Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unspoken Expectations

I'm posting this for Motherless Child, who posted about a similar list she wrote to present to her NP. I am struck by the similarities between our list of expectations and Motherless Child's. I am saddened to think that there are so many people out there who find that they need to present these expectations to parents because their parents were never able or willing to respect them in the first place.

The following is the list we were going to bring to therapy to share with NMIL, had we decided to go through with the meeting. I will first show you our raw version, and then I will show you the version we were going to present NMIL with. The therapist had asked us to edit our original down to just the "essential nuggets of truth" as she said it would be at least a little bit more likely that NMIL would understand it that way. **Note - DH was going to read the list to his mother, so it is written from his point of view.

Original version:

1. It is not okay to gossip about me or my family behind our backs. It is not okay for you to speak with other people about the things that go on between you and my family – you are being deceitful when you gossip, and then talk with us or visit us and pretend everything is fine.

2. When you go to my father and talk with him about anything that has to do with me or my family you undermine the relationship we are attempting to build with him that is and should be a separate one from the one we have with you. We need for you to stop enlisting other people to try and convince me that I am doing something wrong.

3. I need to have a relationship with SIL that is separate from my relationship with you and it is not ok for you to meddle in it. With all of your past actions, you have done nothing but attempt to hurt the relationship me and my family could have with my sister. It is not okay for you to blame her, me, or anyone else for what you have done.

4. When you don’t acknowledge my wife or my family you hurt me and your chances of connecting with me and my family. This is a step in the wrong direction and a sign that you don’t have intentions of working on a relationship with me or us.

5. I need you to take responsibility for the poor way you reacted to the relationship I formed with Jonsi. Yes, it was fast but it was my choice, one that I am happy with, and you need to respect that. Further, I need you to take responsibility for your actions because that acknowledgment is the first step towards working together.

6. Please be honest with me and Jonsi. In order to have a healthy, open relationship with us - which is the only kind of relationship we are looking for - you must be truthful at all times – about the past as well as the present. We need honesty to be a way of life. And claiming that you don't remember the details of things that have happened in the past is not a valid excuse for your behaviors.

7. No more “when we don’t talk about it, it goes away” mentality. That only serves to foster a very superficial relationship and that is not what I want or need from you.

8. I am happy with my life, even though it may not be what you would have chosen for me. I choose it and I expect you to accept that this is the way things are.

9. It is not okay for you to lay any guilt trips on me. I am not responsible for your feelings, and neither is my family. I need for you to acknowledge and accept that it has been your inability to recognize and respect our boundaries that have put you in the position you are in. It is not my fault and it is not my wife's fault that you have bad feelings about the path our relationship has taken. That responsibility lies on your shoulders.

10. We need for you to discuss in a mature manner any problems, issues, or concerns that you have regarding the relationship we have with you or any plans we may make with you.

11. I need for you to admit that it is YOU who needs to put in most, if not all, of the work required for this relationship to even begin to move forward. We need for you to stop avoiding the consequences for your own bad behaviors and own the responsibility to make things right. We will not sacrifice our own mental, physical, or emotional health in order to have a relationship with you.


Edited Version:

1. It is not okay to gossip about me or my family.

2. We need for you to stop enlisting other people to try and convince me that I am doing something wrong.

3. I need to have a relationship with SIL that is separate from my relationship with you and it is not okay for you to meddle in it.

4. When you don’t acknowledge my wife or my family you hurt me and your chances of connecting with me and my family.

5. I need you to take responsibility for the poor way you reacted to the relationship I formed with Jonsi. I am happy with my life and my choices and you need to respect that.

6. Always be honest with us.

7. No more “when we don’t talk about it, it goes away” mentality. We need to talk about it.

8. We have become our own growing family. Respect our boundaries.


**Addendum - I just realized that I had already posted the original list in a previous post. My apologies for the duplicate. (I suppose it's good to have brought it to the forefront of my discussion anyhow).

5 comments:

  1. Read or not, still is a good friggin' list.

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  2. It's a reasonable list, that any human being should be able to respect.

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  3. Sounds well spoken to me. Will it be "heard?" No. But at this time it's a moot point anyway. No doubt you'll run across narcs in other areas as your life continues to unfold. Keep that list handy-it'll be a great reality check as you encounter other narcs on your journey and start to get that "old, familiar feeling" that maybe you can't exactly articulate....but something feels familiar...and well it should be.

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  4. Its a great list. Thanks for posting it.

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