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Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Hello, I am in my mid twenties and my mother has been verbally,

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Hello, I am in my mid twenties and my mother has been verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive my whole life. I used to be able to just shut down and take it from her as a child but now everything snapped inside of me. I temporary have to live with my parents and I refuse to take it. She feels like it is okay to tell me that I am retarded and worthless, she tells me that my husband is a retard too and all of this is just because she wants to fight. I am terrified of her reactions so I never instigate any arguments or at least I try. My parents are pretty well-off people who live in a nice house and don't really struggle to much financially. My mom gets everything she needs and more from my dad. By the way, yesterday I realized that my dad completely enables my mom's abuse. We had a big fight yesterday because I asked her not to degrade me and stop telling me that I am retarded and stupid, Then she told me that why should she stop if It is the truth and I am retarded!! I have a college degree and I am fluent in two languages( English is not my native), I also work 13 hours a day every day and do everything around HER house. Yesterday I told her I had enough of it and I got very mad, Everything I thought about her just came out of my mouth. I told her I am sick of her lies( she lies all the time), That I am sick of her abuse( when I was a child she threatened to commit suicide and cursed at my dad and everyone all the time, she also never talks she only yells). I told her I remember all the times she cheated on my dad, which she did many many times. My dad stood next to her when I was telling her all of it and then she yelled at him to do something to shut me up, so my dad shoved me in my face so I fell backwards! I don't know what I should do anymore. My dad doesn't even want to listen to me, he says I had a great childhood comparing to my mom( my mom grew up with an alcoholic father who abused her mom) and that I just should shut up and take my mom's nasty abusive words! Okay I realize my mom's childhood was awful but mine wasn't sweet either! I have chronic blood pressure and I am also turning into a mentally unstable abusive person because of my mom! I have two other siblings(little sisters) and she completely adores the her last child and hates me and my other sister. We have always been trying to be nice to her. I cook and clean and do everything around the house while my mother takes several naps during the day. My mother has never done anything around the house, very rarely she cooks but just because she likes it. I am so tired of apologizing to her for the truth I tell her and I am tired of being told that abuse is okay! What should I do? I tried to talk to my mom peacefully but she just doesn't listen, she says my education is not good enough to talk to her( what the hell?) please help me!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this overwhelming situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What you describe here is absolutely shocking, sand and frustrating, because it shows how you and one of your sisters have suffered serious chronic abuse and neglect for so many years, starting by the periods in your lives, when you were the most vulnerable.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

There is nothing that could justify any form of neglect, abuse or violence, and while it is obvious your mother was shaped by her own dysfunctional parents-family, such reality should never be used as justification to use, abuse, manipulate and neglect any of you. This is much sadder, because your father has been actively played a part of this overwhelming reality, tolerating and literally enabling if all this long.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You were very brave when you confronted her about it the way you did. Most people in your shoes get so traumatized and wounded that have a tough time even considering doing a little of that, but you have been able not only to fully acknowledge how wrong it has been, but to face this reality and make it clear this was and is not acceptable at all.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I believe you needed to do this in order to start your rehabilitation process, but as you can see, it would not be easy at all, once they are both totally unwilling to recognize their wrong doings, past and present. I am sorry to confirm this, but based on your story, I do not see many chances your parents would change for better at all. Their present words, feelings, behaviors and reactions show serious distortions in their personalities, beliefs and values, ways of communicating, coping and sharing;I;d say at every core level, and these disorders when this serious and engrainned for so many years, do not use to change but get worse and worse with time, unl

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I believe you needed to do this in order to start your rehabilitation process, but as you can see, it would not be easy at all, once they are both totally unwilling to recognize their wrong doings, past and present. I am sorry to confirm this, but based on your story, I do not see many chances your parents would change for better at all. Their present words, feelings, behaviors and reactions show serious distortions in their personalities, beliefs and values, ways of communicating, coping and sharing;I;d say at every core level, and these disorders when this serious and engrainned for so many years, do not use to change but get worse and worse with time, unless something very dramatic and painful happen in their lives pushing them to face reality and work on themselves, but I do not see something that powerful happening very often.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Now my biggest concern is that you and your husband are living there with them, and this means that no matter how assertively you try to cope with this, and to work on promoting any healing or positive change here, they could continue to be the way they are and feel fully empowered to do so, as they always did, even more because they are at their own home, and will continue to feel they have the right to be and do things as they please, without having to listen to anybody who does not agree with them, even more towards you, since they have literally victimized you from early childhood.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX as long as you stay there, no matter what you do to cope with it, they would perpetuate their abusive ways, this is domestic violence and again, there is nothing that could justify any of these abusive behaviors.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please, as long as you stay there because of the reasons that led you to go there, do not expose yourself to their abuse at all, avoid them as much as possible, and when that's not viable, and she starts insulting and pushing you, confront her the same way as you did before, be consistent and confident while doing it, making it clear to her-them that you are very well aware of how unacceptable it was and it is for her/them to be this abusive, that you are not willing to tolerate any further abuse, whether it is verbal, mental, emotional, moral or of any other kind.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

After confronting her abusive behaviors right away, set clear and healthy boundaries and limits, telling them how you feel,taking responsibility for your own feelings, but never for the abuse triggering them, letting them know that unless they change their behavior, you could not continue to expose to it, and would have to leave the room or the house -as necessary- in order to take good care of yourself, and not to engage in any further abusive and destructive situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then please take immediate and fully consistent actions in accordance with the boundaries and limits you set, without exception, in this way they would have no means to abuse you even more, since you would just not expose yourself to it. Of course this is not a perfect solution but the only assertive way to cope with such a terrible situation as long as you could not afford leaving their house in order to be away from this very serious abuse.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please, work with your husband, since he should be your best source of support, you need to help and support each other as much as possible here, you only have each other, and this would allow you to cope until you could relocate. Allow yourself to verbalize and vent your painful feelings, from sadness to fear, frustration to hopelessness, this is essential for you not to get mentally undermined even more by their abuse. This way these feelings would be taken good care of and would not distort your experience of anger, which is a normal and necessary feeling we all need to experience in order to be able to process what is painful and hurtful in our lives.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Try to avoid as much as possible being there, spending as much time as possible around people who could respect, understand ad support you. Your father would continue enabling her becoming abusive himself, and there is nothing you could do about that, but to set and keep your boundaries and limits, assertively confronting any abusive behavior right when it happens, and then refocusing on taking good care of your lives away from them. Please remember that all the abuse, neglect and pain that you have been suffering has never been about you, that no matter how good, healthy, nice, effective, productive, responsible or any other thing you could be and become, it would never be enough for your parents, because their very understanding or reality and their core values and beliefs are very distort, and trying to please them at all would never help, but only undermine your lives even more.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Your first right, need and responsibility is to take good care of yourself, to truly respect, love, understand and support yourself, since from there you would set these assertive boundaries and limits, and would not allow anybody to use, abuse, neglect or manipulate you. This present tough situation, as painful as it is, is pushing you to com to terms with reality, for you to finally be able to start your healing process and end this circle of abuse. You would get stronger and wiser while healing, when doing this work on yourself and coping with this tough circumstances, but again, as soon as you could leave, do so, you and your husband need and deserve a healthy, peaceful, harmonious and positive environment where to live your lives, and not to get then undermined by any further abuse.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If the time you and your husband have to stay there would still take a while, then please seriously consider getting professional counseling or psychotherapeutic support, since this would be the best way you could get the tools to better cope, communicate, process your feelings from past and present abuse, facilitated by an expert. Ideally I'd recommend a marriage and family therapist, since this is the best professional, qualified to provide psychotherapeutic support around personal, marital and family issues.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Finally, consider attending a support group for codependency, in order to get the emotional support you need to better cope with this painful reality, from other people who have been experiencing similar circumstances. Your words show you are a very assertive and proactive person, which is not common when somebody in your shoes suffers so much neglect and abuse for so long, and your very actions confirm you have been able to mature and grow from this painful reality, but since you are still exposed to this horrible abuse and dysfunctional environment, it would always be wise to consider getting all the support that could get, to make it less challenging and painful.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does it make sense? Please feel free to reply with any further questions you may have, or details you could provide for me to better understand your unique situation, so to provide more sound support. Thank you for your trust.

RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
RealSupport and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

The first thing is that you have to take a clear stand on this, and do not give in to her. Tell here that while you are quite prepared to do your share of the household chores, you expect her to do the same.

Secondly, make sure that she understands what standards of behavior are acceptable, and which are not. This might include no denigrating remarks and honesty and responsibility.

People with her personality are rather liable to push things to see what happens, and what they really need are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ and trying to please them just makes you easier to manipulate

She is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Therefore, make her behaviour unrewarding to her.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give her choices, and make sure she understands the consequences of her choice – and always follow through. If you don’t she’ll just get confused

Make it clear what you expect - "If you continue to call me retard, or otherwise insult me, I shall simply walk away and ignore you until you can be more civil and adult. I am not prepared to be insulted in the way you have gotten away with in the past.”

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

Never, never be blaming or accusatory. Tell her how you feel about her behaviour, and make sure she understands that while you love her, her bad behaviour is hurtful and will not be accepted.

Remember, you do not exist to please her, or meet her needs. It cannot be all one-way traffic

This Bill of Rights was one of the tools used by Virginia Satir, a well-known family therapist. Containing some really basic psychological rights belonging to every person, it really helps to identify and deal with areas in which we have problems.

Read the statements. Note down any immediate thoughts or feelings that come to you.

Look at yourself in a mirror and read it out loud to yourself. Listen to your voice grow in strength and volume so that you can really start to feel it inside. In the beginning, you may feel silly or embarrassed. You may hear the inner voice say, "That's not the truth". Just hang in there and keep doing it - you'll notice the change within six weeks, if you do it regularly.

1. I do not have to feel guilty just because someone else does not like what I do, say, think or feel.

2. It is O. K. for me to feel angry and to express it in responsible ways.

3. I do not have to assume full responsibility for making decisions, particularly where others share responsibility for making the decisions.

4. I have the right to say "I don't understand" without feeling stupid or guilty.

5. I have the right to say NO.

6. I have the right to say No without feeling guilty.

7. I do not have to apologise or give reasons when I say NO.

8. I have the right to refuse requests which others make of me.

9. I have the right to tell others when I think they are manipulating, conning, or treating me unfairly.

10. I have the right to refuse additional responsibilities without feeling guilty.

11. I have a right to tell others when their behaviour annoys me.

12. I do not have to compromise my personal integrity.

13. I have a right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. I have a right to be wrong.

14. I do not have to be liked, admired, or respected by everyone for everything I do.

Best wishes, NormanM