Stange birthday call

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Maxtrem

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Stange birthday call
« on: May 25, 2020, 06:39:02 PM »
A strange thing happened today. It's my girlfriend's birthday, my uBPDM called to wish her happy birthday and ask if we were still going to have dinner at her place. But we never talked about going to dinner at my mother's tonight. We had talked about going to dinner at her house one evening this week when the weather was nice (because of the covid it is only possible to meet outside in the yard where I live). My mom seemed upset, so I pretended I was going to finish working late (my girlfriend and I had planned to have dinner together tonight just the two of us). I told my mother we could go to dinner another night, but she said no, we'll let it go. (Besides, the plan is to order from the restaurant, so it doesn't take any preparation).   

My girlfriend confirmed that I understood (she was present during the discussion with my mom) that we were going to have dinner at her house this week, but that no date had been set. So why did my uBPDM assume it would be today? And why has my anxiety level exploded since that call? My joy level has also gone down which sucks since it's my girlfriend's birthday!

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TwentyTwenty

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 01:51:23 AM »
Hi sorry you’re going through this.. She’s trying to manipulate you, so obviously she now expects that you try and make it up to her, since your just an uncaring bastard that ruined her dinner plans.. After all, it’s her that counts, not you.

So, if it were me, I’d call her back and say “you know, since you obviously don’t want to keep our original dinner plans, and don’t want to dine with us, I think we are out of reasons to visit you anymore and will go dine with people that appreciate and enjoy our company rather than try to manipulate and degrade us. Goodbye” *click*

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Psuedonym

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 02:54:56 AM »
She was trying to ruin your gf's birthday because your gf's birthday was (gasp!) not all about your mother. So she made it all about her. She wanted to ruin the day.

And why has my anxiety level exploded since that call? My joy level has also gone down which sucks since it's my girlfriend's birthday!

Looks like she succeeded.  Next time you and your gf have an important day I would  a) don't tell her in advance and b) don't answer the phone.

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Starboard Song

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2020, 10:41:38 AM »
she now expects that you try and make it up to her, since your just an uncaring bastard that ruined her dinner plans.. After all, it’s her that counts, not you.

We cannot know exactly what goes on in people's heads, but twentytwenty has a pretty good guess as to how she sees things. In my case, I am certain my MIL would have thought that way, seeing us as cruel and uncaring, and describe us as having ruined all her plans. My FIL would write a letter to that effect, and demand we recant. Indeed, that's exactly how multiple crises played out before we went NC.

What matters is how you see things, Maxtrem, and doing what is good and decent and right for you. Read about My Stuff - Your Stuff in our Toolbox.

Remember that you've done nothing weird or wrong, and that this is all useless friction caused by your M. Your anxiety level, from that simple call, tells me that you've seen this movie before, and you know that you have -- unfairly -- to walk over some coals before even this simple matter goes away.

Be good. Be strong.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 11:00:52 AM by Starboard Song »
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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PeanutButter

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2020, 01:22:23 PM »
I remember reading something (a long time ago so I can't quote it) about a pd that wont ever ask for what they want. They hint, assume, demand but WILL NOT ask.

I think your M did want to make your gf's bday all about her instead of your gf.

Ime there were probably unspoken messages that M has programmed in you to read between the lines.

 So when she 'assumed' dinner was that day even though no specific day had been spoken of you were supposed to go along to get along and change your plans. This would have put your mom wants above your gf's wants and gave your M a 'power over' you feeling.

The anxiety ime you felt when you went against what you knew you were 'supposed' to do.

The affect on your joy, could it be false guilt for not doing what M wanted?

By the way WELL DONE!
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 01:25:24 PM by PeanutButter »
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Maxtrem

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 06:58:36 PM »
Thank you very much for your answers!
 
@TwentyTwenty, I know it's manipulation, I like your idea ;) , but unfortunately I'm unable to answer so spontaneously.

@Pseudonym, I think you're right, my uBPDM has surely tried to bring everything back to her.

@Starboard Song, "Your anxiety level, from that simple call, tells me that you've seen this movie before, and you know that you have -- unfairly -- to walk over some coals before even this simple matter goes away.'' Thank you, you figured out why it was causing me anxiety, probably some bad experiences from the past that surfaced in my unconscious when I got that call (like a trigger).

@PeanutButter, when you say: ''They hint, assume, demand but WILL NOT ask.'' My uBPDM does that a lot. She assumes that I have to guess her whims, and when I don't, it's manipulation, denigration, and criticism. It's a bit like the behaviour of a very young spoiled child. On the other hand, as for what affected my joy, it wasn't guilt honestly I never felt towards my mother, even if making me feel guilty seems to be her great life project (she failed it and I'm glad). It's rather an apprehension of a borderline rage that can happen (sometimes yes, sometimes no, but it's unpredictable).   

I recently read an article by a psychiatrist, which states that with borderlines, when you make plans, there must be no room for interpretation, a fixed place, a fixed time, a fixed activity, and preferably a paper trail (email, text message) or witnesses. That makes sense after that happy birthday call. 

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Maxtrem

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2020, 10:06:22 AM »
Update :

I talked to my uBPDM on the phone again, at first she said she had a headache for a week and suspected brain cancer, but of course she refused to go to the hospital ;) Then she said she didn't mind dying of brain cancer  :stars:. I didn't get into this story and she talked about how she was abandoned at my girlfriend's birthday and that she got anxious and had to call a local crisis management centre for psychological support. I think the anguish was that she didn't get what she wanted from me. After she even mentioned that she was so angry that she threw away the cake she had bought, I'm sure she just ate it ;) 

Then she started mentioning a lot of little details from the last conversation to say that it made so much sense that no other day than Monday had been scheduled for me and my girlfriend to go to her house for dinner. Really full of little details, innuendoes. I told her over and over again that my girlfriend and I had understood the same thing and nothing had been determined, it was one night during the week when the weather was nice. Then she asked to speak to my girlfriend who told her the same thing. 

It was clearly gaslighting that she was doing. Denying our reality. Distorting information, to favour her and make us doubt our memory and perception (and manipulation and guilt). Once the conversation was over, the only feeling I had (once the anxiety was over) was to find my mother stupid for trying gaslighting on two people at the same time. I thought it was so stupid, with just me she might have been able to succeed, but with two people having the same memory of the same conversation, why did my uBPDM even try it? It was doomed to fail in advance.

Afterwards she called back to say she was sorry for the misunderstanding and seemed in a good mood. This moment also gave me a childhood flashback of how I considered my mother's actions profoundly stupid. It was as if I had had a feeling of contempt throughout my entire childhood (forgotten childhood) and that contempt has been resurfacing ever since that winter.

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PeanutButter

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2020, 10:33:11 AM »
Thats awful ime. Im so sorry that she is involving your gf too. If it was me, it would be over my dead body would I let my abusive parent get at my partner.
 
 I hope you can limit contact so as to minimize the damage to you, your gf, and your relationship.

 I know you are afraid of your M's rages. I know rages are terrible, but couldnt you just hang up if she starts raging? You are an adult now. She can only do to you and your gf what you allow her to do. She has no power except the power you give her. You have control over you. You have control over your phone. You have control over your home. You have control over your car.

Good luck. You deserve better treatment. Your gf deserves protection. imo
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Maxtrem

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2020, 10:46:03 PM »
@PeanutButter, sorry if I wasn't clear (English is my second language), my mother didn't get angry on the phone, it was a neutral tone to make me feel guilty. She'll never dare to rage against my girlfriend either, she knows it won't be tolerated.

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PeanutButter

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Re: Stange birthday call
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2020, 12:41:45 AM »
Thats ok.

I was more referring to this
 
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On the other hand, as for what affected my joy, it wasn't guilt honestly I never felt towards my mother, even if making me feel guilty seems to be her great life project (she failed it and I'm glad). It's rather an apprehension of a borderline rage that can happen (sometimes yes, sometimes no, but it's unpredictable).

I was trying to point out that boundaries to protect you and yours is possible instead of trying to cater to your M to prevent what you are afraid of. So she rages? If you remove yourself you cant be her target. You have control of whether you remain in her presence when she is raging.

However just because someone isnt raging doesnt mean they are not being abusive but I know you are aware of this
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It was clearly gaslighting that she was doing. Denying our reality. Distorting information, to favour her and make us doubt our memory and perception (and manipulation and guilt).

So I stand by my opinion that I would protect my partner and not let my abuser get at him.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle