Empathy or Conscience ?

  • 6 Replies
  • 197 Views
*

Hepatica

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 501
Empathy or Conscience ?
« on: July 13, 2021, 10:03:25 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm struggling along with the choice to back away from my toxic FOO. It happened naturally last fall and it has continued. I've made no effort to reach out to elderly parents or sibling. I am in no contact but I've never expressed it to them, as I don't think they'd even understand and it would only end up in putting me in a dangerous position and I'm trying to heal my nervous system.

The good thing is I've had a lot of time away from toxicity (not including my own)  :roll:  But at least I am focussing on my own issues rather than theirs. I understand that this is a good thing. Was saying to my Dh the other day, that I do not enjoy rejecting my toxic FOO. I am not a person who gets pleasure knowing that my actions have caused my family painful feelings, in other words.  I have to add that my family are toxic in the sense that that they hurt themselves more than they hurt me. That said, in the past six years, my uNPD father and sister have tried to manipulate me into caring for my mother who is quite unstable and I saw the extent of their toxicity when I set clear boundaries around not spending time alone with my mother. That's when I mostly saw the dysfunction because my father and sister could not stand that I set a boundary. They do not have any education around trauma in my father's case and in my sister's, she refuses to accept there is such a thing as trauma. In the past I have tried to explain how I can become bedridden after a visit with my parents and she says things like: Oh they don't bother me at all. Maybe this is true in her mind, but she is wracked with pain in her body and has been sick since her early twenties with various scares of cancer that are never cancer in the end. She also has fibromyalgia, but she does not make the connection that often this is related to early trauma. She remains enmeshed with my toxic parents and lives with pain. When I tell her I cannot do that, she judges me. She'd turned all her friends against me and painted me as a very selfish woman. (I know this because good old Facebook they all "unfriended" me when I set the first boundary about spending time with my parents - so I deduce she went on a pity binge with them and now they all think I'm horrible.)

I am not out there to hurt anybody though. And yet I am by the mere act of back away. I know it's rejection to them and I get that it would hurt.

How do you get to the point where you realize this is a practical and necessary action and come to peace with it? Also, I live in the same small city as all of them. This is the brutal part because they know I am rejecting them, whereas if I lived far away, they'd be able to imagine that I am just... far away. They know, even though I've never explicitly told them I'm no contact.

I suppose I have to let them do some soul searching as to why I've backed away and accept that they will or may never - especially in my sister's case - understand me.

I know all of us here feel this kind of grief. I know we are all in a rock and hard place with these issues with our families. I guess I'm just letting off some angst today, and please feel free to share if you need to, and if you have any wisdom as well, if you are further down the line with no contact. Have you found peace with this, or at least acceptance?

Adding this link that I've just read that has helped calm me and hope that it may help you as well.
https://glynissherwood.com/going-no-contact-the-scapegoats-last-resort/

« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 10:18:41 AM by Hepatica »
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

*

treesgrowslowly

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 644
Re: Empathy or Conscience ?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2021, 10:27:40 AM »
Hi Hepatica,

I am over 10 years NC now with the FOO.

I can only speak to my own experience of course. But also share things that might help others.

For me, it got easier after the first calendar year passed. And since then, it has gradually but steadily gotten easier for me to focus on my self. So what you wrote here sounds familiar for me as well. And the practices of self-healing do get more familiar with time. Those first few years were the most confusing for me.

Something I have learned, in part by being in this community, is that in a family affected by PD and trauma, only one or two people might ever walk Out of the FOG. Most will stay enmeshed, and in pain. They will never truly understand our decisions because they are still in the fog themselves. Those of us with a lot of empathy can end up trying to grieve for them at times, because we feel the things that others refuse to feel.

In my FOO, a common theme was that all self-care was seen as narcissism, and all narcissism was 're-coded' as self-care. This messes people up. Big time. My need for boundaries was always coded as bad, while the PD's constant need for admiration and praise, was coded as good. Up was down, down was up.

It takes time for us to turn right side up again, if that make sense.

I would bet good money that in every PD affected FOO there is at least one, if not several people who are 'able' to do what your sister does and 'unsee' the damage that the toxicity is doing / has done. And there is a grief for those of us who cannot 'unsee' it. You are in good company here.

Trees

*

Hepatica

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 501
Re: Empathy or Conscience ?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2021, 11:26:24 AM »
Thank you treesgrowslowly,

I am sending you a big cyber hug.  :bighug:

What a warm and supportive reflection. Thank you again. Everything you say resonates with my situation. I am the "one" who woke up. I am very grateful that I can share this with all of you who are also waking up. I know your grief and that sense of loneliness. I can't help but believe that this is the right thing for all of us, meaning to "wake up" and heal generations of unresolved trauma. This can only be a good thing for this ailing humanity. Thinking of my pain in a "big picture" sense, seems to help me bear it.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

*

Andeza

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1025
Re: Empathy or Conscience ?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2021, 12:22:52 PM »
Hey Hepatica, I think you're hitting that point in your healing journey where the abuse is far enough in the past that you naturally sit back and question whether you made the right choice. It happens at different stages for all of us. Some, it's after a decade, others within a few weeks of cutting contact. Like my signature says, there are no deadlines.

For me, I seem to have gotten everything a little bit backwards, but cart before the horse is not unusual in my case. I had begun my healing about a year before going NC. I had a new baby and it really made me start thinking about my childhood and the way that my uBPDm handled/didn't handle things. I didn't want him to have that same crazy-making behavior in his life, especially from a family member that ought to be somebody he could look up to, and I decided that for my own journey I needed to close a previous chapter in order to begin a new one. Volume I, complete. Volume II, just getting started. So I dealt with all my misgivings and doubts in the weeks leading up to the actual NC move rather than after.

I didn't grieve the relationship so much as just accept that I never really had one. Never had it, nothing to lose, right? It's been about a year and a half now. I suppose it's possible that I'll have second guesses down the road, but right now I feel nothing of the sort.

Empathy versus conscience... Hmm. Now that's a harder question. And I may posit the theory that there is a third concept doing battle there as well. Programming. We are programmed to hide the misdeeds of our FOO, to make excuses, to play at being normal. That does seem to be a very individual question and answer though. Perhaps, I might recommend doing some meditation on it? Spend a little time each day, in a quiet place and frame of mind, asking yourself which it is. The answers may be surprising.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.

*

Bloomie

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 14056
Re: Empathy or Conscience ?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2021, 01:27:43 PM »
Hepatica - empathy, conscience, programming... maybe all of these things and more that we haven't identified here are at work in the angst and conflicting emotions we go through when we accept that is is painful for one and all when we move family members who are unable or unwilling to manage themselves in ways that are harming us out to a very distant level or non level of contact.

As I took my own turn toward the steep and often rocky solo path of pursuing health, authenticity, healing, and recovery in my life and in the broken familial relationships and toxic family system I grew up in, I so wanted to bring others I loved who are suffering with me, but they didn't want to know or go and my invitation fell to the ground for now.

And yes, it was experienced by those who chose to stay in that unhealthy system as inexplicable rejection and abandonment. And they are there to this day. Battling depression, anxiety, obesity, all kinds of physical ailments and disease, addictions, a victim mindset, still vying for material and non material recognition of their worth from people who are void of the ability to truly love others.  :'(

I honestly believe that the only hope any of us have of breaking free is being in so much pain we remove ourselves or we will not survive. And in that hard and painful work of breaking free and figuring out as trees says... how to decode the upside down understanding of what love for ourselves and others truly looks like, we are often alone. We recognize and understand the cost to stay or go is very high. 

The good news is... when we do turn toward a healthy path - healing, freedom, relief, and peace do come. Yes, we still circle the process of grief at times and yet, I believe strongly there is purpose in the pain of me turning away from harm and is a way of still calling to them to join me. 

Your healing work and refusal to accept harm and have your health and life destroyed is courageous and can be a lighthouse to those you love and hope for better for. It is up to them now. You are doing your good work and your boundaries and choices are what love truly looks like.




*

pianissimo

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 91
Re: Empathy or Conscience ?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2021, 07:36:36 PM »
One idea that helps me with staying away is that the way I see things is very different from how they see things. I actually make a lot of assumptions when I consider them in distress when they are in a situation that would be stressful to me. But, they experience the whole thing in a very different way. But, they know how to communicate what they need me to do in a way that makes sense to me. So when they need somebody to water the flowers, they don't ask for it directly but they use a legitimate grivance so that I  would go there, water their flowers, then humor them, talk about things, present in a particular way, make them feel good...etc. They see no problem with using a real tragedy to their advantage. They actually believe that they are entitled to all the unreasonable demands and expectations becuase something bad happened to them. I think the thing to remember in such occassions is that, for most people, support means being there for them. They don't enslave your mind and soul. It actually bothers them if you become too much involved.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 07:40:40 PM by pianissimo »

*

treesgrowslowly

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 644
Re: Empathy or Conscience ?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2021, 11:14:38 AM »
Hi again Hepatica,

I think all the replies here give some excellent food for thought on this topic. You were part of a group of people who did things a certain way and now you are far enough away from that...as Andeza said it is far enough in the past that you can start looking at it from different angles.

FOO dysfunction is sort of like those paintings that are made up of many tiny dots. You have to zoom out a certain distance to really see the picture for what those dots created. The FOO members who are still in the fog won't see the big picture until they get out themselves (if ever).

Seeing the programming is one angle to stand and view the whole.  Seeing the programming is something I still find I am  doing.

Some people are going to cling to their version of things. For their entire life. You can ask them to think about other ways to see it but they won't want to. So they won't. Even when we know that if they learned about trauma it could help them.

Hepatica I think you are doing the right things. In time you will see your boundaries with them as so obviously needed for your own healing. It seems to take us all some time to get there emotionally. All healthy relationships have people who have boundaries and all unhealthy relationships suffer from boundary issues.

It was harder early on NC to feel confident - that my right to boundaries are my rights and people who don't understand them like you said they are more than free to do soul searching on their own.

Trees