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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families.

(1000 Posts)
singingprincess Sat 28-Jan-12 13:25:06

There is a word document with all the relevant links which I will try and find, but in the meantime...Post away.

LadyClarissaArseQuack Tue 14-Feb-12 17:00:54

My mum and dad are Irish.
They met at a tea dance in this country (UK)
Both are fabulous dancers; they obviously had/ have a connection.
Neither of them had dance lessons; they just move like it's a ballet. To a slow waltz or a slow foxtrot; quickstep, watching them move together was in itself music.

I was born in a grotty Midlands town bedsit. I was supposed to be born (at home) in Ireland but the awful snow intervened.

I've met the midwife that delivered me. Since I've had my own child; and been through birth, which according to my own midwife "was medieval"; and very similar to my own mother's birth (by account and according to my dad).
My Dad doesn't speak much.
That's all I want to say at this point.

crestico you describe very well how I feel. That desperate need for approval and inclusion that always leads me like a moth back to the flame. And forever apologizing.
I have not read Toxic parents and I have not had counselling. I am kinda testing the waters by posting here and finding it very difficult to be totally frank about my parents behaviour. A small part of me still thinks that I am being unreasonable and, although it was as bad as I think, why should I have expected any better.
I don't think that I am ready for any more disclosure than this atm (I mean to a Councillor etc)
LadyClarissa welcome smile in your own time. I believe there is no rush. I'm from a small inland village in the south of Ireland too, I believe there is no more depressing a place.

arfur Thu 16-Feb-12 13:39:24

I feel a bit not worthy coming on here in a way but just wanted to say that on Friday my mum put the final nail in the coffin of our 'relationship' when she texted my brother and told him that altho she isnt a vindictive person she hopes my dad comes back and haunts me. He died last May. He wasnt perfect by any means but I loved him dearly and also his wife who died 2 days before him. My childhood was turbulent to say the least and I now understand how greatly that has and still does affect me now. My dad and his wife were married for over 50 years with no kids of their own and my mum was his mistress on and off for about 20 of those years. My dads and his wifes family only knew of mine and my 2 brothers existence in the days leading up to their deaths. I mediated between both families for my mum to attend the joint funeral of my dad and his wife. My mum has now turned against me as I was executor of their estate and I didnt give her a share of the proceeds from the sale of my dad and his wifes marital home which they lived in together for 60 years. Now im heading into AIBU territory I think so ill leave it there. However the point is that having made the decision that I no longer have a mother and told my kids that we wont be seeing her again has literally been a weight off my shoulders. Not that Im not sad but Im sad about losing the mother I want and need but not the one I actually have unfortunately. I will order toxic parents and am considering counselling as I really want to put it all behind me and move on.

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 16:11:26

Have I found the current one of these threads? I've been looking for somewhere to tell my story so to speak for so many years and it never happens.
I've had lots of counselling etc but things keep coming up and the more that comes up the bigger it all gets and then I can't cope. That doesn't make any sense but i'm struggling with suicidal feelings today and could really benefit from posting what happened to me.
Can I do that here? its not very nice and I always worry people won't believe me because the police won't help me but I could do withgetting it out somewhere other than a private notebook

PeppermintPasty Thu 16-Feb-12 16:24:03

Hi arfur and NHAN, welcome to the thread, you are in the right place NHAN.
I haven't posted in a while as I can't face it atm, having counselling and a lot of things with my mother are coming up, but I didn't want you to think no one is listening. We will all support you here as much as possible. No judgments about being "not worthy" either. Everything you have been through is valid, everything you are going through now needs an outlet xxx

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 17:48:57

I'm going to be selfish and just post my life history and come back to read others posts. Sorry for the poor little me tone but i think i need to do it.
My mother thought i was going to be a boy and never bonded with me at all, she didn't want me and has admitted that many times. On the night i was brought home from hospital my sister had her first asthma attack and nearly died. I think this was the start of my mother blaming me for ruining my sisters life.
The sexual abuse started at a young age and my earliest memories are from about 3 or 4. The main person was my father and it carried on until I was 19 when he violently raped me again and i left home.
Because I always knew my mother wanted me to be a boy, my father used that against me and constantly told me she didn't love me at all (which was true). I told my mother I wanted to be a boy so she took me to the doctors and started looking into an operation etc. I don't know how she found someone to listen to her mad ramblings and agree to it, but I did start to take some medicine to start the process off, but within days told them I didn't really want to be a boy, I just wanted her to love me.
Things got much worse and by now my sister and I were being taken in the middle of the night by our father to be abused by other men. He worked at a prison and the abuse even happened inside one of the cells once.
I guess it was a ring but i didn't know that then.
We used to be shoved in the boot of the car and threatened with death if we spoke or moved. He used to use our pets against us too and often cats and dogs would go missing, some never returned and I know he killed them.
I was quite young when I told me mother I wanted to die and rather than respond like a normal person she arranged it and very kindly asked me how. I wanted to drown in the sea so my father took me there late one night, tied something to my foot and tried to drown me. I was terrified and changed my mind, obviously, but he wouldn't stop. Luckily someone came along the beech and saw. Somehow my father convinced him he was helping me, or scared him off i'm not sure.
They tried to drown me again in spain later that year but a stranger helped me. I sat on the beach with a spanish family helping me while i coughed up loads of water and my parents just stared at me from the sea. The spanish family looked very shocked when they discovered by parents didn't care but i think the language barrier stopped them doing anything.
I continued to be raped and abused for many years as i said. It became more and more violent and the only thing stopping me telling anyone was his threat to kill my horse.
A few years later in counselling it all came out and I went to the police, I had forgotten he said he would kill my horse. My horse died of unknown causes not long after, luckily i got there in time but he died with his head in my arms and i will never forgive myself .
The police won't help me and i think it is a cover up. I know that sounds insane but its taken me many years to feel strong enough to talk about what happened without the fear that people won't believe me. I don't care now, I know its all true and as much as i've tried to convince myself i'm mad, i'm not! I'm pretty sure the local police were somehow tied into the ring and therefore i will never get justice. This is the hardest part! I'm now a mummy of 2 and trying my hardest to do a good job, but its so hard sometimes to move on from all of this.
There are lots of things my so called family have done since but i think i may have typed way too much already. Thanks for reading this x

areyoumad Thu 16-Feb-12 20:34:43

Hi Nhan, I'm so glad you made it over here.
I just wanted you to know I've read what you've put and I believe you, every word of it.
Please don't think about leaving your children they need you so much, I bet you are doing a fab job with them.
I'm sure someone will be along soon with better wise words than I can offer.
Do you still see you family?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 16-Feb-12 21:11:17

NHAN, I'm so sorry for what you went through as a child, and what you are going through now.

The best and strongest, and most long-lasting validation we can get is from inside ourselves. It is beyond appalling that the police is not helping you, but whether they do or not, the best thing you can do is know within yourself that you are a deserving and valuable person, that your parents were horribly, horribly wrong to do what they did, and no-one can take that truth away from you.

baskingseals Thu 16-Feb-12 21:13:39

nhan, i just wanted to say that i believe you too. i am so sorry for what you have been through. have you got someone in real life you could talk to?
thinking of you.

Nhan, you are an amazing, strong woman and I know your story is true. Thinking of you

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 23:08:20

Thank you! It means so much to be believed. I have no idea why people think I would make it up to be honest. If I wanted to lie i'm quite sure it would be about happy positive things not hideous things i'd really rather were not true.
No I don't see them now. I tried to face my father but he will only see me with a solicitor present and when I said ok to that there were more excuses. I did let my mother back into our lives twice since my 4 yr old was born. Both times she faked being nice for a few weeks but her true colours shone through. They have phoned ss on me many times for absolutely nothing, luckily ss know its malicious. They turned my partners (now ex) parents against me. They've seen solicitors to try to sue me for deflamation of character and see if they can have me sectioned. The most worrying is my sister has said she will get my eldest son off me and make him live with her. Apparently she plans to stand outside his school and tell him I am mad. Luckily she lives a long way away. She is of the view that children lie about being abused because they can't handle being psychic. I think she needs sectioning personally as do most people who meet her but my mother protects her and they still plot mad craziness together.
Their craziness does still scare me and I often worry what else they may have been involved in. I finally managed to get the police to warn them off last year but they still send presents for my children for xmas and birthdays. I think I will have to take it to court to get this to stop eventually because I don't want my children knowing them at all. I just can't face going through it all again yet. It so draining. I'm pretty sure their plan is to push me over the edge until I kill myself, well they have admitted it is. I don't know how I came from that gene pool, I'm quite normal compared to them. When i'm not severely depressed anyway smile

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 23:10:25

Oh and I am having counselling again at the moment but there's so much its hard to know what to tackle. I'm trying to work on my confidence as a mum though because thats the most important thing.
I might just start a therapy fund for both children now though, just in case

areyoumad Fri 17-Feb-12 07:32:04

Do you have to go to court to get them to stop sending presents? Could you not write to them asking not too instead? Or just forward the presents to the charity shop or even return them unopened?
I'm thing the saying they're sueing you is to try and detract from what you've said, your mum needs to try and control the situation.
Could you tell your family you have moved and that you won't be giving details as to where.
Take Care

NHAN Fri 17-Feb-12 08:14:46

Thanks areyoumad, I moved 20 times but they kept finding me. They always used to know everything that was happening in my life and I've never been sure who is telling them, but it makes it very hard to trust people. My mother is a very good actor and will make people feel sorry for her because she just wants to make sure her grandchildren and daughter are ok. I wish people knew what she was really like. I had managed to lose contact with them until I met the father of my children and it turned out his parents were friends with a friend of my parents.
I have written to them, texted, phoned, asked in person hundreds of times. I have explained they will not see my children and why. Nothing works. They even went straight to a solicitor to see if they could sue the police for issuing a harassment warning. The first thing my mother then did was write to me to say it wouldn't stand up in court so she would not be leaving me alone. I used to return them but now she finds someone to drop them off to the house, all to make herself look like the doting granny. I know they have seen solicitors because when i've looked for one myself a few couldn't see me due to conflict of interest or something like that.
I've tried everything over the years, over and over again. They won't give up and I don't think i'll be free of it until they are dead. Then there is the posibility of my sister carrying on. They've said they will carry on until I kill myself, but hopefully they won't win!

NHAN Fri 17-Feb-12 08:16:35

Arfur well done for taking the step to remove your mother from your life. I found it hard too but sometimes it is the best thing to do. Hope you are ok

arfur Fri 17-Feb-12 09:59:06

NHAN I am in awe of you and your strength! I'm sure you don't feel that strong but believe me you are to have survived all that and to be still here. Your kids will be very proud of you once they are old enough to understand xx

I am pretty good thanks, feeling mostly kind of empowered I suppose but with a niggling sadness/guilt which I am hoping will fade with time. I am looking after my gorgeous niece today who is 10 weeks old I am her honorary gran as well as her aunt now so I reckon that means I can spoil her twice as much smile

a very small thing has made me finally post on this thread.

text message from my mother to say 'well, no news from you then. hope all ok.'

there is no news. she can call me. but apparently because she is old, i have to call her (i do call her), to check she is ok, otherwise how will i know if she is still alive or not, she could have died from the cold, or fallen down the stairs, and no-one would know. these things might well be true. but that is as much to do with her own refusal to do anything about it (the cold, the house).
and that sister of mine, well, since she's had the guts to actually cut her out of her life, mostly, of course she is now just awful. and fat. and anyway are you sure her eldest son isn't gay?

maybe it will be just short bursts for now. but it has to come out. this thread is helping me see that her actions were real, and that while some were just a bit 'not-nice', a lot were shit and anyway, the way it made/makes me feel is valid, no matter what it was.

i'm just glad dd will never have to grow up like i did.

thank you for this thread. hoping everyone on it is doing okay.

Hello Cupid,
Its a bit quiet in here at the moment isn't it?
I'm not much good at advice but I wanted you to know that I have read your post and you are not being ignored.
Hope you are OK.

arfur Wed 22-Feb-12 16:45:23

Toxic parents arrived yesterday. Not sure whether I want to read it yet or not.

Cupid in my experience it's usually the little things that cause the big problems keep strong for your dd.

SomeOtherName Thu 23-Feb-12 22:32:34

My family is a mixture of two pre-existing families and the children of a later marriage. My Dad hated my Mum's children from her first marriage, my Mum hated the children from my Dad's first marriage. They married almost certainly because my eldest full sibling was on the way.

My Dad and I had a great relationship, my Mum and I did not. My siblings (all older) had, as far as I understand it, a rotten relationship with both parents, sometimes involving physical punishment; all of us lived through emotional and physical neglect. There was a great deal of anger and resentment directed at the children from the parents, exclusively for me this came from my Mum and intensified after my Father died before I reached my teens.

As a result there was a great deal of resentment between the children from each side and to a certain extent the later children of both parents.

My Mum was suffering from a progressive, physical illness, one of the common associated problems is Depression, I understand this better as an adult. Her life was a million miles away from what she wanted and felt she deserved, I'm not excusing her, but I wish I'd understood as a child that most of it had nothing to do with me.

My Mum died several years ago, the family history polluted the process, there were some arguments, the ones that tried to do their best managed to bitterly offend the others. Some of us stayed in contact for a while after the funeral but it petererd out, some of us exchange Christmas cards. I tried to keep in contact with my closest sibling but the last answer machine message wasn't answered. A recent accidental meeting with this sibling has led to what's taking place in a few days.

It's the final act of my Mum's death, something outstanding that needs to be done. Four of us are taking part, others lost contact with us long before her death, others since and I have no contact details, if anyone has them they are not admitting it. Two of those taking part would not be except that I insisted that they should be contacted and given the chance.

I'm okay in general, almost entirely. I wasn't for a long time, MH issues are common in my family but a mixture of AD's and then CBT pretty much sorted me out.

I used to think of my Mum as "the Goblin behind the door", I'd be walking along, getting on with life, everything okay and bang, a phrase, noise, tone even smell and crash straight into a flashback (can't think of a better way to describe it), the "Goblin" had jumped out from behind the door. A mixture of anger and guilt.

So, the thing that's coming, it'll be good to get it done but I'm struggling with some emotional "flashbacks". Anger and guilt mostly, worry that if my siblings arn't in a good place that this could become a competition in misery and if it does go horribly wrong my closest sibling is going to be "I told you so"-ing.

I'm determined not to be kicked to pieces by all this again and this post is part of that process.

Where I am at is:

1. There is not better or worse when it comes to toxic families, just different.
2. In a few days the "Goblin" will be completely "buried" and she really can't hurt me anymore, if she'd been capable I'd have been ducking ectoplasam (?sp) soaked frying pans for the last few years [weak humour emotocon].
3. If my siblings want to channel her I ain't playing along, but I ain't holding grudges either.
4. I usually only drink at Christmas, there's some left over Archers in the house for after the event, thankfully.

Only a few days to go.

Thanks for the airspace.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 07:14:45

Just posted on another thread but think it might be worth getting some of my feelings out here.

My mum thinks she is wonderful. If you asked her what sort of person she is she would claim that she is kind, thoughtful, only interested in making other people happy and always happy to help. I think she genuinely believes this. She is not.

From the earliest ages (6+) I remember spending whole days in my room, unable to come and join in with normal family life until I had apologized for some perceived slight.

My sisters never made her angry so this was justification that it was all my fault. I was told this repeatedly. Years later my sisters can see my mum for what she is and this is a great source of comfort that finally my feelings are in someways validated: I wasn't the bad person.

There are no "big" things she did, just continual shouting, losing her temper, smacking (once across the face) she would stop speaking to me for weeks ata time and make no effort to reconcile of we had a row. It was always my fault.

She never said she loved me or was proud of me. She never cuddled me - this was apparently my fault as I wasn't a cuddly baby.

Once when I hemoraged after an operation she dropped me at the hospital and left before I had emergency surgery in the middle of the night because she was going on holiday. After I found out my unborn son was going to die and we needed to retunr to UK she said it would be better if I didn't come home (we live overseas) until after the weekend as she was having her retirement party and my rescue might spoil it.

I can barely look at her when I see her I am so angry. But she would never acknowledge her behaviour so there is no point confronting her I just seethe inwardly whilst listening to others talk about how wonderful she is.

As a family we continue this charade of respectability but the day she dies I know I'll only feel regret for not telling her how utterly appalling her behaviour has been.

slightlysalted Fri 24-Feb-12 08:22:19

Being the child of a dysfunctional parent is wounding enough, nevermind as Sara says you are literally the only person they pick on. (BTW Sara why do your sisters think she's the way she is?)

Someother I love the goblin analogy. You sound like you've really got your head around it.

I've got issues with both M&D but reading this makes me realise that you have choices, also never heard the term gaslighting before and think my mum is possibly the queen of it all. "I never said that" etc but my brother has witnessed it so i don't feel quite so ridiculous. My brother believes that my mother attempts to put me down to reassert herself. She needs to believe that she's cleverer, prettier etc than her daughter as she defines herself as being attractive to men.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 10:22:15

Slightly I'm not really sure what my sisters think about why she is the way she is.

We don't really talk about it too much. That is to say we bitch and moan constantly about her day to day madness but to delve too far back is incredibly painful for me, and I think also my middle sister who although younger than me feels a certain amount of guilt for going along with the "Sara is bad, it's all her fault" construct.

I suspect my mum has a personality disorder of some sort. She is incredibly self absorbed to the point of being blind to others, she is selfish and plays the martyr to great effect.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 24-Feb-12 10:49:19

I can barely look at her when I see her I am so angry. But she would never acknowledge her behaviour so there is no point confronting her I just seethe inwardly whilst listening to others talk about how wonderful she is.

As a family we continue this charade of respectability but the day she dies I know I'll only feel regret for not telling her how utterly appalling her behaviour has been.

Why not tell her, then? If only in a letter that you don't actually need to send if you don't want to? Just to get the anger out; stop the seething from injuring you.

I did that and found it helpful, which is why I am suggesting it: I wrote my mother a letter I never sent, smashed some crockery against a garden wall in private, and felt better for it. I never bothered to confront her directly because I knew her martyr/denial act would just tire and/or upset me.

If you feel up to it you could always have an actual confrontation - Toxic Parents advocates that, with plenty of handy advice.

You could also ask others to stop talking about her in your presence (they might not acquiesce, but you can still ask! eg. "That is your view, but it isn't mine.", or "I do not want to hear things about my mother, I find it difficult and upsetting.")

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 11:16:25

Thanks hot although I've thought about confrontation it would cause more harm to me.

It has taken along time to get to the point where I believe that it is her not me and to listen to her denials/minimising/justications would anger me and would be futile - she will never admit her flaws.

I find the people talking about how great she is the most difficult. Calling them on it as you suggest feels like I am living up to her portrayal of me as difficult and awkward, but I really wish I could do it. It's actually the worst bit because it minimizes what I went through and makes me feel like I am overreacting and our problems were just a trivial part of the mother daughter relationship. It makes me doubt myself.

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