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But we took you to Stately Homes

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AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 23-Mar-15 10:59:13

It's March 2015 and the Stately Home is still open to visitors. Unfortunately I have not been able to make the links work; is it possible for one of you lovely people to do that?.

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:

Homecoming
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child

This final quote is from smithfield posting as therealsmithfield:

"I'm sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don't claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support."

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 11:06:50

Thanks for the new post Attila smile

flippinada Mon 23-Mar-15 11:12:54

Glad you started this one roland. I like that quote from therealsmithfield. It's good to share stories and the reaction from other posters has helped me to start feeling less 'alone' - these things are not the kind of topic that come up in day to day conversation are they.

LineRunner Mon 23-Mar-15 11:15:37

I read a lot of these threads, but haven't contributed very much. But they have definitely helped me start to sort my head out and face up to some unpalatable truths. So thank you.

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 11:33:05

Oh, I can't take the credit flip, it was atilla that started it grin.

Welcome line - it's a relief to be able to see you aren't alone isn't it?

GoodtoBetter Mon 23-Mar-15 11:42:19

Posting so this in on my I'm On list again.

I think with some/all? narcs it's not really about knowing right or wrong, it's that they are SO FUCKING SELF ABSORBED that it's all about how THEY have been wronged. Certainly with my mother the pattern seems to be that her inner reservoirs of rage (good description, Meerka) are tapped into by something, she explodes and if she's not instantly appeased then she is the victim of your reaction. i.e she bitches about me, I take offence but then SHE is the victim, I am cutting her off, treating her badly by not wanting to talk to her. So in her head she erases the memory of what she did to start the whole thing and then believes she's the victim of this evil cruel daughter who doesn't want to speak to her. iyswim?

GoodtoBetter Mon 23-Mar-15 11:44:11

Which makes any kind of contact totally impossible because she's just totally FUCKING INSANE and you can't talk about it because to her something totally different has occurred which she is the victim of. Hence total stalemate.

flippinada Mon 23-Mar-15 11:46:19

Oops! Sorry roland and attila.

I think all narcs are all uniquely awful in their own way.

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 11:56:04

Good yes, very similar with my mum, she seems to criticise me when she wants, although quite subtly, but any citicism back is met with instant upset, confusion and she acts as though I've been massively unreasonable.

Not had anymore contact for now, half expecting her to just turn up! confused but she would be relying on Grandma's partner to bring her and so I think I'd get a message from Grandma if that were the case. She's 2.5hrs away at least.

Sick of all this crap.. I've done nothing wrong. Checked with my boyfriend and my best friend and both agree I've done nothing wrong here. Mum really is laying it on thick this time. In all of this she hasn't actually tried to call me either, which is odd, considering how upset she is?! I've had 1 text on Thursday (as last minute as possible trying to save face for the Saturday lunch meal I cancelled), and an email Friday Night. Both ignored.

I'd read about narcs before, and dismissed it to be honest, I didn't think it fitted my mum, and instead found a label that did, "emotionally needy mother" or something. I've got to admit to myself, this week she is sounding very much like a narc.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 23-Mar-15 13:06:17

Hello, thank you Attila.
Roland what you said rings bells for me. Although my experience is from my sister who presumed to evolve into matriarch when df passed on (mother passed many years previous).
seems to criticise me when she wants, although quite subtly, but any citicism back is met with instant upset
The subtle part...sister would get her supply needs met by not so much criticizing, but by giving compliments. It too me ages to figure it out blush. The compliments were patronizing. But looking closer at it, the dynamic was to make an assessment (on anything and everything angry ). Yes, Miss Judgypants.
This automatically put her in a supervisor role and the target in a subordinate role, regardless of actual content or positive/negative message.
"You are being good." (On my dining choice) angry I am not six years old pining for a gold star for a star chart!

The instant upset is spot on too-Que pursed lips, stomping off, and sulking. Also, there is no talking to her because of her go to reflex of dismissiveness. Or a technique of deflection by saying I (the target) am just like person B who "holds things in -then blows up", proceeding to focus on that behavior rather than her behavior.

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 13:16:19

Hey And

Yes, you are quite right there, the deflecting technique. If I fell out with someone I would want to know what was wrong, how I could fix it etc etc.. But I've noticed with my mum and sister (yes, sister is a cow bag too), that as soon as I say anything it's met with a sigh and a kind of "well, what do you expect me to do about it"... Or an accusation that it's my attitude at fault, not them.

My sister is also queen of patronising. Not quite sure why, as technically she is inferior to me in many ways, although I obviously don't think that day-to-day, but if I do compare us then I can see that she really doesn't have anything to feel superior over! It's crazy.

Do any of you think it's down to jealousy in some form?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 23-Mar-15 14:18:04

Roland ,
At first blush, it might be seen as jealousy as I am a sahm with 3 kids...She is <<still>> single no dc (we are in our 50s) so I think she may resent me for that even though she is a successful professional with a lot of disposable income.
But the Narc modus operandi goes beyond being jealous of someone because that would acknowledge that the someone in question actually exists. I am invisible to her. You may have read that narcs have no empathy. Imho, this is the central trait that allows the Narc to be psychologically free from any consequences of their behavior.

So when my sister applied for maternity leave when I was pregnant with my third...It was all about her, and her distorted thinking that she could be superhero (only because someone at work said a sibling could get maternity leave to help if both parents had passed on). She did not have a single thought for any other circumstance such as me being in a solid marriage, have had two other dc, financially safe etc...or the fact that perhaps she was victim to a bastard at work who baited her having recognized her highly developed level of self-absorption. She informed me of this, not asked. I was too shocked to reply (having my own issues of emotional numbness). I trusted that HR would turn her down. They did; she insisted they reprocessing the claim shock and they turned her down again. wink

Sorry for the essay, but that is a clear example of me being invisible to her. It was my enough is enough moment.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 23-Mar-15 14:23:18

Also, Roland, imho, it is more down to defining themselves in terms/comparison to other people rather than being able to have a sense of happiness come from within themselves. Hope that makes sense.

pocketsaviour Mon 23-Mar-15 14:34:13

Links

Helpful Websites

Alice Miller
Personality Disorders definition
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:

Toxic Parents
Homecoming
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child

Hope this helps smile

MeerkaRIPSirTerry Mon 23-Mar-15 14:35:47

Previous 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

Dec 14- March 15

'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 14:40:07

Oh my... She applied for maternity leave??? How strange is that! Glad it was turned down! Twice grin

My sister also likes to think of me as living a crap existence. She lives in Australia now, and seems to think I live in a slum in Delhi or something equally as squalid. The truth is, I live in a lovely house in a lovely little town with my boyfriend, I run my own very successful business from home and it's going so well that I'm rushed off my feet! I've been with my boyfriend for over 6 yrs now and we are planning to buy a house and maybe start a family shortly after. I have a great best mate that I see weekly, I have hobbies, days out etc.. Yet, she still tells me to "get a life", "no point always working, go out and see the world" etc etc.. This will be in response to me saying I've been working hard all week.

She on the other hand lives in Australia, no boyfriend for at least 15 years, house shares with girls from her work, and has a busy social life, mainly to fill the void of no boyfriend I suspect. She's also 2.5yrs older than me, so unless she meets someone soon, she might not have children, although she says she's not sure she wants them.

I think it makes my mum and my sister feel better when they ridicule my life, my weight, etc.. so yes, defining themselves compared to other people makes total sense to me.

hippymama1 Mon 23-Mar-15 15:37:40

Roland I think there is some part of jealousy in it, although I have only recently started to think that after some observations made by DH about some of the behaviour.

I agree with AndTheBand too Narc modus operandi goes beyond being jealous of someone because that would acknowledge that the someone in question actually exists. I am invisible to her. You may have read that narcs have no empathy. Imho, this is the central trait that allows the Narc to be psychologically free from any consequences of their behavior.

I have a sibling who behaves like they are insanely jealous of me all the time although insists this is not the case - it has been like this since we were tiny children...

Thank you to everyone flowers who replied with info about whether narc people realise what they are doing...

In some ways I feel like I have uncovered the holy grail with this and feel surprisingly liberated and like a massive weight has lifted from me and yet in other ways I just feel so desperately sad... I am sure that my family members are really unhappy themselves and now that I have stopped / am stopping pandering to them, I feel like it is my fault they are unhappy and that I have upset them! I also feel like maybe they don't know any better / can't help it and that I should compromise my feelings as I DO know better...

I guess I have just been conditioned into that though over years and years... Plus I should probably bear in mind that they have upset me many times without remorse or apology...

This is really hard! I think it is all coming to the surface because I am about to become a parent - I feel so fiercely protective of my baby and I am absolutely determined that they will grow up without being affected by any of the madness of my family or the albeit smaller weight and food elated madness of PIL. I will do anything to prevent harm to them... Which leads me on to the question - why didn't my own family feel like that about me?! I guess i'll never know the answer to that so best not to dwell!

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 23-Mar-15 15:39:23

A Big Thank You to both PocketSaviour and MeerkaRIPSirTerry for putting up those links that I could not.

flowers

MeerkaRIPSirTerry Mon 23-Mar-15 15:41:07

goodness gracious me ... she applied for maternity leave for YOUR 3rd child without even asking you first?

its kind of funny in an eyewidening sort of way.

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 15:53:50

Hippy I also feel the same as you, slightly happy that I've discovered all this, but not in a good way, relieved I guess, that it's not me causing all this, that I'm not the emotional wreck I'm made out to be. Also, the same as you, very sad and conflicted as to what to do, how to fix it, but I know I can't fix it.

GoodtoBetter Mon 23-Mar-15 15:55:42

She wanted maternity leave for YOUR child? WTAF? What a weirdo.

Just been speed reading back through old threads that Meerka linked. And do you know what? Even though it was painful and is hurtful not to have a decent mother, THANK GOD for No Contact! Feel like I can breathe again!

pocketsaviour Mon 23-Mar-15 16:12:11

You're welcome Atilla and thanks for starting the new thread smile

High five for teamwork! grin

Hippymama I think having your own DC is a real eye-opener for those of us with toxic parents. I was able to stick my head in the sand for a long time with my mum as we lived so far away from each other. The last year, being in close proximity really forced my eyes open about how unpleasant she is. I used to just laugh it off and say "Oh well, that's mum, she's bonkers you know!" Now I realise yeah - she is a twat and I don't have to put up with her nasty remarks about me or my son!

roland83 Mon 23-Mar-15 16:19:01

High Five to you all! grin

I don't have children yet, but it's something I think about a lot, how I would raise them etc.. and I guess that's made me think of all the things I wouldn't do!

I live away from home too pocket so I'm the same. I'm not sure if she was always like this though, or if it's just because she's so in my face now and I see it clearer?

flippinada Mon 23-Mar-15 16:28:38

I'm open mouthed at the sister who applied for maternity leave shock without asking!!!! shock shock. Seriously what on earth?! Mind you toxic people often behave in ways that have others reacting with disbelief, don't they.

Tellingly, when DS was born, My SM congratulated me with the following line 'well done, you are better than me' - because I had a boy. How fucked up is that?

Thannk you also to pocket and Meerka for the links.

HumptyDumptyBumpty Mon 23-Mar-15 16:29:50

Hey all, I've not been here in a while, good to see those of you I've seen before again, and hello to everyone else!

Feel like a newbie, should probably recap as it's ages since I posted.

My narc is my mother, took me having DD to realise what she was, things came to a head about six months ago, and I went NC, then LC, then NC again (blush decisive!) and wrote her a massive letter telling her why. Since then I've had two contacts, one at a family funeral, and one email exchange after a phone call. Her initial reaction to the letter was bad - I was lying/misremembering, I didn't understand how bad things were for her, etc.
I made it clear that if she wanted any further contact, I needed the following changes:
- less hassling (incessant calls, texts, Fb stalking etc, angry tone if I hadn't called when she expected, pretend illnesses to 'punish' me when I did call)
- no more criticism or hatefulness towards DD
- no more spoiling milestone events by flouncing off at every opportunity.

We are currently in the process of arranging to meet, on neutral territory, to talk about stuff. I'm actually a bit hopeful that she has had a big enough shock to want to start changing, but I'm not holding my breath too much grin
The last two contacts were fine, she was nice, calm, interested, helpful, didn't dominate the whole conversation, didn't guilt trip. Progress? Maybe. We'll see.

Anyway, I agree so whole-heartedly on narcs being incapable of seeing why and how their behaviour is damaging, because they've never had to absorb criticism before, they've bullied their way out of it. The 'you don't UNDERSTAND me, I'm sad and hurt' line is bullying, pure and simple. It's 'don't criticise me, or I'll hit back by making you feel guilty for feeling that way'. It's pervasive, and sly. That's one of the things I'm trying to prepare myself for when it comes to talking to my mother - she has the FOG routine down to a tee, learned from her emotionally and physically abusive fuckwit of a 'father' (who is now, mercifully, dead, and rotting in the ground where he belongs).

Hope everyone's having an okay day! brew

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