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"But we took you to stately homes" - Part 4

(1002 Posts)
oneplusone Sat 09-Aug-08 17:07:59

Can't beleive we're onto part 4, although i can't see this thread ever dying.

I was just reading through past posts to try and catch up on the months i have missed and something somebody said has triggered something for me. I know my mother didn't bond with me or love me and i think part of the reason why was because she thought i took after my dad whom she hates (although she is too gutless to leave him). I remember when i was young her saying things like my hair was like my dad's but she wouldn't say it an affectionate way, but quite a venomous way and it always made me feel uncomfortable when she said that but i must have been too young to figure out why.

The more i realise about my mother the more i despise and hate her. I remember she used to play hide and seek with me when i was very young, about 3. Only she would 'really' hide in a place i would never be able to find her. I remember crying and feeling completely distressed one time as i thought she had gone and left me alone at home. It was only after i had been crying for some time that she jumped out laughing from her hiding place. What a nasty, cruel, ugly piece of work and she parades around looking as if butter wouldn't melt and she has a lot of people fooled including my 2 sisters. I know my dad can see her for what she is which is why she hates him and i can see her true colours too which is why i hate her.

I know inside she is deeply insecure, lacks intelligence, strength and integrity. I have witnessed her lie, manipulate and cheat to get what she wants and the people to whom she lies and those who she manipulates are us, her own family. I just can't beleive my sisters cannot see through her, they are totally blind and deaf to her true character and have completely fallen for the victim role she has carved out for herself.

Cutting off my parents was the best thing i ever did and i have realised i need to set some boundaries with my sisters, my last remaining friend and even DH. How to do that is another thing, something completely new to me.

oneplusone Sat 09-Aug-08 17:49:37

I think perhaps, having thought some more about this that my mother does of course have her good points and i am sure she did bond with my sisters when they were born, hence the much closer relationship they have. So i suppose their reality it totally different from mine, they have had a lot of 'good stuff' from my mother which probably enables them to overlook her faults. Whereas she and i have always been very distant and i have really only had 'bad stuff' from her and very little 'good stuff'. I feel like i'm going round in circles as i know i worked all this out a long time ago. I guess i am finding it very hard to face up to the fact that i was the only one to suffer and be mistreated in this way by our parents. My youngest sister was the favourite of both parents and they treated her relatively well, my middle sister was treated badly by our father but ok by our mother and she is very close to our mother and the feeling is mutual i can see. So that just leaves me, badly and cruelly mistreated and abused by my dad and neglected and kept at a distance by my mother. No wonder i was so lonely and also the only sibling to be suffering quite severe health problems as an adult. I know my bad health is due to my emotional damage/suppressing feelings etc, but it seems so unfair that one person should have to deal with so much pain and difficulty. It's not fair. sad

smithfield Sat 09-Aug-08 17:59:53

My father did something similar to me. He had argued with my mum whilst on holiday and stormed out and I followed him and was stood outside sobbing and calling him and all the time he was hiding in the bushes watching me angry

What you say about reminding your mum of your father, do you think that was the key to her pushing you aside and treating you differently from your sisters. Do you think you became him for her at times?

I got this too. My mother often seethes and looks at me with disgust and says 'Your just like your father'. No wonder I became her scapegoat, after all it was my accidental conception that trapped her in her marriage and then she went back to him after he had an affair because of me. So I can see that would make it all my fault hmm

But I think I actally became 'him' in her eyes many times but without any power or control to fight or evade her emotionally.

smithfield Sat 09-Aug-08 18:06:45

oneplusone-I think maybe their experience was different, but I have read that dysfunctional families need each member to have a specific role. You were your mothers scapegoat (as was I) by the sounds of it.
It is a very difficult role because so much negativity, isolation and anger is offloaded onto the person who has that role.
The other roles are 'golden child', 'mascot' and lost child. What would fit for each of your sisters?
However it may look from the outside they 'MUST' maintain their roles to have the closeness to your mother. So in effect they are still being controlled and are not allowed any authenticity.

ActingNormal Sat 09-Aug-08 18:18:41

That seems really important what you are both saying, I am feeling another "lightbulb moment"!

- that if you don't allow yourself to feel the feelings from childhood which you have been blocking out ever since, you will not be able to empathise with your children when they feel similar feelings, so you won't be so good at comforting and reassuring them.

I think I've been doing what you said Smithfield, working out logically how you should treat your children and making yourself do it, but it would be much less tiring if we weren't having to work really hard at it, if we just felt the instinct to do it naturally!

It is really reassuring what you said OnePlusOne, that once we understand everything we won't actually be able to mistreat our DCs in the same way we were treated.

My Bro keeps saying a similar thing about his situation as well - that now he understands himself and what made him do it, he wouldn't be able to do it again.

Smithfield, re DHs - I read in "The Surrendered Wife" (a book lots of people might strongly disagree with), that the thing men most want from their wives is to feel respected.

From reading that and "why men don't listen and women can't read maps", I think that when I go on and on to my DH about my family he feels useless because he can't think of a simple practical solution to tell me. He gets exasperated and doesn't want to talk about it anymore, then I get upset with him for not allowing me to talk about it because I don't feel supported so I have a go at him and he feels disrespected. I don't know if this is similar to your situation (?)

I sometimes say "I want to talk about something and I don't need you to say anything, just make listening noises, and when I've finished I will feel much better. You might think you have not done anything to help but you need to learn about women that just by listening you have done a big thing to help". He still doesn't seem to understand this yet but occassionally he does what I want and I tell him how good he is (same approach as with kids) and I'm hoping he will learn.

I had a bit of a breakthrough with him this morning when I said I was angry that I'm too scared to talk to him about my family because I'm scared of how he starts shouting and swearing and intimidating me. That made him 'ashamed' enough to let me say some stuff and do the listening noises thing and I said I feel he is taking sides with my parents and making me see them and that if the visit next week feels really awful and I decide not to see them anymore that will be my decision and I won't be giving him a choice. He didn't argue back! I feel better for saying how I feel about him not supporting me re the parental contact thing. Repression of any kind is making me crazy at the moment.

toomanystuffedbears Sat 09-Aug-08 22:11:52

Hi Smithfield, Acting Normal, OnePlusOne, Ally and everyone.
I mentioned this book a while ago, but now I am about half way through it-and this book is providing great insight and solutions and actual hope for positive change/resolution. It is about parenting-centering on how an adult was parented affects how that person will parent his/her own children.
Please, please give it a read as I think it will address anxieties about the past and your parenting. I got mine from Amazon.

Parenting From the Inside Out
by Daniel Siegel M.D. and Mary Hartzell

Squirmy baby on my lap-better give this up for now. Sorry I can't answer your specific posts now.

The book also addresses why it is important to do the resolving of the past and to not go with avoid it/ignore it as a solution.
Take care-put yourself first once in a while (a la nurture yourself). I am giving myself head to toe lotion treatment after every shower...as I do for dear baby after her bath.

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 13:57:27

smithfield, i do think i was the scapegoat for both my parents. And i'm sure the fact that i took after my father did play a part in my mother's lack of bond with me. Their marriage was rocky from very early on and around the time i was concieved my father was actually thinking they should get divorced. Hardly the best circumstances in which to get pregnant. My mum hates my dad and i'm sure she took out her feelings for me on me sad.

AN, the situation you describe with your DH is EXACTLY what we were going through a few months ago. Now though, i hardly need to speak to him at all because of my counsellor, and also perhaps i am further down the road to resolution than i was a while ago.

I think with my DH, as well as him feeling helpless at being unable to 'fix' my problem, i also suspect that my own issues were consciously/subconsciously bringing up his own issues from his childhood. His parents are infinitely better parents than mine, but his mum is definately toxic and i am sure she has passed on some of her 'rubbish' to my DH. He is completely unaware of her and what she is really like though and so, i think, is therefore completely unaware of himself in many ways.

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 14:10:22

Talking about DH, i can sense a real shift in our relationship recently, as a result of me recovering a huge amount of my self esteem which was lost/destroyed due to my parents' mistreatment. But a few years ago, i can recall a number of incidents when he treated me extremely badly. Until now i have always felt i pushed him into doing what he did and that i provoked him ie classic self blaming that comes from having low self esteem and thinking i deserved to be treated that way. I realise now he should never have behaved that way towards me and although the incidents were a long time ago i feel i can't let them go. But at the same time i don't know what to do, especially as apart from that, DH is pretty good to me. But i always have this sense from him that he doesn't really respect me, he doesn't appreciate how hard this has all been for me and how much strength and courage i have needed to get this far. I sense he sometimes wishes he had a wife without all this baggage which in some ways i can understand as he has indirectly also become another innocent 'victim' of my parents. But at the same time i wish he would appreciate what he does have with me, see my positive traits and feel lucky that he is with me. Sadly i don't think he feels that way at all. He is not so unhappy with me that he wants to leave, but i really don't think he appreciates what he has in me.

I really think i like everyone, deserves to be with someone who appreciates me and really loves me. DH just seems to always compare me to his mother (i know that's very common with DH's) and i always fall short in his eyes.

I know this post doesn't stricly belong in this thread, but i am posting here because i think so much of what i have said is directly related to my initital low self esteem due to the abuse and now my increased confidence in myself due to my recovery and healing from the abuse.

ActingNormal Sun 10-Aug-08 16:44:31

God OnePlusOne I feel so similarly about my DH! I don't think I did drive him to do bad things that I think he did though. A few months ago when he was upset with me for not getting along with one of his (girl) friends he shouted at me really aggressively in front of the children because he completely lost his temper and he swore at me and called me names (fucking selfish bitch was one of them). I was really intimidated by him. I told him a few days later that what he did was wrong and got him to admit it but he actually said to me "You drove me to it!" I said this is what men who beat up their wives say!

Near the beginning of our relationship he did some things I found very hard to let go of til recently. There were three different people he was 'fixated' by (one man, two women) who when we were with them he totally ignored me and hung around them and really didn't even notice I was there. It probably sounds trivial to you but it really bothered me. Also some hurtful things he said eg this (girl) friend kept asking when he was going to marry me (in front of everyone to humiliate me) and he always said "I'm not, I'm keeping my options open" and they all thought it was hilarious.

He always seemed to belittle whatever job I was doing and somehow made me feel I couldn't cope with my life without him.

He seemed to have more admiration for other women who had better careers and more confidence.

He doesn't like me talking about problems, only seems to like me when I'm being jolly, and I think he would have preferred someone without baggage like you said.

He also idolises his mother and I know I will never be like her (don't want to be).

He is always telling me how lucky I am to be with him and how good he is, in a way that makes me feel he doesn't feel lucky to have me and I am the inferior one.

I do think that he has behaved in these ways because I have allowed him to because I don't think I deserve better. If he respected me more he wouldn't do those things. I'm hoping that the more self respect I get and the more I'm not prepared to put up with crap (I'm only just starting to realise I shouldn't put up with certain things), the more he will respect me and appreciate me. I keep wondering whether I shouldn't be with him but at the moment I am 'working at it'. Until I feel the right amount of self respect would the same things happen to me with any man? If so I need to work on the self respect and stay with him (I've gone and had chilren and married him now!). And like you said, there are lots of good things about the marriage that I would be giving up if I left and would it be worth losing those?

My therapist thinks that early in our relationship, DH did small things that triggered memories of feelings from my past of bigger things which made me feel rejected etc and I 'took the feelings out on' DH and have found it hard to let go of what he did. Therapist said once that "I can't have everything", no relationship is perfect and if I left him for someone else there would still be imperfections with the new person, maybe different ones.

I am feeling some 'venom' towards DH at the moment but hoping it will die down. I find it hard to trust my judgements because I feel my hormones are so erratic. I'm thinking of going back on the pill. There is one called Yasmin that some people have found has cured severe PMS (which I seem to get 2 or 3 phases per month of - one just before period, one just after and one somewhere in the middle of cycle, each 'psycho phase' being 3-4 days long).

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 20:32:06

AN, me too! My DH is the same, he thinks I am the one who is lucky to have him and i should be grateful he has stuck by me. I can understand that to a certain extent as things have and still are very difficult due to my family stuff and emotional state and also my health which has meant he has had to support me a lot in many ways and i haven't really been able to support him.

But, i do still wish he also felt lucky to have me despite all my and therefore our current problems, because of the person I am inside.

I am hoping that like you, once i begin to stand up for myself a lot more he will begin to respect me more. I can think of so many little things he has said fairly recently where i felt hurt, denigrated and mocked by him but he is so like his mother, he puts a velvet covered knife in and it's only afterwards you realise you've been stabbed. Earlier this year i finally stood up to his mother after years of enduring her cattiness, snide comments and interfering and i know i now have to do the same with DH.

I think half the battle is seeing our DH's clearly. I have had such low self esteem that i actually did believe i was lucky to be with DH and that i should be grateful he has stuck by me and i have therefore put up with a lot of stuff from him that i shouldn't have. It has been very hard to see all this clearly as like i said in many ways DH is very good to me, but that doesn't entitle him to treat me badly when he feels like it.

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 20:40:04

One more thing AH, what you said about your therapist thinking your DH triggered feelings from your past is true for me too I think. We used to have rows that were so similar to the ones i used to have with my dad, i know i used to act in exactly the same way as i used to with my dad and that is partly why i beleieved i provoked DH into acting badly towards me (he has called me vile names like your DH and been physically violent a couple of times ie pushing me and holding me really tightly).

It is actually amazing now to look back on my behaviour with DH and see the almost direct links with my relationship with my dad.

I am confident things will change for the better with DH. The only think i am worried about is whether he will be able to cope with the 'new' me. I have secretly suspected for a while that he married me because subconsciously he could tell i had low self esteem and that he could dominate me or push me around without me standing up for myself and that is what he wanted in a wife. He surrounds himself with friends who are lacking in self esteem and i have always thought it was because it made him feel 'top dog' and he needed someone like me as his wife for the same reason. Once i start standing up for myself i wonder how he will react?

ActingNormal Sun 10-Aug-08 21:15:46

OnePlusOne, your last post is quite shocking - that we have subconsciously gone for people who are like our parents - eeek! (people do say this happens) why would we want to be with people like that! And that our DH's subconsciously saw someone they could control and dominate - aaargh! angry

My DH is uncomfortable with me seeing my therapist and I wonder if some of it is he doesn't want me to become stronger like you say! He wants a 'little woman' wife who feels dependent on him and makes him feel needed and big and manly.

I guess we have to carry on working on ourselves and if our DHs decide they don't like the new us we will have to accept that this is their choice. It is more important for us to learn to respect and love ourselves than it is to stay in a relationship where we are downtrodden and feel shit about ourselves if they try to make us stay like the old person we were.

If they can't take it and they leave, hopefully by then we will feel so good about ourselves that we will be able to find a new man easily (if that is what we want) or we will feel good enough to be able to cope on our own without a man.

I can't believe I'm talking about the possibility of splitting up - it is scary!

Of course, they might decide they love the new improved us even more!

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 09:44:52

oh god. I had such a bad weekend. DD2 is 2.5 and turned into the child from hell. She bit her bit brother, so i put her on her time out spot. Every few minutes I would go and ask her to go and apologise for biting and she would just scream at me and try to hit me. An hour later and she was still screaming at me. I ended up shouting at her that she was a horible little girl and she stood there shaking and crying her eyes out. I ended up running out into the back garden sobbing. I am turning into my mother sad sad sad Someone help me. Please...

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 09:57:12

angel- you are not your mother, nor are you turning into her. what you are describing is normal stuff with such young children. You are clearly a loving mother (something your mother definately was not).

How are things this morning?

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 10:19:01

i'm so scared. I don't want to be like her. I should never have had chldren. That way there would be no chance of me ever hurting them sad

dd seems fine this morning though. none the wiser. We have had lots of kisses and cuddles and have danced around the kitchen to music. I still feel so rotten though. The older dcs heard me and are of the age that they will remember what I said.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 11:57:25

oh bloomin great. shes just text asking if she can come round today...

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 12:00:21

Angel- You are only human and it is best for your children to see that is the case. You are not a robot, you have feelings and emotions and you expressed them when pushed to your limit.

As long as you can sit down and explain to the older dc's that 'mummy was tired and grumpy and said something she didnt actually mean and it happens but your sorry'....
The difference is you 'care' about this and that's what makes you a good mum.

You are not hurting them you are loving them, that's just your mothers voice telling you you are not good enough....so tell her to fuck off. Then puff out your chest and say yes I am good enough grin

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 12:01:50

angel- xposted. Can you tell her its not convenient? You dont have to see her if you dont want to.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 13:11:23

shes due to be here any minute sad

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 13:22:48

Angel- Just come back and download afterwards. It will help you expel and bad feelings.

oneplusone Mon 11-Aug-08 13:33:47

Hi angel, i tried to post last night but my stupid internet connection kept failing, i just gave up in the end, i've lost so many posts....ggrrrr.

Anyway, firstly i agree with smithfield, you don't have to see your mother, you can tell her it's not convenient. It's hard to change ingrained habits but you are an adult now and you have choices in everything you do. NOTHING is compulsory.

I recieved a letter from my mother this morning, i knew it was from her because of the handwriting and the fact that she spelt my surname wrong....that just says it all in my opinion, she can't even be bothered to spell my name correctly. I haven't opened it though, i haven't, yet, torn it up, just stuffed it in a drawer. I might just send it back unopened as i know it will be full of empty apologies and excuses for her mistreatment and neglect and also 'but we took you to stately homes' type of stuff. The point is that i don't have to read it, i don't have to accept any form of communication from her. It's taken me a while to actually act like this, i had a letter from my dad a while ago and i just opened it and it made me feel sick. I'm not falling into that trap anymore. I feel so strongly that my parents both have had countless opportunities to apologise for their mistreatment of me as i have tried in the past many times to tell them calmly how they have hurt me and upset me and what i need from them and not once have they apologised or done things any differently.

I know now they will never change and there is just no point in having a relationship with them from my perspective. I don't love them, like them, respect them or enjoy their company, so why on earth would i want to spend even 5 minutes of my precious time with them?

oneplusone Mon 11-Aug-08 13:48:37

Angel, I'm also sorry i shocked you with my post yesterday. Why were you so shocked do you think? Is what i said something you had not considered before? I can understand you in a way as i had thought i had deliberately gone of my way to chose someone totally different to my dad when i got together with DH. And he is very different to my dad in so many important ways. That's what makes it even more amazing that somehow we were having arguments so similar to the arguments i used to have with my dad. The content was different of course but the pattern and style of argument and my 'role' in the arguments was exactly the same role i used to play at home with my family.

I think this definately ties in with Alice Miller and The Drama, i think she called her book The 'Drama' because being a part of a family is like being in a play, each family member is assigned a particular role. I think she calles her book the The Drama of the Gifted Child because it relates to a child who, as an adult, has found the ability to see her childhood role for what it really was and to break out of that role and the pattern of behaviour it required and to play a new role, one that she wants to play rather than the role that was assigned to her by the rest of her family. So the child is now in a new 'Drama' or play and it is the process of leaving behind your old role and discovering and creating your new role that the Drama of the Gifted Child is about IMVHO. I do think that to have the insight that we have is a gift that only certain people have got, as quite clearly not everyone is blessed with such a gift, our parents for instance weren't as they have blindly continued to act out on us, the roles they were assigned in childhood by their families.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 13:57:13

oneplusone- you sound so strong. I know you still feel the pain of what your mum has done (as we all do).

But just to be strong enough to feel you dont even need to read the letter shows strength and resolution. Its progress, to know with clarity that you dont have to put their needs above yours anymore.

I got in touch with a lot of anger last night, especially with regards to my father but this morning again it has dissipated into guilt.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 14:06:23

wow oneplusone- I love the way you just described the 'drama'. I never saw it like that but that makes so much more sense now.

That is exactly how it feels for me. My god you have totally nailed where I am at the moment.
I feel for the first time I have 'properly' realised my role as 'scapegoat' and I have been trying all my life 'instinctively' to break out of that role.
I have tried so many avenues to do this.
It feels like Ive lived my life in a prison where my parents (or more specifically my mother) have placed me and it says 'Scapegoat' just above the door.

To break out though I have to go against my 'whole' family because they 'all' want me to maintain my role....nobody else wants it after all.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 15:20:45

shes been

she hit me

shes gone

sad

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