Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« on: August 17, 2021, 05:19:56 PM »
If you are VLC with your family, does that mean you will have to keep reminding them what it was that lead you to go VLC in the first place?  Do they repeatedly ask why you are not answering calls, requests, and invitations? 
       
I have noticed a pattern with my parents that they answer my calls or agree to see me, and while things are not outwardly aggressive, there is an intangible feeling of contempt. They are abrupt. At times I offered to visit, and they cancel at the last minute. If they are interested in me, I do not think they would cancel. They are engulfing and never did that before.     
 
I can accept this, but then like a boiling tea kettle, they burst out with "I don't understand you.. What is wrong with you... what did we ever do to you... we could die soon." I have actually taken the bait and given them examples of what they did. They always come back with an excuse. They were intoxicated, they do not remember, it was just that one time, etc.     
   
I thought grey rocking and limited contact could be sustainable. There is still the cycle of quiet contempt, a confrontation, me explaining, them retreating, then repeat. To keep explaining is retraumatizing. I have not spoken to my parents since our last "blow out" three months ago. I said they did not treat me with any regard and I was backing off. My dad responded by swearing at me before I hung up. I see they are calling but I do not answer. I am not sure if I am doing VLC well enough. Are there any good words to use if I speak to them again, or is this just the way it goes?  Thank you.
 

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Cat of the Canals

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2021, 06:59:19 PM »
I'm only LC, but from browsing the No Contact board, this sounds like it is pretty much the way it goes. Just as there are no magic words to change our PDparents into normal parents, there are no magic words that will get them to acknowledge the harm they've done. They are unable to take responsibility for it, and they simply don't want to hear it. So when you say, "You did XYZ, that's why." they will deny, minimize, justify, etc. Like you said, there is always an excuse.

I think I would come up with a Medium Chill response along the lines of, "We've discussed this at length. I'm not going to explain it again." The reality is that despite their claims of not understanding, I think they DO understand. I think the "I don't know what we've done wrong!" game is designed to wear you down. To make you so tired of repeating yourself to a brick wall of denial that you eventually give in and say, "OK fine. Forget it. Let's just move forward as if nothing ever happened." The classic rugsweep.

I just don't buy that they "don't remember" or "don't understand." When we were twelve, my best friend said, "Remember when you punched me in the stomach in fourth grade?" I had no memory of this! I couldn't fathom why I would have done such a thing! But I apologized anyway, because she wasn't the type to make it up. And I still remember this thirty years later. So there's just no way that TWO parents have sudden amnesia in this way.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2021, 07:15:30 PM »
No no no! This seems like a weird sort of hoover, like Cat says. Suck Blueberry Pancakes back into the JADE cycle so they can gaslight, devalue, diminish your experience and make you doubt yourself and get back to them being in charge.  :sharkbait:

I agree with Medium Chill, but Cat's answer could be confrontational unless you are willing to promptly end the call... If you outright refuse to answer or claim you have done so, then I would expect the next move to be a doubling down on how you OWE them an explanation and no you have NOT explained yourself sufficiently. I think pre-emptively rugsweeping in your favor would be a good tactical move. "I don't know what you mean. Been really busy, though. It's purple martin season, as I'm sure you know."

You can certainly choose to lengthen the time between phone calls as suits you, without giving any explanation whatsoever. The brick wall of denial is not for you to beat your head against, but for them to protect themselves from the big bad idea that they are not perfect that would destroy the PD ego. It's a tiny and fragile fallout shelter to live in, but they're choosing to live in it.  :fallingbricks: :meh:

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moglow

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2021, 07:29:49 PM »
Quote
There is still the cycle of quiet contempt, a confrontation, me explaining, them retreating, then repeat. To keep explaining is retraumatizing. I have not spoken to my parents since our last "blow out" three months ago. I said they did not treat me with any regard and I was backing off. My dad responded by swearing at me before I hung up. I see they are calling but I do not answer.

Familiar, painfully so. Mother simply couldn't understand how she spewed her venom all over me and I don't feel better later, wasn't all bright and cheery and ready to move forward. Because that wasn't "all", that was that time. Then the next time we talked she picked up and ran with the same crap [or some new/old drama!] that I have no answers for so she blasted me all over again with the same questions. So I was told "well that's not what you said before! Was it ABC or XYZ, or do you even remember???" and I get accused of lying or a convenient memory. Never mind that she picked up the same drama I shut down before or that we've been over and over it. OR that maybe I simply don't remember, just like I said!

My refusal to discuss it was called silent treatment - no, I just have nothing to say and don't want to open that door again. So she'd get mad and tell me that I can't control her [?] and nobody tells her what she can and can't talk about. Okay. If you want to talk about it, that's on you. I don't and I'm not going to. Call it whatever you want but I'm OVER IT and not having that conversation ... etc etc ad nauseum.

My interpretation of this is like a boil that you lance but don't get all the toxins out. There's somehow always a reserve that builds back up until they MUST get it out again. They feel relief after but there we are, traumatized again. We don't feel better at all, it just stirred everything up for us. We need time to heal or even to just erase, but that's not allowed. They chose otherwise and we must comply.

VLC only worked for me as long as I had only the most superficial conversations with her. Mother asks and knows nothing about my life, hasn't visited my home in YEARS [I'm kinda good with that, actually] and I don't visit her. I cut off any controversial or painful conversations in whatever way necessary to avoid opening that black hole. She didn't like it, she wanted drama and angst and something she could mock or insult. And I just couldn't do it anymore.

Telling her repeatedly that we don't have the relationship she seems to think, only did more harm, raised more questions. There's no foundation for any relationship - you get superficial or you get nothing, those are my terms now. I've given everything I had to give, only to have it thrown back in my face. HOW a parent can't see that, I will never understand.

I'm sorry I don't have answers for you. It's a continuing source of frustration for me too. I can't and won't speak for other people, and she shuts me down with insults, contempt and mocking anything that might pass for feelings. No thank you, I just can't.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2021, 07:32:29 PM by moglow »
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.  ~ Cap'n Spanky

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Blueberry Pancakes

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2021, 06:07:59 PM »
Thank you Cat, Cordelia and Mglow.  What you all posted makes perfect sense.   Thanks for being here.   

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Hilltop

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2021, 08:50:51 AM »
There is still the cycle of quiet contempt, a confrontation, me explaining, them retreating, then repeat.

I can relate to this as well.  There was a cycle that got played out over and over and over again.  There was definite contempt there and then if I retreated they would ask what was wrong or if I spoke up it didn't really matter the end result was the same, I would explain, they would blame me, tell me I was too sensitive and then there would be a quiet period and then it would start all over again. I did find out a few times that in those quiet periods they were doing a smear campaign and talking about me to other family members.  In the end I stopped explaining or speaking up and they went overboard with their contempt and mocking to get their message across to try to get that argument happening.  It was like they needed to hear me in that explain part so they could point the finger at me and blame me for the problems and mock me.

I guess for a long time I felt I had to explain because I felt that's what you do in a relationship to make things better.  You talk etc.  However with PD's that isn't the case.  No amount of talking or explaining on my end was ever going to make it better or change things. 

I find I don't have to explain things now such as why I am not calling or texting or visiting.  There were a few texts initially asking why, if everything was ok however as I ignored those texts nothing gets asked anymore.  The relationship has completely fallen apart and my mother acts like nothing is wrong.  I did find it interesting that my mother only ever asked a simple "what's wrong" via text.  There was really no genuine concern there, it was simply an easy way to get that information without having to sit through an actual conversation.

From what I can tell my mother found a friend who is around the same age as myself, this friend is going through a messy divorce and has really low self esteem.  I believe this is her new supply, so essentially I have been replaced and I truly believe I am not needed at the moment.  My mother texts when she needs information and that's it.

I wish I could give some advice but for me it was the way it goes.  If there was a blow up there would be a period of calm but it always went back to what it was.  It took me a long time to acknowledge to myself that I don't enjoy the conversations or time spent with them.  I guess I wish it was different but I've come to realise it won't change.

I am sorry you are going through this, it's painful.  I will say that I tried many different ways of broaching the subject or reacting when things happened and none of them worked.  Really it could have worked if they had tried or had a genuine want for the relationship to improve but that's not what these relationships are.  I think you have to find what works for you and in time you will find that balance that works.

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MarlenaEve

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2021, 08:37:50 AM »
I really like this question.

It was the same for me when I was in VLC. They wouldn't understand why I talked to them once a month. My manipulative NM would start crying on the phone (imagine a baby crying when you take her toy-ha ha) complaining about taking her narcissistic supply away from her (me). It was so weird and embarrassing. I had to cut her loose and went NC.

But when I tried to explain why I only talked one time a month with her, it felt like my words bounced against a wall. Like I wasn't even talking to her so, the next time we'd talk, she pretended she didn't know the reason I was LC. This woman would call me 20-30 times a day  :stars: although I asked her not to do that.

Now I am in contact and, knowing what LC or VLC brings, I'd much rather choose the NC option.
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.
-Viktor Frankl

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MarlenaEve

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2021, 08:43:18 AM »
The reality is that despite their claims of not understanding, I think they DO understand. I think the "I don't know what we've done wrong!" game is designed to wear you down. To make you so tired of repeating yourself to a brick wall of denial that you eventually give in and say, "OK fine. Forget it. Let's just move forward as if nothing ever happened." The classic rugsweep.

That's probably true! They are NOT that dumb. They are just extremely malicious in their thinking and will lie just about anything to get their drug back (you).
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.
-Viktor Frankl

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Hazy111

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Re: Does being VLC mean you have to always keep telling them why?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2021, 08:57:32 AM »
Thats why im NC. Im a lot happier in myself (unfortunately my physical health is deteriorating The Body truly does keep  the Score! ) But i find i can deal with other life situations in a much clearer and assertive way. The enormous guilt  is being shifted also. Doesnt mean i dont think about them a lot but the urge to break NC lessens and  i understand why this arises.

It was just exhausting and traumatising being LC. As you know you are just part of their Narcissistic Supply which they need to maintain, theyre not interested in your feelings complaints ( if only on a temporary superficial level)  . They'll keep banging away until normal service is resumed.

It helps all phone numbers etc have changed and i was never on social media, so the only contact is via the post.