unwelcome package

I got a package in the mail from my (estranged) family and it was a very odd feeling. Like something was strangling me. I wanted to cry. I opened the package and it was a few tea towels with "New Zealand" on them and a pair of ear rings, with a card saying we all miss you etc. I know my dad sent this without my mum knowing because it was straight from the gift shop. Kind of pathetic, a happy birthday present that was generic and strange...

My dad never stood up for me when I was young but he was not abusive, it was my mother. It's really hard having to cut off my whole family because of my mother's persistent toxic and abusive behaviour, and my five younger siblings who some of them have no Idea what I went through, because I protected them from a lot of it. My dad always wants to pretend like nothing happened, and everything is fine, and I was just a difficult teenager who chose to ran away at 15 for no reason other than my obstinate nature.

Makes me sad, but I know I am doing a whole lot better since I started this journey and admitted to myself how damaged I really am from my childhood. I wish my dad would leave me alone because any contact now just reminds me of the sadness and pain.

14 Replies

  • Oh, little traveller, I'm soooo sorry! I know all too well how hard those reminders are... maybe you need to tell him? I had to tell my oldest son that... no more contact, no relationship, it will never work until you learn to respect me and begin dealing with some of the things you did to hurt our family. It broke my heart, but at least this time he's listening. We'll see how long it lasts, but for now, I have peace in my life without the constant upheaval and pain. I wish the same for you!

    Hang in there! You're not alone!

  • Thanks AnyaC for your sweet and kind reply. I really appreciate all the support. I have told my father countless times I need this time to heal and please leave me alone, but he doesn't want to acknowledge what happened in the past and keeps trying to forge a connection in little ways. Maybe one day we can re establish a relationship based on healthy boundaries I have set up, I really hope so anyway, because its so hard to fight that biological connection that is at the core of our human nature. But right now I can't respond or do anything because it would be from a place of guilt and weakness, not from a place of strength. Maybe I will know when I am (if ever) ready to engage, and it won't be as raw and painful as it is now, or maybe it will always be this way.... I am not really sure to be honest. But just having others to support and understand makes me feel happy and like I am not crazy :) We will figure this out!

  • You will figure this out! It may take a long time with your father. I know with my oldest son I tried and tried and tried... time and time again.... and then I quit and turned away. Then he tried... a couple of times... but his attempts to reconcile are on his terms, his way, no need to heal the wounds. He'd tell me how much he loves me, and the mother's heart in me was so desperate to have him back, I tried again. But, without respect and understanding, there will never be a healthy relationship. I finally had to cut off all ties with him. It breaks my heart, but I have no choice. I can't deal with the horrible roller coaster ride.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand your father's attempts, but it has to be up to you. If you can't deal with it, then tell him. Tell him it's causing things to be so much worse, you need lots of time, whatever it is that you want to tell him. Sometimes, as an adult, it's o.k. to say "no" to an adult parent. I pray that the day will come when it will happen for both of you, but don't rush it. It's good that he's doing things in little ways, but even those can be too much. Take it all at your own speed.... if it happens, that's great, but if it doesn't, that's o.k. too. :)

    Hang in there! Don't give up! You'll figure it out, and we're all here to help all we can. We're all survivors! With PTSD, we've just survived too much, but we are still survivors, and we'll survive whatever comes next. :)

  • I understand the sadness and pain this unwelcome package from your dad must bring you and am very sorry to hear. I've been there myself - very similar set of family dynamics and can sympathise, my heart goes out to you. My dad enabled mother's toxic behaviour as well. He was her dog's body and carried out her orders, not realising that his turn was to come later when the kids had all grown up and had either fled the nest or were too enmeshed to notice. I'm glad you have awareness at a young age rather than discovering this much later on in life and are minimising the damage. It's still hard though!

  • It's nice to know that you get it, willow61. My Dad is definitely the dogsbody which makes me not trust any of his actions towards me, however kind, because I know whatever information I give him will be taken right back to my mother and twisted and all of a sudden I will become the villain again. The lies that she has told about me are perhaps the hardest to forgive, making me out to be the one at fault, even though I was a young child and how could I possibly have been the abusive one?

    It was hard to realize this at such a young age and even harder to try to survive without the support of my family. Unfortunately I think I have some of my mother in me which allowed me to get this far on sheer determination and will power, but I never want to become like her and when I noticed my raging and alcoholism I realized I was on the route to becoming everything I sought to escape. So now I am trying to cut the ties in a real way, not react or stoop to that level, but take the high road and become loving and wise and not bitter like she was. By running away from my family I never really left them behind- they haunted me everywhere I went. So now I am not running anymore and facing the truth.

    I am sorry you went through what you went through, and others too, and I send a cyber hug to everyone still suffering from the bullies in their life. We will overcome this!!!

  • Thanks littletraveller, yes unfortunately I do get it however late in the day (I'm in my 50's) as are my siblings, sadly 2 are lost to me due to all the dysfunction and triangulation. They are the 'Golden Children".

    You might find the dynamics change within the family as the roles can swap around depending on your mother's need for control and you may find that in time you have the support of other siblings. You sound exceptionally self aware and it's admirable that you don't want to repeat the type of example your mother set you. Whilst my fellow scapegoated brother and I knew my mother "wasn't right" we knew where we were with her strangely enough and we have both been disappointed with my dad, because he did love us in his own way when we were younger but sold us out in our teens and failed to protect us, However, understanding the type of family he came from also helped, he was weak, misguided, critical and in fear of my mother's disapproval! I can sort of forgive my dad because he didn't understand what he was dealing with and ultimately suffered at mother's hands as well when there were no more available offspring to abuse. Eventually he came seeking support from me and I was more than happy to help. although the relationship we reconnected with was always on his terms and he never completely realised what it was about - but then at that stage neither did I fully! That was after my parents had divorced mind. You are right to distrust him whilst the status quo favours him but it's a fragile thing and I have heard from others on forums how common it is that the narcissistic mother can become jealous of the fathers bond with various children. So give yourself time to see how you feel about him. There's no magic script to say how your relationship 'should' be and whatever you decide to do will be the best for you if and when you are ready.

  • This post I write now, will be the hardest I have ever shared - I was once a toxic mother and you have made the right choice for yourself, as hard as it may have been. In order to heal, we require a supportive community and/or family environment and safe and trusted people. Reading your post reminded me of the earlier days of hardship between my oldest son and myself. We've come a long way since then.

    I lived in undiagnosed depression until I was 44 years old and in my own recovery from my own childhood where my needs were neglected, I had no awareness of how my depressive state was impacting my sons until much much later in my recovery. Many times I wept when I came to understand what I could not go back and change.

    I had to cut myself off from my family for a period of years and my son did the same to me.

    The journey you have begun is precious and you deserve to be happy. Take all the time you need to heal and get to know yourself more intimately.

  • Thank you for your bravery in writing this post, it is an amazing and surprising perspective... I would never have thought that some one who had been on the opposite end of what I am going through would be so kind or so self-aware, or come to any sort of self realization at all. Alas I think my own mother is a little far gone to ever come full circle around to reconciliation, but as you say, this is my journey now and I will focus on loving myself the way unfortunately she never could because of her own demons. The attachment trauma I am addressing and trying to heal right now has its ups and downs for sure, but at least I have given myself some distance so I am no longer screaming and fighting back at some one who is incapable of hearing me the way i want to be heard. xo love and light

  • Your welcome, - I spent far too many years blaming others for my own behavior instead of owning it.

    I would like to share with you a book that helped me understand my own developmental trauma and the areas within ourselves that are affected. It is simply called Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image and the Capacity for Relationship by Laurence Heller, PhD and Aline LaPierre, PsyD. It helped me to understand myself and gave me words to be able to write and speak a deeper part of my recovery.

    I've added you to my prayer list and hope that you will continue to post your progress here.

  • Thanks for the prayers, I need all the help I can get :P I have put a hold on Healing Developmental Trauma the book you suggested at the library so I look forward to reading it.

  • Awesome!

  • I'm sorry this has upset you.

    My experience was the opposite of yours and my father was mentally and physically abusive. I didn't have the courage to run away and like you my mum never stuck up for me. I left home when I got married at 21 and he was still beating me up!

    I don't think there's any right way to cope with a situation like this, it's up to the individual.

    I, like you cope better when I don't see my father, but I live quite close and did stay in contact for my children's sake. I told my father if he ever did anything to my children that would be it and he never did. It's hard, but the children remember happy times visiting them, now they're older they see him for what he is, as a bully. I have tried to forgive my mum, as a mum myself I don't know how she could ignore the abuse. I can't say that I've forgiven her, but we do have some sort of relationship and see each other regularly. In her own way I think she loves me. Life is hard and were not given instructions on how to live it or how to cope. As I've got older I have learnt that a lot of people have had troubled lives and are not happy. We just have to try to live our lives the best we can a day at a time, there's no magic formula.

    Maybe your dad is trying to show you that he loves you in his own way, which is kind of nice. In someways I know you're not ready for it, but by doing this he has sort of given you a sign that he's thinking of you and if you want to contact him in the future it is a way in.

    Don't feel harassed and don't do anything you are not ready or comfortable with. It's your life your decision and like I said what's right for one person isn't right for another.

    Take care and all my best wishes. 😊👍

  • You are right fibropop there is no "one size fits all" solution to the no contact situation. But reading your story I can see that there are many ways to cope with family members still participating in the toxic cycle of abuse, and it holds up a mirror to my own life and how I have dealt with my family thus far. I don't think I am ready personally to have a relationship with my father because I really have only just begun my journey back to myself, and I'm a bit fragile, but the fact there is an open door there is nice to know. Perhaps when I am stronger and more firmly rooted in my truth I will be able to have some semblance of a relationship with my father and siblings on my terms, but those boundaries will have to be highly reinforced. Thanks again so much for your kind support xo and have a nice day!

  • Hi again

    What a very eloquent reply to my comments.

    You are obviously a very intelligent and capable person.

    You know the direction you want to go in and your own mind, thats very commendable!

    I think you are right and I think that you will make a success of your life and of your personal relationships.

    I wish you all the very best and keep true to yourself.

    Good luck with the rest of your life 👍😊🌸🌺

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