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Would you go no contact with your parents if this was your history with them?

(56 Posts)
Superheroes Fri 30-Sep-16 17:53:30

I've had a difficult relationship with my parents for years, always find them highly critical of me and my choices.

I've been having counselling lately and have unearthed a lot of the reasons for my resentment and anger towards them, they seem to be based around I guess a kind of emotional neglect in my childhood, the main issues I am struggling with are:

- my older brother was physically violent to me every day for years and years and years, well into his teens where it escalated into quite frankly terrifying and frequent attacks. He had issues of his own and I see the regular violence I grew up with as being due to poor parenting and a failure to basically safeguard me properly in my own home.

- later there was a lot of emotional neglect. My mother seemed to have 'blind spots' areas that she was not prepared to help me with. e.g. never told me about puberty, didn't buy me sanitary protection or bras (I had to steal hers). She discovered I had an eating disorder, told me off for it and then never spoke of it again.

- later still, in my teens a child I knew was murdered. Parents gave me absolutely zero emotional support when this happened. Basically told me it had happened then left me to it to deal with alone, no breaking the news gently, hugs, anything like that. For reasons I won't go into I then ended up being exposed to the murder scene. They knew this and never, ever once asked how I was. Acted as though the whole thing had never happened, left me to deal with it alone.

These days when I see them they are super-critical, still very bullying, constantly trying to make me bend to their own will through silent treatment, threats or manipulation.

I've worked hard in counselling to get through a lot of this stuff and it hasn't been easy. I'm doing well though smile

But I struggle to get over this shitty relationship with them that is so lacking in any kind of care or emotional connection.

I wonder now, if it is time for me to stop trying. Every time I see them I feel traumatised again, remembering what it was like to grow up in a family home with such a weird dynamic where violence and neglect were allowed to flourish. Therapy has helped a lot with the trauma, but my god I am tired of them both now. Where do I draw the line?

Cary2012 Fri 30-Sep-16 18:12:53

Your post is so sad.

Did your parents know that you suffered violence from your brother, but decided to ignore it?

You have been neglected and let down.

Of course you can go nc. It won't be easy, but from what you've described I think it might be your only option.

Superheroes Fri 30-Sep-16 18:26:02

Hi Cary,

Thanks for your reply - sorry I didn't meant to sound sad!

I don't really know about the violence, certainly they saw some of it though he did try to hide it. I think they just didn't teach him that I deserved not to be hit, if that makes sense. They didn't seem to value me much.

Nc feels like something I want to explore, it is tricky as I have dc. My parents aren't local (thank god!) but do have a relationship with my parents. Hell will freeze over before I let the Dc visit them without me, so my presence is necessary for them to have any kind of contact.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 30-Sep-16 18:36:28

These people were not good parents (and that is a gross understatement) to you, they will not be decent sorts of grandparents to your children either. Why should they be at all subjected to your parents?.

I would have no contact with your parents and brother at all; they have all let you down abjectly as people. You would not have tolerated any of this from a friend, family are no different really.

flapjackfairy Fri 30-Sep-16 19:00:18

Have to agree you are totally justified in cutting all contact. Well done for working through it and good luck.

gonetoseeamanaboutadog Fri 30-Sep-16 19:04:09

It does sound as if they're not capable of much.

Only you can decide if it's worth it.

TheBouquets Fri 30-Sep-16 19:11:06

You have not given your age but years ago before the internet people did not have the chance to ask questions about anything on a forum like this. There was a fear of what was then called the Green Ladies. I presume they were the fore runners of Health Visitors. People were reluctant to ask for help or advice due to rumours of child being taken away. I think that was actually a "cover up" for children who died in some cases. Even 50 years ago infant mortality was high in both cities and rural areas.
Maybe your parents did not know what to do to bring up a family other than what they had seen themselves as children.

Cary2012 Fri 30-Sep-16 19:15:57

Well done on working this through in counselling.

Your priority is your kids. They need to learn from you how they deserve to be treated. Your parents cannot assume they have a right to contact with their grandchildren, because of the way they treated you.

Have you discussed nc with your counsellor?

You could go low contact while you work through the counselling, then move to nc if you feel ready.

You really owe these people nothing, if you know you would never leave your kids in their care, then I think you should trust your gut. But you can just be too busy, unavailable for a while, until you are strong enough to cut the ties.

How do you think they would react? Do you have a supportive partner? What do they think?

HolyshitIfuckedupbigtime Fri 30-Sep-16 19:18:27

I think the whole NC thing has got a bit out of hand. I had a truly awful childhood but just keep low contact with my parents as do my siblings. For me that's the best thing, but it's up to you.

dodobookends Fri 30-Sep-16 19:19:19

How old are your DC's? Do you actually want them to have a relationship with your parents? They sound absolutely horrible sad

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Fri 30-Sep-16 19:20:56

You owe them fuck all. Walk away.
Remember you aren't a bad daughter. They are just people who should never have been parents.
You will feel so free when they no longer figure in your life.
I promise you this.

leopardchanges Fri 30-Sep-16 19:26:13

OP people who think about going NC usually have a very, very good reason (well, usually lots!) to. People who grow up in a supportive, loving, respectful environment would never even think of it.

You're thinking of it and have also listed some very good reasons..and u bet there are more.

I can say, on the other side of going NC that there are sad moments - I guess like grief a little bit - but the RELIEF of not having to deal with their remarks, behaviours, or preempt any of that is unbelievably amazing.

It's a decision only you can take and only you know deep inside if you want to or not..and there's also no rush.

SnortGruntFart Fri 30-Sep-16 19:26:33

Your parents let you down very badly. There's nothing to say that they won't do the same with your DC. Your parents are still critical of you and may start on your DC, so why take the risk. Do not expose your DC to these people. They were not good to you emotionally and mentally and still display the possibility of acting in the same way with your DC.

As a parent, our first duty is to protect our children from any emotional and mental harm. If this means keeping your DC away from your parents, then that's what you must do.

FWIW, I've only just gone NC with my narc mum. She is toxic. She denies different things she has said and done to me, and although over the years I've lowered contact and fortunately DS and DD has seen mum's true colours.

My advice is to definitely go NC. Ask yourself this: what are you and your DC getting from their/your relationship with your parents? If the answer is little or nothing, then it's time to go NC and move on with your life. I'm not going to lie to you though, it may be hard, and you may feel guilty for denying your parents a relationship, but do you want to risk your DC possibly going through MH issues that could have been averted by not having contact with your parents.

BTW, Atilla is lovely and gives fantastic advice on issues like this smile. She's well worth her weight in gold and has helped me loads with her common sense and logical, down-to-earth advice.

Davros Fri 30-Sep-16 19:27:38

It's hard. I had a dilemma a bit like this though not through the kind of treatment you've had, more like indifference and taking advantage on my mum's part. I wanted to set DD an example by still doing things for and taking care of my mother, despite her lack of interest or love for me. But I had to stop as I also didn't want to set DD the example of letting someone treat me like shit and just keep going back for more. What has worked for me is becoming immune to how she and this situation could make me feel. It used to eat me up and take up a lot of head and heart space. And then it didn't, I don't really know how. I think if your counsellor can help you get to an immune position then you should go nc. If you are still dwelling on it then you've got further to go. Would you consider having it out with them or is that a very bad idea? Hope your counsellor can help. If you can no longer get emotional about it and certainly don't feel guilty then go for it. Easier said than done flowers

SnortGruntFart Fri 30-Sep-16 19:33:52

If your parents are predominantly narcissistic, then if you go NC, they may ramp up the contact by being really, really nice to you and the DC. Don't fall for it. DO not break the NC, if that's what you decide to do, because once you do, they will see that as an invitation to try and 'hoover' you back into the fold and into your role of whipping boy/scapegoat.

Superheroes Fri 30-Sep-16 19:47:46

Thank you everyone, all of your opinions are really welcome.

I know they did the best they could, it just wasn't very good. Unfortunately, they don't know that - they think they're superior to me, still...

NC seems very extreme to me, I know it would come with it's own baggage and extra complications - it doesn't change that past, the past is for me to accept and move on from.

I still have some work to do in counselling about the violence and how it has affected me. Perhaps I will think again once I am on the other side of it. I know that is where the anger and resentment towards them comes from.

I could challenge them, but they won't change and they won't apologise. They can't accept that they are ever wrong.

I told them recently how difficult I found the murder stuff. Blank looks. It didn't register. There's something missing in them both. It's sad, I feel sorry for them really.

Superheroes Fri 30-Sep-16 19:54:33

Sorry, in answer to some other questions - yes have a very supportive DH who knows exactly what they are like and is happy to support me in however I choose to deal with it.

Haven't discussed nc with counsellor..

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 30-Sep-16 20:03:15

You may find the above useful to read. I would certainly consider discussing no contact with the counsellor.

It is not your fault that your parents are like this, you did not make them this way. Their own families did that lot of damage to them.

Superheroes Fri 30-Sep-16 20:08:10

Thank you Attila, I wondered if you would mind if I PMd you about some of this?

yeOldeTrout Fri 30-Sep-16 20:11:47

They (still) treat you like shit.
What do you gain by having them in your life? If you can't find a positive, or enough positives that outweigh the negatives, then why be in touch with them?

If it helps you resolve issues by continuing to see them & further understand them, fair enough.

Luna2016 Fri 30-Sep-16 20:23:23

Things don't oftern hit home for me but your post really did. I now don't see my parent, well not oftern.

Growing up all I saw was my mum and dad at each other constantly, verbally and physically. I'm one of 7 so most of the time me and my sibling brought each other up. I can honestly say I'm suprise do we didn't get taken in to care (some times I think it would have been better if we did). At 15 I moved out and not one of them ever asked where I was.

My parents are still together now, my sibling all have a relationship with them. But I just can't, not after everything that's happened.

I'm not married and have a DD and another on the way. And since having my own children my childhood has bothered me more and more, I couldn't ever think of bringing my kids up the way I was.

The only person who can say weather you should or shouldn't have a relationship with them is you. Do what's best for you, both emotionally and mentally.

MatildaTheCat Fri 30-Sep-16 20:37:04

The violence from your brother was clearly premeditated if he made sure your parents were unaware mostly. What is your relationship with him now?

Your parents sound pretty useless. I would always think Low Contact unless there was an overwhelming reason to be no contact. You get to control the level of contact and closeness but haven't got the pressure of maintaining no contact if that makes sense.

I certainly wouldn't be going out of my way to see them much and wouldn't be sharing anything personal since they are without emotional intelligence. Your brother sounds awful but is he a product of their parenting?

foreverandalways Fri 30-Sep-16 21:00:23

Meerkat!!!!!!!! How n earth are u able to comment about how they will act and behave as grandparents.....totally disagree.....emotions, thoughts and behaviours of people change as we grow older.....not always for the worse.....

Superheroes Fri 30-Sep-16 21:01:52

"I would always think Low Contact unless there was an overwhelming reason to be no contact. You get to control the level of contact and closeness but haven't got the pressure of maintaining no contact if that makes sense."

Thank you Matilda, I think you've summed up exactly how I feel. Moving to low contact is Dad asked me last time I saw him if they had done something to upset me...too difficult for me to answer, plus they aren't capable of seeing my point of view, I am sure of that.

But yes, I think I need to keep reassuring myself that LC is ok, instead of feeling guilty about it. Thank you for putting that into words.

yeolde - thank you. I see your point of view as well. I guess I see that NC would bring it's own issues. I just wish there was an option to just have a normal family. I really do.

Luna - sorry to hear about your upbringing sad it sounds like you are on the right lines.

crayfish Fri 30-Sep-16 21:06:27

I'm NC with my parents (on and off for about 15 years but no contact at all for the last three) and, on balance, they are probably not as bad as yours. A lot of the same issues, but probably not as extreme.

So I would think seriously about going NC. It's tough, really tough at time like when my son was born, but absolutely the best thing for me. I am happier, more secure and feel 'safer' without them.

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