How to Deal with Your Emotionally Immature Parents During the Holidays (and Beyond)
The holidays can be a joyous time. You see the highlights on social media–all those happy family reunions.
But inside, you cringe. It’s yet another reminder that your family didn’t fall out of a Hallmark movie. You’re not looking forward to another nightmare holiday season of mandatory togetherness with your emotionally immature parents.
What could make the “happiest time of the year” the most miserable time of the year? Dysfunctional family relationships, especially those with parents, can sour any occasion.
To be sure, no family is perfect. What you see on social media is a highlight reel. It’s what someone wants you to see about their family.
So what is an “emotionally immature” and how can you, as an adult, manage the relationship?
Sabrina is in her late 20s and a success by most anyone’s standards. She was was one of the first members to join a rapidly growing tech start-up after grad school and has worked her way to a high level management position. She is well manicured and dons her own unique style. Sabrina lives in a top floor Victorian flat overlooking Hayes Valley with her business consultant boyfriend, Alex. If you’re on the outside looking in, Sabrina looks like she has it all. She’s living the dream.
What you can’t see–because she is very careful to hide it–is that Sabrina is deeply unhappy. She spends her life walking a tightrope. If she slips and lets her true emotions out, she feels it will be disastrous.
She spends all of her time and mental energy trying to gauge and control the feelings of others. Sabrina has taken responsibility for how everyone close to her feels.
The person she shows the world is a mask. Sabrina is so terrified of doing something “wrong” or being something “wrong” that she can’t be her authentic self at all. In her mind, the risk is too big.
What’s she afraid of?
Sabrina believes if she isn’t perfect, accommodating, generous, and bending to meet everyone else’s needs, she won’t be loved, or worse, she’ll have real mess on her hands.
Where did she get this idea?
Meet Sabrina’s Parents
Julie, a school guidance counselor and Mitch, an attorney, strove to give their children everything. Their children were privileged to live in an affluent neighborhood and attend fancy private schools. But they were deprived of consistent and resilient, mature parenting.
As most mothers due, Julie strived to be a fantastic mother. Unfortunately, her identity was completely wrapped up in receiving instant feedback from her three children that she was doing a good job. Julie was highly attentive and also highly emotional, swinging between over-involvement in her children’s homework, social life and appearance and quick withdrawal when they asserted their own opinions. As the youngest child, Sabrina learned to swallow her needs and wants to buoy her mother’s self esteem and prevent incesent emotional meltdowns.
Mitch had his own issues. At work, he appeared sophisticated, smooth and stealy. At home, he tatrummed like a toddler when he didn’t get his way. An avid runner and healthy eater, Mitch thrived on controlling his exercise, diet and tidiness at home to manage his wound up and fragile inner world. When something or someone didn’t fall in line with his rigid expectations he would leap into angry and sometimes violent outbursts that sent a rush of adrenaline and helplessness through his wife fearful children.
During Sabrina’s Freshman year of high school, Julie reached the end of her rope with Mitch’s hostile outbreaks and found the courage to leave her husband. Since her siblings had both gone off to college, Sabrina she was left to tend to her fragile mother. Desperate for soothing and validation, and now without a partner, Julie adopted loyal and empathetic Sabrina as her “best friend”. Wanting to stay the “good daughter” instead of rebelling like her older siblings and feeling sorry for her mother, Sabrina obliged.
Now, 10 years later, Sabrina finds herself in my office wondering why she feels so stuck in her life and so unhappy.
What makes a parent emotionally immature?
Every one of us is imperfect. No parent does everything right. Yet, there’s a difference between a “good enough” parent and an emotionally immature parent.
“Good enough” parents are attuned to their children’s needs and wants. And don’t give or expect more than what they need or want. They are self reflective about their own shortcomings and able to apologise when they lose their cool. They have the capacity to tolerate and even respect their children’s opinions and preferences, even if they are different than their own or than what they might want for them.
In her book, “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self Involved Parents”, Lindsey C. Gibson says that these parents create feelings of insecurity in their children because they don’t have their own healthy skills to cope with life.
Emotionally immature parents:
- Have low empathy and are emotionally insensitive
- Have low stress tolerance
- Don’t respect differences
- Seek enmeshment instead of true emotional intimacy
- Demand mirroring
- Can be rigid or impulsive
- Are self-preoccupied and self involved
- Are self referential rather than self reflect
- Like to be the center of attention
When these qualities manifest in extreme and persistent ways they are often of signs of severe psychological challenges like:
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Substance Abuse
- Anxiety Disorders
- Emotional Incest
You may be well aware that your parents have significant psychological challenges. But you’re much less likely to realize how your childhood has shaped your life, and that your current relationship with your parents may still be extremely harmful to your wellbeing.
Signs You May Have Emotionally Immature Parents
You may be thinking, “If I don’t take care of my parents needs, who will? Plus, if I don’t, it’ll just be worse for me.”
You’re afraid that without you, your parents will have a total emotional meltdown, relapse into substance abuse, react with violence, reject you, or criticize you. You’re afraid their whole world will be chaos.
In your mind, taking care of your parents equals taking care of yourself. Your very survival depends on their survival.
This is the absolute reverse of how it SHOULD be. They act like children and expect their children to treat them like parents. Parents are supposed to take care of their children, not the other way around. (At least until they are physically unable to care for themselves and their loving children step in.
As a child, here’s how you may have coped with toxic parents (many spill over into adulthood):
- You were highly attuned to and valued your parents’ needs over your own.
- You regulated your self esteem and anxiety.
- You had to be a “good girl” to please your parents and avoid conflict.
- You developed a false self to survive.
Signs of a emotionally immature parent relationships most often manifest in either compliant or aggressive behavior.
Compliant behavior might be giving in to your parents’ demands, playing peacemaker, and hiding how you really feel so you don’t upset them.
Aggressive behavior includes arguing with your parents constantly, cutting them out of your life, and doing things to rebel against them, even as an adult.
Your feelings about your emotionally immature parents may include:
- Guilt that you don’t do enough.
- Fear of what they might do when they’re angry.
- Sadness that you can’t make their lives better.
- Anger when they try to control you.
The effects of this relationship on you as an adult may manifest as physical symptoms, such as insomnia, headaches, and digestive issues.
Effects may also include:
- Anxiety around speaking your truth
- Co-dependent relationships
- Low self-esteem
- Failure to launch/thrive
- Not knowing who you truly are
Being the Adult
Your parents are responsible for how they chose to raise you. But for many a bad childhood can become a crutch, leaning on the parents to take the blame for your present state. Bottom line: As an adult you’re responsible for yourself.
You’re responsible for caring for your own children and your loved ones–to an extent. You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s behavior, happiness, or emotional state. Please hear this:
You were NEVER responsible for anyone else’s behavior, happiness, or emotional state.
As a child, you weren’t the cause of your parents’ problems, no matter what blame may have been thrown your way.
It’s not easy to recognize the effects of a childhood with emotionally immature parents. For many, it leads to feelings of shame and self-hate and huge waves of grief.
This may sound odd, but opening to this depth of grief is actually natural and healthy. Grief doesn’t have to be related to death. You can allow yourself to grieve for your childhood, for what your childhood could have been, for what your parents could have been. Grieve for your unmet expectations for your parents. Allow yourself to grieve for your loss.
Allowing this grief may open the doorway to overwhelming emotions. Therapy can help.
The role of therapy:
- To tell your story and your parents’ place in it.
- To help you give a name to the unhealthy behaviors you witnessed.
- To make space for grief for your traumatic childhood and compromised adulthood.
- To uncover false beliefs, painful feelings, and hidden emotions like anger and rage that you feel toward your parents.
- To learn new behaviors like setting boundaries, shifting expectations, emotional regulation, and identifying and respecting your own needs and wants.
Wow I don’t feel like I’m going crazy any more. I wondered why I cannot stand up to my very emotionally immature father. He is taking over My life and I feel so totally out of control of the situation. My husband is at his wits end and can’t understand why I try keep him happy. He can’t take it any more and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want this horrible self obsessed man ruin my (normally happy) marriage. I am going to try to get some help. Thank you for this insightful piece.
Really insightful and confirms what I knew all along, that my mum is very emotionally immature. Even though she would have me believe I am neurotic and it’s all in my head, I am going to deal with my anger as I have children to think about and don’t want my issues passing down to the them.
Hi Jo, nope, it’s not all in your head. What you are feeling is totally valid and it’s important to make room for all of the challenging feelings that you’re mom evokes in you. Giving them some space to be acknowledged and felt is a great way to avoid unconsciously passing them down to your children. Feel free to reach out to us at 415 685-4545 if you’d like to some help working through these feelings.
Wow, this explains everything, yesterday was her birthday we went up for the day (entire route there i felt sick) we left at 6 and she complained that we left early, it takes an hour and half get home. She constantly speaks of brother as of he is a shining light, even though he is in prison, she can’t for him to be home “so she can finally have help” I do everything she has ever asked no questions asked, and if I say no she ignores me and that’s just the tip of the iceberg
Hi Lauren, I’m so glad this post was helpful for you! No you’re not crazy : ) Relating with emotionally immature parents can definitely make you feel out of control and negatively impact your relationship with your husband. Please give us a ring at 415 685-4545 if you’re interested in learning how to navigate your relationship with your Father.
Wow! This explains alot.
I still feel angry towards moms selfish unemotional detached behavior. Boundaries are set and my expectations are low from her
Hi Rebecca, it sounds like you’ve made a quick shift in how you respond to your Mom’s behavior. Nice job! Please feel free to reach out to us at 415 685-4545 if you’d like more support exploring how to heal your relationship with your Mom.
I wish I lived in the area. I feel like I could really use some guidance on setting boundaries with my mother. She tries to control me, withdraws and is cold when she doesn’t get her way, throws tantrums, says cruel things… It wasn’t until I met my husband that I realized that not all families behave this way. I feel like I have grown so much as an adult and I’m living a pretty healthy and happy life… util I have to spend a lot of time with her.
She is so cunning that she will fake stability until she wins me over again and then it is right back on the roller coaster. I almost want to cut her out of my life because it would be so much easier and freeing for me. I know, though, that’s not the adult thing to do.
I’ve been seeking counseling for over 4 years. It’s take this amount of time to get to the root of my queries. I finally said enough at 35 and half years old. I am 9 months into low/no contact. I finally recognized this week. My parents are emotionally immature. There’s a lot of healing to be done.
Thank you. This is exactly what I’ve been going through and learning in my own therapy. It just helps to hear it explained so well.
In response to Jen…..My husband grew up in a very unstable home with emotionally immature parents. He too did not know why he was so unhappy, angry and suffering from low self-esteem when he is a very kind intelligent person. Once he started to see his parents for who they were, healing was possible. He has spoken with them on several occasions and they deny that their behaviors were hurtful. He. Has placed boundaries around them which they continue to breach. He has severed ties with them. Please don’t let bleeding hearts make you feel guilty for stopping the abuse. If you have given your parent an opportunity to respect your boundaries and they do not, enough is enough. No guilt is needed. You do not owe them a relationship just because they are your parents. Would you accep this behavior from a friend, most likely no. You said yourself how good you feel when you distance yourself from your mother. Listen to your gut. Stay away.
I’m 16 but I noticed that I never really had a childhood due to my emotionally immature parents. My step father acts like a toddler, lashing out verbally whenever someone states an opinion that’s different to his. I often feel like I’m ruining the family, because I’m unable to “parent” my parents and meet their emotional needs. I see my peers enjoying life and having fun, being normal teenagers, and I die on the inside knowing I’m never going to be able to experience their joy at this stage in life because my parents unloaded their responsibility unto me. I don’t really have anyone to talk to, so making this comment makes me feel a bit better. Life could be a lot worse I guess, at least I have a family and a home. This article really made me feel better. Thanks 🙂
Hey Dalir, I’m 17 and in a similar situation with my mom. It’s exhausting and causes an enormous amount of depression in me because of my inability to appease my mother’s bipolar nature. It’s very alienating and I don’t share with with my peers because I don’t want to appear ungrateful so I also feel lonely. It’s nice (well, actually sad) to hear that someone else can relate. If you’d like to be friends I have Instagram and I think it’d be cool to talk to you
I’m 15 and I also have this situation with my mom and am unable to talk to anyone. I’m constantly terrified of her next outburst and have to calm my temper and feel unworthy when I can’t. My dad is also very not caring about his faults and doesn’t really ‘parent’ me much. I’ve never been able to talk properly about it because of the automatic terror that makes me delete whatever I type out, so it’s nice to see that some people are able to communicate properly.
I am in a very similar situation. My parents are very immature, they have been abusive in the past and have done some of the most stupidest things I have witnessed a person do.
I am now living away from home in college and I realise how psychologically damaged I am because of this abuse. I wish I could have spoken to a counsellor or even a teacher about this much earlier and they could have done something about it. I was physically stronger than them and I knew that they would not physically overpower me but I have not had a normal, safe and happy upbringing due to living so much of my childhood in fear and anxiety. I wish I could have escaped from this situation and lived a life where I was not under so much pressure and chaos.
My advice to you is to seek all of the help you can as soon as possible. Speak to a professional like a teacher or a counsellor and tell them about everything. I know that it can be hard for children to find the courage to speak to someone but it’s the best thing you can do to change your situation. People are afraid to report their abuser because of retaliation. If you are ever in a dangerous situation you can call the police and they will protect you. The emergency services will never ignore someone in danger, even if actual harm has not occurred yet.
We can fight injustice together.
What frustrates me is that the educational system has not trained children to deal with this and so they don’t know what to do if they get abused at home. Children are not taught about fear in relationships, about retailiation, about getting taken into care and about what people should seek help about. Social services set themselves up for failure if they can’t get to the people who need their help.
I would like to share this message with everyone here because I feel that it is very important.
Both of my parents are emotionally immature. My mother is very oblivious and cold unless my dad needs something. My dad is an adult toddler with massive mood swings. Impulsive when angered, happy, or sad. When I’m out with them at restaurants I have to make sure I’m extra talkative and polite because they ignore servers and then get mad at them for little things like speaking too fast or not reading their minds. I am moved away so I am mainly detached from them but it still concerns me.
My dad was emotionally unavailable to support my mother. My mum has no friends of her own and if she is around adults her own age, she pretends everything is okay and test to act normal.
At home it was a different story.
Moods constantly changing as she struggles with her own life, blaming us kids for her stressful life and my dad who doesn’t help her.
I was the oldest sibling. From the age of 4 i was trying to act as she needed for the fear of her disapproval. Then she had my brother and sister. I basically filled in on their upbringing, knowing my mum couldn’t cope.
My dad? He never spoke to me. He was happy I was there to be Mums best friend and keep her happy.
I hated my dad for not talking or validating his daughter. I thought dad was the cause for all my anger and directed hate towards him my whole life.
Then he died when I was 21.
I didn’t cry.
I didn’t feel.
I just again felt my mum needed me instead of anything else.
I took more responsibility for my brother and sisters development. I gave them the best of me.
I also became more my mum’s best friend.
– I thought I was the most special person and thrived being the positive role model for siblings.
I didn’t think of myself. I was 34 when a psychologist finally made me realize I wasn’t responsible for my adult siblings (who had the worst behavior and started treating me with no respect)
And my mother’s problems weren’t my own.
That was 6 years ago. I still feel no identity of my own. Stuck at home where I feel safe and wanting life to just pass me by.
My mum acts like a victim. If I say anything that damages her low self worth she attacks me with guilt and acts like a teenager.
This overtakes my soul and I am filled with emotions I can’t let go of.
I am the only one in the family that sees this bigger picture of our family life.
My brother and sister think I’m a loser for not being able to participate in life.
All I want to do is die and be free from this crippling behavior.
My life is wasted, I am great at supporting others but for myself secretly want to die.
I need to see a psychologist again, I can’t handle this alone.
Does it look like I’m being the victim now? Or am I validated that this story of my life is hard and no wonder my life is stuck.
Hi Kate, Hope you’re doing well in life. While reading your story I can relate to everything you said and even more the only difference we have is that I am a son in this picture. I’m 25 and I already feel lost, stuck, unhappy, emotionally exhausted, always worried about other people’s behaviors their approvals and the list goes on. I feel that you can understand my situation. I want to know how did you cope up with everything? and how did you make peace with yourself. Because, I’m so much preoccupied with my thoughts about insecurities about not being good enough and all.
@Kate, I totally can relate your story because we all have the same issue of parents from my experiences there is nothing we can help with them and always remember the fault is not with you it is just their trick and their own weakness + fault to caused you felt that you actually owe them something or you responsible for them but the truth is they have to be the most selfish person in our life they don’t care how you live or how you feel at all they just care about their own benefit all the time. From what I had tried and I feel a lot better that is started to learn to let go the nonsense responsibility start to learn to be selfish to take care of yourself and i dare you to go out and live yourself far from them get the life you want and to make this effective you have to temporary get them out of your life. For long-term right, its your choice because its your life if you find out they actually trying to be nice just go back once in a while when you feel comfortable, whenever you feel afraid or uncomfortable with them just go back to your own life you owe no body. =)
It did help me out for a while to get geographically far away, but through my 20s they would frequently visit without any invitation(Seattle). I wished I had moved out of the country, as my mom hates foreign travel. When I lived in Tijuana, Mexico for a short time they never even talked about visiting, and it’s so close to the states, I wouldn’t mind moving there permanently one day, very beautiful.
I so appreciate this article. I think for me, one of the most painful and difficult parts to cope with is that despite adjusting my expectations of my parent, doing the work in my own therapy, and fostering other support (friends, husband, work) I still find myself feeling stuck in the past, and continuing to be disappointed when she’s not emotionally there for me. At 31, (and a therapist myself), I “need” for my mom to be different. It’s possible that I haven’t changed my expectations as much as I thought I had. The grief for what was, and what wasn’t, in my childhood, is still painful.
My mother was neurotic and so serious about everything. My father was immature and just downright selfish and mean. His failures in life were our(four daughters) fault. We were never good enough. He moved to Florida a few years ago and he is in his upper seventies now. He called my sister to go down and help him after his shoulder surgery. She said he still acts like an “ass”. Me and my two other sisters learned to tell him “no”. I am not flying from Pennsylvania to Florida every time he needs something. I didn’t tell him to move there at his age. Now my sister and her husband are a little upset that they got stuck going down there. I told her to say “no” next time. He can find help down there.
I am 58 years old and never amounted to much of anything. I always worked hard but always felt like I didn’t belong in this world. Everyone was better than me. I never felt smart because actually I wasn’t. I don’t live my life blaming them but I grieve for my childhood and lack of self-esteem.
I know some people grieve the death of their parents or fear losing them if they are still alive. In my case it will be such a relief.
This is literally my childhood. Childish mom who lashes out at her kids. Aggressive, narcissistic, perfectionist father who hasn’t spoken to me in over 10 years. My older sibling left the house early because the situation was unbearable. Eventually, my immature mother finally found the courage to leave my father. Just like in your story, I was left to care for her at around 15. She could not deal with basic stressful situations, did a lot of lashing out, and was way too busy with her own unresolved emotions to ever really pay attention to my needs. She is extremely competitive.
This left me with enormous feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and an identity crisis I struggle with still today at age 28. I feel like I never fully “grew up” and I can definitely say that I do not feel supported by my family at all. I do use my past and parenting as a crutch. truth is, I don’t know how to move on and get over this.
I’ve just found this article over google but I’m a guy and the site clearly says “women’s therapy”.
But the article resonates SO closely, that I’m actually wondering if you offers men’s therapy as well? Or perhaps you have a good reference for men who had a very similar childhood to Sabrina’s?
Thanks for the wonderful article.
I discovered this on my 21st birthday when my dad threw a tantrum when I told him I didn’t feel like taking a walk with him and wanted to recharge my social battery instead. I told him I really wanted to go swimming with him instead sometime and used my own words against me. He literally copied me like a toddler. I felt so bad and I started thinking; that’s when I discovered something deeply flawed in our family.
My mom shelters him emotionally from any and all critique because she doesn’t want conflict between the members of our family and she doesn’t want him to get angry (which are basically just emotional tantrums) I have no idea how to bring this up without splitting my parents and causing a divorce- but I have to bring it up to my mom somehow before talking to my dad about this. I cannot let him live his life like this.
You don’t have to step in and fix things. It’s sad to see our parents like this, but since you’re over 18 you need to start planning your own future and let your parents be dysfunctional, you can’t solve that for them. I let my parents disapproval hold me back so much over the years, I’m 36 and broke, trying to find something that works for me. I never wanted to do what my parents tried coercing me into career wise, and with no support I just kinda floated around not putting 100% into my career cause I didn’t believe in myself. I’m trying to massively turn around now but not by fixing my parents, by altering my own thinking a behavior and taking care of my hurt inner child. Be careful parents can be very persuasive even if you don’t respect them, you just want everything peaceful. But the world isn’t peaceful, just focus on your own growth.
I totally hear this loud and clear. I cannot change my mother her habits and behaviour, however I can change mine. I dearly love this woman but she doesn’t act appropriately as a parent should, there is a role reversal. Instead she tries to manipulate a situation and then kicks off like a teenager who can’t get their own way. By not rising to it she doesn’t understand but I hope she listens. Recognising that you can change is the first step is going to shape your life the way you want it. Good luck.
I have the emotionally immature mother described in the article, and my father is like a minion or enforcer of her immaturity. I guess he feels it would be worse for him if he stood his own ground and/or asserted his own opinion ever. So in my case I lack a strong male role model.. I ended up more like my mom, aggressive and controlling. My dad does blow up but only at children or small animals, I’ve never seen him challenge another adult. So I have to take care of my wounded inner child everyday, more so than most folks I know. And I have to watch my anger from exploding cause it can be very dangerous lol.
I have been saving up for YEARS to go on a vacation to France, and I finally can afford it. My mother was upset that she was not invited, and in turn, planned a family vacation with my entire family, and left me out. I cried and cried all night, because my mother is always so self-absorbed. She intentionally left me out, even though the trip to France is a wedding anniversary for my husband and I.
My sister has narcissistic personality disorder, and the older I get, the more I’m realizing my mother has it too. I’m terrified that if I truly do cut out my family, I will be taken off the will, and my mother will turn all of my siblings and their children against me.
It is profound what is said in each part of the article, it is impossible to read and not to travel mentally to various moments in my history. Congratulations on the content he is very relevant
I’m glad to see that these kinds of things are posted. I haven’t escaped my childhood yet, so I don’t know if I have a right to say this, but I’m glad that my parents are also capable of being wrong.
The article and comments posted are coming somewhat as little to no surprise to me after reading it all. I am 32 and have been dealing with emotionally immature parents since I can even remember. They divorced when I was 9 years old and mom moved us to Florida after which dad came back into the picture just a couple years after. We lived together again for about a year before they decided to separate, yet again, when I was just about to enter high school. The rollercoaster is real and has made me strong in so many unbelievable ways that I can’t even expect them to be or act responsible for anything whatsoever. Anytime that dad is angry or unhappy about something it is almost predictable that it is someone else’s fault and never his own. Mom has a little more of an explosive approach where she will take a lot of blame and “ignore” or internalize it as if that is just a normal way to live and then blow up at everyone for the self pity she projects unto everyone else which she does not realize was a catalyst of her own self pity. The amount of damage psychologically, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. that it has done to my siblings and I are infinite. My case personally was a little more severe I believe in comparison to my siblings because I am the first born male child “son” and had at least in my head some kind of sense of devoted duty that family is the number one thing to care for or about in any shape or form. Their needs and wishes always came first in any reference to my words, behavior, actions, work/school performance etc. So I put a gigantic amount of pressure on myself in some ways and have recently had to decide for myself that life is not worth this kind of self deprivation. I could not even keep a friend or any type of marriage or love relationship because I felt compelled to have my parents approval which is never possible. After countless near death moments and brinks of suicidal thoughts I had to make a choice to let them come to terms with their emotional immaturity and not to expect anything from me after what they put me through. They believe that if they help their kids at all (usually moneywise) that they are hurting them. Complete falsehoods have destroyed their sense of taking care of their own family. In actuality, it is because of their refusal to help each other mom and dad that made the kids feel obligated to be financially successful with no emotional “baggage”. They are still in denial about their life choices and will take a lot of time before the healing even remotely begins with our case. I most likely always will still need help in letting them go and moving forward to the next chapter of my book unless somehow they can put their individual needs aside which I am very doubtful will happen ever.
It was refreshing reading everyone’s stories. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone. If you hadn’t read “How to Deal with Emotionally Immature Parents, “ I highly recommend it. I read the book myself and ordered the sequel, “How to Recover from Emotionally Immature Parents.”
I also have an immature parent. When I was a kid, he wasn’t always so nurturing and even snapped at me sometimes when I didn’t do what he wanted or didn’t immediately know what to do. As an adult, it seemed like he only expected more from me. He didn’t show a lot of empathy and even got angry when I said I was tired from work, even when I had to be there at 5AM.
Now I have my own place and I’m trying to work on getting over the past and moving on with my life. I see my dad once a week and I keep things casual with him. It hurts that I have to keep it that way but as an adult, I know I have to do what I feel is best.
I know it will take time and work to recover but already I feel more in control of my life since I moved out. One other suggestion is to just do what makes you happy: that alone is a big step to recovery and obtaining your own identity.