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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families.(1000 Posts)
There is a word document with all the relevant links which I will try and find, but in the meantime...Post away.
Thread opener here: webaunty.co.uk/mumsnet/
You may need to right-click and 'unblock' it after downloading it.
It's January 2012, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.
Please check later posts in this thread for links & quotes. The main thing is: "they did do it to you" - and you can recover.
Welcome to the Stately Homes Thread.
This is a long running thread which was originally started up by 'pages' see original thread here (December 2007).
So this thread originates from that thread and has become a safe haven for Adult children of abusive families.
One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;
'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/angry/hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/lifetime experiences of being hurt/angry etc by our parents behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'
Most new posters generally start off their posts by saying; but it wasn't that bad for me or my experience wasn't as awful as x,y or z's.
Some on here have been emotionally abused and/or physically abused. Some are not sure what category (there doesnt have to be any) they fall into.
NONE of that matters. What matters is how 'YOU' felt growing how 'YOU' feel now and a chance to talk about how and why those childhood experiences and/or current parental contact has left you feeling damaged falling apart from the inside out and stumbling around trying to find your sense of self-worth.
You might also find the following links and information useful if you have come this far and are still not sure whether you belong here or not.
'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.
I started with this book and found it really useful.
Here are some excerpts:
"Once you get going, most toxic parents will counterattack. After all, if they had the capacity to listen, to hear, to be reasonable, to respect you feelings, and to promote your independence, they wouldn't be toxic parents. They will probably perceive your words as treacherous personal assaults. They will tend to fall back on the same tactics and defenses that they have always used, only more so.
Remember, the important thing is not their reaction but your response. If you can stand fast in the face of your parents' fury, accusations, threats and guilt-peddling, you will experience your finest hour.
Here are some typical parental reactions to confrontation:
"It never happened". Parents who have used denial to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy or anxiety will undoubtedly us it during confrontation to promote their version of reality. They'll insist that your allegations never happened, or that you're exaggerating. They won't remember, or they will accuse you of lying.
YOUR RESPONSE: Just because you don't remember, doesn't mean it didn't happen".
"It was your fault." Toxic parents are almost never willing to accept responsibility for their destructive behavior. Instead, they will blame you. They will say that you were bad, or that you were difficult. They will claim that they did the best that they could but that you always created problems for them. They will say that you drove them crazy. They will offer as proof the fact that everybody in the family knew what a problem you were. They will offer up a laundry list of your alleged offenses against them.
YOUR RESPONSE: "You can keep trying to make this my fault, but I'm not going to accept the responsibility for what you did to me when I was a child".
"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.
YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me to make a better relationship."
"We did the best we could." Some parents will remind you of how tough they had it while you were growing up and how hard they struggled. They will say such things as "You'll never understand what I was going through," or "I did the best I could". This particular style of response will often stir up a lot of sympathy and compassion for your parents. This is understandable, but it makes it difficult for you to remain focused on what you need to say in your confrontation. The temptation is for you once again to put their needs ahead of your own. It is important that you be able to acknowledge their difficulties without invalidating your own.
YOUR RESPONSE: "I understand that you had a hard time, and I'm sure that you didn't hurt me on purpose, but I need you to understand that the way you dealt with your problems really did hurt me"
"Look what we did for you." Many parents will attempt to counter your assertions by recalling the wonderful times you had as a child and the loving moments you and they shared. By focusing on the good things, they can avoid looking at the darker side of their behavior. Parents will typically remind you of gifts they gave you, places they took you, sacrifices they made for you, and thoughtful things they did. They will say things like, "this is the thanks we get," or "nothing was ever enough for you."
YOUR RESPONSE: I appreciate those things very much, but they didn't make up for ....
"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realize that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.
YOUR RESPONSE: I'm sorry you're upset. I'm sorry you're hurt. But I'm not willing to give up on this. I've been hurting for a long time, too."
Personality Disorders definition
Follow up to pages first thread:
Im sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally dont claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support.
Happy Posting (smithfield posting as therealsmithfield)
I have cut and pasted this because I think it is fab. Just in case anyone misses the link.
More helpful links:
Daughters of narcissistic mothers
Out of the FOG
You carry the cure in your own heart
Help for adult children of child abuse
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child
Thank you Garlic...you're a star!!!! xx
I had tried to start the next thread a couple days ago, but my Mac buggered up the Word document.
I'm still in Psychodynamic therapy and it is working One year so far. Bit of a way to go to recover but getting there xxx YAYYYYYY
Thanks Garlic for posting that.
Was anyone else a carer at too young an age? I more or less had to do so for an older sibling with MH problems...would like to know how others feel/felt about being in that situation.
Thank you Garlic
I know I don't post much, most of the time I just can't face it. But I do lurk and I had a sort of panic when I couldn't find it.
Hello Stately Homers, there is someone on Mental Health who could do with some help. She started off posting about depression, then it emerged that she has a backstory . She's accessed antidepressants, and was supposed to be accessing counselling today - but her first session seemed inappropriate.
link to thread
She began the thread as Idontdeservethem, but changed recently to Ikeatears. She has lurked here, but can't face explaining it all again, said it was OK for me to ask tho.
I have no idea if I belong here but at 37 years old I'm still struggling with my relationship with my mother.
I'll try to keep this brief. When I was growing up I was never told that I was loved. No cuddles. No praise. I always had to listen to my mum going on about such and such's daughter and how wonderful she was. I was criticised at every opportunity. I felt like I was a huge irritant to my mother. I was desperate for some kind of evidence that
she loved me so I started to act up. I ran away once, they never even noticed. I went home at bed time because I was cold and hungry.
By my late teens I couldn't bare it anymore and left home at 18. I then went on to sleep with anyone who showed me a bit of interest. I was so desperate to be loved and actually really desperate for somebody to just cuddle me.
Years later I'm 37, married with three dc 13, 11 and 2.
I'm still desperate for my mothers approval.
She criticises my parenting, house work etc. She will literally stand over me while I'm trying to deal with dd throwing a tantrum, telling me I'm doing it wrong.
She idolises my brother who has just finish his PHd. My younger sister lives in Australia which my mother gets very upset by. It makes our relationship even worse too because she wishes it was my sister who was still here and not me.
I've tried to talk to my mum over the years but she explodes into a rage about everything they've done for me blah blah blah. She will storm out and never give me chance to get my point across.
I still get deeply upset by all this. I have suffered with bad depression and really really needed her but she wasn't there.
This past week I have decided to try and partially cut her out of my life. She is welcome to stay in touch with my child via FB etc but I myself will be only communicate with her when absolutely necessary.
I've deleted her from my FB and will no longer be inviting her to family things, kids school plays etc
I just need to be free of this hold she has on me.
Am I in tbe right place? Am I over reacting and need to get a grip. Does she sound 'toxic'
Sorry, that wasn't at all brief and is full of typos!
I didn't notice the typos and yes, she is toxic
You've done the right thing to cut her out. You've tried to talk to her but she pours more vitriol. She makes it clear that she wants the far-off daughter (sensible far-off her) to be here yet ignores you, when you are near. How was she with your sister? You mention the golden boy (your brother) but not your sister. Has your sister moved away to get away from your poisonous mother? Where was your dad in all this?
My dad has always just kept out of it but will always side with my mother if pressed. My mother is very dominant in their relationship though.
Dsis never seems to get on much better with my mother. She is the baby of the family and seemingly can do no wrong.
I don't know what it is about me but there is something in my that my mother doesn't like. She has never understood me. I'm so different from her and she just can't comprehend that her way often isn't my way. As I've got older I am the only one who will, occasionally, challenge her about the things she says as she hates that.
I was thinking last night about something that happened many years ago. When I was 17 I had my first boyfriend. We had a huge fight and he actually punched me in the face and banged my head against the wall. I was distraught and really upset. My mum was angry with ME! she actually said 'how can you do this to me'. Not once did anyone comfort me or hug me. I really really needed my Mum and she was just too wrapped up in herself to be there for me.
Why has it taken me 37 years to realise that it's my Mum at fault not me? I've spent my whole life feeling like I'm defected in some way. But it's not me, it's my mother!
You definitely belong here, Memoo. I am so for the child you, and the 17 year old who was physically assaulted, and then emotionally assaulted by her own mother when she needed comfort and help.
Have you checked out some of the links and books at the start of this thread?
Would you consider counselling?
Do NOT beat yourself up, like you're doing about only figuring this out now. What else could you do? You were raised with abuse, trained to accept it from babyhood. It's no wonder you had a violent boyfriend at 17: to those like us, abuse feels like love, because it's what we know. (my first boyfriend tried to rape me. I also figured it must be my fault, since that's the message I had been getting from my parents all my life.)
It's a really tough journey, but there is a better life waiting for you once you confront these truths head on, get angry, grieve, and then move on with your own life, free from the mental grip of an abusive childhood.
Hi all, I have lurked and posted her under a different name, just wanted to mark my place really.
I can't say much now but sending you all love.
I've been directed here by Attila -- thanks again! Really appreciate it
I started a thread yesterday about my mum, she is visiting us and it's a total nightmare and I'm really struggling. Here's the backstory:
I've just read the introduction to this thread and burst into tears. I recognise so, so much in there.
I'm still really struggling with saying my childhood was bad. I mean, I think it was, but my mum is really rejecting this idea and that makes me seriously question myself and ask if I'm overreacting.
I'm just going to go back and read the older threads. Thank you everyone for sharing all this, I hope it will really help because I'm so shattered right now.
Memoo I hope you find this thread really helpful too. It sounds like you're doing the right thing going forward.
It was a revelation when I realised it wasn 't me who was 'mad'! I was in my late 30s when I finally realised that, had had a lifetime of shit relationships which I had thought I was only good for.
Memoo, I had the same thing - I got stalked, so my mother accused me (in complete hysterical anger) multiple times of ruining her life! Note she analysed him to death, but never once attached the blame to him. Obviously I should have had a crystal ball . It takes time but eventually you start to detach from the feeling of needing them to love you. (Not there yet, and am still a work in progress.)
She used to complain when I asked for hugs - now with my DD I can't imagine doing that! Funnily having my own DD, has brought alot of stuff / memories up as she is like a mirror image of me as a child. Also repeatedly told me that having me had ruined her life. Then because it upset me, that meant I was weak. I remember being desperate to be loved, and thinking if I wasn't around then at least my parents would get on. I only really started to stand up for myself last year at 34 - you aren't alone!
The best thing I have done is realise that my Dad is not a victim - he's an enabler. He made his choice, and I no longer have to play his game, because she can be nice sometimes. I used to play the game for his sake. Now he looks at me sadly, and says what do you want me to do, I can't leave her now ..... I couldn't care less what he does, its his life, but I can choose not to be on the receiving end. I feel sorry for her, but more like I'd feel sorry for an ill dog and pat it on the head. I won't be looking after when she gets old - she'll go in a home. And they both know that. We didn't do Christmas Day with them - and it was bliss!
The less I care about what she thinks, the easier I find it to make sensible choices that I am happy with - rather than knee jerk ones to keep her happy and stop her shouting at me / my Dad. Its a slow process, and I wish you all the luck in the world making the journey. Feel the fear and do it anyway - I'd like a nice mother - I don't - and the worse that happens if I never see her - well I haven't lost anything. And the best thing I was told, you can only forgive someone who is genuinely sorry. You don't have to try to be the better person, especially not in their eyes, you just have to be able to respect yourself.
Longer than I'd intended, sorry for rambling and hugs to you all.
I've lurked on this for a while and just read dreaming's thread about mums. Becoming a mum has made me think more about my relationship with my parents and it's not good I've read the Toxic Parents book & some things resonated but my upbringing wasn't nearly as bad as any of the examples in there but it wasn't great.
I think as an adult I'm realising that my parents are both selfish, self absorbed people who are terrible at dealing with negative emotions and have low self esteem. When bad things happen to me, they shout at me and say stupid stuff about never letting me leave the house so bad things can't happen to me, as if it's my fault. I'm in my 30s and moved out at 18 so it's such a ridiculous response to life events! When good stuff happens to me they minimise it or make snidey comments but they are hugely gushing about others achievements. It's really draining.
However, I'm trying to be strong as I don't want their crap spreading to my dc now. It started during pregnancy, calling my unborn baby 'naughty' when I had pregnancy issues and now I'm a 'nasty' mum according to my mum every time she speaks to my two month old. I'm standing up for me and baby when she says stuff like this but she doesn't seem to be taking it on board. Last time they visited she called my baby a 'fraud' because he stopped crying when I fed him. I know this sounds petty but in my mind what point is there in speaking to me and my child with such negativity? It's not funny and even if it were true it wouldn't make me a better mum by simply pointing out my failings.
It's sad cos my mum wants a chocolate box mum-daughter relationship where we chat every day and go shopping and stuff. And I do too, but not with how she is. It's just so sad
I'm a bit speechless at the moment. I feel like I'm in shock. All these memories that I had buried deep are flooding back and it's over whelming.
Do you know after my boyfriend assaulted me when I was 17 my parents sent me away to stay with my grandparents for 3 months. They couldn't deal with it so they fecking sent me away. They never visited me once in 3 months.
Sorry to sound so dramatic. I'm so angry. How can I suddenly be so upset and angry about things that happened years ago? I don't understand why it's hit me now.
I suffer with bad depression and anxiety and I'm sure it all stems from my childhood.
Go ahead and be angry. You should be. At them.
Depression is anger turned inwards. Time to direct that anger where it belongs.
I am in therapy again. The therapist explained it as trauma bubbles...they get hidden away until one is able to cope with them again. Dissociation.
When the trauma bubbles start to float from your subconscious into your consciousness, then you are ready to deal with it all. Don't worry about being flooded. We are amazing creatures, this stuff comes up because we are ready to deal with it!
Sometimes, it is useful to make ourselves conscious of the ground beneath us, to stay grounded and connected to the here and now.
Pete-walker.com has a page of coping strategies, for when it feels overwhelming.
And there is no such thing as not as bad. It WAS bad, there can't be degrees of bad. It hurt, it was wrong, and it was not our fault. That is bad.
I have a cpn and a psychiatrist because of my depression. Im on a waiting list for counselling but I guess it's going to be a while yet.
Does anyone have any idea how much a private councillor would cost?
I'm really upset tonight. I know this is going to sound stupid but now I know I have to cut her out I feel really sad.
Its like I'm mourning.
What I just dont get is what it is about me that irritates my mother so much. She only has to look at me and I'm doing something wrong.
I emailed this in a private message tonight- i saw this thread. I need support, clear and simple, I feel lost, years of me denying whats happened to myself has made me fall apart; here goes- plus I have just bought toxic parents on my kindle....
My father was an alcoholic, my parents split when i was 18. I moved in with my dad as his carer, went to hell and back, putting him into rehab, working to support us and my 14 year old sister, stopping him from killing himself (twice) once with a gun which had to be disabled by police, i met my dh we went on holiday after knowing each for 4 months, my df had a dirty protest for the 2 weeks we were away, my dh helped me clean his shit off the lounge ceiling. Life was grim. My mother during this time was getting on with her new life with a new husband, I was a black sheep and my sister a teenage deliquant in her eyes. Fast forward to when i was 23, my father was found dead, i was his next of kin, had to identify him, pick his coffin and pay £5k for his funeral, the morning the police informed me my mother came over first thing she said was ' he will need a porpers funeral as he has no money'. Nice. she stayed 5 mins at the funeral and said she had to leave as it was making her new husband feel uncomfortable, her children were 23 and 18.
From a child some of earliest memories where her holding my hand and rolling my knuckles, try dong it to yourself- its painful. Locking us outside in the garden- naked- this progressed to us being chucked out on the front drive in our bra and pants at 13, we lived on a main road and had to hide behind the cars. several black eyes and a chunk out my forehand from a set of keys. Regular strangulation etc.
of course none of this happened, she remembers nothing, or likes to pretend she doesn't.
I talk little about my past to dh. He has witnessed her emotional abuse, for example not speaking to me for 6 mothers as I didn't buy her a birthday with 'mother' on it regardless of the beautiful present that accompanied the card. I called her to tell her I was pregnant, she said 'shame' and put the phone down, i called her 12 weeks later to say I had lost the baby, she told me to get on with it.
My dh had heard of my mothers violence but never witnessed it, until new years eve, she tried to stab me with a cheese knife in front of my 3 and 2 year old. She called me a murderer as I didn't save my dad, she told me I was a whore because I slept with my first boyfriend when I was 14, she told me she wished I was dead. My children , my dh and i were locked in the conservatory for our own safety, we got a taxi and left at 2am.
I stupidly let her into my house on my dds 4th birthday last week, my dd asked if she was sorry for making mommy cry, she said no and left. My dd thought she had upset her grandma. the woman is evil and damaging. i am weak at the moment. I am now in therapy and a large amount of valium to help with panic attacks, I am 29 she is destroying me and that is why I have to walk away or I think i may do her in.
Thing is on the surface we had everything, big house, flash cars etc, we were well educated, so in a way i feel more ashamed, my life was a sham and I doubt people would believe what went on, so i seek solice in threads like this.
Please support me x
What a brave and special woman you are fortoday. I don't come from a toxic family (though they were a bit weird and neglectful in a way), but I am currently ending a long financially abusive marriage, and the thing I relate to is the shame. Reading on here has brought home to me that the shame I feel should be his shame, just as your shame is hers. But if they could have felt shame, then they wouldn't have acted as they did.
I'm sure lots of wiser people with more experience will be replying, I was just moved by your post.
Oh, fortoday, I am so sorry for all you've suffered. What an awful, awful woman your mother is. Actually I'd call her evil - a word I rarely use, even of sadists like her. Of course you should excise such a person from your life. Of course you'd want to protect your children from her.
It's incredible that you managed to form a stable, happy family of your own! Please give yourself credit for your achievements
Are you afraid of 'divorcing' your mother?
Do you secretly fear that you deserve to be treated with disdain & cruelty?
Both of those are completely normal for people who've been abused, especially as children. It is a desired outcome for abusers; that way they believe they'll retain control.
It is in your power to choose not to be controlled by other people. Your therapy should help you to believe it. I hope it will also offer you the space to feel sorrow and anger, which are wholly appropriate.
Feel free to write as much as you like. Nobody here will try to minimise your truths.
thanks for your support- I feel like I am making progress as i am able to admit to it. I haven't my whole life, I felt the shame and also that people wouldn't believe me.
I told my dh last night that I hated her and that he had to help me to keep her away from me, she has such a hold over me especially since I have had my own children, like I owe her the chance to be a gp. But she used to look after my niece one day a week and i used to go with my children, i thought at the time her behaviour was just strict but it mirrored what she did to us as kids, screaming, ranting, telling her to 'fuck off' under her breath, no patience at all. She no longer looks after her now. she would say I was so patient with my children, but i knew she was indicating i was weak and no strict enough because she would then pick up on the things they did that didnt conform to what she thought was acceptable, my response, in my head, as i could never say it to her was what 2and 3 year old child sits still at the dinner table, I don't know one! Little things like that, she would make me feel like I was failing. Also whenever I changed things for example putting up reward charts, night lights etc, she would say 'i told you that would work that was my idea' but it never was she wouldn never have offered me any advice.
I just feel such rage at the moment, I have found i have cut out a lot of friends because I have put up with things and people just to get by, I don't feel like i need to be surrounded by fake people anymore, I just want my family, my bubble as it is the only place where I feel normal and not putting on a front.
I just don't think i can confide in people other than my dh and therapist as my story, the events of my childhood and early adulthood seem like a fairytale.
I don't think my mum was or is very toxic but she was always very cold with all three of us. She thought I was irritating and talked too much. Probably did of course but still... I honestly can't remember a genuine hug or kiss from her, beyond a casual embrace/peck on the cheek when arriving/leaving. To this day we are not particularly close and it makes me quite sad at times.
fortoday have PMed you
I know what you mean, I have my own family now and over the years I've built up a nice substitute family of friends, and I just want to be at peace with the people I care about and not deal with my parents at all.
My mum finally left today, one of the last things she said was 'Hopefully I'll drop dead soon and then you'll be happy'.
I would happily never talk to her again but oh my god the drama. I have a lot of thinking to do.
Dammit, just did a post addressing Memoo, Fortoday, dreamingbohemian and Mimishimi but managed to lose it somehow.
Haven't got time to repost but am thinking of you
Thank you mampan
How do you go about cutting somebody out of your life? I'm ignoring the frequent calls from my mother because I'm so angry at tbe moment I just can't talk to her.
Do I just keep ignoring until she gets the message?
I'm scared Im hurting her. In fact I have no idea what I am doing.
Its not easy to cut parents out of your life. I have tried (by just ignoring). The problem that I have found is that the rest of the family (parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews) just carries on in its messy way with or without me and after a while I started to feel very left out Its not that they don't include me its just that all get togethers tend to be at one or other of our parents houses (they are divorced).
I did tell my mother that she could not visit us on one of her "grand tours" of her children and it did hurt her so off she went and bitched about me to my siblings. But because I'm not talking to her I can't yell and scream at her, which wouldn't achieve anything any way as that is exactly what she would expect from me... actually I can see that I'm going round in circles here.
The point is that I haven't actually spoken to either of my parents since July 2011. It hurt a lot and I got a bit depressed for a few months but now I feel really quite calm about it. I don't jump everytime the phone rings, though I do get DH or DS1 to answer it. I have been in email contact with my Mum recently and the funny thing is that I seem to have developed a sense of humour where she is concerned BUT the emails a short and impersonal, I don't ask after her wellbeing and I don't answer her questions after mine.
It is so hard to cut your parents out. I have managed it for just over 14months now (mother, step father and older brother although older bro cut himself off from me because I won't have anything to do with mother). To be honest I have tried many times before and failed. This time I was already seeing a counsellor which helped tremendously. Also I just came to the point where I felt enough was enough. I had to evaluate what was more important to me. Previously I have caved in because my mother has used my DC as a way of making me feel guilty, she tries the "I'm going to commit suicide" trick to reel me back in, she will try and turn anyone she can against me, family, friends, neighbours.
This time I just realised (with the help of my counsellor) that it really doesn't matter and I don't care what other people think of me, anyone who does matter to me will know the truth anyway. She keeps trying to use the kids to get to me but I just ignore her and she reminds me everytime of the games she's playing when she sends DC's birthday cards with " To dearest DC, we love you and miss you so much, always thinking of you, lots and lots of love from Nan and Grandad xxxx" and on my birthday I get a card "To Mampam, from mum and dad". Hardly speaks of a loving mother does it? and as for the suicide thing.......she's threatened it that many times over the years and never gone through with it (she once threatened to drown herself in the sea because my brother lost his car keys) and to be honest I just thought at the time if she did go through with it I would be free. Harsh but true.
It is hard and I think you really need to be in the right headspace to see it through. Over the last year and finally at the age of 32 I've realised I can be the person who I've always wanted to be and I'm very happy and I'm a really good mum (I've never been able to say that before). I don't want to go back from this so my mother will never be allowed back into my life.
I really need to know if this is normal or not because I am losing my mind.
I am young, very, early twenties. I have DS who is 3. My H left us when DS was nine months old. Since then my dad has been DS's male role model and they are extremely close.
I have met a new man. He is lovely. My parents agree that he is a nice guy and in no way are me and DS in danger nor would he ever do anything bad to us like mess us around.
They are totally against it for the following reasons.
1. If eventually we got married I would have to move away. This would be a long distance relationship and they don't think it will work. I am able to go down for as long as I like with DS (though will never go for too long because DS needs his home routine as well) and I could go regularly with DS. Also, he could come here 4 times a year. In between all that there is skype on which both DS and I can interact with him.
2. They just don't think we are a good match. They think we are too different and that I will get bored. Admittedly we are different but not in values, only hobbies, and I have never liked sharing my hobbies. I have known him for two years and have never once been bored either online talking (which we do for a few hours daily) or when he has spent time with us here.
3. They say they would not cope if DS left and think no man could ever love DS like my dad does or be his father to DS like my dad is I don't live with my dad, he acts like a grand dad in every way, he is not my son's father but I admit they are very close. They are together on weekends during the day and dad travels DS to and from nursery mon to thurs.
Now I accept they don't like it and I accept they would struggle if we did eventually leave (it's not like I am going with in a year!!) but the reaction I am getting is (and is a common reaction whenever I have done something in my life that they don't like)
"so you are going against the family?! "
"you'll regret that"
"Oh this is so wrong, it's so wrong "
"how can you do this to us?"
"we are not sleeping"
"this will all go wrong"
I get ignored and the atmosphere is so vile and tense it's painful. My father actually snapped at new P when he was last here because he tried to help DS with something when everyone else was busy cleaning up after dinner. He actually shouted to him to leave DS alone while walking towards him aggressively and then later mocked P in a belittling way when P was trying to explain Rugby to me saying '<snort> <you're thick face> It's much more complex than that' when P was only trying to give me the basics!
I feel like I am a terrible person for ignoring my families feelings by dating this guy Give it to me straight. Am I wrong?
They loved my SIL and really encouraged my brother in that relationship until they found out she is not what they wanted for him (independent, bit of a feminist, a clean freak - like those are awful things?! - and so close to her own family that she didn't want to live right beside my parents - which was horrendous apparently )
SHThread - only you can tell whether the new guy is right for you or not. Your parents are not normal - if they were they would be being pleased for you. It doesn't sound like your dad's behaviour is a great influence on your son, really.
You say you don't live with them - so if they are being vile to you, don't visit. If they ask, tell them why. Could you do that? The words "you can gain a son or lose a daughter, it's your choice" spring to mind, but I can see that might be really hard to say!
There is no real need for NewP and your parents to see each other, is there?
Giving it to you straight - your family are terrible people for ignoring your feelings by treating you this way. Does that help? It is not up to your parents to choose who you date. You are not doing anything "to" them. You are doing what people do - growing up, finding a partner, moving on ... Not that you're that young!
Time to put some distance between you and them I think!
Thank you Bertha, it is so good to hear someone else say it. When I am with them and family I get sucked in to how they are and question myself.
My sister today told me that my father was crying last night and that I was being selfish to 'do this to the family' and I thought, but surely it is my life to make my decisions about?!
She slated NewP for 'breaking up a family'! All my P has done is tried to keep me calm about the whole thing and tell me to try and be patient with them and not get to angry.
She also told me that I needed mum and dad. This idea of needing them has been pushed on me for a long time. I did need them when oldP first left me and very small DS and I appreciate the help I get from them, but I feel able to move on now. But of course once again I will be the bad one in the family, the one everyone is disappointed in.
I feel like a teenager who wants to grab DS and run away
I told my mother today that all she would achieve was to push us away. She said she wouldn't be able to accept it until we married.
The thing with distancing myself is I would get the tears, the sob story and I really struggle to deal with it
so today my mom texted me and asked me to go to her house so my dc could see their grandad (my sf). Its laughable really after what she done, but before she came to my house for the first time since the event a few weeks ago i called her when i was out shopping and i was having a good day a strong day and suggest i drop in, she was out anyway so didn't, i think it was a mix of dreading to see her the following day at my home and the feeling of 'lets get it out the way'.
Anyway I have seen her three times now and she has not said sorry or even really discussed what she did on new year, i.e calling me a murderer and also trying to stab me infront of my toddler.
So daily I am getting stronger and feeling less vunerable, so i replied and said that i wasn't ready to go back to her house, but why don't we go to the park. She replied that once I had 'got over' my 'panic thingys' to let her know and also she didn't understand why i had suggested to go round that time.
I replied saying that it was due to having a good day and also the pent up anxiety of the impending visit later that week was stressing me out so i thought getting the initial meeting out the way (where i thought she would at least acknowledge what happened and say sorry- which she didn't) would help towards resolving the situation. I reiterated that i was her and her husband to see the kids and i was willing to compromise and that she should and basically told her that the situation wasn't resolved.
WTF- this woman is driving me nuts, i'm trying to be reasonable but even my 4 year old can't understand why she hasn't said sorry and also i still don't know the damage it did to my kids on new years seeing their grandma attacks their mother in such a violent way, i can't take them back there when my 2 year old has only just stopped waking at night saying someone is trying to get her which i link to that night.
help me please tonight i need it xxx
following on I have received a response to my compromise which was 'ok, well lets get on with our own lives bye.'
why can't she understand that I am not ready to go to the house where she attacked me. Why can't she feel humbled by the fact I am even entertaining her seeing my children after what she did? WHY HAS SHE NOT SAID SORRY!! OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED WHAT SHE HAS DONE!!!!!!!!
hi all. i've been lurking on this thread for over a year now and i think that maybe it's time to join. if only for now to thank you all for sharing your stories and especially your insights, because they are really (already have) changing my life. after a long time of on-and-off depression during my teens and as an adult, a long string of failed relationships and friendships and always feeling out of control of whichever crazy direction i was taking at that point, through you i started to put all my feelings and intuitions about the cause being how i grew up into place. you also pointed me in the direction of my inner child and transactional analysis, and i am now in therapy unravelling it all. i'm still a lot in my head, i still am in an unhealthy relationship and am still far from the mum i want to be, but i'm changing and - lo and behold! - life seems to be changing with me .
i decided to mark my place here today, because yesterday i had a long 'truth telling' session with my dad. he took some of the facts on board, reluctantly, but showed no compassion for the kid i was (his kid!) and only a little for the adult me. it was surreal, sometimes scary, but in an absurd way also liberating, and i think i have done the right thing. i don't want to talk more about it, maybe later/need to process, but i am scared of the fall-out this might cause within my family. i don't know if he is going to take anything i said to the rest of them, but all of them live in my home country and i won't be there to see what happens and i feel guilty for possibly putting my brother and esp sister in the position of having to deal with it. so, just marking my spot for possible advice and handholding needed in the near future.
we did leave the discussion on fairly amicable terms (i stayed adult), because i know he is not going to change his mind or memories just because some daughter of his tells him some home truths. so maybe he is not going to say anything at all, leave it all be and let me change my relationship with them to a more acceptable level for me and it will all have been a really good thing. he's coming round in a bit and will leave the uk today, so let's see .
SHT- you are not wrong.
fortoday - I don't understand why you keep seeing her tbh?
The short answer to why she has not apologised to you (and will not do so) is because she is a toxic parent. Normal reasoned argument does not work on such dysfunctional people as they operate outside "normal" familial codes regarding family relations. You do not have to seek her approval any more; it will not be given besides which you do not need her approval for anything. She has failed you utterly, you owe this woman nothing.
fortoday, it sounds like your mother is mad, to use an old-fashioned term! Editing out important, but unpleasant, parts of history (like, er, stabbing your daughter) is a self-protective mechanism that goes haywire in people with serious mental disorders. Another such mechanism is recalling the event, but feeling it was out of the sufferer's control.
It's completely natural to wish you had a sane, balanced mother but that can't happen, sadly. You, however, can be that mother for your own DC. I'm certain that, when you get around to discussing it with properly qualified professionals, they'll urgently recommend keeping your children away from her. You've already seen that she interacts with them the way she did with you as a child. I'm pretty sure you don't want to inflict that on your own.
As something of an aside, my sister still believes our dad mellowed with age. Yet my mother has told me he thumped one of sister's toddlers so hard, he flew across the room. People who are that broken don't magically get better. And they hardly ever perceive themselves as broken so, even if treatment were available, they wouldn't seek it.
I really hope your counsellor's good enough to support you through complete detachment from your mother. Posters here will help, too.
meiinlove - thanks for posting your story (to date!). Well done for staying adult with your dad.
I agree fortoday that your mother appears to have a significant MH disorder (insane) and I hope it won't be too long before you are able to finally leave her behind.
thank you- i know i should see her but i just feel that i should let her see my dc, but thiking about that i could never trust her alone with them again and also not to use them to get at me, she already has already done this to me emotionally so I couldn't be sure she wouldn't physically affect them in some way in the future.
I just feel like I need a really big cuddle at the moment, i am so used to hiding my mothers abuse, I feel i have reached a point where i can't accept support on the matter, I have completely shut my friends out, i suppose this is the damage she has done, what she wanted really as she wanted to isolate me.
The whole process is getting harder and harder and i just feel like i'm not coping. I know what i need to do i mean her last contact was to tell me that we needed to get on with our own lives and goodbye- she's broken the contact., i just feel so sad that I wasn't able to tell her all the wrongs she has done to me.
She'll be back in contact i am assured of that but i also know that if i bump into in town she would deliberately walk past me and the dc, she has done that before, my eldest dd kept shouting after her and the cold hearted cow didn't even turn around. i hate her.
meant to say shouldn't see her!
Hi, if some1 suffered abuse not from parents but other ppl can they post on this thread?
Hello, used to post on here under a different name. Things are tough at the moment and I can't help wondering if I'll ever escape the curse of my childhood
It's not my parents that cause me grief anymore - it's the behaviour patterns and insecurities they left me with.
Just marking my place really.
I'm after some hand holding, really - I'm getting really nervous about next weekend.
I've not seen my parents for over 4 years, and last spoke to them over the phone three years ago - there have been a few letters/cards here and there until their final rejection 6 months ago
Next weekend, I'm going to a family gathering at the specific request of another family member - my parents will be there, as will my exH who my parents have developed a close friendship with and have supported and favoured despite our very acrimonious split. This is one of the reasons for my estrangement from them.
DD is going to the event with exH, not me; all her contact with my family is through exH. The family member concerned has been very conflicted as to whether invite exH or not, but as he has been "part of the family" (included by my parents) they feel they should invite him, too. ExH has no social skills at all - he will undoubtedly be oblivious to the awkwardness that some guests will feel about his presence - and in fact, I suspect that he plans to use the event as an opportunity to announce his fiancées pregnancy to everyone, including DD (which he hasn't told me about but it's pretty obvious).
My wonderful DP is coming with me - he has never met any of my family despite us being together for over 2 years. I don't feel inclined to introduce him to my parents tbh - why should I? They have refused several times to meet him in the past
DP & I have booked to make a weekend of it; even if the event itself is awful, we thought we could at least enjoy a couple of nights in a hotel, do some sightseeing etc - but it now seems likely that my exH & fiancée will be staying the same hotel as us No chance of changing it (only one in the area) - so will have to grin and bear it.
My plan is to maintain a dignified presence for the sake of the family member who invited us; but will undoubtedly be raiding the mini-bar once back at the hotel and end up a sobbing, crumpled mess on DP's shoulder behind closed doors
Hi, Lily. Yes, of course
Fragilistic, I've PMed you.
(((((( fortoday ))))))
It is horrible to lose a mother, even when that mother was an imaginary one symbolised by a mean-minded old witch!! Please, please don't be afraid to seek support. You've bravely shouldered so much responsibility. It's all right to let some of that go, you know.
Yikes, Disney, sounds like a nightmare weekend I hope you and DP have managed to make an enjoyable (entertaining?!) trip out of, despite family weirdness. Let us know, won't you?
I've been working up to posting on here for a while. I've read some other people's stories and while some things do resonate with me, others are far far worse than what I've experienced. I know it's not right to minimise your own feelings and I suppose in a way I've tried to convince myself that things aren't really that bad, but lately everything has been bubbling up and I think now I have to deal with it in some way once and for all.
Like a lot of people have mentioned here, my real examination of my relationship with my parents started after a period of bad depression, died down for a while and then flared up again when I had my son the year before last. Basically, my parents were always 100% there for me on practical terms, I had a very very stable childhood. We didn't have a lot of money but we never wanted for anything material. There were a lot of positive things about my childhood, the highlight being the birth of my sister when I was 7. I also have an older sister who is a bitch.
The issue was a complete and total lack of emotional support. I was sexually abused by a family friend when I was about 5 (memories are sketchy - thankfully). My mother was complicit in the sense that she got annoyed with me when I didn't want to be bathed by her friend (a man I hardly knew) and basically forced me to go with him, at which point the abuse began. In subtle ways it affected me when I was growing up but I only started remembering things when I was about 16. Things came to a head when I was 19 when I met my DH. I opened up to him and he was hugely supportive. I then decided to talk to my mother about it. By what she said I knew that she had always had some inkling at least that I had been abused yet she had never done anything about it. When I tried to talk to her about it she completely fobbed me off. A few years later I suffered severe depression. Her response was to scream and cry, to tell me how stressed she was about it, and to eventually stop talking to me about it and to pretend nothing was happening. I got phone calls from bitch sister telling me how I was destroying my mother. The basic response was that I had no right to be ill and that by not pretending to be ok I was being selfish.
It was at that point I realised that this was a theme that ran through my whole childhood - any negative emotion must be completely hidden. I was never hugged or given encouragement or praise. I wasn't particularly criticised either as far as I can remember although people have commented that I have a very thick skin and that I can take a huge amount of negativity without flinching, so perhaps she was critical and I just found a way to cope. Even if I was ill I was always dealt with reluctantly. My mother in particular would never go out of her way to help me - anything that deviated from the routine was greeted with huffs and puffs and "I suppose I'll have to do it." I always felt like an inconvenience and that any extra help or support I needed beyond the basics was a massive effort.
Shortly after my bout of depression DH and I moved from Ireland to England. It was a great move, I feel so much freer being physically far away from my family (apart from my lovely sister, who I hope is moving over soon). I didn't realise how oppressive I found being near them until I got here. I just feel relaxed without them. My parents took little interest in me until DS was born at the end of 2010 and suddenly they wanted to start visiting. I've had them over a couple of times and it's been fine, friendly, but underneath I feel angry towards them. I do feel like cutting contact completely but I know that would make things hard for my sister and the last thing I want is for her to suffer. Also, I don't want to deprive them of their grandson, with whom they are kind and almost loving. I honestly feel though that my life would be simpler if I pretended they didn't exist.
As it stands they don't ring me, ever. My mother texts now and again, that's it. I suppose I'm carrying so much unvented anger that even talking to them feels like too much of a chore. I just can't understand how they could be so cold, when I feel what I feel for my wonderful DS. I could never behave towards him the way they behaved towards me - his tears just break my heart and I want to cuddle him forever, not run away like they do.
I'm not sure where to go from here.
Thank you, &garlic*. All hugs gratefully received
Sorry I am not in the right frame of mind to advise other people at the moment. But I am reading.
Callin I do understand about all the anger. I don't feel actively angry with my parents any more really - I'm further along in this process than you and have taken steps to have a relationship (or rather non-relationship) where i am in control. I know that there are parts of their behaviour I will never understand (or forgive) but I have made peace with that.
But I do feel I am still left with anger and sensitivity to unfairness towards me, which I am now unhealthily bringing to my current life.
callin my hand is here if you need to hold it.
what makes me so angry is the shadow of my childhood still looming large over my life now.
i think if you feel ready, then the next step is counselling. i would focus on what you have got, rather than what you haven't, think about your dh, ds and sweet sister, and try not to give the others any kind of thought or emotion at all, because even negative emotion is still linking you to them.
ideally you get to the point where whatever they do or say to you or your family is pretty much irrelevant to you. this does take bloody ages though, but haven't they had their pound of flesh of you already?
Thank you so much baskingseals.
I feel the same about the fact that my childhood is making things difficult for me now - it pisses me off that even though I have so much going for me now, I'm still mourning and angry about the things I didn't have as a child. I feel so incredibly jealous of people who have warm, loving parents. It is so petty to feel that way but I can't help it. I need to let go of that anger and jealousy as it does me no good whatsoever and uses up so much energy that I could put into positive things in my life.
I would like to go to counselling. I've had counselling before and it was very helpful. The problem is money. I did seek counselling on the NHS in the last city I lived in but nothing came of it at all. Is there a way of getting cheap counselling?
I think I'm some way down the road towards putting it all to bed, I just have a few final hurdles to get over. Posting here does help, a lot.
Thank you also for your message Fragilistic. I also find it hard to advise other people on this kind of issue. I have advised people in the past to cut contact but when it comes to my own family I realise it's not that easy.
I do need to let go of the anger, it's totally pointless. I feel like maintaining contact with them only refreshes the anger, but at the same time cutting contact would be a huge effort that I'm not sure I'm able for. Plus the guilt of cutting them off from their grandchild would be too much I think. It's hard to know what to do for the best.
it really is okay to feel angry. the only problem is that it hurts you and the people who should feel bad and guilty are thinking about what to have for tea tonight.
have you thought about writing a truthful letter? you don't have to send it.
i read something brilliant on here the other day, you imagine the person you want to vent at in a lake - you say everything you've got to say, they can't say anything and then the lake slowly closes over the top of their heads. that might work a little bit.
i do believe that you have to acknowledge feelings, however painful, before you can begin to leave them behind. even naming them is helpful, rather than a writhing morass of nastiness that you daren't look at.
jealousy is okay too. i used to be pitifully jealous of happy families. but, i do think that there is a huge gap between what is perceived and reality.
and for the truly happy? there are enough chocolates in the box for everyone.
focus on YOU cailin. not them or others, what you feel, what you want, what you think, the mother you want to be. that's what is important. it is okay to be you.
That's exactly what bothers me about being angry basking - the fact that I feel so down and upset and my parents just carry on happy as larry. The thing is, if you asked my mother I'm sure she'd tell you she was a fantastic parent. I'm not sure my dad would say the same to be honest, when I was depressed we had quite a frank talk which was helpful to some extent. The downside is that even though we had quite a good heart to heart and I told him I needed more support and he appeared to listen, he didn't follow it up at all. I can chat to him quite easily but he never asks how I am or shows any concern about my emotional health.
My anger is scuppered by the fact that I know both my mother and father had extremely difficult upbringings. I think they are both emotionally very immature and that their failings are genuine rather than any real attempt to be nasty or neglectful. In some ways knowing this makes things a bit easier as I know that they haven't been deliberately cold, but at the same time it doesn't really make things better. I know they will never be the parents I want them to be, which makes me very sad.
I suppose my real sticking point is knowing how to deal with them in future. I saw my parents at Christmas and since then we haven't spoken on the phone at all. My mother has texted me a couple of times just with brief messages asking about DS. I feel compelled to ring them but at the same time I feel "why the fuck should I?" I am fucking shit sick of always being the one looking after the relationship, making the effort while they do nothing. They are the parents, they are the ones who should be looking out for me, but they have never ever done that. In many ways I've often felt like I was the parent, having to advise them about how to deal with my sister, coaching my mother through her application for promotion, helping my dad with housework. It's all backwards. I just don't feel like putting in the effort any more as I don't get anything back. I feel sorry for them, but that's not enough for me to bother really.
I too was abused by my father throughout my childhood, to the point where I'd dread my mother leaving the house. He controlled me through fear, which was why I never felt able to tell anyone else - because he'd have taken it out on me even more. Fear of "what might happen" became a major part of my life, which still affects everything I do to this day
Anyway, this all finally came out years later when my mother criticised my parenting skills - it wasn't anything much, but I had severe PND at the time and just blew up, telling her the lot. Result? She chose not to believe me
We lost her 11 years ago now, and I'll never find out if she really did know or whether she believed I'd lied until the very end. Bearing in mind that back in the sixties child protection was hardly heard of, I can only be glad that I didn't tell a teacher or something ... what might have been done to me doesn't bear thinking about
For as long as I can remember my parents have hated each other, they separated when I was six and my dad left with my now step mother. But they seem to be unanimous on the fact that they think I am ungrateful and unreasonable. Before they separated I remember them having horrendous rows that always seemed to be about what a horrible child I was (my mum shouting that I was so irritating my dad defending me on the grounds that I was only 5 or 6 and it wasn't my fault).
I have spent my whole life up to last summer adoring my dad despite the fact that my SM has always been very cold towards me and my dad always insisting that her behaviour was my fault because I'm so difficult or that I'm imagining it and really I should be grateful that she has been gracious enough to be my SM.
Last summer was my sisters (daughter of my dad and SM) wedding. I love my sister, even though SM has systematically excluded me from their family, and was thrilled about the wedding. All offers of help from me were politely declined before the big day that was to be held at my dads and SM house despite the fact that they were working frantically round the clock to get the place ready. On the day SM totally blanked me. I, DH and DCs were not included in any family photos and we were given a table at the back of the room, the behaviour from SM was so extreme that several people commented on it. I was very upset but tried not to make a scene.
The next day I did bring it up with my dad who said "ah, well she will forgive you but it will take time" I said excuse me but she will forgive me? what have I done? "ah, well, your behaviour was noticed and how could you behave like this and try to ruin your sisters big day?". I spelt out that I was extremely upset at the way I had been treated, that I was made to feel very unwelcome.
Since then I have not spoken to my dad, this is still really upsetting me. SM wrote to me spelling out what I had done to upset her, but her conclusions are incredibly self-centred and completely unfounded in fact. She has basically chosen to misconstrue something I have said to my brother (full brother) into a personal attack on her, the thing I said was to my brother and had absolutely nothing to do with her which is why I just had no idea why she was angry with me. She has behaved like this several times in the past.
What is really pissing me off is that my dad totally validates her right to be angry with me but will not allow me any such right to be angry back. Again this is a pattern that has happened in the past and I have always been the one to back down for the sake of family harmony ( I do desperately want to be included in family events as I love all my brothers and sisters) but this time she is so way out of order and so is he that I just cannot bring myself to forgive her and forget about it. I feel that I deserve an apology.
My dad and SM have shown no interest in my DSs. I feel so bitter that the second family have everything that me and my brothers never had - love, security, safety and, yes I'll admit it, money. Why do I have to keep reminding myself that I'm an adult? I'm not that child any longer but both my parents still seem to think I am. Neither of them has any interest in getting to know me as an adult. The problem is that the way they treat me seems to make me revert back to being that sullen child. Is this really my fault?
I'm sorry its a bit of a rant, but it does help to get it out there. No solutions though, as not speaking to them is not getting me anywhere.
i've posted a few times, came to one of the original threads, and read the toxic parents book as suggested. opened my eyes to everything that's been going on so thank you for that. i feel like I should share my backstory -- I am a guy if that makes any difference, I hope you can relate to my story (warning : very very long):
my mum is one of those narc ppl who always has to have someone they hate, someone as an outlet for all her rage and anger. she cannot function without that one person to make herself feel superior by making them feel absolutely tiny and worthless. unfortunately, for the majority of my life, it has been me.
growing up my mum made no secret that i was a mistake and that she never wanted me. she said she never weanted a son, and said if she'd known i was going to be male, she wouldn't have had me. she had a miscarriage before me, a girl, so my arrival just made things worse. in the end i was born by c-section and she blames me for ruining her figure and the scar. she even went as far as to tell her friends, my fake-Aunts, that she hated me and wished I was never born. they asked me on occasions whether it bothered me, but I didn't know any better so just tried to ignore it.
Up till my teens I was a quiet kid, never got into trouble, quite intelligent and a completely different person at school where I felt safe from her, and could be me. My younger sisters were the golden children growing up and could do no wrong, and my mum made a point of lavishing gifts on them and spending time with them, putting their wants before my needs and supporting them in their choices and hobbies. i was frowned on or verbally abused if i asked for anything.
i should mention my dad is an extremely weak man and will barely feature in this tale. she has him wrapped around her little finger and will essentially do whatever he can to keep the peace and keep her happy. he was also a work-a-holic and i would probably only see him a few hours a week. i started to hate him for this.
when i got to my teens I started to realise things weren't right and rebelled. I stopped being a good pupil at school, neglected homework, shut myself away, got into fights with other schoolboys, but generally tried to avoid contact with my family as much as possible. I liked it, and I was happier without them, and they were seemingly happier without me, but it was very destructive
I broke my arm over one summer and they left me home alone at 14 for a week to go on holiday becasue "there was no point me coming because i couldn't swim with a cast on" and they didn't want to cancel because "your mum needs a break." They left me with £20 and that was that. One of the best weeks of my life. After this I was not invited on family holidays, as it was decided it was better for everyone if I stayed at home. (honeslty, I was not a horrible kid, rude or bad company, I was just very unhappy and quiet)
When I was 14 we got our first computer and I LOVED it. I was learning how to use it, and spent a lot of time on it. Not playing -- because back then all we had was solitaire -- just learning and experimenting. Despite never breaking it apparently that was not allowed, and she put the computer room under lock and key. Fair enough - sometimes I'd be on it for hours learning how windows worked etc -- but my mum irrationally hated me for it and made a big deal about how I should be outside playing, not inside learning. the word freak and no-son-of-mine was used a lot. (just to mention I was very tall and skinny and loved sports at school, so I'm unsure what her probalem was)
One day I found out where the key was hidden and would sneak in there whenever I was alone in the afternoons/evenings, which at this point was very often. On a typical day I would clean out the chickens (we had some land) at 6am and leave for school in the morning alone and there would be nobody home when I came back until gone 8-9pm so I'd have to make my own tea. My Mum had decided to take college courses while my sisters were at dance classes, horse riding, gymnastics, whatever they wanted, so I probably only saw her on weekends at this point. I'd set an alarm every night for when she was due in, and I'd be sure to either be in my room, or in the garden when she got back. Thankfully she never caught me on the computer, but there were a few very close calls.
I enjoyed the arrangement, but if I ever had the cheek to ask for a lift to football practise or some money for a school trip, I was made to feel like I was asking for the world. The answer was always no.
Tall and skinny for my age I went to my local football club, lied about being 16, and got a job cash in hand on match-days doing this and that. Instead of being praised, I was ridiculed. My Mum realised I had money, maybe £50 a week, and decided to cut me off at 14yo. I was to use my money for bus passes, lunches, and apparently all my food. Not satisfied with locking the kitchen, she also put locks on the cupboard doors, and refused to let me eat with the family. I was relegated to my room most nights, which was probably the safest place for me. It did mean though, that dinner for me was mostly crisps based.
Somehow I continued on - and at the age of 16 I got a second job at a local supermarket just to supplement my income. It was only 17hrs a week, but combined with my paper round and the football club, I was getting a nice bundle of money together so I could start to afford proper meals in the evenings. My mum despised me for this, and petitioned my Dad to throw me out of the home. She literally said to him "it's me or him" and I remember vividly a terrible conversation with my Dad where he told me "I love you, but I love your mother more. Please make things work or ..." ... yeah...
Thing is I was never openly abusive, phsyically or verbally to her, I just tried to keep out of her way. My dad didnt care though. I ran away to my grandparents a few times but was told to go home, school was too important to miss.
When I was 17 my Dad got offered a job overseas... and the plan was to leave me in England, and the 4 of them would start a new life without me. Their reasoning was that I earnt enough money to look after myself, was part way through my A-Levels and it'd be better for everyone if I stayed. I made one of the best and worst decisions of my life -- to go with them. I knew if I stayed I'd flunk out of school and probably end up on the dole through lack of motivation -- so one week before they were due to go... I had the cheek to ask them if I could come with them.
They made a very big deal about it, my Mum protested a lot, but thankfully I think they realised the law was on my side or something, and I was allowed to go with them. I hated it. It was unbearable with them because I didn't know anyone in the new country, and I had no source of income for almost a year, but I just about got through it despite a few moments where I seriously contemplated suicide.
Long and short of it, I completed my studies, worked and paid my own wasy through university, did my BSc, did my MSc, and the rest is history.
There's more, but I'm tired of writing now. Maybe for another time?
Thanks (and grats) for reading if you made it this far.
Someone said, either upthread or on a partner abuse thread, that an abused childhood makes you strong. Time and again people post their stories and it bears this out. And yours is a particularly admirable story to add to all those It sounds like there is a happy ever after type ending as well, all down to you.
Hi all, sorry I've been a bit MIA lately.
Well I found out I'm 5 weeks pregnant! It's crazy but we're so happy and excited. I currently have no wish to tell my mother or any of my family. I know once DD knows she'll say something when she sees them next, but that won't be for a while.
My first mediation with mother is on 27th. Not looking forward to it, but we'll see what happens. I have no interest in talking to her. She came to see DD a couple of weekends ago and was trying to be friendly and make small talk with me and DP. I know her game.
But as to what ThePinkPussycat said, I do believe an abused childhood makes you stronger. I certainly am a strong person because of it and although it still affects me now, I know I've been able to overcome a lot of things in my life because I wouldn't let myself be treated badly again.
Crestico I read all of your story and this bit: (honeslty, I was not a horrible kid, rude or bad company, I was just very unhappy and quiet) is the bit that stood out to me, I try to believe the same of myself.
I don't think that my childhood has made me stronger. The result of having an over bearing and verbally abusive mother and a neglectful father is that I'm unable to express myself without becoming tearful. I have to avoid any social situation where the may be confrontation (even a very mild exchange of views) as I know that I will brake down. It effects my relationship with DH as I tend to be very defensive and find it extremely difficult to express any feelings. It effects my relationship with my children who I love dearly but I even find myself apologising to them. It effects my work - I run a small business, try being taken seriously by a bank manager when your in tears.
I'm not an unhappy adult and, academically, I did eventually succeed, but I think that I do have some big issues to work out yet.
I hope my post did not hurt you waily I suffered a weird childhood, not sure at the time whether I was loved or not, but know now I was and am. I cried, and still cry, quite easily. You have said yourself, you did succeed, despite all you have a family that you love and love you, and I am impressed that you run a small business - this is no mean feat.
Crestico - your story is so sad, I can't believe your parents treated you that way Do you still see them?
No, it didn't hurt Pussycat I'm just not very happy today. The small business is only just getting off the ground and I'm finding it hard to be optimistic in this financial climate, but I have such an eclectic career history that I'm basically unemployable so it this or nothing.
I am proud of my degree though, thanks
May I join and may I post ?
i have tried to forgive them so many times, and i have stupidly tried to invite them back into my life for big and small events to see if they've changed, but every time i do, I get seriously burnt. After reading this initial thread I decided to read the toxic parents book, and haven't contacted them, or picked up any of their calls for about 2 months now.
The last notable situation when I tried to make it work was when one of my sisters was not only 'not invited' to my wedding, but specifically excluded (due to her being absolutely terrible to my partner for no reason) - this included death threats and we were very close to getting police involved. Looking back I don't even know why I invited my parents, but I guess I bowed to tradition and pressure that they could be there.
Boy what a mistake.
My parents brought the excluded sister anyway, and hijacked the wedding by basically spreading lies about why my sister was not invited. Unfortunately nobody knew the true story, so by the time I realised what had happened they had turned half of my family against us. During the reception they all stayed outside in the lobby, until they decided to crash the party near the end, the excluded sister at the head of the group, rubbing my nose in the fact that I couldn't stop them from being there.
I pulled the plug on the DJ and told them to leave. It was very tense, and awful, and totally ruined my wife's wedding day.
And that's not even the worst thing they've done to us. My wife despairs everytime the phone rings - we are basically living in fear of what they're going to do next. Easiest thing is to let them have their way, but seriously... they destroy everything they touch. And God help you if you don't let them get their way...
waily - i can relate strongly to what you mean. i am the same, but different - in that at times, I can be going through such incredible fear and anxiety due to any confrontation that i cannot speak, and anything that does come out is always defensive and usually the biggest-foot-in-mouth response possible. I am constantly apologising to everyone for everything, even when I have no control over it, and I am constantly thanking everyone for everything, even if there's no need for it.
i think having an abusive childhood has made me stronger in ways, but has crippled (and continues to cripple) me in others.
LadyClarissa - I'm new to this thread but I've been reading it for a while and as far as I can tell it's open for everyone to post. It might take some time to get a reply but it might just help to write down what you're thinking anyway.
Crestico - have you ever had any counselling?
yes on three occasions. it helps moderately, but it hurts to bring it up over and over again.
the third counsellor (Nov-10 to Mar-11) got in 'deeper' than the others and actually ended up losing her professionalism and essentially telling me there's no way she could help me come to terms with such "impossible and evil" people.
I was kind of taken a-back, but my wife just smiled and said to me "you know what, it's refreshing to see someone external, in a position like her, to actually be as honest and blunt as that"
got to admit, she was right. I can't win or grow any relationship with them, because I am and have always been so totally and desperately focused on trying to win their respect, praise and love -- something which I will never accompish.
these past two months have been hard, very hard, but I think it's the best thing for us.
I have to agree that trying to build a relationship with them is probably pointless. I know from experience that the desire to make things better and the longing for parents to turn around and actually be proper parents for once is massive and hard to overcome.
I thought I had already posted ?
Bu tmay I join ?
So sorry. I missed it. Apologies
My mum and dad are Irish.
They met at a tea dance in this country (UK)
Both are fabulous dancers; they obviously had/ have a connection.
Neither of them had dance lessons; they just move like it's a ballet. To a slow waltz or a slow foxtrot; quickstep, watching them move together was in itself music.
I was born in a grotty Midlands town bedsit. I was supposed to be born (at home) in Ireland but the awful snow intervened.
I've met the midwife that delivered me. Since I've had my own child; and been through birth, which according to my own midwife "was medieval"; and very similar to my own mother's birth (by account and according to my dad).
My Dad doesn't speak much.
That's all I want to say at this point.
crestico you describe very well how I feel. That desperate need for approval and inclusion that always leads me like a moth back to the flame. And forever apologizing.
I have not read Toxic parents and I have not had counselling. I am kinda testing the waters by posting here and finding it very difficult to be totally frank about my parents behaviour. A small part of me still thinks that I am being unreasonable and, although it was as bad as I think, why should I have expected any better.
I don't think that I am ready for any more disclosure than this atm (I mean to a Councillor etc)
LadyClarissa welcome in your own time. I believe there is no rush. I'm from a small inland village in the south of Ireland too, I believe there is no more depressing a place.
I feel a bit not worthy coming on here in a way but just wanted to say that on Friday my mum put the final nail in the coffin of our 'relationship' when she texted my brother and told him that altho she isnt a vindictive person she hopes my dad comes back and haunts me. He died last May. He wasnt perfect by any means but I loved him dearly and also his wife who died 2 days before him. My childhood was turbulent to say the least and I now understand how greatly that has and still does affect me now. My dad and his wife were married for over 50 years with no kids of their own and my mum was his mistress on and off for about 20 of those years. My dads and his wifes family only knew of mine and my 2 brothers existence in the days leading up to their deaths. I mediated between both families for my mum to attend the joint funeral of my dad and his wife. My mum has now turned against me as I was executor of their estate and I didnt give her a share of the proceeds from the sale of my dad and his wifes marital home which they lived in together for 60 years. Now im heading into AIBU territory I think so ill leave it there. However the point is that having made the decision that I no longer have a mother and told my kids that we wont be seeing her again has literally been a weight off my shoulders. Not that Im not sad but Im sad about losing the mother I want and need but not the one I actually have unfortunately. I will order toxic parents and am considering counselling as I really want to put it all behind me and move on.
Have I found the current one of these threads? I've been looking for somewhere to tell my story so to speak for so many years and it never happens.
I've had lots of counselling etc but things keep coming up and the more that comes up the bigger it all gets and then I can't cope. That doesn't make any sense but i'm struggling with suicidal feelings today and could really benefit from posting what happened to me.
Can I do that here? its not very nice and I always worry people won't believe me because the police won't help me but I could do withgetting it out somewhere other than a private notebook
Hi arfur and NHAN, welcome to the thread, you are in the right place NHAN.
I haven't posted in a while as I can't face it atm, having counselling and a lot of things with my mother are coming up, but I didn't want you to think no one is listening. We will all support you here as much as possible. No judgments about being "not worthy" either. Everything you have been through is valid, everything you are going through now needs an outlet xxx
I'm going to be selfish and just post my life history and come back to read others posts. Sorry for the poor little me tone but i think i need to do it.
My mother thought i was going to be a boy and never bonded with me at all, she didn't want me and has admitted that many times. On the night i was brought home from hospital my sister had her first asthma attack and nearly died. I think this was the start of my mother blaming me for ruining my sisters life.
The sexual abuse started at a young age and my earliest memories are from about 3 or 4. The main person was my father and it carried on until I was 19 when he violently raped me again and i left home.
Because I always knew my mother wanted me to be a boy, my father used that against me and constantly told me she didn't love me at all (which was true). I told my mother I wanted to be a boy so she took me to the doctors and started looking into an operation etc. I don't know how she found someone to listen to her mad ramblings and agree to it, but I did start to take some medicine to start the process off, but within days told them I didn't really want to be a boy, I just wanted her to love me.
Things got much worse and by now my sister and I were being taken in the middle of the night by our father to be abused by other men. He worked at a prison and the abuse even happened inside one of the cells once.
I guess it was a ring but i didn't know that then.
We used to be shoved in the boot of the car and threatened with death if we spoke or moved. He used to use our pets against us too and often cats and dogs would go missing, some never returned and I know he killed them.
I was quite young when I told me mother I wanted to die and rather than respond like a normal person she arranged it and very kindly asked me how. I wanted to drown in the sea so my father took me there late one night, tied something to my foot and tried to drown me. I was terrified and changed my mind, obviously, but he wouldn't stop. Luckily someone came along the beech and saw. Somehow my father convinced him he was helping me, or scared him off i'm not sure.
They tried to drown me again in spain later that year but a stranger helped me. I sat on the beach with a spanish family helping me while i coughed up loads of water and my parents just stared at me from the sea. The spanish family looked very shocked when they discovered by parents didn't care but i think the language barrier stopped them doing anything.
I continued to be raped and abused for many years as i said. It became more and more violent and the only thing stopping me telling anyone was his threat to kill my horse.
A few years later in counselling it all came out and I went to the police, I had forgotten he said he would kill my horse. My horse died of unknown causes not long after, luckily i got there in time but he died with his head in my arms and i will never forgive myself .
The police won't help me and i think it is a cover up. I know that sounds insane but its taken me many years to feel strong enough to talk about what happened without the fear that people won't believe me. I don't care now, I know its all true and as much as i've tried to convince myself i'm mad, i'm not! I'm pretty sure the local police were somehow tied into the ring and therefore i will never get justice. This is the hardest part! I'm now a mummy of 2 and trying my hardest to do a good job, but its so hard sometimes to move on from all of this.
There are lots of things my so called family have done since but i think i may have typed way too much already. Thanks for reading this x
Hi Nhan, I'm so glad you made it over here.
I just wanted you to know I've read what you've put and I believe you, every word of it.
Please don't think about leaving your children they need you so much, I bet you are doing a fab job with them.
I'm sure someone will be along soon with better wise words than I can offer.
Do you still see you family?
NHAN, I'm so sorry for what you went through as a child, and what you are going through now.
The best and strongest, and most long-lasting validation we can get is from inside ourselves. It is beyond appalling that the police is not helping you, but whether they do or not, the best thing you can do is know within yourself that you are a deserving and valuable person, that your parents were horribly, horribly wrong to do what they did, and no-one can take that truth away from you.
nhan, i just wanted to say that i believe you too. i am so sorry for what you have been through. have you got someone in real life you could talk to?
thinking of you.
Nhan, you are an amazing, strong woman and I know your story is true. Thinking of you
Thank you! It means so much to be believed. I have no idea why people think I would make it up to be honest. If I wanted to lie i'm quite sure it would be about happy positive things not hideous things i'd really rather were not true.
No I don't see them now. I tried to face my father but he will only see me with a solicitor present and when I said ok to that there were more excuses. I did let my mother back into our lives twice since my 4 yr old was born. Both times she faked being nice for a few weeks but her true colours shone through. They have phoned ss on me many times for absolutely nothing, luckily ss know its malicious. They turned my partners (now ex) parents against me. They've seen solicitors to try to sue me for deflamation of character and see if they can have me sectioned. The most worrying is my sister has said she will get my eldest son off me and make him live with her. Apparently she plans to stand outside his school and tell him I am mad. Luckily she lives a long way away. She is of the view that children lie about being abused because they can't handle being psychic. I think she needs sectioning personally as do most people who meet her but my mother protects her and they still plot mad craziness together.
Their craziness does still scare me and I often worry what else they may have been involved in. I finally managed to get the police to warn them off last year but they still send presents for my children for xmas and birthdays. I think I will have to take it to court to get this to stop eventually because I don't want my children knowing them at all. I just can't face going through it all again yet. It so draining. I'm pretty sure their plan is to push me over the edge until I kill myself, well they have admitted it is. I don't know how I came from that gene pool, I'm quite normal compared to them. When i'm not severely depressed anyway
Oh and I am having counselling again at the moment but there's so much its hard to know what to tackle. I'm trying to work on my confidence as a mum though because thats the most important thing.
I might just start a therapy fund for both children now though, just in case
Do you have to go to court to get them to stop sending presents? Could you not write to them asking not too instead? Or just forward the presents to the charity shop or even return them unopened?
I'm thing the saying they're sueing you is to try and detract from what you've said, your mum needs to try and control the situation.
Could you tell your family you have moved and that you won't be giving details as to where.
Thanks areyoumad, I moved 20 times but they kept finding me. They always used to know everything that was happening in my life and I've never been sure who is telling them, but it makes it very hard to trust people. My mother is a very good actor and will make people feel sorry for her because she just wants to make sure her grandchildren and daughter are ok. I wish people knew what she was really like. I had managed to lose contact with them until I met the father of my children and it turned out his parents were friends with a friend of my parents.
I have written to them, texted, phoned, asked in person hundreds of times. I have explained they will not see my children and why. Nothing works. They even went straight to a solicitor to see if they could sue the police for issuing a harassment warning. The first thing my mother then did was write to me to say it wouldn't stand up in court so she would not be leaving me alone. I used to return them but now she finds someone to drop them off to the house, all to make herself look like the doting granny. I know they have seen solicitors because when i've looked for one myself a few couldn't see me due to conflict of interest or something like that.
I've tried everything over the years, over and over again. They won't give up and I don't think i'll be free of it until they are dead. Then there is the posibility of my sister carrying on. They've said they will carry on until I kill myself, but hopefully they won't win!
Arfur well done for taking the step to remove your mother from your life. I found it hard too but sometimes it is the best thing to do. Hope you are ok
NHAN I am in awe of you and your strength! I'm sure you don't feel that strong but believe me you are to have survived all that and to be still here. Your kids will be very proud of you once they are old enough to understand xx
I am pretty good thanks, feeling mostly kind of empowered I suppose but with a niggling sadness/guilt which I am hoping will fade with time. I am looking after my gorgeous niece today who is 10 weeks old I am her honorary gran as well as her aunt now so I reckon that means I can spoil her twice as much
a very small thing has made me finally post on this thread.
text message from my mother to say 'well, no news from you then. hope all ok.'
there is no news. she can call me. but apparently because she is old, i have to call her (i do call her), to check she is ok, otherwise how will i know if she is still alive or not, she could have died from the cold, or fallen down the stairs, and no-one would know. these things might well be true. but that is as much to do with her own refusal to do anything about it (the cold, the house).
and that sister of mine, well, since she's had the guts to actually cut her out of her life, mostly, of course she is now just awful. and fat. and anyway are you sure her eldest son isn't gay?
maybe it will be just short bursts for now. but it has to come out. this thread is helping me see that her actions were real, and that while some were just a bit 'not-nice', a lot were shit and anyway, the way it made/makes me feel is valid, no matter what it was.
i'm just glad dd will never have to grow up like i did.
thank you for this thread. hoping everyone on it is doing okay.
Its a bit quiet in here at the moment isn't it?
I'm not much good at advice but I wanted you to know that I have read your post and you are not being ignored.
Hope you are OK.
Toxic parents arrived yesterday. Not sure whether I want to read it yet or not.
Cupid in my experience it's usually the little things that cause the big problems keep strong for your dd.
My family is a mixture of two pre-existing families and the children of a later marriage. My Dad hated my Mum's children from her first marriage, my Mum hated the children from my Dad's first marriage. They married almost certainly because my eldest full sibling was on the way.
My Dad and I had a great relationship, my Mum and I did not. My siblings (all older) had, as far as I understand it, a rotten relationship with both parents, sometimes involving physical punishment; all of us lived through emotional and physical neglect. There was a great deal of anger and resentment directed at the children from the parents, exclusively for me this came from my Mum and intensified after my Father died before I reached my teens.
As a result there was a great deal of resentment between the children from each side and to a certain extent the later children of both parents.
My Mum was suffering from a progressive, physical illness, one of the common associated problems is Depression, I understand this better as an adult. Her life was a million miles away from what she wanted and felt she deserved, I'm not excusing her, but I wish I'd understood as a child that most of it had nothing to do with me.
My Mum died several years ago, the family history polluted the process, there were some arguments, the ones that tried to do their best managed to bitterly offend the others. Some of us stayed in contact for a while after the funeral but it petererd out, some of us exchange Christmas cards. I tried to keep in contact with my closest sibling but the last answer machine message wasn't answered. A recent accidental meeting with this sibling has led to what's taking place in a few days.
It's the final act of my Mum's death, something outstanding that needs to be done. Four of us are taking part, others lost contact with us long before her death, others since and I have no contact details, if anyone has them they are not admitting it. Two of those taking part would not be except that I insisted that they should be contacted and given the chance.
I'm okay in general, almost entirely. I wasn't for a long time, MH issues are common in my family but a mixture of AD's and then CBT pretty much sorted me out.
I used to think of my Mum as "the Goblin behind the door", I'd be walking along, getting on with life, everything okay and bang, a phrase, noise, tone even smell and crash straight into a flashback (can't think of a better way to describe it), the "Goblin" had jumped out from behind the door. A mixture of anger and guilt.
So, the thing that's coming, it'll be good to get it done but I'm struggling with some emotional "flashbacks". Anger and guilt mostly, worry that if my siblings arn't in a good place that this could become a competition in misery and if it does go horribly wrong my closest sibling is going to be "I told you so"-ing.
I'm determined not to be kicked to pieces by all this again and this post is part of that process.
Where I am at is:
1. There is not better or worse when it comes to toxic families, just different.
2. In a few days the "Goblin" will be completely "buried" and she really can't hurt me anymore, if she'd been capable I'd have been ducking ectoplasam (?sp) soaked frying pans for the last few years [weak humour emotocon].
3. If my siblings want to channel her I ain't playing along, but I ain't holding grudges either.
4. I usually only drink at Christmas, there's some left over Archers in the house for after the event, thankfully.
Only a few days to go.
Thanks for the airspace.
Just posted on another thread but think it might be worth getting some of my feelings out here.
My mum thinks she is wonderful. If you asked her what sort of person she is she would claim that she is kind, thoughtful, only interested in making other people happy and always happy to help. I think she genuinely believes this. She is not.
From the earliest ages (6+) I remember spending whole days in my room, unable to come and join in with normal family life until I had apologized for some perceived slight.
My sisters never made her angry so this was justification that it was all my fault. I was told this repeatedly. Years later my sisters can see my mum for what she is and this is a great source of comfort that finally my feelings are in someways validated: I wasn't the bad person.
There are no "big" things she did, just continual shouting, losing her temper, smacking (once across the face) she would stop speaking to me for weeks ata time and make no effort to reconcile of we had a row. It was always my fault.
She never said she loved me or was proud of me. She never cuddled me - this was apparently my fault as I wasn't a cuddly baby.
Once when I hemoraged after an operation she dropped me at the hospital and left before I had emergency surgery in the middle of the night because she was going on holiday. After I found out my unborn son was going to die and we needed to retunr to UK she said it would be better if I didn't come home (we live overseas) until after the weekend as she was having her retirement party and my rescue might spoil it.
I can barely look at her when I see her I am so angry. But she would never acknowledge her behaviour so there is no point confronting her I just seethe inwardly whilst listening to others talk about how wonderful she is.
As a family we continue this charade of respectability but the day she dies I know I'll only feel regret for not telling her how utterly appalling her behaviour has been.
Being the child of a dysfunctional parent is wounding enough, nevermind as Sara says you are literally the only person they pick on. (BTW Sara why do your sisters think she's the way she is?)
Someother I love the goblin analogy. You sound like you've really got your head around it.
I've got issues with both M&D but reading this makes me realise that you have choices, also never heard the term gaslighting before and think my mum is possibly the queen of it all. "I never said that" etc but my brother has witnessed it so i don't feel quite so ridiculous. My brother believes that my mother attempts to put me down to reassert herself. She needs to believe that she's cleverer, prettier etc than her daughter as she defines herself as being attractive to men.
Slightly I'm not really sure what my sisters think about why she is the way she is.
We don't really talk about it too much. That is to say we bitch and moan constantly about her day to day madness but to delve too far back is incredibly painful for me, and I think also my middle sister who although younger than me feels a certain amount of guilt for going along with the "Sara is bad, it's all her fault" construct.
I suspect my mum has a personality disorder of some sort. She is incredibly self absorbed to the point of being blind to others, she is selfish and plays the martyr to great effect.
I can barely look at her when I see her I am so angry. But she would never acknowledge her behaviour so there is no point confronting her I just seethe inwardly whilst listening to others talk about how wonderful she is.
As a family we continue this charade of respectability but the day she dies I know I'll only feel regret for not telling her how utterly appalling her behaviour has been.
Why not tell her, then? If only in a letter that you don't actually need to send if you don't want to? Just to get the anger out; stop the seething from injuring you.
I did that and found it helpful, which is why I am suggesting it: I wrote my mother a letter I never sent, smashed some crockery against a garden wall in private, and felt better for it. I never bothered to confront her directly because I knew her martyr/denial act would just tire and/or upset me.
If you feel up to it you could always have an actual confrontation - Toxic Parents advocates that, with plenty of handy advice.
You could also ask others to stop talking about her in your presence (they might not acquiesce, but you can still ask! eg. "That is your view, but it isn't mine.", or "I do not want to hear things about my mother, I find it difficult and upsetting.")
Thanks hot although I've thought about confrontation it would cause more harm to me.
It has taken along time to get to the point where I believe that it is her not me and to listen to her denials/minimising/justications would anger me and would be futile - she will never admit her flaws.
I find the people talking about how great she is the most difficult. Calling them on it as you suggest feels like I am living up to her portrayal of me as difficult and awkward, but I really wish I could do it. It's actually the worst bit because it minimizes what I went through and makes me feel like I am overreacting and our problems were just a trivial part of the mother daughter relationship. It makes me doubt myself.
Especially as one of the people that does it most had an extremely dysfunctional childhood and I feel like a fraud.
Calling them on it as you suggest feels like I am living up to her portrayal of me as difficult and awkward
And? Does her opionion of you make you difficult? Do these other people's opinions? They will believe what they want to believe, for their own reasons. Acting in a certain way in an attempt to control what they believe about you ultimately cannot work, since they are the only ones who can do that. You might as well be true to yourself and what you believe, and handle whatever the consequences are in the knowledge that you are doing what is right for you.
I say ask them not to talk about her in your earshot. You don't even need to justify your request. There is no need to prove that you are "right"; it's enough to say "I don't like this."
I've been on this thread quite a while ago and I do need to start posting again, but I won't be posting regularly - I'm on another thread at the moment, but I think that having been reading one book and glimpsing another, I'm at a place where things are falling into place a bit more.
"She never said she loved me or was proud of me. She never cuddled me - this was apparently my fault as I wasn't a cuddly baby."
This has been levelled at me by my mother. I am dealing with this by my dealings with my own children. The excuse given to me by my mother is that I rejected her because I pushed her away when she tried to cuddle me one day when I was about a year old....
At the moment, I'm ploughing my way through Nina Brown's "Children of the Self-Absorbed Parent". It's a good exercise.....
Is the person who defends them the most close to you or can you avoid them? Did your mother have a dysfunctional childhood? I can see that both my parents had shockers of childhoods (my mother especially) so it makes it easier for me to stomach her and see her. Now the focus is on my children it has got a bit easier but i couldn't bear to spend much time with her directly and we avoid many many conversations.
Lemony - that looks like a good book, would you recommend it? I've diagnosed my father as a narcissist and a bully with my mother as a narc too.
Yes, I would recommend it. There's also another book you can peek at on Amazon by Alice Miller - The Drama of the Gifted Child. Take a look at that too....
Looks like you got a double whammy too...... My Dad did undergo a complete personality change when he had major surgery, which is quite weird..... He became much, much nicer!
hi everyone- not read all the posts as not been on recently but felt like i needed some hand holding tonight. Had my first counselling session today, first time someone said I was abused as a child outloud. Hard to stomach. There is so much i want to tell you about the session but I am drained, scared, feel like I've had my stomach ripped out.
Spent my childhood and life accepting that the beatings, the mental abuse and the hatred was normal, and even when i knew it wasn't I was too ashamed to admit it, or feared no one would believe me because on the surface we were a rich, functional pretty family.
I need to sedate myself today- heavily x
sorry that sounded like i wanted to end it all! i don't- just need to sleep it all off.
worst thing about it all after what my mom did at new year she woke up the next day and did what she always did when we were younger and glazed over it, no apology, no acknowledgement. The therapist said this was one of the worst forms of mental torture, we suffered the event and then made to feel that it wasn't significant enough to discuss or apologise for. The therapist that my mother not only did this to me but subjected my children to it and due to my 4 year constantly saying 'grandma still hasn't said sorry' it has had a profound effect on her because it has confused her.
I HATE MY MOTHER, what did I do to deserve a narcissitic mother and a father dying of alcoholism at 51. Why?
I had never heard the term gaslighting before reading this thread. My mother certainly did it when i was a child and would no doubt do so again if i brought up the past.
Like others, i'm having 'emotional flashbacks', possibly because i was so angry at the text message, and no doubt they have been in the back of my mind ever since DD was born. I guess it's totally normal to start thinking about your own childhood when you become a parent - I had tried to put as much of the past behind me as I could but I don't suppose I'll be able to, fully.
I'm also very aware that my mother is in her twilight years, not altogether well, and I am so baffled at how I'm supposed to feel about that.
My sister and I joke that we'll be able to talk to each other more freely about our lives when she's gone. She is almost a generation older than me (half sibling) and the cause of what she went through was the same, our mother's alcoholism. I used to be angry and sad that she didn't/doesn't/can't have a relationship with M but recently she's told me a few things about when she was a child that I just didn't know before. Things that show our M to be a liar.
I know there are things she doesn;t know about me, and yes, part of me wants to wait until M is no longer here before talking about it. We talk about the more light-hearted things these days but it's always there, under the surface, and I think if we got into a serious conversation we would both crack. We're not ready for that yet.
Sorry for rambling a bit incoherently, it just helps to write down what's going through my head.
oh fortoday, just saw your post after i pressed send.
i don't know you but i'm here holding your hand.
when somebody else acknowledges what you went through and says those words, it's almost like the tower you built to protect yourself comes crashing down because it's true and real and you didn't deserve any of it.
I have a feeling i might belong here.
Im not really sure my experiences are not as bad as some of yours and im honestly not downplaying.But my relationship with my mother is i suspect not normal.
Im going to list a few things and maybe you can give me some input ? Im not sure if my mother is toxic or if she has some sort of MH disorder/issue. Im leaning towards MH issue mainly because i think it runs in our family. I have depression and have all my life in some way been mentally ill. I am now stable and controlled with medication.
Right off the top of my head she : Always belittled and feelings i had particularly related to my depression /anxiety. I had frequent panic attacks where i would sometimes vomit through anxiety. I remember a car journey where i had to ask my parents to stop as i was having one and thought i might be sick. She did stop but spend the whole time going on about how i was just "being silly" and wasnt going to be sick and needed to stop it. (MH problem was diagnosed at this point too)
Often she would talk in front of me/to me about how ill i was making her with my MH issues and how she "could not cope with it". Even when i was very very ill and in hospital i remember crying down the phone ( i was 13-14) and her just going on about how "it wasnt just hard for me you know" it was hard for her too - she couldnt sleep ?! and had to have pills from the GP. I cried myself to sleep after putting the phone down.
Her issues are always more important.
And.Shes very much a martyr. Whenever she was unwell when i was a child there would be a big show of her getting out of bed to make sure my dad was coping ok with just me and him...he was a grown man for gods sake. Lots of huffing and sighing and shouting in a quivering voice. To make sure we knew she was ill but still struggled to get up and try and look after us...
Recent phone call
Me : oh yes sorry the phone was engaged i was talking to A.
Her oh. you must have had a lot to talk about. (quiver in her voice here implying i dont talk to her as much.)
Me (ignoring) yes , we did.
Conversation carries on with her still putting on the upset mother voice to try and guilt me into paying attention to her/some other reason i dont understand.
Possibly the most hurtful of all , when i had a total breakdown and was taken to hospital the first time. I was very young , early teens and terrified , crying and wanting my mum/anyone to comfort me and say it was going to be ok.
She refused to come near me , said she was too upset , it was awful for her to see me so upset , she just "couldnt cope with me" when i was like this.
Naturally my father stayed with her the entire time as it was so upsetting for her. Some member of staff not a nurse or anything came and sat with me so i wasnt alone in the room for over an hour. Such a sweet woman i cant even remember her name. Anyway i cried and cried the entire time and called out to my mum to please please just sit with me. And she wouldnt.
Ive never ever forgiven her for this. The worse time of my life and my mother could put me first for an hour to sit with me when i was so frightened.
Anyway sorry for the essay ! Does any of this sound familiar particularly the martyr bits ? In other ways all was well , we had a lot of money , holidays and i had everything i wanted or near enough. I dont think shes a bad person but i do think she might be ill in some way. It cant be normal to behave like this ?
Oh and if i bring any of this stuff up i just get " we did our best for you " and tears from her thus making me feel guilty and shut up about it.
Or my father anry with my for upsetting my mother and bring it all up again.
And sorry for keep going on - if i ever mention any of this or that we dont get on she says it must be my fault. I think she also said this when i was bein bullied or at least indicated it. Apparently everyone she meets likes her and so the problem must lie with me. I do genuinely think she believes she is a wonderful person and shes not making it up.
At the same time i think she must have some MH issues, i cant imagine behaving to my child like this (as yet i have none).
oiwheresthecoffee- glad you are talking- i didn't- had my first daughter, the weight of how my mom treated me as a child nearly crushed me, i wasn't insightful enough to understand that her beahviour towards was so severely disjointed until i had my own child. I couldn't physically and mentally abuse my children like she did me x keep posting by the way you're not going on this is what this page is for xxx
oiwheresthecoffee - yes, keep talking. it is not and never has been your fault. read the information about narcissistic mothers (i think it is linked to on a previous thread, or google).
definitely recognise 'it wasn't just hard for you, it was hard for me too' - different set of circumstances but essentially downplaying your emotions and what you were/are feeling. it's awful coming from your own mother.
Since posting before i've become a single mum and am really struggling tonight. I'm having flashbacks and lots of different emotions coming up, my ex is being really nasty already and we've only been over 5 days. I have no help with the children and i'm exhausted. I don't feel strong enough to do this. I just want a happy life, i'm doing my best to make my children happy but all i can see is a future of more misery. My children deserve so much better than this
Narcissistic Personality Disorder - just looked it up. Scary to think how many traits my mum seems to have but not really surprised!
I would be here for ever if i remembered everything and i have read such very sad accounts here, that i don't really equate her with some of the monstrous parents here. Nor do i hate her and i do know that she loves me, but i will never ever understand her - and my god, can she be such hard work at times.
She makes me frustrated, angry, bewildered, gobsmacked...sad really. I always wanted the mum others seemed to have so i can relate to those that felt it must have been their fault when it was never anything to do with them.
My mum had a bit of a traumatic childhood which definitely affected her and was prone to black depressions where she would just go upstairs and lie on the bed for days. She has never taken any medication, which could have helped her. She has never seemed truly happy yet she has everything she could wish for and my dad is a lovely man and absolutely devoted to her and our family. He waits on her hand and foot but nothing he does is good enough. She constantly belittles him and has basically ruined his life. He was a very happy go lucky funny guy with lots of friends and through 50 years of marriage she has alienated him from his family and took firm control of everything. In the end he could only be friends with peopl e she was friends with and do what she wanted to do. He has no independence and she is very jealous and insecure, like a child. She totally controls him and dominates him. I think the world of my dad and through the years it has made me very angry but now i realise that this is what he accepts because he loves her and i cannot change his life for him.
I have noticed some similarities with others here:
The perceived 'weaker' other half who is besotted.
The 'Keeping up with the Jones's ' respectabilty.( My mum was a pillar of the local church for years then would go home and tell me at the age of 14, that my dad was useless, pathetic and gay. The money they have now is because he worked his arse off and she has always had the option whether to work or not and an easy life.)
Complete inabilty to apologise and admit she was wrong. (She recently apologised to my DH on Christmas Day for a nasty passive aggressive remark she made. I was amazed - not heard her do that in 43 years, she must be mellowing!)
Extreme Martyrdom - no one knows how hard she suffers. The depression has now resurfaced as horrendous hypochondria and constant visits to her GP and the hospital.
Wanting to be the centre of attention. My mum has what she calls her 'funny turns' at particular moments.
Selective memory - tells everyone she never had to raise her hand to me because i was so good. (She regularly beat me up and down the stairs and chased me round the glass table.)
There are some key things she has said to me in the past that i will never forget and she particularly ruined my Graduation day when i made a special effort to buy tickets for a meal for us all and i was in tears actually waiting to go on stage to collect my degree. (WTF?)
I'm not going to drone on any more but i think i understand her a little better since having my children and sometimes she can be fine, even likeable - then revert back to type.
I've come to the conclusion that it's right when they say you cannot change a person but what you can change is how you react to them - and i'm working on it.
Thanks to all for sharing their stories on here and i wish you strength and happiness in your lives.
My OH died when I was nearly 6 months pregnant. I already had DS who was 10. My Mum went on holiday the night he collapsed - which was OK, she did ask if I wanted her to stay. Thinking that he was going to recover, I told her to carry on with her holiday. But, 8 days later, he died. She didn't come back for another 10 days, when she did she texted and was "too tired" to talk to me. My DD didn't see much of her GM for the rest of my maternity leave.
She doesn't see very much of her now either....
Oi keep posting, it really does help to get it out. I started, then stopped, then started again and am now processing much more.
Hopefully, you will start to feel a bit like a weight has been lifted soon.....
Hi , im back.
Just wanted to say thanks for letting me vent , its weird but i feel uilty about saying these things.
Ive looked up narc before , i dont think she is , she can be very caring but theres something odd about a lot of her behaviour and responses. Its like she cant cope with anything bein different to what she expects it to be..or wants it to be.
I do love her but i cant understand her. I do think maybe she is ill in some way. Doesnt see things the same as other people..
She's a narc. Really. Nobody ever fits one box, we're all a combination of MH disorders, I tick narc/obcessive/and another...my mother can be kind hearted at times, but generally with other people, if it is with me its brief and because she's in a 'I'm a good person' mode.
You really really should be here. It brought me to tears you calling for you mum and it being too much for her. If either of my dd's did that I would be by their side hugging them and in tears with them. She should have been there
Does anyone know if there is a thread about abuse anywhere? I don't fit here and could do with some support
NAHN- I don't i'm sorry maybe contact mumsnet hq?
my mom has been back in touch, she wants to see the kids, my counsellor says that she shouldn't really.
She is taking no responsibility, apparently the way she has behaved is due to me putting my mil first over xmas, and that my 4 year old is too young to remember my mom screaming at me and saying she is going to kill me and that i murdered my dad, she will apparently grow up and turn against me for poisoning her! Jesus christ.
Why do i still feel a pull that i shouldn't take her right to be a grandmother away- why do i feel guilty. Is it because she truely believes that having an open house of christmas day incase my inlaws were on their own (they have a daughter with severe ocd who was likely to cancel christmas morning and also on xmas eve my fils mother was rushed to hospital and revived 4 times) how could i possibly close my doors! deserved that kind of abuse infront of my children?
I feel so stressed, so tired from it all. Am I frightened to completely cut her out because I will feel orphaned but having her in my life controlling everything is that really an option i want??
just recieved a phone call from my mom, these are the reasons why she exploded on new year- (although still 'can't remember what she said)
* I was the reason for their divorce
* I chose to go to with my dad
* I didn't offer her any of my fathers inheritance (they had been divorced 5 years) I was 23 at the time just buried my father who died of catastrophe death due to alcholism
* I didn't contact her for 6 weeks after his funeral- his funeral that she didn't attend
* I always put my mil first
* My mil was at her house of the morning od my wedding as she was caring for the 6 bridemaids from her side of the family who were under 5
* I put my mil first at christmas (please read my full thread as thats nonesence)
* The card for xmas i sent her from my girls didn't have a picture inside they drew
she asked me whether the last 8 weeks had been easier for me because i didn't have to walk on egg shells- I said yes- brutal but honest- at least she is aware she does that to me
along with all of that she told me to admit that i destroyed her marriage, that my dh and i fight (we don't even raise voices, i'm all to aware of what that did to me as a child plus dh is horizontal) that i scream at my kids (eh??!)
she finished the call with a threat of- your children will get older and choose me!! I retorted by saying that I would have had trouble posioning them against her these past few months as her name has hardly been uttered in our house- goodbye
God its not even lunch time yet- oh yes forgot to say i had the 'all i have done is for you, why can you be so horrible, then angerily telling me i should respect her, i am a bitch, i am pig headed blah blah' 40 minutes worth!
she said finally i should go and see to my dd2- who may i add was playing with blokes quietly in another room as she would need me- WTF what the hell does she know about my kids needing?? After what she put them though!
Vent over! xxx
god meant blocks not blokes!!!!!!!!!!
She's a poisonous witch, fortoday.
You can hang up on her whenever you feel like. You can even grace her with an "I don't want to listen to this anymore" before putting the receiver down, if you feel inclined to give a reason.
Reading these posts, I really could be reading descriptions of my own mother.
How would I contact mumsnet hq? I was advised to find the 'But we took you to stately homes' thread, is there another one?
NHAN- I'm not sure i'll have a look I'm sure someone will know on here- you said it was abuse was it parental or something else? I don't want to pry but it might help us point you in the right direction, if nothing else we are hear to listen as everyones experiences are different on here and no one belittles each others experiences in life xx
NHAN- try this email xx
Thanks fortoday. I'll email them. I posted a long post last week explaining the outline of my childhood. This thread then went really quiet so I was worried I shouldn't have posted on here. I was abused by my father and a ring for many years, my parents also tried to kill me twice and told me throughout my childhood that none of them could be happy until I was dead. Also as an adult come to think of it. I've dealt with most of it now and am ok, but sometimes I have a couple of bad days when memories come through or link to other ones. I just want to know if this is the best place to post if I need to or somewhere else. I don't want to be posting things that are really suitable for here. I've split from the partner of my children recently too so i'm feeling a bit alone in the world, having no family at all.
If it was the wrong place i'll see if they can remove my post
NHAN don't take it personally if a thread goes quiet, it's just the natural ebb and flow of a message board. people can't always answer quickly, or sometimes they miss certain messages without any ill will implied.
i lurk on this thread (ie i read, but don't post) and i don't think your story is in the wrong place.
I saw that you had several supportive replies to your posts too -- did you see those?
i'm sorry to hear that you split with your partner. do you have anyone to talk to in real life? sometimes when you are v v low it's better to have someone you can contact if you suddenly start feeling awful and need immediate help.
much love to you x
Thank you Yes I did see those replies which were lovely. I guess I was just worried I had said too much and was feeling a bit wobbley about posting it all.
Thanks, i'm ok about the split, I just feel a bit alone now and it has hit home that I don't have anyone. Well obviously I have my children but it would be nice to have a relative to turn to. My inlaws have not bothered with me at all, which has hurt a little, especially as my ex spent 6 years telling me they liked me when its now obvious they didn't.
I do have people to talk to but things only tend to get to me late at night when there is nobody about. I'm the happiest i've ever been with myself so I think its time to get the past into some sort of order, while I feel strong enough. If I could get off these sites I would start writing lol
Reading some of these posts about mothers reminds me a lot of my mil. My own mother is just pure evil but my mil is harder to see through. hmmm, oh well not my problem anymore
I don't think you said too much! It is so so natural to feel wobbly after sharing stuff from the past though. don't let the wobbles stop you write whatever you need to, it helps to tell your story. even if nobody replies, it's still be helpful imo.
Oi - your mum sounds so like mine I felt a bit funny reading your posts. My mum is generally quite an ordinary, nice person, she can be quite caring, I actually quite like her at times. But when I was growing up anything negative was not allowed It was like she just didn't know how to respond to anything that was outside of the normal, run of the mill day to day routine. I remember being in tears about something and her looking at me blankly, almost with fear in her eyes as if she just couldn't figure out what to do. When I told her about abuse I suffered she told me I should just get over it, I was making her feel guilty. When I was depressed she started out being quite supportive but then I had my family telling me I was hurting her, she wasn't sleeping, it was too much for her to cope with and it all came down to her feelings. I was unimportant. I remember her telling me that she went out with her friends and how they were all talking about their depressed friends/family members and how they were all crying and it really came across like she was relishing the fact that she was a poor victim who could moan with her friends. Since then she has never asked me how I am or mentioned the abuse, it's like she doesn't care about it at all.
Reading your posts really rang a bell with me.
fortoday just wanted to tell you that I made the decision to cut off my 'relationship' with my mum just over 2 weeks ago after realising enough was enough. Its not easy but I have told my kids that we wont be seeing her anymore (they are 10 and 12) and they were fine about it (they didnt see her more than twice a year normally despite her living a few streets away and she doesnt remember birthdays and christmas etc). DD actually said mum do you remember she told us 2 xmas's ago she would take us to the cinema for our xmas present that year? She never did, did she ...... I do feel orphaned in a way (my dad died last year) but I am really grieving the mum I wanted rather than the one I had. I do feel relieved, emotionally detached from her and kind of at peace but other people find it a bit odd. A couple of friends have asked if shes been in touch and said never mind Im sure shell come round - but I dont want her to, I am truly done with her. Mothers day is a tricky one for me as I know that will be more fuel for her dramas when she doesnt get a card from me for the first time ever but I guess I will just have to ignore her. I know Ive a long road ahead as she is still on ok ish terms with my two brothers and no doubt her next step will be to try and cause problems between us but hopefully we can ride it out. Hmm that was supposed to be positive and Im not sure it is - sorry x
todays installment of madness- my mother has contacted a solicitor regarding access to my children- can she do this or is this just a threat. Also I have blocked her on facebook although she is friends with someone who is my friend (and old babysitter) we took them on holiday and there is a picture of our family on her page, my mother commented saying ' the ** family when my kids were nice'- what a cow and then went onto comment on how she is having a tough time with her family- sick of her, at least it was a lovely family of my dad that i didn't know exist, i only have a handful of pictures as my mom burned them after the divorce- such a lovely woman! x
arfur- thank you for your comment, sorry things are diffuclt but hey you did it! well done you and i hope you can tell me in a few months time when i have the bollucks to be in your shoes that you are out the other side xxxx
fortoday Not sure about the legal side of things but if you have a good enough reason for not wanting your kids to have contact with her I doubt a court would overrule it. I also imagine it would be lengthy and costly to pursue something like that. Have you had contact from her solicitor or is it just her telling you/someone else shes done this? Sounds like attention seeking/drama queen stuff to me and strangely familiar .......
fortoday she can, but needs to prove that she has a longstanding relationship with your DC, and that a continued relationship between them is in the DC's interest.
There have been threads on this recently, with legal eagles replying, if you want to do a search.
thanks arfur and hotdamnlifeisgood- i'll have a look but to be honest i think it is an idle threat- there is so much she has said its terrible, what made me cringe is when my dad died, we discovered he had private pensions, the solicitor dealt with these and due to debts etc his details needed to be put in a newspaper for the banks to see etc before the money was released. I didn't and still have touched the inheritance, my dh transferred it all to the mortgage every single penny, i paid for his funeral and everything that went along with his death so the full amount is there. My mom said yesterday that she was disgusted that i hadn't offered her the money (bearing in mind they had been divorced 5 years and she was remarried) and also that she wasn't informed of the newspaper so she could make a claim against his estate.
I'm disgusted with her, just pure greed, she asked me why i hadn't given her any money, if i'm honest the thought hadn't crossed my mind, my father had been found dead, i was working full time, i had all his funeral to sort and as his next of kin at 23 it was overwhelming, her financial needs (of which she has none, doesn't work, drives freelandr, 5 bedroomed detached house etc) and what she felt she deserved didn't enter my mind!
I really can't abide the pure evil of this woman. In the past she has told me me and my sister have been cut out of her will as we've had ours from dad- its sick, i've never wanted the money and that is why I did what i did with it- she said i'm a iar and if thats how i felt i should have given it to charity.
so sad today x
I have just sent my parents an e-mail in which I tell them that I am angry at them, explain why I am angry at them, and state that I want no contact.
I do not regret anything I said in it: it was all true, succint, and - I believe - measured.
I do not care that it will be misconstrued by them, and their perception of it distorted by their own narc/enable issues.
But my god do I need a stiff whisky right now! (can't, am at work)
Grandparents have no legal automatic right re access to their grandchildren; this is just another tactic in her armoury that she is employing.
Hello, <tentative wave>
Sorry to but in on you guys.
I was wondering if you could direct me towards some books about toxic parenting for my sister to read?
My sisters ex is in the process of traumatizing his teenage dd for life, with past and current behaviour. His entire family is behind him, and now also his new wife. They are force feeding her, telling her she is so ugly that she has no friends, and nobody will ever be her friend, they are telling her that she has no grasp on reality, and making her doubt her own thoughts and feelings. I believe both her dad and stepmum are gas-lighting her and about to ruin her confidence entirely. She has ME after glandular fever last year, dad refuses to believe this, and says she is anorectic, based on her not wanting to be force fed (she had the flu, high temperature and no appetite). She is just back from half term with them and a wreck, where she had stepmum yelling in her face and them both threatening her. She is 17, and can chose whether she has contact, but she is too scared of the consequences if she does not go to see him. She is scared she will lose her aunt and uncles and cousins whom she loves. They tell her they wont see her unless she goes to stay with her dad, and they are telling her they wont let their children (her cousins) see her unless she stays with her dad. If she stops visit, she is breaking her family ties with everybody.
(Some of you may remember he refused to let her go back to her mum after visitation two years ago and took her to an unknown location and did not let her use the phones, and did not let her talk to anybody, not even doctors alone. He got a psychiatrist friend (who had not seen my niece for years) write a report about her that she was mentally unstable and recommended sectioning). My sister rang social services about him, and they were called in, and niece blurted out the entire truth, so he was forced to return her)
There are some good titles at the beginning of this particular thread (see garlicfrother's post of 28.1.12).
Thanks Attilla. Will order some for my sister to read, so she can better help her daughter deal with all this.
Maybe buy her the book recommened here ? Its toxic parents or something...sorry cant remember the exact name. Other people who commented to me i will et back to you but this topic requires focus that i do not have just now. Might have to be the weekend.
Whoops. Didnt see the last 2 posts. But anyway , get the DD to read them too.
I guess it is a question of an abusive man also being an abusive dad. Not sure if he is toxic, or he is just a narcissist/psychopath. In any even my sister and niece needs to read about gaslighting and such stuff.
I have just started to read toxic parents. I started reading the book quite negatively. I have a lot of anger towards my parents but I struggle to be specific as to why. I can't remember most of my childhood so I don't know why I'm so angry about it. I can't even remember events relating to my mother that happened last year, I seem to just blank it. I know that I was neglected but I can't be specific and this gives them the opportunity to simply say I'm making it up or that its not as bad as I think.
The book has so far been an emotional experience, I did realise that my poor memory is probably a coping strategy but I didn't realise that its a very well recognised coping strategy. I don't know now if I want to remember so that I can know why I'm so angry or weather what I'm just looking for are coping strategies for now. Whatever it is I want there are several things in this book that have really hit home. I knew I had a problem, thats why I picked up Toxic Parents, now I feel like I need to work out what that problem is before I can actually deal with it.
I haven't even been able to tell DH that I'm reading the book and trying to confront this problem.
Toxic Parents is also making me look very critically at my relationship with my DS1. I try very hard to be a good mum and not behave in the same way as my parents but I still seem to get accused of behaving 'just like your mother'. This is possibly the most hurtful thing anyone could say to me but maybe its true...
I have a long way to go yet.
Pls excuse me barging in
Haven't thought about this stuff in absolutely ages but was wrestling with a lot of guilt over something today.
Anyway, tried to google my way out of the horrible feelings and came across this site:
Found the articles really helpful (and responses below them) and thought of this thread.
.....oops, didn't tick the box - let's try that again:
Ally - just wanted to thanks for your post it was very kind. Its nice just to be understood sometimes.
Calin Im sorry that my post rings a bell as it means you feel the same as me. However as above its nice to be understood and know it really isnt just me.
Ive got a list of a few other odd things she does , if anyone would like to comment as to whether they are normal/odd/narc/ whatever id welcome it.
1. She asks what i consdier to be inappropriate questions about my sex life. Im 24. When i was rowing up it was a taboo subject and she refused to even discusss sanitary towels properly with me - i must have been about 9/10 at the time and id asked what they were.
The older i get she seems to think its more and more ok to ask if ive slept with someone , eg a male friend. she asks this quite often and has no idea how odd it is. Usually the answer is no as they are just friends of mine. I have pointed out i dislike this and dont want to discuss my sex life with her but her answer is that my cousin talks to her about it why dont i want to ?!
Shes even asked if i meet blokes in bars and sleep with them. As in did you meet x in a bar and bring him home ?
2.She says ridiculous things which are obviously not true. She belives x country is a certain way and wont belive me if i tell her otherwise. similar to someone saying Germany is Nazi still but not as extreme. If i call her on it i must be wrong. She cant be and she gets pissed off and ends discussion or asks why i must "keep on about it - it doesnt matter"
3. She makes things up. Not big things , usually small things but in line with you told me you when to (insert name of place here) last week. No no i said i when to (different place name). She will insist i did or told her something slightly different. Usually she does admit shes mistaken though after a while if i insist. Or if she doesnt understand something shes been told she makes up something to allow it to make sense to her or fit into her head. Again usually small things that arent important but weird all the same. She dislikes admiting she doesnt understand a lot of things and keeps saying she does.
Ive nicked this off a website but yes oh my god she does this. "As a last resort she goes pathetic. When shes confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. Its all her fault. She cant do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesnt do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right.
Usually its we tried our best for you or something along those lines , gets upset that ive upset her. She has actually used the phrase "oh i just cant do anything right for you can i ?"
Im wondering if my father could be an enabler - about not upsetting my mother has been mentioned. Recently he backed her up in expressing how much of a little shit i was as a teenager. I was not well behaved but i pointed out at the time i was very very mentally ill and on a lot of different medications which didnt even help that much.) I dont get how they cannot understand how ill i was and how all rational nice behaviour was completely beyond me.
She also hates it when i do things she doesnt like. Eg. when i went travelling (which i paid for) she sulked becuase she didnt want me to go and that she would do nothing but worry while i was away. She actually said i couldnt go. I was 21 and told her i was going anyway so shed have to learn to deal with it. Which im proud of.
Weird comment once and this will out me to my friend if shes reading - i got a sales job when i was at uni after years of being a waitress. I was so so excited and one of the first things she said (not the very first) was "remember not to be rude to anyone"
Ive never insulted a customer in any job even thouh many have deserved it. It was such a bizzare thing to say that even my friend who heard it too commented on it.
Ok sorry about the essay but i welcome any thoughts at all. Hope you re all having good days today
I'm having a really bad day but the above all sounds very similar to my mother, although mine is probably a sociopath and is much worse.
Sorry I can't help more
I've done loads of work on myself and my childhood but i'm feeling very low today. I just don't feel good enough for anyone, probably because i'm now single so i clearly wasn't good enough for him. I never was good enough for my parents and although I now know they are just mad and way off the scale of anything anyone could describe as normal it still really hurts.
There is still a little girl inside me who wants to be loved and liked and good enough for someone. I've only got my children now and I don't want to screw them up with my need to be loved. I want someone to love me who doesn't depend on me for everything. I thought I was starting to get there with feeling better about myself but it doesn't last long. My ex only left 2 weeks ago so everything is still very complicated and raw but I feel like i'm really slipping and I don't know what to do. I need to bring myself back up and feel strong enough to cope on my own but I don't know how anymore. My whole life has been a struggle and I thought I was settling down with a decent man, turns out he is evil too
NHAN You sound lovely so i doubt you will screw your children up.
nhan, things will get better. He only went 2 weeks ago, that's nothing. be kind to yourself now, as kind as you can. you need to look after yourself, so you can look after your dc. i think you are absolutely incredible to have been through what you have and to come out the other side. your dc are lucky to have you.
you know what they say - sometimes the darkest hour is before the dawn.
just take it slowly now.
take care and thinking of you
oiwheresthecoffee Your list rings a lot of bells.
My mum also asked me inappropriate questions about my sex life, starting when I was a teen, while refusing to discuss sex in anything but very basic biological terms. I don't remember it myself, but my sister remembers how she questioned me about when and how often I slept with my first boyfriend as if she had the right to know. I'm now in my thirties and stopped telling her personal stuff ages ago, but still she occasionally blurts out a comment that just totally blows me away with its lack of appropriate boundaries.
She also makes things up to fill in the constant (and often weird) narrative that must be running in her head. One time I had a huge blowout with her because she claimed I told her that friend x was blond, while now I was saying he has brown hair. Why I would even discuss the hair colour of someone she'd never met, and then why I would lie about it?!
It happens especially with stories that don't involved her and I've read somewhere that is a trait of narcissists: if a story doesn't involve them they cannot actually process it. F.e. when I told her that I wasn't planning on buying a changing table for my babes because I had other furniture that could do the job, she kept acting as if she was responding to me while going on and on about where I could get a cheap one, until I with a very loud voice asked her if she could actually hear a word I was saying. She then did that sheepish/sly smirk and changed the subject.
And yes, she does this: "As a last resort she goes pathetic. When shes confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. Its all her fault. She cant do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesnt do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right."
It is at this point that my dad, who often sticks by me throughout the first part of the argument, flips and takes her side.
The only way I've been able to deal with it (until now) is not sharing anything with her that has any emotional charge for me, however small, because she always ends up using it. It got so far that for years I've just zoned out when I'm around her, basically pretending I'm not there. Now, with a therapist, I'm working on being more assertive and putting in boundaries instead of disappearing. I spoke out to my dad recently and am making strides in my relationship with my partner, but to do it with my mum - I realised this week - terrifies me.
Im so glad you ve posted a lot of that sounds like my mother.especially the flipping to pathetic then my dad jumping in to "save" her.
And the bit where she oes on and on seemin to not hear what you are saying. Ive had the very same when buying thins for my home she oes on about an item ive said i dont want and appears to just not hear me when i repeat i do not want it.
Its like her own version of events or something.
I dont normally post on here so I hope nobody minds, but I read NHANs first post and really wanted to offer my support.
It must have taken a lot of courage to have written that. It was heart-rending to read and I found it extremely difficult. You are a brave woman to have written it and even more so to have come out the other side of that type and ferocity of abuse. I am not sure if you have said, but are you still in contact with your parents? Hoping not on that score, but if so, that could be one positive thing you could do now - cut them out.
I am so glad you are getting counselling and I think you are absolutely right to focus on yourself, being a mother and the way forward. I am sure that throughout the counselling process the past can gradually be opened up. It must seem overwhelming at the moment. Little steps is what it is all about, but splitting up with your partner must seem like two steps back at least!
As for your ex, I know it may not seem like it at the moment but he may well have done you a favour in the long run, especially if he was abusive (which I am gleaning he may have been from your posts). The Mumsnet Relationship board is extremely good at dealing with and getting over twunts of exes. My immediate, practical advice is to disengage. If you have to speak to him keep it solely about the children and not about your behaviour etc. Perhaps have a few stock phrases you can just repeat if he starts getting verbally abusive e.g. I only want to talk about the children. Please dont change the subject. Ill speak to you later when you are prepared to discuss the children etc etc. If he continues to be abusive, keep a diary and if he is ever physical get the police involved immediately so they have a record. I really would recommend starting your own thread about your ex as you will get loads of brilliant advice and lots of support to help you through this difficult time.
Do you have any RL support other than your counsellor? A friend or another family member you get on with?
You are an amazing woman to have got this far, remember that. Your children are very lucky to have such a strong person as their mother, so please dont worry too much about them (ha ha easier said than done I know). If they can see you trying to sort out the problems and see you trying to protect them, it will mean so much to them.
Most of all be gentle on yourself. You are having a really tough time. You are allowed to be angry, down, resentful, worried, frustrated, unhappy etc. They are appropriate and valid feelings and it wont harm your children to see them in you. They may be feeling the same about their father.
Wishing you the best xx
Hello everyone. I think I need some support and I have no one I can talk to IRL.
I am only just beginning to realise just how toxic my relationship with my mother is. I am feeling a lot of conflicting emotions and am afraid to open up a can of worms.
I am afraid atm of being outed, but I really do need some support. I am also concerned that everyone will be bored to tears with my story.
I love my mother although I do not like her very much at all. I don't think she has ever really 'liked' me. When I was 18, she told me that as soon as I was born, she asked the midwife to take me away, that she didn't want to see me. Maybe she had postnatal depression. <<clutches at straws>>
My father was disappointed in me for the simple reason I was a girl. He had wanted a son. My mother also wanted a son. I think this was to stick their marriage together. Alas I was a girl. I behaved like a tomboy growing up. It wasn't enough to make my parents approve of me.
My father has seen me as one big disappointment from the day I was born. I only remember my mother being disappointed in me from when I stopped bothering with school. Being bright gave me scraps of my mother's approval, and yet I found myself resenting working hard at school when it felt like it was all give give give. My parents divorced when I was 5, and I didn't see my father again for 6 years.
My mother remarried when I was 6, to a violent man. I asked her not to marry him, but she didn't listen. Mind you, she never listened.
I remember once I came out of primary school and went to say 'You don't even care about
how I feel' I got as far as 'You don't even care about' when my mother hit me and I almost fell in the road.
She told me never to tell her she didn't care about me. I wasn't going to say that.
My step father beat us all for years. Mother told us we shouldn't have pissed him off and when I was older and asked her why she stayed with him, she said He brings the money in. Woo fucking hoo. I'd rather be living in poverty with a kind man than living in fear with a violent thug.
No matter what, mother stuck it out with him. We even ended up in a battered wives hostel once, but mother chose to go back the next day.
I was bullied at school, but mother never sorted it out. She told me to hit them back. I was bloody bullied at home and school. Home was just being punched and strangled, standing with my back against a wall (so I knew step father wouldn't creep up on me.)
Left home at 17. Mother claimed I was making her ill, she was so so worried about me. I listened to her lamenting for a few months, then went home again.
Left home again at 21. Never gone back. Yet I still have a relationship with my mother. She can't change the past, but she refuses to accept any responsibility either. It was not her that beat us, therefore she wasn't responsible. She didn't know it was going on. (That is a blatant lie!) She has had a tough life. (That is true.)
I don't even know where I am going with this, but my life is a fucking mess. I am beginning to also realise that my life has taken a huge detour from where I wanted it to go, and I have spent my youth unwisely, mainly veering between people pleasing (including trying to please my mother) and rebelling against her in any way I can. I have been so consumed with these two things that it is almost like I have only just turned around and realised I have spent my whole youth on these projects if you like.
I have wasted my fucking life and I am angry and sad about it, whilst knowing there is nothing I can do to bring those years back.
Or maybe I am just going through a mid life crisis?
Hope I haven't interrupted anyone else. I just needed to get some of that out. Thank you for listening.
Ive been trying to sum up the courage to come in and post for a while, its all a bit raw with me as have just had to cut my very toxic mother completely out of my life. Growing up she was always difficult - hard to please, called me selfish and often accused me of lying. When my stepdad moved in (I was ten) it all got worse. he hasnt spoken a word to me in 7 years (im 21). When I lived at home he would completely ignore me but would lavish my baby brother (he is now 7) with attention. I withdrew spending all my time shut in my room. My mum refused to acknowledge there was an issue, would ask me "why don't you want me to be happy, do you want me to be alone? You are so selfish" I became severly underweight and would be violently sick every morning. there was no lock on the bathroom door and they would both walk in on me. My mum would often finish an argument with me when she knew i was in the shower as she knew i would feel too vulnerable to stand up for myself. I dont want to ramble on - you get the picture.
However I have now told her she is never having contact with me again. I recently fled into refuge following emotional and sexual abuse by my partner. the abuse started when I fell pg with my beautiful DD who is now nearly 11 months. she refused to believe that the DV happened, instead contacted AP and told him where I was and passed any info I gave her onto him until I realised what she was doing. she has written a five page document which she issued to APs solicitor stating that I have a mental health prob that leads me to lie. She said I use these lies to create fantasies that I convince myself are real such as her abuse of me as a child and now that I am a victim of DV. I feel utterly betrayed that when I needed her most she failed me and in doing so put me and my child in danger. ive been really struggling with it all the past few days and have finally plucked up the courage to post on here. apologies that its so long - i get a bit ranty atm
Oh my goodness CovertTwinkle. How awful for you and your DD. How spiteful your Mother is and I totally think you have done the right thing by cutting her out of your life. My goodness I'm almost speechless. Keep posting on here, we'll always listen and stay safe.
For those of you who are finding similarities in each others stories, it's quite common on this thread. One thing that comes up time and time again seems to be the need for approval from our parents or the total dissapproval from them.
I find myself posting today as although I'm trying not to let it get to me in truth it is. Two things, I popped in to see my Grandmother last week and had to make a hasty retreat. The phone rang whilst I was there, it was my SF saying he was popping around to collect something. Not once did my Grandmother mention that I was there with DD but just said "ok I'll see you in a minute then" then proceeded to tell me that my SF was coming 'in a minute' and what he was fetching. This was obviously my cue to leave so I did. I hadn't even finished my cup of coffee.
I realise that she is in her 70's and doesn't want to be caught in the middle (we don't talk about the fact that I don't want anything to do with my mother or SF anymore) and I do realise that she will have probably been told a load of rubbish and a pack of lies about me but she's basically my only family now and I felt like I'm not even much of a muchness to her, which basically just leaves me with no family at all.
The second incident that happened last week was on Saturday it was my younger brothers 21st birthday. His girlfriend posted a picture on FB of him blowing out his candles with the caption "bf blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, thanks for a lovely day **(my mother)". Another comment from someone "That's what mum's are for...and bf really has got the best mum."
Stupidly this upset me for 2 reasons. My mother was never the 'best' mother to me, far from it. I know my mother, she will be going out of her way to 'prove' to everyone how nice she is, to make me look like I'm totally unjustified in cutting her out of my life. Why could she never put as much effort in to being my 'mum'? She seemed to put lots of effort into making my life as miserable as possible.
Ok the other thing is that I've never had as much effort made for me on one of my significant birthdays. I can remember when my brother turned 18, she made him a scrap book of his life so far, with photo's and memories. I never had any fuss made of me, my significant birthdays were just like any other. In fact when I turned 30, 2 years ago I never even received a present from her.
The thing is I know there is no answer to my question and if there is I will never know it. Why me? Why only me and not my brothers?
DaughterandSon so many of us apologise all over the place for writing our stories on this thread when we first open up. You have nothing to apologise for. Your feelings are valid, and we understand them (and share the same ones wrt our own parents). Your voice deserves to be heard. Your feelings deserve to be acknowledged - believe that.
Your mother spent your entire life convincing you that you had no right to your feelings, no right to be heard. She was wrong, and her behaviour harmed you. You were a child in her care, and she harmed you. You have every right to be bloody angry at her.
You are now a capable, unique and lovable adult. You can heal the hurt that you suffered as a child. It will take time, but you are now safe, and strong enough to protect and nurture yourself. Unlike the small child, the grown-up you can say "no" to hurtful words and behaviour. You're probably not used to it, but it does get easier with practice.
Twinkle I am so glad to hear that you are tackling your toxic mother now. I was on your first support thread under another name (both of us were) and I have been rooting for you from the very start. I am so impressed at how much you have achieved in a few short months. You are amazing.
Your mother failed you throughout your childhood - not just recently wrt AP. You have every right to feel nothing but anger towards her. Find ways to express that anger, to let it out so it doesn't fester and hurt you. (I used a combination of therapy, writing angry letters I never sent, breaking dishes against my garden wall where I would not disturb anyone, and just last week finally telling her in a measured way how her behaviour made me feel, and cutting her out of my life. It took about a year to process all this anger, but I now feel at peace with the situation - sad, but accepting.)
Thanks Hot and mampam thanks for the welcome. I have been very angry with my mum for a long time. Before i moved out at 19 I was so full of resentment that I literally couldn't allow myself to stay in the same room as her because I didn't trust myself. i forgave her when I moved out though. I moved 200 miles away and told her we should draw a line under the past and move on. I struggled to do this as we had many tense phone conversations where she would push the boundaries of what is acceptable. She then tested my patience again when i fell pregnant, telling me "you need to get an abortion. you know you have mental health problems. you wouldn't be a good mum and what if you panicked and left the baby in a bus shelter or something?" NICE! The first time ever that i refused to listen to her in a non confrontational way was when I told her I was having that baby. she was reeling for weeks. and then now this. Ive just had enough. we had so many conversations growing up about how unacceptable it was that she allowed my SD to ignore me and shun me, that i should be neglected. All the time she would tell me I was being selfish, didn't I care about her. and at one point when I was 15 told me she couldn't take this anymore that I needed to stop putting her in the middle. She wasn't in the middle!!! she should have been on my side! I always clung to the hope that because I wasn't a mother I didn't understand - that I was missing something which explained why she had done the things she had. But now having wibble I am more unforgiving because I could never ever treat wibble that way. I recently told a social worker with much force that I would never allow wibble to feel the way I had growing up and on that basis she has said she no longer needs to be involved in my family's support - she said it was good that I could see a need to break the cycle. I will do everything i can to protect my daughter from the pain and anger I have experienced. I am such a mess because of what she has done and desperately need lots of counselling!!! Im on the waiting list atm.
oh dear I seem to have rambled on a bit! It feels good to have posted. Just reading your stories has confirmed for me that it really WASNT me - it was her. and part of me is finding it easier to begin to let go.
and i need to let go because I have spent so long trying to convince her that Im not a bad child and now I could spend years trying to convince her that I wasn't lying about AP ramming his fingers up my back passage. That I wasn't lying about being raped when I had to quit my job 4 months before I moved out. That i wasn't lying about the things she did. But I am beginning to accept that she will never be convinced. For her own sanity she has convinced herself of so many things. she wont accept that my dad killed himself. she has lied about him and how he died for aslong as I can remember because she cannot accept that she has made mistakes. I could spend years consumed with trying to make her and my other family understand. or I can walk away and become consumed with being happy and raising my beautiful daughter. she is going to be 1 on 16th April and I have spent most of this year battling people who are manipulative and who will hurt me and her. Enough is enough. I just hope that I can find the strength to pull us both free from all the negative influences in our lives and forge a new life for us. I believe I can.
Twinkle that is exactly how I feel too. Like you I will also do all I can to protect my children from the pain and anger that I experienced and that I still feel now. I also believe you can forge a new happier life for yourselves. I have and I've broken the cycle.
I've been free of my toxic mother, step father and older brother now for almost 16 months. These have been the best months of my life. I finally feel like I can be the person, the wife, the mother that I've always wanted to be (if that makes sense?). I can express myself, I can talk about my feelings without being deemed weak. I am no longer judged. I don't have to live up to my mothers standards and continually feel like a failure because I don't. I'm no longer criticised and put down, ridiculed and not taken seriously. I no longer have to feel inferior to my siblings. I no longer feel so angry inside. I am accepted for who I am. I can be me.
It was hard to begin with but like you, enough was enough. I had couselling which was a tremendous help. It seemed that I had lots of issues going on but at the route of all of them was my mother. One thing that the counselling really help me with was to show me that it doesn't matter what the other people think of me. Like you I was always trying to make people understand what she was like........you can't explain, there's too much and you end up making yourself look petty whilst they triumph with their false persona of niceness to everyone else. Counselling made me realise that the people who count are the ones that know the truth and you don't have to explain it to them, anyone else doesn't matter.
Believe me my mother is a total expert at coming across a such a nice, wonder person, a fantastic mother. I have distanced myself from those people who think this, who have no idea.
Anyway I've waffled on enough
I am sorry for my last post, I tried to start from the beginning and realised it would take too long.
I have written lots about my current problems with my mother on another thread. I am not ignoring the lovely support that is on this thread. I am just concentrating on the other thread atm, although I am reading this thread and it is helpful. I can see that other people should not be treated so badly by their parents, but I can't seem to apply that to me atm. I do feel like I am moving in the right direction though.
If anyone is interested in the thread where I have explained my most recent problems much more fully, it is here.
I hope I have not been too forward by linking to my thread. Apologies if anyone thinks I have been. I will let someone else get a word in now.
I am sorry for my last post
Sweetheart, don't be. There is no apologising for ourselves on the Stately Homes thread. <stern>
I've read your other thread and am glad you are able to get so much out and so much support from it.
I can see that other people should not be treated so badly by their parents, but I can't seem to apply that to me atm.
Our upbringing by these types of parents conditions us to believe that we deserve the abuse; that we are at fault. Think of it this way: for a small child, survival is the most important thing there is. We depend on our parents for survival. So, when our parents are cruel to us, we cannot speak up about it, because to do so would jeopardise our survival by alienating those god-like creatures we depend on. Therefore, in order to make sense of it all ("Why is Mommy being cruel to me?"), the answer cannot be "Because Mommy is cruel and doesn't love me as much as she needs to protect her own ego", and instead it has to be "Must be because I deserve it."
So that's what we then grow up believing, deep deep down within ourselves. It's a very difficult belief to uproot now.
D&S your thread has some very good advice on it and you seem to be working through things and seeing things more clearly.
Your mother is truly a very nasty and immature woman who you simply need to distance yourself from. The greater the distance the stronger and more self assured you will feel. At the moment she is undermining everything about you, this is not because you are weak its because she is very horrid.
I am still wading through Toxic Parents and learning a lot. I'm swinging between believing that I'm making it up, my childhood was hard but thats because we were very poor and my parents didn't love each other and not because they were/are toxic. Then I start a chapter that really hits home and I start to remember words, phrases, situations that really hurt me and I'm in tears again trying to fit it all together.
Its like the smell of daffodils, most of the time I could not tell you what they smell like and I don't even think about it then I smell them and I am instantly six years old, out in the front field picking daffodils on a warm sunny spring day.
HandDivedScallopsrgreat Thank you very much for your response to me. It has helped an amazing amount because it feels like validation for how hard it has been. I guess this sounds selfish but in the past the responses I have had when i've had to tell people something about my past has been 'oh yes lots of people have bad childhoods but some people get over it quicker than others' and i've wanted to scream that they don't understand how bad it was. I've always felt quite pathetic, still finding things hard but i've realised now that i'm actually very proud of myself for still being here and not giving up. I'm hoping to stop putting pressure on myself to be perfect and do everything really well. I did surviving hell pretty well so I guess I can be allowed to fail at other things
I'm sorry I haven't read everyone elses posts. I'm dealing with a lot of things to do with my mother at the moment, but more the way I have taken on her view of me.
She has done so many things similar to everyones elses stories and I can really relate. I'm finding it hard to not just laugh bitterly and can't find anything supportive to say so am not responding. I do care though and wish everyone lots of strength to get through it.
If it helps anyone, I am so much happier now my mother is well and truly out of my life. She can pull whatever shit she wants now and I will just laugh at her. It has taken a long time and it still hurts to not have a mother but at least I can see that she never will be one and she will never have a hold over me again. It does all come good in the end
NHAN Repeat to yourself "This Will Pass" and say it again and again. It will take a little time to feel a bit more "normal and together"..... You will get there.....
"As a last resort she goes pathetic. When shes confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. Its all her fault. She cant do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesnt do: own the responsibility for her bad conduct and make it right."
Sorry, but I've pinched this quote from meiinlove. But my God, this is my Mum to a tee.
The funny thing about my Mum is that as the eldest, I was the only one who verbalised that I felt that my Mum was a bit toxic. My Mum has been hospitalised with cirrhosis of the liver 3 times in the past 8 months. I've now had conversations with my brother and sister who have been making their own mental journeys through this time, and we are all on the same page at last.
I do use stronger, more direct language about my Mum because I've done a bit of reading and read threads like this one. But to hear the two of them say things to me about our Mum, that have been on my mind and which I've kept to myself, for fear of being called a drama queen, is a relief and I now feel that my experiences are vindicated by others now........
She now gets pulled up when she's casting one of us as the golden child or another one as the scapegoat. We're all sticking together and presenting a united front.
I don't feel quite so alone anymore......
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
... just read that back, sorry for the awful spelling!!
Would you "forgive" your family? My birth mother, for reasons known only to her, allowed a paedophile to rape me just before I was 4 years old. When I say she "allowed" it. She actually invited him round the house and left me alone with him. She is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse herself and it is as if she wants her own children to go through what she went through. I have an elder sister who herself had been raped by the time she was 6 years old. The thing is, my birth mother, my sister and other family members keep having a go at me even now and trying to stop me continuing with therapy. I don't really discuss the abuse with either of them (there'd be no point) but I have said to them that it's not on for a kid (or indeed for anyone!) to be raped and they turn everything on to me and call me bitter and tell me to forgive and let live. I've reached point where I actually think my sister and mother are sick people. My sister is even indirectly involved now in other young girls in her community being molested.
karmak you're breaking the cycle of abuse. It's not going to be easy but you need to keep up with therapy. Do you need them in your life?
What you went through is awful and them normalising it is very damaging and nearly as sick as possibly still being involved.
I discovered something recently. To forgive is not to forget, reduce the pain and trauma or to in any way condone it. It is to accept it and let it be, For me anyway.
I don't think you can choose to forgive something so damaging. Not without damage to yourself anyway, I think it is something that happens eventually
I'm having a
Who is asking you to "forgive" your mother, Karma? Is it someone in your family, or a voice inside you that is telling you to stop making a fuss and get on with it?
Either way, those voices are wrong: it was a terribly, hurtful, damaging, breach of the most important link of trust in the world - the one a child has for his/her mother, as guardian of that child's wellbeing. You do not need to forgive: it was a despicable act that deserves no forgiveness. But as NHAN says, you can eventually accept that it happened, accept that your mother really was so inadequate in her role, accept that it is nothing you could have changed at the time, so that it stops hurting you.
Have been reading your dating threads, btw. Don't hesitate to put the dating on hold while you re-set your twat radar, which was so badly skewed by your upbringing.
Can I join please, not yet ready to open the can of worms, but have seeked medical help, and I am now on AD. waiting for senior counseling, as apparently i need senior counseling to deal with my childhood and present life.
Not that I am mental
although sometimes feel it just apparently my childhood was quite bad, and because I deal with it in facts, and not emotionally or accept it was so abhorrent, which I do, but sort of deal with it as a fact of life, as it was a fact in my life. oh I am mumbling now all a bit crap and mess really.
Lemonylemon, I got the quote from oiwheresthecoffee and she, I think, got it from a book. Which one, coffee?
The last time she did this to me I was in the hospital, with two 3 day old babies, one of whom was wearing a horrible harness and mask for light therapy. She wanted to discuss why I resented her cleaning (disinfecting) my house while I was there and making my partner and friend feeling unwelcome. It ended with me asking her to be strong in this difficult time, because although it was hard for her it was surely harder for me and partner. She took it as me saying she is strong and can cope with anything (sigh). And on the advice of my partner, I wrote her an over the top 'dear dear mum, didn't mean to upset you, i love you, love mei' note that any sane person would have seen it for what it was, but actually delighted her a lot (and made her f** off the day after I came out of hospital ). I felt quite fake doing that but also very surprised at the effect. A bit like setting boundaries that my therapist is teaching me. It feels like I'm acting, but I'm so charmed by the magical effect.
everythingpasses, you're mum sounds like how mine would be if we lived closer. And I agree with your partner that she is very controlling and manipulative. Being jealous of you, her daughter, because she misses the attention you get from being a mummy... Making you feel guilty because you don't 'present' your baby to her more than what works for you, while she can't even be bothered to drive down herself... Expecting you to hand over your baby as if you aren't even there... You have the right to be respected as your son's mother (and as yourself, of course), but for mums like ours it's difficult to even acknowledge that we exist as separate human beings with our own rights and feelings.
On forgiving family - I did time and time again and nothing changed. My mother is completely unable to comprehend that she could ever do anything wrong, and the family have been taken in by how lovely she seems and how awful I must therefore be. I have tried so many things that I am now certain that I must just cut them off completely but I think that decision was made easy by how awful my mother's behaviour was when I fled DV - she refused to believe me, refused to listen to me and sided with AP. That for me was the final straw. If she is willing to go to those extremes to justify what she has done (by which I mean that believing me would mean accepting that I dont have a mental illness which leads me to lie and that I therefore didn't lie any of the times that I tried to report her to the school for neglect and emotional abuse. She can't allow herself to accept that it was her fault and needs to believe that I am mentally unwell). Nothing I say will ever persuade her so what is the point? Its hard, SO hard just walking away. But im taking each day as it comes and focussing on my DD.
I think the time I realised exactly how twisted she really is was when I had got in touch with family on my Dad's side who I had never known. My mum left my Dad when I was 5months old and cut off his family. she always maintained that he died when I was 2.5years old although the other facts about him changed constantly growing up, she is incapable of telling the truth about things like this. She told me he died of heart disease. 4 members of his family confirmed that he had commited suicide. I knew I had to talk to her - she either had lied or had convinced herself it was heart disease. I rang her and very gently told her what I had been told. And then spent 45 mins dealing with "why are you attacking me, don't use that tone with me, how could you accuse me of lying, why are you crying, why do you care about him more than me, why didn't you ask me if you could talk to his family, why are you being sarcastic. You selfish ungrateful child, how could you chose these strangers over me, your own mother etc etc" ARGH! I got off the phone in a daze. EVERYTHING becomes about her and she always bandied that phrase about "me, your own mother". Its like she has to remind herself all the time that she is a mother, and has some kind of rights over me. and the "selfish ungrateful child" was her most used phrase as a child! Its incredible when you look at it from a distance how much we put up with and how no-one else can see it. I pity my brother. He is 7 and if my life is any kind of indication in 3 years he'll begin to see a different side to her.
I have/had two toxic parents, my dad died 8 years ago due to alcoholism, and my mum is bipolar. (only diagnosed, after dad died)
I can remember from a little age with bandages on me and my twin sisters hands, always asked mum why I have discoloured hands and she would always say it was my skin tone, so thought nothing more of it, apparently me and my sister got chocolate spread on our hands and she boiled the kettle over them, apparently by accident .
Another time we were 7 and mum gave us a packet of "sweets" turned out its was her mini pill and we were violently sick for 3 days.
I remember when dad beat the living pulp out of me, and she said I deserved it as I was sleeping too loudly, this was a frequent occurrence, I am the reason why they were in debt, I am the reason why they behaved the way they did, I am the reason why they turned to drink and I am the reason why their lives are shit, because after all they only even wanted one child, and got lumbered with me, as I was the runt, they never asked for.
I remember he beat me so hard with a buckle belt that I had to lay on 3 quilt covers as I was raw, everyone knew, yet no one intervened, and when I mean everyone, everyone knew, but why on earth did no one help me???
Last day of sixth year my head said, "Alt, I know your were physically abused, but did he sexually abuse you"
I said whats the point in asking me that now, I'm never going to see you again, would it be better for your conscious, As my head of year and my teacher you have failed me, I replied???? she couldn't give me a reply.
Even now at 29yrs of age, I still seek approval, my sister and her kids can do no wrong, even tho I had to have guardianship of my nieces, my sister hasn't spoken to her since Christmas, and treats her like poop, only ever phones when she wants something, or to demand that she buys X this for birthday etc...
Ive been living away for 13 years, she has visited 5-6 times in all that time, and only because I have picked her up, for her own safety, as she has accused 3 family members of raping her!!!. Ive had to section her, due to trying to kill herself, and best is she knows she doing it, but LOVES the attention, she tried a few weeks ago, and no one gave her the attention, so she abused my aunt, who is now not speaking to me, because I told her off, because she said she would dance on her grave, and couldn't care less if she lived or not, I mean I know she has issues, but does a daughter really need to hear that???
I remember when I got raped, I was 15, at a friends party, and this animal grabbed me when I was going to the loo and into his parents bedroom, and well.... my dad said it was my fault and that the police wouldnt become involved as I was a dirty little whore, I was a virgin and hadn't even kissed a boy.
I met dh (then dp) soon after (8 months) and after a year mum asked us if we were sexually active, and I said NO, as I knew the reaction I would get if I did, dh said we were, she kicked of big time, dh had to go home that night, and I got the beating of a live time again, with all 5 of my teeth knocked out. I moved to a different country with dh 2 months later, as soon as he had organised a flat etc... I was 17.
I wish I could say these were the worst, unfortunately these are just the tame ones, I hate feeling fooked up, I dont want to confront any of this, but now I wake the memories are burning and eating into me.
I could go on and on and on, I just dont know how to prioritise my feeling for both of them, and how to cope with the childhood that I have been made to face, as I have been seeing a trauma pycharasist as my own ds2 had a horrific accident, and I got diagnosed with PTSD, which she believes Ive had for a long long time.
Hi. I just wanted to check if my dad was/is toxic. I haven't spoken to him for 11 months as I have cut him out of my life because he used to upset and hurt me too much. I have 2 brother and 2 sisters (all younger) and they are all still in contact with him, they cant understand my problem and dont support my not speaking to him.
Last April, we fell out because something wed given them to look after had been loaned to one of his DPs children without our consent. It was just a quarrel, but because I spoke to his DP about it (and she really couldnt have given a shit) he rang and verbally abused me. A flavour of what he said was how could you speak to [DP] like that, shes the lovliest person you could ever meet, but youre not, are you?
At the time I was working for him and I went into work as normal, but we had a row again as his DP was saying that I said things to her that I hadnt, so I was standing up for myself. Then he sacked me and I had to get all my stuff and go home, without saying goodbye to any of my colleagues. We havent spoken since, nor has he seen DCs.
Some other things he has done over the years (brief highlights of just a few):
-When I tried to speak to my future step-mum about how difficult I was finding it (at 16) that she had moved in 6 months after my mum had left and they were getting married so quickly, she told my dad she couldnt marry him anymore as I didnt want her to. So my dad shouted at me that if he ever had to choose between her or me, hed choose her.
-Whenever I try to stand up for myself, he belittles and mocks me. He has no respect for me nor shows me any loyalty. He always believes the worst in me and badmouths me to my brothers and sisters.
-He has a bad temper and verbally abuses me, saying cruel things to hurt me.
-He owes me and DH £54k from an investment we made in his company, but hasnt repaid a penny. Instead he has bought new cars for 1 of my brothers and both my sisters and spends thousands of pounds on expensive holidays.
-Last summer he nearly died on a yachting holiday and according to the older brother & sister, he had an epiphany. This evidently did not include trying to reconcile with his eldest daughter.
-He treats us all very differently which encourages competitiveness between the siblings. He likes to be in control of our lives, through money and giving attention. DH thinks this is why he is the way he is with me as I wont be bought and refuse to shout the loudest for attention.
Im not sure how this all looks now its in black & white. Maybe it doesnt seem so bad after all. But DH fully supports me and thinks he is a horrible man. We have been together for 12 years so he has witnessed first hand how he has upset me.
I just wondered if the Toxic Parents book would help, or if Im ok just carrying on as I am, enjoying not getting involved with any of the conflict. I am a bit hurt and more angry tbh. Thanks.
chicaguapa I'd also read Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown. It's helped me on my journey....
And speaking of journeys - I have at last been able to post on my own thread about something that happened to me a long, long time ago, but which was not believed by my family..... But now it's out there.
I'm too tired to post properly but just need to add my ex inlaws and children's grandparents to these toxic people. To quote the FIL 'if the only thing my son did was pin you against a wall and squeeze his hands round your throat I am proud of him'. I'm very scared for my children, but bed is calling. Hope everyone is doing ok
OK I am in need of a bit of back bone strengthening. I have had issues with my family since my teens, possibly earlier. In the last 5 years or so I have concluded that my F is a narcissist and that at different times different people in my family step into enabling roles. I am often the black sheep and as a teen maybe the golden child for my parents but therefore the black sheep with my sisters..tbh I dont really care v much about the details of this any more.
Anyway over christmas we went to visit for a month and had a family holiday (I shoudlnt have gone I was dreading it) at my Fs invitation. My H and I have had an awful year - our D is possibly SN - she has severe developmenatl delays and my H was disgnosed with MS. It has been hideous.
I dont want to go into lots of detail. Basically I have come to the conclusion that it is not worth the effort to try to get my family to be supportive of us as they are all so self involved that this is very difficult to achieve and instead of helping they tend to find ways of blaming me for their lack of support (or even just interest). I am sure I play a role in this drama but I am so overwhelmed with the difficulties in my life that I dont want to spend time on these people any more.
Now my dad has been emailing me lengthy essays on whats wrong with me and what I am doing wrong. rather than engage with these and refuting them point by point (whcih I could do) I have only written to say that I find it disingenuous and I really just want to focus on my issues with D and H and that I will get support from those relationships where its made avaiakble to me. he keeps exhorting me to work on my communication and the like so they can support me. But I dont want to. I dont want to spend my time going round in circles with him until I finally capitulate and do what he wants me to
Am I just being childish and petulant? Please just tell me its ok to stick to focusing on my H and D and not to engage with this...
I know its very leading but I cant cope with them any longer and need to feel its ok not to get into it anymore.
I would have liked to just cut off quietly without any drama as we dont have all that much contact anyway. Unfortunatelt it hasnt worked out that way so now they all arent speaking to me and it all feels very scary.
sorry to hijack this thread like this I just needed to say this and get it out. I feel very panicky
There's no need to apologise, firsttimer. This is what this thread is here for, and you are entitled to say what you feel any time, any place, really.
You don't have to read your dad's essays, you know. Bin them, hit delete, next time one graces your inbox.
You want to focus on your H and D: that's entirely your right. You don't need to defend yourself to anybody, even
especially your family.
Cutting off toxic people doesn't happen without drama, since they HATE being cut off - seems too much like criticism, which they can't face, and can only react to with blame, denial, and rages. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, though. Shield yourself from the drama by 1. not communicating with them, and 2. interrupt any news-bringers (well-meaning or otherwise) with an "I do not want to hear about my parents, thank you."
It's OK. You're OK. You're doing great.
My mother is a lying bastard and i hate her for it, I hate the fact that I cannot just separate from her, I hate the fact that her boyfriends arsey cuntishness takes paramount over her sons security both emotional and physical over the years. I fucking hate my mother! I was going to write examples but I found this more helpful. I would rather she would just fuck off so atleast then i wouldnt have to deal with the guilt of not calling on her with my son. But there is no way i want him to feel the emotional headfucks as me and my sister have endured over the years... Who dont talk as we have spent the last twenty years being divided and ruled. shes a bitch.
My mother in law was right, that did help
I hate the fact that I cannot just separate from her
As a matter of fact, you can. Would you like to?
I cannot do it without the loads of guilt thats all. I work in mental health and know how people with personality issues can offload their insecurities onto other people. Its different however because she is my mother.
Can I just say I hate Mothers' Day? Even though my Mother is on the other side of the world and we don't celebrate it over there until May, and I haven't talked to her for over 2 years, I still feel sad and guilty and angry that I don't have a Mother to love.
man why would it give you loads of guilt?
Why is it different because she is your mother?
Fifehourssleep ...how's about we rename that day survivors day ,and celebrate us instead ?
...for the stately homes visitors.
fivehours I have a friend whose mother sadly died young. On mother's day, she celebrates the many mothers she knows and loves. Is that an idea that would usefully give meaning to the day for you?
damn Just talked to my father.... Things seem a little better.
Thankyou for the hand of help, but shouting about how much i fucking hate that warped bitch helped enough!
Just wanted to moan about the fact it is mothers day tomorrow and the evil bitch that is my mother has crept into my mind again!! I've been a mother for 4 years and this year is my first as a mother of 2. My aim is to just enjoy the day without thinking about her at all. I guess it is all family occasions but for some reason mothers day just hits the hardest. 'Nobody loves you like your mother does' well mine didn't love me at all, so that's me fucked.
My children however, do love me and I adore them. She won't destroy that for me no matter how hard she tries.
NHAN, I'm with you on this one. I have a few poor friends who have lost their lovely mothers and find MD hard because they miss them terribly, but find I can't be honest about how I feel because having no mother around to spoil is considered 'my choice'.
I haven't posted on these threads for ages....
I went to see her last Sunday and I've felt awful ever since. She started on my children and I did lose the plot a bit, I don't want them affected by her bizarre viewpoint but as usual it turned into smoke pile of self pity oh well I suppose we got everything wrong with you - this time I said, well the way you view. Y choices I guess you did.
I thought I had got over this feeling and moved on and for a couple of years with limited contact I've managed to be ok but it's all come back.
The icing on the cake was the rant about how by not teaching my children about god I've failed them. Yeah mum cos your god really made my life good.
Sorry to turn up and rant but I've been nursing this for a week and even typing helps. Thank you all x
I have never visited this thread before...but beginning to think this is where I belong. I assumed that toxic parents kinda knew what they were doing to their offspring was horrible and they enjoyed the mind games, but am realising my own DM is the catalyst in the unravelling of my family.
To be fair to my DM she had a very abusive childhood and it left her not being able to function as a loving mother. She cannot show love at all unless to one of her many pets. I think though things were held together by my late DF, since his death things have gone, in the family completely downhill.
My DM plays me and my brother off against each other and I can't cope anymore. I am the one visiting, taking her out helping her with paperwork but all I hear when I go round is how fantastic my brother is. No thanks to me all him and the paltry times he visits. My brother and I had a big falling out earlier this year and this seems to have egged my mum in talking about him more.
I have told her that I do not want anything more to do with him because he was violent to my DH and she knows this but it seems she can't help herself.
I've just visited her and heard about the lovely trip he took her on yesterday and he is taking her out for a meal now and I lost it...like a petulant child. I told her that this isn't a competition, she still carried on talking about her day and what vegetables she had with her meal while I was discreetly dabbing tears from my eyes.
I have been blaming my brother up to now for all this family crap but am now wondering if she is the cause of it. The thing is I'm not bothered my the fact I am estranged from my brother it's just my mum keeps going on about him it's like a knife to the heart. At the moment I don't want to go round there again and deal with her but know if I don't she will be alone and I will feel guilty.
Guilt and hurt two things I never want my dds to feel because of me.
My brother is my Mother's number one. There are four of us. I don't give a shit anymore. I ignore him, I ignore her. She's a nasty, viscious cow and if he's that dumb, let him get on with it. I'd like to say he'll soon find out, but he won't, he's got some fairly serious mental health problems of his own, so he can't unpick the threads of what she sews.
She's fucked now though, the rest of us have got together to compare notes, after 40 years of her playing divide and rule. Enlightening.
I can't understand why a mother will do that to her kids intentionally, i mean, I'm not perfect but you think you will try your hardest to love and treat your kids the same.
Sorry, no time to read others' posts (kids getting ready for bed), but I wanted to get out that I feel sick to my stomach. My parents came to visit for the kids' birthday and my mum asked (told me) she wanted to talk, following from my honest talk with dad last month. It started good. I felt in control. Picked the place, made sure there was no alcohol. Asked her what she thought my issues were. She named them surprisingly well. We talked about them a little. I cut her off when she went on tangents of 'woe me' and stuff about herself I am really not interested in hearing. Then she dropped a bomb of information about my brother (when he was little) that shocked me to the core. Even more because I knew that I used to know about this, as she was telling what happened to him. I showed my shock, but didn't really feel it until last night. This morning I told her that I don't want to be part of her revelations/confessions anymore. I have heard enough of them and don't know what to do with them. She got angry, and confirmed that I did used to know this stuff. I hate her. Now what do I do....
Can I join you all. But it's dh mum and not mine that is toxic.
I feel bad as she is clearly a very unwell woman but I need your reassurance that we can cut her out.
It's quite a long story but will try and be to the point.
When I met dh his parents were moving 5 hours away. Dh stayed here with me and his brother (half brother) stayed nearby too. His brother got himself into trouble and moved nearer them.
When me and dh went to get birth certificate for him so we could get married aboard we discovered his parents had lied. His dad wasn't his dad and he had adopted him aged five. They refused to answer any questions about dh real father. They blammed me for dh finding out. We had children but they never made the effort do often travelled five hours to see them with young child.
We then made a choice to join a religion they didn't agree with. They went crazy, yelled abuse down the phone, sent nasty letters, made late night silent calls and finally sent every photo of us and the children back with letter saying we weren't welcome ect. All was lovely and quiet for a few years until dh got cancer. He asks me to call them, which of course I did. They took a week to get here, spent one day here and we haven't seen them since.
However, his mum had fb. She gave me so much hassle about not adding her I deleted my account.
She has been very abusive to dh the last week, saying he didn't list he right on family tree, by is he so nasty, ect.
He sent a message saying; please stop saying these things they make me very upset. She has then been abusive saying; how dare you tell me what to do, I haven't done anything ect.
Now she has deleted him off her friends list. I have suggested dh closes his account and signs one up under a different name. However she has now friend requested him!!
I really think this is sending the wrong message to our girls about behaviour and I have had enough an want to cut them off now. Dh doesn't know what to do.
Thank you if you got to the end
Any advice would be great
Lisa from another thread I understand a lot about your life and I will thinks hard. And get back to you. I'd appreciate it if you read my last comment ant thought aboutnitntoo. I don't think there are that many on here placed as well as youth understand wha GI am saying.
Rhona, I'm so sorry to read about your mums behaviour. Just goes to show that even god can't make us all nice people
Please don't feel guilty or bad, she clearly thinks she was doing the right thing and won't accept that she might have been wrong and her behaviour now still is.
So for the first time I can remember I didn't contact my mum in any way yesterday. And I'm feeling good about it really, just now waiting to see what her retaliation will be, because there will definitely be some. Her drama queen side won't be able to ignore it without trying to stir up some attention bringing (for her) trouble for me. Sigh .........
i quite enjoyed not having to worry about her at all yesterday but I know its doomed my relationship with other relatives ... when I cut her off I did so with a phone call informing her that her actions this time had been unacceptable, that there was no way back after she had refused to believe any of what Id confided in her about my AP. and I knew it could go two ways - either she'd play the victim and not contact me or she'd go the other way and bombard me with calls. and I still haven't heard anything and as soon as I realised it was coming up to M. Day I realised why: i can guarantee that she will now be spreading the story that "Twinkle ran off again, she's had a breakdown, she's beyond help this time. she actually told me she never wants to speak to me again and didn't even call on M. Day!" poor me, Im the victim, pity me, I am your MOTHER etc etc.
Its not worth the hassle of worrying about ... I had a lovely day with my DD, I refused to think about her. Now we shall see if she does the spite thing and doesn't try and get in contact or send a card for DDs 1st birthday on 16th April. im not holding out much hope. and any presents will be stuck straight back in the post. It'll be a lot easier once we've moved and she can't send or not send anything iyswim.
Hello all. I hope everyone is well and yesterday wasn't too hard for some.
I've now hit 10 weeks pregnancy. Suffering really badly with morning sickness, but happy otherwise. For those that don't know, I've been dealing with my mother through mediation. I'm being forced to allow my mother to have DD at hers which I haven't allowed for the past year. My mother doesn't know I'm pregnant, as I refuse to tell her. I don't want her to know. I don't want her to have anything to do with this baby nor DD.
On Saturday mediation rang, but I didn't answer as I wasn't in the mood to deal with it. Yesterday morning my mother texted me saying "happy mother's day. If you ever need me, I'm always here for you xx" Bollocks. Last time I saw my mother at mediation, she was making out I was a liar and lying her way through stuff (no surprises there). She is so two faced and so false. My DP is livid.
Anyway, I rang mediation back as I was curious as to why my mother was suddenly trying to be all nice. Turns out she had called mediator to say the date that we had scheduled wasn't good for her so she wanted to do another date. Mediator wasn't happy as she said she's not the messenger between us, mediation is suppose to try and "fix" the communication problems between me and my mother in terms of contact with DD (pfft).
I also saw my father last week. I rarely see him and he called me out the blue asking if he could visit (he never does this so I was immediately worried something terrible had happened). He turned up with his DP who I hadn't seen in 13 years, and tells me they're getting married and want me to come. Unfortunately their planned date fell 5 days after my due date, so I told him I was pregnant. He's happy for me and DP. I told him not to say anything to anyone else. He promised not to (though I don't always believe his word). He also mentioned he knew of the stuff that's been going on between me and mother and he needs to talk to me about it at some point. 1) I can't see that conversation happening, and 2) if it did, I'll tell him straight exactly what's been going on! He's rarely been in my life, doesn't know the crap I went through in my childhood thanks to her, so he has no right to stick up with her. But like I said, I doubt that conversation will happen as he's not exactly reliable or paternal.
when I cut her off I did so with a phone call informing her that her actions this time had been unacceptable, that there was no way back after she had refused to believe any of what Id confided in her about my AP. and I knew it could go two ways - either she'd play the victim and not contact me or she'd go the other way and bombard me with calls. and I still haven't heard anything and as soon as I realised it was coming up to M. Day I realised why: i can guarantee that she will now be spreading the story that "Twinkle ran off again, she's had a breakdown, she's beyond help this time. she actually told me she never wants to speak to me again and didn't even call on M. Day!" poor me, Im the victim, pity me, I am your MOTHER etc etc.
We need an acronym for "I could have written that" for this thread
You sound so strong in that post, Twinkle. You have a lot to be proud of.
Hotdamn I have had enough of being weak, of being trodden down by poisonous and self serving people. I am 21, Ive spent all my life being manipulated first by my mother and then my AP. I will not allow anyone to manipulate me again. Ive got my life to live and for DDs sake I need to find the strength to put the past behind me and embrace that future. I am proud of myself
Id suggest ditto but it sounds a bit 90s .... ICHWT - except that reads in my head as "itch wet" which is strange and confusing!!
Hello, not posted before. Just had yet another vile visit from my mother and feel trapped and helpless, I am hoping I can get my head together and find a way forward through this as it feels unbearable. I will order toxic parents.
I'm 40, 2 DCs, loving marriage of 19 years. I had an older brother but he killed himself 10 years ago. My Dad has been absent and unable to keep up normal contact and I haven't seen him since the funeral of my brother. My mum and dad had a hideous marriage which finally fell apart when I was 18. My mum is remarried to a man who doesn't really want to be a part of my life. I feel trapped because despite the fact my mother seems to be irritated by everything I do and say and pays no interest in her grandchildren I feel responsible for her because I am all she has. Since having the children our relationship has gone from bad to worse with her appearing jealous of the time I spend on my family. I am feeling more and more affected by our relationship as I am realising how damaged my childhood was compared to how I feel for my own children. My mother is openly dismissive of my husband, she ignores the kids and shows no pleasure in them. She lives a 7 hour journey away which means when she comes to stay it is for days at a time and she does nothing to help. I am a bed and breakfast for her shopping trips but she gets annoyed that we have to work around the kids now.
This week has been particularly horrible and I actually wished her dead and felt hatred which I've not felt quite so intensely before. Her reactions to everyday situations are extreme and border on tantrums. I made a misjudgment on Friday as to how long it would take us to get somewhere, having got the kids ready, breakfast and walked them to school I had not allowed enough time to get the train and also had to pop back to get my ticket which I'd forgotton (lack of sleep was to blame) My mother had paid for tickets to something starting at 10am and we sat on the train at 9.20am...I realised time was tight and my mother was furious beyond extreme. I apologised and her reaction was to seeth 'oh don't start'. She fumed all the way making feel sick with worry as to what the day would hold. I tried to entertain my 2.5 year old who was affected by the atmosphere. I ended up getting a black cab and we made it there in the nick of time. BUT. The rest of the day and visit were spoiled. She ignored me most of the time and I felt awful. I realise that this is her problem and I tell myself all the time that its her not me, but it doesn't help so much when she's sucking the life from me. I have massively lost confidence these past 5 years and am definately finding it harder to feel good about myself.
I have tried in the past to confront her but she is vile and nasty and I can't cope with the stress having lived a loving and peaceful life since leaving home. She refuses to acknowledge situations and I am told I am being ridiculous...its like trying to argue with insanity.
Tyniclogs - that kind of undermining and your rising anxiety is what I feel with my family all the time. It makes me feel crazy. The thing is that if your mother is anything like my dad you can argue yourself blue in the face - they will never ever see your point of view. I believe that my F has a personality disorder - if not something clinical then close to. He is not normal, my interactions with him are not the way they are with normal people. We dont have an ordinary relationship like two human beings. Often he makes me feel bad. Alos I have been trained throughout my childhood to react to him in a particular way so I get into behaviours that make me very stressed and anxious (eg: I am constantly on stand by waiting to anticipate his needs) Your mother is an adult its not your job to get her to places on time, its not for her to fume like that when you dont.
I found the book 'children of the self absorbed' very helpful in terms of finding ways to heal from and deal with this insidious low level emotional abuse.
PS: I find it shocking that your mother ignores your children. Its terribly painful to see what was done to you being done to someone else. My F did this to my daughter and I found within me the power to finally say no. I went through that, I will make sure she doesn't have to.
Sorry you have had a tough time.
Also dont let yourself be blackmailed by the 'all she has' argument. If your M is so dependent on you she can be a bit nicer. Its not duress to expect her to engage with your children and not ignore your husband while she is in your house. The book I mentioned deals with the issue of dependent parents too.
Ugh and next time she comes to stay tell her to get a flexible ticket and if she behaves badly she will have to go home early
Thanks First. A lot of what you say rings true. My father definately has a personality disorder and as you say just doesn't behave like a normal person. Its been a lot easier to cut him completely from my life as he just comes out with completly outrageous behaviours which I can't have around the children. My mum is much more subtle but no less damaged and damaging. I know I am frightened of her and its this fear that stops me from really losing it with her, but I also know I hold all the cards.
I am frightened of hurting her as I know a lot of her problems stem from how she's been treated by her own mother and my dad. She admits she doesn't like herself (which is at least something!) She fails to see however how her behaviour causes problems for everyone around her. The lack of responsibility is definately a big issue now I have children, she expects me to organise everything and I just find it all too much at times. I have tried asking her to get more involved as she's made comments about not knowing what to do in the past...but it's very short lived. How hard is it to realise that laughing when your grandchildren are screaming and your daughter is trying to retune the tv, make dinner and clean up breakfast plates isn't the best response?
We used to have an awful relationship when I was younger, I left home and it got better when my brother was ill for around 10 years, she talked much more to me and I felt things were getting better. After he died things plummeted and I thought it would get better again in time. Having children really killed it though. I had PND after both children and lots of complications with both births which I put down to the lack of support. An example of her behaviour is: When we arrived home from the birth of DS number 2 and our oldest wanted to watch Cbeebies, mum was at home watching the tennis, she refused to put the tv on for him and didn't even come and look at the baby, she left the next day which had been earlier than planned and couldn't wait to leave (I'd had a C section and was feeling pretty battered). Its just not a normal reaction and it breaks my heart for my children.
I think I need to do a bit of reading. It helps to read that these reactions aren't normal as having been brought up this way you have to relearn it all. I'm scared stiff of making the same mistakes of my mother but also wary of over compensating!
I feel responsible for her
Tyniclogs: if you can change that belief of yours, then the rest will follow.
You're right...I know. I need to let her go, it feels like another unatural berevement to add to that of my dad and my brother. I just keep thinking there must be hope, she's making herself so unhappy.
It's a very hard thing to do, Tyniclogs. Precisely for the reasons you list. Give yourself time and a lot of slack!
I just wanted to add that I feel there has been a shift in me over the past 24 hours. It feels really weird (but quite exciting!) I don't have the same feelings I've had after past visits from my mother and I've been reading up on personality disorders. It definately helps to read other peoples experiences and see just how twisted my mothers reactions to life have become. I am realising just how much my attempts to please her have had on my own life and sense of self and I realise also that I mustn't continue. I feel a sense of calm having decided not to do anything. I can't make the situation any better but I also know I can't cut her off. I am going to attempt to manage her behaviour by not becoming emotionaly involved in it. I feel relieved to have realised that confrontation will not help and that I don't have to take responsibility for her unhappiness anymore. I know it won't be easy as I'm not made of stone and am thinking talking to a counsellor may help, but it feels good to have more of idea of whats going on instead of blaming myself.
Mil threatened dh and then deleted him from fb. Next day tried to re add him
He has stayed strong and not added her, blocked all her accounts.
He fully know we now can expect letters and nasty called again
... after my musings on this thread (last on page 4); I found out on Friday that the doctor is giving my Mum 6 months left to live.... which makes dealing with this just that little bit harder.....
Lemony it's always possible, albeit a little bit harder, to deal with the issues left you by a narcissistic parent even after they have passed away.
Decide for yourself how you want to conduct yourself wrt your mother in her final months. There is no right or wrong way. Only that which you feel treats yourself and her with the most respect (as that is the healthy way to conduct any relationship, in any circumstance).
I and others here have found that we are respecting our parents (as individuals responsible for their own actions) when we confront them, or cut them off, because by doing so we hold them responsible for their own actions in an open way, and leave them the option of reacting to it as they see fit.
None of your actions will determine how your mother experiences her last months - only she can determine that. So just choose the actions that you know in your heart of hearts are the right ones.
Hot My sister and I have decided to make the last few months of my Mum's life as easy as we can. There's no point in banging on about stuff when she's so desperately ill. I will call her on her behaviour if she's rude to me or my siblings, though!
My conscience will be clear and as far as things go, I know what has happened and and how she is and will just keep on working on myself throughout the next few months and beyond.
We are in the slightly difficult situation of knowing that my Mum only has a few months to live and that she will not change. We can only hope that her dying is not too painful and scary, we will be there for her.
I hope that makes me a bigger person and sets an example to my mother who just ran in the opposite direction when I was pregnant and my fiance died - when I say "sets an example", I mean that the message will be brought home to her and she will realise what she did.....
It sounds like a very tough time, Lemony, and I have nothing but respect for your choice.
She may never realise or accept what she did, you know that, right?
Yep. I do. Unfortunately. <Sigh>
Sounds tough Lemony, but it also sounds you're doing whats right for you, I know that feeling of wanting a clear conscience. It will be hard at the end and it sounds like you're preparing yourself for how you'll feel.
Sorry Lemony it must be tough. I hope you find a good way to deal.
I hvae noticed in myself that I often am trying to do the right thing. I do wonder if this is an ethical/moral stance or a kind of insurance policy. By insurance policy I mean am I trying to be good so that I will be rewarded/not punished (by the universe at large). To some degree the insurance policy thing feels tied into how my parents have damaged me: I am trying to bargain my way through life because rather than feeling I am intrinsically good I am fearful in my actions trying hard to be good because I dont feel good.
I am trying now to stop being good and focus on being authentically me - figure out what I feel (not what someone else feels) and act in accordance with that.
I think that when someone is ill or dying this desire to be good (because its only for a short time) does take over a bit. You may well manage to be good but I could leave you feeling rather blank after.
or even 'it could leave you feeling rather blank'
I dont know thats all too tangential. I mean that you still hvae choices in whetehr or not to engage with your mother and how you do that.
Firsttimer I think you've hit on something that is linked to own of my own observations: that people who have suffered abuse and/or neglect in childhood are among the most idealistic our society has to offer.
This can be a fantastic trait: we need idealists to move society forward.
But in our private lives, it can be a true hobble: hoping against hope that an abuser will change, for example. Hoping that if we are very very good, they will love us.
Hi HotDAMN - and yes I am a human rights campaigner in my work. So predictable!
I am planning to do the exercises in the children of the self-absorbed book. I v much recommend this book - it has a section on dependant parents that might be helpful
Hello, sporadic poster in this thread here, hope you'll forgive me for just mowing across all over you to go on about this (this is the only place I know will understand what I'm going on about)
Anyway, potted history of my childhood, ran away from original family at age 8 because of daily beatings, psychological abuse, starvation, threats and on. Couple of psychos my real parents they really were.
Went from birth family to childrens home to a couple of foster homes which didn't work out to my last foster family at age 11.
Stayed with them from age 11 to age 18 when I moved away to come and be an au-pair for a year in this country. Still here to this day because I love it and I would simply wither and die without the wonderful british humour alone
Since I came to live here I've only kept in sporadic contact with my last foster family, at this point in time I haven't seen them in 5 years and last spoke to them on the phone on christmas day.
At christmas I agreed to go and visit them in May this year since it's my foster father's 70th birthday.
The thing is that I've realised that I really don't want to go and spend a week with them.
Yes they were better to me than the other sets of parents and carers I had in my childhood but gratitude is just not strong enough any more to make me want to spend time with them.
I've come to realise that I'm just not happy to cripple myself financially (before, during and after the visit if I go) for people that I barely know and who barely know me.
Contact has been so sporadic because it's always been awkward for me to talk to them. Any problems I've had since age 18 that I've made the error of telling them about have been swatted away with 'well, you made your bed, now lie in it' followed by inane chatter about people in their village etc.
When I'm with them I feel judged and critized and revert right back to feeling like a powerless child.
In fact, my first thought after agreeing to the visit was 'christ, better lose some weight and fast' since appearance and especially weight has been a weird marker of success as a human being since I was small in that family.
I know all of this but all of my reasons for not wanting to go and be trapped with all of them (party guests from far and wide, large family etc) feel like pathetic little excuses.
Can't work out why I would suddenly be so worried about what they think of me when I haven't done that since I was about 20.
Am I a horrible ungrateful person for not wanting to make a huge effort travel arrangement and money wise for people who don't know me and have never felt like they wanted to know me?
"Am I a horrible ungrateful person for not wanting to make a huge effort travel arrangement and money wise for people who don't know me and have never felt like they wanted to know me?" No, you're not, Bibi. That does take huge effort, not only in travel and money, but also emotional energy, when you want to get something good from people who can't really be bothered to give it. So don't feel guilty if you don't go.
I'm still reeling from my mother's revelation/drawing me back into her horrible family secret and today's therapy session. More and more I'm starting to see that she is not as child-like and unaware of my emotions as she likes me to think. She lured me into a comfortable place by very correctly describing how I felt as a child. So if she understood this, she also understands how opening up this secret to me (again) is going to impact me and my relationships with our other family members. Considering the possibility that she really is so cruel today gave me emotional flashbacks just now to how cruel I felt her to be when I was a child. I know it's good/necessary to get away from the numbness that is my memory of everything before I left 'home', but I'm scared.
I saw my counsellor yesterday, to try and understand mother's day. How parents could sit in your house making snidey comments about the house, the garden, you, your parenting whilst being waited on fucking hand and foot is beyond me. My counsellor made me realise they are never going to change. She said I've been going to her for three years about my parents and they're still the same, they will never change. They nearly didn't turn up for my wedding, they didn't come to hospital after my traumatic birth and I needed my mum, they rocked up at Xmas and had me skivvying around for them after an emcs. And now, my first mothers day, again, spent running round after them, trying to win their approval.
Having a child has really crystallised for me what shite parents they are. I would never speak about/ to my Ds the way they speak to me. I wouldn't harbour resentment for 30 bloody years because he's a baby and he cries. I wouldn't tell him he's lazy, selfish, spoiled, rude because he didn't jump every time I open my mouth. I wouldn't call him a bitch. I wouldn't hit him. I wouldn't embroil him in my marriage problems. I wouldn't put my dh's wants over and above my Ds' needs over and over again. I wouldn't take the credit for everything good he did or had. I wouldn't tell him he's rubbish and hopeless for everything that didn't go his way. I wouldn't shout at him when he is upset to get him to shut up. I wouldn't always take the position that he is in the wrong and needs to change his behaviour to be better. I wouldn't make passive aggressive digs every time he tried to assert himself.
I look at my ds and I know I would always try and make him happy and put him first. He is his own person with his own wants and needs and personality. He needs me to look after him so he can grow into the amazing person he is capable of being. I can see the little girl inside me and I feel so utterly sad that no one thought that of her.
I've read nearly all the posts and I haven't the words to help or heal anyone, but I'm listening and I believe you and I don't think you're exaggerating or misunderstanding or that you're over sensitive
Bibi you are perfectly entitled to change your mind about going. They will doubtless guilt you about your decision, but you do not need to bear that guilt.
Your relationship Bill of rights
And, from what I dimly recall about you have said of your childhood in past threads, I think this family were just as toxic as the ones that went before. So staying away is a very good and healthy thing for you to do.
mei what you're going through is incredibly painful and frightening. You can leave those boxes in your mind unopened until you feel strong and supported enough to open them.
But for your own sake, you will want to open them some day, and not put it off indefinitely, because a past and painful feelings that are confronted and processed can then be put to rest. If left unconfronted, it can keep you from leading a full and happy life, by popping up at random times, or by leading you to act in unhealthy ways without realizing it to random triggers.
I would never speak about/ to my Ds the way they speak to me. I wouldn't harbour resentment for 30 bloody years because he's a baby and he cries. I wouldn't tell him he's lazy, selfish, spoiled, rude because he didn't jump every time I open my mouth. I wouldn't call him a bitch. I wouldn't hit him. I wouldn't embroil him in my marriage problems. I wouldn't put my dh's wants over and above my Ds' needs over and over again. I wouldn't take the credit for everything good he did or had. I wouldn't tell him he's rubbish and hopeless for everything that didn't go his way. I wouldn't shout at him when he is upset to get him to shut up. I wouldn't always take the position that he is in the wrong and needs to change his behaviour to be better. I wouldn't make passive aggressive digs every time he tried to assert himself.
That describes exactly how I feel about my parents. And why I have now cut them off, since my confronting them about it led them to spectacularly demonstrate just how much they are, in fact, unable to change. Unwilling to acknowledge my feelings or respect my person.
I get no pleasure or satisfaction out of knowing that they will grow old and die alone. None. Because I would have preferred it to be otherwise. But I know that I am done with them - for the reasons that you describe, and for the fact that they prefer to wield their usual tools of blame, denial, projection, and martyrdom, rather than respect their own child.
i've decided to stop letting my parents into my life recently, and the first real test was today:
my parents live abroad but are over in the UK for the next week, and wanted to come up and meet DD1 for the first time (she is 14weeks old).
I told them in no uncertain terms -- that they were not welcome. theyhave never been anything but a negative influence in my life, and I don't want them hurting my baby too.
OH is extremely proud of me, whereas my Dad is very upset. This is upsetting me a lot too. OH reminds me it's only because I care about how my decisions affect others, and listed several examples of how my parents don't care about anything except for themselves and what they want.
...How can I feel bad about hurting people who have hurt me so much in the past? It's ridiculous really. Doesn't make it easier though, anyway I just wanted to share.
I'm so glad I found this thread. So much of what is expressed is how I've been feeling and what strikes me (as has been said before) is how considerate everyone is of peoples feelings given the crap they've had to put up with. I've got an appointment with GP next week to ask for referal to counselling, hopefully it'll give me somewhere to make sense of it all. Well done Crestico, be proud of yourself for taking charge.
Goodness - my sister called, we have not spoken since disastrous xmas holiday. I was supposed to call when I felt up to talking. Phonecall was fairly calm, although she was upset. I didnt really know what I wanted until then. I guess I felt I ought to want to be in touch, to build up a relationship. But I actually dont want that right now. I want them to leave me alone so I can focus on my life. I think shes going to...I feel peaceful. Maybe I am numb but I think I feel serene...
I had a look at the panicky post I wrote last week and weirdly it says exactly the smae (I forget things like how I feel what I want a lot). I was all afraid my F would make me engage with him/them when I just dont want to anymore. Its strange to feel the same way towards my S - she is v different to my F, but I just dont want any of this stuff in my life anymore.
Its a v scary thing to do. So to all of you posting - I am sending you the strength and courage to be yourselves - whoever that is in the end.
Oh no, now the phone calls have started
It is more than OK to cut such toxic people off. You can report them for harrassment.
Would block their number from your phoneline.
If you have not already, show DH the links at the beginning of this thread.
you don't have to answer the phone.
I unplugged mine from the wall socket.
hotdamn I'm sorry that you have had a similar experience to me. You're very brave cutting contact. Me and dh have decided to go limited contact and possibly emigrate
we had caller id put in because of them last time. We went out and have come back to a number of answer machine messages
DH is worried as its very clear his mum has some serious MH problems, which she wont seek help for. he feels guilty
Hi all, long time lurker, occasional poster. Interesting to see that Mother's Day was difficult for lots of us! I stood in the card shop looking at all the lovely messages 'best mum in the world', 'always been there for me', 'love you so much' and wanted to burst into tears. I would dearly love, with all my heart, to be able to buy one of those cards and really mean it. I wish so much that I had a healthy relationship with my mum. Instead, I just went with one that said 'have a lovely day'. That's as far as I want to go. I was going to phone on Mother's Day (I live in a different country to my parents) but couldn't be doing with it, so just texted instead. I'm slowly getting better at drawing boundaries and not feeling obligated to do stuff just because they expect me to. Good God, it's so hard and so painful though
"I am trying now to stop being good and focus on being authentically me - figure out what I feel (not what someone else feels) and act in accordance with that"
Firsttimer7259, your entire post really struck a chord with me and the paragraph in quotes is what I'm really trying to do right now.
Thank you so much HotDAMNlifeisgood, so great to have the validation (and what a memory you have )
Think I knew I didn't really want to put myself through another visit when the first thought I had after agreeing to it was thinking I'd better morph myself into a skinny person.
I'm far more excited about not going, have plenty of plans of my own, things that I would far rather do and spend my money on.
Still feel really split in the middle though most days - there's the part of me that says 'you've spent a lifetime so far pleasing and appeasing others, it's your turn to do whatever the hell you please now' and the other side that frets about being selfish, self absorbed and thinking I'm just reverting back to what I did in my childhood - running away from or avoiding a situation/problem altogether.
Then again, they 'ran away' or rather, chose to abandon me emotionally and physically first so nerrr
handbagCrab - so true, all the things you put down that you just wouldn't do or ever even remotely think to do with/to your own children, very well put.
Still feel really split in the middle though most days - there's the part of me that says 'you've spent a lifetime so far pleasing and appeasing others, it's your turn to do whatever the hell you please now' and the other side that frets about being selfish, self absorbed and thinking I'm just reverting back to what I did in my childhood - running away from or avoiding a situation/problem altogether.
Maybe there is a little bit of that - you're the best judge. And so? Do you expect to go from realizing that you no longer want to be a people pleaser directly to being a perfectly balanced and mature individual with no more issues whatsoever, who can face every situation with wisdom and equanimity?
No, that sounds pretty impossible. And it also sounds like someone who is still expecting perfection from herself.
I see my evolution a little bit like a seesaw: I tipped waaaaay too much in the "people pleaser" direction for years, now I've tipped away from that and a bit too much in the direction of "mistrust everyone! ignore bills and responsibility! spend money on yourself for once mwahahaha!". I assume that with a bit more time, and a bit more trial and error, my tipping from side to side will become less acute, more like tiny little dips, and that I will eventually reach a balance of sorts. But I don't expect it to happen overnight.
...tell you what else wouldn't occur to me to do either - to shove my child off on a limited stay abroad (Au-Pair supposed to be for a year) at 18 years of age and then act as if that child is a fully fledged adult, devoid of the need of any advice or help or just a sympathetic ear.
Watching that child/young adult go through a clearly controlling and abusive relationship with a much older man (duly schlepped to germany and introduced to them) and taking the piss behind that young adult's back and making wry observations and digs to her face
I know there's a fine line between coming across as interfering busy bodies but there's no way I'd let any child of mine battle through all of life's crap all by her/himself with only 'you made your bed' comments to offer.
Makes me realise how little support I had when I hear my friends and work colleagues of either gender fret and worry and support their (sometimes adult) children and sitting there thinking 'well, I had no idea this went on, surely you just shoved them out of the door with a curt goodbye and an awkward embrace when they reached 18?'
Apologies for essays tonight, am clearly on some sort of a roll here.
Saw my brother earlier he said hed seen my mum and had the most hilarious news! Shes applied, with her partner, to become foster parents <faints> Whilst this will keep me laughing for days, I just wanted to ask you guys - they wont let her will they? I mean she was neglectful and emotionally bizarre but I guess there is no official record (AFAIK) of her that would make her unsuitable that I know of? My brother said when he asked her why she was doing it she said 'because of the money' [hmmm] I am trying to completely detach myself from her so for that reason dont want to get involved but should I rely on SS judgement or give them a call
While I know nothing about the criteria for selecting foster parents in this country arfur, I dare say the people interviewing for people to fill foster parent roles will be able to see through the 'doing it purely for the money' attitude pretty soon.
If you find out via your brother that she's actually in with a chance of having vulnerable children placed with her then I would def. think of calling SS or whoever is involved in the process.
well she needs personal references, who would she choose?
Sadly I know some FC who do it for the money only
Good point about the references and the sad fact that some people do go into it for the money.
Which leads smoothly into sharing one of my darker gripes with my foster family. All else aside they did get financial help with my upbringing.
Yet no matter what it was I needed from a pencil case to new clothes there was this whole drama and dance created about the expense of it all which just left me feeling like a real burden and like I had to be inordinately grateful for every tiny thing.
Yet they're biological children (adults who had left home by the time I arrived) could freely demand and were given without the song and dance.
Plus they got a good little worker bee in me who worked on their farm every day without fail. Still remember the joy of not being tied to the sodding cows milking time anymore when I arrived in England
Never talked about that side of things before, felt good, thank you all for the space to allow me to do that.
Thanks for your replies. Have been desperately racking my brains as to things that could stop her qualifying and wonder if her constant rent arrears and eviction threats will count? Also shes had several brushes with the benefit fraud people although never actually charged as not enough evidence. Just hoping they find all this out. Am also slightly suspicious that she might be saying this to db to get a reaction from me, but he said theyd already had a visit from someone (again maybe lies) (hopefully) either way Im glad shes out of my life now
Can I join please? I feel like I am at the end of my tether with my mother after yesterday. I had the full brunt of the narcissistic rage thrown at me and although I gave as good as I got I feel depressed and anxious about it now. It was a horrible, aggressive encounter.
Thank you to the poster of the links at the start of this thread. I recognise many of the npd traits and behaviour in her and my childhood experiences (and that of brother too, as I have recently discovered.)
I want to cut down my contact but my father has a chronic condition and is dependent on her for cooking, clean clothes etc. The joke is that she used to be a carer but my dad's illness is an inconvenience to her and she treats his needs with contempt. She only talks about how my dad has brought it upon himself (it is a smoking related condition) and how she cannot do things because of his limited mobility. There is no empathy for how he is feeling. On reading the link to the daughters of npd mothers, I can see that he is now in the place that my brother and I were as children, and at her mercy.
The other issue that is really bothering me and on which I have confronted her twice about, is how she is behaving towards my daughter. My daughter is 4. When she was 2 I started a part time job and my parents used to look after her for two afternoons a week. At this point I had never heard of npd and put my mothers treatment of me as a child down to her struggling with a teenage girl who had her own opinions. She had also become a doting grandmother and I really believed she had changed. Things went well and my daughter has a fantastic bond with her grandparents. However, recently she seems to gravitate to my dad more than my mum. He plays with her, does silly voices, songs etc. My mum has started making snidy comments to her, saying you don't love your nanny anymore, you prefer your grandad and trying to grab her for a cuddle when she wants to play. It is worse now that I have had another baby as he is now the golden child whilst my daughter is ignored mostly.
God, this is like an essay but it keeps pouring out, sorry! I have so much more I want to say.
arfur that's a tough one. Indeed, she is out of your life, so you don't need to involve yourself in any more of her madness. However, if you feel a moral responsibility to try and warn the people who will qualify her for fostering, the best thing you can do is try to get information on how that might work - from the authorities themselves, from a charity, from CAB maybe? But don't speak to her about it directly: she is out of your life, and you don't need to embroil yourself in any more of her madness.
LadyFace I can understand feeling emotionally depleted after a confrontational encounter with a narc. Do you have a RL outlet you can speak to about the encounter? I have found that helps, whereas keeping it in causes depressive feelings.
I want to cut down my contact but my father has a chronic condition and is dependent on her for cooking, clean clothes etc.
I don't follow the logic in that. Your father still has a choice to remain with her or not; you do not need to be a buffer for him.
As for your daughter, your mother's put downs are harming her psyche. There is no way a child can be told things like that by a trusted adult carer and role model without injury. Can you find other childcare arrangements?
My DH is very supportive and has seen her in action throwing a sandwich at my dad! I feel a lot better this morning having ranted to him yesterday and posting on this thread.
My parents are both retired and my dad has a progressive illness and as such I doubt he will still be around in 5 years time. I am close to my dad, although I can see he has been an enabler of her behaviour, but I always felt he was on my side. They live nearby and as neither of them drive, I take my dad to a lot of his hospital appointments and shopping.
She has not looked after my dd for well over a year and I am now a sahm. When she has pulled her "you don't love your nanny" stunts, I have pulled her up on it immediately which has resulted in her flouncing off and not speaking to me for a week or so. I want my dd to see that I will stand up for her. Do you think that dd picks up on the lack of affection between my mother and I, hence her own distancing from my mother? Dd has never seen us hug goodbye for example.
I just hate the front she puts on to other people. They have no idea what she is really like. We had to go to a funeral recently which was a five hour drive away. Dh stayed at home with the children and my brother and I shared the driving.
We had to leave at about 8am to get there in time. When I arrived to pick them up she was still asleep and refusing to get up. She then had a full on tantrum at us for waking her up, making her get up early when she was too tired, complaining she had not had breakfast, why did she have to go, no one talks to her anyway etc. We ended up leaving 30 minutes late and she spent the first half an hour screaming at me as her hair was still wet and she hadn't done her make up.
At the funeral she was as nice as pie in front of everyone, talking to me as if it had never happened. I was speechless!
I dread my dad passing away as she is so useless she cannot even change a lightbulb. Dh and I are thinking of moving at that point.
she spent the first half an hour screaming at me as her hair was still wet and she hadn't done her make up. At the funeral she was as nice as pie in front of everyone, talking to me as if it had never happened.
Ladyface - what would you tell a 3-6 yo child, had just spent time tantrumming, and then suddently starting putting on the charm as if her tantrum had never happened? I would have thought something along the lines of "I'll speak to you nicely after you apologise for screaming at me in the car on the way over." So what if it makes for an awkward moment in front of third parties? She's banking on you not wanting to pull her up on her bahaviour in front of others.
As you are a mother who's been through raising a toddler, you know exactly how to handle your narc mother, as they have the emotional maturity of 3 to 6 year olds.
My first counselling appointment is tomorrow and am so relieved that its finally come around as have been having a really tough few weeks. Everything regarding my mother is resurfacing - I guess because I dont have contact with her now my body has decided its safe to let memories and emotions resurface but its incredibly hard to deal with esp all at once. Ive had a few days where ive stayed in, had the TV on as a distrcation and just functioned with DD. Everything that's happened with AP has been put on hold. Luckily his cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling are really helping and we've not had a single incident since I've moved back. A huge part of the problem was all the bollocks about my MH that my mother had been feeding him and being able to clear all that out of the picture has meant that we can see what his triggers are and he's working on them as opposed to believing im the issue as Im mentally unwell! Its been a very tough year though and I still don't know whether Im going to have to up and leave again if AP slips back to the abuse. i'm very much looking forward to DD turning 1 in a few weeks and being able to celebrate that without any toxic influences.
i've printed out a copy of the document my mother wrote as evidence of my imaginary MH problems so that I have a prompt if my mind goes blank in counselling. Every single thing she's written makes my blood boil and Im very tempted to post it on here but am resisting the urge!!
Although i will post the opening paragraph - this was submitted to AP's solicitor when I went into refuge after a threat to DD and several months of sexual and emotional abuse
"This is an account giving background information regarding the disappearance of my daughter Twinkle and granddaughter Wibble and allegations made towards AP, her partner. I am concerned about Twinkle's mental health at this time and the wellbeing of my granddaughter. Twinkle has run away before when she was still at school and has a history of creating fantasy worlds to escape into when reality becomes too difficult or too painful to deal with. the present fantasy situation that she has created in which she is a victim of domestic violence and abuse is very serious and has huge implications that could affect AP and Wibble's future."
and this bit
"twinkle became involved with two dominant girls at school. To draw attention to herself she told these girls that she was being neglected by myself where she was deprived of food and washing facilities. She also said that her stepfather walked in on her when she was in the bathroom. One of the girls told teaching staff at the school about Twinkle's situation and this enabled Twinkle to continue with story and she was convinced by by a member of the teaching staff that since she had turned 17 she had rights and could leave home. ... Twinkle had contacted SS herself to report this abuse and it was only after we met with the headteacher and another member of staff to put our side of the story that the school realised what was going on and that this in fact was an elaborate fabrication in which Twinkle manipulated her peers, their parents, the school and other agencies. After a couple of weeks Twinkle became ill and broke down and I was able to bring her home. The school had arranged counselling which we were never sure took place as the counsellor gave her lifts and a box of chocolates which we thought was inappropriate."
this is why I never dared report the abuse from AP - because I had told the school and SS about how my mother wouldn't allow me to use the shower because I "wasted water" or eat dinner because "you didn't tell me you would be here" and about how there was no lock on the bathroom door and people would just amble in knowing I was in there. It was utterly discredited by everyone except the counsellor who brought me a box of chocolates one week as a sugar boost because I felt faint having been given no lunch or breakfast that day by mummykins. and the lifts were preferable to me walking the hours walk home after counselling part of which involved crossing a dual carriageway. makes my blood boil.
rant over, sorry for thread hogging
That's great that you are going to start therapy, Twinkle. What you describe - staying in, using distractions and just focusing on functioning - sounds like a fine coping mechanism to deal with the flashbacks. I suspect these might be coming out because you're now feeling stronger so it's "safe" for them to re-surface.
I'm curious: what made you decide to move back in with your abusive partner?
Ive been asked that a lot!!
A huge part of it was finding out how involved my mum was - telling him that i had this condition where i would take a normal argument and blow it out of all proportion etc. He had been abused himself as a child and so saw his treatment of me as in a way normal. She supported this theory and prevented him from being able to recognise that he was doing some very wrong things. Once Id removed her from the picture and talked to him to took himself off to the doctors, is now on an adjusted anti depressant dose, has counselling and behavioural therapy. we put things in place at the beginning where I laid out exactly what i thought was unacceptable and what was ok. he agreed to leave the home, shop, area etc if I felt he was beginning to get controlling etc.
We also applied to have a SAFE worker, Family support worker and Social Services were involved. I have connections in the DV local police unit and at the refuge here and the second one I stayed at. i also have sympathetic neighbours with a car if I need to get out. he's doing incredibly well and so far no incidents. Its hilarious in discussions because he's been told to work on his body language and he will sit on the floor to ensure he's not dominating the space! SS have now shut the case and handed it back to HV as they feel AP has progressed really well with the therapy etc and that there is no immediate risk to DD.
i met him when we were both living with our parents still and his Dad was violent and sexually abuse. he also controlled the money and had very high expectations of AP. I knew that this was why he had gone down the abusive route, its so recent that when i got pregnant he put on hold the help he was going to get to help him deal with it all and I believe this was a big influence over how things turned out. He has accepted that he fucked up, but he is able to recognise why. He has said that it was easy to cross the boundary of hurting me because he self harmed and already had no respect for himself. In dealing with the self harm and his own self image he's tackled that issue. Equally the comments about my weight have stopped now that he's done some work to tackle his eating disorder. As long as he's commited to the therapy I have to give him that chance because I knew him before he snapped and the person he's becoming with the therapy is that old him again. I thinkl part of it is also that I can't change things with my mum, but he WANTS to change so aslong as there's that chance Im going to take it.
i have told him and SS that the SECOND he lapses back to the abuse - be that emotional or anything else I will leave. I wont tolerate that kind of thing ever again. We'll see. But so far so good.
First post here:
DS2 is 3 months old. DS1 is 2.5 yrs. Seeing my dad interact with DS1 has brought back a lot of bad childhood memories.
I don't know if my dad is totally narc. I'm so confused.
Spent teenage years and uni years depressed, self harming and attempting suicide.
But at the same time I wonder - how can I be that badly damaged? I must be imagining how bad it was/is. I have a great husband (who I emotionally abuse). I have two lovely boys.
My dad spoils me a lot - paid for university, my wedding, bought me a house.
I'm so insecure about our relationship. Sometimes I hate him, but I also love him and am desperate for his approval. I moved far away from him - thousands of miles. But we visit often.
I'm the eldest of four. I think I was a difficult child. I remember crying lots, feeling sad and guilty, even when I was very young. Dad is very controlling. Took me years to realise how he invaded every inch of my personality and mind. He was a good dad in many ways, took us on holiday, on day trips, to the library, to playgrounds. But always pressure. That's what I remember - intense pressure to behave, think, be what he wanted/expected. Then fury, punishment, coldness if I was different.
It's only very recently that I've started making decisions based on what I want instead of trying to please others.
My mum is very passive and quiet. He abuses her emotionally. My dad is an extrovert. My personality is quite similar to his. I resent my mum because she didn't assert herself. She didn't protect me. She let him be a tyrant.
He had a terrible temper - would lose control, really scary - terrifying. Hit me. Would follow it up with huge apologies and affection. Never affectionate otherwise.
I was very intelligent and academically gifted. Had trouble making and maintaining friendships as dad very strict and made fun/ criticised my friends/boyfriends. Shattered my confidence.
I'm 30 now.
Never listens to what I say. Has no idea who I am and no interest in finding out. Very selfish and self-absorbed. Reacted horrendously to my depression and self-harm. I understand he was hurting, but I was a child - needed love and care. Acted like I was doing it to hurt him personally. Did the same to my sister when she hurt her back and had to take a year out - it was all about him.
Even now he buys me Christmas presents that he likes - things I have no interest in. Makes it clear my life is dull and boring.
Makes a huge effort to help others. Is gregarious and entertaining.
He doesn't listen to anything I say - never remembers things, forgets promises - not on purpose, he's just so incredibly self-absorbed.
I don't think he's consciously evil or abusive but he has really damaged me. When we were staying with my parents recently he criticised my parenting continuously. Ground me down and really affected my relationship with my son. Shattered my confidence again. Told me my parenting choices were "odd" (co-sleeping). Made fun of my son all the time, saying things like "mummy's going away and never coming back". My son worshipped him, it broke my heart to see the cycle repeating -DS1 would shout for him and be ignored. He smacked him and I asked him not to and he stormed off in a temper.
Constant temper tantrums, bad moods - of course I still imagine they're my fault.
Does this sound that bad? I need some sort of reassurance/validation. Therapist I saw in my teens blamed me for being over-sensitive.
Loeeloee You weren't a difficult child. You were reacting to being so controlled and so scared.... Stop beating yourself up about this. It wasn't you, it was your Dad.
Most teens are over-sensitive - it's puberty. Coupled with the fact that your Dad has ridden roughshod over your life, it's no wonder you were so sensitive.
Headspace. You need some headspace away from him in order to gather your thoughts. Can you take a step back with regard to contact with him?
Oh, and he's treating DS1 absolutely appallingly. For that alone, I would back w-a-y off. It's down to you to protect your DS, your Dad doesn't have anyone's best interests at heart - just his own......
I have a great husband (who I emotionally abuse).
Why do you think this? Can you elaborate?
lemonylemon I moved to another continent to get headspace and it worked. These feelings have all been dredged up because we recently spent four months together (me and DS1 staying with my parents), I then gave birth and have been struggling with PND. I had been ignoring it but it's come rushing back in glorious technicolour.
HotDAMNlifeisgood I'm very controlling. I fly off the handle and have broken things in rage, I get very angry and find it hard to calm down, I take my black moods out on him, will try to pick fights, harass him when he's doing things other than pay attention to me - basically behave like a spoilt child. I am so ashamed of myself. He is very kind and loving and is supporting me while I try to get better.
What are you doing to try to get better? Do you have a good therapist?
I am trying to get better by myself - I am trying to be conscious of my behaviour - modify it hugely. Reading/posting here are part of it. Accept I need therapy but not ready yet - not sure exactly what I need to ask for.
I've lurked on here for a while, but never actually got round to posting.
It was partly due to the fact that although most of the people that had looked after me growing up (with the exception of my grandparents and my sister) at a time when I needed them most, chose themselves over me. My mum walked out when I was five, my stepmum threw me out when I was 17 etc.
I always joked that my family was screwed up except for my Dad - he'd always been OK.
The wool has finally been lifted, and after a pretty upsetting chain of events and choices by my dad (that I doubt he's even aware of, even though I've tried to explain) I now realise that the only family I have that will be there for me are my (long-suffering) husband and children, and my lovely, equally fucked up sister. (We're half sisters and don't share a dad, which is why I've always been blinkered in my affection for him.)
So anyway, I can't really type much more, as I'm at work, but I just wanted to get that off my chest. My Dad is an emotionally damaging self-absorbed narcissist.
I now realise that the only family I have that will be there for me are my (long-suffering) husband and children, and my lovely, equally fucked up sister.
You also have yourself. Unfair and difficult as it is, as capable grown-ups, we can now fix (much of) the damage done to us by shitty parenting, and rely on our own selves for stability, love, encouragement, and so on.
Hi Just wondered if this is the latest thread?
had to do a search as unusually there didn't seem to be an active one on the first few pages.
Need some advice if anyone is around?
Yes this is the latest thread. Haven't seen you here for a while trs hope you are well???
Something hit me today. Whilst I have broken the cycle, I will not be the kind of mother that mine was to me, that maybe hers was to her and I am busy enjoying being the best mum I can (and I do love it) I just thought to myself.....who mothers me? I have nobody. DH is close to his parents and can turn to them for support. I have no one. I feel so lonely sometimes.
I guess what I mean is DH is very much like his parents, they all think the same way but if I don't agree with them I've no one to turn to for support, no one who thinks the same way as me.
Anyway enough of the self pity, it came for a fleeting moment but now it's gone.
Hi Mampam, Thanks for asking...I am doing really well...on the whole :-)
I totally get where you're coming from. I do get a lot of support emotionally from dh (sometimes I think too much and it skews the relationship). I have a couple of close friends but it is never the same as having a loving mother is it?
I did used to feel consumed by that very fact but now I think although I will, like yourself, have those fleeting thoughts and moments of profound sadness I can at least function and live a fairly normal life.
I think using this thread and the last year of counselling Ive had has really helped, before that I felt very stuck in that sadness.
I know a massive part of my journey has been coming to terms with not having a mother. In fact having to mother my mother from a small age...there was a lot of rage regarding that.
Hope you all dont minf me lurking and posting for a bit...it does feel good to have an outlet from time to time.
Hope everyone has a toxic free easter
trs glad you're ok I'm really pleased for you that the counselling has helped. My counselling came just at the right time and really helped me through cutting off my mother.
I know what you mean about coming to terms with "not having a mother". Or with me I feel cheated out of having a 'proper one'! I do get lots of support from DH and he's the main reason I had the counselling as I felt I was putting too much on him.
Lurk away, I'm always here lurking . That's the thing about this thread isn't it that you can lurk without posting and get comfort from knowing that you're not mad, that your feelings are justified. Yet no-one will judge you when you want to post or sound off even for the silly little things.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I haven't found you guys all week
It has all kicked off again, yet a fucking gain.
What has ome out this week is the impact that my mother and my brother are having on DS, he has been distraught. He has felt that he had to side with my mother, or lose their (love and) respect.
It is never going to get better; call me slow, or hopeful, but I have finally gotten to this point.
I have been intimidated, to the point where I have been scared, from my brother, the amazing prodigal uncle-on-a-pedestal. DS is scared that he will lose that relationship with his uncle. His uncle would also like DS to know that I am not to be trusted.
Can anyone help please? /i feel really lost x
plucking that letter is exactly what I am due to write. How do I make it non-accusational? I don't know My Dad and friend are goingto help me. If I was to write mine myself, it would cut glass; and divide family
I wish I had some good advice x
I was about 14, it was mother's day, I gae my mum a key ring in a shape of heart engraved: I Love You.
She said: what do you want now? money? How much?
I have thought of posting on here for a while. I know that I am one of those posters who say it wasn't that bad, others had it worse. But I do think my family were dysfunctional.
From the outside my family look great. My parents obviously love each other, they cared about our education, bought us nice toys, my friends thought my mum was great fun.
And yet...my mum was very dominating and manipulative. I wasn't supposed to have different opinions from her - remember telling her for example in primary how we had had a debate and been asked to defend a position. I said I had found it hard. My mum's response was to say that I should have asked her and she would have told me what I could think about it.
They both even now don't believe stuff I tell them and laugh at me. From the existence of Roland Rat - a rat as a puppet...are you sure it wasn't something like a hamster hahaha, to things about my work.
My mum very obviously wanted me and my siblings to love her more than my dad and frequently made jokes about my dad and encouraged us to look down on him. And yet when they were together it was obvious he came first.
They both had no friends and ridiculed the need for friends...we don't have friends Lesley, you don't need to have friends. They gave me the impression that I was needy and demanding. My mum competed with me over looks and I think looking back actually encouraged me to buy clothes that I didn't look that good in. I remember 1 top I tried on and loved and she persuaded me it was too small and I needed a bigger size. The size was far too big for me and of course desexualised me.
Other stuff too - finding information that told me they were swingers, walking in on them having sex in the living room,etc. When as an adult I tried to talk to my mum about some of this stuff I was basically told no parent is perfect, we tried our best and given the impression that I was unrealistic and demanding.
I know none of this sounds that bad, but I think it did affect me. At 18 I deliberately decided to go to a uni at least 200 miles away from my home so visits home were practically difficult. Thank you for listening and sorry if this all seems petty.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Thank you courage, I appreciate it. And sorry to hear you have had these issues too.
We were brought up to think our family was as a whole was superior. But things were in some ways more nuanced. I was encouraged to have friends over, have sleepovers, etc. But also explicitly told that friends didn't matter - it was real mixed messages.
My father didn't really bother with us. He did when we were very young, but when i was 5 he kind of stopped really talking to me. I remember talking to my mum about this and being told I was imagining it. But I also remember telling friends that I had had longer conversations at bus stops with strangers than I had with my dad.
I hadn't thought of it being a sexualised environment, but one of the things I didn't post last night was the odd stuff. So I remember a scene in Fanny and Alexander where my dad said he had never seen a better justification for sex with a child and my mum agreeing. And a case of a celebrity on the tv who had been accused of sexually molesting a child at a swimming pool.
My mum was very disbelieving of the whole thing and used justifications that even as a young child I could see had no validity. And she was gleeful when the case was dismissed, saying she knew it had all been made up. There was also an odd situation with my dad and a 15 year old girl, that alway seemed as if there was more to it than I was being told. Thanks for listening.
The superiority thing and the no friends thing is very familiar to me.
My father's temper terrified me, so I was never able to have a conversation with him. He was always intent on dominating me and humiliating me whenever I expressed an opinion.
When I think about it I do start to hate him. He punished me violently, never ever controlled his temper or attempted a dialogue with me. Even now he tells me what to think, he's a manipulative bully with no self-awareness. I've sadly inherited a lot of these traits, but at least I'm aware of them and try to control them.
His public persona is a hardcore proponent of liberal values - gay rights, etc.
At home he'll trumpet hate speech against women - calling female politicians, for example, fat and ugly (I'm quite big myself), and insulting people incessantly. I remember there was an article in the Guardian with Andrea Dworkin writing about being raped and him ranting about how ugly she was and who'd want to rape her.
looee - My father's public persona is very left wing too. He would say things like your dad, but in a pitying way rather than a rant. When he did start to talk to me again as a teenager it was mainly to argue against any beliefs I may have expressed and he was very dominating in doing this, basically rubbishing my views. He is very patronising in his manner.
also, my dad will just randomly say/do really insensitive and cruel things and act like i'm being really insensitive if i react.
ds1 was diagnosed with health problems shortly after birth (i was staying with my parents at the time). i remember him acting really pissed off that i was seeing the midwife in the room he liked to watch TV in. As soon as she left (with instructions to take 3 day old DS to A+E) he stomped in and turned TV on loudly then stomped out. I turned it off so I could tell my mum what was happening and he barged back in yelling "I was watching that!" and when I replied that DS1 needed to go t A+E he barked "You're driving him there?" (I'd had a c-section).
<b>lesley33</b> I find it very hard to tell my dad anything because of historically being humiliated. Of course as a child/young person I didn't know "everything" and could have benefited from intelligent discussions with my dad (a very intelligent and capable person who dedicates much of his time to helping and supporting others) but instead I was aggressively dominated and treated as if I was being stupid on purpose - he seemed to take it as a personal slight if I expressed any differing or dissenting opinion.
He is still like this now.
It's hard because no matter how awful he is, I still deep down want him to love me and find me interesting and think I've done well.
The - treated as if I was being stupid on purpose really resonates with me. Although there are differences, I think the things that are the same between our dads is the belief basically that their opinions are right and anyone who doesn't agree is basically stupid. My dad would patronisingly "explain" things to me, but if I didn't actually agree he would belittle.
lesley33 as you say upthread, my friends (who I had in spite of my dad) and our local community love my dad and think he's great fun and wonderful.
My friends thought my mum was wonderful and said they wished they had a mum like her.
It does make you feel even more as if you are imagining it and blowing things out of proportion though?
lesley33 my dad wouldn't explain things he would aggressively bombard me with what felt like a tonne of bricks of how wrong I was.
So, if I expressed naive opinion X, he'd start to fume and rage and say "so you think Y is a good idea, then? Well if you think X then you must think Y" and just leave me reeling and frightened to speak.
In public he's so nice and polite.
pluckingupcourage regarding writing a letter that you can feel comfortable with: have you ever had any assertiveness training?
The basic premise is this:
- describe behaviour (in unemotional way: just the facts)
- say how it makes / made you feel, using only "I" statements
- state what behaviour you want from other person instead.
The ideas behind this are that noone can deny how you feel about something (although abusers certainly try...), since only you know your own feelings. And you are always justified in stating how you feel about something.
The error to avoid is labeling the other person: "you are awful; you were abusive" are statements that can be denied (and they also mean you are yourself using one of the tactics of abusers: to label others). "You did x. That makes me angry. Stop it." is not labeling, and it put you in a position that is always defensible: that of deciding for yourself what your boundaries are, and stating them.
Does that help?
Here's the structure I adopted for the NC letter I wrote my parents:
- I am going no contact, because I am angry at you
- I am angry at you because of past behaviour, both towards me and towards each other (examples)
-...and also because of present behaviour, both towards me and towards each other (examples).
- to conclude: I am angry, and I do not want any contact
Their reaction proved to me that my action was justified.
But given the way the letter is presented, they had the choice (and still do) to acknowledge my feelings. They chose not to, but that door is open: I did not say that they are horrible people, but described actions of theirs and how those made me feel.
HTH. Good luck!
Thanks for empathising lesley33
No problem. And loee - if we still didn't love our parents and want them to love us, this stuff wouldn't matter as much to us. If a colleague treated you like that it would make you angry, but it wouldn't hurt in the same way.
maristella that is a horrible situation to be in.
Can you explore with DS why he wants to hang on to his relationship with his uncle, even though he sees how damaging uncle's behaviour is? Ask him plenty of open-ended questions to see if he can work out for himself that he has placed uncle in a godlike replacement-father position, but that in fact no one is a god, and he can use plenty of men as male role models in bits and pieces, not just one man wholesale.
What you describe reminds me of what went on in my family a generation ago: my father had a witch for a mother and an absent father. So he chose his (far older) BIL as his father-replacement figure... BIL was just as much of a narc as his mother. And so the cycle continued.
So I think you really should explore these issues with your DS, but let him take the lead on where the conversation goes: ask him questions, let him listen to his own replies and see what he can work out from them.
also, maristella, if the deal your mother and brother are striking with DS is "do as we want or you lose our love", can you help him see that that is unfair manipulation, and therefore not a deal worth taking part in? Ask him why he feels he needs their love at any price.
Hi plucking I have never written a letter myself, but there is a good book I would recommend called 'Divorcing a parent' by Beverly Engel, so that might be worth a read.
Just wanted to say wrt bullying fathers, me too. Mine is a little more covert, and uses money to manipulate along with witholding affection/attention (whatever scraps of it there were). He would also control physically though. I was very afraid of his temper which he would display often toward my mother or myself and my siblings. He would smash things up or strike one of us.
No wonder I chose to marry a placid man who conversely I try to constantly dominate.
My father is still manipulating all of us now as he is often the one who determines who does and doesnt attend family functions. e.g 'I wont be going if your mother's there'.
He hasn't spoke to me in over a year because I wouldnt meet and introduce his grandchildren to his new gf on his terms. He also orchestrated me being left out of my youngest siblings wedding.
First time posting, this thread was recommended in another thread. I hope I'm okay in doing this! I'll try not to go on too long...but I need to talk to someone.
My childhood had many types and levels of abuse and neglect. They (my parents, my dad's new wife - who he married the weekend before I graduated high school, and I'm from the States where it's a bigger deal - and my sister. My older brother left long before this) were all very happy to see the back of me and practically forced me out the day I graduated high school (in terms of my dad and his new wife) and ended up leaving the area entirely about two weeks later (as I was no longer welcome with my mum and sister).
Regardless of what they've done, I often feel like I should play the good daughter by having contact and I used to feel that it was my fault that I couldn't have a lovely relationship or that they didn't want contact like DH has with his parents. Rationally, I know this is wrong, but I guess it's easy to blame myself and try to change than facing up to the fact I'll never have it no matter what I do. I've had counselling and even talked about it with a Rabbi and I know I have no obligation to them and I can't let them hurt me or the kids...but I can't stop feeling like I should be doing more which is making the current situation worse.
Right now, I'm trying to get my head around my mum's behaviour. Which may be impossible. About 4ish years ago we had a phone based relationship which I had to stop because the calls were leaving me in tears -- every call was the same, it was pointed gossip about my family mixed with the same questions over and over followed by her telling me how horrible my choices were. She constantly asked about the same things so she could have a go at me and I just couldn't take it and I doubly couldn't take the idea of her wanting to talk to the kids and put her poison on them. A bit over a year after that, I'd had DD2 and wanted to tell my grandfather (mother's father) -- so told him everything about why I had been out of touch and the baby and he passed it onto her and she apologised and we had an mail based thing on and off since then. Last year, there was a family debacle around my pregnancy and birth of DS2 -- basically, I joined facebook to get in touch with my sister to send her a wedding present, she ended up using what I put on facebook to gossip about me and make it look to our mother that we were talking. We weren't, she refused to speak to DH when they met, refused to acknowledge any of my kids, and wouldn't even acknowledge my wedding present. Why she wanted to pretend we were talking I don't know but I defriended once it was well known which happened just after DS2's birth. As a family member of ours had stalked both of us, I thought she would understand my need for privacy, but apparently not. Our mother found out, had a massive go about how I can't disappear when everyone thinks things are lovely like last time. I responded with an open hearted email explaining how it wasn't all right before and things with my sister aren't all right now and basically laid it all out and said I was leaving it in her court.
This was months ago. A couple days ago I got a Passover e-card (I became a Noahide as an adult, but followed it from about 12ish. This is something my mother has previously torn me to shreds over, calling me horrible things. Her family is Catholic, but she follows a range of TV evangelists) saying she is praying for me and hopes to hear from me soon. That's all. No acknowledgement whatsoever about my long heart-poured out email or the problems going on now or previously. It's so frustrating, she did this throughout my childhood - act as if blanking it out and not acknowledging it meant it was suppose to be forgiven and forgotten.
I don't know what to do. I want to just say no, even the Rabbi has told me to just block her, but that seems a betrayal to my grandfather (without him I wouldn't be here and as he has no email and hates talking on the phone, everything goes through my mother or by post and post can be sketchy) or maybe it's just I can't let go yet of my childhood hope that one day something will convince her to love me properly.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hello, I'd like to mark my place if I may.
I've got ongoing issues with my parents and I've gradually been trying to sort them out over the last couple of years but I think I'd like to come on here and hopefully learn a bit.
Welcome, Sara. There are plenty of links to helpful books and websites on page 1 of this thread if, if it's learning you're after. Jump in and unburden yourself anytime, too.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Yikes, I just saw what the Divorcing a Parent book is retailing for on Amazon, since it must be out of print.
The final chapters of 'When you and your mother can't be friends' and 'Toxic parents' have nc tips, and those are still in print (and thus cheaper)
Thanks HotDAMNlifeisgood, I have toxic parents (pardon the pun) - will try to get hold of when you and your mother can't be friends.
I can't afford a second mortgage to get Divorcing a Parent ;-)
Thank you hotDamn you have given me a lot to work with. Ds has placed my brother on such a high pedestal, and that in itself is unhealthy and leaves him vulnerable. I haven't had a chance to talk with DS at length since the weekend as he is off doing Easter stuff with family (nice family) but you are so right in that he can choose elements of people he respects. If only some people were more like my DS
Thanks HotDamn. I'm probably going to lurk a bit and post a bit too (I hope).
Hello....nervously dipping a toe in the water here to ask for some advice. I am being phone-harassed daily by my mother, whom I have not contacted since Sunday, when she essentially yelled at me that I was nasty, weird and a liar. The day after that I got a text asking when I was coming to visit (!!). The following day it was "have you sorted out when you're coming?" and today "is your phone not working?" I have started to dread these texts - they make me so angry I can't concentrate on anything (loads of backstory) I need a break! I guess many of you will have had a similar problem - is there a way I can block her from my phone? Just to know the daily text wasn't going to come would make me feel so much better. Thank you!!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hi Plucking, thanks for the reply. Unfortunately my number is also used for my business, or I'd change it for sure. I have read that a letter is the only way of making them understand, but maybe if your parents are the kind of people that like to use the written word against you, perhaps it's not so good.....mine could twist anything, no matter how rational.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Do you have caller ID? Then don't pick up if it's her. Though I know the sinking pit of dread it creates just to know these people are at the other end of the line.
Contact your phone operator to say you are being harassed. Many will offer to change your number for free. (you'll probably just have to show them at least 3 times in close succession when an undesired caller phoned). If you really want to not be aware of when she calls, then you will find a way to inform your clients of your new number. Otherwise, nothing is going to change for you, and your only option is to live with it.
I have read that a letter is the only way of making them understand
No, or only so rarely as to be the exception. A letter is a way for you to release the anger that's been eating you (usually in the form of self-hatred), and to state your boundaries. Abusive parents have too much at stake (the protection of their psyche) to ever acknowledge or "understand" our feelings. A confrontation will help you to grow and move on. It will definitely change the dynamic of your relationship with your parents; maybe they will leave you alone or respect you a little more, at best. But rarely if never does it lead to tearful admission of error and apology on their part...
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
You're doing a very brave thing, plucking
It isn't tilting at windmills, since it is a constructive and productive act, in and of itself, for your well-being. Whatever the reaction from the letter's recipients.
I know, I just need to silence the critical voice which has taken up residence in my head, I also need to come to terms with the fact that it is impossible to make this letter comprehensive or in any way perfect.
Well, that critical voice has been around a while, and has gained a lot of strength and practice. It may not ever go away completely, but its power can be diminished, as you strengthen that other voice. You know, the one that's there right now really quietly saying: "I'm proud of you, plucking. Writing that letter is so brave. There is no such thing as 'perfect', but by god doing this at all is such a great thing for you to be doing for yourself!"
Thanks HotDAMN that will be today's mantra: it means a lot to have you there. I am trying to play cheesy motivational music. Currently it's "Don't stop me now"
Well done Plucking, sounds like you're doing great - just think how good it'll feel to have done this.....
And Queen is always good!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hi everyone. Ive been lurking on MN for a few months now, trying to understand where my problems fit into. I hope that its ok for me to post my story here.
My back story is rather complicated. Both my parents worked during my childhood and I was raised by my maternal grandmother who lived with us. GM set up a rivalry between me and my younger sister which eventually lead to my sister and I being estranged for the last 10 years. My mother is a narcissist and my father has undiagnosed schizoid personality disorder. During my childhood years, my father physically abused my mother, and I am still dealing with the fallout of watching that as a child (I am now in my 40s).
When I was 15 my mother left my father, running away to her sisters 400kms away. If course my sister and I were distraught, and he went and brought her back. At the time I can remember thinking Good, she finally got away, and then immediately after Why didnt she take us? Why did she leave us with him? Anyway because my sister and I were so unhappy, he drove the 400kms to our aunts house and brought my mother back. When they arrived home, I can remember both of them behaving as if nothing had happened. The physical abuse on my mother seemed to stop there.
When I was 17, my father turned the physical abuse on me. We had had an argument about something, and he came at me, knocking my glasses off my face, and pushing me over. I thought Oh god, hes starting on me! Self preservation kicked in, and I managed to kick him in the balls. He never tried that again. That didn't stop the mental or emotional neglect of course.
However, Ive come to realise that my mother is the real problem lately and my father enables her. She is controlling, wants to be the centre of everything, and tries hard to pry into my life. I wont have it. I limit the contact I have with her and my father, and am considering limiting it even further. They are not well people, but of course both have gaslighted me on occasions where my version of events did not match their view of themselves. They believe they were great parents and were always there for me, a paragon of parenthood. The reality is that they were physically, mentally and emotionally distant, although we never went without food or clothes, they were never there for me when I needed them and consequently, I rarely look to them for support. Their personal interest in my life has been zero.
Thank you for listening to my story. Ive read some of the links at the beginning of this thread, and am just coming to realise how much my life has been shaped by them. Currently, Im out of work and have no friends and am really looking for some support and care.
Congratulations, plucking. You've shown too much nerve to conceivably be able to lose it!
007 That is the tale of a childhood filled with trauma and neglect. Your parents and GM were a lot more than just "distant": they were actively harmful in many ways. I'm so sorry you had to live like that as a child.
I don't think you can pinpoint any one of the adults in your life as "the real problem": they were all part of the same system of dysfunction, which only worked because they each played their part in it. They are all to be held to account for how damaging your childhood was.
Well done 17-yo you for daring to kick her own father in the balls, and set a clear boundary regarding physical abuse. You can be really proud of yourself.
I'm reading with interest about your letter, plucking - that seems like such a good idea. Hope the results continue to be positive.
I'm not going to get into backstory right now (hope that's ok). I just wanted to post about what's happening right now as it's getting me down. No need to reply, I just want to be able to say it in a friendly space.
Basically, my parents have always had very high expectations and have always put me down a lot. It took me ages to realize what they were doing because they do mix it with what sounds like positive stuff. It was only when friends/boyfriends pointed out they were doing it that I got it.
Anyway, at the moment it is really getting to me. It's stuff like, recently I got a job interview I was really pleased about, and it's a long trip away. I mentioned to my dad that the interviewers hadn't realized I didn't live nearby. My mum hadn't heard that bit of the conversation so my dad decided to explain to her, in front of me, 'she's just saying that they wouldn't have offered her the interview if they'd realized how far away she is'. I didn't say that!
Or for example, I'll mention something that went really well, and they'll say 'oh, if you struggle with that you should do it this way', as if I'd just told them I needed help.
Sorry, I can't judge if I'm overreacting but it's all stuff like that - it's not very explicit but I come away feeling like I've been put down. And it's relentless. The thing is they mix it with saying stuff like 'you know you are doing really well', so I think they would think they are being supportive, but it's not. If I try to say I feel as if they're putting me down, they just calm up or act puzzled. Do you think they actually don't know they're doing it, or is it some kind of 'we have to be cruel to be kind' thing, and they think I need reminding not to be too over-confident?
Sorry, I know that is such a tiny issue, it's just I don't want to get into other stuff right now and this is making me feel really low, even though it is obviously very minor in the scheme of things.
There is no apologising on the Stately Homes thread, Sara! Your feelings are all totally valid, as is your right to post on a thread - any thread! - but specifically one designed for those working through their thoughts on their dysfunctional families.
(and I for one found that post very helpful)
Thanks for writing back HotDamn, I knew if I told something of my story, someone would have some insights that I could not see. It pains me that the validation I need cannot be sought from my family, and I think I have a long way to go in coming to terms with this. It has only be recently I've started to think about how dysfunctional my family really is. I will write more as I digest your post.
Hi All, I don't know where to start really or even if I fit in here, so this may seem a bit all over the place I apologise for the saga in advance but will try to condense it as best as I can. My mother emotionally and physically abused me from as far back as I can remember. My father and her had a turbulent relatioship and divorced when I was 5 yrs old. I remember their horrendous violent rows with plates being smashed against the walls. She remarried when I was 11. They used to go out clubbing at wknds then come home and turn nasty with the alcohol effects. They both now hide behind christianity and are pillars of the community but yet they point the finger at everyone who doesnt agree with their beliefs e.g. calling gay people an abomination in the sight of God, using derogatory names for them such as queers, faggots etc. Damning other faiths and condemning to hell mixed race relationships. Gossiping and rumourmongering about people in their neighbourhood and in their church. Anyway, life wasnt great growing up and I became introverted and shy. The quiet one, they called me. Afraid to open my mouth for fear of ridicule or a beating. I was terrified of her particularly when she wound up my stepfather much as the organ grinder does to the monkey. She used threats constantly saying stuff like if I got pregnant before marriage she would rip me to pieces and take my baby away and throw me out of the house. I never dated, too afraid. We moved a lot. I met a guy when I was 16. My first bf. We were together a little over a year and he was pressuring me for sex. Not before marriage I said, because I was terrified. We got engaged on my 17th b'day. I went to my mother and asked about birth control not wanting to bring disgrace on the family before the wedding. She called me a whore, a slut and a disgrace. I had done nothing but go to my mother for advice yet this is what I got? How could I ever approach her again about anything? A horrible stream of abuse was spewed at me, lasting days. My fiance decided the wedding should take place the following year rather than the three years we had planned. Big mistake. Should have got to know him better but was seeing him as my saviour. Mother took half my wages supposedly to put by for the wedding. Hard to save with so little left. She never put it towards the wedding, we found out too late and had to take a loan. She made excuses that cost of living ill afforded her to save as much as she hoped. Her and sf both worked and I paid housekeeping....the extra was supposed to be for the wedding! Costs were cut and wedding wasnt what we wanted. All her friends got invites but mine had to be limited. They chose the menu. She came home one day from work with a second hand outdated wedding dress a colleague had been selling for £20. It had a tomato soup stain right down the front of it. It was old fashioned. I said I didnt want to wear it. She flew off the handle calling me ungrateful, spiteful, a snob etc. It went downhill from there. My marriage wasnt good, unfaithful husband, drinker, debts....awful life. No support from mother. First child came along. Delighted....locked in my own little world with her life was better. Husband continued to womanise and drink. Stayed out nights, kept us short of money. Bills wracked up and debtors came calling. Then the domestic violence started. I went to mother. You made your bed, now lie in it she said. DD was only 6 wks old. No choice but to stay with husband. Horrendous marriage. Two more children, one with special needs. Was beaten for taking birth control and raped when refused advances...had no choice. Left twice and was forced back for lack of support and money. Husband was an amazing actor, Jeckyll and Hide character. Family thought lovely guy but behind closed doors an evil monster lurked. Hidings regularly but became clever and left bruises where couldnt be seen. Emotional cruelty his forte. I walked on eggshells for years. Ignored other women for as long as possible until he slept with my sister, that was too much. Stuck it out until youngest was 15 then plucked up the courage and left, quickly and quietly without a word. Two refuse bags of clothes and some pics of the kids. Nothing else to show for 20 yrs marriage. Eldest was 18 almost 19 so my chance had come. Next few years hazy. Had a breakdown. Had to learn to use computers and get a job. Was never allowed to work, go anywhere, drive, have friends. Now I could. Ex was furious I started living and set to turning family and own children against me, parents even had ex and new gf over for dinner. MIL saw through him amazingly but sadly died shortly after split. My only ally. Told mother of marital rape. Took 20 yrs and a lot of courage to admit to it. She said she doesnt believe me, she saw no bruises! Relationship very strained with parents, virtually no contact. Too toxic. DD had issues in teen years, drinking, hanging around with bad crowd etc. Much strain on already fragile marriage. Four children to three different fathers. Now DD prepares for wedding, ex's gf taking my place and I am not invited. Hearbroken. Havent the strength to keep defending myself against lies. DD told son I hate his gf of 5 yrs. Now he is estranged. Cant understand why family believe DD when they all know what she is like and capable of, she caused many rows over the years within the family circle. Even ex knows and disowned her but now all pally pally and knives in my back once again. Lost many so called friends due to divorce so today I'm the victim being treated like the criminal....no family, few friends and a life ripped apart. I just want a mum, to be a mum and to be loved. So much love to give but all in vain.
SoSad You could also try to read some other books which aren't about toxic parents, but which might help with your self-esteem. There are several books by Louise Hay and Dr Phil McGrath which I've read in the past and they helped me along the journey to becoming dependent upon myself and building my self-confidence and self-esteem. Takes ages though
What kind of support have you obtained since leaving, Peace?
Have you ever had counselling? If not, do ask your GP if you can be referred for individual counselling, to help you work through 40+ years of trauma. The Freedom Programme (which is free) also helps women understand and get over abusive relationships.
When reading your post I was really struck by the bit just after you left, where you say you had to learn to use computers, get a job, etc. After 20 years of total isolation in an abusive marriage, I find that really impressive. You have a lot to be proud of.
Your children witnessed and experienced abuse during their upbringing, much as you did. It is no suprise that they are now troubled, confused, and dysfunctional in their own behaviour. They are also now old enough to make their own choices, such as who to believe and who to see. All you can do is be true to yourself and confident in your own choices: if you act with dignity, state your feelings, and show them that you love them unconditionally, they may - when they are ready - be able to engage in healthy and honest exchanges with you. I can't imagine how tough it is, and wish you much continued strength to help deal with them and their hurt, and their behaviour towards you.
I'm crying reading these, so many similarities to my story. I'm trying to work up the courage to post but I'm frightened of letting it out of the box I've tried to contain my feelings in all these years.
Containing them means they will strain to pop out, Sewilma.
These feelings are so very painful, but they need to come out so they can stop hurting you inside. Think of it as lancing a boil. When you're ready.
HotDAMNlifeisgood, none really. No family support at all, mostly because they didnt want to get involved or take sides and as I said, many friends were wives or gf's of ex's work colleagues. Two really good friends, my rocks, sadly one died a few years ago and the other lives in another country. We talk on phone and in email but its not the same. Tried counselling but didnt get much resolve from it. Tried reaching out to DS and DD but they're brainwashed for want of a better word by ex. Money talks apparently. Feel very hard done by and angry but keeping quiet all these years only resulted in me not being believed when I finally plucked up the courage to tell my story. Have a sworn statment from divorce with his signature admitting my statement was true, showed to mother in the hope she would at last believe me. She dismissed it. I have to stay away from them whether I want to or not because it is doing me so much harm and making me so unhappy. I just can't win! Sewilma, I felt the same but can honestly say writing letters to those who hurt you, but not sending them, is so cathartic. Try it. I kept such letters and read over them several times before destroying them. It doesnt ease the pain as such, but in my case every time I read what they had done to me and how they made me feel it gave me renewed strength to keep contact at bay. Thank you all for your support and kind words.
We talk ... but
Tried counselling but
Tried reaching out ...but
Feel very hard done by and angry
I just can't win!
So what do you want to do? This sounds like a situation worth taking action to change.
Seems like whatever I try to do I face obstacles. I am weary and exhausted, emotionally fragile and desperately unhappy. I've made all the right noises and all the right moves to repair fraught relationships. Swallowed a lot of pride and offered olive branches where none should be offered. All in vain. What more action can I take? I have virtually no fight left.
If you've made all the right noises and all the right moves, then rejoice in that. Be proud of it. What others choose to do in reaction is down to them. You can't make anyone change: whether they do or don't is entirely down to them, not to how much effort you put in trying to make them see or do something. You can only change yourself.
If you are unhappy - which I fully understand - what can you do for yourself that might help? Relying on others to do what you would like them to do is out. What's left?
When I left my ex all I had was a few bags of clothes, pics of the kids and my integrity. Now he has everyone believing my intregrity is questionable. I want vindication, justice and the unconditional love of my family. I realise that probably isnt going to happen but that realisation is causing me such grief I can barely live with it. I write here because I cannot beging to voice how I feel without falling apart. I have exhausted all avenues, the only thing I feel is left for me to do is give them space and pray that eventually the truth will out. I am a very private person, not wanting my inner turmoil to spill into my professional life so I try to go about my days as normally as possible, inwardly dreading what to say to anyone when asked about Mothers Day, my birthday, Christmas etc.
Thank you for your supportive words. I think they are already coming out HotDAMNlifeisgoos
I'll start writing but there's so much...
Background first. I'm a twin. Mum had us when she was very young. I have a younger sister who is 6 years younger than me and a brother who is 10 years young.
There was no cuddles, tenderness or affection. We were always compared to girls from school, compared (unfavourably) to our younger sister, pitted against each other and treated as a nuisance. I remember that I got the worse of it compared to my twin though, I think because she was quite an extrovert and would stand up for herself. When I was about 7/8 my parents would wind me up so much that I would be hysterical, in tears then call me into another room. I would walk in and they would take photograph of me. They even kept the photographs and would laugh whenever they took them out to show me or other people. They never did this to any of my siblings.
When I was 7, my mum decided to perm my hair. She rubbed the solution on and I remember it burning my scalp. I cried and begged her to wash it off, only to be told "if it hurts, then it's working". She permed my hair until the age of 9 and I think it's caused some problems I still have with my hair now.
She was always telling me I was fat. I did all kinds of sports and I developed early so I had a womanly figure from quite young. I was put on a diet at 10 years old where I wasn't to eat lunch and she would make me feel bad about eating. I recently showed my DH some of the photos where I was told how fat I was and he was shocked and sickened I was told that. Thing is, looking at the photos, I was nowhere near fat and a lot of it was that I was just taller than most of the girls in my class. I've always been told I was too fat, I need to be thin to find a husband, I should be like her.
For years, starting from early teens, she would tell me and my twin that it was our fault she had to get married to my Dad, that she wanted an abortion but was made to keep us. Basically, how much we've ruined her life.
She would confide me in about problems, including sexual, in her relationships, with my Dad and various boyfriends after they divorced. She would tell me about men who came onto her who were my Dad's friends. Dad didn't know anything about this and still doesn't. She put things in my head that shouldn't have been there and made me keep secrets I shouldn't have had to keep.
I was fairly bright at school and really enjoyed it. I wanted to go to university but she made it clear I couldn't. I should just get a job and start bringing money into the house. My uncle persuaded her to let me do A-Levels but she put so much pressure on me that I didn't finish the course. She felt I was too above myself by wanting to study and that I must think I'm better than her.
My younger sister has always been the blue eyed girl and my brother can do no wrong. My sister's boyfriend assulted me when I was 21, bruises, cuts the lot. My sister and I were both still living at home and when my sister bought in into the house a few days after, I said I didn't want him in the house but in front of him, she said she wasn't going to ask him to leave because he was my sister's boyfriend.
She even engineered a situation with a boyfriend to get him on his own and tell him I was cheating on him (I wasn't and she knew it) just so she could throw herself at him. I found them in bed together. She attacked me and told me to leave the house as he wasn't going anywhere. She then contacted my best friend to say I had got the wrong end of the stick, she didn't sleep with him and could they speak to me. She told everyone I was mad and seeing things.
I've had a lot of gynae problems and a few operations so I was thrilled when I fell pregnant with DS. When I got to 14 weeks pg, she told me that she was surprised as she didn't think I would get past 13 weeks. She put so much pressure on me, made me worry all throughout my pregnacy. I got married at 5 months pg and she was pressuring me to get married near where she lives (unsurprisingly, i had moved 150 miles away by then), where my younger sis had got married and how I should it mid week so it would be cheaper, not to book the small room even though there was only to be a small wedding. I'm so angry at myself that I just wanted to please her, thinking my wedding day would be special to her I suppose. She was making all sorts of demands that I was getting really upset so my DH suggested that we just married somewhere near where we actually live and somewhere that meant something to us and if she's can't come, then so be it. It was such a relief to throw the shackles off. We ended up with the wedding we wanted and no, she didn't attend as it was "too far away, too much hassle".
Did I mentioned she is an alcoholic? Not that she'll admit it. Booze seems to enable her to re-write history and conveniently forget how horrible she is. She encourages my younger sister to cheat on her husband and to staty at hers over the weekend (with the kids) so they can drink. Unfortunately, my sister is now just like her, a "mini-mum".
The final straw came for me when she started treating my DS differently from my siblings' children. I tried to exlpain to her how I feel, how I felt about the past and how she was / is with me but all she did was bitch with my younger sister behind my back about me. I then cut off all contact with her and haven't spoke for over 2 years. I've recently moved so she knows nothing about that.
I could go on and on with examples littered throughout my life. I've had to be a bit detached writing this just to get it out as it's so emotional.
I think it all resurfaced for me when I has DS. He is the absolute centre of my world and I love him to pieces. For a long time I felt there must have been something wrong with me why she didn't love me like that but with the help of MN I've slowly realised that it isn't me, it's her. She made choices in her life but doesn't want to accept responsibility. I'm just worried that I'll end up like her, that it's somehow genetic and end up hurting my son emotionally.
I want vindication, justice and the unconditional love of my family. I realise that probably isnt going to happen
Indeed, as it is dependent on other people who have already quite conclusively demonstrated that they choose not to give you vindicaiton, justice, or unconditional love.
that realisation is causing me such grief I can barely live with it.
Yes. It's so hard. But it's learning to live with that realisation that makes it stop hurting. It's really all about acceptance - not forgiveness, or vengeance, or anything like that. Acceptance, which can only happen from within.
so I try to go about my days as normally as possible, inwardly dreading what to say to anyone when asked about Mothers Day, my birthday, Christmas etc.
Why dread it? So, you don't have a picture postcard family. What of it? "I don't get along with my mother", "My children are spending Christmas at X's". Elaborate if you feel like it. People will make up their own minds what they think. And if they are judgey about you because of it, then they've actually given you a gift by showing you who they really are.
And from the conversation we've been having here, Peace, I think it would be worth you giving counselling another chance. Counselling is a safe space where you can say everything you feel, and work out for yourself what you want to do about it. Falling apart when voicing it is par for the course - won't be anything the counsellor hasn't seen before.
Avenues are never all exhausted, btw. I for one refuse to believe that you or anyone here is doomed.
Sewilma I'm only at the paragraph where your parents would [purposefully upset you and then take pictures of it to laugh at, and I am
OK, got to the end now. Wow! You are one amazing lady: "For a long time I felt there must have been something wrong with me why she didn't love me like that but with the help of MN I've slowly realised that it isn't me, it's her. She made choices in her life but doesn't want to accept responsibility." Yep. Absolutely.
Do you still have any contact with her? What about your siblings - do some of them also treat you like your mother did, or pretend it never happened? Or are you able to share with them?
I'm just worried that I'll end up like her, that it's somehow genetic and end up hurting my son emotionally.
Self-awareness will be your guide: you know what your mother did and why it hurt you, and you know that you never want to be like her. You will notice if you slip into any behaviour that is neglectful or contemptuous towards your son.
And you will be able to accept responsibility and make amends if your son at any time tells you that he was hurt by something you have done. Imagine how healing it would be for you if your mother was able to do that for you! Your son will be able to rely on a mother who places his wellbeing over the protection of her own damaged ego; a mother who will listen to his feelings and own her mistakes. So whatever mistakes you do make - and all parents make mistakes - they will never be as damaging as those you experienced, since you have a completely different outlook to your mother's.
Thank you HotDAMNlifeisgood, you talk a lot of sense. If you're not a counsellor you should be - you have a gift for it! I felt such dispair today in particular because it is mother's birthday and although the need to keep such a toxic person out of my life has become necessary, I still feel terribly guilty for not sending a card or buying a present....this is the first time in my life I have done that despite our rocky relationship. I'm coping better day by day but I do have my dispair moments and the thought of growing old and not having my kids there to love and care for me is frightening. I tell myself to take one day at a time and have told them I am always always here for them but I fear the gulf will widen and never resolve. I always was a worrier! Sewilma, that must have been so hard for you to write. I too was appalled at your mother deliberately upsetting you then taking a photograph and ridiculing you, that is just so cruel! I hope, like me, you got some release and comfort from sharing your story with us. You are very brave and your son is a very lucky lad to have a mother like you. You should be very proud. xx
Thank you so much HotDAMNlifeisgood. Am sitting here crying, I feel vindicated by your words, thank you.
I broke off all contact 2 years ago when my DS was two as I couldn't bare for her to impact on his emotional wellbeing like she had mine. I like to think my son saw her true colours because he would never allow her to hold him and would run away from her or cry whenever she went near him.
I can talk to my twin about it and although she has her catalogue of nastiness curtsey of our Mum, I was definitely the focus of her vileness, and my twin left home when she was 16 so escaped a lot of it. My younger sister is just like my mum and has been moulded in her own image. They both bitch about me and my twin, would leave us out of conversations etc. Younger sister will defend Mum to the hilt and excuse her behaviour. she had a totally different experience with our Mum, had the nice clothes, given pocket money (I wasn't) and generally indulged. My brother was the only boy so could do no wrong. He has ended up with an awful attitude towards women (and the women in his life unfortunately) so I soon started to grow apart from him.
I don't speak to younger sister and brother at all now. I was accidently sent emails they were exchanging about my beautiful DS where they were implying he has SN (he hasn't but so what if he had?) and taking the piss out of his squint. I gave it to them both barrels and have never spoken to them since.
I do now speak to my Dad though after not speaking for a few years. He's at least at the grace to admit he wasn't the best Dad in the world and has apologised to me. But he doesn't want to be in the middle so stays out of conversations about me to my Mum / sister and brother and vice versa. He has been a fantastic grandad though and ensures he treats all Grandchildren equally and lets my DS (and therefore me) know he is thinking of him by sending a little something through the post for DS every so often.
I've acted decisively as soon as I felt able and don't regret cutting her out but I think it's like I'm grieving for the mum I felt I should have had.
I've got such a great relationship with my DS that I never take for granted. I don't have to shout to get him to do anything and I've never smacked him. Everyone comments on how polite, funny and kind he is and I'm always telling him I love him and giving lots of cuddles. Maybe I've learnt how to be a good mum but having the experience of such a bad one? I just do the opposite she would have done
GiveMyHeadPeace Thank you. I do feel much better talking about it and I'm glad you have been helped too - you are right HotDAMNlifeisgood definitely has a gift!
Within a few paragraphs, you have both helped me so much. To be believed and not have my experiences minimised or dismissed.
Thank you both again for your kind words, feel very humble that you have taken the time out of sharing your experiences to offer me comfort
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Pluckingupcourage I've read your posts upthread and I'm sending you big hugs.
Estrangement is definitely still a taboo. Everyone thinks in terms of black and white and if the abuser manages to manipulate everyone onto "their side" leaving you standing alone, then people outside and family members find it easier to think of you being the problem rather than the abuser / manipulater who has everyone else onside.
Share your grief with everyone here if you want to, if you find it helps.
It's been 2 years and I still find myself missing my Mum sometimes but then I have to remember why I've cut contact. It's like a guilt installment plan but I've paid with interest, I had to get away.
She completely destroyed my ability to trust and I lost myself but slowly I've built up some good friends (they only know bits and pieces) and I'm lucky that DH is supportive but I think he find it hard to comphrend how someone who is a mother can behave the way mine did.
I've found with MN that you are never alone, and you aren't on your own plucking xx
at the same time I cannot share my grief eg with friends/colleagues as it is too complicated to explain. Estrangement is a massive taboo but too little attention is paid to the consequences.
I thought that too. But my experience has been that people are, yes, shocked by my revelation, but they combine that with empathy rather than disapproval: it is indeed such a taboo to estrange family, that they figure I must have pretty serious reasons to have gone so far (and a few examples I give of my parents' behaviour usually confirms that view).
I have even found friends sharing their own difficulties with their parents - one is fighting her toxic MIL's attempts to get access to her son (MIL's grandson) through court action. Many more have shared tales of parents calling them names, favouring other siblings, etc. As the number of posters on the many Stately Homes threads over the years prove, we are not alone. Some of the people we know will be in the same boat. Most of the others will feel sorry for us and supportive.
Only one of my friends did the disapproving "But they're your parents!" reaction when I told her of going NC. But when I look at her family, I see the same parents as mine (with genders reversed), so I think her reaction has more to do with her own issues wrt to her parents (as in, she is not ready to contemplate their behaviour as toxic).
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
The exhaustion and absent-mindedness will eventually pass, plucking. I spent a few months like that last year. I was depressed and on ADs at the time, and trying to make sense of my life having come crashing down around me (miscarriage, realizing that then-H was violent and abusive, leaving him, then realizing that my parents had trained me for abuse).
I forget: are you getting counseling? If you are, your counsellor would be an excellent person to talk through your letter with.
Mail the letter when you want to. It took me close to a year of toying with the idea before one day I just sat down and wrote it in one jot, and sent it. I don't know why it was then, but that was just the moment I was ready. Perhaps, as your husband astutely says, because that was the moment when I no longer cared what they or anyone else would think of me writing such a letter.
The reaction I feared the most, in fact, was not my parents' , but the one from 3 other family members who I love dearly. But I was ready for them to cut me off in turn, if that was what they chose to do. Their reaction turned out to be beyond my wildest hopes: they only heard my parents' side of the story, and even then they understood and called to tell me that I had been very courageous; that they wished they had done something similar themselves years ago; that it was a very loving act, in fact, to give my parents a chance to take a look at their actions and acknowledge my feelings. But then, they are people who have taken a hard look at abuse in their own lives, so they understand the need to break out of the system.
Last night I dreamt that I was shouting and swearing at my mother, and it felt good. It's the second time I've had a dream like that, and they are very vivid. Except that in my dreams, my mother shuts up and listens. Which is not how it would go in real life.
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Could you have another series of sessions with the therapist at the specialist charity?
Unfortunately they limit the number (don't want to say how many as I think it will out where I am) due to the waiting list they have and I had more than the limit. I have dropped them a line to say what I'm about to do, so we'll see.
Sorry folks, just going to brain dump here....... will get back and catch up with thread later....
This morning, my sister (golden child) has just admitted that my Mum used to feed her misinformation about my brother and I and at times my sister became so angry with us that she couldn't speak to us..... How toxic is THAT???
Sorry, I'm just having to try to process that little nugget on top of coming to terms with the fact that my Mum is going to die in the next few months and trying to help my son and daughter through all this. My son's grandad has also just been diagnosed with cancer..... Gah, it doesn't rain, it pours!
Sounds like Golden Child Sister is questioning the dysfunction and beginning to see it for what it is: this could be the start of something good for you (a validating witness of your childhood).
What do you feel you still need to come to terms with wrt your Mum? Would it help you to lay it out here?
Your children also have a lot to cope with as well right now. It sounds like such a tough time for all of you. But "this too shall pass".
I know what you mean plucking about sharing with others. To be honest my mother is such a fantastic Narc that she has everyone thinking she is wonderful. It's hard to explain to others as it sounds as if I'm being petty. TBH how could you explain it anyway without sitting down and spending hours explaining it all - that's how I feel anyhow. Yet if I don't say something I feel like I'm not sticking up for myself.
I know in my own mind that I could not have carried on in a relationship with my mother. For my own sanity, the sake of my DC's and DH I just had to do it and TBH it feels wonderful. I can be me. There are hard times but the good certainly outweigh the bad
plucking I too get flashbacks in fact that is how I started on this road really. I started getting flashbacks during my last pregnancy of my childhood. Things I hadn't thought about in such a long time/if ever since they happened. The flashbacks teamed with how my mother was behaving towards me at that time prompted me to go to counselling. I had had counselling before but had never spoken about my mother. This time it became clear that a whole host of problems that I have/had all had networks that lead straight back to her. I hope you manage to get more counselling.
lemony Sometimes yes it doesn't just rain but it pours. I'm sorry for your situation and I'm sure you're strong enough to help your DC's through this but don't forget your own feelings. Be kind to yourself. Just because your mum is dying doesn't make any less the pain she has caused you, don't feel guilty.
Re: sharing with others. There is no-one who you need to "convince" about the rightness of your choice, and the wrongness of your parents' behaviour. It may seem important to obtain other people's approval, but you don't need it. The only person who needs to be convinced is you.
So: are you right to state your limits? To protect yourself as you see fit?
mampam exactly - it makes me feel exhausted to even begin to explain the circumstances to others. Did you ever confront your mother and really have it out with her? Or did you just decide to have no further contact?
lemony I don't think you can let the fact that your mother is dying undermine your need for your truth to be heard and closure.
HotDAMN I know - I need to keep my eye on the prize, which is to give little plucking the voice and protection she deserved.
I have thought a lot about posting here - just wanted to express some of the things I have experienced from my mother . Guilt tripping is a favourite of hers, a good way of getting her own way. She was so bad I moved 250 miles away from home and stayed there for 12 years. The feeling that she stopped loving me when I was about 9. My youngest sister being the golden child.
Being very passive aggressive. I have started to defend myself, which makes it worse because she has always has to be right.
Making me feel responsible for her welfare, to the extent of taking money from me when I was a student.
The view told to everyone that I was a difficult teenager. Putting me down at every chance. Always saying she would help out with my daughter, but never actually doing much.
Re-writing the past, with her as the victim.
Making nasty comments to my children about me and expecting them to agree.
The first words to me after I took an overdose we're "how could you do this to me"
There are lots more, but I don't want to bore people. Is she narcissistic or just odd?
plucking no I never had it out with my mother. At the time when I decided to cut contact with her I was so angry with her I would have just shouted, ranted, cryed, I wouldn't have been able to keep my head and she would've been able to turn it back onto me. I also didn't feel strong enough to face her, I had a lot going on, she had got in contact with my real dad, never spoken about him my whole life, I found out she wouldn't let him contact me and after that bombshell she disappeared for weeks without so much of an explaination, I had so many questions and was emotionally exhausted.
Now I almost wish I had have had it out with her but I know it wouldn't have done any good. She wouldn't have listened or accepted what she had done to me. I have thought about writing a letter but I think I am best just ignoring her now. I know it will be killing her that I don't bite when she's tried to dangle the carrot and I take great pleasure from that
Are you going to send your letter plucking? I think where other members of the family are concerned it helps to come up with lots of answers to possible comments that they will make. Be prepared. My Grandmother tried the whole " are you still not talking to your mum?.........oh it's such a shame cos I know she misses the kids......" I had prepared myself for this and told her in no uncertain terms that there were things that had gone on between myself and my mother that no one knew about and that I would not ever be speaking to her again.
I also had a mutual aqaintence of both of ours trying to tell me how lovely my mother is and how she always had a smile of her face, I replied "it's a shame she never smiles at me".
Most recently I had a so called friend of mine who clearly had been talking to my mother tell me that I'm beautiful because I get it from my mother, to that I replied " the only thing I get from her is how not to be a shit mother to my kids".
I can come out with things like that when put on the spot but it's when people specifically ask why I've fallen out with my mother that I find it hard to explain.
Lazydaisy I could tick many of the points on your list. I definitely think your mother is a narcissist. Keep posting as and when you feel the need, you'll get some great support on this thread and advice too if you want it.
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Wow, so many similarities , its hard to know where to start.....
Lazydaisy, yes I agree with mampam that its likely that your mother is a narcissist. The things that stick out to me are that she doesn't want you to have a self esteem that is higher than hers. So she uses horibble put downs to you. Good lord, how horrible!
Mampam, no words of advice or anything. I feel for you and what you are battling with and just want to make sure that you feel heard.
Lazydaisy my mother is the same. It helped me to read descriptions of narcissistic and borderline personality disorder traits and recognise her behaviour in them: it helped me to realise that I was not crazy; that it is OK to be upset at this behaviour.
But I don't need the label anymore - and indeed, without a medical diagnosis, I can't confirm it. However, I have now gotten to the stage where it is enough for me to know that I do not need to tolerate any behaviour that I do not like, whether it is narcissism or anything else. I have finally come to the stage where I am confident that I have the right to protect myself against any behaviour I choose.
Using the narcissist label helped me get to that stage, though. So do read up on the disorder online: it will surely be very cathartic!
Thank you for the replies, (I cant do the highlighting)
I will have a search online for some information on narcissism.
I have remembered some more examples of her behaviour , when I was a child if my sister and I did something which annoyed/upset her she would stop talking to us, it would go on for days until we apologised to her for upsetting her. We would apologise just to get her to speak to us again. God knows why my father let her get away with this! He definitely was not dominated by her.
On her last birthday, on the way home from her birthday meal she made a snide comment about me reading a "good" newspaper, I stuck up for myself so that unleashed lots of negative comments about me in front of my kids. A few days later I phoned her, she turned everything round and claimed that my son had ruined her birthday by saying he was hungry later in the evening!
I was so stunned by her comment that I didn't say anything.
That's the last time I am going to so much trouble for her. I have come to the conclusion that she dosen't like me, and I don't like her as a person.
I have tried so many times to sort things out with her, I'm not going to bother anymore. The golden child (who uses her and does nothing in return) and her can be happy together.
This is making my head hurt!
The only thing I have gained is how not to be a mother like her, and do the exact opposite.
There is a good website online entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers; I think reading that could well help you.
It is not your fault your mother is like this and you did not make her this way (her own birth family did that). The golden child role within the dysfunctional family unit is also a role not without price or condition though your sister likely does not realise this.
My DH has recently admitted that he believes his father to be a narcissist, something I realised myself a long time before now.
You will manage just fine without these two in your life.
Lazydaisy Attila is right the website Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers is excellent and could really help you. I go to the website when I'm doubting myself and it just confirms to me that I'm not insane and it is her not me. I suspect that you will read through some of the main descriptions of behaviour and be able to totally relate it back to how your mother behaves towards you. I know I can tick virtually every point.
Attila has your DH been in denial then or just been totally oblivious to his father?
My older brother is the golden child in our family. Although I now realise that he too is a total Narc. I recognise the same traits in him as my mother. His ex gf whom he treated appallingly and made her out to be a total liar and psycho (long story) has told me things about him that I instantly know to be true because they are the same things our mother has said/done to us. I agree with Attila that being the golden child is not without consequence. My brother has cheated on every gf/wife he's ever had. He's getting married for the third time and is about to have his fifth child (that we know about) with a fourth woman. He is incapable of a relationship and I expect he will end up very old and lonely. It doesn't matter how badly he has treated the women/children in his life my mother/step-father/grandparents always think his shit smells of roses and I don't think this has helped one bit. He can do no wrong in their eyes.
I would say oblivious till now but he has never taken very much notice of his dad anyway. He is far more caring of his mother. His mother (professional victim and a dysfunctional piece of work in her own right) has made it out to be that she was the one who brought them up whilst her H did nothing. She did not do at all well with regards to my narc BIL.
My FIL is also the epitome of the bystander; he is a weak man who acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. The rose tinted specs regarding his parents are peeling away gradually from my H's eyes.
Just venting here as I can't put it anywhere else and am sooooooo angry. Haven't seen/spoken to parents since massive row two weeks ago when my dad insulted me and dh horribly in front of the kids then stormed out ranting. Mother has been sending snippy texts ever since pretending nothing ever happened and asking me to bring the kids to see her, in increasingly demanding tones. Now dh gets a text from my mum tonight saying that grandfather (dad's dad) has 24hrs to live. They couldn't even speak to me to tell me my gradfather was dying!! And I feel so mean for thinking this, but they have form for fake medical bombshells.....so I don't know what to think. I want to get a message to him that I love him but can't send it via them as they would snap at me and not pass it on. And all I can think about is going to his funeral and them being vile to me - which I know is totally selfish under the circs. but as I say, just venting. Aaaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhh.
this is dreadful twinkle! I have a similar experience of fake medical bombshells (which were useful for shutting me up!) and so it is hard to know whether or not this is just another manipulation! I think you need to take care of yourself and if they have used your grandfather's death as a weapon against you, then that speaks volumes about how toxic they are. I would take some time out and consider your next move for your (and your DCs') best interests. I really hope you're doing OK.
Here I am getting psyched up to send the letters to family. I have to send a number of the letters abroad, so I am going to send them slightly earlier than the others. I have a slightly leftfield question: do I need to give a return address if I send something as a registered letter in the UK?
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I shall have to spend some time constructing a new identity of a good STRONG person who stands up for what's right rather than keeping the peace at all costs. I wonder who I'll be in 10 years time after these letters.
I like that. Very well put. And an exciting prospect!
I think you're finding the real you, plucking. The one who knows what she will and will not tolerate, and who feels entitled to state her limits.
Good luck plucking. Wonder who you are going to be? The real you, the person who is not supressed by others and it will be truly liberating.
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new on this thread. i always thought that my family was weird and that there couldn't be anyone else like us lot but i was so wrong! i am constantly reminded of how i was such a horrible teenager, how my mother wanted to runaway from home because of me. any plans i have or ideas i get are still knocked down and i am made to feel stupid and inadequate. my mother tries to scare me and plays on my deepest fears. she told me that social services would take my daughter away if 1) i went and got counselling for depression and 2) if she got a bump on the head. she tells me how i am such a negative person. how i hurt her so much and don't appreciate all she has done. i have never heard 'i love you' , i can never remember a single hug as a child. although i have a memory of me clinging onto my mother with her turned away from me as she cried because of pnd. when i was a teenager and ended up having to have counselling after a suicide attempt i asked my mother 'why don't you ever say you love me' and she said 'of course i do, i don't need to say it'.
Hi everyone- I haven't been on here for while, i need to talk about how I have been today- my mom is sucking the life out of me, doctor has put me on 650mg of citolopram now to help me cope and also given me valium for days like today- I just want to sedate myself all the time to stop the torment, she's in my head... I don't know whether I mentioned on here but after she lost it at new yr and said i was responsible for my dads death and the break down of their marriage i started to think maybe it had been the drink talking etc but then she called me up last month and asked me whether my life had been better since she was not in it, I had to say yes it had because i wasn't having to second guess her moods and whether she was upset about somethiing.. anyway in that phonecall she broke me- she told me completely sober at 10am on a tuesday morning that it was infact my fault for all those things and whether i chose to publically acknowledge it I would have find some way to accept it etc.
Still went on to allow her see the kids once in awhile, all the time she showered them with presents etc and was nice to me like nothing was up- always makes me feel really nervous anyway. Its my birthday next week, she has emailed me to tell me she would like to see 'her grandkids' next week as she is away from friday and would like to see them. Its upset me because it is my 30th- I know she is trying to make me sad (like I am) that she doesn't give a shit but i know she'll send me a card but deliberately make me feel the guessing game its her way of getting to me- I don't know how much more i can cope with. I have battled panic attack for about 3 hours now trying to keep it bearable- my husband's frightened and i just want this al to stop, can you hold my hand x
fortoday I'm sorry you're feeling so overwhelmed at the moment.
You have all the resources in hand to cope, though: you are a strong and capable adult now, no longer a child in her thrall. You are already taking responsible steps to be able to cope, such as going to see your GP for medication.
You have discovered something very valuable: that your life is better without her in it. With time and practice, you will even be able to have a life without her in your mind.
You're going through something unpleasant at the moment - heightened grief and anger at her words, which have cut you, no doubt most of all since they are about your dead father.
Her words are just that: words. Words that express whatever issues she carries. They are not yours to carry. Nor can she be anything other than what she is.
Let her be who she is; don't hang on to the desire for her to be otherwise, as it can only cause you pain. Meanwhile, focus on yourself: your desires, your wants, your limits. Know who it is that you want to be. And all the rest be damned.
Thank you plucking - Grandfather lives on......DH got a text from my mother "think he was just putting on an act for the doctors!!" I think someone was putting on an act and it wasn't him....thank you so much for replying to my rant, I'm ok - managing, but wondering what they'll do next.
I know where you are coming from, being the 'nice one' who doesn't rock the boat - they are outraged when you break out of that. It's great that you can look to the future like that, you have a brilliant outlook.
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fortoday I am appalled at your mother for emailing you and requesting (although I bet its more like demanding) to see your kids!!! Since when does she get to dictate her access to your children?!?! And over and above your 30th birthday??? I am so angry that she is doing this to you - it brings up a lifetime of similar manipulations that my mother has done to me.
Please, please look after yourself. You and your husband need to calm yourselves and get yourselves to a better place emotionally, mentally psychologically etc etc. I don't know if you have read any of the links at the beginning of this thread, but they have been useful for many of us who are only starting this journey. Please take some measures to calm yourself, as your kids will certainly feed on this anxiety .
And lastly happy birthday for next week , I'm wishing you the absolutely wonderful, loving, joyous birthday that you should be having.
I just need to get this off my chest.
My dad's parting words to me after a 6 week visit (we're in Oz, he only actually saw us for 8 days of his stay) were:
"do what [DH] says - he knows what's best"
Arana: what would you like to get off your chest directly to your dad, if you were to tell him how you feel about this?
Maybe it will help you to write it out here.
I'm in the process of writing it all down. I won't confront my dad - I've tried that a couple of times during his visit and both times ended badly. I self harmed last week, and was feeling genuinely suicidal yesterday.
He's gone now, so I can start to rebuild.
I won't confront my dad - I've tried that a couple of times during his visit and both times ended badly.
Badly how? If he - like all self-absorbed people - turned it all on you, through rage or blame or denial or a martyr act, then I would count that as a success: you give him a chance to take your feelings into account, and he demonstrated that he is not able to take your feelings on board.
So now you truly know what you are dealing with: success. Well done for confronting him, by the way: that was brave.
I'm sorry you felt bad enough to self-harm. I am of the school of thought that it is better to direct anger where it belongs, and I would prefer to see you tell him how much he hurts you, rather than for you to turn it on yourself.
Arana I am in the process of confronting and cutting ties, and I know how easy it is for anger to turn inwards.
I have recently read the book The Courage to Heal by Bass and Davis which is really good at exploring healing from dysfunction and abuse. There is a very good section on self-loathing, self-harm and feelings of suicide and I am copying it out here as it has really helped me. I carry around the section I've highlighted below in my wallet to remind me, in case I feel overwhelmed:
Sometimes you feel so bad, you want to die. The pain is so great, your feelings of self-loathing so strong, the fear so intense, that you really dont want to live. These are your authentic feelings and it is important not to deny them. It is also essential not to act on them. Its okay to feel as devastated as you feel. Its just not okay to hurt yourself. We have lost far too many women already. Far too many victimsboth adults and childrenhave lacked adequate support and, out of despair, have killed themselves. We cant afford to lose more. We cant afford to lose you. You deserve to live.
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Plucking Even if they do all die before they get your letters, you have still written them. You have still spelt out exactly what they have done and said to you. You have still had enormous courage and strength to get that far.
You keep going girl, you're worth your weight in gold many times over.....
Onward and upward and don't dare do anything to yourself!
dear fortoday, wow is all i can say, I am so sorry. but you are doing the right thing and hopefully this will help you find a way away from her! hopefully the therapist can give you concrete suggestions.
my dad is/was manic depressive and very angry all the time, sounds like your mother has a major problem of that order, perhaos which has never been diagnosed (we only know about my dad because he started accusing all of us of being metnally ill if we disagreed with him when manic/mad, so confessed he had treatment etc).
you must give yourself permission to stay away from her and keep her away from you. its your life now. don't worry if she never accepts its, not your problem. stay strong and make sure you get lots of cuddles from your dh
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Hand holding for you - hope it goes well xx
I'm new here,
it is sad to be here xx
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<gives plucking's hands a squeeze>
Plucking What's the worst they can do to you? Shout? Yes?
Remember, metaphoric earplugs or fingers in the ears shouting "la la la la i can't hear you...."
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(and thanks Lemon, HotDamn, forgot to say how great you are due to sleep deprivation)
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Congrats! You can be proud of your bravery.
You know that there will be some kind of fallout: they are not going to take it meekly. But know that you can handle that fallout, whatever it is.
Looking forward to the new name!
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Here, maybe this can help you right at the moment. Steps 6 and 7 have helped me a lot in the past when I felt like a fearful crying wreck.
Well done, Plucking
Maybe your new name could be IDIDITIDIDIT!
Have a cry, then a cup of tea, go and buy yourself a little bunch of flowers, put some music on and start to calm down....
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HotDAMN, yes, hard's the word ;-)
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Well done Plucking - you've given me the courage to start writing my own letters.
The world is indeed still here, as are we....... Keep posting!
I feel like a monster
I got together with a few old friends on Friday night and the conversation came around to me and my mother. I told them I hadn't had anything to do with her now for about 18months. The responses I got from this were along the lines of "oh but that's such a long time", "never say never". I told them that I never have any intention of having anything to do with her again and they just couldn't accept this.
One of them even asked me "what would happen if your mum dropped dead tomorrow?" to which I replied "I'd be free" and they all seemed absolutely gobsmacked by this.
I know they meant well but I'm left feeling like an unfeeling monster.
Oh mampam, that was so sad to read. I guess people with nice families just don't understand (until they see yours/ours in action, maybe). You know though why you've cut contact. You described it very clearly so many times on here and at least to me it makes perfect sense. In fact I take strength from how you deal with things and how happy you sound most of the time since you made that decision.
mampam it's unthinkable in our society to not "love" your mother. But - some mothers are unlovable. And that's because of their behaviour, not the child's. It takes someone to have a mother like that to understand. Your friends won't - that doesn't make you an unfeeling monster, just someone with a wider (and sadder) experience of how life can be.
re your comment:-
"The responses I got from this were along the lines of "oh but that's such a long time", "never say never". I told them that I never have any intention of having anything to do with her again and they just couldn't accept this".
These are the typical types of refrain from those who fortunately do not come from dysfunctional families themselves or have narcissistic mothers as mothers. You'd be better off writing your thoughts on here.
You are certainly not an unfeeling monster!.
Thanks. It really helps that you guys know where I'm coming from. I just hate it when my decision is called into question and it almost makes me doubt myself.
Lesson learned. I will not be drawn into conversation about my mother in future and stick to saying "you never know what goes on behind closed doors". End of conversation.
DH has been really good. He reminded me what tipped me over the edge with my mother and prompted me to cut all ties in the first place:
-horrendous year of verbal abuse and criticism whilst pregnant
-odd behaviour towards DC's especially newborn, grabbing arm, stroking face and arms in a way that made us (DH and I) both feel very uncomfortable
-joining my diet club and then gloating that she was losing more weight than me (very sensitive subject to me)
-never ever speaking of my real father throughout my life and then dropping bombshell that she was in contact with him on Facebook
-found out she wouldn't let me keep in contact with him when I was 7 as she'd 'moved on with her life'.
-refusing to give me any explaination about RF and my lack of contact with him
-seeing her writing about RF and having conversations about him on FB for the whole bloody world to see even though she wouldn't talk to me about him
This on top of all the usual shit and years of crap is why I do not want anything to do with my mother and I haven't even scratched the surface
IME, it's the people with difficult parents themselves but who are still in the FOG who react badly to me telling them how I feel about my own parents.
People with fairly healthy parents, again IME, have grown up with fairly healthy self-respect and respect for others, and are therefore able to respect my position.
"what would happen if your mum dropped dead tomorrow?" to which I replied "I'd be free"
Thank you for saying this and being so honest. I feel the same way as I sometimes fantasize about my parents being in a car crash. I know this is horrible. But the reason we feel guilty about it is because we are decent people - we doubt ourselves because that is how we were conditioned. You didn't bring any of this on yourself, you are only protecting yourself and your child from abuse. You are very brave to do so!
mampam my DS's paternal gran kissed DS's willie when he was a few weeks old.... I (naturally freaked) and asked my Mum whether it was an Irish thing, she asked her Mum and neither of them had heard anything like it.... I've never told DS, and won't do. But never allowed him to stay overnight, but his father went behind my back when he had him to stay because having DS on a Friday night or a Saturday night interfered with his social life....
hotDAMN yes that may well be true although I'm not sure how I would've reacted to a friend if I was still in the FOG, hard to say. I would like to think that I would've listened rather than pass judgement.
twinkle my mother on many an occasion has threatened suicide for attention purposes and has never even come close. She once threatened to walk into the sea and drown herself because my brother had lost his car keys at the time I can remember thinking to myself "go on then just do it" and would quite often visualise the sight of my mother walking into the sea. So you are not alone.
Lemony my god that's awful. Hopefully it was done innocently like a raspberry on a baby's bottom or something but I think you are right to be cautious. Bloody ex's! Mine is a pain in the bum but that's another story.
I was never worried about my mother/DC's in a sexual way it was more a feeling I had that she would take them and never bring them back. I can't exactly put my finger on why just a series of things. For example:
-when DD1 was born she used to say "come to mummy, oops I mean nanny" far too many times for it to just be an innocent slip of the tongue.
-she used to tell me to "look after the DC's whilst I'm on holiday"
-if she was late back after taking dc's out I would start panicking and thinking she wouldn't bring them back. I have never thought that about any other friends or family who have taken DC's out and been late back.
-on DS's last birthday before I cut her out of our lives, she came to our house barely said 2 words but followed DS where ever he went, from room to room. We had a BBQ, she refused any food but stood over DS as he ate, staring at him. DS kept looking up at her and didn't know where to look or what to do. It was very freaky and made everyone feel really uncomfortable.
-when dd2 was born she kept putting her face about an inch away from dd's making her scream everytime. She would hold onto her arm too especially if she was being held by someone else as if to say " i've got hold of her so you can't take her away from me". She also had her own nickname for DD2 and when I called her my little nickname she would immediately say hers loudly as if I wasn't allowed to have a nickname only she was. (fairly pathetic I know).
-she would stroke dd2's face in an obsessive way, using her whole hand not a light back of finger/hand like you would expect someone to do to a newborn, I can't really describe it but I didn't like it and neither did DH. It was like she couldn't get enough of her and DH still describes it as 'creepy'.
-She also hated my DH spending time alone with DD2 (his first child) . We went to her village fete where she snatched a crying DD away from him in front of everyone as if he was incapable of dealing with her and when he took her off for a little walk in her pram whilst I sorted the other DC out with having their faces painted my mother was on edge the whole time and kept saying "where are they?" and a very relieved "oh there they are" on DH's return. It was as if I'd let my then 7 year old ds take the baby off for a walk on his own.
Anyway I'm sure you get what I mean. I'm adding to the list aren't I of reasons why I'm best off without my mother
Good god, mampam freaky is the word. Just think of all that anxiety you're saving your dcs from.
God, your mother is completely and utterly dysfunctional isn't she (and that is my measured response). Well done you for cutting her completely off. I wonder what her own childhood was like, do you know anything at all about her background?. This is no excuse at all but her background could well provide clues.
I may be thinking of someone else here for which I apologise but is she the person who kept standing outside your DD1s school as well?.
Have often thought about having both ILs and BIL clinically assessed. That report would certainly make for interesting reading!.
Starting to disengaged with my parents. Since mothers day I have spoken to mum once on the phone. I rang her because I felt guilty I hadn't spoken to them in weeks! I know... She hadn't rung me because she was ill and didn't want to spread it to us. It was because she was supposed to visit me as she had a week off work but never rang to confirm when she was coming so didn't come. Ds is 22 weeks now and she still hasn't had the time off work she said she would to help me.
When I did speak to her she said she would do a shitty thing to me that's happening at work as well because that's just what does happen when someone has a baby, that their career should be fucked because of it. Cheers mum. She then went on about them changing their will to leave everything to me, then Ds and how dad is worried he'll end up in a home if she dies before him. I didn't say anything apart from that they should spend their money on themselves. I don't want it.
Someone on another thread here posted a link to something called the drama triangle. I will find it and link. I can say it's the first thing I've seen that accurately describes the dynamic between me and my parents. Mine eyes have been opened!
Here we are www.angriesout.com/grown20.htm
This may be long but please wade through it and tell me if AIBU about my mum?
- she has never been able to have 'just one' drink and has caused many upsets as a result of this. When I was 9 we went out for mothers day with dad. She got pissed, and when we got home she told me I was my fathers prostitute (I didn't know what a prostitute was), because he used to buy me toys. She then went downstairs and started hitting dad with the telephone, he got a blood blister on his hand. I know this because I was sat next to him on the sofa while she did it.
- I remember wishing as I was growin up that she would be like other mums, but she never was. She was convinced my dad was spyin on us and would accuse him of putting bugging devices in the telephone, tv, and tumble dryer. She still claims this, even to this day (and yes, they still married but sleep in spearate bedrooms) She told me to always use the shower curtain because he had a camera in the bathroom. She put a lock on my bedroom door when I was 12 tO stop my dad coming in while I was sleeping. My dad has never been anything other than a great dad to me, and when I would ask my mum to point out exactly where the video cameras were in the bathroom, or ask her why she didn't dismantle the tv and take the bug out, she never had an answer.
- I always hoped she would turn into a normal mum but she never did. A couple of years ago I returned home after living in London (I'd been made redundant). I thought we could go out for a drink, as adults. She was lovely to begin with then an extra drink tipped her over the edge and she turned vile, saying horrible things about my dad. I went home. She followed me and told me I was fat (am a 10/12), and that "I'd had as much luck keeping a job as I had in keeping a man". Nice.
- she has never told me she loves me. But she finds much to criticise about me. I am cheeky, I am rude, I am nasty, I need therapy, I have a big nose, I look fat in that dress...
- she left work when I was 13 (now 29) and ever since has kept sleeping hours of 6am-3pm. She has always had insomnia. I remember once at age 5 I didn't go to school because she didn't wake up til 4pm. I made myself sugar sandwiches and watched tv all day. Every day, now, she stays in her room, sitting and eating on her bed, watching tv or reading, while dad sits in the lounge.
Ok that is the background, briefly, I will now tell you my current issue/question....
handbag the dynamics of the triangle may change but do you think that it is your mum who controls it? So if you dare to speak out and get angry you become the perpetrator and she puts herself in the role of the victim? If your family dynamics are anything like mine you will never have the upper hand.
Attila My mother had my brother when she was 17, married his father but the marriage didn't last long. She met and married my father who is Nigerian. This must have been very controversial especially in the late 1970's in very rural south Devon where even today you very rarely see anyone who isn't white! I'm unclear on the finer details but when I was weeks/months old my father had to leave to go back to Nigeria (he was in the Navy so was either deployed or deported). He says (only found out about this 18 months ago) that it was impossible to leave or to communicate with the outside world as civil war had broken out in Nigeria.
My mother married my SF when I was about 8 years old, had another child with him. They are still married though god knows how he's put up with her for over 20 years. He started off ok, I was close to him but it's almost as if she has sucked the soul out of him over the years and now he is just a clone of her!
There must have been something seriously up with her childhood though as her sister is also seriously disturbed. Hers outs itself in the form of illness to gain attention. Migraines, backpain, gallbladder problems, breakdowns all of which there's always a tale attached that never seems to make sense and appears to be attention seeking. She's a pathological liar too (but then so is my mother). There is also no love loss between my mother and her sister more from my mother though, very jealous of her sister.
I do think my GF, from what I remember of him, was a classic Narc. His opinion was the only one that mattered and boy was he opinionated. My uncle once told me that on the way to the funeral of his GF (my GF's father), he was crying his eyes out in the car and was told in no uncertain terms to stop crying.
I remember that too as a child, we didn't cry, it's a sign of weakness
Wouldn't it be great if your ILs agreed to be clinically assessed? Somehow can't imagine them agreeing! Isn't it funny how your DH turned out relatively "normal". I sometimes wonder how I managed it compared to the rest of them.
My FIL drives me insane, I haven't yet decided if he's just a total wanker or if he fits into the Narc category or both
Forgot to say that Attila yes it was my mother that turned up at DD1's school. It's hard for me to explain to people in RL why I found that so disturbing.
Thanks to everyone on this thread for believing me, understanding, empathising, making my feelings valid and for keeping me sane. Thank you
I moved abroad with my DP (now DF) about a year ago. She refuses to buy an ipad or laptop to keep in touch (because dad will bug it remember?) so has only ever kept in touch by letter. But Letters take about 2 weeks to get here. The letters are always lovely (miss you so much, lots of love, we are very proud of you...). But she will only reply to a letter, never send two in a row say, and to be honest I am not much of a letter writer, so although I've been here a year we have probably only exchanged four letters each!
DP recently proposed, fantastic! Dad finally persuaded her to Skype us and she was very happy, I thought things were good. I wanted her and dad to get involved with the weddign planning as much as they could. But she said she wanted to help me choose a venue and yet said she was only prepared to correspond by letter. But surely this is ridiculous! There is so much to research and decide when choosing a venue that letters (that take two weeks each way!) just aren't practical! I knew she was annoyed So I tried to think of ways I could include her in things. I arranged a cake tasting (different flavours), she didn't want to do it. I suggested her and dad could go to the hotel we chose and sample the wedding breakfast, she said that was a shitty job. I said well how about you go to some florists, tell me what they recommend, no that's was a shitty job too apparently. Why should she do all the shit jobs when I wouldnt let her help choose a venue??
Two weeks ago I got a text off dad. "your mum's spoken to me for the first time in two weeks to tell me she wants to Skype you now, are you and DP free?" sure! I thought she'd come to her senses. No. She had a massive go at me for not doing things the way she wanted them done, and said "well I've given it some thought and I've decided that I'm just going to buy a new dress and turn up on the day and just smile". What a thing to say to your only daughter about her wedding day?? She had me in tears by the time she'd finished with me. After dad text me to say, 'what a bitch. I had no idea she was going to say all that. I'm so sorry'.
So now that brings us to today. I haven't heard anything from her since. I'm slowly starting to realise she is NEVER going to be the mum I've always wanted. But what should I do now? Write her a letter? To say what?? Sorry this is so long
I do normally put the letter 'g' on the end of all my verbs; blame my phone for any typos!!
Sorry missed your post Finally as was posting myself. Sounds as if your mother was jealous of the relationship you had with your father. I'm sure Attila will come and give you some great advice and will tell you to look up the website daughters of narcissistic mothers, it's a really great website so definitely have a look when you've got time.
So what is your current issue/question?
Hi mampam, well really it's, was I being unreasonable through not sorting a venue through the medium of letters, was what she said (about just buying a suit and pasting on a smile) reasonable, where do I go from here really??
I just had a brief look at the website and wow! The bit about not being able to share my highs and lows with her is so true - I could never get excited or tell her something exciting that was happening because she would ALWAYS bring it down. A new job, a new boyf, moving to a new house, or just smaller day to day things, going to a wedding or buying a new dress, everything was always brought down. That resonates a lot.
Also the diminishing , once I said to her (a few years back), why did you call me my fathers prostitute? She denied it ever happened, she denies a lot of things, and she also rewrites history, twists things, says I said something when I didn't.
It's like, I have spent 29 years thinking, maybe next time it'll be different. Maybe next time she'll be happy/reasonable... But after that comment about my wedding, it's like that's the straw that broke my back. I cried so hard after that. I told DP it was because I had finally realised she is NEVER going to be the mum I wanted, if that makes sense. Like I have accepted it now.
mampam my dad is the perpetrator, mum is the rescuer and I'm the victim. We do change roles sometimes. I couldn't believe it when I read it! Goes to show there's nothing new under the sun!
handbag sorry I'm getting confused my 23 month old is running around having a paddy and I can't think straight!
I bet it felt good to find/read about something you can directly identify with.
Finally Wow. Firstly you are not alone. I think everyone on this thread can identify with most of the points on the daughters of Narc mothers website. I had a similar situation with my wedding in that my mother was very unhelpful and more interested in having her hair done on the day than anything else, any of the important things and it's very hurtful.
Does your dad know about all the stuff she says regarding him bugging/spying on you? What does he say/think about it? TBH I think your mother is just being plain bloody awkward about not having a laptop/ipad and just wants her own way. She wasn't the one to suggest it so therefore it's wrong. It's the same with helping with the wedding. If I were you I'd stick to my guns. Or you could play her at her own game........"if you get a laptop you can help me choose a venue, but unless you do I'm afraid it is just not possible or practical to do this whilst only corresponding by letter....". I do however that trying to reason with her won't work but is it worth a try? Can your dad help?
Oh yes, dad knows exactly what she's like. He's a classic enabler I think, he will do anything to avoid a fight... Why he has put up with it all for the last 30 years I do not know. It's a thread all to itself I guess
'if she didn't suggest it then it's wrong" - ha, so true! She always knows everything, she is always right, even if she is wrong.
The thing is I think I feel like for once I am just not interested in making the effort any more. I'm not interested in making the first move or trying to appease her. She has hurt me so much over the years (would you tell your daughter she was her dad's prostitute? WTAF?) that after saying what she did about my wedding day, making me CRY in what should have been a happy conversation... I have had enough! But I don't know if I am allowed to feel like I have had enough! She is my mum, after all...
I feel like I want someone to tell me that her behavious hasn't been normal, this is not how all mothers act, I am not being sensitive or unreasonable not to want to be spoken to in these ways...
Finally You do not have to make the effort if you don't want to. This is your wedding, this should all be about you not her. But then that's what a narcissist is excellent at doing...stealing the limelight. Your mother is trying make this wedding about her.
Her behaviour isn't normal. A loving mother would be happy for their daughter when she is getting married not trying to create problems and having her daughter in floods of tears. A loving mother is not perfect but always makes her child feel loved no matter what.
If this woman was not your mother would you even be thinking about whether or not you should put up with her speaking to you in this manner? Just because she is your mum you don't have to feel obligated to put up with her unreasonable behaviour.
Sounds to me as if you are coming to the end of your tether with her. I did with mine and the only way for me to move forward was to cut her out of my life but then she does only live 4 miles away if she lived in a different country I may well have been able to put up with it, I don't know.
You need to decide what to do. If you say to her "fine, just turn up to the wedding" is she likely to turn up and ruin the day somehow?
And....I feel the same and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I wish I had a "proper" mother and at times totally feel really hard done by for ending up with her.
finally it's ok to not try and have a relationship with your mum. You can't really anyway. You can have a dictatorship where her thoughts and feelings are paramount. It's ok not to want that. My mum and dad and mil all tried to make my wedding all. about. them. It's so tedious, I hardly spoke to them on the day as they were impossible. They also made the birth of Ds all. about. them too. That's when I'd had enough!
mampam congrats on being able to mn coherently whilst toddler wrangling! I'm only able to as dh is home and helping with Ds
So do I just ignore her now? Not get in touch at all? I feel like I have nothing to say to her and just know that she will be expecting an apology from ME?.. But I have done nothing that needs apologising for!
Have just seen this.
"I feel like I want someone to tell me that her behavious hasn't been normal, this is not how all mothers act, I am not being sensitive or unreasonable not to want to be spoken to in these ways.."
I will reiterate to you that her behaviours are not normal and this is not how all mothers act. You are not being at all insensitive or unreasonable here not to want to be spoken to like that. You would not put up with it from a friend, your mother is truly no different in this regard.
Detach and ignore your mother; she makes every occasion all about her. No contact of any sort. These boundaries you have; build them now even higher. Your future DH and you will have to continue to put on a united front. You are dealing with a narcissist mother of perhaps the engulfing kind (having no boundaries at all, is more than happy to go through your stuff, read mail, watch you on the toilet etc). You did NOT make her that way; her own birth family did that and I read without surprise that her own sister is a very damaged individual as well.
As Mampam rightly states, you cannot have a relationship with a narcissist; it does not ever work out at all well. Also such people will not and do not bring anything at all positive into the lives of any children you may go onto have so bear that in mind as well. Concentrate on your own family unit and surround yourselves with people who are decent, kind role models.
It is okay not to seek her approval any more, not that she would ever give this anyway.
Do look at the website called Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers; it could prove very helpful to you. There is also reference on there to enabling fathers (again do read this); your own Dad fits into that category very well. He was and remains her wingman; such weak men often act out of self preservation and want of a quiet life so you could never rely on him either to protect you.
Another book you may want to read is one called "Children of the Self Absorbed". Cannot recall author offhand but its on Amazon. That could also be helpful to you
I hope your wedding day goes well for you both.
Mampam, I thought it was your mother who turned up outside your DDs school. It is my dream to get both ILs and BIL clinically assessed. That report would certainly make for interesting reading. The drama triangle is certainly played out in their dysfunctional unit. I think he (DH) disappeared into the sanctuary of his bedroom a lot during his teens and knuckled down to pass him exams with a view to getting a job and leaving home. He left home as soon as a mortgage became available to him (a few years before we met).
I did ask him once if his Dad had ever hugged him as a child (DH hugs our now teenage son and has done from an early age, I certainly hug DS) and he just looked at me sadly without saying a word. Says an awful lot doesn't it?. My parents are pretty much disinterested and hands off now but at least the two of them both hugged us as young children and made us feel wanted and loved.
I think he took a hard look at the three of them when younger and decided to forge his own path through life for himself and behave differently to them. He has far more regard for his mother than his dad (whom he believes also to be a narcissist). So he has made progress.
All of you have my profound respect.
Have a great weekend.
Hi, I need some advice. I'm suffering from depression, and a visit from my self-absorbed genially toxic dad has totally screwed me up.
He has no idea the effect he has on me. He's been trying to call to see how I am, but I just can't face talking to him.
What do I do?
Send him a text just to get him off your back for a bit?
He has no idea the effect he has on me. He's been trying to call to see how I am, but I just can't face talking to him. What do I do?
Don't pick up the phone. Don't ring back. And don't kick yourself for it.
You are perfectly entitled not to speak to someone that you don't want to speak to. Honest!
Let's break it down:
If you call him/pick up when he calls, you are doing what he wants, at the expense of what you want. The consequence is that you feel shit, and he is placated.
If you don't call/him, pick up when he calls, you are doing what you want, at the expense of what he wants. The conseuqence is that he is enraged, and you either a) feel shit because you can't cope with his displeasure, or b) feel less shit than you would have done if you had spoken to him, and are able to cope with his displeasure (and maybe even feel a little bit proud of yourself for putting your needs ahead of his for once)
Which outcome is the one you are willing to cope with? Your pain, or his?
Thank you for summing it up for me - just what I needed
Thank you SOOOOOOoooooooo much for the link to Daughters of narcissistic mothers - I have just found lots of answers.
sashh, that website is excellent isn't it? Although I have had nothing to do with my mother for about 18 months now I still look at this website from time to time just to reiterate to myself why I am doing this and to stay strong.
Yes it is, I am in contact with my mother, but I live 200 miles away. My mother is snow terminally ill so although I have considered the no contact, it's going to happen soon anyway.
I have tried to chat on these threads before but stuggle as the posts are so long and I can't recall everyone. I also find it hard to ask for help as I always get flamed when I pose elsewhere on MN. I don't understand that. I keep asking for help because I am trying so why do I get kicked when I am already down?
I feel betrayed by my MIL and am just don't waiting for her to do it again so I can ignore her but then the kids love seeing her and I don't want to be bitter.
My mother is about 60 and I long for her to pass away so I know my children are then safe from her threats but as I have no contact with her or anyone I wouldn't know anyway.
My eldest child is being so vile to me at the moment. Shouts at me, raised his fist to me the other day, answers me back and is constantly awful to his sister. I have tried firm words, shouting, calm words, ignoring, nothing stops it.
I just don't know what to do and feel scared I will be flamed again and that hurts as I have nowhere else to go for help.
Oh JustFab so sorry you've had bad experiences when starting threads. We'll never flame you or judge you on this thread and we'll always respect your thoughts and feelings.
You first mention your MIL in your post. Why do you feel betrayed by her?
Hi mampam, thank you for replying to me.
She talked to my mother, told her I had had a baby and had more than one conversation with her. I have no idea what else she may have done or said as she hasn't even admitted the above until I had proof. We had to get a solicitor involved and even when we told MIL not to talk to her or tell her anything she didn't tell us she already had. We had to find out in a solicitors letter. She hasn't apologised. It hurt so much that she put her, my mother's, wishes before mine, the mother of her only grand children. TBH it doesn't affect me every day. I am just paranoid about watching the children go right into school so I know they are safe and I panic if I can't see them in the line coming out . Actually, it does get to me quite a bit. Especially as they are at a new school which is on the internet a lot with photos.
Firstly, a school cannot use photos of your DC without your permission. I had to sign a form to say that DSs school could use his photo if needs be. I think you should go in and have a chat with them at school about this just to check.
With regards to your MIL I'm so for you that she disclosed information to your mother about you against your wishes. I know that everyone makes mistakes and it's how you make up for them afterwards that counts but she has never apologised? I would be mortified if my MIL did this to me.
Do you have a supportive DP? What does he think with regards to his mother?
I'm going to skip over your mother for a minute and talk about your DS. Do you think it's just his age? My eldest DD is nearly 13 and she can be so vile at times, she kind of goes through phases.
There's no excuse for violence though. So sorry you're having to deal with this on top of everything else. Can your DP help to discipline? Don't let this escalate as it will only get worse, have seen it happen with my younger brother but then it was because of a combination of a load of shit he had to put up with from my mother and my mother and step father mollycoddled him.
DH signed to say the photos could be used. He doesn't think she would find them and he didn't want to have to tell them why they couldn't be on like their friends.
DH is also furious with his mother and agrees if she ever does anything like that again she loses us all. I lost a twin. For the surviving twin's birthday she gave him twin trains from Thomas the Tank Engine.
DS1 is 11 and so rude at the moment and mean to his sister all the time. He apologised for being rude and then within minutes raised his voice to me. Prior to this I told him to go away because of his behaviour and he said noone can tell me to go away. I have no control and can not get them to behave. I don't know what is fair in treatment and how strict I can be and they just walk all over me. When I am confident and therefore firm it normally gets results. It just rarely happens.
I have decided I am no longer going to collude in my dms fantasy of having been the perfect mother. She telephoned me the other day, just to tell me how bloody awful her life is, it isn't actually, but it's not on her agenda to be happy and cheerful and ask after others. She, as usual called me a clumsy cow, and when I pointed out to her that dyspraxic was the word she was looking for, refused to back down and promptly went on to tell me how bad her mother was if something got broken. This is crap, if I broke something at Nanna's house I'd get a cuddle and told not to worry. If I broke something at home, I'd get hit and screamed at. I shall tell her next time that she's talking shite.
Please may i join? This thread was recommended to me back in March but I've been burying the problems since then, something which i am unlucky enough to be able to do.
Sorry but this will be a long post as I don't want to drip feed and I need advice on something specific at the end.
My mum was physically abusive to me from a young age until I stood up to her one day whilst she was hitting me when i was 27. I snatched the things she was hitting me with out of her hand and she thought I was going to hit her back. I don't know if I was or I wasn't, I think it depended on what she did next. She cowered from me and that was the end of it. 20 years on she has never hit me since.
However, the emotional abuse started when I was 13 and is still ongoing. She really knows how to get to me, and varies it by my circumstances at the time. "Slag" in my late teens and 20s, "bad mother" in my 30s, and now I'm greedy and grasping. I've also been a "snob" for long periods and she has often said that she regrets allowing me to receive an education.
Its ridiculous, because I know she isn't describing me at all. No one else thinks these things about me, and people even go out of their way to say how well behaved and nice my children are. My husband would never have married a slut. However, it all still hurts.
I am the oldest of four. She hit us all and it stopped for us all when we reached our 20s, except for my sister who was in her mid-teens. One of my brothers also has had the emotional abuse all his life, but the other brother and sister are revered by Mum.
I cut her out of my life when she started the bad mother thing, but I felt terrible about it and eventually we re-established contact. Now a few years on, she has started again over something so trivial that you'd really have to look through very warped glass to see anything wrong with it at all, and even then its nothing to do with her whatsoever.
Now things have kicked off again, I asked my sister (to whom my Mum is borderline sycophantic) for emotional support but I have been told, very bluntly to get lost because she did not want to be in the middle. I am hurt because I believe I am in the victim in this.
Sister wants me to commit to a big birthday party for our mother later this year. Mum speaks coyly to my sister about it, saying she'd be delighted but she doesn't want anyone to feel pressured. So, obviously my sister believes this is Mum's position on it. However, when I speak to Mum about it myself, she behaves like she's very displeased and can barely contain herself from speaking viciously to me about it.
I'd previously said I would go with DH and the DCs. Now I don't know what to do. Its not for months but I need to make a decision this week.
I wrote my sister an email this morning saying that i would go (without DH or the DC) but I feel that I can't win in this situation. Then I laid it on the line for her how i felt about being emotionally abused all these years, and her lack of support. She will probably react by telling me that I am no longer welcome if I feel like that.
Is it a mistake to send this email?
because the email is still just a draft.
Do you want to go to the party?
Many children, now adults, of such toxic parents, have FOG - fear, obligation and guilt.
You do not mention your Dad; where is he?.
You gave your mother a chance by re-establishing contact and now like all toxic parents she has unsurprisingly messed up again. Its not you, its them. Toxic people never take responsibility for their actions nor apologise ever for same.
I guess as well your mother's own childhood was pretty much abusive from the beginning (her own parents likely made her this way) but its still no excuse for how she behaves now. You should never have been made the scapegoat along with the other brother you write of for her inherent ills.
If you e-mail it, would suggest you block her address from your e-mail post sending it. This will save you reading the vitriolic response.
I would tell this sister that you are not going to any party or have any further contact because you no longer are prepared to act as the scapegoat (you also mention that your mother has emotionally abused your brother) in your birth family any longer.
Cut all contact with your mother; she has not and will never bring anything positive into yours and your childrens lives. You managed to cut contact once, you can do so again.
I believe that there is a very strong chance that i'll have a horrible time at the party so i do not want to go. If I thought that I'd enjoy myself or even that it would be neutral, then I would want to go because it would give my Mum a happy birthday.
My Dad died when i was in my 20s. His view was like my sister's view i.e. this is blighting my life, so you are both to blame.
Yes, Attila, when you say it, that's exactly how it is: i gave Mum a 2nd chance and it was ok for a while but she's reverted to type. Also, you are right that she was also severely emotionally abused herself when she was a child (and by comparison what has happened to me is nothing).
I guess there are two things that are really upsetting me: 1. Why is my mum still able to hurt me like this? 2. Why is my sister not sympathetic?
Don't go. You are a grown up and don't have to do this if you don't want too. I gave my mother so many chances but no more and I am fine 99.9% of the time without her. And it is only because I want a mum, not that I want her that it isn't 100%. As for your sister, she just isn't sympathetic and there isn't anything you can do about that.
I find it hard to accept with my sister. It would be like watching someone who is drowning and complaining that their splashing had dampened your clothes.
Some people are never going to understand certain things.
That party is going to be a barrel of fun for you - NOT - so would not put yourself through it. Go out for the day with your own H and children instead.
Am sorry (but not totally surprised) to read that your Dad was a bystander in all this; he failed you as well by failing to protect you from your abusive mother. He has come out with the usual tripe such toxic parents utter as well. People from dysfunctional family units end up playing roles; in your birth family unit you have bystanders, scapegoats, and golden children. It is not your fault your mother is the way she is, her own birth family emotionally abused her.
Your late father like many weak bystanders (usually men) acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He was totally unfair to blame you but blaming you deflected her barbs from him. It was not your fault your mother was and is like this, she chose to act like it.
Re your questions:-
1. Because she can - abuse is about power and control. You have to completely detach now from your abusive mother.
2. This sister had a different childhood experience to you and is likely to be seen as a golden child by your mother. The golden child role is a role not without price but your sister is too stupid to realise this.
Keep away from your birth family; you do not need them besides which these people bring nothing positive into your family's life.
Would suggest you read the links at the start of this thread; some of them would certainly be beneficial to you.
The e-mail sounds fine to me because it's honest. And don't go to the party if you don't want to because you think you will have a miserable time. If you don't want it, you don't have to do it, really.
With regards to your sister: Maybe she wants to stay out of it, because she is not ready/willing to look at her own place in this drama? It's not just that her clothes are getting damp: helping you would mean she has to jump in the water too, see your mother for who she really is, possibly (likely?) lose her favoured position and face up to all the *. She won't do that before she's ready, I don't think.
In our family it's a bit like this anyway. My brother and sister do acknowledge that our family is f'ed up, but think differently than me about how much we can hold our parents responsible for it. Or even if we can, in the case of my brother. So while I am distancing myself more and more (because I start to see more and more how deliberate the parents are in their f'ed up ways and how much they could have/can do differently), I don't discuss the how and why with my siblings anymore.
I 'use' our conversations about our family to get validation for the things that happened/happen, because I need to know that I'm not being a drama queen. But I don't try to make them see my point of view on the motivation of my parents and why I think they should be challenged, because I can't bear to lose my brother and sister if I at some point do decide to throw in the towel with my parents.
Other people can't save us anyway. Only you can save you, because only you can access the pain that your mother has caused. I don't mean to sound trite or maybe even patronising, but I don't know how to phrase it differently.
Thank you for all your advice.
The thing with my sister is that about a year ago she asked me one day what it was like (being the black sheep). She was struggling with one of her own DC at the time, Mum had recommended an especially harsh approach but my sister was, understandably, reluctant to go to war with her own child. She wanted to know my perspective on how to handle it. I can't remember her exact phrase but at one point in an email she wrote that she was beginning to wonder if I was only so much trouble because I'd been given no other role.
I was stunned, mainly because she clearly is of the opinion that I was trouble. i replied asking her to think of something I had done which merited such punishment and she replied that she couldn't. However, she seems to have forgotten that now.
It's very difficult to accept that your mother is wrong, for a child of any age. So your sister cannot see that you were punished unjustly. That you were punished is the proof that you were trouble . I think it's one of the benefits (was going to put 'benefits', but no, I really think it is a benefit) of being the black sheep that you can see the truth. It makes healing easier (possible).
I am still torn. Yesterday, I was furious to realise that Mum's still continuing with her latest campaign and that my sister is willing to be a bystander, whilst maneuvering me into co-operating with this party (which will cost me several times more than anyone else BTW!). But I've got something else going on in my life and I can't afford to be upset about this, so I am going to do the passive-aggressive thing and be uncontactable for a couple of weeks.
I've had depression several times now (which is apparently common in my situation?). I had a therapist once who advised me not to make radical decisions whilst I am upset, so I am going to wait and decide whether or not to go no contact again once I feel less rattled.
I find that it causes me more upset and stress worrying about something I don't want to do than making the decision not to do it and tell who ever needs telling.
Okay, not colluding means punishment. I had my brother on the 'phone at nine this morning shouting at me. Apparently I'd told her something untrue. Actually, she made it up. Sorted now, but this is how it's going to be. Manipulative bitch.
How horrible for you. You know you don't deserve punishment, and that you're not responsible for their insanity? Can you screen calls, or would they just harass you until you picked up? Is this a regular occurence or do you think they'll leave you alone for a while now?
Spent the whole damn day, stressing. Have sorted it with brother now. Just got to work out how to tell Mother that she can't get away with it.
You poor thing, how horrible. As for your Mother, does she do email? Might be better as it would avoid her shouting at you? I sometimes find it helpful to have a 'script' if it has to be a phone call. At any rate, I hope you get her put straight soon and that the stress gets a bit less.
Posting this here as I don't want to bump my 'toxic overload' thread for all eternity! I'm the one with the psycho brother who had a go at my 10yr old ds and my parents don't give a toss. (in a nutshell) Just had a rather pathetic email from mother accusing me of 'a year of rejection' (if only) and saying she doesn't understand why. Sent this back.
"I don't know if you will reply to this email, but we have asked you time and time again to come and see the children. If this is rejection, I am baffled. I said when I last spoke to you that we'd make a date for the end of the month when you returned from holiday, since you couldn't make it on the dates I suggested before that.
(ds) tells the truth, and if he says his uncle hurt him, then I believe him. Please do not take this out on me when all I am doing is what any decent mother would do - standing up for her child.
You are very welcome here. I don't know how much plainer I can make it."
I know, I know - I could make it a lot plainer! However I am always at pains to be completely reasonable in any written communication as it can be used against you. I shall await a reply.....or what is more likely, no reply, then mad dad on the phone accusing me of giving my mother epilepsy or whatever (he actually did that).
Tried to talk to her today. She just gaslights and denies. Takes no responsibility for anything and I end up getting off the 'phone distressed and hacked off.
Hi Dawndonna one thing I am slowly learning is that this kind of person will never ever take responsibility for what they have done, still less apologise. Deny, deny, deny all down the line. And I guess that the next step is to accept that we will never change them and try to move on from that. It's not something I have managed yet, but no doubt some wiser person will be along if I bump this, with some more useful advice.
I have a question.
A parent agrees that they were horrible to you when you were a child and says they're sorry (no details or explanations as to why they behaved that way, even if asked; just repeating of the words 'I'm sorry'). They then proceed to act contrite for a while but get progressively more upset (i.e. tearful) at the fact that you haven't forgiven them 'yet'. Their apparent misery causes other family members (who were there at the time, FFS) to comment on how you're being a bit mean and really ought to just get over it.
Is that parent toxic? And if so, how would you deal with them?
I haven't read the whole thread so I apologise if I am being rude for just butting in - I honestly don't intend any breaches of etiquette.....
I don't want to start a thread about my father
again but just wondered if anyone here has cut contact with a toxic parent?
Did you explain why?
Do you regret it?
Part of me just wants to be done with my dad. I'm always getting so hurt by him. I just think the time has come to either accept he is like this and try and numb myself to the upset he causes or cut him from my life. I just don't know if I could.
My mother is narcisstic/toxic and my father was her enabler. My dad died from cancer in April, it was a shock, he went from nothing wrong with him to death in 6 weeks. I haven't had a chance to grieve for him properly. Everything has been about my mother. I live in England and she is in Scotland. She had a go at me in Scotland as I was trying to advise her about finances etc. Then she lashed out at me over the funeral arrangements. She phones me every single day, she slags everyone off. My dad's brother's wife is very elderly and very ill and has been in hospital regularly. My mother thinks that he should be phoning her, not about my aunt but to see how she is. She fell out with her sister a few weeks back and declared that she was selling up and moving down south to be with me.
She could have won an Oscar for her performance and then subsequently went on to nit pick at my cousin over it all. Of course they all made up and the drama was all forgotten again.
My question really is has anyone else had dealings with a bereaved toxic parent?
Herrena...that sounds to me like the drama triangle. It sounds like the parent is not being mature and giving a genuine apology but is moving from the Perpetrator role to the Victim one and relying on bystanders to 'rescue' them. Its very difficult not to get sucked into this.
Getting some insight has helped me as well as reducing the amount of time I spend in their company as they will never acknowledge the damage they did.
CharlieUNT I am in this dilemma too...I thought I had got strong enough to spend time in their company but this weekend proved me wrong. And I leave being the only one upset. I am thinking about going to no contact at all as in reality I have loyalty only to the 'idea' of a family- the reality is that I have never truely had any love and support from my birth family.
Fimbo- I'm sorry about your dad; it sounds as though in addition to her bereavement, your mother is trying to ease her grief by finding a replacement for the role your father played. People who live for drama will have to find an alternate source.
I wanted to ask for me; I had a flashback (I think thats what it was) this morning of being a child of perhaps 8, with my mother and younger sister coming after me telling me I was weird, and that if I continued as I was no-one would like me, or want to be my friend.
I cried like an upset child.
I spent last weekend in their company; much of the time, spent in my car on my ipad, being ignored. Nobody sought me out. Maybe I am a weird horrible person. But even if I am, I think I shouldnt have to spend time with people who offer me nothing positive.
My ex-H walked out leaving me with 2 children; who deserve much better than this. I have had no sympathy from my siblings, no offer of tea and a shoulder, no-one telling me that I am doing a good job coping with 2 kids on my own. I have had them text me to say that I am difficult to live with, could it be my fault. I have had a Christmas where I was sitting at the table with them shouting at me. I have had them imply that because ex still gives me money, that really he's not that bad ( he's horrifically abusive).
I feel like I am swimming up from living underwater towards clear air where I can see the truth and breathe freely. I cant really believe that where I was is quite that bad. Does anyone else feel like its unbelievable that what happened was abusive and that perhaps you am being oversensitive?
Fimbo, so your narcissistic mother has lost your father, her enabler and probably one of her greatest allies. As devestating as losing a DH is to her, it is not right of her to take it out on other family members.
Are you able to gently suggest to her the option of seeing a professional counsellor as you are concerned about her grieving? Making it 'all about her' is music to a narcissists ears and a professional will be able to deal with her so much more effectively.
That being said, many people with personality disorders so not like to do counselling.....
Herrena here's what Susan Forward says on this scenario in her book "Toxic Parents":
"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.
YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me to make a better relationship."
Charlie It's a personal decision, and there's no one-size-fits-all. You'll find what you're comfortable doing wrt to your relationship with your parents at your own pace. If you say you're uncertain about cutting contact at this time, then maybe it's not right for you, or maybe it's not the right time for you yet. Or maybe you're thinking about it because it's what you really want to do, but taking the plunge seems daunting.
I cut contact with my parents 4 months ago. I spent a year beforehand processing my grief and anger, journalling, writing them angry letters in my head, throwing crockery at my garden wall, and going to therapy. Then one day I just wrote them an e-mail and sent it; yes I explained why in it. It just happened spontaneously, the words just flowed and it took no time at all. It was pretty short: I didn't need to emote in the e-mail as I had spent a year doing that to myself. I just exposed how their past and present behaviour affected me, with examples, and told them what I expected now: no contact. Their reaction proved to me that they remain incapable of hearing me or respecting me as a person with my own feelings - confirmation that I had done the right thing, if you will.
From my side, there are no feelings of melodrama. Frankly, I am happier now than I have ever been. They are not "dead to me" or anything like that: they are just people whose behaviour has damaged and disgusted me, I find them unpleasant to deal with, and I know that I am happier without any kind of interaction with them.
Gosh porridge, I am so sorry that you are in this situation and it sounds just awful.
From what I see in your post, your family has a system of dysfunction whereby you are the scapegoat and they heap all of the abuse on you. It sounds like they are systematically using you to vent their frustrations in this family, and thus preserving the relationships with the other. Am I reading that right?
Please get some counselling if you are able. This family dynamic is so unhealthy for you, and you need to get some help so that you can put in some tactics which will help protect you and preserve you.
SoSad ''they are systematically using you to vent their frustrations in this family, and thus preserving the relationships with the other''
I am going to have to go and think about that- when I read it, it was like a light going on.
I have been through (what I thought was) a long period of counselling. And recognised the scapegoating; then recognised that my 'perfect' family is not that at all; but this is another step for me.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I'm lucky, there are four of us, and three of us are together on this. Fortunately, it is recognised that I'm always the one that stood up to her. Unfortunately, I think that will continue. I just hope it doesn't cause any resentment with the siblings when I cut contact with her, again. Only this time it will be for good. It was originally but I was asked to make an effort, so I did. However, nothing changed. She lies all the time and it's all about her.
I really can't be arsed.
Thank you for the replies
Things are coming to a head I think. My dad is only in the country for another week. He has been here for 10 days and I've only seen him aty brothers wedding. He ignored me. He cut in between my new sister in law and I to hug her, tell her she looked wonderful and then said goodbye. He didn't even look in my direction.
He spent the day playing the doting grandfather to DD but said not one word to DS or me. He asked dd if she could have the day off school to go swimming. She came and asked but I said I'd need to hear details from him. He never came over to ask. I then found out that SIL, DB and my nephew were all invited. The whole family apart from me and DS.
He made a point of introducing his new girlfriend around the family but not me.
The worst thing is he will bide his time and swoop in playing the reasonable one. My brother thinks I should just call him and clear the air. They will start to think its me being unreasonable.
All this because I said he couldn't take DD away for the weekend but she was being bridesmaid on the Monday. I am being punished for saying no. And he knows DD was counting down the days but he thinks I will cave for her sake as I always do.
I don't want to keep this cycle going though. I'm sad at the thought of not having my dad in my life. But he just keeps showing how little I mean to h and that's always going to hurt me. I think it's time to just cut all ties, grieve and move on.
Charlie, you KNOW you made the right decision for you, for your DD and for the wedding party even.
Your brother wants you to call your dad to clear the air... or are YOU supposed to apologise for making a parenting decision.
His ignoring you is ridiculous. I know that it's a tough call, but don't contact him, don't seek him out, leave the ball in HIS court. That is probably in effect you cutting him out of your life, but without the drama of the confrontation.
Bottom line, he thinks he is in the right, so he'll never understand that you ARE entitled to your opinion and that responsibility for your DD is YOURS alone.
You can enforce your own boundaries by saying No and then nothing more. That call WAS yours to make, not his.
Focus on the facts, then the rest is easier to cope with.
Oh, and I'm reporting in to this thread, finally. never thought it was applicable to me but clearly, and increasingly it is.
I'll post more when I'm ready, if that is OK.
There is no need to apologise for ourselves or beg permission on the Stately Homes thread! We've all done way too much of that already.
I've never post on here but my Dad is emotionally abusive with narcissistic traits and I was the scapegoat growing up. I tried hard to fix things by being subservient, accept all blame and always apologised whenever he lost it with me and hit me.
I thought as adults we'd learnt to rub along but he sent me some very abusive e-mails in April and I had to tell him I'd call the Police if he didn't stop. He now says he has no daughter. Mum wants me to fix it by sending a fathers day card. I am not convinced. I do not want to pander/ enable his bullying. I don't think it will change matters, sadly if I do not send one that maybe used against me, but unless it is sent sincerely and for the right reason (not to attempt to heal a rift) then I do not think I should send one.
What do I do?
he sent me some very abusive e-mails in April and I had to tell him I'd call the Police if he didn't stop. He now says he has no daughter. Mum wants me to fix it by sending a fathers day card.
Can you read this sequence of events as if this weren't you and your parents you were reading about, but some stranger, or even a friend?
Can you the absurdity of your mother's suggestion now?
Not really hotdamn. That's the thing. I'm only just fully realising how dysfunctional my family is and how they enable his behaviour They just accept it, that that is who Dad is and make allowances for him.
I read a weblink last night about scapegoating and cried when I realised that was my entire childhood.
Is it ok to pm you hotdamn what my dad sent me? I can't put it on here for fear of him finding it or outing me
Dontstep you have already recognised that your dad is a bully. Good for you. Unfortunately as you are probably already aware, giving in to a bully means that they will expect you to give in to them again, and again, and again. You have already had a childhood of this, do you want to spend your adulthood giving in and cowering to a bully as well?
I am sure that your mother means well, but her solution to a bully is neither feasible or practical. If you do as she asks, he will expect you to apologise again and again as an adult and make amends, just as you have done when you were a child. However you are not a child any longer. You are a fully functioning adult who is capable of making her own decisions. You are right in thinking that sending a card will not make things right. It didn't in the past, did it?
A suggestion if you want to appease your mother (and by the way, she is complicit in your bullying by your father, otherwise she would have stood up to him years ago), just tell her "I'll think about it". Take the path of least resistance for the moment, but do not acquiesce. Your father, the bully won't.
MomeRaths neither I nor anyone else is the judge of how hurtful you find your father's messages: only you are.
If those messages hurt you, they hurt you, and you have a right to feel that way and to say so. To him most of all. If he can't take it - if he doesn't care about hurting his child, that's because of his own fucked up issues. Those issues are not of your doing, they are not your responsibility to fix, and you don't have to placate him. Really.
Sorry to cut across anyone elses conversations.
SoSad you gave me an excellent insight yesterday. It explained a lot about my own family. It has often happened that one person will be annoyed with another; and an argument will start with me as the annoying 'object'....thanks to your statement, I can see that everyone turning on me allows them all to get along without airing their difficulties with each other in a healthy way. Lots of tutting about each other behind backs.
Its helping me to detach and reduce contact without feeling guilty- I can handle most of them one-to-one; but when they/we are all together (e.g. family occasions) I always leave feeling horrible and wondering what I did wrong.
Having read those messages, MomeRaths, I'm not quite sure which of your parents is the more bullying of the two.
Your father is actually threatening to harm you. In writing. Along with name-calling. Abuse abuse abuse.
He is doing so, in his twisted world view, to ride to the defence of your mother who is crying (your doing, they claim) and depressed (your doing, they claim). Your mother is one self-centred person, isn't she? It's all about her. You do anything at all, it seems, and she'll melt into a puddle about how this means you hate her and that she's a horrible person, and so your father aggressively comes to her defence and blames it all on you and threatens retribution.
Your father is being abusive, most definitely, but I think he's possibly the enabler here, enabling your mother's belief that "It's all about meeeeeee, poor little martyr meeeeee!"
Jesus. Leave them to it. In order to keep up their roles of Martyr and Knight Protector, they need a Scapegoat and they've chosen you. You really don't need to step into that role just for their convenience. Walk away. They are loons.
Thank you this is very interesting to read and us helping me to have some clarity. None of my SIL want to spend time with my mum and dad and mum feels it keenly. So yes I am the scapegoat in many respects
Mum excuses his behaviour because he's defending her in this instance. Well was. So considering I've apologised to mum. Why is he so angry still? In fact he never needed much of an excuse to behave like that when I was a child. Back then the reasons were the stress of running a business
The other thing about this is I can't help feeling she didn't respect my boundaries anyway. I asked for space. It took me a long time to work up the courage to do that and mum seemed to have forgotten all about that discussion in her hurt and tears etc.
I'm ranting a little now
So should I ignore the suggestion to send a card and not even explain why on e-mail? The desire to explain myself is strong
None of my SIL want to spend time with my mum and dad and mum feels it keenly.
Note how their reaction to this is not to perhaps question whether there is anything they should be doing differently, but instead to lay guilt trips on you. Because of your mum's keen feelings of sadness. Because it's all about what she wants.
Why is he so angry still?
Because he's unhappy and finds it more expedient to take it out on you, rather to work within himself.
mum seemed to have forgotten all about that discussion in her hurt and tears etc.
Well of course she has: your boundaries are inconvenient to her. Maybe if she cries enough you'll forget all about them and attend to her needs like you should!
Because he's unhappy and finds it more expedient to take it out on you, rather to work within himself.
I would also like to add: and because it's easier to ask you to appease your mum, rather than to tell your mother to get a grip. Because telling your mother that is clearly a lost cause, whereas you... well, they've trained you to be more compliant.
The desire to explain myself is strong
If you can resist it, you will be doing well!
Both your parents are narcissistic and feed off each other's behaviour.
Detach, ignore and detach. Its not possible to have any sort of relationship with a narcissist.
Do not send any fathers day card, ignore the wishes of his bystander wife; people in dysfunctional families end up playing roles and they made you their scapegoat for their inherent ills. BTW you did not make them this way, their own birth families caused the damage.
Would also suggest you read "Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents" by Nina W. Brown.
They'd never dream of speaking to any of their DIL like this naturally, they also do not undermine their parenting. Which is of course what led to asking for space <sigh>
I have 4 brothers and am the only girl. Apparently I was a difficult child and all I did was cry as a baby. Mum used to lock me in the bathroom in my crib, she often told me. So she couldn't hear me. The labelling of being the difficult child the black sheep etc continued most of my childhood and my brothers used to gang up on me too. Every Christmas the whole family always get around to discussing how awful I was as a child. Every year and I'm 33 now. Why did I not see any of this before. I was like a puppy and desperate for their approval, even as an adult the desire for them to be proud of me continued. I'll never have it. The roles are too entrenched, Dad has slipped so easily back into old patterns with me. At least I do not have to live with him now I suppose. But I cannot attend family gatherings as the atmosphere and his snipping at me, would be too much. He has already told my twin brother a version of events to justify himself. Whereas I've tried not to discuss it with any of my siblings. Although I am not close to any of them tbh.
I am so sorry for the little girl you, MomeRaths. That is awful.
Your 13:30 post is full of insight. You clearly have all it takes to heal from this and end this cycle of abuse.
It's interesting that you cite my mum as abusive. I've never seen it like that, but I think it's the only way of getting Dad to pay attention to her. My Dad ruled the home with intimidation, humiliation and violence i.e. smacking, lots and lots of smacking, even as a teenager, he still walloped me across the face. Everyone walked on egg shells around him and to keep him happy.
Everything was 1,2,3 wallop, and if no one owned up to who had done something, we were all lined up walloped. It was like an army camp and I won't parent the same, which they take as a criticism of how I was brought up. I have spent the last few days fighting not to cry. As it is clear that unless I apologise unreservedly and accept all blame for the latest blow up I am to all intents and purposes ostracised from the family.
Thank you for listening
At the risk of repeating myself: that's awful, and I'm so sorry.
Re: your mum. Sure, that tactic worked for her. She was still a parent, with a duty of care towards her children. She had options that you never had as a child, that could have made life better for all of you. She didn't take them.
Look at the way she has always cried to get care and concessions from you. Who is acting like a parent and who is acting like a child here? Is that right?
TheHappyHissy - thanks
This thread has been bitter sweet for me. Someone linked it on a thread I'd written about my father and the first skim sent me running for the hills. I was not abused. I was lucky to have the parents I did as it could have been so much worse. This is what I've always said to myself when doubts have crept in.
But I've read some amazing people here have the courage to admit it wasn't good enough. That they have been hurt and it's not fine.
I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't think I can process all of this just now but I do know that at my lowest, my dad has stepped over me and looked after himself. I don't think I'll ever get past that. I've always needed people to show me some love of affection. I have become very aware of that needy side of myself over the last few years. Now I can see where that's come from.
Momeraths - you've been so brave here. I hope you're finding some peace with off loading this.
HotDamn - you've made some very good points.
I hope everyone has been having a good day today
Memoo needs some advice/handholding pronto, Daddy dearest has sent her nasty text.
You're right HotDAMN
Just read Memoo's thread, I cannot add to it as I'm not wise enough but my father acts like her mother. Thank God for mn. It is helping me to see how dysfunctional my family are
I don't often post on here but I have to say that
Walk away. They are loons.
is a genius bit of advice from HotDamn. Sums it all up. Easier said than done, of course, but still!
for the wall
Apologies to those above, as the thread has moved on.....
Porridge, glad that this insight has given you a way to move on a little more. Unfortunately, I could read into your thread exactly what has happened to me - yep, I was the scapegoat that allowed everyone else in my family to keep their dysfunctional relationships with each other. It brings a special pain in my heart to reflect on this .
I'm still working on my own acceptance/moving on from the past family hurt as well, and only hope that all of us on this thread can get the vision and help that we need to move on.
Yes, please excuse to those above...
SoSad....I am still thinking about it and getting angry now (which is probably marginally better than feeling down about it).
Fine, I am an adult and my marriage to an abusive man was my choice...but I cant help feeling that throwing your child out into the world with as warped a view of themselves as I had is just wrong...and left me vulnerable to bullies ( I am like a pot of honey to their flies).
I am annoyed at my siblings for choosing to continue with their erroneous view of me; I bent over backwards to maintain ties with them, to anticipate their needs, to be a supportive older sister. But its like throwing money in a river- nothing comes back.
Definition of insanity- keep doing what you're doing and expecting things to change.
I have tried to detach from them- thinking that they would 'miss' me and try to put some effort in- nope.
I feel more annoyed with my mother for allowing me to be 'used' as the scapegoat. For her setting the example of that. For her refusing to listen to things that would have me hopping to my daughter's defense.
I am just cross at the moment; and at the same time I want to get over it so that I can move on without these people.
I am scared though as that leaves with me 2 small kids and no family, abusive ex and his warped parents, and a bad pattern of friends.
As someone else said (hissy?) nature abhors a vacuum so I hope to find some decent people.
Good Porridge, that is the only way to work through this, I have found. Be angry, you deserve to be angry about this. It is not right that they did this to you and I am here to give your anger credence and acknowledgment. Feel whatever the hell feelings you need to, because you need to. If your family is anything like mine, they never allowed you to give voice to your feelings and help validate them for you. I am here to validate all those feelings for you now.
And yes, just like you, I was bullied through school and twice in two different jobs, cos I didn't have the skils to deal with it either. Its shit isn't it?
To be honest, it took me literally years to detach, and every time you see them a little more in the correct light, you will detach from them a bit more. Their support of your ex is an absolute betrayal of you! I am so angry on your behalf that they did that!!!
I know you want to move on from your anger, but I would listen to that little voice that is really you, that says "I am still angry" and allow youself the absolute right of being angry, until your own voice says "OK, enough, I can move on". This will actually help you more in the long run.
Then go and hug your wonderful children, set them the great example that you can be, and be thankful that you can now see what they are doing.
Hi, hope everyone is doing ok and has a lovely weekend planned
I haven't posted on here for a while. Just wanted to have a quick vent really. I've cut down on contact with my parents and mil. They are now bestest friends and mil spends every other weekend with my parents. Conveniently this means they can't help out me, dh and our 6 month old as they're too busy with their social life in another part of the country.
I rang mum yesterday and spoke to mil. She made a really bitchy comment about the problems I'vbypass at work by laughing after telling me she'd been discussing it with all and sundry and then saying that she was really happy with her work situation as it's all worked out in her favour. I didn't realise it was a competition! After me and dh had sat and advised her about her situation for hours, trying to help her as well.
Mum came on and told me some stuff dad was doing that was very controlling of her. I pointed it out, she said 'well you know what he's like'. Then she said she was leaving her bday present to me after she dies. I get this a lot now I've cut down on contact, discussions about wills and who's having what. I try not to engage.
Mum told me they're going on a day trip tomorrow to go shopping in a city that is 1 mile further away from her house than the city I live in. But they won't come here to see us for a day like that as its 'too far'.
Dh thinks they're being deliberately rude and nasty in order to cause an argument. I don't know. Maybe this is what they are like when you don't tread on eggshells round them, catering to their every whim.
Also, a couple of weeks ago I took Ds to my parents as an aside and to try and stop them bugging me about it. They were criticising my parenting, calling me a Nasty mummy to Ds when I left the room, shouting at Ds to be quiet if he cries (he's only little). I just don't want to spend time with them.
I feel really angry about it all at the moment. I just wish I didn't have to give them any headspace.
The one thing I'm so grateful for is that I realised all this just after I had Ds. The selfishness and thoughtlessness they all showed the week he was born broke something in my brain. However, it would have been better not to have gone through so much trauma without support I suppose
I don't really have much to add in the way of help but just remember when anyone has written anything on this thread no one has come along telling them that they're overreacting, making mountains out of molehills, not seeing it from their mum's, dad's, grandpa's, goldfish's point of view. You are entitled to feel the way you feel.
My dad is coming round to pick up DD and take her to town.
I'm not sure what to do
I could send her out of the door when he pulls up and I'd not need to see him.
Or I stand at the door and be civil.
Either way I'm the one being out of order
I hate this. I know I need to cut contact but it's so hard.
DD asked him if he could see her. I wanted to tell her he needs to come from him but she loves him so much. I just don't want to hurt her. But he'll do that further down the line won't he?
This is harder then I thought it would be.
How did it go Charlie?
I'm always the one who is wrong/ unreasonable. It is hard isn't it?
I've struggled not to cry today. Coming to terms with the fact that my Dad despises me and that I cannot heal this rift and that I am likely to be made unwelcome at family gatherings for good is a rotten feeling
Dd ran to the door when she saw him walk past. She went out to him on the steps and DS followed her so I had to join them to get him in.
My dad just kind of stood there. He sp
He spoke to DD. He asked when she needed to be home but that was it. No pleasantries. His new girlfriend tried to get DS to play with her but he's shy. But my dad didn't pay DS any attention.
I'm just feeling so sad. I really don't want it to be like this. I wish he could have come in and had a cuppa first. I would like to get to know my sonn-to-be stepmother. We would probably get on well given that she's only 7 years older then me. But it can't be like that. He's made it clear that I am not important. He's been in the country all week and not asked to see me.
He told dd today he won't see her now for 4 years or so. Basically when she's 15 and can get on the plane by herself to visit him. That is not ever going to happen. I'll never send my daughter in a long haul flight with a change over by herself! She's dyslexic, and she has auditory processing disorder so would panic at the instructions and gate numbers in a foreign country especially. But he know that. But then I'm the bad one for saying no. Typical really.
I'm not sure what to do now. I doubt I'll see him before he goes home. And he never emails or calls so it will just be as normal. But is it best to just drift apart like that. I'd like him to know why I want nc but I don't want the drama of a confrontation.
Charlie, just let him go. You don't have to do a thing. Just let go. You don't need to tell him anything, no confrontation. He's gone already!
Your DD won't see him for 4 years or so, that's good. It gives you time to get over this and to start to tell her why your dad is the way he is and why you are going to step away from it all.
As for you not letting your DD on a long haul flight to see a man who despises you enough to ignore you and treat you with disdain? Who gives a long haul flying fuck what he or anyone else thinks? Your DD, your decision.
You have made that decision FOR A REASON. If there is any request for justification, you have details by the tonne. Not that you need to. You don't need to justify anything to anyone, only to yourself.
As an aside, I wonder what on earth is going through his new bride to be's head as to why there is practically ZERO contact/warmth between you and your dad, and why your dad has nothing to say to you? I hope she is bright enough to see through him. It'd be lovely if she fleeced him dry of every asset he had.... we can live in hope.
I have been reading lots of information on the site for daughters of narcisstic mothers and lots of things have clicked into place.
I have been doing a lot of thinking about my mother and the way she behaves.
It was my birthday last week (I have barely spoken to her since March). I decided that I wanted a day out with my children only. When she realised that she was not invited she left a voicemail full of snide and cutting remarks at me. Then she phoned and said how sad she was at not seeing me on my birthday as it was the fist time she was not with me on my birthday. I made a vague answer . Later on during the day I realised that it wasn't true and that I had had lots of birthdays when I hadn't seen her, so I sent her a txt pointing that out, she hasn't acknowledged the text yet (over a week ago)
I have been thinking of lots of examples of "me, me, me" from her during my life, I tried to talk to one of my sisters, but she won't acknowledge what I have said.
I feel a lot happier with the minimal contact I have had with her, but also feel sad that she wasn't the mum I thought I had, guess I am missing the mum I would like, not the one I have.
One thing which worries me is that I think she is trying to "move in" on my daughter, eg inviting her out for lunch etc. my daughter does not want to go but feels like she should. I have always stopped my mum trying to behave in the same way to my daughter. One eg, when my daughter was about 3 she told me that my mum had told her to call her mum when I wasn't around !!
Should I tell my mum that my daughter doesn't want to go? Plus it's my daughters birthday soon and my mum is telling her she will spend more money on her than other grandchildren , but daughter has to keep it a secret.
I know this is a long post, but I don't have another outlet for my thoughts/feelings.
Lazy, please listen to your DD. If she doesn't want to go, Let HER see that her request will be honoured by you.
I think you say that your DD has other plans. The Call me Mum thing would be enough for me... THE FREAK!!
I think you say that you are not going to let her do what she did to you to her. and leave it at that. Let HER join up the dots. What's she going to do? be mean to you? that's what you are MOST used to.
I think you need to suggest that birthday presents may be returned/sent to the charity shop if they are excessive, that you or your DD will not be bought.
Hi everyone, hope you are well. Just feeling the need to get this off my chest.
I have spoken up-thread about my narcissistic mother. I have now realised that my grandmother (who lived with us) was probably also a narc. My GM and M ruled the house with lies, innuendo, gaslighting, etc etc. My poor father! (Not to mention poor me! Yeah, just realised I have to show myself compassion too.) My GM died a number of years ago, but since then my narc little sister has stepped into my GM role, reinforcing my mother's bullying and being her 2nd in command.
In the 90's I went away o/s for 2 years, and managed to land a job teaching English in Japan, with a really nice group of people. I realise now that that particular job helped me to understand that not everyone is dysfunctional, or needs to pick arguments and have percieved slights over inoccuous comments.
On returning from Japan, I found my sister had started a campaign of betrayal and rewriting history against me. Apparently I was the cause of all her problems, and I had done a whole load of unmentionable things to her. She managed to turn 2 cousins against me and they started a system of abuse and bullying whereby I became their scapegoat. After 3 years of this treatment, I had had enough and turned my back on the three of them. My sister has tried to apologise, but each time, it has been lip service, and the rebuilding of a relationship (from her end) has never eventuated. Its been over 10 years since I last spoke to my sister.
I'm not sure that there is a lot of point to this post other than to get it out there and read by others. Today, I have felt hurt, irritation, anger, upset and betrayal, and am working through these emotions. At the moment, I am feeling an enormous sadness. The thing is, I was taught how to 'see' reality by my parents, and I know my sister can 'see' at least some reality, but its like interacting with people who can only 'see' some of the parts of the puzzle, and not others.
Sometime ignorance is bliss..... Sigh.
I'm so sorry Sad, that is very painful.
Feeling empty today, as it is Fathers day and my Dad cannot stand me. I didn't send him a card, HotDAMN was right, it was an absurd idea by my Mother.
I'm divorced as my ExH left me a long time ago for a family friend. My marriage was a byproduct of my difficult childhood I've realised and choosing a bad partner for life. But now I'm starting to realise this, I hope I can make better choices for my future and my children's future. I have some reading to do
Charlie/Lazy hissy gives good advice- thank you hissy.
SoSad it seems to me from what I've read that these patterns do run in families...and parents who treat us this way 'learned' these traits from their own parents. I struggle to have compassion for my mother though, and for my sister who is copying her- it's their choice to get their sense of love/power by lording over me; as a child it was my only choice to take it.
I have other choices now.
I think you are right when you say that one has to feel the anger first, accept that what happened was wrong and determine that you/I will not allow them to do this again.
This is the bit I am struggling with- that this is their pattern, that their occasional forays into nice/supportive behaviour are the oddities not the norm, that the best choice for me is truely to go low/no contact.
I forget this when they are being 'nice'...when really 'nice' is luring me in to resume my scapegoating role.
Is 'ignorance' bliss? I dont know- personally I have spent so much time after family encounters feeling anything but blissful. And when I am keeping them at a distance its harder for me to manage kids/school/work/house but at least I can do that with a peaceful mind.
MomeRaths...well done on not sending a card. It was the right thing to do for you.
I do think that pulling away from dysfunctional parents/siblings leaves an empty space a bit like de-cluttering your wardrobe. Clinging on to old stuff is understandable as its familiar and worn in.
The fear of the empty space can be over-whelming(what will I wear/who will love me). But it leaves room for new and better choices. (am just working that out for myself)
I love the comment above about de-cluttering your wardrobe and pulling away from your family and the fear of who will love you. It's spot on.
Im not sure where to post this but as a lot of the problems and the complexity of my situation stem from having a difficult family I thought I would start on this thread.
My situation is this:
Ive been married for one year to DH who is a kind, generous, funny and reliable man. He is also depressed and has been having (what look very much to me like ) panic attacks over the last 6 or so months.
The thing is that DH says all of this is down to my family and that they have ruined everything and doomed our marriage from the start. He says there is no point to anti-depressants as they just mask the real problem and you need to sort out the situation that is causing it (not sure if he means our marriage or my family). He says counselling only makes things worse and that there is nothing he can do, hell just have to accept that he will die young.
It is absolutely true that I have been through a torrid time with my family and have re-assessed my relationship with them in recent years. They are no way as bad as some of the families some brave people on here are dealing with - but they are their own kind of nightmare
About four years ago they dropped a bombshell on me which rocked the foundations of my identity. They told me I had a sibling, conceived out of marriage, who had then been adopted. I felt that I had been lied to my whole life and that the family I thought existed was actually a lie. I was also really happy and excited at having another relative.
My parents were very upset that this secret had come to light and didnt know what to do - so I tried to help them deal with it all. They never asked how I felt about it. I wanted us to talk about it as a family and decide what we would do, I thought we would work it all out. My mother ended up telling me if I ever brought it up again she would have nothing more to do with me and that I was simply a troublemaker who got off on upsetting her.
I totally understand that it must be very hard for her but that really hurt.
I started therapy (18 months ago) to help me with this family situation and in the course of that I realised that my mother is probably somewhat narcissistic. (!). She ignored me on my wedding day and then denied shed done anything wrong. There is nothing at all unusual about that sort of behaviour from her. It still cut me to the very quick of my heart.
I worked through all the anger, fear, rage and grief that went with the realisation that my mother is only really interested in me so long as I am prepared to act as a dustbin for her own feelings of anger, shame and insecurity and whatever else. I am no longer prepared to do that.
It must have been hard on DH to be with me as I went through all of that and especially hard as it was during the first year of our marriage. The thing is no matter how much I tried to explain he could never understand why it all upset me so much and why my family didnt just sort it out, meet up with long lost child and be happy. I would have loved that too but I cant just make my family behave as I want them to. They have now finally, painfully, moved towards meeting their adopted child in the near future.
DH freaks out whenever I tried to talk about all this with him saying it stresses him out and he can't cope. It's MY family for heaven's sake - it's not really about him. I just need a hug from my husband from time to time!
DH blames my family for his chest pains and says the stress is all too much for him and that there is something wrong with me. I love him, I want to help him, but Im sick of catching the blame.
Oh dear. Im so sorry this is so long.
Any thoughts lovelies? A bit of me is worried I have married my mother.
The thing is that DH says all of this is down to my family and that they have ruined everything and doomed our marriage from the start. He says there is no point to anti-depressants as they just mask the real problem and you need to sort out the situation that is causing it (not sure if he means our marriage or my family). He says counselling only makes things worse and that there is nothing he can do, hell just have to accept that he will die young.
That does seem rather melodramatic and woe is me. He needs to speak to the GP. Your husband should support you, not leave you to manage/ cope on your own
Perhaps some more detail would explain this rather strange comment of his above. Does your mum interfere a lot, has she done other things to upset you since ignoring you at the wedding? How is your marriage in general?
Sorry for the third degree, his behaviour just seems so odd on what you've described so far.
Yes re-reading it, there is definitely something amiss with your H's behaviour here. I'm not as wise as some on here but it's all very strange
What does he want you to do? Ignore your family so or keep a distance from them.
DH blames my family for his chest pains and says the stress is all too much for him and that there is something wrong with me. I love him, I want to help him, but Im sick of catching the blame.
my mother is only really interested in me so long as I am prepared to act as a dustbin for her own feelings of anger, shame and insecurity and whatever else.
Do you see parallels here, MmeDefarge?
Sounds like two people who like to blame others, notably you, for feelings and issues that are their own responsibility to deal with.
Thank you for replying. I am really grateful
I have probably conflated some of his comments together - although they are all things that he said last night. And he has said most of them repeatedly over the last year or so.
I was devastated by mum ignoring me at my wedding - I beat myself up over it and cried many tears. My husband rightly said don't let her get to you but at that time I was still thinking that if she was horrible to me it was because of something I had done. Therapy has helped me get it straight in my head that all the times she has been mean to me are about her and not about me or how I behave - as she always claims.
She doesn't interfere but she denied that she had ignored me/ been angry with me (because the focus was not on her probably) and for the first time in my life I didn't crumble and fall in line with her version of events. I stuck to my guns and had faith that how I saw things was actually real. Doing this was a strain and that combined with the stress I felt over the whole adoption scenario made me fear I would lose my family. But I was ready to do that if i had to in order to hold onto my truth.
I agree that DH's comments are melodramatic and I can't really grasp why he reacts like this. I feel sure it is something to do with his life and family more than mine.
Pateran - I don't know what he wants me to do. He was angry that I was prepared to distance myself from them and criticised me for it. He wanted it all 'sorted out' I think that means everyone should get along and love each other and be happy - sounds brilliant but it's not really in my control. Now he says he doesn't want to see any of my family at all - not even my nice aunt whom I have grown closer to in an attempt to answer the question 'if I don't speak to my parents, who will love me'.
I feel really muddled.
HotDAMN - you are absolutely right. I just wonder if I have always been prone to accept that blame onto my own shoulders. I think perhaps now that I have decided not to let my mum do it anymore - I am also refusing to accept DH's blame and he is;
a) not sure what is happening.
b) can't cope with his own emotions if I am now not taking on responsibility for them.
I guess firm boundaries are a new thing for me (and him?) and I feel unsure if I am 'doing it right'. And it is hard to be dealing with my own / family stuff with DH somehow coat-tailing his own emotional difficulties onto that situation.
DontStep: Does your mum interfere a lot, has she done other things to upset you since ignoring you at the wedding? How is your marriage in general?
I've tried to answer the interfering question already. My mum doesn't interfere on the whole. The ignoring at the wedding thing was sort of a straw that broke the camel's back for me.
In the last few years I was finding it almost impossible to keep up a relationship with my parents without being allowed to mention the adoption on pain of ex-communication. My mum - conversely - kept bringing up the adoption but only so she could talk about it, not hear anything I wanted to say. That situation upset me. DH could never understand why.
I've had a few comments from other relatives over the last few years telling me that I should be kind to my mum and that I'm not kind to her. Also some relatives/ family friends suddenly approaching me with caution as if I am about to explode in an anger at them. I just believe that my mum is going round doing a victim act and painting me as the bad guy - but of course marvellous mother that she is she still feels sorry for me etc. Every time i got this kind of comment or reaction from someone it upset me - but it's quite tricky to counteract it other than by just ignoring it.
Our marriage in general?! I don't know what to say. DH has been yelling about my family and asking me to sort it all out since shortly after we got married. He always said my family should meet up with long lost sibling - I always agreed - now that meeting will happen soon but DH is still banging on about how nothing has changed and my family need to 'sort it out'.
DH and I don't go out together very often but we have had some nice days out and weekends away recently. We still get on ok generally.
Sometimes - often - when I chat to him about something that happened at work, or something in the news or somewhere I've been with friends he gets this look on his face as if it is all too much to understand and he can't fathom out what I am saying or respond to it. It's as if I'm shouting to him underwater and he can't make out what I am saying.
And everything is doomed and every problem or tear or cross word is the fault of my family/ me - as far as DH is concerned. He has told me he sometimes wishes a car would just run him over and end it all. There is no doubt in my mind that he is depressed.
DH has been to the doctor who has apparently said he is suffering from stress and will probably die of a heart attack if nothing is done. DH has not told me what treatment the doctor suggests but DH is being sent for an ECG.
Twice in the last two or three years the doctor has suggested anti-depressants to DH who has refused them. I seem to remember DH blamed all of that stress on his job but he has a new one now.
DH is in trouble and needs helps - what do I do?
DH is in trouble and needs helps - what do I do?
He is an adult, and he is getting help: he goes to see his GP and is being sent for tests.
You are no more responsible for managing or curing his depression than you are for your mother's tantrums.
You should focus on taking care of yourself - all the more so if you have a depressed husband. The fallout form depression on family members is also very difficult. Make sure you are getting the support that you need, and remember: depression has never meant that the sufferer is no longer accountable for his own behaviour.
You say you feel muddled, but I see a lot of insight in your posts.
Are you still going to therapy? That would be a great place to explore boundaries and responsibility: where ours ends and others begins.
^You are no more responsible for managing or curing his depression than you are for your mother's tantrums.
You should focus on taking care of yourself - all the more so if you have a depressed husband.^
Yes. And when he says he is depressed because of me and my family what words do I say? "You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment."?
It is hard to take care of myself as I have moved to live in DH's house which means a 90 min commute to work and I am at least that or more away from my friends. I don't know anyone near here. My parents - obviously - make out that if there are problems in our marriage it must be down to me as I am such a troublemaker. I regret I ever mentioned our problems to them about it but I was feeling desperate.
I guess I am scared that if our marriage fails it will simply be proof that all the problems in my family were my fault.
DH is not a bad or horrible person but I just wish he would go and get some therapy and be better already. It is hard to accept that I can't make him do that and that - for the moment - he prefers to sit around feeling dark and blaming me.
I think if I was on my old home patch this would be easier but I feel very much on my own here. Thank you for taking the time to reply and being another human being out there somewhere.
I'm glad you think I have some insight - means the therapy was money well spent
And when he says he is depressed because of me and my family what words do I say?
If he says that, then he is an arse.
How about: "If I'm so awful then you won't mind me leaving then." And do.
Seriously for you here, MmeDefarge. What he is doing is making you feel shit and guilty so you will scurry around trying to make it up to him. Just like your mother. He is playing on your insecurities and your eagerness to please and nurture those around you. If he really, seriously thought that you and your family were the cause of his depression, he would get the fuck away from you. But he's not doing that, is he? No, he's using a well-known tool of manipulation to put you right where he wants you: wrong-footed and feeling you "owe" him.
My abusive ex-h said the same to me, by the way.
And the only thing my mother told me at my wedding was, crossly, "Why didn't you instruct the photographer to take more pictures of me?"
These mothers trained us to put up with such men, when no-one with healthy self-esteem would.
MmeDeFarge I am nodding along in recognition of the issues in your posts.
As HotDamn says you seem to have loads of insight so I think you will be ok.
If 'D'H says his depression is the result of you and your family, you dont have to respond at all. Thats his stuff and if he chooses to believe that, if he chooses not to take his GP's advice, if he chooses to blame you/work/his family/ the world for his problems that nothing to do with you.
If you feel you have to respond how about 'I'm sorry that you feel depressed, I understand that you find this stressful'.End of.
You have plenty on your plate with your own family.
In reverse of you, it was when my abusive ExH left me and our DC that I started to stand up for myself. Now I am realising that what I learned from my own mother was what made me a target for an abusive man. And I am trying to detach from my family in the way that I did from him.
Like you, I was the difficult one in my family (scapegoats- we are difficult because we tell the truth of what going on and dont go along with the cover-ups).
I found 'Co-dependent no more' good from my local library.
Apologies MmeDefarge, as I realise the conversation has been about your family.....
Hi there Porridge, I was wondering how you were and how you were getting on . You said:
"Now I am realising that what I learned from my own mother was what made me a target for an abusive man."
I am applauding you and the insight you are developing. Its absolutely wonderful that you are unravelling all the dysfunction that your family has put you through over the years. I know it causes a great deal of upset and emotion to think about it, but as you are learning, each knot that you unravel leads to growth in yourself. Congratulations on developing your own insight - I can't tell you how rare it is for a person to have any insight whatsoever. It will serve you well for the rest of your life.
Keep going sweetie, you will get there. In time, when you are ready, a good book on self esteem will help you take even further steps. I was reading, and am still doing the exercises from, the Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathanial Branden, just one example of a really good self esteem book.
Wonderful Porridge, just wonderful .
Not at all SoSad007. There are other things going on the world apart from my family - although it doesn't seem like it sometimes when I am looking at the world through my eyes.
I too had the first inkling that my mother was a nightmare when I got into a verbally abusive relationship. It all seemed so familiar and I knew straight away who it reminded me of but I just went right ahead with it anyway.
It was only the revelation of that huge family secret that jolted my reality to the point where I could believe what I knew deep down about my mother. That missing piece of the jigsaw made so many things make sense all of a sudden and answered so many questions that I guess I was able to begin to believe in my own perceptions about other things.
It has been terrifying and even traumatic but ultimately it has been a gift.
Porridge and HOTDamn - it is wonderful to hear from other scapegoats. Not wonderful that we had to go through that, but I feel steadied by hearing that others know and understand. And yes, we are 'difficult' because we tell the truth.
Do you know this line from Bob Dylan 'to live outside the law you must be honest'? I think of it as my scapegoat's motto.
It can be a lonely journey untangling your dysfunctional family dynamic. I know that i have been a PITA at time over the years because of where I've come from.
DH is going through this same thing right now - or rather he is refusing to look at his family by looking at me and mine instead. I feel for him because i remember those tough confused times in my own life all too well.
I look back on myself at those sad, raw, angry times and wonder what would have helped me - if anything. Just wondering who has reached out to you all in your darker moments and how?
Aw SoSad thank you so much! what a lovely thing to come back and say!
I do at times wonder if maybe my family are right and I really am the difficult, socially phobic, highly strung, difficult one. Until I come here and see things like this and get re-affirmed what is really the truth. And of course, telling myself the truth actually feels a hell of a lot better.
SoSad you are my cheerleader- I am smiling and tearing up at the same time.
Mme, we must have cross posted.
Who reached out? For me it has been my wonderful counselor to whom I am indebted. I was so lucky to get a good one. Who let me peel back the layers by myself but supported me when I started to 'see' what was really going on first with my STBshittyXH. And then with my FOO (family of origin).
And who accepted that I have been a PITA too at a lot of times but as she says 'you did the best you could with what you had'.
I also find here so helpful....often me 'giving advice' is really me working stuff out for me- cos it seems so obvious when you're outside someone else's problem until you see that it applies to your own situation too.
Sometimes I need a shake too; someone saying what the hell are you putting up with that for?
Counselling has been great for me too.
Interesting to hear that you giving advice is often you working things through for yourself too. Getting some perspective on here has been really helpful for me - and has helped with that fear that it is all me being 'difficult' after all. Like you, I have a tendency to start thinking maybe my family is right in their view of me.
I'm going to go back and read your earlier posts Porridge. And sorry to hear about your shitty ex-H. (Blows a big raspberry at him and waves some special hand-gestures at him too.)
Who reached out? Who answers the question of "who will love me?". Fo me it is also my wonderful aunt and uncle - both conscious survivors of dysfunctional FOOs and first marriages.
As a child, my sister and I would joke that they were our "surrogate parents". We hadn't yet realised how inadequate our parents were, but we sure did notice that these two particular adults treated us as full human beings, worthy of respect and consideration. Unlike our actual parents. Even though they live an ocean away, they are the ones I went to when I was considering leaving my violent and abusive ex-H, and again a year later when I was considering confronting my parents on their behaviour.
I was afraid that they would be shocked and reject me for being a bad daughter, but instead what they said when I told them I wanted to confront my parents, and was afraid that they would think less of me for it, was: "There is nothing you could do to lose our love."
So when I feel unlovable, and I know that this just harkens back to my parents not being able or willing to love me adequately, I think about my aunt and uncle saying that. Knowing that somebody out there loves me helps me to build my own belief that I am lovable just because - I know external validation is a crutch; I'm still working on the strength to walk without it.
HotDamn, that is wonderful that you have the unconditional love of your Aunt and Uncle. And that is all each of us is really yearning for isn't it? For me, I have accepted that my parents are incapable of loving me unconditionally, and I am just starting the journey of learning to love and respect myself in the way they never could (as opposed to the self-loathing I learnt from them).
As for who reached out to me..... Well, I have had a couple of good counsellors over the years, and am seeing quite a good counsellor atm. When I really think about it, I'm not sure that anyone reached out to me - it was always expected that I would be the one reaching out to others.
However, I also realised this week:
"I am my own best ally, I am my own best support. I have all the skills and ability that I need to solve my own problems. I have the capability to implement my plans to the best of my ability."
Now, while I believed this in a professional sense, I had never applied it to other areas of my life. Of course while I had this insight during the week, I am still working on internalising it and truly believing it.
During a somewhat traumatic time in my life, a much wiser older gentleman once said to me "You have to save yourself". Prophetic words, don't you think?
I didn't realise this was still going! I have posted on here before but it was ages ago and I name changed. I have one of the most dysfunctional families ever and they have nearly destroyed me, but i'm still fighting and am just marking this thread so I can come back and offload when it not the middle of the night
SoSad - I don't think it's at all to be the one who reaches out to others, both in terms of giving to others, and in terms of reaching out for help.
None of the people who gave me support when I needed it knew what was going on until I told them. Reaching out for help is a strength, I think: it means you know you have reached your limits, but you are still doing what it takes to get yourself to a better place.
Depending on others can become a weakness, for both parties involved. But reaching out to others, adult to adult, is wisdom.
SoSad and HotDAMN you both give great advice here and on other threads I've noticed- thanks.
I can relate to always being the one who reached out to others- cos that was my role. In my family and, it seemed to me at the time, to be the only way to have friends. I had to 'buy' affection and attention by being shoulder to cry on, being there for other people, allowing them to pick me up when needed and not bother otherwise. But when I needed support......................................(thats the sound of silence).
So to hell with that; it is my nature to be a caring, considerate, thoughtful, kind person. I find it impossible to be deliberately cruel or excluding to another person. But that does not mean I have to be a carpet any more.
I now 'spend' that kindness/attention on myself and my kids only. I have no-one who loves me for me (lots of conditional love in my family) so I have to love myself. The only other option is death.
dramatic much? sorry am feeling a bit wobbly this morning