Struggling

I don’t feel great today. I haven’t been feeling great for a while. 

Sunday was exhausting. I didn’t stay in the sanctuary for the whole service, but it was difficult to be there. It was painful. I think I’ve been better at not looking at him, so that’s good. 

My sister and I were talking about how our parents have invalidated our feelings and controlled many aspects of our lives. She told me that her closest friends see it as emotional abuse. That’s something I’ve been wondering about for a long time. Sometimes I’m convinced it’s emotional abuse, and there are other times when I’m not sure. 

Yesterday I tried to mention that my parents compare their emotions to ours. I stated that I was tired, and they said “Try being a parent for 24 hours.” They might have been joking, but I took it personally. I guess I was tired of their invalidation. I didn’t snap at them, but I said that I felt they were comparing. I was upset about it, but I wasn’t trying to make a big deal out of anything. I was too worn out to act lighthearted. My sister was saying that they should try to change that, and they seemed to reject that idea completely. They said “Well, you guys don’t change when we tell you things.” First of all, that’s not true. When my parents notice that I’m not cleaning or helping out as much, I try my best to clean and leave everything better than how I found it. I am trying. I’m trying to help around the house, and I’m trying to be a better person as well.

They completely rejected the idea of changing their behavior, said we were taking things too seriously/personally, and said we were making a big deal out of something small. They said that just because we feel something doesn’t mean they have to listen to it. They brought us into it when we were talking about them. They said that “their tone and everything was wrong to us” and that “we act like we’re right all the time.” We weren’t trying to attack them. 

But here’s the thing. If someone else said they didn’t like when I did something, I would try my best to change it – to be a better person for myself and for others. Also, the small things do matter. They seem small, but make a big difference. 

Another thing: whenever our tone/facial expression seems a little bit off, they notice and pounce on it. They say not to talk to them that way or to stop looking so upset. It feels like I have to constantly be on guard in case my tone or facial expression is wrong. We’ve learned to notice tone and facial expression, but we don’t get mad at them for those things. We point it out sometimes. An example would be when they say they’re not mad when they sound mad. All we say is “Well, you sound angry,” but we don’t push it past that. 

Maybe I was in the wrong for taking it personally. I don’t know. I just pointed something out and sounded a little tired/upset. 

It’s really bothering me. I’m wondering if I take things too seriously and if I am too sensitive. I apologized to them in the end, but I’m still upset. If they’re going to react this way when we mention something like this, I don’t think they’re going to be receptive if we mention their invalidation and controlling ways.

I’ve been struggling for the past few weeks, and I haven’t talked about it with my closest friends very much. I know they’re supportive, but I guess this fear of blowing things out of proportion is stopping me. 

Thank you for reading this and for your support. 


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29 comments

  1. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    I’m glad to hear being in the sanctuary is getting a little bit easier for you. But I’m sorry to hear that your parents are still invalidating yours and your sisters feelings, thats not right and you both are allowed to have your own feelings and opinions. Not wanting to talk is okay but maybe slowly start talking to your friends again and see where it goes from there. As always stay strong I know you’ve got this.

    -Brianna

  2. Megan Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    I definitely think your feelings are totally valid and that you are not blowing things out of proportion. If anything, it sounds like your parents are the ones doing that. My mother is just like how you describe your parents so I completely understand where you are coming from. It is super frustrating to not be able to express how you feel to your parents without them attacking you back and feeling like you have to walk on eggshells around them all the time. It’s also very invalidating of your thoughts and emotions. One thing that helped me when I was dealing with this with my mom is that I had my siblings as support because they understood what I was going through with my mom because they were going through it too. They also helped to validate my thoughts/feelings when my mom made me feel like I was the one beings crazy even though I wasn’t. It sounds like you have your sister to do that with too, which I think having each other to vent and talk to about your parents will be helpful to you both getting through this. Another thing that helped me and might be good to think about for you is reminding myself that I cannot change my parents, but I can change how I react to it and how it affects me. So I kind of had to teach myself to just brush off whatever my mom said that was rude because I knew that she was the only person that thought that about me and that me getting upset over every thing she said was exhausting and I just could not keep that up. It’s definitely a mindset shift and it takes time but it really helps when you are in a situation that you can’t really change, such as your parents.

    I hope that helped a little bit, even if it’s just to feel less alone. I’m rooting for you,
    Megan

  3. Graciegrace22

    Hello,

    It can be very hard to not feel validated and I am sorry your family is not able to provide that to you. We are here to for you and to support you. Also if you need to receive support ever within a quicker timeframe you can always text VOICE to 741741 to speak to a crisis counselor. We are here for you.

  4. Amysue43 Volunteer

    It can definitely be frustrating when you are expressing your feelings and someone ignores or shuts down those feelings. I’m sorry you have to experience this, especially when you’re seeking out some advice or sympathy. I think you’re approaching the situation very well. You are apologizing and doing what you can with the difference in authority. You’re seeking other outlets like such here and asking for advice. I wouldn’t say you are overreacting or sensitive. It’s you’re feelings and validation is important in that instance. I hope that these comments have provided some reassurance in your thoughts.

    Stay strong <3

  5. Lizzi

    Hi music2799,
    I’m sorry that things have been so hard for you. It does sound like your parents have been invalidating of your feelings, and it doesn’t sound to me like you’re being oversensitive or taking it personally. You’re entitled to your feelings and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to share that with them. I wish they were more understanding of what you’re saying. It must be difficult to always have to monitor your facial expressions and tone to make sure they don’t misinterpret it and get mad. I’m glad that you have your sister to talk to about this, and I wonder if you’d feel better talking to your friend about it as well. Even if you can’t change your parents, having the most support possible might help some of this seem easier to deal with.

  6. Jordan Volunteer

    Hey there music2799,

    I do not agree with the comments that your parents made when you were simply just stating how you were feeling. It is not validating in the slightest. I think these actions can be easy for you and your sister to develop resentment towards them. As parents, I think they should want to hear what is going on in your life and be there for you when good or bad stuff is going on. Your parents kind of sound like the co workers with kids. If I sit there and say how crazy busy and stressed out I’ve been lately it is almost as if it does not even matter or it isn’t that bad because I don’t have kids. There are always going to be people around you that make you feel like what you’re feeling or going through is not as important or as bad as maybe what they are going through. At the end of the day, it sounds like you and your sister have a good support system of friends, and when it comes to your parents, I say just keep doing you. I don’t think people like that ever change. Remember, family is whoever you make it. It doesn’t have to be blood.

    – Jordan

  7. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    The Comment about being a 24 hour parent wasn’t appropriate and i can see why it can make you upset. If another person action is making you feel uneasy that is ok because we all don’t have to do stuff or be around people that makes us feel uncomfortable. I Hope you feel better soon and Take care.

  8. Ashley Day Captain

    Hi music2799,

    The comment about being a parent for 24 hours wasn’t appropriate and I can see how it would come across as dismissive. I don’t believe that you’re taking things too seriously or that you’re being too sensitive. If someone else’s actions are causing you to feel uneasy, you should be able to express how you feel. You would be willing to change your behavior to become a better person and I believe that most people would be open to doing that. Although you and your sister attempted to address your feelings and thoughts in a respectful manner, it sounds like your parents were quick to become defensive and attack both of you. I’m sorry that they made you feel like an apology was necessary. You and your sister handled the conversation well and I wish that your parents would have been receptive.

    I hope that you feel better soon! Hang in there.

    Ashley

  9. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi there,

    I am sorry things have been difficult and you have been feeling this way. You are not doing anything wrong. You feelings are always 100% valid. It is important to know that. Knowing and identifying how you feel and way is really great! How you feel about what your parents say to you is understandable. It is really difficult, especially with family, to feel invalidated and like you aren’t being heard. I am sorry that you feel this way. Things with family can be difficult sometimes, and I can understand your hesitation to talk with your parents about the way they have been making you feel. Please never apologize for the way you feel and know you always have the power to speak up if you choose to. We are here to support you in whatever you chose. Stay strong! We are on your side!

    -Natalie

  10. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Music2799,

    I’m sorry that things have been difficult for you recently. Know that your feelings are always 100% valid. You definitely aren’t being too sensitive or “blowing things out of proportion” by trying to address how you feel. Feelings just are. There is never a “right” or “wrong” way to feel. It can be very discouraging when people choose to invalidate others as they try to express themselves, and I’m sorry that your parents have been unreceptive. You should never have to apologize for the way you feel. Remember, we’re always here for you. We believe you.
    All the best,
    Becca

  11. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,
    I’m so sorry that this is happening. Just because they are your parents doesn’t mean they don’t have to listen to you. It works both way. If your parents don’t listen to you, why should you listen to your parents. That how I feel sometimes when it comes to my parents.
    I don’t think that you are being too sensitive about anything. Your parents can’t expect what they are saying to be a healthy relationship. If you listen to your parents, they need to listen to you too. In some ways yes, that is emotional abuse because they aren’t taking into consideration how you feel. I would bring that up to them. I hope things get better.
    -Alyssa

  12. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thanks for the update. I’m sorry your parents are being so difficult. You’re right to notice the things that you are. You aren’t taking things too seriously or personally. Your feelings matter and you’re absolutely right, they deserve to be validated. Parents that refuse to look inwardly at their own behavior while consistently putting down their children are only going to cause problems and make things worse. I’m glad this is something you can talk to your sister about and that you two can support each other. Its disappointing that your parents are more supportive. But we know you can do this. Stay strong and please let us know how else we can help.

    Thomas

  13. grothkat8 Volunteer

    Music,

    It can be really hard to identify emotional abuse from family members, because they are the ones that are supposed to love and care about you. In my experience, distancing myself is what made my relationships better, and what made my life better all together. Your feelings are 100% valid, and maybe some space would really benefit you. You can always come to us to ask questions and talk. We are always here!

    Katie

  14. mikaylaanne11 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Firstly, I want you to know that you are valid in feeling that this might be emotional abuse from your parents. Your sensitivity makes your a stronger, more emotionally intelligent person, and it certainly isn’t a weakness. Like some others have said, I think that it is telling that your sister feels the same way. Do you think it would be helpful for you and your sister to strategize a way to sit down with your parents and explain to them how you feel? If it’s something accessible, a group therapy session might be the best way to do this. That way the therapist can be there to act as a moderator in case things get a little out of hand.

    Continue to be kind to yourself!

  15. Jennifer Suhr Volunteer

    Hey music.
    Your feelings are totally valid!! Getting away from parents who invalidate you, are hypercritical, controlling, and unwilling to change can be really tough. I think independence from them would really benefit you and your sister. It can be so tough to start down that path. Do you think they would agree to something like family counseling? Hang in there!

    Rooting for you,
    Jenn

  16. mkyuellig

    Hey Music2799,

    Thanks for updating us. I think it is definitely telling that both you and your sister have these same feelings about your parents. It sounds like your thoughts about becoming independent might be the best option for you. It can be really difficult to live with people that are hypercritical of you, and who won’t put in the same amount of effort that you are putting in. Emotional abuse is such a wide spectrum, but I think there are certain issues, such as their invasion of your privacy in so many ways, that is a red flag to me. The summer I can back home from my first year of college it was really hard for my parents, because I was used to some degree of independence, and they felt threatened because our relationship was changing and they didn’t have the same leeway as they used to in setting guidelines for my life. I think part of it might also be that they know you will soon be living independently, and they probably have mixed feelings about that. Either way, your feelings are valid, and your parents should be considerate of your emotions and how their words and actions affect you. I am sorry that you are struggling right now. Please keep us updated, we are here to support you.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  17. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for updating us. I’m sorry that you’re having a rough time with your parents right now. Your feelings are absolutely valid. They can’t tell you what or how to feel. It isn’t fair for them to tell you not to feel or tell you that your feelings are wrong. On the plus side – you do have your sister. Maybe venting with your sister and trying to figure out a plan with her would be helpful. It isn’t much in the way of advice, but I just want to emphasize that your feelings are valid. If there is absolutely anything else we can help you with, please let us know. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  18. colton95 Volunteer

    You’re not being sensitive at all. I’ve also been struggling with many things and can relate a little. I really hope that your family and friends will be more understanding and be there for you when you really need them. If you feel like there is absolutely no one in your family who you can talk to, feel free to reach out to anyone on here. We are all more than willing to listen and to help if possible!

  19. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, music2799. Your feelings are totally valid. I don’t think you’re being too sensitive. You’re dealing with the effects of serious trauma. I’m sorry your parents don’t get that. It sounds like they are invalidating you and your sister. If you both, along with your friends, think they are being abusive, I would definitely listen to that. It goes against all natural instinct to think our parents could be abusive to their own children and I totally understand how confusing that can be. But try to listen to yourself and the people who also see it from outside. If they can’t be supportive and are emotionally abusive, it might be a good idea to seek support from others. Friends, therapists, support groups, etc. Let us know if there’s anything we can do. Thanks for sharing with us.

  20. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for updating us. You have every right to feel how you do; all feelings are valid and if this is bothering you then that’s ok. No one can tell you how to, or not to, feel about something or that you are wrong in how you feel. I think that if your friends are supportive in general, they will support you through this as well. It can be a good thing to share with friends when these things happen, especially if you are not getting the support from your parents that you need. Have you thought of doing therapy and having the therapist speak to your parents about these things? Maybe hearing it from someone else will make them see things more clearly, especially if it is a professional. They should of course listen to you and believe you and what you are feeling, but sometimes unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes hearing something from a third party that is impartial can help. Please let us know what we can do to help and support you further; stay strong <3

  21. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi music2799,

    Thanks for updating us. I’m sorry you’re going through this rough patch with your parents, but at least you’re not going through it alone – you have your sister, so maybe you both could figure out a way to approach them without them feeling attacked? I know that’s probably not helpful advice at all, and I’m sorry for that. It sounds like they’re the overly sensitive ones, though. It’s not fair of them to constantly invalidate you and expect change, ignore it, and then act like you’re still wrong when you notice them doing things that they call you out on. But it sounds like you realize that. Either way, being sensitive isn’t a bad thing, especially in cases like this. From how you’ve described things, it sounds like they expect a lot out of you but don’t give you any credit when you do what they want. That’s confusing and unfair, and I hope they realize that some day.

    I honestly don’t have a whole lot of advice to give, but I want you to know that we are here for you and we support you, no matter what. You’re not wrong in this. You’re doing your best, and I hope they come to realize that someday (soon!). Stay strong!

    Marissa

  22. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hey there,

    Thanks for checking in with us. I am sorry you’re parents are invalidating your feelings. I am glad that your sister had your back, I hope she is a good source of support. I don’t at all think that you’re blowing this out of proportion. Being invalidated can be very hurtful and disrespectful, especially as a young adult and when it is so contradictory. We all have our own perceptions of the world formed by our different experiences, and this often influences how we act and react to certain things. But it does not mean you are too sensitive or taking it too personally. We feel how we feel – and that’s that. No one can (or should) tell you how you feel about a situation or an experience. I hope you are kind to yourself during this time, you have our support.

    All love and strength,
    Breanna

  23. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear music2799,
    It’s good to hear from you again; I am sorry that is because you are having a difficult time. Other people don’t get to decide how their words and actions affect you. They can’t tell you that they didn’t hurt your feelings our that you aren’t feeling valued or validated. Sadly, many parents are of the old school of discipline that they get to control every aspect of their child’s life and the child has no say. If they try to stand up for themselves, they are disrespectful and parents shame them into surrender. Something that really helped me understand this is reading Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. You are not too sensitive but remember, most of the time, whatever other people are upset about has nothing to do with you…most of the time it is something they are dealing with. It took me a long time to learn this and is something I am still working on. I hope things get better for you or that you are able to distance yourself from your parents’ control.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  24. Solongago

    When we are tired, when we are hungry, when we are depressed, when we have PMS, we take ourselves too seriously and are very sensitive. I think women have it worse than men, because we tend to be more emotional as a gender. And then every month for the greater part of our life we get emotional taken to the power of PMS. And if the moon is full, something about the tides, how the moon can affect the tides, and we are more than 70% water, of course it can effect us too. So yes, we can be overly sensitive and take ourselves way too seriously. I think every third period or so, I would have a horrible one — the emotional bit of it would be completely over the edge. Once I figured it out that that was what was going on, I could recognize it and just doing that made me be less hard on myself and everyone else. But that might not be your problem. It’s just the overly sensitive and serious stuff that usually meant I was coming up on that time.

    Parents do have a job, and I am sure that it is full of stress. When they have children that have emotional problems, it is very stressful. When they have adult children who have histories of abuse or neglect, even if they were not directly involved, they have a lot of guilt that they bear, and that comes out as being defensive a lot of the time.

    Are your parents right and you and your sister wrong? Not necessarily. There are two sides of the situation. And it can be exhausting to be the one who is always trying to see the other’s side of it while it seems the other isn’t even making an effort. I think that is where you are. I think you are trying to be considerate of your parents’ feelings and what they want, and you are frustrated that they don’t seem to be making an effort to be considerate of yours.

    You are a religious person. So when I talk about unconditional love, I know you know what I mean. I think you love your folks. I think it is so human to have expectations for those we love. And our expectations for them often gets us in trouble with ourselves. When they cannot or do not meet our expectations, we become disappointed or frustrated or angry. If we can apply an unconditional love, where we separate the expectations for their behavior so we aren’t constantly driven down this road of irritation, disappointment, anger, guilt, shame, confusion, try harder and harder and harder and harder, to no avail, maybe that can be better. We have a choice. We choose to love them.

    It seems crazy to give up our expectations. It’s scary. We think that everything will fall to pieces if we don’t keep things strictly the way they ought to be. If we do not push back, then we will be pushed further and further. But sometimes, when we stop expecting something, it suddenly happens. Sometimes folks feel pressured and behavior stays the same or gets worse because they feel that pressure. And when we give up the expectations, sometimes it just gets a lot easier. It’s not giving up on them. It’s not giving up on us. It’s giving up letting others determine how we feel, our mood.

    And, self-care. Don’t let yourself get too tired, too hungry, too stressed. If you feel yourself getting irritated or frustrated, think “when did I last eat?” “What did I eat?” “Am I tired?” “What do I need to do to take care of my body right now?” “What do I need to do to take care of my mind/emotions right now?” Eat a light meal, drink some water, go for a walk, take a nap or go to bed early. Call a friend who CAN validate your feelings, listen, be helpful; do something you really enjoy, whether you feel like it our not. Or do something that needs to be done, that you don’t want to do. Because when it is done you will feel better with it not hanging over your head.

    We love our parents.
    They cannot always be for us what we want them to be or what we need them to be for us.
    There are other people that can stand in the gap for us if we let them.

    I know the struggle is real. I hope you feel better soon. Take care of you. What is it they do in the south, when you are really frustrated with someone, you say, “Bless your heart.” I think it neutralizes whatever argument there is, and I dunno, it sounds so much better than saying “Go to Hell!” or “Get out of my life!”

  25. Shannon Volunteer

    Hey music2799,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. I’m sorry that your parents make you feel like your too sensitive or take things too seriously. But know that your feelings are valid and this is a safe place to discuss your feelings. We are here for you, please come back and update us, or just chat if you want. Be kind to yourself

    Shannon

  26. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Hey! Thank you for sharing.

    Your feelings are valid, and just because someone else can’t own up to how their actions and behavior are affecting someone else, doesn’t mean you are too sensitive or taking things too personally. In the end you can’t help how something makes you feel, but like you say.. if someone tells you something you did hurt them, you would try to make it better. That’s an amazing trait to have that unfortunately not everyone does. I’m sorry they are making you feel invalid and upset. You don’t deserve that.

    Do you feel comfortable enough to sit and have a heart to heart conversation with them, really tell them that you need them to listen to your feelings and how they act is affecting you? Maybe that would be a good place to start. Parents can really be tough, and communicating isn’t always easy with them.
    I hope things get better for you and your days get a little easier.
    AVFTI is always here when you need to vent.
    Stay strong.
    – Lexi 🖤

  27. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi music2799,

    Thank you for coming back and sharing an update on your life with us. We are all here for you. It makes me happy to know that you and your sister can talk about this kind of thing. It can be really hard when you feel like you have no one to talk to it about. It sounds like your parents are very stubborn. That’s really tough. Keep showing them that you are willing to change and grow and hopefully they see that they are the only ones who are stubborn. You seem to understand that it is good to be able to grow and change, little changes can make a big difference! It’s definitely hard to not take this seriously since they are your parents and you are close with them. Sitting down with your sister to come up with a plan to show your parents their stubbornness could be a good idea.

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

  28. Kayla Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing with us. Your feelings are valid and your intuitions are likely correct. I’m sorry that you feel you have to be on guard around your parents, who are supposed to support you. Do they know you are struggling? Do you feel safe or comfortable trying to have a conversation in earnest? If anything, I do feel you should reach out to your friends.
    I am proud of you for reaching out to us, and for trying so hard to be receptive to change and to other’s thoughts and feelings.

  29. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I don’t think you were wrong. You tried to address something that was upsetting you, and they took it way too personally, and did not address your feelings. My parents could sometimes be like that, too, and I know that didn’t help. It’s okay to come here to vent. You’re allowed to be upset. Parents can harm us, too. They are not immune from doing things wrong. I think it sounds like your closest friends would be supportive, and I encourage you to talk to them if you think it will help. We are here for you.

    Erin