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I need advice on parents again - sorry to be moaning and just to warn you it is long

(53 Posts)
TheArmadillo Wed 21-Oct-09 19:05:44

I am thinking of taking a break from my parents for a bit. There are some things that are really bugging me atm - that I can't get past and I need a break.

Some seem really petty but some are bigger but they all seem to affect me the same.

When I was a child every week my parents would buy a family treat. Every bloody week it was lemon merangue (sp?) pie. I hate the stuff so much. At first they used to buy me something else but then they stopped. It was my fault for not likeing what everyone else did. I was deliberately excluding myself from the nice thing they had done. They did this on other stuff but this always sticks out. It seems so petty but really hurt. I always felt like the odd one out and this just highlighted it. And I didn't do it deliberately.

Their house also always was and always is cold - and I meaning freezing. If I go to visit them it takes about 24 hours for me to warm up properly afterwards. When I was a child/teen I didn't sleep because I was so cold. I had electric blanket/hot water bottle/several layers of clothes and all the blankets I could find. In the morning I would have to get up adn take shower. My mum refuses tohave the water more than about luke warm so I would get even colder. The radiator in my room didn't work (though it wouldn't have made much difference) but I was too scared to tell them. I thought it was a psychological thing but ds also freezes there (and he is never cold). It wouldn't have bothered me if they couldn't afford it but they could. My overriding memory of my teenage years is being freezing cold all the time. I had constant chest infections (and am asthmatic) and a frozen neck that still cause me problems.

I had a lot of issues as a child. At senior school I used to have constant panic attacks and be sent home. My parents never bothered to find out why - it was just me being oversensitive and difficult. I used to self harm (cutting) and take overdoses of painkillers but I was just told to stop on one occassion when my mum found out and that 'no daughter of mine is depressed' (dr diagnosed me with depression at 9yo but my mum walked out and changed surgeries). I wouldn't drink liquids (I survived on half a glass of water in an evening) for a couple of years and had problems because i was really dehydrated. I gave up talking for a year (when I was about 11) and my mum never told me till afterwards and how difficult it was for her. I had loads of other issues as well (not wanting to leave house/see anyone/refusing to go to school). None of which was commented on apart from that I was difficult.

When I did finally have counselling at 16 (6 sessions and didn't get on with therapist so no good) I was too terrified to tell my mum and lied as to where I was going.

My mum always told me I was the clever one and my sister was the pretty one who people liked. When she was being really horrible to me about a year ago no matter what I said she would not believe I had any friends. Because (I believe) she can't see anyone wanting to be friends with me. She sees me as very antisocial/introverted and having a strange sense of humour that no one can understand. I do have friends (brilliant supportive ones) though I am shy. I was/am also spiteful, sharp tongued and I scare people so no one wants to talk to me. Anytime I say anything she tells me to stop shouting and being so nasty but won't let me know what I have done. So I don't know what I am doing wrong.

She has rewritten my childhood so now I was the difficult one (my sister has lots of probs and was uncontrollable - previously I was the good one) - I was oversensitive, clingy, antisocial and boring apparently.

I am terrified with everyone that I will say/do the wrong thing without meaning to and they will punish me/cut me off. I have nightmares that my fantastic MIL who I rely on does this to me because I've done something and I don't know what it is. I am used to people suddenly turning and yelling screaming at me for no reason I can understand. I told my aunt once (came up in conversation) that me and my sis weren't that close (we can't stand each other) and my mum tore me to pieces after. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to say it sad

I am also fed up with being blamed for my sister's behaviour. When I was a child if ever I complained of her being mean or hitting me it was my fault for teaching her the behaviour in the first place so I had no right to complain. BUT WHO TAUGHT ME angry It's still always my fault if we disagree. I have to walk around eggshells around sis who explodes if she thinks you might be criticising her. And then my mum wonders why we are constantly jealous of each other. And why we have always screamed at each other at full volume when it's all my parents ever did. It was mortifying in public. I hated it so much and still do.

I have never been forgiven for anything I did as a child. It is constantly brought up as evidence of my failings.

I lived with them for 9 months when ds was born. My mum convinced the midwife that I was going to be such a crap mother that the midwife did extra visits till she realised I was coping. My HV used to check everything with my mum before she carried out stuff. My mum tells me I am a terrible parent who is destroying my sons life.

But mum believes my sister is brilliant with kids despite any evidence to the contrary. Sis did horrible things when ds was tiny. The worst being that I used to beg mum that I would call in sick to work when I first went back after ds if she couldn't look after ds herself. But she would promise me she would. Then I would get home and find that sis was looking after him and that she was watching telly in the dark and ds was on the other side of the room screaming his head off while she ignored him. I had no idea how long she had left him like that.

They also treat dp (my partner of 10 years) as no more than a sperm donor. They laugh at him and make fun of him. I hate it. I pull them up on it and it has got better but they just completely disregard him as if he doesn't exist.

I see them once a week atm with ds (5yo). I want to stop this as whatever I do it isn't enough until I leave dp and take ds to live with them (aparently i can carry on 'seeing' dp if I like hmm). They spend the entire visit ignoring me and going into another room with ds or the short amount of time they do spend with me is spent complaining how they don't see enough of me and ds and how unfair it is me keeping ds from them. Now I tend to visit them on the same day it is set in stone and they hang up on me or sulk if I don't go (cos I'm ill/have other arrangements) - nothing is a good enough reason. My mum's phone calls are building up again so she phones me every couple of days to complain how she hasn't seen me (that's all she talks about) to the point where i hate answering the phone again.

They have no idea what kind of person I really am or what my interests/likes are - even down to the kind of foods I dislike (ones I have never eaten). It's like I am not real to them almost.

I want a break for a while. If I give them a one weekly visit then they are not satisfied until I see them daily and ds stays overnight (which I am not happy to do as last time they had him unsupervised we had problems getting him back off them again). They are convinced I am a shit parent and want him around to sort of 'save' him I think - to make sure he is looked after properly (in their opinion). I can't be dealing with this anymore. We moved house to be further away from them and so they couldn't control us as much but it is all creeping back.

But I don't know how to tell them I need a break.

Lulumama Wed 21-Oct-09 19:10:22

i cannot believe in the light of all that, that you have even tried to maintain a relationship , so well done!

what are they adding to your life?

would they even understand why you need a break? my guess is not, but i would write a letter and leave it at that

my guess is that their reponse will be to say they never want to see you again

and would that be such a bad thing?

wishing you strength

sounds like you are doing briliiantly despite all of this and your horrible childhood

p.s no-one likes lemon meringue pie ( except me!) and i am a bit odd grin

CarGirl Wed 21-Oct-09 19:13:24

Armadillo, I'm sure I've told you this before.

Just cut off contact with them, they are truly awful bullies.

Don't tell them that you need break. Just tell them you're not coming on x and you will see them on y instead.

Or alternatively just say you're not coming on x and then hang up grin.

They will end up harming the relationship between you and ds, I really think they are that toxic from all you have said in the past.

How is the new house btw?

Twintummy Wed 21-Oct-09 19:21:44

I'm so surprised they are still in your life. They sound horrific.

Doha Wed 21-Oct-09 19:23:21

Run for the hills my dear and run fast.

You have managed well with your DS and also it seems with your DP.

You do not need these toxic controlling demoralsising people in your life.

You will probably feel like a weight has been removed from your shoulders if you take a break--hopefully permenant.
You owe them nothing--they owe you plenty.

ps sorry but l love lemon meringue pie--so l musy be odd toogrin

diddl Wed 21-Oct-09 19:27:26

Please cut off contact!

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 21-Oct-09 19:29:56

Hi TheArmadillo

Have you ever read "Toxic Parents" written by Susan Forward?. If not this would be a good starting point for you.

You are the scapegoat for all their ills in this dysfunctional family unit of theirs. This position they've adopted will not alter whatever you do; these people never change, never accept any responsibility for their actions and never apologise. Toxic parents as well often rewrite their kids childhoods, it is par for the course with these very dysfunctional people. It is NOT your fault they are like this.

What makes you want to stay in contact with these people at all?. You moved further away to get away from them!. Do you at heart think your DS needs to know who his grandparents are?. Such problems more often than not become generational in nature as well, they will affect your DS if you allow it to happen.

If you give an inch they will take a mile and use that against you. I would also consider seeing a counsellor (BACP have a list and won;t charge you the earth).

Another thing you can do is look at the "Stately Homes" thread on these relationships pages and post on there. You will also receive good counsel from those women too.

Get caller identity on your phone if you have not already got it and screen your calls.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 21-Oct-09 19:30:56

P.S I like lemon meringue pie as well but can fully see why you hate it so much. It brings back a lot of bad memories.

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Wed 21-Oct-09 19:34:46

that sounds awful. so sad for you, for your current situation and your childhood experiences.

agree with others - what do these people add to your life? stress, worry, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt .... do they add one good thing to your life??

walk away. what does your DP think? he can't be a big fan given how they treat him. that would probably be enough in most people's eyes to distance themselves, look at all you are putting up with and have put up with. just because they are your parents does not mean that you have to maintain contact with them.

Jux Wed 21-Oct-09 19:36:35

They do sound awful. Tell them you're not visiting next time. If you need to, change your phone no. Then write them a letter if it'll make you feel better.

What does your dp think about it? Would he field calls for you?

Do not leave your ds with them again.

Can you move further away?wink

(Can you buy them real estate on the moon?)

TheArmadillo Wed 21-Oct-09 19:54:37

Thanks for these - have been wavering abit going back to 'but they're not that bad' stuff.

Am re reading toxic parents at the mo (ds hid it for a while and have just found it again).

It still comes down to the fact that I am scared of them adn terrified of what they will do if I cut them out.

Dp cannot stand them and his family (although won't bad mouth them much to me) can't either. They are really supportive so I have them adn some good friends. All of whom will tell me the same thing.

I think I am going to get dp to help me write a letter as I am too cowardly to do it face to face or on the phone. Also he will screen calls for me (and enjoy speaking his mind probably as he's been biting his tongue for so long).

I think I need to take a deep breath on this one adn finally cut off contact. I can now say I tried it reduced adn they still didn't behave.

It is scary though.

CarGirl Wed 21-Oct-09 20:03:15

What are you frightened they will do to you?

Why not just get married and not invite them, that could do it without writing a word?

cocolepew Wed 21-Oct-09 20:10:02

I remember you posting before, I said then to just cut them out of your life. I haven't changed my opinion, you're lucky to have a supportive family on DPs side.

Lulumama Wed 21-Oct-09 20:22:26

what can they do that is worse than what is happening now?

i would have no compunction about cutting them out

not least for their treatment of DS, do it for him if you can't do it for yourself IFYSWIM

TheArmadillo Wed 21-Oct-09 20:26:57

The one thing that I am really scared of is them coming round here, refusing to leave and getting violent.

My dad has a violent temper (though he hasn't done anything since I was in my teens).

Maybe they wouldn't but there is always going to be the fear that they will.

They know where I live and they know where I work adn where my child goes to school.

When it comes down to it as much as I hate to admit it I am shit scared of my parents and always have been. Pure fear and cowardice.

cocolepew Wed 21-Oct-09 20:28:29

If that happens you phone the police, you see a solicitor. Be brave x.

Lulumama Wed 21-Oct-09 20:29:48

don't ever let them in, let the school know that DS must never EVER be collected by them and that should they come to school or attempt ever to take him, they must call you and then the police! put it in writing to the school

don't let them govern you with fear anymore

TheArmadillo Wed 21-Oct-09 20:36:23

I think I will have to warn dp adn I think it might be a good idea to have ds school put them down on the list of people they will not release him to (though you have to be on list to collect him anyway). May set my mind at rest.

I think I am really seriously planning to do this now. I want to talk to MIL first (to pre warn and she is away atm) and have serious chat with dp (I have told him - he was very pleased and thought it was brilliant idea) about all the possible consequences adn what I want him to do.

My bf has promised all and any help and thinks its a good idea (we have known each other since teens and I don;t think Iwould have survived my teens without her).

I have the support adn the power to do this.

And it really helps to hear people saying I am making the right descision so thanks.

WeeMo85 Wed 21-Oct-09 20:44:50

You poor love!!

I'm sorry but your parents sound absolutley horrific!!

I whole heartedly agree with all the other postes that u must break ALL ties with them cos they sound like they're destroying your life.

Be brave.

It sounds like have a fantasic DP and IL's who would support this decision.

Hopefullly u'll take all of our advice and have a great life without them.

Good luck and let us know how u get on

x

StrictlyBoogying Wed 21-Oct-09 20:53:22

I'm so sorry for you. These people have emotionally abused you for years and you can't take the risk that they may make DS feel even a tiny percentage of how they've made you feel.
Take precautions, walk away and be happy.
Good luck!

CarGirl Wed 21-Oct-09 21:20:52

Yes put all those things in place. Be prepared to call the police at the first sign of any trouble.

I wonder if you can get a restraining order before anything happens? Perhaps do some research ask CAB.

TheArmadillo Mon 02-Nov-09 16:20:15

UPDATE:

Firstly sorry I didn't reply to the last couple of messages. Things have been hectic here.

I wrote the letter just after I wrote this - I didn't bring up anything that wasn't recent though. There was plenty enough to be doing with adn I didn't feel up to it.

I waited for a week to re read before sending (dp and bf both read it) and then we all got swine flu hmm PILs have also been briefed.

dp has taken it to post office today (sending special delivery what with strikes and everything).He has scanned copy into computer as is very insistent that we need to keep copy.

My mum has been impossible while we have been ill (constant phone calls etc) and it has only made me more resolute.

I have asked for no contact at all for 3 months and then we will discuss things (no promises).

Still haven't spoken to ds school as he only went back today and I was too ill to take him up/collect him. But will do tomorrow. If I can't get out the house I'll have to phone them.

Thanks for support. It really helps. Now it's just a case of wait and see what happens I think. <gulp>

I already feel better though and am looking forward to a quiet xmas with none of my family involved. Whether they will agree is another matter but one we can overcome.

TheArmadillo Mon 02-Nov-09 19:14:03

My mum sent a card to ds today - has really got to me, though at least I'm cross not upset.

Tomorrow she's getting my letter.

<tries not to do evil laugh and fails>

<mwah ha ha ha>

I just really can't give a fuck when it comes to them any more.

I feel like I've had enough.

Though I know this feeling won't last.

PerArduaAdAstra Mon 02-Nov-09 19:29:19

I realise this isn't helpful but OMG. Your parents are total.fucking.freaks.

And I love lemon meringue pie grin

Well done you for sending the letter. Is DP dropping DS off at school? Might be worth putting a note in with his school bag in case you can't get to the school or phone in the morning?

And well done again.

TheArmadillo Mon 02-Nov-09 19:50:26

It always helps to hear it and remind me that it's not just me who is 'oversensitive'.

Good ideas about the school.

I might write it a letter tonight, just in case.

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