Caring for ourselves

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all4peace

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Caring for ourselves
« on: July 22, 2019, 11:40:33 AM »
My dear sibling recently visited. While home, she and her DH were put on the spot by my enF. Since uNBPDm's voice hasn't been effective, nor her manipulation and control, we siblings have observed that our enF has moved into the role of speaker.

So, enF first spoke to BIL alone (sister hadn't yet arrived) and basically asked him how to fix the family problems. Later, with sister there, and BIL back at home (sister alone), both parents repeated the process. To be clear, 3 out of 4 of us have been very, very clear about what the problems are. Very clear.

In the course of the conversation, my sweet sister said she can't move forward while my parents pretend one family member doesn't exist (me). My sister's intentions were loving, but what that means is that the Eye of Sauron will soon be swinging my way.

Since that week of conversations, and more follow-up conversations with my sister, my head and neck are so stiff that it's hard to turn them and my body aches like I have the flu. It's hard to sleep again. While I don't feel actually anxious, my body is reminding me that this stuff takes a toll.

I can't revisit all of it. I can't redo all that work in my head. I told my sister how proud I was of her, how much I appreciated her really good boundaries (details of which I didn't share here) but that nothing had changed in my heart, our parents still hadn't behaved in any way that builds trust and that my offer stayed the same---inviting my parents to share all my correspondence to them with their therapist. My sister had already reminded them of my invitation to do so. They claimed "We've told our therapist all our kids' perspectives!" Ha! She told them that their version wasn't quite the same as ours, and why not use our exact words?

Anyway, I guess I'm just talking out loud. I have asked my sister to not bring my stuff into her conversations with them, but I also gave her the freedom to say whatever she wanted to say as she felt necessary, including information I've shared with her. So she did. And now I think they will be focusing my way again.

The comfort I've found is that my boundaries haven't changed. Really, it doesn't matter what direction they go, I still have the same boundaries. It gets old and wearying, but I don't need to be afraid or anxious. It makes me sad for them. It's hard to imagine such strongly constructed defenses, and what they must be protecting. Still, that's theirs to figure out, hopefully with help.

There are other challenging things going on in my personal life, so I'm renewing my commitment to self care. Water, good food, sleep as able, exercise, creative outlets, calming body time, friend connections.

Thanks for listening.

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Recreatingmylife

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2019, 12:33:50 PM »
I can totally relate to you. I am  focussing on extreme self-care. All of this takes a huge toll on the body and mind. Blessing to you.

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TriedTooHard

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2019, 12:40:33 PM »
Sorry this caused you to not feel well.  Even with siblings with the same mind set as you, it takes its toll, especially when you're the one bearing the brunt of your parents' dysfunction.  Its eye opening to see how its hard to listen to it, even when the siblings are supporting you.  Wishing you a successful self care routine so you can get back to the new life you've been creating for yourself. 

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LindaLoo

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2019, 04:01:54 PM »
I love those things you are doing for self care, and the boundaries you are sticking to! 

 :bighug:
~Your heart knows things that your mind can't explain~

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Phoenix Rising

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2019, 05:57:33 PM »
Keep on with the self-care, you deserve it. Big hugs
And here you are living despite it all..

Know this: the person who did this to you is broken. Not you... I will not watch you collapse

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Bloomie

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2019, 07:46:57 PM »
all4peace - as the balance of power shifts in your FOO it is most likely inevitable that your parents may shift their focus back to you or from family member to family member testing and taking a run at everyone's individual defenses in attempts to weaken them and somehow hold on to their quickly deteriorating facades, false narratives, and hoped for alliances.

Your self care and quick recognition that nothing has changed and your healthy boundaries are intact is an indicator that you will not "revisit all of it"... or "redo all that work in my head." 

I love your plans! Thankful you shared. You are not alone! :hug:

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Brooke

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2019, 12:10:04 AM »
Excellent boundaries and self-care!!

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Xena

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2019, 01:35:34 AM »
Happy to listen to you & to support you taking care of you. I think many of us can relate to not wanting to rehash it all again. We can get to the point where we have rehashed it enough times over months or even years with people who are just not going to change. Moving on to the healing & repair stage is a good place to be, but it's still a process, especially with other life challenges on your plate. Reparenting ourselves takes time & patience - I think you are doing all the right things listening to & validating your body's cues :applause: The feelings are real & still need to be processed, which is healthy but it's still work. I also think it's a great thing that you can honor your family members who are trying to help & represent you well, but you also recognize they are ultimately still working within the framework of a dysfunctional family system (with all of the role playing & mind games that go with that). I encourage you to stay in observer mode - you don't have to go back in. Be out in the sunshine, put on your mirrored sunglasses & reflect any eye of sauron right back off you teflon-style.  :cool2:

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Brooke

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2019, 03:15:25 PM »
you also recognize they are ultimately still working within the framework of a dysfunctional family system (with all of the role playing & mind games that go with that). I encourage you to stay in observer mode - you don't have to go back in.

Thank you for this reminder, I needed it.  :-*

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moglow

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2019, 03:54:45 PM »
At some point hopefully your sister will be able to tell them "I'm not going to discuss A4P behind her back nor am I going to sit here and listen to it from you. She's been more than clear with you how she feels and what would need to change. That has to come from you." Then she'll hopefully learn to change the subject or end the conversations as necessary. And too, this may be one of those situations that you and your sis may need to agree to disagree - and also not discuss further.

I can't talk with my youngest brother about mother's antics. He always defends her as this poor sick old woman who's all alone ... Never mind that she is the same person she was throughout our lives. Age and widowhood didn't change her, she's made deliberare choices in how she treats us and I want no part of it. If he wants to defend her, fine. He can do that from five states away while she's not treating him like something nasty she just stepped in. He may sing a different time once he's actually around her.

Those boundaries though - priceless aren't they?! Proof yet again, once you figure that out so many other things fall into place and stop being a struggle. :hug:
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 04:03:27 PM by moglow »
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Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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LifeIsWorthLiving

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2019, 05:02:27 PM »
Sounds like you are doing the right thing. If the way your sister handled stuff puts you in an uncomfortable position you could have a discussion with her about how things could be handled differently in the future.

I have to keep setting boundaries with my FOO, but slowly things are getting better. It's been almost 2 years since things really got bad with my FOO and things are improving with everyone except the NPDlifegivers.

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all4peace

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2019, 11:00:29 AM »
Thank you, everyone. The week has been going well. One nightmare and still not sleeping well, but I feel ok.

It's hard to share a summary of a conversation and be clear without giving too much away. Before my sister talked to my parents, she first talked to me and asked what I did or did not want her to say. I told her that I had clearly invited my parents to take one particular step and she was welcome to remind them of that, otherwise I preferred she not share what they "should do" regarding me. I believe she kept to that boundary. She was simply stating that SHE was not ok with life going on as if all was fine when it clearly wasn't. When they asked her what they should do about me, she said she didn't speak for me. When they asked her what our 4th sibling thought, she said she didn't speak for him. When they asked her to be a spokesperson from them to me, she said that was absolutely not her place or her job. So I actually think she has rocketed OOTF and I am sooooo proud of her.

To be clear, we siblings do not defend our parents. We don't think they're fine. We respect each other's different ways of handling things, and our relationships have grown healthier and deeper through this process.

Boundaries are amazing! It keeps us from re-visiting the same themes over and over and over!

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"as the balance of power shifts in your FOO it is most likely inevitable that your parents may shift their focus back to you or from family member to family member testing and taking a run at everyone's individual defenses in attempts to weaken them and somehow hold on to their quickly deteriorating facades, false narratives, and hoped for alliances."

I do believe this is exactly what is going on. Doesn't mean I need to re-join the battle, though. Thanks for all the support!

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all4peace

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2019, 05:44:14 PM »
And enF continues, this time with dear B for yet another round. "You never got back to me and told me what I'm supposed to do!" I've suggested to sibs that getting things in writing might at least give my sibs a sense of reality when the Narents continue to circle back around.

Parents repeatedly violating spoken boundary by dear B, while telling dear S this is something they're being "very careful about."

Bloomie posted a link to a video in another thread that I am finding very helpful. It's about boundaries from a Christian perspective, but would be helpful for any person. It talks about the place we put the "scary people" when maintaining our boundaries. And he does refer to people who don't have love, mutuality and respect as being in that outer ring. When someone cannot seem to stop lying, denying, justifying, blame-shifting, ignoring actual guidance offered them and boundary busting...they are not safe for relationship. We can love them but they're not emotionally safe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3l3ST7z7ps&t=1s

I've watched it twice now to remind myself of why my parents occupy a space far away from where my closest relationships are. It's also a beautiful explanation for WHY we have circles of intimacy. It's not about lack of love, but about access and our limited resources.

As they rinse and repeat, I must rinse and repeat.

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Bloomie

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2019, 12:14:19 PM »
Quote from: all4peace
"You never got back to me and told me what I'm supposed to do!" I've suggested to sibs that getting things in writing might at least give my sibs a sense of reality when the Narents continue to circle back around.

These types of responsibility avoidant and gaslighting statements..."Tell me what I've done." "Tell me what I need to do." "I have no idea what I have done." are so disheartening and can be such stumbling blocks in our healing process if we buy in, I have found.

I have experienced this kind of turning of the tables and helpless overwhelm to be a facade and self serving posturing from a disordered person that refuses to take responsibility for themselves and their choices that have harmed me and others.

It defies logic that a grown adult is facing a growing list of broken relationships with those he says he holds most dear and he is at a complete loss and needs someone else to tell him what to do. :no:

I have seen this from one of the most image conscious, covertly angry, and powerful of my uPD family members. The chasm between this person's real self and this facade is part of what has disconcerted me in the moment as it is can masquerade as sincerity and all of the sudden we can find ourselves bearing the entire weight of the issues because in my own case, this is an actual refusal to mange themselves - though carefully couched as willingness.  :sadno:

I think of a child who is facing the consequences of their actions and is going to have to go to a time out and all of the sudden they go dead legs on us. Just refuse to move their limbs and walk to their room for their time out. Flopsy Mopsy body of jello. And the entire weight of their 5 year old body is suddenly on us and we are dragging them along to face the time out chair.  :doh:

Your dad is further burdening you all by this tactical maneuver as he goes all dead legs and has a sudden and very specific inability to find solutions and strategies for himself.

From where I sit, seeing only a tiny snapshot of the situation, this is a man who has managed to raise several wonderful, loving, insightful, productive adult human beings - so he has some self agency and wherewithal in life - who suddenly is dumfounded and dead legs when it comes to managing his own harmful behaviors and honoring boundaries and working through issues.

So wise to suggest getting things in writing for clarity sake and to continue to remind yourself of this very real and painful truth:

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people who don't have love, mutuality and respect as being in that outer ring. When someone cannot seem to stop lying, denying, justifying, blame-shifting, ignoring actual guidance offered them and boundary busting...they are not safe for relationship. We can love them but they're not emotionally safe

Keep doing your good work through all of this and offering yourself respite and self care. :hug:
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 12:16:16 PM by Bloomie »

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all4peace

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Re: Caring for ourselves
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2019, 10:16:58 AM »
Bloomie, I had to laugh at your "dead legs" metaphor. It's perfect! So often when dealing with the parents in DH's and my families I have been reminded of toddler behavior. I'm also reminded of when my kids were little and they would have a time-out break. They didn't want it, so they'd argue but the deal was that the timeout couldn't start until they were quiet. It's like my parents think they won't have to actually face anything as long as they're talking, asking and trying to throw the ball back in our court.

I'm thankful I don't feel afraid anymore. In the past it would have been very triggering for me to know they're making the rounds through the family, and now it just makes me sad.

Since I last posted it is very likely they approached our quietest sibling for a discussion. As someone recently reminded me, I need to allow them to have their responsibility and not try to hold onto any of it for them, including ruminating about what they're doing.

Thanks for the support, everyone!