Feel like giving up

  • 13 Replies
  • 770 Views
*

Leonor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 99
Feel like giving up
« on: December 27, 2019, 06:57:02 AM »
Here in second home after setting Big Boundaries with dh around ils. And ... it's not working for me.

We agreed to a short visit in a park on Xmas Day. So we meet and there is mil. Quick background: 3 years ago on Xmas mil stormed out of my house with sil and enfil and hasn't spoken to me or the kids since except for one xmas meal last year, or via skype.

I wanted to be medium chill but I was trembling with rage. When she said my name, I said "hello" and ducked behind dh. She said, "hmph" and then proceeded to announce that she was going home! Enfil immediately started jammering about how mil wasn't feeling well after a long visit that morning, blah blah blah. Dh turned to me and I said, "This is the last time, then" in a low voice.

Then dh and enfil decide to "save the visit" by encouraging everyone to go play. So the kids take off and we all sit down: enfil on one small bench, mil on another small bench and their 2 dogs, and me and dh together.

Enfil plays and chats with kuds and mil sits there like a lump on a log, not speaking to dh or kids unless dh directs them to sit down and visit with her. At one point she "forgets" the name of the deceased pet she has some weird shrine to in her home and dh quickly reminds her. Then I answer a question of my ds, who was sitting next to mil, and at the sound of my voice she snaps, "Enfil, what time is it?" At about the hour mark, they get up and say they are leaving.

H and I "debrief" later that day. I am in a state of total ptsd anxiety and upset. For dh, the visit "started out poorly" but ended ok: mil stayed for a "reasonable amount of time," had "innocuous conversations" with the kids and the kids liked playing in the park with enfil.

For me, the visit was horrible and I have been feeling sick ever since. I felt like a prop in some awful play in which mil is being lauded for deigning to show up amongst people whom she has bullied for years now. She still is not speaking to dh (which dh says is "sad," because "she's still mad at him, like a liitle kid" - mad at him for what, we don't know exactly). She snapped at me and made no real effort to relate to our sons.  Enfil pretends to be oblivious to get what he wants, which is to play like a little kid and let everyone else be the adults in the room and take care of his wife. And dh doesn't even talk to his parents. It's not as if they have any real relationship- it's just that this way we can all pretend Happy Family on Christmas Day.

Then dh says he thinks we should go out to eat with them ... the day after next! I say I am not ready for that and he says he doesn't want to wait until after the weekend because he doesn't want to feel like he is "avoiding his parents." This, all for the person who has avoided us for three @*!# years!

I asked the kids what they would like to do (independently and light-heartedly while out and about) and the youngest two say: go eat lunch, go to the movies, and go to the park with the grandparents. And I tell dh that I am willing to work out those visits and go out to eat with them on Saturday instead of Friday. Dh says "Saturday will be expensive" and I say "Monday, then" and he says, "We have tasks to do on Monday" and I say, "Okay, Tuesday then" and dh says, "Saturday it is." 

But I can't sleep at night. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel like I understand every unspoken word in that visit, from "we're going to act as if everything is ok," to "poor mil is losing her memory and deserves our pity," to "Leonor is the problem."

And damn if that's not exactly what I heard when dh started asking me what was wrong and I said, "I don't think I want to go out to eat with you all tomorrow." Now I'm the unstable one, now I'm the one who threatened to break up the family, now I'm the one who made all kinds of demands and placed dh in an "impossible" position, now I'm the one with family issues (I'm nc with my foo because I was sexually abused as a child) ... And his parents "are who they are" and he is making all kinds of changes that he finds controlling and now I'm changing the rules again, and I have to take some responsibility and not "put it all on my parents."

I cannot tell you all how much I have done for this family over the years. I have hosted holidays and anniversaries with multi-course meals and pretty wrapped presents. I have spent every vacation seeing to their medical and financial meeds. I have nursed fussy babies in a folding chair while they have all trotted out to lunch. I have visited with their bankers, befriended their bpd daughter, sat with their dying mother. I gave them the birth of my sons and made sure the children heard nothing from me but caring and kind words about their grandparents.

At this point, I just want to go home and ask for a separation. :(
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 07:10:27 AM by Leonor »

*

treesgrowslowly

  • Host Member
  • Full Member
  • *
  • 446
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2019, 11:17:36 AM »
I hear you. There are so many people like your MIL in the world and I feel ill inside when I am trying to cater to them because they are so uncaring about the people around them.

MIL isn't entitled to anything. Shes an adult, she can behave when she decides to. I've been there.

It sounds like your reaction to all this is similar to mine has been around narcissistic behaviours. There are people like DH who stay in denial, and there are those of us who feel how taken advantage of and worn down we are from having to manage all their passive aggression and entitlement behaviours. Over and over.

Its very difficult for some adult children to come OOTF. Without counselling it can be hard for them to see that their parent feels entitled.

 It is miserable to have narcissistic people in your family. I'm sorry you're going through this.

*

GettingOOTF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1342
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2019, 12:07:25 PM »
I am sorry for the situation you are in. The issue here isn’t your MiL, it’s that your dh is not supporting or protecting you.

I get how he feels. I was very enmeshed with my PD family and it took a long time to see them for who they were. I never understood how other people reacted to them, I thought they were nice, kind people who only wanted what was “right”. I was enmeshed in the toxic family system.

Seeing your family for who they are is hard and most people fight their whole lives to keep the toxic system together. To do otherwise is simply too frightening.

Are you able to go to marriage counseling? While you dh may never see who his mother is it would help you to have a safe space to explain your feelings to him and set down boundaries.

In my therapy I’m now working on acknowledging that a PD/toxic family system can’t produce healthy offspring. I’m working on my own toxic habits and “fleas” that I still carry from my upbringing. I may have left the family, but I still carry a lot of toxic traits, for example I tend to be reactive, rigid, controlling and have a very black and white view of “right and wrong”. I also lean towards drama. I think this is an addiction of sorts to the chaos I grew up in and later recreated in my own relationships.  I am now able to see these things in myself and am working very hard to change these behaviors.

What we are exposed to as children is what we see as normal. These behaviors are deeply ingrained in us, they are the  foundation we build our life on, which is why so many things like abuse, addiction, poverty and infidelity are intergenerational. As children we tell ourselves we’ll do better but we don’t have the skills to live a different way, only to repeat what we were shown as children.

Ultimately there is nothing you can do to change your dh or make him see things the way you do, all you can do is put boundaries in place to not let him and his family hurt you further. I’ve found therapy and this board invaluable in this. For me it’s important to work in seeing things for what they are, not what I wish they were. It’s hard work but has brought me a lot of peace.

I see my BPDxH’s behavior and his mother’s so clearly through you post, down to the storming out. They could be the same people. My ex never came to see how toxic her behavior was. While he has BPD, and that obviously contributed, his mother and the rest of the family were the biggest stressors in our marriage and most highlighted his inability and unwillingness to consider my feelings and needs. I went NC with his family and divorced him.  There is nothing that can be done to change these systems, people have to leave them and it takes a lot to leave a family system. I am 47 and only recently went NC with my toxic family. My siblings are still fully enmeshed.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 12:11:08 PM by GettingOOTF »

*

NumbLotus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 584
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2019, 12:29:07 PM »
Maybe giving up means "I'm done dealing with your parents, DH. I'm NC as of right now. You go out to eat or whatever you want, but I'm done, period."

I understand your DH because PD is absolutely baffling in its invisibility. So you can actaully think, that wasn't so bad... she didn't blow up or anything... I've seen a lot worse... honestly, I can't even name anything she did wrong.

For years and years I've had a stomachache when travelling to see MIL (or calling her), but why?? And more often than not, the visits are "fine"! I couldn't really describe what was wrong. Also, sometimes it really WAS fine, but the knowledge that it could so easily not be fine would still keep us on high alert. It's invisible and baffling.
Just a castaway, an island lost at sea
Another lonely day, noone here but me
More loneliness than any man could bear

*

Alexmom

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 64
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2019, 04:29:07 PM »
For your mental health, I think its time to go NC.  Tell your DH you will not be attending the Sat get together or any future get togethers with the IL's for the forseeable future.  Take care of yourself first as it is clear DH is not in a position to protect you from his family's wrath since he is still signing up to be exposed to it. 

*

candy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 152
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2019, 06:31:53 PM »
Dear Leonor,
I am so sorry for the pain and anxiety your MIL and DH are causing you these days.
From your description of the hour in the park I would like to validate every conclusion you have made. Your instincts are spot on: MIL was making remarks aimed at you, she put on an act, has FIL enabling her, and your DH seems to be the one blind to all of it.

You have every right to change your mind, like any human on this planet has(!), and it is highly manipulative to call you unstable for doing so.

If DH has been raised and conditioned to spend time with his M even when she refuses to talk to him, that is his dysfunction. It is a flea. It does not have to be yours or your sons‘.

As my DH switches to guilty, obligated son mode during the holidays, I completely understand how exhausted you must feel. You are not the bad guy, Leonor, you are not the problem and you are definitely none of the „suddenly I‘m the one who“ characters! That is your DH doing DARVO, probably learned that at the toxic environment he grew up in. He can‘t stand up and oppose his parents, so he does it with you, by proxy.

Protect yourself. Take an out. NC or VLC with the IL‘s. Boundaries on how DH may talk to you and what you do in case he doesn’t respect your boundaries. I also think that maybe counseling could help.

The things your DH has said sound truly hurtful from my side of the screen.
Maybe a counselor could help your DH understand that words contribute to how safe we feel in a relationship. You both have a right to be treated with fairness. Marriage, like a healthy family, should be a safe place above all.

Sending you strength, and a  :hug: in case you need one.

*

Leonor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 99
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2019, 07:50:45 PM »
Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your support and kind words. I'm sorry to say that things have gone really bad rather fast.

I felt so gut punched by h's last words to me that I started avoiding him. I felt blasted and just wanted to keep him away from me so I stayed quiet. I didn't talk to him or make eye contact with him. I do this sometimes and I know that it's a BPD trait but, honestly, sometimes what he says to me feels so painful I just want him to forget I'm there.

Instead he comes in later amd says that "this can't go on"and I said "what you said was so painful to me that I just wanted to be alone."  Then he says, "We had a contract that was very angry and had a lot of ultimatums and I accepted it even though it had threats and all the rest, and the first thing you said when we got here was oh throw it in the garbage."

And I said, "No, it was not when we first got here, it was after our first visit with your parents and your mom was miserable and snapped at me and I felt thrown under the bus, and later when I said I didn't think I could go out to eat with them because it's a very reduced space and lots of arguments have happened there, I realized I was breaking the agreement so we could just forget about it, because I wasn't able to hold up my end of the bargain."

That's when h went off.

He said that I am one extreme or the other, that it's impossible because I either love people or hate them and how much I loved my mom and wrote letters about how great she was to a newspaper that ran an editorial on working moms and how I pressured him for sex at the beginning of our relationship and then I said in therapy that it was disgusting and all of a sudden my mom is evil and I don't even have any more friends, where are all your friends, Leonor? So who is right? On and on and on.

This is my whole abuse history: my mom is a diagnosed hpd and my main abuser who brainwashed me and then walked out and disowned me 10 years ago in a t session when I confronted her in the presence of both our t's and my h waiting in the next room to support me.

He's right about my old friends because my m called them when I started to make noise about therapy and they accused me of being isolated by my dh and t and for not being a good friend by going shopping or calling them while I was in recovery with flashbacks and night terrors and dissociation so bad my t and I talked about inpatient care (she refused and saved my life). Since then its been hard for me to make close friendships.

By this time I am sobbing and begging him to leave me alone, I mean, why come to talk to me if all you're going to do is trash me? All I said was I didn't want to have lunch with his parents. On one frickin day. After 20 frickin years.

He even brings up that once I called and made an appointment with our local domestic abuse center. I didn't show up for the appointment and didn't tell him because when this happens I convince myself that I have bpd fleas and am overreacting. He says, "Yes, I did know, and it's impossible for me to be an abusive monster one minute and the most supporting husband the next."

And he's saying we (meaning, me) have a problem and need therapy because he needs stability to hold onto and I said "I'm not going to therapy just to find out more of what's wrong woth me" and he says "I'm trying to help you but this can't go on" and I am begging, pleading, please, just go away and he won't let up and finally I say I want a separation. And he says oh that's right and gets his coat and leaves the apartment.

He will go on and on about whatever I say that he doesn't agee with until I feel like I've been ground down with a mortar and pestle.

I also noticed weird little punishments this trip, like we'll have a little ice cream after dinner or something and he'll give me the one I like least. It's so stupid I feel dumb for saying it, but I know there's something to it because it is always the same one. There's one kind I do like and he puts it back as if for I don't know why.

Also I hurt my knee and stopped running 6 mos. ago and put on 10 lbs yuck and all I hear about now is how I'm a "fatso". Also when he's apologized to me layely he makes sure to call.me a name like "a-hole" but in this kidding kind of way.

Meanwhile, he really did go out to lunch with his parents and the boys today and came back all in a good mood. I'm sire the ils were on their best behavior for having "won" their s and grandkids sans the daughter in law.

My boys are 6, 11 and 14. I have a crappy job that depends on his and he controls the money. I get a spending allowance of 350 per month. Now I'm stuck in his country for 10 more days.

Am I acting unreasonable? I dont know what to do.


« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 07:59:16 PM by Leonor »

*

ladybirdgirl

  • New Member
  • *
  • 11
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2019, 10:33:29 PM »
Leonor you are not unreasonable in the slightest. I can really relate to the things you have said, my husband says things like yours if I dare to say anything about his mother. It’s like a defence mechanism and unfortunately like you I am still on this train too.

I can’t say anything else other than you know your own truth, please stick by it and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise. My husband likes to use things against me when I try to say facts about his mother and it can be very hurtful. I’m sure this is learned behaviour from her and the manipulation over the years, however I know the truth now and I stick by it.

As others have already said, going no contact if this is best for you is fine, you should not have to be in this situation. I don’t have any contact with my mil anymore and it makes things slightly easier.

I’m so so sorry you are going through this and please know that you are not alone.

*

gettingstronger1

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 159
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2019, 02:55:37 AM »
Leonor,

I hear your pain and my heart goes out to you.  You are not being unreasonable and you have the right to protect yourself.  We are here to support you. You are not alone.

*

GettingOOTF

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1342
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2019, 10:41:26 AM »
You are absolutely not being unreasonable. This sounds like a truly awful situation. I’m really sorry.

Have you read Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. I also highly recommend Stop Walking On Eggshells. Both these will be available in the library and there are “free” PDFs floating around that I’m sure someone here can link to. These books saved my life.

*

Leonor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 99
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2020, 08:07:36 AM »
Hi all,

Back for an update. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and resources with me. I am in a better place than I was but not as tranquil as I'd like to be.

H and I have been up and down so much lately that I am dizzy. We have cried and talked amd cried and talked. I see the core of our trouble is that we were both raised as GCs by severely disordered parents and I adopted some bpd survival traits and he adopted some npd survival traits and when wevare triggered things get real bad real fast.

Also both of us feel that the other does not reaaly acknowledge the other's pain. I do not feel wholly supported in our relationship(s) with his foo and he does not feel acknowledged in how my relationship with my foo affects him. We have agreed to go to counselling together and I would like support for me individually too.

Through it all, he has maintained the boundaries I stated prior to us coming here and has not put up with much nonsense from the ils. When they have tried to get to me he has cut them off at the pass, so that is good.

We're married 18 years today. We are spending the day together as a family. It is nice and I am trying to enjoy it and relax into tbe day.

I would like to hear any words of sharing or experience from survivors of trauma who are dealing with bpd inlaws. How do you navigate your healing? How do you negotiate your inlaws? How do youbrespond when you are feeling triggered?

Thank you for reading. You are all immensely helpful and I'm grateful for your support!

We have come to a place in which I

*

Alexmom

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 64
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2020, 05:20:39 PM »
I have a 25 year history dealing with Udx IL's, and I tried just about everything - working harder at these relationships, low contact, detachment, gray rock, cleaning the slate and giving it a second go, etc. and what finally worked for me was going NC.  The longer I am NC the better I feel and the clearer I see what went on in these relationships and how negative they were.  DH is still in contact with his father and brother  (his mom died in late 2018), so they aren't completely out of my life in so much as DH sees them and brings them up in discussion from time to time - but they are out of my home and my space and I no longer spend time and energy on them, so that has been very healing. 

When I first pulled the trigger on NC, it felt unsettling and uncomfortable but I lived with this for a while until it finally passed and I felt at peace.  I was also able to see and understand why I tolerated the behavior from my IL's for as long as I did and why DH continues to tolerate the behavior which is so key in all of this.   I understand myself better and know how to conduct myself better to only allow loving, respectful relationships in my circle.

*

all4peace

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 7957
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2020, 01:58:13 PM »
Leonor, you're in such a tough position, and it's one that resonates very strongly with where I once was. It is very difficult to come from trauma, to have a heightened nervous system response, and then to try to stay calm and steady in an IL's dysfunctional chaotic family system. I used to think and focus so hard on staying in the middle of my lane while uNBPDmil swerved wildly from side to side (or so it felt to me).

The only thing that started my healing process was a large chunk of as close to NC as I could manage while living next door and seeing them weekly at a public gathering. We really cannot heal while our nervous systems are in chaos.

I am totally inaccessible to the most toxic SIL, FIL and MIL. DH and I always consult each other before making decisions about invitations and contact. We always, always choose the thing we can both live with (we didn't used to do this, and it did a lot of damage to our bond with each other).

Our DD was heavily focused on and separated out from our family, and she is totally inaccessible by all family members.

The ILs do not come to our home.

Those 3 things were hugely key to my healing process. I could finally start calming down, over years, and focus on therapy to begin healing the wounds of childhood.

DH and I are at the point where we occasionally accept family invitations. We are excluded from most things, so the invitations are rare. We no longer invite them into our home, as MIL was totally unable to behave with basic civility. Our visits are generally in public and quite short, very infrequent (twice per year, possibly). This gives us VLC, which is not enjoyable and is not meaningful, but isn't total NC.

My best to you. This stuff is hard and painful!

*

SweetTea

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 142
Re: Feel like giving up
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2020, 05:49:13 PM »
Leonore,

So sorry you are going through this. I have been there.  :yes:

The only way I could heal was going NC with DH's family (my DH, DS21 and DD18 are LC). PD in-laws are not allowed to come to our home; it's our safe haven.

We also saw a MC for about six months and each saw an individual therapist to work on our own 'stuff'.  Our walk Out of the FOG was rough and involved a (for lack of a better phrase) nervous breakdown on my behalf, but I'm grateful to have woken up, removed myself from the abuse, and I'm proud of us for saving our marriage and protecting our FOC.

We have been married 24 years. The last 2 years NC have been the best two years of our marriage.

Hugs my friend. You are not alone.  :hug:
Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it. ~Ziad K. Abdelnour