Sunday, August 14, 2011

Laying Down The Law

The debate has been moderated. See what Dr. Coleman had to say, below.

Dr. Coleman Said:

So, my two cents on this is that the purpose of this forum is supportive in nature. This is an important debate, and if it were actually between the family members who had either estranged themselves or had been estranged, I would welcome it, though more likely in my office than in a public forum. I don't like deleting posts, and I do assume that the estranged adult children who are posting here have valid perspectives to be heard. I think there is a lot of pain on both sides of the aisle where estrangement occurs. And it may be true that your purpose and the purpose of other estranged adult children who are posting here is to reduce the pain of the parents on this forum by providing an alternative perspective. If that's the case, I would rather the tone be more one of support and empathy than education.

In other words, I believe Dr. Coleman has just lain down the law in terms of the rules on his forum: it seems to me that he really does intend for his forum to be a place where ONLY estranged parents can talk and be heard. It seems that by explaining how the forum is supposed to be "supportive" in nature, he's making the point that, in his opinion, my blog friends and I have not been supportive.

So my question is, supportive for whom? While my intention was not to "reduce the pain of the parents on this forum" it was also not to increase it. My intention for writing on the forum was to show support for my husband, for my friends, and the rest of my blogging community. I chose to show my support by validating their thoughts and sharing some of my own truths. If Dr. Coleman is being honest when he claims to "assume that the estranged adult children who are posting here have valid perspectives to be heard" then why is he so quick to imply that we don't?

I have been following the forum threads for months now, and I didn't feel that the individuals I was addressing were much different from other emotionally abusive parents that I know, so I felt confident in my assertions.

Having said that, it's Dr. Coleman's forum, and clearly he can set the rules however he wants to.

I just happen to think he should stop being "nice" (as Judy pointed out) and start being real. If he doesn't want anyone else but his narrow-minded, pity-party estranged parents to communicate there, then he might as well be honest and just say it. What I can say, without a doubt, is that I had no intention to show my support for people like Disappointed Mom, or Parent Child Amp by telling them what they want to hear. It is, therefore, not true that my purpose of posting there was to reduce the pain of the parents on the forum. Since that was never my purpose, my tone is not going to reflect much support or empathy for them. I disagree with the mindset of people who believe they are infallible. They can claim that they "aren't perfect" all they want, that doesn't mean that isn't exactly what they think they are.


  1. Actually, I don't think they believe they're perfect, but what comes across is that they are the ones who are allowed to decide what flaws are acceptable and what flaws are not. Sadly, the flaws they decree are unacceptable are flaws they refuse to see in themselves.

    I know that when some behavior in someone else bothers me, the first question I have to ask myself is: Why do I dislike it? It's unsettling how often I realize it's a flaw within myself that I am trying to change. The difficulty in interacting with a Narc is that they will never see the flaws within themselves. They'll see the acceptable flaws like not always eating right, not always buying the best deal, spending a little too much time in front of the TV. Or they see flaws like "I shouldn't have yelled at her, but she makes me so mad." It's been an educational experience.

  2. Judy - Interesting thought. I'm going to roll that one over in my mind for a while (about Narcs not thinking they are perfect)...I think that's a great observation.

    Denial, in my opinion, is a huge character flaw. And that is one of the big ones that all Narcs have. That is also something that EVERYONE has to deal with, on various levels, at different points in time. So, certainly, that is one reason why denial in someone else is to bothersome to me. The question becomes, how have I dealt with my own denial differently, and how will I continue to do so in the future? It's a good exercise in character-building, and I think you're right - we can work on ourselves by examining the behaviors of others that we are working on in our own lives.

    It's frustrating to see other people not working on their behaviors, when we spend so much of our time working on our own. It's certainly not fair, but I guess sometimes that's just the way it is.

    Thanks for you input.

  3. It's double-standard bullshit, pure and simple. I also think Coleman knows who butters his bread (who is willing to perpetuate the estrangement and at great lengths, including spending gobs of money to do so?).

  4. Anon - VERY true. NMIL is one such person. (It may be that she isn't being coached by him directly, but I wouldn't put it past her to spend a fortune on his books and seminars). People like that don't really seem to have a priority in ending their estrangements - they just want to make it LOOK like they are.

  5. Bottom line - you invaded a forum where you were not invited to participate. Why anyone thought it was a good idea to do so is beyond me. Then you take offense when they are less than pleased about it. Talk about delusional. However, since you seem to think that you and LSV have pearls of wisdom to impart on the poor clueless masses over there, why don't you invite them to YOUR blogs to debate the issues?

  6. I have listened more than once to the sobbing apology of a narcissistic to be stunned at the end of the victimhood declaration, it was still all about them and their suffering. I learned that a full on confrontation rarely works since being in defensive mode rarely is looking for common ground. Cindi is not looking for a way to find common ground. You openly stated that you don't want to support them in their quest for being soothed. So much pain on both sides, but what is the best way to find peace? I don't personally believe Dr. C's method is working when teaching parents to manipulate children. I believe manipulation of their children got them in the mess in the first place. I am saddened by the woman that received the lengthy letter from her daughter and she ignored it. She had the best opportunity in the world to address her daughter's distress and she focused on how hurt she was instead of learning how hurt her daughter was. She let a golden opportunity slip by because she was so focused on her own excuses for her behavior. I don't have answers. I believe every person's situation is unique to them but there are common threads that seem to connect each estranged parent and child. I think Dr. C is looking for those threads. I suspect you are too. I wish I had an answer instead of just these observations. :(

  7. Ruth - I think we're all looking for the answers. Even the estranged parents (it's just unfortunate that they aren't looking in the right place, nor do their hearts seem to be in the right place).

    Your description of your feelings about the woman who ignored the letter from her daughter reminded me of DH and his NM. It was an eerily similar situation being described. I think DH even mentioned it in his comment on the forum.

    I think helping parents to manipulate their children is absolutely the wrong thing to do, and that is what it looks like Dr. C is doing. You've made an astute observation on that one, I think. How sad.