becoming the wall

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all4peace

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becoming the wall
« on: June 07, 2018, 06:20:01 PM »
DH and I have one child who has reached adulthood and is ready to leave home. It has been a really tough last couple years, but I'm so thankful to have come through the worst of the anxiety, trauma counseling and C-ptsd symptoms in time to fully appreciate and enjoy these last months with him.

As I processed our life with DS, talking with DH, an image struck me. We have been a wall between our parents and our children. It didn't start that way. In the beginning, we were the bridges, open arms, welcoming them in, in IL's case trying desperately to get them interested in our kids to create bonds, family, memories.

But as the toxicity started to build, as my nervous system was starting to go haywire, when we realized at one point that for 3 years DD was the only family member DH's family sought time with, that everything tensed in me when I needed to make requests of uNBPDm regarding our kids, KNOWING she would immediately violate that.....we started to come OOTF. I got therapy, I found this forum, I read incessantly, and it has been quite a journey. Necessary and painful. Massive growth and so many tears and sleepless nights.

The image that struck me, though, was that as DH and I finally stepped into a place of protection, putting ourselves in the firing line between our parents and our children, we have gotten so beaten up, so worn down, full of cracks, chunks missing, feeling contaminated and poisoned. But our kids aren't. Our beautiful kids are full of energy, joy, hope, confidence, kindness, honesty. I have been crying so many tears these weeks, tears of relief. I am just so relieved. Our kids have been safe, and my only wish is we didn't step into protection sooner. Our kids are clean and good and healthy. And we are on our way there again, too. We feel like we've had the stuffing beat out of us because we have.

I believe in God, and so one vital part out of anxiety for me was asking Him to become a wall around me and my family, a wall of protection (you could certainly adapt this to any belief system), and that gave me the protection I needed to start to heal. And it gave me what I needed to become that wall for my children.

Unrelated to my faith, maybe even bigger than that, is my belief that raising a family is a sacred action, and that anyone who would undermine and obstruct that is on very dangerous ground. Not only did our families not lovingly support our sacred time of life in raising our children (DH's ever, mine more recently), but they actively and persistently fought and undermined it. It just hit me how much that actually matters. It's not a small thing.

Just lots of processing for me lately.

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practical

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Re: becoming the wall
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 08:20:07 PM »
A long time ago our kids brought up the question over dinner whether we think we could kill somebody in self-defense, and my answer was clear "Not for myself, but to protect them and DH I would." This is what you have done - not the killing part obviously - you have protected those who are most precious to you and were dependent on your protection. You also acted out of self-defense of your family.

I'm so happy your kids came out free and clear thanks to you and your DH's protection, it is one of the biggest gifts you could give them and you did. And I'm sorry you had to go through so much to make sure of it. :hug:
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im 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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Qilin~

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Re: becoming the wall
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2018, 05:12:07 AM »
all4peace, I really hear your exhaustion and sadness at having to endure so much. And also the real joy that your children are doing so well, that you have been able to shield them and be the solid ground that is a springboard to their wings, their enthusiasm and joy for life. This is such a huge accomplishment. I think you are right, that raising a family, thoughtfully, with love and care, is a sacred act, or series of actions.

The image that comes to me, is that you have also been a fulcrum in your family, something that appears small, perhaps, yet is enormously powerful, and able to shift seemingly insurmountable loads. Especially with so much pressure from both sides of the family. (Fulcrum also meaning something that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation.) You and your DH are being the turning points or the pivots in what may have been generations of problems, and that is enormous in itself. And so, so valuable for this world as a whole.

I hope you will have a little time soon to retreat for a while, to quietly live your truth and peace and replenish your soul.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 05:16:27 AM by Qilin~ »

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daughter

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Re: becoming the wall
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2018, 11:01:28 AM »
Your proximity to in-laws compounds problem, because avoidance is impossible;  I recognize factors why moving-away is very complicated and now not right time.  That physical proximity to them makes "being the wall" that much more challenging.

You're dealing with insincerity and duplicity of "two-faced" pd-disordered people. They can be overtly badly-behaved within self-entitled privacy of family, where their self-empowered bad behavior is not to be acknowledged, nor addressed.  Yet these same folks behave in a pious superficially polite in public, for perceived audience of acquaintances.  Their public mage carefully crafted, treasured, they can exercise self-restraint to do so.  When and where they feel empowered to behave inappropriately, invasive and meddling, intentionally hurtful and rude is telling.  Their bad behavior towards you and DH, within context of supposed privacy of our family, indicates their dysfunctional Pecking Order of SG vs GC dynamic.  It's appalling, and yes, requires fierce boundaries: a Wall of Protection.

I'm thinking that DS' graduation has passed, so forced social interactions should be minimal again, right?  Time to quietly sever communications, again, with DH as conduit of information between your household and them.  Do DD's summer plans shield her from contact with these folks?  Let's have a busy summer for both kids, for you and DH, independent of their malstrom.

You've one more graduation, DD's, where you may feel obligated to include them.  But kids' birthdays can now be "just us A4Ps" grown-up dinners at a nice restaurant.  Your further participation in in-laws' events is generally optional too.  When you see these folks in town, at church, a short polite greeting is adequate, and I'd find myself sitting elsewhere at these occasions.

And yes, these undermining and obstruction behaviors can be forgiven, but shouldn't be forgotten.  It's important to be mindful of their past history of bad behavior and hurtful actions, that their expectations and demands don't supersede needs of our own family, or sanctity and tranquility of our family home.   Our gift to them is to limit their opportunity for them to cause more harm to us and our children, that's the kindness we afford them.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 11:20:13 AM by daughter »

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all4peace

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Re: becoming the wall
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2018, 12:32:15 PM »
I remind myself that there are still possibly a lot of years in which this could change, but for now our kids are thriving.

I had 2 friends recently suggest viewing the future without fear, "as if" it would be good and connected and wonderful, that fearing what it might be brings in that kind of energy and can make it happen. They explained it better than I am, but I do want to face the future with confidence (but not arrogance)

practical, it's incredible what we will do/learn to protect our kids.

qilin, I think dh's family is unlikely to change. In my family, my siblings are on their own growth journeys, and I have a lot of hope for our sibling/niece/nephew relationships. I don't have much hope that our parents will change. I have so much tension in my body right now that I'm designating some time today for self care, nature and calming time.

daughter, I think you're right. I think if we'd lived hours away, my ILs would have been very frustrating and irritating to cope with, but not nearly as harmful to our family as they have been by the absolute constancy of our interactions. It takes some pretty blatant efforts to hold off someone who lives next door to you, and of course in a PD family system (or even more normal families) that isn't going to be taken well. Yes, we should be headed for calm very soon. They created some chaos to force interaction in our family, but it allowed me to drop some truths and hopefully it will be calmer for a while. But you know how this works....if it's too calm, they can create chaos from thin air. We don't go looking for it.

I very much agree with not forgetting. It's not grudge holding, hopefully, but remembering the lifetime of behavior that creates a character.