And the cycle repeats...

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Wookiepunch

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And the cycle repeats...
« on: August 27, 2016, 10:41:19 AM »
So a breif background on me- scapegoat in a family of narcs. Dad is estranged for over a decade- years of drug abuse, beating my mom, etc. Mom is a codependent Narc- actively tried to sabotage my marriage of 17 yrs, ended up going NC 3 yrs ago. Two brothers, one is halfway decent but a bit of a user at times. Other is a full blown textbook narc. NC for two years.

Birthdays are a sore subject for me. Dad often left in the most dramatic way possible growing up- often just before a birthday or xmas. In the following years into adulthood, Mom would use birthdays as a annual gathering to force us boys to get along and "play nice". Usually it did not go very well. Narc bro is a jerk, and couldn't hold it together for even a few hours. I tried to maintain a relationship with him, but it ended badly on our last birthday meetup. I asked him why he didn't reply to my texts about meeting halfway between his place and mine so the three of us could maintain some sense of familial bonding. His response was " Me not answering WAS my response. Get it?" Ouch. That was three years ago.
So his birthday is tomorrow. My "better" younger brother was asking me about going in on a gift for Narc bro. I reminded him of how well our last interaction went- him insulting me about my family/lifestyle choices. He replies with "So is that YOU talking or your WIFE?" (Wife and Narc bro hate each other- it came to a head with a nasty exchange over social media with him calling us losers, and her calling him a walking STD a few years back). I was taken aback, and really didn't have a response. I cut the call short and spent the next week fuming over his jab at my wife, and even more his expectation to rugsweep and spend my money on my ungrateful brother. Since then we have not talked. My family's modus operandi is to cut off when uncomfortable, and rug-sweep. Always.
I am just so tired of this garbage. I am estranged from nearly all my family, and the one link I have left occasionally reverts to what the rest of them pull. It is emotionally taxing. I just wish some of them would act normal. I hate the low level guilt from estrangement. I hate the weird behavior and emotional games we all play. I just wish we could be normal.

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alonenow

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2016, 04:00:07 AM »
     I feel for you I had that one sibling that was not all that bad ..............but would revert at any moment into the dysfunctional fold.  I quit going when I was LC to these "play nice " get together and I have not missed the fakeness at all.  when you wish you could all be normal I hear I wish we could all be adults.  At this point I doubt there are many "normal" families out there and  to stop rug sweeping is a hard habit to break so best of luck with that.

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Reda

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2016, 12:37:31 PM »
I am just so tired of this garbage. I am estranged from nearly all my family, and the one link I have left occasionally reverts to what the rest of them pull. It is emotionally taxing. I just wish some of them would act normal. I hate the low level guilt from estrangement. I hate the weird behavior and emotional games we all play. I just wish we could be normal.

I'm sick of the garbage too, and I also have experience with the "known PDs" and the "occasional reverters."  I'm always at DEFCON-1 when in the presence of known PDs (and have zero expectation of any kind of emotionally fulfilling relationship), but the occasional reverters have a way of catching you off guard every freaking time.

Don't feed the Narcissist

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randompanda

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2016, 05:15:42 PM »
I can definitely relate, especially with the holiday-ruining.  I have a family riddled with PDs and they just *have to* ruin every holiday and birthday.  It's like it's in their personal manifesto.

Before I came OOTF, I would go to every family dinner and party out of obligation and guilt, and then they would be so mean and cruel to me that I would end up in tears the entire drive home.  Every time.  I was nothing but nice to them, bought them and their children thoughtful gifts, and they would just eat me alive as soon as I walked in the door with the personal insults and mocking and just plain meanness.  It was like we were in middle school - and we're all in our 40's now.  When they bothered to get me a birthday gift, it was always something really insulting and they would high-five each other for managing to pull off yet another "sick burn" on me. 

I finally just stopped going to all of the parties except the Christmas day festivities, which I only go to for my mother.  I stay a short time and then leave when I can tell things are starting to get fired up.

They fought like mad when I first implemented my, "Sorry, I have other plans" for holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, or birthdays.  Demanding to know what I could possibly be doing that was more important than "family".  I would usually make up a reason, like I was going out of town, or had do Thanksgiving at my boyfriend's house.  They eventually stopped inviting me, which has been a HUGE weight off my shoulders.  I realized I made the right decision when my mother told me that my siblings informed her that they hope my feelings are hurt that they don't invite me.  Joke's on them!  I'm thrilled to not be invited!

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2016, 12:35:11 PM »
They eventually stopped inviting me, which has been a HUGE weight off my shoulders.  I realized I made the right decision when my mother told me that my siblings informed her that they hope my feelings are hurt that they don't invite me.  Joke's on them!  I'm thrilled to not be invited!
Wow! That's pretty terrible. Being the scapegoat is no fun. Your family and mine seem like they could be trading tips for being jerks...Jeez.
I sincerely hope to be in your spot one day. Its three years on, and every time  a major family event happens it sends me into an emotional tailspin.  Holidays, birthdays, it all kind of poisons my day.
I took it out on my wife and kids the past three days. I didn't even realize i was doing it until she pointed it out- she told me she was sorry I couldn't see my family but it wasn't her fault. I constantly flip between self righteous anger/indignation, sadness/resentment. I am trying to be content with my family of choice- my wife and kids, and the few friends we have left, but it stings. My wife comes from a relatively small family anyhow, so she doesn't understand the empty space it leaves.
The "good" brother in question had his first kid a few days ago. He sent a playful text about me being "anti-social". He doesn't even have a clue how much his stupid comment messed me up. At this point I don't even know if I want to bring it up. He is in the middle of the whole "new baby experience", and as much as it hurt I don't know if its the time to address it.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2016, 12:45:55 PM »
I'm sick of the garbage too, and I also have experience with the "known PDs" and the "occasional reverters."  I'm always at DEFCON-1 when in the presence of known PDs (and have zero expectation of any kind of emotionally fulfilling relationship), but the occasional reverters have a way of catching you off guard every freaking time.

It makes it so damn hard to trust or be intimate. You can't reveal yourself or how you feel because they flip back and punk you. The inconsistency is painful.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2016, 12:49:23 PM »
     I feel for you I had that one sibling that was not all that bad ..............but would revert at any moment into the dysfunctional fold.  I quit going when I was LC to these "play nice " get together and I have not missed the fakeness at all.  when you wish you could all be normal I hear I wish we could all be adults.  At this point I doubt there are many "normal" families out there and  to stop rug sweeping is a hard habit to break so best of luck with that.
I have been feeling like that too lately. Like NO ONE is normal. And yeah, the rugsweeping is a thorn in my side that I feel like I am always reverting to. When i call people out, I feel guilty. When I called my Narc bro out in our absolute last exchange, I felt like I failed. I took my therapist pointing out I didn't rugsweep for me to realize it. It still felt hollow.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 09:18:14 AM »
My wife wrote me a long letter reminding me it isn't her fault that I moved away, and it isn't her fault that my family keeps attacking me. Whenever stuff like this happens- specifically when he attacks her, I have to justify to her that I am on her side and proof of that is that I moved away. She felt like I was blaming her for moving away. I broke down. I hate crying, but I really hate how every time I get stabbed in the back it was like all the time in therapy was for nothing. I ride the wave of emotion until it is over. I am hoping and praying that this holiday season will be better...that i can enjoy my freedom and my wife and kids without the burden of guilt because I have cut them all out of my life. I just was completely torn between being sad for not being there for the birth of my nephew and being furious at his Dad (my brother) for attacking me. It just seems so damn unfair that I have to be alone and I have to compromise for them when I didn't do anything.
Turns out we we're both pretty bitter and sad. Me for being attacked/not being there, her for having to watch them fawn over his wife and shower her with gifts and attention. Our last few kids my family made a point to do nothing. I had to remind her that the scapegoat's wife doesn't get any love.
We have each other and we both are on the same page. That will have to be enough for now.

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silentmeow

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 09:50:05 PM »
Wookie,

IIRC, you were having some feels about the wife v. family thing a few years back.  I want to commend you for taking your wife's side.  She may or may not recognize how big that is.  I, too was in a no win MIL situation where things were pretty ugly back around about that time (3 years ago).  My husband just sort of dissociated and didn't make his choice as clear as it could have been.  It would have gone a long way.  It takes a lot of strength & it speaks to your heart that she came out on top. 

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2016, 05:48:46 AM »
Wookie,

IIRC, you were having some feels about the wife v. family thing a few years back.  I want to commend you for taking your wife's side.  She may or may not recognize how big that is.  I, too was in a no win MIL situation where things were pretty ugly back around about that time (3 years ago).  My husband just sort of dissociated and didn't make his choice as clear as it could have been.  It would have gone a long way.  It takes a lot of strength & it speaks to your heart that she came out on top.
Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am genuinely touched you remember my posts.
The best thing i have taken from this forum is how demoralizing it is for men and women when their partner doesn't stick up for them. The resentment lasts for years and can poison a marriage. Thanks for the kind words! It feels good to get it right occasionally.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 06:02:49 AM »
So an update and Closure I guess.
I emailed my brother three days after the baby was born and as politely as possible told him I was hurt, my wife was hurt. Here is a edited version of what I sent him (kind of dont care if this thread is found so whatevs:


"Glad to hear you guys are doing good. BABY looks amazing. Enjoy these first few weeks- they fly by.
So I took a few days to really think about how to approach this. You don't like talking about uncomfortable topics..so email will have to work.
So you mentioned i was anti-social. This is true. Last time we talked you asked me why I didn't want to go in on a gift for NBRO. More specifically, you said "Is that you or your wife talking?".
I will admit, I was taken aback. Most of the time I overlook stuff like this, but it cut. You are the last family member I talk to. This allows you a certain amount of grace i am not always willing to extend to others. There is a lingering fear of rejection from you because if we have a falling out, then that's it.
 Don't you remember telling me how bad NBRO let you down a few months ago? I know you have chosen to keep the lines of communication open. Fine- that is your choice. I chose not to- he has been far less than kind to me. Remember, this is the same person who refused to even answer our texts when we wanted to meet halfway for lunch occasionally like normal brothers. His exact words were "That was my answer.". Do you think ignoring this kind of behavior is the right thing to do? How does that make any sense? My last exchange with him was him making fun of our new van and having another baby. Now that BABY is here, do you see how offensive his jokes were? What if he says that to you and your Wife?

And as far as my wife, she has always been nice to you. She cares about you. NBRO has always been rude to her. Why would she want to send him a gift? How does that even make sense? I would never say anything that could be perceived as cruel to your wife for two reasons- I care about her and I respect you. Aren't we worthy of the same treatment?

More than anything, why would you even say that to me? Sending a gift to someone who is cruel to you sends the message that everything is OK, and we are fine. That just isn't true.

I know right now you are in the middle of an emotional high- you have a new family, everyone is fawning over him and you're proud to show him off. In a few months when things calm down, pay attention to how these people are actually behaving. If anything, try really hard to remember who has been there for you when you needed them. We have always been close, and I have tried really hard to be a loyal brother. Don't say stuff like that to me. It is unkind and damages our relationship. If you are "in a mood" or I am bugging you, just don't talk to me.
 I had to bring this up because if I didn't, I am worried it will just fester. I hope you understand.

Enjoy your time off and give your wife and baby a hug for me. "



He never replied, and i think I am blocked on Facebook (sigh). Cant see any new pics. Looks like he met with Nbro to show off the new baby, so there's that.
Looks like the estrangement circle is complete. I thought he would apologize or call me an ass or something . . . but nothing. That was sent 12 days ago, with no response. Granted, the first few months with a new child can be incredibly taxing. I am probably pretty low on his priorities right now. Somehow this feels wrong. I don't regret calling him on it, but I blew it by not handling it the day it happened. So like every other situation the past few years, score points with the wife and lose points with the family. Such garbage.
I was warned in therapy about "shutting down" and blocking everyone out. This feels right right now. I am coming up on a long stint at work so I wont be thinking about it as much. I couldn't see any other way to handle it without rug-sweeping. 

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Artsy

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 03:42:50 PM »
Wookie Punch wrote: "I blew it by not handling it the day it happened."

You did no such thing. Healthy families are willing to engage in conflict resolution whenever it comes up. People never confront "in the moment" especially in PD families. It's not trained into you, so why would you do it? In fact, you were trained to "rug-sweep" (a term I am coming to love.)

I too am coming to terms with letting go of the one-last-connection I have to my FOO. I wish I knew why holding on to that family system is so deeply important. I can only surmise that it's primal and instinctive, some throwback from our caveman days when losing your clan, meant losing your life. It sure feels that way.

Letting go of that one last hand you hold in a family that was meant to raise you and did (in fact) feed you at one point (pan fried frozen chicken patties every night, if I remember accurately) is so damn hard. Why does letting go of our FOO feel like such a loss? When I really think about it, I'm not losing anything, but the appearance of relationship.

I guess it's like that movie The Matrix. Anyone who lives in the Matrix can be an agent. They do not have self-agency. No matter who you love in the Matrix, at any moment, they can turn into a bitter enemy, because they are hooked up. I guess our only solace is the idea that we are living in the real world. We have our freedom and as free people we are more likely to find real love. As painful as it is, we may, in our loneliness, stumble upon what all human beings need - family. It's bitter, but it's true, as long as we live blindly, in false friendships and fake family, we cannot receive the gift of true connection.

For what it's worth, I feel your pain.
"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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SunnyandBright

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2016, 08:20:52 PM »
I think your message was well written and there was nothing bad about it.  If your brother gets mad at you over that -- that's on him.  That would just go to prove that there is something just as wrong with him as your other brother.  There was nothing mean in that message -- and you were just standing up for yourself and your wife.  They may not like that --- but again, that's on them.  You are changing, and I guess maybe they don't like that they can no longer insult and bully you.  Too bad for them. 

As far as not handling it the day it happened --- I don't think that's a bad thing.  I think that could have just escalated into an argument and you wouldn't have been able to explain yourself.  I think you did a great job of explaining yourself in this message -- and anybody normal could see that, and see the feelings you have.   

My bet is that at some point, he will get angry at your other brother all over again, and come back to you.  It is your decision what to do about it then -- but if it was me, I wouldn't let him right back in.  I would keep my distance until I got some sort of apology or at least some kind of reassurance that he isn't going to do this to you again. 
And if he doesn't come back -- that's his loss.  He may not know it yet, but he might realize it someday. 

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2016, 06:31:43 AM »
@ Artsy:
The reason why its hard to let go is because i love them. In spite of all the bad behavior, they are my brothers and my parents. I wish I could "nothing" them so it wouldn't hurt so bad, but that does not come naturally. I wish I could turn it off. The other aspect of it is like a ship coming untethered or something. When I started cutting them all off, it was like cutting loose from a huge part of my identity and my personality- in spite of the pain they caused, they were a part of my life and it is gone now. Primal and instinctive are excellent words for the drive for unity- everything in us is built for love and companionship. Cutting of family is not only socially taboo, but completely opposite of our programming as humans. We are social creatures, and those bonds run deep.
"For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack."
The wolf without a pack dies.
When the whole thing happened with Nbro a year or two ago (The van, jokes over having children, etc.) I told my therapist i felt like an idiot for letting him back in and letting him hurt me. I said I should have known better. My Therapist said: "NO, you are normal- for wanting a relationship with your brother. You are normal for expecting him to be kind and civil, because that's what a normal brother would do. Your brother is the one with the problem, not you."
And yeah, the matrix is an excellent analogy for it. My "good" brother was on my side, supportive, kind for the past few years. Then his wife got pregnant and it was like a switch flipped. They just don't get it. 

Thanks for the encouragement :)

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 06:39:20 AM »
I think your message was well written and there was nothing bad about it.  If your brother gets mad at you over that -- that's on him.  That would just go to prove that there is something just as wrong with him as your other brother.  There was nothing mean in that message -- and you were just standing up for yourself and your wife.  They may not like that --- but again, that's on them.  You are changing, and I guess maybe they don't like that they can no longer insult and bully you.  Too bad for them. 

As far as not handling it the day it happened --- I don't think that's a bad thing.  I think that could have just escalated into an argument and you wouldn't have been able to explain yourself.  I think you did a great job of explaining yourself in this message -- and anybody normal could see that, and see the feelings you have.   

My bet is that at some point, he will get angry at your other brother all over again, and come back to you.  It is your decision what to do about it then -- but if it was me, I wouldn't let him right back in.  I would keep my distance until I got some sort of apology or at least some kind of reassurance that he isn't going to do this to you again. 
And if he doesn't come back -- that's his loss.  He may not know it yet, but he might realize it someday.
Thanks for the input. I tried really hard to be considerate without grovelling when writing the email.
I know what both of you are saying is right, but I always feel dogged by the fact that it could have been prevented if I had just said it right then and there. I am really trying to be better about this, but it doesn't come easy.
And yes, I agree with your last point. I know he will come back at some point because these people JUST DON'T CHANGE. I am not sure what I will do- I am open to a relationship, but I need better boundaries, and most definitely an apology. I don't want to know about their bad behavior, and i don't want to get bombed with pics, "Tell Wookiepunch we LOVE and MISS him SOOOOOO much!" or any of that crap. It all hurts too bad. It all feels so disingenuous.
Part of me feels like it might be easier to go low contact or drop the rope altogether. I guess we'll see.

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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2016, 08:34:42 AM »
Spent the night reading my old posts from the past three years...it was kind of an eye opener. I guess i didn't realize that "good" brother has been the source of so much unhappiness.
It kind of puts the situation in perspective. I need to change something. I really don't want to cut him out, but that may be my only option at this point. Seems like this keeps happening  because of covert flying monkey activities.

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Artsy

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2016, 11:45:44 AM »
Wookie Punch wrote: "Tell Wookiepunch we LOVE and MISS him SOOOOOO much!" or any of that crap. It all hurts too bad. It all feels so disingenuous.

Yes! I know exactly what you mean. I've likened this "love" to having a bucket of spiders dumped on my head. There's something especially cruel about it.

I think you're on a good path and your making realizations and experiencing pain that will move you to the right actions. Your not shoving it all down, your feeling and processing it. You'll find your way.

Like I said, I have this one remaining flying monkey that I'm struggling to let go, poor boundaries, getting sucked into the idea that I have one friendly sister. She's just taken me to the bank, reporting back to the others, etc...

I remember when my kids were young, I had this one technique that seemed to help. Whenever my family did something cruel to me, I would turn around and do something kind for my husband and/or my kids. I really felt like they were trying to destroy who I was, so I would "stand my ground" by being my best self.

Anyway, your posts sound sad. We've all been there. There is power in the FOO, but a greater power in you :)
"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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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2016, 06:35:56 AM »
Yes! I know exactly what you mean. I've likened this "love" to having a bucket of spiders dumped on my head. There's something especially cruel about it.

Anyway, your posts sound sad. We've all been there. There is power in the FOO, but a greater power in you :)

 :aaauuugh: Thats the best analogy i have heard in a while. Gotta admit, you got a chuckle out of me.

I like your idea about doing something nice with the family. Today is baby #4's 4th birthday. I am going to eat cake and stuff. It should be pretty fun.

And yeah, it is sad. More than anything else. The other option is more sad- going back for the same predictable behavior. Even if I have to be alone its a better option.

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Artsy

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2016, 11:32:42 AM »
:yeahthat:
"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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Wookiepunch

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Re: And the cycle repeats...
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2016, 06:49:31 PM »
If any of you read this and have read my other posts, please tell me- am I crazy? Am I really the piece of trash this email makes me out to be?
I feel like I am being torn apart. I told my wife and she broke down. She is so sick of being made the villain.

I feel like i am going crazy.