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

(1000 Posts)
singingprincess Sat 28-Jan-12 13:25:06

There is a word document with all the relevant links which I will try and find, but in the meantime...Post away.

garlicfrother Wed 01-Feb-12 00:31:14

Oh, fortoday, I am so sorry for all you've suffered. What an awful, awful woman your mother is. Actually I'd call her evil - a word I rarely use, even of sadists like her. Of course you should excise such a person from your life. Of course you'd want to protect your children from her.

It's incredible that you managed to form a stable, happy family of your own! Please give yourself credit for your achievements smile

Are you afraid of 'divorcing' your mother?
Do you secretly fear that you deserve to be treated with disdain & cruelty?
Both of those are completely normal for people who've been abused, especially as children. It is a desired outcome for abusers; that way they believe they'll retain control.
It is in your power to choose not to be controlled by other people. Your therapy should help you to believe it. I hope it will also offer you the space to feel sorrow and anger, which are wholly appropriate.

Feel free to write as much as you like. Nobody here will try to minimise your truths.

fortoday Wed 01-Feb-12 10:56:47

thanks for your support- I feel like I am making progress as i am able to admit to it. I haven't my whole life, I felt the shame and also that people wouldn't believe me.
I told my dh last night that I hated her and that he had to help me to keep her away from me, she has such a hold over me especially since I have had my own children, like I owe her the chance to be a gp. But she used to look after my niece one day a week and i used to go with my children, i thought at the time her behaviour was just strict but it mirrored what she did to us as kids, screaming, ranting, telling her to 'fuck off' under her breath, no patience at all. She no longer looks after her now. she would say I was so patient with my children, but i knew she was indicating i was weak and no strict enough because she would then pick up on the things they did that didnt conform to what she thought was acceptable, my response, in my head, as i could never say it to her was what 2and 3 year old child sits still at the dinner table, I don't know one! Little things like that, she would make me feel like I was failing. Also whenever I changed things for example putting up reward charts, night lights etc, she would say 'i told you that would work that was my idea' but it never was she wouldn never have offered me any advice.
I just feel such rage at the moment, I have found i have cut out a lot of friends because I have put up with things and people just to get by, I don't feel like i need to be surrounded by fake people anymore, I just want my family, my bubble as it is the only place where I feel normal and not putting on a front.

I just don't think i can confide in people other than my dh and therapist as my story, the events of my childhood and early adulthood seem like a fairytale.


Mimishimi Wed 01-Feb-12 11:46:15

I don't think my mum was or is very toxic but she was always very cold with all three of us. She thought I was irritating and talked too much. Probably did of course but still... I honestly can't remember a genuine hug or kiss from her, beyond a casual embrace/peck on the cheek when arriving/leaving. To this day we are not particularly close and it makes me quite sad at times.

dreamingbohemian Wed 01-Feb-12 12:28:06

fortoday have PMed you smile

I know what you mean, I have my own family now and over the years I've built up a nice substitute family of friends, and I just want to be at peace with the people I care about and not deal with my parents at all.

My mum finally left today, one of the last things she said was 'Hopefully I'll drop dead soon and then you'll be happy'.

I would happily never talk to her again but oh my god the drama. I have a lot of thinking to do.

mampam Thu 02-Feb-12 14:48:23

Dammit, just did a post addressing Memoo, Fortoday, dreamingbohemian and Mimishimi but managed to lose it somehow.

Haven't got time to repost but am thinking of you smile

Memoo Thu 02-Feb-12 19:59:04

Thank you mampan smile

How do you go about cutting somebody out of your life? I'm ignoring the frequent calls from my mother because I'm so angry at tbe moment I just can't talk to her.
Do I just keep ignoring until she gets the message?
I'm scared Im hurting her. In fact I have no idea what I am doing.

Wailywailywaily Thu 02-Feb-12 20:56:30

Its not easy to cut parents out of your life. I have tried (by just ignoring). The problem that I have found is that the rest of the family (parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews) just carries on in its messy way with or without me and after a while I started to feel very left out sad Its not that they don't include me its just that all get togethers tend to be at one or other of our parents houses (they are divorced).
I did tell my mother that she could not visit us on one of her "grand tours" of her children and it did hurt her so off she went and bitched about me to my siblings. But because I'm not talking to her I can't yell and scream at her, which wouldn't achieve anything any way as that is exactly what she would expect from me... actually I can see that I'm going round in circles here.
The point is that I haven't actually spoken to either of my parents since July 2011. It hurt a lot and I got a bit depressed for a few months but now I feel really quite calm about it. I don't jump everytime the phone rings, though I do get DH or DS1 to answer it. I have been in email contact with my Mum recently and the funny thing is that I seem to have developed a sense of humour where she is concerned grin BUT the emails a short and impersonal, I don't ask after her wellbeing and I don't answer her questions after mine.

mampam Fri 03-Feb-12 10:02:23

It is so hard to cut your parents out. I have managed it for just over 14months now (mother, step father and older brother although older bro cut himself off from me because I won't have anything to do with mother). To be honest I have tried many times before and failed. This time I was already seeing a counsellor which helped tremendously. Also I just came to the point where I felt enough was enough. I had to evaluate what was more important to me. Previously I have caved in because my mother has used my DC as a way of making me feel guilty, she tries the "I'm going to commit suicide" trick to reel me back in, she will try and turn anyone she can against me, family, friends, neighbours.

This time I just realised (with the help of my counsellor) that it really doesn't matter and I don't care what other people think of me, anyone who does matter to me will know the truth anyway. She keeps trying to use the kids to get to me but I just ignore her and she reminds me everytime of the games she's playing when she sends DC's birthday cards with " To dearest DC, we love you and miss you so much, always thinking of you, lots and lots of love from Nan and Grandad xxxx" and on my birthday I get a card "To Mampam, from mum and dad". Hardly speaks of a loving mother does it? hmm and as for the suicide thing.......she's threatened it that many times over the years and never gone through with it (she once threatened to drown herself in the sea because my brother lost his car keys) and to be honest I just thought at the time if she did go through with it I would be free. Harsh but true.

It is hard and I think you really need to be in the right headspace to see it through. Over the last year and finally at the age of 32 I've realised I can be the person who I've always wanted to be and I'm very happy and I'm a really good mum (I've never been able to say that before). I don't want to go back from this so my mother will never be allowed back into my life.

SHThread Sat 04-Feb-12 21:02:31

I really need to know if this is normal or not because I am losing my mind.

I am young, very, early twenties. I have DS who is 3. My H left us when DS was nine months old. Since then my dad has been DS's male role model and they are extremely close.

I have met a new man. He is lovely. My parents agree that he is a nice guy and in no way are me and DS in danger nor would he ever do anything bad to us like mess us around.

They are totally against it for the following reasons.

1. If eventually we got married I would have to move away. This would be a long distance relationship and they don't think it will work. I am able to go down for as long as I like with DS (though will never go for too long because DS needs his home routine as well) and I could go regularly with DS. Also, he could come here 4 times a year. In between all that there is skype on which both DS and I can interact with him.

2. They just don't think we are a good match. They think we are too different and that I will get bored. Admittedly we are different but not in values, only hobbies, and I have never liked sharing my hobbies. I have known him for two years and have never once been bored confused either online talking (which we do for a few hours daily) or when he has spent time with us here.

3. They say they would not cope if DS left and think no man could ever love DS like my dad does or be his father to DS like my dad is confused I don't live with my dad, he acts like a grand dad in every way, he is not my son's father but I admit they are very close. They are together on weekends during the day and dad travels DS to and from nursery mon to thurs.

Now I accept they don't like it and I accept they would struggle if we did eventually leave (it's not like I am going with in a year!!) but the reaction I am getting is (and is a common reaction whenever I have done something in my life that they don't like)

"so you are going against the family?! angry"
"you'll regret that"
"Oh this is so wrong, it's so wrong angry"
"how can you do this to us?"
"we are not sleeping"
"this will all go wrong"

I get ignored and the atmosphere is so vile and tense it's painful. My father actually snapped at new P when he was last here because he tried to help DS with something when everyone else was busy cleaning up after dinner. He actually shouted to him to leave DS alone confused while walking towards him aggressively and then later mocked P in a belittling way when P was trying to explain Rugby to me saying '<snort> <you're thick face> It's much more complex than that' when P was only trying to give me the basics!

I feel like I am a terrible person for ignoring my families feelings by dating this guy sad Give it to me straight. Am I wrong?

SHThread Sat 04-Feb-12 21:05:32

They loved my SIL and really encouraged my brother in that relationship until they found out she is not what they wanted for him (independent, bit of a feminist, a clean freak - like those are awful things?! - and so close to her own family that she didn't want to live right beside my parents - which was horrendous apparently confused)

BerthaTheBogBurglar Sun 05-Feb-12 18:02:39

SHThread - only you can tell whether the new guy is right for you or not. Your parents are not normal - if they were they would be being pleased for you. It doesn't sound like your dad's behaviour is a great influence on your son, really.

You say you don't live with them - so if they are being vile to you, don't visit. If they ask, tell them why. Could you do that? The words "you can gain a son or lose a daughter, it's your choice" spring to mind, but I can see that might be really hard to say!

There is no real need for NewP and your parents to see each other, is there?

Giving it to you straight - your family are terrible people for ignoring your feelings by treating you this way. Does that help? It is not up to your parents to choose who you date. You are not doing anything "to" them. You are doing what people do - growing up, finding a partner, moving on ... Not that you're that young!

Time to put some distance between you and them I think!

SHThread Sun 05-Feb-12 18:21:30

Thank you Bertha, it is so good to hear someone else say it. When I am with them and family I get sucked in to how they are and question myself.

My sister today told me that my father was crying last night and that I was being selfish to 'do this to the family' and I thought, but surely it is my life to make my decisions about?!

She slated NewP for 'breaking up a family'! All my P has done is tried to keep me calm about the whole thing and tell me to try and be patient with them and not get to angry.

She also told me that I needed mum and dad. This idea of needing them has been pushed on me for a long time. I did need them when oldP first left me and very small DS and I appreciate the help I get from them, but I feel able to move on now. But of course once again I will be the bad one in the family, the one everyone is disappointed in. sad

I feel like a teenager who wants to grab DS and run away confused

SHThread Sun 05-Feb-12 18:25:10

I told my mother today that all she would achieve was to push us away. She said she wouldn't be able to accept it until we married.

The thing with distancing myself is I would get the tears, the sob story and I really struggle to deal with it sad

fortoday Mon 06-Feb-12 19:15:55

hi ladies
so today my mom texted me and asked me to go to her house so my dc could see their grandad (my sf). Its laughable really after what she done, but before she came to my house for the first time since the event a few weeks ago i called her when i was out shopping and i was having a good day a strong day and suggest i drop in, she was out anyway so didn't, i think it was a mix of dreading to see her the following day at my home and the feeling of 'lets get it out the way'.

Anyway I have seen her three times now and she has not said sorry or even really discussed what she did on new year, i.e calling me a murderer and also trying to stab me infront of my toddler.

So daily I am getting stronger and feeling less vunerable, so i replied and said that i wasn't ready to go back to her house, but why don't we go to the park. She replied that once I had 'got over' my 'panic thingys' to let her know and also she didn't understand why i had suggested to go round that time.

I replied saying that it was due to having a good day and also the pent up anxiety of the impending visit later that week was stressing me out so i thought getting the initial meeting out the way (where i thought she would at least acknowledge what happened and say sorry- which she didn't) would help towards resolving the situation. I reiterated that i was her and her husband to see the kids and i was willing to compromise and that she should and basically told her that the situation wasn't resolved.

WTF- this woman is driving me nuts, i'm trying to be reasonable but even my 4 year old can't understand why she hasn't said sorry and also i still don't know the damage it did to my kids on new years seeing their grandma attacks their mother in such a violent way, i can't take them back there when my 2 year old has only just stopped waking at night saying someone is trying to get her which i link to that night.

help me please tonight i need it xxx

fortoday Mon 06-Feb-12 20:44:56

following on I have received a response to my compromise which was 'ok, well lets get on with our own lives bye.'

why can't she understand that I am not ready to go to the house where she attacked me. Why can't she feel humbled by the fact I am even entertaining her seeing my children after what she did? WHY HAS SHE NOT SAID SORRY!! OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED WHAT SHE HAS DONE!!!!!!!!


meiinlove Thu 09-Feb-12 09:18:53

hi all. i've been lurking on this thread for over a year now and i think that maybe it's time to join. if only for now to thank you all for sharing your stories and especially your insights, because they are really (already have) changing my life. after a long time of on-and-off depression during my teens and as an adult, a long string of failed relationships and friendships and always feeling out of control of whichever crazy direction i was taking at that point, through you i started to put all my feelings and intuitions about the cause being how i grew up into place. you also pointed me in the direction of my inner child and transactional analysis, and i am now in therapy unravelling it all. i'm still a lot in my head, i still am in an unhealthy relationship and am still far from the mum i want to be, but i'm changing and - lo and behold! - life seems to be changing with me smile.

i decided to mark my place here today, because yesterday i had a long 'truth telling' session with my dad. he took some of the facts on board, reluctantly, but showed no compassion for the kid i was (his kid!) and only a little for the adult me. it was surreal, sometimes scary, but in an absurd way also liberating, and i think i have done the right thing. i don't want to talk more about it, maybe later/need to process, but i am scared of the fall-out this might cause within my family. i don't know if he is going to take anything i said to the rest of them, but all of them live in my home country and i won't be there to see what happens and i feel guilty for possibly putting my brother and esp sister in the position of having to deal with it. so, just marking my spot for possible advice and handholding needed in the near future.

we did leave the discussion on fairly amicable terms (i stayed adultsmile), because i know he is not going to change his mind or memories just because some daughter of his tells him some home truths. so maybe he is not going to say anything at all, leave it all be and let me change my relationship with them to a more acceptable level for me and it will all have been a really good thing. he's coming round in a bit and will leave the uk today, so let's see smile.

springydaffs Thu 09-Feb-12 13:07:09

SHT- you are not wrong.

fortoday - I don't understand why you keep seeing her tbh?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 09-Feb-12 13:23:27


The short answer to why she has not apologised to you (and will not do so) is because she is a toxic parent. Normal reasoned argument does not work on such dysfunctional people as they operate outside "normal" familial codes regarding family relations. You do not have to seek her approval any more; it will not be given besides which you do not need her approval for anything. She has failed you utterly, you owe this woman nothing.

garlicfrother Thu 09-Feb-12 13:34:16

fortoday, it sounds like your mother is mad, to use an old-fashioned term! Editing out important, but unpleasant, parts of history (like, er, stabbing your daughter) is a self-protective mechanism that goes haywire in people with serious mental disorders. Another such mechanism is recalling the event, but feeling it was out of the sufferer's control.

It's completely natural to wish you had a sane, balanced mother but that can't happen, sadly. You, however, can be that mother for your own DC. I'm certain that, when you get around to discussing it with properly qualified professionals, they'll urgently recommend keeping your children away from her. You've already seen that she interacts with them the way she did with you as a child. I'm pretty sure you don't want to inflict that on your own.

As something of an aside, my sister still believes our dad mellowed with age. Yet my mother has told me he thumped one of sister's toddlers so hard, he flew across the room. People who are that broken don't magically get better. And they hardly ever perceive themselves as broken so, even if treatment were available, they wouldn't seek it.

I really hope your counsellor's good enough to support you through complete detachment from your mother. Posters here will help, too.

springydaffs Thu 09-Feb-12 16:51:46

meiinlove - thanks for posting your story (to date!). Well done for staying adult with your dad.

I agree fortoday that your mother appears to have a significant MH disorder (insane) and I hope it won't be too long before you are able to finally leave her behind.

fortoday Thu 09-Feb-12 17:15:46

thank you- i know i should see her but i just feel that i should let her see my dc, but thiking about that i could never trust her alone with them again and also not to use them to get at me, she already has already done this to me emotionally so I couldn't be sure she wouldn't physically affect them in some way in the future.

I just feel like I need a really big cuddle at the moment, i am so used to hiding my mothers abuse, I feel i have reached a point where i can't accept support on the matter, I have completely shut my friends out, i suppose this is the damage she has done, what she wanted really as she wanted to isolate me.

The whole process is getting harder and harder and i just feel like i'm not coping. I know what i need to do i mean her last contact was to tell me that we needed to get on with our own lives and goodbye- she's broken the contact., i just feel so sad that I wasn't able to tell her all the wrongs she has done to me.

She'll be back in contact i am assured of that but i also know that if i bump into in town she would deliberately walk past me and the dc, she has done that before, my eldest dd kept shouting after her and the cold hearted cow didn't even turn around. i hate her.

fortoday Thu 09-Feb-12 17:16:05

meant to say shouldn't see her!

Lily4567 Sat 11-Feb-12 04:39:04

Hi, if some1 suffered abuse not from parents but other ppl can they post on this thread?

Fragilistic Sun 12-Feb-12 00:38:30

Hello, used to post on here under a different name. Things are tough at the moment and I can't help wondering if I'll ever escape the curse of my childhood sad

It's not my parents that cause me grief anymore - it's the behaviour patterns and insecurities they left me with.

Just marking my place really.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 12-Feb-12 11:01:41

I'm after some hand holding, really - I'm getting really nervous about next weekend.

I've not seen my parents for over 4 years, and last spoke to them over the phone three years ago - there have been a few letters/cards here and there until their final rejection 6 months ago sad

Next weekend, I'm going to a family gathering at the specific request of another family member - my parents will be there, as will my exH who my parents have developed a close friendship with and have supported and favoured despite our very acrimonious split. This is one of the reasons for my estrangement from them.

DD is going to the event with exH, not me; all her contact with my family is through exH. The family member concerned has been very conflicted as to whether invite exH or not, but as he has been "part of the family" (included by my parents) they feel they should invite him, too. ExH has no social skills at all - he will undoubtedly be oblivious to the awkwardness that some guests will feel about his presence - and in fact, I suspect that he plans to use the event as an opportunity to announce his fiancées pregnancy to everyone, including DD (which he hasn't told me about but it's pretty obvious).

My wonderful DP is coming with me - he has never met any of my family despite us being together for over 2 years. I don't feel inclined to introduce him to my parents tbh - why should I? They have refused several times to meet him in the past sad

DP & I have booked to make a weekend of it; even if the event itself is awful, we thought we could at least enjoy a couple of nights in a hotel, do some sightseeing etc - but it now seems likely that my exH & fiancée will be staying the same hotel as us shock No chance of changing it (only one in the area) - so will have to grin and bear it.

My plan is to maintain a dignified presence for the sake of the family member who invited us; but will undoubtedly be raiding the mini-bar once back at the hotel and end up a sobbing, crumpled mess on DP's shoulder behind closed doors sad

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