Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I could do with someone to talk through spending time in the same room as abusive family member

(18 Posts)
tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 19:43:29

I am shaken up as are my children, I looked at their faces, they were so sad and scared, when I asked them how they were feeling after all the abuse being hurled at me, my brother became enraged and I was scared he was going to hit me.

I have very little to do with my family and I was only in the same room as him as he lives abroad and I was picking up my child who was meeting his toddler child for the first time.

I realise now that the reason I was in denial about my Mum being emotionally abusive now as if I had not licked her arse, he and my dad would have killed me.

The things he said to me, all the personal attacks were horrific.

I am on the verge of tears.

Bandwithering Wed 06-Jul-11 19:52:58

It's not worth going through these meetings just so that your children can know their cousin.

I don't have an abusive family member but I had an extremely abusive x.

My 2 cents is that you should give yourself permission to let this relationship totally slide. YOu don't have to announce it to the rest of the family, you don't have to swear blind you'll never, ever 'try' again. But for now, just stop trying to smooth things over.

I don't know what the row was about, but if you were trying to get him to see your point of view on something, or if you were defending yourself, just stop right now. Don't try again. Don't try to get his understanding, don't try to win his approval.

If he has a history of being unreasonable then he isn't going to suddenly become reasonable now.

Don't be afraid to admit to your children that the way he spoke to you was horribly upsetting and that for that reason you will be removing yourself from the 'relationship'. They need to see that role model. They need to see YOU removing yourself from that shit. NOT the role model of the moth being sucked back into the flame trying and trying and failing to fix things. I'm mixing my metaphors there!

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 20:01:04

We are both in our late thirties, he left to live abroad when he was 20, and we have had little to do with one another, I have no clue where exactly he lives, I have not seen him in years.

He was on his phone and I think something he was doing on there lead him to attack me.

There was no row! He started abusing me telling me how much he hates me, and how everyone hates me, name calling, attacking the way I look, that type of thing, all out of the blue just kept laying into me, all I said to him was that it was pathetic behaviour. The thing is I have changed and I was not being goaded as he used to do to me years ago.

He deamded that I leave with my children, and said to my Mum that she had better make me leave, in a chose him over me, she knows I have changed, and I have no relationship with her as it is, she has barley seen my children in over a year as she has treated me like crap and is the reason he treats me like crap, that was my job the scapegoat, he has had a shock and he was shaking with anger and that was why I think he was going to hit me, I told him if he did that I would call the police, and he said "yeah you would".

All that was said before he laid into me after half an hour, was look at my daughter to me, and that was it!

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 20:04:16

Actually, he also asked me if she looked like him and I said no she looks like her mum and her (didn't say this bit half) siblings to me. He responded that she used to look like him when she was a baby (I can't see that from photo's) and that she has changed. she looks nothing like him at all, she looks a little like me actually, but I didn't say that.

My Mum has this weird thing about me and my brother looking like her, and I don't at all, she used to get so angry when people said we didn't look like her, I couldn't care less who looks like who and she was always saying to me that it must feel great that my children both look like me, I think they look like me and their Dad and don't give it much thought personally.

I really am glad I have little to do with these people, I feel so sad that I have no family, and had to live through that as a child.

tb Wed 06-Jul-11 20:18:31

All you need to do - and I know it's not easy, is to give yourself permission not to have them in your life. And be kind to yourself.

I know it's easier said than done. I put up with an incredibly abusive mother until I was 36. It was only when she started treating dh the same way as she treated me, that I knew I was going to have to make a choice. I did. I chose to try and live rather than just surviving, and hoping to find the mother that loved me.

It's been incredibly painful being rejected - she wrote me a letter disowning me, and bombarded me with anonymous letters. I haven't seen her since 1992. She's never met dd - for dd's safety.

That's the way I want it to stay.

Good luck

TeachMySelfBalance Wed 06-Jul-11 20:29:52

That is a terrible situation to be in, tranquilgardens. I am sorry that you had such a frightening childhood.

I agree with Bandwithering (nice post). You do not need to involve him or your parents in your management of your relationships-setting your boundaries on your time line.

Did you know that children witnessing abuse is abusive to the children? That is what you were seeing on their faces. They were probably wondering when (not if) they will be next.

Please, don't ever leave your children alone with him-even if his dc are there too. You are your childrens' strongest advocate and have absolute authority to make this executive decision. You are entirely justified. No debate necessary to provide proof or a discertation to defend your point of view. He/they wouldn't actually listen to you anyway.
The 'family relationships' simply are not worth the happy myth when abuse (of any sort) is involved. Your dc will only be missing alot of negatives there.

Is what I wrote above clear? You understand that you can protect your child? Yes, good. Now let that idea grow and know in your heart, mind and soul that you can be your own advocate too. You have every right to be treated with respect and if you are not, then you can speak with your feet and get away.

You are an adult and have the option of stepping out of the 'family role' any time you want to. Saying is one thing, doing it is another, I know.

TeachMySelfBalance Wed 06-Jul-11 20:36:50

Bunch of xposts.
Sorry I wrote of your child in the plural.

Just disconnect. Emotionally, as it sounds like you have already restricted visitation. Well done on that btw. That is not easy to do. Just take it the next step. Enough is enough. Why on earth would you ever even think about putting up with more of this?

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 20:42:24

Thanks guys.

Yes I do know that it was abuse, I did tell him that.

I was happier with my family not in my life, I will explain in a bit why my Mother is back in the children's lives.

I had a chat with the children and they reminded me that the reason he went nuts was that I was telling him about the genetic medical condition me and the children have. I actually went to see the specialist today, and was referred to the top guy in the country and spent an hour with him, I was shocked that I saw him as he is so well known, as the condition has been recently reclassified.

Some parts of this condition can cause even worse problems one is with the heart, than I have and his dd had a heart op, and I needed to tell him for the child's sake, he went nuts at me telling me I was lying and that I don't have this condition.

My Mother was in denial about it too!

I happened to have my appointment letter with me and showed it to my Mum to prove I was not lying, gosh I can't be around those people.

DD was right as she said no way is she lying (children have it too, they need to go and see the guy also to get their medical notes with the reclassification of the syndrome), they knowI am not lying as they have been with me to my and their appointments with consultants in the past.

I am ok about the condition, I came to terms with it a long time ago!

He is going to go aroud telling people I am a liar and that I was horrible to him now, bloody hell, it is so unfair!

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 20:45:40

Right the reason my Mother is back in my life, I had serious issues with imobility recently and needed help with the children as I am a single parent (yes abusive ex and not seen kids for years), and I rang social services, they know the situation with my family and ex, they refused funding for foster care respite, and the lesser of two evils was Mother, if I didn't take the help I was threatened with the transfer of residence to abusive ex, they put me between rock and hard place.

I told ss I have been seeing a psychologist for almost a year due to the abuse I experienced, and how I was trying to keep myself and my children safe.

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 21:02:30

Another thing, he said that everyone hates me, and then said that the next time he will see me is at my parents funerals, I said not you won't, I am not going, I made that decision about a year ago, I am wondering now if he has had some sort of plan to attack me with these other people who also hate me at the funerals, my goodness! sorry for going on, I am working through this and don't have a partner to talk this through with.

Bandwithering Wed 06-Jul-11 21:38:09

You're doing a good job. You're keeping your children safe and you're investing into yourself by having counselling.

I sometimes can't believe I had the strength to leave an abusive relationship, and I take my hat off to anybody who did it with a history of abuse. I had a happy childhood, and only that allowed me to disconnect from my x.

so give yourself a pat on the back for being so bloody strong!

I think the problem for you now is that whether or not you continue to see your brother sometimes, you are really upset about things that have happened in the past. He sounds like a very angry man your brother. Have you heard of a book called 'why does he do that?' by lundy bancroft? it might help you understand and believe that his shouting and bullying has nothing to do with you. You're not obliged to calm him down or placate him or win him round or keep him calm. NONE of that. You're entitled to walk away from a screaming angry man. Whether he's your brother or your father or your husband.

The thoughts going round and round in your head are probably exhausting and they're not taking you towards any conclusion right now.

I remember when I was SO caught up in what my x thought, and his 'truth' and my truth and all the "well he said, she said, you said, I said, ................. it wore me out and it never got me anywhere because his 'truth' was always going to be utterly ludicrous and self-absorbed.

The reason you are so upset by what he thinks is because his opinion is wrong!! but lots of people out there have opinions that are wrong. You can eventually relegate your brother's opinion to the same level. It won't happen over night but you can do it.

YOu can do it. But you need to reduce the contact right down to an absolute minimum. If in the future you need to tell him about a medical thing, don't send a heartfelt letter explaining why you felt you had no choice but to do x, y or z. Just send a photocopied letter of the hospital appointment. Never explain yourself. Never defend yourself. Never apologise. Never try to reason.

Doing this only feeds into the abuser's belief that what they think of you is still really important to you.

Being family, you obviously know a lot of the same people so if he's telling people you're a liar I can see why that would be upsetting. But ask yourself these questions

1) how many of those mutual acquaintances would you REALLY value their good opinion of you?
2) how many of those mutual acquaintances have NO idea what HE is like as a person?
3) how many of those mutual acquaintances are totally incapable of making up their own mind about you?

You've probably cut that list of people down from a hundred to 6 now.

But all of that is white noise really. You're going to have to think about how you can reduce contact and communication with your brother and also, to avoid stress, awkwardness and anxiety, cull all but a select few mutual acquaintances.

It's the only way forward.

PS, don't worry about future funerals of people who haven't died yet! when these older relatives die, you can deal with the funeral then. You could just go to the church part and skip the bit back at the house. DON'T worry about it now.

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 22:28:22

I really liked the 1)2)3) list, so very helpfull, thank you.

I have seen him less than a dozen times in 16 years since he moved abroad, so there will not be much more contact, we don't have anything to do with one another, my Mother triangulates so much!

I drew a picture in the air with my fingers, of a triangle when he was trying to drag her into the triangle of drama! What he may not know is that I have told her how she causes trouble! He went for her after he couldn't control me.

All the time I said to her, he is the product of the way you and your exh modelled treating me to him, and others, as she was putting her hands to her mouth and shaking and acting all anxious, going on about people who die at her age suddenly, hence his funeral comment.

I seriously have no interest in their funerals, I don't like the way they treated me as a child or now, and I have little interest in the people they spent their lives bitching and taking out their anger at these friends and relatives on me, instead of dealing with the issues with the person who upset them! I was the vessel that allowed them to be able to maintain relationships with people they did not like, and allowed them the ability to present a lovely persona to the very people who caused them such unhappiness! I don't want to spend any time with those people, I mourned my parents the past year or so, after having had counselling regarding the abuse from the exh and realised he was not the first to abuse me, so I have no need to go to a funeral, I am an orphan and always have been!

I need to get that book!

tranquilgardens Wed 06-Jul-11 22:51:35

I just rang up Mother who after listening said to me well I will stick a knife in myself then is that what you want, when she was washing up, as you could hear her crashing the dishes around!

I said I can't believe that she sat in her house when he abused me like that, with her three gd's there, that she thinks it is ok for him to drag the baby by the arm so roughly and throw her toy on the ground, swear and make such nasty put down's to me, watch my dd with tears in her eyes, and have demandd that she throw me out of the house, I would have loved to have left, I was not going to allow him to force me out of the house and feel that he could abuse me and win, this time I was not going to be kicked out, and for once she didn't say something like it is better that you leave, he was shocked by that, he really thought that she would kick me out of the house, and I have to say that two years ago she would have and I would have known my place then, not now!

I also said to him as I was leaving when for about the fourth time he said everyone hates me and everyone hates me, I said there was a time when that hurt me, not now, and if some other people who have been abusive towards me and you want to hold on to hatred of me and use it to unite you, then that is pathetic behaviour. I would have taken that on two years ago, not know! I don't miss those people (from my fathers family and my father) he is referring to, they were not helpfull to me, and they are not genuine people, they were abusive or manipulative false people who I have no interest in at all. I really think he and they have some sort of plan from what he was saying to do something to me at a funeral, well what a shock that was to him and how angry it made him when i said I am not going, he was in shock I would not go! He really doesn't know how much I have changed.

garlicnutter Wed 06-Jul-11 23:36:01

Sounds like you've changed for the better grin

The situation with being forced to depend on your barmy mother for assistance sounds quite awful. I'm really sorry you've got to deal with so many difficulties! I'm afraid I've got no practical advice for you on that front, except to labour the point with your psychiatrist, therapist and any care workers you see. My local CMHT came up with a lot of practical help in getting me away from my mother (not far enough away, but hey.) It's surprising what they can pull out of the hat sometimes.

I'm not trying to patronise you or teach your grandmother to suck eggs (!) Just pointing out that you are RIGHT to want alternative arrangements, your mother IS a threat to your continued good health, and you DESERVE good care, not abuse.

Of course it is right to keep yourself and your DC as far away as possible from your crazy relatives. It's the only sane thing to do. Don't know what all that funeral guff was about but, really, do you need to care?

Hope you sleep well tonight smile

seriouslynow Wed 06-Jul-11 23:50:59


you are doing brilliantly so far, considering the circs, just to get where you are, I mean it. You could have ended up like them (those lunatic relatives) but you won't - you'll be ok and so will your children.

there's some fantastic advice on here already, and I also advise reading the Lundy Bancroft book, also maybe Patricia Evans. These books will help you to understand what you've already started to. The nature of abusive people and why none of this is your fault, and how you can't fix any of them, and why should you want to anyway. It might be painful to learn what's happening in these relationships but you will find immense relief too.

Take good care of yourself and your darling dc's.

tranquilgardens Thu 07-Jul-11 00:16:47

Thanks ladies.

I have spoken to the psychologist, not got anyone else involved in my care, as adults social services not really interested, they sent around an OT who has given me aids, I had been on the list a long time and things got worse so between disabled adults and children and families social services the aids came at last, well some have. I spoke to the psychologist about how upset it has made me that my Mum is back in our lives, she thinks that I have to accept help right now in what ever form I can get it, so what else can I do really. The social worker is going to close down the case once she has come back to check that the children are tidying up their rooms as I was not able to cope with their mess any more physically, I am the fool that called ss in, and I am glad that they will be going out of our lives again, what a dammed nightmare. I can't bear the thought of her speaking to the ex about the children, or being involved with his crap on top of everything else in life right now, he was a hinderance when he was around after seperation, and judging by what the latest is he is still in therapy himself right now, so hopefully one day he will get sorted out and be able to be a Dad, from what I understand he is not ready to be a decent DAd to the children just yet, so I am lumbered with my Mother. I really hope that I won't get into trouble with the children being with her to give me respite, as I was not happy about it.

The children are not happy about the ss involvement either, and it has made them buck up their idea's about tidying up after themselves, as they are of an age where they should be able to do so and they should not expect someone in my position to run around after them. They know that I had to call in help as I was not able to manage it and the house was a health hazard due to them not helping clean up after themselves. Even to get them to bring me their dirty washing downstairs is like blood from a stone.

Well I have to get my physical health back on track as quickly as possible and when it is then I can go back to what I have done for years and care for the children on my own with no help, not that I am getting much help anyways.

As for the baby, well we have met her now, and maybe that will be it. We don't even have a picture of her. I went inicially when the brother was sleeping off the long flight, so he was not their the first visit, I left dd there as she wanted to spend more time with the cousin, and went back to get her, as other dd wanted to spend more time with the cousin, there was never a plan for me and brother to actually spend time together.

I have to get those books.

garlicnutter Thu 07-Jul-11 00:37:39

Sorry for being quick, I'll come back to your thread tomorrow & see how you're feeling. This is another very useful book: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans. She gives good advice on how to recognise abusive tactics and how to strengthen yourself against them. It sounds as though you've already done great work on this, the book may help you build on it.

tranquilgardens Thu 07-Jul-11 11:11:57


Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now