VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?

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Re: VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2018, 08:32:07 PM »
So far I haven't managed to send gifts / cards to nieces/nephews without thinking about their parents' disapproval. Though actually my gifts are perfectly harmless. I'm not sending anything their parents object to or have rules about. For some reason, writing this is making me cry.

The reason came today as I attempt to write a card to my niece, a card that's being waiting around for a while. It's just the usual FOO thing of what I do is potentially not enough, ever. There's going to be something wrong with it. It's not quite up to scratch, nor am I of course. (In FOO's eyes). None of that is relevant to the little ones. There was none of that coming from any of them, never has been regarding me. It's just so deeply entrenched in me. But it's not imagined. It's real. Last time I had contact with the whole of FOO it became clear what B2 really thinks of me. What the rest think / thought had been clear for ages, I was just making the best of it. I haven't yet got over the FOO hurt. Not yet healed from my cptsd.

*Please no responses supporting/understanding FOO!* They're not innocent in all of this.  btw my nieces and nephews don't experience any of this, so it's not as if they see this WAIFY, weepy aunt. Well, there I go JADEing again since I know of the fine line and / or overlap running between PD symptoms and cptsd symptoms. Time I went back to OutOfTheStorm however with the state I'm in.

Malini, thank you for giving me some hope, saying you had years of no direct contact and years of tentative contact.



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Re: VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2018, 09:24:45 PM »

It's obviously  triggering for you to have any sort of contact, whether it's you initiating it or your FOO. We read and write about how our needs were ignored for so long, or how we pushed our own feelings so deep down inside us, trying to do the 'right' thing. At some point we need to take care of ourselves, nobody else will, as is often made painfully clear to us each and every time were invalidated or shunned by our FOO. I think your wellbeing is much more important than any hypothetical future relationship you might have with your nieces/nephews. Take care of yourself first. If the writing of a card is causing you to experience CPTSD, you owe it to yourself to keep yourself safe and if that means your niece doesn't get a card so be it.

I hung on far too long trying to be the 'good' or bigger person with members of my extended FOO, feeling sick when I had to write yet another bday card or Xmas wish and in the end I just gave up because it wasn't worth it. I was worth more than the breadcrumbs they were throwing my way. I felt like the beggar child looking through a window and watching my family live a life I had no hope in hell to participate in and it hurt.

Sadly we can't force people to have a relationship with us and being excluded is painful and it's equally painful to let go of relationships we would like to maintain, especially if it's against our will but better for our wellbeing.

It's never too late to reinitiate contact even if it means a couple of Christmas and birthday gifts don't get sent. No one knows what the future holds, but your present is what matters now and if you're hurting you have a right to cater to yourself first.

You're not alone. Hugs of support and empathy.

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"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

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Re: VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2018, 10:31:35 AM »
What Malini said.
I wound up putting a lot of time and love into the children of my friends, and these kids, my nephews and nieces by choice, are where the really strong emotional bonds lie.
Those kids are in their twenties now and they adore us.
My sisters' kids are in their 30s and 40s and they will just trash me behind my back, just because their mothers do. It's like the time and love that I poured into them just turned to **** the moment my sisters snapped their fingers and said 'make it so'.
At some point my sisters' children just began to start treating me the way that their parents did, and it was this horrible catch-22.
If I set healthy boundaries then I wouldn't have contact with the kids, and yet seeing them meant that I was required to allow their parents to treat me badly.
In retrospect I think I set a really bad example as a role model by staying and tolerating all that BS.
The advice that the mental health worker gave me of 'Be a good role model' was probably a much better idea.
Malini is right. The need for self-care trumps everything and when you are feeling that shaky and that vulnerable, it's really not a good idea to engage too closely with FOO.
uBPDsis used to love the birthday game - it gave her annual opportunities to play power games, pit her kids against me. One year her 7yro daughter shouted at me and called me an obscene name because she didn't like the birthday present that I had bought her. Needless to say it was EvilSis's selection as her choices were the only safe ones to make and invariably she set me up to fail.
You aren't imagining it. There is nothing quite like a narcissist or a BPD with power over their children. My sister used her children as pawns, it was like she had hostages to use against me, if I didn't do what I wanted.
Truly, in retrospect I think I would have done better to shove one finger in the air and just walk away from all that.
The next time someone tried that crap on me that's exactly what I did do, and I don't regret that.
Hugs to you - I know how awful this is.
Truly, work on your own healing & finding joy and satisfaction in your own life, and build your own Family of Choice and enjoy your friends' children.
You'll have much healthier and more satisfying relationships with them, simply because you'll have a more satisfying relationship with your friends, and your friends will encourage their children to treat you with love and kindness and respect.
Those things tend to be off the menu in the PD family system.
It's not your fault - don't beat yourself up for it.



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Re: VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2018, 09:11:49 PM »
Malini and sandpiper, thank you both very much for your detailed responses here and also on Tetsuo's thread. I've been back to read them a few times over the past few days. Very helpful, very validating.

My uBPDM used me as a pawn too when I was a child. That went on in the extended family too, ie. cousins of mine being used as pawns. So losing extended FOO isn't such a big loss either. Thanks to your posts, more of that kind of thing is becoming clear.

I also remember myself how early on I picked up on bad undercurrents in FOO. Just a chance remark from somebody or uBPDM blowing a fuse and I knew there were problems that I didn't understand. People might think their small children don't notice, but they do. I think my one SIL is more N than BPD and she's the mother of my goddaughter, who's older than I was when I first noticed.

I'm semi-permanently pretty shakey and vulnerable. The more I heal from cptsd, the more I can admit to myself how debilitating it is and has been for me, how much I'm still very badly affected. So priority to self and life in the here and now with those healthier people around me is the way to go. There too, I'm reducing contact or dropping it all together as I notice the effect of some of what I thought were friendships. Just because some of these people are not as destructive and unhealthy as FOO, doesn't mean they're healthy for me to be around. 'healthier than FOO' is a pretty low expectation.

Thank you both for your compassion and hugs too, sandpiper and Malini. That feels good.  :hug:




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Re: VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2019, 02:49:33 PM »
So far here I've read more the reversal of the situation: that you all are protecting your children from PDs.

I'm beginning to see that B2 and SIL2 may be protecting my niece from the effects of my cptsd on her. This is real progress for me. :yes:

One of the major effects on me as others have pointed out to me on this thread is that any contact whatsoever with FOO, even my own thoughts towards them, is damaging to me. What then happens is that even though I may want to send my goddaughter something, I often don't manage it in time, e.g. for Christmas or her birthday. So B2 and SIL2 may be trying to avoid my goddaughter feeling abandoned, disappointed, neglected or whatever. Not that they know or understand why I'm slow at getting my act together. But they could be shielding her from sadness or hurt in case I eventually don't contact her anymore.

I can understand that parents might want to do that. In a non-PD family, there could be other ways. I have a non-FOO godchild and I talk to him about it directly when my cptsd gets in the way and give him a chance to talk to me about his feelings on it too.

Not that cptsd is a PD. But my behaviour can be more, or less, flea-ridden depending on how I'm progressing in my healing ;)

It's been cool to read a whole bunch of my old threads because I finally see how far I've come :yes:  :thumbup:



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Re: VLC with sibs - what about small nieces and nephews?
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2019, 06:16:45 PM »
it is so helpful to hear from others struggling with these types of situations.

i have no children of my own and am the only aunt (no uncles) of my uNS and her husband's three children. i'm the godmother to the two older (twins). i live in a different country and initially allowed the arrival of the 'next generation' to make me feel hopeful that my FOO will heal (dad passed when I and my S were teens, relationship btw M, S and me mostly a terribly dysfunctional triangle). alas, this has not happened, and the last four years (after an incident) i have gone VLC with S (she and mom are in regular contact, but that's a story for a different thread).

i send gifts for b-days and xmas, but only as per approved list from my S (she sends me link and i order online) and 2-3 x year we Skype (only at the request of my S). otherwise, i've stayed quiet and worked on my own healing (and learning).

i do struggle with this situation though and so "somehow" i have agreed to visit them all (for a long weekend, which is still much longer than i initially wanted to), at my S's home, with my M attending as well (also U) - and i'm having to take a HARD look at how i've ended up allowing this to take place  :unsure:

the truth is, i fell into the trap of believing that my S's 'improved' polite, almost cordial behaviour over the last year or so could mean that things must be better - not realizing that i gave my S basically no room to act poorly  :doh: - and so now i'm going back into what feels like the lion's den, in hopes that i can be part of my nieces and nephew's life.

i'm actually terrified of this visit, and today i can't imagine that the exposure to my S (in combo with my M) in exchange for 'spending time with the children' will be worth my anxiety, pain, and energy - and yes, it totally feels like the adults are using the children as pawns... i'm also confronted with my own anger over this situation and will have to work on my tools on how to handle myself during that visit. 

my point is, it's a painful situation and i'm so thankful to know i'm not alone in this. TX!