I recently had a falling out with my parents. The issue is that they have very detailed expectations of how I and my husband should live our lives and how we should behave towards them and do not respect the fact that we have our own lives and schedules, so they have a habit of expecting us to drop everything right this second whenever they ask us to help them with whatever they are doing and trying to push what they think is the best way to do stuff on us.
And every time we don’t meet their expectations, they get very upset with us (e.g. they think that we should have a car, so although we have several times before explicitly said that we don’t want or need one they continue to send us links to car sale or lease offers and got very offended when we declined their offer to gift us their old car).
We tried to set boundaries with them but so far it was not successful. The example of the most recent fight was that they were working all day renovating the cellars in their apartment building in which my husband and I live and according to them I failed to come see them in the cellar and offer them drinks and lunch and my husband did not jump fast enough to help them identify the things in the cellar that belong to us.
During the fight, my parents told me that I am a spoiled and ungrateful daughter who lacks basic courtesy and has no empathy for her parents who are doing everything for her and started complaining about my husband’s behavior to me. I flipped out at that (for which I later apologized) and defended my husband. It is true that they are doing a lot of things that either directly or indirectly benefit me, but most of those things I don’t ask for and also do not want.
My unintentional model on the situation:
C: Parents and I say words
T: My parents accusing me of lacking empathy is the pot calling the kettle black
A: I flip out at my parents and leave them standing without saying goodbye, later I spin thoughts about what has been said, I ruminate about what I could have said to them in addition, I imagine and practice what I will say to them next time I see them (e.g. giving them examples where they lacked empathy towards me in the past), I discuss the situation over and over with my husband, it becomes the predominant issue on my mind, I collect arguments why I am right and they are wrong, I mentally draw away from them, I berate myself for giving them so much power and for wasting so much time thinking about this stuff, I beat myself up for not having been able to keep my cool in the fight.
R: I lose connection to my parents and to myself
Now we have scheduled a meeting with them on March 9 to go over the whole situation. I need help with how best to navigate this meeting in order to not lose my cool again and how to be able to set boundaries from a place of love. Thank you!