not to feel sorry for his dad and guilty for himself, because he doesn't owe that forgiveness to anyone. (not to feel sorry for his dad on the narrow issue of "he never reconciled with his son." obviously he will feel sorrow and compassion otherwise.) but shit, talk about thinking you have some time and they are torn out of life.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 6:25 PM
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Shit, that's awful, trapnel. My sympathies.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 6:59 PM
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Belated condolences, x.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 7:51 PM
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Oh man, that's just awful. So sorry for you and your family, xt.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-13 8:40 PM
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