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"But we took you to stately homes" part 3

(1001 Posts)
oneplusone Sat 01-Mar-08 14:10:21

Sorry for starting part 3 if it has already been started but i logged on just now and found the previous thread has reached 1000 posts. And my title is not very inspiring, Ally90, please help!

oneplusone Sat 01-Mar-08 14:17:30

I have been at a bit of a loss recently as to how to move forward. I felt my previous counsellor had reached the end of how much he could help me but i was wary of trying to find another counsellor especially after Alice Miller emphasises the importance of finding the right counsellor ie one who has 'worked through' all his/her own childhood issues.

I think i may have found someone, although i haven't spoken to her yet, but from her profile she sounds like the right sort of person.

So, i feel a bit more positive today. I feel like i have a lot of pent up feelings and emotions inside but i can't let them out as there is nobody i can talk to who i feel will understand me. I do find writing things down helps enormously but i think i also need to talk to somebody.

Anyway, i hope you are all doing ok, and i hope somebody finds this thread soon!

kaz33 Sat 01-Mar-08 14:31:03

Found it smile

You obviously have reached a blockage in yourself. I think it is two steps forward, one step back. Maybe you need a break, could you spend the money that you were spending on counselling on something personal - maybe yoga, ta chi, meditation etc... Then return to the counselling renewed and ready for the fight ahead.

I am doing the Hoffman process in less than three weeks and you have a whole raft of very intense pre-process work to do. That has opened up some interesting stuff ie: I am not the person that I think I am - I have copied my fathers aloof and critical behaviour in order to get him to love me and rebelled against all of my mums stuff. The effect has been that I have been sabotaging my own life - the only person I have been hurting is myself sad. Felt very stupid and small last night when I had this revelation.

oneplusone Sat 01-Mar-08 14:45:43

Hi, glad you made it here!

I have heard about the Hoffman process, your DH did it iirc? I will be very interested to hear all about it (if you don't mind) once you have done it. I'm not surprised you have to do lots of work yourself beforehand. I have found this whole process to be so deep rooted, i am constantly thinking i am nearly there, nearly at the 'end' and then i find another layer of 'stuff' underneath what i thought was going to be the last layer.

It definately is 2 steps forward and 1 step back, but i am finding it easier to deal with as i go along as i understand far better what i am going through now than i did even a few months ago.

I have ordered each and every one of Alice Miller's books as i find her work amazingly insightful. Am off to read a bit more now. Hope the others find their way here soon!

oneplusone Sat 01-Mar-08 14:50:07

Kaz, i know what you mean about copying one parent's behaviour and rejecting another parent's, and ending up sabotaging yourself. That is what i was doing without realising it. I think the key is find your own 'true' or 'authentic' self and that person is just you and you alone where you are not copying other people. But that is so much easier said than done.

bearsmom Sat 01-Mar-08 15:32:30

Hi Oneplusone and Kaz, glad a new thread has been started. I'd be lost without it! I haven't posted for a while but have been reading avidly. Christmas was a bit of a flashpoint for me but things have been fairly peaceful since then. My mother sent ds a birthday present, but has left us alone apart from that. I must be getting better because Mother's Day only impacts on me now in the sense that I am one, I don't really think about the fact that I have one too because I've accepted she didn't mother me in the way I needed and has been such a destructive force in my life that I'm far better off without her. It's only rarely that I think, for a split second, "I want my mum", and then I remember what she's like and don't want her anymore! I'm not sure how I've come to be at peace about this, but I think it's mainly this thread and books like Toxic Parents and some of Alice Miller's work that have helped me to see things from a different perspective. And for me distance from her (i.e. no face-to-face or verbal contact, just birthday and Christmas cards) has been the key to how much better I feel about myself these days. I have in the back of my mind that this year I may agree to meet up with her, but I know from what my sister has occasionally said that my mother is still expecting me to apologise and go back to being a "normal" part of the family, including seeing my father (that's never going to happen), but I think I'll need to see her again at some point, I think because I want to test myself to see whether I really have come as far as I think I have. Now I've written this, I'm wondering if that's a bit masochistic, will have to think on it a bit.

I too will be interested to hear about the Hoffman process. I read the book (can't remember the name now, by someone called Philip Lawrence I think??) and loved all but a very small part of it. It made so much sense.

Anyway, hope everyone is well. x

matildax Sat 01-Mar-08 16:33:20

hello, i have found it too!! smile
to ally, thankyou for your post to me on the end of the last thread, i think last night i was just so very very emotional, and reading through the thread, and recognising myself in all of you, some more than others, was really strange. i went to bed and cried my eyes out, well into the early hours!!
my love to you all, you really are inspirational, and by the sounds of it, very very strong. look forward to posting again soon xx

Hi Ally

Re your question to me:-
"Your mother treating your brother as the favourate isn't new I presume?"

Yes you're right, this has been going on for years now and particularly since I left home.

ally90 Sat 01-Mar-08 16:41:07

Over here! or I will be a billy no mates

Hi Matildax, glad your finding your feelings

Attila...know any reason why she would treat your brother as favourate?

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sat 01-Mar-08 16:44:08

I hate mother's day.

All I can think about is how my mother will be feeling so sad that she has got nothing from me and that it is all my fault. Not that I care about her btw but am sick of being the bad guy.

Still trying to work out what it is she did for me when she said all that was done was done for me.

ally90 Sat 01-Mar-08 16:47:52

Hi Nab

I presume it was your mothers behaviour which drove you away in the first place? She is responsible for her actions, not you.

New thread here

This is soooooo going to confuse, I should have left you in charge oneplusone!

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sat 01-Mar-08 16:49:27

I never lived with her from 15 months but when I have had ocntact I certainly haven't wanted anymore. Not seen her now for 15 years but she still is causing trouble.

Hi Ally

When I was at home I was the eldest good daughter and thus trusted and or left to get on with it. My younger Brother was at that time far more of a handful (used to argue with and or shout at my Mother) and be very demanding, if he said jump they'd say how high. This continues to this day. They still run around after him, my Mother still cleans his house (that all started when she originally moved to my hometown, my Dad was still working full time and she was thus stuck at home bored silly with nothing to do all day. Instead of getting a job and a life, she decided to clean my brother's house). Actually I get on okay with my Brother but I don't see him very often these days.

Think my Mother feels sorry for him as he lives (unsurprisingly) on his own.

Your thoughts are welcome. I gave up on them frankly a long time ago and now have no expectations at all. Easier that way.

Attila

ally90 Sat 01-Mar-08 17:16:54

Oneplusone - you are now in charge grin naturally my setting up another thread was a bit silly blush

Attila - okay so you are the 'capable' one and 'able to look after yourself' whereas brother 'needs looking after'. I guess your brother reminds your mother of someone in her past and she is recreating the relationship. Interesting in my dh's family, his sister seems similar to her maternal grandfather, adulterous, drinks like a fish, verbally aggressive etc...and his mother dotes on her. hmm So it could be your mother is recreating patterns from childhood relationships? Not that this helps you. Would you say you are emotionally divorced from them or do you still get bouts of anger and hurt?

Hi Ally

Re your comments:-

"Attila - okay so you are the 'capable' one and 'able to look after yourself' whereas brother 'needs looking after'. I guess your brother reminds your mother of someone in her past and she is recreating the relationship".

Could be. My Mother is an only child. Both her parents (i.e my grandparents) are now deceased. I do remember my Nan always being kind to us as children and I miss her to this day, infact both my Nan and grandad were kind but my Grandad did sometimes show a harsher side to his nature.

"Interesting in my dh's family, his sister seems similar to her maternal grandfather, adulterous, drinks like a fish, verbally aggressive etc...and his mother dotes on her. hmm So it could be your mother is recreating patterns from childhood relationships? Not that this helps you. Would you say you are emotionally divorced from them or do you still get bouts of anger and hurt?"

In answer to your last question I feel both emotionally divorced from them and hurt although the bouts of both anger and hurt happen less now. It was more acutely felt when my DS was younger. I am only thankful for my wonderful DH and son, both of whom keep me sane along with my real life friends and MN too!.

Think I should read that book called "Divorcing a Parent".

Anyhoo Ally, how are things your end?. Hope your parents are still well at arms length away from you, they are truly toxic individuals.

Attila x

ally90 Sat 01-Mar-08 17:45:54

Tis a wonderful book, Beverly Engel divorced her own mother and is a psychotherapist so she sees it from both perspectives.

She does go through all the detail you need on how to emotionally and physically divorce and work through your childhood feelings etc, can't say I did all that with my divorce but its helpful to read it all.

I'm okay, thanks for the validation about my parents no contact since xmas. None this valentines, but not unusual now, next date will be dh's bday then dd's bday...we'll see if she has learnt no means no... miracles do happen.

ally90 Sat 01-Mar-08 17:48:43

BTW I did add a book thread here if anyone wants to review a book.

vizbizz Sun 02-Mar-08 07:31:33

Sorry, I haven't been on mumsnet in ages and I missed the start of these chats. Can I join you here?

kaz33 Sun 02-Mar-08 08:17:55

Of course all welcome, the other posters have been very kind, thoughtful and helpful.
So please if you are ready let us know what is on your mind?

kaz33 Sun 02-Mar-08 08:24:50

For those interested the Hoffman Process is an 8 day retreat where you have no contact with the outside world. It sounds a bit cultish but isn't as my DH will agree.

My DH before he went on had anger issues, he had never hit the boys but he had scared me a couple of times. He also lacked self esteem and the ability to make relationships. All changed since his return, he can control his temper even when two boys (6,4) are doing there best to wind him up. He is better a partner, the dependency has disapeared and has just had a promotion at work. For him it was I quote "life saving" and our house is a happier more respectful place.

The basis for the course is Negative Love, basically if our basic human right of unconditional love is not met in childhood then we take on our parents traits as way of saying "Look at me, i am just like you - will you love me now". Its a bit more complicated than that, as I will find out shortly grin.

If you are interested more details on their website www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk

vizbizz Sun 02-Mar-08 10:05:16

am about to go to bed, but in short had an emotionally abusive upbringing, with some physical abuse disguised as "deserved punishment for wrongdoing". I was lucky in that my mother was "the rock". Her love was unconditional, and incredible.

There are some issues I have dealt with, some are still works in progress.

My toxic father has so many issues of his own I pity him his inability to even see that he needs help. (toxic parents is an incredibly apt term, whoever coined it is a genius)

He's the reason I'd like to join in. Most of the time he's not a problem since I live in another country. Some days however, he manages to come up with the most incredible crap it's astonishing. It would be nice to chat with people who understand when he does.

I am happy to share more another time when I am not dropping off to sleep. Thanks for welcoming me.

matildax Sun 02-Mar-08 12:16:22

hello all, hope you are all well,
today is a double whammy for me, it is not only mothers day, but is my mothers birthday also!! my own kids have been wonderful, especially my 5 yr old, who came in to wish me a nice day, every 20 minutes from about 5.30am!!.
i have bought my mum a birthday present, some bubble bath by innoxa, called love and happiness!! its meant to be quite tongue and cheek if thats the right expression, plus her birthday card says happy birthday, hope this day is as magic as you!.

i have not however bought her a mothers day card, and will be dropping of her bithday present with her neighbour, or failing that, i will throw it over her back fence, as i know she is going to my "posh" perfect sisters house for the day. so i wont have to face her.

both my mother and my father were rather cold as i grew up, and favoured all my sisters, cuddling them in front of me, from being very little, and me just sitting there, aching for some "kind" attention.......

oh its a long story, i dont want it to take over my thoughts today, so i will post again soon.
i wish you all, a lovely sunday with your immediate family. lots of love matilda xx

LadyBabo Sun 02-Mar-08 22:03:38

Always avoided buying my mum those 'bestest mum ever in the whole world' type cards, just got her 'happy mothers day,XXX.' I may be a lot of things, but insincere I am not!

toomanystuffedbears Sun 02-Mar-08 23:30:28

Middle Sister called on Friday, left message: "I haven't heard anything (had I given birth yet?) so I thought I'd call and check on you." Pleasant, professional phone voice.
---
My Oldest Sister came up last week to help with the baby-she's here waiting with me. Middle Sister apparently can not get over this...OS here first. Like, how could I choose OS, the black sheep child of the family, over her-the golden one? (OS is a nurse...hmm)
---
So I called her back (at her work), smiles everyone-me pleasant too...
I am fine, etc.
She mentioned that OS said the last time she (MS)talked to her that I'd be induced a couple of days after my due date. I was silent at this wondering when OS and MS talked...pretty long silence(she probably thought I was silent speaking to OS right there-I wasn't, but no matter)...finally I said, "I'm going to be induced on Tuesday."
She doesn't respond to this, instead she moves on to the next question-her conversations with me are a la interviews - or rather her script.

MS asks if OS and I are having fun. I said "I am 3 days past my due date, how much fun do you think I can have? I mean it is not like we are going out partying, MS."
Tersley: MS: "Let me rephrase that."
Again with more acid: "Let me rephrase that..."
"Are you enjoying her company?"
<<<wtf kind of question is that?>>>
I say with a little attitude: "Yes, of course I am enjoying her company; I have always enjoyed her company."
Long silence.
MS says, dripping toxins, "I will talk to you later."
I begin to say, "About Tues..."
MS: "I will talk to you later."
I: "But.."
MS: acid repeat
I: "Fine, bye" and I held the phone away, but let her hang up first.
OS angry shock
Told DH-he angry shock

<<<<Well, MS didn't stay on the victim spot very long- back to persecutor-Bad, TMSB, bad!>>>

So she hasn't called back-48 hours. Time for my email to her (just now):

sub: Change of plans
Dear MS,
"Talk to me later?" Don't bother.
It used to be that you'd offer suggestions and advice for me to use in my circumstances, but now you are in the habit of pushing bossy orders on me and if I choose a different solution or answer you become very angry with me. Until this behavior of yours changes, I am putting our relationship on hold.
The plans we have made for you to be here are canceled. I will invite you to visit when I feel I am ready to cope with you. I will send email if or when there is any news, or photos.
Sincerely,
TMSB

If she does call and if (or whenever) I am feeling cavalier enough to pick up wink- I'll say: "I'm busy, I'll talk to you later." repeat mechanically x3 interrupting her, then hang up.

I thank you all for being here and giving support and guidance. Without you, I probably would have never done that, which I seriously needed to do.
I feel relief. I feel in charge of my circumstances rather than just a respondent to my circumstances, iyswim.
Not only is she not coming here as planned, but I set another boundary of communicating only by email.

Several of the last posts on the previous thread have offered clarity for me- oneplusone, mampam.
Thanks Ally.
And Kaz on "Changing my mind", lol---offering a clue to MS that I have my own mind? MS will undoubtedly jump back to Victim spot on the Drama Triangle and "I changed my mind" will undoubtedly be useful.

Smithfield- I hope you and your family are doing well.
Sakura- I hope your travels are going safely and that you can stay in "monitor mode" while around your family (ie somewhat detached).

Podmog Mon 03-Mar-08 09:04:53

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matildax Mon 03-Mar-08 10:47:14

tomanystuffedbears:... hello, your sister sounds like one of mine!! i think you have done yourself proud with that email.smile
i myself havent really found any courage yet, except we did not even go round to drop the present off, i have not heard a word from her, i must say however i feel quite nasty. even though nasty is something her and one of my sisters have mastered the art of, where i am concerned!!

podmog: i am new also, and i understand your post totally, i feel like i am betraying a dark family secret, by posting on here, and if i get found out, i will get punished severely (i am 41 for christs sake!!),
but the childhood feelings never quite leave you do they?
i still havent told my "story" i think it will take a lot of rambling and snippets before i feel able to do so, but just being here is a massive step, and if you read through the last post, i think you will find others that have pretty much exactly the same feelings and "problems" as you. you are in safe hands smile
hope everyone else is ok, have a good week x

matildax Mon 03-Mar-08 10:48:55

podmog, i mean the last thread not post, i dont know how to put a link to it, but i am sure the others do. have a good day xx

kaz33 Mon 03-Mar-08 12:43:26

This is the last very long thread...

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/7/440839?ts=1204548155869

Mikafan Mon 03-Mar-08 13:18:49

Smithfield,
Just wanted to add my belated best wishes to you on the birth of your DD

This is my first year in not being a hypocrite and buying my mum a "You are a great mum" type card with the accompanying gift that she'd look down her nose at then point at the present that DB or DS had bought her and it feels good

Hope everyone else is ok.

Podmog Mon 03-Mar-08 19:59:06

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LittleBella Mon 03-Mar-08 20:53:35

I've just googled NPD and though neither of my parents fit into it, it ticks every single box of my best friend, whom I've known for 20 years and who is about 15 years older than me.

Hmmm....

oneplusone Tue 04-Mar-08 13:28:54

Hi, Podmog, I have just quickly skimmed through the posts and saw your comment. I have I suppose 'kind of' remembered some deeply suppressed extremely painful memories and feelings. But i also am frightened of how bad it will be once i really allow myself to fully remember and experience the feelings associated with some very traumatic incidents from my childhood. I have allowed some memories to surface and I can't deny that the experience was very painful and involved lots and lots of sobbing on my part sad. BUT in actual fact allowing yourself to experience those feelings is very healing and ultimately allows you to release yourself from your past so it is a good (but painful) thing to go through.

I have (hopefully) found myself a new counsellor who will i hope help and support me whilst i experience some of the worst memories from my childhood. Are you seeing a counsellor?

I would also recommend reading Alice Miller, she's written lots of books all of which are excellent. Her website is also very good alice-miller.com

Well done for posting on this thread, posting on here and reading other people's experiences and comments has helped me enourmously and I'm sure you will find huge support here.

Have to go now, back soon. x

Podmog Tue 04-Mar-08 19:43:39

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kaz33 Tue 04-Mar-08 21:46:17

Podmog - the supression is worse, because even if you think you have broken the cycle you are still affected by what happeneded all those years ago.

Well done for taking the first step, it is a very brave thing to have done. It will be difficult, it will be painful but it will be life transforming for you and your kids.

Big hugs smile

bearsmom Wed 05-Mar-08 10:17:55

Hi Podmog, I'd agree with what oneplusone and kaz say about it being painful to allow the memories to surface but that doing this is very healing and allows you to move on.

In the past year I've had some very painful memories resurface (have not seen or spoken to my mother in 18 months, and my father not for over two years). I'd sort of always known the memories were there, but spent the past 25 years or so trying to deny/ignore them. The recollection was traumatic but I felt so much better afterwards, not least because I could accept the memories as true and reject the part of my brain that had been programmed by my parents to deny that anything was wrong in my childhood (won't repeat my history here as the message would be long! but I posted intermittently quite a lot on the first and second threads and I'm sure their existence saved my sanity). I know there is still lots to remember but I found that I got to a stage where I needed to stop for a while and I think my subconscious is protecting me again (no idea if this makes any sense, hope it does!). It's part of the reason I haven't posted for a while as well. It's like I can deal with a few of the memories and then I have to step back for a while. Then take a deep breath and deal with the next bit. I know when I'm ready to start dealing with the next lot of memories because things start coming back to me again, which is the stage I'm at at the moment. I saw a therapist but she wasn't for me so I'm just getting up the strength to find another one. I think it's been said before on these threads, but if you don't feel comfortable with the therapist, don't be afraid to tell them you don't think you can work together and then try out someone else. Hope it goes well for you. It's a brave step to face these things but 100% worth it.smile

Podmog Wed 05-Mar-08 20:45:28

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Podmog Thu 06-Mar-08 10:41:08

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hanaflower Thu 06-Mar-08 10:52:59

Hey Podmog, we all started somewhere - if you feel this thread can help you, please post. If you want to ponder some more on your own first, that's OK too.
The lightbulb moment when you start realising that your / one's childhood isn't what other people would call a normal one brings a huge rush of emotions. Did in my case anyway.
Take care of yourself.

ally90 Thu 06-Mar-08 12:29:02

We are all at different stages Podmog, post away. Its always good to read other peoples stories, and your story could help other people who are at the same stage as you...its all valuable knowledge.

oneplusone Thu 06-Mar-08 13:45:00

Podmog, as ally says we are all at different stages and it is most definately 2 steps forward and 1 step back. If i had posted something yesterday i would have sounded fairly together but today i am a mess, have been crying all morning and feel very emotional. So please do not ever feel you are dragging any of us back, we are all here to help and support each other, whatever stage we're at and that is what has made this thread so invaluable to all of us.

The only difference for me now is that i do have some idea of what i'm feeling and why whereas even 3 0r 4 months ago i wouldn't have had a clue.

I have realised that a lot of the anger and rage i sometimes feel towards DD, is not anything to do with her, but to do with emotions that have surfaced from my childhood in relation to when my 2 sisters were born. I realise i must have felt a lot of anger and rage at them for taking my mum away from me and for her giving me less attention and love (although i also know now she didn't even love me in the first place) and the anger i now feel towards DD is the anger from my childhood. The only reason i know this is because i have read so many books on this subject and they have enabled me to realise that having your own DC's sometimes takes you back to your own childhood and you experience emotions in relation to your DC's that you first originally felt towards younger siblings but suppressed at the time.

It has taken me what feels like forever to work this out but I know it's the truth as DD never has and never will do anything to deserve the sheer amount of rage and fury and i am ashamed to say hatred i have felt towards her on occasion. I am sure that these feelings are long suppressed emotions from my childhood in connection to my 2 younger sisters who i must have felt, as a child, 'stole' my mother from me and also who she seemed to love and want far more than she ever loved or wanted me. I am sure that my natural reaction to my 2 sisters when i was a child would have been anger that they were there, and hatred towards them for 'spoiling' my family which would, before my sisters were born, have been just me and my mum and dad meaning that i got all the attention and 'love' that every child needs and craves from it's parents. I was nearly 5 when my middle sister was born and 7.5 when my youngest sister was born so i had nearly 5 years of being an 'only' child. It must have been a huge shock to my system when not only was my middle sister was born but my mum was 'besotted' with her and bonded with her in a way she never had with me. Their relationship is close to this day whereas my mum and i were always distant and i never felt any closeness or bond with her although this is what i know i have longed for all my life.

A few months ago i thought that the rage i felt towards DD was suppressed childhood rage at my mum but i don't think that was right as i don't think i ever felt real rage as a child towards my mum, only confusion, pain, longing for her love and anguish but not rage. But i am sure i felt rage towards my 2 sisters and i am sure that i suppressed that rage and it is coming out now triggered by DD. I never seem to feel that way towards DS and i don't know if that is because i don't have any brothers.

After feeling very angry i have found that other emotions start to surface, usually sadness, pain, anguish and grief. And that is how i am feeling today, very low, but i have been through this a few times now and i know it's a good thing to get the feelings out. It's just very difficult to do when you're alone at home with nobody for company but the DC's and i try not to cry in front of them as of course it upsets them. Ideally i need a live-in counsellor!

Am sorry for my extremely long ramble, but i have posted all this as i feel it might somehow help some of you who i know have also experienced rage towards your DC's where you know it's all 'you' and not them.

oneplusone Thu 06-Mar-08 13:57:11

bearsmom, everything you say makes sense to me and is pretty much what i've been going through. i hope you find a good therapist. I have spoken to 3 and i am going to 'try' them out next week and hopefully one of them will be right.

i have also found my eczema flares up when my anger comes to the surface and the eczema has almost become a sign to me that 'something's' happening in my head/emotionally as my body seems to know before my head does that there are some suppressed emotions that are about to come to the surface. Weird but true. smile

Podmog Thu 06-Mar-08 14:08:46

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Podmog Thu 06-Mar-08 14:10:25

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NAB3wishesfor2008 Thu 06-Mar-08 14:11:14

I am really fed up today. I keep hearing noises in the house. Have so much going on and I hate my mother.

Podmog Thu 06-Mar-08 14:18:28

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totalmisfit Thu 06-Mar-08 14:20:17

oneplusone - poor you. i have also felt the rage you describe. for me it comes from no-where, perhaps just the small everyday irritations of living with a 2 yr old. but it's completely out of proportion to the reality of her 'naughty' behaviour, and sometimes she hasn't even really done anything at all. it's a scary thing to feel actually. you say you've read some good books on the subject - do you mind me asking which ones? I really feel this is something I need to investigate as I'm not entirely sure who i'm angry at. Could be my younger brother, could be my parents. not sure.

Sakura Thu 06-Mar-08 14:28:53

Attila, I read the post you wrote about the way your mother treats you and then the way in which she treats your brother. If it helps, its quite clear that this different treatment is not because she loves him more than she loves you but because for whatever reason, he is easier to control. Cleaning up after someone all the time is not helping- its enabling. She's enabling him to live like a slob so that he continues to "need" her and so that she continues to have an important role and she can feel gratified that she is needed by someone. Its a little dance and has absolutely nothing to do with love.
"The COntinuum concept" and "Letting Go as Children Grow" (based on the COntinuum concept) talk about this. THat a child's room will continue to remain messy as long as the parent does not empower the child. For example as a child my room was always in a state- a real mess, and yet since I've cut off my mother, I now have a routine and am as tidy as you can be with a 1 year old. Its because I am in control of my space, my kitchen and my life. My mother would sporadically enter my room and do a spring clean while I was out (rifling through my stuff while she was at it). I would feel violated after one of her 'spring cleans'. But never once did she show me how to use the washing machine. In fact if I took it upon myself to tidy something, she'd shout "LEave THAT! I'll do THAT" as if I was steppping on her toes or something hmm.
On the first thread, Greensleeves called this "camping out in my own life" i.e not organising your space and cupboards in a way that makes sense to you. This could well be how your brother feels about all of this.

bearsmom Thu 06-Mar-08 14:37:32

Hi Podmog, please post whenever you feel like it. And don't worry if you don't feel like posting for a while. People on these threads often take a break when things get too much, but someone is always here for support which I know for me has been a godsend. We're all at different stages, but I don't think any of us would ever forget how it felt to start out on this journey. My realisation that my childhood wasn't normal was an incredible shock too, as my parents managed to convince us all that we were the perfect family and that what went on was absolutely normal. I still cannot relate to a normal father/daughter relationship, for example, which is one of the things I have yet to resolve. I can't really see an end to this "journey" of sorting out my past and stopping it from ruining my present and future but at least I'm moving in the right direction, rather than stuck in my awful family. Sorry, not very articulate but ds wants me to play with his farm and is getting v. annoyed with me so I must go! Take care of yourself.

NAB, sorry you're having a rotten day today. Hope it gets better.

ally90 Thu 06-Mar-08 21:06:27

Oneplusone - I get eczema too when stressed, broke out a while ago, not sure why but I did wonder if something was going on subconciously.

TMSB - Was it this week you were going to be induced? You've been quiet for a few days...!! Thinking of you xx p.s. your post about your ms made me laugh again...good for you sending that email!

Sakura- I do believe we have the same mother...she too did the springclean/rifling through my belongings...not letting me help wiht housework 'let me do IT!'...then she wondered why I refused to help with housework when I was older hmm I too was not taught anything which was strange with her obcession of housework, but it could have been a way of making sure me and my sister would always need her, same as my dad not telling us how to do DIY stuff, they were always 'too' happy to help with these things. I do the FlyLady thing now on the housekeeping thread seeing as I was never taught by my mother how to keep a house clean/how to clean hmm. The FlyLady website is very good too...its very into overriding the negative parent voice in your head that says that your house will never be good enough/clean enough.

Totalmisfit and oneplusone - I feel rage at other peoples children. I think I put the mother into my mothers place and the dc into my sisters place and the relationship replays. I feel like raising a hand to the child, luckily I have always raised my voice instead and got angry at the child. But the rage I feel!! I literally get the blood rush to my head...I guess that is suppressed anger from the blatently unfair way my mother treated my sister and I. My sister could get away with anything yet when I did something my mother and father came down hard on me because I wasn't sensitive like my sister...and the fact that I was easy to quash...my sister when she wanted to could tell them what to do...maybe I should do a session with the therapist on this one!

Hi Hanaflower, not said hello yet!

Nab, what was wrong in the house today?

Sakura Thu 06-Mar-08 22:39:51

I'll have to give that Flylady a look, esp on tips about overriding the negative parent voice. Thanks ally

matildax Fri 07-Mar-08 11:35:18

hello all,
still felling pretty low and very emotional, i think this is the emergency stage or something, so my psychologist called it, I found therapy very draining, even though my last one was really good, i just could not handle the few days after and the panic attacks,especially having the little ones to look after. and such like.
however i do think at some point i will have to return, to come to the resolution, "acceptance" stage that i was told of. i would just like to point out, i did not mean all councellors were dangerous, although i did meet one many years ago, and she was very damaging to me.
ally90, of course hugs are ok!! and thanks for sending me one, smile all of you, have a happy positive friday, and a lovely weekend xx

ally90 Fri 07-Mar-08 12:30:45

Hi Matildax, sorry you had a few bad days, but those days should hopefully start leading to good days in the future, hard to go through those days though...esp with LO's around...

I'm having one of those days today. Friends are the issue today. Discussed with therapist about my friends problem. I seem to be projecting my mother and sister roles onto them. Even tho discussed this all with therapist on wed night, today I open myself up to ridicule and critisim again today with a friend. angry We do have nice chats, but I always say something to provoke a reaction from her. Its like some kamikarzi urge! Lemming like I see an opportunity for someone to jibe at me about something I feel is v important and just go for it...angry. I don't know whether to distance myself from my friend and our mutual friend or to try and set some boundries...but because I'm scared of setting boundries...bit of a vicious circle. If only I could stay in adult...I'm going to have to go back to the chant I had when around my family 'adult adult adult adult'!!

Feel a bit better for that...I know that I am making the best informed decisions for myself and my family and if people disagree that is their lookout. In future I'm just going to have to think 'adult' and bite my tongue alot! And praise myself for being a bit different to everyone else, I may seem to think too deeply about things, but people generally in the end agree I've made the right choice...just takes them a long time to break out of their narrow minded ways to see it!

and calm.... honestly. Some people are IDIOTS! Sorry, their behaviour is idiotic...they are okay as people grin grin grin Now I feel better...!

Rant over!

toomanystuffedbears Fri 07-Mar-08 13:15:47

Hi all,
DD2 arrived safely on Tuesday. Everything went well-3 pushes and she was out.
Oldest Sister was in shock dd2 came so quick. grin
DH was out with ds & dd1 and arrived 10 min late, which was actually good for ds & dd1. I was not bothered at all that he 'missed' it. I didn't have much trouble being glad MS wasn't there, as she'd made a big deal out of it.

Middle Sister has not been communicated with yet...maybe I'll copy her on a brief email to others.
After the Friday "I'll talk to you later" phone conversation, MS terminated my rider card on her shopper warehouse membership. Oooooh, such punishment, she is acting like a jilted lover. (I sent the email on Sunday before I found out about it on Mon.) OS & I agreed: more clarity. wink

I'll catch up reading posts since 3-4.
Thanks again for all your kind thoughts, encouragement, and validation.
Got to go,
TMSB

Sakura Fri 07-Mar-08 13:22:49

Oooh, TMSB, I just got a little shiver at reading your post smile. Congratulations. IT sounds like the birth was fabulous smile smile. 3 pushes!! Must be because it was your second. ENjoy your baby.

Sakura Fri 07-Mar-08 13:28:23

Ally, hmmm, friends.
I was part of a really toxic group during school looking back now. I think Pages discussed this in the first thread- about how we were only attracted to people who must have had issues because the "normal" people appeared boring to us. We needed people who had what seemed like an edge to them, and edge of unhappiness I suppose.
I wonder if this friend was one you've had since before you started working through everything. If so, theres a chance she's probably not good for you. I'm not saying cut her out, but perhaps just keep her at arms length and don't expect too much from her.
I always had a "best friend" (and what a toxic term that is). We were co-dependant, basically. I broke away from that group and believe I couldn't have married DH and followed the path I have done if I was still involved with them because my need for their approval was so strong. If they hadn't have liked my future husband to be, I would probably have been swayed by their opinion.

ally90 Fri 07-Mar-08 13:44:59

Congratulations TMSB grin And well done, 3 pushes!! Lots of hugs to you and your new baby! Really pleased for you, and so proud you have managed to distance your ms at such an important time for YOU and the baby! xxxx

Mikafan Fri 07-Mar-08 13:47:16

Congrats TMSB - now go and relax

ally90 Fri 07-Mar-08 13:52:02

Sakura, she's a recent friend...but kind of got sucked into the friendship by another new friend who befriended me...tbh I'm not truly comfortable with any of the people I have made friends with from going to mother and toddler groups. Always feel a real reserve around them and at times stupidly childish. I know there are invitations for me to act that way...but I really need not accept all of them!! I think part of me is always hoping they will validate my decision to go no contact with my family, feel a bit like a dog trying to please the master...or the child trying to please their mother! Really need a jolt on this part of my behaviour...need my lightbulb moment!!

NAB3wishesfor2008 Fri 07-Mar-08 14:00:31

ally90 I kept hearing noises and I am sure things get moved. I know I am being paranoid as my biggest fear is my mother turning up so I think she has when it really isn't likely.

kaz33 Fri 07-Mar-08 19:10:51

TMSB - well done, we have our own post natal thread grin

smithfield Sat 08-Mar-08 11:49:06

Hi - wanted firstly to say thankyou for all your lovely posts. You brought tears to my eyes with your kind words. Happy hormonal tears, that is.

TMSB- CONGRATULATIONS grin grin grin! Sounds like we had similar experiences. I too was induced and then had a rapid delivery, 3 pushes here aswell, and DH 'almost' missed it. He arrived as she was crowning!

I have been keeping up with the posts... and my goodness there have been some really interesting, thought provoking posts.

Sakura- your response to Attila, really struck me.

I have as you know issues with the way my parents have treated my sister. They always take her side and have supported her financially, and continue to do so now even though she is almost 30.
As a result she has never had to work, and yet wants for nothing (drives the latest sports cars, has a mobile fully paid for, designer clothes).

I think as you say though, this is about control. As long as she is bought and paid for they can control her, so they enable her finacial dependancy on them in order to maintain that control. That's not love.

I on the other hand always wanted to make my own way. I was always punished for my independance, by the withdrawal of any support by them. Sound similar to yourself Attila.

I also recognise where much of this stems from...with my father at least. He had a sister (he no longer speaks to her) She was favoured by his parents.

I think my father replicates this relationship with his daughters. He did initially with me ( I too was given a car etc) But as soon as I became independant I was pushed aside and my sister took my place. I feel this is a position she covets and often blocks direct communication between myself and my father.

Kaz- you said about the course you will be going on and how the foundation belief of that course is that we mimic characteristics of the parent we most want to please/ gain a connection with.

I never thought about this before as I thought I grew up hating my mother, but thinking about it now I believe all along I desperately wanted her to love me. The hatred, aggression came later as a defence to the hurt and pain she caused by being continually rejected/ disaproved of by her. And anger that she never had the ability to love or bond with me.

So it follows that I have definately taken on her personality traits ( and these are not particularly pleasant parts of my personality either). But something to work on for me.

Someone also mentioned (ally I think) the sibling role. As in seeing dc's as our siblings. I posted on here a while back about the rage a felt at ds crying as a baby, mostly when I could not soothe him and wondered if this linked to a memory of being left in a car with my brother as a baby when he was screaming. I was 6 and it felt like we were left for ages (even if it wasnt) and I felt rage toward him at that moment and then also resentment at being left with him when I didnt have resources to deal with him or soothe him.

Also someone posted about being an 'only child initially'. I was an only child until I was six when db came along and then 4 years later ds and younger db (twins). Those first six years were traumatic for me, there was no love or attention and my father left us for some time. So I must have resented in some way the arrival of my siblings when I had still had no love or nurturing from my parents, yet here was another vying for that love and nurturing I was craving. I have intense feelings of jelousy in many areas of my life and I think may be this is where it all stems from.

I havent been able to connect with feelings about this at all but I feel there is perhaps an enormity of unacknowledged feelings around the arrival of siblings. Some of which may be re-surfacing now.

Since giving birth to dd, I have had nightmares regarding ds. I wont go into them now, but I feel they symbolise fears I have about losing my relationship with him. I have had to spend a lot of time with dd, trying to get breatfeeding going and I feel she is pulling me away from ds.
I look at ds and feel sadness and I wonder if am projecting my own feelings onto him?? Or if they are real. It's very confusing.

I also suddenly feel guilt is that I never truly bonded with him. Yet again I feel am I projecting this? It's very confusing.
I did have PND with Ds, and I have always found it difficult to just 'spontaneously' play with him.. although I have fought against these feeling as much as possible of course....so some of my feeling are real, but Im wondering why it has come to the fore so much more now?

Anyway- I also wanted to say 'overall' things are good here. We texted family with news of dds birth.

My mother contracted shingles as a repsonse to dd's birth wink. it's ok....you have all taught me too well to fall for that one. But also think she is slipping as even Middle DB said 'apparently' she has shingles. But that also I feel she shot herself in the foot a bit coming up with a contagious illness this time hmm. She sid however send some lovely flowers and chapagne which I will write and thank her for, and send a picture of dd at the same time.

DD's birth was Incredibly calm and quick enough that I finally got my wish to have a natural birth. Which also meant I got to hold my little girl and feed her straight away.
That had been the most painful part of my previous labour as ds was whisked away to special care, while I was left on a recovery ward not knowing what was happening. all Id wanted at the time was to hold him sad
So this 'was' a very healing experience.

Without the spectre of my mother hanging over me I have also been able to do things my ways this time.

So feeding on demand, and no dummies or schedules. Yes its tough, and I do have moments when I want to yell and scream, because as Danae so poignantly wrote...at times I feel my own unmet needs surface. I feel angry and resentful that she wants to be on my breast 'yet' again.

But I do see the benefits of unconditionally meeting her needs and how happy and settled she has become in a short space and this helps me overide those feelings (well for the most part...).

So I will sign of now, but I wanted to add (if you've managed to read this far!)
...
a hello to the newcomers and to say (especially to Podmog), dont give up.

Its a difficult complicated task, but it brings with it the greatest rewards. Yes everyone here is at a different point in their journey, but it is a continual learning process and what this thread brings is the benefit of everyones experience. Oftentimes that will open your eyes to realisations for yourself which will in turn help you along that difficult journey. And also the benefit of the much needed support, fro those who understand the complexity of that journey.

ally90 Sat 08-Mar-08 12:14:50

Smithfield - welcome back!! grin

Re love then anger hatred towards mother, thanks for that...validates my experience too

Difficulty bonding with ds...thanks again...and how you feel about dd now...yep...thanks again. Its so hard to have so many confusing feelings and have no sleep and raging hormones...everything seems so much worse. Does ds seem happy in himself? Is he old enough to ask what he wants? Like what someone said here, what do I do that you like, what do I do that you don't like?...good questions to ask in an okay way.

Remember it will all seem overwhelming at the moment...so much to cope with, and no nurturing from a mother (well not that you got much last time hmm). You are doing the best you can, you are a 'good enough' mum, not perfect but 'good enough' (as my therapist keeps telling me!). At least you are aware your ds may have feelings about his new sister. Remember you are paving the way for your dd's future now too, so that in itself is draining. Only too easy to shut a door and sleep through the crying.

You can do this, focus on the good you do for both your dc and yourself. You have permission not to be too hard on yourself for the next few months .

Sending lots of hugs and warm fluffy muslin cloths your way xxxx

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sat 08-Mar-08 17:54:06

I would love 5 minutes with my mum so I can say all I want to say and I hate myself for wanting that and for wanting a mum when she has been awful to me.

Chose her men man over me.
Where I was happy, caused trouble so I had to be moved.
Where I was really unhappy didn't make any contact.
Threatened suicide if I didn't invite her to my wedding.
Told my Nan my husband was nothing.

bearsmom Sat 08-Mar-08 18:07:51

TMSB, just wanted to add my congratulations! smile

ally90 Sat 08-Mar-08 18:21:00

Nab, there is nothing wrong with wanting your mum, or rather possibly, a mum that was nurturing...just very sad for you and all of us that we do not have that.

There is no need to hate yourself for wanting 5 minutes to tell her what you feel about her. You have every right to be angry. And every right to be angry face to face. If you did something wrong with one of your dc, would you rather they were angry to you and got it out of their system and you give them a positive response ie listen and acknowledge and apologise, or for them to suffer in silence like you, fearing what response they would get?

Her behaviour seems very focused on getting all the attention on her and away from you. Deliberately seeking you out when she gave you up in the first place to deliberately sabatarge your life is the behaviour of somone very disturbed, or as Attila says 'mad as a box of cut snakes'. I'm not saying disturbed in a dangerous way (something I feared of my mother at my worst points) but someone seeking to make life difficult and unpleasant for everyone around herself.

HTH, got to go and have tea now, but had to reply to your post as it made me feel so sad for you. xxx

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sat 08-Mar-08 18:24:19

She really does not care a jot about me. I haven't spoken to her in years and I can't remember thelast time but it is over 10 years.

ally90 Sat 08-Mar-08 18:27:00

You still want her to change? And one day she will come back and be the mum you always wanted and needed?

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sat 08-Mar-08 18:28:29

She will never change. I am 36 so she must be about 55. My husband would never let her in our lives and that is fine. I just want to make her face up to her actions but she never would and tbh it wouldn't achieve anything at all.

I only lived with her until I was 15 months anyway.

ally90 Sat 08-Mar-08 18:53:49

Just look at what you just typed again...

"I only lived with her until I was 15 months anyway."

It sounds as if you are dismissing your abuse. Because that is what it was, emotional abuse and emotional neglect.

But I could have misunderstood your sentance...

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sat 08-Mar-08 19:20:19

I meant it wasn't like she had been there for a long time and then I had left home.

ally90 Sun 09-Mar-08 16:34:32

Does it matter that you didn't live with her? Your still scared now at the thought of her coming near your house. When I read about your past I was/am quite horrified at the lengths a 'mother' would go to to destoy her childs chance at happiness. No wonder you are so worried she will turn up now, when she did it whenever you were happier as a child.

Did she every turn up unexpectedly at a foster home?

toomanystuffedbears Sun 09-Mar-08 18:26:46

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement.

Thanks also for your insights and grounded guidance because I received an "apology" letter from MS and I probably would have fallen for it if I didn't know what it was really saying.

This is hand written snail mail:
(perhaps to set me straight that email is rude and impersonal?)

Dear TMSB,
Obviously I have offended you in some way and for that I am sorry.
I have been trying to figure it out for some time and have been unable to do so.
I also have not directly addressed it to you before as I didn't want to upset you further.

Please, when you can, let's talk.
By the way, I hope that everything went as well as expected and both you and DD2 are doing well.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Love always,
MS
-----------
She has not acknowledged my email (relationship on hold) and would not do a return receipt as requested...but from this letter I am presuming she read it.
-----------
I see this as the unapologetic apology- "in some way"...
"obviously"- well, what does it take for her to realize her effect-no self awareness until the relationship is angry. I am glad something regarding my feelings is finally obvious to her.
Line 2- unable to figure it out...of course, from her universe, she won't be able to will she?
Line 3- oh, TMSB is the sensitive one, so patronizing and condescending.

Let's talk? There really isn't any talking to her because if the conversation doesn't go her way, she ends it.

My baby and I- just 'by the way'? Diminished again.

Look forward to hearing from me? WTF is this: a cover letter for a job...she-boss, TMSB-employee.
-----------
Also: the day after coming home from the hospital:
MS called here and DH answered. Was the baby born? (Tuesday); is OS still there? (no) can she speak to TMSB? (no, she's asleep and I don't want to wake her) [end of conversation-nothing else-no what did the baby weigh, color hair, did I have natural birth or a C-section, etc.] It was all about the sibling rivalry, matriarchal control.

OS received a message from her (tersely) to return her call. OS did, to get it over with, as she predicted that she'd be blamed by MS for ??? my behavior?
Sure enough.
Why wasn't MS invited down for the weekend when we spoke last Friday? OS said I was about to invite her until she got so nasty on the phone and hung up on me. MS then claimed that it was I who hung up on her. OS stood her ground and said she heard my half of the conversation and saw me hold the phone out so (you) could hang up first. TMSB did not hang up on you. (no response to that)...
so next item...
Why was MS not called when the baby was born? Tbh, I had thought about calling her, but that was an old reflex from childhood training and to be able to resist it at such a time as immediately after delivery...well, I am kind of proud of myself. But OS saw that it bothered me, so she offered to call which would have been a huge gesture on her part for me. OS said the truth: she offered to call for me, and I told her no. Then MS was totally mad that OS didn't go behind my back and call her anyway. shock
MS then used the 'control from beyond the grave' card (as I predicted) and lectured OS that Dad said she (MS) would be the one to 'keep the family together' (after his death) by her being the one to make compromises. OS and I really are having a hard time coming up with an example of when she EVER made a compromise -she is always black and white: her way or the highway.

Any thoughts or comments for a reply will be appreciated.
Initially, I am going to copy the 'relationship on hold' letter and add the birth announcement to it as an addendum. Just the facts.

Yes, this did upset me and yesterday was not good because of hormones and serious fatigue.
But it is also more clarity. And DH is finally telling me what he really thinks of her shock grin.
If she can't figure it out on her own, perhaps I should suggest what she always does when she can't do something by herself-seek the help of a professional. If/when I ever suggest she seek counseling, she'll definitely "blow another head gasket" (OS's term grin).
Got to go-sorry I didn't edit or preview this time.

I hope everyone is doing well. Hello to the newcomers-take care-we are all on your side.

TMSB

kaz33 Sun 09-Mar-08 19:21:29

TMSB - well done, your post speaks of strength and clarity. Go and give that gorgeous baby of yours a hug grin

It reminds me of my mum, poor me and the total absence of any understanding of how much she has hurt me sad.

NAB3wishesfor2008 Sun 09-Mar-08 19:24:46

Ally90

She would turn up unannounced where I was living and expect to just to be bale to take me out. She would also cancel when I was meant to see her at short notice. One time I had been to her house for the day and when the social worker came to pick me up, my mother told her she had only had to hit me once that day.

She used to phone, etc and cause trouble as she didn't want me to be happy with anyone else. I lived with one foster family who were lovely to me and I called the father Dad. She didn't like that and said I had to stop. Eventually I had to be moved. Thanks to someone on here I got their new address and we are in touch. They had kept photos of me for 30 years and have sent them to me. It means a lot as I didn't have any.

ally90 Sun 09-Mar-08 19:37:40

Hi TMSB! Honestly, last thing you need is that letter!

Umm...you told her what was wrong in the email you sent...

"Dear MS,
"Talk to me later?" Don't bother.
It used to be that you'd offer suggestions and advice for me to use in my circumstances, but now you are in the habit of pushing bossy orders on me and if I choose a different solution or answer you become very angry with me. Until this behavior of yours changes, I am putting our relationship on hold.
The plans we have made for you to be here are canceled. I will invite you to visit when I feel I am ready to cope with you. I will send email if or when there is any news, or photos.
Sincerely,
TMSB"

Would of thought that covered the first two paragraphs of her letter???

She's taken the 'blinkered' approach...! Deny your experience/reality, assert ms experience/reality.

Looks like you have it all under control tho.

Love the lack of interest in your wellbeing re phone call, and the checking up if OS there first...lord, how old is she?

Think OS is great, re her asserting your reality. (Pat on back to her from Ally!! That's the kind of sister you deserve!!). Enjoying the 'control beyond the grave' did you ever watch "Only Fools and Horses"? Your in US? The eldest son always said 'before mum died she said...' and it was always to suit his circumstances at the time...Should be on YouTube if you had time (ho ho with baby?!!) to view!

Your doing really well TMSB, putting your needs and wants first. OS and your dh seem to really be there for you too...very important that.

Sending hot fluffy towels your way for the hormones and fatigue. Take care of yourself Allyxxxx

smithfield Mon 10-Mar-08 10:08:04

Ally

You can do this, focus on the good you do for both your dc and yourself. You have permission not to be too hard on yourself for the next few months .

Thankyou- so need to hear this.

It's like there are so many layers to be peeled away. The layer of the past child that didnt recieve the love and nurturing and so finds great difficulty 'at times' of providing it to dc's now as an adult.

Then there is the layer consisting of the long held negative script, which constantly berates and undermines any efforts to conciously parent our dc's in the most positive way we can.

The latter continuallly throws up our slip ups and says 'no your not good enough' sorry and stamps a big failure mark over the whole experience, regardless of the good to be found amongst said slip ups.

In answer to you questions re ds, he seems as happy as a lark. Says how he loves his little sister, that she is 'so cute mummy', and wants to hug and kiss her at every moment.

I think some of the guilt comes from me having been in a different place emotionally when I had him as a baby, and also the changes in my parenting toward him in just the last few months (since being on this thread, seperating from my parents) have been immense.

I realised despite conciously giving him the physical affection I never got, 'unconciously' 'by not playing with him as much as I could', there was still a level of emotional unavailability to me. I am still working on it though and will continue to.

So of course you then ponder on what damage you may have caused so far.

But I looked at baby pictures of ds y'day. And he looked so happy, so content, and when held by me or dh so loved. You are right I have to take a deep breath and say 'Im human I did/am doing the best I can for both my dc's' and I will continue to monitor, correct, improve my parenting'

But thanks for the validation, it is much needed.

BTW re your sister- I read Something interesting about where ther is a toxic mother and two girls the two girls often split their mothers personality. One takes one side of their mother's personality and so the other takes the remaining part/or flip side.
Do you relate to that at all? I know I do, just wondered if it was true for you.

TMSB- Hugs for you- Yes this 'is' the very last thing you need.

I have to say it was recieved with great relief that no-one contacted me after dd's birth. We had reply texts from everyone, and there was no further response from us. That was just what I desired/needed after. So I know how upsetting this kind of contact must be for you.

The thing that strikes me most is the level of self centredness that surrounds this. Narcissm at its best. Not holding off til things have settled for you but making sure that a message, laden with guilt for how 'your' behaviour has affected 'her' has landed on your doorstep so soon after the birth.
Makes me angry tbh.

I like ally's response.
You could also consider not responding at all. Focus your energy's on your new little one instead and let her stew. You can respond when you are good and ready and not before.

But of course this all rests on how you feel it should be tackled. Go with your instincts and you will always have support here whatever you choose. xxx

oneplusone Mon 10-Mar-08 14:46:59

smithfield, as usual i have very little time but i can totally relate to feeling guilty at being in a different place emotionally when i had DD as compared to DS. I know i wasn't emotionally available to DD in her earliest most crucial years and I know the longing she must have felt for her mummy to be there for her and let her know she was loved, needed and wanted. I know this is how she must have felt as a baby as this is how I felt as, without knowing or realising it, when i had my DD I repeated the pattern that my mum had followed when she had me. As i've already mentioned i know my mum probably had PND, she didn't bond with me or love me in the way that i needed her to love me. I know i repeated this behaviour with DD and I think it was you that suggested to me a while ago that DD could be a 'portal' for me to my own feelings from childhood and indeed that is exactly what has happened.

HOWEVER, all of the above would very negative and depressing for perhaps both of us but for the absolutely CRUCIAL difference between us and our mothers. Although we may not have been emotionally aware to our first born DC's and unintentionally caused damage to them, we have since become completely and totally aware of ourselves, we have insight and we therefore will not and simply cannot continue, as my mum did, with a lifetime of emotional distance and lack of bond with our first born DC's. And Alice Miller says that even if damage was caused in a child's early years, the effects of that damage can be completely and utterly minimised if the mother does gain awareness and insight and can from then on be emotionally available to our DC's as I think we are both now learning to do.

I think it will always be a learning process with me and DD, whereas with DS, with whom I felt an instant bond, there is nothing to learn, the feelings are there and, at the risk of sounding dramatic, emotionally i belong to my son. Our first born children also have the benefit of loving and caring fathers which I may have had initially but not always and so I have such hope and optimism for both my DC's, despite the differences in their first few minutes, months and years, they will be loved and cherished all their lives by me and their dad and this is what will make all the difference between their childhood and mine. I am sure everything i have said is true for you and your family too, so please don't feel the guilt or constantly analyse your DS's behaviour (admittedly i was doing exactly the same not so long ago) and just enjoy your two gorgeous miracles, your constant love will heal any damage that was inadvertantly caused before you had the insight you have now.

Again sorry for such a long and rambling post, i hope you can understand what i'm trying to say. x

oneplusone Mon 10-Mar-08 14:55:49

TMSB - congratulations on the birth of your DD. And well done for keeping yourself and your family safe from your MS at the most important time.

As the other's have said, you must put your own needs and wants FIRST, before those of your MS. Look after yourself, you deserve it, and your children need you to focus your emotional and physical energies on them, they are totally dependent on you, your MS is an adult you can fend for herself.

Sorry if i sound harsh, but this is what i have to tell myself when i find myself getting drawn into my own middle sister's life too much. I have set a mental boundary for myself, my MS is an adutl and is responsible for herself, I am not responsible for her. It's very hard to do I know.

oneplusone Mon 10-Mar-08 15:07:52

totalmisfit (you're not btw, you fit in perfectly!) sorry for taking so long to get back to you, busy with kids etc.

As anyone that 'knows' me on this thread the books I have read have all been by Alice Miller. I can't remember in which one she mentions about us somehow transferring our childhood feelings of rage at our siblings onto our DC's, but it could possibly have been the Drama. Are you familiar with Alice Miller? I have read and re-read her books countless times over the past year or so and it is only by re-reading that i notice things in her books that i may have missed first time around. The mention of siblings is only one or two lines iirc, but it stuck in my mind and surfaced again recently when i found myself feeling complete rage at my poor DD for some utterly minor thing she had done. What i felt was completely out of proportion to her behaviour and my feelings, like yours, seemed to come out of nowwhere. I feel soooooo guilty as i have done this more times than i care to remember and it is only recently that i have come to realise where the rage comes from. I always apologise to DD afterwards but it does nothing to ease my guilt and anguish at the injustice she has suffered because of me. sad

Btw, Alice Miller has a great website alice-miller.com

JingleyJen Mon 10-Mar-08 15:10:54

Hi there,
just wanted to say a big thank you, I have read all your postings without comment until now.
I am learning through your shared experiences that I need to be my own person with my parents and stop acting like a frightened teenager.
In the last month I have handled things totally differently with my family and feel so good (if a bit scared) by it.
May go back to lurking but really wanted to let you know that others lurk and are helped. Jen x
ps Congratulations on your new baby TMSB

oneplusone Mon 10-Mar-08 18:36:14

Hi Jingleyjen, I did the same when i first found the original thread. I even printed it off, all 200 pages!

Have you read the other 2 threads as well?

I am glad the thread has helped you, it has helped me so much, i was so happy when I found it. Keep lurking or posting or both, whichever you prefer! x

oneplusone Mon 10-Mar-08 18:44:48

Yesterday I felt like i had to emotionally 'let go' of my youngest sister. We never had a close relationship growing up and until now i think i was clinging on to the hope that somehow now things would be different and we would suddenly be close. I think i am longing for some sort of closeness with someone in my family, i know it will never be with my parents so that only leaves my 2 sisters. I am in touch with my middle sister but i think she has her own reasons for being in touch with me and it's nothing to do with wanting a real relationship with me. I think she holds a grudge against me for cutting off my parents, who she feels sorry for (just like in the drama triangle, my parents are the 'victims', my sisters are their 'rescuers' and of course i am the 'persecutor'). I am sure she sees me as the baddie but for some reason she is willing to overlook that fact as she needs me as she has nobody else to talk to/confide in.

It was very sad letting go of any real hope of a relationship with my youngest sister, i think she is the one who is least damaged out of all of us, and is therefore the most genuine and authentic sibling. But neither of them have any idea of just what i have been going through over the last 18 months (i feel i have been on a crash course in psychology/families/dysfunctionality) whereas they have no knowledge on the subject. I don't even think they have any real idea that ours was a highly dysfunctional family.

JingleyJen Mon 10-Mar-08 18:48:04

have only read this one..
I avoided the other threads because I knew they touched on things that I wasn't ready to face.
I am just so determined to not turn into my mother that I will do anything and facing things is a start.
My sister and I had a great talk about how things were and how they are getting worse as we are getting older and it clicked. Our Mother is finding it hard to cope with the fact that my sister is stronger than she was (she is just divorcing her husband - My Mum put up with my dad cheating twice) and according to my sister Mum is finding it hard to cope with me being a better mum than she was. All of her recent toxic behaviour (great phrase) is to punish us for being and doing things that she never could.
Anyway enough from me for now.. <heads back to the darkest corner of the room>

toomanystuffedbears Mon 10-Mar-08 18:57:54

Hi Ally, Smithfield, oneplusone and all,
Well, I thought I emailed MS back yesterday and put 'save a copy' for my sent file, but it didn't show up and I wonder if my missive was sent??? Me idiot....blush
I gave 4 lines on the birth including
"By the way, DD2's full name is _ _ _ since you were to preoccupied with other issues to ask."
If she did get it, there will be no doubt now of my perspective- I said there was no way I could make my pregnancy, birth, new baby be about her. I went into the Maternity Leave and how insulting and diminishing it was and that I'd never forgive her for it; how there is no talking to her for her reflexive power plays of dismissiveness, corrections, last words, etc; and more, and ended with
If this doesn't offer you a clue on your journey of self-reflection and 'if you can't figure it out by yourself', then do what you'd normally do and hire a professional.
I did write that I thought she thinks TMSB is the one with a problem but stated very clearly it is not me, it is her.

Basically an honest venting, it felt good to write it and push the send button...but did she get it? I do not know. She may have my address blocked for all I know.

Well, you are all right and in harmony with DH- I need a break from this. DH says I owe her NO explanation under any circumstances anyway...so I will 'leave it' (one of MS's dogie commands). I do have to work on getting her voice out of my head.

Thank you for your support, and stating her letter was to keep me or bring me back into her version of experience/reality to deny me the truth of my experience/reality. Nothing said about MS could be felt as 'too harsh'-no worries there.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I had already started to try to distance myself from her. It was very hard especially without knowledge (from books) and your support, and the counseling. I said in the phantom email that my pregnancy really brought out her 'true colors'-another one of her favorite phrases. It amplified her NPD to such an extent, as you can see from these past few weeks, that I can or will have no sympathy for her from now on.

Yes, I'm in US.
MS is 47 years old.
And yes, OS is one of the nicest people that ever drew a breath. She obviously respects me by not going behind my back to call MS; MS obviously does not respect me by expecting that OS would. More clarity

I have offered suggestions to others here of "not participating" and I will follow my own advice. The letter is bait. I will respond no longer.

Thanks- more than I can say. <<<hugs>>>

oneplusone Tue 11-Mar-08 13:31:59

Hello all, how are you?

I went to see one of my 3 potential counsellor's yesterday evening. I ended up telling her a lot of things which I hadn't really planned on talking about on the first appointment. I realised I still have quite a long way to go as although I have had a lot of 'realisations' and done a lot of work myself, and I've also written lots of things down and found it theraputic, but I have never actually talked out loud and told someone in real life about some of my most traumatic experiences from my childhood and about how I felt so lost and lonely and scared and hurt. My previous counsellor I realise whilst not damaging in any way didn't really draw me out to talk about my experiences. Although perhaps he could sense that I simply wasn't ready to talk about some of the terrible things I experienced and I know I wasn't. It was hard enough to just allow the memories through never mind to actually talk about what happened. But I do feel ready now to talk and perhaps that's why I ended up saying a lot more than i intended to the counsellor i saw yesterday.

But the problem i have is that i don't really know how to decide which counsellor to choose. The one i saw yesterday didn't really say much, she just listened. I suppose i felt comfortable with her generally, but i did feel slighly uncomfortable about her reaction, just through her facial expression at one or two things i told her. I have 2 more to see, I suppose it will be quite obvious if i don't 'like' someone. I went to see a counsellor once over a year ago and i knew straightaway that she wasn't right.

I would appreciate hearing about your experiences of finding a good counsellor and how you went about it and how you decided which one was right for you.

Mikafan and matildax, how are you both? I notice you haven't posted recently, (not that you're obliged to of course) but I just hope you are feeling ok. I have found my 'down' days have ultimately been the most 'profitable' if iykwim. For me, feeling down has meant that some new memories, thoughts and feelings are surfacing, and once they have surfaced and I have had a good cry and processed them i feel so much better and i know i have moved forward. I have learnt this through having been on this journey for over a year, and i sincerely hope and beleive that the same will be true for you too.

kaz33 Wed 12-Mar-08 09:26:00

Ahhh - just lost it with DS1 on the way to school. Its all about me wanting to control him, he never shuts up, never leaves his brother alone, is always in his face pushing and whining. I say don't do that XXX and he returns to me with don't do that mummy - like a parrot. We go to school and there he is on the stairs, looking at me - saying I am not well mummy I don't want to go swimming. And all i can think is f**k off me and leave me alone, I can't handle you needing me because I have enough problem dealing with myself sad

I go on my course a week on Friday, its like through all the pre-process work I have opened up so many sores - it's almost I can't help scratching them. Literally as well, I have suddendly got really itchy (just as I used to itch as a child) and I have this strange metallic taste in my mouth. I just want to lock myself away in a room .

I hate me as a parent, DS1 has become really empathatic to my moods - I apologise for shouting and he then apologises - I say you don't need to apologise you haven't done anything wrong. He will say anything to try and make my happy, to try and make it right. He's only 6 and I have done so much damage to him already. He is so sensitive to all my moods, just like i was to my mum. Its almost like I can't believe he loves me, why would he love me I'm not particularly lovable.

That feels better for writing it down.

Mikafan Wed 12-Mar-08 09:45:13

Hi oneplusone, I'm still here, I just don't have anything to contribute at the moment. I've thankfully still heard anything from my mum and I don't think about her which is cool with me - long may it last

I'm sorry to hear about everyone else feeling so down. I only wish I had words of wisdom for you all but I don't

oneplusone Wed 12-Mar-08 14:02:06

Hi kaz, i can relate to your situation with your DC's, I have definately been there and done that. I think the problem we have is that we don't know what's normal. Would another mum, who didn't grow up in such a dysfunctional family occasionally feel as we do towards our DC's and treat them as we sometimes do? I often think about this and wonder whether some of our feelings and behaviour are common to all parents regardless of their own upbringing.

I suppose it's something we will always struggle with. I too always say sorry to DD when i have been unreasonably angry with her. Luckily now i recognise instantly when my rage is triggered by her but stems from my childhood. The only problem is i only realise after i have shouted at her usually sad. I am optimistic though that i will soon learn to recognise it before i shout at her and not shout at all. The incidents are far far less now than they have been in the past so i have taken that to mean that i am making progress in all of this.

I'm sure you will see an immense change in yourself after you have been on the course and you're right in that all the preparation you have to do beforehand must be triggering memories, feelings and emotions from your childhood.

Like i said i will be very interested to hear about the course and it is something i may consider in the future as well. x

kaz33 Wed 12-Mar-08 14:22:25

Thanks 1+1 - I thought I was getting better and calmer but then this comes out of the woodwork and smacks me in the face.

Ah well, we might make a cake after school - daddy is coming home after a few days away so it will be a nice suprise for him and good mummy bonding time.

matildax Wed 12-Mar-08 16:26:44

hello all, and thanks for the kind words oneplusone. also ally90 thankyou for your messages, hope you are feeling ok, big hugs smile
i havent posted for a few days, but have logged in ,just to read what others have written. i think with regards to therapy, you must be 100% comfortable and at ease with your therapist.
my last one was great, but then i found out i was pregnant with my ds and i decided not to carry on at that time (he did say i could return whenever i wanted, but not sure at the moment, its all so painfull)
the days after were always really horrid, although i do think i was becoming slightly stronger in myself.
oneplusone, again i have seen "that look" in a councellor i once saw. i dont really think we clicked, i remember once not turning up for an appointment, and she got really cross with me, telling me time was money!!! no regard whatsoever for my emotional state!! she also could not understand that i did not/still do not "hate" someone in my family who hurt me a lot physically and mentally when i was very small... i could understand her reasoning, but she refused point blank to consider mine.
perhaps i am wrong, and i am sure is something like that happened to one of my children i would be horrified and would "hate" aswell, oh i dont know maybe im completely crazy.
love to you all, have a good week xx

toomanystuffedbears Wed 12-Mar-08 21:34:03

Small children are small children and well, been there done that- know the fatigue+frustration+just feeling defeated+feeling driven insane.

I read a book very early on when my ds & dd1 were tiny- it was a book for communicating with teenagers, but I read it anyway.
The title was something like: How to listen to your teenagers so they will talk and how to talk to your teenagers so they will listen." It was helpful, but I read it so long ago I won't try to quote from it.

A couple of concepts I always try to follow are whenever I say "no" to something, always give an acceptable option. Having "no" said to you all the time would frustrate anyone (any age) so the acceptable option relieves that. Also, try to stop what you are doing and make eye contact when talking to the child. This little thing gives a lot of respect with it and makes the child visible, validated-as opposed to being invisible and unimportant.
Good luck; it is very hard to catch a reflex or unconscious reaction in the moment. But we all know that it is important to try, keep on trying...and the rewards will undoubtedly be worth it- for everyone.
----------
I feel a web of contradiction for myself.
Recognizing and identifying and giving credibility to my feelings has been a great break through for me. But then situations arise that I should keep quiet, or not respond, or (I guess) turn around and shut myself down on purpose. How ironic. But I know in doing so myself is me being in control of my life and not letting someone else control me.

My lovely MS sent me a box yesterday, presumably my birthday gift, but addressed to "The ____'s". I did not open it.

Today, two boxes arrived, I will presume full of baby gifts. They both are addressed to my baby girl. One from lovely MS and the other from MS's neighbor (although the handwriting on the label looks very similar to MS's hand hmm). (I have spoken with her neighbor several times and she's ok, she's an older retired lady, I wonder if MS has adopted her as a surrogate mom.) Just an old fashioned power play...dare me to not respond with a thank you note to her neighbor. Or should I send the neighbor a thank you note and not MS? I think not: the neighbor has known her long enough to know what she is.

Anyway, DH is angry and said "they are from Miss Manipulation" smile and he supports me in the best response is no response.
I was tempted to return the boxes with a "letter" making my feelings very clear. But that would be letting myself be drawn back into the drama triangle.

I'll store them in the garage. Original plans had MS coming to "help" me on 21 Mar.
I'm wondering if she will show up-as she has seemed to either ignore (or didn't get?) my email. DH said she simply isn't welcome here anymore and so we won't allow her in. He recognized MS's presumption that I "needed" her, especially since announcing I was pg. She must have thought that was a slam dunk for her. HA DH says I don't need her to function. I said I actually function better without her. And I do-I have such a true feeling of relief. And she really was (see?! PAST TENSE!! grin) the source of my depression, if that is what it really was that I was feeling: dysfunction, diminished child sister, or misfit status. She gloried in keeping me there for the permanent 'rescue' target.

ally90 Thu 13-Mar-08 08:34:08

Welcome Jingleyjen Sorry you found it so hard to read our other threads but its good you are here now. And good you have a sister who understands. Does your dh understand how you feel about your mother? Tell us more about you when you feel ready...even the less painful memories. Or present experiences. Anything is good

Oneplusone...I'll see how you do with your therapist interviews with interest! And re your anger, you were right to vent it here and get it down in black and white you have acknowledged its not okay and gradually, you will come to recognise you are doing it and be able to stop yourself just takes lots of time...just think beating your path through a jungle...instead of taking the well worn track ...takes lots more time to get through, but given enough will power you will succeed You are doing things differently to your mother. And like you were climbing a great height try not to look down, ie back in time, you will feel worse and you will struggle harder to get to the top of the mountain (of being the mum you want to be). Oooh I'm good on analogys today... grin

Kaz - yup, I get well peeved when my dd does not go down for a sleep...I act okay (i hope) but inside I'm seething with frustration and anger... think I might consider that course too... I'll watch with great interest to see how you are when you come back! Lets hope you feel better about yourself.

TMSB - love the email you sent (hopefully). Your ms is laying down the bait isn't she? Presents from her neighbour now hmm you do right not to reply. Its giving her a response to her taunting. My therapist is big on responding with 'Please respect my request for no contact, I understand you may feel hurt/angry etc but that will change nothing'. However my dh and I have always gone for no response. Because each time they would have got a reply from me (there would have been at least 20 odd over 2 years) they would have got excited at getting something from me, as it is an acknowledgement them. Whereas no response is a brick wall. You can't get by it. And is ultimately pointless to carry on sending items.

Matildax - your welcome thanks for your thoughts on therapists...just about to vent about mine angry. Sounds like you have not had a good experience...and btw you are the sane one...good lord...imagine a therapist that makes you feel like you are mad...!!

Okay...my vent....

I am finishing my therapy in June. Told therapist that I did not want to be doing therapy when I'm pg (no not yet...going to try this year!!) which is true. But also I feel as if we have never really 'clicked'. He has helped a great deal re tools to help me cope in day to day life and many other things...but re emotions regarding my family I have hit a block. I feel he is 'for' them against me much of the time. Which is not good. I have emotions I need to process and I cannot with feeling he is on there side. I have raised this with him and he has denied it time and time again. Quite vemently at times. But actions speak louder than words, right? Last night all was going great...really got upset at the thought of finishing therapy with him etc...then I mentioned my separation from family this led to a 'hmmm just had a thought, not sure if I should say or not...' que me thinking 'here we go again' he reminded me of my mother wanting to say something wounding that my sister had said...so I asked him with an internal sigh...oh he came out with a gem, what if my mother died and I had not said all I wanted to say to her. Then he twisted it further suggesting the letter I sent asking for no contact had asked for an acknowledgement of my experiences...I may have had a different response. I'm flipping fuming angry I did not want a response. I broke all contact as my mothers behaviour, my having a small baby to cope with, I was pushed into a corner by her behaviour and my fathers behaviour. And the fact that it took 28 years for my true feelings to show. I do not want them in my life. I wanted to divorce my mother and sister at age of 9 because of their behaviour. Their behaviour since I sent the letter has been totally unacceptable and self absorbed to the point of comedy. I want a sodding therapist ON MY SIDE and not batting for the other side. I feel when I talk of my family he is constantly leading me to 'what if you did this' etc

Anyway got to go...dd has finished watching tv blush and needs me.

I think we need to compile a national list of therapists that understand divorce from family and support it!!

ally90 Thu 13-Mar-08 08:41:45

Another thought - why is the therapist so keen on getting us doing all the work? We spend years being brought up by toxic parents/families then when we realise how deeply they have affected and wounded us and work on changing ourselves, our responses etc to then show our families how to behave? Why is it on our heads to do this? Surely if they wanted to change they have had a lifetime to do so? The fact we are in therapy/analysing ourselves show we have something they dont have, insight. Something you cannot teach people. And given the fact we have been in such personal contact with our families, surely we are the last people to teach them new behaviour????? Afterall my therapist would not take on my family as he would feel the need to protect me...so how the hell am I in a better place to teach them how they should respond/behave? Or maybe I have all this wrong and got wrong end of stick????

Bloody mental bloody therapist angry

ally90 Thu 13-Mar-08 08:42:39

Sorry for venting about therapists Oneplusone...there are good one's out there... Glad you are interviewing them...something I will be doing next time!

smithfield Thu 13-Mar-08 10:40:30

ally- You are quite right to feel angry. A large protion of therapy, is having that supporting, unconditional relationship you never got as a child.
He is 'enforcing' his opinion, 'need' upon you. He has his own agenda for doing this. Maybe professional, maybe personal. But this in effect is exactly what our parents would do. So to continue with him now I think would undermine the work you have done to date.

Just wanted to say a bit as well about losing it with the LO's.

Been very stressful here. Well maybe not very stressful, just 'me getting stressed.' DD doesnt sleep, fusses for 6 hours from 4 til about 12midnight. But I know she is just doing what babies do.

I dread this time of day now.

At the same time suddenly ds will not go to bed with dh, he will only let me take him. And yet the baby will not settle with dh either.

So there I am upstairs trying to read calmly to a chattering (let's string bedtime out)3 year old and trying to focus on him, when all I can focus on is the crying downstairs.(are you sure about no2 ally wink)

And I feel the tension, anger build and build and suddenly...Bang... out it comes.

I say 'who is reading this story ME OR YOU'.

Then comes the immense guilt, cuddle and mummy 'crappy mummy', needs to apologise. AGAIN.

I realise the biggest hurdle here suddenly for me.
My parents were shocking at dealing with stress. They had a lot of it, couldnt handle any of it. The air at home often crackled with it. And they off loaded on to their kids. Lashed out often.

So they taught me how to deal with stress. And now there is a danger that I do the same to my Dc's.

I need to find another mechanism to alleviate my stress, another way of off loading it.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

I also think a great source of this stress is the inner voice/ parental voice..(.dont know what to name it yet.)

Because I had to ask myself where does this stress come from?

When Im reading to ds but feel my tension anger rising because DD is crying, I have to ask why?

Is it because I feel like I am failing?

It's the same when Ds needs me but I cant get to him because I am b'feeding dd I feel tension at not being able to do so.

So it is the internal whip that keeps lashing and building that tension in the first place.

The need to be perfect, the rising panic at being useless and that someone will pop up and tell me so very soon... and there is nothing in between.

These are the issues I have to deal with and asap. For the sake of my lovely dc's who are so innocently unaware of their mothers inner turmoil.

Kaz-
'I also I apologise for shouting and he then apologises'

My ds does this too....and he is only 3 sad. The minuite he sees my 'angry' or 'disaproving' face, he says 'I'm sorry, sorry mummy'.

kaz33 Thu 13-Mar-08 11:08:10

Smithfield - been there, my two are only 2 years apart. Your little one is so small and by the sounds of it a bit unsettled, just like my DS2 was.

What did I do?

- how about a star chart for DS1, agree a set number of books (2?) of his choice and if he then settles and goes to bed he gets a star. Kids just like stars, don't need to give a reward.

- how about a dummy for DD, DS2 was very sucky - got rid of it at about 6 months without too much stress

- my DS2 loved the sound of the dryer, really settled him - I used to stand in front of the dryer and hold him. Maybe DH could try that, or even put him in carrycot and left the dryer on till he fell asleep. You can even buy white noise CD's or tape your own!

- I know you want to do everything right especially as you are aware of all your parental programming. But you have to relax, babies cry, some more than others - letting her cry while she is with DH will do her no damage. Teach DH to talk quietly and softly to her, praise him when she calms down and make him feel empowered in his dealing with him. "please will you hold her for me, she loves it/ always settles for you"

kaz33 Thu 13-Mar-08 11:39:54

When you are breastfeeding to DD can you get DS to go and get a book so that you can read to him at the same time, the sound of your voice no doubt will help DD to settle and breastfeed. DS will feel so special being part of your time with DD, he might even start to look forward to you breastfeeding DD grin

It is so difficult to let go and not want everything perfect but relaxed mums make for relaxed kids.

After my terrible morning, we had a lovely afternoon - I made a cake with DS2 and we then stuffed our faces with it. It was edible as well, which makes a change as most of cakes are pretty grim!!

ally90 Thu 13-Mar-08 12:14:30

Smithfield - that sounds extremely tough, not sleeping AND fussing from 4pm to midnight! That is enough to make anyone stressed and harrassed! Add to that your ability (given by your mother) to make everything your fault...and having to be perfect...your going to be waiting a long time to be the perfect mum you know...and who wants a perfect mum? I'd settle for a good enough mum...one who makes mistakes and own up to them and show me the way to be a 'only human, good enough' adult. If you were perfect...how will they learn to recover from mistakes they make? And you would be quite a boring person to know I imagine hmm. Time to override that parental voice...what you are doing is GOOD ENOUGH. This is a very hard time for the family, especially you as your trying to keep everyone okay, apart from yourself. That is quite some burden and one you will not achieve, so you fail again...you need to set yourself something achievable and take all the help your dh is offering you.

So you know 4pm to midnight is going to be stressful. You know that your son will naturally try to string out bedtime. How can we change things to take out some of the stress? When do you get even half an hour to yourself? Afterall having breastfed myself I know that you feel almost physically attached to the baby, but she will be okay for half an hour with dh without you. You need time to become human again. You cannot give give give without some nurturing time for yourself so you can go back to giving again. That could be a drive out in the car, a walk, a candlelit bath, read a book etc. With ds bedtime, how about you give yourself half an hour or whatever to settle him? Tell yourself that you are not the only one who can take care of dd, your dh is capable of it, just in a different way (and without norks...my dd knew the difference hmm). Allow you and ds that time together and allow yourself to relax with him. Your time at the end of the day together, just you and him. And yes dd will cry, but let dh take the brunt of it for a while. You have more than earned a break for yourself. As for feeding dd and not spending time with ds, how about reading a book together on sofa? (only read about this with siblings...naturally not experienced it yet...now having second thoughts hmm wink).

You can do this! Now how about posting on the parenting thread about your dd fussing? See what advice they come up with. And about how to spend time with ds. Get support where ever you can, there is a lot of experience and really good ideas out there if you just ask for help/advice

hugs for now xxxx

Hi Sakura

Re your comment:-

"Attila, I read the post you wrote about the way your mother treats you and then the way in which she treats your brother. If it helps, its quite clear that this different treatment is not because she loves him more than she loves you but because for whatever reason, he is easier to control. Cleaning up after someone all the time is not helping- its enabling. She's enabling him to live like a slob so that he continues to "need" her and so that she continues to have an important role and she can feel gratified that she is needed by someone. Its a little dance and has absolutely nothing to do with love.
"The COntinuum concept" and "Letting Go as Children Grow" (based on the COntinuum concept) talk about this. THat a child's room will continue to remain messy as long as the parent does not empower the child. For example as a child my room was always in a state- a real mess, and yet since I've cut off my mother, I now have a routine and am as tidy as you can be with a 1 year old. Its because I am in control of my space, my kitchen and my life. My mother would sporadically enter my room and do a spring clean while I was out (rifling through my stuff while she was at it). I would feel violated after one of her 'spring cleans'. But never once did she show me how to use the washing machine. In fact if I took it upon myself to tidy something, she'd shout "LEave THAT! I'll do THAT" as if I was stepping on her toes or something hmm.
On the first thread, Greensleeves called this "camping out in my own life" i.e not organising your space and cupboards in a way that makes sense to you. This could well be how your brother feels about all of this".

Thanks Sakura, I'll look further into that.

I also think these two (mum and brother) are controlling each other. I would certainly agree that she is doing this also to feel both needed and validated. I'd rather her get a job and a life to be honest with you but that ain't gonna happen.

Any further thoughts are welcome.

How are you btw?. I feel my parents are pretty much "tame" compared to some of the toxic and mad as a box of cut snakes parents many of these women are unfortunate enough to have for parents.

With best wishes

Attila

smithfield Thu 13-Mar-08 14:46:13

Kaz and ally- Thanks for your replies.

I probably sound a bit more flummoxed (is that a word?) than I actually am...It just helps to get it out.

And at the mo I have to pretty much rattle it out, no time for editing.

I feel like with dd ,Im experiencing so much difficulty, because my mother could not have met my demands as a baby.

In terms of breastfeeding, when she was visiting us when I had ds, she went out and bought a dummy (and I have no real issues with them trust me), but when I was at my weakest enforced it's use when all ds wanted was to feed. SHe would then keep looking at her watch and tutting and sighing whenever I fed him. Until I relented (exhausted and desperate)...and put him on a 4 hourly schedule.

This time I am determined to work through it. I've looked up posts on mnet about fussy times and all say the same thing...that its normal for b'fed babies to want to be at the breast most of the evening. Ok not all from 4 onwards!

I know I would have been scheduled...in fact handed to my nan probably to be fed and palced back in my crib....so I am beating a brand new path. It is not natural to me and I feel anger at the demand dd is making/placing on me so often.

But you are right ally, I should not feel guilty to take out 1/2 an hour to nurture myself as well.

Yet I must overcome this, because I know I will come out the other side a stronger parent.
Also I've got in touch with a local group that use slings, and I think that could be an answer to the early evening (when ds is around...) issues.

I should be able to keep her close, but have two hands to make ds's tea, and put him to bed with bub attached if necessary.

Don't worry,I will then be getting dh using sling too...might have to spray some eau d'a milk on him first though wink.

But thankyou ladies for keeping me sane...feel a bit like a sofa jailbird at the moment.hmm

smithfield Thu 13-Mar-08 16:17:54

Also wanted to add - as just read this and it really makes sense to me;

That if emotionally abused there is a lot of feeling of shame.

As an adult the rage follows/tracks those feelings of shame, that's a defence mechanism to ward off anymore shame.

So maybe that's what we are doing. We feel shame when our d'cs dont behave (they are showing us up, or proving we aren't good enough parents)...then comes the rage.

Just thought this may help bring clarity, it does for me.

MoreSpamThanGlam Thu 13-Mar-08 16:27:42

Hello!
Can i join in? Have been avoiding this thread for some time now. Wonder why?

Its been almost a month since I spoke to my abusive drunk mother and a little longer since I spoke to my cutting hurtful father.

Im having art therapy at the moment which is amazing.

Im currently trying to work out how to tell my needy, lonely, pain in tharse drunken mother that I dont want her in my life any more.

kaz33 Thu 13-Mar-08 18:07:39

Hi Spamglam, welcome - have you looked at some of the books - toxic parents is a good starter which has info on divorcing parentsgrin

MoreSpamThanGlam Thu 13-Mar-08 20:47:37

my art therapist actually suggested it. Am off to waterstones tomorrow smile

Danae Thu 13-Mar-08 22:18:38

Message withdrawn

Danae Thu 13-Mar-08 22:19:25

Message withdrawn

matildax Fri 14-Mar-08 12:25:00

hello again all, i will write again when i get more time,
ally90,.... its really hard isnt it? i think even therapists, whether intentionally or not, will judge you, and will want you to agree with their way of thinking.
oneplusone,.... your relationships with your children from what i have read seems to mirror mine.
I have a strained relationship with my dd2 who is only 5, (in so many ways she reminds me of me when i was little) although i was a lot more quiet, and withdrawn, and would play alone for hours, (probably because of what happened to me) despite having older sisters.
it breaks my heart that i can lose my temper with her so ferociously, at times, and also someone else mentioned, i think it was smithfield, that she is so in tune with my erratic moods, she also sees the difference in my face sometimes and will apologize, even if my mood or emotions at that time are nothing to do with her. its so so sad, and makes me cry loads.sad
its a circle of behaviour that i must break, as i fear i will damage her emotionally.
Some days are great, and i am trying to have time out just me and her, to do something without daddy and her little brother,or her older sister who is 19 and does not live with us full time, and we both seem to get loads from this time.
so thats a positive.
to everyone else, please stay srong, just reading your posts makes me feel i am not alone, and more importantly not (totally) crazy!! smile

oneplusone Fri 14-Mar-08 12:59:33

Hi all, just wanted to let you know how my 'therapist interviews' went. No. 1 was good, she seemed to understand and I felt comfortable with her and talked about a lot more stuff than i had anticipated I would seeing as she was a complete stranger. But like i said previously, i did feel slighly uncomfortable at her expression at something i said. I had been talking about my mum and how she always left me out of things and went off with my 2 youngers sisters all the time and basically just ignored me. She looked shocked and surprised when i told her that and i knew it was because even though she might have had lots of experience and training as a counsellor, she had no personal experience of a dysfunctional family and so found it hard to actually accept/beleive that a mother could mistreat her child in that way.

No.2 i realised straightaway was not going to be right. She didn't seem to have any understanding of what i was saying and although she was clearly trying her best she simply didn't understand.

No.3 on the other hand was perfect. I could tell just from talking to her on the phone that she seemed to be on the same wavelength as me, and she trained at an institute of which Alice Miler is the patron. And she herself is a survivor of childhood abuse and that immediately showed in everything she said to me. My first proper session with her is next week but i feel confident she will be able to help and support me in the way i need.

One thing i found useful when interviewing the counsellors was to ask them the questions recommended by Alice Miller. They're on her website, i can try and do a link to the exact page if anyone is interested.

Sorry, have to go now, back soon. x

JingleyJen Fri 14-Mar-08 17:22:22

<steps out of the corner of the room for a minute>
shock RL has been getting to be a bit this last couple of weeks and a woman I hardly know but am involved with came to find out if I was OK because I had missed two church meetings.
and for some reason I told her the truth about why I wasn't there.. the poor woman got a level of detail out of me that I haven't even told my mother..
In voicing it to her I have stupidly opened the flood gates as she hasn't told any detail but I have had 3 concerned calls from various church members..
I am in a mess and just trying to understand so much of this stuff myself.. I don't want to be talking to these people about it .... Why couldn't I just keep my stupid mouth closed? I don't want to explain to them. How can I explain fear to them how can I let them know that I would prefer for them all to think that I am too lazy to attend than for them to know I am crying with anxiety at the thought of going..

Oh I am doing it again.. <runs at speed back to the safe dark corner>

kaz33 Fri 14-Mar-08 19:29:15

JJ - as a general rule, talking is better than not talking.

But they need to be the right people without judgement. I have a group of friends who have been very supportive of me over the last few month and I feel unjudged. Maybe the right people, also when you start to delve beneath the surface our experiences are not as unusual as you think wink

JingleyJen Fri 14-Mar-08 20:20:47

I know they need to be the right people and I got it wrong again.. sad

ally90 Sat 15-Mar-08 13:43:54

Jingley Jen, you have foot in mouth syndrome too? Thought it was just me grin

Don't mean that in the usual way...just I tend to go and blurt things out to virtual strangers/aquaintences/unsuitable friends...and then spend rest of week kicking myself for doing so. But you have had 3 concerned calls. Damage limitation? Tell them they heard right, you thank them for their concern but rather not discuss it any further as it causes you more anxiety?

I do think this blurting out the truth to people is just a deep rooted need to be heard and understood. I feel like a small child homeless on a street tugging at the adults coats as they go by, begging for someone to see and hear me... or is that an analogy too far? I really do feel that pitiful at times...

Anyway Jen, you can speak more on here if you feel it will give you the support you need? I know having the truth written down can feel uncomfortable...perhaps take babysteps... <been reading FlyLady too much...>

Oneplusone...thanks for that. I think that is definately what I will go for next time...someone with an abusive past and have a different take on it to my current therapist. I just don't hold this fundermental thinking that you should remain in contact with family as separtion causes pain all round and that YOU as the 'adult' in the family should basically teach the disfunctional family how to behave so you can remain in contact with them/not driven up the wall by them. Anyway, let us know how your sessions go... hope it goes well

Pages Sat 15-Mar-08 21:29:12

Hi everyone, have barely touched base let alone caught up, but just wanted to pop on and say a big welcome to the new babies and that I've been thinking of you all. My computer crashed a couple of weeks ago and I have had very limited access to the internet, hate this bloody laptop, be back soon. Thanks again Ally for permission not to be monitor!!! smile

Keep on keeping on all of you, you are all fab!

JingleyJen Sat 15-Mar-08 22:18:15

thanks ally
I went to a community event today and the husband of the lady I blurted to smiled a really pityful smile at me.. I just knew that she had told him..
One other lady has phoned me and told me that I should remember that we all have baggage and we are all human and if I ever needed a shoulder I should call her - Argh!!! all these people thinking they are being kind just making me want to shy away from things and I have just spent the last 3 years building a life where no one knows anything about me other than the bits I have chosen to tell them!!

I have gone down the damage limitation route and said I was having a bad day all is well and the stuff I talked about was 20 years ago and is in the past.

Babysteps indeed. it does help to start to link behaviour I have today with things that have happened in the past, it means I am not a total friutloop (or should that be friutshoot on MN?}

Thanks again

oneplusone Mon 17-Mar-08 14:30:05

Hi all, I went to see my therapist today for the first 'proper' session. She is fantastic, and she really seems to understand, and picks up on things which I secretly want to talk about but am a bit scared to. I ended up crying unexpectedly, but I take that as a good sign, I would rather my emotions were 'out' than 'in' as they have been all these years.

I didn't have time to talk to her about my 2 sisters. I haven't heard from either of them for a while and I start becoming anxious when this happens. I hate myself for this. I wish I didn't care about what they thought of me and how they feel about me but i do. They are the only family i have left and i feel it is so unfair that they s

oneplusone Mon 17-Mar-08 14:35:06

whoops.... see me as the 'baddie' when I have been treated much worse than they ever were by our parents and have suffered in so many ways as a result, emotionally and physically. It feels like a double whammy, first to have been abused by my parents and now to be 'abused' by my sisters although the abuse is now taking a different form.

And the two of them are fairly close so they have each other and I have nobody. Can i ever come to terms with this? It's very painful.sad

RiojaLover75 Mon 17-Mar-08 19:56:20

Have been a regular lurker but only just got up the courage to post on this subject. However a text I received today has prompted me to post. From my 'mother' (dripping with sarcasm) 'Thanks for my birthday card!'

I'm really pissed off with her, she abandoned me and my younger sister when I was four. We got back in contact when I was 12 and ever since she just wants to be our Mum, asking us to call her Mum etc, doesn't even acknowledge the hurt she's done to me and my sister. angry angry

She's annoyed that she didn't receive a mothers day card or a birthday card......

She should try being in my shoes! Argggghhhhh.

Sorry I really needed to vent and if anyone is in a similar situation please feel free to comment/ give advice etc.

JingleyJen Mon 17-Mar-08 21:06:59

No advice as feel I am down in a pit at the moment emotionally but just wanted to say how welcoming and lovely everyone has been on this thread, I am sure someone will have great words of wisdom. smile

RiojaLover75 Mon 17-Mar-08 21:52:23

Thanks JJ, hope you're feeling better soon.

smithfield Tue 18-Mar-08 08:59:54

oneplusone- I totally feel for you with regard to your sisters. This is exactly how I feel/have felt with my siblings. Especially my sister. I feel as though I have almost replicated my relationship with my mother with her and only just realising that now.
I feel I am the only one who ever gave to the relationship, she witholds and gives nothing. She was often cold, and critical treating me as someone who needs fixing. So just like with my mother really.
I have/am in the process of emotionally divorcing her at the moment. I feel it is the only way forward 'for me' currently. A relationship with her is just too painful and one sided. I feel better for it already.
Im not saying this is what you should do by any means but just to say I relate to your pain as it does feel like one loss after another for me too, but on the other side of the pain and sadness I feel happier IYKWIM.

Danae - just wanted to say thankyou for your lovely post. You have such a knack with words and hitting the right note.
Love the idea about a sling for ds btw! He loves the idea too. I asked him and he got so excited about it when he saw my sling. I said I'd have to order one for him though, and he'd have to wait for it to be delivered.
Later that night the food shopping got delivered and he asked the man from tesco's where his sling was! smile

Rlover-
Yes I relate to what you are saying. My mother (when I was still in touch with her) used to always say 'dont forget mothers day, my birthday etc', and god help you if you did forget.
It's as if they kid themselves they are such great mothers and that birthdays and mothers day's are when the collect their rewards for being such.
This year was the first time I didnt send a mothers day card. I honestly felt no remorse, just a little sadness on her behalf for her being so deluded.

Jingleyjen- Im so sorry you are feeling so low.
Please dont beat yourself up for blurting out stuff about yourself. It really doesn't matter in the scheme of things. Although Im sure it feels like 'everything' to you right now. There is a lot of feelings of guilt and shame at every turn for those who have suffered abuse. Try and remember those feelings are projected on you, not caused by you.
You are going through a very difficult time, you have permission to make a split second error in judgement.
Boundaries are a difficult area for all of us on here, but maybe you tell this woman, that you blurted out what you did without thinking? That you are 'not' ready to talk to 'ANYONE' about this, and to please
pass that message on to anyone she may have talked to?
Chances are you wont feel like saying that but please know you do have a right to say this and that it's ok to say this and that chances are these people are nothing like your parents and 'WILL' respect that right.
Please write some more if you can...it may help you through this low point.

As for me I had my lowest day ever y'day. DD did not sleep most of the night (night before last) and cried/screamed through most of the day... sorry 'all' of the day with a 40min break only.

By 3'oclock I broke down

crying....screamed 'shutup'...(thankfully she was the other sid of the room at this point'). I feel terrible for this.

I realised at this point there was no longer an adult in the room, but there was two children. A screaming baby and a six year old. I am convinced that this stems back to me being left with my brother screaming when I was six. I wish I could remember more than the one incident as surely one isolated incidnet could not have had such a profound effect?

Anyway I do feel much better today. DD slept well last night and I am convinced she is suffering with bad reflux atm.

Try telling that to the six year old thoughhmm

BlaDeBla Tue 18-Mar-08 13:19:04

Hello all. May I join you? I've been trying to read this with some success. I looked at the Alice Miller link. I have known about her for years, but never delved further.

A couple of weeks ago, it occured to me that my father simply doesn't like me. He has never (apart from a couple of occasions) shown any affection or behaved in any way that would suggest liking any of his family. It was quite a shock, and in some ways a great relief.

What I am finding now is that it is really hard, and I feel that although I am kind of accepting the situation, I am not to be believed. It makes it very difficult to do things in life when a) you don't expect people to like or want you, and b)you are not to be believed.

I'm slightly reeling from all of that and these days I am without my crap crutches of eating problems, and alcohol although I still suffer from depression and low self-esteem.

What an introduction! I'm in my 40s, have had therapy of one sort or another for 25+ years. I have a wonderful husband (usually), 2 gorgeous kids and a lot of things are not too bad. Financially, I am in a mess, and I would love to find the confidence to feel a sense of worth.

oneplusone Tue 18-Mar-08 13:29:26

hi smithfield, it's very difficult going from 1 DC to 2. Don't be too hard on yourself, and it will get easier with time. I hired a part time nanny when I had DS and i couldn't have managed without her. Is that an option for you?

The situation with my sisters is so much harder for me to handle than that with my parents. I realise now that i had emotionally detached from my parents a long, long time ago, and so it was very easy for me to physically detach myself as i did almost 2 years ago. But i am still emotionally attached to my sisters and I'm finding it very hard to let go of them.

I don't even really know why as they weren't particularly nice to me when we were children. They were quite nasty to me in fact, especially my middle sister, and we were never very close so i have no real idea why i am still so attached to them.

The whole thing is sooo unjust and i think that's what hurts. I was the one who was treated the worst by our dad, and i was also not in the least bit close to our mother so i was essentially 'on my own'. Whereas with my sisters, although my dad did treat them fairly badly as well, they were always very close to my mum so they always had her love and support as well as each other.

I have recently sent an email to my youngest sister explaining a bit about how i felt as i was growing up, how lonely and left out i felt, but she hasn't replied. I feel quite angry as i feel she has no right to judge me as she had a completely different childhood to me.

I also haven't heard from my middle sister for a while and it could be simply that she has been very busy, or that she is annoyed with me for some reason, althogh i have no idea what that could be as we went to hers for lunch a few weeks ago and everything was fine.

I am beginning to feel i would simply be better off without them, but before i take that step i would like a chance to speak to them openly and honestly and also to hear what they have to say as well. Otherwise it all just feels like 'unfinished business' and i know it will forever be on my mind and i won't be able to move on.

A while ago i was angry with both my sisters for how they have treated me, both in the past and more recently, but i feel now that they are simply behaving as they have been 'trained' to by our parents ie to treat me with no respect or regard for my feelings. And perhaps this is the way they will always treat me unless they open their eyes to the reality of our dysfuntional family, parents and childhood.

oneplusone Tue 18-Mar-08 13:34:11

Hi bladebla, of course you are welcome! Well done for posting and for having the courage to face up to the truth about your father. It is a very hard thing to do but also very liberating.

Alice Miller is fantastic, there is so much help and information on her website. You say you have had therapy for a long time, but do you have the right kind of therapist? This is crucial to recovering from an abusive childhood and I would strongly recommend you look at Alice Miller's tips on finding the right therapist or 'enlightened witness' as she describes him/her. If you can't find the page on her website post again and i'll try and post a link for you. x

ally90 Tue 18-Mar-08 14:10:40

Hi all, welcome RiojaLover75 and Bladebla, congrats on posting for your first time its a big step to come clean about family.

Smithfield - hmm...last night I booted a pair of my dh jeans across the room (and heard a satisfying 'bang clunk' against the wall where his metal belt hit it grin) when dd started crying for the 3rd time in about an hour after been settled twice already ie cuddles and some water...f*ing fuming I was...could not see what was wrong with her...I think she's just going through a clingy patch which is normal I know...but being woken time after time...and you had a day and a night of it? No wonder you were at the end of your tether...and reflux is no picnic, so I understand for the threads I've read...any chance you can allow yourself a break when dh comes home? Maybe even a nap? Did you know you can buy a doidy cup and if you are breastfeeding the baby finds it easier to adjust to a cup than a bottle. When they use a cup/breastfeed they use their tongue, apparently they just lap up the milk from the cup. Just a thought

Anyway...
My mother has been to my home to handdeliver 3 cards (dh, me and dh (easter card knowing her) and card for dd) none of which I have opened. I had been out with dd, and saw her randomly walking back into town (nice surprise that was...), its about a 4 mile walk from there to where I live. She also dropped through a wad of stuff from the grandparents association, highlighting paragraphs in it, there is also a picture of her and my sisters cat, printed top and bottom 'have a purrfect mothers day grandma'. A page on how 'common sense' has been lost, it was talking about people who put in claims for jumped up things like spilling coffee on yourself, you know the cases no payout no fee. As if I have lost all common sense? And it mentions being a 'victim'. She's highlighted lots of bits about 'family feuds' being the reason she has no contact with my dd. There's a picture of a grandmother and gc on the leaflet and under she has written 'lucky gm lucky gc'. And now I've just read back through that and thought how weak it all sounds! Progress! Oops read though again and feel I'm getting sucked back in again! I've bundled it all up and going to pop it all in loft. Feel a strong temptation to read it again...must be strong though. What would it achieve? Me being angry/hurt/frustrated, I will want to send something to correct her story that its all a family feud. Its the first time she has clearly said that anywhere. So that is obviously how she took my letter all about her abuse. She saw it as a cover for my being angry about how she dealt with a disagreement we had the summer before I broke contact. If only it were that shallow, it all goes much much deeper than that as all of you know. Please validate me!! Bloody mother, can she not just leave me alone? And again all this bumpf was all about grandparents rights (which there are none before I start a mass panic!). I cannot go to my therapist about this as he will just start trying to lead me back into contact again good job we finish in june.

Okay, damage limitation exercise.

1. Yes she was at my house, BUT outside my house. It is still a safe place to be. She cannot enter without my permission which I would never give, or my dh.

2. Is being pitiful/emotionally blackmailing the only thing she can do? What about some honest to god 'I never knew you were suicidal, I should not have 'teased' you with your sister or alone etc' acknowledgement/apology? She has three examples in the letter I sent. I cannot clarify it more.

3. I can CHOOSE how to react to this. I can feel panicy (hmmm..yep feeling that one!) and stressed and dizzy. That is anxiety. What has caused anxiety, 3 cards and a pamphlet. I do not have to accept anything she says, the family feud is her experience of our split. She is reading into my letter and twisting it so she is not responsible for being a bully to her youngest child. Well I will not shoulder the blame for my mother's behaviour. How she behaved then and now was her choice. I cannot change that. What I can change is how I deal with it. Do I take on her burden of guilt and responsibility? Or do I leave it where it belongs? With my mother? Put like that, I choose to leave it with my mother. I cannot help her, she can only help herself. Its sad she does not have the insight into her own behaviour and see just how hurtful teasing and bullying is.

And now I feel nice and chilled and relaxed again. Well done me! I'm okay, she's okay.

Still awake people? wink

Going to make special tea and then read and see what the flylady is doing today... nice clean house makes me feel happy and feng shuied (or however you spell it...)

Flight Tue 18-Mar-08 14:53:16

Hi everyone, been invited over by Ally and Smithfield - having a few probs with my mother.
Reading that last post Ally, my troubles pale into insignificance - your mum sounds terrifying smile
I hope nobody minds me joining anyway.

One thing before I delve in and read everyone's posts, what about the other parent?

One nasty side effect every time I think I am falling out with mum, is that she holds the strings with Dad as well, and I love him to bits.

I'm not allowed to contact him without going through her - if I call him at work to ask a favour, or email him or anything really she gets a bee in her bonnet and gets narky with us both. It was always like that...I recall feeling as a little girl, that she was jealous of the time I spent with him doing woodwork etc. and always took it out on him.

I was his 'favourite' as we got on when she chose my big sister to be her 'special' one. (none of this was spoken you understand)

Anyway I don't want to make him feel he is stuck between us. If I stop being so close with her, I risk losing him too as he will feel so awful about it.

So I think I have to have the facade of being nice even if the walls inside my head are three feet deep smile

How do you all manage this type of thing?

ally90 Tue 18-Mar-08 15:19:14

Flight - you got here! Welcome!

I tried to separate my dad from my mum...not in a divorce way, but I tried to have a separate relationship with my dad without her around and sadly it did not work. I was the closer to my dad, my sister despises him, and is my mothers special one (similar to your experience). So I very painfully broke contact with him, as he clearly sided with my mother ie trying to bring pressure to bear to get us back into contact, bringing items/letters/cards/presents from her when I was still a new mum and my dd only days old angry. Oh and the background I had sent a letter to my mother when I was 8 mth pg to ask her to have no contact for the time being as that was what I needed at the time, tried to get her to think of her gc as well who I was pg with ie put the mother to be first...but no, grandma comes first. Oh and was it you who said that your mother viewed you as her mother? My experience again. Bad mummy, poor deprived children...very painful.

And fwiw...your mother sounds more twisted than mine! Maybe what I would have had to experience had I let her be around me. You really are doing the right thing moving away from this...sometimes you need the physical distance to survive. And as for your dc...we've all heard of children being harmed from not having any parents around, but did you hear of a child being damaged by having no grandparents around? No. Well unless you listen to my mother... hmm all would have been fine with her if her grandmother had been in contact, despite the fact her mother had chosen that she did not want her around...my great grandmother has this angel like golden glow around her according to my mothers version of events, despite the fact she never met her and she died when she was six hmm feel sad for her but she needs some help to emotionally move on...but not from me or my dd. We are not pills to be taken to keep madness from the door.

Sorry, its all about me...hope some of it helps...I'm just that way out today... sad.

Just another thought, your dad may react differently to mine, but given he was in the same house as you and saw what went on...could he be a 'bystander'? Sometimes the worst relationship we have with our parents masks the relationship we had with our other parent. But you don't have to do anything now or overnight, get on with your move and see what happens over time. babysteps all the way

Flight Tue 18-Mar-08 15:31:09

Ally what a cool post smile

Yes, it is really helpful - I like to read about others' experiences as I can take from them the relevant or familiar bits. So don't feel it is unhelpful - it most definitely is!

I will have to think about Dad. He was the one I idolised I suppose, always feeling he liked me, while mum never did. I was her 'bad side' if you like - she saw in me the child she was, and felt her mother hated.
Hmm.

It would be hard to look badly at Dad because sometimes I feel so alone and he is the only one left that I thought I could trust - though I know he would always side with her sad

He used to do the same - when I had a brief few years away from them in my late teens, I didn't want to see them at all and he still brought stuff round from my mum. It was hard to deal with.

Talking of that time, I had a boyfriend then, and we lived together but I was awful. I think I took out all my problems on him. I am terrified of doing that to someone else, which is why I avoid relationships perhaps.

He bore the brunt of my not seeing the parents - I was a right mess.

Is there a way to go without taking our problems with us? Or do we have to give the probl;ems solidly back to our parents before we are able successfully to move on, without hurting partners./our children?

I'm a bit worried that if I leave her I will transfer it all to them,

actully I already am doing that, getting cross with the elder one, when I am really angry with her and the stealing of my right to enjoy being a good parent.

ally90 Tue 18-Mar-08 16:09:51

Thanks

I felt my dad was always on 'my side' versus my mother and sister. And it took me a long time, in fact until I broke contact with him to see him for what he is. I understand the loneliness of it all, we all do. And that is what keeps us in contact with them. The pain of giving up hope of them ever accepting us as we are.

I think we all take it out on our dp/dc/friends at times. I do it in a subtle way, I disconnect from my dd, ie eye contact, don't respond readily, look irritated while smiling at her thinking 'just go away! I'm busy thinking!' and she knows. And sometimes cries...then I feel bad and realise what is happening (happens quicker now a days) and apologise to her (she's only nearly 2...but I hope she gets the jist of it) and take a deep breath and think i will deal with my thinking later, now is dd time. Its a behaviour led thing, gradually you learn to recognise your behaviour pattern happening as you are doing it, then gradually as you want to behave that way and you can eventually, hopefully stop yourself. You need to become very self aware of how you are feeling. Its a hard thing to do given we have not been allowed major feelings let alone minor feelings ever...but its an important step to check out how you feel on a hour by hour/minute by minute [optimistic emotion] basis. You also need to allow yourself to have those feelings. I feel bad if I feel irritated at dd, but I need to realise that if I'm woken 3 times in one night (like last night) I will feel a bit peeved...even 'normal' brought up adults would...but I'm so worried about being like my mother I swing to 'I must be a bad mother to feel irritation at my dd'. But no, its human to feel like that. ANd when I allow myself to be irritated and acknowledge it...it fades away.

Waffle over Oh and give yourself a break...if you beat yourself up for losing your rag, your more likely to do it again...we can't be perfect humans all the time...acknowledge any hurt caused to dc, look into your feelings to see what triggered the behaviour, make a mental note, acknowledge what you did was not okay, but remember the next moment in time is a new fresh start, and we can change if we choose to

JingleyJen Tue 18-Mar-08 16:13:59

Hi folks,
I have to say that my main worry about my disfunctional family is the effect it is having on my relationship with all my boys (dh included)
I really can't understand why Dh wants to be with me, sometimes I am purposefully horrid to him so that he has reason to leave me.

And the boys, well I seem to keep my temper for so long then I just flip.. It scares me that I could turn into my father. He used to beat my sister until she couldn't walk because she was so sore. I can't let myself smack the boys because having done it once I found it would be really easy to do it again and again and that makes me just like him sad

I desperatley want to break the cycle, my Mum always said if she turned into my spiteful twisted grandmother we should shoot her.. and she has.. that really leaves me believing that I will be as horrid to my boys and I can't bear that thought.

I have so many things in my life that just reiterate and confirm that I am no worth the air I breathe that I am always planning for my boys life without me, I have letters that I have written for them for certain birthdays because I just know I won't be around for them. It makes me so sad to know that it will be better for them.

Got to go now.. getting myself into a fizz when I should be making dinner for tonight... not constructive.

mampam Tue 18-Mar-08 18:13:37

Hello am going to have to have a rant now just to make myself feel better!

My mother and I jobshare!! We both work at the same place 2 and a half days per week each. Wednesdays is the swap over day when I go home at lunchtime and she starts. This has been the reason why I could not totally have a complete break from her but has been one of the deciding factors in why I have decided I do need a break from her. The main reason for this being that when she comes in to work she either ignores me or if she does speak to me (conversation usually initiated by me) she speaks in a really nasty tone of voice(unless of course we are in earshot of somebody else and then she's as nice as pie!). I realised that at 28 years old I do not have to put up with being spoken to this way from anybody least of all my own mother.

Anyway,I am leaving my job and my last day is tomorrow. I am leaving partly because of her but mainly because I am now going to only work in the evenings so I will have more time with dc's most importantly I won't have to pay for childcare. I have just found out that my mother has been saying to various people behind my back that I'm making a terrible mistake leaving my job for the evening one. Well not only will my new job benefit me with childcare costs but I will be earning more money too.

I just see this as yet another attempt by my mother to poo poo anything and everything that I do. It's ok for my older brother to get engaged to a girl he's only known for 8 weeks, thats the most fantastic news she's had in ages, despite him leaving his 8 month old daughter and supposed girlfriend in the process, thats obviously fine. But heaven forbid I should want to better myself and do whats best for my dc's!!

It really pisses me off. The inlaws are also being a real pain at the moment too. I sometimes wonder what I've done in life to deserve this.

Ok rant over!! Thanks for reading if you made it this far!!

Jingleyjen we all feel like we our dc's would be better off without us at times. The truth is our dc's love us so much and they wouldn't want to be without us. I know sometimes I feel like I let my dc's down. If only they were born with a perfect parenting manual attached to them and a guide on how not to f**k them up in the head.

Flight Tue 18-Mar-08 20:25:57

Jen I feel so sad reading what you just wrote sad

I've felt that way too at times

I never believe that the other times are real, I think you know what I mean.
Like, that stuff is the truth, and everything else is just the surface stuff that doesn't change the fact I'm a shit mother.

I am just starting to think about how my mother could have made me feel this way, rather than it being real.

Just at the very beginning of climbing out of the hole...maybe...remember dear that we are all in this boat, every mother on the planet has something about herself that she hates, feelings like she is the worst person in the world.

The false division between those of us who are depressed and the 'rest of the normal people' can make us forget that we're all the same really.

Been thinking about you since I read this hours ago but couldn't think what to write.

Hope you have a peaceful night anyhoo xx

3NAB Tue 18-Mar-08 20:43:22

I haven't posted on here for a while as I got a bit lost and then felt like I was intruding.

Tomorrow is my son's 7th birthday.

Last year my MIL turned up with a letter from my mother which she gave to my DH and I found him reading it. Really spoilt the day for me. So worried the same thing is going to happen. sadangry

ally90 Tue 18-Mar-08 21:25:46

Jingley Jen they are NOT better off without you. You see you have a gift your mother does not have, insight you can see your behaviour for what it is, and you can understand the impact it has on others. You cannot give in to your mothers abuse of you in this way. You can do this, you can change. I've said it once today and I will say it again.

Can't or Won't?

Can't change. Balderdash. Yes you can! You can look back and see what started your low self esteem and non existant self confidence. You are not a bad person. The fact your mother/family abused you is NOT your fault. Repeat that out loud 'ITS NOT MY FAULT'. You were just a small child like your children when you were abused. But unlike your mother, if you have caused hurt to your sons or dh even you have REMORSE and actually FEEL bad about it. The fact you FEEL makes you a different person to your mother. An apology and an acknowledgement from our mothers would mean so much to all of us. And you are capable of that! That is what a good enough mother can do for their children. We are not perfect, we do say and do the wrong thing/hurtful things but we can acknowledge that...and therein lays an important lesson for our children, how to make a mistake/hurt someone and how to put it right...and its a really powerful thing when someone acknowledges your pain/hurt, it makes it all much better to know someone understands us.

What books have you read? Have you been in therapy? Sorry if you have said...

Oh and the other part...Won't change. What do you fear if you change? You will start having to feel the pain of remembering your childhood again? Revisit it? Have feelings about your mother again? What do you fear about feeling good about yourself? And as for testing your dh, he is your support and strength right now. Can you confide some of this to him? So he understands where you are coming from?

I know all this is so difficult, but you are not alone anymore. You have us on this thread to be here, and you have your dh and your dc. We on this thread believe you and will listen to you...why not let this thread become the voice you listen to rather than your mothers destroying your confidence and happiness. After all...there are more of us on this thread (and lurkers) than your mum! And in this case we are bigger and better than her!

This is not the end of the road for you, this is the beginning. It won't be easy and you will need lots of determination and will power to get past your past, and it may take a lifetime...but at least you are trying. That's more than most mothers have done.

Your turn with the hot fluffy towels xxx

ally90 Tue 18-Mar-08 21:31:53

3nab, just post! Not intruding...we're all at different stages...you could be waiting all year for an appropriate time to post. We do understand if you need to just blurt it all out...I feel I should have replied a bit more today...but just don't feel up to it. Hope your ds bday goes well. And ask your dh to respect the fact you don't want your mother communicating, even by a letter. She's your mother and you know her better than him.

Mampam, good luck with your new job if you think its good for you, then I'm sure you know best your mother sounds a joy to be around hmm

Sakura Wed 19-Mar-08 01:07:34

ally, sorry to hear that your mother has been at you again, and is managing to use effective tactics to get at you.
They know our buttons, don`t they! They know our weaknesses. Please don`t respond however hard it may be- this is what she wants. She is prodding you for a reaction, because if you react she knows you`re still that little child. If you don`t react, you are the more powerful of the two of you.
Oooh, when I got the letter from my mother saying that I was born with special needs, and that is why she was justified in hitting me in order to control me ( I don`t have special needs, by the way- none at all!, but even if I had....hmm)
Well I really wanted to reply to that letter, but by not replying I was excercising my power as an adult.
Your post about the way you are with DD was really insightful. It gave me a lot to think about, especially as our daughters are about the same age.

ally90 Wed 19-Mar-08 07:57:21

Thanks Sakura I won't respond, I'm thinking to my therapist and what he said last week...ie if something should happen and I have not said all that I was feeling. But what good would it do? Even if she did change a bit, I would not be able to trust her again. I would not want to visit my parents in their madhouse, or even outside it...therapist reckoned people act basically more to society norms if they are surrounded by unknown people...not my parents...my father cheerfully bellows to all and sundry about his food allergy and it has 'unfortunate effects' followed by booming laugh...<que ally sliding under table with embarressment> my mother hissing things at under her breath then being all maternal as one should when in public (shame about how she is in private...would not want that on display) I am now, since yesterday seeing them in a fresh light, something my dh has been telling me...they really are slightly mad...batty...eccentric...reclusive...any other words I can think of...just have no idea of how people in society really behave...its like we had our own rules in our family...something I always felt uncomfortable with as it did not fit in with what I knew of outside of the family. And thinking back I saw how my friends reacted to it all. Still feeling okay today...and slept too

Really shocking that your mother would say you had sn...just to justify her abuse of you. I would be just about boiling over if that had been my mother!! Who was it who used a rolled up towel to pretend to throttle their mother? grin Have you heard back from any family since you got back?

BlaDeBla Wed 19-Mar-08 09:15:32

I'm trying to keep up with what people are writing about. There's a lot going on in this thread! smile

Jen, your post struck a chord. I agree with what mampam said about feeling inadequate and those feelings that our dcs would be better off without us.

I've been thinking a lot about how we are or aren't like our parents. My father loses his temper at every available opportunity and wouldn't know what a boundary was if it bit him or if he got tangled up in barbed wire. He has no respect for his family and is fantastically rude. He is also a great coward and realistically something to be pitied.

What a thing to turn out like! I have noticed recently that I may share his temper. I can feel myself getting angry, but these days I am better able to look at the situation and often I think that I am getting angry for my own ends, and that for my own and everyone elses sake it is probably best not to share it!

I still feel very shaky and unstable (about day 3 of feeling like this). It feels as though nobody has believed me and that I am making it all up.

kaz33 Wed 19-Mar-08 09:18:31

Jen, your post made me very sad, that horrendous rage that builds inside you for no real reason and explodes without any warning. I feel it as a physical thing, a knot in my stomach, a taste in my mouth and I have to fight it so hard.

I am off on my course on Thursday and have slowly been physically and mentally unravelling as the date draws near. I fell over in the school playground flat on my face and hurt my hand on monday. It is now nearly better but I have been wondering around with ice packs on my hand (luckily my left). Last year I started to get a bad leg, unable to walk in a straight line for long distances (which manifested itself when I was around my parents). Today I was going to go into town after dropping the kids off at school but realised that my leg was going big time. I hobbled home (a five minute walk to and from) shock. I pick the kids up from school and have to work so hard for the two or three hours before DH comes home to hold it together. I just so need to get there and let it all out.

toomanystuffedbears Wed 19-Mar-08 13:23:06

hi
dd2 is napping, briefly probably.
I have come across a new (2006)parenting book that is making loads of sense:

The Science of Parenting
by Margot Sunderland
"How today's brain research can help you raise happy, emotionally balanced children."

I got off the discount table at the local bookstore for $4.99 (published price $25).

JJen-don't feel worthless-you simply are not allowed to feel that way- got it? wink <<hugs>>
I know what you mean, though, truly. Mine WAS like: who would miss me? Who would come to the funeral? Zero, goose egg, No one would miss me...which was a lie of course: dh, ds, dd1 and now dd2. Does anyone else really matter? Dear Oldest Sister matters, lovely Middle Sister does not.

My feelings of worthlessness came from and was continued by (at least partially) the Middle Sister keeping me diminished. Some is from society pressure to 'do everything-have everything', and some is from unrealistic expectations we have of ourselves. Then add the freight train of emotional baggage from our dysfunctional childhoods, continuing today as survivors still immersed in the brainwashing soup of our birth family (or in laws). No wonder we feel crap, right?

This thread offers a wealth of guidance to get out of the family brainwashing soup-that is something we all, as adults, do have control over-even as difficult as it can be to accomplish. It is so true that we do not want to continue the cycles of treatment that our ineffective parents laid on us-and this recognizes that the dear children are innocent. It is hard to be in "parent" mode 24/7...but that is what we need to be prepared to do for the youngsters; and we need to be able to switch into parent mode spontaneously as needed. It is hard, but that is our job, and I know how thankless it can be too.

---------

MS called yesterday. Caller ID grin, I didn't pick up (I was literally about to step out of the door with the baby to take dd1 to an activity) so wasn't going to pick up at that time anyway.
And I could sense the terse tone in her voice- message-she wants to get in touch with me, please call her back, she would appreciate it, thanks, bye. Still no questions about the baby, when can she see her, what color is her hair/eyes? ... because the baby is not about her.
She probably wants to know about this weekend which was the first she was to come and "help" me...so she has blocked my emails (in which I canceled all plans for her to visit), or refused to read them...communication has to be on her terms.
DH listened-no apologetic sense (not even imagined) to her message or tone...he says do not call her back.
I will not call her back.

I'll stand firm in solidarity silence with you Ally. Just writing that make me feel so much more empowered...grin thanks!

Got to get ds and dd1 out of school to orthodontist this morning with baby in tow...should be an interesting morning.
Better get to it..

oneplusone Wed 19-Mar-08 14:54:32

Hi, i can totally relate to the feelings of worthlessness and thinking that my DC's would be better off without me. I have even contemplated leaving as I honestly have sometimes thought they and DH would be better off without me and all my 'baggage'. I feel i am dragging them all down and the DC's are missing out on things because i am so wrapped up and consumed by my thoughts and emotions about my family/childhood.

Some days are better than others but i haven't had a really 'up' day for a while. I seem to be slightly depressed pretty much all the time. In fact I think I have had low level depression since I had DD, nearly 5 years ago, with the occasional day or two here and there of feeling a little bit 'alive'. Otherwise I feel like i am in a 'fog' most of the time.

JingleyJen Wed 19-Mar-08 15:04:23

Well as if I don't cry enough already you lot have had me at it smile
I am finding it really hard to cope with this, it feels like the pieces of disfunctional jigsaw have started slotting into place..
Reasons for things that I have done in the past, decisions I have made all tied into the abnormal relationship I have with my family.

you all sound like you are so strong..
I tried going to counselling a few years ago but the woman was horrid and I felt like she made me talk about things that were upsetting then she tutted and was visibly irritated that we were wasting time on me getting upset.

I am frightened of opening a can of worms.. Our family unit is built on denial, denial that my dad was a very violent man to my sister It still brings a lump to my throat remembering him kicking the shit out of her in the street when we were on holiday in Italy and her cuddling up to me as she fell asleep in my arms us both shaking with fear.
Denial that my mum is mentally unstable - she had a breakdown in 1989 and really has just got worse. Denial about how bitter I am that at the most crucial times in my life I knew I didn't have anyone I could rely on. When I was raped aged 12 I told no-one... when I fell pregnant from my first consenting sexual relationship aged 19 I had a termination because I knew I would have no support.

Sorry this has turned into a woe is me..
I think it was Ally who said in her post that you believe me.. it is amazing how powerful that statement is.. I feel like I have needed to hear that for so long. Thank you.

toomanystuffedbears Thu 20-Mar-08 03:27:43

JJen- I'm sorry for you the way your father treated you.
This journey of self-reflection is difficult and seems like pit of unlimited depth, but it is a path to healing and clarity and validation. Have courage to do it, whether now or next year or in five years (we're talking incredible half-life shelf life)...not dealing with it is probably not going to be a way to be free of it. Pace yourself and go a little at a time. For me, the shocker was that I was indeed not loved and raised without feeling-
I found out my Oldest Sister was adopted: my reaction: oh, so what's for dinner?

-------------

I had it out with Middle Sister today on the phone. Yes, dd2 was asleep on my lap, but I answered the phone anyway. Sorry, I caved in on our solidarity, Ally
sad so soon, too. But the weekend plans were coming up and I didn't want her to just show up.
She said she had not gotten my email.
I'll spare you the details, but I am free of her now. I shouted and was angry, but amazingly enough, I didn't experience 'emotional flooding' that I would have under the circumstances of such a confrontation.
She was in denial and said I was the one who she had to walk on eggshells to get along with. Her versions of how things transpire are from a different universe-so good to have that background homework done to understand what is going on-the futility of the truth with her. I did tell her that I was not going to let her deny me my perspective any more-and I was not going emotionally dormant for her (no, she was the one to go dormant hmm) and that my 'family duty' to her was done.
It was left that a long break is needed, email would be the only communication. She wants contact with my dd1 & ds and I said no expensive gifts-so she was going to go into how I poisoned them against her, but I set her straight on how they can figure out that someone is irritating all by themselves.

I am amazingly calm, dh noted as well. This has been a long time coming and I can remember feeling this way about her since I was 7 or so.
Got to go dd2=diaper blow out.
Thanks for your help and support which helped me so much for today to happen for me. It is a relief.

Danae Thu 20-Mar-08 12:52:29

Message withdrawn

oneplusone Thu 20-Mar-08 13:29:33

Danea, thank you for your post, your comments/advice are always just what i need to hear. I remember you said once that anger was usually the upper layer of emotion and underneath it often lies pain/hurt/anguish and that has held so true to me. I think sometimes i hold onto the anger because i don't want to face up to/feel the pain that lies underneath.

I think right now a lot of my emotions are centred around my sisters. I haven't allowed myyself to feel angry at them because I have felt that the way they treated me when we were children and also now that we're all adults wasn't their fault as they were 'trained' to behave that way by our parents. But, whatever the reason behind their behaviour didn't/doesn't change the way they made/make me feel and this is something i think i have only realised today. I think i am finally allowing myself to feel some of my anger at them, and know my anger is justified because they were quite cruel to me when we were children and they are being cruel to me now, ever since i cut off my parents. The younger one in particular has taken it upon herself to be angry with me and seems to not give a hoot about the way my dad abused me. She only cares about a few unpleasant things i said to her in a letter i wrote when i was very angry at the whole of my family. She has cut me off and makes me feel like i'm the 'black sheep' when she has no right to.

I really want to have a proper talk with her about our family but she hasn't been in touch with me for a few months. She is also pregnant with her first child so i am reluctant to really push the issue of talking with her but it leaves me in a state of limbo. I think i am ready to emotionally and physically seperate from both my sisters if i have to, but i don't feel i can do that on my own as it were. ie i would like to have a talk with each of them if only to find out exactly what they are thinking/feeling about me. The fact that my youngest sister is not replying to my texts/emails makes me really angry as i feel she has no right to cut me off without giving me the opportunity to respond to comments she has made to me which i found extremely unfair.

My middle sister was in touch with me until very recently but has suddenly stopped replying to my emails and I don't really know what to do. When we saw each other last we agreed that we needed to meet up and talk about the family stuff but didn't arrange anything at that time.

Most of all i hate this feeling of being in limbo. If they just told me they didn't want a relationship with me any more I feel i could handle that; it's the not knowing that i hate.

I don't know if that is what my recent 'fog' has been about, my mind sorting out my feelings about my sisters. Possibly as even whilst writing this post i am starting to feel better and feel i am gaining some clarity.

I feel quite isolated at the moment. As a result of this journey i feel like i have done a bit of a life laundry and am now left with only 1 close friend who i want to remain in contact with. I have stopped contact with another close friend who i realised treated me as a punchbag whenever she was feeling down. I do have some newer friends but i don't really talk to them about all this stuff so i am kind of on my own at the moment. Well apart from my MN friends!

Again, sorry for rambling, i don't expect anyone to read all this, i just find i am able to work things out whilst writing so just getting things out is a great help.

toomanystuffedbears Thu 20-Mar-08 15:30:08

Danae and JJen-thanks for your posts.
I too, did/do over share. Thanks for putting a name/purpose/explanation to it. My social state would either be say next to nothing or talk someone's ear off. I still have to rigorously manage what I say, how much, never say anything negative, treat everyone like they or their mother is dieing of cancer, talk about them, not me. With so much management it is a wonder that I converse at all--viva la solitude wink and we know there is nothing wrong with solitude.

Oneplusone-sorry about the way your sisters are behaving. But remember that they are toxic and sometimes you do need a break from that even if they are 'family'. Even though the break may seemingly be on their terms, you may still benefit from the tranquility their snottiness is affording you. There are worse things than being alone-but you are not really alone are you? Be open to the idea of relief when being free of them (even if temporary).

smithfield- a couple of power boosting <<hugs>> your way.

Flight-part of the concept of not taking the problems with us may lie in the idea of living in the present and not in the past. Not easy because of the brainwashing habit of behavior we were brought up with. But as conscious, intelligent adults, we can see the toxic behaviors and break the habits.

Right now I am detoxing from the confrontation with MS yesterday. I so feel the brainwashing to doubt myself and did I do the right thing? and maybe her perspective is innocent and I am applying false accusations to everything.....blush blush blush
It is the inner mechanism to move on to self-sabotage the hard won battle for me/myself/and I ( and dh, ds, dd1, dd2) ...more childhood training.
No,no,no TMSB will be ok.
I think it is akin to Danae and BladeBla financial deprivation to manifest the feeling of worthlessness. I achieve something but then because I'm invisible why have it? selfishness-I still struggle with having no sense of self--so I easily give it up.
It will be hard to redo my wardrobe-I watch those fashion shows and know what I face to be visible after so many years of being invisible. But I will do it: it is like I feel reborn along with my new daughter-a true and manifested (word of the day wink) second chance for me.

3NAB Thu 20-Mar-08 20:25:45

Hi everyone

I read some of my social services file today. I so could read between the lines. I wish SS had. sad angry

She "only had to hit me once." For ignoring her.

She didn't think she liked me on one visit.

She called me a swine.

But everything she has ever done was for me -

She got pregnant to trap my father and hasn't forgiven me for being a girl and not a boy.

She stopped my adoption going through as she thought my father would pay maintenance.

She once refused to pay maintenance for me - 56p.

She chose men friends more times than I can count over me.

Where I was happy and settled she caused trouble so I had to be moved but stayed away when I was unhappy.

When I was returned to children's homes she didn't want to know - she only wanted me when when others did but didn't want me when others didn't.

oneplusone Sat 22-Mar-08 13:38:27

Hi all, just wanted to recommend a film I saw last night called Into The Wild about a guy from an abusive family who cuts himself off from them and goes off on a journey to find himself in a similar way to all of us, except he goes on an actual journey not just a mental one. I had no idea what it was about before i started watching, but the film spoke volumes to me although i was in tears at the end. It's based on a true story, i am going to try and get hold of the book(if there is a book).

Hope you're all enjoying the easter break. I'm finding it a bit depressing to be honest (the weather doesn't help) and as it's a holiday on monday when i would be seeing my counsellor i have had to rearrange it for next friday which seems like longer than i can wait.

Still haven't heard from either of my sisters, don't really know what to do. I could send a text to the one i am, or was in touch with, but then i would just be waiting for her to reply like i am waiting for her to reply to my emails. I am so fed up of all of this, i just want to put it behind me and move on. I don't care anymore if my sisters don't want to be in contact with me, i just want to know if that's the case so i can accept it and move on. Any tips on how i can mentally detach from them? I have been trying to do this but can't seem to manage it. I know really i need to hear something from them, whatever it is.

ally90 Sat 22-Mar-08 14:03:43

Bladebla

"I still feel very shaky and unstable (about day 3 of feeling like this). It feels as though nobody has believed me and that I am making it all up."

Your father not liking you is not your fault. Everyone has issues from childhood, perhaps his parents never liked him? I'm not excusing him...from adulthood onwards he had a choice to do things differently and I'm guessing decided to take the 'easy' path instead and do nothing about it. I too am always surprised when people actually like me...I expect to be thought of as a liar, to be unlikable and unwantable...but life is teaching me differently, sometimes I just need to take a step back and look at what friends/dh I have who all CHOOSE to spend time with me (and even be nice to me!). And even if you are not believed by family and friends, we believe you here. You sound like you are having a very strong emotional/physical reaction to your 'realisation'. It will pass, but just be good to yourself. Don't let that inner critical hating parent voice inside a chance to get to you. Use this thread instead to get the validation and some of the nurturing you need to get over the shock. xxx

Hi Kaz...hope your course is going well, amazing how the emotional pain we feel can transfer itself to physical sypmtoms. I've had back problems for years...the homeopath I saw years ago said that he back was the thing that kept you emotionally upright...and mine was very burdened so to speak, be interesting to hear what she would say about your leg, esp round family... Really hope you get what you need out of this course

Oneplusone - that is incrediably sad, so many years of depression. I wish I could say something to help you...well I suppose just keep on with your journey, your family did not deserve a dd like you As for your sisters...its often the case they are part of the family 'sweep it under the rug' attitude nothing you can do until one of them has a realisation. But if you need to speak about all this to them, just go prepared for their denial...look at the toxic parents list of responses first. Perhaps practice it too? And yes it is a lonely journey isn't it. But like you...I have this thread as my main support. Dh is good, but too harsh sometimes (on family), therapist wants me back with them hmm, other friends listen sporadically and I end up ranting...wish I could just turn it off sometimes...but there again, not as bad as it all was...much better now

Jingleyjen - how long have you been hiding that about your rape at 12 and abortion at 19 have you ever been able to speak about it? You are so brave to have got through that. And you are the strong one to have done it alone. Your families abuse of you and your sister sounds horrific and terrifying. And then to pack it all away and pretend none of it happened...that is abuse yet again to expect you to sit on all that pent up anger/hurt/frustration. Your therapist sounds appalling. Perhaps now is the time to try for a new one? You need that nurturing attention to get over this tough patch...but could last a while. Perhaps interview them this time? Find someone who was abused themselves? I feel a bit suspect about therapists now who have not had a history of abuse, I don't think it is possible for them to truly understand how poisonous our families are to us. (((hugs)))

TMSB - not at all!!! Well done you that is fab!! So good you got it all out! (Wish I had done the same!) Must stop the exclamation marks now...!!! And the calmness...could that be emotional detachment? And you are hormonal!! I'm very impressed! And read your second post...Okay...so would you say all you said to ms to os? No of course you would not. You are NOT imagining her behaviour, remember the maternity leave? 'Picnic, sandwich, short of' spring to mind.

Hi 3Nab, I'm just so saddened by all that. Here is you reciting it all as an adult...but all that happened to a little dd. How bloody cruel and sadistic can you be? There seems to be a total lack of humanity in your mother, totally heartless to you. But none of how she was was your fault, you know that? You didn't deserve to be treated that way, not even your worst enemey should be treated like that. I think your mother must of had a horrific childhood to come out like this, and damaged to such an extent she could not even think of you as a small human being with needs and wants too. You have done incrediably well emotionally to come out and still have feelings and understand that other people have them too. You have succeeded and surpassed her despite her malicious behaviour towards you. I think that calls for a round of applause with a few cheers Hope that is not too out of place...

ally90 Sat 22-Mar-08 14:21:34

Now...my mother today has used her secret weapon, she has, I suspect, been trying to work for quite sometime...it is...my sister!! Ta daaa!! Here is what the bitch cow nasty piece of work lovely lady had to say.

Hmm hmmm <clears throat>

"Dear ally

I once said that I could never forgive you for your actions. I have, however, come to realise that I can forgive you and in time forgetfulness too is possible (not from where I'm sitting love). What is harder to repair is the loss of trust and the return to any semblance of a normal relationship (we had a normal relationship? Must have blinked and missed that one). What I am trying to say is that within a addams family it is never too late to change things, to forego reconciliation because of stubbornness (yeeesss...I'm the stubborn one, I remember only too well), pride, anger, hurt or any other such reason is foolish (thanks for that...I'll just erase my emotions then shall I?). There is always a way back (not if I shut, lock and bolt the door there isn't grin).

It would take a lot of time (not sure we have that much time left...the sun will burn this world up before I trust you again you malicious unfeeling bint) to rebuild a relationship (huh? When did we have one????) and relearn trust (I've never trusted you!!), but it can be done (under torture?). You can deny me (yup), ignore me (sounds good so far...) and never speak to me again (HALLAUJAH!!!), but you can never change the fact that I am your sister (unfortuately not). While I may not always like you (Well that comes as a shock...) and have been extremely angry (mmm dreadfully sorry about that) and hurt (she has feelings? Well that's a first) I have always loved (you....have...a....heart....of....stone....) you because you are my sister (thank goodness for that...cause if you liked me for who I am I would have to fall out with myself).

With love

The Wicked Witch Of The North ally's sister

Gosh that feels so much better.

Any thoughts anyone? Sorry about the bracketed bits...just had to tell her how I feel about her. grin

Sakura Sat 22-Mar-08 14:25:48

Just popping in to say hi. I don`t have as much time these days to read. Maybe thats a good thing in a way. This thread has gone me through some bad times...
Danae, I just glossed over and i wanted to ask you about what your therapist said about your finances. That sounded really fascinating.
ABout the fact that you were keeping yourself poor to reflect your mental state!!
This is me! I feel like my finances have run away with me. I have 2 huge student loans and just feel sometimes that I`ll never ever pay them off as long as I live, so whats the point in trying? Some days I look at how much I owe and it overwhelmes me. Then other days I look at it and I think hang on, if I could just cut back on clothes and lattes I could easily do this! But I think, like you, I have this need to be poor or on the poverty line, or worried about where the next meal is coming from! Its wrapped up in my identity somehow! My mother used to say to me "You`ll never be rich"! but I always took it to mean that I wasn`t materialistic. While I like to think I`m not money driven, I think it was an ominous prediction from her because it was almost like my destiny would be to be constantly out of control so that I`d need her to dig me out again and again.
Does any of this make sense?

ally90 Sat 22-Mar-08 14:33:07

Oh and I got the traditional easter card from her (mother and sisters tradition...we're not even religious) and it was 'To Ally and family'...what about dh and dd? She know's their names!!

I suppose I should be adult and serious now...I'll just get a cup of tea first...

It feels a very angry letter? I feel that she does not fully describe, at all, my 'actions' as she puts it. Does she mean towards her personally or me breaking contact with my mother? She has never told me what I did that was so wrong...I've had to guess. I feel she is telling me...no she is telling me my emotions/feelings are foolish. Which is quite normal from her. She's making out that she is doing me this massive favour by getting back in contact with me...making the first move and all that. But not once does she ask 'is there anything I have done to hurt you?' Not once does she mention the example in my mothers letter (I'm presuming she saw it) of her bullying me. Did she just blank the way she treated me as a child/adult and think its okay to treat people like that? That I would think it okay behaviour from a sister because we are family? Going off at a tangent now. I do not feel that we can or should forget all this, I do not feel inclined to forgive her behaviour or her denial of my feelings. I don't want her in contact with me or my dd. She is a bully. And this letter gives me no reason to believe that she has actually changed, at all.

May come back on again and chunter some more...helps to type it all out...

Sakura Sat 22-Mar-08 14:39:50

TMSB, I know what you mean about being re-born when you have just gone through child-birth. It is fantastic that you feel like this

3NAB, sorry I don`t reply so much. I feel as though this thread dregs up a lot of old emotions for me that are best left resting at the moment, so its hard for me to get too involved in other peoples stories. But I just want to say that you were a perfect little girl as a child, but your mother was faulty. All little girls are born perfect and loveable, as were you. Treat yourself and your children as you would have liked to have been treated by your mother. This is the aim of all of us on this thread, I think. Every time we self-sabotage with money or drink or many other ways (I`m thinking of the tatoos I have on my back!) we are letting them win!!

The biggest "up-yours" towards my own mother is the fact that I have managed somehow to achieve a quiet, calm boring, reliable, middle-class husband and life! IT took a while to make the adjustment and a lot of soul-searching for me to realise that this is actually what I want: the self sabotage kicked in a lot and I felt I needed excitement rather than stability.
But now I know this is really the best thing for me and definitely for my DD. I feel as though I have been tamed in a way, and in some sense I feel sad for the old me. But I had to shed her, because the old me was a messed up person. I prefer the new dependable, happier, calmer me smile.
My script was to lead a life of chaos but I`ve re-written the rules and my script and I don`t think my mother can quite believe it yet!

Sakura Sat 22-Mar-08 14:41:04

Ally, keep typing love. Just don`T reply to the woman in real life! Just get it all down on here and out of your system.

ally90 Sat 22-Mar-08 15:09:58

I will Sakura!

I actually feel like my sister is doing me a big 'favour' by writing to me...like I'm being the stubborn little sister and she is forcing herself to write to me...and making sure I know all that has happened is all your fault. No room for me having feelings...she never asked did she? At all...That's right, I don't have them do I...never have had them by the way my mother and her treated me. This feels so good to get out!!

What do I want to do next? Hmmm...you know I just don't care. I don't want a relationship with someone who doesn't give a fig for my feelings. I remember at the age of 2.5 years old not trusting her. I have a picture of us with me at about 2 years old having a photo of us together, her with her arms round me, grinning, me looking very very unhappy about it. How do you rebuild trust with someone you have never been able to trust? I think our relationship breaking down was the best thing that could have happened. And given her bullying behaviour I want her nowhere near me or my dd. She knows just which buttons to press to leave me bleeding.

Must try for a different angle on this...there must be somethings good about her. I know that she has been nice to me twice in my life. Do I work on our relationship so she can make it to the third time? Do I want to waste my emotional time and energy to rebuild what has always been such an unrewarding, hard work, spikey, uncomfortable relationship?

If I got back in contact, would she be able to restrain herself from talking to our mother about it? When they have always been 'heads together'?

Will I ever be able to stop asking questions?

Humph...going to go and boost confidence with my open uni coursework something worthwhile and worth having

Flight Sat 22-Mar-08 21:07:38

Ally, what a nightmare - your sister sounds totally in denial. That's the kind of letter you just don't want to receive as it gives you nothing and just reinforces the dread and upset of knowing that you can't trust her. sad
How empty it is, how sad for you to receive that. I'm so sorry.

My mother sent an email tonight. it was nicer but it doesn't make me trust her even so - yesterday's phone call was supposed to be an apology, and still turned into a massive projection of her worries onto me. She cannot help herself. ('You can't move, because of the car,' and 'you're spending money too much aren't you')

This is what she wrote (don't worry about replying to this post btw, I just need to write it down for my own sanity)

Dear Flight

I am very sorry for how I have been, especially lately. I can see that I have been spoiling our relationship by saying intrusive things, putting my anxiety onto you instead of dealing with it on my own.

I'm lucky to have been able to be involved with you and the boys and I think you have been very patient and forebearing with me up to now. I wish I could retract the undermining things I've said. I miss you a lot.

I get the impression that you want to put some physical distance between us. I don't want you to have to move if you are fairly contented where you are, and I certainly won't bother you by ringing or emailing or knocking on the door. But I can see that me just being up the road might create difficulties.

But we support you whatever you do - if you need our support, which you may not - that might be the whole point. Any relatively minor issues such as access to the car etc, I'm sure can be sorted out. You certainly need it more than me.

I'll ring tomorrow about usual time to see if we can have Ds1 for a while. Hope that's OK.

I do love you ..., and want things to be alright for you.

Mum
x

This is I suspect prompted by my talking to Dad earlier about an area 20 minutes drive away where we are thinking of moving, I think she is panicking. Nobody to project onto if I leave.
I wrote back but not sure if I should have kept it in drafts hmm

Hello Mum.
Thanks for the email. I'm not sure what to say, really - I don't know why it's suddenly become so clear to me that being so involved with you and Dad is not doing anyone any good.
I don't know about the tolerance thing, you've both helped me enormously with all manner of things, and I am immensely grateful for that - I would hate to seem otherwise and be considered a child throwing a tantrum after being spoilt for so long, if you see what I mean. That's not it.
I just noticed that I get furious when we have been speaking, and that comes out in various ways, well I knew this years ago but having the children seems to have provided a truce during the last few - perhaps I thought I could 'manage' the boundaries once I too was a parent, an adult - however it isn't working out that way and neither of us is good at keeping those delineations in place!
Yesterday when we spoke, you apologised and were very nice - only to slip back into assuming 'Oh dear you've been spending again' and so on - it's a hard habit to break. So even that phone call in which you had said sorry, left me feeling completely floored and hurt and like I could break something.
I am hesitant to share things regarding the boys and whether we have had a hard day etc - which inevitably turns into you assuming the worst, that I have ignored him and then probably shouted and clipped him round the ear. I had started to believe that I was that person when it is patently not the case. I can't go on like that. Holding up my defences against an onslaught of semi accusations and 'imagination running wild' silences is too exhausting. Of course it brings back a load of issues for you but this is not the place, well you know that. We discussed all that and I know you understand.
But do you see where I am coming from?
I know that you are a good person and I love Dad too. Ds1 is very fond of you both and you are an integral part of his little life, so I will not be shutting any doors there.
As you have said, school and his age do change the dynamic and the situation. He sees you less and seems happy enough - ie he is not asking to see you so regularly as he used to, because he has adjusted to a different schedule.
I think weekend visits are the way to go. I will be fine during the week - barring appointments - which if you are happy to cover, I would be glad of that (bad syntax)
BUT
I don't want you to be here looking after Pete (or both) although if I am out and it's easier, I don't mind you having Ds2 here. I think this causes a lot of grief on all sides!
I shall keep a bit more distance regarding phone calls/information shared. I hope you can understand this. I really need not to be in that position where I am shutting down simply to avoid expressing my anger, and maintain a pleasant relationship with you. It has been taking up far too much of my mind. I am needed here.
I know you know a lot of this but it is hard to change what you do, I'm not condemning you and I know you mean well. I have to be an adult though and have been avoiding that rather a lot so it's by no means all down to you.
Thankyou for trying to make things Ok. I appreciate it.
I'll speak with you in the morning, I'm sure Ds1 will love to see you both. And what I do not know cannot hurt me ; ) Just deliver him home safely is all!!
Lots of love
Flight x
PS I don't know if or where we will be moving. I'll need to give that some attention. Thanks for saying what you have said though.

I;m not missing her at all today. I just feel angry that she is making me so cross and tense and having to consider relocating.
I am at an early stage here. I need to take responsibility, as well as chucking out the malicious influences in my life, I must replace them with something better - in myself, I suppose.

Hi ally

Re your sister's letter it sounds like you're being told off/scolded for not towing the party line. I can see the finger wagging. This is how it comes across to me - now tow the line and all will be well. Of course you rightly know differently.

Again this is all about power and control.

Your sister is toxic and is completely under your Mother's rule; she, like both your parents, is also as mad as a box of cut snakes. Balls to both her and those toxic and mad as cut snakes parents of yours. Think you've always known that you cannot rely on them at all, let alone trust the feckers.

What would I do if I was to receive a missive like this - I'd shred it. Do not give her the satisfaction of replying because she would turn any response of yours around to make you the "bad one" again.

Danae Sun 23-Mar-08 22:20:51

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Danae Sun 23-Mar-08 22:23:13

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Sakura Mon 24-Mar-08 01:10:42

THank you danae, I was so intrigued by your post and this whole subject, really.
I definitely need to feel that I am "struggling" at life. AS you say, I spend money on silly little things and end up with nothing to show for it. The meaning behind the pillow buying was interesting. THe things I spend money on most are cutesy little clothes for DD and gorgeous stationary for myself hmm, and coffees out. Oh, and books-- (trying to fill up the emptiness inside with literature and knowledge?)
When I was younger it used to be make-up and I know that was linked to trying to buy the best products in order to feel worth something myself.
I`m not sure my troubles are linked to the envy problem. Although envy is a HUGE aspect of Japanese culture, much moreso than in English culture, especially in DH`s toxic family with crazy MIL.
This could be another key: His brother and wife needed to put us in our place immediately- there was no olive branch of friendship from the wife, which was strange considering that we were both the only outsiders in the family- it was all about "we are better than you because we have more" and "know your place in the hierarchy". I perpetuate this I suppose, because heaven forbid I was to ever insite the envy of these horrible people. Their identity is wrapped up in the fact they are better off than us. WHereas in fact, I am the only one of the "wives" who propely works (part time but Very good pay) so we aren`t that badly off. We are the only family who takes holidays for example.

I spend to the max each month, but as you say, Sunday morning walks, a good novel, a chat with (real) friends are the things to aim for. If you`re artistically inclined (which I`m beginning to suspect I am), then divulge in that art. I`m beginnning to write, which I love. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel I hope.

Sakura Mon 24-Mar-08 01:20:29

I read on Sam Vaknin`s website that it is impossible to underestimate the role of envy in the narcissist`s life. This is what drives all of their behaviour. THis is so true in the case of my MIL who was envious of my relationship with my baby and wanted to spoil it, and perhaps in the case of our mothers. GOD FORBID we should ever be happy! Our script is to remain miserable like they were/are.

Sakura Mon 24-Mar-08 01:27:05

ally, in your case I`m pretty sure that the root cause of your mother and sister`s behaviour was envy. Especially about you being thick because of course they must have suspected somewhere that you were brighter than them! I think envy is the most evil of all the seven sins. It really is a horrible horrible trait and it causes lives to be destroyed in its name.

Danae Mon 24-Mar-08 08:41:58

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Sakura Tue 25-Mar-08 02:07:04

Oh Danae, shock at yellow! There are very few skin-tones that yellow suits- possibly black skin perhaps and the dark Indian skin that you can get. In Japan it is reviled because it accentuates the yellow undertones of their skin. I have yellow hair (well, blonde), so def a no-no for me. On red hair its a disaster, and on anyone with pale skin or any kind of chestnutty highlighs. All in all- WHat was your mother thinking! Well, we know the answer to that, but still...

Thank you for your insights into my purchases. I`m tending to agree with you on all of them. I totally agree that little girl`s don`t necessarily need to be in dresses and frills all the time. My daughter is mainly in trousers as I think in this day and age some childhoods can be very sterile, and so I try to make sure she can "roll around" as you put it as much as possible. I love the idea of organic fabrics- I hadn`t thought of that.

Yes, my MIL is vile, but I can absolutely cope with her now. You see, the mistake I made was by approaching her as you would a normal person. I expected normal behaviour and reactions from her in certain situations. It was the most horrendous shock to me to learn that she was actively trying to sabotage my happiness after DD was born, out of envy, rather than being helpful as she wanted me (and DH) to believe. I just couldn`T quite get what was going on because on the surface she was the picture of helpfulness and kindness. But all the nastiness and hatred, I suppose, was just under the surface. So now I know this, I know how to deal with it, and I even saw her last week when I went to pick up DH and DD and had a small chat. I know now not to invest anything emotionally in her, not to give any information about my life, hopes and plans. Just basically keep her at arms length, where she can`t hurt me, and it actually works now. I treat her and see her as a narcissist, rather than as someone on my side, and it is suprising how easy it is to deal with her having had the revelation!

Sakura Tue 25-Mar-08 03:36:07

I think some shades of yellow are beautiful though, like primrose for example on a little dress. Thought I`d better add that, because yellow is sometimes the perfect colour for a particular little girl. Its just a very specific colour though, and if it doesn`t suit you, then it really doesn`t. I think it was a very...can`t think of the word...thing of your mother to do to keep dressing you in a colour that doesn`t suit you sad

mampam Tue 25-Mar-08 12:29:16

Have just been catching up reading the recent posts and its very interesting about the 'impulse buying'. I only ever buy things that I need, so it doesn't apply to me.

Sakura I too have a vile MIL. I have always felt that she is jealous that I have a dd (dh is an only child and my dc's are from a previous marriage). When dh and I were first together it was months before MIL would speak a word to my dd.

I've been thinking about this alot lately and I think there must be some link to the fact that I do not get on with my mother and I have a vicious MIL too. I have friends but I wouldn't say that I'm particularly close to any of them. I also think that I feel more hurt by the fact that my MIL hates me because I somehow deep down thought that I could have the type of relationship with her that I've never had with my mother, yet somehow it's worse because she won't even look at me let alone acknowledge that I exist.

I crave a close female relationship/bond but I seem incapable of this. Is this something that just affects me or do other people find it hard to get close/relate to other women? Being a woman I would have thought it would be easy to relate to someone of the same sex but it's not.

Sakura Tue 25-Mar-08 13:03:31

Hi mampam, Oh yes, there is definitely a link. When you`re in the thick of it, you tend to think "How can I be this unlucky", but when you analyse it, you realise that everything is interrelated.
For example, if I`d have had a normal upbringing I would have been attracted to different kinds of men for a start. NOw DH is okay, but he definitely has issues. NOt suprising, when you look at his mother.
Secondly, a person who had had their confidence and self-esteem developed by their mother would be able to spot crazy people a mile away and would stay away from them. But for us, craziness has always been part of our life, so if a crazy person (like our MILS) comes along, we don`t recognize their craziness. In fact, we may end up blaming ourselves for their weird behaviour. THats what happened to me at least.
It took a lot of soul-searching and coming on this thread before I realised that nobody has to put up with shit from other people. Life really is too short. I was fed up of being unhappy, so now I don`t see my MIL, and honestly, cutting my mother out of my life, followed by cutting my MIL out a few years later have been the best life choices I have ever made. NOt a single regret about my actual decision, although I have been through so much sadness in wishing things could have been different.

Pages Tue 25-Mar-08 13:04:16

Hi everyone. Finally, I have got a connection on my computer and a bit of time to catch up. I just wanted to comment on a few things that leaped out at me, and were really insightful on thsi thread so far... apologies in advance for the mega post...

Firstly, I do apologise if I haven't acknowledged everyone individually, but will endorse the comments made by others in response to some of you (Nab, JJen, Matildez and Flight) that lack of self worth really is a learned response to the hateful and ignorant messages given to you by the very people who were supposed to nurture you, who were responsible for helping you to create a positive self-image and a feeling of belonging and having a place in the world, but who failed you. I remember when I started this journey many years ago reading the Desiderata and crying for hours after reading "You are a child of the universe, as much as the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here", as it seemed so poignant for me - I had never felt I had a right to be here. I had always felt I just took up space in my parents' house (and, more fundamentally, in the world) in the same way that some of you feel your kids would be better off without you. It simply isn't true. Not only do you have a right to be here, but your kids need you and love you, EVEN if you are not a perfect parent. You don't have to be. You are human. You are their mother. Your children are resilient as were you. They love you, mistakes and all. Why on earth would they be better off without you?

We have all on this thread to some extent been "trained" to carry the bad feelings for the rest of the family so that they can all continue as if the family is perfect and you are the problem - which leaves everyone else and the myth of the perfect family intact. In your case, Nab, your mother was a very damaged woman who again projected her imperfections onto you and left you to carry the burden. You CAN all change the learned response to your childhood (i.e. your script/internal critic or the "negative introject" as it is sometimes called) with hard work and self-reflection, which I honestly believe you are capable of, because the fact that you are brave and resilient women is evidenced by the way you have already managed to overcome the terrible things that happened to you and the unbelievable double whammy of neglect and criticism and then the guilt and shame that you have carried all your lives because of THEIR behaviour.

The fact that all of us have the courage to stand up and say that we are not willing to accept this negative influence in our lives (good on you Ally, btw, and tell your counsellor to get stuffed!)any longer is evidence that we are also self-aware and strong enough to boot out the internal critic that took up residence in our minds, to keep up our parents' jobs for them after we left home. I know it can be done because in many ways I think I have done it (or at least am getting there) - although I entirely acknolwdge that what some of you have been through (Nab, JJen) is far worse than anything that happened to me.

I had a very weird mix of both positive messages from my mother when I was being good, being like her, being clever or talented ("Oh look at my daughter Pages, isn't she wonderful?" - or should I say "aren't I wonderful for having produced such a talented/clever/well-behaved, etc child like Pages")but then the minute I behaved in a way that she didn't like, the skyrocket took a nosedive and I was suddenly plummeted to the depths of despair and worthlessness, ignored, given the silent treatment, told I was a horrible person, a crybaby. As for my stepdad, I didn't even have to do anything, just my existence, my presence in a room, was enough to get him started on me. I couldn't win with him, I was either "Miss goody two shoes", someone to be mocked or derided, "knocked down a peg or too" when I was behaving(even though I was already at the bottom peg emotionally), or to be hit or verbally abused for a minor infraction or breaking one of his many many rules.

I can see the direct correlation between the way I ended up feeling about myself as an adult, which was basically ok and quite positive when things were going well, but very easily skyrocketed into a downward spiral of feelings of worthlessness and shame when anyone criticised me or if I did or said something stupid, made a mistake (like my posts about work, recently, on the last thread). This black and white approach to our thinking about ourselves is very common in toxic or dysfunctional families. Allowing yourself to be human, to make mistakes is key and it's something I actually tell myself when I have done something wrong now, "You're human, that's all. EVERYBODY makes mistakes".

JJen, I wanted to say on that subject that it is easy to think of yourself as damaged and different while everyone else is "normal" and wouldn't understand, and I too have "overshared" at times - and it does leave you with a horrid feeling of over-exposure, but it isn't ALWAYS the wrong thing. I am actually getting more used these days to telling people very frankly about my family (older brother tells me he is doing the same, and no longer feels the feelings of "exposure" or having "blown the family secret") and the more people he tells, the more he discovers that he is not so different from others, that many of us on this planet are walking wounded. Maybe even most of us. This woman from your church was trying to tell you that she too is human, "everyone has baggage", i.e. you are not the only one with things in their past that they feel shame and pain about, and although it is hard to trust I think you do need to talk to someone. I know it has to be the right person, but some people (probably most) are to be trusted and even the ones who don't understand (like some of the counsellors mentioned on this thread) can be walked away from, with no harm done.

I think finding the right counsellor is crucial to healing and, as Engel and Forward both say, many counsellors still find it very hard not to follow the Christian approach of forgiveness and "family first" but a good counsellor really should be taking the lead from you and guiding you and as I think Smithfield said, being your "enlightened witness", validating your early/current experiences in the way that our parents should have and would have if they weren't so utterly self-absorbed. Telling you you will feel bad when they have gone is just cliched rubbish. You don't need to pay a trained professional £40 per hour to hear that, you can hear it any day of the week from people with a lot less knowledge and life experience than you...

Moving on... Ally, your posts on page 5 (18.3) was very illuminating (and recent one about your sister very funny!) I am so proud of how far you have come, in being able to detach yourself and not respond, even rip your sister's letter apart with humour - but again, to decide not to respond, even though in both letters the bait was clearly there. I know that you some time ago had the golden realisation moment - not caring what they actually thought any more, and that's how I feel with my mother now to a large degree. But I must admit, they have had a good go, haven't they, and I would still have found it hard not to retort in anger to some of what they said. Your mother sounds very similar to mine, highlighting paragraphs, etc., mine too has taken to banging on about the blame culture ("let's not blame anyone, oh and I think I'll absolve myself while I'm at it"), "Lucky gm, lucky gc" (my mother's letter: those of us who escaped your father's genetically inherited autism hmmare very lucky). Oh how lucky we all are, your upbringing wasn't that bad, we took you to stateley homes you know....

I think the point your counsellor, your sister and your mother are all missing is the same point that my family are all missing, which is exactly what you said... nowhere have they even acknowledged, let alone apologised for, the fact that you have been hurt by them, that the family is totally F**ed up, always has been, and that you bore the brunt of that through your whole f***g LIFE!!!! (Ohh, bit more anger in me yet, I see smile)

(And that goes to show that whatever stage any of us are at on this journey, it is not a journey with a beginning, middle or an end.... it is about accepting the fact that the pain and anger will always, to some degree be with us, but it's about learning to live with and deal with those feelings. I for one enjoy the anger now, it gives me energy (will probably get loads of housework done in a bit smile)).

1plus, I totally relate to what you said about your siblings' reaction. Mine reacted in exactly the same way, as they are still living my mother's myth of the perfect family (that Pages has come along and wrecked for everybody. Bad Pages!). My younger siblings followed the toxic parents reaction to confrontation to an absolute T, it was textbook stuff, and luckily I was prepared, had read it and inwardly digested the paragraph about siblings. (How dare you accuse our lovely poor innocent mother, who has always done her best for us, of xyz). They have all cut ME off, I understand, because of the letter me and OB sent to my mother. She is now the victim and everyone has conveniently forgotten what this was all originally about and how badly they treated me. Do I care? Nope. You can get the control back by deciding what YOU want to do about it. Do you still want to have contact with sisters who are denying your reality? Because that is ultimately what they are doing. By all means, contact them, tell them the things you have left unsaid, write it all down and spend a few weeks refing it so that it is not angry, hurt, but comes from an "adult" place, but tell it like it is and if they then don't respond or don't want to be in touch you will know that they have not yet had the "realisation" and are unlikely to. And tbh, not many of our siblings or parents for that matter ARE likely to. The odds are against it because the myth of the perfect family with one unfortunate troublemaker (i.e you) is far more palatable for them. I too sent the whole family an email telling them how I felt, telling the truth about our family (my truth anyway) and saying that they should either treat me with more respect or leave me alone. They have left me alone to this day, and it is as if I have now wronged THEM by saying all this. But the long and short of it is that unless and until they acknowledge and have that realisation that what you are saying is true, you wil be damned either way, by either playing the family game and absorbing all the bad feeling, or stepping off and leaving and becoming the persecutor (only way to leave the drama triangle) so you are going to be the bad guy whatever way you play it. Your family, like mine, are simply not in the habit of validating, understanding and listening to you. As Attila said (quoting the book) "They wouldn't be toxic Parents otherwise" and unfortunately that usually extends to siblings to, except for theose of us lucky enough to have one or more siblings who remember things as we do. I know what you mean about "life laundry" btw, have done it lots of times. You are just making space in your life for the "healthy" friends that are yet to come. I also relate to that feeling of injustice, and having no-one on your side. It has stayed with me all my life and has strongly influenced what I do for a living. I still get moments of being so astounded that after everything I have been through with DS1 they could be so intolerant of my hurt and incapable of putting themselves in my shoes and caring how much they had hurt me. Both OB and BF reminded me of this recently, that I had spent the last 3 years coming to terms with the fact that my son was fairly severely learning disabled, and that my family should have been reassuring me not calling me a liar. It beggars belief really, and just goes to show that none of them really give a flying one about my feelings, if indeed they ever have.

TMSB, well done for finally taking the plunge. I am sure MS has absolutely no idea why you are upset with her, as none of this could possibly be her fault. My mother too doesn't do email anymore, everything is handwritten. She made a point when I saw her last about email being sent "the minute you clicked the button" - too late for any regrets (she had been listening to some programme on Radio 4 as usual about it). DH said "but that's exactly the same if you put a letter in a post box, you can't get it back, so it's no different". "I know" I said (Monica from Friends voice). My mother has the most useless logic, she doesn't question anything, if she heard it on Radio 4 then it's true... Anyway, soiunds like MS is not going to give up easily but at least she knows your position now and you have done a huge and positive thing for YOU. Something about your MS and your interractions reminds me a bit of another game in my family, whereby another family member (your MS in your case) winds you up to the point where you explode and then she says "Ohhh, what's wrong with you? Temper temper" (I think Ally can relate to this). It's a way of getting you to carry the bad feelings yet again, while they remain and look like the calm, quiet, reasonable one). Very toxic.

Smithfield, I hope things are a bit better, and please remember, this is the hardest time for you. Sounds like DD is a bit colicky, I too couldn't put DS2 down at that time of day, and like you, it had to be me and not DH (for both DS1 and 2). It was exhausting for me, DH felt rejected, life was no fun and it was the closest me and DH have ever been to splitting up (thank God we didn't) and then one day when DS2 was about 6 months old we turned a corner and it just got easier and easier from there. So I guess I am saying "this too will pass". Just go easy on yourself, as others have said.

What you said (think it was you Smithfield?) about mothers day being the chance for mothers to "reap their reward" was really illuminating for me, because my mother (despite always giving crap presents, in true NPD fashion)has always made a big deal about what she gets from us on her birthday or mothers day, and I am sure she sees it as a reflection of her worth as a mother. I did send my mother a card this year, not because I really wanted to but more because I felt (in my case, and this is no judgement on anyone else and what is right for them) I was making more of a statement in NOT sending one. It was a very simple card, just said love from Pages. But she has now sent me a very upbeat Easter card (we are not religious either, and I didn't send her one), telling us all to have a wonderful day, and a bit of superficial chat. I think she thinks that we are moving on, but I know that we aren't. (My BF said she will find out in time that we aren't). I am at a loss though as to how to go on from here. I feel I can't completely cut contact, so chose instead to maintain that superfifical contact that Susan Forward mentions as a third option. But I can't and won't let her back in either. OB has chosen no contact at all, he says it's all or nothing for him. He knows that means nothing, as my mother will never change, or acknowledge what she has done (despite her grudging excuse for an apology). And even if by some miracle she did, like you Ally I don't know if I could ever trust her again. So I guess it will be cards on memorable days 5 times or so a year, a few photos, and that's it. Is anyone else further down the road who has maintained this sort of superficial cards on birthdays sort of position? I guess I am just finding it a bit weird as I am not used to having this sort of relationship with anyone that I have once been close to. Apart from chilhood friends I suppose that I have "grown out of".

Anyway, here endeth my mammoth post (blue ribbon back please Ally). Maybe we should all write a group "Anti-Thought for the Day" for Radio 4 on this subject grin. I know my mother would be listening.

Sakura Tue 25-Mar-08 13:05:50

Oh and the other thing that I just picked up on in your post is that we were both probably looking for a mother figure in our MILs. This was a fault in us, of course, but I believe that some people would have treated us with kindness in this situation. As it happened we had our MILs who could sense this weakness I believe, and because they are essentially bullies, they used this against us.

Sakura Tue 25-Mar-08 13:12:02

x posted with you there Pages. Thank you- I always feel uplifted after reading your posts. Just knowing that someone out there knows exactly how I feel really helps. I think it has been nearly 3 years since we started this journey. At least I know I wasn`t married and had no daughter when I first met you on the other thread and we were both in a mess. Who would ever have thought that we would have come through this as stronger, more insightful people?!smile

Pages Tue 25-Mar-08 13:35:06

Oh, and whoever it was that said about learning to be like your mother, taking on her characteristics and then saying "Look I am like you, can you love me now?" - that was very insightful for me. I often wondered why it was that I "merged personalities" with boyfriends, how I pretended to like activities (I played football, so that the boys at school would fancy me, climbed trees with them, etc - and then took drugs and drank alcohol with them), at the same time trying to make my mum love me by being like her (interested in books, music, arts etc). It was a real pull. When I met my first real boyfriend he used to go on to people about how our handwriting was the same (no, I copied his) and he really liked me for liking the same things as him. When I split with him and spent some years on my own I really had a job finding out who I actually was. I didn't realise people could and would actually love me for being a separate person to them.

Pages Tue 25-Mar-08 13:42:13

Likewise Sakura smile, I always find your posts so interesting. I think there is always more to learn about ourselves, isn't there? I too used to be an excitment seeker/wild child and am now married and boring, sorry stable grin. Never realised how much stability suits me. Actually, I still get my kicks but in much more responsible ways, like undertaking business projects/money making ventures with DH or through work. And I still like a glass of wine (at home in front of the telly!) and still have my tattoo peeping out from under my jeans grin

oneplusone Tue 25-Mar-08 13:55:02

Hi Pages, i haven't read all your post, just wanted to say hi and glad to see you here again, we all miss you when you're not around!

I only have time right now to say that Sakura, i think we both have realised that our MIL's must be long lost sisters or something! They are exactly alike. And what you said about wanting/needing a mother figure as our own mother's have been so lacking definately applies to me and i like you just wasn't prepared for someone to be so nasty to me that for ages i just couldn't see it. And the jealousy, i am sure my MIL is bitter and jealous about lots of things, especially that i have a daughter when she has 2 boys and i know she always wanted a daughter. I'm glad you validated my suspicion about her.

Recently i haven't been thinking so much about all this 'stuff', i began to feel i was going over it all just because i had nothing else to occupy my mind. I have begun to think about going back to work/study and am excited at the prospect. I am not really cut out to be a full time SAHM and have finally admitted it to myself without feeling like a failure. And i think that is because i have recovered so much of my self esteem by being on this journey.

I will be back soon as i really want to respond more fully to the recent posts, but i do feel intimidated sometimes about how much time i will need to do that as this thread always grows so quickly!

Pages Tue 25-Mar-08 14:01:27

Good for you, 1plus. That was one other thing I was going to say, and this isn't any criticism of SAHMs at all, as I am sure you know, but it does help to have other interests/things that motivate you and that you are good at besides the dc. If you rate yourself entirely on how good you are as a parent then it is very easy for your self-esteem to come crashing down when you have a bad day with the dc (as do we all). I have always felt since I had the dc that being a mother is only one aspect of me. It is a very important (perhaps the most important) role I play but it is not the only one.

mampam Tue 25-Mar-08 14:34:09

Sakura I'm glad you mentioned 'bullies'. That is exactly how I feel my MIL has behaved towards me like a bully. I also feel so stupid and pathetic that essentially I kept going back for more. She was so hot and cold with me, one minute as nice as pie the next nasty. The nasty side of her usually coming out when no one else was around to hear it. (Which is essentially what my mother has done to me all my life). Yet I kept on trying with her in the hope of one day winning her approval. DH and I don't have anything to do with her or FIL now but on occasion when we have seen her(ie our wedding day) she ignores me and acts like I don't exist.

I do think its true what you say about if we had had 'normal' upbringings then we would be able to spot a crazy person a mile off. My DH has had a hell of an upbringing too (no wonder with his vile,nasty mother), he's never (not even when very young) been encouraged to call his parents 'mum and dad' and has all his life called them by their proper names, at a very young age was told that it was innappropriate to kiss his parents on the lips. As a child, was made to do things like ride for miles on his bike to go to the shop and struggle home with a heavy sack of potatoes. His parents were always very controlling of him and always made his decisions for him. MIL always wanted all of his attention and when his attention was being put on me (like any normal husband would do to his wife)she would create merry hell so he would then feel obliged to spend hours round at in-laws house 'sorting' things out with her. (ie MIL getting his sole attention for hours). Dh was made to feel by his parents like he couldn't cope without them and would always be dependant on them. When we moved in together and he started to realise that he could cope without his parents, they couldn't handle it and tried to do everything in their power to come between us.

Since DH has cut his parents out of our lives, life for us has been so much better, although more recently his grandmother has been hounding him to 'make up' with them and has written him a letter putting him on a serious guilt trip saying things like she 'won't rest until her dying day' and 'whats happened to our loving sentimentle grandson'. And as per usual I am being blamed for everything 'DH loves you but can't you let him spare some of that love for his family' etc etc

DH wants to write a letter back and its been suggested to me on MN that he puts it sort of like 'I'm sorry you're upset, I am too........I'll forgive and forget once I've had an apology..................'. I'm just scared shitless at the implications of the letter and if they do come back into DH's life will they start to try and come between us again like they did before.

I know it's really selfish of me but life has never been so good without them in it and also with my mother at arms length. There are no put downs, no criticism (sp?), no-one trying to tell us how to run our lives.

Pages I'm going to have to re-read your post as I'm not sure I've taken it all in!! Hats off to you for being able to type so much in one go!grin

mampam Tue 25-Mar-08 14:49:54

Pages I agree with 'merged personalities'. In the past I've had so little self esteem that I've been convinced that no-one would like me for being me. With ex bf's I've tried to be who I thought they wanted me to be and dress how I've thought they would want me to dress. I still do it to some extent today mainly with friends. I can see one friend and we'll be talking about a subject and I'll agree with everything they say and then I'll see another friend and we could get talking about the same subject and they will have a completely different opinion to that of previous friend and I'll still agree with them because I want to have things in common with them and I want them to like me! Pathetic isn't it.

matildax Tue 25-Mar-08 15:05:21

hello everyone, its been a while, im not doing so good at the moment, feel really down. i know that my children need me but i cant stand the thought of them growing up with such a f**ked up mum, thats obviously going to affect them isnt it???
very interesting to read about buying stuff to make us feel better, i buy makeup for me,(it mostly sits in its boxes never used) and loads of clothes, and soft toys and pretty bedding for my kids. we have very little money also, so cannot really justify this manic spending. also have been so so horrid to dp, and am convinced my dd2 age 5 hates me. feel utterly worthless at the moment. i dont even think i should post on here anymore, i am probably pissing all you lot off with my negativity. i really am sorry. i wish you all a very good week xx

maisemor Tue 25-Mar-08 16:01:35

Oh Matildax, don't stop posting, it will help you see it all in a different light and hopefully make you realise that you are not alone in feeling like this from time to time.

I am getting better in not thinking that my husband and children hate me. Whereas I used to think like that 6 days out of 7 a week I now only think so 1 day a month, I then now that it is almost that time of the month smile.

For me the big change was when I broke off contact with my parents.

Your children do love you and they need you.

Remember you are trying to make things better for yourself and for your children and husband.

mampam Tue 25-Mar-08 16:08:02

matildax, sorry you're feeling so down at the moment. I can't say for anyone else but you're certainly not pissing me off by being negative. Thats what this thread is all about isn't it? To support each other no matter how we are feeling but especially when we are feeling low. I'm always having lots of rants on here and getting advice but am not so great at giving it, so keep posting and I'm sure these good people who help me so much will be more than happy to help and support you too.

smile

maisemor Tue 25-Mar-08 16:31:47

Has anything in specific made you feel this way today Matildax?

matildax Tue 25-Mar-08 21:00:19

Hello maisemor and mampam. thanks for your kind words.
Its funny because I thought I was coping well, and when i came across this thread I thought it would help me, and in a few ways it has,(knowing that there is help out there and others feel the same way, and seem to have the same emotional "problems.")
However it has also stirred up a lot of suppressed emotions. for example the last few weeks i havent slept well and have reoccurring dreams, or should that be nightmares.
I also feel like i am betraying my family, by discussing my childhood.
I know worse things happen to others, and they seem so "normal",(i hate that word!!) so why when I am a grown woman with a family of my own, do I feel like a lost scared little girl, who feels inferior to everyone??

Tomorrow is another day I suppose, i hope i feel more positive then......
All my love to all of you. xx

Podmog Tue 25-Mar-08 21:56:33

Message withdrawn

Sakura Tue 25-Mar-08 23:59:00

oneplusone, I`m glad you can see something in my posts about MILs that could help you! Mampan, It sounds like the grandmother is toxic. I do think that if your husband has actually managed to go as far as to cut out his parents then he has had his realisation, and that does usually mean there is no going me. Realising what your family is like is by far the hardest and most difficult step. I think maybe he should write the letter but of course, be prepared for a backlash. Or he could just not bother to reply. Either way, his grandmother will continue to take the side of the family and will continue to behave as though he is the problem, so he can`t win, really. Perhaps best not to bother to write the letter and without the hope of a kind reply (which he won`t get), maybe he`ll be avoiding more pain?

Sakura Wed 26-Mar-08 00:09:20

matildax, please keep posting. About the spending, Danae and I discuss our spending problems a little on the previous page. So you see, its not because you are faulty- many of us on here have a strange relationship with money, probably a coping mechanism due to our childhood. ITs just yet another thing that I have recently had to recognise and realise about myself, but that is the first step to dealing with it.
I tested myself by going to a kids clothes shop the other day (DD`s clothes are my weakness). I failed sad, I came out with a gorgeous top for her! Oh well, a long way to go yet.
Please keep reading this thread and posting. Its has taken me such a long time to reach the point where I am now and I remember so clearly feeling as you do, and if someone were to tell me that if just experienced the sadness and anger of my childhood, then they would eventually go away, I wouldn`T have believed them, but its true.
MAtildax, same to you. The nightmares are a sign that your brain is healing, I think. Your mind knows that you aren`t a helpless child anymore and you actually are safe to feel angry at the things that happened to you as a child. It wasn`t safe when you were little so your mind went into survival mode and stored up all the memories for a future time. IT looks like the time is now. Also, if you actually had experienced the pain you should have as a child, you may have done something drastic (I know I might have taken my life at my lowest points- I was definitely cutting myself at age 11). But by hiding your anger in your mind, your brain allowed you to have some kind of normalish childhood (I remember laughing with friends)
NOw is the time to undo the fake person and find the real, hurt, scared child underneath, and take that child and turn her into a strong adult. I think that is what ou brains are trying to do when we start having flashbacks and nightmares.

mampam Wed 26-Mar-08 09:11:27

Podmog, I'm sniggering with you grin

Sakura, DH has decided that he's definitely going to write and send that letter, so I guess I'll just sit back and wait for the repercussions.

I too used to self harm, it was a way of venting my anger and hurt. It was like I needed to feel the pain to try and make sense of it all. It's hard to explain. My flashbacks have only started in the last 3 months since my last birthday, I don't know if this has any significance or not. In many ways I wish I didn't remember things that happened in the past but in other ways I'm glad that I do because its giving me some kind of sense of myself and an insight into my own behaviour.

This afternoon I'm am taking my children to my mothers house for a tea party for my nieces 1st birthday (dc's were invited by text message). I'm only going because I want to see my niece and haven't seen her since last summer.

Last week I had a phonecall from my mother(she was drunk as usual), asking if I would like to go to my godmothers 60th birthday party. I said I wouldn't be able to make it on the said week end and the reply I got was something along the lines of 'oh well I won't bother phoning so and so back then because I said it would only be me and dad going'. Why did she bother to ask me then? Also in same phonecall she said she had an Easter present for my dc's and perhaps I could go and get them or she would drop them off. I didn't respond to this. I just thought to myself if she's got something she wants to give to the dc's she must bloody well come around and give it to them. She didn't come around but then I knew she wouldn't as she's only been to our house once in the 10months we have lived here. She drives past our house umpteen times a week.

So yet again I am left a bit annoyed. She can put on a tea party for my brothers daughter but she can't be bothered with a 10 minute drive to give 2 of her other grandchildren something for Easter.

matildax Wed 26-Mar-08 11:10:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maisemor Wed 26-Mar-08 11:20:05

<<<big hug>>> to you Matildax. That is a hard upbringing to have had.
Hope it has helped to have written it all down. You should be very proud of yourself. That takes a lot of courage.
Do you think you would be strong enough to go speak to somebody professional about this?
Sorry not very good with the advice.

smithfield Wed 26-Mar-08 12:30:43

matilda- just couldnt read your post without replying.

You are so brave for writing that post. I hope it has helped you to share this here.

No wonder you are finding this all so hard. There are layers and layers of abuse you have suffered.That of you grandfather, emotional abuse and neglect by your immediate family.

Please be kind to yourself. What you need to give yourself is kindness now, do not judge yourself by these poeples standards.
Your mother has failed you terribly! What they did and they way they treated you would have been damaging to an adult...let alone a 4 year old innocent girl!

Remember that none of this is your fault and is not as a consequence of any flaw in you.
This is a brave first step and I just hope you can keep going on from here.

In other words dont you dare stop posting now smile!

oneplusone Wed 26-Mar-08 12:53:23

matildax, well done for posting; just allowing yourself to remember and feel your emotions from when you were a child is a positive step and like sakura said, as a child you couldn't allow yourself to feel your own pain and hurt but as an adult you can and know you can survive it. It is painful feeling the hurt from your childhood, but after the pain the wound starts to heal and you will feel better.

Although as pages said this journey will probably never end, i feel i have come such a long way since it all started for me around 18 months ago.

There has been a huge internal shift in the way i feel and think about myself. I no longer constantly mentally put myself down and think i am useless and inadequate and a failure. Now i actually think i am ok just the way i am and that i deserve to be treated with respect like everyone else. It is amazingly liberating for me to feel this way, i am seeing the world through new eyes and feel i have an inner strength and confidence that i simply didn't have before.

So, this is a long winded way of saying that although this journey is painful it is worth the 'reward' you will reap as you go along.

Read as much as you can about this subject and just allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling, however unpleasant and painful, that has been the key for me.

mampam Wed 26-Mar-08 14:27:48

Matildax, sometimes it can do us good to just blurt things out and thats what you have done in your post. Well done smile.

My mother definitely has 'secret' drinking sessions and you hit the nail on the head when you say about having no recollection in the morning of her 'cruel words' the previous night. Some of the things my mother has said to me I wouldn't dream of ever saying to anyone let alone my own daughter. My younger brother is 11 years my junior and he has to put up with what I call 'the drinking years'(I moved out of home when I was 17). Some of the things that have happened to him and some of the things he has seen over the years whilst my mother has been under the influence of alcohol have been worthy of Social Services seriously getting involved.

Like you I have stopped looking upon her as my 'mum'. I don't really know what I see her as now to be truthful, although I do feel as if she is a burden to me. (I do feel really guilty though that I should feel that way about my own mother).

It sounds to me as if your mother and sisters are in denial because they feel guilty to some extent. Maybe your mum feels guilty because she was never there and always working, if she was there you wouldn't have had to spend so much time at your Nana's house. I'm not blaming your mum, I'm just trying to think of a reason why she would be in denial about what really happened to you.

Matildax, you sound so strong after all that you've been through. Me on the otherhand, I've been on the brink of tears all day because I'm going to go to my mothers house later this afternoon. I know how left out I'm going to feel. What a wimp!!

matildax Wed 26-Mar-08 19:09:54

hi everyone, i cant be on long, my son is poorly with a throat infection (just been to the drs with him)
Thankyou all for your kind words.
i myself feel really sick and had some kind of panic attack earlier today, after posting. your right, mampam, i responded to your post, and everything just came spilling out, i still am quite shaky and very very tearful.
maybe it is time for me to return to the psychologist, maybe now i can finally talk about this.
like i said earlier i thought i was coping ok, but obviously not. however, i also feel i have done a terrible thing by posting, and feel really quite nervous,(in some ways i feel like i have been stripped bare in front of strangers, and am really uncomfortable.) but i think i am just really confused.,
im going to put my little ones to bed, and have a hot bath, hopefully then i will be calmer.
you have all been so so kind to me, i want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart xx

smithfield Wed 26-Mar-08 19:58:42

matilda-

'i also feel i have done a terrible thing by posting, and feel really quite nervous,(in some ways i feel like i have been stripped bare in front of strangers, and am really uncomfortable.)'

You were 'made to feel' like you had done a terrible thing as a child by letting those that should have cared for you know...I think you are possibly re-experiencing this now.
I dont know but just logically acknowleding that fact might help you...hope so. xx

mampam Wed 26-Mar-08 21:38:38

Matildax, just remember that we are all strangers yes, but we believe you and we are here to support you if you want us to. You have shared something very personal with us which took alot of courage, but you'll never have to worry about bumping into us on the street or ever coming face to face with us.

Only return to talk to the psychologist if and when you feel ready. There's no need to rush into anything. I think we've all realised that everything needs to be taken with baby steps. So don't feel you have to do anything or talk to anyone until you are good and ready to do so.

I hope you feel a bit better about things tomorrow. Take Care xxx

Sakura Wed 26-Mar-08 23:05:30

Matildax, exactly as Smithfield said, the panic and confusion you are feeling is because you are emotionally still that little child: frightened as to what repercussions there will be and what punishment you will face now that you have exposed the family`s secret. But don`t worry- you are an adult now, with adult powers, so there will be no "punishment" or terrible thing that will happen to you.
I really honestly think that your mother knew, probably even before you were checked out by the doctor. I know it might be to soon and too sad to conemplate this, but I don`t think your grandad loved you as you deserved to be loved. You didn`t deserve a grandad who did that, you deserved a kinder one, who would never ever have contemplated touching his granddaughter. And you deserved good and kind parents who would have whisked you away as soon as there was any hint that something was going on. But, through no fault of your own, you had faulty carers as a child, who were totally in the wrong in all of this.

gloriana Thu 27-Mar-08 00:47:28

I have been reading this thread for the last few hours and have been really moved by what I've read. A lot of what has been said on here really resonates with me and I hope it's OK for me to join in. This thread has brought a lot of feelings to the surface and I think I've got lots of food for thought.

Thanks so much all of you for sharing your experiences - you can't possibly know how helpful it is.

Will post more tomorrow as am now exhausted from reading grin

Pages Thu 27-Mar-08 10:35:38

HI gloriana and welcome, glad this thread is helping.

Matildax, the feeling of shame, being stripped bare, is a natural one to feel when you have kept a secret for most of your life and not been believed when you have ventured to tell someone, especially the people that matter. I too suspect your mother knows you were telling the truth. It is unfortunately, though, an almost "textbook" reaction for family members to deny it, say it didn't happen and that you are lying.

My past was different from yours, but I too carried the shame and blame for the rest of my family all my life and my younger siblings and mother have, like yours, denied my reality and called me a liar because they cannot cope with the idea for a million reasons. Keeping up the myth of the perfect family is almost like a religion in a dysfuncytional family (which yours was) and some people are just not brave enough to look inside themselves and speak the truth the way you have.

Whatever feelings you are left with after telling the truth about what happened to you on here(and we ALL believe you, without any doubt) you will and CAN deal with them. As Sakura said you are an adult now, so you have power, and not only that, whatever your worst fears or whatever outcome you expect, nothing is worse than living with this inside your head. My very worst fear all my life (and it has affected everything I have done to some extent) was my mother and family abandoning me. Now that it has happened, it really isn't that bad, I don't know what I was worrying about because I don't need them to like me to know that I am a nice person anymore - in fact it is liberating because there is nothing left to fear. (Hope that makes sense).

I can't recollect if you have read "Toxic Parents" but I imagine it would really help you, there is a specific chapter on sexual abuse. And counselling will really help, even though as I am sure you are aware it will be hard - but really worth it in the end if it means you can become the happy person that you were meant to be before your family hurt you so terribly. HTH xx

3NAB Thu 27-Mar-08 10:42:49

Hi 3Nab, I'm just so saddened by all that. Here is you reciting it all as an adult...but all that happened to a little dd. How bloody cruel and sadistic can you be? There seems to be a total lack of humanity in your mother, totally heartless to you. But none of how she was was your fault, you know that? You didn't deserve to be treated that way, not even your worst enemey should be treated like that. I think your mother must of had a horrific childhood to come out like this, and damaged to such an extent she could not even think of you as a small human being with needs and wants too. You have done incrediably well emotionally to come out and still have feelings and understand that other people have them too. You have succeeded and surpassed her despite her malicious behaviour towards you. I think that calls for a round of applause with a few cheers Hope that is not too out of place...

Ally90 Thank you for that. My mother did have an awful childhood but her parents kept her. It still doesn't excuse why she was terrible for me. I am managing to get through the day without hopefully dmaging my kids too much. I just wish she cold have tried. She told my Nana she would kill herself if I didn't invite her to my wedding. (I didn't. She didn't) She threatened the same when my dad wanted to finish with her. She is causing trouble left right and centre but I haven't had any letters from her via my MIL for a year now, so hoping......still scared when I do the school pick up and I can't see my childrten straight away though.

3NAB Thu 27-Mar-08 10:45:22

3NAB, sorry I don`t reply so much. I feel as though this thread dregs up a lot of old emotions for me that are best left resting at the moment, so its hard for me to get too involved in other peoples stories. But I just want to say that you were a perfect little girl as a child, but your mother was faulty. All little girls are born perfect and loveable, as were you. Treat yourself and your children as you would have liked to have been treated by your mother. This is the aim of all of us on this thread, I think. Every time we self-sabotage with money or drink or many other ways (I`m thinking of the tatoos I have on my back!) we are letting them win!!

Sakura I agree. I am sure it pains my mother to know I have married a lovely lovely man and have 3 children by him, and he has stayed with me.

I also find I hard to read a lot of these posts <ashamed> and really must try harder too to try and help all of you who have so helped me.

3NAB Thu 27-Mar-08 10:48:23

I buy my children too many clothes and toys and I know it is because I didn't have many.

oneplusone Thu 27-Mar-08 13:39:13

Hi all. I am constantly surprised by how I can feel fine, even happy one day, and come crashing down the next. It seems to hit me out of the blue without warning.

Yesterday I sent an email to my middle sister. She hadn't replied to my previous emails and I hated the feeling of powerlessness I had by having to wait for her to reply. I knew the relationship shouldn't be like that, I shouldn't be feeling anxious that she hasn't replied because she perhaps was annoyed with me about something. I think I have always known somewhere deep down that ever since I cut off my parents it wouldn't be possible to have a relationship with my sisters unless and until they decided to step out of the drama triangle. But I was not at all ready to cut myself off from them at the same time as my parents. I suppose I was longing to have a real relationship with them, to be close and open and honest with them. But that would have been in contradiction to how we had always lived our lives and there was no reason why things should be any different now from the way they were when we were children. But I suppose, until now, I simply didn't want to, or couldn't, face up to that.

I was never particularly close to either of my sisters. I used to think this was because of the age gap, but I realise now it was because that was the way my mother 'engineered' things. She effectively took my place as their sibling and cast me as the outsider. She was unconsciously acting out her own childhood issues and using me to do it. I suppose I imagined that somehow now that we were all older and married we would somehow become close but of course that was never going to happen. I was as a child always the outsider and I realise now I will always be the outsider even as an adult. I have written to my middle sister telling her about how i felt as a child, how hurt I used to feel at being left out of things and how lonely and sad I was. I told her if we are to have a relationship it has be something brand new, not carrying on from the past. We need to get to know each other from scratch as I know she has no idea who I really am inside, all she has ever seen is the angry person i was when we all lived at home with our parents.

In a weird way, 'letting go' of my sisters feels like a relief although it also makes me very sad. But it is a relief as i was holding onto something that was really an illusion, something i wanted really badly, but which didn't really exist. I imagine this is the way most of you feel about your parents and that is why it is so hard for you to cut yourselves off from them. I found it easy to cut myself off from my parents but I have found it much harder to do this with my sisters. I find it so hard to actually beleive that they are also willing to cut me off and it hurts a lot to know that.

As children it was almost as if I was not the eldest sister. They used to bully and mock me more in the way older siblings would treat their youngest sibling even though i was 5 years and 8 years older than them. I have always felt I shouldn't blame them for their behaviour as children as they were i'm sure unconsciously following my parents' lead in showing no respect for my feelings. But their behaviour towards me has continued into adulthood, albeit in a much more subtle way, although it has always been interspersed with 'niceness' so I suppose i have been very confused by them.

I had also wanted to keep a relationship with them for the sake of my children, I didn't want my DC's to miss out on knowing their aunties and cousins (to be) because of my issues with my sisters. But the price I would have to pay was proving too great and it somehow feels 'right' to not have a relationship with them now. Because there never was a relationship there in reality. It was all simply an illusion and somehow that has been so much harder for me to face up to and accept than knowing that my parents didn't love me. Knowing that my sisters don't love me hurts me much more. I don't really know why that is the case.

I feel completely alone now and yet I know it's not really a new feeling; I have always felt alone within my family. I suppose I have always believed in the illusion of my family and now I am facing the reality. There never was a real family, none of them ever really cared about me.

I can honestly say that facing up to all of this has been the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done in my whole life. (Giving birth was easy in comparison!) And yet I feel stronger for it and have so much more respect for myself for having the courage to do this. I would rather have the truth and reality any day than the lies and illusions that were my life for 37 years.

So sorry for the ramble, I really need to get all this out of my head. Would love to go and lie down now, I feel drained and exhausted, but have to get on with the housework before DS gets up from his nap.

smithfield Thu 27-Mar-08 13:47:31

3nab- you should use this thread however you feel is of benefit to you.

Yes I also totally related to Danae's insightful post re money/finances.
Only in the last 18months have I taken control. I have been in debt many a time, and often earnt good money, yet never had anything to show for it.
I really think the reason this turned around was having ds, and being in such a financial bind when we did, then coming back home to feel the full force of parental control (again) via finances (i.e being bailed out...again).
I remember feeling so angry at all the strings attached and thought....never again (bit of a gone with the wins moment I think)

My vice...food....yep spent thousands on food. Fancy restaurants, dined in by the rich and famous..expensive cappucino's and lunches,.to stuffing my face in front of the tv with a takeaway or bag full of choclate booty.

And yes its played havoc with ,my weight. Have also been anorexic at one point and bullimic at another.

I know I try and fill a void with food, it's a compulsion.

Right now?....internet shopping and toys, dvds for ds! blush

smithfield Thu 27-Mar-08 14:05:23

oneplusone- I cant offer any advice but all I can say is I am in exactly the same place as you as regards my sister. I know Ive said before, but reading your post brings up the same feelings for me.

Our closeness I had to acknowledge was a complete fabrication on my part. Wishful thinking.

It hurts also, because she is 'the princess', I have to also acknowledge my feelings of intense jelousy at her preferential treatment.
I know a lot of this is based purely on looks...she looks like my mother, is built like my mother, yet, I look like my father. I was made to feel unattractive by comparison and I know this was my mother projecting her feelings, inadequacies, and tensions with my father on to me.

A classic line from her 'Oh (look of disgust) you are just like your father'

My father favours my sister because she looks like my mother but he can put her on her pedastal, and yet she will remain obediant and compliant (unlike my mother) So she has become a surrogate wife in many ways.

You are right though in feeling stronger for acknowledging the stark truth to yourself. I have just decided I can do no more. My relationship with my sister is a one-way street and Ive reached yet another dead end. I know without me doing the 'donkey' work there is no relationship to be had.

It 'is' sad oneplusone, but, sadder still is to allow our siblings to treat us as second class citizens. That's just like being hurt by our parents all over again.

3NAB Thu 27-Mar-08 14:19:34

I can relate to food issues. I definitely have food issues as I wasn't fed much as a child.

mampam Thu 27-Mar-08 15:12:13

Smithfield, I can really relate to 'without me doing the 'donkey' work there is no relationship to be had'. The sad thing is that the penny only just dropped as I read that sentence. I've just realised that pretty much every relationship I've got (family and friends), I'm the one doing all of the 'donkey' work. I even send Christmas/Birthday cards and give birthday presents to so called friends that never ever return the sentiment and yet I do this year after year. My birthday is very close to Christmas so I've always assumed that people are too busy at that time of year to remember my birthday.

I've always felt like I am the type of person that other people walk all over, that I do nothing but give and everyone else just takes.

I know this sounds a bit self centred and selfish of me but it would be nice, just for once, for someone to call me up out of the blue and ask me how I am, instead of me calling them to find out how they are.

toomanystuffedbears Thu 27-Mar-08 18:11:26

Matildax-sorry for your history and <<hugs>>
I think that you looking at and traveling the path of your truth is coping better than (trying to) keeping it buried...your feeling of not coping very well is perhaps childhood training by the toxic ones to not show feeling. Your physical symptoms point to the truth of you being on the right path to healing, imho...you may be finally just now starting to actually cope very well ('the truth will set you free'-that is also the title to an Alice Miller book). Good for you! Even though this is excruciatingly difficult and painful and scary, know you are doing the right thing for yourself (and no one else can ever do it for you).

There have been several posts about physical symptoms in this thread or in the other two threads...
Others may address this better than I, but I believe the physical symptoms will be temporary. I can not guess how long they will last for you, perhaps everyone is different (different experiences). Your mind is becoming stronger to heal yourself, keep your mind engaged with the truth because the physical stuff seems to be a weakness to pull people back down again.

I hope your precious little one gets well soon.

toomanystuffedbears Thu 27-Mar-08 18:54:27

Oneplusone, Smithfield:
My MS favors my mother and I favor my father, too.
Dear me, my precious third born ( smile ) seems to favor me shock hmm. Ds and Dd1 favor their father's mother's line.

Relationship with MS in regards to the term "fabrication" -that word really hits it on the head! MS's fabrication and if we didn't play or respond appropriately...great balls of fire-victim status with the tense silent tissy fits (a la 'her way or the highway').

In reflection, and I have been deep in reflection the past week-actually it is one week today grin(still have not emailed photo of baby to her (bad TMSB, bad)-
even the times that were "happy", when we got along well, when she seemed to be the 'perfect friend', I now feel it was all about her building up an account of superiority. I often felt like her 'charity' project. This is difficult for me to keep in perspective because the manipulation is so strong-"I did this for you, now you do this for me"...
I don't mind picking up the check when it is my turn, but when the 'you do this for me' means being her subordinate emotional servant then the price is too high. Individual instances seem innocent in themselves, but on the whole--with the experience of her totally controlling me since the day I announced my pregnancy, it is hard to evaluate the history any other way.
Gift giving- I used to try to spend on her in some manner equal to what she spent on us, but family of 4 on single income just could not keep up with her (single-professional salary). Several years ago at Christmas time, I flat out told her that I was not going to over spend at Christmas anymore, just one or two gifts and that was it. Then she keeps upping the ante, and I refused to go along. She said she was trying to 'help out'- TMSB and dh need her financial assistance? No we do not. She was investing in another demonstration of her perception of superiority in sibling rivalry. Is that what this is about-childish sibling rivalry??
Fine, she can win (really I am happy she is successful), but now she is out of my life because it seems her success satisfaction can not be defined in other terms except in putting me (patronizing compliments) or OS (plain insults) down in comparison to herself.
---------
I always give ds and dd1 an abundance of money for field trips or when ever they are going out, because mom hardly ever saw to it that I had money even for a drink when I was growing up.

gloriana Thu 27-Mar-08 19:06:23

Smithfield - what you have described with your siblings mirrors exactly my relationship with my two younger sisters. I am very like my father in looks and had exactly the same issue with my mother sneering at my looks (and weight). She even told my sister that I was too butch to get a boyfriend (when we were teens) which obviously my sister took great joy in relating back to me. My mother always said that she was horrified when I was born and she was expecting a lovely blonde thing (like herself) and I turned up with a shock of dark hair like my dad. It was also noted that I was born on Friday 13th and a full moon.

My current issue is that sister number 2 (2.5 yrs younger than me) is pg with her first child and I desperately want to help her and be there for her. This seems strange as she did nothing for me for any of my DS's or for my suffering from depression (when I tried to confide in her she told me that she had too much going on to cope with listening to me). I too feel like this is a one-way street but I love her to bits. I have called every day during her pregnancy to check that she is OK. I can't possibly entertain the idea of cutting her or anybody else in my family off. DH would love the idea as he is certain that my depression worsens when I spend any time with my family.

I also have a terrible relationship with food and comfort eating. Food = love and I'm convinced as a child I had to get it from somewhere. My mother would try to bribe me to lose weight but I have never succeeded on a diet.

A few posts back, someone mentioned anger and I really find that I have this huge violent rage that is unmasked whenever I come off my anti-depressants (am on the lowest dose I've been on for over a year at the moment) and I take this out on DSs and DH. I hate myself for this but find that once I am in this mindset, I can't get out of it. What is really sad as well is that I realise that I'm turning into my mother - distant, contemptuous relationship with husband, emotionally not available for my kids. How can I stop this sadsadsad?

Apologies for the muddledness of this. Am crying as I type and not sure that I should even be allowed to be a mum...

Pages Fri 28-Mar-08 09:22:28

Sorry you are feeling so low Gloriana. I would bet that you are a far better mum than you realise or give yourself credit for. The fact that you have insight into your relationships shows that you are not turning into your mother and that you can change things for yourself and your family.

I can't really think of anything to add to what I said in my last mammoth post [everyone breathes sigh of relief] but didn't want you to think that no-one was here for you.

Podmog Fri 28-Mar-08 13:26:21

Message withdrawn

matildax Fri 28-Mar-08 13:29:02

hello everyone, i have not had the time to come on here recently, what with my son being poorly, thankfully he is on the mend now. smile
i would like to thank you all for your personal posts to me, and i will also answer all of you individually when i have some "me" time (hopefully tonight)
but just wanted to say, that although i am still pretty down, and still feel slightly uneasy about pouring my heart out here, i am a little calmer, and am so so grateful to all of you.
hope that you all feel ok and a quick welcome to gloriana.
people are lovely here, you are in good company xx

oneplusone Fri 28-Mar-08 15:32:45

hi all, am back today from my counselling session. The time goes so quickly with her. I think I have been bottling things up all week and it all came out today. I cried twice before I even went to see her at things I heard on the news this morning and an article i read involving children. My feelings are so close to the surface it doesn't take much to trigger some sort of emotion.

I can relate to gloriana and smithfield re siblings. Unfortunately I have made the sad decision that I have to for the time being cease contact with both my sisters. I have realised that as adults they continue to treat me as they did when we were children. ie with no respect, understanding love or compassion. They have upset and hurt me a lot over this issue with my parents and I have realised that clinging onto a relationship with them was doing me no good at all and was causing me more anxiety and worry rather than bringing me any sort of happiness.

I hope that one day, perhaps once they have both had children of their own and maybe have more of an understanding of how I feel we might be able to build a relationship, but until then I feel that they are as 'toxic' in their own way as my parents are and I need to avoid them for my own good. It's heartbreaking to have to do this as I feel they are as much victims of my parents as I am, but until they gain some kind of self awareness and insight into themselves and about our family's reality we will always be so far apart that a relationship will be impossible.

I feel doubly sad as I feel we have all missed out on so much, we could have been so close as sisters, both as children and as adults. And now it is entirely possible that my DC's and my sisters' future children will miss out on relationships with each other. Unfortunately it seems that the 'poison' from our parents reaches everywhere and it is up to each individual as to whether they make a choice to 'detox' or not. My sisters at the moment don't even know they have been poisoned so it may be a long, long time or even never before they decide to go on a detox programme.

I am surprised at myself that I have been able to make this decision, i know i couldn't have contemplated it even 6 months ago, I was so desperate to maintain some sort of relationship with them. I think it shows how much stronger I have become in myself that i don't depend on them for any sort of happiness or need their validation or approval. My previous counsellor said that one of the aims of my therapy was to enable me to become 'autonomous' and I think this is kind of what he meant. That I should be self approving/validating and not need the approval of others or be dependent on others. Although that doesn't mean I don't have any feelings for them, as I know I do still care about my sisters, but to be around them or in contact with them is simply not good for me.

Once again, sorry for the ramble, there so much going on in my head, I can't seem to stop once I start typing.

Gloriana, I just wanted to say that I know exactly what you mean about this 'huge' rage that you feel. I was exactly the same, i used to just suddenly 'blow up' and go berserk at DH or DD (never at DS for reasons I understand now but too long to explain here). But contrary to what you have probably been told all your life, there is nothing wrong with feeling rage. It is an emotion just like all our other emotions. The only problem with rage is if it is directed at the wrong person.

I very slowly, as I have gone along this journey, started realising that my rage was being triggered by events and people in my life today (ie often DD and DH), but the rage itself was rage from my childhood that had been kept bottled up for years as I was never allowed to express it as a child. My rage should have been directed at my parents and my sisters, but i had bottled it up for so long i had forgotten who had caused it in the first place. Alice Miller talks about this a lot in all her books, she calls it 'transference' ie when you transfer rage that should be directed at say your mum onto your DD.

I recommend, if you feel ready to do so, that you read some of Alice Miller's books, and also Toxic Parents and Divorcing A Parent. They will all give you some insight into where your rage is coming from and help you release the rage without directing it at your DH and DC's.

gloriana Fri 28-Mar-08 19:06:16

Thank you all so much for your kind welcome here - I can't describe how much of a safe haven this feels like.

1+1 - thank you for your recommendations - I will look into the books you've suggested. Is there any 1 book of Alice Miller's that would be the best place to start?

Had a blow out last night - sobbing to DH after writing on MN. Feel SO much better today so thank you for 'unblocking' me!! Feels so much more normal to be actually talking to my husband rather than just conforming to my training and bottling everything up.

Have put in my daily phone call to pg sister today which she has ignored - after telling me she would call me back yesterday (so I didn't speak to her yesterday either). What is wrong with me that this matters? If a friend chooses not to call back immediately I don't take it as a personal insult whereas with my sister, this is what it is. She says she 'adored' me as a child but it's certainly not the case now. She makes me feel that I am not worthy of her because I am overweight and not as rich as her. When I have lost weight, she is much more keen to have me over to dinner and introduce me to her friends.

Have also just found out that she has invited mum & dad over to Sunday lunch - they live about 50 miles away but she lives a mile away from me. Why aren't I invited? So sick of having this kind of thing in my head...

Sakura Fri 28-Mar-08 23:54:36

Hi gloriana, So glad that this thread could help you.
REgarding your family, I think from reading your post, the next move would be to try to distance yourself from your family a little. You won`t be being selfish- we have all had it drummed into us that we were selfish when in fact we were always at the beck and call of our mothers and siblings. So just try not to put yourself open to so much hurt from them. I suppose its about changing how you think. You absolutely can`t change the way they behave but you can change the way you react to it.
You sister must know how much you care, and if she doesn`t know by now, she`s never going to know IYSWIM.

kaz33 Sat 29-Mar-08 09:44:35

Hi ladies, haven't had time to read what has happended in my abscence.

I got back from my Hoffman course yesterday, its lovely to be back with my family and I am very conscious of what a lovely DH and boys I have.

It is too early to give a full report, but I hope that I have resolved my issues with my parents and am looking forward to seeing them in a week or so. In addition I have fully realised the self loathing that I have been carrying around with me and how it has been sabotaging my life. I intend to be better to myself. Also I have discovered more about myself and what sort of person I really am.

It was hard work (an understatement) and you do have to do the work yourself, though there is someone to catch you when you fall. But the work that they do is amazing and done with care, compassion and totally non-judgemental.

Big hugs, and if anyone is interested I am happy to ask any questions. But in the meantime the website is www.hoffmaninstitute.co.uk/

gloriana Sat 29-Mar-08 19:50:39

Hi everyone, just wanted to say that I think you are right Sakura and that I need to distance myself but I find it so hard as I want to be a part of my family. Will try harder though grin

Kaz, the Hoffman course sounds very interesting. I'm going to read the web site and then come back with questions. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Hope everyone else is feeling well.

havalina Sat 29-Mar-08 22:04:15

Hi all, I'm a newbie to this thread, god you all seem to be able to analyse your past and family so well. Unfortunately both of my parents are dead, my Mum died just over a year ago and I have been so mixed up ever since, sorry I don't know if this is the right place.

I have 4 sisters, mostly they seem to think our upbringing was terrible, I was shocked to hear this tbh. I was the youngest by 7 years, they all seem to think I had the best of things, and are resentful of me. I don't really talk to them that much ( live 200 miles away) but I have a growing awareness that my family is totally fucked up.

The thing is I find it hard to remember and analyse events from my childhood, I'm kind of in limbo. Like I remember my Mum as loving, but she also went on days long sulks in which she would speak to noone (she then wondered why I would take to my room for days as a teenager). My dad to me always favoured my next older sister, and once even said to me "if you lost weight you would look more like xxx". My Dad often said disparaging things to me mostly about my appearance, and my parents split when I was 15.

I don't know I have such little confidence in my own opinion I can't even decide wether my childhood was good or bad aaagh.

gloriana Sun 30-Mar-08 21:08:18

Welcome havalina - don't know if you've read the whole thread but I think someone mentions that we are all at different stages in our journeys so some have more insight than others as to what might help. There are normally compelling reasons why you would want to sort out what has happened in the past and it's usually if the past is still affecting you. For me it's about my irrational rage and the ensuing depression so I know that if I don't sort out what's going on with my family, then I will never be able to cope off anti-depressants. Is there a particular reason why you want to go over your childhood?

Sending you warm wishes that your confidence returns smile

smithfield Mon 31-Mar-08 10:29:52

Gloriana- I have a lot of rage too. Mainly aimed at DH actually, but sometimes ds cops it as well.

Although, with ds, (mainly because I then identify with his hurt at my over-reaction)I am usually overwhelmed with guilt in this instance and I do apologise.....hardly ever apologise to dh though.

I think I do project onto dh the same way my mother did on to me. Someone (i think it was Kaz) mentioned replicating relationships from the past.

Also recently I began to think about my anger as a defence mechanism. I come from parents who criticised and attacked my very being so I learnt to defend against this by becoming quite angry and defensive. Its an ' I'll get you before you get me' way of responding.

I know deep down I don't feel loveable, so subconciously I dont think I really believe dh does love me and so I ward off any closeness to avoid the pain of any further rejection.

Havalina- 'The thing is I find it hard to remember and analyse events from my childhood'

This is quite normal- once again a defense against feelings of hurt, anger and pain.

I actually 'did' have a good memory for childhood events. It's almost like I'd built up a log of events to use against my parents over the years.

I then confronted my mum at one point and she denied everything and then began to attack my memory in general. since that point my memory of past events have faded and I myself began to question myself again as to wether any of it was real.
If they have been abusive to you though as a child deep down in your core you know it.
Ignoring you for days on end is not normal and to a child it is very damaging as they believe something in them causes that withdrawal of love (as they see it).

Which reminds me.....

Someone posted about people not believing them or being on their side. I just remembered how I used to constantly say 'but is it just me?' 'maybe its all my fault?'. That was until dh saw my mother's abusive behaviour first hand. Finally I had someone (completely normal and functioning)who said..... 'No that's absolutely not your fault and yes of course I believe you!'
My Dh always says now 9with a hint of humour) that he saw the devil that day.

For me that was an incredibly healing moment.
So people listening and believing in you is important,just as they do on this thread.

oneplusone Mon 31-Mar-08 15:07:50

Hi, all, hope you had a good weekend.

Smithfield, hi, hope things feel a bit more settled now with your new baby. What you said about using anger as a defence mechanism applies to me as well. I realise now i used to act 'tough' like I didn't care about anything or anyone and that nothing anyone said could hurt me. In fact the exact opposite was the truth, so many things my parents and sisters said and did did hurt me very much, but i used anger to cover up the pain. Why I didn't let the pain show is still slightly unclear to me, I suppose it must have been because I knew or felt there was nobody who was interested or cared if I had been hurt.

I saw my therapist today. I had been feeling really quite happy and upbeat the last few days. I feel so liberated now that I have told both my sisters, in a roundabout way I suppose, that I want a break from them for the forseeable future. I feel I am finally free of the way they make me feel, from my middle sisters catty comments and remarks, her subtle mocking and lastly but not least from feeling hurt at being left out by them. I know their mistreatment of me would have continued all our lives if I had carried on maintaining a relationship with them at this point. My therapist said it was possible that over time they would come to understand me more but at the moment I am quite happy with the situation. It is as if the external picture of me and my family now matches the internal reality I have always felt and known inside. ie I am alone and have no family. Even though it appears that I have 2 parents and 2 sisters, actually I am alone as none of them care about me and i have no bond or attachment with any of them. Sorry, i'm not explaining this very well, hope you get the gist, if you've read this far, don't blame you if you gave up ages ago, i know i'm rambling again.

But, to get to the point of why i am posting now. I felt upset on the way home at something the therapist said. She said that in all her 18 years of working as a therapist she had never met someone who had done so much 'work' on her own in relation to this type of issue or someone who understood it all so intelligently. What she said has really upset me because I remember my parents telling me that when i was at school my teachers thought that I was very intelligent and clever enough to win a scholarship to a really good local private school. Years later I remember I asked my parents why they didn't actually enter me for the scholarship exams and their answer was because they couldn't be bothered/didn't have time/it would have been too much of a hassle to enter me shocksad.

I guess what i feel sad about, and i'm sorry if this sounds like i'm blowing my own trumpet which i really am not intending to do, is the loss of so much potential I feel I had as a child in what i could have made of myself and achieved, if my parents had loved me and saw it as their job to help me achieve my potential. Instead, as i have always felt, they just saw me as a bother, a hassle, a nuisance. I remember there were so many things i wanted to at least try as a child but i was never ever encouraged or given the opportunity to do any of these things. My parents were not well off when we were children so i know money was one of the issues, but more than that i know there was just a complete lack of will or motivation on either of my parents' part to spend any time or effort on me. I know that i still have time ahead of me to try out lots of things but i still feel so sad at the loss of potential i have suffered especially when all the energy I did have was instead spent in just trying to survive my dad's abuse and my mother's neglect. My youngest sister achieved so much more than me and I feel sure it is because my parents actually seem to genuinely care about her and were always behind her in whatever she did, they took an interest in her school work etc unlike me and have always encouraged her and told her she was bright and intelligent. I feel i was also bright and intelligent as a child, but my parents did nothing to encourage me in any way. I feel i have achieved what i have in spite of them and despite them rather than because of them or with their help and support.

Sorry, i know i'm rambling and not being very clear, but i suppose i'm mourning a loss from my childhood, which like all our losses, can never be recovered or regained. It's gone forever and is something i will never forgive my parents for.

Podmog Mon 31-Mar-08 15:36:51

Message withdrawn

oneplusone Mon 31-Mar-08 16:13:01

hi podmog, it is so sad, it's hard to believe our parents could behave in the way they did, it is so completely opposite to how i intend to bring up my DC's.

I know i will eventually come to terms with this loss and look forward to what i can still achieve, but to ruin an innocent child's potential like that is a crime.

Good luck with your counselling btw, i know you mentioned in your previous posts you feel scared, but there's nothing wrong in feeling scared. Your counsellor will support you through the difficult bits and you will feel so much better for having gone through it. I guess the saying 'no pain no gain' is sadly true here.

ally90 Mon 31-Mar-08 21:12:26

Hi Maisemor, how are you?

Oneplusone

"It is as if the external picture of me and my family now matches the internal reality I have always felt and known inside. ie I am alone and have no family. Even though it appears that I have 2 parents and 2 sisters, actually I am alone as none of them care about me and i have no bond or attachment with any of them."

That about sums it up for me, thanks for that!

It is hard giving up family members apart from mother and father. I gave up my sister, she has written to me recently (scroll down a looooooonnnnngggg way wink)...my therapist bright idea is that we get back in contact and I teach her how to behave as a normal human being hmm not his actual words but you get the gist. Feels very nice the idea of having some loving nurturing family around, but often loving and nurturning is not the reality

Hi Pogmog

I agree with the lost potential too. Feel as if I have lost my childhood, teenage years etc...grieved for it all too...

Hi 3Nab

I worry about front door not being locked constantly and dd being asleep upstairs...always have her monitor on to listen in... my tactless mil used to joke about kidnapping dd...because she thinks she does not see her enough (since when is once a week not enough?...there again sil kids sleep over 4 nights a week hmm, actually I can see her point grin). I hope your mother does not contact you. I still, despite my realisation my mother won't change, expect her not to send anything...try to expect the contact and what you will do when you get a letter. Do you think she will have changed? Practice detachment...you can choose to get involved with your mother again via a letter or you can choose to bin it. And tell mil in no uncertain terms not to divulge any information again. YANBU to do that.

Pages, hi!! Huuuuggggeeee post! Blue ribbon to you [presents it...shakes hand..]. Therapist wants me to be wondergirl and through my saintly waltz thro their little mad world I will twirl a wand and they will all stop what they are doing with a wide eyed look as reality caves in on them and realise what twunts they have been all their lives to me and start behaving like normal human beings...just waiting for therapist to have a moment of realisation now hmm bloody pillocks the lot of them angry. BTW therapist sees 'hope' in my sisters letter. In one line of it actually hmm angry [rolls eyes for good measure]. Be glad not to have someone messing with my reality...have you had any contact recently? And how is work? And if you have said, sorry but you should not type so much wink...I'm just skimming here...!

Hi Havalina

Toomanystuffedbears mother died about 27 years ago...she still has problems. Something my therapist said to me recently was about favoured children...the golden child has all the good qualities assigned to them...but to do this the bad qualities need to be assigned elsewhere..so there is a constant flow between the good and bad child. I was the bad child...and was made to be the complete opposite of my perfect sister. Hope that made sense? Long silences is a form of emotional abuse/emotional neglect. It means that your mothers love is taken from you, as we all have a primeval instict to be looked after by our parents to 'survive' in the wild, that is like a death sentance almost...so it has a tremendous impact on the child it is done too. Your sisters thinking you had it easy...well how do they know? What is important is your experience. You could write out your life story and not tell them the full depth of your unhappiness...they are discounting/invalidating your ability to have feelings...don't let them do this...they are just as valid as theirs.

Hi Gloriana

Actions, not words. She 'says' she adored you. What have her actions in childhood and now say to you?

Matildax...that took some courage to type and post I felt quite horrified reading it... hugs to you if that is okay...we believe you xxxx

Hi Flight

Your mother (re email) sounds like my 2 yr old...'sorry mummy' then throwing something at me again 5 min later! Not very sincere if she keeps doing the same thing over and over again. And the 'I do love you'. Do you feel loved? Or smothered? Good reply I thought... How is the house hunt going?

And finally

Hi Kaz...you sound so calm...so what did you do? I'm v curious...read the website you gave but it gave no details...how have things been since?

Right off now...don't think I've quite made the blue ribbon this time <sigh> best wait for another letter from my sister... grin

ally90 Tue 01-Apr-08 10:23:51

Thoughts on Food and Comfort eating (may be of interest to those who have just mentioned it...)

I remember always being hungry. I was not starved, there was food in the house but it was jealously guarded by all my family. Everyone had 'their' food in the cupboard. If you touched it, let alone ate it there was hell to pay...so often there was food available, but it was 'untouchable'. I thought this normal until I went round to ex'es house on a regular basis and everyone there being bewildered when I would 'ask' to use the bread, and if it was okay to use 'that' loaf, would any crisps be okay? What about this paste? Is this anybodies...ex and mother used to get a bit bemused/exasperated about all the questions/permission/anal politeness about it all...

Secondly (may as well list ) my mother would serve us tea anywhere between 7 and 8 pm. I used to be starving hungry coming home from school...and the first things I always asked was 'what's for tea? what time will it be ready?'. Then endlessly badger my mother about when it would be ready...she always underestimated by at least 30 minutes and they seemed endless...

Thirdly my mother seemed to take malicious pleasure in the fact she made me wait for my tea until she had served my dad and sister first...then she would finally dish up mine.

Fourthly I used to be very frustrated and angry with the portions too...dad (obviously he was a full grown man...and at the time of this I was by then a teenager) always had a much bigger portion of food. Despite me always complaining I never got a bigger portion and there were generally no left overs so I was left hungry after the meal.

So to sum up...I guess I comfort eat for the 'inner hug' I get from eating (read that somewhere!) something stodgy and to the point I feel full.

I often panic if there is not enough food to eat when I'm out and about. I'm very aggressive about getting enough to eat at a buffet, often leaving lots on my plate, but the fear of being left hungry makes me pile food on.

Also if food was something I had to compete over and was often withheld, then I suppose that is a link too. Eating for survival?

I can't think of anything more profound...just it was a resource to be fought over and won. Now I don't have to fight for it I'm still left with the urge to eat while I can to completion, and to have as many 'treats' as I allow myself to buy as that was another resource that was limited at times.

I did also go through binge eating from about 18 to 26 having takeaways most nights of the week as my mothers cooking was a) horrid b) repetitive c) late at night d) not enough...did gain weight as well...

Right better go...suns come out! Hopefully I shall do better dieting getting my food obcessions out on this post!

maisemor Tue 01-Apr-08 11:42:46

Hi Ally,

I am doing really well, at the moment. So sweet of you to ask.
Suddenly realised the other day that I when I think of my family I no longer start shaking or get uncomfortable in some way or another. It just made me smile from one ear to the other.
I still get very angry when I receive emails or phonecalls from my little sister as she keeps complaining about everything that is wrong with her life and her ex, and this and that.
I have gotten very good at just skimming through her emails and then just forgetting about them. Also good at saying that I have to go when I have had enough of her moaning on the phone. [stops and polishes my halo for a second]smile
She is selling her flat and she is very likely going to be "homeless" for approx. 2 months. Her first choice is going to be asking our parents whether she can stay with them. She had barely finished the sentence before I cut her off with "I really don't want to know about that option".
Like my parents it is like she just can't seem to look at the positive side of things in any given situation.

I just realised that it is 2 years ago soon that I fell out with them (my son's birthday), and looking back the last 1 1/2 have been really, really good.
We have almost cleared our debts.
We are finally looking at buying our own place again.
And I am happy, and trying hard (but not as hard as I did at the beginning) to remain happy and positive.
Yipppiii 2008 is indeed turning out GREAT.

Anyway enough about me, I am never going to win the blue ribbon anyway. [clapping at Pages who looks stunning with the blue ribbon].

matildax Tue 01-Apr-08 14:58:23

hello everyone,
Maisemore, i have mentioned in a previous posting that i have seen several councillors (sp) and more recently psychologists,, but find talking about this so so very uncomfortable, and also feel sick watching other peoples reactions, when i do so, so "talking" on here, will probably help so much more than any professional could do. I think a few i have seen think i am weird anyway because i do not hate my grandfather, despite everything,
I am not stupid and what he has done, is horrific, but he was there for me as a child, and i would spend hours talking to him, and helping him (he went blind in his twenties, so we used to cut up his food on his plate, and tell him where everything was, like 12 oclock, veg and 3 oclock potatatos etc...) I also used to listen to his audio books with him. and he taught me how to read braille in his books. he seemed interested in me, and made me feel special. (unlike my mum and dad)
the bad stuff used to happen when my nana would go to the shops, and we would be left alone, I did not even realize it was wrong but i was told that i must not tell, as something bad could happen to him.
obviously i did not want that to happen.

Smithfield, i dont feel very brave!!! infact since posting i have been feeling really strange, and have had a few rather scary panic attacks, i am also not sleeping well,i think this could be, because so many different and powerful emotions have come to the surface. its funny because i rarely talk about any of this with even my bestest friends, and have asked those who know not to mention it, as i feel very embarrassed about it. my partner also, knows not to mention anything, as it makes me really uncomfortable, and yet here i am posting on here!!! i myself dont really understand what allowed me to "speak" on here!!!!

Oneplusone, i know i that i will live with this forever, but at the moment my emotional state is very fragile, and what makes me cry and affects me the most, is how this subconciously affects my immediate family, i think i remember reading here, that you have a strained relationship with your dd, well i do with my dd2 age 5, and im sure she is the one most affected by my mood swings, and anger.(i am starting to try really hard, to spend quality time with just me and her, and we both seem to be getting something from it, she is so loveable and kind i just hope that she doesnt see me as some fuck up, when she is older.)
i will take your advice and have a look at some alice miller books, and the toxic parents one also.
by the way i am so glad your councelling sessions are going well. you seem very positive at the moment. good for you smile

sakura, i know my mum knows, she must do, but i also know that it is pointless to ask her to acknowledge anything, because she just will not, i feel like i am disgusting to her, and she can hardly bear to look at me, i think i am a hinderance to her personal happiness, and she feels uncomfortable around me, and prefers to be with my older sisters. im ok though, i am pretty used to it, but would really have loved a mum like what a few of my friend have got, and the closeness they share. never mind, its not that important really.
sometimes i get really angry, and think why me? my childhood experiences have obviously affected who i am today, and my relationships with my peers, family and most importantly my own children. my partner deserves an award for putting up with me!!
i havent replied to everyone, but i want you all to know that your messages mean so much to me, and having you all here, is i think going to be crucial over the next few weeks. i think you are all wonderful people with good hearts and am so glad to have found you all.
till next time, take care. all my love to all of you xx

toomanystuffedbears Tue 01-Apr-08 18:20:26

Hi Havalina,
Yes, as Ally mentioned, my mom died in 1980 (Dad-in 1998 btw).
My oldest sister was the bad child.
Middle sister was the golden child.
And that made me the invisible child: unloved, emotionally disconnected (so I have difficulty having, let alone expressing, feelings; or communicating in general for that matter).

We all have different perspectives on our upbringing and even specific events are remembered differently.

My Oldest Sister is my "enlightened witness" and she is aware of the truth of our past and has validated my feelings. Middle Sister, however, must play 'Happy Hockey Sticks' and be the Queen of her myth. Middle Sister used me to elevate her own sense of self-worth by diminishing me at any and every opportunity. She presumed the matriarchal role- OS was the bad child, still (she did not hesitate to judge her) and I was her golden child, giving me compliments on what a good parent I am(who is she to judge?-she has no children). For years, I knew she irritated me. It took me ages to put words to how she made me feel, this thread was invaluable. MS was indeed toxic to me. I am now not in touch with her (not emotionally anyway)-except superficial cards (birthday and holiday) and I just sent her a couple of pictures of my new dd2 with a one line note:
Hi
Here are some pictures of dd2.
Take care,
TMSB

Sorry to digress,
Just try to figure out how much toxic behavior you are willing to put up with from any one (not necessarily just family). Know for sure though, that the price is very high for subjecting yourself to toxic people. They will tear you down emotionally. The erosion may be subtle but it will build up over time especially if you are not exactly or specifically aware of what is happening-as was the circumstance with my MS. Her 'treats', tickets, expensive gifts---her 'mothering' me-except she would analyze and evaluate my circumstances in lieu of any sense of empathy - especially during my 'high risk (age)' pregnancy...made it hard to see that she was actually keeping me diminished in a subordinate role-denying my perspective or feelings regularly (TMSB still invisible). Very tricky. But that is why I had to make the break, and I feel no remorse and know it was the right thing for me to do.

kaz33 Wed 02-Apr-08 13:23:15

Matildax - what a terribly sad story, all mixed up good memories and horrific memories with the same person. I am not suprised that you feel it difficult to talk to counsellors about what happended to you. It seems to me that you have good memories of your grandad, but if you access them as that you feel guilty for feeling that way. How the hell do you start to unravel that??

I have no answers, but by the sounds of it you need some very specialist counselling. Is it possible to research counsellors who have experience in childhood abuse cases??

From the point of what I have just done, the Hoffman process would allow you to absolutely hate and despise him for everything that he did to you. Then when you have no anger left, you would be given the tools to forgive and then rebuild yourself as the person that you really are. I am not recommending it but forgiveness is a powerful tool as it allows you to dispose of all the negative thought patterns that have been holding you back. It is a safe environment where you are with a group, you do the work yourself but there is a counsellor to steer you in the right direction and catch you if you fall. Big hugs.

kaz33 Wed 02-Apr-08 13:26:51

Hi Ally, I am very calm (mostly) - it is early days and I was very tired. However, most importantly I am calmer with the boys and have had some interactions with my parents that have not sent me into a tale spin.

I'm not giving details of what we did, because it sort of spoils it if you describe it all - but merely to say that there is some intense anger work, its quite spirtual with meditations and it works very much on the premise of giving you tools to deal with your issues and rebuild yourself in the manner that you wish.

claricebeansmum Wed 02-Apr-08 13:53:38

I have posted on here - a few threads ago - and return for support to go forward, not back. In no way have I suffered like many of you but I realise that perhaps my parents were toxic and actually still are. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt but then stuff happens and it just comes back...

Before Easter my mum came to stay for the night. She was OK although the number of times she promised something to the children that I & DH know she will not deliver is depressing - "Granny wants to take you here", "Granny wants to do that kit with you when you come to stay" etc They once took DC on holiday and when I called one evening to speak to the children my mum said that they were in the pool - great thinks I - that's nice of Dad to take them swimming (never took me swimming when I was a child) - oh no, Dad is here with a beer and the paper, the children have made some friends and their grandfather is in the pool with them! This is someone they have met in the last 24 hours...shock DH had to restrain me from going to pick them up. This is the first and last time my DC go away with them.

Anyway that is an aside...Mum says that she really wants to see us over Easter, will we go down to stay? I manage to give reasons that we cannot stay which are not "that it is too stressful", and so we agree that we'll go down to their house and my mother says she will cook lunch. Great. DH then asks me what are we going to do for the day - sitting around having lunch is not exactly an outing for the DC when there is absolutely nothing for them to do. So we look on map and in some books and come up with a couple of suggestions on some things we could all do for the afternoon. I had a sixth sense this was going to go badly so got DH to call my parents - I am a grown woman FGS and have to get DH to call my parents...

DH: We were thinking of something to do when we come down
Dad: What do you mean?
DH: Well can we go somewhere after lunch? What about X, Y or Z (Z funnily enough happened to be a stately home!! grinwink
Dad: Well no, not really. We don't want to go out
DH: Sitting around having lunch isn't much of a trip for the DC. It's a bit of a journey and thought we could all go out
Dad Why do we have to do something with the DC? Why does everything revolve around them?
DH: Because they come with us!
Dad: No, mother does not want to go out
DH: OK then, we'll leave it for now.
DH Hangs Up!

Was so proud of DH - my hero. He says they were crap parents and are rubbish grandparents - they like the idea of grandchildren but not actually the children themselves.

Anyway I feel this is a natural break and the longer we can leave it the better...but I am supposed to ve organising for me and my mother to take an elderly friend out to lunch. My mother has given me dates she can do but I would rather not talk to her at all but do not want to let down little old lady.

oneplusone Wed 02-Apr-08 13:56:15

Hi. TMSB, your last para of your last post was brilliant. I read it a few times and it is such good advice, especially when you said 'the erosion may be subtle but it will build up over time especially ir you are not exactly...aware of what is happening'. What you said is spot on, and applies to me and my relationship with my sisters.

I think I am only just beginning to realise the full extent of their toxic behaviour towards me which was never commented on/or stopped by my parents. I can't believe now how I have until recently been almost desperate to cling on to any relationship I can have with them and feeling like it would be such a loss if they were to cut me off. I am beginning to think now that I want nothing to do with them, that it is they who don't deserve me as a sister and if they cut me off it will most certainly be their loss and not mine. Their erosion of me has been subtle and not so subtle at times as well, but I have until now been completely blind and deaf to it all. I have so many memeories returning of past events where they have treated me so cruelly and callously, way over and above the usual and normal sibling arguments and rivalry, it is clear to me now they have no respect for me, nor any true feelings for me. And now I have no idea why i was so keen to have them in my life. I am so glad I wrote to them both stating a little bit of how i felt, but now i think i didn't go far enough and as usual i was trying to spare their feelings at the cost of my own. Well, my blinkers are well and truly off now and i think i am going to draft out a couple more emails and say exactly how i feel and this time i'm going to be completely true to myself and my feelings and leave them to worry about themselves. My youngest sister is 7.5 months pregnant so that's an added complication....I am very conscious of not wanting to upset her whilst she's pregnant. But then i keep thinking about how she has never shown me the same consideration, she was more than happy to judge and condemn me just after I had had DS and I feel a woman is even more vulnerable after she has had a baby than whilst she is pregnant. It's a tough one, will perhaps have to think a bit longer about it.

I just wanted to say a big, huge congratulations and pat on the back to everyone here, including myself! It has recently really struck me just how courageous, brave and resilient we all are just to be posting on this thread. To think we have all in various ways been effectively emotionally, mentally and psychologically 'disabled' by our parents and then sent out to make our own way into the world, to try and fit in, to work, to form relationships, but without the tools to be able to do this effectively and successfully. Worst of all to the outside world we have no actual apparent physical disability and so it appears that we are just inadequate or failures for not achieving as much as others, or struggling in some way. Whereas the truth is that in my eyes, to have got this far, to have DC's that we love and want to do our best by, to be willing to look honestly at ourselves and to want to improve is more of an achievement and success, considering what we went through as children, than anything else that could be possible. We should all be so proud of ourselves smile

Ok, ramble over, back to the housework (or maybe a cuppa and a biscuit!)

titchy Wed 02-Apr-08 13:57:00

Out of interest why couldn't you have had lunch with them then gone off to the stately hme yourselves?

claricebeansmum Wed 02-Apr-08 14:00:39

Titchy - we did think of that. DH did suggest that we could go up for an early-ish lunch and then we could go on for our outing but we were told we could not do that because mum was cooking a dish that had to be cooked for 7 hours and so we could not have lunch until 2 at the earliest.

oneplusone Wed 02-Apr-08 14:06:12

For those of you looking for a therapist, Alice Miller's list of questions to ask them first is on this page

Sakura Wed 02-Apr-08 14:39:52

Ally, thanks for that interesting post about food. I too always remember being starving as a child. In our case, the food was not really in the cupboards, but if it was my mother had monopoly of it even untill I left home.
I could make myself toast or grab snacks but I was never shown how to prepare myself nutritious food if there was no-one home. I always remember that my friend taught me how to make scrambled egg on toast, and I made it once at home. I told my mother my friend had taught me, and my mother said "No she didn`t , I taught you how to make that" hmm hmm shock
I said "No you didn`t.
Its interesting you say that you were served last, because I was always served last too. My mother did that on the premise that the younger you were the quicker you needed feeding. Ok, that could be true, but surely it would have been fairer to serve it out on a first come first serve basis?

Podmog Wed 02-Apr-08 14:41:18

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Sakura Wed 02-Apr-08 14:49:13

Hi Podmog,
I know how it feels when your kids are acting up- it sometimes feels so hard, doesn`t it. Just try to get through today- tomorrow will be a different day.

Sakura Wed 02-Apr-08 14:52:30

You must let us know how it goes tomorrow too.

matildax Wed 02-Apr-08 16:00:39

hello again,
went to drs this morning, i have decided to return to see the psychologist i had started to see, before i got pregnant with ds.
i think perhaps you are right, and i need specialist advice.
he did say that i could return at any time, and i would not have to go through the whole referral thing again.
i hope though that none of you will mind me posting on here occasionally though? xx

kaz33 Wed 02-Apr-08 16:16:24

Matilda - good to hear you are going to pursue this. You are welcome to post at any time, personally I have found this thread very useful and a great validation. I hope you continue to post.

gloriana Wed 02-Apr-08 23:15:06

Ally90 - thanks so much for your mammoth post - am so very impressed by your attention to detail grin

One + One - I feel as if we are in such a similar situation except that you are further along than me in your dealings with your sisters. I am the eldest and have been trying to be a good sister to my next sister down who is pg with her first child. She has been ignoring my phone calls and not saying that she will call me back (and not doing so) for the last week or so. This makes me feel needy and insecure and crave her company more but I am going to be strong and not call her at all. I also have the bonus of my youngest sister returning from abroad at the end of the month and she creates all sort of havoc in her wake - usually meaning that my parents' energy is all focussed on her. Would you mind me asking exactly what you said in your email to your sisters? Also, what is it that you felt you didn't say? I think I am going to go down a similar route (again difficult with sis who is pg!).

Matildax - well done for being so brave as to post on here about your grandfather. I can identify exactly how you feel as I have never had the courage to tell my friends exactly how toxic some of my family are but it seems so easy on here. I feel so sad for you as a small girl, who was so starved for love that abuse was tolerable because it came with love attached sad. Good luck with your trip to the pyschologist and you are very brave to taken positive action.

Kaz - I read through the web site about the Hoffmann process and think that I will go to the info evening in a couple of weeks. I'm worried that I may not be as committed to changing as you need to be as I find it IMPOSSIBLE to think of myself as lovable in any way. When I have had therapies in the past and been asked to be nice to myself, I just can not override my training from childhood that I don't matter. Do you think this would be a problem? Or can the HProcess still work?

One further thing that I wanted to ask all of you beautiful ladies for advice on was sex. I find it really difficult to let go and enjoy sex, finding it hard to believe that DH can find me attractive. Sometimes I don't even want him to touch me. I have never been abused but find it really hard to trust DH in a sexual context - could I be projecting feelings on to him about my father?

Sometimes it is all just too much - I am in recovery from a 2 day stay at mum and dad's with the DCs. I must remember never to do that again....

kaz33 Thu 03-Apr-08 10:38:49

Gloriana - is that the information evening in London on 14th April?? I might well be there as it is also a meet up for my group smile

Feeling unlovable is not a problem for the Hoffman process. What I would say is that 100% commitment is a good thing and strangely enough the more f***d you are it makes it easier to access your feelings. I went there with huge grief about my termination and that allowed me to give myself 100% to the process and really access my feelings.

Podmog Thu 03-Apr-08 12:37:27

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Podmog Thu 03-Apr-08 19:53:31

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smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 15:42:16

Today I feel like a total incompetant mother. I feel I am damaging ds every day I spend time with him. And yet I have also become pre-occupied almost to the point of obsession with my MIL.

The reason being in the light of the above, I am vulnerable to her constant swooping in to take charge of ds. Wisking him off to 'nannas' house where he has a lovely time. As opposed to having a bloody miserable time with his stressed out mummy.

I just cant fathom wether this is an issue which boils down to my own insecurities. As ally pointed out, I cant allow myself to be 'a good enough' mummy. I want the blue ribbon award for being best mummy there is, Falling anything short of this makes me just want to resign from the position all together as inner introject then holds up a big banner saying 'FAILED MISERABLY ON ALL COUNTS'.

So are my instincts/feelings with regard to my MIL correct? Is this smiling, overbearingly helpful woman my enemy or is my own worst enemy me? Is she toxic? or am I just imagining this stuff?

This isnt recent by the way, I have felt like this for a LOoooNG time now. But it is all coming to a head. And I just feel like if I dont write this stuff down I will burst.

I just feel like she is/has always tried to 'compete' with me with regard to my ds. So yes she is helpful, but helpful in order to meet her own needs. Which are to take charge (as much as she can) of my dc's.

I have watched this woman get into ds's face and repeat 'I love you' over and over again and then realise why ds first said those words to his nanna before his mummy.sad She had coached him to.

My issues with her are so hard to fathom because unlike sakura and oneplusone, she is 'NEVER' rude, in fact she is 'overly' nice. And 'Overly' nice to everyone. And so of course No-one ever falls out with her.

Although I feel a handful of times her mask has slipped with me. She is a very clever woman and I feel like I fell into her net so easily at first due to my vulnerability.

She makes herself 'so' available 'so' helpful.

... but this all IMO is with one goal in mind.... and that is to become and maintain herself as 'centre of ds's universe'.

It hurts that the 'ONLY' help I have is one which I am made to feel like I am being made to compete.

So do I feel like this because I am plagued by insecurities of being a 'good enough mother' to ds. And feelings that he perhaps doesnt love me because of those inadequacies?

Or do these feelings about MIL have foundation?

BTW I hate that I should need approval for my own feelings fgs.

I dont know how to explain what it is she does that makes me feel this way,but I will say that I had to reduce the no of days she had him when I was still working because it became unbearable. It felt like a constant power struggle where 'she' felt she was in charge.

It ended in a row between us where she said 'I feel I have to be his mummy cos your not around'! shock.
UHM hello Im not dead...Im working! Working to keep a roof over my family's head.
The row happened because Id said Id pick ds up early to take him swimming (look of disapointment), and when I turned up she'd put him down for a late sleep.

Every time i came to collect him from work I'd have a nigthmare getting him to come with me as a new game would have begun, or something to eat would have been produced just as mummy's car pulls up for pick up!.

Because of this I get very stressed about going back to work and having to feel like this all over again. As at least at the moment she has to tread carefully, because she knows Im in charge again.

Ds often says 'I want my nanna' sad when he is upset. This hurts me.

So maybe I am jelous? But I simply cant compete As at home, there has to be boundaries, and of course I cant constantly play with him like she does.

Ok now Im writing this I feel like a selfish cow because I think why shouldnt ds go to his nannas...have a good time and be a bit spoilt. Why does this get to me SO much????

But its not the odd occassion you understand. (Like you ally she's not satisfied with once a week even!)

In fact what she has cunningly done is reclaim her days that she had him while I was working. This stopped when I first went on mat leave, much to her disappointment. She had badgered me over this, but I made it clear it was important for 'me' to spend time with him before the baby came.

But since dd's arrival I've been more vulnerable especially as dds is/has been so difficult during the day (doesnt sleep)... and so have let him go back to going to hers twice a week. But he's also at nursery twice a week. So I feel I barely see him... and that it 'aint that great when I do.

I know claiming him back again for those two days will be like pulling him from the jaws of a rotweiller!. Especially whilst in the back of my mind recently I feel loke he has such a lousy time with me sad.

DH says she but is 'just' trying to help.

So maybe she is...so AIBU??

Sorry I couldnt face being hung drawn and quatered on a seperate thread.

You all know my background and I dont think I could possibly explain this to others.

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 15:48:28

Oh and to clarify- he is the only grandson so I do think she is replication her relationship with dh IYSWIM, hence the obsessiveness over him in particular.

Miggsie Fri 04-Apr-08 15:55:18

smithfield...how terrible for you.
Your MIL is a control freak, she is undermining you and making herself indispensable in your DS psyche.
(She also sounds like Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter, twisted and evil hiding behind a mask of self righteousness).

When I was down I felt I was a "bad" mother.
This is not true. A child needs their mother and will automatically love them. Unless you are physically abusing and harming DS you are the best mother, the one he wants and needs. He is being browbeaten by your MIL and is too young to see what is happening to him.
My grandmother did this to me, implying my parents were crap etc etc. At the time I was thrilled to get all the presents and things but now, looking back as an adult, I am horrified at what she did and that my parents did nothing, until much later, when I was a teenager and my mother absolutely flipped and told my dad she never wanted us children to see the evil witch ever again.
She sat down and went through all the terrible things Granny had done to my dad and her and other members of the family and then I agreed with her and I never saw Granny again. I still appalled at how she messed with my mind, and my brother is too.
I wish my mum had siad something sooner, and now, I recognise the personality type from 100 paces.

You are not harming your son, but she is, please distance yourself from her. you will have to ride out the "where is nanna" stuff but you will emerge stronger and your son will be happier for it in the long run.
Increase nursery if you can or find some other mechanism to keep him and your DD away from her unless you are around.
Talk to your husband about your MIL tactics, but she probably did something similar with him and he won't be able to see it. If you feel DH can't understand see if you can find couselling or someone you can trust and talk to.

Hope this helps.

You are a good mother as you have your son's mental health as your top priority. You are looking out for him.

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 16:51:42

Migsie- Thankyou so much for taking the time to read and reply to this.

I honestly feel like Im going crazy with this some days. Just to get some validation means so much.

You mention messing with his psyche? I often think this but wonder how it is possible. It is hard to know how she does this stuff and it is all so subtle. But surely calling nanna 'mummy' by mistake is not normal, nor his her telling me this is what he is doing . Albeit she tells me as though its funny. Not so to me.

This morning, it came to a head as he was crying as dh tried to get him ready and started saying I want my gaga (grandad). I flipped at dh and said...that child thinks he has two sets of parents, and its cos of your mother. But then Im unable to say 'How' this is happening.

The whole scenario has come through my own terrible issues with guilt. Guilt through having to work, guilt through putting him to nursery (fo two days) but his nanna (who he much prefers to be with above nursery) would have him those two days also.

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 16:56:02

sorry last bit of post is confusing- what Im trying to say is. I thought I was doing the right thing giving him up to the most loving environment I could whilst I worked.
And yet all I feel is diminished as a mother.

toomanystuffedbears Fri 04-Apr-08 19:42:46

Smithfield-
<<hugs>>
You know MIL is playing you, so you have to build your defense wall around your mind and keep it there, if you are going to continue to subject yourself to her nastiness. That sounded like an order-yikes, sorry blush.

Setting up your ds for heightened disappointment at pick-up time is mean to your ds, not just you--proof she is toxic. Using a child that way, with no regard for the child's feelings (she may see him as an object to manipulate rather than a person with feelings): angry She probably enjoys setting up strife for others and sits back for the entertainment. Nothing makes TMSB more angry than people like this. angry angry angry

Detached necessity=your defense wall. Meaning detached from mil; for ds:
You may consider retraining or untraining ds-debrief him after each exposure to mil.
"Oh, ds is crying again-what is it this time? Too much sugar?----(rolling eyes)Whatever."

"Oh, ds is crying again-going home time suddenly catch you by surprise, again?" (to ds knowingly: We know the drill by now, don't we?)

TMSB rant over blush

You may try to tell your son that he will be able to tell when you are about to arrive, because "nanna" will be getting out the treats, etc. You may be able to (at some point depending on his age) tell him about 'when it is time to go home, ...it is time to go home-and 'nanna' can save the treat for next time. In other words, you can train him with another -YOUR- perspective. And have a treat waiting for him at home once in a while. That can be done, btw, without one negative word about mil...talk about dealing with schedules and he knows he has to go home with 'mom' at such and such time - no reason to fuss every time. I'd be inclined to think the more fussing that goes on, the less he should be subjected to the circumstance, not more.

I'll bet you can coach him into knowing what a clock's hands look like when it is about time to go home. wink

I do feel for you though. And with the precious newborn too. Is MIL watching dd as well?

"...the most loving environment..." may not in fact be with your MIL if she is brainwashing your son to not want to go home, to not like you, to prefer her company to yours, generally creating a big problem in your family dynamic. Point this out to your DH. Things may not be as they seem or as one would assume: Nursery is not as bad as we think, and "nanna's" is not as good as we think.

Are you paying Mil for keeping ds? Maybe all this crap from her is her reaping her reward?
It may be difficult to figure out what her motivation is coming from if it is not NPD micromanaging control neediness.

Middle Sister was my 'only friend' for so long (my completely dismissing DH!!! shock) and she played that angle-nudging me to be a submissive, subordinate puppet. She probably figured she'd be my only 'help' with the baby as well. Well, let the world know I am doing just fine without her 'help' (dh is doing a whole lot more with this baby than when ds & dd1 were babies). smile

Take care
Hope you can get some sleep and be able to relax and try to stop labeling 'good mom'-'bad mom' wink.

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 20:34:13

Thanks TMSB- Im not doing too bad with dd at the moment just combining dd and ds at the same time..will take time and practice I guess. 3 year gap...and any advice from your good self would be welcomed smile

Glad your dh is helping...but you sound like such a dab hand at it all to me. Mine has been great. But as for this issue with his mum. He just doesnt see it. Makes me feel very alone.

I feel her gig (so to speak). Is the need to be needed. Absolute dependency is what she requires. As I said to DH, she has dealt with two dc's why not give me some tips on balancing the two,,,help me become independant in my new role as mum of two. But no...she sees another opportunity to swoop.
I do believe she wants to relive her happiest role (mother) through ds. I also think there was (hope/expectation) I'd have another boy, then her role reprisal would have been complete. But I do also believe she is just 'very' competetive 'a perfectionist' and wants to be NO 1. In hers sons and gc's world.

She 'used' to look after ds's cousin too and always slated SIL mothering skills to me and dh. I am ashamed to say I colluded in this and then saw the error of my ways. She no longer does this, but just because she doesnt state it any more doesnt mean she doesnt think it.

I did not think of the impact on ds...the way you described it. But I guess I just felt I was being paranoid.

I remember once she came here and as she was leaving in the car ds started to cry and so she stopped the car, got out and came back to hug him.
My own toxic mother (and as we know the toxic ones are experts in their own field) Said that when (my mother) was up looking after ds, mil rang her and wanted to meet up, which they did. But MIL made a point of abruptly leaving in the middle of the street which made ds howl and left my mum feeling very blush.

Tmsb- She has minded dd for a couple of hours for me to go to the drs...she cant do much more than this as dd is Bf. Which reminds me....when I said I would be B'fding dd she said 'Oh are you going to do all that again?'.

And no- we dont pay her- She would not accept payment. How could there be any strings attached if we did?

Currently I do feel that should I go back to work...she will have no childcare duties. Feel guilt for this over the extra expense it will incur and I dare say ds will not be 'as' happy as with nanna.
Gosh blush sorry its like the floodgates are open on this one now.

ally90 Fri 04-Apr-08 21:08:29

Smithfield - ((((hugs))))

Whatever you feel is okay.

Remember, no 1 rule, we are attracted to people like us, people who had a similar upbringing, remind us of someone else in our life. I don't think you are imagining things, too many things you have said ring loud ding dong bells for me! I feel there is some emotional blackmailing going on there, trying to make you feel bad esp about working. There really is no need for that. Or repeating 'I love you' over and over to ds until he says it to her first WTF?! Sorry...was being calm up til then...

I think you need to reconsider your options. Yes ds may prefer being at grandmas but if he is, she needs to play by your rules. From the sounds of her (oh boy does she sound like my mother!!) she may not take well to these boundries. And if she doesn't...GOTCHA! Toxic parent. If I was looking after my grandchild (if I have any or see them!) I would abide by dd/ds rules...if I could not, I would refuse to look after gc...as afterall what the parent wants is what they get. You cannot give a child two sets of rules, it leads to all sorts of confusion.

So for now, gather your thoughts (I know, they will be all over the shop at the moment!) and think 'what do I want my mil to do?' agree this with dh. Then get dh if neccessary to tell mil, maybe with you nodding at side if you feel okay with that, to present a united front. You cannot have two sets of parents.

Doing this will hopefully get dh on your side. And will hopefully get him to realise that his mother is not that keen on boundries...men generally work by logic not emotion...so if he makes reasonable requests known and they are disregarded...hopefully the penny will drop

I really don't think you are imagining things...my therapist says 'when someone is always nice, I wonder how their anger will come out?'. I think your mil is letting her anger out by getting ds to say 'I love you' first to her...and making you feel guilty about work etc...

Come back on to batter out your thoughts here if you need to before chatting to dh...write out what you may say...using 'i feel' 'I would like' 'when mil does x y z' statements...all calmly (ha ha!).

Also could you specify what makes your ds miserable/stressed? And then tell me the things you do that work for you both? I think your parental stick is beating you up again...

And remember...bringing up chidren is not one whole elephant...its just the trunk/foot/toenail...baby steps, one bit at a time...pick out one thing you do with ds that you don't like...(I critisise dd in front of other people shock and she knows sad) and concentrate for 2 weeks on NOT doing it. And gradually it becomes habit...just one bit at a time, not all at once. So I'm not going to critisise dd now in front of her for 2 weeks (will do my best) what will you do?

Also remember we teach children by NOT being perfect, that would do nothing but make them feel like they could never achieve anything. By us being imperfect it lets them know that they dont' have to be perfect to be okay as people and that mistakes are there to be acknowledged and apologised for and to learn from...just by making mistakes and trying to learn from them you are setting him a good example You are GOOD ENOUGH.

And I'm off now...to finish my glass of wine...yep I've had one already hence its a bit rambly tonight!

Hi TMSB...hope you are doing well

maisemor Fri 04-Apr-08 21:45:14

Smithfield, it does sound like an unhealthy relationship your son has with his nana.

I felt very guilty as well having to go to work and sending my children to nursery full time (luckily I never had the "luxury" hmmof being able to use grandparents), and not being a good enough parent when I was finally with them.

I realised that I came from a family which choses to only see the negative things in any given situation. Once I realised that I was just as negative as them I decided I wanted to be more positive and I started my own game of how many negatives have you turned in to a positive today.

For example when you send your son to nursery, focus on all the good things about it, and only talk about that (unless they are amazingly wrong and action needs to be taken). His friends, all the things he gets to do down there that he can't do at home, like waterplay, playing group games with his friends, make it his and your time when you walk down there with him playing little games of "how many yellow cars do you see" or the like. Focus on the fact that it will make him more sociable, and it will be easier for him to adapt to going to school.

It was so unnatural for me to begin with, and I still have to think about it, so I don't fall in to the negative trap again.

If you just can't find anything positive to say about your son going to your mother in law, I would not recommend you sending him to her that often.

Also if it is making you this miserable sending him over there, then it can't be good for you or your son.

But please remember that no matter what your son loves you.

Also whenever I tell my children of they call on their daddy because "daddy, mummy is being mean" and when daddy tells them of they call on me because "mummy, daddy is being mean". They will always call on the person who they think is going to give them what they want or let them do what they want to do.

(Please remember I am not very good with words, and nothing I write is meant to cause any offence to anybody, I am merely trying to help.smile)

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 22:37:12

ally- I remember thinking that advice was good when you wrote it before...then I forgot to use it hmm.

Would like to stop snapping at ds when he stresses me out. He can be very anxious and very 'wilful'and constantly whining atm.... but that's a 3 year old for you and Id rather he have a mind of his own of course (uhm perhaps without the whinin bit).

Thats definately what he doesnt like...when mummy gets cross. A flurry of 'Im sorry mummy....normally enuses'

Hmmm the rest I guess is more me imposing my thoughts ( you clever gal ally). I.e Im not playing with him enough, too much cbeebies, too much shrek, too much crap food etc.

I know I get cross because my stress levels are sky high and, the fact is 'He' doesnt stress me out (realisation today, whilst trying to get two dcs into the registry office in town.). 'I' stress me out. I sweat the small stuff.

Because Does it really matter that dd is crying in the pram atm....? Or that ds asks for a poo in the registry office at the very same time?blush Not unless 'I' think of it as insurmountably stressful.

I do need to step back instead and lighten up.... because of course dd 'will' settle. And provided ds can hold it (for 5 mor mins) we 'will' get to the loo....and if he doesnt?? He will get to hear all about it on his 18th.

So if I can try and relax a bit more about going back to being a mum with large learning curve ahead (bit thats stressing me I think) I will definately cut down on my snappiness/crossness with ds.

Will try.

With regard to the boundaries for mil. Tis so subtle ally not sure how I could word it. I think the boundaries have to be me cutting time with nanna down. I also desperately need to get a social network in place. For my own sake but also for ds. Because deep down I know all the above is par for the course and normal. would help to have some RL mums to remind myself of this fact.

Maisemor- Great post. I do have to check in on my negativity. You are absolutely spot on with this. Very negative parents. Helps to remind myself of this fact.

I do try and see the positives of ds's relationship/spending time with nanna usually...I think hmm. Then... she will do something and I will dwell on it and get all angry.
I need REALLY strong boundaries with her but I feel I am a bit worn down with it all atm. And dont have the strength. {lus questioning myself.

With nursery, Yes I do see some positives but I do struggle with it, but again Im not sure how much I impose my own feelings about nursery onto ds. (I hated nursery as a child). Ds is not and never has been a huge fan so it makes it hard. But he is getting older so needs the social aspect and dd is likley to be a different child altogether.
Yes he does have some good friends and they shout bye bye to him through the window...ahhhh
Also.... I do like the freedom from MIL those two days he has at nursery have always given me. I walk him there...no hastle...no tension.... AND
'they' get him ready for me when I collect him (yay).

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 22:43:50

ps- very jelous of the wine ally...get do with a big fat glass of wine. mmmmm

Btw 'would' a 'healthy' relationship with a GP look like??? (not a sarcastic question btw)

smithfield Fri 04-Apr-08 22:45:22

should say- could do with a big fat glass of wine!

Will stop posting now!

Danae Sat 05-Apr-08 12:36:48

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Danae Sat 05-Apr-08 12:50:36

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smithfield Sat 05-Apr-08 13:49:24

Danae- 'i am usually most stressed when i'm in public and I'm convinced that everyone is looking at me and thinking what a crap mother I am'

Yep spot on- and I guess it doesnt help that I pay such little attention to my appearance (a whole other issue)- That I also look the part of a beleagered stressed out mother. And yes Imagine everyone is looking at me and thinking just that.

I was also stunned by your para- re your father- Exactly same here I think. And yes I have the issues with sex. Still do.

My father didnt comment on my body, but I remember him staring at me. It used to make me feel so uncomfortable (creeped out) and I never understood (at the time) what or why he was staring or really connected with those feelings of creepy discomfort IYKWIM. I'd smile and he looked through me.

Its only now I realise what it was about and it makes me shiver. I could never have admitted this to myself before now but I know that (even though only in his mind) boundaries were crossed.
He never allowed me to date either and once when he found a couple of male friends alone with me at our house, he went ballistic and hit me. I had to go to work with him after that every weekend so as not to be out of his sight. I was 15!

At 18 I was sat in the dark with an ex-boyfriend. Nothing was happening. We were just talking. There was a party at our house and we had gone to my bedroom to talK.
The door quietly opened and suddenly the light went on, and there was my dad just looking in at us. (ugh angry)

BTW have you considered writing as a profession. I am always spellbound by what you write. You are quite a talent.

oneplusone Sat 05-Apr-08 14:41:32

Gosh this thread moves so fast I find it almost impossible to keep up.

Gloriana, i wanted to reply to you. It does seem as if we are in a very similar situation with regard to our sisters. I wrote to them both a while ago telling them how I felt when we were growing up ie that I felt very lonely, hurt at being always left out of things and angry at the way i was abused by my dad. I also pointed out to them that we were all treated very differently by our parents and that is something they need to be fully aware of.

The thing is though, although I only sent those emails a few weeks ago, I have over the last few days come to the realisation that my sisters in fact hate me. This is the only explanation that fits all their behaviour towards me over the years. But they hate me only because they have subtly been trained to do so by my parents and also not so subtly at times especially by my dad. I realise now that somewhere inside my head i have known this all along but i have been unable/unwilling to face it; to allow this painful truth into my consciousness. The situation is a bit confused however as I can see that although my sisters have been trained/brainwashed into hating/disliking me by my parents, at the same time I am sure they have some genuine feelings of affection for me as I have always tried to be a good big sister to them and over the years I have been very generous with birthday presents (but they have not been the same towards me in return), I have always helped them and guided them when they have come to me for advice or been upset about something and in general, apart from the usual, normal, typical sibling arguments, I have treated them caringly and kindly. So I'm sure they are confused by my actions towards them and the contradictory image of me portrayed by my parents. And their confusion shows in their behaviour towards me which at times seems to be caring and at other times very hurtful and callous.

I can see that instead of fostering a close and loving relationship and bond between me and my sisters, my parents actively tried to divide us and drive a wedge between us and sadly they have succeeded. We had no chance against my parents really as we of course were only children when all this manipulation was going on and we were totally unaware of how we were all being used and exploited by our parents. I realise it was totally and absolutely in my parents interests to create a divide between me and my sisters and to prevent us from talking honestly. As if i had been able to talk to my sisters about how i really felt when we were children, my parents' 'game' would have been over. They would have been exposed for what they really were and they would no longer have been able to 'use' me to act out their own issues on from their own childhoods. And as Alice Miller says, if parents have not dealt with and resolved their own childhood issues, when they become parents they are compelled, unconsciously, to use their own children to act out their own childhood issues. And unfortunately it is the eldest child who usually bears the brunt of all this.

I'm sorry if i'm not explaining myself very well, it's quite a difficult concept to explain, Alice Miller does it much better than i can, although I have only really truly understood what she is saying by experiencing it myself.

Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that after a lifetime of subtle/subliminal brainwashing by my parents to see me as the bad, nasty, rude, snappy, ungrateful, bratty child/sibling, my sisters are very unlikely to ever see me for who i really am, however much my actions and behaviour towards them belies what my parents have urged them to think and believe about me. So my only real option, for the sake of my own health and well-being is to let them go. If ever they gain some insight into themselves, their behaviour and our family and parents' behavior then i believe they will contact me themselves out of their own free will and we will be able to have a real relationship, the sort of relationship we should have had but which was denied to us by our parents who were compelled to use all of us for their own ends, albeit unconsciously.

It's strange as although it is very sad to come to this realisation, it has also brought me a sense of relief and release. Like i said i think somewhere inside my head i have known this all along but i was fighting against it as i didn't want to believe it was the truth. But i have finally been able to face up to the truth and as Alice Miller says, the truth will set you free, and I do indeed feel a sense of liberation, sad and painful though it is at the same time.

Smithfield, I am so sorry to hear of what you're going through. I have read through what the others have said and pretty much agree with all the advice given. Most of all i would say to you to trust your instincts on this matter. If what your MIL is doing doesn't feel right to you then know in your heart that it is not right. From what you have said she does seem to be using your son as a pawn to subtly manipulate and undermine you. Although my MIL did not use this particular tactic, she also was very subtle in the ways she used to upset and undermine me and my confidence making it very hard to explain to others especially DH.

As regards how to deal with it, I personally would first of all tell your DH how you feel and do your best to explain her behaviour to him (this can be hard i know but try) and, with his backing and approval, i would speak directly to MIL about her behaviour. Even if she pretends not to know what you are talking about, she will know her game is up and chances are she will stop her behaviour. This approach may not be an option for you, but this is how i dealt with my MIL and it has been effective for me. But the absolute key for me was to get DH onside, once my MIL knew DH was on my side, she caved in as she knows that if she continued her behaviour I would have made DH choose between her and me. I know i posted about all this a while ago (although i think i actually started another thread about it, will try to post you a link) and i felt it was a crunch point for my and DH's relationship. I would have called it a day on our marriage if he hadn't backed me up against his mother.

The only other option i can think of for you is to drastically cut down on the time you allow your DS to spend with your MIL. However much he might enjoy spending time with her as compared to nursery, you must do what is best for him and to my mind, spending more time at nursery is better then spending time with your MIL who is heartlessly using him and manipulating and taking advantage of his innocence to undermine and hurt you, his mummy. If you are unhappy this will also impact on both your DC's, so overall, i think you would be far better of sending him to nursery more.

DH and I spend a fortune on nursery and nannies but it is worth every penny as it means we are not dependent in any way on any family member for childcare/babysitting.

Someone posted a while ago about which Alice Miller book to read first, i would recommend 'The Truth Will Set You Free' simply because it is a lot easier to read than her other books. Also her most famous book 'The Drama of The Gifted Child' although i had to read that about 5 times over the course of a year before i felt i really understood it.

Sorry for the long post, as usual, once i start i can't stop!

oneplusone Sat 05-Apr-08 14:54:25

Danae and Smithfield, just wanted to add my problems with sex, which exactly mirror your own. I was really inhibited and just thought the whole thing was 'wrong' really. And like you i also realise it was a result of my dad's behaviour. He used to read my diary as a teenager and then openly mock and humiliate me about things i had written in there such as having a crush on a boy etc. I think my dad had a real problem about me growing up and no longer being a child. I remember pretty much the worst indidence of abuse by him, although not sexual abuse, was soon after I had had my first period and i think now there was a connection between the particular abusive incident and me starting my periods (although of course i had no idea about this at the time). He called me some absolutely vile and shocking names and it was all completely and utterly unjustified. I think i was about 11 and really had only just discovered 'boys' and certainly didn't have a boyfriend nor had i even so much as touched let alone kissed a boy but in his twisted, psychotic mind i must have been up to all sorts hence the disgusting name calling. I think i have some sort of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of that incident, i can remember it so clearly but i find it impossible to actually talk about it and i can't even post the details on here, it is just too painful and i don't feel ready....i don't know if i ever will. I feel a sense of shame about the whole incident and yet i know it was all him and not me.

sorry, am rambling again.

oneplusone Sat 05-Apr-08 15:00:51

sorry, me again, i just wanted to say that a really positive thing that has happened since i have been going through this process and i suppose unblocking and releasing a lot of suppressed feelings is that sex has improved no end! I feel so much less inhibited these days, in fact not inhibited at all, and I just enjoy it so much more, it is amazing. I am sure it is connected with this whole process somehow, maybe i am allowing myself to feel things more, not just emotionally but physically too.

matildax Sat 05-Apr-08 15:27:45

hello again all,

smithfield, i was saddened and shocked when i read your post about you mil, and the relationship she has with your ds, remember, your the mum, and nothing anyone says, or does can ever change that, and for what its worth you sound like a lovely mum.smile please trust your instincts.

today i am having a ok day, i feel strangley calm, and the little ones are playing happily,
i have the number to ring my psychologist on monday and i feel i am ready to return now.

danae, i was wondering about deleting those two messages, cos i do feel quite upset by it, and would like it removed how do i do that??

my relationship with sex is well fucked up!!! dp is the only man i have ever slept with in a sober and straight mind,but i suppose considering the circumstances it isnt really surprising... to be honest i would much rather have a nice cup of tea!!!!! lol winkgrin

oneplusone, i have looked on alice miller site, and am going to try to get a couple of her books from the library. think they could really help me.

to everyone else, i hope you are all ok, and enjoying your weekend....

i wonder if i will be this calm by the end of the two weeks holiday!!!!!
bye for now xx

matildax Sat 05-Apr-08 15:41:34

danae, i have reread your post, and can totally relate to your disastrous relationships in your past,
i too felt/feel totally inadequate, and have slept with many men, because i felt that i "had to", so i know exactly how you feel.
i used to detach myself, so to speak from what was happening,

i sometimes dont think i felt anything at all, as if it wasnt really me, and i was watching this happen to someone else.
does that make sense?

sorry you are feeling low, i hope you are feeling better soon. xx

Danae Sat 05-Apr-08 15:46:34

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Danae Sat 05-Apr-08 15:56:16

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Miggsie Sat 05-Apr-08 16:00:23

smithfield: I too get guilt over sending DD to nursery.
The thing is, she enjoys it!
She is very social, loves the communal stories and games. She has lots of friends who regularly visit on weekends and she gets to go to lots of parties.
She also likes spending time with me but I too have days when I think I'm crap and compare myself to other mothers who are modelling the eiffel tower out of meccano and things but my DH is terribly supportive and says "you are not crap, you love her and support her" and is very positive even when I'm beating myself up mentally.

I took DD over to her friend last weekend and we could barely prise them apart 5 hours later, she did not want to come home she was having so much fun! This is a friend she met through nursery and it is lovely to see her so happy.
I do not HAVE to work, but if I didn't I would go mad, I know I could not spend all day with a 4 year old. This is why some people are nursery nurses and I run an IT department.
Your MIL is playing on this guilt as she is obviously a deeply disturbed person who wants someone who is dependent on her whom she can dominate. A 3 year old is perfect as he does not have the critical faculties to spot her for what she is.
You have spotted it, and I also bet she picked on DS rather than DD because girls are more independent whereas boys will cling to a female adult more than girls will.
Help your DS to have a normal happy relationship with other children and limit his nanna time. 3 years old is the prime time for developing the first real friendship, encourage this, that will make you a super mum as you are helping him build social skills that will last all his life.
Soon he will be asking to play with a friend, not his nanna. Boys need boys to run around with and do 3 year old stuff.

matildax Sat 05-Apr-08 16:46:08

thanks danae, i will try it now,

i saw my therapist last about 2 years ago, before i got pg with ds, and if i am honest i dont think i was ready/capable of, discussing anything back then, and i think this was quite frustrating for him, as it was a case of one step forward... 10 steps back!!
plus i am now acutely aware of how dysfunctional my family are, and now i feel different, and i suppose stronger, and ready to deal with it all.

i will let you know how i get on xx

oneplusone Sat 05-Apr-08 16:46:22

Danae as usual you are spot on. I do absolutely think my parents are both replicating/re-enacting their own childhood dysfunctional family relationships using me. I have posted about this before in relation to my mother. To put it very simplistically I am sure she has buried feelings about being left out of things by her brothers and sisters from when she was a child (they still leave her out of things to this day and i am sure their behaviour as adults is simply a continuation of their childhood behaviour patterns). My mother therefore made sure that instead of her always being the one who was left out, that I was always left out whilst she and my two sisters always did things together.

I don't think my dad was particularly popular with his brothers and sisters, again a childhood pattern that is also present today (he has fallen out and doesn't speak to any of his siblings apart from one sister who he adores and fawns over - perhaps my youngest sister is that sister in his eyes as he fawns over my youngest sister in exactly the same way) and I'm sure he 'cast' me in the role of the unpopular and unlikeable sibling, just as he was when he was a child.

So, it has turned out exactly as Alice Miller says, unless our parents resolve their own childhood issues, it is absolutely inevitable they will unconsciously act those issues out on us, their own children.

It is the 'unconscious' part of what A.M. says that I find hard to deal with. As, if someone is acting unconsciously how can you blame them and hate them for their behaviour? I suppose though, i am moving more and more away from hating my parents and towards just feeling indifferent towards them. I have 'felt' and released so much of my anger and hatred towards them throughout this process.

oneplusone Sat 05-Apr-08 16:51:50

matildax, you are right in that YOU have to be ready to deal with this stuff and until you are no therapist can really help you and when you are ready you can almost work things out for yourself with your therapist simply listening and supporting you. As Alice Miller puts it the therapist is an enlightened witness ie one who can really hear what you are saying and who truly understands the nature and effects of dysfunctional family relationships.

I'm glad you are going to get hold of some of AM's books, I started off buying one and now I think I have them all!

oneplusone Sat 05-Apr-08 16:54:43

Danae, my dad also never praised me to my face about work/study achievments etc, usually he denigrated or stayed silent about anything i did, but i would also find out that he used to show off about me to all and sundry. What utter psychos they are!

gloriana Sat 05-Apr-08 19:08:21

Danae - 'I don't know why now and what i can do to resolve all that grief. It just sloshes around uselessly'

Grief is a very powerful healing process and I can only think that for you to come to some sort of resolution about 'young Danae' then you will have to let it take it's course ie sadness, anger and over time, acceptance. I think it's fantastic that you have this sort of insight into your behaviour as a young woman and surely the fact that you have recognised these actions/feelings as the result of the programming of your parents (both dad with his inappropriateness and mum with her version of femininity) will help you to accept that young Danae didn't know any of this but you now do. You are also equipped with the tools to deal with this grief and take it to it's conclusion.

You have made me really think about my relationship with my own father as I also feel uncomfortable and 'well icky' - love that grin - about sex. I remember being obsessed with the fact that my dad was going to abuse me and would be on tenterhooks every time I was left alone with him. He never did but I wonder why this was constantly in my head. He also HATED it when I started my periods and if there was ever any evidence of it in our house, he would flip. Will have to think on this some more. He also has a pathological mistrust of women (from his own childhood) and although has been very proud of my achievements, I think I must have sensed the fact that his beloved little girl had turned into one of those deceitful women.

With my mother, I think she deliberately fostered a negative view of my body and myself. I can completely relate to the description: 'I had no self, no boundaries, I had never been allowed to exercise choice in anything, not the clothes I wore, the food I ate, nothing, I was just absence, invisible, a nothingness' (thank you again Danae!). She would always want to be with me if I tried bras on etc and made me feel ridiculous if I asked for privacy. I was also programmed to give men whatever they wanted - I remember as a teenager a sixty yr old man buying me a pint of cider in the pub and me giving him a snog for his trouble. Was I worth that little that he could be intimate with me for a pint?

One+One - after thinking about my relationship with my sisters I'm drawn back to something that my therapist pointed out to me about how my parents (my mother particularly) raised me above my siblings so that I was almost a semi-parent to them. I allowed this because I got power over them, and my mum then managed to project the rebelling against authority on to me. My sisters must have felt that by hating me, they were striking out against mum and dad. This then allowed mum to share an almost sisterly relationship with them at the expense of me.

My middle sister was always the one that 'was' my mum - she was born blonde for a start which helped and then she took on the role of my mother. She would choose dad's ties for him in the morning and even now, she still buys dad's Xmas and Bday presents from him to mum. I think I must have been cast in the role of my dad - I was always told that I was just like him by my mother. Maybe this is why I'm confused about what my role is wink

Thank you for the recommendations on Alice Miller. I will be heading for Amazon in a sec!

Smithfield - I was really shocked to hear about your DS and MIL. I would just echo what has been said on here already: if you are not happy with your childcare in any way, you must change it. Even if it is MIL. It is bad for you to have this to worry about and therefore your DS will pick up that mummy is not happy. I have had nannies that I've not been happy with (whilst I was working) and a large portion of my time and energy was devoted to whether I was deranged or whether it was her. This meant my work suffered and I suffered and I was so much happier when I took action (fired the nanny). I hope everything works out for you.

smithfield Sat 05-Apr-08 20:41:24

Gloriana- 'He also HATED it when I started my periods and if there was ever any evidence of it in our house, he would flip'

My goodness there seems to be a theme here.

Yes my mum had to have 'words' with me about leaving 'evidence' that I'd started my periods...., because 'It upsets your father' hmm

Thanks all of you for your support re situation with MIL. I have been feeling unease about this for so long and so much so that as I said, I did take action a while back by reducing ds's time from 4 days to 2.

I did think that I would not have to worry about it art all whilst on mat leave but as I say, whilst vulnerable she has engineered things to have those two days back. This is how she manipulates.

Oneplusone I dont think the manipulation/undermining is aimed at me, the fact she does manipulate/undermine me is a by product of her deep seated need to have control over ds (you are spot on with this Migsie thankyou).

Her manipulation of me is dressed up as niceness. So I fell into the trap in the first place because I had a void to be filled. We all know about that.

She offered to take ds 4 days and then before I knew it ds was at a nursery for 1 day but close to where 'she' lived and she took to ringing me on that day each week without fail saying 'shall 'I' pick him up for you??'.

And on the days she did have him she would say ' Now dont you worry about breakfast 'I' will give him breakfast.

A small thing, a kind gesture. At first I thought great. Then one day when I happened to mention 'in passing' stopping ds's milk in the mornings, she snapped at me about it.

At that point I realised she thought 'she' was in charge not me.

So I began saying 'no' to things. Taking back control. Began picking him up from nursery, whatever time it was. began giving him his breakfast at home. (Although I then discovered she was giving him a second breakfast with her.)

Then came the swimming incident and that was enough for me to find an alternative nursery close to home, for two days a week instead of one. I also arranged to work from home one day a week, so she had him only two.

SInce going on mat leave and having ds back with me I made sure we had activities set up so she couldnt intrude/insist on having him. Although she still tried her damndest!

What makes me really uncomfortable is when ds says something like 'mummy I want to sit on your lap' and she immediately says 'come here and sit on nannas lap' But the look of disapointment when he comes to me. THAT makes me feel so uncomfortable.

Because this is NOT a competition and it is unfair to make me or ds feel it is.

She is the mother of two boys and I feel this making them dependant on her is a definate theme. It works more on dh's brother though I think. And as I met Dh overseas I always wonder if subconciously he did feel smothered by her.

I dont think she is a particularly nasty person. Just wanting to fulfil a need in her through my ds, and not caring wether that need has a cost to 'my' relationship with ds.

Sorry really need to stop banging on about this now...but does help to get thoughts out.

Sakura Sun 06-Apr-08 06:41:30

SMithfield,
Your long post about your MIL just makes me remember how it was for me. Mine is also not openly rude, I mean she does some things that are shocking when you analyse them and write them down on here (like snatching DD away from me at the birth) BUT everything is always done with a beautiful smile on her face. I really thought I had the problem, and that I was the control freak, but it wasn`T me, it was her. THis is also your situation.
First of all, its your baby, not your MILs. Secondly, your feelings must be validated; your feelings are your feelings- if she is so dense or thick or lacking in empathy that she can`t tell when a mother is feeling uncomfortable about someone whisking off their own child, then she needs a reality check. THirdly, all this aside, it is totally normal, as his mother, to feel protective- when our babies are young I believe its biological for us to become wary of people who are obviously not on our side. Jealous, toxic MILs are obviously not on our side and our bodies and minds know this- you have just had a baby to so you are hyper-sensitive to these dangerous people. I think dangerous is an appropriate word because I nearly lost my mind because of my MIL`s snidey behavior- it was so subtle and her absolute hosility towards me was completely hidden under a veneer of "kindness". But she wasn`T kind, she was hostile and jealous and became suffocatingly helpful to the point that I was ready to walk out of my marriage by running away with DD back to my own country.
Since standing up to her, mine and DH`s relationship has gone from strengh to strengh. Her drip drip of poison is not in the background anymore and even DH can feel it.
So I think you are well within your rights to not let your DS visit nana if it makes you uncomfortable. SO what if you are accused of being protective. You don`T need anyone`s approval, least of all hers, and you don`T need to justify your decisions regarding your children to anyone. You have made a decision. End of. Your son doesn`t need to be whisked away to grandmas, or if he does, it needs to be at times set by you, that are convenient for you etc etc. These idiots needs BOUNDARIES.
What I can`T stand abotu your MIL and mine is that she honestly believes that she and you are equal with regard to your children. Mine (when I used to see her regularly) was honestly suprised when my baby quite clearly wanted her mother, rather than her hmm.

EVen the words you use "whisk away" "swoop" aptly describe my own MIL, and the fact she needs total dependance. They have a sad need to be needed, which is generally a human need and in mosty cases fine, but for these women - they define themselves by being indidpensable. And the truth is they are very dispensible and even more so when they behave like this. AFter gettin my MIL to butt out, the fog lifted, life seemed easier and brighter, and I haven`T looked back smile

Sakura Sun 06-Apr-08 06:56:26

Sorry, (skimming today, as usual- we are househunting in an hour smile)
Smithfield, interesting that you say you met your DH overseas. Mine was studying in the UK when I met&#12288; him and I was studying for my masters. I wonder if he asked me to marry him because I represented a kind of freedom to him, and possibly a buffer between him and his stifling Japanese family.
I think he`s secretly happy that he can "blame" his foreign wife when I say I won`t comply with all the family duties or hierarchies. These days I sometimes offer to be with his family, because I don`T feel constrained anymore, and DH says that he`D prefer to spend that time with DD and me, just the three of us. This makes me smile inside because when I arrived here, his whole life was wrapped up in meeting his parents expectations and chasing up after the social engagements that they would arrange.
I think its absolutely true what you say about feeling that our MILS filled the gap in a way, the motherly figure that was lacking, but we`Ve started to move on now. We`re doing the hard work on our characters, to improve ourselves, and we`Ve realised that our MILS are toxic. Its perfectly fine to acknowledge that we were wrong about them, completely mistaken, and that we can now take back the control and power we gave to them through a mistaken sense of love or obligation.

Sakura Sun 06-Apr-08 07:11:39

Danae, your posts were fascintating as usual. Thank you for the description of how you felt as a 19 year old, kind of hollowed out by your mother. Mine did pretty much the same, but luckily for me (I suppose) she worked very full-time. When I saw her she was incredibly abusive. AS I said previously, I think she despised me because I couldn`T meet her needs- her need to be cared for by a motherly figure. Not only could I not meet her needs when she was stressed and tired from work, but on top of that, I had my own needs- I needed nurturance and patience and love and guidance. This was intolerable to her, and she despised me for it...BUT... because she worked so much, although I was neglected too, I had this kind of space to become someone. A very melancholic, serious child, until I became a teenager and started drinking to hide the pain. So Danae, your experience makes me feel so, I don`t know, sad, I suppose- to be as insightful as you are after all you`Ve gone through is because you have been given a gift, really, of wisdom. And if you could read your own posts on here you would see that you are not a "nothing" person, but that you are full of insight and wisdom and intelligence that make you the person you are. THat is the same for everyone who posts, I think. You can really sense the individual personality of each person who contributes--so the bastards haven`t won, have they?! They haven`t beaten us yet..

Danae Sun 06-Apr-08 10:33:22

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oneplusone Sun 06-Apr-08 13:45:17

Hi, all, haven't read the recent posts, have been playing out in the snow with the DC's grin. Will try and catch up later, DC's are now off for 2 weeks hols, have a feeling I won't get a minute to read/post at all for a while shock

Just wanted to get some thoughts out re my sisters. As with all my other 'realisations', now that i have realised that my sisters are in fact as toxic to me as my parents, I can't beleive I just couldn't see it before. I kept thinking i would be devastated if I didn't have some sort of contact with them and that my DC's would miss out hugely by not knowing their cousins/aunties and that I would also miss out on something by not having a relationship with my sisters.

But I realise now that although my DC's will miss out on their cousins/aunties, having a happy and healthy mummy will more than make up for that loss.

I can see now that I have always felt slightly uncomfortable being around my sisters in that they made me feel uncomfortable. I always felt they looked down on me, that they were laughing at me inside, that they were mocking me, that they had no respect for and basically disliked me. Unfortunately I realise they don't even know me. The person they think they know is the person I had to become in order to survive my childhood. I had to become a person who acted tough, who acted like she didn't care that her parents abused/neglected/mistreated her, who wore a mask of anger and belligerence to hide the pain and lonliness inside and that is the person they know. Probably sometimes the real me showed through in my behaviour towards them but this wasn't enough to enable them to see through the mask i wore coupled with my parents's portrayal of me as the one they should all hate and dislike. Of course my parents never accepted any blame/responsibility for the way they made me behave due to their abuse/neglect and left all the fault to lie with me and so that is how my sisters saw me, as totally to blame, whilst my parents were the innocent victims with the misfortune to have an ungrateful brat for a daughter. I was never allowed to talk about my parents' abuse and so my sisters just thought I simply was an angry, snappy person, I'm sure it never crossed their minds that I might have a very good reason for acting the way i did. I can't blame them for that, we were all only children and stood no chance against the lies and manipulation of our parents.

I do now feel completely at ease with the fact that I have to let go of my sisters as being around them is not healthy for me and I feel no sense of loss or regret, they never were the sisters I wanted or hoped for, they were simply my parents in another form. The feeling I always had as a child of always feeling like the odd one out, not part of or belonging to the family makes so much sense, I never was and never will be part of that family, my parents and sisters are all one and the same person and I am entirely seperate from them. And whilst once I felt very upset and sad at this knowledge, I now feel so glad that I am seperate, that I can see them for what they are and see myself for who I really am and because of that ensure that my DC's have a very different childhood to my own.

My counsellor said that all this time spent on pondering and reading and processing all these thoughts and emotions right now were an investment into mine and my DC's and DH's future and I think she is so right. If I wasn't doing all this now I dread to think how i might have gone on to treat my DC's as time went on. There has been such a change already especially in my relationship with DD which I have to confess was pretty awful not so long ago. The terrible feelings of rage i used to have towards her have all but disappeared, I have so much more empathy, compassion and feeling towards her and I know she feels the difference too although of course she has no idea what is behind the change in our relationship.

It is as if, to use a phrase I used in a previous post, the internal reality of my relationship with her now matches the external picture ie before i used to have to 'pretend' a lot with her, almost to the point where i was actually pretending to love her when i didn't always feel it inside. But now i'm not pretending, i do feel it inside and that alone has made this whole painful journey worthwhile.

I feel I have completely 'detached' myself from my sisters and I can now see them and our relationship objectively and see them for who they really are. I think I do still care about them, I don't feel the sense of detachment is a sense of indifference towards them, it just enables me to see them without my emotions clouding my judgment. I think all this has been bubbling under the surface of my consciousness recently as I have felt very tired and in a bit of a fog whereas now I feel I have clarity again (still feel tired but am not sleeping well so am sure that's why). Also my eczema flared up again a bit last week and that has become a sign to me now that something is about to break into my consciousness. I am completely and utterly amazed at how close the connection is between mind and body in this whole matter.

Sorry, am rambling again, am going to go now and cook sunday lunch smile. x

oneplusone Sun 06-Apr-08 21:22:53

Danea, I really feel for you. You seem to me to be in a place i was not so long ago, mourning the lost potential of ourselves and the lost opportunities of our youth/childhood. I think you have to go through a grieving process for these childhood losses and eventually you reach the point of acceptance and looking forward. But I remember feeling very sad about it all not so long ago.

What you said to smithfield about sloughing off another onion layer and revealing underneath the issues with her MIL sounds once again spot on to me. Again i went through the exact same thing, I had faced the issues with regard my parents and once that layer came off it revealed the layer involving my MIL. And now it seems that layer has also come off only to reveal the layer involving my sisters.

And that leads me to something Gloriana said, she described it perfectly "mum to share an almost sisterly relationship with them at the expense of me." That is exactly the relationship my mum had with my sisters, she pushed me out as their sibling and took my place herself, leaving me to be the one who always felt alone and left out instead of her.

And i totally agree with Sakura about MIL's; they most certainly do need boundaries, very clear ones, set out by both you and DH to be effective I think. And also what Sakura said about MIL thinking she was on an equal level with you with regard to DC's. My mother was like this. I think she was genuinely bewildered by the fact that even though she had say, spent the whole day with DD in the park or something similar having lots of fun, when they got home DD always wanted ME, her mummy. My mum just couldn't understand it, and I too was bewildered at just how little my mother seemed to understand mother/child relationships as she had had 3 children herself! But she just couldn't seem to grasp that a child will always want it's mummy no matter how nice nana/granpa etc were to them.

I guess we are all lucky in that we seem to have wisdom beyond our years in a way I suppose, greater wisdom and insight than our own parents who, in my case, are at least 30 years older than me.

CrushWithEyeliner Mon 07-Apr-08 10:51:02

Hello - May I join your thread? I have been following for a while but feel I need to get a lot of these thoughts down and get your opinions and maybe help on my situation.

Since having DD a yr ago I suffered PND and for some reason a lot of memories from my childhood started coming back to me, all bad ones ( I don't have any joyful memories from when I was young at all). I had a lot of contact with my Mother and I think having her around so much regressed me into being a child again in many ways. I started to remember how many times she hit me - whacked across the face mainly and usually in front of others - one time at Brownies is such a vivid memory I couldn't believe she hit me for just fooling around, all my friends looking on in horror. Other times at parties, holidays and even when we had a teenagey kind of row she would belt me - I once remember being maybe about 8 and her trying to cover up a mark in the toilets and then marched me back to the table - I am sure all the relatives knew what happened. Surely this is wrong?

I was a very troubled child and really quite bratty and difficult in many ways so I wasn't perfect. I think that was how she brought us all up - very unaware of how to behave in social situations and hence when we misbehaved we would be punished.
I should explain I have a much older sister who has almost been excommunicated from the family - a very troubled person who has been very vocal about how she feels our Mother has ruined her life. I grew up with this and kind of became numb to it as was told time and again by my parents that she went crazy at 13, became physically and verbally abusive to them. Whenever I have tried to communicate how I felt Mother did things that were wrong I got accused of bring just like XXXXX and ungrateful, blaming my inadequacies on her, and lots of "stately home" comments. Although I have no recollection of these times my Mother quotes, I think she is getting things mixed up.
There is so much more to say - I could write forever. But I think what I am realising now after having DD is that my parents have zapped every ounce of confidence from my being. I feel utterly paralised. I see my life has been a catalogue of missed oppourtunities and regret.

My Mother has literally throughout my life, criticised every decision I have made, esp in those important formative years- been the one in my ear whispering that I couldn't do it and low and behold I couldn't. That my friends would let me down (they did btw). When I fuck up (and i have many, many times including a nasty breakdown at 21, she has always been there to pick up the pieces and help - even now with the PND and having DD she was there to help. So I feel if I confront her she can ridicule me (quite rightly) for being so utterly dependent on her.

She is a powerful Woman but an odd Woman and I knew from a very young age that people found her very strange. My father too really, a lovely man very kind and gentle but totally subservient to her - almost scared. Although there were some violent rows - all hazy memories coming back to me - why now??? Our family home was not a microcosm for society, where things were talked about sensibly or with any rationale. It was like a retreat from reality. If there was a problem in the family my Mother simply took control and we were not told about anything. Do you know we had a lodger move in when I was 10 and the first I knew about it was when a very odd man turned up with suitcases and moved into our house. Simple as that..oh and many other things..
I apologise for the length of this. I wonder why these bad memories will not leave me alone. It is too late for confrontation now, so what do i do?
Thanks for listening

Podmog Mon 07-Apr-08 11:44:59

Message withdrawn

smithfield Mon 07-Apr-08 13:14:45

sakura- Your post really brought my MIL into focus for me. I still remember your very apt description of your own MIL as the SMILING ASSASSIN....and now I see why it stuck securely in my mind. This is exactly what my MIL is.
I could go on about the 'evidence' that leads me to deductions over her toxicity...but I do need to allow myself/give myself permission (as many of you have said) to have these feelings and trust them. This is what is so hard for me to do.
I think as TMSB said I need to build a wall in my mind and KNOW what she is about and not allow her behaviour to continue unheeded.

I have decided she will 'not' be having responsibility for any childcare when I go back to work. I dont want to pull ds away from her entirely. After all he loves her dearly and I have to be mindful of projecting 'my' agenda/insercurities on to him.

But I do think 'bonkers nanna time' needs to be limited. And having 'some bonkers nanna time' as opposed to having bonkers nanna help raise you, are two different things.

I also think ds needs more interaction with other kids now, (migsie you are very wise) so I will be focussing on giving him that while I have the time on mat leave to do so.

I also feel 'today' (in a more positive mindframe) that I do need to keep in mind 1stly... 'I AM' in control, I do not need to be afraid of this woman. I can say yes to her or no and not need to give her any explanantions.

I 'can' keep myself safe. I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult!.

Whats more I am an adult with caller ID!

2ndly- I need to somehow find the confidence that as ds's mother I can not be replaced/usurped, regardless of bonkers granny's antics. But the truth is I dont believe this to be true and Im not sure why.

Migsie- think it was you that mentioned these feelings being dominant for you too.

I am wondering if the fact I had PND when I had him comes into play here.

I read a beautiful post from one mum on the postnatal thread and it described how for a long time, she never thought she figured as important in her ds's life??? (crazy I know) but because he smiled at everyone else not her, and didnt cry if she left him with someone else (not a complete stranger obviously) he didnt actually love her as a ds could/should. She also realised that as she had PND she had felt incompitant as a mother and so projected that on to her ds, thinking he picked up on this.

This really sruck home for me...made me well up actually, as I realised this echoed how I felt about ds.

This is exactly how I felt/maybe still feel about ds. That he doesnt love me, because deep down he knows Im a crap mother.

Now I know this sounds so self defacing/obsessed and foolish. As I write it I wonder what I have to gain by even typing this claptrap. But this is surely the crux of my issue with MIL.

IF, I had had a completely different upbringing, and my self esteem and confidence were in tact, I would have no doubt I could not be usurped in ds's affections?
And yes I admit I had thought that if ds really loved me as his mother, he would be happiest to see me arrive nannas house for pick up and be more than happy to come home with me.

But the fact is I do not have that confidence as a mother with ds.

I also recognise that this is probably still a remnant of the PND I suffered when I had him.

Danae- I can also relate totally to what your are saying with regard to lost youth/opportunities. I felt resentful for a long long time.

I have never lost the feeling I could have reached so much higher potential, especially academically and with regard to career, but I never did because of my parents lack of interest and their own projections. In their mind I was not meant for greatness. That spot was reserved for my brother and my sister.

My mother told me when I was just 6 that I would always be just an average student (and I believed her). My father said I would never be as clever as my brother, and I believed that to.

It is only been very recently that I realised neither were true. I felt anger...no worse...an intense rage at being so overtly misled as regards to my own potential.

As to how to get past it? I dont know the answer Im afraid.

But lately for me I try to take one day at a time. And hope that eventually I may come to terms/be at peace with it.

Although I do recognise that it is so important that 'we do' find some internal resolution 'or' as you say our dds may suffer in the future. Either by us trying to live our mispent youth's through them or otherwise acting out jelousies.

Personally, I keep telling myself I still have time hmm and I too am on the brink of 40. But also as I become more content with my own current life (probably as a result of ousting the toxic ones). I tell myself that Ive been on one big voyage of discovery and its landed me where I was supposed to be all along.

As we continue to 'grow' ourselves up, and continue the reparenting work inevitably we will grow to like ourselves more and more, and all the little sub parts of ourselves will be included in that self love.
Here's to hoping!

ally90 Mon 07-Apr-08 14:27:54

((((podmog))))) its so hard not to have that nurturing.

Crushwitheyeliner - Firstly welcome to the thread, glad you had the courage to post

Why would it be too late for confrontation? Its never too late for that. Even if they pass away you can still do something to tell them how you feel. And confrontations don't have to happen if you don't want them too, you can back away, cut contact down to cards on birthdays and christmas, phone contact only, or send a letter/email and confront her that way, if you wanted to. Its all up to you.

The memories are coming back as your nurturing tendancies have come to the fore with your child. Its inevitable that if we have a child in our arms, we then start thinking back to our own childhood, and what happened. Because to a 'normal' parent, they go back and bring forwards the behaviour their mother showed them (ie nurturing, firm, loving) however when we go back there is a discordant jangle of nerves and we start thinking 'how could they have done x y z to me?!' or 'I can't do that! So what do I do to help dc?' bit cheesy but you hopefully get my point. That is probably why your memories are coming back, mine certainly did.

So what do you do? How possible is it for you to put space between yourself and your mother? Is it possible, when you feel ready to contact your 'mental' sister? I must say I got very verbally abusive when at 16 I realised I had been abused/lied to all my life! And if she was physically abused aswell...well its seems a small leap for her to make to start hitting your mother back. I'm not saying it was right, but at 13 and no way to get help...its very understandable.

Do you have a dh/dp that knows your mother/understands her? Have you got any self help books? Have you had any therapy? All these things can help. There is a way out of this, and that is away from your distructive, physically and emotionally abusive and neglectful mother. And please don't try to say you deserved her behaviour as you were 'bratish', you were not responsible for her behaviour as a child or as an adult. She is.

allyxxx

Hi to everyone else...! Smithfield, can I join the 'bonkers' MIL club? grin And you ARE in control...no one can make you do anything you don't want to do. I've mastered the vacant 'hello is anyone in there?' smile when anything I don't want to hear is being said grin she doesn't know what to do with that!

smithfield Mon 07-Apr-08 15:03:58

ally- Of course you can smile- And the club could be a little like I 'mental gym'. We could have 'boundary workouts' for dealing with all bonkers family members (excluding higly toxic immediate bonkers family members of course).

We could post daily 'back off bonkers granny' tips for instance.

Anyone else want to join??

smithfield Mon 07-Apr-08 15:09:29

sorry -cwe- Hello and welcome.

Podmog- You could write the letter just for yourself?. Dont think about your mum for now, focus on what you want to say.

You could also just start writing random scribblings every day just as a starter. The problem normally is that we are all so adapt at being disconnected, hence the block in writing a letter that may put you back in touch. The letter will help (be a start at least) at re-connecting with your feelings.
Dont put too much pressure on yourself though...baby steps. (((good luck)))

Danae Mon 07-Apr-08 15:52:59

Message withdrawn

ally90 Mon 07-Apr-08 20:21:30

Smithfield - we could have a Toxic MIL thread going grin now that would be popular...!

Danae - no you are not the mental one. My mates look at me odd when I talk about NPD BPD etc...really feel sad for you that the one family member you thought cared for you doesn't I remember how I felt when my dad made clear where his loyalty lay...and it was most definately with my toxic mother... Anyway...don't I remember you saying something about your sister telling you were tied down in your high chair for hours...or something...and that you were incrediably angry as a child until you went apathetic. I actually spoke of you to dh tonight as being one of the saddest people on this thread and how much you had come on leaps and bounds since being here...you still have done really well you know...just a set back today due to a probably toxic family member contact. Its bound to take it out of you having the rug taken from under your feet by your sister Just be good to yourself for the next few weeks...we're all here for you

Right just off to set up another thread...I'm wanting to find out if I'm the only person who does not actually miss my mother...or want her around...I just always feel slightly patronising advising people on here about grief when I don't feel it about my family...am I the only one? Hmm! Could be interesting this...

allyxxxx

Danae Mon 07-Apr-08 20:43:52

Message withdrawn

toomanystuffedbears Mon 07-Apr-08 21:51:45

Hi everyone.

My bonkers mil has actually said some nice things to me since dd2 was born. She has said several times how lucky I am to have another baby especially at my age (46)- and that she wished she had had another baby at a later age...and on seeing photos of my dd2 she went on and on how cute and beautiful she is.

She is still bonkers and I still don't hold any expectations regarding her. She lost my respect when fil was enduring his heart attack episode several years ago; she was saving up strife to throw at him when he got out of the hospital-I don't think she even went to the hospital once to see him!

Bonkers is a swell term! bonkers- it'd be a good vanity license plate for her lol.

My sil was in the process of buying a building for her small business and they wanted my dh to cosign the loan. He refused because he is acutely aware of the risks and boundaries of getting sucked into his family's problems... Well, sil and mil blamed me for his refusal and she had to close her small business (she always wasted all profits immediately-it wasn't dh's fault). So sil and mil's treatment of me became even more toxic. I finally told dh that I would no longer ever visit there again (512 miles away)-'because they blame me for your not cosigning the loan: eternally unforgivable.' DH, I believe, set them straight and their behavior has softened considerably...still I sit out every third visit or so (except now that dd2 is here-I'll go every time).

It is an odd feeling though, that they are nice to me.
Mil and Fil are getting on in years, maybe that is softening their perspective.

Dh received an award at work recently and his photo was published with the citation. Mil told me she was shocked how old he looked: her son was a grown man! (He is 48) I wonder if she could then follow up on that and recognize that I'm an adult too? No matter, I'm not emotionally invested anymore.
------------
Oneplusone- detachment vs. indifference
I too think the distinction is important but I sometimes find myself a bit muddled by it...
detachment-care but not care so much to sacrifice ourselves anymore

indifference-zero response as to a stranger on the street

I am still kind of shuffling my feelings regarding my lovely Middle Sister-or rather working on the wall in my mind (here's mine Smithfield smile) and knowing the right words, exactly helps sustain strength. Any doubt is potential sabotage.

I have not had contact for 3 weeks now...I sent photos of the baby, but I feel guilt about her not seeing the baby. I guess I can see her in my mind's eye saying to her friends-"Well, I have not even been allowed to see the baby yet". I need to remember that for my daughter (and -heaven knows- my teenagers!) to get the best of me, I need to avoid the toxic influence of MS. Then thinking of a meeting with her, dear me, I would dread, dread, dread it. It may just have to be a necessary negative. The consequences certainly would outweigh the generosity.

Diaper emergency...got to go.

Danae Mon 07-Apr-08 22:10:57

Message withdrawn

gloriana Mon 07-Apr-08 22:40:20

Crush - welcome to the thread and well done for posting. I agree with ally that it's never too late for confrontation and that maybe writing a letter for yourself of things that you would like to discuss with your mum would be a good start. We are here to listen to you when you need to share the memories that pop to the surface.

Some of what you said resonated with me - I'd completely forgotten about how my mum and dad never consulted with us about anything. I can totally identify with the lodger - my mum and dad didn't tell us that they'd got divorced or that our family cat had been put down. Makes me realise that I have completely learnt never to question, and to always be disconnected with what any sane normal person would have thought. Surely a normal person would have realised that their parents were behaving oddly and questioned the statement that 'mum and dad are living apart for a bit for tax reasons' but no, I just blindly accept and carry on. Only comes out 2 years later that they are actually divorced and that my mum went to the High Court and everything angry

Smithfield - it's great to hear you sounding so positive about the MIL! Well done you! It really cheered me up to read what you'd written and I thought that maybe I could do some of the 'I am an adult, I am in control' stuff - thank you!

Podmog - BIG HUGS to you. Thinking of you and hoping you can take the small, small steps.

Danae - also sending you big hugs for your sister's bombshell. You must remember that you are the one who has sought help and is on the road to recovery and that no matter how bad it gets for you in your journey, they are stuck with their heads in the sand, passing on their unhappiness to the next generation.

Having read your posts on MN, I was shocked to think that your family think you are a fruitloop! You are a very generous thoughtful individual on here that shares a great deal of insight with people that need someone to listen. It's obvious that your feelings are in no way 'dysfunctional'. I love the fact that you have a loving partner and family and they have all had ghastly divorces - ha!

For me today the issue is still anger. I have screamed my head off today at DS1 and DS2. It is the end of the school hols but I am still just so unreasonable with them. DS1 (who was 7 yesterday) has a school project to do and I find myself getting so cross at him because he shows a) NO interest in doing it b) I have to tell him every sentence to write c) I have to watch his every drawing/piece of writing in case he takes leave of his senses and makes a complete mess. Why do I do this? Does it matter if he completely fucks up his project? No it doesn't. Why do I feel the need to do it well for his teacher? I almost feel like it's a project for me and I'm going to be marked for it! DS2 has a diary to write and it's a similar story for him too. I feel like I'm one of those toxic mothers and they'll be writing on MN about me in a few years' time sad

CrushWithEyeliner Tue 08-Apr-08 10:32:51

Thank you everyone for responding to me and hello.
I honestly feel that it would just be pointless to confront after so many silly, failed attempts on my part. Mother either says I am making her ill, or I get this awful line about "well I suppose you have to blame your failings on someone" which just makes me feel worse. It makes me look ridiculous when I ask at 32 why I wasn't taken for a bra fitting at 14 when my boobs were large and heavy - she just laughs and says - "god you really are scaraping the barrel to find things I did wrong" and I look the fool.

Also DD adores her - she is amazing with her. Actually she is phenomenal with very young children, really kind, patient, caring and loving. The dramatic change comes about 6 or 7 I think..well that's when the smacking started from what i remember.

Thank you Danae for your comments - although part of my anger is that I just wasn't taught how to behave. I was allowed to get away with all sorts of ridiculous behavior on one level but severely punished for the most inane things. I wasn't taught to have any social skills because my mother doesn't really either. So the result was silly, bratty and rude behavior which I feel so embarrassed about now. It is really really difficult to explain.

Gloriana thank you - you have hit the nail on the head about just watching life pass by and feeling powerless to do anything about it. That is me - "i was so infantacised" throughout important formative years that even now DH comments about how unaware I am of the world and how childlike i am.
Ally i have thought many times about contacting 1st sister but it will be a battleground and highly emotional. She was violent towards me and a very troubled person who dosen't like me at all - she also puts horrid thoughts in my head and says there is mental illness in the family which just freaks me out tbh. I am not sure if I am ready yet.
Sorry to just talk about myself all the time

X

lionbeast Tue 08-Apr-08 13:18:41

hi everyone, well my post is quite long so ive also posted it seperatly but i wantted to share it with you guys too,
i have decided to confront my parents about how they treated me and could do with any pointer hint or tips here is my "story"

do you think my parents [well mum particularly] was toxic?

hi ive dipped my toe onto the toxic thread many months ago,when i was having problems with my mum about bf, as kittenbaby.

a couple of you asked me what my story was and i wasnt up to telling the whole thing then, but i am now...

well i am one of three, have two older brothers, mum has always prefered the middle one,im the youngest, she really battered my self esteem, she used to tell me she hated me and that i was clean on the outside and dirty on the inside,

sometimes she wouldnt speak to me for days and she'd say you'll need me before i need you [yes i was a child ffs] and when she used to be a bitch to me she used to say yeah you know what you can do if you don't like it.

she has hit me a few times althought there was about 5 times when i was a teenager,for example the last time she hit me i was 18, and we where both in the kitchen and i was probably irritating her, the freezer had a dodgy drawer whick kept falling out, and the drawer fell out when i was getting something out, so she whacked me one in the face, i pushed her off me, she called my dad who pushed me up against the kitchen wall, she then later tried to make out that i nearly broke her finger!

i never once hit her back ive only ever pushed her off me when she was hitting me in the face, and then i get accused of almost breaking her finger.

you know i wish i could of gone back in time and i wouldnt of hit her back, i would of called the police.

i moved out when i was 16, i moved in with a boyfriend for five weeks, i never loved him, it was just a chance to escape, five weeks later i was back home as he had finished with me.

she said it was because the house was flithy [we where only there 5 weeks,and both worked fulltime id been working a month and left home straight away ]and id never keep a man,

when i told mum a few years later that i never loved him i just moved in with him to get away from home, she said i dont believe you as you wouldnt of gone away to paris with him[yes we had a mini trip to paris, so that means i really loved him ]

anyway as the years when by i meet my now dh and moved out aged about 22, she was ok with me really when i left home, like she could tolerate me in small doses, then when i became PG i felt vunerable around her again.

this was when she decided it was a good time to tell me my dad never had any time for me or interest in me.
when i said i didnt believe it was true or that even if it was true, then he never made me feel that way.
she said it must of been because she did a good job of hiding it from me

i dint feel upto asking dad about it at that point as i was feeling rough and had bleeding and cramping and thought i was going to have a mc when mum said all this to me, so i didnt feel upto or strong enough the confrontation then but i do now.

yes dad never stopped it ,but im not sure that was true, although i have decided im going to confront dad about it, otherwise its always going to make me wonder even after hes dead. and i want to give him the chance to tell me straight.
although it could cause ww3 it has to be done for my sake and dads.

also when i was PG we only told my mum and dad and pil, asked them not to tell anyone,mum had already slatted my other sil for telling everyone that she was PG before 12 weeks,so with my news mum decideds to tell fav sil, and then doesnt tell me shes told her, then when i was on the phone talking to mum about a sugar test she turns round to fav sil who was there at the time oh you never had that did you? so of course im shocked and say so sil knows then does she? then mum turns on me and has a go at me say i think youll find if you told her she would be very understanding in a really pissed off way, and she still hasnt said soryy about that, no im the one in the wrong again

she worked fulltime when i started junior school and never had anytime for me, i got really behind at school yet her and dad had no idea, its not her fault for having to work, it must of been quite hard, but she still could of made time to see how i was getting on at school.

it didnt help that she did stuff like once when i was going to a friends party after school, i said id pop round the neighbours and tell her not to pick me up,as it was the neighbour that used to pick me up from school, mum said no ill tell her, i said oh ive got time ill go round now, no, mum shouts , so anyway guess what mum forgets to tell the neighbour not to collect me so all panic sets out at the school when the neighbout comes to collect me andf im not there, so i end up the next day getting a massive bollocking from the teacher, who said it was my fault.

about three days after i had dd, i had 4 th degree tears, she was nagging me to have a salt bath, i checked with the midwife who said salt bath where not really reccommended these days as there are a bit harsh, when i very carefully told her why i was not having salt baths she got really pissed off and snapped well perhaps women where a bit tougher in my day.[give birth to dd without any pain relief, but yet im a wimp of course]

i tried to avoid the whole subject by saying hmm yes maybe, ok ill think about that etc, but she wouldnt leave it alone until she started asking directly have you had one yet? and i didnt feel comfortable lying.

also when i had to go to my follow up with the gp i was a bit upset as he said i may suffer incontinence in the future as a result of the 4th degree tear, and she said i need to get things into persective in a really nasty stop going on a bout it type way.
and when i had a flashback and thought i was in labout about 4 nights after having dd, the mw was really kind and came and spent about 2-3 hours with me talking though what happened, and said it was normal to get flashbacks after such a traumatic event, it really helped talking it though, and when i said to mum it really helped talking it though she said, i think people talk about things far too much these days. and that you can talk about things too much.
when my cousin was asking me about the birth, and said i was so unlucky with what happened[abouth the 4th degree], mum pipes up well thats just what happened to me with fav son, [no it wasnt it wasnt even a 3rd degree as she did not have to have a repair operation] i just meekly replied well i dont think it was quite the same thing.

when i was struggling to bf, she keep saying that maybe dd wasnt getting enough milk and as dd was a frequent feeder that she should be more content by now one time she actually took her off me and said she doesny want another feed [dd was crying] and said she wants a nap and put her in her pram and started rocking her, dd started crying even more, so i picked her up and fed her. dd was only a few weeks old, what sort of person takes someones NB off them telling them what they want?and she keep telling me the bf is ok if its done discreatly and is not flaunted in public, when as dd was such a frequent feeder i had to feed her in public otherwise i wouldnt of been able to leave the house for 6 months.she say comments like my sil always fed at home as "shes not like that" in other words i was a slut to bf my baby, she does have a lot of issues about bf, and she was really trying to stop me from doing it with she didnt achieve.

anyway i used to have no confidence around my family,but i have changed quite alot since having dd, i was always having others opinions rammed down my throats and mine never getting listened to or even bothering to voice my opinions before[only within my family] never at work or with friends or dh[lucky for me i have a great dh thank goodness and didnt go for someone that was also abusive and would also say nasty things to me which i think quite alot of people with my childhood perhaps would.

i used to be scared id be a crap mum because of my childhood and now i know thats not true and i would never ever say or do those thing to my lovely dd.
its like my biggest fear is gone.

the odd thing is, that mum can sometimes be really nice.

but now if someone in my family tries to tell me something i don't agree with i tell them, and funny enough they have stopped doing it so much.
and thats why ive decided to ask my dad about what she said and tell him about all of the stuff she has said and done.it could cause me never to see them again and if that happens thats ok with me i have a happy marraige and a lovely baby, and its is there loss. or dad could be shocked and horrified i really do not know.i know mum will denigh and twist everything.she has never admitted anything or apolagised for anything in her life.i think she thinks apoalgising is a sign of weakness or something.
but im 30 now and im not having it anymore.

so got any ideas how i should bring it up with dad??, i was thinking about saying something like, i need to talk to you about something, its not going to be nice for either of us, but i need to know if something is true or not, notherwise ill will always wonder even after your dead, then proceed to ask him about the comments mum made about him....do you think i should write some stuff down so i dont forget to mention anything?its gonna be hard to get dad alone

Danae Tue 08-Apr-08 13:18:58

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Danae Tue 08-Apr-08 13:27:04

Message withdrawn

ally90 Tue 08-Apr-08 14:09:28

Lionbeast - Very toxic...

I found your post really shocking lion, very painful to even read it as an adult let alone live it as a child.

Confrontation wise...Toxic parents by susan forward, emotional healing by beverley engle cover confrontation. Toxic parents is excellent on the various responses they can give and the responses you can give back. They also recommend practicing first on someone or just a chair, take notes if you need to so you don't forget anything...

If you want to post further do so! Doesn't matter about commenting on other people's posts, you just get the support you need from here to get through this

Gloriana - re your son's homework. Perhaps you can write down everything you remember about schoolwork/achievement and your mothers/fathers/peers attitude towards it. Sometimes it can really hit on the sorepoint that makes you over react and heal it. It has worked for me on occasion and very strange when all my previous antagonism vanishes 'just like that'...for me it was pregnancy, felt phsyically ill/sick at the thought of it, even dreamt about it and felt ill. Was chatting around the issue with dh a few years ago and suddenly I hit upon what was wrong...not fearing abusing my own dc, but the emotional abuse my father inflicted on my mother. The instant I understood that all my feelings about being pg vanished...very strange.

TMSB - FOG ahead!!!! Fear Obligation Guilt...she deserves none of it! Bet she doesn't put your side across...or mention her trying for maternity leave! Or maybe she will and they will be sat thinking 'my god!'

Danae...brilliant post! Really got alot out of that...just re read again...

Crush - you mean you don't also get the 'shush shush shush' line as well? grin sounds like my mother wriggling out of all responsibility for her actions. I had the bra issue too, taken for ONE fitting...in early teens...(and ridiculed in it by my mother and sister) then not taken again...had same bra til my mid twenties, wireless, nylon 10 quid job from M&S for those 10ish years! And strangely when I finally plucked up courage to get checked again...I had gone from a B cup to a F cup...strange that...no wonder I had double boobs most my life hmm. Toxic Parents deals well with the various responses toxic parents make...and I also agree with Danae that sometimes confrontation can be a complete waste of time and energy...I think it is of use when you really feel like you want to confront them and have all your answers ready...personally I did not want the rejection of my feelings again and be made to be ridiculed again like you. I did a letter...they still made out I was ungrateful and ridiculous and stubbon and childish and things were much worse in their day you know...but at least it broke contact cleanly with my mother...if she chooses to reinterpret my letter that's her look out...the truth is there if she chooses to see it.

allyxxx

lionbeast Tue 08-Apr-08 14:26:15

thanks ally, it good to hear other confirm that it is toxic behaviour, ive got the book toxic parens on your reccomendation when i posted for help as kittenbaby. its a good book and i recognise alot of things in there from my mother such as never admitting anything twisting things controlling and never say sorry ever.
you know i do find confussing though is sometimes she is really nice.
i wish she was a bitch all the time as then it would be so easy, i would be the one to cut her out of my life. but shes quite mixed bag.iykwim
its shockerd me a bit to see it all written down in black and white, ther eis so many personal; detailsa bout myself if any searchsd lionbeast or kittenbaby im probably very identifiable, but so what, they are the ones that should feel ashamed of how i was treated i was jusy a kid.
so if anyone in rl knows me or them , oh well !

ally90 Tue 08-Apr-08 14:45:46

Something I worry about too is being recognised and the inevitable ridicule my family would make of my outpourings...but then I see how helpful other peoples posts are and think I'm buggered if I will delete it all to save my blushes or their possible blushes/ridicule!

My mother can be nice too...but its her behaviour overall that made me break contact. I just do not trust her 'niceness' or how long it will last for. Trust is a very important part of any relationship...and if you don't have it, you don't have a good relationship...

lionbeast Tue 08-Apr-08 15:00:56

yes thats a good point about trust, i definatly do not trust her.

sometimes i think her niceness is just a way of throwing me a crumb every now and then to keep me interested. and like shes playing around with me.

kaz33 Tue 08-Apr-08 15:56:18

Hi Lionbeast - you most definitely had a toxic mother and the first step in realising it is liberating.

You don't say much about your dad and seem to apply that all this went on without his knowledge.

What do you expect from him, if you confront him? If you are expecting validation and oh my god I didn't realise she was that bad then I suspect that you might be sorely disappointed.

I think two things are likely
- your dad might have been so worn down by your mothers volatile behaviour that he is desensitised and does anything to keep an easy life so is unlikely to side with you; (as with my brother and his very NPD wife); OR
- your dad had his own important part to play in the dysfunction and you have been projecting images of your father as the all good saviour on to him. That is quite likely as the hurt child tries to bring order to disorder (I recently realised that I had idealised my father and always thought that he was somehow on my side - even though all the evidence pointed to the fact that he was just as dsyfunctional as my mum and maybe even the instigator.)

Realising that your parents are faliable, failed and fucked up probably because of their own messed up childhood's is quite liberating. Though I admit a huge step to take (which I have just done).

"We are all guilty, but no-one is to blame"