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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:

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

This final quote is from smithfield posting as therealsmithfield:

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

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

Meer

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.

flowers

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.

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