Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!

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free_thoughts

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Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« on: September 12, 2017, 03:47:49 AM »
I posted a while ago about discovering I was being given the silent treatment: http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=67201.msg593893#msg593893

The ST has been broken by a heartfelt message from my mum. I suppose it was inevitable, but the nature of the message was not what I was expecting. One of her friends has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this I already knew, but she has visited her recently and seen that she had gone downhill a lot more rapidly than expected which I think has shocked her.

She says in her message that this has made her realise that everything else is petty in comparison and that she would like us to agree to disagree... I really don't know what she is referring to here, has she really thought all of this has been about a disagreement??? This absolutely baffles me!

She goes on to say that she has realised from talking to her friends about me, that not all families are perfect and everyone has their issues (this is something I have come to realise too). Then invites me out to dinner with her and my dad.

She finishes by stating that if we don't air our grievances then maybe it will work.... this is the part that I have the most issues with. She is basically ignoring everything I have previously said about working on our relationship and is offering to brush all those negative feelings aside to have a 'normal dinner' together. How typical.

At first sight I thought this was a really positive step my mum had taken, and I was thinking about responding to her and agreeing to meet, but having given myself some time to think about it I am offended by her offer and feel like she is continuing to deny me my feelings as always... for me it is a real 'sit down, shut up and comply' moment.

I am now at a loss as to what to do... she closed off her message by saying that I should reply if I would like to meet her, but if I am happier with how things are then not to bother and she won't trouble me again. She is giving me two options, neither of which I would like but my preference would be for things to continue as they are. The thing is, I think this will have a negative impact on my relationship with my sister, I haven't heard back from her since my mum sent this message and I am nervous about seeing/speaking to her again because she will more than likely bring this up and I anticipate she will side with mum, backing her brave and loving move and asking why I have not responded.

I am left stuck between a rock and a hard place as per usual... has anyone else got any experience with being put in situations like this? How did it work out for you and do you have any words of wisdom?

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illogical

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 07:32:56 AM »
...She finishes by stating that if we don't air our grievances then maybe it will work.... this is the part that I have the most issues with. She is basically ignoring everything I have previously said about working on our relationship and is offering to brush all those negative feelings aside to have a 'normal dinner' together. How typical.

At first sight I thought this was a really positive step my mum had taken, and I was thinking about responding to her and agreeing to meet, but having given myself some time to think about it I am offended by her offer and feel like she is continuing to deny me my feelings as always... for me it is a real 'sit down, shut up and comply' moment.

From what you've posted, I don't see that you are "between a rock and a hard place", but rather I think you are in a position of control.

Go with your gut feelings here (paragraph No. 2 above).  Your mother decided to give you the ST treatment to punish you for speaking your mind.  She has apparently tired of that now-- feels as though she's punished you enough-- and wants you to sweep everything under the rug and it's business as usual.  She is using her friend's terminal illness as a springboard to try to make you think she has had an epiphany moment-- the realization that life if short and so she's willing to meet with you (how gracious of her!) but only if you won't mention what got you the ST treatment in the first place:  her disregard for your feelings and lack of respect for you as an individual.

My humble advice is to not take the bait.  Her "heartfelt" invitation to dinner is bullsh*t IMO.  She's an opportunist.  Very much reminds me of my NM, who used to give me the ST for standing up for myself.  Then, when she felt she had sufficiently punished me, she would ring me up and act as if nothing had happened.  The Great Rug Sweep.

Your gut feelings about this are spot-on.  A dinner with your parents would signal to her that you are willing to forgo your attempts at calling her out for her behavior and are willing to dance the dysfunctional dance again-- to her tune, of course.

Stay the course.  Don't respond.  Regarding your sister, beware of her acting as a FM in this.  Try to keep your relationship separate and if she wants to talk, refuse to discuss the topic of your parents.  I know that's a tall order, but your mother will likely try to use her to triangulate if you don't respond to this "dinner bait".  Take care.
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

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Libby 12

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 07:52:06 AM »
Hi free thoughts.

I have had a very similar experience to the one you describe.  I had been given the ST for over a year,  when my ef phoned to say they were on a trip near to my home and nm had decided she would like to meet the next day.  I agreed but realise now it was a bad idea.  She refused to come to my house,  choosing a restaurant instead, so straight away taking control.  It wasn't too bad as we started by talking generally,  but after a while, she pointedly checked the time and bought up the subject of my depression.  It was my telling them I was depressed and thought that our terrible relationship had played a big part,  that led to ST in the first place.  I answered and she launched into a list of all my faults over my whole life.  She ended by shouting that being a mother was the best thing she had ever done in her life and stormed out.

In hindsight,  it seems that she just wanted to meet so that she could have the last word and sort of finally disown me.  I should have asked when ef phoned, what the aim of the meeting was.  At least your mother has given you a background as to why she has suggested a meeting,  but from what you described,  it sounds as if she is placing all responsibility onto you to decide how things go, so that whatever happens,  she can walk away believing herself completely in the right.

Essentially,  that is what my mother did. If I had taken responsibility for everything that had happened between us, she would have accepted my apology and gone away, feeling really good.  If I didn't do this, she could refuse to listen to me and storm out, feeling herself to be so badly treated.  Ef just trotted out behind her.

Like you, my sister has taken their side completely and hasn't spoken to me since ST was started.

I hope you can find your way through this difficult situation,  but please put yourself first in whatever you decide to do, because in my experience,  these parents never back down or even meet you half way.

I would like to hear how things go.

Best wishes,  Libby.

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daughter

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 08:56:06 AM »
At first glance, these "beckons" appear sincere, perhaps even contrite, but at closer examination they're just hoovers dressed-up and disguised as false gestures of reconciliation - "trojan horses".  Reading what you wrote as your mother's statements, I'd paraphrase them as "you're as guilty as me; so I'm excusing myself while placing blame on you". 

Early in my NC implementation, while still self-describing myself as "just taking a time-out" from my FOO Family, my enabler-enforcer NF repeatedly demanded "discussion".  Yet NF wasn't sincere.  Our every "discussion" immediately devolved into NF hectoring me that I "owed him", that I was "emotionally strong enough to endure (their) cruelty", that I "needed to stop this garbage", and worst of all, that I "had no right to have issues".  These awful "discussions" were ultimately quite helpful validation that my NC was absolutely necessary, and long overdue.  For years, NF complained bitterly to me about NBM's abusiveness towards himself, yet adamantly believed I wasn't worthy of that same consideration.  To me, my NC became a "no-brainer". 
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 09:03:07 AM by daughter »

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No.

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 10:14:35 AM »
Hi, Free,

Gosh, it never ceases to amaze me that they all say and do the same things. I am in almost the exact same predicament now, with Nm's pleas to get together and "talk". Each time after a few months she asks this, at first glance it seems like hmm, maybe we could and maybe she has grown..I know I sure have, because I have been working on me.

But then, at second glance, like you, I hear that it is a demand in disguise. It's not accompanied with anything related to growth or responsibility for actions, or apology or remorse..it's usually accompanied by, or followed up by, why can't I stop thinking about the past, and why can't we agree to disagree. WHA??? Like you, there never was a disagreement other than she was awful and I didn't like it, and told her so. No acknowledgement that it is about her emotional abuse and lies. So she lies, and then demands I stop thinking of "the past," aka her lies. She twists it to be a "problem between us that she doesn't know what it is".  :stars:

I keep considering getting together but not letting her keep on with all this nonsense. If she does have any remorse or understanding of the truth now, then great. But more likely, if not, there will be concrete and further evidence for NC. I still struggle with NC because I still feel like she is not clear as to "why" even though I think it is blaringly obvious. It is a difficult situation, but each time I have waited to think though her pleas first, it is usually soon followed by some more angry/outburst text..showing me that she hasn't changed and she is still treating me like a "thing" to manipulate rather than a human being with feelings and choices.

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Fiasco

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 12:39:05 PM »
I don't know whether to laugh or cry reading this. What I get out of it is that she's willing to forgive you for not doing exactly what she wants if you will agree to do what she expects even if you disagree. I can't even.

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biggerfish

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 12:52:44 PM »
"Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!"

Total lack of respect. She's made it clear that she has no interest in your thoughts, feelings and hurts. She doesn't want a mentally healthy relationship. She may even have a self-serving agenda. I'm afraid you might be about to be used if you meet up with her.

As for your sister, I know this is sad, but you might consider her to be collateral damage in you protecting yourself. It's always possible, sometime in the future, that your sister will come Out of the FOG, and won't that be a wonderful day? But you can't hasten that happening. Maybe stay positive and look forward to someday in the future having a good relationship with your sister. It can still happen.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 12:55:12 PM by biggerfish »

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moglow

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 01:01:25 PM »
Maybe it's just me, but seems a shitload of problems have been caused (then fertilized) by the whole "we're not going to talk about that" mentality. Yes, we're all individuals with our own opinions and we're not always going to agree. But to be expected to keep biting it back, gritting our teeth, "go along to get along" is what got us where we are now. All the while parents continue on, unhampered? It's not working.

Flip side though, is talking about it helping? Apparently not. Of course no one is perfect, and pretty sure you're not asking for that. What about *mutual* respect - not just acquiescence and/or subservience on your part? If there's continual offense at us speaking up when we're hurting, then what? I know - we learn to detach. Depersonalize it. That takes time and practice, hard to do when the same stuff is still bring dealt.

That middle ground is still there - the deliberate and repeated abuses of decades. The refusal to acknowledge or change harmful behaviors. The insistence that WE overlook and forgive, "move forward" with the vaguest and most ridiculous excuses for the inexcusable.

It's a nice gesture, sure. But realistic? Achievable? Sustainable? If it were, you'd have already done that. If you're like me, her silent treatment was really better in the big oicture than this "let's have dinner and play happy family while I keep walking all over you.  :sadno:
“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

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all4peace

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 09:25:30 PM »
free_thoughts, what is it with these types of requests?!

My parents also want to get together to have a talk. And dad wants us all to "be more tolerant of each other." Of course the ONLY person who is having issues is mom, but it works better if you pretend it's a family-wide problem of intolerance. When we tell him that, actually, we just need her to stop lying, respect our boundaries and behave basically courteous in public, it goes right back to "be more tolerant and accept each other." My translator hears: "Mom is never going to change, and I know it and you know it, and if we want to have a family relationship you're going to have to pretend that she's not being totally unacceptable and just tolerate it."

Reality doesn't work for some people. Reality is intolerable. They aren't going to change their view of reality, but they sure as heck want you to change yours.

What you decide is up to you. You really could accept that type of relationship which would be, by necessity, very, very shallow. It's up to you. But if she's expecting an intimate and close relationship with you with her rules in play, that's just not possible.

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daughter

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 08:54:36 AM »
I agree with A4P: "tolerance" is code for "we can say and do whatever we want; you just need to take it".  Sometimes it's not 50/50 responsibility for the emotional havoc in our FOO Families; sometimes it's really 90% pd-disordered parent(s) and 10% adult-child can't take it anymore.

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smarty

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 10:28:39 AM »
Exactly what Libby12 said.... she is placing all responsibility onto you to decide how things go, so that whatever happens she can walk away believing herself completely in the right.
Has probably happened to most of us here, and it is in line with how BPD's black/white,good/bad thinking goes.....there is never an option C, never a gray area...its just take it or leave it, the ball's in your court but Im only giving you two options, oh but YOU have the free choice so go ahead dear...wow thanks! In either case they come out a winner.
Ive been given this kind of 'free choice' before from BPDm, where it was up to me to either have a relationship on her terms or not..I think at the time(I wasnt OOTF yet even) I just was stunned by the nonchalance of the question posed like that,as if she was telling me to choose a meal or paint color,whatever! And in future correspondance she would over and over put these deceptive 'decisions' on me which I didnt feel were mine to make, putting the responsibility on me for her life choices such as travel plans for example,or where to live. By then I was coming OOTF and responded just very shortly to the point that I and husband dont make such decisions for others and that she must decide for herself..period.
I agree with others...do not meet at a restaurant or public place....could become dramatic and highly embarassing very fast! So I would avoid that!
Good luck

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kazzak

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2017, 11:03:32 AM »
In simple terms, the way I see it, she is trying to "repair" the relationship after the last "rupture". She is deflecting from the real issues and I wouldn't engage until the underlying issues that led to the rupture are fully addressed and resolved to your satisfaction. Just my view. I found it helpful to understand when someone is "deflecting".

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MyLifeToo

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2017, 11:45:55 AM »
I think I'd be pleased if m tried to repair our situation. Having said that, I realise it would only be a temporary sticking plaster until the next blow up.  The thing is with me, i'm am prepared to forgive and, well, not exactly forget, but tolerate the situation, but she isn't. I feel sorry for my ubpm and want to help her the way I'd want to help anyone in her shoes.  The only way I can do this is if she stops wanting to talk (aka blame) and have these long circular arguments all the time. Trying to have a grown up conversation is impossible, we both end up being hurt and upset, so what's the point?  I'm so tired of trying to satisfy her need to resolve something when I know it's never going to happen because she had a pd and cannot overcome it. When we both MC it seems to work for a while, although I do get worn down still by the incessant negativity.

Reading all that back I can see the FOG but I'm still trying to make things work and not go lc or nd. She has had some terrible things happen in her life and I get why she's so afraid of rejection; my sympathy is probably my own worst enemy. She has no idea that the way she says things constitutes abuse. Those of you who have moved beyond that, I respect and envy you, and totally understand why you don't want to let all that effort slip away. So if it feels like lack of respect, then it probably is, but your m will always think it's a nice gesture.  :wacko:

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free_thoughts

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2017, 12:07:34 PM »
Thank you all so much. I have read with interest all your responses and experiences which have helped me clarify and reinforce what I already thought was the case. I agree with what a lot of you have said, this is her attempt at a reconcile but only on her terms and in order to get the last word in if all goes wrong.

I have also spoken about this with my therapist, I would be interested to have your opinions on what I have decided to do as I am struggling to recognise if this action will be for my peace of mind or to ensure that my reputation with my family is not as bad as I feel it currently is! My plan is to acknowledge the message, but to state that either I am not ready to meet yet or that I think there are things that need to be resolved before we meet again.

A few of you have suggested that if it were you, you wouldn't reply. I would quite happily ignore the message and move on but a part of me thinks that if there was to be any more contact in the future, by not responding I am shooting myself in the foot. Am I kidding myself that contact in the future is possible? This topic seems to be a regular in discussions with my T, I am taking all this time to work on myself and recognise the illness my mum has, and for all i know or want to have a guess at, she would never identify the main issue to be linked with her lack of emotions and empathy. Without her making any form of acknowledgment or changes to the way she treats me, I do not want to tolerate her behaviour... It seems I am at a stop sign! What is the point, what is in it for me and my mental health?!

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biggerfish

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2017, 12:37:57 PM »
...I'm not ready to meet yet...
I think this is so wise. It takes time to wade through PD issues, and there are many decisions to make. And every situation is different. By saying you're not ready to meet yet, you are getting the power and the upper hand. This also frees you up to take whatever time you need to figure out what you want. Remember this can be a winding path, and no decision has to be final. You can always change your mind, and you can always say that now you're ready. Or not.

I find in general, reading this board, that putting off decisions for a little while is often wise.

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2017, 12:43:11 PM »
Your mom says that she won't bother you again if you don't agree to meet but that doesn't mean you can't contact her in the future. I think you can take a time out, as long as you need, then take it upon yourself to contact her in the future, if you decide that you want to reconnect. I don't think any decision at this point has to be permanent.
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Bloomie

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2017, 12:58:24 PM »
free_thoughts - it is very important that you have talked with your T around this latest contact from your mom and if/when/how to respond. We can weigh in and support and even give an opinion if asked, but ultimately it isn't us who are risking these relationships or walking in your shoes.

I really like the idea of you responding simply because it puts you in the position to use your voice in response to your mom's email. You do not have to give over to any kind of sense of finality or urgency that your mother may have been trying to stir up. It is empowered to respond with a simple message that you are considering all that she said and need some time to come to some conclusions about your relationship and are not ready to meet face to face at this time.

The reality is that it seems your mom is not capable of sustaining or tolerating certain healthy behaviors within a family like telling the truth, each taking responsibility for themselves, setting limits and so on. You are at a fork in the road in this relationship and taking your time to make decisions about how you want to go forward, assessing the risks and potential loss of other important relationships in your life are all part of where you are at. It is wisdom to take it slow and fully consider the path forward.
Bloomie 🌸


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illogical

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2017, 05:10:06 PM »
Basically, your mother is trying to put you in a "no-win" situation by giving you two bad options:  either you meet with her and not address the elephant in the room, or you don't, and she "won't trouble you again".

I like Bloomie's idea--

...I really like the idea of you responding simply because it puts you in the position to use your voice in response to your mom's email. You do not have to give over to any kind of sense of finality or urgency that your mother may have been trying to stir up. It is empowered to respond with a simple message that you are considering all that she said and need some time to come to some conclusions about your relationship and are not ready to meet face to face at this time.


I also agree that you are at a crossroads-- and you have to be the one to decide what level of contact (if any) you want with your mother and what type of relationship you can tolerate with her.

And as daughterofbpd posted, just because your mother implies she won't contact you if you don't respond, doesn't mean you can't contact her in the future.  I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in her words to you.  What I mean is that just because she says she won't bother you if you decide not to respond, it doesn't mean she won't.  My NM tried to play that game with me.  After I called her out on her behavior, she said "Have a nice life.  I won't bother you anymore."  It was total bs.  I really think your mother just wants things her way and she's trying to say to you that "it's her way or the highway".  But there might be room for something in between you "going along to get along" and NC.  That's what you have to discover for yourself, in tandem with your T.  Every case is different.

I agree with the posters who advise to take your time and not feel pressured.  I think a simple response like Bloomie described would allow you some control over the situation, allow to realize that you don't have to follow your mother's dictate here.  There are other options and it's up to you to decide how you want to react.  Your mother cannot take that away from you-- how you proceed here and how you react.  She doesn't get to control that.  That is totally under your control. 
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Nice gesture or total lack of respect?!
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2017, 03:26:29 PM »
And as daughterofbpd posted, just because your mother implies she won't contact you if you don't respond, doesn't mean you can't contact her in the future.  I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in her words to you.  What I mean is that just because she says she won't bother you if you decide not to respond, it doesn't mean she won't.  My NM tried to play that game with me.  After I called her out on her behavior, she said "Have a nice life.  I won't bother you anymore."  It was total bs.  I really think your mother just wants things her way and she's trying to say to you that "it's her way or the highway".  But there might be room for something in between you "going along to get along" and NC.  That's what you have to discover for yourself, in tandem with your T.  Every case is different.
Haha. Yeah, my mom once told me she would never text me again. I think that lasted all of 1 or 2 days.  :doh:
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