Making people wait for the conflict

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all4peace

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Making people wait for the conflict
« on: November 15, 2017, 09:03:40 AM »
My parents both expressed a wish to "talk" about our relationship (first my dad, then my mom). I said it would need to be in written form due to emotional fatigue and busyness at this point in my life. They complied and started the conversation. I took my proposed responses to therapy, got guidance in multiple places, and sent my honest responses. My responses were direct, as kind as I could manage while staying honest, calm.

My dad hasn't responded at all (1 week out)
My mom finally responded with "this isn't a good time to talk right now. We'll talk at some point in the future."
My response to her was along the lines of "I didn't choose the time to bring this up, you did, can you get more specific than that?"
Her response: Sometime in a month or so.

Really?! Who does this?! My new, less-FOGgy self thinks this is just another way to gain the upper hand, exert some control (since my responses are making it very clear that I am now coming from a solid position and not a weak or pleading one) and make me sweat.

As a mother and friend, one of my regular modes in life is one of reassurance. I want my friends reassured that I have their back, that I am happy to listen to them, that I value them, that they are not alone in life's typical struggles. I want my kids reassured of my love, of the beauty of life even when it is challenging, of the fact that they will always have a safe place to land IF that is what they want. As a wife, I want my husband to feel the steadiness of my love, the reliability of me as a life partner, the overall predictability of our lives together in a solid and healthy way.

Seriously, who does this? From dad, not even a "I got your message, I'm thinking about it, and I'll respond once I've had time to properly process it."

So, I'm taking this time to work on my emotional detachment skills (not really evidenced by starting a whole new thread about the topic :) ) But there is also a part of me that thinks it's just not good to have things dangling like this. It's one smallish thing, but we all have so many other things already causing stress in our lives--raising kids, political and world unrest, financial burdens, busy schedules, etc. Who needs one more thing, especially when it's coming from people who are "supposed to" care about your emotional and physical health, and are "supposed to" be the solid and reliable foundation of your life and are "supposed to" want to reassure you, not leaving you hanging, worried, waiting.

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moglow

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 10:05:52 AM »
Nothing like a dangling anvil to help you feel good about your relationship, is there? Best I could do with that is try a "I'll look forward to hearing from you!" chipper response, and carry on. It doesn't help know it's hanging out there, but worrying about it won't help you. They likely are flabbergasted at your response, expected the same old-same old of the past. They don't know what to do with that - you've changed the rules, so to speak, and now they know.


And really, are you likely to get any response you haven't heard before? The more important part of this is, do you want to have that conversation with them at all? What do you want from them if it does continue?
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

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VividImagination

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2017, 10:12:50 AM »
Basically it boils down to they didn't get the response they were looking for and are trying to regroup. I wouldn't play this game again as they keep changing the rules.
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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Me_Again

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 10:21:50 AM »
I think they've replied loudly by their non reply, and I don't think there's anything "dangling."  IMO, they've made their feelings loud and clear. You set specific boundaries (insisted upon the "conversation" be in writing), you were articulate in your response, and you were strong. They've replied to that by letting you know (passive aggressively) that they don't like this side of you and this strength of yours. You can't control anything about them and what they do or don't do.

They want you to be wondering when their reply will come. They want you to feel like things are "dangling" and unfinished. They want to throw you off your "game" because they want you to feel like they're in control.

I'd accept the very real possibility that they will never reply to what you wrote them. I'd accept that they might ignore it completely and pretend that you never sent them anything or might try to get you to reply in person or over the phone (easier to get you to emotionally react).

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Peace Lily

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 10:58:20 AM »
Hi all4peace, well done for setting your boundaries and remaining strong. I think I can add that your parents may not wish to commit to writing things down as once you have the written word in your hands you have hard evidence and they can no longer deny having said such and such or twist what they said. My parents made the mistake of writing a long chain of emails which I kept to remind me how nasty they had been ( I look at them when I am weakening!) and I at one point copied and pasted something they they said back to them. That was the end of the email conversation. You're right we can do without the stress of spending ages thinking how to respond to an email followed by the angst of what is coming next  :stars:
"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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all4peace

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 11:37:08 AM »
Peace lily, I understand it could make them vulnerable to commit to writing, especially my M. She'd rather bulldoze someone in person, spouting lie after lie. It would stink to have it all written down.

As for my dad, he once took an entire month to respond to an email my BIL sent him. Without any communication letting him know he'd received it, or when he might reply.

My T says that maybe after 3 months I should tell them the conversation is closed, and I'm like 3 MONTHS?!?!  :aaauuugh:

My motive for asking for it in writing is 3-fold--I have a terrible memory and cannot remember some things within min of speaking to them. Secondly, I want M in writing for honesty reasons. And thirdly, I didn't know if I could do a face-to-face without totally losing my crud, and I felt this was a way to keep it calm, considered and clear.

moglow, I don't want this conversation at all. They did. And I have no idea what they're going to say. Weirdly, my biggest fear is they'll say all the "right" things and indicate a wish to repair our relationship. It would be so incredibly hard to go back to a place of hope or longing. I just don't think I can do that at this point.

Vivid, I agree about the regrouping. Do you have any suggestions for how to end the game? You are so good at the practical responses!

me again, I'm going to need to prepare for a nonresponse and learn how to tune this out entirely and focus on more important and positive things. Unfortunately, probably unknown to them, it is this constant way of interacting (or not) that continues to do damage to our relationship.

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bopper

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 11:51:19 AM »

Seriously, who does this? From dad, not even a "I got your message, I'm thinking about it, and I'll respond once I've had time to properly process it."


PDers. And, just like you said, they do it to control you.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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VividImagination

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 12:17:24 PM »
I wouldn't respond at all. Your father didn't even give you the courtesy of a reply. If it's brought up again, I'd just respond with"now isn't a good time". I have a feeling this is a circular game so they can claim to be working on the relationship without actually making an effort.
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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Terichan

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 12:31:55 PM »
Weirdly, my biggest fear is they'll say all the "right" things and indicate a wish to repair our relationship. It would be so incredibly hard to go back to a place of hope or longing. I just don't think I can do that at this point.

They can say all the "right" things they want to, but always remember it's not what they say but what they DO. When I tried to do this with my uNPDf (repair our relationship) he actually did say some "right" things, which gave me some hope, but his behavior never changed a whit. It was before I'd found OOTF and it was very disappointing. Don't fall into the trap like I did.

I read something very good the other day regarding toxic people (all people, for that matter):

"Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

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practical

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2017, 12:43:18 PM »
I don't think either there is anything dangling, you got an answer by not getting one, by being ignored and unheard again. It isn't just who postpones for a month or so, it is also, who doesn't feel the need to immediately answer and work on the issues? Which parent doesn't say "I'm so sorry I hurt you, and even if I was unaware of it, it is not okay." Somebody who cares about the role you play in the dysfunction but not about you would be my take.

I wouldn't answer now or later. If this topic comes up again and I doubt it will, my response would be "The topic is closed for me, your actions were your answers." It was your parents who forced you into this conversation, and you in your kindness, wanting to give them another chance to do the right thing responded. They are responding by giving you the ST, and yes, your M too not just your F. While you didn't start this "conversation" - it isn't really one - you have every right to end it.

I read something very good the other day regarding toxic people (all people, for that matter):

"Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
:yeahthat:
“If I’m not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when I’m 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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Peace Lily

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2017, 02:07:20 PM »
Yes, I like you can't face the face to face because a) my Mum gets very emotional (cries), says hurtful things and I loose my control -go back to being a helpless child.  This is how they prefer me to be. b) I also cannot remember anything when I am in front of them and I also get confused, which I think is down to a fear.

I agree with Practical that you have your answer in the "silence". I would not feel obligated to send them any more emails as the ball is in their court so to speak.  Enjoy the lack of communication - perhaps silence can be golden after all! Lol Following advice on this forum I have set up a folder in outlook with a rule to send all communications from my parents there. That way I can check the messages when I am at home, not about to go out, and feeling emotionally up t it.  It feels so much better, as everytime i was checking mail before, I was dreading that might be in the inbox! If you haven't done so already I would recommend it!
"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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AdultChildinthefog

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2017, 02:10:15 PM »
My opinion would be, what are you waiting for?  A response that says, "you're right.  We've been very dysfunctional and we're ready to change to repair this relationship." ?
I think most of us know deep down that our PD parents cannot and will not ever accept that they have any issue and that it is all our fault.  If only we could change and start compiling.

Therefore, go on about your life, working on yourself and how you manage and interact with your PD parents.  Have zero expectation for them to acknowledge or change as they will not.  Work towards your own peace, calmness, and kindness and constantly remind yourself that they have a mental illness.

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VividImagination

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2017, 02:26:24 PM »
"Your actions were your answers".

Brilliant. Also pertains to inactions.
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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moglow

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2017, 04:26:12 PM »
Quote
Weirdly, my biggest fear is they'll say all the "right" things and indicate a wish to repair our relationship. It would be so incredibly hard to go back to a place of hope or longing. I just don't think I can do that at this point.


Makes perfect sense to me, been there too many times myself. It all sounds so good but at the end of the day actions are what counts. And they don't even want to continue a conversation they requested in the first place, so ... :unsure:


You don't have to respond, ever, if you choose not. I'd probably let the silence stretch for a while. Far be it for me to inflict myself on someone who only wants a token effort anyway.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 04:30:16 PM »
I'm sorry, All4Peace. I almost spit my drink out when I read their response. I mean, really? They were the ones pushing for this conversation! You wanted some space and time for healing and they kept pushing so you gave them a compromise, let them start the conversation, and NOW they don't want to finish it?!  :stars: Basically, they wanted you to give them a chance to say their peace and now you are supposed to run back to them as dutiful daughter, you weren't actually supposed to have feelings of your own. Don't they understand "conversation" implies there are 2 sides??!

Here are some of my thoughts:

If I decide to respond to my BPDm, I try to respond in a way that doesn't illicit a response. Of course, she will always respond, because she has to have the last word. Still, I try to stick with stating my feeling or my needs in such a way that it isn't a question and I am not asking them for validation, I'm just simply stating facts. You may have questions you want answered...I'm not sure...I've given up the idea of receiving honest answers or validation for how I feel so I basically end correspondence in such a way that I don't need a response. Then, if they decide to ignore me all together, I know I've said my peace and no response from them is needed, conversation closed. I know you are attempting to have a "conversation" but if an honest back and forth isn't possible, you might consider this option in the future.

My other thought is that repairing the relationship is definitely on hold for now. I think a temp. NC is definitely justified until you get some kind of response. Nothing is resolved so you can't exactly go from that to talking about the weather like nothing is wrong. If you give them contact in the meantime, they may never answer you, they may just pretend the "conversation" never happened. How invalidating for you.

I know it's hard, but as others mentioned, you don't really need a response from them to go on living your life. Any response that might actually change anything for you is unlikely. It's a tough time of year to be dealing with this, leaving your holiday plans up in the air, etc. You might consider alternate plans this year so you don't feel like you are waiting on them. Take care.
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Malini

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 08:32:36 PM »
Quote
Really?! Who does this?! My new, less-FOGgy self thinks this is just another way to gain the upper hand, exert some control (since my responses are making it very clear that I am now coming from a solid position and not a weak or pleading one) and make me sweat.

I definitely feel this is their way of trying to wrest the away the power and exert their control over you as I've experienced something very similar with my Narents. Once they had got me to cave in and agree to do something I had refused to do for years, they dropped the whole issue, happy in the knowledge that they could still manipulate me to do their bidding.

Your M can't physically beat and intimidate you any more like when you were a child, so they choose to do it this way by pushing you so far that they "force" you to have a conversation you don't want and then refuse to engage.

They probably hope that their withdrawal from the convo will scare you into toeing the line. You've said your piece, and probably what a piece, definitely not what they expected from kind, conciliating, christian all4peace and their withdrawal and non acknowledgment is a version of ST.

What they don't realise is that you have no interest in returning to the toxic fold, that you've changed and you were doing THEM a courtesy by initiating the convo. I wouldn't be surprised if your words will be used against you and bite you in the behind, but that's part and parcel of the PD game.

Also, one month!!! What is that time frame anyway, has she made a to do list and put this issue way down at the bottom? It doesn't sound as if resolving her issues with you are top priority, and she made sure you know it.

Like others have said, I'd just drop the rope now, they had their chance and they blew it. Try and file it mentally in your sent box and move on. That conversation is now over and will not need to be revisited.

I wouldn't be too worried that they'll say ANYTHING right, or at least anything that would even tempt you to put any hope in a different, healthier, loving relationship with them.

The silver lining ... You probably won't ever have to sleep in the darn Utility Room again...

 :hug:

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DfromC

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2017, 05:12:12 AM »
Hugs to you A4P.. I can relate...I wrote an email letter to my parents way back in 2001 after some issues, of which looking back I know there was some ST from her. It took me months to write and was very long. All I got was an acknowledgement they received the letter but they never did respond to it. Fast forward to 2015 when in April I got an email from them about how they were feeling disconnected and wanted to be closer. They had gotten advice from their T to reach out and get our opinions (me and sib) on whether we were satisfied with the relationship. I was still in the FOG then and first found this forum at that time. I chose to reply that I needed some time to think about their email and would get back to them when I could. It was a really busy few months in the thick of our daughter's busiest sports season so lots of travel, decision making in choosing a new school for them and lots going on at work etc... I was reading some books, this forum and soul searching but still had not formulated a response when in August, I got another email saying they were confused and hurt that I hadn't responded yet. One of my first thoughts was that email in 2001 that never got replied to and now I'm getting in trouble for 4 months?? In the conversations that ensued after I was told that their T told them not to respond to my 2001 email...Sounds like a great way to try to make amends.

Anyway, I don't have any better advice than what you've been given, but would truly agree that their lack of answering back means they don't like what you said. I think that is how it was/is in my case. They like to complain but don't really want to listen to my side. I've been reading your thread here and gathering nuggets too so thanks for sharing. Sorry you are having to go through this..

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Moon

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2017, 05:35:21 AM »
I would probably leave it at this stage.  They asked for the conversation and the conversation they got was not what they were expecting.  My mother is the same, she will text me wanting to know why I was quiet or if anything is wrong and if I tell her then she will reply with your too sensitive or nothing.  My guess is that she is just nosy and wants to know where my head is at, sometimes for gossip or sometimes I find she will later poke fun at what I am upset about.  If I call her out on something and there is no way for her to get out of it other than an apology she will just go silent.  At times she has seemed surprised when I have calmly questioned her, she prefers me to get upset.  However, despite me being honest, nothing has changed.

So my guess is that your response wasn't expected, they don't want things to change.  With enough time, what you have said can be swept under the rug.  They probably don't want to put anything in writing either.  Too easy to show any lies at a later date.  Take this time to work on yourself, no response from them is really a response, just not the one you were hoping for.

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all4peace

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Re: Making people wait for the conflict
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2017, 12:07:57 PM »
bopper, it shouldn't still be remarkable to me, but it is.

Vivid, I'm not sure how I will respond if/when he finally does, but I definitely believe you nailed the motive.

terichan, a good reminder to watch behavior instead of words. Really, I don't want to repair this relationship. I don't believe it is reparable. I can totally MC through a few family events every year without too much of a problem, but there's really no "going back" to the old days for me. Maybe just an INFJ door slam.

And I love that Emerson quote!! I thought of it frequently when awful uNBPDmil was trying to schmooze us with words and gifts in the early frantic hoovering days.

Practical, yes! Just this past week I had a convo with my S that was a little upsetting. It's pretty much an instantaneous thing to say "I want to keep considering what you said. I value our relationship, and I'm trying to understand what you're saying. I love you and you mean a lot to me, so please always share with me when I'm doing something upsetting to you." And we were both raised by my parents and still figured this out!!

peace lily, I think I would go into "freeze" mode also, or maybe even "flee." My worst fear of all is that an awful lot of anger would actually make its way out.

adultchild, I didn't ask for this conversation, I didn't want it, but I also don't believe in refusing to hear another person out so I told them I was willing to listen. They said their first bit, I responded, and now one won't respond at all and the other says "it's not a good time to talk." Believe me, I do NOT need to have this conversation. But I also don't like it going unfinished.

moglow, one thing I've finally gotten better at is not trying to force engagement to dull the anxiety.

daughterofbpd, it made me laugh to read about your near drink-spitting. Is there anything funnier than someone losing a mouthful in a snorting spray of disbelief?!

I don't want to engage at all. I really just need them to be basically polite at family functions, and that's how low my expectations have dropped. I will not have my kids exposed to any more toxic family behavior, so if they can't be basically normal and shallowly friendly, that's going to severely limit our time with them.

Unfortunately, we have immediate contact twice in the next week. I will hold myself to polite MC behavior. I will not engage in this topic at all. And they will NOT have the misconception that all is ok. They already know that from the VVVLC that I currently have with them and the fact that I've defined my boundaries in writing.

I'm getting on with only a very low-grade anxiety, very, very, very low grade. So that's a sign of huge improvement!! It was fun and lovely to see my T being really proud of my progress this week. We spent a fair amt of time in T laughing at the hilarious and ridiculous ways I could fly below the radar in the next few episodes of contact with them.

malini, I understand Christianity has a bad name for many right now, and it makes me sick what "Christians" often behave like in the world. I'm transforming my own views of my own faith in these years and coming to a new understanding of what it means to be a loving person who ALSO gets to protect herself and others from abuse.

While I have felt very confused and wavering with ILs at times, I am solid and immovable with my parents. When my dad called me stubborn, strong willed and trying to get him to toe the line, he was correct on 2 of them, and is now correct on all 3!  :evil2:

The Utility Room---bwahaha!! I hope that's what I get offered, as I will have a loud public response to that at the ready. I will never sleep in there again. It's beyond absurd.

DfromC--14 years later?!?!?! I'm so sorry that you didn't get the parents you wanted or needed. And what interesting and questionable advice from their T. When I go to the dark side in my head occasionally, I wonder what their T would look like if they were going. It's terrifying to consider.

moon, how provoking of your mother! It's one thing I learned in dealing with the ILs, that many behaviors seemed designed just to provoke ANY reaction from us.
 
Thank you, everyone! It always helps to share these things with those who understand. I feel very ready for whatever comes next, and I know that I can't actually die of anxiety or awkwardness (at least in the short term). What has worked for me with the ILs is to set a very basic standard of behavior for myself in interacting with them, and as long as I have been true to myself I have learned to let go of the rest. That helped my anxiety a LOT, and really my behavior is the only thing I have control over anyway... So... I will be polite and a good host/guest, and that will be enough.