It is time to take myself out of the equation

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FoggedFrog

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It is time to take myself out of the equation
« on: April 21, 2021, 12:02:35 AM »
[I believe this is the right subsection for this. I know some of us like talking about our FOO and enabler parents along with our PD siblings, so I think this fits here. If not, my apologies. ]

After over a decade of having gone NC with my PD sibling, I have finally made some hard realizations.

Mini-novel incoming......I was so so so naive....

I honestly had so many hopes and dreams for my FOO. I was only 19 when I established NC with PDSib. It was extremely hard at first. And when you remain in contact with FOO, you never can truly 100% get away from their influence. But after many years, PDSib for the most part left me alone. And I was like - finally! FOO did not respect my boundaries still, but they were making vast improvements. There was a period where Eparents (="enabler parents") restablished contact and it ended in disaster. They once again went NC also. I thought for sure - that time - was when eparents finally realized after all this time! Emom started going to therapy! Edad commented on how we have such peace! Both eparents were talking about the future positively! Such a grand change from being constant doom and gloom. From being blinded in the enabling cycle. We could finally work on having normal lives and I could have a normal relationship with FOO. I knew we would never be perfect. I knew eparents threw me to the wolves way too many times in favor of serving PDSib growing up, that I was effectively a SG, and I'd always have trust issues with them. I knew they had their own traumas and had stuff that couldn't be overcome. But things felt so hopeful and I knew things could at least get much better.

A few years ago, oldest nephew ("Andrew", fake name) became an adult and eparents opened their home to him with open arms. He understandably wanted to get away from PDSIb (their parent) ASAP. I had barely seen/talked with him since going NC with PDSib, which broke my heart. I was anxious to get re-acquainted. I knew from the start Andrew had turned into such a different person from what I remembered but I did not judge. I accepted him as he was and was hopeful (as always, I guess). Over time, things became...tenuous. Eparents would come to me and complain, complain, complain. I'd offer advice. It was ignored. I admit I was also blinded. We missed Andrew so much and wanted to get to know him, we wanted a relationship. We knew Andrew had to deal with PDSib as their parent and kept saying, "He needs time. He needs support. He needs freedom." Eparents kept having problems with him yet they kept giving him everything - living rent-free in their home; free cell phone paying his bills; gave him free use of their car and paying all the gas. I was upset. They were enabling again. But I was blinded myself - I said things were different because this is not PDSib. This did not make the enabling right but at least it wouldn't end in disaster - right?

Well, it has been about 2 years now and I've finally opened my eyes. I was recently informed that Andrew has been up to a lot more problems than I initially was told. In fact, this has been information deliberately kept from me. I realize Andrew is not simply a very different person from me...he is much, much more like PDSib than I knew, and it was kept from me in order to try to "protect" our relationship. Andrew is a criminal. Andrew gets into trouble and eparents have been legally responsible. As far as I'm aware, from what he has done, he has zero respect for my eparents or their property. He has zero respect for humans in general. He is violent. I was absolutely devastated from all the things I learned. I had hoped and dreamed that Andrew would not turn out like PDSib but now I think he is exactly like PDSib. I just haven't been living there with them so I haven't seen it. Eparents clean up his messes and pretend it doesn't happen so I wouldn't know and wouldn't say or do anything about it. And all their complaining....and enabling...and justifying..."We can't stand Andrew living with us anymore. We want him out of our house and out of our lives!" I bring up the fact that they let him do whatever he wants with no consequences. He pays nothing. He does nothing. He is an adult. They could kick him out. Eparents cry, "We aren't his parents. We can't tell him what to do." No...but you are his landlord. You pay his cell phone. You give him your car.  Take those away? Tell him to find his own place? "We'd rather die than kick him out!" Okay then. Then eparents beg me, "Act like we never told you! Don't you dare say anything to him! Don't do anything! Be nice and we will all get along!"  :stars:

THIS IS JUST PD SIBLING 2.0!!!!!

I am being slowly dragged back into the same exact situation I grew up with, but with a different person. No no no no no. This cannot be happening. I can't believe it. I can't believe after eparents went to therapy, after we have such long talks about mental illness and narcissism and enabling and personality disorders that they are just....going back to the same situation. Again. On top of this, a few weeks ago eparents informed me they re-established contact with PD Sib. They said it was recent but I expect it has been at least since before Christmas. They said they needed PD Sib in their life even if it came at the expense of our relationship. I wrote here fearing my eparents would still violating my boundaries more harshly and with more frequency. And yes - that is exactly what's been happening.

I am thankful that at least now as an adult, I am not subjected to living 24/7 in this situation. But I cannot be pulled into this even from a distance either. It is the Same. Exact. Crap. from growing up. The violence, the police presence, the property destruction, the mockery, the humiliation. Then the enabling - eparents being told by others that PD Sib (and in this case Andrew) needs therapy, professional help. Needs consequences. Needs a CHANGE. SOMETHING. Except this time it is ME telling them this too. And eparents throwing up the classic excuses. Refusing to do anything. Wanting to perpetually complain but then fiercely defending. Treating me as a proxy therapist.

No. I will not live this again.

And with that said - I'm almost done with this FOO. Not completely yet, but almost. It is time to go LC. From eparents, from Andrew, from everyone. I think I've realized now, I am the only person who wants to change. I am the only person who wants a different life. Eparents - despite their never-ending chorus of complaints - prefer this chaos and misery. They've had so many opportunities for a different, more peaceful life. They even tried it out. And they've in the end rejected it with their actions. I'm sick of the anxiety. I'm sick of the lies - outright lies and lies by omission. I'm tired of the drama and the violence and heartache and the disappointment. They all want to live this life, and I want to get as far away from it as possible. I have spent 10+ years trying to get away. I thought it was possible for FOO - with all their imperfections - to come along with me. But I know now it's not.

I must do this alone.
I am alone.

I will once in a while say hi, good to hear from you. Maybe we will spend a holiday together. I guess they can show up at my wedding if they really want. But no more playing therapist (a boundary I put up long ago but is violated EVERY face-to-face visit!!!!). No more every day texts. No more weekly talks. No more having my energy and my optimism drained. No more engaging in the problems they put themselves into over and over and over again.

Just.....no more.

They can go and live their crazy lives without me. The life they want to live and the life I want to live are fundamentally incompatible. I need my space. Perhaps forever. And after all this...I'm still crushed.

Thank you for listening.

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Penny Lane

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2021, 11:49:31 AM »
I am so sorry you're dealing with this. In some ways, cutting off the enablers/flying monkeys is harder than cutting off the toxic person themselves. But in this case it sounds like you know what you need to do to protect yourself.

Wishing you strength as you navigate this tough time.

 :bighug:

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FoggedFrog

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2021, 05:52:38 PM »
Thank you Penny Lane, I appreciate the supportive words.

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bets

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2021, 07:20:42 PM »
I think you are right to take yourself out of the equation. No one is listening to you. It sounds frustrating and destructive. I am trying to do a similar thing, and I find it very, very hard. However, it's starting to feel possible and even critical, to do so. Is that how it feels to you?

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FoggedFrog

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2021, 11:32:15 AM »
bets, yes. It honestly feels like I don't even really have much of a choice. If I want to protect my mental health (not to even mention my physical safety), this is something that must happen. It is such a hard realization though. Thank you for your kind words.

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theonetoblame

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2021, 12:32:04 AM »
foggedfrog, thank you for sharing your post. I've been mentioning this recently, the observation that patterns with PD people seem to repeat and repeat. There is also a genetic component to PDs and then the behavioral/enabling pattern your parents are in. I have a pd brother, he is everything your nephew is and more. 

I do wonder.. gently, and without judgement, if you might be in the role of enabling the enabler (your parents) through your efforts to be supportive of them. For them to gain insight something will need to change. Is it possible this change could be you putting up clear, immutable and healthy boundaries with them regarding your role as their go-to support regarding your nephew? From what you've written, this may be the best thing you could do for both them and your nephew as it will signal, without ambiguity, that things have gone too far.

I agree that you likely need to remove yourself from the dynamic, and it seems you're both alarmed and exhausted by the fact it got this far before the lights came on and you saw things clearly. This clarity is your gift though, no matter when it came, it's the thing you worked so hard on achieving over the years of family distance and difficulty relating to your sibling. I think it is possible to leave the door wide open for your parents in every area of your life but this one, to express your love for them, that you want them in your life, but that you simply can't be a part of this pattern anymore.

« Last Edit: June 08, 2021, 12:37:42 AM by theonetoblame »

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Leonor

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2021, 12:07:40 PM »
Hi Frog!

I think your post is amazing. You really do sketch out this ridiculous, draining and dangerous dynamic in disordered families.

Sadly, it makes sense that your nephew would be more like his parent than not. After all, he's their son and was raised by them. It's what's familiar.

Sadly, it also makes sense that your parents would fall into the same pattern with their grandchild as with their own child. It's what's familiar.

I might go a step further and wonder if your parents are more than enablers. Not that they are violent or antisocial or act outwardly like your sibling and nephew. But who raised your sibling? Who taught them to behave in this way? Who shaped their worldview?

And even more crucial ... Why? What did they need from you and your sibling to raise you as they did? At some level, they enjoy the drama. They set up all of this chaos. And then they get to feel victimized by your sibling, and then they get to feel taken care of by *you*!

Unfortunately, all of the therapy and talking and boundary setting was not real for them. It was not about growth or healing or recovery. It was just drama. It was entertaining. It was the thrill of the chaos. They were play-acting at parenting.

There's a great quote from Cheri Huber: "It is very important that something be wrong, so that I can survive it." So people go about looking for something to survive, and if they don't find anything, they make it.

Frog, your parents are reenacting this whole shebang with their grandson because they want to. It fills a need for them: to be in chaos. To feel victimized. To be the center of attention. "Look at us, just trying to do right by our no-good kids! What wonderful parents we are!"

But who is really the abused party here? Not your sibling or nephew, who get exactly what they want. Not your parents, who set the stage to have their favorite soap opera go into the eighty-third season.

It's you. Because then you get to be the emotional dumping ground. The caretaker. The therapist. All of your energy gets sucked right into the black hole that is their disorder. And you provide what they really want, which is to finally have a parent of their own.

Yes, keep those boundaries strong. Let them do they thing. You take good and gentle care of you.

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blacksheep7

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2021, 02:32:22 PM »
Frog, your parents are reenacting this whole shebang with their grandson because they want to. It fills a need for them: to be in chaos. To feel victimized. To be the center of attention. "Look at us, just trying to do right by our no-good kids! What wonderful parents we are!"

 :yeahthat:

Good for you Frog!
It's their stuff, no matter how much you try they don't know any different than being the helper and victim at the same time.

My b inlaw once  said« well, I can't just send her out on the street, she's my child after all.» speaking about his dd in her late twenties always coming back home because of money problems and working two jobs.
Enabling  and infantilizing  them is not helping the  adult child become a responsible Adult.

You will feel much better without the Drama.

I am nc with FOO four years now and they still operate the same  way.  I don't miss it.

You will feel much better
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: It is time to take myself out of the equation
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2021, 03:12:58 PM »
Frog, this situation is very familiar to me as well. My aunt was allowed to be dependent on her parents while she was into drugs and risky and outright violent abusive relationships, and then the pattern carried on with her sons. They were often living there rent-free while not contributing to the household and letting my grandmother do everyone’s laundry. Or at least that how the story goes, I have reason think it was true.

But yea, my grandmother would complain to me, a child, about my adult cousins, and then forbid me from passing on those complaints. :sadno: Even as a kid I wondered if it was that bad why they let them live there. And what she expected from me.  :stars: She wanted to posture as a martyr, make me feel sorry for her, and not have to deal with my parents being angry with her over it, nothing more.

I see there was more of a payoff for them. And that it was very selfish of them to infantilize my aunt and cousins and not expect better of any of them, to keep them down so to speak. Leonor is very on point as usual. Who set up your sibling to be who she is? My own grandfather and my father after him were likewise violent abusers, although they hid it better than some. Not that the parents are always and forever at fault when an adult child turns out poorly. But you are astute to recognize the pattern, and to stop participating in this dysfunctional dance. The constant complaints followed up by, “Don’t you dare say anything!” raises all the red flags. They don’t actually want the problem solved, or people to improve themselves. It’s too much supply to give up.

My grandparents are both dead now, and left rest of the family to fight like vultures over the hoarded-up house I guess. I was NC at that point and am glad not to have witnessed it. I believe it’s true that they wanted whatever they could get out of my grandparents. But since they never got what they needed, which is love and, you know, actual parenting, the next generation was left to fill their black hole of need the way that was modeled for them.

I feel like in the Book of Job: “I alone have escaped to tell you.” Sounds like you are too.