When You Find A Puzzle Piece

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Unvitation to Drama

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When You Find A Puzzle Piece
« on: September 19, 2016, 03:16:39 PM »
I've written several times over the past few years regarding DH's brother and his wife. Although DH and his brother have never been particularly close, SIL and I were (what I would consider) very close friends for several years. Two years ago we chose to go NC with uBPD MIL and NFIL, and since that time SIL has significantly withdrawn from our relationship. At one point, DH received a string of inappropriate messages from his brother which promptly caused him to block the number. Upon realizing he was blocked, the brother victimized himself "OH Poor ME! I didn't do anything wrong and they are SO mean."  SIL (his wife) jumped on this bandwagon and indignantly told me how "wrong" it was of my DH to block him. The fact that he was being a FM for uBPD MIL means nothing to them. I've been repeatedly puzzled as to why my relationship with SIL seems to have so much to do with uBPD MIL.

In recent months, I've heard through the grapevine the SIL has had some psychiatric issues. I checked in, offered support, offered meals, et cetera.  She got really bitchy and was pissed that the person I got the information from was "gossiping about her".  I pointed out that my informant heard it directly from uBPD MIL, but she completely ignored this part of the equation.

Our last conversation revolved around how "she can't do it all by herself anymore" and that "no one works as hard or as much" as her husband (DH's BIL). No one can possibly understand how much he works and how hard he works, he's the hardest worker in EVER. I was trying to set up a play date for the kids, and her number one concern was whether or not BIL was "invited" to come to the park too. It was an odd exchange, to say the least...

Again, I heard through the grapevine (because uber wonderful uBPD MIL can't keep her mouth shut about ANYTHING) that SIL has been diagnosed with PTSD (at minimum).  I don't know which type, but the informant commented in passing that they didn't know what it was from.

So, I've been reading up on it should I have an opportunity to be supportive. A LIGHT bulb just went off in my head.  I think my BIL (DH's brother) is a "Fragile Narcissist". He oscillates between grandiose and depressed, superior and inferior.  SIL has commented over the years about how "difficult" his is to please or keep happy, and that she spends most of her time walking on eggshells.  She finally admitted that she wasn't "allowed" to see my family if we are NC with uBPD MIL.  DH has always commented that the brother inherited the worst traits of both parents (Borderline Mother and Narcissist Father).

I highlighted traits that really stand out to me:

He can offer empathy (or appear to) if it directly benefits him.

It feels like you’re the one doing most of the “work” in the relationship. BIL contributes 0% to their marriage and family other than going to work.  He doesn't even show up to his own kid's birthday parties because he wants to "take a nap" or "wants to go fishing".

Your partner does things to sabotage the relationship and prevent it from moving forward—but doesn’t want to let you go either.

Your partner could have a history of troubled relationships and/or addictions. I've heard of rumblings of past addiction issues but haven't seen it myself.

Your partner has episodes of excessive and often unjustified anger— sometimes even infidelity—and he or she somehow makes it all your fault. YES! Especially if he perceives that you are criticizing him or questioning him.

You feel emotionally exhausted, often completely drained, by how hard you have to work to make or keep your partner happy. SIL looks and sounds like this ALL THE TIME

The relationship is mostly focused around your partner’s interests and activities. When it’s not, there will be an ugly argument or outburst. Everything revolves around BIL and his schedule. Otherwise, he switches on the ST or rages making everyone miserable.

You feel controlled or manipulated by your partner’s moods to the point that you might feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time, a slave to his or her whims. SIL has used "Walking On Eggshells" verbatim to me more than once.

You might find yourself covering up, explaining or apologizing for his or her behavior. SIL is a master of explaining him away....he's such a "complicated" person.

Your partner might make one-sided decisions that impact your safety and well-being.

You might feel unsafe by some of the actions your partner takes.

Your partner will refuse to see your good intentions, always blaming you for every situation, always making you admit you’re wrong, even when that’s not the case.

You sometimes find yourself desperately trying to remember the times when your partner showed love for you, acted like you could do no wrong—often this is in the early parts of the relationship.

It's almost like he's half borderline and half narcissist. He's a victim and fundamentally classic gaslighting manipulator.

BIL was the Golden Child growing up, always doted on.  As an adult, he's the "Peace Keeper/Flying Monkey" for both of his parents.

Could his wife have a severe PTSD simply from more than a decade of his behavior? Could this be compounded by the fact that they have zero boundaries with MIL and she appears to control their external relationships and marriage?

MIL is now living with them to "help" until SIL gets "better".

How can she get better if the source of her trauma is still living with her?

Any insight would be appreciated.



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Re: When You Find A Puzzle Piece
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 01:41:38 AM »
Uninvitation to drama - It sounds like your sil is really struggling right now and that you care about her. It is kind of you to reach out when it sounds like the relationship had gotten to a hurtful place for you.

It is a really tough spot to be in to be able to see the bigger picture of what might be causing such emotional and psychological difficulties for someone we care about and yet be in a position that we cannot really offer any info and insights to them because they would not be welcomed.

I think the most you can do for your sil is to continue to offer whatever level of support and friendship you feel is safe for you to offer her and to be there when/if she ever begins to put the puzzle pieces together for herself. Sadly, she is going to have to get to a place where she is reaching out for help and willing to consider that her relationships with potential PD people could be a big part of what is going on with her.

You have obviously given this a lot of thought and you have a bit of distance from the situation and knowledge about PD behaviors and the toll they can take on a person living in close proximity to them. I am really sorry this is happening in your sil's life and I hope she finds a path to recovery and peace very soon.


Unvitation to Drama

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Re: When You Find A Puzzle Piece
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 10:36:26 AM »
Thanks Bloomie.  I know I just need to let it go.  They have basically gone NC with us at this point....I don't think BIL likes the fact that we "SEE" how he really is....