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Can I ask those of you from the Stately Homes thread...?

(11 Posts)
electra Sat 04-Oct-08 09:51:57

Where was your first starting point of getting over your issues?

Is the only way of healing yourself to cut your parents out of your life?

I'm really struggling, and also desperate for my children not to be affected by the legacy.

Ally90 Sat 04-Oct-08 12:50:02

Hi Electra

I think for me the starting point was being with my future dh and realising that finding the right person had not 'healed' me as I assumed it would (subconciously) that set me on the path to find a therapist and instead of ranting about my mother and sisters current behaviour I started looking at my past and acknowledging that I was not self pitying as a child/teen/adult, that I really had been badly affected by my parents and sister and my current issues all led back to my childhood. I found if I could work what the triggers were, the outbursts of anger vanished. So in one word, acknowledgement (to yourself).

I cut my parents out as they would not acknowledge any harm done to me due to their parenting (lack of). The constant denial damaged me, it hurt me and made me doubt my childhood experiences which stopped me using them to move on. So for me I had to cut them out to heal. Sometimes a temporary separation is the way to go (especially if you are nervous a full cut off). The separation can be as long as you need it to be, weeks, months, years. Whatever it takes for you to be a strong enough person to be around them and not be pulled down by their old behaviour into old patterns.

As for your children...parenting is not easy when the only way you know to parent is how not to do it. Try to find someone in your life, current or present, on tv/movies whatever some mother figure to be your role model. Think back to how you would have wanted to be treated as a child. Try not to go too far the other way to your parents ie if they were strict, become too leinient so they have no boundries. For me it is a constant walking on a wire...I review constantly what I do and say around my dd, I change my behaviour when it seems to be bothering her...and I still fear I am failing...but I keep trying and see each day as a new start.

dollius Sat 04-Oct-08 13:28:16

Hi Electra. My relationship with my parents is still fraught but I have stopped short of cutting them out - although come near it at times. My mother will never acknowlege the harm she did me as a child and she still behaves very badly.

My starting point for healing was being ready for counselling aged 30 (five years ago now) and that helped me tremendously over a two-year period.

I have healed further since my marriage and being able to see my parents and family through my husband's eyes. He has helped me to see that I am not mad or imagining any of it - he sees it all as clearly as I do and has been horrified on my behalf. He has also personally taken up the cudgels for me and made it clear to my parents (in a non-aggressive way, although he has had one big argument with my father) that we have our own little family now and they are to back off and behave or they will be cut off. It has helped my self esteem a lot to know that I am worth something to someone else - I now feel worth something to myself as well.

I have also finally been able to accept that my mother does not love me and I can never make her love me. I have realised that this is because of her problems and not because I am unloveable. Now we have a skeleton relationship where we are civil to each other but we both know we will never be close (we never have been anyway but it took me ages to get over that).

My father still won't accept that my mother basically loathes me because that would mean accepting that he did nothing to protect me from her as a child. I don't think we will ever reach that stage.

Funnily enough, they adore my children and my kids adore them. That is the one thing that has saved them for me, I think. It's strange to see my mother really love my sons when she struggles to love me.

TheArmadillo Sat 04-Oct-08 19:29:37

I am starting off on all of this.

My first step was changing dr's surgeries to one I was happy with and was close to my house. Sounds small, but first thing I did without even consulting my mother.

At the moment I am waiting for counselling, trying to sort stuff out so we can move (away from the house I jointly own with her) and cutting down the time I spend with my family.

The biggest thing is getting my head round it all. A year ago I would have said that my family was perfect adn I was the fuck up.

I have also been reading 'controlling parents' and 'toxic parents' and talking to people for the first time and letting them say what they have been biting their tongue over for years.

Maybe some day in the future I will start to think about cutting my family out of our lives, but I'm nowhere near ready for that yet.

For me with ds alot of it is about a)letting him have the freedom to be his own person and make his own choices (there is a limit obv he is 3yo) and b) explaining my emotions to him and letting him see me as a human being who has flaws. I can't claim to be a good parent, but I am trying.

It's small baby steps at first.

TheArmadillo Sat 04-Oct-08 19:33:08

a big thing for me that really helped on here when people gave me advice was don't try to do everything at once - don't set yourself up to fail. Do it step by step.

Yes maybe a big step would be to cut your parents out - maybe it would be something that would really help, but not necessarily straight away.

ActingNormal Sun 05-Oct-08 12:01:22

For me I think it was accepting that what ever I did my parents still weren't going to make me feel the way I wanted them to. I had kept hoping for their approval and wanting to impress them and wanting them to show some feeling but after every visit and phone call I felt disappointed and angry and sad. I accepted that they were not going to change and probably were not capable of being what I wanted them to be and allowed myself to give up trying to change them. I decided not to need them anymore and to look for my needs from other people. I felt so liberated and relieved! That was just the starting point but it really helped me.

bruces Sun 05-Oct-08 14:49:38

Every time I read these threads it makes me so sad,but at the same time inspires me,and helps remind me that the choice of cutting my parents out of my life was the best decision i made,even when my mum was dying she never acknowledged the damage she did to me and the abuse that through her neglect was done to me,but with the help of couciling,i learnt that i would never have the mum i wanted because she was incapable of giving this type of love and support,it is hard because you feel if your own mother can't/won't love you then who will?
At the age of 40 i can now say i'm truly happy,i have a wonderful dh and 3 fab children.i know i'm stronger as i didn't attend my dads funeral a few years back,and i didn't loose a nights sleep,sad i know but you can't suddenly love someone because they died,its hard as you'll never be able to fix things,but sometimes it just has to be that way.

ActingNormal Sun 05-Oct-08 15:20:27

bruces, re "it is hard because you feel if your own mother can't/won't love you then who will?" - the thing is, it wasn't because of YOU, I don't think it was personal, more that she was incapable of forming a loving bond with a child because of HER deficiencies. She would be just as rubbish with another child. It isn't you that is unloveable, it is her that can't love, can't love anybody, not truly. Other people who can love, can love you.

electra Tue 07-Oct-08 09:53:05

Hi, everyone - thanks for your replies. Can I ask how you find a good councilor for this kind of thing?

At this stage it would be hard for me to cut them off completely but I need to figure out a way forward. The problem is that I don't see how I can heal the relationship when they are so unreceptive to any of my issues and they actually become nasty and aggressive if I try to talk about it. So maybe cutting them off and some point when I can will be the only way.

Miggsie Tue 07-Oct-08 10:01:16

I had to accept that my grandmother was a really nasty person who liked spreading unhappiness and discord. I also had to recognise that my dad, though lovely in many ways was never ever going to stand up to her (his mum) not even to defend his wife and kids.
I have since managed to ask my day (20 years down the line) why he never stood up to her and he said "it wasn't worth the aggro".
He is an appeaser, a nice man, but not strong in this regard.

I was referred to a counsellor via my works employee mental helath welfare scheme thing. I didn't like them, then a friend who was a therapist in a healing centre referred me to someone he knew who I got on with better and I could talk through the issues.

I still find my families inability to acknowledge anything negative or admit any fault absolutely infuriating at times, but that is how they are. They will not change. I changed how they affected me and feel so much better.

I know my local GP surgery keeps a list of counsellors as well.

LittleBella Tue 07-Oct-08 10:12:01

I think for me it was actually acknowledging to myself and others that I had been deeply damaged by my parents. The catalyst was having children and discovering Mumsnet and becoming gradually more aware that I didn't have a "template" of how to be a loving, caring, normal mother, reading Toxic Parents and and realising why, reading that thread and other books about breaking childhood patterning and seeing a counsellor. It has been a very gradual process really since my first child was born (9 years ago!) and the main "work" of acknowledging and freeing myself has taken about a year, but just one session of counselling (which for me has come (I hope)near the end of the process, rather than near the beginning, caused a sea-change in me. It sounds corny, but being able to just let it all spill out to someone in RL who wasn't judging or pitying or feeling uncomfortable or compromised by it, seems to have set me free. I don't feel the need to cut off my mother anymore (my father is dead) because she no longer has any emotional effect on me. I'm just careful to ensure she doesn't have too much effect on my DC's.

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