Rules but then no rules at all

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Rules but then no rules at all
« on: March 29, 2017, 12:49:26 PM »
I have found reading and writing here really helpful in figuring out what actually happened when I was growing up.
It's been "nice" to compare my childhood to that of other children with PD parent's, and figure out how much of my mess is the childhood I went through.

One thing I have realized is my home life was chaotic to the brim. I have compared it to the childhood of other people, and one thing missing was rules and stability.

We didn't have rules. Or we had rules which were never said aloud. Like the fact that my parents had to approve of every piece of clothing I bough, and we had to do a mini "fashion show" showing dad every new piece of clothing so he can approve of it.
And those clothes weren't even bought if mom or dad did not approve of them in the shop first.
Up until I was 18. And they would do this even now if they could.

But these kind of things were just things you did, not things that were actually said aloud.
With those kind of rules... nothing. We had weeks when dad decided we have a bed time. That was tried once and that's that. Or we had a week when mom or dad decided we cannot watch a certain TV programme. That lasts for about a week and is then forgotten.
Same with housework. There is always nagging that we should do more, but when actually doing something mom would walk behind you and nag how you did it wrong all the way through. She still does.
Last time this Christmas I tried to cook at hers, and she would follow me around the kitchen telling me how I did it wrong.
It was also never trusted that we did things. If it was my time to vacuum, dad had to follow me around, see me do it and then approve of the outcome before it was ok.

I don't know if that made any sense, but following other people's stories about their childhood, they had bedtimes, times to come home, certain houseworks they had to do... We had nothing. We had yelling about doing things wrong, new rules every other day which were followed for a day and then forgotten, and then more yelling.

It's hard to explain. Because my parents were strict on certain things. Like the buying clothes thing I mentioned above. Or the fact that you had to play an instrument from age 7 onwards, you had to study an extra language (which had to be German), you had to choose maths in high school, you had to go to university, you had to take private art lessons... Those kind of things.

In the other hand, it was ok for me to be wasted at age 13, run around the country without them knowing where I am, and hang around with people 5 years my senior when I was 12 going to their parties.
So that was ok, and when I was at home hangover the next day, the advice was "Put young fingers down your throat, that's going to help you vomit it out".
I also had green hair, latex pants and a mohawk. That was fine.
So explaining the confusing mess is really hard. So is making sense of it. Because it was strict on what kind of person you had to be, but then again it was fine me to do whatever and nobody noticed.

I was thinking, has anyone else been in the same situation? Has anyone else have parents with the confusing "We are strict but not at all and we aren't going to tell you what the rules are" mentality?



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Re: Rules but then no rules at all
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 06:05:26 PM »
Yes the inconsistency of rules in the family is not uncommon. Not only the inconsistency in the rules but also in the enforcement of them. This is one of the worst things IMO that parents can do to kids. Kids grow up with not knowing what to expect and how to react to the world around them.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed and you haven’t been. -Marcus Aurelius



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Re: Rules but then no rules at all
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2017, 09:02:34 PM »
Not to that extreme, but I can relate to being expected to meet certain standards, yet I was never told what those standards were... For example, during school breaks my mom would tell me that I had to do a chore or clean the house but she would never tell me which chore(s). If I asked, she would tell me that I needed to figure it out myself. It didn't matter if I cleaned the whole house, she would notice I didn't dust the base boards or something like that. I'm not sure if they do it on purpose but it just sets you up for failure. Very frustrating.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni



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Re: Rules but then no rules at all
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2017, 04:13:14 AM »
I had the same crazy-making atmosphere.  No structure at all. NM was too busy focusing on her own little world, I believe.  Also, in true PD fashion, I was supposed to read her mind.  I was supposed to KNOW what the rules were, know what needed to be done, and know how to do any task without being taught. 
If I broke an unstated rule, I would be screamed at because I "should have known."  I can still hear her ugly voice snarling "It goes without saying!" Or "Do I have to tell you everything?" 
I know that some PDs make a sport of setting their scapegoat up for failure, but I don't think my NM could even be bothered to put in that much effort with me.  She would just rewrite the story, changing the facts so that I was the bad one, the one who did not do what she decided should have been done...  Whether it was wait for her at the bus stop or walk home, leave the dog in the yard or let him back inside, spend my birthday money or save it, etc.  Her rules changed daily and I was supposed to magically know.  In fact... Nothing much has changed. 



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Re: Rules but then no rules at all
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2017, 07:57:31 AM »
Broken - oh, I can relate to those phrases too! I was always supposed to know what I was meant to be doing, but with no actual guidance, and being ignored/mocked if I tried to ask.

Clementine, I can relate to not having rules, or the rules being very inconsistent. I don't recall ever having a "bedtime", I'd never even heard of such a thing until we moved to a new neighbourhood when I was 8 and became friends with a girl who lived next door who was my age. I remember being very confused when she couldn't play anymore because it was her bedtime. I also remember one of my brothers being upset as a teenager when he wasn't allowed to go to a party because it was at a friend of a friend's house and my parents didn't know who he was. Because I was younger, and a girl, and I just did whatever I pleased. It seemed very odd. My brothers all had to go to university, yet I ended up dropping out of high school, and my parents seemed to just accept that. As a teenager, I thought I was all grown up and knew what I was doing, but I didn't. As an adult, I wish my parents had cared more, and had tried to help me when I was obviously going through a difficult stage.

But at other times my parents would randomly attempt to impose some rules, which I usually just ignored. It kinda reminds me of when I attempt to get organised, and I do a big clean up and think "Yes! I am a responsible adult!" but then it gets too hard and I forget to go grocery shopping so I end up eating cereal for dinner. It was kind of like that with my parents...they would have moments where they would try to be responsible parents, but it was too little, too late, and they would forget or just let things slide because that was easier for them. I think it would have been easier for me if I had clear expectations and consequences, for instance I never got "grounded" but I would get punished by being ignored, or snide remarks etc...But then I never really knew what I was supposed to be doing, so that's why I did whatever I wanted.



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Re: Rules but then no rules at all
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2017, 05:30:13 PM »
the exact same for me!  no rules, no boundaries set by the parent.  then when i did something of my own volition or didn't do something exactly the way they wanted, i was screamed at.  'you stupid lil (insert word for poop starting with S here)' was yelled when i didn't put the dishcloth to his exact standards over the sink partition, when i didn't know that was a 'rule' that particular day.

he would take off to his girlfriend's house often, leaving me to care for the house, do all the chores, and keep the very disrespectful family of mom and two kids (he had allowed to move in without even telling me beforehand at 19 years old) from destroying my home while i also went to school full time.  then i would be berated if anything happened around home.

before that, around 16 years or so, i had no rules about when i could come and go.   one day suddenly i had all my makeup and somewhat stylish clothing taken away.  with the reasoning that i was sneaking out and this would keep me from doing so.   i relied on makeup then to help my self esteem enough to leave the house.   

i could go on with other examples of the crazy making, but that's enough for my 'worn out by PD' mind and sanity today.
I know now there is no bargaining with the PD- because via research and experience you learn that when you deal with PD you sure aren't getting a bargain!