Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up

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harrieth

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Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« on: July 31, 2017, 08:15:47 PM »
My PD parents divorced when I was 4. My father moved in with his brother after the divorce. They had a three bedroom house, but my father brought bunk beds into his room for us, and we stayed in his room on weekends. It was weird. There was a lot of weirdness that I won't go into because it's potentially triggering.

When my dad remarried, his new wife already had one daughter, and they had another daughter. They had a three bedroom house, and each daughter got her own room. Weirdness slowed down a little--the only good thing I can say about my stepmother. When my sister and I came every other weekend, we slept on the fold-out couch. We did not have our own space to keep anything. I remember when I was in therapy during one of my suicidal periods as a child, my therapist asked my father why we couldn't have our own room in his house. He said, "There's no room for them."

Eventually this therapist convinced him to let us have 1 bookshelf of space to keep toys on, and to hang a few clothes in my stepsister's closet, so that we wouldn't have to live entirely out of a suitcase every other weekend. Even so, my stepsister wore our clothes during the week and my half-sister played with our toys. When we tried to "share" with them, those two little girls would go ballistic! And my stepmother always backed them up. They didn't have to share their stuff with us.

Years later, my husband's parents divorced. Their youngest daughter was still in high school. I was astonished as I watched my father-in-law pick out a place to live. He paid extra to have a second bedroom for his daughter, even though she wasn't living with him during the week. I thought the way my father crammed us into spaces and treated us like visitors was normal parental behavior.

Which one is the normal? The way my dad handled it, or the way my father-in-law handled it? Maybe my FIL was just really nice, or really feeling guilty about the divorce.

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all4peace

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Re: Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 09:23:26 PM »
Your FIL's behavior shows basic human decency. I think that "belonging" is a pretty basic human need. The way your father treated you was, at best, giving you no sense of belonging. Not to the house or the family.

I'm sure some situations could be driven by finances, but even then he could have found spaces for you to put your belongings and still given you a sense of "place" in the home. I'm so sorry that you had such a childhood, especially the stuff you are vaguely referring to.  :stars:

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Danden

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Re: Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 11:17:17 AM »
I just wanted to provide a perspective on the different ways people can see this type of situation.  After I married my husband, we used to visit his parents at their summer home once a year for 1-2 weeks at a time.  When my first child was born, my MIL bought a brand new crib, mattress and bedding for her.  When a few years later I had twins, she bought a second crib, mattress and bedding.  She did not use the existing, older crib that was in the home from when her own children were babies.  As my daughter got older, she bought a new bedroom set for her.  This was all so me and my children would feel comfortable in her home.  She was a generous and caring person. 

Your father should have done the same for his own children.  If he was not able to see the significance of the issue, I would say it is because men are perhaps not as attuned to the feelings of others.  But his new wife should have helped him to see it, because caring about a man means caring about his children.  And, in general, adults should look out for children whenever a child is uncomfortable or has a problem, because children can't help themselves.  You are totally right to feel the way you do.  I'm sorry you had to experience this.

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daughterofnarcs

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Re: Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 11:55:53 AM »
I am so sorry, my heart breaks for you.
Way to show favourites ;(

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randompanda

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Re: Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 12:33:27 PM »
Yes, yes, and yes!  After my parents divorced, NPDF went out and got himself a one bedroom bachelor pad, and we had to sleep on an old thrift store pullout sofa when we came to visit.  No room set aside for us whatsoever.  I think he must have been presenting himself to women as a single guy with no kids or something.  No evidence of our existence was permitted in his apartment.

When he moved out of state, got married, and moved into a larger house and we visited him three times a year (for three days each visit), he wouldn't allow us to unpack anything from our suitcases, we were to use them as our dresser while we were there.  If we wanted to call our mother on the telephone, he would make us call her collect.  We could only use one drinking glass during our stay, one towel, and if we wanted or needed any food items that he didn't already have in the house, we had to pay for it out of our allowance money.  (I vividly remember handing over two $1 bills to him at the grocery store when I was eight years old because I wanted Pop-Tarts.)   :sadno:

We spent nine days a year with him, total, and he couldn't even schedule his vacation days around us being there.  He left us alone all day, in the middle of a tiny rural town in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do, no money, and no means to entertain ourselves.  We were entirely unwelcome.  His wife was 100% on-board with all of this.

We always thought most of the above issues were because he was cheap, but as I got older, I realized that he just didn't (and still doesn't) care about literally anything but himself.  He will not go out of his way for ANYONE, even if you're his minor child.  It's amazing to me now, as an adult, when I see my friends with their kids, especially the fathers, and they're so devoted and caring.  Seeing that really helped open my eyes to what a terrible father mine was.  It wasn't that he was an old school man's man and therefore was "tough" and "unfeeling", he just simply didn't care about anything but himself.

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SmolderingDragon

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Re: Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 02:09:40 PM »
I'm glad you posted about this as I can relate.  Nothing says 'you don't matter' quite like not being allowed to have your own space with your own things.

A while back I was thinking about how things were in my parents house when I was growing up verses how things were in my friends' houses and now how things are with my friends who have their own children. 

When I was born, my M had bought a rather large crib which she kept in her and my F's bedroom.  I slept in that crib until I was maybe 4 or 5 years old in spite of the fact that we lived in a three bedroom house. 

My half-bro had one bedroom which was furnished with a bedroom set specifically for him.  The "spare" bedroom was a repository of miscellaneous mismatched furniture, had an old bed which I was told was thrown out from a motel into a garbage heap on the side of a road somewhere which my M salvaged, and there was also a large filing cabinet in there.

When my M finally moved me out of their bedroom, guess where I went? Yep! The spare room miscellaneous repository!  I never had any kids' furniture or bedding that was specifically bought for me like my friends had.  That always upset me when I was a kid and the fact that I couldn't even get kids' sheets for my bed because it was a full size and not a twin bed, and for the most part kids'-style sheets were only made for twin size beds back then.

Nowadays I just shake my head thinking about how my parents were. It's such a drastic difference in the way my friends treat their kids with such love and joy, and delight at buying special things for their kids.
"Some people bring joy wherever they go, and some people bring joy whenever they go." -- Mark Twain

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Feeling like a guest in your parent's house as you grow up
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 04:56:34 PM »
Im so sorry to everyone who has experienced this. My room was my safe haven growing up. You all deserved so much better.
How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego
~ Amanda Torroni