Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.
Can you tell me more about your situation? How are your parents involved in your life now? What kinds of things do they say to you?
Thank you for the additional information.It sounds like your parents withhold their love from you by making you "prove" that you can meet the high standards they set. Most likely, they learned themselves when they were young that love equates control. That means that they feel they express their feelings through their "concern" for your well being. To them it may seem like they care. To you it feels like control, which it is.If you grew up with your parents treating you this way, you most likely never got the unconditional love and attention you needed to feel secure in your own decisions. Parents who base their love on control often make their children feel they can never measure up and that can create a low self esteem.Right now, your parents are probably using the fact that you need their help to control you. Otherwise, they would not have the ability to direct your life as they see fit. In order to get away from that control, you may need to change your circumstances. There are two ways to do that. One is through physically changing your contact with them. See if you can find alternative child care, maybe a friend or other family member. The other way to change things is emotionally. The first step is to build you own self esteem so your parents remarks and attempts to control do not affect you as they do now. Here are some resources that may help:http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/self-esteem-struggles-and-strategies-that-can-help/http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/10/30/6-tips-to-improve-your-self-esteem/You may also want to look into learning more about toxic relationships and how you can help yourself to not respond to them:Hurt People Hurt People: Hope and Healing for Yourself and Your Relationships by Sandra D. WilsonToxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward and Craig BuckAlso, consider seeing a therapist to help give you support and to find new ways to cope with your parents.Another way to deal with your parents is to begin to see what they say to you as their issues and not yours. You are an adult now and although it is painful to realize that they cannot offer their love in a healthy way, you are still ok as a person. You are valuable and worthy. So when they do try to control you, nod your head and say thank you for the advice. Then do what you feel you want to do. Seek out the advice of those you trust. And it may also help to keep most of your personal life to yourself. The more you tell them, the more they will feel justified to butt in to your life.I hope this has helped you,Kate
You're welcome! I am glad I could help.You have already taken the most important two steps you can take to make this better- you recognized there is a problem and you are reaching out for help. Once you do those two things, you are well on your way to feeling better.The next step is to gain the self esteem that they could not give you as a child. By learning more about self esteem and emotionally abusive parents, you can see where the patterns are from your childhood and how they continue to affect you. And I also recommend counseling. Having someone from outside the situation to help you gain insight will make a big difference. And you are always welcome to come back here as well. Talking out your feelings can help you with the stress.Kate
Hi, I noticed that you relisted your answer. Do you still want an answer from me or would you prefer to work with another expert?
Ok, thanks for letting me know. I was not sure if you were unhappy with my answer, causing you to re list. I am on line most of the day and sometimes into the evening except for early morning and late night, if that helps. But you are free to work with anyone else as well. Sometimes I have appointments or other obligations and I cannot be on line.The fear you feel is most likely motivated by your self esteem. As a child when your parents put impossible expectations on you, you learned that no matter what you do, you do not measure up to their standards. Because your parents were the only way you had to measure what the world was like, you probably assumed that everyone held the same standard as your parents. Most children who are emotionally abused feel that way. But now it is hard to change that thinking as accept that you do not have to reach impossible standards in order to be ok as a person. Since your parents are still in your life, they continually reinforce these standards adding to the belief that you are not good enough.
This may also be why you present a different front to others. You may feel that the one you do have is not acceptable and they would find fault with you.It may help you to begin to see your parents expectations as dysfunctional. They learned to have these high expectations because they were raised by dysfunctional parents. So they absorbed those beliefs and now they put them on you. But those beliefs are harmful, as you can see from how you feel. It is going to be impossible to ever meet them. So by working on seeing these beliefs as wrong, you can help yourself to get the "voices" of your parents out of your mind and replace them with more loving and gentle expectations of yourself. To do this, begin by listing the expectations that you feel your parents have for you. Then list realistic ones. I can help you with that if you want. You can also learn more about what realistic expectations are by reading the resources I listed. There is also another book you may want to try that I have found very helpful:Adult Children of Abusive Parents by Steven FarmerThis is a learning process so give yourself time. Kate