A two part question about your PD parent making you feel like a child

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jennsc85

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The first part is just that- as an adult, did/does your PD parent make you feel like a child? I've been NC and now VLC with my PD mother for over 2 1/2 years now. When I was heavily in the FOG with her, I was a grown woman with a husband and children and my own home, stable job, etc. not depending on her for anything (other way around actually!) but somehow, my mother made me feel like I was 15 years old. The things she'd say, the way she'd act... "I can have your children taken away just like that!", "You're pregnant again??? You should have an abortion!" (making me feel like I was a teenager announcing my second pregnancy when in reality I was in my late 20s with a perfectly stable life!) Or saying things like "You'll never get away from me, I know too much about you!", "Don't you ever talk to me like that again!" (loudly, in public! which made me embarrassed and feel like a child being reprimanded) I always felt like I was pretending to be an adult with a stable life and that really I was just a kid again completely under my mother's control.

It wasnt until I was NC with her for close to year that I started feeling confident in my adult-hood. Is that weird? I almost feel like I carried myself differently and more confidently because I didn't feel like someone was going to swoop in and take me back to my mother's house like a teenage runaway.

Second part- before I was NC, especially when I was in my 20s, I felt very defensive when people said joking things to me like "You're just a baby!" or "I have socks older than you!" It wasn't meant to be offensive, but I took great offense to it because I always felt like, I've been helping my mother with panic attacks since I was 7 and she made me read a book about panic disorder. I was forced by her to mediate arguments between her and my father when I was 8 or 9. When I was 13 she threatened to pull me out of school and home school me (my worst nightmare!) if I didn't call my father and say horrible things to him that she had written out for me. When I was 15, I was missing school to ride with her to work because she said she'd miss work and get fired unless I came with her.

All of that to say... I felt like an adult at the ripe age of 8! So when I was, 22 or whatever, and someone told me "You're just a baby!" it made me fume because I felt like I had lived an entire adult life before my 18th birthday. Did anyone else with a PD parent feel very adult-like at a young age and take offense to remarks about how young they were because of it?

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Andeza

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Yes, and yes. I too was infantilized, and parentified. In my case whenever my ubpdm would start in on on trying to dismiss me because of my age, I started to shut her down prior to going Nc. As for other people, well it doesn't help that I've always looked five to ten years younger than I actually am (pushing thirty now) but I always come back with a crack about "would you like to see my white hair?" Because I have quite a few. I've started to not care so much about it. Time marches on, and it's no longer quite such a bad sore spot for new.


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11JB68

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I felt like this with updm and still do with Updh.
 :wacko:

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mcmlxxix

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No matter what my age she's always treated me like someone half my age.

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Thru the Rain

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Yes - my uPDM flips between infantilizing and parentifying me. Both so frustrating! It was helpful when I learned these words and could at least name the behavior.

Since spending time here coming Out of the FOG, I've been working on letting this be her problem and her issue. But having said that, she never threatened me. The second your M threatened you, your children, your ability to live as a adult, I think she crossed the line from "she has a problem" to "this is an abusive person who I no longer allow in my life".

We're NC with H's family, and I know NC can be very hard. But imo you made a good decision by no longer allowing you M to threaten you or your FOC.

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wisingup

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Interesting thread.  My mom too, switches between parentifying and infantilyzing.  I think the dynamic is:
1) parentify when she wants me to do something for her or just wants attention
2) infantilize when she thinks I'm feeling too good about myself and
3) neither of those when she herself is happy and not currently threatened by my happiness.

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treesgrowslowly

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I agree with the comments already made about their ability to parentify one minute and then infatalize the next.

Wisingup you nailed it. That's the pattern i saw. It could change from one second to the next. Mercurial is a good word for what I saw.

When I learned about dissociation I honestly felt this may be what state she could go into at times. I don't know about others here. But sometimes my NPDm would say things that were clearly about her childhood not mine. Once I hit my 20s I would notice something was really really off at times with what she was criticizing me for. Like it wasn't even something I did but it was something she had done at my age.

People who didn't grow up with this have no idea what we are even talking about. 

Trees

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Maxtrem

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I've been going through this my whole life. Parentify me to use me and treating me like a child to demean me, to denigrate me, etc.

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jennsc85

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Itís funny- I know the terms infantilizing and parentifying but I had never thought they applied to these situations I described in my OP- but they totally do.

Iíve said it a hundred times on this forum but it never ceases to amaze me how similar PD parents operate. For so many years of my life something about my mother felt so ďoffĒ but when I described it to other people, they didnít get it which made me question if maybe it was really ME who was the problem. Learning terms like this has helped me so much to understand and realize whatís been going on for all of my life! 

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Mathilda

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Before I went NC my uPDM did the same. Grabbing me by the face when she wanted to show me something, like you would do with a 3 year old.
Every time I went to make coffee she asked me  'did you check if there's water in  the coffee maker?' 'Did you put coffee in the coffee maker?' Every time, over and over again, it drove me nuts.
When I was 40 my mother insisted that my father put lights on my bike. I hardly ever used that bike, so what's the point? Eventually I gave in, because I didn't want a fight over those stupid lights.
On the other hand uPDM wanted to discuss all her martital issues with me. She even wanted to discuss the fact that my father did not want to have sex with her. I was 14, heck what did I know about sex or marital problems?

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BefuddledClarity

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Re: A two part question about your PD parent making you feel like a child
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2020, 06:41:16 AM »
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The first part is just that- as an adult, did/does your PD parent make you feel like a child?
Yes, despite having my own family, my mother still talks to us siblings as though we're children. When we're out in public, I kid you not she'll make stupid comments like "What do you say?" after we receive, say, food from a restaurant for example. She says it before we get a chance to extend our OWN courtesy of saying "thank you". It feels like there's no "winning". If you talk back(general you), you look like a rebellious teen. If you do what you were going to do anyways, you look like a mama's boy/girl who's own self-authority got stripped down, you know? Or maybe I'm overthinking it to be honest...

Anyways, one time she had the audacity to move my furniture around in my dorm room when I was in college. She said something similar to "You're room set up looks stupid, that's why I'm fixing it!" as her excuse. Well, it doesn't matter if you don't like it. You're not the one sleeping or living there, now are you?


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Did anyone else with a PD parent feel very adult-like at a young age and take offense to remarks about how young they were because of it?

Yes again, I have a severe case of "baby-face" and if I'm not dressed up or wearing a full face of makeup, I get asked 20 questions by strangers such as "Aren't you a little young to being buying alcohol?"...No, not at all. :no_shake: I'm older than they think haha. But back to the PD part...my mother would say something alone the lines of "You wouldn't know!! Because you don't have experience/are young/etc" to disqualify anything I said.
Taking baby-steps, one day at a time..

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Thru the Rain

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Re: A two part question about your PD parent making you feel like a child
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2020, 01:21:12 PM »
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When we're out in public, I kid you not she'll make stupid comments like "What do you say?" after we receive, say, food from a restaurant for example. She says it before we get a chance to extend our OWN courtesy of saying "thank you". It feels like there's no "winning". If you talk back(general you), you look like a rebellious teen.

I would make sympathetic eye contact with the server, wait a for a short pause and using a mild, long-suffering voice say "You can see my M is afraid she didn't raise us right. But thank you for refilling my water (or whatever you are thankful for)". And then carry on with lunch. Clearly your M is playing to an audience, and this will take ALL the fun out of it for her - and maybe eventually she'll stop.

You can modify this for any situation where you M pulls this stunt, and eventually it might even be fun for YOU!

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BefuddledClarity

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Re: A two part question about your PD parent making you feel like a child
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2020, 12:13:46 PM »
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When we're out in public, I kid you not she'll make stupid comments like "What do you say?" after we receive, say, food from a restaurant for example. She says it before we get a chance to extend our OWN courtesy of saying "thank you". It feels like there's no "winning". If you talk back(general you), you look like a rebellious teen.

I would make sympathetic eye contact with the server, wait a for a short pause and using a mild, long-suffering voice say "You can see my M is afraid she didn't raise us right. But thank you for refilling my water (or whatever you are thankful for)". And then carry on with lunch. Clearly your M is playing to an audience, and this will take ALL the fun out of it for her - and maybe eventually she'll stop.

You can modify this for any situation where you M pulls this stunt, and eventually it might even be fun for YOU!

I...I'm going to have to steal that response! ;D This is great, haha. My brothers used to have the same complaint as me, about how our mom made us look and told me there's no point in "correcting" her. I usually just give her the look and shake my head(used to get into stupid arguments before that), but I think I'll be giving these responses for now on lol.
Taking baby-steps, one day at a time..

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SparkStillLit

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Re: A two part question about your PD parent making you feel like a child
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2020, 01:20:47 PM »
Nmum does this, along with a whole host of other hideous behaviors. (Since I like to say "mum", I should say "behaviours", but I'm not trained to it. Anyway, I digress.)
She contantly corrects anything I do, has a better way, re-parents my children (well, the one left in the house, but she's always done it), re-does anything done in her presence, clucks and gives "tips" on whatever I've done like cook or clean that is just so substandard, constantly "advises" on medical, jobs, oh you name it, financial, whatever. All the same crap she did when I was a kid.
Maybe it isn't the same, maybe it's just a shitty behavior she's always done.