Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL

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Artsy

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Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« on: May 10, 2016, 02:13:35 AM »
Okay. All kidding aside.

I've found myself plagued this past week with this deep shame about hurting the children in my family (my nieces and nephews).

Despite the fact that I see them yearly (max), in the PD controlled environment that is family gatherings, and relationships are shallow at best, I'm hurting them by going NC with two narcissist siblings (and one I'm pretty sure is a sociopath). That leaves me with one BPD sister who (I think) is stirring the pot.

Suddenly my SIL is on a rampage because I'm hurting children, including my own, it seems, as one niece has "reached out" to my son.

I have to keep reminding myself that I'd never hurt children. The disconnect from young people, I feel a genuine affection for, IS tragic, but - NOT MY FAULT. I'd never do this if I wasn't absolutely preserving my sanity. I have no desire to cut myself off from CHILDREN.

I'm also bothered that my own guilt is almost palpable. I know nieces and nephews are being whipped up and turned into human land mines who believe their parents are being victimized. They will continue to be, until I relent, and I won't. I've had enough.

Anyway, I felt so bad, I sent an email to one of my nieces who really likes me and my family (at my SIL's suggestion) to "reach out to her" and of course - no response.

What kind of world do you live in when unsuspecting children are lined up like chess pieces to lure someone out for abuse?

Anyway, any words of wisdom on how to reduce irrational guilt are appreciated.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 02:28:17 AM by Artsy »
"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.

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sandpiper

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 07:18:29 AM »
Been there, done that, got the muck-splattered T-shirt as a souvenir.
:(
I'm really sorry for what you are going through here. All I can do is repeat what my counsellor said to me - there is really nothing you can do - now. Their children are hostages to their drama until they are of an age to leave home & by then they will likely be so heavily brainwashed and/or damaged that it would be difficult to have a constructive relationship with them anyway.
My counsellor put it to me this way - their mother will punish them if they try to have a relationship with you & all you are doing by engaging in that tug of war is tearing them in two.
How old are the kids?
I tried to have a conversation with my sister's kids about how I loved them & I would always be there if they needed me, but that seeing their mother seemed to be a bad idea & I felt it was best to stay out of the way.
I made a point of calling their school & having a confidential conversation with the counsellor, just to let them know what my sister's mental health & substance abuse issues were, and to ask them if they could do whatever was in their power to support the children, as my sister was just going to push us away & cast us as the villains in her drama - so I'd given up on being able to do anything useful for them.
I do think that made a huge difference. I had some friends with kids at the same school & they kind of kept an eye out over the years - again, nothing they could do, but it was reassuring to have someone come back to me & let me know just how caring the teachers at that school were & how well they followed through offering support for those children.
I took some comfort from the fact that I could be 'aunty' to the children of our own friends, and while it doesn't change the pain that you feel from not being able to build a constructive relationship with your own sibling and her children, it does help, a lot.
Family is the people we choose to have around us, not the people who want to tear us to pieces because that somehow makes them feel satisfied with their lives.
I guess the only other way that I dealt with it was by constantly reminding myself that walking away from the abuse calmly, and building a good life for myself, was in itself a powerful message to the children in that one day, when they are adults and they want to break free, they'll know that someone else walked the Scapegoat path before them, and lived to survive the smearing and the drama.
It is always possible that at some point down the track, when your nephews & nieces are older, it may be possible to have more of a relationship with them, then.
Just be wary, though. As my counsellor said - their mother will always win.
It's incredibly hard for a child to break away from those emotional bonds & children who are insecurely bonded with their mother know that it just takes one wrong step to lose her love. Most will spend a lifetime trying to tippy-toe between the landmines looking for love, because they've never known a better kind of love.
God that sounds depressing.
I guess the other thing that helped me was that I spent a lot of time at boards like these trying to be supportive (rather than just offering up the depressing truth) & I felt like if I could pay it forward - put lots of support & things that I'd learned the hard way, out there - then hopefully that might gain some momentum, so that one day, if my sister's children are grown and are having trouble and I'm not around - there'll be others around who have had the benefit of my experience.
You know how people light a chain of candles, by passing on the flame, one by one?
That.
I hope some of that helps, I know how much it hurts, to have a sister who treats her children like hostages & pawns in a game.

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alonenow

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 01:31:13 PM »
I agree with Sandpiper.
Most of my nieces and nephews absorbed all the lies and BS their parents fed them. Even in the times I saw them I could not compete with the brainwashing.  Only one ever broke free and I hope he stays that way. the others KNOW their parents are damaged just not ready to come Out of the FOG. if they ever do I hope they contact me but doubt they will since I am sure they lied about why alonenow does not speak to anyone.

As for my now grown kids they often ask me WHY did I let them stay with or be watched by my damaged siblings ( before I was Out of the FOG).
Nothing bad ever happened but with 20/20 hindsight these people were not good examples for kids to be around. sounds to me like your SIL is trying to bait you.

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bunnie

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 01:37:33 PM »
When children love you and don't see you anymore it hurts them.  Kids don't understand why you're absent.  Even teenagers can't fully grasp the complexities of going NC.  So I do believe that going NC can be hurtful to children.  It also leaves them wide open to the abuse of PDs and Ns.  Now what to do about that is open for debate. 
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize - Voltaire

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Artsy

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 03:06:38 PM »
Alone now and Sandpiper - thank you.

My guilt is irrational, THAT I know. My actions are not hurting children. It helps so much to be validated. My SIL is definitely baiting me. No doubt. We were all used this exact way by my family. Here are some other examples of how I've hurt others:

Setting boundaries around Christmas hours, so my family can enjoy Christmas in the morning alone before going to grandparents home (almost a class-a offense).

Falling in love - that one almost lost me my father.

Calling the police on my brother when he tried to block me from my toddler. Took him 10 years to forgive me for that.

Hmmmm... Let's see....

Anyway, no one is getting hurt, because I'm cutting off abuse and seeing to myself. I could see this if we saw each other daily, etc... Missing one of a hoard of relatives at family gatherings isn't hurting anyone.

Fortunately, I'm still in touch with the very young ones. The ones I'm referring to are teen and older. If anyone has hurt these guys, it's their parents who even told them about the NC. I certainly wasn't going to.

Bunnie, thanks for giving me cause to say it firmly. It's probably better if the fact that I'm not hurting anyone (no silent treatment, no revenge, no rejection, just focus on me not being abused) is validated by me, myself. Although, it sure helps to get validation on this kind of thing on this site.

Anyone else who reads this post, please know, going NC from a PD is not hurting anyone as long as it's not spiteful and vindictive. Trying to make someone make unwanted contact under the guise that they are hurtful to children is playing children like chess pieces. I totally agree with the notion that these kids are being set up to defend PD's and they will. I don't need that and neither do they. If NC is what you have to do, do it. It's been the best decision for me and I'm getting stronger every day. My sister in law just got under my skin, because I love those kids. I'm always here for them if they can come Out of the FOG.
"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.

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Bloomie

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 05:09:54 PM »
Hi Artsy - I remember well past posts where you have struggled with how going NC has impacted relationships with the kids in your FOO and how much you care about them. I am really sorry your sil is saying these undeserved things to you.

I think we all agree that unmanaged PD behaviors hurt everyone and fracture relationships. I also think we can all agree that anyone without direct knowledge of the chain of events leading up to NC, or who has been subjected to endless conjecture and smearing of us, may never be able to fully understand why we have been forced to end abusive behaviors by going NC. Children and adults.

No one has lived your life and experienced what you have in your family. The decision to go NC is a tough one that comes from a place of healthy hopelessness that the PD behaviors we are encountering consistently over time, that we have tried to draw boundaries and consequences around, has continued and is hurting us.

After many long years of covertly abusive behaviors and many attempts to respectfully deal with them in a healthy and kind way with my uHPDsil, I withdrew. In the midst of that was my beautiful niece who I love as my own and who has spent countless hours in my home being loved and cared for. When I withdrew from her mother my niece (young adult out on her own) eventually required that I have the same level of contact and "relationship" with her mother as I had with her. She had been continuously exposed to smears and "stories" about my terrible treatment of her mother.

She admitted that she had never witnessed any poor treatment of her mother only a coolness (MC) and withdrawing, BUT.... her mother was devastated and hurt and I needed to make that better for everyone. Well, you and I know the isn't possible, but it was the cry of her heart to an aunt she felt she could reach and depend upon and it broke my heart to have to say I cannot make this all better. I cannot have the same relationship and level of contact with you and your mother for reasons that are between the two of us, and repeating them to you would be maligning your mother and I won't do that.

Our relationship is an occasional contact throughout the year. I welcome any and all contact with her, but let her set the pace as to how often and when. It is a deep loss and brings great sorrow just to even write about this here, but I am doing so to say that there may be a time when those kids can talk to you about this stuff and there may not. When/if that time comes you will know how best to respond and how much to say.

Regarding your sil - you can agree that the NC that is a result of being on the receiving end of disordered and dysfunctional behaviors is  hurting everyone, but you don't agree with the cause and solution for the fracturing and lack of close connection and contact.

You can and do disagree that you are responsible for this hurt and fracturing in your family, and you know the truth. If you have acted from a place that is consistent with your core values, then you can be at peace in all of this no matter another's opinion of your very difficult choices.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 05:14:31 PM by Bloomie »

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Artsy

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 06:22:34 PM »
Thank you Bloomie. Your words are always wise and thoughtful. I do appreciate your feedback and I'm sorry you also have had this experience. I'm also truly sorry you had to be separated from someone you loved because of "love one; love us all. Hurt one; hurt us all" mentality.

The idea of losing nieces and nephews has been an evolving issue for me. It has plagued me and is the single most troubling thing about all of this, and it's also been the way my family has hoovered me in for years now. I've been trying to take a rational look at it all and really inventory the truth about those relationships to mitigate the sense of tragedy in it.

I remember my own aunt always giving us money on birthday, etc... but I had no idea she was married to a pedophile and was an alcoholic. It was just these cards in the mail once  year. I have a fond affection for her, but I never really knew her. I was one of her obligations and she was nice to me. I'm afraid this is what it's like with my nieces and nephews. The contests and posturing in the family has always kept them from engaging in real meaningful relationships with us and they've been fought over like pieces of meat.

Gatherings have always been these big orchestrated, regimented events during holidays that my older sister has controlled every second of from the moment she flies into town to the moment she leaves. The point always seemed to get a huge family picture and avoid talking.

Our family gatherings have always been absolutely child-centered, and I've always felt the kids were being used to help us avoid conflict, confrontation, resolution, etc... I was always chastised for not forcing my kids to smile for the camera or go to things they opted out of. I'd force them to see everybody at least once, but not the whole itinerary, and it made my older sister angry when I thanked them for participating, etc.... as if it were an insult to her that they had a choice.
 
Watching my family through the eyes of my son, who started limiting contact before I did, I realized how he only became another figure in a family picture, no one really took the time to get to know him or relate to him.

I will say coming on here and reading other people's accounts, like yours, has really helped me let go of the idea that I can make this better for the kids. I guess that's why I found my SIL's comments (said in that fake stewardess voice she uses when guilt tripping) outrageous. If I don't tolerate my siblings abuse, I'm hurting children, that's what I'm hearing.

It would be one thing if the 'hurting children' thing was generated by the children. I know, because I've seen this movie before, it wasn't. The kids have no idea - we all live in separate states. They've been enlisted, triangulated in, and told they are being hurt. One of the sisters I have gone NC with, absolutely did this with her children and pitted them against our mother for years (our mother gave as good as she got BTW). I always viewed this as putting the kids directly in the middle.

Ironically, it's her daughters who are acting now (coaching other kids in the family, and calling my son).

I told my son, he is willing to have any relationship he feels he needs to, but I did warn him of overtures for changes in a relationship that seem sudden or unrelated to anything but the conflict. A distant relationship, shouldn't suddenly become fast friends over night, but I blessed him having any connection in the family he needs to.

I have not gone NC with my brother or SIL yet, but I'm thinking we're heading there. There is no reason for the kids to even know what's going on between me and another one of their aunts, but everyone's been gathered up and prepped to shun and resent me. Honestly, whose really hurting them? If the kids have been hurt, then they've been involved, and that's not okay with me either.

I guess to me the truest statement that can be made about all of this is: PD gaslighting, scapegoating, smearing, and triangulating - hurts children. NC is simply the natural outcome of the abuse.

"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.

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all4peace

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 06:50:52 PM »
It's all so painful. I think the fact that you are struggling with it is a sign that you're thoughtful and considerate. Personally having experienced these confusing emotions, I know it's hard to grapple with them and feel firm in our decisions.

We are currently VLC with H's family, including the half living next door. I recently opted out of a family event. For me, it is very important for my own spirit and emotional health to be clear on WHY I opted out. I opted out so that I could have peace. I didn't want to spend the next 3 days obsessing and reliving all the interactions that I would have had at that event.

I guess we could say that it hurts children to not have all the loving and supportive people in their lives that they could have had. It hurts them even more to have PD parents and grandparents, whose behavior makes it emotionally unhealthy for some of the family members to be around the family.

For years we were used as babysitters for the family's children so that everyone else could go spend time together. It was humiliating, hurtful, using behavior. I poured my heart into the children anyway, as it wasn't their fault and we love our nieces and nephews.

As they got older, SIL would spontaneously and inexplicably (literally NO interaction leading to her change of behavior) refuse to let her children be with us. We were yanked around, back and forth. It was humiliating and hurtful. I still worked to be sure we had time with them every year, building memories.

As more time has passed, it is clear that we do not have a bond with these children. When we see them, it's as if they had never met us before. They have no affection, attachment or bond. To me it is very clear that they are being told and taught things about us at home that we cannot overcome in our rare interactions with them.

For my own integrity, I always treat them warmly and kindly when we see them, I still gift them on birthdays, but I no longer initiate time with them.

I suppose I could be accused of hurting the children also, but I understand very clearly how you would need to go NC. Of course the children are affected in some way or another, but you didn't ask for or cause the situation leading to your NC.

Of all the pain and grief of being part of a PD family, I do believe it is the ways that the children are affected that grieve me the most. The cycle continues. In my case, we are seeking VLC so that the cycle won't continue in our FOC. We have no control over H's FOO and how it continues there.

It is appalling when children are used like pawns. I have a terror of accidentally doing this to my own children and am working hard to find the fine line between protection and trust.

The only way I know to relieve the guilt is to review the reasons for why the relationships have come to the point they have. This is a struggle, though, as constantly reviewing and reliving the past isn't always healthy, either.

I think sometimes we have to simply accept that we have (or married into) a deeply unhealthy family, we can't do much about it but protect ourselves, and there will always be a wound because of this. We have to work hard to not let unwarranted blame be placed on our shoulders. We have to focus hard on how we DO want to be on this earth, and work on those things, building those relationships, loving those ways.

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Artsy

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 09:07:23 PM »
All4peace - exactly! Here are your quotes that just struck me:

1.) "As more time has passed, it is clear that we do not have a bond with these children. When we see them, it's as if they had never met us before. They have no affection, attachment or bond. To me it is very clear that they are being told and taught things about us at home that we cannot overcome in our rare interactions with them."

This was said perfectly. That is exactly how it is with me. It's like we're all getting together to play these roles and no one ever gets together back stage to really talk, bond, or tell the truth about their feelings. I feel bad for kids who have learned to sort of hold their hands out to receive from people their parents clearly distrust and dislike. It's like they are being trained to take what they can from strangers that look like their parents.

2.) "The only way I know to relieve the guilt is to review the reasons for why the relationships have come to the point they have. This is a struggle, though, as constantly reviewing and reliving the past isn't always healthy, either."

I'm with you here too! It's a real conundrum. Remembering, journaling, reviewing what has happened to remind ourselves that it's not our fault is helpful (at least for me). I read my old journals often. It goes hand in hand with NC. I personally, need to keep reviewing it, building tolerance for telling my story, and stop internalizing it all.

"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.

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bunnie

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2016, 02:08:04 PM »
As my counsellor said - their mother will always win.

This is not always the case.  My mom's side of the family is full of NPD behaviors (my mom leading the pack).  Despite the dysfunctional upbringing, most of us are mentally and emotionally healthy.  I attribute this to the aunts and uncles in the family who absolutely refused to play the games.  They didn't allow the insanity determine how they treated us all.  In our teens it became clear who the dysfunctional members of the family are.

I hope some of that helps, I know how much it hurts, to have a sister who treats her children like hostages & pawns in a game.
It's the take away game and it's absolutely ridiculous.  But NPDs are children.

My nieces and nephew know that it's my sister with the problem.  Of course, I have the choice to lookout for myself and stay away lest I get my feelings hurt again.  And that is a real consideration.  But for the kids to grow up and not have me around because I'm afraid of another blowup is hurting them.  So at this time I choose to toughen up and not adopt my own brand of crazy by staying away.  These NPDs are childlike, correct?  I'm not going to let a child dictate my actions either way.

I think NC should be used as a tool to regain strength, heal and strategize.  Now a person may not want to do those things, and that's their prerogative.  But I read on this forum NC being used as a permanent solution and stance to an NPDs childish temper tantrum.  I don't think that's very helpful when children are involved.  Having my nieces and nephew respond to my presence as if I'm a stranger in the future is not an option. 
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 02:10:07 PM by bunnie »
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize - Voltaire

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xredshoesx

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 02:57:09 PM »
being in contact with the parent of a child who has PD/uPD can be abusive to the OP- let's keep that in mind.

in my experience, when i was old enough, i sought out the truth about my biological mother.  that's how i found out my uncle was really my half brother.  knowing the truth destroyed any hold my biological mother had on me, and then after getting to know my biological father, i started to really see how manipulative my real mother was in keeping me from him when i was a minor.  my paternal aunt and uncle TRIED as well as my half brother and his wife to protect me from my mother, but eventually her tactics were too much and they had to make a choice between their own family and me.  i think being a sibling to a person with PD/uPD and knowing what their children are going through and not being able to help is probably one of the hardest positions to be in- i liken it to a teacher who's called social services on a parent and is powerless to help the student after that action. 

artsy, i'm sorry you find yourself in the middle here.  there is no easy answers.  i hope that when your nieces/ nephews are old enough they will have the maturity to be able to see the other side of the story because all they know is probably what their mother is telling them (which they have to believe to be safe).


When children love you and don't see you anymore it hurts them.  Kids don't understand why you're absent.  Even teenagers can't fully grasp the complexities of going NC.  So I do believe that going NC can be hurtful to children.  It also leaves them wide open to the abuse of PDs and Ns.  Now what to do about that is open for debate.

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bunnie

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 03:14:45 PM »
Did you mean to quote me above? 
If so, what are your thoughts regarding what I wrote?  I said that when children who love you don't see you anymore it hurts them.  Do you agree or disagree?  I'm not seeing the connection between what you wrote and my quote?
« Last Edit: May 11, 2016, 03:17:18 PM by bunnie »
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize - Voltaire

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xredshoesx

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Re: Did you know NC hurt's children? Says my PD SIL
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2016, 08:13:39 PM »
NC is an intensely personal choice and is as individual as the situation and the people involved.  i'm glad being in contact has worked ok for you bunnie and has allowed you to continue to have a relationship with your nieces and nephews. however, don't you think it's rather judgemental to think that other forum members who have different, possibly more abusive situations with their siblings, are punishing the children in the middle for being NC? Sometimes abuse between siblings is more than getting your feelings hurt, and it's important that we honor artsy's view of NC and how it has to be a part of what their boundaries are with their family.

edited to add- this is my thoughts about your question bunnie.

As my counsellor said - their mother will always win.

This is not always the case.  My mom's side of the family is full of NPD behaviors (my mom leading the pack).  Despite the dysfunctional upbringing, most of us are mentally and emotionally healthy.  I attribute this to the aunts and uncles in the family who absolutely refused to play the games.  They didn't allow the insanity determine how they treated us all.  In our teens it became clear who the dysfunctional members of the family are.

I hope some of that helps, I know how much it hurts, to have a sister who treats her children like hostages & pawns in a game.
It's the take away game and it's absolutely ridiculous.  But NPDs are children.

My nieces and nephew know that it's my sister with the problem.  Of course, I have the choice to lookout for myself and stay away lest I get my feelings hurt again.  And that is a real consideration.  But for the kids to grow up and not have me around because I'm afraid of another blowup is hurting them.  So at this time I choose to toughen up and not adopt my own brand of crazy by staying away.  These NPDs are childlike, correct?  I'm not going to let a child dictate my actions either way.

I think NC should be used as a tool to regain strength, heal and strategize.  Now a person may not want to do those things, and that's their prerogative.  But I read on this forum NC being used as a permanent solution and stance to an NPDs childish temper tantrum.  I don't think that's very helpful when children are involved.  Having my nieces and nephew respond to my presence as if I'm a stranger in the future is not an option.