Because it makes them laugh…

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Because it makes them laugh…
« on: August 08, 2021, 07:03:54 PM »
Does anyone else feel obligated to violate their personal values just to make their parents laugh? I just caught myself today on a rare video call with my parents (so they can see my youngest) putting down other people who I actually like a lot. I try to keep myself from talking on these calls, but my oldest daughter was just “buh bye“ after 2 minutes, which is fine by me, but I was dancing so they wouldn’t get upset at her. I blamed the neighbor who kindly watered my plants on vacation for the fact that my tomato plants caught rot and I told the story of my daughter‘s friend‘s birthday party, where the sprinkler accidentally was set up next to the cake. I really like the neighbor and the birthday party mother and wish I had less social anxiety so we would be better friends. My husband said I said these things to make my parents laugh. I have to say, I felt a huge release in the moment when they reacted. This is how our family worked for years, I guess. I feel like such a fool and so ashamed. Does anyone else feel an obligation to go against their values for their parents‘ amusement? Any advice for eating the shlt sandwich after you realize what you did? Another example is: My dad forced my sister and me to laugh at his “who is the favorite child” jokes my whole life. I just began to quit doing that and it feels so good!!


Cat of the Canals

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Re: Because it makes them laugh…
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2021, 09:13:54 PM »
Yes. My husband is also the one who first pointed it out to me. One rare thing I have in common with PDmom is that we both watch Project Runway. When we used to talk weekly, she'd want to discuss the previous episode during our phone call whenever a new season was on. But she mainly wants to focus on the negative: how someone made a terrible, hideous dress, how annoying that other person is, how she hates this judge... She will admit to liking something or someone now and then, but 90% of her comments are insults. And I'd go along with it, even when I didn't agree and even though that is NOT why I watch this type of show. Sometimes I'd even throw in an insult of my own, and I'd often be rewarded with one of her evil cackles. She's the same way about her neighbors. She has two in particular that she just loathes and will go on and on about their latest "crime" and I have found myself almost egging her on sometimes even though I find her hatred of these people completely baffling and weird.

It's only since coming Out of the FOG that I can see it with full clarity and have decided I'm no longer playing along. It makes me feel bad and icky. It is not who I am. The last time she brought up one of her nemesis neighbors and the drama of the week, I just said, "Oh." and did my best to change the subject by asking a "safe" question.

In our defense, our PD parents teach us to mirror them constantly (versus them mirroring us, which is how it's supposed to be with parents and children).  They want us to like everything they like, laugh at what they think is funny, only have values that align with their own. When we don't, we are often punished. It is much safer to agree. To go along with whatever they say and do as if it is "normal" and "good." It goes against the grain for us to say, "I don't agree with this, and I'm not going to participate any longer." So don't beat yourself up too much for falling into this trap of "approved" behavior. It's what we were taught to do from a very young age, and it takes a lot of effort to recognize it and decide to change.



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Re: Because it makes them laugh…
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2021, 06:01:08 PM »
One of my first steps Out of the FOG was realizing how differently I talked about other people with my mother vs. with anyone else. Once I saw that, I couldn't un-see it, and I felt that same compulsion you describe above.

I also kept her happy by oversharing about my own life, especially complaints, much more than I was really comfortable with. That was how we bonded.

I don't miss any of that.