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My Struggle In Opening Up to my Parents

apandavapandav Posts: 2,072 Boards Champion
Hi everyone,

You may have seen me post in other topics about struggling with anxiety and my CBT journey.

Well I feel that my ability to open up to my parents has been affecting my ability to progress in CBT. After support chat, it got me thinking in order to help me move forward - I would like to talk about what in my past has affected my ability to open up to my parents. I feel it's the first step to help me progress. So here goes:

I'd like to start from the beginning:

When I was a very young child I struggled with various things- I didn't talk to anyone (unlike other children my age) and I was behind developmentally according to the guidelines that say- your child should do this by x age. The reason this is relevant is , my nursery/ school thought I had a developmental disorder causing my parents to put me under a lot of pressure (to prove I was "normal"). I still can remember exactly what it was like to come home from school every day (aged 4/5) to be quizzed by my parents as to - who I sat with at lunch, who I talked to, who are my friends! I had no friends at the time so I remember fearing being interrogated by my parents, and listening to them push me out with my comfort zone. I may have been young but I can remember it so well, only difference is I understand it better now that I'm older.

This is where I believe my fear of confiding in my parents stemmed from.

So throughout primary school I had no friends. Except this one "friend" in primary 6+7 - I've only now realised that I was bullied. Her constant threats of her "not being my friend" really scared me, so I let her control me and obeyed her orders. I was scared as I had no-one and I didn't want to be seen as a target (although I was anyways) and I wanted my parents to think I had a friend! This went on until S2 of high school!

During this time I was miserable, my life was - go to school, face bullying, coming home, try to act "normal" so that my parents would believe that everything was okay. But they did clock on on many occasions that something wasn't quite right. I got that same feeling of interrogation as I did when I was younger- "what happened?" , "did you fall out with ***?", "is *** bullying you?" . This was very stressful for me and only fuelled my need to hide things from my parents.

(Long story, things got better in the middle of high school- I made friends)

Then when I turned 16, I decided to be brave and confide in my parents for the first time ever! Unfortunately, it backfired and to be honest I've still not came to terms with what happened yet! This is very embarrassing for me to say....... When I was around that age I went through a phase of being "confused" by my sexuality. It was so hard keeping it to myself, I didn't know what to think, the question was going around in my head all the time! I couldn't take it so I reluctantly decided to tell my parents about the "confusion".

I did it! At first I think my parents were so shocked, they were just like "okay". Then the next day was the worst ever.... mum ignored me , she seemed very annoyed! I didn't understand why.... She was fine the night before. Dad wasn't much happier but at least he kept on reinforcing "he still loved me no matter what".

But the thing that hurt me the most was the incident! My mum called me derogatory names and basically disowned me. This was very hurtful! Especially coming from the mum (despite everything) who always said " You can tell me anything" and encouraged me to do so.

In the end, after my dad convincing my mum to actually speak to me, I still didn't get the result I wanted! I felt forced into agreeing it was a phase. Although in the back of my mind I was still "confused". (I know I'm straight now)

Things were awkward afterwards, but gradually me and my mum went back to "normal". Well not exactly "normal" for me - this incident still remains with me to this date and I think it will stay with me forever. I felt my relationship with my mum was "false".

This is why I struggle to open up to my parents to this date. It still affects me a lot..... I've been struggling with my mental health (anxiety) recently and I feel one thing that would be beneficial to me is having the support of my family. I'm still constantly hiding everything from my mum and dad.

Right now, they still always encourage me to confide in them and get angry when they find out I haven't. But how can I confide in them, especially after that dreaded incident?

The thing that makes me sad is that I don't think I'll ever be able to freely confide in my parents.


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    apandavapandav Posts: 2,072 Boards Champion
    I hope this doesn't portray me in a bad light. I'm sorry I tend to rant and struggle to keep things short.

    I just felt I really want to be honest about all of this, but I feel I have no-one in my life that I can, so this is why I've decided to post it on here.
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    SarahRSarahR Posts: 213 Trailblazer
    Hi apandav

    I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling so much with your feelings towards your family. It can be hard to feel that we don't have the support of the people closest to us, especially people who were supposed to protect us and keep us safe when we were very young.

    It sounds like you've not often felt that your parents are supportive of you just the way you are, including all your anxieties and confusions. You mentioned feeling like you were being interrogated by them when you were younger and feeling under pressure to be "normal". That sounds like an exhausting feeling to have and it's not surprising that you're now finding it difficult to open up to them now.

    It might be that not being able to be honest with your parents is making your anxieties harder to live with, particularly when you live with them and are around them quite a lot. However, not everybody has a close, supportive relationship with their parents and it's not essential to have this in order to live a happy life. Turning to friends, a counsellor, or other family members can be a way to get the help you need without needing to try again with your parents. It sounds like getting some extra support in dealing with these feelings could be helpful at this time.

    Let us know how you're getting on

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    apandavapandav Posts: 2,072 Boards Champion
    Thanks for your reply Sarah!

    Thing is my relationship with my parents is very strange, we get on at the good times (although I still will never forget what has happened)but I just can't open up with them. They are actually really caring but I always feel judged, interrogated and pressured by them when I tell them things.

    I do agree with them not being supportive for some things (mostly what I've mentioned) but I guess they are in some way (like they were with exams etc.). It's complicated and I'm struggling to explain this.

    I so agree when you say that not opening up to my parents is making my anxieties worse. As I'm constantly coming up with plans eg. How to get to appointments without them finding out or sounding suspicious on the phone (like something's the matter with me).

    I feel that everything that's going on right now is overwhelming for me and I feel that as my parents don't know they can't help me (eg. With cbt), so I have no-one encouraging me between sessions. I've just lost so much motivation. But at the same time I can't tell the the real truth, as I just know how they react. Plus my mum has been making fun of me getting cbt, she says its a joke but I find it hurtful. Especially as it's a lot worse than she thinks. Obviously from this joke, my mum seems to think I'm "abnormal". She would be so much more hurt if she found out the truth as I don't think it would be her definition of a "perfect daughter". It wasn't for the confusions! Then if I told my dad he'd get very concerned about me , become overprotective and as a result I'd feel I have no space.

    I feel I can't tell friends the real truth as I don't want to burden them with my issues, I don't feel they could handle knowing some of my issues, I'd worry about their reaction and for other more personal reasons. Don't have any siblings, not close enough with other family members to confide in them and the ones I am closer to I have reasons I shouldn't tell them. my therapist already knows about all this but says in CBT we are here to talk about the "present". So if mentioned it to her again I know she's say " we can't change our past but we can shape our future" and or "focus on the here and now" - that's like her quotes she tends to use. But I feel my past still affects my present/future so much. My therapist did say at the start if I wanted to talk about the past she could put me in contact with someone to do that. But I feel to anxious to ask now as I've already had 3 sessions.

    You know I just came to a realisation whilst writing this.......... I'm general I struggle to open up to people!
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