Am I just making up rules?

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all4peace

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Am I just making up rules?
« on: June 17, 2017, 10:52:15 AM »
I have unspoken "rules" in my head that govern what I'm willing to tolerate. I think they're reasonable, healthy. But sometimes I wonder if I'm actually too rigid.

I can give one simple example for both sets of parents:

I believe when I've invited someone to my home for a meal, or to a restaurant to eat with me and my family, that they owe the very basic of speaking to me and my family. If someone wants to sit there, pretending I or someone in my family isn't there, or literally refuse to answer when I ask them polite questions, then they have just voted themselves to the periphery of our family's life.

I think there are a lot of social norms, unwritten rules, the "social contract" that we don't typically think about until someone violates it. And then I start wondering, when do we get to say enough is enough? How "harmful" and rude DO people get to be before we decide they're not welcome in our lives? Am I being too touchy when I think it's totally not ok for our parents to ooze this vague contempt and disrespect to DH and I, while we're still raising our kids, in front of our kids?

Just curious how you start deciding what you will and will not tolerate.

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Malini

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 11:46:17 AM »
All4peace -  :wave: and wishing you a good recovery.

Back to your question, I've thought about this often since coming OOTF because I've realised that I have hung on to relationships for far too long and can't seem to help myself from hoping people will change, feeling guilty, not wanting to hurt people (even if they don't care if they hurt me), etc, etc. 

I've now decided that there is one set of rules for everybody. I ask myself if I would accept the behaviour from a friend and if the answer is no, then I won't accept it from family. Family ties don't give people a free pass to treat us abominably and expect us to dust ourselves off  and go back into the ring for a few more rounds.

Everybody has a choice, and behaviour entails consequences. It's how I tried to raise my children, because it's something that is important to me, just took me a few more years  :doh: to apply it to the 'adult' members of my family.
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FromTheSwamp

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2017, 03:56:09 PM »
Your question "Am I just making up rules?" makes me think about what Miss Manners would say if you presented her with your example.  She is very clear that you don't need to put up with that kind of rudeness and the best way to deal with it is to assume from their behavior that they don't wish further invitations and stop inviting them to things. 

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Blueskies

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2017, 04:01:31 PM »
I would say listen to your body - what makes you feel uncomfortable, angry, upset? That's where your boundary is. YOU ARE NOT BEING TOO TOUCHY.That is the kind of thing someone says to you as an insult so they can carry on being horrible to you. And if someone thinks that, that's their problem. Treating you with contempt is not ok...I've just realised that for myself.

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practical

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 05:41:46 PM »
I get stuck with these questions too as I don't know what normal is. What you are expecting of FOO is not asking anything special, it is what you would expect of anybody, it is basic politeness. And why would you want to be around them when they make it so obvious they don't want to be around you, or use this kind of treatment of you as a tool to create drama, to hurt you?

Everybody knows the Golden Rule Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Flip it around, would your M or anybody else in FOO or the IL's tolerate if you would treat them like this? No! So why then is is okay for them to treat you this way?

Also, I assume there is a pattern to this. It isn't like a one time thing like might happen to us because we are distracted, overtired or in pain and happens by accident, it seems intentional. I get migraines, so I have been to family events where I was physically there but not really emotionally, and when I realize later I had an off day I feel horrible, worry and call to apologize - usually people didn't even notice. this isn't the case here, also I'm sure if you would challenge your M she would have some kind of excuse or find a way to blame you  :roll: .

So no, you aren't making up rules that are too demanding, and your reaction to move people who behave like this towards you to the periphery is very healthy.

Hope your recovery goes well  :) .
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im 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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scribblesandsuch

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2017, 06:26:19 PM »
If your family is like mine, there is an unspoken rule on their end that you let go of each insult as soon as the the punishment has ended. This rule has been established by an ongoing behavior or set of behaviors, often over years. To practical's point, is this a one time thing? Or is it part of an ongoing pattern.

Over time, treating someone like that does chip away at a relationship.

At the point where you're distancing yourself, the anger probably isn't often over a singular event. It may have been building over a long period of mistreatment and now you've simply maxed out.

And to your question about making up rules: No one is allowed to treat you badly and claim it's allowed because you haven't handed them a list of acts you will not tolerate. They're not entitled to set your boundaries for you.

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all4peace

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 01:16:33 AM »
Definitely a pattern. While mom has been subtly dismissive over the years (SIL and DH tended to notice things that I didn't), it's getting downright obvious and overt at this point. It's been going on 1 1/2 years at this point. She's starting to rollercoaster just like uNBPDmil. It's disconcerting to not know what to expect, and not good for my kids to witness.

I don't ever make decisions off 1-3 instances of behavior. But I'm also trying to stop letting things go for 10+ years, at which point the relationship is damaged beyond repair.

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practical

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2017, 10:59:27 AM »
I don't ever make decisions off 1-3 instances of behavior. But I'm also trying to stop letting things go for 10+ years, at which point the relationship is damaged beyond repair.
That is what I figured and learning to balance giving people a chance, confirming for ourselves it is really happening and not let things go on for too long has been part of coming OOTF for me.

I'm really sorry your are having this kind of deja vu experience. I cannot offer any words of hope either, in my experience with my parents it gets worth with age as if a regulator breaks and is replaced by a feeling of entitlement due to age or similar.
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im 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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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2017, 12:17:01 PM »
Are you creating rules? No. It sounds to me more like you are creating expectations and standards that suit you. You stay explicitly what you will and will not accept, setting expectations and standards that define what you consider good company. And what you are expecting is normal social graces.

If you are on the outside looking in at the dynamic you describe at a restaurant what would you think? If you were to observe something similar reenacted on a TV program what would you think?
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daughter

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2017, 02:48:17 PM »
Hope you're feeling better, A4P.

You're not making-up rules; problem is that basic rules of decorum, the notion of "civility" and "manners" appear to be selectively applied by our pd-disordered parents.  They may rebuke other people for failing to be "polite", but don't hold themselves accountable to those same "rules", nor do they feel that conventional "rules" apply to them in general.  My parents, particularly NBM, often operate on basis of "two sets of rules".  Everyone is expected to be hyper-polite and accommodating, "doing as they say/expect", without complication.  And their imperious self-entitlement also empowers them to "say and do whatever I/we want, because that's the way it is".  In fact, plain truth: in fact, NBM and NF "did" and "said" whatever they wanted, whatever notion they had they decreed, and acted upon it, without regard for others, without regard of law or commonsense, albeit in a high-functioning "don't commit crime in manner that you'll get caught" approach.

A lot of normal people operate on the "go with the flow" and "don't make waves" philosophy on family matters, which serves to further empower those pd-disordered parents who think they're "boss of you", and that normal rules of decorum don't apply to their own behavior.  You're not being "touchy"; you're simply remarking on that acute distinction between "polite behavior" and "narcissistic behavior".


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all4peace

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Re: Am I just making up rules?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 10:16:27 AM »
Are you creating rules? No. It sounds to me more like you are creating expectations and standards that suit you. You stay explicitly what you will and will not accept, setting expectations and standards that define what you consider good company. And what you are expecting is normal social graces.

If you are on the outside looking in at the dynamic you describe at a restaurant what would you think? If you were to observe something similar reenacted on a TV program what would you think?
Perfect! I just remembered starting a thread here about Flipping the Script. Of course if I saw anyone behaving this way, I'd want to walk over to them in the restaurant and beg them not to spend a single other moment in the company of someone oozing contempt for them.

daughter, ILs have a massive double standard. Us being hurt by them, HURTS THEM! We are held responsible for "making them feel bad" because we can no longer even cope with their behavior.

As for my parents, I've never even attempted to call them out on this sort of thing. Mom was far more subtle about it in the past--simply not verbally allowing me into a conversation but in a vague dismissive sort of way that was noticeable to someone paying attention but pretty defensible or deniable. Now she's getting less subtle. I'm just too tired to deal with it. It's easier to avoid them. And yet I'm also weary of ignoring and avoiding the obvious, especially when it happens in my kids' presence.

Thanks for the validation, everyone :) I feel like there are so many things I really do know, and yet sometimes I still worry that maybe I'm being unfair.