Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

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

(1000 Posts)

Thread opener here: smile
You may need to right-click and 'unblock' it after downloading it.

It's November 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
January 2012

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

forgetmenots Mon 26-Nov-12 08:04:04

Bumping the new SH thread...

I don't think I have a full house yet grin

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 09:23:29

"You were always a difficult child"

I had that all my life, and only realised recently how evil and insidious a thing it is to say to your own child. It went a long way to me normalising my ex-husband's abuse - after all, I deserved it, right? Since I have always been so difficult to get along with...

Anyway, this morning I am musing about how afraid I am of turning into my mother. I am angry. She's angry. I blame them for shit parenting, and how it has affected me. She spends her time moaning about how she was the "neglected middle child".

She took her anger out on me, my sister and my dad. I don't actively put people down like she does, but I am an avoider. Passive aggressive.

I really have to get rid of all this anger and self-hatred and let go of it, or it's going to continue to poison me and possibly others. I'm just at a loss about how to do that: the anger and self-hatred are there. I try to be aware of them, to cope with and counter them, but they're still always there.

forgetmenots Mon 26-Nov-12 10:07:18

I think there is a middle ground hotdamn. I think it's ok to avoid if it's done as an active, positive decision (NC) rather than as a punishment or withholding, if that makes sense. It also gives you space to deal with the anger you rightly feel rather than adding to it with more hostility from her. None of us are perfect but you don't 'actively put people down'. I'd say that tells you immediately that you are dealing with your anger better than your mother did, you are not her.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 11:04:02

We are both (my mother and I) processing unsatisfactory childhoods in different ways; neither of them healthy.

I at least recognise the issues, and harm myself more than I harm others (not a great outcome either). I just know that I can't be truly happy (and I also risk adopting mom-behaviours) as long as I carry this overwhelming self-hatred. But it is anchored so tight...

I am so tired of always being depressed, or teetering on the edge.

I've been in therapy, I regularly work through an online CBT workbook, I make the bleeding effort to exercise, eat well, socialise, etc to keep from sinking into a black hole. But the black hole is always fucking there, and always pulling at me.

I hate this.

I know I need to get rid of 2 related things: anger, and self-hatred.

The anger: I know that the origin of all this shit is how I was parented. But handing that anger back where it belongs didn't work, since - surprise! - shit parents don't rush to make it up to you when you point out that you are angry at them, and why. So I'm left nursing that anger, really, to continue justifying going no contact.

The self-hatred: totally woven into me. I don't know if I'm supposed to go all zen meditation and observe it without following the self-hating thoughts with my mind, or go all new-age and feel the pain, and cry the wet hot tears that I feel inside me. Both methods are polar opposites: it seems a bit schizophrenic and counter-productive to try both. Which I think is what I am going to do anyway.

Posting this brain dump even though it's somewhat unformed.

BiddyPop Mon 26-Nov-12 12:30:59

I am getting my ammo ready for a showdown with my mother over NY. I heard yesterday that she has stolen my thunder with a present for future SIL for Christmas that I had been working on for 3 years as their wedding present next May (I had mentioned having difficulty finding 1 part 3 months ago in her presence, she'd never heard of the idea before, but apparently now has it for FSIL for Christmas - probably got Dad to get a full set in USA when he was over). That, on top of getting rid of things from Gran that I would have loved after she died, and being so horrible about Gran and her family this year, and to me too, have made me decide that IF that present is given, I will use it as the "straw that breaks the camel's back" and let her know what I think (as she has let me know plenty of times). And then pull back HUGELY from her. I don't think I will go NC entirely, but reduce my interaction with her and talk to Dad at work rather than at home (phonecalls).

I am also getting fed up of 1 DSis, who has gone back to live at home, thinking she rules the roost and complaining about people not staying in touch etc. When you can never get hold of her nor does she ever get in touch unless she needs something or needs an outlet to complain about another sibling. So I am not putting up with her anymore either.

A different DSis was visiting yesterday, and full of complaints about the project that DBro and FSIL had asked her (Sis) to do for their wedding, that Mum is taking over and trying to make HERS. Her controlling tendancies are stretching (she wanted 3 full grown adults - a size 18, size 20 and a 6'4" - all to travel in the back of the car with DParents on a 6 hour journey a couple of months back, and return, rather than make their own way at all. And then she'd have complete control over what they did all weekend too as it also involved going to another village a few miles away with no public transport). And now she's trying to get these same adults to travel to the wedding in her car, a 5 hour journey each way and about an hour away from Church, and including a whole weekend of different events. So the groom has said he's doing his own thing (hiring a car), and another DSis is taking her car and collecting her DP en route.

I reckon I have enough to deal with in my own immediate family (DH and DD) that I don't need to put up with their issues anymore.

ThistlePetal Mon 26-Nov-12 14:42:00

Just marking my place here, have just started reading Toxic Parents and have posted on Salbertina's thread.... Feeling v shaky about how things with my parents will turn out but can't go on like this anymore. Another one looking for the middle ground, I think!

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 15:10:30

Thank you for this elegant new Stately Home, MomeRaths smile

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 15:30:40

HotDAMN, can I just thank you for your posts today? I feel stuck, too: not in exactly the same way, perhaps, but I'm aware of "undeserving" being so baked into my being that I am actually choosing negative behaviours to reinforce it. Dammit. I have no advice but it's strangely helpful to hear you mulling it over!

Firsttimer7259 Mon 26-Nov-12 15:33:29

Finding myself quite down with christmas coming up. Last christmas the treatment of my SN daughter by my F in partic caused me to go NC (following an attempt to talk to him about why he'd been ignoring her, it didnt go well) Anniversaries are tough plus we've just looked at another SN nursery for next year and things with my DD feel terribly real just now. Somehow I cant believe that I have to go through all these hard things alone, that my family just dnt care. Its totally stupid of me because not chasing after support from my family has really freed me up this year to gte real help and real suppport. But just this week it feels awfully hard

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 16:01:42

Hi garlic. Currently I'm reminding myself that everyone deals with low self-esteem, to a greater or lesser extent (although the problem clearly goes very deep for children of inadequate parents).

I'm also totally going to try the new-agey blubbering. It's been welling up inside me for years, and I have intellectuallised my pain enough. I think I am going to just feel it for a bit (maybe for a designated amount of time in the day so it doesn't turn to wallowing?), and the rest of the time focus on observing it in a detached way.

So I am going to give expression to the hurt child and just cry (if I still remember how). I'll tell you if it's helpful!

It's also bothering me to recognise in myself those parts of my parents that I have contempt for: my father's fear and anxiety, my mother's simmering anger about her own childhood. Because, if I have contempt for them, then that means I hate (bits of) myself... this self-hatred seems determined to come at me from all angles!

Hmmm. I thought I had accepted them for who they are, but I wonder now if I really have, considering how little I am able still to accept myself.

I think another blockage to me accepting those parts of myself -- the fear, the anger -- is that if I accept it in myself, finally, then that means I have to welcome my parents back into my life? Yes, I think that's the biggest obstacle, actually.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 16:12:15

Hi Firsttimer. Yeah, Christmas is awful when you have a problematic family. I fully expect this thread to be humming with activity around the 25th of December - I know I'll certainly be using it!

What are your plans for the day?

This will be my first Christmas alone - and I mean really alone: I don't have a partner or children, my sister doesn't cross the ocean for Christmas anymore (...she can't stand my parents either, but has an adoptive family of sorts in the country she lives in where she can spend family holidays). Last Christmas with my parents really convinced me that I find them too difficult and unpleasant to be with. So this year I will be going for a long walk in the forest with my dog on Christmas day, followed by dinner in front of the fire and a film. I will also be lining up as many Skype calls as I can with my far-flung loved ones, so that I don't go nuts from isolation.

But I know that the stress of impending Christmas is part of the reason why I am so down at the moment. I'm usually more reliably upbeat. Can't wait for the holiday season to be over; it's going to be a bit grim.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 18:18:28

Hi there, is it ok to join the new stately homes thread please?

Also, did anyone elses' parents say..

"Your too sensitive."

"You can't take a joke."

One would think that if a 7 year old routinely cries about stuff you say to them, it probably isn't very funny!

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 19:51:57

Welcome, Freddie smile Yes and yes! I'm too sensitive and spoiled the fun when I failed to share the hilarity over some humiliating prank perpetrated on me.

They're the two 'victim blaming' statements most overused by bullies.

HotDamn, do let me know how your blubbing turns out! I still don't cry. Reading that bit of your post made my 'uncried tears' rise nearer the surface ... wondering if I dare cry for myself, properly? confused

I will probably be doing Christmas on my own again - depends on family members, but it's likely. I'm quite comfortable about it now and will be available (if you want me) wherever I end up! Have you chosen your dinner yet?

I had that all my life, and only realised recently how evil and insidious a thing it is to say to your own child. It went a long way to me normalising my ex-husband's abuse - after all, I deserved it, right? Since I have always been so difficult to get along with...

^ ^ ^ ^

This made me cry. My ExH was such an arsehole and so selfish and I excepted it all. Towards the end he tried to strangle me and kick me and I normalised it. I thought, 'this is just what men do when they loose their tempers.' As my Dad was very physical to me when growing up, even as a teen he still whacked me across the face and my twin brother used to try and strangle me a lot when angry, or just hit me, as he also had a hideous temper.

I don't like myself, I have very low self esteem and confidence and I do wonder if I will ever (despite therapy) break free of these feelings.

I've cried a lot of this weekend, since I first realised I couldn't attend the family gathering. I think I'd buried this issue with my Dad since Mum's preposterous idea of a Fathers Day card. I'd simply buried it all.

Your posts HOTDamn are very insightful and thought provoking.

Freddie, I've read your post, that sounds very difficult sad

Thank you Garlic but I simply copied and pasted someone else's thoughtful wording and web links blush

This is a very special thread. I may not visit for months at a time but you are all so welcoming when I do. I feel like I belong here, instead of feeling like I'm the unreasonable one. It's a rare thing to find people who understand, listen and support, like this thread.

My family make me feel like I am always in the wrong and my feelings are irrelevant, that despite my Dad's abuse I should 'fix it'. They all enable and minimise his behaviour and in fact due to this, I was brought up to apologise, even when I wasn't in the wrong, to accept all blame, as it must be my fault sad This is what my Mother wants me to do yet again. He of course has never apologised to me in his life, nor would he this time.

It is difficult to know how many apologies would be enough to fix things this time. As once you approach him to try and reconcile, it is like a damn bursting and this stream of vitriol comes out, on and on it goes, e-mail after e-mail, as you repeatedly apologise. And even then when you meet, he is still angry with you but better than it would have been otherwise. My brother went through this to try and fix things. He suggests I do the same. In fact he strongly urged me to. This pressure to fix things, even though my Dad sent me the most awful e-mails and texts is very hard.

I think unless people truly understand though, they cannot possibly comprehend why I have chosen to go NC with him. He is no ordinary man. He is not reasonable and in fact without him in my life, I feel calmer and at peace. No walking on egg shells any more.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 20:02:00

Welcome Freddie!

I got "you're too sensitive" and "you can't take a joke" ALL the time from my abusive ex-h. But I was a grown woman and not a 7-year old child (and it still hurt!). I'm so sorry for the little girl you.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 20:16:12

Oh Biddie, I missed your post earlier.

Regarding the showdown you are planning: just be aware that your mother will not acknowledge your anger, and will not apologise. So if a tiny part of you is hoping for that outcome, it may be wise to avoid the showdown altogether, as you may end up even more hurt. (I learned this at my cost).

She will instead react with any or all of the weapons of the narcissistic parent: blaming and shaming you, flying into a rage, denying that what you say is true, or playing the martyr. All of these are methods to deflect any responsibility.

So: good luck to you if you are still going ahead with a showdown. It is bound to cause a narcissistic meltdown, and backlash from other family members who are uncomfortable when anyone rocks the boat. Those are tough things to ride out, be strong.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 20:24:44

garlicbaubles Thanks, you're clearly another person who can't take a joke. wink

DontstepontheMomeRaths That sounds awful. I can also relate to feeling contempt at the bits of yourself that are like your parents.

HotDAMNlifeisgood I've also had X's' who've ridiculed me and then got angry because I can't take a joke. I've got into relationships with horrible men. I feel sad when I think bout how much of my life, time and energy have been wated on areholes. I'll never get it back and I know I need to let go and move on.

HissyByName Mon 26-Nov-12 21:07:08

HotDAMN, you can't turn into your mother, you're self aware, caring, loving, sensitive and kind.

Please see the good in yourself and know that its all down to you.... didn't come from her, did it....

Christmas scares me too, am planning for it to be 'end of days' kind of stuff.

She wants to see me this week, as she's been away, and is away this weekend too. I spent less than a minute on the phone with her yesterday, was non -commital and just fluffed through until the call could end.

Everytime there's interaction, there's pressure atm. I don't want any of it any more, i want peace, simplicity, love, kindness. I can't have that with these people, i don't trust them, i can't relax with them.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 21:54:42

Thanks Hissy. To be honest many of my good qualities do come from her, and I recognise that. We are very similar, my mother and I. We differ on self-awareness, and in the choice whether to take our unhappiness out on others, or on ourselves (neither of them a healthy choice). She can also be caring and loving, and it's a shame that she chooses to bully others in order to boost her own ego, and has too little empathy to notice or care that we are hurt by it, because without that trait she would be a marvelous person.

Reflecting on that, I suppose I'm ok with being like my mother: I like the bits I like, I'm happy that I have greater self-awareness than she does, and although I don't like the anger we share and I'm not happy that I turn my anger inward and hurt myself, at least I'm aware that that's what I'm doing and looking for ways to fix this. And I know I will always consciously avoid taking it on others, as she does, to the best of my availability. And be willing to acknowledge it if I fail to do so.

Phew! Thanks.

Will you be spending Christmas with your parents and sister?

Regarding her intended visit: well done for fogging her. Do you want to say no? Do you want to set different terms to the ones she is proposing - eg. neutral location, or her place, so you can leave whenever you feel like it?

No, you can't have peace, simplicity, love and kindness with them. But I am beginning to think that you (we) can have peace, simplicity, love and kindness within ourselves, even in their presence, iyswim. I imagine I would need years of meditation practice to get to that stage, but surely it is possible! Just carrying our own peace within us, somewhere where it can't be jarred by the emotional grenades they lob at us. I haven't quite figured out how this squares with being alert and protecting our boundaries, though... Because I find that protecting boundaries requires alert emotions, whereas gliding through turmoil like a zen swan requires emotional detachment. I'm sure it's possible, though. I know people who do it. Once again, I think the key is a strong sense of self, and a healthy self-esteem.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 21:56:09

*ability, not availability.

Dawndonna Mon 26-Nov-12 21:57:03

Thanks for the new thread Dontstep

HissyByName Mon 26-Nov-12 22:33:21

hotDamn, no, I'll not be doing Christmas with them. It'll be all about DS and boyf. Can't wait!

Well, until the family try to spoil it, of course!

I think you can still distance yourself from the worst traits, remember even our vile, snarling abusive exes could turn on the charm if needed to... Thing is, they had to turn it on. We have to turn on our nasty. Our nice comes first.

You are nice because that's who you are. You have an anger, because you have a flaming right to it. Maybe she does too, but she uses her anger against people. That's what sets you apart.

I agree the detachment is what helps us glide through it. I'm on my own with this, it worries me.

Not sure why, cos I know I can more than handle them, I've got a badge in twat management!

Is it our child fear that we feel now?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 22:38:42

I believe so.

HissyByName Mon 26-Nov-12 22:48:07

Ok, so we just do the Feel the Fear exercises, and maintain the focus we needed to get through the Ex ridding situation...

Think cool, think swan! :D

Might just work! Thanks HotDAMN! XX

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 12:40:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:12:43

Wow. I shall read, and re-read and re-read your post. I'm hoping that then I too will allow myself the emotional freedom I need, and think you have found.

I will try to see if this too can help my beloved boyf with his family/extended family ishoos. He's depressed, and I can see clearly it's because he's not allowing himself the entitlement to feel the feelings he is owed.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:20:32

Oh.. Where'd it go? confused

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:28:39

I put 2 and 2 together, really together today.

I know. I'm a bit FICK, clearly, but I saw how the scapegoat, not so favourite child dynamic really set me up for a potential lifetime of accepting shoddy and sub-standard behaviour. Because I knew no better, I never knew what it was to be adored, just for me. As I am. As I always was.

Apparently the love between a parent and child is forever and unconditional....

Shame my family never got that memo.

I have a right to feel cheated. I was.

Well the table's turned, and now that I'm playing with an unmarked deck, with people that are not trying to cheat me out of everything, I see that Lady Luck is on payback, the odds are stacked in my favour.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 19:30:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 19:38:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:49:48

FiCK was meant kind of ironically, I know it's an epiphany, and I knew it before, tbh, but just today I really saw that I KNEW it.

I see that my strength was their target, the thorn in their side.

I wish they were all gone. I know there's no chance of things ever being turned around, and what's more, I'd never trust them again.

That trust is gone, my patience is gone, and nothing and no-one will stop my rise, or pee on my chips if you prefer! wink

I've been invited for dinner tomorrow night. I don't want to go. I wonder if I ought to call and cancel, saying that I'm conscious of their pressure for me to STFU and get over what SisDear did.

Can't, shan't, won't.

I'll go, but DS is primed to leave when I say so, even in a rush.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 19:57:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Just text saying something has come up and you can't go. Easier said than done, I know.

Can anyone tell me what happens at Xmas when you don't speak to your birth family? I have recently liberated myself from answering any of their calls and am having a new lease of life. So does it sound stupid to ask if I should still send them a card? Anything the kids have made? A present even? I stopped sending my hideous brother presents and nothing was said, but urgh, I dunno, just seems weird not even to send a card. And the thing is that I know if I DO send something, I will jump every time the phone rings for weeks afterwards! And what happens if they send us something? I presume they are still getting the dc presents - has anyone been here who can advise? Is anyone else wondering about this?

JoInScotland Tue 27-Nov-12 20:07:39

I was told I was hyper sensitive about everything. My foster mum knew all the lingo, but had no clue how to be a sensitive and empathic human being.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 20:43:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MistyGee Tue 27-Nov-12 21:08:20

Hello, sorry to jump in but I have been lurking on the Stately Homes threads for, well, years now. It was reading the posts on here that made me realise that i'm not alone, my childhood was NOT normal, and that I had to start doing something about how it was affecting my life.
I saw 'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward recommended, and I ordered and read it in 2 nights, mentally ticking boxes. After yet another awful Christmas, the new year loomed and I knew I had to do something about it or just keep sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire.
I've been having counselling since January this year and honestly it's changing my life. It is a very slow process and i'm nowhere near there yet, but it is helping immensely. Just the validation of being heard, without being screamed at or told there's something wrong with me...well, it's been emotional. I went NC with my sister in May and my mother in August. She's still been chipping away though.
Like most of you, it is a long story, how I got here. I just wanted to bite the bullet and post tonight, and also to say thanks to you all for posting on these threads. xx

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:59

notarealorphan no offence at all love. I'm a DV survivor, you have to really go some to offend me! smile

Plus I'm ok with tough talk, it works, and it saves time and prolonged anguish. I'm blessed to know you all here, I have much to learn, and Christmas will be hard for us all.

I'm dreading tomorrow, probably wrongly, mum's not hideous, but the fact that they all know what was done and said, and it's been totally ignored, discounted, and even mooted that it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. angry It's the teeny comments, the carrying on regardless, tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, cos we all know the elephant (me and my hurt) are not worth bothering with hmm

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 21:28:44

Good for you MistyGee I'm NC with my Dad and sis, only mum that still in contact, mostly cos it suits me.

I have a feeling (and am preparing myself) that Christmas will be the cruch point, so am galvanising myself for the showdown, and making sure I'm ready for all childcare, so she can't hold anything over me.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 21:41:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 22:17:57

The DV was what showed me their colours. Ridding myself of the Ex was the Appetiser, the family are the main course.

I can do this, it's harder, because of the taboos, but my boyf has similar experiences, so we help and support each other. It's so wonderful to have someone that 'gets' is, that doesn't think I'm wrong, that respects my decision.

MistyGee Tue 27-Nov-12 22:20:39

Thank you both smile I know what you mean about moving toward a future that it all yours. It's hard to realise that how our dysfunctional familes treated us can seep into every aspect of our lives until it's not really ours anymore, if it ever was. I found it controlled me without me even realising. I was, still am sometimes, snappy, miserable, depressed, full of a sense of impending doom even without knowing why or where it will come from. I found myself involved with awful men because I didn't know I deserved any better.
Yes, there does come a point where you think how many more times can I exhaust myself being upset and traumatised about being a second class citizen, not worthy of anything, while they tell you there's nothing to be upset about, that it's your fault, you're being oversensitive, and in my mother's case telling me that I have 'mental problems' and clearly need to see someone!
notarealorphan I can so identify with your wobble about wanting your mummy.
It is so bloody hard isn't it, I almost feel like I made excuses for my mother because I couldn't accept that she wasn't a mother to me. Or did she ingrain it in me so expertly that I thought it was my problem, not hers?
I see so many children with their grandparents, the GPs picking them up from my son's preschool, looking after them while their parents work, are out and about having nice days out- grandmother, mother and child...and I DO feel a bit resentful, because no matter how much I want that, I'll NEVER have it. Never.
I'm sure people see my mother and think 'what a nice old lady' and i'm sick of feeling bad about being 'nasty' ie NC to what is outwardly an inoffensive pensioner. I avoid talking about it to people because I worry they will judge me when I say I don't speak to my mother. I veer between being angry with her (and my sister) and just wanting my mum, wanting nice days out and support and unconditional love. The irony is I have nothing to base that on because it never happened! It just feels so sad.

MistyGee Tue 27-Nov-12 22:38:08

Creepy I have also been struggling with the 'gifts' thing. I'm NC with my mother and sister. My sister sent my son a cheque (addressed to him) for his birthday. No way do I want anything to do with her, or from her, and no way would I give her the satisfaction of seeing it cashed so I ripped it up and put the same amount from my own purse in DS's savings. In that way I didn't feel like he missed out on the money but I removed the poisonous connotation IYSWIM.
My mother has been posting crap through my door and leaving carrier bags on my doorstep with stuff in for DS (again makes me feel bad cause outwardly such a nice thing to do...!) It is a really difficult situation. I think it comes from the hold they still have. It's my mother's birthday on the 5th dec and i feel bad about not sending her a card, but also terrified that she might see it as a way in if i do send her something, so I have decided not to. It just feels safer. I know it is hard because we're not used to putting ourselves first, and we're trained not to 'upset' our family in any way.
I'm not sure of an easy answer, what does your gut tell you to do?

Dawndonna Wed 28-Nov-12 07:22:21

No Cards, No gifts
They will always be misinterpreted, used against you or seen as a way back in. They are a method of control, either: 'Look how nice I am, my daughter doesn't give me the time of day but I still spoil my grandchildren" or: 'Look, despite everything I've done, my daughter seems to think this is all I'm worth:.

Not worth the effort.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 11:07:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

garlicbaubles Wed 28-Nov-12 12:11:22

What a beautiful post, Orphan. Thank you.

kiwigirl42 Wed 28-Nov-12 12:31:07

I really appreciate the information and wisdom shared on these threads also, even tho I mainly lurk. Its just so comforting to realise that its not just me who has to deal with this shit.
I moved 12,000 miles when I was 19 to get away from my mother who had spent a life time trying to run me into the ground. I was always stupid, useless etc etc etc.

The last straw for me was when I was really ill when pregnant and she didn't even bother to ring for 3 wks to see how we were. That really made me realise that she doesn't actually care about me. I have tried to ring her every couple of wks, mainly to hear her talk about herself (she never listens), just to .... well, I don't know really.

She invited herself here for 6 wks last xmas - she only told us once the tickets were bought. I should have said no but have daily chronic migraine and just didn't. It was bloody awful. She sat on the sofa and expected to be waited on hand and foot. She would make herself a sandwich if I was too ill to be downstairs and not even offer DS 12 anything. She'd take herself out for a meal and not take DS. It was disgusting. So never again is she darkening our doorstep. The good thing was that DS (who is an astute little bunny) came to his own conclusions about her behaviour.

I rang a month ago to say I was on waiting list for a hysterectomy and was terrified. Her reply? ''oh, can you hear my new cuckoo clock ringing''.
DH said ' theres only one cuckoo in that house and its not in the clock lol''
I was REALLY upset and haven't contacted her. So she rings yesterday, luckily got DH not me, and complained to him that I haven't bothered to ring her. DH told her that I'd hardly been out of bed (had some shocking migraines this month) but she wasn't interested.

So I'm very close to just chucking it in and going no contact. I've kept contact because I'm a nice person but what the hell for I don't know. i could have died under anaesthetic in the last month and she wouldn't have known or cared.

sorry for the long diatribe. I haven't really been able to tell other people as most other people love their Mums and don't understand toxic Mums.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 12:31:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 12:43:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HisstletoeAndWhine Wed 28-Nov-12 21:43:59

I echo thos hugs and back pats!

Well, I'm back. Took me 10 sprays of rescue remedy to get in <hic>

Got the 'what are you doing for christmas' stuff. I held firm, said I was having Christmas at home this year. She told me SisDear is not coming up. I stuck to my plan.

SisDear not coming up is a plot, a scheme on sisDear's part. I'm sure of it. I go there and SisDear can weep and wail saying my going NC with her made it impossible for her to go, that I hounded her out of Christmas. Yeah right. I'm not falling for it. Let them ALL reap the crop they sowed!

Got asked about Christmas eve... Was non-commital. Got asked to bring boyf. Said he'd probably not want to come. It just came out, but it means that I don't have a say. It's not true, I'm sure he would if I asked him, but I'm committed to NOT mixing pleasure with 'family'.

I have to refuse Christmas eve too don't I?

When Mum starts up with that, I can say that she could go and see sis for Christmas, have Christmas cooking etc off. I will wait for the 'we're all on our own' and keep the 'yep, like I was all those years, abroad and abused, like I was when ex left, in trauma, seriously in shock and you both revelled in leaving me for emotional dead, and then ONE of you rubbed it in, and the other one has failed again to support me' response as a back up conversation shutter downer smile

Apparently mum is going to SisDear after Christmas/NY. That's not going to influence my plans ONE jot.

Perhaps the reply won't get used, perhaps it's a broken record of 'No, I've said I'll not do 'socials' or family stuff again.' I am my own family now.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 22:04:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kiwigirl42 Thu 29-Nov-12 03:14:11

notarealorphan thank you for your kindness

notarealorphan Thu 29-Nov-12 09:01:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BiddyPop Fri 30-Nov-12 16:08:41

Sorry guys, I've been away and not had access. HotDamn, I see what you're saying, and I am not going in trying to have a row, but if she HAS really done that to me, I will call her on it, expect that it will be all about me spoiling her lovely gift, yada yada yada, but it will also give me the chance to tell her, in the presence of others, how it is not all about her and that I will not be disrespected the way she has done to me. So if she wants to do something about it afterwards, it will be her to deal with it (and it will also make my Dad realise what she's done - he does enable her a bit but will call her on some things that she has to back down from when she tries her ultra-controlling and pushing away family stuff).

Mind all of yourselves, I hope to get a chance to post properly tonight.

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 30-Nov-12 21:02:53

Is it really worth taking them on, head to head?

Won't they just deny it, minimise it, and blame us anyway, isn't us knowing the truth, telling them what we believe, calmly, matter of fact, and then just backing off just a little more?

God knows if I'm getting this right or wrong, the FOG is so thick and hard to get through! sad

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 30-Nov-12 23:10:27

I don't know, Hissy. I did, and now kind of wish I hadn't bothered.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 01-Dec-12 08:22:07

I have the similar dilemma, I've said my piece to mum, nothing changed, Sis still gets mum trotting down there, I still get told to hget over myself. I'm now being painted as the baddy.

Plus ça change...

So, so what? I was an alchy, a nutter, an everything-under-the-sun, I was a scarlet woman for daring to date again. Now I'm someone who bust up a family. Pah! Family? Families don't do that.n what I 'bust up' was a tissue of lies. It doesn't work for me, it hurts. So... I'm out.

For them to insist on me staying in is selfish, but we knew that already. It's for THEIR needs.

Their needs. Their problem. If I mattered that much, they should have treated me better.

BUT it feels so shit. It felt so crap to let the abusive ex go, it was physically excruciating, a pain I bore in deliberately inflicted isolation.

I did it, I got through it, I survived. I'll get through this, I'll survive and thrive on the other side.

Cripes, knowing the awesome transformation of my life post Ex, I know I'm in for even better when ALL negative clingons are scraped off!

I'll find that focus to get me to the grass on the other side, as I did with ex.

It's the next step in my life. The one towards even more happiness!

[penny drops]

Dawndonna Sat 01-Dec-12 10:08:38

Despite having been married to the same man for 20 years, I too have been some of those things Hiss. Trust me, life is far better without them.
Good luck!

Midwife99 Sat 01-Dec-12 11:49:15

I had a neglectful childhood because my parents were too busy being publicans & boozing it up to care for me. They moved frequently to run away from my father's affairs & business failures so I had a hard time at new schools too. They went on holiday without me every September over my birthday & left me with relief managers. Even their night off was spent going out to another pub boozing. The last holiday they took me on aged 12 - they put me in a room in my own on the other side of a French hotel & did their own thing for 2 weeks. Unsurprisingly a waiter from the hotel let himself into my room every night & raped me. A few years followed of being felt up by their disgusting drunk "friends" before I left home at 18.
I'm now 45 & have 4 kids & 3 husbands under my belt & this year have finally told my parents how my childhood was for me & that I need some space from them. Although they ignored me as a child & in my 20 & 30s now they're old & frail they want me to help them & visit frequently.
Anyway - they are refusing to leave me alone & keep sending hysterical texts, voicemails & emails asking to see "their grandchildren" ' for me to "sort things out". I just want them to leave me alone but still feel guilty!!

Dawndonna Sat 01-Dec-12 13:00:52

Why should you feel guilty? Would you allow one of your children to be raped? Would you even put one of your children in a position whereby that could happen? Of course you wouldn't. Don't feel guilty, change your number, tell your children why you are not allowing contact and live a happy and guilt free life.
I talk the talk, but haven't always walked the walk, but am doing damn fine at the moment!

garlicbaubles Sat 01-Dec-12 13:25:58

I realise it's part of your 'coping', Midwife, but i felt shocked by your statement that you were "unsurprisingly" raped repeatedly at the age of 12. It would only be unsurprising if men usually were rapists, only being kept from assaulting children by the vigilance of others.

I can see that your teenage years would have caused you to reasonably think this was the case - but your horrible experiences were a direct outcome of your parents' incompetence, not simple neglect and inevitable circumstance. Please don't underplay the horror of what happened to you.

It would not be wrong for you to turn your back on them completely.
If you want to find a middle way, make it entirely on your terms and your rules. Don't play games with them. A therapist can be very helpful with this - or even a solicitor - should you want professional backup. I found Stately Homes invaluable!

Midwife99 Sat 01-Dec-12 14:27:28

Yes I realise my cold emotionless way of referring to the rapes is a coping mechanism. I didn't shout rape or report it so I felt responsible for it for years. In fact until recently I have referred to it as sexual assault & only now use the word rape, which is what it was. The child that I was then was not equipped to deal with the situation of course!!

I spelt it out in no uncertain terms some months ago in an email to my parents. My father replied about a week later that he needed to think about what I had said. Since then nothing but requests for help & the blackmailing voicemails etc. I finally told them & they have completely ignored what I said.

I have unplugged the landline to stop the constant ringing (from marketing calls & my mother!) They did leave me alone for 3 weeks & then a hysterical voicemail from my mother "we gave you some space, what more do you want? You need to sort yourself out now".
The thought of seeing them makes me feel nauseous!

Midwife99 Sat 01-Dec-12 14:59:55

Oh - have just read back through the thread!! Sorry I didn't introduce myself!! Re Xmas - my parents "don't believe in Xmas" but I bet they suddenly get all Christmassy this year when I've gone NC. I used to feel a bit bereft at Christmas too but this year for the first time I really just want my kids & me to spend it together without any outside influences. It's quite freeing to choose isn't it?!! grin

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 02-Dec-12 09:16:50

If you're posting on here Midwife, that's introduction enough!

Expect the panic to continue, it's par for the course.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sun 02-Dec-12 09:36:52

I hope you and your children get the Christmas that you want this year then, midwife

Your parents' voicemails seem to me to show that they still don't think you have a right to your own feelings.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 02-Dec-12 09:44:09

Indeed HotDamn! Ring any bells for you there love? ;)

Dunno what's worse, when they ring and ring, or when they don't.

My dad hasn't bothered since June. Neither have I, but even SisDear made 2 or 3 calls before stopping

Dawndonna Sun 02-Dec-12 10:11:59

Have to say, I love that she hasn't rung. I still think the birthday stuff is funny. But I'm 54 this week and it's taken me a very long time to get to the point where I can find things amusing.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 19:29:01

Hi Stately homers,

I'm an occasional poster, under various guises, but frequent lurker on this thread. I didn't want to selfishly gatecrash here and so had posted this in legal, but no response as yet. Some of you have given me good advice in the past so wondered if you guys had any experience of this and could advise - feel as though I'm causing trouble but really just want to stand up for myself iyswim?

Made statement to police a few months ago about historic abuse by family member. (I confronted some time ago, they denied it). No corroboration / evidence to justify proceeding with an investigation but police dc said they will if I want to. Hmm.
Anyway family member has been persistently sending letters requesting to see my children which I have been ignoring, but they have not stopped. Police say it may be seen as breach of peace and to keep diary recording dates of any calls , letters etc and they will warn them off if it continues to happen. In the meantime they said to ignore the most recent letter. However I feel out of control as this person is not respecting my boundaries, so I have basically written to them to make it clear that I want no contact and reiterated what the police have said re BoP. Completely non threatening in tone, just factual iyswim. Terrified of repercussions now though, I have ignored all contact so far but just can't cope with feeling trod all over by this person. I am sure they will try and discredit me further (have attempted to do so already, but not much I can do about that)
Have I made problems for myself, potentially with the police for writing back to this person stating they don't contact us further?

Thanks for any advice, hoping am worrying over nothing!

garlicbaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 19:56:07

I really understand why you feel distressed by this person pushing for access to your children. Having aggressively breached (denied) your boundaries when you were young and impressionable, they are now doing so again with the presumed aim of denying your own children's boundaries too. It's horrible of them - and, no doubt, feels beyond horrific to you. Their continued impact on you is evident in your uncertainty about telling them to piss off.

Your response is, afaik, almost text-book as a warning shot. You can check it with the police if you want to feel sure. After you've warned someone to stop contacting you, further efforts to reach you would be construed as harassment and should be actionable if they persist. Do ask the cops for confirmation, since it sounds as though you need official support: I am sure you've done the right thing.

What repercussions do you fear? Is there any possibility they could be realised, or are these the fears of your frightened inner child?
So angry that someone has done this to you.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 20:08:14

Thank you garlic. Yes its so scary telling them to piss off. They just don't want to take the hint, and yes its the lack of respect even for what my dc may or may not want. This person in a recent letter implied that my dc missed them, er no that's not the case at all.

The police did say it could be construed as harassment but I feel I've sort of disrupted the proper process (if there is such a thing!) because they advised me to ignore the recent contact and I didn't - I did try, but just got so angry and that's why I responded in writing, to make my position clear.
Re repercussions - I think I'm worried that this person will tell the police that I'm some sort of loon and telling lies and they then won't believe me anymore (this person has tried similar with people I know recently and I feel they do disbelieve me).

garlicbaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 20:27:34

Badmouthing and making "people" take sides isn't the same as following clear-cut procedures in law. Here is the CPS guidance on harassment.

I suggest you show the police your letter. If you have stated that you find this person's repeated contacts distressing and wish them to desist entirely, I believe you have made yourself perfectly clear. On a practical everyday level, it makes sense to block them from your phones and email, social networks, etc, and to tear up or burn all correspondence without opening it.

Have you learned any psychological tricks to disempower this person in your mind? A very easy one is to imagine them in front of you, spouting whatever rubbish s/he generally spouts, and to progressively shrink them until they're the size of a small flea, spouting in an absurdly tiny, high-pitched voice grin
Then you can swat them.

garlicbaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 20:29:32

... if their messages are actually threatening, don't block or destroy them. File them somewhere without reading, then open them in circumstances where you feel safe & supported. Threats can & should be forwarded to the police.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 20:43:48

garlic I will try that trick!

Yes I am going to keep any letters etc as the police have advised. Phone numbers all changed too. Not on fb etc.

Thank you so much x

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 02-Dec-12 21:04:45

AFAIK, certainly in relationships, a 'please don't contact me again' communication is often advised to avoid any confusion.

Once that off you Fuck pop message has been sent and established, it's much clearer for the legal/police systems to come into action and defend your polite and clear request.

Try not to let it get to you. You do have a choice over who is and is not in your life.

You're making the right decision. You know this, stay calm, get help and advice. Remember that there are new harrassment laws in place now, so you're much stronger than previously.

You have right and law on your side.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 21:53:20

Hiss you're absolutely right. I'll need to print your post off and put it on my fridge and try to ingrain it in my head, mantra like! I have just been feeling so guilty about causing hurt/ upset, and being afraid of what happens next.

Have been reading your posts and really wish you, and everyone else, lots of strength over the festive period x

Midwife99 Mon 03-Dec-12 07:48:52

Itscurtains I think you did the right thing to send one last clear letter insisting on no contact. Anything coming back will clearly now be harassment & you should make a complaint to the police.

Midwife99 Mon 03-Dec-12 07:58:09

Just thought of something's rather ironic which actually made me laugh a bit - re the neglect during a holiday when i was 12 - this year aged 44 I took my 2 young children (the other 2 are now adults) on a single parent family group holiday. We arrived back late one Saturday night. There were voicemails & texts waiting for me at home from my parents demanding I contact them "to let them know we got home safely". By Sunday afternoon my parents had reported us missing to the police & contacted my cousin & aunt (both opposite ends of the country) to tell them! I went to USA for a year as a student to work when I was 21 & they never contacted me while I was out there - replied to one letter in the whole time & when I arrived back at Heathrow I phoned & they didn't answer so I had to get a train all the way to Plymouth & then a taxi to their Dartmoor pub & after 2 nights of being ignored another train all the way back to Brighton to Uni even though I didn't have any accommodation sorted out so luckily a friend let me sleep on her sofa until I found some digs.
These memories help my resolve!

Midwife99 Mon 03-Dec-12 07:58:44

(iPhone adds inappropriate apostrophes!)

kiwigirl42 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:06:14

midwife99 sounds like you've had a awful time of it. Why the hell do some people bother having kids?

I've just rang my DM for the first time in 6 wks, after her complete lack of support over me needing a hysterectomy. She rang the other day and spoke to DH demanding to know why I hadn't been in touch despite her not ringing me for 5 wks!

So I've given in and rang and yet again she comes round to insinuating that the fact I've got chronic migraine still after 5 yrs is because I haven't tried hard enough to sort it out (believe me I've tried - hole in heart surgery, every preventative migraine drug going almost, diet, complementary therapies etc etc etc).

Just leaves me feeling angry and pissed off that I lucked out on the mother front. Its really just not bloody fair that we've been given parents who are inadequate, isn't it?

On the positive side, when I put DS 12 to bed last night he said 'I love you Mama you are the best Mama in the world' so at least I am doing something right with him despite DM. I'd never been told I was loved until I met first DH at 19! DS gets told every day, many times a day.

hope all of you are able to find some peace with your chosen families at this difficult time of year. I'm really looking forward to Xmas this year (DM invited herself over last yr). We are going to relax and have some fun without the black cloud hovering!

kiwigirl42 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:07:43

itscurtains stay strong and I hope things get easier

itscurtains Mon 03-Dec-12 11:36:13

midwife and kiwi thanks for your advice. Yes, hoping that this finally puts a line under things, though thought I'd done that already! Like you guys I wonder why they are generally abusive and ignoring then when we draw back they try to stamp all over us, when in reality they should be leaving us alone. Suppose its just control and we need to take it back!
A regular poster said on one of these previous threads that people who treat us with contempt and are abusive / neglectful therefore absolve us of any responsibility towards them, if that makes sense. We don't owe them anything. This is what helped me start the process of drawing back.

Wishing you an assertive and own little family oriented xmas this year! x

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 03-Dec-12 19:41:36

We fulfill a need, the need to feel higher up the chain than something.

We're naturally better than them, and they can't stand the competition, so they knock us down and down.

When they go too far, or we get wise and struggle free, their insecurity, which is what drives them, makes them panic at the thought of losing their emotional whipping boy/scapegoat.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 03-Dec-12 19:45:47

Someone once said on a SH thread that her mother had said to her that she saw that she (the DD/OP) had a spirit and vitality, but that she'd soon stamp it out of her. sad

That's the mentality you're dealing with, never forget this. They all disguise it, gaslight us, deny and deflect, and even blame, but that core of unadulterated jealousy and resentment is what lies at the centre of their being.

You can't fight that kind of crazy.

baytree Mon 03-Dec-12 19:56:30

You are all normal. We are damaged but it is not YOU with the problems. You have a lot more insight and self awareness because you can see and acknowledge the problems in your families' dynamics. And therin lies the problem. You are being true and independent, not playing the game.

I stopped playing the game 2 years ago. My two sisters have not spoken to me since then. But anything I do, I get the blame and I hear by email or via my dad. It gets twisted so I can be positioned to take the blame. And guess what I truly dont worry any more and have marked them as spam. I have finally moved on but need this forum to ground me so I know I am right and I work hard on my friendships instead, whereas before I tirelessly worked on bringing my family (sisters, parents) together. I've realised that my friends and own family are so much more important to me but my energy had previously gone into my birth family. On a practical and emotional level I have missed only one thing. One of my nephews who got a really hard time from my sister. I wish I was still there for him.

A regular poster said on one of these previous threads that people who treat us with contempt and are abusive / neglectful therefore absolve us of any responsibility towards them, if that makes sense. We don't owe them anything. This is what helped me start the process of drawing back. So true!

baytree Mon 03-Dec-12 19:57:56

HisstletoeAndWhine, I have copied your message. it means a lot to me.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 03-Dec-12 22:08:10

I stopped playing the game 2 years ago. But anything I do, I get the blame and I hear by email or via my dad. It gets twisted so I can be positioned to take the blame. And guess what I truly dont worry any more and have marked them as spam.

Now I know who I wann be when I grow up... ;-)

Oh Baytree, thank you so much for that snapshot of the future.

It's something I try to do on the DV support threads. You giving us that window is all I need to cling onto, no matter how tempestuous the waters become.

We need to be resolute, brave, cool and place ourselves at the utter centre of OUR world. As I said before, the abusive ex was the appetiser, this is the main course. This is harder, but all the more important.

It's the reason for pretty much all wrong in our lives. We owe them nothing at all, they owe US a childhood, a mother, father, family. All things they are incapable of every providing.

They don't even want to.

hopkinette Mon 03-Dec-12 23:55:19

Hi all.

I posted once on one of the past threads and then drifted away.

I just spent the weekend with my mother and we had a terrible fight last night - she came out with all the usual stuff she says when I disagree with her (and as far as I know, these particular lines are specially for me, and not ever directed at any of my siblings : I think they're quite tightly tied to the role that she cast me in when I was really very young - namely, irrationally angry daughter), so instead of engaging with the issue I was trying to talk to her about she just said "Why are you always like this, why are you so angry?" and "No one can say anything to you! No one can speak to you!" and "You're so judgmental!" Then she started crying and went off to bed.
A few minutes later I heard her get up and tried to go and make peace by apologising. And she said "Have you stopped taking your medication?" I have bipolar disorder. It's completely controlled, I only have bipolar II (the milder version) and I have not had an episode for well over 4 years. She knows nothing about my condition, she's never made any effort to learn about it, we never speak about it. And now I wish I'd never told her about my diagnosis in the first place because to her, it's just a fantastic weapon. It means that any time I do ANYTHING that she dislikes, she can simply imply that I am crazy.

I have no voice. Nothing I feel or believe is valid: it's all just the product of an unbalanced mind. So she has no need to listen to anything I have to say - none of it has any basis in reality.

I really, really do hate her.

kiwigirl42 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:56:27

I think there is a lot of jealousy involved. I've had statements like "I don't know why they like you" and similar said to me about a lot of my friendships since I was a kid.

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 04-Dec-12 07:23:28

Hopkinette that's so sad! You know where you stand now though, be brave and make some decisions.

There's nothing wrong with you chick, nothing living in peace, among friends and good people won't fix anyway.

You ARE strong, you ARE stable, you ARE in control of your life.

Keep telling yourself that. I'm guessing that she's sensing it, so that's why she's trying to crush you.

Her treatment of you is inversely proportionate to how you're doing. The better you are, the more likely an attack.

That said, these people love to kick puppies when they're down too.

So best to only give bland, general, all tickety-boo comments. Keep your private life private.

Kiwigirl - on the subject of migraines - I used to have horrible ones. I just don't get them at all now - have been very minimal contact with narc mother for about 12 years - Wonder if there is a connection?

Zazzles007 Wed 05-Dec-12 04:34:16

Scarlet, I would have no doubt that your migraines could be attributed to your narc mother. My narc mother has always made me feel tense, and guess what, since I haven't seen her all year, I'm so much calmer!

On another note, the narc mother has been leaving guilt-tripping messages on my mobile phone, as she has no other way of contacting me. I've been consistently reschooling myself to not feel the guilt when those messages come through - its working! Allowing myself to feel a little of the guilt, but with the constant thought "You don't need to feel this guilt, its them using emotional blackmail", has gradually made the guilty feelings reduce and reduce. Yay, a win!

Just dumping this here because I'm getting stressed again and the triggers seem so small. In my mind I'd gone no contact, after a vitriolic phone call from mother, denying they'd ever said or done anything to hurt me, and turning it all back on my lovely dh, calling him everything under the sun. I felt so liberated then, as it was so off the wall, there could be no doubt she was the 'mad' one, not me. Since then, there have been advent calendars in the post (I freecycled them) a £20 note (!! - I returned it with no words) a text asking if I wanted to talk (er, no - didn't reply) and tonight a phone call which I didn't answer. When will they get the message? Ever? Now I'm terrified they're going to turn up on one of two significant events coming up (one work related) and getting myself into a right state. Don't suppose anyone can help, but I just needed to 'tell' someone!

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Thu 06-Dec-12 20:29:34

Hey Creepy, this has struck some familiar chords with me.

A few weeks after my mother and I had our last hideous,hideous row real conversation, and I'm talking 12 or so years ago now, she sent me a cheque for £25 for my birthday. This was after being beyond hideous on the phone, telling me I wasn't the daughter she wanted etc, REALLY vile. I told her a few things too, and the whole thing blew up and was extremely upsetting, but ultimately a relief because it justified my not talking to her again. And then this card and cheque, like nothing had happened. I threw it in the bin.

Predictably, she rang a few days later, saying aggressively "Did you get that cheque I sent you?

Me: Yes

Her: Well, you haven't cashed it. (also adding some nonsense I've almost forgotten, about not getting a thank you letter, and a little politeness oiling the wheels etc.)

Me: No. I put it in the bin. <ducks>

Her: Pause.... (nastily) Well, I expect it wasn't big enough.

There then followed an explanation from me that the size of the cheque was irrelevant, but I didn't want anything from someone who had said the things she'd said to me, and listed some of the things she'd called me...

Her: well, you are!


Liberation for me.

Hold on to that feeling of liberation you had, creepy. It's a long haul, and not easy, but it's worth it, even if you have to endure the odd bit of terror when you think they are going to turn up at something. One thing I learned it that there is absolutely no point in trying to explain it to them, they will never see it from your viewpoint. They don't want to understand because then they'd have to admit they had done something wrong.

They probably won't turn up at these events, but perhaps you just need to have a small plan up your sleeve of how you would deal with it if they did.

It has taken me so long to type this, you've probably had far better help from others by now. It's just that it's so complicated to write about, it's hard to get it into anything concise.

Thank you Scarlet, are you my long lost sister? wink

It sounds so like the sort of thing my parents would say, right down to the petty 'lack of thanks' thing. Apparently one year my dh didn't ring them to say thanks for a shirt they sent (which was too small, so I returned it for vouchers) and that was brought up too!

You're right, they probably won't turn up. But I know the worry will still spoil the days somewhat. It's too late to get a restraining order for Saturday, isn't it? (only half joking)

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 07:46:22

Creepy, stop telling them about your movements, and if they do turn up, tell someone else to tell them to go, or call the police.

Refuse to engage. Yes it'll be hared, and scary, but you'd do it in a heartbeat if it were anyone else. You don't know anyone else who's been meaner to you than these abysmal people.

This has been a long time coming. You have back up, support and right on your side.

Midwife99 Fri 07-Dec-12 13:27:10

It is hard to ignore. I feel petty sometimes. "They weren't that bad were they?!" Other times I feel guilty - guilt trip voicemails "We miss OUR grandchildren terribly!" That's funny - you didn't see the older ones from one year to the next when they were little & you were still publicans! Last night my DD cried about missing her older brothers who are both away at Uni & started including her grandparents in the list of people she misses. Do I grit my teeth & arrange a short Xmas meeting for the kids' sake?

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Fri 07-Dec-12 13:35:11

No midwife, it's not worth it.

Your DD will cheer up when her big brothers come home for Christmas.

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.'

That was to Midwife.

Your experience was that bad, your parents utterly failed you.

Do not arrange any such short Christmas meeting with them, they are not worth it. Your parents do not feel an ounce of guilt over how they mistreated you.


HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 14:09:29

"Your experience was that bad, your parents utterly failed you"

I'd be inclined to suggest that this is a bit of an understatement tbh. I'd say that Midwife, you parents didn't just fail you, they wilfully neglected and actively harmed you.

Too true, Hissletoe, anyone else treating us like this would have been reported years ago, and I feel partly to blame for letting it carry on so long.
The event on Sat. is a public one I am organising, so I need a strategy just in case. If they do show their sucked-lemon faces, I willl have to treat them like anyoe else, but at the end I will tell them simply to go home. Arghhh.

Sorry, x-posted

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 17:14:47

Creepy, find a way to memorise a phrase:

"I'm not prepared to discuss this. I've made up my mind, just leave"

Repeat over and over, as often as you need to.

All anyone has to do to support/back you up is to repeat 'creepy's said all she's going to say, please respect Her wishes'

You'll also need a back up plan if they were to refuse to leave and you and your H still need to maintain a united front. Hopefully they will not turn up anyway.

BTW I only wrote this:-

"Your experience was that bad, your parents utterly failed you" as a direct response to Midwife writing in her post, "They weren't that bad were they?!". My reply along with my previous one need to be read together.

kiwigirl42 Fri 07-Dec-12 17:32:47

Thanks for your support. I tried psychotherapy a few yrs back to seemif it helped my migraines and he went over my whole childhood. It didn't help migraines but really helped to validate my experiences etc. he was very good but visibly shocked at times and one day said 'with a childhood like that you were bound to get something!'

My migraines are hormonal but you are right the stress and the blame DM puts upon me for 'not doing enough to stop them' really does not help.

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 18:09:13

Atilla, you're always awesome, I love your work, please never thin I'd critisise you eh?

Just wanted Midwife to see how she'd not got it wrong at all, and that there's so much she's entitled to feel

No worries Hisstletoe, its okaysmile. The sentiments that Midwife has expressed are ones that I have seen quite often before now, people do downplay the
abuses they have and continue to suffer at the hands of such dysfunctional
people. I do think however, that having read my second post back again I should have added the phrase and that's a complete understatement" following "your parents utterly failed you".

I was just thinking to myself the other day that neither Mr M or I have spoken to FIL since this past summer (not that he says much anyway). No loss there I can assure you. My poor DH, I feel so sorry for him having such dysfunctional parents. He does not always see how awful they have been. My lot aren't much better, disinterested is a good word to use re them. They have all taught me abject lessons in how not to behave.

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 19:07:22


It's the same as sufferers of DV, and most of us are stately homers anyway since we are taught that we are so ffing worthless, we end up with someone that carries on the narrative... angry

Abuse is abuse, it's unacceptable, and whoever dishes it out needs to be left/dumped as soon as possible. There is no such thing a blood being thicker than water... it just takes longer to clear up.... grin

This is where black and white thinking comes into it's own. Its Abuse, it's unacceptable, therefore I END this relationship.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 08-Dec-12 09:36:15

<sirens/flashing lights>

SisDear's sent DS a gift. Posty knocked this morning while I was in the shower. DS took the parcel, addressed to him.

It has her return address on it, the first time I've been given it and that's since the spring.

I don't want to have to thank her, I don't want her having contact with anyone decent around me, I don't want her in my life.

I've got it in a bag in the car. I intend to take it back to our post office when I'm back home later.

I have to give it back, don't i?

Freecycle/charity shop it/donate to Sally Army Xmas appeal. Don't waste the return postage. (Easier said than done, but as an outsider, that is what springs to mind)

Thanks also for all your support, people - it did help me get things straight in my head, and I told my colleagues what the line was. They didn't come and the event was a huge success. I was scanning the queue as everyone was coming in, mind!

kiwigirl42 Sat 08-Dec-12 18:08:44

My DS will be 13 next week. Last night he said to me 'mum, i feel a bit guilty because you spoil me a bit too much for birthdays and Xmases'
This took me aback for a minute. It was a good time to explain that Mum loves spoiling him at special times as that didn't happen in my childhood. In fact, my DM went away for 4 nights around my 13 th birthday and I was left home alone to deal with it. I was able to tell him that I'd always sworn since a kid that my kids lives would be better and that it gives me a lot of joy to see him having great birthdays and xmases. He was very grown up about discussing it as its not something I dwell on with him
The day he was born was the most important day of my life. How could a mother forget that?

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 08-Dec-12 18:38:23

Thanks Creepy. took it to the post office and posted it back. it was only a couple of quid. Had I answered the door, I could have refused it for nothing.

I'll not be taken unaware again.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 08-Dec-12 18:43:08

KIwi, i don't think your mum forgot your birthday, any more than my Ex forgot DS's 5th, the last one he knew he'd be in the same country for. He buggered off the night before, to spend time with no-mark mates, and came bak after 11pm on the actual day, no call, nothing. I was LIVID with him. This was a month before he was due to leave for good, and he HAD to pout and spoil his DS birthday.

They HATE the idea that a day is NOT all about them.

I shut my family out of my birthday this year, it was FREAKISH how put out they were, they were not sad, they were angry at not being a part of a good day.

As I have said before, if you are not there for me at the sad times, then you are not having access to me for the good times.

Garbage IN - Garbage OUT. What you reap you sow....

DontstepontheBaubles Sat 08-Dec-12 18:44:46

I'd probably send it back Hissy. But I do not know your back story.

DontstepontheBaubles Sat 08-Dec-12 18:46:47

Cross posted with you. I've been putting the children to bed and hadn't refreshed the page.

Been a hard day with the DCs, I feel like I've told them off all afternoon and now I despise myself for it. As a divorced mum and due to my background with my parents, I strive to be this perfect parent but I feel like I fail so often. Does that make sense?

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 08-Dec-12 19:31:43

Telling them off is setting boundaries, its a good thing.

Today may be better!

I am a few years down the road on this. 11 years ago I came to my senses about my mother. i started a thread called 'am I the only one with a miserable mother'. The response was huge.

Since then I have had counselling, stepped right back from my Mother and taken two lots of anti depressants (am back on them now).

In my experience my Mother will not any responsibility for her actions or failings. Just says I got it wrong. One I will never forget after my miscarriage she told my brother that I had made a mistake and I wasnt pregnant after all. My brother told me this and when I approached her to ask why she said it, she denied saying it to him.

There is NC and there is limited contact. Personally I would advise you not to make the decision that they cant give gifts or see grandchildren (unless there has been abuse, they fill their heads with nonsense etc).

In my experience both my parents treated my children with kid gloves. This is because DH is involved and wouldnt stand for nonsense from either of them. He was the strong one. My kids are now teens, my Dad is dead, Mum is in her 80's but still toxic.

Midwife99 Sun 09-Dec-12 16:24:09

"We are taught that we are so fucking worthless that we find someone who continues the narrative"

That's probably one of the most powerful things I've read in a long time.

ledkr Sun 09-Dec-12 16:38:58

Oh well here goes.
Hi there I am thinking of how best to move forward with this so would welcome some thoughts on it.
My mum split with my dad before I can remember and was pg with my db. We all loved together for years and I think had a fairly normal childhood apart from being poor and my dad hardly seeing us. Mum was very bitter and never really spoke about our dad.
When I was about 12 she remarried a very nice but extremely passive man who was nice to us but made no attempt to actually parent us.
They had a baby boy who was stillborn. My brother and I were very upset but nobody ever spoke to us about it I just remember seeing mum sore and upset.
They went on to have my two sisters who I adored and spent loads of time with and love dearly but felt as though from their arrival I was completely eft to my own devices. I pushed boundaries but was pretty much ignored and given no help planning a future.
I became pg at 16 from an older not very nice man but was pretty much told I ended to leave ASAP which I did.
He was very violent some of which mum knew about but she never helped me and eventually I left at 19 with2 ds having suffered multiple injury s.
I've moved on since then. I trained to be a nurse then a sw and have been married twice with 5 dc.
My ex cheated on me after 18yrs and mum was slightly supportive but soon wouldn't hear a word against him and even gave him money for Xmas 3 months after he'd left me for ow. She gave him 40 pounds,I had a jewellery box.
She saw my violent ex once and chatted to him telling me what a nice bloke he is and that he'd offered to donate a kidney to ds who needed one. I pointed out that had he not beaten the hell out of me whilst pg with ds he wouldn't actually need a kidney. Mum told me I was making that up and it hadn't happened.
Over the years I have always accepted that my sisters get a lot more than I do because they were little but now they are 30 and 31 and still opens get lots more than I do as do their partners. Mum tells me what she's got them in their elaborate stockings and they get a large gift eg camera or I pod and other things. I get a small gift.
When I was a lone parent I spent Xmas alone as "we just like it quiet" but now the girls are adults they all get together for Xmas and never ask me.
When I got remarried 4 years ago on Xmas eve mum and step dad popped in for the ceremony but couldn't stay for the meal as "we are too busy with Xmas" I later found out from my sisters that it was my step dad who didn't want to come and mum said "I have to keep the peace"
Last Xmas it was suggested we do a secret Santa as we all have dc so a lot to buy for. This seemed a good idea until I realised that mum still lavished gifts on the girls during their Xmas together but I got nothing from her as was included in the secret Santa
I went Xmas shopping Friday with sister and mum and she blatantly bought sis one if her Xmas presents in front if me. I later said I didn't want to do secret Santa anymore.
I really could go on but I won't apart from to say that she is great at times, helps out with kids and buys them stuff.
I did once tell my sister how I felt but she dismissed it as we are all grown up now and mum is good to you.
They are all planning a holiday now to celebrate my sisters 30th. Openly discuss it in front if me but I'm not asked to go.
Sorry it's so long but if really love to hear what others make of this.
Dh says its just that she sees them as children still but still hurtful for me.

financialwizard Sun 09-Dec-12 22:00:08

I haven't been around for a while because I just moved house and have had little contact with my parents since thankfully. They did come round today, but are staying with one of their friends who live in the area instead of us. I can't tell you how relieved I am!

Anyway it looks like they are still going to move up to our end of the country but not 2 doors down as initially suggested. More like 5/6 miles away. It appears Dad is trying to exert authority and push for a place further out. He said he thinks it would be a bad idea to move so close 'because we all need our space'. I am hoping it is because he has seen me trying to he more assertive. Trouble is I think Mum see's it as me throwing my toys out of the pram because she made a comment about me having tantrums 2 days ago. I did let that one slide, but did tell her I had to go at that point and we 'd only been talking 3 minutes.

The more time I spend away from her, and not speaking to her the stronger I feel. Sometimes I wonder if NC would be the way to go but I think I would find it harder than this.

Ledkr, that is sad to read. I cant offer any advice either, not a situation I have been it but it sure is a hurtful one. All I can suggest is that perhaps you assert yourself more ie "lovely, 'Sue' has a nice gift, I have seen 'some earrings' that I would love for Christmas, let me show them to you. Maybe they dont realise the harm they are inflicting.

I think you need to communicate with them. Ask point blank why you are not invited to join in for Christmas. Dont ask questions where they can answer yes or no and why are you not invited to the 30th birthday as you would love to be included.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 09-Dec-12 22:52:01

ledkr, that's awful. You are isolated in your own family. My mum won't acknowledge may abuse either, keeps talking about a friend of hers that was abused. Not me, oh no.

I'm not to be supported emotionally in anything, thje harder it hurts, the further they run.

All we can do is refuse to be where they want us to be. To refuse to hold the job title they force upon us. To be ourselves. No matter what.

Dawndonna Mon 10-Dec-12 21:53:00

So sorry Ledkr. Perhaps with help you can start to distance yourself from this.

ledkr Mon 10-Dec-12 22:14:35

I feel better since posting so goodness knows how I'd feel with a bit of counselling. It just helps to know I'm not over reacting. Me and dh have chatted loads too it helps to put it into perspective.

baytree Mon 10-Dec-12 22:34:30

Hi Ledkr, we all know on this thread that you are not overreacting. Your family operates a sytem so that you are unfairly at the bottom of the ladder. And they will keep stepping on your fingers until you find another ladder to climb up and say I am strong and can climb myself. And that is because that gives them a boost to their ego.

Dont try to change them. Change yourself. The best advice I got on this thread was when someone said they finally realised that the change had to come from within themselves, to make themselves a more positive and happy person, rather than puzzling and fretting over why others behave the way they do. This is building your own self esteem as your parents never did that for you.

This is also difficult to do as we are all brought up to think that a family member wouldnt behave badly to us and we are sad and puzzled when they do and want to try and make it right. dont make them right, make yourself right.

ledkr Mon 10-Dec-12 22:54:02

Thanks bay. It's weird cos my nan behaved the same way to mum ie favoured her younger more successful dd and mum knew it, we used to discuss it. She is repeating patterns.
I have broken them as I too have older and younger dc and my adult ds's are treated the same as baby dds and I'd do anything for all of them.
Dh's theory is that's and sees my sisters as her children still whereas I'm her adult daughter.
Honestly she is soooo proud of them which is great but I'm no less deserving of praise. I do a difficult job which I'm really good at and have coped with some terrible stuff.
I'm actually amazed I'm as sane as I am hmm

Badvocsanta Mon 10-Dec-12 23:26:49

Been directed here by Attila who posted on a thread is started a few days ago.
Not sure what to say really.
I am sure my childhood was not that bad really, not compared to some of you, but as I get older (I turned 40 this year) and have had children of my own I find it harder and harder to reconcile my feelings of sadness and anger wrt my childhood.
Part of me feels that the past is the past and that it's pointless to keep harking back to a time when I was so unhappy, but another part of me knows that those experiences made me who I am today, for good or ill.
My mother is of Irish catholic extraction and I am the eldest of 3 siblings.
I was used from the age of 10 as a skivvy and sent out to work from the age of 13 in various Pt jobs like babysitting, cleaning etc.
my siblings were not treated this way, in fact quite the opposite.
I nursed my mother through 2 nervous breakdowns before I was 20.
She asked me to take out cc in my name which i did and left me ££££ in debt which took me years to pay off.
It is only now as she is starting to favour my siblings children over my own that I feel I have to do something about it.
I can't change what she did to me, but I can prevent her making my dc feel unloved and useless.
I have already pulled away from her quite a bit and have cut contact to my terms.
She phones and I am polite. It's mostly about how ill she feels that day/week.
But I have done this before...I always end up getting sucked back in.
It enough is enough.
I am not a scared young girl anymore.
If any of you have successfully kept up a au official relationship with your parent/s can I ask how? Is it even possible?
Thanks if you got this far..

Badvocsanta Mon 10-Dec-12 23:39:30

That should have read superficial relationship, sorry!

kiwigirl42 Tue 11-Dec-12 00:40:37

Really feel for you Ledkr and Badvocsanta. I think Xmas makes things feel more raw as well.

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 07:58:45

I just feel really sad.
I was never really a part of the family. Not really. And I dont know why.
When I was saving up to get married and nit working after being made redundant my brother (rarely worked even though he is now in his mid 30s) took my bank card and withdrew over £400 over 3 days.
Fund out when the bank statement arrived.
And you know the worst bit?
After a minute of being stunned and shocked.
I knew I just ^ knew^
Cue my parents blaming me.
I called The police as it wasn't actually my money, was mine and my now Dhs.
They cautioned him, no charges obv.
And my entire family turned against me.
Because what I did in calling the police was wrong.
So, I finally left home 5 months before my marriage. Moved in with pils. Very very stressful lead up to my wedding.
Never had an apology, will never get one.
My sister spent all of her teenage years telling me she wished I was dead. Every day, at east twice.
I think, for my own sanity, I need to pull away from these people.
But how?
Pretty are coming for Xmas lunch. That's ok, they will come, eat and leave.
But they are supposed to be joining us for hols next year (I know, I know) how the hell do I get out of that without causing major trauma!?

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 08:07:36

badvoc hi, I'm new to this too but have felt better for opening up and also noticing it more as ice got older.
I'm the eldest too and had my baby sisters all the time whilst mum worked and my step dad wafted around as if they were nothing to do with him. But in my mums world you must put up and shut up to keep your man.
Which is why I get no sympathy for my break ups I think. My mum probably thinks I deserve it cos don't take care of my man!
Anyway it hurts that my sisters go along with it all but they have never known any different I guess.
I'm going to wait to see what Xmas brings and then ask my sisters if they think this is ok to buy loads for them and nothing for me.
I'm guessing they will have an answer but really how can they?
She even buys stuff for their partners and nothing for mine which is embarrassing when his parents are so generous to me.
The answer will be that they get together at Xmas so have to buy gifts.
I will say well shouldn't that be more reason to get us a gift.

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 09:50:19

Hi ledkr
Yes it does hurt, no matter how much I try and pretend it doesn't.
I never know what to say to my pils at Xmas when they ask what my parents have given embarrassed.
One year it was an apron with a Swear word on it....sigh. No idea why. Probably saw it on sale and thought "that will do for badvoc".
Luckily for me my dc don't realise how more favoured the other gc are as they spend so much time with my pils smile
I guess my parents would say i was the problem because I wouldn't put up with it! I wouldn't accept it. My mother was horrified that I stayed on for a levels...what's the point? Why bother? She wanted me out and earning I suppose sad
She buys my brother cigarettes and gives him money regularly (he is 36 this month) and he has never held down a job for more than 9 months since he was 16.
But it's never his fault. Oh no. It's the bosses, the weather, the money, the shifts...never the fact he is a lazy entitled pig.
My sister is married to an awful man but he is rich so it's ok. It's ok he never spends time with my nephews (who are lovely) and treats her like dirt. She gets anew car every few months but he is a hateful person and she is to all intents and purposes a single parent.
But he is rich so it's ok.

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 11-Dec-12 11:58:34

They are wrong about us.

They are wrong in general.

We don't need to be with people who hold us in such contempt.

End of the year, end of bad habits.

New Year : New beginnings for us all.

We ARE worth it.

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 15:57:38

Today I had a childcare emergency and mum dropped everything to help. Confuses me that

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 11-Dec-12 16:14:48

Doesn't confuse me. I have all the childcare I could possibly need, mum's a saint in that regard... *

Our DC are not low down the pecking order, just us and anyone stupid enough to be with us... It's the contrast that rams it home how shit WE must be. Can you see that. Everyone's important, except US.

*but am aware that this may be chucked at me at some point. Am ready and waiting.

Badvocsanta I felt so sad reading your post at 07.58.

What a toxic, horrible family. I know how hard it is to resolve these kinds of issues. I still haven't managed it, and I'm in my 50s now! I 'divorced' my father a decade ago, having finally realised (tho not fully come to terms with) the fact that he feels nothing for me. Throughout my childhood he constantly told me how much I was hated by my brother and sisters. No violence or neglect, just an absence of the normal paternal emotions. I left home at 16 to live with a much older man (neither of my parents raised any objection), we were together nearly ten years but when the marriage broke down my parents could not have been less interested.
Since cutting all contact with my father, I have felt better. Not good, you understand, but better. I hope you find the strength to do the same.

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 18:30:13

Thank you notquite.
I guess that's the thing isn't it?
They just don't feel about us the way parents are supposed to feel...I.e. love.
I blamed myself for so long.
Thought I must be a dreadful person.
But if course I'm not. I am not perfect by any means but I did nothing to deserve that treatment.
I could write pages and pages about their treatment of me, but I am sure you have either heard it all before or even experienced some of it yourself sad
I am so blessed. I have a lovely dh (we have been together 17 years) 2 beautiful boys that I am so proud of and one or two close friends. Great pils who have helped us so much.
I think Xmas brings up lots of emotions for me. Some happy. Some not. It's a strange time of year isn't it? So many people really struggle.
I hope everyone on this thread has a peaceful and stress free Xmas x

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 19:14:21

Mistletoe yes I see that now sister takes my dd every year for Xmas treats like panto or Santa when really it would just be nice to do it together.
Does anyone know why this happens?
I've not done anything apart from being born!
I'm nice I think. I have lots if friends and have worked all my life with the less fortunate. I've not got a judgemental bone on my body.
I actually quite like myself despite those fuckers

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Tue 11-Dec-12 19:24:37

Hey badvoc, I have kept up a superficial and distant relationship with my mother since hideous showdown about 12 years ago. She was SO vile to me and it was the final straw and, looking back, gave me the justification and opportunity I needed to finally put an end to it all.

We now speak for about 60 seconds on Christmas day (just before she ruins Christmas for my brothers and their families)

We email very occasionally (2 or 3 times a year) and send birthday and christmas cards and presents.

And that's it.

i think she is actually ok with this too. I think she knows somewhere deep down that I have got the measure of her. And she doesn't want a proper relationship with me in case I tell her what I think of her and her behaviour and her treatment of me and my brothers (which I certainly tried to do about 12 years ago, but no one can out-viscious my mother - Nowadays I really couldn't be bothered to go into it any more, and am glad I don't have to.) And she knows if she does/says anything awful to me, that I just won't bother with her at all, and I will tell my brothers and she will look as though she is in the wrong, so it's also safer for her not to have too much contact with me.

My brothers involve her in their lives fully and take her on holidays etc and she ruins everything for them, storms out, causes fights, gives everyone merry hell etc, and when it gets really bad they phone me and tell me about it, and I sympathise. But I always end up thinking, thank god I did what I did, difficult as it was, it was the right thing for me, my children and my sanity.

As the only daughter, the focus was mainly on me, though she actually treats everyone badly, falls out with friends, neighbours, DILs, just everyone, though not at the same time. She likes an audience and to get people to side with her against others in arguments. Loves stirring it all up.

Now I'm out of the game, my dear brothers and their wives and families suffer all the more, and they feel they can't ditch her because then she'd have no-one. I have felt bad about this, but they are more and more understanding of what I have chosen, as they experience more and more of this hideousness. Nowadays, if they fall out with her for a period of time, say a month or two, they regard this as time off!

christmas day this year will be the same with regard to my family as always. She'll go round to one of my brothers houses. I will ring my brothers to say Happy Christmas, and then I'll say it to her and she'll say it to me.

Within a couple of hours, whichever brother's house she is at, he will ring me to tell me she's just stormed off/ruined christmas/had a go at one of their mother in laws/ complained of not nice enough presents (yes really!) or whatever. My husband and daughters always enjoy my re-telling of whatever sorry tale it is. I am getting off scot-free. and so are my girls.

So, yes I am glad it is this way, which doesn't mean I'm not sad about it sometimes.

But yes, I'm glad.

It is manageable.

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 19:34:14

Scarlett she sounds hideous!
Surely one day she will push your brothers too far or at least their wives.

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 19:34:55

I am so sorry. How awful for you and your brothers sad
And well done for being brave and taking a stand.
I cant even have the (satisfaction?) of a showdown with my mother...she would (and has in the past when I have tried to talk) deny everything. Say she can't remember any if it. Then cry and say she did her best.
What's the point?
But she didn't do her best. She has used her mental health issues to excuse her behaviour for decades.
It doesn't wash with me anymore.
And for someone who has - allegedly - suffered from clinical depression most if her adult life she is so scathing of others perceived weakness and depression.
When I developed late onset pnd with ds1 (long story but he was a very sick baby and it was an awful time) she told me and I quote "you haven't got time to be depressed"
This - from a woman I nursed through 2 breakdowns before I was 20.
I took myself to the gp - who has known my family all my life almost - and told him "I will not end up like my mother". And he knew what I meant.
4 months on ADs and I recovered.

Midwife99 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:13:39

Oh Scarlett - what a relief it must be to not have to deal with her at Christmas like your brothers!! She sounds a nightmare!!

Midwife99 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:14:54

Badvoc - the denial is unbelievable isn't it?!! My parents have not even acknowledged what I have told them is the reason that I have withdrawn!

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 20:23:01

Yes it is.
Totally unbelievable sad

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Tue 11-Dec-12 20:33:33

Yes ledkr, she does push them too far. One of my SILs has regular bust ups with her, and gives as good as she gets, the last one a total screaming match when my mother was on holiday with them (god, why do they still do this when they know how it will go?) with my sil saying to her words to the effect of -You've already lost your relationship with your daughter because of your behaviour, do you want this to happen with rest of your family? Huge enormous fireworks ensued, followed by a three month silence. My brother said it was lovely, restful time off from the usual nonsense.

My long-suffering brothers have saved her financially and pay for her life now. They take her out to dinner, theatre, have her on holiday, have her for Christmas, phone her regularly, and whatever they do it IS NEVER ENOUGH..oh god am starting to feel bad now.

But they choose to stay, she's excellent at guilt trips etc. and all of us crave a normal family so much, I think they think if they just keep trying,and sometimes she's not so bad, yadda yadda yadda. But it isn't sustainable and their children are much younger than mine, so don't know how it will turn out, and how long their wives will tolerate it.

And yes midwife, a relief. All year round!

Don't worry badvoc,the time will come I expect.

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 20:37:35

Does anyone find their experiences skew their opinions of others. I feel really odd about dh close relationship with his parents and fe all jealous and spiteful when he talks to or about them but I hide it well cos I know it's not normal

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 20:46:48

Yes ledkr
I sometimes get bit cheesed off with Dhs need to tell his parents everything.
But I recognise that it's because I can't with mine. Anything I did ever tell them was used against me at a later date.
But that's my problem, not theirs.
I know I cannot have the relationship with my parents and siblings that I would like.
But that is not my fault.
Things have been a lot better since I backed off some years ago. I think I just need to take it to the next stage iyswim? I am hoping it happens naturally rather than as the result of some major trauma - because of course it would be all my fault. As usual.
I don't want to give them the satisfaction of saying "look, we were right all along!"

Midwife99 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:53:37

Comparing In laws!! My particular gift is choosing husbands with even worse parents than mine!! So actually I have never experienced what normal families are! I hope my children do not feel the same. Apart from the fact that their mother can't stay married! hmm

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 11-Dec-12 21:18:46

Ledkr, we are not in the wrong, we never were. We're actually so nice they're scared of us. It's our spirit and joy they are terrified of, they have to crush it, or risk failing to measure up to US.

Jealousy. Insecurity. Fear. Inadequacy.


The more nasty they are, the more they are threatened. Take it as a f*cked up compliment...

A stretch too far? :D

DontstepontheBaubles Tue 11-Dec-12 21:29:57

Ledkr I relate to that. I struggle with jealousy over other close families and bitterness at times. ExHs Mum rang him all the time, when married and it annoyed me blush I didn't consider it normal, due to my family.

I'm lurking a lot at the moment but just wanted to pop in and agree a little with Ledkr.

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 21:30:27

Well I must admit I do think mine are a tad over involved and don't seem to respect that they are now all part of a couple and may like time alone.
I do find it hard to separate arseholeness and normal parental behaviour.
I also get stroppy with the sheer amount spent on presents for pil but maybe if you have nice parents you buy them nice things

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 21:31:44

Thanks dont nice to know I'm not alone

DontstepontheBaubles Tue 11-Dec-12 21:34:23

Well if I wasn't divorced. I'd still like time alone and I only bought something small generally for my parents. But a friend at work has a very close family and they live in each others pockets. Maybe I'm too warped from my past, but that would be too much for me. Especially if it was my in laws <shudders>

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 21:42:29

Do you also struggle with visitors too or is that just me?
I like my own space and some peace and quiet.
It could just be that I lived on my own a long time.
I do like visitors if invited but find overnight guests too intrusive.
Pil live away so have to stay and I find it overwhelming.
Even their stupid flannels hung on the side of my bath do my head in and all the eating annoys me even though I like my food.
I just find it all too intrusive.
God I'm nuts aren't I grin

DontstepontheBaubles Tue 11-Dec-12 21:53:37

I call myself a hermit. I cannot be bothered to make an effort with friendships. I'm on my own most nights and like it that way. I like living alone with the kids and worry that living with someone again would annoy me blush

But and it's a big but, I think my low self esteem and confidence from my childhood, has fuelled my current life style and I'm now used to it iyswim? Does that make any sense at all? It's difficult to fully untangle it all tbh.

Midwife99 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:08:55

I really identify with all that. I don't like overnight visitors or unexpected guests. I like being on my own. I was so self sufficient as a child (cooked most of my own meals from age 9 & got myself up for school & caught 2 buses alone across Birmingham from age 8 while parents slept off the booze) & can't remember anyone EVER playing with me. I remember being bought board games for Christmas for 2 or more players but no one being willing to play them with me. I have to make a huge effort to play with my kids as it feels so unnatural. Does anyone else feel like that?

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 22:13:35

Yes I know what you mean and I do get irritated by dh at times but luckily he works shifts do get my time alone with kids too.
I was happy alone too and could never understand why people were lonely.
I became pregnant at 16 to get away and create my own family but that obviously went wrong.

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 22:17:46

Yes playing with my kids bores me rigid. I prefer to do fun activities together which I am happy to join in with.
I did a play therapy course today for work and they spoke about the importance of touch for children and asked how we'd feel if we'd never been touched or hugged as kids.
I had to tell the truth just to see his face.

DontstepontheBaubles Tue 11-Dec-12 22:27:40

I do hug and kiss my DCs a lot but I find the effort of trying to play with them, beyond me a lot of the time. I put it down to the exhaustion of being a lone parent but I also battle with depression. I came off ADs a year ago but I've been feeling so low lately I'm beginning to question whether I need to go back to the GP. It's like wading through treacle at the moment and I'm not praising my kids at all lately.

My mum and dad were never interested in how I was getting along at School or encouraging me. I didn't do great at my GCSEs and I find I have to force myself to do the opposite with my DCs.

It's all so hard, isn't it? And the extra guilt when I upset my children or handle things wrong or if I feel my behaviour is mimicking my upbringing, it all hits me and then I feel awful and feel like I'm failing my own children. I try so hard to be the opposite of my parents but it sneaks out sometimes.

Maybe that's why I like being alone. Life is hard enough already. Marriage (for me) was hard work. It's so peaceful at night here and I need that.

ledkr Tue 11-Dec-12 22:41:50

Yes it's an added parenting pressure we do t need, I'm the same with that. I'm very tactile with my children too and would do anything for them.
I was never encouraged either. I was a good dancer and wanted to entertain but got ignored apart from paying for lessons.
My milk teeth were black stumps at 6 because of no encouragement to care for them. My favoured sisters were the same actually so not all rosy for the chosen ones.
I also suffer bouts if depression which I fight off periodically and I comfort eat too.

Midwife99 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:42:48

I've always been extremely affectionate to them & hug & kiss them & tell them I love them every day but it's really engaging in play that's so difficult. It's hard to bake with your kids when no one ever did it with you!!

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 11-Dec-12 22:45:17

I'm a little overcome.

I thought was just me that struggled with playing. Put it down to being shut up for months at a time, never stepping outsside, living in a hellhole, day in, day out with a child that went from 6m - 3yo.

We played today, had a right laugh, but that's so rare. I really do need to make more time to just be silly with him.

I struggle with friends too, do better now that I'm older, but as a kid, was often isolated and alone. Dunno why, I never harmed a soul.

Negative programming? From our parents?

Now my son struggles to make friends, I'm unconvinced that this village is the best place for us. The only thing I love about living here is the house, and my neighbours. The rest of it? Pah! I need to think about moving, but I don't earn enough to pass refs. Have no savings at all,so am stuck for the minute.

Life will find a way. I have to remain hopeful.

Midwife99 Tue 11-Dec-12 23:56:15

I just ordered 3 games from Amazon to play with them. I will break the cycle ...... I will break the cycle!!

ledkr Wed 12-Dec-12 07:27:47

Yes let's all try to do that. Especially over Xmas.

Badvocsanta Wed 12-Dec-12 07:56:23

There is loads of stuff you can do with your kids that doesn't cost much.
Walks..trips to parks.
Some really easy recipes on MN for cakes and biscuits you could make together.
Easy Xmas decs...paper chains etc.
Ikea have a gingerbread house kit for under £3 ATM. That's always good fun.
My kids love drawing and colouring so we spend time doing that but no, it doesn't come naturally to me at all.
I cannot remember my mum ever playing with us. Ever. We played board games and cards as I got older but that was more for their pleasure not ours iyswim?

ledkr Wed 12-Dec-12 10:40:09

I just got a gingerbread house ready for later funnily enough. I find baking and craft ok tbh it's board games I loathe and think soft play is for coffee and papers ha ha
It's easy with a girl too as you can do nails and stuff . I'm even suffering one direction in April hmm

Badvocsanta Wed 12-Dec-12 11:42:44

I dont do soft play.
Ds2 is 4.5 and has never even been to one! smile
Neither if mine are that into board games tbh.
Ds1 has got battleships for Xmas so that may change though....
Ds1 is making a gingerbread house at shcool this year so I am not doing hoping to make some. Cakes/mince pies etc once they break up.
One direction? You are a great mum!! smile

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 12-Dec-12 11:45:42

It's interesting to hear you talk about preferring to be alone, and having a hard time playing and making friends. Because that describes what my life was like, until about 2 years ago when I left my abusive ex-h, realised that I had modelled my parents' relationship (and didn't feel worthy of better treatment from ex because of the way they treated me with neglect and contempt), and started making some serious changes about how I thought and behaved.

Now the pendulum has swung the other way, and I am an outgoing and cheerful person who likes to go out and socialise, other people find me very engaging, I am always out dancing or socialising or doing all sorts of activities with people (when before I would always be alone). And I am even learning how to play with kids, which is something that used to make me nervous and confused before (I have none of my own).

So I guess what I wanted to contribute here is that you can turn it around, if your isolation and reserve are something you feel you want to change.

ledkr Wed 12-Dec-12 12:27:01

* hot damn* I'm a bit of a party animal myself love drinking and socialising its just my home I like to myself iykwim. It's my safe haven and I'm always glad to see the back of visitors lol

DontstepontheBaubles Wed 12-Dec-12 16:11:48

I'm at a soft play right now on their wifi grin But they're off playing without me blush

SlipperyIce Wed 12-Dec-12 16:12:22

N/C as this is identifying - I've posted on and off here before, so some may recognise the background.

I've been non-contact with my parents for nearly two years; after they sided with my ex during and after out divorce. Very toxic relationship for a while and much better of without contact. We live several huindrend miles apart, so not difficult to achieve.

I have had contact with them twice in the last 12 months - once at my neices christening when we exchanged polite greetings only, and a short phone call a couple of weeks ago engineered by my elderly gran who is determined to heal the rift.

An envelope arrived today with my Dads handwritting on it - addressed to Ms SlipperyIce. I am not a Ms, never have been - I have kept my former married name and am known as Mrs, which they have previously written on envelopes addressed to me. The only thing that has changed since the last time they wrote is that my ex has remarried - and my parents hosted my ex and his DW during their honeymoon.

So, inside the envelope is another envelope, with the words do not open until Christmas Day emblazoned on it.

Now what?

Badvocsanta Wed 12-Dec-12 16:19:13

Open it.
They don't get to tell you what to do anymore x

I'd open it then shred it.


Was this hand delivered or posted to you?.

Abusive parents like yours often side with abusive types and do meet with them. It is not altogether unsurprising that they sided with your ex H; they met a kindred spirit in him.

ledkr Wed 12-Dec-12 16:34:34

Yes open it or you will drive you mad. What is it with these parents siding with our exes. Mine nearly killed me but she thinks he's a great bloke.

SlipperyIce Wed 12-Dec-12 16:40:50

It was posted - and, badvocsanta you're right - they can't tell me what to do anymore.

I wish the Ms thing didn't bother me - but it comes across that they don't like the fact that there are now two Mrs SlipperyIce 's - me and my ex's DW - who they have also taken under their wing, and the envelope address is their way of expressing their disapproval of my refusal to 1) change my name or 2) marry DP. My mother is a master of passive-aggression (as is my ex), and it's exactly her style.
Or, it could be a genuine misunderstanding and they might assume that now ex has remarried I would have changed my name through choice - always hard to tell, isn't it?

I'm going to wait for DP to get home and then open it with a large glass on wine in my hand.

HisstletoeAndWhine Wed 12-Dec-12 16:43:31


Don't give them the satisfaction of having got your attention.

You know there is no misunderstanding, you feel that in your gut.


Midwife99 Wed 12-Dec-12 16:49:45

Yes send it back - "no one of that name at this address!!" Ha!!

HisstletoeAndWhine Wed 12-Dec-12 16:51:39



DontstepontheBaubles Wed 12-Dec-12 17:27:55

I'd send it back too.

WankbadgersBauble Wed 12-Dec-12 17:55:15

"When you have kids, you'll understand."

Dad, I have a child. She tests me and tries me in new and inventive ways every day. I frequently wish I could find an "off" button. I often dream of hiding in the top of the linen cupboard, just to finish my tea. At times I lose control and snap at her.
I have yet to understand, Dad. I still don't understand why it was all right for you to kick us, belittle us and ignore me in favour of my brother. Calling me a "cow" whenever I bloated due to PMT, that wasn't all right. Promising to beat us black and blue if we handed the butter-knife we were using to cut our play-do with directly to each other instead of putting it on the table was way, way over the top. You terrified us, because we knew you would. It was impossible to relax and play together with that threat hanging over us.

What confused, and still confuses me, Dad, is how you could be the most amazing Dad- loving, caring, protective, generous, and so very proud, and then swap to this callous, casually cruel man in the blink of an eye. I know, and I understand that you were the unwanted last "accidental" child. I know, and I understand that you pretty much raised yourself, and were mercilessly bullied by your brothers- all 6 of them. I accept this as a reason why you may have found raising us harder than "normal." I do not accept this as an excuse.

Dad, I will never, ever understand. The idea of hitting my child makes me nauseous. The mere idea of calling her names is unthinkable. And to threaten to beat her black and blue? No.

Dad, I love you. I forgive you- I don't believe you ever intended to hurt us. But you did hurt us. And I will never, ever understand.

WankbadgersBauble Wed 12-Dec-12 18:01:58

Oh, and SlipperyIce, I'd probably get DP to check it over. And then probably I'd burn it.
They don't own you.

Midwife99 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:50:30

Not sure if I've done the right thing but in response to another tearful voicemail for my mother begging me to sort things out & telling me she is desperate to see her grandchildren I have sent a text :-

I got mum's voicemail again last week. Until the contents of my email are acknowledged & not completely ignored I'm not sure how the situation can change. I will endeavour to make sure she sees the girls around Christmas however.


ledkr Thu 13-Dec-12 00:12:03

Oh dear mw I'm not sure. I'd be the same though. It's taken me years to admit this stuff so not sure I'm good for advice. I could never imagine stopping my dc seeing her though. Their father treated us all horribly and still sees them.

kiwigirl42 Thu 13-Dec-12 00:24:39

Its interesting how alike our families are. When i told my mother I was leaving my first husband due to DV she said 'but i really like him, you should stay with him' !! Uh, no! My now Dh really has her number though and she is very careful round him. It was DS birthday today and she rang , managing to snipe that he didn't talk to her for long and we give him too many presents. I will never forgive her for leaving me on my own on my 13th bday for 4 days. I look at my now 13 yr old DS and can't imagine not wanting to celebrate his special day and to just be with him. I am glad we are the better, kinder people no matter how we arrived at this point!

FlourFace Thu 13-Dec-12 02:33:37

Just discovered this thread. Lots of interesting stuff and I'll be sure to check out the reading in the first post. smile

I think I have what MN would describe as a 'toxic' mother. I am seeing her soon and already dreading it.

Dawndonna Thu 13-Dec-12 09:03:33

Apparently I too should have stayed with first dh because he 'had a good job and money'. Despite dv etc.
Again, current dh is very sure of who she is, so even before I went nc, she was wary and careful.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 13-Dec-12 11:05:30

Loved your post, Wankbadgers. It expresses a lot of what I would like to say to my mother.

Reading it, the sentiment I wanted to add when thinking of my own mother is "...and you will never, ever understand."

financialwizard Thu 13-Dec-12 13:57:49

MW you are braver than me. I am struggling to be in the company of my mother at the moment , let alone allow the woman loose on my children.

She seems to think the answer to any problem is to throw money at it. She has tried to buy herself into my children's affections since I have been harder with her. I think we might be getting to the 'no contact' stage. Sigh.

hopkinette Thu 13-Dec-12 14:12:53

Thank you, Hisstletoe, for your response. I think there's a lot of truth in what you say.
I'm just feeling really sunk today. I had a counselling session this morning - it's counselling for an unrelated issue and it's supposed to be very issue-focussed CBT but actually my counsellor is very good about letting me ramble on about whatever's bothering me. I'm hoping that in the end the counselling will do some good but at the moment it's just having the effect of making me feel more and more fucked up. Every session just makes me reflect on yet another aspect of my self that is seriously damaged, and it unsettles me. Today was no exception. We spoke a bit about my mother and it just made me feel like everything is a hopeless tangled mess that I will never be able to sort out.

Afterwards I went to the Co Op to get some groceries and on my way out I noticed a little girl larking about outside. Her mother was watching her and laughing - not in a mean way, in a happy way. The little girl was having fun and her mother was enjoying her having fun, and she was actively expressing that. And I just thought "Wow, how amazing that would be. Imagine having that reflected back at you, as a matter of course: that you are a source of pleasure and that your happiness makes someone else happy." And imagine NEVER having that reflected back at you. Imagine if the only emotional responses you ever evoked in the people around you when you were a child were hostility, anger, impatience, irritation, contempt, violence, boredom.

How do you change your view of yourself? How do you stop seeing yourself as your parent saw you, namely as a fucking millstone, difficult, impossible, irritating, an imposition?

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 16:42:03

Oh well!! Had a Christmas card from them today - inside in CAPITALS!!! "MIDWIFE - WE STILL LOVE THE GIRLS - MUM AND DAD" Then a text from my father - he deleted my text unread by mistake. Ho hum!!

NettleTea Thu 13-Dec-12 16:45:33

I have cut and pasted from another thread, so sorry if it sounds a bit bleugh..... After thought I bit the bu;let and decided it should really be posted on this thread (and I dont want to derail the thread I was on.....)

I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. I have only recently (after 10 years of being out of my abusive marriage - see how this works) realised the full extent of it, because on the outside I think I thought it looked normal.

I was never smacked. My mother boasts of this proudly, she says its because she didnt need to, because she could explain her reasons why what I said/did was wrong and that was that. But I was also labelled 'difficult' 'argumentative' 'contrary' 'naughty' and it soon became obvious to me as a child that there was no point in arguing as :
1. it didnt achieve anything, I would always be the one in the wrong,

and perhaps most damaging
2. love would be withdrawn and I would be a dissapointment/badly behaved/shameful if I expressed/did something my parent didnt want me to. This feeling of fear of letting my parents (read mother) know what I was doing in my life is still with me, but resulted in me going pretty much no/low contact for many years.

I wasnt allowed to develop normally or to grow up. I was given responsibilities which should have been my mothers. Once I started earning from a small p/t job i was expected to fund stuff which my sister continued to recieve for free at the same age, which kept me financially dependant. They resented me spending time with friends and I was very limited in what I was allowed to do (not going into town shopping/hanging out with friends) I wasnt allowed to have my own opinions or beliefs, in fact there are condecending looks/comments even to this day at anything which straysfrom their accepted way of being. Saying that at the age of 17 I started dressing as a goth and that WAS permitted (though my dad told me I dressed like a prostitute)

growing up like that set me up for life as someone who would always defer to someone else. Who didnt feel that their opinions/wants mattered. My self esteem on an emotional level was through the floor, but academically and in a work environment I was successful and popular. I also had lots of good friends. It was just love I couldnt do as as soon as I was involved with someone I automatically defererred to their wants/their likes and dislikes/their interests.

As an aside my sister WAS hit because she ignored/argied back. I didnt know this because this didnt happen until I had left home. My sister has been sectioned twice and attempted suicide. My father is also now on antipsychotics which are barely holding him together, and has been a shadow of himself for the last 2 years. This is the legacy of living with/having a parent/partner who is outwardly 'lovely' but is horribly controlling.

I had therapy when ex finally left, and realised I wasnt mental, it was him making me mental. Just a bit wrong thinking in some of my basic fundamental assumptions as to 'how things are' and learned a few techniques about how to stop me spinning into mad lady ranting to herself mode.

a couple of years ago I joined MN and realised that the relationship had not been bad, but actually had been abusive, and that he most probably was a narcissist or possibly even a psychopath (having heard about stuff from his ex after me, which got far far worse)

This was 2 years after the point my sister was being shifted into the Priory and shouting about abuse from my parents. I didnt see it at the time. Just thought she was being a princess as had always been spoilt rotten and put first. I didnt see how she could claim that we had an abusive childhood. I had ponies FFS and was never hit. I knew there was some fucked up stuff about sex and boyfriends and that I had felt compelled to leave, but abusive??????? 2 years ago (once sister had recovered and returned to her exalted place in the family - me, jealous????? after Id had to support mother through all the drama what was happening to HER as a result of sister) my dad stated losing the plot......

But the acceptance of abuse in my marriage led me to looking for the root of it fairly recently, maybe about 9 months ago, and a realisation that mother is a narc too, although I had always known she was horribly controlling. Just this week I have finally worked my way through the daughters of Narcissistic Mothers website and spotted the roles we all play in her drama. She's not the worst type, she doesnt deliberately hurt, and I know it comes from her own FU childhood but she wouldnt do anything to address it because she doesnt believe she is wrong, and will serve up a classic narcissistic rage/fall into a weeping poor me mess/do something sneaky and spiteful if challenged or openly disagreed with or not allowed accross boundaries she feels a right to cross.

Knowledge is power. Recognition of behaviour and detatchment from the emotions which are being triggered is the key to remaining strong. Openess with children about your own faults and recognising abusive behaviour, and allowing them to disagree without it being a fault is the way I am moving on, hoping that the work I do on myself prevents me from following those patterns which were imprinted during childhood, and harming my children's future.

Badvocsanta Thu 13-Dec-12 16:46:24

MW...god, what awful people they are!
So they aren't bothered any you - their own child - but still love your children.
That's big of them.
Am just angry on your behalf.

Dawndonna Thu 13-Dec-12 17:59:13

Mine has sent all of the kids booktokens in the hope that she'll get a Thank you call and be able to open negotiations. My dsis has just given me her email address so that that doesn't have to happen. Yay!
Working together is great!

NettleTea Thu 13-Dec-12 18:13:32

I was asked this weekend to tell both sister and mum what I wanted for Christmas, accompanied by dual rolling of eyes when I said i didnt know. Apparantly I am 'SOOO difficult to buy for'
Told DP who was aghast. He said only someone who took no interest or no time to find out who I am or what sort of things I like could possibly say that. He found it insulting on my behalf that I needed to tell them what to get me. The money isnt the issue - she will be scrupulously 'fair' in the amount she spends. I usually end up with something smelly and a cheque. For 3 years running I got expensive smelly stuff in the 2 fragrances that I have stated many times are the only 2 I dont like. This year I gave them both a link to a website and actually pointed out items....
Now my children too are 'impossible' to buy for as well.

Badvocsanta Thu 13-Dec-12 18:57:35

My mum has no idea what my kids like.
Or me for that matter.
She gives me money and I buy stuff they will like and give it to her.
Why she can't do it I have no idea...she can order form amazon as easily as I can.
Most years I wrap it for her too.
Not this year though...sis has ended up doing itsmile
Last year I even wrote her cards for her (I know, I know)
Poor old dad did them, this year. Why she can't do them I have no idea.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 19:18:19

sorry to jump in when others are going through much worse with loved ones. I am very lucky in my parents and thankful, my heart goes out to each and every one of you.

having a bit of a wobble about ILs that will hopefully pass... just need to get it off my chest really. I'm 14 weeks pregnant and none of DH's family know. There are some extended family members we are close to and we will tell them, but as much as they have been great with us, they are sad about the rift between DH and his parents and won't approve of us not telling them. Realistically news will get back to the inlaws and the phone calls, letters and aggressive visits, banging on the door and window, screaming through the letterbox will start sad

DH's mum is a classic narcissist. He is the scapegoat. I haven't seen any of his immediate family in years now, but he has only been NC for a year. The last incident involved his mother threatening to throw herself in front of a train just so he would have that 'on his conscience'. But there has been years of crap, most of which I can't go into here in case it outs me but needless to say it includes wishing him dead, wishing ill on any children he might have, lies, manipulation, aggression and a general lack of interest in him except when he can do something for her. Recent correspondence has claimed that she has had a change of heart but the old language, blaming and threatening, was all still there.

I don't want her near my DCs after seeing how she treated her own children (the golden child, SIL, is not pleasant but has paid a heavy price herself for her place). In the past she has expressly stated she 'doesn't give a shit about grandkids' which suits me. DH resolutely agrees.

So why am I so worried about (nice) family members finding out about the baby? Why am I panicking about ILs finding out, when I have resolutely say and watched Strictly while MIL battered on my windows shouting and she didn't get in? Why am I feeling stressed that people are going to judge DH (and me) for this decision?

sorry that was long. Cathartic.

Badvocsanta Thu 13-Dec-12 19:24:26

Well if they tell your mil about the baby against your express wishes then they are not "nice".

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 19:42:24

I know. They don't know the back story, might be time to tell them everything... Could just do without this and DH gets very upset. sad thanks though, badvoc. Your family sound like a treat, too sad

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 20:23:06

Nettle - I always felt unhappy as a child but couldn't put my finger on why & even as an younger adult thought they were "good" parents - like you say - materially I was well provided for & sent to loads of expensive dance/judo/gymnastics/riding lessons etc but the pieces eventually fall into place & you realise the truth.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 20:36:43

Do you think it's about outward appearances, MW? Interested.

I know my inlaws always provided materially very well for their kids and so it makes people even more aghast that DH has gone NC - 'but look at all they did for you' kind of thing...

I know too that my MIL really cares that her peers think she is a good mother. I don't for a second think she cares about actually being one, and that's where the expensive lessons and presents come in handy. They can also be used against people at a later date - my DH is 'ungrateful' and 'unappreciative' because he doesn't accept that the material thing isn't the be all and end all.

I can totally understand why this has caused you confusion and makes it harder to untangle the feelings out.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 20:38:44

is the be all and end all damn phone

God, that sounds apalling, forgetmenots - you ask why are you so worried - because you are pregnant and instinctively wanting to protect your baby. You shouldn't have to put up with this! What happened when they screamed through the letterbox etc? Because that for me would warrant a call to the police and requesting a restraining order.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 20:55:14

thanks creepylittlebat, really appreciate that. I have been a lot more anxious about it since finding out I'm pregnant, so you're right. I haven't got the police or lawyers involved because DH isn't ready for that, just wants to break contact. If I'm home alone and it happens, I will call the police without batting an eye. I've been gathering information on what kinds of legal protection we can get, too, in case we need it.

Why is it that we always feel obliged to keep the full horror from relatives/family friends too? I have kept the details of what my brother did from other family members, but I suppose that's another means of avoiding aggro. Like they wouldn't believe it, and I suppose that's the conditioning, isn't it? So I got a load of grief (no pun intended) from an old aunty at a family funeral who thought I was being mean to my mother.

Glad to hear it forgetmenots, best to arm yourself and protect your own little family. I hope you have people nearby who would help.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 21:01:36

True creepylittlebat. I think my DH thought no one would believe him/would blame him and that definitely was the conditioning. He still feels like that, and he is always pleasantly surprised when anyone who does get a glimpse of it empathises with him. He never expects that. And, yes, he gets grief from people who accuse him of all sorts (and I've had mud thrown my way too) from family members, based on complete lies dreamt up by MIL sad it is a very, very difficult thing to understand and to eventually break.

NettleTea Thu 13-Dec-12 21:23:04

stuff came out when my sister was ill, but as soon as she had recovered its all been swept under the carpet again.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 21:25:31

what happened when your sister was ill nettle? I've read your posts and this sounds absolutely horrific. Did she try to tell people about your parents?

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:43:57

Forgetmenots - you must protect yourself while pregnant & although it is difficult - telling the distant relatives the truth means they will protect you too.

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:44:35

Nettle - do you & your sister speak honestly to each other now?

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 21:52:32

Thanks MW. I hope they will understand (I think some of it will be quite a shock). I can't express any hint of doubt about this to DH as he has a hard time thinking he will be believed by anyone. Worst case scenario is that they say' it's not that bad really', and DH will feel awful. They are older and have a very traditional idea of family,but are at heart good people who would be upset if they saw a fraction of how hurt DH has been over this.

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 21:57:47

It's been a bad day for my DH too at the hands of his parents. Background history - throughout our marriage his parents (unbeknown to me) have manipulated him against me & interfered in our relationship. We separated in May this year after many months of strange & sometimes psychotic behaviour on his part & he went to stay with them temporarily & had a nervous breakdown but then rented his own place back near me & the kids & after 3 months apart we got back together although we are still living apart. It transpires that the crisis this year has unlocked childhood abuse at their hands & he has been having very painful psychotherapy. He has stood up to them, recently threw them out of his house for verbally attacking me in front of the children but they are becoming more & more aggressive & today his sister also made an abusive phone call to him on their behalf with a follow up nasty voicemail from his father. When he was a small child they used to drag him out of bed & make him stand in the middle of the living room screaming & shouting at him for some misdemeanour until he collapsed & then drag him to his feet & continue for hours. He is a broken man. hmm

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 22:02:01

I didn't think anything could shock me any more Midwife but that has. Your poor, poor DH.

Is he ready to consider going completely no contact with them, or is it small steps at the moment with his therapy etc?

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 22:16:44

He had NC for a few weeks after he threw them out of the house (they were screaming & shouting as they went like 2 tantruming toddlers!) The problem is he has a 10 year old daughter from a prev marriage who lives very near them about 40 miles away from us. His parents see her independently & manipulate her against me & her step siblings & his ex goes along with it because of all the free childcare they give her. He is at a very early stage in all this & is struggling with the idea of it but is getting closer to NC I think.

NettleTea Thu 13-Dec-12 22:19:47

My sister has been on ADs since she was 17. She was still at home at that point and seemed very lacking in self confidence - panic attacks and the like and she saw a doctor for stuff. I know my mum was mad because the doc wouldnt discuss my sister with her, and I think thats where the first claims of abusive behaviour came up.

She is quite a bit younger than me and I left home young, so we didnt see each other alot. I often get berated for not being closer to her, but at the age I was I was resentful of not having the normal freedoms of a teenage life because I was responsible for looking after her during holidays, and I also saw that because she was more bolshy than I she got away without having to do all the chores that I had had to do as she grew up, and was allowed to come and go as she pleased and was given money, whereas I had to have a sat job and pay my way for stuff, and I was jealous/resentful of that as well. There was very little done to encourage a good sibling relationship, and alot done which would prevent it.

There is a very noticable difference between the way the 2 of us are treated. I was made aware (told in fact) that as I had moved out (under the guise of it being easier for work) that I had chosen not to be part of the family. She was always included (even today with her husband and child) in family holidays, and when my dad had work which involved alot of travel I would be called in to house sit and they would go off for freebie breaks many times a year.

My sister probably suffered from PND after she had her child but was undiagnosed. She started self prescribing from the internet and soon was in real trouble. She ended up going manic and then suicidal, and she was persuaded to go into hospital, which she hated. This is when she started the abuse claims in ernest. There was family therapy but Im not sure what happened. I saw her at this time a couple of times and she was desperate. But it was hard because on the one hand my parents were there all the time so I couldnt speak to her on her own, but also I was diverted by my own feelings of her just attention seeking and finding motherhood difficult, and wanting my parents to drop everything and come running all the time. I wasnt sympathetic which I do feel really bad and guilty about, but in my defence I had my mum at my house nearly every day pointing out how unreasonable she was being, and how they hadnt been abusive, and I was having to deal with trying to support her whilst doing all for myself as well. I think at the time I felt they were reaping what they had sown by never being at all strict with her.

In hindsight I can see this differently. Her claims of abuse stemmed from neglect and emotional distance. How she was left by herself all the time with no friends and that she was bullied at school and noone helped or listened to her. She said her needs came way down the list of my parent's priorities and she had suffered through life as a result of it. My mum had a hobby which took all her time, money and interest, my sister was involved in it as an attempt to be part of her life. She told her I had left because I couldnt stand it, which caused my mother to come wailing at my door, and I was too cowardly to deal with it and claimed my sister must have had the wrong end of the stick.

Once my sister recovered I was effectively dropped as my support wasnt needed, and my sister returned as the golden child. I havent spoken about it to my sister since my revelation of what she was saying as firstly I have barely seen her without the rest of the family have been around (we did have a day out together last year, but we had all the kids with us, so not appropriate) but mainly because I dont know if I could trust her to tell mum, and Im not ready for that confrontation at the moment, if ever.....

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:14

Oh goodness, that does make everything harder. Is his ex completely in possession of the facts about them? That sounds absolutely awful, he must be worried about his daughter too in their care. You would hope that any lawyer or mediator would agree that your inlaws shouldn't have free rein there after how they treated their own children.

We tried reduced contact but it didn't work at all. Even NC has its issues, but it's been a blessed relief if I'm honest. I really hope his therapy helps, and again being frank I hope you both get the break you need from these people.

NettleTea Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:20

your poor poor husband MW
I just cant imagine doing that to my little boy. It breaks my heart.

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:43

That last was to midwife, x post nettle

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 22:24:41

Interesting how it's all been swept back under the carpet isn't it?

forgetmenots Thu 13-Dec-12 22:29:54

Nettle this sounds like typical golden child behaviour from your sister. I do feel a kind of pity for people like this - they spend their whole lives conforming to the mould set out of them, and it can turn sour so quickly when they fall out of favour. She probably isn't to be trusted (sorry) as her main priority will be to preserve her status with your mother. But I feel sorry for her as that's no way to live healthily.

Even though your treatment at your mother's hands has been far worse, your distance gives you perspective and an element of freedom, and a strength. I'm glad your DP sounds so supportive, your parents sound really twisted. Your life is by far the richest (but I bet you knew that) even when it doesn't feel that way.

Midwife99 Thu 13-Dec-12 22:34:50

The trouble is we're both so damaged right now that it's impossible for us to have a normal relationship. He's paranoid & fragile, I vary between desperate for attention & over independent. But we do love each other so time will tell & therapy will heal hopefully.

NettleTea Thu 13-Dec-12 22:37:15

I guess the status quo is what people relate to. Everyone knows their role and everyone in their place with the matriarch at the head.

But its unravelling.

My poor dad is the enabler, loves her to bits, probably couldnt see the abuse if you wrote it in neon letters. would lay down his life to protect her, and yet she has chip, chip, chipped away at him for years and years and totally emasculated him. Its distressing to see. DP tries not to go round there because he finds it so distressing. And he cant handle it because you can see it getting under his skin and then he will flare up and retaliate (usually not that badly, maybe just even a crack at her expense) and then the drama starts. She accuses him of being horrible, its all 'woe is me and tears' and its just awful...... But now he has had a complete breakdown and I really dont know if he will get better. And he cannot even go to therapy on his own.

Dsis is the golden child, but with flip flopping self esteem issues - seems to go between over inflated entitlement to depression. I have wondered about bi-polar. But she is mimicking the family dynamic with her husband - the nit picking and criticism. The guy is so hands on, but its never done right. And he adores her. Child is delightful, and there is alot of love given to her, so thats one thing corrected!

And I am the scapegoat, the black sheep, the different/difficult/argumentative one who says that black is white JUST to piss them off, not because I could seriously believe it. But I am now just watching from the periferal and stepping back from the drama. The plan is to try to offer support to my dad.

PrincessFionne Thu 13-Dec-12 23:12:46

I followed you here Nettle to see the full posting you linked to. Confusion, its awful and rings bells, when somehow growing up like everything is normal, when its actually hideous. A terrible journey for you both.

Horrified at your poor DH's abuse Midwife. Oh dear, do wish these were wounds that could be wrapped in soothing bandages and made to go away sad

I grew up terrified and silenced, blamed for fathers abusive outbursts (by mother), called difficult, awkward, laughed at, lived a solitary life in a big family on AD at 13. Slept on their bedroom floor carpet shaking with fear. Wet the bed til over 10 I think (when not on the floor!). Would regularly scream the house down at night. Still struggling to speak about it! Total invasion of privacy, my room was not my own, my diary not secret, my letters (and siblings letters as adults would be opened), any problems in relationship always my fault never theirs, ever. and that was well into adulthood prying into lives, demanding house keys to get in and snoop around and tell everyone how awful we all are, to each other. NC now. Still scared someone will see what I write, or see the bad person inside !!! which I know I'm not, called a whore by her (not sure what that is really even now, but because I slept with my boyfriend at the age of 17). Took me so many years of my life to see that I am not the way either of them were. and that their behaviours were not my fault, it seems crazy that I even thought that now, but I did for most of my life.

Someone said upthread, 'you'll understand when you have kids' [words that also use to ring in my ears as some sort of 'reason'], and absolutely NO, I do have and I still don't!!! I couldn't hurt a child in this way ever! Sadly it has made me overprotect which I am reframing now to be more logical about, and setting good boundaries.

Also bullied very young and for many years, and sexually. Thought I might die.

They never did any caring for me, although apparently I was the 'golden' child. I perhaps wasn't beaten like my siblings, to the extent. I wasn't comfortable being around them physically or emotionally, but stayed cos its your world at the time, but there is no admission of anything on their part or attempts to have any kind of relationship.

ooops.. very long posting, soz. Heart goes out to the awful sufferings here, and also great credit to the transformations managed despite it!

PrincessFionne Thu 13-Dec-12 23:18:36

.. but to address my 'golden child' status, I have absolutely no loyalty to either over my siblings, whom I only see one of very occasionally, it just added yet another beautifully devasting dynamic to the rich fucked up tapestry.

Badvocsanta Fri 14-Dec-12 07:30:09

Yy to it being swept under the carpet.
My mothers inability to be a mother meant I had to parent my siblings.
Which of course we all resented.
Our relationship has never and will never recover.
Once my parents are gone, I doubt I will see them much at all.
And the fact I am not sad about that is awful sad
I try to make myself feel better by telling myself that every family is fucked up in its own way, but....

PrincessFionne Fri 14-Dec-12 07:42:44

it depends how FUp I think. There are lots who do get mostly emo needs met and treated with respect, and not have to be the parents as children sad. So definitely lots of mistmatching out there, but abuse we hope is not the main theme [shocked]. Fi

Midwife99 Fri 14-Dec-12 07:55:57

I know lots of people who at times find their families irritating but basically had a normal healthy upbringing & happily spend time together now.

Badvocsanta Fri 14-Dec-12 07:59:34

I have no idea what normal is I guess.

NettleTea Fri 14-Dec-12 08:15:39

PrincessFionne that reminds me that my poor sister used to have incontinance problems, and used to see things in her room which I was the only one able to make go away.
Its awful really because when she was little I really loved her, but it was the unfairness of how differently we were treated and the way that it was expected that it was my responsibility to look after her in the holidays while my mum worked (which meant I couldnt work or see friends) that caused the resentment. She said thats what families do for each other. She also spent alot of time with me because I also shared her interest in her hobby, but it was because she liked the hobby, not because she wanted to spend time with ME. Once I left sister got involved in the hobby too. She went to work to facilitate the hobby, although she would say it was so I could do it. I had to put any money I earned into it too. If I won prizes, she kept the money. She has always had a bit of a thing about money tbh.
I feel bad too that I upped and went, and she stayed behind. Especially given what she said later.

NettleTea Fri 14-Dec-12 08:16:35

what my sister said later that is.

PrincessFionne Fri 14-Dec-12 11:57:16

mmm. I hear Nettle but you were not responsible nor a parent. As you'd been moulded that way in order to facilitate the adults needs (for work money, as being more important than your own to be a child), its a hard one to shake off.

I use to get awful feelings of desperation about what 'I'd' done - we'd all play as siblings which sometimes ended in squabbles (of course, I realise now!). One time something got broken and it was my fault and I was terrified and blamed a sibling who then got beaten and I could hear the screams, was awful, the sounds have faded in the last 10 years. Our 'stately house' was not a home atall, with all manner of very expensive china pieces laid out on display and everything pristine.

Oh dear for your sister, that sounds awful, poor girl, but she obviously had a deep connection of trust with you that terrifying things went away if you were there. I never saw things when awake, or had incontinence per se, but bed-wetting and the night screamings were both signs of extreme anxiety and distress, your sister was completely immersed in it, and probably not as strong as you emotionally/mentally that it overwhelmed her and led to the need for such interventions.

Oh BadvocSanta I think coming to these forums can shine some light of the reality of abnormal, and writing it down helps to process the thoughts that can be difficult to catch hold of, let alone verbalise. Through this process and other support (counsellors, etc) you do get to fully realise what normal is, how to expect to be treated (as in respecting yourself and learning boundaries about responsibilities and acceptable behaviours). I started on the journey just being extremely distraught confused and fearful, and only blaming myself for that.

I believe that if I keep processing it the insights and realisations come that will change (and certainly have changed a lot of) my inner stability,, fear - I have one monster ex that was my last 'fear', and that is thankfully fading away - calm and sense of happiness. Having patience to being with these feelings until they fade has been a good tool for me, knowing that it will pass and become different, and to just keep going for the many wonderful connections that come up and make life good.

Fi (easier than full name!)

Badvocsanta Fri 14-Dec-12 12:43:45

I grew up in what most people would class as poverty.
So I dont really understand that side of abuse...the huge gulf between how things appear and how they truly are iyswim?
I know that some teachers at school were concerned for me but at the time I genuinely didn't understand why.
I may look into therapy in the new year....I am not as ok with my childhood and its effects as I thought sad

PrincessFionne Fri 14-Dec-12 13:01:03

oh Bodvocsanta sad

When you're saying you don't understand that side of abuse [huge gulf... appear and truly are]. It happens regardless of economic circumstances IMO - as in presenting a kind and moral code to the world outside, but being abusive, disrespectful and no morals inside the home/house/shell!

On top of that though, we are highly visually led as a race, and if we see good clothes, nice car, beautifully decorated house, and ponies maybe, that will skew our perceptions of a person, linking it with being crazy stuff like 'respectable' (whatever that is!), or looking after and doing this right, being successful, etc. but on one measure only, human nature then dictates that goes across the board for everything! People who truly know what matters, see it for what it is, successful in monetary terms, without knowledge yet of how these people are connected to others. How important is family, what fun do they have together, etc. all things that relate to all families! regardless of money (appearances). We are kinda wired up to the survival mode at that level so success and social standing must mean 'good'! pah! The measure of success is 'ask the kids'.


NettleTea Fri 14-Dec-12 13:10:09

I recently undertook a course in respect to my job. I think, due to the backgrounds of some of the other participents, that it might have been a bit more 'out there' than other courses of the same nature, but it really felt as if I had undergone a week of intensive therapy myself at the end of it.
I realised I felt stiff and awkward and although I am quite forward and confident in speaking, I felt scared and self concious when it came to singing or 'play'. I also nearly started crying during a child development and learning lecture. And at the end we had to tell the person to our left something that you appreciated about them, to which they could only reply 'thank you'. That just about killed me and I ended up a sobbing heap on one girls shoulder for quite some time.

PrincessFionne Fri 14-Dec-12 13:22:13

You were so brave to do that Nettletea, I hope it was an undertaking of yours rather than pressure to attend this kind of course? Sometimes the 'just doing it', like the singing/play produces such amazing changes (altho so challenging at the time) without having to explain anything (or know anything either!), but just to let it happen. I remember years ago desperately avoiding the 'assertive' course that work kept on trying to book me onto as part of my 'management training schedule' (I think I had a sense of how awful and absolutely unbearable it would have been for me at the time).


NettleTea Fri 14-Dec-12 13:31:42

Oh its very much something I wanted to do, and a progression into an area that I am very keen to be working within. I think it will help my own children too.

kiwigirl42 Fri 14-Dec-12 13:39:06

My DS had a fantastic 13th birthday, according to him. I am so proud of myself - thank god I'm able to break the cycle and make sure his childhood is full of love and good things, quite unlike mine.

Badvocsanta Fri 14-Dec-12 13:43:17

Nettle - I went on a one day course for church wrt young children.
It was a very emotional day for me.
Apparently there are 6 indicators of poverty and neglect.
I counted 5 that applied to me and my childhood.
It was a very very hard day for me.
It's hard to see it in black and white sad

Firsttimer7259 Fri 14-Dec-12 13:53:17

Christmas is coming - time to up the AD prescription!

Thats what Ive just done. After last years horrendous xmas with my family leading to going NC, its that time of year again and I am feeling my anxiety levels rocket. I can see Im not alone finding xmas pretty awful. Sorry not to comment but just need to write some stuff out of my system.

Anyway after much agitation I have decided not to send presents to my lot. Im often the only one who does - altho I know this year they may all send presents so I get left as the bad one who didnt. Even tho my family proclaim themselves to be 'relaxed' about christmas and presents etc. Anyway Im just not sending presents and I will try v hard not to feel bad.

Next issue: is that when my FiL starts cracking wierd jokes about me not speaking to my father I will (calmly) say that its been a tough decision and not funny at all. I appreciate its awkward and he may have questions but if he'd just ask me what he wants to know I will try to answer and explain but its too painful a subject for me for jokes. He will either laugh at me about this (whcih indicates hes possibly a narc too) or he'll drop the wierdness ask me some questions and we can move on.

Finally: I refuse to feel bad because I dont love my F. I know it shocks people and I dont plan to be massively public about it, but all those people who are shocked dont have my F as their father and have no idea what its like. So they can think what they like, it doesnt make me any less sane.

Firsttimer7259 Fri 14-Dec-12 14:17:21

Wanted to respond to the 'you'll know when you have kids' line too. Ive found so strongly that hvaing children is the biggest incentive in my life to change these awful patterns. I see many of you trying for the same reasons. Good on you for making birthday parties better than your own, for trying so hard to learn to play with your children when no one taught you how, for worrying about traits you share with your parents, for keeping on at trying to be better people than your parents. It matters that we keep trying.

Firsttimer - I can totally empathise with your feelings re your father.

I feel so jealous of other families at this time of year, especially women of my age (40s/50s) who are still clearly adored by their fathers. They just don't realise how lucky they are sad

kiwigirl42 Fri 14-Dec-12 14:37:51

Firsttimer7259 thank you for your comment. We are all trying to break the cycle. The wonder on DS's face when I showed him the Angry Birds cake I'd made him was fantastic - I can only remember getting one cake when I was 5, from a friend of my DM. Otherwise, no cakes or parties.

I know what you mean about people being shocked that you don't love a parent. They always think that 'no you really don't mean that'. I know you do. Good luck with the in laws and the Xmas choices you've made.
I'm determined to have a bloody great xmas - DM was here last yr after inviting herself so it sure can't be worse than that grin

We're planning to have a film night Xmas eve, just the 3 of us, with nice snacks etc. Then special breakfast, Xmas dinner and special puddings. We usually see in laws so probably see them at tea time. I've spent the day putting tinsel and fairy lights all over the lounge

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 14-Dec-12 16:58:25

DS birthday today, didn't remind mother to NOT allow phone calls from SisDear, but was abundantly clear the last time.

I thought to adopt the wait and see tactic...

We shall see.

Midwife99 Fri 14-Dec-12 18:32:44

Email from father - they are "astonished & hurt to be blamed for all the problems in my life"
Fuck off & stop demanding that I shampoo your carpets then!!!!

forgetmenots Fri 14-Dec-12 19:37:03

My FIL could have written that, honestly, same tone and word choice midwife sad

File in folder marked 'nonsense'.

PrincessFionne Fri 14-Dec-12 23:02:08

that was very funny to me fmnots - a good way to view it 'nonsense' smile

very resistent to the AD but considering as feeling so that way about impending festivities. Understand about that firsttimer Being very brave to make your decision regardless of any consequences about the gifts. Here here!

mmm... complete lack of recognition of consequences of behaviours midwife they just blame me instead!

Kiwigirl how fantastic to have had such joy and created such a wonderful experience for your DS. I feel sick at the thought of looking back on mine, as you probably do, if there were cakes I don't remember, or parties.

Midwife99 Fri 14-Dec-12 23:16:54

Hmmmm - I don't remember having a a birthday party - did I? - could I have forgotten them all?!! Strangely I do remember going to other kids' parties though!!

Midwife99 Fri 14-Dec-12 23:29:38

Oh Badvoc - I felt so sad when I read your post. The thing is I wasn't abused by my parents so I feel unworthy to complain - I was just totally ignored apart from the material stuff & the inevitable lifts needed to get rid of me for the day! They didn't keep me safe but didn't harm me directly iyswim. hmm

PrincessFionne Fri 14-Dec-12 23:48:30

you are precious and important too Badvoc and I hope you can feel that regardless of what some scales say about you. Did it feel better or worse to know this, as in getting validation of how awful it had felt? I think it must have been a pretty mixed bag of stuff actually thinking about it now. Its painful to know that my mother didn't care enough to do anything to help me when I was vomiting in pain and not sleeping. It hurts. Well it doesn't now, but it did terribly.

Which goes to what u say midwife about feeling unworthy to complain, being a 'nothing' and not caring enough to keep you safe are horrendous acts (although they are lack of an act in many eyes), but one has to make a decision to do nothing, or to ignore, and they 'actively' ignored which is massively damaging to a child to feel worthless of attention. I just didn't want to hear you somehow diminish what you suffered.

I am all done here for tonight tho, and hope that all have peaceful sleeps.

Badvocsanta Sat 15-Dec-12 08:47:37

My mum was rushed to hospital last night.
My dad asked me to g on and take him so e food as he hadn't eaten since about 10am.
She looked very poorly.
But I felt strangely unmoved.
She is being kept in so I will have to go and visit this weekend....
I don't want to sad I am a bad person. She is in pain and scared.
She is the most intolerant of others pain and illness of anyone I know.
When I had all my wisdom teeth out when I was 20 I was terrified...never had an op before. She and dad dropped me at the door of the day case unit and left.
She was always sending me into school ill...then got annoyed when she had to come and fetch me.
I wish I didn't feel like this sad

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 09:27:09

badvoc sad
You are not a bad person. The very fact that you are trying to make sense of these feelings shows that. You could not do what your parents did to you.

You also don't have to do anything. Do what is right for you, although I know that is easier said than done.

princessfionne I find ridiculing some of the behaviour is a good way of minimising it. I hope you didn't think I was being dismissive midwife, hard to put across in text.

Midwife99 Sat 15-Dec-12 10:31:12

You're not a bad person Badvoc. I struggle with the same feelings - my parents have chronic ill health - father chronic chest disease & from 40 years of heavy smoking & crumbling knees because of morbid obesity due to many years of a crap diet & heavy drinking & mother gastric & bowel problems from long term heavy drinking & same shit diet. I feel no sympathy which probably makes me a hard cow but when you never got it given to you, you can't give it back.

Midwife99 Sat 15-Dec-12 11:27:22

Forgetmenots - no I didn't think you were being dismissive at all - it is nonsense!!

More detail from DH about the nasty voicemail from his father - the gist of it was that he was "hell bent on destroying the family"!! I think they did that all by themselves!!

Never ceases to amaze me, the lack of self-awareness these people have, always projecting what they've done back at their victims.

Please could I have a quick bit of advice from people? After a couple of weeks n/c, (after an abusive phone call) mother has sent a text asking if they can come and drop off ds' s birthday presents sometime next week. This is the text I am thinking of sending.

"No, you made it very clear in your last phone call that you have no intention of behaving civilly towards dh and I. If you have a present, you can post it."

Does it sound ok to you? I don't want to enter into any discussion, but neither do I want them turning up on the doorstep and upsetting the dc!

Jojobells1986 Sat 15-Dec-12 13:08:09

Hello everyone. I've only just discovered this thread. I've seen the title several times & couldn't figure out why going to stately homes made a family dysfunctional! I get it now!

My dad used to tease me. I guess it was bordering on bullying. I was quite small for my age & used to take great delight in telling people that 'all good things come in small packages' until my dad started replying 'but so does poison'. Any opportunity he got he made some 'joke' at my expense. He justified it by saying that I wasn't tough enough & if I couldn't learn to 'take it' from him then I'd never survive in the real world. The result is that I now feel like I can't trust anyone & the world is out to get me! On her death bed, his mum told him not to tease me. He didn't listen.
It's got better now that I'm married & don't see him everyday, or maybe it's just that it's not so relentless so I find it easier to cope. I'm worried though that he'll treat my children the same way. I'm strong enough now that I could (& would) just pack up & leave if he started pushing it with them but my mum's really keen to have them stay for holidays when I wouldn't be there to defend them. My eldest is only 14 months & #2 is due in June so I guess I've got a little while to figure out how to handle it! Who knows, maybe it won't be an issue - he might not see it as his role to toughen them up, or they might just not be phased by it!

NewPatchesForOld Sat 15-Dec-12 13:13:00

Hello everyone. I was going to start a new thread and then saw this one is till going...I posted on it a loooong time ago but haven't since.
The thing is, and it's the first time I have admitted this...I really dislike my mother. It was my 44th birthday this week and she ruined it for me and left me feeling like s**t. I drove 160 mile round trip to pick her up so she could stay for a few days and then come out to dinner with me, the dc and dp - once here she declared she wouldn't come "it's a family thing". When I told her she WAS family she said she hadn't brought anything nice to wear. I told her we were going to an American diner and would be wearing jeans so she didn't need to dress up. She made excuses again. She does this all the time, whatever the occasion...birthdays, Christmas, even my wedding - she will/she won't/she will/she won't...basically she wants people to beg and plead and when they won't she acts all wounded and says that nobody wants her.
On the morning of my birthday I walked DD to school, and when I was nearly there I heard this banshee like screaming from the other side of the road. It was her, yelling at me in full view of everyone that she had called me at least 10 times and how dare I ignore her? I hadn't bloody heard her!!! She came across the road and tore me off a strip for leaving without her (you can see the school from my house so not like I would be gone long) and said I knew she wanted to come and had deliberately left without her. Everybody was staring at me.
I had to take dd1 to physio later that morning, and my mother came with us, but decided she wanted to go home. She ignored me all morning bar yes and no answers, went on a racist rant, then a homophobic one (I am neither racist nor homophobic and abhor bigots)...I didn't even take her back to my house after physio, I dropped her off at the bus stop as I didn't trust myself to speak to her.
She has never accepted my dd2, who is the daughter from my second (and highly abusive marriage), and gave my dd1 a £20 to split between her and DS, and gave nothing to DD2...this is always the same.
She started talking about my exh, the abusive one, and I decided to give her a few home truths about what he had done to me and the kids...all she went on about was the fact that the police turned up at HER house looking for me when I went into a refuge, and that it was 1 o clock in the morning (it was 10.30), and how she had got the blame for them going to exh number 1's house (they never even spoke to him, let alone visited him). It became all about her, again.
Every single time I was on my own with her she spat venom about my sister in law...she hates her and I'm not kidding you, it was constant hate and vitriol - ok my sil is a bit of a cow but my bro chose her and that's that.

Ah, I'm sorry, what a rant, and none of it makes sense I guess, but I just wanted to get it off my chest. I have managed to break the cycle of abusive relationships now but I cannot break this cycle of abuse from her, I regress to being a child when I am with her.
When she left I was totally drained, exhausted and I am only now feeling better, and she left 3 days ago.

NewPatchesForOld Sat 15-Dec-12 13:15:36 mother treats my youngest daughter like that, cruelty in the name of teasing. She calls her ugly and smelly and everything, to the point where my dd cries and then my mother gets annoyed that no one can take a joke! It doesn't stop at the children, it will extend to the grandchildren. I no longer allow it, and will cut her short and tell her to stop. It doesn't always work though.

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 15:33:58

just a quick one to say to badvoc I think it might be time to give yourself a break and know that you don't 'have' to do anything for fear of what others might label you. I'm sure it mattered a lot what your parents thought, but you know what they think regardless of how you behave you will always be wrong (not literally, but in their eyes you understand!).

Will be easier to just notice that you are feeling like you don't want to go and follow that in order to start protecting yourself and building some boundaries and respectful distances between your soft centre of feelings and their very harsh spears. Being the mother and father to yourself (only the ones that you needed!).

I think you are just use to (like me sad ) being made to feel about and wrong about your actions its not the same thing as being bad atall.

She still has a hold of guilt/bullying over you if you go when you feel soo strongly against it and lacking any empathy for her.

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 15:35:47

that should have read 'feeling bad and wrong about your actions...'

take care.. Fi

DontstepontheBaubles Sat 15-Dec-12 15:40:55

Creepylittlebat I would ask them to post it, if you're prepared to accept the gift.

I personally wouldn't enter into why you're suggesting that but I am only just learning to put better boundaries in place with my Mother (but I am no contact with Dad due to his abuse earlier this year.) So someone may suggest otherwise.

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 15:52:47

creepy I can understand why you want to respond. My position (and DH's) has been no replies, to anything. If they call, it's not picked up. If they email, it's deleted. If they turn up, we don't answer the door.

This isn't without its problems - as you saw in my post above! But it does mean the boundary is clear. If they think a present or your DCs is the way through it, then that's what will happen more often.

This obviously though depends on whether you are planning giving them limited access to the DCs so it may not be best for you. I'd be wary of accepting gifts in general as they could be held against you: 'she doesn't even speak to me but she is happy to take my presents and doesn't even let me see the grandchildren open them...' Etc.

Two weeks isn't long for NC and they may be testing the boundary, very difficult. All power to you.

Badvocsanta Sat 15-Dec-12 15:54:57

Fi...thank you.
Your posts are very perceptive.
I do pity her.
I do.
But her mistakes and unhappy life are not my fault.
And it took me years to realise that.
She is not well at all and hasn't been for some time. But of course, as a poster upthread pointed out, she does nothing to help herself.
I like to think I still have compassion, not just for her, for anyone in need, but it's hard to reconcile the compassion with the anger and hurt.
At least it is for me.

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 15:56:02

midwife so glad - I mean, it is dismissive, but of the manipulative crap, not of any impact that might have.

(I actually have an email folder entitled 'bollocks'... As its a gmail account, the pink little box with that cheery word has now been set up to attach itself to any in law incoming mail. There is something pleasing about seeing an email entitled - I joke not - 'What You Have Done Wrong' with a wee box next to it saying 'bollocks'! Highly recommend it, pick any frivolous and slightly silly word of your choosing!)


What forgetmenots stated.

I would actually not respond to your mother's text message, let her stew.

I would also never accept any gifts from such damaged toxic people even though it is for the child.

Cards and gifts to grandchildren are often loaded with spite as well as sentiment and is used as both a way in and a control mechanism to maintain contact. Its never ever just a present.

Badvocsanta Sat 15-Dec-12 16:00:51

New patches.
No way my parents old speak like that to my dc.
Not whilst there is breath in my body.
They can say what they like to me - and have! - but my kids?
No fucking way.
And the weird thing is they know it.
It's almost like they understand that the line is drawn there iyswim?


Why did you feel the need to pick up your mother?. Are you at some level hoping against hope that she will somehow change and become the nice other you want her to be and actually deserve?.

This toxic person is also not above using your children to get back at you as well; she put your DD1 in a very awkward position by giving her the £20. She is alsop abusing your DD2 as well.

Honestly I would go no contact with such a person, if she is narcissist it s not possible to have any sort of relationship with her anyway.

Have a look at the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers - you mother may well fit that particular bill.

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 16:05:42

Newpatches - I don't have much to add to what Attila has said but tht is very toxic behaviour, the name calling aimed at a child is vile.

I really think you need to consider stopping contact. This is already affecting you and your kids, and she, like all good bullies, is revelling in it I'm afraid.

The site Attila mentioned is excellent, and the books in the opening thread (especially Susan Forward). Good luck.

Midwife99 Sat 15-Dec-12 16:20:30

Yes newpatches I agree - NC is the only way forward for peace of mind.

Midwife99 Sat 15-Dec-12 16:30:34

Well - like a fool I responded to my father's email explaining that I don't blame them for "every problem in my life" but I do blame them for being raped aged 12 & left on my own all the time as a child. Their one night off a week was spent going out without us kids & they left us with staff & went on holiday without us. I pointed out that from 18 I saw them once a year or so until the last 10 years (I am now 45!) when they went bankrupt & became needy. I said they can't change the past but they need to understand that I cannot be a dutiful daughter, doing things for them & pretending we are a close loving family & seeing each other all the time.

His response - we worked 100 hours a week as publicans but no doubt you are unable to understand that!!

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 17:02:52

midwife that is such a callous, unfeeling response from your father. Your story is so sad. I think they have a damn nerve to expect anything, including basic human courtesy, from you. They have done nothing to deserve it.

It strikes me with people like this that the word 'understand' is used (and abused) a lot. 'You must try to understand us', 'no doubt you are unable to understand', as if they have special exemption or extenuating circumstances that don't apply to the rest of us, and that no one else can possibly understand. It is how they justify their behaviour.

You are entitled to say 'No. I am unable to understand your neglect of your children.' You are entitled to leave them to their self-delusional, special status, and not take any more of this. Big very-un-MN hug for you.

Midwife99 Sat 15-Dec-12 17:09:05

Thank you forgetmenots.

He also said "We will never accept what you have said"

The closing sentence was "We want to see the kids. None of this is their fault"

Whose fault is it then - mine I presume!

Badvocsanta Sat 15-Dec-12 17:14:35

They don't get to see your kids unless you want them to mw.
They don't get to order you around anymore.
....and it is drivi them insane

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 17:22:15

well more fool him the wanker quite frankly midwife - he wanted the money and lifestyle over the need to do right by his children, which quite frankly if you work 100 hrs a week you keep your dick in your pants... What a dick! Does he think that 'entitles' him to abandon you to strangers and risk, yep, obviously does! and of course he chose to do that, you didn't ask him to, and you didn't want him to.

you were raped yeah, but at least we had pots of money spot the flawed logic in that sentence. sorry midwife but my blood is boiling for you for these just pathetic and awful excuses.

What bit did he think there would be to give to any child exactly; just a yearly visit obviously. its gutting Midwife.

Good to hear you talk this way Badvoc, and yes you can still think you are compassionate, but they will just have to seek compassion elsewhere it seems!

Its a weird weird thing that this perception of 'closeness' only works one way. That we are expected to be absolutely there for them, when they have NEVER been there for us. pah! What do they NOT get about this equation and how unbalanced it is. that closeness refers to a concept of duality, it doesn't work in isolation.. doh!

As regards gifts, mmmm.. I'd be very wary of the pitifull cries of 'all the presents we've given and she still refuses to let us see/have contact [with GC]'. Is it possible to have a relationship with the GC/DC of others that you abuse????

Experienced that one too, and had them returned, then they stopped (otherwise its just another way to pretend that issues do not exist to my mind, and oh how good at playing 'normal' which is where the fuckedupness comes from)... at the heart of the 'stately homes' concept IMO.

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 17:28:00

He has given you a straight answer, actually midwife. He has told you the truth - they will never accept your side of this. If I were you I would take that as a cue for building a new start for yourself, without them. Their attitude is not going to change and that is their loss, and very sad. It isn't however your problem.

I'm obviously feeling feisty tonight, MIL better not pull any crap!


Your father is a real piece of work isn't he?.

This too is typical tp speak:-

"We will never accept what you have said"

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.

I'd be going no contact with them as of now and free yourself from them and their toxic behaviours. Neither of them show any remorse whatsoever for their actions and you were utterly and completely failed by them as a child (and that is an understatement given what you have written about them). They are still failing you.

They can bleat that, " we want to see the kids" all they want but its still all about them and their needs. Your children are but of secondary concern to them really.

Do not subject your children to them in any way, shape or form. Toxic parents more often than not make for being toxic grandparents and are not above using the children to get back at their "errant" offspring.

Dawndonna Sat 15-Dec-12 17:51:34

DDs have birthdays in the New Year, I don't want her to send them stuff. DH says it's up to them, they don't want stuff. It means contacting her, if I email she keeps it and shows it to everyone in a look how badly treated I am fashion. Bugger!

forgetmenots Sat 15-Dec-12 17:56:41

dawn don't send an email and return any gifts or donate them to charity, if that is how you feel.

DontstepontheBaubles Sat 15-Dec-12 17:58:21

"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 offences against them."

My parents do this always have done. I was/ am the difficult child, I asked for it etc. Even my brothers (after my father beat me) would say I brought it on myself. It's awful and even now they all want me to fix things with my Dad after his abuse at Easter by e-mail and text message.

Midwife I'm so new to this thread and often just lurk but your Fathers e-mail is disgusting. I'm not as wise as others on here but I would definitely go absolutely no contact and not allow access to your DCs.

I've now opted to avoid the big Christmas get together with my family, as they will all excuse and enable Dads behaviour and he has form, for speaking things over my kids. He told my son at only 18 months, that he was just like his father. Funnily enough I stopped seeing my parents as much, just after that. I wish my Dad wouldn't dare to do things to my Kids. He smacked my son once for something very minor. It made me so upset and when I asked them to never discipline my kids again and that I'd do it and choose something appropriate, such as a time out, that went down like a lead balloon, because of course being divorced and a lone parent, I need help hmm Not their kind thanks very much!

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 19:06:17

mmmm baubles siblings the same as yours, I was difficult, I was argumentative, ,etc, etc, blah blah bloody blah. Once having DC of my own I realised that this is not child's fault, but parents responsibility. Well done for putting an end to their crap by not going this year. sounds like you will never be able to leave your children with them. They will always dismiss your way as irrelevant, weird, wrong, whatever. So impossible!

Midwife99 Sat 15-Dec-12 19:30:07

Thank you so much for all your words of support today. I wish I could do the same for you but am a bit shell shocked. DH received 2 letters today from him parents containing pages & pages of vitriol followed up by texts & emails. This all stems from him throwing them out of his house a few weeks ago for screaming at me in front of the children completely unprovoked. They hate us being together. Today I'm feeling as if it's just too difficult & maybe we should call it a day. hmm

NettleTea Sat 15-Dec-12 19:32:03

ive side stepped christmas too. My mum still asks, but I no longer have the feeling of dread from October on as we do Christmas here at home, just our family - we are making our own traditions. We are close enough that the kids and i can pop over to theirs for a couple of hours in the afternoon to do the presents, and dP stays here and gets a bit of peace and relaxation, as he finds it all too distressing and isnt used to it like me, so that it can just go over his head. The kids like to see my sister and their cousin too, and I may get a chance to speak to my dad....
We have had Christmas at home for I think the last 5 years, but my mum still asks, and seems surprised. I found myself beginning to waffle and make excuses and justify why, but managed to just stop and say we liked it like that. It got too tense with 'who's turn'.... and my mum had tried to offset that by doing a huge one where DPs parents came too one year...... I just couldnt face all the agony of it. DPs parents are very easy going. They drive DP a bit crazy, but are generally on good form for Christmas. We go to theirs on Boxing day. It also makes it easier as we get our frankly bizarre, funny and quirky presents from DPs family then (they dont spend a huge deal) and I dont have to reel off a list of who bought us what for it to be scrutinised...
tame stuff I know compared to others, but still stomach lurching...

DontstepontheBaubles Sat 15-Dec-12 20:05:07

No I could never ever leave my 2 DCs with my Dad and at my parents house for a day or a weekend. And my ex in laws certainly have their own issues and my ExH's Mum is very self entitled and manipulative. I do long for a family that is supportive. I never thought after divorce things would be like they are. I feel so alone at times.

Mum has babysat once for me in 3 years and it was for just over 4 hours, in the October half term. She seemed to cope well and just took them to the park and then watched CBeebies with them. I don't think I'd ever leave them with her longer. But she came to me here at my home and I had no one else to ask that day. I do pay childminders often but that day my ExH and childminders weren't able to help. It wasn't ideal but I was desperate, as I had to work, it was a new job and I'd only just begun. It's sad though isn't it? Really sad. I am envious of others who have Mums and Dads who can and do help them a lot. All I used to get was criticism on my parenting when I went to their house.

Last Christmas I foolishly gave in to their demands/ pleas about how they'd be alone on Christmas day and it was bloody awful. My Dad was angry all day and frowning at my DCs. I spent all my time trying to make them behave in the way I thought they'd approve of. Their house is not child friendly and is full of antiques and expensive clocks (my Dad collects them). I put my son down for a nap, when he no longer had them, in a bid to improve the atmosphere and keep Dad happier, by creating a quieter environment. In the end I went home with a splitting headache and threw up as I walked in the door. I think it must have been a tension headache. I haven't had anything like that since. And of course my son then didn't settle for sleep until past 9pm, that day.

But the previous 2 years had been constant negative feedback on my parenting, telling me I should smack them, after I'd asked them not to do it themselves etc. It had all been building up. Which is why I asked for space after Christmas, which began the final altercation when Dad disowned me at Easter.

Desperate for their approval, for them to approve of my children and my parenting but I honestly wonder if my Dad even likes my children and even my Mother I'm unsure of. I think they labelled my son from the moment he was born as 'difficult' as he had horrendous colic. My Mum used to wonder if my H would have cheated if my children hadn't been so close together and my son so dreadful as a newborn hmm crying all the time.

I of course as a baby apparently cried constantly and Mum used to put my crib in the bathroom and shut the door so she couldn't hear me. Why do they tell you these things when older? It upset me. Still does. She had 4 other children and it was all very difficult for her apparently. I sympathise, but I could never have left my son to cry for hours on his own.

When my first DD was born, within the first week home, my Mum came to stay and made me start sleep training her to just go to sleep and leave her crying. I was so tired and doubted myself and I couldn't stand to leave her crying. It made me cry. As soon as she went home again, I found the confidence to do what I felt was right. Still feel guilty now. Why did I listen to her?

Do you know what disturbs me the most? I stopped breathing as a baby. Mum had left me to CIO and self settle. After a while she came upstairs to silence and discovered me blue in the face and not breathing. She resuscitated me but she says I was never quite the same after. I do have a dreadful memory actually. My brothers all went to uni. I cannot retain anything without lists and I didn't perform well in exams at all. Always takes me twice to pass anything. I know it's ridiculous but I wonder whether I'd have been smarter if I'd not been left alone and stopped breathing for a short while. Silly isn't it? I doubt they're related at all.

One of my brothers has put up 40 years of DB on fb and every photo I see of myself as a child makes me feel so sad and empty. My stomach knots. I cannot dredge up barely any happy memories at all. Being told off and labelled as the bad one and of course it was still brought up every Christmas for years as an adult too by the whole family. It almost seemed tradition to do it. It leaves your self confidence in taters.

Wow this post is long. It wasn't meant to be. Once I got typing I couldn't stop blush

DontstepontheBaubles Sat 15-Dec-12 20:09:40

I do think I may need to go back to the GP. I was on ADs for a year. I came off them a year ago but I'm struggling at the moment.

I'm also finding that I am much much quicker to snap at the kids and to get cross. I'm so tired right now and I so desperately want to be a perfect parent. ExH never has the kids overnight, he just comes by here for a few hours once or twice a week. So I think I just need a break but it's not possible. No one to ask.

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 21:14:58

They are toxic! Stay away from them baubles and keep posting to get it out. You have loads of supporters here! All shouting for you and getting behind you spurring you on... There is hope and things are always changing, you are changing, nothing stays the same. I feel so for you. Its get so that nothing hurts anymore tho (you know, the different memories cropping up and knocking you for six/bringing confusion/desolation/numbness or whatever point you're at).

Chuck some more long posts at us and get it off your chest; this is where you get your understanding at last.

You really won't be the perfect parent, but thats good as perfect doesn't sound good to me (and doesn't exist), but you are trying to do right by your DC and thats what matters. Remember you don't have to make up for everything that happened you, their life is already different because of YOU! If you are on the [healthy] parenting forums in MN you'll see lots of practical and good ways of managing any bits you might struggle with, but we all struggle with being tired and DC trying to push limits, resist, and have tantrums. Your instincts are spot on tho from what you've said and the way you have defended DC from your parents.

In what ways can you give yourself a break right now, For the sake of your emo and mental wellbeing, getting childcare help for instance. One of the huge impacts of these awful parents, is then having to parent alone yourself (without the supportive family that many can call upon for those moments when you need a break!!!) [Lone parent speaking]

Rubbish parents don't get worn down, weary and close to the edge as they don't work hard at it like you are. Look after yourself and know that you are doing great things right now (and on your own). Get all the rest you can. lots of ((hugs)). Tell us more if you haven't already gone to sleep! ;)

Badvocsanta Sat 15-Dec-12 21:29:20

MW I am so sorry.
I wish I knew what to say sad
Mum is now texting me from hospital complaining...sigh. There really isnt anything I can do. I know she is fed up. I would be too.
Wrt Xmas...not sure what's happening now. Maybe my parents won't be coming, ESP if mum is still ill?
I just need to get through this week...lots of school/family stuff etc...
Am so tired sad

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 21:30:33

midwife where to begin sad ? giving up on each other because of them is what they'd celebrate surely?

Letters must remain unopened and binned, texts simply deleted before reading, and phone calls ignored, or actually, if there's abuse in them you could keep them and pass them (letters/texts/emails) to the police, they will end up having restrictions put on them to leave you alone as its harrassment legally. Don't give any of your joint energies to giving their vitriol air space, shut it down.Log it with the police and start living your lives instead of living under it. You have strength against them together if you'd know that, in supporting each other.

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 21:34:30

there isn't anything you can do, you're right, Badvoc except not torture yourself for that. Just accept that you can't do anything.

Badvocsanta Sat 15-Dec-12 21:39:28

I know. she is in a private room so she should get some sleep. I will go in tomorrow - mainly to give my dad a break.
My bro is ill - apparently. He was well enough to be out in the pub last night however angry
That's something that has always eluded me...WHY do so many of these parents favour the children who don't give a crap about them? Use them for money? Cause heartache?
Why is that?
Sorry...I know there is no answer really, but it just doesn't make sense to me at all sad

PrincessFionne Sat 15-Dec-12 22:02:25

.... because they don't have a hold over them and they know it, and they'd 'have' to behave if they want to stay in touch. thats my theory, but they also do put up with some of their ways and accept them to a degree I think (this is from my trying to make sense of the same screwy relationships!)

PrincessFionne Sun 16-Dec-12 01:12:02

one DC stopped breathing Baubles and going blue, and I had to resuscitate, I always remember how the length of time was continually asked whenever anything medical came up in the future (which seems an obvious thing now but thats indication for any potential damage) DS lips were blue, not whole face, and lasted less than 1 min before resussed.

DontstepontheBaubles Sun 16-Dec-12 07:23:09

Presumably I didn't stop breathing for long though? Mum just doesn't know how long it was. I know ten minutes means your brain dead though.

It's horrid. She continually left me to scream alone in room with a door shut. I just couldn't do that to a small baby.

My sons colic was pretty bad. He screamed for 5 hrs a night. It did make me feel I was loosing my mind at the time, as ExH was never there, so I had no one to take turns with. And nothing I did would help or stop it. I did leave him in his cot and walk away for a few minutes once but I couldn't leave him for long. How my Mum did it consistently, I don't know.

DS slept in my bed last night, as he's full of cold. So I'm just as tired as yesterday. He kept asking me to blow his nose in the night. I didn't go to bed as early as I should have. I watched a documentary before bed. Foolish of me.

Midwife how are you feeling this morning?

PrincessFionne Sun 16-Dec-12 10:28:49

I still feel very guilty for doing the controlled crying thing one night when DD was about 10 months. I did it as I hadn't woken up until I hit the floor whilst holding her the previous night (after walking from my bedroom to hers and picking her up out of the cot). I was so sleep deprived that I was a risk to her and I was so shocked to realise she was in my arms after I hit the floor and realised I hadn't been awake and I was holding her!!! and still don't know what I could've done although I so regret having done that [controlled crying] sad. She cried a lot and midwives/health visitors trying to help out would have to hand her back to me! but she never cried for more than moments as I would cuddle her. I was shut in a room at the far end of the house as a baby and nearly gassed. Being left to scream is just awful (I don't know about as a baby, probably though, but definitely all through my childhood was left to scream and scream and cry endlessly distraught). All awful. You are truly amazing to have done that 5 hrs a night with no help Baubles

thinking of you midwife

NewPatchesForOld Sun 16-Dec-12 12:45:10

Badvocsanta...she gets stopped in her tracks when she speaks to the DC like that. She used to do it to the other 2 but now they're older it doesn't work, so she concentrates on DD2, but I do fight back when she starts with it. She enjoys cruelty...she is even cruel to the dog - he's a big soppy lab, but she will constantly tell him to fetch his lead (then ignores him while he's waiting to go out), or call 'dinner' and then laugh til she cries when he is looking for it, or shuts him out in the garden just for the 'fun' of hearing him cry to come back in. She feeds off others' upset. It's sick.

Attilla...I think you are right, I am still hoping she will become the mother I always wanted when I know deep down she won't. I also fall into the trap of thinking sometimes that I am imagining her bad behaviour, I feel sorry for her (she lives alone as I lost my dad 18 years ago) but then when she is here I go to pieces. It literally takes me about 3 days to recover, it's like getting over an illness. It's the only time I drink, when she is here or has just left. My DC are well aware of her ways, and DD1 said she would split the £20 3 ways so dd2 didn't miss out. I let her keep the money for her and DS and I gave DD2 the equivalent myself. But then I hate the thought that she thinks nana gave it to her when in actual fact I don't think my mother even likes her, let alone loves her.

I had invited her up for xmas (she refused but will be fully expecting me to beg) but I have told the Dcs and DP to remind me of how badly she makes me feel if I start to feel sorry for her and invite her again. I think I would be suicidal if she was here for xmas, which is a very special time of year for me, I love it.

She is definitely a narcissist, I have looked into it before and she fits the bill on almost every level. The scary thing is I married a narcissist too, and I fully believe I did that as I had been conditioned to accept the foul behaviour from my mother first.

NewPatchesForOld Sun 16-Dec-12 13:01:02

I'm trying to read all the posts on this thread, and have come across the posts about Christmas/birthday presents etc. My mother has a bedroom in her house that she calls the 'crap present room' and when anyone buys her a present, she opens the door and flings the present in unless it's something she really wants. One year I bought her a Bee Gees cd, it had only just come out, and she yelled at me down the phone because I had bought her a bee gees cd the year before (a different one) and how crap it was, and how I had made no effort, and how I obviously figured that was all she was worth!
But that is nothing compared to when I was about 7, and I saved all my money to buy her a birthday present. It was her bday on 30th, but for some reason I got it wrong and gave her the present on 31st. It was an African violet plant in a wicker basket, and I had kept it hidden, and watered and looked after for the week before her day. Anyway, because I gave it to her a day late she took it up, threw it against the wall and broke it...the lid came off it's hinges and the heads all broke off the flowers and there was mud all over the carpet. I was 7! And that is a legacy which I have to this day...I never feel that I have done enough at birthdays and Christmases...I am always apologising for not getting enough, or not making it special enough.

PrincessFionne Sun 16-Dec-12 13:05:06

a sadly familiar tale patches sad I know other family members have reported receiving back another xmas things they gave previously! and the other stuff you mention too

forgetmenots Sun 16-Dec-12 13:08:45

newpatches sad that's a disgusting thing to do to a child. You sound lovely btw.

my MIL used to give presents back to family members and say how disappointed she was as 'they show how little anyone knows me or cares about me.' I say used to because she gets no present from us any more. We ended up for the last couple of years giving her a very small token (after spending years spending money we didn't really have trying to appease her). She said this was better as at least it was 'openly crap' rather than just 'crap she couldn't complain about to people'.

The low point was one Boxing Day where DH went to visit and was thrown out after he didn't respond to one of her nasty remarks. (I had chosen by this point not to go). The presents for the family were thrown at him, at his head, out the door and he tried to pick them all up before they got wet fom the snow sad

And still he went back.

NewPatchesForOld Sun 16-Dec-12 13:10:36 And why??? I could never do that to my DCs...I have kept absolutely everything they have ever given me, and cherish every single thing. I even have bits of toilet roll which DD2 has drawn on for me, and it's all put in big boxes and stored away.

I have a feeling I am going to be posting lots on here, as nobody who doesn't have a toxic parent can possibly understand. DP is fantastic, and listens so patiently, and talks things through with me...but he can't understand.

NewPatchesForOld Sun 16-Dec-12 13:13:58

forgetmenots...that's horrific! Poor DH. Your MIL talks very much like my mother does...everything is crap to her. I didn't buy her anything last year, and had intended buying her a bed set she liked this year (it's the same as mine...she always but always copies me) but it would mean driving to hers and I do not want to see her again this side of xmas.
Does DH still have contact?

NewPatchesForOld Sun 16-Dec-12 13:24:56

I read further back that it is always the siblings who don't give a crap/behave badly etc that are treated the best. My brother did time, lived on the streets, drank, did drugs...and my mum thinks the sun shines out of his backside. She never falls out with him, and yet me, who never brought her a day's trouble...

Badvocsanta Sun 16-Dec-12 13:41:00

New patches....yep. Sounds familiar sad
Mum is coming home today but my ds2 is very poorly now - well, he has been for 2 months with an awful cough/virus thing - and so I have a great excuse not to visit her.
Need some sleep tonight or I will be ill sad

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 16-Dec-12 13:46:24

Just to say that I have no wise words or anything, but that I'm horrified at what these dreadful people do to us, and our kids, cos they can.

I think if we stop 'giving a shit' about these people, it'll serve us well, not to get better treatment, but to distance ourselves, detach and heal.


re your comment:-
"I read further back that it is always the siblings who don't give a crap/behave badly etc that are treated the best"

This is very true; my middle aged narcissist of a BIL is enabled to the nth degree by both his parents, particularly his mother who ferries him around still. He despises the two of them as well as himself. His parents also created this monster.

It is not possible to have any sort of relationship with a narcissist; all you can do is maintain and keep emotional and physical distance from them. They are very adept at saying anything.

"Given distance, or only transient and intermittent contact, you can get along with narcissists by treating them as infants: you give them whatever they want or need whenever they ask and do not expect any reciprocation at all, do not expect them to show the slightest interest in you or your life (or even in why you're bothering with them at all), do not expect them to be able to do anything that you need or want, do not expect them to apologize or make amends or show any consideration for your feelings, do not expect them to take ordinary responsibility in any way. But note: they are not infants; infants develop and mature and require this kind of care for only a brief period, after which they are on the road to autonomy and looking after themselves, whereas narcissists never outgrow their demands for dedicated attention to their infantile needs 168 hours a week. Adult narcissists can be as demanding of your time and energy as little babies but without the gratification of their growing or learning anything from what they suck from you. Babies love you back, but adult narcissists are like vampires: they will take all you can give while giving nothing back, then curse you for running dry and discard you as a waste of their precious time.

It is also essential that you keep emotional distance from narcissists. They're pretty good at maintaining a conventional persona in superficial associations with people who mean absolutely nothing to them, and they'll flatter the hell out of you if you have something they can use or if, for some reason, they perceive you as an authority figure. That is, as long as they think you don't count or they're afraid of you, they'll treat you well enough that you may mistake it for love. But, as soon as you try to get close to them, they'll say that you are too demanding -- and, if you ever say "I love you," they'll presume that you belong to them as a possession or an appendage, and treat you very very badly right away. The abrupt change from decent treatment to outright abuse is very shocking and bewildering, and it's so contrary to normal experience that I was plenty old before I realized that it was actually my expression of affection that triggered the narcissists' nasty reactions. Once they know you are emotionally attached to them, they expect to be able to use you like an appliance and shove you around like a piece of furniture. If you object, then they'll say that obviously you don't really love them or else you'd let them do whatever they want with you. If you should be so uppity as to express a mind and heart of your own, then they will cut you off -- just like that, sometimes trashing you and all your friends on the way out the door. The narcissist will treat you just like a broken toy or tool or an unruly body part: "If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off" [Matt. 18:8]. This means you".

I have seen all of the above in my DHs family.

So, yes, it's possible to get along with narcissists, but it's probably not worth bothering with. Mr Meerkat and I no longer bother with the two, possibly three, narcs in the family and we are a lot happier for doing this. We have to protect our own selves.

BTW if you have never read "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" website you may find it very useful to look at.

forgetmenots Sun 16-Dec-12 16:15:16

newpatches, no, he isn't in contact at the moment. It's been very hard on him and still is, and on me too to a much lesser extent but in a different way - my family is pretty functional and like each other, so this was all a horrible wake up call to me. Think I was blissfully naive before I met DH - always got on with friends and boyfriends' parents, never knew people were like this.

What you were saying about the badly behaved siblings is interesting too. None of DH's siblings behave badly because they are all too terrified of the consequences. But MIL set very, almost unachievable standards for them - academically, about jobs, buying homes etc. She liked the bragging rights. Of course though, it turned out that when it came to the crunch she didn't actually want any of them reaching these targets. And poor DH was the only one who had - he had spent most of his formative years working to finally (as he thought) win her approval. When the goalposts inevitably changed, and she told him 'all I feel when I look at you is sadness and disappointment', to someone who was a lovely person and had accomplished a great deal, he was devastated.

The siblings in law of course mess up all the time, take their punishment like naughty school kids, mummy bails them out but importantly she gets to maintain control. And that after all is what she really wanted all along...

Rant over, honest smile

forgetmenots Sun 16-Dec-12 18:54:05

attila, can I ask you something (if it's too personal please ignore)? Did your DH start off under the FOG, or had he resolved his issues before you met? You give such clear advice and I wasn't sure if you had perhaps had experience of counselling, or perhaps having helped your DH a lot. (I find I am understanding more and more as time goes on, but it has been slow and difficult in parts).

Sorry, just returning to say thank you to Attilla forgetmenots and Baubles for the advice - I haven't replied to the text (that was good advice) but have had a thoroughly miserable weekend on tenterhooks as I now think they will descend on my house like the plague of locusts they are. They won't get in, but now I am worrying that I haven't given them fair warning of this. Geez. I know, I know....

Midwife99 Sun 16-Dec-12 22:59:22

I have no wise words either. Just sad to hear all these stories with no understanding of what they have done let alone remorse! My parents have yet to even acknowledge that I told them I was raped as a result of their negligence. I can't imagine having no reaction to hearing that even the most distant acquaintance had that happen to them!!

NewPatchesForOld Sun 16-Dec-12 23:13:27 mother 'forgot' that dd2 was sexually abused by her own father...she was going on about how terrible it is for men to do this and that to kids, and I sat there in stunned silence...then when I said to her that I found the conversation difficult she asked me why!!! I told her exactly why and she said 'oh...I forgot about that'! He went on trial for it, I was in a refuge...but she forgot??? WTF? It is beyond belief.

PrincessFionne Sun 16-Dec-12 23:23:48

All of these things ring such bells now I think about them - I cycled 4 miles to deliver flowers to my exmother when I was a lot younger, and she chucked them back at me as they were bought from a person she couldnt stand!?!?! So I cycled 4 miles back again with the flowers sad.

The gifts Patches were given as xmas presents to her one xmas and then rewrapped the next year and given as xmas presents to the original giver! I remember spending quite a lot of my holiday spending money when I was very young on a gift for her, some years later she gave it back to me!?!? plus other stuff... how confusing?!

Keep up the feisty fmnots smile

PrincessFionne Sun 16-Dec-12 23:40:39

oh dear, my posting was relating to the previous page here, and this current page with such sufferings on loaded up afterwards.

yeah, it was only a theory (about the reason siblings that behave truly badly are preferred somehow [crazy] [sick] ) although the particular sibling I was referring to was always forgiven (but I've noticed so far its been the male variety), but he actually felt like the 'family-let-down'.

well done creepy that sounds assertive, positive step!

and the appallingness of this awful stuff not actually even really touching the lives of these 2D people, words fail too midwife.


Midwife99 Mon 17-Dec-12 00:28:45

Newpatches - staggering lack of sensitivity!!'

Midwife99 Mon 17-Dec-12 00:39:47

I've also had the "petulant child" response to presents - "not more earrings!" Etc

They "forgot" my birthday 3 years ago. I had a baby in July 2009 & my mum went into hospital to have a planned operation the day after & was in for 3 weeks afterwards. The night after her operation my father sent me a text in the middle of the night saying she would be dead by morning. (I had just given birth!) I rang the hospital & they said she was doing well & comfortable. I didn't get any cards or presents for me or the baby but instead demands for me to visit her 40 miles away in an NHS coronary care ward & take the baby "to cheer her up". I said no that I wouldn't take a newborn baby into a hospital ward full of sick people & I got a series of furious texts calling me selfish. In the end I spoke to a nurse on the ward who confirmed that they would not ALLOW a newborn baby onto the ward & she had to sit my parents down & tell them once & for all to stop telling me to visit. My mother is a known MRSA carrier. Fatal to newborn babies.
The list goes on .......
I was wavering to see them at Christmas but I know I can't.

PrincessFionne Mon 17-Dec-12 01:27:26

Jus that one text says to me what a horror of a man he is midwife. Who does this, well he does obviously! unthinkable. Presumably this was so that you would come running in with baby in the middle of the night, or phone him to give him some support?? A way to force you to action. well now you know him as a liar as well as everything else. Ifyou will enjoy xmas with them, otherwise the waver must be ignored for your own protection. I hope you can plan a lovely day just for you two. Fi

Midwife99 Mon 17-Dec-12 01:50:05

He is a horror of a man. He didn't go to his own mother's funeral. He left me to arrange it on my own because he had a row with his sister over the inheritance. She lives 400 miles away so couldn't do it. He gave the funeral director my number & washed his hands of the whole matter. I got a phone call from them saying they had a body & didn't know what to do with it. She had given him a huge amount of money to buy a pub in return for her living with them for some company. It lasted 12 months before she put herself in a home because they ignored her as they had me when I was still at home.
My other 96 year old grandmother had a heart attack & my mother was already in hospital herself (again) so he rang me in the middle of the night & I went & sat with her all night until she died. They didn't go to her funeral either.
I split with my exh & lived 200 miles away. They begged me to move back here "so they could help me with the children" because I work shifts. "Please, we have nothing to do all day except watch TV". Within months after I'd bought a house here & got a new job etc they decided they just wanted to be on their own because they love each other & their "babysitting days were over" & left me in the lurch.

I'm sorry - more & more realisations keep surfacing & I'm ranting at you guys!

forgetmenots Mon 17-Dec-12 07:41:52

That's a good thing midwife, just keep talking. I'm aghast at your story and newpatches' about forgetting/ignoring abuse. In my book this behaviour is a continuation of the abuse and should be treated as such. Disgusting. Definitely would echo what others have said and get a lovely Christmas planned free from your parents.

Thanks fi, I think it's good for me to have a feisty vent here as I'm careful not to put any pressure on DH. Goodness knows he doesn't need it. Your mother sounds like a classic narc, how awful.

creepylittlebat glad you found it helpful. The tenterhooks are unavoidable, I'm feeling the same way to be honest - just keep telling yourself they can only come in if you open the door, they can only shout if you answer the phone...

tangerinefeathers Mon 17-Dec-12 07:43:36

Have been getting anxious about Christmas and the extensive family contact involved, and logged on here to see if anyone else is feeling the same - at 13 pages it looks like I am not alone!

Also got my sister's wedding and she is being tricky. My most difficult sister is going to be in town and my other sister, the golden child, is already dreaming up ailments for her children and upping the visits to A&E, as attention is possibly going to be diverted from her for a few weeks.

What normally happens is a lot of bitching, followed by a 'showdown' where I get roundly abused for being difficult, selfish, awkward, lacking in insight etc.

Uggghhhhh. It doesn't matter what I do, I cannot win. I cannot please them, I could give and give and give and it would still be dismissed as meaningless.

Anyway, I have a beautiful little boy, and a perfectly normal, loving husband, who now sees my family for what they are. I am thinking of how to get through.

Saying nothing. Biting my tongue. Expecting very little. Ignoring the veiled comments. Having time with my son and husband, being grateful for them and the atmosphere of my own home, which is not perfect but lighter and less stagnant than that of my family home.

Anyone else got coping tips for Christmas??

I wish you all peaceful moments in the festive time, amid the dysfunction family-of-origin utter bullshit.

Midwife99 Mon 17-Dec-12 09:11:21

I think we should all batten down the hatches & have a Christmas with our DPs & DCs only!! I know I am!!

Indeed Midwife.

I will be spending Christmas abroad this year with DH and DS smile.

MIL has been at it again with regards to wanting to buy Mr M and I each a Christmas present (I should have made her listen to what Martin Lewis spoke about with regards to Christmas presents!) even though DH has stated that she does not need to get us anything. Boundaries are being pushed yet again by her aren't they?. BTW if I do receive something (and DH asked me to choose something yesterday) it will subsequently go to the charity shop.

Will no doubt receive a separate Christmas card from the ILs (MIL solely does all the Christmas card writing) this year as well, well its happened every other year!. Told DH again that I did not like this and that I felt like a second class citizen in her eyes. I already realise this but I don't think he does. He seemed genuinely aghast at my saying so saying that his mother did not mean it and that's the way its always been done in their family. All that however to me sounds like a cop out.

Forgetmenots, have helped DH a lot with regards to his dysfunctional family (I also have my own not quite so dysfunctional parents to draw on as an example so have mainly worked through that) and he has made a lot of progress but he is still very much in obligation and a degree of awe with regards to his mother (not his Dad or brother though). After a lifetime of being so conditioned mainly by her its bloody hard to realise that what you have come to regard as normal is actually and patently not.

Very glad to hear it Midwife - you deserve a wonderful time away from those horrors. Rant away!

tangerine, it's actually a positive thing that you know you can't please them. It took me way too many years and failed careers to come to that realisation, and many people on here will say the same. We need to start pleasing the people that matter now, starting with ourselves. As for coping tips, I spent last Xmas without my parents for the first time, and had a load of abuse for it, but we're doing the same this year and I will not be answering the phone. How I'm getting through this stress? telling myself that it's only a day and that soon it will be over. If we can just make this as good as possible for the dc, that's the main thing. And hopefully hide from them how stressed I feel.

DontstepontheBaubles Mon 17-Dec-12 10:26:49

Argghhhh! Remind me to NEVER talk to anyone about my toxic father and why I'm not seeing him this Christmas or why I will never allow my children to spend time with my MIL alone - unless they have toxic family! Not only do they just not get it but she's made me so cross with her patronising and dismissive attitude. She doesn't understand and when I suggested she read Toxic Parents to help her understand people in these situations, she said she doesn't want to and why would she. Her family are so close and that's great but I'm not that lucky. Then she says her family isn't perfect as some have divorced etc. Arggghhh. So cross, when will I learn to not discuss it.

Midwife99 Mon 17-Dec-12 10:27:32

Actually the funny thing is I have never really felt pressure to see them on Christmas Day. They "don't believe in Christmas" "it's all a waste of money" "God doesn't exist anyway" & "Christmas just meant even more hard work for us"!!!
Ok then!!!
I'm aware that this time of year is highly emotional for most people - I have to really drum up any feelings but am determined to make my kids have different memories to mine!!

PrincessFionne Mon 17-Dec-12 11:50:38

Yes to that midwife just been thinking that I would travel to avoid xmas given the opportunity - you know just keep changing time zones till it was over everywhere! but with DC do do the whole thing and want it to be so special for DC sake, although yeah loads of hard work and late nights preparing everything, but if DC made to feel special & good as a result then its worth it. Xmas was big when I was a kid, but v. ordered, and gifts were 'plastic' , and then gifts handed over in a plastic bag then it became just money (cheques that I never cashed). The way some people do it, it certainly is a HUGE FUCKING WASTE OF MONEY! meaningful xmas is certainly not and can be a wonderful time, well I've just talked myself back into the xmas spirit, going to clear lounge to get tree up.

PrincessFionne Mon 17-Dec-12 11:59:14

Baubles sorry that you're in that place again. I think it might actually be nigh on impossible for people to understand the difference (from the outside, and not as a daughter or son - as we are the chosen special ones to receive this treatment very often) It was always claimed on medical grounds that my father was not 'able' to control his temper due to psychological condition fuckupedness but as I got older I wondered why only his immediate family ever witnessed it on a regular basis! I am sorry, I seem to be getting more and more sweary.

FMNots thank you, I think that might be the first time anyone has said anything so kind to me about her - acknowledging how appalling it was about her specifically (exactly the point that baubles was just making).

Unfortunately, although I feel I have travelled miles in coming away from that and seeing it (they do feel like enormous leaps forward for me - but really they are small steps in getting towards being more normal! sad ), I still feel isolated, screwed up and very down, struggling with it all.


forgetmenots Mon 17-Dec-12 19:08:14

I'm sorry to hear that Fi. There's no doubt to me that her behaviour is completely narcissistic and damaging - I think you should be easier on yourself, recognising and accepting the behaviour is wrong is a huge step in itself and every step after that is hard-fought. Keep talking!

attila your DH is lucky indeed to have you - you sound like an incredibly rational and thoughtful person, exactly what he needs in dealing with this dysfunction. Your advice on here is invaluable to many.

NettleTea Mon 17-Dec-12 21:04:53

Went to visit my parents this morning and she was actually on quite good form. This is the confusing thing. But I also now am wary because it's like I know her dark side. They had returned from a nice holiday so in a good mood, and she seems to like christmas so all good in the Nettle parental household. At least I feel I've fulfilled a visit without mishap so that should do me for a while. It's times like this I feel slightly fraudulent being on here, but I know it's because I know she can turn, and I know what's gone before..........
I think that's what's confusing about someone who has a bit more than a healthy splash of narc... As someone said up thread, so long as you can give them what they want, everything is fine. So I keep the conversation light, maybe a bit of discussion of what's in the news, but nothing too contentious, and steer clear of the flashpoint subjects!
There is a family birthday coming up and I was asked if DP will be there, I said I didn't know (but pretty damn sure he won't) and she said to tell him they would LIKE him to be there. So that's going to be an issue. There will be lots of people there, so it's not as if he will be missed really, apart from the fact that he chooses not to go. He doesn't like eating out in that type of situation, so I don't really see what the problem is, but it won't be seen like this.......

Badvocsanta Mon 17-Dec-12 21:31:08

I know what you mean re keeping conversations light...I haven't had a real discussion with my mum about anything important to me for...well...ever sad
I tend to stick to asking after cousins, my siblings (they sure as hell never ask after me!) and general things like weather, mums neighbours, local people we know etc...
All a bit sad really.

Jojobells1986 Tue 18-Dec-12 03:53:20

Wow, I never even realised that I do that too. I never tell my dad anything. If I have any news I tell my mum & leave it to her to tell him. Part of the reason I didn't have a boyfriend before 19 was because I didn't want to give him any ammunition for teasing me. I told my mum when I first got together with DH. When we got engaged my dad said he didn't look at it as losing a daughter, he saw it as getting rid of me... Hahahaha... hmm Mum made me call him at work when I failed uni & decided not to repeat the year & I sat there holding the phone for ages before I finally got the courage to dial the number. I dreaded his speech at our wedding, didn't tell him about either pregnancy... In fact, I can't remember the last time I stayed alone in a room with him - I usually get up & leave to avoid one-on-one conversations with him. I'm sad to realise I do these things automatically just to avoid my own father. That's not how life should be. sad

tangerinefeathers Tue 18-Dec-12 04:45:12

Fionne your last line really chimes with me. There's something about this time of year where you think, why does it have to be like this? So much time and energy spent dealing with things that wouldn't be a problem if people just behaved themselves, instead of being utter loons.

There is so much secrecy as well. That is what I find hard. My MIL is difficult, but it's completely out in the open, she behaves badly, everyone ticks her off, we move on. But with my family it's like there's so much looking the other way, pretending not to notice how odd/inappropriate/downright mad my mother can be. To the outside world she is a saint, largely because she always does extremely generous and OTT gestures when they will be noticed.

I am so glad I've worked it all out though. That is what I have to remind myself, it would be far worse to be in denial about all of this, as i was for years, thinking i was the problem [i still do, it is ingrained in me]. And at least now I have a chance and the clear head to create a different family life for myself.

I am really intrigued at the idea of not having christmas with family. We lived away for a long time, but even then my mother and father would usually arrive sometime around christmas. Typically, they would always be very vague and hard to pin down on exactly when they were arriving, so a few days would be spent kind of hanging around waiting for them. [Although funnily enough, once we got a car and could pick them up from the airport they were suddenly much more forthcoming about their exact arrival date].

I think this is the last Christmas I have with them. It's always a weird, forced day. I am dreading it, and the dread is taking so much energy.

tangerinefeathers Tue 18-Dec-12 04:49:42

Nettle i know what you mean about being disconcerted when your mother is nice and normal. But its the lack of consistency, the unpredictable nature of it - what version am i going to get today?

It's a relief when my mother behaves herself, but it means very little now, just that on one particular day she hasn't been hard work.

tangerinefeathers Tue 18-Dec-12 04:57:37

* midwife good for you. I am getting closer to a Christmas with just my family. My ds is only 2 and i am struggling a bit with FOG and knowing he will have limited contact with them, it's getting to the point now where I can't just say nothing anymore and holding back is exhausting and stressful, yet if I do bite back i get abuse and accusations, the usual story.

Did any of you find that having children was the deal breaker, the point at which you decided to limit contact? and was it a gradual process?

sending everyone christmas peace and the occasional well-timed, assertive retort grin

ImanAlligator Tue 18-Dec-12 15:54:08

Long time lurking on this thread maybe 2 years. Finally think its time to post. Really think my Mother is a narc.

The most recent event was the day my toddler son got diagnosed with a lifelong disability I called to tell her , she soon turned the conversation around to complete strangers stopping her on a night out telling her how amazing she looked amongst other crazy things all centred around her.

We moved on from her to me asking about Christmas and she stated she couldn't be bothered to sort the house for the kids . I have a toddler and baby so it's just a question of making it safe eg no glass vases tidy ornaments away etc. I invited her to my in laws or suggested a meal out, she refused both. She seems determined to spend Christmas alone , we are travelling 200 miles to see family but she only wants to meet at a retail centre to exchange gifts and have a quick lunch .

I'm her only child and she is single to understand the situation . I have started to examine her treatment of me and my children . I now believe she turned nasty at the thought of a family Christmas as she isn't the focus due to be being devastated by my sons diagnosis . I also told her we are moving much closer to her but she has barely reacted to this and doesn't ask about my son or my imminent move.

She has avoided Christmas generally since I moved away and got married with children. I think if i visited her alone she would prefer that but we come as a package and in her words " she can't be bothered "

I'm not sure when we will visit her in her own home but how many people would you continue being even distant friends with that say they can't be bothered to have you visit ! It was so rude . I have read all the narc stuff and a lot rings true.

Not sure where I go from here but the clouds seem to be lifting and I can see things much more clearly re our relationship.

baytree Tue 18-Dec-12 16:21:02

Dear Tangerine. No, not exactly having children, but putting myself and my family first and being assertive. Standing up to them. That was the dealbreaker and made them really agressive.
The test is if you think they could say "I'm sorry, let's not go over old ground and score points, let's move in a positive direction for your ds". But they are incapable of that. So you need to manage them rather than look for support from them. It is exhausting at first (2 years for me) but it gets easier when they realise you really mean business.

ImanAlligator Tue 18-Dec-12 16:44:50

Baytree and tangerine I had the thread bookmarked and had not updated. It seems I'm in the same situation. It seems me having kids is a deal breaker for my Mum. She herself seems to limit contact, and likes to create a distance in our relationship which makes me feel uneasy and guilty after our meet ups. I offer plenty of options but she seems to relish being alone for some reason.

Midwife99 Tue 18-Dec-12 19:49:59

Jo Jo - your post reminded me of "jokes" my Dad has made at my expense. Eg - 8 months after my 4th baby & I was back to pre-preg weight & looking great - in front of the DCs, ILs, DH & everyone he said "bloody hell midwife you look like you've got another baby in there - ha ha ha ha!" He weighs 22 stone.
At my first wedding reception (in their pub of course between lunchtime & evening opening - they opened the pub at 530pm as usual so a load of strangers piled in) he piped up "For God's sake have some time on your own before you have kids & ruin your lives". blush

Midwife99 Tue 18-Dec-12 19:58:30

The kids thing as a deal breaker? I never saw them when my DSs were little (they still had a pub) so I resent the way they seem to feel some sort of right to see my young DDs now as if I'm depriving them. Why are the DDs more important than the DSs were? They're not - it's that THEY are more important & now they're old & frail & not busy they want attention.

baytree Tue 18-Dec-12 20:38:16

Dear Iman

I am very sorry to hear about your DS. Your support will so help him. Your mother -it is all about her isn't it?
Dear Midwife: Always the inappropriate "joke" hey? And a convenient and cheap wedding reception. It is not what you deserved-shame on them but absolutely no shame on you.

God these peverse, insecure people that get a boost from putting down those closest to them (by genetics not empathy) and trying to make them even more insecure than they are and therefore dependent. In a workplace or school it would be termed bullying and harrassment.

jessjessjess Wed 19-Dec-12 04:28:46

Hi I'm new to the thread. Previously belonged to MN under another name. Lately have been thinking about things constantly and have just started seeing a therapist.

In short: depressed aggressive father, mum whose coping mechanism was/is to ignore all problems. Things worst in my teens when older DB had gone to uni.

I was (am?) very scared of my dad. We walked on eggshells constantly. He didn't hit my mum, to my knowledge, though he was sometimes very unpleasant to her. He did sometimes hit me. Alot of it was verbal aggression and I know it could have been so much worse, don't get me wrong. But put it this way: I once got caught shoplifting, asked my mum not to tell him (without saying why) and she immediately agreed (without asking why or questioning the whole situation in our household).

Several of my friends told me they didn't like phoning my house in case he answered. (Didn't mind them saying this. In fact it provided some much needed validation for how I felt.) One of my uni friends once accidentally rang my parents' house late at night when she meant to call my mobile and from what I gathered she received a massive bollocking from my dad, who had never even met her! Which was awkward.

Couldn't actually TALK to my mum when living at home as she'd say "well don't feel like that" or "just let it wash over you." If I try to talk to her now she says it was a hard time for her and then says she is getting over a cold or the flu - maybe sound paranoid but have tried to discuss 3-4 times and I swear she always starts talking about an ailment! Hey presto the convo is never about me.

My dad is better than he used to be. Though has a habit of suddenly deciding a conversation is over and shouting at me if I try to continue, even if answering a question he asked. We have no DCs yet (are TTC). He is ok with my brother's kids, if somewhat impatient.

Currently v frustrated as my dad was in hospital and now needs lots of help - and friends of my parents are guilt-tripping me and DH for not being around more when have actually been helping out plenty. DB is 200 miles away and we are 20 mins away so people are guilting me and not him.

I also wondered if I'm the only person who still can't tell their parents things that would make them mad. I'm 31 and my dad still doesn't know I smoke. Somehow never passed the point of being scared to tell him. (He hates smokers. Because he's so morally superior?)

So those are the basics, sorry this is so long. Really glad I found this thread.

Bedtime1 Wed 19-Dec-12 05:07:41

Christmas has a way of making me think more About family. It's sad I am still trying to accept that my mum and dad are never going to be the way some parents are. I imagine loving parents to be supportive of their children, kind and helpful etc.
My mum and dad are both very Good at criticising. They are divorced. I'd say dad was weaker and more enabling.

No matter what I do I can't win and am never good enough.

Bedtime1 Wed 19-Dec-12 05:08:59

Tbh I dwell a lot on these things it's so hard to get over and accept things. I have resentment and anger and that's hard to deal with.

Bedtime1 Wed 19-Dec-12 05:16:41

Midwife your dad sounds really mean. How can a dad be this way with his kids? Thats the point I will never understand and trying to make peace with that is nt easy at all. Up and down days all the time ?

Has anybody here come to terms with their families behaviour? It hurts badly. One day it will feel better and another day I feel sad. Some days I feel angry some days Im more resentful, some days I feel okay and like I have accepted things. It's like a rollercoaster. Does anybody else feel like this? When does that rollercoaster finally stop? Or will it always be this way?

Thanks everyone

tangerinefeathers Wed 19-Dec-12 06:19:12

Baytree that is hard isn't it? with most people if you talk to them about something they've done that's upset you then usually it can be resolved. But with some it's as if they cannot bear to be challenged in any way. It's head-wrecking, because you can't win - either you say nothing and get messed around or stick up for yourself and get attacked.

I agree about having to 'manage' them rather than have a meaningful relationship.

It is sad, though, especially at this time of year. I feel sad when I hear of how much of a help some mothers are to their daughters when they've just given birth. Staying up at night, walking the floor with the baby in the small hours.

My mother yelled at me for not calling when I rang to tell her I'd had a baby then came to stay and was so demanding and exhausting I ended up in hospital with pneumonia. She visited twice in 11 days and the second time spent most of the time complaining that she'd fallen over catching the bus to the hospital and marked her trousers hmm.

Midwife your dad sounds like a real charmer. Have you ever said, 'I didn't ask to be born' when he comes out with stuff like that. Enjoy your Christmas with your lovely real family.

Jess sounds like you are in the right place! Walking on eggshells is not how it's meant to be, but in some ways your mother sounds even worse, saying 'just let it wash over you'. Maybe that's how she makes it work for her, but why should you just let it all go? My family is the same re. illnesses, it's a way of avoiding confrontation I think, to always be a bit sick and therefore not capable of doing very much about anything.

Bedtime I feel like you, just sad about it all. Especially at Christmas, when there is a lot more contact. I think the main thing is to just accept those feelings, feel them, and remember that they will pass. And to look after yourself and be around people who make you feel good as much as possible. I think I will be somewhere else for Christmas next year though, with my own little family.

Midwife99 Wed 19-Dec-12 07:16:27

I agree - illness overrides everything to avoid confrontation & responsibility. My mother has been "dying" since she was 49 of various illnesses. She's now 72!!
The trouble is we are now being cast as heartless, cruel, neglectful offspring. I know my parents' neighbours think it's appalling that I don't go round & help them when their own kids do. One particular neighbour phoned me at my parents' requests 6 years ago when I was on holiday in Turkey with my children & cousin & her kids to tell me both my parents were in hospital dying. When we got back my father had been discharged home & my mother was sitting up in bed complaining about the coffee in a stern voice to the housekeeper & then saying in a baby voice to the nurse "I've got a sore bottin" (because the word bottom is too rude)!!!!
Are we now meant to feel sorry for them?!!'

Midwife99 Wed 19-Dec-12 07:17:56

(But - when I had babies I was warned not to phone them in the middle of the night to tell them & wake them up)

DontstepontheBaubles Wed 19-Dec-12 07:46:22

Jess my Dad was/ can be an angry man. The whole family walks on egg shells and you always only tell Mum things. She enables his behaviour and everyone panders to it. I'm so fed up of it being normalised.

All my friends growing up were scared of him and didn't like phoning my house.

I definitely got the brunt of his anger growing up and it still affects me now.

You're in a good place, people here understand, in a way others can't. Keep talking x

Midwife99 Wed 19-Dec-12 07:55:35

Jess - maybe it's too soon to be able to confront your Dad? I'm 45 & only now doing it!! Walking on eggshells seems less difficult but over the years your feelings become less & less valid. I'm not in a good place to advise right now but I sympathise.

Midwife99 Wed 19-Dec-12 07:57:27

Iman your mother is a narcissist! I'm so sorry about your son's diagnosis. The fact is she can't stand the spotlight being taken off her! angry

Badvocsanta Wed 19-Dec-12 08:06:13

Midwife...your mother sounds mad as a box of frogs!!
I can would not believe some of the stuff my mum has said to me over the years...
I was being tested a few years ago for a very serious illness - against my better judgement I told my mum what the doc was testing for. I was absolutely petrified. I was 22 years old. and her exact words were...
"We'll if it is that, I will be dead before you will"

Midwife99 Wed 19-Dec-12 08:09:46

You gotta laugh!! confused

tangerinefeathers Wed 19-Dec-12 08:11:30

My mother has been "dying" since she was 49 of various illnesses. She's now 72!!

Oh, sorry but that made me laugh!

I assumed my mother wouldn't want me to bother her until I'd had the baby, which is why I called after he was born. But of course that was me being selfish, and not thinking of how desperately worried she was (the fact that I was rather caught up in actually giving birth was irrelevant).

You cannot win with these people. angry

As for being cast as cruel, neglectful offspring, well, it's not a good feeling, but you know you have your reasons for keeping your distance that their neighbours don't or won't understand [but people on here certainly do]. The trouble is, they didn't look after you when you needed them, and you have your own family now. I'm sure you do enough, it's just that for some people that is never enough.

ImanAlligator Wed 19-Dec-12 09:42:31

God isn't it amazing to hear that others have similar experiences . My Mother did have an illness diagnosed a few years ago but completely recovered but did have to have a few ops. I let her live with me and looked after her while she recovered. Two years later we got a fabulous offer for my husband to move in his job. She told me her friends couldn't believe I was leaving her(!) after she had her illness. She was back at work full time etc , she wasn't "ill " anymore. Also while 7 months pregnant I looked after her and left my husband 200 miles away .

To this day she will say she is so unwell with other issues but drives an 80 mile round trip to work and socializes with friends who are 100 miles away. Basically she is well when it suits her.

She spoiled my hen night -

We get to bar , not everyone there yet , we were eating upstairs I wanted to have a drink wait for everyone then move upstairs to the restaurant . She insisted we go up as HER feet hurt and she couldn't possibly stand for ten minutes. So I had to hurry everyone up and not wait for my other friends . She then said we had to go to a bar she liked , she then danced for hours and then drove an hour home. Funny how her feet recovered . I got married abroad ( no guests thank God )!

It's not a major example but I can't believe how I have let her manipulate me over the years. My son is the most amazing little boy , if he isn't good enough because of his disability then that's fine but I don't know how long I will be able to maintain a relationship with her if we aren't welcome to visit her due to my children making a mess or whatever her reason is . While there I am always careful that nothing gets broken etc anyway , more so than anywhere else!

DontstepontheBaubles Wed 19-Dec-12 09:43:08

I was typing on my phone earlier but I didn't go no contact with my Dad until he lost it with me at Easter and sent me the most abusive texts and e-mails. He lost it over a misunderstanding and I suddenly realised that I couldn't do this any more. To apologise for all wrongs, whether my fault or not and 'fix' things as I had always previously done to keep Mum happy.

I still have this habit of thinking everything is my fault and apologising. But not with Dad. Life is easier without seeing him tbh. But it's taken years to get to this stage, my brothers have also put me under pressure to fix things too. I finally do not care what my family think or others. But I have realised I cannot talk to anyone about this, unless they understand toxic families. As demonstrated by my rant below the other day blush

I read: "We'll if it is that, I will be dead before you will" with an open mouth. Unbelievable.

forgetmenots Wed 19-Dec-12 10:22:41

It never fails to sadden me when I come back to this thread and see new posters (welcome), as well as updates with yet more horrendous stories - the sheer amount of under-the-radar abuse out there is just unreal. I honestly am at the point where I think a light needs to be shone on this. For every embarrassed, awkward lie we tell to protect ourselves, our loved ones and these hideous people, the taboo is perpetuated. People believe in wicked stepmothers, no one believes in wicked mothers until they see it first-hand. I feel a campaign coming on!

baubles my FIL's favourite command is 'fix this'. Enabler to the end, his wife's whims are what we all have to live by. He minimises her threats and exaggerates her upset. He has made his choices and expects his children, their partners, their partners families and friends to do the same - to collude in this lie that MIL is mentally sound and a lovely human being. It's their lie, not mine. And DH is blamed for his mother's behaviour (a strange kind of acknowledgement!) because he is unable to 'fix' her. It makes me so, so angry and sad.

Badvocsanta Wed 19-Dec-12 11:14:39

I know.
I know.
She just rang on the pretence of asking how my ds2 is who has been really poorly and - of course - eventually she gets round to the real reason she has dad has to have an endoscopy on 28th.
"I will have to find someone to take him due to him being sedated"
Of course I will take him! Why can't she just ask like a normal person!?

jessjessjess Wed 19-Dec-12 11:36:26

Thanks for accepting me into the thread everyone. Sorry not to reply to all the posts.

Bedtime1 - I'm the same as you. Sometimes I push it all to the back of my mind and sometimes it's all I can think about.

Tangerinefeathers - your mum sounds like a charmer and all. Sorry to hear that. I think you are right about my mother being worse in some ways. I find myself harbouring limited resentment towards my dad as I know why he is the way he is. Awful childhood which isn't an excuse, but it is a reason I can comprehend. I can't comprehend why my mother just stuck her fingers in her ears and went "la la la" when things were bad. As you say, it's how she makes it work for her - and only her.

The horrible irony is that when I do try to bring any of this up, I immediately feel guilty for upsetting her and want to apologise, just as I feel I want to apologise now for going on about myself on here. I won't always post this much crap about myself, just trying to introduce things I guess. I'm not sure what good it would do if I did break through her defences. I can't go back in time and change things.

Her ability to delude herself really is amazing. I took an overdose when I was 15 (my parents went home while I was having my stomach pumped which is the worst thing they ever did) and I subsequently overheard her on the phone to a friend saying she'd had no idea I was unhappy.

DontstepontheBaubles - I have never spoken to anyone else whose friends disliked phoning their house. I'm sorry it was the same for you. I also think everything is my fault and apologise constantly.

I'm not going NC because I don't know most of my father's family and am estranged from a lot of my mother's relatives (long story) so my parents, brother, SIL and their kids are kind of it. I stopped speaking to my parents for a long time in my 20s while in an abusive relationship (not with DH, who is wonderful). Then I somehow pushed everything to the back of my mind, convinced myself I could have a relationship with my parents now - that they are different people to my parents then - but it's not easy. DH's family are nice but they're not amazingly close.

Midwife - I think some people just don't understand that other families aren't as functional as theirs. I am estranged from various relatives including my gran and some people think I'm horrible for never visiting her as they haven't got past the fact it would be horrible if they didn't visit their perfectly nice, non-toxic grandmothers, so they can't see past that.

Sometimes I think maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill and my parents are just normal parents who made the odd mistake. It can get really hard to believe it's you, and not the whole world, that is wrong.

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Wed 19-Dec-12 12:25:21

Patches - my god your mother says exactly the same things as mine! Reading your posts is like reading about my mother, it really is. And the stuff with the presents....the same. Even sounds like she has the same tone of voice! Awful.

I really was terrified of mine and the effect she could have on me.

I have minimal contact with mine though, and have done for 12 years, thank god. Have saved my daughters from all this. Have stress-free Christmases, unlike my poor brothers. Have the freedom to live my life and don't have all that anxiety, migraines etc any more....lovely. I dread the day she gets ill or starts dying though as I will not know what to do.

Good to read this thread and share, really good.

Favourite narc sayings:




ImanAlligator Wed 19-Dec-12 16:37:15

Is it just me or do others that don't know exactly what your parent is really like think they are wonderful . Also my mother is always telling me about situations where people have said what a lovely women she is or similar . In my experience people just don't say stuff like that to your face?

forgetmenots Wed 19-Dec-12 16:42:25

Haha, Iman - in our case it's like this:

FIL: how can you not see how wonderful your mother is? She routinely gets praise from colleagues about how good she is. Just the other day someone told her how sensible and level headed she is.
DH: I'm not disputing what she is like at her work, but...

Me (thinking): I bet he heard all of this from MIL...!

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Wed 19-Dec-12 16:53:06

My xfamily again <sigh>

Talked to eldest sister about xmas. She asked if sil had got my kids gifts i said i didnt know but i hope not as i cant be aresed to send stuff back but i will and i have nothing for her child. I told her my children dont know i have a brother or they have another cosin

They meet at my mums 70th but i told them he was someone Nanny knows. My brother was not there.

My sister told me i should be ashamed of myself for lieing to my children. I told her as far as im concerned it is not a lie as they dont talk to us and they are not my family.

Way to go for making it my fault that xbrother is abusive twat.

Just cos they had a child makes no difference to me.

I should just cut contact with them all?

I can certainly relate to Iman's earlier comment:-

"Is it just me or do others that don't know exactly what your parent is really like think they are wonderful. Also my mother is always telling me about situations where people have said what a lovely women she is or similar".

My DH thinks his mother to a certain extent can do no wrong but the scales have fallen from his eyes somewhat over the last few years. When you have had a lifetime of such conditioning though (DH has a dominant narcissist for a mother and an enabler narcissist of a dad) it is rather hard to accept that what you have learnt as "normal" over the years is patently not. MIL is very much of the "well I'm a good girl aren't I daddy" school of dysfunctional behaviour, everything has to be done right and precise.

His cousin who really knows absolutely nothing of her true nature has expressed often how lovely he thinks MIL is.

My DH thinks his mother can to a certain extent do no wrong but the scales have fallen a bit from his eyes the last few years. When you have had a lifetime of such conditioning though it is rather hard to accept that what you have learnt as "normal" is patently and absolutely not. His solution is to not dwell on it (out of I think it being too painful along with a splashof denial) but I do talk to him often about his mad as a box of frogs family.

Oooh I've just remembered, I'm going to receive my card from MIL later, oh joy. DH and I always receive separate cards from them, well she because she does all the card writing. What's the betting it will be one from the bottom of her selection boxhmm ?.

baytree Wed 19-Dec-12 19:38:45

To everyone

There is a thread that runs through us all. We want to build/have a loving supportive family around us as that is what we have never really had. And this is our achilles heel that our natural family exploit. Last Friday I was at a friend's party. Her and her husband and kids had invited a mixture of single people who knew each other well plus me, hubby and our daughter.

The thing that hit me that hasn't before, is how happy the single people were. They knew each other but talked about adventures, plans, being alone and with others and meeting up together. What I am saying is you dont need your wider family to belong and have people to support you.

fresh Wed 19-Dec-12 20:36:06

Hello all. I posted a couple of months ago, and I've been reading all of your posts So many recurring themes!
My narc mum, who I had been NC with for 4 years, died in October. Having played the illness card for years, she finally did get really ill and her last couple of years were, apparently, ghastly. I have 2 older sisters. The eldest takes the role of the good girl, and took on lots of duties (whilst playing the martyr) although far away. The middle one took on less, but was the scapegoat in the family. I was golden child.
It took me a lot of effort in therapy to detach from mum, but I did it enough to enable me to enjoy my DH and DC's and be properly in relationships with them. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life BUT (there had to be a but..)
My sisters have not spoken to me since just after she died. Our relationships had obv been strained as they were in touch with mum and I wasn't (getting off scot free, apparently hmm). I helped where I could (cleared out her flat once she'd moved out, saving middle sis from coming from the other side of the country), and offered many times to support them, but was always clear I would not contact her. She never tried to contact me or my DC during my NC. I didn't go to the funeral; sisters didn't want me there and I didn't need to go.
I feel like they are just repeating the classic narc withdrawal of affection in order to get me to toe the line. But now that Mum died there is no 'line' to toe and so I have to wait until they work that out. From conversations with them before she died, I feel as if they were still waiting for thanks or love from Mum, which obviously never came. In fact they told me that she was still saying how terrible it was that she hadn't seen me or my DC before she died (not that she bothered with the DC when we were in contact, and not that she gave a shit about me either) - but of course it was a handy stick to beat my sisters with.
So I'm trying to get on with my life, and mostly succeeding although I still default to feeling 'wrong' sometimes. But sometimes I get so exasperated with them, and I can't imagine what I'll say to them if they do get in touch. I've put up with middle sis's anger at me all my life (and if I hear 'you were the golden child') ONE MORE TIME..
I've said in email to them both that I'd like to have a relationship with them that's free of her, and that I'll listen to them if they'll listen to me. Since when, silence apart from Christmas card from elder sis. Have sent them both cards and small presents.
Sorry, it's a rant, this. I'm just a bit stuck. I can do nothing about this until they're ready to deal with it. But because we're all in such different places I know it's going to take so much painful effort and I wonder whether we can do it.

jessjessjess Wed 19-Dec-12 20:40:36

Alligator - people either think my parents are wonderful or find my dad terrifying. I'm sort of embarrassed when it's the second one, but at least then I feel validated.

Everyone thinks my mum is lovely. It drives me mad. She's a lovely wishy-washy pushover is what she is.

AirOfHope - "lying" is a very strong term. I think you have to find your own ways to interpret your situation and protect your children. Sometimes the truth isn't the best thing.

baytree Wed 19-Dec-12 20:58:03

Dear Fresh

Same place as me. And in a way you and all your sisters victims of the family system that your parents held over you. You are right. If you approach them before they are ready to see then it will not result in positive progress. I get the odd email, that I reply to in friendly tones and then I hear NOTHING for months and months. It is stupid isn't it? But think of it as their way of dealing with things and leave them to it.

My dad is 84 and I do worry about one day attending his funeral when I have not spoken to my sisters for over 2 years. (They both either put the phone down on me or failed to respond to an e mail reply they had originally sent and then sent further nasty letters to me demanding to know why I had not been supportive of my Narc F) Myabe I will save the airfare and donate it to a charity.

It is not easy, but as I said to my therapist-there is no way I am EVER going back to how it was before. I was the people pleaser, going out of my way to support all of my family and when I needed support they kicked me in the teeth. (They got all humpy because I didn't tell them straight away that I had broken my leg. But would it have helped me to tell them?-no as I lived in another country and they were not there and nor did they visit). They also got angry because through my therapist I realised I needed to grieve for my mum that I had lost and not grieved for at the age of five. There was zero empathy for me. And isn't that the hallmark of a dysfunctional family? zero empathy-and silence of course, No honest communication? Keep posting, you have empathy and good communication and that is why you are here.

fresh Wed 19-Dec-12 22:15:17

baytree you're right, we're all victims. But both parents are gone now, and it seems such a waste if we sisters can't overcome this. It means Mum is still the dominant force, which is a pretty good trick when you're dead.

I'm just depressed that we can't get free of it. I'm culpable too, I should have tried harder to break it when she was alive but it was so highly charged once she became ill that it became impossible to discuss her with my sisters. And of course I was challenging the accepted story that she was not to be disagreed with, and I know how threatening that was. I just tried to hold my own lines and have a different relationship with them. Tricky though, it does take two after all.

I'm so grateful for this thread, and for people who get it as you do. It helps remind me that IT'S NOT ME! I have to snap myself out of churning over it, because otherwise I'm not present for DH and DC's. Perhaps I should keep a wet fish about my person so I can slap myself in the face with it regularly!

NettleTea Wed 19-Dec-12 22:19:44

I agree with Fresh and Baytree regarding siblings seeing the light. They may never do it. I thought my siste had when she was in the throes of breakdown, but since 'getting better' she has simply returned exactly to her position in the family and everything is as was.
Maybe she knows it deep down, but isnt ready to accept it, isnt strong enough or willing to go down that road again. Or maybe she does know but choses to not rock the boat, as it wouldnt benefit her to do so, and she is still reaping the rewards of her position within the family.
There have been a couple of times we have spoken, only briefly, about other things where my mum has been trying to manipulate a situation, and she was in agreement with me. I am pretty sure she wouldnt go completely against a 'you have to assure me you wont say anything' as, whatever the faults she has been given as a result of this chaos, she is pretty good on integrety. The stuff she told about before I do believe she thought she was telling stuff that I was too scared to tell them (she was right, I have always taken a fairly cowardly route regarding them) and in a way I was wrong to have tried to make out it was a misunderstanding, but I wasnt aware enough, or ready for that myself at that point.
Ironically the fact that my sister said I was too scared to tell them, resulted in me being to scared to tell her when she was shouting 'Youre not scared of me are you,' along with accusing stuff about how I had been slagging her off with my sister behind her back. She was fuming and I was shitting it.......

Im still not 100% not scared now. But I am better. I can argue with her in a political way (she doesnt like it and accuses me of attacking her) I can hold my ground a bit better regarding general stuff/beliefs I dont agree with her on (cue cats bum mouth) and I have once told her that she was probably contributing to my dad's breakdown because she was always critical (she turned it to be all about her and later caused a big scene in front of my daughter which resulted in everyone feeling sorry for her about how I was excluding her from a part of my life that has nothing to do with her) And I have managed to side step all conversation about why I havent friended her on Facebook. Also this week I told dP that things were obviously improving because when she made the statement that 'tell DP that she would like him to come to her birthday lunch' (I know he wont) I wasnt filled with the usual panic and fear, just a slight wobble. And I had told him I was too scared to post on here in case she read it, he told me I shouldnt be scared, so long as what I say is true. And if she goes so far as to stalk me, then thats not normal and she should be able to read what I say and understand it.....hmm

forgetmenots Thu 20-Dec-12 11:43:03

Anyone have it where, when you pull narc parent/inlaw up on their behaviour, not only are they always 'shocked' and 'astonished', and say things like 'you are talking about me as if I am a stranger', but also accuse you of judging them? What's a good response? Mine was always that yes, I was judging the behaviour but not the person but this didn't seem to work. Just curious!

Good approach, and one that I try to stick to myself. I don't know that I have any good advice - I did try and tell them in the early days that they need to have a good think about how their behaviour affects other people, and take some responsibility for the results, but all I got was denial, yelling and counter-accusations. Some people don't want to gain self awareness, or are incapable of it.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Thu 20-Dec-12 12:25:32

In July my mil give my dd dairy food which i asked them loads of times not to give her as she was only 6 months and could be allergic to. When i told them i was disappointed in them and that i didnt feel like i could have made it more clear and that it was not their place to find out if she was allergic.or not and that i think the did it on purpose. The response was to stop talking to me for two weeks, tell me they were not going to my dd christening and they would stop all 'their lot' going as well and to tell me i talked to them like they were two year olds and try to rewrite history to make them look better.

I was calm and assertive and told them i was disappointed in them and it was up to them to go to christening or not. They did go and its never talked about now.

My brother used to beat me up when he was 19 yo and i was 13 yo. My dad used to ask him to hit me when i was 'annoying'. My mum watched and noone stopped it. I called my eldest sister she didnt want to know. She is 18 years older than me an adult but did nothing.

It stopped when school found out and called ss. I got hit for school finding out and 'bringing ss to our house'.

I havent talked to my brother in 10 or more years. He hit me and i would get shouted at for his behaviour. He is the golden child and can do no wrong. Everything in my mum and dads life is about him. They even look after his child and call him a great dad.

My i had my son 4 years ago i had pnd and my mums response was to shout at me and row with me. She did nothing to help me. My SIL has PND and my mum looks after their son three days per week and over night.

When my son hanged his head i was on my first period after birth and bf and i was sitting on waterproof sheet and wearing maternity pads and changing them ever 30 minutes. I couldnt go anywhere so my dh and MIL took son to A&E to get him check out (he was fine) my mum phone i explained what was goong on and she shouted at me not taking him, that i was an unfit mother and that she was going to come and take my son away because i couldnt look after him. She then called my sister who called me up and shouted and swear at me for not going with my son to A&E. They both hung up on me and no it wasnt helpful when i was ill and worried about my son.

Then in person my sister told me i was a bad mother because i had PND and i shouldnt have my son. I told her to fuck off and that shoulding at me was scaring my son and i had no intrest in talking to her anymore. I havent talked to her since. Thats the middle sister who is 16 years older than me.

I am feed up of all of them. So this year i have decided to not see them over xmas and to not give gifts to the children of the people who do not talk to me.

I feel so guilty that i have not got gifts for the kids. I have no money, i told their parents i was not going to but i feel as guilty as hell.

Like im taking out adult disagreement on the kids.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Thu 20-Dec-12 12:37:03

I have never given to my xbrother child and i never will.

My eldest sister has a 10 yo and two 1yo and the middle sister has a 7yo. I have always got them gifts and i have always been treated like shit by there mums.

We only see them twice a year. Last time we went (they never call us or drive to see us its always me making the effort) the two eldest children was mean to my son not letting him have the ball and excluding him from games.

Rationaly i dont see the point in continuing contact as when my mum dies i will not see them again anyway. They never make an effort for me or my family. They have never been to by childrens birthday parties or christenings.

I only live two hours away!

But the fog is there and i want to go into my overdraft and go on amizon to send the kids gifts that i cant afford and that they will not appresate anyway.

So do i get gifts or not?

jessjessjess Thu 20-Dec-12 12:44:59

My lot believe that whatever they do would be "wrong" because there is no pleasing your children and you can't get it right. Hmmmm.

Been feeling really overwhelmed and desperate lately. Had pushed all this to the back of my mind for ages but watched Tulisa's documentary My Mum and Me (not sure if it's okay to link but it's all on Vimeo if you do a search for the title) about kids with mentally ill parents and one of them had a parent with clinical depression. It was a massive trigger and I think kick-started the process that left me thinking about all this stuff all the time all of a sudden.

Starting therapy is helping, but now have to stop for the Christmas break, so it's all lousy timing really. Got a lot of stuff in my head. Writing it down in a journal which is helping a little.

Sorry for this aimless waffle.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Thu 20-Dec-12 12:52:16

Waffle away i do smile

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Thu 20-Dec-12 12:54:36

I think i will repost in chat and see what other people think?

jessjessjess Thu 20-Dec-12 12:56:21

AirOfHope I honestly don't feel I can tell you whether to go NC or not. All I can say is it's important to think about what you want and need, not what you think you "ought" to do because of guilt or obligation.

jessjessjess Thu 20-Dec-12 12:58:20

Sorry only just seeing all your posts. I don't think you should go into your overdraft to get gifts, no. I don't think you want to, and I think it's okay if you don't, and I don't think those kids will hold it against you.

Sorry you went through all that sad

Midwife99 Thu 20-Dec-12 13:07:21

No don't spend money you can't afford on people who won't appreciate it!!

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Thu 20-Dec-12 13:22:01

I feel so guilty because im not doing the 'right' thing for them!

financialwizard Thu 20-Dec-12 13:47:40

This time of year is so difficult for all of us who have abusive parents whether still in contact or not.

I have been feeling a lot more confident/assertive with my parents, but still find this time of year hard.

Anyway, I really only wanted to offer big (((HUGS))) to everyone this Christmas and wish you all well.

An air of Hope in a Manger

FOG is a legacy often left to adults who were children of toxic parents.

You are really under no obligation to see these people at all even though they are family. You would not tolerate such crap from a friend, family are really no different in that regard.

And do not put yourself into an expensive overdraft situation for such ungrateful and undeserving people.

The "right" thing here to do is to protect yourself and your child from such malign influences. You will feel a lot happier for doing so.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 20-Dec-12 13:58:24

Your approach is fine, forgetmenots. You can't convince them. Just give up on the hope that you can, and make sure that you think you are saying/doing the right things.

How they react to it is up to them.

Badvocsanta Thu 20-Dec-12 19:39:11

Oh Ffs.
My dad has been having some worrying symptoms and last week my mum finally for him to the gp.
My dad is 66 and has smoked since he was 14.
He is now having trouble swallowing food and with acid reflux.
He got an appt Today for an endoscopy for next Friday so the gp is obv worried as am I.
Mum asked me to take him.
I said yes, missing out on seeing sme family from Dhs side on that day.
He is now saying he isn't going!
I am torn between saying fine dint go you silly old sod, and worry that it's something serious sad

forgetmenots Thu 20-Dec-12 20:27:43

Thanks HotDAMN. Need reminding and confirming sometimes! You are of course spot on.

DontstepontheBaubles Thu 20-Dec-12 23:28:08

Tricky Badvoc, very tricky and it's a horrid situation to feel you're parenting them, by making them go. Not to mention everything else you're struggling with.
My first instinct was to re-book it for a better time but then I thought, no the sooner the better. But how do you make a grown man go? sad

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 05:27:10

Tangerine - thanks for your reply. It feels like constant mind games. Hopefully I will be able to accept things in the future.

Jess- thanks its so annoying it's like being on edge. Waiting for the next drama.

Like some of you have said what I thought was normal isn't. What I thought a family was like I thought they all were. Yes in some ways like other families but I'm sure it's not so dramatical that their is a problem every week. That isn't really a problem 'created' and made into something big and all have to feel sorry for her.

I feel nervous about her Christmas present because I worry it will not be right. That she will complain in someway. Over the years my mum has learnt not to say it out loud if she doesn't approve of the gift , amount I spend, wether its wrapped or not and there's other examples. She used to come out and say things but after arguments etc she has stopped but Now I think she wants to say things but holds back but might come out with something at a later date.

She's already moaned about what I'm Buying/ spending on her boyfriend who I dont see often and don't really get along with, he burys his head in the sand. Also she wants to make sure I m spending the same on her boyfriend as she does on my husband. I think how petty. Shes made it clear over the years that she's doesn't like him, wishes she was with my dad who she cheated on, blamed it all on my dad why they split up. He never made effort etc with her so that then gives her the okay to cheat on him and obviously she is free from any responsibility or blame. She never says sorry or admits anything is her, it's all the other persons fault.

She used to say to me things like ' now never talk badly of your mum to other people as they will think badly of you, it doesn't look good saying things about your mum' I believed her .
And like some of you have said its hard for others to understand who have never lived this so I don't discuss it much and the reasons I don't see her often..

Oh and my mum has found a tumour in her breast twice and and said she has a funny episode and might have Alzheimer's. She often comes out with these things when I'm not speaking to her. That's the thing we go through phases where I don't see her or speak to her. I keep my distance. I've only resumed seeing her a few weeks ago but before that I didn't see her since July. But the one thing is she keeps In touch through the mobile. Which can get nasty sometimes if I'm not speaking to her.

I can identify the 'everybody thinks she's wonderful' mum says this is what her work colleagues tell her all the time. How well she handles every situation is fantastic,
Also she's had quite a number of jobs and every time she always says things like hundreds applied and she was the one that got picked. Every job there has been at least 60 or more and she is chosen. I'm not being funny but how do you know on every job how many people applied? Then she expects loads of praise for getting the job and tells me and sister things people have done for her at work to celebrate . Hinting that we should do this too. But she expects this from us but then never congratulates us on things. If she does say well done theres always a dig. She often says things like oh how have you done that is it through your husband. So taking my achievements away from me and saying my husband must have done it.

When my older sister was due to go into surgery to have her first child my mum was texting nasty messages to her / ringing and causing an argument because she chose not to have her at the birth and she chose this because mum would make her more stressed and worried than she already was. I mean who does that when your daughter is just about to give birth?

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 05:42:00

And when she cheated on my dad she also used the well I had you kids too young, if she had been able to have more of a life etc and gone dancing etc then she probably wouldn't have cheated. She has said in past we weren't planned and mistakes but then tries to say nice things after such as we were wanted but why even mention we wernt planned etc.

She never sees her own brother, she only has him in the family leftover her side . Now again you guessed it, it's his fault why she doesn't see him. When pressed further it's because he's secretive, private person or blames it on something I did when I was a child why she doesn't see him. He didn't invite her to sons wedding because he was worried they would argue . so they have very limited contact " she says things like I don't want to push him too much"
I remember as kids he was always coming to the house to talk to my mum or dad because they involved him in there problems or I believe now more made up problems or exaggerated for attention. This was more mum but when dad rang him it was usually to talk to my mum as my dad couldn't get through to her Apparantley.

Did any of you get hit with the slipper? I did really hard and it bloody hurt.

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 05:44:37

Yes and I always got the " your too sensitive"
" you take things too seriously" " you don't understand things"

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 05:55:49

Anyway it really has got me thinking. I feel I don't focus on my own family with all this going on all the time.. All these dramas and constant issues that are wildly exaggerated or made up. I always try to give her the benefit of the doubt about making things up or calculating what she's up too. I don't like to think that she's doing this or I then over think things.

tangerinefeathers Fri 21-Dec-12 05:57:57

Oh Bedtime there is so much there I relate to.

She sounds so similar to my mother.

My mother is constantly having health crises, and my sister is going the same way, except hers are always about her children. We've had potential breast cancer and a suspected brain tumour in the past two months alone. God knows what it will be like when something bad actually happens.

I have started pulling her up on her behaviour recently, or simply leaving if she starts being too difficult [her main thing at the moment is going on, in great detail, about my sister's kids, and how wonderful they are - the implication being my DS is inferior]. She does this thing where she just talks and talks and talks about them, and makes me listen. It does my head in, because it's so obvious that she's doing it out of spite.

As for her Christmas present, trying anticipating that she won't be pleased by it, so you aren't disappointed, and simply observe what she does.

Then, if she does react badly, instead of taking that on, remind yourself of how rude she is being. How you would feel if it was a friend treating you like that when you gave her a gift. She doesn't have the right to behave differently towards you just because you're her daughter, the same rules of being mature and polite should apply to everyone, she's nothing special.

I have found that now that I see my mother for who she really is, and not the saint she portrays herself as, I am able to handle her behaviour better, and more importantly manage my own expectations.

It's still frustrating and hard, but at least I can see clearly now. She wasn't much of a mother to me, and that is hard [especially as it is me in particular that she dislikes out of the four sisters] but I am going to try and look after myself and give myself the same care I give my DS.

I have to buy for her this year - I will be interested to see how she reacts. She generally shows no emotion when I give her something, it's as if it hasn't happened. I gave her flowers at mother's day and she took them but didn't say thanks or anything. She's a very bad gift giver too - she doesn't give gifts, in fact, or even cash. She usually just hands me her credit card and tells me to buy myself something with it on my birthday. Which kind of defeats the whole point of gift giving if you ask me.

Anyway good luck. I do find it reassuring that I'm not alone in this!

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 06:23:42

Tangerine- thanks for your post, it's also reassuring I am not alone. I really struggle emotionally with this. What is your dad like do you get along with him? I do t get along with my dad really either. He is a bit better In the sense I get some respite as he just falls out with me then expects me to call him which I always did. Even when generally he throws abuse at me . You know I was always to blame never him. Then lately I have got tired and sick of him acting like a child. Haven't spoken or seen him in 4 months. It's so hard. I have two similar parent the only good thing about dad is that he leaves me alone a bit but the I'm still left feeling hurt, where as mum if you call her up on things or stand upto her she will text, ring talk to my friends, try to get other peopl in the family to tell me off and saying I'm being horrible to her and that she's devastated etc. until I back down and speak to her.

Yes I know that one playing siblings / gran kids off against each other. This has happened all my life with my sisters. I have two one older and a much younger one than me who still lives with her. That's the other thing me and younger one were so close and it's hard standing upto her as she uses young sister to get to me. She knows I would do anything for her.

But with me and older one it's always been hard work, it's a bit better lately but mum has set it up like you described. Telling older one how great I am etc then to me telling me how great she is and the things she doing. It's usually things that pick on your weak spots. Areas where she knows your not doing so well in . Then she tells you other is doing wonderfully in it and vice versa. So I think that can create bitterness and my older one has always acted badly towards me. However to be fair she has been the scapegoat all the time so I kind of get why she is more bitter.

She does it with younger one too a bit, Younger one is doing a math re sit at college gcse . shes really struggling at it. So what does she go and do, compare me to her. I passed maths first time you see when I was at school. My sister has failed the resist a few times now. Then she says " oh bedtime was really good at math" she's brilliant at it" right in front of her, I was there when she said it and u felt so sorry, it was very insensitive so I said " oh know I wasn't very good at maths at all... She then said " oh you were bedtime, you were fantastic" I said no I wasn't and it must have knocked her confidence even more with what mum said as sister then said I'm rubbish at maths I can't do it at all. I said to her " you are good at maths, I said you can do it, tried to reassure her etc.

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 06:31:04

To be fair the truth is I wasn't that good at maths, yes passed it but wasn't brilliant at it. So it was way overinflated designed to try and create bitterness . In other words bedtimes wonderful sisters not so then sister might resent me a bit over time with all these comparisons and talking to her about how wonderful I am especially when it's a touchy subject for her with maths as she's struggling. Something your struggling at you don't want it rubbed in your nose that your other sisters doing " wonderfully in it".

Bedtime1 Fri 21-Dec-12 06:43:52

Oh and I just remembered the bit you said about your mother thinking she can behave how she wants because your her daughter. Well my mum is always saying "well I'm your mum" in other words so I can do as I please. I've tried in the past to say if your my mum you should treat me better then than anyone not worse.

And I always get the I won't be here much longer, life's so short. How will you feel when I'm dead and buried. How can you treat your mum badly and not see me. I've had the you'll regret this when I'm not alive anymore , I regretted it when my mum died. Thing is there she knows that is such a raw point to discuss my gran as I went to pieces when she died. I loved my gran, still raw, she was more like a mum to me. And the thing is my gran died of cancer and when diagnosed she was told she has only 3 months to live and only lived a month. It was very sad which makes it even worse that she can use cancer to throw about whenever she feels like it to get her own way. I suffer quite badly with anxiety etc and she knows this but doesn't really offer support. Tbh she makes it worse.

tangerinefeathers Fri 21-Dec-12 07:25:28

yes the old divide and rule, it's very effective.

I know what you mean about your gran as well. I'm sorry it is still so raw for you. My grandmother was like a mother to me as well. I think she had to step up to it as she saw my mother wasn't capable of being truly loving towards her kids.

Now that you are wising up to her games there is a chance of changing the way you are with her so she can't behave so badly. She'll probably resist quite strongly but if you show you mean business she'll have to back down.

I know it's hard when you know that she will be talking to others about you, but as long as you are firm and polite there's only so much she can say. And maybe other people are wise to her anyway, and won't pay much attention. She is only as powerful as you let her be, and if you are decent towards others that will count for something, it will reflect badly on her if she's complaining about her own daughter.

As for my dad, well, it's difficult. He is starting to see that i mean business and that I won't be pushed around by her as much. For him he just wants an easy life. He was a lot more angry and tense when I was younger, now he's fairly well behaved, he's mellowed I suppose. He did used to be abusive, though, and he still treats his dogs badly which upsets me. It's just not a particularly comfortable or easy relationship for me, but he's not as inappropriate or difficult as my mother.

BiddyPop Fri 21-Dec-12 10:14:53

I am so tired trying to deal with eevryday life in Chez Biddy, that I have given very little energy to worrying about my parents and siblings recently. But I have a feeling it will all kick off soon.

We had decided a while back not to travel for Christmas itself (must organise accomodation earlier next year) as a self-supporting mechanism. I'd like to be there for Christmas, but I know that we need a retreat from both houses (other visits are generally fine).

PIL are now coming to our city for 2 nights in a local hotel after Christmas (my parents don't know this yet) and we will then go straight to my parents at their holiday house (where they go for NY) for 2 nights, but leaving on NYE (we usually stay NYE and there's a big family dinner). Back to ours for the night, and the au pair is back too (going out with friends) and then down to PIL on NY day where they will mind DD while DH and I go for 2 nights away on our own. Stay in theirs again when we get back (very late flt) and then head back to our own house on the Sat before school is back again. We will probably see my family again on the Sat too before we leave (they live v close to PIL).

I am now starting to dread telling my mother about the arrangements for the break (well, the parts they need to know anyway) and the criticism I will get for not spending it all with family. And not making more of an effort to see my siblings.

But I will see them all (or at least, all who are home) as my aunt invited us to lunch this Sunday where Dad is bringing my 2 bro's to see Granma, and it seems like Mum and 1 DSis may decide to accompany them. Once they hear we will be there, I have every expectation of seeing them!! But my other DSis will probably not be told about this event (haha, I have to ring her later today so will mention in passing so she is not left in the dark - I think she has other things to do, but at least she'll know).

And I am also waiting to see what Mum has bought my DBro's fiance, as I have a suspicion that she has bought something very special that I had already said I was putting together as their wedding present next year.

Funnily, I have been in touch more with all the siblings bar the one living at home, this year. All have complained about mum and the SAHSib (she works, but now lives at home again and thinks she rules the roost even though she is FAR from the eldest and always gives out about not keeping in touch when she is the world's worst at that). Poor Dad is an enabler, but he is getting a bad deal at the mo. Mum is a narc, but I have given up trying to even compete for some attention as there is too much going on with me - and if her diary is soooo full, then she'll have to excuse me for not trying to get DD to stay with her as she obviously doesn't have the time.

(She offered to have DD for an overnight at Halloween, 2 days before, when DD needs to have things laid out in advance as changes in routine (ASD) and Mum knows that - but she is getting the hump because DD stays with PIL on occasion but only rarely with her. Apart from her nastiness, the main reason is actually that she is always so busy and we need to have things planned in advance. Which she knows..but ignores).

BiddyPop Fri 21-Dec-12 10:41:06

Sorry, that was a lot longer than I had intended...

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 12:29:34

financialwizard ((hugs)) to you too and everyone else.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger have you heard of "insecure bonding"? It's one way of explaining FOG and other feelings of fear, loyalty or obligation towards toxic parents. Because you become attached to your parents in an insecure way if you grow up in a neglectful or frightening environment, which explains why you still feel loyalty/guilt/fear as an adult and don't feel confident. Psychobabble perhaps, but rang true for me.

Sorry I was a bit brief yesterday, worried my posts seemed abrupt.

badvocsanta I don't know what to suggest but it sucks when you feel you have to parent your parents.

Bedtime don't know about you but I find it really frustrating if you ever say to people that your family wasn't normal and they say something dismissive like "oh, all families are weird" or "there's no such thing as normal". Because that's rubbish. There's a line.

Don't remember any slippers but weirdly a friend from primary school once announced in the playground that I was hit with one. Was and am 99.9% sure he made it up (he used to tell a lot of fibs and I have zero memory of it) but I think he picked up on the atmosphere in my house or something.

I was hit pretty rarely when I was little, but found my dad terrifying. He was very quick to shout and couldn't differentiate between genuine misbehaviour and childish silliness, e.g. he once got enraged when I kept talking to my friend in Pig Latin as he was convinced we were making fun of him. He often got angry with me for things that weren't my fault, or that he did himself - or for calling him a hypocrite, big mistake, always wanted to say that because it was true but learned not to. That's what I found most frustrating as a little kid, that he wasn't being fair, and I wasn't allowed to say anything about it. Long car journeys were hell because he always pushed his seat right back and then told me off for "kicking" him. Not sure why all this is coming out now, here, all of a sudden - started typing and suddenly it's all coming out. Not sure if I should just delete it, sorry.

Things got more physical more often when I was in a secondary school. I was becoming more opinionated and defiant, he lost his job and became (more?) depressed, which affected how he reacted to me, and how he handled it when we clashed. There's a thread in Parenting (this one: which has actually really really upset me - it came up when I clicked on Active Threads and I was curious, then found myself reading something that could have been talking about me and my dad when I was 11 and it only went downhill from there. I actually used to antagonise him quite a lot because I was angry and hated him and didn't want to bloody respect him.

He is much better than he used to be but still find it stressful to be around him for long. Some of my parents' friends are guilt-tripping me a bit for not going over to help more, even though we are helping quite a lot, and frankly I bet he doesn't tell them off for making his tea wrong or demand crackers with butter (which has to be taken out of the fridge to soften up) and then immediately complain that they're not producing them quickly enough.

Sorry, I really have written quite a ramble, far longer than intended.

BiddyPop I think it's important to see their issues as just that - theirs. Easier said than done though I realise.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 13:09:09

As Christmas is coming and I have been no contact for nearly a year, and spending my first ever Christmas with friends rather than family, I have been musing about my relationship with my dysfunctional family.

I have essentially gone no contact with them because of a very traumatic realisation: that I was in a 12-year abusive relationship, because I thought my ex's behaviour was normal, and because I believed deep down that I didn't deserve better.

These are my issues.

I thought my ex's behaviour was normal, because it mirrored my parents' relationship. And I thought I didn't deserve better, because I was used to being treated with neglect and contempt by my parents my whole life.

This is their problematic behaviour.

So I am NC with them because of my resentment for past behaviour, and also my discomfort at seeing an abusive relationship in action, having escaped from DV myself. And of course, my newfound unwillingness to be around people who treat me with neglect and contempt.

I am not too proud of being NC with people out of resentment for the past. The reasons anchored in the present seem more valid. Yet I know that my resentment for the past is really the biggest reason.

I think I am in the process of letting it go. So what will be left is discomfort at how they treat each other, and unwillingness to be treated badly. I think I can stand up for myself if they treat me badly. However, I wonder: is the way they treat each other any of my business? Can I justify remaining NC with them because I don't like their form of interaction? It's hard for me to watch them, and NOT boil with rage at what they taught me about couple relationships. I think I am angry on my behalf when I see my mother bully my dad, for the child who was taught such damaging lessons, more than I am angry on my father's behalf.

So again, it seems that the crux is letting go of my resentment. When I see them bicker in the present, my discomfort has everything to do with the memories it brings of my own abusive marriage, and my anger that these are the people who modelled an abusive relationship that I then repeated.

So if I am to be able to truly let go (and, by extension, have some kind of contact with them again), I have to truly accept that the past is past, and that when I see them abuse each other in the present, that still can change nothing to the past.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Fri 21-Dec-12 13:44:57

Im reading i dont know what to say.

I go for months not thinking about it all and having superfical contact with my mum only then its all comes back. Im not angry with them im just sorry for myself.

I look at my actions and try harder to be a better mum to my children.

They do not want to see what type of person they are and if they did they could never change.

I feel sorry for the 7 yo girl that could not trust adults that was hurt and alone and wanted to run away and never contact them again.

Im in no position to offer advice to others as i havent sorted it all out myself blush

forgetmenots Fri 21-Dec-12 13:53:53

HotDAMN, some (I hope) good advice in exchange for the good advice you gave me.

If seeing them is going to perpetuate some of the harm that was done in the past - then your reasons are rooted in the present and aren't about resentment, but self-protection. Grudges are only grudges if they are based on past actions which you don't believe would be repeated. Even then they can be completely justified.

All I want to tell you is don't make dropping NC a condition of you moving on. It isn't. But the rest of your plan sounds well thought out and clear, I wish you luck.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 13:55:04

You don't need to feel bad about whether or not you offer advice on this thread, Hope !

There are no obligations here (unlike in our families of origin...)

Ues the thread whichever way is good for you.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 14:03:48

That's very wise, forgetmenots

I like this bit: "Grudges are only grudges if they are based on past actions which you don't believe would be repeated."
...and since we know that narcs are unwilling to change...

I suppose I feel in my gut that once I've truly moved on, NC won't be necessary any more: they will no longer be able to affect me, and I will be able to protect myself if the need arises.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Fri 21-Dec-12 14:07:18

Christmas makes it all worse. It highlights the abnormal.

I get envy with families that hug and like each other and are happy. Im making my own but im upset i didnt have that as a child.

AnAirOfHopeInAManger Fri 21-Dec-12 14:07:51

or now with my mum and dad and sliblings.

forgetmenots Fri 21-Dec-12 14:08:52

I know, it rings so true and makes sense. But you are equally entitled to say 'they can't affect me, but I would rather not have them in my life'.

You won't have failed or be stuck in the past if you actively choose to do that, when you're no longer afraid or upset.

You sound very strong so I've no doubt you will be successful either way. smile

forgetmenots Fri 21-Dec-12 14:10:17

Sorry that was for HotDAMN. But good luck and strength to everyone, especially over Christmas.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 14:16:49

I hope this doesn't come across as callous, but I get comfort from knowing that there are so many people for whom Christmas is a time that highlights family dysfunction.

So it's still painful, but at least I'm not a freak or alone in this - far from it!

I know what you mean. Part of the pain of being the Black Sheep is the constant self-doubt, "is it me?" But actually no, it isn't.

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 15:26:21

Just had a sudden memory of my dad shouting at me that: "I'm an old man!" on the phone, like I was picking on him. Because he asked me a question and then decided I should stop talking and shouted at me until I did, and I tried to finish what I was saying.

I am having loads of, well, not flashbacks exactly, but flashes of memory, at the moment. Like I opened a box and stuff is coming out and I can't close it.

HotDAMN I don't think being NC is something to associate with pride, or lack thereof. It's about self-protection. You can justify remaining NC if it's what YOU need to live YOUR life in a healthy, safe way. Maybe stop thinking about it in absolutes? You don't need to ask yourself if you want to be NC forever. How about just considering what you're going to do right now, and going from there.

Oh, and it's NOT callous to appreciate the solidarity. You don't mean you're glad people feel this way; you mean you're glad those people have come together to talk about it.

I find other people's family Christmases immensely upsetting and stressful (because I just end up feeling on edge as that whole celebratory family environment isn't "normal" for me) and luckily DH is happy for it to just be me and him on Christmas Day.

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 21-Dec-12 15:33:42

I have to say that I'm struggling too atm.

This time last year was my first Christmas without the abusive Ex, I was scared and hopeful, resigned and resolute.

This year I see the disintegration of my family. I feel sick, nervous and as if there is something wrong at the core of my being, but I can't put my finger on it.

Will spend Christmas Day with Boyf and DS, will see mum on Christmas Eve for coffee.

I'm doing this for me, I'm keeping my good times to myself, and those that are there for me. Those that have let me down don't get to share good times.

Why does it feel so crap?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 16:03:08

You can justify remaining NC if it's what YOU need to live YOUR life in a healthy, safe way. Maybe stop thinking about it in absolutes? You don't need to ask yourself if you want to be NC forever. How about just considering what you're going to do right now, and going from there.

Very true, jess. I guess that, as my recovery proceeds, I am beginning to question whether I need NC for my own protection, still: I feel so much stronger now, and accepting of what is, and what was. A little bit further along on this path, and I think that interactions with my parents won't feel threatening any more. Right now, I'm happy with the status quo. My long post earlier was to sound out whether I'm still NC for the right reasons.

When people ask me how come I'm not going home for Christmas, I say that "I find it difficult to be with my parents for the moment," and I think that truthfully sums it up.

Well done on negotiating a change in Christmas traditions, Hissy.

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 17:38:22

Came to this thread (having lurked for a while) because everything is on my mind all of the time right now. Series of triggers that led me to seek therapy, which in turn has triggered loads of memories, and now my stupid therapist is away for stupid Christmas.

So in other words have come here at a kind of crisis point, in that I just need a bit of hand-holding and solidarity.

Really not having a good day. Spent the last 45 minutes on the phone to Samaritans just to talk to someone and offload (NB not because I am in any kind of crisis or danger, just needed to talk), which helped a bit, but just feel really sad.

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 17:39:00

So basically trying to apologise for having a bad day. Sigh.

financialwizard Fri 21-Dec-12 17:44:51

Jess I'm happy to hold your hand. Reading your earlier post made me think of Pandora's box. That is very much what I feel I have opened too so can certainly empathise with you.

You know you are free to post without judgement here. (((HUGS))).

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 18:01:02

Thank you, that's really appreciated. It's a friend's birthday, have to go down the pub and pretend to be happy and full of Christmas spirit.

To be honest the box opened before I started therapy, so it's not like it's my therapist's fault.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 18:27:26

do you want to offload here?

How long since the box has been opened?

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 18:43:21

Some offloading in the big post above where I talked about Pig Latin and stuff. I fricking hated my dad from when I was about four or five. Spent my whole childhood being told:
- you will say you're sorry
- be more grateful
- be more respectful

While having to bite my tongue and not tell him what a hypocrite he was. Because he told me off for bad habits I'd learned from him, and I just had to take it. And my mum would laugh it off: oh, you know what he's like. It wasn't just that he got disproportionately angry, it was also just plain unfair and unjust, and I was expected to just accept that.

Recently stood up to him and told him I wasn't able to talk to him if he interrupted me in front of my nieces and nephews as it was setting a bad example. He didn't say anything, but looked beyond pissed off. He always interrupted me. Because "I don't know when you're going to stop talking." My mum does that, too. Both my brother and I have a habit of beginning sentences with: "Two things..." or "I have two things to say..." like we're pre-empting being interrupted.

I had a really weird memory come back today and was in two minds about posting it as it's a bit odd. It's humiliating even writing about it, but here goes. He used to come in and wipe my bum at an age when I didn't need him to. I remember being hugely ashamed and embarrassed. Eventually I told him I didn't need any help and it was, oh, right, fine, no problem.

So I really really don't think he did anything sexually abusive. But this is why I have an issue: I knew I could manage fine, I knew I was embarrassed and didn't want him to, but it took me ages to say so. How frightening and unapproachable must I have found him not to just say something.

DH is on a bus home so not going to be alone for long. Really don't feel like going out, but maybe it'll help.

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 18:44:33

Also, thank you. ((hugs))

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 18:45:18

Oh, and not sure how long since the box opened, it's been sort of dripping open the last few weeks and then just a flood of stuff today.

Jess keep posting, keep offloading, it sounds like you need to talk and talk - and that's fine. Sometimes it's the only thing that helps. Maybe it would help to be out tonight too, to be with people and to feel like your own person, not what your hideous parents see you as, IYSWIM? Hope you got some time to talk to your dh and also went out. Don't apologise for anything, there are some great supportive people on here and you don't have to explain or apologise.

baytree Fri 21-Dec-12 22:05:47

Dear Fresh

Am sorry to all that I have cross posted, you are exactly right. But my "other" discovery is that I can like and love me and then everything falls into place. I have previously always looked on external validation. If you can learn to like yourself, when your parents never were there to teach then you are onto a winner. I did it, so can you. I am a really nice person and so are you. It takes a brave soul to post so well done and happy christmas to everyone.. Love to you all, you have faced up to things that others have brushed under the carpet. I'm off to England tommorrow so will be off line but I want to say what a massive support all of you have have been, BT

baytree Fri 21-Dec-12 22:10:57

Gather together everyone-we can do Xmas. Last post till New Year -come on make the next more positive than mine. Lots and lots of hugs BT.

Midwife99 Fri 21-Dec-12 23:08:10

I also feel like I can't give advice but only offload on you guys. I guess that's part of the process. And talking of grudges - earlier in the year when I told my mother face to face that I can't make myself have a loving close relationship with her now when I didn't get one from her all my life she grabbed my arm & said "You are just BITTER & you have to try harder!!!"
I recoiled from her grasping hands as if she was the old woman with the poisoned apple.
It's not a grudge, we're not bitter. We're just responding to our training! They've changed the agenda not us!!

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 21-Dec-12 23:43:40

oh jess - poor little girl you.

That feeling of being unsettled and knowing something is wrong, but not feeling entitled to say "no"... so awful.

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 23:47:52

The support is really appreciated, thank you.

CreepyLittleBat I talked to DH and told him I've remembered some stuff but feel like I want to talk it over with my therapist before I decide whether to discuss it with him. We went to the pub for a bit but are both really tired and I don't think I was very good company.

I do see what you mean but I wish I COULD be what my parents see me as, actually, because they see me as someone who has had a perfectly acceptable childhood, has no reason to be depressed and is fine - I wish that was the case. My mum honestly believes she did her best and that you can't get it right as a parent. Well, there are degrees of wrong, frankly, and I think she's full of shit.

And here we are, playing happy families and pretending everything is fine, when it's not. Recently my dad asked me how to do something on his mobile phone (which I bought when he was in hospital) and then got annoyed and wouldn't listen and shouted at me to stop talking. I know this isn't in my head as DH says he has witnessed him doing this to me.

I have always had this weird coping mechanism where I imagined having worse problems, I'd invent these alternative lives for myself where much worse things happened. Which sounds mad, I realise. I don't mean I went round lying, I just made up these weird stories in my head so I could comfort myself by thinking at least it wasn't real. Like the opposite of a daydream, so reality seemed okay. I still do it, if I'm honest. And now I'm shining a light on my actual, real childhood, and I don't like what I see, and I can't fall back on the comforting knowledge that it isn't real, because it is. I sound cracked, don't I.

DH and I only got married this year and I'm supposed to be all happy and excited about our first xmas as newlyweds. I feel like I'm spoiling it all because I feel so emotionally worn out. I've got to do some very last-minute shopping tomorrow.

Midwife, you're not bitter. Imagine saying: I know you are, but what am I? She is projecting all her own failings onto you. But hell you have the right to be bitter if you blinking well want to!

Huge hugs to everyone. Thanks again for the support.

jessjessjess Fri 21-Dec-12 23:56:23

hotDAMNlifeisgood I think we just crossed posts.

I think you just summed it up very well. I also remember just not understanding why he was angry a lot of the time. I have this really vivid memory of him saying: "If you don't stop doing that, I'm going to put you over my knee," and not knowing what I was doing wrong, or why it was pissing him off, but not feeling like I could ask.

My mum just lives in a permanent ditz. She once sent me on holiday with my grandma to visit relatives abroad without a towel, swimsuit, flip flops or sun cream. I remember telling her I thought I had nits when I was about seven (I did) and she said: "Oh, it's probably just the bubble bath!" and only accepted that I really did have nits when my best friend's mum told her I did. Not because we lived in filth, we had a nice clean middle-class home, she just liked to ignore problems in the hope they'd go away.

Speaking of our house, the airing cupboard was in my room. So I had people coming in there to get clothes etc. I realise this sounds like first-world problems, but it's not so great being a teenager and having your parents feel they have carte blanche to barge into your room.

You want to hear something really frigging hilarious? My parents own books by Alice Miller. It's like some kind of horribly bad joke.

I feel churlish complaining about any of this. I guess it's a running thing with SHers - everyone feels like they can't justify how they feel as everyone else presumably had it worse. I have friends who went through far worse and while I know it's about how it made you feel, I know for a fact that at least one of my friends would happily have had my childhood instead of hers, so I feel like I have no right to complain.

fresh Sat 22-Dec-12 00:05:31

WIth exquisite timing, non-festive card arrived today from middle sis wondering whether I would like to meet up and talk at the end of Jan/early Feb! Great, so just as I was hoping to hibernate over Christmas and shut out the world, now I'll be worrying about that instead. Add that to a couple of other minor things which have cropped up and I'm suddenly feeling very isolated again. And why do we have to wait until then? Fuckity fuck fuck. Have drunk too much and eaten chocolate ( gah) and been crabby to DH. See, most of the time I do pretty well but the fear still gets me sometimes! Sigh. Tomorrow is another day, I'll pick myself up and look the world in the eye again. Strength to all of you, keep posting and be kind to yourselves. Better sleep now before I get too rambly...

jessjessjess Sat 22-Dec-12 00:24:17

Sorry to hear that fresh. I'm sure your DH will understand - it's okay to be crabby sometimes, nobody's perfect.

Hope tomorrow is a better day. Hugs to you.

jessjessjess Sat 22-Dec-12 01:08:17

DH is asleep. Must stop offloading. Am not going to just whinge all over this thread all the time, honest.

Just thinking. Stupid brain. Remembering the time he bent a metal music stand in the garden.

One day we were walking through town and I saw some people I knew and stopped to say hi and he called me and I didn't follow, and I remember him shouting at me that "when your father says come, you come," like I was some kind of frigging dog.

Actually, he used to whistle for me to come. He thought it was fun/funny to have a different whistle (like two or three notes) for each person. And I suppose it might have been a cute family thing if we all did it, and not just him. Funnily enough, nobody whistled and expected him to come running.

In fact, I wasn't ALLOWED to whistle, e.g. along to the radio, because it annoyed him. Hypocrisy for the win!

And it kind of seems normal to me, because it was just a sound my dad made to get someone's attention, and he still does it to call to my mum. I always thought of it as a stupid family quirk, and not something wrong.

Thinking about it now though is making me feel really quite queasy. WHY the heck did I never realise how odd this was before? Or maybe it's not odd and I'm overreacting, I don't know.

But it's not all bad, so sometimes I feel I'm being unreasonable or going mad or something. We actually have a lot in common, e.g. we like the same sections of the paper - there are columns I always save for him. He used to make up stories about a hedgehog called Prickles and about different parts of our garden. He can do a perfect owl call whistle. Sometimes I can pretend it's all okay.

But I can't hug him. In my head he's like a block of ice. I don't like to go too near him. And I don't remember him ever teaching me anything, or reading to me, or having the patience to play with me really, and I feel sad when people say their dad taught them this or that. I did used to play chess with him, having learned from watching him and my brother, but he used to make me take my moves back if they weren't good enough, so I found it really stressful.

I am actually going to stop rambling now. Thank you, and sorry for going on.

NewPatchesForOld Sat 22-Dec-12 13:51:39

Hi all, and sorry for not responding to some posts...this thread moves so quickly (says it all) that it's hard to keep up.

I am going to be in so much trouble, and I can't believe I am even worrying about this, but I have forgotten to send my mother a xmas card and she will make my life hell for it! Actually I think subconsciously I didn't forget; I just can't bring myself to buy her a nice card and she is all about the words and the verse...if it is a generic card she will just throw it away, and I simply cannot make myself buy a sentimental 'best mum in the world' card, which is what she wants. It would make me choke. It is too late now to send one anyway, and I will really cop it for this. It's bloody ridiculous to feel this way at my age.

My dp and I are trying for a baby together, and nothing would make me happier but I know her reaction would spoil it for me if I fell pregnant. She would say I am too old (I'm 44), and her first words would be (and I would put money on this) 'oh God, another fecking christening. I hate family fecking gatherings' I got this reaction when I was pg with dd2, so I deliberately had her christening while my mother was abroad on holiday, and she went mental. I can't win!
When my brother was having his dd christened, several people (including me) offered to pick her up to take her to the church. She made a big show of martyrdom by refusing and walking by herself (a good 30 mins walk) and then sat at the back of the church while everyone else was outside talking to each other. Then when the christening was over she told everyone to leave the church as the priest had things to do, and when people ignored her (they were taking photos etc) she stormed out and walked home, refusing to come to the party afterwards and I spent the rest of the day explaining to people why the grandmother wasn't there!

I have also just somehow got the blame for my brother's lack of contact with her. After her spoiling my birthday she went home, and I deliberately didn't contact her; in the end she text me, saying how ill she had been, worse she's ever been (she always says that), and how she hadn't been out and wouldn't be going out til xmas eve midnight mass (fine by me, means I don't have to see her). She also said that my brother was supposed to visit her but had been ill with norovirus. I cross texted her, telling her actually we had all been ill to, and that dd1 had been diagnosed with a twisted vertebra and her back was all taped up. I then sent another text immediately afterwards saying bro hadn't mentioned being ill when he had text me a few times. That was mention of dd's back, just very curt texts wanting to know when bro had text, how many times, what about etc...I was flabbergasted, how the hell did I end up getting flack for my brother???

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 22-Dec-12 17:40:59

WHY the heck did I never realise how odd this was before? Or maybe it's not odd and I'm overreacting, I don't know.

jess because it was your version of normal. A child does not have the tools to question the environment she grows up in; only to accept it, and to learn from it. You are not over-reacting.
(even with my actual dog, I use her name when I want her attention, btw...)

Great, so just as I was hoping to hibernate over Christmas and shut out the world, now I'll be worrying about that instead.

fresh I understand the anxiety. I hope you find a way to file it mentally under "not of immediate concern" so you can continue to enjoy the holiday. It really does not deserve to be something you focus on now.

NewPatches eh, don't beat yourself up about forgetting the Christmas card. Last year, when I was reluctantly going to my parents' for Christmas, the only reason I had any gifts for them at all was because my kind aunt had sent me links to things on amazon that would be suitable gifts for them: at the time it just felt wrong to me to put in the care and time to choose them presents, when I was so boilingly angry at them and their damaging parenting. You forgot the card because she doesn't deserve your time and effort at the moment.

Re: the christening story, I can tell you that anyone witnessing that would have found her to be a ridiculous and self-defeating woman. She is harming only herself, you know.

Re: getting the blame. It's because somebody, anybody, has to be to blame. Apart from her of course. You are just collateral damage for her self-protection; it's nothing personal...

jessjessjess Sat 22-Dec-12 17:54:35

I'm just wondering how I got to the age of 31 before I realised it wasn't quite right. Some memories are of things that seemed weird or scary at the time. And some I'm looking at again with the clanging realisation that they are wrong. Like when you bite into a piece of bread and then you look at it again and realise it's mouldy. I hated the whistling thing, I found it horrible and embarrassing. Yesterday, when I remembered, I tried to think what might have happened if I had just ignored it or asked him to stop doing it and drew a blank. Evidently I did neither.

Patches, your mother sounds like my grandmother. I'm sorry you're feeling so anxious about the card - I don't know what to suggest but am sending hugs.

sarahseashell Sat 22-Dec-12 18:04:52

hello everyone I hope it's okay for a newcomer to post on this thread I know you're a kind lot and will 'get it.' Best wishes to you all at this time of year. I've come from an abusive family - alcoholic mother who was violent now dead. Had no contact with older sis for about 8 years, I tried to maintain it for a few years after mother died but it was a one way street, she's always been very jealous of me and nasty etc and in the end no contact was the best way to go, after much thought and upset and deliberation in therapy.

Subsequently exh left and have been single a few years. Recently met someone, my first relationship of sorts. Anyway he ju