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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families(1000 Posts)
It's July 2014, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.
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."
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
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."
Dbro sent me a msg to say he was back and that DM had phoned him She never phones him. Apparently she knows I was reading her whatsapp while we were away and that I can read her e mails and that she will now only phone him or whatsapp him. She says she knows "something ominous is happening" and that if this is "really the end she will have to do a deal with me to sell her house and go back to the Uk". Apparently she's bought 4 bottles of wine as the only way to cope is to get blind drunk.
So, I expect things will be quiet while she gets pissed (altho might get a maudlin msg) and while she has a hangover and then the madness will begin.
In other news, have had a lovely calm day and DS particularly has been a little poppet, no tantrumming or stropping like he has been doing lately, very affectionate. Maybe picking up on me feeling calmer.
Good. Now that you know shje knows sommat is up, there is no point in playing any smoothy soothy games with her.
Switch off your phones/flight mode/switch off wifi. Unplug the phone at home and cut every method she has for contacting you until you go away. LET her drink herself into oblivion. Let the hangover from hell batter her around the head. She bloody deserves it tbh!
Sort the dog out yourself. Don't invite drama by including her in any information exchanges. She's not important enough to consult anymore.
When you finally speak to her, just say "I know everything, and I have absolutely nothing more to say to you"
And then that's that. No more. You have nothing to gain by smoothing this over. She's tried again to destroy you by isolating you. She's bad mouthed your H, and your parenting. She's even had a pop at your hospitality and spread rumours about your financial liquidity.
Enough! You are now free.
You have gone from bad to worse, from good to better and now the best there is!
And yes.. dc do reflect back our moods. Trust your instincts. That woman has no positive role in your life. She now has no role at all, and you'll feel better.
I don't want to cause Dbro any problems and he's told her that he didn't tell me about her rant. She's said it to me before anyway. It makes no difference really anyway. I've just had enough of all of it, of all the drama. The fact that I can't go away on holiday without rude PA messages, the ignoring DD, the bitching behind my back. I'm not playing any more. I'm out. The only way with her is not to be in contact.
I had decided that we would be busy for Xmas lunch but that I'd see her with the kids in the morning on Xmas Day but I don't even want to do that now.
Hopefully this time she'll fuck back off to the UK for good. At the moment my plan is to ignore her until we go away the first week of September. I'm not planning to give her any reasons really...just to ignore her.
I have a VIP ring for unwanted callers. It goes " ", " "
good give your phone to your husband or up in the attic.
it'll get harder before it gets better; be prepared. Ring your brother on a spare phone if you have to.
I've had three calls to the mobile, two to Dh's mobile, 3 or four to the landline, a whatsapp saying "please contact me as soon as possible it seems none of your phones are now working" and then another "I know you were online when I sent the message".
Has been phoning Dbro who has let it go to voicemail. Have finally had an e mail signed "your mother".
Says I owe her some explanations (about not answering the phone).
That she sent photos while we were away but had to ask if they had been received. That when Dbro went down she heard nothing (my phone did genuinely lock up when she phoned me once after he arrived and I couldn't pick up the call, I sent a msg saying I had phone problems but Dbro had arrived and we were off to the beach). That I must think she's stupid to think my phone was the only one there. (?).
Says that when we picked up Dbro today I barely spoke to her "after 3 weeks of a free holiday". Bills for the flat are paid by her but I have asked her twice to tell me how much they are and I will transfer the money, she has refused each time. Said I "wouldn´t let DS ask when he was going to see his Granny again, which I presume means not." He asked in her presence and I said I wasn't sure, that we had a lot to do this week. Says she'll go back to NI if I agree to help her sell the house.
"It is in your interests to co-opeate with this as otherwise you will have the unwelcome experience of having to continue to see me"
So, the shit has hit the fan.
<silently hands her an umbrella>
Can your husband help you handle this lot if it starts to get to you?
Goodto, you don't owe her anything at all.
I'd agree with what the others said -just for now, for this evening, turn off the phone and delete your WhatsApp profile.
Don't get sucked into the house-selling nonsense.
Sorry, I'm rather hogging the thread tonight....
She phoned Dbro and detailed the many ways she had considered of killing herself. Then slagged DH again some more. Went on about DS, Dbro said, what about DD and she said "well I don't really know her, I don't see her very often". WTAF?
Says she's going back to NI and will disinherit me.
Another call to house phone, to my mobile and Dh's mobile. Phones on silent and house phone unplugged. Door locked.
Dbro says not to respond at all except possibly to tell her I won't help her sell, that she is offering leave and never contact me again and that I should grab it with both hands.
She phoned Dbro and detailed the many ways she had considered of killing herself
oh ye gods. good ... you are so well off out of that.
She's gone batshit crazy. She's on the wine tonight, which is probably making it worse. Sent Dbro a whatsapp including a line about that I had just decided to cut her off and she didn't know why.
So glad things are unplugged/ off etc.
It will ease off. It would be a waste of time to try and reason with her anyway. Just try and relax now your imcommunicado.
Get DH to delete all messages from all devices before you see/ hear them tomorrow if needed.
It'll ease off as she drinks herself into a stupor but she won't just up and go to NI without a fight. There'll be more shit to come. She's forced my hand. NC from now on.
I have a random question for those with children if you'll indulge me......
We're currently ttc our first, I am sure you'll all understand the disappointment every month when af comes and your out yet again, we're now onto our 9th cycle and a 4th pregency announcement from friends since we started trying,......we're both feeling the frustration..
My issue is I think I am sabotaging myself because I am worried about being my mother and having an awful relationship with any children we have
I have food intolorances which could (possibly not totally proven but defiantly questionable) affect our conceiving, Every month I seem to go off on a binge of things I shouldn't eat, i drink more than I should I basically do everything I shouldn't if I really wanted to get pregnant and start a family
Has anyone else been in this situation? I am starting to feel that unless i can really start to believe I deserve a family it won't happen, I am so terrified of becoming my mother......
Can anyone give me any positive advice or experience because we really don't have time (I am early 30s) for me to be f**king stuff up with my stupid mummy issues......:-(
Fuzzy, I can PROMISE you that you won't 'be' your mother. You're more aware than she is.
Deep breath love. You can do this, you will be a good, no great mother. Give yourself the permission to be a mother.
good, never forget that we all need to lean on each other here from time to time. This is your time love, we all love you and want to help you, so please don't feel anything other than at home here and able to talk for as long and as in depth as you need to.
There's plenty of room for here for all of us!
Fuzzy, the fact that you are worrying about it shows you are not and won't be like her. <hugs>
Thanks Hissy. Woken up this morning and it all feels so surreal.
Meerka you asked : Do think you are lucky, actually, that you and your brother get on so well. Has he managed to come out the other side ok? Also, how do you get on with your uncle? Does he see the real person he's dealing with, when he talks to your mother?
I don't know what I'd do without Dbro. He is great, he's my little brother and I love him and am so proud of him for coming through all of the shite of our childhood so sane and kind and mature. He had quite a few sessions with what sounds like a good therapist which has helped, but basically he is a kind and loving young man with his head screwed on straight.
As for my uncle (my mother's brother) I like to think he sees through some of it or at the very least doesn't want to get involved. My aunt (Dm's sister) is bipolar and almost certainly a narc too, my mum hates her, and uncle has said before he doesn't want anything to do with her (my aunt). But I don't really know. I don't really know my uncle tbf, he lives on the other side of the world and doesn't really keep in touch. I've no idea what she has said to him either. But I won't be getting in touch with him about this.
I feel a bit weird today. What do I do? Tell her I won't help with selling the house or just never ever respond again?
good it is surreal love, it's not 'normal', but it's not of your doing.
If in doubt, do nowt...
Do nothing, for now. Keep posting, we're here to hand hold!
Thanks Hissy. That's what I keep coming back to....it's all so fucking batshit crazy. These huge rages and explosions over nothing, over such tiny slights or perceived insults. So much drama always. And I'm tired, tired of it all.
Don't reply she's appealing to your good nature about the house sale and trying to reel you in that way and with a guilt trip side order. Can you go out today and have a lovely day? Keep busy?
What do I do? Tell her I won't help with selling the house or just never ever respond again?
Never respond again.
If that is going to be a struggle, break it down into easier chunks. Just look at today. 'I won't respond today, and I'll reassess tomorrow.'
It gives you a day to work on your 'never' resolve.
If you enter into House discussions you are just opening up again.
Another e mail: "Have found the lawyer´s details and put the sale in the hands of an agent who it seems is your landlord. he will do photos etc next week."
That's all it says. I think she's mistaken about the agent being my landlord, I think it's the slimy agent we went to but didn't go through. Or may be the agent we actually found this house through, actually. But he's not my landlord.
Ignore and ignore, right?
Maybe she'll actually go this time. She'll have been here nearly ten years and not one single friend or even acquintance...says a lot doesn't it? What a fucking waste.
You know what she reminds me of? Many years ago I was babysitting for my 6YO nephew. We needed to go out, but we were going to be a long time in the car, so we wanted him to go to the loo before we went. The other two babysittees went, but he chose to lock horns on the issue. He refused point blank to go and sit on the toilet to see what would happen (I don't insist they wee - I just insist they try). He just stood, face like thunder, arms crossed, in the hall.
I took out my phone and told him if he wouldn't at least try, I'd have to call his mum to pick him up. He wavered but didn't move.
I told him I was dialling the number, and he looked concerned, but didn't move.
I started dialling random numbers on my phone. I got to about 5, and he suddenly darted up to the loo and did a mammoth wee. I put my phone away, and nothing more was said and we got in the car.
This is what your mum reminds me of. 'I'm dialling the number...' in order to get you to break down and do what she wants after all, which, in this case, is simply talk to her.
The thing is, what's vaguely acceptable when you're dealing with a stubborn 6YO who really thinks he knows best but doesn't, isn't appropriate behaviour when you're dealing with a grown adult who gets to decide for herself who she talks to and where she goes and what she does.
Don't get sidetracked by whether there's a mutual person who happens to know the situation. It's another case of 'I'm dialling the number...' So bloody what if it is your landlord? If you've never given him any trouble, he's not going to give a rat's arse about anything your mother says.
She's trying to get a rise out of you. Don't give her the satisfaction.
That's a good analogy. Dbro described her as a giant toddler, throwing tantrums if she doesn't get what she wants instantly. Yes, the landlord comment is neither here nor there. He isn't my landlord anyway. I'm not responding to anything today (and probably not ever). What's the point? What on earth would I say? She'll just wheedle and manipulate and thunder and lie. She won't even hear what I say.
Ironically, you all know from my posts on here, I never intended to go full NC but she has backed me into that corner with her behaviour.
Good, you are doing brilliantly. Keep ignoring. And yes: the NC is her doing. You tried to avoid it -- she has brought it on herself.
I'm really sorry to break in with a rant, but really getting angry at the moment. It seems that having less contact with mum (it was every day, several times, for years) has brought a lot of fury with it. I'm so hurt and angry at all of it:
The incredible pressure to do well at school. The harassed teachers, the enlisted specialists, the absolute hysteria about my abilities. The fact that doing really well at something only brought more expectation. And yet I was also deemed to be excessively fragile and vulnerable and in need of protection. My mental health issues were proof of this, and proof that I was a difficult child and a burden on her.
Now, the total reversal of history. The visceral objection to women "being feminist" and having ambition. The sheer worry in her voice if I have an opportunity to do well. I've stopped telling her.
The threadstalking, the grudges, the outpourings of anger about people who've stepped out of line in some way. The obsessive speculating about others.
The emotional blackmail. The oppressive love, the gifts with strings, the screaming anxiety if I dropped out of touch for a day. Although this seems to have switched off entirely now I'm less available. Now it's very easy not to be in touch. Illogically enough, that hurts too.
My dad, pinging between affectionate, solid and comforting and distant, cold and sarcastic. He's gone quiet now.
The fear that she'll somehow find this and identify me and be deeply and permanently wounded.
thecardinal it's all such a headfuck, isn't it? You can never relax, there's always a big black cloud of something lurking. "The emotional blackmail. The oppressive love, the gifts with strings, the screaming anxiety if I dropped out of touch for a day. Although this seems to have switched off entirely now I'm less available. Now it's very easy not to be in touch. Illogically enough, that hurts too." I identify with that so much. The smothering when you're doing exactly what she wants like a puppet but actually not really being interested in any meaningful way. If I'm ill she couldn't really give a bugger if it interrupts her mad internal self obsession. If she's ill the world must stop, I must rush to her bedside.
I think your mother sounds like mine, a lot. I don't think we are real autonomous beings to them, we're just a facet of themselves. I actually think when my mum is off on one of her rages she thinks I can read her mind. I know that sounds silly but it's like she forgets I'm a separate person and so things she's has only thought she sort of thinks I know, she assumes I will react the same way as her.
Another call and a voicemail "will you ever speak to me even to tell me why" or something...made Dh listen to it. Now this e mail:
"I don´t even know if there has been a car crash and you are all dead. What do I do now? Contact the police? DH´s parents? Will you at least send a message to X to confirm if you are all right?"
What do I do? E mail back I don't want to talk to you.
What do I do? E mail back I don't want to talk to you.
No. She's hoovering. If she wants to check you're alive, she can ask your brother. You don't need to send a message via him - he knows you're alive - he can confirm it to her if she was to, I don't know, ask him maybe?
She is dictating to you how to deal with it 'leave a message!' ergo 'talk to me!'
There really is no need.
Cardinal, I was utterly washed out with rage after stopping contact with my Dad. It took a few months, and then I was in a seething rage about it all.
It was almost as if, when I'd stopped having the emotions that he controlled - the sympathy and guilt and worry about him and so forth and so forth, I started having all the angry emotions that I should have been feeling all along.
Therapy helped a lot.
Don't rise to it, Goodto. She's triangulating.
Also, be prepared for 'I just thought I'd let you know, I've had to go to the hospital for chest-pains...'
Headfuck is exactly the right word, Good. And I feel both stupid for only starting to think now that my parents' love might not be 100% pure and unconditional -- because it's always been about love and self-sacrifice and concern, and I've never had my safety threatened or my physical integrity infringed -- and incredibly traitorous for thinking it. After all, I am not an easy person. In fact I'm damn difficult: although for all that, my DH, who chose me, seems determined to keep loving me anyway
"A facet of themselves." That makes so much sense. My mum complains to me about other people who don't agree with her, and she seems to assume I'll automatically be on side, even though I keep saying well, I'm a feminist/I don't like X either/I believe Y, as it happens. It's either total disbelief that I wouldn't agree with her, or a sideways way of getting at me without coming out and saying it. Not sure which.
I agree with Looking. Definitely leave it. I think that's not about knowing if you're OK -- that can be verified perfectly well -- but about making you get in contact.
Looking, that makes sense. Thankfully I have good pastoral support. I still have a hard time really calling on it when I need help (a sort of "mustn't bother the doctor" mentality), and then an even harder time admitting to what I see as ugly or unworthy feelings. But I am improving. These threads have been such a kick in the arse in that regard.
Heh - when I was younger, my Dad signed me up to the Labour Party. I was very surprised when the membership pack arrived for me. I had previously assumed that people were allowed to choose their own political allegiances.
He was very surprised that when he cancelled both memberships, I didn't follow him dutifully along to UKIP.
Oh God, Good, just saw your updates. Ringing your ILs... not surprised you sent an email just to make it stop. Awful when other people are brought into it.
good ..... no more contact. Not even for that. Because by responding you're feeding her and she;ll up the ante until you respond again. And again. And then you'll be sucked in.
Remember what she said about you and about your children. About how you didnt want her for christmas day. I suspect that it might be fading becuase 1) you're a very nice person and 2) you're conditioned to let the stuff you should be angry about fade.
She will keep on upping the ante. She may harass acquaintances. The best you can do is, if she does, is to apologise to them and ask them to say nothing.
Secondly, plan how you will handle it if she turns up on the doorstep. Actively plan it with your husband.
Remember, all this nice little old woman act has a very vicious and cruel undertone. She isn't what she wants you to believe. she is not a nice woman.
By the way the reason it feels surreal is because there's been a giant shift in the emotional landscape but ordinary everyday practical stuff is still the same. Habit's a huge force and when there's an unheaval it takes a while to adjust.
Same after a death, especially unexpected.
Yes, I am concerned she will come to the house and make a scene and upset the children. Her rages are easier to deal with in a way than the pity parties.
She's so transparent. Rage hasn't worked to bring me to heel, so now it's tears. Now she's gone quiet, planning her next move.
fuzzy ... from what I gather, it's certainly possible that you are sabotaging yoruself, but it's possible you're not, too.
I don't think there are any clear answers. Some people get preg at the drop of a hat. Some people don't get pregnant no matter what.
I am starting to feel that unless i can really start to believe I deserve a family it won't happen, I am so terrified of becoming my mother......
It's notorious that anxiety can delay conception though so it really does seem like a good idea to get to the bottom of it. Therapy isn't appropriate for everyone but for you, it seems a really good idea.
Also, pregnancy is not a deserve-don't deserve thing. Life is not that nice. It's way more random.
If it helps, my own story is that I conceived for the first time at 38. Had bad and untreated hyperemesis gravidarum. It mostly comes back if you conceive again and I was so frightened that I didn't dare try again for several years. At 38, that's taking a big risk. At last, I was ready to try again but did not conceive. Started looking at fertility treatment but they weren't willing to discuss how to handle the HG and ... I was too scared. So we left it up to chance or fate or whatever.
5 years on we gave up hope, I was 43. I gave away all the baby clothes we'd saved, almost all the babytoys and over some months came to terms with the fact that we wouldn't have another. I decided to concentrate on myself - started swimming and the gym, lost weight on the 5/2, worked harder on my dutch lessons, simply tried to enjoy life more.
You guessed it, one morning I started upchucking and after another frankly fucking awful pregnancy we have our second son. But I'd genuinely accepted that it wouldn't happen and had grieved for that and accepted that it was going to be one of those 'might have beens' in life.
I do believe, a d so do the docs , that relaxing (and getting fit and loosing weight) was the key point. But I had to really face the grief over not conceiving.
I don't think that's the key for you, but I do think that you need to reach peace with your family background and your own fear of yourself. You almost certainly need skilled help with that. Once you've done that you'll be able to stop sabotaging yoruself more easily.
Even then you might not conceive because it's not only about the mind. But it will put you in a very good place to face things from there on.
I can see the pressure you're putting on yourself - at early 30's fertility is still pretty good. This pressure won't be helping either. You can afford to step back, put a couple of years into therapy and then if necessary look into fertility treatment maybe. Lots you can do.
Also if you do reach a peace with your childhood and the patterns you've learned, you'll be in a better positiion if a baby does come along. Stepping back and looking at things in this way helps you choose to behave differently.
best of luck, lady
good ... how will you handle it if she turns up?
what will you say to her? how will you stop her coming in? How will you close the door on her?
Im sorry to say but you may have to face the possibility of a public scene. How can you help yourself face that?
TheCardinal The fear that she'll somehow find this and identify me and be deeply and permanently wounded.
Yeup. We start to break free and we still worry about hurting them. No matter how much they hurt us.
It'd be so so much easier if you could get through, wake them up and get a genuine meant apology. Would not take the hurt away but it would kind of help, that they acknowledge that it's been so wrong.
I struggle with the anger too. And even now, with feeling like I'm a bad person for being angry. The better more sensible side of myself knows that anyone would be angry at the treatment and that being angry when you've been kicked is a healthy thing!
At the moment I'm in a weird place. Brought up to respect parents, resentful for years at my father, while at the same time running after his approval and trying to build a relationship. After the last few months it's so so clear that he has no feeling towards me except expecting complete control and obedience from me. No affection or genuine love. The last little incident, I can't feel guilty becuase it's so ridiculous. But it's odd not feeling guilty!
Like you, good, I don't want to see him again.
I just feel sad that there wasn't and isn't the parental love. I feel a lot of the time just like the 10 or 11 year old girl that I was after my adoptive Mum died. Husband says I act like it too sometimes, wanting (as far as I can) to play chase with our older son and go paddling and climb trees and have a small bicker and make up. I'm 44 but there's worse things I suppose
Yes Im weird <chuckle>
There's a tiny porch. The door onto the street is a glass and iron door and then the wooden security door. I think if anyone knocks, will check who it is first. If it's her and kids not around then not answer. If kids around will be more difficult, DH will tell her to go away and if there's any fuss will say we'll call the police.
She's gone quiet, so clearly planning her next move. I think the next ploy will be illness.
But, what a nutter. Who else would go full in with the rage after only a few hours no contact? That alone shows what she's like.
"We start to break free and we still worry about hurting them. No matter how much they hurt us.
It'd be so so much easier if you could get through, wake them up and get a genuine meant apology. Would not take the hurt away but it would kind of help, that they acknowledge that it's been so wrong."
You're not weird Meerka <hugs>
I concur. Not weird at all––and you're so right, too!
I'm horrified by my own need for approval. Any criticism, no matter how harsh/disproportionate, and I immediately assume I must be at fault. After all, if I did things properly, nobody could ever misunderstand me or take exception. Daft logic.
Im not quite sure that climbing trees, or trying to, is quite normal at 44
but sod it! :D
But, what a nutter. Who else would go full in with the rage after only a few hours no contact? That alone shows what she's like.
yep, that's pretty darn extreme.
Long time lurker of this thread, not for my family but to support DH with his. His mother in particular.
Long story short is that we are currently low contact with her. She is massively self absorbed and only gets in contact when she wants something or there's something in it for her. Any happy news gets turned around to be all about her (she is the reason we eloped) but she's very blatant about it. An obvious example is that she gleefully announced she is allowing her (separated and living apart) DH to move back as he stands to inherit some money. The way he will inherit means that his early teenaged son will lose his mum He is not allowed to move back until the money comes in. As I said, no attempt to hide the way she thinks.
Anyway I digress, it was her birthday and DH was summoned to a meal. He can't mentally cope with the whole "let's pretend we're one big happy family". Luckily it was timed around when we were on holiday so that provided a perfect excuse. He emailed to say happy birthday, got a short reply (he only gets more than a line if she wants something/it's the fortnight before Christmas etc) and that was that. Or so we thought.
He later gets a message from one of his DB berating him for not calling her. The messages read as though he (DB) was moaned at and is doing the eldest sibling duty of passing on the message. This completely knocks DH for six and he hits the roof over something completely different before breaking down and asking why does she do it/is he a terrible person etc. He has been continually let down by her his whole life and just reverts back to the scared boy he once was. When the emotions die down he can look more objectively at the situation but I need help supporting him. Especially during crisis point.
Any suggestions for me would be massively appreciated. Thank you
"It'd be so so much easier if you could get through, wake them up and get a genuine meant apology. Would not take the hurt away but it would kind of help, that they acknowledge that it's been so wrong."
Amen. Not going to happen though... not ever.,
If they admit to having got something wrong, their universe would literally unravel.
Good I am thinking of you love, I know how terrifying this is.
My DM has a BIG birthday, I have heard nothing. Good. that's the way it has to be.
All she had to do is apologise for the barging into my home, terrorising my son crap. I told her that was all that was needed, for her to take responsibility for how she and her H behaved. I asked SO little really.
Glad to hear it's all quiet on the Western front for you, Hissy. My Dm has messaged Dbro saying she doesn't know what is going on and I won't respond and tell her so she has to give up. Fingers crossed, eh?
TheJiminyConjecture That sounds difficult, but at least he can see her behaviour is unreasonable, took me a loooong time to even get there! Maybe get him to read the links at the beginning of this thread?
Thanks Good, I tried the links a few months ago but he doesn't recognise that it was 'that bad'. He's getting to the angry stage with her behaviour but I feel that he'll never get the reaction he needs if he challenges her behaviour. I think she can sense she"s losing her control and this is where the behaviour will escalate. My family is nothing like this at all which makes it hard for him as he can't help but compare.
juminy ... coping with the initial emotional meltdown ... well yes, difficult
Stay calm. Arms round him.
Keep talking in a neutral fashion. Reassure him that he is a reasonable person and a loving one. Maybe mention your own little nuclear family as you speak so that his attention is quietly and unobtrusively drawn back to it.
Literally make sure he has eaten and drunk enough. Waves of emotion are heightened by physical hunger.
When he is calm and strong, are you able to speak about it with him? I know this sounds daft, but are you able to plan together how to handle the next wave of guilt? Actually planning can help reasssert a measure of control for -him- over the whole thing.
Also he can say his piece calmly to his brother. That he did contact her for her birthday and he isnt sure why she's reacting like that. That she usually only speaks in one lines.
Also if you can get him to read Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. It's a very good book and it deals with the poisonous emotions that poisonous people instil and evoke in us.
I'm sorry she's so ruthless and heartless. Horrible to want a teenager to loose their parent so you can get your hands on the money I do hope her separated H doesn't move back in for his sake.
TheJiminyConjecture The realisation is a slow process, if he's getting angry, he's getting there.
If the behaviour is escalating then again, you need to plan how to deal with it. If you've been lurking then you maybe have a good idea of how it goes; attempts to control the person get worse. The flying monkeys are sent in, like his elder brother. Accusations fly, people are cut out of wills, there are sudden bouts of ill health.
Are any of his siblings consciously aware of what's going on and thinking for themselves?
If behaviour escalates, the best thing you can do for yourself is to SEE that it is escalating and dig even deeper. Expect it to go nuclear, expect world war 3, and know that whatever they throw WILL pass and there will be 'the other side' to get to.
They can rant and rave all they like, but it doesn't mean they are correct/right/justified. My ex abused me, kept me indoors for months, but as much as he made my life hell, he had NO ability to stop my thoughts of hatred against him. There is no difference here.
The MORE they kick off, the MORE you know that they are losing power. If they had power, they'd be as happy as a pig in shit. Use the fact that they are losing it as fuel for YOU to keep doing what you are doing. Resist, resist, resist. detach, detach, detach.
It's the loss of power that terrifies them, this terror they have to fuel their own idiotic behaviour. It's their heroin. They have to go cold turkey for a chance to change their decisions.
it is loss of power, isnt it? and it does terrify them < musing herself over her father>
I was thinking earlier how powerless I felt as a teen and sometimes still do. Any sign of independent thought was quickly squashed. Took a father-figure elsewhere and my first real good bf to teach me it's ok to question and think for yourself.
the sense of powerlessness is awful. Perhaps the worst of all because you stop thinking that you can do anything to improve the way you're living.
Yes, yes! Loss of power and CONTROL! The power to control you is indeed their heroin, following that analogy a bit more....when they lose the control they're like a junkie needing a fix and will do anything to regain control...wheedle, whine, shout, cry, lie.
Thank you all for your detailed replies.
Meerka, Funnily enough we spoke on the phone earlier and decided that tonight we are going to sit down and plan how to deal with things that might pop up. Any suggestions for ways he can feel more in control, without going full NC?
His siblings are split really, the eldest 3 all know she's crap. Eldest likes to gloss over it and pretend everything is picture perfect. Youngest 3 I'm not sure of really. They had a different childhood but still seem quite damaged and it's a strange dynamic. DH is closest to his 2 elder brothers and I think this is why getting the texts hit him so hard. Such a mess. I really appreciate all the advice and guidance I have been given/stolen by lurking I'm sorry that it had to come from your experience though
see, knew the DV history would be useful for something! Power and control - the 2 most powerful drugs in existence!
TheJiminyConjecture You are welcome, it's easy to forget how our ramblings help those who read but don't post. Glad you finally made it, now you can really start reaping the benefits of the solidarity of Stately Homes!
Feel free to post as much as you like, every single one of us has had or will have our crises, it may feel like we are dominating the thread and our conditioning demands that we are not worth the attention, but we ARE worth it and we NEED it.
Well, as Dbro says "we have reached defcon1" She has apparently phoned my uncle in Canada (who was away on hols, so not there) and wept and wailed all over my youngest cousin. Will see if uncle becomes a winged monkey.
Says we were shifty to go on hols at her expense and exclude her "but she gave no indication of the hurt it caused her" ha ha ha ha ha ha! Nooo, no PA messages at all! Says she doesn't have any idea why I have done this. FFS, it's only about 24 hours since we were last in contact. She's mad, mad, mad.
She's lost control of her carefully weaved web and is desperately scrabbling around for a hit.
DefCon1 for sure.
Ride it out Good
this will pass. The more she does this, the more unhinged everyone will see she is.
Sit back and laugh.
She's lost control of her carefully weaved web and is desperately scrabbling around for a hit.
Any suggestions for ways he can feel more in control, without going full NC?
im sort of thinking, also cooking (the inlaws are bringing our elder son home shortly).
I do think planning is a good step, which you're already doing.
Beyond that, you can't control them only your own reactions to them, as they say. So many of the reactions are emotional rather than practical, so it's often a matter of handling the emotions.
That is damn tricky.
- I suspect first that you have to actually face how you (or him, im sort of thinking aloud here) feel. You have to admit to yoruself how shit and guilty you feel and then to assess with your head what's going on, where the line between reasonable behaviour and unreasonable falls. Then, even though your emotions are crying, you have to keep in conscious thought that you have not been unreasonable. That these are emotions; great servants, bad masters. Over time, months perhaps years, they tend to lessen and to fall into line with what your head is saying. Tend to. It's not perfect, but it does help.
- I'm sure of this (unlike the first idea); you need to remain calm in all dealings with her. Getting upset feeds them, it's exactly what they want, whether that's anger or tears. Keeping calm and stating your wishes and then, if they kick off, leaving for that occasion. Detaching emotionally. It can help to actually try to think of her as a stranger, a sort of mental trick, and asking what you'd do then if a stranger behaved like that to you.
- being aware you face WW3. It'll get worse before better. Knowing that ahead of time helps.
- Talking it over with you will always help. You can reassure him that it's not him, that it's her. That you support and love him. With that rock at his back, he's already got a bit more control even though it may take him a while to see.
- on special occasions, again, plan ahead of time. Decide what you will put up with and what you won't. At what point you will walk away.
- Can he talk calmly with anyone else in the immediate family, for instance his 2nd oldest brother, about the different approach he wants to take? Not in a bitchy way, but in a 'here's the situation, it might get tricky' sort of way. As long as he can absolutely trust his brother's discretion!
Hopefully other people have other ideas. Why doesn't he want to go NC? not ready for it, or becuase it would unleash chaos in the wider family?
Hissy, she msgs him her stream of consciousness bullshit and he gives me a heads up
Your cousin must have thought she was a bit weird, ringing him up and crying like that.
Any suggestions for ways he can feel more in control, without going full NC?
Be firm and consistant.
Say 'No' and mean it. Dont fall for guilt trips or try and argue.
It doesn't matter how much you argue your corner or get your feelings across, it won't matter.
All that matters are her feelings and getting her own way.
You need to stay strong and remember its all text book.
As soon as she gets a sniff things are changing..you're standing up for youself and she is loosing control she will be ill..probley depression, cancer and something involving hospital.
Then there will be winged monkeys..uncles, neices, SILs, etc about how upse your MIL is.
There will be phrases that a lot , if not everyone on here will know.
She will be heartbroken. 'I can't believe you're treating me like this'
'Do you hate me?' 'I don't know what ive done' etcetc
It'll get worse before it gets better.
Keep coming on this thread for advice, everyone on here is fantastic and will help you.
jiminy mommybird's advice is brilliant. Consistency, firmness and don't argue. Just statements on what's going to happen, as in what you two are going to do.
More psycho batshittery. We're well past defcon 1 now.
She's been to the house, hammering on the door. Ignored..she can't tell if we're in or not. Left a bag of stuff on the doorstep. Took kids to the cinema and when I came out had 13 voicemails, 3 texts and then she started ringing again.
She's been drinking all day I think.
She's beginning to really freak me out. Not listening to any more voice mails either as they really upset me. Urgh this is awful. She is a horrible vicious woman. She can present a nice front but underneath there is nothing there but a deep black hole of venom.
Is your brother able to support you? and your husband?
We're here too.
I cried down the phone to Dbro and he was lovely and calmed me down. Dh is here and I'm watching shit telly and drinking a teeny tiny wine to try to take the edge off.
One of the messages that really upset me was "if you can bring yourself to be honest, tell DS that I love him and he is the light of my life and always will be". What about DD? I started to cry then. There were about 8 more messages after that, almost all ending with a hyper high pitched byeeee! Slagging DH, saying she wants her suitcase back, that she hopes we can sort the dog out and the children don't miss their holiday, but in a kind of, ha ha way. She wasn't upset, she was angry, sarcastic, bitchy. What a horrible woman.
She's been phoning Dbro and telling him that if it weren't for him and the cats (one of whom she wanted the vet to put down) she'd kill herself.
There really isn't any coming back from this, is there.
just to say again what you already know ... you are doing the right thing for your children, both of them.
Can you get her number blocked?
Also ... wine can help, but ummm ... go easy on it. the last thing you need is a depressant right now.
Is your brother ok? this can't be easy on him either.
I only had a tiny bit with lemon fanta. Tinto de verano. Have had some chocolate and am half watching toy story with.DH.
Can't believe any of this. Can't believe anyone could behave like this. If she doesn't go back to NI I may think seriously about moving house, maybe to another village. But I don't want to. I like it here.
tiny bit is fine =) a glass is fine! it was just if you were drinking several .. eh, you know.
time for sleep soon here. I hope she lets up and you can get some rest tonight. Take it easy, all this is a heck of a shock. x
Oh Good love, thinking of you sweety! Ride it out, ride it out.
Worrying now she won't go back but will stay and harass me forever. Dbro says he's had enough emotional blackmail from her so is off to get pissed. He's visiting friends.
I'm not surprised she says she loves my DS, he's lovely but how can she act like my wonderful dd doesn't even exist? she's only 3 ffs. Who is that fucked up?
Hugs feel a bit insufficient here, Good, but have some anyway.
From me too, Good. I hope you had an OK night's sleep.
Thanks everyone. I slept ok but another e mail from her this morning, sent at 6.53. Doesn't.she sleep?? About how she is happy to look after the dog, was looking forward to it in fact but how can that happen if I won't talk to her?
Argh. I'm almost tempted to e mail back and tell her why I'm not talking to her. But I know you'll all say don't do it.
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