When to get mad, and when to let it go


No, emotions were a no-go zone. They always got shut down pretty quick with punishment. I don’t feel like that was abusive, but it was unhelpful.

I think I can get angry, but only on behalf of people I care about. Or animals. Anger on my own behalf is still pretty illusive.

I’m angry about this, but in a really anxious way - my tension is thick in the back of my neck because feeling angry? Feels unsafe. And, there’s a whole great wave of self disgust that’s been hitting at intervals all day...the whole, “I dare I...” thing. So there’s anger there, but it’s being overwhelmed by secondary emotions and beliefs.

I think I won’t stay angry very long. My brain will find a way to rationalise it all. “They were under a lot of stress, they didn’t know how best to help,” and on and on. And that’s true.

Doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t make it okay. I think if I take it to my pdoc she may be able to help me make sense of it and untap some of the emotion.


Great plan Sideways, it will keep you from being 'flooded' if you can sort things out like this, at your own pace. It's been a really hard few days for you. I hope this is the beginning of finding ways to keep the depression on a leash.

You have insight. You have empathy. My hope for you is that this is the beginning of you having some empathy for yourself.

In regard to how threatening the anger feels for you, we will hold it for you until you can take little pieces of it to investigate. Just turn it over to us for a little while. We've got this for you. OK?


We've got this for you. OK?
I promise to come back and pick up my psychological junk, if you could just keep it locked up for me while I sleep off my tension headache:)

Definitely dealing with this one slowly - my folks don’t know I know, so there’s zero urgency (so long as I don’t use that as a reason to sweep it under the rug!)


Yes, holding it for you so you can get some sleep. If it's ok with you, can I gently remind you to NOT sweep this under the rug? Not nagging, just gentle nudges to allowing this to unfold. And you are right. There is no sense of urgency.

Get some sleep, and rest. Hope the headache has eased by wake up time.

Goodnight and holding it for you.


It seems and honestly I could be projecting that you are from a long line of generational trauma and hence maybe this is related to your own carrying it on forward. You used the words undermine and being told you have personality disorder... These two alone are really hard to live around and can make the healthiest and strongest person even go mad. You are a hero in living in this condition. I do not know your age but you really sound beyond your years considering you live or interact with parents like this. I think and again it is my reading of this-your best option is to accept the title or character given to you by them... This is for their own self protection. If they feel manipulation they pin it on you. Vuf they feel they have personality issues... Nope give it to sideways! And do not fight it just use it as a sign post of when to protect yourself and mind and remove from the vicinity. It is my personal opinion that ultimately just like any other animal one must choose self survival over relationships that need you stay protected at all costs. By being under fire and they may not mean bad but they do. They would always pick their survival over yours! This is basic organism agenda... And as human we are not fighting over meat but space and time. As long as you are in survival mode, it is hard to get life, creativity, and spontaneity going unless this much aggression fuels it and everybody is living off the intensity. By knowing their tricks, they know yours... In fact they co-created yours so they are further along pushing your buttons. Tough situation. The best I did for me was move away from my parents to grow and gain significant strength to face them but I know that is not feasible for all. I wish you have a full life outside of them which it sounds you do in order to see them as they are clearly and still stay separate in the mind.
Wow @Sideways - you might need more than one night to sleep on it. That's just so hurtful and damaging. Yeah - I'd run it all past your psydoc and at least get it out of your head. It's very difficult when you know this is what they are saying about you. Do you think that they truly believe this about you? The two perspectives are different.

For me, honestly I give myself heaps more time... like I promise myself to revisit the issue in a month.

And I always examine why I am so damn concerned about what they think of me anyway. I'm way into being the whole person... without needing validation from various relations atm lol... I've become rather masterful at parking my anger and then abandoning it completely. This may not be a useful tool for you at all though.

I get that they are your parents and therefore important in your life but that doesn't mean that you naturally need to respond to anything they say or do.

There may be no middle ground in this. Sometimes there isn't and it's more a case of what gets you through it rather than alienating people that you love. It's always difficult though.


why I am so damn concerned about what they think of me anyway.
Growing up, definitely my parents (I think like most kids) were a sounding board for whether I’m good/bad, whether my choices were smart/stupid, whether my priorities were noble/lazy, etc. I think that’s one of the natural roles that parents play.

Now that I’m in my 30s though? You’re absolutely right - it doesn’t need to matter. In fact it’s entirely consistent with the way that I see them consistently judge the people around them so harshly (my mum’s continual berating of my Grandad, to him and to me and to anyone who spoke about him - still hurts. He didn’t deserve any of it, and he passed away loving her soooo much, and not understanding why he seemed to make her so angry. I would oftentimes talk to him about it, and reassure him it was just her way of being passionate and demonstrating she cared).

It mattered to my Grandad right up till he died, and that was really tragic. Having watched that? You’re absolutely right - I don’t need to care any more. There’s enough other people in my life who continuously tell me how much they appreciate me in their life (which, of course, creates it’s own massive amounts of discomfort) to know that their assessment of me isn’t necessary rational or reasonable.

They are entitled to their opinions, but I don’t need to agree with them. Nor do I need to fight with them about it.

It’s sad that people you love think so poorly of you, and are so ready to undermine you. But if I keep good solid boundaries, I can probably be angry and disappointed for a while and then adopt some radical acceptance.

Definitely it means I need to be smarter with my boundaries. And definitely I need to be careful about taking on board their advice or commentary.

But I do still think that despite their horrible words, I’m important to them as well. My mum has put in noticeable effort with me to repair our relationship since they went not contact. She talks to me about a lot of her personal stuff. She seems genuinely happy to see me and spend time with me. I think maybe I can find a way forward that accepts that they just have an underlying miserable attitude to people generally, that I’m included in that by default. No more, no less.

ETA be that as it may, today will be mostly spent in bed sleeping off my tension headache!


People caring about you goes against everything you believe about yourself. So, of course, it's uncomfortable. Doesn't mean it's a bad thing, this discomfort.

And not arguing with them is a good thing. some will stay regardless of how hard you push them away. They will simply care from a distance.

There were people who chose to be a part of my life, that cared about me until I started to care about myself. Those people are still around. Sometimes it's so simple that logic and reason does not play a part in it. It's the human connection. No agenda. No expectations. Just simply being present for another human being.

Sorry, your head is still hammering away. It was a lot to take in. Hope you get good rest and sleep.
Sideways I know how you feel. I know you probably don't believe that. However most of my life.. which is considerably more than three decades unfortunately I worried about what my family thought of me and why they said such horrible things about me and to me.

Now they are really old and they are still at it. It's a terrible habit that some people acquire.. the running down of other's... I know there are probably a million pages written on why people become this way.. and I've got my own theories. However, suffice to say it is common.

I look at them now when they start and I have to throw up the wall in an instant and stop their toxic, pessimistic, critical views from hitting me.

I rarely share any of my own feelings, I rarely discuss the merits of somebody else's character and most particularly not with them. And I am well aware that whilst I may be hearing about somebody else from them today, tomorrow I am going to be that somebody else. That's cringy. And I am fully aware that no matter how how I try now, or have done in the past... they will still find fault.

So, I made up my mind to not let their attitudes and opinions matter. That took a lot of work.. much consideration and reminding myself whenever I feel their cold judgement cast on me, whether I know for sure or not... I step away emotionally, psychologically and even sometimes physically - for short periods of time.

Yes Sideways - you have ample proof irl that you are a good and decent person and probably a wonderful offspring too. But even if you were not and did not have that validation - in the circumstances you have described, nobody deserves to be torn down like that..do they?

I think maybe I can find a way forward that accepts that they just have an underlying miserable attitude to people generally, that I’m included in that by default. No more, no less.

^Yes - you will find a way forward and you know... maybe you will look at their antics with some wry humour even?

I think it is tragic that your grandad died trying to appease your mother. It seems she is beyond being helped to stop so unfortunately it's all up to you to deal with it the best way you can and however that suits you the most.

ETA be that as it may, today will be mostly spent in bed sleeping off my tension headache!

^Yes.. know this too. But it's ok to have a rest from them anyway. When you find the way forward you may have less tension headaches and that's got to be good. :hug:


@blackemerald1 - thank you so much. I’m thinking that this is surprisingly common. Having it in black and white just makes it very real & in your face.

According to the emails, my refusal to go into detail when my parents asked me probing questions, was interpreted as “caustic distain” (yikes!). But that’s totally their issue. Sharing too much they got stressed and cut me off, not sharing enough and I’m being disdainful.

I think maybe for a lot of people, deferring to criticising others is often a sign of insecurity. And insecurity is as common as milk and bread. So, radical acceptance. They are as they are. No point fighting it, just be aware that it’s there.

Good plan. Carrying it out? That’s probably going to take a few false starts. I know that it’ll be an itch I want to scratch when I see them for a while to come:

“Hey folks, it’s your manipulative lying daughter come to say hi and make your life miserable, how are you both!?”
Whew!! Always love that 'caustic disdain' sounds like something to tip into blocked plumbing lol!

I get accused of trying to 'rise above my station'. & loads of other stuff...

Insecurity, jealousy oh I think there could be so many reasons that they would never, ever own.

But you can. If you detach yourself from being concerned about what they think of you today... Convince yourself that despite their lowly judgements that you are still a bloody wonderful person, daughter, friend & human hopefully you'll notice there is so much less sting in their vile condemnations.

I do still get caught out every now & again. I do believe my mother is the only woman alive who can simultaneously thank & offend me. And I still take it quietly on the chin. When I've had a chance to check into myself, make sure I'm still in one piece, so to speak. I must remind myself exactly what is really going on. And, I'm ok regardless of the hurt I feel. It's a process. I'm no doormat but if I became retaliatory every time somebody insulted me or put me down.. I'd be a mess.

Silence is always a great way to really show your disdain.. lol

This isn't about them. It is about thriving despite them.

Yes! Imagine how funny the scenario would be if indeed you rocked up & said that.. :hilarious:

Now ask yourself how many other likely quote's you have from them that are too funny to say to them? I'm sure there's lots.

Hang in there bc they only get older & yeah! Crazier too! I've not seen this particular dynamic improve.. in terms of them not saying judgy things. I suppose it is possible though.


Always love that 'caustic disdain' sounds like something to tip into blocked plumbing lol!
Next time they have a blocked drain, maybe I can offer to gargle some water in my mouth then spit it down the sink to clear the blockage:rolleyes:

I’ve always taken it as a given that a mother is the only person in the world who can get away with saying things like:
“Your bum does look big in that,”
“You have child-bearing hips”
“Please stop singing, you are tone deaf dear”.

It’s not just me!!