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Our 6th visit to the Stately Home.....

(989 Posts)
oneplusone Tue 19-May-09 11:52:41

Hi all, took the liberty of starting a new thread. Keep on posting!

roseability Tue 19-May-09 14:00:25

Was just going to start one, thanks!

OPO - your post was very sensible and helped me to see things as they really are. Indeed my friend and her father were just doing the polite thing. It was her wedding day, she wouldn't have been thinking about my issues or hurting me! My grandmother was in the wrong, no one else. I wouldn't have mentioned it to my friend. I suppose I am sorry I missed her day as well. That my toxic parents got to see it and I didn't. That part of the reason I didn't go, is because I didn't want to see them and get stressed so late on in the pregnancy. I feel like they still have such a grip on my life.

Your example about your MIL is exactly the same kind of thing. I suppose we want people on our side, to see what we see. I do believe this is partly why abuse (especially emotional and mental abuse) goes unnoticed in our society. People don't want to rock the boat or to cause a fuss. I have one friend who will openly say what horrible people my parents are. In fact she once turned round and said quite bluntly 'did you have a happy childhood?'. It was the first time anyone had asked me and it really triggered me. It was shortly after that I ended up in counselling.

Everyone else will listen and sympathise yes. But they will still be openly nice to my parents' faces. However would I be strong enough to openly express disgust at someone elses parents? I don't know tbh

smithfield Tue 19-May-09 14:59:56

Rose- it sounds like your grandmother was 'trying' to push your buttons. My mother does this. Its feasible she has over accentuated what actually happened.
So I agree with OPO. She's as cunning as a fox your gran. Sounds just like the kind of thing my mother would do as well. She knows full well what she is doing IMHO.
It's really hard I know but dont let her stress you or disrupt your friendships.

ActingNormal Tue 19-May-09 16:04:27

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ActingNormal Tue 19-May-09 16:09:03

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smithfield Tue 19-May-09 16:35:55

Has anybody read the other thread today. someone posted something and it has made me feel a bit odd, a bit upset actually.
Im wondering if it affected anyone else the same way?
Im being oversensitive i guess.

AN- meant to say I found your posts really interesting. Your therapist sounds so switched on.
How do you feel about it today? Do you feel any different?

ActingNormal Tue 19-May-09 16:49:54

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ActingNormal Tue 19-May-09 17:00:58

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roseability Tue 19-May-09 17:13:10

Smithfield - The one where someone suggested threads such as these can make you focus too much on bad things you had forgotten or forgiven. That they can make your childhood issues bigger than they are. That upset me too but I choose to ignore it. It is one person's opinion.

IMHO it really belittled the original posters difficulties. I have found that on other threads about toxic parents there is always someone who takes the 'forgive and forget and move on' line. That is why I am so glad I found this thread. I feel my issues are taken seriously and I take other posters' issues seriously.

When I told my GM that I had received counselling she suggested something similar. That it makes people worse. Rubbish! I am getting my feelings out in the open and growing as a person. She repressed all her feelings all her life and refused counselling for the traumas she suffered. Look where it has got her

ActingNormal Tue 19-May-09 17:28:18

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oneplusone Tue 19-May-09 17:53:07

I haven't seen the other thread people have mentioned. But I do think, AN, that you may be right about MIL, ie they don't know the full details about my parents and how they treated me, and I do suspect they are of the 'honour thy parents no matter what they did to you' school of thought. Afaic, they are ignorant and ill-educated on this complex issue and their opinion therefore is worthless. I do think my PIL probably do think along the same lines as your PIL, AN. (Hopefully now I will not be seeing my PIL for many months so I am just going to put them out of my mind for now.)

Re forgiving, I am not against forgiving per se. But I do think the wrongdoer has to earn his/her forgiveness. He/she has to fully acknowledge what they have done, apologise sincerely and take steps to restore trust and repair the damaged relationship. Only then would I feel I could forgive for eg. my parents. I don't feel I should forgive them simply's been years since the worst abuse was being meted out to me, or because my parents are now quite old.....these to me are not valid reasons to forgive. An acknowledgment and apology must precede being forgiven.

smithfield Tue 19-May-09 17:56:47

gosh blush- yes the thread that rose is talking about- sorry was in between things asnd posted quickly.
Should have explained a bit more.
I cant imagine anyone upsetting me on here!

smithfield Tue 19-May-09 18:00:50

And I agree with what you say rose too. On the contrary I feel this is the 'only' place I have ever felt free to say what I truly think and get validation for those feelings.

roseability Tue 19-May-09 20:36:23

OPO - exactly right! If my parents could apologise for the hurt they have caused me and try to make amends, I do have forgiveness in my heart. But they still insist it is in my head and try to prove to me that they are good people, that everyone else thinks so (as seen by example I gave of my GM 'stalking' at my friends wedding).

RedCharityBonney Tue 19-May-09 20:37:33

I just wanted to ask how angry you all feel about hurtful things that have been said and done to you?

I was swimming today and thinking a lot as I did my lengths about horrible old shit and my mother's most recent twisty and dishonest email to me, and it occurred to me that I'm almost too keen on feeling angry - too reliant on my anger to give me a sense of purpose and energy.

I think I've gone beyond useful anger and into enjoying the powerful feeling it gives me, and I think that's bad.

Not sure where to go from here though. How do you be just angry enough without overdoing it?!

smithfield Tue 19-May-09 20:44:11

RCB- I think actually that's quite a positive way of handling anger. You are channelling it in a positive way.
at the same time you are aware of where the anger stems from.
Its more a problem when its turned back on yourselves or those that dont deserve it because you feel angry but not sure why.

skihorse Tue 19-May-09 20:56:07

I really like the fact that we can tell the truth here - that nobody says "I'm sure it wasn't really that bad" or "but they're famleeeeee" angry. Fuckers.

smithfield Wed 20-May-09 11:21:04

Skihorse- Couldnt have said it better myself grin

I feel different today. In fact, I have felt differently over the last few days. It's as though something inside me has shifted.
I seem to have lost any anger I had been feeling toward DH.
We're not at the end of the tunnel yet because I think there has been some serious damage to our relationship over the years as a result of my 'abuse' towards him.
Yes, I am ashamed to admit that 'is' exactly what it is. I have vented and projected my anger on to him. I have even manipulated him and emotionally blackmailed him.
I feel shocked and saddened that this is how I have behaved. I dont want to blame it on my upbringing because that would make me as bad as my mother. But I feel able to take responsibility for my actions and if I accept responsibility accordingly I can only learn and grow from this insight I have had into my own behaviour.
I read somewhere recently that anger is often only displayed by someone who either has a position of power for eg parent to child OR at least has an equal position.
I think perhaps my low self esteem and issues with myself made me behave as though I had to be the one in control and have all the power in the relationship in order to feel safe.
Of course that is the opposite to how my relationship was with my parents. In that relationship I was the one being manipulated, controlled and abused.
I dont think it is this realisation of my behaviour that has released my anger though. This is the bit that confuses me. I just notice all of sudden I dont feel angry toward him at all.
The other odd thing is I have always felt empathy for my parents. Especially my father. I have for many years understood or attempted to understand exactly why they are the way they are. I absorbed all the sorrow and grief of their own wretched upbrinings. The poverty, the lack of love, the lack of empathy for their own childhood selves.
I think this blocked my anger considerably and maybe this is why it was constantly dispalced onto DH. This morning I thought about my mother, yet I didnt feel sadness at all. I didnt feel sorry for her at all. I just felt angry. Not an over powering anger but an anger that just felt justified and resolute.
I think this is a good thing. I also feel the same way currently about my dad. I no longer feel the sorrow or sympathy when I think of him. Or the guilt and anxiety at causing any more pain to him by reducing contact.
I used to feel I wanted to protect him, look after him. I would tell myself somehow if I loved him enough to make up for all his childhood angst I could fix him. I cant. And whats more I dont want to.
I want to work, instead, on fixing myself and on fixing my marriage.
Im sure this is another layer peeling away. It feels good. I feel lighter and a feeling of relief.
What's more its affected other relationships. Not just between me and DH This morning MIL, for example, got in a huff but I felt completely detatched. I refused to let myself absorb her bad feelings, this is what I have felt for many years. That if someone was upset it must be my fault and so I absorb the bad feeling like a sponge.
This is a leftover belief from my old family that I am responsible for other peoples moods. I realise on a deeper level now that I cant control other peoples feelings. Their feelings and reactions are their responsibility not mine.
In turn my reactions and moods are my will take some time but I can harness my emotions. Not suppress them but be in command of them. Use them as a barometer but not allow them to overwhelm me the way they have done in the past.

Sakura Wed 20-May-09 12:11:37

I totally agree with what the others have said about what went on at that wedding. Just how sad and desperate is it to go hanging about outside a wedding you haven't been invited to hmm Very annoying for your friend, I should imagine. And it proves that you were right in not going for the reasons you didn't. You wouldn't have wanted to "bump into" your gran, randomly walking past...hmm

Sakura Wed 20-May-09 12:51:29

I haven't read the thread you are talking about, but I can guess. The way I see it is that if that person truly has reached a point of forgiving her parents AFTER doing all the work we are doing here, then she would be much more sensitive person, knowing that there is a thread here on mumsnet where women are bleeding their hearts out to try to overcome depression, anxiety and other issues linked to their childhood.
What I believe is more likely is that this person hasn't done ANY of the work on herself that needs to be done to reach a point where she can forgive her parents. I went through my entire childhood and early twenties "forgiving" my parents, being the better person and basically just patting myself on the back for being such a nice guy. But of course, we know that the moment you have a child, if you go down that superficial road of forgiving your parents you are basically letting them off the hook and you re-enact their behaviour with your own child. NOT forgiving your parents is the first step on the road to making damn sure that you won't behave as they did.

Sakura Wed 20-May-09 12:55:14

I am also where you are regarding your dad. I have always felt enormous empathy and sympathy towards him. But it has been shocking an revealing to accept that he doesn't feel this towards me. He has let me down badly a lot, and he would do so again, to save his own skin. He would always put himself and his needs above me. So although I still feel the empathy for him, I don't feel guilty that I have to protect myself from him. Only he can save himself. And I can use the energy I have wasted on him on saving myself!

oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 13:00:18

Smithfield, what a great post. You have said what I feel. Especially about feeling that if someone was upset that it must be my fault. I think I still do that now to an extent...old habits die hard I guess.

I think I have also been abusing my DH. I have been projecting my anger at my parents onto him and he has been inadvertently triggering me and I have got disproportionatly angry at him before realising i have been triggered. But I think he has been doing the same with me a bit as well. He has been bullying and threatening sometimes and using his position of relative power to control me and get what he wants from me. He has also exploited my need to be loved and also used that to try and control and manipulate me.

I have a feeling that to a certain extent this sort of thing goes on in a lot of relationships but without people realising how their subconscious and repressed feelings are driving their behaviour and reactions.

Smithfield, i also agree with what you said about you being responsible for your reactions and moods. I realise that I am triggered a lot of the time but only when it is too late and i have got overly angry in the present when it is actually my old repressed anger at past events that is being vented. I am also very sensetive again in the present day about certain things again relating to events from the past when i repressed my feelings.

Eg. I have posted on here about feeling upset that my middle sister told me about her pregnancy quite late on and weeks after she told our youngest sister. I spoke to youngest sister about this on the phone just now and all she did was defend middle sister. She also said some nasty things along the lines of me being overly sensetive and being wrong to want DH to speak to MIL about her bullying. It is obvious to me now that she is completely devoid of feeling any empathy for me. She thinks I am in the wrong, I am oversensetive and I should just accept being excluded from the little twosome her and middle sister have had going on for years. It is clear whenever I try and say something about being excluded I am told I am being overly sensetive and I shouldn't get upset over such things. There is no empathy or understanding for my feelings and I really feel I am reaching the point where i just want to cut my sisters out of my life.

They are not going to change, and every contact with them results in me being hurt and upset in some way with my sisters being supposedly unaware of the fact that I am being hurt and when i have pointed it out to them they become defensive and the fake niceness evaporates. We have a completely fake relationship and I don't know why I am nbothering.........I suppose it is for the sake of the DC's but I don't know if that reason enough anymore.

My youngest sister said she and middle sister are in touch on a daily basis and help each other out and i was thinking "What about me?". I told youngest sister she hardly bothers phoning me and keeping in touch which she denied. I have tried keeping them at arm's length but it just doesn't work for me. I think it has to be all or nothing. ie there is no contact at all or the relationship is one where they understand my feelings and care if I'm hurt. But the bottom line is that they don't care if I'm hurt which they have shown quite clearly wrt our parents. They don't seem to care at all about how much our parents have hurt me, they only seem to care about how much i am supposedly hurting our parents by cutting them out. Why am in continuing to put myself up for being hurt and disregarded over and over again by my sisters? If I am going to be excluded anyway I may as well exclude myself and cut them out of my life, it will be painful but hopefully it will be a one off feeling of pain rather than the constant ongoing cuts and digs that seem to go hand in hand with any sort of contact with either of them. I need to look after myself and I am not doing that by continuing to put myself in a position where they can hurt me, even if they are doing it unconsiously and without realising it.

One thing I have noticed with the toxic people in my life is how they push you and are nasty to you, but then when they can sense they may have gone too far and that you may perhaps just walk away meaning they cannot bully you anymore, they suddenly reel you back in by being nice to you, just enough so you get close enough and let your guard down enough so they can dig the knife in again. I have noticed it with DH a little, especially over the issue with his mother, I know my father did it, he alternated between being nice and nasty, although in his case he could have just been nasty and i wouldn't have gone anywhere as where can a 10 year old go if she has nowhere else but 'home' where she is 'welcome'?

Ultimately all these people are bullies. They are exploiting their power and your weakness to vent their repressed negative feelings onto. They are too scared and afraid to vent their anger onto the person who actually deserves it as that person is relatively more powerful than them and they are to a degree dependent on that person to meet many of their needs. So it is always a weaker person who will be the target for a bully who is a coward really as he/she is too scared to stand up to the person who they are actually afraid of and who has been hurting them.

I was bullied by my middle sister and whilst my youngest sister joined in a little she was not the initiater. I was 'marked' as the target by my dad who bullied me. My mother was supposed to protect me from these people but she did nothing as she was scared that she would then become the target instead of me. My little sister witnessed all of this so now, as adults, she is unable to 'process' my standing up for myself and refusing to just accept the treatment that has been dished out to me for as long as she can remember. From her pov, it is me who is being oversensetive and unreasonable, I should just continue to accept being treated shabbily as that is and always has been my 'role' and i should not try and step out of it. Even though our parents are no longer part of the equation I can see that as far as my sisters are concerned, I am still in the role of scapegoat/troublemaker/bolshy/confrontational one and that is where they want me to stay. However much I try and break out of that role in my relationship with them they will always try and keep me in my place.

I can see now I made the mistake of thinking that having cut our parents out of my life, there would be a change of dynamic between me and my sisters and I would not still be cast in my old role within the family, but in actual fact, even without my parents, my sisters are still making me play the role I always played. Only I am not willing to play that role anymore and my sisters are clearly unable to 'process' or accept my new role which is one I have chosen for myself rather tthan having it imposed on me.

The only way that they will be able to accept my new role is if they realise what roles they are playing and gain some insight and self awareness. But there is no incentive for them to do that as they are not really suffering in any way as far as i can tell within the existing arrangement/dynamic that exists between them and my parents. I don't believe they are truly happy and truly love our parents, but ultimately my sisters were never abused like I was by our dad and our mother did not abandon and neglect them like she did me. So I can see how they are able to continue in the way they are doing, still seeing our parents and maintaining the illusion of a family, because for them the illusion is not so far from reality that it causes huge internal tension like it did for me. For me the internal tension reach breaking point and that is when i snapped and cut off my parents, but i can see for my sisters that the internal tension whilst it does exist, is simply not bad enough for them to reach breaking point like me. They can live with it; I could not.

So no matter what i do now, there will always be a divide between me and my sisters that nothing can ever close. It is only if we had had far more similarity in our childhood experiences of our parents that we could possibly hope to be close today in the way i would like us to be. But i can see now that that is completely impossible as we cannot change our pasts. And the only thing for me to do is to accept this sad fact.

I feel silly because i feel like i keep going over this again and again every few months and every time i come to the same conclusion and every time i feel i have finally come to accept that there will never be a close relationship with my sisters, but very time it seems i have been deluding myself because i have not really and truly been able to accept that we were treated so differently and that even now as adults, many years later, our relationships are still exactly as they were when i was a child. My sisters in their cosy, close little twosome and me on the outside, looking in, feeling hurt and lonely at being excluded. The slight difference between now and then is that as a child I never said anything about how i felt, but now I am speaking out but my words seem to be falling on deaf ears. My sisters do not want to hear me, they are happy in their little twosome and they do not want to include me. I suppose again wrongly i always thought that once they realised how hurt and left out they were making me feel they would want to include me and not make me feel left out and secondary to them, but it seems they don't care. They don't care if i feel left out and hurt, they are happy the way they are and i should just accept it. They do not feel bad that however inadvertently they have hurt me by excluding me and making me feel left out and different to them, that is how they want it to be so of course they will strongly resist any attempts on my part to break into their little twosome with all their might.

Now that i have worked this out it makes so much sense and i feel so silly for thinking my sisters would want to include me. Of course they don't. They never have and they never will. I should stop trying to always break into their little huddle as i am clearly hitting my head against a brick wall and it will be my head that breaks first rather than their protective wall which i think they have built around themselves as protection from our parents. It just reinforces my constant feeling from childhood of being alone within our family and of having no secure attachment to any member of the family. I think my sisters formed an attachment to each other in the absense of an available parent to whom a secure attachment could be formed. And i can see the attachment is very strong and there is no way i will be allowed in as that would bmean breaking the existing attachment and creating a new one which included me and that is never going to happen as it would be far too scary for my sisters to break the existing attachment between them.

So once again, another loss for me to come to terms with, to cry over and grieve over. At least in the face of our parents' abuse and neglect my sisters could and did cling to each other for safety and reassurance, i was on my own and had only myself to rely on. What a sad place for a little girl to be in. I think about DD and try and imagine her in my shoes but i simply cannot, it's too painful to even contemplate for a few seconds, but for me as a child it was my reality, not just a terrible nightmare from from which i would awake.

Once again I am sorry to ramble on, no doubt incoherently about my own situation, but it really is only by getting it out in writing that i am able to work these things out for myself. There is no need to respond, just the act of writing is so helpful to me.

oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 13:04:08

skihorse, yes I absolutely agree. This thread i think is really the only place where i can say exactly how i really feel about my parents and sisters and even DH without getting shot down in flames which i know would happen on almost any other thread on MN.

Keep is always better out (and on here) than in! x

ActingNormal Wed 20-May-09 13:15:07

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oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 13:15:42

RCB, don't worry about feeling 'too' angry. I don't think there is such a thing. I think your body stores just the right amount of anger that is due in relation to the experiences you have been through. ie you cannot create feelings out of nowhere, if they are there, it is for a very good reason.

Like smithfield said, anger is only harmful if it is directed inwards or outwards but towards the wrong people. As long as you are consciously aware that it is your parents (i assume, sorry am not up to speed with your circumstances) that deserve your anger, it is not wrong. I felt a lot of anger over a long period of time, although not continiously, iykwim, towards all the various toxic hurtful people in my life, people who have hurt me both now and many many years ago.

Feeling your anger does give you a kind of energy and feeling of strength and power, i have felt that too. I think harnessing that strength and power to say the things that should have been said to the people that harmed and hurt you, but where before you were too scared to speak out, is not bad or wrong. Or using that energy to write on here or in a journal to release the feelings is also effective. If you feel you need a physical way of safely venting your anger there are examples in the books i have read of hitting a baseball bat against a sofa or pillow (I have done this myself), going for a run and really stamping your feet into the ground are two i can think of.

One counsellor i know has a room with a baseball bat where people can safely vent their anger and scream and shout which I think is brilliant as i have found it quite hard to find a place where i will not be seen and heard to do these things! Living in a a densely populated urban area is not conducive to safe venting of anger!

ActingNormal Wed 20-May-09 13:43:09

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sparklycheerymummy Wed 20-May-09 14:03:31

Hi did anyone read my post on number 5 thread the other day and i hope i havent upset anyone??!!

sparklycheerymummy Wed 20-May-09 14:05:28

Here it is ...............

Hi everyone, I am new on this thread and am ploughing through some of the stuff on the other threads. LAst year I had computerised CBT after realising that my toxic parents had created a woman who was not actually the person she wanted to be. The CBT was a fab starting point and reading the book 'Women who love too much' helped but what has helped me most is finding my brother after 33 years. We were never very close then he finally opened up and admitted that he was having therapy for an adiction that was rooted back to our parents and he needed to know how I felt. After many tears and discussions we realised that though our addictions were different we both had the same deep rooted issues..... our parents. I WAS a relationship addict..... in and out of bad relationships looking for what I had never got as a child, finding men I could 'fix' who were already 'damaged' (and usually abusive) so that then they would love me forever. I am still daily dealing with my parents but things have changed and I no longer seek their approval or really want much to do with them. HOwever its an ongoing battle as they will not admit any fault.... when I told my mum I was having CBT she simply said 'well at least you will have someone to listen to who might be able to sort you out'
Oh and I always get the 'But we put you through university to get a good degree and now you are throwing your teaching away to just be an assistant!' grrrrrrrr
I love my job and it means I can also be a good mum so stick that up you bum!!!

I am reading what everyone ele is posting so please dont think I am not bothered..... just wanted to say hi and that I am here!!!!

ActingNormal Wed 20-May-09 14:16:18

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Sakura Wed 20-May-09 14:25:17

AN, yes well thats my argument against smacking. My brother defended smacking. And I said: the only reason our parents are not in JAIL now is because they chose to hit little, tiny children. If they had hit the neighbour or someone on the street they would have been locked up, quite rightly. But because it was children they would hit, apparently that makes it ok. My brother totally got it then. The horrible irony about that example is that its the parents who are actually supposed to be protecting the little children from any harm.

sparklycheerymummy Wed 20-May-09 14:29:07

The hard thing was that he had actually thought i was a nightmare until he realised he had issues and suddenly he realised i was normal and just really screwed up by our parents. I am now in a great relationship but the challenge is not there and i feel like something is missing. I like the way you put it....'feeling validated'. It really was an amazing feeling to realise i was not depressed but that I had huge emotional issues with my parents. Had always put it down to it being MY fault but always wondered why anti depressants never worked. With my previous partner I tried so very hard to 'fix' him but couldnt. I tried for 5 years and suffered awful bullying and abuse but once i talked to my brother and the cloud lifted I saw it clearly and got out. My dp has just rung me to say he loves me and he is sorry he cant make my sickness go (I am 11 weeks pregnant). I am so lucky I have found him but need to make sure I dont screw it up by trying to find that 'high'. Feel really humbled to have found this thread xxxxx

oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 15:00:03

AN and Sakura, I do think that's a really good way of looking at things. Would you behave that way to another adult? If not, then don't treat your children like that. I know for sure that my dad would not dream of behaving the way he did with me with another adult, he would have got punched in the head if he had. So that really clarifies that he was simply picking on somebody far weaker than him to vent his anger on, it was nothing to do with me personally or anything i had done.

I really want to ask my sisters how they feel about our parents now that they know our parents abused and neglected me so badly that i have cut them out of my life. I would like to hear from them how they have accomodated this information in their minds and carry on their relationship as before with our parents. It is something I have always wondered about but never dared to ask. I don't feel scared to ask now though, i will do so at the next opportunity. I was even feeling scared today of asking my youngest sister a few things to do with middle sister's pregnancy. And i knew i was right to feel scared by youngest sister's reaction. She was very accusatory towards me, very defensive of middle sister, very quick to tell me i was in the wrong and being overly sensetive etc. I was scared as i knew, despite putting on a good act over the last few months, she has no respect or geniune feelings for me at all. She hates confrontation and being faced with the truth and does all she can to avoid this; including crying and pretending somebody is at the door, exactly what she did last time.

She said she felt she had to tread on eggshells around me again implying I am overly sensetive. I told her that i was not being overlysensetive, it was just that now, unlike before, i was willing to point out when my feelings had been hurt. Just because for most of my life i have accepted her and others riding roughshod over my feelings and never said a word in protest, not that i am protesting, to her i am being overlysensetive and she feels she has to walk on eggshells around me ie she now has to show some respect, care and consideration for my feelings, now she no longer has carte blanche to say and do exactly as she pleases, with me accepting being treated shabbily without saying a word, now she can't do any of that, she feels there is something wrong with me. It really is laughable but also quite scary as if I was not so far down this road, i would have accepted what she said to me and gone away feeling terrible and that the fault all lay with me and that i was indeed being overly sensetive and i should indeed put up and shut up like i had done for years.

I was earlier today tempted to cut off contact with my sisters as i felt they would simply keep on hurting me, but now i feel that is probably exactly what they want. If i left them alone, they could carry on in their cosy little way without me constantly popping up and confronting them with the truth which they were trying so desperately to avoid seeing, and making them feel uncomfortable. So i am going to stay in their lives, partly for the sake of the DC's, but because if i cut them out it would be me that would feel bad about it not them and so i am not going to do that to myself.

I really don't think i am under any illusions anymore, i can see that the old drama is still being played out between me and my sisters, even without my parents being a part of it, but i can see it now, where i couldn't before. I thought by cutting out our parents and have a relationship with my sisters independent of our parents would somehow change the dynamics of our relationship, but i can see clearly now that that was just wishful thinking on my part, the dynamics have not changed at all, we all still have the old roles that we used to have. And every time i try and step out of that role it causes my sisters to feel uncomfortable and they will say and do anything it takes to make sure i stay in my role and do not threaten the status quo of our little relationship triangle.

So i think i have 2 options now. I can go or i can stay but now with my eyes open, and without the expectations and illusions i have had all this time.

When all this is not consuming me and upsetting me, i find it fascinating! How we all are driven so much by our subconscious and repressed feelings, when we think we are our own person and completely autonomous.

oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 16:15:50

Hi all, am only posting to get things clear in my mind, no need to respond, or even read really.

My sisters were not only not abused by my dad like i was, i was definately his main and only target for venting his rage and anger onto, they were not neglected and deprived by my mother; she was emotionally available to them but not to me, she clearly cared and noticed if they were hurt/upset/anxious about something, but she was not like that with me, and as well as all that, my sisters were there for each other and provided each other with security and company but i was not included in this and was completely alone with no close relationship with either of my parents nor either of my sisters. My sisters have and always have had a close relationship and attachment with and to each other and with my mother and I have and never had either of those.

So there is such a huge difference between me and them, even though technically we are sisters and grew up with the same parents and in the same home, i may as well have grown up with different parents and in a different house and now be trying to have a close and sisterly relationship with two people who i really have nothing in common with. There is no shared childhood or childhood experiences or memories which bind us together, we share nothing, our experiences are so different, we may as well have grown up in completely seperate households. It's like me meeting 2 sisters now and trying to make them treat me like a sister, it's never going to happen and i would forever be disappointed. I am finally beginning to realise this now, the full extent of how we were divided as children and how we are still divided now. I have always felt this, that it was always me and them, never us, but i suppose, like all painful feelings and unwanted realities, i have pushed those feelings and knowledge away, not wanting it to be true and not wanting to face up to another huge loss. I am able right now to face and realise this loss purely intellectually, i don't yet feel it emotionally.

ActingNormal Wed 20-May-09 16:45:53

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ActingNormal Wed 20-May-09 17:00:09

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oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 17:59:56

AN, i think your sword bashing idea is good, especially if you are able to realise 'in the moment' that you are being triggered. I still only seem to realise afterwards, when i have already vented on the wrong person (usually DH these days, not DD).

And once again you are spot on about the continuing and ongoing nature of the childhood abuse continuing in the present within my relationship with my sisters. This is exactly what occurred to me this afternoon, that the reason it is so hard for me to detach and get over my childhood loss of feeling alone and excluded by my sisters is because it is still continuing in the present. So it is like an old wound being continually re-opened before it has had a chance to heal or even begin to heal and/or like fresh wounds being constantly inflicted before i have even had a chance to recover from the past wounds.

Thinking about it like this, the answer to me seems obvious as to what i need to do. I meed some space and a break from my sisters which i hope will give me the time and opportunity to heal from the past where i was hurt by them, and then maybe i can resume a relationship with them where i am much stronger and more able to withstand the current 'abuse' from them.

The hard part about this is how to go about negotiating a break without offending either of my sisters and inadvertently making it a permanent break. Youngest sister today told me i was just being overly sensetive but she clearly could not handle me being brutally truthful with her about a few things whilst we were talking on the phone, i should have said to her that she was being overly sensetive too seeing as she didn't seem to like what i was saying to her and she also didn't like what i said to her in my letter ages ago but again i was just telling the truth. I will have to remember to use that line with her next time we speak. It all boils down to the fact that i need to learn how to stand up for myself in the moment with these people. I am so used to just taking abuse from whoever is doling it out and not saying anything, i need to practise standing up for myself. The trouble is my brain just seems to freeze and i feel anxious and scared whilst i am actuall talking to the other person, it is always afterwards that i think of reasoned and valid responses to the other person's attacking comments to me.

I am sure my brain freeze was learned in childhood. Perhaps at that time it was just a defence mechanism and also perhaps a child's brain is just developed enough to deal with and respond to an attack from an adult which is why it was so important that my mother should have stepped in and stood up for me, because as a child i was incapable of standing up for myself, not just physically but verbally. I remember as a child i would, after a couple of years of being abused, always verbally argue back with my dad and try and fight my corner, but perhaps when the abuse first started, because i was so young, i must have just frozen on the spot, my brain included, not just physically, and that is how my brain has become programmed to behave whenever i am being verbally attacked. Of the 3 responses to an attack, fight, flight or freeze, freeze must have been the one and only option available to me as a 10 year old child and that seems to still be the response i am using today.

And even when i was older and was able to argue back to my dad, i doubt if i was able to say anything that would have stopped him in his tracks because i had no understanding of the situation or what was driving my dad to attack me, i think i just shouted and screamed and cried at him and told him I hated him and i'm sure to him it was all just water off a duck's back. If i had been able to have some insight into his behaviour like i do now, i would have responded so differently, in such a way that he would know that he would get nowhere in attacking me and that he had better choose another target. But of course a 10 year old would be incapable of that so i just froze and to this day i still find my brain at least freezing whenever i feel under attack from anybody like my sisters/MIL.

oneplusone Wed 20-May-09 18:17:29

sorry for all the typo's, was typing and trying to stop DC's killing each other at the same time.

I meant a child's brain is not developed enough to respond to an attack from an adult.

sparklycheerymummy Wed 20-May-09 21:29:42

HI AN - CBT has worked for me and my brother. My brother paid privately and got a much more extensive programme, including daily visits for a week etc. I am not in a financial position to do that but got computerised CBT through my NHS trust..... there was no waiting list and I still had contact with a clinical worker BUT the owness was on me to make it work. I would meet my clinical worker for a chat and a quick run down hen she would get me a glass of water adn let me get on with it. It was a computer programme but you direct it.... you set your own goals, identify thinking errors, challenge unhelpful thought and to be honest i have talked so much over the years about my past what I wanted to do was change how I deal with my future. It helped me think things through more rationally. Will try dig out the link to the programme and put it in.... there is a video clip to watch. It talks mainly about it supporting people with anxiety and depression but was perfect with me who got down because i couldnt see clearly or confidently make decisions for myself. Def worth a try!! It was also 1.5 hours a week for 8 weeks where i could sit in total silence and think of myself. WHICH FELT GOOD. I generally needed some time out after so would go for a drive with my music on!!

sparklycheerymummy Wed 20-May-09 21:32:03

roseability Wed 20-May-09 21:33:37

OPO - your experience with your father sounds similar to mine. I don't clearly remember him being abusive in my younger childhood but once I started running and certainly hit my teens, something triggered inside him. I think he adored me as a little girl because he had high hopes for me. He adopted me and I would fulfil his lost dreams and rectify past mistakes. As a little girl I was compliant with this scenario.

When I started growing up his illusion was shattered. I was different, I was a woman with my own ideas and opinions. The fact that I am not biologically related to him only made the differences between us more threatening. Oh how he wanted me to be like him. Hard, sporty, determined, disciplined and very black and white. Instead I am sensitive, complicated and creative. He was very funny about my developing sexuality and first boyfriends. He was obsessed about my hair being short even though I prefered it long. He wanted me to be skinny, boyish and prepubescent I think. He is a man threatened by overt female sexuality and can't hide his disgust at the pregnant female form.

OPO - Your sisters seem to be continuing the same old patterns that were learned in childhood. Do you think they were assigned roles by your parents? That they continue to comply to these roles to seek the approval and love of your parents? That they do not have the self awareness that you have and thus the ability to question your parents and their roles in the abuse? It is amazing the damage that parents can do. It seems your father targeted you for his abuse. Of course this has nothing to do with you or the way you are. Maybe you were just the easy target at the time. Abusers are ultimately weak and cowardly and will pick on easy targets. Your sisters, in childhood, were trying to survive by fulfilling the roles of having a 'normal' (I use that term loosely) relationship with your parents. By excluding you (your sisters), it is as if your parents were using them to justify their actions. However now your sisters are adults it is up to them to have insight enough to stop playing these roles, recognise the abuse and support you.

I hope I haven't spoken out of place. Just trying to make sense of your situation. I am very interested in this idea of role assignment within dysfunctional families. It seems to be a common vehicle for abuse.

oneplusone Thu 21-May-09 10:42:39

rose, you're right our father's do sound similar and so do our experiences. In my case I really am not sure whether it was the fact that i was growing older and no longer his little girl who adored him that made him turn on me or whether the other problems in his life to do with his brother caused his repressed rage to erupt and i just happened to be the nearest easy target for him. Perhaps it was a combination of both ie he was having problems dealing with the fact i was growing older and turning into a woman and i do think, perhaps like your dad, my dad secretly hates and despises all women, he certainly had nothing but contempt for my mother the whole time.

And i think you are absolutely spot on about my sisters. They are continuing in the same roles assigned to them as in this way they hope to gain the love and approval from my parents that they need (but will never get) and they want me to continue playing the role i was assigned, even though our parents are now out of the equation in the context of our sibling relationship.

I think you are also right in that my parents were using my sisters as a way of proving that they (my parents) were doing nothing wrong and that it was all down to me, that i was inherently defective/confrontational/nasty and my behaviour was not because of the way my parents were, but solely down to me.

Of course as children my sisters would have been totally unaware of the drama that was being played out within our family and so totally believed the role my parents had assigned to me; there was no way my sisters would have been able to work out that it was a role foisted on me by my parents and was not at all representative of the real me at all. And it is continuing now, my sisters still cannot see the real me, they are still acting on the basis that i am actually the person my parents forced me to be. And each time i act out of character ie i do not conform to the role assigned by my parents and show them the real me, they clearly cannot handle it and try their hardest to make me slip back into my old role.

You are right that in order to be able to see all of this for themselves, my sisters need to do a lot of work on themselves and develop some self awareness and insight, but they haven't even reached the starting line never mind taken any steps along this road.

But, i feel a whole lot better now that I can see that the old drama is still being played out by my sisters. Like i said earlier, until now i was acting under the illusion that somehow, now that our parents were out of the equation, my sisters would treat me differently, they would be able to see the real me and our relationship would be completely different to what it was before. But now i realise this was all just wishful thinking on my part, NOTHING has changed with my sisters and nothing will change unless and until they open their eyes and minds and really see what is going on. But it takes a lot of courage to do that, as well as a certain level of intelligence to be able to think things through and understand the complex nature of this whole thing and I really am not sure if either of my sisters have the courage and/or intelligence to undertake this journey. It may sound big-headed, but it has been said before on this thread that everybody on here seems to be extremely intelligent and capable of deep thought and reflection and not everybody is gifted with that ability. I think my youngest sister may perhaps have the intelligence required but I know for sure that my middle sister certainly does not.

Youngest sister and I are going to have another chat on the phone tomorrow about all this and I am going to make sure i use the line about her being overly sensetive because she didn't like certain things i have said to her over the last few years. I will tell her she should have just put up and shut up like she has told me i should do. She shouldn't be hurt and offended by things i have said just like she has told me not to be hurt by things middle sister has said and done.

ActingNormal Thu 21-May-09 14:10:29

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roseability Thu 21-May-09 14:13:07

Absolutely agree about the gift of insight. I hope your sisters will find it. Unfortunately the lure of unobtainable and unconditional love from parents can block that insight. It did for me, for a long time. Just hang onto the fact that you have gained that insight and you 'got out' so to speak. By cutting off your parents and facing your issues with DD. It does sound like your DH has been in denial about his own mother and trying to seek that unobtainable perfect mother love. When a human has missed out on this most basic need, I believe they will seek and seek it. Even put up with awful things from their family. Sometimes though, the realisation dawns. That it won't happen, we have missed out. All we can do is accept that, grieve for it and heal as best we can. Ultimately give our children what we didn't have.

I wish I could offer good advice re your sisters. All I can say is protect yourself and be kind to yourself.

I feel a kind of peace today. I really don't care that my GM turned up at that wedding now. She is pathetic. I am never going to change her. This is a step forward for me. In the past I would have confronted her about it and got into a deep confrontation that would have set me back. However (with the help of you guys) I just let her say her bit and didn't really respond to it. I just changed the subject and said I had to go. That is the best way to deal with her.

ActingNormal Thu 21-May-09 14:13:39

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ActingNormal Thu 21-May-09 15:14:24

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BopTheAlien Thu 21-May-09 23:22:56

Going off on a tangent here, there are so many things I want to respond to since I last posted that I don't know where to start!

Pinky wrote something a while back about looking at her DH one evening and "seeing" someone else, and being really freaked out, and it reminded me of something a few years back (hope you're OK, btw, Pinky, haven't heard from you in a while).

I was sitting at home alone one day, and suddenly there was a noise outside, and in a single split second I had gone from being fairly relaxed, not thinking about anything in particular, to being absolutely flooded with adrenaline and primal terror. What was it? It turned out to be nothing more than a workman outside clearing his throat, you couldn't get more innocuous, but for that single split second before I realised what it was, the noise sounded exactly the same as the beginning of the bellow that used to come from my brother when he was enraged, the guttural roar that signalled he was about to start on one of his rampages. He never actually physically hurt me, but he loved the fact that I was terrified he would, and he made sure he kept it that way.

My parents always spouted this drivel about how they didn't believe in having favourites and treated us equally, but looking back the truth is so bloody obvious - he was allowed to behave like this on a regular basis, storming through the house, shouting and swearing and punching and breaking things (we lived with holes in doors and walls and cupboards for years on end), but if I had ever dreamed of stepping out of line like that they would have come down on me like a ton of bricks. And when he was in one of his rages, the thing that I now see is that I was expected to just stop existing. All my needs/wants/wishes/fears etc counted for nothing. I was supposed to just fade into the wallpaper and wait it out till he had changed back from being the Incredible Hulk to his plain everyday obnoxious self. If I ever did try to assert any kind of desire not to be on the receiving end of his foul mouth and torrent of verbal abuse, my mother would just shush me, she would do it in this furtive, "don't let him see" kind of way, don't provoke him, don't make him angrier, don't have any rights or feelings of your own you stupid little fuck, because YOU DON'T COUNT. Italics are for the non-verbalised but very clearly communicated sentiments.

My heart is pounding just thinking about it and writing about it now. And that day a few years ago - when I was already with DH and so in a position of far greater safety than I had ever known before - it literally all came back in that split second, physically, leaving me shaking and panic stricken, the blood rushing to my head, the fear of him running into my home and terrorising me as real and palpable all those years down the line as it was when it was happening. If it could do that to me so recently and now, what did it do to me when I was still a child, still living in that house, still dependent on those people for my needs being met, for my membership of a basic human group; when I was still dependent on those people and that situtation to tell me who I was, to tell me what life was like, what I could expect from others, how to see myself?

In the last week I've had three different experiences of being let down by sales people/customer service people and each time they've been unhelpful and rude, and two of them outright insulting and abusive when I said that i was unhappy with their service. I found myself walking home fighting back the tears from the last one because it got me in such a vulnerable place. This kind of thing used to happen very often but almost never does these days, and by the last one of the three I realised that these people are in some infinintely milder way representing my family and what happened at home, and there are still these parts of me that accept and expect this kind of treatment, which means they are still "stuck" and need rescuing. Current assignment. Have to go now, will try and finish off another time, thanks a million as usual to everyone for the amazing posts - I feel so much of what is said is said on my behalf too, it's like having other people speak for me, and it's a huge bonus when others get something out of my posts too.

smithfield Fri 22-May-09 11:33:28

just lost a huge post bugger

ActingNormal Fri 22-May-09 15:23:44

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PinkyMinxy Sun 24-May-09 17:42:23

hello everyone.
I have been away staying with friends whilst we had lots of work done on the house.

I have lots to tell, and lots to catch up on, by the looks of things. Hope to catch up this evening.

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 10:56:59

All things have re-surfaced this weekend, all the anger at DH and the same old issues with ds.
This morning I just feel sad and sorry about my feelings toward ds and feel an empty space of nothingness toward DH. I dislike myself intensely as a result of all of it.
Maybe ‘I am’ a narcissist, just like my mother. After all I am not seeing either of them for who they are?? Am I?
With ds I am pretty sure I am seeing my mother. He just nags and nags at me in order to get his own way. This ‘is’ what my mother would do she would attempt to control my thoughts, my feelings by bombarding me, wearing me down by going on and on at me until I either snapped or submitted.
I feel like he just demands and demands and nothing is good enough for him. Again my mother springs to mind. But he is not my mother, he is a child, a four year old child and this ‘is’ how four year olds behave isn’t it. Aren’t they just all mini npd’ers? And that is a normal form of being at this age.
What this all then merges into is my belief that when he behaves like this it is as a direct reflection of me. That I am a shite mother and have not set the right boundaries to help limit his behaviour. My thinking then veers between this and believing I should have a much higher tolerance level than I do.
Yesterday, I’d had enough and just avoided contact with ds, which in turn made me feel lousy. The only saving grace was that I put him to bed last night and forced myself to just be in the moment and read to him 3 books and talk with him and spend time with him.
At moments like these I wonder if this is how my mother felt about me. Three/Four when my dad had left, when I started to have my own needs and demands separate from her to she avoid me because she couldn’t bare me. Felt controlled by me and my bottomless pit of needs, requests, and demands.
I relate to ds in that we are both very stubborn both very sensitive I worry I have damaged him by mis-handling things on so many occasions when I had no real awareness. I wonder how the hell to I get back from this point.

Not only doe this all merge into how I feel about myself as a mother but how I feel about myself as a wife currently.
I feel like all the responsibility is always on my bloody shoulders. The financial responsibility. Parental responsibility. Doesn’t this make dh surplus to requirements? After feeling a lot more serene and losing a lot of the anger and aggression I was feeling toward dh it all seems to have sprung back again to how it was before. Something seems to just click inside of me and I actually feel so much resentment and anger that I don’t want dh anywhere near me.
Yesterday ds had a friend around to play and dh was helping the two of them put a track together and ds lost his temper and called dh a ‘stupid idiot’. It is the first time ds has ever said anything like this. I feel it is my fault. He sees my anger at dh and he is now beginning to mimic me. He said to me once ‘…mummy do you like daddy?’
I feel so sad because I am at my wits end with it all. I don’t want to scar my children with this. I don’t want them to see this skewed way of interacting and believe it is normal.
I feel sometimes that the only way would be for me and dh to go our separate ways. Then I think but if this is about something else (as in, I am angry at someone else and projecting onto him) that would be a huge shame, not to have worked all this out.
I try talking to dh about it but he just buries his head.
Sorry I know this post is so self indulgent. I am being SO self indulgent. I have two beautiful children. I know this. I couldn’t love them anymore if I tried. They are everything to me. But I feel I am fucking up royally at the moment despite all my efforts not to.
I have trouble distinguishing whether all this resentment and anger of dh is from the present or from ‘my’ past. The fact it ‘could’ be current and therefore REAL fills me with dread tbh, because that would be a huge thing to have to face up to and address, I cant subject my children to the same dynamic as I saw repeatedly as a child I just cant.

PinkyMinxy Tue 26-May-09 15:40:37

Smithfield I can relate to how you feel. I raged and raged at DH the other day. I have been holding a lot in- there has been a lot going on here, and I think I just flipped the other day. It was terrible. WE said some truly awful things to each other, and the children were around, and we were ignoring them whilst we shouted and stomped about like a pair of tantrumming toddlers. I hate myself for this. I too worry that it is DH. He gets very stressed out and grumpy at times and has a tendency to throw in the towel so I will take over. But deep down I think this is normaL human behaviour.
We went ot a friends birthday party the other night and had to take a woman homw because she was falling down drunk. When we got her flat her husband wouldn't help us with her because he was playing a compuer game. There was nothing- not even embarrassment. It was truly horrible.It put mine and DH's row into perspective.
It was an awful row, but we made up and apologised to each other ans we clearly have love and compassion for each other. THis woman is trapped, every time she tries to leave he threatens to kill himself.

You are not a narcissist. I think we have been conditioned into behaving in certain ways that may look a bit like our mothers on the surface, but we are not like them.

The latest saga with my parents may illustrate this for you:

We have been staying with friends whilst the work was done on our house, and at the weekend we decided to go away for a few days. MY parents have been ringing DH becuase they want to see us, ans so we arranged to meet up with them on the sunday. Saturday comes and DH rings to confirm arrangements. Mother decides to pretend we had arranged to come to them for lunch. No says DH we are going to meet you at x as planned. Later we get a weepy call to say she won't be able to make it for lunch it will have to be later, as it is so far to come (about 30 mins drive from their house).

They arrive on the sunday and say barely anything at all to me or DH, they talk to the DC- well to our son- and she is clearly trying to find out where we are staying etc. from him- but he's 4 FGS, he's not going to be able to tell them the details.
AT the end of the visit we are playing with the children in the play are and my mother bursts into tears.

Both she and father then go into some big rant to DH about how I am not communicating with them that I am preventing them from seeing the children, that I am givingg them nothing.
Rememberr the day she left the eatser presents on the doorstep- apparrently I prevented her from seeing the dc that day- it is all fantasy!

They storm off.

I then get a weepy phonecall a few days later. It's in the morning, she's at a train staion going on a long distance visit to a friend (funny how she can get up in the morning when it suits her)and she leaves a message saying how sad she is how she loves me dearly blah blah blah.

I sent her a polite message back wishing her a nice holiday etc.
The next message I get from her she is completely normal.

I can see where my anxiety comes from- it is not knowing 'who' I am going to get when I hear from her or see her.

This is how a narcissist behaves. YOu are not like this, Smithfiled. I do not believe you make people believe they have made you suicidal just to get your own way?

The were someinntersting points about this latest saga.

One was that I did not engage with her/their madness. I did not feel that it was all my fault- once DH and I had gone through every detail ofthe events, anyway- which is a big improvement.

the other was how I noticed that though they complained I was not communicating witht them they made no attempts to speak to me during the visit- the directed eveything at DH and the children. What'sthat about?

I cannot believe I used to think this was normal behaviour.

I think a lot of our row at the weekend was because actually I wanted to scream atmy mother.

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 18:53:27

pinky- I was both flabergasted, 'astounded' and just generally shock by your post and the latest developments.
Your mother (term to be used loosely of course) is so manipulative isnt she!

Quick question-Does your father just go along with your mother? Is he a classic bystander? Sorry if you mentioned his role before but I just got the impression that he was ^joining in^ in a cowardly way so as to avoid your mother's antics being directed at him?

Also, in your post you said;

'...the directed eveything at DH and the children. What'sthat about?'

My mother does/did this A LOT. She would appeal to people around me like Dh, my friends, my siblings. She would implore them with her '.Oh isnt..she (smithfield)being so unreasonable..dont you think?'

She did it to make me feel isolated and scapegoat me I think. I called her out once in front of my dad, grandad and sis. Night before my wedding and she was saying that she wouldnt come to the hotel where I was going to be getting ready the next day because it was obvious she wasnt wanted. Drama.
I said loudly 'why are you doing this, tonight of all nights? why?'
She looked at my family sat there none of them jumping in to support me as usual lest they end up baring the brunt. She used her wide eyed...'See? Do you see? how she treats me?' Im the victim here... poor me bullshit.
It's all about dysfunctional ways of communication though isn't! Instead of sitting down with everyone and communicating in an adult manner, she/they attempt to use communication as a way of isolating one person in order to maintain their position. It's like drawing a ring around you and saying 'See she is the problem...not us'.
After all if they included you in any of the discussion they had this weekend then that would undermine their position that you are the one who is not communicating.

Oh PM ...They are just bloody screwed up and thats the bottom line.

Well done though for not engaging! You deserve a huge cheer for that.

BTW thanks for your vote of confidence, weirdly I spoke to dh about all of this tonight and he said that he didnt even think I was in a bad mood this weekend hmm...that he hadnt noticed me interact negatively with ds and that I am just being hard on myself as per usual.
So now Im even more confused.

No Ive not used suicide to manipulate but have threatened to leave him (a lot) in the past (pre dd and ds). Through insecurity I think but also to get attention and reassurance which is manipulative.

Thanks for posting PM it always helps to know someone else is there. I live inside my head so much and there is often much paranoia to be found there. Unsurprisingly.

PinkyMinxy Tue 26-May-09 20:37:25

Smithfield I think we have all been responsible for making 'threats' to leave in order toget a response. Sometimes I have felt it is the only way to get across how anxious I feel. I have always had a feeling that everyone would be better off without me. I used to tell DH I would go, because I have always felt that I am the cause of things. Now I realise it must seemto him like a threat, and that it was cruel. Sometimesit does feel like our relationship is exhausted, though. WE have so much on our plate.

I think you are right about the scapegoat thing. It sounds spot on. And that awful story about your wedding sounds very familiar.The births of my children were very similar.

My mother told me I couldn't have a wedding because it would be unbearable to have my MIL there (she does talk alot but bless her she's lovely). Weddings, graduations, big family birthday parties- none of these were for me apparrently. My mother and siblings had them all, but my mother could not bear to let me have them.

MY father is a very angry and aggresive man. But he would not bother to ring me. When I would go to visit them he wouldn't even stop what he was doing to say hello. He used to describe me as shit under his shoe.
I think the reason he has been getting in touch is because my mother has been making a melodrama about everything and it's keeping him from his hobbies. The easter visit story is one of the most blatant examples of my mother's distortion of reality to suit her ends. She must be slipping, because she usually covers her tracks so well.

Sorry I sound very cynical, don't I? I'm so devastated really. I think I still feel very depressed about things.

I said I wanted to scream at my mother. I didn't of course, I sent a text saying I was sorry she was feeling sad. I don't know if she took that to be an apology from me- I hope not. WHat I wanted to say (but there seems little point) is 'I am sorry you are feeling sad, but I am no longer able to take responsiblty for this. The time has come now for you to deal with these feelings yourself.' It sounds very much like an adult talking to a child about growing up, doesn't it?

I think there may be a truth in there for me, too, in the way DH and I behave towards each other when we are stressed.

Don't be too hard on yourself, smithfield. I know lots ofpeople hide from their children from time to time, and they get cross with them, too. They just don't agonise over it like we do!

Sorry about my typing.I have no excuse really, it's just truly terrible!

oneplusone Tue 26-May-09 20:50:50

Sorry not much time or energy at the moment. But smithfield and PM, i have read through your recent posts.

smithfield, i went through something so similar with DH. And i still feel he is 'on trial' with me at the moment. He let me down hugely in many ways during our 9 years of being together and almost desroyed all my feelings for him. We are back from the brink right now as he managed to step up to the mark and do what was necessary re MIL recently. But like i said i feel he is still on trial and needs to prove he is up to scratch. But your situation sounds different so perhaps my experience may not be of any help to you. The only thing I would say is don't make any hasty decisions re your DH. You are still dealing with loads of childhood issues and there is always a lot of 'transference', but it does not always become clear until a lot later. Work through your feelings and give yourself lots of time.

PM, well done on 'managing' your mother. You sound as if you have made such huge progress. You are behaving in an adult manner and she is clearly acting like a child. And i can totally relate to her trying to get your DH and anybody else she can fool onto her side and make out you are the unreasonable one and she is the victim. I'm glad you are able to see this pattern of behaviour and i hope your DH can see it too. You are clearly making progress, so well done.

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 20:54:09

Sorry just a bit of a rant-no need to respond to this.

I've been trying to pinpoint when my mood dipped before the weekend and why.
It has been a pretty bad week for me with regard to MIL and culminated with an incident that I found quite upsetting.
I had rung mil on friday about something to do with ds's school and she hadn't answered. If she misses a call she normally calls straight back or at least texts me. She didnt and I didnt think that much about it 'until' whilst dh was out picking up a take-away 'his' mobile rang. MIL.
It was at least 8.30 at this point and so she knew dcs would be in bed.
She then rang again when he was back at 9.ish.
She said to dh to tell me she was sorry she didnt get back to me. So why ring dh. TWICE!?
I dont get it.
I did feel cross about it though and cross with dh for not getting the significance of it.
So...she rang dh's phone twice to tell him sorry she didnt have time to get back to me?

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 21:05:31

Sorry xposted with you both

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 21:23:10

PM- I am really shocked by what your father said to you. That is horrible. What a horribly angry man he must be. He sounds hugely narcisstic.
Isn't that what damaged children do, they push whatever emotions they feel onto the adult. That is why adults have to be in control of their emotions as much they can be with such children because otherwise you become their outlet
Big role reversal in 'all our' cases with the damaged adults (our parents) pushing their uncomfortable emotions onto us as children.
Maybe that's why I am mad about latest incident with MIL because I suspect that is what she is trying to do with me currently.

Oneplusone- hope you are ok. Hope it is a nice (had a full weekend lack of energy) you are experiencing.
Yes I do see your point. I feel like there i just a never ending barrage of emotions to wade through and Im tired of it. Sometimes want to wade through as quickly as possible. I just want to feel happy and functioning and full of vitality.

Especially with all this

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 21:27:39

BTW- MIL has just done same tonight. contacted Dh instead of me re tommorrow and looking after dc's.
It was only a few months back she demonished me for not communicating with her directly instead of going through dh hmm.

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 21:34:58

PM- Also with regard to you feeling depressed about it all I do think that it is a huge step forward for you to *not react* to your mother but you are probably still absorbing her moods.
I think this is what has happened with MIL she is no longer getting the reaction from me but I am still absorbing her emotions so I feel depressed by her.
It will take more time and practice to get to the point where you are detached enough to let it all wash over you. To be able to shrug her negative feelings off.
It will happen though. Be kind to yourself pinky. You're doing just fine.

PinkyMinxy Tue 26-May-09 21:45:50

Smithfield and OPO thank you. I too long for all this to be over. 'wading through the emotions', as you say. I just want to skip to the end and have a 'normal'life.
I'm sorry your MIL is playing games. I do think that detachment is the key, but it is a long term goal, d'you think?

smithfield Tue 26-May-09 22:30:02

definately a long term goal yes. I am not even really comparing like for like anyway.
If I had a phonecall or even a text from *my own mother* pinky I might just about manage to hold it together enough to not react but I would be a gibbering wreck afterwards.

37weeks Wed 27-May-09 12:46:56

Sorry it is Roseability here. The change of name was for another thread but I didn't want to lose my post so I will just post this one then change back to Roseability!

PM and Smithfield - It is a huge step forward to *not react* to these vile and dysfunctional people. Also very true about absorbing toxic mother's moods. I so want to get to the point where I am detached enough to let it wash over me and shrug negative feelings off.

PM - your mother sounds very similar to my manipulative GM. I am now 38 weeks pregnant and she is stepping up the game. It is so 'poor me, poor me and poor bloody me'. Yet if I express any negativity, it is my fault and in my head. I have just stopped telling her anything about my life and how I feel. I just try and stick to mundane things like the weather.

I have limited phone contact to once a week. I have caller ID which means I can ignore other phone calls. I hardly speak to my adoptive father. He phoned me on his birthday on Monday but it felt so strange and so distant. There really is nothing between us anymore. He didn't bother to phone me on my last two birthdays (including my 30th) yet he manages to phone on his birthday and my DS birthday. Last time I phoned home and he picked up, he didn't even ask how I am, just handed me straight over to my GM. He doesn't care, I have not met his conditions for love and concern. He will try and stay in my DCs lives in the hope that they may fulfil his warped sense of success. There is no way on this earth I will ever leave my DC alone with him or my GM for that matter.

Smithfield - I too just hold it together on the phone (most of the time) but I am so affected my the phone call for days afterwards. Not one phone call is nice or normal. Always an atmosphere and my GM trying to manipulate. Always, always the topic of conversation comes back to her. She complains like PMs mother that I don't comunicate enough, that I don't give her enough. Yet if I try to talk at any length about my DS, what he is like and what he is up to, she changes the subject, sounds bored or has to go.

You are doing so well, so keep wading through those emotions and one day I am sure they just won't affect you in the same way

BopTheAlien Wed 27-May-09 23:08:07

Has anyone heard of a book called "People of the Lie"? It's by M. Scott Peck, I think, the guy who wrote "The Road Less Travelled", which I've never read - but this one, the people of the lie, I have read and found it very useful - illuminating, you could say. He gives quite a few case histories from his work as a psychologist (psychiatrist?) of families of clients/patients of his that were just, in his words, evil (their families that is, not the patients). It's useful because you're seeing from an outside, objective perspective just how committed to the denial and lying and doing things AGAINST their children's welfare these people are. He had contact with some of these families and was shocked at how impossible it was to get through to them. It helped me see my parents as part of a wider pattern, that there are these people out there who really don't care about their children the way parents are supposed to, but that they can always find a way to justify and defend themselves and make it seem as if their child is the one in the wrong, and how plausible they can be, and how far their influence extends.
One family in the book, had a teenage son who killed himself. They then gave the gun he used to kill himself to their other teenage son for his birthday. And they had a "justification" for it! They had managed to convince themselves in their minds that this was a good, reasonable, loving thing for parents to do....

I suppose I'm saying all this because I think that when you're dealing with this level of denial, and I think a lot of us are here - although I know that one about the gun is an extreme, unusual example, I think the principle is actually very common - you cannot hope that they will start being reasonable and caring. Not consistently, anyway. Pinky, your mother - would she know the truth if it came up and coshed her with a wet haddock? I doubt it. All she cares about is getting her needs met, and she wants to keep using you to do that as she always has done, because it's EASY for her. But of course she will stick to her story that it is you who are difficult/uncaring etc no matter what, because she's got to look like she is a caring mother. Ditto your mother Smithfield, your GM Rose, my mother... I think they all care far, far more about their image as caring mothers than they do about actually being them. Or indeed about us, their daughters.

I am so sick of this lying. So, so sick of it I can't even say how much. That's why I finally called it a day with my family. Why should I bend myself in two to agree with their lies when I KNOW the truth? When I KNOW they're lying? It is so wrong! I am so sick of being the one cast as the bad guy, the one who "hurts" my parents, the one who "doesn't love my brother enough" because unlike everybody else in the family I won't say his temper is ok and harmless, while no one questions whether he actually loves me at all and if so why he thinks it's ok to treat me with pure contempt (his own word for it) - just lies, lies and more lies.

I really feel for everyone going through agonies about parenting. It is so hard when you didn't have good parenting yourself. I think everyone on here is doing a really good job, because at least we're trying to recognise what's going on, at least we're thinking about these things and doing our best not to pass on the crap. Smithfield, I wish I had some wise words for you in your current situation with DH and DCs, I thought that was such a courageous post you posted before about recognising how you had hurt your DH, and I know it's really hard when you have a breakthrough like that and then everything goes back to how it was before - but that breakthrough did happen, and it will have had an impact, however small. I do personally think projection is the root of just about everything, but I can see your confusion and worry about what is what here.

I think you made a very good point about your DS being like a mini narcissist, and how for his age that's appropriate - exactly. A child his age is meant to be selfish and demanding, although of course that doesn't mean it's easy to deal with! But it is natural and not blameworthy. AN, you were asking a while back why it's acceptable for children to be treated a certain (hurtful) way but not adults, and that's a huge question I think. I personally think our society is nowhere near as child-loving and child-friendly as it would like to think it is. We may collectively recoil in horror at violence against children but it still goes on, a lot. And emotional abuse - I sometimes think it's almost commonplace, to some degree or another. It's acceptable. The bias in our culture is still that children are somehow "bad" or "difficult" - how many times do you hear parents saying their kids are monsters/driving them mad/a total PITA; and how many times do you hear parents say "I'm finding the job of parenting really hard at the moment and not always coping"? So I think it's fantastic that people come on here and say they are struggling - I know it helps me enormously to know it's not just me.

OPO, your posts a while back about your family/sisters, the whole exclusion thing - really felt for you, and wondering how it's going at the moment. It's very painful to be the one that nobody needs. I speak from experience. The rest of your family are all legitimising/denying the abuse that was handed out to you because they don't need to recognise the truth - they have each other, and they don't want to risk rocking the boat; it's easier to keep pinning the blame on you. That's how I feel with my family. My brother is in total denial about what my parents did to me, and what they let him do to me; and my each of my parents is in denial about what the other one did, as well as what my brother did - they all legitimise each other, so it means out of the original unit of four, each of the other three has two defenders, two allies; while I am compeltely isolated. (Plus the silent voice of my dead "sister", which may sound weird, but growing up there was a consciousness of her and she wouldn't have been on my side either, in my head; she was the perfect daughter who would have been so good they would have loved her, so I couldn't co-opt her as an ally either. I now realise of course that they wouldn't have loved any daughter they had.) Anyway, it sounds the same in your family - they all bolster each other and support each other in their lies and you are left completely out in the cold, from the sound of it.

With my brother I've realised it's just much, much easier for him to keep blaming everything on me - he doesn't have to risk knocking our parents off their pedestal (he thinks he sees them for who they are but of course it's a very idealised version) and he also doesn't have to ask himself any painful, soul searching questions. He doesn't need me. And I'm actually starting to be ok with that now. I had this pressure on me for such a long time that I had to somehow make everything allright - that if every single part of the story wasn't resolved perfectly, then I hadn't brought about the happy ending I was born to bring, and I had failed and coudln't be happy. But no one's life has every single part resolved perfectly. Mine will probably have these great gaping holes in it for ever; but it will also have enough good, solid stuff to make it more than worthwhile. That's the fairy tale happy ending I'm going for now.

Wanted to ramble about yin and yang in relationships too, but have run out of time; but will try and post again soon.

Roseability Thu 28-May-09 09:14:36

BOP - you are so right about our society's attitude to children. It is why it is so difficult to be open about emotional abuse. I am ashamed to admit that a few times I have smacked my DS. Not hard, a tap on the leg and I know because I don't threaten it as a form of punishment but rather have just done it in a moment of anger/sleep deprivation it doesn't register with him. However it is my loss of control and I believe on these occassions I have abused him and his trust. I feel incredible guilt afterwards and usually apologise and hug him. The problem is that it is impossible to be a perfect parent all the time. I do believe this is where a more supportive and child loving society would help. I am absolutely not blaming society for all my parenting mistakes but it is an issue that needs to be adressed.

When my DS was a baby and I had PND/anxiety I used to get angry and believe he was a difficult baby. I used to get angry with my MIL because if I moaned about him, she would always say how good he was. I somehow believed she was trivialising my problems and making me feel guilty. However she was right! Babies aren't difficult or bad, it is parenting that is tough. I now look at my DS and see the angel he truly is! Yes we have bad moments (like mentioned above) but I try not to moan about him to friends/family and rather say the truthful positive things. If I do have a moan, I try to rationalise it as I am finding being a Mum difficult today because my DS is being a normal three year old and playing up. This is not deliberate but healthy three year old behaviour! Possibly I need support/help on such a day in the form of a break or company.

Whenever there is a relationship problem with parents, it is the child who is difficult. Even my MIL, who is genuinely a good mother and non toxic said something that triggered me once. She was talking about a friend who found her DIL difficult. She then went on to say 'even her own mother found her difficult'. This upset me. It seemed that justification could be found through the eyes of parents who think their children are the difficult ones.

Roseability Thu 28-May-09 09:16:23

Last paragraph - I meant 'it is the child who is portrayed as difficult'

Roseability Thu 28-May-09 09:20:11

One thing I have always vowed as a parent is that if my DS was to turn round as an adult and express difficulties in his relationship with me, I will look to myself first and foremost. How could this person who was my innocent, loving child grow to dislike me for no reason? How could it be his fault?

There is a great quote in the film Gladiator where the father says to his son 'your failings as a son are my failings as a father' (or something like that)

smithfield Thu 28-May-09 10:44:38

Sorry havent read last few posts I will do in a bit and rerspond but I just want to get something off my chest here, while it is fresh in my mind.
Having just written this post I should warn you that I am really angry in it so please dont read it if you think it might upset or trigger any of you!

I have been thinking about my mother again quite a lot. I have had a couple of dreams about her too. always the dreams are about my constant feelings of frustration and anger at her. I also am thinking about writing to her.
I read something recently that REALLY upset me. It was just a woman that wrote a letter to a psychologist online. She was explaining that she had three children and that the eldest (a daughter) was from a different relationship. There was a lot of bitterness surrounding the ex.p as he had abandoned her and the baby and was physically violent toward her during the relationship.
She had since married another man and had two more children with him.
The problem that she had was with the eldest child. She realised she was probably seeing her as the ex.p (she looked a lot like him). She felt that she often ^didnt like^ her dd to the point where the child had leaned over to kiss her baby sibling and her hair had brushed against the mothers arm and the mother felt repulsed by it sad
She admitted that she only ever communicated with her eldest dd with either anger eg snapping at her (never physical) or ignoring her.
The only time she had a relatively normal relationship with the child was when ex.p was due a visit. It was at that point she felt able to seperate the two of them and began to see her dd as a seperate person.
This story mad me feel incredibly sad and incredibly angry at the same time.

This was me sad I was the dd in that story.
Ok I had the same father but I was born (a mistake) my father left us when I was 3/4. He abandoned us for another woman.
My parents did get back together eventually but the bitterness was always there. Nothing was ever addressed. It was all just swept under the carpet. The screwed up communication that exists in every toxic relationship.

The deal was my mum had to give up work and move back to London if her and dad were to get back together/make a go of things. Being as damaged as my mother was she accepted this without question at the time.

Anything rather than the pain of abandonment and rejection.
Well OK I get that. BUT. The resentment, the anger. She poured it over me ^every day^ It was as if she was emptying her dirty dishwater over my head and I would be left there cold, abandoned and shamed each day. My mother ^saw me^ as my father and that is where the stories merge.
At six years old my db was born. I was sick and went to hospital for a major operation. She wouldnt even stay with me.
Deep down I knew she didnt like me. She didnt love me. Ive lived in denial all this years. The truth is too painful. No more painful maybe than believing I am a piece of shit unworthy of love (which is often how she made me feel). Then again it is probably equally painful to carry this self belief into adulthood. But as a child! It was just survival. As we have often said as a child accepting that your parents do not love you would have been like death to me.

I am angry that she never EVER addressed this. The woman who wrote, whose letter I read. SHE had guts. She was willing to stand up and take responsibility. SHE was saying LOOK this IS WRONG. THIS MUST STOP. Oneplusone you stood up and said; 'this is MY issue I must deal with this NOW or risk my daughters mental health and self esteem.'
You had the courage and strength to do this. That makes you amazing in my eyes! Why couldnt I have had a mother like that? Why?
Why didnt anyone step in? My father (pah fat chance- hero to zero in my eyes now). Useless bastard!
My nan? AS much as I still have feelings of love for my nan, after all the only tiny bit of comfort I ever got was from her. SHE did not stop it either. WHY?

The person I blame most however IS My mother. She did not stand up. SHE was happy to sacrifice me, her daughter, my mental health. MY self esteem. To save herself from any negative context.

I hate her! I fucking hate her guts. ANd I want to go round now and beat the crap out of her. She really is a gutless cow.

ANd I beat myself up over the kind of mother I AM?

I guess because I normalised her behaviour and saw her as being 'not' abusive, because my self esteem was so low. Because my view of reality was so warped by all of them! I think I truly believed my mother was just cold and emotionally unavailable to me.

Therefore I believed that if at times I too was emotionally unavailable or appeared cold at ANY time to my children that they would end up as damaged as me.

But this isnt true!

I ^may be^ emotionally unavailable at times. Yes. BUT I am constantly trying to make sense of all this shit as well as hold down a job, a marriage etc.

BUT I do love my children BOTH of them equally. When I look at them I feel love not anger and bitterness and NEVER repulsion!

I know that perhaps if I had different circumstances? If one of my children was born to a different father? Or I sufferd abuse from DH? Would I be different?

No. I am not my mother. I think I would still have the strength to protect my children and even if I did take the wrong path with regard to either of them emotionally I believe I would have enough insight to correct myself. I would have enough courage to take responsibility for my own reactions toward them if my reaction/interactions were wrong.

I think this is where the anger and aggression stems from with my interactions with my mother. She was never a mother to me but constantly tried to parentify ME! So using me for her own needs whilst destroying me at the same time.

She is a true narcissist in every sense of the word. I hate her.
I think this is why I struggle so much with parenting at times because being a parent reminds me of having to be a parent to my mother AND my father. They used me endlessly, neither of them really loved me at all.

To love someone you have to have 'some' compassion surely. You would not be able to bare seeing someone you love suffer. I know if either of my children are hurt or in pain I feel a rush of love for them. A need to comfort or protect them.

My mother was often overtly cruel toward me. I never got an ounce of empathy from either of them. In fact, every time I was at my weakest or most vulnerable my father 'attacked' me physically rather than show me empathy as if my weakness or vulnerability disgusted him.

That is probably why I struggle to show any weakness or vulnerability to anyone. Why I have a hard shell around me. Inpenetrable at times.

Im sorry for the venting and the language. There is no need to respond to any of this. It feels good to get it out. ANd I am so grateful to have a forum where I KNOW i will NEVER be judged.
It is good to get all this anger out into the open and direct it to the person who really deserves it. THat IS healthy. Or we can live in denial and rationalise everything these bastard people did to us, then go home and take it out on those who dont deserve any of it.

Not my family. Not even my MIL. She (my mil) has given me more help and care than that evil witch of a mother ever has.
That is where the anger should be directed. At my mother.

(and, btw this only applies to my situation because some of you (you know who you are) have incredibly toxic Mil's!)

Think I will go and buy a punch bag or something I need to find a physical release for all of this.

ActingNormal Thu 28-May-09 19:30:42

Message withdrawn

oneplusone Thu 28-May-09 20:57:33

smithfield again not much time or energy (busy full on day with DC's on half term), but well done. It seems to me you have had a breakthrough. Alice Miller constantly talks about finding the rightful anger of the little girl inside you who has kept quiet for so long but who was so badly treated and who has every right to be angry, furious and raging at her mother who let her down so completely. I can see you are feeling that anger now and it is such a powerful, energising and liberating feeling. It is brilliant that you can articulate your feelings on here and i agree that finding a physical release is important too (i bought a baseball bat and pounded the sofa a lot).

Your DC's are so lucky to have such determined, courageous, intelligent mother like you. Like you said, if we had had such mothers, our lives would have turned out so differently. You and I will always be there for our DC's, on their side, not selfishly always thinking about our needs, and our DC's will never know what could have been their fate which is exactly how I think it should be.

RedCharityBonney Thu 28-May-09 21:07:28

Pinky, your mother sounds like mine, a bit. Nothing's EVER her fault, EVER. She's perfect.

BopTheAlien Thu 28-May-09 23:27:50

That was from the heart, smithfield.

BopTheAlien Thu 28-May-09 23:34:49

Rose, good to have that confirmation from you, that you agree and see things the same way. And I think we all lose it with the DCs at times, it's normal. I think parenting is bloody hard - for anyone, but especially for those of us coping with this stuff - but that's just the point, it's parenting that's hard, not the child who is difficult. So glad this forum exists where these opinions can be shared and aired, so many of these things I have thought for years but not had anyone to share them with outside of therapist (and DH in his way). You say things I could have said myself, and it means a lot.

Roseability Fri 29-May-09 09:36:06

Yes that anger is so liberating!

Having read again the letters that my mother wrote when she was ill and the letters my GM wrote to social services about my mother, I now see the truth.

My GM would write and 'tell tales' about my mother. How she would shout and scream at me and not put the heating on for me when I was cold. Well I have shouted at my DS and I have selfishly not put the heating on recently because I am very pregnant and hot all the time. Does that mean my DS should be taken away from me? It struck me that she didn't have anything really bad to tell socail services. It is all petty things. She once even called the social services and NSPCC because a neighbour had spotted my mother drinking and going to bed with a man in the afternoon hmm

The social services supported all this. The alienation of my mother and my GM manipulating her and making out she couldn't cope because it was the easy option. I am so angry at them too!

So I am angry, in fact I am f***g furious. But OPO that anger is great and it allows me to see the truth. It allows me to distance myself from my adoptive parents, to tell my friends that I was raised by my GM and step-grandfather NOT my mother. My DC will know the truth and know who their real granny was. It allowed me to be brave enough and tell my GM that I think it is wrong that I called her 'mum'. She said it was what my mother wanted, I said I doubted that so she replied 'well she wasn't in the best frame of mind at the time'. Manipulative, cruel bitch!

My Aunty tells me my mother coped okay when she was lucid, that she DIDN't want me to call my GM 'mum'. I know who I believe. I have a photo of me sitting on my GM's knee as a baby. She is grinning manicly at the camera, teeth all bared. She looks evil. My poor mother is stood in the background looking miserable. It is a photo and a moment in time, but it symbolises what went on to me. That my GM wanted to play the happy, doting mother and undermine her daughter. Because she is so messed up and bitter.

I believe that is why my mother is dead today. That this made her illness so severe that she deteriorated over the years. Especially when my adoptive parents moved me away, knowing my mother couldn't travel long distances to see me. It is her birthday today, she would have been 49.

To top it all off, my GM let my adoptive father emotionally abuse me. And I believed all these lies. That the sick feeling in my stomach and the wrongness of it all was in my head. Not any more!

I have not been brave enough to cut them out completely but I have so much more distance now. Knowing the truth means I don't allow myself to be sucked in. That I can focus on my family and this new baby.

This thread is partly to thank for that. Sorry for the rant and lack of reply to other posters. Just needed to get it off my chest. OPO great idea about baseball bat. I am guilty of sometimes taking my anger out on loved ones.

ActingNormal Fri 29-May-09 17:50:56

Message withdrawn

PinkyMinxy Fri 29-May-09 21:38:50

Smithfield, OPO, Rosability- I really think you are talking about veryr important things. The anger, the frustration.

I don't think I am in the place yet wherev I canhold my head up for the child I was. I still feel far too much shame.But I know I have a lot of deep seated anger, and it is still surfacing at wrrong moments.

One of mt big day to day problems has been letting things go. Mother puts me through the emotional ringer when it suits her and then acts like nothing happened and the effect of her doing this over and over again throughout my life has made it very difficult for me to get any sort of 'closure' on things. Nothing ever resolves, and as result I find it very hard to let go, to move on from events that have not gone well or I have been upset by.

The extremely conditional nature of the love I recieved from my parents-well the goal posts shift so much I can't say for sure I've had any, TBH - mainly it was/is a promise that there is/will be love but that I make it impossible for them to give it or show it. My mother does tell me she loves me but only when it can be said in a way to make me feel bad- as illustrated in this latest performance of hers- all this makes me extremly self critical. My anxiety when I do not do thigns perfectly is hard to bear. And I get enraged with myself. I think other shave said before that there is a feelig that if you cannot be the absolute best at something you have no place doing it

However I know I am improving.

AN I think as ever your last post was spot on. I can see so many of the issues you have are mine, too.

I don't think I would be making this journey if it were not for Mnet. THat may sound silly but it was reading things on here that made me realise how wrong things have been. Seeing my mother describeb by other people talkign about their own was a revellation.

Feeling that I was 'worth it' in terms of getting help was a big deal for me.

Reading through how people are working with how they interact with their own children has been a great help. I am gaining confidence in myself as a parent.

Small steps.

I am very grateful to people on here.

I have been quite depressed recently. Struggling to get up in the morning. But when I have got up the days on the whole are better. I love my little children so much. I feel truly blessed that they are in my life, and I hope I can help them achieve a happy confident adulthood. THis is my biggest goal in life.

Sakura Fri 29-May-09 23:05:35

Roseability, it sounds to me that you have worked out exactly what went on. Who knows what your mother would have been like raising you, but she should have been given the chance! The first thing that struck me is that you were separated from her when you were 3 because she wasn't coping. Lets be honest, the hardest work is over by three- The sleepless nights, the terrible twos. The first three years of a child's life are a bloody nightmare when it comes to how much they take out of you. And your mother managed it. It was only AFTERWARDS, that you were taken away. That struck me as being strange. I don't want to paint an over-rosy picture of how your mother was, but it doesn sound like your grandmother is a piece of work.

Roseability Sat 30-May-09 09:10:01

PinkyMinxy - Being a good mother (or should I say good enough mother!) I now believe is the most important goal in my life. For a long time I felt I had to achieve great things to be worthy of my adoptive parent's respect. Although they both come from poor backgrounds they value material things. My adoptive father talks about being able to brag about his daughter living 'in a mansion on the hill' and only the other day my GM bragged to me that her niece's fiance had bought her a Mercedes sports car.

However like you I am realising that my children are my greatest pride and joy. No mansion or car can surpass that. Yes I get angry and frustrated with my DS, but I am seeing and loving him for what he is. His individuality delights me. PM the fact that you feel blessed to have your children in your life makes you a lovely mum. The fact that they are your biggest focus and goal is wonderful. Do not be too hard on yourself and I think given our backgrounds the depression is normal. We have not been taught to enjoy family and take delight in that simple pleasure. It has all been pressures, burdens and trauma.

Society as a whole does not value mothering and children enough. We are expected to achieve everything. You are making great steps PM and for many, many years I was stuck in that cycle with my GM. Not being able to let go. Endless phone calls with me trying to fight my corner, to be heard, only to be let down. Manipulated time and time again. I do believe I am breaking that cycle now and I know you will get there too.

Roseability Sat 30-May-09 11:31:54

Sakura - you are right. When I look at my son now, who is three, I do wonder. There certainly is no reason why I couldn't have been spending more time with her during her lucid periods. Schizophrenics are not constantly psychotic. I can tell from my mother's letters that she was a very bright and sensitive woman and actually spoke a lot of sense. Her letters do allude to hallucinations and delusions but they also demonstrate a lot of insight into her illness.

Instead I was kept from her for such long periods that I didn't even recognise her in photos sad

This just serves as a warning as to how dangerous and manipulative toxic grandmothers can be. The lengths they can go to, to have control. Sakura, I am thinking of you in the last stages of pregnancy. I hope we can both have a positive birth and mothering experience without toxic people blighting it. I do feel stronger this time and I hope you do to.

AN - your post is very insightful. You, like PM, mention waking up feeling depressed. For years I would wake up with this horrible sinking 'what is the point' feeling. Even before I had my DS. That has gone now. Yes I still have bad days and low moods, but I know they will pass. It is more anger I feel now when I think about my family, but that is good. You also mention needing to rescue people. I think this is common and my counsellor pointed this out to me. He asked why I had become a nurse. When I looked deep into myself, I realised it was to prove to myself and my family that I am a nice person (because I believe I am not due to my family). Not because it is what I particularly wanted to do with my life. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job and patient care but given the choice I would have persued my real love. For reading, writing and creativity.

You are making great progress I feel with this therapy. If I get down again after this baby, I will be seeking more. Do not ever doubt its value. As I have said before my GM doesn't believe in it, but she is a bitter and twisted woman who has ruined her family relationships

ActingNormal Tue 02-Jun-09 10:10:16

Message withdrawn

PinkyMinxy Tue 02-Jun-09 21:18:59

Rosability wondering what might have been can be very painful.

I struggle to see why your grandmother decided she did not want to support your mother in her parenting and instead supplant her. Maybe it is the belief that they can do everything better. I know my parents like to take over, to make the rules- they think theirs are the only valid rules, that thier way is the only 'real' way- eveyone else is an idiot to them.

AN You should not feel ashamed. I worry about telling people about thigns for several reasons.
1 that I will put them off me, that they will think it's me who is nuts/unstable

That people will find it depressing and unsettling.

That I will become just another thing to gossip about in the schoold playground at pick up time.

I do still feel sad that people will think ill of my family, that peole may behave diferently towards them if they meet them. I am scared someone might say something to them. But then I have always been deeply anxious of my friends upsetting or offending my parents- it is so easy to do.

oneplusone Wed 03-Jun-09 12:25:01

Hi all, sorry have not been able to post for a while, busy with DC's during half term. They have both only just gone back to school and nursery and I feel ready to explode. I dropped DS off at nursery this morning and cried all the way home in the car. Not so much about leaving him at nursery, although I always always feel terrible and so guilty for leaving him there, even though I desperately need some space and time to myself.

I am really sorry, but right now i just need to offload some things, I have been holding it all in for nearly 2 weeks and i feel ready to burst.

Having said that I don't know where to start.I keep having this feeling that I want to make a completely fresh start. ie end all my current relationships, including with my sisters and DH and one friend from a long a time ago and just start all over again, knowing that time I will be far more discerning in who I choose to enter into a relationship with. I am no longer so needy and desperate for love and a feeling of being wanted (not that I even realised that i was this way before, but with hindsight i can see how 'unchoosy' i was, simply because i was desperate, craving, love, affection, acceptance, all the things that had been lacking from my parents) that i know now I will not enter into a relationship of any sort, whether romantic or simply friendship, without really looking or caring about how the other person is treating me.

Every single one of my relationships that was formed before I started on this journey is with a person who has no or very little care or regard for my feelings. These people also have no idea or interest in who the real 'me' is, I am just there as a blank canvas for them to project onto. I have allowed myself to be treated like this because it was the only way i knew how to be, it was how i grew up. Only now am i beginning to discover who I am, what I stand for, what i beleive in, what my values are. And i actually like myself, I like who I am, who i have always been i suppose. But the real me was always hidden and was never allowed to come out by the people who i had a relationship with. Those people did not want to know or see the real me, they did not want her to speak out about herself or be herself, they wanted her to remain hidden so they could use the mask that was left for their own purposes.

I have tried being myself recently with my youngest sister. I told her i was hurt by middle sister telling me she was pregnant weeks after she had told younger sister. It made me feel once again, excluded, inferior, second best, an afterthought, like a 'third wheel' or a gooseberry amongst my sisters' cosy little twosome.

Her response spoke volumes. She told me i was being oversensetive and that i shouldn't be hurt at being excluded, and that she wouldn't be upset if she had been told weeks after me about the pregnancy. I don't think the latter is true, she would have been a little hurt i think. But it is probably true she wouldn't have been as hurt as i was as she has not endured a lifetime of being hurt by always feeling left out and excluded. But her complete lack of empathy or understanding towards me ie her not allowing or accepting me to express my true and sincere feelings to her told me what I have said above. She does not want to hear or see the real me. She wants me to stay as I was, the silent me, the me who never spoke up when my feelings were trampled on or disregarded.

I strongly suspect that if I spoke to middle sister about how she has made me feel wrt her pregnancy, her response would be similar to younger sister. My true feelings would be dismissed, she would say i being oversensetive, and that i should not be bothered by her treating me like 'second best sister.'

Youngest sister also really upset me when i spoke to her on the phone, she said something along the lines of middle sister and her see or speak on a daily basis, they look out for and look after each other. She was talking to me as if I was not also her sister, but like i was a complete outsider, a stranger who was asking to be treated as if i was her sister. It would be funny if it were not so painful. She simply does not see me as a sister. I am just an extra person she is being forced to accomodate, so she does so to the bare minimum, ie a phone call after many months, a birthday card and one each for the DC's and that's it. She treats me and acts like she is a fourth cousin or something. A fourth cousin who keeps calling her and wanting to be close to her, but who she really does not give two hoots about but feels obliged to maintain a bare bones relationship with because the fourth cousin will simply not let go of her.

Something Bop said a while ago makes so much sense. My cutting off my parents has actually brought my parents closer together and also my sisters and my parents. They are all clinging together in their illusory family and validating each other that I am the mad/bad/crazy/ungrateful one. My parents will use the fact that my sisters are still in a relationship with them to 'prove' it is me and not them who has something wrong in the head. They will all conveniently ignore the fact that i was the only one horribly abused by my dad and the only one who my mother didn't love. It is even worse as my sisters simply cannot understand the fact that our mother did not love me like she loved them, i know they truly and honestly believe that our mother loved us all, they have not the slightest clue how things were for me within that family. Nor were my sisters subject to my dad's projections like i was, they were not thought of as nasty, ungrateful, horrible and hateful daughters in the way my dad saw me, because of his psychosis and paranoia. So my sisters only know what they know of my parents, based solely on their own experience of them. Nor do they have the ability to step back and develop some self awareness and insight. And even if they did they still would not understand how I felt as a child and now, as their childhood experience was just so fundamentally and totally different from mine.

So my sisters do genuinely believe my parents were good parents because on the whole, both my parents were good enough parents to them. But not to me. And i can see that my sisters will never understand this concept. This also means that whilst for me our so called family was just an illusion, for my sisters, it is much of a real and genuine family, it is not just an illusion of a family, because both my parents do genuinely care about my sisters and my sisters must be able to feel that our parents do really love them, and so they in turn do have genuine feelings for my parents. And therefore, because my sisters have had a fairly good experience of our parents, they simply cannot and do not want to see or beleive the truth that the very same set of parents were horribly abusive and neglectful of me. So they have to tell me, like my youngest sister did recently, that my view of my parents is not a generally valid view and only from my pov are/were our parents bad parents. And strictly speaking that is true. It is only towards me that they were bad parents, not towards my sisters. But I don't think my sisters even really accept that our parents were awful to me, again I am sure they think I am simply being oversensetive and making a mountain out of a molehill, making a fuss over nothing and that I should be willing to overlook a few bad things when there are so many good things our parents have done. But that is their reality (my sisters') not mine. My reality is that there was no good stuff, apart from around 2 times when i felt like my dad seemed to show some genuine care and concern for me, and in a lifetime of 38 years, that is not enough, nor is it good enogh.

The problem i have now is what to do about my relationship with my sisters. Because in order to protect myself from constantly getting hurt by their exclusion of me, over and over again, in so many ways, I think my only option would be to end the relationship. I don't think talking to them would make any difference, they clearly want to continue as we are, they do not want to make any changes. They are very comfortable and cosy in their little twosome and with me on the outside, no doubt an irritating presence for them. I am sure they would rather i just disappeared; I'm sure they feel obliged to keep in touch with me; they don't actually want to call me/visit etc.

So I could just cut them off and be completely alone with no family at all. That is how i feel anyway, so it wouldn't be that different to now. At least i wouldn't then be facing a lifetime of feeling hurt at being excluded. They will always live close by to each other and their DC's are going to be close in age so naturally they will probably spend lots of time with each other, the DC's will grow up together and if was to keep in touch with them, i would have a constant unhappy feeling of exclusion and that is what I can't bear the thought of. And i can't force them to change, they have to see for themselves how their behaviour is making me feel and want to change for themselves. But i honestly cannot see that happening anytime soon.

But cutting them off is such a big step. I'm not sure i'm ready to take it as yet, especially with middle sister's baby due soon. Perhaps a temporary break might work. But I would like to see middle sister's baby growing up, and younger sisters.

I know i just need to accept that this is the way things are and not be so hurt all the time by them. But i am not at that stage yet. I keep thinking I am but then i get hurt again so clearly i am not. And youngest sister's SIL is emigrating soon and i know this will push her closer to middle sister then would have happened otherwise and i will be exluded even more. Youngest sister's SIL was a substitute sister for her and she was partly the reason youngest sister was so involved in her family in law and had no time for me and only a little time for middle sister. I know if i talk to my sisters about how i feel they will come up with a million and one excuses about why things are the way they are, meaning of course that there is no chance or possibility of things changing.

I am supposed to be talking to youngest sister on the phone about some of these things but i feel it is completely pointless. I know she will come up with loads of excuses, point the finger at me and tell me i'm being oversensetive etc. I don't know what to do. Cutting them off seems very drastic and final and will also affect my DC's. Not cutting them off means i will always feel hurt and excluded and I don't feel i can live with that feeling for the rest of my life.

oneplusone Wed 03-Jun-09 13:14:42

Sorry, have more to add. I really am beginning to notice more and more similarities in DH to his mother which i am getting increasingly worried about. He keeps trying to tell me he is a great husband and i feel it is like my parents always telling me they were great parents. It's as if he, like them, is trying to brainwash and confuse me, so i cannot see the truth. The main thing about DH that really bothers me is how he seems to have no idea of what i have been through over the last couple of years. Dealing with a lot of emotional pain and looking after the DC's who are still so young.

I realise now i have been depressed, mildly and/or severely, for a long time, and this has manifested itself in my wanting to sleep loads. So at weekends, for quite some time, DH has been getting up with the kids on both sundays and saturdays so i can sleep. Perhaps i am expecting too much, but i thought DH was willing to get up and let me have a lie in because he knew i was going through a really hard time, had a huge amount on my plate and was literally hanging on by a thread sometimes. So I thought he was letting me sleep because he loved me and wanted to help me. And it was partly for those reasons, but he also seems to be holding such a huge grudge against me for his having to take up the slack in that way for quite a while. So often when we have an argument, he always brings it up, the fact that he has had to get up at weekends so i can sleep in. And it makes me feel really bad and guilty and also very hurt. Because i wasn't sleeping in because i was lazy or selfish, it was because essentially i was ill. Mentally ill. And also physically ill quite a bit as well, with various coughs. colds and viruses, no doubt because my immune system was shot to pieces because of the huge and continuous stress and strain i was under for pretty much 2 years, whilst i was going through the worst phase of my recovery and healing from the pain of my childhood.

I also feel he is simply not the person i thought he was. I thought, when we met and got married that we were alike in that we both had the same standards of integrity, decency, honesty. But i have realised that we do not share the same standards. I would never for eg. read his diary if i came across it. And yet he has read mine, on 2 occasions, although it was years ago. He also does not always do the right thing, and i know in the same position i would have done something different. eg. years ago when i was pregnant with DD, DH had lost his job and even though i was struggling at work, i had a very stressful job, i was suffering from insomnia so was going to work on around 2 hours sleep a night, all whilst i was around 4/5 months pregnant. DH, due to his overinflated ego, refused to get a job unless he thought it was good enough for him. ie he refused to just get any job eg stacking shelves at Tesco, simply because it would have been the right thing to do given that i was pregnant and struggling so much and he waited for months and months til a job that he deemed suitable for him came up. I have always felt so hurt and let down by him during that time. I thought as my husband he would look after me, especially when i was pregnant, but he put his own selfish needs and ego before me and i don't think i will ever forgive him for that. And he didn't tell his parents about that time and then later, when his mother was laying into me for supposedly not looking after DH after I had DD, DH said nothing and told me his mother was simply looking out for him as most MIL's do.

I pointed out to him recently that it was him who had not looked after me when i was pregnant because he was too proud to stack shelves; and yes, i was not looking after him after I had DD, but that was due to severe, undiagnosed PND, not because i was too lazy or couldn't be bothered.

His mother clearly jumped to the conclusion that i wasn't doing things around the house because i was lazy/couldn't be bothered and I feel DH thinks the same of me during the last 2 years when again i have had depression which has hindered greatly my ability to cope with the housework and DC's. This is where he and his mother are so similar. They seem to have no compassion or understanding that i was going through such a hard time, they would rather jump to a negative conclusion that i am lazy, than think that there might be a reason as to why i am not doing things. Even now, MIL has realised she made a huge mistake aboht me, she thinks it is beneath her to apologise to me and DH is the same, getting an apology out of him is like getting blood out of a stone and even when he does apologise, i can tell he doesn't really mean it, he doesn't understand how he has hurt me and what he did wrong.

I am just fed up of dealing with all these people, my sisters, DH etc. I feel there are other people out there who are not like the people in my life right now and i want to be free to go out there and find new healthy relationships. But i am being held back by my sisters and DH.

I have also realised i don't particularly like or respect a 'friend' i have known for a long time, nearly 25 years. Again i think i have just ignored her faults for years, but recently i feel like she is not a very decent person and i don't really want to be around her. She has treated me badly on only a couple of occasions, but it's not even the way she has treated me but the way she behaves in general that i dislike. eg she has a job where she is in charge of government organisation which is there to help people who are in severe difficultties. And from what she tells me, simply because she can get away with it as there is nobody checking op on her as she is in charge, she hardly actually goes into her office, does little or no work, spends her time at the gym or at home, all without any thought that she should be at work, doing what she can to improve the services they can offer to those that use the charity etc. I despise her attitude, she wanted to get into the charity sector under the guise that she wanted to help people, but she is just helping herself, getting paid and doing nothing. I don't want to be associated with people like her, i feel ashamed that i have stayed friends with her for so long now. She also has no regard for others. She had agreed to come to our place for a bbq a while ago and she was going to cancel at the last minute and the only reason she didn't cancel is that she was unable to arrange a weekend away with her latest boyfriend. She even told me she had been trying to arrange a weekend away, whilst knowing at the same time she had agreed to come to my place for the bbq. She couldn't care less that she would have let me down or that i would have catered for her and her boyfriend being present in terms of food etc. I am sick and fed up of her and people like her. I just cannot be bothered with them anymore. She is currently away on holiday and i am going to speak to her when she gets back. I am going to let her know that i don't appreciate her disregard for me and if she continues like that i will end the relationship.

oneplusone Wed 03-Jun-09 13:17:57

I'm sorry for going on about myself so much. Really needed to get that lot off my chest. Have more time now as school is back so will read all recent posts this afternoon. x

BopTheAlien Wed 03-Jun-09 21:11:18

AN, I get that feeling of worry when I feel I've opened up too much, and like you I can also end up saying more than I meant to about things, once I start talking. I think that's a result of being unheard and unlistened to for so long, having to contain it all inside, keeping it even from yourself in a way. The need to be heard and understood and validated is huge. Like Pinky, I worry that it will push people away from me (and this has happened), that they will think I'm mad or unstable (has almost certainly also happened) or just "too much" - too needy, too damaged, too desperate. Which I was for a very long time. It happens less now that I have healed a lot, but the fact is those dynamics will always be there to an extent - there will always be a part of me clamouring to be heard, there will always be a part of me terrified of abandonment. It's not that I don't believe in healing; I continue to work at it even though I have resolved huge amounts of stuff and accomplished major, fundamental changes in my life, and I will probably continue to work on these issues in whatever form I need to for the rest of my life, in some way. But I can't ever undo what happened. I can't be the person I would have been if I'd not been damaged. I will always be the person these bad things happened to, however far away I move from them - and the more I accept that, the more I do move forward, paradoxically.

I think it's probably worrying for your DH in a different way, as well as the fear of damage to his reputation that you mention. To men, information is power, and they don't like sharing it. To women, communication is lifeblood, and we have to share to learn and support each other. OK, huge generalisation and maybe over-simplification, but personally I do think that there are real differences in the way we're wired (men and women) and it's a primitive biological thing and it's not right or wrong or better or worse, it's just the way it is. I know my DH always feels uneasy at the thought of me disclosing "too much" - too much in his mind being almost anything that has any tint of vulnerability.

Must go. Still reading all the posts and wanting to respond to so much more; time always the issue.

Sakura Thu 04-Jun-09 00:48:41

I follow everything you're saying about your husband. Mine does things "for me" to feed his image of himself as a good husband, rather than doing it actually because he loves me. Also, there are times where I do feel really grateful for the things he does (similar to your DH getting up with the kids at the weekend) but it is frequently used against me in later arguments. SO I feel its being done to push me into the role of "selfish" while he gets away with being the image of perfection. I almost feel like escaping (divorcing) because at least if I'm on my own I won't be held up against this other perfect person and be found wanting. But then again to be fair, he is good in many ways. I would be worse off on my own while the kids are young.
ITs like my parents. They needed me in their life because all their inadequacies were projected onto me. I was the one who was always causing trouble. So now I have cut my mother out and have minimal contact with my father, I just know that they are carrying around the same rage but have no-one to project it onto. It must be very confusing for them. I mean, wasn't it me who was always causing problems in their life? So how is it that my mother is a raging alcoholic and they both started divorce proceedings shortly after I escaped to university? Me not being there meant that their rage leaked out towards other people in their lives.

Sakura Thu 04-Jun-09 00:49:42

Roseability, perhaps you have given birth by now? I'm 38 weeks and dying for it to be over!

PinkyMinxy Thu 04-Jun-09 09:05:23

'I feel its being done to push me into the role of "selfish" while he gets away with being the image of perfection'

That is exactly how I feel sometimes. My DH does sometimes like to play the role of put upon husband to friends and people we meet. I pull him up on it now. I point out to him that I am not going to acept his little put downs and such. I think a lot of this is the way my family behave towards me rubbing off on him. We have been together a long time, and he has admitted that he feels he may have been taken in by my mother on a few occaisions- but so have I- she is very manipulative and can tell peole whatever they want to hear, and is especially dangerous when you are feeling annoyed by something someone has done. She never smooths things over- she always fans the flames instead, because it suits her.

I think my DH has some problems with anxiety, too. Maybe my anxiety makes him stressed, but also his father suffered very badly from depression, and his brother is/was (he has calmed down a lot) very loud and prone to shouting.

The thing that makes me feel better about him is that though we have arguments etc. we are communicating much better, we are discussing things a lot more rather than each taking an opposing view and defending it to the death, which is what we have been prone to doing.

OPO Can I ask you, do you feel lonely at times? I know I do. It seems bizarre, but my toxic mother and sister and the way they made me feel alien to the rest of the world has at times felt like a comfort blanket. I find trying to make real objective sense of things exhausting- the black and white of 'it's all me, no wonder nobody likes me', or 'all popular people are shallow and mean' seems so much simpler. I don't know where to turn sometimes. I know that basically I have to deal with things myself- I cannot rely on other people to tell me how to feel- or not to feel- because accepting my feelings as real is another big challenge.

It is hard to know who is good and who is bad for you. I wonder if maybe it is not about that, but about not letting the bad get to you. I was fretting again the other day about this very strange and controlling lady I met through NCT- our sons are friends of sorts. DH saod to me-' don't worry about her- just think of her as someone we happened to meet- her opinions do mot matter. I think this is what my therapist talks alot about- not giving people too much power in one's life.

Roseability Thu 04-Jun-09 09:11:04

Sakura - I am 39 weeks today and struggling. I am desperate for it to be over, to have my baby in my arms. I have been rubbish at responding to people's posts as my brain is fried with lack of sleep and an energetic three year old! I am reading though

oneplusone Thu 04-Jun-09 10:37:10

Bop, your post once again said it all for me. Especially the part about never being the person you would have been had you not been damaged by your parents. I feel confronted by this all the time. I see for eg. on tv programmes, younger people in their twenties, starting out in their careers and i can see they will achieve great things. I know they must have all their energy and resources available to them to enable them to achieve and fulfil their potential. And i always at this point feel the huge loss that i suffered, that my potential was not fulfilled and now it is too late, the circumstances are not right for me to achieve what i am capable of. If i had not been so badly damaged and pushed down and had all my energy and vitality available to me in my twenties, i know i would have achieved so much more than i actually did in my career and in other areas. It is a loss that can never be made up. I am now nearly 40 and my priority is my DCs and helping them to achieve their full potential, my time for that is over and can never be recovered. I know that once the DC's are a bit older i will have more opportunity to fulfil my dreams but my needs will always take second place to the DC's, i will not be able to devote all my time, energy, passion and resources to whatever i choose to do, not in the way i could have done as a young, free and single twentysomething with the world at her feet, with no ties, no commitments to anyone other than herself. I am forever mourning and grieving over this particular loss, it still hurts a lot.

Sakura, yes i know what you mean, about our DH's putting us in the role of damaged one so they can be the perfect unflawed one. But recently, i feel i have 'clawed' my way back and the balance is shifting in our relationship. I have dealt with so much of my stuff and i have a feeling DH is only now starting to open his eyes slightly to some of his 'stuff'. Until now he totally denied he even had any 'stuff' that needed dealing with ie he was perfect in his eyes, totally undamaged. But from the tiny little things he is starting to tell me about his childhood, i know like i have always known, that he too has 'stuff', deeply buried away. So there is hope for him and for us and for that i am very grateful. For a quite a while recently i felt like you, that at some point, when the DC's were older, divorce was my only option, but i don't feel that way now. I hope that somehow, one day, your DH will have the courage to open his eyes a little bit too, to the truth about his mother.

Pinky, yes I do feel lonely, i feel lonely all the time really. Right now i feel a bit closer to DH and so a bit less lonely, but really it is always there with me. Like you said, even though our family treated us badly, at least having them around gave us a place to 'belong', now, without them, I feel i am just floating around by myself, not really firmly anchored down anywhere, with no roots to give me stability. It is a strange feeling though, on the one hand sad and not nice, but on the other hand i feel quite free too. I know what you mean about this whole process being exhausting, it is totally draining and i do so wish that i could switch off from it all sometimes and just enjoy my life, but it is always there, if not at the forefront, then at the back of my mind. You are trying to find yourself, to coin a corny phrase and it is exhausting, but like you said, there is no easy way of doing it and nobody can do it for you. Have you read "The Truth Will set you Free" by Alice Miller? I would really recommend it, it's an easy read and i think it would help you.

AN, sorry i haven't responded to your recent posts, i have read them. I know what you mean about feeling you have said too much, i have done this occasionally, a while ago, but nowadays i have certain people i talk to to quite openly about all of this and with others i keep it superficial. I know it's easy to say, but please don't worry about it too much, you may feel you have said too much but you really have nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of. You have done nothing wrong, not now nor in the past, so there is no need to worry about talking about what heppened to you. You are no longer that little girl, you are an adult and if there are issues that arise as a result of you talking about this stuff, then i am sure you will be able to resolve them in an adult way, always bearing in mind that you are not in the wrong in any way and it's ususally other people's ignorance and lack of knowledge about this whole issue that causes problems. Please don't worry and please post on here if you need help or support about this issue.

oneplusone Thu 04-Jun-09 11:10:06

Sorry, more about me. One of the things that bothers me a lot about all of this is the fact that as I have gone along this journey and realised i was involved in so many unhealthy toxic relationships and have ended many of those relationships, DH in particular I feel seems to think there is something wrong with me, in that it looks to him as if i am very unforgiving and cut people out of my life at the drop of a hat and i cannot seem to get on with people as i have so many problems with so many of the people in my life.

I know now that it is not me. I entered into lots of unhealthy relationships purely due to my faulty upbringing and i failed to end or set boundaries in existing relationships eg with my sisters, again because i was so damaged. Now that i am realising and recognising that nearly all the people close to me thus far have been treating me badly and now that i am unwilling to accept being treated like that and am therefore either having to end some of my relationships or set boundaries in others, I think DH sees me as unforgiving or faulty and unable to easily get on with people.

I have every confidence in myself that any relationships i choose to enter into from now on will be far healthier for me, but I am unsurprisingly quite wary and cautious now of any friendships that seem to be forming, i don't form a strong attachment to anybody that is a bit nice to me or shows a tiny bit of interest in me, almost immediately like i used to do when i was needy and craving love and affection and attention.

I am shocked and saddened now when i look back and realise just how needy i was, so needy that i would become so strongly attached to anyone who showed any interest in me at all, without even noticing who that person was or how they were treating me. And i can see now so many of my relationships were with people who could see i was non-assertive, lacking in confidence and self esteem, and i was used by all those people as their poison container, just as i was used by my parents.

I realise now i would form a deep attachment very quickly and put all my trust in people and always overlook and ignore the many ways in which they showed they didn't really give two hoots about me, had no respect for me, did not see the real me and were not interested in finding out who i was. I feel so sad that i am nearly 40 and have already spent half my life in bad relationships. Yet another loss to grieve over and another one that cannot be made up. I know the years to come will be different, but that does not make me feel any less sad about the years i have lost when i could have been forming healthy, long lasting relationships.

And again, what always makes my particular losses so hard to bear, is the knowledge that my sisters didn't suffer nearly as much as me. Their lives have been so much easier and smoother, less troublesome in every way, physical health included, all because they didn't suffer the abuse and abandonment and rejection that i was subject to. And i feel angry that they cannot see this, they cannot see that it is due to the differences in our childhoods that we are all such different people now, that we have nothing in common as sisters. My life has been so much harder than theirs, made harder by our parents, and i feel i deserve some sympathy, compassion and understanding from them because of this. And also respect from them for having survived the traumas of my childhood and achieiving what i have achieved in spite of and despite our parents. Instead i think my sisters think we all grew up on a 'level playing field' and i am now in the wrong for doing what i have done and feeling the way i feel about our parents. I know it is impossible for them to understand but i feel i want to somehow force them to understand how it was for me. Again i know logically that is impossible, i cannot force them to see anything they don't want to, but i feel i cannot give up the struggle of trying to make them see the truth. Not yet anyway. I suppose one day i will tire of banging my head against a brick wall and i will give up.

smithfield Thu 04-Jun-09 11:35:31

Sakura- that was very interesting what you wrote about your parents and what would they do with the rage once they no longer had you to contain it.
When I left to go overseas (an unconscious act of self preservation), everything fell apart at home. My mother fell out with middle db (the golden one) and they didn’t speak for two years as a result.
At the same time my father and mother began divorce proceedings.
My sister then ended up living alone with our mother and (for the first time) was on the same receiving end as I had been all my life.
My younger db cut of from my mother shortly after and hasn’t spoken to her since.
Remove the container and the whole family implodes.
Also- I know exactly how you and Rose are feeling right now- Nothing I can say will be of help because ‘this is’ the worst part of pg IMO. But your babes will soon be with you and you will feel much joy from that I promise. Sending some (un-mn like) anti-toxic dust your way wink

Oneplusone- I hear you, I really do. And what’s more I get it. I mean I REALLY get it. Having said that there is no quick fix but I do understand the level of the pain you are likely feeling.
I don’t know why but my relationship with my sister is/was so much more painful than that with my brothers.
I know for my part I was just ‘desperate’ to feel part of something and feel close to someone…’anyone’, within my family.
I thought I ‘did’ have this with my sister, but looking back I do see now that that was a lie. I never was close to her. She would not allow it. Partly because she was too damaged, but mainly because it was in ‘her’ interests (if only subconsciously) to keep me in my role as ‘outsider’, ‘troublemaker’, ‘the scapegoat’ for the family.
My mother always meddled in our relationship and fed the concept that it was ‘me’ that was the problem and my sister was too desperate for my parent’s approval to challenge this. Besides why would she? She was brought up to see me through my mother’s eyes. Like you, she did not share my experience of being ‘constantly’ abused by my mother. Love or approval was in ‘such’ short supply in our house it was all about survival at the end of the day, so in many respects I don’t blame her.

I remember feeling ‘so’ hurt by her telling me when we had fallen out over something that she was scared of me and that I was SO aggressive. I only realise now that this wasn’t true. She was seeing the picture of me that my mother had painted carefully for the entire family. MY mother was the aggressor but sidestepped any blame or disapproval for this by throwing this aspect of her onto me.

I never ‘decided’ consciously to cut my sister out, but I did decide that I could no longer keep knocking at the same door and getting no response. My sister NEVER rang me even when I was heavily pregnant; she has visited once and stayed in a hotel.
She (like your sisters) kept things from me.

I simply couldn’t do it to myself anymore. Someone wrote on another thread a brilliant analogy about looking in an empty cupboard. This describes my relationship with my sister perfectly. I kept looking but there was nothing there. There never was.

Yes, it ‘is’ different for me in that my sister does not have children. Yet, I kept convincing myself that eventually things ‘would’ change. When I had children, when my siblings had children, but I have accepted now it will not. It is only since accepting that fact that I have had more time and energy to put into friendships which

oneplusone Thu 04-Jun-09 11:37:20

Also, just wanted to say to rose and sakura, best of luck with your impending births. I am due to go away for a few days and won't be back til the end of next week, so you might have given birth by the time i am back. You are both strong and courageous, your babies are so very lucky to have you as their mothers. x

smithfield Thu 04-Jun-09 11:47:37

oneplusone - x posted with you.

' I see for eg. on tv programmes, younger people in their twenties, starting out in their careers and i can see they will achieve great things. I know they must have all their energy and resources available to them to enable them to achieve and fulfil their potential. And i always at this point feel the huge loss that i suffered, that my potential was not fulfilled and now it is too late, the circumstances are not right for me to achieve what i am capable of. If i had not been so badly damaged and pushed down and had all my energy and vitality available to me in my twenties, i know i would have achieved so much more than i actually did in my career and in other areas. It is a loss that can never be made up. '

yes I feel this too. I used to feel (not as much now) a definate rage and jealousy whenever I was in a place where there are young students. Well, in fact I am still triggered by this. I know this is the pain I feel for my loss of potential.
I had so much to give but I couldnt because of my low esteem and the fact it was my mothers job to keep me down.
I did think it was her competitiveness that kept me down but I realise it was more than this.
I had to be the 'loser' the 'disapointment' another facet of my family role and the proof my mother needed to convincingly portray 'me' as 'the problem'.

smithfield Thu 04-Jun-09 12:02:45

Bop- a while back you wrote about your brother. I had meant to respond before to say that I identified with what you had written.
I’m not sure it was on the same scale as you, after all I am the eldest and so I was the bigger stronger child for many years, but as my brothers grew that all changed of course.
Middle brother seemed able to do pretty much anything he liked. He used to rage around the house and completely disregarded anybody else in it. This was especially with regard to my sister and me. He was ‘top dog’. What’s more he knew it and acted accordingly. He would often ‘throw his weight around’ as it were, and my mother gave him permission to do this. Was this another way of her enabling someone to act out ‘her’ rage? She would project her rage onto me, and I would be punished, but my brother’s rage was rewarded, accepted.
The way both my brothers acted and behaved was often despicable and unacceptable but they were never punished.
I remember once my brother being outrageously rude to my mother. I stood up for her, and he screamed at me to F off. He then went upstairs and proceeded to throw my belongings around in rage. My mother said nothing, except to imply I had provoked him.
How f*** up is that?
So I wanted to acknowledge your feeling on what you wrote but also to thank you for having written it. I don’t think I ever dwelled on any of this before. In truth I probably barely noticed the significance of that particular dynamic at all. It was all far to normalised for me.

And whoever wrote about waking up with dread?
Yes, yes and yes!

Lemonylemon Thu 04-Jun-09 12:35:25

Sorry to crash your thread. I've "sort of" followed the thread, which from what I can see, has a very long history.

I just wanted to ask all of you, but in particular OPO and Smithfield if any of you had read a book called "Healing the Child Within" by Charles Whitworth. The reason I ask is that you talk about your childhood and the child that you were etc. The book does mention a way of dealing with this. Also, there's a book by Louise Hay which mentions this as well. I found it helped me a lot.

I "think" I had a happy childhood, but was the child of a very seriously ill father and a much younger mother who was from a dysfunctional family (she was taken away from her parents when she was 3 as she was being neglected).

I recognise and get what you've been through as I've come on a very long journey myself with coming to terms with how my family have behaved etc.

I was widowed nearly 2 years ago while I was pregnant (I also have a 12 year old son) and what my mum and my sister did then was really not to be believed, so I turned my back on them and concentrated on my little family unit of 3 - I call us the Three Musketeers. But anyway, enough about me, I just wanted to say how impressed I am by everyone's eloquence and strength

Lemonylemon Thu 04-Jun-09 12:37:08

PS: Sorry, I also meant to mention ActingNormal in relation to the book...

smithfield Thu 04-Jun-09 12:46:50

oops - seems I lost half my post to you opo

will attempt to post second half- enjoy your trip.

I have had more time and energy to put into friendships which ‘are’ mutual and are reciprocated. I’m making my own rules now and will only invest in relationships where there is a mutual respect. That feels very liberating.

I can’t tell you whether to cut contact or not but you can decide (mentally) to no longer pursue something that doesn’t exist, to try and fix something that simply can’t be fixed. You will have to grieve all over again, for the loss of the relationships you ‘should’ have had with your sisters, but for me anyway I have come out the other side stronger and happier. The bump on my head from the constant banging on a brick wall is finally starting to heal. There will always be sadness about it but I’ve accepted (finally) it is not my fault.

As an aside, wrt your dh, did you know that vast amounts of stress in pg increase chances of pnd? I think your dh should be furnished with that knowledge perhaps.
That said, I don’t know if you can be entirely sure if you are transferring some of the anger you are currently feeling for your sisters onto dh until there is some resolution there. After all there must be so much frustration with what you want to say to your sisters but cant and that will all be building within you.

And do not feel guilty with regard to ds and nursery. If you were without the low self esteem that was thrust upon you by your family you wouldn’t have such overpowering feelings of guilt. Ds is most likely having a fine old time and benefiting from the interactions with other kiddies, whilst you are benefiting from the time to heal. It’s all about the bigger picture.

smithfield Thu 04-Jun-09 12:53:46

lemonylemon- Thanyou for that. I am always open to suggestions on books to read.. I gains so much from reading stuff, even snippets I find on the internet.
It is like I am constantly searching for the truth ever since ever.
I love that you call your little unit the 'three muskateers'. It shows a sense of belonging and closeness.
I am getting there with that myself but sometimes struggle as I have a tendency to project some of my rubbish onto my own little family.
The further along this path I go the more connected I feel to them them. That is a good thing as I feel finally Im looking to the right place to fill the gapping hole that exists inside of me.
Lemony- Do you feel able to post more about what happened back then when you cut off from your family. I understand if you would rather not.
You sound like you have been through a great deal.

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