More threads by Beaglecrazy

We have had a long pattern of critical, belittling, baiting games on the part of our mother since childhood. It has caused many problems with everyone in the family, 5 children and father. All of us kids are now adults, the oldest being myself, 48 and my youngest brother 40. In the last 7 years or so, my father, who I thought had more sense, has now taken up the same mean spirited behavior. There has been considerable antaganism between one particular brother and my mother for many years, it seems an unending game of put downs and angry retorts. My mother likes to play the victim, as in, "how can he treat me this way", even though she has been the one that enjoys entaganizing. None of my four brothers is married, I suspect because they are afraid they will end up married to someone just like their mother. My parents are now in their 70's and are still playing the same put down games with snide remarks and pumping us for information for what's going on in our lives and then you find out later, its just done so they can find some kind of fault.
It is to the point that I want nothing to do with them as they obviously will not change their destructive behavior. When I told my father how I resented the mean spirited games that he and my mother play, his response was that "you weren't the easiest child to raise" and "we've done a lot for you". Two of my brothers got into drugs and left home at the age of 17 because they got fed up with my mother's nagging. I was the door mat...always did what they wanted...never got into trouble. I have always felt that I did not live up to their expectations.....that I was not good enough. So here I am at the age of 48, and just with in the last few years begun to figure out that I am a worthwhile human being and that the problem has never been mine, but my mother's for whatever reason
gets her jollies critisizing everyone. And now Dad is playing the same games. No one else in the family has the guts to confront either of them,
as there is hell to pay and they seem quite good at manipulating everyone.
Except me and I haven't had much to do with them these last 5 years.
My mother has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which I didn't know about until I called my brother Tim. I called my Dad and he started to tell my about her hystorectimy, and then became angry and
wanted to know what am I going to do now.....claimed I have to forgive him or God won't forgive me......never mind about repentance, that is...
changing one's sinful behavior of belittling everyone. He then got very angry and said "Don't bother showing up for the funeral". Another manipulative tactic. So... I am trying not to feel guilty about hating to have time with them. Why do they love antaganizing everyone in the family? It seems to have resulted in an artificial family that only gets together for the obligatory holidays.


Ouch. That's a difficult situation, Beagle. We can never know why others do things. Only they know that. We can guess that belittling other people makes them feel better about themselves, somehow. Playing the martyr does the same thing.

I guess, if it were me, I'd just tell them that I don't choose to spend my time being denigrated anymore. You have your own life, and you've found your way out of the hole of thinking you're worthless. To subject yourself to further put-downs and negativity is not serving any real purpose.

Perhaps, if your parents understand that they might just end up spending the end of their lives without their chidren around them, they'll find reason enough to come to their senses and stop treating all of you so badly. It's not an easy thing to do, but sometimes a lesson has to be hard to be learned. :eek:(
Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I am hoping my parents wake up to what they've been doing.
But that would require swallowing their pride and the chances of that happening are almost nil. Likewise, I suspect my brothers will continue to buckle under to the denigration especially since my mother has been diagnosed with cancer. All have expressed anger over the years at this "game" my parents like to play, but they won't take a stand against it. Ours is not a close family, even though everyone likes to pretend and believe that we are. So, in reality I will not have lost much. In fact I have gained much respect for myself for crawling out of the hole as you say. Thanks a bunch and keep encouraging people. You are doing a great service to your fellow man.


The step you have taken are the hardest ones. Take a stand for yourself and realising that you haven't done wrong. It really sad to hear what have been threw and your mom with her cance. Knowing that you have done nothing wrong and moving forward is you strengh.


Dear BeagleCrazy,

What you described about your parents is pure cruelty. You were not beaten physically, but mentally. They have been messing with your mind.

It is a miracle you still are healthy actually.

I can assure you that they won't change anymore. This is something that has been especially, your mothers way of living. You cannot change it anymore. She is like an old tree, you cannot change the way of growing it. Perhaps for the better since you need your own life.

They seem to provoke (correct me if I am wrong), enjoy the trouble it causes and on top of it, give you the feeling of guilt when you say you resent that behavior.

That are already three things to resent. One to provoke/antagonize, second to enjoy it to see others getting upset, third telling you to shut up when you say something about it.

The only reason I can think of your mothers behavior during your life, is that that is a power play. Like she is in competition with you for some reason. And that she gets her joys when she beats you with her lies.

There is no acceptance whatsoever of her children. She likes to look down on them. Why? Perhaps that does her make her feel better. Criticizing other people can people make one feel less worthless, or better.

That your father joined her, is his decision. Perhaps he does not want to stand alone so he joined her.

You wrote: "I called my Dad and he started to tell my about her hystorectimy, and then became angry and wanted to know what am I going to do now.....claimed I have to forgive him or God won't forgive me."

He is not in the position to demand. He is not in the position to threat. I think it is very rude of your father to say this. It is all about him/them again. Same old story.

BeagleCrazy, make up your mind. Don't forget: your parents will not change anymore. I would advise you not to argue with them anymore, save yourself the trouble. They drag you into their games.

Set your limits with them. Don't argue, just make statements what you do and don't want with them anymore. Draw a line. Think about yourself, they have dragged you years and years into their games.

Take good care of yourself now.


Yes, you are right about my mother enjoying the fight. And since Dad has taken up the destructive behavior, I think he gets some kind of jolly out of it. My mother is very controlling. And yes, I have sensed that she is in some kind of competition with me, her daughter. I have heard about this weird type of thing between mother and daughter, but in my "Leave it to Beaver" mentality, I expected a loving relationship, not competition.
It seems rather sick to me. I have detected jealously on her part when I was under their roof many years ago with reference to my relationship with my dad. I used to think he was the greatest thing in the world. He knew it all, he had his head I see that he is a very weak
individual controlled by his wife.
Get this for control....when I was 12 years old, I inheritated a diamond ring from my great aunt on my dad's side. My parents put the ring in safe keeping for me, as I was too young and would have lost the ring. So about 7 years ago, I recall that I was left the ring. I asked where it was and my mother wouldn't give me a straight answer. She said "Why, do you have a safe place for it? Do you have a will?" in her controlling manner.....and I backed down! Story of this messed up family's life, backing down from her. So several years later, when visiting Dad, he started in on his put downs, the final straw that made me finally stand up to this garbage and we did not speak for 2 years. It bothered me that my mother controlled my ring, I was now in my 40's and HAD NEVER EVEN SEEN THE RING! In the mean time, my grandmother has passed away and left me some sterling silver and antique dishes, which mom and dad
also had control of. I started thinking about MY possessions under their control and got angry. I knew that if dad died first, I'd never see my
possessions. I called them one day and said in a very stern voice that I
wanted everything that belonged to me.......including the ring Aunt Mary left me....I said "By the way......WHERE is MY ring?" "In the safe deposit box at the bank," Dad said. I said "Fine, I want it". So when I came to their house to pick up MY inheritated things, mom says "Well, there is a note in the safe deposit box that says these things belong to you". And I DID intend to keep my stuff till the day she died!

How's THAT for control.

And as far as healthy, I have had back problems for many years and head aches tied to it. My head aches have remarkedly decreased since I sent a letter to dad a few weeks ago telling him I was not obligated to endure his mean spirited games. Amazing how we can make ourselves


Hi BeagleCrazy,

If I came across as judgmental towards you, I did not mean to. You don't make yourself sick or something, you are trying to deal with sick things. And as far as I see it, you are doing a great job.

What I despise is the fact that parents (!) do this to their children. I have a father who also turns things around when I confront him with his own behavior.

My grandfather (he died about 30 years ago) gave his grandchildren silver coins at special occasions. My father offered to keep them and save them.

At the time I asked for them (I have no clue when that was) I got three coins. I thought: huh??, since I am sure I received many more of my grandfather during his life. (I am still struggling with how to handle this, how to get them back, if they are still there anyway).

So that is why I got angry when I read your post: the similarity is obvious. It is just unbelievable.

You are also having troubles with getting back the valuable things that belong to you. Well, mind you, these things stand for more than jewelry: they stand for the things that are YOU.

The way she keeps your jewelry is the way she treats you and have always treated you.

As far as my father goes: I got three coins from him, but I think he stole/left behind? about seven. And that is exactly how I always experienced him: he sucked the energy out of me. He sucked seven coins out of me during my time I lived at home. He left three. Just about enough not to fall over completely.

That is where my anger came from.
I'm not the only one!

Wow! When you start talking to other people about this stuff, it is amazing how others experience almost the same thing! You are right, now that I think about it, its control, control control, right up to our inheritances. And what's even more ridiculous about it, is my inheritance didn't even come from HER side of the family!

I can see where professional counciling comes in. For many years, I have been very angry with my mother, not knowing why I was so angry.
I once had a friend who exclaimed that she couldn't understand why I talked badly of my mother, for my mother is quite charming to outsiders.

Perhaps my age has something to do with it, I am a little smarter to what's been going on. I can see the games and manipulation more readily now, instead of just being frustrated and angry and not knowing why at times I have hated my mother.

So professional help would have helped me stand up to this situation a long time ago, to sort things out, and realize how the game is played.

And no, I did not think you were being judgemental. I have suffered from stress a long time because of this "family" situation and it manifests itself in back trouble and head aches.

I told my husband, my mother kept my possessions under the guise of keeping them safe for me, but the reality of it is, she kept them FROM me.
She never anticipated me finally standing up to them and demanding my
possessions. Now as it stands, my inheritance is in the house in which my husband and I live........if I were to die before her, she is no longer in control of the items and would have to manipulate my husband to get them. Had I not demanded them, and I died, she would naturally keep them or sell them at that point.

I just have to keep on my toes with them, if I have any contact with them at all. It's like a football game, I am now anticipating their moves and then I can protect myself.


Hi Beagle,

I am going to ask my oldest brother how many coins he received. I feel so angry.

I don't want to take over your thread but on the other hand you know how it feels.

I started my own thread about dealing with my father. But I ended up telling too much of the past in order to explain what he is capable of.

Can you give me advice? Should I start my own topic on this, or can I keep posting here or...?
The more the merrier

I think it is good you are posting here. If others who are experiencing or have experienced the same type of control and manipulation come across yours and my entries, then they can add their experiences too.

I think it helps to see others experiencing similar things, we don't feel so alone and it helps to know we are not the evil ones, like our manipulators try to make us out to be.

I would ask your brother how many he received. Maybe he was ripped off too!

At one time, I thought I was my mother's prime target until my youngest brother, who is the smartest kid of the bunch and makes the most money
told me how angry he was with mom and dad's manipulative behavior.
Perhaps I was too engrossed with my hurt and anger to see my youngest brother suffering too. He was obviously the favorite, but even he could not
please them.

Maybe your brother will reveal similar things to you.

Yep, I totally understand your anger.
Keep posting and let me find out what happens.


Hi Beagle,

Thank you.

Since my whole body is full of emotions and things are hard enough already, I have to take it slow. So I will post when I feel ready.


I had emailed my oldest brother to ask about the coins. He replied that he had also received two or three. I said: "I am almost sure we all received more when we were young". He said: "no, I don't recall, why do you ask? Where should they be then?"

I did not go into that. I wonder whether he comprehends what my father was capable of doing towards my other brother and me. He gets along with my father pretty well and tends to be a peacekeeper.

It's not about the coins. So I leave it there. For now I need to draw a line in the contact with my father. This is a bit difficult since our contact is fragile, after a long time of not having contact at all.

I wrote him a neutral email about two weeks ago (shortly after I posted here), a short one. He did not reply. I thought: ok, you can have it, now I take a stand. I was angry.

Since I had plugged out my answering machine because I did not feel like taking calls for the past weeks I now guess he tried to speak to me. Because within two days I plugged it in again, he left a message. Frankly, I could not listen to it.

Lately he comes across as begging, I think he has a hard time for some while now but he never tells anything about it. At least not what I can remember.

I only listened to it for one second. Then I switched it off. I thought: no. No. If I listen to this I need to phone back and I don't want to.

Instead of that I wrote him another email a few days later where I said I have a new dog (which is true). I kept it distant. I did not feel whatsoever to ask how he was doing. I don't want to end up in those chit chat things.

I know it sounds harsh, but I don't want to get dragged into things anymore. He sucks the energy out of me, I have no clue how he does that but I feel it. I don't want that anymore. I keep feeling: I don't owe him anymore that much. Now I want to draw a line, keep him distant, but keep in touch. That is all I want to do and all I can do.


And again this afternoon, my father left a message on my answering machine. Yes, he knew I wanted to email only, but he would like to talk to me on the phone.

I got angry. I forwarded my previous email to him and added:

"Hi dad,

As I wrote twice before I don't call, I mail."

Somehow I feel empty now. I feel so utterly empty. It feels like he wants to clamp to me and I get angry. It frightens me too, since I have a dog now and I need all my energy to go out for walks and take good care of my dog. For me this is a heavy task but I need to do it, it will help me recover.

Only writing this about my father stirs up the anger towards him. I want to say: "IF YOU FALL OVER THEN DO THAT WITHOUT ME!!!!!!"

When I was in the mental hospital I remember my therapist said while we were having a group session: "Do you all see what happens when Suzette talks about her father?"

They did not see anything.

Then my therapist said: "Look at her eyes, they become empty when she talks about her father."

Then she said to me: "I don't envy you. I don't envy you at all. If you spend more than one day with him, you will feel lost. So you better not do that."

Beagle or anybody else, can anyone relate to this or give me feedback?

Does this sound stupid or can someone understand what I am trying to deal with?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
If he were anyone else other than a parent, you would long ago have simply walked away from him and cut him out of your life.

Because he is your father, it is difficult to do that. First, because he seems to have a need or a desire to continue to "parent" you (control you?) even though you are an adult. Second, because you still haven't been able to let go of the anger you feel because he is not and never has been the parent you wish you had had in your life.

This is always a difficult struggle, for anyone who has had a difficult relationship with a parent.

What you are trying to do is to establish some sort of relationship[ with him on YOUR terms instead of his and to set clear boundaries that you need in order to deal with having a father like him. You are on the right track but it will not be easy and you will need to remind yourself of what it is YOU need to do -- you will also need to try to find a way to let go of the anger: he is not the father ytou want him to be, he never was that father, and he never will be. That is sad. But it is reality.

Hang on to the fact that you still have YOU. Value that person. That is the important thing. Ultimately, the only person you need to please is you. You don't need his approval.


Hi David,

Thank you very much for your reply. (I could not respond earlier since I have to take things slow here. I have a dog now and that requires most of my attention to keep things going the right way).

Yes, I recognize what you say. Especially that I try to establish a relationship with my father that fits me. Not him, but me.

When you wrote: "even though you are an adult" that made me wonder. I don't think I act like one towards my father. I guess it feels like I still need him. But it also feels like I keep tripping over him.

He does not seem to respect the fact that I want to mail with him only. That is the point where I feel I trip over him. He gets in the way this way.

You write: "Ultimately, the only person you need to please is you. You don't need his approval."

I think I am afraid to hurt him. Because I know how it feels to be rejected by a loved one I try to be polite but firm with him now. If he does not listen to that, or respect that, I have to get angry with him in order to make clear he has not that position in my life he wants. Then I more or less say: "no, not anymore".

Well that will be difficult for me. Perhaps also confronting for me too.

I hope I can keep posting in this thread, otherwise please let me know if I have to start a new one by myself. This struggle is not over yet.


After I posted this, I got slowly very angry. First I tried to write it down, the things I want to tell my father. It did not relieve me.

Then I thought: I am so angry that he keeps sucking and that he does not respect the fact that I don't want to call, but mail.

I've had it.

I rang him up just now. And again: third time in a row already (first two were with other people) when I say how he comes across he acts like: "who me???" Then he wants to verify things. I told him that he comes across as someone who needs me more than is reasonable. That is how he comes across when he leaves a message on my answering machine. He became very angry, wanted to get things straight. That sounds reasonable, but in this case it means: "Don't tell me you see what I am really doing".

Those answering machine messages makes me sense immediately that he almost falls over. But ofcourse: I cannot prove that. So it is easy to deny.

Now lately I am trying to put the people with lying behavior aside. First it was my brother, the my downstairs neighbor, now my father.

They have three things in common: they cannot look at their own behavior and reply exactly the same: "who, me???"

As soon as I say: I don't go into discussion here I get the same reply: they tell me to f*** off and either slam the door or put the phone down like my father did just now.

Third time in a row already! Man, this is difficult. Things you cannot prove, but have sensed over yearsssss are being denied straight in my face. Now that is a crime already.

I have no mercy for lying people. They can make you crazy. Because they are capable of telling you that you are.

This is disgusting. Being told to f*ck off when I take a stand. They always got away with their lies, but hopefully, with a lot of energy on my side, they won't anymore. I have to put them at a distance. I have to protect myself against those filthy lies.

Because I was always lied to when I was young, I ended up crazy. That is horrible enough as it is. And now I try to put the same people on a safe distance and I slowly come to the point where I say: f*** off yourself.
You'll get what you deserve and you will find out I was right (if you not already know anyway).

I am not responsible for the fact that they cannot face themselves. But I don't want to be bothered by it since I despise that.

Oh my.... I feel disgusted. I want to kick my dad away from me yelling that he has to sort out his own business.

He better not get near me because I am soooo angry.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
When you wrote: "even though you are an adult" that made me wonder. I don't think I act like one towards my father.
That's part of the difficulty in any relationship with a parent -- trying to escape from those parent-child roles.

I think I am afraid to hurt him. Because I know how it feels to be rejected by a loved one I try to be polite but firm with him now. If he does not listen to that, or respect that, I have to get angry with him in order to make clear he has not that position in my life he wants. Then I more or less say: "no, not anymore".
I think most people try to find ways to set out boundaries in a kind and gentle way, but we also all know a person who does not listen or respect those boundaries until you become more direct and blunt (and yes sometimes angry). If it's important, you do whatever you need to do to make sure those boundaries are respected.


Hi David,

Yes, I am working on that thank God. Thank you very much for giving your feedback on this. It makes me see what I am doing and the support I feel is very much needed.

So far I managed to set clear boundaries to four people I consider as energy-taking in my life or playing mind games with me. It feels good. No mind games anymore, no loss of energy anymore.

I hope the anger towards my father will transform into grief. Otherwise I keep being angry and there should be a time that I at least, try to let it go.

This morning I woke up with an utter feeling of dismay. It is a dead crime to lie when it really comes to it.

I can go on now, I think I have set my boundaries now for the time being and it was about time too.

Thank you again for the feedback you gave me on this, I appreciate that very much!


Hi ThatLady,

Thank you for this link. I will put it in my Favorites. I hope in time I will really feel I have let go, now it is just my father at a big distance. Time will tell I hope. Letting things go is definitely not my strongest side.
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