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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."

ofuckit Tue 02-Feb-16 15:40:05

I've also had to sit and bite my tongue a few times when DM has been telling me how she struggles to be polite to my sister's husband, and has to stop herself from 'stepping in' because he's so rude to my sister.

In he past my DM walked away and did nothing at times when my ex was being physically abusive to me and also times when he was shouting in my face that I was a fucking useless bitch and to shut the fuck up.

Does she just gave a really short memory? If not, I don't understand how she can have the nerve to say that to me.

ofuckit Tue 02-Feb-16 15:34:29

attila I didn't see your post before I wrote mine, but yes that definitely makes sense. She does appear to 'love' her GC but not in a normal, straightforward way. I don't really understand what's going on but it's definitely not unconditional, and there seems to be a lot of competing for affection.

ofuckit Tue 02-Feb-16 15:29:44

Thats interesting pocket.

From the little bit of reading up I've done so far, I assumed my DSIS was the golden child. She sees my DM all the time, most days usually as she doesn't work whereas I do. When I've spent time around them it's always struck me that my DM never speaks to my DSIS the nasty way she often does to me - DH has noticed that too. Although the wierd thing is, DM constantly tells me stories about how badly DSIS and her husband get on, and what an arsehole he is to her. She basically uses his 'uselessness' as a reason she needs to be at my DSIS's house all the time.

I get on fine with DSIS although we've never been particularly close. I have never seen any evidence myself of her having marriage problems and she's never said anything to suggest it, so I think DM is exaggerating things at the very least.

The other thing is, although my DM dotes on my DC, and my DSIS's DC, she definitely (very noticeably) favours one of DSIS's DC over the other and is so attached to the favoured one that it can get awkward. She is very proud that the favoured one is very attached to her and gets upset when she leaves. Recently there was a family gathering at DSIS's and her 'favoured' GC didn't sit next to her but with her dad. DM made a big point of saying loudly 'Oh is sad she's not sitting with me! Let her come and sit with me!'

My BIL looked really pissed off and quietly said she was fine where she was, but DM wouldn't shut up and eventually my BIL gave up and left the room and DM grabbed her 'favourite' and started consoling her, even though she was fine. Things like that probably don't sound like much, but they happen all the time.

Conversely, my DD hasn't spent as much time with my DM growing up so she isn't that bothered if her nanna is there if not. In the past my DM has made comments before about how my DC never seem to care if she's there or not and don't even get upset when she leaves - as if that's a bad thing!

Sorry, I'm ranting. The more I think about this the more twisted it all seems sad

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Feb-16 15:28:35

ofuckit,

re your comment:-

"But what doesn't add up is that she absolutely dotes on her grandchildren.
So, is it possible for her to be a narc to me but not to my children?"

No, she is very much still a narcissist and will act in not too dissimilar ways to your children either. Where adult children of narcissists tend to slip up is the failure to recognise the adaptability of the narcissist. She "dotes" on your children because to her they are narcissistic supply. These people tend also to either over value or under value the relationship with their grandchildren; she may have already have a scapegoat/golden child dynamic going on between your children.

A good rule of thumb here to remember is that such people were not good parents to you. They will continue to be crap examples of grandparents to their grandchildren; they are not good grandparent figures.

Narcissistic grandparents in particular make out for being deplorably bad grandparent figures. It is painful to watch a narcissist interact with a grandchild mainly because there is NO interaction; its like watching a re-run of a tv show you have always hated:-

This excerpt may also help:-

"Here are the facts of life: the malignant narcissist is still a malignant narcissist even after you give birth. The fundamental nature of your malignantly narcissistic parent is the same as it was when you were a child. (If not worse.) Due to no reason other than the fact that you brought a child into the world, your narcissist parent is now a narcissist grandparent. Your bringing new life into the world did not fundamentally change your abusive parent into a loving family member. But adult children of narcissists (ACONs) seem to show a natural affinity for believing in this work of fiction. We have always wanted our parent to be loving to us, and now we want our parent to be a loving grandparent. What we want and what we end up with are two very different things. Where we usually get tripped up is our failure to recognize the adaptability of the narcissist to changing circumstances.

It is highly unlikely that your NPD parent will interact with your children in exactly the same way they did with you. At least, not in your presence. They have adapted their methods to the new situation of you having a family of your own. They know they don't have the same power and control they used to so they usually switch to sneakier methodologies. Which allows you to think that they have changed from what they were when you were growing up. From my personal experience, and from observing the experiences of others, the NPD grandparent will use their grandchildren in the same way they would use an inanimate tool. Without regard for the humanity of your child, that child becomes a tool in the hand of your NPD parent to hurt you. This will always result in moral and/or emotional harm being done to your child as well.

The actual mechanics of how the NPD grandparent will misuse their relationship to their grandchildren will vary. Generally, they will either over-value or under-value the grandchild as a means to get to you. Often, when they over-value, it is the objective of the Ngrandparent to steal the child from you. I mean that in both senses, physically and emotionally. Ngrandparents are known for so much trash-talking against you behind your back to your own child or children that they want to go live with grandma or grandpa, or the Ngrandparents simply inspire rebellion of the child against you. They steal the hearts of the grandchildren. Sometimes, they will battle for physical custody of a grandchild after their slander campaign against you has won them powerful allies. Many times the Ngrandparent has a lot of extra cash to throw around since they are done raising a family. They may successfully exploit the natural selfishness of the child by using cash or toys to lure them. I have read heart-breaking stories of these kinds of situations often enough that I recognize the clear danger any narcissist grandparent represents. They can even steal your children's hearts from you when the children near adulthood with promises of money, houses, cars, college tuition, etc. as bait.

It is imperative to let yourself know that, without profound evidence to the contrary, your narcissist parent is a narcissist still. You must let yourself know for a fact that your Nparent can not be trusted with your most precious responsibility, your children. If you allow contact between your children and your Nparent it must never be out of sight. Never for a moment leave your child alone with this serial abuser. They only need a few moments of alone time to inflict damage. A whisper, an insinuation, a pinch, a look. If you consider yourself a responsible parent you will never, ever leave your child alone with your Nparent. Ever".

pocketsaviour Tue 02-Feb-16 15:01:07

ofuckit
It might be that your M has chosen your DC as her golden child/children already. She may have a narrative in her head that she will be there to "save" them from your inadequate parenting. After all, you have a H, right? So you can't possibly be giving your DC all the attention and love they deserve...

There is also the thought that young children are very credulous and easy to control and manipulate. As they get older and start questioning her whacked out pronouncements, she will withdraw her approval and start talking about her disappointed she is in them.

pocketsaviour Tue 02-Feb-16 14:36:03

The thread seems to be filling up really quickly and we're going to hit the 1000 limit fairly soon - so I'm going to get a new thread ready now smile

ofuckit Tue 02-Feb-16 14:35:56

There is something I don't understand about my (I think) narc mother - well I don't understand any of it but this bit in particular - the idea of her being narcassistic rather than just 'hard to fathom' is all new to me, the more I read about it though the more I believe she is. But what doesn't add up is that she absolutely dotes on her grandchildren.

So, is it possible for her to be a narc to me but not to my children?

pocketsaviour Tue 02-Feb-16 14:33:54

I love her and feel hurt every time she does it

Do you love her? Or do you love the mum you wish she was?

givemefuckingstrength Tue 02-Feb-16 14:15:05

Thank you. I have started one of the recommended books stated on page one.

Good comments - thanks for that.

LC is easy as we are abroad. Life is a little chaotic just now, as we are waiting to hear about a job offer for my husband. We are not sure where we are going next. Of course, we've never heard the end of it from my parents. All about how it will affect them.
L

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Tue 02-Feb-16 14:00:32

The way to "win" this giveme is not to confront, there are no words said face to face, or in a letter - or by any means - which will change this.
The way to win is to not have the conversation in the first place.
thats why this board is covered in advice about NC and LC - most of us have found isolation from the disease is the only way to recover ( excuse the stretched metaphor there)

My sister sabotaged her whole life to put herself out of reach of my parents...and groomed me to be...their "thing" in her stead in the process. It spreads through families pitting one against another outwardly or inwardly trying to find escape strategies.

I was once challenged by an acquaintance that I was exaggerating and that my families problems were just - well - average ( I actually avoid talking about this stuff in RL and when cornered underplay it as much as possible)
So I listed the suicides, alcoholics, drug abusers, criminals, wife beaters ( do we use that term any more?) abusers and abused, psyciatric hospital inmates, mental illnesses and other "minor normal family issues" that have stemmed from the avoidance of dealing with the continuation of emotional abuse in my immediate FOO.
It was a bit unfair of me really - but "Well they did the best they could" just doesn’t cut it with me.

I have a small soapbox in a corner somewhere that I stand on occasionally - where I chant - "If you dont stop it - you pass it on."

You should be angry - really really angry, - you need that strength to move on.

FantasticButtocks Tue 02-Feb-16 13:44:22

"Those type of comments are not welcome here"
"Please don't speak like that, otherwise this will be your last visit"
"I have asked you before not to make inappropriate comments. This isn't going to work."

givemefuckingstrength Tue 02-Feb-16 12:47:30

Thank you, talking it through does help. There is more info and background I could give, obviously, but I don't want to be too identifiable.

Interestingly, me and my siblings have struggled in our teens and twenties - awkward relationship with food (sister), drug/alcohol dependency (brother), alcohol/destructive behaviour/anxiety (me).

Parents just sort of assume they can come and leave as they see fit...they phone to check we are not away on certain dates and then just book flights. They have always done this, and I've never seen it as anything but normal. It's actually a bit of a revelation hearing other people's take on that.

When I had my second baby they arrived when she was 3 days old. My dad pressured me into making plans for my mother's birthday when I was 8 months pregnant, even though her birthday was a few days after my due date! I said I'll either be heavily pregnant, in labour or with a newborn, none of which is conducive to drinks in a bar, a meal in the centre of town on a Saturday night etc.

They don't actually seem to give a fuck about me or my health, only what suits them.

I'm getting angrier the more I write.

How do I even begin to challenge or to raise this? What lines do I say when she says something inappropriate?

toomuchtooold Tue 02-Feb-16 12:33:17

giveme, Atilla often quotes a thing about narcissistic parents either over- or undervalue their relationships with their grandchildren. You, like me, have overvaluers. But you have to judge them by their actions, not their words, and if like my mother you're just getting the same old nasty behaviour with a veneer of (sickly sweet) niceness you're well within your rights to just say no, I'm not exposing my children to this any more.

Are you agreeing to the visit as a way of fending off any other interaction? I used to do that, kept my mother on a low boil, minimum number of visits to stop any sort of complaints from her or from having to explain why I didn't want her near the kids too much (or us it's a fucking misery when she visits). When I decided I'd had enough, I (and my husband and my kids) gritted teeth for five days till the visit was over, took her to the airport, then turned round and walked away and I don't intend to speak to her again. She's just gone! (I had just moved house so she didn't actually have my address or phone number but if she had I would have just blocked her number on my phone.) I bet she's raging. I can't hear her. I slightly felt like I was cheating, when I did it - that there should have been more interaction, a fight - but she knows fine why I'm not in contact, and I was abused and I don't need to expose myself or my children to one second more of that negativity.
I'm not suggesting you do the same, I don't know the ins and outs of your situation but I just wanted to share the story to show you the possibilities. We are not responsible for managing our parents' feelings, only our children's.

florentina thank you for sharing that. I actually have tears in my eyes thinking about your 13 year old self. She was jealous, that's clear - of your beautiful self, and your dad's love and care for you. What a mean spirited person she is/was.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 02-Feb-16 11:55:56

Fiorentina, my DD (aged 6) loves dressing up and doing her hair. I am sure when she is 13 she will be really into looking nice and wearing cool clothes. She far prettier already than I ever was and no doubt will be a stunning teen. I can't imagine being anything but proud of her and amazed that I produced such a creature.

I am totally uninterested in clothes but still I can see that it means the world to her. For that reason I would never take the mickey out of her outfits and self expression, or do down her interest in looking good (even though it is not a high priority for me).

I can't imagine ever wanting to embarrass her in front of others. What happened to you was not normal or right.

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Tue 02-Feb-16 11:08:31

It's having the kids that opens your eyes....that you couldn't conceive of treating them as your parents treat you.

givemefuckingstrength Tue 02-Feb-16 11:03:29

Honestly, I think they live their lives through me and my siblings and I feel suffocated as I'm the one with kids.

I pulled her up once when she said my daughter's hair was like Medusa when it was wet (curls) and then proceeded to explain to a four year old who Medusa was. Fucking hell.

It is really her only way she knows how to interact. I love her and feel hurt every time she does it. Most recently she was scathing about how I was feeding/getting my baby to sleep. One night when I was trying to get to sleep I counted 10 separate comments off the top of my head. Surely to god a Mum is meant to support and not criticise over such a difficult time...

I'm hurting and more so that all this is real and not in my head.

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Tue 02-Feb-16 11:00:54

It is too late to cancel this visit. It would be opening a can of worms I have no control over.
. I don't think I can ever address this properly as I wouldn't know where to begin,
that is another major reason I am unwilling to be the root cause of any stress and upset.

You think you can't do anything about this visit, that you are powerless
And probably that people here don't quite get it....The people who have responded to your writing above really really do get it..they are....well..survivors
They are just telling you stuff you don't realise you are capable of, but stuff you need to believe

Normal families can cancel visits without problems,
Normal families don't pressure each other if a visit is cancelled
Normal parents dont conspire together to find ways to " improve" their children
Mocking is not a normal healthy interaction with young children

My twopennyworth , You've had your lightbulb moment...now you need to give yourself some time to process before you attempt any contact..you are kind of , super vulnerable, right now, because you see all the wrongness but don't have the defences , the armour if you will ( thanks pocket I rather liked that)
Why not tell them you are involved in a research project, which is quite overwhelming, right now. and they will have to postpone..you won't be lying!!!

whitehandledkitchenknife Tue 02-Feb-16 10:47:56

Florentina - that must have been so painful for you. So sorry. The shaming they put on you goes so deep. I know this too.

pocket - your visualisation is brilliant. Who cares if it sounds a bit woo - it doesn't! If it works, use it. I put myself in a bright pink unpoppable bubble!

giveme I understand that you may find it difficult to think that you could manage with the immediate severing of contact, although as others have said, this is going to be necessary for you and your little one.

It is hard to imagine surviving such a direct calling out of their behaviour.

Knowing what I now know about both my parents, I would have filled my lungs and shouted "Fuck off you poisonous, damaged people. How dare you treat me the way you have. How dare you even think you could treat my child this way and get away with it." much, much earlier.
It is all survivable. At your pace.

Attila and pocket's advice is spot on. I also recommend 'Will I ever be good enough'.

pocketsaviour Tue 02-Feb-16 10:27:33

florentina what a truly awful thing for your M to do.

Please rest assured I don't think any healthy person would ever say "Oh that's par for the course." It was a very calculated piece of nastiness designed to humiliate you.

From the words she used - "You look like a tart", "growing titties" - do you think she felt she was in competition with you? That you were threatening her position as Alpha Female? Coupled with the choice of dress - suitable for a pre-pubescent girl - plus her anger at the makeup, which your dad bought you - it's quite telling, isn't it?

I would also think she was motivated by not being the centre of attention. Narcs cannot bear to share the spotlight.

GoodtoBetter Tue 02-Feb-16 10:16:13

X post with Atila and pocket and really good advice from them. This is the beginning of you becoming free of them, you are strong, you can do it. It might take a while but you can break free from dysfunction. We are all here as much as you need.

xx

GoodtoBetter Tue 02-Feb-16 10:13:29

giveme I understand where you are in all this and why you try to explain her behaviour, but your mother's upbringing doesn't giver her carte blanche to treat you (and your four year old) like this. She has always been like this to you, right? But you don't treat your own child like that, do you? It's not an excuse.
My mother had a SHIT childhood and is clearly very damaged by it, but it doesn't mean I'm willing to be treated like shit by her.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Feb-16 10:12:19

giveme,

Those 2 weeks will feel like an eternity, your own fog as well keeps you stymied.

It will only be too late to cancel the visit (and I would still urge you to do this) when they are actually in your home. Protecting your own selves from them is far more important than worrying about whether you are going to cause your dad any more upset. Your mother is already blaming you for her inherent ills and now she is starting on your children as well. How will you feel if she upsets your 4 year old again?.

The limited contact you have (what forms do these currently take) needs to be further lowered. It may well be that you will need to go no contact with all your family including your extended family members. I would ignore any such comments they make because they have not been in your shoes.

Your own background has not been rosy either (understatement) but you do not treat your children now the same as she did with you. You know her treatment of you was and is wrong on all levels. You have two qualities that your mother lacks; empathy and insight.

Your mother does intend to be so hurtful; she has been and continues to be hurtful to you and now she is doing this to your children. Your mother never sought the necessary help for the damage done to her in her own childhood, she has simply chosen to do as her father did and thus taken the easier way out. Toxic dysfunctional crap like this goes down the generations; her own father was emotionally abusive to her, she did that same crap to you as children (you are still being emotionally abused at her hands) and now she is doing the same to her grandchildren. She is bullying them and you and now will get another chance to do this within your own four walls.

I suspected your father was a bystander in all this familial dysfunction and he truly is. I repeat he having a disability is no reason at all to allow either of them to visit you. What he has done as well is do his bit to ensure that you put your own needs and wants stone last. I would not let him off the hook here either.

Please read the resources at the start of this thread and certainly read "Will I ever be good enough?"by Karyl Mcbride.

pocketsaviour Tue 02-Feb-16 10:11:57

Hi giveme

They love the grandkids, really dote on them
The last time she mimicked my four year old and upset her.

Do you see that these two statements contradict each other? People do not mimic and mock those they love.

Please do not make the excuse for your mother that "her dad treated her like that so it's all she knows." Not unless you're saying that you plan to treat your DC this way. (You're not, right?!)

I am hearing that you're not yet in a place where you feel able to cancel or put off the visit. That's okay, you need to do things at your own pace - but you also need to protect your own mental and emotional health, and your children.

Firstly, can I suggest that you simply don't leave your M unsupervised with your DC, and I'm afraid your dad can't be counted at a supervisor as he has enabled (and possibly encouraged) your M for this whole time. Make sure either you or your H are around at all times.

Secondly I'm going to suggest a technique which I have used in the past to protect myself from toxic people that I have to be around for one reason or another. This is a visualisation technique which might sound a bit hippy and woo but it works for me smile I start off by picturing myself encased in a suit of armour. I am a bit of a Game of Thrones nerd so I tend to see myself dressed like Brienne of Tarth.

Once I've got my armour on, then I think about my shield. This isn't just a 2-foot shield you strap on, but a shield around the whole of my body, made of light. Mine is fuschia pink although I know a lot of people prefer blue. Now I practise hearing hurtful words through this shield, and notice that they are muffled and have lost their power. Many of them will just bounce straight off, but the ones that don't will definitely be defeated by my armour.

During this visualisation you might find that you can feel "weak spots" somewhere on your body. I often feel them around my kidneys. So I add some extra armour or maybe some chainmail on that area.

(Yes I'm aware I sound like I just fell out of a 90s spiritual awakening course, I don't care grin )

Throughout the day I set myself reminders to re-visualise the armour and shield. I usually just go for a pee and do a quick 2 minutes in the bathroom to reset everything.

I really hope this technique might help you, and others too. I hope it doesn't sound too out there.

Additionally - try to set your expectations during this visit. Your Ps have invited themselves to stay because they are entitled, pushy rude buggers. They are not coming because they love you. They are not coming because they love your DC. They are not coming to be nice to you or make your life in any way better. Try to pull back and observe, really observe as if you were a neutral third party, exactly how they behave. Keeping a brief note every day might be a real eye-opener for you. Good luck flowers

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Feb-16 09:57:05

Florentina

I sincerely hope you no longer have any contact now with your so called mother. It is all too clear that her behaviour was abusive at that time, an emotionally healthy person would never have behaved in such a manner.

givemefuckingstrength Tue 02-Feb-16 09:37:35

I'm actually very upset now I've written it down. Probably I've thought that I've been overly sensitive, that I was blowing things out of proportion. To have it validated serves to cement it all...where do I go from here?!

I honestly don't think she intends to be so hurtful. I believe it began as a self defence mechanism (the humour) as her own background is not all rosy. Likewise the critical comments. Her father spoke to her the same way she speaks to us.

It is too late to cancel this visit. It would be opening a can of worms I have no control over. My siblings would get involved..my extended family...I don't have the energy at the moment..things are full on elsewhere. I don't think I can ever address this properly as I wouldn't know where to begin, and I also know that blaming her (out of the blue) would cause irreparable damage.

My father stays in the background. He will talk to my mother about any concerns with us and then she vocalises them (so I guess she is always the "bad cop" whereas he likes to be seen as the good guy). But, to be honest, he has had so much on his plate just getting through every day that that is another major reason I am unwilling to be the root cause of any stress and upset.

I am glad that someone else thinks taking the piss out of a child is not on. To be honest, it's the only way she knows how to interact. I have different issues with MIL but at least she is respectful and kind to the children.

I have limited contact and get a lot of grief for it. I feel guilty for that but it is easier for me.

I will do a lot of reading on these threads and also read the recommended book. Thank you for your input and for reading. Much appreciated. flowers

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