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 am wondering if you lovely ladies could help me 'put something to bed' WRT my parents, please.(43 Posts)
Last June/July I was rushed into hospital with appendicitis. My parents at that time were 'in a huff' with me as I had upset the golden child (my brother).
I had asked him to leave my house as he was kicking off and basically being a twat, verbally abusing me and getting very close to looking like he was going to lamp me one (all over asking him not to wind my DD1 up) my dad was their and witnessed it but as usual stayed quiet for an easy life.
DH was home and he was the one who rang for the ambulance as I was on the floor in agony, could barely breath.
DH had rang MIL to come and sit with the DD's so he could come with me but she was at work and had no phone signal and we didn't (at the time) know her works number.
So reluctantly he rang my parents who basically couldn't give a flying shit about helping us in my hour of need.
I ended up in hospital on my own, in agony (they took my gas and air away after I was out of the ambulance) I was so scared that I would die and would leave my girls to grow up without a mum (even thinking about it now is making me cry)
In our local hospital they have those bedside TV/Phone things. A lovely gentleman who was visiting another patient set mine up for me as I was in no fit state.
In the meantime my mum had phoned DH and had a go at him about me. She then phoned the hospital (switchboard) and got through to me (can say the name of the patient and it will connect you) She had a go at me, this is all about 10 minutes before I was due to surgery. I was still in agony, in fear of never seeing my girls again and had mum on the phone shouting at me for upsetting my brother and for upsetting her. One sentence she said has stayed with me 'Do you know how upsetting it is for me to have a child in hospital, why do you do this to me'
When I got off the phone the elderly lady in the bed opposite me came over to my bed and said she wouldn't ask how I was as she didn't want to upset me even more than I obviously was, but she gave me a hug. then the porter and nurse came to take me to theatre.
Unbeknownst to me mum rang my DH after that and had a go at him, he actually had to put the phone down on her as he would not have been able to stop himself from telling her to fuck off.
Now the odd thing, my mum is lovely when my brother isn't about, I do love her, my DD's love her. She is just an inherently selfish person and EVERYTHING has to be about her or my brother.
I don't think I will ever be able to fully forgive my mum but I need to deal with this and 'put it to bed' so that I can move on and have a normal'ish relationship with my mum.
I have next to nothing to do with my brother as it is, and once my parents are no longer here I doubt very much I will ever see him again. I want to be able to maintain some sort of relationship with my parents as they are not really bad people, they have been worn down by my brother. Not an excuse but that is the reason (I think anyway)
Sorry for the hugeeee post and thank you if you have managed to get this far.
Sorry when I say last June/July I meant of last year (2010)
I am so sorry you have experienced this. Honestly? If my mother had treated me like that, I would not be thinking about how to forgive her or to have a 'normalish' relationship, or indeed any relationship, with her.
If your father was happy to watch and listen whilst your brother acted in such a threatening way in your own home, then he is not worthy of the title 'Father'.
If your mother thinks it is acceptable to :
a) Refuse to help you when you most need it
b) Phone your Dh and have a go at him about you, whilst he is worrying about the health of his wife who has just been rushed into hospital for emergency surgery,
c) Phone you and have a go at you whilst you are about to undergo emergency surgery
d) act as though you somehow put your health at risk purely to inconvenience and worry her and then, finally,
e) phone your DH again and have another go at him again, whilst he is probably waiting for news from the hospital about his sick wife,
then she is not lovely!
I am afraid that at this point, I would be wondering what they bring to my life that is positive. And frankly, if it were me, I don't think I would be able to find anything that would convince me to continue having any sort of relationship with any of them.
I think you're letting your parents off quite lightly, by putting most of the blame on your brother. If this has always been the pattern of your life, that brother can behave as he likes and your parents support him no matter what at your expense, then they are largely responsible for creating this situation where he can be so vile.
I don't know that the healthiest course of action for you is to get over what they did when you were so ill - it's natural, normal and the correct response to be gutted and angry when someone treats you so badly.
Sounds to me that your parents are only lovely if you play by their rules - thats not the way parenting works, as most of us have found out!! I could not not personally put the way your parents have treated you "to bed", some things are just too big to forgive and forget - especially as you don't mention any remorse on the side of your dp's.
I would question what my children are learning by seeing this unfair way your parents treat you, I would guess not the kind of things you would like them to learn.
Maybe it's time for some distance?
Why have toxic people in your life? Her behaviour was outrageous and selfish beyond belief. She should apologise or you should cut her out of your life. She's no doubt do the whole emotional blackmail thing if you do cut her off but you should stand firm and don't fall for it.
tbh, I would want nothing more to do with her. And if I had been your DH, I would have told her to fuck off.
Reading your post made me cry. You poor thing.
Others here have so much experience (sadly) and therefore will be better placed to advised, but - really - I would be reducing contact and distancing myself. The others are right, I think. This is her issue - don't waste any more time being drawn into it. I hope you find some peace from it.
You must feel absolutely awful. I think if you aren't having counselling, it would be wise to do so asap.
It sounds as though there is something wrong with your brother if he is able to drive a wedge between you and your mother in this way. Mothers usually don't want to let their children down and sometimes they will try to please them all. This may explain why she is so erratic with the let downs / support.
Now if, as you think, she is being controlled or manipulated by your brother you may need to be there for her (which is a bit twisted after all she's done to you) but try and see yourself as the stronger one waiting in the wings for when it all goes pear-shaped. If this is all down to your brother, the shit will hit the fan one day and at least your relationship with your mother will not be broken.
If on the other hand your mother is manipulating both you and your brother against each other you may actually need to communicate more with him to show him what is happening. I have four brothers and I have found endless problems with envy and egos and my mother in between us all. So now, rather than attack my brothers I am cautiously detached but honest. Text messages and emails have also been good for this kind of thing. I text them all at the same time so none of them can say 'she said...'
But in the meantime the best thing you can do is detach as much as possible - don't break the contact entirely, that would never work in the long term, but make sure it's always on your terms. What you have been through must have been an emotional shock for you, to say the least. You need to protect yourself from both your mother and you brother. If they call you try to put them off, but without giving them fuel to add to the fire - learn detachment techniques, what to say, what to expect. Don't rely on them for anything. You can't let that happen to you again.
Your parents sound very toxic. When I had appendicitis my mum rushed to be with me as soon as she could and looked after me and my daughter for 2 weeks while I recovered. It's down right cruel and abusive to phone up and shout at someone who is about to have surgery for a life threatening condition.
You probably have to choose between
a) burying this, pretending it didn't happen and carrying on as before, or
b) facing up to what your parents (both of them) are actually like, acknowledging that their behaviour is really wrong, allowing yourself to get very angry at them, and then seeing where that takes you. It will probably take you somewhere good, but the experience won't be quick or easy!
I don't think there is a middle road.
And your mother's behaviour is not lovely.
Your parents sound toxic and emotionally abusive.
It's the way they brought him up that has damaged your brother, and damaged you too in a different waythat's why when they behave appallingly you are bending yourself out of shape to make their behaviour seem ok and discrediting your own perfectly natural and reasonable response to it.
Thank you everyone.
Does it sound stupid/bad that I actually don't want to cut my parents out of my life. I would happily never see my brother again TBH, yes he is a product of his upbringing but he is a very nasty person by nature and I feel very sure that even if my parents weren't around he would have ended up the way he is. Maybe not as bad as he is but yes along those lines.
I think if DH or I could find work and move away we would do in a heartbeat to put some distance between us. Would miss MIL as would DH and the DD's but we can visit. We would love to move away further up North maybe Durham or even Scotland.
My mum (mainly) has toxic tendencies I have noticed them more and more since having DD1. But underneath it she is a kind and lovely woman who (had my brother not been pissed off with me) would have been at my side or here with the girls in a heartbeat. I personally think both of my parents live in fear of my brother (brother lives in the house next door to them) and they go along with him for an easy life. I have to face up to the fact that how my brother is is due partly down to my parents but I don't think wholly so. He is 30 next month if he wanted to be a better person and change he could do. He is a selfish, nasty, horrid, childish person.
I don't see mum and dad often maybe once or twice a week (used to be everyday before my brother moved in next door to them) I do however speak to mum on the phone daily and generally she is okay.
I think it is true that things are okay as long as I play to their tune and by their rules. It's when I complain or say actually no I wont be treat like that that things tend to go wrong.
I used to blame myself but have realized now that they are not my actions and I do not need to take responsibility for them. Since I have come to that conclusion I have found it easier to have next to nothing to do with my brother and I LOVE it.
It is lovely not having to walk on eggshells around him and lovely not having to worry about his reaction to things or a difference of opinion.
"underneath it she is a kind and lovely woman who (had my brother not been pissed off with me) would have been at my side or here with the girls in a heartbeat."
2littlegreenmonkeys, what keeps coming up as I read this is why you seem unable to accept that your mother is an adult who is responsible for her own actions? Your brother sounds like an abusive idiot, but it wasn't him who phoned you up and harangued you when you were crying and alone in a hospital ward - that was your mother's own bad behaviour. I don't think there is really much excuse for this, unless he was standing over her and threatening her...? (Or is that actually what you're suggesting - that he terrifies your parents?)
You sound lovely, but I think if you have counselling about your family relationships, one question I think you should think about is why it's 'safer' to blame your awful brother, when it was really your mother whose behaviour hurt you in this episode? Why can't you say 'I'm angry and hurt because my own mother attacked me when I was at my most vulnerable?' What would happen if you decided to let yourself say that your mother, rather than your brother, is the real problem?
Just a thought. Best wishes to you.
I think WhereDidAllThePuffinsGo has summarised your options pretty well.
Your parents are "not really bad people". Really? Well, good people don't treat their children the way your parents treat you. It's pretty clear you aren't ready to accept that right now, but it's true.
Your me a couple of years ago.
Toxic Parents is a good place to start.
Counselling is the next.
None of this behaviour is acceptable and the fact that you want to run away from it shows what you already know.
You shouldn't have to fit the needs of your parents whilst ignoring your own in a healthy relationship.
I am feeling so sorry for you because I when I read your post it reminded me of the crap existence I had before when I was busy trying to make my mother love me for being me, before I had a very loud wake up call when they all stopped talking to me over a year ago.
The positive message is that after loads of counelling and reading I can honestly say that I am happier today than I ever have been - as a consequence of allowing my family to have very little input into our lives. I have got to a place where I'm not really bothered what they think about me really. And this has given me the opportunity to focus on the needs of my immediate family - DH and the kids and it is a lovely place to be.
Meeting the needs of my toxic mother was exhausting. Life isn't really any more - and it's loads more fun.
I sound like a right sap don't I.
Thinking about it now if I were to tell my mum how much she hurt me and upset me she would go ballistic, she would probably blame me for it
Thank you for the link I have read it before and thought that it fits my mum to a T. But suppose I don't actually want to believe it IYSWIM. I cant understand she can be so nice and almost 'normal' to me then change at the drop of a hat. Is this normal narcissistic tendencies? I feel like this is my fault I wish my mother was like my MIL, who is lovely.
I don't think I am ready or strong enough right now to deal with this, I need to just survive her for a bit longer I think. I am seeing a lady for CBT WRT my anxiety, OCD, PND and depression. I have my last session with her next week. I think I will speak to her about maybe seeing a counselor to help me deal with my relationship with my parents. I don't actually want to deal with my relationship with my brother.
You don't need to deal with this today - but you will have to at some point.
You don't sound like a sap. You sound like someone who hasn't been treated very well by the people who were supposed to make sure that you were looked after. And that's not ok.
I hope that you have the strength to take care of yourself at some point - you certainly sound as if you could do with someone to look after you for a bit and only you can do this.
I can totally understand your reluctance to let go of your parents. You love them and you want them to show you love. That's normal. My mum is somewhat similar to yours, in the sense that when I was ill she made it all about her and for a long time I was angry and frustrated. I eventually realised I was just banging my head against a brick wall.
She is a selfish woman who has some good qualities. So I decided to avail myself of the good qualities (she is fab with my DS and is helpful in practical ways when it suits her) and forget about getting anything more from her. It's been hard and I don't think I've quite cracked it yet but I do feel happier now that I'm not setting myself up for disappointment again and again. In future if I'm ever ill I'll tell her after the event, like I would a distant friend.
Like you I have a great MIL who would do anything for me and my family. It's not the same as having a proper mum of my own but it's better than nothing and I've come to accept her a lot more in recent years. I think I pushed her away a lot as I couldn't accept how much of a mum she was to me in comparison to my own "mum". I've consciously let my guard down a bit with her and I get a lot more from our relationship. It might be worth considering doing the same for yourself.
BTW the I also have a toxic sibling, a sister, whom I despise and who has my parents wrapped around her little finger. I made a conscious decision that she means nothing to me years ago and that was a huge weight lifted off me. She gets about 10 times the attention I do, despite being a raging bitch. I found it very unfair for a long time, now I just accept it. I feel like I don't really have parents if I'm honest, just two relatives who show a vague interest in me now and again.
I do not think you are a sap either. You have and continue to be treated appallingly by your toxic birth family.
I'll tell you something else as well; this is not your fault that this has happened. You did not make your parents this way; their own families did that to them. Your mother was and remains only concerned about her own self.
You have already been advised very well by others and I hope you take heed.
You need distance both emotional and physical from these people because they will do your head in otherwise. You need to reaffirm and make boundaries re them.
People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles and the roles acted out here within your birth family are not untypical; your mother (who I daresay is a narcissist) and brother are the dominant ones and your Dad is the bystander who acts out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. You are the scapegoat within this overall dysfunction.
Toxic Parents by Susan Forward is indeed a good book for you to start reading.
It may well be that your anxiety, depression and OCD are at heart tied in ultimately to your parents and their dysfunctional relationship with you. Although this will be a hard process for you, you need to eventually deal with this for your own sake as well as your own family unit now. You also will need to deal with your toxic brother.
Heartily agree with Attila.
It's incredibly difficult to admit your parents may be toxic, and they have behaved badly and haven't taken responsibility for their own behaviour.
They have treated you appallingly. You need to accept this - what would you think if someone else (say, a friend) behaves towards you like your mother does?
Don't let her off the hook too lightly.
I also suspect that your anxiety, depression and OCD are linked to this toxic web. Please see their behaviour for what it is.
But for now, don't contact her, and if she contacts you, cut the conversation short (make any excuse) until you feel strong enough to be able to deal with this a little.
And join the "Stately Homes" thread if you like.
What a horrible thing to have done to you. Am very for you that you had that experience and plenty of people here have given you sound advice so I won't add much except to say that you are giving your mother too much credit.
She is not a lovely person underneath, she has a very mean streak that comes out against you. She is treating you extremely badly whenever you disrupt her comfortable state - she is only nice to you when you are "good".
There is nothing lovely about that at all, sorry.
Join the discussion
Please login first.