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But we took you to Stately Homes" August 2019 onwards thread

(810 Posts)
AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 28-Aug-19 17:38:05

It's August 2019, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011
November 2011
January 2012
November 2012
January 2013
March 2013
August 2013
December 2013
February 2014
April 2014
July 2014
Oct 14 – Dec 14
Dec 14 – March 15
March 2015 - Nov 2015
Nov 2015 - Feb 2016
Feb 2016 - Oct 2016
Oct 2016 - Feb 2017
Feb 2017 - May 2017
May 2017 - August 2017
August 2017 - December 2017
December 2017 - November 2018
November 2018 - May 2019

Welcome to the Stately Homes Thread.

This is a long running thread which was originally started up by 'pages' see original thread here (December 2007)

So this thread originates from that thread and has become a safe haven for Adult children of abusive families.

The title refers to an original poster's family who claimed they could not have been abusive as they had taken her to plenty of Stately Homes during her childhood!

One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;

'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/ siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/ angry/ hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/ lifetime experiences of being hurt/ angry etc by our parents behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'

Most new posters generally start off their posts by saying; but it wasn't that bad for me or my experience wasn't as awful as x,y or z's.

Some on here have been emotionally abused and/ or physically abused. Some are not sure what category (there doesn't have to be any) they fall into.

NONE of that matters. What matters is how 'YOU' felt growing up, how 'YOU' feel now and a chance to talk about how and why those childhood experiences and/ or current parental contact, has left you feeling damaged, falling apart from the inside out and stumbling around trying to find your sense of self-worth.

You might also find the following links and information useful, if you have come this far and are still not sure whether you belong here or not.

'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.

I started with this book and found it really useful.

Here are some excerpts:

"Once you get going, most toxic parents will counterattack. After all, if they had the capacity to listen, to hear, to be reasonable, to respect your feelings, and to promote your independence, they wouldn't be toxic parents. They will probably perceive your words as treacherous personal assaults. They will tend to fall back on the same tactics and defences that they have always used, only more so.

Remember, the important thing is not their reaction but your response. If you can stand fast in the face of your parents' fury, accusations, threats and guilt-peddling, you will experience your finest hour.

Here are some typical parental reactions to confrontation:

"It never happened". Parents who have used denial to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy or anxiety, will undoubtedly use it during confrontation, to promote their version of reality. They'll insist that your allegations never happened, or that you're exaggerating. They won't remember, or they will accuse you of lying.

YOUR RESPONSE: Just because you don't remember, doesn't mean it didn't happen".

"It was your fault." Toxic parents are almost never willing to accept responsibility for their destructive behaviour. Instead, they will blame you. They will say that you were bad, or that you were difficult. They will claim that they did the best that they could but that you always created problems for them. They will say that you drove them crazy. They will offer as proof, the fact that everybody in the family knew what a problem you were. They will offer up a laundry list of your alleged offences against them.

YOUR RESPONSE: "You can keep trying to make this my fault, but I'm not going to accept the responsibility for what you did to me, when I was a child".

"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me, to make a better relationship."

"We did the best we could." Some parents will remind you of how tough they had it while you were growing up and how hard they struggled. They will say such things as "You'll never understand what I was going through," or "I did the best I could". This particular style of response will often stir up a lot of sympathy and compassion for your parents. This is understandable, but it makes it difficult for you to remain focused on what you need to say in your confrontation. The temptation is for you once again to put their needs ahead of your own. It is important that you be able to acknowledge their difficulties, without invalidating your own.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I understand that you had a hard time, and I'm sure that you didn't hurt me on purpose, but I need you to understand that the way you dealt with your problems really did hurt me"

"Look what we did for you." Many parents will attempt to counter your assertions by recalling the wonderful times you had as a child and the loving moments you and they shared. By focusing on the good things, they can avoid looking at the darker side of their behaviour. Parents will typically remind you of gifts they gave you, places they took you, sacrifices they made for you, and thoughtful things they did. They will say things like, "this is the thanks we get" or "nothing was ever enough for you."

YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate those things very much, but they didn't make up for ...."

"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realise that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I'm sorry you're upset. I'm sorry you're hurt. But I'm not willing to give up on this. I've been hurting for a long time, too."

Helpful Websites

Alice Miller
Personality Disorders definition
Daughters of narcissistic mothers
Out of the FOG
You carry the cure in your own heart
Help for adult children of child abuse
Pete Walker
The Echo Society
There are also one or two less public offshoots of Stately Homes, PM AttilaTheMeerkat or toomuchtooold for details.

Some books:

Toxic Parents by Susan Forward
Homecoming by John Bradshaw
Will I ever be good enough? by Karyl McBride
If you had controlling parents by Dan Neuharth
When you and your mother can't be friends by Victoria Segunda
Children of the self-absorbed by Nina Brown - check reviews on this, I didn't find it useful myself.
Recovery of your inner child by Lucia Capacchione
Childhood Disrupted by Donna Jackson Nazakawa

This final quote is from smithfield posting as therealsmithfield:

"I'm sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don't claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support."

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 28-Aug-19 17:40:57

If one of you can link all the previous threads to this one I would very much be in your debt. I cannot recall how that is done hence me asking.

Thank you

A x

SimplySteveRedux Wed 28-Aug-19 17:52:43

Thanks @AttilaTheMeerkat

Ulterego Wed 28-Aug-19 18:06:57

...hotfooting over from the last thread, this is to @HockeyMom1974, who just joined, hopefully she'll find us!
my Dad in the background shouting that our friends "can stick their F*CKING wedding"
as per Attila, he felt slighted because he feels that your inlaws were put ahead of him, a minuscule thing and he goes off like a rocket, the massive but fragile ego
He uses his rage as a weapon. it is very hard not to feel intimidated by a raging adult, especially if it's your father
can you ever get to a point where you could witness that and just laugh at the sad old idiot?

SingingLily Wed 28-Aug-19 18:07:52

Links to previous threads here:

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011
November 2011
January 2012
November 2012
January 2013
March 2013
August 2013
December 2013
February 2014
April 2014
July 2014
Oct 14 – Dec 14
Dec 14 – March 15
March 2015 - Nov 2015
Nov 2015 - Feb 2016
Feb 2016 - Oct 2016
Oct 2016 - Feb 2017
Feb 2017 - May 2017
May 2017 - August 2017
August 2017 - December 2017
December 2017 - November 2018
November 2018-May 2019

Thank you, Attila, for starting the new thread.

I'm still around, by the way, and hope to be properly back soon. My best wishes to all of you.

Ulterego Wed 28-Aug-19 18:17:47

I hope you're ok Singing

DrWAnker Wed 28-Aug-19 18:29:11

And not hitting you doesn't mean they are nice people.
It was my kids that were the clincher. I'd never treat mine how they treat me.
And they tried to use the, we are devastated not to see them card.
They are not the type of people I want my kids around, sounds like you are in a very similar situation to me, just it's my mother who is the problem.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 28-Aug-19 18:51:57

Hope you ok singing smile

HockeyMom1974 Wed 28-Aug-19 19:02:36

Wow guys - THANK YOU again so very much for welcoming me and understanding.

@Ulterego yes, until that phone call the rage had me debilitated for my whole life. I think it was the fact that he could so easily cut off these incredible people so heartlessly that gave me a backbone! Almost, because it was my friends - the family I chose - that gave me the strength to look at it differently. I'm hopeful for the future.

@DrWAnker how are you finding it now? I definitely don't want my kids to be raised how I was. We encourage them to challenge something they don't think is right and to NEVER be afraid of us. I mess up and so does daddy but we'll always say sorry if we're out of line.

The guilt is still coming in waves - I feel guilty because they had troubled upbringings, left home as soon as they could, they smothered me with love - I feel guilty that they've loved so much and this is where we are. BUT, in my logical and detached mind, I can see that love is not healthy, I wouldn't want my kids to think that way is the right way and the only way, I wouldn't dismiss their feelings that way and as their mother, I will ALWAYS have their backs and stand up for them.

Rambling again but THANK YOU so much!

How is everyone else doing today?


SingingLily Wed 28-Aug-19 19:07:58

Thank you, Ulterego - you too. And thank you, as always, Attila.

Dad is still in hospital but he is hanging on. M is trying to hoover in DSis while studiously avoiding me. Meanwhile, her Representative on Earth (middle sister) is channelling her rage at me. It's messy but I know the script now and it's not working. If you see an orange glow in the sky, don't be alarmed. It'll just be my mother and middle sister spontaneously and simultaneously combusting.

Orangecake123, if you are reading this, I could have written your post. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. You are not alone, truly. Neither are you, HockeyMom. You are among friends now.

DrWAnker Wed 28-Aug-19 19:25:56

I won't lie @HockeyMom1974, it's not easy.
We have been super low contact for the last 18 months. I'll try and cut a long story short ...a few days ago they involved a vulnerable relative in their nonsense which I could not tolerate.
So I sent a very polite message asking them to contact me directly and got a barrage of lies and abuse. The exact response I predicted having lurked around here for long enough! Many wise posters.

So it's been the final straw for me.
My daughter is sad and misses them a bit but I've explained to her that they are not always very nice and I'd rather not expose her to that.
The little one doesn't even know them.
And although that makes me sad, my life is honestly easier without them.

Herocomplex Wed 28-Aug-19 19:29:42

Thank you all, sending you all love and strength 💐

SimplySteveRedux Wed 28-Aug-19 19:29:53

* I hope you're ok Singing*


toomuchtooold Wed 28-Aug-19 20:04:37

Christ it's busy on here! I missed the end of the last thread.

I've got a text file with all the dates and links and stuff on it if anyone wants it for next time (Steve I'll email you it in a minute)

Lily you're coping amazingly well. Go you flowers

Hockeymom I haven't read your PP but regarding love, there's a difference between love and attachment. To really love someone means to support them on their path through life to be and do what they really want to do, to develop, to go out there, you know? Too many of our parents loved us like trinkets - something to show off, something that reflected well on them.

SimplySteveRedux Wed 28-Aug-19 20:10:49

Thanks boss woman! Well, one of them!

I think my Aunt took aim at me because I dared raise my head above the parapet. It's a shame as I've always had a good relationship with him. The one I have (had) the best relationship with I've not seen in almost 20 years now, she's my DDs Godmother too, and I miss her so much sad

Took DD for lunch earlier and just explored her feelings around my parents. Short version is Mother can't help it and her relationship with Father is super strong so I stopped pushing at that point. Almost resigned to my fate with them on the borders as I will not jeopardise my relationship with DS/DD for anything.

TinyTempahh Wed 28-Aug-19 20:18:15

* And not hitting you doesn't mean they are nice people.
It was my kids that were the clincher. I'd never treat mine how they treat me.
And they tried to use the, we are devastated not to see them card.
They are not the type of people I want my kids around, sounds like you are in a very similar situation to me, just it's my mother who is the problem.*

You don't need to hit someone to leave scars, and emotional scars are far harder to detect and fix. I wish I'd realised what my parents were like far sooner as I would've removed access to my children when they were babies, I should've picked up on the unhealthy response to Mother finding out DD was, well, a DD. It's a regret I'll carry always.

The fact remains that these people will use/abuse/weaponise anything, and anyone, close to us in order to maintain their iron grip on us, our psyche and our emotions.

My rearranged psychiatry appointment is for the start of next week, unsure how much to blurt out but I definitely need stronger anti-depressants and benzodiazepines. Wanted to start my Masters next month but have no missed the deadline, and pointless screwing my headspace over by doing something unrealistic. Ultimately the sex of the doctor will determine how much I spill.

SimplySteveRedux Wed 28-Aug-19 20:18:38

Oops, NC fail. That was me.

Herocomplex Wed 28-Aug-19 20:28:54

The Issendai site is full of lightbulb moment stuff, the part about seeing you as ‘immature’ if you don’t follow their rules. That’s exactly how my DM talks about my sister all the time. If she’s fitting in with them she’s ‘done a lot if growing up lately’. I want to send the link to my sister but we’ve not talked about our parents for a couple of weeks and it’s so nice to not have it as the main topic after 20 years of misery.

HockeyMom1974 Wed 28-Aug-19 20:42:13

Wow - it IS busy on here! Which is in some ways a good thing right? So many of us moving forward and dealing with the issues.

Well done @SingingLily you're coping so very well.

Sending flowers and wine to everyone who needs a little extra today. xx

BeBraveAndBeKind Wed 28-Aug-19 21:55:10

@SingingLily That sounds really tough but glad the strategy is working with middle sister.

You don't need to hit someone to leave scars, and emotional scars are far harder to detect and fix.

So true @TinyTempahh. We were never hit but we were scared to open our mouths on some occasions for fear of being verbally laid into.

I've started reading a book - Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson. M ticks all three of those boxes. She doesn't make contact often enough to be controlling and isn't needy. She can be very critical and can put a negative spin on anything. (When I told her I was pregnant with my second, her response was "when you've had this baby, you need to sort out some contraception".) I'll report back on whether it's been helpful.

SimplySteveRedux Thu 29-Aug-19 00:26:57

So there's been a song that I've not been able to listen to for years due to it reducing me to a quivering wreck. It just played as part of a playlist and this time it was raw emotion but a deep understanding of why it's been so moving. I feel almost empowered. Songs called Freefalling by Dennis Sheperd.

Our sunset turns to dusk
We swam with the dolphins and the sharks
But now it's getting dark
And we don't know who to trust

Your stolen eyes
Will soon forget
Every line on my face
Each moment spent
Every colour and scent
Will disappear without a trace

So why do I feel like I let you down
When I'm the only one around?

It's only when you leave
That I start to believe
I can feel anything
It's only when you leave me
I'm Freefalling

SingingLily Thu 29-Aug-19 07:51:50

Thank you, Steve, Toomuch, HockeyMom and BeBrave. I'm no Boudicca though. When I have to deal with middle sister, my stomach is still knotted up for hours and my insomnia is raging again. Outwardly though, I'm managing to present a serene and confident front and when she speaks to me, as she habitually does, in the manner that a terribly important and busy person might use to a particularly dim and very junior member of staff, you can see that she has this growing awareness that I am actually laughing at her. She's not used to that. The madder she gets (in both senses of the word), the more opportunities she gives me to take the proverbial.

I don't think she likes the new me grin - but then she didn't much like the old me, either wink

I'm visiting Dad again this afternoon. They are continuing to keep out of my way. I'm just living day-to-day, trying not to look ahead.

SingingLily Thu 29-Aug-19 07:57:00

Chin up, Steve. I've just noticed the time of your last post - insomnia too? Keep going, one step at a time. Churchill famously said, "When you are going through hell...keep going". It's the only thing sensible people like us can do.

Not sure about your proposed name change though 🤔😁!

Herocomplex Thu 29-Aug-19 08:01:27

Singing I think you’re going through one of the great rubicons of estranged families, dealing with illness/death. It’s another of the times when society tells us that families support and comfort one another. I hope you’re getting those things from somewhere else x

toomuchtooold Thu 29-Aug-19 08:25:47

Singinglily I think it's very normal to be having anxious and fearful reactions like that - it's a power dynamic that you were born into, and IMO having insight into it doesn't take the feelings away.
Your sister doesn't know that though grin

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