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

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DontstepontheMomeRaths Tue 11-Feb-14 17:30:01

Thread opener here:
You may need to right-click and 'unblock' it after downloading it.

It's February 2014, 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
December 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.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Tue 11-Feb-14 17:30:32

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

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 11-Feb-14 17:42:25

Thanks for starting it, MomeRaths. I've been wanting to post a minor Gah all day, but didn't want to start a new thread (feel like a newbie).

Anyhow, Colleague pricked her ears up on hearing that I dropped my Maiden name like a shot because of not wanting anything to do with Dad or his family. Apparently I should get over it and talk to him, because I'll only ever have one father.

I refrained from telling her to go and take a running jump. My colleague who gets it stepped in and deflected her ire (she's had similar pointed comments about her relationship with her mother).

It makes me tired though. It seems like there'll always be people out there thinking that we cut our parents out happily and willingly and it's not an effort or a struggle and it's not a decision that we make over a lifetime of hurt.

So Gah.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Tue 11-Feb-14 17:44:56

Anyone is welcome to start a fresh one and we can all add in links etc later. Wouldn't want anyone to be without this support.

I was out last night blush And work etc is all a bit manic right now. Sorry again blush

DontstepontheMomeRaths Tue 11-Feb-14 17:48:46

Looking I don't even bother talking to people at work about my family. They don't get it at all and it makes me so frustrated and angry. They don't mean to I suppose, but they'll never understand.

I bet her ear wigging and then putting her oar in, made you feel a bit angry too.

Rant away.

LookingThroughTheFog Tue 11-Feb-14 18:00:57

It frustrates me no end. She's known that I haven't spoken to him, but I don't generally talk in the office, so she hasn't had an opening to give me her important opinions before. I'm usually quite careful, though I know she talks to a couple of my colleagues who do know about stuff about me. Fortunately, they are sensible people, so don't pass to her details of my therapy when she asks.

Actually, I'm getting cross about her again! Who does that? Who asks a colleague for details of why another colleague is going to therapy?

She's a weird one and no mistake.

Meerka Tue 11-Feb-14 18:23:56

it's very lonely when you have a shitty family. Isolating. you have the horrible experience in the first place but it also separates you from much more normal family life and (speaking for myself) separates you from most other people a little bit, except the ones who as you say, get it.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Tue 11-Feb-14 19:33:56

Sounds like she thrives on other peoples misfortune Looking

Bedtime1 Tue 11-Feb-14 20:42:04

Thanks don'tsteponmomeraths

HesterShaw Tue 11-Feb-14 21:13:22

DB and I were only saying today how impossible it is for "normal people" to get it.

He phoned her for the first time in about a year this evening. I'm afraid I must have been the catalyst for that. He poured out a lifetime of anger and hurt. She tried to protest but eventually listened, breaking down in tears and saying sorry. He told her she needs to do the same to me, but apparently the reason she and I aren't talking is because I "misconstrued" her behaviour. Speaks volumes doesn't it?

I found out something awful. When DB was in hospital after his suicide attempt, he was lying in his bed, staff busying themselves around him, neck in three pieces, and she told him she was ashamed of him. She meant for taking up the doctors and nurses' time after a self inflicted injury, but who does that? Jesus.

HesterShaw Tue 11-Feb-14 21:14:05

Your colleague sounds bizarre, Looking.

BadBadPuss Tue 11-Feb-14 21:18:22

Hello all, have lurked for a long while. Both myself and dh have had revelations recently following an argument with his family, more precisely his DB. Now it all becomes clear that he is a twisted covert narc. I always had a niggling in the back of my head about him, I even googled a couple of times thinking he was on some kind of spectrum. But he completely lacks empathy. I had even googled psychopath!

Anyway, dh had confronted him not realising this missing link of the jigsaw. Of course, db went on the attack, verbally, via email and through their parents. To cut a long story short, now I'm worried about what he could do. Once dh realised that he was a narc and that he would never win, he 'appologised' via email with the view to backing off slowly and not antagonising him. Dh has told me some chilling stories from his childhood and I do believe that he could easily not be here today if things had gone db's way and I don't say that lightly.

There is so much to this, I'm afraid of boring everyone. Since all this, there have been a couple of dodgy incidents on line, which could just be us being paranoid. I also don't want to give too many details either, not that anyone would recognise me but still...

Anyway, I guess I'm after some kind of reassurance (as much as possible) that I am being paranoid! We have decided to avoid db, which is quite easy because he lives in another country. However,we visit the IL's on a regular basis so I'm sure info will be going back and forth. We are going to make excuses not to visit when we know he is going to be there also. MIL is, I think the term, the enabler but also she has had her own MH issues and their childhood was pretty traumatic.

All this coupled with the fact that since the revelation, I realise my Dad was a narc (but less sophisticated and pretty stoopid actually). And both me and dh have realised that we are actually liberated from all the crap. I emailed my own db today with some info. I hope it helps him too.

Sorry am rambling. Any thoughts please?

BrennanHasAMangina Tue 11-Feb-14 22:05:13

Not sure if I'm in the right place but I've had a terrible row with my mother. It was about something relatively trivial but it just all came out...all the times she's done similar things in the past, her emotional detachment and utterly selfish, narcissistic behaviour. We usually just sweep disagreements under the rug but this time I've just had it and had to tell her that I was done with it all. I feel adrift. A strange combination of relief and grief. We're moving overseas in a few weeks, so terrible timing but it's kind of wrapped up in that as well. Sorry, not very coherent. Am having wine. Just needed a vent.

BadBadPuss Tue 11-Feb-14 22:14:50

Brennan - how strange, we are about to move too. Maybe it's not bad timing but very good timing. I'd hold on to the relief if I were you!

BrennanHasAMangina Tue 11-Feb-14 22:40:40

You might be right Bad. I'm sure there's something to do with our moving wrapped up in her behaviour but we've never been close and she's disinterested in my children, so it's not that. It's more like this constant need to rain on my parade or throw a spanner in the works, so to speak. I know lots of people that have done big moves and had nothing but support and positive encouragement from their families, pride and promises to visit etc. We haven't had any of's all doom and gloom and hand-wringing and telling us that she "can't sleep for worrying about us" (completely irrational).

Your BIL sounds like a nutter...what a relief he doesn't live nearby and sounds like your DH did the right thing by trying to diffuse things. Probably best to not engage in any kind of discussion about him or the situation with your MIL as it's bound to get back to him. In my situation, my Dad is the enabler...he's a pretty smart guy but he's let her get away with absolutely outrageous behaviour in the past and must think it's normal.

Hissy Tue 11-Feb-14 22:52:06

Oh I had the tearful goodbyes and godawful St Christopher pendant

Didn't stop her ignoring me for 2-3 weeks at a time if she knew I was struggling/homesick/being abused by 'im indoors.
They luuuurrvvve the drama, but their drama only. Not ours. Never ours.

BadBadPuss Tue 11-Feb-14 23:07:48

God so spot on Hissy and Brennan! Yes the move has shaken shit up with DHs family because ILs had helped us out financially.

Brennan - yes BIL is a nutter! And he's way beyond help. It scares me what dh has told me. My intuition has been right all this time. But seeing as it was family, I'd discounted it! Shit!

BadBadPuss Tue 11-Feb-14 23:09:16

BIL had used gas lighting along with MIL - perhaps not consciously. So all the things that happened - DH thought he was imagining/forgetting, very very scary

BadBadPuss Tue 11-Feb-14 23:12:01

Sorry BIL used gas lighting consciously but I think MIL used it unconsciously. Very tangled web. And then I have my own family shit to sort out. However, it's relatively simple in comparison.

birdmomma Wed 12-Feb-14 07:11:23

Both times I have done big moves, once down to Cornwall, and then on to New Zealand, my Dad has attempted to exert financial control and then finally engineered a massive falling out, right in the middle of the stress and planning. Big moves seem to upset toxic parents a lot.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Wed 12-Feb-14 08:02:38

Do you think it's because you're breaking away from their clutches so to speak? And it'd be harder to exert control over you, if you're further away?

Or because the move is about you, not them?

Off to do the School run shortly and then work. Be back later.

Meerka Wed 12-Feb-14 08:31:57

BigBad, I don't discount what you say. There are some truly dangerous people around and some very, very subtly evil people .. thankfully not as many as some would have you believe.

If you really believe that your BIL could have tried to put your husband in a situation where he did not survive, to speak plainly, and if he's vengeful, then I think you have to be extremely careful. Not that he'd try anything like that now, but the poison campaigns that such people wage can be life-destroying anyway.

You and your husband need to commnicate with each other every step of the way, even apparently irrelevant things. I also think that it may be necessary to go non-contact with anyone in his family who is close to his brother. That includes his mother, who may not be deliberately malicious but who will pass information on. If there is genuine risk of BIL attacking you to make your lives miserable, you have to think self-protectively and very carefully.

Be ready for on line attacks yes; and for rumours etc. For financial problems.

Also, if you can, take the view that this may well be unnecessary. What's that old proverb? "trust in God but tie your camel up first".

I'm sorry not to be more reassuring but very sadly, this malicious behaviour does very occasionally surface and given that you reallly believe your husband might not have been here and that there are incidents that have made your blood run cold, I think that you are better off being sensibly-cautious.

Meerka Wed 12-Feb-14 08:33:41

mome I personally think that people moving away from toxic parents is a threat to their perceived dominance yeah. I suspect that one of the tricks they use to themselves if someone tries to break free is that "they'll learn and come crawling back eventually and won't they be sorry and listen to me then" and someone moving away is seen as making that less likely

BadBadPuss Wed 12-Feb-14 09:02:12

Thanks all. I think the reason it's all kicked off is that ILs have helped us out financially and someone said up thread, the move is about us not him.

We were considering going non contact with the whole family as my DH knows that he will just blurt stuff out, honest to a fault. I think that if we back away slowly and don't antagonise him then we should be ok. We are being very vigilant. DH this morning said he's scared.

I think though that he wants to protect his position in their family. I've always wondered why he visits home so often, it's because his DM will put up with his shit. FIL will not intervene. He has hit FIL before, when he was about 60 odd and he was in his 20s. I asked DH why and he said that FIL has disagreed with him. He plays MIL like a fiddle and piles guilt on her to keep her in her place. We know that when FIL dies (he's elderly now) he will move in on MIL and just completely control her. He will convince her to change her will and he'll get the lions share if not all cutting out DH and his DSis. It's scary shit.

I would like to talk about what he did to DH when they were young, just getting up the courage.

Meerka Wed 12-Feb-14 09:12:05

bigbadpuss, questoin: is there any chance at all that he will recognise you on here somehow? If there is, then be careful posting. If not, then post away smile

again, I do believe you because I know that while it's thank god rare, there are a very few people who behave like this and they usually get away with it because they are very clever at it. It's hard to even see what's going on, unless you know the signs.

Have you spoken to SIL? does she have the same feelings? Im not suggesting you could band agaisnt BIL becuase I don't think you could; but if she's a sensible person she might be able to see what's likely to happen and you can support each other. If she's likely to fall under his influence too, keep well clear.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 12-Feb-14 11:30:15

Sorry to those of you getting a difficult reaction from colleagues etc. I tend to keep my family shit under wraps because people just don't understand - I'm protecting myself because I have to not being a hitch cos I like the drama.

Anyway I'm having some rumblings I just need to get out. I find writing things here helps me feel less panicked. I've been nc for 2 years. I've known my family wasn't normal for at least a decade - anyway f is a narc, m died a long time ago was an enabler at least nit sure about the rest. 2 sisters who have their damage. I'm the person who doesn't matter in my birth family, I can suck up the insults be called on at the last minute, etc. I wasn't happy with this but put up w it until my life went nuts. My dd is severelying disabled and h was diagnosed w life limiting illness. Went on holiday w my family and got treated as bottom of pile as usual - people aannoyed w us for not fitting in around their schedules and participating - dd was 2! Big fall out f writes email going on about how I'm making a big deal about issues and should be less bitter and angry.
So it's 2 years later nc has been really good to me. It's allowed real supportive relationships to flourish, given me insights and perspective. I do feel perhaps I should have some perfunctory contact w my f - mainly for faith reasons - I would want to find a way to respect him as my f even tho I don't like or love him and suspect that won't change as he won't change. But I'm scared of being sucked back in. A few months above called in the spirit of this kind of contact and had a brief talk. He then sent me an email thanking me for the call because of all the worry and stress he's had over this. That made me see how self centred he is and I backed off sharpish
Now we got a diagnosis for our dd. It's really bad so I informed f and sisters by email. So there have been calls and I'mruffled by it. My f called Monday - I told him I was v busy ( was just prepping teaching) and said I'm usually in 5:30-7:30 and that phones had been broken last month but fixed now. I missed a call from him that evening. The next day he calls at 4:30, I pick up say I'm at work and can't talk just then but would be Home in an hour or so . Then he starts on about how he'd called previous day at that time and not got hold of me. I interrupted him saying I'm at work and hung up. Sat in office feeling angry and sick.I'm not entirely sure why it gave me such a whoosh of anger but it's this sense that I'm supposed to wait on his call. On the other hand I would have been that short to someone else - tho I don't think someone else would have the expectation that I'd stay on the phone when I've already said I can't talk...
I don't know what to do w this - I just don't want him riling me or this feeling that I'm slipping into old habits of behavior. I do feel I should do something other than just run away but I hate the feeling I have now

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 12:41:35

bigbad do you think you are being cyberstalked?

Could you get your PC checked out for key logger/malware? Change all passwords and ideally block this monster from everything. If FB is an issue, set up a new page and leave him and the family alone on there, migrate all the others, put them on restricted view too.

You/DH leaving the stage is extremely frightening for these narc types, they are terrified at losing their control of you//your family.

Expect worse before it gets better, do whatever it takes to protect yourselves. call the police without a second thought if you are scared of physical harm, or if you encounter proof of hacking etc.

Meerka Wed 12-Feb-14 13:02:39

firsttimer it sounds from the outside as though at -this- point, its not actually too bad with your family. What's difficult is your feelings around them. Is it possible to step back and detach a bit and simply not take any expectations of calls too seriously?

This sounds easy, but every single person on this thread knows it's not. This detachment means giving up hope that your family will be there as the supportive, helpful people that families should be. They havent been and they almost certainly won't be.

Letting them know about your daughter's diagnosis (I am so sorry, it sounds as though she's in a very bad situation) is more courtesy than active communication with hope of emotional or practical support, in these circumstances. Look to your partner or friends for support, not them.

I'm so sorry that your daughter is so ill.

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 13:38:56

I too am so sorry to hear about your dd firsttimer

I agree with Meerka

Can you sit yourself down and ask yourself what you contacted them for? why did you feel you had to?

You know that it wasn't for their unstinting support. If it was just to inform them, then consider that box ticked.

You know that the calls your F is making is for HIS benefit, not yours, so if he can't respect you enough to call you about 6pm, then tbh, you don't need the aggro.

distance, detach, delete....

you can do this, we do know how hard this is, just dig deep and you will get there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Feb-14 14:47:55

Very sorry also Firsttimer to read about your DD.

I would certainly agree with Meerka about the detach and ignore part of her posting.

How supportive or otherwise have your sisters been?.

With regards to your father I would not contact him again; what he has done since you renewed contact was to disregard any boundary you cared to set ie the times you are available. He called earlier and more likely than not did that deliberately as well. He will go on to make this all about him. He does not give a fig for any of you, only his own self.

BadBadPuss Wed 12-Feb-14 15:23:17

Thanks all, I think DH might be being cyberstalked, can't say yet. BIL is a computer expert and we suspect that he's bugged the ILs computer. Also, sorry forgot the pps name but I am getting slightly worried about being recognised but I don't think he would look for me...but still.

We've already checked for microphones because he visited us a little while ago sorry that's just being paranoid...god I don't know. We have thought of the bug on the computer but he's not had physical access to any of our computers. I am afraid of saying too much. Bugger!

DontstepontheMomeRaths Wed 12-Feb-14 15:23:24

First timer I noted your comment about faith. I go to Church but firmly believe I shouldn't be in contact with abusive people. I don't hate my Dad. He is what he is but for my own emotional well being, not seeing him is the right thing to do. It's too upsetting for me when I do have contact tbh. He'll never change, he'd be fine for awhile but sure enough it would all kick off again and I'd be the scapegoat as usual. I'm not prepared to suffer that anymore and I don't think any 'God' would want that for me either. It crushes my self esteem, it creates huge stress in my life, it can make me ill with worry and cause me not to sleep. So I've decided to protect myself.

I haven't got any advice really but I do understand a little. If he does become more difficult and you continue to feel angry when you speak, please don't feel guilty at backing off and going nc again. You need to look after you here.

Madonnaquintessential Wed 12-Feb-14 15:36:55

Posted here not so ling back regarding drama with inlaws. Some have suugested I post on this thread too? Any sdvice aporeciated ! :
Since that post things escalated - so basically MIL and SIL are not speaking to me. My dh is speaking to MIL but not sis. I feel quite low about it all - wary too. I recently went on ADs which helped massively... Now i feel a real knockback has occured in my psyche. I want to get along with Inlaws for dhs sake but they are very difficult. MIL is hyprochondriac, depressed drama queen. (Harsh , but true ) sil is basically a mouthy, aggresive chav ( again, harsh- but it os the best way to describe her) I am no snob believe me ... But sil takes chav to new level ! Despite rest of fam being well mannered, decent people etc
After a big fall out of mil interfering again, my sil threatened to smack me one ! ( its like jetemy kyle lol ) God help me!
Mil wants me and dh to split and sil has spread lies that we are using our dd as a weapon ( total lie! Never would!)
All of this is incredibly immature amd pathetic, but unfortunately I am in the middle of it as his family seem to hate me (despite whole thing being started by my dh storming out on me .)
So basically... What do i do? What would you do? Is it wrong to not want to speak to them again? Just want whats best for dd...

Firsttimer7259 Wed 12-Feb-14 15:48:03

Thanks for responses. I've been nc for 2 years and it works for me. The sheer amount of disturbance this is causing just now makes me wonder if I can really handle anything arms length I don't have hope or really wish for relationships w any of them - but I worry about what God wants from me. I don't believe he wants me harmed but I need to forgive and I need to honour my father - not for his qualities as a person but just because he is my father. I wrestle w how to do this without getting sucked into a nasty web

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Feb-14 16:30:19


re your comment:-
"I don't believe he wants me harmed but I need to forgive and I need to honour my father - not for his qualities as a person but just because he is my father"

God certainly does not want you harmed.

But you do not have to honour or forgive him to my mind (and I am quite religious also) simply because he is your father. He being your father is simply not a good enough reason to do so. When has this man ever honoured you or even respected your own wishes exactly?. I do not think he understands forgiveness or even knows what it is either. Your father only cares for his own self, he thinks that other people are there purely to serve him. You do not have to be in contact with abusive people because they are family.

Looking after you in such circumstances is perfectly acceptable, you can and should protect your own self from malign influences.

bethcutler13 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:47:29

I don't know where to post... can anyone help me with this? I've been pointed towards this board for guidance.
here is my original post

bethcutler13 Wed 12-Feb-14 16:47:49

Meerka Wed 12-Feb-14 17:49:43

beth they sound dreadful. Um .... what are the chances of you going totally NC?

they are appalling to your husband, to you, and they cannot possibly be good for your daughter. "gold" to her comes with some absolutely massive strings attached, doesn't it?

I WILL tell you the worst that can happen...that is your DD spends so much time with them she gets brain washed, they gets their hooks into her and expetc to see her lots more. the lady who posted that had it right.

This is intolerable for you. Your partner needs to side with you, not them. YOu need to know for sure that he will. If not, im afraid that your doubts about marriage are justified. Your inlaws won't change, but only get worse.

madonna I hope someone will be along shortly to give you some support ... afraid I'm strugglign with preg nausea yet again and can't post more

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Feb-14 18:34:24


There is simply no reasoning with such disordered and dysfunctional people like your ILs. Emotionally healthy people in no way act like his parents do. MIL could likely have some form of untreatable personality disorder; it is not your fault she is this way. Her H in all this is her willing enabler and just as toxic.

The only thing you can do here is detach completely from them and ignore and attempts they make to pull you back in - that is known as hoovering.

All this may seem drastic but it is truly necessary to do if you want to keep your own family unit intact.

If they are too difficult for you to deal with, they are certainly too toxic for your both vulnerable and defenceless child. She should not have any contact with them at all. If they cannot or will not behave then cut them off altogether; these two anyway have had more than enough chances and you (coming from a family yourself which is not dysfunctional like this) have acted in the normal manner i.e acting more than reasonable towards them.

You would not be depriving your child of grandparents because these two are dysfunctional and emotionally abusive towards her own mother and father.

Your ILs will not change; you can only change how you yourself react to them. Your DH is mired in FOG which is a common legacy of such damaged people; fear, obligation, guilt. He has his own path to follow which will be just as hard if not harder than yours.

I would also suggest you read "Toxic Inlaws" by Susan Forward to further recognise the dynamics.

bethcutler13 Wed 12-Feb-14 18:50:38

I can physically deal with them, it is however incredibly stressful and my oh's inability to say no to his mum is starting to cause arguments because I take it that he would rather hurt me than say no to his mum (I know o shouldn't) and I feel frustrated because I don't feel it's my place to tell them myself.
I can't see myself coping with the way they are now forever, especially when they move back home. doesn't help that they're mlt just awkward people but they've hurt me so much in the past I can't stand to be around them, I can literally feel my blood boiling and my heart racing when im in their company and I think the cracks in my friendly act are starting to show. guess I'm running out of patience. just want to cry actually.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Feb-14 18:57:55


Do not let such disordered people grind you down any longer. They cannot hurt you if you completely disengage from them.

You do not have to physically deal with them any more; they can and should be cut out of your life as of now. These people do not have any sort of grandparents rights with regards to their granddaughter either and I would keep her away from them. Some people really should not be allowed access to their grandchildren; these two are a case in point.

Your man's loyalty should be to you and his child; not his parents. He does not need to seek their approval any more; that is probably what he is still looking for from them. He is very much in FOG with regards to his parents, his mother in particular. A lifetime of such conditioning is hard to break and it will take him a long time. He has to realise that he is hurting his own family unit here by not being able to stand up to them.

Such people like his parents never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.

Do read the book I recommended as well as the resources at the start of this thread.

bethcutler13 Wed 12-Feb-14 19:04:06

I will order the book off amazon for sure. thank you. and I've had a good ppok at the information on here.
here's me feeling guilty for things turning out like this and me thinking about cutting them off, I'm as bad as my must have got to me.too! hmm

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 12-Feb-14 19:23:00

Firsttimer, I just wanted to come back to you on the God thing. I'm religious too, and occasionally that whole 'honour thy father...' commandment eases its way into my mind, along with the turn the other cheek and forgiveness things. My very religious brother does believe in that one, and he comments that it is 'right' for children to honour their parents., though he's not stupid enough to push me on that point.

The thing is though; I honestly do not believe that the God I love, the God I believe in, puts that much stock on a tiny sperm.

That's what Dad had to provide to be my dad. That tiny, microscopic thing. I cannot believe that that thing ties him to me regardless and forever. I do not believe that God values the provider-of-sperm more than he values me. I believe in his eyes, my father and I are equal; I am not lesser.

Moreover, when the scripture talks about parents and their children, I believe that the emphasis is on the role, rather than the biology. I think parents are awesome - the care, the energy, the wisdom they pass down to their children; I think they're phenomenal. So I read the 'honour thy parents...' as being 'honour those people who nurture, care, encourage and teach you...' If your parents are taking from you, rather than giving you strength and independence, then they're not really worthy of the parent name.

To my mind, I am his child (God's), and he loves me. He would not want for me to be hurt or pained or even disrespected by another person, whether that the person who provided the sperm or not.

Madonnaquintessential Wed 12-Feb-14 19:36:16

Any feedback for me!? The latest is my MIL arranged her shifts to mind my dd on a sat. Due to unpreditable weather and us not speaking it seems pointless to keep to it being a sat that she sees my dd. So dh is arrangin to see her frid with dd toi. I know i will be getting slated as i am not taking my dd up sat as planned again- but i cannot gauruntee weather ( if stormy i am not walking the 50 mins to her house with dd) plus we are not speaking. I just dont want to be seen as cruel keeping her gd from her esspecially as she areanged her shifts so she could mind my dd on a sat. Again though; she did this for her benifit too as it means she gets to see dd more and has company on a day off. She just started arranging it all and i went along with it like an idiot - not really caring if she minds dd on a sat or not ( as dh can mind her on a sund anyway while i do the lil job i do) i care too mich what people think!
I would go as far to say it is easier for me to do the job on a sund anyway as my dh can drop me there and back, therfor i do not have to walk 50 min there and back with my dd. I know for a fact mil was adamant we did this so she was still kept in the loop- seeing us lots and hopefully gettin invites to stay over (i could this by the wy she kept hinting that we cAn walk back together to mines after and she could stay over some weekends)
This all sounds harsh and presumptuous- but in the context ( which is her being an interfering/ imposing nightmare) it is not i assure you! Why am i so scared what everyone will think of me!? Its just so hard because she is such a conving blabber mouth victem i just know she will contort this to be alk about how awful i am again and poor her again sad

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 19:42:56

maddona why is contact between mil and dd so vigorously maintained when she's too toxic for you?

Why is your dh enabling contact with people that enable you to be threatened with physical harm?

Get a proper childminder and tell them that when they know how to behave, you'll reconsider, but atm you're trying to raise a successful adult, and having such dysfunctional people around your little girl won't help.

ok, so that statement's not likely to happen, but somehow you have every right to think it and protect your dd.

Madonnaquintessential Wed 12-Feb-14 20:20:34

Thanks for reply. It was the sil that threatened violence not mil. Mil is just a pain in the arse but she not toxic for dd- dd is 10 mo ths and mil adores her and very good with her. When dd older and capable of userstamding the crap she can talk i would then ask her to not do so or there would be no contact. At te moment that just seems a bit ott. Dh would be distraught too if his mum couldnt see her.
I wan dd to have a gran in her life as i mever did, but mil is going to need to change big time of dd is going to be around her when old enough to understand her martyr behaviour...

MommyBird Wed 12-Feb-14 20:54:27

Can i just ask a quick question?

If a Grandparent takes you to court for access, what proof do they need?
MIL is toxic (posted a few times. She has got into contact and threatened to 'see you soon', just abit worried she will try and take us to court.)

bethcutler13 Wed 12-Feb-14 21:01:11

Apparently I do have to physically deal with them! partner has just told me he doesn't think his parents mean to be the way they are and wants to continue to try and "comprise". I don't know how much longer I can stand them and now he's made me feel like im being over the top. hmm

MommyBird Wed 12-Feb-14 21:08:49

You dont have to see them. He cannot force you to spend time with them.

He is welcome to see as thats his choice. Regarding your DC limit contact as much as you can.

bethcutler13 Wed 12-Feb-14 21:13:24

true, thanks smile if you ever need any advice/just want to vent give me a shout. smile smile

MommyBird Wed 12-Feb-14 21:14:34

Thank you! Same goes for you too grin

Mishmashfamily Wed 12-Feb-14 21:20:33

Hello! << waves >>

I've been NC with my 'mother' for around six years. It's the best thing I did but I still have moments of wanting to visit to show her 'how well I'm doing' hmm once I've opened that can of worms though I can't put it back.

My db has gone NC as well but he bore the brunt of her behaviour as I was able to move out early.

I don't know how much was mental illness or just narc.

She 'tried' to hang herself on every significant birthday me an db had. She is still here.

No one speaks to her any more and I'm worried she will die lonely - how pathetic is that?

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 21:27:25

MommyBird, for court proceedings to even be allowed to be considered, there has to be permission granted by the court.

If she's had next to zero contact with your dc, she hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of even being granted permission to seek court time.

Relax. GP have practically zero rights where our dc are concerned.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 12-Feb-14 21:28:44


I can only reiterate what Hissy wrote earlier to you.

Re your comment:-
"Thanks for reply. It was the sil that threatened violence not mil. Mil is just a pain in the arse but she not toxic for dd- dd is 10 mo ths and mil adores her and very good with her. When dd older and capable of userstamding the crap she can talk i would then ask her to not do so or there would be no contact. At te moment that just seems a bit ott. Dh would be distraught too if his mum couldnt see her.
I wan dd to have a gran in her life as i mever did, but mil is going to need to change big time of dd is going to be around her when old enough to understand her martyr behaviour"

You are unfortunately wrong re your MIL; she is toxic and her DD your SIL is out of the same mould as her mother.

Your DD is 10 months old now, you want to entrust your precious child at all with such awful people?. You simply cannot do that to her. She is not repeat not just a PITA.

Re this part of your comment from the above:-
"When dd older and capable of understanding the crap she can talk i would then ask her to not do so or there would be no contact"

That would not happen because you cannot stand up to her now and nor can your H. Your MIL could well ignore you then if you did say anything and would likely do so, also the damage by MIL is then done. I realise that you yourself did not have a grandmother in your life and I am sincerely sorry but that is not a reason for your DD to have any contact with her grandmother now. Your DD needs decent positive role models, not a woman who does you both down at any opportunity. She herself is not decent grandmother material because she cannot treat her son or you at all with any shred of decency. Emotionally healthy people never act in the ways your MIL has done.

Some grandparents really shouldn’t be allowed access to their grandchildren.

A percentage of the general population is dysfunctional and/or abusive. That percentage, like everyone else, has children. Then those children grow and have children of their own. The not-so-loving grandparents expect to have a relationship with their grandchildren. The only problem is, they’re not good grandparents.

Many adult children of toxic parents feel torn between their parents’ (and society’s) expectation that grandparents will have access to their grandkids, and their own unfortunate first hand knowledge that their parents are emotionally/physically/sexually abusive, or just plain too difficult to have any kind of healthy relationship with.

The children’s parents may allow the grandparents to begin a relationship with their children, hoping that things will be different this time, that their parents have really changed, and that their children will be emotionally and physically safer than they themselves were.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, because most abusive people have mental disorders of one kind or another, and many of these disorders are lifelong and not highly treatable. (Others are lifelong and treatable; however, many people never seek the necessary help.)

The well-intentioned parent ends up feeling mortified for having done more harm than good by hoping things would somehow be different — instead of having a child who simply never knew their grandparents and who was never mistreated, they have an abused child who is now also being torn apart by the grief involved in having to sever a lifelong relationship with the unhealthy people they are very attached to.

Do not let yourself be that well intentioned parent.

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 21:30:21

madonna if sil threatens to batter you and mil does Fuck all to stop it, or to sort sil out, if she carries on enabling, then she's no better than chavtastic sil.

If mil is toxic for you, then sure as eggs are eggs, when your dd grows just enough to be moulded. She'll start filling your child's head with shite.

She'll undermine and sideline you.

Act now and you won't have the history to break. Think smart here.

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 21:33:49

Ha ha, I wrote my post thinking 'should I just let Atilla answer that, cos she'll do it oh so much better than I will'

Then I told myself 'no, don't be lazy, do your best and tell Madonna what you think.

Happy Cross-post!

So. ^ what Atilla said smile

MommyBird Wed 12-Feb-14 21:43:02

She was "supposed" to see her once a week. That happened on and off. She'd come one week then cancel 2/3 weeks.

In the weeks leading up us cutting contact she didnt come down for 8 weeks running as we didnt have time on a weekend for her to visit and she couldnt get a lift. be bothered

Can she say she used to come down every week? Even though she didnt?

Dd2 has met her on the day she was born and a week after.

MommyBird Wed 12-Feb-14 21:44:25

*to come down in the week.

Btw dd2 is 6 months.
She has absolutley no relationshion with her at all.

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 21:47:02

Don't lose a nanosecond's sleep over it.

NO chance! None whatsoever!

MommyBird Wed 12-Feb-14 21:56:21


Its been worrying me so much. I know how she thinks. She honestly believes she is the one who has been treated badly.
I just want to protect my little ones. I dont want them picked up and dropped again and again.

When she didnt come down for those 8 weeks it was more or less when i was due/had dd2 and we had a newborn. We was getting guilt trips over texts and MIl and FIL putting the pressure on. Making it all about mil and how we was being awkward.

The texts are still on DHs phone but because of his update on iphone they won't load. It would just make me feel alot better if we had the proof of the texts. All we have are just the ones cutting contact.

But im guessing if MIL went to see a someone about access she would need to show evidence? Texts are all there is so she would need to show them?

Sorry about the essay. I just want to know about these things and have some infomation in my head just incase. my anixtey is obviously not helping things!

Hissy Wed 12-Feb-14 23:00:26

See here:

Madonnaquintessential Thu 13-Feb-14 07:46:27

Thanks so much Hissy and Attia smile you guys are fab! Are you counsellers or something lol!? You sure know your stuff! My dh still loves his mother, i should say my mil did appararntly phone sil and tell her to stop all her drama (but thete been many times sil has been rude etc and mil has do sweet F A!) infact mil only tends to bemoan sil when sil has done an i justice to HER! Otherwise, she turns a blind eye.
Despite all this I still feel no contact with mil (regatding dd) is extreme (despite deep down wanting this) plus dh loes his mother very much- im scared it would tear us apart (exaclty what inlaws desire!)
Thanks you guys, I just dont know how to do this... Its scary!!

bethcutler13 Thu 13-Feb-14 07:51:56

mommybird wpuld just like to say your mil is a carbon copy of mine! I sympathise with you. one word...

Madonnaquintessential Thu 13-Feb-14 07:59:59

I should say I am relatively young too ... So I do feel all of this is a tad daunting... I think I will gain more confidence in my decisions when older. Not making excuses hete, metely explaining the scenario a little more! But it isall good learning, life lessons!

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 08:20:30

Madonna, I am not young and still regularly question all my decisions! I had a wobble before Christmas and people here reminded me that I'd already made the difficult decision, and to just leave it there.

I'm not saying; it doesn't get easier. I'm just saying don't be too hard on yourself. Choosing to remove yourself from any part of your family is a huge, gut-wrenching decision and isn't one that anyone takes lightly in the end.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 08:24:24

One thing that really does suck about having trouble with inlaws (other than just having the trouble with them, which sucks majorly on its own) is this being on the sideline, waiting for things to be resolved or sorted one way or the other.

SIL1 has had her baby. There's the potential for things to be seriously wrong with him, he is ill right with the potential for long-term life consequences, but the stats on it show it as a small risk and he'll hopefully be fine. Lines of communication got opened between SIL1 and DH whilst she was in labour. DH (from what I can tell) wants to have a relationship with his nephew, he still wants to get on with SIL1, but things are still very sour with MIL. He's said outright things will never be the same with her again, and I'm sure they won't be. I know he feels bad and depressed, if we do maintain communication with SIL1 then I've no idea how that will go for visiting seeing as she lives with MIL. Nephew was born 4 days ago, we were told on the first day how things were but that was it - we didn't learn about how serious his condition was from either SIL1 or MIL (in fact he's not spoken to MIL). DH hasn't enquired at all about his health. I know sooner or later this is going to blow up on us, and I can't help but think - if you want to have a relationship with your sister, showing no concern or interest in her quite severely ill newborn boy is not going to go well for you right now. I can already hear the fights, "you didn't give a shit, you never called or texted us, blah blah blah". If she's the one in hospital, worrying about her son, then it probably is on DH to make the enquiries isn't it? Or to at least ask how he's doing, that is the normal expectation isn't it - for other people to do the asking?

If the lines of communication hadn't been opened it would be different, but now that they have the boundaries feel all fuzzy. I texted her myself after he was born and worried lots at the time, not knowing if I was going to get yelled at or put down. As it happens she was calm and civil, as if nothing had happened at all, and just told me about how he was and how she was sad she hadn't even gotten to hold him yet. I haven't texted since - partly because DH hasn't (divided we stand, united we fall, I'd rather fall with him if that's what comes to it), partly because I'm still worried I'll be put down or it will later just be used against me somehow (even though I know not texting also will). And it is a mixup of emotions. Her having a baby, even an ill one, doesn't change all the things that have been said, or how I'm seen or treated by this family. It doesn't even mean I want to engage with them all that much. But I would at least like to know he's ok. In spite of how I've felt about them I've never wanted their baby to be ill or for them to be going through this sort of grief, I can only imagine how hard it is.

I feel very impotent right now. I don't know what to do for the best. I worry that DH's not actively showing he cares or is concerned is going to aggravate things or be thrown in his face if and when he starts trying to make more contact about his nephew. I think he will want things to go back to normal at some point, when he's ready for it. I know he's processing a lot right now and must be going through all sorts of grief.

It just sucks, that's all.

Madonnaquintessential Thu 13-Feb-14 08:38:09

Thanks looking smile that puts things in perspective a little more! A daunting process, is a daunting process. (Regardless of age, creed, colour etc...)
I 'll get there... Anyone tried Al-Anon here?.

Dizzy your situation sounds hard. I am very sorry to hear of your ill newborn nephew. Your Could oerhaps gently suggest your dh enquires about his nephews health?? I mean I am no expert in inlaws ( as you can see , haha) but I agree with you it makes sense for him to ask if he is in contact anyway. Boundaries getting fuzzy are definately an experience if mine too! I also agree, as it inlaws, I can feel s bit on the sideline too ... This is hard as you do not have much control - wel that is how I feel anyway.

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 09:52:27

Thank you for that. She has nothing. Asbolutley nothing for any proof of a relationship.

Im so happy i found this thread. In a twisted way, im so glad there are other people going through the same. I dont feel crazy anymore or lonely.

MIL has the gift of creating drama where there is none then making herself the victim.
I'd never met a person like her in my whole life. I thought it was all in my head.
She would say she only gets to see DD1 once a week, and she is the only nan who has to make an appoitment to see her grandchild. We are stopping her being a grandparent blah blah blah.
She expected DH to take dd up everyday. When she was tiny DH was up there 2/3 times a week just to avoid arguments till i put my foot down and broke down about my PND.
She STILL thought we was being awful. I thought we was being the awkward and being horrible for keeping dd1 away from her!

It was so bad. Then once DH saw how much it was effecting us he told me its easier to do that than have these rows. Thankfully it stopped. MIL was a smoker and dd1 used to stink of it when she came home. Once the ADs kicked in and i saw things with a clear head i asked her not smoke a few hours before we came up and while we was there.
She refused and told us not to being dd up.
We didnt.
We had texts after a week telling us how ill she had made herself as she thought she wasnt going to see dd again.

So much other stuff happened.

I cant believe i let it go on for almost 4 years.
I was so weak!

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 10:29:51

Not weak, Mommy. You were hookwinked by an abuser who made you question everything and take the blame onto yourself. Don't attack yourself for that.

To make things harder, it wasn't your mother. As hard as it is for us to turn around and say 'no more' to our parents, it's harder still to ask our partners to do that. They have to be able to make the decision for themselves.

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 10:42:09

Exactly! DH was used to her. I wasnt. Coming from a fairly normal family, it was such a shock.

When dds was born. My parents helped us, our way, whatever we needed. MIL wasnt intersted in helping us or what was best for us. Just her. It was all about her. I felt so suffocated and she really contributed to my PND.

Its amazing what you can see from the outside looking in.

By the end of it DH was and still is fuming with her. He wants nothing to do with her. He told me she is dysfunctional and "why do you think none of the family talk to her?" And thats her ONLY child?

Surely you'd think that even if your only son has disowned you, something isnt right?

I also think she has narc personality traits after reading another thread.

It us upsetting thinking about how much she is missing out on, her thinking she has done nothing wrong and we're being unfair. If only she could take a good look in the mirror.

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 10:50:20

Surely you'd think that even if your only son has disowned you, something isnt right?

The thing is, their go-to response is that they're in the right, being hard done to, and they are the victim. They literally can't imagine a world where they've done something wrong.

I've read so many responses here and on other threads where the person involved as asked for 'bygones to be bygones' or said they really don't know what they've done wrong. This is the mindset.

Father dearest is relatively benign as far as toxic parents go. He does leave me alone, which is such a blessing (I'm not very strong under attack) but his firmly held belief is that I am wrong, and the therapy I'm going through will help me to see how very wrong I am. They will help me to forgive him. I think that's probably what he's waiting for - for therapy to 'fix' me so that I can return to worshipping him.

It's painful. He still comes out with 'I never did that to her...' and I think 'I was there! I'm not lying! It happened.' In his mind, it literally didn't happen. If, on the rare occasion he accepts that something happened, it's not his fault because of things that happened to him, so he doesn't need to apologise for it, and it wasn't that bad really, in comparison to the amount he's suffered.

But most often, the way he sees reality is quite, quite different to the way I see reality.

I work with a narc. I don't often speak to her after one conversation years and years ago, when I tentatively suggested that she see it from her son's point of view. She said; 'but he doesn't have a point of view! What I say happened is what happened!'

That's the mentality we're dealing with. Even if the facts are as reported, the idea that they might emotionally effect someone else in any way is just not accepted.

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 11:18:01

Its interesting isn't it? In an odd way.
To think that people actually think like this? That they hold themselves so high above anyone else and what they say, is right and that is that.

MIL does the 'i dont even know what ive done wrong!' Seriously? You have no idea?!
Then once explained. Its somehow not their fault, because of thing you have donr aswell.

Their behaviour is just mind blowing.
Also the 'i havn't done/said that' is the most annoying. As they have. And they what, dont remember it? Or won't admit it?

MIL just went into attack mode on dd1s birthday on FB (deleted and blocked now).
Didnt even bother to ask how dd was, wish her a happy birthday or whatever. Just how upset she was and how horrible we are.
She really tried to guilt trip me and accuse me of getting my infomation wrong. When i stood up for myself and told her she was wrong. She treatened me!
She said she would see me soon. That was over a week ago now.

Ive noticed she is very good with words. She likes to tell us how much she loves the dds, her son, how she will do/buy them xyz...then she never does.
Shes all talk and no actions. Anything that means SHE has to take responserbility for something she cant be bothered to do.
Is that normal for people like them?

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 12:40:55

Thanks madonna. I do feel in some ways I just want to tell him to get on with it and contact her, but I've had enough with getting involved and being the one to try and do damage control on their relationships. I don't like feeling like a meddling wife, plus really, how do I even know if it's the right thing to do?

Ditto what Looking has said, they really don't seem able to comprehend that they in any way may have done something wrong, it is always us! Even if you bring up facts and try to hand-hold them through explaining the logical processes they still don't get it, I don't think they're psychologically able to. With the latest fight MIL vehemently denies saying anything nasty or unfair to FIL's gf. As soon as DH apologises out come the attacks on FIL's gf, saying how vile and awful she was, accusing her of things that really are just plain bollocks. But no, MIL doesn't have an issue with the woman at all and would never have made a dig at her hmm

"All talk and no action" definitely rings bells with MIL. She very often would talk big about how she was going to do this or that, such as getting us a new freezer for Christmas, or curtains for our wedding gift. A month after getting rid of our freezer (we'd had to move home and decided it would be easier to just get rid and go a while without rather than take it with us) we bought a used one off ebay. Curtains for our wedding? Months after waiting she gets DH to go up to her attic and get her old ones down that have been up there for years.
I'm not really materialistic. If people don't get us gifts then that's fine, what bothers me is them going on and on about how they will and then not bothering.

I've noticed as well there's already a difference between how she treats DD and SIL2's son. For DD's 1st bday party she decided that weekend that she had to go up to Oxford with her bf, that she'd come down on the day - resulting in her being 1.5hrs later for a 2 hour party. She also didn't bother getting DD a gift until 6 weeks after her bday (considering SIL2's son is exactly 8 weeks younger than her I suspect it's because she realised she couldn't get DD's gift after her grandson's!). For SIL2's son though not only was she staying in the vicinity, she was preparing things for it the night before including getting is bday present set up so he could immediately have it - no waiting for him! After his bday party she was also going on about how proud she was of it and how she'd wished her parents could have been there, naturally couldn't say such sentiments for DD.
It's annoying but at the same time I count myself lucky, her not being as bothered and trying to have as much of a say in DD's life is a good thing, and something I'm grateful for. I just don't like the potential for DD to notice preferential treatment and feel bad because of it.

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 13:04:22

Oh god yes!
We've been having a new sofa, telly, a savings account for DD1, a trip to the zoo. All sorts. Nothing came of it. It annoys me because we never ask for it, she offers!
She told us she would buy us dd2 moses basket never happened. She kept talking about it and nothing. It got to 37 weeks and my mom ended up buying it for us as it was getting so close!
She never mentioned it after.

She also told people about a personal medical procedure i had to have done. In detail to people i dont really know. They mentioned it in normal converstion like it was publuc knowledge and told me MIl had announced it in front of alot of people. I was mortified!!
DH was fuming. She denied even saying it!!
It had to be her. It got swept under the rug because obviously it wasnt about her.

Then to equal it out DH had a phone call off FIl explaining how upset MIL was that he hadnt accepted her facebook friends request. [Hmm]

Our dds are the only grandchildren as DH is only child. Shes very good at expressing how much she loves them and she only gets to see her once a week and how she'd love to see her more....but when it actually comes to seeing them. She cant be bothered.

Does your MIl talk about money alot? Mine seems pretty obsessed about it. Its all she talks about. Thats and buying stuff. She uses it as a form of guilt tripping too.

Madonnaquintessential Thu 13-Feb-14 13:08:20

Oh my , mommy bird you seem to be an extremely similar situation to me! I hinestly believe my mil contributed to my pnd too as she was so suffacating and demanding too! She wanted to see us two to three times a week svery week and if we didnt so help us god we knew she would cry about it (if not to us to someone else) gaaaah. I also hate the denial - it is mental how they can just outright LIE and deny sayimg things they did. Dizzykipper your right about abot not wanting to be the meddling wife. Im trying extra hard bot to be this too!
I am still trying to get my head around it all but i do feel angry as hell at just how much she influenced me at the start of dds life. She also has the audacity to claim we should break up as it is a bad enviroment for Dd as we dont get on! She is the toxic one, not us! We argue yes, but no more than most and we try not to infrint of dd ( i hate if dh shouts around her - he rarely does) but like you mommybird, i often question myself and think are we best not to be together?
The pnd also excaberates my low self esteem so i think i am awful and believe her BS she says. But not any more! Thank God for this page! smile

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 13:17:51

Yes MIL does that idle gossip of personal things as well. She's even asked if I give DH head - why on earth would a mother want to know or ask that? (granted she was drunk at the time). More personal for SIL2 is telling people about her abortion, or telling about DH's "boyish habits" when he was a teen. They really don't get boundaries do they?
I'm not sure she talks about money a lot, but she does talk about it (generally about how poor she is, or how much commission she's getting, though she has money to redecorate every year or 2, but not money for vet bills or anything like that...).
I found MIL very smothering after DD's birth, she visited 3 times in 11 days (yes I counted). She didn't even ask, she just told us she was going to come. I get that with some people this might be normal, for me it was claustrophobic and I resent that she did it because she was thinking about herself rather than about us and our possibly needing space to get on and be new parents.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 13:21:45

Before DD was born I was also told that MIL would be having her stay over her's once a month (her and SIL1 "decided" this and were just letting us know). Fat chance!

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 13:25:06

Everything you have said is my MIL.

When i first had PND (i had no idea at this point). We took dd1 up to her house. I hadn't been in a while as well, id not long had a baby.
I stated to Dh that i didnt want her dogs in the same room as dd.
Anyway. We went up. As soon as i walked in the door she snatched dd off me. Let the dogs in from the kitchen and said "she loves the dogs" and i kid you not, she smirked straight at me.
DH had obviously spoke to her and she ignored him. Her house her rules.

I thought it was all in my head and i questioned my own sanity. Did she just smirk at me?!
She then told me off for picking up my daughter when she had just woken up.

I broke down in the car to DH. It all came out. A few more things with her happened and i ended up on ADs.
We was due to go up the day i went to the docs and i said i didnt feel like it, i just wanted to stay at home with DD and DH. He texted his mom and she just said "well cant you just leave bird at home and you and dd come" sad
She honestly didnt care a single bit about me. I was just the oven.

Im so angry she influenced me so much. She made my life miserable for so many years.

Go with your gut. Its allways right.
Its so hard to come to terms with when its not our "own" family. Its like you're on the outside looking in. Everyone is acting like its normal when its really not.

HesterShaw Thu 13-Feb-14 13:32:43

She also told people about a personal medical procedure i had to have done. In detail to people i dont really know. They mentioned it in normal converstion like it was publuc knowledge and told me MIl had announced it in front of alot of people. I was mortified!! DH was fuming. She denied even saying it!!

Is this a common theme of these sorts of people? My mother absolutely LOVES talking about people's health and has no conception at all that they might not want to be gossiped about. My sister's friend got to 18 (the mothers were good friends) and it became clear that things weren't developing as they should. Mother thought thought it was her business! She exclaimed gleefully to be "OH have you heard about poor old X!" as though it was a delightful morsel of gossip. She said "Oh I must ring Jane about Sarah's scan!"* as though she was a kind thoughtful friend. So many things. She tells everyone when she's had a intimate medical procedure as well, as though she thinks everyone else is just as delighted to know about other people's health issues as she herself is. Even when I was little this kind of thing really turned my stomach, so much so that I was always completely unwilling to let her know if I had an issue myself. I didn't trust her not to tell everyone she knew. Privacy isn't a word she understands. Not long ago she said to me (of a girl I had been friends with when I was little, whose mum she remains in contact with) "Oh did you hear. "So and so" has found a lump in her breast!" I told her I thought that was pretty awful behaviour and I'm pretty sure that "so and so" wouldn't want her broadcasting that piece of information. She couldn't understand my point at all. We had a major disagreement over it. She kept bleating "But you're friends." No we were friends 25 years ago, Mother.

*Names have been changed obviously grin

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 13:40:10

I think it comes down to other people and their wants are secondary to their personal satisfaction.

Meerka Thu 13-Feb-14 13:46:03

madonna, attilla is so right. Someone who is toxic in this situation is toxic all the way along the line. It's also harder on your daughter if she gets attached to her MIL and then you have to cut contact later.

It has to got to be really hard if you're only in your 20's. I know I was unable to let contact go at that age, no matter how sensible it would have been ... well with one parent, the other was violent towards me to it was fairly easy to walk away.

But you are entitled to be treated with respect by her, and if she cannot give you that, -and if she's actively trying to split you and husband up fgs!!- then something is seriously wrong and it doesnt sound like she will fix it. And it does lie with her.

Is your husband supportive here?

firsttimer,l there is a wonderful Christian site that was linked here once that has a wise and very humanitarian approach to abusive parents / others. Its essence was that you forgive when you can, and when you have forgiven, there is no obligation to walk back into an abusive situation. None at all.

from Paul: "children, honour thy father and mother. Parents, drive not thy children to distractoin".

I hope you're ok, dizzy and mommy and beth

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 13:54:07

This is fab. How alike are they all!?

It really made me a laugh a few weeks after as she'd stopped talking to someone for talking about HER buisness.

That wasn't her buiness really.
MIL has told a lie to person A.
Person A mentioned something to person B and the lie came out.
Person B then went and told MIL what a lie she had told.
MIL then stopped talking to person A because she didnt want her buisness being spoke about.

MIl made out her job role was alot more important than person bs. Basically she was supirior to her. When infact they have the same job role.

So if MIL hadn't of told the lie. Nothing would of happened.

Meerka Thu 13-Feb-14 14:07:15

its a funny thing isnt it mommy. Normal or loving families have people who are genuinely interested in others, in each other, and who give freely and without strings. Arguments tend not to linger on forever.

Dysfunctional families / people .... they are unable to see beyond themselves. Really unable. Not 'don't want to'.... can't. Gifts come with strings and it's often all about them. The fallout from arguments last forever. They're often characterized by need to control others and by manipulation one way or another. They really are all similar.

People from normal families have such difficulty understanding this very different / alien mindset, which is why I think the toxic people get away with so much for so very long. Its so hard to firstly see what's going on and then to accept that toxic people very rarely change. Occasionally, but only very rarely.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:11:42

But MommyBird don't you know, it's completely different, it's not even the same situation at all, she was being really unfair talking about your MIL's business! God, it's enough to make you laugh isn't it?

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 14:11:57

I'm fresh from therapy, and it was a great session. It was interesting, because the therapist mentioned Narcisistic Personality Disorder, and it was the first time someone else has suggested this about Dad. Occasionally I read this page and feel like a fraud, as Dad doesn't seem nearly so bad as some other parents. But then, I suppose we all think that.

Also, things I've said here that feel 'normal' to me, seem to shock other people. Like, for example, he slaughtered and fed us our pet chickens (they were pets, named, and we kept them for eggs) then laughing at our upset when he told us mid meal (then refusing to let us leave any as it was wastage).

You see, that doesn't seem that bad to me, because it was just part and parcel of who he is. It's what he's like.

Anyhow, moving on to other things, we discussed the following things, and so it's interesting to see them written here by other people.

They really don't get boundaries do they?

The discussion we have is that the relationship between Narc and other is fused. They see their child as an extension of themselves and not as another human being in their own right.

It was fine (in his mind, not in real life) for Dad to tell me his sexual preferences because I am a part of him, and there's no reason to assume that my sexual preferences would be different to his. He controlled this aspect of me, and why wouldn't he? I was just an extra part of him.

He was genuinely bewildered and hurt that I didn't vote UKIP like him. Why on earth would I need my own political ideals?

so i think i am awful and believe her BS she says.

I could control being awful. If I am awful, then I can improve and maybe, maybe gain their love and respect. That's what now feels safe - I am the bad person because there's this glowing, shiny brilliant person who is clearly amazing. That's now my default for any relationships - I am bad, and must do more to please the other so that they like me.

That's how the narc relationship survives; the Awesome person continues to believe they're awesome because the Other hears, then starts to believe that they're bad. If the Other suddenly starts to believe in themself, and think that maybe they're not bad after all, then the Narc is left in the precarious position of perhaps not being amazing. So they'll reiterate the position that the Other is bad, and therefore they are good.

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 14:17:34

Oh, and the 'it's different if it's them' thing. Dad once slapped me for opening a letter from school that was addressed to my parents. In my defence, about half the class had them, and they were detailing the awards we'd won that were going to be handed out in the awards ceremony. The teacher told us what they were, and everyone else in the room opened theirs, and I wanted to see what I'd won (community spirit, fact fans).

Dad slapped me for opening his letter that detailed my achievements. (I should have said that Mum opened it - she'd have covered for me, but I didn't think and was excited about my award.)

A few months later and I was away from home when my GCSEs were sent to me. They were addressed to me - they were my results.

Yep, you guessed it - he opened them. It was fine to do that apparently.

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 14:19:46

I'm getting angry with him now. Angry is good.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:21:36

The discussion we have is that the relationship between Narc and other is fused. They see their child as an extension of themselves and not as another human being in their own right.

That is so spot on! When DH had a falling out with my sister (3 weeks before our wedding, dad dying in hospital, sister begun it by saying how awful she thought DH was) DH vented to MIL and made her promise to keep quiet. Within 4 hours she sent my sister an awful email, which would have been a tirade of abuse knowing her. At the time we were trying to cool things down - my dad was seriously ill in hospital, it wasn't the time for family feuds and for his sake we were trying to get things resolved. MIL has never, ever accepted she did anything wrong by getting involved and escalating the feud. The fact that she promised to keep quiet means nothing, DH is her son and so she had every right to get angry and blow off at my sister. She's never thought for a moment that we could have been thinking about anyone other than ourselves, I mean why would she, she doesn't! She just doesn't get that DH had the right to deal with it as he saw fit, she doesn't get that he is genuinely angry that she broke his trust and tried to fight his battles for him as though he was a child. She thinks it's all me! She just doesn't get that him being her son doesn't give her cart blanche to act and do what she wants so long as she's decided he's acting in is best interests - what he thinks are his best interests apparently mean nothing!
3 years on and she still brings this up mid-fight, she evem did last time. She thinks he should be grateful.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:22:38

God that is so awful Looking, I'm angry for you too. It's just disgusting, they don't think about anyone but themselves do they?

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 14:29:15

Fog he sounds horrible sad
Glad you've had counselling and see that the way he has treated you is not normal.
Regarding the chickens, thats vile. They were pets. Doesnt matter if it was a Chicken or a Cat. Pets are pets.

Dizzy! grin Exactly!
She didnt care she had just done the exact same thing to me!
She also said the reason i was so thin was because i had an eating disorder. I had pnd. I couldnt keep the weight on. She doesnt know i know about that. Whats the point? She'll deny it anyway. We cut contact for that reason. It was the straw that broke the camels back tbh.

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 14:33:33

To be fair, Dad does sometimes think of me. In a 'what can I use her for?' sort of way.

I've had some (limited) success in a field he's interested in. The last few times we've spoken (not for nearly a year now), he's mentioned this, and called me mean for not giving him a hand up.

It's annoying, because if I get actually successful in this field, I know he'll suddenly be sniffing around, expecting to bask in the glow of my success.

Anyhow, my fantasy conversation with him today is imagining him calling me to ask me to attend his mother's funeral, which will happen when she finally dies. I will not go. Again, last time we spoke, he mentioned in passing that I'm getting money in her will, so I might want to rethink my not seeing her thing. I did not and will not go. He will threaten not to give me the money if I don't go; I don't care - I don't want it; I won't go.

I imagine myself getting his; 'I'm very disappointed in you,' spiel. I am actually looking forward to saying; 'Well I'm very proud of myself, and that's good enough for me.'

Mishmashfamily Thu 13-Feb-14 14:34:20

It was fine (in his mind, not in real life) for Dad to tell me his sexual preferences because I am a part of him, and there's no reason to assume that my sexual preferences would be different to his. He controlled this aspect of me, and why wouldn't he? I was just an extra part of him

Wow! looking My mother did this. I was house sitting while she went away and before she left she shown me where all her 'toys' were kept if myself and exp wanted to use them. shock I'd forgot all about that.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:36:26

Oh God, whatever you do do not give him any hand up or way in which he will suddenly become closer to you (personally or professionally). I know you know this already, I just really felt like I had to say it anyway. It doesn't even bare thinking about! I love your line as well. grin

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:37:32

Crikey, I really never considered other people might be as inappropriate as MIL sex wise. I guess she thought she was being thoughtful and a lovely person mishmash confused

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 14:40:23

Also feel angry for you.
He sounds very underminding and cruel.

Its not ok fot you to do that. But it is for him.

Hate that.

MommyBird Thu 13-Feb-14 14:42:10

Oh. And the sex thing.

MIL aslo does this. She talks about sex regarding her and FIL and what hes been like in bed.
Also DH was a msitake. It was her first time having sex and DH was the result.

Why do i know this?!

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 14:43:17

Oh God, that's grim, Mishmash!

Mine was much more 'foreplay is great - the only good thing about sex. Penetration is horrible, you won't like it. A man can't rape his wife; it's impossible. You have to do what he wants, and you won't like it.'

Not all at once - it was over a series of conversations, often when we were alone, walking the dog in the woods. (Oh, he killed the dog too, in a fit of pique at my mother.)

The expectation from him was that I would stay chaste until I was married (on account of how awful sex is), and then I would give myself willingly to my husband.

Oh, and I would not be gay; that is disgusting and wrong.

It hasn't been until very recently that I've started realising how invasive and controlling these conversations were. And how they've influenced and affected my sex life. I don't feel comfortable at all during sex - my first experiences were awful (because I must do what the man wants), and that cemented the whole 'sex is awful and wrong' thing in me. My body fought the man off, making it painful and, to be frank, terrifying, but I was convinced that I MUST NOT SAY NO! That would be dreadful.

It's been an uphill struggle to overcome this, and I'm not there yet. I think I probably will be at some point, now I'm addressing lots of the things that he said when I was small, but it will take a long time.

Fortunately I'm with a thoroughly decent guy who's not pushing me or rushing me in any way, and who understands I've got a lot of baggage to work through in this area.

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:44:11

I actually know the day MIL conceived DH, it's what normal people talk about...

LookingThroughTheFog Thu 13-Feb-14 14:45:51

(I have to admit, I talk to MIL about sex - but we're friends and get on, and I don't discuss her son and so forth. It's very much a conversation of equals and not a list of commands.)

DizzyKipper Thu 13-Feb-14 14:47:16

I think it's ok when you're comfortable talking about it with the other person and they feel comfortable with it as well, it's mutual and respectful then. MIL seems to do it to show how cool she is or something, or for laughs.

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