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#5883 - 09/16/02 08:39 PM parents
dan_in_newengland Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 161
Loc: Mass
From Lloydy's post in the motivation thread:
Quote:
My parents weren't particularly bad at all, just very cold and distant. I don't doubt their love really, and I'm as sure as I will ever be that if they had found out about my abuse at the time they would have taken me out of the school. My mother was particularly fearsome and would have gone ape shit I'm sure.
But it was a house without affection and any displays of love, none of our huge family live close so I never saw my cousins etc, we had no immediate neighbours. So I had no lessons at all in normal family life. I was well cared for, clean fed and clothed, and could read well by the time I started school at 5. But I cannot remember affection, perhaps I'm being too hard on them or perhaps the distortions of time and my past have taken the memories away ?
Lloydy's comments about his parents being cold and distant in the motivation thread prompts me to post this topic:
For those who were not abused by a parent, what blame do you place on your parents now, and how do you deal with them ?
My Dad was an adult child of an alcoholic, who spent most of my life depressed, angry, critical, and uninvolved. I didn't realize all those qualities were depression until I learned about my own depression. My Mom seemed to think my Dad's qualities were normal, and she bought into them, and after living with him for 50 years, have adopted them.
I don't remember any joy or happiness in our household. Both of my parents dealt with life like every day, child, and situation was a burden.
And it was an unspoken rule to not add to that burden. So when a middle aged brother and sister moved into the neighborhood, and took and interest in me, and thought I was a good kid, I responded. I spent a lot of time with them. Their household was so different from ours: pleasant, upbeat, they had hobbies that brought them pleasure, etc. They looked forward to shopping, working in the yard, fixing things in the house. My parents thought all these things were a burden.
Unfortunately, the brother turned out to be a child molester.
As I look back at my childhood I am angry that my parents were so negative and so overwhelmed by life. When their 10 year old son started spending a lot of time with these people they were all for it. It was one less burden for them to deal with.

The question of (from Lloydy) "perhaps I'm being too hard on them or perhaps the distortions of time and my past have taken the memories away" crops up.

Are my memories of my childhood accurate ? The siblings that I have asked agree they are.
Does the abuse make me more angry than I have a right to be ? I feel if they were better functioning parents, I would not be writing to this group.

How do you deal with it today ? When I interact with my mother and the old patterns crop up I find myself getting angry and defensive.
An example: my brother and I were at Mom's house, working on it yesterday. Mom (who doesn't drive) said to my brother "I am going to have you take me to the super market, I need milk". My brother replied there was a corner store about 3 blocks away. Hinting my mother could walk and get her own milk. Mom says "the store is closed on Sunday". My brother told her, with tension in his voice, he would drive to a corner store and pick her up a gallon of milk. Mom gets a hurt, look on her face.
This is a pattern I see repeated constantly. Things that Mom can do for herself, but doesn't want to, she tries to manipulate others to do. She has purfected the hurt look on her face !! Once you have accepted a task, it becomes your permanent job. I have to keep the radar up when I visit or talk to her, so I don't get any added tasks. That makes my time with her stressful, angry and unappealing.

My Mothers current mind set: "you need to do more for me", " I am overwhelmed", " my life is so tough", "I'm frail", "I'm to old to____", " I cant do______, I might hurt myself", "I don't know how to _______".
Those mind sets, and hurt looks, remind me that when I was a pre teen I was "taking care of my parents" by trying to be less of a burden. Now as an adult I can see through some of the lies and manipulation that put me in that situation and I am angry, but trying to deal with it in an adult way. Any tips anyone ????


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#5884 - 09/17/02 01:48 AM Re: parents
Roy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/02
Posts: 184
Loc: Los Angeles
I had a very similar situation growing up. I sort of "landed" in my family as an unwanted and unexpected pregnancy when my mom was 45 and my dad was 52. They were done with kids and then I came along. My parents had a bad marriage, fought all the time. My dad ignored me except for when he wanted the use of my manual labor skills for working around the house, and my mother made me her surrogate husband. She was depressed and he was angry and sullen. So I learned early on not to make any waves, don't cause trouble or make things any worse than they already are. I think this resulted in my shutting down huge chunks of some of the best parts of myself, like creativity and self-expression. My mother's dependence inhibited my becoming fully adult and self-sufficient.

My father passed away 13 years ago, and the way I cope with my mother's manipulations now is to politely stand my ground, and consciously remind myself that I am ok and justified in protecting myself and maintaining appropriate boundaries. I have learned over time how to do what I can for her, with her, and keep in mind that the looks of hurt she does so well are really about whats going on inside her and has nothing to do with me. This stuff was there in her way before I came along. It was very unfair to unload this stuff on me, the same as it was unfair for your parents to treat you the way they have. However, I know she did not do it intentionally to hurt me or screw up my development. I get along best when I compassionately view her as suffering from the damage that was wrought on her as a child. There is a certain degree of mental illness going on adn I think she did the best she could with the tools available to her at the time. It may help to see your parents this way. Anyway, try it on for size to see if it works for you. It has taken years, but gradually my mom has adjusted to my not buying into her nonsense and actually has quit most of it because there was no payoff anymore. She has actually grown up a little bit herself (at 85!).

I hope this helps you some. It took me forever to realize anything was wrong with the way I grew up because it was all I knew.

Roy


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#5885 - 09/17/02 02:32 AM Re: parents
RecoveringRyan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/02
Posts: 28
Loc: new york state
Similar situation for me. Emotionally damaged and forcefully controlling parents prepared me to be victimized by leaving me starved for any positive attention and incapable of saying "no" to an adult.

My father was physically forceful, sometimes violent, always angry, always mean. I remember him laughing at me, hitting me, but mostly just being angry. He never played with me or taught me anything. He resented me asking him questions and I never could have asked him to do something for me; I was too terrified of him to even think of that. He made me work, either with him or doing things that he didn't want to do. He used me for manual labor and for the best available outlet for his fury. He was always critical, and it is an acknowledged fact in our family that he never once displayed any form of affection or love for me. Of course, my mother insists that he really did love me (he's passed away), but I ask back, if he had all this love in his heart then why didn't it make him show it back words or actions? The reply: his way of treating you was his way of showing his love. But I've learned to see through this guilt-defending deception: what he really showed me, and what he therefore really felt, was resentment, jealousy, anger, hatred, pettiness, contempt.

After some prying, I pieced together some of the relevant facts from his family history. His father died when he was 11 and the family went through tough financial times for 2 years after that. The whole family has always attributed his harshness to this financial fact. But the real story is that his mother was extremely harsh, using a frying pan for punishment and raising her sons with an iron fist. She was a revered (read "terrible") woman. But she was really a victim herself: her father abandoned his family several times, her parents exploited her for labor in the house and in the field, and she was sexually abused as an adolescent.

My Mom is weak, overwhelmed by the slightest thing, capable of doing very little. She resented me and punished me to keep me from wanting much. She is also anxious about everything and is intimidated by everything. Her main feelings toward me are resentment/disgust and anxiety/concern/guilt, although she would say that she loves me, but that word corresponds to no feeling in her heart.

I never understood this until I asked her directly if she had been sexually abused. It turned out that she had been, and even after 6 months of my recovery, nobody thought to mention it to me. She was disgusted by her own baby, projected feelings from the abuse. She was also ignorant about parenting. She is fond of saying that I didn't come with an instruction manual. And then after many years of being mistreated by father she is almost useless as a human being and badly in need of therapy.

The result of the treatment I received from these two parents was the deeply-ingrained realization that I was wrong, that my feelings and thoughts are bad and I am best off pushing them down, repressing them, to avoid further bad deeds. So, now I am trying to learn how to feel again. Because, of course, all my energy and intellect that was too much for my parents is my psychological vitality and essential to my happiness.

So much for me. Some tips:
-Ask your mother about what learning she did to prepare for her firstborn. I think of myself as my mother's training child, a guinea pig of sorts.
-How did her parents raise her? Did they spank her? Did they otherwise abuse her? Was she given enemas (I didn't believe this either, but it turns out that my grandmother was given them to reduce her temperature when she had a flu)?
-Was she sexually abused or otherwise abused?
-Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, bad initial sexual experiences?
-Is she easily sickened by blood, prone to anxiety, headaches?
-Did your father mistreat her?

Do the same for your father.

All this will help you find reasons for why they are the way they are. In terms of dealing with your mother now, the best thing I have found, and it has been working for me, is to experiment with my mother. Meaning, the problem was, I could never keep my cool around my Mom. I couldn't even keep track of my own feelings until I was already way too far into a rage or committed to doing something I don't want to or depressedly slinking away hoping I wouldn't see her again for a long time. What I started to do was to fabricate occasions to see my Mom when I was emotionally in a good state, and in which my explicit primary intention was to figure out how I was feeling just being around her. I've discovered that if my mother is present, or even if I think she is in the house, I feel anxious, inferior, subordinate, and I lose track of my feelings and am wondering what she wants or whether she is nervous. I respond to my mother emotionally before I even think. I've begun to notice this and to notice how many of my interactions with her are obviously futile and I could see this in advance if I were thinking about it, but I'm not. I respond naturally, automatically, pre-thinking.

Then I emotionally experimented with disagreeing with her in conversation with saying "No" to her requests and sticking to it, again with the intention of understanding first how I feel, so that I can consciously feel the feelings. When I am able to do this, then I can evaluate what I want to do and not do, have a will of my own, and not be angry and guilty every time my mother tries to manipulate me or impose on me.

"A compliance and suppleness of their wills, being by a steady hand introduced by parents before children have memories to retain the beginnings of it, will seem natural to them and work afterwards in them as if it were so..." Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, section 44.

The point is, my mother controls part of my heart and my mind when she is present, and I was unaware
of it, and it seems natural to me. Obedience, agreement, guilt, anxiety.

Ryan


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#5886 - 09/17/02 01:30 PM Re: parents
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Dan
I can relate to so much of what you say there.
My mothers depressive, and my brother had a bout of clinical depression a while back, and I've suffered due to the abuse, or possibly to some degree it might be hereditry ?

My grandparents, who I never met, were apparently very strict and physical with their children.
My parents had to get married, we only discovered this when my brother and I were asking about their 50th wedding anniversary and it was about 5 months after his 50th birthday !!
but we lived in a wall of silence and repression as far as things like this went, I now understand why we live over 100 miles from the rest of the family, we were the fucking outcasts !!

But not talking and being honest about it has only compounded the problems onto a further generation.

Now they're both in their 80's and my mother is going senile and my dad is showing his age, today we discovered he has an enlarged prostate. But he's said nothing for over a week because he didn't want to worry anybody - so he's sat there in agony.

I want to grab him and shout "JUST TALK ! treat me like an adult please"

I know these kind of things are the joys of old age, but surely to hell in normal families people say when they're in pain ?

Quote:
He was always critical, and it is an acknowledged fact in our family that he never once displayed any form of affection or love for me.
What Ryan says here is a classic example of life in our house, never any praise or encouragement just criticism.
I am a complete petrol head, I love cars and always have. I had my first one to drive around a field at 9 and I started to learn how to repair it.
So naturally I wanted to be a mechanic, no chance.
I went to college and did the subjects they chose. Maths english and naturally book-keeping and accountancy amongst others.
So I did them proud and got expelled from 2 subjects and failed four.
Then I became an engineering apprentice, which they grudgingly accepted. Eventually I followed my fathers footsteps and worked for the same company doing the same job, engineer.

Confused ? I was....

still am
Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#5887 - 09/17/02 01:57 PM Re: parents
dan_in_newengland Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/01
Posts: 161
Loc: Mass
lloydy Im in the chat room, drop in if you can


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#5888 - 09/17/02 05:01 PM Re: parents
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Dan
I have been having problems getting into the chat room, it just throws me out every time.
And there's the time difference, I'm 5 hours ahead of EST.
But I promise to try again this weekend, probably Friday night 9 pm EST.

Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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