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Huge fall out with abusive/ neglectful parent...(40 Posts)
I am a single Mum, one dd, just turned 8. Never had any contact with my Mum, she left the family when I was 7 due to mental health issues.Her boyfriend sexually abused and raped me when I was 5-7. My Dad looked after us but was abusive and neglectful - domestic violence, never fed us, never had clean clothes or hot water to wash with. Forgot my birthday, drank all of the family money, we had a horrible time. Just recently, (past 18 months), I had psychosis, depression, anxiety and ptsd. Friends helped me out and now I'm doing my Masters degree and loving it.
My Dad and I fell out because he keeps wanting to see us and I keep avoiding it as it makes my flashbacks and PTSD worse. long story short, today I snapped and told him I had PTSD because of my past and I coudn't see him anymore. I feel awful, in tears for being such a bitch to him. We had a bit of a row on the phone and then I sent him the following e-mail :
You obviously don't want to talk to me after I sent that text - fair enough. I think you need to know that the way that you treated me when I was younger was no way to treat a child and has left me with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. My friends have been helping me because I have been ill and you don't have the right to question that. I'm an adult and I make my own decisions, particularly with regard to dd.
You might think that things were Ok when we were growing up- but they were far from it, and have had long lasting effects on both db and I as adults. As a parent myself I almost cannot believe the abuse and neglect we suffered at your hands.
You might not like to hear this, but it is the truth. This is why I am reluctant to spend time with you. If you would like to dd [name removed by MNHQ] then that can be arranged, but seeing you at the moment makes my illness' worse, so I'm afraid until we can talk this through properly I won't be seeing you.
I feel bloody awful! How do I ever apologise to him for being so nasty? Can we ever salvage a relationship from this? I lost my temper and now I feel terrible.
Don't apologise. You had a terrible childhood by the sound of things, might do him good to be told that.
OP I hope you have good support to come to terms with your past. How brilliant that you are studying and improving your life for you and your DC. Amazing.
Never, you need to have time for yourself, to manage your illness and come to some sense of equilibrium after the last 18 months of acute changes, and with the background you describe from both your parents, this cant be easy at all. What would your dad bring to the party - could he understand or empathise with how you are feeling or would he try to justify himself/minimise your memories and experiences?
It strikes me that you are now worrying if you have upset him, tears about being a bitch etc - that you are prioritising his feelings over your own in this? Did you end up taking on a responsible/parental during your childhood while he failed at being a parent and adult eg managing his moods/alcohol etc?
Its ok to put yourself first sometimes, especially when by doing so you are trying to heal some of the issues that your upbringing caused and provide the stability you were denied to your own child.
Im not sure if this will help but didn't want your post to stay unanswered, and I hope that things improve for you soon
Btw Ive reported your OP as I think you might have accidentally put a real name in the second last paragraph: apologies if Ive misunderstood
I think you're right to put your own mental health and sanity first.
There's nothing wrong with your email, except that you are offering to let him see your DD. Are you having any therapy at the moment? You really need help with this. Your guilt is a conditioned response. You are programmed to take responsibility for things which weren't/aren't your fault. Your anger was genuine and valid.
Do not apologise! You've done nothing wrong. I'm struggling to understand why you're not NC and why you want your child around him. Are you getting counselling from someone who understands about child abuse from a parent? It's extremely complex.
Oh Never, your parents have really done a number on you
What is your dad like now as a father and grandfather?
How do I ever apologise to him for being so nasty? Seriously sweetheart, you are not the nasty one. You have nothing to apologise for.
Unfortunately, he may never feel what he did was wrong, or show any remorse/sign of apology.
Was your feeling anger when you were little a trigger of his violence? Because you are so very quick to want to make this up to him, but don't expect him to do the same.
Which is in no way a criticism.
You were protecting your younger self -a child. You deserved non of that treatment. The way the adults in your life should have looked after you, clearly they weren't capable.
Well done on your Masters you sound an amazing person. Spend the rest of your life protecting yourself.
Thank you for all of the replies. To answer some of the questions, I am having counselling with a specialised psychological service. Just started two weeks ago and I think it's the counselling that has thrown things into sharp focus for me. My dad is an on grandparent, he was supportive when my little girls Dad died (to an extent anyway, he helped me with money after our matience payments stopped). Apart from that, he had babysat on a couple of occasions when she was younger, but invited dds dad around, despite my objections to it all. Dds dad died last year in a fire, we were separated and going through the court process at the time. My reaction to his violence has always been to try and put things right. I've always tried to ease the peace, remembering the Times he'd come home drunk, shouting and swearing because the house was a mess (it was filthy, no one did any cleaning). He used to throw up violently in the morning and then say he was ill because of the stress of looking after me and db. But it was mainly hangover after knocking our stepmother about. He's sent me an email that says "expand?" But I'm not sure I should reply.
You're right. Please don't respond. So when he babysat for your DD he brought your ex against your wishes?
Yeah he phoned my ex and invited him to go and see f2f ( even though I'd said I didn't want that to happen, for reasons relating to my ex's drinking. Dad even offered him beer) . I'm afraid I did respond and said I wasn't going to spell it out for him so if he wanted to play games then I wasn't going to play. I then went on to say that I have had to have counselling to realise how wrong some things in my childhood were.
How do I ever apologise to him for being so nasty?
Eh? You were not nasty. You told the truth. You told the truth because you needed to tell him to back off because his abuse and neglect over so many years has damaged you. You were remarkably reasonable in the circumstances.
Can we ever salvage a relationship from this?
No, I do not believe you can salvage a relationship where he neglected and abused you so terribly for so many years. Why would you want to?
Why do you want a relationship with him? Are you expecting him to have a personality transplant?
How dare he! Please don't have anything to do with him, or allow any contact with your dd.
He lost that right when he couldn't be arsed to feed you... Etc etc etc.
Please talk to your therapist about why you feel guilty for having told your dad how his neglect and abuse made you feel.
You weren't nasty.
You spoke your truth, which was really very valid from what you've said.
if - IF- there is a future in your relationship with your very selfish dad in the future, it's after you've had enough time and support (and done the work) to unravel the knots in your heart and soul and head, have reached a peace and from a position of strength can reach out to him, knowing exactly what you want from the relationship and what your limits are.
Now is not the time. Now is the time to care for yourself and your daughter, accept your friends' valuable help and to get your masters ... and to put everything you can into that counselling.
Also, be gentle with yourself
I'm surprised you even want him in your and your DD's life tbh.
Don't expand, he knows exactly what he did. He wants to put you in FOG. Nothing good will come from talking about your past with him. You are in the safe hands of your therapist.
You're on the right path, keep going, you're amazing.
Thank you for all of the replies. I think this has been a long time coming. When dd was about 3 (and just trained to go the loo on her own) , he was babysitting and took a picture of her on the toilet with his mobile phone. He then showed me and was laughing about it. I was horrified and told him to delete it. I don't think it was anything untoward in a sexual abuse sense, just a sick sense of humour. He used to do the same with our cats, throwing them against the wall and laughing. I have 2 cats now and we have just got 2 house rabbits for dds birthday and I can't imagine hurting them in any way. I have started to doubt myself and that what he did was that bad .
Cut this toxic bastard out of your life and don't look back.
You owe him nothing.
I am so sorry you had a dreadful childhood, but you can take control of your present and who you let in your life and how you let them treat you.
Good luck with thr counselling. Wishing you strength and good mental health.
Thank you. My friend just came round, I was talking about it then started crying then had a panic attack and dad is ignoring my calls (I tried to ring him, heaven only knows why) . My head is so messed up.
I just spoke to Db who said I should leave things in the past and that the past didn't make me ill but I caused it myself. He kept repeating "are you crazy?" (As he did when we were kids and I was suicidal and self harming). He said I should learn to forgive and leave things in the past (db lives with my dad). Then dad text me and said I should phone him tomorrow "if I want to tell him off". Don't think I'll bother
Db who said I should leave things in the past and that the past didn't make me ill but I caused it myself
Your brother has some serious issues. If he thinks that you can just leave this shit in the past and that it won't rise up to influence, he's not even begun his journey to healing.
Blaming you rather indicates he's siding with your father. Sadly, there may be a chance he turns into him. People aren't ducks; shit storms don't roll of their backs; a very few people emerge unscathed but most people from the sort of childhood you had have to do a lot of work and get quite a bit of support before they can leave behind the sewer they grew up in.
Victim blaming as he's just done is a pretty sure sign that he's not emerged unscathed at all.
Never - you don't owe your F an apology for anything. Your email wasn't nasty, far from it, he failed you.
Your brother is wrong. You did not cause your ill health - the depression/anxiety/ptsd are a direct result of your dreadful abusive childhood. Please do not reply to your F's vile email - expand? Who the hell does he think he is? Expand!!!!
You sound as if you're in complete turmoil right now and for your own well-being you need to cease contact with both your F and DB and give yourself some breathing space. You will get through this phase. Take care of yourself.
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