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Have you moved on from an abusive childhood...

(16 Posts)
RedYellowPinkandGreen Tue 15-Nov-16 13:40:04 have a good relationship with your parent/s?

I have posted bits elsewhere about my mother. Have recently thought a lot about my childhood which wasn't very nice.

Right now I'm working through a number of things in counselling and other than a weekly phonecall don't really feel up to a lot of contact with my mother.

On another thread some posters were very positive about how their parents have changed. It was very encouraging to hear how their relationship moved on.

I don't want to go no contact, especially as my dad went AWOL a long time ago. No matter how I think about things I could never hurt my mother like that. But at the same time I feel like I have lost some of the love i felt. I'm interested in knowing about positive experiences as I feel a bit stuck.

MagicSocks Tue 15-Nov-16 15:16:35

I'm struggling a great deal with this atm. I don't want to dismiss my parents as all bad because they weren't/ aren't but they did give my sister and me a rather stressful, fucked up childhood and were abusive in amongst a lot of good things too. Very very difficult to make sense of it, I know for many people abuse is reason enough to cut off the person and the relationship and I understand why but what if you see both real good and real badness in the same person? Where do you draw the boundary then, particularly when abuse is past.

Sorry not to be more helpful. I'm grappling with this atm and would be interested to see responses.

An alternative to no contact would be low contact, if you look at the website 'out of the fog' which is about disordered and abusive family dynamics it refers to a concept called medium chill (I think) and it's helpful. Emotionally disengaging, giving neutral responses and setting firm boundaries by simply not giving in to demands without getting sucked in to arguments either.

MagicSocks Tue 15-Nov-16 15:20:31

Also if you don't feel up to more than a weekly phone call, that is absolutely fine. Why would it not be? Does your mum tend to make you feel guilty quite a lot?

Even if the weekly call became fortnightly if you needed that space, you'd have every right to do that. You're not obligated to have a relationship per se especially if the person consistently makes you feel bad and/or you are working through issues in therapy and need time in which to do so. It doesn't have to mean cutting her off either but you set the limits wherever is best for your wellbeing.

Bluntness100 Tue 15-Nov-16 15:22:22

No, I haven't, I need to call my dad, I know I do, it's been a couple of years, but I just struggle doing it.

RedYellowPinkandGreen Tue 15-Nov-16 16:24:35

It is really difficult isn't it? Its such an odd dynamic. If the abuse had been from a partner it'd be black and white in terms of ending any relationship (other than the co parenting one ).

Dealing with a parent feels so much trickier. I think I have disengaged a bit emotionally. My mum knows life is a bit difficult and says she understands but at the same time tells me how sad or unwell she is and how I'm cutting her off from her grandchildren.

But i didn't really intend to moan. I need to live with the guilt until I get to whatever works.

I suppose I am interested in positive stories because i can't see how I'm going to get back to a loving close relationship. And id like to.

Bluntness, I know how difficult it is to make that phonecall, how quickly it can turn into a couple of years. flowers

RedYellowPinkandGreen Tue 15-Nov-16 17:33:20

Magic, sorry should have said sorry you are struggling with this too.

MagicSocks Tue 15-Nov-16 18:42:42

Thank you RedYellow smile

Sleepybeanbump Tue 15-Nov-16 18:50:33

Personally we have moved to a slightly different version of the default setting I grew up with - a nauseating charade of happy families. Only difference is I am now willingly and fairly happily facilitating this for my DS's sake.
I fully acknowledge that my mother is a selfish, manipulative, deceitful, narciststic, childish and violent person. I would never leave her alone with my DS. However as I've got older I've come to understand that while it doesn't excuse or change anything that happened she has had a very unhappy life. She's rather pathetic really - can't cope with life at all.
While it's certainly not been a Hollywood movie experience of forgiveness and healing, she's been much better than expected with my DS and he enjoys her visits. She's elderly and he'll probably only know her for under a decade and his other grandparents visit infrequently. I have such happy memories of my grandmother that I want him to have the best experience and memories be can have of an affectionate and fun grandmother. So we play happy families with her once a week while I bite my tongue a lot and take the opportunity to get some housework done!
I totally know what you mean about not wanting to hurt your mum by going no contact. I've fantasised about it at the worst times and wondered if i feel like I can't as a result of the abuse or just because of human nature. It's messy.

everythingis Tue 15-Nov-16 19:20:42

Not really no. I went no contact with my dad in 2008 as he was unable to change - violent alcoholic.

glitterandtinsel Tue 15-Nov-16 19:35:48

Why would you want to be in contact with someone who abused you?
I can't forgive my parents for choosing to abuse me. It's a choice to cross the line. I can't forgive them for abusing my dcs.
I went no contact three years ago. I was in hospital recently and felt wretched because all I wanted was a mum to tell me everything would be alright. Not my mum, as she'd be nasty about me ending up in hospital. It's hard to know there's no safety blanket, even though there never was one anyway!
It's up to you. My recovery only started when my parents weren't in my life.

user1478877722 Tue 15-Nov-16 20:06:57

You can't have a meaningful relationship with someone who hasn't even acknowledged the harm they've caused you.

RedYellowPinkandGreen Tue 15-Nov-16 20:29:03

It feels a bit daunting to have no family.
Although I really needed her this year and that hasn't gone well.

But more than that I suppose if I can unpick enough of the things that happened to get a different sense of who I am - and find some way to be happy, maybe I'll be strong enough to manage a relationship - in a way that I am less worried about upsetting her. If I can see that things are her not me it might be ok.

I guess if I had no contact or little contact I know it would destroy her. She'd be miserable the rest of her life. But if I can find a way to be happy and understand her behaviour then, while I might wish the relationship was better, that the past didn't exist, I could nonetheless tick over - and that's not as bad as the impact on my mum of no relationship.

Sleepyhead, that sounds so familiar. I just need her to back off until I get back on track and have the strength to handle it.

JT05 Tue 15-Nov-16 20:32:57

It has taken years to move on from emotional abuse. The big sea change came when I had my own DCs, I could create the family atmosphere that I never had. This did involve going NC with my mother, but I gave her the chance to be a Granny, but her response was to move abroad!
My DF did pick up the grandparent role, but died too soon to see the wonderful young men his GSs grew to be.

The memories of abuse will always be with you, but don't let them define you. Even my DH has no idea what it was really like.

trappedinsuburbia Tue 15-Nov-16 20:38:58

I suppose so, im not sure. I recognise now that it wasn't just my dad that was the villain my mother made out (although he was abusive, just not in all the ways she would have you believe) and that my mother was/is very manipulative and constantly puts me down.
I guess the difference now is that I recognise it for what it is and for what she is and it doesn't really bother me now, its like water off a ducks back if you like. Sometimes it annoys me and I pull her up on it, I don't even think she realises she's doing it tbh, she can't understand why her friends keep her at a distance which is quite sad really.

Goodgriefisitginfizzoclock Tue 15-Nov-16 21:02:31

Goodness me yes glitter you are right hard to accept no safety blanket although as you rightly say there never was one. My brother said recently after a discussion about our mother and her latest tricks, it was the final straw for him ( that boat sailed ages ago for me) he said 'it's the death of hope' that finally got him. Sad but we have each other, like I told him, it always was just going to be us and them. We won though love him to bits!

Goodgriefisitginfizzoclock Tue 15-Nov-16 21:04:00

Sorry not much help, just struck a cord though. You aren't alone you know, there are lots of us quite survivors you know x

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