View Full Version : Resentment towards my parents. Was I abused? Or am I a bad child?


karenparker
10-26-16, 07:06 PM
I see it's very, VERY long. I swear, I know it's gibberish. I tried to be coherent, but I just clearly can't. I think I've never actually talked about this stuff before in detail, so all the things I'm describing here that happened when I was a teenager feel real and as if it just happened.
I wish I could summarise it, but I have no idea what to think about it all and I have no idea what's an important information what what's just a useless piece of trash.


-----------------------------

I will mention here, that my father has been depressed since I can remember and my mother is (supposedly?) bipolar, though from what I know she wasn't having many symptoms, at least when I was a teenager.
I don't know if, and if so, in what way I was affected by my mother's disorder as a child. I remember her depression, but I was 17 or 18 then, so it's completely different. On the other hand, my father's depression has always been there and has always been always affecting me. Especially that he feels superior to any therapist or psychiatrist (believing his problems are too unique for an "idiot-therapist" to be able to work with him), as well as he has always been blaming everyone but himself for his problems. As an early teenager I was constantly worried one day I might just find him dead.


---------------

Anyway, my issue is... I just don't know how to look at my childhood and teenage years.
I never thought my home life was all that troubling until recently. Even when I went to a therapy a few months ago and managed to establish that I can partly "thank" my mother for my really f.cked up self esteem, it didn't really occur to me as something all that unusual.
But then I went to a psychiatrist who noted that my childhood was very difficult. I was truly surprised. I'm not sure he's right, to be honest. But then I also got the ADHD diagnosis, which made me question quite a lot of things. I mean, I thought my normal was normal-normal. What if that's the same with my family issues?

The thing is, I think I never considered it such a problem because I knew my parents loved me (and still do). I would really never, ever say I didn't feel loved. And they could be great. I would have long talks with my dad about all sorts of stuff when I was a kid, from silly conversations about nothing to serious debates about philosophy. I would have so much fun with my mom. I was extremely close to her when I was a kid (before I turned like 12 or so). We always had a very open relationship and I was always treated seriously and like a partner as a kid. They weren't those parents that would just yell or punish me if I did something wrong. They would never punish me really. My mother spanked me twice in my whole life when I was little and I remember her apologising and saying she shouldn't have done it instantly. They would talk to me and explain why I shouldn't do certain things. They trusted me. So, what could be wrong here?

Well, I feel like they had, umm, "Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde syndrome". This is how I would describe that.

It was mostly fine when I was a kid anyway - in a way, that I wasn't directly affected. They argued a lot since I can ever remember, in a really ugly way (though there was no physical violence). I don't remember it well, but it wasn't pretty. I think I actually suppressed loads of those memories, because I can barely remember even the more recent events, I only recall the feelings I had while it happened. My father was blaming my mother all the time for destroying his life, it was more or less all about that. He always believed he was being screwed by the other people and would never see his mistakes. And he would yell. And accuse her of loads of things. And yell. And insult her. And yell. And tell her she's worthless. And yell. And so on for years and years.
After moving on with her life (when I was 14 or so) she had serious self esteem issues (they only started subsiding now I think - I'm in my middle 20s), she wouldn't believe anything she did was worth anything, she didn't believe she could have a good job and every success she'd have she attributed to plain luck.

When I was a kid I'd always been somewhere in between them. They would both talk to me about each other. I don't even remember what they were saying. I just remember that it was happening constantly.
I also remember that when I was 7 or 8 tops and started spending more time with my father, when my mother got a job, my father would start accusing me of lying (I was never doing it) of manipulating both of them (no idea where that would come from) or whatever. My mother would sometimes believe him and sometimes not.

I was always closer to my her though. I remember asking her for years to divorce my father. I remember telling her that it's emotional abuse. We briefly stayed at her parent's house for a while, bur came back, and we finally moved out from my father's house when I was 13. We moved into a flat 10 minutes away though and she was still working with my father every day in the office in the old home. I was there all the time as well. I still have no idea what this was supposed to be all about. We moved back.

Live goes on, fights don't stop. They were always there. She moves to another country for work. I'm staying in the house with my father and my grandmother (his mother). He hates her (for a reason - imagine the most selfish and manipulative person you know and multiply that by a 100). Im 15. My mother is no longer around so somehow I become the one yelled at. I don't remember exactly what he was yelling. I just remember that he was yelling and yelling about my mother and how she destroyed his life and yelling and yelling to ME how I destroyed his life as well and I am a selfish, ungrateful *****. How I'm manipulative, how I don't care about him, how I am the most selfish person he knows and so on.

In my last year of the middle school I was depressed. I was crying everyday for hours, sitting in the bathroom because it was the only room with the lock, so no one would come in on me, and for the only time in my life I was actually having suicidal thoughts. I don't think I've ever been this hopeless in my entire life, before or after that. This passed at some point, I think after a few months, but it was the home situation that was the main reason of that.

And then I started high school. Now it wasn't just that I had to listen how I was the worst person he knew - well, on pair with my mother and his mother.
Now there was also more trust. Maybe he was projecting his fears or his memories from his times in high school on me - I don't know. But I remember some of our arguments. One issue he had, that was there for months and made me feel like I was living in some sort of crazy vicious circle with no way out, was that he was convinced that I was coming back home from school and going straight away to the bathroom to take a shower. Because I wasn't really at school (often correct - I was skipping school a lot). He believed I was "sleeping around" with some "random guys" because, you know, "boys this age think only about *******, and same about the girls, let's be real" (those are actual quotes, after translation). In reality, I was neither taking a shower after coming back home, nor having sex. But he really, truly believed it. It got to a point when I had to have a conversation with him and my mother (who, for some reason believed him - even though she should have known better that he can be delusional, since he has been accusing her of having affairs she never had for years). It must have left some imprint if I can still remember it. I just can't fathom how ridiculous it was and how I had to have a conversation about some ridiculous things I have not in fact been doing.
When I said our relationship was open, I also meant sex. I very curious kid and I knew more about sex than any of my friends and I could talk about it with my parents. But this situation wasn't open and nice. It was him saying pretty damn gross comments in a pretty damn demeaning way. And my mother was with him.

There was more situations like this. Situations when he would yell and yell about how f.cked up and horrible I was and when he would be accusing me of things that had nothing to do with reality. I couldn't do anything, because he was so, so, so completely sure I was a worthless piece of ****. He would see the proofs of that even if it wasn't there and wouldn't see anything that could indicate otherwise.

I'm not sure at what point I started to have issues with my mother, but it was somewhere around that time. Every time when I was visiting her, would be a mix of lovely, friendly times and arguing like crazy. She would be ****** off because I was unpleasant, or because my grades were ****ty, or because of X or Y or Z. I don't even remember. She believed what my father would tell her. Sometimes she would try to talk to me to get my opinion, but that would only lead to more fights and her saying "your father was right after all" and that I am a manipulative selfish person that never has any good intentions etc. Oh my, I would hear the latter so, so often.
This was not only really unpleasant, but also confusing - for years we were more or less sticking together, and now she was on his side.
I remember how she would tell me I was a worthless shallow idiot. It happened a lot of times. This was coming from a person that would at the same time keep telling me how great I am and how she loves me. I could never understand that.

Good times were amazing, be it with my father or my mother. Bad times made me go crazy, made me feel like a complete **** and made me count days till the day I could move out legally, so I would never ever have to go through it again.

Fast forward a few months and she moved back to the country, but still to another city. At this point I'm 16 or 17. I barely remembered that, but I recently found my emails to my best friend from that time and it all came back. How he would tell me to go to her for a month or two because "he can't live with me and needs a break and maybe my mother will be able to handle it". How she would say no, because she "can't stand me". And so on. And so on.

Keep in mind that in general ALL of this happened somewhere in between us going to the cinema, to restaurants, to shops, joking, laughing and seemingly liking each other, my parents working together etc. During all these years my father was also incredibly supportive when my mother was seriously ill. This dissonance was there just as much when I was 5 and when I was 15. I can't get my head around that. I just don't get it and I don't know what to make out of it. I don't know how to look at those people and their actions.

Anyway. I was flirting with drugs a bit when I was 17 (smoked pot a few times, took codeine once because that's what loads of people around me were doing. I didn't even like it and wasn't interested in doing it again).
My father though got an idea from somewhere that I was heavily addicted to something (heroin I think?). He said I had all the classic symptoms of an addiction (still blows my mind how he'd figure that out) and convinced my mother I must be nearly hitting the rock bottom at that stage.
They proceeded to reading all my emails and messages I sent to my friends. They didn't find much, since there was nothing to find, but sent me to therapy anyway, where the therapist (along with the drug tests done every day, with my mother in the bathroom to make sure I wasn't cheating) confirmed I didn't have a problem.
The thing is, they read every single message. They wouldn't filter through the clearly irrelevant ones. They read every single piece of me that I decided to share with my closest friends. And as far, as I could understand their desperation and let it go, my mother kept referring to those messages for MONTHS on in casual conversation. She kept throwing at me all the private things that were mine and mine only and should be of no interest to her. She would be mentioning all the private things I shared with my best friend.

What followed is sort of what brings us to "now".
They made me move to my mother - a new city and a new school yet again. In the previous school, for the first time in my life I was starting to have a group of friends. I wasn't as lucky in the new one (and never again later on for that matter, but whatever).
This is when I actually started doing drugs. And then I moved out when I was 18.
I moved back in after a few months when I decided I can't keep going like that on a fast food pay and eating potatoes every day for every meal if I ever want to do something else.
There is a part of me that wishes I never did that, even though if not for that I would never be doing as well as I am now. I don't know why. I sort of feel like the fact I came back meant I was ok with whatever happened in the past.
Either way, in the end I got a good job stayed with her for another 2 years and then moved out for good.

So...fast forward to NOW.
At the moment my mother is friends with my father. He is visiting her all the time and now, as he sold his house, he will be moving in with her for a few months. They're not fighting anymore and I don't think there's any sign of abuse.
I am also not fighting with my father, a couple of years ago he said he never wants to argue because it's not worth it, so whatever happens, we're not fighting now.
I am also close to my mother at this point and we talk a lot. She is supportive and in the past 2 years haven't done anything that I would consider hurtful (or I don't remember).

Still, the bad isn't that far in the past. 2 years ago we had an argument again (something silly, she was pushing me to go with her to her friends she was visiting in the UK, I didn't want to). She ended up telling me she can't stand me and that she would never keep in touch with me if not for the fact she is my mother and that she doesn't want to know me.
I don't know where that came from. Later when I talked to her about that she also said she doesn't know why she said it and she apologised. But it took me over a year to get over it. Why so long? Because I spent my whole teenage years thinking I am... well, basically what they were telling me. And I thought no one (as in: boyfriend etc) could ever love me or if they did, they would be living a lie (because I'm such a liar and manipulator after all) at some point find out how terrible I am. I barely got over it. I'm writing this post and I'm thinking maybe they were right and I just don't see how bad a person I am. So when I heard those things a couple of years ago, it wasn't easy. I still find it hard to believe someone might want to be with me and am scared like hell that they would and then leave me after finding out who I REALLY am.

Still... It's generally all good, right? Past 2 years - no fights, no yelling, instead going on nice holidays together and seemingly amazing friendship with both parents.

And yet I just can't stop feeling somehow uncomfortable about it all. And it bugs me. And it makes me feel like a ****ty person. I love them loads and loads. I can't imagine what would happen to me and my life if they died. Everything is good now. I can sometimes talk for hours on the phone with my father. I talk nearly everyday to my mother.

So why is there a part of me that feels like my father shouldn't be neither in mine, nor my mother's life? Why is there a part of me that feels that even my mother also shouldn't be in my life?
I'm close to them, I love them and yet every time someone says "your mom sounds like a cool person" I have this icky feeling. I have the icky feeling also when I think about my potential boyfriend (hahaha) meeting them. I don't know how to describe it. It feels like on some level I just don't want them to be involved. Or like I just wouldn't want the other person to like them. Or both.


And I... don't know. I don't know what to do about the resentment. I don't know if it's even justified. I keep thinking that after all I wasn't all that good either. I mean, I was skipping school, I wasn't studying, I was rebelling, I know I could really be unpleasant when I was a teenager.
But then I'm thinking - I was only a teenager. Was I really doing anything that other kids weren't doing? And if so, was what they were doing really the right approach? I wouldn't raise my kids this way. But I don't know.
I really think they're good people now. Maybe they changed, maybe the circumstances changed, I don't know, but now it's really all fine. So I feel I should stick to "now". But I just... I can't get rid of the resentment.

I also can't work out what to do about this confusion. About this "Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde" feeling, that they both could be amazing and terrible at the same time. That they both loved me and thought I was amazing and at the same time couldn't stand me and were telling me I'm the worst person one could be. I don't know what to do about that according to them I was both talented and with potential and lazy and wouldn't achieve anything. I was both lovable and a manipulative liar.
WTF am I supposed to do with that?

I don't know. I feel torn.
Every time I limit my contact with them a bit more I feel better on one hand, because I feel I'm feeing myself from all this, and on the other hand I feel bad, because I love them, and we're doing well now and I'm afraid I will regret not having enough contact with them later on.

dvdnvwls
10-26-16, 10:32 PM
There's no one right way to look at or think about the past. The past never changes, no matter what anyone says or does.

If the past seems very mixed, in a Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of way, well maybe that's exactly what it was. Maybe forcing it to look like only one thing or another would just waste your time and energy.

If the past never existed, would that make it easier to figure out what to do now?

Assuming that you have ADHD, it would make sense for your parents to have reacted in ways that were confused and inconsistent; I have ADHD, and it's obvious that I myself am confusing and inconsistent - I'd be surprised if people didn't have mixed and confused reactions to me.

Human relationships are never perfect. Some of them are truly dangerous; other ones are just flawed. If you're in a dangerous and harmful relationship with anyone, get them out of your life. If you're in a flawed but generally beneficial relationship, you can freely decide what to do next. And if you're not so sure which kind of situation you're really in, then talk about it with more and more people until it becomes clearer to you.

hollyhock
10-26-16, 10:59 PM
Well don't know if this is any help, or even correct, but as best I can tell:

Father projecting anger at your mother onto you = not nice, but not necessarily abuse. My father lumped me into my mother's camp when they divorced.

Tearing you down? That was more over the top and might fall under emotional/verbal abuse. Tough thing is that it seems like it happened in the past so now it is really more your issue to work out.

Parents not being able to stand their "skipping school/rebelling" teenager? Seems pretty normal. Maybe you were manipulative in their eyes and they found you hard to discipline/control. Sounds like sometimes your father wanted a break from dealing with you, but your mother wasn't willing to shoulder the responsibility.

The snooping/suspecting addiction thing? Maybe a bit over controlling, though I'm sure they felt that there was a need for it based on your behavior.

Your mom tossing personal tidbits up in your face was just a crummy thing to do. Doesn't signal abuse IMO, just someone being crappy.

If things are good now in general, but you still feel bad about what happened in the past then you would probably be best served by seeking counseling to clarify how you feel about all of it and what you need (if anything) from them to resolve your conflicted emotions.

karenparker
10-27-16, 05:22 AM
There's no one right way to look at or think about the past. The past never changes, no matter what anyone says or does.

If the past seems very mixed, in a Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of way, well maybe that's exactly what it was. Maybe forcing it to look like only one thing or another would just waste your time and energy.

If the past never existed, would that make it easier to figure out what to do now?

Assuming that you have ADHD, it would make sense for your parents to have reacted in ways that were confused and inconsistent; I have ADHD, and it's obvious that I myself am confusing and inconsistent - I'd be surprised if people didn't have mixed and confused reactions to me.

Human relationships are never perfect. Some of them are truly dangerous; other ones are just flawed. If you're in a dangerous and harmful relationship with anyone, get them out of your life. If you're in a flawed but generally beneficial relationship, you can freely decide what to do next. And if you're not so sure which kind of situation you're really in, then talk about it with more and more people until it becomes clearer to you.
I wasn't inconsistent. If anything I'd assume their reactions might have been a sign of them not being able to manage their emotions. But they did what they did and my father made my life a living hell.


---

I think I definitely should have been more clear.
I don't think that them being unhappy with my grades was abusive. I get teenagers argue with their parents.
I also get parents make mistakes and the drugs thing was one of them.

But I feel like from my father's side it was more. He wasn't overreacting. He was straight on imagining things and finding proofs that didn't exist.

I also don't think it's normal to keep accusing a 14 year old daughter of destroying his life. I don't think it's normal to keep telling a 14 year old that she's selfish, manipulative, a liar, crazy, vicious, an idiot that only thinks about f.cking and the worst person he knows. Not once. Not twice. All_the_time.

He was doing the same to my mother. He was accusing her of things that didn't happen, constantly. Or things like accusing her of not sending him money when she was abroad when she was sending him literally all she could and even I remember bringing him money (cheaper then the transfer). And so on, there was so much he was angry about. Those arguments would last for YEARS and there was no reasoning with him.

My fights with him had the same pattern. There was no escape, it was me vs his head. And the yelling. God, the way he was saying this things. I'm sitting on a train now and trying not to cry when I think about that.

And my mother, for one reason or another, wasn't really questioning anything he said. So it would follow she was also telling me how worthless and mean and terrible I am. And how THEY know me. Others might like me, but they have no idea who I am, so I can lie to them and pretend I'm good, but she and my father really knew who I was and wouldn't fall for my games.

I wonder if this dissonance between them telling me I was such a terrible person and that I was great is the reason why I just can't seem to accept when someone tells me something good about myself. Or why I question my self esteem always when it gets better. Because, after all, how do I know? Maybe I'm just lying to myself and people around me.

I also think the way they got me into their fights and their issues was harmful. I was a kid and as a 7 year old I was forced to chose. I just remembered my mother telling me that I can chose to stay with my father if they separate but I will never see her again if I do so.
I also don't think it's ok to accuse a 7 year old of being manipulative and whatnot. I wasn't. I was a good child l that at most was confused and torn between their parents.

I'm not saying it was abuse. I guess it indicates it would be intentional? They didn't have bad intentions.

---

Why am I thinking about that? I was just wondering why I am the way I am and it keeps popping up and I feel I repressed it and now it's getting out.
I wonder if I'm overreacting?

I'm also conflicted by the fact I'm both feeling I'd rather have less contact with them and that I love them and value being close to them.
I know I could never talk to them about that. It would break my mother's heart if she knew how I feel about the past. But then it can't just "unhappen", can it?

I don't know. I feel like a bad child, like I'm selfish for even being bothered by all that after years have passed and it's all better now.

karenparker
10-27-16, 09:36 AM
I now feel bad for writing all that.

I never really thought my mother was abusing me. I think her judgement was bad, I think she was impulsive when saying those things. I do think it was harmful. My self esteem issues are one of my biggest problems and I do know that's where they're coming from (apart from the ADHD related ones).
I think I was never al that bothered by my father, as in, it was nerve wracking and horrible on many levels, but I don't think I even treated his words seriously. I've seen him say the same things to my mother and I knew they weren't true so I didn't consider it all that important.
I was closer to my mother and it's her words that could hurt so much and change what I thought about myself. But I don't think I could say she was abusing me, I think it's just an example of bad parenting.

When I was wondering about abuse, I was thinking strictly about my father and our fights. At the point when I learned what emotional abuse was, and it was early (I'm not sure I was even a teenager at that point), I knew this is what all of my parents' fights were. I am absolutely certain of it.
And his behaviour was exactly the same towards me, as to her.
I think it's hard, because it's not... obvious. Unless someone heard it or lived with it, I have no hard proof - clearly not even for myself.

I would guess that having both observed what he was doing to my mother for years, since I was a little kid, as well as being on the receiving end for almost a decade (even when I moved out to certain extent) would explain my resentment and my uncomfortable feelings.

There's of course more things that happened that I would consider toxic, but not exactly abusive.

This roller coaster, the good mixed with the bad, the fact it lasted ages and ages, the fact that my mother seems to not remember what happened...

I'm confused by that.
I don't really know why I started digging, maybe I should have left it in the past. But I feel like a lot of my problems are related to my childhood and maybe I should be aware of that.

I feel like I'm overreacting. Like I'm complaining for simply not-perfect family life, when there are people that were really abused and experienced no love from their parents whatsoever.

sarahsweets
10-27-16, 10:32 AM
I also don't think it's normal to keep accusing a 14 year old daughter of destroying his life. I don't think it's normal to keep telling a 14 year old that she's selfish, manipulative, a liar, crazy, vicious, an idiot that only thinks about f.cking and the worst person he knows. Not once. Not twice. All_the_time.
I want to validate you. I agree, my gut reaction was that this was emotional abuse. Plain and simple. And regardless of whether or not it technically was, the scars it left on your heart are real.

He was doing the same to my mother. He was accusing her of things that didn't happen, constantly. Or things like accusing her of not sending him money when she was abroad when she was sending him literally all she could and even I remember bringing him money (cheaper then the transfer). And so on, there was so much he was angry about. Those arguments would last for YEARS and there was no reasoning with him.

Again, I see this also as emotional abuse. Not only for your mother but also for you. No child should have to be a part of their parent's arguments and strife-especially when its so obviously not warranted. Kids arent dumb- they see the truth.

My fights with him had the same pattern. There was no escape, it was me vs his head. And the yelling. God, the way he was saying this things. I'm sitting on a train now and trying not to cry when I think about that.

I am so sorry for you, and I identify so much. It makes me sick inside to read about your pain.

And my mother, for one reason or another, wasn't really questioning anything he said. So it would follow she was also telling me how worthless and mean and terrible I am. And how THEY know me. Others might like me, but they have no idea who I am, so I can lie to them and pretend I'm good, but she and my father really knew who I was and wouldn't fall for my games.

This makes me so angry. What was the point of that? They couldnt possibly been hopeful that you would change(if thats what they wanted), they were not giving you any opportunity to change or defend yourself. Its truly horrible, selfish and cruel.


I wonder if this dissonance between them telling me I was such a terrible person and that I was great is the reason why I just can't seem to accept when someone tells me something good about myself. Or why I question my self esteem always when it gets better. Because, after all, how do I know? Maybe I'm just lying to myself and people around me.

Yes! Parents mold us as we grow and the molding doesnt stop once a kid is a teenager, if anything you were learning how to live in your changing body, hormones and peers. Of course this makes you question yourself, your motives your very being.

I also think the way they got me into their fights and their issues was harmful. I was a kid and as a 7 year old I was forced to chose. I just remembered my mother telling me that I can chose to stay with my father if they separate but I will never see her again if I do so.

I am sorry but this is inexcusable. I know you have somewhat made peace with them but I cantn even think of a way to justify this other than the fact that they were so dysfunctional and self absorbed, they couldnt even be bothered to shield their child.



---

Why am I thinking about that? I was just wondering why I am the way I am and it keeps popping up and I feel I repressed it and now it's getting out.
I wonder if I'm overreacting?

I'm also conflicted by the fact I'm both feeling I'd rather have less contact with them and that I love them and value being close to them.
I know I could never talk to them about that. It would break my mother's heart if she knew how I feel about the past. But then it can't just "unhappen", can it?
The truth hurts sometimes. You deserve peace and a platform to get it.


I don't know. I feel like a bad child, like I'm selfish for even being bothered by all that after years have passed and it's all better now.
feelings are not facts, never forget that.
You are NOT: lazy,crazy,horrible,terrible,useless,worthless,stu pid,dumb,evil,manipulative or insignificant.
You are human.
You have flaws.
You have gifts.
xxxooo

dvdnvwls
10-27-16, 03:20 PM
I wasn't inconsistent. If anything I'd assume their reactions might have been a sign of them not being able to manage their emotions. But they did what they did and my father made my life a living hell.


---

I think I definitely should have been more clear.
I don't think that them being unhappy with my grades was abusive. I get teenagers argue with their parents.
I also get parents make mistakes and the drugs thing was one of them.

But I feel like from my father's side it was more. He wasn't overreacting. He was straight on imagining things and finding proofs that didn't exist.

I also don't think it's normal to keep accusing a 14 year old daughter of destroying his life. I don't think it's normal to keep telling a 14 year old that she's selfish, manipulative, a liar, crazy, vicious, an idiot that only thinks about f.cking and the worst person he knows. Not once. Not twice. All_the_time.

He was doing the same to my mother. He was accusing her of things that didn't happen, constantly. Or things like accusing her of not sending him money when she was abroad when she was sending him literally all she could and even I remember bringing him money (cheaper then the transfer). And so on, there was so much he was angry about. Those arguments would last for YEARS and there was no reasoning with him.

My fights with him had the same pattern. There was no escape, it was me vs his head. And the yelling. God, the way he was saying this things. I'm sitting on a train now and trying not to cry when I think about that.

And my mother, for one reason or another, wasn't really questioning anything he said. So it would follow she was also telling me how worthless and mean and terrible I am. And how THEY know me. Others might like me, but they have no idea who I am, so I can lie to them and pretend I'm good, but she and my father really knew who I was and wouldn't fall for my games.

I wonder if this dissonance between them telling me I was such a terrible person and that I was great is the reason why I just can't seem to accept when someone tells me something good about myself. Or why I question my self esteem always when it gets better. Because, after all, how do I know? Maybe I'm just lying to myself and people around me.

I also think the way they got me into their fights and their issues was harmful. I was a kid and as a 7 year old I was forced to chose. I just remembered my mother telling me that I can chose to stay with my father if they separate but I will never see her again if I do so.
I also don't think it's ok to accuse a 7 year old of being manipulative and whatnot. I wasn't. I was a good child l that at most was confused and torn between their parents.

I'm not saying it was abuse. I guess it indicates it would be intentional? They didn't have bad intentions.

---

Why am I thinking about that? I was just wondering why I am the way I am and it keeps popping up and I feel I repressed it and now it's getting out.
I wonder if I'm overreacting?

I'm also conflicted by the fact I'm both feeling I'd rather have less contact with them and that I love them and value being close to them.
I know I could never talk to them about that. It would break my mother's heart if she knew how I feel about the past. But then it can't just "unhappen", can it?

I don't know. I feel like a bad child, like I'm selfish for even being bothered by all that after years have passed and it's all better now.
It's very possible that you may just be fooling yourself into thinking that things are better now.

Your father's actions as you described them are abuse. Not sort-of abuse, not close to abuse, but abuse, full stop.
His intention or non-intention doesn't matter much, except to indicate what kind of intervention he needed and obviously never had.

dvdnvwls
10-27-16, 03:56 PM
Does your mother believe that the abuse was acceptable? Is that why it would break her heart to know how you feel?

Maybe she has a lot "invested" in believing that what happened was acceptable. Maybe it's one of the things that helps her to make sense of her own life.

Pilgrim
10-27-16, 08:10 PM
The family dynamics in an ADD family are complex, I've read some stuff on it recently, it's worth reading to understand why people behave the way they do.

karenparker
10-27-16, 08:23 PM
I just want to say, I really feel I'm not doing justice to my parents.
Everything I write is, of course, true and had happened, but I have good memories too and they also really did give me a lot of support and I never felt neglected or unloved, at least not during my early childhood or recent years.
I feel like I'm writing here and complaining and just saying bad things and dismissing anything good that they did and therefore painting an unfair picture.



This makes me so angry. What was the point of that? They couldnt possibly been hopeful that you would change(if thats what they wanted), they were not giving you any opportunity to change or defend yourself. Its truly horrible, selfish and cruel.
That reminded me of something, though it's incredibly vague. Now I remember many, many, MANY conversations with her when I'd be asking her not to be mad and promising to change. I don't remember what it was that I was supposed to change. I think I was promising to be less self centred? Or...? I have no idea. I couldn't be more than 13 or 14 and I have the feeling it was happening since I was much younger than that.
On one hand this makes me think that maybe after all I was behaving badly or was a bad kid. Maybe I was selfish, or manipulative, or whatever this was about.
But then... The adult me really doesn't think you should raise your children this way. And I do think a 13 year old is a child and also, at least partly, a result of how they were brought up. Not an equal adult you can blame or expect to change or whatever.


Since I'm talking about upbringing... It's also not that I just started skipping school when I was a teenager. I was never really taught to attend school regularly. I would be in elementary school and wouldn't go because I didn't want to and they would let me. Or I'd stay home because my father had a deadline and figured driving me to school wasn't a priority. I don't recall anyone ever keeping an eye on me so I do my homework either.
What were they expecting to happen?

My god, it sounds like I was neglected as a child... I swear, I wasn't. They would spend a lot of time with me and they did care about me. I just think they weren't good... adults? You know those kids raised in hippie commutes? I think it was kind of similar, though not as extreme. I just think a lot of damage was made because they were clueless and because neither of them wanted to raise me the way they were raised. So they took it to another extreme.


The truth hurts sometimes. You deserve peace and a platform to get it.
I don't think I will talk to her. I mean... I have before. Not straight on "you f.cked me up" kind of way, but I do remember mentioning it. I don't think she even realised what she was doing. She didn't even seem to remember it well. And she WAS in a very difficult time of her life then. I'm not saying this to justify it, because I know she should have never acted this way anyway, but I think there is a big difference between what she did, and what my father did.
I do remember well though talking to her about my father actually. She apologised and said she had no idea why she believed him when he was saying all this things about me and what I'm doing etc.
It's all really difficult. It would really break her heart to think she did something bad to me and I know she loves me crazy.
I just really don't think she's a bad person, I think she had lots of issues at that time, I'm pretty sure also including mental health wise. Yes, it's no excuse. And it wasn't just one random situation, rather the whole approach during those years. But still... I don't know.
Basically, I just think she was clueless, lost and made mistakes but I feel like it's not a result of a permanent, hmm, character flaw or lack of love, but rather a result of bad circumstances. I don't think it was ok, but I think it's in the past. I do have resentment towards her and will have to figure this out, but I don't think bringing this up could benefit any of us.
I know what she'd say, I know she'd feel hurt (by herself, not by me) and I don't think this could improve anything.


feelings are not facts, never forget that.
You are NOT: lazy,crazy,horrible,terrible,useless,worthless,stu pid,dumb,evil,manipulative or insignificant.
You are human.
You have flaws.
You have gifts.
xxxooo
Thank you. <3 I'll try to remember that.


Does your mother believe that the abuse was acceptable? Is that why it would break her heart to know how you feel?

Maybe she has a lot "invested" in believing that what happened was acceptable. Maybe it's one of the things that helps her to make sense of her own life.
As I said above... I think she would be horrified if I told her all I remember she was telling me and how it affected me. I think maybe her judgement was bad then, but I'm sure she wouldn't think it was justified. I think the thought of me being hurt by her would be terrible for her and I just don't think bringing this up could do much good.

I can't pin down what the difference between what she did and what my father did is exactly... But I never thought she was abusive. She was hurtful and I think what she did "damage" me in some way, but it just seems different to what he did.

It's very possible that you may just be fooling yourself into thinking that things are better now.

Your father's actions as you described them are abuse. Not sort-of abuse, not close to abuse, but abuse, full stop.
His intention or non-intention doesn't matter much, except to indicate what kind of intervention he needed and obviously never had.
I don't think I am fooling myself, I really do think the circumstances have changed and possibly both of them changed as well, grew up, got better meds or whatever.
They haven't been fighting for a while now. I guess there was always something good about that relationship and I think it shifted - for a while majority was bad, now majority is good.
They think they have some special connection and unique friendship. I think this is a result of the fact that they both have been in each other's lives for almost 30 years and neither of them got into different relationships during that time. They never got that close to anyone else and no one has ever been as involved in their lives as they're in each other's. And on top of that they have a child together. ;)
I also do think he really loved/loves her.

I think my mother should have left him and never look back when I was a little kid. But she didn't for one reason or another and now we're here, 20+ years later and, well, yeah. I can kind of see why they're close now, when he's not being abusive anymore.
It's working for them now and that's true, that neither of them will ever find someone they would share as much with. My mother chooses not to look at the past, because it won't change anything and she'd rather focus on what's now.
It's her decision. I wouldn't tell her now that she should get away, because there is nothing happening now.
On the other hand, she sent me a message a few months ago saying it's their 25th wedding anniversary and I couldn't help but cringe. They're divorced and for a damn good reason. But now it's good, so she just chooses not to think about the bad stuff.
Either way, it's working for her.

As for me and them? Well, it's good.
Over the past 5 or so years my relationship with her has been very good. Somehow we got very close and over those years only once or twice she did something that would hurt me and it didn't happen recently. And now I don't think I would tolerate it if it happened.

Of course there are other issues - for example I felt we were *too* close (like, talking a few times a day, she would know everything about my life, kind of close). I managed to cool it down only this year and still feel guilty for letting it get to this stage.
I was trying to cool it down a few times before and she would often go with something like "I knew one day you'd again turn your back at me!" (referring to my teenage rebelling when I also stopped talking to her so much, after we were super close when I was a pre-teen).
So I felt trapped, because I found myself in a very close relationship with someone with whom I didn't really want to be that close. I have only myself to blame though, it's not like I didn't initiate those conversations. I have, a lot and I did share a lot.
Anyway, for some reason she took it well a couple of months ago and is no longer calling me 5 times when I didn't reply to her message within an hour.

There were always boundary issues at my home anyway. Emphasis on openness, no knocking on the doors... And even though I'm all for being open to children about sex, I do think they took that bit too far too. I also generally feel my privacy as a kid was not respected, but it only occurred to me recently. But then this is one of the few things I actually sort of worked through with a therapist. She said that when I was little I was probably the most important thing to my mother, especially considering her relationship with my father, and that's why she wanted to be so close and that shaped our relationship. That makes sense and I'm pretty sure is an accurate assessment of our relationship when I was little, but I don't feel that explains our relationship when I was an adult. Basically, I got myself into it. I think mostly because she was there when no one else was and I needed to talk and share, so I did.


As for my father, I love him, but I think he's toxic still. Much less than he used to be, but I just can't be close to him. I can't be involved in his life and I can't talk to him often. Unlike my mother I am not overjoyed by his little successes. Not because I don't wish him well, but because for the past decade I have been constantly blamed for everything not working out for him. I have offered help and have been ridiculed and had it used against me. So no, I don't care anymore.
When he sold the house and my mother was ecstatic and I asked her why she's so happy. He was supposed to sell it like 8 years ago and never did and kept having excuses and making our life living hell any time one of us would mention it, while my mother paid off all of their crazy debt. She said the past is past and won't change. Oh well.


I don't know. It's a mess. What do I make out of this? Verbal abuse from father, mother that maybe wasn't abusive but did harm me with what she did and said, and then the following ultra-close relationship with them?!
I feel I shouldn't even be writing all this. I'm an adult. I have been close to my mother as an adult. It feels wrong to one day just change my mind and be like "nope, I resent you and don't want to be close to you anymore".

Jeftheginger
10-28-16, 12:59 AM
I would not say that you were abused but you were mentally scared by your parents anger. You have a deep past, do not drown in it. You still have a future, but do not fly to close to the sun.

Jeftheginger
10-28-16, 01:18 AM
Sorry

20thcenturyfox
10-31-16, 02:45 AM
I'm curious how you think it will help you to decide one or both labels apply.

(To be honest, I have a prejudice against black & white in human relationships and motivations, and another prejudice against blame. I honestly think they make it hard to grow mentally and morally.)

I do think concepts such as abuse and, well, let's say the "difficult" child can be useful as "lenses" we put on and take off in order to examine our memories and feelings, and perhaps to "reframe" our view of other people. But as soon as you let the "lense" (which after all only affects your own vision) harden into a "label" into which you reduce a whole person, I think there is a danger of not only dehumanizing the object of the label, but also stunting your own emotional growth. After all, how can you really seek to understand and empathize with an abuser? How can you fully empathize and assume responsibility for finishing the job of parenting yourself if you decide you were a "really difficult child?"

I often suspect much of the relief of using a label is that it spares people from continuing to actually feel their feelings--which as your posts illustrate are complex and richly varied, difficult to encapsulate. So maybe you don't need to tidy everything up. Maybe just taking different interpretations, each one offering up some aspect of the truth, will allow you to be more true to your feelings, both the hurt ones and the warm and loving ones. Once you buy into a label, it is just about guaranteed you are going to be unfair to somebody!

One of the "jobs" of every young person is to separate from their parents and develop their own identity. Whether this job is hard or easy, it seems to me it must usually involve a reappraisal of your early family life and whatever verities you grew up believing. I wouldn't assume this reappraisal has to be completed in a single "phase" either. The joke about "when I was 20 I thought my parents were hopeless fools, but only 10 years later I was amazed at how much they had learned" is funny because it is recognizable to so many people.

karenparker
10-31-16, 07:03 AM
It's not about putting some label on it and abandoning rational thinking; or about putting a label on it and treating it as black&white issue only, while refusing to see the greys.

I haven't realised until recently that my childchood was far from "normal". I have been struggling with different issues for ages and I think that whatever happened when I was a child and a teen had quite a big impact on me (duh, that's obvious). I am starting to connect the dots now and yes, I do feel I want some sort of... definition, for what happened?

This isn't to say I think my parents are bad people; or that they didn't love me; or that all they did was wrong. I acknowledge that it changed and now is different and better in a lot of ways. I also see what might have influenced their behaviour. (Or rather, I see what made my mother act the way she has, I still haven't managed to find any sort of excuse for what my father was doing.)

But yes, I wanted to know what happened. They have always been telling me how great they were, often how they were better than other parents because of this or that and I never considered that actually, no, the way I was raised wasn't all that great.

I'm not here looking for one synthetic label, but on the other hand I feel that recognising some of it as a straight on emotional abuse (what my father did) or recognising some much less frequent abusive behaviours (my mother) does help me to understand it all.

I have a seemingly great relationship with them and yet there's something that makes me uncomfortable about that. I don't like it when someone points out how great it is I'm close to my parents, I don't feel good when I realise how involved in my life they are.

Because we were always very close, and there were little to no boundaries (another issue btw) in my family since I was little, I feel that after it all sort of eased out I came back to what I knew from before; I came back to this close, open relationship that I've known forever; I came back to sharing everything with my mother, to treating her as a friend etc. It was what I known, it was easy, but I'm just not convinced it's what I really needed or wanted. I never thought about that. I just assumed past was past and went on with my life as I knew it and it was easier not to question the shape of this relationship, since my mother would never take it well when I'd suggest I want more privacy or whatever.

So I'm just confused. I feel like the fact I'm in my middle 20s and have had this close relationship with them for a while means I can't go back now.
But maybe that's not the case, maybe I can recognise the past for what it was and maybe I have the right to redefine the relationships so I feel more comfortable with them. Maybe I also don't have to go along with the patterns they raised me in - the openness and the sharing and the very frequent contact if I don't feel good about it as an adult.

I just feel like I'm stuck. Like I just adopted my parents' approach to those relationships and the past, while I just don't quite agree with either.

So there are two issues I guess, one is what to do about my relationship with them now and another just about the past and possibly simply acknowledging after all this years that it really was NOT normal and that my feelings of being hurt and somehow scr.wed up are valid after what happened.

So then why did I write here? Well, I guess to check if what I'm feeling is valid. And this is where the "labels" come in and I think it's ok to classify some behaviours in one way or another.

Little Missy
10-31-16, 07:14 AM
Do you work and completely pay for your own self, car and home and school?

karenparker
10-31-16, 07:33 AM
Do you work and completely pay for your own self, car and home and school?
I live in a different country and have been financially independed for good 4 years now.

I worry I'm just exaggerating everything or that I'm being ungrateful.

stef
10-31-16, 07:53 AM
Karen, whatever your issues may be you're not exaggerating your past, nor being ungrateful by questioning what happened.

I have a dear friend whose childhood was quite complicated (with loving yet quite flawed parents) she was almost in denial of certain things and well it caught up with her later in her 30's and she finally saw a therapist to resolve her internal conflict, such as you describe here.

karenparker
10-31-16, 08:57 AM
Karen, whatever your issues may be you're not exaggerating your past, nor being ungrateful by questioning what happened.

I have a dear friend whose childhood was quite complicated (with loving yet quite flawed parents) she was almost in denial of certain things and well it caught up with her later in her 30's and she finally saw a therapist to resolve her internal conflict, such as you describe here.
Thank you so much for saying this. I feel like "loving but flawed" is a pretty accurate description for my mother.
I'm really conflicted and there's so much happening in my head. I will go to a therapist as well but I won't be able to afford it till next year.

I do feel like I'm ungrateful or making stuff up. I'm going on holidays with my mom and we have fun, we often talk: about her dates, about my dates, and about lipsticks and about work and whatnot and here I am questioning past and wondering if I want to even have such close relationship with her. I fee like a two-faced liar.

dvdnvwls
10-31-16, 07:40 PM
I've met people before whose parents manipulated them to feel guilty for questioning the parent's lies and abusive behaviour.

Unfortunately, your explanations sound just like theirs, almost word for word.

I think your instinct to cut off contact might be right - but if it is, that's only the beginning. The real solution if you stop allowing your abusive parents to contact you is to find people who you can truly rely on, and that isn't easy - because you'll almost certainly start out trying to find a new abuser, someone who will treat you as they did. And obviously that's not helpful.

karenparker
10-31-16, 08:50 PM
I've met people before whose parents manipulated them to feel guilty for questioning the parent's lies and abusive behaviour.

Unfortunately, your explanations sound just like theirs, almost word for word.

I think your instinct to cut off contact might be right - but if it is, that's only the beginning. The real solution if you stop allowing your abusive parents to contact you is to find people who you can truly rely on, and that isn't easy - because you'll almost certainly start out trying to find a new abuser, someone who will treat you as they did. And obviously that's not helpful.
Thank you. I see my posts and I see that it looks like that and I'm pretty sure if I was replying to someone else's thread, I's say exactly what you did.

And this is what's so, so confusing as well.
Because I really don't think it's that bad. Or at least I don't think it has been bad recently.
Is it maybe about the proportion between the good and the bad? Because, of course, everything I'm writing here had place, but it's not the majority of my family life. It must be a matter of a degree, right?

My ultra-close relationship with my mother over the past few few years is not helping with figuring this all out. I don't know how it all plays together. I essentially came from a little girl that was extremely attached to her mother, through a teenage rebel, to a grown woman extremely attached to her mother. I feel embarrassed about that. How could I let it go so far? And I can't say it's all her doing, I was reaching out to her a lot - to talk about silly stuff; for life, relationship or work advice or whatever.
So I basically partly got myself into this mess. And I can't say many bad things about this relationship now, except for the fact that it feels smothering (but again, I truly am responsible for that in part). My mother has really been nothing but supportive and helpful over the past couple of years. I can't just ignore that.
Maybe she changed, or maybe she just wasn't made to deal with non-adults?
If I look at her now, I just don't see the person that was raising me, apart from some really sporadic issues.

I think my instinct to move away is not so much related to the situation now, as to what was in the past. I think I'm only now realising it wasn't just a teenage angst and that my anger and resentment was in a way justified. And that explains why I never felt quite comfortable with our relationship that followed the most difficult times.

Now, I have limited contact with my father a lot though recently and not having to deal with his toxicity is great. On the other hand I feel really sh.tty, since I love him a lot and I feel you shouldn't exclude people you love/and who love you/ from your life.

Thankfully it seems I don't have a tendency to be getting into abusive relationships. I seem to be looking for the exact opposite to what I've seen at home.

stef
11-01-16, 04:20 AM
i just reread the title of your thread, again it just so reminds of my friend's situation and i thought,
"your parents had no boundaries, and you suffered from this."

karenparker
11-01-16, 07:05 AM
i just reread the title of your thread, again it just so reminds of my friend's situation and i thought,
"your parents had no boundaries, and you suffered from this."
I do think you are right.

If you don't mind me asking, has your friend managed to work through this? Is she in touch with her parents? You mentioned they were loving, so it would seem she had a similar issue to me in that it must have been confusing as hell.

When wondering about having no boundaries in childhood I always thought about the lack of knocking, about my parents taking sexual openness too far etc. Now I'm starting to realise that being so involved in my parents' issues was the worst one.

If you asked me what one of the best thing about how they raised me was, I'd tell you it was the openness and treating me like a partner, not a child. And I do still agree with it in a way, I don't think kids need to completely live in a bubble or that their opinions should't matter or be treated seriously. But... to an extent.
Now I think most of this bad parenting was directly related to that. There was not enough separation between me and them. I think they were arguing with me, in a way, like they would with another adult. It just feels like they didn't understand how to actually raise a kid, I don't think they understood where my behaviours as a kid or teenager were coming from. And they believed and would tell me how great they are - because they don't punish me, or because they let me do more than other parents.
They were doing exact opposite of what their parents were doing. They were both raised not being treated seriously at all, with no involvement of their parents in their lives, with no talking about sex or anything.

Of course that changed too. There was a lot of freedom for me as long as it involved them. They became quite controlling when I was a teenager; nothing extreme, but enough to add to the confusion and anger. They would keep telling me how much better and flexible they were when that simply wasn't the case.

I don't know. I keep thinking maybe it was all at least partly justified since, of course, I wasn't perfect and I could be pretty difficult. I would talk back and wouldn't listen to them, I wouldn't do what they asked.
But at the same time I think it doesn't matter. I should have never heard the things I hears as a kid, I should have never been blamed, I think even when I was a teenager my father should have approached those issues differently. I don't think there is anything that would justify my mother telling me it was my "last chance" and me promising her I will change so many times etc.
I just don't think this is how you raise a kid and I think that in addition a lot of those problems were somehow generated by their lack of parenting skills. So I would end up being blamed for something they could have prevented.

Meh. I don't know. I bought some books about getting over childhood trauma, maybe it will help somehow.

I won't cut them out, I think there is a whole life ahed of us and I think they're both much better now and I don't think this relationships are abusive at the moment at all. I love them loads and care about them and I know it works both ways. I think it's reasonable to focus on "now" and not the past if it changed so much. But at the same time I think I wan't to move away to a certain extent nevertheless. I think that's reasonable.

stef
11-01-16, 09:23 AM
yes she has resolved this, eveything is great now with her mom
her dad however remains selfish but she is learning to just accept this and stop being disappointed.

karenparker
11-01-16, 11:39 AM
Thanks.
I think I will read the books I got and will give myself some time to think about it all.
I think it's best if I focus on what is happening now, but I guess it doesn't mean I have to stay as close to them as I am at the moment

Those few days have been terrible. Still, it's good to know I am not crazy, I'm not exaggarating and my feelings are justified. For the past few years I have been feeling, to a smaller or bigger extent, like I'm stuck and somehow trapped in this closeness with my family.
Every time someone would ask me about my family and I'd briefly explain how it works (parents divorced but friends etc) I'd get this odd feeling. I wouldn't overshare, but something in me felt like I was convincing myself it's so healthy.

I would also read posts of women that are close to their parents/mothers and would look for confirmation that it's ok to be so close to your family... and I would get it. But it still wouldn't feel right. I guess I found the reason: the foundations of my relationship with them are not healthy.

My god... I think I finally managed to describe it! This is exactly what I'm feeling in regards to my current relationship with them. That no matter how it looks and how well it works, the foundations are all messed up.
Oh, it's such a simple and easy way to describe so many feelings and history.

Edit: I feel like some of this weight has lifted.
You guys are amazing for taking the time to help me and for reading all this gibberish. I wonder how many therapy sessions and how much money it would take for me to get to this resolution otherwise. ;)