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

(728 Posts)
toomuchtooold Sat 26-Oct-19 18:52:53

It's October 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
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December 2013
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May 2017 - August 2017
August 2017 - December 2017
December 2017 - November 2018
November 2018-May 2019
May-August 2019
August-October 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."

SingingLily Sat 26-Oct-19 19:17:28

Thank you, toomuch. Signing in...

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 26-Oct-19 20:29:28

Thank you toomuch for setting this up.

Bumping for anyone who needs it.

jamdhanihash Sat 26-Oct-19 22:41:57

Thanks toomuch, signing in

Ulterego Sat 26-Oct-19 23:17:11

thanks Toomuchgrin
confession, I was the plonker what used up the last post on the old thread instead of trying to reserve it for a link to the new one...argghh
Hopefully everyone will find thissmile

toomuchtooold Sun 27-Oct-19 06:36:05

Don't worry ulterego, the thread is too busy to fall off the front page for long!

Pukeworthy Sun 27-Oct-19 06:38:13

Checking in.

Still greyrocking. Initially i was getting lots of texts, sounding me out. She is now ringing and im ignoring. I have a big thing going on in my life and i need unfailing positivity right now!

SingingLily Sun 27-Oct-19 07:23:24

Good morning, Pukeworthy, glad you found us. You sound a little stronger today and you are exercising boundaries, giving yourself much-needed time and space. If she's gone from frequent texting to ringing, she's escalating. She needs a response from you - it doesn't matter what kind because anything at all will do - because she needs to prove to herself that she is still in control. Does she live nearby? If so, expect her to knock on the door next. Sorry for that disturbing thought but you need to be prepared.

Something Herocomplex said on the last thread stuck with me and it's worth repeating here.

As long as you continue to think you can influence their behaviour, they will continue to control your life.

You don't have to answer the door. You really don't. It's your front door. You decide who comes in and when.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 27-Oct-19 08:59:09

Keep on ignoring your mother's phone calls pukeworthy. Infact I would also now block her number and or report such calls to BT as being malicious in intent.

I often write this on other threads but it applies equally to the stately homes thread too. The only acceptable level of abuse in any relationship is NONE. What your mother is doing here is completely off the charts unacceptable. Would you have tolerated any of what she has done here from a friend; no. Your mother (and she is not worthy of the term) is no different.

This is very true:-
"As long as you continue to think you can influence their behaviour, they will continue to control your life".

Pukeworthy Sun 27-Oct-19 09:41:09

I'm not ready for complete NC - the drama levels from the wider family would be...nuclear. luckily she isnt close enough for random doorknocks but yes, she wants answers. She can NEVER be wrong, always the victim/genius.

I have a really important job interview coming up, once that is done i can steel myself for fallout!

MarmadukeM Sun 27-Oct-19 10:10:23

@Pukeworthy sounds like a plan 👍. You don't have any power over how she behaves, as the others have said, but what you do have complete power and control over is yourself and your actions. She can 'choose' to behave how she sees fit; and you get to 'choose' how you respond. Glad she is far enough away not to come darkening your door! X

Ulterego Sun 27-Oct-19 10:53:53

I am starting to feel that no contact is the 'fivestar' option when we are swimming in these (shark infested) waters, I suppose one might call it the luxury shark cage?
I'm quite lucky because I'm not in contact with most of my family anyway so cutting the last one out doesn't have much in the way of consequences.
Pukeworthy, would it be worth withstanding the nuclear blast for the lasting peace that would follow....a serene nuclear winter wonderland ❄️💙❄️
I know I know it's not that simple!

MrsNotNice Sun 27-Oct-19 11:59:49

Hi all, thanks so much for you good hearted caring pp who have been my inspiration the past few days.

A question on my mind inspired by a current dilemma I’m facing.

I noticed what triggers my anger/upset is feeling completely invisible to people who make me run after their needs and wants. I find it hurtful when they aren’t sensitive to my feelings and aren’t concerned for my basic needs and expect me to put them first. As if I’m less important.. or more so, not just put them first but put everyone else who they want to please before my own needs.. not even put them before my needs but basically annihilate my own sense of needs and base my very existence around making everyone else happy.. even when I am the one who is struggling.

My question is, I hate how certain “family” ignored my own needs and feelings to meet their own. Took for granted that I put them first and instead of reciprocating they took it as a sign that I don’t matter and they can continue to bring me down...

So does recovering from such dynamic really need me to become that sort of person?? I’m really struggling to not be sensitive to other people’s feelings and let them down when they have needs...

Does “teaching them” that my feelings matter and my needs are important really have to be this way? Where I send them into insignificance. The very place that hurt me?

I think I’m still early in the process and still figuring it out so I might be sounding oblivious.

I just wish there was a way to do this while not stopping down to the self centred level.

For example... meeting both our needs and giving equal important to all our feelings.

Because I’m finding the onlt way to me to teach myself to not be sensitive to their feelings and needs is to remind myself or why I “should” not trust them and perhaps “hate them”. It’s turning me really resentful. To an angry unhappy place. I’m feeling the need to hate so I can find myself. But I feel like there must be a more positive way to find myself without the need to take my negative energy out.

Where am I going wrong with this ?

jamdhanihash Sun 27-Oct-19 12:01:02

I love that imagery ulter, a serene nuclear winter wonderland. To those who don't understand abusive parents, that must sound horrific but if that's the cost of your peace then it's worth it.

I've not heard from Mother for three weeks now 💆‍♀️. There's been no formal severance but I basically told her and dad to get to fuck and that it wasn't my job to keep explaining to them how they've hurt me. I said they could see my DD at some point, but that's going to be hard.

Christmas is also unresolved. But I've moved home, I'm blending a family right now, DP and I are both stressed at work and I've been unwell and just getting back to strength. They can wait.

Dreaming of my winter wonderland.

MrsNotNice Sun 27-Oct-19 12:08:06

* As long as you continue to think you can influence their behaviour, they will continue to control your life.*

Oh wow that’s really hard to get my head around but makes sense.

Good luck with your interview pukeworthy!

jamdhanihash Sun 27-Oct-19 12:10:57

mrsnot you are perhaps expecting too much of these people. You expect them to have empathy and therefore anticipate your needs. They can't do this. Think of them as disabled in this way.

Once you view them like that, some of the anger goes. You begin to realise that it is just as unreasonable to expect them to care for you as it is to expect a cat to wash the dishes.

Ulterego Sun 27-Oct-19 12:28:25

MrsNot, the people that you are dealing with are not people who will compromise they will only ever try to conquer you need firm boundaries do not give an inch.
It seems your intuition is that you can model good behaviour to these people and they will follow, they will not because in their minds they place themselves above you, you cannot teach them anything because they will not answer to you or take direction from you.
I would say treat them exactly as they treat you.
It's payback time 😈

MrsNotNice Sun 27-Oct-19 12:32:09

Thanks jamd.. sorry to keep moaning but I’m enjoying the wisdom on this thread.

The reason why I’m finding it difficult to see them as disabled when it comes to empathy, is because that’s the view I had for years and it’s why I never took things personal..

However as I have grown, I started to realise that there is in fact no difference between me and my siblings who do receive empathy and my parents are able to display awareness of empathy and great sensitivity to needs and feelings when it suits them.

They switch their empathy on and off as and when needed. So it always sends me into questioning “what is it that I’m doing wrong for them to feel comfortable doing this to me”. I’m almost angry at myself for not being “deserving” enough. It sounds pathetic but I’m trying to overcome this rediculous logic.

I’ve never been a jealous person by my self worth did get knocked down when I realised that my parents are able to dig out so much empathy and care with others but specifically incapable with me. I think that’s what hurts the knowing that they’re not particularly disabled and it’s not just their nature but somehow it’s me.

Ulterego Sun 27-Oct-19 12:36:08

Jamd, you have very accurately encapsulated the problem🌝 'expecting a cat to wash dishes' really sums it up!
Imagining a peaceful quiet winter wonderland, the unblemished snow.
❄️🙏❄️

Ulterego Sun 27-Oct-19 12:40:05

MrsNot, I would say that you and your siblings are pawns in the games of your parents, if they treated you all equally it would be much less interesting for them, to create some drama they push one person into the black sheep position and the others are elevated to golden child or some version thereof, it just gives them more to work with, makes it easier for them to play you off against each other.
This is probably instinctive rather than conscious and deliberate (?) but I think that's what's going on, that's what they get out of it.

something2say Sun 27-Oct-19 12:40:15

I think, its reciprocity. You do for them, they do for you.

At the moment it's one way against you. They wont let it be both ways equally. So you could overturn it into one way against them, and since you know that's not nice, it doesn't sit easily.

And that's why these are dysfunctional relationships. Something is wrong and not working without sadness.

I'm a survivor of 15 years child abuse, no contact for over 20 years now bar 2 periods of renewed contact where nothing had changed. I read this thread sometimes. X

jamdhanihash Sun 27-Oct-19 12:42:37

mrsnot narcissists can't empathise. What you're seeing there isn't empathy or love, it's just preferential treatment doled out to control both you and the other recipients (siblings of yours?).

Being the scapegoat (as you know) has its cost. The relatives receiving 'empathy' won't be receiving anything worth having.

Being the golden child means you have no sense of security as you know at some subconscious that the 'love' or 'empathy' you're receiving from your parent is inauthentic and you must keep pleasing them, striving, to get that love.

Clutterfreeintraining Sun 27-Oct-19 12:57:13

Thanks for the new thread flowers

I had an awful day yesterday - felt so very sad about the situation with my sister and life in general. I emailed her in the week to apologise for my disgraceful behaviour last weekend. She responded as I expected and whilst I'm sure she's trying to make me feel better, it just confirms to me that she wants me back in my role as baby of the family who does as she's told, despite the fact I have been an adult for over two decades!! On the plus side, she sees it as the air has been cleared and will forget it ever happened so now it's time for me to distance myself from all of this and focus on my own sanity for a while.

It is so comforting to be a part of these threads, to know there are (sadly) people who 100% understand. I hope one day I can help support others going through similar difficulties.

MrsNotNice Sun 27-Oct-19 13:08:24

ulterego you are right I think there is an element of subconsciously wanting to pit us against each other... so that we mimick the dysfunctional upbringing that they had because somehow they want us to have something in common with them.

They think they owe it to their upbringing the type of good people they are and so mimicking their upbringing and projecting that mindlessly and thoughtlessly unto their kids is a good sure way to turn us into their godly selves.

I don’t think my parents calculate what they’re doing. My dad does as he acknowledge he feels vindictive and that I deserve it because I used to be his golden child and I should’ve “appreciated” that and taken his side during the divorce from my mum. I refused to take sides and I’m still paying the price so it’s easy to reconcile to the fact that he feels like a victim and thinks his anger towards me due to not meeting his stupid expectation is justified in his head and so I should keep on my gaurd.

My mother however is just emotionally driven and doesn’t have any rational reasoning behind her parenting or actions and it’s enough for her to feel negative about someone or something to behave accordingly.. so yeh it’s instinctive. And she admitted that since the age of 2 she beleived I turned into my father and resembled him and she was stating this fact as if she is a complete victim and using it to justify her resentment towards me and emotionally hurtful things she says...

So yeh... I also think in her head she justified her actions by convincing herself that her negative feelings towards me make her a victim.. from my fine age of 2...

I don’t think she calculates anything she does but just convinced herself that since she is a victim then I’m a villian and anything she says or does is coming from her good innocent victim heart and so she doesn’t need to question it and that I’m well deserving because I haven’t declared allegiance to her and started a war with a man that wasn’t so nice to her.. Even though I somewhat did..

My mum somehow seems to refuse to see anything good I do or to sympathize sith any suffering I go through because in her mind that will challenge the concept that she is a victim and so might bring her negative actions to light and highlight the fact that she actually has no reason to be so mean to me and unfair..

I’m starting to see it now.

SingingLily Sun 27-Oct-19 13:15:33

Clutterfree, you might already be helping others without realising. For every one who posts on these threads, there are many more who just read - and that might include someone who is going through upset similar to yours but now realises they are not alone.

I hope today is a better day for you. And you are quite right - time to put your own mental and emotional wellbeing first.

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