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"But we took you to Stately Homes!" Survivors of Dystfunctional Families(986 Posts)
It's May 2015, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.
Dec 14- March 15
Welcome to the Stately Homes Thread.
This is a long running thread which was originally started up by 'pages' see original thread here (December 2007)
So this thread originates from that thread and has become a safe haven for Adult children of abusive families.
One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;
'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/ siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/ angry/ hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/ lifetime experiences of being hurt/ angry etc by our parents behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'
Most new posters generally start off their posts by saying; but it wasn't that bad for me or my experience wasn't as awful as x,y or z's.
Some on here have been emotionally abused and/ or physically abused. Some are not sure what category (there doesn't have to be any) they fall into.
NONE of that matters. What matters is how 'YOU' felt growing up, how 'YOU' feel now and a chance to talk about how and why those childhood experiences and/ or current parental contact, has left you feeling damaged, falling apart from the inside out and stumbling around trying to find your sense of self-worth.
You might also find the following links and information useful, if you have come this far and are still not sure whether you belong here or not.
'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.
I started with this book and found it really useful.
Here are some excerpts:
"Once you get going, most toxic parents will counterattack. After all, if they had the capacity to listen, to hear, to be reasonable, to respect your feelings, and to promote your independence, they wouldn't be toxic parents. They will probably perceive your words as treacherous personal assaults. They will tend to fall back on the same tactics and defences that they have always used, only more so.
Remember, the important thing is not their reaction but your response. If you can stand fast in the face of your parents' fury, accusations, threats and guilt-peddling, you will experience your finest hour.
Here are some typical parental reactions to confrontation:
"It never happened". Parents who have used denial to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy or anxiety, will undoubtedly use it during confrontation, to promote their version of reality. They'll insist that your allegations never happened, or that you're exaggerating. They won't remember, or they will accuse you of lying.
YOUR RESPONSE: Just because you don't remember, doesn't mean it didn't happen".
"It was your fault." Toxic parents are almost never willing to accept responsibility for their destructive behaviour. Instead, they will blame you. They will say that you were bad, or that you were difficult. They will claim that they did the best that they could but that you always created problems for them. They will say that you drove them crazy. They will offer as proof, the fact that everybody in the family knew what a problem you were. They will offer up a laundry list of your alleged offences against them.
YOUR RESPONSE: "You can keep trying to make this my fault, but I'm not going to accept the responsibility for what you did to me, when I was a child".
"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.
YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me, to make a better relationship."
"We did the best we could." Some parents will remind you of how tough they had it while you were growing up and how hard they struggled. They will say such things as "You'll never understand what I was going through," or "I did the best I could". This particular style of response will often stir up a lot of sympathy and compassion for your parents. This is understandable, but it makes it difficult for you to remain focused on what you need to say in your confrontation. The temptation is for you once again to put their needs ahead of your own. It is important that you be able to acknowledge their difficulties, without invalidating your own.
YOUR RESPONSE: "I understand that you had a hard time, and I'm sure that you didn't hurt me on purpose, but I need you to understand that the way you dealt with your problems really did hurt me"
"Look what we did for you." Many parents will attempt to counter your assertions by recalling the wonderful times you had as a child and the loving moments you and they shared. By focusing on the good things, they can avoid looking at the darker side of their behaviour. Parents will typically remind you of gifts they gave you, places they took you, sacrifices they made for you, and thoughtful things they did. They will say things like, "this is the thanks we get" or "nothing was ever enough for you."
YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate those things very much, but they didn't make up for ...."
"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realise that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.
YOUR RESPONSE: "I'm sorry you're upset. I'm sorry you're hurt. But I'm not willing to give up on this. I've been hurting for a long time, too."
Personality Disorders definition
More helpful links:
Daughters of narcissistic mothers
Out of the FOG
You carry the cure in your own heart
Help for adult children of child abuse
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child
This final quote is from smithfield posting as therealsmithfield:
"I'm sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don't claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support."
acknowlege - sorry turned off autocorrect
"I dont know what i want honestly at the moment I just want to be with my dd but they say im using her as a pawn, I know it sounds unreasonable but I just want to concentrate on me, my dp and dd. I dont feel like i owe them anything but do feel guilty. Im constantly being hassled by people particualy my mum my dad my aunty to see dd"
You are NOT using your DD as a pawn but they want to do so. They want to use your child to get back at you and they will do so given any opportunity. Ignore all these people and their associated flying monkeys i.e. the aunt in all this. Block their numbers from your phone so they cannot keep on at you. Keep ignoring their demands; they have and will never act in your best interests here. They passed her around like a parcel initially and will continue to do so as well given the opportunity.
Your parents were not good parents to you, they are also crap grandparent figures to your child also because they keep on at you, her mother.
Its not you, its them. Your family of origin's behaviours now is all typical from people who are emotionally dysfunctional. You yourself grew up within an emotionally dysfunctional family.
I think if you've grown up in a dysfunctional family where your emotional needs were neglected, you (I) have the habit of trying (too) hard to see the other side of the argument and be accommodating. One of the biggies is feeling like you should facilitate a relationship between grandchildren and grandparents. It’s almost as if, although you know intellectually that your parents are emotionally abusive, you don’t feel you have the right to act on that knowledge. But you’re totally justified in using your knowledge of them to decide to limit their contact with your DD, both for her sake but also very much for your own, because they will try to use her to influence you as she gets older. They’ll make heroic efforts to make themselves liked by your DD so that you’re obliged to stay in contact even if they’re being horrible to you.
I didn’t read properly at the start and didn’t realise your DD is only 11 weeks old. Congratulations! I think when you have a baby it’s a real crisis point if you come from a dysfunctional family, specially as all and sundry will be going on to you about how much of a help your mother is etc etc just at the time when you could use some actual help! On the other hand, what I found very comforting as my kids became toddlers was that I could think back to my own early childhood and realise that it really was quite fucked up. I would never treat my kids the way my mother treated me.
Toomuch my mother was a teacher which is what I have ended up doing. My sister wanted to be a hairdresser but that would have been shameful for my mother to admit that her daughter was "only a hairdresser"
I'm in my fifties now and stuck in a small town in rural Scotland. My salary is good for this area, so I couldn't afford to give it up and even if I did retrain, I couldn't afford to move elsewhere as there wouldn't be any suitable jobs around here.
Thanks for the suggestions though.
Meer I text her maybe once a week and see her around once a month. There were times during my separation when she honestly spoke to me like I was 6 years old. I felt so alone and got absolutely no support from her. I was alone in my new house while she was inviting XH round for dinner and out for meals etc etc. I should have gone NC then I guess
OnceAMeer How long have you been LC/NC for? I've always wanted to fix things rather than give up on them but I realise this is something I can't fix
665 I feel like I'm not going to achieve anything by going LC either, I'd just be doing it so dd knows her grandparents, and I think I would end up being hurt in the process because they don't respect my parenting decisions either
Attila you are right and I know that's what I need to do, I know I will just feel worse the longer I maintain contact, I don't know what I'm scared of by just going NC but somethings still stopping me even though I know it's the right thing to do
Toomuch me and dp have discussed this and realised if they cant respect me now it will only get worse as dd gets older and they undermine me in front of her, I don't ever want dd to feel how I felt then or now
I'm really glad I was pointed to this forum, it's nice to be able to relate to people with similar experiences and have somewhere to get support
I dont know what i want honestly at the moment I just want to be with my dd but they say im using her as a pawn, I know it sounds unreasonable but I just want to concentrate on me, my dp and dd.
You know this is entirely reasonable and normal, aye?
it really is.
Agreed with everyone else. This is YOUR time. Tehy are making her into a pawn, not you. In fact, you are wise and sensible to step back from them. Perhaps answer your aunt (whom you're not even close to) that at the moment it's difficult and you'll text them in the future when things are easier. it's nice for normal grandparents and aunts to visit and have a relationship ... But it's the duty of the parent to protect that little baby from the shit that they themselves went though, and these peoples are starting in on you with headgames already.
Stand your ground.
prettyknackered it's kind of complex to answer how long have I been NC/LC for
my adoptive father: I tried desperately for about 15 - 20 years to have a relationship with him. The effort was all from my side. Was never allowed there for xmas or anything else. There is of course a very great deal more to the story ... Now, about 30 years on from when I was a teen, I send him the largest, warmest xmas and birthday card I can find with a sardonic humour and ignore him the rest of the time. My and the children's life is much better without him
Other NC? When I was 21 I went NC with biological mother for 5 years when she had her hands round my neck shaking me. Then she denied it ever happened and expected me to apologise abjectly. The NC stopped after about 5 years partly for the sake of seeing my half-sisters, but I never trusted her or told her anything about my life after that. It wasn't hard; she was .. ahem ... self absorbed.
I am NC with one half - sister for 3 years now. Our mutual mother died and I -think- that she is so utterly traumatised by that upbringing that she's just transferred all the hate and anger onto me. I'm 15 years older than her and look like our mother She sent me a series of extraordinary mails a year or so after our mother's death. It hurts and puzzles me that she poured out this unrecognisably weird version of events in the hate mails. These events that have external written proof that they didn't happen the way she thinks they did. She built an entire case on these non-existent events, and when upset she goes on the attack non-stop. After 6 months it was too much, I couldn't take any more from her and went NC.
I really, really hope that one day she gets herself some help; those letters were shocking and very sad. Frankly I'm worried about her - but I'm also not stepping back into that fire.
All these NCs hurt. You don't stop loving people even when you step away. All of the NCs were last ditch really. I've reached the view that in the end, you can either carry on being the whipping boy for selfish or mentally unwell people, or you can choose eventually to step back and to protect yourself, as long as you don't leave it too late. I believe that protecting yourself and your dependants is the right thing to do.
"Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul"
I take that to mean that you have a right to your life too, as do I. Not at the expense of others, but you are just as valuable as the next person, and it's right to ensure your life is endurable and not dragged down by other people with their own agendas.
Ive rambled on a bit here, musing. Thanks for listening and I hope somewhere in all that there was something useful!
Thanks for all the supportive posts. Struggling to keep up with all the posts in between...
Attila I don't need them in my day to day life, you're right. I make allowances for their behaviour all the time. Truthfully, they've only added stress to what's going on. When I speak to my mother I'm on eggshells in case an argument starts. There's always a comment made at some point. It's a case of whether it's one I can let slide or not. More often than not I let it slide. I've made a list and actually on paper I can see it's got a lot worse since the divorce.
I've kept quiet, had no response to my email to her, but some calls and a message saying she's worried about me and can I please get in touch. I can't see how she can wriggle out of what she said to me though. And that she's kept in touch with stbx and tries to justify is possibly worse after everything that's gone on. The whole thing is making me feel really anxious so I'm going to ignore them for now as I can't take what she's said and done.
And no, toomuch my dad makes no effort whatsoever. Because I was the one to move away - against their wishes - it's always been put to me that I'm the one who has to put in the effort.
greenleaf I don't doubt I did the right thing. In the same way that I'd never send the kids to stay with them to appease her. It's just I thought low contact was just about bearable and it's kind of blown in my face. RL support is not big but I'm having counselling/therapy.
Interesting to hear the difference NC made to you as opposed to low contact, 665
OnceAMeer Thank You for sharing, you've been through a lot and I can definitely relate to desperately wanting to have a relationship but it being all one sided. Your mum shook you by the neck and your half-sister turns on you, I can only imagine how hard that must have been for you, it's horrible when a feud with one person becomes everyone's feud, when you just need someone to support you. I can see how NC is necessary to protect yourself. It's sad that people can't realise the hurt they've caused and that NC becomes the only option in order to look after ourselves. Maybe I am naive but when I came to this forum I was surprised to see how so many of us come from dysfunctional families and how long this thread has actually been going for
yes .... there are quite a lot of people from toxic backgrounds I think.
Not everyone reads Mumsnet and not everyone who reads, posts. I think we are the tip of the iceberg. But I also think that with more emotional awareness generally, we are slowly improving a bit.
In the same way that I'd never send the kids to stay with them to appease her.
I made that mistake (and also to save on holiday clubs). I ashamed to say I did it twice in the same year but never again. Never did it again - my DC couldn't understand why the world revolved around their cousin as well as my DS being constantly told he was naughty. Of course as child of golden child we all know why but how do you explain that to children.
Never sent them away again - money isn't everything.
Because I was the one to move away - against their wishes - it's always been put to me that I'm the one who has to put in the effort. I am in this situation and it feels like I am being constantly punished for this. Apparently it's my fault the DC were funny around them because I did not take the DC to visit enough. Nothing to stop them coming to visit but it's not their fault for not visiting
I think if you've grown up in a dysfunctional family where your emotional needs were neglected, you (I) have the habit of trying (too) hard to see the other side of the argument and be accommodating. One of the biggies is feeling like you should facilitate a relationship between grandchildren and grandparents.
I love my DC so much that I seriously thought that no one would start playing favourites with them. What was I thinking?! They did it to me so why wouldn't they do it to the grandchildren - just was not thinking logically. I expect it may have come from my DD being the first grandchild so for a few years there was no one else for them to favour and I got lulled into a false sense of security.
Ugh I think I have done something stupid. I saw my counsellor today for my first proper session of ongoing counselling and we talked about my childhood and relationship with my parents. She said that I had one parent that treated me like an adult from a very early age (my mother) and another that treats me like a child, even now (father). We have been no contact (mostly) since the incident I described a few pages back but my mum has been constantly messaging me acting like nothing happened. I told my therapist that I hadn't spelled out to them exactly why I am so upset and I have cut contact and she asked me why and what I am afraid of. I said I was afraid of their reaction and she said I needed to start being an adult.
When I got home I sent a message to my mum explaining why I'm upset (ranting and raving in my house and threatening behaviour in front of my DC. Past abusive behaviour at very vulnerable times in my life). She reacted exactly as I predicted, pretending it didn't happen, telling her I have upset them and they don't deserve to be spoken to in this way etc. I just don't know what I want now. I was hoping there was a relationship to salvage but the truth is they will never change and will always emotionally blackmail and belittle me. I'm so sad for my DC. I didn't have any relationship with my extended family growing up thanks to them and now it looks as though this will happen for them. I know things are better this way but I feel so sad.
I have been reading everyone else's posts and I'm sorry for what you are all going through
Tired I don't think it was stupid to send the mail (I know Attila will disagree with me though!) I understand that urge on your part to feel like you've given them every chance, because you're still in that mindset of "If only they could UNDERSTAND how they've hurt me, they would change!"
Sadly, it's not the case. You've laid it on the line (for probably multiple times) exactly what she's done to upset you, and she's denied it, minimised it, and blamed you for her behaviour. Because that's what these people do.
Have you had enough now, have you seen enough, to decide on NC as the way forward for you?
tired ... it -is- hard on your DC, but the tragedy starts with your parents being like this. Given that very sad situation, you have to do the best you can to protect them in it. Which you are doing, by protecting yourself; their treatment of you would probably extend to them and most of all - they should not see their mother being treated like this.
Sometimes some parents seem to have children just so they can use them as targets throughout their lives.
I'm a little surprised your therapist told you that you needed to start being an adult. Personally I think you have to send (or write a non-sent letter) when YOU are ready. There's being gently pushed beyond your comfort zone, but there's also being pushed too far before you're ready. It might be worth weighing up what the therapist says next time, writing down the pros and cons of their advice and sleeping on it before making your own decision.
I have pocket. There is no reasoning with them, they will never be at fault and I will always be the bad person in their eyes. What a ridiculous situation. I just wish I could stop feeling so sad and afraid of the future shitstorms they will try to create
Thanks Once. I think I may have been a little too brave and I don't think she necessarily wanted me to do it now. I think I just came back feeling a little better about things and probably took what she said a little too literally. I will definitely think on the session for longer next week.
I read your previous post on them as well on this thread.
Your parents really take the cake don't they; I have read many, many examples of toxic parents on here and these two are absolutely evil and toxic.
It would do you and your children a huge service if you were to go no contact with them. They do not bring anything at all positive into your lives. Such people as well continue not to apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.
Like many adult children of such people you are mired in FOG (fear, obligation and guilt).
Are you comfortable with your therapist to date; I do realise it was your first session. If your therapist has any bias at all about keeping families together I would find another person to work with. These people are like shoes, you need to find someone who fits in with your approach.
If your dad did take his life it would not be down to you or be any of your doing. Such abusive men actually threaten suicide to further bring their chosen victim (in this case you) further into line; its a power and control mechanism. He uses that against you because he can and it works as a threat.
There is no relationship here that is worth saving, let alone a relationship to salvage. Their behaviours are truly reprehensible. It would do you as well as your children a huge service to stay well away from these people. They were not good parents to you, they are and will not be good grandparent figures to your children either.
About the whole grandparent thing:
I think if a parent has acknowledged their bad behaviour to you, and accepted the blame for it, and tried to make an honest and sincere apology, then you can consider letting them into your DC's world.
For example, say your mum or dad was an alcoholic, and your childhood was totally chaotic and filled with their violent mood swings and neglect while they were sleeping off yet another bottle. But they had since got sober, going to AA or similar support group, and had apologised for all that happened, and had been sober for some few years. That sort of situation, I think it's perfectly reasonable to give them a chance.
But parents like ours, who never admit their own faults or even that anything happened at all? Fuck those people. They will never, ever be safe to have contact with your children. Because they honestly profess that their behaviour was totally justified, and they will end up treating their grandchildren the same. If they are still having this effect on you (us) as an adult, how will a little defenceless child be able to protect themselves?
The reason I say about alcoholism is this is pretty much what happened with my Grandpa. He was a violent, bullying drunk to my mum, her sister, and my Grandma. But then he stopped drinking - not sure why, my mum told me he had got an ulcer but I don't think that would stop an alcoholic drinking... Maybe he just hit rock bottom. And he sobered up, and my uncle (their youngest) never saw him drunk. And he was the best Grandpa to me ever. I had no idea there was all this back story until he died when I was 17 and my mum basically told me all about how he used to beat her, in between his death and the funeral. In retrospect I think she didn't want me to mourn for him, and I now realise that was an unkind thing to do to me. When my H died I was basically like "Ding dong the witch is dead" but I didn't tell my son "actually your dad was a twat so dry those tears" - why would I?
We were separated by the way. I didn't kill him or anything
came close to doinging him over the head with a frying pan a few times
I can indeed see and understand why you sent that e-mail tired but pocket is right in that I would never readily advocate such a course of action. The contents of same are simply used against you no matter how nicely worded or reasonable it is. They see it simply as an attack on them and react accordingly; it gives them convenient ammo to lob at you.
I also wonder how good your therapist actually is with regards to dealing with such toxic families.
Protect your children tired from your abusive parents; they will thank you in the long run for doing that.
Thank you so much Atilla and pocket. I'm sorry that you too have been through this. I have now taken away the last way of contacting me by blocking her on the evil Facebook. All she has now is writing letters but I don't have to open them. My words have definitely been used as ammo. Grrrr.
I am definitely suffering from the FOG. I need to work on that (and I think that is probably where my therapist is going with the behaving like an adult thing). She said I need to focus on my immediate family (DH and DC) and stop being the little child influenced by my parents. I'm not sure how it is going to work out yet but we have only had the one session so I will give it a chance. It is quite difficult to find therapists where I am. This is private and I still had to wait 6 weeks for an appointment.
I am totally convinced I need to protect the DC. I'm just dreading the day when they are older and I have to explain all of this to them. I feel like my parents have already tried to screw up the future for them.
I was getting a lot of FOG before I cut my mum off, when I was trying to manage with LC. And immediately after going NC I was a bit terrified. But it's amazing how that FOG lifts when there's nobody spewing it out at you.
Hi all, I've not started thread of my own or been referred so I hope it's OK to join. I had a very public breakdown recently because of parents current/historical abuse. My parents split 20 years ago, my dad recently sent me some explicitly sexual texts, DM decides it's my fault as I don't have enough hobbies. I read first 20 pages but still in the mindset it was me.
pocket I'm glad to hear the FOG lifts. I want it to lift soon so I can look forward to the birth of my baby without this black cloud over me.
Welcome Watcha. I'm sorry that your parents have brought you here but you will find lots of support
Thank you Tired, I have an appointment at police station tomorrow to make a report. I feel like I'm stuck doing the dirt work for everyone else
Lol, either this thread has slowed down since the beginning or my DM was right about me.
pocket, I was reading what you were writing about if you had a parent who was e.g. alcoholic and then changed their ways... I got a lump in my throat, because imagine having someone who once said sorry?
The thing is though, and I've been thinking about this a lot recently - I think unlike a lot of you I gave up on my mother really early in life, like when I was still living at home. I essentially went LC when I still lived there. When I was 15 I met a new friend through a hobby and we became boyfriend and girlfriend and my mother tried to put a stop to it, it culminating in an ultimatum just short of my 16th birthday: split up with him or leave home. I chose to stay and split up with him, but got back together again when I was 17 and had started at uni. I still "lived at home" but spent every weekend at his flat and my weekdays I studied or met friends etc so I was never in the house from 8am till 9pm. I left after my degree and that was it.
When I was 15, when I met this boy, I was your basic Rapunzel - shy to the point of being agoraphobic, couldn't speak on the phone, couldn't use the bus, all due to this massive shyness and anxiety. I think the relationship spurred me on to realise that while I had been dreaming all my young life of leaving home, that if I didn't take myself in hand I would never have the confidence or life skills to leave home. So step by step I did all the things I found scary and got myself to the point where I could function in the world.
I feel though as if on some level I simply papered over the cracks and never really sorted out my head. That's the stuff that bothers me now. The weirdo habits of a daughter of a narcissistic mother - being able to read other people's emotions to a ridiculous degree, never being sure that my own emotions are real, the constant free-ranging guilt about god knows what, the lack of direction... it's all still there but it's so unconnected to my mother as she is now.
And now I feel like I am in this war of attrition with my mother. I've not contacted her for 10 weeks or so, following a visit from her where she let the nastiness show a bit more than usual and I just thought, I can't fucking be bothered with this any more. It wasn't anything big that decided me, it was just the last straw, coming expecting us all to dance attendance on her and anticipate her every emotional response while we were trying to fucking emigrate. Anyway so that was it, I said nothing, drove her to the airport and said goodbye and I thought, I am never speaking to you again. And it was fine in my head, at first. But while my rational self-protecting bit knows it was totally fine to do, the guilt (and the particular thing for me, the thing of feeling myself to be unacceptable and unlovable) is slowly starting to seep in.
Her response has kind of made it worse. It's fairly innocuous but also fairly textbook for when you go NC. We didn't give her our new contact details and I just didn't phone or write. Of course she did not contact me directly or ask any of the family to contact me through FB or anything like that - first she forwarded some mail for us, then a letter from my cousin who is ill, and then last a "new home" card with a note saying "sorry I haven't been in touch, I don't have your new contact details" and it all sounds nice enough if you don't know her, but if she really wanted to contact me she would ask my uncle to message me on Facebook and get my number, and bloody phone it. She knows what is going on and she's trying, I think, to stop it happening without having to acknowledge that anything is wrong. And I would actually really relish a chance to see her get her claws out, to remind me why I'm doing this, to get rid of some of the guilt...
... and in saying that I know what I have to do. I need to start therapy. There is only so far I am ever going to get with this alone, and this wish for some cathartic confrontation with her - well, it might go as I want, and it might not, but going to her to get an emotional need met isn't healthy at all. I need to find my way through the guilt, not get a temporary release from it.
Thanks for reading if you got this far! I just needed to get all that out.
Watcha sorry, we cross posted. If you want to talk, there are a few of us about and I'm happy to listen. (you're right though it is quiet, I had to search for about an hour before I even found the thread when I started posting).
toomuch thank you. Your post resonated with me, my F is a sick son of a bitch but hes stupid enough to leave his mess behind. M a whole different ball game messing with my head.
Sorry for what you are have been through. Hope you find the thread supportive.
* but if she really wanted to contact me she would ask my uncle to message me on Facebook and get my number, and bloody phone it*
It's ridiculous isn't it? My mum kept going on behind my back about 'oh I don't if They and family are coming at Christmas'. Well pick up the fucking phone and ask. The family have no idea that I have actually gone LC so not like there is a problem with my reaction if she calls.
The weirdo habits of a daughter of a narcissistic mother
Mine is that I can not accept a compliment as why would anyone say anything nice to me. 'Ooh you've had your haircut. It's really nice.' I say 'I think she cut it too short' or 'it's a bit lopsided' or any other hair related criticism. Ridiculous I know and I expect people probably think I am weird - probably thinking a simple thank you will do!
Yeah theymake my mum does it with other members of the family too, one time one of my Aussie relatives was coming to the UK for a holiday and mentioned in passing to my auntie and thence to my mum that she might drop in at some point if that was OK. My mum was in knots about it for weeks about whether the girl might stay over, whether she should replace all the sheets and towels for the spare bedroom etc. Just bloody ask her! Or ask my auntie! Or just don't worry about it! I almost feel sorry for her when something like this comes up, that crushing lack of confidence, but then I remember how she dealt with that uncertainty on a daily basis by ruling me and my dad so we were hair trigger sensitised to the slightest change in her mood and could smooth everything over for her and I think, nah, I'll save my sympathy for me thank you very much.
I know what you mean about compliments. You can just got "that's really nice of you to say so" which is a bit easier because it's more like praising them back. But yes.
one time one of my Aussie relatives was coming to the UK for a holiday and mentioned in passing to my auntie and thence to my mum that she might drop in at some point if that was OK. My mum was in knots about it for weeks about whether the girl might stay over, whether she should replace all the sheets and towels for the spare bedroom etc. Just bloody ask her! Or ask my auntie! Or just don't worry about it! I almost feel sorry for her when something like this comes up, that crushing lack of confidence, but then I remember how she dealt with that uncertainty on a daily basis by ruling me and my dad so we were hair trigger sensitised to the slightest change in her mood and could smooth everything over for her and I think, nah, I'll save my sympathy for me thank you very much.
My mum used to do this when she lived here (abroad). She'd do it about my cousins coming to stay and then bitch endlessly about them when they'd left, but then complain bitterly about how desperately lonely she was. It's like she wanted the company but couldn't stand it all at the same time. Like you say, I do feel sorry for her but then I think about all she said about ME too ( for instance that I'm lazy, slovenly and stupid, DH is a gold digger after his MIL's money and only married me for that....not like there is masses of money either...)
good They want company, but they only want company from people who'll respect and pander to all their hangups. That would be you and me...
theymake I was just thinking about your mum and the LC and wanting to know if you're coming for Christmas. Although she doesn't know about the LC she knows there's something up so she won't ask directly in case she gets a "no" from you, I bet.
abanico - it's taken me a while to read through the posts on this thread, but I really wanted to send you a virtual hug, because it sounds like you are having a very difficult time. I'm so sorry. It really can, and will, get better - believe me - but it's hard, hard work.
I was concerned that you didn't feel you were making much progress with your counsellor a full year and a half into your work together. If it's the right fit, things should feel an awful lot better by now. Can you try out a few others? Even the most fabulous counsellor can be wrong for you, because you may not gel with their style or personality. I had two who were truly lovely, but wrong for me - one who couldn't see that my problems stemmed from my shitty childhood, and another who could, but thought the solution was just to shrug/laugh it off. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Amazingly, many counsellors have a crap understanding of dysfunctional childhoods and their lasting legacy. Really try and speak to a few others, it could make all the difference. I would certainly think twice about spending another year and a half working with your current counsellor.
Hang in there xx
toomuchtooold please have a huge THANK YOU for an excellent lightbulb moment. What you write about your career, and the Rapunzel articles on the excellent website you link to, are sounding huge, clanging bells with me. I so wish I'd known about this sooner.
Like you, I was a high flier in a prestigious job (which gave my mother major bragging rights) until I was forty (and that was with an enormous amount of self sabotage along the way). Then I thought I cant do this much longer, and took redundancy. For a good five years afterwards I seriously drifted, unable to get work, pay bills, in a downward spiral of procrastination, and self loathing that I was "failing" so badly. I just had no idea what I wanted, or that I deserved anything good at all.
It's literally only in the last year, with a lot of insight and counselling, that I can see what's going on, and things are picking up again. But boy was that hard work. The legacy of the world of shit we grew up with is just everywhere isn't it? I can empathise so strongly with not knowing your "place in the world" - or rather, seeing your justification for existence being your job title.
My poor brother was in a seriously abusive relationship with his first wife for years. My mother still speaks fondly of her - and when challenged about the abuse, says "well, how on earth could she (wife) have respected him when he didn't have a decent job?". Yup - your own son deserves to be driven to the brink of suicide cos he doesn't have a brass plaque on the door of his office.
And yes, yes to stress bringing you clarity. I had a brush with cancer last year, and wow did things fall into place when I started to put myself first for my own health and peace of mind.
So ... Many thanks, lovey. And yes - work out what matters to YOU. I hope you get a job you just love.
Welcome watcha, come on in, nobody needs an invitation to post here So sorry you got these awful texts. How did your appointment at the police station go today? I hope they are able to take strong action.
toomuch I think you would do very well with therapy, with a counsellor who understands toxic mothers/families and can help you re-parent yourself to give yourself the love and support that have been lacking from your upbringing. I would also recommend having a read of Alice Miller's work if you haven't already. "The Drama of Being a Child" is a good place to start. Her books can be a bit hard going as they were originally written for mental health professionals in mind, but they are worth sticking with.
theymake I also get that with the compliments. I have worked on this a lot and now I'm just able to say "Thank you! The hairdresser was great/I found it in Matalan/I had these nails done at X salon" or whatever. What I still struggle with is when someone lets me down or annoys me, my immediate instinct is to say "Don't worry about it" or "It doesn't matter" - but it DOES bloody matter, because I matter! There is still that overwhelming idea that my needs should come at the bottom of the pile, under not only those of my family, but even random strangers in the street or the person who does a shit job that I've paid them for.
toomuch She has no idea about the LC! Because of distance and the DC activities/jobs often meant a full on weekend so easy to limit visits without it being obvious. We have visited every Christmas for years so reason why this would be different - expect the same thing happens every year to be honest but this year I have been later in mentioning it. Have invited the whole family. Done my bit and no one is coming. Result! A couple of times we have a hosted Christmas and she has manged to ruin it.
pocket I feel ridiculous but I did need a lesson in how to accept a compliment! At least I have something to say next time. I have always bent over backwards to make sure I do not let people down and yes I am at the bottom of the pile when it comes to other people's commitments
Hi theymake and pocket, thanks for the welcome. I had police appointment today but made the decision not to take it further. Not to protect him but to protect myself, my mental wellbeing and my dds (lp). Reading through these threads has made me realise he was never a "father" and that was what I was grieving for, the idea of what he should be rather than who he actually was. I'm awaiting what will be the outcome from that.
DM I have had NC for over a week after talking with her about this naturally turned into pointing out everything wrong with me but this thread has opened my eyes to so many things. The refusing to add me on fb as she doesn't want to know about our personal lives (but has added my DSis and DB then telling me all about what they have put on fb), saying she's too ill to travel other side of town to see us when she's managed to travel to another city where Sis lives & even the cross country journey from their caravan on her own, my self sufficient well-behaved kids are too much but she can look after a 2 year old for the weekend.
Argh, I'm ranting . It's like the blinkers have been taken off and I'm not prepared to have my life controlled, be belittled or made to feel stupid anymore. I have an appointment tomorrow for accessing counselling but I'm feeling positive and, although I wish all your lives had been different, it is because I no longer feel that I deserved it or it was my fault . Sod it, have some and too, you all deserve it.
Watcha I can't judge and I don't know how I would behave in your situation. Are you happy with the outcome or have you been pressurized into agreeing with the police? As long as it is your decision and only you can know that
My dad worked away a lot when I was younger and I created this image of him. Once he came home for good he slowly changed. My DH often says he is more judgmental and worse in general than my mum.
I understand it is upsetting to see others on FB. I moved away before I had the DC and once FB came along they never bothered with it, Now my DN has moved away temporarily they are falling over themselves to try and sort out a FB account to stay in touch. Makes my blood boil.
My turn to rant.
theymake the officer I spoke to was very in depth in making sure I wasn't pressured by police or anyone else, he has a record.
pocketsaviour thanks for the tip - now reading one of Alice Miller's books.
theymake ah OK it's just standard grumbling! They do like to feel hard done by don't they?
greenleaf thanks for your reply. Everything you're saying chimes with me. I knew I was in the wrong career, looking at people around me who loved what they were doing and I knew I should be doing something else but how do you figure it out when you're used to denying all your own feelings? Have you found a new career now?
Hello me again.
I had a bit of a eureka moment this morning. I had this friend, sorry, "friend". We came to know each other because we were in a university LGBT society together. I became the president (I'm in serious danger of outing myself here, oh well, that's fine) and I think she was the Women's Officer at the time, maybe not but she was very active in the group. We were two of the relatively few women in the group, and part of the small band of postgrads and locally-living undergrads who were around all year including the long vacations and that's when we became friends. I enjoyed hanging around with her. She was really funny and interesting, really really intelligent. I hated the fact though that she could be really vicious about people who didn't live up to her rigorous standards of living the righteous leftwing lifestyle and would just cut people out of her life but to be honest I didn't really stick up for anyone until she did it to me. What kicked it off was one time, one Friday - there was a group of us who went swimming together on Friday afternoons. I'd been for a job interview and got knocked back that week, and she said this thing - "toomuch wants to be a corporate whore, but she's more of a failed corporate whore" Jesus, I can't imagine much that would have hurt worse at that point, me skint and 2 and a half years into a PhD and just wanting to get some security and a normal life. And then this from a supposed friend. I just walked away, I got in the pool, at the end she said "are you coming?" and I was like "no, I'll just stay and do some more lengths." And that was it. And actually when I think back I don't think we really spoke again at all after that. I did try, I had just started going out with someone - now DH - and I was trying, as these were my BF and my friend who I spent a lot of time with, to get them to meet. We emailed back and forth and eventually nailed it down to a Friday night. She was like "actually my stepdaughter is planning to go to a thing at the observatory, but it depends if it's cloudy or not, so I could come if it's cloudy" and I was like look, you are a good friend, I want you to meet my boyfriend, but I don't want to hang around in a restaurant checking to see if it's cloudy or not, so why don't you give me a shout when you have some time you can definitely come and meet us?" And that's the last time I ever heard from her for about 5 years. I remember at the time just the main emotion being shame that that was my best friend so called, I felt like what kind of pathetic failure of a human being must I be if my closest friend is someone who can't even be bothered to meet my boyfriend? Why am I so shit that I don't have friends who like me? That's what I felt like.
So that was me dropped. And even though I'd seen her do it to other people, and I'd seen her do it to a mutual friend who actually spelled it out to me, this is what she does with people - I still blamed myself and looked for reasons. My lifestyle, woefully inadequate in the whole leftwing alternative queer area? But she had friends who were straight, friends who worked for big companies - was I not special enough to be excused my industry job and my boyfriend? [God I cannot believe I was thinking like that]. I online stalked her. I just wanted to understand. I ended up making contact with her again and we were briefly friends till she very sharply corrected me on an online forum and I told her to get to fuck. We still have mutual friends and I've always been a bit on the edge of that circle of friends because something bad went down between us and they prefer her. Why did I fucking care? Why do I care? Why am I still wasting my time with anyone who prefers her? She was awful! Till today, I still retained a feeling of shame that I didn't handle that friendship well and that it's put me on the edges of that circle of friends, like I would be a failure at friendship. It's a sore point with me (what isn't) that I feel like a failure as regards friends, I'm not good at having them. We've moved around a lot so it's hard to keep in contact with people. And then also, I find people a strain because I often worry that I'm saying the wrong thing etc, typical hypervigilance. But also - I guess my childhood has somewhat blinded me to people behaving like total arseholes and that's why I've wasted time being friends with people like her! Aargh. Why did I not see all that. I feel like today, the insight has taken away all this shame and I am really fucking pleased with myself. I have also contacted a therapist, first step, I am actually going to do it!
The worst thing about (sorry, still ranting) is that the corporate whore comment, it was just off the top of her head, she didn't even mean it really. It was classic narcissist - they've no idea what will hurt you because they just don't think about it. And then 5 years later when we were talking again - and then we very much weren't, when I told her to fuck off - I brought it up and she was like "that was 5 years ago, I can't believe you haven't moved on" and I felt a bit pathetic but what the fuck! It was a horrible thing to say! It was almost the last thing you ever said to me! I was fucking gaslighted and I never even saw it.
Well done on your Eureka moment toomuch! very insighful post. oooooh, did you contact my therpaist guy? Are you going to have some sessions with him? I do hope so, he's so lovely and I found him a great help. Really excited for you if it's him! <over investing>
Goodto I didn't, I ended up going with another rec
who cost half as much. Sorry! I do really appreciate the rec from you though and if this one doesn't work out I'll probably try him next.
He is expensive, I'll agree with that. Good, but expensive and not the only good therapist in the world. I hope you find your therapist really helpful xxx
Help me. I don't think me and dp are going to last much longer, and I have cut my parents off because they were emotionally abuse, now I can see myself going back to them because I have no one else. Dp is useless with dd when she's upset, it's always left to me to soothe her and if I ask him for help he ends up yelling slamming a door, because his way of helping is taking dd to the sofa where he can lie down fall asleep, I told him repeatedly I don't want her on the sofa because of risk of sids, and anything could happen if he falls asleep which he does, it's selfish to take her there because he's tired, I don't fall asleep when I'm trying to settle her. It really angers me and it's the same argument all the time, i can't cope with his selfish attitude and feel like I'm only with him because he's dds dad and he pays the bills, I know that's bad but I don't love him anymore because I can't rely on him for anything emotionally either, all he does is throw the I look after you financially card at me. He just wants all the cuteness of dd and not bother with the hard bits. I've got no friends no confidence no self esteem nothing just me and dd, I don't know what to do but either way someone is hurting me wether it's my parents or dp
No that wrong I do love him but I don't love how he doesn't actually help me when I'm exhausted, I don't love how him helping me is taking dd to the sofa. I can't rely on him emotionally because he shouts at me when I'm upset from having to argue over why dd shouldn't be on the sofa, instead of just not taking her there anymore he just refuses to help then and hands her back crying. I'm angry that I do it all and he does none of the hard bits. He thinks working is all he needs to do because without money we couldn't live in this house and have the bills paid etc. I hate how I can't ask for help without it ending up with us fighting and having to settle dd myself anyway. I feel dragged down sorry for the moan
I hope I'm welcome here. it's just over 3 years since I went no contact with Mum and stepdad.
Hi passion, you're very welcome.
"sorry for the moan"
Don't be sorry, you have every reason to complain. I think a lot of blokes
take the piss are slow to adjust to the new reality with a baby i.e. it's a 24 hour job and they need to step up. It's hard to tell from the outside whether it's "just" that and whether it'll get better in time, you're the one who needs to judge that.
What I would say is that with my kids they slept really badly from about 8 weeks till about 12-13 weeks and then it started to calm down. They started going 4 hours between feeds in the night and napping more in the day (in their cots in a dark room). It all became a bit easier to manage after that, and you might feel like you have a few more options. It might be that if you talk to your DP when you're not both tired, you can get across to him
how totally fucking inadequate it is to go to a nice normal civilised 40 hour a week job and come home and expect your shift to be over when you've just fathered a newborn baby how he needs to chip in more. Then you're the one who needs to decide whether his response is good enough.
It's all your decision of course but I would say don't go back to your parents. They'll help now but the help will come at such a high cost. If you hang on a few more weeks the baby will become so much more manageable. You're at the most vulnerable time now but if you can stay strong for a little while longer I bet you'll find you can manage day to day on your own. It's not fair that you need to, but being able to will give you so much freedom in your life.
Thanks for listening toomuch you're right it's better to be a bit sleep deprived than go back to having every feeling invalidated. Dp does help more when he's not tired, just seems unfair that its my job to do everything 24/7 like I'm not tired too, I do love dd but sometimes it would be nice for a little help at night when all the missed hours of sleep catch up on me. Usually once a fortnight I start to feel rough but it's just not worth the hassle with him, once I'm up in the day I'm fine it's always at night I struggle
hi passion, welcome
knackered can you get through each day a day at a time?
I assume you have thought of counselling followed by action to try to work it out?
I think if you get enough sleep and enough clarity of mind then you can plan how to leave. Don't go back to your parents. like toomuch says, the price will be far too high. If you possibly can, -plan- how to leave, if you think there is no way forward. Right now the situation is really not ok. I assume you have thought of counselling followed by action to try to work it out?
If you do decide it's over, then you need to take copies of all important documents and also to try to squirrel away some money.
Soffry to write again, but I need to.
Ok I shouldn't have done this, but I did and I regreet it.
I found my dad on facebook. I won't do any of my family even the ones I am in contact with.
For some stupid reason, I decided to search for my mum and stepdad.
I couldn't find them on fb so searched google.
Mum works with people with disabilities she was also nominated for an award which I won't mention as I'm in a public forum and I would hate for her to find it.
Ok, this makes me so fucking angry. Not because of her achievements. I think that's great, I really do.
But having a disability myself, she had a funny way of showing me that I was a person and mattered in the world. I always had to be bj etter than every one else so I could "prove" myself and make sure none saw my disability. I was not allowed to be an active member of the family, or spend large times apart in my room.
I'd had no contact for 3 years due to issues I cant go in to, except to say that a report to child protection nearly lost me my family but I didn't from~d out the fromalse alegations she made until 2 years after she did it.
Anyway it's times like this I am just grieving all over again. The family I never had, the one I wanted but will never have. The worry how I'm going to face them when one of them dies.
I'm still in contact with my sister but I'm extremely guarded about what I say.
Hi passion - sorry you're having such a hard time. Now that you've found out all this about your mother and step father, having been NC with them for 3 years...do you see that searching for them hasn't helped you? By doing this you have actually brought the hurt back into your life. I see that you regret it. But maybe you can learn something from that experience.
Have you had any counselling or therapy? Maybe talking through your thoughts can help you build strategies to help yourself. Strategies to stop you 'going back' to revisit how awful they are. To help you make different choices when the urge to search next comes upon you. To make choice that take care of you.
Really need a talking to today. M went NC with me because I wouldn't apologise for things like getting upset when she hit my kids. Today she turns up with a bag of goodies for the kids. I opened the door only to ask if she was ready to apologise to me. She just looked blank, as she does. I said ok then and closed the door. She stood there silently for about an hour. Then I had to open the door to someone else and she took that as her opportunity to say 'I just don't know what I'm supposed to have done'. That's usually the point where I start justifying myself - I guess she thought she could get me to make a scene. Rather than get into it I just closed the door. She said 'just take the presents then' I said we didn't want anything from her. And closed the door. She responded by complaining to the neighbours about me. Great.
The thing is, the kids and I have had a really crap couple of years and every time she turns up its only to run salt into our wounds. Ive had enough. Feel crap for the kids. Almost guilty enough to have let her in, which is what she was hoping for, I guess.
Sorry to leap in and hijack, but its getting to the point where I just don't really believe in love anymore. My primary relationships are all so messed up. It's just a word people use to manipulate others ime.
And her main argument is always that she's not perfect.
I don't expect her to be flipping perfect! I just expect her to have some compassion for me. Just a little bit to mark me out from the woman in the street. That's all!
She hit your children and expects you to apologise because you got upset!.
Do not ever answer the door to her again. If she does turn up at your door again call the police immediately and get them to remove her. Her behaviour could be classed as harassment.
Am glad to read you did not accept her "gifts"; such are never given by such disordered people out of any concern for your wellbeing. Its called "hoovering" and is purely designed to try and draw you back into her own web of dysfunction.
You ultimately need to grieve for the relationship you should have had with your mother rather than the one you got. It is NOT your fault she is like this; you did not make her this way.
You do not mention your dad; where is he?.
passion like most of our mothers it is all showing the world how perfect and caring they are yet they behave like shit towards us.
I sorry you are having to through it again but keep strong and you can get back to where you were before this
Cherry You did the right thing. Do not engage with her at all. You do not need to justify anything to her
Thanks Attila hoovering is about right. She even tried texting me afterwards saying she was about to get on the train home but if I was prepared to 'help her understand' why I was upset she'd come back and chat after the kids were in bed.
My dad is 'nice' but useless - the most he's ever said is that she's becoming more like her own mother was and that he found her 'very direct' when she was alive, but that neither of them can or could help the way they are. He basically said its down to me not to get upset by it because 'she doesn't mean to hurt anyone'. It's all just bollocks really. And I'm so alone - my abusive marriage ended and there was no emotional support from them. I'm struggling with 3 kids on my own - I need parents like I've never needed them before - but not enough to put up with this shit.
Thanks TheyMakeMe I did reply to her text but only to say I wasn't interested.
And what do I want? I want her to see what she's lost and change her ways. But that's never going to happen, I just need to accept it.
pretty tiredness will make it harder for you to deal with things. Do not let your DH's actions cause you to go back to your parents. As others have said it may be that he is still getting used to being a dad. Give him a chance but you may get the point where you have face up to the fact you will be better of without him as well. I hope that is not the case.
I know when I was a SAHM I was aware of not having money and if you feel that this will interfere with you making a rational decision is it possible to squirrel some away. I don't mean hundreds of pounds each week and it may take you a while but it will be your running away fund. I have not long started a fund - not for running away but for something that is worrying me and it has made me feel more relaxed to know have it
And the advice regarding documents is well worth remembering
I repeat - do not go back to your parents. You will never hear the last of it.
I want her to see what she's lost and change her ways.
It will never happen and you do need to accept it. Unfortunately I have managed to accept it but I can not deal with it.
She even tried texting me afterwards saying she was about to get on the train home but if I was prepared to 'help her understand' why I was upset she'd come back and chat after the kids were in bed.
She knows why -this is an excuse to wheedle her way back in.
Why do we have to accept the hideous behaviour because 'you know what's she's like' or 'she doesn't mean to hurt anyone'
I am so sorry you are having do deal with a break up on your own but they will be of no help to you.
I know, TheyMakeMe, they've been worse than useless tbh. What strikes me is that yesterday she barely said anything and there was no emotion the whole time she was standing there. Just totally blank, waiting for me to fill in the blanks with my own emotions. Just like my ex used to do - weirdly enough. I think my parents primed me for an abusive relationship, I really do.
I want her to see what she's lost and change her ways.
It will never happen and you do need to accept it. Unfortunately I have managed to accept it but I can not deal with it.
Totally understand that, it's where I am partly too. And it hurts that she doesn't even seem to want to see what she's lost. Just totally ignores us. I mean, that's good, NC is a relief, but still fucking stings that my own mother would prefer to leave the country and never see me or my kids again than try to apologise for being a total bitch and slagging me off to all who'd listen.
Makes me question myself sometimes, you know?
re your comment:-
My dad is 'nice' but useless - the most he's ever said is that she's becoming more like her own mother was and that he found her 'very direct' when she was alive, but that neither of them can or could help the way they are. He basically said its down to me not to get upset by it because 'she doesn't mean to hurt anyone'.
An Enabling Father is one who panders to the Narcissistic Mother, who facilitates her abuse of the children, who worships completely at her altar and expects the children to do so too. Or perhaps he does not worship as much as fears her; but the result is the same: he is her sidekick, making sure that she is kept happy no matter the cost to his children.
Your dad is also her hatchet man here and cannot be at all relied on to help either. Like many such weak men as well he is a bystander who has acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. Such men too often need a woman like your mother to idolise. That comment he made to you shows his own need to show that he had chosen a good wife, what he has done here is also a form of gaslighting because it certainly does not tally with your own experience. That comment of his above is basically telling you, “I don’t want to rock the boat here so you need to suck it up”.
And yes they did prime you to go onto have an abusive marriage of your own. We after all learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents.
M went NC with me because I wouldn't apologise for things like getting upset when she hit my kids. Today she turns up with a bag of goodies for the kids. I opened the door only to ask if she was ready to apologise to me. She just looked blank, as she does. I said ok then and closed the door. She stood there silently for about an hour.
passion I hear you. Used to work in the disabilty field and saw several people who were big banner posters for disability rights ... but their own disabled child got very little attention.
it sounds like there's more going on than that though, if you had to fight a child protection case from SS that sounds absolutely horrendous.
Never apologise for posting. The forum's here for you, any time.
Hi, I hope you don't mind me posting here, but I have been a lurker here for a while and you all seem so understanding I thought you might be able to help me. I am the oldest of two daughters, shortly after my birth I was rehospitalised and I wonder if my mum didn't really bond that well with me. She didn't have a very maternal mother herself and her father died when she was a child and I think this is something my mother has never really dealt with. Anyway I grew up with the belief that I was not good enough and second best to my sister.
My mum has high standards which she made clear I don't feel I live up to. I am quiet and a bit reclusive, I am quite different to her in this way and she doesn't understand me. I made friends with other people that were similar to me and my mother did not like them or my subsequent boyfriends. Everytime I did anything wrong she would say that this must be all her fault as she is obviously such a bad mother. I clearly remember as a child a realisation moment when I realised that everyone in our family did everything they could to make her happy. I learnt to say sorry all the time in order to appease her. I feel that my mum loves conditionally and this is dependent on my agreeing with her point of view.
I am beginning to see how this has impacted on my relationships for example when I argue with my partner (which isn't often) I always assume I am in the wrong. I am also quite defensive as I am worried that if I don't do the things I think he expects I am worried he won't love me (this is completely irrational but somehow I still belief it, just writing it is making me so anxious.)
Things with my mum came to a head recently, my DDs, 4 and 7 are adopted and my mother is having a hard time building up a relationship with them (they have lived with us 3years now) I pointed out to her that maybe she should come and spend more time with them (she babysat/sits my sister DDs from babies 3 days a week as my sister works) however when I pointed out that she only sees my girls every 3 weeksish, she denies this is a problem, says that she doesn't think my children like her and that I am bullying her into spending time with my children. My husband and I are financially ok and I have never asked her to babysit regularly because I know my sister needs my mums help and also I don't really want my mum making them feel how she made me feel. I suppose my questions to you all is a) I am really anxious all the time, I am my own self fulfilling prophecy I feel rubbish so I don't do much and then I feel bad that I haven't done much all day. I was wondering if anyone had any advice into how to get out if this spiral?
And b) I am really worried that I am failing as a parent. I am irritable a lot at the moment, I am not very tolerant of my children's moods, including excited and silly, or anxious and sad. My mum always made me feel that I should keep my feelings in and shouldn't show any emotion and I dont want to make my children feel this way but I find myself struggling to cope with their feelings. I don't really understand this either, surely I should want them to show these feelings when I couldn't. I am turning into a shouty irritable mum, the opposite of everything I want to be and I don't know how to change. Can anyone offer any advice, or any books that might be helpful for me to read. Sorry this is so long Thank you
Your mother was not a good parent to you and is now not surprisingly a rubbish example of a grandparent figure to your children. I would keep well away from your mother and adopt a low contact position with her.
Your mother may well have had an awful upbringing herself but it is not justification for her behaviours then or now. It was and remains still unfair to blame you for all her inherent ills. She also favours your sister and her children over you and yours. She did not or perhaps never wanted to seek the necessary help so you have copped it instead.
You do not mention your own dad in all this; where is he?.
Re your comment:-
"I am irritable a lot at the moment, I am not very tolerant of my children's moods, including excited and silly, or anxious and sad. My mum always made me feel that I should keep my feelings in and shouldn't show any emotion and I don't want to make my children feel this way but I find myself struggling to cope with their feelings".
Your second sentence has led onto you feeling like you do in your first sentence. You can break this pattern but you will need to find a very good therapist to work with. It may well be that the first person you see is not the right one for you, you need to find someone who fits in with you. You are not like your mother, you want to change and make changes for your own self. That shows me you have insight and empathy; two qualities your mother sorely lacks.
I would read all the resources at the start of this thread and seek out a therapist you can work with. BACP may be able to help you in this respect as well.
Thank you Attila, it is really good just to hear someone say that I am not like my mum. My dad says all the right things to me but never seems to do anything, I think he worships my mum and does not want to upset her. My sisters a bit the same really, she complains about my mother all the time and expects me to keep her confidence although I have recently realised that everything I say to her gets back to my mum. I don't like conflict so am trying to keep a bit of a distance from all of them. The thing is they make me feel like I'm the one with the problem all the time. So I am trying to just have a very superficial relationship with them.
I have tried counselling a couple of times but always given up after a few sessions because it made me so anxious. I didn't really think about getting someone who was the right fit! I've never really discussed all this properly before. I used to have quite a stressful job that consumed all my time to think and then over the last year I quit and with the girls at school now I'm thinking about it all more and more and trying to understand why I feel like a bit of a mess and why I find it hard to parent the way I want too.
I will have a look at resources above, I have to say there are a lot of links there and I was a bit overwhelmed but I will look at them. I really want to feel better and be a better parent. I'm just a bit scared that things will get worse before it gets better! There's not going to be an easy fix is there! Thank you, I know some of the posters are having a really difficult time with parents worse than mine but it has helpe to be able to write all this down
People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles.
I wondered where your dad was in all this. Your dad is the bystander and weak too. As you rightly surmise needs someone like this needs his wife to idolise; he probably acts also out of self preservation and want of a quiet life. He is likely to be her hatchet man and he cannot be at all relied upon either. He certainly did not protect you and your sister from her malign influences. He has also failed here along with your mother.
Think your sister is further trying to curry favour with your mother by painting you as the bad guy. What role do you think she plays in your dysfunctional family of origin; I am thinking along the lines of the golden child (a role itself not without price although your sister is unaware of that).
No there is not going to be an easy fix but with the right help and support from this board and outside you will go forwards.
Am sure your children think you are a good mum to them. You are not planning to act the same ways as your own mother did to you as a child and that is great in its own right. There is insight and empathy there which is what your mother does not have.
Keep posting here too.
Toxic Parents written by Susan Forward may be worth reading initially.
Thank you, I will check out the book. My sister is definitely invested in being the golden child although I think this puts her under a lot of pressure and I don't envy her relationship with my parents at all, they may do a lot for her but she has to put up with a lot of interference and judgement.
I feel quite sad about my dads role in all this. He was my hero growing up and I do feel really disappointed that he can't be there for me!
I've cried a lot today but actually feel loads better for getting this off my chest. Thank you so much
says that she doesn't think my children like her
in all honesty they may not like her very much as she is not bothering with them. If she is spending so much with your sister's DC your DC will soon realize that they are low down in the priority list and like her even less. My DC have been there and don't find their grandparents very likeable and know they will never be able to compete with their cousin.
It is hard not to be intolerant when you are stressed. When mine were younger the excited and happy noise could go right through me. At times could find it worse than them fighting! When you feel like this is there time to sit with them and watch a DVD so you can all chill. Cuddle up together on the sofa.
I posted this in relationships but think this is its rightful home...
It's been so cathartic getting some of this stuff out
Thanks They, I guess you're right, they probably don't like her that much, her house is full of pictures of their cousins and not them which they must have noticed, I am not looking forward to some difficult conversations with them about this in the future! I was looking at it from the perspective that she is the adult and its up to her to engage with them and blaming them for not liking her is in my mind crazy!
It's funny to think I feel stressed when actually I don't have the pressure of work at the moment but I guess I am quite stressed and have set myself quite high standards I suppose. I just feel very frustrated with myself when I find myself telling them to calm down or I'm getting annoyed at them when I realise I'm doing it because I wasn't allowed to show emotion and I can't understand why I find their emotions hard to accept/validate!
In my professional life I work with people with dementia and am usually the calm person that can sit with someone challenging for hours and build a connection. I'm not used to these feelings, it's like being a parent has triggered some nerve in me that automatically gets angry. I don't like myself very much at the moment.
Just because you don't work doesn't mean life is not stressful. I don't know for sure but I imagine you feel under more pressure to make DC's lives perfect.
I am not looking forward to some difficult conversations with them about this in the future!
At the risk of stressing you out even more the future may come sooner tan you think. Children are very perceptive. My DD wasn't much older than your eldest when the questions started.
Thanks!! I best get some reading done and get myself sorted!
Attila I don't mean to sound rude but you say exactly the same thing to everyone. Are you a therapist yourself?
chicken, when it came to my oldest son and hard questions, I tried to answer in an age-appropriate factual way
"well, Granddad says mean things to Mama and about Mama. When people act like that, you try to talk it out and be friends. When they carry on being like that, you have to walk away. It's not a good way to speak to people"
Sometimes there are no easy answers and you just have to say what the situation is and let them think it over.
I do think that brushing things over and not facing them in an age appropriate way is not a good idea. It teaches children there are secrets and I think that it's a good idea to teach children that some behaviour is not acceptable. Honesty is (usually) better than brushing things under the carpet.
--- Atilla might you care to start a new thread? or shall I?
Would you mind starting the new thread please; I ask only as I am never seemingly able to properly transfer the links over.
okay, this is the new thread Stately Homes Nov without the spelling mistake in the title, hopefully!
Please post there rather than here, ones posted here could get missed now.
<warm welcome and cups of tea for everyone, those who know they belong here and people who are just peeking in>
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