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Mum refuses to admit she used me as a scapegoat

(33 Posts)
Bumblequeen Sat 21-May-11 13:22:47

Mum was speaking about a friend of hers who is known to be irritable and short tempered. After filling us in on a recent disagreement they had she added
"She is just like you- low intolerance". I told her to stop labelling me, as she has this since I was a child.

Reminded mum that she used to call me names and when I misbehaved would tell me I was bad just like my father. Mum said she has no recollection of doing this and I am making things up in my head! I am so upset and angry that she refuses to acknowledge her actions.

My sister has never been labelled. Everything was projected onto me. Yes I was a miserable child due to being bullied and feeling I did not fit in at home or at school.

Feel like screaming as I am made to feel I am over reacting due to bring sensitive. Is it possible that these past experiences were a figment of my imagination. Am I really a nasty person that I am made out to be?

I just do not know what to think anymore.

Mouseface Sat 21-May-11 13:33:15

I can't answer if you are nasty or not as I don't know you grin

Are you the eldest by any chance?

Bumblequeen Sat 21-May-11 14:50:05

Yes I am the eldest

mycatthinksshesatiger Sat 21-May-11 14:59:54

Bumble I could have written your post.

I was the scapegoat - blamed for everything from my Dad leaving us when I was 4 (it was my fault apparently as I cried as a baby...) to Mum never having enough free time as she had to work to support us as I needed clothes and food....whenever, over the years, I have dared to complain about her scapegoating, I get laughed at and told I'm over-sensitive and can't take a joke. My Mum and uncles used to gang up on me taking the mickey and calling me names just to get a laugh - apparently when it made me quiet and withdrawn I was being ridiculous, they were just having a laugh....

Eventually these things totally erode your self-esteem and make you feel less entitled to exist, and certainly turn you into a doormat, prepared to put others' needs first and incapable of standing up for yourself.

I used to think I'd imagined it all too as my Mum whenever challenged would just laugh it all off and blame my so-called overactive imagination. But after years of counselling I now know that i've remembered it all, as it was. I've also realised my mum is highly narcissistic.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, I think it's vital that you get some of your experiences validated at long last, on here, in therapy maybe, and most importantly by yourself.

Mouseface Sat 21-May-11 15:08:25

Bingo mycat.

HughManatee Sat 21-May-11 16:31:39

This website is helpful:

If you've already heard of that site, then feel free to ignore the above, but if not, it's useful, especially the part about scapegoating.

I'm willing to bet £££££££££ you're not imagining it, it's easier for her to pretend you're overreacting, anything else would make her realise she's not and never has been a good parent.

Bumblequeen Sat 21-May-11 19:13:10

Thank you so much for your replies. I can relate to all of your experiences. It got to the stage where I questioned my own sanity as nobody felt things were as bad as I explained. How could they understand- it happened to me!!

Mum has always put my sister on a pedestal. She can do no wrong, her needs take priority over mine. Mum sees the worst in me and is happy to point them out.

I am attending counselling sessions and they are helping me to manage my emotions. Aa a child I was so sensitive.

onesandwichshort Sat 21-May-11 19:19:19

Me too. And it's incredibly hard to break out of, I have to work and work when I am with them to keep any sense at all that I am a worthwhile person.

UnlikelyAmazonian Sat 21-May-11 20:21:35

I still get the treatment now and i am an old lady! grin

One minute I am a 'nasty little bitch'
and the next I get a card in the post saying 'I will always love you'

Thank god for wine, friends and the internet.

She sounds poisonous. One way to get rid of her would be to put it all in writing, keep a copy of the letter, then post it.

Sit back.

The only thing you will hear will be a roaring silence - from parents, siblings, etc. Punctuated by calls saying 'you are round the twist. Everybody thinks so'

At which point book a sunny holiday and relax. grin

Bumblequeen Sun 22-May-11 13:39:43

Dh and I were discussing helping an elderly neighbour with basic cleaning. We get along well and he enjoys our company. Mum then interrupted and said "oh no, bumblequeen does not have the patience with people to spend a couple of hours doing their housework and listening to their stories".

Mum does not know the heart I have for people but likes to convince me I am all about myself. She does not know the time I give to others. I literally have to fight NOT to believe her negative reports. For years I thought I would not have children as I was told unlike my sister I was not the maternal type. I was told children did not warm to me as they did with my sister.

Mum makes me feel I am less than and undeserving. I struggle to spend money on myself, accept gifts or nice compliments. Deep down I feel unworthy yet my sister has a great sense of entitlement. If I have something nice, she feels she too should have it.

This will never end unless I cut her out.

mycatthinksshesatiger Sun 22-May-11 16:40:04

Bumble you have described my relationship with my sibling, except that they are the older one and I'm younger by a number of years.

Anything I've ever had has been turned into a "they deserved it more" type contest. When I achieved what by my family's standards was a high academic level, I was told my sibling would have been equally capable if they'd had the same opportunities as me (which was rubbish as their school was identical etc). No-one said well done, just reminded me how clever he was.

I don't think I realised the full extent of all of this though until my counsellor said to me recently that my Mum had no idea what she had missed out on, by treating me as a nobody/echo/child, whatever, all these years - and then proceeded to use all sorts of lovely adjectives to describe me as she sees me, acknowledging that my Mum will never know that side of me as she assumes I'm worthless and have nothing valuable to say.It was like a knife cutting through me hearing all of that - I felt utterly distraught, which sounds odd, as it was a beautiful thing to say. It took me 2 weeks to be able to think about it again, and when I did I realised that nobody had ever said anything nice about me before in a way that felt totally honest. It really brought home the extent of the loss of any proper relationship with my Mum and the way her negative opinions of me had totally destroyed my self-worth (or rather, never allowed me to develop any). It has been the turning point in a way.

I imagine that like mine yours didn't lock you in a cupboard, deprive you of essentials or beat you - so it's hard to justify why we feel abused? However constant belittling, undermining, controlling and blaming is itself a form of emotional abuse, and it's hideously damaging to your self-esteem.

I'm very glad you are having counselling. I often think we need a specific support group on MN as so many of us have had similar histories and it takes so much untangling to get some kind of closure.

Bumblequeen Sun 22-May-11 18:46:37

Mycatthinks-how awful for you. No I was never lockedin a cupboard, starved or badly beaten.

Confronted mum, she started screaming and said she has no idea why I feel less loved than my sibling. She said she cannot take anymore on her head (used to tell me I would turn her mad when I was a child). She then cried to my dh who told me off and said should leave the past in the past. I am the scapegoat once again- why do I *??????? bother?

mycatthinksshesatiger Sun 22-May-11 19:01:48

Sorry I didn't express it well - what i meant was that though she didn't lock me in a cupboard or beat me (which would be a clear case of awful abuse), I still feel I was abused emotionally. On the outside we were a normal, balanced family with a doting mother. On the inside the reality was very different. But when it's so insiduous, it's so hard to validate your own experiences as an adult.

bumble it's inexcusable that she uses your DH against you but it's also typical divide and conquer tactics that the narcissist uses to isolate you and convince you that you are over-reacting etc.

Has your DH ever witnessed her behaviour towards you? The turning point for me came when DH finally saw her for what she was. It's very hard confronting your Mum if you don't have your DH's support on this. Could you show him this thread? xx

TruthSweet Sun 22-May-11 19:03:21

BumbleQueen - when your mother said you wouldn't be able to help you elderly neighbour why did your DH not stick up for you? Is he part of the problem? Do you have a similar relationship with your DH to the one you have with your mum?

My DH would not stand for anyone saying anything bad about if it wasn't true, and even if it was, I don't think he'd like it said in a way that put me down.

Bumblequeen Sun 22-May-11 21:07:28

Mycat- dh always witnesses mum's behaviour towards me but feels I need to accept or dismiss what she says. I find it hard to accept these negative comments. Her perception of me links back to being a teenager and NOT the adult that I am. Mum had labelled me and I will never get away from her idea of who I am.

Truthsweet- DH always sides with mum regardless of whether I am in the right or wrong, whether I am in tears or not. I am in their eyes, ignorant, argumentative and petty. I believe I have a right not to be put down or belittled.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have listened to people's negative words spoken over my life. Each time I felt unworthy, irrelevant.

mycatthinksshesatiger Sun 22-May-11 21:13:06

Unfortunately bumble it sounds like your DH is colluding with your Mum's emotional abuse. Do you think it's because he actually sides with her or because he has learnt that it's easier to just agree with her?

Either way, you do not deserve to be spoken about like this by either of them.

It may be very hard or impossible to change the way either of them see you and view you (actually it doesn't sound like they see you at all; they just have a fixed, incorrect image of who you are). However you can change how you react to them and indeed whether you are prepared to put up with these comments. That is the only choice that is entirely yours, but I know it's incredibly hard to choose to be you and not the person they believe you to be.

Bumblequeen Sun 22-May-11 21:14:51

Each time I confront mum over her actions I feel I am fighting for all the wrong things that were spoken to me when young. Back then I was weak, had no-one to defend me at home or at school. I believed everything that was said to me and spent years trying to build up my self esteem. Even now I struggle to see good in myself and to like myself. I am amazed when people like to be around me as deep down I feel I am bad.

mycatthinksshesatiger Sun 22-May-11 21:56:49

There is a really good book, Toxic parents by Susan Forward:

It's a really good starting point for understanding what, or rather who, has made you get to the point where you feel you are bad. Your mother has robbed you of your truthful identity and filled you with deep, toxic shame about who you are.

Are you able to speak to your counsellr about all of this?

TruthSweet Sun 22-May-11 22:15:21

I really think your DH is as big of a problem then as your mother is.

Some people are attracted to people already knocked down and trampled on as it's easier for them to continue to do so then to 'break in' a happy, confident person to be content to have themselves belittled and degraded.

Are you able to go to counselling or to go to your GP for help? I really think you sound like a lovely person who has spent their entire time being pulled down and belittled to the point you find yourself today. Please get help.

midnightservant Sun 22-May-11 23:08:36

Your mother is never going to admit to anything.

She just isn't.

Please do not torture yourself by trying to get her to do so.

Bumblequeen Mon 23-May-11 11:45:07

Thank you for your encouragement. I understand that mum will never admit to anyrhing.

This morning I was grumpy and dh screamed at me in the presence of my mum. I was told my mum loves me and has done nothing against me. Apparently I am holding onto things mum did in the past and need to let go. I was blamed for changing the mood in the house and told I am just as defensive with his mum as I am with mine. I cried all the way to the station and was in shock.

It seems I am highly strung and have made all these things up. I floated down the road as I walked to work- could not feel my feet.

Do not want to go home. I am made to feel guilty for confronting mum over how she has made me feel. I should have just tolerated her put downs because my husband had so much hate in his eyes for me. He was disgusted with me. That killed me.

Ealingkate Mon 23-May-11 11:52:22

Can't believe your H said those things to you. sad Have you talked to your counsellor about him too?

Kiwinyc Mon 23-May-11 12:00:23

Bumblequeen - I can't add anything to this thread but i was so shocked reading your post just now I wanted to say something to support you.

Your feelings are REAL and VALID. And your DH of all people should hold and respond to your feelings with the utmost love and care, not attack you in that way.

Have you ever had any counselling, if not please consider it? It might help to find somebody that you help find a way to recognise how the hurt and pain you are carrying from your childhood is affecting you as an adult.

Bumblequeen Mon 23-May-11 12:20:38

Thank you. Feel like crap. Obviously I have no right to defend myself. My dh has betrayed me by siding with mum. I have opened my heart to him about how bad mum makes me feel so hpw could he say no harm has been done.

midnightservant Mon 23-May-11 13:29:29

Hope I didn't sound harsh. I once worked with someone with BPD and found this very helpful forum. People there really understand - icluding about reactions like your husband's.

BPD Family

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