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Skills we were never taught
98
A 3 Minute Lesson
on Ending Conflict
Communication Skills-
Don't Be Invalidating
Listen with Empathy -
A Powerful Life Skill
Setting Boundaries
and Setting Limits
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Author Topic: Relationship with family of origin  (Read 1281 times)
truthdevotee
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« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2021, 03:18:39 AM »

I'll read over all the advice and learning from this thread and others. Need to remind my brain in times of anxiety.
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khibomsis
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« Reply #61 on: February 27, 2021, 03:32:18 AM »

Hey truthdevotee, sorry to hear you are having such a difficult weekend! Where are you now? I hope you are checked in somewhere comfortable with a glass of something cold by your side.
I know you worry about your boys. But truthfully, right now you need to nurse your OCD and anxiety. Or else you will be no good to anyone.
That your wife keeps texting is good, it means she is willing to communicate. You are right not to respond. When you are both calmer you may able to reach a point of reasonable discussion. For now stand your ground. You have done what you said you are going to do. She will get used to it with time.
You are absolutely right to refuse if you are not feeling the in laws next weekend. Better that you stand firm now  than that you suffer the seven plagues of hell next weekend. Is she able to go without you? Might give you both a much needed break.
Hang on in there. It  gets better. Setting and policing after years of weak and fuzzy boundaries is hard, but boundaries are nice things that make your life easier in the long run.
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #62 on: February 27, 2021, 03:51:52 AM »

Hey truthdevotee, sorry to hear you are having such a difficult weekend! Where are you now? I hope you are checked in somewhere comfortable with a glass of something cold by your side.


Hi khibomsis
Thanks for your loving message. It is healing for me to read.

I've been shopping and now I'm sitting in the car park. I bought some nice stuff for the boys. I told them I'm going to get them something nice.

Excerpt

I know you worry about your boys.


I do. That's why I feel it so hard to get away. I'm worried they will feel abandoned by me. I worry just a little bit that they won't be taken care of well, even though I trust overall that she won't hurt them. There's a part of her that tries to get at me through the children though.

Excerpt


But truthfully, right now you need to nurse your OCD and anxiety. Or else you will be no good to anyone.
That your wife keeps texting is good, it means she is willing to communicate. You are right not to respond. When you are both calmer you may able to reach a point of reasonable discussion.


It hasnt been possible with my pwBDP.

Excerpt
Is she able to go without you?


She's not... She won't do it...

Thanks so much for your message. It's good to have feedback I'm not doing the wrong thing. I have a guilty conscience.

I think I might book an Airbnb for the night. She is asking me now via text to come and get the boys and take them out. Maybe I should rent an Airbnb and take my shopping there.

I'll sit quietly for a few min and try to get to a strong decision whether to go to Airbnb somewhere or go back to the house. We have a holiday booked next weekend and due to new covid restrictions starting Monday we were supposed to be checking if we can leave tomorrow to the hotel, instead.
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #63 on: February 27, 2021, 04:38:53 AM »

I'll find an Airbnb and take the boys
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Four Winds

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« Reply #64 on: February 27, 2021, 05:06:23 AM »

Dear truthdevotee, its so hard to manage this situation but you are finally putting two and two together and standing up for yourself.  Of course (...as they most always do), your PD partner was going to have a major fit, and her way to exert control over you is to terrify you and the children into submission. She knows exactly how you respond to her rages and that after threatening you and behaving like a screaming toddler you will eventually submit.  Either you do... or perhaps now you that you have grasped the situation...you do not!  Sending you courage and strength and resolve. 
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khibomsis
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« Reply #65 on: February 27, 2021, 05:06:50 AM »

Sounds like a great idea! Take sometime off. Find some rest for your tired soul. Spoil the boys.  Others will be along who are better at this than I am, soon. I would say  stay calm but firm and be clear about when you will return - as soon as the name calling stops. People here advise not communicating about relationship stuff via text, keeping texting short and practical and leaving the rest for in person contact.
How do you feel now? Hope the anxiety is better!
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #66 on: February 27, 2021, 05:57:53 AM »

I'm so grateful for your presence.

I'm with the boys in the car. I packed the things we need. I still haven't booked anywhere.

I feel nervous but i can do this. I'll find a place to stay one night. I feel sad a bit about the children and the broken family. But their mum even said go for one week, she seemed to have no feelings about the situation for now.
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khibomsis
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« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2021, 07:01:09 AM »

You are so welcome, truthdevotee. It can be overwhelming, I had the same feeling last week, I set a boundary and it was respected. I did not know what to do with that, since I was wholly unused to the feeling  Smiling (click to insert in post) I am sure you will find a place and settle in. Take care of you and the boys!
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Four Winds

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« Reply #68 on: February 27, 2021, 09:07:40 AM »

truthdevotee, you have your precious boys safely with you and this has given you an opportunity for some space, self-care and time to calm down and think.  She probably never thought you would actually leave the house and maybe once she realises that this hasnt quite gone as she intended may change her tactics to attempt to get you back under her control.  Stay calm, safe and try to keep rational.  Sending as much positive thoughts to help you through this.  Do you have a friend/family member you can call for support?  Is there anyone close by?  Hoping that others on this site will be around to give you support soon. 
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #69 on: February 27, 2021, 11:36:42 AM »

truthdevotee, you have your precious boys safely with you and this has given you an opportunity for some space, self-care and time to calm down and think.  She probably never thought you would actually leave the house and maybe once she realises that this hasnt quite gone as she intended may change her tactics to attempt to get you back under her control.  Stay calm, safe and try to keep rational.  Sending as much positive thoughts to help you through this.  Do you have a friend/family member you can call for support?  Is there anyone close by?  Hoping that others on this site will be around to give you support soon. 

Thank you Four Winds, I really appreciate the support.

Both the hotel and the Airbnb I tried were closed for any visitors except for those on business trips, which requires some form of evidence from the employer. So I brought the children back home and immediately left the house for a couple of hours to get my head clear.

When I was taking the boys I felt like it was a great step forward, but I also felt sad for them as I was removing them from their stable atmosphere. The idea of a hotel/Airbnb was exciting and my eldest son was disappointed we couldn't stay anywhere, however, I still felt this sadness. I felt like they shouldn't be removed from their familiar-atmosphere - the four walls they are used to and the toys, books, etc. they are used to.

So I both made a step forward but may have also learned something today. I say "may" because I need further time for reflection. I'm now at home and my pwBDP is in her bed watching something on her phone. It's peaceful, at least. I'm also wearing headphones with peaceful music which I think I'll do more often, especially when she is acting out to the point where I should leave the house, but may not want to.

This situation has got me deeper thinking about the consequence of her rage and name calling. I wonder, although it is sad to leave my boys, if it is better for them to stay at home with their mother. The thing is, their mother doesn't feel much of a consequence when I leave with the boys... at least immediately... it appears like it might take a few days of me being out of the house for her to start feeling the consequence of not having me or her children around. So I'm wondering if ultimately me leaving with them to another home is good or bad, overall. There are so many other factors involved such as: 1) it's her home (in her ownership), 2) it's the boys familiar place with all their toys, 3) she doesn't feel the consequence of me leaving with them and all the support she gets; she doesn't feel what it would really be like if we co-parented and she would need to be 50% on her own with the boys, 4) the quality of their care drops when I'm not around, maybe not to negative levels necessarily but to mediocre levels, 5) the boys do love their mum and I see that although when she is splitting she is tremendously ignorant about how she creates a negative atmosphere, she does ultimately care for them and give them a lot of energy

I don't want to "use the children" unconsciously against her, so please anybody let me know if it sounds like this is what might be going on. I just felt that sadness leaving with the boys and the comfort of them being in their four walls. When I left on my own after bringing them home, I had real time to rest and recover from my wife's name calling and rage. I got to my 12 step meeting and talked to my sponsor for a long time. It was awesome.

When I came home in the early evening, I was at peace again. I decided I'll leave my headphones on with some gentle calming music in case she is still angry.

My biggest block to leaving her with the kids is the drop in quality of care. She knows about this and manipulates me with it and I believe deep down she cares for them "badly" (i.e. not immediately helping them when they're crying, not actively playing with them, etc.) as a way to get to me.

For example, the reason I came home in the early evening was after seeing her message:

"If you don't mind your son is crying by the door already half an hour. Enjoy yourself while he is in massive stress and his brother and me too"

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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #70 on: February 27, 2021, 11:46:03 AM »

What if you frame leaving with the boys to go to a hotel as “our big adventure”?

It’s not a permanent change and they can enjoy learning about new environments.
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #71 on: February 27, 2021, 11:52:09 AM »

What if you frame leaving with the boys to go to a hotel as “our big adventure”?

It’s not a permanent change and they can enjoy learning about new environments.

This is true yeah.. I did this today and my 3 year old was sad it didn't work out in the end. He absolutely loved the hotel lobby where we hung out for a long time. The receptionist said I could go on Monday to see if possible to arrange an exception on the business trip thing, with management.

I cried on phone with sponsor when I described a deeper feeling of the boys being removed from their four walls. I don't know if this was truth about the boys or just an attachment within me that was expressing itself
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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #72 on: February 27, 2021, 12:15:28 PM »

Be careful about projecting your own feelings on the boys.

You may see taking them out of the house as the beginning of possibly ending the intact family system. And perhaps that’s why you feel so strongly.

Kids are resilient and like to be exposed to new things.

And I speak from experience as a child of a BPD mother, it’s much more fun to be out of the house than experiencing a parent’s emotional meltdown, even if they aren’t acting it out around the children, kids still feel something unpleasant is going on and that can be frightening.
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“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
truthdevotee
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« Reply #73 on: February 27, 2021, 12:24:30 PM »

Be careful about projecting your own feelings on the boys.

You may see taking them out of the house as the beginning of possibly ending the intact family system. And perhaps that’s why you feel so strongly.

Kids are resilient and like to be exposed to new things.

And I speak from experience as a child of a BPD mother, it’s much more fun to be out of the house than experiencing a parent’s emotional meltdown, even if they aren’t acting it out around the children, kids still feel something unpleasant is going on and that can be frightening.

Thanks a lot Cat Familiar.

Yeah, I thought it could just be my projection.

Your words here about "something unpleasant going on" is so so so true. I know it and I see it. The boys connect together when it's happening and they kind of seem to "disassociate" from it and end up in hyperactivity. This "looks like fun" but deeper down I feel it's an anxiety response.

Yeah... my projection of sadness about ending the "intact" family system... it's true... I've worked so hard over the years hoping it will all end up OK...

pwBDP continues the blame and criticism and I'm not getting involved. I'm really exhausted after the long day and just want space tonight. She's using this to manipulate me because she senses deep down I feel guilty about:

Excerpt
So here's one thing I want to mention. Yesterday she told me that she told her mum that we can go to their house on the weekend. The honest reaction inside me was anger. The anger has two components. Firstly the history of this horrible situation with my own family despite over the years continuing to love and be open to her family caused anger in me. This came up as a deep unconscious response. Secondly a day or two before I expressed that it's genuinely not a good time this weekend as we have a lot to do in preparation for a vacation starting the following weekend. My anger didn't get out of hand and I quickly adjusted my response as I knew I don't want to create the same negative conditions that she created for me, towards her family of origin. She used the fact that she noticed my anger in that situation to control me and manipulate me a few minutes ago just before I left the house.

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Cat Familiar
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« Reply #74 on: February 27, 2021, 12:29:33 PM »

You see how one sided her concept of being around “family” is. You’ve paid a big price trying to appease her by cutting connection with your own family. Now that you’ve got a different perspective, your anger is arising. Nothing unhealthy about that. It’s up to you how to make this equitable in the future. She certainly isn’t going to be gracious about your family, and your boys and your parents have a right to a relationship.
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“The Four Agreements  1. Be impeccable with your word.  2. Don’t take anything personally.  3. Don’t make assumptions.  4. Always do your best. ”     ― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
truthdevotee
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« Reply #75 on: February 27, 2021, 12:37:18 PM »

You see how one sided her concept of being around “family” is. You’ve paid a big price trying to appease her by cutting connection with your own family. Now that you’ve got a different perspective, your anger is arising. Nothing unhealthy about that. It’s up to you how to make this equitable in the future. She certainly isn’t going to be gracious about your family, and your boys and your parents have a right to a relationship.

Thank you. Listening to every word. Without the confidence of the forum I could never do this. Even now I am tipping my toes into self doubt, its like everything she says is designed to make me doubt that I'm actually selfish, self centered, creating the whole drama, not listening to her, etc. Yet I haven't been listened to for years! It's amazing that her ability to manipulate me is still so strong even though I'm aware that she has BDP. How does she do this? How come I am so prone to believe what she says? I guess I'm feeling weak tonight from the anxiety and stress
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Notwendy
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« Reply #76 on: February 27, 2021, 12:37:26 PM »

I agree with Cat.

There were many times we went on outings with Dad.  We went out to eat, and did fun things like the zoo, the movies, the park. Mom always stayed behind.

Surely we didn't have much of an idea about what all these "Dad adventures" were at the time, but we loved doing fun things with Dad. I know now that he was probably trying to remove us and himself from one of BPD mom's rage attacks. And we did see them when we were home. We were too young to understand all that went on, but I  have good memories of fun adventures with Dad when I was a kid.

If we went somewhere and my mother was with us, it became about her and the focus was on her. Time with Dad alone was different, and we could have his attention. These were fun times for us as kids.

I agree with Cat to not project your own fears on to the boys when you go on "adventures". They may think it's exciting and fun, and they don't really understand all the dynamics about why.



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truthdevotee
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« Reply #77 on: February 27, 2021, 12:44:09 PM »

Thanks very much Notwendy, this reassures me a lot. I'll focus more strongly on making it an exciting adventure. I think my own grief got in the way of the power of that today
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« Reply #78 on: February 27, 2021, 12:46:11 PM »

I hope you have read about the extinction burst. This reaction- to escalate the rage- would be something to expect. Also intermittent reinforcment is powerful. If you truly want to continue being in contact with your family you need to hold your ground, otherwise she knows that this kind of behavior works to get you to stop.

Take a deep breath and look at the perceived "crime" ( calling your parents) and the reaction. I hope you see that even if someone is not happy about it, this is way out of bounds.  Of course it makes you anxious but hopefully you can hold your ground on this and let her calm down.
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #79 on: February 27, 2021, 01:48:18 PM »

Hi Notwendy

I'll hold my ground. Thanks for encouraging me. Yeah, I read about the extinction burst.

I got her attention a bit when I said that the courts would be involved and I'm sure if we go in the direction of separation she'll have to return to work after her maternity finishes this year. Our plan has been that she stays at home. Perhaps I was impulsive raising this but it's as if nothing is getting through to her.

She really seems to actually believe I've done something terrible by contacting my parents without telling her I would do so beforehand. I struggle to understand how there appears to be no inkling of self doubt or the desire to self reflect. She truly believes I'm disrespecting her, and believes that her rage is warranted and isn't a form of disrespect.

Yeah, I see that it's completely overboard now that you encouraged me to reflect on it. Thanks Notwendy
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #80 on: February 27, 2021, 03:27:05 PM »

I'm a bit stunned. She came to me about 2220 and I said honestly I can't talk. Then a few text messages were exchanged:

[27/02, 17:11] N: Just saw your message
[27/02, 22:14] Honey: It hurts when I ask you today third time to talk and you say no.
[27/02, 22:15] N: I'll be in much better shape tomorrow
[27/02, 22:15] N: I don't feel well now
[27/02, 22:15] N: It would only be making things worse. My ability to be supportive will be much greater tomorrow
[27/02, 22:16] Honey: It's fine
[27/02, 22:16] Honey: Tomorrow I will be somewhere in different stage
[27/02, 22:18] Honey: Did you talk to your parents today?
[27/02, 22:18] N: No
[27/02, 22:19] Honey: Or email them?
[27/02, 22:20] Honey: When was the last time when you were in touch with them?
[27/02, 22:21] Honey: I am sorry for my reaction
[27/02, 22:22] Honey: It hurts when you connect with them rather then with me
[27/02, 22:22] N: I understand. I love you
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #81 on: February 27, 2021, 03:42:50 PM »

.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2021, 03:54:46 PM by truthdevotee » Logged
truthdevotee
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« Reply #82 on: February 27, 2021, 04:06:08 PM »

Looks like a bit of Openness occurred. I was bombarded by questions about what I spoke about with them, some of which I answered, but not all. I don't like being bombarded as it feels like I'm being questioned for a crime. So many questions, checking if i talked about her etc. I kept the boundary by not answering all. There was the similar blame but overall she was calmer. I shared my appreciation with her for the times she said "I feel" and revealed something more vulnerable than anger. She says that me telling her all the details build trust for her. I'm just flowing with it for now. At times the BDP blame and projection occurs and i step in with a reminder about my limits.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2021, 04:19:51 PM by truthdevotee » Logged
Four Winds

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« Reply #83 on: February 27, 2021, 04:45:46 PM »

looks like she is changing her tactics.  Her raging is not working as it usually does by getting you under her control so possibly now she is trying the "charm" method which is to disarm you by being more conciliatory. But underneath all of this is the motive to extract as much information from you as she can regarding you contacting your family so she can guilt trip you.  This information is important to her is so she can twist it around to gaslight you again by repeatedly telling you and that your family are bad for you and that your relationship with them is unhealthy etc etc......and that she is the good person in your life....

her goal is that she gets you to not speak to them again.  The more she senses that you are finding another way out of this mess, the more she will try to bring you back down under her control. 

Cutting you off from close family is a classic tactic.  My brother's wife would tell him that because they were in a "private marriage" she was the only person he was allowed to listen to. 
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truthdevotee
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« Reply #84 on: February 28, 2021, 12:08:04 AM »

looks like she is changing her tactics.  Her raging is not working as it usually does by getting you under her control so possibly now she is trying the "charm" method which is to disarm you by being more conciliatory. But underneath all of this is the motive to extract as much information from you as she can regarding you contacting your family so she can guilt trip you.  This information is important to her is so she can twist it around to gaslight you again by repeatedly telling you and that your family are bad for you and that your relationship with them is unhealthy etc etc......and that she is the good person in your life....

her goal is that she gets you to not speak to them again.  The more she senses that you are finding another way out of this mess, the more she will try to bring you back down under her control.  

Cutting you off from close family is a classic tactic.  My brother's wife would tell him that because they were in a "private marriage" she was the only person he was allowed to listen to.  

Thank you Four Winds. I see what is happening now, what you've said here is so so true... I was surprised at the "sorry" and encouraged by it, as I've rarely seen that before, especially in any circumstance regarding my FOO. But... the encouragement soon ended... As the conversation continued with her last night, I went to bed early as it was obvious when the tone started to change... it all ended up in the same blame, anger, criticism, manipulation, gaslighting, etc. Additionally, she found a book I read on mother enmeshment on my Kindle and now she's using the info from it to try to persuade me that I'm "the problem." I've read the book thoroughly enough to know that she's misreading / not understanding the information and using it to try to manipulate me.

I'm considering removing it from my Kindle. Of course this will bring up questions from her side e.g. "you're hiding it from me because you're scared, etc." but I'll think about the consequence of not removing it... I asked her in kind and clear terms not to play the therapist role toward me but she didn't listen. So perhaps removing it from Kindle is a good idea in order to discourage this.
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« Reply #85 on: February 28, 2021, 12:19:57 AM »

this sounds to me like she could be suspicious about what is behind your subtle change in behaviour towards her and is now playing detective looking for clues and checking up on what you might be reading, hope you are super careful that she cannot find your online threads here.....
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« Reply #86 on: February 28, 2021, 01:45:19 AM »

legalboxers, it may feel complicated in the moment but you are making progress. When one surmounts the gaslighting and is able to see the truth it is both liberating and scary at the same time.
Four Winds is absolutely right. You need to have passwords on your Kindle, laptop, etc, so that you can have some privacy to work through your issues. There is nothing to be gained by sharing this life of thought with her. Until you know what you think, you are not ready to share it with her. And she would need to be in a completely different emotional space to hear you.
I just want to add my voice to Notwendy's. As a child of an uNBPDmom, outings with Dad were rare but precious. Even just as a moment to gain relief from the chronic anxiety, but even more so as a chance to get his attention and communicate.  Plus of course the excitement of whatever we were doing Smiling (click to insert in post)  
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truthdevotee
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Relationship status: Wife, but not formally married
Posts: 259


« Reply #87 on: February 28, 2021, 02:43:10 AM »

this sounds to me like she could be suspicious about what is behind your subtle change in behaviour towards her and is now playing detective looking for clues and checking up on what you might be reading, hope you are super careful that she cannot find your online threads here.....

Thanks Four Winds. Fortunately this forum is 100% secure. She has no clue that I'm here. It's crucial it stays this way, also because she's not open to self reflection that she's anything but perfectly normal

I'll keep this secure
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truthdevotee
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Wife, but not formally married
Posts: 259


« Reply #88 on: February 28, 2021, 02:46:12 AM »

legalboxers, it may feel complicated in the moment but you are making progress. When one surmounts the gaslighting and is able to see the truth it is both liberating and scary at the same time.


Thanks so much for reassurance. Yeah this absolutely spot on my experience. It is quite scary. For two weeks I felt great freedom and understanding but now I'm feeling overwhelmed, sad, tired and feels like a scary phenomena


Excerpt

Four Winds is absolutely right. You need to have passwords on your Kindle, laptop, etc, so that you can have some privacy to work through your issues. There is nothing to be gained by sharing this life of thought with her. Until you know what you think, you are not ready to share it with her. And she would need to be in a completely different emotional space to hear you.


Thanks for your strength here... I have had guilt about hiding things from her. I haven't been careful enough with my kindle. I just deleted two books I was using for self reflection in the past, which she's been reading and quoting from the last couple of days. She noticed as she just messaged me :

[28/02, 09:05] Honey: I would like to buy a book  how to do it?
[28/02, 09:06] Honey: Adult children emotionally immature parents

She probably thinks she made an error deleting it. I'll see if I can get around avoiding this...

I'll be more careful with kindle now.

Excerpt

I just want to add my voice to Notwendy's. As a child of an uNBPDmom, outings with Dad were rare but precious. Even just as a moment to gain relief from the chronic anxiety, but even more so as a chance to get his attention and communicate.  Plus of course the excitement of whatever we were doing Smiling (click to insert in post)  

Thank you so much. I am so grateful for all of you supporting me. Thank you thank you thank you
« Last Edit: February 28, 2021, 02:51:42 AM by truthdevotee » Logged
truthdevotee
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Wife, but not formally married
Posts: 259


« Reply #89 on: February 28, 2021, 03:32:48 AM »

Argh... Terrible mistake. She was raging in front of children just now and she saw me switch on the video on my mobile for evidence. She kind of saw it, not fully but she noticed.

Perhaps this isn't a bad thing but I really didn't want that to happen. It was due to my anxiety not being careful enough.

Argh. I just stayed silent and didn't say yes I'm recording or no I'm not recording.

I'll use this for a positive thing, that's the only way forward. I'll just keep repeating no rage in front of the children.
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