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Low contact with parents - do you find you still question yourself?

(3 Posts)
Lottapianos Wed 01-Nov-17 13:11:47

Very long story short - my parents have narcissistic traits. My mother in particular used my sister and I as emotional dumping grounds from about the age of 10. I was never allowed to have feelings of my own or feel like my own person. I was totally enmeshed with both my parents and when I started to separate from them, I actually questioned whether I still existed. I have suffered from depression and anxiety all my life. I was in therapy for years and have deeply grieved for my relationship with them. I am doing much better these days and I have finally accepted, deep down, that I do not have to live my life in the way they want me to, and I do not exist just to make them happy.

And yet....... I still have times when the guilt creeps back in. I visit them each Summer (they're in Ireland, I'm in UK), they virtually never visit me. This week, I have found myself worrying about them, wondering whether they're lonely, feeling like its been a long time since I've seen them. I keep reminding myself that they know where I am, they would be welcome to visit, and I have invited them to visit in the past, and that the responsibility for the relationship is not all on my shoulders. And if they were to visit me, I would feel dreadfully anxious about it, and be relieved when it was done, so I know I'm better off not seeing them anyway!

This is all so complex. My life is definitely calmer for having a LOT of emotional and physical distance from them, its just demoralising when the old feelings of grief and guilt come back up again, even if they are much less intense than they used to be. Can anyone relate?

mindutopia Wed 01-Nov-17 13:24:11

Yes, we are no contact with MIL and SFIL and I do feel sad and aspects of it sometimes. In our case, it's slightly different as it's a matter of safeguarding due to a history of abuse of another child in the family, so like totally a deal breaker. I don't feel guilty, but I do have days when I feel sad about it and when I wish there could be another way. Our kids will never have the experience of grandparents they see regularly and I mourn that. I saw my grandparents nearly every day as a child as did my dh. Mine family lives overseas and visits a few times a year, but that's it. We'll never have grandparents who live in the same country that we can do Christmases with, etc. So there are times when it's really lonely and everyone else is visiting their families and we are just at home by ourselves. But I also rationally know there is no other choice, even when it's sad and I wish it wasn't that way. I think what you're feeling is normal, but you should also try to find comfort in the fact that you made this choice for a good reason and it's for the best and you are protecting your children from going through what you went through.

Lottapianos Wed 01-Nov-17 15:08:26

Thanks mind. We don't have children, which I think makes the situation both more and less complicated. Yes, its very sad, you're right, even years on from accepting that its just the way my parents are, and nothing is magically going to get better. December is absolutely my worst time of year because of Christmas and all the memories and all the happy family stuff all around.

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