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Read Toxic Parents and now wondering..

(9 Posts)
cantreachmytoes Tue 23-Oct-12 15:59:38

..if my mother is really all that bad? I have some of the emotional reactions described in the book when i think about seeing her and other things, but in relation to the case studies used, which are apparently nothing particularly special, she doesn't seem so bad.

She also is not as bad now as she was when I was a kid (doesn't hit me or use threats to, for example), but again, not like the examples in the book. I can see that on some levels she's making an effort (DEFINITELY no apology though), but some of the role plays in the hook made me cry. I'm left wondering though if it's just that I'm over sensitive and holding on to the past or whether the fact that she wasn't always very nice in the past could really make her a toxic parent today?

Lottapianos Tue 23-Oct-12 16:09:53

I found the book really tough in parts. When you have an emotionally abusive parent, then part of that legacy is that you have been taught not to trust your feelings, because your parent always put their feelings first. So it does make sense that you are minimising your own experiences and doubting the feelings that the book has brought up for you.

If she hit you and made threats in the past, then that is very wrong and is definitely not something you are being oversensitive about. It's really really hard to trust your feelings but try to stay with them. Whatever you are feeling, it's there for a reason. You cant put the past behind you until you have come to terms with it.

How is your relationship with her these days? It's interesting that you were very clear about the lack of apology - do you think that is something she would never give you?

I see a psychotherapist weekly - it's very tough going but helping me more than I can say. Other people on here have seen counsellors and also found it really helpful. Keep posting - there are lots of people on here with similar experiences to yours.

cantreachmytoes Tue 23-Oct-12 17:33:08

My relationship with her is strained. I only see her because of my son, but I don't trust her 100% not to do something to him that I don't agree with, which means that when she sees him, I have to be there too. Luckily we live far apart, but nothing in me wants to see her (and one of the visits - not at either of our homes) is coming up in a few weeks. I could tolerate seeing her more before DS was born, but now, I just want nothing to do with her. I'm not going to cut her off though, at least not at the moment.

She didn't "always" put her feelings first, I think she did try to put our feelings (my bro and I) in there too. That's the thing: if she'd really always put her own feelings first, then it would be more cut and dry and easier to see.

I'm also having weekly visits (with a psychologist) and it is helping, but sometimes there are so many questions and thoughts I have between sessions, I can't get it all in and I spend the rest of the week wondering about things!

cantreachmytoes Tue 23-Oct-12 19:27:15

By the way, how can you tell if you are over-sensitive? I can't get it out of my head that I'm over-sensitive. Am I just being a bit dense..or perhaps that's the brain-washing of an abuser?

Lottapianos Tue 23-Oct-12 19:36:30

To be honest, I don't think there is any such thing as being over-sensitive. Your feelings are real and they are there for a reason - they might be messy and inconvenient and feel horrible but they are not wrong. I'm 2 and a half years into psychotherapy and I still sometimes wonder whether my parents were 'really that bad'. I find it helps to think of something my parents did or said and ask myself how I would feel if a friend went through the same thing. Pretty much always, I find that I would feel furious on their behalf. It can help to look at the situation from someone's else's point of view.

I absolutely recognise what you say about not trusting your mum around your DS. I don't have children and I'm not planning to have any, but my sister would like to be a mum. If/when she does, I could imagine my mum taking great pleasure in doing stuff behind her back that my sister chooses not to do with the baby, like giving a dummy for example. She always thinks she knows best and has really poor boundaries - she sees me and my sister and brother as extensions of her, rather than separate people with our own lives and own opinions.

Also interesting that you say you have no desire to see her for yourself. I feel the same about my parents - I only visit them out of a sense of obligation. Listen to your feelings. My therapist once said to me 'you really don't have to do what they expect you to do'. I thought, OMG she's right! It felt really liberating to hear it from someone else, and to have it confirmed that it is really OK to put myself first.

It's a really rough thing to deal with OP. Good for you for seeing a psychologist and don't worry about being full of questions and answers. Write them down if you feel like it and bring them to your next session. Take your time with it all and do keep posting smile

mummytime Tue 23-Oct-12 20:21:36

Does your son want to see his Grandmother?
If he doesn't or isn't old enough to express an opinion then you don't have to see her. There are not Grandparent rights.
If he does you need to be strong to protect him.

cantreachmytoes Tue 23-Oct-12 20:58:37

Lotta "Your feelings are..there for a reason" - so true! I think I was needing to hear that today. Thank you. And thank you for your other kind words. I knew someone on Mumsnet would help!

mummytime - My DS is 1. He likes her when he sees her because she is always sickly sweet to him. I know she cares about him, I just don't trust her on her own if he kicks off. DS already has no contact with my father (neither do I) and my mother lives alone abroad. When my parents divorced, she made sure I had contact with my father's parents (he was crap, so it was really all down to her) and I'm glad she did. I feel like I should repay that a bit, albeit with supervision.

Lottapianos Wed 24-Oct-12 11:45:57

How are you feeling today can'treach?

Salbertina Wed 24-Oct-12 12:22:05

OP - can also recommend "children of the self-absorbed" , less heavy than TP, i thought. As for your feelings- well, they are as valid as anyone elses. Does it help to contextualise them,maybe? Was your dm a good-enough while not oerfect mother? Did/does she "hear" you or at least try? Can she accept her part in your current/previous relationship?
Sadly, for me, a resounding "no"to all the above re my dm hence current NC, possibly permanent.

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