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The 'Perception Filter'...

(410 Posts)
HolyHannah Sun 24-May-20 07:51:22

An Estranged Parent said -- "This is something I have always thought about and really haven’t a clue as to the answer. I know that we all love with a different depth of capacity. How can our EC turn their backs on the very people who raised them and not give a hoot if they are dead or alive? Can they really love their spouses, their children? Are they capable of feeling love for anyone. In my case, I know with certainty that my ES loves his children, but in my heart I know he married someone who is very damaged even more so than he is and I think in order for his own survival, he in his mind pretends that all is well."

The first question in that is, "How can our EC turn their backs on the very people who raised them and not give a hoot if they are dead or alive?" My reply, "I guess it depends on how YOU raised them."

Next question -- "Can they really love their spouses, their children?" My reply, "Yes. Just because I got healthier mentally and stopped providing supply/'love' to my mom doesn't make me incapable of finding healthy love with my husband or children." The mentality of "If you don't/can't 'love' ME, you can't truly love anyone." is FFS at best.

Last question -- "Are they capable of feeling love for anyone. In my case, I know with certainty that my ES loves his children..." This statement should speak for itself...

Starblaze Mon 25-May-20 19:49:45

MotherofDragons also most addiction. It won't be long until anyone playing either of those cards as a parent will be frowned at.

rosecarmel Mon 25-May-20 23:35:34

My mother is gone- So there will be no resurrection of hope that she might change her mind- I can only change my own-

Motherofdragons Tue 26-May-20 00:25:13

Starblaze Absolutely, trauma plays a huge role in addiction. I work in addiction, actually.

I also have a family blighted by addiction. My parents are not addicts, but other family members are. In my family, addiction is a manifestation of a much larger problem.

There is a lot of damage in my family, and a lot of denial. The same kind of denial that I see on this board. I need to take a break from here every now and then for the sake of my sanity. I am for some reason easily triggered by some of the patterns of behaviour on here, which is strange, because I am never triggered in a professional capacity.

rosecarmel Tue 26-May-20 00:58:32

Motherofdragons, it could be that in a professional capacity you more frequently encounter individuals seeking change-

HolyHannah Tue 26-May-20 02:39:50

Attitudes towards mental health are changing. Information regarding the causes of mental health conditions is widely available. You do not need a degree in psychology to know that mental health issues are mainly rooted in abuse/trauma/neglect in childhood.

That is so the truth. It is honestly amazing how many people, especially on the topic of estrangement, try to sell their opinions/views and discounting all the professional and anecdotal evidence on the internet that is contrary to their role of victim.

And thankfully I do see the attitude changing. It is getting harder and harder for EP's to sell the, "It's all the spouse." or "It's their mental illness." or "They are an addict." or "They found a 'bad' therapist who didn't even want to hear 'our side'." -- that evil 3rd party influencer.

The stigma that used to be attached to those things are now being reevaluated and more people are seeing those flailing excuses from abusers for what they are. Justifications for continuing bad behavior and denial of any part in their estrangement. Victim blaming and shaming is becoming more recognized and less tolerated.

The idea of, "You can't speak out. It will destroy HIS career/image etc." is being replaced. The idea that parents are owed honor is being replaced with, "No one needs to stay in an unhealthy relationship, even if the other person is a 'parent'."

rosecarmel Tue 26-May-20 03:41:34

If your parent had some kind of static idea or dream of a life they wanted you to lead, you most assuredly lost their support before you were ever born- Which seems to be the case for so many people who've one way or another due to fixed perceptions became estranged-

HolyHannah Tue 26-May-20 05:56:29

rosecarmel -- One (of many) instant "kill shots" from EP's to claim to not know 'why' they are estranged is, "He/She was 'difficult' from day one."

Which translates to, "My child didn't pop out adoring and validating ME after those 9 months of work and my kid wants more after that? Selfish little so-and-so."

rosecarmel Tue 26-May-20 07:34:39

Those labeled difficult by parents often notice what others don't or don't want them to- So they get censored into the position of ignorant and insignificant, which then becomes a pattern, a signal to the family of origin that it's acceptable behavior to treat the difficult one as less- And as the family grows, the pattern spreads- In quite a few cases, from one generation to the next-

HolyHannah Tue 26-May-20 07:44:41

Smileless, you said, "That's true maddyone mental health issues in an AC's partner are often a key factor in estrangement."

My MiL would totally agree with You. Her son married 'mentally ill' Me. So clearly, by your logic and hers, He estranged from Her because of Me.

Me -- "Fact - My husband was No Contact with his 'family' before We met. And I'm the 'reason' they are estranged now? Wow. That 'logic' is why I'm mentally ill."

Sparkling Tue 26-May-20 08:03:58

You can see that there are people on here who are physiologically damaged, no doubt there are dreadful parents out there who neglect and abuse chikdren. I don't think a forum line this can help them. This thread is for estranged parents or chikdren, through misunderstanding or other reasons have become estranged. In a lot of cases when the dynamics in a relationship changes by another partner who can be resentful of the close bond their partner has with their family. I have lived in this house for fifty years and just found out that neighbours,who keep themselves to themselves but said neither had any family, both had parents and siblings until the last few years, their child had been bought up knowing nothing of them. How do I know, another neighbour in a chance meeting met the brother of one if them, get had an unusual surname and it went on from there, who said that upon marriage they had cut both families off, no amount of trying got them anywhere,when the door was shut in his mother's face, they gave up. He said his parents were lovely people and it broke their hearts.

Smileless2012 Tue 26-May-20 09:13:07

mental health issues in AC's partner are often a key factor in estrangement is the case in some cases of estrangement. That may not be factor in your H's estrangement from his family HolyHannah but that doesn't negate it being a significant issue in others.

TrendyNannie6 Tue 26-May-20 09:18:40

So true trisher. Totally agree

Starblaze Tue 26-May-20 11:23:03

Sparkling what are your quiet neighbours like? Do they seem nice? Perhaps you should put them before what amounts to gossip, especially as they would be hurt like anyone else, if they knew they were the subject of gossip.

Motherofdragons Tue 26-May-20 11:51:02

My mother is another who believes that her “opinion” holds weight against peer-reviewed research. She is firmly on the side of nature in the nature v nurture side of the debate. Whilst the evidence is heavily weighted in favour of nurture, her position is that she knew someone who had a terrible childhood and they turned out just fine.

Firstly, even if that were true, they are the exception, not the rule. For example, everyone claims to know someone who smoked 40 cigarettes a day and lived to 100. But the vast majority of people who did smoke 40 cigarettes a day die younger due to smoking related complications and illnesses.

The alternative would be to concede that in fact most mental health problems in adults can be traced back to childhood. And if that includes what she believes to be “lesser” problems such as anxiety, depression, low self esteem, bad relationship choices etc, what does that say about her and her parenting. And what does that say about her own idyllic childhood which she claims to have had and her idealised memories of her own past.

Denial runs deep. What began as a coping mechanism is now so intrinsically linked to her own survival.

As a woman who has been and is unable to accept responsibility or apologise for anything that has truly warranted an apology on her part, it is no surprise that she clings to the side of nature. All the issues in her family are down to genes. Everyone was just born that way. There is no correlation. There is no responsibility to be taken.

We do not have a good relationship. In fact, at this point, we don’t even have a relationship. Of course, our lack of relationship is my fault.

Most people do not have the understanding that I do about our lack of relationship, so it makes sense for them to believe that I am an uncaring daughter. And that’s fine. People like straightforward cause and effect. The truth is that these matters are complex. Much more complicated than your child cutting contact for no reason or because of their partner.

So if a poster is unwilling to take any responsibility (not even a little) for the current state of their relationship with their child, then you better believe the matter is more complex than it appears. And with denial thrown into the mix, almost always impossible to resolve.

rosenoir Tue 26-May-20 11:55:33

Because you are related to somebody it does not mean you have to love or even like them.

There does not have to be specific reasons for estrangement,can simply be that you do not like that type of person.

I have a sibling and parent that are arrogant self centered people so I have nothing to do with them. There was no big fall out, I just phased them out of my life.

Smileless2012 Tue 26-May-20 13:20:32

Estrangement takes many forms and phasing someone out of your life is one example and maybe is 'easier' to come to terms with than the sudden cut off.

There is of course research demonstrating estrangement by AC due to dysfunctional/abusive parenting/childhood. There's also research that shows how estrangement occurs due to 'third party' influence.

So if a poster is unwilling to take any responsibility (not even a little) for the current state of of their relationship with their child, then you'd better believe the matter is more complex than it appears Why is it?

Just because someone else's experience differs to your own doesn't mean that their account of it is false or somehow lacking in substance.

Parents do become estranged due to the influence and the coercive pressure of their partners. Maybe you have to have experienced it to accept this can be the case. That said I've never understood why some EAC who came from dysfunctional families refuse to accept that not all EP's are abusive.

I accept that some are even though mine weren't.

Starblaze Tue 26-May-20 13:43:16

I'd be interested to read that research please Smileless

PetitFromage Tue 26-May-20 14:14:08

Hannah, my dear, it is obvious from your threads and your posts that you are in a lot of pain. Families can be complicated and the scars can run deep and be difficult to heal, whether you are an EP or an EAC.

I don't have any answers, but I do believe that forgiveness is better for your own peace of mind, if you can manage it - and I know that it is not always easy.

I don't know your circumstances but, please, if the past has been miserable, don't let it spoil your future too. Try to come to terms with what is, or what has been, and set yourself free.

Sending big hugs. X

rosecarmel Tue 26-May-20 14:32:48

Smileless, can you elaborate on who or what would be considered "third" party influence?

HolyHannah Tue 26-May-20 14:52:54

This is a good read.

HolyHannah Tue 26-May-20 14:59:34

rosecarmel -- Third party influencers are those pesky people who refuse to play the emotional games, enable or ignore the crappy behavior and give support to their victim. Those 'bad' doctors or horrible spouses that won't bow to the way things are supposed to be.

I suppose my MiL would say I'm a third party influencer because when I met him I didn't push for him to reconcile with his family so in her mind the estrangement is my fault.

Smileless2012 Tue 26-May-20 15:14:20

There's plenty been written about it Starblaze which no doubt you could find on line if you really are interested.

Third party influence being influence from one person or a group of people but in estrangement usually the singular. I find it hard to believe that you don't know what the term refers too rosecarmel!!

I don't why you find it necessary to mock HolyHannah just because your experience is different. The fact that you do says far more about you than the people you choose to mock.

It's as if you think that by recognising and accepting that not all EP's are the spawn of Satan, that somehow puts a ? over your own account. Perhaps you worry that there are some who would treat your account of the issues behind yours and your H's estrangement, with the same contempt you treat theirs because they differ from yours.

Starblaze Tue 26-May-20 15:22:24

I'd like to read what you read please Smileless so I can get the same understanding

Smileless2012 Tue 26-May-20 15:54:29

As I've said, you'll be able to find plenty of information on line if you want to know more about it. That said, surely you don't really believe that all EAC's parents are cruel and abusive?

Common sense alone should be enough together with the accounts from EP's here on GN to know that isn't always the case. Or are we not to be believed? Why do abused EAC seem to think they have the monopoly of truth? Why can the same level of respect and understanding they receive not be extended to those outside of their experience?

It's not impossible to be able to understand the perspective of an EP who is not responsible for their estrangement; you just have to be willing to try.

rosecarmel Tue 26-May-20 16:04:43

The complications that currently exist in my relationships are largely due to perception inadequacies and patterns that were formed before I was ever born but that over the years I've had to hold myself accountable for in order for those I have relationships with to first understand before grasping our collective past and examining it and its impact-

Estrangement, distancing and reconciliation have occurred over the years- Burdens lift only to return to be revisited- It's never "fixed"- But at the very, very least, those old perceptions have been inoculated with knowledge and effort-

I've no regrets for crushing myself beneath the belief that it's "all" my fault as a parent, barely able to breathe from the illusion of complete, singular guilt- Had I never done it, I don't know that I've ever come face to face with the reality that the task was to initiate change instead of bury myself under the perceptions of others that I perceived to be all on me-