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Please can I have some hand holding as toxic parents are making me feel so very guilty.....

(65 Posts)
floofers Wed 17-Aug-11 21:47:09

I am sure some of you will have seen my many posts of late - about my abusive childhood/trying to pluck up the courage to "deal" with it and trying to cut ties to my parents.

Well I managed to avoid one visit from my parents - and as such they ignored my birthday and wedding anniversary ( only a week apart).It automatically makes me feel "bad", and like I have done wrong. Equally it just backs up how wrong they are I guess?

I think I just need some reassurance. I am trying to be corageous enough to be frank with my GP next week (appt booked) and I guess I just want someone to tell me I am doing the right thing.

TheArmadillo Wed 17-Aug-11 22:46:46

I don't know your background, but I do know that cutting off my parents was one of the best things I ever did.

Place yourself as the parent and your dc as the child - what would your child have to do to make you act like your parents? Could they do anything to make you act that way.

WRT to the gp it is sometimes easier if you write down all the things you want to say. Then if worse comes to worse you can hand it to them if you turn into a sobbing wreck like I did

Best of luck smile

floofers Wed 17-Aug-11 23:05:06

TheArmadillo - thank you for your reply. No child could ever make me treat them in the way that they treated me sad sad sad sad sad

I guess I just feel so sad at the moment - at the way they are clearly rejecting me ( I should be happy?) but I guess I feel lost.

I will try and write things down for the gp - but I have a real issue with communicating on the matter - having been brought up to trust no -- one and be told no one is interested etc - it seems a very hard cycle to break.

I actually just want to have a drink or 10 - thats what I really want to do. Forget about it all x

TheArmadillo Wed 17-Aug-11 23:24:25

Writing stuff down is something I have struggled with at points - the paranoia I have from my childhood can be quite strong. I hated writing stuff down for my CBT as I was always terrified someone would find it. I used to hide it in a small pocket in my handbag and then keep my handbag on me at all times - I would still worry about someone stealing it or me losing it and someone finding it.

My therapist asked me why and I said I was terrified of someone finding out my innermost thoughts and knowing me entirely and just everything awful and wrong. She said if it was that easy to know everything about the way someone thinks/feels and everything about them then her job would be a hell of a lot easier. She still took some of the most terrifying stuff to have written down away as I would have had to burn it (apparently this is not how normal people behave).

I did write a letter to the GP - I was at breaking point and it all just exploded out. They even put it on file <shudder does not even begin to cover it>

I have found forcing myself to write things down helps break the control/patterns that have been set. As does being as open as I can about things (to friends/family not people I grab off the street obviously). Secrecy formed part of how they treated me, being so scared/untrusting of my own thoughts and feelings and the fear of how people would react if they knew them being another. To break them you have to do what are sometimes painful things. It is not easy, and you do have to force yourself to a point. If you can't now, then hopefully you will be able to in the future - you just may not be ready yet.

Hedgerow7 Wed 17-Aug-11 23:31:10

HI Floofers I don't know your background but I just wanted to say that it sounds like you are doing very well. However, are you having counselling during this crucial period? Professional hand holding to help you deal with the guilt would be better surely?

We are so ingrained aren't we that you could feel guilt even from these people who have hurt you so much. I wish you every success with your cutting off from people who make your life worse, not better. xx

TheArmadillo Wed 17-Aug-11 23:34:10

Rejection is always hard - remember you are at a beginning of a journey not the end. You are not going to wake up tomorrow and go 'well I'm all over that then'. It takes time and work to change the patterns and beliefs (both concious and subconcious) of a lifetime. You have to grieve for the parents and life you never had and completely accept what yours are/were really like (I don;t mean accept in the sense of tolerating or aquiescing to their behaviour but in completely understand how they behave towards you IYSWIM).

Sorry - I am long winded and don't seem to be able to stop it.

floofers Wed 17-Aug-11 23:47:00

The armadillo and hedgerow7 thank you for your replies. The armadillo you sound so similar to me - in that writing stuff down/ people finding stuff. Indeed the idea of a letter being held on a gp file really makes me shudder too.
I just feel so vile ....... I have been trying to deal with this so long - I really do have to do something - I feel like I reach breaking point so often these days. I'm laid in bed unable to sleep with tears in my eyes - I should be so happy - but I'm
Not - and life is mo dress rehersal ffs
I just want to be able to stop thinking for minute

ManicPanic Wed 17-Aug-11 23:57:56

Hi floofers.

Imagine that a good friend of yours was in your shoes, and told you all about her relationship with her parents, your childhood, the way they treated you - and imagine what you would say to her.

Would you say, 'tough luck, be a good daughter and don't complain' or would you say 'I think it's essential to your mental and emotional health that you don't let these people into your life any longer.'

You deserved better parents. It's relatively uncommon to have the 'not interested' type of abusive family, as a lot of abusive parents tend to be the other way (interfering, overbearing, no boundaries, controlling) and to be honest I'm not sure which type I would rather have (I have the ignoring type). Unless I'm on the streets or seriously ill (where my mother gets to play the poor distressed mother and get lots of attention) I am and always have been, an inconvenience to my family and ignored as much as possible.

It may be less 'in your face' but the silence is deafening isn't it? I don't understand how my mother could be so distant and uninterested, especially now as I have dd. If anyone did to her what was done to me, I'd rip their face off. Metaphorically speaking.

TheArmadillo Thu 18-Aug-11 00:03:17

You don't have to go the gp your notes
You can refuse to let them put a copy on file
You can write it in a way that only you can understand - a personal shorthand.
You can not let it out your sight and destroy it when you get home

Or you can manage without it.

Being in a room with a doctor (gps specifically) makes me cry - it is one of the only things that can (I cry very rarely). They don't have to say/do anything, it doesn't have to be about anything painful/upsetting/particularly bad. I sometimes manage not to but I find it incrediably stressful. I have to write things down when things are desperate else I will tell them what I think they want to hear and leave. I appreciate others may not be as wierd as I am - though I sometimes forget this.

Pishwife Thu 18-Aug-11 00:07:42

Floofers I just wanted to send you support and encourage you to trust yourself. X

floofers Thu 18-Aug-11 07:22:07

Thank you ManicPanic - I really do need to get a grip and not wobble. There were always also the times when he was too interested - and I have to admit that I prefer the not interested approach - its just the feeling of guilt. Dad does try to be controlling - eg doesnt want me seeing my aunties because " we dont need them" and " they have a hidden agenda". I now can see that this sort of talk is his poisonous rubbish - and I did actually argue back last time he was saying this. They are some of our very few relatives and I for one dont want to lose them. But it is very difficult seeing the good in people ( like aunties) when you have always been told not to trust etc. Yes the silence is most definately deafening - and to be honest hurtful - but then what is a bit more hurt.

I seem so scared of raising my children the way they did me ....... altho obv not the sexual abuse bit. But my mum used to give me the odd hiding - and this started v young. And all the emotional shit. I neveer want to parent like that - I dont intend to but nor do I want to. Argh.

TheArmadillo Can I seriously ask for it not to be put in my notes? That would be a relief. I always tell people what they want to hear - I am famous for saying I am fine just cause I cant bear to tell them that I am not. But all this really is starting to kill me off.

I think I keep pushing people away so much it only makes things worse.

floofers Thu 18-Aug-11 07:22:33

thank you pishwife brew

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 18-Aug-11 07:46:27

Hi floofers,

You have done nothing wrong; your own parents have and continue to fail you abjectly. It is NOT repeat NOT your fault they are like this; their own families did that to them. Your family taught you many damaging lessons because of their own flawed and damaged reasoning; you can reclaim your life and break their damaging legacy. It won't get passed onto the next generation.

FWIW I don't think you will end up parenting your own children in the damaging ways you were taught because you know it is wrong, you have what they never had and actually never will have; empathy and insight. You are a good person and you are bloody well worth it.

Was wondering if you've read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward. That and "If you had controlling parents" by Dr Dan Neuharth may be a good place to start.

Like many adults who were children of such toxic parents they are often in the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt). You need help to work through this and it will be a long and painful process.

I would talk to the GP (I would not be handing over any written stuff) but at the same time would also try and arrange some counselling yourself. I suggest this as NHS counselling often has long waiting lists and the number of actual sessions offered can be limited. BACP have a list of counsellors and they don't charge the earth. Counsellors however, are like shoes; you need to find someone that fits with your own style/approach so it may come to pass that you may not take to the first counsellor you see.

I wish you well, do keep us posted.

floofers Thu 18-Aug-11 10:53:12

Thank you atilla. I have bought the toxic parents book but not got past the first page yet sad
I find it so hard to face it. I will look up the bacp website - tho I have to admit affording it may be tricky. Really don't know what to do about the gp- cause I don't feel like I can talk to her & it's not her It's me. I'm sure she would have an idea what it's about but ?
Maybe I should just book private counselling and go that way instead?
Thank you for the kind words and reassurance.

garlicbutter Thu 18-Aug-11 11:17:32

No, lovely, do go to your GP smile She knows the very bare bones, I gather - maybe you said something like "I can't go through with this because of my childhood"? I don't know what you said, but you did say something. I'm wondering if you could write a note that begins "I am afraid to talk about my problems with ..." and see how much you can manage.

You can tell her you don't want your note kept on file (you can take it away with you again.)

Everybody's right, above. The shame, guilt and fear you're feeling don't belong to you. They are your parents' problems. They tried to make you feel their shame, because it made them feel better about themselves. It wasn't very fair of them. They did the same, on a smaller scale, by making you feel their rejection when you rearranged your birthday.

Normal parents wouldn't go all sulky on you, they'd say "Oh, what a pity, let's do it another day!" But you probably would have wanted to see normal parents wink It is very sad that you weren't given the chance to grow up with sane, loving parents who respected you as a person. But you can repair the damage, throw off their fear & guilt, etc, and be a much happier mum to your own children. Think about how nice it'll be, one day in the future, when your grown-up DD invites you for her birthday and you both feel quite happy about it! No anxiety, no second-guessing, no anger or fear smile

Your GP is the first step towards that day. Make it as tiny a step as you need ... but make it, please! It's worth it.

DutchGirly Thu 18-Aug-11 12:09:51

It may be an idea to think about what the word 'parent' means to you and if your 'parents' are the people who conceived you or are 'parents'. Just because you made a baby, it does not mean you're a parent. Analyse what this means to you, it may make it easier to 'divorce' your parents.

I left my parents at 16, haven't spoken to them in 20 years and there is not a day I regret it. I honestly cannot comprehend how they were capable of doing the things they did, especially now I have a daughter myself. I do consider myself parentless.

Difference between them and me? I am a PARENT, a proud mother, I love and cherish my daughter and I would put down my life for her.

I could never, ever even imagine hurting my child and yes, I do know how demanding kids can be. I had Cognitive Analysis Therapy which I found extremely helpful, please discuss this with you GP, just ask for some counselling.

floofers Thu 18-Aug-11 19:33:16

Thank you garlicbutter I will try, I'm sure the minute I walk into the room she would be onto it - because she always was (GP that was).

I have to admit I cannot believe the ennormity of how I am feeling - I now feel abandoned as well as abused sad I know its a good thing really but it doesnt make it any better.

Thank you for your reply too DutchGirly.

Slight revelation was tonight I passed DH the Toxic Parents book. He read a few pages. It meant we actually talked about it for a whole 4 minutes! Well we talked about the physical abuse side of things - the ones that stick in my mind are getting a pasting from mum aged 5, being kicked up the stairs and dragged down them by my hair by dad oh and mum putting a bread knife to my throat.

I guess when I look at it like that it wasnt an ideal childhood- and as you all say there is no way I could ever treat my dcs like that.

I seem to be able to talk about the physical abuse- and a bit about the emotional abuse - I just cant seem to talk about the sexual side of it - but maybe that will come.

Thanks for listening and a brew - at least at the moment I dont feel the need for wine wine wine wine wine

ManicPanic Thu 18-Aug-11 22:02:01

Glad you managed to talk a little bit about it floofers.

I do know how hard it is for you, believe me I do.

I find it much easier to describe my mother as being 'handy with her fists' than the emotional stuff - it's more difficult to describe. Even more difficult is the sexual stuff - makes me feel so embarrassed and ashamed even though I know that I haven't done anything wrong.

Keep talking sweetheart.

floofers Thu 18-Aug-11 23:05:25

manicpanic- thank you for your reply. I will try and keep talking - sounds as though you have been in a similar situation. And yes talking about the sexual stuff is so difficult - in fact something I have never done sad. Have you managed it manicpanic?
Meanwhile my appt is getting ever closer- and I don't know where I will get the courage from

ManicPanic Fri 19-Aug-11 17:39:34

I have a nice psychotherapist! I find it very difficult to think about the more unpleasant things that were done to me. I have found that I had even 'forgotten' quite a lot - not that I had really forgotten, I just refused point blank to ever, ever think about it, never mind talk about it. But I am getting there step by step. Even my husband doesn't know everything, but he knows enough so he can understand why I am the way I am.

When is your appointment?

whatsallthehullaballoo Fri 19-Aug-11 18:48:14

YOu are doing everything in your power to help yourself. Well done.

I cut contact with my parents 9 months ago and it was the best thing that I ever did. It is only now that I have been able to admit some of the abuse that I suffered from my mother and step father to my husband and feel almost ready to have counselling. It is also very difficult for me to talk about it. I have never been able to ask a GP for help - so for that I think you are amazing.

Keep going - you are doing so well. I cannot stress seriously enough the benefits of ridding yourself of parents like yours and mine. If you feel they have no positive influences in your life - then please, put yourself first.

I cut contact by letter......

whatsallthehullaballoo Fri 19-Aug-11 18:50:24

Cross posts - abandoned is exactly how I feel also. It is such a lonely feeling. Interesting how many of us cannot even tell our husbands what happened.

But husband does not want to know. I guess he may have his own reasons for that.

floofers Sat 20-Aug-11 20:27:31

Sorry ManicPanic and whatsallthehullaballoo - I hadnt seen your posts - mind you DC2 (4 mnths ) was not keen on going down last night.

ManicPanic sounds so similar except I dont have a nice psychotherapist ! The GP appt is Tues and to be honest I am doing a really good job of talking myself out of it.

Whatsthehullaballoo thank you for your reply. Well done for cutting your parents out - its going to be hard for me to do that. I think the best I can hope for is fortnightly visits going down to monthly.......rather than every week and sometimes more. The thing that really really f**ked me up the other week was when he turned up out of the blue when I was alone with DCs -just proves how scared I still am.

I know this really will sound stupid - but please can someone remind me why I should go on Tuesday..... I am starting to give myself loads of reasons not to go sad and putting hurdles in the way sad I know I probably should go but like so many cant face it. sad

I know the world wont end but it feels like it will.

garlicbutter Sat 20-Aug-11 21:14:42

The world won't end! You'll go in, sit down, then ten minutes later you'll walk out again.

You haven't got to tell your GP everything that happened, you know. Just a brief overview and how it is affecting you - like your birth, obviously, your anxiety and the fear you felt when your father came round. You're going to request a referral to the mental health team for a proper therapist, to help you find your way through this.

You are doing it for your health, for your children and for your family life. That's worth it, isn't it?

floofers Sat 20-Aug-11 22:51:10

Feel sick sick sick sick - the idea of confronting all this makes me shudder.

I still think if I admit I still see my abusers then the GP may want to get s/s involved (because of dcs) - I'm sure thats been hinted to me in the past. I can probably cope with this but only if I know thats what will/wont happen - thats the control freak side of me coming out.


Can someone else do this for me?

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