Loyalty, can we talk about it?

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all4peace

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Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« on: March 20, 2017, 10:06:17 AM »
I haven't really thought much about loyalty in my life. Maybe it's a feeling or skill that we simply have (or don't) without thinking about it.

We've come through a really long winter in which DH had 2 surgeries that laid him up for more than 2 months of that winter. We have a lot of hard physical labor in our lives, and he was able for none of it. We live next door to GC SIL (and favored BIL) and uNBPDmil and en(N?)fil. I was told more than once to ask for help when I needed it, and yet when we were very obviously in need of help (within their visual sight) it was never given.

I searched myself for pride and arrogance, but I really think what I mainly felt was that it would be disloyal for me to go begging for help from people who have been excluding, disrespectful and even somewhat contemptuous of their son/brother/BIL, my DH. It felt wrong for me to lean on people who don't appear to love or even like my DH, while he laid helpless, recovering. It felt disloyal.

I felt like if the family ever genuinely offered help (which we received many offers for through the winter, so I know what a genuine offer looks like), I would consider taking them up on it for the sake of family "peace" if DH was ok with it. That offer never came.

On a tangent, for context, here's what I consider regarding offers of help:
1. Tell us if you need help (not genuine, especially in the face of seeing us constantly working hard and not one time getting within 200 yards to actually help). No cards, no meals, half the family pretending one of the surgeries didn't even happen, etc.
2. We really want to help you! Please make up a to-do list and we'd like to come on X day and help you out, and btw we'll be bringing a couple meals for your freezer! (genuine, and these sorts of things actually happened with other family and friends)

So, now that we are mainly through the worst of it, FIL texted asking us to come and spend some time with them. Not our whole family, just "anyone who wanted to." DH has made it clear to them that it will be all 4 of us or none of us. The last time we saw ILs, FIL threw out an invitation to our DD to come over sometime as he walked out the door. I caught his eye, held his gaze just a little too long and then looked away, to let him know I heard and that was not ok. So, FIL is wondering if we want to come spend time with them, he who has been nearly silent, forgot the surgery date, helped ZERO amount, visited more than 1 week later and in that visit could not even acknowledge to a friend (also visiting at the time) that DH was a great guy (friend kept saying what a great guy DH was, and asking ILs if they agreed, and it got incredibly uncomfortable when they could not actually agree with that statement). FIL is still in regular texting contact with DH's good buddy and now he wants to apparently go back to pretending we're a happy family.

I cannot stay in the state of anger and hate and resentment that I used to feel. It was eating me alive. I got through this winter in amazingly good mental health by reminding myself that they owed me nothing, and that they had chosen to be very separate from us, and I could live with them being very separate from us. Now that our crisis is over, they seem to have decided that they no longer need to be very separate from us. I don't want to start feeling so much anger and resentment again, and I don't want to be an unforgiving example for my children, but I also think it's beyond bizarre and totally disloyal to DH to make much effort at all to spend time with family who has treated him as less important than a pet, or barely known neighbor. I feel like it would be massive emotional rug sweeping and I just can't do it.

For the first time in a very long time, my mind woke me in the middle of the night, thoughts spinning on this problem. I've learned that the things that are "mine to deal with" I can deal with in the daytime. The things that seem like a threat to my or my family's boundaries, they wake me up in the middle of the night and I've learned to pay attention to them.

Any thoughts, advice, different perspectives? More than anything, I don't want my DH to feel like his family can treat him this way and then we, his FOC, behave as if that was ok. And nearly as important, I don't want my kids to think that people can endlessly behave badly and we give them the same priority in our lives as those who have been mutually loving and supportive. It's a fine line between that and holding a grudge, or at least it could look that way from the outside.

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Love

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 10:51:09 AM »
I believe those relationships outside of your FOC are dead.  They can't be reconciled because it sounds as if there is no repentance from the FOO.  You can only forgive at the level of which they've repented.  No relationship can work when people say "sorry" and then you say "it's ok" both sides are lying.  It's not ok and neither one of you mean what you say - therefore relationship is dead.  Are you still in contact with these people?
All help the inlaws ever offered came with strings attached.  Normal individuals see people in need and "go" help.  They could of "shown" their ability and want to help you and him which would have done loads to perhaps heal the rift but they choose not too.  True apologize, true repentance doesn't involve saying sorry it means completly changing your behavior after admitting to it and then not demanding reconciliation but understanding it may take people along time before trust is restored.  If they are anything like my inlaws, they will never apologize, never change and theirfore their is no relationship.
Thanks to therapy, a lot of reading on this board and other places for years.  I'm starting to finally let go of all this.  We are not meant to be friends with everyone.  If my in laws liked me at this point I would think that I'm doing something wrong.  It took me a long time but I really believe these people are not to be allowed in your life.  My children have not seen these people for 2 years.  My oldest is 11.  We have simple explained to him our departure and he understands, in fact he is releaved.  We (my DH and I) acted not like the parents he knew for a week before or week after a visit.  It was stressful and our kids always new it, it stressed them out also, probably more than us.  We are their safety, security and we were frazzeled anxious and fighting in front of kids.  We taught our kids how not to allow, not even your parents if we were to act this way into your lives.  The most important relationship our kids see is there parents - respecting, loving, disagreeing sometimes.  Grandparents, uncles and aunts are not neccessary in any means to raise healthy, well adjusted children.  Don't get me wrong they are the icing on the cake if they are good, well intentioned, healthy people (my parents always made me put my husband first.  When I discussed his family with them all they would say is "he is the most important person in your life, you need to be aware of his feeling and think about him first"  - They never intruded in fact my dad's saying was "you mother is the most important person in my life, even more than you kids because I would't have you with out her and we were given the job to raise you together, I love her for that."  He was right, one day you have to let these kids go and if all they have ever seen is you letting abusive people continue to doormat you and submit you then they will do the same when dangerous people come along.  Your and DH's relationship and relationship with others will form the ground work for their relationships later on. 
I'm sorry so long and so blunt.  I feel very strongly about it.  It's nice to have grandparents if they are healthy but as a parent if those grandparents are abusive, neglectful, intentionally mean and boundary breaking it is my job to cut you off.  I don't mean in a rough and abrasive way.  I will open my arms and home (which is what we told my son, oldest) if their is true repentance.  Some people just don't make it the whole way with us. 
My situation as of now is I will never see nor will our children his parents again.  DH has said "he doesn't know if he will ever feel like it either".  Will they through money at us or children, will they offer to help maybe somewhere down the road, maybe - not probably, but maybe and I'll look at it and so will DH and say "that's not an apology, that's not repentance".  You can't have a relationship, when there is no relationship.  I hope my kids know the difference between holding on to a relationship that is unhealthy out of obligation or title and learn there is a kind way to distance yourself, and if they behavior continues cutting off that relationship.

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all4peace

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 10:57:27 AM »
Love, thank you for your response, which I want to more fully acknowledge later.

I got on here again to add one thought to my original post: Of course DH has the biggest say in this. It is his family, and it is their scapegoating of him that is the crux of the matter here. I stepped into a place I didn't belong (the middle) for far too long, and I really don't want to or intend to do so again.

However, we are raising children together. And we both have spirits/souls/morality that we need to account for. DH very graciously acknowledges that I may need to behave towards his family in ways that "allow me to live with myself" and that it may be slightly warmer than he himself can muster. Still, I do believe we need to be a united front and I believe the clear message to his family needs to be that we are a group package, and if they do not love, respect or support one of us, then all of us will be at a level of connection with them that acknowledges that (somewhat removed).

I hope that makes it clearer that I totally get DH needs the final say on this, yet as a mother I have some say in this (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong). He would be fine with never seeing his family again. I feel that there needs to be a bare minimum of interaction if we are to continue to live next door to each other, but not enough interaction to give the message that all is fine and normal. Because it isn't.

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Love

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 12:00:12 PM »
I can not comprehend living next to my in-laws.  I am sorry you have too.  I think living next to them will eventually cause bigger chaos.  If it were me I would move, even though that is easier said then done.  I do not know how I would do what you are doing but many times DH and I have acknowledged that if we were near them there would be a good chance we would divorce.
I love my DH, divorce is not something I am accustomed or ever thought about in my life.  And yet both of us know they would destroy us.  They did for 15 years. 
My PD inlaws turn the grandkids against their parents, and it's not obvious but that little invitation you mentioned (your FIL) - I've seen the beginnings and I've seen the end of that suggestion, involvement.  He (FIL) was implying that just because you and DH don't want to have them in your life, you are wrong and your children will start to question, "Well Grampa says we can come over but mom and dad don't want to?  Why they always give us gifts?"   I've seen how bad these innuendo's and suggestions and manipulation gets.  If they aren't safe for your husband, why would they be safe for you and the kids?

Im sorry about the harsh -"the relationship is dead" but I really believe it is.  I don't talk to all my neighbors - and I especially wouldn't wave and be really polite if those neighbors tried to burn down my house and take my children.  That may be an extreme comparison but that is what your "supposed" family that is loving and understanding is doing.  I think it just as loving and caring not to enable people, set boundaries with people.  I think that if you enable people it is unkind, unloving and it says something about you not them.  I am by no means living next to the inlaws but let me prefict with my DH's whole family (3 narc sisters, both parents, grandmother and uncle) have nothing to do with us, tell us we are wrong, we are killing them we are selfish.  I only think it appropriate that you tell these neighbors living next to you and around you that "we will no longer recieve, text message, phone or voice mail calls, letters, gifts."  We did do this, they still send stuff, we donate all money and gifts to people in need.  I don't even return their stuff because I don't want to engage them at all.  They the PD family does not think what we are doing is kind and loving but it is.  If my children thought they could fly and I said go ahead and try - opened the window to my roof and said jump.  We told my inlaws that their behavior was abusive, hurtful and we needed more understanding and compassion.  We work our kids are in school and activities.  Their response was, worse abuse, name calling, hoover, and boundary crossing.  My inlaws choose NC - not us.  I assume it's looking the same way for you.  I think they are seeing how much you are willing to take, and your kids are watching. 
I know for sure my kids understand abusive relationships on a child level and they understand it is ok not to engage those people.  I think if your husband wants no contact, I don't even think a civil relationship is healthy.  I atleast know for us that doesn't work.  We choose peace and it is what we have.  I'm a better parent and wife than I ever was because now I know it is what I was suppose to be - no one has to live in or with that toxiety - not even a hand wave - it would be a lie.

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all4peace

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 10:34:02 PM »
I also sometimes wonder if I'm being arrogant in thinking I can define what a healthy family looks like. What if to them it's entirely normal to be meh about surgeries, to be absent when help is needed, to be totally emotionally detached?

Love, you state "I think they are seeing how much you are willing to take, and your kids are watching." What do you mean by this? Are you saying they are deliberately pushing buttons? Despite living next to each other, we haven't even SEEN the ILs for months at a time. It's actually hard to accomplish, and it's very unusual. They recently heard DH is back on his feet again. And now we get an invitation and they make their presence known near our property. It feels strange to me, the timing. I feel like it's a combination of marking their territory (I often get this sense with FIL these days, marking territory) and going back to pretending all is normal, and that they weren't actually totally MIA all winter.

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Fightsong

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 04:50:01 AM »
A4P. Do you want them to genuinely offer help / support?  Or not?  Do you truly think they are capable of it? Does part of you think maybe its something you've done that holds them back? I am not suggesting there will be a simple yes / no answer to this question but it reminds me of something I faced a while back regarding  contact ( I know its not the same but bare with me, it just chimed in with a feeling I had when I was reading your posts,).  I was struggling with PD not contacting me  plus me not wanting to contact PD, I was angry. Like a brick falling from the sky I realized subconsciously what I did want was for her to come get me -  ask what was up and be real. And i found that really hard. Because of how toxic it all is, yet despite that,  I still longed for it. I wanted her to do something she can't.  I wanted her to be real, to see my distress without me spelling it out.  Now this might be obvious to you and many other people, to me it wasn't.  And hey I go round and round with this like, once a month at least. But it made sense of my frustration and turmoil - I was both wanting and not wanting and then came some grief. I think we know, the people we can rely on, safe people. On an animal  / amygdala ( did you say that somewhere else?) level. Animals go to a safe place. They don't choose to go somewhere where their basic needs are not met - there is no cognitive  wrangling. We work on the same level too.

So where are you on this. Are you still wanting them to be loving reaching out normal people who can make the kind of  human connections you so /we  desperately need? How 'unfair' does it feel that they aren't? How much have you let go of that? How much overlap is there still - for we know how frustratingly gradual this process can be? 

Sorry long, what do you think? make any sense or just way off from your situation?

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Love

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 07:53:20 AM »
Yes I think they are deliberately pushing buttons and kids pick up on those things.  My kids although young - oldest 11 would question why "do they do that?".  We went no contact and then my inlaws started giving us the silent treatment - they stopped hoovering or arguing with us. I think they are ignoring you in your time of need because it sends the message "you and your family are unimportant to them." They will ignore you when they think that your feelings or thoughts of them are punishing and how dare you try to change that system.  A loving family doesn't play this game, healthy people do care for others, they do "show up".  Healthy people in general do that.   Why would you want those people around your family or you in any way?
For me peace of mind comes when I and DH set boundaries that both of us agree on.  It gives us somewhere to feel secure.  I'm a high school teacher and even my high school students want me to set boundaries - these kids feel more secure when they know this is what we expect from you and you can expect the same from me.  Our relationship is defined in a way and that helps us interact with each other in a way that is giving and receiving respect.
My opinion I just think you and DH would feel better if you defined the boundary.  I don't expect help, calls, mail, voicemail, and this makes me feel safe.  My inlaws have never shown any change - why would I want back the relationship that hurt my marriage, hurt my kids.  Unless they change the relationship is dead where it stands.  It is kind of you to inform them of boundaries.  You can feel safe and maybe even let go of any resentment or anger that you have because you will know that you have instructed them to stay away, back off and you move on in your life.  This is the only way I could allow myself to let go of resentment, hate, thoughts of vengeance to vindicate my DH.
I will never change them, DH won't either, neither will you guys.  Walk away completely, if they change they can catch up but I can't stop my life with my FOC - and they stop me, my thoughts of them, my anger at them, the injustice of these people.  What are you waiting for?  Have they changed.  Would you be there friends and have the around your children if they weren't family.  We always said that if this wasn't DH's family they were just people we met on the street we would never NEVER be friends with them.  We would stay far away.  We would run.  Most people would run once seeing behind the mask, all the hate, control, greed, selfishness these people display - most people would run.
In order to be a part of this family I reflect them.  I show them a me I'm not.  I listen to the gossip and hatred, I feel anger,  I will never choose to go back.  I  have no trust, no relationship between them and I ever existed.  All that existed was a set of rules that if I followed we would maybe be somewhat excepted and only a few moments of the year.  I became overwhelmed frustrated, really angry, and dissolution.  They set boundaries that work for them.  I set boundaries that keep the peace, are kind and respectful towards others, and keep me saine so I can love and help the people who want to be a loving part of our life.
You are not wrong to define healthy family.  PD people punish the healthy family, they probably look at you and think "how dare you think your better than us".  My inlaws actually said that.  They hate people and punish people who challenge their life system.  We are allowed to define healthy family.  What happens when you don't do that?  I don't know if you believe in Christ but one of the things that brings peace to this situation for me is that Christ love is not like the worldly love society accepts which is "If you don't agree, support and love everything I do say and think you hate me"  Christ came and he interrupted that he told us what we were doing that hurt our relationship with Him.  He told us the truth and ask us to turn from it so we could find happiness not based on worldly ideas and concepts.  We are suppose to learn from Him, love like Him.  Which to me means I tell you the truth if your doing something that hurts you or me so that we can restore relationship.  I love you enough to tell you the truth and set boundaries so that I don't keep doing things that hurt myself or you.  Relationships are what I think make us the most like Christ.  I have many friends who are struggling and I will be there like they are for me through the worst and best of life.  But these PD people are not struggling they have given in to these sinful ways, they punish, destroy, control,manipulate, gossip, purposley hurt people to make them conform to their thinking and way of life.  I believe they are giving you the silent treatment.  In your time of need they are showing you you are not meaningful to them, your struggle is not their problem.  When you are performing as they like - you get invitations positive reinforcement.  This is not how Jesus operated and I don't believe it's how we should operate.  They are not struggling - cut them loose, set the boundaries, pursue meaningful relationships in your life, or further invest in the ones you have.  Teach your kids to do so.  It took me a long time to get here.  I know this is easier for me to say than for you to do.  I just wanted people to tell me I'm not a jerk for doing this and I've finally found this to be true.  All my meaningful relationships have improved 10 fold since I let them go.  I even believe that was the plan all along.  I think God want us to let certain things go.  We just look so long at that door that is locked, screwed and shut that we are afraid to move forward.  I don't think you have closed the door - they did by their behavior.  You are allowed to set boundaries that make you feel like you can move past them because that relationship is at the moment a locked door.  Trust me if they change you would see it in behavior, words - they will become new people.  You will know, so will we, I'm just not waiting for them anymore and that's not mean.

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Love

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 08:09:43 AM »
Sorry I have to add that what Fightsong said is so true.  We stood there waiting and wanting and some loving response, something that resignated human being.  I still look for that or DH does but every opportunity PD inlaws give is more harmful then the last.  I think that is because we are challenging the foundations of which they PD's built their lives, their safe place.  I can't live there with them and that's the only option they give us - that's the only response we get.  Their safe place is my personal hell.  It's a place were no other meaningful relationships can grow, it's where they go to die, because all relationships in this alternate reality they live in revolve around them.
Fightsong I think it so important what you mention about expectation.  I expected or longed for these things for so long.  I am less mad, less hurt, less resentful, I have no hate for my PD inlaws because I have no expectations that they can do these things.  I really do not think they are capable.  I expect their venom, I expect their sting so it doesn't quite hurt as much.  I did not choose no contact they did, I just stated the rules/boundaries that allowed the relationships with meaning in my life flourish.

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Inurdreams

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 09:34:18 AM »
All4peace,

Exercising self-protection or protection of our FOC is not always exactly the same as holding a grudge.

I found this link that I think addresses your concerns:

 http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/dont-mistake-awareness-of-the-past-with-holding-a-grudge-or-a-necessity-to-press-the-reset-button/

Peek not through the keyhole lest ye be vexed. - Stephen King


Response to a Flying Monkey:  Apparently you are suffering under the delusion that I give a damn.

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all4peace

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 11:51:31 PM »
A4P. Do you want them to genuinely offer help / support?  Or not?  Do you truly think they are capable of it? Does part of you think maybe its something you've done that holds them back? I am not suggesting there will be a simple yes / no answer to this question but it reminds me of something I faced a while back regarding  contact ( I know its not the same but bare with me, it just chimed in with a feeling I had when I was reading your posts,).  I was struggling with PD not contacting me  plus me not wanting to contact PD, I was angry. Like a brick falling from the sky I realized subconsciously what I did want was for her to come get me -  ask what was up and be real. And i found that really hard. Because of how toxic it all is, yet despite that,  I still longed for it. I wanted her to do something she can't.  I wanted her to be real, to see my distress without me spelling it out.  Now this might be obvious to you and many other people, to me it wasn't.  And hey I go round and round with this like, once a month at least. But it made sense of my frustration and turmoil - I was both wanting and not wanting and then came some grief. I think we know, the people we can rely on, safe people. On an animal  / amygdala ( did you say that somewhere else?) level. Animals go to a safe place. They don't choose to go somewhere where their basic needs are not met - there is no cognitive  wrangling. We work on the same level too.

So where are you on this. Are you still wanting them to be loving reaching out normal people who can make the kind of  human connections you so /we  desperately need? How 'unfair' does it feel that they aren't? How much have you let go of that? How much overlap is there still - for we know how frustratingly gradual this process can be? 

Sorry long, what do you think? make any sense or just way off from your situation?
I tried to go into this winter with no expectations. I planned for no help and gathered my resources around me.

I also know that FIL's way of showing love is to help. For him to be entirely absent these months is a huge message from him. For him to tell only me to ask if I need help but say not a word to DH as DH struggled through his last few months before surgery is a huge slap to DH. I wanted to not care or notice, whatever ILs did, but it's pretty hard not to notice a father being that outstandingly absent for his son.

So I guess the answer is apparently I do still wish they could offer SOMETHING that resembles the love they claim they have for us. The relationship has gotten bad, but I did feel like this was a sort  of chance for DH's family to try to repair the relationship. It was disappointing when they didn't. I adjusted to that, reminded myself that they don't owe us anything, got into the groove of learning new skills and working hard, and appreciated the help that was generously offered to us by others.

BUT, my zen attitude depending on them staying as far away as they have stayed all winter. If they're going to start trying to push into our lives at this point, I'm going to have a huge problem with that.

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all4peace

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 11:55:35 PM »
Yes I think they are deliberately pushing buttons and kids pick up on those things.  My kids although young - oldest 11 would question why "do they do that?".  We went no contact and then my inlaws started giving us the silent treatment - they stopped hoovering or arguing with us. I think they are ignoring you in your time of need because it sends the message "you and your family are unimportant to them." They will ignore you when they think that your feelings or thoughts of them are punishing and how dare you try to change that system.  A loving family doesn't play this game, healthy people do care for others, they do "show up".  Healthy people in general do that.   Why would you want those people around your family or you in any way?
For me peace of mind comes when I and DH set boundaries that both of us agree on.  It gives us somewhere to feel secure.  I'm a high school teacher and even my high school students want me to set boundaries - these kids feel more secure when they know this is what we expect from you and you can expect the same from me.  Our relationship is defined in a way and that helps us interact with each other in a way that is giving and receiving respect.
My opinion I just think you and DH would feel better if you defined the boundary.  I don't expect help, calls, mail, voicemail, and this makes me feel safe.  My inlaws have never shown any change - why would I want back the relationship that hurt my marriage, hurt my kids.  Unless they change the relationship is dead where it stands.  It is kind of you to inform them of boundaries.  You can feel safe and maybe even let go of any resentment or anger that you have because you will know that you have instructed them to stay away, back off and you move on in your life.  This is the only way I could allow myself to let go of resentment, hate, thoughts of vengeance to vindicate my DH.
I will never change them, DH won't either, neither will you guys.  Walk away completely, if they change they can catch up but I can't stop my life with my FOC - and they stop me, my thoughts of them, my anger at them, the injustice of these people.  What are you waiting for?  Have they changed.  Would you be there friends and have the around your children if they weren't family.  We always said that if this wasn't DH's family they were just people we met on the street we would never NEVER be friends with them.  We would stay far away.  We would run.  Most people would run once seeing behind the mask, all the hate, control, greed, selfishness these people display - most people would run.
In order to be a part of this family I reflect them.  I show them a me I'm not.  I listen to the gossip and hatred, I feel anger,  I will never choose to go back.  I  have no trust, no relationship between them and I ever existed.  All that existed was a set of rules that if I followed we would maybe be somewhat excepted and only a few moments of the year.  I became overwhelmed frustrated, really angry, and dissolution.  They set boundaries that work for them.  I set boundaries that keep the peace, are kind and respectful towards others, and keep me saine so I can love and help the people who want to be a loving part of our life.
You are not wrong to define healthy family.  PD people punish the healthy family, they probably look at you and think "how dare you think your better than us".  My inlaws actually said that.  They hate people and punish people who challenge their life system.  We are allowed to define healthy family.  What happens when you don't do that?  I don't know if you believe in Christ but one of the things that brings peace to this situation for me is that Christ love is not like the worldly love society accepts which is "If you don't agree, support and love everything I do say and think you hate me"  Christ came and he interrupted that he told us what we were doing that hurt our relationship with Him.  He told us the truth and ask us to turn from it so we could find happiness not based on worldly ideas and concepts.  We are suppose to learn from Him, love like Him.  Which to me means I tell you the truth if your doing something that hurts you or me so that we can restore relationship.  I love you enough to tell you the truth and set boundaries so that I don't keep doing things that hurt myself or you.  Relationships are what I think make us the most like Christ.  I have many friends who are struggling and I will be there like they are for me through the worst and best of life.  But these PD people are not struggling they have given in to these sinful ways, they punish, destroy, control,manipulate, gossip, purposley hurt people to make them conform to their thinking and way of life.  I believe they are giving you the silent treatment.  In your time of need they are showing you you are not meaningful to them, your struggle is not their problem.  When you are performing as they like - you get invitations positive reinforcement.  This is not how Jesus operated and I don't believe it's how we should operate.  They are not struggling - cut them loose, set the boundaries, pursue meaningful relationships in your life, or further invest in the ones you have.  Teach your kids to do so.  It took me a long time to get here.  I know this is easier for me to say than for you to do.  I just wanted people to tell me I'm not a jerk for doing this and I've finally found this to be true.  All my meaningful relationships have improved 10 fold since I let them go.  I even believe that was the plan all along.  I think God want us to let certain things go.  We just look so long at that door that is locked, screwed and shut that we are afraid to move forward.  I don't think you have closed the door - they did by their behavior.  You are allowed to set boundaries that make you feel like you can move past them because that relationship is at the moment a locked door.  Trust me if they change you would see it in behavior, words - they will become new people.  You will know, so will we, I'm just not waiting for them anymore and that's not mean.
I don't know how to say this without sounding crazy, but I think a lot of this is deliberate. I think every single thing has been set up to put things on our shoulders ("inform us of when DH wants us to visit" "ask for help if you need it") and then they can sit silent, not check in, not bring a meal, not help. Now, if we react in any way to this, we will be blamed for being "offended" or "unforgiving" or something else they want to label us. I think it's pushing buttons. I think they are trying to show us exactly how much DH and our family don't matter and are nearly DARING us to react to that. They think they've created the perfect defense for themselves (But, you didn't ASK for help!) and don't seem to have a clue that relationships are about feelings and bonds and not about whether behavior is defensible or not.

We did try to save the relationship by being honest with them a few times about how their behavior hurt us. It did not go well.

I agree that reconciliation depends on genuine acknowledgement of wrong doing. That has never happened. It's hard to imagine it ever will. I sense so much pride and anger and hurt and fear from them. I'm not sure they could ever get over the very large barrier.

All4peace,

Exercising self-protection or protection of our FOC is not always exactly the same as holding a grudge.

I found this link that I think addresses your concerns:

 http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/dont-mistake-awareness-of-the-past-with-holding-a-grudge-or-a-necessity-to-press-the-reset-button/
Weirdly, this whole post is in a way me forcing myself to "remember" the way they have behaved. I have a ridiculous willingness to overlook bad behavior. I think it's an unfortunate side effect of my childhood. If I saw them again, and if they were well behaved, I could seriously begin over time to rebuild a relationship with them. I did this for 20 years.

What I almost need is LESS forgiveness and more loyalty. Or maybe not less forgiveness, but less willingness to move forward as if they didn't just treat DH as if he was almost invisible during the hardest time he has faced so far in his life.

Thank you for the link! Here's a quote that was meaningful to me: "We can remember without ill will. We can gradually learn to let go of the hurt, anger and resentment, and hold on to the positive insights we have the opportunity to gain each time."

That's what I'm aiming for. I don't want to be angry or hateful, but I don't want to act as if they didn't seriously hurt DH this past winter. They did. They hurt him badly, and I believe they intended to.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 12:11:48 AM by all4peace »

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all4peace

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 12:18:33 AM »
Ok, here's what I think I'm trying to ask:

1. Who decides if their behavior has been unacceptable? It has felt very hurtful to DH, shocking to our friends and family around us, mystifying to those who are only vaguely aware of it. I think we've been on the receiving end of so much from them that we're overly used to it, and I think it's pretty fair to say they've been absolutely awful. And yet just a tiny part of me still wonders...
2. How do we live out our response to their behavior? It feels insanely disloyal to me to spend time with them anytime in the near future after their nearly total abandonment of DH in his time of need. Do we explain this to our kids, that we will focus our family's time and energy on friends and family who have been mutually loving and supportive?
3. For those of you still in contact with people who you feel offer no good and a lot of harm to your lives (still in contact for whatever reasons you have), how do you moderate your behavior to match what effort you feel the relationship merits? I am not used to withholding as much as I would want to withhold at this point. I do NOT want a confrontation. They are not looking for the truth. They are not being emotionally honest. They are not trying to reconcile. I do not want to have a conversation about why our family is going to be even less available for "family time" than we ever have been before. I can make excuses until the end of time (or DH can), I can MC them until death. But if they start going after our kids, then what?

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Fightsong

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 03:46:22 AM »
Hiya. you sound disappointed, let down and now annoyed maybe angry. I'm sorry you are facing such difficult circumstances. I dont know how you can bare to live so near. Your kids are not very little I think? I don't think you can play anything other than honesty , authenticity and allow them space and freedom to them make their  own minds up. If they are old enough. Other than that way over my head and I wish you the continued strength and peace you need. FS xx

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Love

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 07:57:53 AM »
I am sorry because this is so painful.  It's confusing and absolutely exhausting.  I think authenticity and honesty are the only ways through this.  I don't think you can continue in this relationship because there isn't a relationship.  Relationships are not this one sided, you are thinking about this, agonizing over this and what do they do, nothing but watch you squirm. 
I really believe honesty with them.  Trust me in went nowhere but down after we told them that they hurt us.  They denied, completely ignored our feeling and tried to make us think we were to blame by saying "they didn't know"  "If we had told them they would have stopped."  Please think about both of those statements.  They disregard all we are saying and they are lies.  We did tell them many times and we were punished each time.  They haven't stopped in fact they increased these behaviors.  You don't really need anyone to tell you, you are right.  What mother, father, sister abandons someone they love in their hour of need.  I wanted people to tell me I was right for separating myself.  In truth I didn't they created distance, separation - it is a natural consequence for that behavior. 
It is impossibly hard.  I question it day to day sometime, but there is no love there, no trust.  I badly want them to admit, and be loving but they never will.  Their pride and need to control will always keep them far from us.
I think you would feel better if you were honest and you lived in the truth.  "They are not people you want to be around because their behavior is toxic, hurtful and diminishes who you and your family can be in this life."  You can't possibly be living to the fullest while being tied to the lie that there is a relationship to salvage.  You can't salvage this by yourself.
Are you the mom, wife, friend, person you feel you should be?  Someone said to me that anyone who makes you feel less than a child of God is not someone God would keep in your life.  In the end these are people.  If you care about them you tell them the truth and you let them decided if they want to adjust or change to become a part of your life.  They will probably blame you and make it your fault.  There's your answer - usually from these people a responding "no".  Our time here is limited, to quote a famous speak - I'm a teacher so I apologize.  "We are apt to shut our eyes to a painful truth and listen to the sound of the sirens." (Patrick Henrey)  We would rather deal with lies because often they are less painful than the truth.  But the sirens (false people) will lure us in until we are crashed on the shore and stranded on the rocks to starve. 

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SquarePegs80

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Re: Loyalty, can we talk about it?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 08:32:31 AM »
I agree with Love and what others have said. A relationship whether it be friends or family is 2 sided not one. It pains me also to see you going through this with your in-laws. I made the decision sitting in my NMIL's kitchen that I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't so I went with not playing the dysfunctional game anymore and have made progress coming Out of the FOG but it is one day at a time and one step at a time.I have taken a lot of slack for not playing the PD family game but I have my integrity and truth and my sanity along with it. I have left PD husband to deal with all on his side and even made the mistake of allowing myself to take offense when they hurt him, all this did was hurt me. I now protect ME and me alone because that is all I really can control. I pray you find the answers you are looking for on how to resolve this painful situation in your life.  :hug:
Discover yourself like a Lotus flower in full bloom even in a muddy pond. Beautiful and Strong!