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Our 6th visit to the Stately Home.....(989 Posts)
Hi all, took the liberty of starting a new thread. Keep on posting!
Hi did anyone read my post on number 5 thread the other day and i hope i havent upset anyone??!!
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!!!!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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