What was your parents attitude towards housework, household chores ........

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SE7

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My uBPD mother was and still is obsessed with DOING THE DISHES - AS IN ME DOING THEM.

She is a queen type. Has had a cleaning lady for decades. Throughout my childhood, and even now into adulthood when I lived with her, she always tried to control me with doing the dishes, it was her preferred form of punishment I guess. She is the type of person who even if she's doing a full load of dishes in the dishwasher will purposely leave a few of MY dishes out, for the express purpose of passively emphasizing that they are MINE and therefore she WON'T do them.

While I lived with her the past year, I had to move all my kitchen stuff out of her huge kitchen (complete with 3 sinks) and I did my dishes in the utility sink of the laundry room - just to get away from her controlling behavior about the dishes. As I write this, it gives me validation that she is indeed a narcissistic borderline. Thanks for the topic!

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all4peace

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This is bringing things back up for me...

One dynamic that we were used to, but that appalled our spouses, is uNBPDm's penchant for ordering everyone around, doing tasks for her, into our 40s. She still sends my enF all over the house to do specific tasks. Our spouses are like  :aaauuugh: but we are totally used to it.

In T with Dh, our T's work for us is saying "no" to each other :) Perhaps this is where it came from. I cannot even fathom telling uNBPDm "no" to this day. And, yes, she still orders me around.

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The New Me!

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Hi, when I lived with my Mum and step-dad I used to do some cleaning on a Sunday morning.  My Mum worked full-time, my step-dad didn't do housework and neither did my step-brother.  It was very much viewed as "women's work."

My Mum's house is meticulously clean and not a thing out of place; it's ridiculous.  I often feel quite angry that I was the one made to clean on  a Sunday morning; she had a husband and he should have done more.  When my Mum had her hysterectomy in her late 40's my step-dad refused to do any cleaning - he'd booked two weeks off work to look after her.  She sent him back to work after a week because it was more trouble than it was worth him being there!

I look back and realise how very wrong their relationship was.  My step-brother was very much the golden child and I was the scapegoat.  There's none of that in my house; my son will do chores and so he should.  We are all equals.

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StayWithMe

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I got stuck with a lot babysitting in high school.  Even though my parents had that feeling that "they had made it" ie a house in the white suburbs and was even spending money on me to go to private school, the idea that housework, doing for the family, contributing to the household was a priority.

One Saturday when Ihad asked my parents if I could go to a class party (the school was small enough that sometimes classmates did a blranket invitation), NO, I could not becuase my parents were going out that evening and they needed a baby sit.  My father would punctuate that with "a big ole girl at home......."

I spent the day at the library in order to study and came home at the appointed time.  My parents were getting my siblings into pyjamas before they left.  So I sat on the couch reading a magazine ........ not just any magazine but a Time magazine.  So nothing frivolous.  My mother kepts trying to take the magazine out my hands.  Oh no, you have studied enough today.  I tried to explan to them that I liked reading Time magazine.  Why should anyone try to make a teenager feel like something is wrong with them because they want to read new magazine.

Of course, I know now what my mother was trying achieve.  Total control.  I'm not going to let you do anything that you want to do even if it's 1) an ok thing to do; 2) the kind of the thing that (metally healthy) parents would be happy to know; 3) even if it were part of your homework.

It's amazing how people will stop at nothing to exert not only their control over you; but their complete control over you.  After all, my parents got what they wanted out of me for the evening ..... free babysitter.......

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broken

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I was a 'latchkey kid'.  Anyone remember that expression from the 1970s, when all the moms starting working?  NM was a bullying martyr, and perfect at everything (she said so many times).  I was in the 1st grade when she realized having a career could be a great source of narcissistic feed, and since God had sent this dreadful girl-child, she had a servant handy to maintain her home in the impeccable manner of a stay-at-home 1950s housewife. 
So every day my little self got off the school bus, crossed the big street, got inside the big empty house and locked the door.  And called her at work, so she could play the concerned, attentive mother in front of co-workers. 
Then I would start checking off the 'list', a wildly age- inappropriate checklist of chores that would take me all afternoon.  If I 'missed a spot' I got raged st.
Often she would talk about starting an allowance, but I rarely saw a dime, as she never, ever kept her promises. 
Yes, 'the list' is a triggering memory for me.  I was forced to quit my after-school activities because of her new job.  When my teacher offered to drive me home each day, NM convinced me that was a ridiculous idea.  Looking back, I know it was because she needed someone to complete 'the list'.  :doh:

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StayWithMe

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I was forced to quit my after-school activities because of her new job.

I got those mixed messages on how it was burden to the family all these activities.  Because we lived in the sterile 'burbs where if you didn't have a car, you didn't go anyway.  Otherwise, I was "delviered" late.  I was picked up late which would sometimes inconvenience other people.

the other irony here is that my parents complained about spending money on me at the time.  But if you don't buy your kid a car, then what kind of work were expecting them to do?

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elly87

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There are so many varied stories here, and all so dysfunctional!
Chores haunted me from age 11 until i was kicked out of the house at 17. My NM who probably has undiagnosed OCD gave us each chore lists to complete every sunday. They took hours to do perfectly and destroyed our chances of socializing with friends.  The process terrified me and involved her ambushing me from behind as i cleaned and beating me if she felt i wasnt doing a good enough job she wpuld scream at me that I'm lazy and dumb and force me to do the items on the list over and over.
Aftet i married and had my own home, i would clean and become enraged as i cleaned..it took me a while to realize the emotional connection there.i worked through it and now have a healthy approach to cleaning.
I realize now how evil that all was and i wonder how a mother could orchestrate it on her kids and how a father could hang out watching tv amd eating and say nothing as his child kneeled on her hands and knees, scrubbing his bathroom floor with bleach for the 3rd time.

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Zebrastriped

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Wow, you all have explained alot about my housekeeping and lack of interest in it.  In high school, sis and I were given all the household chores as uBPDmom went back to school for a degree.  I can remember doing household laundry at 10 though.  It makes a great flight excuse, parents get into it with each other, oops, gotta move the laundry from washer to dryer and ZS has escaped once again.  You have no audience.

Weirdly, uBPDmom complained about the disordered condition of her mother's place when it needed cleaned out after her mother's death.  Important documents were mixed in with utility bills from the 1960s.    I say weirdly because uBPDmom has done the exact same thing to me and the family after her recent death.  I can find any number of lists of books she wanted to read before her death, but the important paperwork I spent money on, not so far.  Sadly, my paperwork is the same way.  More fun, I get to attempt to fix both at the same time.  I'm not doing to my children what was done to me.

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blues_cruise

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When my non-PD mother died I was expected to take over all the chores as the only female in the house. At the age of 14 I suddenly found myself doing meal plans for the whole week. Throughout this time I was studying for important exams at high school and college and thankfully focused on this rather than completely complying, so my contribution was never enough for NF. He never lifted a finger himself but would rage about my lack of housework constantly. He is inept at looking after his living environment so would never tidy up after himself, to the point that it got so bad you could never see the floor. When I did get fed up of it and have a massive clean, thinking that it might inspire him to have some pride in his home and actually help, he would merely trash it all over again while continuing to berate me for not cleaning enough. It was horrible and I thank my lucky stars every day that I no longer have to live like that. 
"You are not what has happened to you. You are what you choose to become." - Carl Gustav Jung

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." - Maya Angelou

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StayWithMe

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When my non-PD mother died I was expected to take over all the chores as the only female in the house. At the age of 14 I suddenly found myself doing meal plans for the whole week. Throughout this time I was studying for important exams at high school and college and thankfully focused on this rather than completely complying, so my contribution was never enough for NF. He never lifted a finger himself but would rage about my lack of housework constantly. He is inept at looking after his living environment so would never tidy up after himself, to the point that it got so bad you could never see the floor. When I did get fed up of it and have a massive clean, thinking that it might inspire him to have some pride in his home and actually help, he would merely trash it all over again while continuing to berate me for not cleaning enough. It was horrible and I thank my lucky stars every day that I no longer have to live like that.

how many siblings did you have?

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SmolderingDragon

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I was never required to do any chores when I was growing up mainly because my NM believes that she is superior to everyone in all things including cooking or cleaning and insisted on doing everything herself because no one else would "do it the right way" and she would have to come along and "fix it herself anyway".  She has always acted like a total martyr in regards to housework because she "had to do everything herself with no help from [me] or [my father]" even though that was by her own choice.  She loves to moan about being a "*slave* to that house", as if somehow a small child forced her be obsessive about cleaning in order to impress and feel superior to other family members.  :roll:

I never actually learned how to do household chores like cleaning, laundry, or cooking from my M.  I learned everything from watching TV programs like The Two Fat Ladies or Kim and Aggie back in the day.  :bigwink:

And you know what? I learned that it wasn't as difficult or as torturous as my M made it out to be and it certainly didn't take nearly as long as my M would drag things out.

Anyone else have a parent like that? Drag things out way longer than necessary and take forever to do practically nothing?
"Some people bring joy wherever they go, and some people bring joy whenever they go." -- Mark Twain

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MIB

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Mine was a "stay at home mom" (ie incapable of having a job). She was an *obsessive* clean freak who would do crazy a$$ things like clean the bathroom (with no warning ahead of time) then get super Angry or not let me use it if I had to pee within the half hour after. Oh, and I wasn't allowed to use the guest bathroom (ironically named, since we NEVER had guests in the house) because God forbid we ever "dirty that up". Seriously. She was also the person who would barge into the bathroom after my shower (before I was finished) and freak out on me about how the bathroom was a mess (um, a-I'm not done and b-why in God's name are you in here?!). Seriously...I can't make this stuff up.

She was angry that all she did was clean and all we (my father and I) did was make a mess. Ironically, she didn't teach me anything domestically (when I went to university, I taught myself to cook and do laundry...I was never taught), but would either criticize me for being "domestically useless" or crack the whip to the point of crazy (ie the vacuum lines on the carpet had to be perfectly parallel and the bed ruffle had to be perfectly straight or again there'd be hell to pay...again, for no one to see because no one was allowed in the house).

Of course as an adult I realize this was a power play - she had no power in her meaningless, useless existence that she had to get it belittling me.

Yeah...I think of this stuff and am so glad we're NC. She's nuts, and my Dad let it happen. Shame on them both. Thank you for this thread - it really reinforces my decision :)

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zephyrblue

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Anyone else have a parent like that? Drag things out way longer than necessary and take forever to do practically nothing?

OMG, yes.  This was uPDfather's MO.  Oh, the drama and angst over paying bills.  After he'd hoarded up his (formerly his and enMom's, but enMom was kind of forced out) bedroom where he had a desk, he'd bring the bills he had to pay and a ledger for tracking finances to the dining room table.  It was right off the living room and only separated by an archway.  It took him HOURS to pay a few bills.  There was much grumbling and being in a foul mood.   :stars:

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SmolderingDragon

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LOL, zephyrblue, my NM is the same with the bills. It takes her literally hours to pay a few (and a hoarded up dining room table/"desk" as well). There's much drama and complaining, and she tries to make it my fault that her desk is in the state that it's in because I "refuse to help her clean it".  No way in hell would I attempt any such thing. Inevitably something "important" would no doubt get thrown away and I'd never heard the end of how it was all my fault. Nope!  She created the mess, she can clean it. ;)
"Some people bring joy wherever they go, and some people bring joy whenever they go." -- Mark Twain

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Hazy111

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Anyone else have a parent like that? Drag things out way longer than necessary and take forever to do practically nothing?

OMG, yes.  This was uPDfather's MO.  Oh, the drama and angst over paying bills.  After he'd hoarded up his (formerly his and enMom's, but enMom was kind of forced out) bedroom where he had a desk, he'd bring the bills he had to pay and a ledger for tracking finances to the dining room table.  It was right off the living room and only separated by an archway.  It took him HOURS to pay a few bills.  There was much grumbling and being in a foul mood.   :stars:

Slightly off thread but you triggered me. Its all coming back! My narc/schizoid father and his money. He would take over the dining room with his ledger books and every penny had to be accounted for and checked against the bank statements. All the receipts piled up and wow betide my mother if she had lost a receipt. He'd go mad.  This was the only time i saw him show real emotion - money

It would be infuriating. Sometimes "his" ledger and the bank statement would be out by a penny or so and he would laboriously go over it again and again with his tiny calculator.  The drama. If i was in the room i would give him the penny, to say look its sorted. He would say its not the point and convinced the bank had diddled him and he would take the statement to the bank, to go through it all again with them. Ohh the poor bank clerk who had to deal with him.  Imagine if you were stuck behind him in the queue!

All part of extracting narcissistic supply of course i now realize.

After my mother died ,  he stopped doing it. I think it was a subtle way of controlling "her spending" , but not his of course. Until this day he never has trouble spending on himself. I remember her complaining about him not providing enough housekeeping money for food and clothes etc. She never spent much on herself anyway. Which suited him and allowed her victim/martyrdom status. She would moan and whine, but nothing ever changed. She would never assert herself, because she felt better moaning, i realize. Its all so f****d up. 

Apologies for going off thread , but it all came flooding back. The dining room table covered in his books and receipts and statements. All bloody nonsense!

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GettingOOTF

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Wow!

I have this crazy thing I do with bills. I just don’t pay them. I hate opening them and I feel physical stress when I get them.

It is beyond ridiculous as all the bills are expected - I know when I’ve been to the doctor, how much my electric bill is etc. but I get this panicky feeling when I get a paper bill (most of them I pay via direct debt). I have actually had multiple bills handed over to collections. It’s ridiculous because I have more than enough money to cover these bills.

Reading all your posts made me realize that this is something I carry with me from childhood. Bills were such a source of stress in my home. Every one of them, even regular ones like the electric bill, was a drama with shouting and screaming from my mother about how we had no money, endless fights about which bills to pay and which to drag out for another month because we just didn’t have the money/we were going to lose the house/“they” would come and take our furniture. Until this thread I didn’t realize how much all of that stayed with me.

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zephyrblue

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I hear ya, GettingOOTF.  :hug:  I have anxiety over bills and finances too.  It takes a different form than yours, but it's there nonetheless.  I've worked hard on it for several years now.  It's gotten better. 

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RapunzelNoMore

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Wow!

I have this crazy thing I do with bills. I just don’t pay them. I hate opening them and I feel physical stress when I get them.

It is beyond ridiculous as all the bills are expected - I know when I’ve been to the doctor, how much my electric bill is etc. but I get this panicky feeling when I get a paper bill (most of them I pay via direct debt). I have actually had multiple bills handed over to collections. It’s ridiculous because I have more than enough money to cover these bills.

Reading all your posts made me realize that this is something I carry with me from childhood. Bills were such a source of stress in my home. Every one of them, even regular ones like the electric bill, was a drama with shouting and screaming from my mother about how we had no money, endless fights about which bills to pay and which to drag out for another month because we just didn’t have the money/we were going to lose the house/“they” would come and take our furniture. Until this thread I didn’t realize how much all of that stayed with me.

I’m also in the “paying bills is scary” clan. Even discussing normal financial things with my DH sends me running for my Xanax. I’ve gotten a bit better in the last few years, but it still hits me hard.

As far as chores, it was always a hellacious time. BPDm had this thing about cleaning house. According to her, clean meant you couldn’t tell anyone lived there. Every so often she would freak out over my room being a “pig sty” cause I had clothes out and my bookshelves weren’t bare. I believe in LIVING in your home. So I never matched her “standards”. I think it was just another notch on her martyr belt to pretend she was the only one who “cared” about “cleanliness”.

And at last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted

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all4peace

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I feel the need to make a certain point about chores. I've read about estranged parents forums in which estranged adult children are described as entitled brats who are upset "because we made them do chores" in childhood. I feel a need to clarify something for myself in this thread.

I think chores are important for kids. Our kids have had to do them since they were toddlers. It started as simple as picking up their own toys, and has progressed to actively helping our family do the work it takes for us to live our lives. Sometimes they are paid (well above minimum wage at this point) and sometimes they are not. We have a basic expectation of approx 15 min of help on a school/sports night, 30 or more min on other nights.

Our DS and DD both know how to cook (although DD hates to), vacuum, and do cleaning or far more physical, tool-oriented jobs. I see this as vital to them developing competency, responsibility, skills, cooperation.

However, it matters if they are sick, if they have loads of homework (school comes first), if they're in the middle of a sport (chores nearly disappear), or if we their parents have extra time in which we can do the work and not need to ask them. School and friends are priority at this point in their lives--teens.


This is not the same as how chores worked for me and my siblings growing up. We were THE taskforce in our household, despite uNBPDm not having a job outside the home. We worked soooooo much. I still don't resent this, but it's a totally different dynamic than I have with my own kids. WHAT nm wanted, HOW she wanted it n WHEN she wanted it were the only things that mattered.

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StayWithMe

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However, it matters if they are sick, if they have loads of homework (school comes first), if they're in the middle of a sport (chores nearly disappear), or if we their parents have extra time in which we can do the work and not need to ask them. School and friends are priority at this point in their lives--teens.

@all4peace, you sound reasonable.  My parents didn't like my putting my homework first despite the fact that they were paying $2K in tuition in the '70s (as much as instate university at the time.)  The administrators were proud of the fact that each class got 45 minutes worht of homewrok each night and yet........ my parents became angry if I claimed ot have homework to do.  It did also make me reduce the number of after school activities that I engaged in.

I remember how on many Sundays we would go to church and then spend the rest of the day at my grandparents.  My father would be come absolutely ballisitic if I pulled a book out and did some homework.

What's going on here?  The need for control.  Maybe they understood that some of myself-esteem came from getting good grades .... I don't doubt that some parents are so in the need for control that they will try to break anything in order to break their child's self esteem and remain in control.......  Even though my parents liked going around talking abot how important education is.