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how do i get through this? stately homes related

(31 Posts)
dreame Thu 11-Feb-16 20:57:51

Long and complex story involving a narcissistic, abusive mother and me, now adult, getting treatment for PTSD caused by her when I was a child. In short:

I emailed "D"M (we live far away) to tell her about the PTSD and that I haven't been able to be close to her because I've always been afraid of what she could do. It took me 20 years to be able to write this.

Response was typical narc. taking no blame and putting it on me (this was expected) plus (not expected) basically wishing me a nice life. It took her 2 hours to reply, to end our relationship.

I feel like someone's died, like I've lost my mother (and the glimmer of hope that my mother actually cared about me, really cared about me - even though rationally I know the deal), but I haven't, she's still alive and I can't tell anybody really what's going on (in part because it's so long and complex and so many people just won't get it).

Has anybody gone through this? How do I get through this? The PTSD is bad enough and the therapy is hard and to be honest, I'm so, so tired of hurting.

LineyReborn Thu 11-Feb-16 21:02:24

Yes, dreame, I'm going through it now.

I think one of the keys to surviving is being ruthless about recognising the underserved guilt and fear. And having ways of chucking it away.

Do you have much RL support around you? flowers

Chamonix1 Thu 11-Feb-16 21:04:32

thanks OP.
If your mother is narcissistic I should imagine she'll come sneaking back in somehow, flying monkeys, luring you back in with "kindness". Ignore her and wait.
Whether or not she is such a great person to have involvement in at all is another matter though, could she just have done you a massive favour.
It's her, just who she is. Don't take it as any reflection on you. Of course everyone wants to be wanted and loved by their mother, but unfortunately people with NPD don't know how to love and will only be interested in someone/something who can feed their narc supply.
You've popped her bubble for a moment where she can do no wrong, you blamed her and now she's throwing her toys out of the pram with the threat of abandonment hoping this pulls on your heart strings and you'll come begging. Don't give her the satisfaction and take care of yourself wine

dreame Thu 11-Feb-16 21:36:45

Thanks.
Liney thanks for you too. Sorry you're in this place too. I'm not feeling and FOG, just immense sadness. I guess some part held onto the dream that this was all a big mistake and she'd suddenly turn around and be a real mother when she knew how much she had hurt me. Which I KNOW is impossible, but it's still sad.

Chamonix - you're also talking a lot of sense. I don't know if she would come back with kindness, I think she expects me to (and there's no way that's happening), however if she did I can see I'd have probably fallen for it and slipped straight back into FOG and feel torn all over again. Thanks.

Aussiebean Thu 11-Feb-16 21:46:02

You will get this most likely the same way as you would going through grief. Because you have lost someone. Your mum.

The mum we all deserve, and if life was fair, we would all have.

I was angry for a long time. Then got sick of the effect that emotion was having on me.

Eventually you will accept and occasionally be sad. But you would be in a much better place

dreame Thu 11-Feb-16 22:05:36

Thanks Aussie.

It's crap.

Off to bed. Maybe I'll wake up feeling good...

GoodtoBetter Thu 11-Feb-16 22:49:47

I'm not feeling and FOG, just immense sadness. I guess some part held onto the dream that this was all a big mistake and she'd suddenly turn around and be a real mother when she knew how much she had hurt me. Which I KNOW is impossible, but it's still sad.
Yeah, know that feeling. It's crap, it's gets easier with time and counselling if you can.

Hissy Thu 11-Feb-16 23:53:29

Sad doesn't even come close to describing it. It does pass

dreame Fri 12-Feb-16 07:21:26

Thanks Good. I have a good counsellor but sometimes I think I need to see her every day, not once a week!

Hissy yes, it is. Sorry that you know that too though. thanks

CauliflowerBalti Fri 12-Feb-16 07:30:23

flowers for you, my love.

After a particularly foul bout of toxic behaviour from my toxic mother, I sent her an email explaining that this was enough, unacceptable, she had stepped well over the line and I didn't want to see her again until she understood this and tried to make amends.

She cut me dead. Wrote me out of her will and everything.

And then waited for me to come crawling back and apologise to her for taking offence at her behaviour.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited...

And when she realised that there was absolutely no way I was going to take responsibility for her bad behaviour, she apologised to me. I don't think she meant it, but since then she has been markedly less vile toward me.

I am sorry you are so sad, but you did a very brave and necessary thing. You can't control how she reacts but it needed saying. Take care and be kind to yourself. flowers

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Fri 12-Feb-16 08:43:55

Dreame talk about it - here where many of us have experienced similar -
Write about it, to stop it churning around in your head..scream about it if you want to, why not it really hurts.
You sound like you are still putting one foot in front of another and getting by, that sucks, but it does change.

dreame Fri 12-Feb-16 09:18:09

I think there's simply no way back from this. I wasn't expecting much more of a response than blaming me in some way, but this veiled goodbye is just too much. Especially as it came so quickly. I spent years literally shaking or dissociating at the though of writing the "therapy letter" (the sort that you never send and therapists always suggest - or at least they have to me), completely unable to do it.

Then I realised about a year ago that "one day" I could see the possibility of it happening. BUT I spent months and months and months figuring out how I would do it to hurt her the least. I thought about emailing her friends suggesting they might want to get in touch with her, thinking about her schedule and how I wouldn't do it when it would be most difficult for her - all these sorts of things.

Eventually I realised that I'd never thought about myself, how I'd feel about it, when was good for me and when I'd have support. So I stopped thinking about hers.

That I spent all this time agonising over making what I thought would be an awful, awful email to receive (Hi mum, you've given your daughter PTSD) and she can't even show the base level of kindness or compassion (it must be awful to have lived with that all this time) in some ways isn't a surprise, but I feel such an idiot for wasting my life trying to make hers better (or make something bad better) when she couldn't even think for more than two hours about me.

It's like in her mind I'm the equivalent of a drug addict daughter who has repeatedly stolen from her purse, pawned her jewellery, been sent to rehab and not made the most of it and she's had enough now so she's washing her hands of me. None of that is anywhere near the truth (in fact I've been told by psychologists that it's a big surprise I'm not that person given my history).

And I do understand the NPD, but right now it's not making the fact that my mother could get rid of me so easily much easier. I felt so proud of myself after I'd sent the email too, like I'd done something so big, but I'm struggling to keep hold of that feeling. All I can think of is my childhood diaries that have the phrase "I want to be wanted" throughout them from age 9ish onwards and I never knew why I felt that way..because after all, even though she didn't like me, my mother loved me...

dreame Fri 12-Feb-16 09:18:19

sorry that was really long

LizKeen Fri 12-Feb-16 09:45:47

God OP, I am going through the exact same thing right now, and I could be writing your posts. flowers

I had a similar thing to your sending of the email last summer. I opened up and told her how difficult life had really been for me. How I had suffered terrible PND, after suffering depression all my life, and how I had been suicidal. Her response? She brushed over it all, turned it into me attacking her, how awful I am to her, how much she has done for me, how she can't understand why I am doing this to her (in the context of a wider argument that she had orchestrated and me pulling away from her).

It was devastating to finally see it so clearly. I had always hidden my pain from her, probably so I could hold on to the hope that IF she knew she would be concerned for me, instead of showing her it sooner, and facing the reality that she doesn't have the capacity or want to have concern for me.

She disowned me after that. And since then has ignored any attempt I made at being rational and rising above it while at the same time attempting to emotionally blackmail my children. Her behaviour is escalating and I have come to the conclusion that she is doing this to get a rise out of me, to keep me engaged with her while at the same time punishing me for being such a crap person. So as much as I want to scream at her for what she is doing, I won't. I am breaking free from her drama and the cycle of her bad behaviour causing a reaction in me that then enables her to twist the whole thing onto me.

So what I would say to you is that this will get easier. Time will heal you and you will get through this. Her veiled goodbye is an attempt to get you to retract your feelings because that would be easier for her. Most likely she will carry through with this and wash her hands of you. If she is anything like my mum she will then "pull stunts" in various ways so that you will react to them and still be under her control. For your own sanity you need to completely disengage from here on out. You have seen her true colours, now grieve for the mother you should have had, and don't get sucked back in to her drama.

It's like in her mind I'm the equivalent of a drug addict daughter who has repeatedly stolen from her purse, pawned her jewellery, been sent to rehab and not made the most of it and she's had enough now so she's washing her hands of me. None of that is anywhere near the truth

This is exactly how I feel, and actually, my mum told me when I was 20 and hadn't spoke to her for 3 years, that she thought I had been on drugs from the age of 13 to when I left at 17.... So she thought her teenage child was on drugs but never tackled the issue? Never sought help or even spoke to me about it? Nonsense. It was just something to tell herself instead of facing the truth...I left because she made life intolerable.

GoodtoBetter Fri 12-Feb-16 10:04:54

OP and LizKeen I can really relate to both of you. I have a mother who displays most of the traits of narcissistic personality disorder. She is an engulfing narcissist so I spent most of my life thinking we were terribly close.

Once I got married and moved away (well, tried to except she followed me- across Europe) and had kids she started to become more obvious in her narc behaviour. Culminated in a massive row where I realised what she was and a period of lower contact, then another massive row engineered by her. Well, I say row, it was really that we went away for a few days and she spent the whole time sending me passive aggressive messages. When we got back she slagged me off to my brother, calling me a liar, stupid, a crap daughter, that she'd brought my son up for his first year (she came up in the afternoons to play with him, at her request), said I'd taken her life savings, said my DH was a lazy fucker, his family were all twats, etc etc. When I didn't pick up my phone that afternoon she just went mental and started bombarding me with texts, e mail, voice mails, raging at me for my "rudeness" and "disrespect". No apology. That all went on for about 4 days (and really freaked me out). Then she emigrated. She's been gone for about 18 months. I wrote to her about a month after she left and told her that she had crossed a line, spelt it all out and told her she needed to accept responsibilty. She wrote back and told me I was imagining it all.

She has since discovered a small breast tumour and had an op and is having treatment. The prognosis is very good apparently, but now she is sending me messages about how she is heart broken and dying and saying "her final goodbye". In her mind the whole thing has become that I cut her off and that she is a victim of me. When really it was her who cut me off.
I find the victimhood and guilt tripping very hard to deal with so I'm going to block her e mails, as there is no way forward with someone like this, there really isn't. I think the only way with someone this delusional is no contact at all, therapy to air out those feelings and above all, time and treating yourself with kindness.

I really feel for you. it is shit.

Hissy Fri 12-Feb-16 11:37:44

Defending their own version of reality trumps everything.

the kind of mother that would behave sufficiently badly as to leave their DD with PTSD is not going to respond kindly to an email or letter or any form of communication of their wrongs. It shatters the illusion.

I do wonder if they know on some micro level that the way they are really isn't right? because their steadfast dismissal of our feelings is often so abrupt/violent that it has to jar them? But this is an exercise in psychological futility.. I'll never know why they do what they do. I'm not even sure if they do.

Be kind to yourself love. Tell yourself that the email was more for you, and not for her, and to expect her to react in the way you hoped was YOUR hope, not hers.

YOU would have reacted in the way you hoped she would, but that is because you are an empathetic and kind hearted soul. In short, Normal.

GoodtoBetter Fri 12-Feb-16 11:42:55

I do wonder if they know on some micro level that the way they are really isn't right? Maybe, my mother would get all "depressed" from time to time and say that she had crap relationship with her own mother, didn't talk to her sister or have much to do with her brother and was divorced so "it must be her" that she "must be a terrible person" but it was more for drama I think and to make me say, oh no of course not, I love you, it's them not you. (Did start to wonder in late adulthood before I realised she was a narc if she wasn't right and it WAS her). I don't think it was true introspection on her part, she just enjoyed the self-imposed victimhood and martyrdom.
So, yes and no I think.

Hissy Fri 12-Feb-16 11:53:37

there is no 'win' for us.

we open our hearts, they ignore/rant/rave

we don't scurry back for more of the same

Even if they apologise it's as a trick to get us to go back.

I find myself in pain because i've not even got a fake apology, which tbh, i'd probably have taken sad

in response to me expressing my bewilderment at how she could move house without telling me where etc, i got 'Well, we were never that close.."

The main thought I have residing within myself is 'How spectacularly crap must I be as a person for someone to do this." Magnified a gazillion because she's my mother.

My dad walked away too somehow and all I have had in life was an abusive relationship. Is that who I am, is that the best I can hope for? - all the critical comments in life are constantly there, "Well what did you expect?"

GoodtoBetter Fri 12-Feb-16 12:00:29

But your crap parents set you up for that abusive relationship, love, didn't they? I have my mad mother and a dead alcholic father, I'm quite surprised I didn't end up in an abusive relationship. I think the more I learn about my late FIL, the more I think he was a bit of a narc, so perhaps DH and I saw some flash of reognition in each other and we've been lucky that neither of us are damaged in a particular way that we're bad for each other, iyswim...

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Fri 12-Feb-16 13:13:30

* perhaps DH and I saw some flash of reognition in each other and we've been lucky that neither of us are damaged in a particular way that we're bad for each other,*

I have thought about this in my own relationship - my MIL undoubtedly suffered EA at the hands of her parents - but consciously chose to treat her children differently and loves them in a very unrestrained and open way.

I guess I've been thinking about it because DHs understanding of her may well inform his understanding of me. I'm offering this up here - because in the same way that abuse can be passed between generations I wonder if I'm seeing that the opposite is equally true.

dreame Fri 12-Feb-16 13:57:00

The main thought I have residing within myself is 'How spectacularly crap must I be as a person for someone to do this." Magnified a gazillion because she's my mother. It's difficult to avoid this one for me too. My father walked out on us too (other than when he decided to have us for holidays and didn't cancel them at the last minute too).

And the kind of mother that would behave sufficiently badly as to leave their DD with PTSD is not going to respond kindly to an email or letter or any form of communication of their wrongs. This is the crux of it really. I thought - wanted to think - that when she knew, when she really KNEW what damage she'd done, she'd have a different reaction. All she did was confirm that she's mean. Which I already knew.

When I was a teenager some very, very close family friends were divorcing. We used to see them at least once a week. My mother's comment that it was "good for the children" because they've had too easy a life. They were CHILDREN! I found it in a diary and I was shocked even then (when her behaviour was normal to me) that she'd said that. Yet, she'd look at those people and "wish them well", just like she does me. The two faces, the public and private/home were so different. I didn't realise until recently that "normal" people aren't like that.

I don't know if this is the best place to ask this, but maybe someone has an idea. When I was 16 I was seen by the mental health team at our local hospital's young person's unit. They asked me a lot of questions essentially about depression and diagnosed depression. I was adamant that it wasn't depression, but as a 16 year old, nobody listened (also I couldn't tell them what it was because i didn't know). I was definitely not asked about flashbacks and as I didn't know the name for them I didn't tell anybody either. "D"M had told me when I was 12 that if I ever called Childline she would lose her job, we'd lose the house and as we were at at fee-paying school, we'd lose our school too. When I was 16 I certainly wasn't volunteering any info that could result in any of that. Also, my mother worked in part of social services (not a social worker) and she knew the first psychiatrist that I saw at least by name, due to an overlap of their fields. So my question is do you think there's any point in writing to the particular hospital involved, not blaming as such, but just explaining what happened and asking them to make sure this couldn't happen to someone else? I'd like to think I was an anomaly and also that everything has changed, but I don't know if that's so. It's also possible that someone dealing with my letter knows of my mother (she's now retired though) and I wouldn't be doing this out of spite - I'd rather that nobody reading it knew who she was.

LizKeen Fri 12-Feb-16 15:35:33

Yet, she'd look at those people and "wish them well", just like she does me. The two faces, the public and private/home were so different. I didn't realise until recently that "normal" people aren't like that.

Another thing that I can completely relate to. It is staggering how many of these threads I read and how many things I read elsewhere on the internet, and it is like the words are being taken out of my mouth. It is comforting and angering in equal measure I think. Am I only worthy of a script and not a unique relationship?

I am not sure that writing to the hospital would achieve anything really, although I can understand why you feel that you want to.

The thing that I have been slowly realising recently is that my situation is never going to be resolved in a way that truly satisfies me, and I feel that the only way forward for me is to make my peace with that.

You have been failed by so many people, most of all the one person that should have cherished you. The thing you need (a sincere apology from your mum) is something that you aren't going to get, and it feels to me like that is where writing to the hospital is coming from. I could be wrong, but I think you are seeking an apology from anywhere but even if you got it, you would still be left feeling the same.

Hissy Fri 12-Feb-16 18:25:17

I used to keep giving people a chance to be normal (ok my version of normal, but i do ask others if I'm being ridiculous. I'm told I'm not)

My friend and leader of a group for abuse victims told me (fairly bluntly, but with love) that it was my fault for getting hurt by M the last time.

"Why, when she's never done any differently, did you expect her to be any different to all the other times she's ever been cruel/heartless/uncaring?"

It smarted. Hit me right between the eyes, but she was right.

I remember being referred to a child psychologist.

I have a feeling parents were in the room, I could be wrong, but even if they weren't, how would I say anything? How would I have even known you're not supposed to be called fat all the time, clothes criticised, achievements minimised etc?

I think the last straw was me being upset about the class being asked to trace huge round tin cans to then draw our own face. I remember it vividly. I must have been 10 at the very most. I cried and cried.

They tried telling me everyone was doing it, I was inconsolable

Hissy Fri 12-Feb-16 18:30:36

We use our experiences to be stronger, to try to do things differently to help our children be stronger and feel more loved than we were.

dreame Sat 13-Feb-16 18:42:33

Hissy that's awful. I don't know if the psychology profession has better ways now of figuring out if a child is being harmed. Something tells me not.

I just read some diaries from when I was a teenager. I'm in total shock. My brother (younger) was 15 and calling me names I didn't want to write down (which means the c and b words amongst others). I got upset and she told me that as a 15 year old boy in an all woman (me and her) household and he had to have the right and freedom to assert his masculinity. So he was given carte blanche to continue. I realised that this sort of thing (pitting us against each other) went on my entire childhood. This particular period though was when she termed me "emotionally sensitive" (this was when the PTSD started) yet she let him do it.

There was a lot more that I read too but I always had this idea that really, underneath it all, she'd do anything to protect me.

I'm in shock about this all but also realise that I owe her a big fat nothing: she really was awful.

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