Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Dealing with PD Parents => Topic started by: all4peace on October 03, 2018, 01:58:29 PM

Title: hitting the fan
Post by: all4peace on October 03, 2018, 01:58:29 PM
PD parents are now aware there are "problems" as my poor SIL has had to repeatedly confront uNBPDm in physical boundary violations. uNBPDm is physically starting to look like a hunched-over old woman, either playing or becoming a waif. She was "sobbing" when SIL calmly and kindly confronted her the last time. Despite SIL having to confront her possibly almost 100 times in the course of decades, THIS time she told enF about.

So, enF wants to "fix it" with my B. B informs him that this isn't just between SIL and M, but between M and EVERYONE she interacts with. Apparently the clear, calm conversations my S and I have had with our parents were rendered down to "all4peace and her sister's issues are their problem, nothing we can do about it, we tried so hard" and poof--they just disappeared. Everyone else my mom has alienated in her life, it's "their" issues (although apparently enF admitted he knows M makes people very uncomfortable, has talked to her about it, and she acknowledges nothing).

B candidly told F that B and SIL are getting therapy. So.....my PD parents immediately went and tried to sign up for sessions with my brother's therapist! Thankfully, sharing the same last name and my brother's therapy having been all about our mother, the therapist told them that wouldn't work and sent them elsewhere.

My B is a very kind person, and he offered to speak directly to my M, who refused. Her defenses are very strong and high. It's such a confused mess. My main thoughts and observations, though:

1. My dear B has done so much healing and was able to stand firm and be the voice for all the people my parents have harmed, especially M. We've made our own voices heard to them, but they try to sweep it away, and my dear B didn't allow them to.
2. My S and I have been very clear about the issues in the relationship, and my parents have found a way to negate it all.
3. Despite MANY times being confronted by people in their lives, it has somehow distilled down to one interaction with my SIL. I guess you have to be outside the family to have a voice, and I guess you have to have things they want for them to try to repair the relationship.
4. Who on earth tries to get the same therapist as their adult child?!?!
5. They have decided that all4peace is "unwilling to repair this." Which is true. But I am willing to be a part of THEM repairing this.
6. They somehow think that they can approach the table, without blame or guilt, and we will all roll up our sleeves and work, 50/50, on the damage in our relationship. Since they have erased everything they've done, since they won't listen to our voices, then all our reactions to their behavior are our "wrongs" that we should be apologizing for. It HURTS that we don't have a close relationship, that we don't talk, share our kids, share our lives, so surely we need to apologize, as it isn't a natural consequence of their behavior, since they never did that behavior and if they did it was justified.

The thing that makes me the most angry is that if they don't hear what they want to hear, they can wholesale discard what the person has said to them, label it as "they won't forgive and they don't want to try" and walk away, with a clear conscience and clean hands. This really makes me furious.

I don't have questions or anything helpful. Just sharing to ask for support, in whatever form you are uniquely able to offer.

eta: I also feel so sad. I have a father who would believe his known-to-be-difficult wife over his daughter. We had a good relationship in adulthood. I forgave him so much, as did my sister. But if my mom gives him sob stories, portraying us in ways he should be skeptical of if he knew us at all, he apparently swallows it hook, line and sinker. I am so disappointed in him.
Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: Starboard Song on October 03, 2018, 02:28:29 PM
This is exactly how I feel about my FIL right now. When I last spoke to him, we were so close. He admitted she wasn't healthy, admitted she was full of hate and rage. But thought the next step was for us to apologize.

Clearly nothing had changed. I just beat him into some honesty.
Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: Malini on October 03, 2018, 04:43:01 PM

This reminds me of a quote I posted an age ago 'Narcissistic Personality Disorder : one of the few conditions where the patient is left alone and everyone else is treated'

Is it because SiL is an outsider or is it because B is the more favoured child? What benefit do they get from pseudo-recognising a problem (I don't believe they do) and making a half-brained attempt to look as if they are willing to address the issues. What do they stand to lose if they lose B and he joins you and your S  and poof !

Of course you're  furious, the feelings of frustration and powerlessness can be so overwhelming at times like this.

And, hand in hand with anger is the sadness. With respect to your EnF, it is almost textbook isn't it? He sees and he knows but the toxic dynamic that keeps them together means he will probably always side with her. My enND got complete absolution from me for the pain his alcoholism caused me. Lucky him. It didn't change his attitude to me though, he was still an inadequate and abusive (when sober) parent. Your enF meted out punishments to his kids, ordered by his wife. He didn't stop and consider he might have a choice or, more importantly, that it might be an abusive thing to do and that as a parent it was his DUTY to protect you.

And in my experience, even if they do make it to the table without blame or guilt, they're not coming for a 50/50 resolution. They're coming for a 90/10, at the most.

Sending you hugs of support and virtual righteous anger.

Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: daughter on October 03, 2018, 08:42:17 PM
I'm sorry A4P, and yet I'm not surprised, not at all.  Your SIL's situation has provoked a different response from your parents.  Likely they feel a different (read: less bossy, less "parental demand") response was needed for SIL's benefit.  So they indicate a "willingness to do therapy", going as far as attempting to book an appt with B/SIL's therapist (talk about BIG boundary-violation!).  But I suspect actual intent would be to "explain" to therapist that problem has been caused by B's sisters and that it's all a big misunderstanding that family was so so happy and suddenly there are problems, inexplicable to them.

Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: LSK1999 on October 03, 2018, 09:48:08 PM
Hi all4peace your post resonated with me deeply at first triggering and then I realized why. I have only recently come to the painful realization that my F is an enabler. He enabled my NM's abuse for the years they were married and when the divorced he married another women with NPD. While she was not nearly as cruel as our NM she was still very abusive of my young siblings and I. She openly disliked us, displayed distaste and envy towards us and complained not only about our presence but about everything we did. The abandonment of my father as he enabled the abuse of these women was perhaps more damaging than all of the abuse itself. Because for me dad was capable of love and protection.....only he reserved it for them. He made excuses and still does for his current wife while he has repeatedly allowed her to devalue and abuse his children. The most painful thing is this still goes on....each year at Christmas when we go to celebrate with my dads side of the family on Christimas Eve my grandchildren don't even receive gifts from my Dad and his wife....despite the fact that on social media I repeatedly see pictures of my step siblings grandkids opening gifts that Grandma and Grandpa got them. I felt so bad for my grandchildren and thank goodness I had suspected this will happen so I had some small gifts in the car so they at least had something to open.

Repeated attempts to talk to my Dad about this over the years has led to me feeling abandoned over and over and over again. I think this has got to be so horribly painful for us to see our fathers loyalty and love we so desperately needed to be given to women that harmed us. We were the ones that deserved our fathers love and protection, we were supposed to be the apple of our fathers eye. I think as little girls this had to be soooooo tremendously painful to know that not only were our mothers incapable of loving us but our father's protection seemed to only kick in for them. Thank you for this post because I have decided this Christmas I will not put myself through the further pain of another Christmas. My father has taken accountability and apologized for what he did with my NM but he still refuses to accept the reality of my step NM's cruel behavior towards us and makes excuses for her as always. I have repeatedly tried to reach out to rebuild this relationship with him only to be reminded when he rushes me off the phone the minute she walks in the door where his love and loyalty lies.

Sorry to go on and on. I just think it's so great that you have your siblings and you are all becoming more united it sounds like and that is so wonderful, while horribly painful for all of you.....you have each other  :) All my brothers and I ever had was each other, which makes it even more painful that one of them is still totally in the FOG about both. I used to be angry by this but I am in reality glad that he has much warmer and fonder memories of childhood then I or my other sibling do. In reality my F was there for him much more than he was my middle brother or I. I think it's because he was just a baby at the time of the divorce, my stepmother was also kinder to him.....here I go again sorry......lol....it's amazing how your post could invoke such insight in me about all of this and this is why I love this site. I am so sorry about your painful situation and no matter how old we get I don't think it ever gets any easier to see dad not come to us with love and acceptance but to further enable and excuse......it's like they think the only love that exists is the love from the PD??....and the ridiculous part of that is they would find an abundance of love from their children that desperately want and need it......it's like they have shut us out. God Bless you and your siblings and thanks for sharing your story with all of us..... :wave:
Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: practical on October 03, 2018, 11:03:38 PM
Like Malini I don't think the wish to fix things is real, but more of an attempt to see what will appease/bamboozle your SIL and B and get them back to the previous state of taking their abuse and being their supply.

5. They have decided that all4peace is "unwilling to repair this." Which is true. But I am willing to be a part of THEM repairing this.
Why would you? You didn't break it - as you know thanks to coming OOTF -. I keep it with the Pottery Barn rule "You break it, you buy it.", it is their problem.

eta: I also feel so sad. I have a father who would believe his known-to-be-difficult wife over his daughter. We had a good relationship in adulthood. I forgave him so much, as did my sister. But if my mom gives him sob stories, portraying us in ways he should be skeptical of if he knew us at all, he apparently swallows it hook, line and sinker. I am so disappointed in him.
I had the same experience with en/uPDf and what it boiled down to in my analysis was that this is exactly why I call him an enabler, because he wouldn't stand up for me or anybody but instead expected me to apologize to M, to make his life easier; because he had a different "truth" depending on the situation, with me M was difficult and unreasonable, with M I was stuck up for not falling over backwards to apologize and it was my problem. And part of why he did behave this way with impunity is I think exactly because he knew me at some level, he knew I would forgive him again and again for not standing up for me, he knew I would end up apologizing to M to make life easier for him, to restore "peace". It is like a circular conversation except weirdly enough it has a losing end and I always ended up holding it.
Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: all4peace on October 04, 2018, 01:08:39 PM
Starboard, it must be a horrible place to be, between healthy family members and someone with a personality/character disorder. I don't need my M to become a new person. I simply need to be empowered to deal with her offensive behavior without being shunned by my F, told to accept it, or otherwise treated as a child without wisdom, autonomy or power, instead of the middle-aged adult I am.

Malini, what a great quote! Yes, nearly everyone in our family has had or is currently in therapy, 2 of us for 2 years now, to deal with the aftermath of our childhoods.
My belief is that my F's different response is for a few reasons:
1. My sister and I were teens at one point, obviously, and my dad has been hearing my M portray us for decades now, as hostile, angry and horrible. My SIL is very sweet, kind and gentle. It is likely that F sees this as a real issue with someone he respects, whereas my sister and I are more easily painted black by him.
2. My parents live close enough to this sibling to mix in several different circles. It will look reallllly bad for them to not have a better relationship.
3. My B has "fun" kids, and they are the main source of N supply for our M, and their friend groups. These are the kids my parents host parties with and share friends with (totally not ok with my B and SIL).
4. My B has always been favored by my M. My siblings believe I am favored by my F. Guess which one will be more important?
5. In the past, my B has been very willing to bend over backwards to make "peace," so my F came into this one TOTALLY unaware that this time my B was going to kindly play hardball and not let them get away with a "Aww shucks, so sorry, let's hug and be nicey nice."

And I'm so sorry you didn't have a protective father, either. These fathers, we have forgiven them so much and they just don't do better. As I told mine earlier, same dynamic as childhood, only now the adult version.

daughter, that makes a lot of sense. With her, they relate adult to adult. Not with me. M's apology to her included a lot of "submissiveness", tears and gushing praise of SIL.  :barfy: As B said, M may not do THAT particular thing again, but she'll find another way to mess around. Yes, it will be very interesting to see if they actual go to therapy now that they can't see B's own therapist. I've already told M that I'd share any input with HER therapist if SHE wanted therapy. Crickets.

LSK1999, I'm so sorry for how many times you and your family have felt abandoned by your F. I have very occasionally seen good and strong men who are willing to stand up for their wives and children, and it warms my heart every time.

practical, I agree with you, but I don't think it will work. They either do the REALLY hard work or they will have very strained relationships with all of us. I had the same pattern as you, only now I don't. I do believe that we're supposed to feel such sorrow for in-pain, hunched-over, poor M that we all rush to comfort her, soothe her and apologize to her, to mother her as she never mothered us. It's what we've always done. Only nobody's doing it any longer. It must be a horribly painful shock to have the pattern change like this. It's why I've come to believe that being an enabler is such an unloving way to be. It allows someone to develop a pattern of intolerable behavior for so long that by the time everyone else around them cannot take it anymore, it would be really hard to change themselves.
Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: daughterofbpd on October 05, 2018, 04:13:28 PM
I'm so sorry, All4Peace. I think you are right, none of the reasons your parents are wanting to fix this with B and SIL are about you. It is all about them and what they think they can get out of the relationship. Your B and SIL have more to offer them in terms of younger children, etc. so B and SIL are essentially just being used by your parents. I don't think your parents are truly invested in fixing the relationship, its more like "how can we go back to getting what we want?" You mentioned
M's apology to her included a lot of "submissiveness", tears and gushing praise of SIL.
I have seen this behavior from my M. I get these sorts of apologies because I hold the key to her only grandchild. This isn't a real apology - not an "I'm authentically sorry I hurt you" apology - its a desperate, last resort manipulation tactic.

That said, I know it isn't easy to see your M extend compassion and love to someone else, knowing she couldn't do that for you. I've suspected that my M is either on medication and/or she's trying harder but it is clear that she is only doing it so she can have access to her grandchild. She must acknowledge there is a problem with her behavior on some level then - but god forbid she admit that to me. I think about the massive amounts of shame and pain she could have lessened for me through the years, even by accepting just partial responsibility. The fact that she couldn't put aside her own pride for the well-being of her own daughter hurts. I am happy for my LO (that my M is trying for her sake) but what about me? Why couldn't she have done it for me? It doesn't feel good to be discarded.

Many wise people on this forum have written about their parents seeing them as an object rather than a real person. I understood that but I don't think it really sunk in until recently. To my M, its almost as if I don't exist outside of her influence. To her, every little thing I do, every choice I make has something to do with her and what she needs and anything that doesn't align with that (like my feelings or needs) simply does not exist in her eyes. She is the center of her universe and my dad revolves around her. My dad tells me that my M just needs to feel loved and it is my job to do that regardless of how that makes me feel. What it all comes down to is that with a PD parent, we aren't loved for who we are but what we can provide for them. Once we grow strong enough to start stating our needs, we find that our needs are in opposition to the PD parent's needs. Your need to not be touched or hugged infringes on your M's need for N supply. You are no longer fulfilling the parent's needs so you can be tossed aside, considered a lost cause. Perhaps that parent is genuinely hurting when they do this. Perhaps this is all they know of love. And yet there we are, trying so hard to meet them half way and they turn their backs on us. The whole situation is so incredibly sad.
Title: Re: hitting the fan
Post by: all4peace on October 07, 2018, 11:29:42 PM
Thank you for the responses. I'm just tired. I don't know if I have it in me anymore. I am so burned out on this type of relationship.