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

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It's January 2013, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011
November 2011
January 2012
November 2012

Please check later posts in this thread for links & quotes. The main thing is: "they did do it to you" - and you can recover.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to the Stately Homes Thread.

This is a long running thread which was originally started up by 'pages' see original thread here (December 2007)

So this thread originates from that thread and has become a safe haven for Adult children of abusive families.

One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;

'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/angry/hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/lifetime experiences of being hurt/angry etc by our parents? behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'

Most new posters generally start off their posts by saying; but it wasn't that bad for me or my experience wasn't as awful as x,y or z's.

Some on here have been emotionally abused and/or physically abused. Some are not sure what category (there doesn?t have to be any) they fall into.

NONE of that matters. What matters is how 'YOU' felt growing how 'YOU' feel now and a chance to talk about how and why those childhood experiences and/or current parental contact has left you feeling damaged falling apart from the inside out and stumbling around trying to find your sense of self-worth.

You might also find the following links and information useful if you have come this far and are still not sure whether you belong here or not.

'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.

I started with this book and found it really useful.

Here are some excerpts:

"Once you get going, most toxic parents will counterattack. After all, if they had the capacity to listen, to hear, to be reasonable, to respect you feelings, and to promote your independence, they wouldn't be toxic parents. They will probably perceive your words as treacherous personal assaults. They will tend to fall back on the same tactics and defenses that they have always used, only more so.

Remember, the important thing is not their reaction but your response. If you can stand fast in the face of your parents' fury, accusations, threats and guilt-peddling, you will experience your finest hour.

Here are some typical parental reactions to confrontation:

"It never happened". Parents who have used denial to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy or anxiety will undoubtedly us it during confrontation to promote their version of reality. They'll insist that your allegations never happened, or that you're exaggerating. They won't remember, or they will accuse you of lying.

YOUR RESPONSE: Just because you don't remember, doesn't mean it didn't happen".

"It was your fault." Toxic parents are almost never willing to accept responsibility for their destructive behavior. Instead, they will blame you. They will say that you were bad, or that you were difficult. They will claim that they did the best that they could but that you always created problems for them. They will say that you drove them crazy. They will offer as proof the fact that everybody in the family knew what a problem you were. They will offer up a laundry list of your alleged offenses against them.

YOUR RESPONSE: "You can keep trying to make this my fault, but I'm not going to accept the responsibility for what you did to me when I was a child".

"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me to make a better relationship."

"We did the best we could." Some parents will remind you of how tough they had it while you were growing up and how hard they struggled. They will say such things as "You'll never understand what I was going through," or "I did the best I could". This particular style of response will often stir up a lot of sympathy and compassion for your parents. This is understandable, but it makes it difficult for you to remain focused on what you need to say in your confrontation. The temptation is for you once again to put their needs ahead of your own. It is important that you be able to acknowledge their difficulties without invalidating your own.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I understand that you had a hard time, and I'm sure that you didn't hurt me on purpose, but I need you to understand that the way you dealt with your problems really did hurt me"

"Look what we did for you." Many parents will attempt to counter your assertions by recalling the wonderful times you had as a child and the loving moments you and they shared. By focusing on the good things, they can avoid looking at the darker side of their behavior. Parents will typically remind you of gifts they gave you, places they took you, sacrifices they made for you, and thoughtful things they did. They will say things like, "this is the thanks we get," or "nothing was ever enough for you."

YOUR RESPONSE: I appreciate those things very much, but they didn't make up for ....

"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realize that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.

YOUR RESPONSE: I'm sorry you're upset. I'm sorry you're hurt. But I'm not willing to give up on this. I've been hurting for a long time, too."

Helpful Websites

Alice Miller

Personality Disorders definition

Follow up to pages first thread:

I?m sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don?t claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support.

Happy Posting (smithfield posting as therealsmithfield)

I have cut and pasted this because I think it is fab. Just in case anyone misses the link.

More helpful links:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers
Out of the FOG
You carry the cure in your own heart
Help for adult children of child abuse
Pete Walker

Some books:

Homecoming
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child

Midwife99 Sun 06-Jan-13 09:48:42

Pumpkin - aren't your nieces' teacher concerned? You could contact the school nurse in the first instance if you're afraid of social services involvement.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sun 06-Jan-13 10:08:18

I'm assuming the school have done nothing as when the girls soil themselves they are sent home to sil1 to get clean.
I do wonder though, surely the school couldn't just ignore it? They have had medical tests, inwhich nothing was found to be wrong with their bladders or bowels.

I just worry for them, as it isn't normal behaviour. Spoke to dh about seeing them last night, but he doesn't have much to say about it, speaking about it seems to have worked up dh into a mood again....
Fgs i wish he would grow some balls sometimes, if this was my sister i'd be telling her to pull her self together, find out whats going on with her kids and take better care of them & threaten to report her!
He just sits back and says nothing & does nothing. But it was ok for him to try and pressure me about seeing ils at christmas, when this situation is more important & needs to be discussed he cba...

Midwife99 Sun 06-Jan-13 10:19:20

I think you need to completely back off then Pumpkin. They're not your problem & if you want to go NC with his family that needs to include seeing nieces & talking about them if you don't want conflict with DH. The school clearly are aware so leave it to them to raise any concerns. You can't interfere.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sun 06-Jan-13 10:32:38

I know you are right Midwife, just find it hard thats all.

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 11:08:44

I understand pumpkin I would find it really difficult to back off from those poor girls too.

sunny so sorry to hear of your friend, and your Mum's reaction.

I don't think I am ever going to get my head round the way my Mum is.

NewPatchesForOld Sun 06-Jan-13 12:19:12

Need to vent...again. You may remember that M was in hospital with gallstones...I was asked to go and pick her up, then told no, then berated by sil etc...well I am even more confused now as M said in a text (only in reply to one from me enquiring as to how she was) 'I think I am at the end of this virus now'...WTF???I was told it was gallstones.
She then rang me and proceeded to rant about how was she expected to answer all my questions when she was in hospital when both hands were attached to drips? To which I calmly reminded her that I had been texting my brother who had told me to 'text HER' when I said I couldn't stay overnight. She glossed over this one, of course she would have nothing said against golden boy.
Then she went on about how the male nurse had abused her...shouted at her apparently (in a full ward hmm ), when she asked for gaviscon for her heartburn he had said 'oh really, do you think we get it in just for you? You're not having any' hmm, went 'ballistic' when she wet the bed (he took an hour to bring her a commode), shouted at her 'look what you've done to the bed', and if she called him he said 'what do you want now?'. I don't believe a word of it. When my DF was ill after a serious operation years ago, a male nurse very nicely asked us to go and get a coffee while he took bloods...she had a fit, called him an effing faggot, have to be a poof to do a woman's job blah blah...I was mortified and had to apologise to him on her behalf. So I know she takes an instant dislike to male nurses, and to make matters worse he 'was a bloody foreigner' (her words not mine)...she is a homophobic racist.

I had to bite my tongue, I really did, because I was about to say stuff I couldn't take back.

Luckily my house is really old, and the signal is notoriously bad...'sorry...can't hear you, you're breaking up...bbbrrrrrrrrrrrrr'.

Sick of it.

Midwife99 Sun 06-Jan-13 13:10:15

Yes very hard but you'll always end up being the bad guy no matter what.

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sun 06-Jan-13 13:37:30

Midwife-very true, i will be made out to be the bad guy no matter what, as i am at the moment-hence the guiltripping through voicemails to dh.
Sil1 cannot get her own way, so uses her children instead, my dd has just had a message on moshi monsters from one of the nieces asking & begging to see usshock, she has dislexia and it happens to be spelt correctlyhmm, is there anyway inwhich sil1 won't stoopsad
Any normal family would be pulling together to see that those girls are cared for, but not my ils. Mil is too interested in her dislike of my nc!
Oh well i must let it go, theres nothing i can do.

Patches-If none of it is true, what a rancid thing for your dm to make up!
It's sounds rather conspicious that she has since stated she was getting over a virus when indeed she was supposed have gallstonesblushshock

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 06-Jan-13 19:20:21

patches your mother sounds delightful shock

In the old thread I said that DH had sent a text to MIL calling her out on her behaviour toward SIL1. We've had a reply. It's just a load of excuses that she's under a lot of stress and that's why she behaved the way she did, coupled with trying to make out that we're the abusive ones (not telling her we were meeting up was abusive).

Her re-telling of the incident is absolutely nothing like what actually happened and she misses out the key bit which is her truly awful behaviour towards SIL1.

SIL1 still hasn't received an apology and MIL barely acknowledges what she did was wrong at all and excuses her actions on the grounds that MIL is under so much stress and has nobody to turn to for help.

DH hasn't even bothered to reply to that grin

PrincessFionne Sun 06-Jan-13 20:08:12

pumpkin report them, poor girls, surely the school pupil services are involved through teachers feedback to them??? what an awful state to have to live in, and extremely abusive! I am not surprised this is distressing you, I wouldn't let anyone stop me from trying to protect them, I wonder what your DH motives would be for that tbh

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 20:49:09

'You were such an awful child, don't you remember how difficult you made my life' and 'DS is just punishing you for being a horrid child'. 'You can't possibly do that, you're incapable'.

Only spoke to her today for the first time in a week. I want to bin it completely but don't have the courage. Oh, and why does everything she has/buys have to be better than mine, even if she doesn't need it?

'You were such an awful child' that one is rolled out every family get together at my house, all my brothers join in, agreeing with my Mum sad

Sunnywithshowers Sun 06-Jan-13 21:36:53

Thanks for all the comments about my friend. Her mum was a hugely toxic, damaging alcoholic. She howled at the funeral and all I wanted to do was smack her. I knew way too much about her.

She died of the booze a few months later. I didn't go to the funeral.

sparklyjumper Sun 06-Jan-13 21:42:16

I can never understand how parents can have favourites and exclude on or favour one over the others. I don't think my parents have ever really done that, although I do get a lot of resentment from my dsis for having a better life than she and my db had. Although only better in comparison.

I could probably write a thread for my own dm about her dm. I won't say too much about that but she did a few years ago tell my aunt 'if she'd known how she was going to turn out she'd have had her aborted'. This was after she'd given up two day a week to go round and clean for her, take her shopping, but said she couldn't manage anymore as she had a job and a young son too, and to ask one of her other 8 children.

financialwizard Sun 06-Jan-13 22:26:42

Not just me then mome

I am an only child so don't get the 'ganging up' but my Dad and Nan still enable her. She is such an energy sucker. Someone mentioned up thread 'dementer' that is exactly how I would describe my Mothers way too.

I think my Mum uses it to excuse the way I was treated as a baby. I was left screaming, locked in a bathroom in my cot, as apparently, all I did was cry. I stopped breathing one day though and has to be resuscitated sad

I wish she'd never told me that gem. It upsets me a lot, as I've said on a previous thread.

Her view of me continued from that point on as being the 'difficult' one. Trouble is when you're treated that way by your parents, the other siblings do start to join in. I'm still not treated equally as an adult by any of them angry

'had'

sparklyjumper Sun 06-Jan-13 22:45:57

I'm suddenly feeling terribly guilty for writing about dm and df, because I know that they feel guilty iyswim?

This evening dm made me a trifle to cheer me up as was ill yesterday and other stuff. My dm went outside for a cigge and df was complaining that he was freezing as she'd left the door open. Told me 'I have to put up with this all the time'. I joked, and I was joking that it's because of all the times he made us sit there in Jan with the windows open and wouldn't allow the heating on or for me to even use a blanket as he'd say I was making the room look untidy, and dm shouted in 'ye it is'. He immediately looked down and said he believes what goes around comes around and now as dm is having hot flushes he's constantly freezing. I could see he actually felt like a right arsehole and I had to reassure him I was joking and the pasts the past.

I'm reading other threads and posts about awful GPs and thinking how loving towards ds they both are and how df sets ds up on his laptop everytime to let him play, and how happy they always are to see him. This is obviously why I maintain a relationship but makes me feel guilty about my anger over the past. Does that make sense?

Midwife99 Sun 06-Jan-13 22:56:55

Patches - they'll make up "illnesses" to get sympathy so that they can behave as badly as they like. On Christmas eve 3 years ago my mother repeatedly phoned me & the neighbour & rang an ambulance saying she was haemorrhaging from her "bottin" (the word bottom is too rude!) Back story my father was in hospital with pneumonia. The ambulance took her in despite no evidence & nurses & doctors couldn't find anything wrong with her. She refused to go home but rang me insisting I travel over in serious snow leaving my 5 month old baby & family to go to Tesco's to get their shopping in so they had food & booze to come home to & she had left me a list in the kitchen (good planning eh?!!) I got to the house, picked up the list & trudged round Tesco's, spent £150 & took it back & when I opened the fridge, freezer & cupboards they were full to bursting. The neighbour hammered on the door to complain that she's gone shopping for her the day before too & she was sick of my parents putting on them (her own husband is a double amputee). I was bloody furious. It took me 2 hours to get home 12 miles. She refused to leave hospital for 3 days & the woman who reckons she can't walk more than 5 yards somehow managed to get herself over to the other side of the hospital to my father's ward day & night until they banned her because he was so ill. The neighbour told me there was never any blood - she had gone round straight away.

Guilt Sparkly is part of the F.O.G we talk about on here. It is ok to struggle with the painful bits of your past with them and to talk about it on here, does that make sense?

I'm terribly tired and off to bed in a sec x

sparklyjumper Sun 06-Jan-13 23:10:19

Yes, just re-reading the intro bit and it sums it up actually. About if my experience wasn't as bad as x, y, z.

Yep bed, back to school/work reality tomorrow sad

OnwardBound Sun 06-Jan-13 23:12:32

theveryhungrymuma I just wanted to say your first post almost made me cry and I had such a lump in my throat reading it.

I am so sorry for the hurt, shame and distress that you and your little brother suffered at the hands of your mother. I have a 22 month old DS and I am absolutely horrified that anyone could treat a potty training baby this way sad

I hope you both are finding some joy and peace as adults now.

thanks

HappyNewHissy Sun 06-Jan-13 23:13:56

A minor one here... But as is always the way, leaves a really shit taste in my mouth, but seems so low grade, that to react or bring it up would be met with denial firstly, then dismissed.

I need to get my head around this.

DS(7) had a birthday recently, DM wanted to do him a tea, picking him up from school until I got home from work.

I got there gone 6, he's in clothes that are so tight (skinny jeans, boy is not a willow) they were too small. All of the stuff was, scratchy cardy too. I've never had him in a cardy, he doesn't suit them, but that's by the by. These were her gift to him. She'd bought his age group, and tight cut too, despite knowing he's one of tallest/biggest kids in his year.

She'd mentioned to me previously about the clothes and how she was worried if they'd fit, she sounded doubtful even then.

So we got him home, he changed into pjs, bed time, nothing else said. Clothes have not been worn since. I got him a stack of clothes anyway for bday/Christmas. (size 10-11 mostly)

DS tells me tonight that she gave hime the present, told him to try them on. He siad to her that they were too tight, and could he change out of then. He asked 3 times apparently, she told him she'd be upset if he did. sad

Emotional blackmail, wasn't it?

I'll eBay the buggers. (clothes, not DM... But that's a thought...)

I felt like shit! His birthday was supposed to be nice, instead she kept him waiting for tea until I got there, 3 hours! (ffs, not even a sandwich! I was expecting just to have the cake with them!) and then made him keep on clothes that are too tight, and clearly so.

How do I deal with this? My son was made to feel shit. Again. sad

PrincessFionne Sun 06-Jan-13 23:14:15

you feel what you feel, you had it hard and cruel, its definitely their guilt not yours. If they are caring and considerate aware now, but trying to make up, well thats good, but it doesn't take away that they did treat you awfully and you suffered as a result. Hopefully genuine care now will helpyou to recover from the pains of the past. (I can't imagine how my P's could ever ever change from who they very much are, its far too deep) - very like your story midwife (your DM behaving as if she'd been rejected by everyone and had to desperately gather some attention for herself).

pumpkinsweetieMasPudding Sun 06-Jan-13 23:15:27

Fgs, checked dhs phone tonight and mil has asked him whether fil can drop the xmas presents off (the ones she didn't seem to want to let dc have for xmas as a bargaining tool into fooling a reunion with nc dc)
Wtaf-Why didn't she let them have them at xmas if it was that important to her. What a witch!
She will no dc are due back at school tomorrow so decides to cause trouble by worrying i & dh about fil turning upconfused, the man is scary & has a strong temper, he also hates me for nc of dc.
Bloody great all i need is him turning up at my door ranting and raving.

I have no interest in the presents, couldn't give a flying f*.
Do we answer the text or not?

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