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Why is my past bothering me now ?

Surviving Abuse or Dysfunctional Families - Anger, Aggression, Abuse: Hi all, I'm new here, and hope someone can help me sort some things out. I am a 38yr old ...

 

  1. #1

    Why is my past bothering me now ?

    Hi all,
    I'm new here, and hope someone can help me sort some things out.
    I am a 38yr old woman, and am suddenly thinking constantly about my childhood.
    My father, who died 9 years ago aged 57, was an alcoholic who physically abused my mother, myself, and my siblings. We grew up quite poor, though we shouldn't have been, my dad had a good job but spent most of the money on alcohol and gambling.

    My mother tried her best to look after us, but she must have had issues of her own. Emotionally, she just wasn't there for us. We had no guidance, or help with life at all.
    Although I shouldn't, I find myself blaming my mother for a lot of mistakes I've made with my own life.

    I met a man at 14, had his baby at 19, then married him and had 2 more children. I was with him for a total of 15 years. He was also an alcoholic. In that time, he physically, emotionally, and sexually abused me on numerous occasions. Although I didn't like the way I was treated, I was too gutless to leave until I discovered he had been sexually abusing our then 8 year old daughter. We have since divorced and he spent some time in jail for the crime.

    There were many times when I would run to my mother's house when he had bashed me. I would cry all over her, and she would sympathise with me. Her advice always was along the lines of "Now, when you go home, try not to make him angry again" or if he was angry because we had no money for alcohol, my mother would offer me the money to buy some. I usually left there feeling a lot better, thinking that it was up to me, and I could make things ok with my husband.

    Looking back, I wish so badly that she had told me to get the hell out of there - but she never did. I often wonder, if she did, maybe I would have left him, and my daughter would never have had to suffer the abuse from him.

    I feel angry with her that she didn't teach me to respect myself, and that she didn't guide me when I was a teenager.

    My kids are now 15, 16, and 19, and I am engaged to the most wonderful man who respects me and treats me like a princess. My kids adore him, he is the father they never had.
    The issues I have with my mother are nagging at me constantly. She is now quite elderly and I don't want to upset her by bringing all this up with her. She doesn't handle conflict well, and I don't know what purpose it would serve to tell her what I've written about here.
    Someone please help ???

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  3. Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    i think your mother did the best she could. i think she did look out for you, in her own way. she tried to protect you by giving you money. she didn't want your husband to be angry with you again. she never knew that the best thing would be to get out of her own marriage. how could she have advised you that when she didn't know it for herself?

    i know it's hard, but the best you can do now is give your children the support and advice you wished you had had for yourself. you can pass on the lessons you have learned to them. no parent is perfect and we all have things we wish our parents might have handled differently.

    i hope this helps you some.
    Last edited by Into The Light; December 5th, 2006 at 08:36 AM. Reason: corrected spelling
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

  4. #3

    Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    Brezzy, I aggree with Ladybug.

    It is never nice when you are stuck in relationships like these. And though your mum should have told you to get out for your own safty, it sounds like, as a battered wife, she had been conditioned that every thing was her own fault in her own marrige and applied it to yours too.

    have you spoken much to her about her own upbringing? What was it like?

  5. #4

    Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    My mother held her own parents in very high esteem.
    Her dad didn't drink much, and from what I know, was a good father and husband.
    Her mother suffered a lot of psychological problems, and was often unwell, but my mother adored her.
    I had a conversation with my brother yesterday, and he told me that on a few occasions, our mother went to our grandmother when my father was abusive. My grandmother didn't seem very sympathetic, and told my mother not to be silly, and to go home and look after her family..
    I guess it was how it was in that generation

  6. #5

    Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    I am in a similar situation so I can certainly empathize. I personally would never bring up my issues to either parent for one, because the goal of doing so would be to take care of myself and find closure, and secondly would be to receive understanding and compassion and neither of those things would occur in my case. If I brought up issues surrounding my mother, she would be hurt, angry, defensive - nowhere near anything I need further in my life and my father has the onset of dementia so he'd not remember a thing even right after I asked him a question. He's clueless.

    So...the need I would feel for closure or expression would never be fulfilled. That's not to say I wouldn't still need it though. What I found INCREDBILY fulfilling at those times when I needed to express feelings of pain and sadness, anger etc was to write a letter directly to the person, and read it out loud to a trusted therapist. Not only do I get expression, but I also get compassion and help get through to the other side. It was a total win/win for me. I don't think it is letting my parents off the hook either..just the opposite actually. I'm letting myself off the hook when I do that.

    Bottom line is even though they were TERRIBLE parents, THEY thought they were good parents and they did what they thought was best at that time. They would never understand my pain. But it was REAL for me. And I didn't need to argue with my parents as to whether or not they were right, I was right etc. I just needed validation, comfort and to release some of the painful feelings in a compassionate setting.

    But that's just me. All the best in whatever manner you choose that works for you...

    Danielle

  7. Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    i too feel your mother didn't know enough to tell you to get out as she too was a victim she did her best to help you i hope you can see she did try to be there for you in the best way she knew how

  8. #7

    Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    Breezy,

    Welcome to the forum. It is nice to have you here!

    I can really relate to your situation but, like others who have responded probably better than I, I don't think that there is much to be gained by confrontation with your mom regarding these issues. I often longed for some kind of closure, acknowledgement, and virtual undoing of the things that I know my parents knew about and that they themselves did to me. At this point, though, I have come to the realization that what I really want is for none of the things that happened to me to have taken place. And that, as we all know, is impossible. That is what has allowed me somewhat (even if just a little) to let go without needing more from my mom. I know that I just can't undo the past, and the past can't be undone by her....



    TG

  9. #8

    Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    I too was abused as a child, Breezy. I did not get the therapy that I probably needed at the time but I do recall the therapist telling my mother and I that if we didn't deal with what had happened it would find it's way to the surface at some point.

    We wore both suffering what was post-traumatic stress they say and basically froze up emotionally for years. I now notice that I have severe trust issues, I'm overly emotional and I guess I could go on and on. lol

    What is comforting though is that all over this forum, there are lots of people going through simliar things. I've found great comfort from knowing I'm not alone and that there is hope to overcome. Best of all, that as I face these things that keep me from living well, someday I'll be able to live a much happier, fuller life.

  10. #9

    Re: Why is my past bothering me now ?

    I think you did the best you could!
    No mother wants to know their child has been hurt, and most mothers would blame themselves for bad things happening to their kids, even if it was totally out of their control.

    I think your mom tried to help you the way she knew how, because that was what she dealt with and what she knew. I'm glad you got away from him and into a new and much better relationship.

    Try not to feel guilt for things you cannot change, it will only weigh you down. You did the best you could, and I think the best thing you can do now for your children is to help them avoid following the same path you did. If you see or suspect abuse, tell them to get out as fast as they can. You can stop the cycle Be there for them, teach them to love themselves and be proud of who they are. They may be teenagers but, parents can make an impact for better or for worse, the choice is yours!

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