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

(1000 Posts)
DontstepontheMomeRaths Thu 14-Aug-14 21:52:23

It's July 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
February 2014
April 2014

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:

Homecoming
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

Worryworker Sat 18-Oct-14 21:38:34

Goodtobetter- your post about your discussions in counselling/therapy sound just like the one I had with mine this week! I am currently nc with my mum (except for few text exchanges during my dc's birthdays recently- initiated by her) but wondering how it will be in the future. Difficult to imagine not having her in my or my dc's life but at same time finding it hard to imagine how the future will look with regards my relationship with her. I feel it's fine at mo as nc gives me time to sort my head out (after many years of denial or dismissing her behaviour) but can't carry on like this forever can I?

Also my dh despises her so feel this will influence how things move forward but have talked about the issues this brings with my therapist. Think this is linked to my desire to try to please everyone, avoid upsetting people!

Wish I could know how things are going to turn out and how I can move forward.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 18-Oct-14 21:51:53

Hi Worryworker

If you are no contact, how did you feel when you received the text messages from your mother?. She broke the no contact by doing that, this woman will not ever respect any boundary you care to set her. She will not give you any peace at all so long as you have her in your life in any shape or form.

No contact is precisely that, there is no communication of any sort between your mother and yourself.

This is a good link you should read re no contact as it could well help you further:-
www.lightshouse.org/how-to-go-no-contact.html#axzz3GX2dZqbI

If she cannot or will not behave at all decently then she gets to see none of you. You would not have tolerated any of her behaviour from a friend, family are really no different.

NC will indeed give you time to give yourself some much needed time and space away from your mother; she must not be allowed to fill your time with crap text messages or other forms of communication. All of this either must be blocked by you or ignored. Radio silence from you is necessary.

Enlist your DH's support further; he is on your side here.
If she was not a good parent to you she will not be a good grandparent like figure to your children. She will act in similar ways with them as she has done to you.

Your mother likely taught you to put her needs first and yours last.
I hope your therapist is a person who has no familial bias about keeping families together despite the presence of mistreatment. If this person has such a bias you need to see someone else.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 18-Oct-14 21:53:49

I learnt earlier on today that FIL has been diagnosed a brain tumour.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Sat 18-Oct-14 21:56:17

ifuknow I think you answered your own question. Children of narcissists are raised learning to dance to the narc tune. Can you unlearn table manners, or riding a bike? It's all childhood learning, just some of it's unhealthy.
I guess, to unlearn an unhealthy thing takes time, and patience, a slow erosion, rather than a eureka moment.

meerka your post is so spot on.

GoodtoBetter Sat 18-Oct-14 21:56:24

Shit, Attila, are you OK? How's your DH?

HumptyDumptyBumpty Sat 18-Oct-14 21:59:32

good and shark I feel like we share lives. So, so similar - the 'I know you're busy, but need to talk about something far in the future/irrelevant/pointless' is my M to a tee.

attila I want to say I'm sorry to hear that, but really I'm only sorry for you and your DH.

<waves> to dusty and edgar

GoodtoBetter Sat 18-Oct-14 22:02:11

Humpty yes, my Dm was doing that this summer, ringing me "I know you're trying to get the kids off to summer school, but...." Yes! So WHY can't it wait???!!!!

Worryworker Sat 18-Oct-14 22:09:52

Sorry to hear about your FIL Attila. Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

I felt harassed when my dm first text (tried contacting me via my dsis initially- telling her she would come round with her on my DS's birthday, not asked just told!. I had to then text to tell her no, she wasn't coming round. She turned it all back on me as expected!) and also annoyed that she hadn't respected my request of nc. She says I'm stopping her seeing her grand kids which she never really made effort with anyway.

I'm still trying to justify her behaviour though - thinking 'she wasn't that bad', 'she wouldn't deliberately be horrible' etc. I'm still struggling to accept how she is which I suppose is understandable having spent many years protecting her really.

Don't think therapist has biased towards keeping families together- nothing to suggest this.

Meerka Sat 18-Oct-14 22:15:50

In haste ... Hope your husband and you are ok attila. Difficult time, even more difficult given the rocky relationship. Take care.

Hissy Sat 18-Oct-14 22:46:17

thinking of you too Atilla, send love to dh and ds from both of us eh? xxx

Sunnyrainy Sat 18-Oct-14 23:44:26

Hello everyone, I am new to this thread and identify with so much that has been said. So sorry that you are all going through this too. I am just starting to find out about emotional abuse and that my parents were not very good. Mainly emotionally neglectful and very critical. The guilt is always there.
My mum used to call me a bitch in rage when I had pushed her too far and once grabbed my hair.
I can't remember how I had pushed her, I was a kid I think I was being argumentative I can't remember.
Then on the other hand she would say how much she loved me.
My dad would call me clever one day and then scream at me and tell me how stupid I was the next.
I feel so guilty and blame myself for everything.
Is it normal for your mother to call you a bitch if she is annoyed with you for answering back? She called me a bitch again recently too which was totally unjustified...

Margarettt Sat 18-Oct-14 23:46:12

New name for me. Sensitive subject and I tend to lose my privacy fairly quickly. This is a brilliant thread with a brilliant title.

I went to get my drivers license renewed and there was a spot to notate your emergency contact name and number. I left it blank. The lady asked, "Did you mean to leave this blank?"
Me: "Yes".
Her: "You don't have anyone to put down?"
Me: "No."
I should put Mother I guess, but then, you know, Why? Why is her identity all over my identity?

I deactivated my Facebook account and don't miss it.

I am waiting for some medical test results. Could be Nothing. Could be Something. I made the decision that if it is Something, I wouldn't treat it. I would just let it run its course.

I guess I am just tired and I am withdrawing. My parents screwed me up so bad and continue to do so (although no one believes me). I am NC with my dad (16 lovely years of NC), but stuck LIVING with my mother. She doesn't want me to leave her. I'm in my 50s, never married, never had a boyfriend, have 1 young adult child, also living here. Mother is healthy and working full time. Don't most mothers want their children to be independent??? Live on their own? Date? Have a life separate and apart from them? Was I really put on this Earth to be her servant? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Sunnyrainy Sat 18-Oct-14 23:51:17

They would always make out I was very difficult and aggressive/ a bully/an incolent ungrateful/unruly child. Aswell as fat, sometimes ugly.
But then at other times I was clever, beautiful.
But if I did things wrong I was dreadful, terrible, pushing them over the edge and making them shout and scream. They would give me the silent treatment and look really hurt.
I felt sorry for them having to put up with me and still feel guilty. But I am not sure what I did wrong, apart from not doing well at school because I felt depressed.
Currently in my life I am very sensitive and can't bear the thought of hurting anyone.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 19-Oct-14 08:52:34

Sunnyrainy

Your abusive toxic parents completely and abjectly failed you as a child and I would suggest you read the resources at the start of this thread (starting with Toxic Parents written by Susan Forward) if you have not already done so.

FOG - fear, obligation, guilt are three of but many damaging legacies left to their now adult offspring by such dysfunctional people.

It is NOT your fault this happened to you, the fault here is all theirs. They failed you and messed you up. Their own families of origin did that lot of damage to them in their own childhoods.

The best revenge here is to live well and without either parent in your life. You do not ever deserve to be called a bitch by your toxic mother, if she cannot or will not behave she gets to see none of you. If she was not a good parent to you, its the same deal for your children. You would not have tolerated any of this from a friend, family are no different.

I would further lower all means of contact with your mother. It is hard to do but having your mother in your life at all will give you no peace. She will not change and you need to grieve for the mother/daughter relationship you should have had but did not.

Sunnyrainy Sun 19-Oct-14 09:34:29

Thank you Attila, it's hard but it's true.

The guilt and self doubt is the worst.

They would dramatically tell me how much they love me and how everything was in my best interests, and I was always provided for physically. That's why I am still not sure if I was abused and question whether it WAS me at fault. They were frustrated at my depression and I think they thought shouting me out of it was the only way to get the message through. It was all about public image and I was spoiling that image and perfect family ideal
Very superficial, feelings and emotions where not even discussed, ever. Even when I had teenage spots, I was made to feel awful about that. Do you actually wash your face? She said. And she would look really not happy about it. But then sometimes she was ok about it. Had an eating disorder and that was brushed under the carpet and never discussed. I was shouted at for looking sad. 'What must people think?!' She said. But then my mother was, and still is very needy. I would often have to counsel her and wished that I could have that from her.
Yes, I am reading that book, thank you for that, and it's very insightful.
Definitely I think there might have been something not right about my mothers parents. I was once called evil and ugly by my grandmother, so goodness knows what they were like with her.
But at other times they would act loving and there were some happy times, so that's why its not clear cut. I almost wish it was so that I could stop torturing myself!

My problem is that I always doubt myself. I am so confused. Am also in an abusive relationship (recently discovered this, he is mainly a headworker and liar according to pat craven books). It's like opening a can of worms and feel a bit adrift...

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 19-Oct-14 11:47:10

Dysfunction can filter down the generations and I note your mother's own parents were themselves abusive; that is what your own mother learnt from them and she has carried that on with you.

They took out all their unresolved issues and crap on you, they failed you utterly as parents. You were the scapegoat for their inherent ills. They never sought help for their own problems and poor mental health but blamed you for causing these. They took the easy way out. They caused these issues you now have and for you to be depressed; anyone in your position would have been the same.

I feel most sorry for you for having "parents" like that at all. You had to put up with them, it was not the other way around at all.

You're not like them or as they were; you know this is wrong and their treatment of you is and was abusive. Abusers are not abusive all the time; they can do "nice" and "nasty" very well but its a continuous cycle and one which they set you up for because you had a relationship with someone who has turned out to be abusive himself.

If you have not done the Freedom Programme run by Womens Aid I would suggest you look into doing this and asap.

You can reclaim your life back and be free of these people who have let you down so abjectly. They do not deserve you to be in their lives at all.

PrettyPictures92 Sun 19-Oct-14 12:15:36

Hey folks, just discovered this thread. Feeling overly emotional today (probably as a result of dc returning from their holiday and my first time away from them in five years that I've actually had the time and space to think about things.) So here goes.

I knew from a really young age that my mum didn't care for me the way she did my dsis and brother. Can't exactly pinpoint when or where I knew this from but it built up to include me being left out of playing with her and my siblings, me constantly in trouble for things I hadn't done, getting the blame of everything and her being so much stricter with me (including physical 'punishment' when by that time it was unheard of to discipline children the way she did me).

She told me she hated me when I was 8 years old. She would go out and buy my siblings a nice new toy and tell me she couldn't afford to get me one this month, that she would the next but then magically forgot about it.

The more I grew up the more I was shouted at, given in trouble, kept isolated and alone, left unloved and by thirteen I fell into a depression so deep that I started believing I was such a bad, horrible, unlovable person. I hated myself, stopped taking care of myself, stopped eating and started thinking about suicide.

I was kept in my room constantly by the time I was 14, only allowed out to eat dinner, clean the house and back to my room. All of my possessions were taken away from me (apart from clothes, school uniform and school work). I didn't even have a school bag, I wasn't allowed to use the bath or shower apart from Sundays, I was called lazy and stupid and generally made to feel like crap. I became selectively mute and this went unnoticed.

I overdosed at 15, was made to apologise to her because it, then a few weeks later (just after I'd turned 16) I was kicked out.

No contact until I turned 18. When I tried to talk to her about it I got "You've no idea how difficult it was for me" "you were hell to bring up" "you were always treated the same as your brother and sister" and even "that didnt happen" which led to nc until I was 20 and I had a breakdown so bad that I just couldn't take it anymore. I needed her, needed to be loved so badly that even now I play the game just to hear that she loves me.

August this year I finally asked my doctor to refer me to councelling. Anti ds weren't working and because of what I went through as a child I still struggle to connect with my dd who will be 5 at the end of this year. I try my hardest not to let my daughter see the part of me that doesn't know how to be with her but I find that I'm becoming more and more of a shout person and I hate it. I hate not being able to just relax and stop stressing out. I don't know how to just smile when accidents happen and go "oh dear!" And get on with it.

Even now I hate myself. Even now I don't believe anyone at all who tells me they love me. And I constantly crave love and affection.

Councelling will start soon, hopefully it'll make things better. It's a difficult road and I hope everyone who's had to endure any sort of childhood abuse and toxic parents finds a way to heal flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 19-Oct-14 12:28:57

Your mother failed you abjectly as a child, it was not your fault that this happened to you. She blamed you for her own issues and never sought the necessary help that she herself needed. She has given you in response all the excuses that toxic people say. Your mother made the terrible choice not to love; this is precisely the sort of thing that narcissist parents do. It is NOT your fault she is the way she is, you did not make her so dysfunctional.

You do not mention your dad; did he leave?.

Do you have any contact with your mother and siblings now?.

Your mother certainly had the golden child/scapegoat thing going on with you and your siblings as children.

Have you been given an actual date re counselling?. I ask this as counselling on the NHS is all very well and good but it can be limited in scope and perhaps only too for six sessions.

I would look at BACP and see if they can see you sooner; also they do not charge the earth. You need to find someone who you can work with and has no bias about keeping families together despite the presence of mistreatment.

You will need to grieve for the mother and daughter relationship you by rights should have had but did not receive. I doubt very much that you will make the same mistakes with your DD as she did with you because you know that your own treatment of you was both wrong and abusive.

TiredNow Sun 19-Oct-14 12:43:07

Hi,

I don't post on here but do lurk, I'm sorry, I hope its ok to post now
I got an email from my mother (ha!) this morning and my heads all over the place

TiredNow Sun 19-Oct-14 12:43:52

Oh, I'm on a namechange, didn't want this shit associated with everything else iyswim?

PrettyPictures92 Sun 19-Oct-14 12:49:20

My father left when I was 3, he always treated me like I was worth something but then would disappear for years leaving me feeling worse. He moved to south Africa when I was 10 and that was that, think I've seen him about four or five times that I can remember from when he first left to when he left for good. My step father never cared much even though he and my mother had been together since I was 9.

My brother done something horrific to my dd and I struggle to even acknowledge he's my brother anymore, I'll never have contact with him again. Me and my dsis are close though, she's her own issues regarding our mother but it's not my place to say.

I'm still waiting for my initial appointment, I was referred the end of august and told it could take up to 12 weeks to receive one. I do work with a lovely social worker who has helped me with a lot though, she got involved when I was having a mental breakdown at the start of this year and has been one of the most helpful people I've met, because of her I was able to get back on my feet and continue living.

Just to clarify - I show my dc, including my dd, all the love in the world. They're so incredibly important to me and I would never dream of doing anything to hurt them or make them feel unloved or unwanted. They're my whole world. I just get so stressed out so easily which ends with me shouting more than I should, completely unfair on them and I hate it. I don't want to be like this and I'm really hoping that ccouncelling will help with that too.

sharkwave Sun 19-Oct-14 13:30:45

When I tried to talk to her about it I got "You've no idea how difficult it was for me" "you were hell to bring up" "you were always treated the same as your brother and sister" and even "that didn't happen"

They all speak from the same script, don't they. My DM said exactly the same to me. I've given up trying to talk to her about any of it because it was either my fault/ didn't happen or they did their best.

We took DM on holiday when DD was a baby, and went to quite a few places. On the way home she got in the car and said "well that was the best day ever", when we'd just been in the swimming pool all day. When I said to her later that was a bit of a slap in the face after everywhere we'd taken her she just dragged up some example of when they'd done lots for us and we hadn't appreciated it. I can't win.

We'd had to wait for DH to check out and go and put the car in the outer car park before we could get in the pool. She got more and more stressed out that he was taking so long so I said "well you can go on if you like", expecting that to shut her up. "oh OK" she says, and trots off into the pool, leaving me alone with 6 mo DD shock.

(and her favourite thing to tell me as I was growing up was that I was selfish. Talk about pots and kettles).

Sunnyrainy Sun 19-Oct-14 14:40:28

So so true. Selfishness is at the bottom of it all.
I just don't understand these people.

Those times that have tried to calmly rationalise and resolve disputes, the parents voices start to raise and it often turns into the most almighty emotional showdown. During one episode (when I tried to tell my dad that I had been upset about something he said that was extremely unfair), my mum started being very violent towards my dad, and then he said to me 'look what you have done'. You are trying to stir things up and cause problems.
I just said that I had been upset and he said that 'I was always upset, listen to me now!'
can anyone make any sense of that?
I know now NEVER to go to them for advice/support etc it always ends up like this.

Sunnyrainy Sun 19-Oct-14 14:42:46

Rather, 'listen to you know...' As if me being upset at that moment was proof that I was always upset.
Which in turn means there is something wrong with me..
If that makes sense

newdaytomorrow Sun 19-Oct-14 15:10:47

i'm still here reading. funny how its all got a lot harder since I've started talking about it. its like if I didn't mention it much I could almost pretend it wasn't happening. now its out its like I have to face that my own parents didn't/don't like me so how does anyone else.
I've had a look at various narcissistic websites and yes I think that's both of them. so now I know what it is, it has a label but it hasn't made me feel any better. maybe that comes with time.
one of you asked if I was still reading (sorry i'll look and see who it was in a moment) that made me cry a tiny bit that a stranger cared enough about me to ask if I was still reading-thank you for making me feel that little bit happy/better/wanted.
and quickly to end...I have done something that has changed how I look and it has annoyed them so very very much. I love the change, my husband and children love it and i'm not changing back this time to suit them. I have taken a very small stand for myself.

newdaytomorrow Sun 19-Oct-14 15:23:59

sorry I didn't answers questions before, no she's not my boss, doesn't work with me and has no idea about how to do it but that doesn't seem to bother her. I was told by a client on Friday I was amazing at what I do and how lucky she is to know me and my skills/talent. that was nice to hear.
today there is a very small voice somewhere inside saying I can get through this, sort this and be okay. today I feel quite happy.
I really hope all of you are having a good day today.

GoodtoBetter Sun 19-Oct-14 15:29:15

Newday it was me who asked after you. I hope you are feeling OK, it's hard work having parents like this and if you're like me, you'll feel quite up and down. Are you having any counselling? Are you still in contact with your parents?
I was pleased to read about your new look

I have done something that has changed how I look and it has annoyed them so very very much. I love the change, my husband and children love it and i'm not changing back this time to suit them. I have taken a very small stand for myself. Good for you, try to harness some of that feeling when you can
xxx

GoodtoBetter Sun 19-Oct-14 15:32:08

I was told by a client on Friday I was amazing at what I do and how lucky she is to know me and my skills/talent. that was nice to hear. Do you doubt yourself? If I get good feedback I'm always secretly surprised and feel like I don't really deserve it, I feel so much more deserving of criticism, the result of my fucked up childhood and my mother wasn't even out and out abusive growing up.
Therapy is helping with my little "you're a pile of crap" inner voice, but it's a hard pattern to break.

fillie Sun 19-Oct-14 20:54:23

Hope everyone has had a good weekend. So, it's been a few days since I posted. It's all kicked off here! My mum and dsis seem to have broken contact following an argument. I've not spoken to my dsis yet, but it seems she is upset with mum not caring enough, and some issues with Christmas, also some jealousy over mums attention spent on me and my family, which sounds a little familiar! Anyway my mum handled things pretty badly and it ended up getting physical sad
I'm a bit all over the place, trying not to get too involved. They are no contact with each other now, and honestly I think that's best all round for them both.

ohweeeell Mon 20-Oct-14 09:43:21

So glad to have found this thread, both myself & DH are children of narcissistic parents.

My own mother was emotionally unavailable when I was little, never telling me she loved me. My parents split when I was quite young and as the eldest child I was made to be the stand in second parent, taking responsibility for my sibling. My father quickly moved on and remarried, my stepmother was drastically different and constantly told us she loved us, to try to establish a bond I think. This drew me to her, I was desparate to be loved and told that.

Unfortunately, my stepmother is a narcissist and would tell me things I was too young to understand and shoukd never have been told about my parents divorced I think to paint my dad well and my mum poorly. What it did was give me a strong sense of emotional responsibility for other people's feeling from a very young age. It is a trait I hate, 2 family members can have a fight which has nothing to do with me and by one or both telling me about it I feel a duty to them, almost responsible for thei feelings, it's weird.

My dad is very passive in every way and does everything he can for an easy life so gets involved in very little.

A few years ago I could take no more of the guilt trips, manipulation, etc from my stepmother, we had a huge argument and to my surprise, things have been fine since. I have stepped back and they make no effort, which suits me, the less I am around her, the less anxious I feel.

With my own mother, things have changed, she is now NC from my sibling, this was between them and hugely difficult for me as I took on a lot of the turmoil and also it was hard to see two people I loved at war, but NC is effectively better for both of them so I try to get in with it. My mother is still emotionally unavailable but the birth of my DD has brought out something lovely in her, it is wonderful to see but fills me with guilt as I know my sibling will never see this side to here, I feel terrible guilt that I get to see this and they don't, even though the situation is not of my doing, emotional responsibility again.

So, sorry a bit long, the problem now is that I have married a child of a narcissist, my DH is the scapegoat and his sister is the golden child, my MIL treats my husband so poorly, I have a hard time dealing with it. He says its just the way she is, I can see it for what it is, thankfully he does stand up to her which is good, but because he puts me and my DD first she is now starting to use me as the scapegoat, and implying sneakily that I am influencing him. I can see right through her but this is exhausting. I have dealt with this sort of behaviour my whole life, I am now an adult and naively as a child, thought things would be different when I could make my own choices.

Her behaviour sends me back in time, makes me feel like a child again, I am strongly considering minimal contact, however, the problem is, my DH works evenings and weekends so if my DD sees my MIL it is generally with me. I will make the effort at the weekend to take her round, I don't want my DD to feel she has missed out or that I have kept her away. Golden child has a DD also who MIL sees every day, of course she is the favoured DGC also, I don't want my DD to feel this different, but I suppose she probably will anyway, whether I take her round or not.

If I do minimal contact it will give my MIL more amunition, i.e. Will back up her claims that I influence him "see, ohweeeell never brings DGC to see me" etc. MIL also has enabler parents who sympathise with her "plight" and justify her behaviour. For example, by MIL throws tantrums we don't spend all of christmas with her. We explain we will see her and other parents equally, she and her parents say we are being unfair and that the day is important to MIL while refusing to acknowledge that DD has other grandparents to see also and the day is important to some of them too.

Sorry, very long, phew... blush

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Oct-14 09:59:24

Why are you even considering minimal contact with such a ghastly woman?. That is a question that needs your further consideration. Societal convention is not enough to keep such relationships going.

The worst MIL can do is winge incessantly and send her winged monkeys over to you to do her bidding. You and your DH need to present a united front and avoid such people including her enablers at all costs.

You need to keep your child, your most precious of resources, completely and utterly away from these narcissists. Apart from being deplorably bad as parents anyway they are also terrible at being grandparents.

If you find these people too toxic for you to deal with, its the self same deal for your both vulnerable and defenceless child. You get nothing at all positive out of any relationship with these people and nor does your child. You both have to keep your child away from such malign influences; narc grandparents tend to either over value or under value the relationship with their grandchildren. They are also not above trying to "steal" the heart of their grandchild by bribing them with gifts and she will use your child to poison her against you. You do not want that happening.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Oct-14 10:01:13

www.lightshouse.org/acon-page.html#axzz3GfqjYgTP

The above link may be useful to you as you are an adult child of a narcissist.

ohweeeell Mon 20-Oct-14 10:55:05

attlia, thank you so much for your response. Of course the logical answer would likely be no contact.

Ironically, the guilt I would feel for keeping my daughter away from her paternal grandmother and great grandparents would probably destroy me. My DH is pretty much already minimal contact with his mother due to his working hours. So I am considering pulling back as I am the one available on the same days they are.

My DH says he could never stop his grandparents from seeing DD, they are elderly and says something like that would be so hard for them to deal with.

I appreciate this effectively leaves is in a catch 22 situation. They won't change so we need to change something, which is why I am considering minimal contact. I also don't think I could put my DD through a family split and the consequences of that. My nephew is now at the stage of asking my brother why he is NC with my mother, effectively asking why my daughter has a granny and he doesn't, etc

I know his pretty much makes me weak and playing into their hands, needless to says thank you for the link, I could identify with the entirety of it, no surprise.

My MIL threw a tantrum last week, the enablers were on her side, we haven't spoken since, I won't be making the first move. However, my husband has written a letter to her, outlining what is acceptable. He wants to send it to her explaining he won't stand for any more of this behaviour from her (she screamed at him on the phone and hung up because he told her "no"). I suppose I am hoping this letter will have the desired affect, letting her know he won't stand for these tantrums and I am considering minimal contact to enforce that we are capable of speaking up and changing the status quo, effectively giving her a chance to consider her actions. I appreciate we are likely clutching at straws.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 20-Oct-14 12:33:36

No that particular brand of guilt won't destroy you; what will destroy you ultimately and your DD as well is your DD having any sort of relationship with his and your parents because they will use her as supply. Sod feeling guilty as well, guilt is a useless emotion.

These people have never felt guilty at all.

Your words are all very much typical as to how adult children of narcissists actually feel (that's also why I posted that particular link earlier).

There is no good reason whatsoever for this young person to have any sort of relationship with these toxic people. You and your H cannot deal with either set of parents, how do you think she will manage?. She will not and the damage will go forward in her for years to come.

You do need to change something yes; you need to let go of the fiction that these people will somehow apologise and or become nicer people to you all because they simply will not do so. You've been always trained and conditioned by these people to put them first and you dead last. Narcissists are so much trouble that only people with prior training i.e. those who were raised by narcissists themselves get seriously involved with them.

Narcissists have normal, even superior, intellectual development while remaining emotionally and morally immature. Dealing with them can give you the sense of trying to have a reasonable discussion with a very clever six-year-old -- this is an age when normal children are grandiose and exhibitionistic, when they are very resistant to taking the blame for their own misbehaviour, when they understand what the rules are (e.g., that lying, cheating, and stealing are prohibited) but are still trying to wriggle out of accepting those rules for themselves. This is the year, by the way, when children were traditionally thought to reach the age of reason and when first communions (and first confessions) were made.

Having a narcissist for a mother is a lot like living under the supervision of a six-year-old. Narcissists are always pretending, and with a narcissistic mother it's a lot like, "Let's play house. I'll pretend to be the mother and you pretend to be the baby," though, as the baby, you'll be expected to act like a doll (keep smiling, no matter what) and you'll be treated like a doll -- as an inanimate object, as a toy to be manipulated, dressed and undressed, walked around and have words put in your mouth; something that can be broken but not hurt, something that will be dropped and forgotten when when something more interesting comes along.

Minimal contact will not likely work out well either because narcissists ignore any boundary you care to set them.

Do not send any letter. Your H's letter will go against you and he both, the will twist it to make it all out to be your faults again. Toddlers have tantrums, what you are seeing in her really is narcissistic rage, not a tantrum. Toddlers as well grow up, you are basically dealing with someone whose emotional development ceased at around 6 years of age.

Re your nephew I give you this excerpt:-

"You will find that the children will eventually stop mentioning the loss of the narcissist grandparent if you are not bringing it up. If you are talking about your Nparent in the hearing of your children then you are inviting them to keep talking about it, too. I can not over-emphasize the need for your explanation to a younger child to be calm, pragmatic, measured and short. Long explanations make you look defensive which will tend to peak the interest of the child and prompt him to push the issue. You can gauge what is appropriate information depending on the age of the child. If the child is older and has experienced or witnessed the Ngrandparent's nastiness in action then you can say more.

Young children are not known for their long attention spans. This works in your favour. With younger children you have the advantage of distraction. It is easy enough to get the child's mind off onto another track. Every parent has done the distraction routine at one time or another. "Mommy, I want to see Nasty Nan today!" "Honey, we aren't going to see Nasty Nan today because we get to go to the park and eat ice cream." (Make up fun time on the spot if necessary for this distraction.) "Yay!!" says the kid and off we go. Subject changed, kid distracted. In time, Nasty Nan will fade from memory. Any bonding that may have occurred will dissipate in the process of time.

Remember, you are the parent. You're older and therefore more experienced which is the point of being the parent. The child is dependent on your good sense and protective wisdom. You're smarter than your child; use that to your advantage (such as using the distraction method). You are the final authority. This is not a negotiable issue. Kidlet doesn't get to decide on this one because they lack the understanding, wisdom, experience and good sense that, hopefully, you have. So don't look like you're unsure or open to quibble. You'll undermine yourself if you look anything but firm and resolved on it. Use your advantages as parent to smooth the effects of the cut-off. Over time this will all quiet down. Kids tend to accept what is. It will happen more quickly if you follow the above advice.

Most of all, do not operate from a fearful mindset. Don't be afraid of your children's possible, or actual, reactions. Don't be afraid that you are depriving them of something important by cutting off a set of grandparents. You are only "depriving" them of bad things. Reassure yourself with that truth. Family is not everything. Blood is not binding. You are escaping the Mob Family. What should connect us is how we treat each other with love and respect. This is always a good lesson to teach our little ones. If any part of you is unsure of your decision then, for Pete's sake, don't show it. Your resoluteness will go a long way toward reassuring your children that you are acting in everyone's best interest. If your children know that you love them, they are going to feel reassured that this decision is also based in your love for them. They will find an added sense of security to know that you, as their parent, are willing to protect them even at the cost of your relationship with your own parent(s). Rather than being fearful, see the plentiful opportunities in this. You are protecting your children from someone whom you've experienced as being abusive; you are reassuring your children that you are in charge and are watchful for their best interests (creates deep sense of security); you can teach healthy family values which include that family doesn't get a pass for abusive behaviour; you can strengthen and reinforce the healthy relationships in your extended family. Kids are less likely to feel like there is a void in their life if you fill it with good things.

Cutting off from your narcissist parent is a good thing. No need to act otherwise. Your children will sense it is a good thing by how you behave. Model how you want them to respond and it is likely they will imitate. Don't be afraid of their questions. Kids are amazingly resilient and well-equipped to handle truth. Parents are supposed to protect their progeny. If your child doesn't agree with how you go about that don't worry. They will often disagree with your decisions for their best interests. Nothing new there. It is your job as parent to make the tough decisions. If you know it is the right decision then proceed with confidence. Showing confidence is a quality of leadership. As a parent you are supposed to be a leader. Lead...and they will likely follow".

outofcontrol2014 Mon 20-Oct-14 12:54:46

fillie - I've read back a couple of pages, and your situation sounds a lot like mine. My DSis lives with DM, DM does everything for her, but the relationship is really dysfunctional. Part of the way DSis works it is to make me the bad guy, constantly - literally everything I do or say is given the most negative interpretation possible, and it clouds and poisons the whole relationship I have with both of my parents. It's done as a deliberate tactic to stop them from seeing that she absorbs literally 98% of their attention (not to mention the practical and financial support she gets, which are colossal).

My mother is very very indifferent to me. She takes absolutely no interest in my life, while telling me every detail of how wonderful my sister is at work etc. She takes no pride in anything I achieve. She offers no support at all, even emotionally. I have been struggling badly with health problems lately, and she literally is nowhere to be seen even on an emotional level.

Having had years of hurt about it - not to mention paranoia - I have now reached a point where I feel not 'fine' with it, but certainly that it's something I can live with. I still wish I had a better relationship with my folks, but I realise and have accepted that it just isn't to be. I'm left with some lingering sadness and anger, and I don't think those emotions will ever vanish, but I'm okay getting on with things in my own way now.

fillie Mon 20-Oct-14 13:18:07

That sounds quite similar! I'm very invested in my own family life, and as you say okay getting on with things in my own way for the most part. This whole upset between my mum and dsis has dragged me back into the hurt again, but I think I must have already been hurting because I'd posted here before that all kicked off! I just really hope my mum can pull herself away from dsis and find her own peace with it all. Someone was saying on here how unusual it is for the child to have such control over the mother, not sure who now, but I realised that my mum, even though I feel she has created a lot of the problems, has been the victim of abuse here. I don't know if she can stay away from dsis, really hope so, but I think if dsis called and said "let's forget this happened" my mum would go back to how things were sad shame.
You're right the lingering sadness and anger will probably always be there, it's got to be better than raw fear and pain though I reckon!

outofcontrol2014 Mon 20-Oct-14 13:26:42

Damn straight on the emotional side of things fillie!! I don't think it goes away, I just think it manageable without corroding you from the inside out with anger or hatred or sadness or hurt. I remember someone very wise said to me once that grief and loss were like obstacles in our path that we couldn't remove, so we grow around them. So that grief and loss shapes us, but we go forward - maybe in a slightly different way or a different direction - but we go on growing. I think it's kind of like that, really.

One of the things I really appreciate about this thread is reading others' experiences and getting away from those people who have less longstanding, dysfunctional relationships who say 'You're a grown up, why does it bother you, there must be something wrong with you/your relationship/your lifestyle' etc etc etc I find that a tremendously unhelpful thing to hear.

I agree with you, btw, that there is an abuse on both sides in these situations. It is like a loop that turns around and around, with one side unhealthily feeding the other but also unhealthily needing the other. We are better off outside of that loop than inside it, even if that entails a distance from it.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Mon 20-Oct-14 13:27:19

Gosh, so many new people, it will take me a while to catch up. Here’s just a start:

sharkwave From your first post, the thing that struck me most was that your DM couldn’t even remember what she’d tried to call you about, but she was still furious that she hadn’t been able to get hold of you. So that means, it really doesn’t matter what she needs you for, as long as you are completely at her beck and call 24/7.

I see others have suggested you go LC with her quite drastically but perhaps you could wean her off gradually, reducing the contact bit by bit. Presumably you have call recognition on your mobile; they all seem to have it – if not, can you get a cheapie new one? Do you have an answerphone on your mobile and home phones? Can you try telling her to leave a message and you’ll get back to her – and gradually leaving it longer and longer to call back, or not at all if it’s something really trivial?

You say she has 3 or 4 hols per year – who is she going with, the other times? Of course you shouldn’t have to take her with you on all your family holidays. I mean, every so often would be kind, but not every time. How does your DH feel about her; do they get on well or is her constant presence causing problems between you and DH?

You are not being a bad daughter if you reduce your contact with her and her dependence on you. If she’s critical, suggest she visits your brother instead.

ifuknow I hope that hospice bed comes available very soon (although I suppose that means I’m hoping for someone to die, but I don’t know them so I don’t feel too bad about that.)

edgar It sounds like you’re realising that the issues from your childhood are affecting your adult relationships, so it will hopefully be a very good thing for you to work through the parent issues now. Welcome!

Attila Wishing strength to you and your DH at this difficult time.

GoodtoBetter Mon 20-Oct-14 16:33:15

Welcome all new Stately Homers! ohweeel you've had some great advice from Attila (i have read and reread that bit about telling kids about NC, it's great).
Have you read up on FOG (Fear Obligation Guilt)? Beacuse you seem mired in it. "Ironically, the guilt I would feel for keeping my daughter away from her paternal grandmother and great grandparents would probably destroy me.
My DH says he could never stop his grandparents from seeing DD, they are elderly and says something like that would be so hard for them to deal with."
Fuck them! Sorry, but that's their problem for being such total gits! I bet they wouldn't actually find it hard, there would be a load of wailing and then they'd get angry and go a kind of NC with you to punish you.
They don't respect your family, ergo they don't get to be a part of it.

ohweeeell Mon 20-Oct-14 20:41:56

Thanks attila for your detailed response, I have read it over and over, good I shall look into FOG, the more reading I do the more I can identify with it seems.

I keep considering alternatives, as the relationship, minimal though it is with my stepmum and father works now. We argued and she makes little effort to see us, she never did before to be fair but she did used to laden me with guilt about not seeing them enough, etc. now I might get a "how is DD?" text rather than a loaded "miss you..." Text. When I do see them, maybe 4 times a year, the conversation is light, just pleasantries. She pushed me extremely far in our fight a few years ago and I was brutally honest, we didn't speak for months, she eventually admitted to a few things. I appreciate not everyone is capable of this, I'm certainly not sure my mil is but I keep hoping it is an option.

NC would be extreme for me, I would have had to tried absolutely everything in the book, I'm not sure my DH would ever agree to NC. He was NC with his father as a child because my MIL deemed that he and his sister were better off not knowing him. He now has a good relationship with his dad, after reconnecting as an adult, i don't think my mil was trying to protect my DH and his sister at all, I think it was all about control.

Thank you for all of your words, I know I am fully 'in it' and want to find a way to cope, I don't feel NC would be right for us, but that's not to say it wouldn't be one day, perhaps one day it will and I will say I should have done it years ago... I certainly feel fully immersed in fog, that is for sure!!

fillie Mon 20-Oct-14 20:44:24

They don't respect your family, ergo they don't get to be a part of it.
I love that, makes complete sense and is so simple.
Outofcontrol2014 - much better outside the loop! I'm so glad I found this thread, in rl people often don't understand because for one thing it's hard to describe a life long family dynamic face to face, here it feels like people have experienced it for themselves and see through to your story.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Mon 20-Oct-14 22:36:15

Still too many people to catch up with!

TiredNow What about the email from your mother upset you?

PrettyPictures I hope your counselling appt comes through soon.

worryworker I hope the therapy will help you sort out the issues and help you decide whether to maintain NC or start to have more contact again. You need your DH to back you up, though, so I hope he will do, even if he doesn’t agree with your decision.

Margarettt Have you had any counselling or therapy? You sound as if you really need some help dealing with your mother. Is there any way you can get out from her home? How did this happen - she made it happen, but you can make it un-happen. Please keep posting and I hope someone wiser than I will be able to give you some good advice.

Sunnyrainy Calling you a bitch is not the behaviour of a loving mother. Some of what you have written has struck a chord with me, too, although perhaps in a more subtle form with me. (See, Humpty , I’m at it now, “Me too, me too!”)

I am just starting to find out about emotional abuse and that my parents were not very good. Mainly emotionally neglectful and very critical. The guilt is always there

It was all about public image and I was spoiling that image and perfect family ideal

My mum loved to be snarky about her friends or relatives who were having problems with their children – the girl who got pregnant, the boy who got into drugs – so she needed me to be perfect so that she could stay morally superior. I’m sure she would deny that she enjoyed feeling superior but I’m equally sure that it’s true.

I’m reading my way through Toxic Parents (about 1/3 of the way in) and I was expecting only the “Controlling parents” chapter to be relevant to me, but I obediently read all the others, as the author recommended, and found the “verbally abusive parents” was full of “aha” moments. The demand for perfection and always feeling like a failure and disappointment, and that adult children of parents like these either drive themselves into the ground in an attempt to prove the parents wrong or else the perfectionism leads to procrastination and paralysis. That latter one is me down to a T. I’ve always felt that I wasn’t “just lazy” but there’s something blocking me, preventing me from getting on with things, but the end result is the same, so the outward appearance is that I’m a very lazy person.

newdaytomorrow Mon 20-Oct-14 22:59:47

goodtobetter i'm due to start counselling in two weeks, at the moment am feeling bit nervous about it all.
I agree that its hard and yes I do have up and down days. at the moment i'm on an upward climb so that's good but it's always there that it could go downhill at any time. i'm still in contact and have reduced it the last few months from 2 or 3 times a day to 2-3 times a week. this will get reduced more I hope.

every time I look in the mirror I have a 'yes' moment as in yes I did it, I changed my look. this is helping keep that quite big 'your rubbish' voice quiet.

they have heard that one of my clients is quite well to do (its a lord and lady) and I think they're looking to be introduced to them as lots of questions were asked and bit of disbelief that they (clients) would come to me. i have no intention of making any such introductions.

the funny thing is my parents used to go to various posh(ish) do's and I was never a guest though my sibling was as I might let the team down as it was said to me, now its me that's dealing with all the people that attend the do's and without giving my job away incase it outs me I know more about them than a lot of people and am very trusted by them.

hope your still believing in yourself and the ''your rubbish'' voice is being quiet. if not I really hope your doing the best you can.
it's not much but you've made a difference to me..i wrote the above to you this evening instead of eating a load of rubbish so for that alone thank you. flowers

to everyone else here that I've been slowly reading about I hope you are all ok.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Tue 21-Oct-14 08:32:53

Haven't got time to catch up properly, but newday that sounds really positive. I bet your new look is awesome.

Waves to everyone else.

GoodtoBetter Tue 21-Oct-14 08:49:53

What a lovely, positive message newday! I'm glad you feel that you are on an upward climb at the moment, hang on to that and keep your family away as much as possible as that will help you not spiral down again. I'm trying to remember my "If they don't respect my family they don't get to be part of it" mantra as much as possible and am feeling on a bit of an upward surge atm too.
Your new look sounds like it's helping, making you feel good and maybe acting as a kind of psychological "two fingers" to them as well, a kind of symbolic breaking away from the old you that was ground down by them? I think that's great.
Post as often as you want, there's always someone around to listen. xxx

Modestandatinybitsexy Tue 21-Oct-14 11:54:00

Hi everyone, I've never posted here before and I'm feeling a bit nervous. I need some advice about my relationship with my mother, I have the feeling it's not particularly normal and at the moment it's quite upsetting.

There have been previous incidents and I think the current one is stemming mostly from that. The background being that my fiancé and I have rejected financial help for our wedding because my parents were becoming very controlling.

Since then my partner and I have been struggling to find a situation to suit us and our new budget whilst trying to keep a lot of the traditions as well as our parents relatively happy. To be honest I've been struggling to see a celebration of our marriage as a happy occasion as it's caused so much upset previously and we've only ever reached the initial planning stages.

Recently my partner and I went to a wedding fair at our venue of choice on a bit of a whim as we had already seen it but we wanted to discuss a few ideas with the planner. We had signed in, picked up our free beverages and had just entered the venue when the planner came over and said she think she's just spoken to my mum and she had been a bit upset and left suddenly. I then got an angry text from 'my dad' that sounded like it was from my mum. I was told that if I wanted them to be there on the day I needed to sort something out asap.

I went over for 'peace talks' where I felt mainly attacked for not including my mother in a process that hadn't even begun - though they didn't seem to believe this or the fact that us visiting the venue had been a spur of the moment decision. I was blamed for telling people about our plans that they didn't know of although I'd tried to keep them as up to date as possible without getting too involved.

Since that talk it has been my birthday, my mother mentioned it had been hard picking out my card and present as she had been angry at me. Other than that the family meal went well.

A while passed and then I received a phone call while I was at work. I disconnected the call as I was on a work call and then received another call that I again disconnected. The phone rang again, it was commented on by my colleague on the other end of the line and I had to apologise and end the call as the one from my mother could be urgent. I answered my mobile and was greeted by "did you not get my other calls?" immediately putting me on the defensive, I told her I was currently at work and had been on the phone. I was then treated to an accusation that I hadn't talked to her for three weeks and an angry spiel about how I'd changed and how she'd spoken to friends (her friends, not mine, who have known me since I was little but I have had almost no adult interaction with) and they agreed that I was a worse person now. I told her I didn't have time to deal with this and told her I needed to get back to work so she hung up in me.

She then text me and said I could ring her when I finished work. I felt upset for most of the day - struggling to remain professional in a job which is relatively new. I waited until I was alone and called her. I didn't wait until I got home as I missed the bus and by the time I be able to talk would be too late. I found a quiet bench of a public park and set myself up for a long chat.

I started by apologising for the long time since I had contacted her. I pointed out that if it had been so long she was able to call me too. This set her off, she shouldn't have to make all the effort. I am a selfish and lazy individual. I only come over if there's the possibility of free food. I have no friends, I should have female friends I regularly talk to on the phone. What's happened to me? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME? I said a couple of hurtful, but truthful, things like I didn't know how to talk to her, or what to talk to her about, I don't like fighting and that seems to be the majority of what we do. And that she seems angry at me about things like the wedding and my relationships and I don't know what I can do to fix this.

Now please let me explain, we don't regularly talk on the phone, I have never received a daily or weekly call to see how I've been getting on, it's never been part of our routine. I normally go over every couple of weeks to walk the dogs and say hi. She normally asks if we want to stay for dinner and we normally accept. I know I should make more effort but mostly with them it's awkward and stifled.

We ended the call with her saying she's going to take a step back from me. I don't really understand why other than the fact that she didn't like that I was trying to explain why I don't talk to her, talking to her is like walking through a minefield. I've always felt responsible and governed by her emotions. The wedding is the only thing I've ever stuck to my guns on and I'm still trying to include her, there's just nothing to include her in yet.

After writing this mammoth essay I'm not sure what I really want. I want to stop feeling so upset, I want to have a normal loving relationship with my mother, and I don't want to feel so alone in this.

Thank you for reading so far, I'm sorry there's so much wedding stuff in here, it just seems to have brought all the gremlins out the woodwork.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Oct-14 12:13:30

Welcome Mode, you won't feel alone here.

What you want i.e. a normal loving relationship with your mother (and her enabler of a H so I would not let him at all off the hook either) is simply not going to happen. I am sorry to tell you that but you need to let go of the notion that they will change and somehow become nicer people, particularly if you do all their bidding. They will not.

The resources at the start of this thread are helpful and I would suggest you read "Toxic Parents" as a starting point along with "If you had controlling parents" written by Dr Dan Neuharth.

It is NOT your fault they are like this, their own birth families did that lot of damage to them. Controlling behaviours are abusive behaviours and women like your mother always but always need a willing enabler to help them, step forward your dad. He is a weak man who has acted primarily out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He has completely failed to protect you from his wife's mad excesses of behaviour and is likely very much like her. Also such weak men need someone to idolise.

You need to further raise your boundaries a lot higher than they are now; you have done well to date by rejecting offers of financial "help" (in your parents case more control) re your wedding. I would also block her number from both your work and mobile phones; if she cannot or will not behave decently then she gets to have or play no part of your life whatsoever. That's a daunting thought but really she and her enabler H will give you no peace otherwise. They think that their way alone is best, they feel you are not capable even though you are now an adult who can make her own decisions.

You seem mired in FOG - fear, obligation and guilt with regards to them which is not altogether surprising.

You do not have to seek their approval any more, not that they would ever freely give it anyway. Have the wedding day you as a couple both want, you can make your own traditions and you do not have to keep your parents happy!. I would not invite any of your family to your wedding because they could all too easily make a joyous occasion like that either all about them and continue to criticise every aspect of your special day. Let her moan, winge and take a further step back from you; she is doing you a facvour by doing that. And as for her friends telling her that they think you are so called difficult, I would state that your mother is outright lying to you to make her own pathetic self feel better.

TiredNow Tue 21-Oct-14 12:25:50

thebrideishigh my mother and I haven't spoken for a a few months (end of May I think) since she came up to see me, asked about wedding plans and then got so fixated on one tiny detail I had mentioned we would like that she threw a strop saying that unless we changed it, she could not be there.
The thing she got upset about isn't actually what she thinks it might be but I couldn't explain it to her at the time (midnight on the day she's been up) as my baby son was having a raging temperature, crying and we were waiting for the OOH doctor to come see him but she was sending more and more nasty texts demanding I speak to her about this minor thing over a year away because it had "upset her"

So since then, I have been NC, tbf its a pattern for us - things will be OK, even good then I'll say/do something "wrong", she'll take major offence at it and text/email all sorts of awful things, I'll ignore as to not "rock the boat" or make it any worse and then eventually we'll speak again, and repeat
Its just I'm getting tired of it now, and my sons are getting older, she's starting to say things about them tbh and I need to protect them.

Its so hard though isn't it? She's ill (both mental and physical illness although she smokes, doesn't exercise etc and is much much "older" than her years, she's just turned 50 but acts as though she's in her 80s and reminds me all the time how ill she is/how I make her more ill/how shes got to cut me out of her life so she can concentrate on getting "better")
and she's got no-one, my parents divorced nearly 15 years ago, she's never been in a proper relationship since, she just sits at home day after day with her dog (and my brother but that's a whole other story!) chain smoking and watching the soaps and thinking they're real life

I feel so so sad that she can't be a "proper" mother and grandmother, my DC have no grandparents now (both DPs parents deceased and my father left when they divorced when I was 13 and I haven't seen him since)

This recent email was more of the same - how she'd sacrificed her health/career/life for us but we threw it back in her face, how ungrateful I am, how ill she is, how she's giving me "one last chance" always fucking one last chance for the last decade! , how because I am a heathen who doesn't share her festivals she wont be sending me any Christmas/Easter presents but she will for the kids (I want to stop this?), how I clearly don't love DP and tricked him into pregnancy with my eldest (actually she's got a bit of an obsession with the conception of my children?) and how she's cant come to the wedding knowing its all a sham etc

I'm tired now (hence the username) and don't know what to do/where to go from here, there's so much more I could write (I'm sure like everyone on here) but that is some of it
Sorry for waffling on and thanks of you made it this far

Modestandatinybitsexy Tue 21-Oct-14 12:50:59

Thanks Attila, that's given me a lot to think about. Has this ever ended well for anyone? I am NC at the moment and it's making me unhappy. I much prefer it when we're all getting along and I wish we could all start back at purely being civil to each other and build a relationship from there.

What Tired has said sounds very familiar. I had to go over and 'do something' when my mum was at a wedding fair we didn't expect her to be at and acted irrationally, she admitted she was acting irrationally about that but blamed me because she didn't know what was going on and thought I might have taken my stbMiL instead of her. These ideas spiral out of control with her and then I feel like I'm being punished for what could of happened or so she thinks. I'm tired of this too.

My dad is the one telling her not to talk to me if it's upsetting her. He doesn't seem to realise how attacked I feel, sees no excuse for the defensiveness. It's hurtful that he seems to think I'm the one being abusive when the only thing I'm really guilty of is non-action.

fillie Tue 21-Oct-14 13:00:29

Hi Modest, I'm quite new too, I assure you you've come to the tight place.
I'm not sure what I really want. I want to stop feeling so upset, I want to have a normal loving relationship with my mother, and I don't want to feel so alone in this. Well, you are not alone. I don't have direct experience of what you're describing but there are lots of people here to help.
I've come to realise and accept that sometimes we can't have the relationships we'd like with people. I can't have a close relationship with my dsis but the contact we do have is now respectful and warm. You might not be able to have that loving relationship that you want with your mother, but you can try a new way, a better more even way, maybe she's giving you some distance rather than having a fall out.
Weddings are a nightmare for bringing out all the deepest engrained problems within a family!
Tirednow wow, just shows how a tiny insignificant detail in a wedding can tip a family off the edge they'd managed to teeter on! Sounds like a horrible lot of blame coming your way from your mother, when it seems she's the main problem in her life. Must be exhausting going over and over in the same cycle has it always been that way?

fillie Tue 21-Oct-14 13:05:07

right place not tight!!!

TiredNow Tue 21-Oct-14 13:35:32

fillie no, my mum was amazing when I was younger, lots of baking and cuddles and going out to places, especially since my dad worked shifts and theres 10 years between me and my brother so for a long time it was just me and my mum - then my parents got divorced just as I was starting to obviously get older/develop i.e. boobs/attract male attention (I looked and behaved much older as a teen than I was) and I think my mother saw it as "competition" all of a sudden?

She started going clubbing (never really done it before having been with my dad from 18) and took me with her (I was early teens!), I had an older "boyfriend" (nothing really ever happened but not from his want of trying) whom she then slept with and then moved in (he was 19, she was mid-30s, he was a cocklodger in the truest sense of the word, demanded we get sky but didn't work and my mother was on benefits etc and now says she couldn't understand why I wasn't just happy for her in that time period?!)

So...yes, its been downhill from the last 15 years or so, now she's come full circle and is "Christian" (said my children were "bastards as me and DP aren't married yet) and doesn't drink (looks as though I've admitted to sipping meths out of a paper bag on a park bench if I say I've had a glass of wine in the evening) and views any sexual activity (especially pre-martial) as disgusting and immoral

Hissy Tue 21-Oct-14 14:47:04

I am NC at the moment and it's making me unhappy. I much prefer it when we're all getting along

that's the FOG love, that's the FEAR of the OBLIGATION and GUILT.

you are NC for a reason, remind yourself of it and while it is sad that you have had to do this, you didn't CHOOSE to take this relationship to such a place.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Oct-14 15:07:39

"I much prefer it when we're all getting along and I wish we could all start back at purely being civil to each other and build a relationship from there".

I think it unlikely that even a civil relationship would be possible primarily because your mother and her enabler of a H are not built that way, they do not want that. Its their way or no way as far as they are concerned and their treatment of you to date has been utterly abysmal. These people were not and remain emotionally unhealthy parents to you and they would be utterly appalling role models as grandparents as well.

You would not have tolerated any of this from a friend, family are truly no different.

Apart from the FOG that Hissy so rightly mentions, this was never a healthy relationship to begin with. It was likely too that you were only getting along better with your mother because you were doing precisely what she wanted you to do.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Tue 21-Oct-14 15:08:56

Tirednow Have you read the books in the first post and mentioned again by Attila upthread? I'm reading Toxic Parents now and it (together with this thread) certainly make you realise that you're not alone, a lot of parents have the same problems. I haven't got on to what I hope will be "how to deal with it" in the later sections of the book. I ordered the Controlling Parents book a while ago but it hasn't arrived yet.

You definitely do need to protect your DC from her and it may be that long-term NC is the only way to do that properly. When you start speaking again after a NC period, do you address what caused the split or do you just sweep it under the carpet and try to carry on as if it never happened? I think that's been the problem between me and my parents; not addressing things, leaving unresolved issues.

I'm certainly still hoping that I can have an ongoing reasonable relationship with my mother (she isn't as bad as yours, thank goodness) but I'm looking for ways to handle our relationship better as adult-to-adult and not get sucked back into the controlling parent / miserable child roles again.

modest I would completely freak out if my M turned up unexpectedly at a wedding fair! She's "taking a step back from you" probably in the expectation that you will go grovelling for her attention and approval - DON'T! She's holding the "we won't come to your wedding unless you do what I want" over your head as a big threat. I think you have to fact up to the fact that they may very well not come, whatever you do, because it's unlikely that you can meet all her demands. Practice a speech something like "We would love you to come and be a part of our wedding, but it's our day, not yours, and if you can't accept that, then it's better if you don't come." Think about what you will say to other relatives / family friends. Something like "We would love M and D to join in our special day and have done everything we can to include them but they don't like some of the arrangements and so have decided not to come."

Weddings are certainly fraught with difficulties, aren't they? I'm also getting married soon (the clue's in the name!) and M started to interfere make "helpful" suggestions but I nipped it in the bud. My DP and I sat down together and agreed what we want from the day, then presented it to M as a fait accompli. Not as in, we've booked it all and it's all sorted, but rather, we don't want the type of wedding you would like and were trying to organise for us , we want to do xyz instead, but you can help us choose venues etc. I admit to being a coward as I blamed my DP for anything I thought she wouldn't like: "Oh, DP would never agree to that" even when it's me who wants things that way. She knows that DP would prefer to get married abroad with NO family present, so the threat that we'll cancel everything and just elope has kept her in check and so far it's all going smoothly.

She offered to pay for the wedding, but that raised some red flags with me, so I declined. I've suffered a lot with financial controlling behaviour in the past but that was mainly my father, so it might not be a problem with M, but I wouldn't take the risk.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 21-Oct-14 15:10:16

These people too never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions. Your mother blamed you (!) for her own irrational behaviour at this wedding fair, this is precisely what such toxic people do. She went along to that for her own reasons, basically to upset and upstage you.

Modestandatinybitsexy Tue 21-Oct-14 16:02:58

Bride I tried blaming DP - he said I should. I tried to go down the route that they see DP more as the traditional bride as he's more excited about the planning. Now they've really taken against him but I think that's more because he will either confront them or remove himself from the situation therefore taking the wind out their sails.

When we tried to do the same when we turned down the money they took it as a personal affront. They don't want us to be able to do this without them and keep picking at any ideas we suggest. Even while saying that they're trying to be supportive.

The problem is that they still see us both as 16 year olds and even though we've been together 9 years and have a house together the relationship is somehow immature. They've even gone so far as to suggest DP is the controlling one when I agree with him rather than them. Even more of a problem is that when treated that way I react accordingly, raise my voice and cry. It's really annoying and I just get more upset that I can't be mature around them, even when I'm making a good point it's completely undermined by my tears.

I really appreciate all the helpful comments. Attila You've really helped me see how this behaviour isn't acceptable, she's supposed to be the parent and it seems like she doesn't care about me unless I do things her way.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Tue 21-Oct-14 19:39:25

Luckily my M likes my DP - so far, at least. He has helped me a lot to sort my life out (basically, supporting me to achieve some of the things my M has nagged me about for years but I couldn't do on my own, because of the procrastination and paralysis and self-defeating behaviour I wrote about yesterday.) Because I've credited him with getting me to achieve those things, she regards him as an ally and has subtly tried to get him to "gang up" with her to have a go at me about certain things. I've had to point out to him what she's doing and ask him not to join in. He doesn't really appreciate what she can be like as of course she's only saying things to be helpful / for my own good etc.

fillie Tue 21-Oct-14 20:43:47

Tired now, that's a very extreme change of lifestyle for you mother! I remember in my teens my mum was single and we had some fun together, choosing bras, talking about boyfriends etc, but what you're describing sounds pretty unhealthy. Have I understood, she ended up moving your boyfriend in ...as her lover?!? Wow, that is not designed to boost her daughters esteem. And now SHE has her judgy pants on, no wonder you have a hard time with her.
How can she forget all that? Does she act like butter wouldn't melt? That would do anyone's head in!!!
shock

GoodtoBetter Tue 21-Oct-14 22:35:13

OMG. My mother has a buyer for her house. Looks like she'll be gone before Christmas. Wow.

Hissy Wed 22-Oct-14 00:30:52

how arehow are you feeling about that good? you ok?

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 08:54:52

Hi Hissy. I don't know really. I'm a bit shocked. I mean, logically it's a good thing for several reasons. She's never been happy here, never made friends or contacts or any life for herself, just leeched off me. She's gettting on (70s) and would be better in the UK in terms of language and all that. It's better for me as I need the distance from her.
But then it's also a bit of a kick in the teeth emotionally. The fact that she has made no real effort to repair things, just keeps belating about how she doesn't know what she's done (even though she's read my e mail to my uncle outlining it all). Feels like she's just washed her hands of me and the kids completely. That I'll have to explain (to DS particularly) that Granny has moved away. It's better for them in the long run too, but....I don't know. I'm just still so stunned at what a totally weird and dysfunctional person she is.
But then, I can feel a sort of relief bubbling away under the surface too. If she really does go, might try and sort a little trip away as a celebration, is that really weird of me?
Feel quite conflicted really. Normal I guess.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 22-Oct-14 09:12:59

Your mother GoodtoBetter was never interested in anything other than being right. I cannot stress enough about such people having a complete lack of empathy- that is why she thinks she has done nothing wrong and bleats about it. It is also not possible to have any sort of a relationship with a narcissist and you certainly need to put physical as well as mental distance from her.

Re your DS I give you this excerpt:-

"You will find that the children will eventually stop mentioning the loss of the narcissist grandparent if you are not bringing it up. If you are talking about your Nparent in the hearing of your children then you are inviting them to keep talking about it, too. I can not over-emphasize the need for your explanation to a younger child to be calm, pragmatic, measured and short. Long explanations make you look defensive which will tend to peak the interest of the child and prompt him to push the issue. You can gauge what is appropriate information depending on the age of the child. If the child is older and has experienced or witnessed the Ngrandparent's nastiness in action then you can say more.

Young children are not known for their long attention spans. This works in your favour. With younger children you have the advantage of distraction. It is easy enough to get the child's mind off onto another track. Every parent has done the distraction routine at one time or another. "Mommy, I want to see Nasty Nan today!" "Honey, we aren't going to see Nasty Nan today because we get to go to the park and eat ice cream." (Make up fun time on the spot if necessary for this distraction.) "Yay!!" says the kid and off we go. Subject changed, kid distracted. In time, Nasty Nan will fade from memory. Any bonding that may have occurred will dissipate in the process of time.

Remember, you are the parent. You're older and therefore more experienced which is the point of being the parent. The child is dependent on your good sense and protective wisdom. You're smarter than your child; use that to your advantage (such as using the distraction method). You are the final authority. This is not a negotiable issue. Kidlet doesn't get to decide on this one because they lack the understanding, wisdom, experience and good sense that, hopefully, you have. So don't look like you're unsure or open to quibble. You'll undermine yourself if you look anything but firm and resolved on it. Use your advantages as parent to smooth the effects of the cut-off. Over time this will all quiet down. Kids tend to accept what is. It will happen more quickly if you follow the above advice.

Most of all, do not operate from a fearful mindset. Don't be afraid of your children's possible, or actual, reactions. Don't be afraid that you are depriving them of something important by cutting off a set of grandparents. You are only "depriving" them of bad things. Reassure yourself with that truth. Family is not everything. Blood is not binding. You are escaping the Mob Family. What should connect us is how we treat each other with love and respect. This is always a good lesson to teach our little ones. If any part of you is unsure of your decision then, for Pete's sake, don't show it. Your resoluteness will go a long way toward reassuring your children that you are acting in everyone's best interest. If your children know that you love them, they are going to feel reassured that this decision is also based in your love for them. They will find an added sense of security to know that you, as their parent, are willing to protect them even at the cost of your relationship with your own parent(s). Rather than being fearful, see the plentiful opportunities in this. You are protecting your children from someone whom you've experienced as being abusive; you are reassuring your children that you are in charge and are watchful for their best interests (creates deep sense of security); you can teach healthy family values which include that family doesn't get a pass for abusive behaviour; you can strengthen and reinforce the healthy relationships in your extended family. Kids are less likely to feel like there is a void in their life if you fill it with good things.

Cutting off from your narcissist parent is a good thing. No need to act otherwise. Your children will sense it is a good thing by how you behave. Model how you want them to respond and it is likely they will imitate. Don't be afraid of their questions. Kids are amazingly resilient and well-equipped to handle truth. Parents are supposed to protect their progeny. If your child doesn't agree with how you go about that don't worry. They will often disagree with your decisions for their best interests. Nothing new there. It is your job as parent to make the tough decisions. If you know it is the right decision then proceed with confidence. Showing confidence is a quality of leadership. As a parent you are supposed to be a leader. Lead...and they will likely follow".

And plan that trip away as well!!.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Wed 22-Oct-14 12:26:14

Wow, Good, that's quite sudden. Did you think she'd never actually do it, just whine about how impossible it is? From everything you've written, I think it can only be a good thing for you and your family.

Do you think you need to go away to celebrate? Won't it be a joy just being at home and around the neighbourhood without worrying that you might bump in to her?

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 12:35:37

I'm not surprised she's going. She's never been happy here, always moaning about it and comparing it unfavourably to "home". In some ways I suppose it's her big chance to go back, so in that way I'm doing her a favour. She won't see it like that of course. I think it's a good move for her as things stand. Obviously it will make my life easier on a day to day basis.

We probably won't actually go away because if the sale goes through it would take at least a month and then it's very near Christmas and as far as we know DH will be street sweeping for the council from January and so not able to have a day off really.

Maybe we'll have a nice day in the mountains instead. Christmas Day will certainly be less stressful if she's gone by then.

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 12:36:43

Thanks Attila that's really helpful that piece about talking to children, I'll use that if/when it comes up with DS.

TiredNow Wed 22-Oct-14 13:40:41

fillie she says now that she's "apologised" so doesn't see why I cant be over it, in fact she says now that I should be (and should have been at the time) happy for her because she was happy since splitting up with my Dad.

She didn't understand at the time that I didn't want to hear about their "activities" or give her 'tips' (that I was only supposed to have gleamed from TV/magazines I guess as she went absolutely mental when she finally found out I'd first slept with some, called me "impure" and threw me out, this was a boyfriend btw and totally consensual not some randomer off the street)

I'm beginning to think that her ideas around sex/relationships are not "normal" - she told me about how my brother was conceived (I was 9 at the time) and is weirdly over invested in the conception of my children but on the other hand is getting more prudish and conservative as she gets older (starting with the "gays aren't normal" type comments even though her sister is and has been out nearly 20 years)

Thats just the tip of the iceberg though, the more I think the more I come to the conclusion lots of things in my teens (some before) weren't actually right and normal and general teenager things, maybe?

Hissy Wed 22-Oct-14 14:02:17

Well GoodtoBetter this is where you will need to hold your nerve and wait until it has actually happened...

I remember with my DM, and the situation wasn't nearly as tense, but I had already been excluded from being told that she had seen something she liked, offered on it etc. She told me they had accepted an offer, but that was it. she deliberately lied through omission.

I had an inkling that she was going to leave me out of everything, but had to step back and let it happen. I wanted to see what she was capable of.

I still don't really believe she did it. But she did. and then some. sad

Rest assured that she will be moving because of you and yes it will be "your fault".

You know this a no-win situation, because the dice that she rolls only ever comes up with You're right, everyone else is wrong.

ifuknow Wed 22-Oct-14 15:44:06

Hello again, DM is now in the hospice, what a relief. I can relinquish all caring responsibility and just visit as I feel like it, this time it really looks like it won't be long.
Modest I also had a terrible time with my DP about my wedding. DM made snide comments how she'd give it 6 months, refused to come dress shopping with me, carried on about what a waste of money it all was. DF never stood up to her. Several of my friends were getting married the same year and seeing the enthusiasm and happiness of their DP made me feel like the most unworthy person in comparison. Eventually me and DH decided to marry without telling anyone, just a handful of friends attended, I've always felt like I missed out though, but
I know that DM would've sulked all day because it wouldn't be all about her.
Goodtobetter do you know for certain that DM has a buyer lined up? Could she be testing you to see how you'll react? I hope that you're able to enjoy a peaceful Xmas. I'm actually looking forward to Xmas for the first time in about 30 years. No guilt tripping about leaving DM on her own, where she'll 'just have a chicken'.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Wed 22-Oct-14 17:43:05

modest hi, welcome. Your DM sounds incredibly difficult to deal with, how horrible for you. Weddings do seem to be a flashpoint, particularly for narcissistic parents - I guess the idea of a whole day not about them is too much hmm
My M was up and down while I planned my wedding - we did manage to get along after I pointed out to her that her expectation of planning my whole day was NOT going to happen, and was deeply unreasonable!
On the day, though, she acted like a massive drama queen, weeping all over various kind gullible relatives, and generally trying to make it all about her. Ignore ignore ignore. Your wedding is for you and your DF to enjoy and celebrate. A normal mother would be happy to see her daughter happy, would want to help and join in, not control and defeat and suck the joy away.

You are normal, she is not. Hold onto that. And good luck with the planning!

HumptyDumptyBumpty Wed 22-Oct-14 17:48:09

good, that's tentatively good news, right? How are you doing?

ifuknow how are you feeling? Is it all relief, or is there any bad stuff creeping its sly way in? Hope you're just feeling free and light.

Stil NC with my M. She's rung once, which I've ignored. I find it hard - def FOG going on, but also sadness that my DD isn't cherished by her grandma - she's learned to stand independently in the last week, and my M doesn't, and probably won't know about it. That feels really sad to me. My DH is being a legend though, getting me through the wobbles and putting up with me being weepy and grumpy a lot.

Interestingly, my best mate, who knows my M really well (has been subjected to her interminable rants/waffle) said, when I told her about the NC, "good. She's always been so negative, and puts you down. It's horrible". I'm so grateful to her for being a true mate and not being sucked in by M.

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 18:41:02

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH. My uncle has just e mailed my Dbro asking him to intercede. So angry. Really tempted to tell him (uncle) to fuck off.

Hissy Wed 22-Oct-14 18:48:50

Good your DB needs to deal with this.

he needs NOT to tell you this shit. he needs to see the winged uncle for what it is and not react. at. all.

your DB needs to use the therapist as a sounding board before he passes on any info from DM/DU. got it?

this is DM decision, it will be better off for you (and her) if she goes home, and you aren't going to try and change her mind. she is old enough to make her own choices.

you are old enough to make the best choices for your family.

ignore.

Hissy Wed 22-Oct-14 18:50:52

i'm bloody angry with him. I don't like his oversharing. I know some of it has served you well, but you're very vulnerable right now and this shit sets you back.

he needs to act better as a db and protect you a bit from this.

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 18:53:57

My uncle's msg:
I haven't contacted you through this debacle. I did exchange a couple of emails with G2B but from their content didn't think that anything would be achieved by continuing the conversation. As you now know from G2B's mother she is in the final stages of selling her house and relocating to the UK.
I am sending you this email that she sent me this morning in confidence. I have no problem with you sharing it with G2B.
I continue to be at a total loss to understand how a daughter can completely cut off a grandmother from the love and affection of her grandchildren. It's not only unnecessarly hurtful to G2B's mum but think of the reaction of the children, now and for the rest of their lives. Understandable if G2B's mum was a serial murderer. But totally incomprehensible otherwise.
You are the only person now who bring any sanity to the situation.
G2B's mum will leave Spain now regardless. There is nothing to be gained by extending the hurt even further.
Hopefully you can find a way to intercede.
Uncle

*WTAF????

>
From my mother to my uncle:

I´m still a bit shellshocked. I´m just having a quiet day and going on with clearing out stuff. Thank goodness I did so much early on. It´s really hitting me hard now about never seeing the children again. I thought I had taken it in but I hadn´t really. The two little boys last night were so lovely. It hit me with a fresh shock, to think what I am missing.

I am soooooooooooooooo tempted to write back "How about an apology for a start?" that I am literally sitting on my hands.

ifuknow Wed 22-Oct-14 18:59:45

Humpty I'm feeling much better, freer and lighter as you say. I'm finding it difficult to limit my time with her, she's slept most of the day but as soon as I mentioned going, she wanted to get up and go to the TV lounge which was a right bloody rigmarole. I know that sounds mean but I've been here for almost 8 hours and I'm tired.
Good for you maintaining NC with your DM, yes it's hard accepting that she's not going to be the GM your DD deserves, especially if you have friends with wonderful (normal) mums.

Hissy Wed 22-Oct-14 19:03:56

Good you're uncle is lost.

he sided with her from the outset, and his exchange has just been him rubbernecking.

ignore. think swan. think serenity.

let them both go.

and I still want to kick your DB arse

Hissy Wed 22-Oct-14 19:04:53

your not you're.

smartdumbphone

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 20:17:54

I'll talk to the therapist about it on Tuesday. God alone knows what DM has been telling my uncle. That she's tried everything probably. Really tempted to write to him and just say "She behaved atrociously and has made no further attempt to contact me since I last spoke to you and has never apologised for any of it". But I expect it's pointless.
I've asked Dbro not to forward any more of it, it serves no purpose really.

GoodtoBetter Wed 22-Oct-14 22:03:28

<channels serene swan> and breathe....

behindthescentedcandless Wed 22-Oct-14 23:21:13

Back again after a lost password, etc.

df has a big birthday coming up next month, and my siblings are coming home for it.

unfortunately things have deteriorated drastically between me and df. I am far from perfect but I have recently decided that I can no longer deal with his behaviour. I am thirty something years old and have spent so much of that dying for his love and approval. I now understand I am not going to get that, and what I am going to get is random outbursts of fury and hate, as well as continuous low level rudeness and contempt.

the really bizarre thing is that I have managed, in spite of these years of mental and emotional abuse to have a happy life with a nice husband and a good job. I have a good relationship with my two kids.

I always felt as though my dad hated me. This was so difficult to process that I convinced myself for years that i was imagining it. I have now decided I am not. He does hate me, but it isn't personal, he has nothing but hate and contempt for everyone, although he will put on a convincing show otherwise. Now I feel less emotional and more coldblooded, I feel pure shock at some of the things he has said to me.

going nc is not an option as my mum minds my kids. I see him approx. Once a day. I have reduced contact since an incident a week ago when i phoned to ask my mum something and he screamed and ranted and raved in the background. I was on a lunch break from work and following the encounter I was deeply upset and traumatised. I know that sounds silly, but this is the effect this man has on me after a lifetime of terrorisation. It was that feeling, the fact that this person can make me feel like that, me, a happy, confident, successful woman who has travelled the world and who has a happy content life, can be reduced to a puddle by this emotionally violent thug.

the by product ofnthis reduction is that I dont talk to my mum and I feel myself withdrawing from her which I dont want to do.

then there is the birthday issue. I dont actually want to see him but I also dont want to create drama when the whole family are coming over.

thanks for letting me vent.

GoodtoBetter Thu 23-Oct-14 07:13:16

Hi candles. Can you sort out childcare so your mum doesn't have the kids and you don't have to interact with your dad so much? Then she could come and see you without him. I don't see how things can improve if you keep seeing him so muchsad

GoodtoBetter Thu 23-Oct-14 08:40:43

Going out in a bit for a hair cut and to see a friend and try to stop myself replying in anger to my uncle. Still really pissed off.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 08:57:06

Sorry to read that GoodtoBetter, your uncle though is and always was one of these winged monkeys.

Channel your serene swan impersonation indeed and swim away from this man and your narc mother.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 09:07:26

Behindthescentedcandless

I would certainly find alternate childcare as a matter of course. If your cannot deal with your dad (and your mother has chosen to stay with her H for her own reasons, you cannot ever rely on her to protect you from him) its the same deal for your both vulnerable and defenceless children.

GoodtoBetter Thu 23-Oct-14 09:36:25

Thanks Attila. Still itching to reply. angry

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 10:41:15

I would not reply although you are itching to. No good will come of it because the respondent is not willing or able to actually listen to the message you're imparting.

GoodtoBetter Thu 23-Oct-14 10:50:23

I know, I know. I want to write back "She was utterly horrible to me and she has made NO attempt to apologise. If she's so desperate to see her GC, why doesn't she at least try to make amends?" But he's probably been told all sorts. But then again the fact that he's probably been told all sorts makes me angry and makes me want to write even more to say...SHE WAS A BITCH AND SHE'S NOT EVEN SORRY!!!!
Argh. Sometimes I think I'd feel better for writing that but then it will just bring more shit on my head and anyway...I don't really want her to apologise atm as it would be bollocks and then I'd have to have some contact with her. Still have that urge to scream at my uncle IT'S NOT ME BEING THE BITCH HERE!.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 10:55:32

I learnt yesterday that FIL's tumour is inoperable and care will now be of a palliative nature.

I feel quite detached about it all, infact I feel very similar to how I felt when my Nan (my dad's mother) died which was not a lot to be honest with you. I did shed some tears when shed died but they were for my dad rather than me. She was not very nice over many years to people that I really care about and also said some really nasty, critical things about others. Even now I do not feel much of a sense of an actual loss.

If any of you good people out there do pray and I am not at all fussed what religion you are, please pray for my DH. He's the one I'm really worried about going forward. I'm further along this dark road than he is.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 10:57:25

GoodtoBetter,

May I suggest that you write it all down on a piece of paper and shred said paper afterwards. Its a cathartic exercise.

Channel your inner swan!!

Hissy Thu 23-Oct-14 12:33:28

Attilla ((((hugs)))) and a PM from me. xxx

Hissy Thu 23-Oct-14 12:40:55

GoodtoBetter My love this is the bit you have to dig deep for. this is the bit you have to go through.

Feel the anger, express it and let it out. Find out why you are angry and give yourself the permission to express it. It is a phase you need to go through one way or another. you can't skip this.

I learned this when recovering from the abuse;

We have always been told that we had no right at all to be angry and it was what we deserved. this is what kept our abusers/tormentors enabled to hurt us time and time again. BUT we have a right to be angry about terrible things done to us by others. we really do.

We didn't make the choices they made, we wouldn't be able to. This incidentally is what fuels their hatred of us, that we are 'Good' and we are 'Nice', Better and Nicer THAN THEM this is why they glory in our downfall.

It's not you, it really isn't. When you see that you have no power to influence how they treat you, when you feel that anger it creates and process it and let it go, you will start to heal.

be kind to yourself love, this is the shit bit. it will pass.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Thu 23-Oct-14 13:06:36

Attila Sorry, I don't pray, but I'm thinking of you and your DH. I hope that he can come to terms with things in the time remaining.

Good I completely understand why you want to reply to your uncle, to set the record straight, but no good will come of it. You thought previously that he might be reasonable and prepared to see both sides of the argument, and you sent the factual record of the behaviour which led to the NC. Having read that, he is still completely under your M's influence and on her side. Therefore any rant from you now would just be more evidence (to him) of how unreasonable you are being. Ask your brother to stop forwarding any more like this; it's not helping you.

candles Attila speaks sense, as always. If your father is carrying on like that, then it surely can't be good for your DC to be spending so much time in his presence. I don't know the back story but assume your DM won't cross him in any way, e.g. by doing the child care at your house rather than theirs? I think you're right that if you don't go to the birthday celebration then it will be portrayed as all your fault that you have spoilt it for everyone... it's up to you to decide which is the lesser of two evils - if you don't see your siblings often, can you put up with them thinking badly of you? Or can you speak to them before the event and explain the circumstances? Or are they totally taken in by him and don't understand your problems with him?

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Thu 23-Oct-14 13:11:06

ifuknow I'm so pleased for you that the hospice place has been sorted out and I hope you can now get some perspective on things. You've done everything you possibly could, and put up with more than most people would have done. You did everything in your power to meet her wishes to die at home, and she is one who made that impossible. Be gentle on yourself.

ifuknow Thu 23-Oct-14 16:20:44

Attilla not religious but sending some positive vibes across the ether to DH. You're in for a bumpy ride, best wishes to you.
Thanks Bride I'm doing fine, the staff here are fantastic, ttreating DM like the Queen Bee she thinks she is!

citytocountry Thu 23-Oct-14 16:50:01

I am rather afraid to post on here, so please be kind, but I have just come across the thread and it seems like rather a revelation to me.

In a nutshell my mother is just horrible to me. I have three children and, having had them and realised what unconditional love is, and having married a wonderful man from a "normal" supportive family I am left reeling about how I was treated as a child, and still am as an adult.

She has just been to stay with us for four nights and has done nothing but criticise me and undermine me. Its almost as if she is envious of me. She criticises anything that isn't done the same way as she did (e.g. parenting styles), anyone who holds different opinions, tries to play off me and my sister, says cruel things to me when my DH isn't around, and plays my children off against each other.

Also everything is always about HER e.g.

- I was previously divorced. First question to me - what did YOU do? Me: he slept with my friends her: well that's probably your fault. No love, sympathy or help.

- My DH broke his arm last year which means we missed a wedding. Everyone was so supportive and sympathetic apart from my mother who said "that's so stupid of him - what will everyone think if you don't come, you'll have to leave him and come alone)".

- revising history (my drug addicted, abusive father apparently now "wasn't that bad a dad - you're making it up").

I could go on.

I cried constantly on and off throughout the weekend. I have no idea what to do now. I am angry and sad and confused, and far too scared to say anything, which I know is completely pathetic as I am normally quite bolshy in RL.

So - IS it me? And is there anything I can do about it? Would writing a letter help (I suspect not)?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 17:13:43

citytocountry

Welcome!. Never be afraid to post here either!.

Its not you, its her. It is not your fault she is like this, you did not make her this way (her own family of origin did that).

Did she invite herself to your home?. Regardless I would now stop all future visits by her to your house; your children and your good self get nothing at all positive out of it. Such people do not change, the best thing you can do here is to keep her well away from you and your own family unit. If she cannot or will not behave then she gets to see none of you. She was a toxic parent to you and is basically a poor influence on your children now. If you find her too difficult/toxic to deal with its the self same for both your vulnerable and defenceless children. Societal convention is not a good enough reason to keep such a dysfunctional relationship at all going.

Your mother reads very much like what a person with a narcissistic personality would do and say. Such toxic people do re-write history to show themselves in a better light.

Would suggest you read the resources at the start of this thread particularly the toxic parents reference, Children of the self absorbed and the website entitled Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers.

What you can and must do is maintain both a physical and mental distance well away from your mother. Raise your own boundaries re her because they are far too low currently.

And no, writing a letter to her would not help because she would use your words against you, send in her own winged monkeys (other well meaning and ignorant relatives) to put pressure on you and make it all out to be your fault. These people always want the last word and feel they cannot be anything other than right. If you did write a letter, on no account send it.

thebrideishighbutimholdingon Thu 23-Oct-14 17:17:35

citytocountry Welcome to the Stately Home and no, it's not you, it's her! Writing a letter might very well help you to crystallise your thoughts - but I'd recommend that you don't send it to her. Check out some of the links and books recommended in the first thread e.g. Toxic Parents

I'm sure someone wiser than I will be along soon with some good advice.

Looks like we need a new thread very soon.

citytocountry Thu 23-Oct-14 17:29:05

Oh, thank you for replying so quickly smile

She invited herself to my home (this happens about two or three times a year). My DH has already said we are never going to go and stay with her again as she is so utterly hideous when we are in her house (we live 250 miles apart so long stays are the only possible way for her to see the grandchildren). I would never have agreed to such a long visit, but she announced that she had booked train tickets as she wanted to see the grandchildren (not me!) and that was that.

My DH once range her just after I had had one or another of the babies and told her she couldn't come as I couldn't cope (I had terrible PND) and we have literally never heard the last of it. WW3 would break out if we banned her from coming, although part of me is so beyond all hope now that I'm frankly not that bothered.

My lovely sister thinks she is quite bonkers (her own mother, my grandmother is also bonkers and there is an enormous family feud there) and toxic. She lives nearby put limits visits to a quick cup of tea etc. Thankfully we realised quite early on that my Mum basically lies and tries to get us to turn against each other so now we compare notes and laugh about it.

But - I am SO SAD that my children will have no grandparents on my side to enjoy. And SO ANGRY that she doesn't love me. I'm not sure I will ever get over it really.

I've ordered the books, thanks.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 23-Oct-14 18:16:11

Again it is not your fault C2C that your mother is the way she is, your sister and you did not make her that way. Your mother made the terrible choice not to love, her behaviours are all characteristic of someone with NPD.

It is NOT possible to have any sort of a relationship with a narcissist and you will all get on just fine without her. Are the grandparents on your DHs side emotionally healthy, if they are see them instead.

Re your children I give you this excerpt:-

"You will find that the children will eventually stop mentioning the loss of the narcissist grandparent if you are not bringing it up. If you are talking about your Nparent in the hearing of your children then you are inviting them to keep talking about it, too. I can not over-emphasize the need for your explanation to a younger child to be calm, pragmatic, measured and short. Long explanations make you look defensive which will tend to peak the interest of the child and prompt him to push the issue. You can gauge what is appropriate information depending on the age of the child. If the child is older and has experienced or witnessed the Ngrandparent's nastiness in action then you can say more.

Young children are not known for their long attention spans. This works in your favour. With younger children you have the advantage of distraction. It is easy enough to get the child's mind off onto another track. Every parent has done the distraction routine at one time or another. "Mommy, I want to see Nasty Nan today!" "Honey, we aren't going to see Nasty Nan today because we get to go to the park and eat ice cream." (Make up fun time on the spot if necessary for this distraction.) "Yay!!" says the kid and off we go. Subject changed, kid distracted. In time, Nasty Nan will fade from memory. Any bonding that may have occurred will dissipate in the process of time.

Remember, you are the parent. You're older and therefore more experienced which is the point of being the parent. The child is dependent on your good sense and protective wisdom. You're smarter than your child; use that to your advantage (such as using the distraction method). You are the final authority. This is not a negotiable issue. Kidlet doesn't get to decide on this one because they lack the understanding, wisdom, experience and good sense that, hopefully, you have. So don't look like you're unsure or open to quibble. You'll undermine yourself if you look anything but firm and resolved on it. Use your advantages as parent to smooth the effects of the cut-off. Over time this will all quiet down. Kids tend to accept what is. It will happen more quickly if you follow the above advice.

Most of all, do not operate from a fearful mindset. Don't be afraid of your children's possible, or actual, reactions. Don't be afraid that you are depriving them of something important by cutting off a set of grandparents. You are only "depriving" them of bad things. Reassure yourself with that truth. Family is not everything. Blood is not binding. You are escaping the Mob Family. What should connect us is how we treat each other with love and respect. This is always a good lesson to teach our little ones. If any part of you is unsure of your decision then, for Pete's sake, don't show it. Your resoluteness will go a long way toward reassuring your children that you are acting in everyone's best interest. If your children know that you love them, they are going to feel reassured that this decision is also based in your love for them. They will find an added sense of security to know that you, as their parent, are willing to protect them even at the cost of your relationship with your own parent(s). Rather than being fearful, see the plentiful opportunities in this. You are protecting your children from someone whom you've experienced as being abusive; you are reassuring your children that you are in charge and are watchful for their best interests (creates deep sense of security); you can teach healthy family values which include that family doesn't get a pass for abusive behaviour; you can strengthen and reinforce the healthy relationships in your extended family. Kids are less likely to feel like there is a void in their life if you fill it with good things.

Cutting off from your narcissist parent is a good thing. No need to act otherwise. Your children will sense it is a good thing by how you behave. Model how you want them to respond and it is likely they will imitate. Don't be afraid of their questions. Kids are amazingly resilient and well-equipped to handle truth. Parents are supposed to protect their progeny. If your child doesn't agree with how you go about that don't worry. They will often disagree with your decisions for their best interests. Nothing new there. It is your job as parent to make the tough decisions. If you know it is the right decision then proceed with confidence. Showing confidence is a quality of leadership. As a parent you are supposed to be a leader. Lead...and they will likely follow".

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