My domineering parents disgust me to the point of driving me to tears

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 30s, and sometimes I feel so sick and disgusted with my parents that I can’t stop crying.

After I got married and moved out, I felt happy for the first time, thanks to my husband. It made me realize that I had been suffering because of my parents.

What I don’t like about them is if they don’t agree with something, they won’t listen to anything I say and just reject it outright. Whenever I asked my parents for advice, they would belittle me and never show an ounce of sympathy. I would always try to read their expressions and thought I needed their permission for everything.

I get scared whenever I see a Line message from them. I find myself rushing to respond because I feel like they’re watching me, and I end up trying hard to please them.

They probably don’t even realize how much I hate them. They might even think that I’m a good daughter. I tried to confront them once before I moved out, but I ended up apologizing.

—G, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. G:

The term “adult children” is used to refer to those who have grown up with abusive parents, and you might be one. Fortunately, you are living with a good partner and away from your parents. Please treasure your current situation.

I think it would be good to temporarily cut off contact with your parents by blocking their calls and Line messages. But you probably can’t do that because you’re worried about angering or upsetting them. My heart aches thinking about you being trapped by the spell of having to be a “good daughter.”

Why not try and view the temporary disconnection with your parents as a way to help regain a slightly better relationship with them? They might not realize how much pain they caused you. They might even have convinced themselves that they did their best to raise you. This is common among these types of parents.

I don’t know if they will realize what they did to you or not, but unless they do, there is no way to repair your relationship.

Another way is to write a letter saying, “For the sake of our future relationship, how about we have a cooling-off period to think about our past?”

If you speak to them directly, such as in person or over the phone, they might attack you again, leading to more hardship for you. That is the one situation that needs to be avoided.

—Masami Ohinata, university president