It is sort of unfortunate that you feel that way towards your parents. Perhaps a phase could have been okay (and enough) but feeling more dislike towards them as you get older should be something.
I’ve written a previous post talking entirely about whether it’s normal to dislike your parents at all. (I recommend you also read it: Is It Normal to Dislike Your Parents?)
While I think it’s perfectly fine to feel such dislike, it’s about time we discussed what now seems to be a lost cause, where this dislike seems headed nowhere but for the worse.
It’s worth noting that a lot of family members actually do not know why someone becomes estranged. A University of Cambridge survey even found that parents or children are not sure who initiated the estrangement.
Family estrangement is pretty common. This reinforces the idea that disliking your parents shouldn’t be that bad. It sounds pretty ironic, given that parent-child relationships are among the most enduring in a person’s life.
We should also note the rise of individualism. More and more people realize their values and how they could be vastly different from that of their parents. This is not a bad thing per se, but it goes to show that adult children would gravitate towards people who share similar values, not necessarily those they were born into (their families).
The older I get the more I dislike my parents! (Here are the reasons why.)
There could be a million reasons your dislike towards your parents is only getting bigger, but I think it all boils down to three main categories:
1. You have not worked on the relationship for a very long time and you have simply drifted apart.
Relationships are a two-way street. You and your parents have (presumably) huge differences, but that is still part of working out a relationship.
Try to remember the last time you spent time with them. Did you at least talk about straightening something out for the sake of your relationship?
As an adult, time seems to fly faster and faster that we tend to forget to nurture our relationships.
2. You’re still expecting them to change.
By now you should know that change only happens if the person is willing, understands its benefits, and if no one else is imposing it upon themselves.
Perhaps you’re still setting your expectations so high that you forget they’re only people, just like you, who have their own business to mind.
This keeps you always on guard instead of just enjoying the moment and their company.
3. You and your parents simply don’t have that much in common.
There may be borderline-grave reasons for this. (Remember we’re only talking about dislike and not hate.)
On the other hand, your parents could be “good enough” but you just dislike their, say, hobbies, values, views, mannerisms, taste in fashion, humor—basically most of their traits, behaviors, and characteristics!
And you have tried reconciling this for a long time now—within yourself and with them—but it has always proved futile.
Should you tell your parents about your growing dislike towards them?
This is ultimately up to you, but consider not telling them, especially if you have tried doing this in the past. Telling them at this point is like adding fuel to the fire. You can now only live with this growing dislike without having anyone getting hurt.
Besides, if you have an okay way of communicating things, you might have not developed that dislike at all. Your parents then will most likely just shrug off any “complaints” you may be having at this point.
This also relates to how they have been treating you, even since when you were just a small child. Most of the time, you could predict how they are going to treat you now that you’re an adult by how they have treated you in your helpless and dependent childhood.
You could give yourself an ultimatum, say, try it out three times. Then after that, you can happily move on with your life without having to dwell upon this kind of limbo.
How do you deal with this growing dislike towards your parents?
1. Acceptance goes a long way—for your wellbeing.
It may be time for you to move on to another (and better) phase of your life.
Acceptance is letting go. While letting go can make you grieve, it’s usually for the better.
You dislike them by the day. No one seems to give way. But that’s okay.
2. Allow yourself to introspect.
What is it about you that makes you dislike your parents? Could it be out of privilege? Some kind of revenge? Unresolved issues?
Don’t be unfair. While you absolutely know what kind of people your parents are, try to know yourself more. One way to do this is to ask yourself good questions: situational, existential, practical, or any other sorts of questions. (This is mainly why I’m drawn to philosophy!)
3. Try to maintain the relationship but set your boundaries.
Is it possible to get in touch with your parents that you dislike once in a while? Of course!
Just think that all sorts of other things exist and you dislike a significant portion of them, too—and it’s alright. You don’t have to like everything to live a happy life. Same goes for your parents.
4. Guard your intimate relationships.
This is especially for your significant other/spouse and your children.
If your dislike towards your parents is becoming some kind of chronic anger, it can hurt your relationships with your loved ones.
If you have an insecure type of relationship with your parents, note what research has to say:
We found that children with parents whose relationship could be characterized as insecure in relation to their parents (the grandparents) were more likely to be angry and aggressive with peers, or shy, withdrawn, anxious, or depressed—or both angry and anxious. They were also less likely to do well academically.
5. Build your support system.
It may be a challenge to build your support system, but it can be done. It just needs work.
Undeniably, your parents are a huge part of your life, and having to put them lower in your List of Important People could be hard.
You don’t have to go through it alone. Who knows, someone like you may just be waiting to be found!
Did I grow up in a toxic household?
There’s a slightly higher chance that you indeed grew up in a toxic household. A good foundation includes a loving and nurturing environment, good communication, and the faith that you would bring out the best among yourselves as family members. A lack of these things could yield a toxic household.
Actually, as an adult you can now probably tell whether you were raised in a toxic household. As someone who could achieve mental clarity (unlike when you were a child), you could look into your early childhood with some level of objectivity.
As a kid you might have been either a dandelion or an orchid, but if you dislike your parents way into your adulthood, then that must be something you should look into so that either way you can move on into a rather enriched and content life.
We cannot deny the ghosts of toxic parenting, especially from older generations. Learning about your history would be a great way to broaden your understanding not only for yourself but also for the younger people in your life.
Ultimately, your dislike towards your parents can be a blessing in disguise.
Just like pain on burned skin, dislike signifies there must be something—something that’s not necessarily wrong, but something you should look into, guaranteed!
You could start seeing your parents as mere adults who just happened to be your biological father and mother.
Then start asking questions such as:
- What am I missing that up to now I still dislike them?
- If we don’t have that much in common, does it warrant this feeling?
- What now if I don’t like them?
- Is there a remote possibility that I lacked something in this relationship?
A dislike towards your parents is normal. But treat it as some point of a beginning—to look into yourself, or at the relationship at the very least.
Who knows, maybe a little adjustment could go a long way. And if it does not work out, you’ll have no regrets that you at least tried. The world is waiting for you to enjoy, but some things should be better left just as they are.
Image Credits: Photo by Tyler Chandler on Unsplash