Heartsick and left with questions

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Bloomie

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Heartsick and left with questions
« on: May 15, 2019, 12:39:49 PM »
Just in a hard spot right now and hope to untangle some things with the help of you lovely people.

DH and I have been coming OOTF with his family and recovering from decades of full contact with a disordered, mostly covert N family system. Each of us at our own pace, for several years now. After experiencing the fall out from many tricks and treats that are found in the PD traits play list, we have reached a place of differing levels of contact with his most toxic of family members... uPDsil and uPDmil.

I am weddings/funerals only with uPDsil and VLC with uPDmil. H is his mother's carer and manages her life for her and as a result is in necessary contact which amounts to LC with his sister. Both of these ladies hold the positions as the Queen of Everything and Princess of Quite A Lot, respectively. :dramaqueen:  You can imagine the shenanigans and fun decades of relationship with them has been. :no:

I found myself sitting opposite uPDmil in an expensive restaurant (her favorite) this past Mother's Day listening to her list all of the people who are so good to her - who do such kindnesses for her. Then she goes on to talk at length about uPDsil - The Princess of Quite A Lot, and how many kindnesses (her word) sil is showing toward a certain family member taking them to doctor's appointments... and on and onimus it goes. Never one single time mentions my H or my children in her extensive list.

Reality check... mil actually sees her daughter twice a year (though they do regularly speak on the phone), spends every holiday but one with us ensconced at a lovely restaurant or table in our home with her tiny feet on a tiny ottoman being waited upon, respected, and honored. All bdays and all Mother's Day are hosted by us or our adult children where she is picked up and carried to and fro like the Queen of Everything that she is. All ER visits for transient vague symptoms unwitnessed by others for which there is never any indicators or issues found (we are at 7 and counting in the past year alone)  :upsidedown: and doctors appointments handled by my H and myself. All of her financial and investment matters carefully and faithfully managed by my H. But, when making her list - our family was completely absent from it.

So here is where my head begins to swirl... after all of the hard work my H and I have done to get OOTF and find what I believed was unity in how to handle all that is his family, and all of the decades of scapegoating, terrible smearing, manipulation, false accusations... as we are processing after Mother's Day H admits that he didn't even notice he and our family were absent from his mother's "list" which prompted me to ask my H a question I really should've thought about first before asking...

I asked something like this... "Do you think your LOC would be different with your family if I were not in the picture? Would you still be in full, regular contact with all of them like we were for so many years?"

His answer was... "yes, I think I would still be in full contact with all of them."  :'(

Just sitting with this like lead in my stomach and not sure what to do with it, but it reminds me once again to step out and away from all of this because it is possible, even after intensive therapy around the disordered behaviors of these two women and all of the pain they have brought into our lives, my H is still very conflicted and unsure around it all. UGH!!!!!!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 12:55:24 PM by Bloomie »
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coyote

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 12:50:59 PM »
Bloomie,
Well of course what he is saying is that without your support and guidance he would still be totally enveloped in the deepest FOG ever. How can that be a bad thing? Kudos to you and your 20/20 vision to see through the FOG and help H steer his way out.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
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The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
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Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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Pepin

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 01:55:40 PM »
I asked something like this... "Do you think your LOC would be different with your family if I were not in the picture? Would you still be in full, regular contact with all of them like we were for so many years?"

His answer was... "yes, I think I would still be in full contact with all of them."  :'(

I am sorry for you that he gave this answer...and I know in my heart that my DH would say the same thing.  In fact, if our marriage ended, DH would likely move in with PDmil.  Every time he had our kids to himself when they were young, where would he go?  PDmil's house.  Every weekend he thinks about her and most times visits her.  Both his interpretation of his culture and the brainwashing he has endured literally dictates what he is programed to do.  And I also know in my heart that this will not stop until PDmil is gone.  Every single time progress is made, something else new comes up and it is like reinventing the wheel all over again.  It is mind blowing. 

coyote is correct in saying that without us, our DH's would be deeper in the FOG.
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.

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Love

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 02:25:57 PM »
I'm so sorry, that truly is a horribly hard thing to hear.  I felt heartsick for you reading it and I believe I would take it the same way I believe you are right now.  I think my Dh as well if he were honest with himself may respond the same way to your question.  I believe that my Dh would "go along" to "get along" because that is how he was raised and what he practiced.  I even think that if my Dh and I were in your situation that a heavy fog would still be present, and I mean because your Dh still has so much responsibility for his mom, but zero respect.

"We will suffer what is sufferable" and I think that even truer when it comes to someone's family.  It is just so hard to except for those
"blood-related" to these horrible people that they aren't horrible people themselves for "rocking the boat".  PD individuals confuse so so much - the list is too long, but one of the things I believe the Pd's in my life are best at is taking away any sense of self their children have, any rights, or truths that we hold at the core of us.  I think your DH doesn't mean "he would want to be back in the fold" but at this point maybe he realizes he could ignore most of it as you said, "he didn't hear his mother not put him on the list".  Perhaps he has become numb to the abuse, which is sad but could it be protective also?   

You were wise and good to hold your tongue I do not believe myself capable in the situation that your MIL put you in.  I think a lot of that was specifically for you and not your Dh.  I think your MIL's intentional miscalculation of "her loved ones" was to hurt you and not your Dh.  In truth my Dh does not to much care about what MIL and FIL say, he counts them as idiots and horrible people.  I, however, hang on every word and I believe our MIL's know it.  My Dh is happy in his aloofness of his parents and I think he could survive, mind you not thrive, but survive in his family system, not happy, not sad just a lifeless blob of compliance.  I completely think he would if I weren't here.  But God did put us here and He believes the truth to be love and not enabling, you helped your husband to do and become something he couldn't on his own, same goes in the opposite direction.  Some of us can take a lot of pain, others can't, at least in our minds.

My point is it was super heartful and a bit guilt-riddled what he said, maybe not his intent, but still, we as the spouse do not want the burden that our PDINlaws give us which is that it is all our faults.  Perhaps it is, perhaps it is all our faults that we will not allow our spouses to be mistreated and abused just because they would let you do it.  You are a strong woman who loves her family and wanted to do what she knew was best - protect the innocent, the weak, the defenseless against their oppressors.  I'm sorry that response hurt, it would hurt me the same and send me reeling.  However the reality is if it were all our faults, which it isn't, were you intentions to ever harm or hurt people - I believe not, your intentions were to protect and love and serve - not enable, turn a blind eye, suffer what is sufferable  - in the end if my Dh and I didn't go mostly no contact I believe my MIL would have split us apart, we would be divorced. So lastly you saved your marriage and your children.

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Bloomie

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 02:34:27 PM »
Thank you both for your responses.

Bloomie,
Well of course what he is saying is that without your support and guidance he would still be totally enveloped in the deepest FOG ever. How can that be a bad thing? Kudos to you and your 20/20 vision to see through the FOG and help H steer his way out.
I want to simply accept this and see it this way Coyote. What I am struggling with is this response in the context of my H's fleas that have been a tough issue in our relationship and in our relationships with his family. He has been known to not be emotionally honest, frequently have abuse amnesia, to tell others what they want to hear, and to follow the path of least resistance. He is a wobbler - as a consequence of his conditioning and choices as a full-fledged adult - he really struggles holding a consistent view of himself and others and holding to consistent, reasonable boundaries. (I am not sure if I am making sense here)

I am sorry for you that he gave this answer...and I know in my heart that my DH would say the same thing.  In fact, if our marriage ended, DH would likely move in with PDmil.  Every time he had our kids to himself when they were young, where would he go?  PDmil's house.  Every weekend he thinks about her and most times visits her.  Both his interpretation of his culture and the brainwashing he has endured literally dictates what he is programed to do.  And I also know in my heart that this will not stop until PDmil is gone.  Every single time progress is made, something else new comes up and it is like reinventing the wheel all over again.  It is mind blowing. 

coyote is correct in saying that without us, our DH's would be deeper in the FOG.

Sadly, I believe you are right Pepin and Coyote. If it were not for my having been raised out of the mush pot of his family and having a different perspective he may never have been uncomfortable enough to make any change.

When I met and married my H his family were intimately involved in every single aspect of his life. I had no idea how far reaching it was and how total the sense of ownership and entitlement they had over him. Once i realized, and for one small example, found uPDsil and uPDmil roosting in my home, going through the cupboards and my drawers and closets with bravado, having let themselves in with a key they long had while I was out😳 I began to strongly suggest we move away. Even just a few hours away to give us all some space and he just couldn't bring himself to do it.

I believe we have together, after much work, reached a place of unity and agreement on the damaging impact their particular set of skills has on our marriage, family, as us as individuals. Did I dictate that and he went along? Not sure there is an answer to that. And what if that were true? Are we better off as we are right now? 100% yes, so maybe I just need to let it flow down the river of life and move on. 

Putting another recent comment into the mix as I realize as I am sharing it is part of what is triggering me...
I very recently chose to not attend an event honoring a group of people including uPDmil. H said something like this after attending with his mother and uPDsister..."It actually was much easier without you there." Umm... okay, so I ask why: "I didn't have to worry about you." Worry about me? "Yes. I can navigate them easier when you are not there."

Well, okay then taking him at his word I can certainly make upcoming events easier for him to navigate by staying home, getting a pedi, going for a long walk, resting my a campfire...


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Starboard Song

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 02:35:59 PM »
I asked something like this... "Do you think your LOC would be different with your family if I were not in the picture? Would you still be in full, regular contact with all of them like we were for so many years?"

His answer was... "yes, I think I would still be in full contact with all of them."  :'(

 :bighug:

Take a deep breath, and let me apologize. If my wife asked me, I'd say the same thing. I am very good at compartmentalizing. Complaints and critiques roll off my back, and I am generally more bemused than angered by people's oddities. Without the need to respect my wife, I know that I could have maintained LC to MC with my in-laws, and not had to pull the NC trigger. I know this because building trust and respect across differences is my only super power. It is what I do, and I simply do not believe I would have failed.

So I apologize. I apologize here to my wife, because I know she knows I think this way, and I know that hurts her: it makes her feel like she is to blame; it makes her feel that she is less generous and kind than I am, which isn't true.

But it can't be helped, can it? We each come to this kind of crazy-making with our own set of morals and capacities and scars. My wife has to understand my perpetual desire to fix just as I have to respect her need for emotional safety. My wife and I talk. A lot. We lay out what we consider No Go territory: disrespectful behavior we ask the other to avoid. We acknowledge that neither of us have to be perfect for the other. We talk about what we need. As a result, we each have certain topics about this that we don't discuss further with each other, but take offline to a friend. For instance, she doesn't need to hear me venting over certain things that add to her stress.

But I just want to observe that you and DH seem to me to be together. It doesn't sound like you dragged him into less contact. It sounds like, together, you woke up and began to defend your peace. Please consider writing out what this reaction you are feeling is. Based on what you shared, I am not sure that DH is "conflicted and unsure" in a meaningful way. The O of FOG I figure is obligation to the person, aroused by manipulative tactics. The deeply held moral convictions most of us have about family aren't themselves the O from FOG. They just make these decisions so much harder. I figure most NC people have some conflict over it, and yet -- if they know in one safe corner of their mind what is right for them -- then they aren't in the FOG.

I'm saying a lot. I think I'm giving closing arguments in my own defense. Because while I feel no FOG, I do retain a compulsion to engage that was inculcated in my youth, by my own great parents. It is my job on this earth to respect my wife's needs while I respect my own character.

It is OK to have different stances: I am NC with my in-laws, and have to lean way over from LC to get there. My DW is NC with them, too, and she leans the other way to get to that same place. We'd be in different places separately. I am sure of it. But leaning opposite directions just means we're leaning against one another, as it should be.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 03:55:26 PM by Starboard Song »
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coyote

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 02:52:39 PM »
"It actually was much easier without you there." Umm... okay, so I ask why: "I didn't have to worry about you." Worry about me? "Yes. I can navigate them easier when you are not there."

I hope what he is saying is that it easier when he does not have to protect you from his family's toxic spewings.

I know my response earlier was short and maybe even flippant. But then you know me. I do understand the pain and frustrations of trying so hard to keep all of you OOTF and at the same time deal with H's fleas. Put this together with supporting H as he exits the FOG but knowing he could slip back in at any moment and your tasks are monumental. Good news is you have both come a long ways. Remember it is the journey, not the destination.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
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The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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qcdlvl

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2019, 03:07:39 AM »
I'm sorry you're going throught this, Bloomie - I'm sorry you got such a painful response. I agree with what others have posted - your  DH would probably be much deeper in the FOG if it werent for you and/or he won't tolerate abuse directed at you that he would tolerate if directed at him and/or your ILs are particularly abusive towards you (perhaps because you don't join their dance of dysfunction).

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Bloomie

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2019, 12:43:22 PM »
I'm so sorry, that truly is a horribly hard thing to hear.  I felt heartsick for you reading it and I believe I would take it the same way I believe you are right now.  I think my Dh as well if he were honest with himself may respond the same way to your question.  I believe that my Dh would "go along" to "get along" because that is how he was raised and what he practiced.  I even think that if my Dh and I were in your situation that a heavy fog would still be present, and I mean because your Dh still has so much responsibility for his mom, but zero respect.

"We will suffer what is sufferable" and I think that even truer when it comes to someone's family.  It is just so hard to except for those
"blood-related" to these horrible people that they aren't horrible people themselves for "rocking the boat".  PD individuals confuse so so much - the list is too long, but one of the things I believe the Pd's in my life are best at is taking away any sense of self their children have, any rights, or truths that we hold at the core of us.  I think your DH doesn't mean "he would want to be back in the fold" but at this point maybe he realizes he could ignore most of it as you said, "he didn't hear his mother not put him on the list".  Perhaps he has become numb to the abuse, which is sad but could it be protective also?

Love - Thank you for your insights and response. It helps me a lot to hear how you describe this with your own H.

My observations over decades of the way the toxic behaviors play out in this family system is there is an underlying defacto hierarchy going back the 3 generations I am able to observe, that assigns greater personal value and authority to the women in the family.

The women control to the point that they decree and decide even "who" and "what" another family member is. As you so succinctly say - they take away the sense of self, rights, and truths that others hold of themselves if one would let them. The sense of entitlement seems to be total toward any other family member placed below them in the family hierarchy.

There is an underlying power struggle for familial resources and control between the women in the family and the men that plays out in a nauseating dance of passive aggressive, covertly manipulative, posturing behaviors toward the men. Most often the control behaviors are through need and weakness, silent treatment, illness feigned and actual, rigidity and an atmosphere of high disdain and telegraphed displeasure and over all of this is a fine mist of piety and religiosity.  All wrapped up in a hyper feminine facade of weakness and need and to oppose them is to take on the entire system that they tightly control. :barfy:

Separating and individuating from this system that wraps it's children in a toxic, cloying grip, has been a tremendous, herculean type of journey for my H. I have seen the toll this has taken on him and our family and the cost for continued relationships within this system. He is/was labeled and conditioned to see himself in ways that are not congruent with his character and inner/outer strength. In ways that refuse to recognize the actual person he is - a highly successful, accomplished, confident and kind man.

Without revealing too much it is still a struggle for him to not slip back into allowing himself to be defined by some of the humiliating and emasculating ways he was/is treated. (as was his father and grandfather before him)  :upsidedown:

As his life partner and having lived with him on this journey and loved him well, I see the toll every single contact takes and just  :doh: that he would say he could ever return to a full contact relationship with such an identity eroding system.







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Bloomie

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 01:06:38 PM »
:bighug:

Take a deep breath, and let me apologize. If my wife asked me, I'd say the same thing. I am very good at compartmentalizing. Complaints and critiques roll off my back, and I am generally more bemused than angered by people's oddities. Without the need to respect my wife, I know that I could have maintained LC to MC with my in-laws, and not had to pull the NC trigger. I know this because building trust and respect across differences is my only super power. It is what I do, and I simply do not believe I would have failed.

So I apologize. I apologize here to my wife, because I know she knows I think this way, and I know that hurts her: it makes her feel like she is to blame; it makes her feel that she is less generous and kind than I am, which isn't true.

StarboardSong - this is good food for thought about compartmentalization differences between my H and myself. What an amazing super power that you have!  :applause: My only superpower is the ability to carry many things at one time as if I have a 3rd arm... not nearly as impressive as yours.  :tongue2:

I can't help but think that the essential difference that I am struggling with is I am the one who pulled the NC and LC triggers for my relationships with in laws which was a catalyst for my H as I was no longer the goddess of love bridging the gap in the relationships and diffusing the toxins in the atmosphere by absorbing them. Through a series of pretty awful events and a whole lot of recovery work my H came to the conclusion he needed to have LC with uPDsil and work to an emotionally neutral place with uPDmil.

Quote
But it can't be helped, can it? We each come to this kind of crazy-making with our own set of morals and capacities and scars. My wife has to understand my perpetual desire to fix just as I have to respect her need for emotional safety. My wife and I talk. A lot. We lay out what we consider No Go territory: disrespectful behavior we ask the other to avoid. We acknowledge that neither of us have to be perfect for the other. We talk about what we need. As a result, we each have certain topics about this that we don't discuss further with each other, but take offline to a friend. For instance, she doesn't need to hear me venting over certain things that add to her stress.
If it were a perpetual desire to fix this in my H I would be able to understand that because I believe it would lead to the healthy conclusion that this system cannot be fixed by one person alone. I need to examine that possibility further though.

What it appears more like is a perpetual desire to go along and roll over and fawn and freeze and give over his identity when in the presence of his FOO. And that worries me... a lot.

We also talk a lot and have learned how far to go with that, but what is a flea for my H given his conditioning is a lack of a consistent sense of self internally which leads to inconsistent messages and choices. As I said before.. he is a wobbler and that has caused a great deal of pain and confusion.

Quote
But I just want to observe that you and DH seem to me to be together. It doesn't sound like you dragged him into less contact. It sounds like, together, you woke up and began to defend your peace. Please consider writing out what this reaction you are feeling is. Based on what you shared, I am not sure that DH is "conflicted and unsure" in a meaningful way. The O of FOG I figure is obligation to the person, aroused by manipulative tactics. The deeply held moral convictions most of us have about family aren't themselves the O from FOG. They just make these decisions so much harder. I figure most NC people have some conflict over it, and yet -- if they know in one safe corner of their mind what is right for them -- then they aren't in the FOG.

I'm saying a lot. I think I'm giving closing arguments in my own defense. Because while I feel no FOG, I do retain a compulsion to engage that was inculcated in my youth, by my own great parents. It is my job on this earth to respect my wife's needs while I respect my own character.

It is OK to have different stances: I am NC with my in-laws, and have to lean way over from LC to get there. My DW is NC with them, too, and she leans the other way to get to that same place. We'd be in different places separately. I am sure of it. But leaning opposite directions just means we're leaning against one another, as it should be.


I really like the leaning imagery and think this is probably true of the two of us. And I am totally at peace with us having differing levels of contact, stances, convictions and choices around all of this. What I don't want to be is blindsided by the notion I drug him into less contact...  :aaauuugh:
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Bloomie

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2019, 01:10:12 PM »
"It actually was much easier without you there." Umm... okay, so I ask why: "I didn't have to worry about you." Worry about me? "Yes. I can navigate them easier when you are not there."

I hope what he is saying is that it easier when he does not have to protect you from his family's toxic spewings.

I know my response earlier was short and maybe even flippant. But then you know me. I do understand the pain and frustrations of trying so hard to keep all of you OOTF and at the same time deal with H's fleas. Put this together with supporting H as he exits the FOG but knowing he could slip back in at any moment and your tasks are monumental. Good news is you have both come a long ways. Remember it is the journey, not the destination.
Thank you coyote and I love your direct and clear insights. They are always helpful to me.

It is the reasonable concern, based on past behaviors, that he may slip back into the fog and the desire to keep us all safe that is on my heart and mind in this. Thank you for putting into words what I couldn't.
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Nomoreblind

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2019, 01:21:40 PM »
Sorry to know you are in that situation Bloomie.  Sad but true, a lot of us on this forum, if it was not for us, pointing out the abnormality of the intrusion, covert passive aggressive of our in - laws,  our other halves would continue with their "normal" family dynamics.  Mine included. 

I think they call it Stockholm syndrome when people go back to their abuser/kidnapper?  I am sure other members  will correct me if I am wrong.  I had a difficult conversation with my other half on Saturday.  I knew it was painful for him, he cried, I was sad but needed to talk.  I asked him do you think the passive aggressive ways of your mum at every encounter, her indirect way of demanding/manipulation through your sister who acts like a bully with you, their feeling that they are entitled to my free time so that they can see DD, since I became a mum is normal? Do you think me being uneasy about it and putting my foot down so as not to be a doormat is unfair? Would they allow you to order to them what to do and when with their time?  He ended up crying saying  " I know it's not normal, it's my family what do you want me to do? What would you do if your other half is always criticising your family?" I knew he was suffering, hyper ventilating, having migraines.  I was sad for him, but my priority is us as a family.  He said that I don't trust him, I said it's not you I don't trust it's them. They are making you feel guilty because you have a family and have decided to move to a different country to have a better life for our DD. NMIL is a widow since a couple of years,  NSIL who is 50 her  boyfriend has lived with her a few years and then decided to live in another country. NMIL was against SIL leaving the country. 

NMIL is opinionated in every possible annoying way and wants everything to be done for her, EVERYTHING! She wants her kids to make her happy, it's their duty, in her mind and she wants to pass that loaded guilt gun to my DD too. Only grand child.  NOT happening.! No way.  I can grey rock or medium chill all the way with her when she does not guilt trip/use my hardly 3 years old DD. However when she repeats 5 times on a Skype call to my DD when are you coming? The child does not know how to answer that, still learning to talk properly, potentially in the long run she may feel uneasy, confused or be putting pressure on Mummy to visit grandma.  Innocent Grandma us starting to use my DD. My H just watches as if it is normal,  coming from a Needy dependant attention seeking person.  Next visit I will ensure she knows I know what she is doing in ice queen manner. 

Our Hs even though they see sometimes   unless it is obviously embarrassing,  they seem to block out the rude behaviour if their M.  It may have been a coping mechanism when they were children, to keep peace.  Who knows?  Hurtful for us, because we know they know their mum is horrendous but to admit to themselves they have mothers who are not loving or selfless, and that giving is a oneway street with these individuals is a painful reality which our H's seem to cope with my denying it, it seems.  I lived with my MIL for the first 5 months of my marriage.  She made me and H sleep in separate bedrooms, ensure we did not have any intimacy, by always looking for her son, every waking hour.  What else do you need to know this person does not want your marriage to work? My H will still find an excuse. It is madness.  Thank god, we love them our H, otherwise we would run far and fast.

PS: i've booked a massage for after my MIL'S coming visit by the way. My neck and upper back is already in pain with stress about that visit.  But at least I can look forward to that the day they are leaving.

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Bloomie

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2019, 01:22:52 PM »
I'm sorry you're going throught this, Bloomie - I'm sorry you got such a painful response. I agree with what others have posted - your  DH would probably be much deeper in the FOG if it werent for you and/or he won't tolerate abuse directed at you that he would tolerate if directed at him and/or your ILs are particularly abusive towards you (perhaps because you don't join their dance of dysfunction).
qcdlvl - Thank you for your support and insights!

Yes, it is true my DH is far more likely to tolerate and accept abuse toward himself than his family any day of the week.

And I am on the receiving end of particularly nasty behaviors because (I believe) I am firstly, female and an immediate threat  - other in laws that are male are not in any way targeted like I am), and I am not servile and am direct - a huge threat in this system is to be female, to speak directly, no matter how kindly, and to be accomplished in ones own right.  :stars: They have stated they are working from the starting gate belief that I am controlling my DH in all ways because that is how women engage with men in their world.

If I am a strong woman then I am aggressive and controlling and dominating by decree and my DH is diminished and weak. A perfect way to invalidate our strong, mutually respectful, partnership and individual personhood and accomplishments and mush us together into just another disordered blob.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 01:27:06 PM by Bloomie »
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WomanInterrupted

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2019, 06:08:50 PM »
Hi Bloomie,   :)

Unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with what your MIL is doing in thanking others, but ignoring you, DH and your FOC.

Everything you and yours do for her is seen as YOUR JOBS and she won't thank people for doing the things *she thinks they're supposed to be doing for her* - and she's throwing in *shade* by thanking others for doing those exact same things, implying *you and yours are NOT living up to her expectations!*   :blink:

If you think I may have missed the mark, check this out:  back in '04, unNPD Ray had a heart attack, and unBPD Didi had me on the go, 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week, for over a *month* - and didn't once thank me for driving her, sitting with her, running her here and there, listening to her, etc.   :'(

I had to have minor - but important - surgery on left girlfriend (infection that went critical mass, due to all the stress), and Didi FORBADE it, because she needed me.  Never mind  that I need my *health* if I'm  to continue being her perfect subhuman!   :doh:

I told her the doctor had already scheduled it - she slammed the phone down and gave me the ST for two weeks, in which I decided I *liked* the ST!   ;D

So, two weeks go by, she calls me and doesn't ask how it went or how I am - instead she lights into how WONDERFUL her friend C is for running her and Ray to appointments, taking her shopping, etc - all the stuff I was doing - but Didi can't praise C enough, and I'm sitting there at the other end of the phone thinking, "WTF am I?  Chopped liver?"   >:(

ON and on she goes, praising C to the point I started thinking, "If she's that wonderful, she can keep doing it while I recuperate."   :evil2:

Near the end of her C is a Saint schtick, she says, "But now it's time to let C get back to her life, and I'm going to need you to drive us to Ray's three  appointments this week..." - and it was said in *that* tone of, "Young lady!  I've put up with your slacking off for FAR too long and it's time for you to shape up and DO YOUR JOB!"    :dramaqueen:

Yes, Didi was also going to go to Ray's appointments as a way to *punish* me for my insolence and disobedience, because I'd have to figure out how to navigate TWO people in wheelchairs through mazes of corridors and elevators - all with a girlfriend still full of itchy, dissolvable stitches that stuck to *everything* and were going to be in place six to twelve weeks.   :aaauuugh:

Frankly, I was angry - but didn't let it creep into my tone as I said, "Mom, I haven't been cleared to drive yet, and won't be for at least another month."   :ninja:

That was a lie - but Didi didn't know that.  Her response was to gasp incredulously and slam the phone down in my ear. 

The first time she did it, I felt sad, angry, hurt, disbelief - this time I felt nothing but *relief* and said, "Good.  If she thinks she's going to take advantage of me, she's wrong.  Those days are over."   :ninja:

When somebody gets it in their head that something that isn't your job IS your job, it's time to walk away, because they're only going to keep expecting more and more, and raising the bar, too.

There's some Gold Standard we *never* manage to achieve, that others can, when they do exactly the same things we're doing - but it isn't their *job.*   :roll:

Eight years later, Didi tried to get me on the same merry-go-round, but I'd found myself here and said, "I can't do that.  I have too many responsibilities here.  You'll have to figure out something else."   :ninja:

She *freaked* - but I held my ground.  NO.  And I kept saying no, no matter how much she cried, carried on, or implied it was my JOB to move her in to ours.   :no:

All those things you're doing for your MIL, I'd stop.  No more hosting parties at yours, no more taking her to her favorite restaurants, no more putting up with Her Majesty inflicting herself on you and yours, and that includes taking her to doctor appointments and the ER.  She can call an Uber for the doctor and  an *ambulance* for the ER - or rely on anybody who isn't Mr. & Mrs. Bloomie.   :yes:

I'd also offload her finances to Princess sister and let *her* take care of this stuff, stating that you're just too busy to give it your full attention.

It's really the only thing you can do, otherwise it's just going to keep getting worse, and worse, and ALL manner of her care  will start becoming your  "jobs" - including moving her in and treating her like the Royalty she thinks she is; bathing, feeding and wiping her tooshie.   :aaauuugh:

What an appealing fate.   :barfy:

You can't force your DH Out of the FOG, but you can help him along using honest and accurate verbiage, in regard to your MIL:  she exploits, manipulates, takes advantage of, takes you for granted, treats you like SERVANTS, and even worse, doesn't care what she's doing to you and yours, because she doesn't see you as people - you're all just THINGS she can use, as it suits her.

Hopefully, if you keep using 'hard" words for her behavior, it'll start to sink into your DH's head - he's being USED to keep up a carefully-constructed  facade, and as she ages and fails, she'll keep expecting that facade to be kept up, when it's really nothing more than *covering for her deficits* - which others need to see and experience, so she can get the help she NEEDS, instead of what she thinks she's *owed* by you and yours.   :yes:

With luck - and a lot of encouragement by you (and hopefully a good T!), DH's eyes will be opened FAR before it gets to that point.  :)

 :hug:

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Bloomie

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2019, 12:28:55 PM »
Nomoreblind - what a painful conversation you and your DH had. I am so sorry that your family is facing the impact one high conflict, divisive person can have on your peace of mind. It is soul-sucking and can dominate our conversations after an encounter if we let it. We have been where you are and have learned to limit how long we process things after an encounter and I have learned that I can say what I need to say one time, and then leave it alone.

I like how Starboard Song states the delicate balance that dealing with all of this from a different starting gate position can be handled:
Quote
We each come to this kind of crazy-making with our own set of morals and capacities and scars. My wife has to understand my perpetual desire to fix just as I have to respect her need for emotional safety. My wife and I talk. A lot. We lay out what we consider No Go territory: disrespectful behavior we ask the other to avoid. We acknowledge that neither of us have to be perfect for the other. We talk about what we need. As a result, we each have certain topics about this that we don't discuss further with each other, but take offline to a friend. For instance, she doesn't need to hear me venting over certain things that add to her stress.

Quote from: Nomoreblind
Our Hs even though they see sometimes   unless it is obviously embarrassing,  they seem to block out the rude behaviour if their M.  It may have been a coping mechanism when they were children, to keep peace.  Hurtful for us, because we know they know their mum is horrendous but to admit to themselves they have mothers who are not loving or selfless, and that giving is a oneway street with these individuals is a painful reality which our H's seem to cope with my denying it, it seems.

Having grown up in a disordered and violent family system myself I am able to understand just how hard it is for anyone to go against a powerful uPD mother and uPDsibling combo plate. I think the difference is my own FOO was so high conflict it was much easier to see this was indeed not normal behavior throughout my formative years. I knew things were chaotic and unhealthy in my parent's home.

Giving voice to it and setting boundaries around how much I would engage with the type of conflict from my own FOO, what I would allow in regards to treatment of our children and my DH, all of the healing and going NC with certain family members was incredibly difficult, but initiated by me in my own family system. Recognizing things were very wrong in my family home was blatantly obvious.

For my H sorting and sifting down to the actual in his family is much more difficult in my own experiences with them as well, as they are the picture of bland, conventional, congenial, life all proper and pressed and practically perfect in every way with plastic smiles and perfect attendance on the front pew at the local house of worship where they are revered. So much is communicated covertly and by  manipulation and terrible things are said and pretty outrageous things done with a smile on their faces and yet with such malevolence simmering it is a mind blowing incongruence to come to terms with.  It is a family filled with secrets, self serving alliances, greed and behind the scenes infighting. Nothing is really as it seems. :yes:

The shifting sands of acceptance, love, affirmation, regard are incredibly painful in DH's family imv because one can be drawn in and believe the Cleaver Family Facade and unwisely believe one is safe and no one is ever safe in that system.
 
You can imagine the hard work and journey coming OOTF has been with such expert actors and master manipulators and I have been really grateful that my DH has done that work and found a healthier LOC of his choosing. So, it is a bit jarring to revisit this and to be fair... I asked the question.  :doh:
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 12:33:03 PM by Bloomie »
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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2019, 01:05:28 PM »
Quote from: WomanInterrupted
Unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with what your MIL is doing in thanking others, but ignoring you, DH and your FOC.

Everything you and yours do for her is seen as YOUR JOBS and she won't thank people for doing the things *she thinks they're supposed to be doing for her* - and she's throwing in *shade* by thanking others for doing those exact same things, implying *you and yours are NOT living up to her expectations!*   :blink:

This could not be more accurate in terms of what Updmil has expressed she expects of our family.  Like you, I was running ragged caring for my aging in laws and an aging grandmother in law. Family members went into the wood work as DH and myself handled all aspects of their care and needs for daily living. Like the rest of us here... while working and caring for our children and relationship and our lives... it was so demanding and unreasonable and the expectation of us was total. I just was doing it without question and exhausted. 

The sentinel moment came when my uPDfil (since passed away, but this was said without cognitive impairment) making one of the most humiliating and demeaning remarks to me in front of a group of people while I was physically caring for his wounds for me to remove myself from the role of Cinderella.

It took the discomfort and pity in the faces of those observing for me to realize he had said this demeaning and misogynistic kind of thing to me for years and I just absorbed it or laughed it off and kept coming back because I honestly believed that is what love and forgiveness looked like and that all of this was our responsibility.  :upsidedown:

To this day I still feel deep humiliation and frustration with myself that DH and I let ourselves be used in this way for so long.  :'(

I stopped doing everything I had been doing, DH set firm boundaries with his parents about what he could/could not do going forward and within two months the wheels had completely come off the bus and they were moved into an AL and were paying for all of the things that we had been doing for them.  :chickendance: But, the resentments have exponentially increased and I believe it is because there is no upside to pretending with me any longer.

There is still a lot to manage and for my DH without going into too many details turning over the complex financial stuff to his sibling isn't possible. This is his life package and he shoulders the responsibility and all of the chaos and issues that arise with his mother and sister well.

What you are sharing is challenging me to see how much we still cater and open ourselves up to the "throwing shade" (like that term - that is perfect for what this is like to experience) by uPDmil.

Quote
There's some Gold Standard we *never* manage to achieve, that others can, when they do exactly the same things we're doing - but it isn't their *job.*

Early on in our life together uPDmil and uPDsil stated often that I had taken DH away from them.  :blink: They had "lost" him to me. So icky and weird. I share that to say unbeknownst to barely out of my teens me when I married DH it positioned as a rival for DH's love. Our T said this to both of us about this dynamic... it is simple. He loves you more and they are most likely never going to get over it.

One of the ways that I believe uPDmil and uPDsil gain superiority in this rivalry I never chose, is by maneuvering me into the position of handmaiden and using manipulative mixed messages and strategic withholding.  They read me like a book early on and saw the vulnerabilities and longing to belong I carried from growing up in an abusive home and capitalized on those weaknesses and co-dependent tendencies.

I have stepped far out of that malignant dance, and comparatively it has seemed pretty distant and far, but I see there is still more room to move back and I will be doing so. Thank you for shedding light on the need for more chill and distance.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2019, 01:15:25 PM by Bloomie »
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Breakthrough

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2019, 03:27:48 AM »
Bloomie, I can see my DH responding exactly the same way, the fleas run strong with men with PD mothers! He would say he would see them more and that itís easier without me around for sure.  And yet, he refused to go to a family wedding on his side without me, and he even scapegoated me saying ďwell breakthrough has to workĒ, when he and the kids were both free to go, he just didnít want to travel with them on his own.  It is definitely hurtful behaviour, and I chalk it up to survival instincts that are deeply ingrained in them from having been raised by a PD.  My husband will do whatever it takes to avoid conflict with his mother, including stomp on my boundaries and scapegoat me.  The only way I have been able to deal is to limit time and turn a blind eye.  I just have to not care what they think and what they might be saying to others.  I also mostly avoid my MIL, and have non conversations with her.  I politely exit the convo and walk away.  She always manages to say something offensive or hurtful, and Iíd just rather not.  If he finds it easier without you, it might be better for the both of you if you just cut contact.  As long as your relationship with your DH wonít suffer, It will be better for your peace of mind.  You can do enjoyable things instead of having to bare that atmosphere of both walking on eggshells and bracing yourself for the difficult behaviours and comments.  I honestly would completely avoid MIL if I could, but since my husband still prefers we visit together, I do that.  What is ridiculous is I have visited my family on my own with the kids before.  He seems to be fine with that.  He is getting better about appreciating the difference with my parents I think, but honestly, I feel like he really still doesnít even dip a toe ootf with his at times.  It sounds like your DH is May be doing the same.  And I think that is a huge flea.  As frustrating as it is, easier for them to bury their heads in the sand about it, that is just the defence mechanism that allowed them to survive growing up with this PD person as a parent.  I feel like itís their default mode unfortunately.  Probably during particularly busy or stressful times they would default to this even more.  I am sorry you are dealing with this.  Hugs to you.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2019, 08:48:47 AM »
My DH has said similar. At first it was more sadness, now more with dawning comprehension. He doesnít really do anger... But he did blame me going NC as ruining his relationships with his parents not all that long ago. He was fine with them, even if I wasnít, but me going NC and forcing him into a corner with regard to the kids has made things awkward. And thereís some truth to that. He would never have enforced the boundaries around the kids if I had not absolutely insisted, and he told me so at the time because he, like your husband, just never saw even the most blatant toxic behaviors. Where we were at the time it would have been a scapegoating fest using the kids every possible way and DH would never have stopped it. I would have to go to have a prayer of protecting them and I could not do that. Anyway...

But DH is doing some of his own work now, and every so often heíll share with me some insight. Like how he made certain career choices with an eye towards winning his parentsí approval for example. Or how yes things are awkward with how they want to see the kids but DH acknowledges we gave them a very clear path to how to have relationships with all of us, even me. Iím lucky in that DH is a super logical guy, and he has values and principles that run deeper than the FOG. That is due entirely to the grace of God.

One of the things the ILs have always strongly disapproved of with DH is how religious he is, even though itís the same religion he was raised in. :roll: Youíre supposed to go to church but not actually believe what it means and change your life as a result.  Just punch your Sunday attendance card like normal people. Nobody actually does stuff like not use birth control and tithe 10%. Thatís strange and we embarrass them. We could have afforded to go on that vacation with them but we had to tithe... :blahblahblah: Of course I get blamed because I am religious too and he met me at the same time his faith was becoming his own... No way could DH be a man of strong conviction without a controlling woman making him. :roll: I know you are a Christian family too, and it may help to know that faith was the one area that Iíve never seen severely hampered by FOG with either of us. If the ILs suggested skipping Mass to do something, oh well we missed that thing. No regrets at all. Despite the pouting and guilting that would normally cause him to give in. It was never a conflict for DH. I think it was just the simple idea that there IS a much higher authority than mom and dad, and we will have the grace to do what He asks of us no matter what, did us both a world of good in getting OOTF. Of course we arenít there yet, but clearly on the way. You can both trust in Godís Grace for every step. You know that, but sometimes it helps to hear it from somebody else living it too.

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all4peace

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2019, 12:42:25 PM »
Bloomie, this is so painful. Both the sense that your DH doesn't really understand the depth of dysfunction, that somehow it is only because of you that any boundaries exist, and that your ILs are chronically and massively unappreciative.

For me, it is really challenging when 2 very strong parts of me are at war--the part of me that wants to be appreciated for what I'm doing for another, and the part of me that feels the need to keep doing for another. Very early in therapy, I was told that if things are very out of balance, there's really only one way for me to bring it back into balance--to back off. At some point I decided I would no longer do a single thing for a single other person UNLESS I knew I could do it without any acknowledgement at all, and still feel fine about that. That means my efforts towards my ILs are at a very low level indeed at this point, and I no longer feeling burning resentment and hurt towards them.

Bloomie, very often your IL family situation has eerily resonated with mine. I have noticed that the females in these PD systems seem to have a knack for finding the most tender places and pouring salt right into those wounds. I think your MIL knows very, very well how hurtful her comments would be to you, how unfair, and that you'd be too well behaved and kind to call her out on that. uNBPDmil did the same with me, only with the children. Mine were to be ignored while her daughter's kids were revered. When I would try to share stories of our kids' lives with uNBPDmil, she would interrupt me to tell me about the other amazing grandchildren. I really don't know another way to deal with this except to metaphorically (or literally) walk away or ignore it. Your MIL is never, ever going to give you what you want, or what you fairly deserve. Even though it is very painful, my advice would be to carefully re-examine your motives in helping her at all and getting them into alignment with your core values. For me, I had to face the very painful fact that I was giving to receive, and I was never, ever, ever going to receive.

As for your DH, that really hurts, too. For a very long time my DH would tell me that I "made him see", and he wasn't happy to see what his family was like. It was a big heaping pile of blame on my shoulders. It was only when I stepped wayyyyy back and DH had to deal with them alone that he stopped that attitude. Has your DH had to navigate family events without you?

I'm so afraid of sounding harsh. Everything I say is in the spirit of knowing you to be a loving, generous and healthy woman. Even still, these arrows to your heart are meant to hurt, and they do. But you are such a better woman than your broken MIL. Don't let her tarnish your spirit.

Do you know what I really wish? That someone would have your gifts to respond to you exactly as you respond to others on this forum. But since I cant, this will have to do. Hugs to you, dear Bloomie :hug:

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Re: Heartsick and left with questions
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2019, 01:19:15 PM »
Hey Bloomie!

I can't say I'm all that surprised. I just feel so bad that there is a sibling too in the mix and its the MIL and the SIL treating you this way. I agree with the person who said, he would be in the fog if you didnt help him out. And that's not a bad thing! It's our nature to love our parents despite it all. I love my parents despite their flaws, but they havent been destroying my marriage the way my MIL has been, but STILL. We aren't conditioned to think of our parents that way. I think your husband is awesome for going down this path with you. Most of us can't even get our partners to realize the toxicity. You should never feel guilty for taking him out of a toxic situation or at least helping him realize that thats what it is.

Just in a hard spot right now and hope to untangle some things with the help of you lovely people.

DH and I have been coming OOTF with his family and recovering from decades of full contact with a disordered, mostly covert N family system. Each of us at our own pace, for several years now. After experiencing the fall out from many tricks and treats that are found in the PD traits play list, we have reached a place of differing levels of contact with his most toxic of family members... uPDsil and uPDmil.

I am weddings/funerals only with uPDsil and VLC with uPDmil. H is his mother's carer and manages her life for her and as a result is in necessary contact which amounts to LC with his sister. Both of these ladies hold the positions as the Queen of Everything and Princess of Quite A Lot, respectively. :dramaqueen:  You can imagine the shenanigans and fun decades of relationship with them has been. :no:

I found myself sitting opposite uPDmil in an expensive restaurant (her favorite) this past Mother's Day listening to her list all of the people who are so good to her - who do such kindnesses for her. Then she goes on to talk at length about uPDsil - The Princess of Quite A Lot, and how many kindnesses (her word) sil is showing toward a certain family member taking them to doctor's appointments... and on and onimus it goes. Never one single time mentions my H or my children in her extensive list.

Reality check... mil actually sees her daughter twice a year (though they do regularly speak on the phone), spends every holiday but one with us ensconced at a lovely restaurant or table in our home with her tiny feet on a tiny ottoman being waited upon, respected, and honored. All bdays and all Mother's Day are hosted by us or our adult children where she is picked up and carried to and fro like the Queen of Everything that she is. All ER visits for transient vague symptoms unwitnessed by others for which there is never any indicators or issues found (we are at 7 and counting in the past year alone)  :upsidedown: and doctors appointments handled by my H and myself. All of her financial and investment matters carefully and faithfully managed by my H. But, when making her list - our family was completely absent from it.

So here is where my head begins to swirl... after all of the hard work my H and I have done to get OOTF and find what I believed was unity in how to handle all that is his family, and all of the decades of scapegoating, terrible smearing, manipulation, false accusations... as we are processing after Mother's Day H admits that he didn't even notice he and our family were absent from his mother's "list" which prompted me to ask my H a question I really should've thought about first before asking...

I asked something like this... "Do you think your LOC would be different with your family if I were not in the picture? Would you still be in full, regular contact with all of them like we were for so many years?"

His answer was... "yes, I think I would still be in full contact with all of them."  :'(

Just sitting with this like lead in my stomach and not sure what to do with it, but it reminds me once again to step out and away from all of this because it is possible, even after intensive therapy around the disordered behaviors of these two women and all of the pain they have brought into our lives, my H is still very conflicted and unsure around it all. UGH!!!!!!