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Abusive parents can't cope with adult childrens feelings?

(91 Posts)
appletarts Thu 09-Jan-14 19:56:40

Does anyone else notice that dysfunctional/abusive parents get very angry when their children (adult) talk about how they feel. I have been talking to my mum about how I feel about the past and less emotive subjects in a totally non-blaming, calm and rational manner and it's sent her over the edge, she went absolutely hysterical nuts. Is this an attempt to silence me or does anyone have any reflections on this? Is it true for anyone else and why does it trigger such a massive response? We were never allowed to express our feelings as children but never knew what would happen if I did because I just knew I shouldn't. As an adult I am silenced constantly by her.

Hissy Thu 09-Jan-14 20:00:45

You're bang on in every respect. Your instincts aren't lying.

She'll rewrite history, and if you challenge, she'll shout you down.

Except now you know the score.

Her game is over, and she knows it. You won't ever fall for this shit again.

I suggest you detach. Don't have contact with her unless she 'behaves'. If she doesn't, then refuse to deal with her until she does behave.

It will get easier.

Hissy Thu 09-Jan-14 20:02:08

You need to come to the Stately Homes thread. It's exactly for people like you (and me)

There are lots of people just like us, they'll all understand.

whitsernam Thu 09-Jan-14 20:37:21

Oh yes, you are in good company!! They are always convinced they did the only thing they could do, and we are ungrateful sh*&ts. I know this well. I have arrived at the position that I will be respectful and do some care-taking (df is elderly now) and that's it. It is simply not possible to talk through much of the past with the vast majority of abusers; they are convinced you deserved and caused what happened, and that absolves them completely.

Meerka Thu 09-Jan-14 20:39:55

Nope, they can't.

I think they are divided into two groups; the ones who feel so guilty that they can't handle it and do anything to escape, and will turn everything back on the adult child or anyone else they can, and the ones who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves. Guilt? what guilt? they have never done anything wrong, everyone else is wrong.

ilovemikehunt Thu 09-Jan-14 21:51:27

My mother (now dead, ding dong) would not shout exactly, but would just be extremely dismissive in a way only she could (a sort of head tossing thing combined with muttering in her native language) and then tell me what a critical and over sensitive person I was, and that she'd never liked me and it was my fault my childhood was so awful because I was born critical and over sensitive and am the incarnation of my father's evil mother.

My father, whom I last saw briefly at the old witch's funeral, just goes all vague, changes the subject and then finely gets patronising and over affectionate, sort of "there, there, silly you remembering such things, it really wasn't a big deal and it's all in the past". Bearing in mind this man was my mother's enabler, and controlling and sometimes violent monster in his own right of whom I was terrified as a child, you can imagine what a head fuck this is.

This is my 5th year NC with him. In our very last proper conversation, I was trying to talk to him about how his treatment of his children when young still effected us today, especially regarding my sister, the golden child. Whilst I was trying to talk to him about this, he launched into a monologue about Vinnie Jones. Yes, Vinnie Jones. He went on and on. I was waiting for the punchline, some analogy between Vinnie Jones and my sister or me or the situation. "What's Vinnie Jones got to do with it, dad", I asked when he finally shut up. "Nothing", he said, "I just wanted to change the subject." That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me.

OP, we have all experienced the dissembling behaviour you have. If these abusers had enough of a conscience to admit/acknowledge what they'd done was wrong, if they had the humility and humanity to listen to the hurt they had inflicted on their children, they probably wouldn't have done the wrong in the first place.

MillyMollyMandy78 Thu 09-Jan-14 21:58:26

Sad to say that your mum will never listen to your feelings re your childhood. I agree with Meerka's views and hope you can detach in whatever way suits you best. Check out the stately homes thread, there are some lovely ladies on there who completely understand this sort of thing.

MajesticWhine Thu 09-Jan-14 22:45:56

Yes, I have noticed this with my DM. Negative feelings are really not wanted, especially feelings about the past, because it might threaten her view of things. History being rewritten as well. I mentioned to DM a period of loneliness in my childhood, without attaching blame to anyone at all, it was just conversational, and in context at the time. She got very defensive and told me that it couldn't have happened, and that I was never lonely and that I must have imagined it.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 09-Jan-14 22:53:35

Mm. DM apologised on her deathbed for the violence she inflicted on us. Given the circs, I didn't say "that took you long enough".

I said something rather worse: "never mind Mum, I'm sure it helped to build character". Took me awhile to work out why she was so upset. Bugger.

AdoraBell Thu 09-Jan-14 23:00:42

I agree, look into the Stately Homes thread.

I went NC rather than bother confronting as I kind of knew deep down that my mother would have played the victim card, as she did anyway. My father, I actually managed to build a relationship with him but he died just as I was feeling ready to open the can of worms.

discrage don't feel bad, I properly would have told mine to fuck right off.

AdoraBell Thu 09-Jan-14 23:03:27

probably, not properly.

KissesBreakingWave Thu 09-Jan-14 23:10:57

If this is a pattern, I've got a data point for it right here. Fortunately I've gotten more calloused as I've got older and she's finally starting to get the notion that the more she screams the more piss I take. Well, I say get the notion, I've flat out told her.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Thu 09-Jan-14 23:15:25

Well, part of my character happens to be about not hurting the defenceless. Just because you were raised by werewolves...

OliveHeartfly Thu 09-Jan-14 23:18:21

Yes, I'm having a similar experience with my parents. I'd like my father to properly apologise for the violence and emotional abuse. Not what he has said before either minimising it 'I'm sorry, but I only got angry because I cared so much and wanted everything to be perfect' or blaming me 'you were a weird and unpleasant child and brought it on yourself' but to really, properly understand the damage he did to me and be sorry for it. Then I could forgive him.

When I try to calmly discuss it he and DM get angry and upset and say they can't remember the details, don't want to remember. Start blaming me for stirring up trouble.

Nice for him that he can't remember. I can't forget.

AdoraBell Thu 09-Jan-14 23:20:44

Oh I agree, which is why I'm careful to raise my DCs differently, but at the time my mother died I was still carrying all the anger. It was another 15 years before I began processing my issues.

happytalk13 Fri 10-Jan-14 03:41:57

It's an age old game they all play. My mother insisted a few months back that I tell her how I feel about my childhood. I begged her to leave it alone, that I wanted to move past it...she I told her...and then she promptly threw me and the GCs out of the house. two days later she called me up to tell me that she thought it best that we didn't' have a relationship but that she supposed she'd see the GC's occasionally...they're all the same and they don't change. It's your parent's problem, not yours. Let it continue to be your parent's problem.

Logg1e Fri 10-Jan-14 07:07:16

I think that there are two helpful thoughts. Firstly, each parent is the best parent they, personally, can be. Secondly, it's possible for you both to have different memories of the time, and for there to be two truths.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 07:49:07

Sorry loggie but that's the sort of bullshit they would come out with!hose are not helpful thoughts but dismissive and support distortion a of reality. Not agreeing with your on that one.

Logg1e Fri 10-Jan-14 08:02:01

It's unhelpful to read you label the things which help me as "bullshit" appletarts but there you go.

The first idea helps me on two accounts. Firstly, it takes away any malice of intent on the parent's side. I.e. they weren't going out of there way to be shit, they were trying their best but for whatever reason fell short.
Secondly, it distances the child from the hurt caused. I.e. your parent wasn't shit because you are unlovable/undeserving/contemptible etc. It was about them and not you.

The second idea, about mis-matching statements: again, it reduces the blame. People have different memories of the same events because they had different experiences and view points and emotions and interpretations. This helps me because it explains some of the confusion when you realise you have a different version of events to the parent. They're not trying to blame you or call you a liar. You are not imagining things or misinterpreting them.

Anyway, I don't know why I'm explaining myself to you when you've called my coping "bullshit". I hope they might be of use to others.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 08:48:46

Sometimes when a parent has beat a child to within an inch of their life there is malice, the parent doesn't love the child, and there is blame. Some things are fact, broken jaw, burns, scalds, bruises etc, these things are not open for interpretation they are facts, there are not different versions of an event, but there are distortions of truth for the comfort of the abuser. My philosophy is that the child is telling the truth, their truth and that is not mitigated by adult interpretations or minimizing. Perhaps we have very different experiences and I'm glad your philosophy helps you but your philosophy is the very same argument that kept me in danger as a child. Oh yes, they didn't mean it, I didn't remember it properly, it was an accident, they loved me really and to all those excuses I do say bullshit.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 10-Jan-14 08:55:48

No, abusive parents can't cope with their adult children's feelings. You'll get any and all of blame-shifting, minimization, rage, or a "poor me" meltdown.

It makes our anger than much harder to process, since it won't even be acknowledged by the recipient.

But it still IS possible to process your anger about your childhood without your parents' cooperation. For me, it just took time, and therapy.

But don't go looking for validation from them: you'll only be setting yourself back further.

Good luck.

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 08:57:47

loggie it's a nice view but some parents do not do the best they can.

A few parents are malicous. Really evil. You might not want to believe it but they are.

Quite a lot more are simply only caring for themselves and don't care for the kids. The kids are only important when they are useful to them.

And then, there's a lot of parents who are loving and do the best they can. Some fall short but mean well, like you say. Some mean well and do well. A few are outstanding.

But saying that everyone just does the best they can just is not true. It's a way to veil the reality that some parents, some human beings, are just highly unpleasant people. Unfortunately it does minimize things. That leaves people are really trying to come to terms with the utter destructiveness and, yes, malice, very lonely. It's another way of saying 'Oh it's not really as bad as you're remembering - when (and I do know what I'm speaking of) there can be unspeakable violence of body or mind and in some very extreme cases, forcing small children to sexually or physically abuse other, even smaller children for their parents' gratification.

That's extreme but the same thing goes on at a less dramatic level too.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 09:05:19

There were things that my mother did to us that were done with malice and intent. Sometimes they were done purely to get a reaction out of my father, which I think was pretty premeditated and manipulative.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 09:50:27

Oh my mother did all manner of disgusting things to us to get back at my father, by her own admission, that she did admit to. There's not much love in those actions I can assure you.

philnteds Fri 10-Jan-14 09:57:30

I must go and look at the stately homes thread again. I am so grateful for this and other threads as I honestly thought I was the only one that went through this combo of abuse/dysfunction. You are not allowed to discuss your childhood with the abuser and the abuser becoming angry/hysterical is just a distraction/deflection from any possible blame. I could write reams and reams on this subject but I will go and check out the stately homes thread. I know that whenever dare to mention 'the past' I get interrupted and diverted onto another subject. Thank goodness for this support!!

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