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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.

dimsum123 Fri 10-Jan-14 10:24:39

My parents couldn't cope with me talking about the past. They always wanted me to just forget it all and never mention it. They would ask me why I was always hostile and aggressive towards them. When I said because of the past they would tell me to stop dragging up the past all the time!

They just didn't want to acknowledge that they had been terrible parents. They wanted to believe they had been good, loving parents and didn't want any mention of the truth. I do not know what they have done with the memories of their abuse. I remember it all so clearly. I don't know how they have managed to forget over a decade of emotional abuse anger threats humiliation etc.

I have been NC now for over 7 years. It's been hard but totally necessary for me to heal from the damage they did. I tried a limited form of contact recently by letter but have decided to go completely NC again as their letters were upsetting me too much even though they seemed quite innocuous.

FrauMoose Fri 10-Jan-14 10:33:29

It's interesting about parents doing their best. Being the best parent they can etc. I recently came across a letter my mother wrote to my husband in which she said, 'We did our best to be good parents.'

I think on a mechanical level this was true. We were fed, clothed - though neither the food nor the clothing was much like that which other children received - and we were educated.

Table manners and other forms of politeness were enforced.

What we did not get was physical affection, encouragement, praise, positive conversation, attention, understanding. There was quite a lot of physical abuse.

I suppose I can think that there was just a large chunk of their brains that were missing. And/or that my mother had become so conditioned to 'mothering'/enabling my father, that she had disengaged from her children on some very fundamental level.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 10:39:49

I have just had my mother go totally demented at me and I want to write her a letter pointing out the facts from the conversation and showing her that she has just used nothing much as an excuse to lose it and abuse me more. This time she scared my children and this has got to be the end of it. I have no idea how to move forward.

TeeBee Fri 10-Jan-14 10:47:10

Logg1e, I think you are spot on, I find both of those thoughts very helpful. Quite often people are dealing with their own demons, which make them shitty parents. Not that it excuses it, but it helps us to understand that. And I totally agree regarding the different viewpoints. Perspective is just that - one persons experience of something. Another may experience it totally different. I've had this with my sisters where we all have very different views on our upbringing. One of us might have a very positive view of a certain event, one might see a totally different side. Neither wrong, just another way of looking at the same event.

dimsum123 Fri 10-Jan-14 10:47:20

My dad was deliberately cruel to me. He also deliberately tried and succeeded to turn my siblings against me, making them believe I was the bad, nasty one, not him.

I did think he was pure evil at first. But slowly and gradually I came to realise he was a very damaged individual as a result of his own childhood and probsbly has a severe personality disorder which has never beenpicked up on, diagnosed or treated. That doesn't excuse any of his behaviour towards me. But it does explain it. He was very angry, unpredictable and I lived in fear for a long time.

There were occasions however when he could be very kind and caring and generous. I think that was the real person underneath all the anger.

Whereas my mother is still a mystery to me. She saw my dad being abusive but NEVER once stood up for me or tried to stop my dad. She seemed to dislike me fromthe moment I was born. I don't remember her ever being warm or loving or caring or even getting one cuddle from her.

But she was very different with my 2 younger sisters. I couldsee her being a proper loving mother to them. I just don't know why she couldn't have at least pretended she loved and cared about me even if she didn't due to PND etc.

I know some mothers don't instantly bond with their baby. That was out of her control. But it was within her control to pretend and show she loved me. I have had to do that with my DD. Because I didn't bond with her and it took me years to really feel that I loved her. Whereas I bonded instantly with DS.

But I have tried very very hard to show them both that I love them equally. I don't lavish love and attention on DS while ignoring DD like my mother did.

I think my mother was the cruel evil parent. Much more so than my dad even though to an outsider it might appear that my dad was worse because he was the one who shouted and got angry and threatening and verbally cruel and abusive. My mother didn't love or care about me and showed it. She wasn't cruel. But there was a complete absence of love, cuddles, affection or even any interest in me and the absence of her love is what has had a lasting effect on me.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 10:48:27

OP, was she in your house when she went demented?

It's ok, people here can help. thanks

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 10:48:27

OP, was she in your house when she went demented?

It's ok, people here can help. thanks

TeeBee Fri 10-Jan-14 10:48:49

Frau, you could be right. Not so much of their brains missing, but maybe a part of their emotional development that was lacking, for whatever reason.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 10-Jan-14 12:20:26

I want to write her a letter pointing out the facts from the conversation and showing her that she has just used nothing much as an excuse to lose it and abuse me more.

Write the letter. But don't send it. she will not see your point of view. Ask yourself: when has she ever? This time will be no different. It's wasted energy.

If you want to cut contact, do it. You don't need to announce it or point out why: your reasons will fall on deaf ears, and will only add to your own frustration.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 10-Jan-14 12:21:28

unless it makes you feel better, of course. Just think of how it will affect you. Her reaction is a foregone conclusions.

Lemonylemon Fri 10-Jan-14 12:28:46

My mum is definitely emotionally stunted. She will run away from a situation at the drop of a hat. The latest situations that shown this are:

The last incidence is when my house was on the verge of being flooded (again) and I was outside brushing the water back into the road, my DD (then 2) was in the living room, my DS was at the end of the road trying to stop traffic whizzing down and creating a bow wave. My Mum decided it was the perfect time to run, leaving DD in the living room on her own. I shouted at she couldn't just leave DD on her own.

The time before that was when my fiance collapsed. She asked if she should stay and not go on holiday. I said for her to go as there wasn't anything we could do. Off she went, which was fine, but then he died a week into her trip. She would barely speak to my on the phone and then came back from holiday 10 days later and texted to say that she was tired and would see me the next day.

The time after that was when my DD was born. She did the school run for DS for 2 weeks and kept complaining about how tired she was. I then had to drive DS to and from school. We didn't see her very often for about 7 months after that.

She's a recovering alcoholic now, but back then was absolutely caning it (although we didn't realise it).

SauceForTheGander Fri 10-Jan-14 12:32:07

If I ever tried to discuss my upbringing I would be met with total silence. No eye contact, no conversation, no response - nothing. And then whatever conversation / small talk would be picked back up. I guess waiting for my sensitive tantrum to end. I did once get a response ... i asked DM about something that had happened when I was 11 - she said there was no point in dragging up ancient history and dissecting the past. I was 18!

I didn't suffer those beatings or felt in physical danger. I'm very sorry to those who did.

I think my DPs fall into the did their best though in denial so it does help me to do what Logg1e suggests. I can see in other circumstances that might not help though .

fishybits Fri 10-Jan-14 12:39:43

I was talking to my Godmother about being bullied at school and my mother turned round and said that perhaps I deserved to be bullied. sad

I don't ever talk to my parents about the way I was treated by my mother. I just end up crying so even less chance of being listened to as crying annoys her.

DoctorTwo Fri 10-Jan-14 12:58:52

What we did not get was physical affection, encouragement, praise, positive conversation, attention, understanding. There was quite a lot of physical abuse.

That describes my childhood and it affected my adult life. It wasn't until my mid twenties when I met a young woman who was proud enough of me to introduce me to her parents that I found out what a normal family was like. I went NC in about 1984 and only got back in touch after being begged by XW and DBro in 1996. It went badly and I've been NC ever since.

It turns out that one of my brothers is exactly the same as my step mother, according to what his son tells me and it's badly affected his mental health. He's in and out of psychiatric units and on ADs for depression.

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 17:40:22

Line runner she wasn't in the house but outside, she scared the kids and me, she totally lost all control and was screaming and wailing crying and making an absolute scene, if anyone had just turned up they would have thought I'd just done the most awful thing to her. Then she started saying it was elder abuse... I mean sorry but that bit made my blood run cold, I was so calm and reasonable and just said how I felt, she had pushed and pushed asking me how I felt about her so I told her how I felt about some of the things that had happened and I kept it non blaming and calm hoping that might help her connect to it all but no chance. My daughter said she didn't want granny. Coming to the house again and I think if I continue a relationship with my mother I am not protecting my children properly which makes me a bad mother. I thought I would just battle with this relationship my whole life but now I realise something has to change to protect my kids and I feel sort of forced into no contact.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 17:45:02

appletarts God that sounds horrendous. My mother did a similar thing but inside my house.

It was NC after that because she's not poisoning my children with her claptrap.

Hedgehead Fri 10-Jan-14 17:56:27

The classic response from abusive parents is: "You have a very vivid imagination, don't you?"

Logg1e Fri 10-Jan-14 18:00:55

Tee, Quite often people are dealing with their own demons, which make them shitty parents. Not that it excuses it, but it helps us to understand that.

Absolutely agree Tee. It helps me understand parents who make puzzling decisions or show scary behaviour. They are doing the best they can, even if poor upbringing, ill-health, lack of role model, difficult circumstances mean that their best is really not good enough. But it's them. It's not a reflection on the worthiness of the child.

LineRunner Fri 10-Jan-14 18:06:42

My mother had a stable home, was an only child, a working skilled father and a SAHM.

I knew my grandparents and they were nice people and she treated them like shit, too.

Her behaviour is planned and designed to create drama.

FrauMoose Fri 10-Jan-14 18:10:02

I don't think that really addresses the abuse of power. Yes, many parents may feel frustrated and angry about both their past and their present, and this limits their ability to do a good job.

But some do feel a real sense that they are entitled to hit and hurt their children - not just because of the fact they find the role of being parents painful and challenging - but because they feel their children are possessions, lesser beings, theirs etc etc.

I think we have to say that unless people have some kind of severe psychotic illnesses, they are capable of exercising moral choices. And some people do not choose to do the good and right thing in relation to their children. They seek to gratify their own desires.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 10-Jan-14 18:47:53

People used to say "oh, it's the time of the month" or "she's missing your Dad's help" (unaccompanied postings). No. She did it because terrorised children are tidy quiet children. Once you've modified them, you can get rid of the cleaner. They will cook and iron.

And then, just as puberty kicks in, you hand them over to really brutal keepers. Now you have another hold: if they leave school before O levels, the MOD will bankrupt them for fee contribution. Even when your eldest son is picked up by the police, covered in bruises and starving, you can still get him to voluntarily return to Hell.

Oh, only one of your kids turned into a DV perp, and another has OCD, but hey: you kept up appearances.

Sorry for rant.

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 19:08:06

ouch disgrace, that sounds all too heartfelt :/

appletarts Fri 10-Jan-14 19:19:54

Ok so the people here on this thread and stately homes had difficult or abusive childhoods and one thing that is absolutely clear is that people want to get it right for their children. It doesn't always follow that because you had an abusive childhood that you then go on to be an abusive parent. There is choice, even when being propelled forwards by generations of abuse there is the choice to be the person who stops it in its tracks and does better.

Meerka Fri 10-Jan-14 19:58:53


DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 10-Jan-14 21:15:45


DD is a successful human being, and despite the horrible teenage years has turned out luvverly. I just feel joy when she's about.

Maybe she'll sing at La Scala, maybe she'll be a plumber. But whatever she does, she'll do it without a crow on her shoulder.

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