NC with GC sister and BIL, just ran into them, was sort of hostile

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Blueberry Pancakes

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I have been NC with my GC sister and her husband for nearly three years. We live within five miles, so eventually I figured I would run into them. Well, it just happened tonight. My husband and I had nicely taken our seats at a restaurant. We just put a drink order in with the server, then out of nowhere my sister walks over to our our table. My husband and I remained seated and I felt somewhat trapped. She was standing over our table, said hello and stated they were meeting friends shortly. I said hello and to have a nice evening. She walked off, but then her husband walked over.   
   
He shook hands with my husband and walked over to my side of the table and put one arm around me in a half hug. I did not return it. We have never been close. Anyway, he walked back over to the other side of the table and asked for me to tell him what the problem was. I told him it was not the right time to discuss. He repeated that it was the right time and that I owed them an answer. My husband told him it was not the right place for such a discussion, and to go back over to my sister and just enjoy their evening together. 
   
My BIL ignored my husband's statement and remained at our table and seemed to grow increasingly agitated. He again asked for me to explain myself. I told him I was uncomfortable and that this seemed like an overly aggressive demand. He told me that nobody just f***ing abandons their family like I did. He used the f-bomb at me. I asked him to please just go over to my sister and have a nice night. He just repeated that I must explain why I walked out on them or else he would drive over to my house and pound the door down. Then he kind of laughed like it was a joke, but it was all very weird and wrong to me.     
             
At that point, my husband said we should probably just leave, and I agreed. We got our coats and walked out.  I just wanted to ask this community ... Is this the way it always goes if you run into family you have been NC with?  Was my BIL being overly aggressive?  ... How best do you handle such a situation?    Thanks for reading and thank you for any insight.       


     

       

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moglow

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I don't think there's an "always" in situations like these. To me that's not someone actually seeking resolution, that sounds like someone spoiling for a fight. I mean really, who does that in public - and after three years?! BIL was rude and overbearing, apparently left his manners at home along with his hearing and comprehension skills.

Actually wanting to talk/work it out, being genuinely concerned if not remorseful over the distance, works differently. It's not confrontational and demanding. It draws the other in, seeks common ground, tries to understand opposing point of view. It doesn't get all up in one's face, and certainly not in the spur of the moment and in public. This? It was just mean spirited and small.

Kinda reaffirms your NC, doesn't it.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Thanks moglow. Yes it reaffirms my NC. Thanks also for your statements about what a perhaps more balanced approach would look like.
When my sister appeared at my table it felt very intrusive to me. I never even saw her walk in and it felt as though she was taking liberties with my personal space. Then my BIL approaches and hugs me which felt like another invasion. He followed that with swearing and a personal insult. I really felt like I was being assaulted. I wish they would just leave me alone. My NC the last three years has not been signaling a green light. 

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Hepatica

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My response (of course I'd be too taken aback to think of it in the moment) to your BIL would be to say "THIS! This is one of the reasons I am no contact. Your rude behaviour!"

Of course you were not expecting to see them and had no time to gather your thoughts. Your BIL was behaving aggressively. If he really wanted to solve the issues, he would have reached out, set a meeting and treated the situation with the care it deserves. You can't scare a person into solving problems. You have to want to solve them, using care and compassion. He was the opposite of that.

Good for you for being no contact. I'm sorry you had to experience that. I would have been so shaken and upset by it. You've made the right decision to back away, because even if your GC sister was not being openly aggressive, she was allowing her husband to be. She didn't step in and tell him to stop. She allowed it passively. That's horrible.  :doh: These people seemed stuck in a kind of toxicity that I would want nothing to do with.

Again, I'm sorry you had to experience it. Good for you for caring about yourself and walking away from these people. I know how hard that is but sometimes it is the only choice we have.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 05:30:27 PM by Hepatica »
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Blueberry Pancakes

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Thank you for your insights Hepatica. Stuck in a sort of toxic pattern explains my perception of my FOO. How ironic I find it that while they show aggression and inability to listen they display the exact behaviors that keep me away. I would not be surprised if they went back to the rest of the family saying how they reached out to me and I just ran off.  :stars:

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Coyote23

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This was an interesting reaction from your family!. These encounters indeed do not always go the same for every family at any given time. My relatives would have been way too concerned about how they appeared to act like your BIL in public, and would have been smarmy, fake nice and passive aggressive. Your sister and BIL being obnoxious was in a weird way a gift because the smoothness of my family often has me second guessing myself. You have concrete obnoxious behaviorfrom them  to point to! 😅

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Coyote23

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Also, sorry you had to leave the restaurant, but it was probably a great act of self care for you and your husband. In your shoes, my stomach would have soured and there’s no way I would have enjoyed the meal.

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Blueberry Pancakes

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. Your sister and BIL being obnoxious was in a weird way a gift because the smoothness of my family often has me second guessing myself. You have concrete obnoxious behaviorfrom them  to point to! 😅
Thank you Coyote. Yes, I agree their approach certainly did remove the angst of second-guessing things.  And, yes, I did lose my appetite. I found after I got out of there and took a deep breath just having the physical distance felt better.  Thank you.

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nanotech

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I’m so sorry you’ve been through that and that you had to leave the restaurant. Should have been them!
Well done for how you dealt with it.
I think I might have cried! Horrible, horrible behaviour.

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Hilltop

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I actually think you handled it perfectly.  You were calm, polite and rational.  He was waiting for you to slip up and give a reaction so he could then go back to the family with the story.  When you didn't give a reaction he had to get more and more aggressive.  It was perfect that you didn't react.  I mean if he was genuine he would have been concerned and reached out, instead he was aggressive and angry.

I think its great that you left as well because it wouldn't have been a nice evening having them sit nearby, looking at you.  I haven't had an encounter like this and I'm sorry you went through it but I think the way you handled it was great.

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: NC with GC sister and BIL, just ran into them, was sort of hostile
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2021, 12:58:33 PM »
Thank you so much Hilltop and Nanotech. The validation that BIL's behavior was a bit excessive and that leaving the place was a good tactic to deploy is really helpful. There was something unsettling about the way my BIL's behavior became increasingly hostile the less I engaged.  Actually, when he first approached he had a smirk on his face like he was enjoying the confrontation. I find that even some encounters with my FOO, I can still have residual emotional effects. Your insights really help me keep this in a balanced perspective.  Thank you again.   


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daughter

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Re: NC with GC sister and BIL, just ran into them, was sort of hostile
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2021, 01:43:37 PM »
I'm not surprised. Sounds like NPD expectations of "accommodation".  They rely on our good manners to not confront them in their overbearing presumption of their blasé approach post-NC; they know we will be polite, no matter our internal upset.  5 years into NC, me quietly disconnecting, NF angrily hoovering for a yr, NM making zero effort to contact me, ditto maid and her family, my parents attended DS's college graduation.  I had no advance notice from DS.  They entered hall, immediately approached me, began chatting as if we were friends. Of course, no mention of their 5-yr's shunning, bad-mouthing, and repressive behavior of me and DH.  They even asked for their "saved seats", stunned when I said I had none. After ceremony, they expected us to take them to lunch, which we declined, then insisted DS take them - which he did!
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 01:46:40 PM by daughter »

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Oscen

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Re: NC with GC sister and BIL, just ran into them, was sort of hostile
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2021, 02:27:19 PM »
I haven't had run-ins with NC family members, but this is definitely aggressive.

I think some PD individuals can interpret no contact as "weakness" - it is after all the ultimate "flight" response, especially if NC was deployed swiftly with no preceding arguments or obvious changes in your behaviour.
 
So when they see you out and about and not hidden behind a carefully constructed wall of blocks and filters, they are simultaneously angry to see someone who's defied them, whilst certain they can easily outgun their ex-victim face-to-face. The sudden itch they feel from your presence can easily be scratched by reasserting themselves as dominant - or so they think.

Sounds like BIL expected you both to be easily shamed/coerced into behaving as he wanted you to, but was was unprepared for any response other than capitulation. It's great that you and your partner are such a great team together. BIL perhaps assumed his aggression would give him the advantage, when actually it was 2-against-1. BIL was probably feeling humiliated by your united front and so pushed the encounter to drive you both to respond somehow, resulting in you not breaking your resolve not to communicate but ultimately leaving, which gave his ego the "victory" it needed to retain a positive self-image. If you asked him his intentions while he was walking to confront you, it wouldn't have been to drive you away I'm sure, but he doubtless he changed his goals on the fly to suit the situation.

I'd check out the drama triangle - I doubt he even considers his swearing/intimidation to be inappropriate because he and your sister likely have a narrative that you are the perpetrator, she is the victim, and he is the rescuer (in that moment at least), and therefore any behaviour getting you back into line is justified.

As to why he approached you, again, doesn't sound like he (or your sister) has a big emotional toolbox. On seeing you two there, you were simply irritants that couldn't be ignored or rationalised.

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MarlenaEve

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Re: NC with GC sister and BIL, just ran into them, was sort of hostile
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2021, 11:18:50 AM »
I have been NC with my GC sister and her husband for nearly three years. We live within five miles, so eventually I figured I would run into them. Well, it just happened tonight. My husband and I had nicely taken our seats at a restaurant. We just put a drink order in with the server, then out of nowhere my sister walks over to our our table. My husband and I remained seated and I felt somewhat trapped. She was standing over our table, said hello and stated they were meeting friends shortly. I said hello and to have a nice evening. She walked off, but then her husband walked over.   
   
He shook hands with my husband and walked over to my side of the table and put one arm around me in a half hug. I did not return it. We have never been close. Anyway, he walked back over to the other side of the table and asked for me to tell him what the problem was. I told him it was not the right time to discuss. He repeated that it was the right time and that I owed them an answer. My husband told him it was not the right place for such a discussion, and to go back over to my sister and just enjoy their evening together. 
   
My BIL ignored my husband's statement and remained at our table and seemed to grow increasingly agitated. He again asked for me to explain myself. I told him I was uncomfortable and that this seemed like an overly aggressive demand. He told me that nobody just f***ing abandons their family like I did. He used the f-bomb at me. I asked him to please just go over to my sister and have a nice night. He just repeated that I must explain why I walked out on them or else he would drive over to my house and pound the door down. Then he kind of laughed like it was a joke, but it was all very weird and wrong to me.     
             
At that point, my husband said we should probably just leave, and I agreed. We got our coats and walked out.  I just wanted to ask this community ... Is this the way it always goes if you run into family you have been NC with?  Was my BIL being overly aggressive?  ... How best do you handle such a situation?    Thanks for reading and thank you for any insight.       


     
https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?action=profile
     

No need to ask if he was overly aggressive because he really was! That guy sounds like he is a PD himself.

I'm not NC but from this forum I learned that, in time, one gets used to the awkward bump ins and it doesn't bother anymore. One person here stumbled upon their PD parents and they were mean but it didn't get to them anymore. He said, it was like stumbling upon strangers. The mean behavior didn't register anymore.

I believe, the longer NC you are, the less involved in 'what will they say about me' narrative you are. What they say and think about you won't have any weight over your life.

If you think about it, these PDs are INDEED strangers to us. They never revealed themselves to us in the relationship we had with them prior to NC. You cannot get to know a narcissist because they will never let themselves be vulnerable with you. Thus, they were and always will be strangers.

So you can start treating them like strangers. They bump into you in the Mall. OK, so what? You say Hi and go on with your life like they don't exist.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2021, 11:49:02 AM by Bloomie »
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms-
to choose one's attitude in any
given set of circumstances, to choose
one's own way.
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nanotech

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Re: NC with GC sister and BIL, just ran into them, was sort of hostile
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2021, 04:53:42 PM »
Guitarman ( look him up he’s got lots of very good advice)  says he thinks of his PD sister as
‘ just someone I  used to know’.
 :applause:
This is what I do now too.
It took me years and years to understand. At first, it’s painful, and it feels quite shameful and immoral, not to go along with whatever entitlements and cruelties they feel like throwing at us, all in the  name of ‘family’.

We’ve been made to feel shame since our childhood. Once indoctrinated as children, we become, as adults, lost to ourselves; blindly going along and accepting abusive treatment in order to preserve the illusion of  ‘ the happy family’, both for ourselves and for them too.
But now we’re aware. Our rocking of the boat, makes them feel unsafe. They need to believe that the family is fine. This is why their reactions are so volatile and acrimonious. By stepping away we create a vacancy in  paradise.  It doesn’t feel good to them. It doesn’t look good to their friends and the wider world.
Do what guitarman does. Then, if you see them, you'll find yourself dealing  lwith that situation quickly and smoothly.
As Jerry Wise  says,
‘Move from feeling to thinking.’
Let your reactions to your FOO be rational and logical. How are they behaving? Is that fun for me? Or not?’
Imagine if they were not related, how anti social that behaviour would show itself to be.
My N father and Nsiblings treat their friends so well! However, they used to treat me terribly. Through boundaries and low  to no contact, they no longer get to play.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2021, 05:03:22 PM by nanotech »