ADHD/Maybe PD H Experiencing Similar Awakening w/his M

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looloo

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ADHD/Maybe PD H Experiencing Similar Awakening w/his M
« on: February 09, 2019, 12:54:16 PM »
My H's FOO is actually a very decent one.  H is not particularly close to his siblings.  He moved across the country when he was a young adult, being something of a black sheep.  His personality is very different from everyone in his family, and to be honest, I can see him being a very difficult kid to parent, and to be close to as a sibling (he really does take up most of the oxygen in the room most of the time, if you know what I'm saying). 
The one family member he truly adored, admired, and tried to emulate, was his dad -- and I could see why.  He was a wonderful, warm, caring, loving, funny, patient, generous man.  Our visits home felt like 95% obligatory, and 5% enjoyment, and his father was the 5%  :)
H always had a difficult, argumentative, tense relationship with his mother.  It was downright lousy as a kid/teenager/young adult, but after H moved away and established himself as a successful independent man, it improved.  H credited both himself and his M with the change, and I have to say, she's a really good MIL (I'm sure the distance helps, lol)!  She also appears to be very respectful of her other adult children and their lives, is loved by her grandkids, etc. 
Anyway, that's the backstory.  His father died about a year and a half ago, and H started to experience what I went through with my (much more dysfunctional) FOO.  The thing, or the person, who provided some amount of stability for the family dynamic, was gone.  And things started to shift.  H has been telling me for a while now, that memories hit him out of nowhere -- seemingly mundane, everyday memories of his childhood, that now have tremendous significance and pain  :yeahthat:.  He's struggling with a desire to pull away from his M, and I can see why.  And he's feeling guilty about it, because she's elderly, her health is declining, and so on.  We're in the process of planning another obligatory visit in the next few months, and neither of us is looking forward to it, but he really dreads/resents it right now.

Anyway, it's interesting to observe.  It definitely validates my own experience with the death of my father and my FOO. 
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

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Bloomie

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Re: ADHD/Maybe PD H Experiencing Similar Awakening w/his M
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 12:17:17 PM »
looloo - I can relate closely to one parent being the rallying point for a family system and the destabilizing impact of their passing on all of the other relationships. After my own fil passed it became painfully apparent how hard a solo relationship with uPDmil is and how much filtering and absorbing my fil did.

My own DH went through a period similar to what you describe here with your DH and his mom who he has had a lot of unresolved wounds and issues with. He just wanted to pull away and as we are responsible for her well being and she is elderly and vulnerable it was not possible.

Maybe on some level this is a time where the actual relationship with his mom is revealed and it sounds emotionally barren? Perhaps this is part of the grieving process when we do not have an individually established, healthy relationship with both of our parents, and we may not have really realized it?

Part of what is difficult with my own uPDmil is the way they "visit" is everyone sitting around for hours doing nothing. UGH!!  :aaauuugh:

Can you build into this visit something that is enjoyable and just for the two of you? Can you shorten it? Or plan something lovely to look forward to on the other side of it? Or take some time away for a cup of coffee together for an hour or so each day? Are there small repairs that your DH could busy himself with so that he is there but not stuck and immobilized as we often feel we must mimic the level of activity of the elderly family member we are visiting and it is excruciatingly sedentary for some.

It has helped us to let go of the expectation of others that we will sit and stare at a little old lady for hours at a time. Can you play games or do a puzzle, go to the movies, out for a meal or two, listen to an opera? Just some thoughts and things that have helped us.

And if she is fully active and able to get out and do things then that is another way to move through the time more gracefully.

Good luck with this and I am so sorry for the loss of a wonderful fil/father. I am so thankful you all had him in your life and for the joy he brought to you all. :hug:
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 12:22:00 PM by Bloomie »
"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

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looloo

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Re: ADHD/Maybe PD H Experiencing Similar Awakening w/his M
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2019, 12:12:01 PM »
Maybe on some level this is a time where the actual relationship with his mom is revealed and it sounds emotionally barren? Perhaps this is part of the grieving process when we do not have an individually established, healthy relationship with both of our parents, and we may not have really realized it?

Bloomie, what you suggested above is so true!  In fact, it wasnt until after I read your comments that it dawned on me:  several days ago, my H was girding himself for making his regular call to his Mhes been unhappy about other things in his life and didnt want to pile on with a conversation with his M, but had been putting it offand he said to me in a very straightforward way, I dont think I like my mother!  The thing that makes this such a change is that hes been focused, probably all his life about how he felt his M never liked him.  I didnt place a lot of importance on his statement until after reading your post, and I really believe that this is a big step, and shows a lot of growth.  Hes reckoning with things differently, maybe in a more mature way.

My eyes are now more open as wellIm seeing aspects of my MIL that were not apparent until after FIL died.  And theyre not all great, lol!  I compare her to my obviously NPD mother and so most of the time, I rate her much more highly  ;). But its become much more challenging to interact with her, and its not because of her declining health or her probable loneliness/unhappiness.  No, its because shes showing a side of her (dare I say racist?  and somewhat entitled?) that wasnt visible to me before.

Yes, we do try to plan some breaks or timeouts, even if its just errands.  Because of work, we try to keep the visit relatively brief, but with plane travel, it works out to about 6 days all in all.  Which is too much for us, and not enough for MIL, lol. 

H is actually lucky in that were across the country from MIL, and he has one sib who has been really good about providing most of the management for MIl.  Right now, its more management and help, rather than caregiving.  MIl is not cognitively impaired and is still relatively mobile, but needs more help with household things.  H moved so far away as a young adult not just for career opportunities but to get a lot of distance from his family, and even though he feels guilty at times for not being particularly involved,  hed prefer to keep it this way. ;D
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 12:15:09 PM by looloo »
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

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Bloomie

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Re: ADHD/Maybe PD H Experiencing Similar Awakening w/his M
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2019, 01:43:48 PM »
Quote from: looloo
he said to me in a very straightforward way, I dont think I like my mother!
That is huge! This exact thing happened with my own DH. It was a big shift in his paradigm and a healthy and safe admission to make within the privacy of our relationship for my own DH because then the question became... so, how to go forward? It also opened up an ability to process those emotions and work through them as they were no longer displaced and floating out there unowned and causing confusion. 

Quote from: looloo
Because of work, we try to keep the visit relatively brief, but with plane travel, it works out to about 6 days all in all.  Which is too much for us, and not enough for MIL, lol.

I would say this is quite generous of you both.

Quote from: looloo
H moved so far away as a young adult not just for career opportunities but to get a lot of distance from his family, and even though he feels guilty at times for not being particularly involved,  hed prefer to keep it this way.

He seems to have known on a deeper level what he needed and how amazing he did it. My hope is that your DH will be able to see that he is honoring and participating in his FOO as he is able and that is a lot and that is truly enough. That he is sacrificial and kind. A good man.

Hope you will update about how it is going and how the visit goes. Will be following along to support you!

"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

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looloo

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Re: ADHD/Maybe PD H Experiencing Similar Awakening w/his M
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 01:24:17 PM »
Thanks, Bloomie.  And yes, turning this corner will pave the way for H to work through a lot of this stuff. 

Well probably schedule the visit in the month or two.  I know Im looking forward to crossing it off my list  ;). Ill post again with an update.

Thanks again!
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh