What did you think would happen?!

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Re: What did you think would happen?!
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2018, 12:15:37 PM »
Quote from: all4peace
I think the bottom line for me might be that rejecting someone is the most painful thing I can imagine doing to another person. I am rejecting uNBPDm at this point. It feels horrible to do it to someone who "cannot understand" why you are doing it.

It does hurt to have to move out to a different level of intimacy with someone we care deeply for who has demonstrated consistent behaviors over time that are harming us and they are unwilling or unable to manage themselves differently.

It may feel like rejection to them and even be labeled as such, but when you have been vulnerable and honest with another about the issues that are fracturing your relationship and hurting you that is moving back with love. That is not rejection.

It does feel horrible, but it is not a horrible thing to do. It is not a horrible choice, it is a healthy choice.

It seems you are possibly stuck at the place where your mother/father have incurred a huge emotional and spiritual debt in their relationship with you and they seem to have no intention of acknowledging it or doing what it takes to reconcile the debt. So, there is no reason to believe they will engage differently going forward even with the same information offered to them. 

You can tell them what you told them already, but if they have shown no willingness to acknowledge or connect their abusive behavior to the emotional bind that puts the relationship under, if they are arguing and talking all around specific wrongdoings or offering a kind of blanket acknowledgment without demonstrating compassion and empathy toward you/your family and sibs/their families for the damage they have done that current relationships are impacted by, if one in particular continues choices to lie, manipulate, rug sweep, pridefully ignore past abuses, they are avoiding responsibility imv.

There is an unacknowledged, looming emotional indebtedness that your parents are living under that they have been racking up for decades now. They seem to keep cashing in on the love, kindness, forgiveness, motivation for family, tender heart and good will of their children and grandchildren.

They seem to be refusing to reconcile that debt and make things right. If they sincerely do not know how, my thinking is they could still sincerely show remorse, regret, take responsibility to the point they are able and then find some professional help in figuring out how to go forward in a way that causes the least harm to their family. And they could show appreciation for the willingness you all have shown to continue to allow them to be a part of your family life.

In my own uPD parent dynamic if it was not acknowledged, could be slapped down as ridiculous, if I could be shamed into silence, guilted, it did not happen or had zero validity. The discussion stayed at the very entry point of disagreement or at a stubborn unwillingness to acknowledge grievous wrongs done. That was the sticking point because that is the most important point in a conflict where mutual submission and consideration happens in order to reconcile the issues.

In my experience it is there... at that point where there is agreement and mutual consideration happening that we further discuss and clarify together each other's view points and we may not always agree with one another, but we can agree that someone has been wronged and it matters and both sides are mutually engaged in resolving and repairing the relationship.

If we cannot even find that agreement that there was harm done and it needs to be made right by the offending party and the behaviors managed, then how can we ever truly be safe?

Maybe if we had known to start the "conversation" so to speak with these two questions with our parents before we go any further it would've served us well:

"Do you acknowledge that your choices and behaviors have harmed/are harming our relationship?"

"Are you willing to specifically identify, acknowledge to me, and take responsibility for those harmful choices and behaviors?"

With my own parents this was the essential question. And the answer was "no" conveyed in every way that could be conveyed.



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Re: What did you think would happen?!
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2018, 12:31:29 PM »
In regards to my own npd-enmeshed NBM and enNF, I see their relationships as fundamentally a mercantile exchange where they expect to "best" the other person, meaning "get the upper-hand" or the "greater advantage".  I don't think they engage in "relationships" per se.  Their engagement with relatives involved reinforcing their sense of superiority and achievement.  Their engagement with friends involved reinforcing their sense of self-worth and popularity ("life of the party"), and a mutual social life even while my parents "cared" little for even each other but "put on a good show" for their friends.  Their best friends are mirror-image npd-enmeshed couples, doing the NPD Circle-Dance of mutual admiration-disdain shallow interpersonal engagement.  Their engagement with their daughters GC nsis and SG me, despite the blatant difference in treatment and value, still was based upon how we enhanced their self-worth, and how we ably served NBM's expectations and demands.  Ditto for the grandchildren, also divided into two camps by NBM (but not so by enNF) of "favored/superior" and "disfavored/inferior".  My NBM and enNF have no regard for, or apparent concern, about the long-term affect of their failure to establish and nurture genuine relationship-bonds with people.  They just expect everyone to comply to their expectations and demands.  Where this has brought them is total reliance now on nsis and nsis' family to sustain their emotional needs, with a small group of remaining so-called friends.

"Issues" were irrelevant, as as enNF would tell me: "you've no right to have issues; it is what it is, and it won't change".  Guess what, "it" didn't change, but I did, SG me, the parentified daughter who was also designated as future primary elder-care provider ("that's what daughters are for").  I bolted.  I think you're about ready to do so too.   



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Re: What did you think would happen?!
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2018, 01:54:14 PM »
Bloomie - thank you so much for that post.  So many of us here struggle with tremendous guilt for choosing to swim to safety rather than stay with our drowning parent & allowing them to pull us down with them.  Add to that the shaming of family members who only see the pain of the drowning person & not the fear that we experience of being pulled down again & again. 



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Re: What did you think would happen?!
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2018, 09:16:09 PM »
All4Peace, you have received some great advice and compassion. I love what Bloomie said, "It does feel horrible, but it is not a horrible thing to do. It is not a horrible choice, it is a healthy choice." So true.

I read your post and all the comments and then I was doing some chores and thinking about this post and how you are feeling. I was thinking, "I wonder why she feels the need to spell it out one more time." I mean I know you explained it; it is your grief, your compassion, your empathy thinking how if you were in their shoes how you would feel. But do you want to explain it again because you think they might really understand this time? Or do you want to explain it again because you want to prove to yourself that you did everything you could, maybe so you can have peace, as you give up?

I don't think any of your reasons would be "wrong." I just think it is good to make sure there isn't any hidden "guilt" that could be motivating you. I don't want you to think that you didn't "do enough" to fix it. I think you are a very compassionate person, and you have wisdom and you see things clearly.  They made their choices, and like how you compared them to your children, they are not children. They are adults. It is terribly sad that they are how they are, but you mentioned that your siblings are a bit more lenient toward them, even though they also know there are problems, and their leniency did not benefit them at all. Your parents did not change, for anyone. "They are much more moved by guilt, duty and obligation than I am. They think my parents are very emotionally dysfunctional, and that M is narcissistic, but they can't  bear to see them lose relationships. I can't, either, but my anxiety was way out of control..." Their kindness and continued contact did not fix it. You are not the only one they have hurt. But your hurt is undeniable. Your anxiety is the effect of their behavior.

I believe that you will make the best decision for you. I believe that you will be wise enough to protect yourself as you figure out how to reconcile your feelings with their reality. They are reaping what they have sown. But to me, I wonder if you are not feeling more pain over that then they are? I am so sorry that you are going through this. Usually pain, leads us to change. It seems with NPD's their pain doesn't lead them to change. They just expect their pain to lead us to change! It is almost like they are just upset that they are not getting their way with you, but not actually sorry for any harm they have done.

"I had to accept the fact that, look, this is who I am. I have to be who I am, and all of us have a right to be who we are. And whenever we submit our will, because our will is a gift, our will is given to us, whenever we submit our will to someone else's opinion a part of us dies." --Lauryn Hill



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Re: What did you think would happen?!
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2018, 01:59:55 PM »
Bloomie, thank you so much. I appreciate your patience in talking it all out for me once again. You bring up some points that I think will be vital for me to hold onto to make the right choice:

1. Changing a level of intimacy does not equal rejection. I am not choosing NC at this time. I am choosing a level of contact that works for me but that they will not like. That is not rejection.

2. Feeling horrible about doing something doesn't make it a horrible thing to do. That's FOG speaking. I don't choose how other people engage with me--they do. I have that same right with my parents. I have never demanded a certain level of contact with another person, so why should they be able to?

3. In one of my unsent angry letters to uNBPDm, I anger about the debt. We don't have a 50/50 situation. We only have a relationship because I once had the ability to move past the abuse and trauma, and she STILL didn't hold up her end of the relationship. My parents have a massive debt, which they want erased. Only F acknowledges a shadow of it, M is silent on the topic. The word "reckoning" keeps coming to mind, so I looked it up. One definition is "bill of account." It feels like it's time for a reckoning, for my sake, for my siblings, for our powerless and helpless child selves, our spouses, for all of us. My siblings express a frustration to me that our parents keep rug sweeping (my term, not theirs) and pretending there isn't an elephant in the room.

4. The entry point of disagreement. This jiggled something loose in me. It's like M thinks "If x, then y, and if I keep denying x then I never, ever have to get to y." She seems to think lying and denial somehow erase it, for her, for us. Maybe it's her tactic, to not allow anyone to get past the entry point of disagreement.

What I feel I'm moving towards is simply living my life towards my parents in the truth that exists for me. They don't need to agree. I don't need to keep repeating myself. I certainly can repeat myself if they need to hear it again, without expectation they will understand.

I was the child who kept trying to tell our parents what was wrong, what was abusive (yes, I actually called them child abusers as a child), what they could do differently (try kindness instead of beatings). They laughed. They thought it was hilarious and that someday when I was an adult I'd understand, and I'd do the same with my children. The same things I was saying then, the same things I was writing about in high school and college papers, are the same things I'm saying and feeling now. If I can just stay in my adult mind and body and hold onto them...

daughter, just so much entitlement. I'm thankful my children are in the "inferior" camp, although it's more like "boring" in the way uNBPDm sees the world. It keeps them safer than my more exciting siblings' children. It sounds like your parents are getting as isolated as mine are.

Dinah-sore, I keep hearing this message--what is the point of explaining it yet one more time? I should know better, as DH's parents did this also. Perpetual confusion, a total inability to understand what we were saying no matter how many times or methods we used. At some point I need to stop talking.

It makes me sad for my siblings because they are motivated by kindness, guilt, concern, loyalty and decency. They have "no emotional bonds" to our parents, per their own words, but still make an effort for our parents. And are treated no better for their efforts. Our parents are emotionally crippled and flawed, and even though they want to be surrounded by loving family who care for them and enjoy each other (a worthy and good wish!) seem completely unable or unwilling to do their part to foster that. Even when shown by their adult children over and over and over.

I would love to know they're not feeling pain. That would make it a lot easier for me. What I hear is that enF is looking very depressed and half dead. I think he will suffer and uNBPDm will simply move onto another bright shiny object. I don't know what to do with that knowledge. He's an adult, and I can't choose for him, but it does hurt to think of either of them suffering. I can only imagine the damage done after many decades with a raging narcissist.

Thanks for your input and support--I appreciate it!



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Re: What did you think would happen?!
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2018, 07:41:24 PM »

I think the bottom line for me might be that rejecting someone is the most painful thing I can imagine doing to another person. I am rejecting uNBPDm at this point. It feels horrible to do it to someone who "cannot understand" why you are doing it.

The title of your post got me to read it...
I have been wondering for 3.5 years what NM thought would happen after she sent me a letter containing the ultimatum: If you can't be a better daughter, don't bother to contact me.
After not contacting her, it took a while, but the hoovers are coming in frequently now...cards, flowers, invitations to visit...like that letter never happened.

How can my NM act like she does not know why we are estranged?
How can your PDs act like they don't know what's wrong with your relationship with them?

They know.

They are like children who say they don't know who took a cookie from the cookie jar while licking the chocolate off their fingers.

And even if you point out that they are licking the chocolate, they will claim they are licking a paper cut...and don't you feel sorry now that you accused them?!?