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I'm still so very angry, but I'm supposed to be grateful. Should I be?(118 Posts)
The background is that I fell in stupid-teen love at the age of 17 with a 21 year old. He proposed, I said yes, then (very accidentally) got pregnant. I had never wanted dcs. Not ever. And had always thought I would have an abortion in these circumstances. But I found I couldn't. That I loved my dc. My fiancé encouraged me to keep the baby. I still lived at home (halfway through my straight-A-Student A levels).
I told my dm and ddad and they were shocked, upset and encouraged me to have an abortion. I stuck by my decision. A week after finding out my fiancé dumped me (charmer that he was, that's a whole other thread), told me he doubted the baby was his, and that was the last I ever saw of him.
My parents let me stay at home. Which I am grateful for. I paid them rent. They said very firmly that they would look after me, but not the baby. Which is fair enough.
I left my A levels, dm and ddad said I couldn't live there if I wasn't studying or had a job. I applied for work. Went through a few humiliating interviews as the visibly pregnant teen (unsurprisingly didn't get the jobs), and then found a free secretarial course to do, so did that until the week before ds was born.
Dm and ddad made it clear they were ashamed of me. They made lots of snide comments, told me how many of their friends had told them to kick me out, would say things like, "so and so looked at me funny today, that was because of you".
I knew they found it hard so didn't say anything.
I couldn't cope with the smell of smoke, but ddad insisted that if I opened the chimney up all the heat went out, so he'd close it down to have smoke billowing into the room. So I couldn't sit with them. My room had no heating, so I'd try to stay warm in bed.
When I was 8 and a half months pregnant we went to a party as a family. Me and my younger brother wanted to leave early (about 1am) as we were exhausted. It was only a 20 minute walk home, but it was too far for me with SPD. Ddad said he'd drive us back. He was hammered. I couldn't argue, but said I would drive us there and he could drive back. He wouldn't give me the keys.
He then drive me and dbro home. He sped, he turned corners sharply whilst laughing, he kept slamming on the brakes because I was screaming for him to stop. I was terrified. I got out of the car and he sped off. I just burst into to tears and said to dbro that he would never drive another heavily pregnant woman like that
Then ds was born and he was my whole world. I'd never had someone to love like that, I'd never felt loved. It was hard. I was alone. All my friends had just gone off to uni. I did all the nights alone. Ds wouldn't breast feed and I desperately wanted him to. Dm went on and on about how important it was (he had no sucking reflex at all), I expressed for as long as I could but he never ever latched on. At 3 months a bfing counsellor came out and just said "you have no milk, he has no urge, you know this, why am I here?" Then she clicked and said, "ah, you want me to tell your mother, don't you?" And she did. Because dm didn't believe I couldn't.
I did all the night feeds. All of them. They would hold him so I could have a bath if they were in.
I was also a teenager who definitely didn't help around the house as much as I should have. Looking back I think they expected me to be cooking and cleaning straight away, and I didn't do much. I helped where I could. But there was so much, and they never asked me to do anything. But as an adult, with distance, it's clear I wasn't meeting expectations.
I became very lonely and depressed. There were no groups for teen parents, and I couldn't bring myself to go to baby groups. I knew what people thought of me. They thought what my parents thought. That I was scum.
I had one aim. Go back to college, finish a levels, get to uni. Then they will be proud. So I did. When ds was a few months old I got him into a nursery and went to college. College were brilliant and I could even bring ds if I couldn't afford the childcare. dm looked after him one day a week.
I paid rent with the benefits I received. My parents told me how proud they were of my older sister for not going on benefits when she was between jobs.
I got good a levels. I got into a Russell group uni, and ds and I moved 300 miles away.
Now here's the thing. Whilst I was there my aunt complimented my dm on how well she was raising ds in front of me . Dm took the compliment. I always get comments about how amazing and supportive my parents were. And how lucky I was. And it brings out this enormous anger. They were horrible! They made me feel like shit. I was so ashamed of who I was. I spent the first 9 months of ds's life waking up crying because I wished I'd died in the night. I told dm I thought I needed ADs. She didn't believe in ADs so I never went to the gp. She booked me a homeopathy appointment, gave me a load of scare stories about ADs and that was it.
I've always suffered from anxiety. I tried to kill myself when I was 11. Walked out into a lake and lay in it face down. But then pictured my dm finding me, and couldn't make her sad. So went home. No one noticed I was soaked. No one spoke to me.
But now I am in a good place. After the clichéd first abusive marriage that I escaped after 15 years, I now have a wonderful, kind dh. I have 3 beautiful dcs. I have a wonderful lifestyle. My parents are brilliant with the gcs. Although it cut me deeply when dbro and his wife moved in with them for 6 months when their ds2 was born, and I found out they helped with night feeds, they lived there rent free (despite earning 80k+) and no one made any comments about how dsil wasn't really parenting her dcs.
So how do I get rid of this anger? Am I right to be angry? Do I have that right? They didn't throw me out. Everyone says how amazing they are. No one ever compliments me on my parenting. They'll tell me how lucky I am to have such easy, nice dcs ( because that just happened by accident and they're in no way normal children).
I feel like this is holding me back from enjoying my parents as they now are. I feel history has been rewritten. I was alone so much as a child. I was bullied physically and emotionally by my older sister (locked me in sheds tied up for hours, tried to drown me, beat me, loads and loads of nasty things). We now get on ok, but she is snide and cutting towards me a lot.
The couple of times I've tried to speak to family about it, dbro for example, they leap straight to how much I owe my parents. Although he did remember the drink driving and said that was out of order.
If I spoke to dm she would sob and say I think she's terrible and I would end up comforting her. The one time I tried to talk to them about dsis's bullying, dm just looked at ddad and said, "that always really upset you, ddad, didn't it?" And no one acknowledged my hurt at all. They just said it was normal sibling rivalry.
Sorry about the essay. But... Help. Please.
Help me move on.
Ask yourself: if you had a dd and had treated her like that, especially at a time when she needed you most, would you expect her to be grateful? Cos I certainly wouldn't. You should be angry. Now just figure out how you need to move on. Personally, I'd probably go NC. they all sound pretty terrible.
You need to see a therapist to work through your valid feelings and help you find your way to move on.
Tbh I would just cut ties with the lot of them and focus on the loving relationships you do have
Oh, goodness, OP, that is so much to cope with. Years of them all writing one story around your life, and the real story, your feelings, your achievements, the value and preciousness of what you are, written over, ignored.
Can't reply at length , and have no specialist advice, but just wanted to say I read your post, I feel very sorry for the you that has been treated so wrongly, and I am in awe of anyone who has achieved what you did in such circumstances.
Dear needto, first of all well done. You sound like you have had many tough times and managed to pull yourself and DCs through it. You should feel proud of yourself.
I completely understand your confusion about feeling angry but feeling that you should feel grateful. I have felt similar but for different circumstances. I think if you can manage it counselling would let you explore those feelings safely.
In the end I decided that to confront my family about how angry I felt would lead to them being defensive and us cutting each other out of each other's lives. I did not want this for my DCs.
So I have decided to be the bigger person . It helps to see them as people trying to do their best rather than my family who have let me down. Sometimes I look at other families and feel jealous because I wish they had been like that . But I have to except they aren't .
It's hard but it makes me feel better then being angry all the time.
Good god, your family are bloody awful!
They don't deserve the shit off your shoe! Grateful? You should be grateful? For growing up in an emotionally abusive relationship like that?
You know what proves to us how bloody amazing you are? That despite their best efforts to undermine and destroy you, that you spurred yourself on, and got yourself a degree and succeeded in life. That must grate on them.
Therapy is absolutely what you need, and make sure it's not some idiot that thinks you should maintain a relationship with family as shitty as these at all costs.
Your anger is more than justified, it's essential!
Stately Homes thread on Relationships is where you'll find people that have gone through similar experiences to you.
Come on over whenever you wish, we'll make you feel welcome!
Thank you all so much. Now I'm sobbing!
Mini, I think the thing that hurts most is that the childhood that seems to be being portrayed is the one db and dsis had. I didn't. I was ignored. Dm "forgot" to talk to me about things at significant times, later saying "oh I told dsis, thought I'd told you".
They are all so close. They're all late for everything, I'm early, they don't care what people think, I do.
I am seeing a therapist at the moment, and she says that for "nice people" the things they have done to me are not nice and not being good parents. But I'm still so angry and I can't express it. And it eats away. I'm jealous. I want the parents my dbro has. He is very much the favourite (and genuinely a very nice bloke).
NC isn't an option as they are brilliant gps and good parents to me now, mostly. They just cannot see it as I see it.
Sorry that's not right, they do care what people think, image is everything, they portray themselves as "oh they're always late, that's just so loveable about them". Well it's not. They were an hour and half late to my birthday tea. And they all arrived separately! Every bloody year.
I have no idea how you would begin to move on with this, but I would be incredibly resentful in your situation. I would also feel that anger bubbling up inside of me any time someone complimented them, and it don't think we're alone in that.
It's ok to feel angry with them, even if they did help you (which it doesn't really sound like they did!)
It sounds as if your parents were torn between wanting to help you and wanting to punish you, being proud and being ashamed. They may well have thought they were being wonderful 'in the circumstances', and their mixed feelings led to some warped behaviour. Your brother got looked after when he needed help because they didn't have the same mixed feelings about the situation.
You have done really well in difficult circumstances.
My counsellor suggested to me that I write a letter to my mum (not to be sent - ever!) and this really helped me work through my feelings about stuff that happened when I was younger.
Fobbly, they fed me, kept a roof over my head. I actually wish I'd moved out. My family think I'm lazy. I will never shake that no matter how hard I work.
Dm on the other hand is seen as superwoman. She's not really. She's just always rushing about because she's always late.
I want to quit my job and follow my dream. I mentioned this to dm, she says I have to keep my (horrible office) job. That I'll fail. That I'm talented, but that I'll fail. If I say that's mean she'd say, "I told you you were talented!"
I have to say, I think they do car every much what people think - the little they did for you when pregnant and after was all stuff that showed the world what wonderful parents they were - 'letting' you stay there, 'raising your ds'. I can smell the burning martyrs from here.
You don't want to NC, which is your decision, but I think you should at least for a short time so you can gain some perspective from a distance. You don't have to make a big deal of it, just gently remove yourself from their lives for a little bit, be busy if they want to make plans etc, keep it light and friendly.
But you have to let go of the idea that you will ever have dbro's parents. You won't. And they will never give you the resolution you seek. You have to find that yourself. They will not step up. It's hard, but it's always true.
Phoo that does sound very true. I want a resolution that I cannot have.
Even with abusive XH, dm was worrying about not getting in touch with him and xmil "for the sake of the children", I had to tell her that that would not only cause huge problems (as the potential for her saying the wrong thing and making my situation worse would be huge), but that it would be extremely hurtful and I would question whether she believed the EA, SA and minor DV that happened. Before I lefts she told me that she wished he'd hit me, because no one would understand the EA, and that even she struggled to understand why it was so bad
My dsis is still FB friends with XH, my dbro is not and is supportive. I doubt they believe me. That hurts
I am seen as a drama queen. My friends and counsellor and gp tell me I downplay things and minimise too much.
How can they see me so differently to the rest of the world?
Good grief - I am not surprised you are angry. I'm fucking angry after reading that.
However you have three options really:
a - get fucking angry at them and tell them how it really is. Locking you in a shed is not normal sibling rivalry. Risk them thinking you are a nutter and them going No Contact with you.
b - get over it and pretend it didn't happen or get help to come to terms with it all
c - go No Contact and enjoy the people who really value you.
What does your husband think of it all?
No, you should not be grateful, you should be really fucking angry. It really doesn't matter what other people think apart from being a good litmus test of who you should expel from your life tbh.
I'm angry on your behalf and think you sound like a very strong person. I agree some sort of therapy would be very helpful for you and going NC with all toxic relatives and friends - you don't have to be tolerant with these people, up yourself first.
He thinks they were horrible, and that they can be very thoughtless. He sympathises when they let me down. And supports me when I distance myself a bit. He'd do whatever I wanted.
I would not do what they did ever.
He thinks they panicked and tried to do the right thing, but ended up doing it completely wrong. He also thinks they are martyrs. Tried to be loving parents and gps and ended up being neither.
They are NOT good parents OR good Grandparents.
Trust me. Minimise their presence in your lives.
The flaw in your DH theory is that they only 'panicked' and 'got it wrong' with you.
This is classic Scapegoat/Golden Child territory. They did this, not you.
And I relate to a lot of what you're saying, burning martyrs, keeping up appearances, different childhood to siblings, being late, being forgotten, comforting your m when something bad has happened to you...
NC has been tough for me, I am getting embroiled again because they are pulling the 'personal responsibility' stuff on my vulnerable grandma (90 this year) who had moved into a flat in their house...
They don't understand why I have been NC, have told family members their version which makes me look very unreasonable, had a little propaganda campaign and now are pleased I am 'coming round'. I am intending to endure contact and minimise the effects for as long as my grandma may need me but no longer and I hope I have the strength to withdraw again when it's done.
I recently had some support from my uncle who was visiting my grandma (he lives in the us) and who finally understood what they are like and why I'd distanced myself because he'd been living in their house for his stay. That has helped enormously because he's the first family member/family friend who has validated me - I've always been expected to feel lucky and grateful for coming from a lovely big house with supportive parents (who beat and abused me in secret for years and made me homeless as a teen several times).
One of my siblings said to me recently that I should try to re-engage with them because they are aware they messed up parenting me and are sad about it. That really got to me until I realised that if that was really true they would have said it to me (as it's all I've ever wanted to hear from them), instead they continue to treat me as though I am bad and my children need to be rescued by them from me and they are only saying it to other people as part of their propaganda campaign against me.
It is tough to go NC and to maintain it. You need to steel yourself up for it but I do think it will be good for you, it has given me space to heal and strength as a person.
Sorry to ramble about me, the thread is bringing up my own feelings too.
Such a lot to cope with & yes, of course you have the right to be angry. Although, by holding onto it, you are only hurting yourself.
This is your reality, this happened to you. They see it differently, they always will, so you won't get an apology, or the acknowledgement you are after. You can't change your past, but you can change your future & you did. They won't ever be the parents you want, I think you have to get your head around that idea (meant in the nicest possible way). You didn't get the parents you deserve, op. I'm sorry, because I didn't either (mother anyway). They will NEVER see as you see it.
You could have kept up this destructive cycle with your children, you didn't, in that way you are strong. Hold onto that!
I had a destructive relationship with my mother, my siblings didn't...(I was unwanted, they weren't) they think I should forgive & forget, it won't happen. Because it hurts too much to remember that I was denied what they had. It hurts when the people who are supposed to protect you, love you, fail to do so.
I haven't spoken to my mum for 20yrs. That is how I deal with it. It suits me. I don't care what she is saying about me, I know the truth, I know who she was.
The fact that she has to reinvent my childhood to all & sundry screams of her knowing she did wrong, but she is too hellbent to admit it.
If you cannot go NC, you owe it to yourself to understand what I have written above, because the only person you are hurting, is yourself. They won't ever get it. How could they? They don't think they did anything wrong. They don't think they have anything to apologise for.
You have to try to reconcile that for your sake, op.
Have you seen the stately homes thread? Started several years ago by a few of us in a similar situation. It can help to discuss it with others in the same place.
I was told that my mother did the best she knew how to, I call crap because she did a far better job with my siblings.
I don't think they are good parents, I don't think they panicked. Otherwise your siblings would have the same stories, wouldn't they?
Yes, I've been told they had 'good intentions and that's what matters' also that they 'didn't know how to deal with your personality type because you've always had strong morals and refuses to compromise on them'. I think it shouldn't be down to me, the child, to make up for their short comings as parents. It isn't unreasonable to expect respect as a person and to refuse to submit to their control.
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