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  1. #1

    The Nest of Vipers

    THE NEST OF VIPERS

    I have been revisited recently by some painful thoughts about my youth and birth family.

    A question - What is it that drives a person to estrange themselves permanently from a birth family?

    One thing that helps me to understand this dynamic is to remember the dreadful and often violent conflicts that regularly patterned my childhood, youth and young adult life. If I had known in the early days that all the conflicts would come only to permanent estrangement, then maybe I wouldn't have struggled to keep things together at all. I could have let go sooner. One never knows with hindsight. We never know how long we are going to suck on the poison. I would say that my physical estrangement is a symbol only; the real estrangement was always in place - it was in the abuse.

    I don't know what others think, but it is my view that estrangement is the natural result of abusive parenting. Even if a semblance of polite normality can be maintained in adult life, the victim always remembers the abuse; that is their first thought when they think of this person. The most definite part of this remembering is the knowing that the parent put their own perverted gratification, physical or psychological, over and above their child's welfare.

    My mothers repeated and hopeless mantra to me over the years was, "Don't rise to the bait; he only wants to hurt you. Once he knows that you are hurt, then he will be satisfied."

    Fortunately, there are not too many of us that have had to live like this, but I'm interested in what others have to say about the dynamic. I want to share.

    Philos

  2. The Nest of Vipers

    Hello Philos! I don't think I can be of any help to you except to say that I identify with your response. My dad was a bully and total estrangement from his wife and children was the result, but even then I felt bad about not talking to him. Even though he hurt me by saying nasty things about people I loved (such as my aunt, my children, or my brother), I felt bad about cutting him out of my life.

    My husband was a psychological and emotional bully, and I held onto that relationship so long. Every now and again he would be lovely, and I was always waiting for the nice man to come back around. In between whiles, however, he would date other people during our marriage, and I would think to myself "it's understandable. He was only 19 when we got together. He's never lived really". I would excuse his behaviour, blame it on myself because I was older and uglier than him. And 'perverted' is probably the word, too. Because he loved to see my distress whenever I realised he was up to his tricks again. That realisation hurts me so much. It really makes me angry with myself that I allowed this behaviour, instead of just cutting the relationship off. But that kind of abuse was normal in my childhood, so I could tolerate it in my adult relationships too. It has taken me a long time to learn that such unkindness is about them, not me. I wouldn't tolerate it again, but I could not help tolerating it at the time. I believed I was as rubbish as they had taught me I was. I have totally estranged myself from my ex, because I go back to thinking I am the same piece of rubbish every time I see him. I find it almost impossible to change the dynamic in relationships that are already established, so I have to withdraw from them.

  3. #3

    The Nest of Vipers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. King
    And 'perverted' is probably the word, too. Because he loved to see my distress whenever I realised he was up to his tricks again. That realisation hurts me so much. It really makes me angry with myself that I allowed this behaviour, instead of just cutting the relationship off. But that kind of abuse was normal in my childhood, so I could tolerate it in my adult relationships too.
    Mrs King,

    You have helped me a great deal; by letting me know that others have this problem and also that there are circumstances in which we have to withdraw from people. I have always felt guilty about being estranged in this vital part of my life, although I have a happy family of my own and some good friends.

    I agree completely about the allowing. My father was attacking me right to his last day, and I helped to look after him at the end. It nearly killed me as well. I didn't know that there could be so much unhappiness on this earth. I remember him in his last days, leaning up from his bed and saying , "It seems to me, that you made yourself the victim." There are some sentences that we never can forget.

    I agree with everything you said in your post, especially about repeating the dynamic again with others; I have the T shirt for that one too!

    Recovery is a slow process, very slow.

    Cheers, Philos

  4. The Nest of Vipers

    I think, because I would never behave so unkindly to somebody else myself, I really couldn't conceive that other people could do so. I kept thinking I was misreading things. It wasn't the way it looked. Because, if it was the way it looked, it meant that hese people were hurting me on purpose. I do believe that I allowed myself to be bullied, as your Dad said to you, simply because I kept trying to excuse the behaviour, therefore it continued. Horrible thought - that I was aiding the behaviour. However, I could not have become a victim, unless the bully started the chain of events. And, having discovered that they had such potential for abuse over me, they should not have exploited it. Would you do that? Would most people do that? NO! And the fact that bullies do so means that they deserve not to be liked, or loved, as far as I am concerned. I can feel compassion for them, because they are obviously unhappy, but they can be unhappy without playing head games with me!
    If it helps, I truly believe that 'victims' are often much more compassionate people. Try to think of the positive things that you are and forgive yourself the negative bits, as you weed them out :o)

  5. #5

    The Nest of Vipers

    Mrs King,

    You speak with wisdom and compassion, as so many of us survivors do.

    The bully is not loved, only feared, and that is a terrible price to pay for their own selfishness. When my (grown up) daughter says 'I love you, Dad' which she says every time we speak on the phone, I feel the warmth flowing down the telephone line, right into my heart.

    I only ever said that to my Father once, when he was dying of cancer, and he was lost for a reply. He couldn't respond in kind. Maybe it's the bravest thing I ever did? It feels like it.

    I was alone with him when he died, saying a prayer for him. Once he had slipped into unconsciousness, that was the first time I ever felt comfortable around him. It was the same for my mother, she was able to touch him in a different way. We never knew what was going on inside him, but it must have been awfully painful.

    Thanks for sharing with me, this has been helpful. Very helpful.

    I hope things are getting better for you too, you deserve it.

    Cheers, Philos

  6. The Nest of Vipers

    Quote Originally Posted by Philos
    I only ever said that to my Father once, when he was dying of cancer, and he was lost for a reply. He couldn't respond in kind. Maybe it's the bravest thing I ever did? It feels like it.
    Very brave. Especially since you cannot guage the response of such a person, and you were hardly rewarded for having said it. Do you think it has been worth your suffering, if your contribution to the world has been a much-loved daughter as a result? That you are such a loved father is a testimony to your true character. That character was gained at quite a price, but we are, each, the sum of our experiences, and I suppose we should be grateful for all our experiences if they make us dearly loved parents. We don't have to enjoy the experiences. Just learn and grow from them (she says, desperately trying to look on the bright side!!)
    See ya!

  7. #7

    Re: The Nest of Vipers

    l was never a person who abused my children...l loved them and raised both of them as a single parent because my Ex was never home...When he was home he was a drinker who got verbally and physically abused me and the children were witness to his hate filled rants and came to my aid at times.
    Once the marriage got to the breaking point, l sat and talked to them (as they were old enough ) and told them that we had to live separately, they chose to stay at home to go to school with their friends.
    l had no choice but to leave alone and l phoned them daily, emailed and shopped for them because my Ex never did. l also had to get hygiene products for them.
    After awhile they stopped picking up the phone and the emails stopped....No matter what, l tried to keep communication even if l was ignored. l had to get Therapy to help me cope and express my feelings.
    Once my son told me he could not come to visit because his Dad would get mad. My daughter began screaming how much she hated me because her Dad told my son l broke his nose and how l was so abusive l was.
    l told them we could go to therapy together and they declined..l told them if they were angry, hurt, they could tell me and l told them l took responsibility for the bad feelings they felt and they again declined....As they grew, l saw them less and as they got into their teens, they visited and their future spouses were not shy to swear at me to which l told them to watch their mouths and my daughter started to argue and my son proceeded to go pee on my lawn in front of my neighbours and l told both of them that l would not accept this behaviour and the silence began then.
    l saw eacj of their wedding pictures on Facebook as l was not invited and l have a grandson l only see on Facebook and my heart is so broken into pieces...l had to give up in my heart because the Therapist kept saying l had to find some closure because my emotional and physical health had been suffering, so like the baby l had die, l know they are alive, healthy and happy in their lives..
    They are Each living somewhere in Ottawa, unlisted numbers, no email address ... l understand their hurt and anger but l live with this on a daily basis.

    ---------- Post Merged at 12:53 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 12:50 PM ----------

    l made a mistake in my posting , l had read about abuse and because of that in my mind, l accidentally said l abused my kids , when l had meant to write l NEVER abused my children
    Last edited by David Baxter; July 18th, 2017 at 03:07 PM. Reason: fixed the first sentence

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