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Toxic family - when will I learn?!?!?!

(15 Posts)
DefinitelyOdd Thu 13-Oct-16 19:10:38

I am a twenty six year old woman. I live with my fiancé in a house that we own. I have managed from the age of eighteen to hold down a job, pay my bills and rent and generally be quite a successful adult.

Over the past few days, I have had a lot of changes in my life. I have got a new job with better career prospects and I am looking at buying my very first car.

However my parents, sibling and extended family have decided that I am a child. Apparently I should have consulted them on my choice of job (despite them declaring my old managerial role as a 'glorified shop assistant') because what I am now going to do is not good enough. (I am going to work with vulnerable children while training for a masters in child psychology). The fact that I am buying a car from autotrader and not paying my mum for her old car (because a newer model is cheaper and has less miles) makes me an ignorant disgrace.

I am so fed up with them. I have only just increased the level of contact with them again and now I feel pretty bloody stupid for being taken in. I have done so much work on myself to build up my self confidence and self esteem and now I am sitting here in tears because they have just spoiled everything again.

Am I being unreasonable in going no contact until they can see me as an adult or am I just acting like a spoilt child?

DefinitelyOdd Thu 13-Oct-16 19:11:10

Sorry, that was a bit long.

fc301 Thu 13-Oct-16 19:16:00

Wow! Well done you for really having your sh*t together!! Seriously I was 43 before I had reached a level of understanding with regards my family.
You know you are NOT being spoilt. You sense your own great worth.
Basically screw 'em xx

MarthasHarbour Thu 13-Oct-16 19:16:18

You sound like me 20 years ago. Mine were exactly the same.

I moved away and reduced contact. Not drastically but enough to give me breathing space.

Don't share as much info with them, tell them about your car/job etc after you have bought

You sound like you know where the problem lies. I love my family so couldn't go NC but by god a weekend with them is enough to remind me why I moved away.

Good luck smile

fc301 Thu 13-Oct-16 19:16:33

I am reading Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. It's helping.

WinchesterWoman Thu 13-Oct-16 19:16:50

Hello, you sound amazing and well done on everything! The changes you've made sound sensible and independent. It's so hard when the people who should be unconditionally supportive are so useless and negative. I would certainly go no contact for a while - you have to put yourself first (because they aren't) and not worry about their feelings. And when / if you do see them - stop telling them things. Don't be afraid of silence in a conversation. Ask them about them in a vague airy way. 'Have you been busy' sort of thing. Any questions just answer with - I'm fine, all's going brilliant - and absent yourself if they get dicky. It honestly sounds like you're doing so much better without them. Well done you x

MarthasHarbour Thu 13-Oct-16 19:17:07

FC I am 43 and I have just about cracked it! grinwink

fc301 Thu 13-Oct-16 19:18:03

I agree. Don't share any personal info unless you are prepared for it to be turned and used against you.

fc301 Thu 13-Oct-16 19:19:03

Haha I'm just coming out of 10 months of "but seriously - is it me?!"

DefinitelyOdd Thu 13-Oct-16 19:29:03

Thanks for the messages! I was starting to wonder if it was just me. I have bought the toxic family book and I suppose I am now back to square one with them.

Ah well, I still have my cats. (Which apparently should never have got because they are a 'tie', unlike a mortgage obviously....)

springydaffs Fri 14-Oct-16 00:07:52

They will always be at square one. It's up to you what you do with that.

They will never change. You are (I am, too)the whipping boy and you'll always be too much/not enough. Have you looking at the family scapegoat?

All their stuff. But mighty painful when it's all you've had from the year dot. Have you had any therapy? I had years of therapy to address the awful battering I got from them; and I am now NC with my siblings but not my parents, who are ancient.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 14-Oct-16 00:42:38

From Winchester:
not worry about their feelings. Why should it be a one-way street? They don't worry about yours!
Any questions just answer with - I'm fine, all's going brilliant - and absent yourself if they get dicky.
From fc301 :
Don't share any personal info unless you are prepared for it to be turned and used against you. Anything you say, can and will be used against you, now or at a later date-perhaps even years hence.
From Springy:
They will never change. <Believe this with Metaphysical Certitude.

I agree with the above. You need to emotionally detach from them at the very least. Their opinions are not valid to you (anymore) because they are projected through the crappy filter of keeping you in your childhood family role. They will never see you as an adult.

Their opinions, imho wink, are all about them scoring some ego supply at your expense. Nothing else. Nothing to do with you. So let them use someone else. They have no emotional intelligence, but you do.

It is in these circumstances, as well, that developing a talent for not listening to people (them) comes in handy. It is not rude to do this as you are merely protecting yourself from their rudeness, iyswim. "Um, sorry did you say something?"...and see if they repeat their rudeness, usually with additional audience. "Did you mean to be so rude?" Yes: speak with your feet and leave: no argument, no challenge, nope-just drop the rope and get out of there.

Another strategy is to play oblivious to it. Let it go right by you-no reaction. You can expect this to be hard at first, but instead of responding to them, concentrate on yourself and the stab in your heart feeling, emotional flooding that they are perpetrating on you in the moment...let the outrage (and in rage) be felt, acknowledge it privately to yourself but give it a chance to dissipate on its own. Engaging will just make it worse. Leaving may be the only answer to be able to recover. But with enough eons time/practice you may be able to process/spontaneously detox in the moment. Is it worth it to get to that point? Probably not.

Congratulations on your achievements! Brilliant, and a very well done from me. I was 35 when I just started having some awareness and then 45 (with MN) when everything clicked and I simply do not put up with it any more . So you have saved yourself from having to deal with at least one, perhaps two decades worth of crap. Another Brilliant - WELL DONE! star star star star star

ThursFriHappy Fri 14-Oct-16 15:02:04

And a big well done from me 🙂 I empathise totally, definitelyodd.
No, not a spoilt child, you are an adult.
I read toxic parents too, scapegoat and chief whipping girl from each member of my family.
Wasn't allowed to sit exams. I had to leave school at Easter to get a job because all they wanted was money for bills/beer. Ended up with dead end jobs (no qualifications) for years.
With the encouragement of dh, I gained qualifications and decent jobs.
And the response from them when I gained all this? Their reply?
No congratulations, shrug of shoulders, 'should have done this years ago, what took you so long? '
I'm sorry for hijacking, you are not alone.
I agree with Andthebandplayedon. Drop the rope and get out of there.
One one final note, you have just helped me. I went NC earlier this year, and felt guilty, was thinking should I make contact? No, I bloody well won't! Xxx

RunRabbitRunRabbit Fri 14-Oct-16 18:41:19

For years I had the cycle: I would go LC after some particularly bad behaviour, then after a while I would start to think that maybe it was me, maybe I hadn't handled it right, a flying monkey got in contact and I would engage with them more, at first it would be OK, then it would go tits up, I would try to get them to be reasonable, fail, decide it was them not me, feel stupid, go LC again.

I cycled through this over 25 years, still am doing it I suppose. Over time the low contact durations got longer and the higher contact periods got shorter and the ability of flying monkeys to make me feel guilty gradually reduced to near zero.

The most recent contact lasted a day, at a big family event. It took about two hours for me to have the definite "it's you, not me, you will never change" moment. It had been a year since we had any kind of conversation at all before that.

I'm as hard as nails and not stupid, yet even I get sucked back into the cycle of abuse.

Be gentle with yourself. It takes time. Just make sure that when you are in the bad part of the cycle you get yourself out asap.

Lottapianos Fri 14-Oct-16 18:48:17

'They will always be at square one. It's up to you what you do with that. '

That's really well put springy. OP, you have obviously done lots of work on yourself and you want to live a happier more contented life. Good for you - it's not easy but so worthwhile. You deserve so much better than their treatment of you. I'm the 'useless' one in my family too and will always be a pathetic child in their eyes. I still have my very wobbly moments of self doubt but I guess that's normal after decades of conditioning. Stand strong and be proud of yourself

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