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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.

appletarts Mon 13-Jan-14 18:55:20

Good idea Loggie but I just don't want to hear what she has to say, even through a 3rd party. Will maybe read it one day, if I ever feel ready because I know it would be more of the same old rubbish, yes of how she did her best etc etc and I am to blame because I have feelings about it that won't go away and I won't shut up talking about things. I don't expect anything to come from this other than I am free of her and my vicious sister who is her sidekick.

Logg1e Mon 13-Jan-14 16:51:07

I was going to suggest holding on to them, and not rushing in to reading or chucking them. Is there someone you can trust to read them and give you a brief precis?

appletarts Mon 13-Jan-14 14:38:19

I felt I didn't want to be frightened any more of telling my truth and felt abuse thrives in silence. I will keep any letter she sends but not open it until I feel stronger, or bin it.

Hissy Mon 13-Jan-14 14:31:50

Bloody well done apple braver than me with the letter, I'm thinking there will be a response that you may need to be prepared for.

At least if you have changed your numbers already, that'll limit the shock factor of taking a call.

LineRunner Mon 13-Jan-14 14:28:34

Good luck, appletarts.

Have you a plan fir if she writes back to you? I binned all my mother's letters in the immediate post-NC period until she stopped sending them.

appletarts Mon 13-Jan-14 14:23:29

Well, I've decided to go no contact. I have sent her a letter getting everything off my chest so I don't have to carry it all around with me in things I wish I could have said. It was a non-blaming letter which set the record straight on a few things. I have changed my phone numbers. Today is the first day of my life without her hanging over my head, let the healing begin!

appletarts Sat 11-Jan-14 20:22:05

and thank you for all your support, I really appreciate it.

appletarts Sat 11-Jan-14 20:21:40

livingzuid please feel you can talk freely here, I won't feel at all that you are derailing thread, rather you are sharing your experience. To me what loggie said is what my mother says and she says she did her best and my answer is no she didn't, or best in the circumstances which is her other get out of jail free card. I think those statements mean she avoids responsibility. Her best one when I confronted her about something that happened when I was a baby was.... "It wasn't you apple, it was a baby". Notice I was an 'it' and to her a baby wasn't a person, not me. I still don't know what to do next for the best.

Hissy Sat 11-Jan-14 16:05:12


It's ok to rage about this 'best a parent could be' thing.

I have dearly wanted to hurl myself to the ground and screamed 'but that's not good enough' and it's not fair' and i'm (and we all are) entitled to. We DO deserve (and need) to express that anger.

Once we do, once we get that out of our heads, it gets easier.

FrauMoose Sat 11-Jan-14 15:43:48

I've spent time - years - trying to understand why my parents were as they were and did what they did.

There were aspects of my father's childhood that were difficult. On the other hand his sister shared a lot of those childhood difficulties, but turned out to be a warm and loving parent. It is entirely possible that my father was not neuro-typical, and had Aspergers Syndrome. However I know other people with AS, who are gentle and do not resort to violence against others.

I think my mother's values and emotions may have been systematically eroded when she got married to somebody who was highly manipulative and controlling. On the other hand some people who are married to partners of that kind do ultimately leave, for the sake of the children. Or seek to make amends to their children - belatedly -after the controlling partner has died. My mother did neither of these things.

I think their belief of theirs that they 'did their best' is/was deluded, based on a entirely mistaken set of ideas about what parents were entitled to do and about what children require in order to flourish.

It was like being brought up in a sort of mini-cult, because nothing could impact on their own sense of their righteousness. So I suppose my parents 'did their best', in the sense that religious fanatics may believe that they are doing their best.

I could choose to say, 'My parents? Oh they did their best.'

But that would be like subscribing to their delusion, giving it a validity it absolutely does not deserve.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 15:28:15

And I'm really sad and sorry to read everyone's stories of abuse. I hope we all find some peace someday to live our lives.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 15:26:05

I. Shared. Two. Concepts. That. I. Found. Helpful.

Well I'm so glad you've spelled that out for me. How thoughtful and considerate you are to be so sarcastic to someone who's commenting on their own experiences of abuse.

If you'd got to clarifying this several posts ago in an non-combative manner, or even in your original comment, that would have been even more helpful. Instead you chose to get argumentative and defensive when posters challenged you on what is a hugely emotive subject for them and me.

OP I hope you come back and give us an update at some point. Sorry for turning your thread into a row. Thank you for sharing your story, I found it really helpful to read. Good luck smile

DoctorTwo Sat 11-Jan-14 15:24:32

I think that there are two helpful thoughts. Firstly, each parent is the best parent they, personally, can be.

That's what my stepmother told me at my dads funeral. Why was my experience of childhood different to my siblings? They weren't beaten, often with shoes. She broke my nose, a cheekbone, an eye socket and one of my collar bones. I got better exam results than my siblings, yet was belittled and they were praised. I wasn't the one getting arrested, but I got blamed for it.

If that's anybodys idea of being 'the best parent they, personally, can be' you can do one.

I've never told anybody the full horror of what she did as I honestly don't think I'll be believed.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:48

And why do you seem to not understand that what YOU may find comforting is upsetting to others

I haven't said that others shouldn't be upset.
I. Shared. Two. Concepts. That. I. Found. Helpful.
And I'm glad I did, because others have found them useful too.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:45

<ensure >. Not endure !!

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:02

Logg1e simple statement is a reflection on victimisation - not intended literally.

As a child of abusive, alcoholic, violent parents, who left me alone to fend off sexual abuse by one of their friends' teenage children - whilst off getting pissed and swinging. I totally get your outrage - if you could try to look at the statement as a point of view/manner of being to endure that blame sits squarely at the feet of the abusers instead of a literal view of what she says - it does make sense.

So much sense, I almost feel a sense of epiphany. After years of harrowing self loathing, I really get it.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:57:52

Fanny, For the second part, I don't have a version of what happened I have the truth.

Living, your second sentence which you haven't explained further

So, my second sentence is saying you don't have to fight for a mutually agreed truth. The fact that you know it's the truth, Fanny, is enough for it to be true. You don't need to get him to agree with you. Similarly, and more generally, if your parent states something as fact, you don't have to think you're going crazy because you have a different memory.

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 13:50:45

Fanny you worded things much better than me smile

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 13:45:40

I did not use the word bullshit but I can see why others did. And I feel you have been inappropriate - if people feel that way then yes you have. I've already said this is not my thread and I'm not commenting on my situation further as I am sure it is not helpful to the OP and it certainly isn't to me.

And why do you seem to not understand that what YOU may find comforting is upsetting to others - particularly your second sentence which you haven't explained further? It works both ways.

So why don't we leave this circular argument there instead of trying to justify or disprove your claims and get back to something that may be useful to the OP - who has already said she does not find those two statements of yours helpful?

Fannydabbydozey Sat 11-Jan-14 13:37:38

The first line of what logg1e said was elamost exactly what my abusive stepfather said to me to excuse his hideous treatment of me during my childhood and adolescence. His very own excuse... Those words.

Those are not words which make me feel comforted but rather those which make me angry and tearful and feel sick for all those years of misery.

For the second part, I don't have a version of what happened I have the truth. He knows what he did. He just doesn't chose to believe he was a cunt for doing it. That's not a different take on events - its not admitting he was a violent bastard who took great pleasure in hurting me both physically and mentally.

I'm glad that you can take solace from thinking this way, but can you see why others are appalled?

OP I cannot talk to my dad about what happened. We had a huge fight a few years ago when I finally told my mum some of the violence that went on. He confronted me whilst I was on holiday with them last year and this was when he claimed he had done the best he could under the circumstances, that he'd been the best dad he could be and it was difficult for him etc etc it was excruciating for me and I will not be holidaying with them again. Since our fight I have maintained a very cool relationship because I love my mum and I can't have one parent without the other. But they know that if he touches a hair on my children's heads he will never have contact again. Ever. I barely engage with him. Even if I'm in the same house I pretend he doesn't exist because he doesn't deserve any attention from me. It's better for the family this way but I'd actually prefer to have no contact with him at all. I know that when he dies I will feel free.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:32:36

MrRected, They see things very differently and perceive the reality differently - so any expectation that apologies/remorse/understanding might be forthcoming are totally unrealistic. and in fact, everything else you've said.

And Hissy, yes, yes, yes to everything you say at 13:21.

MrRected Sat 11-Jan-14 13:30:36

No idea Hissy. Will watch with interest.

Logg1e Sat 11-Jan-14 13:29:02

Using her own phrase, let's look at what Living said,

"In no way are you correct when you say each parent is always going to be the best parent they personally can be. Some are too blind to the truths around them that they shy away from the fact that they could, and should have done more."

If they were blind to to the fact that they could have done more, how could they? By your definition she was "blind" to alternatives or seeking help.

I work with parents who neglected their children due to their drug addictions. They put the purchase of drugs before the health and safety of their children. They prostituted themselves, with the children in the house, to earn money for drugs. And worse.
Given poverty and drug addiction the best they could do as a parent was tiny. Not enough. But that's all they could do.

"the best she could, but it wasn't the best she could have done" This is pretty much what I'm saying. A parent does the best they could do. It might not be the best that the person next door could manage.

So yes, I do find your comments inappropriate, insensitive and not helpful. It is too generalised for to state that all scenarios fit into the above two categories which is how it comes across. I am also not the only person to have said so. If that is not what you mean then please clarify further

I haven't said anyone else's coping strategies are wrong. I haven't said what works for me will work for you. I certainly haven't called them inappropriate, insensitive or bullshit. So, I question why some of you find it ok to tell others that what we find comforting and informative, bullshit.

Hissy Sat 11-Jan-14 13:21:55

I think it's helpful to think this 'best parent they could be' business.

To think anything else, to think that they did it on purpose means that, somehow, we deserved it, we'd done something that justified their 'inhumane shite'

We didn't. We didn't deserve any of it.

For their own reasons/fault, they chose to do this to us.

Getting to the 'why' is probably impossible. We just have to accept the truth, that it wasn't acceptable, but that it says nothing about us as people/children.

I'm on this particular roundabout, I logically understand what happened to me, not the 'why' because it wasn't me that 'did' anything. I cycle from hurt to rage, to sadness and then tranquillity.

I wanna get off the roundabout, but can't just yet.

Anyone know the way out? smile

livingzuid Sat 11-Jan-14 13:17:11

MrReacted I do see what you are both saying but I still don't agree with it and neither would my psychologist. But anyway not my thread smile so won't comment on that further.

Heaven knows how a parent can countenance abusing their own child as in apple's scenario and many others of course. If a third party abuser won't sometimes be acknowledged as real by a parent then I suppose there's no hope in your own abusive parent ever recognising they are abusers and I think she should definitely go NC. People like her M don't ever seem that interested in change, seeking professional help or developing self-reflective behaviour to try and improve.

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