how to deal with a waif

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all4peace

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how to deal with a waif
« on: October 08, 2018, 06:46:21 PM »
And here's a second post, within minutes of the first.

I have no idea how to deal with a waif. I know that not a single cell in my body trusts this is true weakness, shame, humility, hurt, pain. I am quite sure uNBPDm is hurt and in pain, absolutely. But I don't trust what I am seeing in her behavior.

It is such a painful thing to be the adult of the child who was terrorized by this woman. Me and my siblings have all exhibited total fear of our uNBPDm. One removed her from her position in the family business while M was out of the country, another moved across the country to get away from the pain of the relationship between them, the third is a lost child. As a healing adult, I now see these as out-sized reactions, yet as someone who has gone weak in every muscle in my body when receiving a text from uNBPDm, I understand the terror as reactions from the children within us.

But now I'm an adult, and a healthier one than I was 2 years ago. Surely I can draw upon reserves of forgiveness, empathy, grace and compassion to have mercy on a fellow-wounded human like my M. And yet I can't seem to do that. I just want to look away. I don't trust it. I don't trust her. And the child in me wonders....if I were a child, and she could beat me instead of play on my sympathies....would she? And if all my siblings had turned on me, would she have let them? Would she have abandoned me again?

I think uNBPDm is playing waif because it's all she has left. And I have no idea how I am supposed to see this, process this and deal with this new behavior from her.

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D.Dan

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2018, 07:54:05 PM »
One thing I have learned about my upd mom's waifiness is... I'll always be the bad guy no matter what I do. Even if I do what she asks of me, she'll still tell others how mean I was (even if I wasn't) to gain sympathy. I'll never NOT be the bad guy.

And her waifiness seems to be equal to her sense of entitlement.

My advice, accept the dark side and ignore/shut down every time she starts whining about something she wants from you (especially if it's just to listen to her whine  :bawl: ) the sooner you start shutting her down the less she'll complain to you but you WILL be the bad guy for it.

I wish I had more advice, and just so you know, my mom would beat me then seek comfort from me for beating me.

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Orthocone

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 09:45:00 PM »
One doesn't learn how to deal with their triggers (such as a waif's behavior) overnight, or just because one grows up.  It takes introspection, planning, practice and acceptance to get to a point of eventually being able to deal with someone like this.  Listen to your reflexes.  Your mother most likely is still operating from the place of the traumatized child within her (wherever that is).  You can't fix that, I'm sorry.   

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KeepONKeepingON

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 03:20:53 AM »
My enfather has become very waifish too.

I don't have the energy or desire to fix him anymore and I know whatever I do, will never be enough. He will always want more.

For my own mental health and to make sure I have enough energy to care for myself, my husband and my children, I medium chill him when he starts going on about how nobody cares about him.

I think it is very hard to deal with a parent like this and you have to do what is best for you and your own FOC.

Good luck  :bighug:

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 03:52:23 AM »
Brief aside to address this:  I wish I had more advice, and just so you know, my mom would beat me then seek comfort from me for beating me.

D.Dan, unBPD Didi had the same MO.  Some of my earliest memories were of her screaming at me, beating me, and once I was screaming in pain and terror, she'd wonder aloud what was wrong with her, and start mentioning how she was going to kill herself.  I'd be screaming, "No, mommy, NO!" - and wind up comforting and consoling HER!   :stars: :aaauuugh:

I mentioned that on another thread, and a wise poster said Didi was evil.

I have to agree - and think your mother might fall in that same category.

Sometimes I'm amazed I survived my childhood and am still passably sane.   :bigwink:

And now back to your regularly scheduled post, "So...You've Got a Waif.  What Do You Do About It?"   :???:

Waifs are *super* frustrating, but manageable, once you remember *you* are in the power position.   :yes:

Your mom thinks she is - she wants to be totally reliant on you or others, but be in *complete* CONTROL - and it doesn't work like that.

A4P - trust your gut.  It's not lying to you.

The BEST things you can do are make yourself as useless, unreliable, and unavailable as possible, and when you have any contact with her, stick to *strict* Medium Chill.

If she starts complaining about her health, what I did with Didi was refer her back to her doctor, ala, "That's a shame.  Did you talk to your doctor about it?"

If she said she didn't want to BOTHER him, I'd brush it off with a light, "That's what he gets paid to do, so I suggest you give him a call."

Kick *all* complaints up the food chain to the appropriate person or agency - doctor, pharmacist, electrician, plumber, maid service, Meals on Wheels - you get the idea.

Other complaints - bored, lonely, old, nobody visits/calls (helloooo - I'm on the phone with you right now!   :roll:), those rotten neighbors, all the people who are out to get her - Medium Chill to the rescue - then Bean Dip the hell out of her by *changing the subject, apropos of nothing.*

"Oh wow, that's something (beat) but at least the weather is still nice/has been interesting/we've gotten that much-needed rain/sun/the fall leaves are looking very vibrant this year.

Tell her NOTHING about your life, your kids' lives, or your schedule.  She only wants to use it against you.

You mention having one free day to yourself, thinking you're just making idle chit-chat - NOPE!  She'll ring you up that morning and tell you that you HAVE to take her to several doctors and a hair appointment, because she's got nooooooooobody else.   :violin: :bawl: :dramaqueen:

Well, she'll start doing that crap, regardless - that's when sticking with, "I can't do that" comes in very handy.   :yes:

If she wails she doesn't know what to DO and you're all she has - tell her in a light tone, "I'm sure you'll figure out something.  I have to go.  I'm very busy." - and hang up.   :ninja:

If she calls back ten times, trying to get you to change your mind - ignore the calls and delete them.   :ninja:

Believe me, she WILL figure it out on her own - waifs are *astonishingly* resourceful. 

They just don't *want* to things for themselves, and think others OWE them.

That brings me to "medical emergencies" - real or imagined.

Any call that starts out with, "You HAVE to take me to the ER, I think I'm having a heart attack!"

Tell her to call an AMBULANCE.  Repeat it, several times, if necessary - and she may start to waffle on her symptoms, and say they aren't severe enough for an ambulance.   :doh:

That's when you suggest she call a cab or an Uber to take her to the ER - you can't do it.

And you NEVER explain why.  You just can't.   :ninja:

When she's at the ER, you don't show up.  At all.  For any reason.  If she's admitted, it's the same deal - *stay away.*  NO visits and infrequent phone calls *only.*

Hints - aka, "I wish SOMEBODY would clean MY house!" - refer her up the food chain to a maid service or the appropriate person or agency.   :yes:

"Why aren't you calling and visiting meeeeeeee, when I need so much help, and can barely manage on my own, and my health is SO BAD????"   :bawl: :violin: :bawl:

Take a deep breath, and say in a light tone, "Oh, I've just been busy - you know, the usual.  Work is a madhouse and then I come home to one.  I'll see what I can do, but it's not looking good, and I really can't commit to anything."

A word about, "I'll see what I can do" - it's kind of our own secret code for, "Yeah, I've already made the decision and what I can do is *stay away and contact you even less, and let most of your calls go to voice before I delete them, without listening."*  :ninja:

Always keep in mind, if she's hassling you the most, you're the *easiest person to hassle.*  If you're unavailable, useless and  unreliable, she'll start writing you off as defective, and simply move on to the next-easiest person to manipulate.

Yes, she's got a mental list of people like that - you want yourself OFF that list.   :yes:

If she manages to exhaust her list, she'll find new people.  I don't know how and I don't know where, but they always do, even if it means joining a church or regularly attending services in one they
neglected and pooh-poohed for years.

Churches are *full* of potential enablers and Flying Messenger Monkeys.   >:(

I went through hell with unBPD Didi and in the end, she went Full Metal Waif, trying to get herself installed in a hospital bed in our living room, because she felt I OWED her constant care and coddling,
while she acted like an infant or a 15-year-old mean girl and had *nothing* but complaints about my care, and she wouldn't treat HER mother this way!   :bawl: :pissed: :bawl: :violin: :dramaqueen:

Yeah - she sure wouldn't - she got out of Dodge and let my aunt do all the work, while she did all the armchair quarterbacking and complaining from a safe distance of 150 miles away.   :roll:

Didi decided it was a war she WAS going to win - while forgetting I had all the real power, and all she had was WORDS.

I had the knowledge from the toolbox and the support of many Forum Members.  Eventually, my fear gave way to annoyance, then anger, then humor, in the form of, "Oh boy, here we go again!  Can you believe this crap!?"   :bigwink: :blink: :phoot:   :banaaana:

I ignored her words, downplayed them, ignored the hidden meanings and subtext, became as dumb as a box of rocks and was always BUSY.   :ninja:

If she'd declared war, then I too, was at war - but mine was a different war.  I was waging PEACE for DH and our furry FOC.   8-)

And that's exactly what you're doing - waging PEACE for you and your FOC.   :sunny:

It's *hard* to shake a waif - and ignore our programming - but it *can be done* and it *has* to be done.

Your mother's problems are her own.  She got herself into them - she can get herself OUT of them.   :yes:

It is not incumbent on YOU to solve a thing, do a thing, help out in any way, be her soft place to land - or her emotional toilet.

As much help as she claims to need - she doesn't.  And she'll be FINE.

They always are.

You've GOT this, A4P!   :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:

If she wants to waif out, well, she can go do it to somebody else.  You're just a little bit BUSY with your own life, marriage, kids - and everything else good and positive going on in your life.

Trust your gut, and you'll be fine.   :)

 :hug:

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daughterofbpd

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2018, 03:39:56 PM »
You are right in not trusting the waif, even if that sadness is genuine. In my experience, waif mode has been used to manipulate. The waif’s message is often "Look how much pain you are causing me. You should stop trying to set boundaries and let me do whatever I want." Even if the manipulation isn't as obvious as this, I would be willing to bet that your M knows she is walking around stooped over and she's trying to manipulate people into giving her attention. Personally, I tend to ignore this behavior. I offer vague and polite sympathies like "I hope you feel better" but that's about it. I don't try to help or fix. I try to be considerate yet detached. I try to show her that this behavior isn't going to work on me.

If you are talking about someone who is acting like they are scared of you at a family function, I do have an approach to this but I'm not sure if it's the right thing. My approach has been to act like everything is fine, act as I normally would. My thought was that I wanted to "be the bigger person" and also show my M that just because I set a boundary doesn't mean I'm angry. I wanted to show her that my boundary setting wasn't intended as the personal attack she took it as. Mainly I ignore the waif behavior and don't go out of my way to engage, but I might include her in a conversation if she's standing nearby. I have attempted to hug her goodbye and had her either cross her arms or run circles around the house trying to avoid me. I’m not sure what else to do. Call her out on the behavior and she’ll deny it or tell me it is my fault. Completely ignore her and it serves as further proof that I am being mean to her. You really can’t win.

Legitimate sadness and crying are more difficult. I've been in the manipulation situation with M crying and I felt really angry but wasn't sure if it was cruel to leave in the middle of her crying sesh. I ended up sitting there with my blood boiling, not saying anything, which I don't think was good for ME.

Another thing about waifs is that they enjoy feeling sorry for themselves so much that they tend to reject suggestions for making things better. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but let them wallow in their own self pity. Remember that you M holds the key to her happiness in her own hands. She's just too stubborn to use it.
“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
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Kiki81

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2018, 05:56:42 PM »
My uNBM goes to waif when in public with me (Queen in private).

What I did do that worked (I'm NC now) was when she goes Waif, I'm out/done. Bad behavior =no Kiki81.

The next to last time I saw uNBM she went waif. The setting was a movie theater. (Taking her to a movie was a total bonus for her, I like watching movies at home. I was doing a "nice thing" for her.) So before the movie started, the Waif-ing started, complete with fake crying.

I got up and left her sitting in the theater and I went home.

Waif-ing=calling my dad to come get her  :yeahthat:

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daughter

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2018, 11:37:53 AM »
The way to deal with waif-behavior is to identify it for what it is: manipulative display of dysfunctional expectations to control and enmesh an adult-child via self-pity and emotional blackmail.  Accept it as fact, then back-away slowly, slowly, slowly, until your out of the room, out of the building, and on your way to further detachment and more distancing. 

Yes, the waif-parent will be furious, likely more crumpled in crocodile tears and determined helplessness, but that is not ours to fix.  Let your enF and NM muddle their way through their problems and needs, and if "outsiders" eventually need to come in to help them, so be it.  They've not earned your attention beyond what you've already selflessly provided, and you're likely "done", had your intense sheep-dipping in dysfunctional toxic parental expectation, demand, and cruel punishment. 

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Malini

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2018, 12:22:06 PM »

Quote
I have no idea how to deal with a waif. I know that not a single cell in my body trusts this is true weakness, shame, humility, hurt, pain. I am quite sure uNBPDm is hurt and in pain, absolutely. But I don't trust what I am seeing in her behavior.

Probably because you can see her exhibit different behaviour to all those other 'lovely young people' she likes to surround herself with.

I feel as if my NM is like the two-faced Greek God Janus. She only showed the Witch to my B, shouting, anger, threatening, rancorous, revenge-seeking behaviour. And to me The Waif, 'poor me, after all the years of alcoholism of your father, and now I stand to lose my son, my grandchildren, the only things I have left in my life'  :violin: and tears....

The Waif kept me enmeshed with guilt and obligation, looking for solutions that were impossible to find until she showed me The Witch and that sent me spiralling on the path OOTF.

Both personas may be the result of being wounded, hurt and in pain but to me it's just different packaging, selling the same thing and I'm not in the market for any of it.

Perhaps if you think how you would react to The Witch, you can think how you might apply it to when The Waif presents itself.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2018, 12:44:20 PM by Malini »
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LSK1999

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2018, 03:17:33 PM »
Hi all4peace, I haven't been on in a few days and I came back to read this post first and I totally and utterly know how you feel. The waif is the single hardest part of all of it for me. I fortunately have had the gift of catching my NM in Full Metal Waif ( this is funny and I heard it from someone on here) suddenly turn off the waif. This helped me to see what an act it was, and it also helped when my NM got diagnosed with cancer to see her handle it all quite well. She has had successful treatment and then it came back and her new treatment is now working. She has continued to work and have all of her hobbies. She plows through her real illness like a champ and it pisses me off to think of the YEARS of my life I spent caring for the waif, feeling sorry for the waif, trying to protect the waif, when the waif never did any of it for me. I also have the awful gift of remembering and knowing with every fiber of my being that she would NEVER care if it were me, because she never has.

There was a point in my life where she had abused me so badly I could no longer function and I was for the lack of a better word a total wreck, I had agoraphobia and was a prisoner in my bedroom in her house. Instead of love and compassion she berated, belittled, and abused me.....just like when I was an innocent child and totally dependent on her, it was like reliving the hell of my childhood for another 5 years. So please ask yourself this when these feelings of inner turmoil about the waif come up.....and be totally honest with your answer. If the tables were turned and you didn't have your loving family and you were all alone and sick and needed her (your were waif like) would she do anything at all for you?? Anything? Or would she use it as a method to abuse, belittle, and control you again as she did in your childhood. You said you just can't....listen to your body and respect what it's telling you. Our lord and savior does not want you to allow yourself to be treated again in this way. If you need help reinforcing this I have found a beautiful website called Luke 17:3 ministries that helps me to remember why I should not continue to give to others that have harmed me without repentance. This is a website dedicated to adult daughters of dysfunctional and abusive families, especially when the abuse has lasted beyond childhood. Your mother still trying to manipulate you with the waif, is still abuse, and I think we forget that. It's so unfair that we have to deal with any of this at all or that we ever had to. You have the right to protect yourself at all costs from your abuser. God Bless and Big Hugs and again I am so sorry....

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LSK1999

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2018, 03:37:17 PM »
Sorry for the second post...I just remembered you have the enF....let him deal with her...sorry to say he helped to create the problem by enabling the behavior for years....I wish my dad still had to deal with my NM instead of his second N wife... :ninja: Hey I know I could send my NM to yours and they could spend their days waifing together  :aaauuugh: I know it's not really all that funny because it's screwing us up totally but at some point we have to just laugh at the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of it all...hugs.

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all4peace

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2018, 08:29:41 AM »
Ugh, reading this over I realize how impactful it is to me to see this behavior. I was clearly feeling some FOG. I think I will use the test of time and test of motives and behavior to know what is true sorrow and what is manipulative to gain our sympathies but not changing her behavior, consistently, over time.

I don't want to lose sight of the humanity of any person on this planet, but I also don't want to be played like a trumpet. It's just such new behavior overall (this popped up occasionally in childhood, and led to violence from F to us, on her "behalf") that I'm not tuned into it, what it means, and how to respond.

Thank you for the support and input, all.

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LSK1999

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Re: how to deal with a waif
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2018, 03:22:45 PM »
Ugh, reading this over I realize how impactful it is to me to see this behavior. I was clearly feeling some FOG. I think I will use the test of time and test of motives and behavior to know what is true sorrow and what is manipulative to gain our sympathies but not changing her behavior, consistently, over time.

I don't want to lose sight of the humanity of any person on this planet, but I also don't want to be played like a trumpet. It's just such new behavior overall (this popped up occasionally in childhood, and led to violence from F to us, on her "behalf") that I'm not tuned into it, what it means, and how to respond.

Thank you for the support and input, all.

Hi all4peace, I just wanted to say something that I think may ring true to you because I have seen these issues with myself. You are deeply concerned about the humanity of others, and worried to make a mistake with this. I lived with this for a long time too. This is your perfectionism I think probably kicking in....many of us learned perfectionism as a means of survival ( it's the only way to avoid abuse). I have read that we can actually have compassion and empathy as almost a disorder...far too much of it for people that have done nothing to deserve our compassion and empathy. If you really ask yourself why you are so concerned about making a mistake as far as doing the wrong thing it is not coming from where you think it is. For me I began to associate this perfectionism with God, terrified I would do something in disservice to him. What I realize now is that is not coming from God, because he knows I'm imperfect and he would never expect me to be so and he certainly would never expect me to continue to give my life and time to those that continue to trespass against me. Who really deserves compassion in this situation? You do my friend....you do for all you have suffered, all the pain you have endured at the hands of the people that were supposed to love and support you and make your life easier. Please take some of that beautiful and wonderful love and compassion you have in your heart and give it to the one that deserves it....YOU  :bigwink:

I have also come to learn that other than issues with perfectionism, I seem to carry niceness as a disease or almost pathological niceness. People pleasing, the inability to say no. I am so angry that I spent years living this way thinking it's what God wanted. If we really ask ourselves who are we afraid of that is going to judge us?  For me I came to see I was living in fear of the judgement of other people and thinking I was living in fear of the judgement of God. I think many of us are living in the fear of judgement of others....but fooling ourselves into thinking otherwise. Anyway....I just wanted to tell you I know, I get it and I think you are overly worried about doing something wrong....at this point I don't think anyone would judge you for saying I'm done.  :no: