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Lisa,
That's such a great thing that you are doing in protecting your daughter. Good for you! Kudos!

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Originally Posted By: elleCreatEd
Does anyone have any thoughts or advice about learning to re-relate to abusive parents and family as an adult? These people aren't bad people, just misguided and manipulative (still)

Don't even TRY to relate. Aren't bad people? Adults who abuse children are... not "good" people..?! I have to say that you'll save yourself alot of pain, hairpulling, and misery if you DO NOT try to relate to these ppl. The best thing u can do is make YOU happy. Stay away from that negative sh*t. Like attracts like... It's not part of your job (as a human being) to keep peace, make nice, or try to have a relationship with ANYONE who has harmed you, or anyone else for that matter. Move on. Let them be. Find a new supportive family.. (friends etc.) Don't surround yourself with negative ppl... they will bring you down. DON'T BE POLITE just to not cause waves. Cause waves if you need to and move on.
Blessings*


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I do have a new supportive family - my in-laws. And as I was dealing with the issue now that sparked this post, I had the close support of my in-laws and it was very obvious that they do not treat me the way my family treat me. They don't treat their children, or anyone, that way. I've left with a polite relationship intact with most of my family, without putting much of my real self out there, but I put my foot down on a couple of issues which did make some small waves.

The big thing, though, is that I was able to let go of some guilt I didn't even know I was carrying around - somewhere along the line I was made to feel guilty and a bad person for not being able to love these people. Love is earned, as is trust and respect. It is not my fault that a true relationship was never built, and now that I recognise that I really can just acknowledge them without feeling bad. I feel a bit sorry for them now, because they are not happy people.

But I am. smile


Elle Carter Neal
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Elle,
You are so right when you say that love, trust, and respect are earned. They don't just happen. They must be earned. Congratulations on being able to let go of the guilt. No child is ever at fault for being abused. Great post, thank you!

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Just another opinion from someone who also has been there. It's okay to dump toxic parents.

In my thirties, I tried to open communication about the past with my parents--crazy me! It backfired. Indeed, in the insuing years, my mother tried to convince me that all my sad childhood memories were products of my imagination. I have six siblings, and 4 of them took the stance that it was totally inappropriate for me to try to bring things out in the open and get a new start with our parents. Funny, but all my siblings except one have recounted to me, at different times, some of the whackiness they remembered. ALL of us have had problems because of our tough upbringing, but, as my only "good" sister says, most of the siblings are still engaged in a struggle for "litter dominance."

In my early fifties, my "good" sister and I noticed that our parents were on the decline physically and were not as alert as they had been. We mentioned this to our siblings and got no reaction. We even (naively) cooked up a couple of alternative plans to offer our parents for moving close to that sister or to me. To our shock, the parents and the other siblings reacted to our offers with complete hostility. Ultimately, the other siblings stopped speaking to "good" sister and me, then the parents stopped speaking to us. Next thing we knew, we heard that the parents had moved closer to three of the other siblings.

It has been almost three years since hearing from any of them. I've been through counseling and have "diagnosed" most of my family as narcissists. Most of what I've read about narcissism says you pretty much need to break away from narcissists. They almost never want to change, and they only accept you as long as you do EXACTLY what they want. You are not truly real to them as they have no empathy for other people.

At the peak of all this, I was crushed. I still find it hard to believe that parents can have such a tiny understanding of what they mean to a child (however old the child gets). But, I do see myself as lucky now. I don't have to deal with these impossible people anymore. I've got all those spare siblings to bear the burden of elder care.

My husband and I had already taken in his mother in the years before she died, so, I had an idea of what I was asking for. I thought I was up to it with my own parents, but I probably would not have been. So, like I said, I'm lucky. I guess if I were the last living relative, my decision now would be just to arrange for the parents to have either nursing home care or at-home helpers--anything to keep contact extremely sparse.

I'm over 55 now, and I don't care how old a person gets, I just don't think you ever completely get over an abusive childhood. Your skills may get better, but you never become expert at deflecting the kinds of slings and arrows that hit you as a child. I think there are buttons your abusers can push that you may not ever be fully aware of. It all makes you a little bit different from people who had better childhoods. The good news is that life can still be good even for us "different" people. When I was growing up my overriding goal in life was to be sane when I was grown! I remember constantly wishing my mother could know that I really was a good girl. Sad, BUT, it meant that deep down I saw myself as good--my self esteem wasn't totally shot!

I have to say, too, that "regular" people do not truly understand; and you sort of have to ignore them when they urge you to reconnect with abusive family members. They mean well, but you simply can not walk back into the lions' den when you know the lions have not turned into kitties!

Anyway, if your family is abusive, do NOT feel obligated to subject yourself to it. (Psalm 27:10 says, "When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." What a comfort it is to me to know that God addresses this problem in the Bible!)


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I tried to reconcile with my adopted sister who has been diagnoses with the personality disorder borderline personality disorder, now I look back and ask myself how I could have been SO stupid.

She spiraled out of control and almost took me down with her. My brother is also a nutter and records my Mothers phone conversations (don't ask), well he sent me a copy of my sisters latest rantings about me, she was making things up out of the clear blue, trying to convince my Mother what a horrible person I am, going from that to getting mad at my Mother for not loving her enough. While I was aware she had done things like this before, I had never heard them and the people who had repeated them I am sure softened them. THIS TIME, she accused me of things that amounted to a felony AND I heard it in her own words. No way to soften that or deny it.

I am working on gathering information to get a restraining order against her. She has gone too far on this one, even involving my 10 year old daughter in her games. I am totally done. The only person I owe loyalty to is my daughter and she deserves the best I can give.

The reality is when people are sick like this, I am NOT a therapist, I can't deal with them. I BEGGED my sister to get help I BEGGED her to stop trying to use me as her therapist to no avail. Finally in order to save myself and my daughter I had to get away from her completely.

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I have an okay superficial relationship with my parents. It works. I don't know how to describe it.

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I have a superficial relationship with my father but my mother is a different story. She's emotionally abusive and I'm just not going to take that c@#p! Especially when it's aimed at the only 2 people in a house of 8 who won't accept that behaviour - namely me and my 14 year old brother. As soon as is possible I'm moving out and cutting ties with her (possibly with my brother if he wants) because she just doesn't respond to anything. I'm stuck at home at the moment recovering from a broken back, so I'll have to cope until then.
I think it's okay to sever ties with people who are toxic to you, and surround yourself with people who love and care about you. It's just not healthy otherwise.

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freespirit, I agree with you in that it's okay to sever ties with those that are abusive towards you. No one deserves to be abused. I'm sorry to hear about your broken back, but I do sincerely hope that it heals quickly.

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I discovered this forum and thread last night. It is great to see that some other people share the same experiences as me. Usually, people assume that everyone has parents that love them and have a home to go to during the holiday seasons. But I do not have any parents nor biological family.

My parents abused be physically, verbally, emotionally and financially. They were rich but only gave me the minimum needed to avoid being charged with neglect. I made a big fuss about being abuse - told teachers, abuse hotline, etc - but nobody in Malaysia cared and I was always blamed. Perhaps to prevent suspicion that they are abusive parents, they didn't abuse my siblings. Or perhaps it is because I was the one with ADHD, which was not treated as we were living in Malaysia and nobody cares. When I was 18, I looked for scholarships to go to university to prevent my father from paying for my tuition and having access to abuse me. I got a scholarship to study in the USA from PETRONAS in return for me working for them when I am done. However, due to several reasons which I won't go into, I ran away to Canada and ditched the PETRONAS scholarship. My parents have to pay PETRONAS back. But they want me to pay. I refuse because (1) I don't even have money to eat! (2) I think parents should be responsible for their child's education if they can afford it.

If I keep in touch with my parents, all they try to do is to get me responsible to pay for that money. They will make up stories such as that my father is retired and that they do not have money. But I see that they pay for luxurious items for my brother. I also see online that my father is some big shot that definitely has tons of money! I, on the other hand, struggle with ADHD, PTSD, GAD, and double depression. I also have physically ailments. I am a part time Graduate Teaching Assistant and full time student. I do not have much money. I have turned to prostitution to pay for graduate school applications, medications, etc. It is sad that this rich dude is trying to get money from me and I am forced to be a prostitute at times because I do not have money.

As for my siblings. My brother is abusive too. He beats people to get whatever he wants. He verbally attacks me because of my religious affiliation. My sister used to be okay with me and was mildly abused. Then, she suddenly cut contact and I was told by someone it is because of my father's influence. She attacks me for moving to Canada.

As for my extended family, they refuse to believe that I have PTSD because I was abused. They refused to believe that my mother married an abuser. They believe that I make up stories and that I should be avoided.

I do not have a biological family that cares for me. All I have is my godmother and dog. My godmother took me under her wing because I do not have a family. But she is sick, doesn't have a phone and lives in another city. My husband ditched me in 2004 and doesn't care about me.

In summary, I do not keep in touch with anyone who is biologically related to me. If I do, I will be depressed. For example, the last time I was with my biological mother, I was crying the whole time. As soon as I was away from her presence I was normal. These people have nothing positive to say about me. For example, when I graduated with my undergrad degree, my godmother was happy. My friends and godmother threw a party for me. But I knew that I would be condemned to the bones by my biological parents. They probably would say that for my age I should have a PhD (I took longer to finish my degree due to disabilities). And the fact that I didn't jump from undergrad to PhD but have to do a Masters would be a huge chance for my biological parents to attack me. They would say that I am stupid and not smart like them (they both have undergrad and Phd's in forestry). I am so scared about this that I tell people I am doing my PhD not MA.

Anyway, this is all for now.

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