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

(1001 Posts)
OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 17-Nov-15 10:53:52

It's November '15, 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
Oct 14 – Dec 14
Dec 14 – March 15
March - Nov 2015

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:

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."

FantasticButtocks Tue 17-Nov-15 11:05:19

Hi, just checking in and thanks for starting the new thread thanks

It has meant a lot to me to discover these threads. Whenever I feel a wobble or crisis of confidence or doubt about my choice, 'Stately Homes' usually helps me to clarify my thoughts and understand that I have done the right thing for my wellbeing and sanity.

toomuchtooold Tue 17-Nov-15 11:21:11

Hello, checking in!

pocketsaviour Tue 17-Nov-15 11:30:23

Thanks Meer for the new thread smile

Book links seem to be redirecting to the main Relationships board. Here are direct links (hope these works!)

Toxic Parents by Susan Forward
Homecoming by John Bradshaw
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride
If You Had Controlling Parents by Dan Neuharth
When You And Your Mother Can't be Friends by Victoria Segunda
Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione
Children of the Self Absorbed by Nina Brown - check reviews on this, I didn't find it useful myself.

GoodtoBetter Tue 17-Nov-15 11:55:54

Hello everyone! Marking my place. It's a beautiful day here, been out for a walk with the dog and off to work later this afternoon. Hope everyone is well and hello to lurkers and dipper in and outers. xx

oprahfan Tue 17-Nov-15 12:16:43

I just thought I'd say hello to you lovely people.
I'm in my early 40's and have been NC with my family for 10 + years.
I still cry regularly,get very angry,but there's nothing I can do.I was physically,mentally & emotionally abused,as well as neglected.
I have had 4+ years of counseling,and have had a few bouts of major depression (God......I sound a right cheery soul,eh?!)grin
I was the scapegoat,my mother the perpetrator,my father the enabler.
Life has got better after going NC,my confidence and self esteem is still very low.
The bright lights are my two DS's.....I love them so much and could burst with pride at how they are emerging into young men.
What I cannot get over was why was I hated so much?
Why did my mum want me to be announced as mentally ill?
Why did she want to put me in a home?
Why did she tell so many lies and why do so many people believe her?
She tried to tell others I was a psychopath.
Can I ever get past this terrible terrible hurt?
Has anyone taken legal action against their abusive parents? I don't know if this would give me the longed for closure.
There was police and social work involved in my childhood.
I'm sorry if I come across as a rambling buffoon.
I want this pain to go.The tears to go.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 17-Nov-15 12:48:33

dammit thanks for pointing that out pocket. Not sure why that's happening all of a sudden. I check the links for the previous threads, but not the books links

Ill copypaste the links you set up for next time (btw, would you like a copy of the whole thing?)

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 17-Nov-15 12:57:35

okay I see, Amazon changed its naming system.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Tue 17-Nov-15 13:08:21

oprahfan I am so sorry for your massive pain.

Why did they do this? only your mother really knows but from the sound of it, actually she was doing a really destructive version of assigning her own self-hate to a small child .. you. I think myself that if people have issues that they don't face head on and actively try to control, then they start shifting that onto their most vulnerable people nearby. The hate is terrifying, but it's about them more than you.

It certainly sounds like she was the mentally ill one, not you, and couldn't face it.

Which doesn't really help you.

Can you ever get past it? I don't know. But I think many, even most people can come to a way of living with the hurt. Like the grief of losing someone you love, you never forget it but you can learn to live with it and around it and find good ways of coping and then one day you realise that actually, life is more positive than negative

(i say that as someone who's wobbling atm, but I've had genuinely good periods of years when I am in (healthy) control of the pain. I know those better times will come again).

Why does she tell lies? because she can't face the truth of what she's done and what she is. She HAS to make it someone else's fault. It is literally intolerable to her that she might be at fault. Why do others believe it? Because sometimes people like your mother are very very skilful at lying and putting a gloss on things to make it the other person's fault. Usually there are other victims around in the distance too; but the children usually get it worst.

Not taken legal action myself. In my situation, it would achieve nothing. Your situation may be different.

We're here when you want to talk, handholding flowers

oprahfan Tue 17-Nov-15 13:15:37

Thank your for your reply Onceameer.....oh yes.....very very skillful with the lies. I know good days will come around again,very wobbly at the moment here too.
Thank you x

pocketsaviour Tue 17-Nov-15 13:46:24

Hello Oprah,

Sorry you've had such a painful upbringing. I'm glad you are NC now and your sons are such a source of comfort and pride. I am also very proud of my own DS smile

I think Meer is right when she says that your mother projected her own feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing onto you. It's possible that is something she learned in her own childhood, from her parents. As you will know from reading these threads, it is sadly common for abusive parents to choose one child as a scapegoat and saddle them with all the blame for anything unacceptable. Another term I have heard used for scapegoat is "poison container". The abusers use the poisoned child as the dustbin for all their negative feelings and thoughts.

I also had police and social services involvement in my childhood, due to my dad's sexual abuse. No legal action was taken at the time (late 80s.) I have been wondering recently about the possibility of pursuing further action, but I don't know if this is legally possible, if it was investigated at the time and they didn't prosecute. I also don't know if mentally and emotionally it would be too stressful for me. I have been NC with my dad for 27 years and a large part of me wants to let sleeping dogs lie, but there's another part of me that wants him to be punished for what he did. He tried to steal my life and my future and he lost NOTHING. Not his job, his business, his money, his cars, his house, his yacht, his replacement wife. He never even paid any child maintenance for me and my sibling. Cunt angry

oprahfan Tue 17-Nov-15 15:40:48

Oh poor pocketsaviour......what is interesting is that my parents weren't mother was always buying Chrystal this and that,gold jewellery,perfumes,big house,and even spent my child benefit on posh cigarettes! And there I was getting my brothers hand me down clothes,or fixing my own,even trying to mend my shoes in my teens,because of huge holes.
Yet my dad had a well paid job!
I was called all sorts of horrible names,and if I didn't repeat them,I'd get slapped around the face.
I tried to commit suicide when I was 15 by taking an overdose. Had stomach pumped,etc etc.
When I got home from hospital,my mum screamed at me that I was an attention seeking whore.
It is hard to deal with,that they have lost nothing. I just want to get past these horrible flashbacks and memories.
Your Dad is a tosspot of the highest order,and I'm sorry for your pain pet,I truly am.
I'm amazed at how many people (use that term loosely) are getting away with so much abuse.

Serioussteve Tue 17-Nov-15 18:44:06


I posted here recently.

Can I find out if social services have anything on record from my childhood?
Likewise, schools? Health authority?

So hard trying to formulate everything in my head, it's baffling me to think no professional agency picked up anything was wrong. My high school reports even state I "struggled to make friends", "had low self-esteem" and the like.

pocketsaviour Tue 17-Nov-15 20:57:32

Hello Steve,

You can do a right of subject access request to the Social Services dept in the area you lived while a child.

Do you remember any social services involvement at the time?

You can use the same law to request your school records and GP records (any health service should all end up in your GP records - however if you feel there might be other records with, for example, a hospital then you can also request records from them.)

More information here: Right of Subject Access

pocketsaviour Tue 17-Nov-15 20:58:29

Oprah that same information above might be helpful to you, too?

oprahfan Tue 17-Nov-15 21:32:16

Thank you pocketsaviour
The interesting thing is......I know that I have many many pages in my medical files regarding my past,I have many copies too, it was upsetting to see my mother even lying to the medics,blaming me for her marriage problems,wanting me to be sectioned for being a psychopath,etc etc.
Interesting that I could look up the social work reports,police stuff was in late 70's,so don't think there would be anything kept from that time.
A GP surgery should quite happily let you see your medical file,but copies would incur a fee. I got to see mine with no difficulty.
Thank you x

Serioussteve Tue 17-Nov-15 21:46:27

Thanks so much pocket, very useful.

I remember seeing a woman when I was attending the start of high school, perhaps a child psychologist, but the memories are so fuzzy - my mind hiding these things from me I guess.

I don't know if any referrals were made, is it wrong for me to be livid if none were? In today's world, obsequiousness pervades throughout schools with the slant on safeguarding, but of course things were a lot more lax 25 years ago.

Will not hurt to make the requests though, that's for sure.

Have decided my reading for this week will be Toxic Parents, I feel somewhat bad however as I wasn't "abused", or "neglected". Not in the ways people perceive things when those two words are mentioned. Yet I feel so angry, ambivalent and frustrated!

Serioussteve Tue 17-Nov-15 21:46:54

Thanks for letting a man rant btw, it's actually therapeutic.

Theymakemefeellikeshit Tue 17-Nov-15 23:41:02

Hi Steve

I feel somewhat bad however as I wasn't "abused", or "neglected". Not in the ways people perceive things when those two words are mentioned. Yet I feel so angry, ambivalent and frustrated!

The brilliant thing about this thread is no one will judge and no one will say your situation is not worthy of being on here.

It sounds like you are in a similar situation (but without social services) as me and I seem to go from absolutely distraught to bloody furious.

Serioussteve Wed 18-Nov-15 02:43:51

I'm sorry for your pain. I'm actually happy I found this forum, by mistake really. Even nicer to find other people have been through the same piles of shit, if that makes sense.

Yes, that's how much emotions vary too. My mother is presently sectioned and in a facility but a matter of time before she is released, again, and the pain increases as the cycle begins again. She is very devious, intelligent and manipulative.

I doubt social services were involved, I doubt either of my parents would have allowed things to spill out, yet if I'm right and I did see a psychologist then the referral came from somewhere....

Definitely nice to have somewhere to talk, and being surrounded by women is not a bad thing, lol!

FrancisdeSales Wed 18-Nov-15 04:15:18

Steve, all kinds of manipulation that are clearly abusive on reflection as a sane adult can be confusing as a child and not understood as abusive. After my mother died when I was 13 my parenting basically stopped and my father ignored me and never spoke to me most of the time but it was hard for me to realize that was abuse until I was older.

One thing that helped me was when I read that we need "positive strokes" to feel good about ourselves and this can take many forms: smiles, recognition, hugs, friendly voices etc.

"Negative Strokes" are therefore more than the obvious such as being the focus of rage or emotional outbursts but also being ignored, dismissed, our existence and opinions not considered or acknowledged. It's hard then to recognize your own needs or identity.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 18-Nov-15 08:21:34

From reading here, a lot of what makes physical abuse so awful is the emotional aspect to it, both at the time and later. I don't know, but I wonder if the same happens with sexual abuse?

Physical and emotional abuse damage the foundations of whom you are, the walls of the house you live in as an adult. From the sound of it your mother was seriously unfit to be a mother. Don't know you other than what you write here, ofc, but it definitely sounds like you have had experience of abuse.

Also, it's not a competition. Things hurt for you; you're trying to make sense of it; you're welcome here.

francis may I ask how you survived after your mother died? My adoptive mother died when I was 11 and my father did try a bit for 2-3 years but was completely inadequate; then he stopped trying and started digging the knife in. It's affected me deeply ever since, her loss and his, I don't know what you'd call it. Let down then betrayal/subtle and mixed enmity really. I don't know many other people who lost their mum so young and would definitely be interested in how you managed it.

Mamaka Wed 18-Nov-15 23:49:20

I found this thread by chance after googling about dysfunctional families and thought I'd ask for some advice.
Long story short: my dad was very abusive, my mum enabled him. He beat us, she looked the other way. He beat her too. They divorced when I was 14 (only after my sister finally called the police) and I eventually cut all contact with my dad.
I was happy enough with things after that until having my own children who are now 3.5 and 1.5. After having them I came to a very gradual realisation that my mum was also abusive by not stopping the abuse. This as well as other things about her (incessant questions and meaningless chatter to fill the silence, insistence on knowing every detail of my life, babying and fussing over my children) has been upsetting me to the point where I leave the room when she visits and I leave her playing with the kids and get on with my own thing. I have talked to her about it a couple of times, asking why didn't she stop it (in the context of my own marriage and parenting difficulties and me blaming the fact that I have no good example to fall back on) Her response? "Oh you know what your dad was like, nobody could stop him, I couldn't do anything" Er what about call the police, pack your bags and leave, get him thrown out?! She says she was financially dependent on him and didn't want to break up the family. I'm sure I don't have to explain how I feel about this. In fact I noticed on the top post on this thread that "I had it really hard too" is a typical response from an abusive parent.
Anyway my dilemma now is, she looks after my children once a week and occasionally overnight on the weekend. My children have a good relationship with her in that they adore her and look forward to seeing her each week. But she has never developed those boundaries that she always lacked. She lets my oldest disrespect her and my youngest do as he pleases. She fusses and babies them and is inconsistent and undermines my rules although on the surface it looks like she backs me up. If one of them falls or cries and I go to them she tries to get there first. If I tell them off she cuts in mid sentence talking over me (saying the same things I am saying). I haven't said anything about this yet except snapping "I'll deal with this" at her a few times, to which she gets touchy. I have no idea how to deal with this. I am already angry at her for not defending me as a child and now she is also not defending me as a parent. I don't particularly have the energy to make a huge deal out of this but at the same time want to resolve it so that my children don't pick up on it.

Any ideas??!

Sorry if this sounds like an incoherent rant or very petty.

GoodtoBetter Thu 19-Nov-15 07:17:10

Welcome Mamaka! I'm sorry that you felt the need for a thread like this, but as you did, I'm glad you are here, it's a good, safe place to talk about difficult things.
As regards your mother, you are absolutely not being petty, but I'm not sure how you solve it without stopping your mother doing childcare for you. She was a crap parent and she sounds like she is being a crap grandparent and creating all sorts of tensions and poor boundaries and problems for you. She is sending a very poor message to your children about behaviour and responsibilty.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 19-Nov-15 07:38:28

Hi Mamaka

I presume you only allowed your mother to have a relationship with your children in the first place based on your (forlorn) hope or assumption that she would behave better this time around with your own children despite your own prior knowledge.

She was not a good parent to you and is a toxic example frankly of a grandmother to your DC. She has not fundamentally changed since your own childhood, she has not changed.

You are going to have to find alternative childcare as of now particularly as she is letting your eldest disrespect your youngest child (probably another dynamic not too dissimilar to what you saw growing up either). That will also go on to damage their own sibling relationship. They probably do not so much adore her either as fear her and or are confused by her mixed messages too. All that will simply get transferred into behaviours in your own home. They see you as their mum leave the room when she arrives also and they see her undermine you. They do not understand that particular concept but you certainly do.

You mention your sister; what is she like?. What is she like with both you and her mother?.

You need to also raise your own too low boundaries (not surprising really since you were shown a abusive example of a parents when growing up) and have a total rethink now re your mother and your relationship with her. Would you now consider further lowering all forms of contact?. I cannot see what if anything you are getting out of this relationship now.

EternalSunshine820 Thu 19-Nov-15 13:21:11

Have been reading bits of this and the older thread for a while, just want to say thanks for starting it it's really, really helpful to read other peoples stories and look at some of these books. I might write a description of some of the things that have happened with my parents/family in time, but not sure how I would do that without it being essays of things that don't even make sense to me half the time.

I think both my parents are screwed up and screwed me up, and screwed each other up in different ways. I'm in my 30s now with a child of my own and still struggling to get any kind of help to figure it out. I must have asked to see a counsellor about 20 times in 20 years, in several different health authorities. Have twice been passed to the same person only for them to ask me why on earth the GP has sent me back to them because they already wrote a letter to say they are not the right person. Then I wait another 3 months to get another 'initial' appointment. The next one is in January. From reading I probably have something like anxiety and depression, potentially bipolar disorder or traits of that. Obsessive compulsive things to do with eating and my skin and life in general. Low self esteem and just feel crazy half the time, questioning and doubting myself. I go up for a day then down again and so on. I've held it together on the surface for years and years but been in a steady downward spiral (I now realise, looking back) for about 20 years, and scared if I don't find a way to fix myself I'll spend my whole life feeling like this.

FrancisdeSales thanks for the bit about positive and negative strokes, that totally makes sense to me. I was provided for physically i.e. clothed and fed (I guess that's the stately homes bit) but can't remember being told I was ok, smiled at, praised, hugs beyond maybe early childhood. At the time, that was just normal because I didn't know a different normality. I did have all kinds of 'words' screamed at me and can remember my mother flying at me hitting/clawing in rages, and otherwise just not being there for me, all her attention otherwise focused on the men or lack of men in her life. Though she would also go round telling everyone she knew what a problem I was to her, so they would look at me with disapproval, even though I felt like her victim (she still does that, in fact). Looking at the definitions of narcissistic mothers my mother seems to tick a lot of the descriptions. I got away for years and made a life for myself, then when I had my child and became a LP I was told by another family member I should move back near her because she would help. So I did, but she didn't, it's as though she wanted me back so she could control me, know I needed help and then not give it. That probably makes me sound completely paranoid and hysterical. My mother only behaves in a certain way towards me, noone else as far as I know. I end up feeling like a confused child, like I keep getting pulled back into that state, and being a LP, and alone doesn't help that. My father is an equally messed up and nasty piece of work, and just best left alone.

Anyway, just thanks because reading some of the posts on here I feel like I could have written them myself but I would have had trouble describing, articulating those things and felt weak, stupid, crazy if I tried. I just want to feel like there is a way out and maybe hope to get away again and develop a healthier, more intelligent, happier kind of life.

staffiegirl Thu 19-Nov-15 15:26:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EternalSunshine820 Thu 19-Nov-15 21:53:43

Hi staffiegirl.. thank you. It's complicated, when I got away before I was a student with good grades moving to Uni (my mother wouldn't take me to Uni come to think of it, everyone else's parents were there helping them move into halls, she said something along the lines of 'don't expect me to do that' and an older lady I knew took me in her car). I started working after that, lived in house shares and could look after myself. There were periods of up to 2 years where I had zero contact with my family (though that didn't stop me going over and over the past in my head). Unfortunately I made some wrong choices, ended up in a series of dodgy, dependent relationships with much older guys (me looking for love / parental figures and willing to hand my whole existence over to someone who might 'look after' me, naively..).. and stupidly ended up right back where I started. With hindsight, I had all the opportunity in the world at one point, to build something so much better for myself as a young independent woman, and I'm kicking myself now for not seeing that. I'm a LP now which makes it really, really hard to think about moving somewhere else, where I literally know noone (my friends from former city are childless and dispersed so I don't think I could necessarily rely on them much if I went back). Some days I'd be willing to, but worry about the risk if it didn't work out, if something went wrong and there wasn't a soul I could call to help me or my child. I feel like I have to put her first, and it's a tough call knowing what that means sometimes.

I do question my mother's skills as a grandparent, for sure. When I came back here on my own I was going out of my mind trying to get help from someone, anyone, via the HV or local services, I was living out of boxes, didn't even have a washing machine with a newborn baby.. it was like that for most of the first year at least. All the promises used to coax me into moving back near to her were clearly just empty. She would come and sit in the pub at the end of my road with her friends for hours and tell me to bring my baby to the (loud, obnoxious) pub. Once when I did she put my 3- month old on the floor of said pub to crawl around and didn't seem to understand why I had a major problem with that.. she won't come to my house because she's too busy, or babysit at my house, ever and 'might' ever babysit only if I give my child (now nearly 2) to her at her house for the night. Which I don't feel I can do because I guarantee one or both of my mother / stepdad would be drinking while she's there.. and last time I took her I found her at the top of a steep nasty staircase by herself when they were supposed to be looking after her. They just don't get it, to my mind they're too selfish to care for a small child and my child is the most precious thing I've ever had in my life - I couldn't live with myself if something happened while she was in their care.

No contact.. I have tried it.. the trouble is, when I try to go no contact while living nearby, sooner or later my mother knocks on my door and just walks straight in to see 'her' grandchild (not me, her child, just her grandchild) or tells anyone she can find to listen that I'm withholding my daughter and therefore am a bad mother and daughter 'using' my own daughter, am spiteful, have always been problematic / this way etc etc.. the other day one of her friends walked up to me and my daughter in the supermarket and said something like 'oh yes, I know all about you' in this tone..

ok I feel myself starting to rant again, I could go on and on and on, and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference because I'm not dealing with a rational, reasonable person. My whole adult life I've wanted to be able to effect some kind of change in my family relationships, but having any kind of hope just sets me up to be crushed again by something that's said or done shortly after. If I try to address anything with my mother directly, however calmly, she turns into a victim and tells me and everyone around that I''m mean, attacking her (and gets even more attention from the drama that way).

staffiegirl Thu 19-Nov-15 22:54:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prettyknackered Thu 19-Nov-15 23:03:57

Eternal I don't have much advice to offer but your mum sounds a lot like mine. Ive tried to explain things nicely tried to understand her felt sorry for her, tried to help her change so she was happier but she can't see it's her with the problem. Even when I explain how she made me feel with her constant name calling throughout my childhood she turns victim and makes sure everyone knows how much I've upset her. I've not long started no contact, and she is already telling everyone I'm using dd as a pawn against her. In fact she has (as usual) turned everyone against me and now my Aunty, dad and two sisters are insisting I need to apologise to her and fix things (like I always have) but not this time, I only asked her to respect me as dds mum and let me bring her up how I want to, and it's like I've started world war 3. It's been hard to put my foot down after being the quiet one who just tried to please everyone else for so long but dd is the most important thing in the world to me and I've become a stronger person finally standing up to my mum, I've lost my family but I still have my dp and dd they keep me smiling. If the rest of my family can just disown me because I'm not getting on with my mum, then they obviously didn't care about me anyway right

Serioussteve Fri 20-Nov-15 00:58:50

Oh now I'm pissed. My examination and professional awards/certificates have always been stored at my parents. In the same drawer, for years. They are all "missing". Turns out they "could have been thrown out".

I was assessing my qualifications in preparation for my OU course (found out my L4 NVQ is actually quite decent too). But why throw this stuff out. The only thing retained is a chess trophy I won at 11 and has sat in the same place ever since....

prettyknackered Fri 20-Nov-15 04:49:33

Yesterday my Aunty came over to see me and dd it was nice she was nice, I felt so happy I sent text saying 'thanks for coming it was nice to see you' weirdly just after I sent it my Aunty rang, I answered and heard her talking, she was repeating my text out loud and then a man laughed. For some reason I panicked and hung up so I didn't hear the rest of the conversation, but the man sounded like my dad, and it must have been because my Aunty wouldn't have been able to get home in the time she left my house to the phonecall, but she would have been able to get to my parents house in that time. I sent her a text saying 'you just accidentally rang me whilst you were talking' an hour later she tried to me ring twice and sent me two texts saying 'sorry I didn't realise it was on' and 'how long did I leave my phone on for, have I used up all my credit?'.

Am I going crazy or does it sound like I'm part of some sick game, one part of my brain feels like they're conspiring against me and the other part of my brain thinks I'm going mental. It's really disturbed me and I was deeply upset but spoke to dp and he calmed me down. Tonight I had a nightmare, the first time I can remember since I was a child, it didn't make any sense and I woke up sweating and frozen still, then completely unrelated to the nightmare I began to convince myself I could see something in the reflection of a vase and wouldn't turn round because I was convinced someone was standing behind me. I was so terrified I wouldn't move until I'd told dp and he held my hand as I turned over to see there was nothing there. Am I going mental?

Should I be worried or is this a normal reaction to emotional stress? Or am I not is it in my head. I'm so scared I'm going to lose my mind and end up in a hospital locked up, but all this has happened since this evening, before that I was fine, happy, getting support from hv regarding my past and increasing my confidence now.

Why can't I just be happy why is it not possible that my Aunty did come to see me and dd because she cared, the phonecall just came across the wrong way, the texts afterward were innocent and I just happened to have a nightmare. It would be so much easier on my head to believe that, but my brains conflicting and arguing with itself because I know what I heard, I know you wouldn't ring and text so much if you just accidentally rang and said nothing wrong. Please tell me if I'm crazy. Am I still being abused but by more people now what's going on?

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Fri 20-Nov-15 10:09:50

in haste

Nightmares do happen when something extremely stressful happens. If you previously trusted your aunt and now don't, that would easily do it.

there might be some sort of innocent explanation but it sounds like your gut reaction is that there's something nastier going on. If you have gone over it in your head and worked out as much as you can logically, and your gut & head agree, then it's time to be friendly to your aunt but keep her at arms length, don't talk about your parents at all to her and cut her off if she starts, and don't tell her anything that makes you feel vulnerable.

if your gut and your head are a bit at odd, then maybe step back a bit, but not as far. either way it sounds unwise to trust her completely now.

fwiw no you aren't going mental. You're facing an extremely emotionally stressful time, as anyone does when going NC or who has to deal with toxic parents. That stress has to come out. Give yourself time and be gentle on yourself - really. if it goes on for too long then you may need a bit of GP support, but right now it's your brain actually processes extremely difficult stuff.

prettyknackered Fri 20-Nov-15 10:32:12

OnceAMeer I was worked up last night but it worried me because it seemed like a pretty extreme reaction to have, I feel okay now though. Thankyou for your reply. I think I was just so suprised and shocked and I feel like I was just spied on, which hurt because I actually enjoyed her visit I didn't expect her to leave and go straight to my parents house and talk about me, even to the point where she tells them what ive text her. My gut just tells me somethings not right, because there is no reason to do that. I let her in and felt let down, at the same time I thought.. what is funny? when I heard my dad laughing, I was telling my aunty it was nice to see her there is nothing funny about that, which is what made me think they may have told her to come over. I don't know, I have no problem cutting any of them off now im so hurt, I just want to know the truth and dont want anyone to play games with me or mess my head up anymore. Im trying to be happier but even the sister i was close to doesnt want to see me unless i 'make up' with mum by apologising to her. I dont know who to trust anymore, its no way to live

pocketsaviour Fri 20-Nov-15 10:34:13


From reading here, a lot of what makes physical abuse so awful is the emotional aspect to it, both at the time and later. I don't know, but I wonder if the same happens with sexual abuse?

Yes, hugely so.

(I have ended up writing a huge essay here, it was cathartic for me to do so, so I'm posting it hoping it will help other survivors of SA.)

Sexual abusers tend to fall into treating the victim one of two ways:
- Mostly ignoring them, physical punishments, verbal abuse, complete denial of any sexual contact, painting the victim as a compulsive liar or fantasist. From what I have seen working with other survivors, this is the most common tactic for male on male abuse. Also abuse events tend to be isolated rather than ongoing.
- Making the victim in to a favourite with special treatment, praise, treats such as being allowed to stay up late or access to toys/activities that other children are denied. Getting the victim "on side" especially against other members of the family. Isolating the victim from friends and family who might help, often by lying to the victim that these people have done or said something horrible. Building the fantasy in the victim's head that s/he is special and chosen. Perhaps telling the victim that h/she is in love with the abuser and that society won't understand. Often the abuser presents themselves as the helpless fool who the victim is seducing. This tactic is more commonly used when the abuse is frequent and carries on for a long time.

My dad used the second tactic and it was extremely effective. He was very clever and calculating in how he isolated me from my mum and my sister, and from my friends. I felt immense shame over the abuse I endured, because I believed him when he said it was my fault and that I enticed him.

My mum's fucked up reaction, when I finally did tell, was really the nail in the coffin of my mental health. Instead of telling me that it wasn't my fault, and protecting me from him, she told me I must never say anything to anyone and then she... just let him get on with it, basically. Oh but "He said he would stop, so of course I believed him." Yes, okay hmm

She then completely emotionally withdrew from me, for the next three years while we all lived together (with my younger sister there too!) When I saw signs that he was beginning to groom my sister, I told a teacher and asked for help. For that I was punished for years from my mum. Because I had "aired your dirty laundry to all and sundry". Because I had brought shame on the family. Because I had got social services involved. Because it was my fault that now we didn't have a nice big expensive house and two cars and my mum would have to get a job. My fault.

The sense of betrayal with sexual abuse is huge, and in a way it's very hard to explain. First you feel that your parent betrayed your trust. Then you feel guilty for feeling like that, and as if you betrayed them by breaking up the family. Like you should have just shut up and put up with it.

You are also told that you liked the abuse, that you invited it, and that if you feel any sexual desire for anyone for the rest of your life, it means you're a slag and proves you wanted it. Often you feel terrified of sex but also feel it's the only value you have, so you have sex with a lot of partners even when you don't want to, because otherwise what are you for? What's the point of you?

You are triggered, often to the point of flashbacks and panic attacks, by random phrases, smells, sounds, but you are unable to tell people what's happening because you are so ashamed. Sometimes you wish you could get raped by a stranger because then everyone would sympathise with you and say it wasn't your fault. Then you feel suicidally low for days because only an evil, mad person would think like that.

You meet people who say they have never been raped or abused and you become furiously, bitterly envious. You are consumed with rage and you find yourself wishing they would be attacked so they would finally understand what it's like. Then you think you should just die because you're so evil.

Some days you want to just strike a match and burn the world.

Some days you can't bear to hear or read the word rp and other days you immerse yourself in real life stories and misery memoirs just for the comfort of knowing you aren't the only one.

You drink everything you can and take every drug you can get, even though you know they make you feel worse, because worse is how you should feel, because you're ruined and broken.

You hear your abuser's voice in your head every hour of the day, criticising what you're wearing, what you're doing, how you're moving, telling you he knows all your secrets and nobody's fooled by your nice girl act.

In fact your abuser spends more time talking to you now than when he was actually your parent.

You feel like you're made of ice. Like you've frozen yourself to numbness just to get away from the constant feeling of the abuser's hands on your body. You wish you could take a knife and cut away your breasts, your vulva, your buttocks, because no matter how hard you scrub, you can never wash his touch away. You like the idea of being made of ice because ice is pure, clean, innocent. Untouched.

One day you hear the phrase "inner child" and you bark with laughter because you don't have a child inside you, just the rotting corpse of an old whore.

You aren't fit to be in a relationship, but equally you're terrified of being on your own, alone with just your memories and the voice of your abuser. So you stumble from one bad relationship to another, being abused and abusing in turn, constantly seeking the intimacy you are unable to give or accept.

And then one day something changes. Maybe you read an article or a book that actually speaks to your heart, rather than just to your head, and you finally start to understand that it wasn't your fault. Or maybe you meet another survivor, one who's further forward in healing than you are, and who holds out their hand to you, willing you to step forward onto the same path they are on. Maybe you find Mumsnet!

And you start drinking less, and drugging less, and you find the courage to stop having these relationships that take everything and give nothing, and you tell your useless therapist, finally, that it's not working, and you find one that does. You put away the misery memoirs and start reading proper books about healing. You do your work. And my god, it's hard work, the hardest thing you'll ever do, to go back inside and find that little child who really was still in there after all, and let that child cry, and feel their pain, honour their courage, and meanwhile you're still holding down a job, raising children, getting out of bed every day. You do your work.

And then you turn around and you realise how far you've come. Further than from here to the moon and back.

And sometimes maybe you feel strong enough to hold your hand out to other survivors who are struggling, and you cheer them on as they build that path out of despair and into the light. As they do their work. And sometimes you don't feel strong enough to do that, and that too is okay.

And then maybe you realise that you've come such a long way, and now you can be the real you that you were meant to be. And you find a relationship that's healthy, and where you make each other happy, and you don't expect your partner to heal wounds that they don't even know about. And maybe you settle down and vow to be the best partner and parent you can be, because that's both your revenge and your reward.

Or maybe you decide to be single, because you're not afraid any more of being on your own. You've silenced your abuser's voice, and the only sounds inside you are peaceful.

And the biggest thing of all for you, is that you've done your work and by god it was hard. There is nothing, from now on, that life can throw at you that you feel incapable of dealing with. You are strong.

prettyknackered Fri 20-Nov-15 10:56:17

pocket that was a very inspirational read. I'm always shocked to read what posters on this thread have been through, and it is always comforting to read stories of people who have been able to move on from an abusive past flowers

staffiegirl Fri 20-Nov-15 11:01:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

prettyknackered Fri 20-Nov-15 11:17:54

staffiegirl I definately need to start therapy, if im honest and I know it may sound stupid but im scared that starting therapy, going to the gp and telling them how I really feel, could end with social services getting involved. I know this may just be my anxiety playing up but wouldn't they automatically assume I couldnt care for my dd if im having all these problems emotionally, or assume I am going to be the same as my parents? I can look after her, im not worried about that myself, but its the fear that others will think that and its putting me off visiting the gp, that and I dont think I could open up to a gp the same as I dont have a rapport with any of them

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 20-Nov-15 11:37:23

TBH pretty I would look at finding a therapist privately rather than go through the NHS. I suggest that because NHS therapies can take an age to arrange and their sessions can be very limited in both scope and numbers offered.

I doubt very much that any GP would actually make any sort of report to Social Services; you are looking after and caring for your child as any decent parent would. Unfortunately (and that is an understatement) for you, your parents are out and out toxic.

On a wider note, if you do not have any sort of rapport with your GP at all I would look into registering with another practice.

prettyknackered Fri 20-Nov-15 11:47:52

Attila Im just worried about being judged as a parent. I do have some savings, which I was saving for a house but I think it would be worth it seeing a private therapist to help me now when i need it most. My only concern is they are not cheap, and I dont know how to find a credible one, or how do I find a good therapist without wasting money paying different ones?

GoodtoBetter Fri 20-Nov-15 15:45:33

That was an amazing post pocket wishing you strength and happiness, you are amazing.

pocketsaviour Fri 20-Nov-15 17:52:55

Thanks all, hope it helps others, it's made me feel really good, sometimes I need to recognise my own strength!

Pretty no GP will involve Social Services unless they feel you are a risk to your child. If you were to go and say you felt suicidal, or that you sometimes left the DC alone in the house while you went out, or that you were taking drugs or alcohol while looking after them, or that you wanted to harm them - that would trigger a report. Going in and saying "I am feeling very anxious about lots of things, I am having panic attacks and finding it difficult to motivate myself to do everyday things" they are only going to offer you help, whether that's meds or a referral to counselling.

I so agree with Attila though that private counselling would probably be the best way forward. You can look up therapists on the BACP website - you can search by your area, approach, and specialism. When you get the search results you can find out more about the therapist. I would suggest picking several that you like the sound of, and send them an email asking them to phone you for a chat. You can then decide which you like the sound of most. Ask them about their approach, tell them a little bit about you and ask them how they would see sessions working. You could also ask for a short, reduced rate first session to see if the two of you suit each other. It can be a process to find someone you click with, but its really important to find someone you can work with, who you feel you can build trust with.

It's really vital that the therapist doesn't have a bias about keeping families together. Ask them about their work with survivors of toxic families and ask them how much experience they have in this area and whether they recommend trying to reconcile.

This is the most important investment you'll make in your life. You are worth this. We all are.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Sat 21-Nov-15 10:05:16

pocket your post is ... amazing. Your journey is amazing, from the depths to holding your own and actually doing well. I don't know the reality of your journey ofc, but that post was a good shadow of it.

Somehow it's hard to find words to say more, but that was so eloquent and very moving.


0dfod Sat 21-Nov-15 14:10:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Serioussteve Sat 21-Nov-15 17:18:06

Pocket, your posts are incredible. Thanks for all your contributions here.

I have "phone counselling" on Mon, am looking forward to starting to get things off my mind.

pocketsaviour Sat 21-Nov-15 21:40:38

Good luck for Monday Steve. Is this a first session with someone?

Serioussteve Sat 21-Nov-15 22:21:42

Yeah, first session. Hopefully we will click. I've been mind mapping things I remember, it's very useful and have flashes of new things. I've pretty much highlighted when the issues really started to hit me too.

Theymakemefeellikeshit Sat 21-Nov-15 23:28:37

Hope it all goes well on Monday Steve

I doubt the disappearance of your qualifications is an accident. AS you say been there for years.

staffiegirl Sun 22-Nov-15 21:31:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Serioussteve Mon 23-Nov-15 13:55:43

Thanks for the well wishes.

I just had my assessment over the phone, lasted 90 minutes. It was really helpful having mind mapped everything out in advance (I used simplemind for ipad). Firstly went through a questionnaire to ascertain depression, anxiety levels and risk of self-harm, then I detailed everything from the first thing I remembered up to the age of 20.

The assessor definitely feels that the continuous years of control, enforcement, and destruction of my self esteem and self worth have had a massive psychological impact and definitely played a huge causal role in the severity of my M.E. (bedbound/wheelchair). They've recommended CBT initially to try to build my own self-values and to give me some coping mechanisms for dealing with the "abuse".

My first session will be either just before or just after Christmas. Other strategies like EMDR were mentioned for the future if needed. Really nice to talk to someone impartial and objective, and thanks for letting me rant here, it's a huge help.

toomuchtooold Mon 23-Nov-15 15:26:22

Hi steve, glad to hear it went well. I've just started therapy as well and I'm in slight awe of your organisedness (is that a word?)

I had my first session last week and I basically did a 60 minute long brain dump of about 60% of my childhood. I found it really hard to ask the questions I needed to - will you acknowledge that my mother has NPD, does that exist within your sort of philosophical framework, and will you react to what I say like a normal human being - I've had counselling in the past and I find it dreadfully offputting when they react to "my mother grabbed me by the hair and dragged me across the room one time when I was 9 for scratching my nose" and "I need to reschedule next week's session" with exactly the same air of detached sympathy. She got what I meant, and many of the things I said she was nodding along with, so she gets it.

knackered, eternal,

lots of sympathy coming your way from me. It's really really hard when the kids are tiny, you're vulnerable and you have so much work on and I found the worst thing is when people say to you "can your mother help?" It's when you realise that having abusive parents is a gift that keeps on giving all your bloody life. Still it gets better as they get older, and it's a relief too as the kids get older to realise that they are fine, and you are fine, and the shitty situation you grew up in doesn't need to be repeated.

Dameshazaba Mon 23-Nov-15 23:15:23

Hi there long time lurker. Having a huge wobble at the moment, lots of emotional flashbacks. Any conflict with my partner, no matter how trivial puts me in a fight or flight response. Waiting for edmr appointments. That's about it really. Sorry to bother everyone who is going through so much flowers

Dameshazaba Mon 23-Nov-15 23:17:01

Also young kids and the can your mother help question gets me in the chest everytime... I asked her to help a few weekends ago as partner couldn't walk and I had the norovirus, she said she was going to watch a film.

EternalSunshine820 Tue 24-Nov-15 18:12:07

toomuchtooold and Dameshazaba totally with you on the 'can your mother help' thing. Being on my own with a newborn baby and partner entirely absent, but just down the road from family - everyone just assumed my mum 'must' be helping, especially as I (stupidly, with hindsight) moved closer and away from everyone else I knew at her suggestion. In reality, was begging local services to send someone, anyone, to help. Mother was sat in the pub at the end of my road for 3/4 hours (telling everyone what a great, doting nan she is of course - and what an awful, difficult daughter she has). Then even a volunteer from Homestart didn't get it and asked 'but why doesn't your mother come and help, she just lives down the road?' at half hour intervals until I couldn't take it anymore. It hurt so much to say 'I don't know.. I can't tell you.. um..' and trail off. What is the explanation really? I find that if you try to explain to someone that your parent is a narcissist they tend to look at you in a less favourable and disbelieving way. After 2 years I've never been out of the house after tea as she won't babysit, reason given is it would mean staying up an hour later than usual. I don't what normal looks like and am sure things could be worse so try to be grateful for what I do have (my gorgeous daughter), but battle rage/depression at intervals.

DeletePlay Tue 24-Nov-15 20:07:19

I'm going to jump right in - been wanting to for months...years!

The mum helping thing...gets me too. My sympathies flowers.

My mum died when I was little, so I should be used to it - right? Well, yes, I was - it was, and still is, sad not to have my mother around for all those moments but it is MIL/FIL who brings me here. Not the fact that my mum died young and my dad was violent and neglectful at times.

MIL (and FIL) live a few minutes drive from us/easy walk. DH warned me that when our first DC was born they would be completely OTT with helping because they were with SIL, who lives two hours away, when her children were born. They went for days at a time, cooking, helping with feeds, cleaning...even after SIL stopped them visiting for the first week because she just wanted it to her & BIL with their DC. FIL told me that their MIL stayed with them and did all of the above when their children were born.

You probably know what is coming but it didn't turn out that way at all. They would visit and I would run round making the tea, giving them food etc. They didn't even take their mugs back to the kitchen. We invited them round for loads of meals in the first couple of years (which they always seemed to enjoy and MIL used to comment how lovely it was not having to cook (or clean up!)...umm...I wouldn't know!) and were only invited back once a year. They helped for the first time when DD was 6 weeks old by taking her for a 20 min walk whilst I did some housework then returned to eat the lunch I had cooked them. They had managed to get a puncture in the pram wheel - FIL asked if I had a puncture repair kit - I assumed he was offering to mend it...nope (DH was away on business and I was so knackered that the thought of mending a puncture...). Just left it like that for me to deal with. Nice.

If we asked MIL (FIL was still working pt then) to babysit for a short period of time (1 hr) she would say yes but then be really difficult and I am pretty convinced broke/damaged things on purpose (she managed to burn our fridge door with the gas hob - no idea what she was even using it for at 10.30 am and when asked she just ignored us - and it would have been impossible to do it with out actually trying...). We are talking babysitting once every couple of months here btw.

I've got a load of other stories but that will do for now! I know these probably sound pretty pathetic but I can't begin to tell you the damage that the cumulative effect of many, many similar tales have had.

We asked them to look after DS for 15 mins once and then walk him to the bus stop for school (primary age) - would have been 30 mins out of the house for them in the morning max. They said no because MIL would be tired as she wouldn't be in until 10 pm the night before (because she had to pick up FIL from a function a 5 min drive away). A week later FIL asked DH to pick him up from a train station 1 hour away from our home, during the working week, at midnight (because he had been looking after SIL's children for THREE days and didn't want to stay over an extra night and come back in the morning) and MIL doesn't like driving in the dark (neither does DH!) so couldn't do it.

The DH confessed it has always been like this - SIL was the golden child and he...wasn't. At this stage he blamed SIL for all of this - the fact that she took the piss with all the help she demanded with her children and now his parents are wise to it so are being difficult with us (who ask for a small amount of help very occasionally!). It didn't help that the PIL were playing the victim card with her - they are pensioners and when they go up to help SIL with her childcare they have to pay for their own train DH wades in with SIL and tells her to stop taking advantage of them and pay their train fare. Triangulation I believe it is called now - looking back.

I've build my boundaries over the years (well over a decade now) but I'm still not at peace with this. I am being wound up by things that haven't even happened...yet! I guess I am just so disappointed that my 'second chance' at a normal family set up didn't happen and worse I have let it affect my own little family. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that I am not imagining things- MIL is a covert narcissist and FIL is an enabler (well, they may not be but it does rather seem that way sometimes).

Sorry - this is much longer than I was hoping it would be.

Somermummy1 Wed 25-Nov-15 06:38:02

Sorry to barge in but need a quick rant to restore my sanity

Have been NC with my parents since May

Mine are in the 'not really abuse' category but M has ticked numerous boxes on the NPD lists and D is her enabler

Ive made sure DCs (7 and 4) phone their grandparents from time to time more for benefit of DCs than parents as have found it stopped the (surprisingly minimal) questions from DCs

Recently got caught up in in the season of goodwill and emailed to offer to visit at Christmas (a 5 hr round trip)

The reply ('D'M) was that they are going on holiday and by the way my
Dad is ill but my mum has no daughter that she can talk to about it


My dad is ill but no further explanation

And the worst part of him being ill is that SHE can't talk to me about it? (Strange as my phone does actually accept incoming calls)

Is she using a NPD book as some sort of training manual ????

I just want to give up on them both altogether but I'm tired of having to answer the "how will you feel if something happens to them" question from people in real life


Rant over

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 25-Nov-15 08:12:31

You are not low contact if there are occasional phone calls made by your children. No contact is precisely that, low contact often leads to no contact anyway. Would urge you to take that next step.

Their behaviour is not untypical from a narcissist and her enabler i.e. your dad. He being weak needs someone to idolise, you have likely never been able to rely upon him at all either. He has basically pandered to her and has also facilitated the abuse of you. He is her sidekick, making sure that she is kept happy no matter the cost to the children.

Your children are being used as their narcissistic supply and are too young to realise that they are being manipulated; you need to immediately stop the phone calls to their toxic grandparents. At least your parents gave you an "out" by telling you that they are going on holiday, you dodged a bullet there.

I think SM you have been well trained by these people and continue to act as such, that is also why you sent such an e-mail to them in the first place. You perhaps feel on some innate level hope that after a period of low contact they will behave better now. Not a chance and they will further find ways of hurting you all if you facilitate any contact whatsoever.
Such people can and do use their grandchildren, you perhaps are finding already that they have a favourite amongst the children or at the very least overvalue or undervalue the relationship. Again this is typical of narcissists.

It is also NOT possible to have any sort of a relationship with a narcissist.

I would also think your dad is not all that ill either even if he is ill (you have no proper way of finding out), its just being used to tug at your heartstrings. Toxic people just love using (previously unknown) health problems as its a good tactic to bring their adult children back into line. Her response re having no daughter to talk to about it is just plain nasty and designed to hurt you.

Children are often quite indiscriminate in their love which is why they need parents to guide them. Not every person is safe to have around and this is a good time to teach that important life lesson. The more matter-of-fact you are, the more matter-of-fact your children will be. When we act hysterical, they will usually reflect our hysteria. If you act anxious, they will act anxious. If you appear unsure, they will push. Model the reaction and attitude you want your children to adopt. FWIW I did not think they would really question it at all.

Give up on them both now because they are truly masters of, "come closer so I can hurt you again".

Many people in RL simply do not get the abnormal and toxic dynamics regarding such narcissistic people unless they have had narc parents or relations themselves. Bat off such intrusive questions firmly.

BTW my late narc FIL died around a year ago now and no-one outside the family has ever asked me whether I miss him or not (I do not actually).

Protect yourself and your children from them SM, you will indeed thank yourself for jettisoning them altogether. Stop all the albeit communications and enjoy Christmas at home with your children.

toomuchtooold Wed 25-Nov-15 09:24:13


I find that if you try to explain to someone that your parent is a narcissist they tend to look at you in a less favourable and disbelieving way.

Yep, I've found that. If you're vague and say "I don't get along with my mother" then they think there's something wrong with you, and if you're specific about the abuse they think you're an attention seeker. Honestly I'm bisexual and I've found it tons easier to come out as bi than to come out as an adult child of a dysfunctional family. And then the feeling of blame is compounded because of your own experiences as a small child where you would have sought to blame yourself when your mother was abusive or neglectful. It's just the gift that keeps on giving.

Deleteplay, I can really identify with a few things in your story. The thing about breaking things - my mother came to visit us three times in a row and was on her so-called best behaviour but one time when we were out she sat in the house while a summer storm came in through all our open windows, then once she offered to clean our fridge and then after she left I was opening the fridge and one of the shelves holding a 2l milk carton fell to the floor, just missing DD1 - looked at the shelf and the one side of it had been broken and it had been put back on precariously balanced, then one time again we were out and she offered to clean up and later I found that two little ant poison traps had been moved from way behind the shoe rack in the hall to the kids' toy box - there was ant poison
all over their toys and I had to throw most of it out. Each time it's something that could conceivably be a mistake but the fact that it's repeated, and that I bloody know her and that she hates us and only ever came to see the grandkids, tells me otherwise.

Also about hoping you might have married into a normal family... I suspect that those of us who grew up in abusive/dysfunctional families find each other. DH's dad is a narcissist, not as sick or as nasty as my mum but you can see the effect on them all and my BIL is not in contact with the family. (When I started reading about narcissism I started seeing them all over my life and for a while I thought it was "if you have a hammer every problem looks like a nail" but actually no, I think us survivors recognise each other and also sadly, perpetrators can recognise ex-victims.)

I'm tired of having to answer the "how will you feel if something happens to them" question from people in real life

For 5 years (after my dad died) I stayed in contact with my mum "so I wouldn't have to feel guilty when she died". I'm full NC now, only since a couple of months, but it's just a relief really. I was worried about the influence of my mother on my children - either she'd manage to stay on her best behaviour, get them on side and then use them to hurt me, or she'd try to fuck them up too. Already at 3 she was starting to say things in front of them like "DD2 is everyone's favourite but I've already had a dark haired one [me and DD2] so DD1 is MY favourite." Oh fuck off mother.

Think about your own deathbed maybe. Will you be happy that you spent all that time and effort on people who hurt you? Or will you think it a waste, and wish you'd spent your effort on people who love you and people who bring you joy?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 25-Nov-15 09:40:07


re your comment:-

"Also young kids and the can your mother help question gets me in the chest everytime... I asked her to help a few weekends ago as partner couldn't walk and I had the norovirus, she said she was going to watch a film".

This struck a chord with me. I have had similar happen to me as well and more than once over many years. My disinterested mum and dad would never have helped in such circumstances either and they did not, she would not have wanted to catch that virus. Norovirus is awful I grant you but she did not even want to put a newspaper through my letterbox.

They did not want to come to any of his school sports days or nativity plays at Christmas and never actually attended anything. I used to stand there and watch on my own, practically everyone around me had a family member with them.

I stopped asking them in the end and I learnt too that it was not my issue but theirs. (They favour my childfree single brother and run around after him). Now my son is a lot older and is not all that bothered with them. My dad phoned me one time to say that my mother missed me. They perhaps wonder why I do not see them very often!.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 12:56:58

somer .... 'how will you feel if he dies" Other people are the problem not you.

A bit tangentially but it might help - when it came to inviting my biol. mother and my adoptive father to my wedding, I thought it over very carefully. Both of them are nightmares in very different ways. The mental question I posed myself was "will i regret it in 15 years' time if I don't invite them". I guessed that the answer would be No, and so far (8 years on) I've been proved right. Mother died shortly afterwards and frankly (you can only say this here on Stately Homes) it was a relief.

I think you have to do what is right for YOU here, not what other people think you should do.

Someone came up with a great answer on Mumsnet to the 'but he's your father!" line. Yes, he's my father, but not everyone grows up to be a nice person. Those unpleasant people sometimes have children, and then those children have parents who aren't very nice.

It's a lonely place when you don't have the net work of family, not only for yourself but because so many people don't have any understanding of what it is like. It's isolating. But you do have to do what is right for you.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 13:12:55

The point I was dozily trying to make was that if you go NC with him, do you think that in 10 - 15 years' time you will regret it or be glad of it? Never mind what -other- people say

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 25-Nov-15 13:14:11


I have also found this excerpt helpful too:-

pocketsaviour Wed 25-Nov-15 13:22:30

Funnily enough I very rarely get anyone giving me the "but she's your mum!" line.

Possibly this is because I look so scary that nobody dares grin I knew that Bitchy Resting Face would come in useful some day...

A useful response I've given in the past though (before I cultivated my current terrifying face) was "Real mothers/fathers don't abuse their children." Then just say nothing for a few seconds, then change the subject.

Just remembered something my mum said a couple of years ago while I was still with my ex. She appeared to like my ex, certainly she approved of him as he earned more money than I did (her primary approval decider.)

We were talking vaguely about weddings - I think it might have been around the time a cousin was getting married. And my mum said "If you do decide to marry Ex, you won't expect me to be there, will you? After all, I did go to your first one. And look how that turned out." My first husband died hmm

OK he didn't die until after we'd separated. But my god, she never let me forget how much she disliked my son's dad. Nor to pile on with comments like "Well, your son does take after his dad. And let's face it, he was pretty thick."

DeletePlay Wed 25-Nov-15 15:07:08

toomuchtoocold - Takes a while to see the pattern. Those were pretty classic deniable acts or easy to blame on someone else. The ant poison is really shocking - I guess she thought she could blame it on the children if challenged.

MIL also broke a kitchen tile (nothing was mentioned to us) but it must have been her. They didn't break when things fell on them (had plenty of proof to that!) so pretty sure it was deliberate. Even if it wasn't deliberate surely you would apologise?

Unsurprisingly, the completely unspoken rule is that we don't leave her unsupervised in our home. So, it has been a long time since there was a breakage. She did mange to get an entire cup of tea thrown up our full length cream curtains a while back though (split moment when no one was looking I guess!) - apologised but look disappointed that I managed to get the stain out straight away with no fuss or looking bothered about it.

Off to read more of everyone else's story now as I just jumped straight in.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 15:38:28

jeeze pocket

just typed out a long thing but gonna cut it short, just to say you, pocket, are an amazing woman.

Somermummy1 Wed 25-Nov-15 18:09:43

You are all wonderful human beings
And if I wasn't on my phone i would say thank you far more eloquently and answer all your brilliant posts separately

But instead I will just say that I am truly thankful that I found the SH thread and can have the occasional sanity check on here with people who genuinely understand

Attila - by the way - that article is truly brilliant. The analogy to whether we'd be expected to put up with the same from a partner and keep going back for more is spot on!

I've tried - again. I can live with that. If my dad is genuinely Ill then he should be the one putting his house in order not me

And I'm not going to try anymore. The goalposts shift every time

The DCs are young enough to be easily distracted and will be just fine without them. Just like I will be.

Blimey - that was supposed to be a short post !

Thank you all SO much smile

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Wed 25-Nov-15 18:25:51

Hi, can I ask for some thoughts? I've been NC with my family for a couple of years, I posted on the main relationships board recently and was told I was needy and childish which was a bit unexpected, but here I am again...

My sister has emailed to ask if we could meet up. I don't particularly want to. The back story is that - in my perception anyway - she was the Golden Child and I was the scapegoat. She's recieved significant financial support from our parents and I haven't.

Not being in touch saves me from feeling angry, jealous and inadequate.

Should I explain this, or just decline?

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 19:48:54


has your sister ever dug the boot in, or harmed you in a way that was not directly or indirectly down to your parents?

Do you think that if you meet something positive will come out of it, or will you be the whipping boy again?

In principle, I'd say follow your own wishes.

But if she was reasonably okay with you, then if you can I think it would be an idea to ask why she wants to meet and what she thinks will come out of, and then decide. You're also entitled to ask that certain subjects are offlimits and to keep to that.

If you think something positive might come out of it in the long run then it might be good.

But it depends on you.

If you are not ready, then a neutralish answer might be that at the moment you're doing a lot of thinking about family stuff and struggling, that you're not sure you're ready to meet but if she would like to, you'll be in contact in the future when you feel more ready.

Not closing the door completely can only be a good thing ... as long as she is not toxic. This way you're saying Yes or No, but not cutting her down.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 19:49:32

If she's going ot deliberately drag you down then the answer is definitely No.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 25-Nov-15 19:58:52

I would be wondering why your sister has chosen to e-mail you now. She wants something from you and this has not been done I would think out of any real concern for your well being. Sounds like she is doing a behaviour known as "hoovering".

TBH I would not bother replying to it; no good will likely come to you from at all doing so. You've already stated that you do not want to meet up with her anyway so that's more than enough for me. Would actually now consider blocking her e-mail address from your inbox.

Re your username. that is the first line of one of my favourite poems!.

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Wed 25-Nov-15 20:11:31

She's never physically harmed me, but she has taken family things and kept them or sold them herself, which upset me a great deal. Another mumsnetter once wrote of "the family hoard" which one member of her family appointed herself the keeper of, and that rang a bell for me. It's about who's in the family and who's out of it.

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Wed 25-Nov-15 20:14:01

attilla, I'm glad you love it too! It speaks to me of freedom and peace.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 20:14:25

Does she know that you were very upset?

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Wed 25-Nov-15 20:24:03

I don't know. I told her that I didn't agree she had the right to sell them but it didn't change her decision.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Wed 25-Nov-15 20:33:17

I suspect there's a huge amount of past history here that maybe needs a lot of unravelling.

personally I think your best bet is to ask her why she wants to meet and what she wants to talk about.

If she answers and you still feel you don't want to meet, then don't. Your wishes matter here. Maybe leave the door open for future though. If you feel you are (warily) willing to meet, then give it a go. You can always cut it short and leave if it gets tricky.

If she doesn't answer, then go with what you want, don't meet her.

Imustgodowntotheseaagain Wed 25-Nov-15 20:54:03

Reading these suggestions I just feel myself resisting the idea of replying! Her message said that she missed me and hearing about my travelling. I've been through some hefty challenges to get to where I am now, but it feels like I'm just expected to be the entertainment.

I'm completely at peace with never seeing her again.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 26-Nov-15 07:42:18

Then the right decision for you is made =)

DeletePlay Thu 26-Nov-15 08:41:10

Glad that the decision came to you with a feeling of peace - I agree, it will be the right one.

mampam Thu 26-Nov-15 10:02:28

Hi all, I just thought I would come back and give a quick update and say a big thank you to those of you who supported me and gave advice back in the summer.

I am thankful to say that DH, the DC's and I no longer live next door to the IL's. The relief to have moved is immense, things had gotten to breaking point whilst we were still living next door to them. On top of all the other things that were going on the IL's really hammed it up once they knew we were leaving ranging from spraying highly potent weed killer and digging in our garden to cleaning our windows upstairs and down hmm to taping notices on our door.

Unfortunately we have only moved about 2.5 miles away from them and effectively live on the same road as them although we live in a place that you would only come to for a specific reason i.e. you live here, so that is a bonus I suppose.

For a few weeks after we moved IL's were standing at the side of the road by their house every morning waiting for DC3's school bus to go passed. I then started to sporadically drive DC3 to school and sit them on the other side of the bus whenever possible. I was really worried that they were going to try and stop the bus and take her off as unfortunately they do not have a regular driver at the moment who would know exactly where the children get on or off the bus.

Once our broadband and landline were connected a couple of weeks after we had moved we had a random phone call from a woman claiming to be a long lost friend of MIL's wanting to get in touch with her. At this point in time we hadn't given out our new land line number but realised that it could be found on the online BT phone directory. So now the IL's have our address and telephone number (can't go ex directory because of DH's business) and have made good use of it by dumping a pile of our mail on our doorstep on DC1's 16th birthday. They didn't however acknowledge DC1's birthday but they did DC4's birthday 10 days later but then biologically DC1 isn't DH's even though he loves and treats all 4 of our DC's exactly the same and it doesn't matter to him who is and who isn't biologically his, they never accepted this.

DH also had his birthday and received an obligatory card from his parents, inside it read: To MrMampam, from Mum and Dad. Extremely odd for them to sign the card as 'mum and dad', DH has always called them by their Christian names.

Anyway there are other things that have happened like IL's turning up at places where they know DH will be, telling people that we know that we are being daft and won't let them see DC's 3&4 etc. I know they won't give up easily and there is probably a long road ahead but I just need to focus on moving forward.

Both DH and I actually feel traumatised by what has gone on, it seems extreme but it's the only way I can describe it. Things about the last 2 years just keep unexpectedly keep popping into our heads and when we start to think about it we realise that we were being emotionally abused by these people. They had us believing like we were nothing without them, they undermined us as parents, as husband and wife, as tenants, they controlled us or certainly tried to, they belittled us, we were answerable to them or so they thought. They took away our privacy and what felt like our freedom too. They tried to come between us.

It's sad when you spend the first week in your new house whispering because it has become such a habit as everything we said at a normal volume could be heard (and was listened to) by the IL's and boy did they like to let us know that they knew what we had been talking about!!

I realise it will probably take a long time to get over this and I won't deny that the stress has taken its toll on our marriage. We are both mentally exhausted.
As the IL's try to continue their assault on us even after we have moved house I can't help but have a little fantasy about leaving DH, taking the DC and then I will never have any dealings with these people again.
I feel extremely guilty for having these thoughts especially when I know how bad/guilty DH feels about this situation.

Anyway thanks again for the support and advice I received on this thread, it really did help flowers

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 26-Nov-15 10:26:26

mampam im so glad you're at least that far away. Agreed you are going to have a battle to get them out of your life.

Record -everything-. Absolutely everything. Record as much as you can remember and the approx dates. Certainly record every single little odd thing or 'coincidence' that happens from now on and the measures you are taking to stop them contacting you, eg taking your children yourself to school so they don't take them off the bus.

After a while of this, send them one recorded delivery note (typed envelope) telling them not to contact you or the children. Yes, they controlled you and abused you as a family and as individuals - rather badly.

If you send them that note, then you can go to the police under the Harassment law. There's a poster here, DisgracetotheYchromasome who knows how it works, I don't think he'd mind a pm as I've seen him offer to talk it through with other people.

Could you possibly talk to the police about this situation? Somehow, with the lengths they are willing to go to, there's something here that is giving me a sense of danger.

On a last note, they will indeed make it all out to be your fault. it's worth planning a way to deal with the rumours or criticisms that come back to you. "there's a great deal more going on than they are saying and we're taking advice from / we're on the verge of taking advice from the police. I'd rather not talk about it any more".

This -is- going to take yet more mental effort and time to sort out and it won't be quick, but I really think that recording everything and also talking to the police is pretty important here.

The biggest thing is, you have a chance now for a much, much better future and healing between you.

How are you otherwise, mampam?

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 26-Nov-15 10:30:37

DisgracetotheYChromosome* sorry

mampam Thu 26-Nov-15 18:19:04

Thanks Meer I am already in contact with a friend of mine who is a policewoman. She knows all about the situation (plus she has her own narc mother so she completely gets it) and has advised us to keep any contact with the IL's via email so as to leave a footprint/paper trail of evidence.
She has advised us that if the harassment continues to write an email to them stating their behaviour and that we feel intimidated and harassed by it and telling them to stop.
She told us to treat it as a divorce type scenario but feels that at this stage if the police were to turn up on their doorstep that they would just say they
are trying to see their grandchildren and would be believed shock

I will however keep in mind about getting in contact with the poster on here for advice thank you.

It is worrying though Meer that something is giving you a sense of danger, I am really worried about the whole thing with regards to the DC to be honest but I just can't put my finger on it. The fact that they have all the time in the world to plot and plan isn't very comforting either.

Since moving DH and I have since realised that they must have been tampering with our post too but of course have no proof.

FIL had also been putting items onto DH's account at a local builders merchant. We only found out as his items were being delivered to our old house and they called DH's mobile to get directions!!
Funnily enough when our mail was dumped on our door step there was no invoice from the builders merchant (DH had stupidly forgotten to change the address until this had happened). To cut a long story short DH had to go and sort it out at the builders merchants where they had to call FIL to remind him to pay for the items he had (without letting on DH knew), luckily he paid for them and a notification has now been put on the account whereby staff will only let DH use it!!

I'm wondering if I need to go in to the school and talk to them about the situation and the bus journeys etc?

It's always difficult to know what to say to other people regarding what actually happened so if you don't mind I will use what you've given me as an example grin

To be honest so far we've had nothing but support from people and nothing negative. MIL did try to turn on a sob story to my SF. She however didn't know that I am now back in contact with him (long story after 5years NC with my mother but they have been separated for over 2 years (still NC with my mother)). MIL asked SF if he knew that MrMampam had left home? She then went on to say that we had been doing daft things and won't let them see DC's 3&4!!

I'm ok Meer. I've gone from being a nervous wreck in the final weeks of living next door to them to now being really angry. I'm angry that they have done this to us. That they dared to make out like we are using our DC as weapons against them when they have tried to fold their own son's business - doesn't that seriously affect their GC when DH can't earn any money? They have put the DC through this upheaval.
I'm angry that they can make a lot of money out of renting out our house that we spent a fortune on, that DH slogged his guts out morning, noon and night, every spare minute he had building part of that house for over a year of our lives and that he will never get that time back.
I'm angry that we are having to start all over again and it sounds silly but I'm annoyed that we've had to get rid of one of our sofa's as it won't fit in our new house and now we're going to have to get rid of the sofa that will fit to buy a corner sofa..........I guess I feel annoyed that these things have been forced upon us.

On the up side we had both forgotten how fun life could be or that life could even be happy. We have some great neighbours and have made some lovely new friends who we can call on/rely on..........something we never even felt with our own family.
We live in a beautiful, wonderful place where people pay a lot of money to live or have a holiday home here, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we have been given and feel very lucky to be here.

I just hope that we can get through the next phase of our lives without letting others ruin it for us.

DD has just this minute told me that IL's don't stand on the roadside anymore but are always either stood in their garden(which is right next to the road) watching and waving or stood in their bedroom doing the same.


OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 26-Nov-15 19:07:30

really glad to hear that you have rediscovered the joy of living!

your ILs are a piece of work. (do you think you were drawn to your husband because both of you have experience of v difficult parents, perhaps? dont answer here, just posing the question! it can help if you both get the awkward family dynamics)

I'm wondering if I need to go in to the school and talk to them about the situation and the bus journeys etc?

Yes. Absolutely Yes. You don't need to lay out the whole story but let them know enough to say that GPS do NOT ever have the right to pick up the children or have contact with them.

Your ILS are entirely ruthless and there is a malice behind their actions that is quite disturbing even to read about. They aren't thinking of the long term welfare of your children at all. I suspect they see them as possessions to own, the same as they saw you and Mr Mampan. The regular and limitless invasion of your home, the attempts to take over your children and your entire lives, the interference with post, the attempts to fold your husband's business, the manipulation etc are frightening. It's almost something out of a film except it's parents, not a partner. You've been under serious siege from enemies in friends' clothing. I don't think it's too strong to say that. Very glad that you've had advice from someone in the police.

The biggest thing now is to protect your children from them. How does your daughter feel about the waving thing? how do the children generally feel about them? Your ILs will probably try hard to build up their own relationship with the GC without you. I think you maybe need to prepare them in an age-appropriate way by firstly teaching them to look a little bit under the surface ... "why do you think XXX said that?" "what do you think it feels like if someone did that to you?" "do you think that YYY action was a kind thing to do, or not? why's that?" ... that sort of question scattered over the months and years can get children to think, I hope. If you come from a nice home, people often don't have the tools to see what some people can really be like under the surface.

Maybe an age-appropriate conversation will help "well, people have their own families and unfortunately, Granny and Granpa forgot that they need to treat everyone, including us and you, with politeness; to not just walk into the house, to not try to take everything over, to not take stuff from Dad and Mum (eg the builders merchants - there've been a lot lot more blurred-boundary incidents havent there!). You don't like it if we read your diary or take your favourite toys or tell you how you have to play with your friends do you? well, neither do Mum or Dad. They wouldn't stop when we asked them nicely, so we have found somewhere else to live"

The second biggest thing is to keep recording every incident you can remember + rough date, and every single incident since. The builders' merchants company is one. The feeling that they've been interfering with the post is another; can you break down exactly why you think that? The attempts to get between Mr Mampam and you are also good to record. And yes, if you can get stuff done by email or text (can you keep a copy of the texts?) that's a solid trail.

Regarding being angry about the work your husband put in - yeah I can really understnad that, specially when it means you have to look after the children and when you were so damn sick. But really - ok they won that round, but you have won overall because you are nearly free of them, and you have new lives that are enjoyable. (also, pity the poor tenants they get!). You've been through the worst of the storm. Protect your children from their influence and you'll be ok smile

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Thu 26-Nov-15 19:08:57

regarding school, maybe make it clear that no information at all is to be given the GPs about the children.

This may be a step too far, but is there any chance they could try to pretend to be you? if so, the school needs warning of that, too, and if anything iffy comes through, they need to speak to you or Mr Mampam on the phone.

Theymakemefeellikeshit Thu 26-Nov-15 22:57:29

Hi mampam. I remember your previous posts. A huge well done for moving away. I know you weren't convinced that you could do it and you have done.

Keep persevering and like others have said keep a detailed record.

Fupfamilysurvivor Fri 27-Nov-15 02:50:11

Back again. Dreading Christmas. Previously supportive aunt hasn't been in touch at all. Discovered that toxic sister was also involved in ex's malicious report to ss about me several years ago. Mum has barely been in touch. Dad made a couple of very late night incoherent and when coherent nasty phonecalls. Eventually told him to fuck off. Mum asked why and I told her. He then was admitted to hospital (he is ill but also has a habit of not taking meds and/or exaggerating worsening symptoms if he's not getting the attention he thinks he deserves) mum called to let me know. At this point I told her honestly that I'd never wanted back in touch with the toxic creep anyway!

Feeling guilty for situation with mum given she has had a rough year too (although partly if her own making). Last few years we have been going to hers with sis and dn's for Christmas, that won't be happening this year. Aunt still talking to dd if dd calls her. Mum has apparently asked aunt what to get dd for Christmas (also her birthday v soon) but I've heard nothing about how they're going to reach dd or if mum even going to try and see dd on her birthday. Mum hasn't been in touch with dd either.

Me and dd just for Christmas is fine but the family always made a fuss for her birthday (it being near Christmas) and now this year none of it being dd's fault her heart is breaking and I don't know what to do.

Frankly I could scream at the lot of them for excluding a child! They could certainly call her and it would not be a problem them seeing her in town without me (I wouldn't allow her to mums alone with dad around and she wouldn't want to).

I also feel guilty at not getting dn's anything for Christmas, don't know what they like now and knowing sis she'd destroy/bin anything she even suspected was from me.

What do I do? How do I make sure this isn't a miserable time for dd?

I'm also very depressed and in a lot of pain with an injury. So not the most cheerful person to be around though of course I try for dd.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 27-Nov-15 07:09:29

Toxic parents like yours Fup more often than not become toxic as grandparents as well. They were not good parents to you and will behave similarly to your child too if given any opportunity. It will do her no favours at all for her to keep on seeing her mother so disrespected and disregarded. Your guilt is actually very much misplaced, after the way your sister has behaved I honestly would not think twice about not buying any gifts for her children either. She has never given you any due consideration whatsoever but instead chose to be herself involved in making a malicious report.

Deal with your FOG; start this long and arduous process by reading the Out of the Fog website.

It is NOT your fault your family of origin are so disordered; you did not make them this way. Their own families of origin did that lot of damage to them.

Your mother, father and sister all sound as bad as one another; I would not give any of them now a further minute of your time. At the very least I would block their means of communicating with you. Your mother has and continues to act as her H's enabler and hatchet woman; she cannot be at all relied upon either. She only called you further to pile on more pressure and guilt re your dad even after you told her to f off. Setting boundaries with these people is going to be very difficult if not impossible as they will likely ignore these. They are perhaps the sort of people who would try and buy your DDs affections as well with the view of making her feel obligated to them.

How old is DD?. Model the attitude you would like her to adopt; if you feel unsure she will sense that. Is her heart really breaking?. Do not operate from a fearful mindset. Rather than being fearful, see the plentiful opportunities in this. You are protecting your children from someone whom you've experienced as being abusive; you are reassuring your children that you are in charge and are watchful for their best interests (creates deep sense of security); you can teach healthy family values which include that family doesn't get a pass for abusive behaviour; you can strengthen and reinforce the healthy relationships in your extended family. Kids are less likely to feel like there is a void in their life if you fill it with good things.

Kids are amazingly resilient and well-equipped to handle truth. Parents are supposed to protect their progeny. If your child doesn't agree with how you go about that don't worry. They will often disagree with your decisions for their best interests. Nothing new there. It is your job as parent to make the tough decisions. If you know it is the right decision then proceed with confidence. Showing confidence is a quality of leadership. As a parent you are supposed to be a leader. Lead...and they will likely follow.

Do not involve any of your family of origin in your lives from now on and spend what you can comfortably afford on the festive season. Also do not forget that its only two days out of the rest of the year after all.

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Fri 27-Nov-15 07:35:34

and now this year none of it being dd's fault her heart is breaking and I don't know what to do

what a hard thing to deal with sad

Might it help (im not sure, just suggesting) to treat this as with other griefs when she is older? How old is she? Give her time to be cry and to be upset and to ask her questions. Be there for her. If she asks why, give an age-appropriate answer "your aunt did something very, very unkind and won't say sorry and try to make it up, so we won't see her this christmas. I'll tell you more when you are older. Now, if it is just you and me for christmas, what would you like best of all? what plans would you like to make?" .. and if she comes back with 'i just want to be with Granny, then leave it for now and distract her with something else, then ask her another time.

Fupfamilysurvivor Fri 27-Nov-15 08:47:13

Dd is 15 and mature with it. She's actually adamant on my behalf that I've done nothing wrong (she knows exactly what happened) and is very clear that she never liked my sis anyway (my sis spoiled her until she had her own dc then dropped her and then when the kids were altogether any falling out was dd's fault! angry)

Absolutely no qualms about being NC with dad and sis.

We (dd and I) do both miss dn's though (I also worry about them as sis already scapegoating/goldening them, plus she's a chaotic mum).

Mum is more complicated as she never knew about the sa until years later (but...doesn't believe it happened, she seems to think it's some kind of false memory?!) And has obviously stayed with dad.

She didn't put it as calling me to guilt me but 'just to let you know' and is 'sad for me' not having a good relationship with dad.

But then this year the anger over her not protecting us from him has hit me too! In fact for being with him at all! (He was abusive and controlling from the beginning and she was told by friends and family, family repeatedly tried to get her away from him but she always went back). As a mother I couldn't stomach sleeping in the same bed as a man who would sa his own daughter!

Confusion anger and hurt more than fog tbh.

Dd seems to know/understand it'll just be us for Christmas but admitted she told aunt that she's hurt gran hasn't been in touch about birthday.

I've blocked as much as I can, can't block on landline. Have caller id though so if its their number I don't answer, but just the phone ringing is stressful when I know its them.

I've been on fog site before, might pop back to look at the stuff on surviving going NC.

Thanks for replies this thread is a haven flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 27-Nov-15 09:19:34


re your comment:-
"We (dd and I) do both miss dn's though (I also worry about them as sis already scapegoating/goldening them, plus she's a chaotic mum)".

When was the last time you saw dn's?.

Your sister has likely been doing that for years as well; she is very much a product of her own upbringing. This is what is meant when people write that toxic dysfunction within families can go down the generations. If there is no relationship with the DN's anyway because of your sister then the best thing you can both do is to protect yourselves from that part of your family of origin's overall dysfunction. Its not your fault there is no relationship.

Out of all your family of origin you are the most balanced. People from dysfunctional families end up playing roles: I would also think your role within that was and remains one of scapegoat for all their inherent ills.

Your mother has played the usual sort of roles associated with such dysfunctional spouses; the role of an enabler being a primary one. She has also not readily believed you either when it has come to her H's sexual abuse. She has stayed for her own selfish reasons; ones of self interest mainly and she has chosen to believe him for her own reasons as well. She has utterly failed you as a parent like your dad has done.

Fupfamilysurvivor Fri 27-Nov-15 09:31:15

Last saw dn's just after Easter.

Yes she's been doing it for years. Dn1 is GC, dn2 is scapegoat.

I was mum's scapegoat but up to a certain age dads GC (ulterior motives obviously) but sis was vice versa.

Agree re mum but hard to ignore the fact she was a victim too. Although one of the reasons the anger hit this year was she let slip one of the reasons she stayed was money. I've never had a lot financially and I don't consider it or material things important beyond what is necessary to live a life. She's loathe to miss out on his work pension which she'll get when he dies, also because all major assets in his name. But she always worked full time in jobs that paid enough to live on (just not enough for her to be happy with. Dads job paid well and so will/does his pension).

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Fri 27-Nov-15 10:51:29

mampam when I reread my last post, I don't think I put the possible explanation to the children very well. Was hoping for the neutral and factual approach with just enough in to help them realise that some behaviour isn't okay. But what came out was not as neutral as I hoped.

pocketsaviour Fri 27-Nov-15 11:08:53

Mampam I'm so glad you've managed to get away at least from them being right on top of you. Definitely agree you should speak to the school, firstly about safety but also to make school aware that the DC are coming out of a traumatic situation and may be acting out a bit, seem withdrawn etc.

Keep logging all the harassment because I get the impression you will need to go for legal action with them. The builder's merchants is actually fraud (since FIL pretended to be someone else) so maybe worth talking to your police officer friend about reporting this right away?

If you have people asking you about it, I would personally keep it totally factual and spare nothing: "They are very abusive people who tried to ruin my DH's business and evicted us and our children from our home because they wanted DH to divorce me." I can't imagine anyone having any further questions after that!

I was mum's scapegoat but up to a certain age dads GC (ulterior motives obviously) but sis was vice versa... Agree re mum but hard to ignore the fact she was a victim too. Although one of the reasons the anger hit this year was she let slip one of the reasons she stayed was money.

This is incredibly similar to what happened in my upbringing: dad's favourite, mum's scapegoat, dad starts molesting me. Sister other way around.

I had pretty much buried the fact that mum stayed because she liked the lifestyle, even though she knew what was happening. 2 years ago I moved back to the area where I grew up and a lot of memories and feelings started surfacing. Not stuff that I'd forgotten, just things I had drawn a veil over because it was too painful to accept that my mum had basically sacrificed me to my dad so she could stay living in her nice house.

I have now gone fully NC with her (been NC with dad for 25+ years) and it's a hell of a relief. My DS is better off without her in his life as she is also horribly critical of and rude to him.

Watchatalltimes Sat 28-Nov-15 08:32:57

I had my first counselling session the other day about my childhood. I have a narcissistic mother and My father enables her. My sister is very much the golden child and My brother also has narcissistic tendencies. It opened my eyes when I told her about one summer, we were fighting as children do, due to boredom. My mother could not handle or cope with this so phoned SS who arranged for me and my brother to go to a respite home, which was used as punisheent. My counsellor was sat there looking shock. It then hit me how much I had normalised this. She also asked if Iwanted a relationship with my parents, but atm I'm not sure. It all depends on how much they respect the boundaries I set but I think I will probably end up going NC. sad.

Fupfamilysurvivor Sat 28-Nov-15 11:37:34

Pocketsaviour that's the first time I've ever heard of anyone having the same experience as me in terms of somehow being both scapegoat and golden child. I know we're supposed to not say this here but my experience with my dad was 'not that bad' as there were only a few minor incidents before I realised what was happening and then I protected myself. (Wouldn't be alone with him, barricaded my room at night and slept with a knife under my pillow) so I kinda feel a lot of times that my experience isn't valid in terms of molestation/sa. But its hard to always have to give the details every time it comes up.

It would also be disingenuous to simply say sis was GC. With dad she could do nothing right.

I was NC with dad for 10 years at one point (partly as I couldn't stomach the thought of him near dd). I was persuaded at a time when I was vulnerable to get back in contact ('just speak to him on the phone you don't have to see him' 'just come to the house you don't have to see him' etc) until I was exactly where I didn't want to be listening to his excuses, telling me what a shit daughter I am etc. No more!

So difficult with mum as I've ended up living in a very small town with several relatives also living nearby. They know what dad did but won't believe it (even though my understanding is that my grandad - who was lovely to me and other grandkids - was the same when they were growing up - as in violent alcoholic. I've not been told of any sa but 2 of my aunts have anxiety. Truth is I just don't know.) They certainky all left home asap! Also my grandma (again great as a grandma) was strict I know when they were growing up. They're both gone now but they're talked about as if they were saints. Denial is powerful stuff.

Mum didn't have any of this growing up but mum and dad did both grow up in very rough areas and with major poverty.

I have to say my mum is great with dd and never criticises me to her. (I think partly as she knows dd would tell me and I would definitely go NC then). That's partly why I'm struggling with Christmas.

Just talked to dd about what she wants to do at Christmas. She wants gran to come over at some stage during the day if she wants to/can. I'm OK with that but don't think it will happen.

Her birthday she has plans with friends the day before and we're thinking what else to do on the day.

mampam your situation is horrendous. I agree I think getting some support from the police would be a good idea.

Watchatalltimes so sorry for what you've been through. Counselling is tough.

Anyone else on here think ss/teachers etc hell the general public! could do with maybe some guidance/training in spotting toxic families? I know its discussed a lot on mn but certainly plenty of my friends don't understand that not every family is happy or healthy even if there isn't obvious abuse.

Excepting those who've been through it of course. I have a couple of friends who are NC with parents but its usually nrps where the parents have split and the nrp is a shit parent who barely if ever bothers with their kids (not always dads).

I know I certainly don't assume everyone gets along with their families no matter what and have therefore been on several occasions the first person someone's confided in about neglect/abuse they've experienced.

I must admit I also get kinda bolshy with people who give it 'family is all you have' 'but she's your sister, that's family' etc either in real life or on fb.

pocketsaviour Sat 28-Nov-15 15:56:40

FUP don't let anyone tell you, or tell yourself, that you're not a "real" survivor of SA. A single incident can be enough to bring on PTSD.

Have you ever read Alice Miller's work, particularly her work around sexual abuse within the family? She has some really eye-opening things to say about denial, especially when the abuse is, as you suspect, generational. The Body Never Lies and Thou Shalt Not Be Aware are the most on point with SA, although all her work is worth reading. It can be a bit hard going, but it's worth persevering.

I wonder whether the GC/Scapegoat switching dynamic is actually common with families where there is sexual abuse. Although I certainly wasn't the GC when I was younger. My dad shared out the punches and curses fairly equally, up until I grew tits hmm

Fupfamilysurvivor Sat 28-Nov-15 19:19:45

Pocketsaviour thank you flowers

I do believe my experiences have caused my mh problems (PTSD not one of my DX).

I may look at the alice miller books after Christmas. Thank you for the recommendations.

Interesting that the SG/GC switching could be a part of sa. I remember watching an episode of cracker where the culprit was the younger sister of a victim of sa. That was the first time I started to think maybe I didn't 'imagine it' or exaggerate a misunderstanding or encourage him because a large reason why I thought this was my sister saying he'd never touched her. Cracker (yes a fictional character but I verified after seeing this), explained that it's common for siblings who weren't molested to feel jealous, ignored, rejected, less attractive. Also that it's a myth that abusers abuse all the children. Sometimes they do sometimes they don't. They're skilled at figuring out which they think are more susceptible/less likely to talk. My sister would definitely have reported immediately. And one of the things we feel invalidates our feelings is not reporting immediately.

However, I did make sure he was never alone with any other girls.

GoodtoBetter Sat 28-Nov-15 19:20:14

My mum used to do that with my brother, tell him she was going to ask for him to be taken into care cos he "was such an awful child" that she couldn't hope with. Or she'd drive off in the car during a row when he was a teen and say it would be his fault if she didn't come back/had an accident or imply she might not come back.
Sounds awful written down. Just remembered that, but like you say, it gets normalised in your childhood when you don't know different. And you feel it's your fault, when it's your PARENT who tells you stuff like that.

pocketsaviour Sat 28-Nov-15 19:53:41

FUP I remember that episode!! I can't remember what the girl did, was she sending threatening letters to the older sister or something like that? I just remember her being in the interview room and breaking down. I was watching it with my then boyfriend (who was a complete waste of space) and he said "Wow. Do you think your little sister feels like that?"

I said "I'll let you know if she tries to murder me" hmm

pocketsaviour Sat 28-Nov-15 19:56:08

Good the normalisation can be the worst sometimes, because it sneaks up on you unexpectedly, and often when you're with other people.

After I had surgery earlier this year a couple of colleagues were asking me if the pain was bad afterwards and I said "No it wasn't too bad, it was just for a couple of days like, you know when someone's booted you in the belly quite hard? Like that" And they both looked at me shock and said "Erm, no I don't know what that's like..."

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