Parentified

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Pepin

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Parentified
« on: January 23, 2020, 03:30:03 PM »
My DH no doubt has been horribly parentified over the course of his life and spousified to a degree when his mother became a widow.  His being parentified has translated into some odd behavior with regards to our kids. 

Our kids are teens.  They have their own issues and most are on par with what other teens go through.  They haven't done anything in my opinion that is off the charts.  And I try my best to support them when they ask, LISTEN and let them be.

DH on the other hand takes great offense to some of their behavior and has taken to throwing some tantrums.  He feels disrespected and invalidated when they don't turn to him or take his advice - advice that was not asked for.  I feel that he is behaving like a child rather than an adult in these situations and it really hasn't been helpful in his relationship with them.  As the other parent, I can't just look away.

As a result, our teens don't tell him much about anything.  They would rather come to me or figure it out on their own.  They don't want to "bother" him for fear of backlash.

This is a problem for me because now my teens have started dropping hints that they think DH was and is a poor choice for me.   :blink:  They aren't entirely wrong.  He WAS a good choice for me...until he allowed PDMil to have more of a presence in our lives.  I could not have predicted that. 

I feel that I am one of those fairies from Sleeping Beauty that goes around waving my wand smoothing things out for both my teens and DH.  Essentially, I am standing my ground for our teens and I will not side with DH when he has a tantrum.  But, I have been trying to smooth things over for DH when our kids call him out to me.  They easily see his behavior as self destructive and inappropriate - yet they are not completely adults yet and don't have the confidence to challenge him.  They stay silent instead and tell me later what they think.

I don't quite know what to do.  I think I need to start saying what I feel to DH about his behavior though.  He is incredibly stubborn and used to being both right and a person  that people look up to.  He cannot stand to hear that he may have flaws because he's been put on a pedestal his entire life by his mother -- and at times, his father.  No doubt that this was because DH's mother was dissatisfied with her choice of husband...but she never did anything about it.  Couldn't.  They had to put food on the table before anything else.  It was a partnership, not a marriage.  I'm not interested in doing things the way DH's parents did....I want what I signed up for: a healthy marriage and family.  I was parentified, too but escaped.

Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Parentified
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 04:13:44 PM »
I might have some suggestions, Pepin, because I went through some similar things myself.  I'll think about your post and respond more later.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Parentified
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 09:22:41 PM »
My ex-husband (although at the time we were still married) seemed to not know how to be a parent once our children reached pre-teen age, and this continued when they were teenagers.  He struggled with helping fulfill their emotional needs, which becomes increasingly significant as children grow.  He also struggled with fulfilling my emotional needs. For the most part, I coped by overfunctioning:  continuing to be a good mom while also filling in for or covering up my husband's gaps and lapses.  Occasionally I would speak to him about particular incidents or behaviors.  For example, he would yell at one of our kids while trying to assist the child with homework, and he expressed great frustration about that child's procrastination, even though he (my husband) also has ADHD.  The children are now young adults and live far away from me and my ex (who reside in the same state but in different cities). If the children say anything to me about their dad, I try to support and empathize with them, without attacking my ex.  On occasion, I will encourage him to be a good father.

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Lauren17

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Re: Parentified
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2020, 01:57:52 AM »
Pepin, so much of your post resonated with me.
As DD has progressed through her teenage years she has increasingly withdrawn from speaking to her dad about personal issues. He has two default responses: invalidation through teasing or pontificating. Since my uPDh hasn’t seemed to notice, I don’t have his feelings to soothe. However, DD has also made more insightful comments on his behavior. This is a difficult situation at best. I’ve been trying to acknowledge her point of view. And I’ve been talking to to her about each person taking responsibility for their actions. I may say, “Yes, I understand it’s frustrating when he does X, but I can’t make him change.”  Or “Your dad is an adult. He controls his behavior.” 
I have intentionally stopped making excuses for his behavior or smoothing things over. I’m trying to apply the Clean Up Rule about everyone cleaning up their own mess.
In my opinion, you’re doing the right thing by supporting your kids and listening to them. Keep up the good work!
“You held me down, but I got up.
Get ready, ‘cause I’ve had enough.”
-Katy Perry