Here are thirteen ways that controlling parents will use to manipulate you:
- "You will not be in our will" or threats of being disinherited.. Now this is pretty humorous in my family, as we are products of a family that went through the great depression. My family was poor in other words, and is not quite the Roosevelt family, if you know what I mean. Even if they were the Roosevelt family, I have not been waiting around for parents and grandparents to die in order to inherit or survive. I have not been scheming of ways to get real estate signed over to me, so that nursing homes can't take it when they are later old, and instead it would revert back to me. Go figure, huh? However, my S Donor and Step Monster have been very involved in seeing to it that "stuff" comes to them from their parents demise. My father used to always say "you and your step brother will get the summer house" as a way to keep his control over me. This never worked because 1) Andy is like his mother and I don't want the house especially if I am going to have to adhere to his "rules" and 2) They are in debt, so to pay off the estate you would have to put money in anyway. Enjoy it, I urge my step brother. The price is too high, and I am just not interested.
- Withholding affection. There were always pictures of my step brothers around the house, but never mine. My S Donor's co-workers had no idea he even had a daughter as he never talked about me. When I was moving up in corporate America, suddenly the S Donor wanted something to do with me.
- Triangulation. A third party speaking on behalf of another, so that other does not need to confront the problem, but can make the one spoken to feel guilty.
- So that brings up, of course, guilt. So if you confront your bully, things are said like "it makes me feel so bad that you said that" while ignoring what was said or apologizing for it. They would rather make you feel guilty that acknowledgement of their abuse made them feel bad. Then it becomes your problem again if you let them. Course it could be guilt over an infinate number of this (not coming home, not allowing them into every nook and cranny of your life, not allowing them to have financial involvement in your affairs)
- Making it hard or uncomfortable for your family to see you. This is done by talking behind your back, and spreading lies especially if you are not doing the same. If you are being fair about not talking behind one's back, they will take advantage and do it. They have no caring that they are making others feel uncomfortable, they only care about themselves. This is not to say that others should not be accountable for their own actions or decisions.
- Threatening to withhold college tuition and other finances when you are young, and not quite ready to be out on your own OR not faced the fact that you need to cut the ties NOW.
- Threatening to cut you off emotionally if you don't make the decision in the way they want you to make it. Most children from families like this don't realize this really could be the biggest gift to you, and you will not be able to count on most parents like this later.
- (related to triangulation) Will try to get the confidence of a spouse or best friend to argue their position for them OR to try and turn them against you. If you have a good spouse and best friend, this does not usually work, and is only quite annoying.
- Try to keep control by giving things of financial or material value.
- Early on from childhood, they try to instill the sense that you will never survive without them, and that any seperation from them would certaintly ruin your life.
- Will not respect your boundaries. Even when told what they are, they will find excuses not to respect one boundary.
- You only hear from them or receive affection when they want something from you.
- Your pressence at family gatherings is only requested for appearances or to be the transportation for someone else. You are never valued unless you reflect what they want appropriately or can do something "useful" for them.
- Critical of your appearance and/or clothes which are never good enough (or posture or skin condition as with S Donor) so as to let you know that you are not worth anything. It doesn't matter that your parent may not exactly be a runway model.
- Critical of your spouse or any healthy friendships or relations that you may have. They should be the center of your world.
- Allows others to abuse you emotionally, verbally or physically to let you know that you deserve it, while not getting THEIR hands dirty.
- Never actually apologizes for anything without putting an addendum, excuse, or critisism of you into it.