The price of NC

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Wookiepunch

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The price of NC
« on: February 15, 2017, 10:15:37 PM »
I have posted a lot this year- probably more than I have since I first started coming here. Beside the usual struggle of coping with NC, this year had some things happen that were hard for me to manage.
My younger brother visited this last summer. The visit was nice, but I was left with the feeling that things had changed between us. That since I had moved away and gone NC that there was some emotional distance. A month later my feelings were validated by an email exchange that ended with him blasting me and almost daring me to go NC with him. My thread was deleted for violating the board's email policies. I understood, but I don't regret posting it. It was worth the risk of losing my anonymity to get some feedback. I am struggling. I am not sure how to stop feeling the pain I am in.
The next thing was my Nbro getting married. For years I had enjoyed being the rational, "normal" one who began a slow cut off by keeping him a safe distance from my family. I grieved last year when I finally mentally decided I was done with him, but seeing all the pics on facebook was just devastating. So many cousins, uncles, aunts. So many people who were happy. I have a huge family, and it was breathtaking to be left out. It is not rational. I already posted about it, and I should not have looked.
Last week While I was in a particularly secluded area at my job site I started crying. I kept thinking "just call her, just call her, just call her...." I keep begging God for direction, for advice for anything. I know he will be with me through it, but there is no magic solution. here is no way to make them not crazy. My older brother will always be a selfish, manipulative, cruel man. My younger brother will always be a bit of a user. My mom will always be a pushy, black hole of need.
I went back to my first few posts and reread all the advice I was given. The underlying issue for me is in spite of their bad behavior, and in spite of my enabling I think I prefer contact. I hated how they made me. I would fix their cars, take my Mom out for Mother's day (in spite of being a bad Mom), see them at planned events, all the while hating myself for being so spineless. I din't even want to be there, so why couldn't I just say that? It was painful. The void that is left is more painful.
So why remain no contact? My wife. The one person who has supported me  and truly loved me. In spite of all that, I was always willing to compromise and accuse her and my mother of being unreasonable. She was not crazy, so she needed to be the bigger person and just give her what she wanted. Such garbage.
So for the past three years  Our main source of marital strife is that the idea of my being NC was hers. That the whole concept was introduced by her, and that she is the main reason I did it. She feels like it is unfair to pin it on her- I actually agree with her, but the sadness I feel is all consuming. I told her if it wasn't for the threat of harm coming to her, the kids, and our marriage I would have already resumed contact. I maintain NC out of respect and deference to her. I told her how I feel is not logical, but I won't act on it. I know what will happen if I do. She told me today while I was getting ready for work that I can't protect her and the kids from my family. My old habits are too firmly entrenched. Being NC will have to work for now. She also said she wished I had married a woman who could handle my mother's craziness. I told her I don't regret marrying her, and that there is not a woman out there like that. I think expressing my sadness makes her feel marginalized. She wants her husband to value and fight for her, but being sad about not having contact with the people who were unkind to her undermines that.
I feel crushed. I feel like in order to make her feel valued I have to pretend to be happy about being completely isolated from my brothers and my mother. I felt safe talking with her about it until recently. Now I don't know. It just might be too painful for her to hear.
After the wedding I noticed a common thread from many others who had gone NC- being left out of funerals. I guess I always had this fantasy that since I moved all interaction would be at weddings and funerals...now I don't know. I am not even sure I am being punished as much as I may be dead to them. As much as I hate facebook it may be the only connection left to my old life.
I was a good brother and a good son. I didn't hurt anyone. I always put their needs before my own. I got married and thought I was still doing that (for my wife), but learned 14 years in I was failing pretty bad. I just feel like a rat in a maze or something. At the end of every corner is estrangement, failure, punishment. No decision is correct, and all roads lead to pain.

My path forward is to bury my feelings. I will pretend its ok, because my self sacrifice is what will pay for my marriage to remain intact and to give my kids a more normal view of whats normal. I will swallow my pain and hopefully I can learn to stop feeling. I hate them all. I survived my Dad beating my Mom, my parents cheating on each other. My parents losing everything through their drug  habits. You can't escape it. The dysfunction is like a disease that poisons your life and colors your choices. I can't imagine how my kids see me sometimes. I feel like a black cloud is hanging over my head all the time. That because I held down a good job and escaped, my cross to bear is maintaining relationships with people who hurt me. Or the other option is amputation and living with emotional phantom pain.
It is just so hard. I don't know why I posted, I just feel dead inside today.

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JG65

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2017, 10:34:38 PM »
I'm sorry this has been so hard for you.  Have you ever talked about this with a therapist with experience in PDs?  Therapy helped me a great deal early on when I went NC with my dNPD father.  I plan to never speak to him again.  He has done enough harm to me.  I am at peace with that decision. 

A few thoughts to consider--have you been assessed for depression?  I have PTSD and one of the symptoms is depression.  I was against taking meds, but gave it a try and I'm doing much better.  Perhaps you are sad because you are depressed or because you were mistreated by these people all of your life.  For me, when I went NC I had to face the reality of my father's abuse of me and other family members.  It was incredibly painful.

Also, you are imagining your mother and brothers are happy.  It sounds like they are abusers and users and that is not where happiness comes from.  It comes from giving, not taking.

I wish you the best.  You don't need to do this all on your own.  Recognizing and getting help is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength.
Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences - Robert Louis Stevenson

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Menopause Barbie

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2017, 11:36:30 PM »
Wookiepunch, your posts are always so honest and REAL. I admire that about you. Your pain is real, too, and I totally get that. I have lost my whole FOO also and I FEEL the loss as you describe. It is worse than losing someone to a death, because with the loss come the unjustified feelings of self-blame and--let's face it-- societal blame. Also, it isn't final like a death. There's always the sad and pathetic longing that if we do something better, say something better, maybe just maybe, these people whom we love (as much as they hurt us) could be back in our lives.

Can I gently suggest that some of the torment you are feeling is coming from fleas? One way the PDs control us is to make us respond to bad behavior. To vie for their love. The result of this flea is that we tend to take for granted and overlook the kind, normal people in our lives because we have a deep-seeded NEED to put our attentions on winning the  favor of the difficult people in our lives. That's how we grew up. We survived by catering to the crazy people and attempting to appease them by being "good" (meaning perfectly compliant). This is why so many of us naturally gravitate towards PDs long after we are out of our FOO household. We aren't repulsed by PD people, like normal people are. We meet them and we strive to make them value us! We have an unconscious desire for them to find value in a relationship with us and we end up getting used and manipulated over and over by people who are no good for us. Meanwhile, we neglect and don't appreciate the "safe" people in our lives, the reliable and dependable people who just love us and like us and don't dramatically keep us as their emotional slaves.

You have somehow managed to find a wife who loves you for you. She is a treasure! She values you and sees the best in you and gets her pleasure not from seeing you hurt or thwarted (like a PD would) but by seeing you happy and strong. She sees that your FOO makes you sad and weak. So do you. But your fleas make you go into the old pattern we all must unlearn. We turn away from our lifelines (your wife) in order to keep trying to win back the love of people who DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LOVE. You can still love them. You can still value the good times you had with them. But you can never rest safely in their love because it isn't real love. Love to them is a tool, a manipulation they use to keep you trying harder in your relationship with them.

Like you, I went NC with my FOO more out of protection and love for someone other than myself. If they all hadn't tried to pin my non-compliance on my daughter, I would still be in Dysfunction Junction. But my attitude towards my daughter is different than what I see in your words about your wife. I am so thankful everyday that my daughter's strength helped me to be strong. I think your fleas are making you seem resentful of your wife. Like, if you didn't have to protect her or stand up for her, you could go back with a new approach and Master Plan to make them all love and appreciate you. But THEY DON"T KNOW HOW TO LOVE. Your wife does. You know this. Your fleas are making you take her love for granted and seek the unattainable love of your FOO.

Fleas sap strength from the host. They make the host constantly uncomfortable. My hope is that, by showing you a flea that maybe you just can't see in yourself, you will be able to eradicate it from your life. You will feel so much stronger and more comfortable in your own skin when you do! I know you don't mean to sound resentful of your wife, but your flea is affecting her as well. She is your ally. With my daughter, I don't focus on what I lost due to my FOO forcing me to choose between my loyalty to them or to her. I focus on being thankful that she showed me how to be strong. I was not strong at first, and I have days where I feel very sad. It's Ok that you miss them and are sad! But don't overlook the blessings in your life (wife and kids who actually know how to love you) because you are so busy trying to earn the love of people who DON"T KNOW HOW TO LOVE.

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illogical

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 08:08:50 AM »
There seems to be a lot of emotions churning and swirling around you right now.  It might help to journal to get them out.  Writing always helps me distill and focus.

NC is a painful experience.  The emotional gamut you feel right now is normal.  NC can make you feel like an orphan, like a survivor on a desert island-- isolated, in other words. 

...My path forward is to bury my feelings. I will pretend its ok, because my self sacrifice is what will pay for my marriage to remain intact and to give my kids a more normal view of whats normal. I will swallow my pain and hopefully I can learn to stop feeling. I hate them all. I survived my Dad beating my Mom, my parents cheating on each other. My parents losing everything through their drug  habits. You can't escape it. The dysfunction is like a disease that poisons your life and colors your choices. I can't imagine how my kids see me sometimes. I feel like a black cloud is hanging over my head all the time. That because I held down a good job and escaped, my cross to bear is maintaining relationships with people who hurt me. Or the other option is amputation and living with emotional phantom pain.
It is just so hard. I don't know why I posted, I just feel dead inside today.

I don't think burying your feelings is a good idea.  But you don't have to spill your guts to your wife, either.  Like I suggested, you might try journaling every day.  You might also look for a healthy physical outlet, like running or walking or going to the gym.  Try to channel all that energy into something positive.

That last part of the quote I bolded above-- about how you feel there are only two options.  That's engaging in black and white thinking and it's not healthy.  There is a gray area here that you are missing.  And this sense that you have to bear a cross.  That you are "paying the price" for having a good job.  You are jumbling up cause and effect here.  That's fallacious thinking.

Rather than looking at the situation like you have to bear the pain, trying looking at it like you are going to work through the pain.  The notion of "bearing the pain" sounds onerous and implies a weight.  The idea of "working through the pain" suggests there is an end in sight-- maybe not an extinguishment of all the pain, but a way of coping with your new surroundings. 

What is the "gray area" you are missing here?  My personal feelings about NC is that you never completely get over the pain of disappointment that you were dealt this disordered family that is never going to live up to your hopes because they are incapable of it. But that pain significantly diminishes over time.  As you consciously make an effort to work through the pain by channeling your energy in a positive direction, you carve out a new life for yourself.  The "new path" you take becomes more familiar over time and less scary.  Your FOC replaces your FOO and you have a new sense of belonging to a family that cares about you.  Right now you are going through the worst of it, feeling the isolation of the old and familiar which although dysfunctional, is at least familiar.  The unknown can be a frightening thing. 

So give yourself some time to work through your feelings-- including the isolation and anger.  As others on this website have pointed out, NC is rather like a death and there are various stages of grieving you go through.  I have personally found that trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle-- i.e., diet and exercise-- goes a long way to improving my mental state.  Take good care of yourself.
 


« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 08:13:51 AM by illogical »
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daughter

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 09:02:36 AM »
Rather than "burying your feelings", I recommend a stint of therapy with a competent empathetic therapist.

You note that you were a "good brother and good son"; that doesn't mean your mom and brother have reciprocated, your mom's not been a "good mother" TO YOU, nor your enmeshed brother a "good brother".  Their past behavior is disrespectful and disdainful, you do realize this?  You noted your own "old habits", which include: 1) being super-helpful to your FOO Family; 2) being super-tolerant of their abusive behavior; 3) being super-selfless when attending to them.  It's a list of obligatory "do for me's", symptomatic of a SG child valiantly trying to "please mom", evidence of significant expectations and obligations unduly placed upon ONE PERSON, and not reflective of a loving supportive mother and adult-child relationship.  By definition, that dysfunctional dynamic is emotionally unhealthy, and warrants emotional distancing, which you've appropriately done, with encouragement from your wife.

Even though NC is quite appropriate, it may still feel alien (to your self-imposed expectations) and wrong (to your childhood upbringing's  "mom can say and do whatever she wants; I just need accept it").  I think subconsciously you're somewhat "blaming wife", because of that childhood "mom's always right, even when she's wrong" sensibility, rather than rightfully assigning responsibility for the estrangement to the guilty parties, your FOO Family that believes it's okay to be badly behaved and disrespectful to you and your own family.  Therapy would provide you with more validation, from perspective of a professional therapist versed in pd-disorders and dysfunctional families, and help absolve you of that misplaced guilt and remorse.  Your emotions are real, your sense of abandonment is real, but re-engagement, without genuine reconciliation and remorse on their part (not yours), is just an invitation for more abusive behavior and emotional turmoil.

I believe your "self-sacrifice" was what you already sacrificed to your badly-behaved mom, and your FOO Family's expectations that you "obey and abide".  Your expressed notion of "self-sacrifice" now, to give your own family "normalcy", is instead just plain old self-preservation and fundamental consideration of your own emotional commitment to your wife and children.  Your FOC Family comes first.  Given what you've described here in your post, I suspect you were the "parentified" child expected to "fix things", to place no expectations or demands on your parents (or brother), to quietly execute their demands and comply to their expectations with nary a contrary word.  My role in my own high-functioning (no drugs, no alcohol) dysfunctional FOO Family required me to do same: be that selfless dutiful child. 

I also felt I was "doing something horrible" whenever I didn't comply with my parents expectations and demands, that I "owed them" despite my sad childhood as the exemplary daughter with two neglectful punitive parents, that my FOC's preferences and needs came second to my parents' entitlements, and any "deviations from script" would result in disaster.  I was in my mid-50s before I summoned enough courage to "go NC", long long overdue, my own FOC long negatively-affected by their exposure to my npd-enmeshed FOO.  With therapy, I was finally able to realize I was a valued person too, my feelings and needs mattered too, and that my relationship with my parents (and nsis) was emotionally-harmful to me and my FOC.  I think you need more validation to gain full acceptance that your NC decision is the correct choice for you and your FOC too.  Best wishes to you.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 09:04:27 AM by daughter »

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NewDawn

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 03:33:53 PM »
Wookiepunch,

The replies here are of the best I have ever read and I pray that they will help you on your journey OOTF. What came to my mind was the phrase "looking back through rose-colored glasses." I found this anecdote below to be so true of us on this lifelong trek breaking free from the past. 

"In her book, The Four Levels of Healing: A Guide to Balancing the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Aspects of Life, Shatki Gawain tells a story to illustrate how beliefs can control our lives.  In India, when training baby elephants, trainers begin by sturdily chaining one hind leg of the animal to a tree.  The elephant becomes accustomed to the chain and pretty soon, doesnít even try to get free. The trainer then reduces the size of the chain until, finally, all that is required to constrain the animal is a thin string.  Itís not the string that restrains him.  Itís his belief.

"Gawain says that our unconscious beliefs cause us to view the world through colored glasses without even realizing that weíre wearing them.  We believe the world is just colored that way because itís what weíve learned to believe, like the elephant. Our belief systems color every experience, and we tend to keep interpreting and interacting with the world based on these core beliefs whether we are conscious of them or not.  A person can become aware of the glasses, choose to take them off, and consciously see the world differently."

https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/seeing-the-world-through-rose-colored-glasses/

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 06:28:40 AM »
I'm sorry this has been so hard for you.  Have you ever talked about this with a therapist with experience in PDs?  Therapy helped me a great deal early on when I went NC with my dNPD father.  I plan to never speak to him again.  He has done enough harm to me.  I am at peace with that decision. 

A few thoughts to consider--have you been assessed for depression?  I have PTSD and one of the symptoms is depression.  I was against taking meds, but gave it a try and I'm doing much better.  Perhaps you are sad because you are depressed or because you were mistreated by these people all of your life.  For me, when I went NC I had to face the reality of my father's abuse of me and other family members.  It was incredibly painful.
My therapist told me I had anxiety more than depression. I saw the value in therapy, but was frustrated with the lack of closure or clear progress.


Also, you are imagining your mother and brothers are happy.  It sounds like they are abusers and users and that is not where happiness comes from.  It comes from giving, not taking.

I wish you the best.  You don't need to do this all on your own.  Recognizing and getting help is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength.
Thank you for the well wishes, I appreciate it.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 06:35:55 AM »
Wookiepunch,

The replies here are of the best I have ever read and I pray that they will help you on your journey OOTF. What came to my mind was the phrase "looking back through rose-colored glasses." I found this anecdote below to be so true of us on this lifelong trek breaking free from the past. 

https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/seeing-the-world-through-rose-colored-glasses/
Thanks for the article. I liked the anecdote, and it fit. I think one of my main struggles has been that I have a tendency to remember things differently than how they occurred. I minimize, marginalize and suppress my feelings. This leads to an irrational belief that this time it will be different. Or that things were better than they actually were. Therapy and reading books was painful because it forced me to see things how they actually are.
Self deception is powerful. I struggle with it continually.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 08:39:02 AM »
Wookiepunch, your posts are always so honest and REAL. I admire that about you. Your pain is real, too, and I totally get that. I have lost my whole FOO also and I FEEL the loss as you describe. It is worse than losing someone to a death, because with the loss come the unjustified feelings of self-blame and--let's face it-- societal blame. Also, it isn't final like a death. There's always the sad and pathetic longing that if we do something better, say something better, maybe just maybe, these people whom we love (as much as they hurt us) could be back in our lives.
That seems to be the crux of much of this for me. The inability to express my feelings to friends is torture. The condemnation when I do share somethings is painful too.
Can I gently suggest that some of the torment you are feeling is coming from fleas? One way the PDs control us is to make us respond to bad behavior. To vie for their love. The result of this flea is that we tend to take for granted and overlook the kind, normal people in our lives because we have a deep-seeded NEED to put our attentions on winning the  favor of the difficult people in our lives. That's how we grew up. We survived by catering to the crazy people and attempting to appease them by being "good" (meaning perfectly compliant). This is why so many of us naturally gravitate towards PDs long after we are out of our FOO household. We aren't repulsed by PD people, like normal people are. We meet them and we strive to make them value us! We have an unconscious desire for them to find value in a relationship with us and we end up getting used and manipulated over and over by people who are no good for us. Meanwhile, we neglect and don't appreciate the "safe" people in our lives, the reliable and dependable people who just love us and like us and don't dramatically keep us as their emotional slaves.
That seems to be my wife's thinking as well. A constant source of disagreement between us is the nature of "programming". The emotional buttons that are pushed to illicit a specific response. My struggle with fleas comes from the need to fix it. The desire to seek them out and apologize for what happened to get everyone back in their places. I know its crazy.
And yes, I struggle with valuing the people who are actually there for me. The estrangement sucks up so much emotional real estate, it tends to dominate my thoughts and feeling, and affects my ability to meet the needs of my real family.
You have somehow managed to find a wife who loves you for you. She is a treasure! She values you and sees the best in you and gets her pleasure not from seeing you hurt or thwarted (like a PD would) but by seeing you happy and strong. She sees that your FOO makes you sad and weak. So do you. But your fleas make you go into the old pattern we all must unlearn. We turn away from our lifelines (your wife) in order to keep trying to win back the love of people who DO NOT KNOW HOW TO LOVE. You can still love them. You can still value the good times you had with them. But you can never rest safely in their love because it isn't real love. Love to them is a tool, a manipulation they use to keep you trying harder in your relationship with them.
I think some of the despair comes from feeling like I hurt her by telling her I miss them. She sees them as a real threat to our family, and to me. I see them as damaged people who I can't fix, but can be managed. I was told this was wrong in therapy. The old habits are hard to break.
Like you, I went NC with my FOO more out of protection and love for someone other than myself. If they all hadn't tried to pin my non-compliance on my daughter, I would still be in Dysfunction Junction. But my attitude towards my daughter is different than what I see in your words about your wife. I am so thankful everyday that my daughter's strength helped me to be strong. I think your fleas are making you seem resentful of your wife. Like, if you didn't have to protect her or stand up for her, you could go back with a new approach and Master Plan to make them all love and appreciate you. But THEY DON"T KNOW HOW TO LOVE. Your wife does. You know this. Your fleas are making you take her love for granted and seek the unattainable love of your FOO.

Fleas sap strength from the host. They make the host constantly uncomfortable. My hope is that, by showing you a flea that maybe you just can't see in yourself, you will be able to eradicate it from your life. You will feel so much stronger and more comfortable in your own skin when you do! I know you don't mean to sound resentful of your wife, but your flea is affecting her as well. She is your ally. With my daughter, I don't focus on what I lost due to my FOO forcing me to choose between my loyalty to them or to her. I focus on being thankful that she showed me how to be strong. I was not strong at first, and I have days where I feel very sad. It's Ok that you miss them and are sad! But don't overlook the blessings in your life (wife and kids who actually know how to love you) because you are so busy trying to earn the love of people who DON"T KNOW HOW TO LOVE.
Thanks for the honesty. I do love and appreciate her, but there are times when I hope to God this was not all a mistake. I lurk a lot on this board, and some of the abuse people have suffered is horrendous. I was never molested, or beaten. I have a lecherous older brother, a brother with mooch tendencies and a neurotic mother. I think any one of these would be a challenge, but all three seems to be a tornado of dysfunction.
I just am bitter it took her giving me an ultimatum. I wish I had come to the conclusion on my own that this was the best path forward. She said I was too enmeshed to see it and needed a wake up call before it cost me my marriage.
I know she is right. It is just a bitter pill to swallow. I struggle between being enormously grateful, and being angry over the whole situation. But you are right- she is not to blame. It is cowardly, because I know I CAN blame her because she is safe.
My therapist said that my mother fits most definitions of a textbook NPD. I told him I didn't think she really loved me, or if she did it was a twisted self destructive love. He nodded and offered some sympathy, but was reluctant to give direction because he told me it was not really his role. I have to own it. I guess the thought that creeps in my head was was she really bad enough to cut off? I don't know if I will ever have a black and white answer for that. For now it will have to work, but there is not another viable option. My conditions would be untenable for her, and her behavior since I left has only reinforced my decision.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 08:43:13 AM »


What is the "gray area" you are missing here?  My personal feelings about NC is that you never completely get over the pain of disappointment that you were dealt this disordered family that is never going to live up to your hopes because they are incapable of it. But that pain significantly diminishes over time.  As you consciously make an effort to work through the pain by channeling your energy in a positive direction, you carve out a new life for yourself.  The "new path" you take becomes more familiar over time and less scary.  Your FOC replaces your FOO and you have a new sense of belonging to a family that cares about you.  Right now you are going through the worst of it, feeling the isolation of the old and familiar which although dysfunctional, is at least familiar.  The unknown can be a frightening thing. 

So give yourself some time to work through your feelings-- including the isolation and anger.  As others on this website have pointed out, NC is rather like a death and there are various stages of grieving you go through.  I have personally found that trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle-- i.e., diet and exercise-- goes a long way to improving my mental state.  Take good care of yourself.
 
Thanks for the kind words. I think the frustration is I am three years out, and in less than six months it feels like I am starting over. I keep hoping I will wake up and it wont hurt as much, its just been bad lately.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 08:53:09 AM »
Rather than "burying your feelings", I recommend a stint of therapy with a competent empathetic therapist.
You note that you were a "good brother and good son"; that doesn't mean your mom and brother have reciprocated, your mom's not been a "good mother" TO YOU, nor your enmeshed brother a "good brother".  Their past behavior is disrespectful and disdainful, you do realize this?  You noted your own "old habits", which include: 1) being super-helpful to your FOO Family; 2) being super-tolerant of their abusive behavior; 3) being super-selfless when attending to them.  It's a list of obligatory "do for me's", symptomatic of a SG child valiantly trying to "please mom", evidence of significant expectations and obligations unduly placed upon ONE PERSON, and not reflective of a loving supportive mother and adult-child relationship.  By definition, that dysfunctional dynamic is emotionally unhealthy, and warrants emotional distancing, which you've appropriately done, with encouragement from your wife.
You sound like my therapist. Good observations. :)
And yes, I do realize those things. I have to "logic it out" to see shy I ended up where I am at...its like in the book "1984" by Orwell. The idea of "doublethink"- I feel like I have two completely contradictory trains of thought that dominate my mind. Lately the wrong one has been winning.
Even though NC is quite appropriate, it may still feel alien (to your self-imposed expectations) and wrong (to your childhood upbringing's  "mom can say and do whatever she wants; I just need accept it").  I think subconsciously you're somewhat "blaming wife", because of that childhood "mom's always right, even when she's wrong" sensibility, rather than rightfully assigning responsibility for the estrangement to the guilty parties, your FOO Family that believes it's okay to be badly behaved and disrespectful to you and your own family.  Therapy would provide you with more validation, from perspective of a professional therapist versed in pd-disorders and dysfunctional families, and help absolve you of that misplaced guilt and remorse.  Your emotions are real, your sense of abandonment is real, but re-engagement, without genuine reconciliation and remorse on their part (not yours), is just an invitation for more abusive behavior and emotional turmoil.
Therapy did help, but like I expressed in another post it has no end and results are hard to quantify. I felt pretty good when it was done, but I feel like I regressed. I think I may go back. We have a new baby coming, so it will have to wait for now.
I believe your "self-sacrifice" was what you already sacrificed to your badly-behaved mom, and your FOO Family's expectations that you "obey and abide".  Your expressed notion of "self-sacrifice" now, to give your own family "normalcy", is instead just plain old self-preservation and fundamental consideration of your own emotional commitment to your wife and children.  Your FOC Family comes first.  Given what you've described here in your post, I suspect you were the "parentified" child expected to "fix things", to place no expectations or demands on your parents (or brother), to quietly execute their demands and comply to their expectations with nary a contrary word.  My role in my own high-functioning (no drugs, no alcohol) dysfunctional FOO Family required me to do same: be that selfless dutiful child. 

I also felt I was "doing something horrible" whenever I didn't comply with my parents expectations and demands, that I "owed them" despite my sad childhood as the exemplary daughter with two neglectful punitive parents, that my FOC's preferences and needs came second to my parents' entitlements, and any "deviations from script" would result in disaster.  I was in my mid-50s before I summoned enough courage to "go NC", long long overdue, my own FOC long negatively-affected by their exposure to my npd-enmeshed FOO.  With therapy, I was finally able to realize I was a valued person too, my feelings and needs mattered too, and that my relationship with my parents (and nsis) was emotionally-harmful to me and my FOC.  I think you need more validation to gain full acceptance that your NC decision is the correct choice for you and your FOC too.  Best wishes to you.
Yes, I agree on all points. Sounds similar to my way of thinking. I have trouble keeping all those mental checklists/arguments all lined up, and I think that is where the "regression" takes place. The old thought patterns creep in when I am under stress, and I start to go back to my default way of operating.
Thanks for the advice and kind words.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 08:55:56 AM »
Thank you all for reading and for the encouragement. Its been a hard few months, and I kind of melted down. Two of our kids are sick, my wife is ready to fire out another kid, and all the emotions just got the best of me. I value your input tremendously, and I will keep reading it to try and get my head straight. Sorry for the pity party. Thankfully its an anonymous forum (Lol)

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footprint

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 12:29:25 PM »
Hi Wookiepunch,

I'm very sorry that you're going through this tumultuous, emotional time.  It is very painful, and I've been in similar shoes in the past.  Last month was in fact a very low period for me when some news of my FOO surfaced in an unexpected place when I was just trying to mind my own business online (Twitter).  That's a long story that I won't go into, but I will tell you that the effects of certain knowledge about my FOO triggered me into what seemed like the Dark Ages, and I thought I wouldn't see the light.  But here I am, one month later and things are much better.

Like you, I have a very large extended family, and I have been ostracized from everyone. Like you, I was the good child, a caretaker who bent over backwards for people while my two brothers got away with everything, reaped all sorts of benefits, and walked off into the sunshine without ever looking back at all of their very dark ways.  Like you, I am now the "bad child (daughter)" because I am NC with NPD parents.  Technically, I've only been full NC for 9 months, although I had been extreme VLC for two years before that (no communication at all other than my sending 5 snail mail cards per year on holidays, bdays, etc.) and was LC for 5 years before that.

Like you, my partner, in this case my husband, is the healthiest person I've had the fortune of meeting, and he also did not like the way I was treated by my FOO.  He thinks that we and our young children (5 and 7) are so much better off without FOO.  I know that he is right, but like you, when I get triggered and am in pain, I want so much for FOO to acknowledge me in some way.  A part of me still deeply craves validation from them.  I want an apology from them more than anything....but I know that I will never get one and that they will never acknowledge any of their actions.  Remorse is impossible for them.

What I'm finding is that you absolutely cannot bury your feelings.  As painful as it is, letting these feelings out---deep sadness, anger, hatred, desperation--is key to healing.   About 2 weeks ago, I bought a new CD.  I hadn't done this in years but heard a song I liked and so bought the whole album.  This turned out to be very helpful (the album, by the way, is called "Spain Forever" and it's a duo with a pianist named Michel Camilo and a guitarist named Tomatito).  I only listen to the CD when I'm driving, and what happened was sort of amazing.  I was so deeply moved by the music and had to pull the car over to cry while listening to some of the songs.  Last week, I did this many times.  Each time, I would think about all of the horrible things I've endured with FOO, and how unfair and unjust my situation is.  It was a very emotional week for me and I felt drained.  However, I must say that I have felt completely reenergized this week.  It is as if I had to get all of that pain out.  I do not cry a lot, and indeed crying was frowned upon or mocked in my FOO so it became very hard for me to do even when I was young.  Being able to cry and let the pain out that way has been immensely helpful.

As for medication, I think that sometimes we should not block our depression but should let it wave over us.  There are of course cases where medication is necessary, if one can't get out of bed, for example.  But if you're just feeling this deep sadness, anger, pain, etc.  I don't think you should medicate yourself but that you should go through with feeling your feelings.  One thing that could help, however, is some anti-anxiety short-term medication that will help you if you're feeling really anxious.  I use benzodiazepines on an occasional basis, usually for if I'm ruminating at night and cannot sleep.

Sending big hugs your way, and a wish for you to find strength and love in your FOC, the foundation of which is the healthy family you are building with your wife and children.  Although it's sometimes hard to see, a dysfunctional, very large extended family is rotten to the core and not as strong as a healthy, loving, small nuclear family.

footprint

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 06:28:17 PM »
Hi Wookiepunch,

I'm very sorry that you're going through this tumultuous, emotional time.  It is very painful, and I've been in similar shoes in the past.  Last month was in fact a very low period for me when some news of my FOO surfaced in an unexpected place when I was just trying to mind my own business online (Twitter).  That's a long story that I won't go into, but I will tell you that the effects of certain knowledge about my FOO triggered me into what seemed like the Dark Ages, and I thought I wouldn't see the light.  But here I am, one month later and things are much better.

Like you, I have a very large extended family, and I have been ostracized from everyone. Like you, I was the good child, a caretaker who bent over backwards for people while my two brothers got away with everything, reaped all sorts of benefits, and walked off into the sunshine without ever looking back at all of their very dark ways.  Like you, I am now the "bad child (daughter)" because I am NC with NPD parents.  Technically, I've only been full NC for 9 months, although I had been extreme VLC for two years before that (no communication at all other than my sending 5 snail mail cards per year on holidays, bdays, etc.) and was LC for 5 years before that.

Like you, my partner, in this case my husband, is the healthiest person I've had the fortune of meeting, and he also did not like the way I was treated by my FOO.  He thinks that we and our young children (5 and 7) are so much better off without FOO.  I know that he is right, but like you, when I get triggered and am in pain, I want so much for FOO to acknowledge me in some way.  A part of me still deeply craves validation from them.  I want an apology from them more than anything....but I know that I will never get one and that they will never acknowledge any of their actions.  Remorse is impossible for them.

What I'm finding is that you absolutely cannot bury your feelings.  As painful as it is, letting these feelings out---deep sadness, anger, hatred, desperation--is key to healing.   About 2 weeks ago, I bought a new CD.  I hadn't done this in years but heard a song I liked and so bought the whole album.  This turned out to be very helpful (the album, by the way, is called "Spain Forever" and it's a duo with a pianist named Michel Camilo and a guitarist named Tomatito).  I only listen to the CD when I'm driving, and what happened was sort of amazing.  I was so deeply moved by the music and had to pull the car over to cry while listening to some of the songs.  Last week, I did this many times.  Each time, I would think about all of the horrible things I've endured with FOO, and how unfair and unjust my situation is.  It was a very emotional week for me and I felt drained.  However, I must say that I have felt completely reenergized this week.  It is as if I had to get all of that pain out.  I do not cry a lot, and indeed crying was frowned upon or mocked in my FOO so it became very hard for me to do even when I was young.  Being able to cry and let the pain out that way has been immensely helpful.

As for medication, I think that sometimes we should not block our depression but should let it wave over us.  There are of course cases where medication is necessary, if one can't get out of bed, for example.  But if you're just feeling this deep sadness, anger, pain, etc.  I don't think you should medicate yourself but that you should go through with feeling your feelings.  One thing that could help, however, is some anti-anxiety short-term medication that will help you if you're feeling really anxious.  I use benzodiazepines on an occasional basis, usually for if I'm ruminating at night and cannot sleep.

Sending big hugs your way, and a wish for you to find strength and love in your FOC, the foundation of which is the healthy family you are building with your wife and children.  Although it's sometimes hard to see, a dysfunctional, very large extended family is rotten to the core and not as strong as a healthy, loving, small nuclear family.

footprint
Wow. The similarities with a few of us are strange. Sometimes I wish I knew what these people were actually thinking- someone who has been kind, reliable and otherwise a normal member of the family just decide to go NC and its "Oh well, its because they are a horrible person!" :stars: I guess that is what hurts still- that they lack the ability to be introspective or to empathize, and just cut us loose. No repentance, no recognition of their own failures. Its mind boggling.

As far as meds, I am not suicidal or wanting to hurt others. I may look into it if things keep going the way they are. Sometimes I think I just need food sleep and affection and I "normalize".  I don't know if its this way for you, but When my wife is unavailable I get a little crazy. She is pretty needy right now, so I need to switch roles. I normally love pregnancy because it feeds my need to help and serve. I just broke a bit after the wedding. We all suffered for it.
Thanks again!

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Wookiepunch

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Re: The price of NC
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 06:30:05 PM »
That last part of the quote I bolded above-- about how you feel there are only two options.  That's engaging in black and white thinking and it's not healthy.  There is a gray area here that you are missing.  And this sense that you have to bear a cross.  That you are "paying the price" for having a good job.  You are jumbling up cause and effect here.  That's fallacious thinking.
Sorry I forgot to address this- I reread what I posted, and yeah. Some definite flaws in my logic. I am feeling better now. Thanks for pointing it out.