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

(1000 Posts)
DontstepontheMomeRaths Tue 11-Feb-14 17:30:01

Thread opener here:
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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.

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

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