Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Were my parents abusive? Very long post..(15 Posts)
Please be kind to me.
On the outside it looked as though I had a perfectly normal childhood. My mum and dad were together until I was around 9 years old. They argued non stop. My dad cheated on my mum, but I think my mum did too. There were always trying to keep up with the neighbours etc and generally quite materialistic. My dad started to show signs of schizophrenia but was in complete denial and would refuse to go to the doctor. Eventually they split.
I found the split traumatic because I was a daddy’s girl. My dad was the one who did everything with me. My mum on the other hand worked hard, but never wanted to spend any time with me even on her time off. I remember she used to force me to go outside and play because she was doing housework and wanted me out of the way. My gran told me that when she would come down to visit I would never be in the house and she would find my mum in front of the TV.
I went on holiday with my parents and they basically left me to my own devices. I found it hard as I was shy and I was an only child. My parents would sit and sunbathe all day everyday. They didn’t do anything with me. I was left on my own really.
This might sound strange but as a child it was quite scary as I didn’t understand. When my mum and dad were still together I used to hear them have sex a lot. My bedroom was next door to theirs and they were very loud (no effort to be quiet). I used to dread going to bed for fear of hearing them. I would cry myself back to sleep because I didn’t understand what was going on and I thought my mum was in pain. I used to hate going on holiday because the first night we would arrive they would have sex as soon as we got to the hotel and I would hear everything. I used to go to bed early so I would not hear. I hated it. I remember tactually telling them to stop. My dad also had dirty magazines lying around and porn videos which were kept alongside my kids movies.
When my parents split, my mum met my step dad quickly afterwards. He would stay overnight and they would be at it all night. I would hear everything because they were so loud and inconsiderate. For all the years spent trying to keep up appearances, my mum went bankrupt months into meeting my step dad. My mum is materialistic and I think she set eyes on him as she thought he had money. Instead of trying to build back up her life on her own and seeing how the relationship went, we moved an hour away to live with my step dad.
I had difficulty in sleeping as my step dad would have the TV up so loud. It was even worse when he had his friends around. He smoked weed most nights in the house which would travel up into my room. He would also play his guitar so I would be up a lot of the night. I used to ask him if he could be quieter but it never worked. I would cry myself to sleep. He would have a go at my mum for this as it was embarrassing in front of his friends.
My relationship with my mum got worse and the same with my step dad. Every now and then she would pack my bags and tell me to find somewhere else to live. I was around 10 or 11. One one occasion she had me by the throat trying to strangle me. I was choking and didn’t have a way to get her off me. Eventually I got her off. My step dad was very controlling but didn’t pull me up directly. He would go to my mum who would then shout at me. i felt a lot of it was trivial and unjustified. He tended to exaggerate a lot to the point that it wasn’t the truth but my mum would always believe him over me and I would get the blame.
When I was twelve my mum and step dad went to New York on a trip that my step dad had won at his work for being the top person in his field. The trip happened to fall on my twelfth birthday but they just left me with my gran claiming it was a “once in a lifetime trip”. Bearing in mind that this was the end of September/beginning of October, they came back with a pair of sun glasses and a board game for me.
When I was 14-15 I lost my virginity. I was raped by an 18 year old boy. I remember being paralytic at the time and not being physically able to lift my hand to stop him from taking off my trousers. My hand was too heavy. I didn’t tell my parents about this.
I left school at 16 and went to college. I dropped out two years in a row. I ended up in an emotionally abusive relationship when I was 16. He was 26. The relationship lasted for around a year. I let home and moved to the city to attend another college. I had always wanted to do a certain career which my family thought was too high for me to reach. They were negative and doubted my ability to stick it out.
I moved back home after I got into university which was a bad mistake. Things got bad at home. They argued constantly. I am talking horrific arguments resulting in physical violence on both parts. I came into our street one day and could hear them arguing from inside the house.
I constantly felt like I had no privacy and my step dad would shout at me regularly. I was treading on egg shells on a daily basis. My mum wasn’t any better and more often than not took his side. He was never physically abusive towards me, but on one occasion he came very close. He stormed up to me ready to lift his hands but I managed to run into my room and hold the door.
The arguments between my mum and step dad continued to get worse. My mum would regularly tell me that they had split up and that I would need to find somewhere else to stay. I felt massive pressure and stress as I would be going through exams or essay deadlines and eventually I ended up depressed because it was all getting on top of me. I wasn’t aware of the depression in the beginning.
At one time my mum told me that she had to get out, she didn’t love him, he treated her horribly etc. She said we were stuck because she didn’t have any money as she had to support me through university. I felt awful and thought the blame lay with me as to why we were still there. I felt responsible to bring in more money so that we could save enough to leave him. I was so desperate to get my mum enough money that I sold my body. I didn’t tell my mum about this. I began squirrelling money away and gave it to my mum to keep. She spent it all. I was absolutely broken. I stopped it after that. It was at that point in my life I realised that it doesn’t matter or much money I could give to my mum, it would never be enough.
The relationship continued between my mum and step dad. The abuse got worse. I couldn’t stand being in the house at all. I nearly committed suicide. I wanted my life to just end. I went to women’s aid for help and I began to see a counsellor at university twice a week for 2-3 years. She was amazing. She helped safe my life. I was in the darkest hole and she helped pull me out.
I had to continue living at home for five years in total until I finished university. I met my current partner nearly three years ago and he knows everything about my life. We finally got a house together recently and it has been the biggest relief getting my freedom and privacy back. I feel happy.
I have an alright relationship with my mum and step dad now, although they are totally oblivious to what they put me through. I have a very desirable career after years of perseverance. In the recent past they have told me I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for them. If only they knew.
Do you think my mum and step dad have been emotionally abusive to me? I constantly doubt myself because they have always made me to be the unreasonable person and it’s only now I realise that I don’t think I am - it’s them.
Sorry for such a long post. Thanks for reading.
Emotionally and physically I would say. Sounds like they took you to hell and back. Have you ever considered going no contact with them?
In a word yes. They were abusive and neglected. Im Sorry you had to deal with this all.
I second Room, I would consider going either low or non contact with them. Although they did provide a physical home, food etc they did not provide the love, support and nurturing that you required as a child. In effect, you got you where you are today. Its almost as if seeing them pulls you back to being a lonely, sad, scared child. You are adult now and you can prevent yourself being in that situation.
OP how brave are you! Well done. Yes they were abusive, incredibly so. What they did was terrible. It wasn't you, it was them.
Keep going with the counselling and as PP said, have you considered going no contact?
Have a look at the stately homes thread, you will feel right at home
Yes they sound abusive. Does your mum have narc tendencies?
You sound very aware and grounded. Well done for getting your life to such a good place, you sound very brave.
Do you think my mum and step dad have been emotionally abusive to me?
FUCK yeah. As well as financially, physically and sexually.
Keep on with the therapy, and well done with making as good of a life as you have, given the enormous roadblocks these guys have thrown at you. But don't ever think you can convince your parents how wrong they were. That'll never happen and is a waste of your precious energy.
Yes, your mum has highly destructive relationships and didn't put you first.I'm so sorry as you deserved better.
I'm sure there were times when it wasn't horrific but that's the same with all abusive relationships.
Those times are no doubt confusing for you.Did you mum mean to harm you? probably not but she's not capable of healthy relationships and needed to get herself better so that she could have functioned as a mum.
You should have compassion for yourself.
Yes, they were and still are, awful human beings. I also suggest very low contact. You have risen above all of this and found happiness so I hope you can place them in the past and enjoy your newfound success. ( Not to say you don't deserve to feel pain and regret about it all).
You do not have to be defined by your experiences. Be happy.
Dear OP, you were terribly abused and neglected. You should be so proud you have done so well in life considering what your parents and step dad put you through.
Hearing adults having sex in a form of abuse as this is an area of adults' lives a child shouldn't know anything about and should be protected from.
Your mother and father didn't protect you from life, they just threw you at the deep end without a life jacket and you could have easily drown. This also a form of neglect and abuse.
You need to detach from your parents as much as you can. The child in you has been deeply wounded by their actions, and they don't deserve much of your love or time now.
They have done the damage, you survived, now move on and away from them, both physically and psychologically. You need to set yourself free now, and one way of getting there is to set clear boundaries, and don't ever allow them to drag you again into their messed up lives.
You poor thing. I can't imagine how hard your life must have been until now. Utterly unfathomable cruelty.
You are healing now, in a place of love and happiness but you are showing signs of C-PTSD (Complex post traumatic stress disorder) which is very common with survivors of childhood abuse and neglect. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your future is to sever contact with them.
Thank you for all your kind replies. My heart was racing reading through them in case it really was me at fault.
I am not seeing a counsellor anymore. The lady I saw worked with the university I attended. After I graduated, I was unable to carry on my sessions as I had finished my course, so I haven't seen her now for around 2 years. The counselling really helped me - as I said, she helped save my life. I am not sure if I could trust another person in RL with what I have told you all today. It seems ridiculous that I chose to sell myself to help my mum with money; however, at the time it seemed like the only option. These experiences had a massive impact on my life. I feel like I am in a place of acceptance now I understand why I did what I did.
I have never thought about going no contact with them. I think it's because the reality of childhood hasn't fully hit me until now. I don't have a lot of contact with them at the moment - probably over the phone once a week or I see them once a week.
I think what brought it all rushing back was last weekend when there was a family gathering. My niece is having a hard time with her parents at the moment, similar to my experience. I was dumbfounded when my mum started to harp on about how bad my niece’s mother is, how could she be so selfish, how could she treat my niece in that way, absolutely awful behaviour. I shouldn’t have been surprised at what she said as she is truly oblivious.
My mum ended up leaving the family gathering upset as I had told her to stop sitting on her phone (she is very ignorant that way) and she was having a go at me about repairs to our house so I told her to stop it. The family members knew why she left so it was slightly embarrassing. I phoned her afterwards which resulted in her shouting at me, hysterically crying and hanging up on me twice. I bumped into her with a friend that night which was awkward as she had to make small talk. It’s strange because people think my mum is so nice, but it’s all a false pretence. I haven’t heard from her since. Before, I would have contacted her first and apologised even if it wasn’t my fault. She likes to be the martyr.
My partner and I are thinking of emigrating to Australia at the end of 2019 so it would mean a fresh start away from them.
talesofthevillage - I have just looked up narcissist tendencies and both my mum and step dad matched most of the signs. My mum especially is very dramatic, complete martyr, everything is about her. She never listens. If you have had a bad day, she has had a worse day etc.
I don't think my mum means to hurt me. I think that deep down, she loves me in her own way. I question if she ever really wanted me. When she was angry she used to call me a c*nt, selfish, I'm just like my dad, she regrets ever giving birth to me. I'm not sure if it was just anger talking or if she genuinely thinks these things.
Love, seeing or speaking once a week is not low contact. Honestly, reduce it dramatically and watch your life improve. Your mother ( I cannot bear to type 'dm') will weep and wail but you can block her number for as long as you want.
Get all the support you need in RL or here but I urge you to stop letting your poor excuse for a mother abuse you. Calling your own child a cunt is pretty much as low as you can go.
I think that deep down, she loves me in her own way.
Even if I can swallow that (I can't - it's pure bullshit), that kind of love is just plain wrong.
Nobody has to be "loved" in a way that is bad for them, or even if they just don't like.
Join the discussion
Please login first.