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Old 05-18-2024, 08:02 AM
Status: "This too shall pass. But possibly, like a kidney stone." (set 3 days ago)
 
35,901 posts, read 18,209,654 times
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OP, I'm sorry you had to endure all that.

I do think there's a kernel of truth in what your brother says. No one's perfect, and from his upbringing in an orphanage, it sounds like he was doing the best he could. It seems unlikely he could have gotten full custody of his children, and the cost of maintaining two households would have put you in poverty.

I suggest reading "Bad Childhood, Good Life" by Dr. Laura Schlesinger. Best wishes.
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Old 05-18-2024, 08:41 AM
 
Location: SF/Mill Valley
8,812 posts, read 3,969,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOS2IAD View Post
Just because this never happened to you or anyone you knew, doesn't mean it never happens at all.
My point was that narcissism, manipulative tactics and alcoholism tends to run in families, particularly when folks clearly haven’t processed their upbringing with adult eyes nor healed in 20+ (or even 50) years. Education (and sometimes therapy) is the key to stopping the cycle of anger and dysfunction.
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Old 05-18-2024, 10:45 AM
 
3,242 posts, read 2,468,821 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOS2IAD View Post
I was talking with my brother, who at this point is my sole surviving sibling.

My question is --- Do you think my brother's take was the correct one where he said by allowing our mother to abuse us all, our father was protecting us? Or do you think my take on this was that he was enabling her by allowing her to abuse us is correct?
Your brother is remaking reality. He doesn't want to hate his mother so he pretends it wasn't all that bad. Your father on the other hand may be like those women who don't leave an abusive spouse. You wonder why but they think they have no options. For your father it might have been he didn't want to leave you kids and he didn't think he could take care of you alone. She was the abusive spouse. That thought might and probably was incorrect but forgive him. As to your mother, hell no. There is no excuse, even drinking that should make what she did ok. And yes, today that teacher would have reported it to CPS and at the very least your father would have been convinced to leave with you kids or her to leave (most likely this) with a restraining order.
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Old 05-18-2024, 02:48 PM
 
8,519 posts, read 3,371,891 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOS2IAD View Post
I was talking with my brother, who at this point is my sole surviving sibling. <snip>
Well...when my brother and I talked, he told me that he found an old photo of our mother and put it up on FB. I hadn't checked FB yet that day. I said to him "I don't miss her at all." That shocked him. Then I pointed out that our father was just as bad for not defending us in any way. BTW, along with the photo of our mother, he left a mushy note calling her "my dear mother".

He then argued with me and claimed that our father was defending us by staying married to her. Plus he thought it was his way of protecting us. I told him "no". If he wanted to protect us, he would have left her and gotten custody of us kids.

My brother as of late, has been watching YouTube videos about narcissists. He said you can't ever escape them. Also, he said he saw videos of men who stayed with their narcissist because of the kids. <snip>
OP my heart goes out to you for having to live this way as a young child. My early family life was not as troubled but every neurotic familial situation comes with its own variations. Your brother and you may have had different experiences and he may well not validate yours. Still it looks like he's willing to discuss. That alone can be quite a gift. My brothers (no sisters) largely are shut-down walls. Heaven forbid you accidentally tread on a forbidden topic. I think as we age what many of us want are understandings, both of the past and of ourselves (our experiences in that past, I mean). Sadly that can be in short supply. I hope you find some peace here, as other posters offer comments more directly applicable to your questions.
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Old 05-18-2024, 06:27 PM
 
22,538 posts, read 12,109,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowilldo View Post
First off BOS2IAD, i am sorry to read you lived in such a bad situation. As hard as it is/was to live in that, it ultimately makes us more empathetic, caring people toward others... [/b]

I am the youngest of 5 kids, oldest brother is 10 years ahead of me. As an infant, my mother often passed me over to him for feedings, comfort and other care. I and two brothers closest in age were passed around to various babysitters (and the oldest brother) so mom could live her own life. I've just learned that recently, as my brother waited for mom to be gone before he shared it. I literally have only two baby pictures, and they were both taken with my oldest brother holding me. Now, it makes sense.

For as long as I can remember, my mother was uncaring and unloving toward us and did not want to involve herself with us much. Before I was born, she used my brother to vent and complain about her life and marriage. He was literally just a little kid. No wonder he had such an old soul while he was a teenager.

She's been gone a few years now and when she died, none of us truly cried, it was more like sad relief. She made it very clear that we only existed to take care of her as she aged (and both the oldest and myself legitimately tried). Yet, growing up we were provided with only what we needed, sans love. My dad's work had him away from home often and when he was home he just wanted peace. The two of them fought over his drinking and also money. He died years ago in an accident.

What's done is done. It sucked growing up in that, but what I learned from the bad experiences my mother provided growing up, was how to raise my own kids. They always have known they are valued and loved as the people they are; their activities, feelings and ideas are worthwhile and accepted. They know to put themselves into other peoples' shoes and react accordingly. I also learned to be a careful observer/listener as people will eventually reveal to you who they really are. This has helped to build strong relationships and avoid toxic ones.
I bolded two things you posted. Per the first one---I agree 100% it makes us more empathetic, caring people toward others.

Per the second bolded item --- I, too, learned from bad experiences growing up how I wanted to raise my own child. I vowed to never be verbally, emotionally or physically abusive to my child. If either my husband or I were in a bad mood and were snappish with her, we would check each other and say "stop". We would encourage her interests. When it came to household chores, we didn't overburden her like I had been as a child.

I'm sorry that you were put through all of that by your mother. Indeed, I do believe your brother is an old soul. It sounds like he did take good care of you. Although it meant that he didn't really have a chance to be a child himself.

I was the oldest child and the oldest of my first cousins on my mother's side. When we were little kids acting silly but not bad, my mother would give me a dirty look. She expected me to act like an adult. At 5 years old, she one day yelled at me and said "grow up!". I vividly remember standing outside the house and being confused as I didn't know what I did wrong and how was I supposed to "grow up".

Like your brother, my mother would tell me her troubles as if I was one of her contemporaries. This made me feel resentful. I was a kid and didn't need to hear any of it. One day, when I was 10, she had an appt. with a specialist because she was losing her voice. She left me in charge of my brothers. When she came home, I asked how her appt. was and she started crying saying the doctor told her she was going to lose her voice and nothing could be done. I said "Maybe the doctor was wrong". She screamed at me and said the doctor was right. Then she got angry at me and said I was a very cold person. Turned out I was right she didn't lose her voice (Although if she had, I wouldn't have been upset).

I didn't shed a tear when she died. My father and my two brothers were drying their eyes in church. Someone sitting in the back was sobbing. I couldn't figure out who it was. No doubt a friend of hers who fell for my mother's manipulations.

So...you're not alone. I hope you feel proud for having raised your children far, far better than you were raised. Far too many who were abused grow up to treat the next generation as badly as they were raised. I wish you all the best.
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Old 05-18-2024, 06:31 PM
 
22,538 posts, read 12,109,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
OP, I'm sorry you had to endure all that.

I do think there's a kernel of truth in what your brother says. No one's perfect, and from his upbringing in an orphanage, it sounds like he was doing the best he could. It seems unlikely he could have gotten full custody of his children, and the cost of maintaining two households would have put you in poverty.

I suggest reading "Bad Childhood, Good Life" by Dr. Laura Schlesinger. Best wishes.
Thank you for the book recommendation. I appreciate it.

I posted this link upthread. Perhaps you missed it. David Pelzer wrote 3 books about his upbringing and how it shaped his life:

https://littlethings.com/lifestyle/d...abuse-survival
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Old 05-22-2024, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Ruston, Louisiana
2,184 posts, read 1,104,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOS2IAD View Post
I was talking with my brother, who at this point is my sole surviving sibling. Our mother, who passed 25 years ago, was an abusive alcoholic and a malignant narcissist. She was verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive person. None of us was left unscathed. However, as the oldest and only daughter, I took the brunt of her abuse. Meanwhile, our father never confronted her about her behavior. Rather, when we kids would try to defend ourselves when she was verbally abusive, he would pull us aside and tell us not to argue with her. He said when we argued with her, he caught h*ll for it later on. Instead, we were told to ignore her (as if we could do that).

As I got older, I realized that his behavior was just as bad as hers. He enabled her to the point where no one was allowed to confront her on her drinking. No matter how horrible the things she said and did to us kids, he would never speak up. For example, as a teen, she made a salad and ordered me to add olives to it. The only ones I saw in the fridge were green olives. I put some on top. She saw it and went into a rage, then said she was going to get the dog chain and beat me. My father was nearby and didn't say a word or even attempt to intervene. If I hadn't grabbed the chain from her, she would have beat me.

Well...when my brother and I talked, he told me that he found an old photo of our mother and put it up on FB. I hadn't checked FB yet that day. I said to him "I don't miss her at all." That shocked him. Then I pointed out that our father was just as bad for not defending us in any way. BTW, along with the photo of our mother, he left a mushy note calling her "my dear mother".

He then argued with me and claimed that our father was defending us by staying married to her. Plus he thought it was his way of protecting us. I told him "no". If he wanted to protect us, he would have left her and gotten custody of us kids.

My brother as of late, has been watching YouTube videos about narcissists. He said you can't ever escape them. Also, he said he saw videos of men who stayed with their narcissist because of the kids.

When I was in high school, I told a teacher what was going on in our house. Where we were living at the time, when my mother was drunk and screaming at us, crowds would gather outside the house to listen to her.

My mother was very manipulative. People who didn't live with her thought she was so nice. She told people that we never helped her around the house and we were all mean to her. Her friends bought it all. They would talk to me and ask me why I didn't help my mother. When I would tell them that I did help (I did most of her housework), they would tell me it wasn't enough.

So...I told my brother that if I had told a teacher today what was going on in our home, they would have reported it to CPS. My brother refused to believe that.

Long story and thanks for reading.

My question is --- Do you think my brother's take was the correct one where he said by allowing our mother to abuse us all, our father was protecting us? Or do you think my take on this was that he was enabling her by allowing her to abuse us is correct?
Your Dad was abusing you just in a different way. He was negligent for sure, in such a way that he did not protect you from abuse that he knew was going on. He too was a very sick man.
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Old 05-22-2024, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
21,986 posts, read 25,343,578 times
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Both.

Easiest thing would be to just abandon the wife/kids and move on. Harder thing would be trying to either correct the behavior or if that wasn't possible have the wife institutionalized. It's not particularly easy for men to get sole custody and was even less so back then. He landed somewhere in the middle.
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Old 05-23-2024, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Southern MN
12,144 posts, read 8,535,690 times
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I like what you said about not raising your children the same way you were raised, BOS21AD. Believe it or not, many are raised with abuse and are so accultured to it they don't even know it's abuse. "Sure, I got hit and I deserved it because I was bad."

Then they use it as a reason to abuse their own children as though their parents' ways still held control over their adult life.

The good news is that people are able to recognize the mistakes made with them in their childhood and heal from them without having to have affirmation or apology from the people who abused them. Who knew?

Most of us start our healing thinking that unless the people who hurt us don't own up and apologize that we can't move on. But in healing it's not about them at all. That's being still stuck in the mess, trying to fix the past. Today's healing is about us and the new choices we make.
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Old 05-23-2024, 02:49 PM
 
6,324 posts, read 4,238,791 times
Reputation: 24886
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOS2IAD View Post
I was talking with my brother, who at this point is my sole surviving sibling. Our mother, who passed 25 years ago, was an abusive alcoholic and a malignant narcissist. She was verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive person. None of us was left unscathed. However, as the oldest and only daughter, I took the brunt of her abuse. Meanwhile, our father never confronted her about her behavior. Rather, when we kids would try to defend ourselves when she was verbally abusive, he would pull us aside and tell us not to argue with her. He said when we argued with her, he caught h*ll for it later on. Instead, we were told to ignore her (as if we could do that).

As I got older, I realized that his behavior was just as bad as hers. He enabled her to the point where no one was allowed to confront her on her drinking. No matter how horrible the things she said and did to us kids, he would never speak up. For example, as a teen, she made a salad and ordered me to add olives to it. The only ones I saw in the fridge were green olives. I put some on top. She saw it and went into a rage, then said she was going to get the dog chain and beat me. My father was nearby and didn't say a word or even attempt to intervene. If I hadn't grabbed the chain from her, she would have beat me.

Well...when my brother and I talked, he told me that he found an old photo of our mother and put it up on FB. I hadn't checked FB yet that day. I said to him "I don't miss her at all." That shocked him. Then I pointed out that our father was just as bad for not defending us in any way. BTW, along with the photo of our mother, he left a mushy note calling her "my dear mother".

He then argued with me and claimed that our father was defending us by staying married to her. Plus he thought it was his way of protecting us. I told him "no". If he wanted to protect us, he would have left her and gotten custody of us kids.

My brother as of late, has been watching YouTube videos about narcissists. He said you can't ever escape them. Also, he said he saw videos of men who stayed with their narcissist because of the kids.

When I was in high school, I told a teacher what was going on in our house. Where we were living at the time, when my mother was drunk and screaming at us, crowds would gather outside the house to listen to her.

My mother was very manipulative. People who didn't live with her thought she was so nice. She told people that we never helped her around the house and we were all mean to her. Her friends bought it all. They would talk to me and ask me why I didn't help my mother. When I would tell them that I did help (I did most of her housework), they would tell me it wasn't enough.

So...I told my brother that if I had told a teacher today what was going on in our home, they would have reported it to CPS. My brother refused to believe that.

Long story and thanks for reading.

My question is --- Do you think my brother's take was the correct one where he said by allowing our mother to abuse us all, our father was protecting us? Or do you think my take on this was that he was enabling her by allowing her to abuse us is correct?


I was the primary target for abuse by my father and my sister was my mother’s golden child. We may have lived in the same household with the same parents but we had different childhoods . I am currently watching a narcissistic wife in our family and how she has conditioned her husband and abuses him mentally. She uses the children and he is frightened of losing them and feels trapped. I don’t feel either one of you is right or wrong, far more complex. Sounds like he was placating and diffusing at the cost of you all but maybe like our relatives husband has no idea what to do. Is that right, no? But there are no easy solutions.
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