Talk

Advanced search

My Mother thinks my hurt is an act of aggression against her

(125 Posts)
WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 09:48:16

My parents identify with being very good people and this is mostly true but they have never allowed me to feel what I feel and this is usually manageable for me/them unless they do thoughtlessly do something that hurts me and I express that, and then, wow, the depth of their blind spot is so deep and so dark that I'm wondering, will i have to go NC with parents who tried their best?

Since April there's been no communication between me and my parents, ie, no response to my very clear text message telling them what it was that they said that was so hurtful. No verbal response but a wounded angry reaction iyswim.

My kids go to their house and over hear things about how ''silly'' their mother is. I can't stop them going though. They're teens.

My brother the golden child was putting pressure on me to fix things which basically means ignore the fact that 1) they hurt me, and 2) buy into the script that my being hurt is an act of aggression I am perpetrating against them..

After whatsapping my brother for three hours yesterday to defend myself (for being HURT! OMG) he finally, finally got it (I think? Partially?) he understood my perspective that they had hurt me and that I felt I had done nothing to them, but he still thinks I ''hurt them too''. Hurt by what!?! I don't know. He also told me that I may have burnt my bridges with them. He retracted that a bit when I said ''what? have they no empathy at all, no insight at all?''.

My parents are the type of people who go to church, walk their dogs, smile at their neighbours, cook lasagnes for sick people, they were supportive to me when I left my abusive x, and they have been extremely generous to me and I'm grateful for it, but they haven't bought the right to control me or hurt me, which I think my brother and my parents sub consciously think. It's so unhealthy. I can't be a part of this bullshit anymore. I never wanted this.

There have been so many occasions where I've been hurt and it always ends in me giving in and saying sorry confused
They may be old and their health may not be great but I just feel like I cannot do it right now. I am not saying sorry for being hurt.

I will be the bad sheep, the bad scapegoat, I will be squaring up for a whole load of new labels if I can't just ''fix this'' ie, apologise. I will be ''silly'' and I will be ''unhappy''. That is the new label emerging my brother is worried that I am unhappy. I'm not at all unhappy. I'm positive and enthusiastic about my future. I'm not plagued by the self-doubt and poor sense of self that once took the joy out of everything. I know I will be perfectly OK without them. But the new narrative will annoy the fuck out of me.

And, ironically, it's linked to my new self-assured self that that I just cannot accept this bullshit anymore. But they only live around the corner.

I wish I could afford to move.

OP’s posts: |
Gilda152 Mon 31-Aug-20 09:58:20

You've said a lot there without saying what you're actually hurt about.

MilesJuppIsMyBitch Mon 31-Aug-20 10:03:21

thanks for you OP.

I have a similar family dynamic & am at a similar stage.

No advice, but solidarity.

PaulinePetrovaPosey Mon 31-Aug-20 10:04:39

It sounds like you're finding things tough.

As you don't say how they've hurt you it's difficult to suggest a way forwards.

But I wonder if you're in a bit of a spiral - wanting a certain type of behaviour and getting crosser and crosser when it doesn't happen. So you end up deeply upset without really thinking about whether the thing you originally wanted is important. Could that ring any bells?

Upstartcrones Mon 31-Aug-20 10:09:46

what did they do to hurt you?

WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:11:22

Gilda152

You've said a lot there without saying what you're actually hurt about.

They glossed over 30+ years of calling me paranoid. Somehow, in my family, this narrative emerged that I was paranoid. It could not be further from the truth. I was too trusting. I ended up in an abusive relationship actually (I left it 13 years ago though so I have healed a lot since then).

I have never brought my parents to task over their parenting of me. What would be the point. But on this one point, seriously, what child/teen is ''paranoid''?!

And the irony was that around about this time,my father was in a psychiatric hospital and he definitely had paranoid thoughts. We know this. It's not secret. He is on medication now and has been steady for decades, but somehow I have emerged with the label paranoid.

So it was my mum glossing over thirty plus years of labelling a child/teen paranoid with a bored wave of her hand and a ''mooooove onnnn'' that hurt me. I didn't say anything at the time, but later I sent a whatsapp to say that that had hurt me. And that was the act of aggression I perpetrated against her.

I am seeing a therapist right now which is helping, but I guess it's really dawning on me that my brother sees me through their lens. That they are ''tainting'' my kids' views of me as ''silly''.

I am not an angry person. I'm not an unhappy person. But they make me angry and they make me unhappy.

OP’s posts: |
WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:13:47

Ps, the therapist said ''gratitude is a very emotional range'' which helped me a lot as I felt validated that my gratitude for their financial assistance years ago does not automatically cancel out the hurt.

I feel gratitude. I also feel hurt. One doesn't cancel out the other and I had felt bad that the gratitude didn't cancel out the hurt, so seeing a therapist did help.

OP’s posts: |
WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:14:35

''gratitude is a ve'ry narrow emotional range'' is what she said

OP’s posts: |
WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:15:53

MilesJuppIsMyBitch

thanks for you OP.

I have a similar family dynamic & am at a similar stage.

No advice, but solidarity.

Thank you so much wine It helps to know that others have had to try to figure this out. You get in to the habit of thinking there's a solution for everything and when there isn't a solution, it is kind of shocking!

OP’s posts: |
Hopoindown31 Mon 31-Aug-20 10:18:38

You can't control how other people react. You can't make your parents accept your view of the world, even if it is the truth. All you can do is take their rejection of what you want and internalise it to cause you more distress and hurt. This is obviously bad for you.

I hope your therapist will be able to help you develop some tools to improve your resilience. You don't need your parents to accept your truth for it to be real.

Keysunshine Mon 31-Aug-20 10:18:46

It sounds difficult but I don’t really understand what it is you’re saying. Apart from them saying you’re paranoid, what was your childhood like, and what are the other issues?

cheeseycharlie Mon 31-Aug-20 10:24:20

Really glad to hear you're in therapy OP, as this sort of family dynamics are way too complicated for the good people of mumsnet to give you a way forward. You will find lots of people in solidarity with similar family dynamics. But your therapist will help you through the details.
It's not that unusual for a couple eg your parents to form a defensive barrier against the rest of the world to make up for mental health struggles experience by either or both of them. It sounds like your mum may be hellbent on defending your dad's reputation, by tarnishing you. Labelling you as paranoid is a particularly insidious way of invalidating your feelings and narrative. It's really not ok and is designed to make you doubt yourself.
There's a decent book my therapist recommended called toxic childhood by sue Palmer.
NC isn't the only solution. There's a halfway house where you sort of hold your family at emotional arms length while maintaining contact for benefit of eg your kids. A bit like divorced parents and access to kids? Not easy tightrope to walk though.
Good luck thanks

WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:24:41

I am very resilient. But this is going on right now. The spotlight is on me from my golden child brother to fix this now.

I have got through a lot and unlike my parents I have worked on myself, cliche, but those who've done the same will get it. I understand why I got in to an abusive relationship and I set about repair those fractured parts of myself.

I am definitely resilient enough to live life without my parents. But. It is not a small thing. I can be resilient which I am and still feel that as a significant thing.

I work ft, have kids, I'm doing a course as well as work, I am coping with all of it, no debts, no addictions, no convictions, no loser boyfriends coming and going, healthy relationship with my own teens.

But it is still occupying my thoughts.

OP’s posts: |
PlanDeRaccordement Mon 31-Aug-20 10:25:05

Paranoid could just as easily mean you were an anxious child, many children are anxious. They might have used that specific word because your father suffers from paranoia and there is a genetic connection- it can be inherited. So for some reason, they might have worried that you might have inherited your father’s illness. So it could come from place of concern and worry for you.

Yes, I can understand you are hurt by it. I’ve met people called “liar” and “stupid” by their parents their entire childhood. It causes deep scars. But for these people there’s no context, no alternative that has a good motive and they had parents who were also physically abusive.

Your case, where your parents were essentially good except for this one thing. It maybe had good intentions? but still ended up hurting you. What might help is to think on did they intend to hurt you? That often counts towards whether we can forgive and get past a hurt. It also can explain why they are blind to having hurt you if they think that good intentions make hurt impossible.

I don’t think you are silly at all, I think you need some closure, some validation from your parents that intended or unintended, they did hurt you.

WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:28:47

cheeseycharlie

Really glad to hear you're in therapy OP, as this sort of family dynamics are way too complicated for the good people of mumsnet to give you a way forward. You will find lots of people in solidarity with similar family dynamics. But your therapist will help you through the details.
It's not that unusual for a couple eg your parents to form a defensive barrier against the rest of the world to make up for mental health struggles experience by either or both of them. It sounds like your mum may be hellbent on defending your dad's reputation, by tarnishing you. Labelling you as paranoid is a particularly insidious way of invalidating your feelings and narrative. It's really not ok and is designed to make you doubt yourself.
There's a decent book my therapist recommended called toxic childhood by sue Palmer.
NC isn't the only solution. There's a halfway house where you sort of hold your family at emotional arms length while maintaining contact for benefit of eg your kids. A bit like divorced parents and access to kids? Not easy tightrope to walk though.
Good luck thanks

Thank you for your understanding. I think a half way house would be better. Is that detailed in the book you recommend.

I will look and see if that book is on audible.

You're right, calling somebody paranoid is a really insidious way of invalidating their feelings.

It did leave a mark on me too. I have (as a kindness as well as knowing it would be pointless) never pointed out to them that the SHELL of a person I was as a young adult was because of this. I had such low self-esteem, doubted myself all the time, couldn't finish anything, ran everything past them for their approval or disapproval, and yet (somehow) their perception of me was that I was difficult.

OP’s posts: |
Veterinari Mon 31-Aug-20 10:29:26

Glad you're taking constructive steps with your therapist OP, but honestly from an outside perspective this does all seem a bit overblown.

If your family are generally decent can't you just agree to disagree? Three hours of whatsapp and no real conversations sounds exhausting. Either talk to them properly or reduce contact and accept you have different views but persistently trying to persuade them of your perspective isn't healthy or likely to be productive.

CrotchetyQuaver Mon 31-Aug-20 10:33:13

i've got a twatty family dynamic like this. mum was the stirrer aided and abetted by my brother. dad is a highly resilient anything for a quiet life type who manages to let all this crap go over his head.
dynamic has changed in recent years with mum in a nursing home with advanced dementia. i still believe she's manipulating us though, but now it's more we move heaven and earth to visit her these days and she pretends to be asleep, or needs a shit. if my brother goes, she's sat there with a goofy grin on her face looking happy as anything. brother lives abroad and comes back every few months and upsets dad and me, your comment about the 3 hour whatsapp - yes i know all about those if he's given the chance - struck a chord!

i realise now she and my brother are most likely narcissists and the best way to cope and stop this is by not feeding the troll. so disengage, don't reply, vaguely agree with whatever they say. never contradict or argue just Do Not Engage and watch them blow themselves out. my DD muted him on whatsapp for me on his last rant, and it was very funny to observe the "running out off puff" as he blew himself out due to the lack of a response. what has bought me huge pleasure though is seeing my dad positively blossom in the past 18 months, in his 90's, now it's OK just to be himself. oh, and he knows all my brother is interested in is the money (absolutely true).

WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:36:19

Veterinari

Glad you're taking constructive steps with your therapist OP, but honestly from an outside perspective this does all seem a bit overblown.

If your family are generally decent can't you just agree to disagree? Three hours of whatsapp and no real conversations sounds exhausting. Either talk to them properly or reduce contact and accept you have different views but persistently trying to persuade them of your perspective isn't healthy or likely to be productive.

Agree that I was a paranoid child?
Agree that I was the one who hurt my parents?

I could do that, but i would like to not completely erode my sense of myself here.

OP’s posts: |
CrotchetyQuaver Mon 31-Aug-20 10:38:22

@WiserOlder do you feel the therapy is helping you?
i can fully identify with your comments about low self esteem, constant self doubt and doing myself down and struggling to finish anything.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 31-Aug-20 10:40:24

I would agree with pretty much anything if it meant the end of a 3 hour WhatsApp conversation...the drama over an unspecified "hurt" seems intense.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 31-Aug-20 10:43:45

People who have thankfully grown up in happy and importantly emotionally healthy family units do find all that you are saying very hard to comprehend. It is indeed hard to get your head around all this if you're in the thick of it and it can take years to undo the damage such disordered people cause their now adult children, if it gets undone that is. Fear, obligation and guilt are but three of many powerful harms such people give their now adult children. Its the gift that keeps on giving.

The halfway house approach falls down here because if parents or relatives are too toxic/batshit/abusive/disordered of thinking for YOU to deal with, its the SAME deal for your kids too. Such people like your parents are really poor examples of being grandparents too; they like having your kids over because they are a great source of narcissistic supply and can also be easily manipulated. Many adult children too allow their disordered of thinking parents to have a relationship with the grandkids in the hopes that they will behave better this time around despite their own experiences of them to the contrary. Its a decision that does often come back to bite them hard on their arse.

What do your children think of your parents?. They must also have seen how you as their mother has been treated by them.

Do not JADE such people; i.e. justify, argue, defend or explain. Its a complete waste of time and effort. Their own disordered narrative is one that has to be maintained at all costs. I would urge you to further lower all contact levels with them and your brother and keep your kids well away from them too.

Aerial2020 Mon 31-Aug-20 10:44:47

Try the stately homes thread on here.
Lots of other people in your situation

WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:53:38

CrotchetyQuaver

*@WiserOlder* do you feel the therapy is helping you?
i can fully identify with your comments about low self esteem, constant self doubt and doing myself down and struggling to finish anything.

I do.

On a very basic level, I vented, but on another level, she gave me permission to feel hurt. I had felt that my gratitude for what they got right should cancel out any hurt I felt.

She pointed out that emotions don't mix if you like. That I can feel gratitude. And I can feel hurt. And that that is the healthier reaction.

I knew this deep down but to hear from a psychotherapist that it is ok to feel hurt even though they have been financially generous to me in the past is normal, it helped. It really did.

During lockdown I made the apt and had to wait about three weeks. My hair was so dishevelled but i was dying to see the psychiatrist.

It honestly did help yes. And I would be a person who is already aware of the dynamics. I was aware that I was scapegoated. I was aware that my feelings weren't heard. I am aware of the impact that not being validated has on a person's sense of herself.

OP’s posts: |
EveryDoorlEverTriedwasIocked Mon 31-Aug-20 10:53:44

Hi OP
You need to decide what gives to you most, takes from you least and what you want for the future/what you can live with.
You won't get an apology or validation from them so you now need to decide if you want to:
1. keep NC (and ramifications of estrangement for family events and if something happens to them)
2. go lower contact by saying sorry they feel how they do (pass agg non-apology) and keeping contact without personal investment. This means avoiding elephants in the room and whether the erosion of your rights/sense of self is worth it - it being having contact but at the cost of your truth. Keeping the peace would entail just ignoring if they are not up to putting in the work or lack self-awareness).
3. apologise and see them regularly taking them as who they are and putting the past aside. Let go of all the things you cannot change and ignore the micro-aggressions.
I wouls struggle with 1 and 3. 2 is a compromise for me but probably leads to an unhealthier dishonest dynamic <sigh>

WiserOlder Mon 31-Aug-20 10:55:40

ps, and I know a friend could tell you that! But it was very validating to hear it from a psychotherapist.

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in