Sometimes we're born into the wrong family **long**

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by kara_leigh, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. QuinnP

    QuinnP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 26, 2010
    There is a website called & if yer mind is on some snarky revenge upon horrible family members, its the Bomb. Not only are their products absolutely hilarious, but ANONYMOUS!!!!

  2. Chickens_in_a_nutshell

    Chickens_in_a_nutshell Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Family can be difficult and you nearly had me in tears.

    But you know what? You're a very nice person and I'm glad you made something of yourself(can't say much for your family.)

    You go girl! [​IMG]
  3. Ceilismom

    Ceilismom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2010
    NW South Dakota
    There is family, and then there are relatives. Too often, they are not the same.

    One is defined by love, the other by blood.

    If it gives you joy to send a gift for the new baby, you just go ahead and do it. You don't need a baby shower, or a birthday, or a holiday as an excuse to give a gift. By nature, a gift is a voluntary thing, otherwise, we would call it a payment or an obligation. The gift may be appreciated, or it may be thrown back in your face. You must remember that you are only responsible for how you feel and what you do. The relatives are the ones who choose how they feel and how they behave.
  4. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Well, I can really relate to so much of your story. My mother was a severe alcoholic, I have a brother (half), who followed in her foot steps and grew up to be, let's just say, a bad guy and an outright criminal. My mother, aside from her alcoholism, is also very manipulative, and would make up vicious lies about me and my father to gain sympathy and attention from her side of the family. She was very neglectful, and was a very bad mother. I endured a very painful childhood, and only had my father, who was a massive workaholic and had little time for me. It was a lonely childhood. As I grew up, I learned all about alcoholism, enabling, family roles, etc., and would try desperately to "get through" to my mother, thinking, if I could only make her understand, she would be sorry and would stop. It wasn't just her drinking, she had and has serious psychological issues. Throughout the years, I tried various times to talk to my parents; my father didn't want to hear it. He divorced my mother and didn't even want to talk about the past. My mother, was massively in denial, and insisted that she had been a wonderful mother, which is very, very far from the truth. Yet, like you, I had this yearning, this longing, for family. I suffered from severe depression from childhood through my twenties, and every time I would visit my mother it got worse. I would leave her house in tears, filled with anxiety and pain. My then-husband would say "I don't know why you insist on visiting her, all she does is make you upset for days afterward each time". I knew he was right, but it was so hard to let go.

    I thought many times that I should just end contact with them, but ironically, you know what my biggest worry was? Looking like a bad daughter. I thought a good daughter would stand by her mother, keep trying to get through to her, you know, hang in there. I spent many years being a "good daughter" at my own expense, mentally, and physically. It wasn't just my childhood either, my mother was continuing to betray me, manipulating me with guilt trips, playing the victim and generally making me feel responsible for HER happiness. It was like feeding a monster with a bottomless pit for a stomach; nothing was ever enough. I internalized my pain, I made myself sick, worrying, longing for something better, and dwelling in the pain of what never was. Loving, despite not feeling loved in return.

    One day my aunt recommended a book to me, called "Toxic Parents", by Dr. Susan Forward. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!!!! This book literally changed my life. I marked so many pages with post-it's that it's just full of them. I got so much out of that book, you wouldn't believe it. A couple of key things were: Until I read that book, no one, NO ONE, had ever told me that I don't have to forgive my mother. This was huge. I had spent my entire life absolutely guilt ridden, always believing and being told by others that I "need to forgive". This book explained so eloquently, that if you can forgive, that's wonderful. But if, in trying to be forgiving, you lose yourself, lose your mind, and lose your health, then sometimes it is okay to step away and actually not forgive. I know that's contrary to everything we've always been told. And yes, I heard the theory many times, that forgiving isn't absolving my mother of responsibility, it's letting go of it's affect on me, blah, blah, none of it felt right or worked. This made sense. It is NOT a parent-hating book that tells you to stay out of contact with your parents, not at all. In many cases, the author gives examples of how healing is possible, but at the same time, admits that sometimes, healing cannot happen if a parent continues to be toxic in your life, infiltrating your happiness.

    I also learned that I need to start taking care of myself. I had given away my entire life, my peace of mind, my health, in an endless effort to get through to a woman who did nothing but continue to hurt me in return. I suddenly felt foolish. I was so busy being a "good daughter", that I completely lost touch with being a good ME.

    Not long after reading the book, I had the proverbial "last straw" with my mother. In and of itself, it wouldn't have ended my relationship with her. But after reading this book, and realizing my VERY ACTIVE role in all this dysfunction, I was starting to look at things differently, and with more awareness of my own actions, and my own happiness. So one night, I was on the phone with my mother, and she started ranting about how my niece (my half brother's daughter), who was 14 at the time, had been sent to counseling via recommendation of a guidance counselor. My mother is carrying on about how absurd it was. I said, "Ma, there's nothing wrong with a kid getting counseling, it can help her clear her thoughts. I went to counseling at her age too, remember?" And my mother said, "Yes, and it's just as ridiculous as when you went." Just as ridiculous as when I went????? I was a child in pain, at her hands, and me trying to get some help with my emotions was "ridiculous"??? Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I realized many things in that very moment. I realized that this family dysfunction was now being passed down to the next generation, and that my poor niece would be discouraged by her own family to get help, just like me at that age. I realized my mother was NEVER going to get it, never. And then I realized that here I was, holding the other end of the phone. That was very symbolic to me. By listening to this, I was in essence participating in it. I was caught up in it. I would hang up and become stressed again thinking about it. It had to end.

    That was August 04, 2004 at around 10:00pm, and I haven't spoken to my mother since. I suddenly and FINALLY stopped caring about what my relatives would think about me not being in contact with my mother. I decided to pick ME first, for once. I also realized that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I wanted it, my mother would never be the mother I wanted. She would never love me the way that I needed. I felt a bit orphaned, and then realized I had always felt that way. I never had a mother. I was playing a charade and allowing myself to be victimized in a desperate attempt to gain that sense of family that I so badly wanted. Maybe this will sound cold, but that truth is, I have never been happier than since I ended contact with my mother. Gradually, my Depression lifted, my anxiety lifted and I regained a sense of self. Putting myself first was something new to me.

    My father wasn't the greatest dad, he made mistakes, but he realized his mistakes, and apologized, and so I was able to maintain a happy relationship with him, even though, until very recently, I wasn't able to get him to fully understand why I needed to end contact with my mother. For years he thought I was just "mad at her". He didn't understand the full magnitude of the damage she had done to me, and how truly toxic she was in my life. Recently, I was able to sit down and share this with him, which was healing. At least he tried to be a good parent, and I know he loves me, and he's admitted his mistakes. My mother is still to this day denying any wrongdoing, and saying to relatives that she doesn't know why I am not in contact with her. That's fine. She can play dumb to her grave if she really feels the need. But you know what? She has never once tried to write or call. She knows where I am. If she really missed and loved me, why hasn't she reached out? I feel like I made the right choice, for my health and well being.

    I've also learned that "family" is not necessarily blood relatives, it's the people who ACT like family. And so I have surrounded myself with good people who care about me. If they are very dysfunctional and start to infringe upon my happiness, I remind myself that I want to be surrounded by healthy, happy people and make any needed changes. Another thing the book taught me, was to "treat myself the way that I wanted my mother to treat me". This was big. I needed to nurture myself, love myself, take care of me, in the ways she never did.

    I am not saying that you necessarily need to cut off communications with your family. That is a personal choice, and every situation varies. But what I am saying is that you need to take care of YOU. You can yearn for family until the cows come home, but they may never be what you want them to be. All you can change is you, and your involvement in the dysfunction. I understand so very well the frustration you feel, wanting to have a family, yet having them not act like family. I hope that you will choose to surround yourself with people who are loving and kind and who value you and show it. Turn toward your inlaws, they sound very caring. I really believe that family has nothing to do with blood. Family is the people who embrace you and care about your happiness. And always remember that when you allow yourself to be treated less than great, you must believe you only deserve that. Only when you raise the bar on what you deserve, will you get it.

    Go buy "Toxic Parents" by Dr. Susan Forward. It's truly a life changing book.

    Now, that's about enough typing for me!
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:Awesome, beautiful advice, as usual. [​IMG]
    And sorry about your mother being that way... i know its hurtful. [​IMG]
  6. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Awesome, beautiful advice, as usual. [​IMG]
    And sorry about your mother being that way... i know its hurtful. [​IMG]

    Aw, thank you. I needed that hug after typing all that out too. [​IMG] But I can really relate to the OP's feelings on this, it sounds so much like me some years back, and I am SO much happier now that I've managed to move on. Still miss not having a mother of course, but I never really did. At least this way she doesn't continue to hurt me.
  7. kara_leigh

    kara_leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2011
    Bradleyville, MO

    I will be buying that book. Thank you. I really appreciate your advice. I'm not great with words, so my reply isn't going to be nearly as eloquent as yours was. [​IMG]

    I think you hit the nail on the head. I'm afraid of what people will think, and what my parents will tell them, if I stop contact with my parents. As proof from the way that my mom's friends act toward me and treat me, they already talk bad about me enough. What will my relatives say? I know I need to get over it and not care, but I have been self conscious and worried about what other people think of me my entire life. I don't think I will ever get over that. The biggest issue is that my mother is VERY VERY good at putting on a show. Most people that know her casually (even some that know her better than that) or just meet her think that she is a very nice person and is a loving kind mother. HA! Everyone will wonder what kind of evil troll I am to abandon my wonderful mother. The only people that know what kind of person she really is don't talk to her anymore. My father doesn't speak to most of his childhood friends b/c of my mother. One of my mother's brothers refuses to speak to her anymore. Its the people that think she is a great person that I'm worried about.

    My dad is a decent enough man. He is wonderful with my son and my son loves him. He thinks that the problems between me and my mother are 100% my fault. In his own words, "I need to stop being so alienating towards my mother." I don't know if there will ever be a way to get him to understand where I'm coming from. I tried once, shortly before my sister got married, and in return he told me I was being a jerk and that's when he told me to stop being so alienating to my mother. He said he wouldn't choose sides. By refusing to even listen to what I was trying to tell him, that in itself is choosing sides. I chose not to even respond, I just turned around and asked him what we needed to do to sell our house (he held the deed to our house through a deed of trust...long story). We started looking for a house that week, as far away as we could get.

    I'm going to do my best and stop all contact with my parents and sister. Someone mentioned earlier that I should change my settings on Facebook so they can't even find me...anyone know how to do that? I have been trying to surround myself with people that love me. Before we moved I spent more time with my husband's family, and when we went back up there right after we moved I spent an entire evening with my sister in law. I had a wonderful time. Our new neighbors are great people and we've been getting to know them. Hopefully we become good friends.

    That's another hard thing for me. I don't really have any friends. Even though they aren't "friends" and nowhere even close to friendly, I feel like cutting of my family leaves me with no one left. What happens if something happens to my husband, we get divorced or he dies for whatever reason. I don't want to be all alone in this world. I don't think I could survive.
  8. equinehugger3

    equinehugger3 Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2010
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    I'm so sorry for you! I really am not sure what to say, since I don't want to give bad advice, but I want you to know that I'll be praying for you. This is just outrageous, though! They have no right to be so hurtful, and then get mad when you don't stay with them. I'll be praying hard for you:) You're doing great.
  9. kemclaughlin

    kemclaughlin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Garden City, ID
    You are a strong woman to have survived this type of situation as a productive adult. Many children of alcoholics turn into alcoholics. I also want to say that your situation is so very difficult. It's emotionally devastating. You will NEVER not care what your family thinks and whether or not you maintain contact, you have no control over it. They are probably saying horrible things now. It just feels like you have some control if you maintain contact. I recommend the book "Bad Childhood, Good Life" by Dr. Laura. She is an excellent and sympathetic writer and she can teach you how to put it behind you as much as possible.

    I have some comments about some of the things you have said. My feelings are all about them, so please don't feel attacked, because I do understand.

    Your family taking the side of a rapist, is wrong. This action, in and of itself, is EVIL. There is no other word. You will NEVER convince them to be on your side. Your feelings of anger are righteous, but trying to change their minds on this is insane and frustrating. Allowing your child ANY CONTACT AT ALL with people like this is dangerous.

    Your mother manipulating you the way she does is a sign of sociopathy and it can never be changed. She will never care about how she makes you feel.

    Your family making you feel as though you did something wrong by not staying with them when they are so clearly unwelcoming is yet another manipulation. They have complete control over you as long as you let them have this power in your life.

    If you spend any time with your mother at all, then you are failing to protect your son from her, if that is your goal.

    You will never stop being hurt, and rightfully so, about the actions of your family. Those feelings won't go away. That being said, step out of how all of this makes you feel, because we never do protect ourselves the way we should. Think about the impact this is having on your husband and child. If you EVER see them at the holidays, they are feeling a very negative impact on those very special days. Holidays should be spent with people who love us and whom we love. Every time you have even a small breakdown over something your mother does, it impacts your marriage and makes you less able to cope as a mother. Even if you are not willing to cut off contact to protect yourself, it might be worth considering for the sake of your family. These people only care about themselves. They won't and probably can't ever give you what you want from them. Continuing to try is unfair to you and unfair to your family.

    Next time some man is touching you (especially after you say no) your husband should beat them bloody and send them to the hospital in an ambulance. I am impressed with his self-restraint.

    I have a father who is the center of his universe. I do get it. I have not cut off contact either, but I have set boundaries and made it clear that I will cut off all contact if he violates them. And he does love my kids, so that is a valid threat for him. He chased me into the street once and tried to drag me out of my car because I got upset when he slapped my butt. I was 18 years old. After I left, he called me to make sure that I understood how it was all my fault. I tell you this so that you understand that I do get it. You are not alone. Lean on your inlaws because they clearly are caring and willing to accept that place in your life. I also recommend finding a church that you like and making friends.

    Also, you always have us...

  10. kara_leigh

    kara_leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2011
    Bradleyville, MO
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011

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