Changing the past

  1. In another thread, there was some talk about abusive parents, and how they helped to shape us into the people we are. I posted some comments about my FIL, who abused my MIL and the kids both emotionally and physically. My husband never speaks of him at all, but my MIL and SIL talked about him as if he had been a saint at the funeral. Until my MIL moved to another state and stopped contact with us, they continued to speak this way of him, and probably still do. Away from home he was charming and friendly, but at home he was brutal. My mother is the same way about both my father and her second husband. Both were alcoholics. We went without many times as children because my Dad's paycheck went to the local bar. Yet my mother talks about the wonderful childhood we had.

    It is not just this way with people who have died. My mother also talks as if she were the best mother in the world, instead of the manipulative controlling woman she was. And my sister completely denies some of her past escapades. The thing is these people are not lying, they really believe they are telling the truth. I guess it's a defense mechanism of some kind. Maybe some day I will deny that my poor hubby went to bed alone many nights because I was on this BB into the wee hours of the morning.
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   adrienurse
    Sometimes if people tell themselves the same lies over and over again, they begin to believe them as being the truth. It's a method of surviving, I guess. Your reality is of your own making.
  4. by   kids
    I agree with Adrienne 100%...it is the same coping mechanism that keeps many abused partners in a dangerous relationship.
  5. by   live4today
    I, too, agree with this theory.
  6. by   JonRN
    Very very interesting thread but I need to leave it alone. I will just be content knowing that others have had the same life experiences I have had.

    Pappy
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    My parents remember *NONE* of the abuse, physical and verbal/emotional they heaped upon us. Both my sisters are permanently scarred from the horrendous abuse they witnessed being perpetrated upon me... I was the eldest and I guess seeing it happen to someone else is almost worse than having it happen to YOU in a way......they both have severe emotional issues and panic attacks to this day........they remember things that happened to me I long ago forgot. (I guess blocked?)

    My parents think we all must be smoking funny weed and deny it all. It is COPING. I mean, come ON, how can ANYONE live w/the fact they abused the people most vulnerable and dependent upon them and get thru each day w/o wanting to commit suicide? There is not a doubt in my mind their denial is a means to save themselves and live each day...like nothing happened. And it helps that all 3 of us turned out to be decent, productive citizens who happen NOT to abuse our OWN kids the same way.

    It makes it easy for them to pat themselves on the back and say "job well done", even though we have all spend countless hours in counseling to de-program the horrendous things that happened to us when we were so young......so sad really....it's not how it should be....but it is life.
  8. by   Sleepyeyes
    Then too, in those days, there was no recourse for abuse.
    No "validation."
    No "closure."
    No "moving on."
    It was as much a cultural denial as it was an individual one.

    That's how I was able to finally forgive. :kiss
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Sep 11, '02
  9. by   eltrip
    Yep. Definitely a coping mechanism. My mom now lives in the same town as I do (she moved here 2 years ago). Lots of work going on...and as issues arise, I confront her on them. Her wall of denial has crumbled. We talk about the issue & move on.

    She recently asked me, "Don't you ever yell?" (at my daughter). I replied, "No. There's no need for it unless there's a life-threatening situation." She is amazed at my parenting skills. I learned what NOT to do by watching her...oh, such inspiration, eh?
  10. by   micro
    Originally posted by Sleepyeyes
    Then too, in those days, there was no recourse for abuse.
    No "validation."
    No "closure."
    No "moving on."
    It was as much a cultural denial as it was an individual one.
    That's how I was able to finally forgive. :kiss
    sleepyeyes, had to repeat.....you are so right.

    adrie you are so right.....from both sides.....our reality if what we make it

    and Jon feeling not much words about now.....
    agree with your sentiment........
    right now I must leave this alone also
    (btw, pappy, welcome the allnurses.com family)


    love and peace to all,
    micro
  11. by   JailRN
    My heart aches fo rall who have been abused/neglected by parents. Kids shouldn't have to endure that. Eltrip, you sound like a terrific mom!!! (like mine is ) Your daughter is a lucky kid.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I have not yet learned to forgive. I know it is key to healing. I just can't....I can't, now that I am a mom. I cannot fathom it. Too bad for me.
  13. by   micro
    smilingblueeyes, if you cannot, that is okay also.......
    but do not worry over it.....
    it will come with time, but we do not forget

    my heart aches for the children who are still children going through...............

    but I said, I needed to leave this thread alone, and I do.........

    respect, love and peace all,
    micro
  14. by   RNinICU
    When I was a child, I used to think that I was alone. I thought that all of the other mothers and fathers were like June and Ward Cleaver. As I grew older and learned more, I came to know that many people were abused in many ways. Many of my friends and family here relate similar stories, and it makes me feel closer to you than ever. My mother thinks she did a wonderful job raising us. She thinks the fact that three of my sisters attempted suicide, and all four of them have had failed marriages has nothing to do with the emotional abuse she subjected us too. I think the drinking was Dad's escape from her.

    And I am not trying to blame all of mine and my sister's problems on my mother. We each make our own choices and are responsible for our own actions. I know my mother uses denial as a coping mechanism. She needs to think her daughters have little to do with her because of our own selfishness, and not because of the way she continues to try to manipulate us. All but one of my sisters has finally come to realize this and have finally straightened out their lives. I pray every day for the one who hasn't.
    Last edit by RNinICU on Sep 11, '02

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