Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Dealing with PD Parents => Topic started by: still_confused on December 23, 2014, 05:14:26 AM

Title: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: still_confused on December 23, 2014, 05:14:26 AM
I thought I would write out in detail my situation with immediate family and see if that will help make sense of any of it, perhaps with a bit of guidance from those that have more experience with PD's.

I have been living away from my family for about 10 years now, been in school mostly. I got my first job about 2 years ago, immediately started hearing about how bad things were economically. How my father's business dealings were not going well. I started sending money for rent/food, asked them to think about buying a house (I would pay mortgage) but to also stop putting more money in my father's business (a lost cause if i've ever seen one) and for my GC brother to take up a job. My sister called and complained about money again ("Dad doesn't have enough, *he* is always complaining"). I told her I keep sending him some every month and she replied "yeah *he* said that is peanuts". That hurt. So I called my mother and tried to explain to her that we cannot keep putting money in his failed business. She called me all kinds of names, told me how much they had spent on me and that it was time for me to pay up. I told her I was not willing to spend my hard earned money on a failed venture. She said think of it as me sending it for my GC brother's education. I mentioned he is not in school and she went off again ("What difference does it make to you what we spend the money on?"). I was rather angry at this point, went NC out of anger rather than anything else.

The next year or so was very difficult to cope with. I had no idea what I was going through. But I kept getting angrier and angrier. Sometimes at my family, sometimes at myself for not handling the situation better. So what, its just money right? On the other hand, I had to take back control of my life. The anger drove me to say some very hurtful things to my wife. This was rock bottom, I decided to do some research online(I couldn't possibly be alone). I still remember my search phrase (parents exploiting me for money). Interestingly enough, most of the links were of parents *being* exploited by kids, not the other way around. This led me to NPD, almost certain my mother has it, although it is just my opinion.

Things make a lot more sense now. The time I asked my mother if she loved me and she said "You are my son, I have to love you.". The time I walked in on her and my younger GC brother + older sister laughing, I was looking at them smiling expecting to be let in on the joke and got that look from her "why are you here to spoil the fun" and I just turned around and left. All the times I would try and be an older brother and he would go crying to her, and she would tell him exactly what to say to hurt me back. The times I would get punished by my father completely unfairly, sometimes made to spend the night outside the house, and she would just stand by. I used to think he was the one controlling her, that she was helpless. I still blamed her for not having the courage to take my side (the right side). But now I realize, maybe it was the other way around. She was his enabler? Was she actually enjoying all of this? ….

Afetr I went NC things got worse, much worse. I had initially not intended to completely cut them off, just thought I would let myself cool down for a bit. If I stopped sending money maybe it would make them realize who was in charge and they actually have to listen to my advice in addition to taking my money. Her reaction was not something I expected. It was vicious. Emails and telephone messages reminding me how I put her in intensive care (I was  a cesarian), how she got diabetes after the time she visited me(?), what at terrible, unlovable child I was, how I wouldn't dare cut off contact when I was dependent on them, but had the nerve to do so now that I am on my own feet. All meant to demean me, and boy did she hit it on the money each and every single time. Eventually I stopped reading the emails and listening to the phone messages. Just glad I am continents away and she can't just show up at my door. Would I really call the police on my own mother?

I have a hard time figuring out what role the rest of my family played. Both parents seem NPD, but I seem to view my mother as more hostile and vengeful. My father was mostly apathetic. He would only turn on me if he felt threatened, or if I would "misbehave" in front of others. Eventually I learned how to avoid them altogether. That was probably my saving grace. As my wife keeps reminding me, there are worst parents("at least you weren't physically or sexually abused"). Nope, just emotional.

My sister was always smart. I think she caught on to all this way before I did, and boy did she have some fun with it. She would just make stuff up, and she *knew* I would get in trouble for it. Whether or not it was true she would just blurt it out and then just sit back and watch me try to unsuccessfully explain it. I eventually stopped, and would just take whatever punishment was being handed out. After I moved out I thought it was finally over, but they were just waiting until I had some money to offer them…

I do feel much better after reading up on PD's. Still not sure how to categorize my family but I *know* something is off with them. They know all my pain points, heck as a very smart poster said on this board, they created most of them, and they have absolutely no compunction hitting them. Why would I continue to give them the satisfaction? I am not a bad person, I am not!

I am hoping to get some opinion on how exactly to think about all this. Did they know what they were doing? Do they know now? Will they ever? Do I think of them as Dexter's, unable to control their affliction? Makes it harder to blame them for it. I just can't help escape the feeling that they enjoyed it all, that I was just some sort of emotional punching bag. It seems things got a lot worse after I left. They weren't quite sure who to direct all that anger and hatred towards. I know PD's are always on a scale, they probably aren't as bad as the worst. I've read about people being incessantly spanked, sexually humiliated. I suppose it was never that bad. They did care about me to some extent, but its hard to escape the rest of it. Feels good to be free, yet the feeling of deep loss and sadness just doesn't seem to go away. Every time I think of them as inherently bad people, I feel worse about myself. Reading about others' experiences helps tremendously. Thankyou all for sharing so much of your personal lives!

Turns out my wife is displaying symptoms of DPD and OCPD. Perhaps they are mild. But troubling nonetheless. I myself have anger issues that need being dealt with. Life is never so simple is it.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: movingforward2 on December 23, 2014, 09:28:09 AM
I am married to a son of a ubpdm.  To say one type of abuse is worse than another is not only belittling, but untrue.  Was my DH physically or sexually abused?  Nope.  Was he emotionally abused.  Yup!  He upbringing has caused many issues in his life that make it very difficult for him to hold down a job.  I'd consider that pretty abusive.  And the worst part is...that it gives abusers an out...it's not like it was physical or sexual so it can't be bad.  Nope...it is just hidden better.  I'm not a mental health professional, but I'd be willing to wager that your anger issues stem from this.

To answer your question...do they know what they are doing?  Is their a rational explanation for their behavior?  I have no idea.  Recently, I chose to forgive my MIL for the horrible things she did to my family.  After 3 years of NC, DH spoke to her, then I did.  She hasn't changed.  The way I see it, the way I have to see it in order to forgive her so that I don't have anger within me, is that she is sick and she can't help it.  I see it from the perspective that pd's truly believe their stories and feel so wronged by us that they simply have to hurt us.  Does that mean we have to take that?  Nope!  Moving forward, my DH plans to have VLC with his mom.  I will go NC again or VLC, but she won't be seeing our DD's until she accepts our boundaries because there is no rational explanation for her behavior and I know it's not going to change.

For your mother to blame you for having a c-section and then later causing her diabetes is not only unfactual, but it is WRONG!  My DH's mom blamed us for an autoimmune disease she has...no one can cause that.  It's not your fault.  It's emotionally abusive to say those things to someone.  Right after I had my second DD, my thyroid completely gave out.  Do I blame that on her?  Absolutely not!  Never would.  I also had a c-section with both kids...did I blame that on them..nope! 

Our parents should help us to foster and grow.  It doesn't sound like that's the case with your family.  It seems as though you are their scapegoat.  My DH sees a therapist now and it's been very helpful and I plan to start therapy in January to help me support him better in his recovery.  It might be helpful for you to see someone if you have not already.  It sounds like your mom has pd issues.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: daughter on December 23, 2014, 11:00:54 AM
I think my malevolent (but seemingly high-functioning) npd-enmeshed parents "saw" me only for my perceived usefulness for them, and not as an individual with her own needs and desires.  I was a parentified overly-responsible dutifully obedient good girl.  Yet I was always "in trouble" at home, for ridiculously petty and trumped-up stuff, often "for that look on your face".  As an adult, my mother told me I'd made her unhappy her entire life, which seems exceedingly odd, because I was the reliable dutiful daughter, obediently and complacently attending to my parents' expectations and demands.  With exception of moving my family 20 minutes away, I'd never deviated from their agenda, and yet never got their approval, nor any emotional support, and very very little financial assistance beyond the absolute basics.

Npd folks want to triumph over their targets, to "win" regardless of psychic cost, no matter collateral damage.  They've no concern for our emotional well-being, no interest in rational explanation, it's all "my way or the highway".  For a npd person, the ONLY thing that matters is them, that they feel they've "won", that they've demonstrated that they're not responsible for their bad feelings, that they're superior and innately more valued than us.  Rational explanation and commonsense have no part in this discussion.  Sometimes our only recourse is to "get off the merry-go-round", and do what's best for US, even if it means VLC or NC.  When the only familial tie is FOG (fear, obligation, guilt), it's time to reassess. 
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: dot on December 23, 2014, 12:11:41 PM
Rational explanation and commonsense have no part in this discussion.

Amen. Daughter, your whole post is brilliantly on target, but this sentence may be the hardest thing to wrap your head around...and not just at first, but continually. I think it's just human nature to want (and in our cases, need) to make sense of things that affect us so deeply. To understand why the people we were closest to behaved the way they did, and do. I've turned myself inside out trying to comprehend it, analyze it, even forgive it. But ultimately rationality and trust can never be part of the equation. At some point you must choose to either believe the lies they tell us and tell themselves, or choose the facts. Either decision hurts, but only one holds any hope.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: FaithHopeLove24 on December 23, 2014, 02:22:11 PM
Still confused, unfortunately to some extent we all remain confused by the illogical behavior family members with PDs display. Intellectually we can have awareness around it but we can never really understand it because it is absolutely illogical. In many ways they live in a completely different reality that they created to build themselves up. It is incredibly confusing to deal with them. It sounds like they have made you responsible for everything wrong in their lives, because lord knows they couldn't accept responsibility for those things. It often gets worse as you try to escape. They get angrier and lash out even more to try and get you to fall back in line.

When you said your wife tells you that your parents could be worse it made me sad because that can feel like such an invalidating statement. The fact that they could be worse does not negate their abuse and the trauma they inflicted. Victor Frankl describes suffering as a gas chamber within our mind. The suffering is like a gas, filling the space regardless of the kind of suffering it is. We cannot truly measure suffering because each person has their own gas chamber. Emotional abuse can create incredible trauma. " it could be worse" is the opposite of empathy.

It would make sense that you have some anger issues, I think especially for male children of PDS anger is one of the only "feelings" allowed so long as it is directed outward toward the world not at the family (where it belongs.) have you talked to a therapist?i think that might be a great place for you to start.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: HealingMeFL on December 23, 2014, 03:02:28 PM
She called me all kinds of names, told me how much they had spent on me and that it was time for me to pay up.

This is particularly vile imho . . . it was your parents' responsibility to raise you.  How they did it was THEIR CHOICE. 

I hear alot of minimizing of your own feelings in your post.  I used to do the same thing and I finally decided (after seeing somebody mention it here) that I would always be on my own side from here on out.  Does that mean I'm perfect, or that all my thinking is correct?  No.  But it does mean that I have a pretty good head on my shoulders and that I generally trust my own judgment and instincts.

Somehow certain PDs take the most responsible of their children and turn them into ungrateful, bratty villains while the GCs get away with murder (and are celebrated for their wit and charm).  It's crazy-making.

If you're worried about your wife I would take some time and go to counseling.  Go slow.  All of this revelation can turn your world upside down and make you question everything you ever thought you knew.  I would work on one thing at a time.  Things may be different than they seem.  For a little bit I worried that my husband was PD (because the sick, un-OOTF me picked him) but then I came to see that he mostly has alot of fleas from how he was raised (uHPD mom).  Otherwise he is a great guy.

I am wishing you peace and enlightenment with all this.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: kayjewel on December 24, 2014, 01:45:53 AM
In the title of your thread, you asked "Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?"

There is a rational explanation: they are mentally disordered. This is the only rational explanation you are going to find.

We can't diagnose exactly what's going on with them, but from what you describe, your entire FOO is dysfunctional and abusive. Honestly, the word that comes to me is "nasty". What you are describing is extremely nasty behavior.

You can't get down into the dysfunction with them and try to find the answer there, at that level. Pull out of the dysfunction (as you are doing) and look at it from that standpoint. That's where you will get clarity. That includes getting clear on what you need to do to take care of yourself and your marriage.

I told her I keep sending him some every month and she replied "yeah *he* said that is peanuts". That hurt.

I'm feeling angry on your behalf reading this. You've been generous enough to give your F money when you don't have to. Not only does he not thank you, but he criticizes and complains about it. He sounds like a two-year-old.

It sounds as though your FOO has dumped a whole truckload of crap onto you, a whole bunch of entitled expectations ("Do what I tell you to do, whenever I tell you to do it! Give me what I want, whenever I want it! If you don't, you're a horrible person!") and expected you to accept it as "normal". It's not.



Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: WomanInterrupted on December 24, 2014, 02:46:41 AM
I have to agree with Kayjewel - the only rational explanation is that they're disordered and they're never going to change except to get WORSE.  They don't want to get better - they don't see anything as being wrong with them.  To them, *you're* the one with the disorder.

I'm going to go beyond what Kayjewel said about them being "nasty."  I see them as being parasitic - leeches at least have the decency to fall off when they're full.  Your entire FOO reminds me of a tapeworm - always there inside you, stealing your resources and nutrients, demanding more as it grows larger and leaving you debilitated to the point it's life-threatening.

I also agree that comparing abuse ("you didn't get it as bad as some") is wrong-headed thinking.  There isn't a point system!  Abuse HURTS and is HARMFUL, no matter what guise it comes in. 

Frankly, you sound like a wonderful, level-headed son that would be the apple of any non-disorder mother's eye.  A non-disordered dad would be proud of your successes.

Instead, you've got people who try to EXPLOIT you financially - and if you let them do it, they'll exploit you all the way to bankruptcy without a single, "Thank you."  They'll just tell you they need more money and berate you for not sending it.  You could tell them you're insolvent and living in a shelter and they won't care - they'll just want to know where the money is.  To them, you are a MEANS to an END and nothing more.  Money is your *use* to them and without it, you have no worth and are *useless.*

PD's, as a rule, don't think in terms of love  - they think in terms of how useful we can be to them.  We're *tools* to be used and discarded on a whim.  We're not *people.*  We're *things.*  They may say they love us, but they really don't - all they love is what we can DO for them.

UnBPD mom had a business she bought with her P/A unNPD friend.  They brought my enabling unNPD dad on to build things for the business (dollhouses).  Within 6 months, an established business that was bringing in $100K a month was bringing in ZERO thanks to the Unholy Trinity. 

UnBPD mom would cry to enabling unNPD dad and he'd cash in some bonds to get them out of debt - yet all she could do was complain about him to me.  It wasn't enough!  He ONLY gave them enough to get out of debt and not enough to go on a spending spree!  That wasn't FAIR!  (Mind you, it wasn't like he was cashing in $50 in bonds - more like $10K or $20K or *more* - multiple times!  :aaauuugh:  And it was *never enough.*)

No, in PD World, it never is.  They can be like black holes of need.  Yours are black holes determined to suck out all your financial resources.

The smartest thing you did was go NC - and you're best off staying NC with the entire lot, I'm afraid.  Send them *nothing.*  Give them *nothing.*  They haven't done a thing to endear themselves to you - all they do is stand there with their palms out, complaining that you "owe" them for the cost of your birth and childhood, which is INSANE.

Once upon a time, your parents decided to have a baby, whether planned or unplanned.  You didn't get a SAY in the matter.  Nobody consulted you.  You didn't *choose* to cause your mom complications during birth no more than you *chose* to wear diapers, go to the doctor when you were sick, need food, clothes and shoes, braces, glasses or any of the many other things kids need.

Those are things parents *provide* with no expectation of being paid back - normal parents love their children unconditionally, without strings, and without an itemized bill!

Concentrate on your FOC - family of choice - your wife and any children you have/plan to have.  Concentrate on *you* - so WHAT if you be financially secure, have a house in a neighborhood you like, cars that don't require repair every time you pull out of the driveway or private school for your kids?

Non-disordered parents would be HAPPY for you and proud of you - not trying to exploit you because they think you "owe" them in some way!







Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: still_confused on January 02, 2015, 08:09:04 AM
Thank you all so much for the replies and support. As I read about PDs, the more I understand the science behind it, I feel myself growing calmer. But there is another side of me (the angry side) that has certainly not gone away, although I have more logical tools to keep it under check now.

And before I go on a rant, thank you, thank you so much for validating my feelings. Everything you say is so true. I felt the same emotions (will they ever be satisfied? If I was bankrupt would they let go of me?) The amazing part of all this is that they are not poor folk. Yes they could use a little financial help, but none of them are living a life of poverty. Yet the blatant disregard for what I am going through finally shook me to a point that I could not let it continue. You are absolutely correct, looking at things from the outside in is so much more logical than the eco-system that is my family.

Thankyou HealingMeFL for your advice. You are correct, I need to find my own voice and be on my own side. I have always been served well by my instincts and I should not minimize them.

Yet, it still hurts to read your posts. I know you are correct, I have used the same words in my thoughts so many times, they are like leaches, tape worms, yes they are. But they are my family, my only family. I still remember one of the messages my mother left for me after I went NC (along with the usual "you gave me diabetes" bit), "Whatever I am, I am the only mother you will ever have". It is amazing to hear someone say this out loud. I can't even imagine making this argument to my son, ever. I know she is trying to control how I think. That is all they ever wanted to do. Yet its true, and that bit does hurt.

What also hurts is the knowledge that I could help them, all of them. Not so much with my money but with advice. I really could help them lead meaningful lives, interact with their grandchildren, by happy, truly happy. But they simply won't admit that I could possibly have anything to offer them except for money. It hurts. And all I have to do is get over myself, ignore how they treat me, be selfless and give them what they need. But I know this will break me. I need to be my own person, I only get one shot at this thing and I have to get it right.

I suppose I have found a way to get over the Fear. But I am still struggling with Obligation and Guilt. It will be a long journey and I have difficult days (and nights) but at least now I have good days as well. Days where I feel liberated. I've just begun to realize that all these years living in that house I was simply preparing myself to go NC with these people. To the point where I learned to shut out my own feelings and pretend I was immune to any abuse. I have to rediscover myself now, to some extent. But at least I can start from a place of honesty.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: SeaSalt on January 02, 2015, 09:16:50 PM
Still confused first you are doing great, considering everything that you lived with your FOO, you are coping really well. You asked how to deal with the anger and obligation and guilt? What helped me to get rid of the three is: a good therapist, a lot of reading about NPD and CPTD (complex post traumatic diorder that many of us developed), also I followed my T's advice to let my feelings come out and eventually they calmed down, but if we dont let them out they will always be trying to come out and that hurts, makes us tense, gives us suffering on every level. When you feel angry or sad or anyfeeling let it be, live it, give it space, you spend too much time shutting them down and focusing on other peoples feelings.

What alos helped me is to tell yourself all the truth about what they did to you. It hurts, you will discover (maybe you already did) that you never had a real mother, we have to griew that loss, and this process of griewing is very liberating afterwards. Then we need to take care of our inner child which is something that I am still not understanding perfectly how to do. But you can find a lot of info about it on the net and this page.

It is such a pity that your wife is not supportive to you. If she had been raised by a PD she might have fleas that she can work on but she might as well have bigger problems, I dont know. I hope she does not. Why do you say that your FOO is the only family that you have? do you consider your wife and you as a family?

You say that you are expessing your anger toward your wife. well it is common to have "fight" response when raised with PD. It is also common to have fleas, but you can work on that, by informing yourself, learning to recognize your triggers and working a lot on liberating yourself from fear and obligation, eventually fleas will diminuish.

Everybody said it but i need to repeat: you are not responsable for your FOO choices, and the fact that they are accusing you of nonsense it does not make it true. it is crazy making that is why is important that you make it clear in your mind whose responsability is what. Take only yours. They dont take their responsability and that is making you a confusion and desire of wanting to take their responsability too. Dont.

O boy how well I know that feeling of wanting to help them. you can not help them, not with their disorder, not with their business, no metter the knowledge and will that you have, that is not what they want. They will never validate you or accowledge what you did or be proud of you. You can do that: be proud of yourself, validate yourself and accnowledge what you did, and some other mentally heallty people can, but your FOO can not, sooner you truly accept it, sooner you will heal.I am a big believer that we can heal from anything even from such a systematic long term emotional abuse in the most delicate years of our lifes and from the people we trusted most. I wish you fast healing and a great new year.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: VividImagination on January 02, 2015, 09:30:07 PM
"Whatever I am, I am the only mother you will ever have". It is amazing to hear someone say this out loud. I can't even imagine making this argument to my son, ever. I know she is trying to control how I think.

"Thank God, because I sure couldn't stand being tortured by more than one of you."

Even if you will never say this to her face, it helps so much to have such a rebuttal in mind when hearing or reading such stupidity, even years later. I've had this guilt trip laid on me by FMs and other well-meaning idiots, and I've actually verbalized this response. The look on their face is always priceless.

She was trying to get you back in your box - the one she kept you in emotionally until she snapped her fingers and expected you to respond like a jack-in-the-box. My NM has been trying to stuff me back in my box for years now - and like parolees often say, "I did my time and I ain't goin' back."
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Gujoro on January 02, 2015, 10:08:23 PM
Im so sorry you have lived through this and so sorry (but also happy for you) for what you're going through now as you journey Out of the FOG. You know what your post sounds like? One of us!

I'll just respond to one part: I've said this on here a few times, but I'll say it again bc i keep thinking on it. Earlier this year I believe i said something to my T to the effect of: "But i wasn't THAT badly abused. I wasn't sexually abused." And then i learned that all victims of abuse say things like that. Physical abuse victims: Well at least i wasn't sexually abused. Sexual abuse victims: well at least I wasn't physically abused, i mean, at least he loved me, it was out of love. Emotional abuse victims: well at least I wasn't physically harmed...

Those are just things we tell ourselves. But the truth is, it's all abuse. Emotional abuse is equally damaging. We are talking brain formation and how your brain gets wired.

I think that's something to let sink in a bit.

Best of luck to you and hugs.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: InspirationHealing on January 02, 2015, 10:28:14 PM
I think my malevolent (but seemingly high-functioning) npd-enmeshed parents "saw" me only for my perceived usefulness for them, and not as an individual with her own needs and desires.  I was a parentified overly-responsible dutifully obedient good girl.  Yet I was always "in trouble" at home, for ridiculously petty and trumped-up stuff, often "for that look on your face".  As an adult, my mother told me I'd made her unhappy her entire life, which seems exceedingly odd, because I was the reliable dutiful daughter, obediently and complacently attending to my parents' expectations and demands.  With exception of moving my family 20 minutes away, I'd never deviated from their agenda, and yet never got their approval, nor any emotional support, and very very little financial assistance beyond the absolute basics.

Npd folks want to triumph over their targets, to "win" regardless of psychic cost, no matter collateral damage.  They've no concern for our emotional well-being, no interest in rational explanation, it's all "my way or the highway".  For a npd person, the ONLY thing that matters is them, that they feel they've "won", that they've demonstrated that they're not responsible for their bad feelings, that they're superior and innately more valued than us.  Rational explanation and commonsense have no part in this discussion.  Sometimes our only recourse is to "get off the merry-go-round", and do what's best for US, even if it means VLC or NC.  When the only familial tie is FOG (fear, obligation, guilt), it's time to reassess.

I agree with this.

Other thoughts I have are:
You are not their slave. You have your own adult autonomy, and you have rights to send money or not to send money. NPDs usually think everyone owes them something. You only owe them polite responses (to keep your integrity above reproach), and that's about it.

NPDs REAL PROBLEM in my opinion: they feel they have a right to hurt you with a HUGE arsenal of weapons (FOG, plus abuse, smear campaigns, threats, et al) just because you *unintentionally* hurt them. That's the crux of their real disorder.   
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: butterfly11 on January 03, 2015, 01:10:07 AM
Jeez, blaming you for being a cesarian? That's pretty rich. I have a theory: the more ridiculous the lows they need to go to to conjure up why you deserve the abuse, the more they are revealing without knowing it, that they really have nothing on you at all.

I can relate to rationalizing. As my therapist explained it recently to me, I grew up in a situation that was so unsupportive, unpredictable and sometimes scary that you hone your fight or flight system. Your body takes all that stuff in, so your only recourse is to get into your head. I think people like us overthink and try to overlay logic onto illogic. It's almost a physical response to emotional abuse.

So, while that rationalization is sometimes helpful, all it does in the end is stall our own personal health. We keep trying to look for a way to justify our staying away from those people.

You know in your gut that you are going way overboard in helping terribly thankless abusive people.

Don't give all of yourself away. We all hold onto that hope that if we just give a little more, they will change. But they don't. Not unless they want to.

Best of luck to you. Here's to a new, fresh year.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: PDinStereo on January 03, 2015, 01:11:31 AM
Just guesses here, but it sounds like they resent you for being more successful than them, particularly your being more successful than your father.

It's bizarre. I am no Ayn Rand fan, but they sound like Hank Reardan's family in Atlas Shrugged. I always thought the portrayal of the failures both demeaning Hank's success while demanding the fruits of the same was over-the-top, but they exist!

If they were bad enough to be someone's fictional portrayal of the worst kind of people than, while your wife may mean well, she's wrong, and her comments about how others have had it worse are invalidating.

Former FBI profiler Joe Navarro wrote a book called "Dangerous Personalities" focusing on four types: narcissists, emotionally unstable people (i.e. borderline), paranoid people, and sociopaths. There are extensive observation-based checklists for each type that you can review to help you get a fix on who is what if that's what you are looking to do.

I want to be sure I say this: I've been around the PD block and it's been bad enough that I am diagnosed PTSD, but what you describe here about the naked contempt, ownership, and bald attempts to manipulate you for your money shocks me.

I had a difficult pregnancy that cost me my job and a cesarean that resulted in 7 months of recurrent post-op infection and I CANNOT IMAGINE blaming my daughter for that or holding her responsible as she DID NOT ASK to be born. I did not do her a favor by birthing her. This is sometimes called the "golden uterus" syndrome. Birth mothers give babies up for adoption and expect no devotion from the offspring that they may love very much that will be nurtured by other parents that the child will think of as Mom and Dad. It sounds like your mother is a birth mother, and no more, and you will have to work through the stages of grief for the mother that you never got to have. It doesn't sound like they are the only family you have - it sounds like you have your own family with your wife and these people are costing that family material resources and happiness and you should consider, with a good therapist, letting them be nothing to you in order to create room in your life for a real family that deserves your energy and support.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: broken on January 03, 2015, 01:28:34 AM
We all hold onto that hope that if we just give a little more, they will change. But they don't.

That's a keeper  :)
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: still_confused on January 03, 2015, 04:35:05 AM
Just guesses here, but it sounds like they resent you for being more successful than them, particularly your being more successful than your father.

Thankyou for your post. I sometimes have a hard time myself realizing the reality of what I went through. Did I really go through this? How much of it is imagined? I've always had it tough, learned to live with it. In some ways I was thankful for it, made me the person I am today. Plenty of faults in me but at the end of the day when I am alone with my thoughts, I dare say I am rather proud of the person I am.

Your point about jealousy is not off the mark. My father and sister in particular, very much so. Remarks from my father during my childhood come back to me, to the affect of "he is a cheater, he cheats his way through life"(projection?), "he never does anything whole heartedly", "he is like the goat who will give you milk but make sure it shits in the bucket"(I laugh at this one, yes he grew up on a farm and yes I sometimes wonder if he meant G.O.A.T...). I remember when the whole thing started I called him up and tried to convince him (he is 70 odd years old) to give up on what he is doing, stop wasting money and enjoy his retirement. That if he keeps going he will go through a tougher time than he is now (he has been to prison multiple times, tax evasion, beaten up by thugs). I begged and pleaded with him, he told me "this is not the time to be giving up". I asked him what more needs to happen? The people you are dealing with are dangerous, they are thugs really, does someone have to be physically hurt, abducted, even worse? He said the law will protect our family. As a last ditch effort I told him look at me. I grew up in the same environment, but I am successful. You don't have to cut corners the way you do. You can actually be successful in life without having to resort to cheating and conniving and whatever else it is he does. And his response, after a very thoughtful pause, "You and I cannot be compared, you had me to help you, I had nobody. There is no comparison here." And as with everything else they say, while there is a sliver of truth here, it is such an incomplete picture.

At this point, I gave up on him. Called my mother and tried explaining this to her, and of course all the abuse came after that. Wow I have a lot to say don't I…need to find a good T. But thank you for your post, it is good to speak with someone that actually makes sense. Should that not be the norm rather than the exception?
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: still_confused on January 03, 2015, 04:43:17 AM
"Whatever I am, I am the only mother you will ever have". It is amazing to hear someone say this out loud. I can't even imagine making this argument to my son, ever. I know she is trying to control how I think.

"Thank God, because I sure couldn't stand being tortured by more than one of you."

I love a good one-liner better than most, and this really is a good one. The first time I read it I laughed, followed rather quickly by a sinking feeling, like I was going through an emotional black hole. I may yet end up living an amazing life, but I'll always know deep down inside that I'll always be broken, no matter what I do form here on. Oh well, time to make the most of it. Maybe go get that car I always wanted?
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: still_confused on January 03, 2015, 04:49:56 AM
It is such a pity that your wife is not supportive to you. If she had been raised by a PD she might have fleas that she can work on but she might as well have bigger problems, I dont know. I hope she does not. Why do you say that your FOO is the only family that you have? do you consider your wife and you as a family?

Thank you for your most amazing post. She was most definitely raised by two PDs although I can't put my finger on what exactly it is. At the very least it is racism, lots and lots of racism which I could never get over. And yes we both have plenty of fleas, time to work at it. I do worry a lot how much of it we will pass on to our son, just need to work hard and sort things out before we do too much damage I suppose.

You are correct, I do have a family now. I never really thought of us in that way. Perhaps on some level I am seeing myself as an extension of my FOO and have not come to terms with the fact that I can be, and am, independent now, with a family of my own. Look at me playing therapist?

But thank you for your post, it is extremely helpful and uplifting.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Spring Butterfly on January 03, 2015, 09:49:22 AM
So many priceless thoughts here. Gems 

One thought regarding your wife, my DH was actually diagnosed OCD and on meds for years simply because he obsessed about my engulfing FOO and was completely frustrated by attempts to have a life with me alone. Shame really. It wasn't until I was OOTF last year that I asked him about the reason behind his diagnosis as he didn't seem at all obsessive anymore and suddenly didn't need meds. He told me that his sole obsession and the sole reason for his diagnosis was rumination over my disordered FOO and wanting to build a life with me which he now had so he no longer ruminated over how to have what he so desparately desired.

Oddly I always wondered about the compulsive part of his diagnosis because he didn't seem to have that, he just spun in circles in his brain ruminating and obsessing but I didn't know about what until recently. And it never occurred to me to question any of it because I was so wrapped up with my FOO and too distracted from DH to give him the attention he so deserved.

Once I came OOTF with my FOO he finally faced his own toxic upbringing head on and our lives are now focused where they need to be - on each other. All is peaceful and calm in our life, as it should be.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: VividImagination on January 03, 2015, 09:59:55 AM
but I'll always know deep down inside that I'll always be broken, no matter what I do form here on.

You may not feel this way eventually. I'd be willing to bet that if you disengage from the toxic people in your life and focus on recovery for a few years healing is completely possible.

I'm a completely different person since cutting contact and beginning work on myself nearly three years ago. Yes, I was like a broken plate that someone had glued back together, feeling raggedy and ugly for a long time. The process of recovery was like being reshaped and put back in the firing oven, and now not only are the ugly ragged cracks gone, but now I'm a brand new person who is stronger and much better than before.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Salsera on January 03, 2015, 11:31:10 AM
it's gotten to the point where there is no explaining my NM and FOO. What explains it? How much really explains it?

I just think to myself "They are sick".
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: InspirationHealing on January 03, 2015, 12:47:35 PM
StillConfused said:
"I'll always know deep down inside that I'll always be broken, no matter what I do form here on."

Not necessarily! I was where you are a year ago. Every time I tried to reason with the NPDs, I'd get even more hysteria and s**t. They escalated to the point of totally dangerous insanity. They used a look or a feeling, put their ugly interpretations on it, and then told me they were going to "punish" me over THEIR made up interpretations! I HAD to walk away. After a year, the peace is finally starting to come into my life as I live in the moment and use exercises to get their voices of abuse and disapprovals out of my head.

You don't have to live to their script.

I have a feeling, from what I am seeing, that your FOO will escalate. He "expects" money from you (not respecting your autonomy), expects to get it even when he insults you (not respecting your feelings -- like if he bullies and insults you enough, that you'll come running with the checkbook -- blech, where did he learn this?), expects to get it from you even though you've told him you don't want to invest in his "losing" project (not respecting your decisions about what you will and won't invest in, and what you will and won't do with your money). Usually when you "refuse" to engage in this crazy-making (when you show them that you don't feel guilt) they start with the threats.

Some psychologists I know give their patients "voicelessness" tests; i.e. trying to determine how much their patients are being heard by their families, and how much respect they are being given. Depending on how "voiceless" the test determines you are, is usually a predictor of the extent of the abuse, including a predictor for escalations. Not respecting your autonomy to make your own decisions (plus defining you via  verbal abuse/insults) seems HUGE in terms of "voicelessness".

You have a right to protect yourself, your family and child from all of that. Protecting them sends the message  that you won't tolerate abuse -- from anyone. If you cave, your wife and child might see it as a weakness that they can manipulate too -- just a thought here.   
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: napyhed on January 03, 2015, 01:33:21 PM

Some psychologists I know give their patients "voicelessness" tests; i.e. trying to determine how much their patients are being heard by their families, and how much respect they are being given. Depending on how "voiceless" the test determines you are, is usually a predictor of the extent of the abuse, including a predictor for escalations. Not respecting your autonomy to make your own decisions (plus defining you via  verbal abuse/insults) seems HUGE in terms of "voicelessness".

Interesting! Especially for those of us who are emotionally abused.  As a good SG I wonder "is it me?"  For me this measure is a good answer.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: weeblewobbled on January 03, 2015, 01:47:26 PM
She called me all kinds of names, told me how much they had spent on me and that it was time for me to pay up.

This is particularly vile imho . . . it was your parents' responsibility to raise you.  How they did it was THEIR CHOICE. 

I hear alot of minimizing of your own feelings in your post.  I used to do the same thing and I finally decided (after seeing somebody mention it here) that I would always be on my own side from here on out.  Does that mean I'm perfect, or that all my thinking is correct?  No.  But it does mean that I have a pretty good head on my shoulders and that I generally trust my own judgment and instincts.

Somehow certain PDs take the most responsible of their children and turn them into ungrateful, bratty villains while the GCs get away with murder (and are celebrated for their wit and charm).  It's crazy-making.

If you're worried about your wife I would take some time and go to counseling.  Go slow.  All of this revelation can turn your world upside down and make you question everything you ever thought you knew.  I would work on one thing at a time.  Things may be different than they seem.  For a little bit I worried that my husband was PD (because the sick, un-OOTF me picked him) but then I came to see that he mostly has alot of fleas from how he was raised (uHPD mom).  Otherwise he is a great guy.

I am wishing you peace and enlightenment with all this.

AGREED. Parents owe children a decent upbringing. Children do not owe the parents for providing that upbringing. Any decisions or sarifices they made as parents were their own, just as your decisions are yours. You've made choices that led you to a happy productive life. They have not done the same.

He thinks that your contributions are “peanuts?” then I'm glad you stopped burdening him with your generosity. Your mom has made it clear that she doesn’t appreciate your efforts. She didn't stop and think about the effort it took for you to earn the money to hand over to them, she just wanted you to keep handing it over.  You don’t have the right to question what they’re going to do with it, in her mind, you just need to keep handing it over.

When does the "owing" end?   Is it just going to be a never-ending cycle of you being at their beck and call because they happened to raise you?  I've said it before, parents owe children a decent, comfortable upbringing.  Children do not owe their parents eternal servitude to repay them for that upbringing
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Nightbird on January 03, 2015, 02:12:07 PM
The time I walked in on her and my younger GC brother + older sister laughing, I was looking at them smiling expecting to be let in on the joke and got that look from her "why are you here to spoil the fun" and I just turned around and left.

This resonated with me because a similar thing happened to me years ago at a large family gathering (Thanksgiving, I believe) at my mother's house. I had to leave before dessert to go to work, but once I got to my car, I realized that I had forgotten my keys, so I went back inside.

My mother was in the middle of holding court, with close to twenty people listening intently to her from the dinner tables. When my mother saw me walk in, she froze, said, "Oh—I thought you'd left," and gave a fake little laugh. There was silence in the room, and everyone looked uncomfortable. It didn't occur to me until I was walking back to my car that she had been in the middle of dishing dirt about me to the family when I walked in.

(No mystery where my weird hangups about being ostracized came from, huh?)

Thank you for sharing your story, Still Confused. I echo the thought that the only rational explanation is that they are irrational. Irrational and just plain mean.

Strength!

Nighbird
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: weeblewobbled on January 03, 2015, 02:29:24 PM
The way my friend, Kristen, described it was she was the "unpaid staff" for the family. It was her job to do the housework, cook meals, provide extra money for the household starting with her first part time job as a teenager, and be the scapegoat that the household could blame when anything went wrong in the household. Her older sister was "delicate" and couldn't do the housework or get a job.

The experience still confused describes of walking into the room and hoping to be included in the joke that his mother and siblings were sharing only to get the "Why are you here, spoiling our fun?" look, was very similar to her experience. She compared it to being a waitress and walking up to a table where a family is laughing  and having run, only to get quiet as she approached. that's what she was, the waitress. She was there to serve a purpose, not to be included in the joy of the family.

The way she saw it, her mother cast her aside when she figured out that Kristen was strong and could take care of herself. Mom valued the feeling of being an "uber mom" who met all of her child's needs. Kristen met her own needs, so she didn't get her supply from Kristen. Older sister, however, gave Mom plenty of supply, so she was doted on. Also, there was the issue of Kristen being able to go out into the world and make something of herself professionally, something Sis and Mom never managed to do.  So there was a lot of resentment. She disliked Kristen because she didn't want Kristen to do more in life than Mom or her favorite.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: WhiteLight on January 03, 2015, 05:47:39 PM
A rational explanation?

Maybe, sort of.

N mother.

Always being top dog.  Never losing control.  Only putting herself in position where she can gain somehow, or at very least neutral.  Always defensive.  Never truly give from the heart.  Always grudging, somehow.  Fear of love.  Fear of pain.  Never, ever wanting to face the truth of their own lives. 

Like a selfish amoeba-type organism, some primitive form of emotional life (for example think: crocodile).  Using human intelligence for selfish and/or cowardly purposes.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Reluctant Dragon on January 03, 2015, 06:15:49 PM
I look at it from a different angle. Of course their behavior is rational. That is it's perfectly rational to them, in their world. Because in their world they are the only person whose needs and feelings matter.  Which means you, the humble subject who's supposed to be thankful to be in their world, are the "irrational" one.

IMHO though, it's not a world they can't help creating. It's a world they CHOOSE to live in. Likewise they choose to manipulate, bully and abuse those who dare not to live life from their world's view.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: eleph35 on January 03, 2015, 09:53:35 PM
I look at it from a different angle. Of course their behavior is rational. That is it's perfectly rational to them, in their world. Because in their world they are the only person whose needs and feelings matter.  Which means you, the humble subject who's supposed to be thankful to be in their world, are the "irrational" one.

IMHO though, it's not a world they can't help creating. It's a world they CHOOSE to live in. Likewise they choose to manipulate, bully and abuse those who dare not to live life from their world's view.

Hi still_confused, it's me, Stillconfused!  :D

I largely agree with Reluctant Dragon's point of view. DH definitely agrees - he's always saying to me "They have a choice, regardless of their level of emotional intelligence". Otherwise PD's shouldn't be allowed out in society, should they? If they truly can't control themselves.

NM and NF haven't acknowledge any of my pain, much less said sorry for what they have done. Is that their choice? Yes. They would rather die not having ever seen me again than admit any fault, or acknowledge GC bro's terrible behavior. The other thing is that they surround themselves by enablers, who reinforce their viewpoint and their idea that they are the rational ones.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: FaithHopeLove24 on January 03, 2015, 10:18:23 PM
Quote
. I may yet end up living an amazing life, but I'll always know deep down inside that I'll always be broken, no matter what I do form here on.

There is a Japanese bowl called kintsugi. Sometimes just referred to as a broken bowl. It is a peice of pottery that has been broken that is then pieced back together using gold in the cracks. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of the object rather than something to disguise. I like to imagine those of us who have suffered abuse in a similar way. The bowls are far more beautiful after being broken and healed than they ever were before.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Gujoro on January 04, 2015, 01:21:27 AM
Faith HopeLove - kintsugi - that's beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: still_confused on January 04, 2015, 01:24:15 AM
Yes, brought a smile to my face. Thank you for that.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Gujoro on January 04, 2015, 05:27:57 AM
Just like Faith wrote, but i liked reading the wikipedia entry too:

Kintsugi (金継ぎ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い?) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum a method similar to the maki-e technique.[1][2][3] As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: WhiteLight on January 04, 2015, 02:12:08 PM
Liked the Japanese pottery analogy too, lovely. thank you.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: kande on January 04, 2015, 09:52:04 PM
what a great insight!
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Frozen34 on December 12, 2019, 02:01:01 AM
I'm so sorry you had to deal with such a toxic family. Any abuse, is not ok, no matter what type - and to be honest my abuse from an ex was emotional, psychological, etc. and it made me permanently mentally ill, so I tend to think it's worse than physical abuse. (Granted, I kind of "inherited" my illness from my dad, it was always a part of me but hidden, the actual illness didn't surface until the relationship started)

I really related to some of what you said. My uDPD dad has complained to me about all sorts of things - all of which only came up after my mom died. He also threw her under the bus saying horrible things about her. Suddenly, he's complaining about how he had to raise me while my mom worked, how he didn't discipline me enough, how dare I not give him my address, get a PO Box, or travel over 2,000 miles to pick up some knickknacks he wants me to have. How dare I dislike his family members, who are mostly narcissistic. How dare I bring up the past, or confront his behavior, or his brother's terrible behavior, or in general, reality! And then he throws some delusions in there too about me. I've gone NC with him and his family... I shouldn't even listen to his voice messages to me because they only upset me. Luckily he doesn't know my address and cannot arrive at my door.
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: StayWithMe on December 12, 2019, 09:17:16 AM
Quote
You didn't *choose* to cause your mom complications during birth no more than you *chose* to wear diapers, go to the doctor when you were sick, need food, clothes and shoes, braces, glasses or any of the many other things kids need.

the next time she says this, you could ask whether she followed all of the doctor's orders?

And if you're feeling particularly feisty, you could add "because you have shown that can't follow instructions sometimes."
Title: Re: Is there a rational explanation for their behavior?
Post by: Ladymm on December 12, 2019, 11:03:55 AM
For me the verse which best summons the subject in question is from a Marilyn Manson (hate him or like him) song:
"I can't decide if you wear me out or wear me well; I just feel like I'm condemned to live someone elses hell"

When I feel like the lyric goes I know its mindfuck time and I try to distance myself. My recovery is slow and I still get triggered. I don't wish this kind of suffering to no one. Feels like being a judge on a murder trial of a killer with lack of solid proof and with the killer maintaining his innocence. But the evidence points to him and in your heart you know he is guilty.