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"But We Took You To Stately Homes!" - Survivors of Dysfunctional Families

(1000 Posts)

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It's March 2013, and the Stately Home is still open to visitors.

Forerunning threads:
December 2007
March 2008
August 2008
February 2009
May 2009
January 2010
April 2010
August 2010
March 2011
November 2011
January 2012
November 2012
January 2013

Please check later posts in this thread for links & quotes. The main thing is: "they did do it to you" - and you can recover.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to the Stately Homes Thread.

This is a long running thread which was originally started up by 'pages' see original thread here (December 2007)

So this thread originates from that thread and has become a safe haven for Adult children of abusive families.

One thing you will never hear on this thread is that your abuse or experience was not that bad. You will never have your feelings minimised the way they were when you were a child, or now that you are an adult. To coin the phrase of a much respected past poster Ally90;

'Nobody can judge how sad your childhood made you, even if you wrote a novel on it, only you know that. I can well imagine any of us saying some of the seemingly trivial things our parents/siblings did to us to many of our real life acquaintances and them not understanding why we were upset/angry/hurt etc. And that is why this thread is here. It's a safe place to vent our true feelings, validate our childhood/lifetime experiences of being hurt/angry etc by our parents? behaviour and to get support for dealing with family in the here and now.'

Most new posters generally start off their posts by saying; but it wasn't that bad for me or my experience wasn't as awful as x,y or z's.

Some on here have been emotionally abused and/or physically abused. Some are not sure what category (there doesn't have to be any) they fall into.

NONE of that matters. What matters is how 'YOU' felt growing up, how 'YOU' feel now and a chance to talk about how and why those childhood experiences and/ or current parental contact, has left you feeling damaged falling apart from the inside out and stumbling around trying to find your sense of self-worth.

You might also find the following links and information useful, if you have come this far and are still not sure whether you belong here or not.

'Toxic Parents' by Susan Forward.

I started with this book and found it really useful.

Here are some excerpts:

"Once you get going, most toxic parents will counterattack. After all, if they had the capacity to listen, to hear, to be reasonable, to respect you feelings, and to promote your independence, they wouldn't be toxic parents. They will probably perceive your words as treacherous personal assaults. They will tend to fall back on the same tactics and defenses that they have always used, only more so.

Remember, the important thing is not their reaction but your response. If you can stand fast in the face of your parents' fury, accusations, threats and guilt-peddling, you will experience your finest hour.

Here are some typical parental reactions to confrontation:

"It never happened". Parents who have used denial to avoid their own feelings of inadequacy or anxiety will undoubtedly use it during confrontation to promote their version of reality. They'll insist that your allegations never happened, or that you're exaggerating. They won't remember, or they will accuse you of lying.

YOUR RESPONSE: Just because you don't remember, doesn't mean it didn't happen".

"It was your fault." Toxic parents are almost never willing to accept responsibility for their destructive behavior. Instead, they will blame you. They will say that you were bad, or that you were difficult. They will claim that they did the best that they could but that you always created problems for them. They will say that you drove them crazy. They will offer as proof the fact that everybody in the family knew what a problem you were. They will offer up a laundry list of your alleged offenses against them.

YOUR RESPONSE: "You can keep trying to make this my fault, but I'm not going to accept the responsibility for what you did to me when I was a child".

"I said I was sorry what more do you want?" Some parents may acknowledge a few of the things that you say but be unwilling to do anything about it.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate your apology, but that is just a beginning. If you're truly sorry, you'll work through this with me to make a better relationship."

"We did the best we could." Some parents will remind you of how tough they had it while you were growing up and how hard they struggled. They will say such things as "You'll never understand what I was going through," or "I did the best I could". This particular style of response will often stir up a lot of sympathy and compassion for your parents. This is understandable, but it makes it difficult for you to remain focused on what you need to say in your confrontation. The temptation is for you once again to put their needs ahead of your own. It is important that you be able to acknowledge their difficulties without invalidating your own.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I understand that you had a hard time, and I'm sure that you didn't hurt me on purpose, but I need you to understand that the way you dealt with your problems really did hurt me"

"Look what we did for you." Many parents will attempt to counter your assertions by recalling the wonderful times you had as a child and the loving moments you and they shared. By focusing on the good things, they can avoid looking at the darker side of their behavior. Parents will typically remind you of gifts they gave you, places they took you, sacrifices they made for you, and thoughtful things they did. They will say things like, "this is the thanks we get," or "nothing was ever enough for you."

YOUR RESPONSE: "I appreciate those things very much, but they didn't make up for ...."

"How can you do this to me?" Some parents act like martyrs. They'll collapse into tears, wring their hands, and express shock and disbelief at your "cruelty". They will act as if your confrontation has victimized them. They will accuse you of hurting them, or disappointing them. They will complain that they don't need this, they have enough problems. They will tell you that they are not strong enough or healthy enough to take this, that the heartache will kill them. Some of their sadness will, of course, be genuine. It is sad for parents to face their own shortcomings, to realize that they have caused their children significant pain. But their sadness can also be manipulative and controlling. It is their way of using guilt to try to make you back down from the confrontation.

YOUR RESPONSE: "I'm sorry you're upset. I'm sorry you're hurt. But I'm not willing to give up on this. I've been hurting for a long time, too."

Helpful Websites

Alice Miller

Personality Disorders definition

More helpful links:

Daughters of narcissistic mothers
Out of the FOG
You carry the cure in your own heart
Help for adult children of child abuse
Pete Walker

Some books:

Homecoming
Will I ever be good enough?
If you had controlling parents
When you and your mother can't be friends
Children of the self-absorbed
Recovery of your inner child

"I'm sure the other posters will be along shortly to add anything they feel I have left out. I personally don't claim to be sorted but I will say my head has become a helluva lot straighter since I started posting here. You will receive a lot of wisdom but above all else the insights and advice given will 'always' be delivered with warmth and support."

Happy Posting (smithfield posting as therealsmithfield)

Hissy Sun 16-Jun-13 15:56:59

Start by talking to us here, and start by listening to yourself. You have cut from the parents, and your Ex, and you know that your Boyf is part of the issue, and not a solution. Your boyf is not the man you need in your life. The person you really need in your life is YOU. Stop it all for a while and focus on you and your DC. Learn to see what is great in you (and I know there is MUCH)

Have you done the Freedom Programme? I don't think you are ready to have a relationship with a man yet. I think you need to have one with yourself first.

Well done for finding us here, this is a start to a much stronger you!

NoNoNoMYDoIt Sun 16-Jun-13 16:29:31

Thanks for your reply. Is the freedom programme mainly about domestic abuse? Because I'm not in that situation now. I feel like I need something to give me a huge kick up the arse so I can start being positive and less paranoid and vulnerable.

TheDrugsDontWork Sun 16-Jun-13 20:38:06

Hi all,
Haven't posted recently but have read all your posts. I hope Father's Day hasn't been too painful. For the first time I didn't get my father anything, he always forgot until presented with cards/gifts so I figured I didn't need to waste my time.

The weekend away with my mother went fine. It would have been better without her (!) but she didn't do anything bad. Funny though that now I can see her behaviour objectively, I notice how she manages to turn 95% of the conversation back to herself. It didn't matter what we were talking about, what topic I brought up, she always brought it back to her. At the airport when we said goodbye she said 'love you'. Then stood there with tears in her eyes. It's the first time I can remember her ever saying it and I don't think it's coincidence she started now, I think she can feel I've distanced myself from her so she's trying to draw me back in. I don't know if she's that manipulative though.

I'm currently reading Toxic Parents. I think it's helping though it's scared me how much of what she talks about (in terms of abuse) rings true. I have been relieved though that so many of the feelings and behaviours I recognise in myself she has talked about so it feels more 'normal'. At the same time though I still think maybe I'm imagining that things were that bad, or I was partly to blame.

I have some more books to read after this one, mainly on the 'inner child' and boundaries in relationships which is something I struggle with. That and feeling like I have no identity, like I don't even know what I want or what I like are my two biggest problems I think. I also empathise with everything people have said about friendships and feeling like an imposition or spare part a lot of the time even with evidence to the contrary.

I know this post is all about me, I feel so much sadness when I read about other people going through similar but I just don't know what meaningful words I can say. Except to know that none of us deserved what happened, and that you are not alone.

NoNoNo I completely understand how you feel, I do the same in relationships. I'm not sure what to suggest but I'm sure others will have some good ideas. Has counselling helped? If you've had a lot but still don't feel like it's been successful maybe you haven't found the right counsellor for you yet.

Hissy Sun 16-Jun-13 20:51:01

If we've ever been in a DV relationship, we can't just heal on our own.

The reasons for the relationship go way deeper than just ONE bad man. It's the fact we were put there in the first place.

Your relationship now is not fulfilling you, and you say you back off at a million miles an hour.

That wouldn't happen if you could deal with the abuse issues of the past.

They never heal by themselves. Please take that time now, to resolve the issues and fix the damage that has been done to you.

You are still a victim of abuse, but you're a functioning one.

Deal with the reasons/issues and you'll do way more than function, you'll actually LIVE!

MillyMollyMandy78 Sun 16-Jun-13 22:20:08

Hi, hope fathers Day hasn't been too grim for you all! I chose to have a relaxed day with hubby, dogs and a couple of movies. I also took the phone off the hook. I knew deep down that dad wouldn't call to say thanks for his card and gift, but at least this way i was able to switch off properly without hoping the phone would ring. Does that make sense? Felt it was a way of taking control.

Drugs - glad your weekend away wasn't too bad! I know exactly what you mean about not even knowing what sort of things you like or want. I seem to have chosen everything in my life based on whether my mum or other people would approve. I am in that phase now where i am trying to work out my own preferences, without trying to second guess other peoples opinions. Some things are easier than others: objects and appearances are easier dor me than other stuff eg i knew i wanted long hair, what kind of car i wanted to buy. But ask me what i want to do in my free time and that's much harder, though i am getting better over time.

paintyourbox Sun 16-Jun-13 22:41:39

Hi everyone,

I found today hard because my DP is such an amazing dad. That probably sounds stupid but his patience and endless kindness are something that makes me feel guilty. He never ever gets wound up, even if DD is screaming all night he takes it in his stride. I struggle to do the same, I have inherited my parents bad temper. I feel like a bad mum because sometimes I just have to put her in the cot and walk away for 5 minutes. It seems cruel but I have to because I feel like I want to shout otherwise.

Milly I think a holiday somewhere fun might be a good act of rebellion (you could also take up smoking or get a piercing however these probably aren't as good for your health!)

Hi NoNoNo this might be hard to think about but maybe you should be on your own for a while. It's a cliche but maybe you need to love yourself before you love yourself.

Hope everyone has had a good Father's Day.

MillyMollyMandy78 Mon 17-Jun-13 11:18:58

Paint - liking the holiday idea. I'm going to New York in September - does that count? I'm sorry you found yesterday hard.

Sounds like you are being too Hard on yourself - Everybody has times when they lose patience and I'm sure the loveliest of kids test that at times. The fact that you remove yourself from the situation shows how self-aware and loving you are. My mother wouldn't have even considered her child's needs in that way. I don't see anything wrong with you taking a time out in order for you to keep control.

I too unfortunately inherited some of my mum's temper, and i am not as good as you at walking away from a situation. I can have the patience of a saint but on those few occasions when I blow, i BLOW. It is not a pretty sight - how did u learn your control?

bellasuewow Tue 25-Jun-13 14:00:14

hello i have been reading this for ages and have found it fascinating. I was brought up to be the black sheep of the family from a very young age, my parents were cold, distant, cruel, arrogant, stupid, lazy, irresponsible, unhappy, aggressive physically and verbally, depressed, insecure, anxious and they took me to stately homes and i went to private school. I remember being in shock a lot as a child at the rows they were huge and terrifying. My father was a rage filled alchololic whose middle name is belittle (he also encouraged us to get very drunk at home from a very early age i don't remember the first time i got drunk i was so young and he was a doctor...) and my mother told me i was the odd one out and things would be better if i wasn't around. I remember her dragging me a long the ground when i was 9 by my hair and kicking me she does not remember this. She took me to a doctor once when i was 13 insisting i was mentally ill. When i was 6 i was so f up with panic attacks and unable to read still until i was 12 i had to see a psychologist and years later i asked my mother about it and she said i was a little fantasist. When i was 14 one of my fathers friends took a shine to me... and pursued me relentlessly. I would have slept with him but i felt i was too ugly for him. My father found out i had seen him and shouted at me for having no self respect and then invited the guy over some years later for christmas, i reminded him but he had no recollection. My mother delighted in bringing his name up to humiliate me. I was thick lazy and deeply evilly disturbed according to them i had absolutely no self esteem so much so that I belived this until one day in my laste 20s i realised i had never been sectioned or arrested and people i worked with really liked me I began to question the belief and started the road to confidence and recovery. My siblings are the same, racist homophobe snobs obsessed with money. Funnily enough i am the most successful career wise and that has really upset the apple cart. My parents never paid any attention to me when i started getting my degree and post grad or managerial roles. My siblings were not happy either. I have cut them all out and i have told them what i think of them all in detail which made me feel better however now i am left with loneliness and worried about having my own child and how i will treat them. Cut them out and you are free from stress but then lonliness is left to deal with oh and also being bloody angry....

Haven't been on here for a while and tbh i was hoping I wouldn't need to sad-will read through all your posts later ladies when I get a few extra minutes.

Oh well what can I say I feel like me & dh are back to square one again and I feel deception has also taken place in regards to him contacting inlaws.

Anyway re-wind back to Fathers Day, the day before dh had said he was going to visit fil, when previously he said he wasn't going to, I assume texts were sent and the pressure was on, obviously I don't and can't stop him going so anyway dh said to me if he is going he will get pressure from them about seeing my dc, he went on for ages and I caved in and said she can visit this weekend. Now I wish I hadn't, I'm pregnant as you all know but my dates are slightly out so my nuchal translucency scan is this Thursday not last-quite frankly I'm under a lot of stress worrying about that & what the results could be and now I'm not so sure being around toxic people at this present time is wise.
Also dh has being acting depressive and odd again as he has been in contact frequently by phone & text to his family, he has been snappy towards me & the children and even went against my wishes by getting fil to collect a pram for me and drop it of at our home!! Knowing full well pil are not to know, not only that dh also felt obliged to give him a £10 for the privledge.

Today my dh started a row with me over our sex life, because I'm pregnant I'm not very amorous at present and he resents the fact I have bought an outfit from Anne summers and says I waste his money, although I was going to surprise him soon. He said I don't do this, I don't do that and that's when I blurted out how angry I am about fil coming to my home and fil been given and incline of my pregnancy.
Of course I'm the bad guy, I shouldn't be allowed to keep it from his parents if I can tell mine etc etc and how pil are wonderful bla bla, completlely forgetting the past and the fact his father beat him as a kid.
Dh has now walked out the house and said I bought this up for no reason, of course I have reason, I don't want mil round here weekend going on about my pregnancy that is nothing to do with her.

It's now seems that we are back to the start, back to the days of the fog and him not being able to see through it!
My fil is abusive, yet my dh seems to forget again and again and then expect me to be happy to see them all and let them know everything.

I feel so alone, can't speak to anyone, no one around me understands about toxic parents or inlaws. I normally talk to my mother but unfortunately she is partly to blame as she felt sorry for mil last time & guit tripped me into allowing visits! I just don't feel like i can deal with dh whilst he is like this sad
I'm hoping he comes back and agrees that he shouldn't have done what he done in regards to the pram ad agrees seeing mil isn't a good idea but i doubt it. Times like this i feel like I would be better of alone as when he is under the fog our relationship is awful.

bellasuewow Tue 25-Jun-13 14:47:18

Hi Pumpkin Sweetie, i don't know your situation but for what it's worth my DH had a terrible time for a few years with why i allowed my family to treat me badly and put up with it. I was in FOG, it is hard to underestimate the conditioning that people of toxic parents have and the norms of the family that seem, quite rightly, crazy to outsiders. Seems like you are getting at him about small issues when i think that you are really saying is WTF!! about the big picture issues. He is probably being manipulated on the other side (you mention texts) so bear this in mind and then your reaction is setting you up to be the harridan so they can pull him back in. Your PIL could well be delighted at the thought of you two arguing abut then and causing discord if they are anything like mine. Sounds like they have the foot on the gas and are pushing buttons left right and centre, good luck x

jessjessjess Sat 29-Jun-13 15:20:59

Hey everyone. I totally ignored Father's Day for the first time and how do I feel? Guilty. Great. He doesn't feel guilty about anything he's ever done, but I feel bad about this. I haven't heard from him in months anyway. I should theoretically be happy about this.

Re not belonging. I feel different somehow. Having a decent family is a norm I'm not part of and it gets me down. I have stronger friendships now but it's taken a lot of work. I think it starts with getting to know yourself better - who you are, what you like. If you value yourself, others will follow suit.

So the first step is to be kind to yourself, to do things you enjoy and to start thinking about what you want from people and not who will put up with you, iyswim. It's a shift from thinking: "Do they like me, am I annoying them," to thinking: "Do I like this person?"

inneedofrain I'm the same with compliments but I made a rule with myself to always accept them - I smile and say thanks, that's so nice of you to say. It's like a habit I had to get into. I totally hear you though - the problem is you're missing the core sense of yourself that your parents should have given you.

Fog your post about not shirking responsibility struck a massive chord with me as I could have written it word for word except for the fact I'm not a mum yet.

My dad knew NOTHING about parenting and nobody noticed this.

Windingdown I don't get family socialising either. My DH's parents and step-parents are lovely but I find it really awkward and excruciating trying to have a relationship with them as I don't know how. The awful thing is I could probably get what I'm missing from them if I tried but it just feels difficult and awkward. DH isn't super close to them but gets on fine with them and could have a better relationship if he wanted to and had more time.

babiesinslings I hope the visit went as well as possible.

paintyourbox I also miss the idea of family. I've just laughed out loud at the idea of going on a fun trip with mine.

Do I still love my parents? Yes. But I think there are different kinds of love. I do not love them the way I love my DH and friends - love given freely, out of choice, to people I think are worthy of it.

I love them in the way that comes from attachment. The difference is I don't cherish that feeling of love towards them because they didnt cherish me. I see it as something created by biology.

I've always told myself I hate my parents but the reality is that it's not that simple. I've always scoffed at the idea that children love their parents unconditionally and forgive them everything as I don't, do I?

But I never told anyone what they were like. I still won't say anything to them now. I feel guilty and ashamed of ignoring Father's Day. So I guess I'm wrong.

I actually deleted my copy of Toxic Parents out of my kindle library (not just on my kindle but completely deleted it from my account) in a fit of denial. I'd read half of it. I'll have to pay for it again if I want to read the rest. Is it worth it? The second half with the exercises etc?

NoNoNo* I think you need to take some time to lick your wounds rather than stuffing it away.

Pumpkin I'm so sorry about the continued problems. Have you had any counselling together at all?

Bedtime1 Sat 29-Jun-13 16:03:09

Hi all,

I had been doing okay but sometimes something will trigger me off. Normally a conversation with one of my parents or sister.

I haven't spoken to my dad for weeks. It's weird because I started to feel better and was getting on with my husband very well. I felt loved and the anger was diminishing. I don't know what it is but the minute I start thinking that I'm feeling much calmer and happier, the not having him in my life and talking to me so badly, then it's like a self fulfilling prophecy and everything goes wrong again. Why?

Also had a disagreement with my mother. Things were much calmer on that front. I didn't have to handle both mum and dad in a way so things were much calmer but it always goes back to the same. Nothing changes with me and my mum. My younger sister has a really bad attitude towards me, she still lives at home with my mum and I know I should isolate the relationship separately between me and sister but I always go back to feeling blame towards my mum for the way my sister acts. Then my mum tells me well you've turned out okay so can't be my fault why she acts like she does. I get what she is saying but I can't help but think shes to blame as scenarios were totally different when I lived at home. There weR 3 sisters living together and my dad too until I was 16. Where as she lives with just my mum and a partner. They hardly speak and always argue and because the young one is the last to go I just feel she is so worried that mums behaviour is worse.

I feel so angry today - pumpkin I relate to you because I feel down and things always get worse between me and my husband when I feel emotional like this. Upset and hurt. It's like my mind spins and I don't know what to think or do. It's like I don't know who to trust and who is wanting to hurt me it feels like that. Things my parent say eg that my husbands controlling etc end up being triggered in me when I have a argument with family. Then I feel vulnerable as I feel people are trying to hurt me, even I think my husband is. It's bonkers really how an argument with them triggers such intense feeling and emotions. I feel unsettled, nervous, a bit like I'm going mad etc. anyone else get this?

I see what you are say bedtime, i would say simple things such as a text or a short phonecall can trigger dhs moods in an instant, even a missed phonecall seems to change his persona. Like today for example, i actually though dh would be happy i have posponed his mother coming today, but due to her not believing we are busy, she has been ringing out home phone continually-so we have switched it off. But due to dh worried about his parents reactions, he seems somewhat on edge and has snapped all day. Tbh i wish i hadn't have re-established contact, and in reality this is more than a postponment from me as they cause so much anguish to our relationship i don't want to continue. At some stage i will tell dh i have absolutely no intention of seeing them again, he will not take this well and he will threaten to leave like he always does, but i have to do what's best for my family and i know in the end after the dust settles dh will be relieved as in truth i think he only sees them due to being hassled, look for acceptance and because he loves them no matter how toxic. I will never stop him seeing them, i never have but i don't want any of them i my life as all it brings is grief and turmoil.
Even now, even though i warned mil in advance i will be posponing today, she still cannot leave the situation as it is and has now started ringing dhs mobile too. Because she cannot get her own way.

I sit here and i feel such upset for you all that have parents like this and it makes me feel lucky i have the parents i have because i cannot begin to imagine how hurt and pressurised it must feel like. Think this is what causes dh to turn against me, i suppose he sees what my parents do for and resents it and because i won't allow his parents the same rights he feels like its a fight and wants to pretend they deserve his all, but they don't and they never will. He has just gone for a walk, for no reason leaving me with all the children, so again they have caused his down moods again. Something i don't need when i'm hormonal & constantly worrying any stress will harm baby, as had mc this year previously so i feel things like this have all come at the wrong time, saying that, they always do.

My mothers day, fathers day, christmas, birthdays are always tainted by ils behaviour and it's starting to get me down, i wish dh would realise that acceptance & normality are not possible with his parents and see them for what they are bullies. When me & dc were non contact and he was seeing his parents only once every few months, he was much happier but then he increased his visits & i let mil visit & since then everything is going back to the way it used to besad

In answer to jessjess, nope no councilling at all, dh refuses to see a councillor with or without me, he has gone as far as to say he won't see a quack and he has also gone back to the hazy belief his parents are now changed peoplegrin. Of course that isn't true, he is just pretending to himself and me yet again!

Bedtime1 Sat 29-Jun-13 17:30:44

Hi pumpkin - it is hard because our my mum especially works is she willbe really nice, suck up, send flowers, cards, texts allsorts. Then I let her back in. She draws me back in and you do end up thinking your the bad person when she's being nice and it makes you feel unreasonable and guilty and you even think they have changed and give them another chance. Time and time again especially if you get the tears and it's making them I'll etc. so you go back then they push it. Demanding, wanting own way, digging etc like you have described. Then you feel crap again. It's a vicious circle. If you have low self esteem, depression, low confidence issues/ self worth you feel it's you with the problem.
My husband gets on with his family. He gets no guilt trips etc or this form of behaviour. The things is he still sees my mum now and again eg at family do. He doesn't want to and neither do I always want to go but sometimes I do and he comes sometimes. I see her more on my own. Eg meet up for a drink. Why did you decide to resume contact then what did they do for you to stop contact again?
The thing is my parents are unbelievably selfish and self absorbed. It's all about them. It must be awful for you to have to put up with them ringing you incessantly like that.

I can see how he might feel sad even envious of the relationship with your parents and if my husband decided to not see my family say at Christmas I would start to feel resentful to him as though he was controlling me. Remember I have been worked on for years and they say Things like he's controlling to make me feel insecure therefore it works a lot and that would bring that back in my head if he said he wouldn't see them, even though they have been cruel parents, it still does trigger things especially when they put all these doubts in about your relationship. Yours ils sounds more persistent than mine so they will be saying allsorts to your husband. I Can see that you just saying you won't goto any dos with him will make him feel worse and in a way back up what his parents will say direct or indirect about you. I know why you hate them and if it was me I would feel the same about my husband if his parents were like that to him, also furious for the way they were controlling, nasty etc to me and for my own health, but this I could see would mess my mind up even more if dh said to me he didn't want to see them again eg Xmas then he wanted me to go and sit at his mum and dad at Christmas, events like that trigger things off for me anyway knowing that I'm happy on one hand that they treat him normally and aren't unhealthy with him but on another level it brings back how much I don't have a family really ( that's how it feels.) then if I chose to see mine and he wouldn't come althought I understand why he wouldn't want to see them it would still trigger off that questioning wether my mum was right about him controlling me. It's messed up as I now he isn't it's just he hates seeing me bullied and also he doesn't want to get into arguments with them.
I don't think I've put this very well, but this is how it messes your mind as even I don't really like them probably your husband doesn't really but you end up feelin guilty .

Bedtime1 Sat 29-Jun-13 17:39:37

You have to do what's best for you! And that is because you don't want these toxic people making your life miserable like they have him and your kids. I don't see how this will be resolved because if he does cut them off which would be best for you all then he will blame you because he didn't make the choice. And when he thinks about cutting them off of his own choice they work on him and ring him and drag him back in so he feels bad. It's unbelievably difficult for you and I must admit they seem even worse than mine with banging on your door, ringing incessantly, won't give up. He does need to stand up to them as its not fair on you to be harassed but then they make him feel bad and guilty then he ends up going back and the vicious circle all starts again.

Why can't they just be healthy parents not dysfunctional.

Gosh found her to tell her of my pregnancy earlier, she had to know at some point & i was meant to feel guilty for posting on fb before she knew-thing is i told dh that morning to tell her. She only bloody well phoned up again whilst i could hear, moaning about how it's another january babyshock, well it may be that way for her but it isn't for me and this is a very much wanted pregnancy, so to moan about dates has pissed me of immensly!considering she should thank herself lucky baby is all well so far grrrr. Absolutely seething, nothing nice to say just moaning from her and dh ends the phonecall with "i love you mum", fgs i wish he would grow a pair. Everyone else has just wished congratulations, but of course what do i expect from them lot-nothing changes!!!

Never mind i still am yet to recieve my blood results for Nt, no she goes moaning about dates, stupid stupid woman she doesn't have a ffin clue how worried i am this is all going to go wrong and dates are not even in my mind yet, i'm only 1 day shy of 13 weeks and have already had cramps!

*found dh

TheDrugsDontWork Mon 01-Jul-13 20:39:42

jessjessjess I thought maybe someone wiser would answer your question about the Toxic Parents book but as they haven't I will try. I found the 2nd part of the book more helpful than the first. Much of the first bit was familiar from reading this thread, I think I kind of knew that my parents were abusive and perhaps worse than I thought (or eanted to admit) but like you said I was in denial and disbelief I suppose that it was really true and I wasn't the problem. Some of the exercises in the 2nd part though really brought home to me that my parents are the problem, it is NOT me, and not my fault they are this way. There are quite a few lists of behaviours, beliefs etc. and that really made me realise how 'bad' my relationship with them was as it was all too familiar. There are letter writing exercises too and though in a way it feels a bit silly it did help me I think, to kind of get it all out and feel like I could detach a bit and move on. There are also quite a few extracts from conversations with her patients and so much of the feelings they described I have felt that it seemed kind of impossible that there could be nothing wrong with my parents.

Lots of the exercises are to try out in therapy but I think you can give them a go alone. She advocates confrontation for various reasons and I am coming round to the idea (was horrified initially to even contemplate it but she goes through the reasoning and carrying it out in great detail) but I don't think I have the RL support at the moment. At times I did find the general tone of the book a little wearing (I want to say patronising but that's a bit harsh), but retrospectively I'm so glad I read it and I plan to read it again soon as I went through it very quickly.

I think you do have to be ready to read it though, to face up to things and the feelings we have buried for so long. It brought up a lot of feelings but I know I'd been numb for a long, long time and somehow, now, I feel like my own person with my own thoughts and feelings for the first time. I really do think it was the book that allowed me to do this. Sometimes I still feel a bit in denial but I identified with so many of the things in the book, she describes all the emotions we go through very well, that I have come to accept that what I went through was not normal or healthy.

Maybe it would be worth you trying again, perhaps if you persevered and got through the whole book it would help? I don't know. I feel a lot stronger now, I've reduced contact a bit more so I'm in very low contact with my mother by email (my father doesn't even attempt to contact me, I've seen them both twice in the last 8 months) and at the moment I don't feel any guilt.

I also started reading 'Healing the Child Within' by Charles Whitfield but I have abandoned it towards the end as I felt Susan Forward's was better and his repeats much of what she says. I also have a book by him about boundaries which I plan to read.

Sorry, I know this post is quite a lot about me but everyone's situation is so different, how we react is so personal that I can't say if the book would help, just what it did for me. I have read many of your previous posts though and so much of what you said was familiar, not just things from your childhood but also how you feel towards your parents, so maybe it's worth another go.

Good post drugs. I preferred Children of the Self Absorbed.

I'm neck deep with work and life at the moment and only lurking. Been a strange time lately and I saw my Dad briefly as my Mum collected her car I'd had to borrow a few weeks ago. Very odd after over a year of not seeing him. It was very brief. He wasn't horrid to me, almost made me re-think my NC but it's the right course for me. I'm leaving the fog now.

Oscalito Tue 02-Jul-13 09:57:46

Thought I would post this link as it has lots of good posts from people about toxic parents and the effects they have.

www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/may/10/parents-favouritism-towards-siblings-children

One line in particular stood out to me in relation to my mother: 'Her behaviour says nothing true about you, nothing whatsover'.

that was from one of the posters. I'm going to memorise it and repeat it to myself when she's being weird towards me. With her it's rarely blatant abuse or hostility, it's far more subtle. Constant comparisons with my golden child sister and her children, subtle put downs, or just talking over me or not appearing to hear me when I say something. Or just talking at me about the most trivial details of her life like I'm a child and have no choice but to sit obediently and listen. I swear no one else would ever notice what she's doing....

Anyway read through if you have time - there are some really good responses from various people who may well be therapists. The main theme seems to be, you're not imagining this stuff, they won't change, your best best is to build your own life away from them. We all know that, but it's hard to do sometimes, you just get sucked back into the toxic patterns.

noddyholder Tue 02-Jul-13 10:14:28

I have had no contact with my mother for over a year.She cut me from her life like she has many others when I asked her a simple question about something awful she kept saying to me. The upside was she then sent me a list going back 30 yrs of everything she thought was wrong with me! I attempted to open the door a bit last month by saying life is short this can be sorted but she has ignored that and so I am back to square one. I wish i had kept no contact as this has stirred it all up again and I was fine before! She has alienated everyone now although has recently wheedled her way back into the lives of some friends etc as she has no one else, she had nothing to do with them for about 15 years and she criricised them at every turn Now she has turned on the tears and they have fallen for it! These people are toxic you need to appreciate your own life and let them go

I see where you are coming from oscalaito, sometimes the behaviour from toxics can be subtle but damaging all at the same time.
Sometimes so subtle others do not notice unless of course they are in the firing line!

My dh is black sheep, whereas his sisters take a presidence over him ie, more will be spent on them at christmas, for example around £50 spent on his sisters but only £20 & a pair of socks for dh. Glad i don't go there at christmas anymore, the difference in presents was upsetting enough and then of course the comments on how sisters are doing so well etc etc, yet dh would get, have you been a good boy!!shock

Then of course each & everytime he visits he is roped into some sort of diy or making the tea himself for example. Even sil trys to rope dh into mowing her lawn & cutting her hedge although she & bil are quite capable themselves if they triedconfused-this year i told dh that under no circumstances was he to do her garden as she has her own legs!

Then the complete taking over of mine & sils pregnancies but then when baby is found to be a girl & not the boy sex they desire the shitty comments start.

Oscalito Tue 02-Jul-13 10:42:42

There are quite a few comments in that piece about grandchildren being the wrong sex as well pumpkinsweetie. I know what you mean about the taking over of pregnancies too. How did you handle that? I am fairly low-contact with my mother at the moment but about to have another baby and definitely don't want her coming to the hospital or being a part of at least the first precious day..... did you 'manage' them at all at that time?

The favouritism with presents is so hurtful, and so petty. If my mother has to she will give money (she has plenty), but last christmas i got nothing from her and she never even got us a wedding present, not even a card. she genuinely can't be bothered shopping for someone else.

Sounds like your DH has found himself a wife with healthy boundaries though. Does that scare them? grin. I know my mother finds my DH's assertive no-bullshit approach quite hard to take. I love it!

I didn't 'manage' them, i just put up with it but in the 3yrs since my youngest was born i have grown wise to their tricks, so i know not to let them swamp me this time.
They don't like the fact i have become wise & according to dh, fil has said he hates me on many occasionsgrin( the feeling is mutual!)

I & my dc went non-contact last August due to mils insults towards my then 9yo dd & fils behaviour. At first dh couldn't see my reasoning, but after the dust settled our relationship blossomed as did the atmosphere in our home.
Then last month i made a boob, by allowing mil contact again-the actual day went well without a hitch but mil bought along her other gc, so again she couldn't put mine 1st-saw a red flag!! Dh was withdrawn, awkard and verbally agressive to me in the days afterwards and tbh i didn't want things slipping back again!

I realised the reunion was a mistake, they don't make dh happy, but he insisted i make the effort to try again. The date was all arranged, but a few days before i realised i just cannot deal with them again especially being so close to getting my NT results from scan, so chickened out and said by email i'm posponing it.

In all honesty i don't plan on seeing them anytime soon and i'm starting not to care what they or dh thinks.
The bottom line is, they make him miserable, i cannot forgive them & my dc have even said they don't want contact. I don't see why i should see them, i also don't see why my dc have to put up with them and if dh wants to visit their home alone by himself, he can but i cannot see why i have to put up with them or dhs behaviour in the aftermath of mils visits.

Dh has already gone against my wishes by buying a pram with fil, before fil was even supposed to know of my pregnancy. Dh was meant to be getting it home in a taxi, but he didn't and i ended up with fil at my door aswell as footing £10 of money which dh gave to fil for the 'lift'confused

He also deletes texts & phones mil behind my back, which i find out about as he becomes withdrawn when in constant contact with them.
He is slipping further back into the FOG, so atleast if i'm not seeing mil its one less visit to put him into the darkness.

It's like this when things are announced, or holidays/birthdays are due, they decend a black cloud over everything, bringing dh with it and i'm at the moment trying my best to reel him away from it without becoming controlling myself.

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