State of Mind

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practical

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State of Mind
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:43:55 PM »
So Fís big letter came three days ago (previous post about the the announcement of the letter can be found here: http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=63965.0). 5 handwritten pages full of aggression and when not openly aggressive then passive-aggressive, self-victimization, blaming & shaming and many, many, many of the other traits to induce FOG, it is like a textbook example for PD traits. For good measure he included a newspaper article about how old people arenít valued in society, at least I think that was his reading, there is a lot more in it, some of which he clearly skipped, and a picture of him with a note stating ďSo you know what your father looked like in the first week of March 2017Ē. He doesnít look good, his age, his health issues, you can see them, and also his unhappiness and bitterness. I donít think the picture was meant as a kind gesture for the family album, and it must have been quite some effort for him to obtain it. Simply put, it is a letter of indictment with the picture and the newspaper article being exhibits A and B.

I read the letter twice that day, actually ended up typing it out as I had difficulties with his handwriting and knew DH wouldnít be able to read it at all, and that turned out to be an interesting exercise, as I caught a lot more of the subtle undertones while typing.

F actually spells it out that he is displeased with Bís and my treatment of him, complains about the audacity of our behaviour towards him, and then goes on to list all the ways in which we have wronged him, how we made him sick, interfered with his care and his situation all around unbearable, kept him from leading an independent life. Railing against us is easier than taking responsibility for his own behaviours, his own decisions, or accepting that illness and age are things nobody can do anything about and yelling at the universe apparently seems futile to him (it wonít give him any attention), while with us we might respond.

Interestingly only I got this letter, not B, even though he attacks us both in it. I donít know whether it is because he can physically talk to B (doesnít seem he has) or whether it is because he is dependent on B and despite all his official displeasure uses B and SIL without reservation, or whether he thinks this will make me fall back in line. Iím not going to try to figure it out, this is his issue, his thinking.

The whole letter left me with one feeling: I donít know whom he is writing about nor about what reality. Whomever he addresses as ďDear PracticalĒ it isnít me, and the way he has reshaped the events of the last half year to fit his purpose of being a victim, makes me think in his mind reality is made out of playdough and not facts and can be twisted every which way.

This is pretty much going to be my answer to his letter, that I cannot respond, as I donít recognize anything in it and leave it at that.

I really had no real reaction to that letter. No reaction not in the sense of dissociating, but rather I felt calm and a sense of clarity and this has been the same for three days now. This is who he is and is going to be going forward. Yes, in the past there may have been moments where we connected, but that was on page 5 of ďRemembrance of Things PastĒ and we are now beyond page 800 Ė maybe even further along.

I still donít know why he sent the card stating I donít need to do anything, he can fend for himself, the day after the letter, except if it is for more self-victimization. Given the tone of the letter, there was little likelihood I was going to do anything now being OOTF, but then again this is something he doesnít understand while trying to fight it.

My overall feeling has been one of tranquility, wistfulness, a subtle sense of melancholy about how ephemeral things are, including our illusions to which we sometimes cling so badly, like mine of a real father. Whatever my relationship with F ever was, it seems to be carried away on a river like a tiny float and Iím just watching it. Iím not trying to stop it. I have a deep sense of clarity and quietitude, as if on the inside Iím sitting in the Lotus pose and seeing time pass by. Iím watching the various cherries and other trees blossom and fade in our garden, their leaves unfolding in turn, the sucession of daffodills, windflowers and others, and feel a peaceful sense of the passage of time.

Walking along
My shadow beside me
Watching the moon.
(Sodo)

ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 11:25:29 PM »
Like a memory in motion,
You were only passing through
That is all you've ever known of life,
That's all you'll ever do.
There's a dream I have where I sail away;
Looking back I wave at you,
And I wave goodbye

From the song "Caroline" by Concrete Blonde

Your dad is like Ray - and army of one, waging war on the world from a wheelchair.

Ray wasn't as overtly aggressive - he'd tell others about all this money he had, and that I didn't want any of it and instruct them *not* to call me - knowing damned well they would.

He only got aggressive-aggressive when he was in the nursing home and decisions were being made *for* him - that's why I went NC.  He thought still had a puppy to kick - well, I'm no puppy and if you try kicking me, I walk away.

I think a part of your dad and Ray's problems stem from the fact that we grew up, they hold no power over us and we don't live in terror of, "Just wait until your father gets home!  Then you're really gonna get it!"

All they have are words - angry words, demands, shouts, threats, blame - but words.  And those words have no power if we choose to give them none.

I think you're right - the best reaction to his rant and "never mind!" card is to do nothing.  Take him at face value.

But I think the real intent of the "never mind!" card was to light more of a fire under your butt, so that flight he's probably convinced you've got booked for sometime next week gets moved up to *today.*

I really do think he expects you to come there, groveling on your belly, so he can scream at you in person.   :roll:

I'm glad you're Out of the FOG and not beating yourself up over his hateful words.  It's good to be at peace and know we made the right decisions for ourselves.  Instead of being tied up in knots, trying to fix things far beyond our control, we're enjoying watching plants, flowers and trees erupt with colorful, vivid life as Spring advances.   :)

 :hug:

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illogical

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 02:43:21 AM »
What I hear in your post is that you have relinquished the role of Scapegoat for your father. 

Very beautiful and powerful last paragraph of your post.  I'm happy you are at peace.  :hug:
"This time I would choose to err on the side of illogic.  I had to trust intuition, and plunge as I had never plunged before, with blind faith." 
Dean Koontz, Forever Odd

"You will only be understood by those who care to understand."

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Fightsong

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 02:47:30 AM »
Wow. That's a powerful image of you sitting in your serenity whilst the unhappiness rages, and  you letting it go, not reacting, being you.  Serenity.  Power to you!

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lightworld

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 06:14:15 AM »
I see this as cathartic for you so you've finally been able to realise what your relationship with your F is really like and can finally be free of it while still viewing him with a certain objective compassion.  It's beautiful the way you put it.   

He's obviously been storing this stuff up and grinding away on it for ages probably since he started to  feel like he was losing control, not just of you but of his aging and failing health. I found with my f that the raging accusations, rewriting  history etc has no basis in reality just like your F's letter. We are objects onto which they can project their frustration at the way their life has turned out. As we know it is never their fault so the scapegoat gets it. I find  it interesting that your F didn't send a similar letter to your B but I think you're right,he still needs B and SIL 'onside' so will not want to upset them and also they have not done as you have done with boundaries and MC which has obviously upset him more.

I'm so pleased for you that you have found serenity while dealing with this and I hope your life going forward will be without the constant anxiety, hypervigilance and second guessing common to a lot of us. You have come through a lot recently with your F and you seem finally able to recognise your own needs and put them first. Congratulations what a tremendous achievement. :drinks:
"Hope springs eternal..."Alexander Pope

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Bloomie

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 11:28:31 AM »
Practical - went back and read your other post to get caught up with what has been going on. This letter, this declaration - the final and pitiful cry of a powerless old man. The tiger has no teeth...maybe literally, but definitely emotionally and psychologically because you are whole and steady and sure of your infinite value and the truth of what really has gone on over time in your relationship with him. Your shield is in place and your heart is guarded.

Quote from: Practical
My overall feeling has been one of tranquility, wistfulness, a subtle sense of melancholy about how ephemeral things are, including our illusions to which we sometimes cling so badly, like mine of a real father. Whatever my relationship with F ever was, it seems to be carried away on a river like a tiny float and Iím just watching it. Iím not trying to stop it. I have a deep sense of clarity and quietitude, as if on the inside Iím sitting in the Lotus pose and seeing time pass by. Iím watching the various cherries and other trees blossom and fade in our garden, their leaves unfolding in turn, the sucession of daffodills, windflowers and others, and feel a peaceful sense of the passage of time.

Walking along
My shadow beside me
Watching the moon.
(Sodo)

This is so moving and beautiful. You are strong and courageous and very wise. I am so thankful you have found this beautiful serenity. :drinks:


Bloomie 🌸


"It's not what we don't know that hurts us, people say. Its what we believe is true that isn't, that does the damage." Melodie Beatty
"If the individual put as much effort into being a good person as they do into pretending to be one, they could actually be a good person." A. Brenner MD

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practical

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 03:39:25 PM »
But I think the real intent of the "never mind!" card was to light more of a fire under your butt, so that flight he's probably convinced you've got booked for sometime next week gets moved up to *today.*

I really do think he expects you to come there, groveling on your belly, so he can scream at you in person.   :roll:
I hadn't even considered that this was an invitation to visit him and do my personal trip to Canossa  :aaauuugh: Somehow I think I'll pass :roll:

WI, at some point we should check our family trees and see whether they are not brothers after all  :stars:

Yes, it is his last stand and he doesn't understand why his toy is broken, we I won't respond to his summons, and like a frustrated toddler he is yelling and screaming and does so eloquently in his letter.

For the first time ever I also felt no need to share with DH immediately when it happened. He had a lot to do and then was away on business, I felt I could handle this on my own and he would be better off having his head where he was, especially as he really gets upset when F abuses me. So DH was rather surprised when he only found out last night, three days after the letter arrived and saw how calm I was. In the past I would have rehashed the letter again and again, it would have been the topic for several days, F in a sense would have entered out house, our lives, now it almost drifted by. - I did do quite a bit of journaling, but more to keep a record to look back to, to be able to reconnect with this moment in my journey OOTF and work out a minor issue. For me this feels like a defining moment. I know it is one step on a long journey, it feels like a much bigger step though. I feel like I stepped out of torrential rain and beyond it is amazing calm and soft light.

Another first happened with B. I scanned the letter for him, but Ionly emailed it at the end of the day when I knew he would be asleep so I had time to think about a possible response to F without interference. When we talked the next day, I was rather firm in my stance that either I won't respond at all or only that I cannot answer the letter as I cannot relate to anything in it. B wanted to draft a few lines addressing a specific misrepresentation and have me send it to F, he got a clear No from me, after all the letter was addressed only to me and only I had gotten a copy. He didn't like it one bit and I think I'm getting ST from him now, as he hasn't responded to two of my emails since, which also hasn't disturbed my calm, but rather confirmed that I'm on the right path. We have written together in the past, but that was when the letter was addressed to both of us and we each got a copy. For me addressing anything contained in the letter feels like an exercise in futility, taking the bait, and really, how do you pick between all the crazy?

I couldn't have done any of this without you guys. :bighug:
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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stasia

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2017, 05:11:16 PM »
Wow, you are handling this so well and I'm so glad to hear that you've found some clarity around all of this.

For good measure he included a newspaper article about how old people arenít valued in society, at least I think that was his reading, there is a lot more in it, some of which he clearly skipped,

Ugh.  :roll:This totally sounds like something that my M would do. Right out of her playbook. I'm really surprised that she hasn't yet!

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Malini

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2017, 01:32:30 AM »
[quote
I really had no real reaction to that letter. No reaction not in the sense of dissociating, but rather I felt calm and a sense of clarity and this has been the same for three days now. /quote]

That sounds as if you have reached a place of emotional detachment to me, and I'm so pleased for you that this is where you are now.  :cheer:

The whole theatrics of the card first, aimed at getting you all worried about what was to come in the letter, hoping that's all you'll think about until the letter comes, that way, your FAAAAATHER will not slip from your mind for a second. And then the letter, filled with nothing that would even make you hesitate or vacillate in your decision to maintain your distance from him. And then the photo, so dramatic, and with that comment, as if we could EVER forget what they looked like, and quite frankly, whenever I get a visual reminder of how old and frail and unwell they are, I am even MORE resolved in my NC decision, because I would NEVER want to be wrangled into caregiving them.

All your hard work and pain and sadness, and so much more,  has finally brought you to a place of serenity and calm and I am picturing you enjoying the spring blossoms, rather than digging yourself a hole under that tree to crawl into, as his plan backfires neatly (for him).
 :elephant:
 :hug:
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

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illogical

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2017, 06:34:42 AM »
...Another first happened with B. I scanned the letter for him, but I only emailed it at the end of the day when I knew he would be asleep so I had time to think about a possible response to F without interference. When we talked the next day, I was rather firm in my stance that either I won't respond at all or only that I cannot answer the letter as I cannot relate to anything in it. B wanted to draft a few lines addressing a specific misrepresentation and have me send it to F, he got a clear No from me, after all the letter was addressed only to me and only I had gotten a copy. He didn't like it one bit and I think I'm getting ST from him now, as he hasn't responded to two of my emails since, which also hasn't disturbed my calm, but rather confirmed that I'm on the right path.

I think you are very wise in not letting your B respond, or give you any input for a response, which would be like an encouragement.  The less acknowledgement to your F the better, regarding his card and "victim rant".  He obviously is desperate for supply and is pulling out all the stops to try to provoke a response from you. 

As your B and his wife remain enmeshed with your father, your B is still trying to apply logic to an irrational and illogical person.  It sounds like he wants to "set the record" straight with your father.  While this may be well-meaning, it is an exercise in futility, as I'm sure you know. 

Do you think your brother will bring up the letter with your father?  At least if he does, you gave your brother essentially a "no reaction" response, so he doesn't have anything to report regarding your reaction.  For your father, it's all about getting you on an emotional plane so he can manipulate your emotions.  And it's so great you didn't let him take you there, as you are in a field observing the beautiful wildflowers, rather than reacting to his ridiculous rant.
"This time I would choose to err on the side of illogic.  I had to trust intuition, and plunge as I had never plunged before, with blind faith." 
Dean Koontz, Forever Odd

"You will only be understood by those who care to understand."

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daughter

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2017, 08:58:32 AM »
A decade before my final NC decision, a particularly bad behavior episode involving NBM and NF caused me to finally "go NC" for 1st time in my life, me realizing that my parents really really were that "emotionally-destructive sociopath npd-enmeshed parental couple".  I promptly went back into therapy (very helpful), quietly remained NC for several months.  Life was good, if quite different, with me no longer the "dutiful daughter" overtly-disfavored "doormat" SG to my parents and nsis.  (My parents disinherited me during this 1st NC period.)

And then one day, four months into that 1st short NC, just before Christmas holiday season, doorbell rings and it's my NBM, having driven the short 20 minutes to my home (1st and last time ever).  My initial gut-response was "don't answer door", but my deeply-ingrained "good girl" sensibility compelled me to open door and greet her: "hello, mom".  NBM's first words, finger-wagging, shouted at me:  "you're seeing someone aren't you!".  Not meaning "affair", but "therapy", as in "how dare you tell our family secrets".  NBM then rebuked me, ordered me to "stop seeing therapist immediately, because they always blame the mother", and that I "made her (NBM) unhappy her (NBM's) life", that she "disliked" me and was "sick" of me.  There was no Loving Mother here.  There was no "I miss you daughter", no "I'm sorry for being so mean to you" (or apology for specific trigger episode, her inexcusably horrible behavior towards me), no empathetic or welcoming gesture whatsoever. Is this what "family" should be for me?  And yet after NBM howled at me for an hour, I agreed to our dinner with my parents, and resumed contact nonetheless for another decade, when another horrible Big Bad Behavior episode compelled me to finally "go NC".  That was five years ago.

Yes, it's baffling to me, but perhaps a hallmark trait of the npd-parent's dysfunctional belief-system, that an adult-child is obligated to absorb the emotional abuse of an angry and malevolent parent, to dutifully comply to expectation and demand, to appease their grandiose sense of self-entitlement, to tolerate their abiding sense of complete control over their adult-children's lives.  These npd-parents are often graced with "good girl/dutiful daughters" who've long patiently dealt with these difficult parents in a kind and loving manner, who didn't become "black sheep" outcasts, who remain attentive to their abusive parents, until that dysfunctional dynamic becomes too painful to passively shoulder.  When we finally begin to withdraw, to practice lessened contact and Medium Chill (which infuriated my parents), these npd-parents strike back with vicious anger, thinking their rage and rancor will draw us back in.  Our parents don't want "reconciliation".  Their self-entitlement reigns supreme.  Their demand is full-stop capitulation, surrender, and defeat of their adult-children's sense of independence.   
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 09:06:34 AM by daughter »

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Coyote23

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2017, 12:05:22 PM »
It's been awhile since I've visited the boards, but every time I do I see a post by you that is so eerily mirroring my own situation, I do a double take. I have a six page letter of my own, full of vitriol, another textbook example of what a narcissist would write.

It's almost like they are forcing us to go NC by creating a situation so toxic that we would betray our self respect to continue the relationship as is. Like a six-page taunt.

I'm happy to see that there's a layer of protection around you that seems to be buffering you from the suffering your F intended. 

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2017, 08:43:16 AM »
The painted vision of you in serene lotus pose is beautiful and the lovely haiku type words at the end so appropriate. 

Agree with the others that the second follow-up card was just in case the long long letter didn't work well enough.The whole thing was a call to grovel.
Each and every contact with a PD person results in damage. Plan accordingly and make time to heal. See Toolbox for tips. "The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause." Mark Twain

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practical

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 05:06:23 AM »
Thanks everybody!

Illogical, I have no idea what B will do, and my approach is "Not my circus not my monkeys", I'm trying to stay far away from his enmeshment.

Despite dealing with the letter and its content so calmly, it still did damage. It is like another piece broke away, and I now have to heal this hole he created. The good thing is, I know by now I can do it, the sad thing is that it is necessary, that I have a parent who is out to create wounds, who doesn't care what he destroys.

Well, back to my calm inner place to do some more healing.

ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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lightworld

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2017, 08:37:45 AM »
I wish you all the  peace and serenity you need to get through this.  :hug:   LW
"Hope springs eternal..."Alexander Pope

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Zebrastriped

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 07:21:38 AM »
Practical, wow, that's alot of venom in a letter.  Its amazing that you are so calm about it.  I wish you pretty flowers and happily chirping birds in your healing place.

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practical

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2017, 06:24:31 AM »
Practical, wow, that's alot of venom in a letter.
Venom, that word describes it perfectly.  I don't know why it hadn't clicked in my brain before I saw this word, it is the word F would use to describe M when she was in a rage about her kids, about him - her enabler and abuser -, and it is what he does himself, and has done for a long time, only in the past it was directed outside the family usually.
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Fightsong

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2017, 10:27:31 AM »
Practical, wow, that's alot of venom in a letter.
Venom, that word describes it perfectly.  I don't know why it hadn't clicked in my brain before I saw this word,

first time my T used the word venom, I felt like that, sort of A-Ha! yes pecisely. Venom.

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Fightsong

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2017, 10:29:18 AM »
i see im still not quite getting the quote things right. thanks for baring with.......!

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Bloomie

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Re: State of Mind
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2017, 12:47:35 PM »
Fightsong... popping in to offer this link to a tutorial that has "visuals" to use the quote feature - which have been a big help for me..

http://outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=3153.0

Thanks Practical for letting me crash your thread with this!  :wave:
Bloomie 🌸


"It's not what we don't know that hurts us, people say. Its what we believe is true that isn't, that does the damage." Melodie Beatty
"If the individual put as much effort into being a good person as they do into pretending to be one, they could actually be a good person." A. Brenner MD