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"But we took you to Stately Homes" January 2020 onwards

(844 Posts)
toomuchtooold Sat 04-Jan-20 13:53:20

It's January 2020, 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
May-August 2019
August-October 2019
November-December 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 04-Jan-20 13:55:42

Thank you, Toomuch, signing in...

CeciledeVolanges Sat 04-Jan-20 15:12:51

Thanks for the new thread!

I will say that I have changed my profile picture on a messaging app away from one she told me to use to one I preferred. I got a number of compliments and a huge long message from her asking why I didn’t look happy, what was wrong with me, it was all my boyfriend’s fault, and so on. I use Twitter but never tweet any more because periodically I get a bunch of likes and retweets. It’s not even that she’s necessarily saying something negative, I just feel seen and therefore controlled by her all the time, and I hate it.

CeciledeVolanges Sat 04-Jan-20 15:13:22

Sorry, that ought to say likes and retweets from her. Now I shall stop monopolising!

Herocomplex Sat 04-Jan-20 16:22:31

Checking in. I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the last few weeks. I wonder what this year will bring? Christmas and New Year with no contact was very strange - my parents were on my mind every day, but it was so much more emotionally stable for me without the phone calls and The Visit.

@CeciledeVolanges you must post as much as you need to. Thus is the place to put all the things you need to purge.

TheSweetestHalleluja Sat 04-Jan-20 16:58:09

Somebody recommended a book back in the previous thread, can anyone remind me of the title of it please. It was about parenting our children better than we were parented.

Hope to be able to follow along on this new thread, it moves so fast!

SingingLily Sat 04-Jan-20 17:01:28

Sweetest, it's The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad You Did) by Philippa Perry. I'm taking it slowly and just reading a chapter at a time, but she is already making me think.

SingingLily Sat 04-Jan-20 17:05:11

Hero, I'm glad to see you. The Christmas before last was like that for me - caught between sadness for the situation and relief that I was out of it.

Let's hope the new year brings peace.

TheSweetestHalleluja Sat 04-Jan-20 17:28:42

Brilliant thanks @SingingLily, I'm going to order it now.

God, I am so exhausted following the Christmas and New year period, I've really pushed myself over the past couple of weeks. Spending time with family, and being open and honest about my feelings. I've felt in a strong enough place to confront suppressed memories and emotions but I am so drained now.

I tend to go over and over conversations in my head whenever I've spent time with family.

Early night for me tonight I think.

Ulterego Sat 04-Jan-20 18:06:35

Thank you for the new thread Toomuchtooo!

I have changed my profile picture on a messaging app away from one she told me to use to one I preferred....a huge long message from her asking why I didn’t look happy
That sounds weird and very controlling Cecilsad how do you feel about just blocking her on everything?
Appreciate it may seem too drastic, but I know I felt a huge sense of power and relief, I like to block all channels and leave them fu(kers howling unseen into the wind grin

Herocomplex Sat 04-Jan-20 18:50:28

Hi @SingingLily just read your posts. Im sorry to hear you’re feeling so sad about your dad. So complicated.

Do you have to ring her again? Can’t that last phone call be the last phone call? I’d leave it a loooong time.

I saw my DSis for the first time in almost a year, we had a very good talk. She’s made amazing progress. I’m so proud of her. It’s the first time ever we’ve been able to get out from under the ridiculous relationship our parents constructed for us.

CeciledeVolanges Sat 04-Jan-20 21:08:03

Ulterego I definitely want to! But I’m getting pressure, assumption, suggestions and pleading from family and friends about how to fix things and I don’t want to see her or have to speak to her again unless she’s at least made some significant changes, which hasn’t happened. I really don’t want to lose those family members and friends, though.

Ulterego Sat 04-Jan-20 21:52:11

I really don’t want to lose those family members and friends, though
and she knows that, she knows that her team of helpers (aka flying monkeys) can be controlled and directed to do her bidding and work to bring you back under control.
She has it all set up just as she likes it, that you can be made to feel that you cant walk away from her because you would lose too much by so doing.

jamdhanihash Sat 04-Jan-20 21:53:03

Hello! Still reading and learning. At the end of my EMDR sessions but still a few talk therapy sessions to go. Keeping mum at arms length but her drawing breath still annoys me. I suppose it's good I'm finally angry. Love to all here. You help me so much.

SingingLily Sat 04-Jan-20 21:57:27

It's getting longer and longer between phone calls, Hero. She's too self-absorbed to ask me any questions and I've kept her on a strict information diet throughout. She finds me incredibly boring.

In a very complicated way, I'm doing it to try and give some respite to DSis who is really struggling. It means M can focus on me and it takes the spotlight off DSis for a change. DSis says she doesn't think she can process Dad's death until M dies. In fact, I think we are both waiting for that. It means we can both block the lot of them then and accept that our birth family really only consists of each other. Sorry, not explaining well, I know. It's just that M seems to see DSis and me as just one interchangeable person with just interchangeable one mind. The whole thing is weird but it's giving DSis a break and I think I can bear it better than she can, just now.

I'm glad you and your DSis had a proper talk without the filters and spin your parents would normally put in the way between you. That's hopeful. Honesty is the key but it can only happen when you are both ready for it. We were never supposed to have sibling relationships, were we? So messed up.

yellowlemon Sat 04-Jan-20 22:52:21

Re sibling relationships. I have one sister and both my parents did their best for 30 odd years to drive a wedge between us. And it worked. My sister was the golden child. It wasn't even covert - for example they would drive her places which I'd have to walk to. After I left home I totally drifted away from her and would just send birthday/Christmas cards. Also it was clear they had made a little covert narc in their own image and she can be pretty toxic herself.

Then they suddenly decided that they wanted us to play happy families and couldn't understand why I wanted nothing to do with her. Of course this was all my fault and it was totally heartbreaking and it killed them to see us like this. Etc etc etc

One of my mother's favourite expressions about people who had come across some misfortune was 'that they'd made their bed and now they could lie in it'. It was just another way of her being judgemental and sneering at people not being able to understand that sometimes things happen beyond our control. Or people make bad decisions but they don't have to be punished for it.

As they say karma is a bitch.

pollyglot Sun 05-Jan-20 04:07:55

So my mother, after 70 years of physically and verbally abusing her three children, has gone to her great reward. Guess what I have been doing, without even thinking about it? I have thrown out all the rags I wear in the at home and in the garden because "there' still some wear in them " (implication - they are good enough for you), I have bagged up loads of good clothes for charity, ditched ancient discoloured sheets and duvets, rehomed household goods and gadgets. I would never have dared while she was alive - ludicrous! These are my things! We've done the same with her stuff and the sky didn't fall - though she had her revenge , as I developed a nasty lung infection from sorting the mould-caked, dust-impregnated junk. I feel reborn and so empowered. I'm 70, FFS!!

Homebird8 Sun 05-Jan-20 04:46:55

@pollyglot I did much the same when DM died. It was one of those times when I suddenly found myself with new thoughts (because most of the thoughts we have each day we’ve had before). In this case it was that her views no longer mattered and if that were so then they had never mattered really. And yet they seemed to, tremendously. Only they mattered. And then she was dead and I started to do as I pleased. And of course it could always have been like that if I could have valued my own thoughts over hers.

Enjoy your thoughts and choices Polly. There’s a certain amount of healing in action after a death.

Expat1986 Sun 05-Jan-20 08:19:41

Checking in!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 05-Jan-20 08:26:29

Hi Cecil

re your comment:-
"But I’m getting pressure, assumption, suggestions and pleading from family and friends about how to fix things and I don’t want to see her or have to speak to her again unless she’s at least made some significant changes, which hasn’t happened. I really don’t want to lose those family members and friends, though".

These people, usually well meaning but easily manipulated relatives, have been sent in by your mother to do her bidding. Your mother will not change, let any and all hope of that happening completely go now. These people are not interested in hearing your side of things so their opinion for what it is should be ignored by you, these flying monkeys need to be blocked as well.

Ulterego Sun 05-Jan-20 09:38:26

Pollyglot congratulations on your release🗝️
I'm sorry you had to live with that stranglehold for so long☹️

billysboy Sun 05-Jan-20 09:47:29

Excellent thread

having had a controlling sneering mother and an abusive enabling father I can relate to so much here including a sister that has picked up on so much of late mothers behaviour

I am just going into NC with her as I find or relationship so toxic

Dippydog Sun 05-Jan-20 09:58:10

Just checking in, as well.

Posted on the old thread, after the new one became active.

Thank you all for your responses. You validated what I knew deep down - that reconnecting with any of my family would likely lead to pain, but even if it didn't, because I am much stronger now, there is still no point.

polyglot, that's so interesting about throwing away tatty, old clothes. My mother isn't dead, but as her power over my thoughts has lessened, I am dressing better, even to clean the car etc, and am developing a style I feel comfortable with. It's very liberating!!

yellowlemon, that really is such a popular phrase with parents like these. They love to see people suffer, particularly if they can point out that it's all their own fault. How ironic that, if bad things happen to our parents, it's never down to their own personal failings. In fact, as the scapegoat, it's usually our fault, of course.

It really is all down to boundaries and a sense of self, isn't it? These parents didn't have them. They tried to pass this onto us, but for whatever reasons, we didn't choose to accept it. My mother believed I was her in every way, so that when I deviated from her script in any way, she felt so threatened that she attacked, physically and emotionally. This was especially noticeable when I had twins. She didn't like it that I was doing something she hadn't done. I think my being widowed is something she would react badly to, because I have experienced something that she hasn't.

Sorry to ramble, and so pleased that everyone is here on the new thread.

Ulterego Sun 05-Jan-20 10:20:53

because I am much stronger now, there is still no point
I concur, having gained the strength to stand up to these people you then think 'why am I even wasting my time and effort?'
They insist on being part of our lives 'because they are our parents' but when you look more deeply into this you see that they have something to gain but you only lose.
When you ask yourself the question 'what's in it for me' the answer is 'nothing good'

Perhaps our parents feel that we should derive some sense of satisfaction and fulfillment just from honouring and respecting them?
When I had twins
I remember vividly when I told my mother I was pregnant with my second child she verbally attacked me ...she contemptuously told me that I was mentally ill and then she changed the subject.
Part of me is tempted to reestablish contact with her just so that I can insult her, oh god if only I felt like this when I was in my 20s
( I want revenge )

yellowlemon Sun 05-Jan-20 11:02:13

@Ulterego Perhaps our parents feel that we should derive some sense of satisfaction and fulfillment just from honouring and respecting them?

Oh absolutely. They think we should worship the ground they walk on and without them we are in some way not complete. It's all part of them not being able to see we are separate people with our own hopes, fears, and dreams.

My mother did an amazing job of cloning my sister. And she's now stuck in a miserable marriage with a narcissistic husband who treats her like dirt (I know this through other family members). But she's married so as far as my mother is concerned she's happy.

Me - single, working, and childless - couldn't possibly be happy as I'm not living up to the ridiculous standards and behaviours my mother had in mind for me.

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