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

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DontstepontheMomeRaths Sun 03-Mar-13 18:27:22

Thread opener here:
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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)

BouncyBabe98 Fri 04-Apr-14 15:30:42

Hi all, I originally posted my story in another thread but wanted to share on here also.

Hi, not sure if my mother is toxic or if I am just being oversensitive but I feel deeply hurt and at a loss over my relationship with my mother. I just want to tell someone what's been bothering me.

* Thought I would dump this at the front as i think its my main issue now - Now that I myself a mother I find myself feeling so inadequate and resentful when I hear other mothers talking about the help and support they are getting from their mothers and how happy they are to see them. I feel like I could have that from my mother but it seems like she doesn't want to try sometimes - i just wish i knew how to please her!*

1) Me and my partner decided to get married when i was pregnant with DC1. I wish i had never let my mother help with the wedding. I thought she would be supportive but all she seemed to do was tell me how things 'should be' / 'what was normal' for a wedding. She queried my decisions a lot. I wish I could have stood up to her but at the time I felt like I couldn't say anything as she was paying for the reception and I like to believe she means well. I have never dreamed of a big wedding that much but for me it often felt like was her dream/ideas not mine.

1a) when trying to discuss my feelings of depression: (have been seen a counselor since...obviously)

'not you as well!' (that was the end of that convo)

2) Comments during pregnancy: 'you shouldn't put on anymore weight' (I only put on 28 - 30 pounds in total!!) 'you are being too organized' (its not like she was offering to come down and help buy baby stuff - was I meant to get nothing?!)

3) When I was in hospital being induced (2nd day not much luck) I phoned her in tears and begged her to come down (stupid me!). She acted/made me feel like I was weak for asking her - her comments were something along the lines of 'if you really need me i suppose i could, will need to be back for something though'.

4) recent comments (despite me confiding in her about my anxieties/not having a job atm) - 'if you even have a brain anymore!' (sarcastically)

General stuff - I feel like I can't tell her anything without her taking over. eg, I will mention that I am thinking of getting the train somewhere and she will be emailing 5 mins later with all different options or telling me what is the 'right way' to go. This is sweet I know, but sometimes I would just like to workout on my own!

My sister suffered serious health problems (anorexia) as a teen/adult and I think that must have stressed out my mum. I won't even start to mention some of the things she has apparently said to my sister though - hurtful doesn't even cover it!

Other info - I think alot of my moans stem from unresolved issues (I have seen a counselor which has helped somewhat). My mum told me when I was 18 that 'if I didn't go to uni I would have to move out as she was waiting to leave my dad'. She became the main breadwinner when I was very young and she seemed really unhappy about that. I do feel sorry for her for that.

When I was experiencing problems adjusting to uni life she made it clear I was not welcome back at home. My father on the other hand was a lot more supportive.

Smokinmirrors Sun 23-Mar-14 22:33:23

Just spoke to my father about how my brother abused me. And mum forced me to have an abortion.

He was silent to the point of me 'hello are you there' then I heard my psycho mother come into the room in the background and all hell broke lose -

Not because he's surprised at what I said, but because he knows about it all including abortion and sanctioned it. To my face.

But because he 'loves her (mummy/wife) so much' and doesn't want the hissing bitch to be upset with him at any cost, or for me to remind her that he felt my breasts when she wasn't looking, he turns into a whimpering twat .

So they are fighting over the phone, him saying 'we are old people tell her to go away' and mother hissing saying 'I will tell you about my abortions but they meant nothing to me'.

Dad, whimpering in the background: 'it's all in the past'

I say I'm having counselling... so he goes all bawling his eyes out saying 'she will tell this all to the counsellor' bleurhg bleurgh.

Mother put phone down on me.

No wonder I like a nice cup of tea

artemis23 Thu 26-Dec-13 22:32:19

hi, just posted a big long thread but cant find where it went, sorry am new to the forum!

Scrummummy Fri 29-Nov-13 22:15:12

sorry this was posted on unfair sibling thread but now seems more suitable for stately homes

Scrummummy Fri 29-Nov-13 22:14:02

Not sibling but my cousin and I were treated differently by my mum and dad. Growing up they'd easily spend the same on presents for each of us as her DF had a low paid job and my F had a better one "it wasnt fair that she didnt get a CD player (for example) if I had one " ?? We lived 4/5 hours from them so saw them every few months. As we were only 3 month apart and are a similar build she was allowed to take any of my clothes she liked when she visited which as a teenager infuriated me as I had a weekend job so the fashionable clothes she'd steal I have actually bought with MY MONEY but i couldnt complain as its not her fault she couldnt be arsed to get a job as it was beneath her angry I also got told how clever she was and how she could do anything, unlike me who was obviously too thick to do anything! HA HA when we got our GCSE results and I did much better something must have gone wrong with hers maybe the examiner didnt read it properly!! angry
Same with A'levels and Uni, she's still brighter than me apparently even though I have a MA and shit loads of professional qualifications.
Weddings- they payed for mine though we did offer but it was my parents wedding as we had no input except we were allowed 2 guests each??it was a v small wedding 40 people lunch do nothing in the evening whole other thread They also paid for my cousins wedding for 300!! Her DH is from africa so they actually paid for his family to come over!!WTF?
Any way the 2nd last straw was a couple of years ago I had BX cancer and we had to do everything ourselves wouldnt come and look after our DDs so I could have my DH with me for Chemo, had to go alone, wonderful, because on a couple of dates she was having lunch with my cousin who lives 1 hour away( where as we are 2 hours away).
Final straw I needed to quit chemo as the housing benefit we got didnt cover our rent and as my DH had to go back to work as our LL hwas threatening to throw us out, we asked to borrow some money to pay off LL about £1000 so I could do my last treatment and my DH could start working about 3 weeks later all prearranged with his new company. They refused, we said ok, no money could you come and stay for 4 days to look after DDs answer NO. WHY they were helping my cousin move into her new house that they had lent her £30K for her deposit!!! needless to say I am NC with all of them

scrunchy Tue 12-Nov-13 02:17:54

i am new reason for posting is i believe my mother is a narcissist who has spent my life damaging me.i was adopted at 11months and spemt my childhood being taken to counsellors ,therapsits ,psychiatrists,all in an effort my my mother to get me diagnosed with something,a label.i remember a family therapy session when i was about 7/8 where all the family were told to tell me how my behaviour affected the,,my sisters said i ruined behavoiur was tantrums,not doing what my mother wanted,she hot me frequently,only lately i have realised that actually this did not go on in all families as i had believed.
she always used my adoption to make me feel that i was damaged and needed to be my teenage years i was bullied dreadfully,and discovered boys,i used to stay out all night weeks as a time partying.her solution was to take me an adoptee to a nun counsellor in a magdalen laundry convent.
by 16 i asked to be sent into care.just to breathe.i was thrown out for going out at night literally thrown onto the road with my clothes and had to move back to my parents i went.briefly.i met my now dh a few weeks later moved in with him a week after meeting him.i was 17.i am 33 now.more in between but whats triggered me to post now was a phone call last week.she drew up adoption ,an emotive topic and just casually mentioned that i was the result of rape.then she asked if i thought the father was a family member.(i met my birth mum at 19 she died of cancer a few weeks later ,she had a learning disability and i was young and afarid to rock boat )
i am in the process of revelation about her right now and what poison she is.i have booked a counsellor for this week.but what i am dealing with at this moment is the fact that my whole life she has scapegoated me,.made me the bad one,the one with problems,when she is the problem.the guilt draws me back in,if 2 weeks pass i feel guilt and visit .inevitably to be belittled in some way.i have a ton of examples of her narcissim but right now im dealing with her bombshell and the way she did it with no compassion for me at all,knowing i have to see my birth uncles in my town.

NameChangeToGo Mon 09-Sep-13 22:04:09

Ahhhh... Thanks smile

DontstepontheMomeRaths Mon 09-Sep-13 21:30:27

People have moved to the new thread, even thought this one wasn't quite full:

Sorry to confuse things.

NameChangeToGo Mon 09-Sep-13 20:51:09

Hi, everyone. The thread's been pretty quiet and I've been wondering how you're all getting on.

I'm having a very low day as parents left this morning, which is why I'm posting.

I feel despondent because I tried to manage this visit so carefully but it hasn't made a great deal of difference.

Again, I'm amazed at the huge negative, physical effect she has on me, without really doing anything specific. I've barely been able to function today.

The only things I can really put my finger on:

1. The uncanny way she has of responding which, in just a mm hmm, can make you feel entirely dismissed.

2. The way she can't let you finish a conversation, instead there'll be a point, usually just a sentence or so in, when she cuts you off to 'agree' with you (usually she has no actual idea of the point you were heading for, as you've barely begun). She will then relate her own vaguely linked experience without stopping for breath for the next 30 minutes until you forget what you were going to say anyway.

3. The child-like voice and singing. Her singing makes me feel sick.

4. The constant need to be the centre of attention. She answers over me when my husband and children talk to me. She cannot bear it when both my children have come to me.

5. The way she asks repeatedly whether she can do anything to help, without ever actually helping. If I give her something to do, it becomes a big drama, no matter how simple. She can sit surrounded by toys, with the toy box right there, and ask if there's anything she can do, without making any move to just stick some toys in the box, while I'm rushing around like a mad woman. But of course, she's always offering, so it's presumably my fault that she just sits there like a princess.

6. She talks crap. Translated as, she lies. And gets really pissy if you pick her up on it.

7. She doesn't like me. I don't fit the mould for the daughter she imagined. It feels as if we're opposing magnets, with that constant feeling of pushing each other away no matter how close we try to get.

Uuuuuuuuuuurgh sad

GoodtoBetter Sun 25-Aug-13 14:50:30

Sounds good pumpkin smile

Have had a really grrr day. Will post later when I feel less likely to strangle someone with my bare hands.

pumpkinsweetie Sun 25-Aug-13 08:26:49

Due to last night i will not be posting mil a letter infact everything has had a compete turn around.

Last night my dm & my dh went to a party of an old work friend. My dm got sozzled and told my dh he cannot go on treating me like this & pretty much blurted out i had been talking to her about ils. She said he needs to stop revisiting this as it won't end well and he needs to lay his past to rest etc. Things were mentioned that concerned dhs childhood, he wouldn't tell her how bad it was but went on to say he didn't want to become like his father. He then left my dm after saying he couldn't deal with it and went for a long walk in the rain & cold.

He came back late last night and he has finally opened up a little about the beatings, said it included belts and cigar burns amongst other horrid things but he said he doesn't remember much- i guess he has blocked it out. He then went on to say that he knows his parents are not good to be around the children and although hard i told him and we agreed he doesn't have to be scared anymore or be answerable to any of them & from now on it's best we ignore all calls from them.
We agreed there wouldn't ever be any contact from pil with the dc.

I know it isn't going to be easy but i think we are finally getting somewhere re standing united against them. I think he does need help with this and i know he could fail at any time but unsure of how to help him on his path? I have suggested he reads susan fords book, i'm hoping it will help him.

I have said i will not try to stop him seeing his parents but he is going to stop allowing the harrassment inbetween & have suggested if he cannot let go of seeing them he needs to have a larger gap inbetween to avoid being scared & badgered constantly.

Hissy Sat 24-Aug-13 14:37:26

meant to say Pumpkin, the harassment laws are there for a reason.

if this carries on, call 101 for advice.

Hissy Sat 24-Aug-13 14:36:33

Meery, you refused to allow someone who had been drinking to drive your DC.

SHE had been drinking and insulted you when you said that she couldn't drive her GC.

I AM seeing a BAD MOTHER here and believe me chick, it's not YOU!

Pumpkin: as hard as it is, you have to take charge of this.

DELETE this woman from your FB. Reason? You don't allow anyone to emotionally blackmail you.

Change your home number. Reason? You don't allow anyone to harass you or your family.

Write the letter and tell her to leave you alone, this is bonkers.

Why is it that they can never see that THEY have done anything? I got a card today, Are you cross because of <something totally unrelated, that if she thought about it for a second she'd know was horseshit>?

Erm, NO. I'm pissed off cos you moved house without telling me where.

That'd be enough surely?

Card in bin, with her address/tel no. AGAIN.

I give the fuck up!

pumpkinsweetie Sat 24-Aug-13 10:26:39

So sorry your day didn't go well meery she sounds unhinged calling you a bad mother for such a ridiculous reason. Glad you kept your call and stood your ground by saying no!

Mil just will not leave us alone, and tbh it is getting too much now. She tried to ring dh 4 times on his mobile yesterday and my landline has been constantly switched off now since yesterday and i think it will be staying that way.

Woke up this morning to yet another fb message from her, mentioning the aunt again and why have i stopped her seeing the children and that we used to be friends. And of course the woh is me, "i have been crying" and "i can't sleep". If she missed her grandkids so much why are they only important on birthdays, celebrations or when flipping aunt shit stirrer is round fgs..

I basically replied back that i'm in the process of writing a letter and if she continues to harrass me the letter will be non applicable.

Meery Sat 24-Aug-13 02:54:20

Excuse the typos - on the phone

Meery Fri 23-Aug-13 22:51:54

So i wrote a while ago about a spat i had with dm about us visiting her. Anyway we're here and all was quiet until today, not great but ok. Tonight decided to go into town for a bbq and dm offered to drive (even though she'd plainly had a glass or two during the day) i declined the offer and when pressed very bravely said no i don't iwant you driving my dc when over the limit.

Well it all kicked off then and i was called a bad mothe who's ruining my life (wtf) but thanks to mn i stayed calm and kept repeating no is my decision. So dh dc and i walked and dm drove.

The pettiest thing was that she didn't bring down our cutlery "to show me because id been so horrible" . So was happy for dc to go hungry because id stood up to her.

The pettiest thing was she didn't bring t

Hissy Fri 23-Aug-13 19:12:59

Can I wave a flag for a thread on OTBT?

There's a v young girl, hideous family, hideous ex, needs support.

Her previous thread was deleted due to fears over Ex etc

DontstepontheMomeRaths Fri 23-Aug-13 16:01:31

New thread for when this one is full. I'll be back later to catch up

pumpkinsweetie Fri 23-Aug-13 10:29:51

Thankyou Atilla i will show him tonight, he is still a bit definsive about looking up toxic parents. Maybe i could word it better, but he really needs to see from himself ways of dealing with them and making his and my life better.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 23-Aug-13 10:27:43


I wish you the very best of luck with regards to your DH.

You may want to show your H this link as well from Lightshouse:-

pumpkinsweetie Fri 23-Aug-13 10:15:31

I have finally managed to speak to him, calmly for my own sanity.

I have reached a decision and i said i will meet him halfway as he said he feels stuck in the middle.

I have said i will meet him halfway.
First i am writing mil a letter to tell her the rules and what dates she may see the children with the both of us present. I have told him if she doesn't follow my letter to the exact letter ie rules etc that will be it, she fails once i will not be allowing her access to the children ever again and he has agreed.

One thing, i want to see her on neutral ground, not in my home.
No other grandkids to be bought with her. Fil is not to be seen, i don't want to even see him set foot into the cafe whatsoever. There will be one meeting at first if it goes well there will be another one in dec and after that i will decide.
She is to stay away, no harrassment, no calls, and when baby is born i will decide when she sees baby. It will not be in the first few weeks.

This way i believe i have tried everything and dh cannot turn round and say anything if this goes wrong.
I have told him i am doing it for him and him only, but i have told him in return for this i want him to start reading up about toxic parents and the fog as i want him to see for himself what his parents are.

pumpkinsweetie Fri 23-Aug-13 08:49:52

Thankyou, yes unfortunetly i think he has been sucked insad

He eventually came to bed last night & he said sorry but i just shrugged said ok and pretended to go back to sleep. Cba with him at the moment i really cannot.

Came down he has got 2 of the dc up but is napping on the sofa, i guess in a attempt to avoid a discussion and think in his clouded way this is all for the good etc etc.

For a few days now i can't see him being calm. Whatever she has said to him, it has worked a treat, what a bitch! Checked his phone and he did indeed phone her behind my back yesterday evening whilst he was waking up for his sleep (works nights)

That's exactly what i mean though, if the need to phone her in private is needed it obviously isn't normal.

I am at my wits end with all this tbh and if i wasn't pregnant i think i would be ready to just give up if this is the way it is going to be forever.
I don't think he will ever come as far as any of you have, and i'm very unsure of the future at the moment.
January to april he was different but since may the operation to pull him in has obviously worked.

Now i suppose it's trying to get him to see the bad guy and the good guy.
But how do i do that without insulting his family at the same time?

GoodtoBetter Fri 23-Aug-13 08:11:40

I don't know what your FIL did, but your MIL sounds awful and dysfunctional, all the ringing and ignoring what you ask. And this idea that FIL will have changed, that sounds like dH has spoke to them and they've said that. (And people who need to "change" rarely do).
Good luck talking to DH. Has he read up about people like this? Maybe it would help him see them for what they are?

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 23-Aug-13 07:37:32

What Hissy has stated in her reply; your H has been sucked back into their maelstrom of dysfunction.

Calm discussions are the way forward now.

Hissy Fri 23-Aug-13 07:32:15

I think he took a call.

He's been sucked back in.

Calmly sit him down and say that Aunt has all the info she needs to make direct contact, but won't.

She prefers to engineer situations to inflame.

Ask him what's changed between last week and this week?

Tell him that it's a bad idea to make a snap decision, and you both need a couple of days to carefully consider all the aspects of this.

Compile a reasons for and reasons against list. Do this WITH your H. Remind him calmly of what brought you to want to end contact in the first place.

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