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I can't live like this anymore(37 Posts)
Have NC'ed for this. It will be very long. Am just writing my thoughts down, I have been struggling recently with being able to verbalise what I mean, so apologies if it doesn't seem to make sense.
I'm 18 and live at home with my mum. My parents split up when I was 9, I still see my Dad regularly.
For a long, long time, me and my mum have argued nearly constantly. It goes in cycles where we get on for a few days, then are at each other's throats.
I don't (didn't) know why we argue- my mum says that I'm a nasty person with an attitude problem and has in the past attempted to get me a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. The doctor didn't think I had Aspergers, but referred me to a counsellor, I didn't really understand why, but I went once and didn't see the point of it so never went back.
I find that I'm angry a lot of the time, and I have never been able to put my finger on why. My anger is always directed at my mum, I am fine when I have arguments with my dad/sister/friends etc.
This has come to a head recently with a lot of arguments and a seemingly trivial argument meant that my mum told me to get out of the house and not come back. I couldn't get anywhere that night, but the next night I went straight from college to a friend's house. I didn't let anyone know where I was staying, and my mum tried contacting me and then ended up emailing my form tutor at midnight because she was "concerned about where I was". I honestly don't believe this was out of concern, I feel this is due to her need to control everything. She is a control freak and can't stand it if things are not done "her" way- This is a widely accepted view in our family, not just my opinion. She has since made out to lots of people that she never told me "not to come back" - she did, she's denying it, and she does it all the time, and not just with me. She denies stuff that I know she has said, and makes me feel like I'm going crazy. She also says I haven't told her things when I know 100% that have. I think this is called gaslighting?
My mum has always worked in child care and recently started fostering. Lots of arguments resulted from a recent fostering placement, as it was clearly an unsuitable placement for our family for lots of reasons and my mum placed unreasonable expectations on me (whilst I had lots of college work to do) whilst she had this placement. The child is no longer with us. She has always had a very strong "safeguarding children" ethos to the children in her care, and has on several occasions gone beyond the call of duty to report concerns/ possible risks to the children from certain people etc, to the relevant authorities. In short- she tries her utmost to ensure the children she has a professional relationship with are safeguarded.
Now obviously, this is a good thing, BUT...
About 7 years ago (I was 11) I was sexually abused by a much older friend that I had made in an unusual living situation (think commune/isolated community type thing, where people of all ages interact. I moved away from this situation before the abuse started). The abuse took place over several months. It was eventually stopped after my mum "discovered" it. The man was arrested, convicted and placed on the sex offenders register. It is difficult to describe as it was not a "typical" sexual abuse case, but it did affect me and the way I view my position in relationships with men, and I now think it affected me a lot more than I have previously realised.
I have always, over the past 7 years, vaguely wondered why the abuse was able to happen, as certain aspects of the relationship I had with this man were obviously inappropriate and were aspects that I made no secret of. They were warning signs, I suppose. An example of this is the fact that we used to text extremely often, and I was always open with people about who I was texting (I didn't see anything wrong with it at the time). Other family members voiced concerns about my relationship with this man and our frequent texting, but my mum made no attempt to stop it.
Fast forward to recently (in the last year or so) when my mum has been involved in numerous safeguarding incidents professionally. This has made my resentment of her and the fact that no one was there to protect me from the abuse I suffered grow. This has coincided with my relationship with my mum and my behaviour deteriorating. I have avoided, over the last 7 years, asking her why she didn't step in sooner when I was being abused, as I didn't want to upset her.
After I was "thrown out" by my mum the other day, I came back to talk things over with her, in the presence of my dad, about two days ago. The conversation quickly turned into an argument about numerous issues we'd been having. My mum constantly describes me as always "having a massive chip on my shoulder". She asked me again, what was my problem, she told me I have a privileged life, I'm very lucky, get everything I want etc, (this is true) so what's my big problem? After 7 years of holding in what was causing me to be so angry and resentful, I finally blurted out, "You let X abuse me." She stood up, told me I had problems and needed to see a counsellor, and walked out. I haven't spoken to her since and am currently staying at my dad's house.
My dad came into my room a minute ago to speak to me about how I am going to "sort things out with Mum". When I told him I felt that she let me down regarding the abuse, and this is doubly painful because of how attentive she is to the children in her care, I got a load of excuses such as, "well people learn from their mistakes", "hindsight is a wonderful thing" and "well we could have taken your phone away but you wouldn't have liked that". I can say that I would much rather they took my phone away from me rather than let me keep it and it be used to abuse me through!!
There was also one other situation, when I was about 15, when my mum got into a relationship with a man who was recently released from prison for drug offences (he moved in with us as soon as he was released) and I was left alone with him while she was at work. He was a lovely man and I did get on well with him, but he tried to give me drugs. I never told my mum this, but I think this is another example of where she has let me down, as he could quite easily have been sexually abusive, proving she doesn't "learn from her mistakes" as my dad told me she did. In the conversation I just had with my dad, I told him for the first time that my mum's previous partner had offered me drugs, and he said, "Oh, I didn't know that." He wasn't in the least bit shocked, or bothered, or anything.
I can't live like this anymore. I am angry and resentful towards my mum that she wasn't there to protect me like she is with the children she cares for, and I can't deal with the arguments we have. My college work is suffering and my attendance is poor- I was a straight A*/A student at GCSE, and I'm barely scraping Cs now. I have 5 university offers and I know I can get the grades, but I need to turn my life around NOW and start working if I'm going to pull it off. I'm always tired as I barely sleep, and I eat really unhealthily (though I'm not overweight). I don't feel I can make positive changes to my sleeping/eating habits/grades if I don't repair my relationship with my mum first, as this is at the root of my unhappiness. I do wonder if I'm possibly depressed- I have no motivation to do anything and I often feel surrounded by a cloud of fog- recently I can't seem to say what I mean- everytime I try and talk to someone about my problems, I either cry, or feel like I'm in the middle of a crowded room, screaming, and no one is even looking. I can't seem to make my voice heard and get people to understand how I'm feeling.
This is what I want to happen:
1. I want my mum to face up to what happened to me and admit she was wrong (she will NEVER ever admit she is wrong, which is one of the things we argue about).
2. I want to try and repair my relationship with my mum, I love her so much and when we get on it's fantastic. I don't want to resent her anymore.
3. I think seeing a counsellor might help, but only if I sort things out with my mum as well.
4. I want my Dad to stop taking my mum's side about everything and stop making excuses for her.
5. I want to get good grades and go to university.
6. I want to sort my life out- eating and sleeping.
7. I want the fog to lift and I want to feel like "me" again- the funny, intelligent, loving person I know I am, somewhere deep down.
8. I want someone, anyone, to acknowledge that the way I behave and the person I am is not ALL my fault, that I am not a nasty, vindictive bitch, but that I'm struggling.
I'm not even sure why I'm posting this, but I guess I'm just trying to order my thoughts and get some impartial advice. This is a cry for help I suppose, I can't sort this out all by myself.
I don't know what I'm asking for, but any support, or advice, or even if you just tell me to stop being a horrible bitch and pull myself together, at least then I'll know definitively that this is my fault.
I just want someone to hear me and acknowledge what I'm saying. Sorry it's so long.
Firstly - you clearly are a very intelligent, articulate, talented communicator.
Secondly - have you thought about showing your mum this?
Thirdly - I have been in several of the situations you describe myself and never told anyone. You have made the giant step of acknowledging them yourself and also talking to others about them. That is a massive step forward. Continue being as brave as you are and seek help to talk it through. You dad might just not have the coping mechanisms to guide you through how to deal with the relationship with your mum. He clearly couldn't cope with her or they wouldn't have split up.
I hope you do find it within yourself to get to uni - what a terrible waste of a clearly magnificent brain if you don't.
You poor thing. I have no advice, I'm sorry, but better posters than me will be along soon to comfort you. I just wanted to let you know I've read your words and would give you a big hug if I could. You're not horrible or a bitch. You're a very strong person, and you will survive and come through this.
I read your entire post & I know you are struggling with things that are not of your making & I'm sorry but my knowledge is not enough to help you at the moment.
I didn't want to read & run, someone will be along who can point you in the right direction. I'm sorry about the abuse & your history with your mum but you sound bloody intelligent & I have a strong feeling you will overcome all this.
This sounds rough...can you as a first step find somewhere safe to stay where you are away from the family where you can just get some space and concentrate on your studies? I think the overall situation has become toxic.
NB if your mum has never admitted she is wrong I think it might be a waste of your time hoping that she will. Don't look for validation from her admitting she (or your dad) were wrong in some way...be confident that you know what was wrong, that you are the stronger person for rising above it, and that regardless of what she says you are going to move forward.
Well done for ordering your thoughts so well - what you say makes a lot of sense. You sound very well-balanced given your experiences.
In the first instance I would suggest talking to your GP to discuss your concerns that you may be depressed. Telling someone impartial in real life may help (in a 'problem shared' kind of way). It sounds like you've had an awful lot to deal with and you may well be suffering from circumstantial depression in which case some sort of 'talking therapy' may help.
I think you should try to deal with one issue at a time. You won't be able to change your mother but you may, with counselling, get to a point that you can learn to accept her for how she is including her short-comings, but if I were you I'd plan for that to be the long-term goal and deal with the short-term priorities ie getting your predicted grades. It would be a shame to waste all your hard work. Can you get some space and peace to study at your dad's?
Good luck and stay as strong as you sound.
I think you sound amazing. I don't know how much help I can be but I wanted to echo the above posters in letting you know that. Can I just ask, if you were to print out what you have written above, and leave it for her, what would her reaction be? It might help you know, to see it written down like that.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I fully agree that until your mother faces up to, and apologises for the neglect which led to your abuse, it will be hard for you to move on with your relationship with her.
However, this is not likely to happen in the here and now. You won't get the response you crave as for whatever reason, she can't give it to you. It is not as if you haven't been overt in seeking what you need.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on your studies, as failing in them because of this will be too much for you to stomach on top of the other ways in which this has impacted on your life.
So make a decision to get back to focusing on them, try to banish conflict at home; see it as part of the lifestyle you have to tolerate in order to reach your goals. Refuse to engage in conflict; think of the analogy of running against a dead ending in a maze, over and over again until your forehead is bloodied. this is what you are doing, and you are injuring yourself more and more in the process. You need to step back and move forward a different way. She won't change her behaviour so you need to change yours to survive the next couple of years.
You need to change tack, take control and look after yourself. Eat well, sleep well and keep your eye on the goal of living successfully - and independently - of your mother. Be kind and polite but detach from the family stuff, which is really her problem; you have faced up to what happened, she hasn't.
She did let you down ,albeit unintentionally, but you don't need her protection any more, and you did survive.
Good luck - you are obviously highly intelligent and articulate and I'm sure you can rake back those excellent grades and experience success.
I agree with the others, particularly about you having short term and long term goals.
Ideally, you and your parents would all go to family therapy, where they would eventually apologise for their treatment of you and you would feel happier.
Personally, I don't think this would work. Your mum doesn't admit she's wrong. Try to remind yourself of this every time you and she argue. Remember in Mathilda? (Not patronising here, I love that film!) "I'm smart, you're dumb; I'm big, you're little; I'm right, you're wrong, and there's nothing you can do about it." This is how your mum thinks. Did you see the film? Do you remember how unreasonable that line was? It still is, isn't it?
Is there a chance you could live with your dad and still do your A levels?
I think you should detach yourself from your mum, a bit. Make her opinions just a bit less important than they are. Stay in your room more. Stay at college longer. Spend your free time with friends. It's hard and it's not fair you should have to do that, but you have to stay mentally healthy.
Speak to your doctor. Ask whether he/she thinks you need something to help you get through the next few months. Ask whether you could have counselling. Don't forget you can have counselling at university, too.
You're so bright and articulate and I can understand your absolute fury at your mum. She likes it to be all about her, doesn't she? She feels good when she saves those children. If she admitted to neglecting you (which is what she did) then her sense of self worth, which she's nurturing constantly, from the sound of it, would suffer. She isn't going to let that happen.
Get your head down and get on with your studies. Speak to your teachers, even if it's just to tell them you're struggling at home at the moment. Visualise starting university. I hope you're moving to another city. Think of the future and just get through things now.
What is it you want to study?
Thank you all. I used to be so 'gifted' academically, was in the year above for ages, but I feel like I've lost it now. I don't know what happened but I just can't learn anymore.
I could never show her what I wrote- she would categorically tell me it was all wrong. She's not a control freak etc.
I can't really live with my dad, he lives too far away from college to make it feasible.
I know I really need to concentrate on my exams and revision now, thank you all for reminding me of that.
Imperial I want to do a Masters in Chemistry with a year in Industry... Now regretting applying for 5 Russell Group unis!!!
You haven't lost it. It's all still there. It's just been buried a bit. Cherish it and use it and protect it.
You have so much emotional fog around you, that's why you're finding studying so hard.
Please talk to the college, perhaps they can suggest something for you, somewhere to stay etc. You'll get through this, you'll make it, and it'll make you stronger.
You were let down by your parents, but now you get to take charge and you can take it from here, you really can!
You can be whoever you want to be, but you have to put yourself first.
Your parents will never see their errors, not in a million years, but that is a reflection on them, not you. Use this justifiable fury you have to fuel your success, be clinical and decisive with what you know is right and wrong.
Whenever you need to be heard, we're here!
Just to say well done in writing all that is worrying you. Hopefully by doing that & reading the comments on here you will be able to begin to move forward. Good luck & I'm sure you will succeed. You sound like a lovely person xx
Reading between the lines I would say that it looks as if your Mum focuseed on her foster children and didn't spot what was going on under her own nose with her own child. She may even have had an idea but been so horrified that something like that was happening to you that she ignored it because it was too hard to deal with. Really, the only way you can rebuild your relationship is if this is all out in the open and you both have counselling together to mend your relationship. I know you say your Mum won't accept the part she played in what happened, and maybe she won't right now/immediately, but I think to be true to yourself then you should consider showing her this 'letter' or an edited version of it and hopefully she will want to address this with you, though it may take her some time to digest it, process it and accept it.
I really wish you loads of luck and if you need to take a break from education and have some time to address these personal issues, you can do that. There is always 6th form college or the option to go back as an adult learner in a yer or two.
Be kind to yourself, xx
You have had incredible courage in posting this, and it shows, and I have read your story from first to last word, and I acknowledge it. The feelings that you have are authentic and please don't let anyone devalue them!
Can I just add one thought that's come straight to mind? Regarding the university places, your situation in life etc?
I struggled with studying due to comparable personal issues at your age, and I did think I had to take advantage of the offers whilst they were there as I'm quite academically bright and I didn't want to fall behind, plus I saw university as an escape from my family life!
I started university feeling "disconnected" to the other students - I was worrying about my family whilst they were partying - and dropped out subsequently. My life now is fine - but I don't have that good degree from a good university or the experience that I could have got.
Just to say, there's NO BIG DEAL if you take a year or two out from studying? Work and save some money, travel, volunteer at something like WWOOFF. It's down to you and just one of many options, but seriously, it's NO BIG DEAL
You can't change the past and you can't change your mum but you can change how it/she makes you feel and impacts on your life. Counseling can help you with that, learning acceptance And letting go. X
There's a website called daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/ and I think you might find it interesting, in particular the "glossary" of that they say.
Perhaps the stately homes thread too (which also has other resources listed at the beginning of each new thread) might be of interest.
Definitely speak to your college though. Is there a tutor or someone you can trust there? Perhaps print this thread out to let them understand. I had a difficult time with some things before I went to Uni and it all started coming up again about this time of year in my final year. I told my department officially and a note was put somewhere (in a dated sealed envelope) so that if I freaked out in finals they had something to excuse any ropey marks (like dropping a few grades in an exam). I didn't want them to have to open the envelope, but in the end it saved me. I don't know if this can work with A levels, but you don't lose much by checking.
I had to speak to my form tutor the other day, she pulled me out of lesson after my mum emailed her the night before.
She basically told me to stop having an attitude towards my mum and that my attendance and commitment aren't good enough, there's no way they are going to let me go back to do a 3rd year at sixth form so I better sort myself out now.
College don't know about the abuse or anything, I don't want to make a big deal at college because my mum will tell them I'm lying I think, or that I have an 'opinion' on what happened which isn't necessarily the truth.
Sweetheart, well done for recognising things need to change. I agree with previous posters saying get back to the gp. Getting some counselling could give you the strength to get past this and get to uni where a whole new life will open up for you.
Who can you talk to in real life? Do you think your mum might listen to you if you talk to her solely about how you felt uncared for? Maybe leave talking about abuse for now, until your relationship is improved? Think it is putting her on the defensive so she won't discuss anything.
I imagine this is going round and around in your head. Are you managing to put in the time for studying? I know it is so hard, but I find allowing myself only limited amounts of time (eg 10 mins twice per day) to think about shit let's me focus more on study and life in general.
Great list! Number 6: get more veg and fruit and eat it! Even if you eat crap as well, veg is low calorie and will make you feel better in just one day, promise!
Crikey, form tutor not good. I'd second the posts above - see your GP.
Might be a start in tackling the college situation - so you have it "official" that you are having a rough time of it at the moment, you don't go into every little detail if you don't want to.
Don't be scared of the GP. Your mother sounds like a fucking manipulative piece of work in terms of getting the Aspergers diagnosis on you to justify her own failings. If you don't want to see the same one you saw before, which I could imagine you might feel - re-register with another local surgery, possibly close to your dads? Explain to them about her potentially trying to access your records or contact them to put "her side" of things, which I can imagine her doing, so they "know the score".
I'll leave you with a Sylvia Plath quote....^"the pain you are born into is not yours"^. NONE of this is your fault.
I'm a form tutor in a sixth form college. I think you need to have a word with someone in student services or whatever you have that's similar in school. Have a quiet word and say, "I know my mother has been in touch with Mrs X over my behaviour and attitude. I don't want to go into it with you as it's a highly sensitive and upsetting matter, but I would just like to say that I am having serious problems at home due to things that are not under my control. These problems involve me having medical help. Please would you tell Mrs X that I will attend every lesson now and will do my best but I would appreciate it if she spoke to me about any concerns she has and not my mother. I am 18 and I am an adult. I do not give permission for teachers to speak to my mother about my private life."
If it's too difficult for you to say, then you could email it.
She would not be allowed, legally, to discuss you with your mum, given you are 18.
Also as an A level teacher, it's really hard when students don't attend, because on the day of that exam it's so difficult to watch someone who is clever and articulate sit there desperately trying to answer questions that they don't know the answer to. It's really frustrating and upsetting. If you give the teacher a clue that all is not well at home, that you're not just a sulky child, but that you have serious problems, they should do everything they can to help.
And again, go to the GP. It could prove vital if you miss your grades.
I would not normally post in a thread like this as I have nothing helpful to add - so many other posters can advise you so much better. On this occasion though your post has inspired me not to just lurk. I would like you to know
1) You can get back the "real" you - the funny, intelligent, loving you. Please speak to your GP - you can get help for the fog to be lifted and it is so worth. I speak from having been to my GP very recently and my depression is being treated. Already I can feel me coming through the fog. The heavy weight on the top of my head is lighter everyday. Go.
2) Your post was one of the clearest and most articulate I have ever read on here. You sound amazing. You are clearly intelligent and lovely. Huge admiration for you for posting.
And I want to hug you and wish I could offer something more constructive to help you fulfil your potential. Stay strong. And as another poster said, be kind to yourself.
Thanks everyone, you are so lovely and making me cry now It's all I seem to do recently.
I think my form tutor doesn't like me very much because she can't intimidate or threaten me like she does with other people in our form. She's formed an opinion of me in her head and I don't think I can change that. She's a very negative person, I remember when I'd made a massive (for me) decision to completely change my career plan and therefore degree choice last summer and I told her that I didn't have the passion for that path anymore (I had wanted to study veterinary medicine since I was about 8) she just cut me off with, "I don't think you're passionate about anything." She says about how stroppy I am and how I never smile, but she only sees me for 10 minutes a day.
With regards to the uni thing, I have an offer from one of my unis to take part in an access course over the summer, which if I pass will lower my offer by two grades. This is going to be my lifesaver I think, so I am aiming to meet that lower offer (obviously going to try my best and hope for higher) but I think that that will save my bacon and get me to university. I'll be going to university over 200 miles away wherever I go, so plenty of room between me and the home situation. I just have to last until September now.
The thing that's bothering me now though, is that are the reasons I've given enough to explain 7 years of shitty behaviour? I'm scared that I will be met with a "six of one, half a dozen of the other" type answer from whoever I talk to now, in that yes, my mum was wrong, but I haven't been easy to live with for the last 7 years so we are both at fault and should just move on. This appears to be my dad's line of thinking on the subject- everytime I raise a point, he answers with "yes, but..." I know it is difficult for him, as he doesn't want to explicitly state my mum was wrong and then face her wrath, but I don't think I am being unreasonable to expect him to show some solidarity towards his daughter.
The saddest thing is, my mum is so brilliant with young children- watching her with children in her care, and knowing that a lot of my intelligence is due to how fantastically she interacted with me as a baby and a young child, yet she can't seem to continue this now that I am older. It's just a shame what happened to me wasn't a few years earlier- perhaps she would have been more on the ball.
Thank you all so much for your support, I'm starting to feel less alone and like I might actually be able to tackle this.
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