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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families(430 Posts)
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It's March 2013, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.
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 up, 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 use 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."
Personality Disorders definition
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
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
"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)
Marking place again, as this thread has disappeared from threads im on for some reason.
Good news my mums results were all good, she doesn't have breast cancer . And thinks seem to be quite on the Pil front, until today mil phoned the landline and dh looked less than pleased with the conversation they had, all seemed very odd, and mil hung on up on him for no reason...
She obviously ain't happy about something, i don't know exactly what the conversation was about, but it was definitely one sided re mil as dh was saying "no" to almost everything she said. I will ask him later what the conversation entailed, as got mum round at present.
Bet its some sort of bribe to get us to allow them access to the children...well that will not be happening!
((hugs)) to all of you that have narc parents\pil and i totally sympathise with all of you on here, its not easy constantly having to battle these people continually even when you least expect it.
Turns out mil was hen-pecking dh into allowing my kids round her house to do an Easter egg hunt, fgs she is delusional. Non contact with dc for 6m and she expects me to allow my dc round her home , talk about expecting running before walking!
After everything that family put us all through she still lives in cloud coo koo land ignoring everything that has been said to her.
Lets hope dh stays on my side for this, as it wouldn't be in my children's best interest & sending them round there will never be an option.
Ok I really really am going to need help here, Im about to completely sabotage the relationship between my mother and I, and Ive already just cut off the poor excuse for a relationship with my 'partner'.
I really need to get this out, about my mum. Ive been bottling it up for years. The thing is, my mum had a horrific up bringing, truly awful and in comparisson Im pretty sure she thinks my upbringing was faultless.
Also I need to know if I have a problem with alcohol or not.
I have a 2 yo old who's still bf. because of this reason and the fact that he has special needs, I rarely drink. But during a family gathering I may get a little pissed - today for example, I drank a bottle of wine over 5-6 hours.
I know, I know I shouldnt drink that much because Im bf but I have no life. im stuck in doors and cannot go out because my youngest wakes so much as a symptom of his SN, my life utterly utterly revolves around his SN which arent the usual AS or whatnot but Im not willing to go into for want of staying anon.
So when we have a gathering like this, its the ONLY social time I have so I drink. Its twice a year, Christmas and march time.
My mum clearly had a problem with my drinking today (you may agree. Ive just emailed her because Im laying here awake wondering why she had a problem. If she denies it then so be it, although it was very obvious 'raised eye brows' eyes at my glass look, but if she doesnt, I will let rip.
Except I think Id best let rip here first.
First of all, yes I still bf and yes I should never drink but my son has certain specific needs in such a way that my WHOLE FUCKING LIFE has changed since he was born, I dont care because he's perfect. What I do care about is those who judge me who have no god damn idea what it is like being in my shoes.
Namely my Mum who bf my older brother until he was 2, who woke every 2 hours until she stopped so would give him phenegarn and her and Dad would go down the pub. It wouldnt happen often, but it did happen, something she totally denies doing. I was 12 years old and looking after him - I remember CLEARLY.
I DID used to have a drinking problem before my eldest was born. Or rather, I had a terrible anxiety problem which I remedied with alcohol. Thankfully I havent suffered with anxiety since I got help when it when I got pregnant with him (because I couldnt drink when pregnant ofc).
When growing up my mum could be lovely. But she could be an evil bastard when she wanted to be. My parents divorced when I was 16. Both parents, individually blamed me for their split and at the same time both used me as a shoulder to cry on. My mum had a 5 year long affair, so Im not sure I deserved the blame.
In fact an affair she continued after, he used to come to out houe, he'd turn up at the door, they'd go upstairs come down 15 minutes later he'd walk out the house and my mum had cum over her chest. Which she'd giggle about.
Im sat there thinking, Im 16, do I really need to see this? My baby brother (6) asleep in bed, my older brother (19) moved away both blissfully unaware of any affair or why they split.
I speak to my mum relatively regularly but in over 2 years shes called my phone twice. Its always me contacting her.
I stopped once, a month or so passed and she text me. Big whoop, I had a young baby at the time. Most of my friends with babies would speak to their mum on a weekly basis.
And I used to but my mum has been seemingly slowly 'cutting me off' the last 2-3 years.
I fucking HATE the fact she's judged me today from her high and mightly 'do no wrong' spot. Because shes done a LOT wrong. And I fucking hate her for i sometimes.
Hi Wossit well done for letting some of it out here, and welcome to here, to the place of insights, understandings and change!
I'm sorry your mum has been so awful. She honestly sounds like a child (regardless of her own background) and has treated you apallingly. As the girl you seem to have been made mum whilst she carried on behaving like a totally inappropriate child.
yep, she has some pretty huge misdemeanors stacked against her. I think a bottle of wine is 8 glasses of wine, which is less than 2 glasses of wine per hour over the timeframe you mention. That seems pretty moderate to me, especially as the only time you do this is TWICE a year!!! No, no drinking problem. You have a hell of a lot to cope with having struggled in a poor relationship during this time and come to the decision and ended it. You have a lot going on.
I guess you might have become very use to being the one that takes care of everything, but you really can't take care of her. I guess if she's not taking the time to call, there's no reason you need be responsible for the calling.
The other thing is, without making excuses for her, if she's an alcoholic and was heavily drinking whilst you were young, I doubt she'll really remember much, but certainly has a pretty cast-iron excuse for not even if she does.
Do you want to go on calling her to stay in touch? or did youcontinue because of the 'big whoop' after abstaining for a month?
by the sounds of it, she has already pretty much sabotaged the relationship, I don't htinkyou have, I think you've have tried to keep it going, but by stepping back and waiting for her to call isn't sabotage, I think calling it that is a reflection of how very responsible you are feeling for the relationship and its flaws, when she is not, and absolutely should be!
It really can be pretty much hell stuck indoors with DCs especially once dinner time routine kicks in and you're then effectively 'locked in' - apart from if you are your mother it seems!
I've got a child that I've had to nurse through emergencies from birth, and the sleeping was always incredibly hard, nearly wrecked me completely, especially when you're on your own with it as I was too (kicked out abusive ex here).
I'm glad you came here.. read and you'll see how familiar many stories of terrible childhood and adult relationships with parents are. I havent seen mine for many years, went NC went eldest child very small, because it was just unbearable to be responsible for everything all the time.
Please keep posting, and I hope you managed to have some good sleep last night Wossit take care xx
btw I've no idea about the drinking and bf effects?! I remember drinking half a glas of champagne after birth of first babe and the projectile poo after!
however, I did use to express off the milk after any drinks and throw it.
I always remember being terrified of what my mum would say from a very young age,never told her anything because if it differed from her point of view it would be rubbished and she was very good at making you feel about an inch high. My sister and I once had a discussion about what would happen if she got ill/unable to look after herself(had long-term health problems) if her dh wasn't around and we both agreed that she would not being come to live with either of us under any circumstances, sounds harsh but she would have taken over within hours of moving in
Hi, sorry to jump in like this again. I explained some of the problems my friend was having with her parents. (on page 5) and received some fab advice. My friend has asked if i could ask some more questions on here as its been useful for her to hear some advice from people she doesn't know.
basically, after some conversation with her parents they have dismissed all the situations she presented to them of cases where they have been uninvolved etc. They have gone on about how much their daughter has upset them. In the end my friend told her parents its up to them to decide how much involvement they want with their grandchild and its ok if they choose to be uninvolved if that's what they want. Unfortunately her parents have not taken this well accusing her of being ungrateful as they had lent her some money to put towards a house (which they had a solicitor draw up contracts for ) anyway, she has just texted saying her parents have contacted her saying they want their money back now (even though contract they made is not up yet) and have set the condition that if she agrees to this as well as a contract they have drawn up, then they will try harder with their grandson.
she is horrified at how they are dealing with this and does not know what to do. Obviously she does not want to sign a contract before they will see their grandchild as whats the point in forcing her parents to see her child? And surely the love you show your grandchild shouldnt br contractual? but she does not know what to say to them. She didn't expect this sort of behaviour from them.
any help would be much appreciated.
Sorry to hear she didn't get the responses she hoped for and needed to hear, as they have been left out and turned the blame away from them straight back to her. Very sad for her .
I think its not so unexpected sadly in this world of narc/toxic parents. It is yes hugely shocking and unbelievable way to carry on, over GC that they are supposed to just love unconditionally, but now want to literally hold to ransom!
Your poor friend, an awful reality to have to face. I would just sign the contract as agreed before DC don't ever come into it. They will try to put the dc in the middle continually as leverage.
Im sorry that they seem to be proving themselves
Thank you fairy, I have sent your message to my friend and she has found it hugely comforting to hear, they are treating her like a business. They have told her to only contact them by phone or facetoface now if she wants to sort this out with them. On top of this, they have told her that her behaviour towards them is unacceptable and they are only giving her another chance as she is their daughter.
I feel sad for her.
Any ideas how she can move this forward?
Hi wossit- lots of your post resonates with me, hope you feel a bit of a weight off for posting and unloading. I Really wouldn't worry about the wine, sounds really moderate and from what I've read very very small amounts of alcohol will enter your milk, given the length of time you drank over is unlikely to have still been in your system.
You sound like you are working really hard to look after your dc, thats what separates us from THEM!
I'm going to a screening appointment today for counselling, feeling a bit nervous. I need to make sure I get help to move on so I can concentrate on my beautiful family. Have a lovely day everyone, hope the suns shining for you
good luck for screening today OOpla I'm sure you are concentrating on your beautiful family, I hope the counselling will help you.
Lost I wouldn't do phone or face, i'd stick to written, so everyone can clearly see and you can't get caught in the FOG & confusion. Especially important to have it written because of the contract involved here!
They sound appalling (only giving another chance cos her daughter! gah!!awful people!)
To protect her position she is probably better off emailing or writing a letter (keeping photocopy) of her intent and understanding of the undertaking of the loaned money, and repayment, as I think? this will form the basis of a contract in the absence of one (should she [DM] decide to do things differently --make it up to suit herself and do a bit of blackmailing here and there--) The DM would have to challenge the basis of this by replying directly to it. If she doesn't and it remains the only written evidence, then its the only written evidence of your understanding and she has disputed it?!
However, there's a lot more going on for your friend, and I hope she feels she could come here herself and find it very helpful to deal with all the other stuff going on. good wishes x
Thanks Fi- it went well I think. She confirmed that I am having panic attacks (wasn't really sure stupid as that sounds) and recommended counselling & CBT. Felt really reassuring to hear someone say "gosh oopla that's awful" think the wait times are killer but there's no rush. Will carry on with my hippy woo methods in the meantime, and of course coming here.
Thankyou to everyone who posts here, I wouldn't have had the courage to say out loud the things I've said today without you
Thank you Fi, update from friend is that parents will not respond to the questions they ask, they are accusing her of using her child and she has told them that if they think that sorting out the money will make any changes in their relationship then they've made their position clear, to which they've told her if that's the case she is choosing to have no more contact with her parents.
I've advised her to repeat what she has said that its up to her parents if they want to see their grandchild and to ask them again why they have treated their grandchild so badly. If she gets no answers then make it clear that its her parents that have chosen and then get on with it.
Is it a good idea to send their email convo to family/friends if they ask what's been going on, obv my friend will get the bad end of the stick whilst the parents will act like victims, so if they start on her is it a good idea for full transparency? Also we are thinking great grandparents who will be affected but will certainly just think its my friends fault with the stories they are told. We've discussed this at length but obviously are without the wider wider perspective.
Thanks, I'll ask her if she feels comfortable to come here herself to talk.
hi lost it doesn't sound good atall, what a shame. does your friend want them to see her DC? as thats her choice really, and then to offer it, in writing, but if they are treating the GC badly, they definitly should not see.
She needs to decide what she is happy with really, and what she feels is ok for the DC to be exposed to, but they will not be any differnt as GP than as Ps. There is reading on the links above I think regarding GPs, either that or someoneposted very good advice about GPs ad their continuing toxic effects to the DGC.
There's no pressure for her to post here, just think it good for her to hear her words by writing it, and receiving her own responses; when she's comfortable.
yy to keep on saying things out loud Oopla Many things said on hear never been heard by anyone before, and validates for saying out there in rl too. Keep going with the courage... wonderful xx
oopla good for you am.glad you are being looked after and feel you are moving forward slowly slowly.
waterfall gosh your story brought a memory back of my mum threatening then actually pretending to.call the police on me saying they were going to take.me away because I was such an awful.child. I was 7! Has made me feel very sad.
My sis has confided in me that she is cutting ties with.my mum slowly and that as a woman of.nearly 30 she feels it is time to stand up for herself more am.so proud as she was the scapegoat in our family. Have sent her the daughters of narcs website link as I think she might be ready to start rationalizing some of the shit we went thru.
This thread is amazing, it has empowered me and thru me, even my sis
Am.so sad to hear the new stories. I hope talking and sharing helps you come to terms with your toxic influences.
the empowerment of this thread is truly amazing and just to celebrate that alone...
Hi, tbh it sounds very much like she's at the point where if they don't want to be involved they can't expect her to be the 'running around them' daughter. They have expected her in the past to 'choose' them and allow them to exclude their Grandchild which they have done in the past by encouraging her to go to family events without her child as child is apparently not family.
The conversation started with her noting the things she wasn't pleased with and offering them the option to be as involved as they like. Which they then turned it to, pay us back now and give us back everything we have given you in the past which they say was only loaned to her now and if you want us involved with GC and agree to proposals regarding taking GC out.
What a lot of utter bastards there are out there. Unfortunately even if you offer them what you think would make them happy, they throw it back in your face. Seems they don't want to be OFFERED something, they want to TAKE IT!
I don't suppose there's any chance of borrowing the money from elsewhere to pay them off is there lost?
While I'm here, I'd like to hide a small rant on this page.
I am a performer. Much to m & f's disgust. They have been internet stalking me again and have found out about a gig tomorrow. f sent an agressive message on the event's Facebook page (for all the public to see) I marked it as 'harassment' to FB, but now am crapping myself that they'll turn up and freak me out by sitting there making faces/remarks/upsetting the children. I haven't seen them since Summer. I like it that way. They are a shower of bastards. Instead of looking forward to this, I am all shaky.
Hugs to you all ((()))
Imagine if you could take bad parents to court and sue for doing an utterly rubbish job.
I keep thinking about that line in the Lord's Prayer "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" I'm not churchy tbh, I hope I can forgive one day. If only because I don't need to carry this forever with me.
That's the worst, isn't it? Having this stuff constantly in your head. And really, it's all someone else's shit, because if they had any self awareness, they'd be the ones spending their time analysing it all and having therapy!
Oopla it is only their job to 'have' forgiveness, after acknowledging and repenting (tbh hell might freeze over?)
It is hoped we will not hot emotions that hurt us (get the anger out, etc), they cannot 'expect' forgiveness (mind you, they've done nothing to forgive?)
It doesn't always stay in your head, distance makesthe feelings go cold.
CLB appalling the internet stalking.... I've had to do 'performances' with the 'less than friendly' in the audience.... I am always talking to the one person I remember having the time of their life and being wow'd by the performance (F the rest tbh) Its the people that love it that you are there to perform to, enjoy them as they enjoy you hun xx
LADIES, I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE!
I am currently going through the process of cutting my mother off until she can speak to me honestly about my childhood and my perceived abuse as she denies it and has 'had enough of me and my accusations' apparently . The fact that she made me believe all through my childhood that there was something wrong with me and that I was crazy (my nickname in the family was 'Psycho') is all in the past and I should move on and live my life according to her.
That I have never been able to keep a job, make friends or achieve anything is down to my 'choices' and nothing to do with my upbringing. I do have 4 gorgeous DC and a DH but I am not a 'success' as I don't have a big house, flash car or a career unlike my siblings and as we were all raised the same, and as I was the 'most intelligent one' it must be down to me .
I had never really explored my childhood and hailed my mother as a saint until I started therapy for my extreme anxiety and panic attacks.
They started 7 years ago with a much wanted move abroad which ended in me being so 'ill' that I was terrified that I would go crazy without realising it and I was scared of being alone with my children, I am talking petrified! So we had to come back as DH's work visa meant he had to work away from home for weeks at a time and I would constantly be calling him begging him to come home. We lost all our money in the process as we could not sell our house out there and came back here with nothing. No one helped us, in fact they delighted in it (siblings). We stayed with my mother and stepfather for a while but it was awful, we were treated like naughty children who'd been reckless and my stepfather wanted us out. I still did not see the blindingly obvious though.
The panic attacks/anxiety continued after we came back and still persist to this day. I had been to a few therapists and talked about my childhood but I disagreed that my childhood was a factor until last year when I found a therapist I trusted and the 'fog' lifted finally.
My mother was truly awful to me as a kid. I used to think I must have been adopted because I felt like such an outsider in my own family. I used to wish I would die in the night so my mother would find me dead in the morning and perhaps feel sorry for what she was doing to me. I have always felt different to everyone else, like everyone else deserved to be happy and I did not, always lonely. I had no idea until recently that that was not a normal way to feel.
Problem is my mother was dosed up on Valium for most of my childhood and seems to honestly remember nothing. My father was violent and an alcoholic and they divorced when I was 6 and he disappeared completely (I have met him as an adult and he is a total loser), my stepfather replaced him immediately (he is her enabler). I have a lot of self doubt about whether my mother did damage me so badly. One minute, I know it and it all makes sense and I can feel peace that she is the nutter not me. The next, I wonder if I imagined it all and then feel enormous guilt for blaming her when it is actually ME who's the nutter.
I am really struggling with this as I thought getting to the root of my problems would 'heal' me and it does not seem to be working! I also had a very traumatic neonatal death of my DC2 and I have always put my 'neurotic tendencies' down to that and the move abroad, then losing all our money and therefore, security. Although in truth, I have always lived in fear, even back in my late teens, I was afraid to sleep at night as I was convinced someone would break in and murder me, not burgle, kill. That led me me losing my job, flat and boyfriend as I would have to sit up all night and sleep in the day. This was just after I left home. I never sought help after DC2's death as I thought I deserved it, how fucked up is that.
I do worry that my therapist is leading me down the wrong path, although it feels right. Arrgh! This is so difficult. I am so desperate to stop being paralysed by fear and I thought cutting my mother own and facing down my fear of her would help me break free. Why do I feel like I have made a massive mistake?
Well done for getting through all that!
Thank you Fi, that's a good strategy. There are going to be four of my friends in the front row, so will do it for them.
Slowly I'm so sorry to hear what a terrible time you've had, but am actually awed by you coming through it all and having a happy marriage and four children! That is no small achievement. How long have you been having therapy? As I think it's one of those things that feels worse before it feels better. It doesn't sound like you've made a mistake to me. xx