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Yes indeed. And it's very important to validate yourself by ... to heal and rebuild self-esteem without doing that. Mustang Sally

Sally I was told this but I won't* I could use the word I *can't but I don't think that is exactly correct. I love them, even though they did all this. They didn't know any better and they thought they were doing their best.
Gwen, it is perfectly okay to realize that they were doing their best and that they love you and you love them. That is the reality. Well-meaning loving people can be crappy parents, especially if they were taught about parenthood by parents who did the same thing. I have a lot of pity for my MIL. She did love her kids. She did think that being perfectionistic would encourage them to do better and be the best they could be. She didn't know better because she had been raised the same way and had to admit that she had accomplished a lot in her life.

She had holes inside, but never knew how to fill them. She also needed medication which, unfortunately, was not available until after all but her youngest were out of the house. But, accepting and loving the person is not the same as accepting their actions. What she did was wrong. My ex never actually totally broke from her, but he emotionally broke from her. He had to do something to no longer feel like the helpless child who needed certain things from her and got the opposite instead.

It was probably slower than if he had made a total break, but it still worked. You don't have to hate them, but you do have to find a way to separate the adult who can work it all through logically and come to a better understanding of who and what you really are from the child who is still afraid and needing their approval and whose parents and what they think of her are the center of her emotional world.
And yes I will never heal if I don't do this. And yet they are old. I guess my healing will come in time. I can't/won't ignore them now. I just would have too much guilt over that.

It doesn't have to be done in a way that would cause guilt. It can also be done with compassion for their own struggles even though you no longer allow yourself to be in the middle of them.
One thing my SIL overheard my mom say one time was "it is a parent's duty to make their child feel guilty". I can't imagine thinking like that.

Many people's morality is guilt-based. It is one of those things that seems to work in many situations, but can backfire in the long term. It is actually pretty easy to manipulate those who are guilt based, so it is attractive to parents who are trying to control their children and their behavior. However, the kids then go out into the world looking like great targets for abusers and even sociopaths.
So I guess I sort of over indulged my kids and such. Which I have come to realize was yet another form of abuse/neglect.

But you can stop that if you work out what your parents did to you so that you won't keep doing it with your adult children and their children. If you don't, though, where do the later generations go? As you have seen yourself, if those who had it done to them don't break the cycle, it keeps going. Maybe it flip flops from too controlling to too permissive, but nobody seems to be able to get it right in the middle and teach their children/grandchildren how to do it.

Paula
"The smell of burning rubber chickens and
singed roller-skating chimps will teach a man to hate." swt
So I guess I sort of over indulged my kids and such. Which I have come to realize was yet another form of abuse/neglect.

IMO, this is a good example of why I think the word "abuse" has lost all of its meaning.
It like the word "drive."
It means different things to different people, all of whom otherwise speak the same language. Emotion: smile

Handsome Jack Morrison
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I did react to the way I was raised. And now I think my lack of cuddling, and loving to ... of it. He won't let her out of his sight. I didn't allow that, I demanded independence of my kids.[/nq]Perhaps it would be a good time to get them some help, too. Why not ask them to go with you to counseling so that you can work out the things you didn't do as well as you could for them. Tell them that you did your best, but you think that the way you had been raised made it hard to get it right. Now you want to try to work through that and do better and want her to be with you so that you can work out with her the things you may not have done for her that she needed.

At the same time, it can bring up what she is doing with her son if she wants to talk about that. If nothing else, it usually goes a long way toward healing just to hear that your parent admits that they may not have done everything exactly right. It may well be like a big hug to her.
As for the kid not allowing her out of his sight, that can be something with him as well as the way she raises him. Even if he has separation anxiety, there are better and worse ways to help him through that, though, and professional help would make things easier for both of them.

Paula
"The smell of burning rubber chickens and
singed roller-skating chimps will teach a man to hate." swt
Yes indeed. And it's very important to validate yourself by stopping that negativity, even if it means cutting off contact with such parents. It's not really possible to heal and rebuild self-esteem without doing that.

In adulthood, my relationship with my parents became healthy. My mother and I became very close. But it took therapy on all our parts. I remember when I was 15 and we first started therapy. I was thrilled that the psychologist wanted to see me once a week, and my mother twice a week. It was the first confirmation I ever had that it wasn't all my fault.

Which is a story in itself - it was another "I'm going to kill myself because you're so bad" scenario. She took away my glasses and my shoes so I couldn't go anywhere, and ripped the phone out of the wall. I got away, and ran 2 miles down the highway in bare feet to a counseling center. Ran in, went up to the desk, and said, "My mother's trying to kill herself." Kind of got the ball rolling. :}
The next time she pulled this, when I was about 17, I totally ignored her. Went about my business getting ready for work. (Oh, by the way - she was going to kill herself because I had a job stocking Wal-Mart and I was wearing jeans. One of her friends might see me.) When I got outside of the house, I called my father and he went home. But she didn't get a reaction out of me. So she never did it again.
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And yes I will never heal if I don't do this. And yet they are old. I guess my healing will come in time. I can't/won't ignore them now. I just would have too much guilt over that.

You don't have to ignore them. You only have to forgive them. With all your heart.
My mother died going on 3 years ago this Christmas (two days before). It was the most traumatic event in my life, and I'm still feeling the effects. I hide out during Christmas time now. No cards, no gifts, let's just get this season over with. I went through a period of time where I couldn't go into a grocery store without being flooded by memories of visiting her (which always included a trip to the grocery store). I would start crying and have to leave.

Our relationship may have been fraught with horrors, but it was intense. If I hadn't forgiven her and forged a close, loving bond before she died, I don't think I'd have been able to survive my own grief.
My mother didn't stop being herself when I forgave her. But she did lose the power to hurt me.
We did have confrontations about my childhood, though I was gentle about pointing things out to her. I didn't WANT her to know she'd been as abusive as she had - the realization would have killed her. There were times my father would say, "I wish you two would stop fighting," and mom and I would look at each other and laugh, because we both knew we weren't fighting. We were healing.
If you can't confront them in person, you can still find ways to get it out in the open. Talking about it, writing about it. Even imagining a confrontation, as vividly as you can, with you saying all the things to them you wish you could say.
But you get nowhere without forgiveness.
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Do they still behave the same way, or have they changed? Could you at least set limits for them - ... you want to see me" - - something like that? Or call them on it when they say something negative/inappropriate.

Yes! Setting limits is very important. My mother learned just how far she could go before she'd hit my brick wall, and rarely crossed the line. And it was because I started calling her on it. She did not like that perception of herself, once she caught a glimmer of it. (Though she was still never wrong a day in her life. :}
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But you get nowhere without forgiveness. Canine Action Dog Trainer http://www.canineaction.com My Kids, My Students, My Life: http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html

That is so very true.
Gwen
I did react to the way I was raised. And ... I didn't allow that, I demanded independence of my kids.

Perhaps it would be a good time to get them some help, too.

She lives in Perth, Australia. I live in Austin, Texas. I believe we are appoximately 10,000 miles apart. And she is with a very controlling man who will NOT allow her
to give me the phone number or their address.
Why not ask them to go with you to counseling so that you can work out the things you didn't do as well as you could for them.

It only I could.
If nothing else, it usually goes a long way toward healing just to hear that your parent admits that they may not have done everything exactly right. It may well be like a big hug to her.

I have told her time and again I am sorry. And I have admitted to not being a grand parent. In fact it is my firm belief(too late now) I had NO business being a parent at all and should have stuck with just surrounding myself with animals to care for. Afterall I did that anyway.
As for the kid not allowing her out of his sight, that can be something with him as well as ... and worse ways to help him through that, though, and professional help would make things easier for both of them.

I think she feels I shorted her. I don't like too much touchy feely but she needed that. And she always did.
Again see above, but too late now. I should have stuck with dogs/cats/parrots. At least with them I want them to touch me. I want them near me and they love me
unconditionally without judging all of my flaws.
Gwen
So I know that this is my fault.

Boggle? Whose fault is it? Who programmed you this way?

Yes, it's your responsibility to own what you have and work towards healing. I think this is the point Jack was trying to make. You can't lay blame on others for your actions. For example, "I hit people because my parents hit me." The act of hitting is yours. You own it. But the reason why you want to hit is not because you're a bad person in any way. It's because your parents inserted a tape in your head that plays it, over and over.
You can record over that tape. And I think that's what survivors do, all their lives. I don't think there ever comes a time when the tape is erased, but its power can be minimized.
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