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Help coming to terms with abusive childhood

(9 Posts)
prettyknackered Thu 05-Nov-15 12:16:31

I had a sudden realisation the other day that throughout my childhood I was emotionally abused. I feel wrong for saying that but after looking at pages and pages of sites stating signs of emotional abuse, and signs of a narcissistic mother it all began to make sense. Yet part of me still doesn’t want to believe it because my mums not a horrible person, but she just isn’t and never was there for me emotionally, nor was my dad. When speaking to my hv I realised I can’t recall any memories at all before high school. I was always the ‘shy’ child. I used to go to my mum with any problems and sad feelings I had and was told to stop being so over sensitive, stop over reacting, grow up. I still continued to go to her with my problems even though deep down I knew she wouldn’t listen to me, I just hoped this time she would. The times I felt brave enough to defend myself she would make sure everyone knew I had upset her and turn my family against me until I apologised to her and even then she continued to give me the silent treatment for as long as she felt like it.

After a while I stopped going to her when I was upset and instead became withdrawn, I sat in my room, sometimes just sat thinking, sometimes crying, sometimes talking to people online. I didn’t particularly want to be by myself in my room but didn’t want to be brushed off again and leave feeling worse, but my parents didn’t understand, they started calling me weird all the time, to me, to each other, to my sisters, to my aunty. They were constantly calling me a hermit, a wierdo, 'cuckoo' and I felt so alone, I couldn’t understand why I was constantly rejected them, I did think it was just my mum at first but when my dad began to join in, it made me feel like it was me with the problem and I was all the things I was being called. I was unable to maintain friendships and became clingy in my relationships.

Sometimes it would get too much and I would break down, cry my eyes out in front of my mum and get angry when she continued to blame me for how I was feeling, she would call me mental, I remember hearing my dad come up the stairs and pray he was coming to help me, he didn’t, he accused me of being on drugs, telling my mum look at her pupils look, at one point he told my mum to ring the police and get me sectioned. I screamed at them I’m not on drugs I’ve never touched drugs in my life, I’m not mental I’m upset but they didn’t listen. I was in such a state I remember screaming at them to get out and leave me alone. I was tired of being told it was me all the time, I should have realised then that I was being abused but I didn’t.

When I did move out, I thought it would all stop and I thought it did but now I’ve realised it is still continuing, I wanted to apply for a particular university course but they convinced me to apply for a different course because the one I wanted to do had fewer places, they told me I wasn’t the right personality for the course I wanted to do, and that I should apply for the one they suggested because I would be more likely to get on. The sad thing is I followed their advice, I believed I wouldn’t get one of the places on the course I really wanted to do so I just didn’t apply for it. I regret that to this day because I will never be able to do that course now as I won’t get the funding. I have become a shell of a person, with no confidence or self-esteem, and no friends.

I am so lucky to have met dh who I lived with since I moved out, he has he has changed my life, and we now have our dd together. It wasn’t until I recently decided I don’t want to be like this, I don’t want to be anxious about people thinking I’m weird, or stay in the house unless dp takes us out, I want friends, I want to be confident, and I want to find my identity, my real identity, not the one I was given through constant name calling. So I spoke to my hv, she is a lovely woman and for some reason I just feel like I can just open up to her, so I told her my concerns about wanting to be confident enough to take dd to classes, and meet other people, but just had overwhelming anxiety about doing things without dp. I talked to her about my childhood but felt guilty like I could have just forgotten and maybe it wasn’t like that when I was a younger child, and I don’t want to paint my parents as monsters just because I can’t remember being praised. So the jist of what she advised me is to stop worrying about other people, accept I can’t change my mum and focus on what I want.

So this is where it begins, recovering from years of emotional abuse, beginning to accept that that’s what it was, learning to accept I will never have the close relationship I craved with my parents, and thinking about what I want for me, for my dp who they hate, and my dd who they love. I have my own family now and they are the most important thing to me in the world. I refuse to let them convince me I am a bad mum, yes they have stooped that low and tried to put me down about the way I bring up my daughter just because I don’t agree with what they want, I always defend my right as dds mum to decide what is best for her, it isn’t easy but she has less control of me because she wants to see my dd and therefore has to get on with me, but instead of apologising for telling me I’m wrong or not putting dd first, she says I’m difficult, stubborn and I misunderstood. I have the confidence to say you’re wrong I am a good mum, and I will always put dd first, I look forward to having that confidence in all parts of my life one day.

For now, how do I stop these guilty feelings that occur every time I talk about it? How do I move to a purely functional relationship for dds sake so she knows her grandparents? How do I genuinely accept that I will never have that close relationship myself with my parents? I wish my mum would get help with her issues but she can’t see there’s anything wrong. I would love to hear from anyone else who may have been in a similar situation, may be in the same position, or may have successfully moved on from it all?

shovetheholly Thu 05-Nov-15 13:34:48

I think that you would really, really benefit from talking this through with a counsellor. It is a big, lifechanging realisation that you have reached and you are bound to have a tornado of emotions tearing through you - anger, sadness, self-pity, guilt, even sometimes positive feelings like relief that you have understood things at last.

Focusing on your own family, building your own life away from their voices is the next step. You will find a lot of people will tell you to go no contact, and that can be a very powerful thing for many people. Others find ways of putting boundaries in place that allow them to continue the relationship on their own terms and to shield themselves from continuing abuse (assertiveness can be a very, very powerful tool). It is a very individual decision and one that only you can make.

I think another thing for me that was powerful was realising that it would never be fixed, and that it was pointless wasting all my time grieving over that fact, as pointless as wishing for anything else that I just couldn't have. That doesn't mean that it stops hurting. More that it stops being a constant pain and becomes something occasionally felt and then seet aside again for the pursuit of more positive things.

flowers I am sorry you are confronting this. It isn't fair, and it's important to say that straight up.

Peanutty35 Thu 05-Nov-15 14:22:51

what you've written really resonates with me - and was the reason behind me training as a counsellor. Its a shock isn't it when tings you accepted as normal actually are really abusive. I have had really similar experiences and have a good relationship with both parents now- its taken some work some risks and some withdrawal from them- but I did get there x

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 05-Nov-15 14:53:05


Their abuses of you has continued pretty much unhindered throughout your life. Your only mistake here was to assume that your moving out would at all stop them. These people have made you the scapegoat for their inherent ills.

re this part of your comment:-

"For now, how do I stop these guilty feelings that occur every time I talk about it? How do I move to a purely functional relationship for dds sake so she knows her grandparents? How do I genuinely accept that I will never have that close relationship myself with my parents? I wish my mum would get help with her issues but she can’t see there’s anything wrong. I would love to hear from anyone else who may have been in a similar situation, may be in the same position, or may have successfully moved on from it all?"

Practically all adult children of such toxic parents have FOG - this is fear, obligation and guilt and you have all that in spades.

Do you really want your DD to have any sort of relationship with her grandparents at all given how they have behaved towards you?. DO you really want her to know such people at all given how they still treat you?. They will also use her to get back at you if you allow contact.

They were not good parents to you, what makes you at all think they will behave any better to your child now?. They will not be good grandparents to your child and it is an error to think at all otherwise. You will never achieve what you want relationship wise with your parents because they are simply not built that way. A way forward for you is to grieve for the relationship you should have had with them rather than the one you actually got.

Narc parents never see that there is anything wrong with them. It is also NOT possible to have any sort of relationship with such a parent.

It is NOT your fault they are like this; you did not cause that to happen. Their own families of origin were dysfunctional and abusive as well.

Please consider seeing a therapist asap and importantly one who has NO repeat NO bias about keeping families together.

Some grandparents really shouldn’t be allowed access to their grandchildren and your parents are a case in point. Your mother is out and out abusive (she may well have some form of personality disorder but that in itself does not excuse her actions) and your dad is her enabler. He is also a weak man who has acted out of self preservation and want of a quiet life; he is really her hatchet man and he cannot be at all relied upon either. He needs someone like your mother to perhaps idolise too. Like your mother, he has failed you utterly here and you should really have nothing to do with them at all now. You should have no contact with them.

A percentage of the general population is dysfunctional and/or abusive. That percentage, like everyone else, has children. Then those children grow and have children of their own. The not-so-loving grandparents expect to have a relationship with their grandchildren. The only problem is, they’re not good grandparents.

Many adult children of toxic parents feel torn between their parents’ (and society’s) expectation that grandparents will have access to their grandkids, and their own unfortunate first hand knowledge that their parents are emotionally/physically/sexually abusive, or just plain too difficult to have any kind of healthy relationship with.

The children’s parents may allow the grandparents to begin a relationship with their children, hoping that things will be different this time, that their parents have really changed, and that their children will be emotionally and physically safer than they themselves were.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, because most abusive people have mental disorders of one kind or another, and many of these disorders are lifelong and not highly treatable. (Others are lifelong and treatable; however, many people never seek the necessary help.)

The well-intentioned parent ends up feeling mortified for having done more harm than good by hoping things would somehow be different — instead of having a child who simply never knew their grandparents and who was never mistreated, they have an abused child who is now also being torn apart by the grief involved in having to sever a lifelong relationship with the unhealthy people they are very attached to.

(More Here:

Do consider reading the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread too and post on there.

I would also suggest you look at the website entitled "Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers".

prettyknackered Fri 06-Nov-15 06:27:26

I can't afford private counselling and the NHS waiting list is four months. Looks like I don't have to initiative no contact, my mum told me that I've made it clear I think she's a shit mum and to leave her alone.

I'm finding it strange that I'm no angry at them for what they did, I'm more sad that they thought that was okay to do that to me and confused that they still can't accept my feelings even now. All I've seen with dd is how happy they are when they are with her, it doesn't make me want to stop that relationship because I don't feel any resentment towards them. Of course I would step in if they ever began to treat my dd the same way but all I've seen is love towards her

I'm just hurt at the moment that my parents told me there always there for me and I know where they are if I need them, but it's just words, in reality they don't care because if they did they would be trying to sort this mess out and accepting that what they did has affected me then and still to this day

kittybiscuits Fri 06-Nov-15 06:52:11

She was a shit Mum and it probably won't feel like it at all, but her telling you to leave her alone has unintentionally done you a favour. I would go with her wishes. Maybe you could go on the waiting list for counselling. It will take you some time to come to terms with everything you are now realising and processing, plus any further actions. Best of luck. I'm glad you are liberating yourself.

prettyknackered Sun 08-Nov-15 20:50:58

Neither my mum or dad think they did anything wrong, they said they called me all the things they did to help me, and that i am difficult, wrong to expect an apology, and that i cant use dd against them. I never have, i didnt even mention dd but shes all they were interested in, part of me wonders wibu to not let them see dd if they want nothing to do with me?

Theymakemefeellikeshit Sun 08-Nov-15 23:19:59

pretty Do listen to Attila - she is a regular poster on the Stately Homes thread and I recommend reading the thread. You are not the only one going through this and the thread is there to support each other

I can see the same behaviour from them with my DC as I went through. Not as bad but bad enough. I now go months without seeing them because of it and if the kids don't want to come I don't make them. They are older so can make their own decisions.

prettyknackered Sun 08-Nov-15 23:48:22

Sorry I did look at the stately homes thread but didn't realise there was a newer one, the one I looked at said it was closed for comments so I didn't think I could get support from that. Thanks - theymakemefeellikeshit

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