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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families.

(1000 Posts)
garlicBread Tue 01-Nov-11 18:18:50

It's November 2011, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011

Please check later posts in this thread for links & quotes. The main thing is: "they did do it to you" - and you can recover.

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 12:07:07

Just to agree there....whatever happened to you will not be passed on...because you are already too self aware.

I hope you feel safe enough to start talking here, and with any therapist you may have.

If it helps, having a boy was a massive problem for me, for all kinds of reasons....and it's fine, he's fine, we have a good relationship.

This thread is a fine place to say what NEEDS to be said. No one judges. Just listens and supports.

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 12:09:03

And hello to WWW too!

Yes I have sat here typing and crying. The crying is the pain being sent into the universe...floating away, forever. Crying is good.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 02-Nov-11 12:20:38

Just because you had crap parents does not mean you were trained to be a crap parent yourself.

Just because you had a shitty upbringing does not mean that you are irredeemably damaged beyond all repair.

Your experience, coupled with awareness, may even help you to be a better parent.

And most of all, Helianthus: you are not your mother.

Helianthus Wed 02-Nov-11 12:26:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Helianthus Wed 02-Nov-11 12:27:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 12:48:40

You already are a better parent.

It sounds to me that you are working incredibly hard to be so! It also sounds like you are plain old knackered by the work that you have done. Be kind to yourself...you have already come so far!

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 12:49:43

And you are so allowed to be angry....really, bloody angry. You have every right to feel as you do.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 02-Nov-11 12:50:29

I hear your pain, Helianthus. God, how tiring it is to be therapised and feel damaged and broken, and to climb mountain after mountain and still have more to climb, when you feel you're running on empty.

You tell me: why should you be a better parent to your daughter than you experienced?

Helianthus Wed 02-Nov-11 12:52:48

because I am a moral person who always does the right thing. But I am tired of doing the right thing for people who have abused and exploited me in return. I am sick to death of doing 'the right thing'. I am very very tired and now I just want to be mean and angry and bad.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 02-Nov-11 13:11:07

Go ahead and be angry. Go ahead and want to be mean and bad. It's not wrong to want it.

I have something of the same fears as you describe, Helianthus, and I don't even have any children. I am very afraid that the similarity between children and the adult narcissists in my life - who have the needs and demands of a small child - will trigger aversion in me and that I might therefore mistreat my own children, if I have any. I hope I won't ever mistreat a child.

Conversely, I know that when I left stbxh, one of the many deciding factors was when I realised that while I was willing to pander to the needs of an actual child, I wasn't willing to do it anymore for another adult.

So while there are tons of similarities between small children and our narc parents/partners/etc, there IS a key difference, in that children are children, while narcs are not. So when you are doing the right thing for a child, you are not doing it for someone who will abuse and exploit you in return. You are doing it for someone admittedly needy, but who has these needs for a very good and healthy reason, and who will grow out of it.

It does seem unfair - and sometimes unfeasible - to draw on a well of nurture that wasn't filled for us, yes.

You seem to be bitter about doing the "right and moral" thing in a way that seems like right now you feel it is being imposed on you - am I perceiving that right? Is it, though? (something imposed from outside, that is)

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 02-Nov-11 13:45:16

Oh and, hello: I'm having a little crisis of confidence and self-esteem of my own that I want to unravel. It might belong more in mental health than on here, but I know the regulars here so I hope you'll humour me.

I have become a procrastinator.

I have never been one before; this is a new development and I don't like it. I also think I have an addiction - to Mumsnet's Relationships board. It's seriously interfering with my work, in that I can now spend whole days doing NO work, and MNing instead. This is not good, and I am not proud of myself. There is a project at work that is my sole responsibility, and that I have literally not touched since February (= the month I left stbxh and the bottom fell out of my world). My boss has been understanding, but I am taking the piss now.

Before, my (learned) anxiety would keep me on top of my workload: I had to be perfect, didn't I? (this is the link to the Stately Homes thread). Now that I'm on meds, in therapy, and putting my learned modus operandi into question, my anxiety levels have gone poof. Which, in itself, is a good thing. But it also means that the tool I had to keep myself doing necessary tasks has gone. I am revelling a little too much in the newfound freedom that I do not have to be perfect.

I have the feeling that procrastination is just another form of self-hatred. Now that I've reduced my usual methods of self-hatred, it's just popped up again in another place, like a Whack-a-Mole. Arrgh!

I also know that the MN thing is a way of channelling my co-dependency into something other than shitty relationships. This is also a good thing in itself, which has snowballed in a way that I do not feel able to control.

Help me! I don't want to get fired.

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 13:52:27

That's a really massive point. Children do not suck you dry in the way that narcs do. Yes they're hard work, demanding, exhausting...but as you already know from your son...you achieve a balance. You get stuff back! A snuggle whilst watching a disney film, hearing them laugh or sing....simple things, nourish the soul in a way that a narc does not and can never begin to.

I always say that the good bits are sooo much better than the bad bits are bad with children.

I have found in my children, an ability to identify my inner child's needs and to give to myself what I never had....because I can identify with those things in my children. It's a separate thing, but I can see the huge gaps that I had, and fill them for myself.

I know what you mean about always doing the right thing...the moral thing....where's the prize then?

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 13:55:18

Puppy....this stuff is totally consuming and utterly exhausting. I think you are being very harsh on yourself!. Last year, I threw myself into the therapy, including these boards, totally.

It doesn't last, maybe by realising this, you are ready to dip your toe back into work? Baby steps?

JosieRosie Wed 02-Nov-11 14:12:10

ItsMe, I hear you about procrasinating!!!! It's the same for me - I find it incredibly hard to be self-directed at work and spend a lot of time on here. I was just wondering the other day what that's all about. I was going to discuss it with my therapist but I feel ashamed - isn't that stupid?! I've learned my lessons well about being a 'good girl' and never showing 'weakness' hmm

My golden child brother had a MASSIVE blow-up at my sister at the weekend, in front of both parents (I wasn't there). She's so upset and I know how she feels - he called me an effing c* during a row in front of the family at Xmas a few years ago. I got zero support from any of them at the time and still feel quite bitter about that, but I'm determined to be a better person than my sister was, so I'm supporting her as much as I can. Part of me feels sorry for my brother, in spite of him being so vile. And I'm soooo angry at my parents for causing all this in the first place! Good thing I'm seeing my therapist tonight smile

Helianthus Wed 02-Nov-11 14:13:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lolaflores Wed 02-Nov-11 14:32:06

Waily Baby it is for you to understand your pissed offness. In your own time. You will never ever get them to understand. Move your focus to yourself. Whilst you exist within that feeding frenzy, the bitching and mainpulating, you will never get your feet under you. Stay clear until you feel it is a fair fight and you have forgiven yourself and understand yourself and love yourself. You start healing, they are what they are and likely to remain the same till the cows come home, have their tea and go back out again.
By the way, it is really a tough road but the rewards are boundless.

fluffythevampirestabber Wed 02-Nov-11 14:41:39

Just saying hello on the new thread (with the correct spelling in the title grin)

I'm struggling today - loads of stupid stuff to do with XH where I feel a bit under attack on a thread I started and it's so hard to explain to someone who hasn't been there that my XH was/is my mother over the back again, and it's all just one fucker setting you up for the next fucker and trying to break out of it all is just so difficult.

I'm lucky though - The Upgrade is very supportive and caring and is genuinely really good for me and sees right through the XH and my mother (well what I tell him anyway)

Oh I'm just rambling. Feel free to ignore me blush

garlicBread Wed 02-Nov-11 14:44:45

Golly, are we sharing a brain today? grin

ItsMe, I want to thank you for your 'well-oiled machine' post, which prompted a very healing two-page journal entry. I'm now in possession of a beautiful, shiny and sophisticated "GOOD MACHINE" (uppercase always) - I understand it much better now! I've offered it a new FREEDOM MODULE, with a permanent open option to work with the new module or just sit back and appreciate its work to date smile

"GOOD" MACHINE works for me: not only is it a very, very good machine - outstanding of its type, and self-built with loving care over fifty years - but, also, it has a very strong 'being GOOD' module which it has always executed to near-perfection.

Not needed so much in the new freedom circumstances, but excellent in and of itself. I'm not abandoning 'good', of course, but it needs to be done differently in the new setup and the FREEDOM MODULE will advise on developments.

Oooh, I want to go and create a picure of my fabulous, perfect, redundant machine now! I won't, though, not now anyway - I'm also suffering from procrastination.

I agree with Josie on that, I'm afraid. I found it extremely hard to give up on trying to perform ... In fact, I haven't given up on it. What I did, kicking and screaming, was transfer my drive over to my self-therapy project. Having not done any work since April, and very little since last November, I finally got around to telling my clients I'm unable to perform as before due to illness (this is true enough) and offering the choice between very slow work very cheap, or leaving me. That means I'm bone-scrapingly poor but have committed myself to my own psychological health for the first time ever.

I don't see this as perfect - ideally, I'd be able to afford the best therapist in the world for thrice-weekly sessions and adjust my life as I went along - but was unaware of my need at the time when I could have afforded it. I wish I'd understood this earlier BUT am nothing but proud of having understood now, and made my investment!

Mumsnet does more for me than any of my therapists and books. I believe I needed both. The 'old me' would not have identified with the threads that now engross me. They engross me now because I identify. It's a self-education tool for me. While I'm thrilled when someone finds my contributions helpful, that is NOT my motive for joining in; I'm here through self-interest smile

Helianthus, I'd just like to say how honoured I feel that you choose to engage in here, with us. We are women. Does it bother you? Maybe there are many aspects of your life, as a woman, you feel we share. Not just the being-abused stuff, but also our general approach to life and balance of priorities; maybe even our humour and interests? It would be nice to think so.

lolaflores Wed 02-Nov-11 14:47:46

I love it here too. There is a part of me that does not come through elsewhere. A much calmer person, not being a clown. I don't feel self concious about what I feel or think, i can state it openly. Writing it processes it much more profoundly than with a therapist. I always feel I talk too much, and don't believe half of what I say. But, writing it somehow makes it permanent and distilled and therefore recorded or something. erm

garlicBread Wed 02-Nov-11 14:56:06

Reminder to self: Shadow Work. This has relevance to posts above about feeling "bad". I think I'll save it for my journal tomorrow ... and there may be further posts to inspire me!

I'm feeling the lurve today. The Stately Home is a warm and well-appointed gaff, illuminated by the shining brilliance of the women and children inside it.

Oh, Helianthus again: Near the beginning of "Homecoming" Bradshaw advises the reader to go out and look at small children in all their wonder, humour, trust and fascination. It's important to do this with children of both sexes. Whenever you play with a little girl, what do you see?

garlicBread Wed 02-Nov-11 14:57:47

Oh, don't "erm", Lola! I c&p vast chunks of my posts and others' replies to my diary. It's invaluable.

garlicBread Wed 02-Nov-11 15:07:57

Heck, just re-read my posts and think I'm coming across as a know-it-all blush Put it down to over-excitement with my new FREEDOM MODULE! I do not know it all, obviously.

WailyWailyWaily Wed 02-Nov-11 15:40:18

Helianthus I also find it difficult to get on with other women, I find it really hard to trust them. I have only been on MN for a couple of months having stayed away for years. I have found it a huge education about women in general. Yes there are some on here that I avoid but there are a huge majority that don't live up to my pre organized expectations. I'm slowly starting to talk to women in RL too but I wouldn't go so far as to say I have close female friends.
I only have DS's and I am trying so hard not to damage them (both my parents have told me that my kids will blame me for everything that goes wrong in their lives.)

garlicBread Wed 02-Nov-11 16:00:56

my parents have told me that my kids will blame me for everything that goes wrong in their lives - you mean if you're the kind of parent they were, and your DC grow up as unhappy as you did?
That ain't gonna happen, is it?

Talk about blaming the child for the parenting! The only thing to learn from what they told you is that they don't take responibility for their on actions. But I guess you knew that.

gobbycow Wed 02-Nov-11 16:09:19

Garli...not a knowitall...but you DO know SOOOOOOO much...you've learned and grown so much in the time that I've "known" you...you are amazing, and I always find your insights and your generosity so amazing. :-)

Ah now, you see....there's always a new thing in here!

I had a problem with women too, until recently. I only had male friends. I found women to be manipulative, fake, shallow, and bitchy. I was never one for all that huggy shite they went in for, and calling each other "hun", (that still actually makes my skin crawl) BUT; today my friend Marie gave me a massive bear hug...yesterday my friend Morag did the same. I barely recognise myself.

This was not an aim as such...it has just happened in tandem with everything else. I am much more open I think....boys/men do that protective thing, and keep everything at arms length and very simple, and that was enough for me back then. I found that gay men didn't take to me though....and funnily enough, they do now!

It's the vibe of me that has changed....as a by product of all the work I think.

And that's another thing....I have invoices going back four months, just sitting here. I don't care...I'll get round to them at some point, and I hoovered yesterday, for which I gave myself a massive pat on the back... Don't under estimate the energy that all this requires....just the grieving is knackering...trying to work out what we are grieving for is even harder!

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