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A problem child, and looking back as an adult

(18 Posts)
Halfwayoranges Wed 06-Jul-16 07:08:05

I've been thinking more about my childhood as my friends have had kids and it is making me question everything. I've always been quite fiercely defensive of my parents, with anything really. And always accepted I was a difficult child and a nightmare to bring up.

I've been called all sorts of things as a child. Little hitler was one of them. Other times my mum would say I was going to cause my parents to divorce because they couldn't deal with me and my behaviour.

I remember being very stressed and anxious as a child. My mum in particular was so keen for me to do well at school, and I did, but it caused me to feel physically unwell sometimes. I remember age 8 being sick at school but not wanting to be collected in case I missed something important. I would never go to bed when told, and often my dad would drag me upstairs by my hair, and kick me from behind. He never randomly hit me, only when I was misbehaving.

When I got to 14, I was left alone a lot. I'm always told (and anyone we know as a family are told) that I was so difficult and moody as a teenager that I would never go anywhere when my parents. What they miss out is that my little sister was a dancer and they took her all over the country every weekend. I didn't want to go and felt worthless in the eyes of my parents. So I would stay home. They'd always make this out to be dramatic and jealous of my sister and until recently I was embarrassed of that. Now I wonder why they thought a 14 year old would want to drive for 8 hours a weekend to watch her younger sister in recitals.

Fast forward to university, and in the holidays I wasn't allowed to buy my own food because it filled the fridge up. If I didn't buy food I was told to start contributing. I could never do anything right and never felt like my own person.

Today, I'm happy. Happier away from them I've realised, though I love them a lot. I recently bought a home (6 weeks ago), and they've not been here yet, despite being 'so upset that they haven't seen it.' I mentioned this to a friend and they highlighted the fact that my parents were available 100% when it was convenient for them. When it's not, I'm not important. And when I consider this, it's very very true. And has upset me to realise it. 2 nights ago my mum called 4 times and as soon as I left the office I called her back, only to be told she was having a drink and couldn't speak. This happens very often. I have in the past called in tears about a relationship (especially at uni!), and unless she's doing nothing, I will never have her full attention. This is why they've not been to the house yet - they couldn't make the effort if it didn't suit them. I moved in alone and they never even asked if I had help.

I'm used to that sort of thing now, and became blind to it until recently. My parents have given me (I think!), a good life as I have a good education and I know they are there in some way. But when I look back, my childhood seems very very different to how I perceived it as a child.

There's more but I'I'll stop there.

Is this normal stuff or is my reaction a reasonable one? I feel guilty for even writing this about my parents.

springydaffs Wed 06-Jul-16 07:32:45

I had the book 'Toxic Parents' for years but felt too guilty to read it. Turns out my parents firmly belong in that book.

I hesitate to say it ... but there are grades of toxicity. Some are all-out toxic but some were abused themselves and have learned toxicity. Probably back in the day people had no knowledge of toxic behaviour and had no tools to recognise it, much less address it.

As challenging as it is, it's a good idea to start exploring what happened to you as a child. ime I still see my parents - who, if i'm honest, come up with the goods probably 2/10. Actually, scotch that, it's probably 1/10. They are very damaged people - therefore very damaging. I was horribly scapegoated as a child - and still am except they're afraid of me now . The difference is I've done the work and know I was handed a shit deal; that it was their stuff, not mine. They are also very old and simply wouldn't understand me distancing myself [more than I do at present]. It would massively hurt them - and two wrongs etc.

It has taken me a while to get here - decades. It's a challenging journey but worth it.

Zeusette Wed 06-Jul-16 07:44:17

I've read this OP before did you not get the answers you were looking for the last time OP? Why don't you check out the stately homes threads smile

Halfwayoranges Wed 06-Jul-16 07:56:55

Yes I did, thank you! New things have happened and I feel so conflicted with my thoughts that maybe I am the problem. Not currently in a relationship, but when I was, I was told it wouldn't last because I'm so difficult. I ended things with my ex, and it wasn't related to either of us being difficult people. Trying to reconcile how I saw my childhood and how I see it now. Feels daunting.

ASAS Wed 06-Jul-16 08:23:19

**my dad would drag me upstairs by my hair, and kick me from behind. He never randomly hit me, only when I was misbehaving.

You poor thing. Do you still want contact with them?

DidyouseeEthel Wed 06-Jul-16 10:20:45

I was a 'difficult' child too. My parents divorced when I was 5 and when mum went on to marry a widower with 4 children I became the scapegoat in a very large family. Aunts, uncles, maternal grandparents and step grandparents were all told of my (exaggerated) misdemeanors, and to this day I feel anxious and embarrassed at family occasions (I'm in my 40's now).
My cousins will joke about me smoking at ten, missing school, drinking at twelve, getting into fights, running away etc. All either untrue or massively exaggerated, but mum had to have a hard luck story and play the victim, and as a bonus I was 'just like her (absent) father'. Looking back at my childhood I think I was just a bit stubborn and strong willed, two traits that I really appreciate in my own daughter.
My children have graduated and it's a source of astonishment to my entire family that I turned out to be 'quite a good mum'. I honestly think that they expected me to end up in prison. I have also had a very hard time reconciling the real me with the strange perception I had of myself, and like Springydaffs, It's taken decades.

Zeusette Wed 06-Jul-16 10:30:22

Sorry I can't be more helpful but it's not you it's them. Have you considered going NC?

goadyfuckersgetmygoat Wed 06-Jul-16 12:03:47

Come on op. Really? You wrote this a couple of months ago and got lots of sympathy. You can't repost the old shit word for word. I remember this because it saddened me and it was one of those post that you remember.

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 18:34:33

I disagree... of course you can come back and post again. Your past has not changed. The last thread gave you some new ideas, you said, so I would hope posters would be willing to engage with you again and see how to help you further.

goady you make it sounds as though you accidentally watched a repeat telly programme... that isn't fair, though it does match your username smile It takes years to realise that your parents aren't quite what you thought and even now Op says she loves them but ... so she hasn't managed to square it all away, yet.

Halfway why did you end your relationship? Was it anything to do with feeling 'unworthy' or 'unlovable'? I hope not... my parents always discuss me as the one who was too difficult to deal with. I did nothing, not even 'normal' teen rebellion. Now, 31 years with the same person, 27 years married, they still mutter about 'How He copes...' He dislikes them with a passion and has always reminded me that they are the ones with a problem smile

springydaffs Wed 06-Jul-16 18:39:15

Bravo Blanche <like>

pocketsaviour Wed 06-Jul-16 18:40:17

my mum would say I was going to cause my parents to divorce because they couldn't deal with me and my behaviour.

This is an unbelievably cruel thing to do to a child. It's not just unthinkingly unkind, it's deliberately manipulative and designed to wound and unsettle the child all at once.

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 18:43:05


vikingorigins Wed 06-Jul-16 18:57:11

Sounds like my parents sad

You say they didn't help you move, and haven't been to your new house. The first one of my DC is in the process of buying a house and I'm so excited grin. We are planning to help him move in (and fear we might actually be in the way). I can't imagine why as a parent they wouldn't be interested.

Sounds like it is them with the problem, not you.

goadyfuckersgetmygoat Wed 06-Jul-16 19:01:05

Ourblanche. It's you who is being fooled rather than me being goady. The op literally copied and pasted her previous thread. Even the last bit saying 6weeks ago. It's not something she has added.

She also stated how she was sometimes left behind while hey took her sister for her competitions

Sorry am going to get off this thread.

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 19:09:20

I read the other thread, it was much longer and ore detailed. So? And what is the 'being fooled' crap? A poster has come back and asked for more help... she said more things have happened, she is entitled to come back and restate her past, not everyone will have read the previous one.

You are being quite dicatatorial and rude, based on very little (although I was also on the other thread, work, daughter etc) maybe you are bringing 'traffic' from that poster to this one??

Halfwayoranges Wed 06-Jul-16 19:54:14

Thanks for the replies.

I've not copied and pasted anything. I might have repeated things but the house thing is new and it made it all come to the forefront of my mind. I didn't know there was a rule of number of posts, I just found the advice helpful last time and felt less alone. It's as if my post isn't entertaining enough because it's a repeat... Sorry.

It's so conflicting that I love my parents but feel so angry with them at the same time. They are always exhausted, always not got 'enough' money (despite clearly having a lot), and anytime they go away on holiday they've never had a good time.. It rained, it was expensive etc it always happens to them. Feel fed up and as if I will never see them like I did as a child and it's quite frightening

Tiggeryoubastard Wed 06-Jul-16 20:00:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

OurBlanche Wed 06-Jul-16 20:02:10

It's frightening because you are seeing them through slightly opened eyes. You aren't reliant on them for every little thing... look, you moved out, bought your own home, started and ended a relationship and what happened... well, to be honest nothing, because nobody was looking. The world was not thrown off its axis.

Bet that wasn't what they brought you up to believe. Bet you were told that your misbehaviour was causing ructions, you would never amount to anything, never survive without their help.

Well, you proved that wrong. And now I suspect you are questioning everything - which is why I wondered if their opinion of you had had anything to do with you ending your relationship. You sound how I felt 30 years ago. When I met someone who had been equally sidelined and written off by his family. We were both able to support the other through some really shit times and are still together, own our own home, earn enough, have interesting enough lives and are happy together and have no need of any family input - haven't had for a couple of decades.

So feel free to come back and ask more questions, vent, mutter and mumble, be incoherent. I suspect my earlier life would have been easier had I had somewhere like this to rant on smile

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