Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!

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11JB68

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Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« on: July 27, 2018, 11:34:03 AM »
Good morning, I brought up this issue in an earlier post, but I believe I'm going to try to have a discussion with DS (20, almost 21) on Tuesday as we have an 'excuse' to be out together without uOCPDh, and I guess I'm looking for others' experiences, and maybe some support.  I KNOW that there are different 'schools of thought' on whether/how to discuss a PD parent's behavior with a 'child'. I have read in the toolbox the do's / don'ts about talking with kids and I think I have a good grasp of what to do/not. Also - I've had brief conversations with DS in the past about specific situations where I sort of wanted him to just know that 1) dad loves us 2) I don't necessarily agree with dad's behavior in this situation and 3) if you need support I'm here.  It is NOT my goal to alienate DS from H. I want to discuss with DS my thoughts about H possibly having OCPD. I will be clear with him that I am not qualified to 'diagnose'. I have printed out a very nice/clear/professional bullet point list that I found online (from what appears to be a reliable source) re: the difference between OCD and OCPD, and traits of OCPD. Part of my plan is to give him that to read and for him to tell me what he thinks as well. My reasons for having this discussion are many: 1) I feel like DS is mature enough and level headed enough to hear this and understand this, 2) I want DS to understand that some of dad's behavior is really not reasonable and that I am aware of this 3) that none of this is DS's fault or responsibility 4) that dad DOES love us and we love him, that doesn't mean we always love one another's behavior 5) I don't want DS to go into adulthood believing that the way H treats us is acceptable, or that the way H treats me is an acceptable way for men to treat women. ALSO - I was VERY close to leaving/filing for divorce about 4 months ago. I do NOT want DS to be blindsided IF this should happen in the future. ALSO-IF I get to a point where I am stronger and more able to start setting/keeping good boundaries and stop care-taking H, then I predict an escalation of his controlling behavior which may then lead to my leaving, or to increased stress in the house, and I want DS to understand that and be prepared.  Most of these reasons are the UNselfish reasons. The reasons I have that probably are a bit selfish/self-serving are: 1) We are quite isolated. I feel like DS and I are the ONLY ones who truly know how H is. I feel like I do need feedback from the ONLY other person who truly knows/lives with H. DS is not a 'child', he is smart/mature/level headed. I will make every effort not to 'triangulate' him, but I feel like I need a reality check here from someone else who is living with it. I will continue to confirm to DS that I love H, that dad loves US, etc.  2) I have read the posts of those of you who grew up with a PD parent and an 'en' parent. I know that I am the 'en'M here. I don't WANT to be that...and I don't want DS to continue through life feeling that I was nothing more than 'enM'. For my own selfish reasons I do want to explain to him WHY I've done what I've done (some is for my own protection and some I truly feel was for the protection of DS).   ALSO- a related issue that I want to discuss with DS is this: I am concerned about H's health. (I have posted about this before - I believe these health issues and moreso the refusal to seek medical care - are part of H's OCPD traits...stubborn, knows more than anyone else, denial, etc.....) Again, some of this is for DS's benefit and some I know is selfish on my part. DS is very introverted. It's hard to tell what he is thinking/feeling but I KNOW that he sees/notices more than we sometimes think he does. I feel that he must see that dad's health is not good. I am concerned that H's current health condition (leg/foot/ankle edema) could very well be a symptom of a serious underlying condition. I want DS to know that I am concerned, and that it is not reasonable for an adult not to take responsibility for their own health and not to seek medical care for a serious health condition. I also (selfish) want DS to know that I am not being callous by not 'making' H go to the dr. That I have tried this before with other health concerns and it results in H getting angry at me/yelling at me/catastrophizing or accusing me of catastrophizing etc. That dad is an adult and as such he needs to make his own decisions about his health care. IF something were to 'happen' to H (heart attack? stroke? etc...) I don't want DS to be blindsided by this. Also - with this, I will not 'catastrophize' to DS. I will say -'this could be something very simple and not too serious, it could pass/get better on its own as most things do', but this is something that should have medical attention...  I'm also thinking that I will start the discussion with something like - 'There are a couple of things I want to discuss  with you. They are sensitive. I want you to let me know if you would rather not hear about this, or if at some point you want to stop the conversation. I don't want to make you uncomfortable. etc.'

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Starboard Song

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Re: Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 12:13:44 PM »
I KNOW that there are different 'schools of thought' on whether/how to discuss a PD parent's behavior with a 'child'.

I have read in the toolbox the do's / don'ts about talking with kids and I think I have a good grasp of what to do/not.

I sort of wanted him to just know that
1) dad loves us
2) I don't necessarily agree with dad's behavior in this situation and
3) if you need support I'm here. 

It is NOT my goal to alienate DS from H. I want to discuss with DS my thoughts about H possibly having OCPD. I will be clear with him that I am not qualified to 'diagnose'.

I [distinguish] between OCD and OCPD.

My reasons are many:
1) I feel like DS is mature enough and level headed enough to hear this and understand this,
2) I want DS to understand that some of dad's behavior is really not reasonable and that I am aware of this
3) that none of this is DS's fault or responsibility
4) that dad DOES love us and we love him, that doesn't mean we always love one another's behavior
5) I don't want DS to go into adulthood believing that the way H treats us is acceptable, or that the way H treats me is an acceptable way for men to treat women.

Most of these reasons are the UNselfish reasons. The reasons I have that probably are a bit selfish/self-serving are:
1) We are quite isolated. I feel like DS and I are the ONLY ones who truly know how H is.
2) I have read the posts of those of you who grew up with a PD parent and an 'en' parent. I know that I am the 'en'M here. I don't WANT to be that...and I don't want DS to continue through life feeling that I was nothing more than 'enM'.

I will not 'catastrophize' to DS. I will say -'this could be something very simple and not too serious, it could pass/get better on its own as most things do', but this is something that should have medical attention... 

I'm also thinking that I will start the discussion with something like - 'There are a couple of things I want to discuss  with you. They are sensitive. I want you to let me know if you would rather not hear about this, or if at some point you want to stop the conversation. I don't want to make you uncomfortable. etc.'

I took a minute to boil down your post, highlighting all these wonderful points you've addressed. I want to commend you for thoroughly addressing known dos and don'ts, and for being very self-aware. Good job. You're going to do fine.

We had to address this issue to my 12-year-old son when we went NC with my in-laws. We had to explain why he was not going to be seeing his grandparents, calling them, or receiving their cards and gifts. This whole circumstance I hope will be the moral crisis of my life.

We very much followed your pattern, but had to throw in lots of age-appropriate filters. When he was so young, we described it in terms only of behavior, and we only gave the top-line. As time has gone by (nearly three years), we have addressed the topic of personality disorders, and always let him know that his Granny and Poppy do still love him. We just have to say that they want something -- the bifurcation of our family -- that loving families do not do, and that responsible parents do not allow.

He is sad, but tells my own parents that he likes how we encourage happy memories and loving talk, and he knows we are doing our best. He has used a journal we gave him only about three times. It is to post questions to us without having to talk. He can write questions and leave it at the bedside of whichever of us he wants to field it. And he can specify if he wants to talk, or only write. The three times it has been used were for real zingers, and we resolved important matters and concerns for him. Your DS20 is way beyond such an approach, but he may have follow-ups after processing for a while.

I don't know how well we've handled this, but you sound like a champion. Your reasons are sound and I think you can achieve your allegedly selfish goals while also providing very kind and generous support to your DS.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out for you.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 12:16:51 PM by Starboard_Song »
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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11JB68

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Re: Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 01:07:30 PM »
Thank you StarboardSong
we did also address some of this with DS when I went NC with my uPDm and subsequently entire FOO. Lots of dysfunction on BOTH sides of our families.
I may tie that in to this discussion as well, as that was not very detailed as he was younger.
Thanks so much for your support!

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11JB68

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Re: Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2018, 04:28:50 PM »
Thought I'd share an update on this. Had the conversation with ds today and it went quite well. I eased into it,gave himseveral opportunities to end the conversation if he felt it was too much and he did not. He's very quiet and introverted, but if I had to guess I'd say that if anything it probably helped him as much as it helped me, which was my goal. After talking a bit I showed him a printout regarding ocpd and differences between ocd and ocpd. I asked him to tell me if he felt I was wrong about my amateur diagnosis. As he was reading i saw him smile and nod a few times. When he finished I said what do you think? He responded very affirmatively,without hesitation: "yup. That's him."

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11JB68

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Re: Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2018, 04:59:11 PM »
Also I want to thank ootf for being here. I think it really helped me to prepare for this conversation, to look at the situation objectively, to have a good sense of dos and donts etc. Just having a place to outline my plan helped, Rereading it now I realize that I pretty much stuck to what I planned to away, and stuck to my goals without going of on to much of a tangent. Alsowithout ootf I don't know if I would have been at this point where I could even have had this conversation with ds.

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all4peace

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Re: Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2018, 07:08:59 PM »
11JB68, I don't know you but feel so proud of you nonethless. Wow, you did amazing!

As a child of a likely PD, I want to make a few points that will validate you:
1. The worst suffering comes being alone in the experience. If anyone had said "This isn't right. We know M needs help, and I want you to know I'm looking out for you and care." it would have made all the difference in the world.
2. Your ability to let your son have input in the conversation, both length and topics, is such a great dynamic for you to share with him. You're creating connection and empowering him to state his own experience, yet in a way that is loving and supportive of your DH/his F.
3. I bet your DS already knew this, as you seem to imply. I personally believe that secrets are toxic, those enormous things right in the middle of our lives that everyone is pretending aren't there. You modeled an incredibly healthy model of communication--talking about the elephant in the room, getting some guidance from an outside source (the printout, this forum) and talking about it openly. I have an introverted DS also, and I am sure he has so much stored away in that amazing brain of his, like your son likely does also. You're giving him permission to talk about it, learn, cope.

You did a great job!!

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11JB68

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Re: Discussion with adult DS - Apologies - long post!
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 08:44:28 PM »
Thank you all4peace. I had no idea if I was really doing the right thing or not, and almost chickened out. I did not/do not want to triangulate him or alienate him from his dad. And I hate the feeling of confiding in him a secret that we can't talk to dad about. H is not diagnosed. Everything I read says NOT to confront the uPD with an amateur diagnosis.on theother hand,yes,I wish that someonein my foo had told me that the way my uPDm was behaving was not ok. Even as an adult when I had my final blow out with her ( subsequently nc) my dear enF stood there and told her in front of me that she had done nothing wrong....after years of me watching her verbally abuse him. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words!