no, we don't mind posts in old workshops. Workshops are long living threads and exist for that very reason. The board just puts up a silly warning that is useful on the main boards but not here. Am I JADEing here
Thank you very much for your example. It is well worked out so there is a lot to see and tell
My MIL can be demanding and uncommunicative at times. In another thread, I worked out the following fictional/ideal response.
MIL: How nice that you are here today. I would also really like to see you guys next weekend. I know that you have no official appointments; will you come over next Sunday at five oâ€™clock?
So MIL is doing a surprise move and is pushing hard. How does one deal with that?
It is easy to get steamrolled by a pwBPD as they are capable of spontaneous surprise (even to themselves) and do their pushing with high emotional intensity.
Now your response via DEARMAN is terse but still relatively long winded - 7 letters - and thus complicated. It is an invalidating move and it is relatively weak (explanations etc.). The risk here is the invalidation either leads to anger or to even harder pushing by MIL.
She is a bully. You should put in place boundaries to stop her doing her stunts. One boundary could be that "I control my time and I don't owe justification to MILs or others alike".
You: Sorry MIL, that weekend is already spoken for .
MIL: I know you have time blah blah
You: I do have plans and I'm not going to discuss this further. <repeat as needed, stick as close to the story as possible>
That will of course cause some upset and you possibly see an extinction burst where she tries to be even more controlling.
Another approach would be to turn the lack of steadiness against her and defuse. Validate, validate and validate the idea. Truly let her explain what drives her. When energy level drops then move to another topic or reject the idea or whatever works best in your through intelligence improved judgment.
D â€“I understand you would really like to see us and that you would like to finish the planning for next week.
That is good validation and quite descriptive of something. Facts are important.
E â€“ It makes me feel like a little kid when you determine how often we meet. Even though meeting us is fun time for you, it is not like that for me. I do not like watching you get tipsy. I would like to relax on my own during the weekend. (There is no way that I am going to be able to say any of
this aloud... I will have to think of other words to say this.)
Yes, that is not going to work as it is obviously a dump of your emotions. Understandable emotions but dumping still. What is missing in particular is the connection to D. So either D needs fixing or E needs fixing or I think both. You are upset about her drinking but drinking is not coming out in your "D"
A â€“ I would like to have some more time before I decide about our planning next weekend.
And I would like to see a stronger assertive statement here like: "I won't tell you now. I come back to you in 2 days.". You don't have to get her permission. You state what you don't do and what you do.
R â€“ Of course I would also like to see you again soon. If I have some time to think about whether there are any tasks we need to do next weekend, we can meet when I actually have the time and we can stay with you the longer.
Of course is of course defensive.
M â€“ Mindfulness: I will try to focus on what I want: being able to decide for myself whether or not to visit my inlaws. Empowerment. Living my own life.
decisions and negotiations are benefiting greatly from grounding them in our values.
A â€“ Appear confident: I will try to make eye contact and act as if I do this every day
I will try to not try but do it. Maybe start practicing eye contact with less aggressive people first in a targeted manner.
N â€“ I do not have any plans yet for the weekend after the next one, so if you want to pick a date right now, we could always settle on a date about two weeks ahead.
Sounds like a reasonable goal to pursue. Breaks her control on your schedule and follows established respectful procedures used between adults.
Taking a step back - there are two issues you seem to be struggling
- her drinking behavior
- her pushiness
I think her drinking is best handled with boundaries. She is not following her own interests and is not likely to listen much to what you ask her via DEARMAN. Drinking is a serious problem but not one that lends itself to negotiation.
So let's focus on her pushiness. First when to deploy DEARMAN? Dearman starts with facts and as explained above these facts can be invalidating and so it is not a good idea to use DEARMAN as a response pattern at all. DEARMAN is best used as a pattern where we have the initiative. The whole idea of DEARMAN is us setting an agenda and driving it through to conclusion. So pick a good time and push your agenda for a change starting with D.
D: I get about every month a request for a weekend event from you. Mostly spontaneous and with high priority. You are an important person and we try to make it work and we generally make the event work.
E: To make it work we scramble a lot. It causes stress to reschedule all the small things that were planned with others or were arranged to be efficiently done. It is happening so often that at times I feel I have lost control over my time.
A: I want to ask you to plan your visits with us 3-4 weeks in advance.
R: That way we will be less stressed and can better concentrate when you visit. When we have more prep time we also can do some more meaningful events. And you don't feel obligated anymore whenever you see us to offer us to visit soon. This allows you also to plan your other weekends better.
Mindful: Yeah, you are asking her to put in more polite requests but in the back of your mind you know you have a boundary there too. In the future she is not going to get the permission to visit you without a 2 week advance notice. That is under your control.
Negotiate: The 3-4 had some negotiation buffer built in. Give some. Protect your boundary. Don't explain or justify your boundary. Stay focused on your request for advance notice. You don't need a commitment signed in blood. The commitment is enforced from the other side as she will learn in due time.
Here DEARMAN and boundaries go hand in hand. It is often a good strategy to ask for reasonable behavior not straight but with a little distance from your vital interests. In addition then protect the underlying vital aspects with a boundary. We really don't want to police their behavior we only want to protect our interests.