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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.
Couldn't just read this and not comment.
sarahbean123 my parents put me through a lot of abuse growing up and it took me a long time to stop viewing my parents as parents and instead as two very complex human beings that just happened to conceive me. My parents never set out to be bad people. They brought me up the best they could in very difficult circumstances. It has taken them years (over 15 years!!) to acknowledge that they had made mistakes. They were so defensive because they loved me and could only see life from their perspective. I've never been under any doubt my parents loved me, and I know if they had their time again they would never do the things they did. People do make mistakes, your parents are just human. We may look up to them and hold them to the highest standard, but at the end of the day they have and will still may mistakes like all of us.
Your parents may never be able to see or accept that they failed you. They may only see the sacrifices and good things they have done to bring you up and into this world.
I have friend's whose parents are nice as pie to other children but yet have set some ridiculous, unrealistic expectations on their own children (which has led to depression, self harm, low self esteem, underachievement in school and in work life).
You may love your parents, but you don't necessarily have to like them all the time. Counselling will help you move on from the anger you feel towards your mum in particular. But she may never see your point of you and you have to prepare for the idea she may never apologise for failing to protect you.
Judging from your posts, there is no doubt you are a bright, capable human being. There is no reason at all you can't pass your exams. You have in life two choices - i.e. to look for the reasons why you didn't achieve something, b. to find a way to achieve something despite difficulties.
Life, as you have already experienced, is not perfect. There will always be obstacles placed in your way by people you love, respect, people you care little for, people who have never met at all... Being able to succeed despite all the hurdles is a massive achievement. My friends have made themselves proud by what they have achieved in life - it matters very little what their parents think now. If their parents were happy for them, then that would simply be a bonus.
Your parents are your parents, not much you can do to change them. You are an adult now. I agree with the previous posters you need to inform the school as to what is going on (not in detail obviously unless that is what you want). If you don't feel like your parents can protect you, it's time to start protecting yourself.
You have all the tools to succeed in life. Your mum and dad's opinions - they are completely out of your control. Concentrate on the things you can control - turning up for lessons, working hard in school, studying outside of school, eating well, exercising, counselling if you feel you need it. Create some goals for yourself.
Just think, in a year, you could be moving away from home. Uni is a brilliant, challenging adventure - you are going to learn so much and build a new life for yourself. When I was in your position, I couldn't cope with the dual threat of a rubbish bf and both parents making my life a living hell. I was on for As in my A levels, i left with rubbish grades. Ended up going to a not great uni. It's taken me years to get back into the position I should have been at your age both professionally and at a personal level. You have such a huge opportunity to make your life great. The next steps you make in school and at university are life changers.
Over time you may find you can forgive your parents for being the imperfect humans they are. There is no excusing their behaviour. But you may find they are being defensive because it must be hard for them to accept they failed you too.
Whatever you decide to do, best of luck to you.
Thank you plinkyplonks.
You are right, I can do this. I can achieve despite this.
Of course you can! Remember the mumsnet mantra for toxicity - detach, nod and smile, detach, nod and smile.
And work your socks off to recover your grades!
I feel like I'm in limbo at the moment, I hate not being at home and having all my stuff. Feeling rather down today
sarahbean your GP or welfare support should be able to put you in touch with your local CAMHs service where you will be able to explore everything from the abuse you've experienced, your parents reactions and your own behaviour.
You have very clearly articulated some clear goals and your background here. I would suggest taking this with you as you might find it difficult to verbally articulate so much information at once as saying it all might make it all very overwhelming.
I'm not sure whether you feel it worthwhile, but on point 4 - your Dad. Can you sit down with him and say what you'd like to happen with him? You seem to be happy to talk to him. I understand why doing it with your mother would be too hard.
Do you have any adult that you trust in RL? Not that you aren't yourself, of course, but having someone with life experience that may be able to coach and mentor you over the course of the next few years may help motivate you and keep you on track.
Would it be possible to spend 3 nights a week with your Dad and 4 with your Mum to give you and them a bit of space? I know it'll involve a commute early Monday morning and late Friday night (or other days you choose) but you might find it allows you to detach, nod and smile easier.
Let us know how you get on with your first step.
<and squeezes sarah in a hug because I think you need one>
Thanks for the hug, I could definitely do with one.
What if this is all in my head, what if all this is just an excuse for me being an inherently lazy, selfish and at times downright nasty person?
If my mum read this she would say exactly that, albeit in slightly less blunt terms. She has a way with people, she always manages to get people to believe her about things and she always talks people around to her way of thinking.
My mum is never wrong and I'm struggling to believe, that actually, she might be.
My biggest fear is that what I feel isn't the truth and I'm getting all of your lovely advice and sympathy almost fraudulently.
Is it possible that the problems I'm having with maintaining a relationship with my mum are down to me and not linked to the things I described in my OP at all?
I'm afraid to go to the GP, in case my mum is right.
You have a choice. You can believe everything your mum says about you and live up to her opinion of you as an inherently lazy, selfish and at times downright nasty person.
Or you can believe what your inner self is telling you about yourself which is that, once you've escaped the shackles of your dysfunctional childhood, you can become all that you want to be.
I know what I'd rather choose. How about you?
We're complex creatures, honey. With very few exceptions, we'll all got the ability to do good to ourselves and others, coupled with the equal ability to cause harm to ourselves and others.
Recognising and reconciling our various opposing qualities enables us to build our self-esteem and self-respect and become individuals who are worthy of the esteem and respect of others.
This is a golden opportunity for you to resolve not to compromise your personal integrity and to go all out to achieve your goals and ambitions - and make this your maxim for life.
sarahbean I was in the same situation as you but more exaggerated when I was a teenager. It took me about 20 years to finally get my family member to admit their complicity in the abuse I suffered for years. I found going for counselling very helpful, it helped me understand some of the complicated emotions I was feeling, that I didn't need to feel guilty and that it wasn't my fault. Once I understood that I think it made it easier to talk about it without getting very angry and upset and it helped me express myself differently.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that you might need to accept that it will take some time -maybe years - to deal with this and it is normal to feel as angry as you do. Don't listen to the wankers who wade in with their stupid opinions; they don't know what happened and you do. It sounds like your mum is selfish and quite needy, which is why she brings these foster children in. She can be in control of them and feel like a 'good person'.
You will be ok and you have time to work this out. You seem very articulate and I'm sure you can do well in your a-levels whatever happens. If all else fails you can blag your way through, the exams are not that difficult and you are clearly very bright.
Pm me if you want - I have been through such a similar situation and I do know how you are feeling.
izzy is right. The choice is yours. You can make the decision to be the person you feel you are rather than the one your Mum says you are.
For ten years I was told I was stupid, ugly, that arguments were my fault, I was fat, that I was lucky to have have someone like my X-H. I thought he was right. But then I got a new job and the people at work looked at me like I wasn't any of these things which got me thinking that it wasn't me, I wasn't these things and actually all it was was him saying I was. He was controlling. He used gaslighting. He had eroded my self esteem. Since I left I have never felt fat, ugly or stupid. And I haven't shouted at a partner in eight years. I chose to be the person I thought I was rather than the one he said I was.
We believe you and that you can be the person you think you are. Now get your ass to the GP and take the first step in taking control of your own values, personality and being the person you think you are.
Sarah, you could be me at 18, my mum was not as bad as yours but we did not get on and I felt very angry after a childhood of sexual abuse. My previously A grades dropped as yours did.
But I asked myself a question - if I failed then who was I hurting? Only myself. The best way to show people and yourself you are a valuable person is to achieve.
I pulled myself out of depression and anorexia to get into Uni and become a vet. Believe me graduating was the biggest 'fuck you' to my abuser/doubters than anything.
Maybe you won't ever get the relationship you want with your parents. Maybe (likely) your mum will never say sorry etc. it doesn't matter. You can do this on your own.
Do it. Start working hard at college. Go to Uni. Get help from a nice gp (I was on antidepressants at your age and they did help).
Then achieve what you are worth despite the crap.
Dig deep. This is the worst bit. You will get through it.
You are obviously very smart, very lonely and struggling with issues that go back a long time. This may seem a bit wacko but I am pasting in a link to an article that I think may interest you. www.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/health/23lives.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Marsha Linehan has done so much fabulous work for people like you and me who have long-term trauma to deal with. Her style of therapy has been introduced in many mental health practices around the world. Without going into a lot of detail, I relate to a lot of what you have disclosed. I saw this counsellor and that cbt practitioner blah blah but it wasn't until I completed a Linehan programme that I got better, well and truly better.
I hope this is helpful to you. Sorry if it isn't!
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