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My ridiculous, messed up life to date(49 Posts)
I just want to start by saying, straight up, I'm a regular who's name changed. The reason is because I'm going to talk about some very sensitive personal stuff. Some people may recognise me, but if so can I respectfully ask that you don't out me.
Also if you think what I say sounds like some third rate soap and must be made up - well I can assure you it's not. It really happened and I'm not a troll.
Not sure where to start but here goes.
My parents split up when I was 8. So far so normal. When I was 11, my mum attempted suicide. It was pretty traumatic. I came home from school one day and she didn't answer the door. I went round to a neighbours house and to cut a long story short, I didn't see her for around 18 months. We did go back and live with my Mum after she recovered. Me and my sibling moved in with the woman who became our stepmother who was previously a very good friend of my mum (see what I mean about the soap opera..)
Anyway, things were ok to start with but then, and to this day I've no idea why, my stepmum just turned on us. There was no physical violence, but constant emotional abuse. We were stupid, hopeless, embarrassing, messy, boring, lazy, selfish, disgusting, our manners were awful etc. Her DC were absolute paragons and we were the scum of the earth basically. I was terrified of her, she bullied me and my sibling and no-one did anything about it or protected us.
I don't remember a lot of the details..I suspect I blocked it out. Once she told me it was no wonder my mum had tried to kill herself because I was so useless. That was 28 years ago.
Over the years I've come tp the realisation that my Dad must have realised what was going on but chose to turn a deaf ear. I really can't quite put into words what I think of him for that.
Now I'm 39 and I'm a single mum, looking after my DS. My XP was an emotionally abusive bully (guess I was set up for it). He left me when I was in recovery from severe PND. He unilaterally decided the relationship was over and announced I had to move out and basically sort myself out. He did this in such a charming way - left me to look after DS while he went out courting his new lady love, rubbed the relationship in my face - smoochy phone calls in front of me, loving texts, doing nice things for her and letting me know all about it. Basically I had what I suppose you might call a breakdown. XP called my parents to come and get me, chucked me out and sent DS (18 months old) off to stay with his parents. My life just about fell to bits at this point. I nearly lost my job and went into an IVA.
I managed, with the support of my family, to slowly get back on my feet. I got a decent council flat and shared residence of DS 50/50. XP continued to bully me , making various decisions about DS which I was not 'allowed' to challenge (I know this sounds utterly mad but anyone who has been there with EA will understand). Somehow, thank god, I managed to hang on to my job although I was 'downgraded'. By this stage I was just happy to have a job so I didn't bother challenging it. Life went on. Eventually XP did something so awful that I stood up to him and, again, to cut a long story short we went to court for residence. He had threatened this for a long time and I was frightened because I thought my PND would count against me). I was granted residency of DS.
I really thought I had dealt with all this and put it behind me but..I don't think I have, not really, and I just don't know where to start. The childhood stuff is incredibly hard because whenever I try to talk about it, I'm always knocked back with 'well, that's in the past' or 'you can't change what happened'.
Inside, I feel defensive, angry and pissed off. I feel like I'm 'damaged goods' and that deep down, I'm not a nice or good person who is worthy of friendships or a good relationship. Somehow, along the way, by some miracle I have acquired a few friends but..well, I feel like I've failed at life. All my peers/friends seem to have good, well paid jobs. I don't. I have a job which I like...but it's not well paid and money is always an issue. Esp as XP pays a piddly amount of maintenance.
I love my DS deeply and really, that's all that keeps me going.
What an essay. If you've read that, then thank you - you deserve a medal! That's the short version..honestly .
I think what I want to know is, how can I move on? Million dollar question. I don't want to be a write off. If you have any advice then thank you.
Have you had counselling for your childhood abuse?
I think you might benefit from doing the freedom programme, maybe look into that?
You have a gorgeous son, you have a job (that is amazing right now in the current economic climate), you've done amazingly so far.
What kind of job would make you happy, have you thought how you could achieve it?
You went to court and beat that bully of an ex and have residency of your DS, you can do whatever you want, you're one amazingly strong and focussed woman. I can tell you that as I've been thro the family courts too and it ain't a picnic when you are facing down a lying bullying abusive ex.
Goodness- what a life.
Have you had counselling? I would recommend very good psychotherapy with someone very good- look up the Tavistock Clinic if you are anywhere near London.
But meanwhile- the only person who can 'write you off' is you.
Is that what you feel about yourself?
NO- it isn't.
You've bounced back from various knocks - any one of which would be terrible - and now have a home, a job and a child. You need to talk yourself up, but you need IMO professional support as well to go back over the history.
Can you manage to set that up?
I think you have achieved loads.
I would be very proud to have a mate like you.
Thank you so much fuzzy. I really do appreciate hearing that from someone else who has been there.
I have had counselling about it in the past, but it seems to have reared up again now and is really bothering me. I'm not sure what's triggered this now.
The job I have at the moment, I do really enjoy it..it's just not well paid! I have a secure home though and earn enough that me and DS don't go without, although we don't have luxuries like a car, savings or holidays abroad.
You're incredibly resilient. There's so much here that you should feel proud of - and I hope you can see it.
You're not damaged goods, but you are fragile - and I think that some counselling would be a very good idea for you. It would be useful for you to focus on yourself for a little while each week, and work through those things that are weighing you down. It might also help you work out how to move forward with work etc.
You've done some brilliant things so far, you're still upright and you sound very sensible - I think this is a good time for you to really get on with moving forward. One thing at a time, be kind to yourself and feel proud of everything you've achieved so far. Soon, you'll look back to this point and see how far you've got.
ihatethecold what a lovely thing to say, thank you. You made me well up a bit.
bopeep - as I said, that's just the short version! I'm not near London unfortunately but I suspect you are right. My god it will take a lot of unpicking though..poor therapist who ends up with me as a client!
callamia thank you for your kind words. I smiled to muself when read your comment about being resilient..I'm a bit like a weeble. I wobble but I don't fall down so I guess that's true .
Your childhood sounds awful. You sound Amazing.
You deserve your son and he is very lucky to have such a strong Mum.
You sound like an incredibly strong, resilient woman.
Look at your story from the other side - if you read that about anyone else, would you think that they sounded like a failure? I hope not, because I'm reading and my jaw is dropping over what you have survived.
I think that you're right in that you were 'conditioned' for want of a better word, into an abusive relationship. You recognised it, left it, and when it affected your dc badly, took charge and changed it.
You have a home, a job, and support yourself and your dc. You're amazing!!
I do think that you need to re-visit the past, in a safe environment, and remember that you were a vulnerable child. None of what happened to you was your fault.
I didn't have a difficult childhood, but I did have an abusive husband. I removed myself and my children from that, and had a long and hard journey to get where I am now. I have a job and a (rented, housing association) home. Some of my peers have amazing jobs and great homes - some have small babies, some have teenagers. Some are married, some aren't - we are all different, with different life stories. Comparison doesn't mean anything: if you compared, on paper, my sister's life and mine, she'd win hands down. I'm happier though
You may not be where you imagined or hoped you'd be - that makes you human, not a failure.
It sounds to me as if you have far more power than you know. You've done really well to take on your exp - and win! Keep going.
What lovely messages, I know I'm repeating myself but thank you, thank you, thank you. It really means a lot.
I think the organisation I work for offers counselling so I'm going to look into that first of all.
Your GP may also offer counselling via the NHS but you often just get 6 sessions. Worth asking about though if money is tight.
You have done so well. Keep on being the positive person that you are and your child will grow up to be a wonderful caring person. I appreciate you have had a hard time but you should be so very proud of yourself. Onwards and upwards I say.
I didn't even think of that, as a matter of fact am seeing my GP next week so will ask then.
Just to say, I'm off to bed now as DS will be up v early and he likes to meet the day head on!
all round for your lovely, kind, supportive messages.
Heavens! To have come through such a difficult childhood, and now, to be bringing up your DS by yourself, you are completely amazing.
If I was your fairy godmother I would give you the gifts of confidence and self esteem to know that you are wonderful and deserve the best that life has to give.
poor therapist who ends up with me as a client!
Please don't say that about yourself!
I agree with the others. You sound like an amazingly strong resilient woman. Give yourself a pat on the back!
I agree with everyone else, you sound brilliant. You should be very proud of yourself. There is a book called Homecoming: healing your inner child' or something like that by John Bradshaw (i think). It might be helpful. I really admire the way you want to improve yourself and your mental health by going for counselling. So many people leave things lie, and they always carry pain with them as a result. It can be hard to face the past. Lots of good wishes to you.
I agree - you sound amazing.
You can do the Freedom Programme online for free
If you do it, my advice is take time to process it, don't rush through and do it all at once. At the end they send you the books free.
To survive all what life has thrown at you I think makes you pretty damn amazing!!
And it was all thrown at you, none of it was self inflicted so I think you should be very proud of yourself.
I'm sure you have the strength to put the past behind you & look to the future.
Hi Op, i don't have any experience of dealing with abuse so will leave that to the more experienced posters. I am however a 40 yr old single parent working in a relatively low paid job so i can understand your 'is this it' thoughts. In a moment of madness (and with my 40th looming) i applied for a place at Uni and am now currently studying for an Hons degree. It is hard work and stressful but i am enjoying learning new things and challenging myself with the added bonus that my earning power will be massively increased in a few years time.
Is study something you'd consider? It is very good for giving you focus and i feel like i have my own life now as well as being a mum/provider.
The only advice i would give is to stay single until you're in a better place emotionally.
I agree with everyone on this thread. You are the very opposite of weak, you have incredible self awareness and strength.
The only question now for you, as a strong woman who can overcome pretty much anything, is what do YOU want from life now?
Make a plan. Get some dreams. Allow yourself to put your fantastic attitude to life into action.
Another one who's come to say that you sound incredible I agree that counseling sounds like a positive step, do look into what your employer offers. I would also be very proud if you were my friend, you have been through such a lot but hold done a job and are bringing up your ds alone, not easy! Good luck, please keep us updated.
All I can say is, that you sound an absolutely bloody marvellous heroine and an inspiration. You should be very very proud of yourself.
So many kind and positive messages, I feel a bit weepy and overwhelmed, but in a really good way. Thank you (that echo ahain )
Do you know I was convinced that people wouldn't believe me because written down it all sounds like something an EE scriptwriter would reject as too dramatic and far-fetched - hence my username . Just just being believed and listened to is nice. I've often wondered if what happened when I was a child was abuse - you know, was it that bad - but other people are saying yes. Just typing it all out has helped a bit.
One of the ironic things about all this, my Stepmum worked in a caring profession, with troubled children. Yet she seemed to find it very hard to care for us.
Thank you for the links and book recommedations, I will look those up and check out the Freedom Programme too. I didn't realise you could do it online.
Anyway, I have a plan now for next week so when I go into work tomorrow, I'm going to look into counselling and see about getting an initial appointment.
I've also bought the John Bradshaw book (hooray for second hand bookshops).
Hope you have a good week crappy
OP just want to say I think you're amazing too. What an awful lot to deal with from such a young age. I think you sound like a brilliant mum. You're most definitely not a write-off.
I am a bit older than you and I too have felt the same way as you describe, like a write-off/damaged goods/a failure (for various reasons from my difficult past).
Things that have helped me are a good GP, counselling, brilliant friends and when I feel down, trying not to compare myself with others (difficult as it is sometimes not to). I honestly thought a counsellor wouldn't know where to begin with my case but I think this is common and they know how to handle it.
I hope that this week goes okay at the docs and that you can get some counselling. I think it sounds like you're doing brilliantly, please believe in yourself, you've come a long way and overcome all those obstacles thrown at you.
Thank you for the good wishes .
Have contacted counsellor at work to make an appointment too, just waiting to hear back - looking forward to my book arriving.
Crappy - my mother was a teacher, but she found it very difficult teaching me - whilst she was patience personified with other people, she expected me to 'get' it immediately. Perhaps that's something to do with your Step Mother's situation. However, that does not justify one jot the treatment that she subjected you to.
I hope the Counselling helps. FWIW, the fact that you have got to where you are shows you've made huge steps already.
You sound amazing OP. I recently split from my EA ex. I don't currently have a job or a home of my own. I dream of having those things. You are an inspiration. Truely.
Funny you should say that mistlethrush, my mum was a teacher too and she was so worn out at the end of the day she used to come home and fall asleep! I know it's a tiring job, and I think she probably was shattered and stressed...my Dad used to lie round doing nothing and just left her to it.
What makes me terribly sad is that she was so lovely before, really kind, funny, lovely and she just "turned" . Her and my mum had been great friends.
robberbride your day will come I know it - even if it doesn't feel that way right now.
I've been where you are and I know how it feels. If you would like to PM me, feel free.
Crappy - you went from being a friend's daughter, to being her responsibility - something that she clearly didn't want to take on - it sounds as though she just wanted the benefit of your father. I am so sorry that your father didn't stand up for you and ensure that you were treated fairly, even if there was no love. This is not your fault - and look where you have managed to get yourself from that low point - be proud of it. Its something to hold onto if any counselling brings up bad memories in the future.
I really feel for you re the childhood experience. I had something very similar - nothing we could do was right / we were lazy selfish and no wonder my real mother didn't love me (although she didn't leave she'd died when I was six). You do get past this and I like to think of myself as very resilient but sometimes I wonder that by coping you never really deal with it. I am v happy - lovely husband / kids always thankful for what I have ( probably because things were so awful as a child). However when things go wrong ( and at the moment I'm about to be made redundant after 25 years in a job I've loved) then it all bubbles up. I think counselling - I get what you are saying that it almost wasn't bad enough as I feel the same - ie was fed / clothed / not physically hurt really - but the fact that it's not forgotten after so many years speaks for itself. My dad also turned a blind eye. Gosh written a lot - the point of this was to say that I counselling is agood idea - just decided to do this myself!
Sorry you have been through the same bugger (is it bad I giggled when writing that?) It really does stay with you, doesn't it.
mistlethrush when you put it like that, it seems so obvious. Maybe she thought my dad would step up and was frustrated and pissed off that he didn't. Her behaviour was horrible though, why didn't he care?
I think at that time it felt like we were just a great big inconvenience to everybody and we were there under sufferance. I've just remembered an awful incident that I had buried. My Dad asked my younger sibling a question, which they got the answer to wrong, so he hit them. My sibling burst into tears and I sat there horrified and upset, terrified to say anything. My step mum and step siblings laughed.
I think I just answered my own question there didn't I. He really didn't care at all .
It sounds as though your step mum was actually never a nice person, just put on a good act for a while.
Have you ever confronted any of them?
The childhood stuff is incredibly hard because whenever I try to talk about it, I'm always knocked back with 'well, that's in the past' or 'you can't change what happened'.
Who says that?
To answer the last question first - very well, happily married lovely spouse who treats them with love and respect and in a good job. We are close but separated by distance, sometimes we talk about it, sometimes we don't.
I know it's still a source of hurt and resentment for them too.
No, I haven't confronted anyone.
It's my mum who doesn't like to talk about things.
They have minimal contact with my step mum and dad, less than I do and that's not much.
I suppose you're mum must have a lot of guilt but that's not really fair, you're the one who went through it and you should be able to talk about it if you need to.
Lovely that your sibling is doing well and that you are close.
What a survivor you are and you sound incredibly head strong despite what you were put through, you should feel proud, you even managed to hang on to your job throughout all that misery.
So what if your friends earn more, it's not important, they shouldn't be judging you on your salary, but how they find you and I bet they find you lovely.
Sounds like counselling will be useful but probably what you really need to know is, having read your post, you sound like a very capable young woman who speak articulately and with honestly and reason, hold your head up high, you should.
Change your nick name! You are nothing to do with "crappy" in any shape or form.
I agree with all PP, you sound rather fabulous-strong, tenacious, capable. Everyone has said it already- and I wish you happiness, you deserve it.
It's me - along with suggested nickname change (for the purposes of this thread).
You know, I saw the troll thread and wondered if people though I was one but then I don't really care if they do - I'm not.
All your comments are making me think I need to be a bit kinder to myself and stop beating myself up internally.
On a positive note, I have an appointment first thing on Friday with the welfare officer at work.
I'm feeling more positive since writing that initial post - less like I'm floundering and feeling 'out of control'.
pantson - yes, I think she does. I've never blamed my Mum though or felt it was her fault. But not being allowed to say I'm angry about it or have my feelings acknowledged really rankles.
Oddly enough I remember a conversation with her where she started saying how difficult I was as a teenager (apparently I was bad tempered, horribly behaved, stroppy, touchy, impossibel to talk to..I wasn't really, no more than average but if I was no bloody wonder). I challened that and said to her "No Mum, I wasn't difficult, I was really unhappy". I don't remember her response.
Jan - Thank you, but I feel I have to defend my friends as I know none of them look down on me for not earning a lot - they're lovely, kind, supportive people. That's my negative internal voice talking.
Yay for the name change, and yay for the positive thinking. Good on you.
This is one of the best bits of MN for me-tons of (reasonably....!) impartial people taking an objective look at your situation. Sometimes it means hearing alarming home truths, and sometimes, just sometimes, it means hearing that what you see as "damaged goods", other people see as pretty damn great.
Bollocks to the negative internal voice. Tell it to pipe down
Thank you . This thread has given me the boot up the bum I needed - in the nicest possible way.
Good new nickname! You know you're going to have to live up to it now, and make sure that things turn out well for yourself, despite all the obstacles.
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