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

(1000 Posts)
DontstepontheBaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 20:27:59

Thread opener here:
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It's December 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
March 2013
August 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 your 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 defences 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 behaviour. 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 offences 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 behaviour. 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 realise 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

This final quote is from smithfield posting as therealsmithfield:

"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

Meerka Thu 19-Dec-13 07:31:46

Link from the prev thread: August - Dec

Alwayscheerful Thu 19-Dec-13 07:32:42

Marking place.

DontstepontheBaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 08:08:31

Thanks Meerka but August is linked in the fore running threads already grin Although it's such a big list now, perhaps it's clearer for people being on a separate post too.

Being Christmas I suspect this thread will fill up quickly sad

I haven't the time to post much right now but I'm lurking and always appreciate all the support here.

Hope you're ok Hissy.

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 19-Dec-13 08:19:37

Hissy, I'm furious on your behalf. How awful. I really hope that that's the last you see of them for at least the Christmas period. I hope the next month is calm and happy for you.

GoodtoBetter Thu 19-Dec-13 08:32:56

Sorry for posting and running, just wanted to check in on Hissy and agree with the others that maybe it's time to think about a restraining order.

Meerka Thu 19-Dec-13 08:55:05

Oh god sorry baubles. Having a real bad pregnancy idiocy-week atm.

Hope you're okay, Hissy, you and your son. flowers

JustAnotherChristmasBauble Thu 19-Dec-13 09:00:03

Read (most of) the last thread and... Wow. Other people went through this sort of thing too?!
Glad I've found somewhere I can talk/post!

Marking place

Wobblebeans Thu 19-Dec-13 09:47:52

Marking my place here. Does it matter that it's most of my DPs family and not mine? I still have to deal with the bloody fallout fangry

Just read the tail end of the last thread btw, and just wanted to say well done to hissy for dealing with all of that, must have been so frightening! fsad

spanky2 Thu 19-Dec-13 10:05:40

Awful for you Hissy. Thank goodness they went. Can'treally think of words to explain what I feel for you. Awful man.

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 10:26:14

Oh Hissy how awful, how dare they refuse to leave and scare you and DS angry and the police should have listened to you, not tried to get involved shock I hope you're ok today.

I came on here to post again after a long period of peace. I am NC with my mother and have managed to avoid seeing her, speaking to her etc since I was at my nephew's birthday celebration at DB's. I was starting to get the worried feeling what with Christmas coming up, and was even starting to think maybe I'd been too harsh not letting her see the dc...

Then on Monday the Christmas cards turned up, and I opened the one to dh and I and immediately put it into the recycling, but I was torn about what to do with the cards for dc, so I left them on the side to think about it. Dd2 saw them and asked if she could open hers, and I felt that as she'd seen them I couldn't say no. They were fine, luckily, just saying she hoped they'd have a lovely Christmas and lots of love Nanny.

But. I was in town on Wednesday morning after the school run, just going to the post office to post our cards and I saw her walking down the street, my heart was pounding and I started to shake. I was talking to my friend outside the post office and so I asked her if she'd stay and talk to me as I'd seen mother and didn't want to talk to her, and I carried on chatting, turning away as she walked past.

My friend left and my mother appeared from round the corner where she'd been waiting for my friend to leave. She said she couldn't just walk past me without speaking and asked how I was. I told her I was fine and that I didn't wish to speak to her. She said why am I doing this, what is she supposed to have done, she didn't understand etc.

So I said I don't want to speak to you, you know what you've done, I've tried to tell you in the past, you've always treated me differently to DB and I could see the favouritism starting with my dc and I wasn't going to have them treated that way too. She said she didn't treat me and DB differently, I was wrong andI've had a year to explain myself to her! I am quite proud of myself that at this point I said I am 40 years old and I don't have to explain myself to you or anyone else!

I then walked away into the post office and she followed me in, again I said I didn't want to discuss it and I had made my decision, I am happy, the dc are happy, dh is happy, leave me alone.

She again said she wanted to see dc, and I repeated louder leave me alone. So she hissed (loudly) at me that she wasn't going to let me do this and that I wasn't going to stop her seeing her gc, and finally left.

I was a quivering mess, luckily my friend was in the queue and saw/heard all this and talked to me until I calmed down.

Now I have decided that I am no longer going to attend any family celebrations that she is at, which I am cross and sad about because it means not seeing DB, his wife or their dc on their birthdays as they are still in contact sad

I still froze when she appeared though and felt like a frightened child again, I thought I'd be ok, but it has really thrown me and now I'm doubting myself all over again.

Sorry to jump in again with me me me but I needed to get that out. Thanks for reading if you got this far.

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 10:33:01

Oh, and she told me I'd spent my whole life blaming her for everything wrong in my I said at least I wasn't blaming a child sad because everything has always been my fault, after all she'salways said that she didn't know what she'd done to deserve me as a daughter.

Wobblebeans Thu 19-Dec-13 10:44:20

Just a little bit of background. We are also going to be seeing them Xmas eve. With this vile woman going on about her fitness instructor, and saying stuff like "oh when we split up...". We all just look on in shock, what on earth can you say to that?!

Meerka Thu 19-Dec-13 11:09:19

"much as it will disappoint you Aunty, we're not going to split up. Not sure where you got the misconception that my husband was chasing another woman from, but I'm glad to say it's just not true. Please could you stop spreading it?"

Don't other people jaw-drop at her?

Hissy Thu 19-Dec-13 11:10:09

incogKNEEto that is terrible! I'm angry on your behalf! it's so similar to the situation I had last night, that waiting, cornering and demanding that we do what we are told. How very dare they! who TF do they think they are?

This morning I feel awful. I parked my car so badly that MD and boss both commented and I really had to move it.

I am not firing on many, if any, cylinders.

I am back at square one today, feeling like i did when they moved away, I'm utterly incredulous, bewildered, sad, hurt, depressed and shocked. I'm livid that they did this, that they did this to my son, and didn't immediately stop when I told them to, and the insisting to stay in my home after the police were called is just beyond the pale.

It's the selfishness of their actions that never ceases to amaze me.

I had to call the school and tell them today, in case DS had any issues that were out of character.

I will have to meet with Social Sodding Services and be monitored for a while potentially.

All because these two fucking bullies wouldn't leave when asked to.

I didn't over react did I? they bulldozed into my home and into my family and refused to back down. I am a survivor of domestic violence, they did this to me in my own home, and to my child in his.

Considering telling my aunt and my cousin as there may be damage limiting from M & SF to them. Although seeing as my cousin has been on the receiving end from SF in the past, it won't come as too much of a surprise.

Meerka Thu 19-Dec-13 11:20:59

No you did not overreact.

If someone does not respect your desire to stay NC and if they refuse to leave when asked, push you and scare your little boy into terrified tears, no you did not overreact.

What in the world did they want to achieve? to literally scare you into submission? If that's the case you had a stark choice: crumble, or take it to the limit and call for backup. Black / white. You chose to defend yoruself and your son. Correct call.

Wobblebeans Thu 19-Dec-13 11:25:53

She doesn't openly talk about me and my DP splitting up, she does all of that on the quiet. When she makes those comments, she's talking about her and my U splitting, all while he's sitting not so far from her, occupying their youngest DC. She always goes on about how "fit" her fitness instructor is and even has a pic of him on her phone to show anyone who will listen.

Tbh the only one who can't see through her is my nan (U's mum) because she never does this when she's around, because they are in financial trouble and my nan helps them out a bit with 'pocket money'. No one says anything because it would further alienate my U and no one wants that to happen because he's already unhappy enough as it is sad

All we can do is just shock

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 11:30:56

Thanks for your understanding Hissy it's strange when I read your story I was outraged on your behalf, how bloody dare they indeed, but when it comes to my own situation I think...well, maybe I am in the wrong...

I'm not surprised you feel all those things, they were completely in the wrong and how they can do that to you and DS, especially after the dv, is unbelievable.

How do they think that that behaviour will help the situation? I suppose they're thinking it might get us to back down and be the compliant, scared people we were, BA k where they like us to be on the back foot.

Well, certainly in my case it has had the opposite effect, although I'm scared and shaky, I'm also furious that she dis that to me. Following me and berating me in front of people I know in the town I live in!

I feel hunted, harassed and stalked. I'm concerned she'll try and use the fact that for years I let her have a relationship with the dc, hoping that things would some how be different with my dc, to try and force contact through the courts sad

I really don't think you did the wring thing. You showed your DS that it is not right to treat people like that by involving the police, and SS will are that too if you have a meeting with them. You have told dd's school too, so they're aware, I don't see what else you could do, it's their behaviour that is wrong not yours.

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 11:32:49

Sorry about all the typos am on my phone!

MummyBeerestCupOfCheerest Thu 19-Dec-13 11:33:23

I am so sorry to read these. How awful that there are so many vile people who would do things like that.

New to the thread, but I've been meaning to post on here. Like the rest of you, my family members are dysfunctional and toxic, and I've been doing my best to deal with them in healthy, proactive ways.

I have posted about my issues with them on here before. I entitled my latest one But they have a POOL!

...didn't even put the connection between the title and this thread.

After that, I figured it was time to post here.

Hi, and thanks thanks

Wobblebeans Thu 19-Dec-13 11:36:38

incog I can definitely say that you are not in the wrong! I mean, who in their right mind would do that?! I've been in that position where I've thought "maybe I'm the one with the problem here?" But no, it's most definitely them! Makes me so angry the way some people behave towards those who they're supposed to love!

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 11:56:34

wobble thanks. What a difficult situation you're in, normally total NC would be my advice, especially if you suspect that your aunt is a narc, but I can see why you don't want to do that because of your U.

It depends on how much her behaviour is impacting on yours and dh's life I suppose.

Do you think if you said to your U that you can see the way she treats him is wrong, and you don't like how she has treated you over the years either and that you're thinking of going NC because of her, that he would listen? It's hard if you think his opinion of you has been damaged already, but maybe you need to think of protecting yourself from further hurt.

Hissy Thu 19-Dec-13 11:58:49

We are so conditioned to accept this kind of behaviour from our 'family' it's just hideous. The first thing we think of was 'did I make a scene over nothing?' angry actually angry with a hat on fangry fangry

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 12:05:48

Hi mummybeerest have seen your thread, and have to agree with most of the other posters on there. No, being old doesn't give you a free pass to be nasty to people, and yes it really is uncanny how many of these 'jokers' are surrounded by 'over sensitive' people.

incogKNEEto Thu 19-Dec-13 12:09:17

That was my first thought too Hissy am trying to channel my inner rage and direct it at the right person for a change angry

Repeat after me ' this is not my fault, I didn't cause this, I am not responsible for how these people choose to act, and no I did not overreact' angry

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