Feeling Nervous about Saying No

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DreamingofQuiet

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Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« on: November 21, 2019, 04:29:25 PM »
My brother emailed everyone yesterday to notify us that he would be going to our parents' house for the holiday. He said he would try to fix their computer while he's there.

The last group communication was between him, my mom, and I, and my mother, having had a bad day and angry that we don't call more often, told us she had failed as a parent because we had no empathy.

My brother has obviously made his peace with her since then. I have not. I feel really uncomfortable with this, but if I'm being honest with myself, I just don't have it in me right now. My mother tried to send me a somewhat conciliatory message thru my dad and then thru email. Among other things, she tried to change the narrative by saying she wasn't really mad at me but at my brother. The text she sent was very obviously directed at the both of us. Even if it WAS only directed at my brother, I'd still be appalled.

I'm just so tired of this crap. I know they're frail and old and need help, but I just can't swallow her random bouts of hostility anymore. I know other people's parents here are so much worse, but again, being honest, I'm at my limit with what I can tolerate.

I emailed everyone and just said that I wasn't going to be doing the holidays this go round but hoped they would enjoy the season.

Now I wait and hope there's no fallout. That seems a pretty slim possibility. But I have a choice between saying no and dealing with the consequences of my nonparticipation or swallowing my own anger and sitting with the cognitive dissonance while pretending to make nice with the family. I am going with the former. If I'm a bad person/daughter for doing this, so be it.

DoQ

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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 05:28:13 PM »
I'm just so tired of this crap. I know they're frail and old and need help, but I just can't swallow her random bouts of hostility anymore. I know other people's parents here are so much worse, but again, being honest, I'm at my limit with what I can tolerate.

I emailed everyone and just said that I wasn't going to be doing the holidays this go round but hoped they would enjoy the season. 

I say, good for you! That's an excellent step in protecting yourself from them. If you're at your limit, that's A-OK. Too bad for them, if they were nice parents this wouldn't have happened. Taking care of them is not your responsibility and if they think it is, too bad. They should have prepared themselves for the aging that will happen to all of us.

My uPDmom hasn't prepared at all. Bought too much house, everything needed in it, spends every dollar she has and dropped a small bomb in an email to me. She was describing a neighbor who has very little money so wouldn't it be nice for her kids to send her money every month.  :roll: Hmmm, a veiled suggestion to me for when she needs money. I was never the one who got loans for brand NEW cars every 2 years and so many other bad decisions. But I'm supposed to send her money? Uh no, won't be happening.

You aren't a bad daughter. You are a strong woman who has decided enough is enough. I like your email to everyone, it's short and to the point.


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Pepin

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2019, 06:03:40 PM »
I emailed everyone and just said that I wasn't going to be doing the holidays this go round but hoped they would enjoy the season.

Powerful words and well done!  Remain strong and don't cave in if they ask why...no need to give a reason other than NO.

 :applause:
Why work so hard to have a relationship with someone that does not care the same way as you?

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

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

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

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DreamingofQuiet

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2019, 10:20:31 PM »
Sunny Meadow, thank you so much. My parents have more than enough money, at least if they continue living in their house that's paid off. But my mother hates the house and my dad's clutter. And would prefer to live in an assisted living community. I don't think they can afford that. Plus, my dad is starting to lose his marbles. He's been running the ship all their lives together,  and she's let him (while complaining constantly) and has not cultivated any coping skills of her own. I am glad you are holding the boundary for yourself regarding your money. I think you are exactly right that your mother is fishing for a handout/s. Good job sussing that out and putting up the deflector shield!

This last meltdown and then my brother emailing as if nothing happened just triggered so many bad memories for me. My mom exploding and then everyone carrying on as if nothing happened. That was a continuing pattern throughout my growing up years. I'm just so freaking sick of it and them.

And most of my interactions with my unBPD mother over the last four-five years have just really sucked. Speaking of meltdowns, my mother decided to bring up a vacation we went on when I was a teen and basically said I ruined the vacation for her because of my behavior. I remember that trip very well, and I was not the one who behaved badly. She ruined the trip for herself and made it pretty crappy for the rest of us because of whatever it was that was going on inside her head. I think people call this gaslighting. Whatever it is, I'm sick to death of it. My memories are never my memories. She 'remembers' everything, and her memory is always right. She just coopts and takes over everything. There is no room for me in a relationship with her. I'm a damn ghost, and I can't stand it anymore. I feel like in a way I am doing everyone a kindness by staying away, because the only way I could be around them right now and bear it is if I just called stuff out as I saw it. And that would just lead to major drama.

Pepin, thank you for the reminder that no is a complete sentence. I've been thinking about that. Not JADing. I don't know how much I'll say, if anything, if they ask, but just knowing I don't owe anyone an explanation is a big help. I wouldn't know that if it weren't for this place.

DoQ

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 01:33:14 AM »
If you're at your limit and you've had enough, then you're at your limit and you've had enough.  You can do no more, and can't visit for the holidays.  You've hit your BS Saturation Point - and that's OKAY!  :yes:

I really liked your email - short, sweet, to the point, and NO JADE.  There's nothing to argue with  - but it won't stop them from trying.  Personally, if put to the question, I'd stick with being a broken record and say, "I already told you, I can't come."   :ninja:

If still put to the question, like, "What's so damned important that you can't make time for your faaaaaaaaamily!?" - I'd take the snide, sarcastic route:  "Well, I thought I'd go downtown, give windies for fifty bucks, then blow the money on crack.  Happy now?"   :evil2: :evil2:

If your mom would like to go into AL, but you're not sure if they have the money, ask her to hire a Geriatric Case Manager, who will look into all the options, and find all the services your parents qualify  for.  This person will be of invaluable service to your parents - who probably won't want to be bothered, once you mention it.  :roll:

They may expect you to do the same things as a GCM, but for free - don't.  It's their future and THEY can navigate it without your input or help.  :ninja:

You don't owe your parents a thing - including spending uncomfortable holidays with them, where they revise history and blame you for all their problems. 

SunnyMeadow - good for you on seeing through that "hint" about money.   8-)

If your mom squandered it all, so be it.  She can see to her own future, without expecting you to finance it.

 :hug:

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DreamingofQuiet

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 03:34:05 PM »
WI, thank you, thank you. Every post you write, I'm hanging on every word. I'm so glad you mentioned the geriatric case manager. I knew there was someone that helped the elderly but wasn't an attorney but couldn't remember the term. That is exactly what they need and could probably help them a great deal. And if I say it to my mother, I can hear her indignation at further 'proof' that I don't care about her at all. And that's ok.

I think this current ragey episode has in part been fueled by posts from the extended family on social media. My cousins, or some of them anyway, have grandkids and are very involved with their parents. I'm sure she looks at those posts and finds it extremely painful that her children are distant. I totally get why she thinks I'm a sh%t daughter. A very strong case is there to be made that I AM a sh%t daughter.

But, again, when I'm honest with myself, and that's all I've got to offer the world and myself right now is my honesty, I just don't have it in me to be like my cousins. I fantasize about it, but I can't do it. I just can't. What I would like to do right now, though, (even tho it makes me feel like the sociopath my mother sees me as right now) is focus on myself and how I see the situation. AND, maybe focus on things that have nothing to do with them?

It's weird, I have low contact with my family, I'm not running around doing things for them like so many people are when they first come to OOTF. Yet, I still feel like I'm bound to them in some way, just more from a distance. But it's like I'm not fully occupying my body and my mind. I'm not taking up the space that's rightfully allotted to me. And by not doing so, it's like I'm not really here. I'm not living a full life, not even close.

I think I'm trying to be this empty vessel, with them and pretty much wherever I go. It's my role to be here just enough to support everyone else, be a listening ear and then merge back into the wallpaper when no one needs me. And with my parents, especially my unPD mother, it's my job to take on her projections and any other garbage that spews out of her mouth. And I am beyond over this. I think I saw someone else on the boards use the term "sin eater," and it really hit home for me. I am her designated sin eater. Except I quit. The words garbage in/garbage out have been repeating in my brain the past few days. I can't afford to take on/in anymore garbage, from them or anyone. I'm not a trash can. No one is.

DoQ


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PeanutButter

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 04:20:51 PM »
It's weird, I have low contact with my family, I'm not running around doing things for them like so many people are when they first come to OOTF. Yet, I still feel like I'm bound to them in some way, just more from a distance. But it's like I'm not fully occupying my body and my mind. I'm not taking up the space that's rightfully allotted to me. And by not doing so, it's like I'm not really here. I'm not living a full life, not even close.
I feel like this too even after a long period of no contact. I understand it more now after listening to jerry wise youtube. He talks about needing not only the physical distance of low or no contact (getting out of your toxic foo) but also really only healing if we are addressing the "family systems" inside of us (getting our toxic foo out of us).
 https://www.youtube.com watch
Overcoming Family Hunger: How Can I Get My Family Out of Me? - YouTube
 https://www.youtube.com watch
How to Become the "Real You" in Relationships - YouTube

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FromTheSwamp

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 05:37:51 PM »
Yes, I am not the best daughter.  I don't visit my parents often, take them places, call them often, spend holidays with them...

But you know why?  It's not because I don't want to.  I absolutely want to have a life where those things were happening, but the life I have is the one where my parents are the people they are.  They are people who have driven me away over and over with malicious, manipulative behavior.  With constant whining.  With putting everyone else before their own children.  Throwing heavy guilt trips at us with every single contact. 

The relationship we have is the one THEY CHOSE.  I didn't want it.  I limit contact and limit involvement.  Because I have to in order to protect myself from people who don't like me and are eager to do damage to me. 

Saying no to spending a holiday with people who don't treat you well is just good common sense.  I just wish I'd seen it sooner.

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DreamingofQuiet

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2019, 09:44:37 PM »
Peanut Butter,

Jerry Wise! I'm so glad you mentioned him. I just discovered him on YouTube last week and have begun to listen to his videos. I will definitely check out the links you included in your post. I like his tagline about the importance of "getting your family out of you." I don't plan on going NC, at least not forever, though I would like to do it at least temporarily, take a break. But I see that whether I stay in touch with them or not, I will not feel any better unless I deal with the family introjects.

FromtheSwamp,

I'm so sorry you've had to make the choice to stay away from your FOO else be abused. It's good for me to see how you put it. It makes perfect sense to not engage with people whose intent is to harm you. Why would anyone? But society puts this expectation that family is everything, and we must stay in touch with our families no matter how sick they are.

I don't know if I'm still in the fog with this, but I can't really believe that they're being abusive. It's all so subtle and covert, not outrageous and egregious like so many stories I read and hear. And my parents are not Narcissists per se. I believe my mother has BPD, so it's been a lifelong cycle of love bombing and then anger. I'm not a scapegoat who's been relentlessly mistreated. It's more like I've been love bombed and showered with gifts, but there's an emotional abuse tax that must be paid as part of the deal. Random meltdowns and tirades are to be expected. But they're random, so no way to really prepare. And they're pretty infrequent and not that bad, and you shouldn't make such a big deal out of it because you're loooooved.  :stars:

DoQ

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DreamingofQuiet

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2019, 10:53:36 PM »
My mother just sent out a pic of my dad wearing a funny shirt. It's an adorable pic. I'm not feeling it. "Look how cute he is. We're having fun, and want you to see. Don't you miss us?" This from the same person who has harangued and badmouthed my father to me and anyone else who would listen for years and just a couple weeks ago was wailing by text about wanting to die.

Is this an attempt at love bombing? It feels very familiar. Mother blows up, everyone hides, she feels better, and then everyone pretends it never happened. If it's addressed at all, it's because she's suffered so much in life/is mentally ill/we were all being impossible/everything's fine now, why can't you let it go?/blah blah blah.

Am bracing myself for more of this. Ugh.

DoQ

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2019, 02:15:36 AM »
Yup - I'd say it is a form of love bombing, where you all ignore bad past acts, sweep them under the rug, and pretend they never happened, until the next time your mom blows up about nothing or doesn't have a kind word to say to you - but until then, let's all just play at being a Happy Family.   :roll:

You've already identified what it is, so you won't fall for the BS.  You've already mentioned having plans - she's trying to undermine you in the hope abuse amnesia kicks in and you spend your holidays with them.

Because, you know, nothing says "Holidays" like your mother criticizing every single thing about you and your lifestyle.   :sharkbait:

You're NOT a shit daughter - but you do have a mother who did a shitty job of raising you, and now can only read about others who are close to their parents and maybe comment on them to you, hoping to "motivate" you.  :violin:

UnBPD Didi would pull that kind of crap, relaying how *everybody's* adult children were coming over for the holidays, to either celebrate  at their  parents' home  or to take mom and dad home with them.  There was always an  unspoken, "HINT, HINT, HINT!" in her words - but I'd become oblivious  and as dense as a post, *refusing* to hear her *expectations.*   :ninja:

Instead, I'd go on about how much unsafe plaster dust was coating all the surfaces and I'd muse aloud if we'd ever be done with our extensive renovations - maybe next year, mom.  (Our house is 100 years old and was in rough shape when we got it, so this excuse was plausible - but in no way true!)  :evil2: :sly:

Because of how we were raised, it's natural to want distance and not want to go over to perform some kind of dog-and-pony show which we'll never manage to get right, thereby earning Her Majesty's rebuke.   :mad:

There's no real *content* to the relationship - and that's not your fault.   It's also not your fault if you don't want to pretend, slap on a fake smile, muddle through the day and go home feeling like you robbed yourself of  time better spent doing something you actually enjoy.   :disappear:

Plus, there's the emotional hangover for days afterward.   :stars:

It's just not worth it - that doesn't make you a shit daughter.  That makes you a *smart*  human being, who is more concerned with self-preservation than some image your mom has in her head, that never turns out exactly right because people are imperfect, messy, sloppy, glorious and wonderful beings.  8-)

She can't see that last part - glorious and wonderful - the world is black and white and WILL conform to her rigid standards or it is BAD.   WE will conform to the rigid standards or we are BAD.  :no:

We're anything but  - and we're not the ones with the problem.  We're  not the ones with unrealistic expectations, who can never be pleased, and are black holes of constant need.

You're like me - and probably all of us here - you just want to live your life in peace, and there's nothing wrong with that!  :yes:

Do YOU.  BE you!   And enjoy your holidays as YOU see fit, hoovering and love-bombing be damned.  8-)

 :hug:

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p123

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2019, 12:34:50 PM »
Yup - I'd say it is a form of love bombing, where you all ignore bad past acts, sweep them under the rug, and pretend they never happened, until the next time your mom blows up about nothing or doesn't have a kind word to say to you - but until then, let's all just play at being a Happy Family.   :roll:

OMG I get that! Dad conveniently forgets the stunts hes pulled in the past and its all "happy families".

Like when he was in a mood because my wife didnt make a special effort to ring him on his birthday a few months. I was like "You what????" and thinking, seriously, after what you've pulled the last few months. But it doesnt sink in.

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p123

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Re: Feeling Nervous about Saying No
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2019, 12:38:15 PM »
Yes, I am not the best daughter.  I don't visit my parents often, take them places, call them often, spend holidays with them...

But you know why?  It's not because I don't want to.  I absolutely want to have a life where those things were happening, but the life I have is the one where my parents are the people they are.  They are people who have driven me away over and over with malicious, manipulative behavior.  With constant whining.  With putting everyone else before their own children.  Throwing heavy guilt trips at us with every single contact. 

The relationship we have is the one THEY CHOSE.  I didn't want it.  I limit contact and limit involvement.  Because I have to in order to protect myself from people who don't like me and are eager to do damage to me. 

Saying no to spending a holiday with people who don't treat you well is just good common sense.  I just wish I'd seen it sooner.

Swampie - I'm sure you are the best daughter but they make you feel that way. Its a con trick.

I get that too. I often think "hang on when did I agree to this sort of relationship?" The one where I visit almost daily and everyones happy, I do what he wants etc and we're all so close and you're so close to your brother because we've always been a family that looks after each other.

I'm almost sick in my mouth when he goes on like that. Some of you will know what I think of my brother. (I dont want to get banned again!) BUT Dad is hanging onto this idea that the 3 of us are SO CLOSE. Umm no we aint.