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Author Topic: Son has left BPD wife  (Read 281 times)
GrandmaE

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« on: March 29, 2020, 03:42:24 PM »

In late February, we received a tearful phone call from our DIL, complaining that our son has been gone for a few days and has not returned any phone calls or texts.  She said he had been having an affair for several years, but said he would stay and help her raise their nine children. After this, she became pregnant with #10, due in June.

She found out he is still seeing the other woman and says he left after he put his arms around her, asked how she was holding up, and she replied, "What the Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)#$% do you care!"

She insisted that we get in touch with him and convince him to go back home.  We agreed to try calling, texting, and emailing him but when we did, we told him that he could talk about anything he wanted and we would keep things confidential.  We didn't hold out much hope for convincing him to go back home, and were not even sure that this would be what is best for him, best for everyone.

He has not responded in any way.  No phone call, no texts, no emails.

He did finally respond to one of his wife's texts:

"The kids need to grow up in a household with love.  They have two parents that love them dearly and want to see them, spend time with them, and take care of them.  I’ve been telling you for years how I feel in this marriage, though.  You say you want to talk, but we’ve talked this to death.  You won’t listen to any solution that isn’t me giving up all control over to you and letting you dictate every single thing.  The way you fight, yell and scream, manipulate and force everyone to bend to only your will has to stop.  You never took anything I said into consideration, kept pushing me to force myself to fake everything so that you could be happy, and I cannot spend even one more day in that house any more.  The way you fight with me, the way you fight with [names of 2 oldest children], and everyone else is not ok.  You attack relentlessly and will only handle things the way you want them handled.  It’s not ok.  I’m not a good person when I’m there with you.  Every time I’ve yelled at the kids, I feel sick, because I know I’m only doing it because I don’t want to have to deal with _you_.  Do you know how Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)#$%ed up that is?  I want to be myself.  Calm.  Rational.  Caring.  I’m not that person when I’m on constant pins and needles tiptoeing around trying not to anger the almighty K.  It’s a loveless marriage...let it go.  It’s a love filled parenthood...embrace it.  We need to find a way to parent our children better.  But it’s going to be separately."

He told her that he would continue to pay all the bills.  But she became doubtful when she found out that he had drained all of their accounts, including their daughter's college fund, except for $1200 in the joint account.  She filed papers to ask for spousal support and child support.  When she sent the oldest son to the big box store to get some groceries, the credit card was declined at the check out.  It had been cancelled.   

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Methuen
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2020, 08:08:15 PM »

I'm sorry to hear about the angst being experienced by family members.  The text message you included which your son wrote to his wife, sounds reasonably thoughtful and rational.  

Perhaps he is giving himself some space to sort out his thoughts and emotions right now.  

If you imagine what it must be like to be in his shoes, any one of us would probably need some time alone to "process" a decision like this, and formulate the beginning of a "plan" for how to move forward.

It must be difficult for everyone: him, her, the kids, you...

How long ago did this happen?

Excerpt
He told her that he would continue to pay all the bills.  But she became doubtful when she found out that he had drained all of their accounts, including their daughter's college fund, except for $1200 in the joint account.  She filed papers to ask for spousal support and child support.  When she sent the oldest son to the big box store to get some groceries, the credit card was declined at the check out.  It had been cancelled.
 

There could be a lot of different things going on here.  I can imagine a whole lot of scenarios, especially if BPD is in the mix.  A person never gets the truth, or the whole truth, from a BPD when drama is involved.

Does she have a history of being responsible with finances?  Does he?

He's your son so you know him better than anyone.  Since you ended the post with the statement about the credit card being cancelled, I am guessing it is causing you some worry.

Since there is $1200 in the joint account, can groceries get paid with that for now, until things are more "sorted" between them in terms of short term finances?

Excerpt
we told him that he could talk about anything he wanted and we would keep things confidential.


This was a good thing to say.  I would consider adding that "he can talk about anything he wants, and know that he won't be judged", provided you are able to follow through with that (just listen without giving advice or assigning blame to either party).  

https://bpdfamily.com/parenting/03.htm

If DIL is BPD, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to truly know what your son is going through right now.  If I were in his shoes, the most important thing for me, would be to feel I had reliable support, and not feel judged, because nobody else could truly understand unless they have experienced the same thing, and that isn't likely, since every case of BPD is unique.  







« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 08:22:07 PM by Methuen » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 08:27:45 PM »

That's a tough situation, and with your grandchildren involved, no matter what your son and DIL are doing. 

So he hasn't responded to you at all, and you read his text after she sent it to you?

It sounds like he's going to do what he's going to do.  What role do you and your husband see yourself in? He's your son, but those are your grandchildren. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2020, 08:48:37 AM »

Hi GrandmaE, so sorry about what you and your son are going through  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
How is you and your son coping in this stressful situation?
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GrandmaE

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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2020, 11:11:29 AM »


This was a good thing to say.  I would consider adding that "he can talk about anything he wants, and know that he won't be judged", provided you are able to follow through with that (just listen without giving advice or assigning blame to either party).  

https://bpdfamily.com/parenting/03.htm

If DIL is BPD, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to truly know what your son is going through right now.  If I were in his shoes, the most important thing for me, would be to feel I had reliable support, and not feel judged, because nobody else could truly understand unless they have experienced the same thing, and that isn't likely, since every case of BPD is unique.  

Thank you for that suggestion.  And your validation.

From everything I can see, DIL is definitely BPD.  The question for me is, what is my son?  DIL has a degree in psychology.  She has sent me links to information on narcissism and said that she thinks he is narcissistic.  She also said that narcissism is very difficult to treat and most mental health providers won't even try.  In addition, medication doesn't work, because narcissism is a personality disorder.

I don't have a degree in psych, but have read extensively on the subject due to my work to heal from co-dependency.  (My first husband, birth father to both my sons, was an alcoholic.)  My second marriage has been sane and happy for over 30 years. 

I read this:  https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/the-difference-between-borderline-personality-and-narcissism-symptoms-and-treatment/

Our experience with DIL matches up with most of the things listed under BPD.  Under narcissism, the only two things that seem to match son are *Aloof and distant in relationships and *Moodiness.  I haven't observed (but maybe I've missed something) him bragging about his superiority.

Nevertheless, this seems to fit:  "Someone with borderline personality disorder may act out their intense fears of abandonment to such an extent that they drive someone away. Someone with narcissistic personality disorder, on the other hand, is more likely to be the one abandoning another—perhaps because they’d rather do so before someone has the chance to leave them or to otherwise reinforce their appearance of superiority."

I think she is "projecting."  Narcissim and BPD are related. I also think that even BPD can be worked on both in therapy and via medication.  But you know the punchline to "How may shrinks does it take to change a light bulb?"

The thing is, son is not much of a talker.  When he was a teenager, when something would be bothering him, it was like pulling teeth to get anything out of him.  He stuffs his feelings. 

In talking with DIL today, she reported that leaving for several days without communicating has been a pattern throughout their marriage.  I only knew about 1 or 2 incidents previously.

To date, we have not received any response from son to any of our communications: a few text messages, a couple of emails, and a couple of phone messages.  That bothers me some, but I don't take it personally.

What bothers me more is that, in avoiding his wife, he is avoiding his children.  She has offered to leave the house and let him come visit the kids.  He has declined.  Doesn't want to get anywhere near the house.  She said he should call the kids and he told her that she should text him and let him know when to call.  She doesn't want to do this.

So the grandchildren suffer.  The 4-year old has stated three times that his father is dead.  DIL says she reassured him that Daddy isn't dead, he is just living somewhere else.  The baby (just turned 2) used to sleep on his father's chest and they used Face Time daily at lunch time when Daddy was at work.

I believe I have been supportive of DIL, but in the future I will have to stay alert to possibly validating things that aren't normal. I'd love to be supportive of son, but all I can do is all I can do.  Continue to reach out to him and hope my love and his step-father's love come through.

One possible ray of hope:  The divorce attorney DIL has selected has told her that she won't take the case until DIL talks with a designated psychiatrist. 

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Methuen
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 12:34:37 AM »

Excerpt
To date, we have not received any response from son to any of our communications: a few text messages, a couple of emails, and a couple of phone messages.  That bothers me some, but I don't take it personally.

This is a good thing to be able to do.  I am learning from you right now, because by including that last sentence, you are teaching me what I still need to learn.

Excerpt
What bothers me more is that, in avoiding his wife, he is avoiding his children.  She has offered to leave the house and let him come visit the kids.  He has declined.  Doesn't want to get anywhere near the house.  She said he should call the kids and he told her that she should text him and let him know when to call.  She doesn't want to do this.

I get that this is what bothers you.  It sounds like adult feelings are getting in the way of being "present" for the children, at a time of crisis, when the children will be having their own challenges with confusion, fear, and sadness.  That is exactly when they need consistency and assurances from the adults.

Excerpt
So the grandchildren suffer.

You are right.  I am wondering if you are close enough to be able to visit them, or maintain a relationship with them?  Any stable adult relationship in their life will be super important at this time, and will mean a lot to them. It could be you, or it could be someone else that they can trust.

Excerpt
I'd love to be supportive of son, but all I can do is all I can do.  Continue to reach out to him and hope my love and his step-father's love come through.

You are right about this.  Who knows what is going on with him, right?  It appears like he is running right now, possibly from a few things... With that in mind, when you reach out, maybe just focus on asking about his well-being and keep the message positive.  "Are you OK?  I'm worried about you, and we look forward to hearing from you."  

I really don't know what to suggest.  All I can really offer is that I feel for you with in this situation.  It must just hurt everywhere, especially because there are children involved.  And you are kind of caught between your son and the grandchildren.  It's a difficult place to be.

Excerpt
The divorce attorney DIL has selected has told her that she won't take the case until DIL talks with a designated psychiatrist.
 
This is interesting.  It is also interesting that she shared this with you.
 I'm guessing it came with some indignation?  Something must have been a yellow/red flag for the lawyer.  I would be surprised if that was standard procedure in divorce cases.

 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)



 




« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 12:40:54 AM by Methuen » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 01:09:50 AM »

It sounds like you have a mature take on this. We have tragic stories here about grandparents who het cut off from grand children, mostly by BPD DILs, enabled by son's. Yet this isn't your case. Even if she's BPD, you still have contact with the kids.  Tough choice, given your son isn't responding. He might get into trouble if he's not supprorting  his family, but that's his decision.

It sounds l like you're doing well so far navigating this, but be careful of being triangulated.

2.01 | Karpman Drama Triangle

They both sound likey that they are playing the victim roles.
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GrandmaE

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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2020, 12:53:50 PM »

This is a good thing to be able to do.  I am learning from you right now, because by including that last sentence, you are teaching me what I still need to learn.

I get that this is what bothers you.  It sounds like adult feelings are getting in the way of being "present" for the children, at a time of crisis, when the children will be having their own challenges with confusion, fear, and sadness.  That is exactly when they need consistency and assurances from the adults.

You are right.  I am wondering if you are close enough to be able to visit them, or maintain a relationship with them?  Any stable adult relationship in their life will be super important at this time, and will mean a lot to them. It could be you, or it could be someone else that they can trust.

You are right about this.  Who knows what is going on with him, right?  It appears like he is running right now, possibly from a few things... With that in mind, when you reach out, maybe just focus on asking about his well-being and keep the message positive.  "Are you OK?  I'm worried about you, and we look forward to hearing from you." 

I really don't know what to suggest.  All I can really offer is that I feel for you with in this situation.  It must just hurt everywhere, especially because there are children involved.  And you are kind of caught between your son and the grandchildren.  It's a difficult place to be.
 
This is interesting.  It is also interesting that she shared this with you.
 I'm guessing it came with some indignation?  Something must have been a yellow/red flag for the lawyer.  I would be surprised if that was standard procedure in divorce cases.

 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)


I appreciate your words, as well as the : hug :

We live a 4 hour drive away from DIL and the kids.  DIL tells us that son has move another hour + south of them. 

Our 12 YO GS is tech savvy and set up a Google Hangouts online meeting room.  We used it this morning to do a video chat with him and also saw the 10 YO GS and the 15 YO GD.  Our last in person visit with them was on March 7, but due to the pandemic, we won't be able to get together again in person until all this is over.  We are high risk, not just due to age, but also I have asthma and hubby is being medicated to prevent recurrence of prostate cancer.

I hear you regarding the lawyer's requirement.  I, too, suspect she (the lawyer) saw a red flag.  For one thing, DIL doesn't really WANT a divorce and I'll bet she conveyed that.  She just wants to get financial support lined up and to control son's access to visitation  with the kids.  She doesn't want the kids to go visit him while he is living at his girlfriend's house.  DIL says that state won't allow them to stay overnight under those circumstances, but I don't know whether or not that is accurate.  If the attorney told DIL there's no way to prevent that, I suspect she would have become quite upset.  I'm just guessing here because I only have her side of the story, and that's always subject to change.

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GrandmaE

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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2020, 01:09:07 PM »

It sounds like you have a mature take on this. We have tragic stories here about grandparents who het cut off from grand children, mostly by BPD DILs, enabled by son's. Yet this isn't your case. Even if she's BPD, you still have contact with the kids.  Tough choice, given your son isn't responding. He might get into trouble if he's not supprorting  his family, but that's his decision.

It sounds l like you're doing well so far navigating this, but be careful of being triangulated.

2.01 | Karpman Drama Triangle

They both sound likey that they are playing the victim roles.

Yes, I'd say they both see themselves as victims and see the other as persecutor.  Quite possibly, they are both right.

DIL has tried very hard to cast me in the role as rescuer, going so far as to beg me to save her marriage.  Well, even if I wanted to, I don't see how that is possible when I have zero contact with her husband.

But I am quite familiar with the role of rescuer, having been to many Al-anon meetings and devoured books about co-dependency. 

I know that I didn't cause it and I can't fix it.  I can be a good listener and I can say supportive things.  And keep reminding myself, "All I can do is all I can do."





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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2020, 10:53:04 AM »

10 kids what  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)
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