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"But we took you to stately homes" - Part 4

(1002 Posts)
oneplusone Sat 09-Aug-08 17:07:59

Can't beleive we're onto part 4, although i can't see this thread ever dying.

I was just reading through past posts to try and catch up on the months i have missed and something somebody said has triggered something for me. I know my mother didn't bond with me or love me and i think part of the reason why was because she thought i took after my dad whom she hates (although she is too gutless to leave him). I remember when i was young her saying things like my hair was like my dad's but she wouldn't say it an affectionate way, but quite a venomous way and it always made me feel uncomfortable when she said that but i must have been too young to figure out why.

The more i realise about my mother the more i despise and hate her. I remember she used to play hide and seek with me when i was very young, about 3. Only she would 'really' hide in a place i would never be able to find her. I remember crying and feeling completely distressed one time as i thought she had gone and left me alone at home. It was only after i had been crying for some time that she jumped out laughing from her hiding place. What a nasty, cruel, ugly piece of work and she parades around looking as if butter wouldn't melt and she has a lot of people fooled including my 2 sisters. I know my dad can see her for what she is which is why she hates him and i can see her true colours too which is why i hate her.

I know inside she is deeply insecure, lacks intelligence, strength and integrity. I have witnessed her lie, manipulate and cheat to get what she wants and the people to whom she lies and those who she manipulates are us, her own family. I just can't beleive my sisters cannot see through her, they are totally blind and deaf to her true character and have completely fallen for the victim role she has carved out for herself.

Cutting off my parents was the best thing i ever did and i have realised i need to set some boundaries with my sisters, my last remaining friend and even DH. How to do that is another thing, something completely new to me.

oneplusone Sat 09-Aug-08 17:49:37

I think perhaps, having thought some more about this that my mother does of course have her good points and i am sure she did bond with my sisters when they were born, hence the much closer relationship they have. So i suppose their reality it totally different from mine, they have had a lot of 'good stuff' from my mother which probably enables them to overlook her faults. Whereas she and i have always been very distant and i have really only had 'bad stuff' from her and very little 'good stuff'. I feel like i'm going round in circles as i know i worked all this out a long time ago. I guess i am finding it very hard to face up to the fact that i was the only one to suffer and be mistreated in this way by our parents. My youngest sister was the favourite of both parents and they treated her relatively well, my middle sister was treated badly by our father but ok by our mother and she is very close to our mother and the feeling is mutual i can see. So that just leaves me, badly and cruelly mistreated and abused by my dad and neglected and kept at a distance by my mother. No wonder i was so lonely and also the only sibling to be suffering quite severe health problems as an adult. I know my bad health is due to my emotional damage/suppressing feelings etc, but it seems so unfair that one person should have to deal with so much pain and difficulty. It's not fair. sad

smithfield Sat 09-Aug-08 17:59:53

My father did something similar to me. He had argued with my mum whilst on holiday and stormed out and I followed him and was stood outside sobbing and calling him and all the time he was hiding in the bushes watching me angry

What you say about reminding your mum of your father, do you think that was the key to her pushing you aside and treating you differently from your sisters. Do you think you became him for her at times?

I got this too. My mother often seethes and looks at me with disgust and says 'Your just like your father'. No wonder I became her scapegoat, after all it was my accidental conception that trapped her in her marriage and then she went back to him after he had an affair because of me. So I can see that would make it all my fault hmm

But I think I actally became 'him' in her eyes many times but without any power or control to fight or evade her emotionally.

smithfield Sat 09-Aug-08 18:06:45

oneplusone-I think maybe their experience was different, but I have read that dysfunctional families need each member to have a specific role. You were your mothers scapegoat (as was I) by the sounds of it.
It is a very difficult role because so much negativity, isolation and anger is offloaded onto the person who has that role.
The other roles are 'golden child', 'mascot' and lost child. What would fit for each of your sisters?
However it may look from the outside they 'MUST' maintain their roles to have the closeness to your mother. So in effect they are still being controlled and are not allowed any authenticity.

ActingNormal Sat 09-Aug-08 18:18:41

That seems really important what you are both saying, I am feeling another "lightbulb moment"!

- that if you don't allow yourself to feel the feelings from childhood which you have been blocking out ever since, you will not be able to empathise with your children when they feel similar feelings, so you won't be so good at comforting and reassuring them.

I think I've been doing what you said Smithfield, working out logically how you should treat your children and making yourself do it, but it would be much less tiring if we weren't having to work really hard at it, if we just felt the instinct to do it naturally!

It is really reassuring what you said OnePlusOne, that once we understand everything we won't actually be able to mistreat our DCs in the same way we were treated.

My Bro keeps saying a similar thing about his situation as well - that now he understands himself and what made him do it, he wouldn't be able to do it again.

Smithfield, re DHs - I read in "The Surrendered Wife" (a book lots of people might strongly disagree with), that the thing men most want from their wives is to feel respected.

From reading that and "why men don't listen and women can't read maps", I think that when I go on and on to my DH about my family he feels useless because he can't think of a simple practical solution to tell me. He gets exasperated and doesn't want to talk about it anymore, then I get upset with him for not allowing me to talk about it because I don't feel supported so I have a go at him and he feels disrespected. I don't know if this is similar to your situation (?)

I sometimes say "I want to talk about something and I don't need you to say anything, just make listening noises, and when I've finished I will feel much better. You might think you have not done anything to help but you need to learn about women that just by listening you have done a big thing to help". He still doesn't seem to understand this yet but occassionally he does what I want and I tell him how good he is (same approach as with kids) and I'm hoping he will learn.

I had a bit of a breakthrough with him this morning when I said I was angry that I'm too scared to talk to him about my family because I'm scared of how he starts shouting and swearing and intimidating me. That made him 'ashamed' enough to let me say some stuff and do the listening noises thing and I said I feel he is taking sides with my parents and making me see them and that if the visit next week feels really awful and I decide not to see them anymore that will be my decision and I won't be giving him a choice. He didn't argue back! I feel better for saying how I feel about him not supporting me re the parental contact thing. Repression of any kind is making me crazy at the moment.

toomanystuffedbears Sat 09-Aug-08 22:11:52

Hi Smithfield, Acting Normal, OnePlusOne, Ally and everyone.
I mentioned this book a while ago, but now I am about half way through it-and this book is providing great insight and solutions and actual hope for positive change/resolution. It is about parenting-centering on how an adult was parented affects how that person will parent his/her own children.
Please, please give it a read as I think it will address anxieties about the past and your parenting. I got mine from Amazon.

Parenting From the Inside Out
by Daniel Siegel M.D. and Mary Hartzell

Squirmy baby on my lap-better give this up for now. Sorry I can't answer your specific posts now.

The book also addresses why it is important to do the resolving of the past and to not go with avoid it/ignore it as a solution.
Take care-put yourself first once in a while (a la nurture yourself). I am giving myself head to toe lotion treatment after every shower...as I do for dear baby after her bath.

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 13:57:27

smithfield, i do think i was the scapegoat for both my parents. And i'm sure the fact that i took after my father did play a part in my mother's lack of bond with me. Their marriage was rocky from very early on and around the time i was concieved my father was actually thinking they should get divorced. Hardly the best circumstances in which to get pregnant. My mum hates my dad and i'm sure she took out her feelings for me on me sad.

AN, the situation you describe with your DH is EXACTLY what we were going through a few months ago. Now though, i hardly need to speak to him at all because of my counsellor, and also perhaps i am further down the road to resolution than i was a while ago.

I think with my DH, as well as him feeling helpless at being unable to 'fix' my problem, i also suspect that my own issues were consciously/subconsciously bringing up his own issues from his childhood. His parents are infinitely better parents than mine, but his mum is definately toxic and i am sure she has passed on some of her 'rubbish' to my DH. He is completely unaware of her and what she is really like though and so, i think, is therefore completely unaware of himself in many ways.

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 14:10:22

Talking about DH, i can sense a real shift in our relationship recently, as a result of me recovering a huge amount of my self esteem which was lost/destroyed due to my parents' mistreatment. But a few years ago, i can recall a number of incidents when he treated me extremely badly. Until now i have always felt i pushed him into doing what he did and that i provoked him ie classic self blaming that comes from having low self esteem and thinking i deserved to be treated that way. I realise now he should never have behaved that way towards me and although the incidents were a long time ago i feel i can't let them go. But at the same time i don't know what to do, especially as apart from that, DH is pretty good to me. But i always have this sense from him that he doesn't really respect me, he doesn't appreciate how hard this has all been for me and how much strength and courage i have needed to get this far. I sense he sometimes wishes he had a wife without all this baggage which in some ways i can understand as he has indirectly also become another innocent 'victim' of my parents. But at the same time i wish he would appreciate what he does have with me, see my positive traits and feel lucky that he is with me. Sadly i don't think he feels that way at all. He is not so unhappy with me that he wants to leave, but i really don't think he appreciates what he has in me.

I really think i like everyone, deserves to be with someone who appreciates me and really loves me. DH just seems to always compare me to his mother (i know that's very common with DH's) and i always fall short in his eyes.

I know this post doesn't stricly belong in this thread, but i am posting here because i think so much of what i have said is directly related to my initital low self esteem due to the abuse and now my increased confidence in myself due to my recovery and healing from the abuse.

ActingNormal Sun 10-Aug-08 16:44:31

God OnePlusOne I feel so similarly about my DH! I don't think I did drive him to do bad things that I think he did though. A few months ago when he was upset with me for not getting along with one of his (girl) friends he shouted at me really aggressively in front of the children because he completely lost his temper and he swore at me and called me names (fucking selfish bitch was one of them). I was really intimidated by him. I told him a few days later that what he did was wrong and got him to admit it but he actually said to me "You drove me to it!" I said this is what men who beat up their wives say!

Near the beginning of our relationship he did some things I found very hard to let go of til recently. There were three different people he was 'fixated' by (one man, two women) who when we were with them he totally ignored me and hung around them and really didn't even notice I was there. It probably sounds trivial to you but it really bothered me. Also some hurtful things he said eg this (girl) friend kept asking when he was going to marry me (in front of everyone to humiliate me) and he always said "I'm not, I'm keeping my options open" and they all thought it was hilarious.

He always seemed to belittle whatever job I was doing and somehow made me feel I couldn't cope with my life without him.

He seemed to have more admiration for other women who had better careers and more confidence.

He doesn't like me talking about problems, only seems to like me when I'm being jolly, and I think he would have preferred someone without baggage like you said.

He also idolises his mother and I know I will never be like her (don't want to be).

He is always telling me how lucky I am to be with him and how good he is, in a way that makes me feel he doesn't feel lucky to have me and I am the inferior one.

I do think that he has behaved in these ways because I have allowed him to because I don't think I deserve better. If he respected me more he wouldn't do those things. I'm hoping that the more self respect I get and the more I'm not prepared to put up with crap (I'm only just starting to realise I shouldn't put up with certain things), the more he will respect me and appreciate me. I keep wondering whether I shouldn't be with him but at the moment I am 'working at it'. Until I feel the right amount of self respect would the same things happen to me with any man? If so I need to work on the self respect and stay with him (I've gone and had chilren and married him now!). And like you said, there are lots of good things about the marriage that I would be giving up if I left and would it be worth losing those?

My therapist thinks that early in our relationship, DH did small things that triggered memories of feelings from my past of bigger things which made me feel rejected etc and I 'took the feelings out on' DH and have found it hard to let go of what he did. Therapist said once that "I can't have everything", no relationship is perfect and if I left him for someone else there would still be imperfections with the new person, maybe different ones.

I am feeling some 'venom' towards DH at the moment but hoping it will die down. I find it hard to trust my judgements because I feel my hormones are so erratic. I'm thinking of going back on the pill. There is one called Yasmin that some people have found has cured severe PMS (which I seem to get 2 or 3 phases per month of - one just before period, one just after and one somewhere in the middle of cycle, each 'psycho phase' being 3-4 days long).

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 20:32:06

AN, me too! My DH is the same, he thinks I am the one who is lucky to have him and i should be grateful he has stuck by me. I can understand that to a certain extent as things have and still are very difficult due to my family stuff and emotional state and also my health which has meant he has had to support me a lot in many ways and i haven't really been able to support him.

But, i do still wish he also felt lucky to have me despite all my and therefore our current problems, because of the person I am inside.

I am hoping that like you, once i begin to stand up for myself a lot more he will begin to respect me more. I can think of so many little things he has said fairly recently where i felt hurt, denigrated and mocked by him but he is so like his mother, he puts a velvet covered knife in and it's only afterwards you realise you've been stabbed. Earlier this year i finally stood up to his mother after years of enduring her cattiness, snide comments and interfering and i know i now have to do the same with DH.

I think half the battle is seeing our DH's clearly. I have had such low self esteem that i actually did believe i was lucky to be with DH and that i should be grateful he has stuck by me and i have therefore put up with a lot of stuff from him that i shouldn't have. It has been very hard to see all this clearly as like i said in many ways DH is very good to me, but that doesn't entitle him to treat me badly when he feels like it.

oneplusone Sun 10-Aug-08 20:40:04

One more thing AH, what you said about your therapist thinking your DH triggered feelings from your past is true for me too I think. We used to have rows that were so similar to the ones i used to have with my dad, i know i used to act in exactly the same way as i used to with my dad and that is partly why i beleieved i provoked DH into acting badly towards me (he has called me vile names like your DH and been physically violent a couple of times ie pushing me and holding me really tightly).

It is actually amazing now to look back on my behaviour with DH and see the almost direct links with my relationship with my dad.

I am confident things will change for the better with DH. The only think i am worried about is whether he will be able to cope with the 'new' me. I have secretly suspected for a while that he married me because subconsciously he could tell i had low self esteem and that he could dominate me or push me around without me standing up for myself and that is what he wanted in a wife. He surrounds himself with friends who are lacking in self esteem and i have always thought it was because it made him feel 'top dog' and he needed someone like me as his wife for the same reason. Once i start standing up for myself i wonder how he will react?

ActingNormal Sun 10-Aug-08 21:15:46

OnePlusOne, your last post is quite shocking - that we have subconsciously gone for people who are like our parents - eeek! (people do say this happens) why would we want to be with people like that! And that our DH's subconsciously saw someone they could control and dominate - aaargh! angry

My DH is uncomfortable with me seeing my therapist and I wonder if some of it is he doesn't want me to become stronger like you say! He wants a 'little woman' wife who feels dependent on him and makes him feel needed and big and manly.

I guess we have to carry on working on ourselves and if our DHs decide they don't like the new us we will have to accept that this is their choice. It is more important for us to learn to respect and love ourselves than it is to stay in a relationship where we are downtrodden and feel shit about ourselves if they try to make us stay like the old person we were.

If they can't take it and they leave, hopefully by then we will feel so good about ourselves that we will be able to find a new man easily (if that is what we want) or we will feel good enough to be able to cope on our own without a man.

I can't believe I'm talking about the possibility of splitting up - it is scary!

Of course, they might decide they love the new improved us even more!

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 09:44:52

oh god. I had such a bad weekend. DD2 is 2.5 and turned into the child from hell. She bit her bit brother, so i put her on her time out spot. Every few minutes I would go and ask her to go and apologise for biting and she would just scream at me and try to hit me. An hour later and she was still screaming at me. I ended up shouting at her that she was a horible little girl and she stood there shaking and crying her eyes out. I ended up running out into the back garden sobbing. I am turning into my mother sad sad sad Someone help me. Please...

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 09:57:12

angel- you are not your mother, nor are you turning into her. what you are describing is normal stuff with such young children. You are clearly a loving mother (something your mother definately was not).

How are things this morning?

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 10:19:01

i'm so scared. I don't want to be like her. I should never have had chldren. That way there would be no chance of me ever hurting them sad

dd seems fine this morning though. none the wiser. We have had lots of kisses and cuddles and have danced around the kitchen to music. I still feel so rotten though. The older dcs heard me and are of the age that they will remember what I said.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 11:57:25

oh bloomin great. shes just text asking if she can come round today...

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 12:00:21

Angel- You are only human and it is best for your children to see that is the case. You are not a robot, you have feelings and emotions and you expressed them when pushed to your limit.

As long as you can sit down and explain to the older dc's that 'mummy was tired and grumpy and said something she didnt actually mean and it happens but your sorry'....
The difference is you 'care' about this and that's what makes you a good mum.

You are not hurting them you are loving them, that's just your mothers voice telling you you are not good enough....so tell her to fuck off. Then puff out your chest and say yes I am good enough grin

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 12:01:50

angel- xposted. Can you tell her its not convenient? You dont have to see her if you dont want to.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 13:11:23

shes due to be here any minute sad

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 13:22:48

Angel- Just come back and download afterwards. It will help you expel and bad feelings.

oneplusone Mon 11-Aug-08 13:33:47

Hi angel, i tried to post last night but my stupid internet connection kept failing, i just gave up in the end, i've lost so many posts....ggrrrr.

Anyway, firstly i agree with smithfield, you don't have to see your mother, you can tell her it's not convenient. It's hard to change ingrained habits but you are an adult now and you have choices in everything you do. NOTHING is compulsory.

I recieved a letter from my mother this morning, i knew it was from her because of the handwriting and the fact that she spelt my surname wrong....that just says it all in my opinion, she can't even be bothered to spell my name correctly. I haven't opened it though, i haven't, yet, torn it up, just stuffed it in a drawer. I might just send it back unopened as i know it will be full of empty apologies and excuses for her mistreatment and neglect and also 'but we took you to stately homes' type of stuff. The point is that i don't have to read it, i don't have to accept any form of communication from her. It's taken me a while to actually act like this, i had a letter from my dad a while ago and i just opened it and it made me feel sick. I'm not falling into that trap anymore. I feel so strongly that my parents both have had countless opportunities to apologise for their mistreatment of me as i have tried in the past many times to tell them calmly how they have hurt me and upset me and what i need from them and not once have they apologised or done things any differently.

I know now they will never change and there is just no point in having a relationship with them from my perspective. I don't love them, like them, respect them or enjoy their company, so why on earth would i want to spend even 5 minutes of my precious time with them?

oneplusone Mon 11-Aug-08 13:48:37

Angel, I'm also sorry i shocked you with my post yesterday. Why were you so shocked do you think? Is what i said something you had not considered before? I can understand you in a way as i had thought i had deliberately gone of my way to chose someone totally different to my dad when i got together with DH. And he is very different to my dad in so many important ways. That's what makes it even more amazing that somehow we were having arguments so similar to the arguments i used to have with my dad. The content was different of course but the pattern and style of argument and my 'role' in the arguments was exactly the same role i used to play at home with my family.

I think this definately ties in with Alice Miller and The Drama, i think she called her book The 'Drama' because being a part of a family is like being in a play, each family member is assigned a particular role. I think she calles her book the The Drama of the Gifted Child because it relates to a child who, as an adult, has found the ability to see her childhood role for what it really was and to break out of that role and the pattern of behaviour it required and to play a new role, one that she wants to play rather than the role that was assigned to her by the rest of her family. So the child is now in a new 'Drama' or play and it is the process of leaving behind your old role and discovering and creating your new role that the Drama of the Gifted Child is about IMVHO. I do think that to have the insight that we have is a gift that only certain people have got, as quite clearly not everyone is blessed with such a gift, our parents for instance weren't as they have blindly continued to act out on us, the roles they were assigned in childhood by their families.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 13:57:13

oneplusone- you sound so strong. I know you still feel the pain of what your mum has done (as we all do).

But just to be strong enough to feel you dont even need to read the letter shows strength and resolution. Its progress, to know with clarity that you dont have to put their needs above yours anymore.

I got in touch with a lot of anger last night, especially with regards to my father but this morning again it has dissipated into guilt.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 14:06:23

wow oneplusone- I love the way you just described the 'drama'. I never saw it like that but that makes so much more sense now.

That is exactly how it feels for me. My god you have totally nailed where I am at the moment.
I feel for the first time I have 'properly' realised my role as 'scapegoat' and I have been trying all my life 'instinctively' to break out of that role.
I have tried so many avenues to do this.
It feels like Ive lived my life in a prison where my parents (or more specifically my mother) have placed me and it says 'Scapegoat' just above the door.

To break out though I have to go against my 'whole' family because they 'all' want me to maintain my role....nobody else wants it after all.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 15:20:45

shes been

she hit me

shes gone

sad

Ally90 Mon 11-Aug-08 15:29:56

Sorry to post and run, not read how you are yet Smithfield xxx

Contact has been made again, ring at doorbell...so nearly answered...thought it was neighbour. She posted a dvd, then went to sit on village bench, (I was watching...dare not sit in living room again, dd in bed). She wrote a postcard (guessed what she was doing) and posted it. She is a FREAK I tell you!

'Hi Ally,

Mumsies back in town!

Just returning the long overdue loan of your dvd. I am not going to go away, will always be here for you until death takes me away. I see you are growning squashes? in your pots. You are very welcome to use a spare veg patch at (their house no.) and the use of an improved garden for dgd to play in. Love as always to you adn dgd. xx'

Mental I tell you...mental. I know I read it...its that overwhelming urge again...curiosity...wondering what she's put this time. Suppose she's gone from being agressive last time (Give an OAP a break! etc) to victim again. Slighting hmm about 'improved garden'. WTF? My dd does not or ever will go round there...and they have improved the garden for her? Like I've said before, they need to get a life.

Right going to put away dvd and postcard now (with rest) and look after dd, myself and bean.

Anyone any thoughts on how to break news (or not) that I am pg?

If dh and I write to them that is initiating contact even if it is also confirming we dont' want contact. We will be seen as bad for not giving them contact again. If we don't tell them, the grapevine (its active between our towns) will let them know...which I don't want. But don't want to encourage contact?...no win situ I think?? Anyone got any bright ideas??? And don't want to pass it back via uncles and cousins as that will put them in an awkard position...don't want them in the middle.

got to go, dd starting with a cold runny nose and sneezing so far......

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 15:30:41

She hit you!!!????? Sorry I am in shock
Is this the norm when she visits??

Ally90 Mon 11-Aug-08 15:30:52

Anangel NO!

WTF? Why did she do that????????

It was NOT YOUR FAULT.

Are you okay? Are your dc okay? Is dh there?

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 15:53:44

Angel- Please come back and talk to us!!

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 16:04:11

sorry I had to go and wash my face and stop shaking. the dc's are ok. dh not here. he will hit the roof when he finds out. i don't want him to, but ds1 will tell him cos he was in the room at the time. I said something to her which she took the wrong way and she said 'you're still not too old for a walloping' I just shook my head and turned my back on her and carried on making the childrens lunch. She came up behind me, swiped me upwards across my back, hit me downwards again on my arm and shoulder and then up again on my hip. if that makes sense!? instead of arguing, i just stood there unreacting and carried on making the kids lunch trying to fight back the tears. I should have thrown her out but I was too gutless. I looked across at ds1 and he said 'my mummy would never lay a finger on me' and walked out. I was geared up then. If she had even taken a step towards him I would have killed her with my bare hands. I swear I would have. sad angry But she didn't. Then she sat here and used my internet and asked if I wanted some cake tins she was getting rid of. shock Like nothing had happened. She was laughing and joking. I just don't get her. really I don't.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 16:12:40

Was she pretending it was a joke that she hit you?

She is clearly incredibly disrespectful of you and of your dc's.

Do you feel you get any benefit at all from her visits? You poor thing ((((angel)))). Dont be hard on yourself because even if she was mock hitting you it would have taken you back to the trauma of when you were a child. Of course you would feel that fear all over again. She sounds like a monster not a mother.angry

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 16:13:49

Would you consider cutting contact on the basis of what happened today?

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 16:14:26

if she was it wasnt a very funny joke

i dont get anything from her visits. apart from feeling emotionally drained if that counts.

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 16:18:52

i can't. my nan is ill and it would be the death of her knowing whats going on and knowing me and 'mother' weren't talking. i am only keeping the peace for nan's sake.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 16:19:10

Im not surprised you feel emotionally drained. I used to get that too when Id been around my mother. Would feel like shit for days after. A mama hangover if you like!

But really I am just shocked by her behaviour Angel.

smithfield Mon 11-Aug-08 16:23:15

'I can't. my nan is ill and it would be the death of her knowing whats going on and knowing me and 'mother' weren't talking. i am only keeping the peace for nan's sake. '

I understand. Can I ask if your nan is/was aware of any of your mother's behaviour? I just wondered if you could just start putting some boundaries in. Maybe keeping in contact by phone only or similar.
That way there wouldnt be a falling out as such, although your mum may well kick off at first and react to your boundary setting.

If your nan was aware then maybe she would see that it is costing you dearly to 'keep the peace' with your mother?

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 17:01:31

yes. my nan knows. but she is of the opnion that 'family is family and you don't have another one' We all fell out a few years ago when my nan took my side in an arguement against my mother and it was hell. My nan was so down and upset al the time. At the end of the days its her daughter I suppose.

DH is due home soon. I feel sick. I don't want an arguement. sad

AnAngelWithin Mon 11-Aug-08 17:25:00

i have got to go now. DH due home any time. will try and get back on later. if all hell hasnt broken loose that is.

ActingNormal Mon 11-Aug-08 18:42:34

Angel, I'm so sorry to hear what happened today sad. Your mother thinks she can still intimidate you like she did when you were a child angry. I hate the way some people talk as though you ought to show respect and act subordinate to them when they haven't done anything to earn your respect! And she had no right to hit you as a child, and no right to hit you as an adult, why does anyone think they have this right? And then to act like nothing has happened AAAARGH! angry, I can't stand that! Who the hell does she think she is! I'm sorry if this is unhelpful, but it has made me very angry.

If your DH gets angry about it, it is because he loves you and wants to protect you. I can see that he is probably trying to tell you to cut contact (sorry if I'm getting this wrong), but you get angry with him for saying it because you feel you can't because of your Nan.

Could you find a gentle way to explain to your Nan why you want to cut off/reduce contact with your mum? Would she understand why you want to do this if you explain what happened today? If she wants you to put up with that sort of treatment to keep the peace I think your Nan is also wrong and undervaluing your feelings.

I know how hard it is to find the courage to stand up to them though. I am visiting my parents this Sunday when I REALLY don't want to, to avoid causing a 'scene' with my parents or with my DH who thinks I should stay in contact with them. I am being weak and I admit it. I am not ready to behave 'stronger' yet. I hate this feeling.

ActingNormal Mon 11-Aug-08 18:48:18

OnePlusOne, Don't worry about my reaction to your post, it is helpful for me to think about things! It scares me because I have a constant deep down feeling of needing to escape and an irrational fear of being returned to the past. When I think I haven't escaped because similar things will come back to me in the present, even if they are less bad things eg DH could be similar to parents, I get scared.

oneplusone Mon 11-Aug-08 20:47:38

Hi angel, i'm so sorry to hear what you went through today. You know you don't deserve to be treated in that way don't you? Would you ever treat any of your DC's like that? Of course not. I'm going to risk saying something that you may not like, but do you think there is any possibility that your mother and your nan have a similar relationship to you and your mother? Because i'm sure you know this kind of behaviour is passed down unless somebody stops the cycle by becoming aware of their 'role' in their family 'drama'. Your nan i'm sure has been very loving towards you, but she may not have been that way with your mother. It's the same in my family, before i cut off contact my parents were lovely towards my DD and were clearly besotted with her. But of course as you know they were not in the least besotted with me. Just something for you to think about, although it doesn't do much to help solve your current dilemma. I think you could try and talk to your nan but it may be difficult for her to hear you as it may cause her to confront painful memories/feelings of her own that she has kept buried.

Ultimately you must do what is best for you as you have your DC's to consider, they will inevitably be affected if your mother is making you unhappy.

Smithfield, i'm glad if i have helped you understand 'The Drama' a bit better. It is so interesting that you describe how you feel like you've been kept in a prison by your parents as one of Alice Miller's books is called 'Prisoners of Childhood'. I haven't read it all, just parts of it, but I know it talks about exactly what you have described. Perhaps you might be able to relate to that book more than the Drama.

Ally, your mum is weird like you say. If i were you i would make no contact at all, but easier said than done i know. It's a bit easier for me as we live at least an hour's drive from my parents so there is no chance of me ever bumping into them here which feels so good. I would hate it if every knock on the door could possibly be my parents. Have you ever considered moving? I think in my case the physical distance is so important and is partly what helps me maintain the no contact situation.

I've thought about the letter my mother sent me today. Still haven't read it. I know she'll just be saying sorry (too little too late) and only wants me back in the family in my old role as scapegoat, so she can avoid facing up to what she's done and how badly she has treated me. If i went back she could just carry on as if nothing had happened and leave the past where she'd prefer it to be, dead and buried and a taboo subject. My cutting her off means she has to face up to the reasons why i've done this and of course that's the last thing she wants to do. She just wants to carry on deluding herself that she was a fantastic mother and dumping all her rubbish onto me. There is just no way i am going back to that, ever.

TheArmadillo Mon 11-Aug-08 21:10:34

Went to my aunt's today with ds.

I really shouldn't have.

Dog bit ds(3yo) and ds was basically told off.

Lots of comments, ds treated really harshly over lots of stuff. Dogs are superior, ds should bow down to them on most counts. I failed to stand up for him enough.

Dp (and me tbh) not wanting ds to go there again. But have no idea how to face this one.

Aunt is mum's sister. Is as bad if not worse.

Not sure how to face it when asked to go there again (they won't visit us). Ds adores her, but cannot trust dogs - or more acurately their behaviour and lack of control over the dogs.

Cannot face being constantly criticised again.

Hate this today.

ActingNormal Mon 11-Aug-08 21:16:40

I ordered "The Drama" the other day and it might come tomorrow! I'm excited. Is it wise to read it before I visit parents on Sunday though?

Does anyone have any ideas on what approach to have in my head for the visit. Apart from focussing on it being a day out for the children. The children normally like it.

I don't care about trying to 'help' them anymore like I used to go on about in my posts. Is that a good thing?

I'm not wanting to improve our relationship, I have no interest in it.

I need to take my mind off their house/them bringing back memories of when I used to live there.

I don't know if I can look interested and jolly while they go on about nothingness or in my dad's case a load of pointless detail about things like what the building down the road used to be. Maybe I'm not intelligent enough to find it interesting, but I just don't, I switch off.

I don't know if I can not feel disgust about the fact that they still act 'jolly' like nothing bad happened. I don't actually want to talk about it with them - I wrote all I wanted to say in my long letter - but it still hurts me that they don't care enough to try to say anything to make me feel better.

And I'm dreading that thing where they will think they have to kiss us when we walk in. I would rather puke. I don't see how I can get out of it though. I know I don't have it in me to refuse.

I'm sorry if this makes people angry because you think if it's that hard then DON'T GO. But I'm not strong enough to not do it, not this time, not yet. And part of me wants to see if it will be as bad as I think and prove to myself how I feel about it by seeing what it is like. I've been visiting them for years but now, since the long letter, it feels really really worse. Why would this be?

TheArmadillo Mon 11-Aug-08 21:17:03

one thing that stuck out for me in your post angel was your ds1 saying 'my mummy would never hit me'.

You have been conditioned over years (as we all have) to see your mother;s behaviour as acceptable.

Your son does not see it like that - you cannot be repeating her behaviour because he sees her behaviour as unreasonable. If you were repeating it, he wouldn't be able to see anything wrong in how she treats you.

How do they react to her normally? Do they enjoy her visiting?

smithfield Tue 12-Aug-08 08:44:58

woke up again with shocking anxiety sad Dh took ds to nursery and ds is back to getting really upset about going. Crying and saying he wants to go home. I find it so stressful to think of him being so upset but when I ring they say he is fine. Why is he having seperation anxiety at 3.5? Is it soemthing Im doing to make him insecure?

Im just so fed up with feeling like this. I basically feel like shit from the inside out. I dont want to see or talk to anyone (although I force myself to most of the time) I just want to curl up into a ball and hide.

How do I seperate out my feelings? How do I know how much of this is PND and feeling overwhelmed by motherhood and how much is related to my seperating from my mother and father if at all?

I spend half my time these days feeling so anxious I feel sick and the other half feeling an intense dislike for myself. I know I shouldnt and Im sure its either habitual or its serving some purpose for me? Some resistance against soemthing perhaps?? but I dont know what, and I cant get to it? Im scared I never will, because I cant bare going through the rest of my life feeling as I do.
I want to like myself...why is that so hard for me to do it?

smithfield Tue 12-Aug-08 14:11:49

oneplusone-could I ask where that list of questions for therapists you mentioned came from. Im sure you said before, but I cant remember.

smithfield Tue 12-Aug-08 15:06:22

Think I finally get what turning the anger inwards means. Further to my earlier post, Ive been thinking and thinking about how cruel I am to myself. About my self hatred and how it creates my depression and how this is a pattern for me. I break away from my parents, physically or emotionally and Im doing well for myself, living my life and feeling my independence then BANG I drop into a cavern of depression.
It is this that ties me to my parents in some way, my way of preventing detachment from them, a complete detachment that is.
I have internalised my mother (and perhaps my father too) in order to stay tied to them. This is where the resistance lies.
I have to let go. But how? And do I really wnat to do it this time?

smithfield Tue 12-Aug-08 15:07:18

They no longer hold the key to the prison. I do!

ActingNormal Tue 12-Aug-08 15:27:18

Sm/ithfield, you sound like you are in turmoil and distress sad. I'm glad you are thinking about going back to therapy as I think it will really help.

It hurts to disconnect from your parents because it is instinctive to want parents. Disconnecting means accepting that they don't love you the way you want and you don't love them the way you want to. This is very hard to accept and is a loss which you will grieve over. Is it not being able to face this grief which makes you keep going back to them? Or do you feel there is still hope that you can improve the relationship? Do you feel pressured into not forgiving/forgiving them? You have to work out somehow what you really want. This is the difficult bit, especially if you feel differently on different days.

You must be very angry, the way you turn it in on yourself so much. Have you really done anything so wrong for you to hate yourself? We can all see that you love your DCs (is it two or one?) and care about the way you bring them up. You might make mistakes but we all do. When you make a mistake you think about what you have done. That is a lot more than what lots of parents do. Would it help to write down each day what you are feeling angry about? Don't think too hard, just write it randomly without censoring yourself and see what comes out. You might see that it isn't really yourself you are angry with.

My DD (5) still cries when she goes to holiday club and school quite often. Within minutes of me leaving, they say she is fine and she always has a good time. DH says it is because she loves me so much she doesn't want to leave me! DS hardly ever cries going to nursery. They are just different personalities and it isn't necessarily to do with parenting! It is a natural stage a lot of children go through and your DS will learn from it eventually. It does make you feel awful, I know, especially if you are depressed already!

Do you need to separate your feelings? Could it be that you feel awful because there are so many different feelings with different causes all at the same time? Having children is really hard even without other problems!

smithfield Tue 12-Aug-08 15:54:05

I didnt realise Ive been resisting it. Acceptance that is, that my parents were abusive, and that I must accept this and start healing the little girl who did nothing wrong.
My anger, was false anger all this time, my tears and sorrow all false too. I just didnt realise. I just read an open letter by AM on her website and I finally see, what I couldnt see before.
I dont want to accept it was their fault so I turn the anger on myself.
I started calling myself a stupid, useless Fucking idiot this morning...all because I spent ages trying to organise some pureed carrots and fucked it up. Then I made myself stop and ask 'why?' why would I be like this toward myself.
It's because if I am flawed then i can go on letting them off the hook cant I. I can then carry on trying to fix myself. I can control that but have no control over them.
My mum always said I was a stubborn child, maybe that is a true part of me that remains. Its the stubborness which refuses to give up on them. But if I dont It will always be at the expense of myself!

Ally90 Tue 12-Aug-08 16:34:34

(((((Smithfield)))))

I relate to what your saying again.

I was fine when I was pg and separated from her...even with the hormones...slept at night (had not done that since we were thinking of trying to concieve). When I went and had dd...all fine, I was only home for about an hour before I had a call from my dad to ask if dd had been born. I remember feeling guilty that I had not pushed dh to ring him. I heard my mother howling down the stairs (over phone) when I was telling my dad my mother could not come. That blacked things for me. Then we go to visit pil and just as me and dd are in car, my dad is suddenly there...so I show dd to him, then my mother is suddenly there too...managed to stop her seeing dd. She pleaded to see dd then dh came out (thank god) and listened to her plead and rant at him. Dd is crying, I don't know what to do so I chat away to her to calm her/me down...then mum and dad go, they go same way as us, then turn off down a lane (took me a year or more to walk down it again). After that the greyness descended. I felt that I was doing an evil bad wicked thing depriving my mother of a gd, I felt real anxiety about depriving dd of a grandmother, I felt a bad bad bad person. I wondered so often if I had just exagerated everything. If I had done it to get back at mum. If I was doing the right thing. Even though I was exhausted by feeding dd day and night I still could not sleep for thinking about it all. I used to sit in my rocking chair bfing dd all day, never smiling at her or enjoying her because my mind was just constantly on my mum and how bad I had been to her.

Those words 'bad' 'wicked' 'evil'...all very strong aren't they? A bit childish the first, the other one's against a therapists principals as they condemn the whole person, not allowing any chance to change or to be a good enough person. Just total condemnation for who you are.

It took me a year or so to shake all this. I don't know what triggered the change. I know bfing more seemed to make it worse (hormones?) I kept thinking of all the things she was missing each time dd did something new. My mother totally dominated me in that first year of dd's life and I never even saw her, though did get postcards hmm and letters. My therapist was not supportive of breaking contact, he wanted me to keep the door open for discussions. My dad clearly disagreed with me too. 3 peers in my life condeming my actions. Enough to make anyone test their reasoning. But at the end of the day this is not about reason. This is about feelings. Smithfield, if you felt unhappy about your childhood, that is valid, if you feel unhappy around your mother that is valid. I wonder too about 'a little contact'. For my mother that would never be enough. I guess the same for yours as she is controlling too. We're going against the core principle of our life, don't upset mum. How did if feel when you did go against her? Your mother has led you to believe that you cannot cope without her, that you will always come home. Do you have a deep fear that you will go back to her? And then she will punish you for leaving her and you will be dragged back into her control again? (Fear of mine I admit). Where is this anxiety coming from? What is the core too it? When you find it, usually for me, finding the reason lifts the fear/anxiety. Keep writing, brainstorm it. And I can also empathise with the not really feeling it all...wishing I could feel something other than occasionaly bursts of anger towards them. Feel I am flawed without feeling something 'real'. Maybe depression, or constant mild depression dulls feelings?

Sorry much of that is about me...I hope some of it is helpful. I just remember what it was like being in that horrid greyness where everything is bad and wrong...mostly me.

Re sons anxiety at being left at playgroup...I suspect that is normal. Perhaps post/search in parenting?

Take care of yourself xx

smithfield Tue 12-Aug-08 19:02:11

Ally- reading about your counsellor made me feel quite angry as I feel it would have flawed the process for you. The whole point is to have soemone totally 'for you'. They can not be for you and for your parents at the same time.

This would have made you get stuck. As stuck as I am in fact because unless you can 'direct' all the anger at them (your parents) you cant move forward. If that makes sense.

That is exactly why I am stuck and grappling again with depression.
When I began to feel this bad then I ran off to the gp to get 'myself' fixed. A subconcious move perhaps? To make me the one that is flawed.
It is just a deeply entrenched need/training? to not blame them and to cop the blame myself instead. Until I trust in myself that I am 'entitled' to feel anger at them I cannot move forward.

I remember you saying a while back you had trouble with the 'anger' and feeling it. Perhaps this is why, maybe your counsellor stopped you from directing it at your parents subconciously?

yes I agree 'a little contact' would never be enough. And my mother does not 'love' my dcs. I see no evidence of it, she will use them however to get to me. I know this. A grandma that has no photos of her Gc's? That doesnt even hug or cuddle them? Well I have seen her hug middle dbs dc's but never ds. But then middle db 'is' the golden child. But even so and with his dc's her contact and interaction is minimal.

As regards my father, I have infact never said he can not see me or dcs'. 'He' has chosen not to pick up the phone and call. He sent a card when she was born but no contact apart from that.

The core of my anxiety? I dont know but I suspect inabiility to cope, survive without them..As was drummed into me by them. And/ 'Or' as AN said a hangover of feelings from childhood, which would be a fear of and of invoking that anger.
She always threatened abandonment if I would not bend to her will and a precursor to that threat of abandonement would be her rage.

The proof of all of this if I need any is surely the fact that at 30yrs old my sister has only 'just' left home. But still drives a car paid for by my dad and uses a mobile also provided by him and has never worked a job except to work for my dad on a sunday.
She doesnt believe deep down she would survive without them and she also knows if she did leave/ stand on her own she would be abandoned....all support would be withdrawn.
But it is a matter of quid pro quo, for the financial support she must support and nurture them emotionally.
Quite basically both my parents are 'users'.

youcannotbeserious Tue 12-Aug-08 19:05:01

hi

just making contact

Ally90 Tue 12-Aug-08 20:09:49

Welcome Youcannotbeserious Feel like posting a summary of your childhood (don't feel it has to be short, its like Pringles, once you pop you can't stop grin)? Or you could post your present issues with your mother...really does not matter

Smithfield...you just possibly hit a nail on the head there with subconciously redirecting my anger when my councellor didn't stand up for me. I certainly felt I had to defend my position everytime I saw him, then he asked why hmm angry. You seem to be feeling the same way too (not about councellor ) getting yourself 'fixed' at the drs (although I still feel you did a good thing for yourself) because you have the problem. Your parents are going round seemlingly blissfully unaware of any of your pain from their treatment of you, so it must be you with the issue (ditto with me and my parents). Remember that quite often scapegoating is the redirecting of anger they should be feeling, they cannot handle it so they push it onto us. They must be weak characters (no excuse) to have to do this to their own helpless children. The abandonment thing too...my mother once threatened never to do anything for me again...that felt like abandonment and I immediately stepped back into line again to keep her onside. Despite the fact I don't like her hmm.

Like you summing up yoru parents as 'users' grin. Quite appropriate.

Okay...therapy question here...where is your anxiety, physically? Where do you feel it...what do you do, physically when you wake up with anxiety? Clench fists? Heart pounding, headache? List all your symptoms and see where that leads. Have you tried drawing your anger? Doing plasticine models? (then take a picture if you want so we can be anaylsists... grin love interpreting these things...) it might get to the bottom of your feelings.

Don't stop posting...

youcannotbeserious Tue 12-Aug-08 20:35:57

Hi,

Sorry, haven't read all the threads, so feel a bit like i'm barging in... but here goes.

Parents are Irish catholics. Moved to England because my mum's family (RIch / posh) didn't approve of the marriage to my dad (Not rich / posh!) Mum had two kids, sister and me and has lots of issues. Mostly related to when we were kids and to do with the fact she had to deal with a lot less money than she was used to.

Mum is totally controlling. My sister (nearly 40) still goes round every day, has breakfast in bed with them, Dad packs her packed lunch and mum cooks her evening meal...

Mum has a real chip on her shoulder that I like to have ANYONE else in my life. This has ranged from my friend at college, ex partners, current partner, MIL - anyone who isn't in her circle of trust. As a child, I wasn't allowed friends over, no parties etc., It was us against the world, and we spent all our free time going back to Ireland.

Current issues are because of my DS (born in May) My mother basically wants to control him too and thought she could because DH is away so much. Me standing on my own two isn't going down too well. Her latest edict is that I am a shit mother who is staggering through life and doesn't deserve my son. Nice.

But, I have DS to consider now. I'm not backing down. I want him to have the sort of childhood I dreamed of (AKA One with friends!) Seriously, I never was allowed friends. No-one was ever good enough for us. My mother couldn't get it into her head that she might have been someone in Ireland but in England, we were just the same as everyone else....

Given the slightest chance, she will bang on and on about 'hired help' not realising that it is really quite common these days.

I appreciate my mum was brought up with a lot of help, but she did make a decision when she married my dad and it's not my problem now (and FWIW, my dad has done really well and actually kept my grand mother for the last 10 years until her death)

Well, there you go.

oneplusone Tue 12-Aug-08 21:12:00

hi all, have skimmed through recent posts, not enough to make sensible comments, will do so once i have more time.

But talking about anger, i had complete meltdown this morning. Was angry, upset, crying nonstop without really knowing why. I think it's partly the holidays, DH now has 2 weeks off and subconciously i take that as meaning I get some help with the DC's. But of course it doesn't work out like that and i still have total responsibility for them.

I think i was feeling totally and completely overwhelmed by the responsibility that goes with having DC's. I have so much control and influence over how they turn out and I know so acutely how me messing things up could affect them adversely for the rest of their lives. It feels too much to put on one person's shoulders. Plus I have the guilt of knowing that my DH has in so many ways also become a victim of my parents by virtue of being married to me and all my baggage. Plus the guilt of knowing that my DH has had to support me morally and practically and emotionally for the last few years whilst i haven't been able to support him at all due to my emotional state and my health which is like having a disability. I feel i have let down my DC's as even though i am 'sorting myself out' whilst i'm doing it they do not have the mother they deserve and sometimes bear the brunt of my anger/upset/frustration. Because i have cut off my parents i am without a mother to help and guide me in bringing up my DC's and as we all know the DC's don't come with an instruction manual and normally the knowledge of how to bring them up is passed down from generation to generation. I know it would have been useless for my actual mother to guide me as she clearly didn't have a clue to bring me up, but it just means i am beating a path through a foreign jungle all alone and with no help or support from any angle. It is just sooo hard and relentless and at the same time I lack confidence in myself and always doubt whether i am doing the right thing.

My DH seems to cope with things so well, he never seems to get overwhelmed and i know this is because he has an innate self confidence and high self esteem. He has faith in himself as an adult because his parents loved him unconditionally as a child and had faith in him. If a child knows he is loved, valued and respected by the people who are the most important people in the world to him, his parents, he wil grow up with self respect, self confidence and self esteem and these things will enable him to cope with whatever life throws at him as an adult.

I have always been denigrated, mocked humiliated, rejected and neglected by my parents so no wonder i lack self confidence and self esteem. I have come a long way in the past 2 years but that is nothing compared to 18 years of the 'good stuff' that my DH has been lucky enough to have had.

Sometimes i wish i could just pass all my responsibilities to someone else, go to Ibiza, lay around all day sleeping, eating and reading and go out all night, drinking, dancing and flirting..........even though i never actually did that when i could have in my young free and single days. Just goes to show how you always regret the things you never did as opposed to the things you do do.

Sorry for the slightly off topic ramble, just needed to offload.

Emma789 Tue 12-Aug-08 21:40:16

Can I join? I really feel I need help.
I have a bad relationship with my mother and I think it has really screwed me up. I have had depression more or less for almost 5 years. At one time it was diagnosed, then I thought it had got better but it came back soon after and now I can’t go to a doctor for treatment or counselling (I moved and neither are available where I live). I think my mum’s behaviour to me for most of my life is at the bottom of it and I can’t remember a time when I was at peace with her since I was 12 or 13. I am scared to write too much in case I am identified.
The rest of my family thinks she’s a pain, a nag, a little sour, but basically ok and they all have found a way to get on with her. She only communicates with me via email though and then its only one line her month and it reads like a business email. She pushes my children away too, barely remembers their birthdays and couldn’t be bothered calling either of my sons for their birthdays this year (actually she hasn’t called for at least a year).
She used to hit me a lot and it kept going until I was in my late 20s and one day I snapped and pushed her away. She was shocked and immediately became the victim and my brother grabbed me and screamed at me for touching her, even though she had been slapping me hard one minute before.
Most of my life its as though she thought that I was a part or her, not a separate person so whenever I did anything she wouldn’t do, she just couldn’t understand it and treated me like I was a faulty part of her body. Even down to things like if I used a word she didn’t know or wouldn’t normally use (like “improve” instead of “make better”), she would accuse me of using the word to estrange myself from her. In the end I had to talk to her in simple words and deliberately filter out the words she wouldn’t use herself to try to reduce the arguments.
I always feel sorry for her though. She had an emotionally brutal childhood and she is always unhappy too. She has almost no friends and her life today is financially comfortable but not good any other way. I am scared that she will die before we can resolve it. I loved her so much when I was a little girl, but I don’t know why she turned against me. Maybe she was always against me but I was easier to manipulate when I was little? She was always authoritarian and would hit me hard often.
I want to talk to her but I know it would just be another major row and she will deny things that happened that no one could really forget and she’ll say I am just trying to cause trouble and upset her. Then she will be the victim again.
I’m really fed up feeling depressed and I want rid of the depression so I can be a good wife and mother that my family deserves. I love my children so much but they are only little and I am terrified that I will turn against them as she did against me when they reach their teens.
Sometimes I think to just forget her, but what if she dies? Then I think to try to resolve it with her, but how can I when she just wants to prove that I am at fault?
She always made such a show of being on the other persons side whenever I had an issue with one of my brothers down the years, sometimes she has even talked like they are her children and I am not, so that I have wondered if I’m not really hers. But then I look exactly like her so I must be hers. Its not a boy preference either because she is always trying to get closer to my sister who holds her at arms length.
I’m sorry this is such a ramble. Its as clear as I can get it because it is such a mess in my head. Every one thinks I am together, on top of things, reliable etc, but its just something I do to cover up the person beneath. My mother knows the real me though and it infuriates her that people think I am worthwhile and confident.

Is this all too screwed up for MN?

ActingNormal Tue 12-Aug-08 21:40:47

I know people probably won't have anything to say to this post but I just want to clarify my thoughts by typing them.

A friend said some things today that seemed to make me feel better:

My parents' and brother's feelings when they read my letters etc are their own responsibility. It is not my responsibility to make them feel better. I know I've said this before but it felt good to be reminded. They never seemed to think my feelings were their responsibility when they did things against me (or failed to do things for me).

In order to cope with visits I could just see it as something I do a few times per year and it is quickly over, and don't think about those people for the rest of the year. She thinks that if I can cope with this amount of contact and feel in control (not let it upset me) and that it is on my terms then I am strong not weak like I think I am. (I'm not sure, maybe it could work).

I say to myself that I am doing it for DCs' and DH's sake but a lot of it is I'm just too scared to cut off. I wonder if deep down I do have some feelings for them, despite everything that happened and despite Therapist thinking I shouldn't (well I think that is what he thinks). I am so fucking confused! I am going round in circles. I just don't want to think about those people anymore (which is why my friend said only think of them on the few times I visit).

Sorry if this is confusing/annoying for people who want to cut off completely.

smithfield Wed 13-Aug-08 09:43:56

Pg 200 of AM's 'The body never lies';

"Cheif among the emotions suppressed (or repressed or disassociated) in our childhood but stored in the cells of our bodies is fear. A child who has been beaten must constantly fear new blows, but it cannot live with the knowledge that it has been cruelly treated. Similarly a neglected child cannot conciously experience its own pain, let alone express it, for fear of being abandoned entirely...........
....In adulthood these suppressed emotions are sometimes triggered by quite ordinairy events. But the adult cannot relate to them: 'Me? Afraid of my mother? Why? She's absolutely harmless; she's nice to me and does her best. How van I be afraid of her?' Or 'My mother is awful.But Im aware of that fact, so I've broken offf relations with her, and I'm completely independant of her'.....it may also be true that there is still a small unintegrated child living within, whose panic and fear have never been admitted and thus direct themselves at others. These fears can suddenly assail us without apparent reason and cause us to panic. Unconcious fear of one's father and mother can last for decades if it has not been consciously experienced......"

Read this last night and thought it applied to me.

Ally- I feel the anxiety in my stomach, washing machine, sledghammer effect. It normally effects my breathing and I want to go back to sleep, curl up in a ball to make it go away.

It hits me first thing in the morning and so for the first time today I thought, is it because I know DH is about to leave? Is it triggering feelings of abandonment?

I would have felt abandonment throughout my early years. My mother didnt hold me for a whole week after I was born as she says she was too ill to get out of bed and so I remained in the baby unit in an incubator.

My mother was always cold toward me and rejecting and TBH I barely have any memories of her at all before my dad left.
I only ever remember standing at a distance from her and asking her a question and never understanding the answer and being anxious about asking again.

My dad left suddenly when I was three.
My nan said I ran after him screaming 'No daddy no!' and he just drove off.

We went to live with my auntie after that down in London, and I began wetting the bed. I had to share a bed at the time with two cousins Id never met. My mother shamed me for the bed wetting. She didnt need to I already felt the shame of it myself.
I remember having dreams around that time that I could fly.

My mother never comforted or consolled me during that time. I barely remember her at all in fact...she was like a shadow, who would step forward now and again to punish me for some wrongdoing.
Once she smacked me because I went missing. I had gone inside one of the neighbours flats. I remember this woman clearly, she had a little boy and she was very kind and talked to me, and fed me some of her little boys dinner. I clearly had no boundaries as I was so desperate for some love and affection. How can I remember the kindness of a stranger but not of my own mother. Not one memory.

I had been close to my maternal GPs, but just before my dad left my Gd died. Apparently I kept asking where he was and my nan said he had gone in a big oven? hmm.
I kept looking in ovens after that. My mother told me this as a 'funny' story. hmm
After my dad left my mum fell out with my nan. My nan had been my primary carer for 3 years and then she was cut off from me for two years. I dont think my mother gave a stuff about the impact that might have on me. Another loss at an early age.

I always thought of my nan as my mum when she was alive I guess because she was the one who took after my needs and my mother never did.

When my mum and dad got back together and after my db was born I was very ill and had to go to hospital for two weeks. I was six. I had a tantrum because I didnt want my mum to leave one day. And so she left, leaving me there on the ward sobbing. She said it was because the other mum told her to, as I was just playing her.

Throughout my life my mother threatened abandonment. 'that's it Im finished with you!' was common to hear, or occasionally 'we will drop you off at a childrens home'. So the threat of abandonment was often weilded.

My father would leave frequently. It would always be grandiose, smash house up first, scream he was 'finished with the lot of us!' and disapear for days. So the threat of abandonment was always close by, and the rising panic of it all.

By the way I dont expect you all to read through this....but Im finding it cathartic!wink

As I got older the threat of abandonment became like a self fulfilling prophesy with relationships. I would choose particularly cold men who would then 'leave me'.
My mother continued to let me down at crucial moments in my life until I cut her off. She has never 'really' been there for me. Ever!

Emma789 Wed 13-Aug-08 10:28:06

I probably should not be here because you all seem so far down the path of naming the problem and dealing with it, but is it fair to say that everyone is trying to rid themselves of the pain caused by their childhoods and that even though we are all grown ups who function normally otherwise we just can't get over it? If anyone treated me in adulthood as my mother treated me in adolescence I would deal with it and move on, and I would only remember the other person in terms of "they" had a problem (but nothing to do with me). With my mother though, it feels like i have a problem. Why can't I just deal with it as an adult and basically get over it?

smithfield Wed 13-Aug-08 10:45:13

AN-I'm just too scared to cut off. I wonder if deep down I do have some feelings for them, despite everything that happened and despite Therapist thinking I shouldn't '

You cant 'just' not have those feelings because your therapist says you shouldnt. It doesnt work like that.

I think you feel confused because you have to remember there is much complexity in our emotions and it is never that clear cut. The adult part of you if you like knows rationally you should not love your parents, that they have wronged you and you should cut them off entirely for ignoring your basic needs and refusing to acknowledge those needs were in fact ignored.
However there is still the child part of you that wants their love, and is 'angry' and ambivilent at why you can not get it from them.
This will make you feel pulled this way one minuite and that way the next.

Emma- No definately not too screwed up for this thread at least smile.
Your childhood sounds very traumatic indeed. If your mother acted as though you were one person then you would have grown up finding it difficult to connect to any of your own feelings and emotions. which will leave you feeling very 'well' disconnected IYSWIM.
Its interesting that you say you are one person to everyone else and another to your mother. Which do you think you are?
Your mother has allocated you a role by the sounds of it, and you may well be/have been her scapegoat, that's why it infuriates her for others to see you otherwise. She needs you to have that role in order to function. After all if she were to admit, all she did to you growing up was wrong, 'her fault' and nothing to do with you or your behaviour then she would be admitting that she was a bad mother. SO she is protecting herself at your expense.
As for your siblings they have grown up seeing you treated this way and so it is normal for them. You are the scapegoat to them too, but it is also part of their survival instinct. If you take the brunt of mums bad feelings they get off scot free.
Hope this makes sense. Ive gone on a bit. Please come back and write some more soon. x

Oneplusone- do you think these feelings have been triggered by the letter?

Do you feel like DH is abandoning you with the children? (maybe this just applies to me) but I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed and flooded by their needs when your own can not be/have never been fullfilled. Do you ever get time away from the dc's?, time for yourself?

If you fancied a night away there is no reason you shouldnt have it is there?

I know I find it difficult doing this myself (in fact never do it) But I think this does go back to us being forced to feel guilt for having our own needs as children. We had to put our parents needs first and so maybe you are feeling your own 'inner childs' frustration and anger at not getting your own need to be nurtured met whilst being afraid to actually ask for them to be met?

Ally- I wanted to respond to your question about wether to tell you parents about bean.
My gut is to not tell them.
If they are hounding you now (every so often) then how will it be when they know?
My instinct is to put yourself and bean and dd first in this. They do not 'need' to know. You can choose 'not' to tell them.
Do not feel any guilt over this. This isnt about their needs anymore. It is about yours and your little family.
I would tell them after the baby is born, and then only if you feel that is what you want.
If you tell uncles/aunts/cousins,(after the birth??) you are not putting them in the middle. You are merely given them information. It is then up to them what they do with that information.

smithfield Wed 13-Aug-08 10:49:44

Emma - just x-posted- hope you find what I wrote useful. No we are not all further down the path. we are all struggling along the same one together smile.
I understand totally what you are saying. Reading has helped me a lot and so has this thread and therapy.
Got to go...been on here far too long.....keep writing emma (((((((emma))))

Acinonyx Wed 13-Aug-08 11:11:09

Hi all. I've been reading occaisionally and with interest and would like to join.

Emma - I've often thought about the issue of not being able to get over our own family experience and I think a lot of the problem as adults is that it isn't actually over. The problem just goes on and on but perhpas in a slightly different form.

Now that my aparents are dead I am sad to admit that I am much calmer and a lot less bitter and resentful. OTOH I am riddled with guilt and regret - how much was my fault? Could it have been better if I had done XPQ? Probably, but I didn't and there it is. We were all at fault.

Smithfield - loss and abandonment in childhood does seem to dominate my life. Horrible to read about you chasing your daddy's car. How could that not scar you?

Bparents have been visiting and I'm too drained to go through the whole story. I'm maily struggling with how to parent my dd so that we can have a good relationship and she will feel secure and happy. But is it something in me that is destined to be repeated?

Sometimes I make a negative remark about my parents and people often seem shocked and feel moved to counter. Is it so shocking and why would they counter when they don't know anything about it? It seems that negativity about one's parents (and perhaps especially one's adoptive parents) is bad form.

I try not to think about my family between visits but visits are so overwheming - my whole life seems to gring to a halt while I wallow in it. Until now I haven't wanted to post on this thread because, frankly, I just don't want to think about it. But how can you not, when you become a parent yourself?

ActingNormal Wed 13-Aug-08 12:28:54

We all seem kind of confused at the moment! Lets be confused together, brainstorm together and get ideas from each other's posts. It seems to me that although the details of our situations are all different, the emotions we are struggling with are very similar and everybody who feels a need to be on this thread has a right to an equal amount of support.

I hardly slept last night. Partly because I drank too much caffeine yesterday. But I was thinking and thinking and some things seemed clearer.

I have decided to give myself a break for being weak about not cutting off totally from parents. My brother taught me to despise myself for any weakness and I don't need to listen to him anymore. I've looked at how I've been strong as well as weak.

I was strong enough to find a therapist, tell him what happened, write to parents and brother about what they did to me and how I felt/feel, protect my children and husband from brother by telling him he won't have contact with them when he gets out, decide on boundaries for reduced contact with parents which I've started to implement already by telling them I am coming for one half a day rather than a whole weekend which they would prefer, talked to DH about it even though he gets angry with me (like you said Acinonyx, people generally seem really shocked at the thought of being negative/rejecting towards ones parents).

Everyone has some weakness and if I am not strong about everything then I will forgive myself. I can learn to become stronger where I am weak in my own time. I tend to think about everything as all or nothing but in this case I don't think I should.

I will look at some positive aspects of visiting my parents and their house. I will look at the house and them and remind myself how much I survived through, how strong I was to survive it and how strong I have become. I will congratulate myself. I will not be ashamed of anything that happened to me because I have learned so much from it and have knowledge of the world and of people that other people may not have. I know that none of it was my fault and I will not let them tell me different.

I will look my parents in the face and prove to myself that I am no longer scared of them or of how they could make me feel because I have stopped caring how they think/feel about me and have what I need from other people. I will show them that despite their crap parenting and negative influence I am ok on my own and am doing well and don't need them.

I will show them by example how they should have parented and show them that I am not carrying on their crap ways. If they do or say anything I don't agree with to my children I will show them how I will protect my children (like they did not protect me). I will stand up for my children and myself and if they do anything I feel is harmful to my children they will just have given me the excuse I need to cut off without guilt. They can't lay any guilt on me as it is because they are lucky I am still in any contact after all that happened.

I will decide not to think about them between visits and just see it as something I do 3 or 4 times per year for a few hours which are soon over. They aren't important enough to deserve more of my thoughts than this. I will not have to struggle with guilt which would make me think about them because I haven't cut off totally and they can't say anything against me.

I will remember that I am responsible for my feelings now as an adult and if I need to express them but this means they get hurt then how they react is their responsibility. It is not my responsibility to make them feel better. It should have been their responsibility to make me feel better during childhood and they failed to take this responsibility. I'm not going to take on extra responsibility that I don't have to now by trying to help them.

The visits are going to remind me of how much I have survived and achieved despite my family.

Lets see if all this works and makes me feel ok on/after Sunday!

Justthe3ofus Wed 13-Aug-08 16:31:34

I have never written about my mother before, mainly because I feel so much guilt if I do. On the whole she is a loving mum, generous and helpful and great with my DS. She is also a big extrovert and a strong personality. I on the other hand am shy and rather placid, if you want to put it that way.

I also had a great childhood, however when I was a teenager my mother had a mental breakdown. She had been severly abused as a child and it was kind of all hitting the fan at that time. During this time she left my father and I - my older brother and sister had left home by this time - and when she visited was constantly crying and saying things like "If it wasn't for you I would have driven over a cliff yesterday". Surprisingly this actually made me feel worse. My father then became severly depressed and basically gave up on everything, sitting on the couch and just staring at the TV. I in the mean time did everything to please everyone, neglecting myself just to make sure everybody was happy. Sometimes I grieve over the teenage years that are lost to me.

Anyway my parents slowly clawed their way back, my father got help and my mother seemed to get back on track, and announced when I was 19 that she was a lesbian and had a partner.

Now I am 30 and although I try my best, whenever I am around her I shrink away, I hide my true feelings and pretend I am happy. She can also be very emotionally blackmailing, she has spent years being a counsellor and knows exactly the buttons to push. She doesn't like my DH - and men in general - and subtely undermines him.

She also apologises to me time and time again about what happened, and although I understand, I still don't want a close relationship with her. I feel my life bleeds away when I am around her. I am now living in another country and feel like I have got some of myself back, I am happier here than I could ever be in my home country and that is sad. Whenever I am around her I get a bit of the feelings I had when she left - abandonement, sadness, anger, hurt.

I honestly don't mind if nobody reads this, it has been 14 years since I said it out loud, but just to say it to cyberspace has been like letting off steam.

Acinonyx Wed 13-Aug-08 17:16:05

Just3 - some things that resonate. My bmum told me early on that 'it would be better for me if you had died'. Now i know that was meant to make me understand her suffering but it really did nothing for my overall impression that basically 4 people would had much better lives if I didn't exist. You just wonder what is going through someone's mind when they come out with this stuff. I have NEVER said stuff like this to a parent, no matter how bad things have got (and I have been prety far out to lunch in my time). I don't get it really. I don't get how someone really doesn't know the impact of what they are saying when clearly they can't cope with hearing similar.

Interesting that she's been a counsellor too. My bfather is a psychologist (has specialised in child psychology even which just boggles my mind). That is just so weird isn't it? Makes you wonder how many shrinks and so forth are really apalling to their own families and what it would be like to be a client of our parents'.

I totally agree that you can understand what has happened but that doesn't necessarily leave you with any desire to have a relationship, basically: I understand, I forgive (maybe...) now just leave me alone.

I was also overseas for most of a decade. I needed the space and the house on Mars wasn't ready...

smithfield Wed 13-Aug-08 17:21:51

justthe3ofus- Have read it with interest. My first reaction is wow...your relationship with your mother is so highly complex its difficult to break it down. There's the mum you had prior to the breakdown, the one during and the one afterwards.
You say your relationship became strained when you were a teenager and that afterwards...as in now...she is very manipulative. Do you think she was like this before? When you were little and maybe you didnt realise?
BTW your not in oz are you? You dont have to answer that, but I tend to think that's where all the daughters with toxic mums run to smile. Me included!

oneplusone Wed 13-Aug-08 20:11:51

hi all, just wanted to pop in and say hi. Am too tired to post much, have been up since 6am and on my feet all day with DC's.

But one thing that stuck me is how so many of you think you are being weak for not cutting off your parents completely. I actually think you are being strong for continuing to see them despite how much they have hurt you and how much their visits affect you negatively. I have cut off my parents and for me it was the easier option as opposed to continuing to see them. The thought of seeing them makes me feel physically sick, i know if i ever saw them again it would bring back so many floods and floods of bad and painful memories, i honestly don't think I could survive it.

So you may not feel strong, but from my perspective, you are being far stronger than me.

Emma789 Wed 13-Aug-08 21:40:25

Do people recover from bad childhoods, ever or is it something you learn to cope with like a disability? I really hope the answer is that there is a cure because I don’t want to live with this for the rest of my life.

And how do you keep it away from your children? My mother had an awful childhood and so treated me badly. When my first baby was born, I remember holding him in hospital and feeling so aggressively determined that the abuse was going to stop with me and not be passed on through another generation. I really do my best to carry that promise through, but sometimes I think I am too controlling (like my mother) and other times I think I am spoiling them by not setting enough limits (I want them to be comfortable with themselves). Luckily I have my DH. I think one of the things that first attracted me to him was that he likes himself. For me that is difficult. Does anyone else experience these things?

Smithfield – thank you very much for what you wrote. I’ve never told anyone how I feel (apart from my DH who I pester endlessly about it) and I really appreciate you taking time out to reply. In answer to your question I do not know who I really am, or I am both. The good person who people rely on and the tearful wreck. Today I made the mistake of because I’ve thinking about my mother at work and so was both people at the same time (and dashed to the loo to try to splash water on my face before anyone could see me crying).

Two years ago I stood up to my mother after several days of pointed remarks from her and asked her politely to stop criticising the way I bring up my children and by extension my children (she objected to the two year olds behaviour). She denied it, so I repeated to her what she had said 10 seconds earlier by way of example. She denied that too. Then she lost her temper with me and walked out. She was staying with me that week, so she came back an hour later, but refused to speak to me again, apart from a few words to show that she was the victim but she wouldn’t fight (because in her mind that’s what I would want and she is too much of a saint to give in). Then she left and since then she’s basically not spoken to me more than a handful of times. So I am being punished. I think of trying to make it up with her, but I am honestly scared of what will happen if I do try to speak with her and make amends.

Unresolvedissues Wed 13-Aug-08 22:30:53

I've namechanged for this thread - sorry RL friends use this site and I'm still quite ashamed.

My parents actually have never taken me to a stately home, so perhaps I don't belong on here. They were a disaster though, they should never have had a child.

My father was an alcoholic; a genuine three-shifts-a-day boozer until it killed him 20 years ago. I didn't really exist for him at all.

My mother was a depressive, a severely depressed anxious and deeply unhappy person. The thing about depression is that it is very selfish. It doesn't allow the depressive to see beyond themselves. Despite much treatment, a life-long dependence upon drugs and psychiatric help, my mother has not improved. She is still unbalanced, self-centred and controlling.

We lived in extreme poverty. I say we lived, as though we lived together, but for a year I lived on a mattress on the floor at my aunt's house.

When my parents finally were able to cope with my living at home, I went back. I had no toys, no clothes, no books, nothing. I wondered what I had done wrong to be sent away. I am crying now because I only ever wanted to please them but they were so entangled with their own demons that they had no time for me.

I was a good little girl and did well at school. I wasn't ever allowed to have friends at home or anything though. I thought it might be a lot nicer to live in care - someone at school lived in care and it sounded okay. So I asked my parents if they'd let me. They were worried about what the family would think.

I'm in my early forties now and I just can't forgive them for the way they treated me. I honestly can't. It was dreadful. I mean I never went hungry, but I was so neglected.

Emma789 Wed 13-Aug-08 22:39:18

Oh God Unresolvedissues I am so sorry. Your sentence about being a good little girl says more than anything. No one can give you the hugs now that you missed out on but its not your fault and you know that don't you? They would have been the same with any child - it wasn't you that was the problem. It was them.

Justthe3ofus Thu 14-Aug-08 09:50:07

Hi Smithfield - I am actually in the UK and originally I come from NZ, so the other way around! Yes I think my mother has been like this all her life - very manipulative and able to control you because she either says the right/wrong thing or she just gets emotional. And I feel so guilty about that that I do whatever she wants. I guess this comes from my time as a teenager when she was quite unstable so I did whatever it was to keep her stable - I have psychoanalysed myself quite nicely I think smile.

It's not that I don't want a relationship with her - it's just that - how can I describe it - I don't want to let her close to me. I want it to be just superficial, just with my DS and asking me how my day was etc. I am scared that if I let her close to me she will start to control me again, in a big way like what she has done with my sister.

And unresolvedissues - when you said you were a good little girl it almost made me cry - that's it isn't it? You try and try to be good and do the right thing just to try and make people happy, to make them see you again and show you the love you deserve, but it never comes. I think that is the worst, the neglect.

sassymuse Thu 14-Aug-08 12:12:06

Hello, please may I join in with the thread? I have read through many posts and have found it very helpful. Sorry if this is horrendously long.

I’m not coping well at the moment, probably triggered by seeing my mother again after 2 years (first time since I had my son).

I had a horrible childhood – the full works, absent father, violent, drunk abusive mother. The beatings weren’t pleasant, but it’s the emotional stuff that I keeps coming back to haunt me. Lots of therapy has resolved lots of things for me, but I’m running on empty now and I can’t afford to go back. I’m listening to all the negative head chatter that she put in there and I can’t shut it up – I’m stupid, ugly, selfish, evil, nobody could ever like or love me, etc.etc.

This latest estrangement was triggered because she told me in the course of a 30 minute conversation when my newborn was was about 2 weeks old that I was “useless”, that I should stop bfeeding, I couldn’t do it and “that baby needs a bottle”. That she couldn’t see how I could look after a child as I could barely look after myself and that I should leave the baby with her and I could “visit”. I was so upset that I didn’t phone her, and as it is always up to me to initiate contact, we just stopped speaking.

I don’t why I went to see her again – it’s just misplaced guilt and it has left me with a nasty hangover. I thought I had learnt to stop seeking her approval – which is a pointless exercise. Is it possible to slip back into bad patterns of behaviour? I suppose it is. Writing it down helps. It’s just noise - I can choose not to listen to it and I can see that it is not my voice. Thanks for letting me rant.

more Thu 14-Aug-08 12:42:48

HI Sassymuse, it sounds like your mother was saying those things to herself, if that makes sense. I am sure you are great with your son/daugher. It is her feeling all those things about herself (stupid, ugly, selfish, evil and that nobody could ever love her) and them taking them out on you.

It is definately possible to slip back in to the pattern. I have myself had some pretty horrible few weeks, all because of an email my little sister sent me saying that she has changed her email address so that it now reads her first name@family surname.com.

This is something that my big sister (whom I have no contact with either) has set up so that the whole family can have "identical" email addresses.

I just get the distinct feeling that my big sister and/or my dad can then read all the emails, which my it husband has confirmed.

I am trying to piece together an email to my little sister to explain to her why I am no longer writing to her.

For what it is worth, I don't think we can always choose whether we want to listen to that "ingrained" voice that our parents have "put in to us". If that was the case I think we would all be fine as soon as we realised what our parents are like and came to the conclusion that we don't want to be like them because it is just so wrong the way they behave. This whole email business made me realise this. I thought I could just read the email and carry on as usual, go on a campingtrip and enjoy it. I was in a foul mood, and it ruined the whole trip, but did not quiet realise why.

Acinonyx Thu 14-Aug-08 13:25:07

'And how do you keep it away from your children?'

I read something on another thread where a poster said they felt they were the best person to look after thier dc. And I realised that I have never felt that. I am actually relieved that dd has a CM - one who is cheerful and energetic - two things I struggle with. I am relieved that there is another positive adult influence in her life that can hopefully counter act any of the poison that may come through me from my family.

My amother was a depressive with a violent temper. She could also be very loving and I know she wanted us to get along better. But she was like Jekyl and Hyde - and the fear got in the way. The endless negativity - which now dh picks me up on. but the guilt of somehow not being able to make it 'work' is hard to bear.

One last visit to my bparents tomorrow before we go on holiday and they go back overseas. I feel an emotional wreck - visits are like a tidal wave washing through my life. I hope the holiday won't be like your camping trip, more. Dh has heard it all, he sympathises, he tries to help in practical ways like taking time off to help with their visit - but he doesn't know what to say to me.

sassy - I hope you are able to keep away from your mother and not let her upset you like this. It is such a struggle to keep your head above the water when that negative chatter is pulling you down all the time.

I want to maintain some contact with my bfamily but I hate the way I go to pieces and I can't concentrate on anything.

oneplusone Thu 14-Aug-08 13:53:26

This thread moves so fast, i just can't keep up, there are so many things said recently that strike such a chord with me.

Smithfield : "My mother never comforted or consolled me during that time. I barely remember her at all in fact...she was like a shadow.............How can I remember the kindness of a stranger but not of my own mother. Not one memory." Ditto. My mother has NEVER even once been there for me when i needed her for whatever reason. NOT once. She only surfaced in my life when she wanted something from me ie access to her grandchildren. Whenever i have needed her she has literally every single time, turned her back on me. She was always focussed on my 2 younger sisters and didn't even know i existed. I still haven't read the letter from her. Still don't know if i will ever open it.

Re DH and the children, he is the only person i can ask to look after the DC's so I can get a break. He just doesn't understand how overwhelming and neverending the responsibility for them is and just how draining it is. So i look to him to take over whenever he is around, but he sees the DC's as my responsibility even when he's at home as well. I guess it's a very common situation in many households. I feel it more acutely though perhaps as before i cut them off my parents were always happy to babysit and did help out a lot with the DC's, and this is one area where i do miss them. (Though not enough to resume contact). I hate having to rely totally on DH to be willing if i need a break/help with the children. I wish i had someone else i could ask but i don't. I suppose it's the lack of control over my life that is very hard to deal with, not even sure if this is strictly due to my childhood either.

Acinonyx :"Sometimes I make a negative remark about my parents and people often seem shocked and feel moved to counter. Is it so shocking and why would they counter when they don't know anything about it? It seems that negativity about one's parents (and perhaps especially one's adoptive parents) is bad form" Again ditto. When i first cut off my parents i would talk to anyone about it and got a very negative and confused reaction. I slowly learnt that it is very difficult for people with genuinely loving parents to understand us and so i stopped talking to people but then felt i would burst as i was so desperate to let all this stuff out. I remember feeling so absolutely happy and relieved when i found this thread (about a year ago i think) as i knew i would be 'talking' to people who understood. I now seem to have developed
some sort of 'radar' for people in RL who may also have some understanding and do talk to people in RL about it as well.

Justthe3ofus:"whenever I am around her I shrink away, I hide my true feelings and pretend I am happy" That is EXACTLY what i have done around my parents for what feels like my whole life. That is why it has been such a relief for me to not be around them anymore. I no longer have to pretend, i can just be myself and it feels so good.

Emma 789: I do think people can recover from bad childhoods, but it can take a long time and involve a lot of hard work and be emotionally painful. I know i have come such a long way since i started my recovery or 'detox' process and i can see the changes for myself in all my relationships. It is a learning process and you have to take it step by step, with a lot of wobbles and stumbles along the way.

unresolvedissues : "My parents actually have never taken me to a stately home, so perhaps I don't belong on here. They were a disaster though, they should never have had a child." Ditto again! My parents never took me to a stately home (although they did take me to Butlins!) but i do think all the time they should never have had children. They are both walking disaster areas with individual mental problems which when you put them together.....well, it doesn't bear thinking about except i have to think about it as i lived with them for too many years. I think i have already mentioned, my dad was actually thinking they should get divorced at around the time i was conceived...i can just imagine the resentment and hatred and anger between the 2 of them and instead of splitting up they were forced to stay together as they had a baby on the way. Their background meant that divorce was never really an option anyway so they were stuck together even though they were totally incompatible apart from in one way. I truly think that subconsciously my parents got together because my dad is a bully and my mum is a coward and so they were a good 'fit' in a very warped and twisted kind of way. sad And then 3 innocent children were thrown into the mix, we were sitting targets really now that i think about it. So easy for my dad to bully us and of course with a coward for a mother we were never protected or had anyone to stand up for us. I say us but it was mainly me, i bore the brunt of it all, my 2 sisters seemed to escape a lot of it and were a lot closer to my mother than I was. I was like a little boat floating all alone in a vast sea with nobody to help me find my way or help me in a storm whilst my family were floating in the same sea, but far away from me, with no ropes tying all of us together.

I was also a good little girl, i never got into trouble at school, always did my best and was always very quiet and undemanding. Invisible just like they wanted me to be. And yet i got singled out by my dad and used to vent his anger on about other things that were going on in his life, nothing to do with me, and my mum just stood by and did nothing. And i also got picked on and tormented by my sisters and again my mum did nothing. And yet i still always tried to be nice to them all, i was generous with any money i had, buying lovely presents for my sisters for birthdays and christmas and all i got in return from them were stabs in the back. And i used to blame myself, i thought i was a horrible person because my dad always told me i was, he always compared me to my sisters and told me they were so much nicer than me. He would do this within earshot of my sisters and turned them against me as well. And the whole time my mother would be there, watching and listenng but saying and doing nothing to help me, protect me, stand up for me.

The only mistake i have made was having the misfortune of being born into my family and for not leaving them all behind me far sooner than i did. That again was due to them. Like someone else on here said, my family made me feel so useless, like i couldn't possibly survive on my own without them, that i couldn't look after myself and that is what kept me part of the family unit for so long. I realise now they only wanted me to be part of the family so they could use me as their scapegoat, use me to dump all their rubbish on, to vent their angry feelings on, their insecurities, basically all their negativity. I took it all on. And now i have cut them off i am sure they are in turmoil as they no longer have anywhere to put their rubbish which is why i am sure they keep writing to me to try and persuade me to resume our relationship.

I did do some 'bad' things when i was younger, things about which i have felt ashamed all my life. But now i realise that i was just crying out for help, for love, for attention from my parents. I once told a teacher in my primary school that we (as in the whole class) hated her. It was over an incident where i felt she had treated one of my friends unfairly. She burst into tears when i told her and of course i was punished at school by not being able to go on a school trip later that term. I have felt so awful all these years about what i did. But i realise now that that incident took place at around the same time my dad started abusing me whilst my mum just watched. I'm sure now i was transferring my feelings towards my parents onto the teacher by telling her that the whole class hated her.

Another time, when i was a bit older, and friend and i got into the habit of shoplifting, just small things like stationary etc and of course one day we got caught. The shop manager said we had to tell our parents. But when i told mine, i didn't even get into trouble, i didn't get told off, punished in any way, nothing. I am sure i was shoplifting to get my parents' attention. Just like a younger child is sometimes naughty to get attention, because to a child any attention from it's parents, even a telling off, is better than no attention. I must have been subconsciously thinking the same, but it didn't work..i still got no attention. At least a telling off would have proved to me that they cared about me, had some feelings for me, the complete non-reaction proved that they just didn't care about me or what i did.

more Thu 14-Aug-08 15:16:04

OnePlusOne, would you not have loved it if that teacher though had pulled you aside and asked you why exactly you had said what you said, and maybe had managed to get you to open up about what happened to you at home, so that she could have helped you?

Acinonyx Thu 14-Aug-08 15:18:23

I wonder if anyone else relates to this. I have a life-long obsession with the nature of free will and responsibility. To what extent is someone truly responsible for their actions? To what extent do we have free will of any kind? I have spent my life investigating this one way or another - it's even part of my area of research now.

I consider my amom to have had diminished responsibility but I don't supose I will ever really know how much choice or control she really had. My bmom similar.

And myself? I feel the same kind of impulses as a parent and it shocks me. How is it possible that I would have the urge to repeat what was done to me? I control it - but sometimes it is a tremendous effort. It is as though I have been poisoned. Sometimes when dd is being difficult I feel myself go fantastically cold and know that if I let go for an instant I would replay my mother's behaviour (although that was not prompted by my behaviour since I spent my life trying not to provoke her).

In fact I hardly raise my voice to dd - never shout. Whenever I see her face cloud over it is as if I am watching my own childhood grief all over again and I tend to agree/cave/do anything to remove it. I am realising that she has to have boudaries and I must accept that 'look' without panicking - as though it signified a future life-long misery.

I wish I could just be a more relaxed parent who doesn't overthink everything. One who sometimes gets a little bit cross without crucifying self over it.

I'm also apalled to find myself totally oversensitive to feeling rejected by dd. If she, in her childish way (at 3), seems cold to me, it is so overwhelming I could practically faint.

ActingNormal Thu 14-Aug-08 15:48:22

Message withdrawn

Acinonyx Thu 14-Aug-08 16:02:53

Acting - I guess part of you wants to talk about it on Sunday but part of you is scared. It's amazing how scary talking to your parents can be!

oneplusone Thu 14-Aug-08 16:17:52

more, OMG, if that teacher had managed to get out of me what had happened at home, how differently my life would have turned out. I had never even considered such a possibility. I think i need some time to take in what you have said, it has really taken me aback to think that somebody could actually have stopped what was happening and changed my life completely.

I have always blamed my mother for not seeking help for us. I am sure my dad suffered some sort of mental breakdown which led him to be abusive. My mother could have sought help from so many avenues but she chose to keep her mouth shut and her head firmly buried in the sand. That's why i blame her most of all, she was just a coward, at least my dad had an 'excuse' if not a valid reason for his abuse behaviour.

Acinonx "How is it possible that I would have the urge to repeat what was done to me?". If you read Alice Miller, she explains exactly how and why this happens.

AN, i can relate to feeling scared. But i feel (although less so now) scared of my sisters, of telling them how i really feel, of telling them how much they have hurt and upset me. I don't know why. I am 5 and 8 years older than them respectively, yet they scare me more than my parents. I need to go away and think about this.

more Thu 14-Aug-08 18:42:09

I think the "blame" ultimately lies with the one that hurts a child. However I also think that so many adults enter this child's world, and the child some times deliberately or subconsciously tries to get their attention in one way or another because the child feels that he/she can trust that particular adult.
In some cases these adults picks up on a deeper problem and help the child, instead of as was the case in your situation having taken it personally and just see that child as unsaveable/evil. Hope this makes sense.

ActingNormal Thu 14-Aug-08 20:09:59

Hello again, I feel calmer now grin

So many posts recently!

More, you are right about we can't always choose not to listen to ingrained voices just because we know we don't agree with them. We have to find ways to unlearn it. And I find it the same when I have a bit of contact with family and at first think I will just carry on as normal after, then a day or two later I become 'unbalanced'.

Sassymuse/YouCannotBeSerious - More mothers who want to make her daughter feel dependant on her and useless just so SHE can feel needed. There seem to be lots written about on here. Don't let her mess with your head and make you feel you aren't good enough without her. I just can't comprehend how people who are supposed to love their daughters try to mess up their heads for their own gain.

Just3 - I relate to how you only want a superficial relationship with your mum even though she treats you better than she used to and has apologised. I feel that even if my parents apologised and tried to do/say the right things now I just don't want to have a proper parent-daughter relationship with them now. When they betrayed your trust they broke the relationship and broke part of you and I personally feel that in my case that can't be mended and I don't want to get hurt trying. I understand what you said about not liking your mum saying if it hadn't been for you she would have driven off a cliff. My brother said if it hadn't been for me during his first year in prison he would have killed himself. But I don't want that level of responsibility and pressure! It must be worse if it is your mum - the one who is supposed to look after YOU, and you are expected to stop her killing herself!

Acinonyx, you said you haven't been on here before because you don't like thinking about it, but I think you are SO right that if you want to make sure you don't make the same parenting mistakes your parents made you MUST think about it! If you have to feel worse and be more moody with your loved ones before you feel better (from therapy/MN/talking to friends/writing/reading eg Alice Miller) then just know that you are doing it for long term gain for your children and yourself. If I didn't feel I was moving forward AT ALL I would change therapist, but I feel like it isn't just one phase of badness before it gets better, I feel like I'm having several phases of bad then good, conflict then clarity. YOU shouldn't feel guilty if the relationship doesn't work well between you and BParents/you and AParents! This is THEIR responsibility, they are the parents. I keep reading things on here which make me uncomfortable about my own parenting. I think I am a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde with my children. One minute I am trying hard to do all the right things, the next minute it all gets too much and I become ShoutyMummy or WithdrawnMummy telling them to go away and leave me alone. I know what the right way to do it is but I'm not sure it comes naturally yet and won't until I feel better inside and have worked out all my issues. At the moment, doing the right thing seems really hard work.

Smithfield, when I was in the worst grip of my depression I used to have that panic about DH 'abandoning' me with the children that you describe. I just couldn't see how I was going to cope. I felt so overwhelmed by everything. You really are going through SHIT by the sound of it sad. I wish I could say something that would help. Have you done anything about finding a new therapist yet? Your childhood sounds very emotionally neglectful. It is no wonder you are anxious if you never had reassurance. This is why I love my therapist so much, he has a really reassuring and comforting manner and I've never had that from anyone before. Maybe you need one like him. When you are a child and you get abandoned it is very frightening and you are right to be frightened because you really need adults when you are a child. Now we are adults I suppose we don't need to be SO scared of abandonement because we can physically survive if we get abandoned, but it brings back the childhood fear of it which seems to have stayed with us. The question is how to lessen the fear? I don't really know, apart from keeping on saying to yourself I CAN cope without this person if they abandon me and look at evidence of how you can cope from things you have done.

Emma, I think things that happen during childhood have such a big effect because it is when your brain is developing and you are forming your view of the world and yourself. Somebody used the word hardwiring recently. Distorted views of the world from messed up parents get hardwired into your brain while it is building itself. Now we have to put effort into unlearning distorted things. I know what you mean about people having an image of you as confident and happy and successful because you act over all your negative feelings. There are people who think I don't have a care in the world, I'm so good at acting normal. It is a useful skill at times but also can damage you a lot as your unexpressed negative feelings attack your insides, then start to leak out onto people who don't deserve it when under stress, eg your DCs.

OnePlusOne, I feel like you that I have contributed a lot less to my marriage than DH, financially (not confident enough to have a proper career), and emotionally because it is hard to give out positive feelings to other people when you are struggling with all your own negative feelings. I do think it is good to give your DH a break from talking through your problems by using MN/therapist/friends more. I try to save some energy and headspace that is just for DH now where I concentrate on having a laugh with him, enjoying being with him and talking about things other than my family. The responsibility of parenting IS massive, but you are already doing well just by KNOWING this and thinking about the way you do it. I often feel it is too much and the kids drive me mad. I sometimes feel better by thinking I should feel proud to be a mother and proud that I am keeping at it, doing a really hard job. I didn't give MY babies away like my birthmother gave me away. I don't neglect my children like my adoptive parents did (although I DO think I am too withdrawn from them at times and I need to work on it). When I read your post about 'bystander behaviour' (your mum) I can see when I look at someone else's story how bloody WRONG this behaviour is and how angry I have a right to be about my mum. I know she was scared of my GF and my Bro, and scared of causing a scene in front of my dad as well and I know she is emotionally damaged herself but it is STILL wrong not to protect your child when TOLD what is happening. I am protecting my children from even the slightest risk by telling my Bro he can't see them when he comes out of prison (even though I don't feel he is a risk). I am doing this EVEN THOUGH I am scared of him and scared of confrontations and scenes and scared what my parents will think! I am better than her.

Unresolved, you are so right that when people are so messed up themselves they haven't got much left for other people. Lots of you seem to have parents like this as well (me too). It leaves their children feeling really unimportant, just an inconvenience really, more hard work for them which they could do without. It REALLY worries me that this is what I am like with my own DCs and DH. It is SO important that we do resolve our issues so that we can be good mothers. This is why we are all doing the right thing by being in this thread and all the other things we do to try to get better. Don't be ashamed. What happened to you was not your fault and not personal, like Emma said, they wouldn't have been capable with any child.

oneplusone Thu 14-Aug-08 21:30:04

AN, what an amazing post, you have a real understanding of the issues raised by abusive childhoods.

I am also a Jekyll and Hyde with my DC's. In fact it happened this evening. But, despite it happening, i know i have made progess as I know exactly what caused it. I was playing musical statues downstairs with the DC's. DH was upstairs doing some decorating. Me and the kid went upstairs as it was bedtime, i took one look at DH and all of sudden went berserk at the kids because they wouldn't put on their pj's which happens every night.

All day today i have had thoughts in my head that i hate DH shock. Because he has, as I've said before, treated me extremely badly in the past and i can feel my blood boiling thinking about the nasty and hurtful things he has said to me. Whenever i mention any of this to him he unsurprisingly gets angry himself and has the 'stately homes' attitude,ie he has done lots of good things including sticking by me through some very difficult times which can't be denied. BUT the good stuff does not mean the bad stuff suddenly becomes acceptable which is what he doesn't seem to understand. The good stuff doesn't mean he was 'entitled' to treat me badly.

Anyway, i realise what i need to do is to acknowledge, express and release the anger i have inside against DH. I have realised that buried feelings never go away, they fester and attack your insides like you say. Not quite sure how to do this at the moment, but i am so pleased to myself that i am able to understand my own behaviour. I realise now just how much i didn't really know myself before. I have got to know myself so much better during this journey, it's like i am discovering who i really am for the first time.

I had to apologise to DD as i really upset her by shouting and she hadn't even been naughty. But i think my body had an instintive reaction when I saw DH, because of the anger i have inside at him which has been unexpressed and as soon as the DC's slighly misbehaved that triggered the anger and i had a go at them.

My behaviour was awful, but it is still a breakthrough for me as i understand exactly what was happening in my subconscious and until now i have been completely and utterly unaware and blind to what drives some of my behaviour and moods. I need to take much more notice of the 'fleeting' thoughts that pass through my mind. I wonder if they are from my subconscious coming into my consciousness, i have always just kind of ignored them before, they are always so fleeting that they are gone before i really have a chance to 'grasp' them and examine them properly.

I have tried to explain what happened today as i know some of you also struggle with your parenting of your DC's and wish you could shout at them less etc. Do you think what happened with me could be happening to you? The thoughts need not necessarily be about your DH, any thoughts where you feel anger about anyone...most likely our parents probably.

ActingNormal Thu 14-Aug-08 23:12:14

OnePlusOne, is what your DH did bad enough in itself for you to leave him or is it the fact that you haven't been able to express it enough and have acknowledgement from him that is the worst thing? Did what HE did trigger memories of feelings of worse things from your childhood? If you split up you could make your life difficult - less financial/emotional support. Less help with the children etc. Don't make a quick decision and regret it. I sometimes think about splitting up, probably once a month, probably coinciding with certain hormone levels or if I'm feeling really extreme because of other reasons, and then feel much better about things a couple of days later. I'm not saying you are the same, just that it should be a really carefully thought out decision in case you end up making things worse for yourself. Would it help to post about what he did?

My triggers are:

- DD bossing DS around or shouting at him or being rough with him/near him - I'm scared she will treat him like my bro treated me so I get anxious, scared, angry and feel like I must get her completely away from him at all costs. I don't even want her to talk to him sometimes.

- DD following me around and constantly demanding and not letting me get on with anything - reminds me of my bro finding me wherever I was and forcing me to do things with him. If I was trying to do my own thing he would stop me by fighting me or putting his hands in my face, fingers up my nose, fingers in my mouth or grabbing my arms and shaking them. I had no personal space and I feel like DD sometimes gives me no space. I feel anxious, I feel a desperate need to escape and run away. He used to make me do things for him all the time whether I wanted to or not eg I had to stroke/tickle his back for ages and ages at a time and he wouldn't let me stop and tried to persuade me to touch him lower and lower down which felt wrong.

- DD wanting constant attention and talking on and on and expecting an answer - I feel angry that I never got much attention and didn't feel listened to yet however much attention I give DD she always wants more and doesn't seem grateful. I feel like I have to give her the attention because I know how it felt to not get any but the amount she wants exhausts me.

- DCs crying about every little thing - I was never allowed to cry and my brother drummed it into me that I was weak and should be disgusted with myself if I ever cried even when he fought me for hours and hit me over and over in the same place until I did cry.

- DCs running around shrieking and being really expressive - it makes me really anxious. I feel I need to control them or something awful will happen. When they are in a frenzy I don't feel in control. I never expressed myself like this, I never expressed myself at all. It feels alien to me and scary what they are doing.

- DCs being upstairs when I am downstairs eg when their friends come to play and the mothers want them all to play upstairs together but then there are crashing sounds, crying etc - I feel anxious because I can't see what is happening. I feel something awful could be happening to them and I don't know about it. I feel I need to know and be in full control. My GF mostly molested me upstairs while my parents were downstairs. My bro often fought me upstairs and if we were too noisy my dad just shouted upstairs to keep the noise down but didn't intervene like I wished he would. The back stroking thing happened upstairs and felt secretive. My bro once put his finger up my bum while I was sat on the top stair. He used to get all his knives out and show me which scared me at the time. He showed me his porn and I took an unhealthy amount of interest in sex at too young an age.

- DD running into our room early in the morning and jumping up and down on our bed and talking a lot - as well as the fact that I'm not a morning person, it feels like I can't escape from her, even when I am trying to sleep. My bro wouldn't let me sleep. He came into my room when I had gone to bed and went on and on at me about why I was crap when I just wanted to go to sleep.

- DH trying to control me in any way

- FIL being physical playing with the children - I must watch him like a hawk, I can't trust any man over a certain age with my children

- DH being dismissive when I speak - reminds me of parents

- Anyone ignoring me when I speak to them

- Anyone making me feel a bit stupid - Bro used to humiliate me by doing what he called 'torture methods' in front of the boys in the street while they laughed. He made me fight his friends while they watched and laughed. He held me down and dribbled in my face and farted in my face. He said things to make me feel stupid about whatever I said and I was scared to speak. I still feel that in a group people will have contempt when I speak and nobody will ever take me seriously. I hate the sound of my voice and think I look and sound stupid.

- Men over a certain age coming anywhere near me

- People calling me weak/inferring I am weak

I type too much. I'm sorry

Pages Thu 14-Aug-08 23:14:56

Well hi everyone. I have not read much of the last thread and none of this but have kept trying to get some time. Things have been so hectic. Am back in need of some virtual hugs.

I haven't been in touch with my mum for months and she stopped sending cards and stuff, even missed DS2's bithday. Haven't heard from sibilngs for 2 years.

I now have a letter from her several months down the line. She still refuses to acknowledge what happened to me, she bangs on about how SHE felt, and how she has got over that and now sees herself as some kind of village elder (her words)and says she has joined the Quakers (does anyone know anything about them?)

She says my way (honesty) is cruel and that LOVE is the answer (she quotes the Beatles).

I have written back saying that she is not a village elder or a native American for that matter, and that the difference between me and her is that my children's feelings mean more to me than life, whereas her children's feelings will always mean less than her own. Haven't sent it yet.

Any thoughts?

PS Ally so pleased about baby, only really caught that in passing, sorry to be so crap. But I need you all!!!!!

smithfield Fri 15-Aug-08 09:34:10

Pages- Just wanted to come on and say hello and here's your virtual ((((hug)))).

How do you feel about the letter? What emotions has it brought up for you this time? Anger? Frustration.Try and write it all out.

I do like your response to her. It sums it up in a nutshell really.

Once again though your left with a manipulation, 'village elder'= Im getting old you know= victim.
She is not to old to be wiley enough to evade resonsibility for her own part in all this, YET AGAIN.

Its very frustrating, I know, but I think you know in your heart Pages this woman will never change her stance....no matter what you write back to her.

So I guess what Im saying is you have to dig deep and ask yourself if in all honesty by sending a response you still harbour some hope of making 'her' realise where this is going wrong. That in recieving your resonse she might (just might) have her lightbulb moment?

ActingNormal Fri 15-Aug-08 09:46:31

Yes, Smithfield, I think that would help a lot of people - if they can accept that their families are not going to change and never going to be the way we would have liked them to be. Then you can stop trying (and getting disappointed) and stop caring what they think and concentrate on the other parts of your life. That is really liberating.

It is just hard to do if you so desperately want them still and don't want to face that loss - loss from not having parents who acted like normal parents. It is hard to think of it as loss sometimes because they are still there and still trying to be in your life, but it is a loss that needs to be acknowledged by yourself and grieved before you can feel better. (that's what I think anyway)

smithfield Fri 15-Aug-08 10:08:10

AN- I have come to the conclusion that what this journey is (for me anyway)...coming to terms with the fact my parents are what they are, they will never change, and if I were different they would still respond to me essentially the same way. They dont love me. They never have. I can never get what I need from them.

Very easy to write. Looks straightforward in black and white, but emotionally its hard work. You can have conciously made the 'decision' to detach but the subconcious keeps tripping us up!

And yes you are right, it is a loss. A huge tragic loss that has to be felt emotionally to move on. But I think our subconcious need to not let go prevents us from processing that. It cleverly finds ways of stopping us from letting go, and we arent even aware.

sandcastles Fri 15-Aug-08 10:16:02

Pages, you know my feelings about letters...I wouldn't give her the pleasure of letting her know that she gets to you.

I wouldn't put the ball back in her court. Not replying, IMO gives you the power.

I am sorry to hear you are still having problems, haven't seen your name for a while & hoped that all was better.

I stopped posting on these threads as it seemed to bring it all back. I can't believe I have been estranged from my mother for 16 years. It seems like forever & I sometimes wondered if I ever had a mother at all.

I have just had dd#2 & I have decided that I need to stop there! I love children, but have come to the realisation that I cannot have anymore. I was #3 & not wanted & I am scared that if I have #3, he/she will suffer that same fate, stupid I know...but it has taken me years to realise that this is why I need to stop at 2!

I know that my sister has told mother about dd2, and I have heard nothing,...one more person my mother doesn't give a damn about!

DuffyMoon Fri 15-Aug-08 10:17:42

Hi, just wanted to join the new thread.....

Last posted on thread 3, I was due to pay a visit to my Mother in France for a few days and was dreading it.....ironically BMI bumped us of the plane so we flew the next day.....perhaps the Gods were on my side. Visit went ok mainly due to the fact we had a function to go to whilst we were there so only spent a day together!

I still find it very hard to cope with the turmoil of emotions of being desperate to see her, yet treading on damn eggshells all the time.....ho hum

Just want to thank everyone for posting their stories - I find it so helpful to read other peoples experiences - even if it just to know I am not alone

sandcastles Fri 15-Aug-08 10:21:01

AnAngelWithin, I am really really sorry for your situation! NO ONE shoudl have to tolerate that & you know this.

I am sorry if I come across as blunt, I don't mean to upset you...but you do realise that staying in touch with your mum 'for the sake of nan' is like staying with an abusive partner 'for the sake of the children' don't you?

And what happens when your nan passes? You won't break contact because your mum will be too upset, then there will be someting else, then something else!

It is never going to be easy, there is never going to be a good time, but honestly..how long are you going to let her beat you for? It is domestic violence, just because it is your mum, doesn't make it any less wrong.

smithfield Fri 15-Aug-08 10:50:58

Sandcastles- Congratulations on ddno2!smile

Justthe3ofus Fri 15-Aug-08 11:11:06

Hi Everyone, I just want to say how pleased I am to have found this thread, it really has given me support and a chance to examine my own relationshp with my DS and see what reactions I have that are tied to what happened in my adolescence.

If I look at it closely I realise that I get angry at really little things sometimes, I guess partly to do with sleep deprivation, but also I stupidly think that my sweet little man is taking advantage of me and my placid nature, something my mother used to do, but that is not the case, he is only a baby fgs. I also get a panicky feeling when he cries, again as I used to do when my mother cried because that meant she was unstable/suicidal, and I am just learning now to put aside that feeling and do the right thing. It's so hard though, I think when you have a really crappy childhood that part of your brain/soul/emotional system remains at that age and it is really easy to switch back to that. I don't know if I am explaining myself properly but I know that for me, when things go wrong in my life, my teenage self takes over and I become unbelievably angry, I retreat into a fantasy world and I binge eat on rubbish food. I have to tell myself to act as the 30 year old I am now and sometimes that doesn't happen for a while.

I also know that my mother will never change, absolutely never. And that I am so much happier in another country, and my relationship with my DH is a lot better here as well.

And just on a lighter note, I hope everyone here has a good weekend!

Pages Fri 15-Aug-08 13:02:25

Thanks for the messages guys, and sorry to have ignored other people's problems but yet again I am short of time.

Her letter made me furious actually. She just sees herself as so superior, but I guess that's what narcissists do.

I think I really did accept for a long time that she was never going to change and felt I had detached from the situation well. It was not what I thought about daily, but I just didn't know what sort of relationship I wanted to have with her, i.e none or superficial. For ages I just did nothing but somehow it didn't feel right. So I had another go at trying to talk to her. I wish now that I hadn't bothered. Her letter was a reponse to mine, I should have said.

I am not going to send my original reply but have drafted a shorter and less angry one. You may be right Sandcastles about not replying and if I was just going to walk away and never speak to her again I would not bother, but I just don't know if that's what I want.

Anyone else feel stuck like this?

Pages Fri 15-Aug-08 13:37:33

Actually Sandcastles, I thought my mother had failed to respond to my letter and was blanking me until yesterday, and strangely that felt quite good. It was like the decision had been taken away from me and I just thought to myself if preserving her image of herself as perfect means more to her than having a relationship with her daughter than stuff her.... but then I got her letter!!

She might feel that way if I don't respond, I certainly feel if I don't respond it helps reinforce her victim position iyswim.

smithfield Fri 15-Aug-08 13:49:46

So basically you feel you want some sort of relationship with her?

The question you have to ask yourself is can you have 'any' kind of relationship (whatever shape or form that may take) which isnt at 'your' expense in some way.
The relationship you would have with her would never be based on honesty and so you would have to go back to hiding your feelings (the true pages) from her.

The letter scenario is a prime example of this. You reach out to her, she uses that to assert herself once more. You feel the need to write to her and be emotionally honest, then decide to re-draft in order to 'hide' what you are 'really' feeling.

If you think you could/can handle this without paying for it emotionally then there perhaps could be a way.

Some questions you may then need to answer are; what would that relationship look like? what benefit/bearing would it have/be to you?What boundaries would there need to be?

IMO it 'cant' work, a narcissist MUST have the upper hand someway 'ALWAYs', they SEEK to manipulate and you would need to be incredibly strong not to have this grind you down eventually. I know this because I am the daughter of one myself.

She would always spin you back into her web.

The choice ultimately of course is yours pages and you would be supported here whatever you choose. Just trying to help you with the navigation and hope it goes someway to helping you.

oneplusone Fri 15-Aug-08 14:37:05

hi justthe3, i understand what you're saying about the abuse meaning you get 'stuck' at a certain age and revert to that whenever something triggers you in your everyday life. DH has often said to me when we have an argument that i behave like a child and i know he's right, i think i revert to my teenage years which is when the arguments with my dad started and took place almost daily. I go back to behaving exactly how i used to during my teenage years and i have sometimes almost managed to 'goad' (is that a real word?!) DH into behaving and reacting to me like my dad used to. It's like i have some inner drive to recreate the arguments from my past, why i don't know as they were awful. Sometimes i used to storm out of the house, crying and desperately unhappy and just wander the streets, crying and alone. I used to, i realise now, secretly hope and pray that my mum would come after me and comfort me and hug me.....but she never did. I was just left alone in my unhappiness by both my parents.

AN, thank you for your ever so wise words of advice. The things DH did are not enough to make me want to leave him. We were going through some very difficult times and I was, at the time, without realising it, totally and completely messed up. I was suffering from undiagnosed PND, general depression because of some terrible health problems I suffered after having DD. I had extremely low or non existent self esteem, loads and loads of suppressed anger which should have been directed at my parents but which i ended up directing at DH when the slightest thing triggered me off. So, this is why i feel i did provoke DH into some if not all of his bad behaviour towards me. He is usually a very reasonable, understanding, kind, generous and patient man...I, on the other hand, before i realised i had serious emotional and mental issues, was a mental case but i had no idea. Like you, i was so used to acting normal that i had even fooled myself that i was 'normal'. I had no idea whatsoever that i had serious issues that i needed to sort out. I was never a person who turned to drug, alcohol etc. I did well at school and university, went on to have a good career for 10 years (although i did have problems at work which i now think were due to my abusive background and low confidence etc) and so to anyone looking at me from the outside i looked like i was really 'together'. All the time though, i was numb inside, i felt nothing, but again i had no idea that my 'feelings' were 'missing' as i had always been that way for as long as i could remember.

I realise now that instead of turning to drugs etc, i turned all my feelings inwards and buried them very very deep, hence why i have suffered from quite severe exzema for many years. Until now i had literally been supressing and not allowing myself to feel every single painful emotion as soon as it arose, but without realising or being conscious of the fact that i was doing this. It was only when i happened to come across a book on eczema that talked about how it may be caused by buried emotions and at the same time i came across the book Toxic Parents that i began to put two and two together (i should really be called twoplustwo not oneplusone!) and began realising that i had a mountain of buried emotions inside me and it was this that was causing my eczema. I read Alice Miller's 'The Body Never Lies' and it confirmed everything i was beginning to realise about myself. That all happened in January 2007 at which point i had not seen my parents for about 6 months, having cut them off on 4 July 2006. Prior to cutting off my parents myself, DH and DD had spent around a year in OZ, doing as smithfield suggests what so many people with toxic parents do, running away from my parents. That year in OZ where there was minimal contact with my parents, we only exchanged occasional emails although at that point i had not cut them off as such, i realise in hindsight gave me the space and distance that i needed to consider my relationship with my parents. I realised that in my heart i didn't love them and ideally would like to cut them off but at that time i felt obliged to maintain a relationship with them. I was also scared of falling out with my sisters if i did cut off my parents as i knew they would not understand. Anyway we came back from OZ as i was pregnant with DS. After I had him, to this day i don't know happened to me, it was as if something snapped and i just 'knew' inside my head and my heart and my stomach that i just could not continue a relationship with my parents and 2 months after DS was born i told them i never wanted to see them again. It is now nearly 2 years and 2 months since i last saw them and i have never waivered in my decision to cut them off and i know i never will. It's like someone else on here said, sorry i can't rememnber who, sometimes when a bond is broken it cannot be mended again and that is how i feel. They have hurt me so much, there is nothing they could now say or do to repair the damage they have caused. I don't think i ever had a bond with my mother, but i did have one with my father until he destroyed it when i was around 10 or 11. Perhaps if he had made an effort to re-establish our relationship when i was a lot younger it would have been possible to 'mend' the broken bond. But somehow i doubt it. I think he completely destroyed my trust in him and once the trust is gone i think it is very hard if not impossible to get it back and without trust there is no relationship other than a purely superficial one which is the sort of relationship we have had since i was 10. ie for 28 years. As for my mum, i think my trust in her was also destroyed at the same time. During the most traumatic abusive incident with my dad, which was and still is so traumatic that i still can't post about it on here, she just stood there, watched and did nothing. I think from that moment i knew i was all alone in the world and that is when i must have started emotionally detaching from my parents.

Anyway to get back to my current problem of what to do with my feelings of anger and caused by DH. I feel like i just need to vent these feelings somehow just to get them out of my system. Talking to DH is no good so that's not really an option. I think i might try writing him a letter which i won't give him in which i can voice all my thoughts and feelings and then perhaps go and punch a few pillows or something!

I am so sorry about the long, rambling nature of this post, there is absolutely no need to read or comment on any of it, i just feel so much better for getting all these thoughts out of my head.

toomanystuffedbears Fri 15-Aug-08 14:43:50

Sandcastles,

I had not thought of the "third" issue before yesterday, when a RL friend mentioned it. I am a third and so is RL friend. (We both have NPD middle sisters hmm.) It did affect me greatly because my mom was bi-polar (back then they called it manic depressive) and she was also an alcoholic. I have major attachment issues with women-with men, I am ok because my dad spent 'good enough' wink quality time with me. Am in counseling and am reading "Parenting from the inside out" which addresses these circumstances; am also just starting to study Adult Children of Alcoholics. For years, I didn't know I was so messed up, but I now realize that I am.

Sorry for the tangent-back to children:

I don't think I need to worry because I have a 13 year gap between child #2 & #3 so the "third" will essentially be an only child, especially when the first two go off to college. The older children love the baby and can't get over 'how cute she is'-with continual paparazzi; they give her a lot of loving attention.

I don't know your age, but you can wait awhile then have another. I hope this helps you not feel sad about putting a limit on the love you have to give children sad.

Hi Pages!! smile I think about you from time to time and imagined you skipping through fields of wildflowers -thought you found resolution and were recovered and moved on. Sorry to hear your mom is still ...well...a crap mother. (((((hugs)))))

oneplusone Fri 15-Aug-08 14:48:57

hi pages, i think you have been given some very good advice here. I think you should consider carefully what a relationship with your mother would cost you. And how would it benefit you, if at all?

If you want a relationship with her i think it will have to be on 'her' terms as she clearly will not accept your terms. Are you willing to enter such a relationship? Is she really worth it?

Just some things for you to think about.

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