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Big row, not sure I can forgive what was said.

(23 Posts)
AbbyLockhart Sun 30-Dec-12 11:45:32

Will try to keep brief. Spent a few days over Christmas with my parents. I was in an abusive relationship with an ex H for ten years and although we are separated there have been difficulties still.

My Mum has very strange ideas about abused women, when I was with him she would call me "weak" for not leaving and believes there are certain types of women who will be abused or not. Eg her friend is too strong to be abused so she is surprised that she let this happen to her. On the other hand another friend is so stupid and weak that she is not surprised that it happened to her. She said this to me over the break and it really bothered me so I confronted her and basically said she didn't know what she was talking about and she is buying into the myth of domestic abuse. My Mother does not like to be confronted, so I got the silent treatment for while. Went to pack and when I came downstairs my parents started to talk to me about how my ex H treats me, I refuted some of the things they were saying and my Mum said to my Dad "see DH if she doesn't like something she says she becomes argumentative!" I was NOT being argumentative, I was just disagreeing. It has always been like this with my parents though if you disagree you get "why are you doing this?" "Why are you on the attack?" etc.

In the end I went upstairs and said lets leave it there I am going home now, she followed me up and said "thats right run away!" I replied "I am not running away, I am just not going to let you rant on at me about things you have no clue about". Admittedly things were heated at this point. She then said to me "when you are like this, I can see why your ex treated you the way he did". My ex hit me, he was repeatedly unfaithful with prositutes and had numerous affairs, he was verbally and emotionally abusive, pretty much any story told on here I could match. I was absolutely devasted that she said this, I have confided so much to her, probably a mistake as time has proven over and over again that in the end there will be a big falling out and your weaknesses used against you. My sibling refuses to ever spend a night in their house because of such incidents. But we had been getting on well for a few years. I should add here that she was very physically and verbally abusive towards us growing up but I have never blamed her for this, have still had a relationship with her and told her I understood her issues as she had a terrible childhood herself.

So anyway, just wanted to get it out really. I called to say that we were home safe and she told me she had only said it out of "tough love" so I could sort things out for myself. I don't think that can be classed as tough love. I know my Mum and she looked at me as she said it with a look on her face that I can only describe as pleasure.

Not sure where to go from here. Any thoughts welcome.

messybedhead Sun 30-Dec-12 12:05:42

Some people are stupid.

Some stupid people have children.

Yes she is your mother and mothers are supposed to be all-knowing and wonderful, loving and caring. It is very hard not to feel like a 'bad' daughter when faced with a mother like this.

However, your mother's views about weak women and domestic abuse are wrong.

She will not change her mind and so it is best to not look for support from her for these issues.

My mum is very similar and there are certain topics I just don't discuss. Yes, I love her but if I were in a similar situation to yours then I know she would behave just as badly as your mother.

You are not at fault. Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by people with different opinions to our own. Obviously, we know we are right. grin

I think it's best you move somewhere else because you don't want her views infiltrating your own thinking.

Sorry I don't have more practical advice.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 30-Dec-12 12:13:41

Sorry you've had such a rough time. What you have to take away are a few lessons First is not to confide in your DM about your personal life. Second is that your DM is the world's worst marital guidance counsellor..!! Some people, and it's sad when it includes parents, cannot be trusted with personal information if they turn it back against you and get aggressive when you fail to do their bidding. It's not 'tough love' at all... it's bullying pure and simple. In that regard she has more than a little in common with the abusive man you just escaped.

Where to go, therefore, is wherever you wish to go. Choose carefully the people to help you along the way and test every decision against the benchmark of 'is this what I want?' rather than it being what anyone else wants. Never be afraid to upset others in your pursuit of what you want - and that includes parents. This is the time to be supremely self-centred for probably the first time in your life.

AbbyLockhart Sun 30-Dec-12 14:34:22

Thanks for replying. Cogito I think you are right. Obviously my mother came first but I have quite often listening to ex's rants while we were married and thought to myself "you really do remind me of my Mum". I think they have a lot in common actually. The very first time I took him home she told him that he had "picked a difficult one" with me. He treated me like crap on the back of it for years as is "even your own Mum warned me about you".

grin at worlds worst marriage guidance councillor.

messy I think you are right about her views infiltrating mine. I don't myself believe that women are to blame but it makes me despair and feel hopeless that others think that I am, which in turn makes me super defensive.

I can't ever speak to her about this again. I had a chat with my sister about it all and she was very kind and basically said "and this is why I won't stay there, it could be 7 days, 7 months or 7 years but at some point there will be a massive hurtful row and awful things will be said and I am not putting myself through it anymore.

I have never, ever blamed my Mum for the things she did to us as children, in fact I have defended her to others as I believed she meant well now but I think that desire to cause chaos and bring things back to what she enjoys ie a big massive, spiteful barney is too strong. That saying where you are speechless when someone says something so hurtful to you. I honestly couldnt speak for a second when she said about not blaming ex for hurting me. And do you know what I remember my ex saying something very similar to me ie "I am not surprised your Mum hit you when you were a kid". Says it all really.

dequoisagitil Sun 30-Dec-12 14:42:09

Sounds a bit likeyour upbringing set you up for an abusive relationship. I think some distance between you and your mum would be a good step. What she said was truly awful.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 30-Dec-12 14:46:02

We learn how to relate to people from the examples around us and parents are obviously the most powerful example we get. Grow up thinking that it's normal and it's unsurprising if you don't see the danger signals in others behaving the same way. If you can take what you've experienced from both your DM and your ex and decide that you won't be treated like that any more, won't be making excuses or defending anyone's bad behaviour and so on, then that's a positive outcome. Your sister sounds like she has her head screwed on smile I'd be spending a lot more time with her.

JustFabulous Sun 30-Dec-12 14:53:45

Not running away.

Not tough love.

Not fair.

Not love.

I would be giving her a very wide berth from now on.

ledkr Sun 30-Dec-12 14:55:57

Goodness me op poor you.
May I suggest the stately homes thread for some support with this?
My mum is the same. She saw my abusive ex a few years ago and announced it to me as if he were an old friend.
I shrugged my shoulders.
She said that he had offered ds a kidney when the time comes. He has never seen ds.
I said that maybe if he hadn't beaten me when pg causing me to go into prem labour that ds wouldn't be ill and need a kidney.
Oh I think you exaggerate says my mother.
I was relocated twice by the police btw shock
I think they are from a generation of man pleasers so think we deserved abuse for not being the same.

tawse57 Sun 30-Dec-12 15:08:56

Sorry to hear about the rows and the pain.

Just to give a different theory - is it possible that your Mum and Dad don't want you to repeat the hurt and pain of your previous marriage?

Are they merely trying to help you see some of the mistakes that you made in choosing him as a husband? Perhaps they see you still making those same mistakes and fear for your future? Perhaps they have been trying to tell you this for some time and you have not heard them or have heard them and then shut your ears to what they have been saying - so now they try the tough love as a last resort?

Only you will the know the answer to the above - only you can answer it truthfully.

You don't say how old your parents are but perhaps they are getting to the point in their lives now where they realise they will not be around much longer for you - or will not be able to help you so much. So perhaps it was indeed tough love designed to help you see some of the mistakes you make, or have made, in relationships?

Perhaps the idea of you making the same mistakes and choosing another partner who is abusive scares the daylights out of them. Perhaps they are just worrying, like good parents, about who will be there to help you when they are no longer around?

On the other hand you mother may be a complete narcissist NPD and the reason why you chose an abusive husband is because you were conditioned throughout your formative years to seek love through abuse? That's a PRETTY HUGE thing though - to have a parent who is an NPD - and, again, only you can know in your heart whether such a thing has a glimmer of truth in it or is a load of complete rubbish.

At the end of the day most parents love their children and carry on loving them to their dying day. They do the best they can in the circumstances they are in and often, most of all, they say and do things trying to protect their children from hurt.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sun 30-Dec-12 15:18:04

" is it possible that your Mum and Dad don't want you to repeat the hurt and pain of your previous marriage?"

'No wonder he hit you' doesn't support that possibility. That's a straightforward blame statement.

badinage Sun 30-Dec-12 15:22:28

Unfortunately there are people in this world who store information to gain power over others and use it against them. Your mother is one of them.

There are also women in the world who really don't like other women and will blame them for every bad thing that's happened to them, especially if the real blame lies with a man.....

Manage the relationship with some distance from now on. It will kill your mother not to be 'in the know' any longer and chances are, she will start to invent things to fill in the gaps. Pre-warn your sister of that likelihood and both of you need to be especially on guard as she will try to drive a wedge between you both from now on.

What's your father's role in all this? Don't let him get off scot free here will you? Be wary of adopting your mother's usual tactic of having lower standards for men.

Corygal Sun 30-Dec-12 15:29:45

Do you really need someone to tell you that your DM's behaviour was bloody nasty?

It must hurt like hell. I'm sorry for you - the last thing you need is that sort of performance from the one person who is supposed to look after you.

Never confide in her again - it's not safe. Keep things civil if that's what you want, but that's as far as she makes it possible to go.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Sun 30-Dec-12 15:33:01

"is it possible that your Mum and Dad don't want you to repeat the hurt and pain of your previous marriage?"

By saying the OP's ex-husband was justified in hitting her? That's not helpful, it's nasty victim blaming.

AbbyLockhart Sun 30-Dec-12 15:45:19

Well I do think I am a bit screwed up as to what should and shouldn't be said between people who supposedly "love" each other in the name of "truth" or telling it how it is. It's all been going on for so long that maybe I have no boundaries.

I will never tell her anything again. Even deciding that feels better.

Mu1berryBush Sun 30-Dec-12 15:50:05

Look, one of the toughest things is processsing the effect your relationship with your parents has on your relationships and the relationships you choose later, for whatever reason, because they feel familiar, or because you feel that's what you're worth.

I say this as somebody who was in an abusive relationship herself for 7 years. I'm glad I'm out of it and my parents are too, but I realise that my mother was a stronger character than I was and I never stood up to her. I had a low level default setting of seeking her approval, kind of hopelessly. So when I met somebody who disapproved of me before I'd put a foot wrong,,, it felt familiar. and I 'chose' to accept that for 7 years.

It must really hurt though to hear your mother say words that sound like they mean she is blaming you. You can weigh it all up and realise what circumstances lead you where without blaming yourself.

I know I feel that's where I'm at. I hope that helps a bit.

HecatePropolos Sun 30-Dec-12 16:30:25

What would you do if anyone else said that you deserved to be abused?

do that.

for me, it would be the last time they ever heard from me.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 30-Dec-12 18:28:35

OP, Sounds to me like your mother is abusive and doesn't like it when something makes her realise this and goes on the offensive.

Letsmakecookies Sun 30-Dec-12 19:14:24

I think that when it comes to parents, they can be very defensive when it comes to emotionally abuse marriages involving their children. That leads to a big difficulty empathising and even can make them go the other way and make them angry and lash out.

Then when their adult child goes through therapy, that is geared towards not blaming but understanding how your relationship with your parents and upbringing affects your adult relationships with partners etc. Again it makes the parents defensive. Parents don't like to be reminded that they may have made mistakes.

And I think I can understand that, if I imagine my child as an adult and their lives aren't perfect, it would be really painful to think it might have been partly my fault.

My parents do this. But I know they love me. I know they are always there for me. I trust them 100%. And I cannot rely on them for emotional support, there are other people out there far better at that. If I confront their thinking, it always ends up in a fight, and I never 'win'. It is not possible to win. They put me into silly child mode and have their blinkers on. But it is their weakness, their flaws. Not mine. They get angry at me, I think, because they are angry at themselves deep inside.

I think you need to remove this argument from your mind and if this behaviour is not consistent throughout all parts of your relationship, then just don't communicate with them about your ex or any relationships. Build a support network you can do this with, and do the things with your mum that she is able to do.

I hope that makes sense. I find it so hard to realise that my parents are fallible, in some ways hugely so, but it is my responsibility to accept them for the way they are and build my relationship with them around that. If I dwell on what they sometimes say, my mind frazzles because I have a compulsion to correct them, but a 10% bad and 90% loving and caring relationship is worth me learning tolerance for some of the crap they come out with. They don't mean it, it is their own flaws, and I am learning to laugh at it as they are people who make mistakes too.

AbbyLockhart Mon 31-Dec-12 00:33:36

letsmakecookies. Your post gave me a lot to think about as you are right in that there are aspects of my relationship with my Mum that are very good, I haven't posted because I have been thinking about if it's possible to move forward on limited terms but at the same time I also feel that they've only been that good because I policed them so strictly iyswim? Eg when I first had dc my parents were very negative about them and my parenting and I came down on it like a ton of bricks. Seems I was stronger for dc than I could be for myself. So from this my Mum knows my dc are off limits.

However I have confided in depth about my marriage to her and at the first sign of conflict that was the weapon she used, she immediately went to my most vulnerable place and attacked it and she knew what she was doing. I could never say this to anyone that had been through what I have yet she said it with no qualms to a supposedly loved child. That's what I can't get over, it feels like pure spite, especially as I had told her how awful it made me feel to be called weak during the relationship. I feel that she WANTED to hurt me as badly as possible. She had this kind of smug look on her face after she said it.

I will never tell her anything personal again that's for sure but there are other stresses too eg my Dad gets very stressed and angry with my dc for just being dc, shouts at them etc for no good reason.

I feel almost as if I have shown weakness to her and she has jumped right in and used it to her advantage to go on the attack and get things back to how they used to be when I was younger with her being as abusive as she felt like being. I've held her off for years but this was her chance and she took it.

Don't know if I am being clear or just rambling now. It's certainly good to get it out.

chipmonkey Mon 31-Dec-12 01:21:32

You don't have to forgive her, Abby. I don't think I could if that was my mother. But my mother would never say things like that to me. I don't think most mothers would. Would you say it to yours?

Greensleeves Mon 31-Dec-12 01:31:01

Your mother is a cruel, abusive bitch who has programmed you to accept abuse and blame yourself for it.

Which makes you fantastic for having got yourself out of an abusive relationship, and for having the bollocks to set boundaries with your mother eve though you know she will hurt you for it.





I cannot stress this enough. Cut her out of your life. She will not get better. You will get hurt, at regular intervals, for the rest of her life, no matter what you do to try and prevent it.

Delayingtactic Mon 31-Dec-12 01:44:51

Gosh. I could never ever trust someone again if they said I deserved to be hit. It is just the most awful awful thing to say. Do you think that she partly wants to believe that so that it excuses her behaviour towards you as a child? In that, it wasn't her failings as a mother but that the problem was you? Please don't take that the wrong way, but I wonder if that's how she subconsciously easing her own guilt.

Letsmakecookies Mon 31-Dec-12 12:24:41

Definitely good to talk about it and get other people's opinions. Only you can know what you want, and you can take your time over deciding. But talking in a safe place is empowering.

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