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"But we took you to stately homes!!!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families

(1000 Posts)
DontstepontheMomeRaths Fri 19-Dec-14 17:30:22

It's December 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
July 2014
October 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:

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."

incogKNEEto Fri 19-Dec-14 19:48:10

Hello all, thanks for the new thread Dontstep smile

Not posted for ages as all has been quiet here, NC with M going very well up until today. Got cards for dh and I, and dd1 in the post, made me feel shaky when I saw the writing, but as I was about to light the stove anyway I used them as extra kindling!

Very pleased with myself, and my emotional progress, as I haven't crumbled at all, I ignored the fb friend request sent a few moths ago (& blocked) and the email that followed the fb blocking, never read it and it's gone forever now as I've changed email address.

Still worried she'll turn up/leave presents on the doorstep for DC as she did last year, but if she does I shall take them straight to the charity shop as I did last year!

Hope everyone is doing well, or as well as possible in the circumstances, and that the run up to Christmas is peaceful for you all smile, will go back and read the end of the last thread now.

GoodtoBetter Fri 19-Dec-14 19:55:20

Hi everyone. Well done on the burning, Incogkneeto!

Knackered and got a cold but at least I've finished work now for Christmas. Going to bed in a bit.


Meerka Sun 21-Dec-14 16:19:01

God I hate writing Christmas cards.

For some reason they hit right to the heart of the emptiness of Christmas after Mum died. Christmases with her were happy and full of expectation and warmth. Afterwards .... emptiness.


GoodtoBetter Sun 21-Dec-14 17:54:38

hugs and thanks for Meerka.

My solution to Xmas cards is that I never write any. People don't bother with them in Spain so the whole idea has sort of fallen off my radar and I'm quite grateful for that.

Meerka Mon 22-Dec-14 18:44:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShadowsShadowsEverywhere Mon 22-Dec-14 18:50:32

I'm having a bad day and this thread has just popped up and I thought "why didn't I think of posting again, that'd help!" so here I am. I post sporadically. I'm no contact with my mother.
Bloody Christmas means she's been trying to get in touch. I've had emails that were hard reading and it's all going round and round and round in my head again. I've had to cut off vast swathes of the family who buy into her bollocks that I'm a mentally unstable lying fantasist. It's all just a bit shit. I'm usually fine but it's been all these emails that have got to me.

Chiggers Mon 22-Dec-14 21:43:47

Is it OK to come back to the thread? Totally unsure of what to do. My beloved dad is dying and mum is just bitching about him constantly. I am exasperated with her constant sniping about dad and there's no give in her about it.

I've tried to tell her, tactfully and bluntly that it's not a great thing to be bitching about a dying man who has done nothing but love her, to which she replied "Well he obviously doesn't if he won't even speak to me". I have to admit that I lost the fucking rag with her and told her that I didn't want to speak to her until she could be civil about dad.

This is a woman who told DH that if my dad wasn't so ill, she'd have left him. Now, there is nothing mum did to trigger dad's many medical conditions, so she isn't responsible for anything, in that sense. It seems that she doesn't care about him dying, yet she doesn't want to be seen as the bad woman who left her dying husband. ATM my brain is in a bit of a WTF meltdown trying to study/revise as well as having to cope with this. I feel like telling her to go fuck herself, but I know that would have her phoning my DB's and bitching about me to them and many others (neighbours mainly).

As much as I acknowledge that my dad wasn't perfect, I know he is very remorseful for the way he treated me. Unfortunately mum blames me saying that I drove her to smack me as I was such a difficult child. My friend once witnessed one incident between me and mum and she came to the conclusion that mum was angry as I was showing her how not to parent (I'm relaxed about being a parent and, although my kids don't get everything they want, I have a loving relationship with them, to the point where I can tell them that they're being irritating without them taking offense, as they know I love them). My friend says that the way I parent my kids shows my own mums parenting (or lack of) skills up, and that she is unable to undo what has been done).

I just don't know what to do and would appreciate some views on the situation. I'll be back I the morning as I've to take the dogs out and am heading to bed as I'm knackered. I apologise for the rant, but it helps to let it all out. I hope everyone here is doing OK smile

Hissy Mon 22-Dec-14 21:49:22

thanks for new thread!

Meerka Mon 22-Dec-14 21:58:26

shadows it's just shit, isn't it. Really is. Can you ask your other half or a very good friend to read the mails first? or either block her, or set up the email client so that her stuff goes into a separate folder and you can either delete or read them when you're full of feisty.

chiggers I really understand how you are feeling! there's no dignity for the dying is there? no grace in the face of the end. I think the best you can do is step back from her emotionally and cut her off if she starts in again. Even to the point of walking away physically. It may not have been that bad a thing to loose your rag with her.

Your mother clearly has issues with you.

Would it help to adopt your professional face with her? to treat her like a really damn difficult client and use the same strategies? Is that a possibility, at least for a while until your father has passed on? It will buy you time.

Beyond that, if she's so angry it will be a matter of enforcing good behaviour by walking away when she goes too far, unless you can actually talk to her about what's wrong ... I'm guessing you can't though. But for now, it's a question of holding strategies until your father has passed on and you've had time to adjust afterwards.

SpidersDontWashTheirHands Mon 22-Dec-14 22:03:22

Got cards for dh and I, and dd1 in the post, made me feel shaky when I saw the writing, but as I was about to light the stove anyway I used them as extra kindling

Snap! Mine came in an envelope written by my father who enclosed a curt message. I guess that means I'm in trouble for going NC with my mother. She wrote the cards and a cheque. I was really upset by it but felt better after I burned the lot.

I find being contacted by her quite intrusive. I've made my decision and I'd like her to respect it.

Chiggers what a horrible situation. I have always hated the way that my parents say awful things about each other and have tried to draw my sister and I into their arguments. I try hard (don't always succeed) to treat DH with respect and kindness.

Dragonfly71 Mon 22-Dec-14 22:37:16

So glad I read this thread tonight. I am in the middle of a Christmas card debacle too. Dm and ds are NC but ds has sent non personalised card to her. Shit hit fan big time as this upset her. And because I am not NC I dealt with fall out. This thread helps me realise I'm not going mad. Thank you!

MoreSnowPlease Mon 22-Dec-14 23:03:33

Can I join please?

Just coming to realise that my dad is a horrible person who I don't think I want to even talk to again. Parents split when I was 7ish. Very bad split, basically both spent my whole childhood and adulthood using me and my siblings as pawns in their game of hate for each other. My mum had apologised for all the huey she caused and is lovely, really lovely now she helps me so much with dc. My dad on the other hand, I have never heard yet the words sorry in his life. He had a massive culture of blame going on, everyone else does something wrong;, never him, he also expects people to thank him over and over and bow down to him basically. If he doesn't want to hear something he may have done wrong he just walks away or turns it back on me. I am so annoyed with him and it all came to a head recently and I decided just to stop talking to him. Not to punish him but just because everytime I do I feel worse about myself and I can't keep doing it.

Dragonfly71 Tue 23-Dec-14 07:54:41

Just read my post, it's dsis not ds.

HellKitty Tue 23-Dec-14 08:07:27

Agree about the email blocking and Chigs, just cut her out and be there for your DF. I hate people like that!

We have to have DM this Christmas (I'd rather have a turkey though! Ba-boom!). She 'suggested' initially that we all travel over on Christmas Day - 60 miles away. Not happening. She then claimed my DB would come to hers for the day. I imagine that was the first he'd heard too. When all this emotional blackmail didn't kick in she miraculously got her stupid dog booked in at the kennels for over Christmas. How many kennels have free spaces this time of year??! So she's coming here.

Great. We're picking her up Xmas eve and dropping her back Boxing Day. I picked the days (yay me!). The only thing that keeps me going is that she has to go to DBs next year grin

The DCs are playing games Grandma Bingo with her stock phrases and all of them and DP have promised to never leave her alone with me for a second. I think I can do this!

Hope all your Chrimbos will be happier!

SpidersDontWashTheirHands Tue 23-Dec-14 09:52:29

Sounds awful Kitty. Sounds like you've got a supportive DP and children.

dawntigga Tue 23-Dec-14 10:31:49

Waves to the troops.


Mrsgrumble Tue 23-Dec-14 11:27:08

Hello, this thread was suggested to me after I posted last night.

I am joining because of long term hurt caused by my mother. Too long of a Story to fit here but she is not a true mother to me. All of my life she has criticised me, feined mysterious illnesses whenever a big occassion occurs in my life, she likes to point out my flaws to dh and when he questioned her on it - she said she wanted to commit suicide and got my father to shout a him. One of the most hurtful periods in my life. It took me a long time to meet someone and be happy yet she spoils everything.

If the Christmas presents aren't expensive enough for her, she throws a big tantrum, I could go on.

What's hurt me the most and probably why I am posting is I recently had a new baby (already have a small toddler) had a section and dh has taken time off. When he went out of the room 'you don't know how lucky you are - I had nobody'

Then all smiles when he comes on. Sometimes I think I am going mad because everyone loves her and she tells them I am awful dad selfish. I always clean and visit a couple of times per week. Even heavily pregnant she expected it. I have put up some boundaries and limited contact between visits.

Despite having a baby she has said 'darling I am here - ring me' but I won't ring her - she knows that. Then baby has been sick yet she will ring asking me to get groceries for her and go over (30 min) so dh would have to load babies and drive over yet she is too lazy to call us. It has hurt me so much, she hasn't been to see the baby in ages and only then because we called. Never mind offer help.

It's hard to love her

Meerka Tue 23-Dec-14 11:36:50

She sounds like a true 'taker' and manipulative with it.

This is a bit controversial but actually, you don't have to love her. You don't have to cut her off, you can support her to the extent that feels right to you, but there is no mandate that actually, you have to love your mother or father.

People are predisposed to love their parents strongly, but if there is nothing but take take take and no give from the parent .... it's not surprising that love withers. Takes two to have a relatinship. It actually takes so little emotional effort from a mother to trigger off the love of a child, but if that effort isn't there ... it won't trigger.

Also, love can be killed off. Quickly or by slow erosion.

It does hurt. flowers.

Keep working on the boundaries and not doing more than you and your husband think is reasonable, together. Btw, cleaning her house when you are heavily preg is not reasonable at all. When the baby was sick, could she not have asked a neighbour for the groceries? You're not her servants.

Have a read of Mothers Who Can't Love by Susan Forward. Quite interesting.

Hissy Tue 23-Dec-14 11:51:35

Dragonfly "And because I am not NC I dealt with fall out"

because you are NC YOU dealt with the fall out?? WHY?

Tell your DM that you are not getting involved. More fool your Dsis who should be NC, but isn't because she broke it to send a bloody card, which YOU suffered for. Stuff that!

Hissy Tue 23-Dec-14 11:56:42

Mrsgrumble Glad you came over!

please just STOP. Stop the shopping, stop the driving, just stop. let her sort herself out. Let your DH defend you and act as a filter.

she HATES you, resents you and wants to ruin every spark of happiness you have in your life.

kalidasa Tue 23-Dec-14 15:12:18

I don't think I really belong here but I am really, really struggling with my mother's behaviour at the moment. She is refusing any help or support at such a difficult time for us: I am severely disabled and have been in bed/hospital continuously since mid-May. It has been a difficult year for her as well but she is incapable even of acknowledging that she can't be there for us, if you see what I mean, and instead constantly downplays our situation. I am just beginning to see that this is part of a long, long history of refusing to acknowledge difficulties I am having. I have had a lot of difficulty myself with attachment which I am aware suggests there have been problems with her from the beginning, since attachment difficulties generally go right back to infancy. I have a toddler DS myself and am due DS2 next month so this stuff all feels really raw at the moment.

I tried several times to write a long post explaining the situation properly but got upset, so sorry this is a bit of a pointless post! I guess it's a difficult time of year for lots of people. Just wanted to check in really.

GoodtoBetter Tue 23-Dec-14 15:44:50

That sounds hard, kalidasa. Welcome. I think I remember your name from the HG threads when I was pg with DD in 2011?

Hissy Tue 23-Dec-14 15:48:09

My love, the fact that they deny us any space to need help/assistance/sympathy is so upsetting. It'll be batted away somehow as her 'denial of your condition as she can't bear to see it' but we know that's bollocks. we know we'd be there for our kids... think about it.

surround yourself with people who DO want to care. Stop expecting her to step up. when she has never ever done so.

i know how hard it is to give up on them, it really, REALLY hurts.

kalidasa Tue 23-Dec-14 16:06:49

Thanks both. Yes goodtobetter DS was born in November 2012 and I was v. ill all the way through with him too (though it's actually been worse this time) - I don't think our pregnancies overlapped but perhaps if you popped in afterwards you would have seen me. With both pregnancies I've thrown up the entire way through and actually it took a few months after DS was born before the nausea completely went (quite unusual) so I feel like I've been on the HG thread pretty continuously the last few years!

I recognise meerka from the HG thread as well. Quite surprising as it's not a very common condition. Perhaps there is a correlation between difficult mothers and HG?!

kalidasa Tue 23-Dec-14 16:08:14

Touched by your post hissy thank you. The thing is that she has sometimes been supportive, she was actually quite good in my first pregnancy and things felt easier for a while. But I am out of favour again now!

GoodtoBetter Tue 23-Dec-14 16:55:54

Don't think we overlapped then as dd was born may 2011. My mother can be lovely too but doesn't change the fact that she's a narc and the rages turning against people is just awful.
Sorry on phone, can't write much.

kalidasa Tue 23-Dec-14 17:23:17

I don't think my mother is a narcissist. My FiL definitely is though, no question, he is totally toxic. Unfortunately he is also quite famous in DH's home country which makes it worse for DH. On the plus side, we are no-contact with him at the moment, thank goodness. It is still really hurtful and painful for DH but I am just glad that he doesn't ever come anywhere near my babies!

I know my Dad is trying to be supportive - he came to see me several times when I was in hospital over the summer when my mother not only wouldn't come but also tried to prevent other family members from visiting (!) - but my mother is extremely controlling.

Dragonfly71 Tue 23-Dec-14 17:46:10

So sorry for what all the posters are going through on here. I think those of us still in contact with toxic parents forget that teally this behaviour just isn't acceptable. (thanks Hissy for reminding me!!) As I am still in contact I need to not let her vent at me. She says sorry afterwards and it rarely happens, and unlike a lot of mums described on here she is absolutely fine with me, just not dsis. So frustrating!

Meerka Tue 23-Dec-14 21:07:38

Hey kalidasa sorry to see you here as well as on the HG thread! hmm, do you get cystitis or migranes a lot too? wonder if we can cross-index HG, migranes/cystitis and difficult parents!

I'm sorry about your mother. Highly controlling is so difficult to live with sad

Im reading a quite good book atm, Mothers who Can't Love by Susan Forward. Wondering if it's worth a read? If you know a bit of psychology it's not all that advanced stuff but she has a writing style that manages to summarize things well sometimes. Toxic Parents was also very good. As long as the HG lets you read, maybe they could be worth looking at.

The last months of pregnancy and first months of the baby being there, bad family stuff is very raw. Be gentle on yourself ....

HellKitty Tue 23-Dec-14 22:23:59

It's stepped up a notch here. We were going to pick her up tomorrow but DP finished today amazingly. I rang her and said we'd travel and get her today thinking we could relax on Xmas eve and give her an extra day with the DCs.
'No you can't. Your DB is here (he wasn't staying, flying visit)'.
I said it'd be about 2 hours before we'd get there but she was most put out and waffles about her packing - it's only 2 nights. I ended up putting the phone down on her.

DP is furious! He can't believe that she wouldn't want us in the same room as DB, who I do get on with, and his wife. While they got ready to leave and she finished her packing. Fucking disgusting.

He's going to up the ante by going on AND on about my lovely mil who just loves having family around, at any time, and how much she loves me grin

GoodtoBetter Tue 23-Dec-14 22:26:31

Don't know about a correlation btw HG and horrible mothers, but something reminded me of it the other day. Someone was asking about accupuncture and it reminded me when I was pg with DD and so ill and just desperate and I found an accupuncturist but I wasn't earning and she was all "well, it's not proven..." and basically persuaded me out of it sad
And I've read back over my threads recently and DD was such a terrible terrible sleeper until 10 months and I just realise how low I was for so long: pg and then horrible sleep deprivation. The therapist said a while ago about the time around childbirth being a vulnerable time (the years around it) and he thought I'd been particularly emotionally vulnerable when we moved in and the time we were there, and it's true.
Interestingly, DD slept through a bit before we went away for the first time in years, to a friend's wedding in Holland. A week without DM. 6 months later we moved out. She said she thought something changed from that point and I suppose it did, I saw there was another life out there.

Sorry, rambling...

Meerka Wed 24-Dec-14 08:21:50

golly gtb. it must have been so hard for your husband as well as you - sleep deprivation, ill wife in preg, older son ... and his MIL. Not only directly undermining him but also stressing you out. So glad that you did manage to move out!

Little bit of good news here, our older son has some noticeable attention problems at school. We are trying to do things a bit differently at home to relax a bit more, but also we've been told now that the child-doctor thinks he needs broad tests to find out what is going on. It's quite a relief, we knew there was somethign going on, the teachers thought so too, but the child-doctor first didn't want to take it any further. Now it's going to happen, following a meeting at school. Phew.

DontstepontheMomeRaths Wed 24-Dec-14 08:23:39

My Dad has just sent me a friend request on fb. I'm reeling. I saw him at Mums 70th do a few weeks ago but didn't speak to him much. But he's never apologised for threatening me 2 years ago and now it seems he wants to brush it all under the carpet. The worst thing is I bet he's going to go nuclear if I don't accept.

I've hardly seen him in the last few years. It's made life a lot easier. He's so unpredictable. It was a big deal going to mums do but I wanted to. She's the enabler but I am fond of her and wanted to see extended family.

It's only a matter of time until Dad blows his top at something or someone again. It's who he is. My brother got it in the neck not too long ago. I just want to get on. Life is hard enough as a lp without dealing with people like that.

kalidasa Wed 24-Dec-14 09:56:31

Hello meerka I haven't read that one but I am reading a book about 'emotionally absent mothers' which is quite interesting. I've read a lot about attachment/attachment and psychotherapy - partly because I have had a lot of therapy one way and another the last few years! I had a bit of a breakdown shortly after I started seeing DH as I found the process of attaching/bonding with him so frightening. I also had mother-infant therapy with DS during his first year, which was so powerful that I am now a sponsor for the centre where I had it. As part of that they did the 'adult attachment interview' which I found pretty devastating but certainly informative! Despite all this therapy this year is the first time I have felt consistently angry with my mother: lots of therapists and counsellors have commented in the past on my lack of anger in general so I think it's good that I am finally feeling it but it is hard to handle as well. DH comes from a very different national/family emotional culture (rather more Latin!) and just cannot understand why I don't just lost it and shout at my mother. In fact he keeps asking if he can shout at her instead. We are meant to be going to stay for New Year and I really think he might lose it.

goodtobetter DS turned 2 a couple of weeks ago and he only started sleeping through the night about six weeks ago! It is such a struggle. I really think it makes a HUGE difference to your experience of having a baby/toddler whether or not they sleep well. Some friends of mine whose babies have been calm and slept well from the beginning just seem to inhabit a totally different world from how I remember that first year especially!

Can you ignore the friend request dontignore? It's easier said than done though I know.

yellowxo Wed 24-Dec-14 09:56:55

I'm a survivor or whatever that means, (to me it just means plodding along) Lets start with me, I was born into a family of 5, one older brother and one sister 10 years older, my early memories good mum was loving she used to put me on the back of her bike and she would take me to playgroups, bake cookies she was lovely, i felt so close to her that all changed when I was around 5, mum became detached explosive she would shout at me hit me for no reason it was treading on egg shells around her, mum would pick me up from school wheeling a huge suitcase with papers in, she would disappear for days at a time, i remember crying into mrs tutty (the lovely dinner ladies) arms one day walking home from school with mum an ambulance was waiting she was dragged into it kicking and screaming that was the first time she was sectioned. Nan came to stay to take me and my brother to school it was nice the house felt relaxed, going to visit her mum had forgotten who we were, (she was in some sort of delusion) she came home after 6 months and dad expected the house to go back to how it was, mum started back at work and looking after me & my brother again pretty much straightaway, the abuse started up full force mum would hit us, with hairbrushes, slippers, a metal spatula used for cooking, she tried to drown my brother, after the abuse happened she would say I'm going to tell your dad how naughty you have been so we would get into trouble again she would also bribe us with treats pizza etc so we wouldn't say anything , she would lock us in our rooms so the house wouldn't get messy, even if we needed to pee she would shout at us for leaving. She was sectioned again, and returned 3 months later, the abuse started up again, hitting name calling etc. Mum one time was hitting me and i kicked her in the stomach, she hit me harder my sister came in who was 17/18 at the time and said I'm not getting involved,

To top it off my dad forced us to move school as it wasn't good enough. I loved school it was my safe haven I had lots of friends my new school, no one liked me i had no friends i was bullied to top it off mum stopped brushing my hair and helping me change (I'm severely dyspraxic you see) so as well as getting hit & bullied at home I had to contend with it at school, I ran away when I was 10 with 7 pounds in my pocket with my only friend from school I was found but still when I arrived home my mum hugged me and said why did you do that as soon as the police left mum slapped me and said how could you embarrass me like that. I started secondary school and subjected to bullying once again, I moved to another school but I was still teased and life with mum was becoming unbearable at aged 13 I was sexually assaulted on holiday by a 28 year old man, mum told me it was my fault when mum gave me the worst beating, she pulled my hair out pushed me down the stairs, got a knife and told me that she was going to kill us both, I ran out of the house barefoot glass cut all of my feet open to try and get away from her, mum said she was sorry and both my dad and brother told me to forgive her, dad started sleeping on the sofa and mum left him.

Life became quiet apart from school where I was still getting bullied horribly suddenly everything fell apart I felt unable to come to terms with everything that happened, I tried to end my life my stomach was pumped, but they said I was just trying to get attention, 2 weeks later I tried to hang myself and took an overdose as well I was admitted to hospital and spent 6 months in an inpatient unit. I felt a lot better, things with dad though were strained I still felt angry at him for not doing anything about the abuse , he said he didn't know I'm not sure if I believe him even now. After that things were okay I started a new school, but I found drink and began drinking a lot, I left school went in out of college & jobs I just couldn't seem to heal emotionally and then my nan died unfortunately when i was 17 she was my rock, i went off the rails again, drinking doing drugs,

I was homeless as well living in a hostel 6 months later I met OH, who healed me, we had a little girl bought our own home, I've redone my GCSE's done an Open University certificate of HE, & I've gained a place on a mental health nursing course, I'm still on sertraline (I probably will be for the rest of my life) it mellows me and calms my anxiety. I haven't seen mum since I was 17, 4 years ago she cut me out of her life I tried to introduce DD to her I travelled all the way to the Isle of Bute in scotland but she didn't want to meet her. I've been doing well but I wonder when I will heal, I'm petrified of hurting LO and being a bad mum. Sorry to go on so much but I thought I'd share my story.

GoodtoBetter Wed 24-Dec-14 10:10:39

Yes, kalidasa I was on the sleep threads. It was "only" 10 months but it nearly killed me. In the end I tried shh, pat at about 9.5 months after she'd got down to waking every hour and then not settling, I got bronchitis and needed to go on the ventalin mask at the emergency doctors. I just snapped and thought, this will kill me. I read about a shh pat technique on MN and gave it a go that night and it worked and soon we were down to 2 wakings and then none. I really felt it saved my life.

DH was trying to look after me and the house (DM pulled the "disabled" card...we all know how disabled she turned out to be..not. She wouldn't lift a finger) and DS who was a bit challenging at that age. He is a quiet man and doesn't complain, but he started smoking again in secret. sad

She never said don't have accupuncture, but I wasn't earning so would have to ask her for the money and she made it clear she wasn't prepared to pay. It wasn't that expensive, I was just so desperate with the HG.

Meerka Wed 24-Dec-14 10:13:26

Ugh, how unpleasant ... are you and yoru brother able to unite to withstand him and support each other?

SezaMcGregor Wed 24-Dec-14 12:14:27

After a few months of being OK, mum is back to her normal self again. I've got the family coming to my house for Christmas dinner - do I cancel them or grit my teeth and carry on as planned? Any advice please?

Hissy Wed 24-Dec-14 12:25:09

yellow if you were a bad mum, you would not be thinking you were one, IYKNIM. trust me, you are a good one smile You will heal, but you have to heal yourself. Your H can't/won't. What he did was support you, believe in you and love you. You need to look at yourself and know that you are good enough for him, for you, for your DD and for everyone.

Seza if cancelling is what you need to do, go for it. this is your life and you don't have to put up with bullying. EVER!

BetweenTwoLungs Wed 24-Dec-14 12:25:16

My mum is an alcoholic, and this year is the first Christmas I've had not living in the family home. I managed to buy a house with OH. I am the oldest sibling, and last night my younger sister Messaged me begging me to go round in the evening on Xmas day, as in her words 'it'll be the worst Christmas ever'. I know without me to be the buffer, my mum could well turn on her (and she knows that too). I feel torn with guilt. I desperately want to be away from the situation, but feel as though I'm throwing the other two siblings into the fire by not being there.

Christmas is so so hard.

SezaMcGregor Wed 24-Dec-14 12:35:42

Hissy - Thanks. She's doing that "Feel my pain" thing again and I gave her £100 last week to buy gifts as she's out of work and has nothing but she's still going on about needing to buy gifts, having no money etc. She's zapped my Christmas cheer entirely. At work today, I was looking forward to it and I've spent the whole morning with DS with me as it was an inconvenience for her to have him trying not to cry. Fucking hate her when she does this.

Hissy Wed 24-Dec-14 13:21:30

don't give her a thing, no money, no attention. refuse to allow her to bring you down.

i'd suggest cancelling plans, saying that if she's this bad, it'll be a blessing for her, surely...

passive agressive, but I don't care! smile

Meerka Wed 24-Dec-14 13:25:22

kali, just as a thought would it actually be really so bad if he shouted at her? He's obviously holding back for your sake but something must be very wrong for in her treatment of you / him / your son, or he wouldn't be getting so cross. It would depend on the fallout of course. One thing I've learned is the value of planning how and when you stand up to someone ... but it's a good thing to do. Life is so much freer and better when you move out from under someone's thumb. SO much better.


yellow Im so sorry for your awful experience growing up. It was horrendous. About beign a mum - this fear haunts me too, big style as there is / was a chance I would turn into my biological mother. She was about the same as your mother. I am getting external help and support to make damn bloody sure I don't. It also means being ruthlessly painfully honest with myself, over and over and over. And it means trying to be mindful and very aware of what I'm doing; catching those moments when he is annoying / naughty and pausing before I come in too harshly (also have very poor example from controlling father who cannot handle any disagreement at all). It's heartbreaking that she didn't want to see your lovely little baby. So sad.


seza ... cancel. Anticipate how she'll react and plan how to handle it. But do what makes life endurable and enjoyable for yourself. You are entitled to, as long as it's not at the expense of other people!


between ... your two younger sisters are still at home?

It's incredibly hard. You must have been so looking forward to your first christmas away and free.

But leaving your sisters there is very hard. In this case .... it is a very hard thing to do but I would gently suggest that if you can, go. Be there to protect them. It's Christmas and it will spoil it for you but this is something that you can do to protect your sisters and when they grow up they can leave and you will never have to go back.

Chalk this up as something more from your mother, maybe.

I say this as long as you can survive her. If you can't, then sadly you may have to simply not go. I have a bit of experience here - spent one christmas with my biol. mother. At the end of 5 days of ranting, taking orders like a slave (along with her husband and my half-sisters), listening to her calling the 13 year old a fucking little cunt at the xmas dinner table, being around the arguments and ending up with her hands round my throat trying to shake me ... I left. Told her that it was unacceptable to put her hands round my throat and she demanded an apology from me :/ We did not speak again for 5 years.

The point of all that is that I left my half sisters to fend for themselves. They were too young to have independent contact for themselves. I could not survive being around her. I would have gone down too, there's absolutely no doubt of that and without achieving anything useful along the way. But those two girls were left alone in that nightmare situation with no one to protect her from that appalling behaviour. They have both been scarred deeply by it in different ways.

It's something I regret deeply, that I couldn't help more. At the same time, it would not have achieved anything to sink myself if I'd stayed around. But I wish very deeply that I could have done more to help them and shield them.

So ... yes, my own personal view coloured by my own experience, is to go at Xmas if you can, to soften the impact of your mother until they can get free. But if you can't, then you can't. You are entitled to not go down.

SezaMcGregor Wed 24-Dec-14 13:35:04

Yeah, it will affect my brother and his fiancé ad my sister. I just feel like I'll either cancel and cope or else tomorrow will be unbearable anyway. Going to tell them I'm not cooking. I shouldn't have offered in the first place

kalidasa Wed 24-Dec-14 15:49:02

yellow you have had a dreadful, dreadful time. You sound like a wonderful mother, and you have done brilliantly to get the qualifications you have and the university place as well as everything else. Are you really only 21 now? (I think I worked that out right.) My DH's father has also refused to see him and our little boy even when DH was visiting his city anyway, and at a very difficult time when I was very ill. It was very painful for him.

As meerka said, being able to reflect on how you are doing, and admit it/seek help if you are struggling, is by far the most important thing. I had very bad PND after DS was born and I didn't bond properly with him, but I knew it was happening and I went to see my GP when he was just three months old or so. I was honest about how bad I felt (suicidal) and I said yes to all the therapy/help I was offered and I did it all. It was really hard and I still feel so sad that our first year wasn't happier BUT I know that I did all that for DS because I loved him and wanted to get it right. We have a lovely relationship now (he's 2) and although I am nervous about it I am also looking forward to having his little brother next month.

meerka in some ways you are probably right and it wouldn't be bad if DH shouted. Though no-one ever shouts at my Mum so it would be quite weird! But I would feel bad about creating a bad atmosphere for everyone else because a lot of the rest of my (large) family are going to be there too, including my sister with a small baby. We have agreed though that we are presenting a united front and if the atmosphere is too strained we'll just pretend that I have lost my "mucus plug" or something (nice!) and come straight back to London early. I'll be 36 weeks by then so not unrealistic that we would come back if we had any doubts (I really need to deliver at my local hospital as the pregnancy has been so complicated and I am meant to be seeing the psych people as well before I am discharged, just to be on the safe side).

ChristmasInsanity Wed 24-Dec-14 16:13:35

Hi, I've not posted in these threads before. I cut my parents out a few months ago, they are both naracists in their own ways. I've been feeling guilty and feel like I'm turning into my mother with hugely affects my self esteem. Even when I remind myself of how she would act the rare time in a normal loving way to me, I find myself recoiling at the thought and doubting myself (is it a rare moment for me?) and feeling guilty. My dad sent Christmas cards for the DC with a note saying do not throw away £50 gift cards in cards. Which is ridiculous!

I feel guilty but they refused to accept my feelings of their parenting errors which although no physical abuse there was a lot of shocking stuff. But the house was clean so it's alright :/

Anyway, is it possible to love yourself when you can't stand your parents?

MozzchopsThirty Wed 24-Dec-14 16:18:20

Just wanted to show some support for all of us at this difficult time, Xmas is such a family time and we just have to accept that our families are not normal but it's not our fault.

I've been NC with my narc mother since March and although I still have waves of guilt they don't outweigh the relief of not having to deal with her endless shit.

I'm making new memories with my own dcs and being the best mum I can be, which means being nothing like her

Stay strong all and merry Christmas

Mrsgrumble Wed 24-Dec-14 16:39:37

Thank You for the welcome and support - I will post again when time allows.. Wishing you all a lovely Christmas flowers

Notabeararaccoon Wed 24-Dec-14 18:08:47

Hello. I've been lurking a while, but am feeling really sad today, so risking a first post.

Following an incident a couple of years ago, which triggered a whole family dynamic I'd forgotten/buried, I went NC with both parents and got some (long overdue) counselling.

Basically my DM is hypercritical with very very poor boundaries, and my dad is very cold, also has very poor boundaries, and cuts off anyone who doesn't do as he wishes.

I re established contact when I felt able, and explained why I'd gone NC, which received responses I guess lots of you would recognise ("that didn't happen/you're too sensitive/well it doesn't sound like me at all/it was worse for others than it was you so you shouldn't judge" (the latter a personal favourite).

I'm at friends' this Christmas, I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to my parents. Doesn't help that my DB was golden child but behaves as my dad does, so has gone NC with them, but his photos are all over their house, despite him being NC over 2 years. There are none of me.

I guess my question for wiser souls on here, is whether it is possible to forgive? I am still so angry with them for the many horrible things they did, I read something on here a few days ago saying "as a child you were loved, and taught that you were lovable, and your feelings counted", and I feel sad and angry that I was taught that I was not lovable, that I only counted as an emotional punchbag for others.

I know they will never acknowledge that anything was wrong, I know the forgiveness has to come from me (for my sake), and, fwiw, I know that my mum didn't mean to be unkind, but was raised by a hypercritical mother herself (who in turns sounds like she had one...), which is why I want to be able to forgive, I want some kind of peace, and the cycle to be broken. Can it be done?

Thanks for reading, and sorry it's so long.

yellowxo Wed 24-Dec-14 18:41:38

Thank a lot for your kind words I've never actually sat down and typed it out or spoke at length about it. I kind of blot it out but Xmas makes me re member past Xmas like nan and mum yes I'm only 21 been through a lot for my age.

Meerka Wed 24-Dec-14 19:11:48

Thinking of everyone with toxic families and wishing you a Christmas that holds pleasure as well as sadness flowers

gingysmummy Wed 24-Dec-14 19:24:27

Hi everyone I've been lurking for some time on this thread i still don't feel ready to post as after 40years of feeling worthless the penny has just drooped that I have narc mother.
I will post more after Christmas as i try it make it a great day for my dh and ds. Can I just ask if your father stands by and watches his kids being treated like me and my Db were doea that make him just as bad?

Meerka Wed 24-Dec-14 19:30:57

Some people will say it makes them just as bad. I don't think it makes them as bad but the point comes that if bad things are going on and someone who is also there doesn't try to stop them, then they become at fault. Deeply at fault sometimes.

If they've tried to stop them and can't and also become a victim then it's very very sad. If they don't even try then they are pathetically weak.

gingysmummy Wed 24-Dec-14 19:51:38

I think my dad would of tried to stop it , my mum treats him really terribly as well I haven't went nc because of him . But he even seams to be getting drawn into her manipulation if my mum has phoned me and I don't tell her every detail that I've done I get a text from my dad saying I've hurt her feelings. I really don't expect this from him this is a recent thing he's started doing this year , I really thought he knew how awful she treats me

Mrsgrumble Wed 24-Dec-14 21:22:39

gingy I'm new to this thread but my father won't do anything when my mother criticises. She has fallen out with a lot of his family too. He says 'she's sick' 'it's not that bad surely' and one time 'we would die for you, is tis how you thank us' so he won't acknowledge it. Slowly I am letting him know exactly what my mother is doing.

Meerka Wed 24-Dec-14 21:31:07

I think that in the end people get so beaten down that they crumble and go along with the dominant person's world view. Usually over some years. It's why you have to get out early.

HellKitty Thu 25-Dec-14 06:25:53

I hope you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas and get through the day happily smile

I had a mini breakdown last night. DP fell for her lovely little old lady shite so I'm hoping a bath and a chill now before the onslaught happens! I can do this!

kalidasa Thu 25-Dec-14 11:49:15

Thankfully we get to pretty much ignore Christmas, and DS has gone to play at my MiL's for a few hours so we are having a very restful day. Thinking of everyone else who's trying to navigate family stress and just get through the day!

Plarail123 Thu 25-Dec-14 12:10:52

We moved abroad in July, no present from my parents for son's birthday and now no call or present for him for Christmas. It's the end of the day here so that's that. I'm not surprised, just heartbroken. It's not financial just dysfunctional, they will be all over my sister and her kids at her house later today but put their phone off the hook and didn't respond to Facetime earlier. I have spent years trying to be a good daughter etc. I feel like just giving up and going NC for good. Sad times. Anyway hope you all have a good Christmas.

Zara8 Thu 25-Dec-14 12:37:06

Hi all and merry Christmas. Stay strong, these horrible parents' failings are not your fault and not correlated to your self-worth and loveliness. Honestly. thanks

I'm a bit further down the NC road and it was the best thing I ever did for my mental health. I found out this year that my mother died a few years ago (my father didn't bother to tell me hmm) - I honestly felt nothing but relief, mostly. I was more upset when my cat ran away recently blushgrin

My narc-enabling, cold, racist, unable to communicate like a human being father is somewhere in the world this Christmas, presumably on his own. His loss - a consequence of treating his daughter and her DH like crap. His loss.

I am having a great Christmas with my wonderful DH and DC, and our real family (DH's side). No drama (except the cat is still missing). Brilliant.

Those are suffering - please remember you are not beholden to these abusers. You CAN break free. thanksthanks

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 25-Dec-14 13:01:20

I would like to wish all the Stately Homes people on this thread a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 25-Dec-14 13:05:37


I would describe your dad as her hatchet man who has failed utterly to protect you from his wife's mad excesses of behaviour. This makes him equally culpable. He is basically telling you by his words and actions that you have to suck it up, she is more important to him than you ever would be here. narcissistic women always but always need a willing enabler to help him and that is what he is here too.

Meerka Thu 25-Dec-14 13:08:04

ditto <raises a snowflake glass to peace of mind>

CrazyCatLady13 Thu 25-Dec-14 14:20:36

Need your advice please!

My PIL were physically and emotionally abusive to my DH until he reached 19 and threatened to hit back.

The first time I met them FIL raised his hand to hit me. We left immediately.

My lovely DH had a breakdown last year and after counselling felt strong enough to confront them over the phone. Their response was that it was in the past.

Since then, we've had minimal contact maybe 3 times a year. They're very polite to us both now, but I spend my time thinking about what they've done and the effect it has had and still has on my lovely DH.

I'd love to go no contact but DH isn't ready, especially as the only contact we have with his niece and nephews is at their house.

We're due over there the day after tomorrow and I am dreading it. My resistance is low at the moment as I'm hurting a lot physically and I have to bite my tongue at the best of times with them. Does anyone have any coping strategies that I can try?

I should say that DH says that I don't have to come, but I know they won't be as polite if I'm not there and I do feel that I should support him as I know how difficult he finds it.

Meerka Thu 25-Dec-14 14:31:29

Actually I think you should tell them that none of them are going. Really. Hard as it is.

I can see why you want to support him though.

Failing that, .... if your resistance is low, it really is hard. Maybe it would help to put your professional face on and treat them as if they were unpleasant clients or customers. Maybe play the Unpleasant PIL Bingo that someone mentions on another thread. If they have stock phrases, assign each one a number in your head. when they come out iwth it, there you go Bingo, another one. The aim is a full card, then you earn a glass of wine =)

Can you have contact with your nephew and niece outside their house?

Worst case, and this is pretty wicked, provoke FIL so he does hit you and then that gives you a really great excuse to go NC. It's pretty extreme but if you get cold icy rage and believe that they are still truly toxic - it's not the worst option. The worst is just taking the nastiness.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 25-Dec-14 14:37:37

neither of you should go there but it may well be that your DH on some level still thinks his abuisve parents will change and actually be sorry. However you know as well as I do this will not happen.

coping strategies need to be about boundaries, raise these and stick to it to the letter. Any bad behaviour means that you leave immediately.

Would your DH be willing to see a counsellor about going no contact with his parents, he really needed to speak to someone who has no familial bias about keeping families together despite mistreatment. he still seems very much in FOG with regards to his parents. Why do the nieces and nephews visit them at their house, is there no way they could visit you instead in your home?. What is the situation re the parents of these young people?

Hissy Thu 25-Dec-14 14:47:55

CatLady I think you'll have to postpone the visit as your flare up has made it impossible for you to go, and DH needs to take care of you.


then you can re-group in the new year and the pressure is off...

CrazyCatLady13 Thu 25-Dec-14 14:53:57

Thank you so much for your replies, it is very much appreciated.

My BIL - father of the niece and nephews - was the golden child. He and my DH do not get along.

DH has tried to have contact with the children outside of the PIL house, but even though he is a special educational needs teacher, he's not allowed to take them without one of the PILs being there. It's okay to leave them with child abusers though.

BIL lives about 5 hours drive away. PIL will often look after the children for a week during half term / summer holidays etc. Part of the reason that DH goes over then is to make sure that PIL are behaving themselves and not getting angry with the children.

BIL has minimized the abuse and is happy to use the PIL for childcare, but it makes DH very worried.

Meerka - I have actually said to DH that I hope FIL hits me, so that I can prosecute him. DH said that if that happened, he'd support me not FIL. It's tempting as at least DH would get some justice.

PIL are strong Christians and the only time DH has really got a response was when he threatened to tell the church congregation about the abuse. They're well respected in their local community and worry a lot about their reputation. If only people knew!

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 25-Dec-14 15:09:10

It is really no point at all in trying to maintain a relationship with BILs children particularly as their dad as the golden child and your H unsurprisingly do not get along. Also these children are themselves being manipulated by their parents and may well turn against your DH given future opportunity.

Your DH is still very much being seen as the scapegoat for all his family of origins inherent ills. That was and remains his assigned role. Yor own self preservation matters above all else here. Sod his family of origin,it's all very dysfunctional and narcissistic in nature.

Would your DH be willing at all to talk to the Police about this historic abuse?. I would be sooner talking to them rather than these church elders because they could also cover it all up as well. So called pillars of the community are often anything but.

Meerka Thu 25-Dec-14 19:59:18

So called pillars of the community are often anything but. Isn't that the sad truth.

If you feel you can, I'd second suggesting your DH talks to the police too. If he feels he is able to.

CrazyCatLady13 Thu 25-Dec-14 20:05:39

BIL is a paediatrician, specialising in autism, and SIL is a family solicitor. They use PIL for about 3 times a year for a few days to a week at a time.

DH's counsellor said to him that he could go to the police about it, I think that's what made DH realise how serious it was. The counsellor was really good and helped him a lot but has moved to join a commune in France now!

DH still feels so responsible for his niece and nephews and really wants to keep a relationship with them. He'd be devastated if PIL did anything to scare or hurt them and would blame himself.

He calls PIL once a week. He says this is to stop them from calling us, I've said to him that he doesn't need to pick up the phone if it rings. Or we could change our number, but he won't have it.

FIL's health isn't great, has pacemaker etc, and they use this to their advantage of course. Once they called DH to say that FIL needed to go to hospital urgently, that the pacemaker was failing. DH called me at work in hysterics so I came straight home so we could go to the hospital. I suggested DH call to find out which hospital (2 in local area) before we left home, and he was told 'oh, we're just about to go to the supermarket'. Turned out that the pacemaker battery needed changing in the next few months, but they'd deliberately phrased it to panic DH to get him to react.

Chiggers Thu 25-Dec-14 22:28:00

Merry Christmas ladies & gents (if there are any currently on here) smile I hope you had a good one today, or at least as good as it could be considering your many different situations.

How are all of you coping with today's events? Were they good, OK or just plain bad? I'm here to listen to you if any of you need to bash my ear. Sometimes just letting it out can help and sometimes having constructive advice helps too. It's easy to give advice when looking in on a particular situation, such as the abusive ones many of you are experiencing, but when you're in the thick of it, it can be hard to see appropriate ways to deal with them and see a way out.

It's understandable that you don't really want to cut your relatives out, but at the same time it becomes hard because you can't live with their abuse. Unfortunately cutting them out may be the only way to save your sanity before it collapses (best word I could think of ATM).

Anyway, I'd love to hear about you day today and what you got up to. I'm not here to judge, just to listen and hope that it helps smile

Pengyquin Thu 25-Dec-14 22:36:57

Can I join?

Haven't spoken to MIL in over 15 months since she ruined our wedding day (tip of the iceberg, was the final straw though)

PIL haven't acknowledged DH since April when our son was born - one phone call, and then nothing since. No birthday card/present for him, and now nothing for Christmas. Meanwhile, PILS have sent cards declaring love for our two kids (one of whom they haven't even met!) clearly happy to cut off their own son, but still think they can have some kind of control over our kids!

DH is upset today. and it's ruined our day tbh. I'm totally ok with not being in contact with them (MIL in particular is a nasty piece of work) but DH is missing his Dad ( I quite like him but he is totally spineless and won't acknowledge his wife is a cow)

How do I get DH to be at peace with just being happy in his own family?

Bloody toxic parents!

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 00:14:54

Pengy your DH seems to have a toxic parent and her enabler. The enablers may know what the toxic person is like, but refuse to see the bad in them, preferring to excuse their behaviour by thinking/believing they are ill/stressed etc. A toxic person can and will manipulate people to suit them and any threat by another person may be perceived or real, will be dealt with usually in a verbally abusive manner or by cutting people off.

They seem to thrive in a divide and conquer way, by selecting a Golden Child and a scapegoat. Many Golden Children (GC), even as adults will be treated with respect, but unfortunately they don't believe that others are treated any differently respect-wise. Another scenario I've found out about in my time is that the toxic person prefers to have the scapegoat on their own without the GC being around. It serves them well to keep the GC and Scapegoat apart as much as possible, so the GC doesn't see the abuse the toxic person is dishing out to the victim, therefore the GC doesn't tend to believe the toxic person is actually like that at all. OR they seem to blame the victim for the toxic person's abuse in a "You drove them to it" kind of way. One case of victim blaming.

Judging by the numerous posts on here and previous threads subsequent to this one, it seems there is a huge amount of relief when the posters have gone NC. Not having a toxic person in your life is not obligatory regardless of whether they are a relative or not. Just because your DH is a very close blood relation to your MIL, doesn't mean he is obliged to love her and he isn't obliged to have any sort of relationship with her at all.

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 09:19:10

That should be "previous threads to this one". Forget the word 'subsequent'. Why I put that in I don't know and I've not even been drinking. Just goes to show how daft I am at times grin

TheHoneyBadger Fri 26-Dec-14 10:47:14

sorry for a hit and run.

having a bit of a weepy overwhelmed moment.

mixture of positive and sadness and not exactly guilt but something like shock at how hard hearted i've had to be in the last couple of years in order to move forward.

and there is still hard hearted decisions and work to be done.

i could do with a late night snivvle and cuddle session - glad i'll be going to stay with my friend in a few days and will have the opportunity.

meanwhile back to trying to be enough for my son who doesn't blame me but misses having a big family sad

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 11:17:12

Aww sweetheart have a big hug from me smile. There's nothing wrong with being hard-hearted if it is necessary for your sanity. It's hard having to go NC or LC, but if your toxic relative(s) is/are having a detrimental effect on your mental health, then sometimes it is best to cut them off. You MH is priority TBH, because without good/reasonable MH, you can't look after your DC as well as you would be able to if your MH was better IYSWIM.

Don't be afraid to have a good cry. It's understandable that you may feel angry at your relative(s) for what they have done to you, but if you have to be cold in order to move on, then just do it. One of my mottos is to keep looking forward and only look back to learn from what has happened.

It can also be hard learning to be cold when needed, but the more you practice the better you become at it and the better you are at choosing when you need to be that way.

I hope you're OK lovely smile Don't give your relative(s) a second though for now and definitely don't worry about them, they're adults and can look after themselves. Just concentrate on your DC and having fun with them.

Meerka Fri 26-Dec-14 11:24:02

pengy one of the things from cutting off from toxic parents is that you have to grieve. You need time to mourn the loss of hope that they can be good parents; that they are loving. It really hurts and cuts so very, very deep to the core of you. It's really a loss to both no longer be in contact, and to face the reality that their care was highly flawed (to put it at best).

Can you ask your husband to read Toxic Parents? it really does sum things up very well. Quite a challenging book to read but when you come out the other side, it helps.

Can you also talk over what to do next time they send cards? Maybe you could take them, open them and then bin them instead of yoru husband seeing them. Christmas is always hard, but the physical reminders are even harder.

Meerka Fri 26-Dec-14 11:25:46

Honey big hug from me, a cup of mulled wine and a teddy bear to cuddle deep in the night.

It feels bad being hardhearted doesn't it, even if it's absolutely necessary. But you aren't a hard hearted person, you're a loving person doing the right thing for yoru son and yourself. Don't doubt it flowers

GoodtoBetter Fri 26-Dec-14 11:42:54

I think it's often doubly hard for survivors of toxic people and narcs as we've been so conditioned not to be hard hearted, not to put ourselves first. So it feels like going against anything we've ever known.

SpidersDontWashTheirHands Fri 26-Dec-14 11:43:19

Hi everyone. That's my first NC Christmas Day done. It was a bit strange, bit unsettling but DH and the kids and I had a great day. My mother had requested (via DH) a chat with the DCs so DH sorted that out while I had a glass of wine and a quick read of a cheesy christmas book. Part of this whole NC thing is to protect my kids from her poison - she has started to speak to my niece in an unacceptable way and I've no doubt she'll do the same to my kids if she gets the chance - but I'm not going to be awkward about a five minute phone call every few months (at least not for now).

My sister is kind of talking to me via text (can't have a real conversation with her because she lives with our parents). My Dad isn't. It's sad. He's changed so much over the years and become spineless and cowed. I don't know how things will pan out with either of them. I suspect I've lost them both. That's so hard and there's that voice in my head saying its my own fault for going NC with my mother and that I could just go and apologise and suck it all up for another twenty years and it would all be better. I feel so fucking alone and that them cutting me off serves me right for going NC with her. I expected it but it doesn't make it any less painful. And I'm bloody annoyed too that I didn't go NC twenty odd years ago - I could have saved myself putting up with her shite and the end result would have been the same. Sorry about that and thank you for the space to have a tearful rant.

Pengy I hope that your DH can find a way through this. I hung on for years because I wanted a relationship with other family members and because I kept hoping she'd change and magically become the mother I wanted. It just got too hard to "keep taking one for the team" so I stopped (after about 2 years of trying and failing). All you can do is support DH. I wouldn't have been able to go NC without the support of my husband. I wouldn't get through all the wobbles, guilt, sadness without him reminding me that it's the right decision. He'll need you, you sound like you're up to the challenge though thanks

Honey your post echoes so many of the things I'm feeling. I hope you have a lovely time with your friend. Don't forget it's the type of people your son sees that will enrich his life, not the amount.

Meerka Fri 26-Dec-14 12:12:01

there's that voice in my head saying its my own fault for going NC with my mother and that I could just go and apologise and suck it all up for another twenty years and it would all be better

you could, but you would probably be half destroyed by it :/

sometimes the price of love is too high. The Illusion of love ... love should not come with heavy strings that constrict and cut.

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 12:35:33

Spiders, the thing is, things probably won't get better. If you apologise and suck it up you may find that they treat you even worse, because they think that you've apologised this time and will possibly keep on doing so if you upset them. They'll probably use your good nature against you and have you walking on even thinner eggshells IYSWIM. I could be totally wrong, but from your post, this is what I see that could possibly happen.

It seems your sister is possibly the GC (Golden Child) and IME the GC can be kept as separate as possible from the scapegoat, so that your mum's treatment of you is not generally seen by your DSis. Even on the occasions that your sister and yourself are in the same vicinity as your mum, I have found that many toxic parents will feign upset to turn people against you to make you look like the bad person. This may not be what is happening in your case, but it is what I have seen in many of my friend's cases. In the end, I'm only putting my experience across to help you see what toxic people can get up to, to make the scapegoat look bad. They're essentially deflecting and projecting their own shortcomings onto you and others.

Is there anyone else that your mum treats the same way or similar?

TheHoneyBadger Fri 26-Dec-14 12:55:20

thank you.

i've had to make so many changes and 'get rid' of so many people and things over the last couple of years and make big decisions and take big steps and i know it's far from over yet. i can see rationally that these things are 'right' and i am moving us forward and that the... universe is more than meeting me halfway but it all feels so strange sometimes. it's like, am i really doing all this? am i a bad person because i'm putting us first? because i'm making good things come to us? because i want good things for us? because i'm remembering i want and deserve more from life?

i KNOW (again 'rationally') what the answer to this is but it's such wobbly foreign ground in a way and looking and seeing what i could become, who i could be (perhaps am) is...?

knowing what i am capable of actually scares me a bit. the moments where i don't feel guilty or ashamed or like i should make myself smaller and carry on hiding actually scare me a bit. knowing i'm taking my son along for the ride terrifies me!

i'm waffling. and it doesn't capture it. i don't want to be small and fulfill their crap anymore, i'm not willing to and i won't. i don't want to feel guilty or ashamed of myself simply for being good at some things or wanting happiness out of life anymore. i don't want to feel guilty or ashamed when people like me or see capability in me or compliment me anymore. i genuinely want to leave all of that behind and move forward and be ok with wanting and creating a happy, peaceful life that suits us and our needs.

end of waffle. sorry. it'd also be good to stop fucking apologising one of these years.

had a really challenging conversation with ds last night about it all last night which i guess brought all this on. parenting is such a responsibility - i love him so much and i so don't want to get it wrong.

SpidersDontWashTheirHands Fri 26-Dec-14 15:49:35

Meerka Chiggers you are both absolutely right. It would be far, far worse and totally self-defeating to go back there. It's just one of those tricky days when the anger/hurt/guilt gets a bit too much. Thank you for being here.

Chiggers you've hit the nail on the head about my sister, they'd forgive her anything (and she's put that theory to the test many times). That said she has been manipulated into living with them even though she has a fantastic boyfriend who wants her and her daughter to move in with him. I spend very little time alone with her and we rarely speak because I have to go through my mother to do so. When we do get together alone our mother gets very angry and resentful. In essence she's driven a wedge between us and she loves to play us off against one another. I just hope my sister wakes up and takes control of her life. I can't make that decision for her though.

honey maybe our New Years resolution should be to stop saying sorry? grin

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 17:25:05

Honey the only people who matter most in your family are your DC and yourself. At the end of the day you need to focus on bettering yourself for you and your DC. Stuff the rest of them and if you do decide to try to better yourself, you can start feeling good about unlocking your potential. Show them who you really are and don't let them try and stop you. If they do, it'll show you that they don't want you to become a better person and certainly don't have your interests at heart. They want you to be their whipping boy, regardless of NC, LC or full contact.

By whipping boy I mean if you are NC, they may well be telling people that you think you're above your station etc, etc. With low contact, they'll try their best to stop you from going any further with the limited contact they have, or they could be totally full on nasty to you for trying to better yourself, with full contact IYSWIM. Again this has been what I've experienced with friends toxic parents. The thing is, even though your parents created you, they still don't have the right to be loved unconditionally. You are under no obligation to love them either. At the end of the day, if you put aside the blood ties, they are just ordinary people, and would you let an ordinary person treat you like they have? You could do like my friend did......walk away and don't look back. Oh, and stop apologising for things you wouldn't normally apologise for.

Spiders, I think you should do the same as Honey. If your DSis wants to keep in contact with you, she has your number and will do everything to keep in contact, regardless of whether your mum has manipulated her. If this is going behind your mum's back, then she'll seize any opportunity (out and about with her friend's, on the toilet, in her room etc) to do it on the quiet, so your mum doesn't catch her. The other thing I want to say is "Don't you dare apologise for telling your relative(s) the truth". If they are offended and hurt, then it'll probably be because they know they were wrong to treat you like they did and that it has come back to embarrass them. That's the last thing they would look foolish, shameful and stupid in front of anyone.

TheHoneyBadger Fri 26-Dec-14 17:37:48

i'm no contact chiggers and shamefully or not i can say that i do not love them. my guilt and sadness these days is for my son. i know me and him are the most important people and he knows that too and loves me and says i'm enough but wishes he had more which is utterly fair enough. i wish he had more too. the challenge now is to make our life bigger, bring more good people into it, more good experiences and breadth and depth and openness. it is wonderful that he loves me and of course i can be 'enough' but as i am learning for myself enough is not enough itms. life is about more than survival.

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 18:24:11

But Honey, you will give him more when you better yourself and blossom into a better person. ATM you're protecting him from some nasty individuals who have the capacity to manipulate him and drive a wedge between you (remember the "Divide and Conquer" scenario). You're doing this by keeping him away from all that. When he's older and able to understand this fully, then he will thank you for it. He'll thank you for allowing him the opportunity to see his GPs for the people they really are, not the people they like to make themselves out to be.

You see, I'm thinking long-term here and where I can see you and your DS. I don't know how many years down the line it'll be, but your job is to start laying the foundations for a better future for both of you. If a complete stranger can have faith in you, what does that say about your possible potential. It generally says that you don't believe in yourself enough and you probably don't see that ATM, but I'm sure you will do in time. You're strong enough to go NC with your relatives, you're strong enough to do almost anything. It take a huge amount of emotional and mental effort to go NC with relatives, so yes, you CAN do it smile

If there's one thing your parents should have taught you, it is how NOT to be a parent. If you run with that, then you will parent better than your own parents did. Look back on the past and use it as a guide as to what and what not to do.

FWIW, I don't do mistakes or regrets, just experiences and learning curves smile

TheHoneyBadger Fri 26-Dec-14 19:58:24

thank you chiggers. what i feel strange/awful/not sure about is my 7yo son already showing more compassion, intelligence, love, understanding, maturity etc than i was SHOWN as a child. i really do do my best to shield him and avoid too much on his shoulders and let him be a child etc and he definitely is a child and is full of humour and fart jokes and the like but he is also... mu lovely loyal, emotionally intelligent and trying to grasp what's going on little person.

i was a very clever child (not said to brag, can't say it was a blessing to be honest) and in some ways my son is too and i want to be so careful not to burden that because... i know. but i also can't pretend he isn't smart/doesn't see/feel/get because that would leave him alone with it and scared/confused - i know (whilst trying to avoid projection).

it's a delicate walk eh? smile

Chiggers Fri 26-Dec-14 20:48:45

Nothing wrong with encouraging intelligence. We tend to think nothing of encouraging young people with other talents, so why not do the same with intelligence regardless of age. Harness your own intelligence too and use it to better yourself as well. You'll be setting a fantastic example for your DS, and possibly annoying your relatives too (which you could see as your way of getting back at them). The best way to get back at people is to live well, and taking the 1st steps in laying the foundations for a better future will be doing just that. Not only will you get out into the world of work again and meet new people, who will treat you with respect, but you'll have better earning power and then comes the better life.

What have you got to lose? The short term pain will be worth the long term gain, financial and emotional.

I laid the foundations for a BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology, by completing the Access course and getting a place at university. I want to go for a PhD, but I'll take each day as it comes. I could have done it without DH, but it would have been so much harder. Luckily DH took on the childcare side so I could crack on and get the coursework done. DH took on 3 jobs so we could have me staying at home with the DC as babies. My urge to go out to work again is very strong now, so I want to start on a wage that is at least what we're getting on benefits. I'd like to go into research design and analysis, but more into counselling and CBT. If the worst comes to the worst, I could take on a nursing degree and go into MH nursing.

Obviously I can only understand what you're going through to a certain extent, but that's because I'm not you and am not experiencing the feelings and emotions you are going through. It's hard to see the long-lasting effects of abuse.

I'm afraid I must fly and take the slobbery pooches for a long walk, but I'll be back tomorrow morning to natter away as usual. Take care sweetheart and I'll chat soon smile

TheHoneyBadger Fri 26-Dec-14 23:25:24

i'm fortunate i've already done HE and a profession and now have found a way to work freelance. i don't earn a fortune but enough to get buy and to have bought us freedom form having to be in any one place at any one time and ds no longer goes to school. we're looking at travelling more and setting a life balance that works for us.

i feel like a brat saying that. believe me i'm not wealthy or spoilt and we are not in some privileged position. there's just me and ds and i've made choices over the last few years to put us in a position of having choices and a degree of freedom.

well done you for for getting your education later in life.

an old friend has just been over for a chat and we have shared troubles and laughter and a good hug at the end of it. it's a long time since we've connected like that and i'm glad of it. i need to start finding and letting people back into my life again. i have things to give as well as needs.

MiscellaneousAssortment Sat 27-Dec-14 01:40:12

Hello there. First Christmas not in hell and was very weird and sad and relieving at the same time.

Me and ds (4yrs) spent Xmas with friends and their family, and visiting my DF in hospital Xmas eve and today. Dropped by the house to see M briefly and it was very briefly.

Sad. Very sad. Was an interloper in someone elses Christmas and yet felt more calm and included than the last 30 odd Christmases with my own family. Very sad as I love my dad so much and it ripped me apart seeing him so ill.

Chiggers Sat 27-Dec-14 09:53:00

Honey, I think the problem is that we tend to keep people at arms length (except those we know who are good people) in case we get hurt. A lot of people are scared of getting hurt, but if we can imagine our situations from an outsider's POV, then we will see that it isn't people in general that have hurt us, it's the individual people. We know who those people are so far and we don't have to have them in our lives. There are good people out there and we just need to find them.

Everything we have been through can teach us things about life, we just need to stop and think about these things from an objective POV, now and again. It helps us to keep some perspective on our lives. Oh and congrats on your HE qualifications. You worked hard for them and deserve them. I hope you find your path in life with your son smile, and I hope it's a good one. Travelling is a good option as your DS will gather lots of different facts and so will you. This could be your opportunity to blossom and become a better person, and that in itself will have a positive effect on your DS smile

Miscellaneous, welcome to the thread, and so sorry to hear about your dad <<hugs>>. I know it's hard, but you can and will get through this. I can empathise with how you may be feeling about your dad. My DF is dying of cancer and in a short space of time, he has gone from being able to stay up for over an hour to chat, to needing to sleep within half an hour. One of the major signs of deterioration I have detected is his lack of peeing. He used to go to the toilet every half hour, but now he is rarely going. It's an indication that his kidneys and other organs are slowly shutting down.

It's strange/funny how our families can reject us for not doing as we are told by them, yet other decent people are happy to take us in and let us be ourselves. They accept us for who we are and don't try to mould us into something we're not supposed to be IYSWIM. These are the people we need to be with.

FWIW, I find that the best comfort I get is from my kids, DH and my staffies. I used to very wary of staffies, but since we acquired 2, I've found that my dogs are very playful, daft, very entertaining, but incredibly loving.

SpidersDontWashTheirHands Sat 27-Dec-14 12:36:32

I think one barrier to forming good friendships is that many of us have trust issues; the people on whom we should be able to rely have let us down and betrayed us and it leaves us struggling to form meaningful relationships with other because we always assume they will abuse our trust too. I guess one part if the healing process is opening ourselves up again but with those people we choose to trust rather than those we have been conditioned to.

TheHoneyBadger Sat 27-Dec-14 13:30:48

yes there's that but i've also discovered i'm really scared of compassion and feel awful about accepting help or favours. i was also raised to believe that anyone who liked me or loved me, 'just didn't know me like she did'. i knew all this for years rationally but since cutting them out of my lives for 2 year now i am.... feeling and processing things on a different level than just knowing or rationalising them. i'm almost reprogramming or fundamentally shifting inside myself now.

on the last thread i talked about how decades of work on healing myself were like two steps forward one step back due to still exposing myself to the abuse/toxin/trigger. since removing it and owning my right to remove it plus time it's a whole different ball game.

i've had a really emotional few days but the emotion (which is erratic - not all sad or dramatic and some of it short lived and triggered by daft things like a comment on a nature programme that resonates massively in my heart silly as that sounds and some simultaneously producing tears and laughter) feels important, necessary and like a, yeah, shifting and reprogramming process.

i need a massive purge but i think it's ok and i have genuine hope for the future which is scary but right.

yes it's about trust for others but more fundamentally for me personally it's about trust for myself and on some level for my real self rather than the protective self i had to construct and hadn't realised how much of was still around.

for those just starting out on non contact i would say this stuff takes time and has stages. i'm two years in and there's been a lot of letting go, stripping back, loss etc much of it freeing but also painful obviously but this feels a bit like that bit of winter where the last of the death has to happen but you can feel the shoots pressing up simultaneously.

sorry to sound so dramatic.

hang in there people. we can heal from anything.

Chiggers Sat 27-Dec-14 18:19:33

Honey, as we know, allowing others to trust us and allowing ourselves to trust others takes time. We don't just wake up one morning and decide to trust everyone and anyone. It can take decades in some cases. In many cases, the victim has to strip everything back to the bare framework and rebuild from there IYSWIM. It can and will be incredibly hard at times but it can be done. Time and an incredible amount of patience is the order of the day.

Sometimes we need to look down that long, long tunnel and although we may not be able to see the light at the end just yet, we know that light is there. On occasions I think of trusting others like doing a bungee jump (I've done one and the adrenaline rush is fantastic. I hadn't felt so alive in a long time). Once you've done one, you don't have the same fear about it and you aren't as scared to try it again IYSWIM.

As I've said, every experience is a learning curve and trusting someone who isn't supposed to let you down may mean you don't ever trust them again. That's absolutely fine. You aren't obliged to love nor trust anyone you don't feel you can.

From your last line, I detect that you already have hope and determination to recover from your past. That's good, but although you will come upon hard times at some points along the way, just remember one thing..........NEVER GIVE UP!!!

Another of my mottos is "I'll keep getting up one more time than I'm knocked down, dusting myself off again and plodding along a bit further"

Meerka Sat 27-Dec-14 18:57:39

I have the trust issues too. Don't trust myself either. It makes building friendships very difficult.

Meerka Sat 27-Dec-14 19:39:19

Hrrrrm this looks interesting, another poster started a thread about it. Its for people who are estranged from their families.

SpidersDontWashTheirHands Sat 27-Dec-14 21:04:50

i'm really scared of compassion and feel awful about accepting help or favours

... because there's always a price to pay?

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