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" My horrid parent"

(32 Posts)
southdowns Sat 11-Mar-17 06:53:39

I've just come across this article in today's Guardian about a website for people with "horrid parents". The founders advise against going no contact with difficult/abusive parents because "that tends to make you feel very guilty. My advice would be to keep the relationship going if at all possible. When you’ve got a partner in your life, take that person with you when you visit your parents, because you need their support.”

They then recommend taking a bubble bath and focusing on "making yourself a better person" as strategies for coping hmm

I'm in a NC situation with an EA parent myself so found it triggering, would be interested to hear what others thought.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/11/horrid-parents-how-survive-them-alyson-corner-angela-levin

April2013 Sat 11-Mar-17 07:26:24

I think it is brilliant - but I agree totally that permanent or temporary periods of NC and the negative feelings that come with that are sometimes preferable to being in contact which is more damaging. I have to use NC to protect myself both mentally and physically. Hopefully the site will accept feedback.

665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Sat 11-Mar-17 08:07:30

It's so..So bad it's actually funny
To paraphrase;

"When they are being horrid to you
Try to avoid wringing your hands,
raising your voice,
..perhaps distract them by offering them a cup of tea..?"
And
Ways to calm down afterwards.."Go to your room and thump a pillow"

I have words, but ,'m going to emotionally repress myself by not using them wink

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 11-Mar-17 08:25:01

Using words like horrid and bad parenting to me trivialises a very serious problem. Who is really their target audience here; is it really aimed at young teens and young adults?.

There are more comprehensive and informed sites that deal with such matters and I would always direct people to read those instead. Many adult children of toxic parents become more aware of how pervasively bad things were at home when they were children often when they themselves become parents.

Many adult children of toxic parents have FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) in spades long before any sort of decision is made to lower or even cease all contact with such parents. Those decisions are never made without a lot of soul searching beforehand. I also think such people have tried their whole lives to seek their parents approval, approval that has never been given at all to them.

Not all people enjoy levels of support from partners let alone friends (unless their friends have their experience of such parents themselves). There can be an overall lack of awareness and understanding. Many people generally speaking often come from nice and emotionally healthy families themselves so are ill equipped to help their partner through no real fault of their own. They have never seen this behaviour in their own families thankfully so dysfunctional families and the power and control dynamics are unknown to them.

Their tips really get my goat; particularly number 5. It is all very well and good telling people this but the message does not get through because the person does not believe it. When a person has been abused day and out by their parents it is nigh on impossible to stop blundering around trying to find or instill within yourself any sense of self worth (or at least without any form of outside support or therapy). Such people as well have a powerful fear that they will become like their parents were and still behave. They think that other families behave like theirs as well and it comes as a shock to know that no, not all families do this. The role of the golden child is also not without price either, something else this site does not mention. Nor does it mention that it is not the child or young person's fault that their parents are like this and they did not make them this way.

ptumbi Sat 11-Mar-17 08:29:34

'be the better person'? Why? This would be in complete conflict with my mental health - why on earth should I let my toxic father inflict his blaming onto me? It;'s his problem. That would be making him feel better, not me!

I am NC with father and sister, and can honestly say I feel no shame or guilt whatsoever. I'd do the same to a friend who was toxic, why not a family member?

April2013 Sat 11-Mar-17 08:48:32

I think it is aimed at children/teenagers - definitely lots of room for improvement but it is a start at lifting the taboo around this for young people who are still having to share a home with their abusive parents. I think they should have a red flag zone where they list really bad behaviour that means you should call NSPCC/police immediately. We should use this thread to give them some more ideas. I just wish a site like this could have existed when I was younger. The content is bound to be contentious and could be improved for sure but it needs to be fairly brief or would become inaccessible. Perhaps links to more detailed information would be helpful.

April2013 Sat 11-Mar-17 08:53:54

Offering an abusive parent a cup of tea to distract them - really not sure about this!! But distracting them is something I never did, perhaps it would have helped me. It's risky - what if that would anger an abusive parent more?

whitehandledkitchenknife Sat 11-Mar-17 09:02:04

Pah. I've not read the article but ptumbi's 'be the better person' jumped out at me. I spent almost my entire life, until parents's deaths, being the better person. Would I do it again?
No.
I am NC with toxic siblings and went NC with toxic father several years before he died. Only after mother's death did I begin to process just how self-absorbed she was too.
The relief and sense of liberation when they'd gone was enormous.
No guilt here. Just a great big well done for finally realising what had been done to me. Shame on them. Not me.

Hissy Sat 11-Mar-17 09:10:32

I think it has a long way to go, but it's a start. This is at the "realisation" stage in the toxic parents timeline.

I don't agree with the idealistic "don't believe what they say about you", that doesn't go anywhere close to helping with the permanent inner critical dialogue in our heads, for example.

Simplistic, overly so, but it's angled more to helping people cope with their bad parents, it's a stepping stone.

maggiemaye Sat 11-Mar-17 10:24:01

Don't look them in the eye and make them a cup of tea???
this article completely misses the point that having a 'toxic' parent for want of a better word creates such an emotional response at times that being the rational detached and reasonable one is almost impossible! It's actually hilarious that these women have put this together.
I'm in my thirties and still react emotionally to my neglectful parents, who never put me down as the article suggests most horrid parents do, but just walk in and out of my life as they fit, drinking too much alcohol, letting my children down and acting like children.
This article is just weird!

WellWhoKnew Sat 11-Mar-17 10:39:48

I do feel tremendously guilty about being NC with my mother (father hotfooted it out of my life years ago, which makes him a dispicable parent I guess). However, priority number one for me is to build up my self-esteem, which has been very fragile at times.

I thought a lot of the article asked me to pander to the 'horrid parent'. Fuck that for a game of soilders...I did that for years, and ended up feeling worse, not better.

If I was 'strong' enough to forgive, manage and tolerate her behaviour, then I probably didn't have a horrid parent in the first place!

pinkrobot Sat 11-Mar-17 11:18:44

I thought it was a load of shit and it has really aggravated me. There are so many good resources out there that they could have found if they hadn't just cut and pasted a press release.

OhHolyFuck Sat 11-Mar-17 11:25:13

Don't look them in the eye...wtf

So during the 300+ messages I had from my mother whilst in the back of an ambulance with a non breathing baby (she was annoyed that I wouldn't discuss changing my wedding to accommodate all her whims at that precise moment) I should have just not looked her in the eye or been the better person?

Fuck that for a game of soldiers

Shayelle Sat 11-Mar-17 11:44:23

Attila... you're so wise i always love your posts. 🌸

PoorYorick Sat 11-Mar-17 11:58:45

I think a lot of the problems come from people confusing NC with refusing to speak to someone.

They're not the same thing. NC is supposed to make your life easier and more positive by simply cutting out all those bad triggers and negativity. For many people it works. For many others - including a large number of people who post about it here - it makes things worse by increasing the family drama, the bad feeling, the animosity. A lot of people are obviously not really doing true NC; they are simply refusing to speak to someone who has upset them, and that's actually PA tactic which, ironically, is really intended to increase engagement and animosity, though of course they'll never admit that.

I once saw a thread by a woman who hated her MIL and insisted on being no contact. From what she had posted, the MIL sounded annoying and rude but not dangerous or horrifically toxic. More importantly, her husband was losing his mind because he didn't want to be no contact with his own mother, but every single contact he had with her was overshadowed by his wife's tears, dramatics and crazy logistics so that whenever MIL wanted to see the kids or her son, it all had to be carefully arranged so that the woman never had to see her or even say hello. It was just making everything much, much worse and worsening the very family feud the OP claimed she was trying to avoid.

It is often much better just to go low contact. Say hello, meet at family events that you can't avoid, keep contact to the minimum possible and be civil. This really does decrease the drama and stress in many occasions far more than refusing to speak at all.

Obviously every situation is different and NC is right for lots of people. But I think many people doing NC would be better off doing LC instead.

maggiemaye Sat 11-Mar-17 12:06:23

I agree with pooryorick. Low contact with clear boundaries is much less drama fuelled than no contact. Speaking from experience!

Ampersand22 Sat 11-Mar-17 12:25:19

That article boils my piss angry

SeaEagleFeather Sat 11-Mar-17 14:07:35

"be the better" person always strikes me that you're just trying to claim some moral highground instead of actually tackling the problem. Smugness hiding distress.

ptumbi Sat 11-Mar-17 16:21:22

Being the better person actually I think gives the other even more ammunition! If you are the 'better person' that makes the other 'worse, smaller', and they recognise that and would hate you even more. There you are, martyring yourself by making them cups of tea and being so nice to them....
They would just up the ante., Just to see how far they could go before you, you know, crack. Which is what they want.

Like I said - my MH before theirs. Theirs is their problem. They can sort it out, preferably without me in their life

dnwig Sat 11-Mar-17 16:57:29

The "distraction" here just sounds like "appeasing the aggressor".

Huldra Sat 11-Mar-17 17:36:24

My Mum in a bad mood plays up to get attention like a cup of tea hmm It would placate her temporarily but then she will ramp up the sulks.

SeaEagleFeather Sat 11-Mar-17 18:11:27

agreed, dnwig

Huldra Sat 11-Mar-17 18:45:57

In some ways I understand the logic in telling a child not to answer back and prolong an argument. My oldest brother did a few times and an hour of my Mum yelling the same questions over and over again, was all it achieved. It's tough for teenagers and young adults who are reliant on parents to know what to do.

Then again I never answered back, nor did my siblings, my Dad never stood up for us. As adults we continued to walk on egg shells, never disagree with her, if we saw her tense immediately start to tidy, make tea and give her attention. My Mum has never been challenged and has never had to consider that it was her being nasty and she should be the one to change, never.

She has pretty much gone nc with me since I challenged her on her behaviour following a stressful event, so not telling her she was a shit parent and my childhood was terrible. I may have been the first person to say that my treatment was undeserved. My brothers have never pulled her up when she's been nasty to her dils, shes so passive aggressive it is hard to pin point what it is she is doing exactly. Still they keep on with the Keep Calm and Carry on technique and never a "Mum you seem to be in a bad mood with my wife." I doubt if she would have taken any challenge well but pandering to her hasn't helped and I think made her worse. She is now left lonely with no one actually wanting to visit her.

To piss one dil may be regarded as misfortune.
To piss off two looks like carelessness.
To piss off three? Most normal people would undergo some self examination grin

Rather than telling teenagers to make pander and not rock the boat there must be some stock phrases to disengage.

welshmist Sat 11-Mar-17 18:59:45

Huldra -
To piss one dil may be regarded as misfortune.
To piss off two looks like carelessness.
To piss off three? Most normal people would undergo some self examination.

My Mother loves to get attention by telling people how awful her daughter (me) two sons and two DIL`S are. What she does not realise is that it reflects more on her than us. We all one by one went no contact. I was the last one to do so. It did lead to a couple of years of abusive phone calls (put the phone down) letters (burnt without reading) We have now moved changed phone number and as far as I know she has no idea where we are. She is an awfully good detective though, so we are ex directory, and not shown on the electoral roll. My Father died two years ago they had divorced years before that, so we all feel our parents are both gone forever. I did bump into her at the hospital a few years ago, she was not wearing her glasses (vanity) so did not recognise me until I said her name. I then walked away.

I have worked very hard to be a normal mum to my three children no mind games, no physical punishment and buckets of love and affection.

springydaffs Sat 11-Mar-17 20:12:37

I agree it's a start. Woefully inadequate for some situations though.

And once again we have articles about toxic parents. As if it hasn't been done to death. Yy we get it, some parents are drastically horrid. They are in the minority: most are flawed and /or misguided. Which accounts for all of us tbf.

I have the LC/NC badge in case anyone thinks I'm talking out of my arse. Plus years of therapy. So I'm not flinging this out without knowing quite a lot something about it.

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