It's a trap (DONM)

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Aerie

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It's a trap (DONM)
« on: August 17, 2018, 04:00:00 PM »
I try to find the humor in the ridiculous chaos my NM creates, or else I'd lose my own mind. In this situation, NM has been on me via text message or voicemail for the past 2-3 weeks, trying to get me to call her "so we can talk about some things". Ummmm, no. I am NOT falling for that trap again. And when I don't answer her calls/texts, she'll start calling my husband, then my son, and asking why I never answer my phone. They're mostly on to her nonsense and know not to fall into her trap, but she is persistent and will find ways to hoover them in. (lawn mower won't start, need help with <insert house/lawn related thing> feigning helplessness) I've managed to dodge her this week due to traveling for work, but sure enough, right on time, as predicted, a new text lands on my phone this morning, wanting to know if I'm back now.

Has anyone seen the BBT episode where Sheldon is telling Penny about his efforts to imitate Admiral Ackbar? (you have to imagine me with a giant squid head) IT'S A TRAP!  That is what plays in my head every time NM calls or texts me now. It does make me giggle a bit, which helps offset the heart racing, BP increase, and shortness of breath I tend to feel anytime she surfaces.

I don't know how long I'll be able to get away with ignoring her texts/calls before she ups the ante and resorts to claiming health/medical issues, or sends my flying monkey brother after me, or worse- shows up at my house. She lives <5 miles away, so that possibility always exists. I have a pretty good idea of what she wants to talk about, (status of our relationship, status of my brother's recent break-up, or my father's status- they're divorced) and I'm not interested. I've been LC for about 2 years now, and when we do interact, I practice gray-rock as much as possible. I know she is aware of the change in my behavior, she makes mention of it to my brother and husband. Usually nonsense like "I don't know why everything is such a secret!". Ummm, not a secret, just none of your effing business. She doesn't get it. She feeds off information, storing it away like a squirrel to pull back out later and use it against you, or broadcast it to her brothers/sisters/friends. And when I do talk with her, even the most benign information I share about someone we have in common is met with "Oh I already KNOW that!". She cannot handle the idea of someone confiding something to me, or me having news about someone or something that she doesn't already know. That is the hilarious and ironic part, since she lives in a bubble. She finished H.S. (barely) but has never pursued any other form of education, she doesn't read anything beyond a local newspaper, Prevention magazine, Reader's Digest, or Good Housekeeping. She doesn't use the computer to research anything, totally relying on what her family/friends tells her, which she then parrots as though it is the beacon of truth. I am fairly well educated with a couple of degrees/certifications/licenses, which she dismisses as ridiculous hobbies/overkill/distractions from priorities like family. Husband is a builder/contractor owning his own business for 20+ years. We've been very fortunate to have made wise real estate investments over the years, I'm an engineer with a great job, (which she ridicules to my son as being overly stressful and imposing to the family), and as a result we are pretty financially secure. She despises that many of our family members and friends regularly come to me or my husband for help or advice, and has been known to make dismissive comments behind our backs about us - "oh they really don't have any idea what they're talking about".  She probably hates that we don't need her for money, childcare, advice, emotional support, or anything else.

There's so much more....but none of this is unique, and probably resonates with more than half of the people on this board. She's almost a text-book NM, and every book, article, and website I've visited has her described perfectly. I wish it made me feel better to know that it's not me, it's her, and it's not uncommon. It sucks that there is no way of fixing it, that I'll never had a loving, productive, functional relationship with this woman. It sucks that at some point in the next day or two or three, I'm going to have to deal with her somehow. I wish there was a magic potion that I could take that would make me immune to her crap. I saw a therapist for the first time this morning (about being a DONM) and had foolishly built up high expectations for some nugget of wisdom, but it turned out to be nothing more than the appt to fill out paperwork and give medical history. The disappointment of that has me pretty grumpy now, but I'm glad I found this board...it's helping to fill in a lot of gaps for me.

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Starboard Song

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Re: It's a trap (DONM)
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 04:14:03 PM »
I saw a therapist for the first time this morning (about being a DONM) and had foolishly built up high expectations for some nugget of wisdom, but it turned out to be nothing more than the appt to fill out paperwork and give medical history. The disappointment of that has me pretty grumpy now, but I'm glad I found this board...it's helping to fill in a lot of gaps for me.

All T visits made my wife grumpy, and for a similar reason. She wanted solutions, tactics, processes. They wanted to talky-talk about feelings and becoming self-aware. She is sitting there thinking "Look at me! I'm Scotch and German! I am aware of my suffering, see it clearly, and I want practical solutions I can execute!"

I think a T is essential to many people's journeys, but so often, just sharing here and getting community feedback is the gap we need to fill.
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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Aerie

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Re: It's a trap (DONM)
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2018, 04:24:42 PM »

She is sitting there thinking "Look at me! I'm Scotch and German! I am aware of my suffering, see it clearly, and I want practical solutions I can execute!"

I think a T is essential to many people's journeys, but so often, just sharing here and getting community feedback is the gap we need to fill.

Oh I am laughing reading this!! So am I- Scotch/Irish and German and British. That was exactly what was going thru my head the entire time too! Being an engineer, all I want to do is get a book, find a solution, implement it, and move on! I know it's more complex than that...I do. But the side of me that really doesn't want to deal with the pain and grief just wants to get to the other side, now. I feel terrible knowing how I've behaved towards my poor husband for 2 decades, whenever NM triggered me. I'm an introvert as well, so I would just shut down for hours/days on end. Then our children came along and I would struggle even more whenever she would show signs of her manipulations with them. My husband has his own family members with serious PDs, so he is very empathetic and patient with me as I try to muscle my way thru the emotions of her decades of abuse. This is hard stuff, and I can't outsmart it or find a work-around or avoid it anymore.

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Starboard Song

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Re: It's a trap (DONM)
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2018, 04:47:29 PM »
Consider checking out the Mindfulness and Self-Compassion links in my signature. They were the practical steps my wife needed to move away from harsh self-criticism, and the associated lashing out, and towards more balance.

This week? She isn't balanced. These things happen. As she said, "that resilience muscle is the last one to strengthen."*

But anyway, it worked for one Scotch-Irish German with an engineering brain raised by PDs, so maybe it can work for you.



*My super-power is not truth. She said something close to that and I've begun the folk-process of improving it so it can one day be attributed to Churchill, Twain, or Disraeli.
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