support thread for mamas with toxic and/or estranged parents - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 402 Old 12-01-2008, 12:27 AM
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hugs to all the mamas having a hard time right now.
Likewise!!

I think the holidays add additional stress. I know they do for me.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#62 of 402 Old 12-03-2008, 01:28 AM
 
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Hi - I'm so glad to have found this tribe. While I am not estranged from my mom she is often toxic. Then there are times when I feel connected to her but then invariably something happens that will break that frail connection. Since having DD and DS in my life I am reliving things that happened when I was young and they are not pleasant. I often stress that I will become like her but I will never let myself become cold and witholding of love. There are so many things that happened during my childhood that I thought were normal and now I know that they were not.
I could go on but I'm not ready.
Hugs to everyone here.
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#63 of 402 Old 12-03-2008, 09:33 AM
 
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I recieved a letter from my mom yesterday. It was all "me and my feelings." She did say "I'm sorry for everything, you are right and I am wrong." Typical of her, doesn't go into details of what and why, which means she is insincere.

She did go into 2 pages of details of how her and my dad aren't speaking now, they did not have a thanksgiving and will not have a christmas either, they have cut off everyone in their family, even my grandma (???) because that is what I wanted (that is so not what I wanted and they know it). How it is so quiet in their house because they aren't speaking to each other and nobody else is speaking to them... how they will probably end up getting a divorce, and how mom found lumps in her breasts and probably has cancer. (But since I don't care, she won't bother letting me know.) Typical passive aggressive tactics I have come to know from her. Emotional Manipulation. And what makes it so funny, is how she didn't once refer to themselves as my parents, all through the letter she referred to my dad by his first name, then she signs the letter with their first names. sigh.

It's pretty bad when I recieve a letter like that, and all I can do is laugh grimly and shake my head because it's all I have come to expect from her. I am so glad that someone sent me "Toxic Parents" because I was able to be prepared, and it was almost exactly word for word what Toxic Parents told me to expect. Anyone want me to send them this book? It really helped me, and I'd like to pass on the kindness if I could.
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#64 of 402 Old 12-03-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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I would like to read Toxic parents. I will IM you my address and be glad to pass it on to anyone else who wants it.

So they are coming for Christmas. I go back and forth between dread and denial. I haven't had family come in a really long time though so I am hoping I am not setting myself up for disappointment. Best Behavior everyone. Spirit of Christmas and all that. My dh is really giving me a ration of you know what about it. Just general grumbling from him. However since the one year Hiatus mom has been on her very best bx with me and my kids. Is it too much to hope she can contain herself for four days?


And it's likely that my mom will be in town atleast 3 x in the next year because my brother's gf is pregnant and so she is likely to come for a wedding and the birth.

I have a spirit of acceptance and willingness. Willingness to be kind to her and acceptance of who she is. I hope good things for her and that she might find some happiness and be able to relate to her family, but a guard is also up. KWIM?

I've made referrals to hotels that take dogs. I'm taking off work (at some expense to my productivity too) but I just don't trust her around my kids.
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#65 of 402 Old 12-03-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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Yes, I know what you mean labbemama. I'm aiming for the point where I just don't care anymore. I'm most of the way there. I can do the nodsmileandbecivil stuff quite well, for the sake of DD. But always wary. yes.
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#66 of 402 Old 12-03-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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It's all different when she's in the room. over the phone is one thing. And in the car. OMG I am not even going looking at Christmas lights with her. DH is taking her and the kids and I'll stay here with the dang old dogs. No way I'm getting in an enclosed space with her grating voice.

DD suggested we go downtown to the Plaza and I was like how about we start a tradition for New Years (The last night the lites are on and after mom leaves.) and only with the stipulation that we stop by the Cheesecake factory if by some reason I must go.

LOL, so talked to my dad and now he's coming up AFTER my mom leaves to bless our home according to his religious rites after she leaves. Isn't that thoughtful of him? The funny part is that my dad is coming now too. Not his religious views. Atleast I want to see my dad.
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#67 of 402 Old 12-03-2008, 10:30 PM
 
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Oh, Labbemama. I'll take Toxic parents after you and send it on to whoever needs it after! Thanks MPJJJ.
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#68 of 402 Old 12-04-2008, 07:12 PM
 
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What is it about the holidays that makes me not okay with being out of my mother's family?


My father... to wrap it up in a pretty bow, he is a homeless, drug addicted abuser. Not missing anything there.

But my mom... I miss my mom. )

I have a little brother, he is almost 16. We talk weekly on myspace. Just fluff, but it is nice to at least watch him grow from a distance.



My parents stopped parenting me when I was about 13-14. My oldest son is just about to turn 12, I am so scared for the future.
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#69 of 402 Old 12-04-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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Oh I'm *so* joining this tribe.
to everyone,
i'll be back to post more later; just running out the door, but suffice to say my parents were abusive, still are, and I haven't spoken to them, and broken all contact (against their wishes) since about a year and a half.

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#70 of 402 Old 12-04-2008, 08:24 PM
 
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Can I join in? My dad is very toxic, mom not so much toxic, but just not there period. I don't have time to get into right now, but will be back. And Ill take toxic parents after whoever has it last..and I will pass it on! Seems like we have a line!

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#71 of 402 Old 12-05-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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Has anyone who is estranged from their parents noticed a sudden feeling of "I can do this"?
ugh. all the time.

last week i wrecked our car. thankfully we walked away unharmed, but the car has gone to the big drive-in in the sky, and i have to find us a new used car. it feels like an insurmountable stress. my father is a mechanic, and i always did car shopping/ mechanical stuff with him. he knows cars, knows where to find good ones, can check them out for me, knows how to bargain, etc.
i just so badly want to fly down to visit my family, and drive home in a great, cheap car (getting registration in my home state is also way way easier).
But that's so not an option. I also can't expose myself to any more of my parents' abuse, and definitely not my daughter!

sigh.
i so wish i had a mum and dad I could turn to in so many things. I don't have any family at all, and dp's family are all overseas.

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#72 of 402 Old 12-05-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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Hi, can I hang out here too? My family of origin is very toxic and my parents were abusive. I recently had my first baby and they've been here all week from out of town to visit us. It's been one of the longest weeks of my life.

I can give more details later but I just wanted to throw a everyone's way and thank you for making this thread. It's lonely having a toxic family.

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#73 of 402 Old 12-05-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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Has anyone who is estranged from their parents noticed a sudden feeling of "I can do this"?
Most definitely. I've spent years not being good enough, or trying to prove myself to them. I'm at a place in my life where I realize that I will never be what they want me to be, and there is literally not a thing that I can do to change that. So I stopped trying.

Estranging myself from my family has been oddly liberating. I'm in a place where I can do anything I want to do (except nothing) without fear of judgement. I'm in a wonderfully supportive relationship with a man who makes sure that I know he believes in me and has confidence in me, and thinks I'm beautiful and intelligent and all that. And that has allowed me to find those things in and for myself.

I have my moments of missing the potential of family. I don't miss *my* family, but more what I wish my family was. I miss having family. But...

Back in April I sent my father a letter (after a year of estrangement) detailing all the things I thought and felt. My memories growing up, the remembered feelings of isolation and favoritism, the abuse I suffered at his hands, my reaction to the nasty things he said to my husband the day after our son died, etc. Detailing everything I could think of ... I spent months writing this letter. And his response to it was basically that he's very sad and that I'm making him my scape-goat. Not a single apology, not an explanation, just that.

That really capped off my decision to limit contact with him. And at this point we've had no further contact. When I cut off contact with him, my sister chose to cut off contact with me.

All of that boils down to I know that my family is toxic, and I know that I don't need them, but hearing about everybody's plans for the holidays and spending time with family makes me sad that I will never have that and my children will never have that (DH is also estranged from his family).

Sort of a long-winded answer...

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#74 of 402 Old 12-05-2008, 08:58 PM
 
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I have my moments of missing the potential of family. I don't miss *my* family, but more what I wish my family was. I miss having family.
this is me exactly. I grieve the loss of a family. not *my* family, because they are abusive and toxic, but a family. i really miss that.

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#75 of 402 Old 12-06-2008, 03:24 AM
 
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I am here too. My parents were/are loving but also have some freaky characteristics. My father in particular and his mother (who has a huge influence on him and had a huge influence in our lives growing up) have flare ups of toxic stuff. Criticism, negativity...

I am spending more time around my father lately and jezuz murphy it triggers me so much. It reawakens this controlling monster in me. It starts to affect the way I parent dd1. I think I need to limit contact, reinforce the values that dh and I hold.

ugh. It's so hard.

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#76 of 402 Old 12-06-2008, 03:44 PM
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My parents stopped parenting me when I was about 13-14. My oldest son is just about to turn 12, I am so scared for the future.

I suggest reading the book Mothering Without a Map

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#77 of 402 Old 12-06-2008, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My parents stopped parenting me when I was about 13-14. My oldest son is just about to turn 12, I am so scared for the future.
I would be verty careful with your parents around your son.

Mine stopped parenting when I was about the same age and I left home when I was fifteen.

My parents took it upon themselves to be very destructuive of my relationships with both teens when they turned 15. dd and I got through to the other side and I'm hoping that ds1 will as well, but it would have been so much easier to have kept them closer than it is to try to repair the damage in late adolescence/early adulthood.

dd lived with my mother when she was 15 and 16. It amazed me how much difference a little bit of appropriate parenting from 17-19 has made. She doesn't need me often and she doesn't need a lot of me, but just knowing that she has a safety net has enabled her to feel safer about spreading her wings. late adolescence has actually been one of the more rewarding stages of parenting.

It's our parents' loss that they chose to deny us what we needed when it would have been so easy for them to finish the job they started.

:
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#78 of 402 Old 12-07-2008, 12:25 AM
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It's our parents' loss that they chose to deny us what we needed when it would have been so easy for them to finish the job they started.

:
When I was 17, my mom and I were arguing about something. (I can't even remember what the original argument was about.)
But I clearly remember saying: "You had me!"

And her response: "How long do I have to pay for that?"

OUCH.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#79 of 402 Old 12-07-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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Joining. It makes so terribly sad that there are so many of us out there dealing with this.

I've been estranged from my parents since June, my mother is the most toxic. This isn't the first time but its the longest and its the first time I've ignored her attempts to lure me back in.

I have a few questions though. How how has the rest of your family reacted and how have you handled it, if you are estranged? My mother is manipulative and a liar and appearances are EXTREMELY important to her (she's never to blame for anything). Neither of my kids received cards from either of my grandmother's for the their birthday. I know they don't know what's going on and I'm sure what they do know is just terribly far from the thruth?

And also, how do you make your partner understand and respect your wishes? DH is just now starting to really understand how emotionally and verbally abusive my mother is but he doesn't understand how I could cut her out of my life and weekly will ask me when I think I can end this and move on. I'm not ready to move on, I'm angry right now and I'm trying to work through it and I can't move on until the issues I have with her can be resolved. I don't know how to do that yet. She sent a letter a few weeks ago and it's obvious she doesn't get it or is just in denial and I'm just not ready but he feels that she's tried to open the line of communication and I should keep that open.

So this is where I am right now...
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#80 of 402 Old 12-07-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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well for me, I am estranged from my entire family. To make a long story short, they were ALL toxic, and it's healthier for me to break away from that. So that isn't an issue. We're still in contact with DH's family though, and they don't like my family either.

My DH has seen my family's craziness and is super suportive of me breaking away. I'm coming out of a very emotional time, though this christmas is going to be very difficult. DH was always there to hold me as I cried, and just tell me that he doesn't know why they have to be the way they are, but he's sorry. It helped a lot. I don't feel quite so alone, and I am sorta excited about starting a new line of normal, healthy, family members.
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#81 of 402 Old 12-07-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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For me, when I cut off contact with my father, my sister and the rest of his side of the family went with him (their choice). Which only left my maternal grandmother, who was estranged from my father for years after my mother died, and would probably be happier if she still were.

And I'm very lucky that my DH understands. My DH has no interest in a relationship with my father. If I were to desire to reconnect with him, my DH would be supportive of me, but he will never have a good relationship with him, I know.

As to how to get your DH to understand, I'd sit down with him and just tell him that you're going to need time and space and his bringing it up is hurtful. That after however many years it's been (your age), it's going to take some time for you to process your feelings. And that he needs to realize that you may decide to never reconnect with her, and he needs to accept that possibility and be supportive of whatever choice you make, whether it's complete non-contact, nominal contact or re-admitting her to your lives. And if he can't handle that, then I highly suggest counseling for the two of you to deal with this. Look for a counselor who does couples but who also has experience dealing with toxic/dysfunctional families.

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#82 of 402 Old 12-07-2008, 11:46 PM
 
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I *live* with my toxic mother and increasingly toxic new-ish stepfather. Our finances are fine but DH's company's eight year contract ended in September, just in time for the economy to collapse and he's having a hell of a time finding a new job. Landlords and banks frown upon lack of employment, so even though we're still recieving full pay and benefits from his severance package not to mention our savings etc, we literally CANNOT move out until he finds a job (I work from home but don't make a lot, it's not extremely reliable and DD has special needs so working full time outside the home isn't a good option for me right now).

The stress level is....indescribable. I wouldn't say I'm miserable because I'm choosing to still have a sense of humor, but I would have a very tough time coming up with a worse combination of personalities. I have perspective; we're healthy, have plenty of shelter (her house is ridiculously huge) and food, and I realize how much worse SO many people have it. That said, emotionally, this is very unhealthy for me....very, very, very.

My mother is a control FREAK. She is a very mainstream pediatrician. She is narcissistic and very histrionic- I personally believe she has Histrionic Personality Disorder but I'm not a licensed practitioner, so it's my armchair dx. She hasn't admitted to one real mistake, ever. Everything is someone else's fault, not her responsibility. She is also, for lack of a better word, a flake. Forgets things all the time, always late, always disorganized. This combination of personality traits has led to an extreme amount of frustration, tension, and anger in our family since my late childhood. My mother and I never had a healthy attachment. I was born during her (and my father's) medical residency and was left with my Nanna the great majority of my early childhood.

Right now, the major issues are: not respecting boundaries in parenting my child, using myself and my husband as a personal assistant/housekeeper, and because of the histrionics, greatly exaggerating every small incident or even normal everyday situation into an argument, criticism or ploy for attention. Examples; calling the superintendent of the school district DD is entering and threatening legal action without my knowledge or consent; asking me to clean a bathroom, then not allowing me to and cleaning it herself while constantly complaining, ranting and raving about houseguests who aren't due for 12 hours; claiming enormous stress and exhaustion every day regardless of what she did or did not do. Every day it's "something". I'm sure I can't even begin to describe the tone of the household or our relationship. Just constant stress and adversity.

I don't know. I am so burnt out. All I can say or think is "I want to get out of here, I want my life back".

I honestly think that once we move out, I will need to stop talking to her for a while- it wouldn't be the first time.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#83 of 402 Old 12-08-2008, 12:11 AM
 
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And also, how do you make your partner understand and respect your wishes? DH is just now starting to really understand how emotionally and verbally abusive my mother is but he doesn't understand how I could cut her out of my life and weekly will ask me when I think I can end this and move on. I'm not ready to move on, I'm angry right now and I'm trying to work through it and I can't move on until the issues I have with her can be resolved. I don't know how to do that yet. She sent a letter a few weeks ago and it's obvious she doesn't get it or is just in denial and I'm just not ready but he feels that she's tried to open the line of communication and I should keep that open.

So this is where I am right now...
I take it your DH doesn't have a toxic family. Neither does mine.

When I cut off contact with my mother (which meant, in reality, my parents) my DH had a similar reaction to yours. It was tough. He was angry with me for doing it for a while, until he began to see how much of a difference it was making in my life. One of the things he wanted for me was to get some emotional distance. He had met my family by this point and could see they were toxic but he still thought I should be able to rise above it through superhuman will or something. He couldn't understand why I just couldn't get there while being civil and pay lipservice to my parents, and I couldn't explain why I needed the break, I just needed it. Now I have that distance and I know I couldn't have got to this point without taking a much needed break from the craziness, but it took me doing it and him SEEING me get there for him to realise that it really was necessary, not just me creating more drama.

HTH. Sometimes, there's just no explaining stuff.
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#84 of 402 Old 12-09-2008, 09:41 PM
 
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I am amazed when I read through these posts how similar are stories are...not necessarily the specific details...but how we feel and how our feelings are ignored. Like many of you, I wrote a letter to my mom explaining why I need time away from her...specifically naming things she did and said to hurt me through childhood and as an adult. And like many of you, it was basically ignored...blown off really because I'm "so sensitive" . It is so hard to believe that people can be so self-absorbed, unable to see their wrongdoing. I don't know if my mom has a specific, diagnosable mental illness...I still have so many questions.

Not talking to my mom is not the end of my pain...there is a lot of stuff I still have to figure out, talk about, etc. But, on a daily basis there is a sense of freedom. I can breathe and make decisions without worrying about what she'll think or say. I feel like for the first time I can actually do anything I want.
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#85 of 402 Old 12-10-2008, 01:59 PM
 
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Flower, that's awesome. I know what you mean.
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#86 of 402 Old 12-19-2008, 02:45 PM
 
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Bump.

Where is everyone? I know it's a tough time of year for many of us. Hugs to all.
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#87 of 402 Old 12-19-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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My mom is totally insane, sometimes makes me feel like she is stalking my family. So I don't talk about her much online, until I get to the breaking point. I have never managed to get her out of my life for more than a year because invariable she finds me. She has called extended family and lied as to why doesn't have my phone number so someone gives it to her. I moved years ago I still don't know for sure how she got my address. This was after she and her dh beat me up with my toddler seeing the whole thing. I once told her I have physical scars from what they did, and she had the nerve to say, " so do I".


I can't even post all the horrendous things she has done. She is literally psycho at the same time she tries to make everyone around her think they are the crazy ones and puts up the perfect front to aquaintences. I think the only way I'd be able to permanantly get her out of my life is if I stopped speaking to everyone else I know. She is that good at getting info from people. It took a really long time for dh to see how toxic she is and now that dd is an adult she sees it too and frankly we just tolerate them for short visits and with superficial conversation when we are forced to.

Thank God we are getting Christmas as a family just dh, dd and I this year.

ETA, I feel bad for saying it but if I never saw or spoke to her again it would be a huge relief.
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#88 of 402 Old 12-19-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by flower01 View Post
I am amazed when I read through these posts how similar are stories are...not necessarily the specific details...but how we feel and how our feelings are ignored. Like many of you, I wrote a letter to my mom explaining why I need time away from her...specifically naming things she did and said to hurt me through childhood and as an adult. And like many of you, it was basically ignored...blown off really because I'm "so sensitive" . It is so hard to believe that people can be so self-absorbed, unable to see their wrongdoing. I don't know if my mom has a specific, diagnosable mental illness...I still have so many questions.
Yep, I've done the same thing on more than one occasion. It always ends up with her playing the victim and blaming me because I'm just overly sensitive or completely wrong about what happened. :
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#89 of 402 Old 12-19-2008, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Arduinna, thank you for posting. You and I have been on opposite sides of debates or just not in the same place on MDC lately, so you may not be aware of how much i (still) admire you and how it makes me feel to know that if someone as cool as you (and Captain Crunchy and other members of our tribe) are going through this too then maybe i'm not all bad after all.

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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

She is literally psycho at the same time she tries to make everyone around her think they are the crazy ones and puts up the perfect front to aquaintences..
my mother is the same way and has totally convinced dd that i am "the family sl*t" even though i have been celibate for...well, it just isn't normal!

afm, i'm still in email contact but doing about as well as can be expected. holidays are hard. i need to come back and post more later when the baby isn't grabbing at the keyboard and needing my attention..
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#90 of 402 Old 12-19-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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Well. Can I ever relate to the "playing the victim/perfect in front of strangers/blames everyone else" mentality. Will you guys STOP??? You're freaking me out. ;-)
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