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

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It's March 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
January 2013

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 up, 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 use 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

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

"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 sometimes give mine a boiled egg and soldiers. My DD loves that for tea. I tend to offer that if I know she's eaten plenty over the day. Does that make sense? Eggs are great for a quick meal and good for you.

jessjessjess Sat 11-May-13 08:20:40

Sorry I wasn't clear at all. I meant is that enough if you haven't had much over the rest of the day. Like if you haven't had breakfast. I don't remember it being enough.

I'm not making sense, sorry.

Meery Sat 11-May-13 09:56:54

Jess I do get where you're coming from. I think that it is ok to offer my DC something light eg beans on toast or sandwiches for a meal providing that they have had or are going to have a more substantial and nutritious meal as well that day. It sounds like this wasn't the case for you?

I'm no expert but I do believe that children learn food habits from their families and if you were taught from an early age that a good diet was not important it comes as no surprise that you have an unsatisfactory relationship with food.

pumpkinsweetie Sat 11-May-13 12:45:58

Marking my place back here, after having a positively silent 10 m, im now starting up contact again with mil. Wish me luck, because i need it!
Sorry to see some familiar names here, still struggling with the Toxic Ones. Wondering whether i have made a complete boob by starting up contact today, have a thread on this and will be updating it later with how the reunion went!

Why cant life be simple, and people be nice, instead of narcissicistic? sad
Mil has already committed one faux paux by deciding to bring my niece, so again the other granchildren come before my dc even after zero contact for 10m, lovely ay? I won't hold out any hope she has changed and i am only having one last ditch attempt for dhs sake. Dreading the dull tones of "poor me....." Zzzz. What have i let myself in for, especially now being 7wks pregnant aswell.
Fil isn't allowed contact, but will be dropping off mil and niece, if he starts at my door, the whole lot of them can forget it, as i don't want to know!

Meery Sat 11-May-13 14:25:32

ps congrats on your pg :-). Hope today goes ok for you. Keep strong.

worried90 Sat 11-May-13 21:33:43

Is anybody experienced with narcissistic mothers that I could pm a text message I received? If I post it I will out myself but I'm not sure whether to reply or not

forgetmenots Sat 11-May-13 22:42:22

Pumpkin I replied on your other thread but just wanted to say congratulations on your pregnancy flowers

pumpkinsweetie Sun 12-May-13 09:31:36

Thankyou meery and forgetmenotssmile

Salbertina Sun 12-May-13 09:52:47

Congratulations, pumpkin, thats wonderful.

Anyone else on mothers day today? Posted a thread so wont bore you with it all but toxic ma has hit hard (how little does she realise !) trying to disempower her and focus on my little family. A few hugs from dc have helped smile

Salbertina Sun 12-May-13 09:55:00

And worried, if in doubt, DONT send- do a draft- let it all out, will make you feel better. A silent letter. But read, keep for another day, you could always send in future.

FairyFi Sun 12-May-13 10:01:29

JessI have only ever done something like beans on toast (which is a healthy meal, as beans are so good for you, on wholewheat bread), as a fallback, or quick top up when lunch was full 'dinner'.

Other than that its only ever a lunch snack. Scrambled eggs probably more like breakfast than lunch or dinner, as nothing other than protein.

MrsKenyon I'm very sad at your grieving, that feeling like they are dead, is what happened to me. Its not that they're dead of course, its the huge releasing of the emotions and connections with them, the things that keept you tied to them, despite their abuses. Often it can be very hard to release yourself from such a relationship, esp the Narc one, where you either have to remain childlike, or become motherlike so the bond is huge, and you are not 'allowed' to separate and become an adult. The grieving is the disconnecting, the letting go of it all, and you will recover, aand it will not be the end, but you will see without the FOG once you have grieved.

happy for you to PM me worried

congratulations Pumpkin! what lovely news smile Don't let HER know! Keep away from HER during pregnancy. Good luck with your endeavours. xx

FairyFi Sun 12-May-13 10:26:03

Jess I use to have a terrible relationship with food, my attitude to it was all about negative emo, so my eating habits were terrible. I couldn't seem to come to a place of a steady relationship with it.

My childhood meals were things to be endured, I developed only hatred for food, no love. The only good experiences I picked up were at others houses, where [massive] efforts were put into food selection and preparation (or so it seemed to me). Children were involved in choices! All very strange. I just hated everything that food represented to me at home.

I now have a reallly good relationship with food. Eating mostly very healthily, sometimes a bit lazy (bowl of cereal, if alone!), but don't consider beans on toast or scrambled eggs bad meals, in the right place they are part of a healthy diet, and try to avoid processed stuff. But get DC involved often in cooking and 'what s for dinner'? the whole process. Surviving on breakfast or lunch type food for dinner too tho is very unbalanced meal provision.

jessjessjess Sun 12-May-13 12:16:06

Pumpkin - congrats on your pg.

Fairy - thanks, really the issue was that my mum left stuff for dinner and my dad didn't bother making it but did easy quick stuff which wasn't enough given I didn't really eat breakfast. And I wanted the stuff my mum left but complain about not being given it. Or about what I was given.

Salbertina - Mother's Day is difficult. Are you in the USA then?

jessjessjess Sun 12-May-13 12:16:52

^couldn't complain

FairyFi Sun 12-May-13 12:58:28

your father was being neglectful in putting himself above your nutritional needs, and then being denied the voice to have your feelings heard.

pumpkinsweetie Sun 12-May-13 13:19:21

Oh i shant be letting her know Fairy. Not told a soul except for sis and dh so far. Very difficult as i have midwife coming to my home tuesday!
I'm not planning on telling the ils until i'm the size of Narnia, and even then i will conceal it for as long as poss. I definetly won't be going back to the days of them taking over my life, like they did with my previous babies. Oh i remember how awful it was, they were all over us towards the end of my pregnancies and when babies were first born until the novelty wore off a few weeks later when the other grandkids were more important once again.

I'm not silly, if dh thinks yesterday will be a green light to weekly interogation by them, it won't be happening. So far no further meetings have been made, and when a meeting is arranged i will not be tripping into weekly visits. Im thinking monthly at the most-dh will not like this but that is the best i can stomach as i know rationally their behaviour isn't going to change realistically.

Sorry to hear you are having trouble on mothers day in your area S, it's one of the most frought days here in my family, except ours is in March.

FairyFi Sun 12-May-13 13:42:04

ha ha! very funny, also very good! wink you know the ways of the wise to these narcs...

kiwigirl42 Sun 12-May-13 13:46:04

millymollymandy I hope you find some peace in going no contact. sometimes its the only thing left to save your sanity.

My DM is a very selfish, negative, jealous woman. I think I am going to go NC despite it making me feel incredibly guilty.
I had a hysterectomy in March and had no contact from her at all until weeks after the operation. My aunty had one last week and Mum was all over her like a rash.
Its incredibly hurtful to be unwanted and I feel guilty but just can't take the emotional hurt each time I speak to her. enough is enough. finally!

deliakate Sun 12-May-13 13:48:28

I'm new to this thread, but have had ongoing probs with over intrusive, strange behaviour from my mother for years. I'm managing the relationship ok at the moment, but they are coming to visit me this month (about a 5 hour journey). Typically, she won't discuss actual dates and plans until the last second, but from speaking to my dad I think she is planning to spend some time here alone without him. I rally don't want this as she can sometimes 'crash' out and spend the entire time in bed, not communicating until its time to go home. I hate it as it reminds me a lot of the unpredictability of her behaviour in my childhood. So I need some strength to call her, get arrangements sorted out, and explain she can only stay as long as my father is here.......

worried90 Sun 12-May-13 15:17:14

Fairy I have sent a PM. Thank you

MillyMollyMandy78 Sun 12-May-13 19:18:16

Thanks Kiwi for your kind words - only been a few days for me, but I just felt a bit like you really. It is more painful to have contact with her and just not worth it. Typically my mum does not care that i decided not to speak to her, though she is enjoying the drama... Showing letter to everyone etc. Dad however is very upset and that DOES make me feel guilty. But at the same time, he is a grown man and I have made it clear that i love him and still want to see him etc. but so far he says he couldn't possibly see me unless mum came too. So that feels a bit like he is taking her side and rejecting me. I do however think that things will get better with time. Will have to wait and see...

CallMeDaughter Sun 12-May-13 20:10:32

Hi everyone, was wondering if I could join too?

My first thread is here Should-I-give-up-long-and-sensitive-sorry

I'm coming to terms with the fact that my mother is a narcissistic mother and reading this thread has really helped me see that her behavior is not ok

CallMeDaughter Sun 12-May-13 20:13:12

Ooops thats link didn't work confused

Meery Sun 12-May-13 21:16:00

Oh but deliakate i so recognise that behaviour. Your dm does not have to behave with the courtesy that a normal houseguest does as she's not a normal guest but "family". And as for taking to her bed that's a useful ploy for when things aren't going to her liking.......

Meery Mon 13-May-13 22:34:37

Arghh my last post was a real case of speaking too soon. Dm phoned this eve, which is fine as we are ok with each other despite her narc tendencies, to say that she was visiting the UK next week and would love to see us. So i now feel obliged for sake of dc to rearrange weekend around her. If i don't I'll just feel guilty at keeping them away from granny. She is so bloody frustrating.

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