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Toxic parents? In need of some mumsnet advice on how to deal

(5 Posts)
Jimjams2014 Fri 26-Dec-14 18:01:57

I'm regular on here but have name changed.

I've always had and difficult relationship with my parents. Growing up my father was physically and verbally abusive. My mother just went along with it. She was abusive too but not quite as bad. Examples to put things in context:

- they were obsessed with appearances and making the right impression to others. Looking posh etc. So...if I didn't wear the clothing they chose before leaving the house I would be beaten, called a "little shit" and told "I may have to love you because you are my child but I don't like you". I would leave the house for play dates just literally destroyed.
- there was absolutely no physical affection. Watching my cousin with her five year old daughter this Christmas reminded me of this. Her daughter was sitting on her lap getting a cuddle. If I I tried to do this when I was young, I would be pushed off like I was too old to have a cuddle...
- there is this thing they would do when I talked to them about my life or interests...they would just sort of stare at me blankly and not respond or say they didn't want to talk about stupid things.

So...I am now nearly 30. They are much better than they used to be but mainly because I live far away and don't see them that often?! They do seem to have mellowed a lot though. But it is so very hard to forgive the past. I still bear a lot of sadness from it.

The new thing they are obsessed with is me having a relationship. If I talk to them about anything that doesn't involve a potential love interest (oh, and one that is STRICTLY the type of man they would like e,g, an accountant!) then they just bristle and don't answer or engage in conversation. It's totally weird. I love discussing things...the other Thing they do is whenever I try to talk with them about something, they just look at me and don't really reply and them say "we/I don't like having hypothetical conversations".

I have suffered from terrible social anxiety for years. I am very very shy about speaking in front of more than 2 people. It is getting better... I am starting to feel more confident but I feel that my problems are potentially rooted in their response when I try to have a conversation with them. I feel like everyone is going to think I am talking about stupid stuff when I start talking!

And Christmas at home just makes all that painfulness and difficulty I used to feel and experience come flooding back. I just had a MASSIVE argument with my mum where I tried to start a conversation and she wouldn't r.eply and said it was "too hypothetical". Just by way of explanation, I was looking at wedding pics of some celebrity in the newspaper and saying I thought it was quick for the couple to get married again so shortly after being divorced. I just don't understand why my topics of conversation aren't worthwhile enough for them.

They will never change really, will they?....it just makes me so sad for them as it would be nice to be close to my parents.

Not sue what I'm asking for. Just some advice,...any advice and some hand holding.

Thank yon for reading

LightningOnlyStrikesOnce Fri 26-Dec-14 18:22:27

Well you'll be getting the whole range of advice soon, some on how to rebuild relationships and some saying go non-com, but here's my in-the-middle bit.

Just back off. Keep in touch with them for social propriety (especially if they're likely to set other members of family on you, which mine did), be civil, be polite...and nothing more. When they start about relationships you could even reply in their own vein - stare blankly until they stop - or pretend its a joke.

Yes it would be nice to have loving relationships with parents wouldn't it. I wonder what that would be like. Sadly you and I don't have them. Simple as that I'm afraid.

They've made their choices as adults. Now you have to go on and make yours. It isn't easy when you have that kind of social handicap, but...Live your own life. Don't let the bastards ruin it for you.

Hope you have a great new 2015.

Earlybird Fri 26-Dec-14 18:26:03

No, they won't change. Stop hoping, expecting, wishing for things to be different. Continuing to think 'I wish....if only....why don't they....'will be painful, and you will waste a lot of time.

Spend time with people who treat you well and make you happy. Move on from your parents, and build your own separate life. Now you are no longer a child living under their roof, you are free to make choices that weren't possible when you were younger.

MarianneSolong Fri 26-Dec-14 18:27:21

I think the focus has to be on getting to a point where greater closeness with other people is possible. Friendships. A significant other in time.

My background had some similarities. My father is dead now and I am sorry that I can feel so little affection for my elderly mother.

What does give me joy is my relationships with my partner - who I met when I was 35, with my daughter and my two stepchildren.

Even if the past has been very damaged/damaging, it is possible to move forward.

This is a hard time of year. But I wish you a better future. I'm sure you deserve it.

JT05 Fri 26-Dec-14 19:39:58

It is hard. After years of trying to gain approval, it was only after having my own DCs that I realised my parents would never change. They will drain you. Be polite, contact only at family gatherings, but build your own life and value yourself.
I still struggle and can perceive slights from people when none are intended. Your early years do mould you and stay with you. But you can be the person you want to be. Best wishes and good luck.

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