"We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"

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all4peace

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"We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« on: September 05, 2017, 10:16:18 PM »
My dad recently requested spending time with my family, just him. DH has been hearing about his role in my childhood and didn't want him around. DD had other things going on, so it was just me and dad nowhere near our home. It was very enjoyable.

Later, I sent him a friendly text, and he used that as a bridge to talking about texting DD. I called him, let him know I was uncomfortable with him and mom having a texting relationship with DD until we'd worked on our relationship between adults (m and d called maybe twice last year, go months without texting and are 50:50 on whether they speak to us at family gatherings at this point).

Dad wanted to argue, and did. I politely told him that I heard what he was saying, but I was the parent, and besides why would he want to argue against my offer to work on our relationship? I got into some of mom's issues (lying, digging for information about her kids through the grandchildren) and dad "felt the need to defend her." Later he indicated that he wants DH and I to get together with him and mom to talk. DH refuses and I wouldn't want him there, as he's getting very angry with my parents at this point and their lousy and disrespectful behavior.

Here's what I feel:
Angry that it would require a conversation to figure out how to be a decent human being.
Anxious, as I believe I would be a sitting duck ready to get blasted or attacked (verbally).
Mistrustful that they have any intention beyond JADE.
Disgusted, as I believe they are simply going to try to force me to see things "their way," which involves excusing mom's behavior and staying connected as a family despite it ("We need to be more tolerant of each other")

Here's what I think:
I cannot fathom an actual conversation in which I wouldn't end up saying incredibly angry things, as I'm working in therapy right now on the childhood memories and they are gushing out. uNBPD?m would come ready to try to force her will on me, and I am not in a place right now to stay civil with her.

What could this possibly accomplish? I'm not willing to accept any blame whatsoever for the state of our relationship, and they do not accept responsibility for their behavior. Period. I could acknowledge that I have hurt them with my distance, but I will not take the blame for that.

I think I am going to make them very, very angry. I am no longer a little child. I have had enough. They will not accomplish what they want to, and they are not going to like how the conversation goes. They are controlling, and they can no longer control me, and it would not go well.



IF I ever agreed to talk to them (I'll discuss this with T first), I would have these parameters:
1. If dad tries to "defend" mom, I will walk out. No honest person of integrity needs as much "defense" as she seems to need, and she is VERY capable of "defending herself." She's an adult. She can speak for herself. Her actions can speak for themselves.
2. I will not be bullied or bulldozed or shouted down.

I think anything that needs to be said can be done in writing, where everyone can stay calm and collected. I'd welcome all thoughts and opinions. Thank you in advance!

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daughterofbpd

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 01:18:08 AM »
My first thought is that now might not be a good time for this. Is it possible to go temp NC or VLC until you work through some of your childhood stuff? Your DH is a part of this too so I think it would be good to have him by your side for support and also to represent his issues with your parents. I understand your inclination to leave him out, though. My DH doesn't really believe in the whole PD thing, he still thinks you can use logic with my mom. He can also be a bit of an instigator. I know I need to be tougher on my parents, but sometimes his first reaction is a little too over the top to be helpful. So yeah, if your DH is anything like that, I can see that might not be a good idea. If you can keep the discussion to email then maybe it'll be easier to keep him involved. I don't think there's anything wrong with requesting to have the conversation in writing. You need to feel safe to express yourself. You can't do that in a hostile environment.

I agree with you, I don't feel hopeful that the conversation would accomplish much. Your mom would have to be self aware enough to realize that she is doing those behaviors. I think my mom would deny - but she'd also truly believe her own denial - and that's where the problem lies. If you aren't able to self reflect enough to see that you have a problem than how is anything ever going to change?

It is really sad that our parents need to be told how to treat us with basic human decency. And sad that our fathers choose to defend their wives over their children. I think, for my dad, he wasn't taught any different from his parents and this is what he thinks is normal. He's also allowed my mom to isolate him from everyone else in the world so he stays codependent- she is all he has and he doesn't have the confidence to be on his own.

I also find it infuriating that our parents think they can just bypass us and go straight to our children. It doesn't work that way  :sadno:

All of this is really difficult and I don't have the answers, but I wanted to lend some support. Good luck with everything and keep us posted.
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illogical

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 06:35:16 AM »
From what you've posted,  I think a "conversation" would have disaster written all over it.

I think you have to go at this at your own pace, so you feel in control.  It's easy to get side-tracked and lose focus if you try to "talk things out" with a PD.  From my experience, my NM always had an agenda behind whatever it was she did or said.  And that agenda was self-serving.

Also from my experience, talk is often cheap, very cheap.  While I think you could have more control over writing, rather than discourse, I don't know how much even writing would accomplish at this point, given your thoughts and feelings on the matter.  It seems to me you have a pretty good handle on what would happen. 

I like daughterofbpd's idea that maybe now is not the time for this.  I don't know how much you've already laid out your boundaries, but if you have made them clear, then I would sit tight and wait for them to act in respecting those boundaries.  And I would base my decisions on level of contact accordingly.  That is, I would weigh their actions heavily and pretty much discount their words.  Take care.
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coyote

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 08:37:41 AM »
all4peace,
I totally agree with everything you said. Good for you to have so much insight, strength to stand for what's right with your kids and H and fortitude to be consistent and not let them wear you down.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
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Iguanagos

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 08:40:07 AM »
Mine tried something similar: "I don't understand why nobody talks anymore!" The implication being, why aren't we like these other families that she sees that are close and supportive, particularly as the parents get elderly? There's another thread on here from daughterofbpd about parents wanting forgiveness as they get older so they can go to their grave with a fantasy of a happy family and them as good parents.

Well gee Mom, perhaps it's because you triangulated your kids for so many years that you destroyed whatever relationships might now exist between them. You never provided the basic unconditional love and wholehearted support that other children enjoyed in abundance over the years as they grew up.

In our FOO, all kids have grown and gone off on our own ways and dealt with this deficient parenting as best we could, developing our own PDs or anxiety disorders as a result.

You only get one shot at raising your children. There are no do-overs later in life. Even if she were to suddenly gain self-awareness and honestly, deeply apologize to all of her children for what she did, it wouldn't erase the impacts on all of us.

But it's a moot point isn't it? There's almost zero chance that a PD will develop self-awareness and deeply apologize. What she wants is absolution and forgiveness without that. Well I'd like to have a million bucks without working for it too, but that's not going to happen either.

It is infuriating when the EF is enabling her behavior. Mine too will always back her no matter what, they are a unit. That's fine for them, but it only makes any progress on the relationship that much harder.

My parents raised the question, as yours did, of wanting to "talk about things". I knew this would go absolutely nowhere, so what I did was to tell them, in writing, that if they really wanted progress it would involve therapy. I knew that would be the end of it. There is NO way that N/BM and EF are going to take a chance at having to be responsible for their behaviors over many years.

By mentioning therapy, I was also saying that I consider what's happened to be deep and not something superficial that can be easily swept under a rug. In other words, don't go there unless you're willing to do some very difficult work.

I told them in the absence of that, they are going to have to just accept that their kids have done the best they can and grown up. I told them that they are going to have to deal with things as they are, not as they wish they could be.

I think this will come up again during our next visit, so I'm prepared to bring this up again and once again set the specter of therapy on the table in between us. In our FOO's case, it's like garlic to a vampire.

Good luck with this. I think discussions like this are a road to nowhere and will just tie us ACONs up in knots. I hope you can find a way to deal with this that works for you.

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bopper

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2017, 09:03:42 AM »
"Dad, the whole reason I won't have mom around is she and you don't respect our boundaries.  You pressuring me is not respecting our boundaries...why would I want to change anything at this point? You may wonder what you can do..well we can do things like we just did...we had a nice time together. I enjoyed X place and talking to you. I felt you valued spending time with me...as a person, not just as a method to get access to my kids. "
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all4peace

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 09:06:35 AM »
daughterofbpd--the reason my DH doesn't want to be included is he would blow his top. The reason I don't want him included is he would blow his top. Plus, if I would tell my dad that mom must speak for herself, then I feel I must also speak for myself. I feel I would need to stand as an adult, and use my adult voice, and that it might do something important for me. My parents silenced me my entire life. I was slapped into silence, punished into silence, ignored into silence. IF I speak, I need to speak alone with my own voice. But I do feel the need to have a witness. Just not DH.

I'm so sad for your father's isolation and codependence. That is exactly the same situation here. Thank you for sharing and for confirming that going around us to our kids isn't ok!

illogical--thank you for the validation to take it easy at at my own pace. And I very much agree there will be a self-serving agenda. There shouldn't be a need to talk about how to treat each other kindly, unless I'm about to get blasted for all my "wrongs" which will NOT be linked to uNBPD?m's behavior SINCE everything she does is misunderstood or justifiable or totalllllly intended to be kind and loving, etc. It is all so very deniable.


This is super triggering for me as in childhood our dad's "defense" of mom was physical violence. He administered most of the beatings, on her request. And when we made her very, very angry, those were the times he would grab my sister or me and slam us into the wall while she looked on, appearing to feel vindicated and happy. When my D had a shouting conversation with me 1+ years ago, I flashed back to childhood and realized it was exactly the same feeling as then--dad "protecting" mom by slamming into us children.

I'm a mother of 2. My kids are teens. We've come through plenty together. DH and I would NEVER "defend" each other if the other one was losing it. If DH crossed a line, I would step between him and our children to protect them. And he would for me. We try to back each other up in calm and supportive ways, but there is no chance that either of us would "defend" the other if the other was behaving badly. It boggles the mind. I guess it is my parents' reality and perhaps they didn't realize we grew up, observed the world around us, and figured out how abnormal it is.

I had a conversation with my sister yesterday and made the point that a person behaving with integrity shouldn't need to be "defended" so often. And it was like a lightbulb went off for her, too. We've gotten so used to it that it has become normalized. It's almost tempting to have this conversation with them JUST to make mom speak for herself, for once. What a bully, to behave the way she does and then step back into her "hurt and victimized" stance, and send dad out to fight her battles for her. It's pathetic. And yes, I'm definitely angry.

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daughter

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 08:54:23 PM »
A4P: one nice afternoon, and dad's immediately pressing his agenda and making his demands.   

So, key question: how is it possible to establish an appropriate relationship with your parents when there's no past history to suggest such a "new" relationship is even possible. You've changed, they've not. You're OOTF, they're still operating on dysfunctional rules of inappropriate expectations and unreasonable demands.  You're an adult, they're still acting like you're obligated to obey them like a child.  I think it's not possible to amicably resolve these fundamental issues in a manner suitable for OOTF you. I've embraced notion that NO grandparents can be far better for my kids than their pd-disordered mean-spirited meddling grandparents, pouting and tantruming and arguing and raging, causing turmoil and emotional upheaval far too often.

My vote?  I encourage a Pavlovian response-strategy: their bad behavior (including demands) receives your further disengagement, while good behavior gets cautious contact. But I'm not optimistic that this monitoring-approach works long term; didn't for me.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 08:57:59 PM by daughter »

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all4peace

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 10:59:54 AM »
all4peace,
I totally agree with everything you said. Good for you to have so much insight, strength to stand for what's right with your kids and H and fortitude to be consistent and not let them wear you down.
It's amazing how little it took to shake our adult relationship. I wasn't even "standing up against" anything in the beginning, just not initiating ALL the contact with them. I was anxious, depressed and overwhelmed. They nearly lost all contact while I continued to try to stay in contact. But then they started acting like victims and truly behaving badly, ignoring me at family get-togethers, trying to go to the kids in back hallways to make plans, and the other things I've detailed on this forum. Now I actually do have to stand between them and my kids.

iguanagos, may I ask what your current relationship with your parents looks like? I'm assuming they didn't go to therapy. Since our DD only has 3 years left at home, I'd really like to aim for very MC interactions a few times a year, enough to allow them appropriate access to our kids without doing too much damage to me.

bopper, I love your practical suggestion. So often it's hard to come up with a way to say what needs to be said. Of course dad would totally deny it all.

daughter, I actually missed it the first time he texted. If it had been the ILs I would have immediately seen the Nice on day 1 leads to Request on day 2. Missed it with dad until DH pointed it out.  And you bring out an obvious observation: I am OOTF. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago. I'm not yet willing to offer my children nearly no family on both sides. I am willing to carefully try to find a middle ground here for a few more years. They may make that impossible, but I'm far more ready to play this game with them now than I ever have been in my life.

I agree that it's unlikely to work. My parents are strong willed, stubborn and controlling, actually all the things dad accused me of being in his shouting monologue with me a couple years ago. They do NOT give ground, back down, give in. And most especially not to me. So, it all depends on how much I'm willing to play the game and how diplomatically I can play it. I have a few more therapy sessions to figure it out.

One thing I told T that was such a relief to realize: As soon as I knew that I could say "no" to the (nearly immediate) request for a meeting, relief flooded my body. I didn't have to give in to them. I am an adult. I have power and control of my own choices and life. They do not have anything I need or want. They are not in control of my children. They cannot hurt me (too much) anymore. Once I realized that for once this actually was nearly entirely on my terms, I just felt relief and peace. I don't want to be a jerk, but I'm also not going to be bullied any longer.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 11:13:14 AM by all4peace »

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Iguanagos

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 07:17:19 PM »
iguanagos, may I ask what your current relationship with your parents looks like? I'm assuming they didn't go to therapy. Since our DD only has 3 years left at home, I'd really like to aim for very MC interactions a few times a year, enough to allow them appropriate access to our kids without doing too much damage to me.

My current relationship is:  calls to N/BM and EF about twice a month, visits once a year for a few days, DH and I stay in a hotel.  You are correct that they did not go to therapy, and in fact did not even acknowledge my letter.  That's fine with me, I said what I needed to say.  What they do with it is up to them.

This level of contact does not satisfy N/BM, especially the short infrequent in-person visits, but given the big geographic distance it's what I am willing to do.  She seems okay with the call schedule, which involves mostly her yammering for an hour about her aches and pains and people I don't know   :blahblahblah:   and me (distractedly) listening while doing other household chores or exercises.

A big difference between your situation and mine is that we have no kids.  That would definitely complicate the picture.  Only you know how important it is to you to continue contact with your parents. As Daughter pointed out, she decided that no contact with PD grandparents can be better than any.

I too felt, as you did, intense relief when my T validated me and said I could decide what level of contact worked for me.  I know that's obvious, but it was monumental when a trained professional said that to me! 

So where I am now is that I have given up on the fantasy that there will ever be substantial change in N/BM and EF.  I accept them as they are.  And as they are, I can't handle them for more than a few days in a year.  When they try to get me back in my long-term role as "family fixer", I politely decline with as little JADEing as possible (still working on this one).  So now N/BM runs out of the room crying.  Yeah, visits to their home are a barrel of fun.   :sadno:

I don't know if any of this helps for your situation, but you asked how our contact goes now, so there it is in case it's helpful.  I hope you can come to a formula for contact that works best for you and your FOC.

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all4peace

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 07:28:26 PM »
Thank you for sharing! I hope to find a sweet spot that is tolerable for all of us. They will end up dictating a fair amount of the level of contact, however, as their mode of coping with all the "hurt" I'm inflicting on them by expecting a slightly reciprocal relationship is to go ST, stop communicating pretty much at all and not speak to me when we're at family gatherings. So....

I'm truly glad you've found that place of acceptance and protection for yourself.

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AmericanWoman

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2017, 09:35:17 PM »


Late to the vote here :wave: sry!

If I were you I would think with a situation like that you would have a much better time down at some seedy river waterfront bar and grill (sarcasm) - No way would I walk into that Lions Den!!!  :aaauuugh:
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Lastof7

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 06:50:02 AM »
Something similar happened to DH with his uBPD mother.  In fact it's almost been a year ago (wow, that went by quick).  ILs had an issue at their house and FIL called DH to see if he knew someone who could fix it.  DH knew "someone" who could most likely fix their issue, but he was not a professional fixer, but gave FIL the number anyway, and also gave him some suggestions what to do in the meantime (my DH can fix anything, but this particular issue he cannot).  He told FIL we had to take my B1 to the airport and that he'd check back in with him when we got back.  Well, the "someone" didnt return the ILs phone call (DH's fault obviously...always is when the recommendations fall through).

No sooner did we get back from the airport (literally had just pulled in the driveway) with MIL calls going OFF on DH.  How he always does stuff for my family, but never for his own parents (notice the absolutes "always" and "never"...how i love Kris Godinez).  DH said FIL did not ask for help, but simply asked for the name of a professional and DH told him what he could and would be happy to look at the issue when we got back, but already knew he could not fix the issue.  Daggone, i dont know what else she said, but it set a fire under DH and he started yelling at her (i was so proud).  Then she screams "YOU NEED TO COME OVER HERE SO WE CAN TALK!!!"  Uhhh.  No he doesn't, he tells her.  There's nothing to be said that cant be said over the phone.  Well, that pissed her off even more.

Now that i have this thread to read over, i was able to mull this situation over and determined she just wanted DH on her own turf so she could feel controlling.  So she can yell more and tell him how horrible a son he is, and how it would have been all about "THAT family".  It would not have been a "let's talk this out" kind of scenario.   She doesnt talk.  She bitches and complains.  And DH has been the literal and figurative "fixer" his entire life.  He admitted to me in front of friends the other day that he was parentified (he didnt use that term...i just asked him if MIL always dumped her adult problems on his lap growing up and he said yes.  FIL worked opposite shift so DH never saw him growing up and FIL never participated in DH's life events).

So yeah, when these PDs say "we need to talk" it'll always be their side, you cant get a word in edgewise, solves absolutely nothing, and it only makes the relationship worse.

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Inurdreams

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Re: "We need to have a talk" and "I feel the need to defend mom"
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 08:55:17 AM »
\

So yeah, when these PDs say "we need to talk" it'll always be their side, you cant get a word in edgewise, solves absolutely nothing, and it only makes the relationship worse.


 :yeahthat:


I have found that the whole "we need to talk" is just that. They need to talk; you need to listen and submit to their demands.

I also read something recently and if I can find it again I will post it, but it said that when a parent or some other authority figure says this to an adult it's a preemptive form of intimidation.  The fact that you are stressing over it now is exactly the goal. So you go to the "meeting" already a nervous wreck and that's exactly what they want.

Just my opinion but I also think that these "meetings" are arranged face to face because when we are there, we don't have time to careful consider exactly what they are saying and how we could effectively respond, or not.  And anything they say or we say can always be twisted to their advantage.

I also see these "meetings" demanded by my own ILs as a precursor to their idea of reconciliation.  If they can bully DH into agreeing to a meeting, then they are one step closer to sucking DH back in.  I think they feel their next demand would be more readily met by DH because in their minds they have already succeeded with step one.

I have become very cynical about anything to do with "meetings".  To me they are just another weapon in the PD arsenal and not at all used by them for any sort of peaceful solution, at least to us.


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