Every boundary I set interpreted as DH controlling me and holding me hostage

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DistanceNotDefense

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First of all, to be clear: my DH is not controlling me or holding me hostage.

About 2-3 years ago we had a lot of marital problems. We were starting a small business together and that puts a lot of pressure on anyone, let alone a relationship, and sometimes brought out the worst in us. We both had mental health crises that we've greatly healed from since then, and today our life, our marriage, and our business are amazing. We sought help. And we've overcome.

But before these crises I thought I had a functional FOO. I was in denial though. I thought our family had grown out of a bad past, just like on TV, and now we were unblemished by the trauma and whole again, 'cause folks grow out of that, right? I thought our FOO could "hold space" for me if anything went south.

Nope. I'd forgotten/repressed a lot of the EA/Neglect/bullying/scapegoating (I'm the scapegoat) from youth from FOO. And while I was in the midst of my crisis (CPTSD, a years-long emotional flashback that wouldn't end and just kept escalating and escalating, until it led to a nervous breakdown), I confided to FOO members separately about our marriage and how frustrated I felt, not sure if we would make it or if things would work out. I had no perspective into how my mental health/physiology played into everything. We were very close to not making it. It was one of the scariest periods of my life.

As their way of "helping", I guess my uNPD sibling decided to get a smear campaign going on me and my DH.

The last thread I started has some info on all this. But basically, uPD sibling (didn't know about PDs at the time) decided around that time (or sometime before) that I was a mean narcissist, that I abuse my FOO (especially my other sibling who is non-PD, but was also formerly my best friend), and that maybe I was just getting too much attention for all this and she couldn't tolerate it.

We had a sort of falling out a year or so even earlier than all this (involving my husband, too) over things that were incredibly minor: difference of opinion on a movie, and my DH questioning something she said that sounded racist (though that's actually a pretty big deal).

She cut me out of her life for the most part and began treating me with a lot of disdain to say the least, even after I apologized for hurting her feelings (no apology from her, btw); and in a conversation we had about a year ago, she spun everything about where we were at in our relationship as being my fault, and because I am a toxic and abusive narcissist and my DH is abusive and abuses me, too.

I guess this all became grounds for me deserving one of the most awful toxic smear campaigns, crazy-making situations, mind trips, and all-around fear for the safety of me and my DH'S emotional well being in my life, and beyond what I ever thought possible in a human let alone a FOO member. I suspected character assassination behind my back to some degree, because uPD sibling talks smack about everybody, just about. But I didn't think it would go THIS far.

A very close friend of hers recently went through a similar ordeal with her as I did: doing something minor, being savagely cut off, told they are a villain, having it all spun on them, etc. and we just happened to connect out of the blue. This extremely wounded friend told me a lot of the background I haven't been seeing or hearing since me and uPD sibling last talked (I went NC after that).

UPD sibling has convinced some (if not all) FOO (including my former best friend/non-PD sibling) that DH basically has me hostage, and going on extremely little info to support this, mixed with lies and I think fantasies. Keeping me under lock and key and abusing me, hitting me, not letting me see family and friends, and controlling everything I do, like I'm his puppet. I've put up boundaries with FOO since my breakdown that involved the marital strife (because they handled it terribly), and that has included not being in constant contact, texting back right away, avoiding visits/holidays, not answering and blocking group texts, and saying phone conversations and visits won't work for me (which I've gotten a lot of resistance and guilt-tripping over, I might add).

I also run two businesses, for Pete's sake...I can't be at anyone's beck and call or the whole ship would sink, so there's *that* gaping absence of support there, too.

But according to this ex-friend, sib thinks it's all my DH literally trying to destroy my family by controlling me (but what would be his motive? He's way too busy to do this.) In a way it's rather laughable.

But it gets worse: my uPD sib almost sounds unhealthily obsessed with this. She apparently wanted to get in touch with my DH's ex to dig up dirt on him. And keep up the rumor mill and smearing, as well as the abusive pressuring and weird mind control she has on my M and other sibling. My sibs ex-friend (unaware of PDs) said she questioned her sanity and she sounded fixated, wouldn't stop talking about it, and really sounded like she was out to get us, esp. DH.

I still don't have confirmation if this has already happened or was just an idea, as I just found out this morning and am still reeling in shock that this sib would take things THIS far to, well, try to destroy my life. I'm extremely paranoid and worried, wondering if she has talked to even more people in our circle or told them her tall tales and rumors. (She wouldn't find anything what she's hoping to find, that my DH beats his partners, and she would just come off as really crazy, so that's a relief at least). I'm certain it's already spread through the extended family through her. I didn't realize how severe her mental state is.

The allegations are so ridiculous that we actually joke about them. But they still hurt so much when they're taken seriously by loved ones. I never thought my sib would be capable of this - especially that my former best friend/sib and M would actually let her go wild with these imaginings and they would even believe and enable them to be spread around. With my non-PD sibling with who I was so close, I'm most heartbroken. It is a betrayal as she appears to be spreading the idea about my DH too, instead of just seeing these things as what they are: healthy boundaries.

I've been on the precipice of going NC with ALL FOO, not just my nPD sib, for a while now. This bizarre and crazy sleuthing might have just pushed me over the edge but I don't know what's the right decision anymore, I had the worst anxiety and dread today, and it doesn't help that everything I've done with family over the past couple years is wrong and I can't seem to do anything right in the context of these new boundaries that have made me happier and freer.

I've been silent for over almost a year with the knowledge that *some* trash talking has been happening in FOO behind the scenes, but knowing that any retaliation would just be skewed as unjustified anger, abuse, or over-sensitivity from me (labels slapped on every strong emotion I have).

But now I'm tempted to call them out. A simple, short email saying "stop it. I'm fine, I'm not in a cage, DH doesn't hit me, find something better to occupy your time with, we're trying to heal and this hurts, if you can't desist then please stay out of my life. Here's the door. Don't contact me if you can't accept reality." Maybe not those words exactly but something like that, very unemotional.

But then they might just think it's my "evil DH" dictating that I tell them that, and it's like it's all useless. This is like a manipulation mine field. This is so excruciating, but especially for my husband, and I think I need to defend him even if it is misconstrued because this is so unfair and hurtful to him. This all started with me airing my worst fears and struggles in my marriage to a family that would end up weaponizing it when I could have never imagined they would, thinking they had my back. And I feel partially responsible.

He is so broken up that the family he married into thinks he's trash and they're getting into his head too.

Advice? Should I just ignore? Should I address this especially with it hurting my DH? Is it worth it if I might just have my actions perverted anyway? Definitely a damned if I do, damned if I don't situation, but I wonder if maybe it's time to send a note, rip the band aid off, and go NC across the board because more than anything, Im TIRED and want peace, and this behavior is beyond unhealthy.

Affirmation from others that this is truly crazy...it's super crazy. Right??? This is not normal behavior. I still can't believe it, this is so surreal and I never could have imagined I'd be here dealing with this today, and that sib would go this far. The last couple years have completely wrecked my compass with family, it's like they could possibly do anything now. It would be great to get someone's own take on this .... I'm so disoriented and in disbelief, and battling my denial. Thoughts appreciated. Thank you so much.  :)

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PeanutButter

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It sounds so mean imo not crazy necessarily but sadistic.
You should defend your H to anybody who asks you about him!
IME if foo really believed what updSis was saying wouldnt they ask you if you were ok or if you needed help?
It sounds to me like a textbook smear campaign.
Could the sis's friend be a flying monkey?
I would protect my H from even having to hear any of what foo thinks of or says about him.
I wouldnt want to even hear it myself either.
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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DistanceNotDefense

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Hi Peanut Butter! Thanks for your reply.

You make such a piercing point that if they believed this, they would have reached out and asked me straight up, if they cared, already. But two of my FOO have not (M and uPD sibling herself). I don't know if my M believes it but I'm sure she's been exposed to the rumors at the very least but hasn't acted upon them. My non-PD sib/ex bff asked me once about PA from DH and I told her a flat out no and gave her tons of info on why that's not possible and that it's wildly untrue, and still she decided to keep distance from me and my DH afterward, leading me to believe she didn't believe my answer and believes PD sib's lies.

Yes, I had extreme paranoia at first that this ex-friend was put up by my uPD sib or more FOO to do this. I had extreme paranoia that they were a flying monkey. I even confronted the friend about it early on and was explicit that my trust is ruptured. But all the evidence points to them having their trust extremely ruptured too, and that they are a fellow victim of the abuse and in a much similar fashion to what I experienced, and they unloaded all this info on me to warn me - they have similarly been really alone in the situation, and everything they've described to me I don't think could have be described by anyone else than someone who has themselves been abused by a PD, because they perfectly hit on all the subtleties of this type of abuse when relaying their experience. Unless they are extremely extremely extremely manipulative... but I have known this person a long time and been close with them myself, it just doesn't match up with their personality. And they don't have an obvious motive - their worst motive I would actually think would be to tell me this to get back at my uPD sib, which I will not take part in if that's true, but even THAT doesn't line up with their personality, either.

In fact, this friend didn't reach out to me themselves about this first - their spouse, a notoriously impartial person in emotional matters, did, because they were also collateral in what happened and didn't know what was going on with their spouse and my sib because no one was telling them anything. They even believed my uPD sib over their own spouse and straight up asked me if this friend actually did something awful to uPD sib to deserve the behavior! They were so desperate for information that they got in touch with me, and even my FOO. And they told me that my FOO was extremely tight lipped and nothing but supportive of PD sib.

So anyways no, not a flying monkey...

And yes, I don't want any more of this. I wish it was just a plug I could stick in the drain and be done with it. I can't believe this and it is so hurtful.

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PeanutButter

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DistanceNotDefense, Im relieved for you that you vetted this friend. I didn't want you to get hurt in that way too. Great job protecting yourself!

This friend definately sounds like she saw behind your updS's mask and got the rage/devalue/discard for it. 

So is it possible M knows it isn't true but doesnt want to rock the boat with updS? You know your family best so you would know whether M can be convinced by updS of something so blatantly a lie.

Im so sorry you are going through this. You did NOT do anything to cause this. Confiding in foo is a natural thing to do. It is shocking when it is used against you.

I learned this the hard way after many, many times I finally realized in my early 20's that uhpdS would eventually use anything I confided against me. I still slipped up several times after I vowed not to tell her anything personal/private. It bit me every time. Thats hard. I continued the relationship even after I didn't trust her.

 One of the turning points that allowed me to see my ubpdM for who she really was a triangulation and single smearing incident between me, my M, and my uhpdS occurred. My S came to me to tell me how upset my M was with me. I had no idea M was upset. M had been acting normally with me so at first I thought S was lying. But from the details that my S knew about something innoccent/innocuous between me and my enD that happened in front of my M and younger S it became obvious that my M had told uhpdS. The situation was distorted and my intentions/motives were pruported by ubpdM to be extremely wicked.
 
 I was speechless. I couldnt understand why M hadnt told me. The more I thought about it though the more it fit with everything else in my relationship with ubpdM. My first instinct was to 'correct the misunderstanding'. I tried with uhpdS. Her reaction felt like she preferred to believe that I was wicked as ubpdM had told her. I ended up not ever having a conversation with my M about it. I decided not to waste my time/energy on trying to change her mind.

Please hold compassion for yourself. You are not to blame for the rifts in any of your FOO relationships. YOU DESERVE LOVE AND RESPECT! You have shown only love and respect for M and Sises. The failure is theirs.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2020, 01:26:44 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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DistanceNotDefense

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Thanks, Peanut Butter! I do think I have a good instinct about protecting myself in most situations, I just never thought I would have to protect myself from FOO though which is frightening and disorienting. At least it's kicking in despite being so shaky about it.

Yes, the friend made it seem like she got the most flack when she started to challenge uPD sib's beliefs and tactics-- the dirt-digging and insisting DH was abusive (and of note, the friend knows my DH personally and said she felt that just didn't jive with what she knew about him)-- and suggest that they were kind of extreme, and that there was probably a better way to go about this. And that's when things started to go downhill, it sounded like. UPD sib had made up her mind, and it's not really about the truth or doing things scrupulously or to actually improve my relationship, it would seem - it's all about tearing down my life.

Regarding my M, I have an update on that. My M has been pushy about visiting and calling and wasn't taking a hint at my vague grey chill/medium rock (lol) responses, I was trying to passively communicate that I was unwilling and busy and not interested, because I just don't want to be around any FOO with this knowledge and the uncertainty and the conversations that are never direct.

The knowledge of uPD sib's attempt to dirt-dig from my DH's ex though was too full on my mind and it felt like a too-far boiling point. I was finally honest with M and sent her a text. I just couldn't stand the thought of talking on the phone (I hate phone conversations) or having her over and pretending everything is hunky-dory knowing this information and potentially blowing that up while she came all this way to visit me anyway, and instead having a safer communication about it (for me) thru text.

I said I don't want to be around FOO right now because of rumors that my DH is abusive, controlling, and physically beats me, and that it's a belief my whole FOO might have, and that these are every serious allegations that cannot be taken lightly and that this is going too far. I said that I have recent confirmation now that it's happening after a whole year of knowing and not rocking the boat and tolerating and tolerating and TOLERATING after some evidence of that rumor popped up a year ago, but I wasn't sure. I didn't mention the ex-friends name to protect them. I even messaged her to warn her I confronted my M and to watch out for shenanigans, and to say I was adamant about keeping them out of this mess, that it's my FOO's mess, not theirs.

When I did sent that text, M acted surprised and said it was a horrible rumor and she'd never heard it from my siblings and in fact never heard it at all. But then it was weird because she got defensive so I don't know if she's telling the truth. She's an extremely strong denial type, strong track record of being a know-nothing and turning the other way while awful things happen around her and then saying they never happened and she has no recollection of it, so....no clarity there.

She said she was just heading to work and that this was a lot to process and that she didn't know how she was going to keep her head on straight at work, and that if she ignores me to not be offended because she's busy (double standard there, part of this whole pickle is I state similar boundaries to family and it is unacceptable when I do it!) Was it said to make me feel guilty for being honest? Why else say it like that?

She also said she didn't want to text about it, she wanted to call. I bounced back with saying calls feel unsafe for me (they do) at this time and that my trust in family is ruptured right now after dealing with this for almost a year, and as of yet I still have not heard back since yesterday evening.

And then she had to throw in this detail, why I don't know, but it is bizarre. She said she wanted to call me and ask me why I unfriended all my siblings and her on Facebook. And said that they (my two sisters I guess, one or both) found out on Wednesday and they were all texting her and each other immediately about this. I suddenly had this newfound sense and knowledge of a closeness among them that I have not seen or been aware of in the last year or so, but it seems like they are in constant contact and I didn't know.

I think this was startling to realize when I thought there was a growing distance between ALL of us, but no, there was just a distance growing between me and them - a growing distance that seems to be all my fault and pinned on me from time to time and blamed on these boundaries of mine that really shouldn't be a big deal (and that they put up, too), even though FOO literally enforced it the distance and asked for it to begin with in some cases.

What's bizarre about this is that in an emotionally heightened state over this recent news, yes, I did block them on Wednesday. But for a period of time that was far less than an hour - and then I unblocked them. Which means one of them, or all of them, must be checking my Facebook page excessively to catch that! I mean, the chance that that would happen on accident like that is so slim.

Needless to say, I have them blocked for real right now. And I told M that I only deactivated my account, I did not unfriend anyone, that's why they can't see me...but I did share that I am amazed that they all knew that quickly and told each other that quickly. Honestly sounds like all the perfect conditions for a little gossipy rumor mill to me. And they also sound creepily obsessed....not to mention that my M was planning to ambush me with a confrontation over this!

So anyways... Re: my M, no clarity, not yet. I don't know what she thinks or feels honestly or which route she'll take with this. I think it's easy to believe something is untrue and say nothing to avoid rocking the boat, but now that she has all the information and I've confronted her, what will she do? Be too scared to confront UPD sib and keep it to herself? Share it with non-PD sib with fleas and triangulate? Share this info with PD sib but suddenly switch around and support sib when sib probably says I'm lying and deny it, and start exploring ways to prove that these rumors are true so to avoid truth about my sib's personality disorder hiding in plain sight? Will they say this is something I made up because it's actually true in my life and a cry for help and evidence that he IS an abuser in their eyes? It could go so many ways.

Thank you again Peanut Butter, for all your affirming words. :) I at least now have proof of actions and claims against me and DH from uPD sib that are so strong and heinous that I can't imagine any self-respecting person NOT getting to the bottom of them and forcing the ball into their court. It's so black and white that there's really no way they can't look subtle or innocent if they defend it or play into it, unless they try to gaslight me and say I'm making up those allegations, but even that seems so weak. They have to make their decision: to believe me or uPD sib. And I can finally have closure while they decide, and THEY can be the ones stuck up in the storm of uncertainty and what's true and what's not true for once. And I can demand that I will have absolutely NO ONE in my life who believes or spreads these ideas, because they are 100% untrue - and they are serious enough condemnations to land my husband in jail if they were true!!!!!

I'm so sorry to hear you've been so hoodwinked and used by FOO when you've confided in them yourself, Peanut Butter. I have always felt like we were all confidantes with each other while growing up in my FOO, so it's almost like I find myself having to be completely different holding back information now that I know it can be used against me, and without that with FOO, its like there's no relationship left.

And oh my goodness, yes - all I'm feeling right now is that my FOO may prefer to see me as wicked rather than hear an explanation or get in touch with both sides of things, and with reality itself. Their inaction and putting out the vibe that they don't know what to believe, and the fact that they would even entertain the truth that I am wicked-- their daughter, sister, and best friend (and my DH too, their brother- and son-in-law-- is the deepest betrayal of all, and something that is going to be nearly impossible for me to rebuild trust out of.

Thank you again Peanut Butter - with how ridiculous this is getting, I know now more than ever that this is definitely not my fault, though I still have the occasional healthy doubts and anxieties of course  :) I love this forum, I don't know what I'd do without the wealth of support, experience, and knowledge shared here!

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PeanutButter

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  Oh distancenotdefense you sure are going through really hard stuff!
:sharkbait:     :fallingbricks:

The only solution    :ninja:

 Great job keeping calm yet standing up for the 'truth' confronting M.  :applause: You are very strong.

Thanks for the kind words. My own experience is of being scapegoated. This article is one of many excellent articles i've read about being the scapegoat. http://parenting.exposed/no-contact-when-the-scapegoat-walks-away/ it is very validating to me to learn that the dynamic I lived through is not unique but matches the 'texbooks' for disfunctional FOO issues.

Hang in there! Our community (OOTF Forum) has got our backs! I love it too!
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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WomanInterrupted

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Hi DND - wow, you've been through the wringer!   :spooked:

First - if your mom  wants to know why so many people have been unfriended, you've been BUSY.  You're too busy for social media - you DO run a couple of businesses and have a marriage and a life, for Pete's sake! - and that's they *only* reason I'd cop  to.   8-)

You are busy.  It is NOT a lie.  :ninja: :thumbup:

As for the rest of it - I found out my unNPD MIL was Ground Zero for the smear campaign that took over my life (in the 80's, before social media, thank the old gods and the new!),  and as much as it killed me to do it, I said *nothing* and when things were brought up, acted like it was all news to me.

I'd tell others I didn't have a clue why she'd say such things, I had no idea where she got such ideas and I'd have to ask her about it (knowing I wouldn't)  - and sometimes I'd jokingly wonder if she was taking new medication, or had stopped taking some.   :bigwink:

As far as I knew, things with MIL were fine, there were no troubles, and I had no idea what all this was about, thanks for telling me - now can we please change the subject?  :ninja:

I'll admit, it was *hard* - LORD, it was hard! - to keep that attitude but in the end, MIL stopped because her smears weren't doing a lick of damage - and I think she realized she was the one doing all the badmouthing.   :roll:

Yeah, the horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten to the core slut who stole her dear little boy and was leading him around by his willy wasn't saying or doing a thing to give her ammunition - especially to mutual acquaintances, where I knew whatever I said would get back to her.  :ninja:

I wouldn't say a thing against her -- oh, I thought plenty of it and had a few confidantes (my two SIL's) I'd dish to - we all dished to each other, since MIL had it in for all of us - and one SIL was her own step-daughter.  >:(

I don't hear anything these days because I've been NC for 30 years and DH has been NC for about 20, but I'm *sure* she's still badmouthing me to whomever - and I really couldn't care less, because I have more important things to worry about.  :yes:

MIL, for the most, did give up before we went NC.  Oh, she'd trot out some contrived rumor or innuendo from time to time, but it didn't make a dent or get the reaction she wanted, and I have to admit I always felt a lot better about myself for NOT putting her on blast and giving her what she so richly deserved.      :angel:   ;)

She was the only one telling lies, spinning tales, making stuff up, extrapolating on innocent  things until they were nothing but sinister  - and here I was, having nothing but reasonable things to say about my MIL and feigning surprise at any problems or bad blood. 

Smart, sane, reasonable people figured out *exactly* what was going on, and FMMs or people with unPDs kept drinking her kool-aid. 

I figured out who I could trust and who I couldn't - and you will, too - just as those around you will figure out which of you really has the problem.  :yes:

And the ones who drink your sister's kool-aid?

You're better off keeping them at arm's length and sticking to Grey Rock/Medium Chill - before high-tailing it out of THOSE conversations!

You've GOT this!   :cheer:

 :hug:

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DistanceNotDefense

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Thank you Peanut Butter, and thank you Woman Interrupted. So comforting to come back on this forum after having another day of feeling trapped in my head about all this and seeing some responses. Such a breath of relief...

And yep, thanks Woman Interrupted! - I'm on your level. I think it's smart to go the way of an innocuous response about blocking. I'm sticking to my deactivation story. Much better than giving them the truth: I'm cutting off the PD's supply completely for a while knowing they check my social media obsessively!

I wish I could play that sort of angle in all this going in, Woman Interrupted. I have that type of approach in social situations especially where I sense a PD or PDish behavior may be lurking. I think in this situation it's like the curtain's been pulled off everything within my FOO...I was blind to it the whole time. I thought my FOO were all trustworthy confidantes, too much has been said and turned into damaging fodder... I played my own part in it too, venting about my FOOs frustrating behaviors to other FOO, and they did too, but I didn't know how it would be used against me...and possibly others...and finding out everyone does it really and uses it against everyone, except I don't, they do. But the blame for the entire dysfunction that goes on is being blamed on me, the one person who didn't use it that way and thought we were all being healthy about it. Ugh.

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qcdlvl

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Of course they hate your husband - they probably blame him for you, the SG, setting boundaries. They "need" a target to abuse, and they've probably not been able to find an outsider so either they turn on each other or they get you back in the fold. So yeah, they probably do want to destroy your lives - your husband's because how dare he "take" their SG away, and you because how there you not let yourself be abused.
I went through a much, much milder case (AFAIK) of what your husband is dealing with - my FIL "couldn't believe" my wife was happy with me because he didn't approve of the relationship. Even my MIL asked him "how would you know?" given how little he's been in daughter's life and that he's never even met me. It's about control.

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DistanceNotDefense

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Of course they hate your husband - they probably blame him for you, the SG, setting boundaries. They "need" a target to abuse, and they've probably not been able to find an outsider so either they turn on each other or they get you back in the fold. So yeah, they probably do want to destroy your lives - your husband's because how dare he "take" their SG away, and you because how there you not let yourself be abused.
I went through a much, much milder case (AFAIK) of what your husband is dealing with - my FIL "couldn't believe" my wife was happy with me because he didn't approve of the relationship. Even my MIL asked him "how would you know?" given how little he's been in daughter's life and that he's never even met me. It's about control.

qcdlvl - Thank you! I think you nailed my situation perfectly. Even though I'm still in some denial about it - how could I be the SG? Is this really happening? Isn't this all just a big show that they love me albeit in a weird, twisted way and I should just accept that and count myself lucky to even have family at all? So much detail about what happened and my emotions cloud this into something more complicated than it really is.  But then someone from this forum puts it down in words that encapsulate it so perfectly, and the simplest answer is almost always the correct one. I appreciate this forum, and I appreciate your input qcdlvl, you have no idea how much it's helped knocked the clarity into me.

And of course it would be outlandish to them that I would set boundaries on my own (which is absolutely true, my husband had no part in pushing for these boundaries or controlling me in any way). But it's easy to blame him. Especially considering my FOO's terrible past at the hands of my father and a pervasive distrust in men. (That's the dysfunction and healing that they are stuck in and need to move beyond.) I was the SG to help them survive all that. I've been blind and wanted to be blind to it all my life but it's something I must accept and move on from, these allegations against my husband are the hard proof.

And yes every interaction has felt all about control, and especially lately, trying to control me through guilt, emotion, and my sympathetic nature, which they always have. All of this happening is my fault, 100%, in their eyes. Somehow I created the distance when they themselves started distancing themselves and looking askance at my life choices (healing). Now they've put me in a position that loving them and being part of family means that I should somehow "come clean" about the terrible people my husband and I are and that'll fix things. That's insanity, and I'm trying to accept to myself that this was never love but just scapegoat abuse, through and through, always has been.

I'm sorry you're going through (or went through) the same thing with in-laws qcdlvl. Being pulled into a sense of guilt by family that is not even your own when you've done nothing wrong must feel like such an attack, must have you examining yourself over and over wondering "what did I do. To get this sort of treatment I must have done *something* wrong." When you didn't. A whole other level of guilt is on my shoulders but what's on my husband's I can't even imagine, and I have no choice but also a moral passion to defend the man who's been by my side through every step of my healing, when my family has not.

He's done nothing wrong (and I'm sure you haven't either) and the way he's been judged over things that aren't anyone's business, let alone my FOO's....if only these family/in-laws could see that they're only wreaking further pain and dysfunction, and they're obviously not putting anything right, and have hit the self-destruct button. And splitting a person over imperfections just so that they don't have to change, while refusing to study their own imperfections, I'm beyond wowed. I can't believe I ever thought my FOO had healed at all, it is such a shock to deal with. I have moments of extreme clarity (like now, thanks to you!) mixed with extreme confusion, guilt, and pain.

If you have more of your own story to share qcdlvl, I'm all ears, if you're comfortable. Please do. It's like a beacon to me that other people could be going through something never remotely similar to what my husband and I are facing with FOO.

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qcdlvl

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I'm glad my post was helpful to you, DistanceNotDefense.
In my FIL's case, it all started way before I even met my now wife - he was a deadbeat dad and ghosted my MIL and her daughters for years at an end. My wife for years insisted on trying to seek contact with him, as did my SIL, though I think SIL was the first to drop the rope - FIL didn't seem to mind, probably because he thinks SIL isn't really his daughter (SIL doesn't know this). So by the time I came in the picture (FIL had not lived with MIL or their daughters for many years by then) there was a precedent of SIL more or less dropping the rope (didn't go NC but never initiated or sought contact) and my wife had been disappointed again and again by FIL.
I had a low opinion of FIL form early on because I knew he'd been a deadbeat and that that had caused a lot of hardship for his wife. I didn't seek to meet him or anything, but I didn't push my wife to drop the rope, either. My wife asked me to meet him, to which I reluctantly agreed.
My FIL, when learning of my existence, was angry that his daughter hadn't sought his permission to date me or to move in with me eventually - my wife was an adult with a full time job and had been so for years. Obviously it wasn't out of concern for her welfare (where was his concern when they struggled to make ends meet?), and it was clear to me and my wife this was rather about her making major life decisions without his permission or input. FIL himself said he didn't want to meet me and insisted I was in the wrong for not asking for his permission. My wife confronted him about him having been a deadbeat and that I knew he'd been a deadbeat, to which FIL had no answer.
Fast forward when we moved together - that was when FIL told MIL that he didn't believe I treated my wife well. Even MIL, who normally enables him and doesn't stand up to him, asked how he would know. My wife was angry about this, saying that FIL would probably be happy if I beat her or abused her, as it would prove him right.
I wondered what else he might be saying behind my back - it's not a huge step from saying he was sure there was something wrong in the relationship to saying I was beating her or holding her captive or something. This made me extremely wary of him. When he came up in conversation, I told my wife she owed him nothing, but I didn't push her to lower contact. I did insist, however, that our child could only have supervised contact with FIL (even online or by phone), to which my wife agreed - my fear was him trying parental alienation.
Eventually my wife got fed up with always being the one to initiate contact (this had been the pattern for many years), and at some point stopped. This was effectively NC, as FIL doesn't deign initiate contact. He did attempt a medical hoover via MIL, but my wife didn't contact him. I've supported her in dropping the rope, reminding her that phones work both ways, he could get in contact if he wanted to.
Last year, apparently none of his children (incl. my wife's half siblings) congratulated him on Father's day - the only thing they all have in common is him. I doubt it would occur to him that that's the result of decades of being a bad father - easier to blame others - probably his children's SOs. If he had not been a bad father, or even apologized for being a bad father, maybe it would've been different.
We didn't invite him to the wedding - my wife told me she didn't want him there as he'd been against the relationship and I didn't want him there, either. He's never sought any contact with our son, probably never will.

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DistanceNotDefense

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Thanks for sharing your story qcdlvl. I'm really sorry you've become the target of the toxic sludge from your wife's FIL! From my perspective (and I'm sure from yours) it seems so nonsensical for a complete uninvolved F to stake such a "claim" and entitlement to even the smallest opinion about his daughter's life. What love and support did he contribute to her being the woman she is today? Or to even think he has a say over who she chooses to share her life with? You're a very good partner though for agreeing to her wishes to meet FIL despite your feelings - that is very supportive. 🙂

FIL thinking that you don't treat her well seems kind of like a projection. And yes, he entertains and fantasizes the thought that you could possibly "outdo" him in terms of abuse, beating and PA especially... and that, if only to himself, helps explain his own reality and actions to help validate what he is doing. If only he could realize how awful that comes off to others involved.

I'm at least sort of relieved (though relieved is not the right word....because I know you don't feel relief from this....so "validated" might work better) being on this forum and seeing that allegations of physical abuse, holding captive, and extreme controlling against a spouse is not completely outlandish for a suspect PD to do in order to pressure an abuse victim back into the FOO fold. I, too, feel that my FOO (uPDsib and flying monkey FOO) would almost be happy if it were true in my case, too, that I was being beaten....and have me come running right back into their weird sick sense of loving arms. If I was really suspected of being physically abused like that, wouldn't they do more and show more support? But they don't.

Good call with keeping your child away or at least supervised. There seems to be too many instances reading this forum that PDs try to get back to the abuse victims through their own kids....And good on you supporting your wife to make her own choices ultimately! My DH is doing the same with me.

My situation feels so different in some ways and is very confusing because my M (a flying monkey for uPDsib, though I'm starting to think there are covert N tendencies) was not a deadbeat - she did a lot to remove our FOO from the more overt monstrous abuser, my F (permanent NC 18 years). She took care of us in every physical sense, but for the emotional component - and neglecting/letting abuse happen for too long up until that point and until it was too late, and minimizing/denying it after the fact despite everything. She's almost squeaky clean in some ways so the FOG is extra thick with me, but saying things like "your business is like my grandkids, I really want to be part of that" but without taking my uPD sibling's claims about PA with any seriousness and letting that wreak havoc, just feels like more passive abuse to me....a.k.a. neglect on her part. She'd rather hold up the status quo of my siblings abusing me freely so she can have her idea of the whole, happy family kept intact, and I can't do that anymore.

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qcdlvl

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Thanks for the compliment!
I hadn't thought of FIL's attitude as projection, but I think you're right - it makes sense that if I were abusive that would make him look better by comparison, as he was "only" negligent.
While it sounds like your mother was the better parent, that on its own need not absolve her - if she let abuse happen, wants to rugsweep, acts like a FM, etc, these are serious, major failings, and make her complicit in abuse at some level. She actually sounds a little like my own MIL - she let abuse happen (not by FIL), she failed to protect my wife.

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DistanceNotDefense

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Thank you qcdlvl  :) I've been working on validating my own thoughts to myself, but hearing your own input helps. What you say about my mother strikes a chord and helps me realize what she does (and did) and it's very validating. I'm so very sorry your wife went through the same. My mother was more like a cardboard cutout of a mother when you really think about it. Her staying on the sidelines in all this to let abuse happen is it's own form of passive abuse, yes. I wonder if she'll ever see this for what it is and want a more honest supportive relationship with me.