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Thread: How angry are you with your mum and dad still

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    PS I never said that "anyone who doesnt feel this way (angry at their parents) is a psychopath or 'repressed' in some way". I just said 90% . Either way, I'm not sure I understand what your investment is in railing against this point of view, or in establishing what is 'normal' for people to feel.
    I think Droid has expressed similar things to me, but more stridently. In my experience it is entirely normal for people to be angry with their parents. Especially if you lurk about counter-culture scenes, where it is positively a badge of pride to be estranged from them (or perhaps never to mention them so as to shield your middle class upbringing).

    But yes I accept that there is a broader culture of everyone getting on terrifically well as a family except for some hilarious minor differences over something inconsequential. I think that should be challenged.

    Where I disagree with both you and Droid is that it is more complicated than you are both suggesting. And also I think the polarity of both your positions is unhelpful:

    This:

    Quote Originally Posted by baboon2004 View Post
    people who aren't angry with their parents are either
    - in the lucky 10% whose parents were actually good enough, and who ensured that no topic was off limits for discussion (the most important thing of all, imo - everyone fucks up, admitting to it is the thing)
    - psychopathically in denial.
    Might have seemed like hilarious polemic at the time but it is actually invalidating my feelings. It is telling me that I am psychopathically in denial because my parents didn't live up to some standard of perfection you have just pulled out of your arse. And that's OK I don't really mind, especially as it's obviously a difficult topic for you. But denying the validity of someone's feelings is exactly what you are accusing Droid of doing when he says this:

    Quote Originally Posted by droid View Post
    Anyone still angry at their parents after 30 without good reason is trapped in adolescent thought patterns.
    Although I think more could be read into the "without good reason" than perhaps you are allowing?

  2. #62
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    Well something that is subjectively a "good reason" to one person might sound utterly trivial and ridiculous to someone else. Some people are reconciled with their parents despite a childhood characterized by what many would regard as abuse or neglect, while others never quite forgive theirs for not buying them the pony they so badly wanted for their tenth birthday.
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  3. #63
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    I do love that after I said the thread went positive, we went sooooo far south.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    I think Droid has expressed similar things to me, but more stridently. In my experience it is entirely normal for people to be angry with their parents. Especially if you lurk about counter-culture scenes, where it is positively a badge of pride to be estranged from them (or perhaps never to mention them so as to shield your middle class upbringing).

    But yes I accept that there is a broader culture of everyone getting on terrifically well as a family except for some hilarious minor differences over something inconsequential. I think that should be challenged.

    Where I disagree with both you and Droid is that it is more complicated than you are both suggesting. And also I think the polarity of both your positions is unhelpful:

    This:

    Might have seemed like hilarious polemic at the time but it is actually invalidating my feelings. It is telling me that I am psychopathically in denial because my parents didn't live up to some standard of perfection you have just pulled out of your arse. And that's OK I don't really mind, especially as it's obviously a difficult topic for you. But denying the validity of someone's feelings is exactly what you are accusing Droid of doing when he says this:
    Good post. I see and accept your point about my original polemic being unhelpful and insensitive. Everyone has the right to feel exactly as they feel without having the validity of those feelings challenged (especially on such a personal topic), which is why any attempt at generalising on this type of topic is likely badly conceived, unless it's very tentative.

    To be clear, I was never under the illusion that parents should be striving for any kind of perfection - rather, I generally subscribe to the idea of the 'good enough parent', not the perfect parent. Parenting is obviously an extremely difficult thing, and it's impossible for any parent to avoid making mistakes. Yet, talking just from my own experience, I have met an awful lot of people who have suffered/do suffer a lot because of the inability of their parents to fulfil some basic need. From my observation, what has often compounded this hurt is that the subject in question is deemed beyond the realms of discussion. And that has been my experience of my own parents.

    I couldn't agree more with your comment about the nature of a broader culture/discourse around the family that needs to be challenged. I have always felt that to be the dominant discourse in my own experience, and I have often known and met people who can express anger against all kinds of people, but find it difficult to criticise their parents even while relating tales that suggest discord (needless to say there's an enormous amount of variation there - eg that one parent gets all the flak, while the other is preserved as pretty saintly. Splitting is pretty common ime). As rubberdingyrapids rightly said upthread, too often "complaining about your parents is (seen as) selfish, narcissistic, spoilt, and contemptuous".

    As to the countercultural scenes you talked about, do you feel that the 'badge of pride' in feeling anger towards parents is often a reaction against perceived 'normal' values?

    One more point - I take it as given that anger towards someone can coexist with many other feelings towards that person. I think that, particularly with parents, it can be difficult to reconcile a lot of competing and often contradictory feelings, and that one's attitude towards them may not be stable.
    Last edited by baboon2004; 10-09-2016 at 07:16 PM.

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  6. #65
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    Likewise, Baboon - that is also a good post.

    Perhaps perfection is the wrong word but I think we can agree you were setting standards for parenting which obviously not everyone will live up to. And to be frank, how could they? It's not like there is an exam or mandatory training or anything -and I can't conceive of a situation where that happened which wouldn't be horribly coercive and dominated by state/religious ideology, which would probably make things worse.

    Similarly there are clearly issues with the nuclear family or single parenting, but all the alternatives on offer right now seem even worse than them.

    One thing that might help is escaping from the dominant culture of presuming that parenting is lovely and families are all lovely except the obvious exceptions which serve as scapegoats. There is so much denial about this even between parents - get a load of new mums in the room and they will coo and say how wonderful it is, but get them on their own and they will breakdown and admit that it's quite bleak at times - all the more for not being able to admit it in case people see you as a bad mum.

    And yeah - the countercultural stuff is a reaction against perceived normal values. But I think it can be exaggerated for effect sometimes, not always of course - for example there were a lot of people in the 80s who ran away to squat in London because their family was so shit.

  7. #66
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    Definitely, any training for parenting would likely backfire under the prevailing ideological consensus (G4S would no doubt end up getting the contract). But it's sad that this is the case, in a world where training for most everything else is considered necessary, yet the idea still persists that parenting is somehow easy to get right if you just stumble through it.

    And from there, I think you're absolutely correct that there is a lot of denial about how hard parenting actually is, and that this denial can be really corrosive, causing many parents to present a false self to the world - which can only end up making things harder, for both parent and child.

    I think the idea of the 'good enough' parent is such a useful one, taking that phrase from Winnicott's psychotherapy writings (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-enough-mother this isn't a bad article). As said above, the one thing that I feel isn't mentioned nearly enough is the importance of a parent being willing to discuss any issues with the child, not putting subjects off-limits. I feel that even bad parenting mistakes can be rescued if the parent is willing to reflect on them with the child and to say 'what you're saying happened really did happen, you're not mad', even if total agreement is impossible to reach.

    In terms of the nuclear family, one thing that I've always felt was important was for parents to set up their social network (ugh, that phrase really has been ruined...) such that their children have sources of support from other adults. Kind of a more targeted role for the 'godparent' tradition. Even when things are going well, nuclear families can be suffocating, and broader community can provide some oxygen.
    Last edited by baboon2004; 12-09-2016 at 04:09 PM.

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