Talk

Advanced search

"But we took you to Stately Homes!" Survivors of Dystfunctional Families

(986 Posts)
Meerka Wed 20-May-15 17:33:58

It's May 2015, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011
November 2011
January 2012
November 2012
January 2013
March 2013
August 2013
December 2013
February 2014
April 2014
July 2014
March 2015

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."

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."

PeppermintCrayon Thu 28-May-15 01:49:53

INicked my heart went out to you reading that. I'm so sorry. (I believe as his child you have the right to contest the will and make a claim but I absolutely get that it's not about money.)

You aren't stupid. Sometimes we feel stupid and shit because the emotions go inwards instead of truly being directed where they belong.

Personally I found it horrendously painful acknowledging that my dad has pretty much never been nice to me (major understatement) but getting through that initial pain meant I could start to grieve and process it properly. The part of me that knew the truth had always been there and now wasn't being suppressed.

You are in a grieving process (not because he died but because of all the hurt you have experienced) - it won't always feel like this.

Loveheart I would like to strongly caution against trying to explain it in a conversation (she won't hear what you're saying) or trying to otherwise announce it. All that's really doing is continuing the relationship.

The way to truly go NC is simply to do just that: no contact. Change your phone numbers if need be. Blocking her on Facebook will give YOU some peace. You could announce it but a conversation gives her another chance to suck you back in.

I wrote my mother an rmsui saying

PeppermintCrayon Thu 28-May-15 01:53:14

Oops, posted by accident.

I wrote my mother an email saying not to contact me. If I had my time again I think I wouldn't bother with that.

I have all toxic family members blocked on FB and all emails set to forward to DH who is under strict instruction to only tell me about emails if someone has died or is about to.

Somermummy1 Thu 28-May-15 07:42:22

Love heart - I totally understand re FB. I am in the early stages of NC - coming up to 4 weeks- and unfriended my 'd'M then.

She mentioned that in her email to me 3 weeks ago which I haven't replied to

I also agree with the other posters (sorry on phone so can't check who! Sorry peppermint I think!) about not writing or having that final conversation in some form

I've composed a reply to the email so many times in head and on the screen but have so far resisted the urge to reply because if I do then she'll have to reply to me and then we are back to square one!

Please unfriend her on FB

At the moment she can follow what's going on in your life without actually having the decency to reach out to you which a mother should no matter how old we are

My mum is still friends with people who comment on my now rare postings and I hate that she can see my posts thru that but at least it's a good start

Be brave

You're so much stronger than you think you are

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-May-15 08:02:09

Loveheart

Do unfriend your mother on FB (FB is such a great tool for narcissists to use in any case).

And PeppermintCrayon's comments are worth repeating:-
"The way to truly go NC is simply to do just that: no contact. Change your phone numbers if need be. Blocking her on Facebook will give YOU some peace. You could announce it but a conversation gives her another chance to suck you back in".

Any contact from you just gives her an "in" to bother you even more, it simply keeps the relationship going.

Meerka Thu 28-May-15 08:13:52

oh god Inicked I'm so sorry that you have had this awful revelation.

It sounds heartbreaking. Devastating. Wish I could offer you and your brother a hug.

It's going to take a long time to make sense of, never mind coming to terms with. Your father sounds a horrendous man and tbh, your step brother sounds as bad. Whyyyy ring up and do this to you???

Fwiw he sounds an awful man, even if he was your Dad and you loved him. Did your mum ever warn you of what he was like? she must have known.

How to cope? Be easy on yourself now and for some times. This is a hell of a shock. I suspect that at some level what has been said is not wholly unknown, it's clear from the incidents you mentioned that you knew something wasn't right (but to having it brought into focus now, against all your illusions and the beliefs you had, is just cruel). However, what we know at one level and what we believe at another can be different things.

On a practical level, make sure you eat regularly and good meals, exercise if you can, sleep might be difficult but try some sleep exercises. Give yoruself a specific time in the day to think about it, say 15 mins a day, then put it on one side til the next day if you can.

Is there anyone you can talk to about this, except your poor brother? :s Being able to talk it over (and over and over) might help over time.

BruceSpringClean Thu 28-May-15 09:43:19

Thanks for the support PencilCrayon Snaps - it's great to get it all out on here. I don't have anybody in RL that I can talk to about this (nobody understands, everybody thinks my mother's lovely. She's very good at making herself look good sad)

TheyMakeMeFeelLikeShit Snap! My Mother's not on Facebook either, thank god. One less thing to worry about flowers

INickedAName Welcome to the thread - I hope you find some comfort here. It sounds like your Dad has found all sorts of new & cruel ways to hurt you over the years, and this is the latest. And how awful that your stepbrother should get involved. I remember somebody on a previous thread using the term "complex grief" - you're not just mourning for the relationship you wish you could have had with your parent, you're also dealing with all these additional insults and cruelties that come from having a "parent" who enjoys causing emotional havoc & pain, or drama, to those around them. I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this x

SnapCackleFlop Thu 28-May-15 10:08:44

INicked sorry you're going through this - I don't know what to suggest sad sending virtual hugs.

Bruce I totally understand how horrible it is when the narc person makes themselves look wonderful. I read 'Will I Ever Be Good Enough' and there's an example of a Narc parent who does the same job as my mum (don't want to out myself but it's very caring/compassionate) and it felt good that I read this could even be possible because I always felt I had to be the problem because someone doing that job but be good.

Loveheart I think FB is more trouble that it's worth. I was going to say can you stop getting updates from her without actually blocking her but then she'd still see your posts I think. Is there a way you can avoid the confrontation of blocking her but avoid her on it?

GoodtoBetter Thu 28-May-15 10:35:23

Hello everyone. Suddenly feeling really sad today. I miss my mum. I can't believe she just walked away. Can't imagine doing that to my kids and she did it to me and her grandchildren. She hasn't seen us since August. sad

SnapCackleFlop Thu 28-May-15 11:04:34

GoodtoBetter I think I know what you mean about your own kids. When I'm feeling low I think that in time to come if my DCs see a counsellor when they're adults and ask me to be part of it because of what they're working through I'll come and say, 'You're right.... I'm sorry.'

These dynamics when the adult child is scapegoated are so sad and strange. I can't ever imagine being like that either.

Does your mum live nearby?

Meerka Thu 28-May-15 11:06:30

good .... flowers x

Aussiebean Thu 28-May-15 11:22:40

I am sorry good. Even after years of 'acceptance' there are still times where it is sad that she just refuses to be my mother. The disinterest is sometimes staggering.

It's ok to be sad once in awhile. In fact completely understandable. In the mean time take comfort in the family you do have and remember you are loved.

GoodtoBetter Thu 28-May-15 11:37:04

Thanks snap, aussie and meerka. It's so good to have people who understand. Snap it's a long story, but we lived with her for three years then moved out then final explosive row and she emigrated without saying goodbye rather than apologise for saying truly awful things about me. I had a long thread on here and then the rest played out across this thread.
I feel quite teary today. It might be my period coming. Or maybe just that it's hard to get your head round your own mum not wanting to say sorry for calling you a thief, liar, stupid, a crap mum and bad daughter. A mum who prefers to emigrate than say sorry.
I know it's not her I miss really, she made my life difficult and stressful, but still.....She does this big "love you forever" crap in the kids birthday cards but never even asks about them. Dbro says she never mentions them. She's missed:
DS starting primary
DD starting infants
DS learning karate
DS learning to ride a bike without stabilisers
their birthdays and christmas
me passing my professional exams
us buying a house.
and just us and our lives..
Can't get my head around that no matter how much I read about narcs. All because she would have to admit she hurt me and say she's sorry. She knows why I stopped talking to her, she's admitted that to my brother.
Argh. I'm having a cup of tea and trying to cheer myself up a bit.

Loveheart0 Thu 28-May-15 12:17:33

Oh I know sad I need to just do something solid and delete her, I suppose I'm just scared. I didn't initiate NC, she did so I suppose by wanting a confrontation I'm trying to get things on my terms. I'm also scared of the backlash sad also still haven't got my head around NC with both parents and the fact that I'll be seen as the crazy sensitive one. Knowing that I'm NC with my mum will make my dad feel better and I don't want him to have the satisfaction.
Snap not really, I've already unfollowed her but it's seeing her likes and comments on other people's things that upsets me. No way to stop that I think.
Somer thank you that was a really kind post, what you said about reaching out made sense, the thing is that she has been but just never following it up. I've realised it's weekends; in two months I've never had a weekend without some intrusion from her even if it's tiny. It's obviously just when she has the time for me hmm Theres a text and plan to meet the next weekend, then the next weekend she never shows, then the next weekend a message through a sibling about meeting the next weekend which I don't reply to and wonder if she'll turn up anyway - that's a month gone right
there. And even when I stop engaging - in that example I only sent one text on the first weekend and the following three were still occupied by her in my head (not outside my head - I go out, see friends, do things, not allowing her THAT much control). I know exactly how to stop it - I've done it all before with my dad. I'm just not brave or decisive enough. I always feel like I need her to do one more awful thing so I can prove it to myself. It's just shit.

pocketsaviour Thu 28-May-15 13:58:25

good Un-MN (hugs) for you. I also get these sad days from time to time. I think the only thing is just to ride them out.

INicked so sorry, your dad and step-family sound like an absolute bunch of cunts. Who the hell phones someone up at 3am to tell them their dad hated them?? And yes it's not the money itself that is the issue - it's that the money is a symptom of his lack of caring for two of his children.

INickedAName Thu 28-May-15 15:11:06

Thank you so much for the kind words and good advice.

I'll not be contesting anything. I don't want anything from them. I wouldn't give them the satisfaction tbh. I'll try write the things that are bothering me the most.

Mum and dad divorced when I was around 4, and my memories of us living together is of him locking me and my baby brother in our room, locking mum in hers and fucking off to watch the telly, my brother was crying and as my mum couldn't shush him, he did that. I've been scared if the dark ever since, I was just too shirt to reach the light bulb, even now, at 35 I can't sleep in a dark silent room.

A few days after he left, he tried to set fire to the house, my mum knew it was him, she knew, but my gran lied and said he was with her. I asked him about it when I was around 20, and he admitted it. But the way he explained it to me, I ended uo feeling sorry for him. He says he knew that we were not in the house ( he couldn't have known) and was actually offended and hurt that I'd think he'd try to hurt us. He thought my Mum was telling tales and wouldn't accept it was stuff I remembered.

When he married his second wife, I was about 6, she had a dd who was the same age as me, his wife was awful, she'd hit me and call me names when dad wasn't there, or she would say I'd done something naughty and she'd make dad smack me. He lived a five min drive away, was earning very good money, and took my mum to court (before csa) to try get the £5 maintenance a week he paid reduced, as he had step daughter to look after, he also wanted to reduce contact and only have one of us at a time as it's not fair on the stepdaughter having to share, he was told to pay more maintenance and that the little contact we had should be increased if anything. I wasn't aware of this until recently as mum tried to shield us from it. I never told her about his wife hitting me, I knew she'd be upset, and stop us from going and that would hurt my Dad. He called me selfish for not thinking of others, for wanting him to come my sports days, just once, to think how step sister would feel if he left her out to spend time with me. She would be sat on his lap, calling him daddy, and I'd be flicked away by either him or his wife if tried to get a hug. They said I was spiteful and jealous, they were right I was. It got to point I didn't want to go at all, I was 7 and cried to myself for days before we were due to go, I'd hope he didn't turn up, he'd ask if my mum was slagging him off (she wasn't), and I knew better than to say it's because of being slapped and hit so I just tried to not be noticed. I thought there was something wrong with me.

His third wife, his widow didn't hit me, but would say hateful things about my mum, I think being hit would have been less painful, if that makes sense, and the one time my bro asked her not to, she hit him, I always felt unwelcome, different. So again just tried to go unnoticed. One night when I was about 12 he hadn't seen us for months, he fucked off out for the night and left us with a couple we had never met. I can't speak the words, I really can't, but that man hurt me, I never slept at dad's house again and couldn't tell anyone why. I told dad in anger the year before he died, I told him not to tell anyone, he said the babysitter had form, he contacted the wife, told all of his family and phoned the police. I couldn't go to court, I wasn't strong enough, which annoyed him, apparently he'd been abusing his daughter (who Nobody believed.) and that if I'd spoke when I was 12, she could have been saved, and Dad said I couldn't blame him, because being a Dad is hard work and he needed his night out, and he and his wife need time together. So again I felt like a cunt. For even telling him about it as it made him want to kill himself. The man is in jail, my speaking out did that, even if I was to scared to go to court and give evidence.

My Mum thought she was doing the right thing in letting us see dad, she wasn't aware of any of the things I've mentioned here and still isn't about the babysitter. I can't tell her, it will break her. She never once called my dad names in front of us, my dad would slag my mum off everytime he saw us, he'd says she's unfit to have children, but did fuck all to rescue us from such a shit mother. If I'd told mum, she would have stopped us going, and I know dad would have acted hurt, and when I was a child, his feelings were the most important.

Any achievements were all down to him, what a great dad we had, anything wrong was down to my shit mums parenting.

The turning point for me was becoming a mother myself, I look at my dd, and remember myself at her age, and the things dad did and said, and can't imagine why anyone would be so cruel. I wouldn't raise my dd the way he wanted me to, so I was a shit mum too. I might not have been able to protect myself, but I was certainly not gonna let him hurt my dd.

I can talk to dh, but he has his own family problems at the minute, mil is unwell and I don't want to burden him with my crap, I know he would be lovely, but he has enough to worry about at the moment. Reading all that back I can't believe how the hell I could think any of it normal, and that's just the tip. If he really didn't care, he should have fucked off when he left Mum and I'd have been saved a lot of pain. Extended family think he is great, they'd never believe me, because he used to talk about how proud he was etc.

Sorry this got so long, and if you've read it thank you, I've dloaded some of the books linked. I'm going to watch a DVD with dd and snuggle on sofa with her. Thank you for listening. It's helped massively writing it down.

BruceSpringClean Thu 28-May-15 15:37:57

INicked I read it, and am so sorry for all of the things your father put you through. You absolutely did the right thing in keeping him away from your dd. There must be a lot going through your mind at the moment. Keep posting here if you can't talk to anyone in RL. Good luck with the books & I hope you have a lovely afternoon with your DD.

Loveheart0 Thu 28-May-15 19:12:19

INicked I read it too and I'm so sorry. Keep talking here, we're listening and we care. Hope you enjoyed your film.

PeppermintCrayon Thu 28-May-15 19:20:21

loveheart i realise now that I totally got confused and didn't twig that you didn't choose NC, I'm really sorry.

PeppermintCrayon Thu 28-May-15 19:22:59

inicked I read it too. I'm so sorry for all you went through.

ppolly Thu 28-May-15 19:28:11

INicked, I read it too. I'm sorry. Hope you enjoy your DVD.

I have a parent dilemma. My father lives down south and can no longer travel to see us. Last year I took my dd down on the train and stayed at my brother's for a couple of nights so he could see her. Because of past history (narcissistic mother who doesn't 'do' emotions/passive father) I'm always extremely anxious around my family and can't really handle them for more than a day. My dd and father actually enjoyed the visit but I was trying to hide panic attacks/lack of sleeping and generally felt quite ill. I know my dad will want me to do it again this year, but I really don't think I can face it. Any advice welcome.

goldenrose Thu 28-May-15 19:37:04

Inicked im so sorry for you and sending you lots of hugsflowers we are all here for you to listen and try help you,

Had a great talk with a good friend of mine yesterday, she too like me has LC with her mother and family ( thank god I have one friend who understands!) But we were discussing how we both worry about how we raise our children and worry about repeating the same mistakes are parents made, at the moment I am telling friends about my pregnancy, all exciting times had first scan Tuesday and all wellsmile I know my close friends who I have told mean well but find it hard when the ask have I told my parents ( telling them at weekendhmm) I just feel like a freak or weird most women find out they are pregnant and their mothers are one of the first they tell!! Not many of my friends get that I don't have a mom like that and know by their tone of voice or expression they think it's me who is being horrible to my mom by not telling her straight away, and these friends are ones I grew up with one of them I used to practically live in her house cos I wasn't wanted in my own home she was well aware of my problems with my parents!! It's really hard wjen people don't understand feel like they think it's me not my familysad and now I'm beginning to think maybe I should take some of the responsibility,

ppolly Thu 28-May-15 19:42:35

goldenrose, I can understand completely. My mother's reaction to my engagement and (some years later) pregnancy, was of mild disapproval of a 'why on earth would anyone want to to that?' variety. I don't talk about my parents much. I'm glad your scan went well and that your friends can be excited with you.

Meerka Thu 28-May-15 20:36:16

Inicked I am so very sorry. You should never, ever have had to go through that. Your father was not fit to have the name. flowers

goldenrose most of us who have difficult parents find it hard to tell them and most of us have experience of other friends not getting it. Hold strong to what YOU want to do here. Don't feel pressured by others.

Answers you can use "It's complicated". "We don't have much contact and there's good reason for that". "The time isn't right". Maybe practise saying it in a firm, maybe even standoffish voice and if they persist, change the subject firmly.

Sadly having intolerable parents sets you apart in a bad way from other people. It -is- lonely. I feel very much on the outside. But hold hard to your guns; you tell her when YOU are ready. Don't get stampeded by well meaning but unaware friends.

Theymakemefeellikeshit Thu 28-May-15 22:06:27

Inicked Oh my. I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. I don't know what to say but at least here you can say how you feel and no one will judge and a lot of the posters have such helpful things to say.

I am on facebook but not too good on the technical side but can't you have the setting so that friends of friends can't see you posts?

Good Hope you feel a bit cheerier this evening.

Inicked Read your second post. Even more upset for you. Carry on posting here and I hope that your MIL gets better soon and your DH can be of support.

ppolly It can't be easy. Are your parents divorced or has your mum died? The sounds like it is him on his own.

golden Glad the scan went well. I can't believe that I am saying the next thing to a pregnant woman but 'good luck with announcing your pregancy'!!

ppolly when I told my mother I was pregnant with her first GC she said 'why do you want to waste your life. If I had my time again I wouldn't have children'. When I got married I didn't invite anyone.

INickedAName Thu 28-May-15 22:44:01

polly would staying in a B and B be an option? I was just thinking that it may lessen your anxiety knowing you'll be going to your own space at the end of the day. I dont have any advice, but understand the anxiety around family, I much preferred going to dad's than him coming here as I could leave when I felt uncomfortable, whereas if they came to me, they would stay for hours.

golden I'm glad your scan went well, and I hope telling your mother goes as smoothly as possible.

ppolly Fri 29-May-15 10:28:56

INickedAName - yes that might be a good idea. In fact I could take dd to Bath to stay a night (she has never been) it is not too far for dad to meet us there for the day. He is not on his own - I have a step-mother who I don't know very well (dad remarried a few years ago).
Both my parents have mellowed alot over the years. Although mum still comes out with the odd remark eg 'you never could quite decide on a career, could you?' I don't really think of her as a mother, if that makes sense, more as an elderly person who has known me for a while.
My mother lives with her (lady) partner. My parents separated the millisecond I 'd done my A levels. They'd only stayed together because of me. I have a much older golden boy brother. I have been an outstanding disappointment to my mother, who banned all access to anything 'girly' - ballet lessons, sindy dolls - I was very domestic and loved sewing, baking, dolls houses (the last interest was shared by my dad). I was hopelessly anxious to please. There was an awful lot of rowing whilst I was growing up.
Despite this I have two degrees, a lovely husband and gorgeous daughter. But very little self-esteem. Not sure where to find any. I'm stuck in a minimum wage job (although I do tutor privately) and have an nc boss who is chillingly like my mother....It is just beginning to dawn on me that maybe I am an actually acceptable member of the human race, who could carry on thriving in the right circumstances.
thank you for reading my essay!

PeppermintCrayon Fri 29-May-15 10:34:43

goldenrose you don't need their understanding, approval or permission. Only their acceptance of your situation, should you choose to tell them about it.

Is it possible that they're asking 'have you told your parents' because they get that things are hard? But whatever the case, you don't have to answer to anyone else. Just change the subject.

I have a friend who keeps asking after my parents and can't seem to compute that I'm NC. It's wearing very thin.

ppolly I repeatedly found myself working with bullying bosses. It's bloody magical isn't it, the way life finds a way to repeat things? A good first step to finding better self-esteem is to be kind to yourself. Watch out for how you speak to yourself in your head, how you treat yourself etc.

Example: two years ago, if I was upset I would have either ignored it, felt overwhelmed or mentally torn myself to shreds.

Now (after a lot of therapy) I will say to myself: I'm very upset, what do I need right now?

Sounds hokey. Makes a big difference...

ppolly Fri 29-May-15 10:43:31

Peppermintcrayon - I do love your username - that is good advice. I'm excellent at beating myself to a pulp and apologising to everyone. Luckily my bosses' boss thinks very highly of me, which does help a bit.

PeppermintCrayon Fri 29-May-15 10:48:27

ppolly who is that critical voice in your head? It's not really you - sounds like it's her mum. It can help to recognise who it is, and to try to tell them to shut up...

PeppermintCrayon Fri 29-May-15 10:49:00

PS thanks, I was thinking about peppermint creams at the time!

ppolly Fri 29-May-15 10:58:54

Well, yes, I guess it is my mum...her criticism (of me) was actually mostly unspoken or implied - she was very good at being controlling. But she shouted endlessly at my dad. Now she just showers my family with gifts in a puzzled, wistful sort of way and can be reasonably good company for a short space of time. It is hard to untangle the damage I'm still carrying around from her from my childhood, with the current reality - which isn't bad.

GoodtoBetter Sat 30-May-15 11:47:50

So, another e mail from MadOldBat. This time addressed to DD.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 30-May-15 12:04:05

I would delete that from her as well G2B, infact you now need to block her e-mail address from all your e-mail accounts.

GoodtoBetter Sat 30-May-15 14:19:01

I'd sent a Thank You card for her present you see. DD wrote her name in it. Nothing more. Card said "Gracias" (pre-printed) and DD signed it.

I think this e mail is designed to provoke/guilt trip me, otherwise why not just send her an actual card?

Meerka Sat 30-May-15 14:30:13

Might she think that you would allow a relationship between her and your daughter, even if you don't want to be involved yourself?

I do think atilla is right though. Block her. This is just more painful for you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 30-May-15 14:34:21

No more sending MOB thank you cards!.

The main problem with acknowledging anything at all from your mother regardless of who sends it (and regardless too of the brevity of response which was not from you) is that it gives her an "in". She got what she wanted here; a response from you and that was her reward. Now she is sending e-mails to your DD.

Such behaviour too from your mother is not done out of any real concern for you and your family; this is an attempt by her to further control you all as well as guilt trip you. Do not keep on falling for such tactics; after all this is a woman who moved away in a further fit of narcissistic pique and that was done to spite you as well. She has never said sorry to you and never will either.

(On a personal note BIL has not ever said sorry to any of us either; he chose to cut us off thankfully, saved me doing it. I had practically disowned him anyway due to his past behaviours but DH, bless him, still wanted to see if anything could be salvaged. He had to learn for his own self that it could not).

Meerka Sat 30-May-15 14:37:45

agree with everything the Meerkat General says, good.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 30-May-15 14:39:46

"Might she think that you would allow a relationship between her and your daughter, even if you don't want to be involved yourself?"

Well if her mother thinks that then she is truly deluded, infact she
probably does think this and also thinks she has and is doing nothing wrong here.

Narcissistic parents make for being deplorably bad grandparent figures and more often than not over value or under value the relationship between them and their unfortunate grandchildren. (Late FIL being a case in point and do I miss him, well no I do not and I am not at all ashamed to write that).

Do you and your family a favour G2B and block her means of communication with you all. Its hard for you because you've been trained but this is just another way of keeping you all under her cosh.

GoodtoBetter Sat 30-May-15 15:00:11

I think it's partly to make me feel guilty, otherwise she would have sent a card addressed to DD. I think the fact that it's an e mail is a two fingers up to me.
I don't think she actually wants the bother of a relationship with the kids other than twice yearly "love you forever" grandstanding bullshit in cards because if she did actually want a RL with them or to be part of their lives, well:
a) she wouldn't have fucked off to the other side of the world without so much as a by your leave
b) she would be interested in them. For instance, Dbro says she NEVER mentions them or asks him about them. In these communications to me/them she doesn't ask ABOUT them, how they are, what they're doing, to ask for pictures, contact. Nothing.
The thank you card was an error of judgement. I did one after DS' present in March as I misread her e mails and thought she might be warming up to some kind of apology and didn't want to slam the door so to speak. But then she wrote an e mail to him via me and I realised it was business as usual. I decided to send the same for DD's present but that's the end of it.
We are moving house the week after next and I won't be giving her the new address. There is unlikely to be any more contact now until Christmas (it's my fortieth on Monday but I assume she'll totally ignore that). And I wouldn't be surprised if she gives up on the present thing in a year or two as she said to Dbro (in one of the few times the kids were discussed) that she would just send money the next time. Give it another year or two, especially with no response from me and I wouldn't be surprised if she just totally ignores us.
The e mails go into a special folder called "headfuckery" and I can delete them without reading if I want.

Meerka Sat 30-May-15 15:06:02

Happy 40th for Monday =)

You're second guessing her love. It's a no-win game.

Glad you're moving so soon (good thing for all sorts of reasons!)

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 30-May-15 15:11:29

Happy 40th Birthday for Monday cakewineflowers (my 40th is but a distant memory now!).

Best thing you can do here is to simply concentrate all your mental and physical energies on your own family unit. Trying to work out exactly what she is going to do next is really a wasted effort; these people are really not worth any of your headspace.

Good luck too with your move.

GoodtoBetter Sat 30-May-15 15:22:09

Yes, I know. The only way to go is to ignore. It takes a long long long time to truly and completely understand and act on that, even when you are basically no contact. But every contact proves yet again how far from any kind of normal she is and how she will never ever apologise and that there can be no repsonse except "no response" iyswim.
Clearing out some stuff today I found the bag of trinkets (including some things that had been mine or that I'd brought back from holiday for her, etc) that she dumped on my doorstep in August. Haven't managed to chuck them out, it made me sad. But I will do.
Thanks for birthday wishes, we're going for lunch with MIL tomorrow and then Tuesday is our wedding anniversary but Thursday is a local holiday and I don't work Fridays so we're going down to DBro's beach flat for a 40th/wedding anniversary weekend with the kids. Will be good to blow away the cobwebs a bit.

Meerka Sat 30-May-15 16:15:55

it takes a very long time indeed to stop giving them headspace too sad

GoodtoBetter Sat 30-May-15 22:16:08

I know. I don't know why chucking the trinkets makes me sad, she clearly didn't want them. I suppose it's a powerful reminder of the way she could just draw that line and end it and leave, altho she would say it was me who did that, ME who cut HER out. Too much madness, chucking them will help get that elusive head space from all the drama bollocks.

PeppermintCrayon Sun 31-May-15 11:37:54

Happy 40th for tomorrow!

PeppermintCrayon Sun 31-May-15 11:40:40

I've just started a thread in the 'other place' specifically about being long-term NC, another poster had floated this idea as it's a part of the site that's harder to find. If anyone would like to join and doesn't know what part of the site I mean, do feel free to PM.

GoodtoBetter Sun 31-May-15 12:31:18

Thanks, will pop over to the other place for a look. off out for pore birthday lunch today.

pocketsaviour Sun 31-May-15 12:55:10

Happy birthday for tomorrow. Have a nice lunch smile

staffiegirl Sun 31-May-15 13:27:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeppermintCrayon Sun 31-May-15 13:34:41

p.s. sorry for being cryptic. There's a section of MN that, while still public in that anyone can read it, doesn't show up in Active Threads or on search engines so is good if you're worried about being recognised or just wanting to be a bit more out the way. Traditionally it's not referred to by name on the boards, but happy to link people by PM.

BruceSpringClean Sun 31-May-15 17:10:24

Here again after a bad phone call with my mother today. DM is ill at the moment - or so she says - basically angling for me to go over immediately, and care for her. (Although she has my DF there, and also says she can manage to get around) I felt awful for not offering to go there straight away.

A really horrible feeling. The guilt that she maybe ill (maybe not, she has a tendency to exaggerate too) and that I'm ignoring her silent requests to go over there.

But, it's difficult. Nothing's ever enough with my DM. If I were to go over there today, she'd expect me to go every day, even if I had to give up my job to do it. Then she'd be constantly complaining that I wasn't looking after her in the 'right' way, or doing things she wanted, immediately. The criticism and shaming would be constant (criticising others is one of my DM's great pleasures in life and I have a horror that I'll end up as judgy as she is.)

A lot of the guilt-ladling in today's phone call was about the fact that I don't visit often enough, don't call enough, don't always answer when she calls etc... I'm sure I sound like a terrible child (I definitely feel like one) but I can't be at her beck & call constantly, even though she would like me to be. IT would be one step from dropping everything to go over there - to her thinking I could go there all the time - which I feel is exactly what she wants. And I feel awful for having all this cynicism about the things she says and does. Sort of starting to wish I'd never called sad

Meerka Sun 31-May-15 18:41:04

You are quite right to not drop everything. The guilt is powerful, but parents are not there to consume our lives. It's reasonable to care for them, but as with everything there's a balance and you have your -own- life to live.

Some people give birth and seem to think that the child is something that should be there for them forever. Well, when the bonds of love are healthy, the care and love flows freely. It's a positive relationship, not one that drags you down and not one that consumes the child's life.

And as you say, she has your father there.

If you possibly can, I'd ring her when you can manage but only when you are feeling strong and can resist the silent guilting. You are right to resist it!! You're right. You can't be there at her beck and call. The only people who have the absolute right to demand that are your tiny children, and even they have to learn give-and-take with your time and attention as they grow older.

flowers

staffiegirl Sun 31-May-15 18:54:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 19:20:02

Sorry to hear that slso, Bruce - and haalthy to vent!!

Can i p---l--ease vent also?!!! So, dm gives me usual brief duty call 2 days after my birthday (not on, oh no, as away for w/e hmm) . Anyway, her call was on a work day during working hrs. Got hump when i said sorry will have to be quick as at work- which she ignored. Then i stupidly did brief outpouring along lines of look got a lot on my plate, not now. Stupidly mentioning fact that dfriend had just died - to which my dm said precisely nothing sad. Like dfriend or I or both didnt fucking matter!!!! angry
What does it take to get her to fucking notice me or show an OUNCE of empathy ever?? Anf why cant i ever truly be accepting of the fact that she cant/wont??

its as if everything that happens in my life is just me creating a drana- from passing my nasters with distinction (ignored) to getting new job (ignored) and now death of close friend (ignored) . Ditto dc- nothing asked about their halfterm!!
Thought 2 years of therapy - oh i should send that woman the bill before she spends it on her next holiday! - had got me through this but a 3 min phone call 2 whole days ago has reduced me to an angry, bitter wreck!
I still want her to validate me, am in my 40s. How the hell do i ever fet over myself?
Rant over. Thank you.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 19:25:26

Sorry for typos. Forgot to mention- got follow up email yesterday - again no mention of dfriend or my evident stress. Dm literally wrote "hope all is well with you at work and home" and then chatted on about her forthcoming cruise shock hmm angry sad. Am i rwally exoecting too much?? People-parents- can be shit flawed, right?

TheLily1957 Sun 31-May-15 19:35:13

Of course parents are flawed movin There's nothing you can do about it except to try and not let it rule your life as was said up thread. My friend in similar situation to yours counsellor said if you know she has never shown affection why do you keep expecting it? Difficult question I know.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 20:10:42

Bacause a lot of really important stuff has happened recently, notably dfriend's death. And i thought just maybe this once she'd might show a glimmer of understanding or care! Not saying if's logical to expect that.

BruceSpringClean Sun 31-May-15 20:16:47

Thanks everyone - I'll phone her later on this week Meerka as you suggest. It is awful though, I really have to psyche myself up to phone her.

Agreed it is healthy to vent MovingOnMyMind. I'm impressed by your achievements, as I'm sure others on the thread are, and sorry to hear about your friend. I still find contact with my mother difficult, but one thing that helped a bit was to accept that she was never going to respond to me in the way I wished she would. It's sad, to not be able to expect kindness & consideration from a mother, but less hurtful than expecting it and never getting it iyswim?

Yes, parents can be flawed. This thread would be very quiet otherwise flowers

It sounds like you're having a hard enough time coming to terms with the death of your friend, without contending with your mother as well. I'm sorry to hear you're having a bad time these past few days flowers

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 20:23:46

Thsnks, Bruce for 'hearing' me. And flowers to you too for that pending call. You're right not to be guilt-tripped into more contact but to take control offering only what you can manage.

TheLily1957 Sun 31-May-15 20:24:09

Sorry movin I didn't mean to seem judgey. Its CBT she's having and as you probably know they tend to ask for evidence for feelings. Have you tried mindfulness meditation.?
It has been helping me a lot with accepting feelings as just feelings not who we are. Not saying its easy though.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 20:32:18

Thanks smile.Yes, I've investigated it a lot. Agree it's powerful. Struggle with actusl meditation (monkey mind! And bad back) but try to walk/exercise mindfully ifykwim.

staffiegirl Sun 31-May-15 20:33:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 20:47:47

Logically, i know you're right, Staffie. But that's the root of much (most?) of our pain on here. We want mummy to nake it all right still.

God, if she weren't so dysfunctional, cant help thinking i'd have had a better, more confident stab at life- made a better choice of dh based on true love and affection not timing and not a little desperation and with that as my foundation could have better withstood the ups and downs of life including her failings?? It's a double whammy, isnt it? And i hate her and myself for it.

staffiegirl Sun 31-May-15 21:01:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 21:11:16

Good luck with (rightly )resigning from that role, Staffie. Not easy but v healthy. To be a family scapegoat is just awful. You sound v brave...
Yes, i have been MC and felt i suffered the more because of it. Established alighky better LC boundaries which kind or work. But evidently not fool m)mother!) proof! ! God, what am i teaching/moddelling to my sons about how to treat me when i am her age? Karma and all that. Cross fingers!

staffiegirl Sun 31-May-15 21:20:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Movingonmymind Sun 31-May-15 21:30:50

I dont know, Staffie, you're human, a daughter, albeit not a mother. Still have a right to a view!

I have wrestled with NC but having enjoyed the company of at least one if my dgparents greatly i didnt want to stand on the way of my own kids with theirs. My parents arent 100% awful, especially df whom i love dearly, though he is chronically weak. I find it hard to justify in MY case only continuing NC. If that makes sense, but for some people on here- and clearly you, Staffie, it is very necessary.

Frith2013 Mon 01-Jun-15 20:34:04

Sigh.
Have mentioned my mother here before.

She seems to suddenly have a bee in her bonnet about gay people, asking me lots of questions (I'm not gay, btw) and told me in all seriousness that "paedophilia will be legalised in 20 years. They've legalised being gay so that'll be next".

My son (14) went to visit with my brother in law last week. He's just told me there was an episode of the Simpsons on with some vague reference to a character being gay and she had a freakout over that! Son said he and bil sat in silence as they were so shocked. Then son talked about proms and mother said, "You can only go if you're NORMAL".

For goodness sake. Should I bring this up with her? She's getting odder and just sat behind me sighing last time she invited me round. I was tempted to tell her I'd have to open the window for oxygen if she didn't stop it!

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 01-Jun-15 21:10:25

Frith

Your mother is as mad as a box of frogs and bringing this up with her will achieve precisely zero.

Who decided to visit your mother, was it BIL?. I would refrain from sending your son over to see her even with your BIL present. Its not going to do him any favours hearing his nan talk like that.

If she is too toxic/difficult for you to deal with its the same deal for your son as well.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 01-Jun-15 21:21:22

Moving

re your comment:-
"I still want her to validate me, am in my 40s. How the hell do i ever fet over myself?

This wanting her approval is commonly seen in adult children of such toxic people; she will however, never give you the approval you still seek. You're going to have to let that go. You do not have to get over yourself, infact you owe your mother precisely nothing.

Your father is indeed weak and likely also her enabler to boot. Narcissistic women always but always need a willing enabler to help them. Such people like your mother lack empathy, infact they have no empathy at all. (My MIL is insular, secretive, entitled, has no insight and no real comprehension of how others feel. Social niceties are alien to her. Also such women are friendless, they really do have no friends but acquaintances who they use).

It is NOT your fault she is the ways she is. You did not make her that way (her own family of origin did that).

Theymakemefeellikeshit Tue 02-Jun-15 22:24:02

Mother is acting like a child. Was my anniversary so I am expected to say thank you for card. She can't possibly say 'happy anniversary' first (same applies on birthdays). We were away so didn't get cards until we got back so text straightaway (but few days late). She is now ignoring me.

So pathetic.

Loveheart0 Wed 03-Jun-15 11:48:07

Frith in normal circumstances I would say of course, she's being unkind and intolerant and should always be confronted. But this is the stately homes thread <sigh> so it's pointless I think. It's different but similar, my mum has really strong opinions on LOADS of things, albeit slightly less damaging. For example food; food colouring, additives, what's related to what disease or cancer, and if you accidentally eat one of these things she'll quickly inform you that you shouldn't have and there's no arguing, because she's so convinced she's right hmm. It's very difficult in your situation because it feels wrong to leave homophobia unchallenged.
It's just about having strong opinions that are constantly discussed and because they're so overwhelming it feels like a defeat to ignore them and yet another way you're allowing them control. But it's not. It's just not engaging because it's pointless.

Pincushion20 Wed 03-Jun-15 13:39:06

Hello all (again), and sorry for thread dipping (again).

The validation thing is really, really hard, but I do believe that you can get there eventually.

Now I am lucky enough to have a dad who doesn't contact me except by brief texts to tell me he's there for me, which I know is not true, so I'm able to ignore them. This makes my life significantly easier.

I've been low contact for I'd say about 2 years. There was a flurry of texts in January but nothing since, and then I did put a card through the door (just said 'love Pincushion') for his birthday and got a thank you (I'm here for you) text back. Which I ignored.

I was invited by DB to Dad's birthday, but got no hassle from any sibling when I quickly declined.

So I'm largely ignored, which is a massive blessing.

Anyhow, I'm looking at the turn my life has taken in the last couple of years, and I've done a lot. Some of it is small stuff that only really matters to me (managing the bipolar disorder) and other stuff is big that has made friends and family proud too (published a book. Self-published, it's true, but I did it).

At no point for either of these things or any other did I wonder if Dad would be proud of me. Mostly because he wouldn't be. He'd grill me about the book thing so that he could publish his, but that would be it. The bipolar shouldn't be discussed out loud. I didn't even think about him in relation to any of this until weeks later. It literally didn't occur to me to even scroll over his name in my contacts list - there was no dallying, he just wasn't in my mind at all.

I kind of feel a bit liberated. He's just a person who exists in the same world as me, but nothing more than that. I think I have a greater connection to Judge Judy.

So, this is a bit of a chins-up. I'm not saying I'll never return to that desperate desire to please him, but at the moment, I'm not feeling it. It's nice to have that relief. I just wanted to say so that those of you who are stuck in the thick of it, that there is, sometimes, if you're lucky, that sense of relief.

I hope you all feel it at some point.

(Now all watch and laugh as I come crashing down next week.)

Somermummy1 Thu 04-Jun-15 06:57:46

Hello

Sorry to dip in but need hand holding please

Been NC for almost a month due to nasty email from DM which I've chosen not to reply to

DCs have no idea

They adore their grandparents and I am careful not to mention in front of them

Parents don't live nearby so not unusual to not have seen them but they would normally have spoken with DCs at least once a week by phone

I wouldn't stop telephone etc contact with DCs if they tried

Yesterday DD was 4
They sent a card
Was I expecting too much for a present or phone call or a voucher in the card?

Or was I naive to think that they would want to keep a relationship with their only grandchildren going even if they have written me off?

And yes.... I know the answer

It just hurts .....

Pincushion20 Thu 04-Jun-15 08:35:31

Oh, gosh, Somer. Yes that is hurtful, and I think you just have to let it hurt without responding.

My instinct is, though other people might have better wisdom, that it's actually a good thing that they're not in contact with the children. If they're going to be mean and petty to you, it's not out of the realm of possibility that they're going to be mean and petty about you to your children.

I've told this story before, but I endured and awful visit with my grandmother (dad's mother), where she sat me down and explained to me that Mum didn't love me, that she was incapable of love, that she's a nasty, bitter woman who used Dad, that she shouldn't have had children at all...

It was awful. I didn't want to hear it, and even though I knew that it wasn't true, I still ended up in tears.

The thing is, she and Dad have been NC on and off for the past 35 years. We were occasionally sent to deal with her anyway, despite the fact that my parents knew exactly the sort of woman she was.

I wish I hadn't been exposed to that really. Yes, on the surface she loved us, and she let us do messy crafts at her house and took us to the beach, but right underneath the surface was this utter hatred for my parents which could sneak out at any moment.

I'm NC with Dad now. He's taken her abuse then dished it out to his children, and I'm determined to break that chain.

My children noticed that he hadn't been round in a while maybe a year ago, and I just fobbed them off with 'he doesn't visit' or 'he's busy'. A while back I worded it as 'No, Grandpa was unkind to Mummy, and we don't have to tolerate unkindness.'

More recently DS has wanted to know more details and we're very slowly discussing certain aspects of it. I haven't told him about the violence. I have told him that I grew up not knowing whether he loved me, and he was genuinely confused by the concept of a parent not loving their child. There will be other conversations over the years, and it may be that after they've listened, they want to see him, but for now, I see it as my job to protect them from what he's capable of doing to them.

PeppermintCrayon Thu 04-Jun-15 08:37:17

Somer I think that was designed to provoke you into getting in touch. Which is a really manipulative and shitty move on their part.

All children adore their grandparents. But there are other questions to ask, like whether they are fit to be in your children's lives. I'm sorry they have done something so appallingly hurtful. But I wouldn't take the bait.

Pincushion I think it's great that you've achieved what you have and that you're able to be so level-headed about things. I hope I get there someday.

I had this weird revelation yesterday actually. I realised I'm not in pain because of the estrangement from my so called family but because of what I didn't have; it's pain I was already in, all my life, and I haven't actually lost anything by going NC. I know some people would think that's an awful thing to say, but it's true.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 04-Jun-15 08:48:07

Somermummy1

The best thing you can do for your children is to continue to protect them from your parents malign influences. They were not good to you and they will not be good for your children to be at all around either.

Grandparents should only be in the child's lives if they are actually emotionally healthy to be around, they growing up seeing their nan and granddad continuously disrespecting you as their mother will do them no favours at all.

Your mother's e-mail (and card for that matter) could be construed as hoovering behaviour; it was NOT sent out of any concern for your wellbeing. Such is designed to bring you back into the dysfunctional fold, do not fall for such tactics and continue to ignore her e-mail. ANY response from you will be used by her against you so do not reply to it under any circumstances. Infact I would now block her e-mail address from your inbox.

Pincushion20 Thu 04-Jun-15 08:50:22

I don't think it's awful, Peppermint.

When my parents split, I struggled (I was Dad's golden girl, and I didn't see the level of harm he was doing to me). I remember my Mum took me on a long drive when I was really losing it one day because I've always been calmer in the car. She explained to me that even though he hadn't died, I had to take the time to grieve, because the reality I thought I was getting had suddenly been torn away from me.

I heard it again in both lots of therapy. It's OK to mourn the loss of the family you never had. In your head, there's this idea of what a family or parents should be; supportive, loving, caring etc. When you come to the realisation that the people you got are none of these things, then you have to mourn that loss.

I think that was the point of my yesterday post. I think I've gone through that grieving process now and though I'm still sad about losing my dad, I'm sad about losing him in the same way that I'm sad about losing Grandpa, who loved me and who is actually dead.

In my head, I've been able to accept the reality that Dad, as a father figure, isn't there. He never really has been in any real way (though I'll admit we had good times too). He won't ever be again. I've mourned him, and now I'm getting on with my life.

That process takes a long time. It takes years when you lose someone, and this is the same. I think it's probably harder when they pop into your life randomly to stir up that pain again, and I'm lucky I haven't got that to the extent that other people have.

But anyhow, don't feel you're awful for thinking that way. It's a normal and necessary thing to go through.

Somermummy1 Thu 04-Jun-15 09:40:37

Thank you

At work now so mini post but so appreciate all your replies

Spotted inspirational quote in meantime also

"It's better to let someone walk out of your life than to walk all over you"

That's what I'm focussing on today !

Thank you again you marvellous people xxxx

fairyfi Thu 04-Jun-15 13:14:46

I remember the exact same for me years ago pincushion and its the inevitable result of letting go of the attachment we had to something that wasn't real, the harmful pretence, whilst ignoring the undercurrent of pain thats being caused. you had a very wise mummy!!!!

I was shocked at how exactly the same as losing someone to death it is, but it was so different also in that there was peace and calm too, there was no longer the daily turmoil and conflict and it was a relief. This was years ago for me, and I have described it this way to others, I think its the first time i have come across someone else saying it. It should have been obvious perhaps, that its the same as losing any attachment, only this one really does come with such huge benefits.

At times I was very angry too, the times when I struggled and resented the way i had been treated and blamed for everything yet noone else was taking any responsibility, it was very hard to struggle on alone, but it was so worth it.

Weird too, as they are not dead, they moved away and haven't shared where they are, but they're not dead (AFAIK). A very weird outcome that i had never expected to have in my life.

yes, far better... '... let them walk out of your life' somer

Movingonmymind Thu 04-Jun-15 18:41:03

Sorry not had chance to get on recently, but belated thanks for the kind posts earlier in the week.

Theymakemefeellikeshit Thu 04-Jun-15 22:05:38

Somer I'm not sure what the best thing to do is but could you get your DD to a thank you letter/drawings for her card rather than you having to say thank you?

Pincushion I have two DC (20 & 16) and as they have got older they have started to notice things and have been on the end of comments. I was always conscious not to say anything in front of them as I didn't want to cloud their judgment.

EssexMummy123 Fri 05-Jun-15 23:50:04

Does anyone have any insights on narcissism and severe mental illness? My mother who i'm sure is narcissistic also has issues with severe depression/anxiety/delusions/bi-polar/hoarding, the CMHT seem to focus on making sure she isn't in crisis e.g is stable and that she's on appropriate medications, i don't think narcissism is really on their radar.

EssexMummy123 Fri 05-Jun-15 23:56:08

To give you an example, recently on the day of a family members wedding she decided to tell everyone that she was going to kill herself, now i think that's narcissistic - if your really going to kill yourself you don't tell everyone, especially on a special day but the community MH team will take that seriously, which i guess gets her more attention.

I can't decide if she's really ill or just being narcissistic.

fedupnorthernmum Sat 06-Jun-15 10:39:57

First time poster. Relationship with my father over the past few years has dramatically deteriorated. Growing up my mother was a narcissist and I was undoubtedly the scapegoat. I took an overdose at 14 and she found out what I had done and came to hospital to warn me 'not to tell anyone'. Then when my parents divorced when I was 21 I ended up on a psychiatric ward due to my guilt that father had stayed for mine and my sisters sake. Anyway back to present day, he just keeps doing things that hurt me so much. I always thought that he was the good guy who was unable to protect me, but over the past few years he
1) Totally discredited me in front of a large group of people by telling me that I should not have children because of my type1 diabetes.
2)When I challenged him about this (after having a child born with a serious medical condition that had nothing to do with my diabetes) he said 'well maybe it would have been best not to have her.
3) My sis was having an affair (which he knew about) but the guy was awful to her, making comments to demean and belittle her, totally destroyed her self esteem and making her neglectful of her DC'S. I told F about this in the hope that he would talk some sense into her, but told in confidence. He immediately called her and gave her a real blasting telling her what I had said. Two days later my sis and I had an argument about the DC's and she physically attacked me in my own home. She rang and told him what had happened (she beat me around the head and due to an eye condition related to my diabetes this could have had serious implications). He never called to see if I was OK and instead drafted an email for her to say that she did not want to see me and sent it to me by mistake.
There are lots of other things he has done to make me feel like shit but he has always been very generous with money, allowing me to give up work which helped me a lot as not only do I have the two conditions already mentioned but have also had part of my foot amputated.
Anyway we had a disagreement again yesterday and I am just about at the end of my tether. He has said and done some awful things and I just don't know what to do anymore. When my mother died I felt a sense of freedom and now it just seems that he has taken over her cruel and manipulative ways. Any suggestions?

fedupnorthernmum Sat 06-Jun-15 10:59:34

EssexMummy123 my understanding is that Narcissism is rarely picked up by MH professionals as the Narc's are always good at hiding what they are and consequently they tend to get diagnosed with other issues. In addition there is no treatment and Narcs tend to have no idea what they are. Tbh her behaviour does seem very narcissistic.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 06-Jun-15 11:27:02

I would cut him off altogether but that is far easier said than done. If you cannot do that I would maintain as low a contact as possible and raise your own boundaries re him even higher.

I would not accept any further funds from him; these were likely never given to you without attached and unspoken conditions.

He and his late ex wife have done their two daughters (not just to say their own families too) a great deal of emotional harm. Women like his late wife cannot do relationships so the men they get together with are either discarded or are also narcissistic.

Pincushion20 Sat 06-Jun-15 19:47:45

I agree with Attila, Fedup.

I think it's time to take a step back and to start having the relationship on your terms. So if you can decide only to answer his calls when you want to talk to him, and filter his email and only read the messages once a week.

It feels like you are, because it's ingrained, but you are NOT obligated to speak to anyone or respond to anyone unless you want to.

Essex, I don't know what to suggest. I have bipolar disorder and it's treated by a psychiatrist. I'm not sure that narcissism would be. I'm not sure it's treatable. Maybe by something like CBT, but even then, a key part of narcissism is not accepting or believing you have it, and with out that, all the therapy in the world isn't going to fix you.

lollyj84 Sun 07-Jun-15 12:05:02

Hi. I have been reading this thread and unsure weather to post but think i'll give it a shot. Bit of background, parents split when i was 4 and i regular contact with dad until i was about 7 but can say they were terrible years. He never raised a hand to me but put the fear of god into me. He used to theaten to have my mum killed if i ever stoppes seeing him and threaten my grandparents. He would pretend that he wasn't going to take me home. He even went as far as saying that one day he would come and get me from school at lunchtime and we would disappear. I nevertold my mum what happened exactly but i used to cry and wet the bed in days leading up to seeing him and mum eventually put a stop to it. He never queationed it and never tried to get access, now i think this is because he knew he would be found out how sick he was. I have been NC since i was 7, almost 31 now. I have two Dc aged 6 and 3 and i look at them and wonder what sort of sick person could do that to a child? I would throw myself under a lorry before i let anybody harm them. I think i have started thinking about as i was their ages when it all happend. Growing up i was very shy and lived in fear that something bad would happen to my family. I also keep thinking about finding him and confronting him but that might open a whole can of worms.
sorry for rambling.

fedupnorthernmum Sun 07-Jun-15 20:37:01

Oh lollyj i feel like my problems are nothing compared to what you went through. I want to scoop up that little girl you were and give her a hug, those years must have been hell. Not sure that confronting him would help, would probably deny that it happend as you remembered and I suspect that he would only hurt that little girl still seeking justice again.

OstentatiousBreastfeeder Sun 07-Jun-15 21:44:41

I'm glad I've found this thread again, I lurk occasionally but have never posted. My childhood has been on my mind a lot recently and I find myself getting quite angry sad

It's all unresolved. I think that's why it won't go away in my head. My parents never mention the abuse and neglect we all suffered and they are so aloof. They're enjoying their lives while we just live ours (my siblings and I) and we just never mention it. It makes me want to scream.

I'm going no contact with them in a few months. I've set a timeline that I'm happy with. They won't care, they certainly won't notice for a long time, even.

I don't know whether to confront them, tell them why, or quietly disappear.

Pincushion20 Mon 08-Jun-15 08:34:54

Good luck with it, Ostentatious. I think having a run up to these things is quite a good idea.

lollyj84 Mon 08-Jun-15 08:45:34

Fedup- i think you are right and that mixed with fear is probably what stops me. Strange that i've only began to think about things in last year but i put that down to having dc of my own.
i feel lucky that i have a strong dm and she knew there was a problem unsure why she never pressed for answers or what were the reasons i gave her. We don't really talk about him but i know that she left him. I also have a wonderful step-father who has showed me what dads are ment to be like.

PointyBirds Mon 08-Jun-15 14:45:53

On and off lurker jumping in here.

Ostentatious - I'd say handle it however you feel comfortable. If you would feel like it would be a 'cleaner' break to confront and tell them what's happening then do that, but don't do it for their sakes, like you owe them an explanation - if you would be happier to quietly disappear then do that smile

I had an odd experience recently. I've been NC with my parents for over 2 years, with minimal contact with a couple of siblings. My mum's sister and her family were in the UK and asked to drop by and see me on their way elsewhere. I don't know them very well but have always quite liked them. My aunt left the UK in her early twenties to go to Canada, and I feel like she escaped her family and healed in some way.

So I saw them, and had a pretty intense conversation about it all. The weird thing was that when I said what they had to do for me to be willing to get back in contact (she'd asked, and I'd shrugged and said 'be nice'), she said she couldn't say that to my mum, and that she was scared of her. I said how do you think I feel? And she said that I was my mother's child and it was normal for children to be scared of their parents! Somehow it was worse for her to be scared of her sister than it was for me to be scared of my mum!

I've been thinking about that exchange a lot, and how much it sums up the whole problem. And also how my aunt clearly didn't escape as much as I thought she had.

goldenrose Mon 08-Jun-15 21:25:00

Hi all, just a update on what's happened, told my mother last week I was pregnant (recently gone lc with family due to their toxicity)
she never responded to my text nor did I get a phonecall etc, so she called yesterday and just asked how I was feeling and that was it!! She changed the subject to dB's and what's going on in their lives ( they are the golden children and they have golden lives and golden grandchildren) and off she went home!! Was like she was rubbing it in my face usual. I shouldn't be surprised cos I gave up expecting anything more from her and scary thing is im not as upset as I thought I would be.
Think its finally dawning on me that nothing is going to change and it's not my fault I grew up with parents who made me feel unloved and scared and unwanted, DM has never even asked me why I have backed away from them since Christmas she doesn't want to know nor those she care, she just needs little bits of information of my life to be able to tell extended family members, as harsh as that sounds it's the truth I told my friend this today and she kept saying I was wrong but I know I'm right,
My dh thinks I should say it straight up to DM about the way I'm treated but I told him I would be at nothing only would upset myself that I'm just going to be cast as the attention seeker the drama queen, trouble maker etc etc all the names I was called since a child when I stuck up to my parents or stuck up for my little brother my fellow scapegoat when he was beaten black and blue by df. Am I finally accepting this and moving on? Those this happen?

Pincushion20 Tue 09-Jun-15 10:02:37

And she said that I was my mother's child and it was normal for children to be scared of their parents!

Pointy I know you know this, but it's really, really not.

Somehow it was worse for her to be scared of her sister than it was for me to be scared of my mum!

What a self-centred woman. Not a chance for solidarity, but somehow you were supposed to stump up some sympathy?

Am I finally accepting this and moving on? Those this happen?

Golden I'm glad to read this, and yes, these things do happen. I've accepted my dad will never change, and I'm OK with that. He's gone now in the sense of any father/daughter relationship.

I agree with you that saying what has gone wrong will not change anything, and in all likelihood she will twist it and become the poor, innocent victim, and that can really sting.

Pollyputhekettleon Tue 09-Jun-15 15:14:36

Hi all, sorry for dipping in and out but I was on a couple of weeks ago about whether or not to move house nearer to my sister and the consensus was definitely no. The thing is that now a place has come up there with such low rent that it'd allow me to save so much more for a deposit to buy a house which is my big goal financially. Money is tight as a single parent and my current landlords are thinking about hiking my rent apparently. I don't know what to do!

I was all set to stay put and just fob them off about moving but now I'm really torn. It'd be close enough to where she is now but she'll be moving further away soon, and I know that once she has kids of her own she'll take far less interest in me so I think I can limit contact anyway. Houses with rent that cheap never come up where I am now. I'd be as happy with that area as with where I am now when it comes to everything else, shops, schools etc. What will I do?!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Jun-15 15:37:57

Why has a place come up with such low rent, there's reasons for that (none of them are good) so it would be worth thoroughly investigating before at all committing yourself. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I would still not move anywhere near your sister; it may be that she will not move (do you know for definite she is moving?) and go on to have children either.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 09-Jun-15 15:43:13

She has not been a good sister to you at all and I would still keep my distance. She will continue to try and stifle you if you move anywhere near her. It also does not follow that her children, even if she does have any, will become friends to and with your DD.

Pollyputhekettleon Tue 09-Jun-15 17:43:10

Thank you Attila. Yes there has to be something wrong with it, it makes no sense otherwise. And it wouldn't be good to be relying on her to move further away or get distracted because I have no control over what she'll do.
Somehow it's taking ages to sink in that she really is like this - manipulative, controlling, critical, and does this sweet/mean thing that someone mentioned. I never heard of that before. But even when she's supposedly helping by telling me about houses that are coming up it's always in the form of a demand to let her know how I get on with viewings etc.

It's strange because she wasn't always like this but now she seems to have settled into the role of my saviour/fixer upper. I'm realizing that this is why I like my own company best - in my family letting your guard down and looking for help or admitting indecision or worry about something just leads to criticism and control in the form of 'help'. The implication is that if I need help it must be because there's something wrong with me- I must have messed up basically.

I could really do with a support network other than my family but I always seem to make friends who are similar to my family so now I just avoid the whole thing which I know is not a great idea. I'd rather just get by as best I can on my own but I don't want to be a burden on dd as I get older either.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »