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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

If your parents abused you, how do you deal with Mothers/Fathers Day?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19044points) June 19th, 2011

How do you deal with the insanity of Parents Days? Every store reminding you to buy stuff for your parent weeks beforehand, Google Phone reminding you “call dad” – you can’t escape it (right?). So how do you deal with it?

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17 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

This goes into a whole other problem. Do you disregard them, or force yourself to ‘respect’ and deal with them because they were good enough to just make sure you were fed while growing up? I feel there’s too much weight on respecting people “just because”. Yeah, you had a kid and you raised them to turn out alright, but if you still did something that they feel has been difficult on them, are you still a good parent?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Blackberry What if they didn’t turn out alright? For that matter, what is “alright” – if they did a stint in prison, did they turn out alright? Have a heroin addiction? What if they’re in recovery? Not to mention that many who turn out alright weren’t that way when they turned 18, and it’s really only because of their incredibly hard work to get better that they’re alright now.

jrpowell's avatar

Dad was killed when I was ten. Mom was in prison for most of my teenage years. My sister pretty much raised me so I get her something. I’m not really concerned about showering my mom with gifts now. I just don’t even acknowledge it to her.

Blackberry's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I’m with you, but I just don’t have an answer. I can tell you what I would do, but of course it’s up to you. If I felt that my parents weren’t parents, but were they assholes that I lived with until I was an adult, I wouldn’t acknowledge them.

john65pennington's avatar

I think the underlining question is how your parents have abused you.

Tell us more.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@john65pennington Well, this question isn’t about how my parents abused me, personally – it’s about how you deal with those holidays when they end up being really horrible reminders of what you didn’t and should have had. I know it’s not just abused kids, but abandoned kids or orphaned kids that find those days excruciating.

Raven_Rising's avatar

I wish I had a better answer. My family and I no longer communicate with each other because of severe abuse. After disengaging from them, the first couple of years were pretty painful and I spent much of my time crying around the holidays or in therapy (at that time, I was convinced that I was a “bad” daughter for leaving a horrible situation). Thankfully, I had my husband and some good friends to help me with those times.

Then for a few years, I tried to let all of that fanfare fade into the background and tried to stay busy the week of Mother/Father’s Day. There is something to be said for not having cable or listening to regular radio. Distraction and avoidance can be a blessing sometimes. Admittedly, there were also a few crying jags because I couldn’t have a normal relationship with my parents.

Now that I’m responsible to make displays for such events at work, I have to actively acknowledge Mother/Father’s Day. However, I’m no longer as emotionally raw as I was. I think that I’m still grieving the loss of my parents, but its getting somewhat better with time.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Raven_Rising I won’t watch tv commercials (but will watch the actual tv shows) or listen to radio durring those holidays, but it still finds me – Google Phone reminding me to “call dad” (which it turns out, tons of people whose father’s have passed away are pissed about as well…), spam reminding me to “Buy flowers for Mom!!!”, Fluther questions wishing parents a happy day, tv episodes about the holidays – the only way to steer clear of it seems to be to avoid going outside or having any contact whatsoever with anything even remotely considered “media”. This is actually true of all holidays.

Raven_Rising's avatar

Admittedly, I’m a lot less connected to media than most people are right now. I still have a dumbphone and tend to read or cook rather than surf online, although that is starting to change. I blame prolonged exposure to @jerv,...Hell I think he’d get the shakes if he ever unplugged :D

You are correct that it is near impossible to avoid the glut in holiday marketing, especially since holidays are big business. Most advertisers tend to think of the family unit in a positive light and never think about how upsetting it might be for those of us who’ve loss parents for one reason or another.

Quite frankly, if it was me getting spam texts from Google reminding me of the upcoming holidays, I’d probably blast them via email (although I realize that it wouldn’t do much to improve their marketing campaign). Still, I understand where you’re coming from.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Raven_Rising I actually think Google’s thing is kinda sweet, I just wish there was an off option for everyone who feels it isn’t right for them (which hardly seems asking too much).

tinyfaery's avatar

Ugh. Well, my mom passed away about 2 years ago, so I no longer have that anxiety. However, my dad is still around and he was the abuser. I’m having a lot of anxiety today. I feel like I should call, but I soo don’t want to.

athenasgriffin's avatar

I used to try to not let my fathers bad behavior ruin yet another day for me. I would celebrate with my grandfather. It’s not the same. I so want to have this day with someone who deserves it.

It shocks me how many people actually consider calling or spending this day with the abusive party. I suppose I’ve used my anger as an armor to protect me from this day.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I worked things out in my head to deal with my parents and have always been ok to make a phone call or if in person, to have a little meetup or visit. If the abuse had been different or if I’d never gotten past in my life then I wouldn’t bother with the holiday and I doubt I would feel anxiety, pressure or guilt about it. Abusers shouldn’t be expecting much anyway.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@Neizvestnaya You are right. But I have my grandmother pressuring me to spend time with my father. I love her, and understand that she still loves her son. However, it is a little upsetting to me that she isn’t angry with him too.

yankeetooter's avatar

I have been putting up with bullying and verbal abuse from my father my whole life. Today I didn’t even call him, which I guess makes me a horrible person, but I don’t really care. (Well, I do, I guess.) I spent the day with a fever and not feeling well, and I just couldn’t drum up the energy to make a call to wish him a happy father’s day.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I have a surrogate family, in which, unfortunately, the mother and father have since died. When they were alive, I definitely celebrated with them. As for my biologicals, I’m gonna paraphrase Tupac: “they didn’t bother”. While it’s not an ordinary day, it’s not the big day for me as it is for other families. I call my sisters and brothers instead who are parents and wish them a great day.

Bellatrix's avatar

I usually send something to my step-parent. A small gift. I can’t change the past and she does not remember her actions and attitude (or pretends not to) so it seems pointless to hang on to my anger and honestly, I think it just hurts me. Luckily, I don’t live anywhere near her either so I can switch her off most of the time. If that makes sense? I think though @MyNewtBoobs it depends on the abuse. I could in a way justify her behaviour because I never really accepted her as my parent. I don’t think I would be able to be so forgiving if she was my real mother.

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