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How do I avoid becoming like my parents?

(27 Posts)
Arethereanynamesfree Thu 26-Sep-13 15:32:50

The short version is that my family are not normal. I have had counselling regarding them and have come to accept that their behaviour is out of order, and I am in fact not the one to blame. Of course they refuse to accept this, so I have gone limited contact. I should probably go into details but not sure where to start yet, sorry.

But...DH and I are on the waiting list for IVF after long term unexplained infertility on my part. And I am really worried I will end up like my parents sad I already am teetotal due to them both being alchoholics, but I keep thinking what if I treat our child the way I was treated? How do I stop becoming like them?

Myself and siblings were basically assigned roles: what our parents saw us as, and were played off against one another in a weird sort of game. They would favour one of us and no one else could do anything right. Then it would switch, apparently randomly, to a different sibling. Sometimes they would appear to dislike all of us and favour one of our cousins or a random child from our school, etc. It was and still is impossible to win this game.

We never had birthday parties. They decided who we could be friends with, and where we could go, my mother even used to swop our bedrooms round when we were at school and do clear outs of all our clothes and toys where she would just randomly give away anything she wanted to. I came home once, went up to where my room had been that morning, and found we now had a lodger: I was nine at this point. They also would get pets and then get rid of them again as soon as we got attached. If we got into a hobby or sport, it was encouraged and then they would suddenly cancel it completely. Then we would be told we didn't have any hobbies and were weird because of it!

They were determined that I was the Ill Child. Father still tries to prevent me from doing anything he deems "too much for me". This ranges from taking the bus or train alone, to attending university - I finally went and graduated too as an adult - to working, to getting married and having children. As I will not cope, and am not cut out for it. (This is based on my having epilepsy, which is completely controlled by medication!)

Eldest sister was "weird", because she didn't go to discos etc. Middle sister was "a slut" because she did go out. Brother was "trouble" because he was the boy. And we had a brother who died in infancy - I am still often told how I was planned and wanted "as a replacement". The first time I remember that I was told this I was quite small, about five or six I think. Somewhere between my parents screaming at each other and my mother dragging me out to walk the streets with her at midnight in my pyjamas. No idea why, sorry.

They also told me repeatedly that our house was haunted by an old lady who died there and now she lived in the attic. Every so often, my room got moved to the attic. Always dreaded that. I still have nightmares about that stupid attic room!

A thing that stands out for me was how I was called for dinner once. I fell going down the stairs and hit my head hard on the skirting board. I lay there crying, and really dizzy. After a while my mother came and found me. She yelled at me for fussing and missing my dinner. I was seven. Apparently I was being clumsy on purpose.

My siblings and I have all sort of admitted it was wrong to each other but none of my siblings are willing to challenge our father over it (mother died several years back). And sadly father is keeping the game going. And my siblings go along with it. I refuse to, and so now am in the doghouse socially within the family.

I keep panicking in case I become like them. Are there books to avoid turning into a bad parent?

Sorry for the essay. Please don't flame, just ignore if you like.

lavenderhoney Thu 26-Sep-13 19:44:33

I might as well add I am nc with my siblings. The relief of it.

Really, living a long way away from them helped. Abroad, in my casesmile

You will get advice from everyone though, so dont be too hasty to advertise to the world you dont know if you will manage. You will want to do things your way, and people can get awfully bossy round babiessmile looking at you, mil, who had a personality transplant when I had dc.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 11:00:49

IMHO you can either treat your parents as a 'good example' or a 'dire warning'. However you approach being a parent yourself, and however good your intentions, you're bound to make a cock up of it from time to time. We all do. So relax, do your best and enjoy the ride.

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