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Abusive parents can't cope with adult childrens feelings?

(91 Posts)
appletarts Thu 09-Jan-14 19:56:40

Does anyone else notice that dysfunctional/abusive parents get very angry when their children (adult) talk about how they feel. I have been talking to my mum about how I feel about the past and less emotive subjects in a totally non-blaming, calm and rational manner and it's sent her over the edge, she went absolutely hysterical nuts. Is this an attempt to silence me or does anyone have any reflections on this? Is it true for anyone else and why does it trigger such a massive response? We were never allowed to express our feelings as children but never knew what would happen if I did because I just knew I shouldn't. As an adult I am silenced constantly by her.

Hissy Thu 09-Jan-14 20:00:45

You're bang on in every respect. Your instincts aren't lying.

She'll rewrite history, and if you challenge, she'll shout you down.

Except now you know the score.

Her game is over, and she knows it. You won't ever fall for this shit again.

I suggest you detach. Don't have contact with her unless she 'behaves'. If she doesn't, then refuse to deal with her until she does behave.

It will get easier.

Hissy Thu 09-Jan-14 20:02:08

You need to come to the Stately Homes thread. It's exactly for people like you (and me)

There are lots of people just like us, they'll all understand.

whitsernam Thu 09-Jan-14 20:37:21

Oh yes, you are in good company!! They are always convinced they did the only thing they could do, and we are ungrateful sh*&ts. I know this well. I have arrived at the position that I will be respectful and do some care-taking (df is elderly now) and that's it. It is simply not possible to talk through much of the past with the vast majority of abusers; they are convinced you deserved and caused what happened, and that absolves them completely.

Meerka Thu 09-Jan-14 20:39:55

Nope, they can't.

I think they are divided into two groups; the ones who feel so guilty that they can't handle it and do anything to escape, and will turn everything back on the adult child or anyone else they can, and the ones who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves. Guilt? what guilt? they have never done anything wrong, everyone else is wrong.

ilovemikehunt Thu 09-Jan-14 21:51:27

My mother (now dead, ding dong) would not shout exactly, but would just be extremely dismissive in a way only she could (a sort of head tossing thing combined with muttering in her native language) and then tell me what a critical and over sensitive person I was, and that she'd never liked me and it was my fault my childhood was so awful because I was born critical and over sensitive and am the incarnation of my father's evil mother.

My father, whom I last saw briefly at the old witch's funeral, just goes all vague, changes the subject and then finely gets patronising and over affectionate, sort of "there, there, silly you remembering such things, it really wasn't a big deal and it's all in the past". Bearing in mind this man was my mother's enabler, and controlling and sometimes violent monster in his own right of whom I was terrified as a child, you can imagine what a head fuck this is.

This is my 5th year NC with him. In our very last proper conversation, I was trying to talk to him about how his treatment of his children when young still effected us today, especially regarding my sister, the golden child. Whilst I was trying to talk to him about this, he launched into a monologue about Vinnie Jones. Yes, Vinnie Jones. He went on and on. I was waiting for the punchline, some analogy between Vinnie Jones and my sister or me or the situation. "What's Vinnie Jones got to do with it, dad", I asked when he finally shut up. "Nothing", he said, "I just wanted to change the subject." That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me.

OP, we have all experienced the dissembling behaviour you have. If these abusers had enough of a conscience to admit/acknowledge what they'd done was wrong, if they had the humility and humanity to listen to the hurt they had inflicted on their children, they probably wouldn't have done the wrong in the first place.

MillyMollyMandy78 Thu 09-Jan-14 21:58:26

Sad to say that your mum will never listen to your feelings re your childhood. I agree with Meerka's views and hope you can detach in whatever way suits you best. Check out the stately homes thread, there are some lovely ladies on there who completely understand this sort of thing.

MajesticWhine Thu 09-Jan-14 22:45:56

Yes, I have noticed this with my DM. Negative feelings are really not wanted, especially feelings about the past, because it might threaten her view of things. History being rewritten as well. I mentioned to DM a period of loneliness in my childhood, without attaching blame to anyone at all, it was just conversational, and in context at the time. She got very defensive and told me that it couldn't have happened, and that I was never lonely and that I must have imagined it.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 09-Jan-14 22:53:35

Mm. DM apologised on her deathbed for the violence she inflicted on us. Given the circs, I didn't say "that took you long enough".

I said something rather worse: "never mind Mum, I'm sure it helped to build character". Took me awhile to work out why she was so upset. Bugger.

AdoraBell Thu 09-Jan-14 23:00:42

I agree, look into the Stately Homes thread.

I went NC rather than bother confronting as I kind of knew deep down that my mother would have played the victim card, as she did anyway. My father, I actually managed to build a relationship with him but he died just as I was feeling ready to open the can of worms.

discrage don't feel bad, I properly would have told mine to fuck right off.

AdoraBell Thu 09-Jan-14 23:03:27

probably, not properly.

KissesBreakingWave Thu 09-Jan-14 23:10:57

If this is a pattern, I've got a data point for it right here. Fortunately I've gotten more calloused as I've got older and she's finally starting to get the notion that the more she screams the more piss I take. Well, I say get the notion, I've flat out told her.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 09-Jan-14 23:15:25

Well, part of my character happens to be about not hurting the defenceless. Just because you were raised by werewolves...

OliveHeartfly Thu 09-Jan-14 23:18:21

Yes, I'm having a similar experience with my parents. I'd like my father to properly apologise for the violence and emotional abuse. Not what he has said before either minimising it 'I'm sorry, but I only got angry because I cared so much and wanted everything to be perfect' or blaming me 'you were a weird and unpleasant child and brought it on yourself' but to really, properly understand the damage he did to me and be sorry for it. Then I could forgive him.

When I try to calmly discuss it he and DM get angry and upset and say they can't remember the details, don't want to remember. Start blaming me for stirring up trouble.

Nice for him that he can't remember. I can't forget.

AdoraBell Thu 09-Jan-14 23:20:44

Oh I agree, which is why I'm careful to raise my DCs differently, but at the time my mother died I was still carrying all the anger. It was another 15 years before I began processing my issues.

happytalk13 Fri 10-Jan-14 03:41:57

It's an age old game they all play. My mother insisted a few months back that I tell her how I feel about my childhood. I begged her to leave it alone, that I wanted to move past it...she I told her...and then she promptly threw me and the GCs out of the house. two days later she called me up to tell me that she thought it best that we didn't' have a relationship but that she supposed she'd see the GC's occasionally...they're all the same and they don't change. It's your parent's problem, not yours. Let it continue to be your parent's problem.

Logg1e Fri 10-Jan-14 07:07:16

I think that there are two helpful thoughts. Firstly, each parent is the best parent they, personally, can be. Secondly, it's possible for you both to have different memories of the time, and for there to be two truths.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 07:49:07

Sorry loggie but that's the sort of bullshit they would come out with!hose are not helpful thoughts but dismissive and support distortion a of reality. Not agreeing with your on that one.

Logg1e Fri 10-Jan-14 08:02:01

It's unhelpful to read you label the things which help me as "bullshit" appletarts but there you go.

The first idea helps me on two accounts. Firstly, it takes away any malice of intent on the parent's side. I.e. they weren't going out of there way to be shit, they were trying their best but for whatever reason fell short.
Secondly, it distances the child from the hurt caused. I.e. your parent wasn't shit because you are unlovable/undeserving/contemptible etc. It was about them and not you.

The second idea, about mis-matching statements: again, it reduces the blame. People have different memories of the same events because they had different experiences and view points and emotions and interpretations. This helps me because it explains some of the confusion when you realise you have a different version of events to the parent. They're not trying to blame you or call you a liar. You are not imagining things or misinterpreting them.

Anyway, I don't know why I'm explaining myself to you when you've called my coping "bullshit". I hope they might be of use to others.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 08:48:46

Sometimes when a parent has beat a child to within an inch of their life there is malice, the parent doesn't love the child, and there is blame. Some things are fact, broken jaw, burns, scalds, bruises etc, these things are not open for interpretation they are facts, there are not different versions of an event, but there are distortions of truth for the comfort of the abuser. My philosophy is that the child is telling the truth, their truth and that is not mitigated by adult interpretations or minimizing. Perhaps we have very different experiences and I'm glad your philosophy helps you but your philosophy is the very same argument that kept me in danger as a child. Oh yes, they didn't mean it, I didn't remember it properly, it was an accident, they loved me really and to all those excuses I do say bullshit.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 10-Jan-14 08:55:48

No, abusive parents can't cope with their adult children's feelings. You'll get any and all of blame-shifting, minimization, rage, or a "poor me" meltdown.

It makes our anger than much harder to process, since it won't even be acknowledged by the recipient.

But it still IS possible to process your anger about your childhood without your parents' cooperation. For me, it just took time, and therapy.

But don't go looking for validation from them: you'll only be setting yourself back further.

Good luck.

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 08:57:47

loggie it's a nice view but some parents do not do the best they can.

A few parents are malicous. Really evil. You might not want to believe it but they are.

Quite a lot more are simply only caring for themselves and don't care for the kids. The kids are only important when they are useful to them.

And then, there's a lot of parents who are loving and do the best they can. Some fall short but mean well, like you say. Some mean well and do well. A few are outstanding.

But saying that everyone just does the best they can just is not true. It's a way to veil the reality that some parents, some human beings, are just highly unpleasant people. Unfortunately it does minimize things. That leaves people are really trying to come to terms with the utter destructiveness and, yes, malice, very lonely. It's another way of saying 'Oh it's not really as bad as you're remembering - when (and I do know what I'm speaking of) there can be unspeakable violence of body or mind and in some very extreme cases, forcing small children to sexually or physically abuse other, even smaller children for their parents' gratification.

That's extreme but the same thing goes on at a less dramatic level too.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 09:05:19

There were things that my mother did to us that were done with malice and intent. Sometimes they were done purely to get a reaction out of my father, which I think was pretty premeditated and manipulative.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 09:50:27

Oh my mother did all manner of disgusting things to us to get back at my father, by her own admission, that she did admit to. There's not much love in those actions I can assure you.

philnteds Fri 10-Jan-14 09:57:30

I must go and look at the stately homes thread again. I am so grateful for this and other threads as I honestly thought I was the only one that went through this combo of abuse/dysfunction. You are not allowed to discuss your childhood with the abuser and the abuser becoming angry/hysterical is just a distraction/deflection from any possible blame. I could write reams and reams on this subject but I will go and check out the stately homes thread. I know that whenever dare to mention 'the past' I get interrupted and diverted onto another subject. Thank goodness for this support!!

dimsum123 Fri 10-Jan-14 10:24:39

My parents couldn't cope with me talking about the past. They always wanted me to just forget it all and never mention it. They would ask me why I was always hostile and aggressive towards them. When I said because of the past they would tell me to stop dragging up the past all the time!

They just didn't want to acknowledge that they had been terrible parents. They wanted to believe they had been good, loving parents and didn't want any mention of the truth. I do not know what they have done with the memories of their abuse. I remember it all so clearly. I don't know how they have managed to forget over a decade of emotional abuse anger threats humiliation etc.

I have been NC now for over 7 years. It's been hard but totally necessary for me to heal from the damage they did. I tried a limited form of contact recently by letter but have decided to go completely NC again as their letters were upsetting me too much even though they seemed quite innocuous.

FrauMoose Fri 10-Jan-14 10:33:29

It's interesting about parents doing their best. Being the best parent they can etc. I recently came across a letter my mother wrote to my husband in which she said, 'We did our best to be good parents.'

I think on a mechanical level this was true. We were fed, clothed - though neither the food nor the clothing was much like that which other children received - and we were educated.

Table manners and other forms of politeness were enforced.

What we did not get was physical affection, encouragement, praise, positive conversation, attention, understanding. There was quite a lot of physical abuse.

I suppose I can think that there was just a large chunk of their brains that were missing. And/or that my mother had become so conditioned to 'mothering'/enabling my father, that she had disengaged from her children on some very fundamental level.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 10:39:49

I have just had my mother go totally demented at me and I want to write her a letter pointing out the facts from the conversation and showing her that she has just used nothing much as an excuse to lose it and abuse me more. This time she scared my children and this has got to be the end of it. I have no idea how to move forward.

TeeBee Fri 10-Jan-14 10:47:10

Logg1e, I think you are spot on, I find both of those thoughts very helpful. Quite often people are dealing with their own demons, which make them shitty parents. Not that it excuses it, but it helps us to understand that. And I totally agree regarding the different viewpoints. Perspective is just that - one persons experience of something. Another may experience it totally different. I've had this with my sisters where we all have very different views on our upbringing. One of us might have a very positive view of a certain event, one might see a totally different side. Neither wrong, just another way of looking at the same event.

dimsum123 Fri 10-Jan-14 10:47:20

My dad was deliberately cruel to me. He also deliberately tried and succeeded to turn my siblings against me, making them believe I was the bad, nasty one, not him.

I did think he was pure evil at first. But slowly and gradually I came to realise he was a very damaged individual as a result of his own childhood and probsbly has a severe personality disorder which has never beenpicked up on, diagnosed or treated. That doesn't excuse any of his behaviour towards me. But it does explain it. He was very angry, unpredictable and I lived in fear for a long time.

There were occasions however when he could be very kind and caring and generous. I think that was the real person underneath all the anger.

Whereas my mother is still a mystery to me. She saw my dad being abusive but NEVER once stood up for me or tried to stop my dad. She seemed to dislike me fromthe moment I was born. I don't remember her ever being warm or loving or caring or even getting one cuddle from her.

But she was very different with my 2 younger sisters. I couldsee her being a proper loving mother to them. I just don't know why she couldn't have at least pretended she loved and cared about me even if she didn't due to PND etc.

I know some mothers don't instantly bond with their baby. That was out of her control. But it was within her control to pretend and show she loved me. I have had to do that with my DD. Because I didn't bond with her and it took me years to really feel that I loved her. Whereas I bonded instantly with DS.

But I have tried very very hard to show them both that I love them equally. I don't lavish love and attention on DS while ignoring DD like my mother did.

I think my mother was the cruel evil parent. Much more so than my dad even though to an outsider it might appear that my dad was worse because he was the one who shouted and got angry and threatening and verbally cruel and abusive. My mother didn't love or care about me and showed it. She wasn't cruel. But there was a complete absence of love, cuddles, affection or even any interest in me and the absence of her love is what has had a lasting effect on me.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 10:48:27

OP, was she in your house when she went demented?

It's ok, people here can help. thanks

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 10:48:27

OP, was she in your house when she went demented?

It's ok, people here can help. thanks

TeeBee Fri 10-Jan-14 10:48:49

Frau, you could be right. Not so much of their brains missing, but maybe a part of their emotional development that was lacking, for whatever reason.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 10-Jan-14 12:20:26

I want to write her a letter pointing out the facts from the conversation and showing her that she has just used nothing much as an excuse to lose it and abuse me more.

Write the letter. But don't send it. she will not see your point of view. Ask yourself: when has she ever? This time will be no different. It's wasted energy.

If you want to cut contact, do it. You don't need to announce it or point out why: your reasons will fall on deaf ears, and will only add to your own frustration.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 10-Jan-14 12:21:28

unless it makes you feel better, of course. Just think of how it will affect you. Her reaction is a foregone conclusions.

Lemonylemon Fri 10-Jan-14 12:28:46

My mum is definitely emotionally stunted. She will run away from a situation at the drop of a hat. The latest situations that shown this are:

The last incidence is when my house was on the verge of being flooded (again) and I was outside brushing the water back into the road, my DD (then 2) was in the living room, my DS was at the end of the road trying to stop traffic whizzing down and creating a bow wave. My Mum decided it was the perfect time to run, leaving DD in the living room on her own. I shouted at she couldn't just leave DD on her own.

The time before that was when my fiance collapsed. She asked if she should stay and not go on holiday. I said for her to go as there wasn't anything we could do. Off she went, which was fine, but then he died a week into her trip. She would barely speak to my on the phone and then came back from holiday 10 days later and texted to say that she was tired and would see me the next day.

The time after that was when my DD was born. She did the school run for DS for 2 weeks and kept complaining about how tired she was. I then had to drive DS to and from school. We didn't see her very often for about 7 months after that.

She's a recovering alcoholic now, but back then was absolutely caning it (although we didn't realise it).

If I ever tried to discuss my upbringing I would be met with total silence. No eye contact, no conversation, no response - nothing. And then whatever conversation / small talk would be picked back up. I guess waiting for my sensitive tantrum to end. I did once get a response ... i asked DM about something that had happened when I was 11 - she said there was no point in dragging up ancient history and dissecting the past. I was 18!

I didn't suffer those beatings or felt in physical danger. I'm very sorry to those who did.

I think my DPs fall into the did their best though in denial so it does help me to do what Logg1e suggests. I can see in other circumstances that might not help though .

fishybits Fri 10-Jan-14 12:39:43

I was talking to my Godmother about being bullied at school and my mother turned round and said that perhaps I deserved to be bullied. sad

I don't ever talk to my parents about the way I was treated by my mother. I just end up crying so even less chance of being listened to as crying annoys her.

DoctorTwo Fri 10-Jan-14 12:58:52

What we did not get was physical affection, encouragement, praise, positive conversation, attention, understanding. There was quite a lot of physical abuse.

That describes my childhood and it affected my adult life. It wasn't until my mid twenties when I met a young woman who was proud enough of me to introduce me to her parents that I found out what a normal family was like. I went NC in about 1984 and only got back in touch after being begged by XW and DBro in 1996. It went badly and I've been NC ever since.

It turns out that one of my brothers is exactly the same as my step mother, according to what his son tells me and it's badly affected his mental health. He's in and out of psychiatric units and on ADs for depression.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 17:40:22

Line runner she wasn't in the house but outside, she scared the kids and me, she totally lost all control and was screaming and wailing crying and making an absolute scene, if anyone had just turned up they would have thought I'd just done the most awful thing to her. Then she started saying it was elder abuse... I mean sorry but that bit made my blood run cold, I was so calm and reasonable and just said how I felt, she had pushed and pushed asking me how I felt about her so I told her how I felt about some of the things that had happened and I kept it non blaming and calm hoping that might help her connect to it all but no chance. My daughter said she didn't want granny. Coming to the house again and I think if I continue a relationship with my mother I am not protecting my children properly which makes me a bad mother. I thought I would just battle with this relationship my whole life but now I realise something has to change to protect my kids and I feel sort of forced into no contact.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 17:45:02

appletarts God that sounds horrendous. My mother did a similar thing but inside my house.

It was NC after that because she's not poisoning my children with her claptrap.

Hedgehead Fri 10-Jan-14 17:56:27

The classic response from abusive parents is: "You have a very vivid imagination, don't you?"

Logg1e Fri 10-Jan-14 18:00:55

Tee, Quite often people are dealing with their own demons, which make them shitty parents. Not that it excuses it, but it helps us to understand that.

Absolutely agree Tee. It helps me understand parents who make puzzling decisions or show scary behaviour. They are doing the best they can, even if poor upbringing, ill-health, lack of role model, difficult circumstances mean that their best is really not good enough. But it's them. It's not a reflection on the worthiness of the child.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 18:06:42

My mother had a stable home, was an only child, a working skilled father and a SAHM.

I knew my grandparents and they were nice people and she treated them like shit, too.

Her behaviour is planned and designed to create drama.

FrauMoose Fri 10-Jan-14 18:10:02

I don't think that really addresses the abuse of power. Yes, many parents may feel frustrated and angry about both their past and their present, and this limits their ability to do a good job.

But some do feel a real sense that they are entitled to hit and hurt their children - not just because of the fact they find the role of being parents painful and challenging - but because they feel their children are possessions, lesser beings, theirs etc etc.

I think we have to say that unless people have some kind of severe psychotic illnesses, they are capable of exercising moral choices. And some people do not choose to do the good and right thing in relation to their children. They seek to gratify their own desires.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 10-Jan-14 18:47:53

People used to say "oh, it's the time of the month" or "she's missing your Dad's help" (unaccompanied postings). No. She did it because terrorised children are tidy quiet children. Once you've modified them, you can get rid of the cleaner. They will cook and iron.

And then, just as puberty kicks in, you hand them over to really brutal keepers. Now you have another hold: if they leave school before O levels, the MOD will bankrupt them for fee contribution. Even when your eldest son is picked up by the police, covered in bruises and starving, you can still get him to voluntarily return to Hell.

Oh, only one of your kids turned into a DV perp, and another has OCD, but hey: you kept up appearances.

Sorry for rant.

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 19:08:06

ouch disgrace, that sounds all too heartfelt :/

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 19:19:54

Ok so the people here on this thread and stately homes had difficult or abusive childhoods and one thing that is absolutely clear is that people want to get it right for their children. It doesn't always follow that because you had an abusive childhood that you then go on to be an abusive parent. There is choice, even when being propelled forwards by generations of abuse there is the choice to be the person who stops it in its tracks and does better.

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 19:58:53


DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 10-Jan-14 21:15:45


DD is a successful human being, and despite the horrible teenage years has turned out luvverly. I just feel joy when she's about.

Maybe she'll sing at La Scala, maybe she'll be a plumber. But whatever she does, she'll do it without a crow on her shoulder.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 21:34:25

Can anyone shed any light on something else I have noticed? My mother always hates my partners. She always says they have some sort of hold on me (not even sure what that means). Anyway during her rant she said that I have been angry with her since being married to DH and she blames him. I said that she can't possibly hold him responsible for our family problems but she insisted it was all down to him. Doing this has always made me then question my partner but I'm now wondering if this is another of her manipulations. My husband remained neutral on my family until he saw more once we lived together and he has encouraged me to stick up for myself but has always been respectful that these choices are mine to make and he supports me in my growth in general and respects my life has been different to his. Anyway, anyone else notice they're not allowed a partner?

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 22:03:28

It depends on the nature of the abusive mother/father.

Some of them react very badly to the idea that their captive audience, ie their children, are being 'taken away' by someone else. They like to know that they come first, at all times. Any threat to that is to be disliked hated.

Also parents like this tend to have a problem with anyone else at all coming into the situation that they (often) completely control anyway. Children getting bfs/gfs/ partners is a sign of independence that is absolutely not acceptable to them.

If the partner then encourages the grown-up child to stand up for herself, it'll be even worse.

A lot of the idea of someone having a 'hold' on the adult child is pretty much becuase they themselves have some sort of hold and so they automatically assume anyone else will be trying to get the same.

I've noticed that people like this tend to have very narrow views. They assume that everyone else is like them; same nature and same motivations. Not always, but often. Mind you, lots and lots of people who aren't abusive also find it hard to understand that people differ wildly =)

MajesticWhine Fri 10-Jan-14 22:18:32

Yes, makes a lot of sense Meerka.

MrRected Fri 10-Jan-14 22:39:47

Loggie - your advice was quite confronting when I first read it. The concept that my parents did their best affronts me on a fundamental level. They were and are totally shit. BUT, your post has made me realise that they WERE doing their best. To this day they can't see what they were doing was terrible. This is where the second element about perspective comes into play.

I have been NC for 2 years this time and before that for 3 years. My mother is an alcoholic with suicidal tendencies and possible undiagnosed bipolar. My dad totally enables her. He is an old school narcissist, completely incapable of talking to me without visibly thinking about his next statement instead of listening to me. There was a lot of physical abuse and favouritism in my childhood home, sprinkled with drunken rages/beatings, suicide attempts. Fear and inconsistency.

I have been wavering about nc, what if they get sick, they are getting old etc. I start to forget why we don't talk.

AdoraBell Sat 11-Jan-14 02:41:08

Appletarts it's a way of not being responsable for her own behaviour.
She's saying that you are angry because of him, not because of anything she did, because she didn't do anything that would make anyone angry, because she is a good person and parent.

Going back To parents doing the best they can. My mother did the best she could. That was not the best that she could have done. My father also did the best he could, but not the best that could be done. Both, in their way, where tóxic and it took me 3 years of therapy a long time after his death and NC with her To unravell the pile of shit that is my childhood.

She got married because of social pressures, he got married because of love. She didn't love him, he bécame depressed and then violent. She had an affair. They stayed married because of social pressures and the violence increased. Her Drs advised her To have an abortion when she was carrying me. She decided not To. The violence continúed. She bécame moré depressed and withdrawn.the violence continúed.

His best was To not deal with anything and then explode violently. Her best was To shut down while he was beating the shit out of her and the DCs.

Not much good, but they both did the best they could in their own situación. So that's okay thenhmm.

BTW, I know about the Drs advizing her To terminate her pregancy, that she was told not To bring yet another child into the shit storm and refused To head the advice, because the cunt told me, and no, she wasn't the only parent who damaged me. Both of them were víctimas and they creatived another round of víctimas/abusers, at léast one of home has carried on the family tradición.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 04:35:04

loggg1e It's very insensitive to say that parents are always just trying their best and that all it is is just a child's point of view. That's an alarmingly simplistic and inappropriate viewpoint for people who have suffered what is child abuse, and then expecting them to brush off/rationalise the trauma explained by 'well they were trying their best so it's OK really'. It is not OK. The impacts of these behaviours last well into adult life and forever unless treated. Not everyone is fortunate enough to talk things through with a psychologist or counsellor.

appletart my mum is not an alcoholic or anything and the opposite to your mum in that she loves all my exes and I am the one permanently doing something wrong. She is a bit wary of DH who is a different and wonderful breed to the rest of them - basically does not fall for what he calls her 'psychological warfare'. I used to cringe at how much she would flirt with my exes, particularly XH. She has an issue with women though which I have known about for some years and I am, according to my psychologist, somewhere in the middle of that.

My mother falls into the camp of not being able to acknowledge her guilt. She knew I was being abused as a child and did nothing to stop it - in fact even tried to rationalise the abuser's behaviour at which point I walked out. So combine that with just not liking women very much, I spent my years growing up being told I was the one with the problem. It's taking therapy to work out that wasn't the case. I now visit occasionally and talk on the phone occasionally but I keep arms length as every conversation is stressful. I went nc for many months which was actually liberating. On the surface everything is normal but when it goes deeper problems arise.

With your mum and partners it is something to do with control. Actually I think 100%. You have an outside voice now and that interferes with her control over you. Any DH worth their salt would stick up for you and protect you over her vitriol and she doesn't know how to handle that I guess. Some people just need whipping posts and what would she do if you were removed from that role by someone who actually has your best interests at heart?

Sorry did not mean to hijack thread smile just about to become a mum for the first time and your experiences have resonated so thank you for posting. I am hoping you and meerka who always makes wise comments, are correct and that I won't be as crap a mum! I know my mum was abused by my grandmother and has an idiolistic/unrealistic view of her father and that then did transfer onto her own parenting. adoraBell has it right saying that yes they did the best they could but it wasn't the best they could have done.

appletarts Sat 11-Jan-14 06:31:33

livingzuid, I think you have a good point there, my DH told her he didn't know how she slept at night and he was the first partner of any of the siblings to ever pass comment, everyone else sat there. My DH has made it clear he will go along with what I want but has told her he will step in as soon as he needs to protect his children, my mum was very angry about that statement!! I go between no contact and having a relationship with her because I am sad that the problems are still there after all these years, that she will die with all this crap still going on and there's nothing I can do about it because it is all her creation and I feel sorry for my kids with no grandparents. My daughter said she didn't want granny coming back and I felt sorry for my mother, now that is f**ked up of me! Anyway I listened to my daughter, apologised and said granny is a bit unwell and that I would never let her near us again behaving like that but thing is I can't promise what her behavior will be in reality and know she is still capable of violence even though she's 70! So I have to go no contact now don't I?

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 07:26:46

If there is the potential for violence then I'd say unfortunately yes, especially if you little ones could be exposed or heaven forbid on the receiving end sad NC is very hard and I understand totally the feelings of guilt and duty that remain but the children's safety has to come first. Particularly if she has a drink problem - I guess that exacerbates it? She has to help herself and if you are NC then that is her problem. From what you have said though I doubt she will ever own responsibility for her actions.

And will DH also put his foot down do you think over this? He sounds great smile

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 07:35:34

It's not the grandmother behaviour you would choose for your children is it? I think by the sounds of things they would rather not have that woman around! Trust in what your dd is saying and it sounds like you handled it really well smile

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 10:04:46

livingzuid you are telling me that what I am saying is inappropriate and offensive to people who were abused as children, but that's exactly what you and the OP are doing to me. You're telling me that the ideas which give me (and others) perspective and comfort are inappropriate.

From what you say you have misunderstood my point. For example, I never said it was acceptable for parents to be shit parents. But even so, none of us have a monopoly on misery. You can't rubbish what helps some of us just because it doesn't help you.

sashh Sat 11-Jan-14 12:07:47

* if anyone had just turned up they would have thought I'd just done the most awful thing to her.*

To her you have, you have done the worst thing, you have confronted her.


Example from my past.

2 children, pre puberty, on holiday they have to share a room with a double bed.

One gets the bed and the duvet, the other has to sleep on the floor with a single sheet if they try to get into the bed they are hit or kicked. The one sleeping on the floor is punished in the morning for not sleeping in the bed.

How is that anyone doing their best?

Some parents tried and fell short, it sounds like your parents fall in to that category, but many are mean, vindictive and down right cruel.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 12:22:02

sashh I'm not saying there's only one solution. However. In your case I would say that for whatever reason it was the parents who behaved like that. For whatever reason they failed to listen to explanations or saw blame where it didn't lie. My perspective teaches me that it wasn't the child's fault. The blame did not lie with her.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 12:35:53

I got your point Logg1e ... See my post upthread.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 12:40:39

Oh, strange, I remember typing a reply to MrRected sad Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore you!

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 12:55:35

Not wishing to derail this thead for OP who is clearly having a struggle and should be about her. But in response to you Logg1e let's look at what you said:

I think that there are two helpful thoughts. Firstly, each parent is the best parent they, personally, can be.

I am not the only one to have said that's not necessarily correct. I put up with 16 years of being told I was bad and evil.

In no way are you correct when you say each parent is always going to be the best parent they personally can be. Some are too blind to the truths around them that they shy away from the fact that they could, and should have done more. I put my mother leaving me in the hands of a carer and knowing I was sexually abused. Are you seriously saying to me that she was doing her best? No, she was blinded because she didn't want to believe it was going on. She knew what she could have done but it was easier for her to leave me rather than make the effort to find new help.

Again I think adoraBelle has it correct in saying that her mother did ''the best she could, but it wasn't the best she could have done". That's a far more accurate statement which I do relate to, am currently exploring in therapy, and may be what you mean.

Secondly, it's possible for you both to have different memories of the time, and for there to be two truths.

I can assure you there was no mistaking in my mind being abused by my main carer when I was three years old and it being systematic for three years until we moved. I also remember telling my mother and being slapped for telling lies. That's not a truth that there will ever be a different interpretation of.

So yes, I do find your comments inappropriate, insensitive and not helpful. It is too generalised for to state that all scenarios fit into the above two categories which is how it comes across. I am also not the only person to have said so. If that is not what you mean then please clarify further.

Apple hope you are having a better afternoon and apologies once again for the derail. I will only post on your own situation from now on (just wanted to use my own examples to respond but don't expect a response if that makes sense!) but I really do emphasise and hope you are ok.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:06:45

Living. - my initial reaction was the same as yours. I took some time to think about it and saw what Logg1e is trying to say.

She was trying to say that you can't control what they did or their reaction to being confronted with their actions being rehashed years later. They were being the best they could be - even if that best was sub humanly shite. They see things very differently and perceive the reality differently - so any expectation that apologies/remorse/understanding might be forthcoming are totally unrealistic.

It's simple and confronting but if you think about it with the slightest element of dispassion it makes sense.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 13:17:11

MrReacted I do see what you are both saying but I still don't agree with it and neither would my psychologist. But anyway not my thread smile so won't comment on that further.

Heaven knows how a parent can countenance abusing their own child as in apple's scenario and many others of course. If a third party abuser won't sometimes be acknowledged as real by a parent then I suppose there's no hope in your own abusive parent ever recognising they are abusers and I think she should definitely go NC. People like her M don't ever seem that interested in change, seeking professional help or developing self-reflective behaviour to try and improve.

Hissy Sat 11-Jan-14 13:21:55

I think it's helpful to think this 'best parent they could be' business.

To think anything else, to think that they did it on purpose means that, somehow, we deserved it, we'd done something that justified their 'inhumane shite'

We didn't. We didn't deserve any of it.

For their own reasons/fault, they chose to do this to us.

Getting to the 'why' is probably impossible. We just have to accept the truth, that it wasn't acceptable, but that it says nothing about us as people/children.

I'm on this particular roundabout, I logically understand what happened to me, not the 'why' because it wasn't me that 'did' anything. I cycle from hurt to rage, to sadness and then tranquillity.

I wanna get off the roundabout, but can't just yet.

Anyone know the way out? smile

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:29:02

Using her own phrase, let's look at what Living said,

"In no way are you correct when you say each parent is always going to be the best parent they personally can be. Some are too blind to the truths around them that they shy away from the fact that they could, and should have done more."

If they were blind to to the fact that they could have done more, how could they? By your definition she was "blind" to alternatives or seeking help.

I work with parents who neglected their children due to their drug addictions. They put the purchase of drugs before the health and safety of their children. They prostituted themselves, with the children in the house, to earn money for drugs. And worse.
Given poverty and drug addiction the best they could do as a parent was tiny. Not enough. But that's all they could do.

"the best she could, but it wasn't the best she could have done" This is pretty much what I'm saying. A parent does the best they could do. It might not be the best that the person next door could manage.

So yes, I do find your comments inappropriate, insensitive and not helpful. It is too generalised for to state that all scenarios fit into the above two categories which is how it comes across. I am also not the only person to have said so. If that is not what you mean then please clarify further

I haven't said anyone else's coping strategies are wrong. I haven't said what works for me will work for you. I certainly haven't called them inappropriate, insensitive or bullshit. So, I question why some of you find it ok to tell others that what we find comforting and informative, bullshit.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:30:36

No idea Hissy. Will watch with interest.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:32:36

MrRected, They see things very differently and perceive the reality differently - so any expectation that apologies/remorse/understanding might be forthcoming are totally unrealistic. and in fact, everything else you've said.

And Hissy, yes, yes, yes to everything you say at 13:21.

Fannydabbydozey Sat 11-Jan-14 13:37:38

The first line of what logg1e said was elamost exactly what my abusive stepfather said to me to excuse his hideous treatment of me during my childhood and adolescence. His very own excuse... Those words.

Those are not words which make me feel comforted but rather those which make me angry and tearful and feel sick for all those years of misery.

For the second part, I don't have a version of what happened I have the truth. He knows what he did. He just doesn't chose to believe he was a cunt for doing it. That's not a different take on events - its not admitting he was a violent bastard who took great pleasure in hurting me both physically and mentally.

I'm glad that you can take solace from thinking this way, but can you see why others are appalled?

OP I cannot talk to my dad about what happened. We had a huge fight a few years ago when I finally told my mum some of the violence that went on. He confronted me whilst I was on holiday with them last year and this was when he claimed he had done the best he could under the circumstances, that he'd been the best dad he could be and it was difficult for him etc etc it was excruciating for me and I will not be holidaying with them again. Since our fight I have maintained a very cool relationship because I love my mum and I can't have one parent without the other. But they know that if he touches a hair on my children's heads he will never have contact again. Ever. I barely engage with him. Even if I'm in the same house I pretend he doesn't exist because he doesn't deserve any attention from me. It's better for the family this way but I'd actually prefer to have no contact with him at all. I know that when he dies I will feel free.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 13:45:40

I did not use the word bullshit but I can see why others did. And I feel you have been inappropriate - if people feel that way then yes you have. I've already said this is not my thread and I'm not commenting on my situation further as I am sure it is not helpful to the OP and it certainly isn't to me.

And why do you seem to not understand that what YOU may find comforting is upsetting to others - particularly your second sentence which you haven't explained further? It works both ways.

So why don't we leave this circular argument there instead of trying to justify or disprove your claims and get back to something that may be useful to the OP - who has already said she does not find those two statements of yours helpful?

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 13:50:45

Fanny you worded things much better than me smile

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:57:52

Fanny, For the second part, I don't have a version of what happened I have the truth.

Living, your second sentence which you haven't explained further

So, my second sentence is saying you don't have to fight for a mutually agreed truth. The fact that you know it's the truth, Fanny, is enough for it to be true. You don't need to get him to agree with you. Similarly, and more generally, if your parent states something as fact, you don't have to think you're going crazy because you have a different memory.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:02

Logg1e simple statement is a reflection on victimisation - not intended literally.

As a child of abusive, alcoholic, violent parents, who left me alone to fend off sexual abuse by one of their friends' teenage children - whilst off getting pissed and swinging. I totally get your outrage - if you could try to look at the statement as a point of view/manner of being to endure that blame sits squarely at the feet of the abusers instead of a literal view of what she says - it does make sense.

So much sense, I almost feel a sense of epiphany. After years of harrowing self loathing, I really get it.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:45

<ensure >. Not endure !!

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:48

And why do you seem to not understand that what YOU may find comforting is upsetting to others

I haven't said that others shouldn't be upset.
I. Shared. Two. Concepts. That. I. Found. Helpful.
And I'm glad I did, because others have found them useful too.

DoctorTwo Sat 11-Jan-14 15:24:32

I think that there are two helpful thoughts. Firstly, each parent is the best parent they, personally, can be.

That's what my stepmother told me at my dads funeral. Why was my experience of childhood different to my siblings? They weren't beaten, often with shoes. She broke my nose, a cheekbone, an eye socket and one of my collar bones. I got better exam results than my siblings, yet was belittled and they were praised. I wasn't the one getting arrested, but I got blamed for it.

If that's anybodys idea of being 'the best parent they, personally, can be' you can do one.

I've never told anybody the full horror of what she did as I honestly don't think I'll be believed.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 15:26:05

I. Shared. Two. Concepts. That. I. Found. Helpful.

Well I'm so glad you've spelled that out for me. How thoughtful and considerate you are to be so sarcastic to someone who's commenting on their own experiences of abuse.

If you'd got to clarifying this several posts ago in an non-combative manner, or even in your original comment, that would have been even more helpful. Instead you chose to get argumentative and defensive when posters challenged you on what is a hugely emotive subject for them and me.

OP I hope you come back and give us an update at some point. Sorry for turning your thread into a row. Thank you for sharing your story, I found it really helpful to read. Good luck smile

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 15:28:15

And I'm really sad and sorry to read everyone's stories of abuse. I hope we all find some peace someday to live our lives.

FrauMoose Sat 11-Jan-14 15:43:48

I've spent time - years - trying to understand why my parents were as they were and did what they did.

There were aspects of my father's childhood that were difficult. On the other hand his sister shared a lot of those childhood difficulties, but turned out to be a warm and loving parent. It is entirely possible that my father was not neuro-typical, and had Aspergers Syndrome. However I know other people with AS, who are gentle and do not resort to violence against others.

I think my mother's values and emotions may have been systematically eroded when she got married to somebody who was highly manipulative and controlling. On the other hand some people who are married to partners of that kind do ultimately leave, for the sake of the children. Or seek to make amends to their children - belatedly -after the controlling partner has died. My mother did neither of these things.

I think their belief of theirs that they 'did their best' is/was deluded, based on a entirely mistaken set of ideas about what parents were entitled to do and about what children require in order to flourish.

It was like being brought up in a sort of mini-cult, because nothing could impact on their own sense of their righteousness. So I suppose my parents 'did their best', in the sense that religious fanatics may believe that they are doing their best.

I could choose to say, 'My parents? Oh they did their best.'

But that would be like subscribing to their delusion, giving it a validity it absolutely does not deserve.

Hissy Sat 11-Jan-14 16:05:12


It's ok to rage about this 'best a parent could be' thing.

I have dearly wanted to hurl myself to the ground and screamed 'but that's not good enough' and it's not fair' and i'm (and we all are) entitled to. We DO deserve (and need) to express that anger.

Once we do, once we get that out of our heads, it gets easier.

appletarts Sat 11-Jan-14 20:21:40

livingzuid please feel you can talk freely here, I won't feel at all that you are derailing thread, rather you are sharing your experience. To me what loggie said is what my mother says and she says she did her best and my answer is no she didn't, or best in the circumstances which is her other get out of jail free card. I think those statements mean she avoids responsibility. Her best one when I confronted her about something that happened when I was a baby was.... "It wasn't you apple, it was a baby". Notice I was an 'it' and to her a baby wasn't a person, not me. I still don't know what to do next for the best.

appletarts Sat 11-Jan-14 20:22:05

and thank you for all your support, I really appreciate it.

appletarts Mon 13-Jan-14 14:23:29

Well, I've decided to go no contact. I have sent her a letter getting everything off my chest so I don't have to carry it all around with me in things I wish I could have said. It was a non-blaming letter which set the record straight on a few things. I have changed my phone numbers. Today is the first day of my life without her hanging over my head, let the healing begin!

LineRunner Mon 13-Jan-14 14:28:34

Good luck, appletarts.

Have you a plan fir if she writes back to you? I binned all my mother's letters in the immediate post-NC period until she stopped sending them.

Hissy Mon 13-Jan-14 14:31:50

Bloody well done apple braver than me with the letter, I'm thinking there will be a response that you may need to be prepared for.

At least if you have changed your numbers already, that'll limit the shock factor of taking a call.

appletarts Mon 13-Jan-14 14:38:19

I felt I didn't want to be frightened any more of telling my truth and felt abuse thrives in silence. I will keep any letter she sends but not open it until I feel stronger, or bin it.

Logg1e Mon 13-Jan-14 16:51:07

I was going to suggest holding on to them, and not rushing in to reading or chucking them. Is there someone you can trust to read them and give you a brief precis?

appletarts Mon 13-Jan-14 18:55:20

Good idea Loggie but I just don't want to hear what she has to say, even through a 3rd party. Will maybe read it one day, if I ever feel ready because I know it would be more of the same old rubbish, yes of how she did her best etc etc and I am to blame because I have feelings about it that won't go away and I won't shut up talking about things. I don't expect anything to come from this other than I am free of her and my vicious sister who is her sidekick.

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