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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-20-2011 12:49 PM
cmz84

My husband's father was also verbally/emotionally abusive. At one point we know that he aimed a loaded gun at my MIL while she was sleeping. My husband made the decision that his dad wasn't going to be a part of our, or our children's life.

 

My son was born 16 months ago and we have kept our promise not to allow DH's father into his life. They have never met and hopefully never will. DH's family is not supportive of our decision, they consistently say things like "he's your father so it doesn't matter what he did to you" (Yeah--can you believe that?!) and because of that, we've basically cut them out of our life too.

 

You have to do whatever you need to do to protect your little ones because they're ultimately what is the most important. Good for you for standing up for them (since they can't do it themselves) and telling your father how it's going to be. I know that had to be incredibly difficult and probably will continue to be difficult. You're doing the right thing, even if it is hard. I'm so glad your husband agrees with you and hope that his family is supportive of you even if yours isn't.

12-19-2011 07:19 PM
lovepickles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post



Basically that's how it is to my mom.  She asks me what she's supposed to do because she's supposed to cleave to her husband and support him but she doesn't like what he's doing.  But she still supports him.  'Cause she married him.

 

duh.gif


Sorry if I came off as insensitive. I also stopped talking to my father. Some supported me and some didn't but i found a place where I didn't need my family's support because I knew I did the right thing ... well my psychologist helped but I had already made the decision. My sister still talks to him and we have an agreement that we don't discuss him and we respect our differing opinions and find other things to discuss. We both acknowledge that we have a different relationship with him. I have my own thoughts on why she continues to speak with him but I don't put her in a position that would make it OUR issue. Our father as a topic has been blacklisted. I am also prepared emotionally for her to share life altering news with me about him, such as his death or a life debilitating illness ... to which I would respond with empathy to her about the loss of HER father as I would any friend ... but he is not my father and his topic will never again be a personal one for me.

 

So in regard to your mother she is making it an issue between the two of you and that isn't healthy. In this situation I would reinforce to your mother that you love her and care for her immensely but your father is no longer a topic for discussion. Burn that, quickly or your father will use it as a tool to manipulate you. If your mother is too weak to enforce it with your father you'll need to communicate the message through your mother that the matter is no longer open for discussion. Do not cut off your mother unless she is too far gone to respect your wish not to discuss your father. Hopefully it won't come to that but make no apologies to your mother about your father.

 

Find something NEW to do with your mother that is healthy and doesn't require any references to your father. When she brings up your father say "Hey Mom, I know you have a different relationship with Dad but I've made the decision to keep him out of my life. In order for me to hold to that I need all discussion about him to be kept out of our interaction (especially with children). I hope you understand that I want you in my life so long as that can be respected." Honestly you are helping her out too because she will no longer be used as a messenger. You might have to remind her a few times and end the conversation with love but it should sink in. That usually sounds like "Hey Mom I can't talk about dad with you or go anywhere that he is. I love you." Then change the subject or end the conversation. The trick is to have enough presence of mind to remind her that you care about her.

 

Don't be a shoulder for her to lean on regarding your father either. She may be tempted to tell you everything bad about him. Resist that urge and keep him completely OUT of your discussions.

 

hug.gif

 

12-19-2011 06:58 PM
*MamaJen*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post





Basically that's how it is to my mom.  She asks me what she's supposed to do because she's supposed to cleave to her husband and support him but she doesn't like what he's doing.  But she still supports him.  'Cause she married him.

 

duh.gif



 

I'm going to hazard a guess and say that it's actually because she's codependent.

By the way, here's a good list of resources about abuse. A lot of it is more about partner violence, but there's some resources about toxic or abusive parents as well: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1130804/surviving-abuse-forum-rules-and-guidelines#post_16046822

12-19-2011 06:56 PM
*MamaJen*

Thank you for standing strong and breaking the cycle of abuse.

What sucks is that victims of abuse usually want, more than anything else, for the abuser to just acknowledge that what they did was wrong. And if there's a single trait that units all abusers, it's a total and utter lack of ability to take responsibility for their own actions and emotions. It's always, without fail, somebody else's fault, and therefore, it's not their own fault. There's really no reasoning with them. It's so incredibly frustrating, but that's the way it is. You can't make them stop being abusive, any more than you can stop an alcoholic from drinking. All you can control is your own reaction to them, and the best way to do that is to set boundaries -- which you're doing, beautifully. I hope you really deeply know and believe how strong you are for protecting your babies in this way. It's a breathtakingly fierce and strong act of love for your children. Hang onto that strength.

12-19-2011 12:21 PM
LynnS6

Did she miss the next parts of Paul's letters on the Christian household?

 

Colossians 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

 

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

 

OK, so I think that Paul's letters are rife with the culture of the times and do not interpret them as saying I need to be submissive to my husband (in fact I took the word "obey" out of our wedding vows because I hated it so much). But, if you are going to follow Paul's letters, then the father has to too.

 

Hang tough momma! You know that your dad isn't going to change. You know that your mom has a skewed view of the world from putting up with his junk all these years. You are the parent of your child. Your primary job is to keep them safe. It's not to please your parents. It's hard, I know. But you're breaking the cycle.

 

Can you block your mom's calls for a week or so until the stress of the holidays is over?

12-19-2011 11:25 AM
Lazurii

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovepickles View Post


 

Gotta love that wording ... as if YOU were OUT of the family. Ridiculous.

 

hug.gif



Basically that's how it is to my mom.  She asks me what she's supposed to do because she's supposed to cleave to her husband and support him but she doesn't like what he's doing.  But she still supports him.  'Cause she married him.

 

duh.gif

12-16-2011 03:00 PM
lovepickles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

Everyone, thank you for resurrecting this thread at this time, I really needed it.  My mom is starting into pressuring me again to come back to the family because I'm sure she's getting pressure from my dad.  Oh well.

 

Sorry, not much to add but my thanks.  And I am very grateful for all the love you guys have shown me.


 

Gotta love that wording ... as if YOU were OUT of the family. Ridiculous.

 

hug.gif

12-16-2011 11:19 AM
romanianndnmama

You've received much advice on this thread but I would like to send you a hug of support.  I've had stuggles with family members also and it is so confusing and hurtful.

12-16-2011 05:01 AM
swd12422

Yeah, the holidays bring that out in people, and we're all especially susceptible to guilt this time of year. Stay strong for yourself and your family. You ARE doing the right thing.

12-15-2011 02:58 PM
Lazurii

Everyone, thank you for resurrecting this thread at this time, I really needed it.  My mom is starting into pressuring me again to come back to the family because I'm sure she's getting pressure from my dad.  Oh well.

 

Sorry, not much to add but my thanks.  And I am very grateful for all the love you guys have shown me.

12-14-2011 05:13 PM
blessedwithboys

You did the right thing.  (((hugs)))

12-14-2011 03:55 PM
ThankfulMama

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrugalGranolaMom View Post

You are absolutely in the right with your decision. The welfare of your children is what's important and you are doing what is right for them. hug2.gif



yeahthat.gif

12-14-2011 12:12 PM
NellieKatz

You did the right thing! Keeping your child safe is the only way to go. And by setting a boundary to keep a toxic dad OUT, you are modeling boundary-setting for your son. You sound like you are in a similar situation to me.....trying to STOP a family "tradition" of violence and finding another way. It is HARD.

 

Sounds like you already know what NOT to do, but it's hard to start when you don't know what TO do. If you are interested in any recommendations to leave behind parenting from anger & fear and switch to parenting from connection and love, send me a private message and I can refer you to some resources that helped me.

12-14-2011 11:06 AM
thewildcards

You are breaking the cycle, two generations deep. Good for you.

12-14-2011 05:10 AM
SpottedFoxx

You are an absolute warrior!  Kudos for you for protecting yourself and your family.  

 

Every family has legacies.  From silly holiday customs, to work ethic, to love of family, to religion.  Other legacies can and do include physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse.  As parents, we all have an opportunity to choose what legacies we want to share with our children.  Not everyone has the ability to see the big picture and make a conscious choice.  Unfortunately, all too often, parents just do things because "that's how they grew up and they're just fine".  IMHO, it takes an intelligent and caring parent to make a conscious decision to end a legacy.  You have making a choice to end the cycle of abuse.  You deserve hugs and pats on the back.  Your children's future friends, lovers and spouses will thank you for it.  Heck, the world is a better place now because of your decision.

12-13-2011 06:05 PM
modifiedmama

My mother brutally abused me for fifteen years. (I won't go into detail, don't want to trigger any bad memories for anyone.) I haven't spoken to her in seven years and I am so much better for it. I cannot possibly make amends with her after what she put me through. Family IS family, but sometimes even they don't belong in your life. It is sad, but it is the truth. Hugs for you! Your son sounds like an absolute JOY by the way, and you are doing a GREAT job raising him, IMO!

11-03-2011 12:07 PM
rebecca_n

hug2.gifgrouphug.gifhug2.gif

 

-nak

11-03-2011 11:52 AM
Katwoman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post
Speaking of severity of what I've lived through, I often downplay my abuse because, well, he didn't burn me or cut me or rape me so it must have not been THAT bad.  Is that normal to feel like your abuse wasn't bad enough?


I think it's very normal.  For me, I felt like other people had it so much worse than I did, I didn't have a right to complain or feel sorry for myself. 

 

It's amazing what the human mind will come up with, when it's trying to make the world not as bad as it is.

 

 

11-03-2011 05:35 AM
IwannaBanRN

This baby's dad was emotionally abusive, and I often feel like(and he also put this in my head) since I never got hit or beaten that it "wasn't that bad" or "it could be fixed". He wasn't a bad guy, it was just HOW he was wired. Well, the way he was wired wasn't good. I'm glad you're sticking to your guns on this, Lazurii. If any relationship you're in serves to be draining or belittling to you or those you love, you need to cut them off. I just recently cut off my dad and his side of the family. They are all high-and-mighty, judgmental, emotionally abusive people, and I want nothing to do with it. My dad isn't so bad anymore, but the damage really has already been done and he's got 2 stepkids he adopted years ago that he can look after. I needed a dad when I was a kid and when I walked down the isle, so I knew what healthy parenting was and I never got that. Your kids don't need to see your dad's version of "good parenting". Because it's NOT. His parenting skills would leave most sane mothers' jaws on the floor with how horrible you describe him to be.

11-02-2011 09:28 PM
Krystal323

My dad used to be pretty similar to yours, OP--very nasty and cruel (verbally) to my firstborn.  I don't want to bog you down with the details, but fast-forward twelve years--two of which we didn't speak, and during the last of which my mother passed away--and things are sooo much different.  My dad's 73, and while he's still not perfect, he's also not toxic to my children anymore.  Losing my mom made him really think about things deeply--and us not speaking for two years made him a good bit more cautious around my family once we "came back".

 

It's really painful and sometimes complicated to have to put your foot down, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong choice--not by a long shot!  You've gotten some really good advice in this thread already.  SO glad to hear of others breaking the cycle of abuse hug2.gif

11-02-2011 07:18 PM
jimblejamble This might be an unpopular view, but in my opinion, just because you're related to someone doesn't mean you have to let them be a part of your life, especially if they make you miserable. Good for you for standing up for your values and protecting your children!
10-28-2011 04:28 PM
swd12422

"that's just dad" -- yeah, it is "just him," but that doesn't mean his behavior is harmless or acceptable. You're doing the right thing, and you are SO brave to be doing it. DH's family is similiarly codependent, and the only reason I'm not here posting about how to cut my in-laws out of our lives is b/c we live more than 4 hours from them. They ignore me, I ignore them and DH can deal with their abuse if he so chooses. But I refuse to be involved with them, and will never allow them to treat my son the way they treat theirs.

10-26-2011 02:12 PM
Linda on the move

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

Speaking of severity of what I've lived through, I often downplay my abuse because, well, he didn't burn me or cut me or rape me so it must have not been THAT bad.  Is that normal to feel like your abuse wasn't bad enough?


yes -- that's totally normal. I spent time in group therapy and shared the exact same thought, and woman whose father did such horrific things to her that I won't post them because they could be triggers, looked me in the eye and said:

 

"If you are dead, it doesn't really matter if you got hit by a truck or a motorcycle"

 

You got hit by a motorcycle, yes, some people do get hit by trucks. But you still deserve to heal and feel good. What he did was wrong, and you did the right thing by standing up for your child and stopping the cycle. You did the right thing *for yourself* by not leaving yourself in a position to hear his crap over and over. He's needed to be told that he's out of line for decades, and you did it.

 

10-23-2011 04:45 PM
IzzyTheTerrible

Yeah, that's actually the typical reaction for people that were physically or even just emotionally abused. 

 

The way that my therapist explained it to me is that children cannot fathom the world being a dangerous or chaotic place.  So if mommy or daddy hurts them - in any way - physically, emotionally, mentally or sexually - the only thing that makes sense is that we must have done something wrong to deserve it.  We are being punished.   Therefore what he was doing wasn't that bad, because we deserved it.

 

So we grow up feeling like everything is normal, and that we're just bad kids or else daddy wouldn't call me stupid, or hit me then tell me to stop crying like a baby... but then we grow into adulthood and of course we know that certain behaviors are NOT acceptable, and we start piecing things together... but as children it seemed normal, so it's very difficult to differenciate between what felt like a normal (albeit painful) childhood and this new information we have but those early feelings still trickle over into adulthood.

 

Plus we have so many good memories, coupled with the bad ones, that its very difficult to fathom such horrors when there were times when they were fantastic.

 

If you have any religious background, Boundaries: When to say yes, and when to say no will help you with the guilt aspect and was beyond monumental in accepting that I did have the right to say no if it made me feel uncomfortable.

 

But two things that helped me was to remember that

 

1. Even monsters have some good in them, just like good people have a little monster in them too.  So I didn't have to think of my mom as a monster to recognize the monstrous things she did, (Although I do now call her momster) and, like I said, it helps to remember that even monsters can do good things.

 

2.  It doesn't matter if what they did was wrong, or if they're bad, or good, or whatever the case may be... if you feel uncomfortable (like you mentioned, your panic attack is a PTSD symptom), then YOU have the right to say no.  Regardless of what anyone says, it made/makes YOU feel uncomfortable and you are an adult that is empowered to accept into her life what SHE wants, not what other people say you should have.  Your father has NO right, NONE to spank or threaten your children, and he doesn't have a right to do it to you either, and I'm sure he still does in subtle ways.

 

Imagine a young girl that you care about (around the age that your inner child feels) is telling you about the horrible things her father said, and did and they were what your father said/did... would you downplay it then?  Or would you have compassion for her hurt? 

 

You deserve that same compassion and tenderness.

10-23-2011 03:31 PM
Lazurii

IzzyTheTerrible, you've been great!  Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.  I'll check out those resources, I've already read Codependency No More and it's VERY applicable to my life.  I must read it again.

 

I do feel guilty, but intellectually I know I did the right thing.  In my therapy right now we're working on changing my feelings through thought.  I hope it works because, dangit, it just feels like I'm telling myself lies to make me feel better.  But I'm sure I need a bit of time, I've only had three sessions so far.

 

Speaking of severity of what I've lived through, I often downplay my abuse because, well, he didn't burn me or cut me or rape me so it must have not been THAT bad.  Is that normal to feel like your abuse wasn't bad enough?

10-23-2011 12:51 PM
IzzyTheTerrible

Good for you! 

 

I read every word.  I, too, was abused.  Physically and emotionally.    A year ago, I finally cut my abusive mother out of my life, and it was the best thing I've ever done. 

 

I know that it doesn't feel like it right now, but in the not-too-distant future, you will look back and feel relieved, and empowered.  You did the right thing for yourself and for your children.  Seeing them is a privilege and a blessing, not a right or a duty. 

 

One thing that strikes me, is that you may be feeling guilty right now.  I'm not sure if any of things apply to you but they may be a start to help you on the road to healing:

 

Boundaries; When to say YES, When to say NO

Codependency No More

 

Only you know the severity of what you experienced, but this may be something to check out - it's a resource center and support group for those that have an individual with borderline personality disorder in their life (it's rarely ever diagnosed, so don't think it doesn't apply just because he doesn't have a diagnosis) or individuals that display similar traits.  - http://www.bpdfamily.com/

10-14-2011 09:06 PM
Adia

Oh my goodness. This could have been written about my mother. She's mellowed in age though, obviously your dad hasn't.

I have no advice, just a (((hug))) and a vote of confidence that you're doing the right thing. Potentially explosive behaviour is just not something you want around your little guy, especially if he's the kind of kid that sets your dad off

10-14-2011 08:49 PM
Lillitu

Huzzah, mama! You are doing the right thing for your kids AND you. I know it is hard. But you have my utmost support and admiration for leaving this toxic situation behind. Good for you!

 

bow2.gif

10-09-2011 03:04 PM
IwannaBanRN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

 

The thing that gets me is the fact that my dad refuses to change.  I know change is possible, I have changed, so why can't/doesn't he?  Blah.


Because, in his mind, he's not doing anything wrong.
 

 

10-09-2011 02:55 PM
Katwoman

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post  I know change is possible, I have changed, so why can't/doesn't he?  Blah.


Because change is hard and quite often painful.  But there is no discomfort for him in his current position.  So why would he go from being comfortable and having the world cater to him and throw that away for hard work and painful looking at himself? 

 

I honestly know how you feel and the above is how my DH explains it to me.  I don't know if it will help you.  Because I get it on an intellectual level, but emotionally it's not always helpful.

 

I'm sorry you're going through this with your Dad and Brother/SIL.  (By the way, her saying because it was hard the first time, you made the wrong choice.  It says something about how she's never had to do something difficult.  It's your Dad/family, of course it's hard!!)

 

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