Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE

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gettingstronger1

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Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« on: July 02, 2019, 09:09:13 AM »
Hi there.  This is my first time posting on the PD in law section.  I usually post on the PD parents section.  I have been Out of the FOG regarding my family of origin for several years now.  I have been able to set firm limits with my FOO's toxic behavior and I have drastically reduced contact since the emotional abuse continues and they have no remorse.

As of this visit with my husband's parents, I have abruptly come Out of the FOG regarding my dysfunctional mother in law.  I have known for 20 years now that she has very problematic and sometimes abusive behaviors.  I was also aware that she emotionally and verbally abused my husband's brother as a teenager.  I have also watched her hen peck and emotionally abuse her husband over the years.  I have also watched her family struggle to deal with her dysfunctional behavior.  She is confusing in that she can also be very loving so people put up with the abusive behavior in hope for the loving behavior.  Over the years I have put up with bad behavior and her obsessive desire for family portraits every time we get together.  These forced family portraits with the insistence of color coded clothing for each of her adult children's families causes a lot of fights and stress over the years. In other words my husband, children and I were required to wear a certain color, his brother's family had to wear a different color and his sisters family had to wear a third color.  His siblings eventually put an end to this thank goodness.  Basically the problem is that my husband's mom has to control and dominate everyone.

This controlling and emotionally abusive behavior of his mother finally came to a head the other night.  The whole family was gathered together at my mother in laws house for dinner.  She decided to emotionally eviscerate and humiliate my husband and I in front of the whole extended family regarding my daughter's fear of riding horses on a horse back riding trip two years ago. My 10 year old daughter was on a horse back riding trip with her young cousins and there mother.  My daughter got scared at the last moment and decided not to go.  Unfortunately my sister in law couldn't ride with her daughters because of this.  At that time, two years ago my husband and I apologized to my sister in law over the situation. She graciously and kindly accepted the apology.  Two years later my mother in law eviscerates us over that in front of everyone.  She then stated that my daughter would never be allowed to go on any horse back riding trips.  She didn't consult us about that she just made an executive decision regarding our parenting decisions and what we would do with our child. Nobody said anything about this inappropriate behavior.  I was so shocked and upset that I went to bed and thought about how I wanted to handle the situation. I knew this time she had crossed a line and had humiliated me and my husband.  We had to do something.

The next day, my husband gently and politely confronted her.  She blew him off and gave a non apology.  The whole family them left for the night to their vacation condo.  They own several vacation houses which is a whole different story about their hording.  At any rate my son didn't want to go so we stayed behind.  During this time my husband and I decided we would both talk to her and set a boundary with her that if she behaved abusively again our family would immediately leave from this vacation. The next day my husband and I spoke to her privately.  I explained that her behavior the other night was inappropriate and unacceptable.  If she behaved that way again we would set a boundary and leave.  I also tried to talk to her about her controlling behavior.  Her response was to become extremely angry even though we spoke calmly and firmly to her.  She said she would do and say whatever she wanted in her house and with her family.  She them attacked my character and told me that she was ending her relationship with me.  She then left the room in a huff not hearing a thing we said. My husband and I were sad at her response but relieved that we set a boundary.

As I said at the beginning of the post, it seems like PD's are everywhere.  Since this post is getting long, I will summarize by saying that I am encountering them at work and also one stranger at the gym who verbally abused my son. My teenage son's only offense was sitting on the gym couch wrong.  He didn't cuss them back. He quietly left the situation and got me. I was proud of my son's mature behavior.

It just seems that inappropriate cruel people are everywhere lately.  I know that it is good to set polite firm boundaries.  It is just emotionally exhausting because no matter how polite you are in setting the boundaries they play the victim, have no remorse, and make you out to be the bad guy.  That's fine if they want to do that.  I will just do everything I can to remove myself from the situation and not jade or argue.

Thanks for listening. Sorry this post is a little long.  I hope I did the right thing by setting boundaries. It just seems that when I set healthy boundaries PD people end up hating me.  Any thoughts from you guys would be greatly appreciated.  Even though we are stuck in my toxic mother in laws house for several more days I am determined to enjoy my vacation with my husband and kids.   :) :)

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 10:08:19 AM »
Wait... you said you would leave if your MiL after abusively again. She immediately attacked your character... looks like itís time to enjoy your vacation with your husband and kids somewhere else.

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Hazy111

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 11:12:51 AM »
Call me,

I think you are right, dont doubt yourself.  When i understood what PD is and how to recognise the signs and behaviors i came to the conclusion that PD is very much the norm not the exception.  Freud said something like "neurosis, is the norm not the exception"

"Denial" is the key defense or primitive behavior we all employ for not recognising bad traits in ourselves. Human beings can only bare so much reality.

Unfortunately PDs are very adapt at presenting a " false self ", so the mask might not slip initially, but when it does youll spot it much faster than others and you know what to do!

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LindaLoo

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 01:02:59 PM »
I agree, PD's are everywhere!  You did the right thing by setting boundaries! Your MIL's behavior is unacceptable :no:  I know what you mean, it seems when we do set boundaries and stand our ground, there are so many who then turn on us. This is my life, but thanks to this forum I am learning to cope with it. You will find great help here. Blessings
~Your heart knows things that your mind can't explain~

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Bloomie

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 01:55:37 PM »
gettingstronger1 - Oh boy! What an awful experience while on vacation with your mil. When we have the personal standard that we do not allow ourselves or our children to be abused in any way it is necessary to remove ourselves from situations that are not safe.

You maturely and calmly addressed continued behaviors from your mil that are not acceptable and she is choosing not to manage her behaviors differently. That leaves you with the option to continue close connection with her or distance yourself from her as you have had to do. That is healthy adulting and parenting imv. Bravo!

When first coming OOTF I felt surrounded by PDs everywhere I looked. What I have learned is the difference between someone who may or may not be PD stepping over a line - such as someone correcting your child inappropriately let's say, and a mil who blows up when you do not agree with the notion that she owns the family and can decree and declare anything she wants to over an entire group of adults and children - is how they respond to kindly and calmly set redirection and us pointing out their behaviors are over the line.

So, for example should you choose to address the person at the gym who corrected your child harshly and inappropriate and they quickly adjust their behaviors and apologize that is a productive and healthy exchange even if the original issue was unacceptable. Your mil's response to you and your DH was an example of someone who has managed to build a system around herself that gives her ultimate control and undue authority.

In my own in law family, even gently addressing divisive and over the line behaviors resulted in a raging type of backlash or simmering resentment and covertly destructive and obstructive abuse. The response to kindly set limits such as "we will not be able to join you for a family vacation" or "Please call before you come by" or "these behaviors are so painful and unacceptable to us, if they continue, we will not be able to be close to you." was disturbingly revealing of just how unhealthy certain individuals are.

The suspected PD family members in my own life hate the loss of power and control. For us, underneath all of the manipulative, drama bound, ridiculous shenanigans was a major and ever present power struggle. There was a paradigm for family that had been in place for decades that allows a great deal of destruction and tearing down of others. :no:

Image management, such as the famous family photos you describe here - been there, done that as well including the color coding of humans as if they are widgets on a shelf, over substance. Impression giving and false charm over authentic, loving relationships where differences are worked through and the relationship is actually stronger for having done so. They are not interested in that. Period.

I guess in the end of it all... what is worth fighting for is how our FOC is treated and if someone hates me for that I can certainly lay my head on the pillow at night and rest soundly because my first and best priority is my FOC and anyone, no matter who they are, who would try and harm my child or eviscerate me or my DH publicly or privately is a person I would need to have boundaries of steel in place with and let the chips fall where they may. :yes:

You did good! :chickendance:
"You can understand and have compassion for someone and still not want a relationship with them."
Amanda E. White, LPC @therapyforwomen

Bloomie 🌸

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gettingstronger1

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2019, 07:41:07 PM »
Call Me Cordilia, Hazy111, LindaLoo, and Bloomie,

Thank you to all of you for your responses and support.  Hearing your insights and experiences is very helpful.  It helps to know I am not the only one who sees PD's everywhere when coming Out of the FOG. 

Quote from: Hazy111/Freud
"neurosis, is the norm not the exception"

Having studied psychology/counseling in graduate school, I found this quote by Freud to be interesting.  It is sad that I am going through a time where I am realizing there is a lot more dysfunction and neurosis than I originally thought, but I also remember all the really good people that I have also met in my life.

Quote from: Bloomie
The suspected PD family members in my own life hate the loss of power and control. For us, underneath all of the manipulative, drama bound, ridiculous shenanigans was a major and ever present power struggle. There was a paradigm for family that had been in place for decades that allows a great deal of destruction and tearing down of others. :no:

Bloomie, I think your observations about power and control are spot on.  Abuse is always about power and control and the attempt to dominate other people.  Since our confrontation, my MIL has largely ignored me, but the next night she did make one comment to the whole family that I found to be revealing of her.  I don't think anyone else  picked up on the comment, but I did because even though it was said aloud to everyone I suspected the comment was directed at me.  We all were working to prepare dinner and were trying to decide if there was enough food to invite my brother in law's family who lived up the street.   My MIL replied "It's not my decision.  I don't have any power here."  I realized when she said that that it was very important to her to have power and control of the situation. I am guessing that she felt the loss of power and control when we set a boundary with her.  She couldn't understand that we were expecting polite treatment, not control over her.  Bloomie, I also wanted to let you know that I have read your posts over the years and I really appreciate the insight and wisdom that you bring to this group. I always learn something from your posts. I am guessing that you have been dealing with PD family members for a long time so you have the experience of time to heal wounds and gain perspective.

Quote from: Call Me Cordilia
Wait... you said you would leave if your MiL after abusively again. She immediately attacked your character... looks like itís time to enjoy your vacation with your husband and kids somewhere else.


I understand the point you are trying to make and it is a valid point. No one will take you seriously unless you follow through with what you say you are going to do. I completely agree. When my husband and I discussed what to do about his mother, we agreed that if there was a major boundary violation we would leave (such as the incident the other night). If there was a minor disagreement he would privately talk to her.  Its a fine line here because this is my husbands family.  He is just beginning to come Out of the FOG and he is afraid of being estranged from his family like we are mine. I am trying to have empathy for how horrible this must be for him coming slowly Out of the FOG. I remember it was incredibly painful to me to come Out of the FOG about my family. It took me years to deal with and this will take years for him to.  He has made a lot of progress in the last six months but still has a long way to go. Because of this, I am willing to overlook her angry feelings and cheap shots when we originally confronted her for my husband's sake. I realize that she had never been confronted before so we took her by surprise. It was a lot for MIL to digest.  I also don't want to push DH faster than he is capable of going. Since the confrontation, MIL has largely ignored us so I am grateful for the quiet for the time being.  Maybe this is a cop out but I am dealing with many people's feelings. This is a large family and we are trying to preserve all relationships as best as possible.  NC is not an option for my husband now or never. I am trying to work with this but make sure my boundaries are not violated at the same time.  If something major does happen, besides MIL calling me "controlling" rest assured I will insist to my husband that we leave, but I promised him that it was a joint decision we would make together as a team.


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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2019, 11:16:40 PM »
Hey, Iím sorry for replying in a rush. It would have been better to take my time. Thank you for responding graciously even though I was very direct.

I do understand not being both on the same page or pace figuring all this out. (See lots of my own posts in this section.  :unsure:) I even had a very similar scene play out where I confronted uNMIL, very gently, and it all got turned around on me and it ended up with her exploding and then trying to make me into a victim of my parents and therefore oversensitive about everything and paranoid. She stayed several days longer after that episode. Anyway, I did regret not just slamming down the NC gauntlet and kicking her out and/or leaving with the kids. But I couldnít have done it at the time because I was too, ďWhat the heck just happened here???Ē And DH never would have gone for the nuclear option at that point in time... ah well. I probably projected all over you there. Again, Iím sorry. But I will say that until I started making my own boundaries in response to serious personal attacks non-negotiable did I see any real progress on coming OOTF with DH.

Iím also going to be a bit of a butt and say please donít make excuses for your MIL. It is not your responsibility to make allowances for people who donít know how to handle gentle disagreement. Youíre probably absolutely right that itís a lot for her to digest. But none of that has any impact on what you are and are not ok with from her. All the easier for her to accomplish from a distance.  :evil2:

All that to say, Iím still a stranger on the internet, and Iím not much farther down this road from you at all. Iím just calling it like I see it, with my limitations and blind spots, but I wish you the best.

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gettingstronger1

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2019, 01:10:27 AM »
Call Me Cordelia,

Hey there.  I appreciate your apology.  That was very kind, but I am actually not upset. I truly understood the original point you were trying to make.  Like I said earlier, when you make a boundary it is vitally important to enforce it or my MIL will never take me seriously.  You had a very good point.  When I post, I understand that some feedback maybe hard to hear.  Someone will usually gently provide a prospective that I had not thought of and that is one of the things that makes this forum good. 

So now I have two more questions for you all.  I am now in the process of reflecting about and evaluating myself in the confrontation with my MIL. I really made an effort to speak calmly and fairly to my MIL, and I think I accomplished this.  The problem is how do you tell someone a hard truth about themselves without coming across as harsh?  I think she thought I was harsh, but basically I was telling her a hard truth.  She was shocked that someone had confronted her so directly.  I didn't want to sugarcoat it because otherwise she would never listen.   Do you all have any thoughts on this? Another question I have is how do you help a spouse who is not as far along as I am in coming Out of the FOG?  He grew up with a dysfunctional mother so all of this is normal to him and he has problems seeing her toxic behaviors.

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gettingstronger1

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2019, 01:57:55 PM »
I just wanted you all to know that I started a new thread since I had two new questions in my last post.  Since the two questions were a different topic, I thought it might be better to move them.
Thanks

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Andeza

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Re: Out of the FOG and now PD's are EVERYWHERE
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2019, 12:16:09 AM »
I just wanted to pop in and say I've noticed the PD's are everywhere too. In fact, after I came Out of the FOG, I identified four in addition to my M almost immediately. Considering how small my social and work circles were, smaller now than ever, it's actually a really high percentage.

When my DH and I were first dating we used to refer to people as "normal" "bad crazy" and "good crazy." It took me a while to figure out the "bad crazy" encompasses PD's and other mental health issues that lead to destructive behavior and toxic relationships.

The worst thing though? I seem to have a giant target painted on my back that attracts PD's. Luckily now I see them for what they are, make very nice small talk nothing personal, and then never pursue the relationship further. In fact, I avoid them if possible.

I wish you luck with your DH and in-laws. It's not an easy journey.