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Author Topic: I am the latest target  (Read 202 times)
kms1281

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Inlaw
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 4


« on: May 19, 2022, 03:47:53 PM »

After going to counseling myself to try to handle my SIL’s manipulation, I have come to believe she has BPD. She has been spreading exaggerated stories/lies about me. She has told my kids I am mean to her. She has cornered my husband (her brother) and said I am a *itch and my kids wish I were dead and she was their mom. I feel like it’s best to cut off this relationship, but I am feeling extremely guilty about that. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I cannot handle the constant lies and manipulation. The whole family sees it but refuses to acknowledge it. I don’t want to constantly be looking over my shoulder and now that the kids are involved, I am struggling to find a good solution that everyone is happy with. Everyone would be happy if I rolled over and ignored the chaos, but I cannot do that at this time - especially since she has brought my young kids into the situation. Suggestions?
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Riv3rW0lf
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Confidential
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: Estranged; Complicated
Posts: 524



« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2022, 04:25:30 PM »

What does your husband think of all that? Is he defending you, or is he also expecting you to roll over and ignore the chaos?

This is completely unacceptable, what she tells your kids. I am guessing you are not letting her see them unsupervised. Does she have kids of her own?

This all sounds very intrusive and aggressive, I am sorry you are dealing with this. Of course, this is a time for healthy boundaries and protecting yourself. Ignoring this kind of bad behaviors will only lead to more chaos and pain for you... While setting healthy boundaries and asserting ourselves is hard, I believe it gets easier with time. While the other way around might seems easier on the moment, but will bring havoc in your family later on.

I support you in setting limits and NOT ignoring the abuse. Did you have a plan already in mind?

Not letting her see your kids unsupervised is now a must, I'd say.
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kms1281

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Inlaw
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 4


« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2022, 06:27:29 PM »

Thank you! Just having someone validate that I can’t enable this behavior helps. Around 8 months ago, she got upset with my husband and called me to start driving a wedge between me and my husband to get even with him. This is where it all started. Immediately, my guard went up. I stopped allowing her unsupervised with the kids back then. She said these things to my kids at family events when no one else was closely watching. This is why she is so angry with me. She wants to see my kids unsupervised - since I won’t allow it, she is attacking me. My husband fully supports me after this latest incident. In fact, we went to confront her about the deception.  She started gaslighting and then their dad told us to get out. He called us hypocrites for saying we are Christians and not loving her. I guess I have a different definition of love because I don’t think it’s loving enabling this behavior and not getting her help. I honestly believe she has unhealthy feelings for my husband and wants to replace me. This is another reason I am uncomfortable with being around her. One last question - is it ok for my husband to be around her without me or the kids? I say no, but he says he can handle her. I don’t want to cause family issues but I just don’t see a way possible to allow her in our lives.

She does not have kids of her own. She is also single.
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Riv3rW0lf
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What is your sexual orientation: Confidential
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Relationship status: Estranged; Complicated
Posts: 524



« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2022, 06:47:33 PM »

My husband fully supports me after this latest incident. In fact, we went to confront her about the deception.  She started gaslighting and then their dad told us to get out. He called us hypocrites for saying we are Christians and not loving her.

I see, so she has the family support in all this. Does she live with them or did you confront her at a family gathering?

Did you read on Karpman triangle a little bit? Victim/Rescuer/Persecutor? This is a very helpful tool to understand family dynamics and steering clear of it. It seems like her father decided to step in as a rescuer, while she took the victim position, you ending up as persecutor. A lot of family interactions work this way and it is very hard to reach people stuck in this triangle of abuse. Refusing to partake in the dynamic will default you to the persecutor role.

This is stressful... It seems like you are not dealing with just the BPD sister but the family as a whole. I understand you needing a break in contact. Do you have any expectations as to the wave effects this could have on the family as a unit? Is your husband on board with cutting contact with his sister?

In the case of severe family dysfunction, I would personnally try to let your husband deal with it, because he is part of the unit. With in-laws, we are often see as the problem, because we modify their established system.

I am going through something similar right now, am trying to assert myself with my mother in law and she decided to give me the silence treatment... My way of asserting myself is rubbing her and father in law the wrong way, in their family: children don't assert themselves, and when they do, it has to be done under the guise of joy and as if the critics were not heard, it's all very covert. Whereas I confronted the critics directly and asked her to stop criticizing me to keep our relationship healthy. She didn't like it. But I don't talk their family language... And I don't care to, I am starting to see lots of dysfunction there as well and am protecting myself.

All this to say, with in-laws, we disrupt the dysfunctional balance of an existing system, which is why I first asked about your husband. Can he handle the discussions with his family from now on to preserve you from dealing with the abuse?


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kms1281

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Inlaw
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 4


« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2022, 07:58:19 PM »

Absolutely - she has the support of most of the family. They just accept it and lie to each other to cover up her abuse (I have witnessed the lying firsthand). In fact, they support her so much that she has never had a job but her dad bought her a house, she drives a new car, and her bills are all paid. She lived on her own until this incident happened. She then told her father she couldn’t deal with being alone during this turmoil so she moved back in with them. I honestly don’t know if she is still with them or back at her house. I didn’t really recognize the dysfunction until 10 years or so into the relationship.  I managed it by ignoring until it became personal. Now that I am protecting my family, she has a deep, deep hatred for me. She has always badmouthed me, but I tried to brush it off until it started to involve my kids.

That drama triangle describes exactly what is happening. Then I feel the need to defend myself to the rest of the family since she is assassinating my character to everyone she can. I don’t want any part of it anymore and prefer to not see her. If she has no interactions with me, then she has no fuel (I know she will still make things up but if the family knows she hasn’t seen us, I would hope they would see through her deceit).

The wave impact has already started - his mother is now in a deep depression that I feel responsible for.  If I would go along with their normal family model, everyone else would be happy. I am the bad guy in this since I’m disrupting that model that has worked for them. But I just can’t see continuing to be a target. My husband is on board with cutting her out from me and the kids but he is ok visiting his parents with his sister there. That makes me uncomfortable. He can handle the discussions but I will continue to be the punching bag until I cave and allow contact with the kids. My husband can keep her comments about it me to himself but it will eat at me knowing she is filling his ear with hateful things.

My grandfather is bipolar so I don’t have a perfect family. However, the family comes together and gets him the help he needs when he isn’t balanced. We would never tolerate abuse or excuse behavior, so this new system is hard for me.

I am sorry you are dealing with this in your family as well. It’s so hard when you so clearly see the problem and want to recommend solutions but are told to get out. It’s mind boggling to me.
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Turkish
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Other
Relationship status: "Divorced"/abandoned by SO in Feb 2013; Mother with BPD, PTSD, Depression and Anxiety: RIP in 2021.
Posts: 11452


Dad to my wolf pack


« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2022, 09:53:01 PM »

Riv3rW0lf mentioned Triangulation. She tried to recruit you in her beef with her brother, and your kids by proxy. It's hard enough with you being a target,  but triangulating (alienating) your kids is completely unacceptable. My ex has tried with our kids and she complained to me (about complaining about me to them) that "they always defend you!" Ya think? Maybe knock it off.

Understanding what's really going on, and your role as well, is one of the harder things to understand for us here, but it's invaluable to grasp, as it gives us the skills to step back from the Drama Triangle.

Big info dump here, but it's worth reading. The "here" link at the end is the top level article. Click on the quote link from Skip for the member discussion.

Good insights.
 
What can we do if we are on a drama triangle - how do we exit?
 
There is a very simply stated strategy published by the Self Help Alliance (Camrbidge, Ontario) for dealing with these situations called "Move to the Center".
 
        
 
  • Move into the center. Resist the temptation to play an exaggerated and complementary role to a Victim, Rescuer or Persecutor. You do not want to stabilize an unpleasant situation. Instead, find and hold the center position, thereby marginalizing your adversary and eliminating their power base. The center of the drama triangle contains elements of each corner. It is a combination of sensitivity, compassion, and responsibility.

  • Refuse to accept your opponent’s force. Do not struggle with them, or yield to them; instead, allow your opponent to move into an indefensible position.

If you have successfully taken the center, your adversary will halt their attacks, rather than risk unmasking themselves and exposing the game.
 
In the style of Eastern Philosophy, you don't want to cast a loved one as your opponent; rather, take their bad habits and unskillful means as your enemy, and destroy them with your awareness and enlightened skills.
 
How do we effect change that will make our environment less prone to drama triangles
 
We change our own personal dynamics so that the triangle is attractive to us.
 
Assert rather than persecute. Instead of the actions of the Persecutor, who blame and punish - give up trying to force or manipulate others to do what you want. Take on the new behaviors of "doing" and "asserting". Ask for what we want. Say no for what you don't want. Give constructive feedback. Initiate negotiations. Take positive action.
 
Be vulnerable, but not a victim. "Victims" often feel overwhelmed, too defeated to solve their problems and emotional. They look to someone else to do it for them. Instead of the Victim role you need to be emotionally mature (vulnerable, not needy), accept the situation you are in and take responsibility to problem solve and function in a more healthy and happy way. Put real thought into what you want and how to get it, and take action to make it happen.
 
Be caring, but don't overstep. We do not want to let our fears, obligation and guilt to control us or allow us to be manipulated into taking care of another person when it really isn't healthy to do so. Instead of being the Rescuer and doing the thinking, taking the lead, doing more than our share, doing more than is asked of us -  simply be a supportive, empathetic listener and provide reflection, coaching, and assistance if the person asks and is taking the lead themselves. It is important to recognize the other person as an equal (not one-down) and give the other person the respect of letting them take care of themselves, solve their own problems, and deal with their feelings as they choose. Remember, the rescuer has the most pivotal position on the drama triangle - you are in the strongest position, at least initially, to redirect the dynamic into healthy territory.
 

 
More here
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    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling
livednlearned
Retired Staff
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Divorced January 2012
Posts: 11935



« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2022, 03:30:56 PM »

she has the support of most of the family. They just accept it and lie to each other to cover up her abuse.

They probably feel like they're managing her more than accepting her. In a lot of these dysfunctional families, the goal is to maintain the appearance of normalcy to outsiders and this can mean performing deceit within the family unit. Somewhere on this site is a post about covertly narcissistic families. I don't know if that applies to your husband's family but it's not uncommon when there is a BPD family member involved for the family to resent the problem while protecting it in unhealthy ways.

Excerpt
If she has no interactions with me, then she has no fuel (I know she will still make things up but if the family knows she hasn’t seen us, I would hope they would see through her deceit)

She will likely use the current triangulation and run with it. You're the bad guy for having a boundary. Even though out here in healthy land, having a boundary is positive and admirable.

Excerpt
his mother is now in a deep depression that I feel responsible for.

His mother is probably in a depression because she feels unskilled at handling her daughter's behaviors -- it's like being trapped. She's bullied by her own child and may feel there are no obvious solutions. I hope you don't feel responsible for something that likely predates you and is probably humming under the surface even when things seem to be going well.

My mother was like this too. I was the garbage can for the family and if I spoke up or tried to have a boundary, my mom would become weepy and depressed. As though me not wanting to be abused was the problem, not the abuser.

Excerpt
My husband is on board with cutting her out from me and the kids but he is ok visiting his parents with his sister there. That makes me uncomfortable.

The upside is that he is not expecting you to participate in the charade. Some families take it that far -- I'm glad he isn't expecting you to apologize or pretend that things are ok.

Both my H and I have been in multiple BPD 3-ring circuses with siblings (my brother, his sister) and ex-spouses. The most challenging is the step parent dynamic with H's uBPD daughter, SD25. She is his Achilles heel.

While he knows how difficult she is, he does not want my repulsion to be overt. Understandable. So we go through the charade of getting along. I now have this phrase, "We don't have to like each other, we just have to make it work." Mind you, it has taken years to learn how to do this, and be in the right headspace for it.

I have learned many verbal boundaries both with him and with SD25 so that I can interact with her, which isn't easy because she will present in loving ways towards me and then annihilates my character when I am not around. Attention is a scarce resource for someone with BPD and she is fighting fiercely for H's attention. I am seen as a competitor for that attention, but she is socialized to hide that aggression so her modus operandi is strictly covert. Only in the past few years do I feel my skills (learned here and from books) are good enough that SD25 is genuinely baffled about. One of the most helpful books is In Sheep's Clothing about handling covert aggression. I assume SD25 is covertly aggressive and have no illusions it will ever be otherwise, and then disarm her accordingly and while I'm sure she continues to trash talk me, she not able to get me into a one-down position, and this makes it more tolerable for me to engage with her.

Excerpt
My husband can keep her comments about it me to himself but it will eat at me knowing she is filling his ear with hateful things.

Does your H know that his sister likely has BPD? My sister-in-law is BPD and my H and his brother have said to all the kids, "Aunt BPD cannot be trusted." They don't go into the details, they just stick to that one line and that's sort of the party line among all the nieces and nephews. Meaning, the core BPD dysfunction in the family is in the dark, but there is more sunshine the further from that ring you get.

It has taken me years to get here, but sometimes SD25 will tell her dad something I said that is entirely out of left field. It used to throw me for a loop and make me defensive. Now I will respond with humor, "SD25 hears me say it's raining and then says I dropped a bucket of water on her head." Honestly, I think this relieves him because we can brush it off and not get into it, and he's validated in thinking SD25 makes stuff out of nothing.

Of course, you have to be able to separate how you feel about the back-stabbing from how you want to effectively manage it, and that can take time.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2022, 03:37:49 PM by livednlearned » Logged

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