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Old 05-20-2020, 07:28 AM   #1
HollywoodBard
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Default Parental Ownership Problem

Now that I’m getting older, 58, I’m looking back at life and what happened to me and certain questions I would like to get an answer. If anyone could tell me a term in psychology for what happened to me so that I could further read about it I would greatly appreciate it.
It would take several pages to explain why it happened but the simple version is my aunt who lived close by and her friend decided when I was 11 that either I or my young sister would be moving in with my aunt when we turned 21 since my aunt had dedicated her life to taking care of her parents. My sister and I were taken ‘for a ride’ and the details given to use that we could choose who it would be but one of us would be doing it.
I ignored it as I am a male and could clearly see my aunt was expecting the ‘daughter’ she never had. My younger sister totally blocked my aunt from that day forward as her way of dealing with the request. She would refuse to come in the same room with my Aunt from that point forward when my aunt visited.
As I grew older my aunt would sometimes go into great details about taking her mother to the doctor, or other event. I was hearing more than I needed. By that it was like a director going over a movie script with an actor as in what was expected. It was always in the background of this great ‘bill’ that I had to pay. My grandmother had a stroke when I was 11 and was a burden for my aunt.

Sure enough, when I told my aunt I was renting my first apartment she went nuts trying to get me in to live with her. She wanted to repeat all that she did for her mother except she wanted me to play the role she had done. I refused of course and then came 15 years of very dark anger and the question that was asked of me thousands of times of ‘who will pay me back?’. It was clear that she considered all she did for her parents as a kind of deposit and she wanted to withdraw the payments from me. After a year of her dark screaming and howling I moved out of state but found that only had limited solace.
So is it common for parental figures to expect ‘ownership’ of children of what they will be doing as adults?
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:28 PM   #2
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Hello HollywoodBard: I don't know as I have the answers you seek. But I noticed this is your first post here on PC. So I wanted to at least welcome you to Psych Central.

I do think, years ago at least, there was something of an assumption that adult children would take care of aging relatives. (I presume this assumption still exists to some extent, but perhaps not to the degree it did years ago.)

You asked if there is a term in psychology for what happened to you. I don't really know of one. But then I'm not a mental health professional. So the fact I don't know of one doesn't mean there isn't one. Perhaps other PC members will have some suggestions.

In the meantime, here are links to 6 articles, from Psych Central's archives, that may perhaps offer some guidance:

How to Spot Manipulation

Manipulation: 15 Tactics A "User" Will Use To Control You

How to Cope With a Master Manipulator

Protecting Yourself from Manipulation

5 Manipulation Tactics Narcissistic Parents Use To Control Their Adult Children

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/recov...nd-demean-you/

I hope you find PC to be of benefit.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:32 AM   #3
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Some states actually have laws requiring that adult children be responsible for their elderly parents. I looked it up once before on here, several years ago. Pretty sure michigan is not one of those states.

I am currently reading Leaving Home by David Celani, which has a lot to say on this subject.
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Parental Ownership Problem

I can see that I really did not communicate what happened. My aunt was very dedicated to her mother and she expected me to move in with her and dedicate my life to her as 'payment' for taking care of her mother as if I was an object that bought.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:22 PM   #5
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I think you communicated quite clearly. My dad once told me that his father told him what to do (and what to be when he grew up), so he was telling me, and if i wanted to be able to choose, i had to have my own kid to boss around. Very cleverly i told him, oh no dad, the buck stops here! Its kinda like a Ponzi scheme, or multi level marketing.

I think the way to look at it is, adults take responsibility for their decisions. You reap what you sow.

But legally, no you cant buy or own another person. You can make it psychologically difficult for them to leave, which is that that book is about.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Parental Ownership Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by HollywoodBard View Post
Now that I’m getting older, 58, I’m looking back at life and what happened to me and certain questions I would like to get an answer. If anyone could tell me a term in psychology for what happened to me so that I could further read about it I would greatly appreciate it.
It would take several pages to explain why it happened but the simple version is my aunt who lived close by and her friend decided when I was 11 that either I or my young sister would be moving in with my aunt when we turned 21 since my aunt had dedicated her life to taking care of her parents. My sister and I were taken ‘for a ride’ and the details given to use that we could choose who it would be but one of us would be doing it.
I ignored it as I am a male and could clearly see my aunt was expecting the ‘daughter’ she never had. My younger sister totally blocked my aunt from that day forward as her way of dealing with the request. She would refuse to come in the same room with my Aunt from that point forward when my aunt visited.
As I grew older my aunt would sometimes go into great details about taking her mother to the doctor, or other event. I was hearing more than I needed. By that it was like a director going over a movie script with an actor as in what was expected. It was always in the background of this great ‘bill’ that I had to pay. My grandmother had a stroke when I was 11 and was a burden for my aunt.

Sure enough, when I told my aunt I was renting my first apartment she went nuts trying to get me in to live with her. She wanted to repeat all that she did for her mother except she wanted me to play the role she had done. I refused of course and then came 15 years of very dark anger and the question that was asked of me thousands of times of ‘who will pay me back?’. It was clear that she considered all she did for her parents as a kind of deposit and she wanted to withdraw the payments from me. After a year of her dark screaming and howling I moved out of state but found that only had limited solace.
So is it common for parental figures to expect ‘ownership’ of children of what they will be doing as adults?
The short answer is it depends on the family.

There are a few things I see in your post you might want to read about.
Family dynamics (read the part: "what influences family dynamics" http://http://www.strongbonds.jss.or.../dynamics.html
Emotional blackmail What Is Emotional Blackmail and 5 Personality Types That Use It – Learning Mind and Emotional blackmail - Wikipedia
Emotional incest (sometimes called covert incest) Emotional Incest: When Is Close Too Close?
Family roles Family Roles |
Family systems theory : http://web.pdx.edu/~cbcm/CFS410U/Fam...temsTheory.pdf
This is a start.
I would also point out there are other forces at work: the particular culture your aunt is from and the culture that you are from. There are likely expectations -- or no expectations -- depending on the culture you are from.
My mother came from another culture; had me in the culture that I grew up in and then was bitter about the fact that I didn't somehow intuit the culture of her youth with all its expectations (even though she never talked about it and I only learned about it from a class).
There are also gender roles at play here. You said you were "lucky" to be male--I take that back--I think you said "I ignored it because I am a male." What did you mean by that? That you think "normally" it is the girl who takes care of old family members? Yet in some cultures, it is the son who is responsible for the aging parents. Daughters have other responsibilities.
I'm not going to rewrite everything I wrote here--I will note in looking back over your original post you are talking about the past. My advice below is for people who are in a situation such as you describe now.
The bottom line as far as I am concerned is this: Don't do what you don't want to do (or cannot do) and don't beat yourself up over it; nor mentally beat your aunt up over it either. Just because she drank that particular Kool-aid doesn't mean you have to.
It's not your fault your aunt doesn't have a life partner or friend to get old with. She could develop a relationship (it needn't be sexual) with another person or persons to help her with those things she might reasonably need help with. You or your sister could be counted on (assuming you live in the area) to be back up in emergencies; if you wanted to do that--and only in emergencies. But nowhere in my book do you need to be a martyr.

Can I just add here that I know far too many people who just assume they can impose on others in a million ways from not covering their mouth (yeah, worked with a lot of craptastic people like that) when they cough to not wearing a face mask today, to not trying to stay healthy and foolishly assuming that they will die quickly; burning through all their relationships so they can be the winner or always in charge, or "it's my way or the highway!"; drinking or drugging and letting others worry about the inevitable consequences; mistreating their partners, siblings and children; being too selfish to make and maintain friendships. You know where all that leads? No place happy and every place burdensome.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:27 PM   #7
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