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Mother can never admit to being wrong


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My siblings and I unfortunately had to grow up around troubled and toxic parents. I am the oldest (23) and ever since I can remember my father was physically, but more emotionally abusive. It was years and years of having him belittle me, hit me, threaten me, and scream at me. This put me into a fight or flight mode since a small child and made me question myself which is something that has followed me into adulthood. I have very low self esteem, self respect and motivation due to this abuse. My siblings have also experienced this abuse and are processing it in their own way. Obviously, there is a lot more to the traumatic experiences and abuse, but I cannot go in depth on here because it would be extremely long. Just know it was immensely cruel.  

My mother eventually divorced my father when I was a teenager, but she never stood up for us during all times of abuse. She even agreed with him most times, even though he would abuse her emotionally and physically as well. We witnessed on multiple occasions of him pushing her down the stairs, hitting and screaming at her. My mother started dating after the divorce and quickly ended up engaged (now married) to a man she knew after 4 months. I really liked the man she was with, we got along great, but eventually his true colors showed. The problems started when he moved in with us. He brought his cat in which I am very allergic to since a I was a baby, and my mother let him (refused to get rid of the cat) as I was sneezing and congested all the time in my own home. He is a pathological liar, and at 19, they both kicked me out of the house due to not "following house rules", stealing jewelry and credit cards from my mother. This was completely untrue, but my mother took his side. I was homeless after they kicked me out, and had to stay on friends couches and live in my car which was the most demeaning and worthless feeling I have ever felt. My mother found me once sleeping in my car, she knocked on the window, acted surprised I was in there, did a nervous laugh and simply walked away.

Now I am in a much better position. I moved across the country to start a new life and I have a great job and a wonderful fiance. But- the trauma that I have experienced is still in my heart. Many times I have reached out to my mother to try and get an apology, or an admittance of guilt but time and time again she will deny anything has happened, or give a very fake apology. She always turns it around on me, says that I make her feel like a horrible mother after all she has done for me, says that other people have it so much worse, or brings up how she has apologized before. Keep in mind these were never genuine apologies as she would deny that she had done anything wrong, but apologise to "make me feel better". The only time she admitted to being wrong was about me stealing, but then quickly said that I was doing other things to warrant be to be kicked out. Just today, I tried to bring up therapy for my brothers sake since they are living at home and are not well mentally due to all of this and she started screaming at me saying that "I am trying to make her feel like bad mother, why would I want to make her feel this way, that she has feelings too and that I am manipulating her and that I put her down".  She is now texting me non stop saying how bad I made her feel! It's always about her. This is what usually happens. She will try to twist it around on her children when called out. I'm just wondering is it even worth it at this point to try and get any real apology or acknowledgement of what we went through, or should I just move on?

 

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The same personality disorder that made your mother abusive all of your life is not going to magically heal and transform her into someone who is capable of giving you the sincere apology and loving relationship you long for.

You get to decide whether dealing with your mother 'as is' with whatever boundaries and defenses you've developed as an adult to insulate you from further abuse is worth the effort, OR, whether there's not enough in that for you. 

For the sake of your OWN self esteem and healing, I'd consider working with a therapist to help you reach a point in your own head where some magical change in your mother can become irrelevant to your happiness.

You have worked hard to come far. Credit yourself for that, and see how far a professional can help to take you away from the fantasy of getting what you wish from your mother. That kind of magical thinking can only keep you disappointed and resentful, which as you may have noticed, doesn't make a dent in your mother's psyche--it only harms YOU.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

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Therapy would probably be quite helpful to you.  As for your mother, she has some serious issues and cant just change her personally to become the mother you wish you had.  She is what she is.  She doesn't sound like someone who would get some much needed therapy.

If I was you I'd stay the course in my own life, and not try to communicate with mother who is not able to give you what you want.

My  mother was a right fighter, we never got along.  Different situation from you, but I learned you cant change people.  Get help for yourself and in time maybe you can help your siblings.

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Go to therapy if you want - for you.

I would choose someone who is not focused on mother blame and more focused on how do you move successfully forward in life from here on out.

I would not make every encounter with your mom a time when you are trying to get her to "admit" anything.  Leave it alone - for now.  Do not engage with the past.  Accept your mom for who she is (she was in survival mod while in abusive marriages btw,) and talk about things you can talk about without argument -- even if its just small talk.  If she apolgizes for something, don't bring up something else for her to apologize for.  She may never apologise for anything -- but if you don't push -- you never know what will happen in the future when you are no longer that person who is "trying to make her realize"

As far as your brothers - do fun things they like to do outside of the home - meet them to do things - don't push them either, but just be available if they need you.

I would work on developing YOU

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13 hours ago, warminv said:

I'm just wondering is it even worth it at this point to try and get any real apology or acknowledgement of what we went through, or should I just move on?

That would be a waste of valuable time, OP.  The toxic and dysfunctional are unable to think along those lines.  In their insane world they are right and everyone else is wrong. 

 

13 hours ago, warminv said:

she never stood up for us during all times of abuse. She even agreed with him most times

That's how it goes, sadly, in toxic households.

I feel immensely sorry for what you went through OP.  And (I am thinking of another thread here) some people should never have children as they are not fit. 

I (and this is just me) I would simply block her and cut her out of your life.  I tend to have zero tolerance for people who abuse their children. 

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16 hours ago, warminv said:

I moved across the country to start a new life and I have a great job and a wonderful fiance. 

You need to stop contacting you mother looking for reconciliation.

Move on with your life.

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17 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

You need to stop contacting you mother looking for reconciliation.

Move on with your life.

Yep. The more your mother feels pressured by you to apologize, the more she will remain focused on digging in her heels to deprive you of that--and the less likely she will ever be to reflect on her own.

You cannot browbeat anyone into sincerity, you'll just prompt backlash.

When you want something from someone, make it easier for them to give it to you, not harder.

However, when you want something from someone who has NEVER demonstrated the capacity for reflection and admission, then expecting that to happen is the perfect way to keep yourself miserable and forever longing for a unicorn.

Decide if that's how you want to live, and if not, work with someone who can help you drop the expectation.

Understand that letting go of such an expectation does NOT have to mean that you forgive or condone past harm. It's a way of liberating yourself from gnawing an old toxic bone that prevents you from enjoying fresh food and happiness on your own terms.

Making one's happiness dependent upon another's behavior only traps you in a prison with imaginary walls. Setting your OWN terms for happiness based on YOUR behaviors and choices frees you to pursue those goals ad actually enjoy the rewards.

Anything positive that might ever come from your mother will just become icing on that cake.

 

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I've had several people in my life who would never apologize in a million years so I've since learned never to expect apologies from certain unconscionable people forever.  When your expectations are at zero, you won't get hurt.  You'll feel numb and "blah." 

I've encountered immoral people who will gaslight me whenever they should've apologized instead.  Google "gaslighting."  It is psychological warfare with deflecting, changing the subject, accusing you of being the insane one, changing your perception of the facts, confusing you and leaving you angrier than anything you can describe.  The purpose of gaslighting is to wear you down and defeat you until you feel like such a loser.  I just avoid certain people as if they have COVID-19.  It works for me. 

Change the way you think so you will become strong and resilient.  Learn to protect yourself, enforce healthy boundaries and you will survive.  Instead of feeling weak, get tough.  This is what I do and no one bothers me anymore.  🙂

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My mother never acknowledged some of the awful things my father said to me -and she was in the same room.  Why? Because my father had a mental illness, part of the time I was growing up was when the stigma around that was even more intense than now (1970s) and she did this for survival -she didn't want him to have to keep going back to hospitals, or kill himself.  She didn't know how else to do this other than taking his side.  I forgive her for this.  He would have died young had it not been for her making sure he took his meds and went to therapy.  He would never have had the professional career he did for almost 50 years had she not been his helpmate, his partner. 

Did she make the right choice?  I mean I suffered because of it.  But, I get it.  I get why she did it and it's why after my teenage years I stopped asking her to acknowledge whatever. In time I forgave my father.  He died 5 years ago.  I'm not saying you need to forgive her but it's why I'd stop harranguing her to apologize. 

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