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Topic : Toxic Family Relationships

Number of Replies: 1900
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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:18:00 am
Author : dataimport
Whether it stems from substance abuse, violence or manipulation, some family relationships are harmful and need to be terminated until the abuse stops. Are you involved in a toxic relationship?

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November 18, 2008, 9:11 am CST

Subtle Type of Abuse??

A good friend of mine is in a bad situation. Her husband has been out of work for years but refuses to look for a job. He's healthy and very mechanically inclined, can fix just about anything and worked as a mechanic for a long time. They have two young children at home. She works from home doing small typing/computer tasks and watches the kids when they're not in school. He sits around and bitches at her about how she can't take care of kids right, her friends, her church, her cooking....just about everything.
There's very little money coming in. They have no health insurance. His unemployment ran out long ago. He has a large 401k plan, bank accounts, other investments all in his name only and he hasn't spent any of it. Their house and car are paid for. They have always lived a very simple life with no extravagances. There's no drugs, booze, cheating involved. She's looking for work outside the home with hours that will allow her to be home when the kids are there. So far no luck although she keeps applying and interviewing. She wants to sign up for low cost health care for her and the kids but is afraid she'll have to report all of his resources and the fact that he refuses to work. He is no longer providing any kind of financial support for his family. Outside of divorcing him is there any help she can get? Can anyone else relate to this situation?
November 27, 2008, 8:07 pm CST

Loving a Narcassist

Well I am here and really it doesn't surpise me. I am in love with a narcassistic man and think I am losing my mind. Anyone else know this feeling??? He is controlling, manulipative, insanely jealous and a compulsive liar. Thanksgiving again was a disaster and somehow he has managed to turn everything around on me. Am I missing something here?

This is what he sent me lastnight that pissed me off the evening before Thanksgiving:

I decided that since Bobby purchased his hunting license that I am going hunting with him Thanksgiving day, seeing how you are not fixing a Thanksgiving meal. (My very first year of not having one. Feels strange treating it as "just another day". Guess it's not a big thing to you though....tradition and all).

Anyway, I am off to bed since I am getting up at 4:00 AM

SO I write back to him:

So what you have said is this and let me quote, "seeing how you are not fixing a Thanksgiving meal", we will not be spending Thanksgiving together.

Happy Thanksgiving John.

Then I wrote this afternoon this:
It's Thanksgiving Day. Slept in for a little bit 9:30 but went to bed pretty late. Had some breakfast and now heading out to enjoy this beautiful day. We are going down by the water, do some hiking and pack a lunch to stop and have along the way. Something we could have all done together.

He wrote back this evening after not hearing from him all day:

Sorry that you read into something that wasn't there. Bobby has only 4 days for hunting and I decided that I wish to enjoy this "once a year" event with him. You and I spend many times together. If you don't have it in you to understand that then I don't know what to tell you Holly.

I have taken you to Key West and many other places this year. This was time spent for you and I. Sometimes a person needs to spread themselves to allow time to spend with others that matter in their life as well....just as you did when you made the decision to go to back home to spend time with your family. No difference!

November 29, 2008, 10:54 am CST

Unreasonable Adult Daughter

I have a 38 year old daughter who has had numerous problems since she was a child, shoplifting, running away from home, excellent student in school but always a problem, disrupting classrooms etc. As a very young child, hit, scratched and was mean to other small children. Always reprimanded but that did not seem to phase her at all. She managed to graduate, go to college, get a good degree, work a few years and then quit. She now lives with her father and pays no rent or utilities etc. She does not drive a car, nor does she have a phone. The only communication we have with her is email. She lives a distance away and when myself or her brother and sister go to get her so she can get out a little, she makes them wait even tho she says she will be ready at a certain time. Yesterday we shopped all day and the rest of the time, she spent yelling at me, telling me what a terrible parent I was cause I did not buy her a home which she needs, how I did not raise her right, how I like her sister and brother better than I like her. Unfortunately, I could not bring her home and drop her off as my younger daughter was picking her up after her job and I had to keep her till then. When she comes over, she turns on my tv and gets in front of my computer and takes over it all, she even turned off a football game my son was watching as HER show was on. She always does not eat, only pizza and junk food, complains and bitches continually and I am at my wits end. She has been this way for so many years and I did take her to different doctors before she was of age and they assured me nothing was wrong with her. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this and if so what did they do to make things better if that is possible. She does turn her meaness on and off, seems it is directed at family and is really nice when she meets someone new. She did not do well working on her job but she got the work done and they tolerated her tho she was late almost every day etc. I try so hard and hope it will get better but I am tired of mental abuse. Her father was like that when we were married and now I am getting it from her
November 29, 2008, 11:01 am CST

Toxic Family Relationships

Quote From: feleyra43

I am almost 45 years old, yet when I speak with my oldest daughter, I can be reduced to the emotional level of a 5 year old.  My daughter is convinced that I abused her as a child ... yet of all three children, she is the only one who feels this way.  I have no idea how to deal with this anymore and today I was so tempted to just remove her from my entire life.  bad side is that I would never get to see my two adorable grandsons anymore then.   I am so upset and confused as to what I can do to fix the issues, yet no matter what I try, it is never good enough, or she feels I always have an ulterior motive.  she believes I am the devil himself and refuses to accept any responsibility in any of this.   

to give you an example of what she was like growing up ......  at the age of 7 - this all occurred durring 1 summer :  she broke into a person's house on the next street, all to get the ice pops in his freezer.  she soaked someone's blow-up plastic pool with lighter fluid and lit it up.  She stole 50.00 out of my purse and spent it at the store where she wasn't suppose to be.  She stole work money from my purse as well.  she regularly stole candy and other items from the nearest convience store.  things only got worse as she got older.   yet she believes I caused all of this to happen because I was so dreadfully abusive to her.   ?!?!?!?!?!!?!??!!??!     

can someone clue me in here on a good way to deal with this now-adult person please.
Going through something similar. Read my message listed under unreasonable adult daughter. I feel just like you do, what do you say, where do you turn, I have been at my wits end for years. The only thing I can do right now is never see my daughter when I am alone. If anyone else is around like strangers, my son or daughter, all is well but as soon as she gets me alone, all hell breaks loose
November 30, 2008, 10:33 am CST

Unreasonable Adult Daughter

Quote From: jaimie1974

OMG she is 38 & still acting like a child? Im sure that you are familiar with one of Dr. Phils famous quotes: You teach people how to treat you. From what youve described, it sounds like she acts this way because she can. She doesnt show any respect or gratitude towards you because she never has & you still do whatever she wants you to do for her. My advice is going to be difficult to take, but you need to stop bowing down to her. She isnt a queen. She is a disrespectful grown woman. Her behavior is disgusting! Im sure that you & her siblings are totally sick of it, so now it is time to make a decision; either continue to tolerate her behavior but complain about it, or take action to protect yourself from her & her behavior. I think it is absolutely time to stop indulging this woman, time to stop allowing her to disrespect you. You deserve so much more & you need to believe that! I wish you the best!
It sounds so simple and just about everything we can think of has been tried. It isn't just family, she has gone on cruises where she made people wait because she was late for something. She is manipulative and a total bitch when you spend time with her. You teach people how to treat you, that is a good saying but in her case, even when you are nice to her, go out of your way for her, buy her what she wants, take her wherever she wants to go etc, she never says thank you and it has no affect on her. She feels she deserves the best treatment and even when she is getting the best treatment, she still feels she deserves more. Thanks for your comments
December 1, 2008, 3:20 am CST

I can't get along with my parents and they are putting my kids in the middle, I feel miserable

Dear Dr. Phil,

  I am so stressed out over what my parents have done, in front of my kids and ashamed of my parents. Can you help me? I was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. I had three different kinds of female cancer.  I had 12 surgery's and chemo therapy. All my mom could do is tell me to come see her and bring the kids. I'm sorry I didn't see how I could do that, I was cooking supper in between getting sick, because my husband works nights. I was appalled at their behavior while I was sick. My mom and Dad came to see me when I was in the hospital the first time, I had told my husband I didn't want any of the kids to see me like that. My mother had the nerve to bring my nephew into my room. It upset me. My wishes are never respected as long as they get what they want everything is fine. In June of this year, my daughter who is 13 and I were at the store. My Dad was there, we left the store he asked us to go over to his pick up. He to me and my daughter that a friend of his, who goes to church where my son who is 11  said that my son told him that my husband and I sat around all day and watch porno so he can't have any friends over. And my Dad knows its true because I have never ben able to satisfy anyone. He also said I am a very week person and not much of a woman( unsexed it) He was going to do call SRS on me for that.and that he is mad that my kids call someone else Grandma it makes him feel lower than dirt. He also said he liked it the three years I wasn't coming around or talking to them and he wants it to go back that away!   I am mad because they are pulling my kids into something that has ben going on sense I married my husband.  My daughter saw my mother Sunday, she said mom told her that she misses my kids, and one of these days when I need something I will come crawling back on my hands and knees, and its killing her and dad that she doesn't get to see my kids! Mom was crying while she was talking to my daughter.  and what happened this time is my fault she told my daughter.  She also told my daughter that my dad didn't know what he was saying, my daughter believes her!  I want my parents to leave my family alone, I have only asked them for one thing and that was for them to quit garnishing my husbands check in 1996 for rent we owed them, so we could feed our daughter!  I won't be making that mistake again!  Mom told me when I got married their job was done.  Please help me......


December 5, 2008, 2:30 pm CST

Toxic Family Relationships

December 5, 2008, 4:43 pm CST

grieving grandmother

I have a precious 2 1/2 year old granddaughter.  She is the first and probably the only.  My daughter (26yo)

 got pregnant her last year in college by a young man she had been dating on and off for about 7 years. He left her when she was 2 months and hasn't heard from him since and he lives in the same town.  She called me from college and told me,  At first I was shocked but then accepted it.  Within that same month my father passed away.  I was working and trying desperately doing things she wanted completed before she came home after graduating.  I painted her bedroom, the babies room and bought many items she made need.  I went to all but one of her doctor appts and she had me make a list of questions in case she forgot to ask something I was to remind her.  She has a 32yo sister that saw her about 3 times the entire preganacy.  She hasn't been able to have children.  My daughter ended up being induced and then an emergency c-section.  She was allowed 1 person in the delivery room and she chose her sister.  I was devastated because I had long awaited to see the baby.  I was inappropriate then but did video taped the baby in the isolette after waiting in another room for 10 min (where I was told she would be coming to after birth),  Finally a nurse saw me in there and ask if I had seen the baby yet.  I was told she was in the nursery with my eldest daughter.  She was absolutely beautiful.  After about 5 min the doctor came out and ask to speak to me and told me I was overbearing and inappropriate her whole pregnancy and it was time to let her be the mother.  Needless to say that ruined everything and when I would go see the daughter and baby I sat in the chair and if she wanted something or me to hold the baby I would.  After much emotional turmoil she came home.  She cared for the baby and hated me for "spoiling" her delivery.  She stayed home w/ her for 6 mon. w/ my husband and I supporting her then went to work while I babysat.   Six months later she moved out and put her in daycare and loved it.  It was about  44 miles round trip and w/ gas so high after a yr changed her to a private sitter.  Priot to this I would drive the baby to school when I could and pick her up.  She then changed her to a in house daycare.  I expressed concerns w/ house  and sitter because of how the child was acting.  I only picked her up 3 times and took her once. She never smiled and was excited like the other daycare. She would only cling to me, even at the park.  When I talked to my daughter she said "Mom, mind your own business and let me use my own judgement".  I was very hurt and concerned.  So from then own she wouldn't let me pick the baby up. For quite some time she allowed us to have her every Fri night and Sat so she could have "her" time "she doesn't drink, do drugs or go out) but most of the time she would pick her up on Sun.  That was fine because I adore the baby and visa-versa.  My daughter  has "adopted " another family to be grandparents and her mother and she goes to their house 3 1/2 hrs away for every holiday. which is about 3 hrs away. She feels we are of a lower class than they are and she doesn't want to be like us (middle-class). The only thing I had left was halloween.  I assumed this year she would come over and we would take her to a couple of homes but it didn't work out that way.  I ask if I could get her something for halloween.  No.  What r u doing halloween?  I don't know yet.  She came to my house for about 5 min and said she was going home to hand out candy with the baby screaming at the door and clinging to me and saying "Grandma want you, and grandma's house.  Oh how it hurt.   The next day I went to her apartment and (invaded her space), I am only allowed in the foyer and bathroom.  I told her how I felt about everything and she sat and listened, didn't say a word.  The next day I went back to try and mend things and she said the baby was going to her "other" family home for "a while(only the baby).  Back in August I had the baby while she flew to spend 10 days in Oregon.  After she came back from this home I saw the baby about 3-4 days later but only for 3-4 hours.  During that time I noticed something in the babies ear.  I cleaned it out and it started dripping light colored bloody draingage.  By this time I could only see the baby while my husband was there and she was not allowed to spend the night because she didn"t "trust" me.   When she came to pick her up I told her about the ear (this was on Sat) and she said "she is fine and will be fine until mon and I will take her to the dr.  Well, the baby had both ears severely infected  and she was on antibiotics and probably remains on them, I don't know.  She had Rocephin shots because the infection wasn't responding to anything. She already has tubes in them.  She goes to The ENT next week.  The only reason I know what is going on is because she will talk to my husband.  She refuses my calls.  It is now Dec.5th and I am lucky to spend any time with her.  The baby cries everytime she leaves and says "grandma's house".  My daughter  says she spends time in the evening w/ her but she is always watching Tom and Jerry when my husband calls. That is her quality time while she cooks and cleans the kitchen.  I miss my granddaughter so much and I am sure she doesn't understand what is going on.  I know this is a long message but I need some help if anyone can.

December 10, 2008, 8:01 pm CST

My father - My pimp

I have been going to write you for years, and the time has come!  I have jut given up on life.  I know I'm too old to start a new life, but maybe this might help someone else.

I have a selfish brother and an angry twin sister.  All my life my parents never showed me any love along with my twin sister.  I have had one hell of a life.  At the age of 10 (approx.) my father started molesting me and my sister.  It carried on until I was 17 1/2 years old.  I went to the police in my city and reported it.  That evening my mother and father made me phone the police and said I made up the story. That is how I found out how women get pregnant - the police told me!  My sistter and I were used to do all the work at home, where my brother was allowed to play.  We never could have a friend or celebrate birthdays.  My parents NEVER acknowledged our birthdays ever.  Even when I turned 50, I was at their house, and they didn't even remember it was my birthday.  However, when mom showed pictures, there were all the piictures of my brothers birthday pictures.

Back to the sex abuse etc.  My father used to pay us $2.00 to go to bed and have intercourse, while my mother was sitting downstairs right underneath us.  She was well aware of what was happening.  We were strapped naked pretty well every night until I was 18 and moved out.  It didn't matter if we had our period or not, they made me take of my clothes to strap.  Whenever I had to buy Kotex, I remember my father saying to my brother "guess the pussy is sick as she's laying in a hammock". Then they would sit and laugh.  So many nights I'd cry myself to sleep as I heard my parents saying I would turn out to be a tramp. whore and nothing but trash!

When my sister and I finally was allowed at the age of 17 was allowed to go to the school dance (under 5 times), when we got home at 11:00pm, they had the doors locked.  We have slept in fields, train stations etc.  We lived in fear all through life.

The last time I saw my mother, she asked what I wanted from the estate.  I said that all I wanted was for her to say that she loved me.  Well, all Hell broke loose.  She phoned my brother and he came over and ordered me out of her house at 10:30 that night.  I lived 200 miles away and didn't have my car there.

I left the most wonderful man because I could not stand him touching me.  I worked all my life and was a successfull bookkeeper with well known Companies.  After I left my Husband, I kept buying and selling houses as my mother always found something wrong with them.  Every year for over 20 years, I had one week's holiday in the summer, and my mother came to my place and I had to take her shopping in the States.  I always treated her as if nothing was wrong.  I always went out of my way to do what she wanted.

I strived to get acceptance and a feeling of self worth from her.

I guess I could write a book, but I'll make it as short as possible.

It was verified what she thought of us when she passed on.  She left everything to my brother - house, car etc, around 500,000.00.  Meanwhile he was given money all along and he is a millionaire himself, while my sister and I are both living on pension and living in subsidized housing. I went so far in debt trying to get my mother's approval, it ended up I lost everything.  Now I am disabled and can't sit or walk for more than half an hour.  I e-mailled my brother and asked if I could possibly borrow 3,000.00 for back decompression treatment, and he returned my e-mail marked "SPAM". 

So after working so very hard I never took time out to make friends or have a social life.  I am 67 years old sitting in a small apt. with NOBODY to wish me a Merry Christmas again.  I just can't take much more of this personal physical and emotional pain.  I don't even get dressed anymore as nobody knows I exist.  Every year at Christmas, I tell myself I can't take anymore of this life.  I think back of the life I have been given.  No, don't say I have to help myself.  I have been to many therapists, but nothing can erase my memories.  The loliness is more than I can take..  I can't afford to go out anywhere anyways. 

So if any girl is going through any type of abuse, don't sit and live in fear of speaking out to someone!  God gave us life - live it.  If your parents abuse you, they are the ones that have to suffer - NOT YOU.  It's going to be a difficult decision, but when you read about how I ended up, all alone, you will be making the right choice.

I wish everyone all the best of the "Season" and God bless you.  If you have the time, a Christmas Card to open would be wonderfull, knowing that there is someone out there that cares for me.

December 24, 2008, 5:33 am CST

My husbands toxic father!!!

My husband was abused in every way except sexually by his stepfather from the age of 11-23, although the mental and emotional abuse continued even after he left home and cut of contact about 10 years ago. His mother knew about the abuse, and was abused herself, and stood by and did nothing.

Last year he and his sister went to the police and after a lengthy investigation his stepfather was jailed earlier this year on several counts of child cruelty.

When the police investigated and questioned his mother, she denied that any abuse had taken place and she on several occasions since has told my husband that she wished he was dead and had never been born.


My husbands natural father left his mother when he was 2 years old. He has no memories of him from his childhood - only one where he remembers him coming to his house and feeling that he should have known him but didn't know why. About 14 years ago after we had our first child, my husband contacted his natural father to try and form some sort of relationship - although realising that it would never be a 'normal' father-son relationship.


About 4 years ago, my husbands sister was in a bad relationship and so he offered for her to come and stay with us along with her 3 kids until she found housing. She was really mixed up and so we offered to look after her kids for her while she went for a break with her natural father for 10 days. During that time something changed her attitude towards us and within a couple of days - the day she got the keys for her house - she blew up and made all sorts of false accusations about us. She then didn't speak to my husband for 2 years.  After 2 years, my husbands natural father contacted him to tell him that his mother had had a heart attack and was in hospital - even with the way that his sister had treated him, he offered to take her the 450 miles to see his mother. It was awful to see the fear in my husbands face when we got to the hospital - knowing that he may come face to face with his abuser. His mother agreed to see him alone and basically rubbished his whole childhood and his feelings about his abuser and told many a lie. When my husbands sister realised what her mother was really like, she was the one who initially decided to bite the bullet and to go to the police about the childhood abuse they had both suffered.

The police said that without my husbands evidence there would not have been a case as the abuse he had suffered was much worse than his sister, and fortunately we had kept physical evidence of things over the years that helped also. Whilst the investigation was ongoing his sister and natural father kept in regualr contact.

On the day of the trial, it became quite clear that my husbands father was there to support his sister and not him. The court usher turned to him and said that he must be very proud of his son - he said nothing and just laughed. He didn't even intend to go into court to hear his sons evidence - only his daughters. It was the most difficult day of my husbands life and it was made harder by his father and sister.

Since then it has been really apparent that whilst his father has pursued a close bond with his sister, he has no intention of doing so with my husband. He lavishes her with expensive gifts, takes her on holiday, spends time with her and makes no effort with his son. The only contact he makes is to ask for help with his tv or to ask my husband for a good deal on electrical goods (he's a salesman). On the odd occasion that we have been to his house, my husbands sister is always there and she and her father are all over one another which makes my husband feel even more left out. He feels that he is a convenience to be picked up and put down as people want to. His father has never in 14 years ever bought his son a gift, invited him to a football match, said thank you for any of the gifts we have bought him, has never phoned to ask how him or his kids are, has never bought his grandchildren a gift or given them even a pound for some sweets!

This year, following the trial, has been a really difficult year - my husband under the doctor for depression brought on by the abuse, the trial process, his mums reaction - and I also now believe the treatment by his sister and father.

This has all come to a head as last week his father phoned me to say that he was 'worried' about my husband. Apparently, a couple of months ago he had decided that he was going to tell him that the way their relationship is, is no good for HIM but his wife suggested tha surely some relationship was better than none. We met with him at the weekend and he basically was saying that my husband needs to snap out of this depression, he made comparison after comparison with his sister saying that she is so strong and isn't affected by what happened (truth is she has gone from a controlling relationship with her stepfather, to one with her husband and now is controlled 100% by her natural father, even down to what she wears!!), he rubbished our religious beliefs which have been a huge help to my husband and our friends in our church have been more like family than his own family, he said that people let you down all the time in life you need to get used to it (tried to reason that being abused by your family is a little different to being let down by someone!!). Anyway, you get the drift of the type of character that we are dealing with here.

Anyway, my husband says that he just feels like a convenience who is used by his sister and father and then dumped when he has had his use, that he will always play second fiddle to his sister in his dad's eyes. His Dad and sister are basically trying to get him to give up his faith as they don't approve.

I have done alot of research in the last week or so about toxic relationships, and I have come to the conclusion that the relationship that he has with his sister and father are extremely toxic - the negative feelings that he has about himself - that he is worthless, unlovable etc - are just being reinforced by the way they treat him. My feeling is that in this circumstance, they are actually hurting him, not helpinghim, and his healing and moving on from all the trauma in his life is only going to happen once he cuts loose from them and tells them that he doesn't need them and the time has come to cut loose.


Your comments and help would be so much appreciated - just knowing that we are not facing this alone!!!

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