If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")

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all4peace

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If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« on: November 05, 2017, 09:54:16 PM »
enD and I had a very clear conversation a few months ago about the state of our relationship. I very, very clearly outlined what I saw as the problem over the last several years. I talked very specifically about a shouting conversation he had at me, followed by nearly no contact initiated by him for more than 1 1/2 yrs, culminating in literally simply not speaking to me at family functions and behaving very coldly to me in the last 6-12 months. Now he wants to know "what went wrong", he "misses our friendship" and thinks that the initiating event is something I would "get over" in "1-2 hrs, or possibly 1-2 days."

I seriously don't even know where to begin.

1. He denies all bad behavior on his part.
2. I already CLEARLY outlined all of this for him, but supposedly he still has no insight whatsoever and can't figure out what has gone wrong.
3. How do you explain to your parent the basics of human decency, the very person who was supposed to teach YOU that in the first place?
4. How do you explain anything to someone who thinks they can choose how long it "should take you to get over their poor behavior" and who cannot hold responsibility for any of the ways they behaved since then? Our views of parenting are clearly not even close. How do you try to explain to your parent that YOUR view of the responsibilities of a parent aren't even in the same realm as THEIR views?

I can see this becoming a long trail of unintended arguments and twists of conversations, just like the book referenced in my thread title. It starts with step 1, then leads to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and an endless wild goose chase.

My norm for communication is to aim for directness, forthrightness and honesty. But not in this case.
With my enD, I'd rather just say: "How about you do the things that you believe are good for relationships, and we not get into a long drawn-out conversation that is likely to be frustrating for both of us?"

I'd welcome any feedback.

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VividImagination

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 10:30:12 PM »
I'm assuming this was a text or email?

Dad, I was very clear when you asked this question previously, and the answer hasn't changed. I would suggest pondering your actions and how you can change your behavior to improve our relationship. If there is nothing you can think of, then there is nothing left to say.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.

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all4peace

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 10:55:47 PM »
And in the time since I posted this, uNBPDm has piled on also. So sad about our relationship. Doesn't know where to begin. How about we both just be kind to each other? Great idea, M! And suggesting counseling. (already doing it, how about you?)  :barfy:

I already told D that I had explained it very clearly, but if he still didn't understand I'd need some time to think of another way to explain (buying time to bring it to T)

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practical

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 11:12:47 PM »
Your questions, I haven't found an answer for them yet. I gave up after I tried to tell F all I needed was for him to behave according to the Golden Rule and he swept it aside, while also saying "We need to do something about our relationship, this is no good.", meaning for me to forget about my boundaries and go back to the "good old days" of dutiful daughter. The only way I have found of dealing with this is MC, all my direct explanations were met with denial, blaming, ...

Both your parents are following the PD playbook, and yes, if your M brings therapy up again, I would definitely suggest she go on her own.
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Terichan

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 01:18:34 AM »
3. How do you explain to your parent the basics of human decency, the very person who was supposed to teach YOU that in the first place?

a4p, this part of your post jumped out at me. It's something I've come to think of as a blazing red flag when dealing with someone like your father and trying to repair your relationship (or, rather, make it a better one). After banging my head against brick walls for years with both of my parents, who were both old when I understood they had PDs, and both of who wanted me to explain "what went wrong", I realized this:

When you're dealing with someone who is a full-grown adult, who has grown children themselves, someone who is a senior citizen -- if you find yourself feeling the need to "teach" that person what basic human decency is, and how to treat their own adult child with a basic level of respect for another human being -- well, then it prolly ain't gonna take. If they've gotten THIS far in life, have THIS much life experience and are THIS old, trying to teach them something they should have learned by the time they were 5 is a futile experience and often opens you up to get hurt by them even more.

I tried very hard with my uNPDf to explain these things, I tried for years. It never, ever worked. I also tried with my BPD mother. Both of them remained exactly the same until the day they died. There were a couple of little glimmers of hope where they would claim to understand what I was saying, and I'd think we were getting somewhere, but their behavior never changed. Neither one of them.

Once I saw that, all I could do was protect myself from them. To detach emotionally, pull back, and give up the hope that we could ever have a good relationship. I needed to understand that they, quite simply, couldn't change. And they didn't. It was sad, but it was also my acceptance of who they were that gave me the most peace.

I also agree that if you continue along the path of trying to explain "what went wrong" and why you can't just "get over" what they did and how sad they are about the "loss" of your relationship (meaning: they're disappointed you're not taking their crap any more and standing up for youself), you will end up in a long trail of unintended arguments and wild goose chases.

Accepting they won't change and working on protecting and healing yourself will be much more productive and beneficial to you as a person. No more circular arguments, false hope, or wasted breath. I get it and I'm sorry. I've been where you are too.

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all4peace

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 01:41:22 AM »
I also agree that if you continue along the path of trying to explain "what went wrong" and why you can't just "get over" what they did and how sad they are about the "loss" of your relationship (meaning: they're disappointed you're not taking their crap any more and standing up for youself), you will end up in a long trail of unintended arguments and wild goose chases.
Ironically, I could "get over" that. No problem. These people had beaten me, bloodied my nose, slammed me into walls, abandoned our family repeatedly. One shouting conversation? It was upsetting, but puhlease. I could get over that. I was hysterical and had a bodily flashback to childhood, begging my D to end the conversation. Apparently, though, since I took longer than 1-2 hrs (or days, at most!!) enF was allowed to go on a nearly 2-yr nearly ST and ice me out. Because apparently I was hurting him (or something, this part wasn't articulated). I was "being cold". I told him I was "being cautious," but now he's just so bewildered all over again.

I know this isn't new to anyone with PD parents, but it's startling to me all over again: I am not actually a human to my parents. I do not #$@*&@ get to have feelings. They do. I do not.

And uNBPDm? "Can't we both just be nice and very careful with each other?" Ok, no problem, sure mom. I can forget you refusing to speak to me the day after I got out of the hospital, then giving me food I absolutely could not eat and "forgetting" to tell me it had the 1 ingredient I can't eat, the ST at family events, trampling the only boundaries I ever gave you regarding my kids. I can forget that I was raised by someone who was alternately an ice queen or a raging witch. I can forget that my siblings and I never ONCE in our entire childhood were comforted by you, our mother. We weren't cared for, nurtured, or given any kind of tenderness or warmth, ever. But, sure, we can be nice to each other. No problem. That would work really $#$*@(*&! well for you, wouldn't it?! We can just smooth over every thing you have ever done or been, to me, to my siblings and their spouses, to our dad, and just be kind.

Wouldn't that work well for you? You get to deny everything, lie every time you open your mouth, treat your family to ST alternating with hoovers, ignore and disrespect us, trample our boundaries, be more loyal to my ILs than to me, blast my B with FOG and disrupt his family life and marriage, refuse to listen to my S when she tries to talk to you about your behavior, smear her to SIL, just erase the past, and just.be.nice.

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all4peace

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 01:44:18 AM »
The only way I have found of dealing with this is MC, all my direct explanations were met with denial, blaming, ...

Both your parents are following the PD playbook, and yes, if your M brings therapy up again, I would definitely suggest she go on her own.
Are you willing to share some actual suggested sentences for responding?
And what in my parents' behavior stands out as following the PD playbook?

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Malini

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 05:41:29 AM »
All4Peace,

Maybe it's my own weird projections, but it sounds as if they are setting you up for a fall. Is there any reason why they would both make such a concerted effort now, Thanksgiving, XMas, family reunion coming up, somewhere they need to look like the good guys, who tried? Or are they frightened that they will be exposed as the abusive parents they are, now that you seem to have gone off the family script?

EnD misses your "friendship"? Huh? He is your parent and with this role comes responsibility, he can't friendzone himself and get a free pass on past and any future behaviours.

It's just because it kind of rings false to me, especially your NM, who really means 'can't YOU be nice all4P, and careful with me"

Have they ever apologised to you and your siblings for the violent and toxic childhood they made you endure, and I mean specifically and taking responsibility for their behaviour and not in a general, vague... "times were different, hard, you kids were tough to raise...we couldn't help ourselves manner?". Not to mention the post-operative treatment you were subjected to, the largely ignoring behaviour, which on the one hand can be a bit of a relief, but on the other hand is not really what we yearn for from a parent.


The casual and matter-of-fact way, you and so many of us detail the physical and emotional violence inflicted on us growing up saddens me and always reminds me of the first time someone told me that it wasn't normal behaviour and that "those people"  needed to take responsibility for their actions before any mutual healing could take place. What a novel and strange concept ... So it WASN'T entirely up to me to fix this?

Basically, that is what your parents are asking you to do, to fix this mess, because you created it. 1+2 are from the PD playbook and 3+4 are from the Child of a PD playbook.

You can explain until you are blue in the face. They only want to hear an apology from your end, an admittal that you're at fault, an assurance that you'll sweep it all under the rug and play happy families next time you see each other and make them look good. No rewording, re-explanation, clarification from your end is going to make them 'understand', because that doesn't absolve them of any blame and responsibility. You're in the land of circular conversation and it will lead nowhere.

Someone on the forum (I feel so bad not remembering because it really was one of the most helpful and healing things I read) wrote something along the lines of us always having to do all the work in the healing process with our folks. The explaining, the forgiving, the moving forward...all on our shoulders and since most of us have been groomed for this any way, it's no big deal and almost second nature to us.

This poster then suggested (oh the heresy) that we just hand it all back to them. I used it during my last convo with NM, who after 4 years NC with both kids, was still saying 'I don't know why you're not speaking to me", "What have I done ?", What do you want me to do?" , despite having received enough email comms, telephone conversations, sit down chats and even shared a  couple of therapy sessions with SGB, where 'what she did' and what we needed her to do was clearly addressed but never acted upon.

I had brought up her 'stalking', their lawyers letters of disinheritance, the inappropriate behaviour re the grandkids, etc - all swept aside, and that was the OVERT and recent behaviour... So no chance of getting any leeway on the covert stuff and woe betide bringing up any childhood stuff, her free pass was wife of an alcoholic, raising kids alone in a foreign land, and EnNDs free pass - alcoholism.

This last convo, I calmly told her that I felt i had already told her this many times and suggested she look back over her communications with us and think about what she had written or said that might have led to our "estrangement" and when she had an idea about how to move forward I would be open to meeting up with her and discussing it.

With enND, I had a similar conversation, because he was trying to guilt me into submission (old and ill, who knows how much time I have left, etc.) And I also suggested he think about what sort of a parent and grandparent he'd like to be during these precious last months (21/2 years ago) and get back to me.

I was NC at the time and  it's risky because they obviously never acted upon any of it and it kind of was the last nail in the coffin for me.  But it was a relief for me, to be able to hand back their 50% responsibility for the relationship and see where they went with it.  They fled it. (Shrug emoji) .

All4peace, It's ironic how when things calm down a bit and fall into place on one front (ILs), the other front rears its head? Take care of yourself and keep the focus on your needs and those of your precious FOC.
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Spring Butterfly

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 07:43:00 AM »
As you and so many others including myself have experienced all this going around and around with these continuing circular conversations are just more Hoover where the ultimate purpose is to get the adult offspring / child back into the toxic dance as the obedient child. What all of it comes down to in my mind is the PD parent lack of ability to recognize their child is no longer a child but rather an adult, an individual adult with human rights.

Since you're determined not to pick up that role again then the point of further conversation is moot. All of this "let's clear the air" is code for "we want our widdle baby back".

That's all stuff you know but I'm going somewhere with this.

What if you approach this from the standpoint of changes you have made, growth, adjusting your priorities, or some phrasing that suits you and where you're at in your journey? More from the standpoint of 'we have already discussed everything there is to discuss, explained everything there is you need to know, there's nothing more to discuss and nothing left to forgive, the relationship is exactly the way I wish it to be at this point in time' and if we pick up from today forward absolutely nothing would change. The reason is because the way things are now is exactly as it will continue as far as level of communication and distance in the relationship because of the person you have become and are today and you intend to continue to grow along the same path. "There is nothing wrong to fix, this is how I wish the relationship to continue" sort of stance? Perhaps something along the lines of "I've done a lot of growing as an adult in the past few years and I know it may be uncomfortable for you, it's unfamiliar, and how you adjust to my growth as an adult is entirely up to you" and for M if that means counceling then by all means please do seek therapy for yourself.

This is something I've gone around with in my head again and again because while uPDm and enF haven't asked the question in years the possibility always exists it may come up in the future since I'm in occasional contact. We've already done the whole "we're busy" fade away when questioned. But what I outlined above is what I've come to from my understanding of where I am in my journey. Because for me the fact of the matter is there are two distinct issues, one being the abuse itself and the behaviors but the other is that regardless of their behavior, the boundaries, untangling from the enmeshment, the adult individuation, the growth I've experienced may have been prompted by my arrival here and coming Out of the FOG but it is something that should have occurred in my twenties not this late in life. The fact is for me in my situation their behavior escalated as I tried to individuate before I arrived here and understood what it was I was attempting.

I'm not sure that makes sense or if that even fits your situation but I thought I'd share those thoughts in case some of it might help in your situation.
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practical

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 08:46:39 AM »
Why is this playbook for me? The ganging up on you from both of them, the not taking responsibility but claiming to be mystified, in short the lack of insight and empathy, the accusing you of being difficult for taking more than the blink of an eye to get over it, but themselves having the right for a two year ST, the suggestion of seeing a therapist together, and especially the "being nice", code for don't be selfish, difficult, play your role.

What have I said to F when he wanted a close relationship again? I simply said "This is in your hands, it is up to you how our relationship will develop" and with that the topic was dead for him, he didn't want any responsibility, do any work. If it comes up again, it is what I'll repeat, and maybe refer him back to my letters where I had laid out the various issues, in which case he is most likely going to start yelling and screaming at me and then give me the ST; or I might say "The topic is closed, this is the relationship we have.". As there is no chance of resolving these issues, just like Terichan states, as I'm dealing with an emotionally immature person, I have detached. I have tried often enough to rescue the relationship and F to know it isn't going to work out, so I avoid exposing myself to more hurt.
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Peace Lily

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 01:23:21 PM »
Thank you for posting this all4peace! I  cannot offer you any advice., but all the way your parents are behaving is ringing alarm bells for me with mine. They have hurt me big time, but have been talking about "clearing the air". They have "emailed "what have we done wrong?" - they are obviously oblivious to the hurt they have caused. The trigger for their rage was me deciding not to go to  wedding (long story involving another PD family member) but as soon as the wedding was over it was "everybody back to normal and playing happy families. I should be over it by now. I just can't do it anymore, so thank you all those who have posted advice here. I will be re reading and putting it into action!
"It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind". Aisha Mirza

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daughterofbpd

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 05:08:55 PM »
I think you are trying to rationalize with them in a way that they arenít capable.  Iím guilty of doing this with my parents, I just keep thinking thereís got to be a way to get through to them. Their view of the world is different, their concept of ďthe laws of the universeĒ (love and protect your children above all else, etc.) are different, and their version of reality is different. They ask for an explanation, you try to give them one in the clearest terms possible, and it does not compute and so they cycle repeats itself. Like someone else pointed out, we are dealing with emotional children who just do not/cannot/will not understand. Seriously, Iíve tried explaining something as simple as why I should be allowed to share when my feelings are hurt and they just could not grasp that. BPDm argued that I have no right to hurt feelings. Endless cycle, circular conversation, nothing changes. EnDad is so enmeshed and consumed by BPDmís reality that he doesnít know any different now either. The only solution Iíve found is the one that Spring Butterfly suggests:
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"There is nothing wrong to fix, this is how I wish the relationship to continue" sort of stance?

P.S.) My daughter's favorite book for awhile was "If You Give a Dog a Donut" (from the same series) and I kept thinking "What is the point of this dang book?!" lol.
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all4peace

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 05:17:57 PM »
All4Peace,

Maybe it's my own weird projections, but it sounds as if they are setting you up for a fall. Is there any reason why they would both make such a concerted effort now, Thanksgiving, XMas, family reunion coming up, somewhere they need to look like the good guys, who tried? Or are they frightened that they will be exposed as the abusive parents they are, now that you seem to have gone off the family script?
This has me worried at a gut level also. My hairs are prickling. We've just come through a pile of family events in which they seemed totally fine either being silent or overly fake friendly. The holidays are coming up, and they host one of them, so maybe it's the hosting of it that makes them feel urgency? I just don't know.

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EnD misses your "friendship"? Huh? He is your parent and with this role comes responsibility, he can't friendzone himself and get a free pass on past and any future behaviours.
This one gets to me. I am his daughter. The one he didn't defend, didn't protect, didn't really love. It was pretty nice having an adult "friendship" with me, once all the messy childhood stuff was past, but even in adulthood he felt it more important to seem "nice" to my ILs than to reassure me that he had my back and wouldn't discuss our personal matters.

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It's just because it kind of rings false to me, especially your NM, who really means 'can't YOU be nice all4P, and careful with me"
Yeah, this one gets to me also. Now that she hasn't Been Nice, it's time to be nice. Puke.

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Have they ever apologised to you and your siblings for the violent and toxic childhood they made you endure, and I mean specifically and taking responsibility for their behaviour and not in a general, vague... "times were different, hard, you kids were tough to raise...we couldn't help ourselves manner?". Not to mention the post-operative treatment you were subjected to, the largely ignoring behaviour, which on the one hand can be a bit of a relief, but on the other hand is not really what we yearn for from a parent.
Ha! Surely you jest. When I used to bring up the abusive aspects of our childhood, she would admit to "not being perfect" and say she "had regrets" but deny all details. As we've gotten older and stopped talking about it, and simply lived our lives, she is now in a total panic that her kids have relationships. She isn't happy that we have relationships. She is terrified. When we get together, her bizarre request is that we "don't throw her under the bus since she won't be there to defend herself." When my cousins tell horror stories about their own childhoods (uNBPDm's siblings are their parents) she tries to silence them and shut them down.

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The casual and matter-of-fact way, you and so many of us detail the physical and emotional violence inflicted on us growing up saddens me and always reminds me of the first time someone told me that it wasn't normal behaviour and that "those people"  needed to take responsibility for their actions before any mutual healing could take place. What a novel and strange concept ... So it WASN'T entirely up to me to fix this?
This part infuriates me. After the childhood they put us through, they should have been weak-kneed with gratitude that we forgave them and welcomed them into our adult lives. And it did go well for a while...

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You can explain until you are blue in the face. They only want to hear an apology from your end, an admittal that you're at fault, an assurance that you'll sweep it all under the rug and play happy families next time you see each other and make them look good. No rewording, re-explanation, clarification from your end is going to make them 'understand', because that doesn't absolve them of any blame and responsibility. You're in the land of circular conversation and it will lead nowhere.
That's what I've told my T. The only way I can see back for my parents or DH's is to beg for mercy, accept all blame and crawl back on our hands and knees. And go right back to the unacceptable system we finally crawled our way out of.

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Someone on the forum (I feel so bad not remembering because it really was one of the most helpful and healing things I read) wrote something along the lines of us always having to do all the work in the healing process with our folks. The explaining, the forgiving, the moving forward...all on our shoulders and since most of us have been groomed for this any way, it's no big deal and almost second nature to us.

This poster then suggested (oh the heresy) that we just hand it all back to them. I used it during my last convo with NM, who after 4 years NC with both kids, was still saying 'I don't know why you're not speaking to me", "What have I done ?", What do you want me to do?" , despite having received enough email comms, telephone conversations, sit down chats and even shared a  couple of therapy sessions with SGB, where 'what she did' and what we needed her to do was clearly addressed but never acted upon.

I had brought up her 'stalking', their lawyers letters of disinheritance, the inappropriate behaviour re the grandkids, etc - all swept aside, and that was the OVERT and recent behaviour... So no chance of getting any leeway on the covert stuff and woe betide bringing up any childhood stuff, her free pass was wife of an alcoholic, raising kids alone in a foreign land, and EnNDs free pass - alcoholism.

This last convo, I calmly told her that I felt i had already told her this many times and suggested she look back over her communications with us and think about what she had written or said that might have led to our "estrangement" and when she had an idea about how to move forward I would be open to meeting up with her and discussing it.

With enND, I had a similar conversation, because he was trying to guilt me into submission (old and ill, who knows how much time I have left, etc.) And I also suggested he think about what sort of a parent and grandparent he'd like to be during these precious last months (21/2 years ago) and get back to me.

I was NC at the time and  it's risky because they obviously never acted upon any of it and it kind of was the last nail in the coffin for me.  But it was a relief for me, to be able to hand back their 50% responsibility for the relationship and see where they went with it.  They fled it. (Shrug emoji) .
I'm so sorry that your parents were never able/willing to see their role in all of the dysfunction. You speak with such kindness and wisdom that they really missed out on what could have been a great relationship with a great daughter! I hope so much that you've found people in your life who could fully appreciate what you have to offer.

I'm taking your advice and plan to reply (in writing) in a way that gently hands it back to her. I have been trying to give my mom suggestions on her behavior in her relationships since I was a teenager. She thought it was laughable then and hasn't gotten any better at listening since then. I plan to let her know I fully accept the state of our relationship but that if she feels counseling would be helpful (to her alone) then I hope it works well for her.

Thank you for your thoughtful and kind guidance.

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All4peace, It's ironic how when things calm down a bit and fall into place on one front (ILs), the other front rears its head? Take care of yourself and keep the focus on your needs and those of your precious FOC.
It has become a weirdly consistent pattern in my life that the things I think about, happen. I actually was wondering about this in my head one day right before T, thinking of how to bring it up to T. I thought about 3 very specific things that hadn't happened for a long time in my life, or ever, and all 3 happened that day.

I started reading about it online, our thoughts, our energy, and their power to effect change. It's incredible and bizarre. So, it doesn't actually surprise me too much that when I'm digging realllllly deep in therapy about both families, having many nights where I can't sleep and stay up thinking about it, posting here, reading about it, that it's all way more intense than usual, all at once. It makes me want to get through T as quickly as possible, and then move my thought focus onto areas :)
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 05:26:10 PM by all4peace »

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all4peace

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 05:22:56 PM »
What if you approach this from the standpoint of changes you have made, growth, adjusting your priorities, or some phrasing that suits you and where you're at in your journey? More from the standpoint of 'we have already discussed everything there is to discuss, explained everything there is you need to know, there's nothing more to discuss and nothing left to forgive, the relationship is exactly the way I wish it to be at this point in time' and if we pick up from today forward absolutely nothing would change. The reason is because the way things are now is exactly as it will continue as far as level of communication and distance in the relationship because of the person you have become and are today and you intend to continue to grow along the same path. "There is nothing wrong to fix, this is how I wish the relationship to continue" sort of stance? Perhaps something along the lines of "I've done a lot of growing as an adult in the past few years and I know it may be uncomfortable for you, it's unfamiliar, and how you adjust to my growth as an adult is entirely up to you" and for M if that means counceling then by all means please do seek therapy for yourself.
I appreciate these suggestions! I have drafted a response, and it includes language stating acceptance of the present state of our relationship, with only a request for polite interactions at public family functions. I won't go so far as to state "this is how I wish the relationship to continue" but simply state acceptance of where it stands as a reflection of both our efforts over the years.

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all4peace

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2017, 05:39:27 PM »
Why is this playbook for me? The ganging up on you from both of them, the not taking responsibility but claiming to be mystified, in short the lack of insight and empathy, the accusing you of being difficult for taking more than the blink of an eye to get over it, but themselves having the right for a two year ST, the suggestion of seeing a therapist together, and especially the "being nice", code for don't be selfish, difficult, play your role.

What have I said to F when he wanted a close relationship again? I simply said "This is in your hands, it is up to you how our relationship will develop" and with that the topic was dead for him, he didn't want any responsibility, do any work. If it comes up again, it is what I'll repeat, and maybe refer him back to my letters where I had laid out the various issues, in which case he is most likely going to start yelling and screaming at me and then give me the ST; or I might say "The topic is closed, this is the relationship we have.". As there is no chance of resolving these issues, just like Terichan states, as I'm dealing with an emotionally immature person, I have detached. I have tried often enough to rescue the relationship and F to know it isn't going to work out, so I avoid exposing myself to more hurt.
Thank you for clarifying. I'm so sad for you that this is the father you got. Did you ever happen to read the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents? I found it incredibly helpful. It does help detachment quite a bit, to realize that a lot of this may be simply a disability rather than outright malice or hostility.

Thank you for posting this all4peace! I  cannot offer you any advice., but all the way your parents are behaving is ringing alarm bells for me with mine. They have hurt me big time, but have been talking about "clearing the air". They have "emailed "what have we done wrong?" - they are obviously oblivious to the hurt they have caused. The trigger for their rage was me deciding not to go to  wedding (long story involving another PD family member) but as soon as the wedding was over it was "everybody back to normal and playing happy families. I should be over it by now. I just can't do it anymore, so thank you all those who have posted advice here. I will be re reading and putting it into action!
I'm glad this was helpful for you! It's a painful place to be and sometimes helps to know we're not alone.

I think you are trying to rationalize with them in a way that they arenít capable.  Iím guilty of doing this with my parents, I just keep thinking thereís got to be a way to get through to them. Their view of the world is different, their concept of ďthe laws of the universeĒ (love and protect your children above all else, etc.) are different, and their version of reality is different. They ask for an explanation, you try to give them one in the clearest terms possible, and it does not compute and so they cycle repeats itself. Like someone else pointed out, we are dealing with emotional children who just do not/cannot/will not understand. Seriously, Iíve tried explaining something as simple as why I should be allowed to share when my feelings are hurt and they just could not grasp that. BPDm argued that I have no right to hurt feelings. Endless cycle, circular conversation, nothing changes. EnDad is so enmeshed and consumed by BPDmís reality that he doesnít know any different now either. The only solution Iíve found is the one that Spring Butterfly suggests:
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"There is nothing wrong to fix, this is how I wish the relationship to continue" sort of stance?

P.S.) My daughter's favorite book for awhile was "If You Give a Dog a Donut" (from the same series) and I kept thinking "What is the point of this dang book?!" lol.
Wow, that's pretty incredible to suggest that you're not allowed to have hurt feelings!

In general, I don't believe in repeating myself endlessly, so I may just need to let enF know that I have nothing new to add and that we likely have very different worldviews that make it hard for either of us to see this issue in the same light.  Yeah, what is the point, indeed?!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 05:41:50 PM by all4peace »

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practical

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2017, 07:48:20 PM »
Thank you for clarifying. I'm so sad for you that this is the father you got. Did you ever happen to read the book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents? I found it incredibly helpful. It does help detachment quite a bit, to realize that a lot of this may be simply a disability rather than outright malice or hostility.
This is one of the books that really helped me too, especially with detaching and becoming an observer rather than a headless actor in the drama of my parents life. I see F as mentally ill or as you put it having a disability, it doesn't mean I want to be around him and expose myself to more hurt. Outsiders, who don't have the shared history don't get triggered by him, also he tries to control himself somewhat more around outsiders, so outsiders are now who he has "relationships" with.
ďIf Iím not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Iím only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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Bloomie

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2017, 07:59:21 PM »
all4peace - just weighing in some thoughts from my own experiences with similar circumstances... to me this is possibly strategic and targeted behaviors by your parents to regain the one up position in the relationship with you where you are required time and again to explain and reexplain and justify your position/boundaries/healthy responses to abusive behaviors.  Making you do that weakens your position and dilutes the clarity of your true and honest messages to your father and mother.

In my own experience, this type of exchange was not to resolve anything, but to see if I would jump through the same old hoops of fire over again and eventually capitulate. Because for oh so very long... it worked.

My T gave me the best advice with something like this saying... say what you need to say, one time, and then move on. There is no need whatsoever to repeat yourself. :yes: You have graciously told your father what the issues are from your perspective. He can act on that information or not and adjust his behaviors and make amends accordingly. His choice.

From this exchange you can move forward with your life and live out  - as Spring Butterfly so wisely suggests - the person you are right now, today in relationship with them. You do not need to tell your father that if he ever raises his voice to you and verbally abuses you again you will do.... whatever it is you will do. You do not need to even respond to your mother's invalidating and insulting text... let's all just be careful and kind to each other...  :barfy: you are already and kind and considerate person and you know that about yourself so there is no need to respond unless you want to. The next time your mom opens her mouth and a big fat lie comes out you may choose to call her on it... and the next time... and the next time.. and you know what? She can either stop lying or deal with it if that is what you need/choose to do. You get to be 100% you in the relationship and you do not have to give a single solitary inch of yourself over to people who have treated your loving and tender soul with such selfish and callous regard!

The problem may be... they don't get to define the problem any longer or impose the solution and stack it on your back as they once did. Here all4peace... carry our crap around for us so that a we are not uncomfortable. Unnn Uh! No thank you! They don't get to smash into your heart and soul and life and do and say as they please and plead confusion and convenient amnesia.

A father screams at his adult daughter to the point of her pleading with him to stop and then gives her the ST and when later confronted with this abusive behavior his response is audacious and shameless as he tells her she should've gotten over it more quickly.  :aaauuugh:

He misses your "friendship"? He is not your friend he is your father. If he doesn't know how to act like a father... and clearly he does not... then he needs to do what other people do... get some help asap and figure himself and his character issues that are harming his loved ones out.


It is only because you have chosen to forgive terrible abuse, that continues in unrepentant ways I might add, that you have a relationship with them of any kind and that my dear is a privilege. They can show some regard and appreciation and respect or not and you get to decide what level of relationship you have with them based upon how they choose to conduct themselves.

You have broken free all4peace. They have no hold on you and they have a relationship with you and your family because you graciously allow that. You do not owe them any further attention or explanation. Not one tiny bit! :hug:
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 08:11:24 PM by Bloomie »

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daughter

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2017, 09:40:01 PM »
A4P: so often I think you're my sister-compatriot.  Your experiences are so similar to mine: that bland parental denial, then their seeming incomprehension, followed by callous disregard and expressed displeasure, coupled with visible impatience and obvious anger that their self-entitled "right to say and do whatever" without repercussion or whisper of accountability.  I've faced this same scenario, that same "we need to talk; but we won't talk for real" dynamic, that concludes with a stern lecture of "you don't have the right to have issues" and "I'm sick of your garbage (read: "issues"); you're crazy, and you better stop this right NOW".  I tell you, this type of situation, where "the cat's out of the bag", my issues politely expressed and so completely swept-away as to render me "person-less", this is what compelled me to finally chose to be NC rather than endure more Alice in Wonderland fantasy that this dysfunctional family dynamic, me as constant SG dutiful daughter servile non-person, was somehow to be defended as obligatory family duty to remain abused, rather than disabused (literally) and free.

At this point, how can you have a conversation with your parents beyond, "pass the potatoes" and "nice day today"?

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2017, 03:10:44 AM »
My answer would be, "Asked and answered, I'm not going to discuss this with you again - the topic is now CLOSED.  So, we can talk about the weather or your garden, or I can hang up.  Your choice."

If he goes back to the topic you've declared closed, tell him you have to go and hang up.

I like my boundaries with a LOT of titanium.  8-)  And I hate rehashing things, knowing it's just going to wind up being a circular conversation, nothing gets resolved and all I do is wind up with "!" going off over my head while I make a mad dash to the bathroom.   :P

I don't give cookies to mice - or anything that resembles a mouse or I suspect might be a mouse. 

The mouse keeps coming back for more cookies, then the mouse brings its entire family back to sleep behind your refrigerator and shit in your silverware drawer.  Mice take advantage - it's best to starve them out with NO cookies and hope they find somebody else to pester - or another topic to drone on about.   :roll:

There are no cookies here.

 :hug:

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VividImagination

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Re: If you give a mouse a cookie (or a PD parent a "reason")
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2017, 09:07:39 AM »
 :blink: I feel a sudden urge to wash all my silverware.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.