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Author Topic: Thanksgiving  (Read 173 times)
zachira
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« on: November 24, 2022, 03:31:43 PM »

Just needed to get this off my chest. One of the relatives called me and pretended to be friendly a few weeks ago. I wondered why. I now know she wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be around so she could invite my NPD sister to Thanksgiving at her house. The betrayals keep happening, and right now there is really only one family of relatives who is genuinely nice to me. With everybody else, it all about keeping tabs on me, so they can do more damage. I am going to have to eventually go NC with all of them.
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madeline7
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2022, 08:54:55 AM »

It's often "always" hard dealing with family, and when it's a holiday, the social pressure of being with family makes it even harder for me. It drives home the reality that my FOO is not what society thinks of as family. And even though my elderly Mom would be unable to make the trip to see me, I am still expected by some family to ask her to be with me for the holidays, knowing she will be unable to but may say yes, and then I would have to scramble just to have her cancel at the last minute. Why even play that game? Yet I look at other friends who no longer have parents, or children, or other family close by. Those friends have chosen family and often they tell me how lucky I am to have family relatively close by. If only they knew. Zachira, it feels like NC, LC, or contact in any form is an ever evolving process. Someone asked a question recently on this board and my answer to using a sentence to describe was a lyric from Joni Mitchells Circle Game; "and go round and round and round in the circle game". It feels like we are stuck on this carousel of disordered family members. I think my very first post here was something along the lines of wanting to get off this ride!
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zachira
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2022, 11:33:04 AM »

Madeline7,
Yes, it feels like we are stuck on this carousel of disordered family members, and NC, LC or contact in any form is an ever evolving process. Yes, most people don't get it that we don't have what society would consider to be a normal family, and in my case a large extended family that bullies the scapegoats into submission: never recognizing any of their good deeds when they go beyond what would be normal expectations to help the family and others, or always ready to spread terrible stories about the scapegoats, (stories that are often decades old, full of lies and exaggerations).
Today I feel like I am on another round of going lower contact with some people who have just manipulated me, pretending to be my friend, yet going overboard to find out if I am in town at my NPD sister's request because she wants to be in control. The same people tried to force me to sell a property to my sister for thousands of dollars below market value and to commit fraud which could have caused me considerable legal and financial long term woes.
There are a few people who do stand out for not being on board with the extended family abusing others. I was very upset that one of my relatives was being abused by his wife, to the point that she could have killed him. I saw one of the relatives stand up for the abused husband one night when the wife was trying to force him to do something dangerous. The same relative has supported me in refusing to visit another very abusive relative. I also had another relative tell me that my sister and BIL are narcissists, and she wants nothing to do with them. Another relative bought her son a tombstone that he requested, knowing he was suicidal, and telling everybody with a smile on her face how delighted she was that her son liked his tombstone. This relative continued to be worshipped by the family despite how she abused her son. Nobody has been willing to criticize this relative maybe because of the backlash they would face if they did so, (though the relative who tried to stop the wife from abusing her husband and supports me not visiting an abusive relative, did not gaslight me when I expressed my concerns about the mother buying a tombstone for her suicidal son, and has never gaslighted me like others have when I have expressed my concerns about how family members scapegoat and abuse certain people).
I guess what this all boils down to is some people can be extremely generous and charming, yet the evil and cruelty they are capable of supporting really eliminates them as being the kind of people I want to be around. These type of people are narcissists. Narcissists are constantly moving the goal posts, reinventing themselves to suit whoever they want to manipulate in the moment.
Thank you Madeline 7, for your empathy and really getting how I was feeling on Thanksgiving. I feel so sad for how your mother has treated you, and understand why you have to be LC with her.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2022, 11:53:26 AM by zachira » Logged

Methuen
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2022, 06:34:04 PM »

One of the relatives called me and pretended to be friendly a few weeks ago. I wondered why. I now know she wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be around so she could invite my NPD sister to Thanksgiving at her house. The betrayals keep happening, and right now there is really only one family of relatives who is genuinely nice to me. With everybody else, it all about keeping tabs on me, so they can do more damage. I am going to have to eventually go NC with all of them.

Maybe I'm off, but what strikes me is your eternal hope that these relatives could actually be kind and authentic with you.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a suggestion.  Maybe you already do this, or maybe it just doesn't fit for you.  Or maybe I've completely misread the situation.  Please forgive me if I'm "off".

You say a relative called and "pretended" to be friendly.  This suggests that in the past she has been unfriendly.  If she has been unfriendly and mistreated you in the past, was there any evidence that this time would be any different? What made you hopeful enough to go along with the conversation and give her the information she was looking for, which she then turned around and used against you (you say she used the info to make sure you wouldn't be around so that she could invite your NPD sister to her house for Thanksgiving).

What if when she called, and turned the conversation to questions about yourself - what you are doing and where you are going and when - what if you redirected the conversation back to her, and stayed completely away from divulging anything about yourself?  If she asks you what are your plans for next week (which just happens to be Thanksgiving), you reply "I'm not sure yet.  What are your plans?" or something like that.  Just turn it back and also give her nothing.
That would frustrate the heck out of her if you gave her nothing.  I think that could change the game.  

Your relatives want info on you.  Then they turn around and use that info against you.  Is it fair to say this is a pattern?

You could still be authentic to yourself and be friendly to her on the phone, but avoid answering questions which give away personal information, opinions etc.  Just stick to the topic of neutral stuff, or her.  In my experience, these people are only too happy to talk about themselves.

I hope that one day the NC will bring you relief and peace.  In the meantime, LC sounds like it will have to do.  But when they call you all super friendly, let your "spidy senses" take over, and don't be lulled or fooled into believing their friendliness could be genuine and giving away info about yourself.  Because that hope for their kindness and approval, could be an achilles heel. On the other hand, people can change, so being kind to them without giving away any personal info might be a kind of safer neutral ground until you know more and can slowly build trust again (which sounds not likely in your NPD family).
 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

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zachira
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2022, 07:59:23 PM »

Methuen,
What is going on, is the two facedness of so many of my relatives and some of the other flying monkeys who are not relatives. The relatives can be extremely generous and they take sides when I stand up for myself, and it is never my side because I am a scapegoat, just like so many other family scapegoats. They support the golden children no matter how badly they behave. I am doing what nobody has done before: it is lower my contact considerably with most of the family, go no contact with my sister, and call out the abuse of myself and others. Actually the relative who called me about Thanksgiving was one of many who contacted me last summer when the family did not want to invite me to my sister's birthday party (the 20th or so family birthday party for her, while I have never had even one.) This relative was furious that I would not tell her my whereabouts last summer as were some others, and her husband told me she would not be coming to visit me which she followed through on. After Thanksgiving, I had an email from another relative who told me the family had gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving and she wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. This is the same relative who came over to my house with a box of candy and then demanded I sell the coowned property to my sister, which would have been a big financial and emotional loss, in addition to giving my sister a blank check to engage in fraud and increase her abuse of me. I am avoiding giving the family members information about me, and they are engaging non family members to contact me to find out what I am doing. In the last year, I have blown off many flying monkeys by refusing to share personal information with them. I am just so tired of it all. We are from a community where my family has been for over a hundred years, and the connections are endless. The list of flying monkeys just keeps increasing. Some of the flying monkeys are deliberately siding with my large extended family, and others are more innocently recruited. I can't quite hide under a rock. I posted because I needed to feel the sadness and anger that this never ends, and then go on enjoying my day. I know that having a dysfunctional family is a life time loss, and I don't think I will ever stop wishing things could be different; I know in my head, I can only keep working on making and keep true friends while distancing myself from most of my relatives and their flying monkeys. I have actually been practicing when contacted by the flying monkeys only asking about them and not revealing much or anything about myself. It just is so hard and trying, when there are so many flying monkeys and they are so persistent.I am hoping that most of the family members I do not want to engage with will eventually lose interest in me.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2022, 08:32:24 PM by zachira » Logged

Methuen
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2022, 11:20:13 PM »

We are from a community where my family has been for over a hundred years, and the connections are endless. I can't quite hide under a rock. I posted because I needed to feel the sadness and anger that this never ends, and then go on enjoying my day. I have actually been practicing when contacted by the flying monkeys only asking about them and not revealing much or anything about myself. It just is so hard and trying, when there are so many flying monkeys and they are so persistent.I am hoping that most of the family members I do not want to engage with will eventually lose interest in me.
Ah Zachira I think I might understand what is happening.  One of the most difficult things is when there is no end game in sight, right?.  The craziness is more manageable when it is finite.  But when there is no end game, it is mentally and emotionally exhausting. And we never know when the next curve ball, or in your case, relative is around the corner, so we can never truly relax. Your situation has no end game.  And it sounds like your community is a smaller one…my husband and I call this the fishbowl syndrome.  My family has been in my community for 60 years, so I get a little bit what you mean. Your family has history there.  Everbody knows almost everbody, which can get complicated when there is dysfunction.

I’m glad you posted here - for the catharsis- so you could then move on with your day.  That is such a healthy strategy.  I hope it worked for you … I confess I am less skilled at being able to let those things go.  I can get stuck in my own head sometimes.

You are an incredible person navigating your family on your own. You have helped and supported so many people here.  I thank you for sharing your story which we all learn from as we follow your journey. 

I hope tomorrow is a better day.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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zachira
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2022, 11:18:17 AM »

Methuen,
Thank you for understanding that there is no end game in sight for my challenges with my family just as there is with your mother, that it is mentally and emotionally exhausting to never know what the next curve ball will be. We have to set the boundaries, and then not let the latest curve ball upset us as much or for as long, while we go on with our lives spending quality time with ourselves and others. What helps me the most is to meditate so feelings don't accumulate to the point of being so overwhelming for such long periods of time, and I can more easily return to a baseline state of calm and being present. I really admire how you get your mother, and how you have been able to make your own life with your husband and children. I especially respect you for protecting your children from your mother. You have done more for your mother than I ever did for mine, though I had siblings who ended up dedicating their life to her, one of my brothers dying young with mom abusing him on his death bed for abandoning her. I like helping people here, because it makes me feel that what I have learned with my family can help others to have much happier and healthier lives and not be lifelong prisoners of dysfunctional family members.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2022, 11:32:20 AM by zachira » Logged

Methuen
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2022, 08:05:05 PM »

Zachira,
Excerpt
it is mentally and emotionally exhausting to never know what the next curve ball will be.
My current T once explained to me a long time ago, that it is actually more stressful to not know when the next rage/dysregulation/harmful behavior will come.  For example, if a child grows up in a home where a parent drinks every Saturday night, this is predictable for the child, and so the child will experience stress on Friday (pre), Saturday, and Sunday (post), but Monday through Thursday have the potential to be semi normal and predictable. 

But when there is zero predictability, the amygdala in our brain never has the chance to calm down.  It is always in a state of high alert, because we never know when the next epic crisis is around the corner.  It is a state of constant stress.

Maybe my T was saying that to calm me or make me feel better.  It worked to a degree, and it did explain my state of constant fear.  Every time I visit mom, I go hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.  I know what she is capable of.  I just don't know when she's going to unleash the monster inside her.  So I'm always afraid.  And I'm 60.  I think it is the same for you with your family.  When they contact you all nice and friendly, you know something is up.  You just don't know what.  So that amygdala stays on alert.  And of course you continue to be disappointed by your family, as they continue to scapegoat you.  The pattern will never be broken unless they ALL get deep therapy, and we all know what the chances of that are.  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Meditation is great Zachira.  I know you do a lot of movement with your body too.  I have a ton of back problems (stored trauma?) and have spent so much money on physio and massage it's crazy, so I do a TON of exercises around that, and also yoga, and cardio and outdoor physical activity when I can.  Like you, I find that movement is a NECESSARY therapy.  Last night and this morning I was definitely off baseline.  I was frustrated, impatient with myself, cussing (I don't cuss) and generally growly.  My poor H disappeared into his man-cave. Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)  I went for a 10km walk in the shineshine in a 1ºC outdoor temperature, and I'm back at baseline. Smiling (click to insert in post) He knows that I have the skills to get myself back to baseline.  I've gotten better at it in the past few years. Way to go! (click to insert in post)

Like you and so many others here, I think that spending time here supporting others (and also receiving support) is the equivalent of maybe AA?  I don't know.  I've never attended any of those meetings (thankfully no alcoholism in my family), but I imagine this forum to be the equivalent of what AA meetings might be for so many people.  I just know that spending time here either supporting others, or being supported, helps me...because the people who are here are the only people who really get what I am going through.

And who's not going to be attracted to that?

So here we all are...helping each other...it's not such a bad world after all.  Being cool (click to insert in post)



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