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Author Topic: 4.21 | BPD in-laws: Experiences and coping strategies  (Read 6883 times)
Kwamina
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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2016, 05:58:33 AM »

Welcome to this discussion standin

Hi... I posted this on another thread, but think this group might have been the best place to post this as it seems many of you are dealing with an in-law situation too.

That's ok, I see you've gotten several response to your first post and I encourage you to take a look at them: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=297678.0

Welcome to bpdfamily
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Hermoine1000

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« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2016, 02:10:16 PM »

1. Who is the BPD in-law in your life? What are the most significant challenges you face with this person or as a result of this person being involved with your family-member? Are you perhaps dealing with multiple BPD in-laws?

 The BPD person in my life is my sister in law. She's married to my husbands brother and has never formally been diagnosed as far as I know.  I actually knew her prior to meeting my husband and in fact, if it weren't for her, my husband and I never would have met. One of our challenges is simply being in the same place as her. She has had a fight with everyone in my husbands family over the years, some of us two or three times. However, my husband and I have noticed that she seems to be getting more aggressive lately and we are afraid she will escalate to the point of physical violence with one of us.

      2. At what point did you realize something might be 'wrong' with this in-law's behavior? Was it a sudden realization or more like a gradual process? For me it was gradual. I knew my SIL before I became part of the family so I knew she could be moody and that her mood could change literally from one second to another. She's either really, really happy or really, really angry. There's no middle ground. But I didn't realize how bad it was until after I was in the family for a while. I started realizing that she always seemed to be fighting with someone - either her own family or ours. I realized that when she got mad about something it was way more extreme than anything else I had ever seen. She blows up about something and storms out often. She says horrible, horrible things about people because she's angry. In the last 12 years I can think of at least 10 times that she has stormed out. Sometimes in public and it's very embarrassing. She makes sure everyone notices. But it's not over - she then has a pattern of then talking about that person over and over for months or even years and treats the person she's mad at very poorly and tries to get people to agree with her that the other person is bad and what they did was wrong and she was justified. Then, when it's over for her and she's not mad anymore (this can take months or even years), then she wants to sit the person down and "talk". Which actually turns into her telling the person everything they've done wrong and refusing to take responsibility for anything hurtful she may have done. She either denies it or says she was just joking. Then it's like nothing ever happened. Until the next time.

3. Do you feel that your relationship with your family-member (in a relationship with) or partner (related to) this BPD in-law, has changed as a result of the involvement of the BPD in-law? If you do, in what ways has your relationship with your family-member or partner changed? I feel like we're stronger then ever. There recently was a big blow up which is what lead me to this board. My husband and I have talked a lot about this situation and have decided to limit our contact with her and my BIL to big holidays only (Christmas & Thanksgiving). Unfortunately this means we are seeing much less of his family which is very hard because everyone else is very close. We decided we can just no longer tolerate the situation for our own mental and physical health. Plus we believe it's just a matter of time before she physically hurts someone and my husband is scared it's going to be me.



4. Have you found effective coping strategies for dealing with your BPD in-law? If you have, could you perhaps share some of them with us?


 We have actually been practicing medium chill for some time with her and didn't know it. After our previous argument several years ago, we decided she was not right plus, we didn't trust her. So we just kept our distance. We didn't share anything personal, we were cordial but not super friendly and tried not to stay in the same room with her for too long. After this last incident, and the abusive behavior I was subjected to, we decided to set very firm boundaries and to limit our contact to only holidays and we will never be alone with her, ever. I have also decided to seek counseling. I am having nightmares, fears of her hurting us or damaging our property and I'm also trying to work through some resentment towards my other in laws because they still are inviting her to everything and acting like nothing ever happened. I have another SIL whose biggest fear is how this is going to affect her child's wedding in a few months and my husband is so upset about that. We feel like everyone just wants us to shut up and take it and then go back to ignoring it so they can keep things calm. We feel like my SIL is mentally ill and has trained everyone in the family to act exactly as she wants them to. The whole family lives their lives around her moods. The family has allowed her behavior to continue and no one ever says a word to her or my BIL about how wrong it is because they are scared to death to be a target of her anger. They moderate what they say and what they do because of her. When she says and does things that are inappropriate, they never address it because they don't want to make waves. They have continued to say nothing because they were so afraid that they wouldn't see my BIL anymore. And we just cant do it anymore, we are allowed to be healthy and happy and that means her not being in our life.
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Kwamina
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« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2016, 02:23:38 PM »

Hi Hermoine1000

Thanks for joining this discussion. It is very sad that your SIL behaves this way and has such a significant influence on your husband's family dynamics. Although she has not been formally diagnosed with BPD, do you know if she perhaps has been diagnosed with and/or treated for other disorders?

However, my husband and I have noticed that she seems to be getting more aggressive lately and we are afraid she will escalate to the point of physical violence with one of us.

In what ways has she been getting more aggressive? Since you are concerned about what she might do, I think it is very wise to keep some distance and set some firm boundaries.

Does your SIL have a history of physical violence? Did anything perhaps happen recently that you believe might have triggered her increased aggression or was this change in her behavior totally out of the blue?

We decided we can just no longer tolerate the situation for our own mental and physical health. Plus we believe it's just a matter of time before she physically hurts someone and my husband is scared it's going to be me.

Sometimes it is indeed necessary to distance yourself to protect your own well-being. Your SIL is the one with BPD, but it is also clear that your husband's other family-members are behaving in a way that is also quite problematic. No matter the level of contact you might have in the future, I encourage you to use this current period of LC to work on your own healing and growth as you are clearly doing Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

When she says and does things that are inappropriate, they never address it because they don't want to make waves. They have continued to say nothing because they were so afraid that they wouldn't see my BIL anymore. And we just cant do it anymore, we are allowed to be healthy and happy and that means her not being in our life.

Do you perhaps feel that those family-members behave this way out of fear, obligation and/or guilt (FOG)? Here's an excerpt from our article about this subject:
Excerpt
... .fear, obligation or guilt ("FOG" are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled.  Understanding these dynamics are useful to anyone trying to extricate themselves from the controlling behavior by another person and deal with their own compulsions to do things that are uncomfortable, undesirable, burdensome, or self-sacrificing for others.

Do you feel this applies to your husband's family?

Take care

The Board Parrot
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« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2016, 03:58:38 PM »

1. The BPD in my life is my SIL.  She's the only BPD, though pretty early on I did recognize some similarities between her and my mom.  A significant challenge has been learning how to deal with it.  A previous person commented that they and their family sought counseling to figure out how they offended their IL with a PD.  I haven't sought counseling.  But I have spent quite a bit of time, emotions and mental energy trying to figure her out and trying to figure out how to best respond to her.  My whole extended family is very passive and dislikes conflict.  And I personally have struggled with self-doubt. So those things have a been a big challenge.  My parents are still overly passive, which I hate to see since they are elderly and they should set stronger boundaries.  Other extended relatives have dealt with her by trying to avoid her.  

2. I realized something was wrong pretty early on.  My brother met her online, and flew her over from a different country to propose to her.  At first I figured she was just young and a little quirky.  But it didn't take long before efforts to befriend her and offer to help with the wedding were twisted into crazy accusations.  And when I told them that I would just leave the wedding planning to them if I couldn't say or do anything right

3.  I do feel like my relationship with my brother has changed a lot.  He was never very talkative.  But before he got married, I felt like we had a very good relationship.  :)uring their engagement, I stupidly advised him not to marry her.  After they got married, I talked to him regarding a conversation I had with some mutual friend who had stood up to her when she was being verbally abusive to my mom.  Those conversations I had with my brother were relayed to my SIL, and were of course misconstrued where I was the bad person trying to break their great love apart.  For the first several years of marriage, my introverted brother not only served her obsessive demands, but also put himself out there to act as her flying monkey when she had conflicts.  I'm not sure what or when it happened, but a few years ago he hung up the monkey wings. She still controls things.  When they got married, he became more withdrawn from the rest of the family.  But lately he's started to become emotionally withdrawn from her.

4.  To my SIL's credit, she pushed for us to do a mediation, using reflective listening.  Even though she manipulates within the reflective listening format, it is something that has helped both of us.  I still hate conflict.  But I'm less afraid of it.  I'm less afraid of conflict in general, not just in  my relationship with her.  I still find her to be an unpleasant ball of tension and control most of the time.  But I credit the reflective listening to the fact that I'm not walking on eggshells to the degree that I was years before.

I wanted to add that I felt like I wasn't able to come to the mediation until I was prepared to cut ties with both her and my brother if it didn't go well.  That was something that I really struggled with for awhile.  Also the connection with their kids has been a strong motivator to make it work. But I was still ready to cut ties if it came to that.

It's interesting how a person like BPD SIL affects other people.  I see some people just avoid her.  And I don't blame them for avoiding her.  But I've also seen some really gentle, soft-hearted people get to the point where they had to stand up to her, and it created something of a break-through moment of spiritual and emotional growth for them.  My own parents have always been very passive, turn the other cheek kind of people.  And they're still very passive. I think they need to be more firm about setting boundaries with her.  In some ways, my mom has.  She sometimes says no to her more, and she doesn't get as upset when SIL acts like a bully.  But my dad is always this "" close to saying something to her, but he never has.  
 
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Hermoine1000

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« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2016, 07:39:55 PM »

Hi Hermoine1000

Thanks for joining this discussion. It is very sad that your SIL behaves this way and has such a significant influence on your husband's family dynamics. Although she has not been formally diagnosed with BPD, do you know if she perhaps has been diagnosed with and/or treated for other disorders?

Hi Kwamina!

Yes, it is sad. And even though we have been very hurt by her behavior, I recognize that she has a disorder and to her, her actions are justified. This also helped us make our LC decision. We have accepted that she is never going to change and are not willing to put up with her behavior to have a relationship with her. In reality, there is no relationship to save and has not been for a very long time.


In what ways has she been getting more aggressive? Since you are concerned about what she might do, I think it is very wise to keep some distance and set some firm boundaries.

Does your SIL have a history of physical violence? Did anything perhaps happen recently that you believe might have triggered her increased aggression or was this change in her behavior totally out of the blue?

We feel that it has been building and gradually increasing. I'm not aware of any specific violence except for her child had a finger broken when they were arguing. My SIL said she accidently hit the finger but none of us believe that. We believe that her child raised her finger during the argument and my SIL grabbed it and broke it. There was an investigation but nothing happened as far as we know. Also, she has been telling us about more and more interactions with people in which she is the aggressor and seems inappropriately angry. She also keeps saying that she isn't afraid of anybody in a very aggressive manner. when describing her interactions with others she says things like - I wanted to punch her, I should have run her over, just describing a lot of violence. Based on her demeanor and actions, we feel like she is very likely to hurt someone who she has a confrontation with.

Sometimes it is indeed necessary to distance yourself to protect your own well-being. Your SIL is the one with BPD, but it is also clear that your husband's other family-members are behaving in a way that is also quite problematic. No matter the level of contact you might have in the future, I encourage you to use this current period of LC to work on your own healing and growth as you are clearly doing Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

thank you. We just feel that we no longer have an option. My husbands family is not happy and have tried guilting us into changing our mind about the LC, including telling us that we are punishing them and they did nothing wrong and one of my other SIL's said that our decision was hurting their mom, etc... .However, we stood firm and said that it's their decision to continue to have her in their lives which we respect (but don't agree with) and we expect them to respect our decision even though they may not agree. Their behavior worried me a little because it reminded me of my uBPD SIL somewhat. I think we've made it clear we have boundaries and are enforcing them.

Do you perhaps feel that those family-members behave this way out of fear, obligation and/or guilt (FOG)? Here's an excerpt from our article about this subject:
Excerpt
... .fear, obligation or guilt ("FOG" are the transactional dynamics at play between the controller and the person being controlled.  Understanding these dynamics are useful to anyone trying to extricate themselves from the controlling behavior by another person and deal with their own compulsions to do things that are uncomfortable, undesirable, burdensome, or self-sacrificing for others.

Do you feel this applies to your husband's family?

I absolutely do. I feel like they have been trained by our SIL and everyone plans everything around her and her moods. Before my FIL passed away, he wanted to tell her off but my MIL begged him not to. No one else will say anything about her behavior because my MIL is scared to death of conflict and no one wants to hurt her. But we just aren't going to deal with it anymore and we won't be guilted into changing our minds. I think the idea of LC is just very new to my other inlaws and they are worried about how our decision is going to affect them and they are scared that our decision will make things more difficult for them. Especially since there are two less people for her to take her anger out on. One of the first things they asked was - what do we say when they notice you (me & my hubs) aren't coming to things? How do we handle their questions?

Take care

The Board Parrot

Thank you!
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Kwamina
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« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2016, 07:17:17 AM »

Hi Pilpel

Thanks for joining this discussion!

My whole extended family is very passive and dislikes conflict.  And I personally have struggled with self-doubt. So those things have a been a big challenge. My parents are still overly passive

Where do you think your self-doubt stems from? Do you think it's perhaps because of how your whole (extended) family is passive and dislikes conflict and this perhaps make you question if it is right to stand up for yourself?
  
During their engagement, I stupidly advised him not to marry her.

Once we know better we do better. You perhaps could have worded things differently to your brother, but the red flags were clear to you and since you care about him I understand that you would try to protect him. He's an adult so it's his decision to make, but being his sister I definitely understand where you were coming from. How did your brother respond when you advised him not to marry her?

I'm not sure what or when it happened, but a few years ago he hung up the monkey wings. She still controls things.  When they got married, he became more withdrawn from the rest of the family.  But lately he's started to become emotionally withdrawn from her.

This is a very interesting development. I am curious how things will go from here. Do you think your SIL has noticed your brother becoming more emotionally withdrawn from her? Has she perhaps talked about it?

I still hate conflict.  But I'm less afraid of it.  I'm less afraid of conflict in general, not just in  my relationship with her.  I still find her to be an unpleasant ball of tension and control most of the time.  But I credit the reflective listening to the fact that I'm not walking on eggshells to the degree that I was years before.

Being able to face your fears and do what you believe is necessary sounds like significant progress Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I wanted to add that I felt like I wasn't able to come to the mediation until I was prepared to cut ties with both her and my brother if it didn't go well.  That was something that I really struggled with for awhile.  Also the connection with their kids has been a strong motivator to make it work. But I was still ready to cut ties if it came to that.

To protect and preserve your own well-being, sometimes measures like the one you considered (unfortunately) might be necessary. I have reached the same point with my uBPD sis, I am still in contact with her but I have mentally and emotionally prepared myself for the scenario in which it might be necessary to set some more very firm boundaries.

It's interesting how a person like BPD SIL affects other people.

This is also very sad indeed but very true. When one family-member is disordered, this seriously affects the entire family.

Take care and thanks for sharing
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Kwamina
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« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2016, 07:23:14 AM »

Hi again Hermoine1000  

Thank you!

You're welcome Smiling (click to insert in post)

I'm not aware of any specific violence except for her child had a finger broken when they were arguing. My SIL said she accidently hit the finger but none of us believe that. We believe that her child raised her finger during the argument and my SIL grabbed it and broke it. There was an investigation but nothing happened as far as we know. Also, she has been telling us about more and more interactions with people in which she is the aggressor and seems inappropriately angry. She also keeps saying that she isn't afraid of anybody in a very aggressive manner. when describing her interactions with others she says things like - I wanted to punch her, I should have run her over, just describing a lot of violence. Based on her demeanor and actions, we feel like she is very likely to hurt someone who she has a confrontation with.

What you describe here definitely is concerning behavior. How would you describe the relationship your SIL now has with her child? Are they close?

Considering what happened in the past with her child's broken finger and your SIL's current talk filled with violent references, do you believe her child is safe with her?
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pulauti

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« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2016, 09:50:56 AM »

1. Who is the BPD in-law in your life? What are the most significant challenges you face with this person or as a result of this person being involved with your family-member? Are you perhaps dealing with multiple BPD in-laws?


My wife’s mother (MIL). She lives in another city about 5 hours away, however they do visit often (about every 2 months). And we return to our home city where they live a couple of times a year. So our exposure to them is limited, but when we do see them its intense. We have young children who her parents adore, and so they want to visit as much as possible.

The main challenge is 1) dealing with her bad behavior in the house (she doesn’t listen to us, is constantly cooking and making a mess, and says many stupid and provocative things), and 2) walking on egg shells with her as any little thing has the potential to make her explode.

2. At what point did you realize something might be 'wrong' with this in-law's behavior? Was it a sudden realization or more like a gradual process?

My wife has known for a long time something was very wrong with her mother, and she really hates her because she is such an awful person. She doesn’t like to talk too much about details growing up with her, for example she does not share many stories of things that happened growing up. She moved out of the house at a relatively young age (around 19 or 20).
When we were dating she tried to keep her mother away from me at first. Gradually as I got to know her I just thought she was “kooky” and annoying. But I did not know she can be harmful.
When I started living with my wife when we were dating I saw though how much her mother would upset her. If she offended her mother she would receive emails like “you are a cancer” and you “are a disgusting person” and “I am going to kill myself because of you”. Very mean things like that. That was my sudden realization this lady was not well. My wife began to go for some therapy at that time.
There have been many bad episodes like that over the years. She is the classic Witch and her husband is the classic Fisherman.

3. Do you feel that your relationship with your family-member (in a relationship with) or partner (related to) this BPD in-law, has changed as a result of the involvement of the BPD in-law? If you do, in what ways has your relationship with your family-member or partner changed?

MIL undoubtedly has a negative impact on us. We both do not want to see her, by my wife loves her father very much and he and his wife are tied at the hip. So because she wants to keep her father in our lives, we make the sacrifice of being exposed to her mother.
My wife and I often fight about how long they visit for. MIL will bring bags and bags of food with her, which I hate, however my wife is scared to say anything for fear of setting her off.
My wife will also keep secret to me when she talks to her parents on the phone or skypes with them. Usually there is a cycle where we get into a huge fight with them, my wife doesn’t speak to them for a month, then slowly re-establishes contact. The last fight was the result of MIL yelling very loudly in our backyard and in front of our house. My wife was embarrassed.
I especially worry as my young children grow older, what their exposure to her will be like, and soon having to explain her behavior to them.

4. Have you found effective coping strategies for dealing with your BPD in-law? If you have, could you perhaps share some of them with us?

My strategy is to minimize exposure to her as much as possible. So I ask that they visit during the week when I am at work. At night, I will go out or just go to my room. I tell my wife also to spend as little time with her as possible.
I am forced to tolerate a lot of the behavior which drives me nuts. She has an obsession with food. She spends most of her time at our house in the kitchen. She will sometimes buy lots of groceries which we don’t need. And she is always trying to get my kids to eat her food.
She doesn’t clean up after herself much either.
The last time she visited she actually got into a fight with my 3-year old son as they were leaving…pretty messed up. Ultimately when the kids are a bit older I can’t envision a situation where we have a relationship with her.
But I tell myself for now it’s for a few days only at a time. I am sensitive in general to having guests stay over. So I am not sure if I am being overly difficult…it’s hard to say what someone else would do in my case.
The sad part is her husband won’t leave her and he suffers the most. My wife will also guilt me how her father is getting older and she doesn’t see him enough.
When we visit our hometown, I try and stay with my family. However this offends her which is also problematic.
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Kwamina
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« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2016, 09:07:47 AM »

Hi pulauti

Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights with us. Your MIL's behavior does indeed sound quite difficult.

If she offended her mother she would receive emails like “you are a cancer” and you “are a disgusting person” and “I am going to kill myself because of you”. Very mean things like that. That was my sudden realization this lady was not well. My wife began to go for some therapy at that time.

These are some very hurtful things to say to one's own child. Even when you know about BPD and how a BPD parent's behavior is a a result of distorted thinking and perception, it's still very unpleasant to receive messages like this from your own mother. Do you feel like the therapy helped your wife deal with what she has been through with her parents? Is your wife perhaps still getting therapy?

Usually there is a cycle where we get into a huge fight with them, my wife doesn’t speak to them for a month, then slowly re-establishes contact. The last fight was the result of MIL yelling very loudly in our backyard and in front of our house. My wife was embarrassed.

As your wife slowly re-establishes contact, does she ever have any real discussions with her parents about why she did not speak to them anymore? Do you feel like your wife is able to set  and enforce/defend boundaries with her parents?

I especially worry as my young children grow older, what their exposure to her will be like, and soon having to explain her behavior to them.

I understand your concerns. Knowing what you know about your MIL and how she has affected your wife, I think it is understandable and very wise to think about how she might affect your own children. To protect your children, finding the right balance between boundaries while possibly allowing supervised contact with their grandparents, will definitely be very important.

The last time she visited she actually got into a fight with my 3-year old son as they were leaving…pretty messed up.

How did your 3-year old respond to this incident? How did you explain it to him and did you perhaps discuss the incident with your MIL?

But I tell myself for now it’s for a few days only at a time. I am sensitive in general to having guests stay over. So I am not sure if I am being overly difficult…it’s hard to say what someone else would do in my case.

Being raised by a BPD parent myself, I don't think it's you. It can be very difficult and draining being in the same house with a BPD parent. The tools and resources on this site can help though. We might not be able to change the people with BPD in our lives, but we can change our own behavior and how we respond to situations.
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pulauti

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« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2016, 04:35:46 PM »

Thanks so much for your reply!


These are some very hurtful things to say to one's own child. Even when you know about BPD and how a BPD parent's behavior is a a result of distorted thinking and perception, it's still very unpleasant to receive messages like this from your own mother. Do you feel like the therapy helped your wife deal with what she has been through with her parents? Is your wife perhaps still getting therapy?

It was helpful in having my wife see that her mother is very unwell, and not to take the emails personally. She received pretty limited therapy though. She would certainly benefit from more, in terms of dealing with her mother and also to help better manager her anxiety. She is a pretty anxious person, which has a lot to do with her upbringing.

Sometimes I wonder how she was raised by this woman and what went on in their house.


As your wife slowly re-establishes contact, does she ever have any real discussions with her parents about why she did not speak to them anymore? Do you feel like your wife is able to set  and enforce/defend boundaries with her parents?

Boundaries are very hard to enforce. We live in another city which thanfully creates a physical boundary. If she tries to create
boundaries I think her mother would be offended and react unpredictably.




How did your 3-year old respond to this incident? How did you explain it to him and did you perhaps discuss the incident with your MIL?


I think he was too young to fully understand. It was very short, maybe 30 seconds... .he may have thought she was playing.

He did not discuss it with us and we didn't bring it up with him.




What truly bothers me is my wife's father. He pretends like everything is normal, when in fact his wife is abusive to him and has ruined his own relationships with his family members. I can't stand being around them and seeing how she treats him, and how he takes it. He's  scare of her.

She uses his email account to send her vicious emails, sometimes to his own family members. So he in effect enables her behaviour.

Sometimes I feel sorry for him, but then I tell myself that almost any sane person would have left this person decades ago. My wife wishes should could completely cut off her mother but to lose contact with her father would be devastating, and the two of them are a package deal. Ideally he would leave her and then she can include her father and not be in contact with her mother again.


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« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2016, 09:56:27 AM »

Hi again pulauti

What truly bothers me is my wife's father. He pretends like everything is normal, when in fact his wife is abusive to him and has ruined his own relationships with his family members. I can't stand being around them and seeing how she treats him, and how he takes it. He's  scare of her.

She uses his email account to send her vicious emails, sometimes to his own family members. So he in effect enables her behaviour.

Sometimes I feel sorry for him, but then I tell myself that almost any sane person would have left this person decades ago.

The dynamic you describe here unfortunately is very common when you look at the relationship partners of people with BPD. Your wife's father pretending everything is normal might be his coping mechanism to help him deal with all of this. It could be that he is in denial or chooses to remain in denial because facing reality would be too painful for him. The sad thing is that him not facing reality has clearly also hurt him very much.

Do you feel like her father has ever in any way acknowledged that there might be something wrong with his wife's behavior and the way he lets his wife treat him?
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« Reply #41 on: October 06, 2016, 02:11:23 PM »

Hi again pulauti

What truly bothers me is my wife's father. He pretends like everything is normal, when in fact his wife is abusive to him and has ruined his own relationships with his family members. I can't stand being around them and seeing how she treats him, and how he takes it. He's  scare of her.

She uses his email account to send her vicious emails, sometimes to his own family members. So he in effect enables her behaviour.

Sometimes I feel sorry for him, but then I tell myself that almost any sane person would have left this person decades ago.

The dynamic you describe here unfortunately is very common when you look at the relationship partners of people with BPD. Your wife's father pretending everything is normal might be his coping mechanism to help him deal with all of this. It could be that he is in denial or chooses to remain in denial because facing reality would be too painful for him. The sad thing is that him not facing reality has clearly also hurt him very much.

Do you feel like her father has ever in any way acknowledged that there might be something wrong with his wife's behavior and the way he lets his wife treat him?

Hi again Kwamina. Thanks for your reply!

You are right, he has been very hurt by his wife. He is a very solitary person. He doesn't really have friends and is happy reading a book or going for a walk with the dog. So his wife is the only close person in his life aside from his immediate family. I think if he had friends he would be less scared to leave her... .

To answer your question, he has never acknowledged to me his wife's behavior or how she treats him. He might say something alone the lines of "oh, you know how ___ is". In other words just making it seem like she on occasion she will do silly or crazy things, like a character on a TV show or someone harmless like that. But he has never acknowledged the hurt and problems she causes.

And its not like she doesn't involve him. She sends malicious emails from HIS email account because everyone has already blocked hers. He could change the password but he doesn't.

So because he hasn't acknowledged his wife's hurtful behavior, let alone try and address it, I resent him.

On a side topic, when she visits she spends most of the time in the kitchen. She cooks up tons of food, a lot of it no one ever eats. My fridge gets full of food... .its as though we are grieving or something and not able to cook for ourselves, and she is doing this for us (not at all the case). Part of it is cultural for her, but more so, when she doesn't know what to do cooking is what she does... .at her own home she does tons of cooking and grocery buying.

I hate it for so many reasons (I don't care much for her cooking, she doesn't clean up well after herself, its wasteful, I can't find the food I like in the fridge, etc). My wife doesn't like to tell her to cool it with the cooking, for fear it will set her off... .and I don't feel its my place to tell her.

What is the best way to deal with her food obsession?

Also, I see a therapist on occasion for other stuff... .at some point I was going to bring up MIL with him (have been putting it off, the visits are expensive). I think this will be helpful, but ultimately its something for my wife and I to deal with as a couple.
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« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2016, 05:14:03 PM »

 
Excerpt
So because he hasn't acknowledged his wife's hurtful behavior, let alone try and address it, I resent him.

pulauti, I feel similarly with my brother and his n/BPD wife.  I struggled for years with the desire to cut off our relationship, but felt guilty at the thought of cutting my brother out or appearing like the jerk.  He's also extremely withdrawn --and has become more so now that he's married.  Early on in their marriage, he willingly acted as her flying monkey --coddling her, while ignoring the way she tramples over other people, even trying to get people to apologize to her when she should have been the one to apologize.  Not to say they don't have moments when they seem to get along very well, but most of the time I've seen her treat him like an incompetent servant, just as she treats everyone else. 

Our relationship has actually been better since we started using the techniques described in Stop Walking on Eggshells.  She's been more civil.  But I have come to the point where I realize that, if it came to it, I could cut them out. Maybe I just need to be in that mentality.  I don't know.  But since things have been better, I've been surprised that, even when she's completely civil, I still have anger.  Maybe even more anger than before.  Mainly about the way she's treated my elderly mother over the years. While she's been nicer to me, I know that she has still been impatient and unkind to my mom. And all the ways she's tried to mercilessly treat and accuse other people still runs through my mind, while no one in our family has really held her accountable for her behavior. 

In the last week, we watched their kids.  My mother helped, and the day I was going to take the kids back home, my mom was in a worried frenzy, making sure she had every little sock accounted for ---because in the past she's gotten angry about missing socks.  And it wasn't just my mom.  I was worried and anticipating what she might complain about.  And then I realized, she has absolutely nothing to complain about at all. We went out of our way to watch her kids for an extended period, something they have never done for us. If if she does find something to complain about, I just dare her to complain! 

Anyway, sorry for going on and on.  I don't actually feel as angry as I did earlier this week.  But just wanted to vent.
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« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2016, 08:43:24 AM »

Hi again Kwamina. Thanks for your reply!

You're welcome Smiling (click to insert in post)

And its not like she doesn't involve him. She sends malicious emails from HIS email account because everyone has already blocked hers. He could change the password but he doesn't.

Have you and your wife ever discussed it with him that he lets your MIL use his email account to send hostile messages? Not that I'm suggesting this is something you should do, just curious if this discussion has ever taken place. It definitely and unfortunately does sound lik your FIL is deeply in the FOG. It is very sad that he lives this way.

So because he hasn't acknowledged his wife's hurtful behavior, let alone try and address it, I resent him.

I understand your feelings. Resentment can be very powerful and also negatively affect us. Do you feel like you've found ways to deal with the resentment, possibly even (at least partly) let go of it?

What is the best way to deal with her food obsession?

Well since this is something you are uncomfortable with, if you were to address it, the structured communication techniques S.E.T. and D.E.A.R.M.A.N. can be helpful:

Express your truth - S.E.T.: Support, Empathy, Truth

Assert yourself - D.E.A.R.M.A.N.: Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, Stay Mindful, Appear Confident and Negotiate

Also, I see a therapist on occasion for other stuff... .at some point I was going to bring up MIL with him (have been putting it off, the visits are expensive). I think this will be helpful, but ultimately its something for my wife and I to deal with as a couple.

Having a therapist can be very helpful for dealing with issues like this and also other issues. I am glad you have that resource in your support network. I agree that this is something you and your wife have to deal with together, but you can also always do some work on your own without your wife, just like you are doing here on bpdfamily Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2016, 09:06:20 AM »

Hi Pilpel

Our relationship has actually been better since we started using the techniques described in Stop Walking on Eggshells.  She's been more civil.

Great to hear the techniques have worked for you Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) We often say on here that though we cannot change the BPD family-members in our lives, by changing our own behavior and responses, we will change the dynamics of our relationships with them, regardless of whether they change or not. Your story clearly illustrates that.

But I have come to the point where I realize that, if it came to it, I could cut them out. Maybe I just need to be in that mentality.  I don't know.

I can relate to what you say here. The techniques have helped me too in my interactions with my BPD family-members. As I've grown stronger and healthier, I'm also better able to make my own well-being my number one priority and distance myself from them when they become extremely abusive. I care for them and do my best to be there for them, but I will not allow them to take me down with them.

 But since things have been better, I've been surprised that, even when she's completely civil, I still have anger.  Maybe even more anger than before.  Mainly about the way she's treated my elderly mother over the years. While she's been nicer to me, I know that she has still been impatient and unkind to my mom. And all the ways she's tried to mercilessly treat and accuse other people still runs through my mind, while no one in our family has really held her accountable for her behavior.

I can also very much relate to what you say here. To be able to move on in a healthy manner, it is necessary to let go of certain painful things that happened in our past. However, letting go does not mean that we can just forget what happened and it is only natural that those painful memories would still evoke strong emotions in us. Have you perhaps found ways to help you deal with your anger?

That she is still being unkind to your mother only makes this more difficult. How does your elderly mother feel about your SIL? Does she too believe there's somethings wrong with your SIL?

If if she does find something to complain about, I just dare her to complain!  

So how did things go Pilpel? Being cool (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #45 on: October 25, 2016, 06:50:22 PM »

If if she does find something to complain about, I just dare her to complain! 

Excerpt
So how did things go Pilpel?

It went good.  She was as gracious and thankful for our help as she should have been.  So that was nice. 

Excerpt
Have you perhaps found ways to help you deal with your anger?

That she is still being unkind to your mother only makes this more difficult. How does your elderly mother feel about your SIL? Does she too believe there's somethings wrong with your SIL?

My SIL's Personality Disorder is not as subtle as some people's might be.  She leaves a trail of drama.  So my family knows there's something wrong with her.  My mom has dealt with a lot of stress from this.  At one point she was grinding her teeth so much it cause dental problems.  My mom has that ever-forgiving and keep the peace at all costs attitude.  But I know she harbors her own anger. 

I haven't really found ways to deal with my anger.  It ebbs and flows.  Some times when I interact with her, I don't have any anger.  But I was surprised by how much anger I felt after seeing my mom fret over socks.  I've probably mentioned this before, but I've discussed with my SIL how she treats mom in a way that I thought would not be too confrontational, discussing a way she interacts with her on the phone  -without revealing that I know pretty much every awful thing she's done to my mom.  She responded by making herself out to be the victim and making my mom sound like the one at fault.  And she's done that a few times, even when she got into a big drama with some people who tried to confront her about how she treated my mom.  They were the bad people because they were insensitive in the way they confronted her.  And she perceived me as taking sides against her because I had a conversation with these people about the situation. 

I thought if we could just get past the tension and walking on eggshells, things would be better.  Now while we are still somewhat careful around her, we don't walk on eggshells like we did before.  In some things we've come to an understanding.  Yet, all those things that I thought I could look past because it didn't seem worth the drama of confronting her  --I tried to be understanding because I suppose she can't help the way her brain works--  those offenses and injustices I tried to ignore are still there.  Though really most of her offenses toward me are so ridiculous that they're almost funny.  But the offenses toward my mom and toward my kids lack humor and are harder to get over.   
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« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2016, 01:35:52 PM »

Thanks your reply Kwamina!

MIL opened a new email account and over the last few days proceeded to send a flurry of really cruel emails. I don’t read them, but from the first line or two that I see before deleting them, they look pretty vicious. They are personal about me and my parents…

They were completely unprovoked. The only thing I can think of is I know she wanted to visit us, but perhaps my wife said no to her and she was offended.

When I mentioned to my wife I was getting the emails she said she knows and just to ignore them. That was the extent we spoke about it.

She also used her husband’s email to send them too. So he must know they were sent. He can easily disconnect their internet when she goes through one of these episodes, but doesn’t…some things never change.

My family lives in the same city as my wife’s. I would like to visit over the holidays this winter. My wife does not like to do the drive as it is, and now I think she will especially not want to go after this email episode.
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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2017, 08:02:09 AM »

So anyone else dealing with BPD in-laws? Being cool (click to insert in post)

Hi again

Most people posting on this board have family-members with BPD (traits) in their lives. Some of us were born into a family of origin (FOO) with one or more BPD family-members. Others found themselves confronted with BPD family-members in the form of BPD in-laws. And some of us are dealing with both categories Smiling (click to insert in post)

I encourage members dealing with BPD in-laws to read the posts in this thread. This way you can learn from others and it will hopefully also make you feel less alone. Feel free to join this discussion by posting your own experiences and coping strategies:

In this thread I would like to focus on BPD in-laws. I would like to explore the experiences and coping strategies that you have. To aid us in this exploration, I've formulated some questions:

1. Who is the BPD in-law in your life? What are the most significant challenges you face with this person or as a result of this person being involved with your family-member? Are you perhaps dealing with multiple BPD in-laws?

2. At what point did you realize something might be 'wrong' with this in-law's behavior? Was it a sudden realization or more like a gradual process?

3. Do you feel that your relationship with your family-member (in a relationship with) or partner (related to) this BPD in-law, has changed as a result of the involvement of the BPD in-law? If you do, in what ways has your relationship with your family-member or partner changed?

4. Have you found effective coping strategies for dealing with your BPD in-law? If you have, could you perhaps share some of them with us?


Take care

The Board Parrot
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« Reply #48 on: October 05, 2017, 05:25:05 PM »

1. Who is the BPD in-law in your life? What are the most significant challenges you face with this person or as a result of this person being involved with your family-member? Are you perhaps dealing with multiple BPD in-laws?

My mother in law  has BPD and I don't think my father in law is, but potentially a cluster B personality disorder , he also sufferes from  alcholism.The most significant challenges faced by their involvement have been maintaining healthy boundries,not being treated with respect and kindness  (treated quite poorly), manipulation,scapegoated for all percieved attempts of my husband to reinforce boundries or say no or stand up to anything unhealthy ( they want to be mirrored and see my husband almost as an extention of themselves who they can try to control and force even the most superficial values on). My mother in law is intensely jealous of my role and has seen me as a threat to her relationship with her son and family dynamic since day one. (Should be noted that my husband filled a role for her that was more then a son due to her BPD (all good child prior to meeting me), her troubled marriage, and deep rooted abandoment issues were inappropriatly cast on to my husband at a young age. Being 11 years older then his sibling he was often called on to be more of a father figure as well. MOL couldnt cope and FIL was avoiding/coping by addiction so their were often calls to be a parent instead of a teenager himself. His sister is troubled and we try to help and often times are shot down or projected as an enemy to my 17 year old sister in law, so that my MOL can maintain her unhealthy dependence on her child , even at the risk of fueling tension and pushing misinformation to do so.  I could go on but that is generally the big ones.


2. At what point did you realize something might be 'wrong' with this in-law's behavior? Was it a sudden realization or more like a gradual process?

It was fairly immediate. I knew i was walking into a family dynamic which had effected my boyfriend (husband now) some trauma due to his fathers alcholism. It quickly became apparent that his mother was not looking to get to know me and was very abrasive, unkind, and unwelcoming  and that only escalated further. At one point post college my husband moved in with my family and I ,as we saved for a home. That was the first move in which she felt her methods and control truly slipping. Often times it was very aparent and disturbing the way they treated their younger child. I'd say aside from the completely inappropriate treatment of me, it was apparent my husband had a bit of denial and lack of coping skills in doing anything that would tell them no or stop it. I understand and empathize but at the time before he started adressing these issues i was resentful of my hisbands lack of protecting and valuing me in the face of their behaviour. And he realized i was not going to be party to their controlling abusive charades and saw the degree of dysfunction through perspective amd some therapy he really changed. Which was seen as the ultimate abadoment to his mother .

3. Do you feel that your relationship with your family-member (in a relationship with) or partner (related to) this BPD in-law, has changed as a result of the involvement of the BPD in-law? If you do, in what ways has your relationship with your family-member or partner changed?

Yes , as much as we have grown together, it is the major source of stress in our marriage. No matter how much effort and time we spend trying to do things in an a healthy boundried way, visits are exhausting and stressfull. We try to make plans in advance, hold them to them, and try to keep it in public places  so that my MOL is less likely to get as nasty. Depsite this we often are met with retaliation in many ways , be it guilt, showing up pretty much unannounced under the guise to give us something, or trying to change plans last second so we are put in a postion where we have to cancel (guilt and drama ensue) or go along with MIL proposed change, usually hours or mins before we are supposed to meet.  She gossips very untrue and nasty things to people who validate her with know true knowledge on situation. She has resorted to screaming tantrums and emotionally and verbally tactics. She is queen of passive agressive and gets down right agressive sometimes when she feels things are not working for her. We treat her with kindness and empathy but  sure many can relate to compassion being sucked dry at times through dealing with someone with this disorder. At which times we work very hard to still maintain maturity,kindness,emotional validation when it seems it may help, but all the while wanting to just throw our hands up and say is it worth it.

4. Have you found effective coping strategies for dealing with your BPD in-law? If you have, could you perhaps share some of them with us?

We both have tried to educate ourselves, continue to learn to communicate better about it (we both have different communication styles and my husband often supressing emotion and verbal expression at first due to his childhood' , this is how he learned to cope, by being depended on but surpressung his thoughts,feelings, and emotional wellbeing, as well as expressing these feelings). We both have seen therapists in which this has been talked about and are looking to start up again soon seeing we want  to start a family soon. Something we are excited about but know MIL will escalate and want to have more coping skills and tools in advance. We have a close family member whose doctoral studies 8n BPD and knows MOL we often ask for advice and resources. And try to remind each other we are strong together and self care is very important. Working on our own self care (me with PTSD and him with Depression).It is alot of work but our relationship has overcome alot of issues stemming from or about this and it gives us faith that we can continue to work through these stressors. I hope it also brings comfort to those that can relate. It is not easy but it is doable.
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« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2017, 01:12:06 PM »


 
 
BPD in-laws: Experiences and coping strategies
« on: November 12, 2015, 09:07:34 AM »    Quote

________________________________________
Hi again

Most people posting on this board have family-members with BPD (traits) in their lives. Some of us were born into a family of origin (FOO) with one or more BPD family-members. Others found themselves confronted with BPD family-members in the form of BPD in-laws. And some of us are dealing with both categories 

In this thread I would like to focus on BPD in-laws. I would like to explore the experiences and coping strategies that you have. To aid us in this exploration, I've formulated some questions:

1. Who is the BPD in-law in your life? What are the most significant challenges you face with this person or as a result of this person being involved with your family-member? Are you perhaps dealing with multiple BPD in-laws?
The BPD in my life is my DIL. 
The greatest challenge is the alienation attempts in the relationship with my son and I.  Also, challenging to me, is the reconstruction of his childhood to better match hers.  And the very greatest challenge of all, watching my 3 y/o grandchild being parented by my DIL. 

2. At what point did you realize something might be 'wrong' with this in-law's behavior? Was it a sudden realization or more like a gradual process?
I am a retired social worker.  I saw the indications from very early in their 13-year relationship; however, I was remiss in educating myself about in how to adequately maintain this relationship and particularly in how to communicate with both my son and my DIL.   

3. Do you feel that your relationship with your family-member (in a relationship with) or partner (related to) this BPD in-law, has changed as a result of the involvement of the BPD in-law? If you do, in what ways has your relationship with your family-member or partner changed?
My relationship has dramatically changed with my son.  We were extremely close, as I was a single parent from the time he was 1.   We are almost strangers now. 

4. Have you found effective coping strategies for dealing with your BPD in-law? If you have, could you perhaps share some of them with us?
I haven’t found a good coping strategy and that is why I am here.  I am also looking for a live support group in addition to currently reading “Stop Walking on Eggshells.”  When I first purchased the book, some years ago, my DIL told me it was a terrible book and wouldn’t help, so didn’t read it, but something told me to hang on to it. 
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« Reply #50 on: November 29, 2017, 08:52:15 AM »

Hi TiredbutTrying13

I hope it also brings comfort to those that can relate. It is not easy but it is doable.

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and insights with us Smiling (click to insert in post) It is great to read how you and your husband have been working on healing and growing together, this is helpful for other members as well reading this Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Should be noted that my husband filled a role for her that was more then a son due to her BPD (all good child prior to meeting me), her troubled marriage, and deep rooted abandoment issues were inappropriatly cast on to my husband at a young age. Being 11 years older then his sibling he was often called on to be more of a father figure as well. MOL couldnt cope and FIL was avoiding/coping by addiction so their were often calls to be a parent instead of a teenager himself.

It is very sad your husband experienced this as a child because this really did not allow him to be an actual child. It sounds like he experienced what is often referred to as emotional enmeshment or emotional/covert incest:
Excerpt
Patricia Love, Ed.D., past president of the International Association for Marriage and Family Counseling, defines emotional incest as "a style of parenting in which parents turn to their children, not to their partners, for emotional support." According to Love, emotionally incestuous parents may appear loving and devoted and they may spend a great deal of time with their children and lavish them with praise and material gifts - but in the final analysis, their love is not a nurturing love, it's a means to satisfy their own needs.

The term "emotional incest" was coined by Kenneth Adams, Ph.D. to label the state of cross-generational bonding within a family, whereby a child (normally of the opposite sex) becomes a surrogate spouse for their mother or father. "Emotional Enmeshment" is another term often used. And the term "emotional parentification" describes a similar concept - it describes the process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act as parent to their own parent.

Do you feel like this describes your husband's childhood with his mother?
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« Reply #51 on: November 29, 2017, 08:56:19 AM »

1. Who is the BPD in-law in your life? What are the most significant challenges you face with this person or as a result of this person being involved with your family-member? Are you perhaps dealing with multiple BPD in-laws?
My undiagnosed Mother-in-law, who lives next door to us. We just moved here a few months ago, so I'm still in the surprised stage.    The biggest challenges: 1. She and I don't speak a common language so we can't communicate directly.  I can never figure out why she's angry at me until she yells about me to enough family members that someone comes to talk to me.  (Hilariously, she is currently on the phone arguing with my husband because she wants us to come over to her house and discuss whatever she thinks I did to her today by calmly standing with her and my husband in the garden this morning.)  2. I feel like the FOG around my MIL is so intense that it's straining my relationship with my husband (her son).  We are a good couple, and I'm certain we will get through this, but we had years of lovely days, and came here to build a peaceful, creative life together, not to enable someone who doesn't feel the need to be kind.  3.  I need to learn how to cope, and somehow help my husband gently out of denial without doing any harm.

2. At what point did you realize something might be 'wrong' with this in-law's behavior? Was it a sudden realization or more like a gradual process?
It was definitely gradual.  The moment it really sunk in was after she started criticizing my food choices one night while we ate together. I asked my husband to translate so I could ask her why she seemed so upset with me.  Once she started explaining, I started to see a pattern of completely irrational assumptions and double binds.  At some points she had difficulty making sense and my husband couldn't figure out what she was trying to say.  She was able to admit to some of her behaviors, but once I tried to move the conversation to how we could avoid these types of problems by communicating better in the future, she claimed she didn't have the energy to create solutions and ended the conversation, claiming that we simply weren't capable of understanding her.   Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) I tried talking to her twice like this, before realizing it was futile.  That was when I started to suspect something was truly off. Thought

3. Do you feel that your relationship with your family-member (in a relationship with) or partner (related to) this BPD in-law, has changed as a result of the involvement of the BPD in-law? If you do, in what ways has your relationship with your family-member or partner changed?
Absolutely.  His mother's attempts to either tear us apart or force me into enabling and accepting her has caused a huge amount of tension between us, and it's upsetting for other members of the family here too.  My husband and I are at different stages of understanding his mom's situation, and it's the first time we can't use logical discussion to solve a difference of opinion between us.  After a lot of snapping at each other and painful exchanges, I grudgingly accepted that his denial ensures that he will continue to create situations where I feel emotionally unsafe at least for a while longer.  I will need to find boundaries with his mom that I can uphold with or without his support.  I hope we can eventually get on the same page and help each other heal.  I know it's going to be awful for him to see his "idyllic childhood" in a different light and I want to learn everything I can so I will know how to be sensitive to his needs when that time comes.

4. Have you found effective coping strategies for dealing with your BPD in-law? If you have, could you perhaps share some of them with us? 
I wish!  I'm just starting out on this yellow brick road.  I'm here to learn, but if I find any good techniques that others may not know, I'll definitely post them here.

Thanks for starting this thread, Kwamina!
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« Reply #52 on: November 29, 2017, 09:02:11 AM »

Hi auspicium

Thank you too for sharing your story here

I am a retired social worker.  I saw the indications from very early in their 13-year relationship; however, I was remiss in educating myself about in how to adequately maintain this relationship and particularly in how to communicate with both my son and my DIL.

You saw some troubling indications very early on in their relationship, did you at that point already think she might have a disorder such as BPD?

I am also looking for a live support group in addition to currently reading “Stop Walking on Eggshells.”  When I first purchased the book, some years ago, my DIL told me it was a terrible book and wouldn’t help, so didn’t read it, but something told me to hang on to it.

I am glad you are reaching out for support and are also educating yourself about this disorder. It's a cliché, but knowledge truly is power when it comes to BPD. Once we know better, we can do better. We might not be able to change our BPD family-members, but what we can do is change our own behavior and how we respond to them.

Did your DIL also elaborate on why she found it such a terrible book that wouldn't help?
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« Reply #53 on: November 29, 2017, 09:05:42 AM »

My friend listens allows me to let off steam comforts me when I have cried (and there was lots of that before I discovered laughter) and never judges.  The not judging is so important as many have said on this site some situations are so outlandish sometimes they are difficult to believe.

This sounds like a really fantastic friend.  Thanks for the reminder to maintain important friendships despite the draining effect of the background chaos.
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Kwamina
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« Reply #54 on: November 29, 2017, 09:23:39 AM »

Hi again thedetails

Thanks for so quickly joining this discussion! Smiling (click to insert in post)

My husband and I are at different stages of understanding his mom's situation, and it's the first time we can't use logical discussion to solve a difference of opinion between us.  After a lot of snapping at each other and painful exchanges, I grudgingly accepted that his denial ensures that he will continue to create situations where I feel emotionally unsafe at least for a while longer.  I will need to find boundaries with his mom that I can uphold with or without his support.  I hope we can eventually get on the same page and help each other heal.  I know it's going to be awful for him to see his "idyllic childhood" in a different light and I want to learn everything I can so I will know how to be sensitive to his needs when that time comes.

It is sad yet not uncommon this denial your husband is in. I hope he'll be able to get out of denial more and more and also extricate himself from the F.O.G. Concerning boundaries, the crucial element is that boundaries are primarily designed for protecting ourselves, regardless of what anybody else thinks about those boundaries. You can have boundaries as a couple, but it is I think even more important to have boundaries as an individual as boundaries are for our own protection first. Considering how your husband deals with his mother, his denial and F.O.G., I think it will also be important to have clear boundaries with him about what you deem acceptable behavior and what not. How do you feel about also setting and enforcing/defending boundaries with your husband?

The Board Parrot
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« Reply #55 on: November 29, 2017, 09:57:36 AM »

Hi The Board Parrot, thanks for guiding me here!  Smiling (click to insert in post)
It is sad yet not uncommon this denial your husband is in. I hope he'll be able to get out of denial more and more and also extricate himself from the F.O.G. Concerning boundaries, the crucial element is that boundaries are primarily designed for protecting ourselves, regardless of what anybody else thinks about those boundaries. You can have boundaries as a couple, but it is I think even more important to have boundaries as an individual as boundaries are for our own protection first. Considering how your husband deals with his mother, his denial and F.O.G., I think it will also be important to have clear boundaries with him about what you deem acceptable behavior and what not. How do you feel about also setting and enforcing/defending boundaries with your husband?

Aha!  I have a lot of long-standing boundaries of my own, but it never even occurred to me to consciously create some new, separate ones for myself now.  Thanks for the tip.  I did tell him that I would not go into his mother's house unless the weekly family dinner was being held there and there would be at least 6 other people present, and so far I didn't get too much push-back on that, although it saddened him deeply.  One boundary I would like to have but can't (due to not understanding the language she speaks) is that I would like to leave the situation the moment his mom starts criticizing me, but I can't always tell what she's saying from her body language (which is often angry).  I told him I wished he wouldn't give her details about me, but that's not a boundary, just a request he didn't agree to... .Lately, I make sure not to use any adjectives if she comes up in our conversations, and I've found that to be helpful. 

Would you (or anyone else, of course) be willing to give me an example of a boundary you think might be useful here, to give me an outside perspective? If you don't have time, or don't feel comfortable to do that, I'll totally understand.  I know you're doing a lot on all these threads to help all of us, and I don't want to monopolize your time.  You've already been extremely generous with your perspective.

Side note: I should probably tell my husband that if he insists on allowing potentially dangerous mentally ill childhood acquaintances to come visit, I will leave the area immediately and return only after they are gone.  He has an unusually high tolerance for two deeply disturbed neighbors with a history of violence against women in their family, and I don't feel safe around them.  One already screamed at me for declining an invitation, but continued random bursts of calling my husband up to ten times a day.  That was enough to let me know to stay far far away, but he keeps popping up at our place uninvited, and my husband entertains them as if nothing inappropriate happened.  This is a serious trigger for me, since I had a violent stalker in my university days (until the courts forced him out of the state), and I know enough to avoid people like this.  My husband believes that having open doors and no boundaries guarantees that people like that will feel stable and not do anything bad.  That may work in his universe, but I'm a female whose experiences contradict that philosophy.  It's weird that a man with such an amazing sense of empathy can have such big blind spots.

I clearly need to go off and learn a bit more about boundaries so I can make some good ones.  Thank you very much!

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« Reply #56 on: November 29, 2017, 10:13:24 AM »

Edit: I'm adding that this is a reply to Claudia.  I'm not sure if I'm doing this thread thing the right way, so I'm clarifying that just in case...

I was really careful, when we were still in contact with uBPDmil, to not make decisions FOR my husband. I voiced my own boundaries to him ("I will not go visit her today; I am feeling vulnerable from her last attack, and she is not in any physical need" and I voiced my concerns about his emotional health in very blunt terms ("Your eyes are glazing and your facial expressions shut down the second you see her name on your caller ID. When you spend time with her, it can take up to a full day for you to come back out of it", but I did not tell him what he must or must not do concerning her. I wanted to avoid triangulation at all costs, and this practice helped keep the stress where it actually belonged - centered in MIL's behavior, not in playing my husband and I against each other. Again, not very fun at the time, but it kept the problems from getting as murky as they could have gotten.

My husband has the same type of glazing responses as yours.  He says "they" instead of "she" when talking about his mom, as if he's afraid to say anything negative about her, and he still checks out and falls instantly asleep after disagreements.  I feel so bad for whatever his childhood must have actually been like.  If I say anything negative about how she treats me, he sometimes just sticks out his lower jaw and gets quiet.  Seeing the coping mechanisms he had to develop to survive as a kiddo is heart-breaking.  It sounds like you are waaay further along in this process than I am and I'm going to try to model the technique you described here to "avoid triangulation".   Your spouse is lucky to have someone with so much empathy and direct experience of what he must be feeling.  He must see you as a great gift in his life.  
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« Reply #57 on: November 29, 2017, 10:14:34 AM »

Would you (or anyone else, of course) be willing to give me an example of a boundary you think might be useful here, to give me an outside perspective? If you don't have time, or don't feel comfortable to do that, I'll totally understand.  I know you're doing a lot on all these threads to help all of us, and I don't want to monopolize your time.  You've already been extremely generous with your perspective.
... .
I clearly need to go off and learn a bit more about boundaries so I can make some good ones.  Thank you very much!

Well we can help you with that too! We have some great resources about boundaries that you might find helpful:

Setting Boundaries and Setting Limits

Examples of Boundaries
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« Reply #58 on: November 29, 2017, 10:17:17 AM »

Great resources, I'm off to read them.  Thanks, The Board Parrot!
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