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My parents will not deal but will not back off


Tank Girl

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I am having a really tough time at the moment... I think I will have to put a short history in to put what I am going through in perspective:

I come from a pretty disfunctional middle class family. We have destructive relationships with each other, substance abuse, and the worst thing in my opinion, nothing is ever dealt with, just swept under the persian carpet and pretend it never happened. My mother is a verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive alcoholic and I am her primary target as she fell pregnant with me when she was 17 and has always resented me. Not my imagination, she has told me so many times. She has spent as long as I can remeber telling me what a useless, ungrateful, lazy, and since I was a teenager and then when I had my children, a *****, a ****, a nutcase, a bad mother etc etc the list goes on. She also tells me things about her relationship with my father that are innapropriate, I think to manipulate me. My father is not abusive towards me (or hasn't been until recently) but is so co-dependant that he doesn't defend me, prevent her abuse or try to stop her drinking, in fact he almost supports it and is steadily drinking more himself. They have a violent, screwed up relationship and often put me and my brother in the middle of conflicts. I have tried to write a brief synopsis of my life but the shortest I could do was three pages and it only got up to 6 years ago! Basically, there has been sexual abuse by an older child, social problems all through school, date rape when I was 17, drug use at university, suicide attempts, an abortion and a marriage that resulted in twins and my husband leaving when they were 4 months old. Not a pretty picture, I know.

Anyway, I have survived, and I have managed to create a good life for myself and the kids. I met a wonderful, intelligent man 2 years ago and we were married in December. This is where the problem started...

My mother caused trouble before the wedding and I ended up having a major manic episode followed by another one with only a week of respite in between. I sent my Dad an email begging him to make sure nothing happened at the wedding. He decided that she should see it and sent it to her.

We were married at a country estate outside a small coastal town so all out guests arrived on the Friday. I spent the afternoon in town having girlie stuff doen and when I got back my Mom was VERY drunk. At dinner she wanted to be all buddy buddy with me but I was embarassed and revolted, all our guests and my new in-laws were there and she was so obviously drunk and my dad not much better.

Long story short she attacked me verbally and when I snapped and retaliated my Dad got nasty with me as well. Mark (my husband), two of my bridesmaids and I managed to get them to take the fight to the old manor house where only the immediate family were staying so it would be less embarassing.

It just got worse, My mom told Mark to F off over and over and when I had had enough and told her to pack her bags and leave my father threatened to hit me, and would have if Mark had not stepped in.

We locked orselves in our room and ignored them till they went to bed. The next day, our wedding day was even worse. My mother had bruises all down the side of her face and was drunk by 11am and the wedding was only at 5pm. She abused the hairdressers and everyone who was helping out. she drank the champagne Mark had bought for me and the bridesmaids and made things very unpleasant. My father did not say a word to me, and when he walked me down the aisle I was so sad. By the time he made his speech he was also drunk. It was awful!

Mark and I spent the whole night on edge waiting for something to happen. They just sat at one table with some family members who are not much better and got so drunk they could hardly walk when they left.

It was the last straw and I sent them an email when we got back from honeymoon, telling them how I felt about everything, not just the wedding but all the things that had damaged me and also thanked them for the few good things. I told them that I felt it would be better if we did not see each other again unless we went for counselling and that this applied to them seeing my kids too.

I went into therapy with a great psychologist and have been working through things with her.

But they won't leave me alone. they demand to see my kids. They refuse to deal with any of the issues I have raised but email me hurtful letters and telephone me all the time, and when I don't take their calls they leave messages alternately threatening and drunken emotional nonsense which I can hardly understand!

I live around the corner from them, shop at the same mall, drive past their house when I take the kids to school. I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I am terrified that my mom will cause a scene outside the kids' school or something. I jump when the doorbell rings.

I don't know what to do. :embarassed:

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Wow that is just a horrible situation! I'm so sorry for all you've gone through and the stress you must be living with right now, living so near to them.

I would suggest you speak to your children's teachers and principal and make them aware that your children are to have NO contact with your parents, be picked up by anyone other than those you authorize, etc. I am not sure what the laws are like where you are, but regardless it couldn't hurt to have a meeting with those people and emphasize the point for your own peace of mind if nothing else!

If they are threatening you or refusing to stop contacting you after you have told them to stop, that is harassment and you should take it to the authorities. It sounds cruel since they are your parents, but family or not, nobody should have to live in fear/intimidation. This is a very abusive situation they have put you in, and you need to protect yourself/your family. You might start by asking your therapist what steps you should take since they are harassing you- possibly she can get you in touch with the right people, in the very least.

Hopefully someone else will have some more advice for you...I'm so sorry you are dealing with this right now. Please take care of yourself.

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Dear Tank Girl,

First I want to congratulate you on your dedication towards making a better home and family for your children than you had.

Your parents have chosen the most important thing in their lives: alcohol.  You, your family will always come second until they decide to be sober. No amount of scolding, emails, long talks about situation will change a thing.

You have no obligation to assist them in their drunken escapades.  If they are creating a scene in public, it is their embarrasment, not yours.  Walk away.  If they are too drunk to make it to social function, leave them where they are.  Attend yourself and enjoy. Do not engage them in drunken arguments, walk away.

The primary obligation you have is to your children and your husband. Above all else do what it right for their well being. Do not allow your parents to intrude on your family when drunk and abusive.

I would urge you to see if there is a chapter of Al Anon, in your area. They are a peer support group for families of alcholics and can help provide coping strategies and sympathetic support.

Best wishes,

A.M.

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Heya Tank Girl,

Hope we at CB can help.  They helped me.  Still are.

Wow, I'm "we."  Been a few months, funny how I think I'm one now.  Very welcoming group.  ;)

Stella and AM had great replies and suggestions, which I won't try to reiterate or elaborate upon.

We eloped b/c we had ***no*** money (DH was paying every penny, plus huge loans, to my med school even when we were just *thinking* about marriage), and my mom hated me for 2 years after that.

Then we had the money for a reception, and first, she told me not to do it, b/c "nobody will come."  Then my dad and everyone *else* but her came.

She never has said a bloody word.  Five years now, so whatever.

I have to explain to anyone who looks at my pictures that no, that's not my mom, that's my godmother, and no, my mom's not dead, she just ... she couldn't be there.

***But your story puts that nonsense into perspective.***

You are doing the right thing by your kids.  They are fortunate to have you for a mom.  Remember that:  we all want our kids to have a better life then we had.

And calling AlAnon is a good idea, if only to know you're not (by far) the only one.

You're a strong mom.  You'll be okay, believe that.

And, us wackos are here for you.

--ncc--

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