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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families.

(1000 Posts)
singingprincess Sat 28-Jan-12 13:25:06

There is a word document with all the relevant links which I will try and find, but in the meantime...Post away.

garlicfrother Sat 28-Jan-12 13:36:27

Thread opener here: smile
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.

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011
November 2011

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 doesn’t 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."

Helpful Websites

Alice Miller

Personality Disorders definition

Follow up to pages first thread:

I’m sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don’t 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
Pete Walker

Some books:

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

singingprincess Sat 28-Jan-12 14:06:43

Thank you're a star!!!! xx

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 28-Jan-12 15:07:14

Thanks Garlic!
I had tried to start the next thread a couple days ago, but my Mac buggered up the Word document.

GoingForGoalWeight Sat 28-Jan-12 15:10:58

I'm still in Psychodynamic therapy and it is working smile One year so far. Bit of a way to go to recover but getting there xxx YAYYYYYY

MoggieThatcher Sat 28-Jan-12 16:32:56

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.

ThePinkPussycat Mon 30-Jan-12 20:55:16

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 sad. 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.

ThePinkPussycat Mon 30-Jan-12 23:40:43

bump for mamoo

Memoo Mon 30-Jan-12 23:55:24

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. sad

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'

Memoo Mon 30-Jan-12 23:55:55

Sorry, that wasn't at all brief and is full of typos!

springydaffs Tue 31-Jan-12 00:07:21

I didn't notice the typos and yes, she is toxic sad

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?

Memoo Tue 31-Jan-12 06:49:39

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!

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 31-Jan-12 09:42:12

You definitely belong here, Memoo. I am so sad 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.

AllTheSevens Tue 31-Jan-12 09:51:29

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.

Hi everyone,

I've been directed here by Attila -- thanks again! Really appreciate it smile

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.

springydaffs Tue 31-Jan-12 10:47:37

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.

ohmygosh123 Tue 31-Jan-12 11:13:03

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 grin. 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. wine

handbagCrab Tue 31-Jan-12 12:20:29

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 sad 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 sad

Memoo Tue 31-Jan-12 14:45:17

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 31-Jan-12 15:06:54

Go ahead and be angry. You should be. At them.

Depression is anger turned inwards. Time to direct that anger where it belongs.

singingprincess Tue 31-Jan-12 16:52:42

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. 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.

Memoo Tue 31-Jan-12 21:59:16

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.

fortoday Tue 31-Jan-12 22:05:15

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

ThePinkPussycat Tue 31-Jan-12 22:14:03

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.

garlicfrother Wed 01-Feb-12 00:31:14

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 smile

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.

fortoday Wed 01-Feb-12 10:56:47

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.


Mimishimi Wed 01-Feb-12 11:46:15

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 smile

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.

mampam Thu 02-Feb-12 14:48:23

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 smile

Memoo Thu 02-Feb-12 19:59:04

Thank you mampan smile

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 sad 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 grin BUT the emails a short and impersonal, I don't ask after her wellbeing and I don't answer her questions after mine.

mampam Fri 03-Feb-12 10:02:23

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? hmm 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.

SHThread Sat 04-Feb-12 21:02:31

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 confused 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 confused 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?! angry"
"you'll regret that"
"Oh this is so wrong, it's so wrong angry"
"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 confused 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 sad Give it to me straight. Am I wrong?

SHThread Sat 04-Feb-12 21:05:32

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 confused)

BerthaTheBogBurglar Sun 05-Feb-12 18:02:39

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!

SHThread Sun 05-Feb-12 18:21:30

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. sad

I feel like a teenager who wants to grab DS and run away confused

SHThread Sun 05-Feb-12 18:25:10

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 sad

fortoday Mon 06-Feb-12 19:15:55

hi ladies
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

fortoday Mon 06-Feb-12 20:44:56

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!!!!!!!!


meiinlove Thu 09-Feb-12 09:18:53

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 smile.

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 adultsmile), 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 smile.

springydaffs Thu 09-Feb-12 13:07:09

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.

garlicfrother Thu 09-Feb-12 13:34:16

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.

springydaffs Thu 09-Feb-12 16:51:46

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.

fortoday Thu 09-Feb-12 17:15:46

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.

fortoday Thu 09-Feb-12 17:16:05

meant to say shouldn't see her!

Lily4567 Sat 11-Feb-12 04:39:04

Hi, if some1 suffered abuse not from parents but other ppl can they post on this thread?

Fragilistic Sun 12-Feb-12 00:38:30

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 sad

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.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 12-Feb-12 11:01:41

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 sad

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 sad

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 shock 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 sad

garlicfrother Sun 12-Feb-12 11:57:18

Hi, Lily. Yes, of course smile

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 shock I hope you and DP have managed to make an enjoyable (entertaining?!) trip out of, despite family weirdness. Let us know, won't you?

CailinDana Sun 12-Feb-12 13:13:36

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.

Fragilistic Sun 12-Feb-12 13:30:32

Thank you, &garlic*. All hugs gratefully received smile

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.

baskingseals Sun 12-Feb-12 14:06:57

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?


CailinDana Sun 12-Feb-12 14:14:19

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.

CailinDana Sun 12-Feb-12 14:16:59

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.

baskingseals Sun 12-Feb-12 14:46:11

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.

CailinDana Sun 12-Feb-12 15:11:36

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.

Lynnlost Sun 12-Feb-12 15:23:09

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.

crestico Tue 14-Feb-12 08:03:41

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.

ThePinkPussycat Tue 14-Feb-12 11:01:42

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 smile It sounds like there is a happy ever after type ending as well, all down to you.

Bear1984 Tue 14-Feb-12 11:16:40

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.

ThePinkPussycat Tue 14-Feb-12 13:32:43

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.

CailinDana Tue 14-Feb-12 13:52:56

Crestico - your story is so sad, I can't believe your parents treated you that way sad 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 smile

LadyClarissaArseQuack Tue 14-Feb-12 14:58:44

May I join and may I post ?

crestico Tue 14-Feb-12 15:13:38

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.

CailinDana Tue 14-Feb-12 15:26:27

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.

CailinDana Tue 14-Feb-12 15:27:08

Crestico - have you ever had any counselling?

crestico Tue 14-Feb-12 15:34:16

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.

CailinDana Tue 14-Feb-12 15:44:21

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.

LadyClarissaArseQuack Tue 14-Feb-12 16:34:58

I thought I had already posted ?
Bu tmay I join ?

LadyClarissaArseQuack Tue 14-Feb-12 16:37:31

So sorry. I missed it. Apologies

LadyClarissaArseQuack Tue 14-Feb-12 17:00:54

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 smile 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.

arfur Thu 16-Feb-12 13:39:24

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.

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 16:11:26

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

PeppermintPasty Thu 16-Feb-12 16:24:03

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

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 17:48:57

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

areyoumad Thu 16-Feb-12 20:34:43

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?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 16-Feb-12 21:11:17

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.

baskingseals Thu 16-Feb-12 21:13:39

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

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 23:08:20

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 smile

NHAN Thu 16-Feb-12 23:10:25

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

areyoumad Fri 17-Feb-12 07:32:04

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.
Take Care

NHAN Fri 17-Feb-12 08:14:46

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!

NHAN Fri 17-Feb-12 08:16:35

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

arfur Fri 17-Feb-12 09:59:06

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 smile

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.

Hello Cupid,
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.

arfur Wed 22-Feb-12 16:45:23

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.

SomeOtherName Thu 23-Feb-12 22:32:34

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.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 07:14:45

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.

slightlysalted Fri 24-Feb-12 08:22:19

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.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 10:22:15

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 24-Feb-12 10:49:19

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.")

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 11:16:25

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.

SaraBellumHertz Fri 24-Feb-12 11:18:14

Especially as one of the people that does it most had an extremely dysfunctional childhood and I feel like a fraud.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 24-Feb-12 11:31:35

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."

Lemonylemon Fri 24-Feb-12 13:13:29

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.....

slightlysalted Fri 24-Feb-12 15:33:05

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.

slightlysalted Fri 24-Feb-12 15:35:17

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.

Lemonylemon Fri 24-Feb-12 16:20:01

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!

fortoday Fri 24-Feb-12 20:02:02

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

fortoday Fri 24-Feb-12 20:06:06

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.

oiwheresthecoffee Fri 24-Feb-12 20:57:36

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. smile

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. sad 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 ?

oiwheresthecoffee Fri 24-Feb-12 20:59:33

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.

oiwheresthecoffee Fri 24-Feb-12 21:20:21

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).

fortoday Fri 24-Feb-12 21:27:25

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.

NHAN Fri 24-Feb-12 23:16:53

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.

Lemonylemon Mon 27-Feb-12 15:04:18

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.....

oiwheresthecoffee Mon 27-Feb-12 19:39:32

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..

ally90 Mon 27-Feb-12 21:11:48

Hi Oiwheresthecoffee,

She's a narc. Really. Nobody ever fits one box, we're all a combination of MH disorders, I tick narc/obcessive/and 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

Keep posting smile


NHAN Mon 27-Feb-12 23:56:13

Does anyone know if there is a thread about abuse anywhere? I don't fit here and could do with some support

fortoday Tue 28-Feb-12 09:25:43

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??

fortoday Tue 28-Feb-12 10:52:41

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

fortoday Tue 28-Feb-12 10:54:10

god meant blocks not blokes!!!!!!!!!!

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 28-Feb-12 11:00:45

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.

NHAN Tue 28-Feb-12 18:57:14

How would I contact mumsnet hq? I was advised to find the 'But we took you to stately homes' thread, is there another one?

fortoday Tue 28-Feb-12 19:32:10

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

fortoday Tue 28-Feb-12 19:33:54

NHAN- try this email xx

NHAN Tue 28-Feb-12 20:17:23

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

oikopolis Tue 28-Feb-12 20:25:42

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

NHAN Tue 28-Feb-12 20:54:32

Thank you smile 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

oikopolis Tue 28-Feb-12 21:14:17

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 smile write whatever you need to, it helps to tell your story. even if nobody replies, it's still be helpful imo.

CailinDana Tue 28-Feb-12 22:09:19

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.

arfur Wed 29-Feb-12 10:52:34

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

fortoday Wed 29-Feb-12 16:26:09

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

fortoday Wed 29-Feb-12 16:27:00

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

arfur Wed 29-Feb-12 16:57:46

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 .......

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 01-Mar-12 10:08:01

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.

fortoday Thu 01-Mar-12 11:07:12

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

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 01-Mar-12 11:21:47

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.

QuintessentialyHollow Thu 01-Mar-12 13:08:58

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.

Any advice?

(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).

QuintessentialyHollow Thu 01-Mar-12 18:59:23

Thanks Attilla. Will order some for my sister to read, so she can better help her daughter deal with all this.

oiwheresthecoffee Thu 01-Mar-12 19:27:18

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.

oiwheresthecoffee Thu 01-Mar-12 19:28:29

Whoops. Didnt see the last 2 posts. But anyway , get the DD to read them too.

QuintessentialyHollow Thu 01-Mar-12 20:42:55

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.

BibiBlocksberg Fri 02-Mar-12 18:18:50

Hello all,

Pls excuse me barging in smile

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.

BibiBlocksberg Fri 02-Mar-12 18:24:27

.....oops, didn't tick the box - let's try that again:

oiwheresthecoffee Sat 03-Mar-12 13:44:37

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 she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t 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 smile

NHAN Sat 03-Mar-12 18:19:30

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

oiwheresthecoffee Sat 03-Mar-12 18:37:57

NHAN You sound lovely so i doubt you will screw your children up. smile

baskingseals Sat 03-Mar-12 19:37:11

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

meiinlove Sun 04-Mar-12 01:15:06

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 she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t 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.

oiwheresthecoffee Sun 04-Mar-12 09:17:02


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 don’t normally post on here so I hope nobody minds, but I read NHAN’s 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 don’t change the subject.” “I’ll 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 don’t 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 won’t harm your children to see them in you. They may be feeling the same about their father.

Wishing you the best xx

DaughterAndSon Tue 06-Mar-12 22:46:49

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. sad

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. sad 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. sad
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. sad

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. sad
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? grin

Hope I haven't interrupted anyone else. I just needed to get some of that out. Thank you for listening.

CovertTwinkle Tue 06-Mar-12 23:35:06

hello ladies

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 blush

mampam Wed 07-Mar-12 11:52:39

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?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 07-Mar-12 12:09:15

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.)

CovertTwinkle Thu 08-Mar-12 10:56:26

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! grin 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.

mampam Thu 08-Mar-12 16:28:27

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 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 grin

DaughterAndSon Thu 08-Mar-12 23:22:13

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. smile

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. blush

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 09-Mar-12 10:34:32

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.

NHAN Fri 09-Mar-12 12:16:53

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 grin

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

Lemonylemon Fri 09-Mar-12 13:48:56

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 she’s confronted with unavoidable consequences for her own bad behavior, including your anger, she will melt into a soggy puddle of weepy helplessness. It’s all her fault. She can’t do anything right. She feels so bad. What she doesn’t 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......

everythingpasses Mon 12-Mar-12 17:19:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

everythingpasses Mon 12-Mar-12 17:22:02

... just read that back, sorry for the awful spelling!!

KarmaK Mon 12-Mar-12 19:48:05

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.

NHAN Tue 13-Mar-12 01:43:19

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

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 13-Mar-12 07:49:42

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.

(((big hugs)))

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.

altinkum Tue 13-Mar-12 08:18:38

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.

meiinlove Tue 13-Mar-12 09:56:44

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 grin). 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.

CovertTwinkle Tue 13-Mar-12 10:31:48

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.

CovertTwinkle Tue 13-Mar-12 10:41:18

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.

altinkum Tue 13-Mar-12 13:56:03

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 hmm.

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, confused 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" angry

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.

chicaguapa Tue 13-Mar-12 14:02:45

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 can’t understand my problem and don’t support my not speaking to him.

Last April, we fell out because something we’d given them to look after had been loaned to one of his DP’s children without our consent. It was just a quarrel, but because I spoke to his DP about it (and she really couldn’t 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, she’s the lovliest person you could ever meet, but you’re 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 hadn’t, 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 haven’t 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 couldn’t marry him anymore as I didn’t want her to. So my dad shouted at me that if he ever had to choose between her or me, he’d 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 hasn’t 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 won’t be bought and refuse to shout the loudest for attention.

I’m not sure how this all looks now it’s in black & white. Maybe it doesn’t 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 I’m 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.

Lemonylemon Wed 14-Mar-12 15:46:45

Alt {{hug}}

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.

NHAN Wed 14-Mar-12 23:11:48

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

Firsttimer7259 Thu 15-Mar-12 13:49:48

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.

Firsttimer7259 Thu 15-Mar-12 13:50:32

sorry to hijack this thread like this I just needed to say this and get it out. I feel very panicky

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 15-Mar-12 14:59:15

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.

manhavingbaby Fri 16-Mar-12 15:26:35

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

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 16-Mar-12 15:29:13

I hate the fact that I cannot just separate from her

As a matter of fact, you can. Would you like to?

manhavingbaby Fri 16-Mar-12 16:01:12

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 16-Mar-12 17:19:49

man why would it give you loads of guilt?
Why is it different because she is your mother?

droves Fri 16-Mar-12 17:20:54

Fifehourssleep's about we rename that day survivors day ,and celebrate us instead ?

thanks wine ...for the stately homes visitors.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 16-Mar-12 17:26:41

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?

manhavingbaby Fri 16-Mar-12 18:07:18

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! smile

NHAN Sat 17-Mar-12 20:46:34

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'.
Ho hum.

rhondajean Sun 18-Mar-12 00:30:43

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

Missboobyvontits Sun 18-Mar-12 14:50:41

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 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.

Dawndonna Sun 18-Mar-12 15:47:11

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.

Missboobyvontits Sun 18-Mar-12 17:56:52

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. sad

meiinlove Sun 18-Mar-12 19:47:09

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....

lisad123 Mon 19-Mar-12 00:27:55

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!! confused

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 blush
Any advice would be great

rhondajean Mon 19-Mar-12 00:44:08

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.
Even pissed.
Thank you.

lisad123 Mon 19-Mar-12 07:30:57

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 wink

lisad123 Mon 19-Mar-12 07:32:50

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.

arfur Mon 19-Mar-12 09:38:32

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 .........

CovertTwinkle Mon 19-Mar-12 11:05:03

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.

Bear1984 Mon 19-Mar-12 11:12:15

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 19-Mar-12 12:15:13

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 grin

You sound so strong in that post, Twinkle. You have a lot to be proud of.

CovertTwinkle Mon 19-Mar-12 12:40:16

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 smile

Id suggest ditto but it sounds a bit 90s .... ICHWT - except that reads in my head as "itch wet" which is strange and confusing!!

Tyniclogs Mon 19-Mar-12 13:03:00

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.

Firsttimer7259 Mon 19-Mar-12 14:15:57

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.

Firsttimer7259 Mon 19-Mar-12 14:21:11

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.

Firsttimer7259 Mon 19-Mar-12 14:22:10

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

Tyniclogs Mon 19-Mar-12 16:16:31

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!

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 19-Mar-12 17:07:11

I feel responsible for her

Tyniclogs: if you can change that belief of yours, then the rest will follow.

Tyniclogs Mon 19-Mar-12 17:20:03

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 19-Mar-12 17:48:06

It's a very hard thing to do, Tyniclogs. Precisely for the reasons you list. Give yourself time and a lot of slack!

Tyniclogs Tue 20-Mar-12 19:31:26

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.

lisad123 Tue 20-Mar-12 19:52:57

Mil threatened dh and then deleted him from fb. Next day tried to re add him confused
He has stayed strong and not added her, blocked all her accounts.
He fully know we now can expect letters and nasty called again sad

Lemonylemon Wed 21-Mar-12 13:55:45

... 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.....

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 21-Mar-12 14:06:29

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.

Lemonylemon Wed 21-Mar-12 14:51:24

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.....

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 21-Mar-12 15:01:24

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?

Lemonylemon Wed 21-Mar-12 15:15:25

Yep. I do. Unfortunately. <Sigh>

Tyniclogs Wed 21-Mar-12 15:49:45

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.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 21-Mar-12 16:05:06

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.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 21-Mar-12 16:07:39

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 21-Mar-12 16:11:03

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.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 21-Mar-12 16:41:20

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

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 21-Mar-12 16:48:49

Predictable? Valuable!

BibiBlocksberg Wed 21-Mar-12 21:59:14

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 smile

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?

meiinlove Thu 22-Mar-12 00:18:45

"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.

handbagCrab Thu 22-Mar-12 00:50:11

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 smile

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 22-Mar-12 06:04:14

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 22-Mar-12 06:09:14

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 22-Mar-12 06:13:42

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.

crestico Thu 22-Mar-12 13:43:22

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.

Tyniclogs Thu 22-Mar-12 15:37:48

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.

Firsttimer7259 Thu 22-Mar-12 15:45:35

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...

Firsttimer7259 Thu 22-Mar-12 15:57:41

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.

lisad123 Thu 22-Mar-12 18:25:23

Oh no, now the phone calls have started sad


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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 22-Mar-12 19:35:23


you don't have to answer the phone.

I unplugged mine from the wall socket.

handbagCrab Thu 22-Mar-12 20:03:27

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 smile

lisad123 Thu 22-Mar-12 21:27:16

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 sad
DH is worried as its very clear his mum has some serious MH problems, which she wont seek help for. he feels guilty sad

Lottapianos Mon 26-Mar-12 11:06:52

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 sad

BibiBlocksberg Mon 26-Mar-12 20:13:08

"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 smile)

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 smile

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Mar-12 20:36:57

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.

BibiBlocksberg Mon 26-Mar-12 20:37:48

...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 angry

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Mar-12 20:41:30

roll away, Bibi!

BibiBlocksberg Mon 26-Mar-12 21:04:17

smile Thanks HotDAMN

arfur Mon 26-Mar-12 21:42:52

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 sad

BibiBlocksberg Mon 26-Mar-12 22:07:10

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.

lisad123 Mon 26-Mar-12 22:16:40

well she needs personal references, who would she choose?
Sadly I know some FC who do it for the money only sad

BibiBlocksberg Mon 26-Mar-12 23:09:10

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 smile

Never talked about that side of things before, felt good, thank you all for the space to allow me to do that.

arfur Tue 27-Mar-12 11:01:52

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 mostly hmm

Ladyface Wed 28-Mar-12 00:07:09

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 28-Mar-12 07:27:12

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?

Ladyface Wed 28-Mar-12 09:42:54

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.

Ladyface Wed 28-Mar-12 10:30:45

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 28-Mar-12 12:25:12

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.

CovertTwinkle Wed 28-Mar-12 13:33:21

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!!

CovertTwinkle Wed 28-Mar-12 13:51:05

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. angry makes my blood boil.

rant over, sorry for thread hogging blush

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 28-Mar-12 17:18:00

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?

CovertTwinkle Wed 28-Mar-12 18:06:47

grin 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.

loeeloee Fri 30-Mar-12 12:40:19

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.

Lemonylemon Fri 30-Mar-12 13:32:54

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......

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 30-Mar-12 18:55:07

I have a great husband (who I emotionally abuse).

Why do you think this? Can you elaborate?

loeeloee Fri 30-Mar-12 19:16:36

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 30-Mar-12 19:30:44

What are you doing to try to get better? Do you have a good therapist?

loeeloee Fri 30-Mar-12 20:20:28

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.

Arana Mon 02-Apr-12 06:34:44

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.

There. Done.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 02-Apr-12 11:35:12

Welcome Arana.

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.

therealsmithfield Thu 05-Apr-12 10:35:20

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?

mampam Thu 05-Apr-12 16:01:05

Yes this is the latest thread. Haven't seen you here for a while trs hope you are well??? smile

mampam Thu 05-Apr-12 16:07:31

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.

therealsmithfield Fri 06-Apr-12 12:08:56

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.

therealsmithfield Fri 06-Apr-12 12:12:42

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 does feel good to have an outlet from time to time.

Hope everyone has a toxic free easter

mampam Fri 06-Apr-12 20:44:17

trs glad you're ok smile 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 grin. 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.

pluckingupcourage Sat 07-Apr-12 02:16:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maristella Sat 07-Apr-12 02:22:55

I haven't found you guys all week sad

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

maristella Sat 07-Apr-12 02:26:02

plucking that letter is exactly what I am due to write. How do I make it non-accusational? I don't know sad My Dad and friend are goingto help me. If I was to write mine myself, it would cut glass; and divide family sad

I wish I had some good advice x

cphps Sat 07-Apr-12 02:26:22

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?

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 02:52:50

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 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.

pluckingupcourage Sat 07-Apr-12 04:02:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 08:38:35

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.

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 09:22:32

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.

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 09:30:50

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.

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 09:40:50

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).

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 09:43:29

sorry i meant "oversensitive"

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 09:50:09

That is awful loee

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 09:53:32

<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.

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 09:55:34

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.

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 09:57:46

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.

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 09:58:04

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.

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 10:00:10

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?

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 10:02:30

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 07-Apr-12 10:03:40

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!

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 10:03:41

He does sound a bully.

loeeloee Sat 07-Apr-12 10:06:28

Thanks for empathising lesley33

lesley33 Sat 07-Apr-12 10:10:21

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 07-Apr-12 10:17:00

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 07-Apr-12 10:20:03

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.

therealsmithfield Sat 07-Apr-12 15:37:11

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.

pluckingupcourage Sun 08-Apr-12 01:49:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SaraCopiaSullam Tue 10-Apr-12 11:50:35

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 10-Apr-12 12:11:36

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.

pluckingupcourage Tue 10-Apr-12 17:08:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 10-Apr-12 17:22:06

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)

pluckingupcourage Tue 10-Apr-12 17:35:27

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 ;-)

maristella Tue 10-Apr-12 20:33:21

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 smile

SaraCopiaSullam Wed 11-Apr-12 10:27:20

Thanks HotDamn. I'm probably going to lurk a bit and post a bit too (I hope). smile

twinkletwinkleoldbat Wed 11-Apr-12 21:32:29

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!! smile

pluckingupcourage Wed 11-Apr-12 21:42:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

twinkletwinkleoldbat Wed 11-Apr-12 21:48:09

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.

pluckingupcourage Wed 11-Apr-12 22:22:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 12-Apr-12 07:26:31

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...

pluckingupcourage Thu 12-Apr-12 10:40:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 12-Apr-12 11:00:54

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.

pluckingupcourage Thu 12-Apr-12 11:27:13

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 12-Apr-12 11:33:30

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!"

pluckingupcourage Thu 12-Apr-12 11:47:58

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"

twinkletwinkleoldbat Thu 12-Apr-12 20:34:37

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!

pluckingupcourage Fri 13-Apr-12 02:57:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SoSad007 Fri 13-Apr-12 03:21:43

Hi everyone. I’ve 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 40’s).

When I was 15 my mother left my father, running away to her sister’s 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 didn’t 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 aunt’s 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, he’s 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, I’ve 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 won’t 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. I’ve 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, I’m out of work and have no friends and am really looking for some support and care.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 10:30:40

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.

SaraCopiaSullam Fri 13-Apr-12 12:16:32

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! angry

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?

SaraCopiaSullam Fri 13-Apr-12 12:18:21

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 12:21:31

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 12:23:53

(and I for one found that post very helpful)

SaraCopiaSullam Fri 13-Apr-12 12:26:28

Thanks. smile

SoSad007 Fri 13-Apr-12 12:45:01

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.

GiveMyHeadPeace Fri 13-Apr-12 12:50:02

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 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.

Lemonylemon Fri 13-Apr-12 12:58:42

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 smile

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 13:16:23

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.

Sewilma Fri 13-Apr-12 13:28:22

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 13:40:59

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.

GiveMyHeadPeace Fri 13-Apr-12 14:06:01

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 14:17:45

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.

GiveMyHeadPeace Fri 13-Apr-12 14:28:17

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.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 13-Apr-12 14:33:28

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?

GiveMyHeadPeace Fri 13-Apr-12 14:45:17

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.

Sewilma Fri 13-Apr-12 14:58:36

Thank you for your supportive words. I think they are already coming out HotDAMNlifeisgoos sad

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