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

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

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

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

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

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

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

oneplusone Mon 23-Feb-09 11:17:02

Just logged on at the end of the thread. Will start part 5 if nobody else already has. x

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 11:14:24

Message withdrawn

ActingNormal Mon 23-Feb-09 10:54:44

No Pinky, you are not delusional sad. Your parents used you to feel better about themselves. This is their fault (due to their own problems), not yours, and you have nothing to feel guilty about.

Your problems sound just as bad as anyone's on here IMHO.

So many people say the same things don't they! - the self doubt - am I going mad, was it really that bad, am I stupid to have let it affect my life when my family members think it was nothing and I'm overreacting/oversensitive etc

- and the feeling of unworthiness - I don't deserve help, other people have suffered more, perhaps I'm being oversensitive or weak, perhaps 'they' did nothing wrong and I am being unfairly angry with them.

The fact that so many of us have said these things makes me think we are not going mad, lots of other people feel like this too, and they have had similar problems in their childhoods eg overcontrolling/critical/unloving/cold/selfish/neglectful/abusive (physically, sexually or emotionally) family members.

The more people come out and tell their stories on this thread, the more people who read it feel that maybe they could find the courage to tell their story too. And admitting to yourself what happened and acknowledging to yourself how you feel about it rather than trying to push the feelings down because you are ashamed of them is the first step to feeling better. Keeping your feelings pushed down makes you ill eg with depression, but other physical symptoms too quite often.

The people who have made us feel crap would like us to think we were oversensitive and overreacting and that what they did wasn't that bad because then they don't have to face up to their guilt or their failings and deficiencies. I wonder if I would ever be brave enough if my mum says ever again "you are sensitive and you think too much, you always did", to say "That's what you would like me to think but I'm not going to take the blame for how you all made me feel".

The people who hurt us are shit people with shit opinions and we should try hard not to believe their opinions! The reason we do believe them and feel crap about ourselves is not our fault, it is because when you are a child you naturally believe what your parents and older siblings tell you. Your brain is building itself at that stage so what they say gets built in and is then hard to get rid of in adult life when you know logically that what they said is wrong!

Our self doubt comes from the crap 'care' we received as children.

Our parents are supposed to teach us how to be positive and feel good about ourselves and cope in the real world and how to learn to be happy without hurting others etc. If you feel the opposite of these things and it isn't just because of events that have taken place in your adult life then your parents did a shit job. You are allowed to feel angry with them for that. It doesn't matter if you weren't shouted at/hit/sexually abused as much as some other people, they still did a shit job and you deserved more, as every child does, so you are allowed to feel angry. Even if you can see that your parents had problems of their own which caused them to be rubbish parents and you feel sorry for them or maybe love them it is still ok to feel angry with them at the same time!

A child deserves to feel loved, looked after and protected and to be gradually taught how to be a happy independent adult. I can't think that anyone would disagree with that. If you didn't feel those things, to the extent that you feel unhappy as an adult, then your parents did a shit job. (Must remember to live up to my own standards as a parent myself that I criticise my parents for not meeting!)

Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 10:39:29

PinkyMinxy Things like that are not dillusional. It is how you feel which makes it real, even if how you feel isn't how your parents intended it to be.

My mother has done many things and I will never see her again as long as I live. Nor will I forgive her. But I still sometimes wonder about having a conversation with her and asking her why?

vezzie Mon 23-Feb-09 10:13:01


Thank you toomanystuffedbears and actingnormal for your thoughts - really helpful.
I am feeling a lot better after talking about it.

pinxyminxy - I doubt that it is all delusional. How are you feeling about the counselling - do you think this will help you?

PinkyMinxy Mon 23-Feb-09 10:01:07

Well this is what I have come to realise. I have been hoping for a 'real' relationship with my family and I realise now that I'm not going to get it.
DH saw a thing about narcicsits and it all fits with my mum sad.
Even the crap gifts- like my dead granny's dressing gown- not washed. Granny was a size 20 and I was a size 8 at the time (I used to starve myself a lot).

But something happened to me when I was a child and I have been left feeling like an utterly bad person ever since. I had a breakdown in my early teens and my mum hyas never forgiven me for it- I made her life hell, apparrently. But I have no idea what triggered it. Maybe it wasn't a single evvent, maybe it was just a cumulative effect of being told I wasn't loved/ wantedd etc. if I didn't do exactly what she wanted. I dunno.

I have been avoiding the phone as much as possible, and I have manged to resist phoning her, but I can't say no to her visiting if she asks directly. I think I have a way to go yet.

I read the toxic parents book and ticked most of the boxes on the self-help lists.sad Feeling sorry for myself, sorry.

And then sometimes I think I'm imagining it all and it's me that's delusional.

Nabster Mon 23-Feb-09 09:00:10

No apologies needed on this thread. We all just post and say how we feel..

What will you lose by walking away from your mum, and what will you gain?

PinkyMinxy Sun 22-Feb-09 22:18:55

Sorry Nabster, I'mm not making a lot of sense at the moment.

I would quite like to walk away, I think, but I can't say no to my mum. She is very manipulative.

I had an assessment session with a counseller this week and it has left me very churned up.

Nabster Sun 22-Feb-09 17:05:34

What do you want to do and what do you want anyone to help you with?

I am tempted to say walk away if they make you feel the way they do.

PinkyMinxy Sun 22-Feb-09 16:21:14

I wonder if I could talk to you lovely ladies for a bit.

I feel a bit of a fraud as my problems are small compared to the things many people have to deal with.

I feel all at sea. Like my reality has been turned upside down, and I don't know how to feeel about it.

Why is it so hard to put it into words- to be specific. I think i KNOW the answer to that- if I did start talking I fear I wouldn't be able to stop.

In a nutshell- my mother is extremly controling of me, and quite delusional. On the face of it, she appears quite normal really, maybe very opinionated, but she has been extremly damaging to me my whole life. I can see that now (but still can't quite believ it, IYSWIM?)

My Dad used to like telling me I was shit under his shoe etc. and other such helpful 'pep' talks. I don't really have any sort of relationship with him now.
My sister is very damaged, and a big drain on me emotionally- makes up terrible stories that I have to 'help'her with, but keep a secret.

I am having difficulty coping day to day with this.

PLease can anyone give me some advice?

Nabster Sun 22-Feb-09 15:02:15

If you saw my thread on chat you will know some background and will know some anyway if you have read me before.

I ocasionally have the thought that I should write to my mother putting her straight about a few things. Hubby thinks it will be a waste of time as she won't ever admit she did anything wrong (true) and will maintain she did everything for me (true.) But why shouldn't she ace up to what her choices have meant for my life?

toomanystuffedbears Sat 21-Feb-09 12:53:15

I sort of contradicted myself with 'rubbish bin the negative stuff'. What I mean is for a person, within themselves, to try to remain positive. It is self-therapy, or self counseling. It does work, but it unfortunately does not work across the board-it needs boundaries.

In relating to others, dismissiveness is not good- as most of us have daily proof.

And I am coming to the conclusion that this self-talk is an essential technique to maintain mental health because we need to edit (right word?) what we are going to care about, or be emotionally invested.

We need to care about the children (but even there-as they get older-too much care can have consequences wink); we do not need to care if mother is having a fit because the dishes haven't been done yet.

A while back, I don't remember if it was with the trendy 'valley girl' talk or after that, but a sarcastic response was
"And I'm supposed to care about that?" It is an honest question that I think can help us sort through our journey of healing.

ActingNormal Fri 20-Feb-09 18:43:01

Vezzie, my dad does this too - reframes everything that happens with a positive slant - which I can see is a good coping strategy for him so that he doesn't get depressed about what has happened or have to face up to any failings he has. It is like re-writing history so that nothing bad happened. It makes you feel like you are going mad if you feel negatively about anything that happened.

And that is exactly what my mum used to say if I went to her upset about anything - "Don't be silly". She was completely dismissive but there was a strong sense of her being frightened of what I was saying/expressing and wanting to sweep it away as quickly as possible because she didn't want to think about it or do anything about it. She really was gutless. But at the time I felt silly on top of the feelings about the thing that was upsetting me.

With my dad's attitude of denial, my mum's dismissive ways and my brother's 'hobby' of humiliating me in front of the children in the street, I learned that expressing emotion risked being ridiculed so I became scared to express myself. I still find it hard to let go and express myself all these years later.

toomanystuffedbears Fri 20-Feb-09 16:08:56

Hello Vezzie,
I don't think you need to feel any concern about "me-me-me". I think it is a foundational theme on this entire thread that we don't think enough of ourselves to put ourselves first. We need to do this-and then help the others-kids, partners, family hmm, etc.

I am sorry for you about your mother. It sounds like she has a superiority complex (perhaps narcissistic) and you are an easy "fix" for her. Her dismissiveness degrades you. The "...some people..." comments are insulting.

Her comments about the nephew's (or other's) brain is telling. From my reading, the NPD one assumes to have the only operational brain in existence. So she saying anything about someone elses brain and then qualifing it with a "too bad this problem, or too bad that problem" is using that person (again)for a superiority fix. That is what most of the interactions come around to is how can she reflect superiority back onto herself through what she does/says/buys/...on and on. The other person doesn't really exist.

This is how my sister is. The lack of empathy for your condition is also a corner stone in knowing what you are dealing with.

It sounds like your circumstances indicate that you will need your mom's help after the baby comes. So I wouldn't burn the bridge right away.

What YOU can do is retrain your brain in how you relate to her. You can expect that she will not change, so you change. Do not put all your emotional eggs in her basket! You do not need to care so sincerely about what she thinks/says. There is no rule that says you have to, is there? Her perspective is one of thousands; your perspective is at least equally important if not more so.
Is she the type that says, "Whatever is best for you"? (Martyr-superiority) Then use it to set boundaries. If you don't want her to move in then say so. If it is better to have several brief visits instead of a long one, say so. "It would be best for me."

Well, I've certainly gone on enough! Such a rant, sorry about all the cliches.

Do some reading -you know the ones: toxic parents, narcissistic personality disorder, the drama triangle. It takes time to change.

Also I just want to say you do not need to presume you will have PND. My last pregnancy at age 46 (little one will be 1 on the 4th) gave me clarity and confidence and empowerment. Focus on the positive, love, and joy-the rest goes directly into the rubbish bin - you don't even need to think about it-straight into the bin.

vezzie Fri 20-Feb-09 13:13:07


Please can I come onto this thread for a bit? I have been lurking on and off and silently rooting for you all but now I really want to get something off my chest about my mother.

She knows I am not well and struggling physically with pregnancy - have had a few different ailments but most recently SPD which is really getting me down as I feel so isolated and not being able to exercise is depressing me. Anyway she has sent some nice notes and cards and things (although there is always something about each one that grates) - and last night phoned to see how I was. I didn't tell her how blue I am because it seems a waste of time and started chatting about my sister and my nephew. She is a little worried about him and he has a few problems. Mum said, "well I think he is just too bright. He can see things so clearly and gets very impatient that others don't see things so clearly." this bugged me but I only realised afterwards why - he is not TOO bright, yes he is very bright, but he has PROBLEMS because there are some things (social things) he can't MANAGE and she has this deep rooted obsession with everyone in the family being brain of britain as if nothing else matters and I had problems although I was always academic I was thick as shit about some things and it made me very miserable and I felt like no one helped me. (This is not what my sister is like with her son.) I said, "But I can remember things at school getting much harder at around that age, things always sort of washed over me before then" and she went into this spiel that she does regularly about how she can't remember school at all, has completely disproportionately positive memories, nothing bad has lasted in her memory - etc. I have heard this a thousand times and I know what the next bit is, so I tried to cut in before she said it, but didn't manage in time because sure enough, here came the next bit, "unlike some people who seem to want to hug negative things to themselves and won't let them go."
This makes me so angry. I feel like a child again where every time I am hurt or upset I would be told off for letting things get to me. Yet I am who I am because I can remember things, all things positive and negative, so clearly; and, because I can remember being eight and a half as if it were yesterday, I have the imagination and compassion to sympathise with my nephew. And BECAUSE she has this refusal to engage with anything that is distasteful, and an incredible gift for doublethink, I felt so abandoned and alone when i was little because the answer to everything I said was "don't be silly" or something that would make me feel guilty. Hearing this thing about "positive memories only" - again and again - is like repeatedly hearing someone boast about how they never have to buy a round, and you thinking, "yes, and who is it do you think somehow ends up paying?" but not being allowed to say anything.
Stupidly - probably because I can't exercise and clear my head - I woke up at 5 this morning and cried about all this. And now I want to write to her and tell her that I don't want her to come when my baby is born. She has offered to come and help and I gratefully accepted but now I think that I have spent so much time crying between 4 and 6 in the morning, because of her (sending me letters about me not being married etc), during this pregnancy, that it might not be worth it.

I suspect myself of considering this not just because of what I am styling this as - keeping her at arms' length just for my own safety - but of also being deliberately mean because she will want to see the baby, and that is why I am not doing anything, because I don't want to be that bitchy.

I am afraid I will have PND as I am a classic candidate. If that happens and she starts off on how I need to pull myself together and count my blessings I will feel terrible. she is bad with depression and doesn't believe in it or want to help (because that would mean admitting it exists).

sorry this is so long. It is doing my head in.
I'm really conscious I just crashed your thread for a moan and I'm really sorry but this is driving me mental. I wont be all me-me-me from now on, I promise.

Nabster Fri 20-Feb-09 09:34:30

I can relate to wanting to escape from my life as it is right now at times but also can not face up to what happened as a child, really happened to me and not another little girl.

ActingNormal Thu 19-Feb-09 23:05:18

Message withdrawn

Hesdoneitagain Thu 19-Feb-09 23:00:06

Thanks AN, its good to know someone else is in same position. Its so weird isn't it? The strange love/hate guilt thing. Argh.

You take care of yourself x

ActingNormal Thu 19-Feb-09 22:32:06

Message withdrawn

Hesdoneitagain Thu 19-Feb-09 21:45:50

Question for you. My parents now, especially my Dad, are mainly very good, hug when we meet up, phone often, have us over to sunday lunches often, babysit DD, come over to help round house, would always lend me money etc etc. My friends would all class my family as very close very loving etc (apart from the fact my mom blows hot and cold and my Dad can be very controlling grin )

So my question is, if your parents are total ba%tards is it in any way easier? What I'm saying is that I hate my parents for what they didn't do years ago for me, BUT I keep thinking they didn't know what to do for the best and what they did was wrong and resulted in pain for me BUT they weren't cruel / evil on purpose. I know I'm rambling I'm trying to make sense...

I suppose I mean if there's been physical / sexual / emotional abuse that was intended and cruel(rather than people not knowing what to do for the best) is it easier because you can cut them out of your life, acknowledge them as 'evil' and try to move on? Not that any of this is easy obviously.

I'm really struggling with the 'I love my parents and don't want to cause them pain' and 'I hate my parents for letting me down and want to hurt them'. I even threatened this week never to see them again.

Sorry for ranting again. I am seeing a therapist but not another appointment until Wednesday.

roseability Thu 19-Feb-09 20:10:38

I have been reading back through the posts and something struck a chord. The feeling that you are inherently 'bad' and that you will be found out.

My Dad once told me that I am a fake and a 'phony'. That people only liked me because they didn't know the real me. As a child I internalised this and still believe it to an extent.

Why do I still allow this man in my life? He is not even my biological father.I am just not brave enough to cut them out. My mother tells me he had a terrible childhood, so then I feel guilty that I should try and understand.

roseability Thu 19-Feb-09 17:36:50

oneplusone your posts are heartbreaking but you are a very brave lady to be dealing with these issues and trying to be a better mother towards your children (which you are being). I think no matter how many friends you have, it always feels lonely when you don't have the support and love of your own family. What your parents have put you through makes me angry. You have done the bravest thing by cutting them out. With regard to your daughter, the bond will come. It is a reaction to your abuse I am sure. There was a link on the BBC website recently claiming that women who have had difficult upbringings are more likely to suffer PND and bonding problems. When my DS was born, I never admited to anyone that I secretly wanted a girl. I wanted a daughter to make up for the mother/daughter relationship I will never have (biological mother died and adoptive mother, my grandmother is toxic). Although at the birth I was delighted to have a son and I have bonded with him, I struggled dealing with his crying and used to get so angry with him. It is a lot better now though and I am sure you will get there. I am now pregnant with a daughter and whilst I am delighted, I am scared.

Atilla - thanks again. My relationship with my parents is also superficial. I am not brave enough to cut them out (but would if they ever hurt my children) but I have restricted access

ActingNormal Thu 19-Feb-09 16:13:19

I feel quite reassured reading several other people saying that their families dismissed what happened as well, and wouldn't acknowledge it and made you feel like you were just being oversensitive or it was all in your head. Not because I would wish any of this on anybody, but because it makes me feel more normal if this commonly happens. It also helps me believe that it really is their way of not facing up to any blame and that I am not being stupid for feeling the way I do/did.

OnePlusOne, I recognise your feeling of wanting to feel you belong in a group. I have always looked for this as well and the times in my life when I have been my happiest are times when I did feel like part of a group. This seems to be the most important thing to me. I really missed not feeling so much part of my work gang when I left. I worked really hard to find 'mummy friends' and was quite unhappy until I did and then really happy to feel part of a 'mummy group'. I used to come home from baby and toddler groups and cry because I felt like I wasn't getting past being just acquaintances with people and I didn't feel accepted into a friendship group. I'm so glad I kept at it and it eventually worked for me and I wouldn't want to 'go back there'.

What you said about compulsive shopping reminded me of my brother, who used to do this and got into bad debt. He said "I wanted to make myself feel special by treating myself". He didn't feel special. Everybody wants to feel they are important and wanted just for being themselves. I always feel like I want someone, at least one person, to be impressed by me. I don't want to be just unnoticed and 'part of the furniture' and dismissed ("Oh she's alright"). I don't want to be just here in the world by accident and just tolerated as long as I don't cause a fuss. I don't want to be 'seen and not heard'. I want to be special too. I see my children as being SO special and each one unique and I feel lucky to know them. I am amazed by their talents and impressed by them. I wish I had felt someone felt that way about me when I was a child!

Anyway, please don't even start on any addictive behaviours! My bro didn't feel better for long after each purchase before he had to buy something else. It didn't make him feel better and caused him extra problems with the debt. And you know alcohol doesn't work - only while you are drinking it and out having a good time. Then the hangover is worse than how you felt before you drank! These kind of 'self medications' will only mask your negative feelings and hinder you (by distracting you)from working through them and getting rid of them for longer term. It will just slow your self development down!

Nabster Thu 19-Feb-09 16:12:39

I know how you feel sad

I sometimes feel lonely even when my hubby and kids are here.

I was talking to him yesterday saying I don't feel I fit in anywhere even though the children are my blood relatives.

I enjoy being on my own but it would be nice to have the option to see someone. Maybe I just tell myself I like my own company....

oneplusone Thu 19-Feb-09 15:12:33

Having a bit of a down day today. It's always worse during school holidays, I often feel really alone. I know this will sound really silly but my next door neighbour has a big family and they seem to get on well. I don't know for sure but i think she has gone to stay with her parents and will probably be seeing a lot of her sisters and their children. And my youngest sister has just told me she has been at her SIL's who has 3 children and her BIL was also over with his 3 children. Meanwhile I am all alone here, DD has a friend over today, but apart from that it's just the 3 of us at home during the hols. Yes there are playdates and I occasionally meet up with other mums etc, but i feel so alone.

I feel there is a big gap in my life and even though i am making new friends it will take years before i feel really close to any of them, and there's no guarantee that will ever happen anyway.

I told DH how i feel and he said we can talk about it. But talking about it won't really change anything. I have a gap where i should have a family and it can't really be solved by talking about it.

I'm not part of any community either. We are not churchgoers, but many of DD's friends are and they seem to have a little community where they all belong. I have other friends who are from various different countries and they have little gatherings and communities made up of other families from the same country. But i don't belong to anything like that either. I am just alone and i really feel it today. DH has his work and office colleagues and even though he is not particularly close to any of them i am guessing he at least feels a part of something. And of course he has his parents and brother to whom he is very close.

AN, i felt a bit of the jealousy you have mentioned sometimes, in relation to my DC's. I look at them sometimes and feel upset that i didn't have what I am making sure they will have. They will never suffer the abuse/neglect that i did. I feel my life was simply not worth anything to my parents, i wasn't precious to them, i wasn't somebody to be cherished and loved to be grateful for. I was like a disposable object, to be used/abused when needed and cast aside when not. I was worthless to them. God no wonder i feel so down, writing all this down makes me realise just how bad it was when i was younger.

Recently i have been wanting to buy myself expensive things which is really unlike me. I'm not into shopping, i only buy what we need and it's always just the basics ie food etc. But recently i have found myself really wanting to buy ridiculously expensive things that i don't need and we can't afford. I haven't actually bought anything, i think somewhere inside i know it's to try and fill the gap inside me and i know it won't work. I suppose it's also to try and make myself feel special, as if I am worth buying expensive things for. My parents NEVER made me feel like i was special to them, ever. I was always made to feel i was hated and unwanted. I know buying stuff won't do anything to fill the gap, other than temporarily.

Maybe next I'll turn to alcohol......I'm sure many people feel this emptiness inside without realising where it stems from and use alcohol/retail therapy to try and make themselves feel better.

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