Anyone else have a DPD MIL?

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Liz1018

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Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« on: March 10, 2019, 12:30:11 PM »
I think I just had an ”Aha!” moment. I just read the traits of Dependent Personality Disorder and have realized this may be my MIL. I don't see many posts about DPD, so I am throwing this out there to see if there are others and if so, how have you dealt with it? Also, is this DPD?

This is really long, so I hope you will be patient enough to read it. I would really appreciate it.

To review:

1. Catastrophizing:
 MIL has this reaction to EVERYTHING. From the most irrelevant, minuscule issues (I  once got a mosquito bite on a summer night outside and she acted like my arm had been cut off hacksaw. I kid you not. You really can't tell her anything that may be interpreted by her as an unmitigated disaster - so basically, nothing.) The problem is when something really catastrophic happens, she cannot cope. Which has unhealthy repercussions for DH.

2. Dependency
Oh, dear! I have never, ever met anyone so needy in my life. It is actually kind of sad and humiliating to witness. She is forever afraid of being left out. She gets jealous when we spend time with FiL, and they have been divorced for 37 years! She butts into conversations and HAS to know what we are talking about. Just the other day, she got jealous and whined to DH because he wrote his aunt (her sister) to thank her for a generous birthday gift.  Where was HER thank you note?

3. Depression:
This one doesn't exactly fit as I know depression inside and out. She is anxious beyond reason, which I know Is linked to depression, but I can't say I have seen it firsthand.

4. Engulfment:
Yup. Late husband (#3) did everything for her. He was kind and passive and she bossed him around constantly.

5. Fear of Abandonment:
Yes, yes and more yes! Husbands #1 and #2 cheated on her and left her for other women. Honestly, I don't know how either took her nonsense as long as they did. Husband #3 died a couple of years ago and the FOA kicked into high gear. Sometimes she freaks out if we don't text her back within a few hours.  :stars:

6. Feelings of Emptiness:
Can't speak much to this one, as I am not in her head, but compulsive eating checks a box.

7. Lack of Object Constancy:
She is forever afraid that she can not rely on anyone, even though DH bends over backward to please her and it's never enough. I get the distrust after the infidelity, but your own, doting son?

8. Low Self-Esteem: No brainer here. Needy, approval-seeking, etc. She is irrevocably comparing herself to her thinner, prettier, wealthier sister. She compares her nieces and nephews’ successes with her own kids. Unfortunately, this has taken a destructive toll on DH. She rarely, if ever, praises him unless it makes her look good. But ”nephew” is having such great success in his business, even though she knows ours is struggling. It's so demeaning.

9. Panic Attacks:
This lady is a walking, talking panic attack (see #1)! We have pleaded with her to seek therapy or at least get some anti-anxiety meds from her GP. Has that happened? Of course not! Worrying is her heroin, I swear. She creates ridiculous things to worry about and then dumps it on us until chaos ensues. She doesn't sleep much due to worrying, which compounds everything.

10. Parentification:
How many of us here have lived with this dysfunction, either in our own FOO or with spouses/partners’ parents. She is so childish. Poor DH has had this burden on him most of his life. It is so very sad.

11. Selective Competence:
Of course, she is the authority on every subject no matter how much you know - she knows better and gets the last word. Invalidation is her specialty. Unfortunately, this is a major flea with DH, but he has gotten better about it. It only took 20 years of trying to make him understand his condescension was hurtful and diminishing to me.  :aaauuugh:
I get that it is an obvious, glaring sign of insecurity, but jeez.....it is so obnoxious

12. Self-Victimization:
I don't even have to go any further with this one. We all know this one inside and out.

13. Sense of Entitlement:
By far the worst trait she exhibits. She gives generous gifts - which, of course, nobody ever appreciates to the degree she expects). A big fat lie. If we don't show fawning appreciation she lashes out. We don't visit enough, she is entitled to more time in her own mind. She gets angry when people don't write thank you notes - she is, after all, entitled to them for her ”selfless” generosity!

14. Testing:
I think this goes with #13.

Other things not on the list but prominent characteristics:

* Extreme negativity
This woman can take the best news in the world and find some way it comes up short. Deflating your bubble is her specialty. The sky is always falling.

* Extremely Judgemental:
Unfortunately, once again, her children have borne the brunt of this, which has been a self-esteem killer for DH. She can't seem to be proud of the wonderful human being she has for a son and if only he would go back to practicing law - something he desperately hated- then he might be worthy (of her praise, but even when he made partner at a very young age, she had to mention her niece’s son was doing better). She tears him down - no accomplishment is good enough for her.

*Meddles in Our Lives way too much. Gossipy. Boundary Vrusher, but aren't all PDs?

So, there. I left out a couple on the list, but as I write this, I realize the level of dysfunction. I can't believe the crap we have to put up with. No wonder DH is full of so many emotional problems and so self-destructive. My heart bleeds for him as a child, trying to make sense of this woman’s worldview as it applied to him. She still berates him and its a stab and twist of the knife to see and hear. He doesn't confront or admonish her in the moment, and that moment is then gone.

Ever since I went NC and came Out of the FOG with my FOO (raised by 2 Narents, BPD sister, bi-polar brother and possibly another BPD. Lost child brother), MIL’s antics have gone from annoying to intolerable. I really cannot stand being in her presence. This is becoming a serious problem for me and DH.

If anyone can help in dealing (other than saying limiting contact, which I have already done - complete NC isn't an option), I would like to hear from you. Thanks for reading.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 12:36:42 PM by Liz1018 »

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 01:13:42 PM »
I feel for you. This is beyond no fun to deal with.

If NC isnt an option then you may benefit from focusing on your own reaction to her. This is what I had to learn to do and am still teaching myself how to focus on myself around someone like that.

I have learned that around someone who makes us angry or anxious, we must learn to stay with ourselves. An example. She is talking talking talking at a dinner. You are feeling lightheaded and your stomach is feeling heavy. You say I need to get some air. And take yourself for a walk for 5 minutes to stretch and look at the sky etc. You're literally coming up for air. Thats what I learned it means by focus on yourself. Notice when you need some air and tell everyone you're going out for some air. And yes I know how PDs react to someone doing something for themselves. But you're going outside for 5 minutes... not moving to another continent for good (which is what you might feel like doing at times lol).

When you are around her, shift your focus back to yourself at regular intervals. It's how we reset when were depleted. Anyone who challenges you on taking a 5 minute breather might need to be treated like the child throwing the tantrum at the grocery store for candy. Ignore it. As long as they are safe and not hitting anyone, they can cry for candy all they want.

The theme with her behaviours is that the attention of others (including you) goes towards her, and its natural to resent a person who is age 50ish chronologically but behaves and has the needs of a 4 year old. I get supremely resentful around women like your MIL because they are so needy it's exhausting to me. The sense of entitlement is exhausting!!

So the question becomes, how do you handle her 'smart not hard'? This has been a long process for me. I am a slow learner sometimes lol. Like years and years to stay focused on myself around women like her.

By focused on myself , I basically mean like a good daycare worker does when a toddler is having a tantrum. We see it all the time, nurses, teachers, police even, the person is having an emotional tantrum and the worker is staying calm. How are they doing that? Well they see themselves as playing a role.
If I go to the hospital freaking out that I've cut my finger badly and I'm crying etc it doesn't help me for the nurse to get worked up and cry with me. But she also doesn't take on the role of mother. She's a nurse. Thats her role.

Your MIL creates role confusion. She looks like an adult and then acts like someone who needs a parent to correct her behaviours and honestly who wants to parent their MIL? That's not your role.

And the role of daughter in law is hard to play when the daughter is more mature than the mother. I cannot play the role that people like this want me to play and I know it's very hard on a marriage. But there is hope.
Which requires you to get to know very firmly in your mind, which things are your responsibility (your behaviours) and which things are not your responsibility (her behaviours).

We tend to shift our thinking before were able to shift our behaviours with relationships. Your thoughts about her are shifting with more and more Aha moments to come. Your behaviour will then shift (and she will react, and You'll find your footing) and you'll be able to reach a time where her behaviours "make sense" and you manage your time with her in a way that feels like you are not confused by her antics and you're able to see her behaviours in a more detached manner.

You won't keep feeling like she's pulled you in and you've been treading water for 3 hours. Which is an awful feeling. You're not stuck feeling this way forever. Your aha moments are gonna keep coming.

Many counsellors are skilled with helping people during an Aha moment phase. They could help you and be a sounding board too. As you are LC and you'll have a process of integrating the aha moments into your behaviours towards her and around her (and how they impact on your marriage).

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Awesome516

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 08:41:19 PM »
Liz1018, Iím absolutely amazed at how clearly youíre able to identify and understand whatís happening while navigating through the never-ending maze of the PD world. Iím sure your aha moment is spot-on and that new insight will create new coping skills.  Im convinced our MILs simply must be related!  I am 62, was married 32 years before my DH died. Six years later Iím still attempting to keep VLC with my 82 year old NMIL combined with a moral obligation (?) to see that sheís reasonably safe. You and your husband seem to be a strong and loving team whoíve dealt with countless crazy-making  situations, but have what it takes to go the distance. The awful power PD people have on us will never cease to amaze me. I firmly believe we can take back that power and learn to live a more peaceful, healthy life.

Treesgrowslowly, you are so wise. If I had just a fraction of your wisdom years ago I would have had far fewer stomach problems. Stay calm and detached - what a perfect mantra.

How wonderful to share our stories while learning from and encouraging one another.

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 11:57:22 AM »
Hi,

Awesome516, thanks for saying that. I have been through the school of hard knocks on this stuff for sure. I learned from people and what I learn, I share if it seems like it will help. As a survivor of NPD parental neglect and abuse, I have had years of heartbreak about it and sharing what I've learned really does help to make me feel that the suffering has a silver lining in that I've gained this insight about what it is like to live with PDs in our families.

If it wasn't for reading posts from people who have recovered from PD abuse, I would feel really alone in this as it is still pretty much taboo to really talk about abuse in the family. I hope this changes someday, but for now, an online forum is better than nothing for sure...There are a lot of wise insightful people here and we're learning from each other.

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Pepin

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 01:57:23 PM »
Your MIL creates role confusion.

And the role of daughter in law is hard to play when the daughter is more mature than the mother.

This is exactly what I have been dealing with...and for years I have been referring to my MIL as PDmil when she really should be DPDmil. 

As a DIL, I was ok with PDmil while I was a new Mom and as my daughters were young.  But my daughters are teens now -- academically gifted and really amazing "strong" women.  Their level of maturity for their age astounds me and I am so proud of them.  I am proud of myself for all of the inner work I have done to get over my abusive past with NF and even the hard work I have had to put in with PDmil.  All of this has led to the realization that PDmil is one of the most immature people I know.  And as a female, that drives me crazy and it also makes me sad that she has to resort to that type of behavior to make herself seem relevant.  The entire list that you posted above sums her up to a T.

My teens and I are LC with PDmil and DH often goes by himself to visit her.  When we do have to go along with him (to be polite) we mostly keep to ourselves -- and this is also a result of PDmil only speaking with DH anyway.  But poor DH keeps thinking that it is good for his mother to see us even though she makes no move to speak to us or even acknowledge us.  When we speak to her, she either plays the confusion card or answers in one word.  To combat this, I ask questions EXTRA LOUD and that cannot be answered with one word.  Often she then plays the confusion game, with her mouth hanging open, looking to DH for help.....and he quickly gets frustrated and tells her to answer me -- one of the few times that DH is in my court. 

Oh and that silly entitlement game they play.....PDmil likes to give money gifts...and I at this point I am like whatever....gets an emotionless "thanks" from me.  Going to be honest here though....it pisses me off that she has contributed to our teens college funds.  Yeah, that is going to be a big no from me about having her attend their graduations if she is still alive....HECK NO.  Her money gifts come with no love nor does PDmil having any meaningful relationship with my teens. 

I am sorry that you have to go through this, too.  Thank you for sharing and helping to further clarify what I have suspected all along about PDmil.  It is just such a sad list of traits for a human being to have.... 
Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

Born into a dysfunctional family and married into a dysfunctional family.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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treesgrowslowly

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 11:43:38 AM »
Hey Pepin,

I will also never have a MIL who can forge a workable relationship with me. I know that I'll never behave the way mine does. I am sorry for all of us for having these frustrating PDs in our family. It makes life hard at times. There are fewer things to look forward to, because we know that the PD is gonna take the wind out of everyone's sails with their immature behaviors.

I found it helpful to write down some of the things that don't happen in my life, because MIL is on her own level, and not my level at all. Sometimes when I am tired and sad and stressed, I remind myself that I have worked hard to fill the gaps and do things she doesn't do. It helps me because then I am reminding myself that I need to rest, there is only so much I can do. I remember early on, calling her up to chat, and she acted like I was some stranger who had called to sell her something. There was just no connection there with me as a person she wanted to get to know. For a long time I just tried harder and of course, nothing worked because they just live their life without being able to make those connections.

I like your signature quotes. So true. No PD will tell me how to live that's for sure.

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Liz1018

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2019, 12:55:30 PM »
Big hugs to all of you readers and commenters. It is so much easier to know you understand, even though it stinks that we all had to go through hell to get this point. I do feel leaps and bounds stronger than I ever did before, so that is what I focus on.

To me, the most painful part is watching the effects of of her behavior on DH, DBIL and his wife and my niece and nephew. My heart aches for the child DH was (therapist concluded age 5 was when the parentification began). I ache for the teenager that could never live up to good grades she could brag about. She loves to talk about how he *could have* gone to Harvard or Yale if only his grades had been better (he just didn't care much about his grades after he received a full football scholarship to a small, private college and got a nearly *perfect* SAT score  :stars:). Harvard or Yale were HER dreams for him. She could not understand that maybe he had no interest in going to those schools. Or that he did her a huge favor in not having to pay for his college education. Or law school (which she pushed for - another bragging opportunity) - no, we will be paying for that until we are old and gray.

I ache for DH the football player in high school and college, who didn't get praise for games his team won, only focused on how they *could have* won the ones they lost. The sophomore who injured his shoulder and had to quit playing, with that having its own effect on his self-esteem.

I ache for the thousands of hours he spent as a corporate lawyer who made partner in just a couple of years at one of the most prestigious firms in the state, only for those accomplishments to be overlooked as ”they should pay more.”

I ache for the young adult, who burned out on that demanding lifestyle within 6 years and who decided he didn't like who he was becoming  and how it was affecting me (quite honestly, alcoholism and toxic, greedy, negative environment were making him into an a-hole. And the firm had their own bar on the top floor of their office building!!  :sadno:)

 He chose a more humble path and time to enjoy life instead of money and stress. This devastated MIL - now what was she going to tell her friends? That her lawyer son was now wasting his amazing brain on carpentry work (about which he is very passionate)?Nevermind that as a practicing Catholic, she should have seen carpentry was noble enough for Jesus but not her precious Golden Child).

I ache for the adult whose self-esteem, once he was back in her control and proximity, plummeted because the only support she gave was (conditionally) financial. Never cared that he was doing things he loved and becoming a more humble man and a better husband. She had constantly reminded him he was a ”failure” (words were never used, but we both knew how she felt). And never tired of letting him know he could always return to law).

I ache for the middle-aged adult who felt it would be better to nearly drink himself to death rather than reveal any part of himself to her. His shame around not living up to her impossible standards really affected the trajectory of our lives and our marriage.

I ache for the man who she brainwashed into thinking it was weak to ask for help, that crying was not allowed. He just turned 50 and in 25 years together, I have never seen him cry except when his eyes welled up with tears but he fought them off before they became a full-on bawl. Even then, there were 2 times this happened - early on when he thought I was going to break it off with him and also when he had to deliver the eulogy for his best friend who died at age 36. Curiously this friend was very similar in that he was the GC lawyer who could never please his horrible mother and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. He wasn't so lucky and died of a heart attack after doing too much cocaine one night).

And now I ache for him as he goes into his 50s and is now realizing all of this for himself and is still timid to confront her for fear of her rage and crying spiral that will follow.

I don't even ache for myself in dealing with her because now I have the confidence to shut her down in the moment. Feels great, but I long for the day that he feels strong enough to feel comfortable to tell her to just shut the f*#! up! I know it is getting closer, so that helps. I think he finally realizes that he can trust me to support him and that asking for or needing help is ok.

As for seeing her less, we have been at about one visit per month for a long time.she gets about 2-3 hours of in-person time a month.

 It's just the constant calling and texting, which I think he thinks gets her off his back for visiting more often (it doesn't). I also go in solidarity And I can't back out too often because that is usually the only time I get to see my BIL and his family, whom I love dearly and who also totally get it. Their lives have been significantly more stressful because they gave her grandkids and you can imagine how entitled she became then.
True story: when my niece was in 2nd grade, each student was slowed to pick an adult to come eat lunch with them and she chose me. MIL was so hurt and jealous about this that she made sure everyone knew. She got invited the next year.
Niece and I are very close and this has always seriously irked MIL. Even though she knows that I have no family and the relationship is very important to both me and my niece. Petty much?

Of course, DH and I failed her by choosing not to have kids.!I mean - given how awful our parents’ collective malfeasance was, why on earth would we want to be parents! I kid you not, even the 2 grandkids weren't enough for her (older sister had 4 and younger sister had 4 before MIL had one. How dare they!!). Good thing is, my niece and nephew are starting to understand what a pain in the butt she is and are getting to the ages (15 and 11) where they understand why she upsets their parents so much. They are actually so mature beyond their years that they recognize she has less emotional maturity at 75 than they do now!!!

Phew! Felt good to rant. Thank you all - I know my posts are lengthy, but there is so much to say. I do feel like we have entered a different phase of our lives together and that me dealing with my family, he can begin to deal with his. A common enemy is always a way to bond!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 01:08:23 PM by Liz1018 »

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Awesome516

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2019, 06:04:10 PM »
Liz1018, please donít give up hope for a healthier life. You and your DH have a great understanding of the insane family dynamic and thatís huge. Our stories are so similar, even though my DH and horrible NFIL have died. We were married 32 years and if it hadnít been for a truly gifted therapist well trained in personality disorders, our marriage wouldnít have survived. It took my husband until he was over 50 to finally understand and change his angry,destructive reactions. He stress-ate his way to over 300 lbs. Turning 50 and a diabetes diagnosis was his wake up call. He lost 120 lbs and was a new man physically and emotionally. He finally finally realized he had ENOUGH abuse by those ridiculous excuses as parents!  It didnít happen overnight, but he learned to cope with guilt, shame, ridicule, humiliation, criticism, obligation,etc, etc.  Thereís a very long story behind this of course, and though he died of cancer at 55, those last years were the best we ever had. I firmly believe you and your husband can make tremendous changes!

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Kieveen

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 02:08:10 PM »
I suspect my MIL is OCPD,   She was diagnosed with depression and OCD and has been in and out of mental hospitals her entire adult life.  But she has all those traits described and more. 

I have gone VLC with OCPDMIL and my husband has been going in that direction as well.  We deal with her on a as needed basis with very limited time spent with her. 

I recommend slowly distancing yourself from her and limiting  contact.  Confrontation doesn't work.   These type of people are mentally ill and will not change.  Nothing you can ever say or do will make them happy and nothing you can say can make them change their toxic  behavior. 

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Liz1018

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2019, 10:46:14 AM »
Awesome516, I am so sorry to hear of your husband’ s passing and all of the abuse that led up to it. It is great that you had those last wonderful years together. Something to cherish.

I appreciate your words of encouragement. I know DH understands his mother’s manipulations (intellectually, at least - and because of my experience with my own PD family- increasingly aware of the emotional toll). We go through periods where he backs off (usually after an extreme lashing out on her part) and calls her less. But he has yet to stop answering the phone every time she calls. He has been cutting the calls off after a few minutes, instead of letting her go on and on while he nods and says “uh huh”). He is still acting like her behavior is normal when they speak and neglecting to really call her out on her bad behavior.

I already do seldom speak to her and see her once a month. But I disagree that I should just stay silent and let this damaging BS continue. I know from my own experience that keeping the peace at any cost is a total illusion. The cost to avoid confrontation does cost us in the form of physical malady, low self-esteem, and self-destructive tendencies. I don’t plan to rage back at her as I know that will do no good. I have employed Grey Rock and MC around her and will now be amping that up for good. But DH continues his phony behavior around her and it is getting too painful to bear. He knows this is NOT NORMAL. He knows the situation is damaging to him and me. I never had the guts to truly confront my own NPD mother (mostly because I k ew it was pointless), so I understand how difficult it will be for him.

I am terrified of it catching up with him physically. About 5 years ago I nearly lost him to alcohol addiction and pancreatitis (no doubt a lot of the responsibility fell on her shoulders from decades of invalidation and emotional abuse). He has a tendency to continue bad habits until it all becomes desperate and dangerous. I have to suffer along with him until he “wakes up.” Then I get furious because it seems like a wretched and extremely selfish way for him to stay in control of the situation, while he and MIL play out their horrible rescue cycles. He doesn’t seem to value me enough to not drag me through all the mental and emotional strife - all so that he can not be uncomfortable 

I do hold out hope, but know there is more suffering to come until he makes real changes in their power dynamic. I am worn down and exhausted  by being powerless to do much about it while the rubble crashes around me. It’s like he knows the flood is coming but waits until he can see it, putting me in danger’s path. And for what reason - laziness? Fear of her disapproval? Having to change? Stubbornness? Or just plain selfishness.

It leads to me feeling I am just not worth looking out for. Makes me wonder why I stay for more hell. Lately I have been consumed by regret (I know this is terribly unhealthy and am trying to overcome it, but I just cannot shake it). I know I can’t change the past. But I fear I can’t change the future unless I just leave him. Besides the fact that I have NOTHING (no savings thanks to him, no family of my own, no “real job” with benefits- we have our own struggling business), I love him and don’t t want to leave. But I resent being put in this position OVER and OVER. While he smiles and nods and acts like everything is ok with her behavior.

I have been very depressed lately, even though I am on meds and taking care of myself. I have had 3 decades of therapy. We have been to therapy together. We have done Imago therapy. We have quit drinking. We have talked and talked and talked. I am beginning to feel like it matters not - nothing works. I am just so very tired of fighting for a normal, stable life. I feel like I (and our marriage) was finally getting to a point where we could turn things around. Then one of her rages knocked us out of balance and my feelings of powerlessness overcame me once again. I can’t seem to crawl out from under it. Hope is great when you have an actual win every once in awhile. But we haven’t had a win in 15 years. It’s been one tragedy after another. Failure to dig out of the hole. 2 steps forward, 95 steps back. Things have just gotten worse, financially. No matter how hard I work, there’s no progress.  I now know why people give up in mid-life. I never grasped that when I was younger and more idealistic. I thought if I worked hard, took care of my own mental well-being and supported him and our marriage, everything would continue to get better. My capacity for that way of thinking is dead. I can’t win, no matter the approach.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 10:57:24 AM by Liz1018 »

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Awesome516

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Re: Anyone else have a DPD MIL?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2019, 07:30:16 PM »
OMG Liz1018, our stories are so similar. Years of therapy, doing ok for a while, then another meltdown and feeling ready to throw in the towel and walk away. It goes on and on. I remember when we were young, I saw how desperate for parental approval my husband was- it was pitiful. Iíd get upset and berate him for not standing up to them. Iíll feel guilty about that for the rest of my life. He was a loving husband and father, a successful businessman, and loyal friend to many. He talked, cursed and ate too much, his unhealthy stress relievers. Though we both developed enough self-awareness for remarkable improvement, we still had difficult times.  There is no real answer and it will never be easy. Iíll never understand how much power one awful person can wield over another, especially their own child. Weíre wired at birth that theyíre normal and re-wiring is next to impossible.  The only real escape is when they die, though they can still find a way to mess with you. Itís just the nature of those dreadful beasts.

Itís six years this month since my husband died and almost seven for FIL. My husband only outlived his dad by nine months and he was terminally ill during that time. My strength comes from him. He rarely felt sorry for himself, choosing kindness and gratefulness over anger or bitterness, which had often often consumed us both.   He was saying screw my past, Iím leaving a bright light wherever I go. And he did.  His father left apathy behind - I drive past the cemetery where heís buried several times a week and 99% of the time donít even think of him!  Howís that for payback to a narcissist!

 So what can I say to all those still struggling.... please, please remember how far youíve come and still have the capacity for love.  They donít. Accepting that these people wonít change is power. Celebrate victories over the insanity, big ones and small. Be proud that youíre kind, decent people that spread joy to others. Thatís proof MIL hasnít broken you yet.  Hereís a quote I love to share: ďFind a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you canít find it, create it. Some days itís hard to do. Persevere.Ē 
 
I realize Iím only using my own reference points from my past, and youíre right in the thick of it.   Iím mostly just coasting with occasional NMIL flare-ups. Life is good, enjoying children, grandson, (soon to be two) lovely friends and who knows whatís next.  But I care and empathize with you all!