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suzanna28's avatar

My parents don't visit me ? Are they selfish ?

Asked by suzanna28 (684points) April 11th, 2011

I feel like I am the only one that makes any effort in my relationship with my parents.

The older I get the more I realize how selfish my parents are.

I live in a foreign country.

My parents are both well off but never have they made any attempt to visit me and see what my life is like.

I visit them .

The more I think about it the more it hurts me.

All my friends parents visit them and express an interest in their lives here.

On the other hand, I have always been the one making an effort to call my parents and to visit them.

My parents are not poor, so money is not an issue. They are actually quite comfortable.

My mother is a director and my father a retired manager with a good pension.

They are both in good physical health.

They also never seem interested in my life.

They don’t seem interested in whether I have any friends or how my relationship with my boyfriend is going or how I spend my spare time.

I just don’t understand it.

My father is very religious and whenever I ask him about this he says that all he is interested in is whether I go to heaven. So the only thing he is interested in is whether I go to church and follow my church’s teachings. He says this life is not important and only God should be interested in other aspects of my life.

My mother on the other hand remarried and prefers to spend most of her time with her husband and travelling the world.

What should I do ? Sometimes it makes me feel very hurt and lonely.

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13 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

Have you tried talking to them about how you are feeling? Have you asked them to come visit you or why they don’t come visit? My mom didn’t come visit me when I was living farther away and she said it was because I had to come back ‘home’ to see everyone else anyway, so she’d just wait until then. It hurt, but I can look back on it now and understand her point of view as well. The best thing you can do it try to talk to them about it and explain to them how you feel.

If you really feel like you are the one doing all the work at maintaining the relationship, perhaps you should cut back a little to see if the start picking up and making some effort.

suzanna28's avatar

Well I do ask my dad why he doesn’t visit me and he says that when he lived abroad his parents never visited him so he doesn’t see why he should visit me.

lonelydragon's avatar

I am sorry to hear this. I will address your question, but first would like to point out that even parents who visit their children often are not necessarily more interested in the children’s interests and life events. My parents have said the same things as your father, and they visit me multiple times a month (but that’s only because they’re traveling to visit my younger brother, the “golden child”, and since my apt. is halfway between their house and his, they can use me for free room and board. They certainly aren’t interested in having a dialogue with me or hearing about my thoughts, hobbies, and interests unless they are identical to their own).

With that said, it certainly does hurt when our parents don’t take an interest in our lives. Although you obviously want a relationship with them, the more you seek their attention, the more unsatisfied you will be, as they are unlikely to change. I agree with @Seaofclouds’ suggestion to back off for a little while. Whether or not their behavior changes, at least you can take a break from the physical and emotional investment of traveling to visit them.

Also, remember that even though your relationship with your folks isn’t what you wish it would be, you don’t have to be lonely. You say you have friends and a boyfriend. Could you form a “family of choice” with them? Family consists of people who will be there for us no matter what—and, thankfully, that definition needn’t be limited to blood relatives.

atomicmonkey's avatar

This would make me really sad. I think the best thing you can do is let them know how you feel and then turn your attention elsewhere. I think your sadness and loneliness is a side-effect of a defeated expectation. An expectation of what you feel your parents SHOULD be doing. This will sound harsh, but I think you need to lower that expectation. They’re telling you in every way that they won’t be visiting. You can’t change their mind – only they can do that. All you can do is change the way you think about the situation. That’s the part you’re in control of.

I think maybe you need to fill that void with good friends – people that wont let you down. Appreciate your parents for what they do that’s great, and try not to dwell on those shortcomings. If you badger them to visit, you’ll have a horrible time – no one wants a reluctant, resentful houseguest.
You need HUGS, damnit! Get them another way.

creative1's avatar

I can relate and my mother who is my only living parent lives only a ½ hour from me. I can count on one hand the number of times she has been to visit me in the last 10 years, yet she expects me to come to her house weekly. I am sorry you are going through this. I myself have started to pull away telling her how I feel, but it hasn’t made a difference. So I don’t know what to suggest when yours are in a whole different country.

All I wanted to say is your not alone, you’ve done nothing wrong to deserve to be treated this way by your own parents. I feel relationships no matter what they are should be a two why street but its not always the a case.

blueiiznh's avatar

I certainly can relate.
All you can do is let them know how it makes you feel. The rest is up to them.
I however would still make the effort of visiting them and communicating with them.
It sounds like you care about them and by all means, enjoy the time you have with them and while you still can.

cheebdragon's avatar

My dad takes trips to San Diego every year “to see me”, it’s funny because I actually live over 80 miles from San diego…I often wonder if he realizes that I don’t live in sea world. If I don’t drive down to see him while he’s supposedly here to visit me, I wont hear from him until about a month after he gets back from his vacation.

The last time I went to Arizona to visit, he had my grandpa pick me up and the airport and take me to my grandparents house, 4 days and he spent less than 2 hours with me…Didn’t even take me to the fucking airport when I left.

JLeslie's avatar

The thing that reakky threw me was towards the end, your mom travels the world, but doesn’t visit you? I thought maybe your parents just weren’t big travelers, and going abroad might be beyond them, but that certaily does not seem to be the case with your mom. Is your dad worried abut your soul for a specific reason? Is he under the impression you behave ina way that your soul is in jeopardy? Maybe he is afraid to visit you. Afraid to witness something that would confirm his worries. Not that I believe in that sort of thing, but for him it might be very real. A close friend of mine was raised Jehovah, and when her parents visit her boyfriend has to move out. I have another friend who in his 40’s still has to listen to his parents worry about his soul, because he drinks a bear now and then, married a Catholic and allowed his sons to be raised Catholic.

Have you specifically invited them to come visit? My inlaws will not invite themselves, they must be invited. But, if we don’t come visit them, they think we are awful. Totally hypocritical and illogical, I can’t figure it out.

Judi's avatar

You can’t change your parents and they will never conform to your expectations. To be at peace with this, you need to change your expectations. Realize that they will never be the dotting nurturing parents you expect, and focus on any positive attributes they have.
Some kids can’t stand their parents meddling. I’m sure they have some redeeming qualities. Focus on those instead wishing your parents were someone else and your life will be a lot easier.

gondwanalon's avatar

Is it possible that one tiny reason that your parents tend shy away form you is because you remind them of a perhaps painful failed marriage?

BarnacleBill's avatar

Unless parents spend some time thinking about it, I think that in a lot of families there is an expectation that the children come home to the parent. I get the sense that it’s tied up in the whole “honor your parents” thing, and that you bear the expense of going home to see them, so you can connect with the rest of the family, childhood memories, etc.

It would be one thing if your parents didn’t travel, but you did say you mother travels a lot. I try to stay out of my daughter’s life and business, but I would be really sad if I didn’t see her at least every other month. Have you invited her to come? Perhaps they are under the impression that you’re too busy to host them.

MissAusten's avatar

I think you should issue an invitation. Maybe that’s what they are waiting for. Or, maybe you’re right and they are selfish. If that’s the case, you probably won’t be able to change them. Maybe some day if you have children, they’ll take an interest in their grandchildren and visit more often. If not, they are missing out and won’t realize what they’ve lost until it’s too late.

I can understand your frustration. My parents are also divorced and very rarely visit me. My husband and I have three kids, a limited budget, and no desire to spend what time and money we can use for vacation visiting my dysfunctional family. Both of my parents are upset that for the past two years we have taken the kids on a “real” vacation instead of visiting one of them. It kind of makes me mad that they can’t see that it’s much harder for us to pack up three kids and travel across the country with them than it is for them to visit us. My dad actually pouts about it and gets all huffy if I talk about our vacation plans even though we invited him and his wife to join us. I moved away from home right after college. In the past 13 years, my dad has visited three times.

My mom is even more of a character. She moans and cries about not being able to see her grandchildren and goes on these rants about how they are so important to her and it kills her that they don’t know her very well, but she always has an excuse for why she can’t visit. For a while it was money, but then she had to change that excuse because she bragged all of the time about how much money her new husband made. Then it was one thing or another, but she was also telling people she “wasn’t allowed” to visit because my husband’s family didn’t like her. She made that up, by the way. Meanwhile, she was able to visit her friend in AZ and take a couple of trips to Hawaii. Now she says she is broke again and has no money, but just got back from a vacation with her husband. She’s all talk, and if she meant what she said about wanting so badly to see her grandchildren she’d visit. Since I got married 13 years ago, she has also visited a grand total of three times.

I can’t really complain though, because my parents drive me crazy and I am perfectly happy with them not visiting. :) I just wish they wouldn’t complain about me not visiting them, when they aren’t willing to put in the effort to try to visit me (if that makes sense).

Clearly your problem with your parents strikes a nerve with a lot of people who are in a similar situation. I can’t imagine not wanting to be in my childrens’ lives when they are grown, but I also don’t plan on totally alienating them along the way like my parents did.

cak's avatar

My father’s parents visited him twice. We lived in KY once, and FL for the other visit. Neither trip lasted long and really, they were just ready to come home.

I often wondered about their lack of trips, as compared to our yearly treks to see them. For them, they had never really traveled and it wasn’t something they were used to, or comfortable with. They were very old fashion and basically, it just made life easier to go to them.

Could that be part of their resistance to travel? It’s just not something they are comfortable with?

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