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

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DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 25-Nov-12 21:48:27

Thread opener here: webaunty.co.uk/mumsnet/ smile
You may need to right-click and 'unblock' it after downloading it.

It's November 2012, 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
November 2011
January 2012

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to the Stately Homes Thread.

This is a long running thread which was originally started up by 'pages' see original thread here (December 2007)

So this thread originates from that thread and has become a safe haven for Adult children of abusive families.

One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;

'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/angry/hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/lifetime experiences of being hurt/angry etc by our parents? behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'

Most new posters generally start off their posts by saying; but it wasn't that bad for me or my experience wasn't as awful as x,y or z's.

Some on here have been emotionally abused and/or physically abused. Some are not sure what category (there doesn?t have to be any) they fall into.

NONE of that matters. What matters is how 'YOU' felt growing how 'YOU' feel now and a chance to talk about how and why those childhood experiences and/or current parental contact has left you feeling damaged falling apart from the inside out and stumbling around trying to find your sense of self-worth.

You might also find the following links and information useful if you have come this far and are still not sure whether you belong here or not.

'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.

I started with this book and found it really useful.

Here are some excerpts:

"Once you get going, most toxic parents will counterattack. After all, if they had the capacity to listen, to hear, to be reasonable, to respect you feelings, and to promote your independence, they wouldn't be toxic parents. They will probably perceive your words as treacherous personal assaults. They will tend to fall back on the same tactics and defenses that they have always used, only more so.

Remember, the important thing is not their reaction but your response. If you can stand fast in the face of your parents' fury, accusations, threats and guilt-peddling, you will experience your finest hour.

Here are some typical parental reactions to confrontation:

"It never happened". Parents who have used denial to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy or anxiety will undoubtedly us it during confrontation to promote their version of reality. They'll insist that your allegations never happened, or that you're exaggerating. They won't remember, or they will accuse you of lying.

YOUR RESPONSE: Just because you don't remember, doesn't mean it didn't happen".

"It was your fault." Toxic parents are almost never willing to accept responsibility for their destructive behavior. Instead, they will blame you. They will say that you were bad, or that you were difficult. They will claim that they did the best that they could but that you always created problems for them. They will say that you drove them crazy. They will offer as proof the fact that everybody in the family knew what a problem you were. They will offer up a laundry list of your alleged offenses against them.

YOUR RESPONSE: "You can keep trying to make this my fault, but I'm not going to accept the responsibility for what you did to me when I was a child".

"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me to make a better relationship."

"We did the best we could." Some parents will remind you of how tough they had it while you were growing up and how hard they struggled. They will say such things as "You'll never understand what I was going through," or "I did the best I could". This particular style of response will often stir up a lot of sympathy and compassion for your parents. This is understandable, but it makes it difficult for you to remain focused on what you need to say in your confrontation. The temptation is for you once again to put their needs ahead of your own. It is important that you be able to acknowledge their difficulties without invalidating your own.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I understand that you had a hard time, and I'm sure that you didn't hurt me on purpose, but I need you to understand that the way you dealt with your problems really did hurt me"

"Look what we did for you." Many parents will attempt to counter your assertions by recalling the wonderful times you had as a child and the loving moments you and they shared. By focusing on the good things, they can avoid looking at the darker side of their behavior. Parents will typically remind you of gifts they gave you, places they took you, sacrifices they made for you, and thoughtful things they did. They will say things like, "this is the thanks we get," or "nothing was ever enough for you."

YOUR RESPONSE: I appreciate those things very much, but they didn't make up for ....

"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realize that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.

YOUR RESPONSE: I'm sorry you're upset. I'm sorry you're hurt. But I'm not willing to give up on this. I've been hurting for a long time, too."

Helpful Websites

Alice Miller

Personality Disorders definition

Follow up to pages first thread:

I?m sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don?t claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support.

Happy Posting (smithfield posting as therealsmithfield)

I have cut and pasted this because I think it is fab. Just in case anyone misses the link.

More helpful links:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers
Out of the FOG
You carry the cure in your own heart
Help for adult children of child abuse
Pete Walker

Some books:

Homecoming
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child

forgetmenots Mon 26-Nov-12 08:04:04

Bumping the new SH thread...

DontstepontheMomeRaths Mon 26-Nov-12 08:20:54

I don't think I have a full house yet grin

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 09:23:29

"You were always a difficult child"

I had that all my life, and only realised recently how evil and insidious a thing it is to say to your own child. It went a long way to me normalising my ex-husband's abuse - after all, I deserved it, right? Since I have always been so difficult to get along with...

Anyway, this morning I am musing about how afraid I am of turning into my mother. I am angry. She's angry. I blame them for shit parenting, and how it has affected me. She spends her time moaning about how she was the "neglected middle child".

She took her anger out on me, my sister and my dad. I don't actively put people down like she does, but I am an avoider. Passive aggressive.

I really have to get rid of all this anger and self-hatred and let go of it, or it's going to continue to poison me and possibly others. I'm just at a loss about how to do that: the anger and self-hatred are there. I try to be aware of them, to cope with and counter them, but they're still always there.

forgetmenots Mon 26-Nov-12 10:07:18

I think there is a middle ground hotdamn. I think it's ok to avoid if it's done as an active, positive decision (NC) rather than as a punishment or withholding, if that makes sense. It also gives you space to deal with the anger you rightly feel rather than adding to it with more hostility from her. None of us are perfect but you don't 'actively put people down'. I'd say that tells you immediately that you are dealing with your anger better than your mother did, you are not her.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 11:04:02

We are both (my mother and I) processing unsatisfactory childhoods in different ways; neither of them healthy.

I at least recognise the issues, and harm myself more than I harm others (not a great outcome either). I just know that I can't be truly happy (and I also risk adopting mom-behaviours) as long as I carry this overwhelming self-hatred. But it is anchored so tight...

I am so tired of always being depressed, or teetering on the edge.

I've been in therapy, I regularly work through an online CBT workbook, I make the bleeding effort to exercise, eat well, socialise, etc to keep from sinking into a black hole. But the black hole is always fucking there, and always pulling at me.

I hate this.

I know I need to get rid of 2 related things: anger, and self-hatred.

The anger: I know that the origin of all this shit is how I was parented. But handing that anger back where it belongs didn't work, since - surprise! - shit parents don't rush to make it up to you when you point out that you are angry at them, and why. So I'm left nursing that anger, really, to continue justifying going no contact.

The self-hatred: totally woven into me. I don't know if I'm supposed to go all zen meditation and observe it without following the self-hating thoughts with my mind, or go all new-age and feel the pain, and cry the wet hot tears that I feel inside me. Both methods are polar opposites: it seems a bit schizophrenic and counter-productive to try both. Which I think is what I am going to do anyway.

Posting this brain dump even though it's somewhat unformed.

BiddyPop Mon 26-Nov-12 12:30:59

I am getting my ammo ready for a showdown with my mother over NY. I heard yesterday that she has stolen my thunder with a present for future SIL for Christmas that I had been working on for 3 years as their wedding present next May (I had mentioned having difficulty finding 1 part 3 months ago in her presence, she'd never heard of the idea before, but apparently now has it for FSIL for Christmas - probably got Dad to get a full set in USA when he was over). That, on top of getting rid of things from Gran that I would have loved after she died, and being so horrible about Gran and her family this year, and to me too, have made me decide that IF that present is given, I will use it as the "straw that breaks the camel's back" and let her know what I think (as she has let me know plenty of times). And then pull back HUGELY from her. I don't think I will go NC entirely, but reduce my interaction with her and talk to Dad at work rather than at home (phonecalls).

I am also getting fed up of 1 DSis, who has gone back to live at home, thinking she rules the roost and complaining about people not staying in touch etc. When you can never get hold of her nor does she ever get in touch unless she needs something or needs an outlet to complain about another sibling. So I am not putting up with her anymore either.

A different DSis was visiting yesterday, and full of complaints about the project that DBro and FSIL had asked her (Sis) to do for their wedding, that Mum is taking over and trying to make HERS. Her controlling tendancies are stretching (she wanted 3 full grown adults - a size 18, size 20 and a 6'4" - all to travel in the back of the car with DParents on a 6 hour journey a couple of months back, and return, rather than make their own way at all. And then she'd have complete control over what they did all weekend too as it also involved going to another village a few miles away with no public transport). And now she's trying to get these same adults to travel to the wedding in her car, a 5 hour journey each way and about an hour away from Church, and including a whole weekend of different events. So the groom has said he's doing his own thing (hiring a car), and another DSis is taking her car and collecting her DP en route.

I reckon I have enough to deal with in my own immediate family (DH and DD) that I don't need to put up with their issues anymore.

ThistlePetal Mon 26-Nov-12 14:42:00

Just marking my place here, have just started reading Toxic Parents and have posted on Salbertina's thread.... Feeling v shaky about how things with my parents will turn out but can't go on like this anymore. Another one looking for the middle ground, I think!

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 15:10:30

Thank you for this elegant new Stately Home, MomeRaths smile

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 15:30:40

HotDAMN, can I just thank you for your posts today? I feel stuck, too: not in exactly the same way, perhaps, but I'm aware of "undeserving" being so baked into my being that I am actually choosing negative behaviours to reinforce it. Dammit. I have no advice but it's strangely helpful to hear you mulling it over!

Firsttimer7259 Mon 26-Nov-12 15:33:29

Finding myself quite down with christmas coming up. Last christmas the treatment of my SN daughter by my F in partic caused me to go NC (following an attempt to talk to him about why he'd been ignoring her, it didnt go well) Anniversaries are tough plus we've just looked at another SN nursery for next year and things with my DD feel terribly real just now. Somehow I cant believe that I have to go through all these hard things alone, that my family just dnt care. Its totally stupid of me because not chasing after support from my family has really freed me up this year to gte real help and real suppport. But just this week it feels awfully hard

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 16:01:42

Hi garlic. Currently I'm reminding myself that everyone deals with low self-esteem, to a greater or lesser extent (although the problem clearly goes very deep for children of inadequate parents).

I'm also totally going to try the new-agey blubbering. It's been welling up inside me for years, and I have intellectuallised my pain enough. I think I am going to just feel it for a bit (maybe for a designated amount of time in the day so it doesn't turn to wallowing?), and the rest of the time focus on observing it in a detached way.

So I am going to give expression to the hurt child and just cry (if I still remember how). I'll tell you if it's helpful!

It's also bothering me to recognise in myself those parts of my parents that I have contempt for: my father's fear and anxiety, my mother's simmering anger about her own childhood. Because, if I have contempt for them, then that means I hate (bits of) myself... this self-hatred seems determined to come at me from all angles!

Hmmm. I thought I had accepted them for who they are, but I wonder now if I really have, considering how little I am able still to accept myself.

I think another blockage to me accepting those parts of myself -- the fear, the anger -- is that if I accept it in myself, finally, then that means I have to welcome my parents back into my life? Yes, I think that's the biggest obstacle, actually.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 16:12:15

Hi Firsttimer. Yeah, Christmas is awful when you have a problematic family. I fully expect this thread to be humming with activity around the 25th of December - I know I'll certainly be using it!

What are your plans for the day?

This will be my first Christmas alone - and I mean really alone: I don't have a partner or children, my sister doesn't cross the ocean for Christmas anymore (...she can't stand my parents either, but has an adoptive family of sorts in the country she lives in where she can spend family holidays). Last Christmas with my parents really convinced me that I find them too difficult and unpleasant to be with. So this year I will be going for a long walk in the forest with my dog on Christmas day, followed by dinner in front of the fire and a film. I will also be lining up as many Skype calls as I can with my far-flung loved ones, so that I don't go nuts from isolation.

But I know that the stress of impending Christmas is part of the reason why I am so down at the moment. I'm usually more reliably upbeat. Can't wait for the holiday season to be over; it's going to be a bit grim.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 18:18:28

Hi there, is it ok to join the new stately homes thread please?

Also, did anyone elses' parents say..

"Your too sensitive."

"You can't take a joke."

One would think that if a 7 year old routinely cries about stuff you say to them, it probably isn't very funny!

garlicbaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 19:51:57

Welcome, Freddie smile Yes and yes! I'm too sensitive and spoiled the fun when I failed to share the hilarity over some humiliating prank perpetrated on me.

They're the two 'victim blaming' statements most overused by bullies.

HotDamn, do let me know how your blubbing turns out! I still don't cry. Reading that bit of your post made my 'uncried tears' rise nearer the surface ... wondering if I dare cry for myself, properly? confused

I will probably be doing Christmas on my own again - depends on family members, but it's likely. I'm quite comfortable about it now and will be available (if you want me) wherever I end up! Have you chosen your dinner yet?

DontstepontheMomeRaths Mon 26-Nov-12 19:58:51

I had that all my life, and only realised recently how evil and insidious a thing it is to say to your own child. It went a long way to me normalising my ex-husband's abuse - after all, I deserved it, right? Since I have always been so difficult to get along with...

^ ^ ^ ^

This made me cry. My ExH was such an arsehole and so selfish and I excepted it all. Towards the end he tried to strangle me and kick me and I normalised it. I thought, 'this is just what men do when they loose their tempers.' As my Dad was very physical to me when growing up, even as a teen he still whacked me across the face and my twin brother used to try and strangle me a lot when angry, or just hit me, as he also had a hideous temper.

I don't like myself, I have very low self esteem and confidence and I do wonder if I will ever (despite therapy) break free of these feelings.

I've cried a lot of this weekend, since I first realised I couldn't attend the family gathering. I think I'd buried this issue with my Dad since Mum's preposterous idea of a Fathers Day card. I'd simply buried it all.

Your posts HOTDamn are very insightful and thought provoking.

Freddie, I've read your post, that sounds very difficult sad

Thank you Garlic but I simply copied and pasted someone else's thoughtful wording and web links blush

This is a very special thread. I may not visit for months at a time but you are all so welcoming when I do. I feel like I belong here, instead of feeling like I'm the unreasonable one. It's a rare thing to find people who understand, listen and support, like this thread.

My family make me feel like I am always in the wrong and my feelings are irrelevant, that despite my Dad's abuse I should 'fix it'. They all enable and minimise his behaviour and in fact due to this, I was brought up to apologise, even when I wasn't in the wrong, to accept all blame, as it must be my fault sad This is what my Mother wants me to do yet again. He of course has never apologised to me in his life, nor would he this time.

It is difficult to know how many apologies would be enough to fix things this time. As once you approach him to try and reconcile, it is like a damn bursting and this stream of vitriol comes out, on and on it goes, e-mail after e-mail, as you repeatedly apologise. And even then when you meet, he is still angry with you but better than it would have been otherwise. My brother went through this to try and fix things. He suggests I do the same. In fact he strongly urged me to. This pressure to fix things, even though my Dad sent me the most awful e-mails and texts is very hard.

I think unless people truly understand though, they cannot possibly comprehend why I have chosen to go NC with him. He is no ordinary man. He is not reasonable and in fact without him in my life, I feel calmer and at peace. No walking on egg shells any more.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 20:02:00

Welcome Freddie!

I got "you're too sensitive" and "you can't take a joke" ALL the time from my abusive ex-h. But I was a grown woman and not a 7-year old child (and it still hurt!). I'm so sorry for the little girl you.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 20:16:12

Oh Biddie, I missed your post earlier.

Regarding the showdown you are planning: just be aware that your mother will not acknowledge your anger, and will not apologise. So if a tiny part of you is hoping for that outcome, it may be wise to avoid the showdown altogether, as you may end up even more hurt. (I learned this at my cost).

She will instead react with any or all of the weapons of the narcissistic parent: blaming and shaming you, flying into a rage, denying that what you say is true, or playing the martyr. All of these are methods to deflect any responsibility.

So: good luck to you if you are still going ahead with a showdown. It is bound to cause a narcissistic meltdown, and backlash from other family members who are uncomfortable when anyone rocks the boat. Those are tough things to ride out, be strong.

FunBagFreddie Mon 26-Nov-12 20:24:44

garlicbaubles Thanks, you're clearly another person who can't take a joke. wink

DontstepontheMomeRaths That sounds awful. I can also relate to feeling contempt at the bits of yourself that are like your parents.

HotDAMNlifeisgood I've also had X's' who've ridiculed me and then got angry because I can't take a joke. I've got into relationships with horrible men. I feel sad when I think bout how much of my life, time and energy have been wated on areholes. I'll never get it back and I know I need to let go and move on.

HissyByName Mon 26-Nov-12 21:07:08

HotDAMN, you can't turn into your mother, you're self aware, caring, loving, sensitive and kind.

Please see the good in yourself and know that its all down to you.... didn't come from her, did it....

Christmas scares me too, am planning for it to be 'end of days' kind of stuff.

She wants to see me this week, as she's been away, and is away this weekend too. I spent less than a minute on the phone with her yesterday, was non -commital and just fluffed through until the call could end.

Everytime there's interaction, there's pressure atm. I don't want any of it any more, i want peace, simplicity, love, kindness. I can't have that with these people, i don't trust them, i can't relax with them.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 21:54:42

Thanks Hissy. To be honest many of my good qualities do come from her, and I recognise that. We are very similar, my mother and I. We differ on self-awareness, and in the choice whether to take our unhappiness out on others, or on ourselves (neither of them a healthy choice). She can also be caring and loving, and it's a shame that she chooses to bully others in order to boost her own ego, and has too little empathy to notice or care that we are hurt by it, because without that trait she would be a marvelous person.

Reflecting on that, I suppose I'm ok with being like my mother: I like the bits I like, I'm happy that I have greater self-awareness than she does, and although I don't like the anger we share and I'm not happy that I turn my anger inward and hurt myself, at least I'm aware that that's what I'm doing and looking for ways to fix this. And I know I will always consciously avoid taking it on others, as she does, to the best of my availability. And be willing to acknowledge it if I fail to do so.

Phew! Thanks.

Will you be spending Christmas with your parents and sister?

Regarding her intended visit: well done for fogging her. Do you want to say no? Do you want to set different terms to the ones she is proposing - eg. neutral location, or her place, so you can leave whenever you feel like it?

No, you can't have peace, simplicity, love and kindness with them. But I am beginning to think that you (we) can have peace, simplicity, love and kindness within ourselves, even in their presence, iyswim. I imagine I would need years of meditation practice to get to that stage, but surely it is possible! Just carrying our own peace within us, somewhere where it can't be jarred by the emotional grenades they lob at us. I haven't quite figured out how this squares with being alert and protecting our boundaries, though... Because I find that protecting boundaries requires alert emotions, whereas gliding through turmoil like a zen swan requires emotional detachment. I'm sure it's possible, though. I know people who do it. Once again, I think the key is a strong sense of self, and a healthy self-esteem.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 21:56:09

*ability, not availability.

Dawndonna Mon 26-Nov-12 21:57:03

Thanks for the new thread Dontstep

HissyByName Mon 26-Nov-12 22:33:21

hotDamn, no, I'll not be doing Christmas with them. It'll be all about DS and boyf. Can't wait!

Well, until the family try to spoil it, of course!

I think you can still distance yourself from the worst traits, remember even our vile, snarling abusive exes could turn on the charm if needed to... Thing is, they had to turn it on. We have to turn on our nasty. Our nice comes first.

You are nice because that's who you are. You have an anger, because you have a flaming right to it. Maybe she does too, but she uses her anger against people. That's what sets you apart.

I agree the detachment is what helps us glide through it. I'm on my own with this, it worries me.

Not sure why, cos I know I can more than handle them, I've got a badge in twat management!

Is it our child fear that we feel now?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Mon 26-Nov-12 22:38:42

I believe so.

HissyByName Mon 26-Nov-12 22:48:07

Ok, so we just do the Feel the Fear exercises, and maintain the focus we needed to get through the Ex ridding situation...

Think cool, think swan! :D

Might just work! Thanks HotDAMN! XX

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 12:40:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:12:43

Wow. I shall read, and re-read and re-read your post. I'm hoping that then I too will allow myself the emotional freedom I need, and think you have found.

I will try to see if this too can help my beloved boyf with his family/extended family ishoos. He's depressed, and I can see clearly it's because he's not allowing himself the entitlement to feel the feelings he is owed.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:20:32

Oh.. Where'd it go? confused

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:28:39

I put 2 and 2 together, really together today.

I know. I'm a bit FICK, clearly, but I saw how the scapegoat, not so favourite child dynamic really set me up for a potential lifetime of accepting shoddy and sub-standard behaviour. Because I knew no better, I never knew what it was to be adored, just for me. As I am. As I always was.

Apparently the love between a parent and child is forever and unconditional....

Shame my family never got that memo.

I have a right to feel cheated. I was.

Well the table's turned, and now that I'm playing with an unmarked deck, with people that are not trying to cheat me out of everything, I see that Lady Luck is on payback, the odds are stacked in my favour.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 19:30:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 19:38:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 19:49:48

FiCK was meant kind of ironically, I know it's an epiphany, and I knew it before, tbh, but just today I really saw that I KNEW it.

I see that my strength was their target, the thorn in their side.

I wish they were all gone. I know there's no chance of things ever being turned around, and what's more, I'd never trust them again.

That trust is gone, my patience is gone, and nothing and no-one will stop my rise, or pee on my chips if you prefer! wink

I've been invited for dinner tomorrow night. I don't want to go. I wonder if I ought to call and cancel, saying that I'm conscious of their pressure for me to STFU and get over what SisDear did.

Can't, shan't, won't.

I'll go, but DS is primed to leave when I say so, even in a rush.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 19:57:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CreepyLittleBat Tue 27-Nov-12 20:02:20

Just text saying something has come up and you can't go. Easier said than done, I know.

Can anyone tell me what happens at Xmas when you don't speak to your birth family? I have recently liberated myself from answering any of their calls and am having a new lease of life. So does it sound stupid to ask if I should still send them a card? Anything the kids have made? A present even? I stopped sending my hideous brother presents and nothing was said, but urgh, I dunno, just seems weird not even to send a card. And the thing is that I know if I DO send something, I will jump every time the phone rings for weeks afterwards! And what happens if they send us something? I presume they are still getting the dc presents - has anyone been here who can advise? Is anyone else wondering about this?

JoInScotland Tue 27-Nov-12 20:07:39

I was told I was hyper sensitive about everything. My foster mum knew all the lingo, but had no clue how to be a sensitive and empathic human being.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 20:43:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MistyGee Tue 27-Nov-12 21:08:20

Hello, sorry to jump in but I have been lurking on the Stately Homes threads for, well, years now. It was reading the posts on here that made me realise that i'm not alone, my childhood was NOT normal, and that I had to start doing something about how it was affecting my life.
I saw 'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward recommended, and I ordered and read it in 2 nights, mentally ticking boxes. After yet another awful Christmas, the new year loomed and I knew I had to do something about it or just keep sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire.
I've been having counselling since January this year and honestly it's changing my life. It is a very slow process and i'm nowhere near there yet, but it is helping immensely. Just the validation of being heard, without being screamed at or told there's something wrong with me...well, it's been emotional. I went NC with my sister in May and my mother in August. She's still been chipping away though.
Like most of you, it is a long story, how I got here. I just wanted to bite the bullet and post tonight, and also to say thanks to you all for posting on these threads. xx

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 21:20:59

notarealorphan no offence at all love. I'm a DV survivor, you have to really go some to offend me! smile

Plus I'm ok with tough talk, it works, and it saves time and prolonged anguish. I'm blessed to know you all here, I have much to learn, and Christmas will be hard for us all.

I'm dreading tomorrow, probably wrongly, mum's not hideous, but the fact that they all know what was done and said, and it's been totally ignored, discounted, and even mooted that it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. angry It's the teeny comments, the carrying on regardless, tiptoeing around the elephant in the room, cos we all know the elephant (me and my hurt) are not worth bothering with hmm

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 21:28:44

Good for you MistyGee I'm NC with my Dad and sis, only mum that still in contact, mostly cos it suits me.

I have a feeling (and am preparing myself) that Christmas will be the cruch point, so am galvanising myself for the showdown, and making sure I'm ready for all childcare, so she can't hold anything over me.

notarealorphan Tue 27-Nov-12 21:41:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HissyByName Tue 27-Nov-12 22:17:57

The DV was what showed me their colours. Ridding myself of the Ex was the Appetiser, the family are the main course.

I can do this, it's harder, because of the taboos, but my boyf has similar experiences, so we help and support each other. It's so wonderful to have someone that 'gets' is, that doesn't think I'm wrong, that respects my decision.

MistyGee Tue 27-Nov-12 22:20:39

Thank you both smile I know what you mean about moving toward a future that it all yours. It's hard to realise that how our dysfunctional familes treated us can seep into every aspect of our lives until it's not really ours anymore, if it ever was. I found it controlled me without me even realising. I was, still am sometimes, snappy, miserable, depressed, full of a sense of impending doom even without knowing why or where it will come from. I found myself involved with awful men because I didn't know I deserved any better.
Yes, there does come a point where you think how many more times can I exhaust myself being upset and traumatised about being a second class citizen, not worthy of anything, while they tell you there's nothing to be upset about, that it's your fault, you're being oversensitive, and in my mother's case telling me that I have 'mental problems' and clearly need to see someone!
notarealorphan I can so identify with your wobble about wanting your mummy.
It is so bloody hard isn't it, I almost feel like I made excuses for my mother because I couldn't accept that she wasn't a mother to me. Or did she ingrain it in me so expertly that I thought it was my problem, not hers?
I see so many children with their grandparents, the GPs picking them up from my son's preschool, looking after them while their parents work, are out and about having nice days out- grandmother, mother and child...and I DO feel a bit resentful, because no matter how much I want that, I'll NEVER have it. Never.
I'm sure people see my mother and think 'what a nice old lady' and i'm sick of feeling bad about being 'nasty' ie NC to what is outwardly an inoffensive pensioner. I avoid talking about it to people because I worry they will judge me when I say I don't speak to my mother. I veer between being angry with her (and my sister) and just wanting my mum, wanting nice days out and support and unconditional love. The irony is I have nothing to base that on because it never happened! It just feels so sad.

MistyGee Tue 27-Nov-12 22:38:08

Creepy I have also been struggling with the 'gifts' thing. I'm NC with my mother and sister. My sister sent my son a cheque (addressed to him) for his birthday. No way do I want anything to do with her, or from her, and no way would I give her the satisfaction of seeing it cashed so I ripped it up and put the same amount from my own purse in DS's savings. In that way I didn't feel like he missed out on the money but I removed the poisonous connotation IYSWIM.
My mother has been posting crap through my door and leaving carrier bags on my doorstep with stuff in for DS (again makes me feel bad cause outwardly such a nice thing to do...!) It is a really difficult situation. I think it comes from the hold they still have. It's my mother's birthday on the 5th dec and i feel bad about not sending her a card, but also terrified that she might see it as a way in if i do send her something, so I have decided not to. It just feels safer. I know it is hard because we're not used to putting ourselves first, and we're trained not to 'upset' our family in any way.
I'm not sure of an easy answer, what does your gut tell you to do?

Dawndonna Wed 28-Nov-12 07:22:21

No Cards, No gifts
They will always be misinterpreted, used against you or seen as a way back in. They are a method of control, either: 'Look how nice I am, my daughter doesn't give me the time of day but I still spoil my grandchildren" or: 'Look, despite everything I've done, my daughter seems to think this is all I'm worth:.

Not worth the effort.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 11:07:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

garlicbaubles Wed 28-Nov-12 12:11:22

What a beautiful post, Orphan. Thank you.

kiwigirl42 Wed 28-Nov-12 12:31:07

I really appreciate the information and wisdom shared on these threads also, even tho I mainly lurk. Its just so comforting to realise that its not just me who has to deal with this shit.
I moved 12,000 miles when I was 19 to get away from my mother who had spent a life time trying to run me into the ground. I was always stupid, useless etc etc etc.

The last straw for me was when I was really ill when pregnant and she didn't even bother to ring for 3 wks to see how we were. That really made me realise that she doesn't actually care about me. I have tried to ring her every couple of wks, mainly to hear her talk about herself (she never listens), just to .... well, I don't know really.

She invited herself here for 6 wks last xmas - she only told us once the tickets were bought. I should have said no but have daily chronic migraine and just didn't. It was bloody awful. She sat on the sofa and expected to be waited on hand and foot. She would make herself a sandwich if I was too ill to be downstairs and not even offer DS 12 anything. She'd take herself out for a meal and not take DS. It was disgusting. So never again is she darkening our doorstep. The good thing was that DS (who is an astute little bunny) came to his own conclusions about her behaviour.

I rang a month ago to say I was on waiting list for a hysterectomy and was terrified. Her reply? ''oh, can you hear my new cuckoo clock ringing''.
DH said ' theres only one cuckoo in that house and its not in the clock lol''
I was REALLY upset and haven't contacted her. So she rings yesterday, luckily got DH not me, and complained to him that I haven't bothered to ring her. DH told her that I'd hardly been out of bed (had some shocking migraines this month) but she wasn't interested.

So I'm very close to just chucking it in and going no contact. I've kept contact because I'm a nice person but what the hell for I don't know. i could have died under anaesthetic in the last month and she wouldn't have known or cared.

sorry for the long diatribe. I haven't really been able to tell other people as most other people love their Mums and don't understand toxic Mums.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 12:31:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 12:43:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HisstletoeAndWhine Wed 28-Nov-12 21:43:59

I echo thos hugs and back pats!

Well, I'm back. Took me 10 sprays of rescue remedy to get in <hic>

Got the 'what are you doing for christmas' stuff. I held firm, said I was having Christmas at home this year. She told me SisDear is not coming up. I stuck to my plan.

SisDear not coming up is a plot, a scheme on sisDear's part. I'm sure of it. I go there and SisDear can weep and wail saying my going NC with her made it impossible for her to go, that I hounded her out of Christmas. Yeah right. I'm not falling for it. Let them ALL reap the crop they sowed!

Got asked about Christmas eve... Was non-commital. Got asked to bring boyf. Said he'd probably not want to come. It just came out, but it means that I don't have a say. It's not true, I'm sure he would if I asked him, but I'm committed to NOT mixing pleasure with 'family'.

I have to refuse Christmas eve too don't I?

When Mum starts up with that, I can say that she could go and see sis for Christmas, have Christmas cooking etc off. I will wait for the 'we're all on our own' and keep the 'yep, like I was all those years, abroad and abused, like I was when ex left, in trauma, seriously in shock and you both revelled in leaving me for emotional dead, and then ONE of you rubbed it in, and the other one has failed again to support me' response as a back up conversation shutter downer smile

Apparently mum is going to SisDear after Christmas/NY. That's not going to influence my plans ONE jot.

Perhaps the reply won't get used, perhaps it's a broken record of 'No, I've said I'll not do 'socials' or family stuff again.' I am my own family now.

notarealorphan Wed 28-Nov-12 22:04:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kiwigirl42 Thu 29-Nov-12 03:14:11

notarealorphan thank you for your kindness

notarealorphan Thu 29-Nov-12 09:01:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BiddyPop Fri 30-Nov-12 16:08:41

Sorry guys, I've been away and not had access. HotDamn, I see what you're saying, and I am not going in trying to have a row, but if she HAS really done that to me, I will call her on it, expect that it will be all about me spoiling her lovely gift, yada yada yada, but it will also give me the chance to tell her, in the presence of others, how it is not all about her and that I will not be disrespected the way she has done to me. So if she wants to do something about it afterwards, it will be her to deal with it (and it will also make my Dad realise what she's done - he does enable her a bit but will call her on some things that she has to back down from when she tries her ultra-controlling and pushing away family stuff).

Mind all of yourselves, I hope to get a chance to post properly tonight.

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 30-Nov-12 21:02:53

Is it really worth taking them on, head to head?

Won't they just deny it, minimise it, and blame us anyway, isn't us knowing the truth, telling them what we believe, calmly, matter of fact, and then just backing off just a little more?

God knows if I'm getting this right or wrong, the FOG is so thick and hard to get through! sad

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 30-Nov-12 23:10:27

I don't know, Hissy. I did, and now kind of wish I hadn't bothered.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 01-Dec-12 08:22:07

I have the similar dilemma, I've said my piece to mum, nothing changed, Sis still gets mum trotting down there, I still get told to hget over myself. I'm now being painted as the baddy.

Plus ça change...

So, so what? I was an alchy, a nutter, an everything-under-the-sun, I was a scarlet woman for daring to date again. Now I'm someone who bust up a family. Pah! Family? Families don't do that.n what I 'bust up' was a tissue of lies. It doesn't work for me, it hurts. So... I'm out.

For them to insist on me staying in is selfish, but we knew that already. It's for THEIR needs.

Their needs. Their problem. If I mattered that much, they should have treated me better.

BUT it feels so shit. It felt so crap to let the abusive ex go, it was physically excruciating, a pain I bore in deliberately inflicted isolation.

I did it, I got through it, I survived. I'll get through this, I'll survive and thrive on the other side.

Cripes, knowing the awesome transformation of my life post Ex, I know I'm in for even better when ALL negative clingons are scraped off!

I'll find that focus to get me to the grass on the other side, as I did with ex.

It's the next step in my life. The one towards even more happiness!

[penny drops]

Dawndonna Sat 01-Dec-12 10:08:38

Despite having been married to the same man for 20 years, I too have been some of those things Hiss. Trust me, life is far better without them.
Good luck!

Midwife99 Sat 01-Dec-12 11:49:15

I had a neglectful childhood because my parents were too busy being publicans & boozing it up to care for me. They moved frequently to run away from my father's affairs & business failures so I had a hard time at new schools too. They went on holiday without me every September over my birthday & left me with relief managers. Even their night off was spent going out to another pub boozing. The last holiday they took me on aged 12 - they put me in a room in my own on the other side of a French hotel & did their own thing for 2 weeks. Unsurprisingly a waiter from the hotel let himself into my room every night & raped me. A few years followed of being felt up by their disgusting drunk "friends" before I left home at 18.
I'm now 45 & have 4 kids & 3 husbands under my belt & this year have finally told my parents how my childhood was for me & that I need some space from them. Although they ignored me as a child & in my 20 & 30s now they're old & frail they want me to help them & visit frequently.
Anyway - they are refusing to leave me alone & keep sending hysterical texts, voicemails & emails asking to see "their grandchildren" ' for me to "sort things out". I just want them to leave me alone but still feel guilty!!

Dawndonna Sat 01-Dec-12 13:00:52

Why should you feel guilty? Would you allow one of your children to be raped? Would you even put one of your children in a position whereby that could happen? Of course you wouldn't. Don't feel guilty, change your number, tell your children why you are not allowing contact and live a happy and guilt free life.
I talk the talk, but haven't always walked the walk, but am doing damn fine at the moment!

garlicbaubles Sat 01-Dec-12 13:25:58

I realise it's part of your 'coping', Midwife, but i felt shocked by your statement that you were "unsurprisingly" raped repeatedly at the age of 12. It would only be unsurprising if men usually were rapists, only being kept from assaulting children by the vigilance of others.

I can see that your teenage years would have caused you to reasonably think this was the case - but your horrible experiences were a direct outcome of your parents' incompetence, not simple neglect and inevitable circumstance. Please don't underplay the horror of what happened to you.

It would not be wrong for you to turn your back on them completely.
If you want to find a middle way, make it entirely on your terms and your rules. Don't play games with them. A therapist can be very helpful with this - or even a solicitor - should you want professional backup. I found Stately Homes invaluable!

Midwife99 Sat 01-Dec-12 14:27:28

Yes I realise my cold emotionless way of referring to the rapes is a coping mechanism. I didn't shout rape or report it so I felt responsible for it for years. In fact until recently I have referred to it as sexual assault & only now use the word rape, which is what it was. The child that I was then was not equipped to deal with the situation of course!!

I spelt it out in no uncertain terms some months ago in an email to my parents. My father replied about a week later that he needed to think about what I had said. Since then nothing but requests for help & the blackmailing voicemails etc. I finally told them & they have completely ignored what I said.

I have unplugged the landline to stop the constant ringing (from marketing calls & my mother!) They did leave me alone for 3 weeks & then a hysterical voicemail from my mother "we gave you some space, what more do you want? You need to sort yourself out now".
The thought of seeing them makes me feel nauseous!

Midwife99 Sat 01-Dec-12 14:59:55

Oh - have just read back through the thread!! Sorry I didn't introduce myself!! Re Xmas - my parents "don't believe in Xmas" but I bet they suddenly get all Christmassy this year when I've gone NC. I used to feel a bit bereft at Christmas too but this year for the first time I really just want my kids & me to spend it together without any outside influences. It's quite freeing to choose isn't it?!! grin

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 02-Dec-12 09:16:50

If you're posting on here Midwife, that's introduction enough!

Expect the panic to continue, it's par for the course.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sun 02-Dec-12 09:36:52

I hope you and your children get the Christmas that you want this year then, midwife

Your parents' voicemails seem to me to show that they still don't think you have a right to your own feelings.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 02-Dec-12 09:44:09

Indeed HotDamn! Ring any bells for you there love? ;)

Dunno what's worse, when they ring and ring, or when they don't.

My dad hasn't bothered since June. Neither have I, but even SisDear made 2 or 3 calls before stopping

Dawndonna Sun 02-Dec-12 10:11:59

Have to say, I love that she hasn't rung. I still think the birthday stuff is funny. But I'm 54 this week and it's taken me a very long time to get to the point where I can find things amusing.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 19:29:01

Hi Stately homers,

I'm an occasional poster, under various guises, but frequent lurker on this thread. I didn't want to selfishly gatecrash here and so had posted this in legal, but no response as yet. Some of you have given me good advice in the past so wondered if you guys had any experience of this and could advise - feel as though I'm causing trouble but really just want to stand up for myself iyswim?

Made statement to police a few months ago about historic abuse by family member. (I confronted some time ago, they denied it). No corroboration / evidence to justify proceeding with an investigation but police dc said they will if I want to. Hmm.
Anyway family member has been persistently sending letters requesting to see my children which I have been ignoring, but they have not stopped. Police say it may be seen as breach of peace and to keep diary recording dates of any calls , letters etc and they will warn them off if it continues to happen. In the meantime they said to ignore the most recent letter. However I feel out of control as this person is not respecting my boundaries, so I have basically written to them to make it clear that I want no contact and reiterated what the police have said re BoP. Completely non threatening in tone, just factual iyswim. Terrified of repercussions now though, I have ignored all contact so far but just can't cope with feeling trod all over by this person. I am sure they will try and discredit me further (have attempted to do so already, but not much I can do about that)
Have I made problems for myself, potentially with the police for writing back to this person stating they don't contact us further?

Thanks for any advice, hoping am worrying over nothing!

garlicbaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 19:56:07

I really understand why you feel distressed by this person pushing for access to your children. Having aggressively breached (denied) your boundaries when you were young and impressionable, they are now doing so again with the presumed aim of denying your own children's boundaries too. It's horrible of them - and, no doubt, feels beyond horrific to you. Their continued impact on you is evident in your uncertainty about telling them to piss off.

Your response is, afaik, almost text-book as a warning shot. You can check it with the police if you want to feel sure. After you've warned someone to stop contacting you, further efforts to reach you would be construed as harassment and should be actionable if they persist. Do ask the cops for confirmation, since it sounds as though you need official support: I am sure you've done the right thing.

What repercussions do you fear? Is there any possibility they could be realised, or are these the fears of your frightened inner child?
So angry that someone has done this to you.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 20:08:14

Thank you garlic. Yes its so scary telling them to piss off. They just don't want to take the hint, and yes its the lack of respect even for what my dc may or may not want. This person in a recent letter implied that my dc missed them, er no that's not the case at all.

The police did say it could be construed as harassment but I feel I've sort of disrupted the proper process (if there is such a thing!) because they advised me to ignore the recent contact and I didn't - I did try, but just got so angry and that's why I responded in writing, to make my position clear.
Re repercussions - I think I'm worried that this person will tell the police that I'm some sort of loon and telling lies and they then won't believe me anymore (this person has tried similar with people I know recently and I feel they do disbelieve me).

garlicbaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 20:27:34

Badmouthing and making "people" take sides isn't the same as following clear-cut procedures in law. Here is the CPS guidance on harassment.

I suggest you show the police your letter. If you have stated that you find this person's repeated contacts distressing and wish them to desist entirely, I believe you have made yourself perfectly clear. On a practical everyday level, it makes sense to block them from your phones and email, social networks, etc, and to tear up or burn all correspondence without opening it.

Have you learned any psychological tricks to disempower this person in your mind? A very easy one is to imagine them in front of you, spouting whatever rubbish s/he generally spouts, and to progressively shrink them until they're the size of a small flea, spouting in an absurdly tiny, high-pitched voice grin
Then you can swat them.

garlicbaubles Sun 02-Dec-12 20:29:32

... if their messages are actually threatening, don't block or destroy them. File them somewhere without reading, then open them in circumstances where you feel safe & supported. Threats can & should be forwarded to the police.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 20:43:48

garlic I will try that trick!

Yes I am going to keep any letters etc as the police have advised. Phone numbers all changed too. Not on fb etc.

Thank you so much x

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 02-Dec-12 21:04:45

AFAIK, certainly in relationships, a 'please don't contact me again' communication is often advised to avoid any confusion.

Once that off you Fuck pop message has been sent and established, it's much clearer for the legal/police systems to come into action and defend your polite and clear request.

Try not to let it get to you. You do have a choice over who is and is not in your life.

You're making the right decision. You know this, stay calm, get help and advice. Remember that there are new harrassment laws in place now, so you're much stronger than previously.

You have right and law on your side.

itscurtains Sun 02-Dec-12 21:53:20

Hiss you're absolutely right. I'll need to print your post off and put it on my fridge and try to ingrain it in my head, mantra like! I have just been feeling so guilty about causing hurt/ upset, and being afraid of what happens next.

Have been reading your posts and really wish you, and everyone else, lots of strength over the festive period x

Midwife99 Mon 03-Dec-12 07:48:52

Itscurtains I think you did the right thing to send one last clear letter insisting on no contact. Anything coming back will clearly now be harassment & you should make a complaint to the police.

Midwife99 Mon 03-Dec-12 07:58:09

Just thought of something's rather ironic which actually made me laugh a bit - re the neglect during a holiday when i was 12 - this year aged 44 I took my 2 young children (the other 2 are now adults) on a single parent family group holiday. We arrived back late one Saturday night. There were voicemails & texts waiting for me at home from my parents demanding I contact them "to let them know we got home safely". By Sunday afternoon my parents had reported us missing to the police & contacted my cousin & aunt (both opposite ends of the country) to tell them! I went to USA for a year as a student to work when I was 21 & they never contacted me while I was out there - replied to one letter in the whole time & when I arrived back at Heathrow I phoned & they didn't answer so I had to get a train all the way to Plymouth & then a taxi to their Dartmoor pub & after 2 nights of being ignored another train all the way back to Brighton to Uni even though I didn't have any accommodation sorted out so luckily a friend let me sleep on her sofa until I found some digs.
These memories help my resolve!

Midwife99 Mon 03-Dec-12 07:58:44

(iPhone adds inappropriate apostrophes!)

kiwigirl42 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:06:14

midwife99 sounds like you've had a awful time of it. Why the hell do some people bother having kids?

I've just rang my DM for the first time in 6 wks, after her complete lack of support over me needing a hysterectomy. She rang the other day and spoke to DH demanding to know why I hadn't been in touch despite her not ringing me for 5 wks!

So I've given in and rang and yet again she comes round to insinuating that the fact I've got chronic migraine still after 5 yrs is because I haven't tried hard enough to sort it out (believe me I've tried - hole in heart surgery, every preventative migraine drug going almost, diet, complementary therapies etc etc etc).

Just leaves me feeling angry and pissed off that I lucked out on the mother front. Its really just not bloody fair that we've been given parents who are inadequate, isn't it?

On the positive side, when I put DS 12 to bed last night he said 'I love you Mama you are the best Mama in the world' so at least I am doing something right with him despite DM. I'd never been told I was loved until I met first DH at 19! DS gets told every day, many times a day.

hope all of you are able to find some peace with your chosen families at this difficult time of year. I'm really looking forward to Xmas this year (DM invited herself over last yr). We are going to relax and have some fun without the black cloud hovering!

kiwigirl42 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:07:43

itscurtains stay strong and I hope things get easier

itscurtains Mon 03-Dec-12 11:36:13

midwife and kiwi thanks for your advice. Yes, hoping that this finally puts a line under things, though thought I'd done that already! Like you guys I wonder why they are generally abusive and ignoring then when we draw back they try to stamp all over us, when in reality they should be leaving us alone. Suppose its just control and we need to take it back!
A regular poster said on one of these previous threads that people who treat us with contempt and are abusive / neglectful therefore absolve us of any responsibility towards them, if that makes sense. We don't owe them anything. This is what helped me start the process of drawing back.

Wishing you an assertive and own little family oriented xmas this year! x

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 03-Dec-12 19:41:36

We fulfill a need, the need to feel higher up the chain than something.

We're naturally better than them, and they can't stand the competition, so they knock us down and down.

When they go too far, or we get wise and struggle free, their insecurity, which is what drives them, makes them panic at the thought of losing their emotional whipping boy/scapegoat.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 03-Dec-12 19:45:47

Someone once said on a SH thread that her mother had said to her that she saw that she (the DD/OP) had a spirit and vitality, but that she'd soon stamp it out of her. sad

That's the mentality you're dealing with, never forget this. They all disguise it, gaslight us, deny and deflect, and even blame, but that core of unadulterated jealousy and resentment is what lies at the centre of their being.

You can't fight that kind of crazy.

baytree Mon 03-Dec-12 19:56:30

You are all normal. We are damaged but it is not YOU with the problems. You have a lot more insight and self awareness because you can see and acknowledge the problems in your families' dynamics. And therin lies the problem. You are being true and independent, not playing the game.

I stopped playing the game 2 years ago. My two sisters have not spoken to me since then. But anything I do, I get the blame and I hear by email or via my dad. It gets twisted so I can be positioned to take the blame. And guess what I truly dont worry any more and have marked them as spam. I have finally moved on but need this forum to ground me so I know I am right and I work hard on my friendships instead, whereas before I tirelessly worked on bringing my family (sisters, parents) together. I've realised that my friends and own family are so much more important to me but my energy had previously gone into my birth family. On a practical and emotional level I have missed only one thing. One of my nephews who got a really hard time from my sister. I wish I was still there for him.

A regular poster said on one of these previous threads that people who treat us with contempt and are abusive / neglectful therefore absolve us of any responsibility towards them, if that makes sense. We don't owe them anything. This is what helped me start the process of drawing back. So true!

baytree Mon 03-Dec-12 19:57:56

HisstletoeAndWhine, I have copied your message. it means a lot to me.

HisstletoeAndWhine Mon 03-Dec-12 22:08:10

I stopped playing the game 2 years ago. But anything I do, I get the blame and I hear by email or via my dad. It gets twisted so I can be positioned to take the blame. And guess what I truly dont worry any more and have marked them as spam.

Now I know who I wann be when I grow up... ;-)

Oh Baytree, thank you so much for that snapshot of the future.

It's something I try to do on the DV support threads. You giving us that window is all I need to cling onto, no matter how tempestuous the waters become.

We need to be resolute, brave, cool and place ourselves at the utter centre of OUR world. As I said before, the abusive ex was the appetiser, this is the main course. This is harder, but all the more important.

It's the reason for pretty much all wrong in our lives. We owe them nothing at all, they owe US a childhood, a mother, father, family. All things they are incapable of every providing.

They don't even want to.

hopkinette Mon 03-Dec-12 23:55:19

Hi all.

I posted once on one of the past threads and then drifted away.

I just spent the weekend with my mother and we had a terrible fight last night - she came out with all the usual stuff she says when I disagree with her (and as far as I know, these particular lines are specially for me, and not ever directed at any of my siblings : I think they're quite tightly tied to the role that she cast me in when I was really very young - namely, irrationally angry daughter), so instead of engaging with the issue I was trying to talk to her about she just said "Why are you always like this, why are you so angry?" and "No one can say anything to you! No one can speak to you!" and "You're so judgmental!" Then she started crying and went off to bed.
A few minutes later I heard her get up and tried to go and make peace by apologising. And she said "Have you stopped taking your medication?" I have bipolar disorder. It's completely controlled, I only have bipolar II (the milder version) and I have not had an episode for well over 4 years. She knows nothing about my condition, she's never made any effort to learn about it, we never speak about it. And now I wish I'd never told her about my diagnosis in the first place because to her, it's just a fantastic weapon. It means that any time I do ANYTHING that she dislikes, she can simply imply that I am crazy.

I have no voice. Nothing I feel or believe is valid: it's all just the product of an unbalanced mind. So she has no need to listen to anything I have to say - none of it has any basis in reality.

I really, really do hate her.

kiwigirl42 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:56:27

I think there is a lot of jealousy involved. I've had statements like "I don't know why they like you" and similar said to me about a lot of my friendships since I was a kid.

HisstletoeAndWhine Tue 04-Dec-12 07:23:28

Hopkinette that's so sad! You know where you stand now though, be brave and make some decisions.

There's nothing wrong with you chick, nothing living in peace, among friends and good people won't fix anyway.

You ARE strong, you ARE stable, you ARE in control of your life.

Keep telling yourself that. I'm guessing that she's sensing it, so that's why she's trying to crush you.

Her treatment of you is inversely proportionate to how you're doing. The better you are, the more likely an attack.

That said, these people love to kick puppies when they're down too.

So best to only give bland, general, all tickety-boo comments. Keep your private life private.

ScarletWomanoftheVillage Tue 04-Dec-12 08:59:24

Kiwigirl - on the subject of migraines - I used to have horrible ones. I just don't get them at all now - have been very minimal contact with narc mother for about 12 years - Wonder if there is a connection?

Zazzles007 Wed 05-Dec-12 04:34:16

Scarlet, I would have no doubt that your migraines could be attributed to your narc mother. My narc mother has always made me feel tense, and guess what, since I haven't seen her all year, I'm so much calmer!

On another note, the narc mother has been leaving guilt-tripping messages on my mobile phone, as she has no other way of contacting me. I've been consistently reschooling myself to not feel the guilt when those messages come through - its working! Allowing myself to feel a little of the guilt, but with the constant thought "You don't need to feel this guilt, its them using emotional blackmail", has gradually made the guilty feelings reduce and reduce. Yay, a win!

CreepyLittleBat Thu 06-Dec-12 20:00:12

Just dumping this here because I'm getting stressed again and the triggers seem so small. In my mind I'd gone no contact, after a vitriolic phone call from mother, denying they'd ever said or done anything to hurt me, and turning it all back on my lovely dh, calling him everything under the sun. I felt so liberated then, as it was so off the wall, there could be no doubt she was the 'mad' one, not me. Since then, there have been advent calendars in the post (I freecycled them) a £20 note (!! - I returned it with no words) a text asking if I wanted to talk (er, no - didn't reply) and tonight a phone call which I didn't answer. When will they get the message? Ever? Now I'm terrified they're going to turn up on one of two significant events coming up (one work related) and getting myself into a right state. Don't suppose anyone can help, but I just needed to 'tell' someone!

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Thu 06-Dec-12 20:29:34

Hey Creepy, this has struck some familiar chords with me.

A few weeks after my mother and I had our last hideous,hideous row real conversation, and I'm talking 12 or so years ago now, she sent me a cheque for £25 for my birthday. This was after being beyond hideous on the phone, telling me I wasn't the daughter she wanted etc, REALLY vile. I told her a few things too, and the whole thing blew up and was extremely upsetting, but ultimately a relief because it justified my not talking to her again. And then this card and cheque, like nothing had happened. I threw it in the bin.

Predictably, she rang a few days later, saying aggressively "Did you get that cheque I sent you?

Me: Yes

Her: Well, you haven't cashed it. (also adding some nonsense I've almost forgotten, about not getting a thank you letter, and a little politeness oiling the wheels etc.)

Me: No. I put it in the bin. <ducks>

Her: Pause.... (nastily) Well, I expect it wasn't big enough.

There then followed an explanation from me that the size of the cheque was irrelevant, but I didn't want anything from someone who had said the things she'd said to me, and listed some of the things she'd called me...

Her: well, you are!

END OF RELATIONSHIP.

Liberation for me.

Hold on to that feeling of liberation you had, creepy. It's a long haul, and not easy, but it's worth it, even if you have to endure the odd bit of terror when you think they are going to turn up at something. One thing I learned it that there is absolutely no point in trying to explain it to them, they will never see it from your viewpoint. They don't want to understand because then they'd have to admit they had done something wrong.

They probably won't turn up at these events, but perhaps you just need to have a small plan up your sleeve of how you would deal with it if they did.

It has taken me so long to type this, you've probably had far better help from others by now. It's just that it's so complicated to write about, it's hard to get it into anything concise.

CreepyLittleBat Thu 06-Dec-12 20:53:00

Thank you Scarlet, are you my long lost sister? wink

It sounds so like the sort of thing my parents would say, right down to the petty 'lack of thanks' thing. Apparently one year my dh didn't ring them to say thanks for a shirt they sent (which was too small, so I returned it for vouchers) and that was brought up too!

You're right, they probably won't turn up. But I know the worry will still spoil the days somewhat. It's too late to get a restraining order for Saturday, isn't it? (only half joking)

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 07:46:22

Creepy, stop telling them about your movements, and if they do turn up, tell someone else to tell them to go, or call the police.

Refuse to engage. Yes it'll be hared, and scary, but you'd do it in a heartbeat if it were anyone else. You don't know anyone else who's been meaner to you than these abysmal people.

This has been a long time coming. You have back up, support and right on your side.

Midwife99 Fri 07-Dec-12 13:27:10

It is hard to ignore. I feel petty sometimes. "They weren't that bad were they?!" Other times I feel guilty - guilt trip voicemails "We miss OUR grandchildren terribly!" That's funny - you didn't see the older ones from one year to the next when they were little & you were still publicans! Last night my DD cried about missing her older brothers who are both away at Uni & started including her grandparents in the list of people she misses. Do I grit my teeth & arrange a short Xmas meeting for the kids' sake?

ScarletWomanoftheChristmasTree Fri 07-Dec-12 13:35:11

No midwife, it's not worth it.

Your DD will cheer up when her big brothers come home for Christmas.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Dec-12 13:47:45

One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;

'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/angry/hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/lifetime experiences of being hurt/angry etc by our parents? behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 07-Dec-12 13:50:05

That was to Midwife.

Your experience was that bad, your parents utterly failed you.

Do not arrange any such short Christmas meeting with them, they are not worth it. Your parents do not feel an ounce of guilt over how they mistreated you.

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