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Our 5th visit to the Stately Home

(1001 Posts)
Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 10:59:41

Here we go again.

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 11:19:50

Hi, you got there before me!

Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 11:22:57

Just saw we were near the end and thought I would try and keep things going.

How are you?

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 11:22:57

Which one shall we use then! This one or the other part 5 thread? Or both?

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 11:45:49

Let's use this one! I'm fine thanks Nabster, you?

Although recently I have been strangely compelled to look at the bereavment threads on MN shockblush. Not sure why as of course my parents are still alive. But I was reading one the other day, and I just started crying. It was not so much about the death of the MN's parent(s), (both parents died within a short time of each other), but about all the sympathy and kind words the OP was receiving. I think i felt upset because I feel I have lost my parents and have been going through a kind of bereavment process, but I got very little if no sympathy from anyone, mainly because at the time nobody, including DH, nor myself, really understood what was happening or what I was going through. (Although it was actually DH who pointed out to my sisters a while ago that by cutting off my parents I was going through a sort of bereavment).

People are more sympathetic now, including DH, because i am more able to explain what i am going through, but going back around 2.5 years or so, when i first cut off my parents, i was distraught, but got very little sympathy from DH or anyone else. Perhaps I am being unreasonable for expecting sympathy when i myself had little comprehension of what i was experiencing, but the fact that DH understood enough even then, to point out what he did to my sisters, but then treat me with little understanding or sympathy really hurts.

I also feel upset when i read the bereavement threads and see just how loving and close some people's families obviously are and feel sad that that is what i have completely missed out on. It's like I am looking into somebody else's family from the outside, with my face pressed up against the window of their front room, seeing the warmth and love they all have for each other, and wishing i could have had that for myself when i was a child.

I know i have my own family and i very much appreciate what i do have, but at the same time i have missed out on a lot and i do feel that loss quite a bit sometimes. I suppose i should try and keep away from the bereavment threads, but i feel strangely drawn to them at the moment. hmm

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 11:52:27

I also feel we (as in me, DH and the DC's) are very isolated as a family. We are not churchgoers, so do not have a community to whom we belong in that way, nor do we belong to any other sort of community. We have family on DH's side, but that is very small and we don't see them that often. I really feel this need to belong to some sort of community, so i don't feel it's just 'us', but there doesn't seem to be anywhere that we as a family fit in. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? hmm

Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 12:07:06

I thought I would feel free when my nana died and I would have done if she hadn't have told my mother I had children.

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 12:49:37

OnePlusOne, you are processing your feelings of loss, of not having the sort of childhood family you would have wanted, and that is healthy even if it does seem nuts to you that you are looking at bereavement threads grin Actually it sounds like a pretty good idea for a way to get your feelings out!

Perhaps a reason you have said previously that you want your parents to die could be that you feel a loss similar to bereavement from death but you can't quite process it because they are not actually dead, so in your brain it 'does not compute'. If they actually died it would feel more 'logical' and 'easier' to allow yourself to feel the loss that you feel already. At the moment maybe you feel a bit 'stupid' to feel the way you do so won't let yourself fully feel it?

What you said about "..face pressed up against the glass..." reminded me of something I felt years ago. I used to go out with my friends in my parents' village and walk home slowly, putting off going back from where I felt a sense of connectedness with my friends to a house where I just didn't feel anything, it seemed sterile of emotion. People had their lights on in their houses and the lights gave out a warm glow. I felt a sense of I'm out here in the cold and dark and you are in there in the warm, not just a warm temperature but a warm emotional atmosphere with your families where you all feel 'together' but I am shut out and can't be a part of that.

Then before I met my birthmother I went to have a look at the house she grew up in because I had the address. I didn't think I would feel anything except fascination. It was a big solid house with lots of georgian sort of windows. I was surprised how big it was, a big house for a large family. I was struck by how solid and impenetrable it looked and that I felt a sense of not being able to get in. Then I started to cry and feel angry and I didn't know why. When I thought about it, it was because I imagined my birthmother with her own family, not including me, living their happy family life without a care about me and feeling shut out of it and that I would never be a part of it.

Like you, my main motivation has been to want to belong in an emotionally warm group. I've felt like this for as long as I can remember.

Once I accepted that I was never going to feel like this with any of my relatives I was able to search for these types of relationships and groups elsewhere. Like I wrote in another post, I can trace all my happiest times, and why I am happier now than I have ever been, to times when I have been in some kind of group and felt I belonged. I think it is REALLY important, especially to women, and if you don't have it, finding it will make a HUGE difference. It is really worth working on it.

I have this dumb theory that back in caveman times, while the men went out and hunted food, the women all looked after their children together and supported each other and learnt from each other. As society has progressed we seem to have become more isolated in some ways but still have this natural instinct from caveman times. I think Mumsnet is a cyber substitute for sharing our jobs as mothers and supporting each other in real life. I love being part of it. I love being part of anything really - playgroups, my music group, my old work gang, my DH's 'gang' of old friends, my DH's family - brothers, wives and children, the people I am in contact with on Facebook, joining dumb groups on Facebook. I look for this sense of belonging all the time and take pleasure in any little bit I feel.

Since leaving home I have kept joining groups/classes/trying to get in with friend's 'gangs', often with bad results because I just didn't fit in or didn't like it and it really upset me. It scared me to join new things every time but something forced me to keep doing it until I found places/people I felt comfortable with. I made an idiot of myself so many times and felt so stupid but I kept doing it, and got less and less scared of doing it. It was SO worth it in the end because now I feel I have found what I need in my life and I have a sense of satisfaction that I have done it all myself and built a life for myself where I feel like I have a life rather than just existing, DESPITE the shit start I had and how people have 'tried' to make me feel crap about myself and 'taught' me that life was crap and I shouldn't expect anything good in life because it is all shit. Just because their lives were shit and they have an unconscious or conscious urge to inflict their view of life being shit on other people doesn't mean you have to have a shit life to make them feel they were correct in their view of life being shit.

God I talk bollocks grin, I don't know what I'm going to write really until I write it! Ignore me if it seems like gibberish! It helps my own thought processes to write it! Sometimes I do a post about a problem I'm having with my feelings then feel like nobody cares because nobody responds directly to me. But then while thinking about what I would say to other people about their stuff on here I think Wow, I should apply that to myself and it might be the answer for me too! It really helps me because it makes me look at things from different angles. I know that if someone doesn't have personal experience of a particular thing I've said then they probably won't have things they can say about it, and I know that part of depression or emotional conflict involves difficulty thinking outside of all your own intense and jumbled stuff in your own head, so I understand why people don't always respond directly to me. Sometimes what is important is just expressing what you are feeling in words. It is one form of expression and can help release the feelings. Expressing myself with writing seems to work the best for me, more than punching pillows etc.

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 13:16:21

Sorry, just thought of something else.

Re letter writing - lots of people say write it but don't send it as the people who hurt you will never admit it.

I must admit, I did feel really crap when I wrote a letter from the depths of my soul, which took lots of strength and courage, to my parents and my dad just said a few meaningless words on the phone and my mum didn't even acknowledge that she has read it for 3 MONTHS! and even then just said a load of excuses for why she had done what she did (or rather not done what she didn't do).

But for me, it wasn't about getting them to admit what happened or say sorry but more importantly it was about me saying I AM going to write about what happened and I am NOT going to keep it secret for the sake of family 'respectability', I am going to prove to MYSELF that I AM important enough to talk about how I feel and I value my feelings enough to do that rather than protecting my parents' feelings at the expense of my own when I did nothing wrong. It was a way of shifting the shame and blame of what happened away from myself and saying YOU and HE and THEY did these things TO me and it wasn't my fault. Just saying it made me feel a whole lot less ashamed (I know I should never have felt ashamed but it is common to feel like this isn't it if you are mistreated as a child). Writing about what happened rather than keeping it secret was like saying I'm not keeping quiet because I've got nothing to be ashamed of. If you want me to keep quiet about it then you must be ashamed of your part in it.

Despite knowing this was my purpose in writing the letter (just for myself, not for their reaction), their response (lack of) still upset me. I think it is definately a risk you take with your feelings if you send a letter like this. Once I got over that though, and I did, relatively quickly (I mean months rather than years), the feeling of relief that I had said what I wanted to say and expressed my feelings that had been long suppressed to the actual people that had caused them instead of taking it out on my DCs and DH, and the letting go of the shame and feeling I had 'given it back to' the people who caused it was amazing. It is a HUGE weight off my life and a release of the feeling that there is something I need to do before I/they die - say what I really want to say to them instead of letting it destroy my insides. It was a feeling of can't rest until I've done this, a bit like the urge I had to find my birth parents. I didn't like what I found much but I don't have it weighing on my mind anymore that it is something I still need to do.

If you still want to have a relationship with your family members after writing one of these letters I think it is a big risk that the relationship might become impossible. If deep down, you still want this then I think writing one of these letters would be quite dangerous for you. In my case though I had truly and totally given up on the idea of getting the relationship I wanted with them and had/have stopped wanting it! So there was nothing to be lost. If you feel there could be something to lose then you should think really carefully about doing it and maybe just write it and not send it.

Pages Mon 23-Feb-09 13:24:22

Hi everyone grin. This is the first opportunity I have had for ages to come on here so imagine how pleased I was at how easy it was to find you, or the words "stately homes" in the first thread I looked at. Just thought I'd check in and say hi to you all and hope you are doing okay. I often think of you, especially Ally and the funny things she she says. Also thought of you and middle sis,TMSB, when reading "A Short History of Tractors In Ukrainian" - if you havent read it I would strongly recommend it.

My situation hasnt changed, my mother is now a superficial once or twice a year part of my life, when she sees the children and we talk about neutral subjects for an hour or two and then she goes home. I know she wants to have more of a relationship with me but she is still a narcissist and will not acknowledge any of the hurt she has caused me. I have given up trying to talk to her about this now. My older brother does not have a relationship with her at all.

I was re-reading "toxic parents" last night and I realised that as a person I am actually invisible to her. I please her when I do something that reflects back well on her, when I agree with her about something or when I praise her. She rejects me when I behave in any way that does not support her good opinion of herself. She falls into the category of inadequate parents who, because she focuses her energies on her own survival, sends the message "Your feelings are not important. I'm the only one who counts". All her letters to me and my brother have been about her and what she wants and likes and doesn't want and doesn't like. She has steadfastly ignored everything we have had to say and has instead asserted her own self-serving opinions.

She told my brother recently, when he offered her an olive branch and tried to talk to her about everything, that she "doesnt know what he is on about" and prefers being around my other siblings to him because they are non-confrontational. I was interested to read last night that "toxic parents resist any external reality that challenges their beliefs. Rather than change they develop a distorted view of reality to support the beliefs they already have." This is my mother through and through.

Anyway, I generally find very little time to think about her these days.

ActingNormal, that's the best way to get your true thoughts and feelings out - just write and see what happens!

Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 13:27:08

Maybe I want to let her know how much pain her decisions have caused? DH says it won't change anything as she won't admit she has done anything wrong, she says everything she did, she did for me. hmm

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 13:49:46

Pages! Hello! I was thinking about you the other day and wondering how things were for you. I'm not surprised your mother hasn't changed, it is likely she never will and I am sure you know that for yourself. You sound as if you are in control of your relationship with her and have set your boundaries. Am glad you managed to find the latest thread easily, we are always around so not hard to find!

AN, thank you for your post. You do understand how i feel and what you said about life in caveman days is very true i think and I also think that is where this need to belong to a like-minded group stems from. You sound like you have made great efforts to find groups of people with whom you can feel a connection. I suppose i need to make more of an effort in this area, but i guess i lack confidence. There is a 'ready made' group i could make more of an effort with, ie the mums at DD's school, there always coffee mornings etc to go to, but I tend not to go. I think it is because i am not at all good in groups of people, i am much better when it's just one or two people. I had a mum over the other day and we talked quite a bit, about some quite personal things (although i didn't mention my family situation) and i felt a lot closer to her suddenly, and i have known her since DD started school over a year ago.

I would like to belong to to a community groupe, but they tend to be religion or nationality based and we don't fit into either of those groups. I have friends who are Jspanese/Greek/Italian and they all have little communities made of families from Japan/Greece/Italy and they all get together every now and then and it seems lovely. And many of them are over here with no other family and so the group becomes their wider family I suppose. I have no other family either and i guess that is what i am looking for.

But there are no groups for people like me, not religious and not a particular nationality. Any other ideas would be gratefully recieved!

And AN you most certainly do NOT talk bollocks! You talk a LOT of sense, i agree with pretty much everything in your earlier post. I am not sure if you were responding to me in your post about letter writing, but again i agree with everything you said, especially this :"Writing about what happened rather than keeping it secret was like saying I'm not keeping quiet because I've got nothing to be ashamed of. If you want me to keep quiet about it then you must be ashamed of your part in it."

I am really beginning to believe now that I have done nothing to be ashamed of, and I don't need to keep quiet about it and like you said, the only reason my parents have wanted me to keep quiet about what they did, was because they were ashamed.

I am starting to talk more openly to people about my parents and I will continue to do so.

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 13:58:03

Pages, you sound so 'sorted' and like you understand everything [admiration].

I SO agree with you about how crap parents can't 'see' their children because they are so preoccupied with their own problems and locked inside their own heads. Who their children actually are, as them, being themselves and what makes them them, and their feelings, is invisible to them like you say.

I KNOW this to be true because it is what I was like with my DCs and DH blush

I have been gradually working on this and improving. I regularly make myself focus on the children and look at them and really see them and what little things make them, them and what makes them children and what I love about them. I have started to enjoy being with them rather than seeing them as a chore and getting irritable with them when they 'intrude' into my thoughts. On my child free days (2 per week til 3.15pm) I focus on all the crap in my head and try to make sense of it and clear it so that I can be an effective mother when the children are here.

At times I've been a bloody awful mother but at least I've thought about it and talked about it on here and with Therapist and tried 'methods' to improve and new ways of thinking and I am improving. So I am better than my own parents, so there smile.

Nabster, I think it is a bloke thing to think what is the point of doing x if it doesn't provide a 'practical' and obvious solution to something.

I agree it won't change your relationship with your mum, not for the better anyway! but you have lost her already haven't you, as you don't see her anymore, have I got that right? If it releases some of your feelings to tell her how her decisions have affected you then surely it would have a purpose? I know everyone's situation is different and if a letter would make her be really horrible to you and make you feel worse then maybe it isn't the best thing. Could she make you feel worse?

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 14:19:39

AN and Pages, i 100% agree with you about how our parents simply did not see us as we actually were when we were children. Alice Miller talks all the time about how important it is for parents to really see, respect, understand and accept their children exactly as they are at any given moment in time.

AN, like you, i have been a crap parent to DD and DS. I haven't been able to really 'see' my children exactly as they are, i have been consumed with myself and all the stuff going on in my head. But, like you, i have been working hard to sort out my stuff and as i make progress with that, there seems to be a space clearing in my head which allows me to see my children, and focus fully on them and who they are. And like you, i find now that i do enjoy spending time with the DC's and do not feel irritated at their demands for attention etc.

I can see clearly now how both my parents were completely consumed with all their 'stuff' and they never dealt with it and so there was never space in their heads which allowed them to focus on me and see me for who i was. And on top of that my dad has a severe personality disorder which means he is paranoid and so as well as not seeing me, he actually thought i was somebody else, somebody who was out to 'get' him, use him, manipulate him, when all the time i was just a little girl.

Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 14:27:26

I never really and truly had her to lose to be honest but it was my decision to walk away many years ago.

Not sure what else she could do that is worse tbh apart from try and get the kids. Need to think about this some more I think.

PinkyMinxy Mon 23-Feb-09 14:46:13

Hello glad I found you all.

Pages I am fairly sure that is how my mother thinks. The warm glow of her admiration feels comforting, but her rejection can be horrid.

I was bulllied at school, but my mother now rejects this notion. I used to tlak to her about it but actually she did nothing about it- it was blamed on myover-sensitivity. SHe said recently that had she have known she would have moved me to a different school etc. What rubbish, what re-writing of history.

Oneplusone I feel upset-jealous? when I hear how well other people's familys get on.

I remember feeling astounded when friends were allowed to express opinions that were not those of their parents without being told to shut up, that they know nothing about anything. Their opinions, thoughts and feelings were not met with derision, their sibling were not encouraged to make fun of them unitl they cried.

In our house, once my mum or dad had found a nerve, it was persued with glee. Children were encouraged to join in. Then the victim (most often me, being the youngest, I suppose) was baited and would cry- which would be met with more derision. I would be told I was over-sensitive. If I retaliated, I would be told I was aggressive, nasty, or my parents would just puff out air and look away in disdain. They still do it now. If I don't give the impression of finding their insults amusing I get the full treatment.

I get blamed for 'spoiling things'.

Sorry got to go but I am in awe of how you guys are making sense of things. ActingNormal, your insights into my post onthe lastb thread were very comforting,if that makes sense.

Back later.

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 15:59:54

Has anyone found their 'creativity' at any stage in this process? I read about Alice Miller's spontaneous painting when she started to heal from her childhood. I suppose I am secretly hoping I too will discover some previously lost inner creativity at some point.

At the moment I feel I want to immerse myself in music and art and literature. I hsve, when i have the time, been trying to read some of the classics which DH read when he was a teenager, like many other teenagers. I of course was in the midst of the worst parts of my childhood at the time so was probably just trying to survive, I doubt i had the capacity or resources to read the works of Dostoevsky or the like.

I am taking DD to a classical concert soon and in a few months to a ballet. But I think it is actually me (or my inner child) who wants to experience all these things, rather than just a desire for DD to experience them.

I feel i just want to 'drink' it all in, all the things i didn't get to do as a child, learn the piano, sing. I was 'allowed' to draw and paint as a child, perhaps because my dad was interested in these things, but anything he didn't like was just non- existent. I think i was completely suppressed and stifled as a child, all my natural creative instincts were crushed, certainly not nurtured or encouraged in any way. I feel in a strange way all these intincts are coming to life now, and need to be satisfied.

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 16:13:23

And thinking about all this again makes me realise this was yet another 'loss' I suffered as a child and makes me feel sad. Alice Miller talks about recovery and healing including a 'long' process of mourning in 'The Drama' and as always she is right, i am constantly realising and discovering my 'losses', whether big or small, and feeling sad or mourning them.

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 16:16:57

Even my drawings and paintings were 'improved' or 'corrected' by my dad. I would draw something and be quite proud of it and would later come home from school to find my dad had altered/amended my creation in some way. I would get really upset and he would just laugh and not give a jot.

PinkyMinxy Mon 23-Feb-09 17:24:01

oneplusone I am an artist by profession. I kind of immersed myself in writing and drawing as a child.

It was a great outlet for a lot of my repressed feelings and thoughts.

Dad was always very hard to pleasd`eqA±e. Even did harsh critiques of holiday snaps- still does- I don't show him them any more. He thinks he's some great photographer or something.

Were anyone else's parents adept at 'bursting your bubble'? I f I felt good about anyhting my folks would see it as their role to make sure it didn't go to my head, they felt duty bound to put me down. I remember showing them my exam results for o level- A's and B's except a C in my maths- Dad took one look and said 'you only got a c in your maths..hah ha..' and that was it. Neither of my parents said anything else to me. But they loved to brag to their friends about any sucesses I had.

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 19:19:02

My parents were a bit like this as well.

I have art as a hobby and did it from a young age. My parents used to praise what I did when I was very young but when I got to a certain age they would point out mistakes or say "It is good...but..." When I passed exams they said "It's what we expected of you, now the NEXT thing you need to work on is....". I suppose it is kind of a compliment if they expected me to do well, it shows a certain amount of confidence in me, but at the time I just felt deflated. My friends' parents were getting really excited and expressive about their exam successes and I had wanted the same. My mum used to talk about how attractive she thought other girls were but she never said she thought I was attractive. My parents were too 'shy' to use any positive adjectives to me. They expected us to pass exams and go to university and the attitude was "you better work hard and pass or else" (not or else a beating or anything, or else disapproval).

My brother didn't have any 'middle class' type hobbies so didn't get any sort of praise at all, just plenty of lectures from his dad along the lines of "What are you going to do with your life because at the moment it's going nowhere". He left home and got into a gang of 'druggies'. He used a lot of will power to break away from them after about a year and a half and realised he had to do something else or he would ruin his life. So he went to college and got a degree (no praise from his parents). He then struggled to get a job but did lots of voluntary work while jobhunting (no approval from his parents). He then applied for a job that had lots and lots of applicants and several rounds of interviews and a fitness test and out of all those people, he got a job! He was jubilant! Then he told his parents, and do you know what his dad said "Well I suppose it's a job". In a 'book' of memoirs he wrote that the job my brother had would not 'go anywhere' unless he progressed to management.

I suppose these things aren't terrible but they added to my brother's feeling of "Fuck it, what's the point, I'm crap" and his self destructive behaviours. I felt pretty unimportant and like nobody was impressed by me as well. I felt that unless I did something perfectly and there was nothing they could notice fault with then they would never think I was any good. It is like their feelings for us were conditional on us achieving a high standard, we couldn't just be special by being simply us. It did affect our confidence and fear of doing things and risking failure.

Occasionally I would overhear my dad on the phone to a work colleague, talking about us as though he was proud of something we had done and it felt really good to overhear it. He never said it to us though.

I'm probably over the top the other way with my children, praising them for every little thing. It might be no good for them but I think it will be less bad than no praise at all.

PinkyMinxy Mon 23-Feb-09 22:39:44

I never really overheard them saying good things, but my parents friends would say things about it. It was as if the successes were theirs.. but all my flaws are my own.

When my dad let rip into me with the verbal abuse he would really lose it, to the point where I was hysterical, I felt as if my head would burst, hiding in my wardrobe or under my desk in my room. When he had got whatever it was out of his system, he would change tack, I was told I was being over sensitive and to get over myself.
Mother would then come in and tell me that my dad loved me really (he has never said this to me). TBH that just added to the abuse I think- it was phrased in such ways as 'he's only doing this because he cares about you..he loves you really'. So it was for my own good. I deserved it. I needed saving from myself, from having any sort of ego. Self confidence is a dirty word in my family.

I agree this is not the big, horrible stuff. I am skirting around things, really. But it did have a sort of 'drip' effect on a daily basis. I was made to feel I was oversensitive, that I couldn't trust my own recollection of events, I pushed my feelings down.

twoluvlykids Mon 23-Feb-09 22:49:32

sad

Hello.

Can anyone do a link for parts 1, 2 and 3 for this thread, please?

I've been reading part 4 since I found mn last summer.

I can't write anything down, but reading helps.

Everyone who posts on here are fantastic, strong, people and it takes me a long long time to read it all - it's so painful.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk?topicid=relationships&threadid=488264-but-we-took-you-to-stately-homes-a-thread -for#9853673

This is one part for you to read

Hi twoluvlykids

May I ask why you feel you cannot write anything down?.

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