Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy

  • 13 Replies
  • 1954 Views
*

Afterthefox

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 156
Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« on: March 30, 2018, 03:03:11 AM »
It has been a while since I visited the OTTF website.  Mostly because I had settled into a period of no contact with my father and  I had started to feel at peace with my feelings towards his hostilities, and had virtually put matters behind me.  Everything is otherwise going very well in my life.

At Christmas, my sister received a financial gift from my father in the mail, after a long period of no contact.  I also received an email from him requesting my postal address in order to send a ‘gift’.  I declined the gift and he wrote to me several times afterwards to try to find out why.  I did not respond at first but after a few weeks I responded with medium chill and asked him to explain his silence.  I also stated that I disagreed in principle with his attempt at reconciliation without a full explanation of his silence.  He sent a long, apologetic email that essentially explained that he was sorry and did not understand why he behaved the way he did.

After 4 emails like this, he suggested a phone call and I agreed. The first time we spoke, he kept saying sorry and that he had been such a fool to be out of touch for almost 2 years.  He explained how he had recently broken up with his partner, left their home and their son (for the third time), and arrived back to his home country for good.  He said he missed me and suggested regular calls every two weeks.  He also proposed to visit me where I live (which is abroad).  I declined the visit but agreed to a brief call every two weeks.  I am considering it a trial.   We have had three calls so far and in the last call we kept it light and talked about current affairs.  I felt content with the prospect that we might keep some basic contact like this.

The day after this last call, I was chatting to my sister, with whom I have historically had a very close and honest relationship, when she announced that she was not being honest with me and had something to tell me.  She had been in touch with our father to ask him for financial support in order to fund a donor birth.  (She had lied saying that she had not heard any more from our father).  He, in turn, had contacted my mother, with whom he hadn’t spoken for about 10 years, to discuss this major issue.  In an unprecedented decision, my mother went to meet my father to discuss. On the same day, I had a call planned with her, and she cancelled the call by lying to me, saying that she was meeting her old friend '______' instead (naming her name).

The most worrying aspect of this development is the outcome of their discussion.  My mother, desperate to find any support for my sister, accepted the advice of my father, who proposed one of his friends as a sperm donor.  This is unheard of in my family.  My mother and my father have harbored hostilities towards each other for decades.  The fact that my mother even met my father is an enormous change in behaviour.  And the fact that her reason to meet him was to gather financial support for my sister to have a donor birth is another.  It is truly bewildering.

There are several aspects to this development that have me concerned:

1) My mother is willing to lie outright to me about her contact with my father
2) My sister is willing to lie outright to me about her contact with my father
3) My mother and sister are willing to ask for and accept money and advice from my father who has deserted them and treated them with nothing but hostility and verbal abuse for decades
4) My father, barely a month after appearing out of thin air after his latest break up with his ‘other’ family, is suddenly calling the shots for my mother and sister.
5) My father has suggested his friend as a sperm donor, and he is completely unsuited (a man in his fifties with a drinking problem, and in his own words ‘bankrupt’)
6) My mother and sister appear to be considering his advice
7) I suspect my father proposed this man to be able to leverage some legal/financial influence over the child and/or my sister/mother who would be raising the child together.
8) My family are not interested in involving me in conversation about this matter, and are not asking my advice.
9) My family are not consulting outside parties for advice on this matter (I suggested they talk to a professional/a therapist before making any major decisions)
10) My mother and sister are badly enmeshed in a codependent relationship, and do not acknowledge this or seek support for it (I should point out that my sister is nearing 40, is virtually unemployed, and lives with our mother).

Since I heard this news, I feel like I have lost the trust of my mother and sister.  I feel very let down by their lying and I am disappointed that they have approached my father for money, and appear completely willing to be at his mercy in terms of advice and financial influence. 

For decades, we have supported each other to be independent of my father. We have all shared a close bond in our resolve to advance in life despite the hardship of having a hostile deserter for a father.  Now, in my absence abroad, it seems they have lost the resolve to be independent of his influence, and have chosen to seek his direct involvement in the most intimate and life-altering matters.

For now, I have decided to step back and to cease communicating with any of them at least until I receive an explanation for the reason they are lying to me.  Beyond this, I do not know how to proceed with any of them, least of all my father who was already on trial, and is now taking a role of advisor to my mother and sister regarding a very high risk matter.

Any comments would be welcome.  Thank you :)


"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

*

LeeJane

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 811
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2018, 06:14:38 AM »
Oh my goodness, what a situation.  I don't have any advice other than to say it has very large red warning flags all over it.  The most alarming part to me is the friend sperm donor issue.  Surely this is absolutely asking for trouble?

Are you able to step away?   It seems what they are going to do is going to happen regardless of any sane intervention.

It may be of comfort for me to tell you that my PD mum came up with a similar insane scheme.  She decided she wanted a grandchild.  So she secretly offered my brothers girlfriend money to "accidently" get pregnant by my brother.  To put into context, my mum was fully aware that they were far too young to have a child and that neither wanted one and that the relationship was actually coming to an end.  It was all about her having a fantasy about playing the role of kindly grandma. (Until she got bored, discarded it and moved onto something else).



Fortuneately it didnt happen. 

*

DM178

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 80
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 10:14:03 AM »
Hello;

I can understand your frustration with your mom and sister, and their different behavior. I don’t have the same exact set of circumstances, but have been subjected to family members who have at times  vocalized and demonstrated that  they understand the truth about our UBPDm...and then have acted very very co-dependent and enmeshed with UBPDm..

It can still be quite bewildering to me, as these same family members can also be the target of same very nasty behavior by UPBDm, so I tend to think “gosh why don’t they “get it” and act differently?”

I guess we all move at different speeds with how we understand the disease of BPD, and then utilize this education to change our current and future behavior....for Me, it’s difficult not to get frustrated with these family members who are “moving at a different speed” with this, and seem to be falling way far behind with their level of emotional health.

I then realize that my reaction to their reactions is a red flag that I need to process how I am feeling, and then detach from what I think, and how I think they should be behaving...because it is way beyond my control. I am at my absolute worst when I start trying to figure out the behavior of others, and stop dealing with how it is making me feel, and then to move past it....of course this is so Much easier said than done!

Please let us know how you are dealing with all of this, if it is is helpful to you. This site and the community have been an amazing source of inspiration and education for me.! I wish you much peace during this part of your journey.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

*

looloo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1457
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 10:53:19 AM »

I then realize that my reaction to their reactions is a red flag that I need to process how I am feeling, and then detach from what I think, and how I think they should be behaving...because it is way beyond my control. I am at my absolute worst when I start trying to figure out the behavior of others, and stop dealing with how it is making me feel, and then to move past it....of course this is so Much easier said than done!

 :like: :yeahthat:  This is a terrific realization!  I need to sticky note this all over my house, lol.

Afterthefox, whether or not you can figure out what is going through any of their minds or what they ultimately end up doing, this is a perfect opportunity for you to back away from all of it.  You’re not asking for advice about communicating with any of your family, but I would recommend at least not discussing this subject with any of them, and possibly reducing contact once again with your father.

I agree with you-this sounds like such a bad idea  :sadno:
“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.”  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

*

Afterthefox

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 156
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2018, 02:05:30 AM »
Thank you for your comments.

I learned by dealing with harmful behavior from my BPDf the absolute necessity of medium chill, and asserting firm principles of respect and personal boundaries.  It is terribly sad, but I am now having to apply the same codes of behaviour to the rest of my family, as the trust is no longer there.

I am inclined to cease all communication with my mother and sister until they choose to relate to me in a healthy and transparent way.  Until then, I am processing the realization that this may not ever happen due to the evidence that their codependence has considerably deepened, and that they are neither thinking in a self-aware way, nor communicating in a respectful way, nor protecting themselves from our BPDf. 

Regarding my father, I will give him an opportunity at our next planned call to be transparent, and if he does not act according to the principles and boundaries I have asserted verbally, then I will cease communication with him as well.

Ultimately, I have to accept that I am not responsible for any of my family's choices, and I am a far healthier and happier person when I prioritize my own narrative, instead of attempting to guide the narrative of others. 





« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 02:35:15 AM by Afterthefox »
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

*

moglow

  • Retired Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 15821
  • >^..^<
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2018, 01:49:25 PM »
I'm sorry, but I get to  the base of all this fracas and: why is your sister seeking help to finance a donor birth?? Has it not occurred that the front end is only the beginning of a plethora of expenses for which she may likely be woefully unprepared??

I understand nearing 40 and wanting to be a mother but the realities ... She's not even independent of her own mother, yet wants to bring a child into it? Honestly, it would be different were she to surprise! I'm pregnant, but to pursue it in this manner AND approach dad (bringing him back into the family, so to speak) AND actually entertain the idea of this "friend" as a possible father for her child. I just cringe from all of it.

Me, I'd have to step away back from discussions of that whole situation. I get that they lied to you knowing what your response would understandably be - and honestly sounds like you may be the only one thinking clearly here.

Thing is, they are choosing to have that relationship with dad. *They* are, not you. You don't have to see, talk to, visit or anything else you're not comfortable with. You don't have to listen to their justification and excuses for him or that situation they're embroiled in.

You can (and possibly should) divert every conversation that heads in that direction. Tell them you don't care to discuss him/that, and firmly change the subject. Gray rock and show no interest, divert to other subjects. End the conversation if you have to. But allow it to eat at you and wreck your hard win peace? Nope. You don't have to do that and you don't have to explain. They'll figure it out or you'll be silent.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

*

Afterthefox

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 156
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2018, 04:05:25 PM »
Agreed Moglow, I am completely stepping back.  My peace was incredibly hard won and right now I feel triggered by this very unhealthy development on a number of levels. 

I feel tempted to slip straight into a default 'protective' mode towards my sister who is evidently completely lost in life, and grasping after whatever 'support' she can garner - expecting a baby to cure all her personal unhappiness, and settling for long-term codependence with her parents.  I see a toxic mess ahead if they go ahead with a donor birth with the friend of my BPDf.  My principle concern is that I know I will not tolerate such an unhealthy and ill-considered plan and would be forced to reduce contact on a permanent basis with essentially my entire family. 

But I have experienced the process of creating a healthy distance, and if I have to let go of the dysfunctional behaviour of more family members, then that is simply a necessary part of my own journey to health and sustained happiness.  Sad, but the hard truth.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 04:35:35 PM by Afterthefox »
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

*

DM178

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 80
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2018, 05:36:37 PM »
Hi AfterTheFox...

Love, what you wrote...

“Ultimately, I have to accept that I am not responsible for any of my family's choices, and I am a far healthier and happier person when I prioritize my own narrative, instead of attempting to guide the narrative of others. “

This is indeed hard at times, when we see others making choices that will probably bring to them immense pain...

one thing I thought of today, after I had talked to a sibling who was struggling with an upcoming event that involved UBPDM...I have become a much better LISTENER, when I am not emotionally busy trying to “fix” the other person in the conversation....have you found any “gifts” from “being able to prioritize your narrative, and not guiding those around you”? ..maybe when we are able to do this, we unconsciously are giving ourselves some gifts that we may not immediately realize. :doh:

I wish you much peace today.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

*

Salsera

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 992
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2018, 07:07:34 PM »
It has been a while since I visited the OTTF website.  Mostly because I had settled into a period of no contact with my father and  I had started to feel at peace with my feelings towards his hostilities, and had virtually put matters behind me.  Everything is otherwise going very well in my life.

At Christmas, my sister received a financial gift from my father in the mail, after a long period of no contact.  I also received an email from him requesting my postal address in order to send a ‘gift’.  I declined the gift and he wrote to me several times afterwards to try to find out why.  I did not respond at first but after a few weeks I responded with medium chill and asked him to explain his silence.  I also stated that I disagreed in principle with his attempt at reconciliation without a full explanation of his silence.  He sent a long, apologetic email that essentially explained that he was sorry and did not understand why he behaved the way he did.

After 4 emails like this, he suggested a phone call and I agreed. The first time we spoke, he kept saying sorry and that he had been such a fool to be out of touch for almost 2 years.  He explained how he had recently broken up with his partner, left their home and their son (for the third time), and arrived back to his home country for good.  He said he missed me and suggested regular calls every two weeks.  He also proposed to visit me where I live (which is abroad).  I declined the visit but agreed to a brief call every two weeks.  I am considering it a trial.   We have had three calls so far and in the last call we kept it light and talked about current affairs.  I felt content with the prospect that we might keep some basic contact like this.

The day after this last call, I was chatting to my sister, with whom I have historically had a very close and honest relationship, when she announced that she was not being honest with me and had something to tell me.  She had been in touch with our father to ask him for financial support in order to fund a donor birth.  (She had lied saying that she had not heard any more from our father).  He, in turn, had contacted my mother, with whom he hadn’t spoken for about 10 years, to discuss this major issue.  In an unprecedented decision, my mother went to meet my father to discuss. On the same day, I had a call planned with her, and she cancelled the call by lying to me, saying that she was meeting her old friend '______' instead (naming her name).

The most worrying aspect of this development is the outcome of their discussion.  My mother, desperate to find any support for my sister, accepted the advice of my father, who proposed one of his friends as a sperm donor.  This is unheard of in my family.  My mother and my father have harbored hostilities towards each other for decades.  The fact that my mother even met my father is an enormous change in behaviour.  And the fact that her reason to meet him was to gather financial support for my sister to have a donor birth is another.  It is truly bewildering.

There are several aspects to this development that have me concerned:

1) My mother is willing to lie outright to me about her contact with my father
2) My sister is willing to lie outright to me about her contact with my father
3) My mother and sister are willing to ask for and accept money and advice from my father who has deserted them and treated them with nothing but hostility and verbal abuse for decades
4) My father, barely a month after appearing out of thin air after his latest break up with his ‘other’ family, is suddenly calling the shots for my mother and sister.
5) My father has suggested his friend as a sperm donor, and he is completely unsuited (a man in his fifties with a drinking problem, and in his own words ‘bankrupt’)
6) My mother and sister appear to be considering his advice
7) I suspect my father proposed this man to be able to leverage some legal/financial influence over the child and/or my sister/mother who would be raising the child together.
8) My family are not interested in involving me in conversation about this matter, and are not asking my advice.
9) My family are not consulting outside parties for advice on this matter (I suggested they talk to a professional/a therapist before making any major decisions)
10) My mother and sister are badly enmeshed in a codependent relationship, and do not acknowledge this or seek support for it (I should point out that my sister is nearing 40, is virtually unemployed, and lives with our mother).

Since I heard this news, I feel like I have lost the trust of my mother and sister.  I feel very let down by their lying and I am disappointed that they have approached my father for money, and appear completely willing to be at his mercy in terms of advice and financial influence. 

For decades, we have supported each other to be independent of my father. We have all shared a close bond in our resolve to advance in life despite the hardship of having a hostile deserter for a father.  Now, in my absence abroad, it seems they have lost the resolve to be independent of his influence, and have chosen to seek his direct involvement in the most intimate and life-altering matters.

For now, I have decided to step back and to cease communicating with any of them at least until I receive an explanation for the reason they are lying to me.  Beyond this, I do not know how to proceed with any of them, least of all my father who was already on trial, and is now taking a role of advisor to my mother and sister regarding a very high risk matter.

Any comments would be welcome.  Thank you :)

My initial thought was that your mother and sister will be asking you for money next.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

*

Afterthefox

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 156
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2018, 08:35:03 PM »
Salsera, why do you suppose?
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

*

Afterthefox

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 156
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2018, 05:30:44 PM »
I have announced to all family members that I am ceasing communication until further notice.

I plan to use this time to assert my principles regarding what I find acceptable in terms of communication and, going forward, I intend to stone-wall/medium chill any conversation regarding the subject of the funding of a donor birth by BPDf.  The thinking behind it by all parties is simply too unaware, and the way they are handling communication is too mindless for me to want to have anything to do with it.

I intend to make an effort to release my attachment to and feeling of responsibility for my sister/mother/father’s decision making process and strengthen my own principles of personal integrity - realising that their dysfunction is ultimately a motivation to deepen my awareness of what is healthy and good behaviour.



« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 05:53:45 PM by Afterthefox »
"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

*

Salsera

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 992
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 08:32:21 PM »
Salsera, why do you suppose?
I'm not really sure. They seem to have no boundaries and their actions are inappropriate? Does that seem correct?
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

*

Afterthefox

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 156
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2018, 04:17:28 AM »

Since this mess came up two weeks ago, the matter has moved along in an interesting way.

I took a fortnight break from codependent M & S, and discussed the situation with my T and several close friends.  The unanimous consensus was that S is thinking very mindlessly from a state of depression, M is deeply enmeshed with S, and that the whole subject of them both approaching BPDf regarding a sperm donor was very foolish indeed.

I spoke to BPDf first, after my T encouraged me to continue with the newly agreed schedule of fortnightly calls.  BPDf immediately wanted to discuss S’s recent request for support and we discussed it thoroughly.  He stated that S had asked him not to discuss this with me, but he didn’t agree with that as he was concerned she wasn’t thinking clearly (ironically).  He was surprisingly sensible about the matter, disagreed with the principle of S having a donor baby, believing her not to be capable, and clarified that he had only introduced her to his friend to encourage her to socialize. It was in fact S who assumed the friend may have been a suitable sperm donor.  BPDf had met my M to discuss this matter, and he expressed to me disapproval of M’s ability to offer clear advice.  He acknowledged their enmeshed relationship, and made a grandiose offer to buy an apartment for one of them to live in, recommending with some emotion that M move out of her home of several decades.  This had always been a malevolent strategy of BPDf during heated family discussions - to kick M out of the house that he had intentionally bought for S and I. 

I went into this conversation with the intention of bringing the attention away from a dramatic ‘fix all’ solution, such as the historically agitating subject of property, money and joint family assets, and towards discovering the best possible remedy for S’s current state.  I recommended that if BPDf wished to assist S, he might think about assisting her to fund some self-care. To help her to help herself get organized.  Therapy, counseling, life-coaching. BPDf was very receptive to my advice, and he seemed to heed it immediately, even providing some contacts he had in the medical field.  We closed the conversation on a positive note, and I felt we had productively come to an agreement and a conclusive course of action. 

The next day, I spoke to S and I again steered the conversation away from 'grandiose desires' towards her wellbeing.  I tried to bring attention to the problem of her enmeshed relationship with M, and just how inappropriate it was to involve M in a meeting with BPDf.  S made some very codependent comments in response and repeatedly confused my conversation directly with her, to include M.  ‘Mum and I’ this, and ‘Mum and I’ that, in response to my addressing her direct concerns.  She made some unhealthy assumptions that crossed M’s boundaries such as ‘I think it was really important that M saw BPDf’.  Historically, M & BPDf, 30 years divorced, have avoided each other like the plague.

I brought attention to the fact that her recent contact with BPDf after over 2 years of NC is a very fragile and unreliable thing, to be mindful about all communication, and that to be expectant of his grandiose support is not recommended.  I recommended that she focus all her energy on improving her wellbeing before looking to make any life-altering changes.  S agreed and appeared to listen to my advice.  She admitted she had actually ignored BPDf’s initial terse response to her email about sperm donors, but it was M who followed up her email on her behalf by meeting BPDf to discuss the matter.  I recommended she paid attention to her first reaction to BPDf which was to shut down the conversation.  I also tried to make her aware that BPDf had completely crossed her boundaries by meeting M to discuss her private email, and that M had crossed her boundaries by even attending that meeting.  I advised her not to wade into any further highly complex discussions with BPDf pitifully unprepared, emotionally and practically.  S had been planning a second meeting with the three of them and was considerably anxious about it.  And for good reason, as the last time the three of them were in the same room, BPDf chased them out of the building, screaming at them.

So, I had basically intervened, shut down the dramatic conversation about sperm donors and radical housing solutions, and prevented a possibly harmful meeting from taking place.  As a remarkable turn around, M agreed to my suggestion that she and S find therapists immediately, and she has planned some sessions.  BPDf softened and offered financial aid for S’s self-care.

With some hindsight writing this today, I realize that I have always acted as the mediator in the family, and that my moving away has not changed this.  As much as M & S tried to keep this whole episode secret, the truth came out, and I very quickly assumed the traditional role.  The cycle:  S reached out for a dramatic level of assistance, BPDf responded dramatically, M responded codependently, I stepped in and brought the focus back to the reason S feels she needs dramatic assistance.

I am now questioning to what degree it is healthy to intervene each time my family’s dysfunction externalizes dramatically.  I am relieved that the conversation did not escalate to the original ill-advised solutions they had in mind, but I am exhausted by the whole exercise, and ultimately, frustrated with them all for being such unaware people.  I realise I have a great deal of influence on family dynamic, but I long for the day when they all can reach sensible conclusions for themselves.



"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone." - Alan Watts

*

Amadahy

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 927
  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
Re: Bewildered by enmeshed family's conspiracy
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2018, 09:06:45 AM »
I, too, always mediated the madness.  It is exhausting and - I found in my case - an attempt by me to bring control and order to chaos.  It was not healthy for me or others as it fixed us in roles that stunted any potential for growth or awareness. It is commendable you see this pattern!  It took me a woefully long time!  I'll never forget the look on Nmom's face when she told me some wild thing that typically would have me go into mediator mode and I said, "well, huh!" and changed the subject. Same for enmeshed sis when she asked me to find Nmom's take on something and instead of going all stealth, I said, "why don't you ask her?"  Scary at first, but oh-so-freeing!  Well done on all levels! 

There may not come a day when they reach sensible conclusions on their own.  Will you be ok to let your mediator role go and let folks deal?  It is hard, but it is not your responsibility.  Ask yourself what serving in this role has done for you and see if you can thank it for helping you cope, but bid it farewell as you have grown. :hug:
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 09:23:57 AM by Amadahy »
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything ~~
That's how the Light gets in!

~~ Leonard Cohen