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Struggling with Estrangment
April 8, 2015
8:17 am
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Melissa
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Please take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. I don't know if my story helps you, but as a child I felt much in a similar situation you describe, although it was my mother who was the narcissist not my father. Over time I have learned to let all toxic people in my life go. Even and especially if they were family. It took me 50 years to let go but I got there! These days I concentrate my time on people who care for me and respect me. I follow my interests and my hobbies, my charities and my volunteer work.  As far as my relatives go, I think of myself as an orphan. What family? They may be physically alive but to me they died a long time ago. I never wonder how they are, I never wonder what they are doing. I have buried them. Today I live a new life. I feel as if I was born again. I surround myself with happy caring people. I feel productive, successful and joyful. Not a bad trade off, yes?

M

April 7, 2015
4:20 am
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JB
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Dear onestepatatime,

Thank you so much for hearing me and responding to me. 

You will never know the comfort & strength that your words have given me.

Bless you xx

April 6, 2015
5:49 pm
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onestepatatime
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I am sorry for your story and want you to know that you are valuable and lovable.  I have found great comfort in reading up on narcissistic families, the traits they have, etc.  Now that I know what their behavior is, I feel stronger and more able to detach. My birth family has died but my husband's family is classic narcissistic.  He is the black sheep, as are you.  We are starting to realize this is a blessing. They ignore him, treat him as less than and don't include us. BUT, we don't want to be with them anyway, it is just false to want a relationship just because they are "family." The parents don't miss us and since they can no longer use him, they don't need him. Yes it pains him but I think reading up on narcissistic families has freed us from wanting more, from wondering why us, etc.

 

My exhusband is classic narcissist and has done his best to estrange me from my adult children. So I have it coming and going and right now I am trying to focus on me and learning and growing myself, my maturity. Giving up on having the focus on THEM.

 

It isn't you that causes this.  It isn't you that can change your birth family. They will never understand what they are or have done so give that up. Free yourself from desiring any love from them. They are  how they are because they are messed up and it says NOTHING about you.  Except how strong you are to survive and overcome.  Stay strong, be loving, and move forward.

 

Don't talk about this with people who don't understand, not your in-laws or siblings or parents. It just hurts more. For whatever reason, their own guilt or narcissism, many are doing the same as your parents and will defend them. Sending much love your way,

April 6, 2015
4:55 pm
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JB
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I've been estranged from my parents for almost a year now and I'm struggling to deal with it. I thought it would bring me peace but it hasn't.

My parents met in London when my dad was nearly 40 and my mum was in her twenties. My dad was married with two young sons plus he had two daughters from two different women. One of the daughters lived with him and his wife and two sons. My parents met at work. My dad pursued my mum relentlessly until she agreed to go out with him. She didn't know about his wife and family. She didn't even like him! 

Inevitably my mum became pregnant with my older brother. He was given to my dad's older sister to raise. Fourteen months after the birth of my brother, I was born and I was also given to my aunt to raise. I guess you could say we were both unwanted.

When I was three, my mum turned up at my aunt's house with a friend and they took me away. I went to live with my mum and dad in the town that they had moved to. I don't think I have ever recovered from the trauma of being separated from my brother, aunt and her family.

Within a year of me going to live with my mum and dad (who had left his wife and children by now), my younger brother was born. My mother absolutely doted on him and still does until this day. I was treated as an inconvenience and with contempt and my entire childhood was one of complete misery and fear. I grew up in an emotionally and physically abusive environment and ran away from home at 16 as I just couldn't stand living with them any longer.

There is so much that I could write about the past but I want to get to the present. To summarise, my dad is a narcissist, a complete arsehole, liar, fantasist, bully and manipulator. My mum is a doormat, she is completely dominated and controlled by him. I grew up devoid of any love, affection, guidance or attention from either of my parents. There was a lot of tension between my parents and neither of them have ever seemed happy to me. I was fed and clothed, so I certainly didn't look neglected but to all intents and purposes, I was.

As an adult, I have tried unsuccessfully to discuss my childhood with my parents. The thing that I've always wanted to know about was the circumstances which led to me and my brother being left with our aunt. My mum just refuses to discuss it and my dad once became so angry with me for bringing it up that he stopped speaking to me for over a year, so mum stopped speaking to me also. This was one of the most difficult years of my life. I finally relented and broke the ice, because my younger brother called me and begged me to reconcile but I wish I hadn't bothered because it changed exactly nothing. 

I have struggled with depression and anxiety and confidence issues since my teens. I'm now 42 and despite everything, I've managed to have a relatively successful life. I am well travelled, had a successful career before owning my own business, have lived abroad and I am married to the best man I could possibly have wished to meet, he is kindness itself and amazingly understanding, supportive, non judgemental and loving. I have worked hard on myself through counselling and all manner of therapies over the years to try to heal myself. Not long after I got married, we moved back to the town where my parents lived because I wanted to be closer to them and also to be around for when they got older. I needn't have bothered because despite the passage of time, nothing has changed. They have shown absolutely no interest in either myself or my husband and would not have seen us at all if it were not for us doing the visiting all the time.  A couple of years ago, at a family gathering when my mum was asked what one thing she would take to a desert island she replied she would take her youngest son, his wife and their children! I was absolutely crushed by her words and humiliated in front of everyone. I didn't speak to her for a couple of months because she refused to apologise for what she had said and would not acknowledge that it had hurt me. Eventually we started speaking again but I made it clear that I wanted to have a proper relationship with her, that I wanted to spend time with her alone, away from the house where my dad dominated everything and everyone. She agreed to do this and for a few months we would meet up once a week and go for a coffee and it was nice but she would always make me phone my dad and tell him that she was with me. She would nag me to do this and it made me feel uneasy. It seemed to me like she was so afraid of my dad and returning home to God knows what kind of accusations from him that she needed me to call and convince him that we were just out having a coffee and she would be home soon. Anyway, this all fizzled out after a while....my mum started babysitting my younger brother's son when his wife returned to work so she was too busy to meet up with me anymore.

Me and my husband have been trying to have a baby ever since we married 7 years ago and we have been unsuccessful. This further deepened my depression and anxiety and during a particularly low period last year, I sent my parents a text saying that I didn't want to have anything to do with them anymore and asking them not to contact me. I explained my reasons which were to do with my childhood. My dad has called a couple of times to ask when I'm going to visit and in his most recent call, he tried to persuade me to attend his 80th birthday party which is coming up in about a month. There has been no dialogue or acknowledgment of the things I mentioned in the text message.

The things I am struggling with are:

  • The complete isolation from other family members. Me and my husband don't get invited to events to family events anymore if my parents are going to be there. It feels like everyone avoids us now. There's just this incredible awkwardness.
  • The unspoken hostility from my siblings and in laws. I know they don't approve of what I've done and they have sided with my parents. They've made statements like "its all water under the bridge" and "they're old" and "When they're gone, you'll regret it, it will be too late". I have only seen my younger brother a couple of times since all of this has happened and on each occasion I have felt pressured to put this situation right and start speaking to my parents again because it's "upsetting everyone" and he can't stand to see them so broken.
  • The fact that my parents will never know and don't have the emotional intelligence to understand how their decisions and choices and behaviour has impacted on my life. 

Everyday I feel the frustration and sadness mounting up in me and I'm worried for my mental health. I feel increasingly fragile, isolated and my self esteem, which was always low is virtually non existent. My husband is a great support and I talk to him a lot about my feelings but I don't want to burden him with this anymore. Emotionally, I am a mess. I cry just thinking about the situation and when I'm in a good mood, all I have to do is remember the situation and it brings me down again. I dream about my parents often, violent, rage filled nightmares. I know in my heart that I have done the right thing but I still find myself questioning my decision all the time. I thought this decision would bring me peace but all I feel is turmoil. I just wish I could find my strength and stand strong in the decision that I've made. 

It seems to me that because there is no "evidence" of the emotional neglect and abuse I suffered, I am dismissed as being highly strung, dramatic, over sensitive. My parents can just shrug their shoulders and deny any knowledge of what has caused all of this and scratch their heads in puzzlement over it all and be the poor innocent victimised parents. But they know exactly what it's all about. Even though we'll probably never have the conversation, they know.

I have read the other stories on this forum which I just found this evening and it is sad but reassuring to know that I am not alone in this horrible experience. 

If you made it this far, thank you for reading.

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