Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...

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Nomoreblind

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Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« on: February 07, 2020, 05:37:05 PM »
UNPD mil and UNPD sil are back for a weekend.  It is dinner time, they apparently have missed their morning flight and are here after my DD bedtime, time by which I am usually in my bedroom anyway.  Instead of H picking them from the airport an hour away, he went to one 2 hours away.  I have let him deal with everything about the visit on his own.  Cooking, cleaning, everything.

Anyone else coming to my home, I would have rushed downstairs to welcome them, set the table and have dinner with them.
 Instead, I am in my bedroom hiding.  Some people make you feel uncomfortable in your own home, they just do.  Why rush to expected deception? 

Actually this time I want to ask anyone with some success at it to explain to me how they try to heal themselves?  How to not stress when you know home wreckers are in your home?  My H does not want no contact, I will never suggest it to him, I am supporting him as my H, but I refuse to let myself be disrespected in my home.  My attitude/response now is to not engage when they want drama.  Silence rather than react.  However how do you cure that internal turmoil, fight or flight mode is on?  It can't be healthy.  How do you stop thinking of the stupidity they throw at you even when you see them for 3 weekends in the year and they live a distance away.

I am as I am writing listening carefully just in case Mil decides to sneak into DD's room to see her.  She is 3, after a year and a half battle to get her to sleep at a reasonable time, I have succeeded doing that like 2 weeks ago, fingers crossed it continues.  When I discipline my child Mil gaslights me, telling me that if I tell my DD off for spitting, she is not doing it.  I feel like having a fit right there and then, but I don't do it.  How do you detach? How do you build that invisible protection bubble?  When npds go low, how do you rise above?

I saw my H putting a torch on her bedside table, and all I am thinking of is "why on earth do you need a torch in my house when you have a bedside lamp and light in the bedroom"?  They sleep in a wing of the house and I have requested my H to lock that wing at night, because if I see her walking around at night, I will freak out and I will not sleep with her walking around in my sleep quarters.  I do not trust her.  I am not being paranoid, I have lived with her and she listens at bedrooms' doors. 

The worst thing is that anyone seeing her will think she is an innocent poor 80 years old something. Always using covert guilt trip ways, not asking directly what they want, making others responsible of their well being or passive aggressive digs.  Wolf in lamb cloak, alright.

10 years of that already.  I am asking god strength to free me from that mental prison.  How do you guys manage?  How do you not give them free rent in your brain?  I can't go no contact because H has never suggested it, he knows though to some extent they are dysfunctional.  I don't want to go no contact because I will not let my H take my DD away to visit them.  I don't trust them they may brainwash my child, if H is not strong enough to stand up to them both at once and I am not taking chances.

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sparrow2

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2020, 10:57:01 PM »
Iím doing NC myself with BIL and not imposing that on DH who speaks to him, however BIL is not allowed in my home whether Iím here or not- they have to hang out elsewhere. Could you place a boundary that they not sleep in your home?

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appaloosa

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2020, 06:49:24 PM »
I would NOT have them in my house, period. I suffered through years of that with my toxic in laws--feeling like a prisoner in my own home, and believe me, if I were doing it over again, no way in hell they would step across my threshold. They can stay in a hotel or wherever your husband chooses to make arrangements for them. Not your problem. And if they want to see your DD I'd take her to a restaurant (or other public place of your choosing) for a visit with them and then take her with me when I left. (and if they misbehaved or criticized my parenting that would be the end their contact with DD) You don't have to let them into YOUR home, anymore than your husband should be expected to have your  toxic relatives (if you even have any) in his home. Sorry you are stuck with them at the moment.

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Thru the Rain

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2020, 09:09:29 PM »
There is a LOT of ground between "no contact" and "mom/sister I have a hotel room for you when you visit".

Asking for toxic people to not be part of your home is not the same as asking your DH to have no contact.

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Nomoreblind

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2020, 10:42:09 PM »
Thank you for your comments

The problem when you deal with covert narcissism is that it is not obvious when they are being mean.  They will not usually shout at you.  They make snide remarks, in a soft gentle tone, masked behind I am joking to cover up.  If they were openly violent, I would have easily have ground to say to my H, well I don't want to be around them.  If they are mean to you openly, they do it when there is no witness around.  H adores my family and vice versa.  He loves having them around.  My mum calls him "my son".  She buys something for my brother and gets one for my H as well, eventhough we live thousands of miles away.  I put up with Mil and Sil out of love for him.  Not guilt.  He has a good heart.

An example is for instance, yesterday after lunch, something so unatural and rehearsed in my opinion happened.  I was  sitting at the table, my H was asking Mil to come and sit in the living room, she came and gave me a big hug, in front of her son.  This is the type of act they put thst make you ask yourself, is it something wrong with me or is it them? Go and criticise that saintly woman to her son or anyone else seeing that in action and you know you are in the dog's house.  For me to believe she has changed after 10 years, I will have to see consistency of good behaviour, normal 2 way discussions. This is the same woman who told me I was miserable (when my H went out) when I was living in her house, the one who did not give me my university letter to inform me my exam is earlier, after studying all night I went late to my exam, the person who demanded that I sleep in a separate bedroom from my H for the first 5 months of my marriage (I was 27 and H 39), because we were living in her house.  The person who when I gave birth, told me people will make fun of my DD combined surnames.  I say I love you and give huge hugs to my friends, but coverts can win Oscars by putting on an act.

Sil warned me before Mil came in, how "vulnerable" Mil was, maybe Dementia, anxiety, fear, depression.  In combination with heart disease etc, tablets will clash.  She was talking about the herbal path, I said did you try hypnotherapy?  She made Sil sleep with her for the last 6 weeks apparently.  I just listened and asked has she been diagnosed to Sil?  Nope.  Sil does not want to it may be a downward spirral for Mil to be diagnosed.   
My gut feeling tells me she is just trying to tell me /justify in a guilt trip way  if mum is making snide remarks, put up with it, she is fragile.  They are a team these 2 and very similar.  I have been watching Mil and in my opinion, fear, yes, anxiety of abandonment, yes.  Neediness, yes, dementia?  I doubt it.  She is trying to hoover and there is no way on earth I will get into that and visit them, there.  She calls Sil 10 times a day if she is not around.  Sil lives with her mainly now. H was at Mil's beck and call before we moved out of her house.

Sil made a comment to my DD that she made Grandma eat her breakfast.  I wanted to say, it is not your responsibility to my DD3, it is just those small messages inserted in a child's mind, they load her with that sort of responsibility.  They come with gifts and as a child she is happy with that.  Sil did play with her a lot.  I kept my mouth shut, about DD making Grandma eat her food, if I say something, I will be the bad one.  I don't care about them, but I care about my H and DD and do not want to rock our boat.

I have somehow for the first time in years become emotionally detached.  What helped me was to go outside in the morning, fresh air in the garden, playing with my DD, while I attend to the garden.  I told myself when I woke up, I will place God in between them and my FOC.  I read my bible tonight, I did not touch it in 2 years almost. I want to forgive for my well being, my conscience, my values and principles. I do not want to react to her anymore, hold grudges like my H say, or have the last word, to rub my ego in the right way. However I will never let them get close enough to me to be an open book.  Mil knows it.  My gut instinct says watch out.  There is still tomorrow to observe watch and learn my lesson in life, before they leave on Monday.  I now look at them as lessons.  My holidays to my home country are 2 days after that, they asked if I was looking forward to it,I said yes, looking forward to nice weather.  Which i am, but in reality, it is my family I want to be with and relax with.  But if I say that, I expect guilt trip or comparison/competition. DH is looking foward to it too, but you can't show your happiness to people with a pd.  He does not say it to me, but he knows it deep inside I am sure.  It's been a day now and he seems knackered already.

If anyone of you are finding efficient ways to let go, while still very low contact, as in between 3 weekend visits a year, i am no contact, please let me know your methods please.

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Nomoreblind

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2020, 10:53:27 PM »
By the way for the hotel room suggestion, we have multiple spare bedrooms, from spring to fall, we have paying guests, so difficult to find a genuine excuse to say stay at a hotel in winter.  Otherwise i would have definitely followed that advice.

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Thru the Rain

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2020, 01:58:41 AM »
By the way for the hotel room suggestion, we have multiple spare bedrooms, from spring to fall, we have paying guests, so difficult to find a genuine excuse to say stay at a hotel in winter.  Otherwise i would have definitely followed that advice.

I can see that would be very hard to pull off.

It sounds like you've found a healthy way to detach this weekend. Good for you for having strategies like going outside, gardening, reading the Bible, looking forward to your holidays (and you own FOO!).

Stay strong and hopefully the rest of the weekend continues relatively peacefully!

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hhaw

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2020, 12:37:19 PM »
NMB:

I noticed you felt relief when you took your dd into the garden and tended to them both.

I also noticed you're aware your fight or flight mode kicks in (sympathetic nervous system SNS).... it's not healthy.  It feels bad. It's a terrible way to spend time in your home, with your FOC..... and it's not something you can think your way out of when you're in it, IME.

But going out in nature, gardening, playing with your child.... putting distance between yourself and MIL.SIL....
you're masterfully engaging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)  which resides in your torso and is responsible for releasing the chemicals that TURN OFF your fight or flight mode (SNS). 

This is HUGE, bc what you're doing is overcoming a hijacked biology.  Chemicals in your brain actually shut down access to higher brain process.... logic, problem-solving, creativity..... with you stuck in the amygdala... lower, reptilian, survival brain functions.  Your brain believes you're in danger and the responses are fight, flight, fawn or freeze with no way to shift into higher frontal lobe function without DOING something.... like going into the garden and focusing on nature, taking a cold shower, humming or engaging in deep breathing BECAUSE DEEP BREATHING SENDS THE MESSAGE TO YOUR BRAIN THERE IS NO DANGER.  It sneaks up from the bottom of your brain and unhooks the wires to the warning bells rather than working top down trying to THINK your way out of Survival Mode, when you just have no access to higher brain.  It's actually a biological problem, rather than a problem.

So.... breathing.  Fill your lungs from the bottom up, like filling a vase.  Pooch your stomach out and fill from bottom to top slowly.... then breathe out slowly.  Do this 10 times, with your eyes closed..... focusing ONLY on your breath.

Once you've done that, open your eyes.... continue breathing.... but notice whats around you.  Colors.  Shapes.  Notice what's in your peripheral vision.  Feel whatever is supporting you from below.  You are safe.  There is space around you.  Above you. 

Continue breathing and notice where the tension or upset is in your body.  Usually in your torso, chest, neck, back but notice it and put a number on it for intensity from 1 - 10.  Think about the exact feeling of it... burning?  Throbbing?  Tense?  Sharp? Dull?  Really pay attention to it, without any judgment.... be curious about it.  Continue breathing.

Once you've identified it and feel you've put the right number on it for intensity.... pretend you're breathing spaciousness INTO that area of your body.  I pretend it's pink cotton I'm breathing ...... and I create more space in and around my tension.... and I breathe. 

SOmetimes, if I'm really upset and CAN'T focus enough to breathe and stay with it I PUSH ON WALLS with all my might... just push and try to focus on my breathing at the same time.

Sometimes I walk in a circle backwards around a small trashcan... while breathing.

These are tecniques I learned from an informed trauma therapist to get myself OUT of fight or flight mode. 

The thing to remember is.... you have choices.

Learning to unhook the alarm bells is a choice and response I invite you to cultivate, bc you seem interested in gaining emotional distance when your MIL and SIL are in your space.

My T put it this way.....
when you're in fight or flight mode, you're nose is on a pebble.... your MIL is a pebble and you've lost your ability to draw back, gain distance and SEE all the pebbles in the field.  Getting your nose off that pebble.... SEEING the spaciousness, so that one little pebble is ONE among the many..... is helpful. 

I've been doing this for months and I still struggle with it, btw.  I can't think my way out, and I've been doing that for over 50 years so I'm building new brain pathways to RESPOND rather than REACT, which is the trick, IME.

If we get out of our own way... help our brain feel safe... our brain is very efficient at processing the overwhelming emotions that get stuck.  It happens in a millisecond if we tend to the processes that let our biology know we can't be in danger now.
 
One last thing that helped me a lot was rapid eye movement right to left..... EMDR....while breathing and focusing on whatever I'm focusing on at the time.

You put your hand about 18" in front of your face, then wave it back and forth 22' across..... maybe one back and forth pass per second.... 10 times, then check your number from 1 - 10, or whatever it is you're working on.  If things are getting better, continue.  When things stop getting better, stop.

You seem very hooked into whats going on around you.  I'm curious if any of these tecniques seems useful to you.  I'm curious if you experience any relief from them.

Good luck,

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Bloomie

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2020, 12:43:45 PM »
Nomoreblind - the characteristics and behaviors you describe are very slithering and gaslighting. You are right you are in a tough spot and finding good tools to use would be a great relief.

The toolbox has good suggestions and the traits info has a do/don't section for each trait you identify as behaviors you mil/sil are exhibiting.

I too continue to have LC with a mil/sil dynamic very much like your own. Keenly strategic and a gifted actresses when others are around. Quite convincing in her sometimes cheery sometimes waif like persona when in the shadows she is a roaring lion bent on eliciting shame, guilt, and discouragement in me and winning the favor and love of her son above me and our family.

I have had to be brave when I was not feeling brave at all and slowly overcome fear of reprisals and pushback and develop firm, kindly spoken boundaries when my mil is in my home around my children and grandchildren - my sphere of influence - and step out of my usual neutral, medium chill or gray rock position and firmly set a boundary.

It has taken time and practice and at first things came out kind of oddly... I was so nervous I would blurt rather than speak what I needed to say to put a stop to whatever was going on... you will grow in this and learning to kindly redirect someone who is being inappropriate will serve you well in all areas of your life.

Sometimes I would freeze and not say a word and then later harshly criticize myself and be covered in shame for not speaking up. I had to recognize and learn to overcome my trauma responses of freeze and fawn in all of this. I was very physiologically, emotionally, spiritually triggered by people whose intent is divide and destroy my happy life. I knew this at the depth of my knower, even if no one else could see beyond the facade.

When they swooped in with a big ole hug and an "I love you" the gaslighting and weaponizing of affection. Playing to the audience of my DH and FOC I would freeze because I knew this person was a wolf in sheep's clothing.

A great resource for me with covert aggression is the work of George Simon found here: https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/covert-aggressives-manipulative-wolves-in-sheeps-clothing/

What I have had to do on my side of the street in all of this was to get to the place where I was not cowed and cornered in my own home, in my own life, by Fear, Obligation, and Guilt and trauma responses. I have had to learn to stand up strong in the center of my own precious and beautiful life and take my position and hold it with wisdom and grace. The lessons have been hard, but I am stronger for it. I truly believe that.

For me, there is so much division and strife in these relationships and there is no working though this with them.  This is how they behave across decades, consistently. I have concluded that my in laws may not ever grow into mature adulthood, but I certainly can and the best thing I can possibly do is heal myself and grow into the fullness of who I am and take appropriate authority over my home and how I allow myself and my children to be spoken to and treated by others.

Be encouraged... you are doing wise acts by removing yourself and your child from physical proximity, you are safeguarding your child's heart by paying close attention to the attempts to parentify your child, you are turning to your Bible as a source of comfort and wisdom and coming here for support and insights. You are building tools and growing stronger by the day.

This is very hard stuff and you are working through it, learning and growing. :applause:
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 12:54:39 PM by Bloomie »
"If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow." Dr. Caroline Leaf

Bloomie 🌸

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hhaw

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2020, 03:06:02 PM »
I've attached a link below. 
Eckhart Tolle gives a much easier to understand explanation regarding how our thoughts affect our emotions and quality of life.

I invite you to listen, NMB and skip my post!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi3d0Maed68&feature=youtu.be

Good luck,
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Nomoreblind

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2020, 03:07:17 AM »
Hi everyone and thanks for your support during this weekend.  I have kept myself busy through out, food preserves on Sunday and it kept my brain occupied by the task.  Coming here during these visits help me.  I have done breathing technique.  I did not feel anger this time, just some sort of clarity.

It is tiring dealing with someone so covert.  I assume Sil talked to Mil before they came and vice versa about how to behave during the visit.  Each yome I doscipline my child, I could see Mil's face changing, but she did not comment.  First time  however at bedtime, she tried to interfere by saying to my daughter who wanted to play "if can play if mummy would allow".  Me, directly to my daughter "It is bedtime and this is non negotiable" end of discussion.

At dinner, Mil has finished eating, my DD was sitting on Sil's lap across the table, chatting loudly and laughing, and I was sitting next to Mil.  Sil and Mil has finished eating and I was eating some fruit and trying to get my daughter to eat some, H was at the sink doing the dishes.  There was noise, in a very low tone, I doubt H heard her, but Sil across the table did.  Mil said twice with a small gentle tap on the table the second time  like an unsatisfied customer at a restaurant (low voice complaining about waiting service with their accompanying dinner guest) "could someone make me some coffee?".  The question sounds innocent, the disturbing thing to me is the tone of that low voice, the entitlement of behind, as you are here to serve the Queen.  I am used to customer service, she did not address me directly she spoke in that low exasperated  tone, as if she was talking to no one in particular. I was next to her, chatting and laughing with my daughter.  I decided to ignore it and let Sil attend to her.  This is her 6th visit in less than 2 years and she does not want to make herself a drink, expects to be served by acting helpless with her children.  I have decided to let them do it if they want, I opt out, calmly.

During the day, she asked me " aren't you feeling cold?"
Me:" No, are you feeling cold, if you are let me know, I will ask H to light up the wood burner for you."
Mil: "No, I am fine."
Sil saw it, 5 minutes later, Sil came down to the kitchen, said to H, "Can you put the radiators on, Mum is feeling cold."
What was that about? 

Mil tried to corner me to do something by using my DD.  She wants my DD to come visit at her place.  Mil to DD3 " well you can come home to see my little cat,"seeing me behind, she said "mummy can come with you too".  No discussing with H and me if we can do that, have time in between work schedule, just addressing DD3 directly.  I put a stop to it, spoke to my DD "Well mummy is the one to approve that" Mil continues some hoovering comment, I let her comtinue and don't pay attention.

On the door step before leaving, H was out already, Sil was here, Mil said
"It is so nice here, I don't feel like leaving".  I smiled and stayed quiet.  Mil said smiling, like she said something witty:
" Oh, you look worried all of a sudden!"
Me, calmly: "Pardon, what were you saying?"
"You looked worried suddenly."
Me calmly, with a smile "Why should I be worried, is there a reason?"
Mil: "Oh, I am just joking".
Me calmly smiling : " Of course you are".
Anyone seeing that may think, well there is nothing wrong, except that it is 10 yeaes of listening to her jokes at my expense, she make snide remarks in a smiling low tone, provoking others and acting like a victim when you address it, "Oh I am joking", exit strategy.  Sil came back justifying her mom's attitude, it is the dementia.

 That is 10 years consistent behaviour to me from Mil.   She is not diagnosed and nothing has changed. Mil was a medical professional, she has no more way to attract attention from her children, she is afraid and vulnerable Sil abandons her, for sure.  But there is an extreme entitlement to her children's lives which has nothing to do with dementia.  I have let go of anger, and feel sorry for both Sil and her, to some extent.  But it would be crazy to think this frail 80 years' old does not have the ability to wreck her children's life. 

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SweetTea

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Re: Another visit and I am hiding in my bedroom...
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2020, 05:41:27 PM »
By the way for the hotel room suggestion, we have multiple spare bedrooms, from spring to fall, we have paying guests, so difficult to find a genuine excuse to say stay at a hotel in winter.  Otherwise i would have definitely followed that advice.

Hi Nomoreblind  :heythere:,

So sorry you are having to deal with this. I can empathize. You are describing the first 20 years of my marriage.

I think you have more options than you are seeing. You CAN be the first person in your marriage to bring up NO Contact for you. Your home should absolutely be a safe space for you, your spouse, and your children. You should not have to hide in your own home to avoid disrespect, mocking and abuse. Not for a few hours, and certainly not for days. You, nor your husband, owes the dysfunctional in-laws an 'excuse' as to why they can no longer stay with you. No is a complete sentence.

If you give excuses, they will attempt to overcome them/talk around them (using FOG). If husband wants to offer them a simple explanation that is vague, he can say "We can't host you right now for business reasons (implying issues with rental space), but I have the phone numbers for some close hotels you can call." If you guys can get to a place in your marriage where he feels like he can stand up for you to his family, he can say, "Sorry, but no, you can't stay at the house. You've not been respectful of Dear Wife for a long time now, and our home is no longer an option for visits."

And just because they can't stay at your home doesn't mean your DH will take the children out of town to see his dysfunctional family. You guys can come up with what works for BOTH of you. Dysfunctional family comes, stays at a hotel, and DH takes the children to meet his family at neutral places (restaurants, mall, parks, etc) for short visits. I don't really think his family would be able to brainwash the children in these types of day visits. If DH wants to visit his family out of town, he goes alone, w/o you or the children.

When the children are teenagers, if the in-laws are still part of their life, the teens can have more of a voice in deciding their own level of contact.

Believe me, I too thought it was impossible. But after tolerating similar abuse at the hands on my in-laws, my mind and body made the decision for me with a physical and emotional breakdown and diagnosis of severe anxiety and depression. With the help of this forum, a therapist, and a marriage counselor I was able to see much more clearly and make a stand for myself and my FOO. My in-laws are not allowed in our home. They know why. The narcs responded bizarrely, the non-narc flying monkeys understand an accept it, fortunately. When they come to town, DH and our young adult children pick and choose when they want to see them, if at all.

I do regret allowing them to ruin so many of our FOO's Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays and graduations. I regret allowing them to make me feel so disrespected, so anxious, so bullied and manipulated in my own home. But I'm grateful for coming OOTF so that our second 20 years of marriage will be happier and healthier than the first.

Good luck with whatever choices you make on your journey. Just remember that you have more choices than you think!   :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