more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others

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Sojourner17

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A few days ago my mom texted saying i have to pray for my niece as my sister is coming on thursday to take her and cant take care of her properly.  she also texted to say that my sister stole more from her bank account than what she thought.

I didnt answer right away and put it out of my mind for a bit as it seemed as if there was a transferrence of emotions and i didnt want to take those on.  After a few days i figured i better reply saying that i was praying, which is the truth,  we pray for them all often/when it crosses our mind.  So i sent a brief text saying that i am praying this morning (three days after the initial text).

Almost immediately mom fired off three texts.  One giving me a bunch of info about my sister, the guy shes with (my nieces father incidentally), how bad he is and how much money she stole from my parents (number amounts).  She then said that they need me and im giving her attitude and she doesnt even know why/ive never told her why. She has been told why but to her my reasons are molehills compared to what SHE is going through.  And seriously, we just came off a fairly good visit minus the talking at the end of it where i dont feel i gave any attitude, if anything i was pleasant and friendly and engaging, even laughing and making jokes, making her medicinal tea for her sore throat etc.

Im trying to formulate a MC response but part of me wonders if i should even engage with this as she just seems to spin and get even more amped up.  Im thinking of texting a brief "im sorry you feel that way, I will be praying regarding the situation" or something similar and was thinking of saying something about that there isnt much more I can do than that.  I really dont want to get into texting back and forth about the situation as quite frankly, there isnt anything i can do about it and its not really my problem but i want to offer some kindness and regard at the same time.  Probably the shorter and fewer the texts the better.

Also,  I havent told my husband about the most recent texts yet, mostly because the bulk just happened this morning.  This question is for those of you who are dealing with your parents and have a significant other (or those of you who ARE the significant other).  Do you make your spouse aware of these types of texts or do you sometimes just keep it to yourself?  I already know what my husbands responses would be to the texts but im not sure as to how transparent i should be about it.  Part of me wants to just handle it myself but part of me thinks he should know.  What are your thoughts?
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Thru the Rain

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2018, 03:42:13 PM »
Im thinking of texting a brief "im sorry you feel that way, I will be praying regarding the situation"

This looks like a great response.

Regarding including my DH in my interactions with uPDM, I tend to wait until I've digested whatever has happened before sharing with DH.

But having said that, including him at all is a big step for me. I was raised to believe my thoughts and feelings just plain didn't matter - no one would want to hear that I had conflict with my M - so just keep it inside.

I know now that wasn't healthy, and I'm allowed to have thoughts and feelings of my own. And I can tell people and it turns out they often DO care. Who knew?

DH has been supportive of my journey Out of the FOG with my M, and it's gotten easier to share with him over time.

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Starboard Song

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 03:43:55 PM »
We are three years NC from my in-laws.

We had a lot of work to do, getting to the same page and staying on it. We've decided that a partner can opt out of information, but never blocked out.

So if it just pisses me off, I can tell my wife that I really don't want to know about the contents of a letter sent to our son. And she will then stop bringing the content up. And she doesn't want to hear about certain things I learn, and has said so, so I don't bring them up.

But we've decided to never make that decision for the other, unilaterally. We are afraid that doing so isolates us. And the stress of these issues should never rob us of emotional intimacy with our dear spouses.
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all4peace

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2018, 05:32:56 PM »
 I think your previous response and proposed response are great. DH and I let each other decide whether we want to know or not. At one point, I asked DH to not tell me anything about communication with his family because it was too triggering. Now I'm at the point where I want to hear about it briefly if it's something he needs to share or wants input on. Otherwise I'm fine knowing or not knowing unless it involves our kids.

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Sojourner17

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 06:20:48 PM »
Thank you for the responses.  I have formulated a text but havent sent it yet.  Im basically just going to say that im sorry she is feeling that way, that its a difficult situation and that we have been and will continue to pray.

Thank you for the responses to the question about taking things to my spouse every time i get something like this from my mom or just dealing with it myself.  Ive been thinking off and on that i should just deal with it as i know that it bothers my husband when i tell him about things and i know his response by now.  I also have thought that perhaps im making things worse for him/us by telling him all of the times she texts or does something that troubles/bothers me.  I dont want to be a burden or for him to think i cant handle this stuff.  But, as i type it out for you all i see that this is something i do.  I keep things in either because i dont want my spouse to know because i dont want to trigger or upset him or i keep it in because i dont want him to think i cant handle what is going on...I HAVE to be able to handle it/deal with it...which in itself is conditioning...im "supposed" to be able to handle this information/ handle her telling me traumatic/negative things and be the strong one because thats what im needed to do...be the strong one who can handle it (being emotionally unloaded on).

Starboard Song,  you raise a good point about not deciding for my husband about the information.  I will ask him tonight what his preferences are in regards to it.  My thinking is he's getting tired of hearing about it, yet again, but that might just be my thinking as he's never come out and told me he doesnt want me to share what she texts me.  I seem to remember my mom being mad at me at one point because i was sharing information with my husband (cant remember what that info was at the moment but i was dumbfounded that she would be upset about that!) so it really could just be me assuming things/conditioning.  I need to talk to him about it and find out his preferences.

All4peace,  i like the idea of sharing briefly with him...ie, kind of like i did here.  You dont need to know the exact numbers that have been stolen. :)  Im sure my hubby would be ok with a brief recounting without it being exact word for word but i will talk to him about it and find out for sure.

I feel for my parents.  It must be hard to have to deal with a child who has stolen quite a bit from them and is making some pretty terrible choices right now.  I cant do anything about that though.  I cant recoup the money stolen,  i cant make my sister make different choices.  I cant take my niece or help with ANY of that.  Im not really sure what they need me for other than to dump all the negative emotions onto me/ or for me to reassure them im praying.

  Im feeling relatively calm about it at this point but at the same time wish that there could have been a bit more time between crisis/ foggy texting and our visit.
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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broken

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2018, 03:56:25 AM »
When NM begins rehashing the same circular arguments regarding all that is wrong with my existence, I have one stock reply that is short enough to not get tuned out:  "We've already had this discussion."  You could add, "I'm praying."

I wait to tell my husband when we are having a couple of drinks at dinner.  It's fresh conversation that way, and we spend a little time commiserating about family before moving on to other topics.  At least, this is the ideal way; there have been texts from NM or Nsis that sent me into a tizzy and then I he barely gets they the door!

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Psuedonym

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2018, 01:48:47 PM »
Hi Sojourner17,

You know I have learned over the years that the advice of the Supernanny (remember her?) to parents of toddlers' having tantrums is oddly (or not so oddly) effective with uBPDm. And that boils down to 'any attention is seen as positive'. You responded to her text so now she's piling on to see what more she can get out of you. Mine is like yours in that she likes to dump all her unhappiness/problems on me, and periodically tries to start up the "I was a great mother/you don't seem to like me very much/I don't know what I ever did wrong" circular arguments, in which she absolutely does not want to hear what is in fact, wrong. My latest tactic, which words oddly well, is to say absolutely nothing when she does this. Awkward silence? Great. If she pushes it, I say 'I'm not discussing this' and change the subject, as many times as i need to. And I've found that things blow over a lot faster. I read this insightful line recently about emotional vampires:

And when youíre as attention-starved as emotional vampires, creating any sort of emotional reaction out of those around you ó even if itís indignation, pity, anger, or hatred ó is worth it.

With my m anyway, I've found that the less response, the quicker she drops it.

Re: significant others, mine has a m who is almost certainly NPD, but he's more accommodating (perhaps in the FOG) and a lot less angry than I am. What I do now is I say 'I need to rant' and he says "rant away" and when I'm done ranting I say 'okay I'm done now, thanks for listening' and I try to do something nice for him. If I were to say ask for his advice and not take it or ask him what to do (which he obviously can't fix) then I think it might be different, but I let him know he's being super helpful just listening to me curse up a storm (I try to be creative) and he seems happy to do that. I'm fairly sure that if I just tried to internalize everything that eventually I'd snap at him, and I really don't want to do that because he's great.)

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Psuedonym

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 05:48:38 PM »
*update! From the 'taking your own advice' files.

After saying that your mom got a reply from you to the text so was upping the ante, I just had to deal with almost the exact same thing. Two weeks ago my M had a heart irregularity and called my BF (who's number she has in case of emergencies) after not being able to get to me because I was in a meeting  (fairly acceptable). She next called him a few days ago when she freaked out because she couldn't get a ride to the doctor and had to leave me a message because I don't pick up the phone when she calls as a matter of principal (less acceptable). Then she called last him last night because she couldn't find her pills and (bullshit warning!) thought I might have accidentally taken them and had left me a message (not acceptable). At this point I told him this was going to have to get nipped in the bud real soon. So today, after already leaving me a message and overloading my VM, she called him because she wanted me to bring her frozen yogurt because she wasn't feeling well. I called her and told her she was not to call him again. My tone was not friendly. She went on a whiny tirade about how she didn't feel well (not my fault) how she didn't have anyone else (not my fault, go outside and socialize with the 100 other people who live at your facility), how I didn't know what it was like to be stuck in her apartment all the time (see previous answer). I told her not only was she not going to be calling my BF anymore but that nobody was bringing her any frozen yogurt, to which she said 'oh well she supposed she could eat the ice cream in her freezer or order some from downstairs'.  :stars:

Anyway the point of my long rant is that once she saw an opening to get take advantage of my BFs kindness she was fully abusing it within days. Its a good reminder that you always, always have to have strong boundaries in place or they'll be on you like a leech. It would be lovely if they acted like adults but that's not going to happen ever so, here we are. :)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 05:51:04 PM by Psuedonym »

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openskyblue

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2018, 06:03:24 PM »
I hope I'm not being insensitive here, but it seems like you've already texted you mom that she is in her prayers. Why send her basically the same text again? If you wouldn't call her with the proposed  message, why text her with it?

Sometimes texting sucks any of us in -- leading to a kind of "text jading."  We get a text, then feel that we must text back. At least, that's how it goes for me.  If you want to keep things to VVLC with your mom, maybe the best thing to do is just to not respond -- and keep future responses super bland and delayed.
Even a blind man can tell you when he is standing in the sun.  (Percy Sledge)

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Sojourner17

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2018, 11:48:31 PM »
Thank you all for the feedback. I texted a short text similar to my proposed one last night and didnít hear back.

I talked with hubby about it as well as his preferences last night and he said he wanted me to tell him/talk to him about it when things come up. He agreed with me that there isnít much else we can do but pray and that it seems that she was moving toward wanting to bring up stuff/ say I have had an attitude to link their current difficulties with what happened between her and I.

The advice from super nanny is great advice. Any attention is good attention when things start going downhill.

Also observe donít absorb and the three Cs really helped me today when I was thinking/praying on it.
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Starboard Song

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2018, 10:10:42 AM »
bland and delayed

For those in contact still, I think the delay is essential. Our T advised us to never ever provide a same day response to any message ever again. For us, it prevents a hot-heading response, shooting from the hip. For them, it reminds them that we do not hang on their existence.

Also, Bland and Delayed would be a great band name.
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all4peace

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2018, 12:01:49 PM »
Haha! Would YOU listen to anything from "Bland and Delayed"? :D

I agree with that point. It's the first way we started creating distance and un-creating urgency. It's very freeing to start taking time to respond. It's not about being passive-aggressive but about sending the message that we're not sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting to hear, instantly responding. It helped my anxiety to know that I could create this space.

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daughterofbpd

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2018, 01:41:31 PM »
 :yeahthat: I agree with not answering right away. I suspect it is the delayed responses and the kind boundaries that Sojourner's mom is viewing as "attitude." I think that PDs often use ST to punish us so when we don't answer right away, they assume it is a punishment. Sojourner, I think your proposed responses were a kind way of not taking responsibility for your M's feelings.

One of the things that frustrates me is that there never seems to be a thought in the PD parent's mind that maybe their adult child is sick or having a busy week or isn't up to talking. They never seem to consider what might be going on in OUR lives. They assume the reasons we aren't at their beck and call is because we are being cruel to them. Sojourner's mom is basically saying that Sojourner's past hurts aren't important because M's needs _trump all. The more I view PD behavior, the more it seems to boil down to this one thing.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 04:20:50 PM by Starboard Song »
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daughterofbpd

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2018, 05:26:18 PM »
I sometimes find myself not telling my DH about every text, etc. because he tends to act more harshly or resentfully than I might. I think thatís just part of my ďfixingĒ tendencies though.
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Sojourner17

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 11:10:55 PM »
Hi all Iím back. I talked a bit more with DH about it last night as yesterday I was feeling/thinking I should call or text to see how they were doing but was feeling conflicted about it and unsure if it was a good idea. We talked about my thinking that perhaps not calling/texting would allow space as sometimes I feel like Iím a bit of an idol in my moms life. (I get idolized in some convos and then shot down in others). I really hope this makes sense and doesnít make me look/sound self important.  I kind of think that sometimes God wants me to stay out of the way if that makes any sense at all.
Anyways, it was late so DH said we would talk more tomorrow.

Today mom sent 4 more texts.  First one to paraphrase she said do I not see they are going through a difficult time? She poured out her heart and I responded like she was an acquaintance. They donít understand why Iím behabing this way and do I not believe families stick together?  She then said this is not like me/the girl from a few years ago. They gave me life/ she nursed and took care of me to the best she could and now Iím not there when they need me. I can show I care by calling/texting to see how they are.

I didnít respond just showed DH and we talked about it for a bit.

Then I got more saying if I told her what she did wrong she could correct it then focus on whatís going on with DS but Iím refusing. Dad tried to talk to DH about it but when mom entered the room DH left so he want able to.

DH reminded me that he spent about 2hours out alone with my dad.why didnít he bring it up then?

Also, daughterofbpd, you are so on point about not caring about whatís going on for me. Our two youngest have been down with a cold for the past 3days and we are all low on sleep. My parents donít know this but yes, no thought that maybe just maybe we have our own hands full on this end. I remember texting DH yesterday that I felt like I was running behind all day/didnít get everything done that I would have liked.

Anyways, my thoughts of calling from last night have turned to how almost on principle I CANT call now.   

It seems like I need to clarify a boundary but Iím not sure how to put it to her without JADEing.

Texts like the ones I got today drive me up the wall.  On Sunday she was texting about how Iím such a diligent mother and will give my sons a great start and the ones today basically say Iím a pretty lousy daughter who doesnít seem to care about how they are doing. I feel like Iím in a wrestling ring where I was picked up only to get slammed into the mat. I KNEW the other shoe was going to fall but it still hurts... even physically. Since getting the texts Iíve had a headache, heartburn, and an odd pain /heaviness in my chest.

Iím not sure how to draw a boundary that texts like these are NOT ok/ that I will not respond to them in the future and if they want a relationship with us they need to stop attempting to guilt me into being in contact with them. I love my parents and hate what is going on but my health and my FOC has to come first.

And yes, I do think that my mom sees my silence as punishment. I see it as self preservation and creating space to find perspective and cool my triggered emotions!
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Sojourner17

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2018, 11:13:57 PM »
Lol ďBland and DelayedĒ!  I have images of codgey old folks with slow off beat songs that would put me to sleep.

I NEED the delay... it slows down the spin out of control and helps me control me.
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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all4peace

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2018, 10:36:14 AM »
Look up the word "enmeshment", as I think this may be part of the dynamic here. Your parents are wanting you to become as involved with their problems as they are. But they are their problems. Imo, it's unhealthy for parents to try to recruit one sibling against another. My parents are currently attempting this, and it feels like betrayal from this side of the equation.

I think it's appropriate to hand people's problems back to them. We can even manage this politely. "I'm sorry for what you're facing. I wish I could help you, but it's not something I can do anything about, but I know you're capable of sorting it out. Good luck!" or something like that.

This also deals with your original question. If you hand your parents' problems back to them, there's no constant barrage of texts that you have decide whether or not to share with your DH. Good luck!

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Sojourner17

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2018, 11:12:43 PM »
All4peace, I did some reading up on enmeshment since your post and see that there is still a lot of that going on. I thought I had somewhat detached but thatís not the case.  I keep going back and forth between recognizing that these are problems of their own making and feeling guilty or bad because I just canít bring myself to call to see how they are doing. I mean, if this was a friend who had this happening I would seriously consider reducing contact. I would offer my prayers like I did and just sit back and watch...while seriously contemplating if I wanted to keep up the friendship as it would have been years of the same behaviour with no positive change. But when itís your mom and dad itís so much harder.  I love them but hate what they are doing to themselves and others. Donít get me wrong, obviously my sister has some pretty big issues to think itís ok to steal from our parents... itís not just pocket change by any means. Itís a downright nasty situation. 

I wanted to read a copy of the initial boundary setting letter and my moms response... I kept both but with moving 2 times in the past year I have misplaced them... I want to remember why this all started between us in the first place.  I found another letter that I didnít send to them. I was so angry in the letter, Iím not angry right now but the core issues are still there. Itís all about her, what they are going through, how Iím not meeting their expectations for contact. Iím the bad daughter who doesnít care about family.

I feel trapped. I care about my parents but Iím so tired of the drama, the crisis, the wanting me to do more than what I said I would do. The expectations. Honestly, I feel like if this were a normal family they would be justified in calling me out on not calling when something devastating was happening but this isnít a normal family and crisis IS the norm in my FOO. I donít have enough room in my head, heart, and emotions to listen to it/watch it be played out again. There is no more space or patience left inside me to deal with it. Iím tired of it and know that if I said I was tired of hearing about it I would get the third degree, be told ďhow do you think we feel? Were the ones dealing with it 24/7 while you sat there not talking to us we were dealing with it, now you are saying you canít handle us talking to you about it, who do you think you are?Ē Etc.... I know this is what mom would say because Iíve tried to tell her this in the past and got it almost verbatim.
  I.Just. Canít. Do. It. Anymore.  :sadno:
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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Starboard Song

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2018, 09:48:54 AM »
 :stars:

We get it, sojourner. We really do.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason

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all4peace

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Re: more texts and I have a question for those of you with significant others
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2018, 10:18:21 AM »
It sounds exhausting. I think it's ok to define your boundaries by what you can offer and what you cannot. You can do this with words or actions. Your parents' reaction to that is their deal, so even if they respond negatively it doesn't mean you've done the wrong thing.