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"But we took you to stately homes"... a thread for adult children of abusive families

(1001 Posts)
Pages Sat 15-Dec-07 10:52:22

This thread is a follow up to "My mother has cut me out of her life - long sorry" because we reached the end of the thread life.

I originally posted on that thread to say that my mother had blamed me for something that was in fact her fault, called me a liar, got the rest of the family to gang up on me and then blamed me for splitting up the family.

It generated a huge amount of interest from a number of women who, like me, had grown up in an abusive, or "toxic" family environment where we had been the scapegoat or the dustbin for our parents to dump their own unresolved difficulties. My mother, like all our mothers, has refused to apologise for what she has done and many of us have cut ties with our families in order to recover our lost selves and self-esteem.

Pages Sat 15-Dec-07 10:54:15

I'll let someone else explain the thread title smile

ishouldbeironing Sat 15-Dec-07 10:56:36

Mine is "But you were always well dressed and well fed""
perhaps but also emotionally neglected sad

PaulaYatesbiggestfan Sat 15-Dec-07 11:08:33

at least you have spoken toyour parents about it
my 'mother' has 3 children who have effectively buried the hatchet - i will never...

i think i will follow this thread more closely as i was unsure of what the other one was about

elfsmum Sat 15-Dec-07 11:17:15

not sure what was on the other thread, but my mother always favoured one of my brothers and one of my sisters

we "discussed" her favouritism and I was told that I received exactly the same as my "favoured" sister

in terms of possessions yes I did, but emotionally, no, I think that also passed on to our children

my sister's DD (her 2nd) is 2 months older than my DS1 - DS started walking at 10 months, my neice at 12 months so about the same time, I walked into my mothers and got "have you seen what she can do"

DS's walking passed without comment - which was basically how it was with me and my sister

remeber once going out with my sister and her getting drunk, so when we got home she couldn't see to her daughter - mum had a go at me (I was sober) because I didn't go to my neice immediately - erm I'm not her mother (oh we all lived together at that point)

as an adult I decided I couldn't change my mother it was how she was - and resolved never to be like that with my children

my other sister never came to terms with it, didn't discuss it with our mothers and when mum died my sister regretted that she never did

and now she is still very bitter about it all, never calls our mum - my mum - always refers to her as "your mother"

sorry if this isn't the same as what others may have been discussing on the other thread

LittleSleighBellasRinging Sat 15-Dec-07 11:19:11

Gosh how timely this thread is.

I have recently been realising how livid I am by my mother and was considering counselling (so that I can stop feeling angry) but can't afford it. Maybe we should have a "mumsnet online counselling" section.

elfsmum Sat 15-Dec-07 11:29:11

LSBR - it was the counselling that made me realise that I couldn't change my mum but I could only change the way I feel about it

only went for a "chat" 3 times and it was all I needed

gave me the strength at the time to say to my mum when she was going at me - she was very good at emotional blackmail - "you cannot make me feel guilty about that - that wasn't my fault"

my family used to drive DH mad when we first got together, I'd be at his house and would be expected to drive 10 miles to pick up some milk to deliver to my sister - when there was a perfectly good shop 5 minutes walk away from her house

why ? because I had a car and that was easier for me to than for her to walk 5 minutes

I've said to my elder sister that she should go, she has lots of unresolved issues, her first born was full term still born, a few months later our brother died, she had post natal depression after her 3rd child, and then all of the issues she had with my mother

she fell out big time when mum took the "favoured" sisters side over something, my eldest swore on her baby's grave she was telling the truth - mum still didn't believe her

my eldest sister never forgave her for that

Lauriefairycake Sat 15-Dec-07 11:34:55

Mine was "but you went to private school" and you had a good education

Yes, but you were drunks and you went into jail for five years cos you couldn't aford to pay for it cos you were only pretending to be middle class. And when you went into jail I ended up being 10 years old and living on a very rough council estate - made doubly hard becuase of all the bullying because of my posh private school voice angry

And you were violent and basically arseholes.

I'm really glad i haven't seen you for 14 years - I'm happy now while you lie in a pool of your own piss and vomit.

Aaaaaahhhh..........that was cathartic smile

hazygirl Sat 15-Dec-07 12:02:06

its hard i am one of five ,always known as black sheep of family ,we laugh about it, but deep down it hurts ,she says im a tough nut becase i stand up for myself ,i am one of five,next to the youngest ,they do everything for my little sister and her daughter but me bollocks to , they do help out financially if i ask but i dont want that, my two eldest sisters are well off financially own buiseness and that and they are proud of them ,me i work on nights on an emi unit but i would love them to say well done ,were proud, even odd occassion when she does ring all she goes on about is my sster and its about time i sorted myself out ffs

bearsmom Sat 15-Dec-07 12:08:04

Hi Pages, wow the previous thread has been busy! Love the title of the new one. Just off to catch up on recent posts on the old thread now. I too have had contact in the past few days - Christmas cards (me and DH got one this year having been ignored last year, whoopee (not)), and an email from my mother following on from me seeing my sister last weekend and her telling my mother everything I told her, which my mother has used as an excuse for contact. Ugh. She's back into her favourite "I'm the wronged party, how can you be such an ungrateful daughter, we wouldn't have any problems if you'd just do as you're told" (i.e. seeing, and allowing ds to see, my narcissistic, violent-tempered and abusive father) mode. Sigh. Plus now I know for sure I can't trust my sister at all, when I'd been clinging onto the hope that we could continue to have a reasonably good relationship. I'm so glad this thread is here smile

Pages Sat 15-Dec-07 12:08:42

It's exactly what we have been discussing elfsmum. Nice one, Laurie!! grin

I can see I didn't need to explain the thread title grin

The previous thread was exactly that, an online therapy group/place to let off steam/understand more/whatever you want it to be.

Many of us on the other thread have also read the book "Toxic Parents" by Dr Susan Forward, and/or Alice Miller's books and I personally found them (along with the thread and 8 months' of counselling) invaluable in helping me to confront my mother, get over the anger and recover my lost sense of self.

PaulaYates, my siblings have also (all bar one who remembers things as I do) sided with my mother, also accused me of making up lies, cut me off and accused me of having false memory syndrome (or such like) and being cruel to my poor victim mother.

Yes, that's the mother who stood by for seven years while my stepdad beat me, emotionally abused me and sexually harrassed me, and who left me home alone at the age of 5 and blamed me for running away and getting her into trouble with the police, and who now says it never happened or it wasnt that bad, or anyway it was worse for her, and anyway, she thinks I had a good upbringing. She took me to stately homes, you know.

claricebeansmumhasnomincepies Sat 15-Dec-07 12:14:02

This is all such familiar territory.

LOL at the stately homes title - this was my mother. Whilst I was traipsing around national trust properties other friends were being taken swimming, to ride their bikes in the park. I knew at the time that mine was not a normal childhood but now I have children of my own I know it for sure.

Recently an my mother retold an incident from my childhood which too this day makes me squirm and the whole thing was not my fault - but she cannot see that. It was infront of 20 odd people and she thought it was really funny...

A couple of weeks ago we were on a long journey and needed to stop for something to eat with DC in the back. DH and I got talking about childhood journeys etc and it was only then that I discovered that it was unusual for a child to be left in the car in the car park of the pub whilst parents went in for lunch. A bottle of coke and sandwich would be brought out to me. It makes me so sad now as I could never bear to do this to my own DC.

Lauriefairycake Sat 15-Dec-07 12:35:23

I can so relate to being left in a car - I spent whole summers of my childhood locked in a car - were kids not allowed in pubs in the 70's ??

Not only was I left in the car, I also had to entertain my sister too as she was younger - i was once slapped cos she peed in the footwell after we were left in the car for three hours because it was "too dangerous" to get out the car.

And once my dad was drunk in a pub in a lock in and my sister and I were left outside in the car til 4 in the morning, in Scotland, in winter angry

WanderingTrolley Sat 15-Dec-07 12:44:33

I think being left in the car while parents were in the pub was a standard thing in the 70's and 80's in the UK - am I wrong?

My parents were uninterested and disinterested. I think they only had children to conform, tbh. Really, they shouldn't have bothered, they were useless.

I was fairly terrified of both of them as a child.

Sorry, haven't posted on the other thread, but I think I get the jist.

Despite being at various times absent, pissed or violent, they did, however, buy my shoes from Clarke's, so that's alright then. hmm

Arf at stately homes title - it's a bit like, "Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"

claricebeansmumhasnomincepies Sat 15-Dec-07 12:49:19

LOL at Mrs Lincoln quote

I don't know about being left in the car as standard practice - plenty of friends and DH family had picnics on long journey or stopped at a Happy Eaters etc

As a mum I strive to do things with my family as a family. I am really not sure why my parents had me. They like to tell people when they first got married they wanted a really large family shock.

bearsmom Sat 15-Dec-07 12:50:25

Referring back to the previous thread, just wanted to say Ally90, PMSL at your parents' cat, what talent grin!

I like the idea of somewhere we can recommend books. Like many on the previous thread I found Susan Forward's Toxic Parents invaluable, and I've read a couple of Alice Miller's books too which were excellent but sometimes very traumatic to read. I've read When you and your mother can't be friends, which was also useful. I'm currently reading The Right to Innocence by Beverley Engel (subtitle Healing the trauma of childhood sexual abuse). It's very well written and she manages to convey a huge amount of common sense advice and reassurance very simply. She talks a lot about how important it is to accept what has happened to you and how the healthy release of anger is the key to healing and can (among other things) lift depression (and often resolve other problems like eating disorders). Ally recommended another book by her (Divorcing a Parent?), Ally where did you get it? I looked on Amazon and couldn't find it.

shock shock at being left in the car alone for so long. That's horrendous.

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 13:41:01

Hi, bearsmom, just wanted to let you know that I've ordered Divorcing a Parent from an american seller on amazon.com as opposed to amazon.co.uk. It's a second hand copy and the total including shipping will come to around £12.

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 13:43:26

PS mine was 'we spent loads and loads of money on you and bought you loads of things and cooked you all your meals and did your washing so why are you pissed off that I held a knife to your throat at the breakfast table one morning or I attacked you when you had just had a bath and were wearing nothing but a towel and called you a bitch, whore and cow' (I was about 12 at the time)

toomanystuffedbears Sat 15-Dec-07 14:39:23

All: I am benefiting hugely from this -and the old- thread because my parents are deceased (27yrs Mom and 10yrs Dad) and my Middle Sister is presuming the matriarchal role in a toxic way--Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
I do have excellent support from Oldest Sister and actually had a great conversation with her yesterday. She let me know that I take after our Dad who was quiet and introspective and didn't give a hoot about 'society status' while Mom was the one obsessive about appearances. Middle Sister-who Oldest Sister made clear took after Mom- had me believing I was defective because I am not a party girl and don't have adult female friends (sisters being the only ones really)and being the NPD one, she feels it her duty to fix me (her power play for my benefit). I really am content with solitude.

Pages: HUGE blue ribbon championship trophy to you for your monumental success-(indifference to your Mom's communication)! Congratulations, I am so happy for you.

OnePlusOne: This is difficult, and difficult to find the right words. I recently came to (am coming to) a sort of understanding about my emotionally neglected/abusive childhood in that the main point is it is in the past. I saw in the paper a story about "Compassionate Friends" (there is a website) about grieving for deceased children; they organized a candle lighting event for commemoration. Well, I have not lost a child and am very sad for people who have (I don't want to diminish their grief). But I honestly felt like lighting a candle for my own childhood. It is gone and no going back and I grieve that. I am an adult. I miss what I missed (love, validation, guidance, attention) and I feel frustration and anger. I don't know if this will help you, but it may be a different perspective to consider.

More on grief: I didn't really mourn my mother's passing until dd was born. When she died (I was 18), I did the adolescent thing and transferred my grief to my Dad who would undoubtedly die next (any day). I thought it was because dd being born finally made me realize how much I missed having a mother/daughter relationship? or needed her? But these past few days, I realize it was because I was angry/frustrated-not really mourning- because she didn't mother me enough and now I have a daughter and how am I going to mother her?

A surrogate mom is a good thing if you can find someone. There was a lady for me when my children were infants/born. The relationship was only for a couple of years but she really helped me because she was kind and knew I didn't have anyone else (we have no family in the area- Middle Sister is 80 miles away and Oldest Sister 200, in-laws 500 - actually not too sad about that one wink). You might want to consider being careful of your expectations, though, because your circumstances (context) are different. I had cried myself to sleep thanking higher authority for a second chance for a mother when I got married and hoped mil would fill my vast void. Wrong.
It is a long row to hoe, be patient. <<hugs>>

Love the Mrs. Lincoln line too.

CarGirl Sat 15-Dec-07 14:45:49

I think what I find hardest is that I do not seem to be able to parent my dds in the way I want to, all I was shown was emotional distance and I find it very hard to be different. It makes me so angry, whilst therapy has helped be cope it hasn't undone my inability to be emotionally close to others.

Yes I was taken camping to Europe 3 weeks every summer, hated every minute of being stuck with my family without the retreat of my bedroom and pets - it was hell. Yes my parents supported me in my education - loads of interest in my graduation zero interest in my marriage or happiness.

Pages Sat 15-Dec-07 17:20:50

Cargirl, one or two people have also mentioned this problem on the other thread.

My mother was also emotionally cut off from me as a child, never hugged me or touched me or EVER told me she loved me. I got a lot of positive attention for being good and clever and achieving (to feed her own narcissistic need for attention and approval from others - as this reflected back well onto her) that's where I focused my energies for my own survival.

I have often wondered why it is that instead of being emotionally distanced from my own children I am the complete opposite. I seem to have huge amounts of empathy with them, and the more hugs, kisses and closeness the better as far as I am concerned. It fulfills my own needs as well as (I hope) theirs, I felt this huge aching to be touched and held all through my childhood. I wonder why I didn't inherit my mother's coldness.

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 17:46:54

Cargirl, I know what you mean, i feel the same about my parenting of my dd. I feel i am treating her in exactly the same way my mum treated me both as a child and as an adult until i cut her off. She was interested in me as long as i wasn't upset, emotional or needy. If was needy she turned her back on me or ignored me and I feel i'm doing the same to my daughter. However i am aware of myself and my feelings in a way i'm sure my mum never was so i try my best to pretend to be available to my daughter when she is upset/crying etc, but i find it very hard as i simply feel nothing but coldness inside.

My 'realisation' about my abusive childhood only really occurred earlier this year, by which time DD was nearly 4. Although i can't really remember very clearly, I am sure that i was emotionally distant towards my dd in the first few years of her life ie until i had my realisation and became aware of myself and my unmet childhood needs.

Maybe i'm being paranoid and overanalysing my dd's behaviour but i can sense in her a need to seek reassurance from me that i love her. eg she is constantly saying to me that she loves me and i have a feeling that many times she is saying it so that i say it back to her and thus she gets the reassurance of my love that she feels she needs. To my mind, she must need this reassurance because of my emotional distance towards her when she needs me; my emotional distance must be making her unsure as to whether i love her.

Although my DS is only 19 months and not yet talking, i can see in him a real sense of security, he KNOWS that he is loved by me as i don't have this same emotional distance with him, when he needs me i can be there for him, it comes naturally, i'm not pretending or forcing myself in any way and inside i feel a complete connection with him that is lacking with DD.

I have posted about this particular issue that i am facing in a recent post and whilst i think the future for my relationship with DD is much brighter, as i now have awareness and am not acting unconsciously, as Alice Miller says, the past cannot be revisited or changed or undone. I know therefore that already in my DD's short life i have already caused some damage and that knowledge is breaking my heart. The only way as adults we can overcome our past is to revisit it on an emotional level but how can my DD do that, she is only 4?

Pages, I would so much appreciate any thoughts you may have on what I've posted, you are much further on this journey than me and each and every one of your posts has been so kind, thoughtful, insightful and considered, i would be really grateful for any advice you can give me.

Those of you who had your 'realization' before you had your children are so fortunate, as are your children, as with your awareness you cannot pass on your parents' legacy to your own children. But as I only became aware after I had my second DC, my darling daughter has been affected for which i feel terrible.

Pages Sat 15-Dec-07 17:47:42

Thank you Toomany for the blue ribbon. Much appreciated (I am a bit like Monica in Friends, getting gold stars and being top of the class was the only way to get my mother's attention grin)

To update on this thread (Ally suggested I should do so), I had a big confrontation with my mother after this all happened 18 months ago. Th irony is that my mother and I had always been really close - providing I always "shared a brain" with her, ie agreed with her and was never confrontational. My older brother and I told her in a letter that she had always blamed us for her mistakes, used us as scapegoats, manipulated and divided us siblings to "conquer and rule" so that she could remain Queen Bee. Her reaction was to go crying to my remaining siblings (none of whom are now speaking to me), and to tell us that it was beyond redemption, WE had hurt HER (hmm) too much and that we had to leave her to get on with her life and get on with ours, hence the title of the old thread. I faced huge feelings of fear and abandonment at the time and the lovely mnetters on the other thread helped me come to terms with what had happened. I guess I have spent the last year "growing up" and learning to live life without her.

I recently had a face to face confrontation with her for the first time in 18 months(she wanted to see the dc) and I told her she needed to apologise for what she had done. She ignored what she had done recently and focused on the past instead, kept telling me what a good childhood I had had) and went through a whole range of "toxic parent reactions" ie guilt peddling, blame, pretending she was having a heart attack, telling me she was too frail for all this... I left knowing she was never going to change. Something inside me has definitely shifted since then, and I am no longer afraid of her, nor do I need her in my life.

Two days ago she sent me the following letter: "What I do not accept and never will is that I was a toxic or bad mother. Sure I made mistakes, I did my best and at times that was not good enough for you. For that I am sorry. And that is my last word on the subject. Your mother."

So, translate as: "My best would have been good enough for any other child but you, because you are too demanding, needy, etc so here's a grudging "sorry" on that basis and that's all you're getting. And just remember I am always right because I am your mother".

And guess what? I don't care! (Hence the blue ribbon!!) Off to drink champers with best friend and open Xmas pressies... smile

lovecattlearelowing Sat 15-Dec-07 17:49:31

Message withdrawn

CarGirl Sat 15-Dec-07 17:55:26

the classic from parents was that they are the way they are due to their childhoods, however my breakdown and ongoing depression etc etc etc is NOTHING to do with my upbringing. My Dad once phoned when I was crying my heart out, he hung up as quickly as he could and I didn't hear from him again for months.

I could rant and rant and rant but it doesn't change anything, they will never change or admit their faults therefore I have nothing to gain from a relationship with them. I am still left parentless without support and I feel bad that my dc do not have grandparents/uncles/cousins etc

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 17:55:54

Hi, Pages, have just read your post to Cargirl, it seems you might not be able to advise me as you haven't had the same experience as me, but i would still very much appreciate your thoughts anyway. smile

lovecattlearelowing Sat 15-Dec-07 17:58:20

Message withdrawn

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 18:02:27

Hi cargirl, i would say that ranting and ranting does actually do some good; it may possibly put you in touch with your feelings from childhood and although it is a painful process to go through it is also liberating and you may then feel free and no longer 'need' your parents (although of course everyone needs their mother but i hope everyone on this thread knows what i mean).

Have you had any counselling or read any books such as Toxic Parents or anything by Alice Miller?

CarGirl Sat 15-Dec-07 18:06:39

I've had lots of therapy but still have big angry issues!!!! I have moved on a lot from where I was but it's hard work. I have minimal contact with them, I accept they will never change or be remorseful/admit our childhood was so devoid and that has made it easier.

I find it more difficult with my dc as they get older and get emotionally more complicated.

bossykate Sat 15-Dec-07 18:16:53

my mother actually seems proud of some of her "escapades".

ally90 Sat 15-Dec-07 18:29:32

Please find Pages last face to face confrontation with her mother over her abuse, below, in full.

Pages Tue 25-Sep-07 19:34:33
HI everyone. I met up with my mum today. She is never ever going to change and I realised it today finally. What Coolmama said on my last thread about her being so glued to her victim role and deep in denial is so true. How can she be honest with me when she can't even be honest with herself?

We both acted as though nothing had happened for an hour and she was bowled away by DS2. After a while the conversation just ran out. I have never ever been lost for words with my mother before, we have always talked and talked. It felt so phony to be sitting there trying to think of questions to ask each other that didn't touch on the rest of the family, or any of the things we had always discussed, ie thoughts and feelings, DH and my lives, etc.

I asked her if she wanted to discuss what had happened. She said "Whats left to say?" and I said well I have said quite a lot and you haven't responded to any of it. She basically said that what could she say after "that email" I sent her. She got really wobbly, I could tell she was furious, but for the first time in my life I wasn't scared. I reminded her that that wasn't the way the whole thing started, it started by me being called a liar, and it seemed very convenient to have deflected teh attention away from that and make it now about the email I sent her, so that she is now the victim and my brothers and sisters have to rescue her. She got really upset and said it wasn;t like that, denied she had called me a liar, couldn't remember saying it but wouldn't come out and say that I hadn't lied. She said so many contraidctory things, like that she still believed I had slpit up the family, but then in the next breath, that I was so blaming and it's not about blame. She said she thought I had had a good upbringing and that she had been a good mother and I asked her why she had acknowledged it to be traumtic then? She said it had been traumatic for all of us, not just me, and that she wasn't apologising for it. I asked why she could never say sorry and she said that would be to say she had made a mistake and she didn't believe she had.

I asked her if she would like to discuss "that" email that I had sent her (which is the reason why my siblings aren;'t talking to me) as although it was harsh I hadn't said anything I didn't believe to be true. She said that I'd accused her in the email of leaving us home alone and it wasn't true, a neighbour was watching us and when I asked her where the neighbour was when I ran out of the house (aged 5) in the dark to find her and got picked up by the police, she started screeching "I can't handle this, I'm going". Not before telling me that she still blames me and my brother for that incident, him for hitting me and me for leaving the house. That's whay we were punished. We were 5 and 6 years old FFS! She really doesn't seem to get that if you leave small children on their own without anyone looking after them, they will get upset/fight/something will happen and that it is not the fault of the children for fighting, it is the fault of the parent for leaving young children home without any parental control (isn't it?!!!)

She stomped off, and came back 10 minutes later and told me she thought she was having a heart attack. I told her to sit down and told her she was having a panic attack and that I'd had lots of them since this whole thing started. I swear that this is the only one of the toxic parent reactions I haven't seen before. She has now officially used them all. She actually said to me "I'm too old and frail for all of this" and I said "you are not old, you're only in your 60s and your health is fine - you just told me." It ended with her actually pulling herself together and trying to go back to the small talk. She asked if I wanted to take DS2 outside and I said no, I thought we'd head off. She has just texted me about a plant she gave me.

I am so completely and utterly proud of the way I handled it. I stayed in my adult through the whole thing, respnded logically, did not raise my voice or cry or do anything - it was her who went through the entire emotional range and finally when the heart attack didn't work and i didn't fling my arms round her and say "Oh my God what have I done to you!" she gave up and went back to the beginning again and began talking about DS2.

I suppose I am a bit gutted that it didn't go a different way - and astonished that she is still blaming me for everything (she told me that I had caused all this and had to live with the consequences of my email) but I am so so pleased that I didn't fall into the old way of relating to her.

Sorry for all the typos, writing too quickly.

mitfordsisters Sat 15-Dec-07 18:34:44

CArgirl YOu have huge sympathy from me - I'm so sad and guilty about my upbringing too. It's hard to trust people. I try to maintain a relationship with my parents but I walk into traps with them all the time and come away hurt - sometimes i wish they were deadxx

ally90 Sat 15-Dec-07 18:34:45

Hmm, it was a long post wasn't it...

I personally just think what you did was amazing. And I think other people have a right to see what can be done too. Even tho I and many others could not imagine doing this its still brilliant to read someone who has done it and so well.

Really pleased we've got a new thread now smile and so busy too...hi everyone!

ally90 Sat 15-Dec-07 18:36:13

Before I broke contact I wished my family dead too so I didn't have to deal with being in contact with them/breaking contact with them...

mitfordsisters Sat 15-Dec-07 18:42:31

thanks for copying the post here ally90 - I think Pages saying 'staying adult' is a good way of putting it, as when I get upset with my mum she uses it against me. It's difficult to keep my cool though because there's that constant sense of loss - why didn't my parents love me properly - it makes me so sad.

Is it better now you don't have contact?

JerryErnie Sat 15-Dec-07 18:44:01

Hi, could I join this thread? I also don't see my mother. She's been married 3 times. I do not see my real father or step father's either. I sometimes feel like an orphan! My mother has soo many problems (don't know where to begin), my sister and I think she must have a personality disorder. I take some comfort knowing that other's have been through it too and it's not just me!

mitfordsisters Sat 15-Dec-07 18:54:06

Hi Jerry, that's a good point about feeling like an orphan - they always have to take some knocks in life

smithfield Sat 15-Dec-07 19:18:09

Hi Just wanted to say hello to everyone-

Yes I think the new thread title is fab and its great that it's enticing more of us to take a look and get on line for some cyber therapy.

Im currently suffering with a chest infection and not had the energy for posting (should add im heavily pg and Chest inf has brough on my asthma...or you'd all think what a light weight wink

I have been reading the thread and keeping up with it as it is moving soo fast. Once Im feeling better will get on and write a longer post.

Think Ally and Sakura maybe both of you should also update on your situation having been on the previous thread from the start?

Oneplusone- I wanted to post to you as Ive been so touched by your posts re-your little girl. i am currently pg (no 2) I already have a ds whose nearly 3. I have to say prior to all my issues with my mum re-surfacing,very recently, I was very anxious about having a daughter and wasnt sure why.

I think that when our mothers couldnt, for whatever reason, love us, as little girls we had to find a way of dealing with that. Pages already mentioned she threw herself into being an achiever.
We are all linked on this thread by the abuse itself but where we may seperate and differ is in our primal response to that abuse which we have carried through to our adulthood. Our internal coping mechanism for that abuse if you like.
Oneplusone, I think you mentioned you shut down your feelings and showed a very tough exterior? This is obviously the way you learnt to cope with the pain. Could you be using this coping mechanism now.
I believe you love your daughter very much, but maybe she is like a portal to you. A portal to all the pain and hurting from your past. So somewhere deep inside you know if you 'really' did allow yourself to connect to her it would be like you becoming in touch with all that pain you buried all those years ago? Its just a thought.
For myself, there is an add on t.v for nspcc, and it shows a little girl crying in a highchair. Everytime I see that add I bawl?? I thought thats because Im a very caring person. But now I think I cry beacause the vision of that little girls neglect allows me 'or forces me' to connect to my pain. Pain that I had to bury and disconnect from all those years ago in order to survive.
All in all a long winded way of saying maybe right now its just too damn painful for you to go there. But you can and you will.

Hope my ramble makes sense.

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 20:09:32

Hi, smithfield, it's a bit weird as i have been reading my way through the previous thread as i only came across it recently and around half and hour ago i got to the bit where you posted. Your situation sounds very similar to mine in that i too am the eldest with a big age gap between me and my 2 younger sisters ( 5 years and 8 years) and i too feel or know that i bore the brunt of the abuse from my dad and they were not around or simply too young to remember what he did.

This has caused a rift between me and them since i cut off my parents as although they do acknowledge our parents, especially my dad were abusive they seem to think i should be grateful for the positive things they did and ignore the abuse. I think my sisters perhaps can genuinely do this as his abuse of them was far less severe than his abuse of me and they also were close to my mum whereas i wasn't.

I need to think what you suggested about my dd being a portal to my painful childhood feelings, you could well be right. I thought my dad was the worse one of the two but now i'm beginning to think my mum hurt me much more and hurt is so deeply buried that i couldn't feel it and therefore thought it wasn't there IYKWIM. I think i am scared to access the hurt she caused me as i honestly think i will break down completely and i don't feel strong enough to deal with the pain at the moment. I feel i have just come through dealing with the pain my dad caused me and i need time to get myself together before i can really focus on my mum and how she treated me. So your assessment is correct, it is just too painful to go there at the moment. Thank you so much for your thoughts, it means a lot. x

CarGirl Sat 15-Dec-07 20:14:20

Both my parents were/are just emotionally unavailable to my brother & I. They both did have upbringings that no doubt caused that.

Yes I am much happier not having contact with them. I invited them to my wedding this year because I didn't want to offend them by not inviting them, my Dad calls infrequently usually to inform me of a relatives death. I hadn't seen them for 4 years previous to this and spoken rarely. I haven't seen any of my extended family for far far longer which I find hard & sad & won't go to funerals as it would mean facing my parents at a time when I was too funeral.

I am far calmer without the uncertainity that seeing them brings.

I have to believe/hope that one day I will truly forgive them and when I do I will be able to have some sort of relationship with them (on my terms of course!)

I just have to believe that I am in tune enough with my dc that if one of them is being abused and is suicidal for nearly all of their teenage years and becomes a hermit and stops working at school that I'll take notice.

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 20:14:34

PS, all through my pregnancy with DD and even before i fell pregnant i had always known that i didn't want to have any girls and i thought it strange as i thought i hated my dad much more than my mum. But i am now beginning to understand where my feelings of not wanting a girl were coming from. I had terrible PND after DD was born as well, perhaps it's connected.

Ok, going to go now, but will be back later. Take care of yourself smithfield, chest infections are awful. x

oneplusone Sat 15-Dec-07 20:29:55

Cargirl, just a quick point about therapy. If you read Alice Miller and Toxic Parents, both books emphasise the importance of seeing the right counsellor, one who fully understands the issues raised by child abuse and who has dealt with their own issues in this respect. Otherwise you run the risk of the counsellor using you to resolve their own childhood issues (unconsciously).

So, if you find your therapy is not helping you, i would strongly suggest finding another counsellor. It took me ages to find one i thought would be able to help me but he's been fantastic and has helped me immensely.

CarGirl Sat 15-Dec-07 20:39:43

Therapy has helped a lot, I've had group and individual psycotherapy (ie not just counselling) - so 3 years in total and I worked hard!!!!!!!!! I think the issue is that outside of therapy I struggle to open up and talk to anyone about any real feelings I am just very cut off emotionally.

I back for a 2nd assessment session at the local nut house in January so yet more therapy is on the cards. I know it is often likened to peeling an onion - there are layers over layers over layers so it's not surprising it can take many years to get to the bottom of the unresolved stuff.

bearsmom Sat 15-Dec-07 20:40:32

Hi oneplusone, thanks for pointing me in the direction of Amazon.com, I'll see if I can get a copy from there. I like Beverley Engel's point of view, currently reading a bit of my book that's talking a lot about moving from "victim" to "survivor", and I'm feeling less and less like my parents' victim by the day.

Smithfield, sorry to hear about your chest infection. Get well soon <<<hugs>>>.

Have just had an email from my father (sending pics of my new niece, and pretending everything is absolutely normal despite the fact I haven't spoken to him in over 18 months), and had one from my mother yesterday. I used to feel sick and shaky every time I had any sort of communication from them, now I just feel annoyed, mentally compose a suitably feisty reply, and then transfer them to a "pending" folder I've set up. Don't quite seem to have the courage to just delete them yet, but no longer feel obliged to respond or guilty when I don't. Progress! grin

CarGirl, what you said about forgiveness interested me. IME a big deal is often made about forgiveness being an essential part of moving on from a bad experience, but I think it's Susan Foreward in Toxic Parents who says that you don't need to forgive in order to move on and heal. Hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, but I know before I read TP I agonised about forgiving my parents when I knew that in reality I'd never be able to forgive them for perpetuating with me and my siblings the bad parenting and abusive behaviour they'd experienced from their parents and as a result I was completely stuck. Now I've realised that too much is often made of forgiveness it's really helped me. Sorry if this doesn't make a lot of sense. DS, DH and me all have chest infections (a lot of them about!) and as a result are not getting nearly enough sleep. Zzzzz.

MrsWeasleysmagicmincepies Sat 15-Dec-07 20:43:59

I can relate to what elfsmum says in her post except that my mum alwasy tells me that she favours my siblings!

She worshipped my DC until my neice and nephew were born now she doesnt even come to see them on their birthdays. When she does visit my DC's are told how wonderful my n&n are! hmm She constantly moans to me about my n&n. They sleep over at hers every weekend and she looks after them a lot of the time! She has said she would like my eldest DD over to sleep but when my DS and other DD asked it they could come (seperately and when its convenient) she coldly said "no I dont want you" Obviously I dont let any of my DC stay with her!

I try my best to limit contact!

CarGirl Sat 15-Dec-07 20:44:29

Forgiveness is a strange thing, this year I was truly able to forgive my "abuser" (not my parents) he accepted responsibility and in the depths of my being I completely forgive him, I would love to be able to forgive my parents in this way it is so utterly liberating - beyond anything I can describe.

I don't think you need to forgive to move on, I have certainly moved on but I would like to be able to forgive them one day for me & my sake

Danae Sat 15-Dec-07 21:50:18

Message withdrawn

Danae Sat 15-Dec-07 22:03:46

Message withdrawn

Sakura Sun 16-Dec-07 01:32:13

Oneplueone, its interesting what you say that your mother wasn't interested in you if you showed any signs of neediness, because its shows how abuse can have different forms. I always thought that at the end of the day, my mother was a caring person because she did show interest when I was down and in trouble, always bailing me out with money, giving me a hug if I'd split up with a boyfriend. Its only at the time of my wedding that I realised something was up- she became unhinged at the thought that I could be happy and was going through every trick in the book to destroy my wedding plans and marriage. For her, my neediness had been a sign that I needed her, not just a bad phase that every human goes through, so any sign of happiness in my childhood and beyond was a rejection of her (in her eyes). So she'd always cut off chances of happiness, ex told friends who were ringing that I was out when I wasn't, or threaten me for weeks on end that I couldn't go on the school trip that I was looking forward to, or my best friend's party I had been talking about for months. Even now I can't look forward to things without a dreadful feeling of dread that something is going to go tits up. I often don't tell anyone, not even DH, if I have something fun about to come up, or a job interview, because I feel that if anyone knows, something will inevitable spoil it- I wonder why hmm
THats why when I was planning my wedding, her abuse and emotional blackmail towards me increased, she wrote a long letter teary to my grandmother saying she "didn't know why I was doing this to her" i.e getting married, being happy. God it was such an awful time, but it made me realise that something was up. I mean, shouldn't a mother be happy that her daughter has been given a shot at happiness? I mean God knows, theres enough grief and strife in this world, and a lot of marriages don't last, and mine has its faults, but a wedding represents a chance at happiness and thats why they are still celebrated in the way they are. A normal mother would be thrilled that her daughter was being given this chance. Not mine. The wedding nearly didn't happen because of her!

Sakura Sun 16-Dec-07 01:33:48

Thanks pages for starting this thread! Thanks ally, for providing the title! I'm sure it will be as successful and helpful as the last one smile

Sakura Sun 16-Dec-07 02:03:17

Sorry, and I think I'll update my situation. I just use this thread (and the other) to blurt out my morning feelings. The first things that come to my head, so then the're out for the rest of the day. So sometimes it comes accross as rambling, but anyway, here's a synopsis of my story and an update:

Well, 2 year ago, I met a lovely man, decided to get married and my mother hit the roof and tried to destroy me and destroy the wedding. She very nearly managed to. I was a complete mess, and would spend hours just staring at the wall. I was working in a part-time job at a supermarket and living with my grandmother at the time (fiance was abroad). I'm very suprised I didn't end up in a mental hospital ( as she had often threatened that I would, as a child)

I always knew she had been abusive; terribly physically and emotionally abusive. Disgustingly so. But I had played down the significance of it, because of course, she had taken me to stately homes...Then something snapped inside me and I realised (as in my above post) that something wasn't right in her behaviour towards me. Somewhere in the depths of my being, I realised that perhaps, just maybe, she should be happy for me!Since then, it has been an emotional rollercoaster. She hasn't seen DD, refused to meet with me on my terms i.e in a public place in the daytime.
I miss my brothers terribly, and feel that perhaps the abuse has turned more onto them. I want to keep protecting them, as I did many times as a child, often jumping in front of her to stop her beating them with some implement. But they have no memories of the abuse. I don't know if its buried. So therefore they have no memories of me protecting them. So they think I'm just a melodramatic overreactor, but they still keep in touch because something inside them is stopping them from rejecting me the way some of your siblings are- erm, maybe the fact I was their mother during their formative years ( I am the eldest child and only girl of 5 kids)


I want to reccomend a book that helped me a lot "The Continuum COncept" I have it here with me and I'll just quote some things from it. I want to quote it in relation to our mothers, not in relation to our own children:

"The parent, says Kempe, 'who lacks mothering herself is incapable of mothering her child but expects the child to be capable of loving her: she expects more than a baby is capable of and she sees its crying as rejection. He quoted an intelligent, educated mother saying, 'When he cried, it meant he didn't love me, so I hit him'."

"The expectation that her search for love will be rewarded at last by her own love-needy infant is the tragedy of many a woman. And of course it is a looming factor in the quality of deprivation suffered by the child. NOt only is a great deal of the necessary loving and attention denied, but the child is competing for it against a bigger and stronger person. What could be more pathetic than a child crying for want of mothering and the mother striking out at it because it is not mothering her in answer to her longing?"

"No one wins the game; no one is the villain. All one can discover from horizon to horizon are victims of victims."

"Marriage in civilized life has become a double contract in many cases; on clause might read: '...and I'll be your mother if you'll be my mother'. THe ever present infantile needs of each partner are expressed when the implicit (often explicit) declaration is, 'I love you, I want you, and I need you'. The first two-thirds ot this speech are appropriate to mature men and women, but customarily the notion of needing, though it is romantically acceptable in our culture, implies a requirement for a certain amount of babying....."

"Courtship is often a testing ground to determine how far each partner's infantile needs will be met. For people with extensive requirements--people whose early lives have left them without enought fulfilment even to compromise satisfactorily with another person and his needs-- the search for a mante is often a sad and endless one. Betrayed in infancy, their longings are wide and deep. The fear of being betrayed again can often be so strong that the moment they are in danger of finding a companion, they flee in terror to avoid putting the candidate to the test and being reminded, unbearably, that they are not lovable in the unconditional way that they require"

Sakura Sun 16-Dec-07 02:05:54

Sorry, I didn't mean it to sound like other siblings reject their siblings because they weren'T loved enough by them sad. It came out wrong, I just wanted to say why I think my brothers seem to want to reject me and hate me, which would be the normal pattern in a toxic family, but can't seem to. And I think its because I was the mother in their life, while our real mother got on with her "career"

elfsmum Sun 16-Dec-07 12:24:06

dad was a drinker, never allowed to say alocholic as he went to work everyday. but he didn't come home until the pubs were shut.

mum started divorce proceedings the year before I was born, and went back to him, so all through my childhood when they were fighting (lots of DV) I'd hear, I should have carried on with that divorce - which in my childs mind meant I wouldn't have been born, did that mean she didn't want me ? That was never clarified, when I asked I just got told to stop being stupid.

mum used to work evenings, although it was a factory so she could have worked days and been there in the evening, so from I was 4 years of age until I was 18 - I'd get home from school, mum would leave, dad would be in the pub and I'd be left with my sisters, who used to threaten me, beat me and generally resented having to look after me.

spent may a lonely night sitting in the window watching the world passing by.

mum used to tell me why I shouldn't play with other kids, they didn't really like me, they were only using me, as an adult i don't have a single friend from my childhood, the two I have I met as an adult and wouldn't let my mum interfere, with one of them she was still telling me how she wasn't a real friend 15 years after we'd become friends.

to this day i still don't know why she didn't work days, asked my "favoured" sister about it, she doesn't know and has never thought about it.

I also realised that it wasn't normal for dad to sleep in the bed, and mum to sleep on the couch covered by coats. Nor for mum and dad to fight every night, nor to be in bed shaking because you can hear the fight going on and bodies hitting walls.

i think ours was generally a poor situation for all involved, including my mum.

As an adult I can look back and think what she went through, and although she'd never have admitted to it, she made mistakes, she would say she did the best she could and she probably did.

me and the "favoured" sister are really very close, and we have a good relationship.

I really feel sorry for my eldest sister as I think out of us all she is the one most like mum, and she can't see it.

ally90 Sun 16-Dec-07 12:30:59

Hi Mitfordsisters

Better...yes! I'll say more in update post, that will feel theraputic I already know. How about your story? It helps with us supporting you if we know your background, we can possibly offer insights that you have not seen yet (think wood for trees!) And when I say 'we' I mean everyone who comes on this thread...not the royal 'we' wink

Hi Jerryernie, good to see you here. Try this link to see if any of the personality disorders (PD) match your mothers behaviour. It is possible to mix and match them too, my mother seems to be Narsisstic PD and Borderline PD. And I seem to be a combination of 4! However even 'normal' people can tick some of the boxes. Its more to do with consistant behaviour patterns over time...I think...explains better on the link. Sorry to hear of your orphaning. Would you like to say more about your childhood?

Hi Smithfield, poor you, hope you get well soon and your getting plenty of hot soup and chocolate in bed! Interesting what you put about how we dealt with the abuse. I lived in a fantasy world and partially shut down until 16, then it all got so painful I just did a complete emotional shutdown and not felt much since, neither happiness or unhappiness. V numb and v frustrating to break down the walls.

Hi Oneplusone, I did not want a dd either. More chance of repeating what happened to me as a child. Is this universal with us adult children? We don't want dd's? I so agree with what Smithfield has said re portal to painful childhood feelings. Only you can know if that is right, but it 'feels' right to me...as in if I get v close to my dd or see her doing something amazing and thinking all that, I just well up. And can I just highlight something you said that says to me that you really do love her?

"I know therefore that already in my DD's short life i have already caused some damage and that knowledge is breaking my heart. The only way as adults we can overcome our past is to revisit it on an emotional level but how can my DD do that, she is only 4?"

That is a loving mother speaking.

You may not be able to feel it, but you do care enough to change and to understand the damage that could have been done. Like someone else said, if only our mothers could have done that for us, then we would be with them now, or at least in contact mending our relationship. And according to one book I read if they have a good relationship with one parent it can make up for something lacking in the other parent. So the unconditional love your dh is lucky enough to have could well have carried her through her first year. Don't beat yourself up about her first 4 years, make the next 4 + years count. Numbness of feeling is hard, at times I feel nothing for my dd and wonder if I do love her, then I see her doing something amazing and I get some feeling back, briefly. But I have had 3.5 yrs of therapy to get this far...dd is 20mths. You know you are supported here on this thread, keep leaning on us and read books, speak to a therapist, you will be making a difference to your life and your dd. And if you feel you cannot cope with more pain and the moment, you do right to listen to that feeling and waiting for it to receed (sp) before you carry on. BTW I think your incredibly brave to post what you did on the other thread and here. It must have taken alot of self realisation and courage to post.

Hi Cargirl, local nuthouse?...how did you get there? Something I thought I would end up doing one day trying to match my reality to my parents reality. I say its just like wondering if you the sane person in a madhouse or the other way round? V confusing. Got to say I cheated on the wedding...we eloped

Hi Bearsmom, good progress! Like the pending folder grin You sound much happier/in control, what book have you been reading?

Hi Mrs Weasley, I got the favoured thing, always equal financially, but emotionally it was a world of difference to how we were treated. Must have been horrid for it to openly admitted tho...rather callous of a mother to do that.

Hi Danae, how are you today? I put all presents and cards for dd in the loft. I'm waiting till I come across a good answer as I work through my therapy. Inspiration has not struck as yet. My dh says throw them away. At the end of the day they are ours to open I suppose, as our dd's are incapable of opening/understanding what is in them at their age.

Hi Sakura, going to re read your post, lot to take in and I've been typing for an hour now!! Did like your quote from book. Hope your well, are you over here soon for xmas?

And to all newbies wink post your full stories if you feel like it, it all adds to a huge bank of knowledge and understanding and support for us all. Really quite valuable and it validates all our experiences which is one of the most helpful things I've experienced on here and reading books.

So pleased you have found us. smile

CarGirl Sun 16-Dec-07 13:01:37

I'm only an outpatient at the local nuthouse, fortunately I've never been so bad that anyone has asked me to be admitted! From what I know being an inpatient can often make you worse not better!

Pages Sun 16-Dec-07 13:08:37

Hi everyone, I have my friend to stay atm, keep sneaking on here to catch up, but DH says I'm being rude to her so will be back later for a proper catch up smile.

Oneplusone, I'm so glad you have found comfort in anything I have said and I think you are amazing and courageous to even admit to yourself let alone anyone else that you have shortcomings in your relationship with your DD. Although I see similarities in my mother's relationship with me (she too found me interesting until I needed something from her emotionally)even now, years on, she cannot and will not admit that she did me any harm.

The fact that you are referring to your DD as "your darling daughter" brings tears to my eyes because if my mother had even an ounce of your insight, compassion and humility I would be talking to her now instead of you guys.

I in all honesty do not think you have caused your daughter any harm that can't be put right. Even now, 40 years on, if my mother was able to just say to me what you have said to us ie that she knows she didn't emotionally support me the way I deserved it would change so much for me, because I was always led to believe (and she is STILL saying it) that I was and am too needy and demanding, and it is me that needed too much, not her that didn't give enough. You are VERY different from her.

And remember that NONE of us are perfect mothers. I for instance am aware that there are other mothers who spend far more time teaching and playing with their children than I do (mine watch far to much TV and I know I should be doing more speech therapy with DS1 and spending less time on here) but we all have our own needs and limitations. I am good at the emotional stuff but my mother spent far more time, I know, teaching me to read, etc than I do with mine, because that was the stuff she was interested in and I do find it tiring. There. I've said it now. But I will admit and put my hands up to that. DS1 has been trying to get me to read to him for the last 10 mins and I have ignored him. So I am not perfect, nor are you, nor are any of us. But unlike us, my mother won't admit she is human. She is perfect and I am far from it. And that is that.

shamefulcoward Sun 16-Dec-07 14:01:54

Can a coward join?? I have been watching your thread for ages and really wanted to post but so worried my mum would figure me out form all my posts- so Have name changed is that allowed?

My childhood wasn't as bad as some of yours but I don't have happy memories. My mum has completely different memory of the past and actually still doesn't live in reality. She has always been lazy as far back as I can remember she used to sleep all day on the sofa whilst me and my siblings went out to play. Both mum and Dad had very short tempers and were very inconsistent in there punishments. My Dad played mind games with me. I learned independence at an early age. We fended for ourselves at lunch and sometimes begged for someone to cook dinner. We wern't kept clean and tidy only for school. I used to have nightmares about my parents -that they left me places alone or they would be lining us up to beat us. They laughed at my mistakes and pointed them out to everyone making me feel so small. They constantly blamed me for everything that goes wrong even things that my siblings had done. I went through a stage of trying so hard to please but realised it was pointless when I cleaned the house and was punished for it. My mum called me names like bitch and cow and kicked me out several times in my teenage years for the most insignificant things, only to say she didn't mean it later that day. I seriously think she has some sort of mental health issue. She is still explosive and poisonous and very bitter but she thinks our family our close when we dont even know each others phone numbers. The weird thing is she has tried to keep up such a perfect family persona and puts on an act to everyone but I pretty sure people see through it.

Sorry my posts a bit muddled

Sakura Sun 16-Dec-07 14:17:55

Hi ally, thanks. NO I'm not coming back this year. I was going to- could just about manage it with the money, but in the end I just remembered how awful it was last time I came and how vulnerable I was. And I've got DD to think about. I'd love to show her to my brothers again, but TBH, its not worth the money and time because I've got nowhere to stay. I'd have to stay at a b&b, rent a car, and generally just spend a lot more than a person would if they had a normal family who would pick them up at the airport, offer them bed and board and most importantly, a warm welcome!!

How's things with you? I'm glad we can laugh on here about the cat, but its still really unhinged stuff isn't it. Because she's putting you back in your place as a child and not acknowledging your adult world where cats don't send presents to people, not to mention thrashing down your boundaries! You sound really good though in your last post. Any worries about how things will pan out as Christmas approaches this week? HOw's your DD too? OUrs are not too different in age (mine will be 15 months at Christmas) Maybe our paths will cross and we will meet someday at a mumsnet fab and glam tour, who knows!

Sakura Sun 16-Dec-07 14:20:55

crossed post with you shameful (please change your name sad! Everyone starts off their stories usually with "my story isn't as bad as anyone elses", then as the thread goes on we find (and that person discovers too) that it actually was as bad as that. Often worse as they begin to remember and actually feel the buried pain.

PurpleOne Sun 16-Dec-07 14:37:28

I got 'disowned' almost 5 months ago. Cast out like yesterdays newspaper.

Does anyone have any tips on getting thru the first Xmas alone?
I have no sibs, no rellies, and no close friends. Just me and the 2 dd's.

I'm not sure how I'm going to cope.

JerryErnie Sun 16-Dec-07 15:15:16

Thanks for the kind words Ally. My sister, me and a friend of mine (who's a clinical psychologist) are definitely sure she has 4 of the personality disorders. It was actually a relief to make the connection. We always knew my mother wasn't normal and it kind of helped to put a diagnosis to it. Remember that with personality disorders, the person cannot be helped. We've spent all our life making excuses for her but at the end of the day she will never change. She's poison to be around (I know that sounds harsh) but we're better off without her. Sorry, I'm not an orphan but was saying that I feel like one without a mother or father around! I would talk more about my childhood but there's so much I wouldn't know where to begin. My sister's had counsellimg over it and feels alot better, but I don't really want to drag it all up. I don't know what I want to achieve at the end of it?

elfsmum Sun 16-Dec-07 16:53:24

been thinking about this more today according to my mum my first boyfriend was only going out with me to cover up the fact he was gay - he wasn't.

and when my eldest sister was supporting me through a bad patch with my mum and said I could go and live with her, she was only doing that to get back at my mum, and to get money off me because she really hated me, don't I remember her calling me a brat all the time when i was younger

Pages Sun 16-Dec-07 17:27:22

Just catching up a bit now. Thanks Ally for copying the "confrontation" post over and for your congrats (can I have another blue ribbon trophy please? - said in Monica-from-Friends whiny voice).

I was just saying to my friend today that actually the more I stay in "my adult" the more mad my mother seems to get. It's almost as if she made me the crazy emotional wreck but now that I no longer accept that role being projected onto me she is now fulfiling her own truly crazy destiny...

smithfield Sun 16-Dec-07 17:33:39

Hi am feeling better today health wise (emotionally bit of a mess)
'Purple one' no suggestions as my first xmas too but we can hold hands if you like.grin
Also would be really interested to hear your story.

Feel completely lost today and I cant even verbalise why. Just started to write and then deleted it, because I cant seem to get my thoughts out in a competent manner. I end up writing details like 'then they did this, and I did that' and 'they said this so I said that.' In otherwords i become like a child seeking re-assurance that I should feel anger or sadness or pain, and that it really is justified and Im not just an emotional fuckwit after all.

Yes Ive had contact of sorts, had to drop presents for my db over at sil parents. You'd think only sil parents ffs yet of course just hearing talk of what my parents (probably more so my dad atm) are doing gets to me. Why?sad Was so flustered before leaving i burnt my hand on the iron!I came away feeling like it really is me.Im the odd one out not them iyswim.

oneplus- from what you said we do have a lot in common I think. Its like a huge jigsaw puzzle, or a shattered mirror isnt it? It often feels like Im scrambling around trying to fit the pieces (of my childhood) back together in order to make sense of it all. I hope to god one day i will and will be able to see a clear picture or a clear image of who I really am looking back at me.
oneplusone-If you'd asked even a year ago I would have said, Im closer to my dad I don't get on with my mother, we clash but yes Im a daddy's girl. Admittedly I did do some work on my relationship with my mum six or seven years ago, so maybe thats why I am where I am now with it all...the focus seems to have shiftrd to my dad (but im not even sure of this atm).I went into counselling seven years because I'd come out of an abusive relationship, and ended up talking about a whole other abusive relationship....i.e; the one with my mother. I walked out of the counselling after 6-7 months because it was too painful, so I think there is still unfinished business there.I believe I gravitated toward my father from a very young age, beacause i got 'nothing' from my mother. I got little more than nothing from my father, but as a child I guess I made the tally and thought Hey, if its between something and nothing, guess I'll take something.
I think also because he'd cry and say sorry after he'd abused me I took that as love, intense love in fact.
So til now daddy could do no wrong. Now its like my eyes have opened and I realised he was just as brutal. He's also very controlling (as is my mother), his weapon is money. He metres it out unevenly and as all four of us have come to equate money with love, we are clearly shown who is and isnt in favour. Since mum and dad divorced it is easier to see just how much power he really has. He is like the sun and all of four of us are like the planets revolving around the sun, begging for the light to shine on them. Well of course we all do when there is nothing but svere frost from my mother. Sorry once I got going there I couldnt stop blush. Despite all this current anger toward my dad deep down I know that my mum is still pivotal in all of this. I still have unfinished business there too.
And I'm typing with one finger due to burn injury lol. shock
So back to my semblance of a point oneplusone, You did perhaps 'defect' to daddy because your mum couldn't deliver the basic needs any child requires...warmth, love, nurture. So yes I'd imagine somewhere in the depths of you is a huge amount of hurt and pain you are carrying from your 'first' abandonement. |This came long 'before' the cruelest blow of all. Your 'dads' abandonement due to his breakdown. I think my mum was oftentimes jelous of my fierce attachment to my dad and it often left me out in the cold IYKWIM.
oneplusone -you deserve a huge congratulations at coming 'this' far with your own jigsaw. A painful one it must have been to put together. Be kind to yourself,take your time, you are incredibly strong and brave and should mark 'pages' words, re your dd, she is spot on. If my mum put her arms around me now and said, sorry, I would feel the weight lift from my shoulders...

sakura- your mother sounds very similar to mine, (although I think your mother's physical abuse was far worse ) I think they are both very controlling women. I know what you mean about them bulking at our happiness. My mother used to emotionally withdraw, or become incredibly nasty verbally whenever I was about to go off and do something I was excited about. 3 out of four of us have got married recently and she has caused stress, friction and done her best to all but ruin each wedding. She always makes a great deal of disliking our partners?? I am reading currently 'If you had controlling parents' by Dan Neuharth PHD. Thats where I got that concept from that I mentioned to you in the last thread.

Cargirl-wanted to say what an incredibly brave woman you are. you sound like you have had a hell of a lot to deal with. I would imagine...cos I can only imagine...that your parents would absolutely be more difficult to forgive, after all they were the ones who should have been protecting you. Do you think you 'have to' forgive them to get resolution?

Elfsmum- I really related to your story regarding your parents fighting. Mine fought all the time. it often got physical and I used to feel my stomach churn everytime it started. your mum also sounds very bitter, as was mine. She took all her anger and bitterness out on us, especially me. i suspect yours did too.

Danae- I was so shock by your mums comment re your dd that i have to mention it. Im sure this is not very mature of me but she sounds like a really bloody awful woman and makes me grrrrr. angry

Hello to anyone Ive missed

And Pages- hello and congratulations- re your current attitude to your mum. Again Im not going to be very mature in saying how sanctimonious she sounds. You have shown us what can be achieved if we put in some hard work. Thankyou

Pages Sun 16-Dec-07 17:53:55

I agree with what bearsomom says about forgiveness. It was Susan Forward indeed who said that you don't have to forgive to heal - in fact the contrary worked IME. As soon as I gave up trying to understand and forgive my mother I was able to get in touch with my true feelings, get angry, stick up for myself, etc.. Bearsomom, progress indeed. Blue ribbon trophy to YOU smile.

Cargirl, I think it's different if they accept responsibility and seek your forgiveness. I would probably forgive anyone in those circumstances.

smithfield Sun 16-Dec-07 19:07:22

Also wanted to add...to my awfully long post! OOps.
came accross a really good idea in the book I mentioned to Sakura. It's about deciding to detach emotionally from either or both parents, by decisively naming a day and declaring that day as independence day (bit american I know) So I'm thinking of calling Nov 26th my independence day, makes it feel quite definate IYSWIM.

oneplusone Sun 16-Dec-07 19:50:06

Hi all, have been popping in all day to read the latest posts but haven't been able to post myself til now. I think I'm totally addicted to this thread, I haven't even looked at any other threads since I found this one!

Danae, thanks for your comments yesterday, they mean a lot. I know what you mean about envy, or perhaps not envy but wistfulness at my DD's relationship with my DH, her father. He adores her and she adores him and he would never harm her in any way. I am sure I had a good relationship with my dad until i was around 11 at which time he had his mental breakdown as i've mentioned previously and once the abuse started our relationship broke down completely, any bond that had been there was broken completely. Perhaps it could have been repaired if he had apologised for what he did, but he refused to even talk about the past whenever i brought it up (usually when i wanted to explain why i was always rude and snappy with him) and always told me i should just forget about the past. Of course he wanted me to forget it as it showed him in such an appalling light.

Sakura, yes, your mother has behaved confusingly and inconsistently, that's what makes the whole thing so much harder, when the abusive parents seem to be genuinely nice and caring at times which both my parents have been at times. I strongly feel now that although my mum is now 62, emotionally she is still just a child and that's why she always runs away from any problems and was so scared of my bullying dad, she was behaving exactly as a child would in those situations. I became her parent, standing up for her and myself and my younger sisters against my dad. Your quote from the Continuum Concept seems to describe my situation very well. i think my mother needed a parent and she forced me into that role as she refused or was unable to take on the role herself. Once i was the parent, she was then able to be a far better mother to my 2 younger sisters than she was to me as i had somehow fulfilled the unmet need in her.

I've almost been working this out as i type IYKWIM (i guess that's why writing things out is such therapy, it seems to enable your mind to work things out much better than just sitting and thinking) but reading back what i have just written makes so much sense.

Growing up i always felt excluded and left out, my mum and 2 sisters were always going off together and doing things; i was never asked to join in or included or involved and i always felt so hurt and upset but never said anything, just acted tough like i didn't care. I can see now that my mum not only cast me in the role of parent, she took my place as one of the siblings. I always felt like the odd one out as if I simply wasn't part of the family and seen from my new perspective, it all makes sense. I always used to think when growing up that for my dad, it must almost feel like he has 4 children instead of 3 with my mum being the 4th child.

I don't know enough about my mum's childhood to really know why she never grew up but i don't think it's a coincidence that my cousin about 10 years ago did exactly what i have done ie cut off my parents to her parents. Her mum is my mum's sister, and she was also married to a nasty alcoholic bully. There was clearly something wrong in their family but as my mum is not very talkative i know very little about her family nor ideed what on earth goes on in my mum's head if anything. My dad is much easier to figure out as he doesn't hold back in the least in telling you what he thinks about everything.

Sorry to go on so much, having looked at the thread throughout the day my mind starts racing and processing what you all have said and it's all coming out now.

Ally90, thank you so much for your post and i do agree with what you say about the other parent being able to somehow 'make up' for what i could not give my DD in her earliest years and that does give me some comfort.

Pages, thank you also for your post, and i do sincerely hope that any damage i have caused can be outweighed by what i am now able to give my DD as i am now not acting unconsciously but with great awareness.

Smithfield thank you for your comments and i do think we have a lot in common. I was so focussed on what my dad had done i nearly overlooked my mum but like you i now think she was actually pivotal too in our 'family drama'. I think she also let down my dad as she didn't seek help for him when he had his mental breakdown and if she had done so i feel our lives would have been so different.

I think i have talked for long enough now, although i could probably go on for hours yet, but I just want to say hello and welcome to all the new posters, just by reading this thread you are taking a positve step towards a happier and more peaceful future.

YummersBrandyAndMincePies Sun 16-Dec-07 20:09:30

my main memories of my childhood are unhappy ones. i grew up thinking i was generally naughty, with very low self esteem because my mother lost her temper constantly, and lashed out at the smallest thing, physically and verbally. Funny thing is i've kind of been telling myself that this was normal all these years, or just a natural way for a family of 4 (as we were then) to behave around one another. Looking back i just don't think she had any self control about hitting us repeatedly. Or my father when he used to pour freezing pans of water over us. It didn't occur to me at the time that this was abuse, but looking back i can't see what else it could have been. We don't talk about these things now. its' all been swept under the carpet, and we generally get on ok. but reading the other posts here has sparked certain memories i just need to get off my chest. plus i have a question mark over one of the babysitters we were left with, something i have weird memories of that i'm too scared to deal with.

Monkeytrousers Sun 16-Dec-07 20:18:23

Oneplusone, your daughter is still very young and much of the 'damage' will be reversable. Young children who are taken out of abusive families and placed with attentive and affectionate ones quickly recover.

It just breaks my heart to think that she will perhaps see how you and your son interact and feel bereft in some way. I hope you can treat them with equal affection, I really do, and that you can find some peace within yourself.

Have you ever tried or thought of anti-depressants? If you have inherited a personality problem from your mother, AD's can help with this.

oneplusone Sun 16-Dec-07 20:37:10

Hi Monkeytrousers, thank you for your reassurance, that is true and it makes me feel better.

What you say about my DD noticing my closeness with DS also breaks my heart. I hope she doesn't notice but i think she must. Circumstances were so different when DS was born, me and DH had been married 6 years by then whereas with DD we had been married 3, and our relationship was a lot stronger when DS was born, and i think perhaps things like that contributed to my having more feelings inside towards DS.

But the amazing thing is that somehow since simply admitting to my feelings on this thread those same feelings seem to have already changed and i am seeing my DD in a new light. I feel much much more positive about my relationship with her and am blaming myself less for how things were with her at the beginning.

I haven't thought of AD's, i know i'm not depressed, in fact since finding this thread i have felt my confidence and self esteem go up considerably and i just feel so much happier knowing i'm not alone in all this.

oneplusone Sun 16-Dec-07 20:38:51

Hi, brandyandmincepies, welcome, you are in the right place, take strength from everyone on here who are on the same path as you. x

smithfield Sun 16-Dec-07 21:17:24

oneplusone- you just triggered something for me in your previous post. I dont think I'd linked into what you had picked up from sakuras post on the the continuum concept.

It suddenly dawned on me that my mother 'does' also wants to be mothered herself. Thats why she's not been able to mother me. I know it should maybe seem obvious but hasn't been til now.
The only thing I dont get is how she can also be so controlling at the same time?? Any views would be welcome whilst I ponder this one myself.

duke748 Sun 16-Dec-07 22:14:01

Hi all.

I also have had a difficult relationship with my mother and father. I hadn't spoken to either for years and years but got a call about 2 months ago from my aunt telling me that my mother was seriously ill. Its a long story, but basically we thought it might be terminal, and as much as I don't like her and feel let down by her I didn't want to turn my back on her at her darkest time, so I went to see her. I have been to see her 3 times, staying with my aunt each time and just seeing my mother for a few hours at a time.

I told her I didn't want to discuss anything that had happened in the past. I have come to an understanding that there is not one 'truth' and that everyone has their own version. Her version of my childhood is very different to mine, and thats just the way it is.

Its been a nightmare seeing her again - she has told me in detail about how i f-ed up my life, she has hit and sworn at the nurses in hospital and probably the most disturbing... she was hallucinating that we were back when I was a child and my father was hitting us. She was shouting and cowering and it transported me right back there too.

There have been some good points about it too - I have been seeing my aunt and uncle and cousins and its a slightly different relationship now we are all adults and having a good laugh. I also found out a few more things about my childhood that made things a bit clearer.

Of course, I have also found out some more bad stuff - like the fact that father also abused two other little girls. Which is horrible because I made the decision not to go to the police to protect myself from further hurt, but if I had, then maybe I could have stopped it happening to them? Lots to think about.....

Now it seems that she may end up being OK - do I go back to no contact? Have to say, its been nice with me being in control - very different to how it was before.

Purple one - I really feel for you. How about making up new 'traditions' at Christmas this year? Like having a big yummy roast ham on Boxing Day, or signing along to Christmasy songs on Christmas morning? Whatever floats your boat - sure the kids can come up with some fun ideas!

You are spending a special time with the people you care most about and you don't have to worry about any of the crap that comes with your family -so it really is a time for celebration!

Look after yourself.

Big hugs to everyone.

xxx.

PurpleOne Sun 16-Dec-07 23:28:52

Duke and Smithfield...thankyou. I am in tears reading all of this.
I lurked a lot on the other thread. Not sure what to say in regards to my story, but my mum and my father all have their own issues and I'm the one who has to suffer.
There's lots that has gone on over the years, and plenty that has stuck in my mind, which totally differs from my parents recollections. If I remember it, it must've happened right?
I had to get me and the two dd's out of DV and move 250 miles back 'home' cos my dad told me to go 'f* myself*.
I rememeber all the talk of me being put into care at 12, cos I got caught shoplifting with a schoolfriend. A suicide attempt at 15, and I remember my dad kicking me in the back, my mum crying and him telling her to 'leave the bitch there to die'. sad

She had walked out of my house twice this year, without even a goodbye. The last time I asked her not to smoke in here and she deliberately lit up...we had words and we've not spoken since. Not even a word from my father either. It has transpired that my father and dd1 have been texting in secret...him offloading onto a 12 yr old about how 'nanny won't let him pick the phone up'. PATHETIC. and it shouldn't really be for a 12 year old to hear.

I called a family meeting last month for me and dd1 and dd2...all the parents poison spilled out of their little mouths about mummy this and mummy that, she's to blame for this that and the other. DD's also heard a few choice things that LO's shouldn't really hear AT ALL.

Was reasearching some family history stuff up on t'net last week and up pops an obituary...for my cousin! Yet noone ever thought of sending me a note, or a quick text and give me the option of being at the funeral. I've read Toxic parents 3 times over, there's always little bits that I miss each time.

Sorry for ranting, it's good to be here. x x

Sakura Mon 17-Dec-07 01:17:23

Duke,
you mentioned two other little girls that were abused. Please know that women who have been abused (in any way) as a child do tend to feel huge feelings of responsibility for other people. This is because our parents let us believe that things were our fault when they weren't. SO now we tend to go round our adult lives trying to make everything allright for others and believing we are responsible for other people's happiness. You did not abuse those little girls, and it was not your fault they were. Your father did that, not you, so please don't think too much about whether you could have stopped it if you went to the police. You were a frightened little girl, not an adult and you have no responsibility for the outcome or for what your father did!
that is amazing about the hallucinating, but must have been so frightening, transporting you back there. It would be nice to feel that in some way your mother was showing some signs of remorse or guilt by re-visiting the situation in front of you. It doesn't really help you much though, because the memory of course is about her and how she felt in that situation, rather than about you.

Smithfield and oneplusone,

I read about the phenomenon you're talking abotu :the parental child. I thought originally that it mean the child just looked after the parent as a type of carer, but looking deeper into it, that is exactly what I was even though my mother had a professional career, was extremely domineering and looked like a capable adult. The telling thing is that I was always available to listen to her problems and I was always focused on her life. I used to advise her about work decisions and have one memory of stroking her head after she'd fallen out with (yet another) person from my ballet class. I was a really nurturing "mother" to her and thats why she flipped when I wanted to get married. Who would want to lose their mother. It must be a real mind f*ck for her that I can have ^children and that I have a DD. I mean she's the child, not me, so I have no business going ahead and having children of my own! What am I thinking? What a betrayal! And so she feels like I've betrayed her like a mother, except she has forgotten along the way that I'm the child.
Oneplusone, I think its really insightful of you to connect the parental child phenomenon with your isolation as a child. Yes it sounds about right- that your mother cast you as the responsible "parent" of the women and this helped her emotionally. Incredibly hurtful though.

Purpleone sad to hear your story. Yes, if you've remembered it then its happened. My father shocked me when he first told me that he'd never been abusive. Instead of the apology I expected, he was denying it outright. I said to him" OHmy GOd, I didn't expect an apology, but I didn't expect you to deny it." But he continued to say I'd remembered it wrong. In fact he looked at me with pity and said "Its so sad, Sakura", meaning that its so sad that I have such a twisted imagination about my childhood when they did nothing but take me to stately homes.
so as a result I can'T be in contact with him. My mother just thinks I was born with mental problems "a special child" who arrived to cause problems to her perfect world.

There is such a thing as false memory, but that is often something that is promoted by the wives of men who have been acused of abuse. There is a website on it, and the wives and the accused abusers put their (unconvincing) case forward for false memory. The most interesting thing is that when they refer to the adult child who was abused, they use their first name, Mary, SAndra, but if they refer to the abuser and wife, they use their Sirname Mr Smith etc, thereby reinforcing the "reality" that the abused person is just a child and the abusers arer the only "proper" adults in all of this.

toomanystuffedbears Mon 17-Dec-07 05:44:10

Hi-
Congratulations Ally-should we create a Stately Home Claret Jug for the ultimate success award?
Smithfield- get well soon. Try some lemon honey tea - just lemon & honey in hot water-no actual tea. DD is coming down with a chest cold so I am bracing myself as is the whole family.

I have made some progress today and would like to share it- with some background.
My mom was emotionally not available to me growing up and I was not taught any social skills. However, I am close with dd, I am a SAHM and perhaps over compensate with a lot of attention rather than less.

I was/am an over achiever, but with the void of social skills, professional success was impossible. I chose a field that unknown to me required social skills in spades-black belt level in office politics from all directions. I was toast; physical illness from the stress (irritable bowel and constant sinus infections), and professional paranoia of litigation if I forgot something was too much for me. The decision to be SAHM was a very easy one to make. While sometimes sad at the lost career, I have not regretted choosing to invest my time in dc or dh (18th Anniversary today smile -I am so thankful for dh) and I am healthy.

My previous recent posts discussed my grief for my mom when dd was born, rather than when ds was born (first). She died 16 years before dd was born, grief has an amazing shelf life. The 'portal to my own childhood pain' is the missing piece of the puzzle. Thank you, I have been thinking about this for years but the answer just didn't seem complete. While grief may have been a true part of my emotional stress at that time - I remember saying out loud that it wasn't fair that mom wasn't there to help me. But concern for my relationship with my own daughter was trying to surface in my mind because I too thought I'd be a better mom to boys (mistakenly thought because I was a tom-boy in my youth rather than having endured the emotional neglect from my mom/parents). I don't think I was able to fully think about it very deeply because I was basically the sole care giver for two dc 18 months apart and was very deep into the fog of exhaustion. Dh helped when he could, but his job required long hours of research/development which I understood.

I never until recently-MN in fact and Older Sister's validation- thought my childhood was painful. I was always told it was 'just me' for being frustrated and 'quit being so sensitive all the time'...so finally I believed it was just me and then eventually I forgave myself for being me, and that was liberating. But I see now that Middle Sister (matriarchal NPD ) promoted this perception because she needs me to be (and believe that I am) the less than perfect one to distract from her own (now known to be larger) flaws. She does it to Oldest Sister, too. She was emotionally favored by mom over Oldest Sister and I, and I guess she still needs to guard her position as the 'dominate' powerful one through the narcissist agenda-her validation at our expense. Oldest Sister and I are now able to stay in "adult mode" because we have come to the point where we don't care what she thinks any more. Middle Sister is frustrated when she provokes us and we do not provide her with an explosive response, it is she who struggles to stay in 'adult mode'.

I know I still don't have top grade social skills and that is a 'flaw' or a 'failing' or a 'short-coming' -although I am working on it. However, I will never be a 'party girl', and I believe that is not a flaw. It simply is not in my nature.

Thanks again for all your help. I am sorry I did not note down whose suggestions applied to me to thank you specifically.

But I got to ride horses and take lessons where the kids of all the doctors and corporate presidents rode. wink

Pages Mon 17-Dec-07 07:35:26

Still catching up... Danae shock at what your mother said about your DD. I think that would have been the point I cut my mother out ot my life. Well, you know how I feel about my DS1 and his SN, and am so glad your DD has you on her side.

PurpleOne, will be back to talk to you later, am so shock at what you have told us I am speechless. Last year was my first Christmas without them too. Just keep talking to us, that's my first tip.

Sakura Mon 17-Dec-07 08:10:21

There are so many valid and brilliant points been brought up. I'm also sorry if I haven't responded to ones that address me specifically. DD barely naps at all these days so I usually just have to skim.

Pages, I'm always fascinated when you write about projection and that our mothers needed us to act out the depression etc so that they could remain the "perfect" ones. And then about her fulfilling her crazy destiny now that you have split from her. I don't know if my mother is getting crazier since I stopped contact ,but I'm pretty sure she's drinking more. And one thing is for sure-my life is a LOT less crazy- much calmer. The other thing was that you said you are spending more time in "grown up" mode, and the more you do, the more bizzare she seems. I have been aiming for this since the beginning, knowing that if I could just become an autonomous adult, then I could step outside the chaos and view her with an objective eye. I think I'm more in grown up mode than child mode too

Re not teaching your son spelling- don't worry too much about that. I always suspect the narcissistic element when parents teach things to their kids. yes , we want our kids to do well and go far thats true, but that is not an altruistic way of thinking. What they do in life reflects us and if they get top marks in spelling, we get a little narcissitic rush of pleasure. Like my mother forcing me to play piano in front of guests. In my mother's last letter (the special needs one), she wrote "I even taught you French!" Now, my mother can't speak French, but I can after studying it at uni, but I have a vivid memory of her sitting with me once. the reason I have the memory is because that was the one time she did "teach me French". It was all for the self satisfaction of believing she was a good parent. Now she obviously attributes my speaking French to her hmm.Whereas the emotional stuff that you deal with is much more difficult and there is less of a showy, narcissitic rush. Okay, we might be pleased when we see our child share or be kind, but I don't think its as self-serving as knowing that your child is in the top of the class for spelling. So what I mean is, don't beat yourself up about the spelling and reading thing.

TillyScoutsmum Mon 17-Dec-07 09:44:25

Sakura - your mum sounds exactly the same as mine - when things are going wrong in my life, she really "comes into her own" and really tries to help me out. As soon as I am happy again, she turns back into the bitter, twisted and jealous person she is most of the time (suppose that must mean I'm happy more than I'm not which I suppose is a bonus smile)..

Its like she "enjoys" me having a crap time because it makes her feel useful or just not as resentful because I know the way she sees things, she's had a terrible life, most of which is my fault.

I also know what pp's have said about having more issues with having dd's. I only have one child (so far) and she was born in May this year. I was desperately hoping for a boy... I thought it was because I would feel less paranoid about my step dad sexually abusing a boy - but I know deep down that he is clearly capable of doing anything to anyone (and is and never will be left alone with any children of mine).. The real issue was not knowing how to "treat" a dd because of having no example from my mum. I used to be (and still am) so jealous of friends who have really close relationships with their mums ...you know - the ones who actually seem to like them and be friends with them. My contact with my mum is minimal and always uncomfortable and I would never spend any one on one time with her.

Sorry - am wittering on again - but so much of what has been written has struck a chord with me. I have had counselling but will look into some of the books recommended - I think my dd's birth might mean that I need some more though...

TillyScoutsmum Mon 17-Dec-07 09:47:09

Oh yeah - and I never got taken to Stately Homes - but my mum did give up "the love of her life" for me because he didn't like kids (and went on to marry one who likes them a bit too much iykwim sad)

smithfield Mon 17-Dec-07 10:13:45

sakura- thankyou for both of those posts, they've really helped. The first one has validated what I've just started to think about my mother being childlike. I feel like as an adult and especially now as a mum myself, whenever I am with 'my' mother its like she wants 'me' to meet her needs and nurture her. It makes sense now how she used to(uhm still does)offload all her issues, especially regarding dad onto me. She'd say in order to leave him I 'had' to help her. I'd have to go to work, find a place to live and help her look after the other kids. I felt like a surrogate partner.
I was just having trouble reconciling that childlike part of her with the domineering, abusive 'know all' that is also my mother. smile
My mother was/is incredibly intelligent and got a first class honors degree from Cambridge, she had a bright career ahead of her as a teacher but my dad put an end to that, by having an affair and leaving her when I was 4. She followed him to London and a year later they reconciled but on the condition my mother would give up work and stay at home. Layer upon layer of seething resentment built from thereonin.

Your second post was also interesting as again my mother takes credit for anything acedemically orienated. When I'd pass exams she would never say well done but congratulate herself and say 'see that was all down to me'. Yes she was a great teacher, she did teach me to read, but she took my confidence and stomped on it, and I'd have swopped to have a mum like Pages who 'could' actually 'do' the emotional stuff anyday.

Purpleone- firstly (((((hug)))) your abuse sounds so recent and so godamn awful. It must be very very raw for you.
So yes you need to cry and tap into the pain they have caused you but then I want you to start getting mad.
Getting angry enabled me to create some boundaries for myself. Right now Im angry for you!
The thing that really angers me is they 'dare' bring your DC's into the forum of abuse and are doing it behind your back. The level of disrespect they are showing you is mind blowing!
I think you have to start strengthening yourself now. Start tapping into some anger and direct it back at them. Write them a letter and tell them 'never' to contact you dc's again 'and' that if they do you will get a restraining order.
Tell them (in so many words) how poorly they have treated you and that you are no longer prepared to accept that behaviour from them 'ever'. That 'you' refuse to be part of their miserable lives any longer. In other words emotionally you need to cut 'them' out. I think its in the book 'divorcing a parent,' that says it doesn't matter if a parent has divorced you, you can still divorce them right back'. Purpleone none of this should come from a place of spite or one-upmanship, but its you saying enough is enough and I have to take care of myself now and my dc's, it is not in 'your' best interests or that of your dc's that they are part of your life any longer.
You may need to read some more, find a therapist? Have you got a Dp to lean on or a close friend. Treat yourself to a journal and start writing. Stay close to the computer and write as much as you can on this thread.

Walk away from the idea that they have cut you out....no this is 'your' time purpleone to put your hands up and say no more. xx

smithfield Mon 17-Dec-07 10:17:23

Hello- Tillyscoutsmum- just cross posted with you. Cyberwave

maisemor Mon 17-Dec-07 11:42:10

I have been in so much doubt as to whether I should post this message or not, but here goes....
I need your opinion please. We are going to celebrate x-mas in “my” country this year at my little sister’s house.

We (my husband really) decided to write an email from our children to my parents to say that we will be in Denmark between then and then, from my son’s email address (yes I know he is only 3 but my husband is a computer teacher smile).

They replied back to me!!?? Saying that as you know you (me) will always be welcome but we would like to know when, Dad & Mum (they always write their “names” with the first letter in capital).

“The children” write back again saying exactly the same as the first email but emphasising that it is them that is writing.

Parents then write back to me again that they look forward to seeing the children between the dates we are there, and that they are very impressed with our son’s internet skills, Grandad & Granny.

“The children” then write back again saying that we look forward to seeing you on the 27. December at 10.00am. You wrote to the wrong email address again, signed our ds and dd (and their father).

They then reply to my email address again, it would be a shame to dump the children on our front step all alone, as we have not seen ds & dd for a year and a half, so we expect MM (me) to bring them the 27. December at 12.00.

”The children and their Dad” then reply, you once again wrote to the wrong email address, but you know that.
Dd and ds will not be going on their own, they will be going with their daddy.
Explaining to them that they will be “expecting” for a long time, because MM is not going.
As MM is not going to see her parents until they take responsibility for their behaviour in this messy situation and apologise to her, her husband and their children, there is no way she is going to visit them the 27. December.
Due to the fact that no interest has been shown to see (or hear about) dd and ds for a "very" long time, and because when you were told that dd and ds were coming to Denmark did not ask when you could then see them, but instead started on your usual little games, the 27. December 2007 at 10.00 am is an offer that can either be accepted or declined.
They will not be going on their own they will be going with their father.
If you want to see your grandchildren then see them. You will never be denied contact with them.
If you do not want to see your grandchildren then do not. You will never be asked to pretend to love them.
It is your choice, dd and ds.

They then, once again, reply to me with an email headed sorry. Dear MM, you have had confirmation November 2006. You will always be welcome, but no discussions. You are welcome the 25. December at 15.00 together with little sister, big sister and XX (their friend who always spends x-mas with them). With merry x-mas, Mum & Dad

Before you ask I have no idea what confirmation they are talking about in their last email. The email makes no sense to me or my husband.

I really, really need your (much valued) opinion on this correspondence.
I also need to point out that if it had been up to me there would have been no correspondence, and I have only helped dh translate.
The other problem is that because my little sister is taking her children to see them on the 25. December I feel it is going to be hard to explain to our children that they will not be going, but their cousins will. Because of the above correspondence DH has said, that’s it no more contact.

maisemor Mon 17-Dec-07 11:46:54

Purpleone. I think the first Christmas is about finding out about what you want Christmas to be about.
Ask your children what kind of traditions they would like you to have. Pancakes in the morning. Each person having a specific job (peeling potatoes, preparing carrots, decorating cookies). Maybe watching a christmas film together.
I actually found the first Christmas such a relief. It is the first Christmas where I relaxed and just enjoyed. No snide comments, no put downs, no fake laughs etc.

smithfield Mon 17-Dec-07 12:08:15

maisemor- just read your post. shock Mind games!
I am in agreement with your DH on this one in theory. They are still not accepting or respecting the boundaries you are setting are they.
In practical terms on the 25th could you arrange something special for you and DH and DC's to be doing, which would take you off and out of the house before, sis and cousins leave? Im thinking Ice skating, a show? Something you pre-arrange prior to arriving? You could explain to your sis (if you have to explain yourself to her, not sure what your relationship with her is?) that, that is something you have arranged as a special time with family to do.

With the email- to me it reads as similar to pages letter from her mum- i.e we told you you were welcome. But still on 'our' terms -as in there will be no discussions regarding the past- you nincompoop child (sorry love that one whoever posted it)smile

As for the 27th of Dec- what does your gut tell you? Baring in mind they are still ignoring your boundaries and slamming there own terms on you? (that's a genuine question by the way sorry maisemor not sure how that came accross)

lisalisa Mon 17-Dec-07 12:16:54

Message withdrawn

Sakura Mon 17-Dec-07 13:19:05

maisemor, my first instinct while I read your post is that you are still very much wrapped up in their reality.Is it the case that you want to stay in contact with them for your children to have a relationship with their granparents? If so, why do you want them to? Is it because you still care what your parents think and don't want to be accused of keeping them from their grandchildren? It is valid to want your kids to have granparents, but I don't think they would miss out terribly if you simply didn't bother until they were older. Is it the guilt and obligation still at play here?
Or is it that you want to see your sisters. I can relate to this. I loathe the fact I have to stay away from my brothers and can't contact with them directly because my parents are always hovering around them. They are still youngish and depend a lot on my parents. In my case, I decided that I would have to sacrifice my relationship with my brothers. I love them dearly and miss them terribly and hate the fact I can't show my baby to them. I wish that I could see them, but to do that would mean I'd have to see my parents, and the damage that would do to me outweighs the pleasure of seeing my siblings. So I stay away. Is staying away an option for you? Why do you want to go home for Christmas. For Denmark itself? I can relate to that. I miss my country and would like to visit it for Christmas (there is no Christmas in Japan). But I think I can make a lovely Christmas here with my family of three and create a whole new script.

As hard as it might be, could you contemplate staying away from them this year while all of this is going on. But I completely understand if the forces that be are too strong and you feel you have to return to see them. Just realise that you have a choice. You are well within your rights to choose to fly off to India for Christmas or wherever you want, just you, DH and the kids. You don't have to go back and put up with people who can't be straight with you.

Monkeytrousers Mon 17-Dec-07 13:37:17

Maisemor, to be honest, to me, that sound well f*cked up – from your side as much as theirs. I have no idea what the problem is between you and your parents, but I think you maybe made a mountain out of a molehill with the email and who it was addressed to, etc. If things need sorting out, then they need to be sorted out by adults. If things are tense between you, then why write an email from your kids saying what you feel, and then sign it from them?? Keep the kids out of it – even at that level.

The email misunderstanding is nothing. “If you do not want to see your grandchildren then do not. You will never be asked to pretend to love them.” Is a terribly manipulative and bitter thing to say to them – and then so sign it from the kids…that is not on, I think. You want to provoke a response, yes, but it’s never going to be a positive one throwing stuff like that into the mix is it? How could it possibly be?

Why will it be hard to explain to your kids that they aren’t going? Are they actually expecting to go? Do they normally go? Why would they need to know their cousins are going at all?

Can you point me in the direction of the initial dispute between you and your parents, cos from the above, it’s you that seems to be acting more irrationally. Hope I'm wrong!

Sakura Mon 17-Dec-07 14:08:40

Monkeytrousers, the problem with toxic families is that it is hard to tell from the outside who is rational or not. We all have "hot buttons" and our toxic parents know exactly how to push them. So they might say or do something that seems okay and normal to outsiders, but only the victim can feel that their boundaries have been crossed. In fact, toxic parents are expert at making their actions seem perfect to outsiders and making their victim look like the idiot irational one. It is when my father seems the most normal that I get the most upset. He was a violent man with a foul temper who took it out on me as a little girl and yet he'll send the most normal e-mails and messages in Christmas cards, looking to all the world like a great father. The more mundane and normal the mail is, the more blindingly angry I get, because it is so far from the reality of our relationship.

Until someone gets to know all of the details (please post more maisemor), the victim very often looks like they're the one causing the problems. Either way, we have to give maisemor the benefit of the doubt and I for one believe that her parents are toxic.

maisemor Mon 17-Dec-07 14:50:54

Sorry just back from the physio.

I honestly don't care if people think I am justified in thinking that my parents are toxic or not. They are end of (my) story.
They have made sure that I doubt every sentence that comes out of my mouth, every thought that I have, that I don't trust anybody - especially if they give me a compliment, I can see the negative in any given situation and so on and so on.

However, I thank you for your point of view MonkeyTrousers, even though it confirms my worst fears of how the "world" sees this.
I would like to point out to you - again - though that the emails were from dh and our children, not me. I only helped him translate everything apart from the last phrase “If you do not want to see your grandchildren then do not. You will never be asked to pretend to love them.” which he sent in English.

My dh wanted to give them a chance to see the children whilst we visit my little sister and her children for x-mas back home. I said to him I am not ready to see them. I have reached the stage where I am not shaking with anxiety/anger/stress when I see their name or a picture of them, but I don't want to see them in person. Neither do I want to see my big sister in person

I don't need to see them and I know that our children don't need to see them either.

Monkeytrousers Mon 17-Dec-07 14:55:18

I know all about toxic families Sakura, believe me. But like Oneplusone has bravely mentioned, they don't make us the most rational human beings sometimes either.

Toxic parents are rarely happy people themselves and are often doing to their kids what was done to them. Not that this excuses anything, just explains sometimes - and helps you to move on, which I'm glad I have done now.

I think it's important to say that you can move on from having toxic parents, as well as all the rest, it is good to know you can escape it.

Monkeytrousers Mon 17-Dec-07 14:58:22

and from experience that whole 'blame game' thing never ends well, it only prolongs the trauma and stops you moving on. 99% of us will get the apoligoes we want so it's good to focus on the thought of waking up one morning and not even wanting one.

My mother is the child - I am the adult.

Monkeytrousers Mon 17-Dec-07 14:59:27

opps, important typo alert!

"99% of us will NEVER get the apoligoes we want

claricebeansmumhasnomincepies Mon 17-Dec-07 15:02:46

So how do I set about not being my mother?

ally90 Mon 17-Dec-07 15:03:39

Maisemor, opinion on correspondence. Going to do this gently...unintentional gameplaying. Very very easy to slip into, something I used to do all the time. Its like going on a helter skelter...slip up and before you know it your at the bottom again!

You wrote from your children. So effectively you wrote from 'child' ego state. They naturally slip into 'parent' ego state. And then you get into a tussle and end up 'parent' to 'parent'. See here for a link to explain ego states if you have not come across them before. The attempt at email contact, like this, was always going to go badly, you basically invited them to go into their old roles again. This is something I found incrediably frustrating in being in contact with my mother, just one verbal slip up and we were treading the same old path again.

As for what to do now. Find something else to do on Xmas day with dc. Dh send email, from himself/signed by him - 'Thank you for your reply, myself and dc will be unable to make xmas day. wishing you a HNY. regards dh. And if they email back, just send back another neutral reply saying you will be unable to make it these holidays. You don't need to go into elaborate detail or lie you are just unavailable/inconvenient.

As for you mulling this over...please try not to. What will you achieve by doing that? (as my therapist said to me last week smile).

How old are your dc?

Monkeytrousers, like Sakura said. MM is reflecting back the behaviour her parents taught her. Believe me its not irrational, I may well have written an email like that in the past when still in contact! As it is I still get cards and presents from my family cat hmm so an email coming from kids is positively normal from where I come from!!

ally90 Mon 17-Dec-07 15:11:46

Hope your okay MM? Physio went well?

I have to amend my post...your dh spoke from 'child'. What is your dh's family background?

Still say move on from it, write it off, send email from dh re unable to make it. They are no longer a part of your life. So pleased you've stopped your anxiety at seeing pictures of them, your moving on and away from them

I personally think you did the right thing posting on here, and if you doubt what comes out of your mouth, still trust your gut feeling. I still find that hard tho, I was always told my mother/sister it was wrong!

allyxxxxxxxx

ally90 Mon 17-Dec-07 15:17:19

Claricebeans - become self aware. Best time to notice is times of stress ie your late, tired, irritated, busy etc if it was more subtle abuse like mine.

Then, learn to recognise your feelings of stress/beginnings of your mothers behaviour and stop it coming out of your mouth! Easier said than done. Difficult, but achievable.

Take time out for yourself on a regular basis. Use friends as babysitters/dh/dp/nursery.

See a therapist to work through childhood issues/present day problems.

Post on here

AND...don't beat yourself up when you do have a slip up. Makes you more stressed/more likely to replicate mothers behaviour. Accept you are human, apologise if needed to dc then move on.

Anyone got other hints and tips for me Claricebeans?

lennygirl Mon 17-Dec-07 15:18:39

Message withdrawn

ally90 Mon 17-Dec-07 15:19:05

And you do realise if we carry on this way posting we will be out of space in less than 15 days and have to start another thread...

Next title - 'But you were clothed and fed' a thread for adult children of abusive families

grin

ally90 Mon 17-Dec-07 15:23:47

How do you feel now Lennygirl?

My mother has a few NPD traits, I'm very careful not to say my dd is 'just like me'. And to enjoy it and encourage it when she is different to what I am.

Your childhood sounds pretty horrendous, I never got called a 'whore' or a 'bitch' (my sister did tho). How have you done becoming a mother yourself? Does it rake up the memories for you?

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