My relationship with my father was a strained one. The more I think about our relationship, the more I seem to understand about him. He grew up in a poor household and had to work to support both his parents and 6 other siblings. It was a tough childhood and as a result he never wanted a family centered lifestyle.
I understand that now that I’m an adult. He was forced into it when he was arranged to marry my mother. Needless to say they had me and my brother. It was something he didn’t want so we never developed a healthy relationship with each other.
There are times when I can’t help but wonder if I could have done anything on my end. My father passed away in 2014. My relationship with my mother continues to be strained though. Here’s what I’ve discovered helps keep our conversations civil.
Find some middle ground
I’m very much like my father and I’m sure my mother sees this. We keep our relationship bare bones minimal. Phone calls are made to wish each other on our birthdays and major holidays. My brother is also a huge help because most of the times we end up talking through him because he’s a great mediator.
Keep conversation light
It’s better to not go off topic. We keep our conversations simple and pleasant. We don’t talk about life choices or big decisions. She knows I’m doing well here and that I’m working towards a Dutch lifestyle. That’s it. I didn’t even have her on my friends list when I had a Facebook.
Don’t bring up the past
My mother had big plans for me as I grew up. I ended up failing those expectations. She had wanted me to become a doctor not work from home. I know it upsets her and it’s better not bring up the past. It’s important empathize sometimes. I understand I didn’t meet her expectations and it was probably hard for her to cope with. But we cannot live the lives our parents wanted for us. We can only live for ourselves.
Enthuse about the future
This one is also difficult to do with my mother. I know there are some people who have better or worse relationships with their parents. If you do wish to keep your parent in your life (and not cut them out), this is the way to keep it positive. Get excited about what the future holds because it’s something to look forward to.