Denial even after over a year NC

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NotHelplessNow

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Denial even after over a year NC
« on: March 25, 2016, 02:31:30 PM »
I've been NC with my parents for about a year and a half yet I still find that I'm in denial about how messed up my family situation is.  I was talking with one of my brothers last weekend.  He's been VLC with them for a while but I think my NC has shaken him up a little.  He's been thinking a lot about growing up with my parents and started talking about some of the stuff he remembers and asked me if I thought NM was an alcoholic.  I started to get very anxious and this voice in my head started saying "we shouldn't be talking about this".  I don't know how else to explain it but I felt very much like I was supposed to keep up the pretense that our parents were normal and everything was just fine.  I didn't say any of this to him of course.  And as he was talking, I started to realize that my parents ARE messed up.  That our situation was NOT normal.  It's not just me.  But as much as I felt validated, I also started to feel very sad again.  It made me realize that I still am in denial that things were bad and sometimes I fall back into thinking that I'm just too sensitive or it wasn't that bad or whatever.

The weird thing is that I have wondered recently if my NM was an alcoholic too but I thought it was just me.  Then I started to make excuses for her, i.e I like to have some drinks too, etc. But I'm starting to wonder now if she really was an alcoholic in addition to being PD.  I don't remember her being drunk a lot but she did drink almost every night.  And now I'm starting to wonder again if I don't really know what happened in my own life. 

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movingforward2

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2016, 03:53:55 PM »
Hugs to you nothelpless now! 

I think that sometimes we just get so used to our family dynamics that it's hard to shift.  My husband has now been NC (more or less...a little bit of LC thrown in there) with his mom for 4 years.  I'd say that it wasn't until recently that he has started to remember additional things in his childhood that were off and he recognizes that as our DD's grow and he parents them.  Our oldest DD is 10 and we had a conversation with her about drunk driving (her friends dad was arrested for it, so it was a good context to bring it up in, although she's young).  Anyhow, I told her that when she's older, she could call me any time of the day and I'd come get her and drive her home, whether she was drunk or her friend who was driving was drunk, etc.    My H got this sad look on his face and after she left the room told me how his mom once wanted him to walk 3 miles home (to punish him for drinking), from his girlfriend's house when he was very drunk.  He was maybe 18 and still in high school.  The girl friends parents ended up taking him home.  But, he saw how his instinct as a dad was to pick up his drunk daughter...my instinct was to pick her up and that's how my parents were too.  But, we had been together for 13 years and it was the first time he ever told me that story or felt comfortable seeing it as an example of how his mom was wrong. 

The other day I was also talking to my mom, who was raised in a dysfunctional home where you weren't allowed to talk about the dysfunction.  I was talking about how my daughters will need to be careful with alcohol because issues with it run on our side and my H's side.  My mom was shocked and claimed there are no issues on her side.  I then said to her, "Mom...your brother is an alcoholic and my cousin died in his mid-40's from alcoholism.  Dad also told me that Nana had an issue with alcohol as well.  How can you say your family didn't have issues?"  She then said that is just isn't something they talk about.   :stars:  I mean...the only way to have a chance at stopping alcoholism from carrying over from generation to generation is an awareness of it, and I am making sure that my DD's know (when they are old enough) that issues run on both our families.  But...many families keep secrets and that is part of the reason the issues go on for generations and generations.

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Liz1018

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2016, 06:27:48 PM »
I think alcohol is often part of the equation. It definitely was in my family. My father was a nightly drinker. My mom rarely drank but there must have been some alcoholism in her family too because my maternal grandparents were teetotalers, but I don't think it was always that way. They were all very hush hush about it.  Personality Disorders and alcohol - WHAT A HORRIBLE COMBINATION!

It's disturbing to realize not only that we were brainwashed, but also to the extent. It's bad. It is definitely worse than I thought. I am hoping that as time goes by it doesn't come into the focus that it is even worse than the even worse than I thought.

The feeling of not knowing what really happened in your own life is so scary. There is no way we could really ever know as children because we didn't understand adult dynamics. I am grateful that from 13 on I started writing it all down. But before that, no clue.

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JG65

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2016, 06:36:57 PM »
Dear NotHelplessNow,

I had some challenges with denial as well.  I went NC with my NPD father for reasons linked to his NPD and it was then that I started to research NPD and accept that he has it and how much it has shaped his behavior. 

That was over 6 months ago now.  My dad was diagnosed with NPD about 30 years ago, but we were in denial.  Also, my mother is a recovering alcoholic and I have a lot of denial about her behaviors as well and their impact on me and our family.

For my dad, what helped me was actually writing out experiences I had with his NPD behaviors.  When I found myself denying his NPD or the extent of his negative behaviors, I went back to that list.  I also explored the impact that his behaviors had on me.  Finally, I did start therapy.

Together these things have helped me work through a lot of the denial.  I have work left to do, but I've made a lot of progress over the past year. 

Good luck! 
Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences - Robert Louis Stevenson

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Malini

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2016, 02:18:59 PM »
I'm not sure if it is denial. My father was an alcoholic and we were not allowed to speak of it. I remember a bday party of mine when I was about 7/8 and NM had locked him in his bedroom. He was knocking on the door and moaning to get out and I keep telling my friends that there was no one there.

I think we have this family loyalty so ingrained in ourselves, we don't wash our dirty laundry in public, we don't speak about the dysfunction. It's like a law of silence of the Mafia. My DH once said to me, as I got off the phone crying from my father - 'I don't know how you can take him seriously. He's ridiculous' and I felt as if lightening would strike us down.

So, I think we are so trained to put on a facade and lie, that we fear speaking the truth, we are scared we'll be horribly punished for being disloyal, and this is what holds us back. I believe that we see and know more about the dysfunction than we realise, but have been conditioned to fear speaking about it.

Just my 2 bits.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

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pegleg

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2016, 08:32:55 AM »
And now I'm starting to wonder again if I don't really know what happened in my own life.

I have this feeling often. And there's no one I can ask, as I have no siblings close in age, and I've gone VLC with everyone else in the extended family, too, and I'm not sure I could trust what they say, anyway, because distorted thinking is a family-wide condition (not to mention that they would probably tell my mom that I was asking questions, as a way of rubbing it in that I am still in contact with them).

So I'm left trying to piece together my own childhood from foggy, fragmented memories. I do have a box of diaries but I am afraid to read them.

But I do think my parents had some major substance abuse problems that aggravated their PDs.
* uBPD/ covert uNPD mother
* uNPD father (not covert, but not malignant)
* Suspected HPD, NPD, and BPD, among other things, in various extended family members.

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lovingheart

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 12:25:37 PM »
Nothelplessnow...

I'm so sorry you're having to go through that but I am happy that you're able to talk to us about this.

It's all part of getting Out of the FOG and slowly realizing that things aren't okay. It's hard to accept that we came from such a dysfunctional family. I've been NC for nine or ten months now and I feel the same way.

I still feel as if it's just me who is the crazy one and not them but in reality it's definitely them... Only thing I can say is that you at least have someone in your own FOO who can confirm your suspicions. You're not alone! Remember that.
Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.

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NotHelplessNow

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Re: Denial even after over a year NC
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2016, 07:44:30 PM »
Thanks for all of the great responses everyone.  I really appreciate all of the support.

My H got this sad look on his face and after she left the room told me how his mom once wanted him to walk 3 miles home (to punish him for drinking), from his girlfriend's house when he was very drunk.  He was maybe 18 and still in high school.  The girl friends parents ended up taking him home.

I have had a few situations like this happen to me too, where I look at my NM's behavior through a different lens.  Of course you would pick up your child if they called you for help!  But clearly that's not how PDs handle things.  Years ago when I was still living at home and dating my husband, NM wanted him to drive home 70 miles late at night even though he was exhausted.  Her reasoning?  What would the neighbors think if they saw his car in our driveway overnight?  That was more important to her than his safety.

It's disturbing to realize not only that we were brainwashed, but also to the extent. It's bad. It is definitely worse than I thought. I am hoping that as time goes by it doesn't come into the focus that it is even worse than the even worse than I thought.

The feeling of not knowing what really happened in your own life is so scary. There is no way we could really ever know as children because we didn't understand adult dynamics. I am grateful that from 13 on I started writing it all down. But before that, no clue.

For my dad, what helped me was actually writing out experiences I had with his NPD behaviors.  When I found myself denying his NPD or the extent of his negative behaviors, I went back to that list.   


Well, at least we can come here when things keep looking worse and worse! :)  I'm glad that you wrote things down. I think I might start doing that just so I have something to counteract the feelings of being oversensitive.

I think we have this family loyalty so ingrained in ourselves, we don't wash our dirty laundry in public, we don't speak about the dysfunction. It's like a law of silence of the Mafia. My DH once said to me, as I got off the phone crying from my father - 'I don't know how you can take him seriously. He's ridiculous' and I felt as if lightening would strike us down.

This is exactly how I felt too!  Right before I went NC, my NM was constantly calling with drama.  It got so bad I left my phone at home on purpose.  My DH asked me why I didn't just block her calls and I totally panicked.  Same lightning strike me down feeling! That feeling actually helped me though because it gave me the kick I needed to go NC.  I realized that my relationship with her was not healthy if I was feeling sick and panicked at the thought of not taking her calls.  I'm sorry that you've had to deal with it too.