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

(1000 Posts)
DontstepontheMomeRaths Fri 04-Jan-13 14:12:43

Thread opener here: smile
You may need to right-click and 'unblock' it after downloading it.

It's January 2013, 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
November 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:

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

FairyFi Sun 03-Mar-13 19:18:24

thanks Badvoc strength and self-faith to all xx

DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 03-Mar-13 18:27:56

Almost full. New thread here for when this is too full to post:

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 18:26:39

....and get well soon fi x

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 18:26:27

I wish you all strength and love.
You deserve it x

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 18:25:30

Well done Badvoc! You are rising love! We are all that person, the one that is so desperate for approval.

OUR approval is all that matters. That and our DC.

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 18:12:12

I am making strides hissy smile
I am quitting as PCC secretary next month. The vicar has been really pushing his luck!
I know that a lot of my problems stem from my own actions...I.e never saying no to people, always trying to please everyone.
Sound familiar? smile
I am determined this year to do things for ME. Went to London to see a friend on was lovely. Doing what I wanted to do. All day!
I am also involved in helping set up a pre school with a friend - something that may lead to other things...who knows?
I am not being the family scapegoat anymore.
I am not the scared, tired 15 year old I once was.

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 18:06:25

Yes it is.
She infuriates me!
In the final analysis I cannot help her.
I can't make her life better.
And god knows I tried sad

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 18:04:36

Badvoc, YOU are the one that needs support in this, you are the one that is worth the time it takes to ask you how you are. Please be kind to yourself and make your decisions based on what you know, not what you are being obligated to feel.

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 18:03:40

Badvoc, it's HER choice to do what she does. Only an IDIOT smokes in the first place (ExSmoker here, and yes I was an idiot, for FAR too long!)

Nowadays it's HARD to be a smoker, they are ostracised and derided generally, to keep doing it over and over while risking limbs being lost is beyond ridiculous.

You need to detach. No good will come from being sympathetic. She could stop this anytime she likes. She won't cos it means she gets attention.

all this does is weigh more heavily on you, and guilt trip you.

If you don't want to be there for them, and if you think they weren't there for you, then they will have to sort their own care out, their own support. As you had to do.

unschoolmum Sun 03-Mar-13 17:59:03

Have you read what Susan Forward and Alice Miller say about forgiveness? She says that forgiveness is a trap which undercuts one's ability to let go of one's repressed feelings. Forward dedicates a whole section of her book to covering this issue and focuses on one client who was religious and particularly struggled with forgiveness. Alice Miller dedicates whole books to the same concept and focus on whether we should love and honour thy parents. There are alternatives to forgiveness which allow you to give up the desire for retribution but not forget what happened to you. Both women warn their readers that the vast majority of councillors and therapists expect their patients to forgive. I think the 12 step program may also expect forgiveness.

FairyFi Sun 03-Mar-13 17:50:01

always missing the support that extended family offer or never did, actually pah! laid up with horrible bug at the mo, but won't complain on the NC front badvoc .... I'm very sorry all that is going on your end, hmm to the suspected continued smoking... yy never seen any of that repentence! wink xx

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 17:35:41

Btw isn't the first commandment to love one another as ourselves?
I detest people who use quasi religious philosophy to justify their own inadequacies.
One has to repent to be forgiven.
Not much repentance from any of our parents as far as I can see!

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 17:33:02

Fairyfi <weak smile>
I am ok.
Things are a bit complicated (like you have never heard that before!? smile) but mum has finally had her op and is recovering. She is still smoking however, so the chaces are she may lose the leg at some point. Oh, and she has a clot in the other leg too.
But now dad is ill.
And my dsis is talking about moving abroad.
Am keeping myself to myself still. Don't really see my siblings unless they are at my mums house when I am there.
And that's just fine by me.
Mum and dad come up to see the dc once a week which is also ok.
m going out or a meal for Mother's Day with pils. Last year I would have invited her too.
Not this year.
I am learning.
But I am learning smile
Hope you are ok? X

FairyFi Sun 03-Mar-13 17:13:24

Hope you doing ok Badvoc?

Midwife99 Sun 03-Mar-13 16:37:58

Old toys I'm so sorry for what happened to your sister. Please tell her we all think you & she are doing the right thing and may your mother rot in hell angry

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 16:23:36


If I were you I'd get your Sister to forward hers to you, and you forward yours to her and then on to your mother with an identical reply, so she can see she has been rumbled.

Something along the lines of, nice to see you actually put some thought into our individual issues with you. Have a nice life.

I love Momerath's comment though, and would use it on a frigging loop whenever she spouted forth her entitlement to abuse and neglect her own children in the name of the Lord.

I do find it disturbing when people twist their faith to justify abuse or to excuse it all years on.

But I LURVE passive aggression, me. grin

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 16:15:37

On the subject of MY mother....

I got an email, basically apportioning blame for her H's outburst equally. So I basically was NOT having that...

I consider that at this very moment, there is nothing to lose. I am in a position of strength in that I know I didn't do this and that great wrong has been done to me and it's undeniable.

It's the end of a long wedge, which has been 2 years in the making. I have not taken her to task about the situation with my sister, nor my dad or her H. So basically I told her that I know she will back just about anyone over me if push comes to shove, how she is JUST as guilty of emotional cruelty as my sister, and that I know that she doesn't 'do' emotional support, hence the fact that I don't have the relationship I used to have with her anymore.

I told her that her H is no different to my Ex, insecure, controlling and manipulative, and that given the start my DS and I have had, we will not tolerate ranting and raving, we need and deserve to be treated with respect. or else

I told her that she needs to support me on this, that it's a dealbreaker.

I told her that my door is always open, should she want to talk to me, but that her H will have to work hard to regain my trust.

I feel better, I feel l have drawn a line in the sand and made a boundary. i will defend that boundary. I am right to.

She's coming round on Thursday. To see me <wibble>

I WILL hold firm. I will, I will, I will.

oldtoys Sun 03-Mar-13 16:14:20

thanks dontstep, yes, identical, as sister had also emailed earlier to tell her in no uncertain terms that her time was up with the game playing etc, So both daughters have been giving her lots of reading material this weekend wink
but she could only duplicate a reply - ie - neither of you matter, I am above any recrimination or punishment as I am your mother and I was entitled to run my home in the way I chose. Blahdefuckingblah.

I think I will go very very low contact now and focus on my own little family. Distance is a great benefit to me, she is a few hundred miles from me thankfully. No Easter visits thats for sure as we are planning a short break away somewhere not too far away just for a change of scene. I dont want any more playing happy families in her house, so it looks like she has the perfect family. It's all a lie. I cant be part of it anymore. hmm I may eat 2 eclairs brewbrew

Badvoc Sun 03-Mar-13 16:13:59

To be forgiven one has to ask forgiveness of the victim.
Not make excuses.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 03-Mar-13 16:09:53

An identical reply to your sister? Good grief her self entitlement beggars belief.

She didn't take on board what you said at all. All poor me.

oldtoys Sun 03-Mar-13 16:07:33

thanks hissy you are so right. It's all scewed religiosity, to justify herself. Bonkers.

Oh just found out she has emailed a word for word IDENTICAL reply to my sister who is a million miles away.

M arrogance is beyond belief. Such patronising empty words. angry

Feel no further forward with any of it now. So frustrated.

But I believe in Karma, so that is a comfort to me at least. Only a matter of time. i dont think people who commit such violent acts get away with it for long. Somewhere down the line, well, sometimes things seem to happen.

I am resigned to the fact that I can do no more. She wont listen. By duplicating the exact word for word religious pompous reply to both of us, I feel more UNHEARD than ever - i think thats what hurts the most, that I am back to the position of being that child whose voice doenst ever matter. Off for a brew and chocolate eclair (sod the bikini diet) FFS

DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 03-Mar-13 16:02:56

Urgh if she wants to talk about spiritual attack then I'd say the enemy made HER behave like that back then. Truly awful.

But let's not split hairs here. Her behaviour was awful and I'm so so sorry she did that.

I do find it disturbing when people twist their faith to justify abuse or to excuse it all years on.

Keep talking if it helps x

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 15:50:17

... well maybe just think all that... and not actually say it... seeing as it won't make any difference anyway... blush

Hissy Sun 03-Mar-13 15:49:32

"God has forgiven her for her actions back then" angry

Oh yes "god" may have forgiven her in her own warped little mind but no-one ELSE would forgive those that hurt and harm children.

Oldtoys, I'd be tempted to remind her that to believe in God, you need to have a faith in something you can't prove, see, hear, or understand, so basically to believe in something to the contrary of ALL scientific evidence.

Tell her that you HAVE proof that she has treated you unacceptably, and where as her madeup friend God may have forgiven her, YOU don't have to.

I'd also tell her that no amount of born again nonsense will change YOUR memories of how she really WAS.... suggest too that as she may have now re-written history, if it might be a good idea to ask OTHERS outside the family, what they would think of someone like the mother you grew up with.

I HATE people who cause damage and then play the God card. If there WERE a God, people like them would have been struck down at birth.

oldtoys Sun 03-Mar-13 13:07:13

i know, yes she is using it as justification, she said she thought she had sorted this all out with us already, 'and that forgivenesss had been granted'

she is deluded

dontstep: yes, it is helping to email her. I never thought I would be able to approach her about all this before, due to fear of her reaction, the 'consequences' as she is feral when she is angry. But I am emailing her as though I were a barrister in a court, asking direct logical questions, to which unfortunately for me, she has no logical answer

she only has this 'poor me' tone, that she did all she could, that God is her witness and lives in her, and is greater than Satan who is trying to rip apart her family FFS FFS it is very frustrating, as yes, she is minimising what happened

the facts are that every evening, after an argument at dinner, where a sloppy dinner was given (usually the dreaded MINCE) cos she couldnt be arsed, (we all have gastro problems as adults too) then when watching tv in the room where she chose to keep that stick, she would bring up another argument, directed at my sister, the way she was sitting, her choice of programme, how she spoke to someone that day that was displeasing to mother...any number of things. Mother could never just leave us in peace, to relax after a long school day. Then inevitably she would goad and goad my sister with words, until yes finally my sister spoke back. Then my sister was dragged off the sofa and beaten with the stick. While I was there. It was awful. The screams and her pain haunt me now.

But I am fighting back for once, and it has all happened this weekend. My landline is still switched off, I am not returning her calls to my mobile or listening to any voicemails she has left.

I am calling her into question, and tackling this painful past directly. So I can heal. Properly. Thank you all so much for listening to me here.

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