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Can you talk to me if you grew up in a family like this?

(17 Posts)
othersideofrhebridge Tue 06-Sep-16 08:21:01

Where one parent (mother in my case) was clearly unwell and behaved in a manner that was strange at best and at worst downright abusive, but the other parent completely denied any wrongdoing?

Towards the end of her life my mother has descended into full blown alcoholism and yet the pretence that everything was fine and well and normal continued.

It leaves you with quite a strange feeling?

othersideofrhebridge Tue 06-Sep-16 10:21:34

Anyone? smile

LetitiaCropleysCookbook Tue 06-Sep-16 10:58:13

Sorry, I haven't any direct experience of what you outline (dysfunctional childhood, but for different reasons!), but I do know there are parents who prioritise their dc ahead of their spouses/partners, and those whose priorities are the other way round, and who will attempt to protect their partner at all costs - even their dc's wellbeing.

It's like being attacked by someone, and having it witnessed, only to find that the witness stands up and denies all knowledge. The fact that these two people were your parents compounds the trauma. When other people minimise or deny things which you absolutely know happened, it can leave you feeling very hurt, and almost doubting your capacity to judge the severity of what happened.

Hope someone comes along with more relevant advice. flowers

ErnieAndBernie Tue 06-Sep-16 11:04:50

I might have it wrong but I think the Stately Homes thread might be about these kind of relationships.

ErnieAndBernie Tue 06-Sep-16 11:08:44

stately homes

Goldenhandshake Tue 06-Sep-16 11:23:21

Not the exact same, but a similar situation, my Mum loves to play Florence nightingale to all and sundry, my alcoholic uncle moved in with us when we were very young (pre-teen and early teens), we didn't have the room, but he took my youngest siblings bedroom, and for over 2 years (was supposed to be a month to get him back on his feet) he made mine and my siblings lives a misery, it culminated in a physically violent attack before she actually booted him out.

Fast forward and now we are all adults she will never discuss it and gets massively defensive when I sneer at the mention of him, she speaks to him and acts like he is a lovely man etc when in fact he is an abusive, aggressive monster.

It is very hard to deal with, she totally has her blinkers on. Just wanted to let you know you are not alone.

othersideofrhebridge Tue 06-Sep-16 11:27:51

Thanks smile I don't think stately homes is quite relevant coz they are both dead now. I do feel as if it's left its mark but don't know really.

Fruckit Tue 06-Sep-16 11:38:46

Yes, I did. For me though it was more one parent and one sibling. My mums behaviour sent my dad packing when I was very little and then I grew up with her and my sister. My mums behaviour was shocking and unforgivable but my sister seemed blind to it. My mum would tell bizarre lies about me to other people and invent dramas that I had caused and my sister would stand there and go along with it (she's quite a bit older by the way).

I put up with it for a long time and it drove a huge wedge between me and my sister because it always seemed like she took our mothers side even though I was the child at the centre of abuse (physical and psychological).

As soon as I was old enough I left home and moved in with a friend's family and my mum never spoke to me ever again. That was 20 years ago. She has been a full blown alcoholic during this time but gets hell because of health issues that will likely cause her death. My sister has stuck with her supporting her and is still as blind as she ever was to her abusive ways. She has also married a man who is so similar to our mum in every way.

My relationship with my sister is ok as long as we don't speak about anything from our past and we keep it all lighthearted - more like colleagues than friends or sisters. This is improving as time passes but we just fail to see things from each other's point of view I think. I found a husband who couldn't be more opposite to my mum and he has helped me through so much. I have good friends and most importantly, a focus in life which is my career. I have degrees coming out my ears and a very respectable job, without this focus I probably would have sunk.

ifcatscouldtalk Tue 06-Sep-16 11:40:01

I kind of relate. My dad and his partner (not my mum) were big drinkers, rowed a lot and generally not a pleasant atmosphere for children. I didn't live with them but went for weekends etc. My mum was so wrapped up in her new relationship it barely registered and when dad/dad's partner were sober it was as if nothing had happened. I love my parents, but there are so many things I have not repeated with my own child because of my feelings about the past.

user1471443066 Tue 06-Sep-16 11:41:30

Yes sorta similar

Mother is a nurse and acted in a Florence Nightingale way. Mum was shy and socially awkward and seemed to prefer the company of loons. We always had alcoholics hanging around (not many, just homeless alcoholics that she would help, or far flung relatives that had mental health problems, coming around to cut the grass and get paid for it etc.) She was always helping men, teaching them they'ld be rewarded for working. Never helped women....and alcoholic women were viewed with disgust.

Completely inappropriate considering she was the mother of 3 young girls.

My Dad (rip) was completely enabled 100% in his drinking and he definitely had a problem with it. Even though he stopped drinking heavily about 15 years before he died.

At any rate, all oddness was completely ignored. Mum lived in absolute denial of the toxicity of the drinking/hangovers/abusive angry mood swings. She encouraged us all to enable this selfish behaviour as well. To be honest she sorta fostered the environment.

Mum wanted Dad out of the house, so actively encouraged him in his social life, while she was the goody two shoes Florence Nightingale nurse (and on some level loved being the victim also, she was exhausted by all her goodness).

My Mum absolutely denied that Dad was as sick as he was in the run up to his death. To such an extent that my three siblings were convinced that I was over-reacting. I spent the day with him, holding him and feeling his life slip away (I contacted them all asking that they come to the hospital- ignored) and then his heart stopped, medics got him going again and he died 4 days later.

It is her way of dealing with life....absolute denial.... and living in this daytime TV drama, where she paints everyone into different roles. It's very frustrating as it does not reflect reality at all, just a version of reality that she can live with. But she is very, very convincing.

I love them both (of course), but both flawed (like all of us). I must say I have more time to the obviously flawed person, than the one that hides behind the script that they have written to explain away all the awkward bits of life.

I don't try to convince any of them of anything, I don't put facts before them. I just live my own life, and remove myself from the drama-lama nonsense or the let's live in fairyland nonsense. Occasionally I have said... that is just not true....on x day xxx happened, why would I lie about it.

It is frustrating, but you are wasting your time trying to change people, you just have to look out for your own well being while not hindering anyone elses.

user1471443066 Tue 06-Sep-16 11:46:51

Sorry what that should say there, is I no longer try to convince them of anything...I did at one stage...and you are painted as the awkward contrary one.

I only ever do it now, if it is something so completely unfair/untrue that I will not let them get away with it. This works now, because there are some boundaries put in place with the nonsensical Daytime TV approach to life.

When I say they ( I mean my mum and my eldest sister......eldest sister also drinks to an unhealthy level....fell down a stairs and crushed her elbow as a result of one drinking session and has since slowed down) Also in complete denial about lifestyle choices. All great fun and what an awful accident...victim to unfortunate circumstance rather than lifestyle.

user1471443066 Tue 06-Sep-16 11:48:32

Sorry - I turned that into a me, me me post...not sure if anything is helpful.

Families are mad, look out for yourself, whilst maintaining love for them in their loopy state of mind. We can't control them.

Fruckit Tue 06-Sep-16 12:45:59

Sorry, my post reads like a me me me one too. The point I suppose I was trying to put across is sometimes people never change and you'll never understand them but you can control your exposure to the situation and, in turn, it's effect on you.

birdieeeeeeeee Tue 06-Sep-16 12:52:08

You mom = my dad.

It's all just fucking awful.

birdieeeeeeeee Tue 06-Sep-16 13:08:16

You mom = my dad.

It's all just fucking awful.

TulipStream Sat 10-Sep-16 13:17:25

I've had this.

My other parent I feel didn't want to admit anything was wrong because it'd mean that they'd also failed / were to blame?

Prawnofthepatriarchy Sat 10-Sep-16 13:30:01

What you're describing is very common in alcoholic families, OP. I think you might find AlAnon or ACoA (adult children of alcoholics) groups helpful. It's good you're aware that your upbringing has harmed you. People who lack that insight mostly either become alcoholics or marry one.

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