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Confused and not sure if my mother is right.

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Confused and not sure if my mother is right.

Postby watcheve » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:40 pm

I grew up with a highly abusive alcoholic and drug taking father who was either never home or abused us when he was home. He was emotionally and physically abusive to both my mother and I, yet we grew up extremely wealthy so he got away with all of it. My father would come home drunk which would enrage my mother and they would spent hours fighting to the point of physical harm; glasses were smashed over heads, walls punched in, and they both physically fought each other to the point of heavy bleeding- all why I watched on. My father *mod edit* used to knock on my window in the early hours of the morning to let him in because my mother had locked him out. He was always heavily intoxicated.

I often felt the need to protect my mother and it was my job to call the police when things became really bad. She would scream out for me to do so and I would run to the phone and dial for the police. They came to our house several times, yet every time she made excuses and my father got away with it once again. It got so bad that she would lock herself in a spare room but leave us alone in the house with no means of protection with him while he smashed up walls, broke down doors and threatened our safety. All we could do was huddle and hope it would end.

My parents finally divorced in a messy way as there was so much money but that was it, he was gone and I was so over the moon.

Then my mother's emotional abuse began to start. I wasn't allowed to tell anyone what had happened because it was "embarrassing" so I withdrew into myself and carried that as if it was my shame. I was blamed for wanting to stay at my school, for my mother having to work full time (because apparently this was something only she had to do- not the entire adult population) and I was my mother's therapist every night. She would vent to me her problems, her financial worries and ask for my advice. I would listen and panic because as a child I knew nothing about any of that, and attempt to offer her advice. She would be happy and lovely to me after, and I thought this was a normal, beautiful mother daughter relationship. If I didn't want to listen, she would turn on me.

Years later she had a nervous breakdown so I quit university for a year to help her, *mod edit* and I put tremendous pressure on myself to over achieve, be happy or appear to be. I developed an eating disorder and realised I needed help. I had about a year of therapy and things were ok.

Recently, I've realised that I've continued this cycle of emotional abuse that my mother engages in and have stayed in the house with her. I'm in my late twenties and spend my days off cleaning the house, doing their washing etc. *mod edit*

*mod edit*

She refuses to admit she was in the wrong at times- that she placed too much on my shoulders, protected herself from my father instead of her children, allowed the abuse to continue for years and years, and is still emotionally abusive. She says I need help, that I am sick in the head, toxic, and that I bring up the past and have manipulated it into something it wasn't. She said I have created scenarios. I know I haven't, and besides, why would anyone want this to be their life? My friends have told me for years she is emotionally abusive and I refused to believe it. It's like I've woken up and can see things clearly.

But here is where I am right now. It has got to the point where I don't know if she is right. Maybe I am toxic and selfish. Maybe I am blowing it all out of proportion. But I don't think its wrong for me to ask for acknowledgement, is it? I know she struggled as well, and I have a tremendous amount of love for her to survive what she did, but its like I don't matter, that only she survived it and experienced it, and I am selfish for wanting an apology, or just for her to say, yes that happened and it sucked.

I am not someone who has a huge ego, and I am always happy to admit I am wrong when I am, but I don't think I am in this case? I have many healthy and functional friendships outside my mother and *mod edit* which have never resulted in any conflict, so I dont think they are right but I'm not sure. I don't want to be the things she says I am, or the things *mod edit*

Any advice or words would be much appreciated.
Last edited by seabreezeblue on Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: some edits for privacy on request of the Op.
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Re: Confused and not sure if my mother is right.

Postby avatar123 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:15 am

Eve, from your description, it doesn't sound like you are toxic at all, but the environment with your family probably is. In that situation, some of the coping behaviors you adopt are similar to theirs. That's mostly a survival skill on your part, sometimes you end up answering crazy with more crazy, just because it works (and provides some self-defense) within that environment. But fortunately you recognize that it isn't good or healthy, which differentiates you from them.

When you come out of a toxic family situation, one of the most difficult things is figuring out where and how to establish boundaries. You have to recognize that no amount of effort on your part is going to fix their problems, they are the only ones who could really do that, and chances are they won't. You could encourage and support them, but ultimately it's their decision.

On the other hand, you've demonstrated that you can successfully address your own problems by getting the help and support you need, and improving yourself. So you have an obligation to yourself to be in a situation where that is possible, where happiness is possible for you.

There is a famous quote that the best things you can give to another person are encouragement & opportunity. So you might think about positioning yourself to do that for them, without getting sucked farther in, to the point that it becomes toxic for you. You mentioned being in your 20's, that's a time when most people are moving out into the world with their own friends & relationships, apart from the family. So it would be perfectly normal for you to do that, and put some protective distance (a safety zone) between you & them.

That doesn't mean you can't still visit and be a part of their lives, help them and listen to problems, do laundry or cleaning occasionally. Just not at the expense of your own life or happiness. You can be loving without overly-exposing yourself to the toxic elements.

You seem like a very intelligent person, I think if you put your mind to it, you could come up with a plan that achieves these things over time, and allows you to move forward with your life. It helps to think ahead to the demands they may place on you, and know in advance how you will respond, and where you will draw the line. Then if you are consistent in the application of that, they will learn over time where your boundaries are.

Anyway, I hope that helps. You aren't alone or the first person to face this dilemma. It's a tough thing to go though and it seems so unnecessary when you look at other, happier families. But we all have to play the cards we are dealt, and family is one of the things you can't control in life, unfortunately. You can only control your response to them. I hope you will.
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Re: Confused and not sure if my mother is right.

Postby amwilke » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:25 pm

You are not toxic or selfish for wanting to deal with past issues. It sounds like your mom hasnt come to terms with her past abuse much less the way it effected you. I had a similar situation to this. I was emotionally abused as a child but if u asked my mom she would totally disagree. Until your mom comes to terms with the past she wont be able to support you with your endeavors to sort it out. You need to do whats best for you so you can live as healthy a life as possible. If you know what happened is true then its already valid enough without anyone agreeing.
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Re: Confused and not sure if my mother is right.

Postby Terry E. » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:44 am

I am not sure any parent who did what your mother did would ever be able to admit it.

I am surprised (almost) that you have coped so well. From what you described there are all sorts of effects. PTSD, cortisol hormone burnout, attachment, a huge list.

On this forum we have many cases, come up with parents of abuse, selfishness, self indulgence, neglect, the list goes on. To admit that she did what she did, may be way too hard for her. She will seek the easier path by trying to bend your own memory of reality.

A small story by example - (and one of your paragraphs I found very troubling, so I can relate)
My mother was my prime abuser - at 12 my brother reversed things and he became my abuser and that of my mother (revenge). So I also wound up as a child helping their mother, playing the adult. Irony.

However after we grew up she continued her ways with my father until she had ramped up to the point that she got given a straight jacket and padded cell. Finally.

For someone of such enormous ego, narcissism, hubris, call it what you will, there could have been no greater punishment, and humiliation. After she was released over the next few years that experience was revisited many times (by her not me), and each time it changed. Eventually it was "her husband had been so abusive that she had been forced into a break down and needed convalescence ". She could come and go as she pleased and it was a convalescent home (one with security guards, double doors visiting hours only weekdays for four hours a day and very high fences ). It was so important to her that she alter the past, that it was something she tried to do for years.

As children we are born with a few beliefs. One is that life is fair. Abused children find out it is not. I am not sure that revisiting that one with your mother will pay much in the way of dividends.

You sound like you have been through hell and come out well the other side. Not unscathed but not bowed either.

From your post I thought there might be siblings ? How have they handled things.
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