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To need your validation to accept my parents are abusive

(45 Posts)
travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 15:00:32

DP and I currently live back in the family home, as we both study part-time for a vocational course and are financially buggered as a result. My parents share the same vocation. My mother moved to another country for her work last year, and now my father is left at home alone, and has become increasingly aggressive, controlling, hurtful, unreasonable and hot-tempered to the point that I am afraid of him. It is likely that my parents have always been like this, but it has only really been through considered and welcome support from my DP that I have come to accept that what happens and happened on a daily basis in my house is just not normal. I shouldn't have to deal with this in my mid-twenties/ever.

My father has always had a temper, but it became significantly worse once his three children became adults and learnt how to talk back (like normal children). I am the eldest and the most successful of the three of us, yet somehow I'm the least dominating, the most sensitive and most forgiving member of the family. Moreover, both my parents have become increasingly Catholic, using it as a blunt and brutal instrument to inflict shameful homophobic insults on me, and to assert their parental power and immunity. Try explaining that in your mid-twenties you no are no longer, if ever were, Catholic, to parents who find this a devastating assault on their parenting. I had a large shampoo bottle raised viciously to my head when I said this the last time. My father downplayed this afterwards and I ended up feeling horribly sorry for him, rather than for myself. I can't help but see a kind and loving father somehow underneath the unkindness. I have been told by my mother that this makes me very Christian...I think it makes me a bit messed up.

DP and I are in horrible situation where we feel disrespected and belittled constantly, but have nowhere else we can currently go because we haven't the funds yet. We are criticised at every turn. My siblings are too, but far far less, and have both become extremely selfish as a result. No chance of them sticking up for me.

Primarily, genuinely to the point of absurdity, we are all criticised by our mother and father for our untidiness, our 'disgusting, vile, despicable mess', our 'pathetic and idiotic and childish attempts at hoovering'. Believe me, though, the house is spotless and ordered to the point of not looking lived in; the vague hair on the stairs being attributed to a very malty dog. My father spends his ENTIRE weekend deep-cleaning the house, varnishing, polishing and growling as he goes, and dramatically hoovering to make his point, bashing me with it as he goes.

Obviously, we do do our bit, we tidy up after ourselves and make dinner and make a huge effort with laundry and hoovering, and yet almost daily we are told that we do 'f--- all' and are 'pathetic and lazy' and that we don't care. We've had friends of my parents that we've never met saying that we must be a terrible and messy couple, in the most utmost display of bad manners at a party. My father has stated that he will no longer buy food for the house because we didn't tidy enough the other day which is fine as we are...adults...and can buy our own food...and also what the hell? We would have done had he not been so bloody terrifying when we spoke to him.

Nevertheless, I am in the rubbish position where I feel crushing guilt for the fact my parents are so volatile and unhappy and lonely, and wonder if I weren't quite so gay or opinionated, would they be less explosive and unkind. My father has shouted at me so loudly my ears ring afterwards and my hands shake. He's thrown lunch I made for him to the dog. He's thrown over chairs when I have made normal jokes about not wanting to hoover in 30 degree heat. I have cried like a baby as he hurls hurtful comments at me and tells me to stop acting like a child, whilst calling me immature. I am rarely treated like an adult, despite having three sodding degrees and working internationally. My mother has physically assaulted my sister accusing her of being on drugs after a gig when she was 16 (she'd had too much sugar!). My mother, even though she lives far away, has considerable influence over the home, and exhibits more vile homophobia than my father when she is visiting to the point where it is far worse than anything I have ever faced.

Basically, I need validation. I need people to say this isn't okay. As I write I keep thinking that I am overplaying things, that it's nothing. That I can justify everything and that it's okay that people get cross sometimes when they miss their wife and life gets stressful... I don't really know what to do.

YokoUhOh Mon 15-Jul-13 15:08:22

OP, what does your partner suggest you both do?

Your parents are abusive, controlling and completely out of line. If I were in your position, I would run for the hills, even if it were to put me in dire financial straits.

Dahlialover Mon 15-Jul-13 15:12:27

Abusive or not, you do not sound very happy with your situation.

I would be doing everything possible to find somewhere else, however imperfect.

What does your partner think?

Your father does not sound happy either and is blaming you - I would move out of his way.

CecilyP Mon 15-Jul-13 15:17:54

Yes, everyone gets cross and if you are overcrowded, which I am not sure that you are, minor irritations can get magnified, BUT, throwing over chairs or throwing lunch to the dog is not normal adult behaviour. Is there any way possible that you could move out? Otherwise, you will just have to tolerate his, admittedly intolerable, behaviour until you can affort to move out. His behaviour is very far from OK, so if you can accept that the problem is his and there is nothing you can do differently to stop his rants, it might be easier to cope until you can get away. But I would advise getting away sooner rather than later.

trice Mon 15-Jul-13 15:24:00

I would rather live in a tent than put up with this behaviour. He sounds ocd about the cleaning. Would he accept cbt?

seesensepeople Mon 15-Jul-13 15:24:48

Did your parents make the offer for you and your partner to move into the family home? Or did they perhaps feel obliged?

Are you a same sex couple?

Your answers to these questions may provide some insight into your father's behaviour...

diddl Mon 15-Jul-13 15:33:46

Well it sounds an awful situation-but how did it come about?

Did you both give up full time jobs & expect to be able to live with your parents?

Many parents wouldn't want a child & partner living with them after they had already moved out, I think.

BridgetBidet Mon 15-Jul-13 15:34:19

I think you need to move out. The way your father is behaving is not acceptable. But as you say, you are adults, if you don't like it move out. Unacceptable as his behaviour is, I do think that your own attitude to your parents as some kind of meal ticket and easy ride is not good either. I can imagine any parent who's child had done three degrees and was doing a further course might become a bit weary of offering endless hospitality to their offspring. And to their offsprings DP also in this case.

They've been prepared to do that which is way beyond what many perfectly reasonable parents would be prepared to do makes me suspect that they may not be all bad and the living situation is simply one where you are completely incompatible as housemates.

Jan49 Mon 15-Jul-13 15:44:47

Your father's behaviour sounds dreadful but you are surely old enough and educated enough to live independently. Why are you studying more after getting 3 degrees if you can't even provide for yourself? Lots of parents continue to treat their adult children like children so that's not unusual but you're acting like a dependent. You're an adult and you don't have to put up with your father's behaviour in your home any more. But since you're in his home, you need to get out.

TimeofChange Mon 15-Jul-13 15:45:06

You need to leave.
Rent a caravan, a room in a shared house.

Why do you need to study further when you have three degrees?

Do something different to get out that house.

Change your plans and become independent.

travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 15:46:22

seesensepeople - Not sure being gay validates his actions... And yes we were invited into the home to live there by my father. It was not obligation. It was, in fact, a very kind offer and independently of me, he loves my DP and has made it very clear that he'd be there congratulating us if we were to marry. So god knows what his issue is.

As for posters asking about DP - she's the one who has been helping me see that this isn't ok, having come from almost a polar opposite (brilliant and kind) family, so through that we've jointly worked out that we both must get out asap.

BridgetBidet - It's also not endless hospitality. That would be far too kind a word. I'm 23, I just did a lot of my education quite young and it's hasn't been three three-year long degrees - I realise I sounded more like I was in my thirties! This isn't a meal ticket. It's ridiculously high course fees and living in London after living at University (so no, no high-flying career and flat and then reverting to the family home). It's also a big house so no overcrowding at all. It was his idea that we moved in! He didn't want to live alone without my mother. We've been here less than five months too.

cakebar Mon 15-Jul-13 15:50:07

You are accepting this unacceptable behaviour by staying in your parents home. Move out. Support yourself.

travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 15:51:05

To make it clear, I'm training to become a barrister. It will take me 5 years, including law degree and part-time post-graduate diploma which in itself costs in excess of 17k to do (part time so that I can work to afford travel, course fees and saving up to rent in London). I have one year to go whilst I work full time. I hope that clears things up.

cakebar Mon 15-Jul-13 15:52:03

x posted. But really, it's not a good idea to live with your parents once you are a grown up, especially with your partner in tow.

TimeofChange Mon 15-Jul-13 15:52:31

How much longer have you got to go on the course?

cakebar Mon 15-Jul-13 15:53:12

So is the plan to live at home for one year then move out?

Jan49 Mon 15-Jul-13 15:54:45

But you know now that living with your father is not an option so you need to work out alternatives. What would you have done if this option had not been open to you? Whatever it is, that's what you need to do.

lollilou Mon 15-Jul-13 15:56:36

Ok if you can't move then could you perhaps split the house into areas. So you had full use of 2 rooms and a bathroom? Then just keep to the areas that are yours, maybe even get a microwave, kettle ect and make your own kitchenette. Would your Father agree to this? Perhaps he is not enjoying living with another 2 adults.

travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 15:57:27

Cakebar - god no, moving out asap. This was only meant to be a temporary measure. It's more that it's frightening that he's so aggressive and angry and it's not okay.

TimeofChange Mon 15-Jul-13 16:05:18

This is going to sound very harsh, but that abuse is unacceptable.
If that is the only way to be a barrister then change your career plans.

How can you be a high flying anything whilst being abused like that?

You can have a happy life, independent of the abusive parents.
Do something else - get away from them.

As a matter of interest: I presume you would have an 'in' to a good job if you qualified.

There is a high flying judge who lives locally to me.
He used to beat his wife up.
She left after 25 years - she thought it was normal too.

Fourbears Mon 15-Jul-13 16:06:27

His behaviour is absolutely abusive. I don't see how it could be excused away. Leave as soon as you can. You have grown up with it so it is normalized to some degree, but it is abusive. Whatever he said about wanting you to live there is completely negated by his actual behaviour. Leave him to get on with the mad cleaning alone. I would even drop my course and get a job, any job to escape this kind of treatment. I wouldn't try to figure out his motives, beliefs, reasons why for any of it, I'd just get myself out of there. You do not deserve this and nor does your DP. Could you access counselling? It would really help you to have an impartial, qualified view on this situation.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 15-Jul-13 16:09:32

It's not ok. Find a flatshare - if you're working surely you can afford a cheap room, especially if it's the two of you sharing? Anything is better than constantly walking on eggshells around an explosive tyrant who delights in keeping you on the back foot.

WaitakereWaif Mon 15-Jul-13 16:10:08

Its not OK.
It is abusive.
Full stop.
You need to move out, and move on. Go stay with your partners parents, who you say are supportive. Whatever difficulties this may cause, it will not be as damaging as the current situation.

AdoraBell Mon 15-Jul-13 16:22:36

Yes, that is abusive behaviour and you really need to be looking for alternative accommodation right now.

Why is being a barrister so important to you? no need to answer on here, I'm just wondering if it's what you want or something you've been driven to by your parents. I raise that possibility because my FIL actually phoned companies and told them they would employ his sons in X role. He is also abusive, as is MIL in the way she tries to keep him happy.

Have you spoken to your DP in depth about this? what is their opinion on the situation.? Oh, and your father not wishing to live alone is not your problem.

ThePeppermintHippo Mon 15-Jul-13 16:24:46

Fom your post I'm confused about what stage you are at. Are you on the GDL, BPTC or doing a law degree?! Do you have a pupillage to go to? What about your partner? If you are working full time now while studying, and your partner is also working, can you not afford to move out even if you just rent a room in a house share?

seesensepeople Mon 15-Jul-13 16:35:14

OP - The only reason I asked if you have a same sex partner is because of the number of oblique references in your OP. You mention your father's homophobia and if you were a bit "less gay". These things could obviously cause some tension in a household but do not validate his behaviour in any way. As a law student I know you will understand the importance of motivation (mens rea probably being too strong an expression).

Having said all that I tend to be in agreement with other posters - this is never going to work, your father was looking for company whilst your mother is away. You and your partner to to reassess your options.

travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 16:41:03

Peppermint - glad you ask! sorry, was being unclear as didn't want to be too identifiable. Going into second year of BPTC part-time after having done undergrad then GDL. Won't know if I have pupillage until August.

Seesensepeople - of course, thank you for clarifying. It's true that me being gay causes much of the tension, even if wholly unjust. confused

BridgetBidet Mon 15-Jul-13 16:43:27

Sorry, that's quite different. I assumed you were in your late twenties or thirties. The fact that you are much younger really does make a difference.

Is it possible that you could speak to the pastoral care people at your university and explain the situation and see if they can help you with accommodation etc?

You might also be able to get some help off a council to find accommodation too.

travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 16:46:38

Anyway, House of Lords just allowed the Equal Marriage Bill I am overjoyed and my father can just look on quixotically as I hoover with my biggest, fattest grin on.

If you really can't move out then you need to put some emotional distance between you and them - be out as much as possible, have someone with you at all times at home (surely your partner would intervene if he was actually abusive to you in front of her?)

And get some therapy.

Mintyy Mon 15-Jul-13 16:52:37

Yes, he is being abusive and clearly has quite serious mental health issues (it is not normal to be so obsessive about cleaning).

However, I think you and your dp really must stand on your own four feet. Rent a room in a flat share. If you cannot find the money to do that between you then you are doing something wrong! Most of us are limited in the amount of studying we can do by the amount of funding we have available.

You cannot really confront him about the terrible way he treats you and his homophobia until you are out of his house.

Nanny0gg Mon 15-Jul-13 17:05:47

How old is your father?

themaltesecat Mon 15-Jul-13 17:12:25

Your father's prickish behaviour aside, you're an adult. If you don't like those house rules, don't live there.

TimeofChange Mon 15-Jul-13 18:06:48

It doesn't really matter what the House of Lords have allowed or not.
That will not suddenly change your father's character.
You just need to leave and don't bother gloating to your Dad.

This is not a battle that you need to fight with him and win.
You win if you leave.
If you leave you have a chance of being happy.

You are grown up now.
You are free to leave.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 15-Jul-13 18:23:21

Hi there OP
Do let us know if you'd like us to move your thread into relationships wont you?

travellingbird Mon 15-Jul-13 19:26:30

OliviaM - yes please!

Thank you everyone for your advice and tough love. Very much appreciated.

ThreeEyedRaven Mon 15-Jul-13 19:36:34

OP that sounds awful. Glad to see you're being supported by a DP, would echo everyone else's sentiments to move out.

Have you been in touch with a local LGBT charity for advice re housing? You may be entitled to support from your council or university. Am sure there must be a local advice line you can call to discuss.

quoteunquote Mon 15-Jul-13 19:46:40

Move out, it is not working.

TheRealFellatio Mon 15-Jul-13 20:04:26

They sound awful, slightly disturbed, and homophobic. Havin said all that, you are a grown adult living under their roof, invading their space, and they are (barely) tolerating your gay partner being there too, which clearly troubles them deeply and goes against their principles. I think the best thing is too accept that they are weird, old-fashioned and controlling, and just move out.

Under the circumstances I am amazed that you are there at all, but really you don't have a right o moan when you are still clogging up their house as an adult who really should be self-sufficient by now. Much as I want to be on your side, if any adult child of mine chose to live in a way that I found totally objectionable I would be asking them to leave, and to stop their belly-aching.

Wuldric Mon 15-Jul-13 20:07:15

You need to move out ducky.

TimeofChange Mon 15-Jul-13 21:26:33

The point is that you are not a child being abused by your parents.
You are an adult and you can do something about it.

You can leave.
Do NOT allow yourself to be treated so badly.

They will carry on abusing you whilst you are dependent on them.

Even if you create your own space in their house, you will not escape the abuse.

You don't have to deal with it you can get out and get away from them.

Catsize Mon 15-Jul-13 21:54:31

Your dad sounds like my dad. Only he was like that throughout my childhood, and has improved a bit with age. Still can be scary and blow his top though.
I am a barrister, and in a civil partnership, so the parallels here are a bit spooky.
Not sure where you are studying, but as someone suggested, it is worth enquiring about university accommodation.
Also, housing is one of my areas, and as others have suggested, you can approach your local authority/housing trust. If there are domestic violence issues, they are pretty good.
Best of luck with the job - it is a hard slog, especially in the current climate, but you sound very determined, so should make it!

independentfriend Tue 16-Jul-13 00:41:17

Agreeing with everyone else that moving out needs to be a priority for you, even though it will make life financially more difficult.

Try: Shelter for advice re housing, have a look for local housing co-ops, check with your Inn (ie. they possibly have notice boards advertising accommodation/hardship funds). What will your bank lend you?

TheRealFellatio Tue 16-Jul-13 07:35:23

ThreeEyed why on earth should they need support or advice with housing from a charity or any organisation specifically helping them because they are gay? confused

Gay people don't need extra special kid glove treatment when it comes to needing financial help with housing do they? Don't they qualify for help using the same criteria as non-gay people?!

travellingbird Tue 16-Jul-13 20:13:56

Re-reading your comments is very helpful.

I foolishly tried to reason with him this evening when he laid into me for my financial insecurity and I ended up telling him how I felt about the above. Primarily, I made it clear that I found him scary, to which he called me a passive aggressive child. He laughed and thought I was hurtful to be saying I thought he was aggressive. I regret saying to him that he needed therapy because he looked all forlorn, but then again he said I was wrong to turn the discussion into something about him...when it was all about the cleaning in the end. I feel annoyed at myself for in effect calling him up on how he is behaving and how it makes me feel - it is as if I have.put my cards on the table and he now holds them.
Off to see the inlaws now, which is simply embarrassing as they know the score.

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