Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?

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Afterthefox

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Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« on: May 04, 2016, 05:23:55 PM »
My girlfriend is visiting soon from abroad. We are in a serious relationship and talking about marriage, then moving to her country to live together.
My BPD father doesn't agree with my plans to move. Relations are currently strained and he is giving me the silent treatment following a terse email that he wrote to me. On her last visit, I didn't introduce them which I explained to him was down to lack of time. In truth, I was afraid of his behavior/reaction to meeting her. He is racist, highly opinionated about her country of origin and he does not seem bothered whether I have grandchildren or not. He was 'very sorry' not to have met her which I know in his language means he was personally offended and is now holding a grudge against me.

To complicate matters, his ex-partner, who broke up with him three years ago (after a very difficult on-off relationship and lots of therapy) has just got back together with him. He once told me never to be in contact with her. And now in his last email, he asked if I wanted to meet them both for lunch. I am concerned that if I organize a meeting, he will want the four of us to meet up which I will find very uncomfortable, not least because they are both manipulative and unfriendly and there is a lot of difficult history between us all, but especially between them.

He can be superficially nice when he meets new people but can get confrontative and fly off the handle on occasion. In any case, I know that he will make harsh judgements on us both because that's what he does. My gut feeling is not to introduce them because the very thought fills me with anxiety, but at such a pivotal time in my life, I feel it is necessary. At the very least to find out whether I have his blessing or not. And then to carry on with my life either way. I am thinking of bringing someone else along to the meeting to make the atmosphere as neutral as possible.

Should I introduce them?
Should I not?
Should I bring a third party with me?

Any thoughts welcome.
Thank you everyone :)
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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almostthere

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2016, 06:12:58 PM »
Were I your girlfriend, I would not want to be exposed to this toxic element, a man who sounds like a ticking time bomb about to blow up in my face.  I guess my question would be: What do you think that you/they will get out of meeting one another? Are you doing it out of obligation/guilt or do you have another reason for the potential meeting?

Best of luck with this problem.

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Afterthefox

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2016, 06:56:57 PM »
Thanks Almostthere,

I feel that I would like to introduce my partner to my father so that she will have a better understanding of who I am. She feels sorry that I have had a 'shitty dad'. She is fully aware that he is toxic. I feel that I would like to do it because that's what normal/reasonable people do. I feel that I would like to be conventional in that way and introduce my future wife to my entire family. I would even like for him to support us in our decision and maybe to help us begin our new life with a financial gift.

But I know that he is not reasonable and that he will find fault with something or other. My dad only met my ex-girlfriend once in the three years we were together. And we lived 20mins away from him. He didn't like her. But that isn't unusual and had nothing to do with her. He doesn't like many people.

My father will also want to meet my partner to help him decide whether I inherit or not. He talks about it often and is very outspoken about cutting members of his family off. He has made countless extravagant 'carrot and stick' offers to me which never transpire. I am certain that my inheritance is in jeopardy if I decide to move abroad.

But even so, I would just like to know. I can imagine it will be painful either way. If I don't introduce them, there will be a sadness that my partner will have never met my dad. And if I do introduce them, I am concerned that he will simply cut me off completely because he will find issue with something or other and it will confirm to him that I am committed to the relationship.

As always with a BPD, there is no straightforward approach. And my mind is full of doubt as to how to play it.




"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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bopper

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2016, 07:05:01 PM »
Your girlfriend should be aware that your father has a personality disorder.  She may or may not want to meet him.

You say you want to introduce her because that is what normal people do...but your dad is not normal and you should not expect a normal relationship with him or with her with him.

I would not count on him giving you a financial gift...most likely it would come with strings attached.

Don't spend your life worrying about inheritance...you could try and try and try and he will still cut you off because he is personality disordered.

Live your life for YOU...and if he acts decently, he can be a part of it...don't live your life for him trying to get him to love you.

You know that he most probably would be negative toward her...so what is the benefit to her or you in her meeting him?

And who cares if a PDer gives their blessing? 

You are trying to live a conventional life with an unconventional parent...it just leads to pain.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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Afterthefox

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2016, 07:46:13 PM »
Thank you Bopper,

Your advice makes a lot of good sense and I really appreciate it.

I have feelings of shame coming up that I am not from a normal family. I wish that I could welcome my partner into my family without feeling so anxious. I want that for my relationship but the tension of not knowing how he will react just makes me feel so insecure. He is deeply manipulative and verbally abusive in the subtlest ways. And then after a drink, in not so subtle ways.

But I also feel afraid of my father's reaction to me not introducing my partner. And I think this fear is the motivation to wanting to introduce them in the first place. Not a great reason I suppose.

My gut is usually in the flight mode. Get the hell out of here. He's a goddamn lunatic etc. But my mind still seeks approval.

I'm just very conflicted about this decision and afraid of the aftermath of either consequence.
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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practical

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2016, 10:15:00 PM »
I would not introduce her, there is nothing to gain imo other than more disillusionment and pain.

I did not introduce my DH to my uNPDm before our wedding, as a matter of fact she did not even know I had a BF, and thought I was moving countries for work reasons. I told her a year and a half after I had married and introduced them even later to each other.

Best decision I ever made, I could start my married life without her voice in my head, because that would have been her "blessing" her criticism of DH, or trying to flirt with him (which she tried later on), in short her gift would have been negative energy.

Your F very much sounds like a male version of my M with voicing his "opinions" freely without any regard to anybodies feelings. In M's case she saw it as her right, and if you were hurt, that was your problem.

Also, I see you are new here, so welcome to OOTF! You may want to check out the Toolbox      because I think the feelings you are describing are FOG, the guilt, fear and feeling of obligation towards the fictional idea of a normal family. It is really hard to give up that hope of once parent acting in a normal manner. From my experience, as painful as that is, life gets better once you do. And as for that possible gift, is any amount of money worth the potential pain he is most likely going to inflict on you and your girlfriend?

Stay safe!
“If I’m not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when I’m only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Afterthefox

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2016, 06:38:05 AM »
It is such a relief to hear that others have similar experiences and are sharing awareness of the resources to assist with these toxic people.

I wrote to my father just over a week ago to see if he wanted to have lunch. I thought I might try to pave the way to an amicable meeting with my girlfriend. He responded saying that he has got back together again with his ex-partner and would I like to have lunch with the two of them. They have had an extremely tempestuous relationship and he has neglected her and their child for many years. The fact that she is back together with him makes me think that she is in a desperate situation. In need of his money basically. I don't want anything to do with their unhealthy and chaotic affairs. So I wrote back politely asking whether we could just meet up one on one. He hasn't responded. It's been a week and I just don't know how or whether to even try being in touch with him again if he is going to ignore a perfectly reasonable email.

Do you think it is wise to just leave the ball in his court?
Or should I just inform him that my partner will be here soon in case he wants to meet her?
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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kiwihelen

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2016, 08:54:08 AM »
Let your partner decide if she wants to meet him. My SOs mother is uPD and although I have met her I can't think of any circumstances I would repeat the experience. I'd already dealt with two uPDs in my life prior to my SO and had a fair idea of what I was likely to find and expect. It meant that when she did one of the crazier moves during the holiday when I met her I could use a charm offensive to prevent a rage out in front of SOs kids. We got about 10 miles up the road on that day after leaving her place then pulled over and SO and I disolved into giggles that we couldn't explain to his kids because her behaviour had been so bizarre.
It is because I 'got' PDs I could keep myself safe. Only your GF can decide what is best for her.

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practical

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2016, 09:06:00 AM »
I would leave the ball in his court. He is an adult, if he is not responding to your totally reasonable request, that is his problem, not yours. You did nothing wrong, you don't have to feel guilty. I would stay away and enjoy the quiet and peace, not having to deal with his toxicity and especially not with his and his partners. Any chance he is giving your the Silent Treatment? http://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/the-silent-treatment . That would be even more reason not to engage with him. There is an expression here: "Drop the rope", don't be pulled into his world (http://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/push-pull), focus on your own, try to think about what is truly best for you and your GF without any feelings of FOG.

If I interpret it right, you and your GF don't see each other much, so why do you want to spend any of your precious time together in a toxic atmosphere? If your F is anything like my M, meeting him will not only affect the actual time spend together, you will be tense beforehand, you will be exhausted afterwards and need time to recover from whatever emotional abuse he threw your way. So instead of this meeting taking 2 hours out of your and your GFs time, it might take a day or more if you are unlucky due to prep and recovery time.

You wrote your F doesn't agree with your plans to move. Isn't the answer of what he thinks about your GF buried in there without him ever having met her? She is the person who makes you move in his mind most likely, so she might already be a scapegoat. Again, if my experience serves me right, there is a good chance he will attack her as she is apparently from the wrong part of the world, because of her you are moving, etc. One of the important things for me to understand with my uNPDm was, everything was about her, nothing was about me, not even the partner I chose. She had clear ideas who it should be, a guy she could manipulate, me living around the corner, maybe somebody who would increase her "social standing" etc. It doesn't sound like your F is very concerned with your personal happiness, it doesn't sound like he is excited you have found somebody you are happy with, rather he voices his displeasure in an indirect passive-aggressive way as well as in a direct aggressive way. I think the answer about how a possible meeting would to go is staring you in the face if you look at your past conversations with your F.

Another thing, past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, and apparently your F has never liked any of your GFs, why would you expect this one to go differently given how many strikes there are against her already in his mind? I would not even mention her visit to him again for the sake of your own mental health and to protect your GF. Remember, she has never been exposed to this kind of toxicity, it might be very hard on her. She most likely won't know how to handle possible attacks. I prepared my F for days before he met my uNPDm the first time, gave him intense instructions on how to react to her, taught him Medium Chill. It was like we were traveling to a foreign country that contained a lot of hazards. If you decide to have a get together with your F and your GF, here is a simple safety tip, if he disrespects her, attacks her, get up and leave (you may or may not want to give him a warning, e.g. "If you speak this way again, we will leave.", this is what boundaries are all about. Furthermore agree on a signal with your GF beforehand, so if she starts feeling uncomfortable, she can communicate it to you, and you can leave. Protecting her and yourself is the most important thing you can do for both of you if a situation gets out of control. What I suggest might sound impossible, you can do it. Most of us here had to learn it at some point, boundary setting is something that comes natural to people from healthy families, when you grew up with a PDparent, it is usually something you have to learn.

It is very sad you cannot share your joy with your F, not experience any of the rituals associated with a time like this like getting his blessing. It is hard to accept you have an F who is emotionally unable to give you these things. As I mentioned, my M didn't even know I was getting married, meaning she was also not there for the wedding. In a way this is very sad, at the same time I knew my wedding would then be about her, about her drama, need for attention. We had a wonderful, stress free wedding this way, and I have only happy memories of the day - it doesn't change that it is sad I could not share this moment with a loving mother, because that was not whom I had, mine was a uNPDmother.

I hope you keep posting here as you go forward with your plans for your future. This is an amazing resource of wisdom, encouragement and help.

 
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 09:15:41 AM by practical »
“If I’m not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when I’m only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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MLR

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2016, 08:37:58 PM »
Your father is a mean nasty person.  Your GF has several things about her background you KNOW your father hates.

If you love her it is important to protect her from people you know are nasty and hate her without even meeting her.

If I were you my aim would be to keep my father and gf/wife as far apart as possible.   Never let him meet your gf or children if you have them.   

Forget about the inheritance.   With his track record he will keep you twisting in the wind until the day he dies, then leave it all to anyone or anything but you.

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Afterthefox

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2016, 08:28:23 AM »
Thank you Practical,

Why I would expect anything to be different this time is a good question.

Perhaps I have been thinking that he may just give his blessing. He has been encouraging for me to get married in the past. Or in his language, 'start the marriage/divorce cycle' (he is on his fourth). A few months ago while I was last abroad visiting my GF for a few months, he wrote to me saying that I deserve to be happy and he seemed pleased that I was enjoying the prospect of moving. He even put me in touch with someone he knew there and gave me a little money to help while I was away for a few months. He wanted to work together when I got back while I prepared for my next move.

However, it is evident now that he has simply changed his mind. He cancelled the work and is giving me the silent treatment. I believe this is because he is back together with his ex-partner. I can imagine that she is turning him against his children as she would like very much like the inheritance (they have a child together, who he has also neglected). I think whatwith my clear intention to leave and to build a new life and his ex being back on the scene, he is shutting down all affection and support. I wouldn't be surprised if she is back in his life again due to an extravagant 'carrot and stick' offer that he has made her. I also wonder whether he is being unsupportive at this time in order to 'sabotage' my plans and to put pressure on me to stay by removing any support.

I'm trying to simply move on with my life without involving him too much, but finding it hard. We have bridged several periods of difficulty in the past and I still get a glimmer of hope that we can bridge future ones.

My current plan is to decide how we both feel about meeting him when she arrives. I won't plan anything until she arrives and we will talk through it together.

"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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daughter

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2016, 10:35:17 AM »
 You're hoping that your father will finally "be nice".  However, there's nothing in your description to suggest that your father is motivated to do so, or there's a chance he'll be welcoming to your fiance.  "Welcoming" is the operative word, not "civil",   Here's the question: are you able (ie: comfortable and courageous enough) to speak to your father and request that he be "welcoming to fiance"?  If you can't do that, fear doing that, then I'd delay the "introduction" and address that interpersonal issue first.  You don't need your father's blessing, and he does seem a poor role-model in regards to relationships, marriage, and family-life.

Aren't you concerned that your father may "scare off" your fiance?  Confronted by him, concerned that he might become her long-term burden too, that he presents a long-term friction or problem or irritant in your marriage?  Many "difficult" pd-disordered parents also believe that their adult-children serve as their "eldercare-plan", thinking that their adult-child (or DIL) will dutifully serve them till the end.  Part of being the still compliant adult-child of an overbearing difficult parent is that ingrained sense of "duty", that relentless need to "meet expectation and social protocol", while always worried about the short-term outcome.  Rather than complying with your father's expectation, with "normal social convention" of "introducing fiance to parent", I would recommend that 1st priority being "protect my fiance" and "protect our relationship".

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Afterthefox

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2016, 04:01:53 PM »
Thank you for your insightful post Daughter,

I feel I would like to write to my father to ask him to be 'welcoming' and to create an opportunity for communication around my fiancé's arrival. But I have already written recently to suggest having lunch and he is giving me the silent treatment. I turned down his suggestion of meeting him with his ex-partner (they had a very dysfunctional destructive relationship, perhaps not surprisingly), suggesting a one-on-one meeting instead, and he clearly didn't take to that well.

Given the current dynamic, the idea of even mentioning my fiancé and our plans makes me nervous. I feel wide open to criticism more than ever before. A sitting duck.

You made a very good point about the concerns of scaring off my fiancé by involving my nBPD. She is very self-aware and has worked through relationships with codependent relatives of her own in the past so she knows a thing or two about dysfunctional relationships and setting personal boundaries. She knows that he is a 'serious piece of work' and she appears relaxed about meeting him. It is really a matter of whether I can face being vulnerable with him at this time. Of showing him that I am in a serious relationship and carrying on with my life whether he likes it or not. Of being stronger than his judgement and criticism.

Opinion seems very unanimous in this feed that I should just walk away from my father and 'drop the rope'.
But if I don't let him know that she was here, I know that he will feel even more 'offended' that I didn't introduce them and relations will worsen further. I feel tempted to like write a short, civil email to inform him that she is in town soon and that we are continuing with our plans. It may relieve some of the stress I am under by 'avoiding' the introduction.

I'm still racked with indecision. And just so surprised that my father could react so passive aggressively to the notion of me meeting someone and moving on with my life.
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2016, 11:05:47 PM »
Quote
I'm still racked with indecision. And just so surprised that my father could react so passive aggressively to the notion of me meeting someone and moving on with my life.
This is likely because living with a PD person there is no good outcome. Whatever you decide is a no win situation, any decision you make is likely to be met with passive aggressiveness or silent treatment so you will always have walked away thinking the other option would have been better. Growing up under this pressure and criticism fosters indecision. Trying to please someone who is impossible to please, always trying to win the approval that will never come. So many of us here wish we had learned our lesson earlier in life rather than living our adult life trying to win a no win situation, trying to please or get the approval of someone who never grant it or else seems to grant it only to yank it away with a smirk.

Review and study the Toolbox carefully. It contains the wisdom of those who walked before us and is something so many of us here have learned is the only way to finally having basic human rights to live our own life. Learn this early and be happy. 
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
my Empowered Growth blog

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Afterthefox

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Re: Should I introduce my girlfriend to my BPD dad?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2016, 12:49:59 PM »
Thank you for your post Spring Butterfly.

I recently spent time with a distant relative who offered very clear and honest communication around the plans I am making with my fiancé. I received support and encouragement and positive affirmation. It made me realize just how badly that is missing in the relations between myself and my father. A new realization that it is not reasonable or acceptable that he has reacted with hostility to my plans.

Talking openly with this relative has lowered my levels of anxiety. It has brought some clarity that I have been feeling very guilty for going for what I want in my life. I realize that I have needed the support of someone close to the family, as the hostility I have been facing was causing me a lot of doubt and fear.

I have decided not to introduce them. And unless I get an email from my father in a reasonable tone voice, I have decided I will only write to him to let him know when I have a date planned for my move. If he continues with the NC, it is his loss.
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts