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

(1000 Posts)

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It's August 2013, 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
November 2012
January 2013
March 2013

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 up, 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 your 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 defences 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 use 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 behaviour. 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.

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 behaviour. 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 realise 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

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

This final quote is from smithfield posting as therealsmithfield:

"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

GoodtoBetter Fri 23-Aug-13 16:04:42

Marking my place.

Marking my place.

Hissy Fri 23-Aug-13 23:57:48

Me too!

Phoenixwoman Sat 24-Aug-13 16:45:35

Hi all, I think I fit in here and just wanted to share my thoughts.

I've always known something wasn't quite right with my parents, particularly my dm who never seemed to want to spend time with me. It was always a chore and I was told how lucky I was to have any time with what with her being so busy and having to work so much to look after me and my sibling. It got worse as we entered our teens and we really started to realise what she was like and the extent of her drinking as well. Every day was spent worrying about what her next explosion would be about, what foot would I put wrong today. When I got affection it felt forced and insincere, not real. I've never felt comfortable with physical contact with my family and don't enjoy hugs for example but do with my dh and dc.

I've never felt good enough and have workede hard to get good grades, educated, have a career, get married to a lovely man, then have dc, do everything the 'proper' way, all the time desperate for approval and love I never get back. I cry over the dm-dd relationship I will never have because she doesn't want it, doesn't seem to like me. Even as a married adult I would seek approval/advice before making decisions, like a child. My dh would be exasperated by it but I just couldn't make my own decision, be my own person?????

As I have got older and especially following the birth of my own dc I have realised what 'normal' is. I know how it feels to love my dc and want nothi more than a relationship with them where I see them regularly and want to spend time with them. It's such an intense desire to be near them I can't understand why my dm doesn't feel like that for me. I have started create distance between us though it's hard and I feel guilty but she has made it difficult and many of my family have shut me out. She dislikes my dh a lot as he gives me more power over her. She has accused him and others of controlling me as she knows me better than anyone and I wouldn't disobey/go against her as I have done.

I have done some research in toxic parents and it all seems to fit with NPD. I was up reading late last night as it was like a light bulb had been switched on, it all fit, I am a scapegoat, I have all the features of an ACON and I'm starting to finally realise the way I feel (doubt, anxiety, low self esteem) are not my fault. I said realise, actually I think I did that a while ago, maybe I should say I am starting to believe that this is not my fault.

Anyway, I'm rambling, there is so much to say, get out, release and I finally feel brave enough to do that! Sort of anyway. Hope this makes sense to someone and someone can relate????


spanky2 Sat 24-Aug-13 17:40:03

I understand what you are saying .Try reading Will I ever be good enough ? It is so helpful .

spanky2 Sat 24-Aug-13 17:41:07

People don't really understand . I am trying to come to terms with the fact my parents don't love me.

Meery Sat 24-Aug-13 18:06:51

Slightly off topic but just musing how dysfunctional families impact down the generations. I thought i was close to dsis she's the only one who really understands when i have issues with dm. Its the bits that people with normal families dontsee or get that she's onto straight away. We talk alot and get our families together regularly.

Today i found out she got married. Over a year ago. Maybe we're not so close. It hurts.

Hissy Sat 24-Aug-13 19:15:14

Oh Meery! What a shock! sad poor you!

Littleen Sat 24-Aug-13 19:38:46

can relate a lot to you, phoenixwoman - I also keep trying to do all the right things to get some acknowledgement, and never take any decisions without consulting my parents, as I am so desperate for their approval. I'm still unable to break that cycle, so I can't really give any advice sad

Oh meery how upsetting x

Meery Sat 24-Aug-13 19:48:44

Thanks hissy. Im sure I'll be ok in a day or so it's just i so crave a normal family that do normal things that a secret wedding has really thrown me. At least I've been spared a bridezilla occasion.

I guess i just need to speak to dsis to get closure on this and move on.

Pw apologies for ignoring you. Wil reply when I've read your post properly.

TotsAway Sat 24-Aug-13 20:13:11

Hi, posted a thread and someone recommended coming here. It's not about my parents but my PILs, MIL in particular. Without writing a mammoth essay, MIL is quite selfish and has a lot of insecurities/beliefs that have had quite an effect on DH. I don't think she's a narc (although I'm really not sure) but she does put herself at the centre of any issue and relates everything to herself and what she thinks/feels and DH is left with a lot of guilt and very beholden to her. She either loves or hates everyone so the inference is you have to do what she wants else you're in the bad books. She has some weird views on various topics and is very stubborn so won't ever listen to suggestion she might be wrong. She'll throw 'calm' temper tantrums if she doesn't get her own way - so won't shout or rant but will just keep repeating her opinion as fact and getting upset/anxious if she's not listened to/agreed with, so she gets her own way anyway without ranting.

Basically it's very hard for DH to feel he can really live his own life without her always having a little bit of control over it, always pulling the guilt strings when she wants her own way. Usually it's fairly minor, like what half of Christmas Day she gets or DH having to spend 10 mins finding just the right birthday card to please her but it's a 'drip, drip' effect and ends up causing quite a bit of stress over the weeks/months. FIL is generally ok but is very much an enabler so when the shite hits the fan he gets just as bad. DH is slowly starting to be able to talk about and process that their behaviour is wrong, it's not his fault, and think about dealing with it but I want to help him (and me) find where to start.

I looked through the links at the start of the thread but was a bit overwhelmed with all the various terms and ideas so could do with a good place to start and unravel what's going on with the PILs and how to help DH start to unpick it all. Don't want to recommend the Toxic Parents book to him first off (even though I think it might be perfect) as just labelling them 'toxic' would be too much for him atm.

Hissy Sat 24-Aug-13 20:58:45

I was talking about narcissism with my therapist last session.

Narcissism can be on a spectrum, right?

TotsAway the things you mention totally remind me of similar traits my mil has. Especially the wanting control over Christmas, needing an extra special card etc etc. Hating someone if they don't follow her 'ideals'. If dh is like my dh, he was probably is clouded that it's all normal behaviour but still placates her every whim. This itself stresses my dh out for the weeks/months leading up to up to it. It even makes him ill & withdrawn and even short tempered.

I at first didn't notice my mil was toxic until many years after being with dh, even after living with her. The time it became apparent was when we had our children, especially the iminent birth, wanting to take over etc etc. Over time i started to notice my dh was scared of his parents.
In the end it materialized fil had beaten dh as a child and later on fil also started his campaign too.
Mil got worse and pushed her expectations onto my pfb who is from a past relationship, saying in front of her about her eyecolour, origin, and how it is nature not nuture re children. This caused a lot of problems.
Fil became verbally abusive last mothers day because he thought we hadn't got mil a present and proceeded to blow up in my kitchen saying he didn't want to see his ffin grandkids again, fuck this fuck that etc before dh removed him from our home. It was that night dh confided in me about being beaten.

TotsAway Sun 25-Aug-13 08:17:23

That does sound so strangely similar to my DH's situation pumpkinsweetie. DH is so used to MIL/PILs behaviour that although he's starting to realise it's not helpful he still sees it as just what they're like, and yes, feels he has to placate them in everything otherwise he's in the wrong and feels guilty that he's hurt them in some way, and yep, it makes him stressed, moody and a bit short tempered, when usually he doesn't even seem to have a temper he's that laid back.

It's definitely only been in the past 6 months - a year that I've slowly started to realise PILs are toxic too and we've been together for 3.5 years. I used to think they were just lovely genuine people, with a couple of eccentricities but generally sound, would never have described them as toxic but from what I've seen/know now I definitely would. Am pretty sure there was no physical violence in the past (beyond a smack now and then which I don't approve of) but think PILs have used emotional stuff to make DH as scared of them. MIL walked out on the family and lived apart for 2 years when DH was 14, more because she was fed up rather than deeply depressed, and at first I thought this was just a sad event for all concerned but now I can't help seeing it as another example of her saying 'do what I want or suffer'. And I'm seeing that attitude more and more now, from both PILs, 'if we don't get what we want you'll pay until we do'.

Think me seeing it is really accelerating how DH is seeing it, because I don't take it lying down, but I feel terrible that DH is getting 'squeezed' between seeing what I see and not wanting to see his parents as toxic. He tries to placate them and defend their attitude where possible but it's always in a very defeated way, he admits he's knows they're in the wrong but doesn't know what to do. It feels like the whole issue of the PILs is a snowball that's growing, every issue that comes up now DH is realising more and more how dysfunctional their attitude is but doesn't know what to do with that knowledge.

It's very hard because from what DH has told me I don't think they're bad people, they themselves had a lot of issues with their own parents, but their attitudes are absolutely toxic and we can't put up with them. Hoping to find some sort of website or something that talks about the signs of toxic parents so DH could see the similarities and get some validation that what they do isn't just normal parenting, think that's what he's struggling with at the moment.

Phoenixwoman Sun 25-Aug-13 08:33:24

Littleen, I know exactly what your saying. I've started reading Your Not Crazy It's Your Mother and its like reading my life. The description of how ND affects daughters is perfect and the description of toxic mothers has mine down to a tee, even the phrases she uses. DH and I have been reading it together like this shock.

I realised a while ago and have started standing up to them and its caused such a rift in the family. Don't think I've got the strength for no contact but often daydream they would initiate it. Still think I'd come off the bad guy if it happened. However contact is reducing and although the stress and weight of the situation is always there it feels like I have some freedom.

Meery, did your dsis have any family at her wedding? Sorry you feel so disappointed.

Phoenixwoman Sun 25-Aug-13 08:37:38

Sorry another epic post. For those with in laws on here I feel for you. My dh gets so frustrated with me as I bury my head in the sand and 'forget' what has happened over the years to protect myself fr the pain. I can't not have a relationship with my parents, I just can't give up yet, and he can't understand how I would go anywhere near them. All I can suggest is give him time to see for himself.

A good suggestion I read was to write a list of all the bad things that have happened so you can glimpse at it when the guilt appears and you 'forget' what really happened.

Misspixietrix Sun 25-Aug-13 11:28:29

<Marking my place too> will try and keep up this time. Going through a dreadful stage with DM that has had me really upset. Meery what a shocking way to tell you that's really hurtful! sad

Due to last night i will not be posting mil a letter infact everything has had a compete turn around.

Last night my dm & my dh went to a party of an old work friend. My dm got sozzled and told my dh he cannot go on treating me like this & pretty much blurted out i had been talking to her about ils. She said he needs to stop revisiting this as it won't end well and he needs to lay his past to rest etc. Things were mentioned that concerned dhs childhood, he wouldn't tell her how bad it was but went on to say he didn't want to become like his father. He then left my dm after saying he couldn't deal with it and went for a long walk in the rain & cold.

He came back late last night and he has finally opened up a little about the beatings, said it included belts and cigar burns amongst other horrid things but he said he doesn't remember much- i guess he has blocked it out. He then went on to say that he knows his parents are not good to be around the children and although hard i told him and we agreed he doesn't have to be scared anymore or be answerable to any of them & from now on it's best we ignore all calls from them.
We agreed there wouldn't ever be any contact from pil with the dc.

I know it isn't going to be easy but i think we are finally getting somewhere re standing united against them. I think he does need help with this and i know he could fail at any time but unsure of how to help him on his path? I have suggested he reads susan fords book, i'm hoping it will help him.

I have said i will not try to stop him seeing his parents but he is going to stop allowing the harrassment inbetween & have suggested if he cannot let go of seeing them he needs to have a larger gap inbetween to avoid being scared & badgered constantly.

Misspixietrix Sun 25-Aug-13 12:17:21

pumpkinsweetie so sorry about your DH. sad Its good i. A sense however that he is beginning to open up ~

Misspixietrix Sun 25-Aug-13 12:27:24

Just been reading the 1st post again and the one that sticks out to me is the "You're being mean" attitude. I distanced myself completely a few weeks ago after a really shitty time with her. Had her friends up enquiring as "she doesnt know what she has supposed to have done". Apparently causing a text argument 5mins after your Dd has just found out her Df has been blue lighted to Hospital is reasonable behaviour in her book hmm

Misspixietrix Sun 25-Aug-13 12:27:57

*ring up ~

misspixie the "i don't know what i'm supposed to have done" is a line spun all the time by my ils. They also use it in a bid to gather more relatives to interrigate us if their bid to hasn't worked. As you say it's a typical sentence all toxic's use to fool you into thinking they are hard done by.
It doesn't wash with me anymore, the favourite used by mil presently is "i can't sleep" " i can't stop crying" words mentioned in her fb message to me yesterday and the "we used to be friends" - All guiltrips to add on pressure, but i know she made her bed and now she can lie in it as can fil respectively.

GoodtoBetter Sun 25-Aug-13 16:10:17

So, went to see the DM today and it's put me in a right grump. I was in a bit of a grump anyway because the DCs ( 2.3 and 5.5) are being AWFUL atm. It's really really hot here (abroad), we've just given up potty training DD (2.3) after a week because she wasn't getting it and it was too much, being cooped up in the heat. They are constantly fighting, squabbling, tantruming, wailing. Driving me nuts. So, there was a whole big fuss just before we let and then it was hot when we were out in the park. They were fighting over a toy in the park, so I bought them each a little bouncy ball. After a while DS lost his in the undergrowth and started wailing. We had a good look but couldn't find it, so I said there was another one in my bag at home and he could have that one. He starts his foghorn wailing and I just know DM thinks I'm a cold hearted cow, but a lot of it is just noise. I told him to calm down and he could have the one at home and that I'd count up to five to help him calm down and I wanted him to stop making the noise (not even crying, just "waaaaaah!"). She's all, don't worry darling, here come and look at this with me.....
I said to her, "You probably think I'm a right bitch, but the counting helps him calm down". And she said "no, I didn't say that but you're much harder than I was". She did all the, "every child is different, you try your best" bollocks but it really pissed me off the "hard" comment.
It's like a while before we moved out and she said I was "a very shouty mother, I wasn't like that with you" hmm....told DBro that and he laughed like a drain.
A few years ago when I was just pg with DD but didn't know it and feeling down generally (prob pg hormones in retrospect) and DS was getting up really early and being really stroppy and hardwork (about 2.5yo) she had a big go at me saying I treated him like I didn't love him, was always sharp with him, not interested in him. "I just feel so sad for him" she says, like he's some poor neglected mite with an awful cold hearted mother (i.e me).
These comments really get under my skin. I just feel so judged. I don't smack, I didn't shout, if I have to shout or there's a row I always make sure we make up and hug and kiss when everyone is calm. I think I'm generally a good parent, I told her they'd been awful this week and she knows I've had bad period pain, but I just feel she thinks I'm this awful shouty cold tyrant and it's not fair. I said to her, look I don't smack but there are things I won't have, like shouting, that awful foghorn wailing when he doesn't get something he wants, backchat, fighting, hurting other people...and the best way to deal with it is often a countdown.

I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but I feel like I shrink as a parent (especially as a parent to DS) in her presence.

Hissy Sun 25-Aug-13 17:24:15

I didn't even start potty training til DS was gone 3, so if it doesn't work now, don't stress about it!

Your mother was undermining you again. You got sucked back in.

Who the hell does she think she is criticising your parenting? She STILL throws tantrums and uses emotional shit to get her own way. If you're not going to take it from her (quite right) why on earth would you allow your son to try it.

Btw, the wailing is typical for that age. It won't last.

And certainly not if you are quick to nip it in the bud now!

You know you're a good mother, don't let her knock you!

GoodtoBetter Sun 25-Aug-13 18:07:59

It's this awful "UUUUHHHH" sound that is all about noise rather than upset and it drives me mad. Obviously if he's really upset I'll comfort him...but she does the poor little love routine and it makes me look like bad cop in comparison. It's like the sun shines out of his arse and I'm this stroppy shouty mother. Sometimes like most 5 yo he's a pain and I get annoyed.

The time when he was 2.5 I was just down and tired with the early waking and she was totally umsympathetic and turned it into saying things like I obviously didn't love him and why had I had him if I didn't enjoy him....(who the fuck enjoys a non verbal 2yo who wakes before 6 every day and tantrums and trashes the house?.... he was really hard work in those days). She has form for subtely interfering in discipline too.

Nobody ever does it better than her...she was super mum and "had no help".

If anyone else witnessed today they'd say I was making a fuss over nothing..but it's the backstory.

She just constantly gives me the impression I'm not doing it right.

Goodbetter sorry your day went badly, just remember it's not you who is the shit mother, it is her.
She is trying to make you feel inferior, only you know what your child does and doesn't need.

GoodtoBetter Sun 25-Aug-13 19:36:09

Funny thing is when we lived with her she found him the same as I any 5 yo. Now it suits her for her to be supergranny and him to be poor little maligned mite.

Hissy Sun 25-Aug-13 19:50:43

Think about it, a NORMAL mum would tell you 'It's OK, hold firm and don't stand for tantrums'


Because that's how you're supposed to deal with tantrums.

Reward good behaviour, ignore bad at the very LEAST!

Trust your instincts woman.

Look at this logically, you'll know i'm right! smile

Hissy Sun 25-Aug-13 19:54:20

Her motivation here is to undermine you.

Remember this!

dragon99 Sun 25-Aug-13 22:24:19

marking my place too. Starting to realise how badly my mother has affected me.

Hit hard recently as she yelled at my DNephew who was making some noise in her home, not badly atall, just usual 6 year old stuff, and she yelled at him badly to shut up, also did the same to him when we were out somewhere and he was a bit noisy.

Took me back to all the time she yelled at me. Tried to comfort DNephew, I didn't dare say anything to my mother though. Feel bad I can't even stick up for a 6 year old.

dragon99 Sun 25-Aug-13 22:25:40

have ordered a few books mentioned on this thread, will let you know how I get on with them.

Meery Mon 26-Aug-13 07:43:14

Just to answer a question up thread and im sorry for not offering support to you guys as smart phone typing is not my strong point. Dsis and i have exchanged texts and i can accept what happened re her marriage afaik how it came about.

It was a quick registry do for tax reasons. No family or friends attended. I must stop overthinking and projecting but can't help considering that if dm was different Dsis would have done things differently. Dm has form for outrageous behaviour on social occasas you can well imagine.

Keep strong everyone.

Meery Mon 26-Aug-13 07:47:34

By not offering support i meant by being more than a little me me me at present. Sorry

Just a thought meery maybe your dsis thought it was best to get married on the hush to avoid disaster with the toxics. She should have told you though atleast.

Me & dh were talking about marriage the other night (we aren't married yet, but i call him dh)- & i said if we ever tie the knot i think he should take on my surname & maybe we should consider changing my dcs names to my surname too, does that sound odd?? I don't want no part in his toxic family and if i had realised what these people were like my children would have never had their surname.
Even thinking of making a start by giving my unborn baby my surname when she is born?

Do you think i would be right in doing this? I just don't want to carry on their family line, i want rid of the toxicity and by changing surnames i think that's a start.

tangerinefeathers Mon 26-Aug-13 10:37:25

pumpkinsweetie that is good that your DH is opening up a bit more.

Just need to have a rant about my mother. It was my birthday today and to prevent a repeat of last year - we went to a half price steak night with her and DF, she sat there like she was at a funeral all night and it was basically horrible, I decided to cook dinner for my family at my house.

Her and DF arrived late, bringing with them a whole lot of furniture for our new baby (all my sister's stuff that's been stored at their house).

At dinner she was a bit off, as always, just cold, only ever talks about herself, no sense of joy or conversation.... anyway I pressed on. Had cake etc. Then as soon as dinner is over she badgers my father into driving back to their house and bringing over another load of furniture, so he basically had to get up and leave. As soon as he returned she said right, let's go.

She then sent me a text today saying what a nice night it was. I feel like replying, well apart from the fact that Dad was made to spend the night moving furniture rather than celebrating my birthday you rude fucking cow. She just has this weird need to disrupt and ruin anything that involves attention being shown to me. It's bizarre.

The other weird thing was that when my dad was gone she started going on about how hard it's going to be when he retires as he has no hobbies. I said, well he reads. "Oh no he doesn't. I read MUCH more than him.'

She thinks he should do a language class and then said, 'but do you think there will be young women in the class.'

We all just looked at her in disbelief.... she has such weird jealousy and control issues around him.

ugggghhhhhhh. Anyway determined not to let her spoil my day or show her she has upset me.

GoodtoBetter Mon 26-Aug-13 11:22:02

my mother is still irritating me via telephone (latest thing is fussing about setting up a fruit and veg delivery, I'm not sure whether to commend her or get annoyed at the "I can't get out to the shops" subtext). But I would just like to shower this thread with the joyous relevation that:


Today is cloudy and coolish...about 30º (such a joy after 40º), we've had a long tramp round the village and through fields with the dog and it's similar tmrw so we're going to pack a picnic and go to the moutains and on Friday lovely friend is babysitting and DH and I are going to the cinema.

Happy days.

tangerinefeathers Mon 26-Aug-13 11:43:27


that is definitely worth celebrating.... I heard a really good interview on the radio the other day with that therapist Susie Orbach and she was asked how women cope with their mother's death.

She was saying that for some the grief hits them so hard that they never get over it and for others it's incredibly liberating and everything in between.

I have a feeling I will find it liberating. There are questions I would love to ask her about why she behaves like she does towards her own daughter, but at the same time there is not much point in analysing or confronting her, the main thing is to get on with my freedom and my own family..... i think that is getting easier.

Oh tangerine, your dm sounds me, me, meconfused hope the rest of your birthday went wellthanks
It's toxic mils birthday fri, i wonder how she reacts when she realises her letter from me never camegrin
I'm hoping dh keeps his decision of ignoring her for a while.

If i was him i would buy her a present online and send her a funky pigeon card, although that i'm sure would bring with it a moan about the price tag, as we are skint until monday!
Aslong as he keeps up with ignoring her all will be okay. I'm glad i'm not treading on egg shells feeling pressured to allow her contact with dcs. My dm did me a favour having it out with dhsmile

Goodtobetter congrats on not having to live with her anymoresmilegrinsmilegrin bet you are extatic!!!
Hope you have a lovely picnic with your dh tomorrow.

Phoenixwoman Mon 26-Aug-13 12:33:44


Completely agree, confirmed when we've ever had to spend more than a few hours in her company. Not that she wants to spend time with us.

On this theme, did anyone else try their hardest to keep out of the way or out of the house growing up. I spent huge amounts of time in my room or as soon as I found the right people whole weekends at friends houses. I also worked most weekends and nights after school. I went away to university in a different city and moved in with my now dh within weeks of meeting him. Once I'd left there was no going back.

tangerinefeathers Mon 26-Aug-13 13:00:24

phoenix I spent most of my childhood and teenage years reading, so even though I was there in body I was all over the place in my head!

Also worked a lot as a teenager and at uni - my mother is incredibly, pathologically stingy so didn't really have much choice, and as soon as I got a boyfriend I basically lived with him. I remember one bf had a really nice, normal family and the worst part of breaking up with him was losing the family!!

In some ways when I think about it now she did me some favours in a weird way, I definitely never yearn to go home or feel that adult life is never as idyllic as childhood, because leaving home was so liberating. so there are some positives to having a very narcissistic mother....

Phoenixwoman Mon 26-Aug-13 13:07:58

Very similar story tangerine. She tells everyone she paid me through uni???? I think I got a load of shopping when she dropped me off and £50 as a gift for xmas. If they were skint I wouldn't mind but don't tell people they paid for it when I worked night shifts and went to uni through the day to support myself.

I moved in with now dh and love his family, they've taught me so much about what is normal. I've even learnt day to day basics too which I was never taught or allowed to do at home, things like cooking, cleaning, self-grooming etc.. Needless to day my dm hates them. sad

tangerinefeathers Mon 26-Aug-13 13:26:12

Yes I wouldn't mind if they were skint, but my mother has made a huge amount of money in property yet acts as if she's living on the breadline.

She'll do things like invite us out for lunch at a cafe then only order a scone, so you don't feel you can order a proper lunch either - but nor can you order and pay for your own food as that would be rude - and all the kids get is a couple of bowls of chips, and then she'll leave and say, well that was good, I fed everyone for less than XXX amount, which is fair enough except that everyone is still bloody starving!

My FIL was fairly skint but you had to wrestle a dinner bill off him and he'd always say no, when you are my age you will pay the dinner bills.

And we will too....

Bizarre that your mother lies about it. But fairly typical behaviour for a toxic mother. They love to portray themselves as saints to the outside world, all the meanness is so secretive.

tangerinefeathers Mon 26-Aug-13 13:43:15

PW just read your initial post. Yes your mother sounds like a narc. Have you read the daughters of narcissistic mothers website? It's quite chilling if you recognise your mother in it.

I think it's also really common to only realise what your mother lacks when you become a mother yourself. I always thought I just didn't understand my mother, how much she suffered, how hard it all was, having children etc. And then I had one myself and realised it's actually a joyful thing (granted he's only little, but I notice that she really only likes babies and as soon as they get a bit more independent she can't really handle them).

And yes I know exactly what you mean about not liking physical contact with them. I find it very unnatural as my mother is not a physical or warm person, I always feel as if I would break her if I got too close.

pumpkin your MIL sounds like a nightmare. If there are lots of unspoken 'rules' about how she is to be treated - special cards, presents, etc - then I would just start breaking them, cheerfully and innocently. If she complains she'll look like a spoilt brat, plus it will frustrate her that you are defying her.... and she'll behave like even more of a spoilt brat. What can she do?

Spent the best part of an hour making sure ils cannot see any new facebook photos of the children and all my past ones except the birthday pics. Left a few on there to stop her noticing. I feel quite liberated having done itsmile

If any of them throw a wobbler, that being sil1 & mil, blocked they will begrin. Getting strong!

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Mon 26-Aug-13 15:20:26

It's been a while since I posted here. About a year I think. Since then, I have been through counselling and realised I am not the most selfish, fat, ungrateful perskn in the world. I have realised that my parents - particularly my mother - have been at the root of much of my low self-esteem and my unwillingness to blame those at fault for the bad times in my life. For blaming myself instead I also realised how dependant I had begun on them and how they had manipulated that.

As a result, I have been gradually reducing my reliance on them for childcare, etc. I have not been spending time with them - unless unavoidable such as wider family occasions.

Stupidly, I have been putting off telling them that my son would not be going to their house before and after school anymore. He dropped in there this afternoon (he likes them in small doses and we all live in the same village). They had mentioned df's birthday tea and ds said that he wouldn't be there. When dm asked why, he said because he will be coming straight home from school now that he has a key...

Cue seven phone calls, three texts and two answer phone messages in under fifteen minutes - I was in the bathroom. The messages all complained about my not answering the phone when she had ds there and needsd to talk about him. When I rang back and I explained I had been in the bathroom but she still shouted about my not answering the phone instead of answering whether ds was alright - obviously, I didn't know about their conversation then. All I could thonk was that I was absolutely doing the right thing and that I wished I could move away from them.

I needed to tell someone but even my brother doesn't understand. I am scared of how much of a pain they will be now. I am scared that they'll act as though it never happened and I qill lose my resolve. I am scared the rest of the family will weigh-in trying to make me feel guilty. I am pleased I have said that I don't want her in my life. After I hung up, she texted me to say she has finished with me now (happens most weeks) and I texted back that I was pleased by her reaction because it proved to me I was right to want them out of my life. That I had had enough of having my childcare needs held over me for the last ten years. That despite it being her idea to watch ds so I could work, she has told me repeatedly that I have ruined grandparenthood for her.

She has just text saying that I am imagining them manipulating me by threatening to withhold childcare. That this is my fault anyway. That I am wrong to take ds away from them. I haven't said he can't see them. Just that I don't want to and I don't want them involved in my life any more.


HellesBellesThinksSometimes Mon 26-Aug-13 15:54:55

They just called round - unannounced - to 'sort this out' unhappy with my assertion that it was sorted out and my urging them to leave because I wasn't interested in rowing with them. They made a point of inviting ds round before they left.

I stayed calm while they were here but feel sick now. Gah!

They said I had changed. That I need my head examined.

GoodtoBetter Mon 26-Aug-13 16:19:29

Hello Helles, sorry to hear about your troubles with your parents. Stay strong. "I'm finished with you" "you've changed" mum says / has said that too. Same script.

Oh my gosh helles they turned upshock. Remember to pretend you are out next time, how dare they intrude on your personal space!

Those phrases you mention are another saying toxics use, fil once used the " washing my hands with you" so similar and dhs aunt "you hve changed" this was all at Christmas when i kept non contact and didn't like the fact at last someone was taking control.

Don't back track because of their visit, stick to your guns.

*they didn't

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Mon 26-Aug-13 16:37:29

Thank you both. They have the amazing ability to make me feel that I am being unreasonable.

I just can't keep having a relationship with my parents. There are no boundaries, as far as they're concerned, and I feel like a bad person when I'm with them.

Hissy Mon 26-Aug-13 16:39:29

Helles, stay strong. Your boy is fine, he needs to be independent if he's happy to be so!

Their réaction needs to strengthen your conviction, not weaken it!

Yeah you've changed, you take your own decisions now, and they are for the good of your family.

Gosh the inlaws must have been literally stalking me on fb as they have pretty much noticed my sly customizations already by doing the same to all their posts/photos, i suppose it's to score points, oh well no more irratating quote pictures aimed at me on my timelinegrin
Lets just hope this hasn't set them off for trying to harass dh at work...

Hissy Mon 26-Aug-13 17:07:54

Use their lunacy against them.

Look around you, do other people you know live like this?

No, they don't. Not the happy ones.

Pumpkin, you need to set the boundaries, if they say anything tell them you have no idea what they're talking about.

Then just dismiss the subject in thé future.

You are right other people don't live like this, i need to do what i need to do to keep them out of our lifes for good without obsessing over it.

Hissy Mon 26-Aug-13 21:42:04

You need to have the courage in your convictions.

Your H needs to be onside, and you do need to take all steps to control access to you all by these people.

I think dh needs help to come to terms, realise his parents are both toxic. Again tonight he has said he feels extreme guilt towards his mother and says he feels awful his mother cannot see the dc. He even said he feels he is missing out on showing off his girls to his mother. But i tried explaining to him that of course he will feel guilt but it's all made worse by him not seeing it how it really is. When i said mil is as bad as fil, as she allowed the abuse to him from fil and she has emotional abuse towards him & our dc. He has said again he fails to see what mil has done wrong & feels stuck in the middle.

I'm guessing all of the above spells out how he isn't onside at allsad
I thought he had listened saturday, i thought we were getting somewhere...

How do i get him to stop blocking the truth out, he can love her, he can feel guilt but why won't he just admit she is toxic. Can he not see his own mother allowed him to beaten, he wants to show our dc of & have them around people like that. Really starting to feel anger now tbh, i try and support him but he needs to start dealing with the fact both his parents are toxic and feeling in the middle of us both is part of it.

I'm fed up and excasperated he feels in the middle when i feel as if i'm losing a battle that will soon not be worth fighting if he doesn't man up and deal with her.
I said he can still see her but if she mentions dc he must learn how to say no, ignore and realise the guilt shouldn't be on his part.

Mil birthday is fast approaching, i suspect a large woh is me from her to him. I hope he deals with it rather than rowing with me, why does he want our children around her. What is wrong with showing his kids off to those deserving people and actually starting to put them first in his head.

He said they haven't contacted him today, im wondering why he has starting to say this shit and think he must be lying.

How do i deal with this, how do i spell it out, his mother, father and one of his sisters are toxic, no good for our children and he must give up on this fucking fantasy of any of this family being anywhere normal enough to ever be around my children.

tangerinefeathers Mon 26-Aug-13 23:27:29

hellesbelles their reaction alone to a decision being made about new childcare arrangements - i.e. basically harrassing and stalking you - shows that you have made the right decision. It's so hard dealing with people like this as they simply don't understand normal boundaries with their children. It's all manipulation and withholding and making you feel indebted to them, usually for not very much, or for things that normal parents would give happily with no strings attached.

And as soon as you challenge them you are the crazy one..... so so hard to think clearly with such people. It's great that your ds is going to get his own key and come home independently. They just need to let go. STand your ground. And don't let them do that thing of pretending the conversation never happened! I know that one well..... just talk about the new arrangements normally and calmly if they come up. then come and rant on MN!!

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Mon 26-Aug-13 23:37:34

Thanks TangerineFeathers, I think they will try the "everything's normal" approach over the weekend. This time, though, they will have to accept that I'm out of this drama triangle. I've tried asking them to behave like normal parents. I've tried modifying my own behaviour. I don't want to any more. And I don't need to any more. They can like it or lump it.

That's the sprit Helles which dh would get to this stageconfused frustrated tonight


HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 27-Aug-13 00:08:02

pumpkin, it has taken 35 years, an abusive marriage, a nervous breakdown and about 50 hours of therapy. Reading back, it doesn't seem like he's ready. Yet. Too many conflicting emotions probably.

All you can do is keep your children safe and be there for him when he is able to come to terms with it. If you push him, you will become the bad guy.

The thing that pushed me was seeing my friends with their parents and what their relationships are like and accepting that I will never have that and not being prepared to risk my improving mental health by being around people who have such a negative impact on me.

Thankyou Helles, i'm trying not to push him, but it is so hard when i suffer too from him enabling them.
Since me & dc went non contact, all ils keep doing, is pushing, pushing, pushing for contact and i was starting to feel harrassed by my landline ringing all day and dhs complaining of his mother not seeing dc.

I'm not expecting much, i just want him to stand firm they will not be seeing the children instead of playing his dms guilt trips out to me which of course don't make me feel guilty as i know i'm doing what's best, but i'm constantly having to explain myself in return to him when he comes out with the "mum's done nothing wrong" "she's not getting any younger" & the typical "mum's been crying, i hate to see her cry". I try not to sound harsh when explaining to him she has done things wrong, she isn't someone i want my dc around & he will agree for a very short while and the next day week i'm explaining myself again.

How do i put it softly that his mother is toxic? Is there a different word to describe it? I have even thought of showing him my old threads about her behaviour but if i do that he will see all this too...

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 27-Aug-13 08:29:37

I don't know pumpkin he really does need to get there in his own time. I didn't listen when xh tried to tell me about dm. Of course, he was trying to control me too so that was a bit different. No wonder dm and xh didn't get on!!

Has he been for counselling? Seeing a stranger's reaction really made me realise how abnormal my family is. Was, my family is ds and me now. Also, realising how little I tell wider family and friends about dp's was a strong indication that everything is not right.

I feel so much sympathy for you both. The thing is, your dh's parents have had decades of practice at manipulating him. They are at the root of his deepest beliefs about himself and the world. He cannot see them as they are. It's not that he won't, he can't - it isn't possible. He's been conditioned to their 'normal'.

Try not to make it about feelings. Make it about facts. Maybe write down (less emotional) as factually as you can, all the things that have happened that mean il's cannot be allowed to see dc's. Just keep referring him back to it.

This will be very difficult, don't row about it. He'll be trapped and it will you v them rather than il's v the facts, as it should be. Make it clear that you love him and, because of the harm your il's have done to him, they should not be allowed contact with dc's.

Get your anger out on here instead. It's understandable to be angry.

Thankyou Helles this is why i come on here because i'm angry and frustrated but i obviously don't want him knowing that or he really will feel in the middle. Thing is i don't stop him seeing them & i'm quite happy for them to phone eachother, it's just that every visit/phonecall he gets sucked in all the more.

I have tried telling him in a factual way, sometimes he listens, but other times i get denial and guilt trips.
He even went completely against me last month by taking my 3yo to the supermarket to meet mil, i was at my wits end worrying the whole time incase fil was there or mil saying nasty things to my dd. And i got threatened last week by him saying if he left me he can do what he wants and take my dc round thereshock

My dm dealt with him saturday, having had enough of him treating me like this. He came home we talked, it was calm, thought we were getting somewhere re non contact between mil & dc staying as it is but after last night it seems like our talk was all for nothing.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 27-Aug-13 09:06:37

I really would try writing everything down pumpkin it would at least save you having to repeat yourself over and over.

Would he not consider counselling? The situation is clearly putting a strain on your own relationship - particularly if he's making threats about leaving. Some relationship counselling would at least give you a safe place to express yourselves.

If he hadn't been so totally brainwashed by them, he would be able to compare your defence of your childrenwith his momother's enabling of his abuse and realise she was wrong. <hugs>

He won't consider counselling or seeing a therapist, he says they are quacks. I have tried pointing him in the right direction, ie telling him of books and websites that he can research when under the fog but so far he hasn't done either.

For 10 months he was coping ok with me & dc going non contact, except from at Christmas when it became apparent he was being pulled again. But most of those 10months were bliss and our relationship went from strength to strength but upon allowing one visit in May we have gone completely backwards again.

I shouldn't have went ahead with that visit as it opened it all up again and mil expected to see dc again because i allowed it that one time.
I don't know why i went ahead tbh, i think it was guilt, the pressure and my dm even thought it was a good idea at the time. I however very much regret it and wished i hadn't given in daydreamingly thinking things would change when obviously they never will. 3 things went wrong with that visit, mil was dropped of by fil of whom came right into my door, she bought my niece with her and dh was visably withdrawn and snappy the days leading up to and after the visit.
Mil again didn't follow my boundries set, yet even now dh denies she did any wrong doing.

Phoenixwoman Tue 27-Aug-13 09:34:47

Pumpkin, its so hard to believe that your own parents could treat you that way and not love you. It's taken me years to come to the point of just googling what might be wrong, I've spent a long time thinking about it, reading this thread but never contributing, discussing it with dh etc.. It even took me a while to post on here in case I'm found out. I'm terrified she'll find my kindle and see the book I've bought on toxic mothers. It's bewildering how much control there is even when I don't live with them, I'm almost frightened in my own home.

One piece of advice I've read is to make a list of all the things they have done over the years so when you start to waver and get sucked back in or doubt your own feelings (because it's easier to feel loved even if it isn't real) you can review your list and remember reality. That's one of my aims of the week, to write my list.

I totally see why you're frustrated with your dh, my dh has his hand in his mouth constantly when discussing my family. It's so hard to hear the criticism/truth from him, sometimes it's easier to blame him for his opinions than it is to blame their actions. I totally see where your dh is coming from.

Hi phoenix what strikes a chord with me is you being frightened in your own home, i think dh suffers from this. He is almost on tenterhooks, especially at Christmas, i think he is scared they could turn up at anytime and tbh so am i, i have my blinds closed the majority of the time.

AlisonClare Tue 27-Aug-13 10:39:21

I'm relatively new here and just caught sight of this thread - I have a lot on my mind re an uncomfortable relationship with my parents and am feeling very low today. I think that I undersand that it's OK just to write it all out - might make me feel a bit better anyway.

I'm the firstborn of 5. My mother, emotionally immature who only knew how to get her own way by having temper tantrums and throwing things around, my father an enabler who I now think didn't really want children at all. My mother favoured my brother who, as a boy, was good looking, intelligent, sporty and a bully. He is now a complete mess, living a dissolute and self destructive life.

Diaries from my teenage years record entire horrible conversations - my attempts to make light easy conversation with my mother, who would randomly take offence and a shouting match would ensue. My endless resolutions to 'be a better person'. My Dad tellng both me and my brother that we were a disappointment to them - at that point I was on track for three good A levels, was deputy head girl, was in demand as a babysitter locally, did more than my fair share of housework (my brother did nothing), competed at county level in athletics and was responsible for the training of the younger girls at the local athletics club. I'm not sure what else I could have been doing.

Dad paid unnecessary attention to the bodies of me and my sisters - emphasis was put on being slim and he would often ask us to stand still so that he could look at 'how slim we were'. My younger sister became dangerously thin. I don' think he ever crossed any boundaries, but I knew that he never hugged from the heart. As a compassionate adult, I can say that he has an unintegrated/immature sexuality.

Somewhere around the age of ten I made a vow that I would be a better mother than my mother. No surprise then that I started a family with almost the first man that I met - older than me, charismatic and an alcoholic. He too was the eldest in a dysfunctional family. A lovely man, actually, but anyone who has lived with an alcoholic knows how exhausting that can be.

He died when our children were 12, 10 and 7. Previously my feelings about my parents were that I wouldn't be free to be me until they were dead. Now another thought crept in - panic that I no longer had a buffer between myself and my parents. That was the frist real red flag I had that the relationship wasn't good.

Over the last few years, I've had little choice but to accept help from both sides of the family in the bringing up of my children - both sides are toxic. I've monitored the contact and, for the most part, certainly with regard to my own parents, they've been better with my children than they were with me. It has exhausted me though.

A few years ago I met a man and happily began to discuss marriage. I realsied that my dream of a big wedding was under a cloud because the last people that I wanted to be there were my parents. Apart from anything else, none of my children would be happy with this, so - being quite a practial person - I addressed it head on. I wrote all my feelings down, including an apology for 'not being the daughter they wanted me to be' - what person form a normal family would ever write that?? - and sent it to them. I wanted things to be talked out and mended. My Dad read it first, told me he wasn't going to let my Mum see it as it would upset her too much. I had to go and visit to get more a response from him, and all he would say was that I was 'difficult'.

This was a little over three years ago. Since then, the relationship that I was in has come to an end and I feel that I'm falling through the cracks in life. Things seem to be dropping away from me left, right and centre. As I taught my children to love my parents, the don't understand my feelings at the moment. I feel exhausted and misjudged. Mum and dad celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month. I'm going to be hard pressed to even send them a card.

I've kind of decided to 'absent' myself from my life - to just go through the motions because it seems that whatever I do, some stuff from my childhood seeps through and spoils whatever I have in the present.

Phoenixwoman Tue 27-Aug-13 11:00:33

Pumpkin - it's true, I'm always on tenterhooks that she'll pop in unannounced. Perhaps she'll pick up what website I'm on or what dvd I'm watching and make a snide belittling comment on it to make me feel like an idiot. I'm terrified she'd find me on here and stalk me, hence lots of name changes and I try to swap details like dc ages or dp/dh etc... So frightened to be my own person. She's got some other family members on it too, probably without them even knowing what they're doing.

AlisonClare - I completely understand I've kind of decided to 'absent' myself from my life - to just go through the motions because it seems that whatever I do, some stuff from my childhood seeps through and spoils whatever I have in the present. So sorry for the loss of your dh and having to deal with two sets of toxic parents.

LadyFlumpalot Tue 27-Aug-13 11:01:09

Hello, am new here. Just been lurking recently as have just finished CBT and one of the things that came out of it was that a lot of my low feelings stem from a lifetime of feeling unloved and, well, pretty useless.

Mum once said that I'm just like my father and it's hard to love people like me. She regularly jokes that if me and DH split up, DH is welcome to go live with her and I can go fend for myself.

She loves and adores my son but makes it clear he is the only reason she sees me. For example - she doesn't work Fridays so we used to spend the day together. However, DS is about to start nursery on a Friday (his 15 hour place) and my mum has just completely kicked off about when she will get to see him. I suggested we could do nice grown up stuff together and she just went "nah it's alright". sad

Crikey, sorry about the essay, that was cathartic!

AlisonClare Tue 27-Aug-13 13:19:34

Thank you Phoenix

bellasuewow Tue 27-Aug-13 13:53:57

Alison Clare we have a lot in common I went through this, I read toxic parents and I was surprised at the guilt I felt and how I felt a burden had lifted once I could see this, I think we all go through a long period of time of thinking our lives were normal it is hard to realise and then come to terms with how dysfunctional our parents were and that we were abuse din various ways. I have the confidence to realise and deal with that now but it still affects me. I am no contact with either of my parents and they have certainly not been beating a bush to my door.

bellasuewow Tue 27-Aug-13 14:00:00

Ladyflumpalot I question your assumption that your mother loves and adores your son whilst treating his mother and her daughter so badly. If she was capable of love you would not be feeling so unloved. By unquestionably believing she loves your son you are letting her off the hook as you were a lovely loveable baby that she did not love or show love to this reinforces that she is capable of love and you are unlovable. Loving grannies don't have favourites and manipulate the next generation. I would limit the contact with your ds if she cannot behave respectfully to you and as for the bitchy comments about your husband but sorry how dare she if you are so hard to love tell her to piss off and stop trying what a nasty put down she sounds impossible to love herself, sorry but I recognise some games here and now I'm getting angry...

LadyFlumpalot Tue 27-Aug-13 14:16:10

I get really confused Bellasuewow, because sometimes she does lovely things for me, like giving DH £100 recently so that he could take me for a meal and a day trip out. When I miscarried last year she came round to look after DS whilst DH and I were in hospital, she cleaned, cooked my favourite meal and did a huge shop for us.

Then other times she is just so nasty, condescending and belittling.

It's such hard work trying to pre-guess which personality she is going to have.

GoodtoBetter Tue 27-Aug-13 14:58:38

Ladyflumpalot my mother can be very generous indeed, but then it will always be thrown back in my face eventually, even if not for years. It's hard not to feel bad at the moment she's being nice, but I hate feelig beholden to her so always try to refuse.
Also, my mother I think means to be nice, but then when she doesn't get her own way or is annoyed about something her default reaction is to tantrum and throw things back at you, to manipulate and guilt trip. I don't think she is scheming or calculating as such, it's just how she reacts. Her emotional responses are set this way.
It's like before we moved out she said "I can't believe you're doing this to me (refusing to allow her to bitch about DH behind his back), you'll give me a nervous breakdown". To which I told her not to say things like that as it was nothing more than emotional blackmail. Her response was "how can you say these things to me, you're driving me to suicide". I mean, what can you say to that? I think her entire life has involved reacting like this, it's part of her DNA now, martyrdom.

tangerinefeathers Tue 27-Aug-13 15:06:38

LadyFlumpalot I know what you mean about being confused by the niceness.

My mother has in the past offered to help clean my house but I suspect it's a control thing and also something that she will then tell people about for the next month or so - she is big on her 'public saint' image.

I also know with my very toxic sister that displays of extreme generosity are something that she does as a power trip - look how kind I am, how amazing to be so giving etc....

I don't like accepting their generosity as it always feels loaded: there's a lot of 'come closer so I can slap you' going on, and also the confusion that you mention - is this really the same person that said or did that horrible thing....??

I hope I don't sound completely paranoid about them, but there is just something OTT and fake about their gifts and favours. And sometimes you don't need that, you need simpler things. For example my sister brought mountains of very expensive food to the hospital when I had my first child - really over the top, chocolate truffles, foie gras, expensive cheeses etc - and then spent about four hours with us (after we hadn't slept for what felt like days). She could tell everyone what she'd brought in and how amazing she'd been, but actually what we wanted and needed that day was to be left alone.

And my mother came to stay and brought loads and loads of handknitted clothes, bags and bags of stuff, but never once offered to take the baby in the small hours so we could have some unbroken sleep, and in fact seemed to go out of her way to wake me up and exhaust me when I was trying to prioritise establishing breastfeeding and getting rest.

So I suppose what I'm saying in a roundabout way is don't be fooled by the gifts and displays of generosity. Look at how you are treated, how you are made to feel, how you are spoken to.... sometimes the gifts and generosity are quite manipulative ime.

GoodtoBetter Tue 27-Aug-13 15:10:25

yy tangerine

tangerinefeathers Tue 27-Aug-13 15:12:14

Just read yours and thought the same thing goodtobetter. I also hate feeling beholden and try to refuse, it drives my sister in particular nuts wink

Viking1 Tue 27-Aug-13 16:10:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hi viking i think it was to scare me into giving in, obviously a learnt trait.
Did worry me though as i have no idea whether any of his abuse was documented so obviously i would need proof it this was ever to happen in the future. I do hope it was a moment of madness when he said it as i found it very scary & hurtful aswell as almost ultimatum like, well it must have been when i felt forced to agree to a further visit, which i'm not going through now.

I will stand firm on this & there is no backing down at all. Christmas will be a nightmare but it always was even when we were in contact.

When or if he mentions dc contact again, i am going to say a straight "no" and leave it at that because whilst he is in this cloud of denial there is no breaking through the clouds.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 27-Aug-13 22:32:07

I agree - they would screw us up a lot less if they were always horrible instead od switching.

Good plan pumpkin - best not to turn it into a discussion which might suggest that you would change your mind.

Day 1 of self-imposed orphanhood and no contact. So far so good smile

This sounds dreadful - I suppose it is dreadful - but it really would be so much easier if they were dead. I could come to terms with it all without the constant fear of what will happen next. Maybe I could even start to remember what was good about them.

TiffanyTortoise Tue 27-Aug-13 23:21:55

Been lurking for a while but I am finally plucking up courage to post and admit to what's going on with my DP's. I am feeling on the slippery slope back to depression which I've had on and off for years. Depression came to a head 2.5 yrs ago and I've put a lot of work into working out why and I realise low self esteem and letting myself be treated badly by others including DP's is what's the root cause.
I have never been good enough for DP's and I let them go on and on about things that they see as a failure. What's bugging me more recently is that they're doing the same to DS1(but not to his face)and this hurts me so much. He isn't what they expect him to be. He has aspergers syndrome symptoms so he isn't doing what they see as 'normal'. As DP's don't believe in conditions such as Aspergers, ADHD, dyslexia etc I have never voiced my suspicions to them. They think it's poor parenting etc.
He is a fulltime student but struggling with the course, he's not interested in a relationship, or out clubbing, learning to drive etc. He isn't sociable/outgoing and has not tried to get a part time job. They keep having a go at me about all this and there is nothing I can do to change DS1. I love him and accept him as he is. They can't see the many positive qualities that he has. He is waiting on resit results and doesn't feel confident but I am dreading that if he doesn't pass that I'm going to tell DP's and I will get another hard time. I should be focusing on how my DS feels not what they've got to say about it. All my life I've tried to please them but never have. When things have come to a head (usually over DS1) I am told everything is my fault and it's me that's the problem.

I don't know why I'm posting this except I feel I need to. Sometimes I feel life would be easier if I didn't see them anymore.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Wed 28-Aug-13 07:50:30

Hi * TiffanyTortoise*. That is very unfair of your parents. No wonder you're anxious and depressed! You are good enough. You are better than that. You are strong and brave. You have dealt with two people treating you badly for years and you are protecting your child. You are everything you should be. Your parents are the ones who aren't good enough because they can't show love.

What sort of relationship would you like to have with them? Do you want to stay in contact? If you do, what level of contact would you want to have. It is very unlikely that they will change so it's a question of finding what you can cope with.

TiffanyTortoise Wed 28-Aug-13 21:04:34

Thanks Helles. You're right, they are unlikely to change. I need to find a way of coping with the relationship. I've been trying to reduce visiting/phone calls down to two visits per month and phone every week. I don't really want to cut contact completely but I don't want to dread having contact with them. I'd like to be able to stand up to them without it being an over the top angry spouting of how much of a disappointment that I am to them. I feel guilty writing this. It's not every visit/call that's bad. I know they won't feel for me/my family as I would like them to feel but wish I could not let it bother me. I want my family/me to be accepted as we are. I can't live up to what they want us to be -we're an average family (which I think is OK to be)
Helles you have come through a lot to get where you are now and sound is if you're making moves to remove yourself from this negativity - so stay strong.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Wed 28-Aug-13 21:16:36

Just remember - you don't have to tell them anything. If they don't act like someone you would want to tell about the good and bad in your life, don't. Keep it superficial. Ask about them. That should engross them enough to keep them off topics that are important to you. Toxic parents are selfish and self-obsessed. It's all about them so they are a good topic for distraction!!

Hi Tortoise. It's very tricky, I still long for my parents to approve of my parenting, of me. To feel proud of me, to feel they like me. I've spent years wanting that, trying to earn that and feeling guilty when I say bad things of them. I've begun to break away from that since going NC with my Dad over a year ago. But it took him threatening me, for me to finally go NC. I still see my Mum but it's hard, she does try and guilt trip me into recommencing contact. I see her once a month but rarely speak inbetween. I used to tell her too much and then I was gossiped about with my brothers.

Hels advice is very good.

How you feel is understandable. Try to protect yourself. It's a journey of self awareness on this thread and realising how damaging our parents have been/ are. And it hurts at times.

I've cried many times when I think of how I'm treated and how I long for a loving Father who approves of me and I'll never have that. He hates my son. He's just been diagnosed an Aspie and Mum now says if he'd known when he was younger, maybe he'd never have got so angry with him. I don't think so! Made me so angry at the time. So it's ok to hit a 2 year old if they're NT? Errrr no.

Please feel welcome here. Whatever you choose to do, you'll be supported.

Phoenixwoman Wed 28-Aug-13 22:31:54

So nice to feel like I belong somewhere. Even though everyone's circumstances are different I recognise all of your feelings. Still grieving that close mother-daughter bond and think I always will. Working on confidence is hard, I find I analyse every little thing. For example organised a night out with friends and its been cancelled because it's an important date for one friend which had skipped her mind. Why am I taking this like a personal rejection? I think it's because I had to message them to clarify details and was the last to find out it was cancelled. I never feel like a central character, always on the periphery. A bit like Gunther in Friends.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Wed 28-Aug-13 22:59:54

Phoenix that's your mother's influence talking. I often feel the same way - that I don't quite belong. I struggle to have close friendships because I am so busy watching for signs of rejection. Luckily, a few years back, I met my best friend. Actually, I wasn't that keen on her to start with but she was there on the darkest day of my life and that is written on my heart. Because of that, whenever I doubt our friendship, I remember that day and overcome my fears. Is there any anchor like that you can remind yourself of when you feel left out?

For a long time, I needed everyone to like me. And to like me more than they liked everyone else or it proved that I wasn't good enough. Madness. Filling a hole left by my parents. There are now a handful of people that I know I matter to. What a thing to be blown away by! There are people I matter to. The real me. And one of them, for the past few months, for the first time ever, is me. My view of me matters and it cannot be dictated by my parents. Nor anyone else. Wow! Bit of a rant but hopefully it shows how far counselling has brought me and gives hope to those who are just starting the journey to accepting they are not the sum of their parents' opinions.

Phoenix you matter. You were invited on the night out. That means you matter to your friends. That you are someone who it is pleasant to spend time with. There has to be someone who is the last to be told and sometimes it is your turn. Don't take that as a rejection. It isn't - there are 7 billion people on this planet but it was you who was chosen as a friend by that group of people. Each of them want to spend time with you. Focus on that. Focus on their regard for you.

I'm sorry that I've gone a bit therapy-speak but it's what I was thinking.

ThunderbumsMum Wed 28-Aug-13 23:17:45

hellesbelles that is a great post.

It is awful to hear everyones' sad stories but comforting in some way to see it's most likely my mother is mental, rather than me being the awful, 'difficult' person she always tells me I am.

This is part of an email I received a couple of days ago:

I understand that you told [dm's husband] that [one of dm's previous husbands] [irrelevant, harmless story that is true]. Where do you get such rubbish from? Why do you make up such daft and hurtful stories? This is a complete fantasy on your part. Your behaviour in making up such stories (of which there have been a number) really upsets me and I wish you would not do it. Its purpose, as I read it, is to belittle and humiliate, and not surprisingly, I don’t like it. You wondered while we were here why I was so upset by the [incident when I was 14, me and siblings and dm's then husband made a joke about an item of her clothing that looked silly, that item of clothing came up in conversation last week when dm's current husband was there and I mentioned she used to have one]. You seem bemused by my irritation with you. I will tell you why – because your amusement at that time was not at any time, real amusement. After all why is having Gucci more acceptable? Its purpose then, which I remember well, and was behaviour in which you indulge in from time to time, was to mock and not to tease. The so-called laughing on your part (and only your part though your tried hard at the time to get the other children to join in) went on and on and on and its effect was cruel and its intention was to humiliate – and you succeeded. It may be that that was not your intention but that is how it was interpreted by me at the time.

I spoke to my dsis about this today, she said it's not true and not to let it upset me. I was thinking maybe I should respond but I feel like it's probably not worth it. Over the last 25 years she has alternated between gas lighting me and telling me that the fairly serious abuse I suffered (which she enabled) was my fault because I am such a difficult person

Did you organise this night out Phoenix? And then the whole thing was cancelled just because one friend couldn't make it?

Did you only find out from clarifying details close to the event?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your post. Hence all the questions but I'd have felt deeply hurt in your shoes.

Is this the first time this has happened?

ThunderbumsMum Wed 28-Aug-13 23:23:42

Sorry, I pressed post too soon. Des anyone have advice as to whether it is really worth engaging any more? I just can't be arsed with it all.

Her current husband also sent me an email, suggesting she and I go to therapy together. She has such a fundamental lack of insight in to her behaviour, it is completely pointless. I have already had a bit of therapy, which was enormously helpful; the more I read, the less I think I have anything to gain from pretending our relationship can be worked out.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Wed 28-Aug-13 23:30:15

Thunder I agree, not responding seems like the best plan. My counsellor talked a lot about the drama triangle and how to avoid it and escape from it.

Your mother is going for the pity-me guilt trip. Even if her recollection were accurate, you were a child. It would have been up to her, as the adult, to respond appropriately and not bear a grudge. Her recounting her version of this long-ago event just shows up how maladjusted her view of her life is. Remember that - she is manipulating you.

What's brilliant is that you are not letting her. You are not some little child who blindly believes everything you are told. You are strong and resourceful and respectful: you felt she had got it wrong, you checked with your sister and you resisted the urge to tell her she was wrong and, so, avoided joining in with her drama. That is fantastic. Well done. I am really pleased for you flowers

That's a horrible e-mail Thunder. She thinks she's got you all figured out and can see what you're like. But it's not true at all. Such a poisonous e-mail to receive, your heart must've been racing.

What an awful thing to say about you. Please don't respond. And I don't see the point in therapy as you're wrong and she's right, apparently. It would achieve nothing. I wouldn't engage anymore.

It's hard though. I used to want to fix everything, say sorry, even when I didn't think I needed to, just to make peace. But these people are toxic and they'll hurt you again and again.

I used to want to explain myself but it's wasted on people like this. They see what they want to see and we keep getting hurt.

As you try to disengage, the onslaught may get worse for awhile.

masquerade Wed 28-Aug-13 23:44:45

I hope its okay for me to post on this thread, because my own parents aren't toxic parents.

I started reading this thread because my daughter has recently decided not to see her dad anymore. She's 10 years old. My relationship with her dad ended when she was 2, I was very young at the time, it was an emotionally abusive relationship. A lot of what is posted on this thread about how your parents make you feel and the common things they say and do I can relate to. I wanted him to be a good dad to our daughter, I encouraged the relationship in the hope that he would be. When she was younger he was very good with her, he always cared for her reasonably well and he was very good at playing with her (better than I was actually). However as she has got older he seems to have become more critical etc of her and a couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that I was right all along about who he was. At that time it didn't seem like I could say our daughter couldn't see him anymore, I didn't have enough proof that what he was doing was harmful, but I warned him if he continued with his behaviour then he was going to damage their relationship. It recently came to a head when he said some nasty things to her, she was really upset and decided she didn't want to see him for a bit - at that time it was only a temporary thing, she did want to sort things out and see him again she just wanted some time to 'get over it' - although she did suggest that maybe we could ring childline and they could stop him being nasty sad

It escalated when I was forced to discuss it with him as it was time for her to see him and she still didn't want to go (I hadn't said anything up until that point, partly because I avoid conflict with him because it still upsets me and gets under my skin, but also I knew he would deny it and accuse me of being unreasonable in allowing her to decide not to see him so it seemed pretty pointless). He reacted as predicted, said she was lying, I was being ridiculous by letting her dictate arrangements, she was just manipulating me etc. Then he decided he would only see her when she apologised for lying and for the hurt she had caused.

Dd was fairly outraged at this suggestion and just decided she wouldn't see him anymore. I say 'just decided' because it really did seem like a very easy decision, she said she knew she risking him being nasty to her if she saw him again anyway. Over the next couple of days it became apparent that she was very angry with him, and now she just doesn't want to talk about it.

I've mentioned it since and she's still fairly reluctant to talk, she doesn't have anything she wants to say to him and she would like to forget he exists, she's deleted any photos she had of him and she even mentioned about changing her name. He's now blaming me for the whole thing, for ruining their relationship and demanding he wants to see her. I've had a solicitor's letter requesting contact be reinstated and for me to attend mediation.

I have been in touch with a children's counselling service, do you think it would be a good idea to encourage my dd to go and try and talk about it?

I've had an initial assessment myself with a counsellor through a domestic abuse organisation, even that very first appointment, which wasn't really counselling, made me feel better, it came at a time where he making me doubt myself a lot, and for someone to say 'yes that is emotional abuse you're describing' was a massive relief. I've talked very little about it and still have the overwhelming feeling that I won't be believed and people will think I'm exaggerating (e.g I know that I need to say my reason for declining mediation is his emotionally abusive behaviour, but the thought of him getting that letter makes me feel sick). This all makes me realise how important it is that dd feels believed in what she is saying, and I hate to admit that I've questioned her - at times when he is so adamant he didn't say those things, but I always end it with 'I believe you'.

Although I was young when we had our relationship given that I would have said I had a stable upbringing and a good sense of self worth and self esteem, I can't believe how long I put up with the emotional abuse, how much he wore me down and how fucked up I still am 8 years later. I'm terrified to think of the effect he could have on my daughter, who is so young and vulnerable, if this is what she grows up with. I'm also terrified that I will deal with it wrongly and add to it all.

I suppose part of what I want from dd seeing a counsellor, as well as someone for her to talk to and get her feelings straight in her and strengthen the belief that he is in the wrong not her, is reassurance that I'm doing the right thing. That its right to let her make this decision. And that nothing I'm doing is making it worse.

I can see that a lot of you have stopped contact with your toxic parent/s as adults, do you wish you had that opportunity as a child? Or do you feel they were still your parent/s and having them in your life was better than nothing?

I regret so much that I didn't just listen to my gut instinct and the advice of someone who could see him for exactly what he was and get as far as way as possible 8 years ago.

Sorry for such a long post, especially when its not technically the right place, I hope it doesn't cause any upset/offence.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Wed 28-Aug-13 23:59:04

Wow Masquerade what a situation.

DS has counselling periodically - he was abandoned by his father after our marriage broke down - mostly for him to be able to talk it through without worrying about upsetting anyone. I didn't say he had to go but I explained why I thought he would find it useful.

Your DD sounds mature and resolute so, surely, if it went to family court, they would take her views into account?

ThunderbumsMum Thu 29-Aug-13 00:01:19

masquerade what is the legal situation? Is there a contact order in place? How mature for her age is your daughter?

If there is no contact order and your daughter is mature and could be considered capable of making an appropriate decision then you have options but otherwise, she may have more problems in the long run if she causes the upset of refusing to see him and is then forced to go anyway. Would she say to someone 'official' that she doesn't want to see him because he is unkind to her?

From personal experience, I think no contact would be best, if that is what she wants. But obviously, that is based on my experience, not hers. I also think you should consider carefully whether your dd really needs to go down the counselling route at this stage. She will probably be fine with your obvious love and support rather than making a big deal out of it by calling in a counsellor. Does that make sense? I'm not saying that what your ex-p has done is not a big deal, at all, but for a 10 year old girl, I wonder if it is helpful to make a drama out of it.

ThunderbumsMum Thu 29-Aug-13 00:03:00

Shit, that came out wrong. I hope you can see what I am (clumsily) trying to say. And I am sorry for you and your dd being in such a horrible situation.

ThunderbumsMum Thu 29-Aug-13 00:04:46

And thankyou very much helles and momerats for your support flowers

alohahaha Thu 29-Aug-13 00:21:25

I have posted on a few of these threads before.

Anyone else turninginto their narc parent? My dad is really difficult. One minute he's the greatest funniest most generous person ever and the next second he turns. I ponder going no contact at times butthen I never ever trust myself, I feel like maybe I am the crazy one. My dad has been very controlling of me and a bully, huge, angry, furious, violent bully always ever since I can remember. I am 31 now, married with two kids and things were ok before I saw how he treated my kids. He tells the 3 yr old things like mummy's going away forever and then laughs hysterically. Hetickles and hits "playfully" and won't ever stop. As a child my bodily autonomy was never respected and this had repercussions for me as an adult. He curses under his breath but audibly over the slightest irritation. He bought me a house which I regret accepting now. I lived abroad for many years and moved back.

I got really upset last week because we went on a day out to visit my aunt and the kids cried in the car and he totally overreacted and I just felt transpirted back to teen years where every little thing was a screaming tantrum from him. During lunch he raved about my aunts lasagne, like raved and raved about it, eventhough its a dishive made him a few times, he didntmention mine. A partof me thinks that is me being oversensitive, but it felt like a dig. I feel like hes jealous of me sometimes, always said he was proud of me but ignores my accomplishments. I got a new job aftera really competitive recruitment pro ess and his reaction was to say my husband needed to get a fucking job. He also slagged off my husband during the lunch with my aunt in a "jokey" way, like if I reactiwould be told itt was a hilarious joke. It's not. My husband is awesome and showed me just how fucked up my dad is and howfucked my parents relationship is. My mum is great but hse's unbearably passive. Sorry for typos, I have had wine. Thanks for reading

masquerade Thu 29-Aug-13 00:30:03

I think she is mature, she's certainly very bright. I spoke to her school teacher briefly when it first happened (just to make her aware, dd had an a&e trip that morning before school so I was going in anyway) who said in her opinion dd is very mature and also very perceptive.

Legally there are no contact orders, there's never been any solicitor involvement or anything before this point. I would hope if it were to go to court her opinion would be taken into account. I think that yes she would say to someone official what she has said to me, I think she would possibly get tearful when talking, but she would say it. In fact I have already told her this may be a possibility when he first threatened going to a solicitor and told me I must let dd read his texts so she could see how much he wanted to see her, and was saying that I would be putting her through unnecessary distress if he was forced to go down this route etc (I didn't show her the texts, it would have been completely inappropriate given the content, but I gave her a brief, age appropriate overview of what he was saying). She first said it would be fine to talk to someone if I was there, I explained I probably wouldn't be but that the person would be kind because they had chosen to do a job to help children, I also said that if it happened it would be her opportunity to say what she wanted/felt.

I have had my doubts about the counselling ThunderbumsMum, and have already cancelled one appointment, but since the solicitor thing came into play I'm wondering if it would work in her favour if it ends up in court by helping her be clear in her feelings. I think maybe I'll take her along to to an initial appointment (no date yet so it may be a while) and see what she thinks. She knows about it as the leaflet was sent with her home from school in an unsealed envelope. Its a service set up for families who are separating, with the focus on positive relationship, they run mediation etc, so they may even say its not right for us!

Masquerade my Dad was very emotionally abusive and sometimes violent. Once I became a teenager our relationship deteriorated even more as I tried to establish some independence (which he couldn't stand, his way or the highway) and started to have my own opinions. With the increased hormones and my mood swings, coupled with my Dads explosive temper, my teens were a nightmare. They were absolutely awful.

Obviously I don't know what your ExH is like with his daughter compared to my Dad but the teenage years are far harder. If he's struggling now, the teen years will be much worse.

I do feel it's important that you both respect your daughters wishes here though.

I would go and see a solicitor before taking any action or agreeing to mediation. But the fact he's contacted a solicitor and has suggested mediation is actually good. Rather than threatening court immediately, although I believe solicitors actively encourage you to try mediation first.

To be honest I would go. Go to the mediation but remain calm and steadfast and repeat your daughter is hurt, how hard she's finding things and that she doesn't want to see him.

I'd show willing here as it may make you look better if this does get to court imo. I know he is likely not to listen or agree and you may feel mediation is a waste of time, on the other hand mediators are trained to help parents who can't agree. But please speak to a solicitor first. Please keep records of all texts and e-mails.

I would encourage your daughter to have counselling. It's a good idea. Everything she says in there is confidential and it will be hugely beneficial for her. Especially at this key stage in her life. Just to unpick all she feels in a safe environment.

You're the only one who can protect your daughter. It's going to be a very difficult and stressful time ahead for you. Do you have support around you?

Thunder That was a very nasty email, i would not reply at all. It's a complete "woh is me" and constent digs about something from many moons ago. She is clearly deranged and she obviously cannot & won't see she is the one who has done wrong. My mil is like this, she can't do no wrong, it's always someone elses fault. I have already pre decided i shall not correspond to her should she send any more messages.

Mascerade I don't have any experience of what you are going through but it sounds as though your daughter has made her decision, and the decision should be respected. I think 10yo is old enough to know when you do not want to see someone. I just hope for her sake the legallity is on her side rather than her fathers. If she does change her mind later on that's fine too, but it sounds best she doesn't see him if he is being horrible to her and it must be bad if she has made this decision herself. You sound like a wonderful mum, i hope this all works out well for you both, and what a nasty life she will be saved from not having to endure what people on here have!
It's a blessing really, he sounds like an awful person.

aloha My dh was and is in the same situation as you. His father is no longer allowed contact with my children as i had to do what was best for them. He would tickle them until there was no tickle left and in the end my dc were nearly bought to tears. He would put his feet out to trip them up & when he succeeded i would tell mil it's not acceptable behaviour, she would deny seeing him do itshock!
He would also wind my dc up, especially dd2 by calling her boy over and over (shes a girly girl) until she got angry and told him to shut up, of course mil & fil told her she musn't say shut upconfused. They would then go home and i would be left with upset and wound up children.
Dh was no use he is scared of fil and just allowed this to go on and even now fil has power over him.

Basically what i'm saying is don't let your father have any power over you, you are now an adult you can do what you want & if you are unhappy with the way he treats your children keep contact to a bare minimum or cut it all together even if just for the children.

spanky2 Thu 29-Aug-13 08:33:22

Thunder that email is very similar to a letter and then a text my dad sent me.sad Thought you would want to know it's not just you.sad

Alohahaha I would try to limit contact with your Dad tbh. He's sound awful.

Why did you ask if anyone else was turning into their parent? Are you finding you're mimicking some of his behaviour with your kids?

Tbh I sometimes do find in the heat of the moment with the DCs I'll say something that sounds like something my parents would've said to me but then I hate myself for it. I can struggle to keep my cool at times. But I am doing everything I can to parent better, despite the poor model I was shown as a child. And I always apologise if I feel I handled something badly. My Dad has never said sorry in his life to me.

My dh has said he is frightened of turning into his father and tbh is frightened me that he had said it.
Weirdly enough dh is the perfect father all of the time he isn't in contact with his parents, but when he has been round pils house his behaviour towards the children does change somewhat and he can become very snappy & short tempered over the littlest things.
This is why i'm happy for him to keep seeing them to a bare minimum.

GoodtoBetter Thu 29-Aug-13 08:56:49

Just reading through, but yes yes to this x100000000000000:
I used to want to fix everything, say sorry, even when I didn't think I needed to, just to make peace

It's interesting you say that pumpkin. I used to find when I took the kids to my parents house I was stricter there with them. I felt watched and judged and was desperate for them to appear well behaved, the way my parents approve of. They'd still find something to criticise me for though! I'd then go home, take on board what they said and be ghastly with the kids for a week or so and then I'd think, hang on a minute, this isn't working, why don't I go back to my style of parenting and stop reliving what my parents said. My Mum used to say to me: 'if you're not harder on them, they'll be tear aways as teenagers' so I'd come home and think she's right, I must be more strict.

I realised they'd never agree with how I parented in the end. And that my parenting was affected by seeing them at theirs and being in that environment feeling judged.

I never go there now and I won't allow my Mum to say anything when she comes here on her own now. I parent how I think is best now. Thank God. It must have confused my kids no end. Like a Mummy Jekyll & Hyde after visits to theirs.

PrincessFudgeBonnet Thu 29-Aug-13 14:10:10

Hi everybody

Hope its okay to just barge on in and start posting here! I've finally realised that my mum has narcissist tendencies or has simply chosen me out of our siblings as a target for everything. Some of the more recent things have been telling me I should have had an abortion if I can't cope (I asked if she could watch dd for an hour or two so I could have a break, I'm a LP who hasn't had an hour apart from dd for a year), throwing things at me when she was annoyed (in front of dd) and telling me she hopes I don't get pregnant again as she wouldn't be able to cope.

Its been making me very sad for a while and with hindsight I can see how her attitude towards me has affected almost my whole life as I ran around trying to make her happy. Her attitude towards me has rubbed off on a couple of my siblings and they treat me badly too. After speaking with my dad (who luckily, is very supportive) I've decided to take the step to reduce contact to the bare minimum with her and my siblings to try and rebuild my confidence and self esteem. Its so difficult to put into action though because I have a young dd who loves her grandma to bits so it will make her sad but at the same time I see my mum beginning to treat my dd in the same way and I cannot have her life ruined too. It makes me sad too to think no more family Christmases with us all and worried that dd will miss out but i can't keep going.

Does anybody else feel such guilt even though really you know its probably for the best to reduce contact? That's the part I am really really struggling with. And the fear of regret of everything we will miss out on.

Welcome princess sorry you have found yourself here, i hope someone comes along soon to help you better than i can.

What an absolutely vile thing for your mother to say about her grandchild that has already been bornshock!
You only wanted an hours peace there is absolutely nothing wrong in that and most normal grandparents would bite their dd hand off to have their granchild for an hoursad

You are not wrong at all in wanting to reduce contact, she is a good influence on your dd and she will learn that throwing things and hideously insulting people is normal, so you are definetly doing the right thing in this situation.

As for family christmasses that must be a tough one, but the thing to remember is do you really want this sort of behaviour to impact you at christmas time? The guilt will always be there, my dh suffers very much guilt since i stopped mil contact with the dc, but it had to be done for my sake aswell as theirs.

Glad you have your fathers support, atleast that is something.

masquerade Thu 29-Aug-13 14:28:13

DontstepontheMomeRaths I absolutely think it would only get harder as she approaches/enters her teenage years and becomes more opinionated and defiant. Teenage years are supposed to be when we figure out who we are and learn to deal with stuff, they are absolutely hard enough without a parent constantly giving you the message that who you are and what you do is wrong!

Thank you so much for your replies, this thread is strengthening my resolve that I am doing the right thing by letting dd make this decision. You're right it is hard though, I am lucky to have support from a few very good friends and my mum. I had read that mediation isn't really recommended when the relationship has been abusive, I feel like it would just be completely pointless, he is never going to admit that how he acts is wrong or that dd should have a say in how she wants the relationship to be.

Dd has had a few tears this morning after looking at some baby photos which he was in, she says with determination that she is not sad because she misses him, I think she's more just sad that she doesn't have a dad in her life who she sees, that he isn't the dad she would like him to be.

PrincessFudgeBonnet Thu 29-Aug-13 14:50:03

Thanks pumpkin smile I hadn't thought about dd learning from her too shock I had thought along the lines of not wanting her to see me treated that way but not even considered that she could think its normal to do that too. And I think you're right about Christmas. We had a family get together a few weeks back and it was very hard to see how different I was being treated in comparison to my siblings and to experience them subtly excluding me from conversations. That at Christmas would be quite sad sad

Thank you for your reply smile its made me see things a bit more clearly.

You might want to post in legal for some more specific advice masquerade and take advantage of a free hour with a solicitor or two. If you do not have one already. To see your options better and find a good one.

Would womensaid be helpful?

Princessfudge I don't think you'll feel you are missing out as you become free of the fog and move on with your life. You'll find peace and contentment in your own place with your DD without her and plan special occasions with friends instead.

I'm not sure if you've read any of the links in the original post? Or know what 'fog' means. But limiting contact is the right thing to do. It's not healthy for your dd to witness, it's not setting a good example on how she should treat you as she grows as pumpkin said and it's not good for you either. If your self esteem is low you maybe wondering how you'll cope/ manage without her support but you will. You're stronger than you think.

I'm a lone parent myself, I have found any negativity in my life draining and have worked to only have positive people in it. I'm much happier for it. And no longer seeing my Dad or attending family gatherings has been lovely for me. I've started my own traditions and work to create happy memories for my kids as a 3 instead. I have found good babysitters and a childminder as the years have gone by and I'm now back at work 20 hrs a week. I never need my parents for anything. I'm autonomous and independent and I'm so much happier now than I would have believed possible when I first opted to go no contact with my Dad and limit contact with my Mum.

Whatever you chose to do we're here to support you on this thread. Start to read some of the links and books recommended here. As you process things you'll decide a way forward that's right for you.

TiffanyTortoise Thu 29-Aug-13 20:13:43

What a lot of posts since yesterday. It's so sad to read about lives messed up so much by people we trusted and love. It seems we have in common the guilt, low self esteem and being blamed for the difficult relationship between us and our parent(s)
MomeRaths-how awful for your father to hate your son. I am assuming from your post that your father has made it obvious to your son how he feels. If so how disgusting. When I took kids to visit parents when they were younger I was the same with the kids as you and found it stressful. I thought I was doing the right thing keeping kids in contact. Even with hindsight I don't know what was for the best. I often wonder how things would be if I walked away years ago. My DC are now old enough to make up their own mind and have little contact as they are sussing out the relationship for themselves.
Helles Belles- I am limiting amount of visits, duration of visits and will keep convo superficial and if any unpleasantness I will cut the visit short. I am not ready to completely cut off.
After reading these posts I realise that I have a lot of working out to do and need to start protecting myself/DH/kids from further hurt.

Yes Tortoise, although my son was only 2 when he last spent any time with my Dad but my Dad used to shout at him and say he was just like his father (I'm divorced) and similar things. Actually I have a good relationship with my ExH and the kids are half him and half me and they love him. Awful thing to say in their ear shot or in fact at all. He's insulting them really. He also smacked my son hard on the back at 2, for doing something fairly minor. I stopped going to their house long ago after a series of incidences.

littlemisssarcastic Thu 29-Aug-13 22:21:29

Hi everyone.

PrincessFudgeBonnet Thu 29-Aug-13 22:32:39

Thank you for your reply momeraths smile I haven't read much of the links in the OP yet but I'm definitely going to have a dig through and hopefully it will help me understand things better about it all! Thanks for sharing about you being a lone parent too. Just reading what you've wrote has made me feel a lot more optimistic! Maybe it will be nice to create our own little Christmas and start our own tradition rather than being slotted in to somebody else's. I hadn't thought about it meaning more independence but that's true and it will be good for me as a person I think.

I think I'm extra scared because I don't actually have any friends (except a man who is looking like a potential dating situation) but I do have my dad and my stepmum at the end of the phone so I'm lucky for that.

I'm glad you feel happier going no contact and limiting contact. I'm feeling quite optimistic now. Scared but hopeful!

Sorry if this is an obvious answer, but can I ask everyone, is it easier to tell the person you are limiting contact or is it easier to sort of fade away? I know my mum would flip it all around on me if I tried any sort of confrontation (like when I confronted her about the abortion comment) but will fading away make it even worse?

TiffanyTortoise Thu 29-Aug-13 22:34:32

MomeRaths From your posts I think it's the right thing for no contact with your father. Unfortunately, It seems like there isn't any chance for him to see what he's done to you and your kids. With your mum seeing you once a month I wonder if she realises your father is toxic. I wonder if your mum, like mine, is controlled too and just wants a peaceful life. I think my mum wants me to conform/do everything the way they think is right so it keeps my dad quiet. I suspect that she gets a hard time when he's not happy with me so she joins in with it to protect herself and convinces herself that it's me that's failing.

alohahaha Thu 29-Aug-13 22:59:16

MomeRaths what you wrote about treating your kids differently really hit home for me. It's one of the things that makes me hate seeing my dad, as I feel so judged by him that I start seeing the kids through his eyes and get really strict and horrible with them and that is not my style. my kids are wonderful and bright and fun, and yes they are pre-schoolers so they are nightmares at times and in my dad's book this would be crushed mercilessly. it's so hard to deal with the negative feelings he gives me towards my own kids.

yes, I do feel like I mimic my dad's behavior a lot, I have been influenced by him to a huge degree.

recently I realized that despite what he tried to teach me, the world is actually full of kind, lovely people who do not want to tear me down and who appreciate me for who I am.

TiffanyTortoise Thu 29-Aug-13 23:04:19

PrincessFudge I've tried both ways of cutting contact. When I've had a big fall out with my parents, usually because I've stood up to them over criticism or poor treatment I've said I'm breaking contact but my dad is furious and a few days later my mum makes makes me feel guilty and unreasonable. She hates the thought of completely breaking apart(probably because it doesn't fit with perfect family image that they're after) There is always an awful confrontation. This time I've decided just to reduce contact and let things drift. If they notice and say anything I'll need to deal with it then. Time will tell if this is a good approach. Yes I feel guilty and I think that's part of having toxic relationship. I feel guilty saying all this, I feel guilty about not being what they want me to be.

Princessfudge I think fading away can be best in some situations. But you have to decide for you what's best in your circumstances. If you lived in Herts I'd be your friend smile I hope as your child gets bigger your friendship group grows. Do you go to Mums and Tots groups yet? Or is she at school. I'm not sure how old she is.

alohaha my Dad will never approve of my kids, as they should be seen and not heard! wink They're now 4 & 6 but my goodness me they're both whirlwinds and I still struggle not to mimic my Dad. I read vast amounts of parenting books and try to do my best to be different though. Not seeing him has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders tbh.

Tortoise my Mum just enables him, she's normalises it after over 40 years together, she acquiesces for peace. But I decided not to be part of that anymore and disengaged from the family. My brothers all do the same. I'm not prepared to anymore. I don't have to tread on egg shells or put up with it to play happy families. Except it's not happy families really, is it? sad So glad I'm not part of it all now.

Need to head to bed, hoping the above makes sense.

Well it's mil birthday today & it's seems dh may have forgotgrin, as we are off out on a trip to a castle today. Lets hope his phone is on silent, before the storm comes because my god she will kick off, as will fil when they notice dh hasn't sent or come round with a giftconfused
I did ask him last week what his intentions were for her birthday and would he consider sending her a card & present instead, at the time he said he must see his mum on her birthday. When he seems to completely have forgot...oops, cheers to hoping we have a nice uninteruppted day out!

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Fri 30-Aug-13 10:42:34

I've been wondering what to do about df's birthday next week. The thought of not marking it seems wrong and I would like to be part of the family celebration because m&d will be on best behaviour because it's a special day and db and dsil will be there so it would be a pleasant occasion but I know, if this estrangement is going to last - and I need it to - that I cannot take part. I am pretty well resolved that I will send the gifts I already bought as being from ds and will allow him to attend the birthday tea.

Being a self-imposed orphan means I miss out on the occasiinal good time as well.


Having read some more about your parents I would not advise your son either to go to his toxic grandparents house. Your Mum and Dad will probably be on their "best behaviour" anyway because its their celebration and they are in charge of it. Also they loved being fawned over and your father seems to love being fawned over.

If they are too toxic or difficult for you to deal with then they are too toxic for your vulnerable and defenceless child. I would not be sending over any gifts either; they do not deserve anything from you or your child.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Fri 30-Aug-13 11:39:16

Thanks Atila - ds wants to see them. They behave very well towards him - badly to me in front of him so he doesn't like that. He is 12 and very good at coming home if he doesn't like their behaviour. I am proud that he has enough self-regard to remove himself from being around people if they make him feel bad. Because of all this, I have left the choice with him and made it clear I will support his choice. I have also said he can change his mind whenever he wishes.

I came across this quote today - it seemed relevant to most of us: When someone tells you, “You’ve changed,” it might simply be because you’ve stopped living your life their way.

Well yesterday was pleasantley surprising. Had a wonderful day out with dh, he did text mil happy birthday, after being told to by toxic sil to, but apart from that he cba, which was nice to see considering how little effort is put into his birthday. When i asked him what he plans on doing in regards to a gift, he said he isn't bothered. I think he is realising he wants to step away somewhat.

GoodtoBetter Sat 31-Aug-13 14:38:10

That's great, pumpkin! Don't be disheartened if he seems to backtrack a bit though...they'll be working hard to reel him back in.

I had a phonecall from DM full of woe and "I'll be dead soon" type nonsense. Wanted me to take her precious glass bowl wedding present, so it didn't get forgotten "when she dies" hmm. I told her to stop talking nonsense. More bollocks about wanting a chest freezer she can stock up with food "when she's well" as she can't always "walk as far as the shops". Funny that, cos she can walk all around ikea when she comes with us. hmm. I did the "uh huh, yes, good idea, I see" routine but it winds me up.

Then today, took her laptop to be fixed (prearranaged outing) and she was saying she's "struggling with her nerves" and anxiety. She seems alright to me.

I do find the constant ignoring and glossing over/being cheery thing tiring though.

Why can some people just never be happy? She spends so so so so much of her life just being a misery and a worry wart. It tires me out just hearing about it. I got quite depressed myself living with her and I'm not surprised. At least now I can just escape and block it out.

ThunderbumsMum Sat 31-Aug-13 21:30:52

pumpkin great result grin

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sat 31-Aug-13 22:45:15

A bloke writes: good for your DH pumpkin!

This may be something or nothing: when I was 16 I got a bad school report. Report day was always fraught, but this was particularly awful. "DISGRACE! DOWNSTAIRS! NOW!"

Went down, and she knocked me across the kitchen. 5'10" 12 stone woman with PMT vs. 8 stone teenager. There was a rant; didn't pay much attention due to the concussion. Except for this: "My son the blue eyed [the sport I was good at, the sport in which I competed equally with adults, the sport in which Dad took such pride in my achievements]. That's not going to help in the real world, is it, you useless little shit."

Am I wrong for never shedding a tear for her ever, not even at her tuneral?

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sat 31-Aug-13 22:46:00

Funeral, sorry.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sun 01-Sep-13 01:04:09

YChromosome I suspect you have already done your mourning.

For the mother you should have had.

For the mother you possibly saw occasional glimpses of.

By the time she died, I can imagine that the only emotion left was relief. Relief that she couldn't hurt you any more.

Hissy Sun 01-Sep-13 07:37:33

Y you poor thing, I feel so sad for you.

How your mother could do that to you is beyond belief. I think you earned the right to your feelings, or perceived lack of them.

I'd say that she wishes she'd be missed/mourned, and for you not to feel any of that is exactly what she deserved.

Where was/is your dad in all this?

Y - I feel for you as well. It was not your fault your mother acted that way. It was her fault and hers alone, you should not have been used by her as the scapegoat for her inherent ills. I would not have shed any tears at all either on her passing (let alone go to her funeral).

How is your life now?.

I was also wondering where your Dad was. Was his role one of bystander or enabler?.

Y sorry to hear you went through such a horrid time, you must have been very sad & scared.
There is no wonder you won't be crying over her, and if you do it will be for the mum you never had x

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 01-Sep-13 09:44:27

Oh, Dad was OK. The PMT was something we all joked about. When he'd pick us up from school he'd give us current threat level.

Mum was pretty remarkable. She taught me how to punch, and when. Also cookery. I loved her right up until that blow, when she basically shit on Dad, my brothers and me.

She apologised on her deathbed. I told I was grateful to her for raising my pain threshold and giving me the ability to inflict pain without feeling remorse. I forgave her; there were witnesses.

I was wondering what you know about your late mother's childhood if anything.

It could possibly be argued that your Dad singularly failed to protect you and your siblings from her. Did she hit all of you or were you singled out?.

How are relations between you and your Dad in particular now?.

Hissy Sun 01-Sep-13 10:50:35

I would kill any partner of mine with my bare hands if they ever inflicted what your mother did to you Y on my son.

I'm sad to say, but laughing about it, establishing a 'threat level' is allowing it.

I'd not have left my child with someone like that for a second, let alone joke about it.

I'm sorry you were so let down by BOTH your parents Y. sad

Hissy Sun 01-Sep-13 10:53:31

Asking here: does a crappy childhood make it acceptable to slap your kids from one side of the room to another, to berated them to their very core?

I think looking for excuses for them undermines OUR right to be hurt and upset about things normal people would be mortified over.

Asking here: does a crappy childhood make it acceptable to slap your kids from one side of the room to another, to berated them to their very core?

No, absolutely not.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Sun 01-Sep-13 11:09:35

I know that Mum had a similar beating off her Dad at much the same age, for which she never forgave him either.

Thing was, we were away at school after we turned 11. Childhood was great; we lived in the country and made our own entertainment. Not very huggykissy, but boys don't do that.

I think it was guilt and rage and hormones caused a one-off. By that time, school had pretty much blunted me, but obviously not enough.

Dad was a bit weird because his Mum had been put in an asylum and he'd been brought up by aunts. His BIL had to teach him how to interact with kids. He got quite good at it.

Ah well, there's allus summon wuss off.

Phoenixwoman Sun 01-Sep-13 13:11:41

Marking my place after falling off the thread. I've skimmed all the new posts but no time to reply just sorry you need to be on here.

My dm is trying to suck me back in after a shitty fight with lots of things said she's now in overdrive being overly nice. Arghh the guilt!! Must make my list of bad times to refer to when this happens.

GoodtoBetter Sun 01-Sep-13 14:17:59

Sounds like my mum phoenix! Mine is busy spiralling down into "I hate my life, I should never have come to this country" depressive nonsense. It's starting already with the maudlin stuff about when's she's dead and getting more pathetic physically and saying "her nerves are bad".

I am in a right strop with myself as I've managed to lose a 2nd set of house keys in a month and feel like a fucking idiot. Will have to change the locks now as I lost this set somewhere in the street outside but there are only a couple of houses in this section, so if anyone dodgy had found them, it'd be easy to work it out. Doh.

Trunktops Sun 01-Sep-13 20:21:30

I have a narc/abusive mother and a passive (ie colluding) father. I have been in therapy for a few years now, gaining some clarity about our family dynamics and my childhood and various emotional problems which have resulted.

All my life I have played along with the status quo which my mother dictates, and run around after her trying to adjust to her ever changing goal posts.

For the past year my father suffered from a debilitating disease which made him very paranoid and delusional. it got to the point where the nurses refused to treat him and he discharged himself from hospital and I ended up giving up my job to care for him 24/7 for three months. That included washing him, changing his nappies and trying to keep him sane. My mother did nothing except tell me that she was "more ill" than him.

Last week was my 35th birthday for which my parents insisted they threw a party for me. The entire thing turned into a party about them, a self-congratulationary fest where my father gave a speech praising my mother and everything she had done for me, as well as how she had looked after him through his illness.

Over the past week I have lost all feelings for both of them and feel completely betrayed. I feel like I never want to see them again and don't know what to do.

Any advice or hand holding would be much appreciated.

littlemisssarcastic Sun 01-Sep-13 21:50:10

Hi everyone. I have been directed to this threads lots of times, but it took me a while to get here. grin

Not sure where to start, but really feel like I need to talk to someone not IRL IYSWIM.

My whole bloody family are toxic or maybe it is me and I am willing to accept that if you think it is me.

I have now cut the toxic members of my family off, but I have lost my DS in the process. sad

I think I might crack up some days. I feel like I'm on autopilot. If I stop to think, I can't bear it.

I am alone with my thoughts and feelings and just need someone to talk to, yet at the same time, I am wary of boring the pants off of you all. blush

Trunktops you're completely within your rights to go no contact. It's a huge step though, often fraught with guilt and feelings of obligation. I think reading the link in the original post about narcissistic mothers would help you to start to process things and decide on what YOU want. In the meantime, I'd definitely try to have some space. She sounds very toxic.

Hello littlemiss.

I'm on my way to bed exhausted but I'm sure others will be along. Please post away here, it's a safe place to vent. I'll check in in the morning.

littlemisssarcastic Sun 01-Sep-13 22:43:26

I am furious with my mother!! Absolutely furious!! I am so angry at her that I could cry, and often do.

ThunderbumsMum Sun 01-Sep-13 23:11:43

trunktops that is terrible, it sounds like cutting that toxicity out of your life is the only thing you can do for your sanity. Poor you, it must have been like a massive kick in the teeth when you gave up so much and it wasn't even acknowledged.

littlemisssarcastic what happened?

littlemisssarcastic Sun 01-Sep-13 23:32:18

My mother spent years and years undermining my parenting to DS. She has now finally poisoned him against me for good. He is not speaking to me, he has cut me off.
This makes my mother happy, because since she got divorced from my abusive stepfather, she has been lonely and has competed with me for DS's affections. She has wanted DS to live with her for at least 9 years, probably more.
Now DS has moved in with her, and has cut me off, and she is happy.
I am devastated.
Her need to be needed is ruining DS's life, and I couldn't stand back and watch any longer, so I have cut her off.
She behaves like DS's mother.
I have lost DS forever.

littlemisssarcastic Sun 01-Sep-13 23:51:03

She spent years poisoning DS's mind, making excuses for his bad behaviour, jumping in whenever I attempted to discipline him by rocking up and whisking him back to her house for a few days.
She is unhealthily attached to him.

DS threw me out of her house a few weeks ago, and I reported to police.
Police arrested DS. Mother made a statement and basically lied to police to get DS out of trouble again.

DS has lived with mother before, but has never completely cut me off before. It didn't work before between them because DS discovered that mother hacked his facebook, msn, read his bank statements, rang and messaged his friends to find out what he was doing.
If mother does not know what you are doing, she makes up the most negative story instead.

DS said the trust had completely broken down between them, and moved out. Mother was devastated. I mean, completely floored. Swore she'd never let a man hurt her like that again. confused

Now DS has moved back in with her, probably because she literally does everything for him, and there are no boundaries, and suddenly DS, for no reason he will disclose, has decided to cut me off. Mother wont hear a word said against DS. She complains that DS shows her no empathy, then in the next breath, says she expects nothing from DS.

I know it's a cliché, but if someone has no empathy, really doesn't care about another person, and is offered a life where they are treated like a king, they will take it wont they?

DS has lived in a few different places, and never have I seen his life decline at such a rapid rate as it does when he lives at my mothers, yet he cannot see the connection between living there and how his life unravels.

DS is HFA and needs support from someone who gives him clear firm boundaries. He gets no boundaries at mothers, so while on one level, he is happy to do as he pleases, on another level, he makes poor choices and gets into lots of trouble.

But so long as mother isn't lonely and is needed, that's all that seems to matter. sad

littlemisssarcastic Sun 01-Sep-13 23:55:36

And I so badly need to get rid of this anger!! It is eating me alive. I just want to be happy. sad

Hissy Mon 02-Sep-13 07:28:33

Littlemiss, you have to feel that anger, process it and understand WHY you have it.

Understand that this is because it was all done TO you, and not by you.

The anger is normal, required even, you have to go through this, to get to the calmer other side.

tangerinefeathers Mon 02-Sep-13 08:11:36

Littlemisssarcastic surely if your DS moves in with your mother again it will all unravel, probably sooner rather than later. He is your son and you are his mother, he may be going through a rough patch atm but she will never be his mother or have that relationship. Maybe you could let him know you are around when he is ready to talk and don't feel you have done anything wrong, leave it up to him but let him know you are there.

I do find it strange that these toxic parents seem so keen to 'steal' their children's children.

It's a jealousy/competitive thing. My sister (golden child) is currently going through a marriage breakup and my mother is doing her usual thing of feeding off all the drama [for some reason it was decided the children would be told at my mother's house, and she sat in the next room and listened in as they were told... wtf??]

Also my sister and her kids will be moving with my mother and already my sister's competence is being questioned and my mother is taking over as their mother. I went around the other night & it was as if she was the mother of children again, even dishing up the same old food we used to get.... really weird.

But don't let her beat you! Look after yourself, be there for your son and stay strong.

tangerinefeathers Mon 02-Sep-13 08:12:56

Also agree with hissy that the anger is necessary and productive - better than getting depressed. Bash a pillow, go for a long angry walk, rant on here. You'll get through it.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 02-Sep-13 19:06:28

I suppose it's normal to feel angry. It just doesn't appear to be going away. The more time that passes, the more things I remember, and feel angry about.

I am in my 40's, am single, have never had a decent relationship, and yes, rightly or wrongly, I blame my mother for that atm. Maybe it is just the anger talking.

All throughout my childhood, she sent conflicting messages, but mainly that men were to be served and women were to suffer. So long as a man brought home a wage, that was his duty done. Women OTOH were to dance around making his life as pleasant as it possibly could be.
My mother was a victim of DV twice, yet she had opportunity's to escape and never bothered, even when she knew he was beating the shit out of her DC. Her response: 'You shouldn't piss him off.'
She didn't give a shit how her DC suffered or the damage she did to us all, so long as she kept him by her side, because that's what she believed..that if a man pissed off, it was always the womans fault in some way. If the man wasn't happy, the woman had to resolve that. If the man didn't love you, the woman wasn't enough and it was her job to fix it.

When I think back, I was bullied at home (shouldn't piss people off), bullied at school (what are you doing to annoy the bullies then?), my boss at one job made advances to me (trust you LMS, it always happens to you doesn't it? You must be giving off a vibe.) so I have spent my whole life second guessing what other people are thinking/feeling and how I can control their actions by changing mine IYSWIM.

I am angry that she has put men before her DC our whole lives, and now she is worshipping DS as though he is a bloody god, when I have spent years trying to teach him that people are people regardless of their sex, even though my own radar is shit, and I struggle tremendously with boundaries. Instead, I prefer to withdraw from people, then I don't need to assert myself or worry that boundaries will be overstepped and I wont know if it is generally acceptable behaviour or not. By withdrawing myself from people, I have remained single and friendless which defeats the whole bloody object of wanting to be accepted. I am not accepted. I have no one except DD (who is amazing btw grin)
It hasn't helped that over the years, mother has told me that no one likes me, they just behave friendly because they are being polite, and between mother and my sister, they destroyed my relationship with DD's father. It's ok so long as they have someone, because me? I don't matter. I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for answers so I can understand, but the truth is, in my life, I have attracted friends/men who also believe that I don't matter. It is hard to distinguish whether I do matter and they are wrong, or whether actually I don't.

Mother has always undermined my parenting, but since DS went to live with her for the first time, she has had a lot more influence over him. He is very easily led, and now he treats women with such disrespect, I feel like I have wasted so many years, all because mother can't control her desire to be needed ffs!!!

I have never felt like I am allowed to be happy about anything. I have an extremely low opinion of myself, and when anyone says anything nice...well, they just don't know me very well..when they get to know me a little better, they will realise what an energy vampire I am, a miserable opinionated boring failure I am.

I searched all my life for someone to accept me the way I am. No one did, until DS came along.

I always knew he would grow up and leave home. I hoped he would feel special, worthy of everything life has to offer.

Instead, mother has stolen him from me, and now his life is going down the toilet and all she cares about is that she is no1 in his life.

GoodtoBetter Tue 03-Sep-13 18:01:31

How is everyone?

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 03-Sep-13 19:02:14

I estranged myself from my parents a couple of weeks ago. It's my dad's birthday today.

GoodtoBetter Tue 03-Sep-13 19:38:16

How are you feeling Helles? Are you NC with your dad?

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 03-Sep-13 20:07:37

Pretty much nc. Just to do with ds and then minimal. I guess I had only thought of the relief of not having their negative influence on my life. I hadn't considered the times that the whole damily would be together without me.

Things seem to be going well here for now but i know a storm isn't far from the corner when mil realises there will be no letter that she is currently waiting for. But so far so good, dh has only had one text and one fb message of his sister asking for him to wish his mother happy birthday.
I bit my lip though as i'm used to her getting involved, i have come to realise over the years she is as bad as the rest of them. Always putting her foot in if mil is of the scene.

Meery Wed 04-Sep-13 08:26:08

Hi Good, I'm in reflective mood at the mo contemplating our time staying with DM. Things I note

1. The argument where I "was being horrible to her" regarding drink driving was totally futile. On our last evening she again tried to drive out for our meal after drinking the best part of a bottle of wine over the afternoon.

2. DM would rather spend time alone in her room (with a glass in hand) than interacting with her DGC. This is the woman who thinks ill of me for not letting the DC stay with her by themselves.

3. DM asks nothing about me or my life, or about the children. I'm not thinking about deep stuff but just the general chit chat eg how's work, what've you been up to lately.... I volunteer nothing either.

4. When I do speak with others in the presence of DM, DM is quick to jump in and turn the conversation onto her. No DM, x was asking about what I do for a living, not how it compares to what you did over 20 years ago!!!!

5. It is very wearing to be constantly told what Dsis and family are up to or to be judged against them. Eg we would take DM out for a meal only to be told what was on the menu and who had what last time Dsis visited. Or we would be chatting away and then DM would go off at a tangent with a comment such as "wonder how Dsis is getting on with her dinner tonight".

6. DH is useless in this situation. When DM and I were arguing he actually hid. His only comment after was "I hope that that's all over now and you two are not stewing on it. If it kicks off again I'm going out."

Sorry that all sounds really bitter and self pitying doesn't it? Now I've written it all down I'll get a grip!

wellieboots Wed 04-Sep-13 09:06:23

I don't know if my family was dysfunctional or just a bit weird. And now I seem to have ended up with dysfunctional ILs as well. Starting to think maybe it's me.hmm

tangerinefeathers Wed 04-Sep-13 14:22:40

Meery numbers 3-5 are very familiar. I actually find my mother's inability to make normal back-and-forward chit-chat quite funny. I mean, surely if you ask someone how their work is going or what they got up to on the weekend then they give you a run-down and then reciprocate and listen to you. But she seems to get no pleasure from hearing about other people's lives.

Like you, I have got to the point where I volunteer nothing - I am not interested in her opinions on my life & am happy for her to know very little, she only tends to show an interest when something bad is happening and then she's like a vampire, which is even worse.

5. is very funny. If I cook her a meal she'll either orchestrate a drama which entails leaving halfway through, or start going on about my sister's cooking, or if I've really made an effort, she'll talk about a meal this old friend of my dads cooked her about 20 years ago which was so amazing, so delicious, so life-changing, that the following night she had to go to a restaurant as she couldn't bear to eat an ordinary meal.

It's strange reading these stories, you realise that someone you thought was unique and incredibly powerful and rather special is actually just a garden-variety selfish human who happens to be your mother.


Its not bitter and pitying at all actually. Its very sad that toxic parents now toxic grandparents act that way at all. Its not your fault your mother is the way she is.

What about cutting off your narcissistic nasty drunk of a mother altogether?. Could you do this despite the FOG - fear, obligation, guilt?.

You get nothing positive out of this and nor do you children from seeing her.

Meery Wed 04-Sep-13 18:03:29

Attila you may be right. As it is we are very low contact. Apart from our recent visit we have only seen DM once this year for one day early in summer. We will not meet up again until Xmas and that is actually in doubt as Dsis is away so DM unlikely to come over. I speak with her briefly on the phone about once a month. We do not skype, text or email. DM does not have any contact with the DC between visits.

I do feel the FOG, but it is not FOG for the DM/daughter relationship but more FOG over what damage I could be doing to my DC by taking their GM out of their lives. There is a back story to this. As a child I had virtually no contact with my paternal GM or aunt. I think their crime was being "common". DF was "allowed" to take Dsis and I to see them once a year for an hour or so at Xmas, DM never visited them. Dsis and I remember being thrilled with gifts received from our paternal relatives, but not being allowed to show our pleasure for fear of upsetting DM and her mother. We were also never to speak of the visits as this would lead to big strops on the maternal side. The damage was done, I never regained the relationship with my paternal GM I lost as a child.

So for that reason alone I feel I have to carry on a relationship, at least until the DC are old enough to decide for themselves.

Hi Meery,

I would urge you strongly to think further about your current position re the children and your mother.

You were cut off from your paternal GM and aunt by your mother out of sheer spite and nastiness on her part. Terrible of her also to call them "common" indeed, what an awful snob (as an aside my Dad's mother called my mother's parents this and she never forgave my Nan). Your mother did an awful lot of damage by doing that. Also such behaviour is typical of narcissists.

The situation however, with your children now is far different. I would argue that if your mother is too toxic or difficult for you to deal with, she is certainly too toxic for your children to have any sort of contact with. Your role here amongst many is to protect them from malign influences like your mother. She may well go onto give your children roles such as "golden child" or "scapegoat" or at the very least have a favourite whilst disregarding the other entirely. This could happen right under your very nose. Also she is coming across as a selfish drunkard and that is no role model for your children to witness either. When they are therefore of age to decide for themselves your relationship with your children may be damaged beyond repair because of your mother's influence over them. Also your mother could well turn against them or use them to get back at you.

It's painful to watch a narcissist "interact" with their grandchild.

Mostly because there's not much interaction.

And what little there is is so brief and shallow that it hardly rates as a true encounter. More like a hit and run.

Not only do you feel bad that your poor kid doesn't have a real grandparent and is missing out on such a special relationship, you can't help but be reminded that's exactly what you had to deal with for most of your life.

It's like getting to watch reruns of a TV show you always hated.

A percentage of the general population is dysfunctional and/or abusive. That percentage, like everyone else, has children. Then those children grow and have children of their own. The not-so-loving grandparents expect to have a relationship with their grandchildren. The only problem is, they’re not good grandparents.

Many adult children of toxic parents feel torn between their parents’ (and society’s) expectation that grandparents will have access to their grandkids, and their own unfortunate firsthand knowledge that their parents are emotionally/physically/sexually abusive, or just plain too difficult to have any kind of healthy relationship with.

The children’s parents may allow the grandparents to begin a relationship with their children, hoping that things will be different this time, that their parents have really changed, and that their children will be emotionally and physically safer than they themselves were.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, because most abusive people have mental disorders of one kind or another, and many of these disorders are lifelong and not highly treatable. (Others are lifelong and treatable; however, many people never seek the necessary help.)

The well-intentioned parent ends up feeling mortified for having done more harm than good by hoping things would somehow be different — instead of having a child who simply never knew their grandparents and who was never mistreated, they have an abused child who is now also being torn apart by the grief involved in having to sever a lifelong relationship with the unhealthy people they are very attached to.

If your parents were not good parents and you are considering whether or not to allow a relationship with your children, consider the following factors, as well as others, before deciding:
•Have they fully addressed their issues in SKILLED long-term therapy? (A few weeks or months is nowhere near adequate if your parents regularly mistreated you).
•Have they been treated for all the root causes of their dysfunction or abuse?
•Have they sincerely apologized and made amends for the hurtful things they did? Not just said, “I’m sorry”, but really talked it all through with you over many hours’ time?
•Are they very different people to you from the ones you remember?
•Do you currently have a healthy, functional and stable relationship with them?
•Do they respect your choices and boundaries as a parent? Do they follow your requests about how you want your children to be treated and to behave?
•Would you recommend your parents to your best friend as babysitters without any hesitation or worry, and feel comfortable giving your word that they’d never harm your friend’s child, without any doubt?
•Have you worked through all of your feelings about the mistreatment you experienced through your parents?

These are just a few of the important questions to answer. The best plan is to work through the matter with a therapist of your own, who has no bias toward trying to “keep families together” despite the presence of mistreatment.

More Here:

spanky2 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:27:21

Thank you for the last two posts. This is something I'vebeen struggling with. You are so right .

spanky2 Wed 04-Sep-13 18:31:24

Wellieboots dh and I are lucky enough to both have narccisstic mothers . I think that was something we recognized in each other without even knowing .

ThunderbumsMum Wed 04-Sep-13 18:40:52

LMS how are you feeling today?

Brilliant post atilla really sums up everything, will copy and paste for dh when he is ready.
I'm glad things are quiet here as going through alot with my dcs behaviour at the moment, think the summer holidays have gone on long enoughgrin

littlemisssarcastic Wed 04-Sep-13 19:53:35

Very insightful post Attila.

Hope everyone is having a good day.

I am feeling a lot calmer atm.

Got a text from my sister to wish DD a good day on her first day back at school. I was disappointed tbh, and I feel selfish for saying so, but it's just easier for me if neither my mother or sister bothers, even if that angers me somewhat.

I replied 'Thanks'.

I know it wasn't sister I fell out with, but now I don't know what to do. Any advice?

tangerinefeathers Thu 05-Sep-13 01:16:30

t's like getting to watch reruns of a TV show you always hated.

so true.

Cutting off takes so much more energy though, how do you know if it's going to cause more trouble than just keeping visits minimal and superficial?

I suppose the problem with moving far away from narcissistic parents is that you then have to have longer, more intense visits that take time and energy to recover from.

One solution is to perhaps not stay in their actual house - have visits that are on neutral ground and limited to public places so the chances of being upset are reduced, plus you have somewhere to escape to when you need breathing space and a bit of normality.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sat 07-Sep-13 10:27:51

Grrr! They're trying to sneak back in offering to buy ds some football boots (the one thing I forgot from thr uniform list and I am broke). If I say no, he isn't in uniform and can get detention. If I say yes, they'll hold it over me.

Hissy Sat 07-Sep-13 10:42:24

What size is he? I have some size 1/Eu 33 umbro boots, good condition, if you want them?

PM me if of any use at all? I'll post them asap!

Sorry to hear this helles couldn't you write him a note, surely that would devoid him from detention?
I wouldn't accept your parents offer of boots, it isn't worth the hassle it will cause you.
Hope you manage to work this out somehow x

Hissy Sat 07-Sep-13 11:46:11


Figuring détention is for kids that have WAY larger feet than size 1... unless your Primary school is barbaric!


Write a note to the school, twll them that the company sent the wrong ones and you're waiting for the correct ones to arrive.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sat 07-Sep-13 13:08:48

I wish he was still a 1. No my "little" boy is a size 7.5!! They phoned and offered him and he said yes. So he now has football boots - which he's really happy about.

tangerinefeathers Sat 07-Sep-13 16:09:27

Just take them, you deserve the help and it's a normal thing for GPs to help out with. And don't for a second feel like they have something over you.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sat 07-Sep-13 17:32:26

He got them but I feel very uncomfortable about it.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sat 07-Sep-13 18:42:21

Hello... Can I join you?
The relationship I have with my mum is beyond strange. I'm an only child and my mum and dad moved 200 miles from their hometown to be closer to me and the kids. She's never settled here, and this is part of the problem.
That aside, she never has a nice word to say - everythingis negative. If I'm truthful, she was instrumental in the breakup of my marraige- constant put downs and negative comments about exdh.
Nearly every interaction with her is about her being controlling. For example- she will pop round to do some cleaning, and comment about the contents of the bin- why are you feeding them ready meals? They need proper food, it's no wonder ds 1 is so small.....
I noticed you'd worn xxx dress- when did you wear that, and anyway, it's not suitable for your age/ figure....
I've had these comments pretty much all my life so they just roll off my back now, but things culminated in a big argument 2 weeks ago when I didn't ring her to let her know I'd come home after a weekend away.
I'm 40- I don't need to be checking in that I'm home....and I told her so. She verbally attacked me and my choice of friends in my own home. For the first time I told her she was overstepping the mark.
She has since taken the hump and is barely speaking to me. My dad is fine.
She inds it acceptable to comment about everything....the amount of time the kids spend with their dad, ( too much in her opinion), the clothes I buy for them and me, everything.
I miss her but wish we could have a more normal relationship. How do u all cope??

Hissy Sat 07-Sep-13 18:55:59

Welcome strugging! You need to meet Good2Better...

In the short term, gain distance and try to gain some perspective. She's terrorised your life, and won't stop until she's destroyed it.

GoodtoBetter Sat 07-Sep-13 19:33:24

Someone call me? grin. Hi struggling your mother sounds so much like mine....

My solution has been to move out of her house (you'll see if you read the thread that she followed me across Europe and then proceeded to try and break up my marriage and guilt tripped and manipulated me to moving in with her) and reduce contact and not react to whinging/histrionics.

But it's hard.

Hissy Sat 07-Sep-13 19:48:07

Selfishly G2B, I want you to read struggling's post. That could have been you...did you see that her marriage was taken as a result?

(((struggling))) poor thing! You need to make a stand... be strong, and stop her ruining the rest of your life love.

Let her go silent, keep it that way.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sat 07-Sep-13 19:49:04

Thanks- I know. She used to come round at tea time when I was married and then say I'd not made her welcome- ffs, I'd just made tea and was struggling to get us all to eat and sit down together.
I think some of her problem now is that I'm doing fine on my own with the kids and she needs to be needed.......
When I was. Married she was constantly saying leave him... And guess what ? When I did she said why did you do that you stupid girl?
My head is a mess with it all. I can't do right for doing wrong.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sat 07-Sep-13 19:56:01

If they hadn't moved here , I probably would still be married.... But she wasn't the cause of my marraige break up, I'd fallen out of love with him, but maybe I would have tried harder had she not been involved. She could see our comings and goings from her house....and would ring to say why weren't the kids in bed yet?
I feel like I'm justifying my every movement with her... Well I was till 2x weeks ago. I just want her to be a normal parent. I took her flowers yesterday, but they weren't in. So I left them on the step. She rang to say (aggressively) did you leave those flowers? Yes I said. I'll get your father was her reply.
My poor dad is in the middle, the kids don't understand why we are not speaking, and even before this they were asking not to go round... They are 9/10 and can hear her comments now......
I just feel bereft.

GoodtoBetter Sat 07-Sep-13 19:58:55

You're right, Hissy I did see that and I can see how it happened and I can imagine if my mum had driven DH away that she would then have turned it round on to me having "failed" at marriage. I think maybe subconsciously she wanted me all for herself. I understand so much the negative thing. I swear my mother is on a mission to be unhappy, to see the bad in everything.
You say your mother has never settled near you, mine's like this...what does yours do? Bitch about it, romanticise where she was?

Mine started out acting like DH was the bees knees but the digs started and then trying to make me think he was lazy, ungrateful etc descended into out and out bitching about him.

My advice to you would be use this upset with her and this break in contact to forge a new relationship ON YOUR TERMS. Use it as a way to step back from her.

GoodtoBetter Sat 07-Sep-13 20:04:19

And I understand that feeling of being bereft, not angry, just so, so, so sad. And of missing them or what you thought was the and your relationship with them. Because they're not always nasty, then it would be easy. And I understand that almost primal urge to make it up, make it all better, that need to have a "normal" relationship. But you can't, and that's hard.

But you need a bit of anger to power you into getting a bit of distance, you need to extricate yourself a bit.

I felt quite distant from DH at times, I think because (especially living with my mum) she was sort of crowding him out of my life, sidelining him. I can see how I might have said we'd grown apart if it had gone on and on.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sat 07-Sep-13 20:28:16

Oh goodtobe.... So many similarities ...
She bitches about being here, romanticises about her old house...wants to move....

GoodtoBetter Sat 07-Sep-13 20:36:07

does she blame you for "bringing her here"? Mine claimed she "had to" follow me halfway across Europe. Said I had broken her heart by leaving and that she honestly believed it was wrong of me to move away and that I shouldn't have done it/didn't have the right to do it. I abandoned her. (I have a brother hmm).
Funny thing is she did the same with her parents, moved from NI to London and her father saw me once I think before he died.
Mine claimed she hated where she lived before she followed me, but now romaticises it and her old house, everytime there's a row she's on rightmove looking at properties there.
Has made no attempts to make friends here (she's had opportunities) or make a life here. Just gatecrashed mine instead.
I mean it, grab this opportunity with both hands, make less contact your new normal. Even if it feels wrong now, get some distance now.

GoodtoBetter Sat 07-Sep-13 20:37:17

Have you read daughtersofnarcissiticmothers website, especially the engulfing narcissist?

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sat 07-Sep-13 21:08:36

No... Must read.. It's only recently that I've thought her behaviour is not normal. I've called her toxic in my head for ages though.
She doesn't outwardly blame me for bringing her here but every conversation is peppered with negatives about her house, the location, wanting to move.....

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sun 08-Sep-13 00:23:22

G2B I just saw your recommendation to Struggling and visited the daughters of website. Oh my word! My parents totally infantalise me. That's why my son accepting the football boots made me uneasy. It gave them the chance to show that I can't cope on my own.

GoodtoBetter Sun 08-Sep-13 06:37:01

It's a bit scary how much if it is so spot in, isn't it? shock My mum says the phrases mentuoned there word for's like the script from my life.

filee777 Sun 08-Sep-13 06:54:12

Hi all, my mum is visiting in the uk for a few weeks and we've not seen each other, she has been spending the weekend with the children and my husband though which is understandably hard. We established in the end that we would see each other infrequently and for day trips when she was here (around every 4 months)

So I am sort of coping with it, it's hard not to see her to be honest but my head can't take in all the ridiculous stuff I have to deal with aside from that, let alone with her as well.

I am off working shortly and then yet more studying for my maths exam tomorrow. Am pretty nervous really.

Mum is taking the boys shopping today, she wants to 'spend money on them' I would far rather she didn't but they are both in need of winter shoes so DH is going to suggest she helps out with that.

She also wants to give us some money each money for them, so we can take them out for the day on her behalf. I am less comfortable with that.

tangerinefeathers Sun 08-Sep-13 07:11:51

I mean it, grab this opportunity with both hands, make less contact your new normal. Even if it feels wrong now, get some distance now.

exactly this. She's been bullying you for years (in the guise of being caring and involved) and you've finally stood up to her, so like all bullies she's furious and trying to freeze you out and frighten you into letting things go back to how they were. But you don't have to share every aspect of your life with her, and you have your own family to focus on and your own future.

I know it's sad to realise how toxic your mother is (I found the DONM website very shocking to read, especially that page that is from some other author with all the descriptions of how they behave) but you have started to make some good changes and take control of your life and she has the choice to either accept your new boundaries and behave herself or miss out altogether.

Chances are things will settle down eventually if you remain strong and you will feel so much happier and freer without her breathing down your neck.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sun 08-Sep-13 07:31:26

But the guilt. I feel so guilty. And I miss her. I now see why the abused form close relationships with their abusers....
I need to stand strong - she's waiting for an apology....

tangerinefeathers Sun 08-Sep-13 07:46:39

Yes, I understand that you would feel terrible and miss her. It sounds as if she was very involved in your life, so it's not surprising. but on some level that wasn't working for you. She is very critical and undermining from what you say. But try not to feel too guilty - she won't fall apart with a bit less contact, someone that domineering is probably pretty resilient.

Can you keep busy, do a few things you've meaning to be getting on with, or get outside and have a big walk, a swim, something to make you feel better? I find a big swim always makes me feel better when my mother's being difficult.... not sure if that helps or not but you sound like you want to stay strong so just a thought on how to do that.

Would never apologise to her; these people are past masters of "come closer so I can hurt you again".

Best thing you can do for yourself with regards to your mother is to cut her off completely.

I would also suggest Struggling that you see a counsellor, BACP are good but counsellors are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits with you.

FOG - fear, obligation and guilt are three legacies of such toxic parenting. I am not at all surprised that you have guilt but that emotion is truly misplaced in yourself. You have no reason to feel guilty at all; your mother has been on a mission for many years to destroy your very core of being. D'you think she feels guilty - not a bit of it; narcissists have no empathy whatsoever. Your children as well do not get anything at all positive from their grandmother either.

I would not let your Dad off the hook either; he has completely failed to protect your from his wife's excesses of behaviour. Like many such weak men as well he has likely acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Narcissistic women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sun 08-Sep-13 08:13:13

Thank you. I might go for a run. I need her for some odd child care after school, so going NC not an option.
Obligation is a biggie- I often called round as I felt I should....then came away feeling crap.
She even criticised my boys geox school shoes the other day - saying they won't last 5 minutes.....I've bought them before and I know they outlay any other shoe he's ever had.... But why oh why oes she think its ok to comment???

Because she can. She is still seeing you and the children.

Such damaged people have no empathy whatsoever, the best thing you can do for you and your children who cannot stand her either is to go no contact. A suggestion that is probably impossible for you to contemplate due to your parents conditioning of you but what other choice do you have really?. She has and will continue to wreak your life if you allow her to do so.

I would also urge you to find alternate childcare; if she can say such stuff about your childrens shoes in front of you what rubbish is she filling their heads with when you are not there?. She is using your children as narcissistic supply; she'll get fed up with them soon enough or use them as golden child or scapegoat.

She was a toxic parent to you and she is now a toxic grandparent. These people do not make for being good grandparents, not all grandparents are kind and loving. Your parents certainly are not; your mother is a narcissist and your Dad is her weak and willing enabler.

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sun 08-Sep-13 08:53:37

Mum interesting - she has a favourite out of my 2 children, will openly criticise the other.

That is precisely why your children should not have any contact with her. She will damage your children in the ways that you were harmed as a child; her awful legacy still dogs you now.

Toxic parents more often than not make for being toxic grandparents. They are not good grandparents.

Very true atilla not all grandparents are good grandparents, the blood ties maybe there but in reality if these are people who you wouldn't choose to pick seeing your children if they were unrelated your best off keeping them away from them.

They will be imposing the same damage on your children and history will repeat itself. Pil haven't seen my children for 4 months now and 10 months before that because i decided after much thought they are not the sort of people i want influencing my dc in anyway. I don't rely on them at all, they weren't exactly there in a heartbeat when they were needed anyway.

GoodtoBetter Sun 08-Sep-13 14:38:54

Struggling. Read the narcissitic mothers site, especially about golden child/scapegoat. My mother favours DS over DD, altho she doesn't outright criticise DD but that's only cos she's only 2.

Hissy Sun 08-Sep-13 19:25:21

G2B, you are bound to be struggling, you have faced up to what could have happened to you this weekend. Ultimately it will strengthen BOTH you and struggling's position and overall wellbeing.

I read DONM and sadly didn't feel any resonance with any of it. Either my mother is way down at the bottom of the spectrum of NPD, or she just doesn't care.

After all the effort I went to with the email calmly stating my place, and then replying to her exercise in minimisation, denial and blame. I then got a card in the post, where she totally manufactured a reason why some other poor bugger was to blame for my anger.

So I had to email THAT person to let them know that there was this pile o shite being hawked about. Lucky that person knows full well what is what so won't listen to anything she says.. but still.

Now I have texts saying Disappointed when I told her that I couldn't meet her on the same day she texted. Ok I didn't want to, but bearing in mind only a week or so earlier I had ASKED for space to recover from what she has done, I think it's not a point worth pushing.

But then again, I CARE about the feelings of others....

Got another phone message today, where she referred to her disappointment again.

AIBU to NOT ever reply to a single message that has been used to make me feel like crap. If she wants me to respond, she has to be normal and pack it in with the guilt trips.

of course responding might be a tad difficult when I've binned all contact details for her

Hissy Sun 08-Sep-13 19:37:37


Interesting word choice that.

Not sad. Sad at not being able to meet. Not a case of 'Oh what a shame you can't meet me'



Implying that I have WRONGED her.

fuck the fuck off and when you get there, strap a rocket on, fire it up and fuck the fuck off into fucking ORBIT.

Disappointed? I'll give you fucking disappointed.

Disappointed that I was ignored for WEEKS when i was suffering in purgatory.

Disappointed when I was told not to come home for my 40th, and have my sister tell me that she was there. I got abused, badly on my 40th by the twat I was trapped with.

Disappointed that at every opportunity it was rammed home to me to make the relationship work. That he loves me, that I just need to spend time with the bastard that hit me, kicked me, kept me trapped in a flat for months Ex.

That when he left HE was the one that got the Good Luck phonecalls.

that my sister was enabled to twist the knife in a gut wrenchingly cruel way without so much as a raised eyebrow, and is FINE to this very day. I'm utterly unreasonable, bordering on unhinged, to NOT be in contact with her.

Disappointed that my son was also made to suffer for her gratification.

Disappointed that at any possible mention of DV, regardless of the speeches and talks I have given, the charity that I have set up, that the subject is changed to someone else she knew that had DV. Not me. Never me.

Disappointed that I was excluded from DM house move, to the extent it took almost 3 weeks until I knew where she actually moved to.

disappointed that she tells the WORLD about how terrible my life was, and how much she worries/d about me. Given all the above. yeah.

but SHE Disappointed that I can't don't want to meet up after work? That I don't want to see her just yet? Nah... not even a valiant effort.

GoodtoBetter Sun 08-Sep-13 19:53:15

Sorry, Hissy I meant for Struggling to read DONM. I'm OK atm, glad every day I got out and saved my marriage and my sanity.

I'm sorry you are having a hard time. "Disappointment" is what DM called me when I told her not to bitch to me about DH. sad.

I think, Hissy my love you have to find a way to never ever have any contact with your mother again. Every time she just uses it to stick the knife in and twist it.

My DM, the housebound invalid, is apparently planning a shopping trip to Dublin involving a 3 hr train ride, then 3 hour flight each way shock.

Hissy Sun 08-Sep-13 20:05:19

G2B, oh yes, struggling absolutely had to see that site, and I think you too got lots of help from it, but somehow I wish there was a name I could call her and have it explained.

I don't even have that!

I think this is going to have to go the whole way, i'm trying really hard for that NOT ot happen. I'm showing them all what my boundaries are, so they don't shoot em all to bits..but they do anyway.

I need to find a way to give it all up.

Let it all go and live alone the way I want to.

Shall I just not answer the phone anymore?

Is it that simple?

GoodtoBetter Sun 08-Sep-13 20:26:04

I wish there was a name I could call her and have it explained
Spiteful old bitch? <helpful>

I think maybe you need to just never respond again. Change your phone number, whatever is necessary, as if you were escaping a stalker or something. Cut loose and bask in the peace of not being needled by her.

Easier said than done, perhaps.

Hissy Sun 08-Sep-13 20:34:19

Ha ha! smile

Strugglingtocopejustnow Sun 08-Sep-13 22:43:56

Oh .... Called In today with the kids... Big roast on the side, easy feed me and the kids... No invite. Feel gutted. She did take the opportunity total the eldest his top was too it's not he said- it's padded under armour it's meant to be skintight ...Good on you son.
I saw more of her when I was married... But now she's wrecked that she's not interested. Honestly...I'm on my own all weekend ....not a call, offer of dinner, or take her grand kids out.... Grrrr

Hissy Sun 08-Sep-13 22:53:29

Well then struggling, you know what to do now eh?

LIFE WELL, suit yourself, make your life happy and sod her!

I stopped sharing my birthday/christmas with them after the ex left and they all left me for dead too.m.

'if you're not there for me in the bad times, then you don't get invited to the good times'

Dawndonnaagain Mon 09-Sep-13 17:19:11

Not been here for ages, I left and came back!
Just dealing with my mother. Hopefully it's now sorted. I had to have very strong words today. She sent dd1 (one of twins) a birthday card, not dd2, playing the same games she did with dsis and me! Birthday card had a tenner enclosed, and basically said here's some money, email behind Mum's back! Nasty! 'Phoned her and told her not to contact ever, ever again. Dd1 backed me up, she's 17 so fully understands. Still shaky though. Hate having to call her, and she likes making me do it. She asked why I didn't want contact, I told her I wouldn't discuss it but that at 54 I'd had enough and wished her Good Afternoon. She knows damn well, but would like me to say it so that she can tell all and sundry how dreadful I am. She will be furious now and will be frantically working out if she can get another of my siblings to stop speaking to me. She will be more furious that I didn't get upset and didn't play the game, than she will about her grandchildren not wanting to know her.

GoodtoBetter Mon 09-Sep-13 17:46:58

shock dawn that's unbelievable!shock shock

Hissy Mon 09-Sep-13 18:49:05


Wonder how much it'd cost to take out a full page O-Bitch-ery in dawn's mums local news paper...

Blimey dawn shock your mother sounds like the puppet from SAW, (you wanna play a game). She would be an ideal actress if there were to be a new moviegrin

Dawndonnaagain Mon 09-Sep-13 20:06:01

I've never seen SAW, I shall ask dh later!
It's going to take a couple of days to recover, but one brother and dsis have both been on the 'phone this evening in full support of me. I think they were both stunned that she's trying to carry it on through the grandchildren. One brother is her puppet, so doesn't speak anyway.

Dawndonnaagain Mon 09-Sep-13 22:07:57

grin Hissy

NameChangeToGo Mon 09-Sep-13 22:35:22

Hi, everyone. I've just been directed over from the other thread, I wondered why it had gone quiet (duh smile )

I'm having a very low day as parents left this morning, which is why I'm posting.

I feel despondent because I tried to manage this visit so carefully but it hasn't made a great deal of difference.

Again, I'm amazed at the huge negative, physical effect she has on me, without really doing anything specific. I've barely been able to function today. I'm a shit parent when she's around, a part of me switches off and I find it incredibly difficult to pull myself back until she's gone and my head's cleared. I hate her for this and it's the main element in me wanting to reduce contact.

The things I can put my finger on this time:

1. The uncanny way she has of responding which, in just a mm hmm, can make you feel entirely dismissed.

2. The way she can't let you finish a conversation, instead there'll be a point, usually just a sentence or so in, when she cuts you off to 'agree' with you (usually she has no actual idea of the point you were heading for, as you've barely begun). She will then relate her own vaguely linked experience without stopping for breath for the next 30 minutes until you forget what you were going to say anyway.

3. The child-like voice and singing. Her singing makes me feel sick.

4. The constant need to be the centre of attention. She answers over me when my husband and children talk to me. She cannot bear it when both my children have come to me.

5. The way she asks repeatedly whether she can do anything to help, without ever actually helping. If I give her something to do, it becomes a big drama, no matter how simple. She can sit surrounded by toys, with the toy box right there, and ask if there's anything she can do, without making any move to just stick some toys in the box, while I'm rushing around like a mad woman. But of course, she's always offering, so it's presumably my fault that she just sits there like a princess.

6. She talks crap. Translated as, she lies. And gets really pissy if you pick her up on it.

7. She doesn't like me. I don't fit the mould for the daughter she imagined. It feels as if we're opposing magnets, with that constant feeling of pushing each other away no matter how close we try to get.


DisgraceToTheYChromosome Tue 10-Sep-13 06:46:12

Name my MIL tried the baby voice when 1st GC arrived, but DSIL, FIL and DW sat on her firmly.

Poor MIL: she was rejected by her mother for not being a boy, and if it wasn't for FIL would be a complete fucking loon.

Hissy: that word "disappointment". That brings back memories. One of my brothers used it and the surounding rant in standup; the routine used to bring the house down.

GoodtoBetter Tue 10-Sep-13 10:40:03

The way she can't let you finish a conversation, instead there'll be a point, usually just a sentence or so in, when she cuts you off to 'agree' with you (usually she has no actual idea of the point you were heading for, as you've barely begun). She will then relate her own vaguely linked experience without stopping for breath for the next 30 minutes until you forget what you were going to say anyway.

yy to this. Also, telling endless anecdotes about things from the ancient past that you've heard a million times before. My DM dominates conversations with other people, for example if she's with me and a friend of mine. Excruciatingly embarrassing.

GoodtoBetter Tue 10-Sep-13 12:30:23

Feeling a bit down today. Back to teaching on Monday (and that's probably at the root of this really), although I have to go in tomorrow and Friday morning and sort stuff out. Got a whole load of mouth ulcers and a sore throat and feel half asleep.
Also feeling down about money and the future. DH can't get work, there's just nothing, nothing, nothing. No benefits either. We're careful but we spend more than I earn pretty much every month. I just don't earn enough. We have savings but they won't last forever. I do bits of translation here and there but I'm invoicing illegally as I can't afford to pay the extortionate taxes to be self employed. Have to talk to the accountant I used to use but I think he'll say to bill as a private citizen or risk sanctions from the tax people, but if I do that the agencies I work for will stop offering me work.
My main work have made it clear there's no chance of promotion..they can't even pay me more than 9 months of the year.

Feeling bleak about the future and like a fool. Not connected to my mother particularly but that word "disappointment" is swirling round my head today.

Weegiemum Tue 10-Sep-13 12:35:42

Hello Stately Homes ladies!

I've finally decided to post - been meaning to for a long time.

I have a fabulous Dad and I love my Stepmum. They really did take us to stately homes! My mother is a whole other issue.

Mother left (with my dads best friend) when I was 12. Just vanished - I didn't see her for over a month. Before that she'd been in an affair and preoccupied with it for 2-3 years, and before that she'd been trying to model me into a housewife (!! So not me !!).

After she left they stayed local (Scotland) for about 2 years, then moved to London (her OM was trying to avoid maintenance payments asked for by the Scottish courts) and then France. But in all of it she gave me a really bad vibe for being "clever". I got into Edinburgh University and she didnt care. I got an honours degree, then a distinction in my pgce - she still didnt care.

She really doesn't like my great dh - because he does housework etc - she's declined a cup of tea many times because "he" was making it. That's not a man's job!!

When I was expecting dd1 she had to be persuaded to visit (and was cross that I asked Dad to come first). With ds we had to ask mil first. But with dd2 it really got bad. We were on a Scottish island, I was very unwell with a pregnancy induced kidney condition. Mother came for a visit when I was 35 weeks. In that week I ended up in hospital and was air-ambulanced out to a bigger hospital. Dh heard this at work, phoned my mother and came home (20 mins) and by the time he got there the car was packed and they were booked on the afternoon ferry.

They had nothing important to do - dh had a wife and baby in danger and children of 3y10m and 1y10m, 4 hours travel away and no accomodation.

She visited us in hospital when dd2 was born, and (to her credit) brought my Gran, as dd2's middle name is my Gran's name.

But my kidney problems persisted, I was on high doses of opiate painkillers, and she called social work on me. It was dismissed, but after that she stalked me online (including mumsnet) and printed out pages to send to my GP and psychiatrist (I has bad PND).

At that point I went NC. My sister stopped speaking to me because of it.

Then my lovely Gran died. At the funeral my mother totally blanked me - afterwards, at the tea thing, she joked with my dad - I was sitting opposite and her eyes literally slid over me and dh. I was sent a box of my Gran's stuff when she died. I knew she wanted me to have her wedding and engagement rings (oldest granddaughter) but the box was all the letters I'd sent since I was 4, all the pictures gran had of me, and a stuffed owl (which I love, he's on a chair in my living room).

She has 3 fabulous grandchildren.
Dd1 is 13, a very, very talented artist and already selling her canvases in 2 shops, near the top in most classes at school and playing piano and accordion. Ds is on the school rugby team - it's under 13 and he's 11 - very good at piano and at scouts he's about to be made a patrol leader. His teacher says he's probably the most talented child he's ever taught. Dd2 is a brilliant fiddler, swims for a local competitive team, and has overcome a hip disability.

My mother has chosen to absent herself from this.

Me? I have a borderline personality disorder diagnosis, suffer ongoing bouts of depression, but I'm dealing ok (currently med free for this). I also have a totally unrelated neurological disability that affects my walking, sensation in my hands, feet and face, and gives me extreme fatigue. My mother isn't interested, doesn't care.

Anyway, that's me! I hope you're happy for me to join you. I've read 'toxic parents' and 'when you and your mother can't be friends' and dh has read 'toxic inlaws'.

Weegiemum Tue 10-Sep-13 12:36:17

Really wrong sorry !!

Weegiemum Tue 10-Sep-13 12:36:42


GoodtoBetter Tue 10-Sep-13 15:50:43

welcome weegie sorry for my self pitying rant earlier. i shall remove my head from my arse forthwith smile

Hissy Tue 10-Sep-13 19:09:49

Why IS it that we always feel the need to apologise for sharing our stories/feelings?

Is it due to the fractured relationship with our parents?

Welcome weegie, about blooming time! You'll get plenty of support here. It's so good that you have your H to support you too. Well done on keeping the depression at bay!

Welcome and hugs to old and new!

G2B don't do yourself down, you're keeping the family going, just about! I can't imagine how difficult the situation in Spain is, but it can not go on forever.

ONE day, it will get better. Never lose hope!

GoodtoBetter Tue 10-Sep-13 19:42:15

You know, you're right Hissy. I was thinking today, I feel like poo and have a big week next week and instead of just having a bit of a rest, here I am beating myself up over things I can't change. It's like, there are a few bits to be done in the next few weeks like get DD some new sandals, get some more information about a language qualification I want to do next year, return a faulty extension lead....and yet I find it so hard to just take a day off, relax, stop being a perfectionist.
And then I apologise for "burdening" people on a support thread on the internet.
Where does this never good enough/never doing enough feeling come from? [Hmm] I wonder. DM has always indulged in competitive hardship and hard done byness....what she calls "my leg is more broken than yours" but directed at others...she isn't aware she does it herself.

I'm going to concentrate on the good bits and try not to worry about money. We're doing all we can.

3 positives for today:
had a nice time in the park with DC
DH has cooked something nice for tea
I love my family and they love me

NameChangeToGo Wed 11-Sep-13 09:50:11

G2B yy to everything you just said in that first paragraph. I could have written that.

I'm really struggling to fight those negative messages at the moment, which is strange because I've been doing pretty well for a long time.

There's a lot going on at the moment and I've turned into shouty mum and I hate myself for it. I'm feeling so low today sad

Sorry to hear you are all going through such tough times, but well done for focusing on the positives in your lifessmile, don't let the bastards kick you down!!

Not much happening here, and it's lovely. Had a giggle the other day when dh told me off his accidental phonecall to mil whilst using the toilet lol. He text her love you mum and ended up dialing her whilst his phone was in his pocket, aswell as texting her by mistake with aaarrrfff and a few smilies. He phoned her back to apologise, she weren't impressed...oh wellgrin

Hoping it's stays quiet here until atleast christmas, that's when trouble will brew.

Dawndonnaagain Wed 11-Sep-13 19:41:38

Sorry everyone is going through some much rubbish.
Hi Weegiemum, it helps to get it out.

GoodtoBetter Wed 11-Sep-13 20:34:49

Glad things are calm with you pumpkin.

Name, maybe it's just hitting you now you've faced what you suspected about your mum and you've had a visit from her as well. Overload. Go easy on yourself. And it's understandable you're shouty, I'm shouty with mine sometimes.
The baby voice sounds really irritating and quite frankly weird. Glad mine doesn't do that, can't imagine it.

I'm a shit parent when my DM's around cos I feel judged in her presence. She has said I am a "shouty mother" and that I'm "hard" on him. Easy to say when you're not doing the disciplining, isn't it? That makes me sound hard, I'm not...just that she turns it into good cop vs bad cop. Guess who I am?

wellieboots Fri 13-Sep-13 07:08:59

I live on the other side of the planet from my mother and am about to spend 3 weeks with her (coming over to UK to introduce DD). Any tips for how not to allow her to turn me into a gibbering teary wreck, which is what happened last time (both when she was here when DD was born, and when we were last in the UK about 15 months ago. If I should share any of the story, let me know (as a pp said, I feel a bit embarrraaaed and apologetic about sharing my story.


Please do not feel neither apologetic nor pathetic about sharing your story!!!.

I have previously read at length about your MIL (shiver), what's the background with regards to your own mother?.

Why visit her at all, let alone for three weeks if she turned you into a wreak last time and the time before?. Genuine question btw.

(Generally speaking, not all grandparents are kind and loving and toxic parents become toxic grandparents. I would argue that if she is too toxic or difficult for you to deal with, she is certainly too toxic for your child to be anywhere around).

If she does start on you I would completely disengage from her altogether and stay in a hotel. Do not go back for more!. Is your DH travelling with you?.

Weegiemum Fri 13-Sep-13 20:30:45

I can't quite believe I decided to post here on Tuesday.

My brother called last night. He was already engaged but they've brought the wedding forward as my sil-to-be is pregnant. They're going to be awesome parents.

However, that means that in 7 weeks I have to see my mother (for the first time since my lovely gran died) and my sister and half-sister who both are on her "side" will be there too.

I'm freaking out. I've had a problem with alcohol in the past and tbh, I'm really drunk. I didn't know how to stop myself today (that's the bpd talking).

I really want/need to be there for my little brother. I'm the only one in the family who likes and clicks with his fiancée. My parents are on holiday in China for 3 weeks. I'm talking to you guys because I've no idea where else to put this?

wickedwithofthenorth Fri 13-Sep-13 22:51:36

Hello all,
Have lurked on here on and off since dd was born at the end of last year, but never felt like I should post until now. But now I could really use some perspective from people who understand what it's like to deal with toxic people. I'll never be able to condence it all because most of it is beyond belief to me.
Dh and I have been married nearly six years and married very young about seven month of meeting. When we first met I was told about his difficult past; he was bullied on and off through out primary school and constantly during his time at secondary school. He spent most of his time skipping school but nothing was registered by his family until he was due to sit gcses and failed to turn up. When everything came out (lots of physical abuse and mental bullying) he developed social phobia and would only leave the house very early to go to his grandparents spending most of his time shut away in his bedroom. This was the norm for him for seven years, he was given some counciling as a teenager but this was sabitarged by his mum and he was convinced not to see another counciler when he was too old for the youth service. He was just left to do as he pleased until his mum could no longer claim disability money for him at which point he was literally forced out of the house to work as a night shift cleaner. He could have really struggled but was lucky enough to be taken under the wing of the manager who helped him create some coping stratages and eventually helped him build up some much needed confidence. He decided he wanted to change his life so joined a dating site and we met.
Well as I said our romance was a real whirl wind. He introduced me to his family very early on and we got on really well. They lived close to my uni so I ended up almost living with them during the week. Mil and I were good friends and really close at this time; she loved having another woman in the house and was very keen to mother me. When we decided to get married at the start of the summer she threw herself into helping with the wedding planning and helping us to find to find a flat in the local area, she even came shopping with me to choose my wedding dress. I was so pleased to have a mil I could be friends with.
I had no idea how wrong I was. It was after we were married and settled into our own home that things started to go wrong. Weeks into our marriage dh asked for the money he'd been saving (mil and he had a joint account because he'd not been able to face the bank when he was ill) and was presented with a tiny fraction of the money he'd been carefully saving. Mil insisted it was all he had saved but it should have been enough to pay our rent and bills for the academic year while I was studying in uni, what he had been given wouldn't even pay the rent for one month. We got the account book off her to take dh's name off it and we're given statements at the bank showing the money he'd saved being withdrawn in massive chunks in the run up to the wedding. We later worked out all the extras she'd wanted at the wedding and offered to pay for due to our small budget were paid for out of this and her trip to florida too! There was no way her and fil could afford to pay us back and since her name was on the account she hadn't commmited fraud. Dh confronted her about it and was told the only money she had taken was rent. With nothing we could do about it so we moved on and coped as best we could. Dh took on as many extra hours as he could manage, I worked three different jobs until I went back to uni and had to put in a last minute application to student finance and ask my parents to help out with the rent while I was studying. We got through it but it was a difficult start to married life as we ended up being like ships passing in the night for the better part of two and a half years.
Dh sees his mil and his brothers daily when he finishes work and I issue invites to his family whenever I am able to and go to every family event even if it meant turning up after a thirteen hour shift in my work uniform. Invites to our are never accepted and it's always dh or I calling when we speak to them.
Dh was never entirely happy with his relationship with his parents but could never pinpoint why so it always continued as it had before with us making all the effort. Then around the time dh's job is restructured and has a break down due to the stress it causes him, mil starts telling people I'm pregnant. This comes out via a parent asking me at work asking me when I'll be leaving infront of my manager because she's been led to believe I'm more than 26 weeks pregnant. Mil addmits this when dh asks her saying she was asking the universe to make it happen like she did before dh and I met. Dh continues to visit on and off but I only visit when it's actually convenient and only ever with dh. Working thirteen hours a day six days a week most week means this doesn't happen as much as it previously had.
With lots of hard work we eventually pay off my student overdraft, pay back my parents and have enough saved to move to a bigger place so we finally are able to start ttc. I find out I'm pregnant the first week in our new house. To put it lightly mil and gmil make my pregnancy difficult with the level of involvement they suddenly expect in our lives. Mil manipulates gmil to phoning dh at various points when she is unhappy with how things are not how she wants them. Gmil is as subtual as a sliedge hammer and everytime she calls doesn't even bother to say hello to dh just starts a torent of verbal abuse which at that point dh just puts up with it. At this point dh is now no longer visiting mil on a daily basis as he has finally got his hobbies at home and is close to work. None of this changes with the birth of dd. The first few weeks we are very put upon until mil gets a cold and is unable to visit. We get into our own routnie and ils are not able to visit all day everyday whenever they please so visits are very few and far between.
Poor dh finds himself remembering lots of his childhood in the days after dd was born and really does not feel comfortable around mil, fil or gmil. He was really neglected and basically left to it from the age of five when his first sibling was born to the extent he only ate when he helped himself to sweets and crisps and missed lots of school because no one bothered to take him being the very tip of a titanic sized iceberg. He just can't understand why he was forgotten and his constantly remembering more and more negative things. He really struggled with idea mil having a relationship with dd and became really over protective of her, getting really upset after visits if anyone had held dd for too long or upset her which happened constantly. I get stuck in the middle and have to really presure him to maintain any level of contact. When I get sick of this he dosen't manage actual contact his family for six weeks, but six calls in a row are ignored when I try to arrange to visit with dd.
Gmil then puts in her a typical call. I finally having enough of dh being bullied this way for a number of reasons lose my temper and call mil to introduce her to some hard home truths. Dh thinks his relationship with mil is over and is relieved.
Since then so many unbelievable things have come out of the wood work. Mil was hysterical and fil had to get her sister to calm her down and he has since taken control of the situation and built some bridges with us because he wants a relationship with dd and dh regardless of mil and gmil's involvement. As it turns out there's a twisted family history of issues all of which mil is blaming gmil completely for:
-fil cut almost totally out of his children's lives as it's not a man's job
-fil's mother cut out of dh and his brother's life and cast as the 'devil' woman
-mil's sister being bullied into leaving her two children with mil all day light hours since they were two weeks old up until they started school
-mil being manipulated into saying bad things about us and viewing all our actions as personal attacks against her.

Mil is now not talking to gmil because of this. Fil took her to the gp and she's been put on some type of medication and is due to start therapy in a week or two which fil is insisting she go to. We've seen mil twice and she appears to be very different now and has promised dh she will attend counciling with him when his ready to discuss his childhood issues, something his wanted since his breakdown. We've only seen her with fil because he wants to make sure she behaves.

I'm very confused by the situation and not sure who or what to believe anymore. Dh has decied he wants nothing more to do with gmil after the way his been treated by her but wants to build a closely supervised relationship with mil.

Spelling is probably appalling but not sure how to fully spell check on new phone and dyslexic, sorry.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sat 14-Sep-13 08:02:06

Such powerful posts that I couldn't just read and run.

weegie the fact that you're turning to alcohol to deal with even the anticipation of seeing them is really worrying. Have you a counsellor to talk to about your alcohol abuse?

As for the wedding, I really don't know what to suggest. There are two options: go or don't go. Afterwards, will you feel worse if you are there or you aren't? Remember, you are not responsible for your sil2b. Presumably, there will be friends and members of her own family there for support. You need to consider your own needs. During the ceremony and the speeches, the environment is fairly structured, could you cope with that and then dash off before the more social part of the day?

Wicked abuse is passed down family lines. We learn how to be parents from our own parents. If your dh wants to try counselling with mil, it might give him the answers he needs. Closure. Then the whole question of contact can be revisited. Don't forget though that fil allowed all that to happen. It isn't the case that just mil and gmil werw the abusers. Fil was too through failing to prevent it. Dh will no doubt have questions for him too.

Hissy Sat 14-Sep-13 09:25:37

I wonder if counselling with a neglectful parent would potentially do more harm than good.

Any chance she'll admit to it all? Not re-invent history?

Your H needs counselling to help HIM overcome and manage what SHE did TO HIM.

He can't do anything about what she did, but he can learn to see that it wasn't him that caused it.

Hissy Sat 14-Sep-13 09:27:26

I think she wants to attend counselling to control what your H is allowed to say.

I think she needs her own separate counselling first.

Wicked The whole family sound toxic and i think it is good your dh is coming to terms with the fact they were abusive and not wanting them to have a part in your dd life.
He is making positive steps forward in the realisation these people are not good for him to be around.

I wouldn't push for any contact and tbh i would refrain from going to the wedding, maybe there is a good excuse of where else you will be on the day?

It's strange how we don't notice toxic people from the offset, i suppose we become accustomed to their strange ways, i also too didn't notice the toxicisity that would unravel re my dhs family until we started making plans to move out. That's when the problems showed, almost like their true colours became apparent overnight! Of course dh has taken another 7+ years after that to realise the situation just isn't normal.
Slowly but surely we are getting there, apart from one visit in may (niave!) me and dc have now been non contact with ils for more than a year.

Quite frankly my children deserve better. Was not easy, and christmas/birthdays bring with it a lot of emotions with dh & pressure from ils but tbh it was like that before anyway, nothing was good enough for them even then. I owe it to my dc to not allow them into that toxic circle and allow history to repeat itself.

GoodtoBetter Sat 14-Sep-13 15:54:28

How's everyone today?

I'm feeling a bit twitchy today....

Hissy Sat 14-Sep-13 18:22:29

Do you know why that is good?

GoodtoBetter Sat 14-Sep-13 20:35:27

Money again. Everyone I know seems to be doing well and we're scraping by on 1200 euros a month. I have a degree, I'm not sure how I ended up making such a mess of things; rented accommodation, one crap wage and doing a job with no prospects. I'm nearly forty and I'm in the same position as I was when I first arrived here 12 odd years ago, except now I have 2 kids to look after.
Feel I've made so many bad decisions and just floated along with life, let my mother dictate so much of it, felt not good enough to push for promotion when I should have done and now it's too late.

Hissy Sun 15-Sep-13 00:53:59

Listen love, I'm earning now, what I used to pay in TAX!

The situation there is BRAVO, yet you ARE working! you ARE earning, and you ARE keeping things going. If your H keeps trying on the job front, who knows, he might just get something sometime and things would get better.

Could you see if you can offer tutoring to children, or organise bi-lingual playgroups?

Is there anyway if you set yourself up as a company that you could offset the rent against your taxes? I dunno how Spanish taxation works, but I know it's evil!

wellieboots Sun 15-Sep-13 04:54:56

Sorry, I keep meaning to join this thread properly and then I end up just sticking my toe in the water and disappearing, meaning to come back properly later, and then days go by...the joys of life with an active 10 month old!

So, as I have disclosed on previous messages, I grew up in a dysfunctional family (not too bad but it wasn't great) and I now appear to have ended up with dysfunctional ILs too. Been married 5 and a half years but have only really seen how bad they are since DD was born.
It's going to be an interesting few weeks as we're coming back to the UK (currently down under) for a month, and my DM always seems able to push my buttons, particularly when I see her there rather than here. I have no desire to end up a snivelling mess, as I did last time I was home, or as I did a couple of times while she was here just after DD was born.

To further complicate things, FIL retired recently and PILs are currently on holiday in Europe and will be in London visiting SIL at the same time as us. My issues with my PILs have been well documented elsewhere on MN and I know some of you are familiar with that story.

I minimise what my DM was like (she wasn't a narcissist or anything and she didn't abuse me I don't think). My counsellor (I've had cbt recently thanks to pnd which I am now pretty well recovered from, thank God) reckons it sounds like she may have had pnd with me, but there we have it. But it is easy for me to minimise her when I don't have to talk to her much. Someone asked previously why we were going to see her - I think tbh I just want to be normal, especially given the situation with my ILs who are not interested in DD at all, I want DD have a normal grandparent relationship with my DM, who does love her to bits. We aren't going to stay there for a whole 3 weeks, we're going away for about a week all up, in two separate segments, during the 3 weeks.

I have minimised my past so much that I can't even really write about it unless I get asked questions but let's just say it wasn't that bad but it wasn't that great either. My DM has the ability to make me feel like a piece of crap, without even meaning to (or at least she says she doesn't mean to) and I am petrified about being in that situation again.

So I'm about to go on holidays for a month and I should be excited but as well as that I'm having to think about issues both with DM and PILs and how I'm going to stop them making me feel like shit sad

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sun 15-Sep-13 06:52:33

Don't go. Have a proper holiday elsewhere and, if you must see dm make it for only a day or two at the start of the month so that you can relax once that ordeal is over.

When you get home, find some lovely lonely old person and visit them regularly. There's loads and they need occasional company.

I wouldn't go wellie, it won't be much of a holiday if you can't enjoy it. Book somewhere nice for you & your own family x

GoodtoBetter Sun 15-Sep-13 20:00:36

Thanks, Hissy you're right. I will keep plugging away and as long as we can manage on the money we'll be OK. DC are looked after and put to bed by their dad when I'm at work and I have Friday afternoons and the weekends with them. We live in a lovely place, and we have a nice life I think, considering our income. And we are together.

The money making possibilities are limited to what I'm doing. The rates for private classes are low here and to get more money I'd have to travel, negating the increase in fee iyswim. Also, the vast majority of people want classes in the afternoon, which is when I work.

You can't offset rent against the business. You can offset gas, electric and phone, but only if you are registered self employed, which means you must pay 260 euros EVERY SINGLE MONTH WHETHER YOU EARN OR NOT. I used to do that before the work dried up and had to stop, as I was losing money.

I can do up to 3000 euros a year of work and bill legally, but after that I would have to register self employed and pay the taxes.

So, we'll keep tightening our belts, looking for work and remembering that things could be (and were) so much worse.

GoodtoBetter Sun 15-Sep-13 20:02:14

I need to stop being such a perfectionist and beating myself up. I need to get over feeling not good enough or like I'm not doing enough (in all areas of my life).

Meery Sun 15-Sep-13 20:31:01

Wellie i would visit. I had the same experience with my dm over summer when we were touring Europe and expected to visit her. I coped by thinking of the worst scenarios and determining a strategy for dealing with them. In my case it involved a lot of smiling and nodding and calling her out when needed. Ok the latter led to a massive rant when i was called allsorts but as id expected that response it didn't get me.

Now im glad i visited because our time together strengthened my conviction that minimising dm impact on my life and my dc is the right thing to do.

GetYourSocksOff Sun 15-Sep-13 21:31:24

good sorry you're feeling a bit sad at the moment. It does sound like you're doing an amazing job of maintaining a stable, loving family environment which is the most important thing by a long way.

wellie I hate that feeling of obligation. Having to deal with it on both sides cannot be much fun.

GetYourSocksOff Sun 15-Sep-13 21:33:20

I'm namechange, btw. Keep blowing my cover, can't be bothered anymore! blush

GoodtoBetter Sun 15-Sep-13 21:40:11

Hi namechange getyoursocksoff how are you getting on?

Wellie I'd be inclined to see her for a couple of days tops and then try to enjoy the rest of our holiday. sorry to hear you have dificult parents and PIL.

peachmint Mon 16-Sep-13 06:52:25

Hi everyone. I'm new to posting on MN and not sure if it's okay to talk about sexual abuse on this thread or if that goes somewhere else?

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Mon 16-Sep-13 20:34:20

Hi PeachMint, I am certain there are threads specifically about sexual abuse. I don't know if anyone on here has been in that situation.

peachmint Mon 16-Sep-13 21:16:03

I'm not sure I want to get into details about that in any case. The main reason I came to this thread is because I'm in the process of trying to phase my toxic mother out of my life. And one of the many ways in which she was/is toxic is that she knew about the thing I mentioned above and she did nothing. She let it happen. She was also neglectful, emotionally abusive etc and stood by while we were hit with belts and stuff.

I'm not looking for advice really, just wanting to be among people who know how maddening it is to be told oh but she's your mother, she did her best, all that rubbish. How is it that I'm an adult and I still feel like a little kid wondering why I wasn't worth looking after? I'm having counselling but it's a long slow process and I just feel like I'm never going to be like everyone else.

GoodtoBetter Mon 16-Sep-13 22:02:07

Glad to hear you are having counselling peachmint and welcome to the thread. Sorry that you are brought here by abusive parents though. sad


GetYourSocksOff Mon 16-Sep-13 22:13:41

good I've been a bit low, I think it's the realisation that this it with mum, it's never going to improve.

peachmint welcome. Do you instigate contact with your mum?

peachmint Tue 17-Sep-13 00:07:37

Thank you both for the welcome, sorry for the rant back there. I don't instigate contact with her exactly, it's just not easy to totally untangle things.

Flumpy2012 Tue 17-Sep-13 00:58:30

Hello, I have no idea if I'm in the right place or even if this is appropriate but I really need some advice.

So we are a dysfunctional family, my parents are still together after 40 years and have 2 children, my B 28 and me 26.
My B has no contact with me at all. We both live a distance from them and never visit at the same time, he doesn't like me and proclaims I ruined his childhood. By my own admission I was a nightmare, I lied, I stole, I truanted from school, I shouted and screamed, you name it I probably did it and I hate myself for being that person but I also feel like ice paid the price, my father was violent in response to this. It's scarred me to the point I can't be followed up the stairs.
Anyway fast forward; i now have a DD and am a LP although we're contemplating giving things another go.
Tonight my parents agreed to help financially but not before informing me of the effect on their retirement fund and how this would be the last money they would ever give me.
When I retorted that my B was given money for a house their response was "well yes but he didn't ask, we offered" - that just hurts more because they never offer me.
On top of this Xmas is looming and it may well be the 6th consecutive year they have invited my B and not me inc last yr with 2 week old DD their compromise was to come at 5pm.
I am not allowed in the house if B is there.
They treat me like a child and constantly throw my childhood bk at me and even hope my DD to be that way so i can see what it's like.
When they asked tonight why I was so angry and what I actually wanted I responded for them to love me and treat me fairly which is rather pathetic from a 26 yr old but I did not expect to be told 'you can't force people to love you!!!!'

Maybe that's where I've been going wrong all my life.
Do I cut all contact? Is it the or is it actually me?? xx

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 17-Sep-13 06:25:32

As my counsellor said to me you were a child then, it was their job to help you. If your parents and brother keep bringing it up, they're not being very understanding nor loving.

How would it impact your life to go nc? The thing is, if you cut them out, you lose the few helpful things as well as the many destructive aspects of your relationship.

Ah, sorry Peachmint I misunderstood your initial post. Thinking you were looking for supportbrelating to sexual abuse, I didn't want to encourage you to share if there was no-one here able to help. Toxic parents, though...

You absolutely were worth looking after. Your mother failed you. Why doesn't matter except that it was not your fault. There is no way it could have been your fault. You needed protection from your abusers (I include your mother in that group) and it is devastating that you were not protected.

Hissy Tue 17-Sep-13 06:56:32

Flumpy, what on earth do you get out of this dreadful relationship?

Do you really have to accept their money?

You are about thé most extreme case of Scapegoat i've seen for a while.

Your brother is orchestrating this. You parents enabling his treatment of you.

Don't do christmas. If you're not made welcome, then you don't go.

What's your exbf like? Why did you split?

The reason I ask is that there's a probability that given your childhood, that he could be similar to them, or worse. Unless i'm wrong here, and I hope to god I am, then you need to give him the swerve too.

GoodtoBetter Tue 17-Sep-13 10:11:05

It's not you, Flumpy.

peachmint Tue 17-Sep-13 20:23:29

GoodtoBetter and HellesBelles
You didn't misunderstand, I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I don't think I knew what I wanted really, I was umming over whether to jump in and post, and then I came back and started typing and some stuff just kind of came out. I was worried about saying the wrong thing, I guess.

I find it really hard with my mother because people say things like, oh, you have to understand that people do their best with what they have, I know that but understanding it doesn't make it feel any better. I am sick of always having to be the one who understands, do you know what I mean?

Doesn't help that therapy is bloody expensive. There aren't really any good NHS options round here. It's worth it I'm sure, but I just wish I didn't have to.

Sounds like we were similar as teenagers. Has it occurred to you that you weren't 'bad' but reacting to how your family treated you and acting out anger and hurt? And it is definitely them not you!!

ThunderbumsMum Tue 17-Sep-13 22:29:04

peachmint it might be true that your mother tried her best but that doesn't mean the way she has behaved is acceptable or that you have to put up with it. It's not your fault, it is hers.

Hissy Tue 17-Sep-13 23:04:41

Peachmint, there is no such thing as the wrong thing to say here love!

Some of us may not have suffered sexual abuse, but abuse IS abuse and standing by while someone is out and out mean/shitty or just plain taboo kinda wrong is something we can all identify with and our hearts will ache for you.

We will listen, and we will care.

People who say about abuse of any kind, that 'he/she did their best' are a bunch of idiots who frankly don't want to hear your pain. You don't have to be the one that understands, nor the one who accepts it. You can say to them, that NO, I don't understand how she could allow X to do X, Y and Z and not do SOMETHING... I may not no much, but there is no way I'd allow it to happen to MY kids... OR YOURS without speaking up, wouldn't YOU? throw it back at THEM. Watch them mumble and then sniff at them and leave them to it.

Also remember the Stately Homer statement:

"Just because you don't remember it the way I do mother, doesn't mean that it didn't happen."

BACP can find subsidised counsellors, have you tried them? Failing that, you could look at going every OTHER week, as I do. It's not as effective, but ultimately it is gentle and at a slower pace, which all in all is not a bad thing.

Flumpy2012 Tue 17-Sep-13 23:13:30


Thank you for your replies and support.

I don't get a lot out of the relationship to be honest. There is an aspect of practical help but there is just so much hurt and so many guilt trips and I just can't take anymore.

My brother just doesn't want contact with me which is his choice but my parents make it such a big deal and have let it get this bad.

If I go NC should I use exp for contact with my dd for them? Has anyone else done this?

Exp is ok, we've been up and down but he has finally been out on meds for depression and through relate we have become 'very stable and supportive of each other' to quote the counsellor tonight. So it looks promising there but I'm not banking on anything at the moment. Xx

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Tue 17-Sep-13 23:35:25

I'm nc flumpy and ds still sees gp's. He's 12 and we live in the same village so he arranges all that himself because he wants a relationship with them.

peachmint Wed 18-Sep-13 06:53:41

Hissy, thank you. Re counselling, I'm paying a sliding scale rate, so it's not too bad, but it's still an expense I could do without. It's one of the many things that gets to me - I feel like I was chewed up and spat out and now I'm literally paying the price.

On the upside, I think I'm probably a much better parent for it, in that I've taken the time to think and educate myself about how not to totally get it wrong.

Hissy Wed 18-Sep-13 07:19:44

Flump, tell your parents that they're welcome to come and see DD, but that you'll not be feeding the golden child monster that is your brother.

If they can't decide to do what's right by you, by your DD, then that's their choice.

Hissy Wed 18-Sep-13 07:22:27

But tbh, your DD wouldn't ! Benefit from having contact with this toxic pair AT ALL.

Stand well back, take the money and run!

If you can afford not to take the cash, please cancel the arrangement.

The last thing you need is to be beholden to people like these.

Hissy Wed 18-Sep-13 07:24:42

peach I was only discussing emotional 'capability' this week with mine.

We ARE better people and better parents as a result. I wouldn't recommend my path to enlightenment as it's been hell, literally. I will however agree that in a strange way, it's dramatically improved my life all round!

GoodtoBetter Wed 18-Sep-13 09:18:53

I think I'd benefit from some counselling, but I wouldn't know where to start here and would rather not do it in a foreign language. Think I might get the toxic parents book maybe.

Funny thing happened yesterday. DM phoned to say the camera she bought for DS is faulty and will cost too much in postage to send back. This is to replace the digital camera she bought for his birthday. (He's 5 hmm). That one he dropped and it will cost more to fix than it cost to buy. I was annoyed as I'd said I didn't think it was a good idea, that a kiddie camera would be best, but she knew better as always.

When his broke she got a cheap one off Amazon for 20 quid but it's faulty. She was saying she felt "low", that she had been stupid buying it online and she shouldn't have bought him the original camera in the first place.

I told her not to worry, these things happen and then she said that when DB had come to visit and hadn't been able to get DS a football kit for his birthday as he has for the last few years she'd inisisted I go and choose a present from DB. I got a remote control car and it worked for about 3 days and then died. She was saying "I pushed you into getting that, I was overbearing". Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather!

Funny how she can see it herself sometimes, but it's like she can't stop herself. But then, she's all "down" and miserable and I'm such a terrible person.....I wonder about touches of bipolar you know...the excitement and overbearing dominance and then the crashes and the self flagellation. Her mother was bipolar and her sister is too.
God, it must be hard work being my mother. It must be so tiring having her brain.

GoodtoBetter Wed 18-Sep-13 09:33:16

Also, maybe this sounds really spoilt bratty but I've been getting annoyed recently about selling my house to move in with her.

Things would have been tight with DH out of work but we could have managed the mortgage just about. Now, here I am with some money in the bank but never enough to buy again and nobody would give me a mortgage in the current economic climate and even if they would in the future, I don't think I'd get one because of my I'm not going to get a mortgage when I'm 48, am I?

I HAD A HOUSE and I gave it up for her and she repaid me by trying to destroy my marriage. But DB has a property and she wants to help him buy another one.

I've been getting quite angry about giving up my security like that. Agry at her and myself.

peachmint Wed 18-Sep-13 09:48:34

GoodtoBetter are you somewhere other than the UK? I think some people do Skype counselling but I can't imagine that, must just be an old fogey I'm sure.

As to your DM saying she feels low, it strikes me as being really guilt trippy. Mine says similar, always when she wants people to feel sorry for her. Are you sure it's not just plain good old narcissism? Anyway, no way are you being bratty not wanting to live with her. Goodness no.

Hissy is it really arrogant of me to wonder how supposedly intelligent people can not realise they're rubbish parents? I mean, if I could see that the way I grew up wasn't good, why couldn't they? That's why it annoys me when people say things like oh, they did the best with what they had. Well, I didn't. I did better, with more than I had.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm a perfect parent. But I'm better than mine were, that much I know to be true.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Wed 18-Sep-13 09:52:42

GoodToBetter what's the rental market like around you?

Hissy Wed 18-Sep-13 10:02:26

Peach, emotional intelligence is nothing to do with conventional education!

There are so many on here that don't have 2 degrees to rub together, but they have more EQ than you can shake a stick at!


happystory Wed 18-Sep-13 10:18:30

Can I join? sad Have been reading these threads for months/years and lots of posters have helped me realise that my mother is toxic/narcissistic/ all about her and getting worse - literally- by the day. It's come to a head recently and I've predictably had all sorts of c**p thrown at me by way of vitriolic emails, texts and veiled, guilt-tripping messages via the kids (adults) and my brother.

I am alternating between anger and sadness, that my mother would be so nasty to me when I have done so much for her over the years (many times with gritted teeth) She is wailing about how I have 'changed' but I think really all it is is that at my grand old age (50, bloody hell) I have finally seen her for what she is and called her on it. And sadness too, that I will never have the mother-daughter relationship that some people seem to have...and that she will now talk so negatively to all and sundry about what a horrible daughter I am.

noddyholder Wed 18-Sep-13 10:21:47

happy I am in the same situation and it is truly awful

happystory Wed 18-Sep-13 10:26:30

Thank you, noddy, for understanding. It's so hard to talk about with most people. Dh is brilliant but sometimes I just don't want to talk about it AGAIN as it's so draining and circular..

noddyholder Wed 18-Sep-13 10:33:11

I really do understand. Am struggling this week with all her nastiness

noddyholder Wed 18-Sep-13 10:36:16 this is very good It is and was my life to a t!

GetYourSocksOff Wed 18-Sep-13 10:42:51

good I can understand how annoying it is to have sold your house. It's not bratty at all. Will you ever come back to the uk? There are new schemes in place for 'first time buyers' which would work for you, but obv not relevant if you're over there.

My situation isn't the same, but my mum refused to allow her and dad to act as guarantor for my mortgage when I broke up with exP. It's a very long story but it put me into a crap position (which hasn't improved) which could have been avoided with just a signature from my parents. She denies having this conversation or understanding what guarantor meant hmm

I could write an essay on all the strings in that story.

Flump123 is there any benefit to your DD staying in contact with your parents? Also agree that your teenage behaviour may have been in response to parents behaviour, rather than as a result of.

happystory Wed 18-Sep-13 10:50:26

I will take a look noddy, thank you

Flumpy2012 Wed 18-Sep-13 11:35:28


I really feel for you happy. My parents have given my B money to buy a house - well over 10k without him even asking but I asked for 2.5k and I got a one way guilt trip ticket. So I told them to stick it.

I think I'm getting stronger, they always think I'll come back and it will all revert because I feel guilty but not this time. My DD will keep me strong.
She is 9mo and there isn't really any benefit to her having contact other than the empty expensive gifts which I'd rather not have. But my DDs dad is v good with them and happy to be go between to maintain contact. I'm not sure though, we're moving and I don't even want them to have our address really.

My DF has mellowed since becoming a GP and we did move on from the past and he even knows DM is full of crap but too weak to tell her to keep her trap shut if she had nothing nice to say.

I think it's obviously that a lot of bad behaviour is just a cry for love and acceptance, that's definitely why I did it.

I'm waiting now for the guilt texts and calls. Ready to ignore them. I think it would help if they were even sorry! xx

Meery Wed 18-Sep-13 11:38:42

Happy me too. At the grand old age of 47 i actually stand up to dm and see her for the bitter old lady the is. Although i too feel the sadness for not having a normal mum i feel that a weight has been lifted off my shoulders that i do not have to respect her anymore.

GoodtoBetter Wed 18-Sep-13 11:53:58

Sorry, to be clear. I had a house, which my DM guilt tripped and manipulated me into selling to move in with her and care for her in her "last years" (She was 67 at the time hmm). Then proceeded to go at DH with both guns until I couldn't stand it any more and we moved out at Xmas (there was a looooong thread on here at the time). We now rent nearby. I have some money in the bank from the house sale, but not enough to buy anywhere and I don't earn enough now to get a mortgage in this climate.
I don't even really want to buy actually and I prefer this rented house to what I had, I'm just annoyed that I had a house and the stability that brings and I gave it up for someone to then treat me like crap.
I'm not sure why it's annoying me so much now, rather than when we first moved out, I just feel like she shafted me financially and I let her.

GoodtoBetter Wed 18-Sep-13 11:57:23

yy peachmint she said "I'm feeling a bit low actually" and I just want to shout FUCK OFF WITH THE GUILT TRIPPING CRAP! But then I feel bad, if she's upset....but it's always about something so trivial and it's just well, attention seeking, like a child...I'm so low you must come and pat my head and fuss over me. I'm fed up being the adult and the child all in one in that relationship...does my head in.

TerribleTeenTweenTwinsTantrumm Wed 18-Sep-13 12:34:49

Hello all.

Can anyone give me some pearls of comfort/wisdom on the issue of the decision (mine) to go no contact with my parents and them not actually giving a shit?

Siblings have decided I'm loopy and I have no contact with them either - missed two siblings weddings over the past month, one I was not invited to anyway.

Strangley, it hurts more than the physically/mentally/sexually abusive childhood sad that I endured. I thought bringing it all out in the open would help me to accept that I am not crazy but that has spectacularly backfired sad.

I have never felt so lonely or alone in this world (although I rationally know I have always been). I have DH and 4 DC and I am 'there' for them wholeheartedly and will fight to my death for them. It has struck me full force that there is no one to do that for me and never has been.

TerribleTeenTweenTwinsTantrumm Wed 18-Sep-13 12:36:22

Strangely not Strangley!

RockinD Wed 18-Sep-13 20:03:09

At least if you decide to go NC you have some control.

I had a neglectful physically and emotionally abusive childhood - I've never figured out whether there was sexual abuse as well. Nothing I did was ever good enough and in the end my mother said she was so disappointed in me that she went NC with me (and my father let her confused)

This was 25 years ago and she has fielded every attempt that I have made since to contact her by saying I am cruel and refusing to have anything to do with me.

Before we got to that point she had destroyed my marriage with her constant assertions that my husband was gay and in the closet. She's clearly very sick and I don't actually want her in my life (probably still frightened of her actually) but is anyone else in the same situation where a toxic parent has gone NC with them rather than the other way round?

noddyholder Wed 18-Sep-13 22:25:23

Yes I asked my mum to stop saying terrible things and she cut me dead I have tried a few times but nothing

GetYourSocksOff Thu 19-Sep-13 08:28:33

Flumpy2012 so sorry I got your name so wrong before, posting on phone but thought I'd remembered it x

TTTTT it must be so painful sad

GetYourSocksOff Thu 19-Sep-13 08:30:21

Noddy too. Need to swap back to desktop!!

RockinD Thu 19-Sep-13 15:09:31

I'm not the only one then noddy

In a strange way, that helps.

Really struggling at work at the moment. My low self esteem really affects me in my everyday life sometimes. I feel my parents have done such a number on me that even though I'm NC with Dad and hardly see Mum their actions have had lasting effects. I think I see things that aren't there and any criticism I take as rejection. Does any of this make sense?

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Fri 20-Sep-13 08:49:06

Sounds perfectly normal to me MomeRaths. Ah! toxic parenting - the gift that keeps on giving.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Fri 20-Sep-13 10:27:58

Has anyone else had variations on number14 from their TP's?

spanky2 Sat 21-Sep-13 07:52:27

My parents see 'little point ' in contacting me again . It isn't just you. I don't want to see them either , but it is hurtful that they can't see what they've done wrong .

spanky2 Sat 21-Sep-13 11:18:15

Strangely (today ) they have sent my dcs a postcard from their holidays but not included me and dh.angry sad

Bin or shred such a card.

TiffanyTortoise Sat 21-Sep-13 12:47:34

MomeRaths I understand what you're saying about self esteem and how it affects all your life. I've been in a job for years where I feel I don't fit in and haven't always been treated well. But, instead of getting another job I won't apply for other jobs as I feel I am unsuitable/inexperienced/ not capable etc. The thing with this low self esteem is that it stops you reaching for what you want. Years of being told that TP's are disappointed with you affects your life and the vicious cycle keeps going. I am upset today at my father's latest comments. I do some voluntary work (which I prefer to my paid job). But my father in his sneering tone is going on at me that I really don't want to waste my time doing things for 'wasters' who don't appreciate it etc etc. It seems to be something else he thinks I'm doing wrong.

Helles That link was good. I too can relate to no14 (and some others) I have long since given up telling my TP's any problems especially related to mental health. They don't know about a lot of what goes on as they're not really interested and don't have any time or empathy with anyone with mental health issues. I find it easier to pretend all is well.

Spanky. It must be really hurtful for you when they say there's no point in contact. Try to remember it's not you it's them even if they don't agree. I find TP's can't see what they've done/are doing wrong and nothing will change them unfortunately.

Hissy Sat 21-Sep-13 12:52:52

Spanky, they ARE contacting you! Via your kids.

Thing is, what they mean by no point in contacting you is that they recognise on some level that they won't make YOU think any different of them, that they know they can't pull you back in so they can hurt you directly again.

So they'll have to make do with hurting you VIA your kids.

Shred and bin anything you get from them. No exceptions.

Don't respond, it only feeds them. A non response will perturbe them WAY more!

Scarboroughfair Sat 21-Sep-13 13:45:29

I've been reading through this and am so sorry for what you've all been through.

Can I ask if any of this rings any bells ? I grew up being told by my Mum that she took me back to her home country to visit relatives when I was two and wasn't going to come back to the UK and Dad. But she claimed she would have lost custody of me not being from the UK so stayed amd went on to have my Brother for my sake. My Dad (the seperatated 20 years ago) was really shocked when I told him this.

She said my Brother was my Dad's favourite and she tried to protect me from this. Pissed off abroad for a month every summer once I early teens and would just ring once. Cast my Dad into the rol of the bad guy and constantly wanted to talk to me about how he ruined her life. Said that he would go through the bins and walk round the back of the house to spy on us at night when he got home. Undermined every attempt I made to lose weight. Criticised my parenting.

My problem is she now has Dementia and my Brother (who hasn't seen her for 4.5years) and I have fallen out over how to proceed with her care. As a result she is effectively a ward of Social Services. My Brother has fired me and said he is cutting my DH's hours. Apparent,y he only get considers mr to be his sister , I have only my interests at heart and to,d the SW I am 'protecting my inheritance'

Mum told SW I am evil, plotting against her and doesn't want me involved in her care. When I last saw her at start of summer holidays she Said she doesn't want to see me till she is home and then I have hard questions to answer.

I was very upset at first but then weirdly stopped biting my nails properly for the first time in my 44 years. Started thinking about my relationship with Mum in the past. This was partly prompted by the CH she is in who observed she says one thing to me and another to my Brother. Have spoken a fair bit to my Dad too. Him and his new partner have been very very supportive , as have the rest of my family and friends.

My GP has asked me to put myself and my children first, that I was there every step of the way for Mum but now need to protect myself. I've gone away and reflected how awful things were earlier this year for my poor husband and DC and it was absolutely awful. I saw a locum GP about my arm recently and told her the situation and said I thought I might benefit from counselling. She agreed it would be a good idea so I have emailed regular GP for referral.

That is much longer than intended, apologies. I'd welcome any words of wisdom.

Not checked in here for a while as at the moment nothing to report my side which is exeedingly wonderfulsmile, but at the same time i'm very sad you guys are filling up this thread so fast. Wish we could all have some tranquility from the toxics not just i.
Something in that fb message sent back to mil must have done some good! Maybe it was the part where i put "stop harassing me"!

I agree with hissy re your troubles spanky, they are still contacting you, just through your children instead. They are using them as a portal to upset you. My sil did similar a while back by getting my nieces to chat to my dc online through moshi monsters, it was obvious sil wrote the messages as there were no spelling mistakes and the punctation was too good for a dyslecsic child & a 7yo!! I had to put a stop to my children using it for a while as they were being pulled in by it.

Dawndonnaagain Mon 23-Sep-13 11:29:14

happy I'm 54, I have gone nc again (see earlier to see why). It's a bit of a relief but takes a while to get over. There is a tremendous sadness that I will never have the Mum I would have liked, or should have had, there is also relief and a bit of fear. The fear is because she has decided to go to all family events in the hopes that I will not. The first is next weekend. I shall go. I have support, I shall be sad, too. My fabulous aunt will be there and I love watching her joke and hug with her dd, but there is a pang of jealousy there too. Understandably. In some ways it will be amusing, she will make it widely known how abominable I am beforehand, and will spend the day making 'innocent' remarks. I shall spend the day calling her on absolutely everything. My sister tells me she's looking forward to it! Hopefully, if I do call her, she'll not bother showing up to the next family do.

beabea81 Wed 25-Sep-13 11:22:15

Hi everyone, also sad to see how fast this new thread is filling up thanks to the TP's out there : ( I haven't been on in a while as life has just been so busy, and I've had a lovely summer with my dd & have got the hang of blocking out my dm's narc ways & behaviour towards me.

dm clearly realised her controlling ways were not having the same effect as they have previously over the last 30 years! She started to say how depressed she was feeling, she says she's lonely, has no friends, no social life, is a failure, nobody likes her, goes off on a rant in between criticising my dh and then my brother & sil & how awful they are to her. Then back to me, she did her best but is a failure as a mother, we're not close like we used to be - i.e when she used to control me. Then she said it - she loves my dd (her own gc!) to bits, BUT since she was born I've not been so close (controlled!) to her & I put dd first, I'm closer to my dd now than to my dm (!) and she misses me. That's why she's depressed.

She is just unbelievable, never ceases to amaze me her warped thoughts on everything in life. The world revolves around her. Nobody is ever good enough. My 2.5 year old dd is her pride & joy when it suits her, but is taking my attention away from her & making her lonely & depressed apparently. Just crazy eh?

GoodtoBetter Wed 25-Sep-13 11:34:53

Hi beabea, sounds like my DM...the feeling sorry for herself when not controlling me.
I'm not well at the moment. I have so many mouth ulcers I can't eat or talk and a throat infection. I was off work yesterday, am off today and will almost certainly be off tomorrow. My DM knows this but hasn't been in touch, not even a text, to ask how I am. It's not like she's busy or has a job or a whirlwind social life. I find that so odd. If it were her, I'd send a text asking how she was.

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 18:55:03

Lessons learned there G2B then eh?

I'm looking to go away for christmas. Well kinda have to, cos staying at home, just me as DS feels so dismal.

Last year I had Boyf, this year no-one.

I'm so down today. How come doing the best thing for you and your child feels so bloody dismal and lonely?

Even chucking silly money at this christmas isn't going to fill the gaping hole in my life is it?

Generally I look at upcoming therapy dates and wonder Wtf to talk about, and question if this is an indulgence.

This week I feel the need for thé session. I feel so flat, punished and undeserving of a full and happy life.

I look around and utter wankers have lives, and I don't. Why IS that? Why not me?

The answer comes in the voices of my family sad

What a big fat failure, how sad a life am I showing my beloved son.

Being in thé right doesn't fucking matter at all, does it?

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 18:55:04

Lessons learned there G2B then eh?

I'm looking to go away for christmas. Well kinda have to, cos staying at home, just me as DS feels so dismal.

Last year I had Boyf, this year no-one.

I'm so down today. How come doing the best thing for you and your child feels so bloody dismal and lonely?

Even chucking silly money at this christmas isn't going to fill the gaping hole in my life is it?

Generally I look at upcoming therapy dates and wonder Wtf to talk about, and question if this is an indulgence.

This week I feel the need for thé session. I feel so flat, punished and undeserving of a full and happy life.

I look around and utter wankers have lives, and I don't. Why IS that? Why not me?

The answer comes in the voices of my family sad

What a big fat failure, how sad a life am I showing my beloved son.

Being in thé right doesn't fucking matter at all, does it?


No, no and no again!.

Being right does bloody well matter!. Its not you, its them.

You are not a failure at all, far from it. You are both a good and strong person. You are showing and teaching your son both good and positive life lessons about relationships, ones that he will carry over into his own adult relationships.

I enjoy reading your posts because you always offer good counsel.

I am also going away for Christmas (about 4500 miles away from here infact!). I can't abide it here at that time of year and I am definitely not spending any of my precious holiday time with the ILs!. Also my parents are not ones to do any sort of big Christmas celebration either so that's yet another reason for leaving it all behind for 2 weeks. I feel a lot bloody happier as well as a result.

Onwards and upwards eh!!. May the angels protect us if all else should fail!!.

A x

spanky2 Wed 25-Sep-13 19:38:07

Thank you for your support. I got so angry I made myself ill. I had a migraine , followed by an abcess on my nose then hurt my back from being so clenched I guess . When it has been getting the better of me I remind myself of your advice . smile

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 19:43:10

Thanks Atilla, I admire your advice often, I have to say!

It just gets me that i'm the one scratching around for a life, and i'm alone.

Alone because i'm not going back for more of the same I suppose. I just look at my life and think how small it is, after all this time.

Being 'right' feels like shit. I worry that people will look at me and think it's me that's the problem.

No matter what I tell them, there's more of them than there are of me. I'm the sore thumb.

I find all this unbearably humiliating!

I don't want it to be like this! If I could unring that bell, unhear the words that have cut me to the core, I bloody well would.

But Dsis did tell me she'd ignored my 'pleas' for text relief from an abusive situation thousands of miles away from civilisation on purpose. Smiling. Proud she was too.

DM did call the abusive ex to wish him well before he left, she did plan a trip to the fecking moon all summer, only telling me on christmas day, weeks before she was due to go (at the same time Ex was leaving). She also did ignore me for a few days upon her return. She also did just move house without telling me where she was going. Yes. That.

It hurts.

If I say anything? 'There are 2 sides of the story'. A.k.a you deserve it.

How do I make it go away?

spanky2 Wed 25-Sep-13 19:45:37

Therapy is not a luxury . You could talk about how to fill your void yourself . I tried filling mine with food . Didn't work, just got fat! You are strong and giving . You helped me when I was down for no other reason than helping .

spanky2 Wed 25-Sep-13 19:51:42

I had to go to ds1's school and explain why my parents are not allowed access . I have worked with some of these people ! I understand humiliation . You aren't alone you have decided you don't want to put up with their bulls**t . They want you to think that .

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 20:00:16

I will keep reading all you words and try and hammer it in.

I know when I post for others, I mean what I say, and genuinely hope they get help/comfort from whatever it is i'm saying.

Why is it so hard to believe when others tell us what we know we've told others?

It's like the love and the warmth of others can't reach us, not like the bad can.

I want to believe it's not me, and in my lucid moments I reason with myself and tell myself that it's not me. But times like now, I struggle.

I want to hear 'there there, it'll be ok' but when the words are said, they don't 'work'

Nothing makes me feel any better. I'm not depressed, just my mood is.

I don't even know what i'm supposed to be aiming for, feeling wise.

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 20:02:39

It will pass.

This will pass. It'll get easier. Repeats over and over.

Flaming toothache's not helping either!

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 20:03:43

Thanks to you both, Atilla & Spanky! Appreciate it, I really do!


AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Sep-13 21:04:39

Hey Hissy, hang in there. Take it an hour at a time or half hour. (I've been down to having a watch with a second hand on it...) You are right, it will pass.

You did right. You did it! It is not an easy thing to break the generational dynamic of passing *IT* on to your ds.

The long view is hard to keep in focus sometimes. Your ds wil not be trained and brainwashed to treat people (including you) the way you have been treated. He will be an outstanding person, just the way you are.

Be kind to yourself. Create your own traditions that are based on what you like and love. Leave the past.
Take care

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Sep-13 21:06:11

Sorry , I did not realize I was creating a link with my IT above.

GoodtoBetter Wed 25-Sep-13 21:17:48

It's hard feeling abandoned by your family Hissy but you are better without them and you are helping DS grow up away from all that shit.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Sep-13 22:09:47

I have a bit of news on my circumstance. My toxic middle sister has declared, to my oldest sister, that she will never speak to me again. My sin was that I returned a gift and declined to accept her non-apology.

This was last January. The gift was DVD copy of our childhood home movies. She said this was the first batch and she would be sending more. That is why I bothered to make the contact and return them...thinking that it would be a courtesy to let her know not to go to the expense on my behalf. I simply wrote that I was not interested in them and to please not send any more. My oldest sister accepted hers as she is in limited contact.

Included with this package was a birthday card with thus: and my oldest sister saw her at Christmas and said middle sister was in tears agonizingover the letter she was writing to me...
"Can't we get beyond this? I sincerely apologize for whatever I did."

Agnozing over two lines? Oldest sister said to middle sister that she had to take culpability for her behavior. [She is my enlightened witness]. I wrote that apologizing for "whatever" is just another exercise in dismissiveness, so that'd be a "no".

Even though my counselor was of the mind that NC was better, she thought this was good in that I did not get sucked back in with middle sister diminishing me back to a child like status, happy families, with her "look what I did" gift. And also for recognizing the non-apology. It was not the first.

The first, hand written btw, said said she was sorry that I was offended, but was scratching her head trying to figure out what it was that she did..really she had no idea. That one, I did ignore.

It took about five years, six months from my liberation day (3/17/08) when I told her I needed a break from our relationship.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Sep-13 22:27:30

Any way, Hissy, I do not do well with the past. That is why I could not watch the DVDs. When my mother passed when I was 18, I remember watching those home movies and df could not bring himself to watch them too. I remember the look on his face but did not understand it until I had counselling and insight from many years here. So it is a boundary for me.

It does hurt, but it also saves me from hurt too. Then the emails from high school reunions start and I read about how successful everyone is and the pictures of people that have kept in touch and those who even vacation together or live near each other. sad Consellor said just don't read the email. Leave the past in the past. I think that is what the phrase "onwards and upwards" is about (is for me anyway).

I am further removed though. Mother died in 1980, so 34 years have passed by. The effects are still there. She was a bipolar alcoholic. I was the invisible one. That does not translate well in a professional office setting. I am (was, more discussion) a licensed architect, but did not hesitate to give it up to be a sahm.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 25-Sep-13 22:37:30

I did not mean to make that post all about me. Reaching the enough is enough point gives an indication that the past is driving the present so create that boundary for the present (and thus future). And hopefull it can be left there, like a freight train leaving the cars of trash on a siding , permanently. They are still there if I need them...but I don't need them. Just like I do not need the clutter/estate stuff/junk in the basement blush which is/has taken years to finally deal with.

I hope this might be abe to help Hissy. Give your darling ds bunches of hugs and attention and the time will go by quick enough.

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 22:46:43

I think I remember you posting about thé DVD before Andtheband

It's so clear that all that was all about her, and to maintain the dynamic that is you as a child.

Their choosing to exclude us from adulthood, their excluding us from information an adult'd be told, keeping things from us somehow tick the same boxes. Reminding us we're less than, weaker than, on the outside of, persona non grata.

It's why they conspire to keep us in abusive environments.

Makes them look bigger/better. Only by having us toppled can they be better than us.

Hissy Wed 25-Sep-13 22:57:14

Cogito said today on another thread, that the end of an abusive relationship is rarely as a result of a big thing, so the feeling of resolution/closure is unattainable.

We go through the agony, the fear of confrontation, finding the bravery to dig deep and stand up for ourselves.

And when it's done... we're lost and alone.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Thu 26-Sep-13 01:43:31

Thanks Hissy. I think the "lost and alone" sums it up, tbh. There was no connection in the first place. I coach myself into believing I am cool and content with the social solitude, but then thank God every day for dh and dc so I am not technically alone. No friendships/fellowship though (dh is a workaholic, yep, just like dad).

Toxic sister thrives on superiority. Me subordinate:she inspects (house, children, car, etc); she "compliments" as in giving a gold star; she announces dinner time/place and where everyone will sit; the gift giving to create the I Owe Her dynamic; I am to get in touch with her (made reducing contact easy grin she thought she was punishing me by not calling). When our father was alive, we would call him so she likes to carry on in the parents role...

I just finished reading this thread and some of the things posted about the toxic mothers rang bells for sister. That is a mind fu©< in itself. Not knowing what they are doing that destroys the self esteem of others...grrrr...feigned innocence for Death By Ten Thousand Cuts. Boils my blood.

Sister, (single, no dc) also told my dd1 to come to her first if she ever found herself with an unwanted pregnancy. I had an unplanned, yes, surprise, pregnancy at the age of 45 (birth at 46). This was the catalyst for my enough is enough limit. My thouhts are with you, Little Miss (I am glad your dd is with you).

I could see it coming. She of course accused me of depriving her of a relationship with her niece and nephew (pity party), but I did not have to as they were old enouh to decide for themselves. In addition, I found guidance from Attila and others here who said if I was not being treated well by her why on earth would I turn my dc over to her? That thouht has given me multitudes of comfort, thank you all.

I am doing a mind dump, sorry. I am preparing to study my recovery more and have ordered the Adult Children of Alcoholics "Big Red Book". I feel a little nervous/apprehensive. Digging it up again maybe or discovering some other painful dynamic I have not yet noticed? My youngest is now in school and if I am to return to the workforce, be employable (there I said it), I feel lie I need to revalidate myself iyswim.

Thanks for being here, for reading. I am in the US so that is why my posting times seem late.

SlowlyGoingRoundTheBend Fri 27-Sep-13 16:10:50

I am having EMDR therapy at the moment. Just started the eye moving thing today whilst working through my feelings (that I had disassociated from) about my DD2 who died at birth 12 years ago. I had known 2 weeks prior to her birth that she would not make it and it was an unbelievably traumatic time as I have to decide whether the docs would resuscitate her or just let her die but I didn't know how long she would survive.

A rather profound (to my mind) feeling was brought up which was that 'I don't matter' in how my mother took over the funeral and, up until I broke contact this June, would send me random text pictures of work which she and my stepfather had done at her grave as it 'has to look nice'. They were trying to make jokes while I was labour (utterly terrified) as my younger sister was there (have no idea why but she wanted to come to the hospital) and my mother insisted on a Christian burial despite me being adamant I didn't want a priest there and even chose the flowers etc.

It brought back such a vivid feeling from childhood that I did not matter to them that was why I was left out of holidays, days out etc. It seems odd as they were THERE for me during that time, but it felt more like a sense of duty or just to be involved in the drama. I remember my mother's first words when I rang her and told her my baby was going to die (whilst 8 months pregnant) and they were 'well you have to give that baby a good name, you hear me' hmm, no real interest in how I was coping.

I realise now that the 'I don't matter' has been something that has been with me all my life, probably since my father left when I was 6 or before that come to think about it as I grew up in a very large complicated family. My wedding was a farce as my mother decided I didn't need an evening disco as 'there are not enough people as you don't have any friends'. I really hated that I did'nt have one, all my siblings did. Of course she took over everything to do with the wedding as well except for when I asked her to help me shop for a wedding dress and she 'did not have time' so I have to go to the bridal shop alone as well as look after my screaming 4 month old while getting dressed on my wedding day. No one would take her off me so I could get ready in peace even though I have 7 siblings! My younger sister (bridesmaid) was taken shopping for a dress (I had no say in what she wore) and had her makeup and hair professionally done hmm. I had forgotten how much that hurt sad.

I am fat and eat crap, my feet are cracked and hurt but I can't find time to put cream on them, my hands are dry and bleed but I don't bother putting rubber gloves on when I clean, I wear crap clothes and have no hobbies or friends. All my energy is in my DC and anything else other than me because 'I don't matter'.

I know exactly why I feel like this and it is rather a big thing for me to realise it and start to challenge it. Feels like a major breakthrough for me!

Love and hugs to everyone else going through this xx

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 16:17:20

NSV: down a back size. Plus I noticed, in the scary full-height mirror, that my fat is rather droopy so I must focus more on toning exercises and - hopefully - see some waist loss smile

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Fri 27-Sep-13 16:27:40

Wrong post for this thread - sorry!

The link is, of course, that - now that I'm nc - I care enough about myself to lose some weight and improve my health. Previously, I was so anxious and, therefore, depressed that I ate loads of high energy (fattening) foods just to get through the day.

I am proof that counselling can make a huge difference.It has led to me separating myself from my parents but has also given me a sense of myself as an adult and able to manage without the infantalising "support" my parents provided.

Meery Fri 27-Sep-13 17:11:01

And here i am again with a little rant. When we were with dm a few weeks back she said she was planning a trip to the UK and would like to visit for a weekend. Fine we say, the only weekend we cannot do between now and xmas o is the first one in October.
Just got a text "on way to UK. See you next weekend?"

spanky2 Fri 27-Sep-13 17:35:01

I don't matter either slowly . Get some bio oil for your feet . I use it on a scar but rubbed some into my dry heels and it was fantastic. It is absorbed instantly so is much easier and less time consuming . I also got ready on my wedding day alone . I had to wait for parents to show up in my room as I couldn't zip my dress all the way up. We can be better mothers .

spanky2 Fri 27-Sep-13 17:35:05

I don't matter either slowly . Get some bio oil for your feet . I use it on a scar but rubbed some into my dry heels and it was fantastic. It is absorbed instantly so is much easier and less time consuming . I also got ready on my wedding day alone . I had to wait for parents to show up in my room as I couldn't zip my dress all the way up. We can be better mothers .

spanky2 Fri 27-Sep-13 17:35:27

Wow twice !grin

spanky2 Fri 27-Sep-13 17:36:24

Sorry about your dd2 .

Hissy Sat 28-Sep-13 07:49:55

Such sad, sad stories! It's all so pointless this meanness isn't it?

So sorry to hear of all your experiences, it kind off gives me an insight into what dh must be going through.

With atleast a month of quiet, i'm wondering whether things are not what i'm seeing them as iyswim. I can't see il leaving dh alone unharrassed for all this time.
Not only can't i imagine it, but dhs behaviour of late leads me to thinking otherwise.

All his text threads on his phone containing mil, fil & sil have been deleted yet he has everyone elses messages from ages ago. I'm guessing he has deleted them to throw me of the sent they have been in touch. I don't make a habit of checking his phone but he has been acting odd again, wanting to spend money, being withdrawn in himself and unhelpful around the house.
All this normally starts when harrassment has taken place.

I have told him to be honest with me, but i really don't think he is, because when i asked him he didn't say yes but neither did he say no.

I haven't heard from them, i have a feeling mil has finally got the message i will not put up with her shit. But i'm guessing she is now using dh to pester.

HellesBellesThinksSometimes Sat 28-Sep-13 23:05:29

Oh Pumpkin - that's not good. So much pressure on your marriage because he presumably feels he has to see them and yet feels he can't let you know.

Saw cousin and aunt tonight. Aunt fine - she is close with mother and knows that we're not close. She even said that mum had said that we weren't speaking at the moment but cousin completely taken aback. "But she's your mum!"

Meery Sun 29-Sep-13 20:54:32

Pumpkin that's not good. Your mind must be working over time wondering what they are up to now and you must be getting yourself tied in knots trying to second guess. I'd say to ignore but do appreciate that that's easier said than done.

So my DM's visit, Any normal family would be able to agree a date and stick with it but not us. I think it's all about who is in control and is calling the shots and it's all very petty. We invited her to come this weekend just gone, she ignored this and then on Friday texted to suggest next. I replied "no sorry we are away with friends next weekend (as we told you), come the weekend after" Her response "No will have gone home by then, how about Tuesday?"

Now if she really wanted to visit surely she would have planned her trip around when we were free rather than making me feel guilty for not dropping everything to accommodate her. I am not sure how to respond to the latest missive - probably something along the lines of "oh that's a shame, see you next time". I am not happy about the Tuesday suggestion as will be a lot of faff for a couple of hours in the evening and will upset the dc that granny would only see them for an hour or so (thanks to mean mummy not letting her visit)

So ffing predictable...

Hissy Mon 30-Sep-13 06:44:42

I had similar recently. Stick to yer guns, and say Tuesday doesn't work, so you'll see her next time.

Yeah, I know you'll feel guilty, and she'll milk it. Dare say you'll get a 'Disappointed' text like I did, but remember SHE created this mess, not you. She's the one that CHOSE not to contact you until the last second, giving you an ultimatum.

She needs you to drop everything, to 'prove' your love.. well too bad. Hold firm.

She doesn't want to see you, she wants to tick a box.

This is what I felt my mum did, trying to force me to have an hour free for her, on her terms.

She thought that if she did that it'd protect her from any difficult conversations, and if anyone asked, she could say that she saw her DD and GS.

I'm not a box to be ticked. Not when you've fucked off and not told me where to.

Hissy Mon 30-Sep-13 07:15:16

Meant to say pumpkin your H may have deleted those texts because he doesn't want HIMSELF to see them anymore.

This is a hard battle, with fears that are irrational and immense, guilt that is all engulfing and terrifying.

happystory Tue 01-Oct-13 14:02:09

Help me be strong in the face of more nasty emails. The one I got yesterday really got to me and I had a sleepless night going over and over what was said. Feel like cr*p today. It's the endless cycle of contact... we don't speak for a while (me and mother this is) she can't bear the silence so she emails or texts, really nasty stuff under the guise of 'I'm so upset...'. If I reply, she replies, more nasty stuff. If I DON'T reply, she leaves it a while then emails 'Oh more unanswered emails...blah blah.' I have bitten once or twice and said my piece, nothing changes. But god, it's so hard not to answer back...

coffeespoons Tue 01-Oct-13 14:08:02

Well, I feel massively guilty for reading this thread, never mind posting on it. Sometimes my mother is lovely and I love her, other times she is just so unbelievably awful and impossible. All I know right now is that anything that comes across as a criticism to her will result in a total meltdown, that she seems to need to be in control of every tiny detail, and we all have to agree that she is the perfect mother and this is the perfect family. I can't deal with her having to always be right. If things don't go the way she wants there's a massive crying fit and I'm sure she's genuinely sad, but I have to squash my feelings down so I don't upset her, like I have all my life, and it's like walking on eggshells.

She has a big martyr thing going on. Things like 'but I would do anything for you, you kids are my life, you were so lovely when you were babies, I don't know what I did wrong'. Yet she has to be looked after all the time, physically, emotionally, our job is to protect her from the world. A counsellor told me once 'but SHE was supposed to look after YOU'. I can't really grasp that.

We just had the most enormous row again and I feel sick at heart and terrified of becoming her.

She loves me but it's like being smothered, suffocated by expectations and pressures, how I'm 'so clever' or 'could do it easily', my achievements are expected because she has so much "self-belief" in me but actually they were bloody hard won. I think she wants me to still be a baby, I've always been desperate to be independent and I think she hates it.

Something is wrong with the dynamic between me, her, and my sister. They gang up and 'tease' me, but if I joke back, my sister tells me off like a naughty child.

I can't confront any of them about any of it because my mum will start crying and I will be the bad guy again and my dad will want me to apologise.

I want kids but I think she'll be unbearable when I do.

coffeespoons Tue 01-Oct-13 14:27:04

The way she can't let you finish a conversation, instead there'll be a point, usually just a sentence or so in, when she cuts you off to 'agree' with you (usually she has no actual idea of the point you were heading for, as you've barely begun). She will then relate her own vaguely linked experience without stopping for breath for the next 30 minutes until you forget what you were going to say anyway
My mum does exactly this! And the 'child voice' and pretending to be 'only little'.


Fear, obligation and guilt are but three of many damaging legacies left by toxic parents.

Would suggest you read the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and see if that rings any bells. She sounds like a smother mother. Also the dynamic between your mum, your sister and you sounds like your mum uses triangulation; another tactic used by emotionally disordered people to divide and conquer.

Your counsellor is right; your mother was supposed to look after you and she failed abjectly at this task. Such women always but always need a willing enabler to help them; this she found in your Dad. He should not be let off the hook either as he has acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He has and continues to fail to protect you from her malign influences because he is also a weak individual.

A good rule of thumb here is that if they are too difficult for you to deal with, they are certainly too toxic for your child to have any sort of contact with. Toxic parents do not make for being good grandparents.

Meery Tue 01-Oct-13 18:14:17

Triangulation. Yes. So describes the dynamic between me, dm and dsis.

Hissy Tue 01-Oct-13 19:01:02

happy oh i've had "i"m distraught as your mother" which doesn't make any sense tbh!

Ignore the emails, delete them without reading them, ignore all calls.

Only allow them access IF they treat you with respect/consideration and care.

They won't, so accept you're better off without their poison in your lives and get on with living the best you can,

<takes own medicine>

Hissy Tue 01-Oct-13 19:04:01

Meant to say, it'll get worse before it gets better, but Fuck it, just ride it out, you know you're in the right!

happystory Tue 01-Oct-13 20:04:57

Thank you, it's unbelievable that there's a script for this kind of thing, you think that your own situation is a one off. But it makes me feel better that it's not me imagining things or exaggerating....

Triangulation, i can really sympathise with that. Dh is constantly got the mil & sil on his case, if one can't be heard, the other one will shout louder iyswim and normally one of them wins!

I don't know what is going on with dh but i have my suspicions, he has lied before. I hate that it that they cause my mistrustconfused. He has told me none of them have contacted me, but from checking his phone it shows mil phoned him yesterday and already i have heard him on phone today and admitted such- he denied speaking to anybody.

They are working their magic again, although he has been helping me with the garden etc he has snapped at me all day. Simple stuff my fault, such as not washing his favourite jeans & telling me how to do things right re the children although i'm the one that stays at home whilst he is workingconfused. Just some examples.

SlowlyGoingRoundTheBend Tue 01-Oct-13 22:23:17

Well I read 'Will I Ever Be Good Enough' from start to finish last night so am knackered today (along with DC4 getting up at 5am again!!) and it is a really useful book.

My childhood was a bit more 'extreme' than the examples in the book so a bit hard to relate but the writer is totally on the mark. The emptiness described is something that has bugged me for years as I could not understand where it came from sad. The 'feeling the pain' part of the healing process I am finding hard though as it means accepting my childhood and sometimes it is so much easier to accept that I AM the crazy one and I HAVE imagined it all as crazy as that sounds.

I have a day where I will be at home alone tomorrow so I intend to draw the curtains, try and cry, and bash some pillows.

I have realised that what I REALLY want is to have my mother and father sit opposite me at a table while I tell them how their decisions impacted me and how I felt and still feel, ow afraid I was, how lonely and ask my mother what I did to deserve her hatred apart from being 'his' daughter, and ask my father how could he just leave me without looking back. I have more chance of winning the lottery than that happening though. They have had no contact for 35 years, will never even say each other's name, would rather die than get together to help ME. That's the sad truth.

My mother finally deigned to answer a text I sent her 3 weeks ago telling her that I missed her and wanted to move on from our long drawn out confrontation (at a time when I was feeling extremely low about it all having been left out of TWO siblings weddings) and wants to meet to 'sort this out so it does not come up again'. I am afraid I am of the mind to tell her to fuck the fuck off and when she gets there to fuck off some more.

Hissy summed it up completely: 'We go through the agony, the fear of confrontation, finding the bravery to dig deep and stand up for ourselves.
And when it's done... we're lost and alone.

Hissy Tue 01-Oct-13 22:54:28

This is not all we are tho love, we're destined for happiness, somehow! We just have to find it in ourselves.

We are not the person they want us to be for them.

We have a choice to behave as we wish. We can't change the choices of others, but likewise they can't make US change, unless we allow them to!

Hissy Tue 01-Oct-13 22:58:22

I'm alone, just me and my boy.

It's been a shit load worse than this though.

Somehow I fume at the fact of who I was, and how much i've lost.

But I have gained clarity, truth, freedom, insight and wisdom. I'm able to protect myself and my darling boy.

That'll do for now, the rest will follow...


Hi ladies

Just lurking at the moment as life is really busy. My car has turned into a money pit lately and my Mum and therefore Dad too, have offered to buy me a new car. Ambivalent at this but also desperate as my car has cost me £1,500 this year so far. As a lone parent on a part time income, I'm desperate. I've spoken to my Dad twice by phone in the last week after not talking for at least 18 months. It's all very strange. I'm feeling a bit conflicted tbh.

I'll try and catch up on here later.

Meery Wed 02-Oct-13 19:08:38

Thanks Hissy you have got it spot on regarding my dm disregarding my choice regarding this visit of hers. Speaking with her on the phone tonight she denies being invited for last weekend and denies that we told her we had plans for this.

a) the reason we had for being unavailable has disappeared
b) my dh is going to see my dsis and hence dm tomorrow night and would have invited her for the whole weekend.

So I have agreed she can come Sunday.

Hissy Wed 02-Oct-13 21:49:41

Well fine, but it's still working on YOUR terms isn't it, and that's the main point.

You know what went on here. Next time you'll not be do floored by it.

Well done! Charge up your mobile for Sunday and post from the loo if you have to! :D

PuddingAndHotMilk Thu 03-Oct-13 02:52:51

Can I join in? I've only read the last few days of posts and I'm not sure I 'belong' here but I'll see if you think I do. You see, I worry I'll be the toxic Mum Coffeespoons describes. sad

My Mum passed away last year and I didn't like her very much. I wasn't hugged or held as a child. I don't remember her playing with me at all and my parents expectations (last child of 4) were immense. I was a constant disappointment, attention seeker yada yada. I had no support through some very difficult times in my childhood and looked so hard for affection I ended up being gang raped at 11 as I went looking in the wrong places.

I sometimes struggle to express non-positive emotion or feeling in an appropriate way, as I wasn't allowed to express then at all at home and was sent to my room to calm down. I am oversensitive and constantly second guess myself. I struggle to express my needs but get upset if they're not met. I'm a pleaser but then get frustrated if it's not reciprocated. I hate how I am sometimes - childish and petulant. I'm now a mum to an utterly gorgeous 9week old DD and am terrified. I had such issues with my parents and am so scared I'm going to fuck DD up even more...

coffeespoons Thu 03-Oct-13 08:09:47

You know, I don't mean to be mean about my mum, she's not as bad as some of the people described on here. She definitely has a few traits. I felt loved as a child though, still feel loved when I am in child role. And I love her and my dad. He did teach me courage and self-reliance. I think the main thing I'd want her to change is just to be a bit self aware, just a bit, of how self absorbed she is.

I have 'caught' growing up the tendency to be childish for attention, to get upset when not looked after (while in my case hating it at the same time because I don't feel independent enough - I have a disability which does not help this). I did have terrible issues with not being able to control anger which over the last few years I have developed control over and can now take a deep breath and think, or walk away to calm down. Pudding I think self awareness, that terror and desire to be better is the crucial thing. I have found both CBT and counselling helped me to be more self-reliant and take responsibility for my own bad moods, which helped considerably. I think what happens with toxic parents is they lose the self-awareness and desire to work on themselves. I have to reassure my mum all the time that she is a good parent, but she doesn't work on controlling her behaviour or show awareness of what she is doing, it's just a response she has to any disagreeement between us.

mamabear35 Fri 04-Oct-13 17:35:26

Hi everyone,
I'm a long time lurker but have never had the courage to write on this thread. I find it so hard and yet so comforting when reading about all of your experiences that I'm not the only one. In my case I've always blamed my dad's emotional and violent physical abuse on our culture...and my mum's enabling - a symptom of that. You've all really opened my eyes.

Recently it's been getting harder to cope. I have two adorable and amazing DD's and I'm terrified of putting them through the same crap I've always dealt with. Bad behaviour has been so normalised in my parents house that I HAVE to keep reminding myself that abusive behaviour is not OK! Right now I'm talking about shouting at the girls when I'm stressed, tired or frustrated and I'm terrified that I'll lose control one day. I don't want to get help when it's too late. My girls are 4 and 2 and I know I need to do something now. Ideally I think I want to talk through things with someone and just learn that it's OK. That what I went through is gone and it's right to feel bad about it all. That actually I won't be damaged forever, it is reversible. But I don't know how to go about getting the help I need. Who and what do I ask for? If anyone is going through counselling and could point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.

sashh Sat 05-Oct-13 09:15:09


You sound like you are having a rough time, I had some counseling as a student and also learned some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) it sounds like hippy tree hugging therapy but has helped me a lot. Talk to your GP, lots seem to have psychologists attached one day a week.

At the moment, for me, a lot of things are coming up because my mum is terminally ill, so I'm torn between thinking it will be over soon and thinking this is my last chance to say to her what she did and how it has affected my life.

GoodtoBetter Sat 05-Oct-13 14:07:55

That must be very hard sashh. sad so many conflicting emotions.

mamabear35 Sat 05-Oct-13 15:25:31

Oh sassh I'm sorry that must be hard. How would you feel if she died and you hadn't had it out with her? Would you regret it do you think or would you be grateful that you didn't have to deal with the associated drama? If you do talk about it with her would it also give you the chance to forgive her and maybe get some closure?
I had it out with my dad a few months ago - and initially he did the classic thing of denying any hardship - followed by my favourite 'I don't understand why you're so upset - I ever had it so good' etc. It was cathartic and very upsetting and I'm glad I got to tell him many things that I wanted to get off my chest. But it also made me very angry and outraged at his reaction. But having said all that I'm working towards forgiving him so that I can move on. I want to be the best version of myself I can be without my childhood dragging me back. We owe it to ourselves.

justanothergirl Sat 05-Oct-13 22:04:38

This is my first post on this thread. I have posted in other boards under different names, and some people suggested I look here for some support.

I have very controlling parents. I am 24, have a degree and a full time job, yet my parents still treat me like a child. I’m so frustrated and tired of the situation, I don’t know what to do. We are a traditional Jewish family, and many of the things my parents expect are simply not common in modern society, and I feel like I don’t fit in. If I don’t do what my parents want, I am told to go to my room (yes, really!) and am not allowed food until I apologise.

My parents are of the opinion that the child does as the parent says when they are living under their roof. Also that you don’t move out until you either marry or can afford to buy a property. Relationships with non-Jews are strictly forbidden, and sex and living together before marriage are not accepted. I have other Jewish friends who have far more liberal parents who have accepted that times have changed, but my parents are stuck in a controlling time warp.

I am the scapegoat of the family, always blamed when there is a problem. I do not have a good relationship with my sister (explained more below) and I am constantly told that I am a nasty and intolerant person, even though it is more of a personality clash, reinforced by our statuses within the family.

My younger sister has SN (a learning disability with some symptoms similar to Aspergers, combined with language difficulties). She is the golden child of the family. There are a couple of reasons I believe may be the cause of this:

1.She has SN, therefore anything she ever did wrong was never wrong, it was just part of her SN. Any time I was upset with something my sister did, I was told I was nasty, jealous of my sister, and I needed to be more tolerant.
2.She is the youngest child, and the baby of the family. I am the second and middle child, and my parents constantly berate me, telling me that I have “middle child syndrome” I do have another older sister, who was not treated in this way.
3.She is a talented musician. My mother (who is the main controller of the family) is a music teacher. I am naturally relatively musical, although I never had the patience to stick with a musical instrument, however compared to my sister I am unmusical and therefore untalented.

I am a very bright, naturally academic person, who always got very high marks in school. However, to avoid upsetting my sister, my efforts were rarely acknowledged. My younger sister on the other hand was praised for all her academic and musical achievements.

My older sister and I are expected to take responsibility for my younger sister when my parents can no longer look after her. I don’t feel this should be my responsibility, but my parents say this is just my nasty behaviour and intolerance to my sister with SN. I have a cousin with severe physical disabilities, who will always be dependent. My parents have always said how his brothers should never be responsible for looking after him, that it is his parents’ responsibility to find suitable care when they can no longer look after him. So it is ironic that they expect this of my older sister and me.

I have always done everything I could to try and please my mum and get her to like me more, despite that my younger sister is, and will always be the favourite (the golden child). It is therefore no surprise that I have ended up as a teacher, like my mum (albeit in a different subject).

I am currently working extremely hard in my new job as a teacher, trying to complete my NQT. My parents constantly complain that I am not going out and socialising enough, in order to meet a Jewish boy and give them grandchildren. They have nothing but praise for my younger sister who is supposed to be studying music at university (but does so little practice she failed last year and is re-sitting the year) because she has a boyfriend (for a couple of months). I understand that they are happy she is in a relationship, and I am happy for her too, but I wish they would recognise my hard work and achievements too.

My sister and I are such polar opposites, I spend most of my time working hard, she spends her time socialising instead of working, so it is hardly surprising that we don’t get on. I wish my parents would just accept that right now I am simply working hard and focussing on my teaching career, and therefore do not have the time to go out socialising right now.

My parents always consider themselves to have given my sisters and I great opportunities by allowing us to study whatever subject we wanted. However, although my parents were not fussy about the subjects we studied, they were very insistent that we go to one of only about 6 different universities in the country. Although they did not force us, the constant remarks were enough to put anyone off. When I dared to put down an unapproved university on my UCAS form, my parents’ response was “Well of course you wouldn’t want to go there, it’s just a back-up.” I never even got to attend the open day or interview, as my parents talked me out of it (by that time I had offers from 5 other universities, and didn’t need a back-up).

When I got a place at university, I really wanted to stay in halls with all the other students. However, my parents decided that I should go to a religious Jewish hall of residence, which I hated. They were prepared to withdraw their support unless I agreed to live in the accommodation of their choice. “If you go into halls and don’t like it don’t come crying to us because it was your own fault.”

I was miserable there, and developed clinical depression and ended up on antidepressants. I didn’t tell my parents for months, so they wouldn’t have to worry, and I think I was also worried about shaming them. In my second year, the depression got worse and I seriously considered taking half a year out to recover, followed by retaking. However, to avoid shaming them, I struggled through. When I graduated, my parents disapproved of my decision to stay away from home to complete my PGCE, so withdrew all their funding and support.

My parents often remind me of how much money they have spent on me (private school and university), and the assumption is that I must be grateful for everything that they have done, and therefore do as they say whilst I am under their roof.

Many people have asked me why I don’t just move out. The reason is that I cannot afford to buy yet, and my parents are very anti-renting. They tell me that it is a waste of money. My parents are very conditional with the support they offer, and I would not have their support if I went against their wishes. Going against their wishes would be seen as dishonouring and shaming them.

I wish I could see a way out of this situation, but I can’t. I just need some support.

GoodtoBetter Sun 06-Oct-13 06:47:11

Justanothergirl...I know you'll say it's impossible but you need to move out. I understand the feeling of paralysis... I have been there. I lived with my mother and felt I could not leave but I had to and did in the end. so they are anti renting? So? It is your life..not theirs. Find a place to rent...move out and some distance between you and them. Xx


There is always a way out!. You need to move out and pronto. Rent somewhere, anywhere would be better than staying under the roof of your family's dysfunctional unit where you are really not wanted.

If you are a teacher then you may well be in a teaching union as well. If you are you should be able to access further help and support that way too.

It is NOT your fault they are this way; both your parents were likely raised as children by similarly minded abusive parents as well.
Toxic parents as well more often than not make for being toxic grandparents as well. They will not be good grandparents.

You are and always have been unfairly the scapegoat for all their inherent ills; controlling you like they have done and continue to do is abusive behaviour. Abusive behaviour cuts across all classes and creeds; it is really no respecter of persons.

I would also suggest you read "If you had controlling parents" written by Dr Dan Neuharth; Amazon could send it to an address other than your current home one. Reading the resources at the start of this thread could well be helpful to you as well.

sashh Sun 06-Oct-13 08:26:53


Move out - you can do it. Conditional support is no real support so don't worry about that.

I too am supposed to be grateful for things I didn't want/ask for/ have a choice in.

mamabear35 and GoodtoBetter

I think I have decided to let it go to the grave with her. My father adores her and my brother is the golden child so saying something may well break up the family, not that they see much of me anyway.

Hissy Sun 06-Oct-13 13:27:21

"I wish I could see a way out of this situation, but I can’t. I just need some support."

justanothergirl what you actually mean to say here is

"I wish I could see a way out of this situation that would please/be acceptable to my parents, but I can’t. I just need some support."

My love, you can't win here, so why even play the game?

Whatever you do will make you fall foul of them, even if you stick rigidly to their rules, you run the risk of them not getting their 'kick the puppy' feed and they'll invent a reason to be off with you.

Your depression will only get worse, the longer you prevent yourself from living as you need to be.

I know how excruciating it is for you to entertain, but you HAVE to leave this tyranny.

What this is setting you up for is more of the same, you will end up looking for and finding a man that will carry on where they left off. Your only chance in life is to strike out on your own, and let the chips fall where they may.

You have education, a profession and you have a desire to live well, so get on with it.

Could you approach a synagogue for advice?

Your parents are fools, any decent parent would be proud of your achievements.

Hissy Sun 06-Oct-13 13:37:32

Update from me: I have ordered Toxic Parents AND Why you and your mother can't be friends.

Following on from the 'Disappointed' text, I have ignored and ignored calls weekly. They are getting slightly MORE frequent in that they were sunday, then it slipped to Saturday, then Friday, now earlier and earlier on Friday. Two calls on friday, 2 messages (both deleted without listening)

I got another call today, to the house, so on loud speaker. left a message that sounded emotional, trying to drag my DS into this as well. it made me FUME!

I asked for space. No.
I asked for understanding of the hurt. No.
I asked for thought as to what she had done. Again No.

I have stated that I won't be treated badly by a soul again, and that I won't engage with those that hurt me/my son and refuse to acknowledge it.
I have said that I won't entertain emotional blackmail.

I'd say I've been clear. My thoughts, feelings and boundaries don't seem to have been considered again.

So I won't answer the calls. I will put No Number Barring back on my house phone again now, and if this doesn't stop, my numbers will change in the new year.

What pisses me off, is that the more flaming obvious it is that I'm pissed off, for the exact reasons I said I was pissed off at the very beginning, the MORE deeply she seems to stick her head in the sand.

differentnameforthis Sun 06-Oct-13 14:13:02

Can I just say that I can't believe this is still going. I was on the original thread with pages (under a different guise) and I don't think anyone at that time thought it would last & become this big.

I am not sure if pages is still around, but I think I can speak for both of us when I say that I am pleased so many are still benefiting from it.

I wish you all lots of luck!

Hissy Sun 06-Oct-13 15:15:50

As long as there are parents, there will be shitty parents.

With a bit of luck, threads like these can break the cycle and our own kids can begin the line of healthy parenting by example.

Look at the Emotional Abuse thread... I was on the first one of those and that will be a MN staple too. Sad that it needs to be, but by god it's a life line for those that need it! Most of them there end up here too, as Abusive parents and DV are often linked.

different if you notice, this thread fills up faster than before, and doesn't fall off the page either. It's needed. Thanks for being there to set it up in the first place. It's so empowering to know that actually it ISN'T us!

smile thanks cake

differentnameforthis Sun 06-Oct-13 15:22:15


Yes, I see it a lot in active convos. It is bitter-sweet, I would hope (as we all would) that no one would ever need a thread like this.


Hissy Sun 06-Oct-13 15:36:26

I know!

I never for a million years thought that I would ever need this thread. The slow excruciating realisation that I needed to post on here came as a shock.

The numbers of people here that have been dragged in from their own threads! grin They are all the better for it though!

GoodtoBetter Sun 06-Oct-13 15:41:31

I used to see the Stately Homes thread and wonder what it was about. I knew my mother was a bit "difficult", but would have said we were close. Then it all went mad and my own thread brought me here.
Mine's being alright atm thanks goodness, possibly helped by not seeing her too much lately.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 06-Oct-13 18:37:32

I stumbled onto Pages's original thread way back then too. Before, I had been (still, at the age of 45) continuing in the belief that I had had a good childhood along with the family myth that all three of us siblings had enjoyed the same upbringing. I was toomanystuffedbears back then.

Last week I received my copy of the Big Red Book published by Adult Children of Alcoholics (World Service Organization) and it is making so much sense in its explanaions of how the toxic environment becomes internalized by youngsters and how the child's coping strategies become their social foundation, (however dysfunctional in normal circumstances) that exist into adulthood.

The Stately Homes thread has provided me with an important platform to tell people my story, which gave the opportunity for me to come out of denial. It provided assistance from others to assist me in the discovery process. It has provided a place where I can listen to/read other people's stories and give them the same kind of support that I was given.

The thread encouraged me to distance myself from my toxic sister, which I did. It also encuraged counseling. I was resistant to that, but with the positive endorsements, I went and it was all good.

My toxic sister is now no contact with me, as I recently posted. It took over five years, but I am there.
THANK YOU everyone!

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sun 06-Oct-13 18:45:19

Good going, Hissy, on maintaining your boundary.
It really is as if you do not exist, isn't it? Except then when you want that to manifest it in reality, they have a tissy fit. Boggles the mind.

Can't praise this thread highly enough AndThe just wish my dh would take a look, would help him a lot i think!

It's thank to this thread i woke up and realised that i don't have to put up with my toxic ils and that their behaviour is something my children don't need in their lifes.
This year will be the second christmas without "woh is me" and i look forward to it much more now although obviously dh finds it hard when ils go on about not seeing dc!

plentyofsoap Tue 08-Oct-13 15:53:12

Hi looking for some practical advice to answer a difficult question from a five year old! I have had no contact with my mum for a very long time, about 10 years now. Vile woman tbh who brings nothing but chaos to every relationship in her life. Sorry to sound flippant but it was not an easy decision to make as you know, but the right one. I have no siblings and nc with my dad either (they are still together) I have no regrets but it is a sad situation. However my ds has started to ask questions about where my parents are. I do not want to lie to him but it is a difficult question to answer. Anyone experienced this at all?

Meerka Tue 08-Oct-13 16:33:49

I've used "sometimes he was very mean to me. Even grownups behave badly sometimes. You can try to sort it out, but if they keep on being mean, on and on, then in the end you have to say that you can't do any more and simply leave them alone. Like if someone is really mean to you in the playground, and keeps on being mean for weeks and weeks and weeks, in the end you don't want to speak to them any more. "

poorincashrichinlove Tue 15-Oct-13 16:46:00

Marking my place.
Feeling like I somehow need to come to terms with the notion that my mother is never going to be supportive/rational/unconditionally loving/reasonable/able to accept others have feelings too/willing to accept responsibility....and the list goes on....
Gutted. Now HOW to go about the process of accepting and healing so my DC don't suffer the same fate thlsad

I may need to return with the full story if anyone is there to listen to get it off my chest?

I'm listening. We all post ad hoc but reply when someone posts x

GoodtoBetter Tue 15-Oct-13 21:46:29

I'm listening too.

Herecomesthehotstepper Wed 16-Oct-13 11:46:15

Marking place, will come back tonight and read through
Just wanted to ask if you have cut contact with family how do you go about this with DCs
I told my family about the SA I suffered from my father just before I had ds, they swept it under the rug so to speak and carried on as normal with him (aunt even asked me what I expected I mother to do as they had been married so long) I cut contact with all of them when DS was 1 so he doesn't know them but recently he's asked where my mum is and u don't know what to say, he's only 5 but I'm worried as he gets older he will start to ask more as he has a
LARge family on DHs side but seemingly nothing on mine

GoodtoBetter Thu 17-Oct-13 09:36:18

I'm not sure hotstepper as I have contact with my mother (father dead), but wanted to say I'm sorry to hear about the SA you suffered and how awful your family were when you told them sad I'm sure someone will be along soon with some ideas/experiences about how to handle DC questions about NC.

Those of you still in contact with toxic parents, are you starting to fret about Christmas? I am beginning to wonder how to handle Christmas day with DM.

Would be a listening ear as well poorincashrichinlove.

Hi Goodtobetter,

re your comment:-

"Those of you still in contact with toxic parents, are you starting to fret about Christmas? I am beginning to wonder how to handle Christmas day with DM".

I would make your own traditions and not involve your mother at all in any of the Christmas celebratory stuff. She will not be happy whether you choose to involve her or not so I would not involve her. Make it a family Christmas for you and yours, do as much or as little as you please. Christmas can be a hard time of year anyway given the emotional expectations (partly media driven to my mind) that these three days place on people.

Am going on holiday for the festive season partly because we need a break but to also get away from the toxic ILs. Also my parents are not really ones for the whole Christmas celebration thing either because my mother is for want of a better term antisocial.

GoodtoBetter Thu 17-Oct-13 10:07:22

I know you have my best interests at heart Attila and I do understand where you are coming from but I would never hear the end of it if she were left on her own on xmas day, especially as we'll be at the PILs on Xmas Eve and she knows that.
I need to have a good think and plan the day carefully but I was thinking inviting her here for lunch and then having some "end" to it all so I can boot her out home. May well all be a bit awkward though. Will take careful planning.

Will read through all your posts shortly, sorry to hear this thread has moved on again. Always showing that no-one has it easy or anyway near for too long before the toxics set in like concrete!

My dh has a lot to be thinking about at the moment with work, whether to take on a new job and his new driving lessons amongst other things, as do i with pregnancy etc and just when i relax those ils are on the warpath againconfused

So it was fils birthday yesterday, i find out this today. Turns out that mil left text messages & tried to ring dh whilst at work reminding him to remember fils birthday, as did sil.
Dh didn't seem bothered it was fils birthday, hadn't mentioned it to me all day and also didn't send a card or gift.

I believe it's an adults porogative to decide to remember abusive persons birthdays, if dh decided to not bother he is a grown up and doesn't need a reminder like a little kid!
He even had texts of fil moaning.

So today dh is in the fog trapped in guilt again.....
I told him he shouldn't feel guilt when these people treat him with such disrespect and don't bother contacted him unless it's to moan, winge, complaint, want something or they have a problem.

Meery Thu 17-Oct-13 18:44:45

Ah yes Christmas - I can only agree with what Attila has said regarding making your own traditions. Although expected, we stopped travelling to visit DM over Xmas when the dc arrived, but she was always welcome to fit in with our plans if she wanted to. However, DM has preferred to visit my Dsis as firstly I work full time so would not be able to "look after her" in the run up to Xmas, secondly it takes effort to get to us and thirdly part of our tradition is to go to the ILs on Boxing Day and she would be stuck for something to do. One year Dsis decided to travel to Oz for Xmas, much to DM annoyance, but my amusement as she then announced that "Xmas was cancelled". No Mother we are still having it!

This year DSis is off on 28th Dec so we are unlikely to se her over the holiday. When DM was with us the other Sunday she alluded to needing to make Xmas Plans but with my new "smile and nod" attitude I just didn't pick up on the inference of her looking at our kitchen calendar "to work out which day Xmas fell on". The thing is we now have our own traditions, and feel confident enough to stick with them rather than fit in with others.

Pumpkin you and your DH have come so far. You/he are bound to wobble at times but isn't it great that he didn't feel the need to send birthday wishes across in the first place, despite the wheedling going on!

TessD01 Thu 17-Oct-13 19:39:32

Am new here and found this thread by accident.
Brief a child I thought my upbringing was ok. I don't remember much except I was 3 when my sister was born and I was very happy to have a sister. I started school when I was 4 and my new teacher hated me (I later discovered that she chose 1 child every year in her class and made their life a misery and she chose me). She ridiculed me in front of everyone about my handwriting, reading; I had accidents in class and she would make me clean up and the other children would call me names and she didn't stop it. I don't remember telling my parents but now know that they heard from other parents who told them not to do anything - that I was 'coping'. I became withdrawn and had dreams about another 'me' who could fly and become invisible. My gran thought my sister was perfect; she was bright and pretty; her school and my mum and dad thought that too and wanting some attention, I started playing an instrument because my dad did. Eventually my mum and sister also began playing too. Music became my life and my escape. I wasn't allowed to fight with my sister; she got her own way over what tv programme to watch; what shops we went to; she didn't help out at home but I was expected to. When she was 3 she fell down some concrete steps. I was smacked because my mum said I had pushed her. I hadn't. When I was older, I argued with my sister and my dad chased us both. I managed to escape but he pushed my sister down the stairs. My dad hit me so hard that I fell from one side of the room to the other. My mum comforted my sister but told me I'd deserved it. I don't remember anything else from my childhood.
When I was 14 I was groomed by a Police Officer (family friend) who raped me the day before my 16th Birthday. I tried to tell my parents but they didn't want to listen. When they eventually beieved me they told me it was my fault - that I must have encouraged him.
I am now married and have 3 children. My husband also had a dysfunctional upbringing. His parents do their own thing. They said they wanted grandchildren and didn't care if they were 'out of wedlock'. They were disappointed that our eldest was a girl and then my bil had a daughter too. When I was expecting our second child they said 'if it's a girl we don't want it - send it back'. Bil said it was a joke but I don't find it funny. They are not interested in their grandchildren and I've stopped visiting them because my husband just plays on his phone and bites my head off if I suggest he join in (I told him that he was never to speak to me like that again but won't put myself in that situation again either). They don't phone our phone but phone my husband at work. We've tried asking if they could babysit (they've refused and given reasons like 'we're entertaining in tow days time and need to prepare'; 'I'm making a Christmas cake'; 'we're going on holiday next week and I need to pack') so didn't ask again. We asked them to their performances (they sing, dance etc) - they refuse. They don't ask to visit or turn up and only live 10 mins away. Since husband told them he has been diagnosed with Aspergers they haven't phoned him.
I am still in contact with my parents but as I'm working don't see them that often. My sister lives closer to them and they see her more regularly and provide childcare for her (as does my sister's in-laws).
I've had to do everything myself as when my children were small my mum had depression and my sister was in a marriage that wasn't working. I achieved a BA (hons) degree a few years sister did a diploma but failed the last exam twice (she still hasn't told me and makes out she can do a conversion course - it's 5 years since then!). My relationship with my sister is hard and I try not to phone her as she gets really angry at me every time - even though it's only ever a social call.
Am feeling really down at the moment...think it's coping with family life, work, husband's new diagnosis and not getting any support. I do have friends but am feeling too down to call them at the minute sad

Oh TessD01 what a mess sad Have some cake and wine

I think the great thing about being an adult is that we are now in control of our own destinies. We are no longer at the mercy of our families and THEIR toxic ways. You are obviously intelligent and independent (congrats on the BA) so hopefully you are living life for YOU now.

I myself am also brand new to this thread (this is my first post!) I have been no-contact with my mother since July 2012. She sends text to me from time to time (which I ignore), but worse still, she sends gifts for my children. It makes me feel sick to my stomach, anxious and guilty when one arrives in the post (as occurred today). I typed her a text saying thank you but deleted it before I could send it, as I really don't want to break my no-contact, but I'm finding it so very hard to deal with the guilt.

asfarsouthasyoucango Fri 18-Oct-13 02:02:39

Hello all,

I feel like I am going to be a clichéd in my first post on here, wondering if my upbringing was really that bad. I don't think it was, not abusive per se but dysfunctional definitely. I just feel right now I need some outside perspective.

I have currently returned to my home country after living somewhere else for a number of years. The distance both physically and emotionally away from my family has made me look at things rather differently. There are definitely things in my childhood that were not okay, but there are also some cultural issues that I feel differently about now I am back in my home country.

My mother died when I was in my mid teens. And I think it is fair to say that my dad did his best, but in times of reflection I think his best was not really good enough. I know he was consumed with grief for his wife, I get that, but I was young and pretty much left to get on with things by myself. Some of the things that stick with me are:

Being made to go to the benefits office by myself to see if I qualified for a youth allowance, Dad had no idea about money or budgeting and he obviously could not afford to keep me. It was a really scary thing to do when so young and newly bereaved of my mother.

He had counselling and formed an attraction/wanted to have a relationship with the counsellor. Not sure whose boundaries were worse, not sure if it was handled well by the counsellor.

He met and formed a relationship with someone fairly soon after. She is the polar opposite to my mother. I hated her pretty much from day 1 and had lots of problems in my late teens and early 20s with the relationship. She has three children of her own, one who is a druggie crim who she dotes on. Two "normal" girls but neither who speak to her. I can tolerate her now but in her day I can imagine she was a nasty piece of work ( I refused to interact with them then)

Feeling like I had the most important exams to sit that would determine the rest of my life (equivalent to GCSE's). Passed but had no support from anyone with regards to studying, anything. Had to sit the exams less than six months after my mum dies after a protracted and awful illness.

Whilst I don't think I was sexually abused I was certainly exposed to some sexual things whilst growing up. I found porn (mags) around the house. I remember hearing my dad wanting to have sex with my mum, she said no and he hit her angry I remember asking her about the bruise on her cheek the next day.
Away camping I walked in on him pleasuring himself in the toilet and on another occasion found the remnants of what was left on the floor! I was in my teens. I mean - who the feck does that? I was never touched or anything by him but I do have two DCs and I just have this knot in my stomach each time he says "give me a kiss!!!" I would never, ever leave them in his care. I am not saying that he is a child abuser but the lack of boundaries is definitely there or was there when I was a teenager.

I went on to be fairly promiscuous (20 partners aged 17-27), and tried to get "love" through sex and confused sex with approval and acceptance of oneself. I had my 'aha' moment age 27 and met my DH soon after!

We are moving back to DH's home country and I do not feel one iota of guilt! I can't wait to get away from the dysfunction. It is so hard to describe but I just don't want my DC around this environment.

The reason I write is I am about to explode at my brother who is making all types of little dig type remarks. Being very passive aggressive. He made a sly remark about my youngest not knowing who he is in a year's time. About how we'll lose money etc etc. I just want to scream at them if they were more "normal" we might want to say. I am not anally retentive about cleaning but all of their houses are disgusting with animals and upkeep. I can't let my children stay with any of them.

I am not sure what I am trying to say or get out but I just need to vent. It has been a difficult time to come back and put it all in perspective. Are all families like this? I am so confused.

Is this normal family stuff, am I being too dramatic (which my family accuse me of all the time) or is it dysfunctional?

GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Oct-13 06:44:32

It's not normal and you're not being dramatic. Sounds awful. sad

asfarsouthasyoucango I wouldn't respond to your brothers jibes.

Whenever I am involved with a toxic individual, I always ask myself: "Is this person contributing anything positive to my life?" If the answer is consistently 'no', then I go no-contact. It's liberating.

GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Oct-13 14:18:36

I'm thinking of hiding a friend on FB, not because she's toxic but she's making me feel a bit crap, which is possibly unintentional. She has always been a bit smug and condescending about one thing that we both have in common, but arguably she is better at (certainly better qualified on paper). I'm fed up with being made to feel second rate about this thing. Also, I wrote her a long e mail all about the fall out from DM and the move and everything and she never even responded. I asked her in a PM on FB if she'd got my e mail and she ignored that too. I had thought we were really close at one time. (we now live in different countries).
Spending too much time thinking about it and each of her status updates just rubs in she thinks she's better than me and that she couldn't even reply when I told her I was having the worst time of my life.

Sorry, I know that's not toxic parents exactly.

GoodtoBetter She sounds like a frenemy, I would deffo hide her, for your own well-being. There are plenty more fish (read: friends) in the sea. Bag yourself some better ones.

istheresupport Fri 18-Oct-13 14:30:50

Is there anybody on here who is the child of a schizophrenic?

My father died when I was 3 and my mother went on to develop paranoid schizophrenia. She was very violent and abusive and was eventually institutionalised for many years when I was a teen.

My maternal grandmother eventually took my mother to court when I was 11 and I became a ward of court. She also suffered terribly by my mothers illness. I stayed with various other relatives, family friends throughout my childhood and changed schools several times up to that point.

At no point did social services or any other professional body seem to worry about me. It was only when my Grandmother went to court, did social services talk to me to see if my Grandmother was a fit carer! I had suffered severe neglect (being deliberately and maliciously starved, deprived of sleep, washing facilities etc) and severe violence (boiling drinks thrown at me, knife attacks, broken bottles, drowning etc.) and lots more.

One of my biggest issues as an adult is that I hate being the centre of attention and feeling like I'm not important. I find it difficult to prioritise my own needs above anyone elses. It's not hard to see where that has come from, I only saw professionals who were caring about my Mother, not me!

I have tried counselling as an adult but have had a lot of talk about how "you're an adult now and you can change your thinking and you don't have to be that little vulnerable girl anymore". It makes sense but it is difficult to apply to everyday life.

Just wondered if anyone else had been through similar?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 18-Oct-13 14:49:49

Go ahead and hide her, goodtobetter, imho.
I think she is using you to feel good about herself, for those nasty types that can only feel good about themselves by putting someone else down. Let her use someone else. She apparently has no intention of offering you support, even through simple acknowledgment.

I think Stately Homes is support for dysfunctional families, but also for the associated consequences of having that kind of upbringing...
Social connections as adults are challenging because of the distorted "care" we received in our youth.

GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Oct-13 14:56:08

I was a bit shocked she never even acknowledged the e mail about DM, not even "Oh I never look at that e mail, sorry to hear things were hard" type waffle. Just totally ignored it.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 18-Oct-13 15:03:19

Hello Tess
Sorry for the absolute crap time you have had. And that teacher can rot in hell for creating that label for you.
Can you step away from your family of origin for a break? I do not necessarily mean going no contact (although that may ultimately be best as they will never treat you as the intelligent strong adult that you obviously are) with them, but they could/should be a lower priority than your family of dh and dc. As they are actively disinterested, let that ride and don't look back. I know, easier said than done.

It is difficult to get beyond the injustice of the favortism offered to your sister. It brings to mind the idea of:  if she was not your sister, would you still be friends with her? If she does not bring a positive feeling to your life, I would reduce contact with her too.


I would hide her as well as this so called friend of yours is not that at all. To me from what you write that person seems like another version of your mother.

GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Oct-13 15:08:08

Oooh, in what way Attila had never thought of it like that?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 18-Oct-13 17:39:18

Hi Istheresupport,
I don't like being the center of attention either and often feel, if not important, then totally irrelevant. But I did not suffer anything near to what you described. My mother was a bipolar alcoholic, father a workaholic (to avoid her?) and in denial about her issues. I was an "invisible" child, the youngest of 3 girls.

Can you try a different counsellor? I got the "that was then, this is now" mantra which helps put some crap in the past...but then I find I must ban the past from my everyday functioning...if that makes any sense. Banning the past is sad...but living in the present is the key I think.

Goodtobetter, your "friend" is completely dismissive of you...maybe that is how your mother is too (without going back to previous page to reread, sorry blush)?

GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Oct-13 20:13:32

Well, I hid her from my newsfeed today and feel much better. Ironically, today I met a friend who used to live here but I haven't seen for about 3 years, she's here on holiday atm and it was lovely. Brought FB friend's ignoring of me into sharp relief.
Funnily enough FB friend and I seemed to have so much in common when we met and this friend today I didn't even like when we first met years ago! I guess with time people show their true colours.

GoodtoBetter Fri 18-Oct-13 20:40:25

And now my mother is at it again.
I found an injured kitten last week and so, as this is how it works here, rang the local police who organised the animal shelter to come and pick it up. DM knows all this.
She's just rung me saying she's got a kitten in her house as it was in her garden with its mother when the sprinkler went off. Said it's crying for the mother cat (outside). What should she do? I said, put him back in the garden. She says she wants "advice", I thought she meant should she keep it, which surprised me, so I asked her, she says, no she means should we try to rehome it. I was a bit surprised and said, but I can't rehome it, meaning I can't look after it and it's not the responsibility of the local police cos it's not injured, you've just picked up a stray in your garden.
So she says, no I mean get a taxi to the shelter. By this she means ME organised/book a taxi and take her and this kitten to the shelter. It's about half an hour away and in the middle of nowhere, an arse to find. I was a bit surprised and said (admittedly in surprised tones), but the shelter's shut at the weekend. (It is). She starts "Fine!, Nevermind, forget it! I just wanted advice! Goodbye and puts the phone down".
Is that not WEIRD behaviour??
Have resisted the temptation to ring her back and....and..well I don't know really.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Fri 18-Oct-13 22:49:24

Well, she did say forget it....wink
Yes, very wierd and difficult behavior. It was not about the kitten, was it? It was about controlling you. Shelter was closed, game over.

I just got the overriding impression that your "frenemy" on FB was working along similar lines to your mother. She trained you wellsad. She reads the same to your mother in that she also puts you down, your opinions do not matter (this lady did not respond at all to your e-mails), only contacts you to talk about her "wonderful" her own life is.

Your mother's recent behaviour is just the very latest in a long line of her own dysfunction. It was never about the kitten (for which she could not give a fig anyway), more about control along the lines of getting you yet again to dance to her tune.

GoodtoBetter Sat 19-Oct-13 09:19:54

We'd normally see DM tomorrow morning. I got a text just now saying "In bed with streaming shivery cold, so tmrw seems unlikely".

Classic PA behaviour. Would be funny if it weren't annoying.

Going to reply, "oh dear that's a pity, let me know about tomo"

BooHissy Sat 19-Oct-13 09:26:27

Wow G2B, some very interesting twists and turns there, are you learning to see your mother in others?

I'd say that not feeling comfortable with this friend you saw today when you first knew her bodes well. The comfortable is what you were used to - your mother..

The kitten in priceless, she wanted drama... there was none.

So the cold... ditto!


GoodtoBetter Sat 19-Oct-13 15:21:24

Another text: "Truly awful cold. Don't want you or the kids to get it. Made soup yday so got food". Bless, she's gong for're leaving me ill and to starve angle now.
I said, OK let me know if you need anything tmrw.
Ha ha ha! Wonder if there'll be any more. Bet she stages a miraculous recovery tomorrow!
Feel much better for ignoring this PA shit from DM and much stronger for hiding frenemy from news feed. I don't need any more people in my life who make me feel crap about myself, even if it is projection on my part...but as you've all said...the not responding about the e mail was a bit low.

GoodtoBetter Sat 19-Oct-13 15:22:25

Onwards an upwards! Off now for coffee and chocolate with lovely village friend. smile

GoodtoBetter Sat 19-Oct-13 19:34:16

Managed to drop my phone down the toilet while I was out, so she can't text me again anyway now! Ha ha ha!

meiisme Sun 20-Oct-13 09:11:04

Istheresupport, I've been working with an integrative therapist to learn what you describe: being heard and taking care of my own needs instead of putting everybody else first. And yes, it's about letting the past be the past, but unlike what some counsellors say, it's not as straightforward as just letting go of yourself as a vulnerable child. Until she feels heard and safe/taken care of, that vulnerable child inside of you will continue to try and get her needs made in your adult relationships. Have you tried a therapist who does inner child work or transactional analysis? Both have been very useful for me.

Can I have a rant please? I found this thread to be very helpful when dealing with shit from my family a few years ago, though I have namechanged since then. I left home (250 miles) 11 years ago and shit is still getting to me, whenever I so much as get in touch with my sister. I'll try and give a brief overview (sorry in advance)

Im the eldest of 3 - me 31, db 26 and dd 15. Ive always had little to no confidence and low self esteem, no encouragement from my parents- when I came home all happy aged 17 cos Id enrolled on an art course at college I was promptly told that 'college wont get you anywhere' and I had to find a job cos I needed to pay my keep (I don't think I was aware at the time that going to college wouldn't have stopped the child benefit, as my mum told me.) I was belittled until I gave up and left the course, despite my tutor asking me seriously to reconsider as he saw potential in me. How I wish Id listened! When I left and then couldn't find a job (seaside town, everything closed outside of the season etc) my mum took most of my giro, leaving me 20 per fortnight. I was already staying out of the way, and bulk cooking pasta and tuna to keep in 'my' section of the fridge as she was no longer cooking for me. I started smoking a lot of weed, got pretty depressed etc. At 19 I packed 2 bags of clothes (all I had) and left.

My childhood was hard and unhappy, I look back now and many things make sense finally - I was the kid to needed her hair trimmed and washed more often, I was the girl who smelt and didn't know how to look after herself. I didn't know I was meant to wash and change underwear everyday, my diet was poor, I was bullied because of my clothes, I just wanted to fit in. I tried to fade away at school so that I wouldn't get singled out for any reason, be it because of bullying, or because I might've known the answer in class. I spent breaktimes and lunchtimes alone, and spent my evenings and weekends in my room.I gave up, and tried committing suicide aged 16.

My parents were violent and had terrible anger problems which they took out on me, and to this day I despise them for passing on a temper to me. I cant handle criticism, I see it as a completely personal attack and my defences go up, or I see it as further proof that yes, my parents were right and I am fucking useless.

A while after Id left home, I was having councelling etc and trying to get my shit together. It obviously brought up allsorts that Id tried to keep inside. I tried talking to my mum and writing letters but a) she would play things down, like I was making them up. I thought I was going crazy (anti depressants from age 17 to about 22) and b) I was so angry and she would just stonewall me and not say much. When I was pregnant with my own dd and needed my mums help (there was a concern dd wouldn't make it when she was born) I asked mum if she could stay for a week to watch my son whilst I had dd (dh's family not local either.) I was in floods on the phone worried about my baby and she said she 'couldn't just drop everything' - this from a woman who didn't even have a job to worry about cover etc. At my hardest point she wasn't going to be there for me and this was my final thing - I since stopped looking for her approval or expecting anything from her. Despite it being super hard to realise, Im now in a better place for it.

With the love of my dh and making my own way and my own family I was able to let things go somewhat, perhaps not completely but over the last 11 years Ive more or less come to terms with things, Im not happy about them but Im happier now than Ive ever been. What Im struggling with is when I chat with my sister I see how much better she has it, she has everything she could want and mum and dad take her places and show her respect. They treat her as they should. They get involved with her studies and schooling and are supporting her through college and the course of her choice next year. She doesn't go hungry, she is looked after well and her clothes are clean and fit well. Her feet don't hurt from wearing shoes that are too tight and were found by the road (yes really!) Im happy things are as they should be for her, but it leaves me wondering - why couldn't they have done the same for me? It feels like they did nothing but despise me, and punish me for even being. I didn't need to be spoilt, just accepted and encouraged to do well. I cant say anything because years have passed, she wouldn't listen to me anyway, and as a grown up I should be able to let this shit go.

I don't even know where Im going with this. Dh says maybe she'd never admit it but theyre doing this with my sister precisely because they didn't with me. Im currently 22 weeks pregnant with my 3rd so I know hormones are everywhere, but I look at my children and vow to do the absolute best for them that I can. I ignore my nerves and anxiety with most things in order to attend school activities, take them to swimming lessons etc because I know its best for them. As soon as Ive had each child, prob even before they were born Ive already promised them that I'll love them and respect them and be there for them always. She wont even get to meet this baby I expect, they wont come up and Ive sworn that Im not doing the trip anymore, 11 years of this and I refuse to keep being the giver. If it wasn't for my granddad Id cut ties with all of them completely.

Super sorry for the length of this, Im in bits now and I just needed to get it out. thanks

That's really rambly, I apologise! I had to stop as my eyes were getting too blurry to post properly blush I sound like a child who hasn't got their own way, I didn't mean it to come across like that. I think Im just so used to walking on eggshells, I rarely even post on here because I worry I'll piss someone off. My dad went mental at me one day because I didn't 'smoothly' scrape the butter out of the tub, I dug a bit out and this was 'incorrect'..... He punched me in the face in front of my friends when I was 17, I left home for a week. He'd call me a slag for having friends that were boys, he called me a fat slag when I was having a sandwich in the front room one day. I hated him so much, he came flying at me one day cos Id answered back, hit me round the head and I fell back and hit the back door. I wished he'd killed me that day.

Its so conflicting because now when Ive seen them, they just look old. My dad looks like an old man. Sorry Ive got to stop again now.

Hi GuyMartinsSideburns,

Actually you do not come across as at all self pitying at all let alone a child who didn't get their own way all the time. Your parents utterly and abjectly failed you and saw it fit to neglect you as a child. I am only sorry that no-one in authority thought it necessary to help you, you were invisible back then.

Your parents were wrong to treat you as they did and you are in no way useless. You are a survivor, a great wife to your DH and a great mum to your children.

Never ever think it unwise to post on here either; you will not so call "piss someone off" for doing so. That's your inbuilt conditioning at the hands of your parents talking again. Ignore that damming voice in your head.

Re your comment:-
"If it wasn't for my granddad Id cut ties with all of them completely"

You are also not obligated to him either so why is he acting as the glue here?. Does he want you to stay in contact with them and continue to play your role in maintaining the image of their "perfect family"?. Sod that for a game of soldiers.

After what you have been through I would cut all ties with these toxic parents of yours who made you the scapegoat for all their inherent ills. They are indeed now old and pathetic looking but that still does not excuse what they have done. A good rule of thumb here as well is that if they are too toxic for you, they are certainly too damn toxic for your children to have any form of contact with. Toxic parents never make for being good grandparents. Do not make the trip to see them.

You do not need their approval any more, not that they ever freely gave it anyway.

Would you consider counselling again?. Counsellors though are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits with you.

Attila - thank you very much for your reply, it means a lot. Do excuse any mistakes here as I'm now on my phone. I've sometimes considered counseling again and I think if I keep coming back to this point then I will. My grandad - he's been pretty much the only decent member of my family, I used to stay at his house at weekends and school holidays. I was always happy there and never worried about drunken fights or arguments. We used to play shops or go for walks, or do my homework together. He never so much as raised his voice to me and always had time for me. Looking back I wish id stayed there permanently. I view him separately to all that went on. My parents were good at keeping things under wraps and I certainly wasn't going to speak out. My grandad was found to have a brain tumour a couple of years ago, kept blacking out and has become quite forgetful. Hes the only one who contacts me, and hes the one I miss. I just cant make that trip, it messes me up for a few weeks afterwards and I cant keep going through it. Grandad asks me if we're visiting at xmas, I'm using dh's work as the excuse why we cant this year. Not sure if I'll crack though, i do miss him terribly.

I remember telling my mum I wanted to move out one day and she started doing all this 'shocked face' bullshit and crying and I backed down. One time when I was around 11 or so she came at me to hit me, I screamed, crouched down and put my arms around my head to protect myself, I remember shouting "don't hit me, please don't hit me" she looked at me like shit and said "I don't hit you THAT' much"
I obviously never said much to anyone about how it was at home and my mum is so sweetness and light to everyone that perhaps people wouldve thought I was exaggerating or something, though thinking back to how I looked, how I was too shy to speak etc it must have been obvious something wasn't right. I had a close friend at primary and used to stay at hers a lot. Her parents were amazing, i hated it when they dropped me home. I remember her mum used to give me the biggest hug and kiss my cheek when she said bye, thinking back i guess she realised. She was lovely.

Thanks for replying xx