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My relationship with my family, I don't know what to do(86 Posts)
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I really need some help.
I'm 30 and the last two years I have begun to wonder what the hell my parents were doing when I was a child. I don't know how to write this briefly and inevitably things will be missed out, and I'm crying as I type so it's probably not going to be well written!
I always thought my parents were good parents, whatever that meant. I was very insecure as a child and always felt in my younger sister's shadow. She was very bright academically and was into all sorts of extra curricular things that took up a lot of time. She loved hockey and we'd always have family trips at the weekend to watch her play. I don't know if it's helpful to list certain incidents that I've begun to remember, but here are a few... when I was 14 my parents left me alone for 10 days while working at the village pub, to take my sister on a hockey tour. Any time it's been mentioned since they've said 'oh helloyou wouldn't come she wanted to stay at home, we begged her to come!' Looking back now I think that was utterly ridiculous... I was 14, and the reason I didn't want to go was because quite frankly it was a boring week, and I felt left out. These days they will joke about how jealous I was, which is funny because I don't really remember much jealousy as much as I remember feeling very lonely and the odd one out. I was always very proud of my sister and have never resented her.
I have many many increasing memories of being hit, dragged by the hair and covered in bruises. My earliest memory of this is age 8, when I'm told I was particularly difficult. I think I was difficult, I know I used to never go to bed when I was told to and I would cry a lot because I was worried about school. I think I was most unhappy age 8, looking back.
Throughout my childhood I was told I was going to cause my parents to break up. We had so many rows that perhaps that was true, but now I'm an adult I find that a strange thing to say to your own child.
One Christmas after we had opened presents, my parents bought in an extra gift for my sister, after we had all finished opening things, and said it was because she had been good and I hadn't... I was confused and didn't understand why they hadn't mentioned this before Christmas as I wasn't even sure what they were referring to.
Fast forward to now and I feel very lonely around my family. I get on with my sister except when she is with the family, where we do get on but not as well. Recently the main friction has been that apparently I have been putting my sister down because I make out my job is more important than hers... I earn more money than she does and my career is competitive, but I've never once showed off about that, I don't think it's something to show off about?! Last weekend I said I had to leave a bit early (i.e. Before 6pm) as I needed to get back to finish some work for the next day, and I was told I was 'being special' and trying to put my sister down as she recently went down to part time due to not enough work in her industry. It was the first weekend I had spent with my family for weeks and I feel disappointed that there has to be all this drama.
I feel like I am some sort of nightmare person. I've always had anxiety and I am quite intense and full on about life, but I have good friends and I live a quiet life.
I feel broken tonight. I will never be what they want and actually I'm the opposite, they don't have anything in common with me. Can anyone relate to this or am I being dramatic? Brutally honest opinions really welcome!!!!
You have stepped outside your role (the lesser and worse child) and they don't like it.
30 is about the right age for starting to realise how crap your parents were.
I feel like a completely shit person whenever I'm around them. Anything I say or do is always read into in the most negative way possible.
One weekend I was in trouble for suggesting me and my sister went out for dinner ('why can't you just stay in why do you always have to go out, little sister doesn't want to'), then next occasion I didn't want to go out and I was told my little sister 'didn't really have a sister because she (me) never wanted to do anything with her.'
I just seem to fuck up everything.
You're not fucking things up. It's them. All them.
It is them. You can see how they are making you feel like shit so stop blaming yourself. Fuck them.
It's a long road, welcome to the club!
Helloyou4 I don't think you seem to fuck anything up. Please don't be harsh on yourself! I think you sound like a well rounded person despite your upbringing, and you can see those failings for what they are, and how hurtful that must have been for you. You have my upmost sympathies, you might be better off going NC with your family as it sounds very toxic.
It's not you - it is them.
I agree with FaFoutis but I also think they know damn well how they treated you and are to this day trying to justify it.
So they tell the funny story of you refusing to come away on the hockey jolly because they know the reality is they left a 14 year old alone so they could both do something they enjoyed. It is much nicer to blame you than accept that they themselves were crap parents.
Ditto the making comments about you being a crap sister and generally making you feel shit. If you are a shit person, they their behaviour can be somewhat justified. Actually it is never justifiable to hit a child or treat her badly or less favourably but if you have no justification at all then you will have to face the horrible fact that you were a crap parent and a crap person. No wonder they are still at it.
You being successful in your career with friends etc makes it harder for them to justify the way they treated you so they deny it and still make out like you are crap.
You aren't. you are great.
If I were you I would go low contact with your parents - check in every now and then, visit very very occasionally. Leave when they are mean with a cheery "sorry must go, so busy".
It might be nice to begin a relationship with your sister outside of your parents house/ambit. Why don't the 2 of you have dinner or coffee sometime. It might well be that childhood wasn't a bed of roses for her either - crap parents are generally crap to all kids, just in different ways.
You have written about your family of origin before haven't you?.
Its not you, its them. Your role in that family was and remains scapegoat for all their inherent ills. Ultimately you will need to cut all contact with your family of origin.
It is awful suddenly starting to realise that your parents are abusive. Yours certainly are. It's that sense of uncertainty. You suddenly recall things and worry you might be making it up, after all, why haven't you remembered before?
I've been there and it's hard. Come to think of it, over 3 years NC and it's still hard. My advice is fine someone to talk to, or maybe write it down. Out is better than in
Why not let them sort it out for themselves? You're now ok, the issue is with your parents.
Maybe it was difficult for them to be patient? You were not perfect and so weren't they.
I have posted before, about a year ago. Sorry to repeat, this weekend has been particularly hard.
I keep remembering times when I shouted and swore at my mum, said some terrible things to her. I was never a bad child in the sense of coming home drunk or smoking in the house lol, I just had terrible anxiety. When I was 20 I came home from uni and begged my mum to help me with my anxiety as if had got really bad and she said 'it's about time you grew up, and stopped attention seeking.'
I must have been difficult as a child as I still suffer from anxiety from time to time even now. It's always worse around them and I don't know why, why can't I be normal around them like I am with my friends!!
Thank you for all the replies. Feel so low tonight.
It takes a long time to get past blaming yourself, a year is nothing. Think about how you would respond to a daughter who had anxiety, your mother's reaction was shit.
It is hard to be around people who judge you harshly and force you into a role that is nothing like the truth. It is lonely too. No wonder you can't be normal around them.
None of this is your fault. You were a child and you were unhappy and upset. Children communicate that through behaviour. You feel bad because you have been treated badly.
You might find it helpful to google scapegoat and golden child. The scapegoat will often act out due to distress and also to make their family's mistreatment seem more bearable and controllable.
I just want to give eight-year-old you a big hug.
Is counselling an option at all? It's hard and painful starting to work this stuff out. Samaritans are on 116123 if you want someone to talk to now.
Stop - no. I have reported your post. Please refrain from posting such rubbish.
Tonight my mum told me that the three of them think I'm completely weird.
I asked why she bothered calling me if she hates me so much (I hadn't spoken to her after last weekend despite her calls, first time I've successfully ignored her). Her answer was it's about time I heard some home truths. Fed up of feeling shit whenever I'm around them,so much happier not speaking.
That sounds very hurtful, I am really sorry she said that.
Have you seen the Stately Homes thread as well?
These posts have been so kind, I appreciate it so much, thank you x
I can relate to this, but for me, it's my siblings who have decided I am the crux of all problems. They said to me: 'Why can't you try to understand that if you were a better person, then we wouldn't behave this way to you?'
My mum is the only one who sticks up for me. She says their jealousy and insecurity drive them.
No wonder you had anxiety. Physical abuse, constantly being made to feel lesser and second best, neglected?
It's them. All them. Their shit, their issues, their hugely destructive lack of self-awareness, their appalling limitations.
A good therapist would really help you unpick all this, and support you through it.
Go you, with your interesting and competitive job - well fucking done! You achieved that despite being diminished, hurt and rejected throughout your childhood.
Get angry. Get clear-headed. Allow yourself to explore this, question everything.
You don't have to do anything you don't want to or see anyone you don't want to and you are entitled to put down some boundaries to protect you.
and strength to you.
'The three of us'...it's the 'us' against 'you' attack, eh?
I've had this...'We don't need [item for my mum, not them]', to which my response was 'it's not even for you'.
I would go low or no contact. They will look for things to blame you for.
I absolutely agree you have done nothing wrong. They were adults ,you were a child and they were neglectful and abusive.
You were anxious because of the way you were treated and despite it all you still have only positive feelings towards your sister which is so commendable.
You will never please them and they will rewrite history to suit themselves.
Best advice is to cut right back on contact. See your sister independant of parents and let go of trying to please them.
You have made a successful life for yourself. Dont let them destroy it .
Basically, your parents are cunts.
That's the truth, it's right that you have spotted it.
You didn't deserve that - doesn't matter what you did or didn't do, you were a child and it was up to them to treat you with love and kindness but they didn't.
Stop blaming yourself - its ok to be anxious, and you were being treated badly. A bit like living in a family where parent/s have severe mental health problems (like my late mother), when you're always on shifting sand, you don't know if there is a truth you can rely on. Your parents looked like 'good' parents but they were unfair and cruel to you.
So, get help. You need counselling, loads of it, over a long period of time. Don't expect it to help in a couple of weeks. Don't be surprised if you remember more and feel worse for a while. Talking about it and having it heard by an impartial ear does help. A skilled counsellor will be able to ask questions that help you re-set the balance, to understand what happened to you and help you to live more comfortably now, even though you can't change the past or make your parents the people they should be.
Good luck. Your journey has already started. You can feel better. Go for it.
I don't think it's anybody's fault, your issues could have been some health problems which your sister hadn't, which gave your parents tough time through you and they were really shit at coping, and they still don't cope. I'd pity them if possible
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