NC with parents - what next?

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donutsinheaven

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NC with parents - what next?
« on: February 13, 2020, 07:34:11 AM »
Hello y'all. I'm a 25-30 something woman, moved out since ~10 years. uBDP mom, eDad, both very emotionally immature.
Straight to the point - we're NC since last year, I made it clear I didn't want to see them unless in family therapy. Their response was the usual "we're so disappointed, after everything we've done for you, blah blah". Afterwards they kept going as usual with calls, invitations to dinner and so on, the only difference being I just don't answer anymore.

It's my first round of NC and frankly I was a little surprised when they just kept on trucking. I believe they haven't told anyone and are trying to keep up appearances, so I expect them to continue this way for a while.  However, the pressure will inevitably increase as time goes on and I still haven't "come around", and I don't know what to expect when that particular cat is out of the bag. I can add that I don't expect them to ever take up the offer of family therapy and I will not budge on it either.

I know many here have similar experiences, so I'd like to ask - what do you think? I know you can't see into their minds or the future, but maybe there's a common pattern?  Very thankful for any thoughts, and do let me know if any additional info is needed.

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Starboard Song

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2020, 10:11:05 AM »
We are 4 1/2 years NC from my in-laws. Our first NC announcement said that if at any time they were interested in a real relationship with all of my family, they should say so, and we'd welcome that. A later message from us made it clear we were blocking the last channels of electronic communications, and we said that they should only contact us if they had both obtained effective, professional counseling.

I am a big fan -- even though I man the barricades for my family -- of leaving that open door. "If you did this, we could talk." Some have been so brutally abused and mistreated that they are able to simply wash their hands of it. But for many of us, I suspect it helps us to know we are trying. Especially since a PD is not a rock-solid diagnosis, or a categorical condition, some of us are prone to perennial guilt.

If you told a normal, healthy person that you are unable to continue your relationship unless they seek counselling, they may very well be stressed and even angry. But they'd do it, just to humor you. In my case, a grandparent certainly jumps through that hoop to obtain access to a grandchild. So I see it this way: asking a person to attend a counseling session is not a terrible imposition. And if the other party is truly damaged it is unlikely they'll ever even take a shot at it. I think I've only heard of two suspected PDs on here who ever did show for counselling: neither performed well.

To answer your question, just read here: there are several major patterns and it is spooky how often they hold true.

Ours was the periodic-silent-treatment-until-they-went-one-silent-treatment-too-far-and-declared-it-permanent-(enhanced silent treatment)-and-we-accepted.

Good luck to you. This community is here. One pattern you must adhere to yourself: be investing in your FOC. You need them.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2020, 11:49:07 AM »
Similar to you, my family just kept right on trucking after NC. My eDad called every Sunday night and would leave voicemails since I did not answer. I could hear my NPD mom in the background telling him what to say. I blocked the calls, but the voicemails still lined up. I would delete them once a month and occasionally listened to a few.  Boy, when I did, I heard him calling me hateful, angry, selfish, saying he was tired of my sh*t, etc. 
       
My NPD older sister works through our eDad too, and he leaves messages telling me to call her, that they are all going to her house to celebrate a holiday, or even to tell me that I should not be mad at her and carrying grudges. They do not understand NC is not about "the silent treatment", or grudges.  I suspect my eDad has become the new scapegoat in my absence. Perhaps my dad's continual contact with me is his attempt to bring me back as scapegoat so he does not have that burden?     
     
What I began to notice in the last few months however, my eDad stopped calling. It came after he sent an email pleading me to "make amends" to my sister. Of course, I never responded. So, perhaps after one year he just got tired - or as I suspect, he gave up on me. Perhaps discarded is the correct term. 

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Fortuna

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 08:15:49 PM »
If they have kept on trucking, you need to put up some stop signs. Block their calls, Block their email. If they come over don't answer the door and if they persist call the police. If you want to leave family therapy option open, tell them in writing they can send a postcard with I am agreeing to family therapy on it and that is the only communication you will respond to. So far in three weeks NC I've gotten a text, a phone message, and a letter. (A better phone than mine with block texts and messages.) Lessen the burden on yourself by preventing as many ways as possible for them to be able to get a hold of you.

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2020, 04:58:43 AM »
Thank you all. It's very comforting to not be alone in this.

Starboard Song, you bring up a very good point with healthy reactions. I have racked my brain and every time I land on just that - if someone close to me called for counseling, I would agree to it. And it does feel good to leave the therapy road open. For one it makes it harder to feed into the 'ungrateful/spoiled child' narrative.

Blueberry Pancakes, thank you for sharing. It's very frustrating when healthy and appropriate actions gets distorted through their warped lens. Their toolbox only holds grudges and silent treatments, and so they assume that's the case for everyone else. It really is like they are operating in another reality sometimes (or most times).

Fortuna, thanks. More stop signs it is. I'll block all their numbers today.

I got an answer sooner than expected. EDad called fiancť last week (despite "no contact" not meaning "please contact people close to me", but you know...). Fiancť had my back (as always), so it did feel OK in the end as he reinforced my position of NC/family therapy.

He was subdued, looking for info, but it was still the same ol' attempt to placate everyone without actually disrupting the system. On one particular issue they've let me down on he said "it was so much stress at work, and my dad fell ill, and...". In my opinion this shows very clearly that 1) he views himself as the only capable adult in the system, and 2) that it's so unthinkable to go outside the system that nothing gets done in the end. Even when what needs to be done is to support your child after an assault. I'm very glad I'm on the outside looking in nowadays.

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_apparentlywicked

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 04:02:59 PM »
Reading with interest. I've stopped answering his calls after the last time I saw UnNPDdad weeks ago when he basically transformed into the cruel man he was when I was a child.

I've been left so shaken and felt so vulnerable and hurt
that I can't face speaking or seeing him He's left 8 identical messages just all the bland greetings as if he was anywhere near a normal father leaving his daughter a message. He hasn't asked sib if I'm okay. He knows why I'm not returning his calls as I said at the time he would need to apologise.

What do I do? Just leave him to pretend to everyone that everything is dandy?  And even if he leaves a messages and says sorry I've been on such a journey since the last visit that I don't know if I can ever face hearing his voice or seeing him. Truly.

Also it's not fair that all visits fall to sib so my partner will visit now and again. He has no one else to visit. Even though he lived in the same house for over 40 years he has never made or wanted friends. I used to think it was mainly him pushing people away but it's also that people gravitate away from him because of his anger that's always just under the surface.

I just feel like I have to let things continue at the moment. There's no rush to formalise anything. I can let things stay as they are for as long as I need.

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2020, 05:42:53 AM »
_apparentlywicked: "I can let things stay as they are for as long as I need." - yes, you can. You know what the reality is, and that is real regardless of him trying to pretend otherwise.

I got a text from mom the other week (blocked number, so I can check when I'm in a good mental place). The usual (paraphrased) "would be nice to hear from you, car broke down, sounds expensive". She always has a negative add-on, always a cold, always something breaking down. You'd think you'd catch more flies with honey, but I'm not sure she has any honey in her. I know all about the water leak in their house, remodeling issues, her asthma and colds and bad neighbors. Meanwhile I am not even sure she would be able to recount any of my favorite childhood foods, and she for sure does not have a clue of my C-PTSD.

And so I texted dad that the place where I am in therapy have a family counselor available. No answer yet. I'm not expecting anything, but I can say now that I have tried everything.

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_apparentlywicked

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2020, 11:44:57 AM »
I'm not expecting anything, but I can say now that I have tried everything.

My love, you have never 'needed to try anything'. Your very birth and existence is, and always be enough to deserve their love and validation.

You also deserve to only be in fully loving and supportive relationships.

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 05:46:26 AM »
_apparentlywicked, I teared up. I showed my fiancť and he teared up as well. Thank you. I needed this reminder.

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_apparentlywicked

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2020, 07:17:33 AM »
❤️Donuts❤️

when we read stuff that gives us that response I think it's our inner child taking gulps of fresh air. And gives us an idea of the things we need to keep saying to ourselves to move through our healing journey. As Dr Seuss would say 'you're on your way!Ē

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2020, 07:11:47 AM »
It has been two weeks since I texted dad that there was a spot available in family counseling. Silence. Nothing. I am not surprised, but I am still hurt. Sitting on my hands so I won't send a less-than-levelheaded text.

I do not think they realize they are losing me.

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_apparentlywicked

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2020, 07:12:58 AM »
They have never felt loss. Not since the development of their pd so sometime ago. They can't feel loss in the same way you will because they don't have the emotional maturity. Any feelings are converted to anger, at you.

I get what you mean. Just continuously revisiting the reality that they can never feel about you how they should feel. My dad should be beside himself. I've not returned any calls in 11 weeks and I've never not returned a call. He should be worried. Normal parents would. He knows he's lost me but he won't see it like that because he will employ all those skills he's honed over a life time. He'll have fully devalued me into the sum total of all that's wrong. I symbolise all the feelings he can't feel about himself. Feelings he should legitimately have about how he acts and thinks. It is more messed up than we can imagine.

It's not personal. It's not about me or you or any of us here.  We have to work hard to disentangle the tentacles of their disorder that have inevitably sought to strangle us. I visualise I'm standing with my feet in water and when I look down there are black, slimey tendrils snaking around my ankles and I'm yanking them away, ripping them off. 😍

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2020, 08:50:51 AM »
New development in this exiting saga: Dad (only dad) agreed to join family therapy. Only took him 8 months to understand I was being serious. Herding a bunch of cats would have been easier, I think.  :)
I've been careful to manage my expectations, so I only want the opportunity to explain how things have been for me. That's it. Just the therapeutic effect of saying everything once and for all. I have to focus on my own life and take care of me.

_apparentlywicked, I had missed your response and only saw it now. You're so right, it isn't really there. There has been many times where they didn't react in a "normal" or healthy way and this is yet another one.

My vision is me laying outside in a hammock with lots of plants and greenery around me. Every breath out takes away anxiety, every breath in brings comfort and safety. <3


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Starboard Song

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2020, 09:11:52 AM »
You need to prepare yourself.

I don't want to say that good news isn't possible. It is. But you also have to spend some time reminding yourself that their appraisal of and response to you is a very poor measure of your self-worth. Your self-worth is independent of their appraisals.

Be ready to respond to untrue statements with absolute calm detachment. "Honey, isn't my tie in the top drawer?" This doesn't make you angry. You calmly reply "no dear, it is in the closet." You need to be that bored and calm if untrue or unfair things are said. I only had one post-NC talk of this sort. It lasted for nearly three hours. I found it helped to casually say, as if I were commenting on the weather, "I believe that is an untrue statement, and I believe I can demonstrate that it is untrue." or "I consider that to be a needlessly inflammatory statement, and I'd like to discuss an ordinary, less hurtful way to express that." Because I like professorial mode, such statements turned a passionate discussion into a classroom lecture.

Be ready to declare boundaries broken. If there are topics you consider rightly out-of-bounds, I encourage you to say so up front. Be clear that you will not stay still for any discussion of these. There may be no such topics in your case. There weren't in mine. But others on here have said that there were ancillary things people would bring up that were not in dispute, but were spoken of to hurt them.

Be ready to have and state a purpose, or else to be clear that you are there to hear your father out. Remember that purpose.

And be absolutely ready to ignore my advice and anyone else's: this is a unique roller coaster just for you, and none of us know what is going to happen. Your father, by coming alone, may be engaging in an act of great courage. He may have had enough of what is going on in his own home. Maybe he needs tender support. Maybe he needs you to sound vulnerable, and sweetly to offer your help and your understanding, so he can work with others to help mother be better. Or maybe he is on a hoover mission and is angry and hostile. Who knows? None of us. So listen to your quiet heart, please, and trust yourself.

There are a couple wise members here who've done this. I hope they'll spot your thread and jump in.

You are being very brave and decent. Don't let any of us scare you into a panic, or lull you into complacent optimism. You go keep doing the next right thing, and never be afraid to let yourself thrive.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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GettingOOTF

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2020, 09:20:28 AM »
I blocked on Social Media, on my phone and I deleted the app my family used to call me on.

My sister has started reaching out via an old email that I don’t use anymore and only check every few months.

I think that most families try what ever they can to remain in contact. My situation is different in that I live in a different country and they didn’t make that much effort to stay in touch to begin with.

It’s great that your father wants to make the effort with therapy but therapy isn’t a magic solution. People in therapy have to 100% want to make the changes. It’s like rehab in that if you go for someone else you won’t stick to it. Your father is also still with your mother, so straight off the effort he’s willing to make isn’t that great. In my family everyone runs around trying to appease my father. He controls all so if it came down to a situation where they had to choose they would all choose his way every single time.

I did therapy with my abusive ex husband. He used the therapy to further abuse me and this is what I expect family therapy would be like for my family.

You never know but please be prepared to walk away if the therapy doesn’t work for you.

Just to add - it is also brave and decent to walk away from any abusive relationship or even one that simply no longer serves you.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 09:22:31 AM by GettingOOTF »

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2020, 12:11:28 PM »
Well... The therapist is on sick leave and will be for a while. I have another resource to try before leaving it be. Then I will continue NC and not make any more efforts.

Be ready to have and state a purpose, or else to be clear that you are there to hear your father out. Remember that purpose.

I hear you. And I have far too little energy for "getting back together", I just want a third part present for one or a few sessions because I cannot see myself sitting down with him without me going up angry flames. When I asked the first time around, I WAS open to working on our relationship. Now, as they have shown me time and time again who they are, I do not see us reconnecting (barring a miracle).

Itís great that your father wants to make the effort with therapy but therapy isnít a magic solution. People in therapy have to 100% want to make the changes. Itís like rehab in that if you go for someone else you wonít stick to it.

To be honest I don't think he IS willing to make the effort in therapy. I'm not even sure he believes he's making an effort. I would guess he felt the pressure from mom to "do something", as the months of business as usual hasn't worked and this was my only demand.
So I have shifted focus from 'therapy for us/the relationship' to 'therapy for me' (even if it would happen to involve him once or a few times). They have shown their colors, and it is not a good look.

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GettingOOTF

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2020, 01:50:16 PM »
I found therapy very helpful. I was incredibly resistant at first and I really didn’t think I had any issues or that my family was abusive. I thought the way they  interacted with me was normal and that I was a bad child which was why they still saw me as a bad adult.

My therapist helped me pick through all of that. It wasn’t easy but I’m glad I stuck with it. I look back and I’m shocked at the behavior I tolerated in the past.

I really hope your father does come round, as I hope my family does but I decided to stop waiting on them to change and worked on changing myself.

I have good and bad days but overall I’m really happy and content with my life. I’m a work in progress but I no longer hate myself or my life.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 02:13:41 PM by GettingOOTF »

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2020, 08:53:35 AM »
My therapist helped me pick through all of that. It wasnít easy but Iím glad I stuck with it. I look back and Iím shocked at the behavior I tolerated in the past.

Oh yes. I have always known something is off with my mom, but it was through therapy I got a clearer view on both my family and myself. I'm starting therapy again soon and I look forward to it. It's sorely needed.

I have good and bad days but overall Iím really happy and content with my life. Iím a work in progress but I no longer hate myself or my life.

I'm so, so glad to hear this. <3

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donutsinheaven

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Re: NC with parents - what next?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2020, 06:58:52 AM »
One thing has been on my mind a bit and I'm not sure how to respond. When I mentioned to a few near and dear friends that my parents will not be at my future wedding, two of them have responded with surprise. They know I'm NC and why, and I feel truly supported by them in this (and still do! Just trying to sort through some thoughts and feelings here). And they still responded with "they won't??".
If I can't have my parents in my every day life, for the mundane things, how could I ever want them there for the important stuff? When they cannot be trusted to treat me okay-ish even with small and simple things?

Apart from everything that's been, one core thing about them is that they truly do not understand how anyone could want something different from them - down to tiny things such as which kind of paper I use to do math. That was a fight once: I was at their place and wanted to get some studying done, so I asked where they kept paper. I soon found blank sheets which is what I prefer. Mum was FLABBERGASTED when she saw (she actually said "you can't use that!") and insisted I use squared paper (because she and dad used to do). She got downright angry that I preferred blank paper. That's the level of personal choice I have with them.
To add, I was an adult at the time and had moved out a while ago.

You can imagine how it would look if they would be at our wedding, which will be different from what they had and what they expect a wedding to be. 

Still, it's nothing that's put a dent in my trust and comfort with these friends. I was just surprised at their reaction, because I've pretty much never planned to have them there. Maybe they thought that even though they're bad, they would shape up for an occasion like that.