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NC with family,coping with the loneliness?

(24 Posts)
middleclassdystopia Sat 01-Feb-14 15:24:14

That's what I tell myself anyway!

middleclassdystopia Sat 01-Feb-14 15:17:13

I know exactly what you mean about feeling different because of your past. But I think there are a bell of a lot of people dealing with similar issues even if they aren't no contact.

weirdthing Sat 01-Feb-14 13:31:34

Dimsum123 - I could have written your post. I am now no contact with shitty abusive parents. I am no contact with my brother and youngest sister for exactly the same reason as you - they were treated differently (loved) and eventually decided that I was the problem not my parents. I have another sister who was treated like me. We don't live in the same country but manage to be supportive of each other and it does help to have one person who tells you that things really did happen like that and you aren't imagining things. I too suffer from depression and anxiety. I hope you get some activities up and running for yourself. Definitely I find that being at home makes me focus on the past etc I am doing a Buddhist meditation day in a couple of weeks to try and focus on the 'now'. I don't know if it will help but anything is worth a try! Good luck. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat.

horsetowater Sat 01-Feb-14 13:07:04

Wow I think I've been exactly where you are regarding friendships/sibling relationships. When your own family is dysfunctional you do need those strong friendships and they are very hard to come by as you have described. In the end rekindled an old friendship which worked for me and it's been the stability my dcs have needed through their lives. Just having one person who cares for them outside the family has been very important.

Do you have any old friends that you can contact OP?

dimsum123 Sat 01-Feb-14 11:57:40

Hi all, sorry I disappeared for a while yesterday. I needed some time take it all in.

Lotta, yes, I need to remember this is a process. I thought I had got to the 'end' and was 'cured' or 'fixed' and was 'normal', like everyone else. I think that's what I am trying to be, normal, without this horrible past. I want to fit in with everyone around me, especially the mums at school. I hate the feeling of being 'different' because of my past. I almost have the feeling that the other mums can sense there is something different about me and that's why I haven't fitted in to their group. Despite me trying to 'act' normal.

middleclass, what you said here is spot on "But you maybe naturally a bit introvert and that is fine too. Abused children often are quite introspective, bright and creative. It's why they anger their narcissistic parents. They are too knowing I think. Maybe you wouldn't comply with the image or role your family projected on to you?"

I am naturally an introvert and I think I am/was too knowing for my parents. I could see how 'wrong' they were from quite a young age and I remember I used to wonder how I ended up in this family I felt so different to all of them in the way I thought and my beliefs.

Miggsie, it's the having to rebuild from scratch social relationships that I find so hard. Whereas those who are lucky enough to have a caring family have got a ready made set up of friend/support/help in their parents and siblings that takes little effort to maintain which is idea as when you become a mum you don't often have the time or energy to try and make good friendships too.

My sisters have no idea of the hell I have been through whilst I have been NC. I have had to deal with severe chronic physical ill health, severe depression leading to a complete breakdown a few years ago, all whilst trying to bring up young DC's with no support from either family or friends as we had moved to a new area in order to put some distance between me and my parents.

My sisters otoh live quite near my parents and have no reason to go NC as my parents were actually very different with the two of them. My mother was very caring and my dad was not abusive. The abuse and neglect was reserved for me. So they have had the support and help of my parents and each other whilst bringing up their children. They will never understand what I've been through and they have no compassion for me because it's my parents they feel sorry for because they think I have treated my parents so badly.

Miggsie what you said here is exactly right you can't sustain a real relationship with your sisters as they are simply an extension of your parent's attitudes towards you." Contact with my sisters will be no different to contact with my parents in a different guise.

But then that leaves me back at square 1, how to cope with the extreme loneliness and isolation that I feel. Especially at times like Christmas and even at weekends when most people I know visit parents with the grandchildren, sisters go on shopping trips together, etc etc. I have none of that. Mums in my area are all busy with family at weekends and I am always alone, with nobody to visit or to visit me.

I used to think there was no point in having a superficial relationship with my sisters, with our real feelings kept hidden, but the loneliness is getting so overwhelming that I am finding it hard to resist getting in contact just so I occasionally have family to visit at the weekend. I will have zero expectations that it will ever be a normal sibling relationship but surely it's better than what I have now which feels like literally nothing.

I feel I am running on empty. I need someone to nurture and care for me occasionally. DH is not really up to it. He tries, but I think only a female can provide that sort of care.

horsetowater Fri 31-Jan-14 14:43:05

I don't think you should maintain a relationship with them other than keeping the door open if they want to hear your side of the story. In most cases of favouritism the favourite suffers as much as the outcast - because they suffer a huge burden of guilt and fear that it might happen to them too. This is then buried with denial. Not sure if that's the case with you.

It doesn't matter anyway if they go back to your parents, it might even work to your advantage as it gives you power. It is likely that your parents will respond very strongly indeed if they see you having any kind of relationship with your sisters. Perhaps your sisters need to see this response first hand to understand the gravity of your situation.

Miggsie Fri 31-Jan-14 14:24:34

Actually - I would not try to contact the sisters as anything you say to them will go straight back to your parents and your sisters will simply become a mouthpiece for your parents and pressure you to see them again.

Your sisters are part of the problem- don't engage with them.

There is a book about toxic families that goes into this phenomenon - you can't sustain a real relationship with your sisters as they are simply an extension of your parent's attitudes towards you.

horsetowater Fri 31-Jan-14 14:21:02

You will probably find that other Mums in the playground also have family issues. If you want social contact with them I'm sure it will happen although it might be with someone you don't expect, perhaps a quiet person who is also not in the small groups. Organising playdates helps with that sort of thing as well.

Sad about your sisters but as I said things might change over time. It will be extremely difficult for them to understand what you have been through because the realisation will change their view of their mother forever. However it might be worth a try - you never really know how they have felt witnessing this even at a distance. Very careful contact with them might also help prevent this happening to the next generation.

Miggsie Fri 31-Jan-14 14:00:42

Hi there
I had an abusive grandmother with grand father as an enabler.
My brother and I are in our 50's now and we still shudder if we talk about granny X. She was vile and abusive and manipulated us children shamefully - trying to set us off against our parents (we would have been 5 at this time) and criticising my mother all the time. It is difficult to take - later as we became teenagers she turned on us and started to be horrible about us having spots - thanks Granny, just what we needed. Apparently we were SO ugly - and the fact we had spots was my mother's fault because she was a BAD MOTHER. We went through years of that crap - I wish my dad had been able to go NC, great swathes of my childhood would have been SO much better - and my parents' lives as well.
My grandmother thought she was "it", and spent a lot of time projecting a "good mother and grand mother" image - but it was all show, she was a sadist - if she had done the things she did to my dad to a stranger she would have been put in jail.

So I agree with everyone who has said - don't go there! Don't expose your children to these people!

You do need to rebuild and in fact, build from scratch social relationships - this will be hard as your parents pretty much made sure any social skills you had were driven out of you - they have made you isolate yourself, you are trying to overcome this, but it is very hard. Just plod on, you will make a friend and discover happy times, sooner or later - this won't happen if you get sucked back into your family!

As you spend longer without their influence you will relax more and feel more confident and be able to talk to people.
I know what you mean about not being able to break into the mum groups - it will happen eventually, I found that I got on very well with the mum of one of DDs friends - it took a year or so, though.

Don't beat yourself up about being a good mum, children do not actually need to attend 10,000 classes. Some who do are really quite noxious - it does not create happy or well mannered children and these are important qualities too. I can't drive so spend time with DD just chatting or cooking dinner.

If you can't face a dog, consider chickens - I have a small flock and they are such fun, low maintenance and fresh eggs! You are likely to meet other chicken keepers this way.

middleclassdystopia Fri 31-Jan-14 13:41:35

Yes the perfect mum, I think it's reflective of the black and white thinking we inherit from abusers e.g. you are either perfect or you're nothing.

There is an in between.

middleclassdystopia Fri 31-Jan-14 13:38:59

Sorry hope my comment didn't sound blunt. The fact you still have phases of need is very normal and human.

Everyone has tough patches but it feels more raw for usbecause it highlights the pain of not having family to turn to.

It sounds as if you suffer from low self esterm sometimes. Of course that is because of your childhood. But moving on from that and learning to love yourself unconditionally can be a long, hard process.

Once that happens you can say with gusto 'screw you, it wasn't my fault' and though it will always be a sadness you learn to embrace the good things.

From that may follow the energy and confidence to make friends and find hobbies etc.

But you maybe naturally a bit introvert and that is fine too. Abused children often are quite introspective, bright and creative. It's why they anger their narcissistic parents. They are too knowing I think. Maybe you wouldn't comply with the image or role your family projected on to you?

Lottapianos Fri 31-Jan-14 13:17:31

'middleclass, yes maybe I haven't moved on as much as I thought I had'

That's a really rubbish feeling. I think when you feel that way, it may help to think of it all as a process, where feelings come in waves, and there are up days and down days. It is bloody exhausting I know.

Re being a rubbish mum, I think its extremely important to take care of yourself as well as your children. There's nothing wrong with recognising when you're exhausted and taking a step back. There's so much pressure to be a 'perfect mum' (whatever that means!) but good enough really is good enough. Separating from the toxic members of your family is also part of being a really good mum - you're protecting your children from their negative influence.

You're being very hard on yourself -I think we all do it sometimes. Old habits and all that sad

dimsum123 Fri 31-Jan-14 13:09:49

middleclass, yes maybe I haven't moved on as much as I thought I had.

Molly, yes good point re exercise. I used to go swimming regularly and I loved it but have not been recently for various reasons. I need to get back into it again.

And yes I agree re the dog. We are actually thinking of getting one. But I am very nervous as I have never had a dog before and I am really not sure if I am ready to take on the commitment and responsibility. I think I need to get myself sorted out before I can look after a dog.

I feel like a rubbish mum as I don't do all the activities with my DC's that the other mums seem to do like hockey, football, tennis, dancing, ballet. I just don't have the energy to drive them around everywhere and also DS gets bored whilst we have to wait around for DD to do her activity as it's not always possible to go home.

I just feel useless all round really. sad

Meerka Fri 31-Jan-14 12:49:51

I feel also very 'apart' from the mums in my DC's classes at school. When the DC's started at school I was very depressed and ill and had no confidence and could not join in with making friends like they were all doing. And now I feel better, they are already in little groups and have made friends and I feel it is impossible to try and join in now. But I hear about how they all socialise together and feel bad that I am on the outside. I also feel I am different from them all with my family issues. Most of them seem to have parents who visit frequently and they just don't understand my situation.

I am in exactly the same position. I don't make friends easily even when I speak the same language as everyone else. Done all the things like mother-and-baby groups etc, hasnt worked. The school yard is a painful place though and the more I would like to be able to easily socialise, the less it works! Fortunately I get on very well with husband's friends, but only see them every 2-3 months, and it was years on my own before I met him. Mind you admittedly I preferred being without a relationship for a long time. But ... Yeah, I think quite a few of us can empathise with you.

Lot of us walking in the same shoes, side by side almost, but isolated. I hope you do find some satisfying volunteer work flowers

Lottapianos Fri 31-Jan-14 12:27:10

Absolutely tons of sympathy OP. It's a horrible, painful process - coming to terms with not having the family that you so desperately want. I am very low contact with my parents for similar reasons to you. I've been seeing a psychotherapist for nearly 4 years and have made tons of progress but it is still utter torture at times.

I find that it helps to see it as grieving a loss, and I have learned that grief is not linear. It comes in waves. I have times when I feel ok with the situation, and times when I'm on my knees with it all. What hurts even more in the bad times is that there is a part of me (my parents' undermining voices) which tells me I have no right to feel this way, that I should be coping better by now, that I'm making a fuss and a drama out of it all. It's hard work learning to turn that voice down and turn up the more soothing caring voice, the one that sounds like a really caring friend.

'I don't feel like I belong anywhere'

I completely identify with this. It's just so sad and so demoralising to feel so unhappy. I feel like I'm actually having to learn how to be happy, like learning to drive or how to swim - a whole brand new skill. One thing I have learned though is that these deep dark feelings, the saddest feelings that you have, are better out that in. It's really important to share them, with anyone you feel you can trust. This place can be great for that. If you keep them to yourself, they just go round and round in your head and become scarier and scarier.

I would agree with other posters about remaining non contact. It is the easiest thing ever to get sucked back in to old familiar patterns and relationships. You've done so brilliantly with everything you have achieved so far. Please keep posting if it's helpful. This is a time to stay strong

dimsum123 Fri 31-Jan-14 12:16:50

Thank you to everyone for such great, great advice. I used to post a lot on MN but have been more of a lurker recently as I felt the atmosphere had changed and I was very wary of posting. But i am so glad I did.

Meerka, I am so glad you talked about me being in a position of need and therefore wanting contact. That is spot on and you are absolutely right in that I should in no way contact them when I'm feeling like this.

Teeny, I did used to post a lot on the StatelyHomes thread. It was a long time ago though. That thread was a lifeline for me at the time but I'm not sure if I want to post on there at the moment.

horsetowater, it is as if you actually know my parents. Yes, they do not get why I have gone NC. They think they have been great parents and seem to have wiped their memories of the years and years of abuse.

And yes you are absolutely right in that my parents did try and succeeded in dividing me and my sisters and turned them against me. My sisters are a lot younger than me so were not aware that I was being abused and my parents were totally different with them. So my sisters see me as the baddie for going NC with my parents. I tried to have a relationship with them after going NC but it was impossible as there was so much tension between us because of my horrible, ungrateful, selfish, treatment of our parents, in their eyes.

I have not heard much from my youngest sister for years, but my middle sister occasionally emails me trying to make contact. I have ignored her until now but I responded to the last email, precisely because I was feeling so lonely. I did say to her that I was not prepared to brush things under the carpet and play happy families but I am sure that trying to talk about our parents will mean we fall out again as we have such different views of them because of how we were each treated.

I think my sister simply cannot comprehend why I hate our mother so much. I hate our mother even more than my dad who was overtly abusive because she did nothing at all to stand up for me and stop him from abusing me for years. Whereas she has a very very close relationship with our mother. I think my mother did not bond with me at all and I felt she hated me for as long as I can remember. I have no memories of hugs/cuddles with her. I think my sister cannot even imagine that a mother may not love her child. She thinks our mother has the same relationship with me as she has with her and my youngest sister.

I am also wary that making some sort of contact with her will mean I get drawn into contact with my other sister and parents which I absolutely do not want. Anyway, I will have to wait and see what she says.

I will pursue the volunteering thing and look for jobs at the same time. Adult education is also a good idea. I will look into that, thank you.

I feel also very 'apart' from the mums in my DC's classes at school. When the DC's started at school I was very depressed and ill and had no confidence and could not join in with making friends like they were all doing. And now I feel better, they are already in little groups and have made friends and I feel it is impossible to try and join in now. But I hear about how they all socialise together and feel bad that I am on the outside. I also feel I am different from them all with my family issues. Most of them seem to have parents who visit frequently and they just don't understand my situation.

I don't feel like I belong anywhere. I am sure getting a job would help but it is not easy finding something after 10 years out of the workforcce.

Mollydoggerson Fri 31-Jan-14 11:56:24

Just wondering how much exercise you do? It will help to raise your mood (it does for me anyway). You sound like you need things to comfort you and to nourish your soul. Dogs are great company, I mean that seriously. We all need sincere love and companionship and dogs can provide that. Something fun like a book club/cookery class might help to refocus your thoughts to light and positive things, your family situation sounds very heavy.

Those letters your parents send might be manipulative. Sorry I'm not much help (bit hung over today)

middleclassdystopia Fri 31-Jan-14 11:52:53

It's so hard.

It reminds me of my own parents who tried to reconcile by saying they'd 'like to see the grandchildren running up and down their lawn again'.

It was the image they wanted. Of being loving grandparents. They had no concept of true remorse and making amends with me.

It sounds like you still haven't truly moved on. That's okay and normal. There's no set time.

SoleSource Fri 31-Jan-14 11:46:33

Aside from the marriage, anti depressants and I assume none disabled children, I could have written your post.

sad

((((((((((((dimsum))))))))))))))

I fully concur with Meerka's post.

A good rule of thumb here is that if your parents are too toxic for you to deal with, they are far too toxic for your both vulnerable and defenceless children. Toxic parents more often than not turn out to be toxic grandparents as well and this pair if unleashed on your family could go on to do you and your own family unit an awful lot of damage.

Your parents are doing the toxic parents time honoured tactic of trying to hoover you back into their dysfunction as you have managed to break away from it. Do not fall for it or respond in any way.

BTW any letters you receive from them should be destroyed on receiving; do not read them as of now but just put them through the shredder. I advise not sending it back to them because any contact from you will be seen by them as a reward so they will contact you even more!.

Have you contacted your council to see what volunteering is available in the area, contacting your local community centre may be another way forward. You are of value.

Loneliness is something that I have faced. I found doing an adult education class extremely helpful and I still do that to this day. Its something for me, keeps the grey matter active and you can meet nice people through it.

Meerka Fri 31-Jan-14 10:47:45

I don't think you should get in contact no.

With family like this, the only healthy way to be in contact, if there is one at all, is to be in contact from a position of independence and strength. Please don't take this the wrong way, but you want to be in contact from a position of need - need for company, companionship and friendship.

it'd be like a bunny with a broken leg hopping into the clearing in front of a wolves' den.

They will absolutely home in on your loneliness and they will use everythign they can to home in on your children in a destructive way. It will undo the good work and further, there is a very high chance they will inflict more damage. I'm sure a regular poster will be along soon with words about toxic grandparents and their grandchildren, and I wholeheartedly agree with her.

The loneliness is something that needs to be faced in a different way. Volunteering is good, keep plugging away at finding the right position for you. I'm actually of the belief that having a role in your life, being useful to others via paid work or volunteering, enriches your own life a great deal. Even the superficial contact with other adults that comes with volunteering for a good organisation helps quite a bit. Also, you do have your DC.

Most of all, have you talked to your husband about how you feel and how in a rut you are? If not, you need to. He can't provide everythign for you but simply talking sometimes helps and he may have good and helpful ideas.

horsetowater Fri 31-Jan-14 10:25:46

Going NC is a bit like grieving but worse because it's coupled with rejection. This grief is overwhelming you.

Some observations on your post if it helps - you say you are non contact but you are still receiving contact from your parents who wish to see the GCs.

They have a choice in how they interact with you and if they really cared about you at all they would make sure you felt loved as well as the GCs in the communications that they send you. It is possible that they don't 'get' why you have gone NC and feel rejected themselves - if they are truly narcissistic and abusive they will feel this yet not be able to reach out because they believe their own hype iyswim. In many ways they can't help themselves.

So perhaps your expectations of them to consider you are just too high still. You still seem to want or expect their support but it seems they just can't give it. I think you need to start returning their letters and going truly NC as their contact is still abusive.

One thing that I see from these situations quite often is that parents want to divide their children and make them hostile towards each other. I would bear in mind that if that's happened in your case, one day your sisters may see the light and see it. Allowing communication with your sisters might leave that option open. Psychologically it might also make you feel less like the onus is on you to find new friends and be less alone. I don't know the backstory and maybe this is a terrible idea as they may have been too messed up by your parents and there is no going back.

I'm slightly projecting here as I have been through similar with my DBs who have both now passed away suddenly without seeing my children and it's been such a waste. They were NC with me due to perceptions my parents set up in their heads. It's still going on now with the last sib I have left. We all felt we were victims and the next person was getting better treatment and instead of communicating with each other directly we allowed the misconceptions to continue via contact with my parents.

I feel the pressure now of building my own extended family long term via friends and community and that's really hard to do. I have found that old friendships have been the most consistent, even if I haven't seen them for years - perhaps try and make contact with people from way back rather than making new friends?

As regards voluntary work, go for it! How about mentoring or helping in the school. This could lead on to work if you enjoy it. Look online for community forums in your area. Don't let your family history stop you from being the person you are in your heart.

TeenyW123 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:55:51

You might like to share your experience of NC and dysfunctional families with the others on the "But We Took You To Stately Homes!" Thread.

Have you had counselling?

dimsum123 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:49:10

I have been NC with my parents and sisters for over 7 years. I had an extremely abusive childhood, my dad was verbally and psychologically abusive and my mother was emotionally absent and too weak to stand up to my dad.

I cut all contact with them over 7 years ago and the space and time apart has been the reason I believe I have been able to heal and recover as much as I have from the damage they did to me.

I have always felt a certain amount of loneliness due to having to family of my own, but until now have always felt the loneliness was better than any contact with my family. But recently the feelings of loneliness have become unbearable and I keep imagining re-connecting with my family again.

But I just don't know if being in contact with them would undo all the work I have done so far in recovering from the damage they did.

And all the issues I had before would no doubt still be there eg. my sisters being really close and always making me feel left out, having in jokes that I don't understand.

And whilst my parents are very keen for me to be in contact, I know it's just because they want to see their grandchildren, not because they miss me and want to make things right between me and them. That is obvious from the few letters they have written to me, which are full of how they miss their grandchildren.

I find it hard to make friends (probably due to being abused) so I haven't managed to make good friends which makes me feel even lonelier.

I haven't worked for 10 years due to ill health and depression and am now finding it extremely hard to go back to work due to the long gap in my employment history. I could retrain but have no idea what I want to do.

I just feel my life is a mess and I have no family and very few friends. I am mostly alone at home all day and don't speak to anyone until I collect the DC's from school. I occasionally meet a mum for coffee but mostly they all work so that's not very often and I find I have little to talk about as I don't do anything.

I am looking to do some volunteering but it's going very slowly, with trying to find something suitable that is local and that I will enjoy.

Sorry for the epic post. I have been bottling this all up for ages. It all sounds so negative, and yet to look at my life I should be happy. Have a great DH and DC's, nice house, no money worries. I am on anti depressants, maybe they are not working anymore, but I don't want to increase my dose. I would rather sort out my life than rely on drugs.

Thanks for reading if you have got this far. I am going to be offline for a while now but will be back later.

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