Dropping the rope and waiting for the other shoe to drop

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WonderGirl

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Dropping the rope and waiting for the other shoe to drop
« on: August 28, 2021, 05:33:32 PM »
I have not posted here a lot over the years, but please know that you, all of you, have saved my sanity, my marriage, and possibly my life many times over. Knowing that I am not crazy and not alone has made all the difference. I am deeply grateful that this site exists and you are all here.

I just returned from a trip that was astonishing. I have been VVLC with uB/NPDm for the past 4 or 5 years and it's been nice. I recently agreed to take a trip to visit her with another relative. I did so largely out of pity -- the past year has been tough on her, she is old, isolated, has trouble getting around on her own, and is cared for by GCb (also alcoholic) who lives with her. "Cared for" is doing a lot of work in this case. I went because the circumstances were such that I would be able to escape easily and stay away if necessary. And, I did think there was a sliver of a chance that she might be a little happy to see me, or at least not as cruel as in the past.

Yeah, I was wrong about that.

This time, though, something new happened. As she was saying terrible, horrible, cruel, unthinkable things about my friends, my life, and my FOC, the other relative I was with witnessed it and they stepped up and defended me. For the first time in my half-century of life, someone witnessed her contempt for me AND stood up to her, stood up for me. I'm thinking that she assumed this person would just acquiesce like all my other family members have, but she was wrong. And this was a person who had never witnessed her treatment of me first-hand and tended to believe that my stories about her were overdone and hyperbolic. They are now questioning their relationship with her. I'm still in shock and processing all of this. We left her house, for good, right after this exchange. I felt crummy at first, but it only went so far before I started feeling other things that took a while to identify. I feel relief. Enormous relief. I'm crying with gratitude as i write this. I think this ranks in the top 5 experiences of my life.

I have dropped the rope and I'm so....happy, I think. I know it sounds over-the-top, but I'm having emotions that I've never felt so fully. I feel hope, enthusiasm, peacefulness, and energy. Energy. Was so much of my energy wrapped up in self-loathing and questioning my perceptions and self-worth over these years?


But, I've never had a good experience that she wasn't able to ruin and I am concerned that I'm letting myself feel too much, and that it's all going to rebound on me and I'll drop back into my normal chronically depressed state. I do have a T and I will talk her this week. But your collective wisdom has always been spot on so I wondering what you think or have experienced?


Again, thank you.
WG

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Thru the Rain

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Re: Dropping the rope and waiting for the other shoe to drop
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2021, 05:16:13 AM »
Thank you for sharing this story!

I too have been both physically and emotionally distant from my FOO for many years. The physical distance was easy - I moved 1,500 miles away over 20 years ago. The emotional distance was harder to achieve. But I've been emotionally LC with my uPDM for probably 5 or 6 years now. My emotional LC with my uPDM was triggered by her poor treatment of my DH.

He pointed out how her behavior affects him too, and requested that I not include him in any visits with her. It's amazing how much easier it is to see the bad behavior for what it is when it's directed at someone else!

And since that time, I've had some interesting conversations with my sibling's spouses who all had similar stories to DH's. The surprising part was how unsurprising it all was. My uPDM has all of her children "trained" to put up with her behavior, but all of our spouses see the awful behavior for what it is.

I love that you had this level of validation very specifically and verbally and in your presence!




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SunnyMeadow

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Re: Dropping the rope and waiting for the other shoe to drop
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2021, 12:25:25 PM »
As she was saying terrible, horrible, cruel, unthinkable things about my friends, my life, and my FOC, the other relative I was with witnessed it and they stepped up and defended me. For the first time in my half-century of life, someone witnessed her contempt for me AND stood up to her, stood up for me. I'm thinking that she assumed this person would just acquiesce like all my other family members have, but she was wrong. And this was a person who had never witnessed her treatment of me first-hand and tended to believe that my stories about her were overdone and hyperbolic. They are now questioning their relationship with her.

Hi WG. What an experience! I can understand why this would be one of your top 5 life experiences. You had validation that it's really HER that's causing all the chaos and trouble.  :yes: Someone else saw it, didn't think it was right and stood up for you against this poor treatment!

I had an eye opening experience with my in-laws. After 30 years of knowing them, they mentioned that they don't care for my mother.  My FIL told me something my mother did right before my wedding to their son that absolutely floored me. Nobody ever told me. These people always acted graciously around my uNPD mother and I had no idea they felt this way. It hit me like a slap upside my head, other people could read her for the awful women she is. I felt a bit like you did, energy and enthusiasm that it's really her that causes all the drama and chaos and I didn't have to play into it anymore. For my whole life my mother told stories how everyone else is to blame and I believed it because she's my mother, why would she lie to me??

Anyway, I hope you can take that enlightened and relieved feeling with you as you navigate your next steps. Remember that she wasn't happy to see you and couldn't help but say horrible things about you and everyone around you. How dare she? Who is she to be saying these things and passing judgement on others?  They think way more highly about themselves than they ought to!

If this was me, I'd print out your post and read it often to remind yourself of this experience. I love that you dropped the rope! It's exactly what your mother deserves.

As for waiting for the other shoe to drop...  :meh:  I won't put much stock into what she might do next. You have a happy and full life to live with good people who don't spread misery.






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MamaDryad

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Re: Dropping the rope and waiting for the other shoe to drop
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2021, 12:37:58 PM »
I've also had the experience of gaining the ally/witness/advocate in adulthood that I really needed in childhood but didn't get. It's hard to describe the mix of feelings it brings up.

As for the rest of it: it's impossible to keep the high of validation and relief forever. But it can fade to a warm glow, to a source of support that you can internalize, that's not dependent on your relative's future behavior or anyone else's, because it's yours to keep. What you went through was real and visible.

As for the depression, this is a tough one. I struggle with it too. And in a way, going NC with my mother made me confront my own stuff more, because I didn't have this constant external thing to deal with and brace against. But it also freed me to look for methods she'd never approve, to tell her scoffing voice in my head to shush, to try things even if they seemed goofy and corny. For me, what helps is journal writing, therapy, and meditation with a focus on breathwork. Someone else might skip one or all of those and/or mix in medication, exercise, art, support groups, etc.

To me, what has been most valuable is thinking about and trying to accept impermanence. No emotional state can last forever, and trying to cling to the highs because we're afraid of the lows can cause more suffering. But the important part is that you're free. It may not always feel great, but those feelings are yours, and no one else gets to define or dictate them for you.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2021, 12:40:13 PM by MamaDryad »

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WonderGirl

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Re: Dropping the rope and waiting for the other shoe to drop
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2021, 04:44:38 PM »
Thank you all for the thoughtful and positive responses! Iím sorry itís taken me so long to respond, itís been a week riding these emotions. The depression is creeping back in, but to be fair, it is that time of year and the days are getting shorter fast here in the northern hemisphere. I have my rituals to get me through that (mostly involving a big-a** light box in the mornings).

Nevertheless I am feeling that warm glow still, MamaDryad! And like you, Thru the Rain, I moved across country from my tormentor 25 years ago and so I do feel safe in that regard. And fortunately her method of choice to punish me is the silent treatment, so thatís a win, too.

SunnyMeadow, I did read your story last week and was thinking of you when I wrote this out. These sudden insights are both liberating and shocking, right?

Thank you all so much. ❤️