Monday, February 27, 2012

Isn't That Enough?

On August 22, 2011, I wrote a post on this forum for individuals dealing with, shall we say, "difficult" in-laws. I had joined the forum in the hopes that I might direct some traffic to my blog, but also because I thought I might find another support group, of sorts, with which to share my stories of having a narcissistic mother-in-law. In all honesty, I lost interest in the forum rather quickly, mostly due to time constraints, since I was more interested in writing posts for my own blog and responding to the rest of my Blogger friends.

At any rate, for the couple of days I was active on the forum, I created a long post in which I copied (almost entirely and with only a few minor edits) my Ketchup post straight off of my blog. I thought that post provided the most amount of information about my situation, in the most succinct way possible. After a couple of days and a few brief comments from the forum moderators (who seemed rather sympathetic, even though they didn't have much to say) I lost interest in the forum and went on my merry way.

I forgot about the forum, and my post, until yesterday. When I logged back in, out of the sake of curiosity, I found one very interesting response to what I had written. Rather than go back and respond directly to the woman who addressed my post, (like me, she didn't seem to be an active member of the forum) I thought I would share and dissect it for you here.

On October 29, 2011, just over three months after I published my post, "been there" wrote:

My dear Jonsi. Let my point out something that you, yourself have pointed out to the readers of this blog innumerable times; you've married into a disfunctional family.

OK, now that THAT is established, what do you do about it? I don't know. I do know one thing you don't do. Don't expect that just because you have married into the family that THEY are going to change. Judging by the amount of research you have put into your post, you surely know that the narcisistic personality does not respond well to counseling and is the least likely personality disorder to ever change for the positive.

Yes, it would be nice if all was warm and fuzzy, but according to you, it is not. I am quite curious as to how the other side of the story would go, but we don't have that, so I will base my response on what you have said.

Many of the things listed in your deposition may have been offensive, yes, but some of these slights are not anything to hold on to and let fester. This will only harm you, not the one your anger is directed at. I get the impression you feel your MIL is trying to usurp your power. Is this a power struggle? It is if you make it so.

For example, you asked your MIL not to post pictures of your DD on Facebook, in order to respect your privacy. Good Lord. Really? You have every right to do so, but why would you? Are you hiding something? If you had a brand new grandchild, would you not be bursting with pride and want to share those pictures with your friends? Or is this one way for you to draw a line in the sand and see if MIL crosses that line, then you can say, "my MIL doesn't respect my wishes"? MIL wearing white to your wedding, bad judgement, poor taste, yes, so what? Did you wear white to your own wedding even though you were pregnant? Either way, so what? You get my point.

I would also like to point out, right now you hold all the cards. Your husband is willing to separate completely from his FOO for you!!! Isn't that enough? Yes, you can continue to drive a wedge between your husband and his FOO, whom he was probably quite content with, until someone else came along and decided to keep track of every slight and insult, as evidenced by the degree of your note taking over the past 2 years OR you can let go of your expectations that his family will ever treat you the way you feel you deserve to be treated. Hopefully, this family is only one small aspect of your life and you have other areas where you get your support and nurturing.

Hold your head up high and rise above all this petty rivalry. What is important here, is that you know your DH loves you, if his family doesn't, so be it. Drop those expectations right now and you won't be disappointed the next time DH FOO, behaves in their usual manner. When they succeed at hurting you, they win. Don't let your bruised ego dictate your behavior.

Right now you are probably thinking, "What? Didn't this person read a word I wrote?" Well, I did read every word and some twice. I too have had a MIL from hell. Yes, it was a real bummer, but at the same time there is no way I am going to accept the responsibility of tearing apart a family that LOVES. Yes, it may be a very disfunctional way of showing it, but that is all they know. Penalizing these people for not conforming to your own idea of what a family is, will change nothing.

Are you using your list of slights as evidence to justify tearing this family apart? I'm sorry you have to endure the behavior of a sick individual, but life is tough. Did you think it would always be bliss?

By being hell bent on cutting your DH from the herd, so that you are his only focal point, you are putting yourself in the same category as your MIL, "control freak". Trust me, your MIL could be alot worse. You don't have to love or respect your DH FOO, but respect your DH enough not to demand he choose between you and them, you will win in the short term, but the real looser would be your DH.

Remember, you too, are a mother. Karma is a boomerang. I pray that you will never be in a position, when your son marries, that your own DIL will deem you unfit to have contact with your own DS and subsequent grandchildren. This would rip your heart out. I am sure your own MIL is no different. Please, I implore you, as one who has been there, choose the path of love. Be the change.

Good luck to you and your family. I hope it can remain a family.


So, dear readers, away we go:

I first want to say I was well aware that, in posting anything on this forum, my assertions and opinions could be met with hostility and would probably see some disagreement. Putting my story out on the internet, even anonymously, has proven to elicit some very strong reactions in people who are dealing with severe dysfunction - either their own, or that of others. With such an understanding in place, I was not surprised by the manner in which "been there" attacked me.

My dear Jonsi. Let my point out something that you, yourself have pointed out to the readers of this blog innumerable times; you've married into a disfunctional family.

This woman's patronizing tone starts off from the first three words in her opening statement, although it could initially be mistaken for empathy. When I first began reading, my flags were raised at the opening line, "My dear Jonsi" because I wasn't sure whether the sympathy she presented was sincere or not. By the time I got past the first few paragraphs, it became clear that her sincerity was merely thinly veiled disdain. But the first paragraph alone couldn't have convinced me of that on it's own, at least not for me. By pointing out that I've married into a dysfunctional family, she managed to make it seem that maybe, just maybe, she had some reasonable grasp of just how extensively dysfunctional my husband's FOO is.

OK, now that THAT is established, what do you do about it? I don't know. I do know one thing you don't do. Don't expect that just because you have married into the family that THEY are going to change. Judging by the amount of research you have put into your post, you surely know that the narcisistic personality does not respond well to counseling and is the least likely personality disorder to ever change for the positive.

I read this paragraph twice before moving on. What bothered me about it? First, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and I thought, "Maybe she thinks I was looking for advice? I didn't ask for advice specifically, but I could understand why someone might think I was seeking it, given the medium in which I had chosen to share my story." But then I realized that there was something else she was oh-so-subtly insinuating with her unsolicited advice that was getting under my skin: that my expectations of the narcissistic family I had married into were somehow the root cause of why my relationship with them had gone so terribly wrong. She was insinuating that I was in the wrong for having expectations about how I should be treated by my husband's family, while simultaneously calling me a fool. The language in this second paragraph is actually rather condescending. After reading through it a second time, my opinion was solidified: "been there" wasn't writing to me out of sympathy, she was writing to me out of anger: it was her own disillusions she was pawning off on me. I did not, anywhere in my post, indicate that I expected my in-laws to change, nor that I thought my MIL would respond well to therapy. "Been there" offers no real solutions to the question she seemed to think I was asking; instead, she begins an attack against me for, in her opinion, expecting too much.

Yes, it would be nice if all was warm and fuzzy, but according to you, it is not. I am quite curious as to how the other side of the story would go, but we don't have that, so I will base my response on what you have said.

It was almost as though she were saying that she'd settle for my account of what happened, but only because that of my husband's FOO hasn't been made publicly available. I got the feeling that, if she had my account and their account laid out in front of her side-by-side, theirs would trump mine in an instant simply because it came from them. What I see here is a very subtle dismissal of my entire story as laid out in my post. She implies that I suggested that things should have been all "warm and fuzzy" with my in-laws. I never suggested that. She says, "Yes..." as though she's answering some inquiry I laid out. The way in which she says, "according to you" reads as a dismissal in and of itself. I didn't enjoy her implication that, if only we had the "other side of the story" then she could go about more easily proving how wrong I am. Overall, the fuzzy picture comes in much clearer by the end of this paragraph, and we're not even into the heaviest part of it yet. And something else of note: There is yet another subtle insulting insinuation: that I am not at all interested in "hearing the other side of things." The funniest thing to me about that notion is that I am actually quite curious about what, precisely, my in-laws think. I so wish I could be a fly on the wall, hearing what it is they REALLY say about me when I'm not around. The problem is that DH's FOO is not capable of honest and genuine communication, so not only have they NEVER discussed their needs/concerns/thoughts about the conflicts that have arisen (indeed, they have only ever ignored the concepts) but even if they had, they would not have been speaking honestly.

Many of the things listed in your deposition may have been offensive, yes, but some of these slights are not anything to hold on to and let fester. This will only harm you, not the one your anger is directed at. I get the impression you feel your MIL is trying to usurp your power. Is this a power struggle? It is if you make it so.

Again, she plays the psuedo-sympathy card, albeit not well to the trained eye. "Don't let it fester" she advises. "It will only harm you" she says. But if you can look just a little bit deeper, Dear Reader, you might see something rotting here, just under the surface. She says that many of the things I listed were merely "slights." That's not an accurate observation of the events I was writing about, it's a criticism of me. In a more classical error, she points out her opinion that not only must I have anger-issues, but that my anger is aimed at my MIL for the sole-purpose of harming her and keep all the "power" for myself. I know ACoNs, in particular, are familiar with that old "anger is toxic" argument coming from abusive family members and nosy outsiders, so I wouldn't be surprised if they pick up on that right off the bat. In addition, I find her sly assertion that NMIL is nothing more than an innocent victim and her accusation that I have single-handedly engaged NMIL in a power-struggle to be a strong indication that she herself is suffering from a delusional mind-set. By the end of this paragraph, I am left with the thought, "Maybe 'been there' is someone else's NMIL."

For example, you asked your MIL not to post pictures of your DD on Facebook, in order to respect your privacy. Good Lord. Really? You have every right to do so, but why would you? Are you hiding something? If you had a brand new grandchild, would you not be bursting with pride and want to share those pictures with your friends? Or is this one way for you to draw a line in the sand and see if MIL crosses that line, then you can say, "my MIL doesn't respect my wishes"? MIL wearing white to your wedding, bad judgement, poor taste, yes, so what? Did you wear white to your own wedding even though you were pregnant? Either way, so what? You get my point.

I don't find it at all coincidental that, in the extensive list I offered up as evidence of how I had been mistreated by NMIL, this woman would zero in on two of the most indicative examples of abuse and disrespect as being unquestionable testimonial about MY short-comings. This paragraph reads as an accusation on my character, a dispute of my rights, and a criticism of my moral values. She calls me worthless, she attacks my character, and then, in one fail swoop, tells me to get over it. This woman, who immediately refutes my right to privacy, strikes me as an abusive, narcissistic, and dishonest person - one who, more-than-likely, has destroyed relationships in her own life by maintaining the same philosophies she so-foolishly shares with me here. She picked the wrong woman to belittle, that's for sure: I smelled her shit coming a mile away.

Her exclamations against the fact that I had the nerve to ask anyone, let alone my MIL, to respect my privacy, is a huge indication that this woman is narcissistic herself. Then, she blatantly accuses me of hiding something, simply because I desired privacy.

Does anyone else see the narcissism at work here? Her's is a mentality that says: There is no such thing as privacy; only secrecy. She's barking up the wrong tree when she directs the following question at me: "If you had a brand new grandchild, would you not be bursting with pride and want to share those pictures with your friends?" What were NMIL's exact words when we asked her to remove those photos from her Facebook page? "I was only being a proud grandma!" I will say again what I said to DH that day, and many times after: You can be proud and not spew your entire stash of photos to the rest of the world. Truly being proud is a feeling you get deep within yourself that does not require outside validation or a need to be heard. I don't need anyone else to know I'm proud of my babies. I don't need to prove it to anyone either. Pride doesn't require proof. Love doesn't require a stage.

Would I share pictures of my grandchildren with my friends? Not without permission. Not on a public forum, where potentially hundreds of other people could see them too. Not if they were pictures of their private moments, which they might feel uncomfortable sharing at a later date. Never in secrecy. Never to people who would exploit them. Never so that I could exploit them myself. And certainly not so that I could put on an act, for the rest of the world, in order to make it easier to abuse them behind closed doors. No, those are not the circumstances under which I would share photos of my children or grandchildren with friends.

Or is this one way for you to draw a line in the sand and see if MIL crosses that line, then you can say, "my MIL doesn't respect my wishes"? This is projection, pure and simple. Here, 'been there' merely projects her own (and, oddly enough, my narcissistic mother-in-law's) manipulative plays for power onto me. *I* don't play the "say one thing and do another" game. *I* don't give lip-service and little to no follow-through. *I* don't make attempts at setting people up for failure. What I do is straight-forward, honest, and fair: I present my needs and communicate my intentions. I do not "draw lines in the sand" until or unless I am provoked or have reason to believe that my needs will not be met by the person I am communicating them to. Even then, the drawing of that line is not an indication that I am going to fight a duel, it's a confirmation that the person on the other side is not safe enough to be a member of my inner-circle.

Besides all of that, this was never about "MIL not respecting my wishes." It was about MIL exploiting those I love, disrespecting our privacy, and disregarding even our most basic needs. I have a feeling none of this is new to "been there."

MIL wearing white to your wedding, bad judgement, poor taste, yes, so what? Did you wear white to your own wedding even though you were pregnant? Either way, so what? You get my point. Again, it's so funny to me that she would pick this example out of my list, because to me (and other emotionally healthy individuals) it's a pretty clear example of just how far NMIL was willing to go to cross any and all boundaries, which is a major and legitimate concern in any relationship. In a Dr. Phil episode I watched not too long ago, (courtesy of Disturbed Angel over at Diary of a Scapegoat) a clearly-narcissistic mother was put in the spotlight by her two adult daughters, one of whom still felt deeply hurt because her mother had worn white to her wedding. When the NM pretended that she had "no idea" she wasn't supposed to wear white, Dr. Phil laughed and said, "Oh come on. Even I know a woman is never supposed to wear white to another woman's wedding." Leave it to a narcissist to down-play the fact that NMIL wore white to my wedding.

Then, she takes her defense of NMIL (and indeed, of herself, since she so obviously perceived narcissistic injury after reading my deposition) one step further by excusing NMIL's behaviors and insinuating that I deserved the abuse. She said, "so what?" and I read "get over it." NMIL wearing white to my wedding was not simply a moment of bad judgement, and to say so means that the person making such an assertion believes it possible that NMIL wore white accidentally. I have no doubts that NMIL wore white on purpose, that she knew exactly what she was doing, and that her every intention was to show up the bride, have a laugh with her friends, and continue to prove to her son that she could trample all over him and those he loves. She wanted everyone to know, including her son, that she could abuse whomever she wanted, and that she honestly believed her victims would keep crawling back for more. Wearing white to our wedding was much, much more than just "tacky." It was downright disgusting. And I'll tell you something, Dear Reader: I have seen NMIL in pictures at other people's weddings. I saw her in person at Pig's wedding. And out of the all the weddings I have seen her attend, the only one she wore white to was mine. It says a lot to me that she "knew enough" not to wear white to her son's friend's weddings, or her friend's daughter's weddings, or her own friend's weddings, but that she "didn't know" enough not to wear white to her own son's wedding.

And what it says is this: She knew exactly what she was doing when she showed up to our wedding wearing white.

"been there" probably wore white to her own DIL's wedding.

That is, if she was even invited.

Did you wear white to your own wedding even though you were pregnant? I'll chalk this up to a miss-read on "been there's" part. I did not indicate in my post that I was pregnant at the time of our wedding. For a brief second, I entertained the thought that "been there" was actually NMIL, since in reality I WAS in the very early stages of my second pregnancy when we got married and NMIL could have done the math at some point to have figured that out. But then I realized that "been there" was simply making a leap in logic (which, by sheer coincidence happened to be right) as a reason to justify excusing NMIL's behaviors.

The thing is, even if someone thinks it "wrong" for a pregnant woman to wear white to her own wedding, that doesn't give her the right to blatantly disrespect that same woman. Even if NMIL had known that I was pregnant, and supposing that she thought it wrong for me to wear white to my own wedding under that circumstance, and also supposing that she knew what color dress I was wearing to begin with, that still would not have made it okay for her to wear white to my wedding. Nice try "been there."

I would also like to point out, right now you hold all the cards. Your husband is willing to separate completely from his FOO for you!!! Isn't that enough? Yes, you can continue to drive a wedge between your husband and his FOO, whom he was probably quite content with, until someone else came along and decided to keep track of every slight and insult, as evidenced by the degree of your note taking over the past 2 years OR you can let go of your expectations that his family will ever treat you the way you feel you deserve to be treated. Hopefully, this family is only one small aspect of your life and you have other areas where you get your support and nurturing.

Pointing out that "I have all the cards" says more about this observer's own struggles with power than it does about my circumstances. Sharing her opinion that my husband is separating himself from his FOO for me offers serious insight into the driving motivation behind "been there's" relentless attack on me. Furthermore, I see here the same subtle accusation that I saw earlier: that the situation we are in (being cut-off from DH's FOO) is a bad one, and that it is entirely my fault. Seeming to not being able to suffer any more of her own narcissistic injury, she lets the more direct accusations fly: "You are driving a wedge between your husband and his family" and "He was probably content with his family, until YOU showed up" and "All your note-taking and record-keeping of every little slight has caused him to cut himself off from them." This woman is seriously off her rocker. Like, way off. She pegs her inaccurate perception of what I have done to my husband and his poor FOO against what she sees as my only option:

Either continue "driving the wedge" between my husband and his family

OR

Forget about ever being treated the way I feel I deserve to be treated by them

Woman, what in the hell are you smoking? That's a serious case of narcissism you've got going on there. You might want to see a doctor and get that shit checked out. Not only does this interpretation of my post not take into account that I am a human being with natural rights and needs that have to be respected, but it also paints my husband as being one heck of a wimpy dude. Again, not the first time I have seen that argument played out: DH has gotten this from his FOO from day one. "Be a man" they demanded of him, as though he somehow lost his manhood when he met me. "Don't be a pussy" they challenge, when he decided to cut them off because he saw such an unwillingness for them change. "She's controlling you" they insinuated, when he refused to do what they wanted. Again, it's an old argument and we've seen it before.

Hopefully, this family is only one small aspect of your life and you have other areas where you get your support and nurturing. I can so clearly see her separation here: the distinction between "my family" which is comprised of myself, DH, and our children, and the other (in her eyes) more important family which is comprised of DH, his mother, father, and siblings. And this is what she's really saying: Jonsi, separate yourself from that other family. They must only be a small part of your life, so ignore whatever nastiness they throw in your direction, accept that your husband should be okay with them treating you that way, and get the "support and nurturing" you need somewhere else.

Why would one hope that my in-laws only be a small aspect of my life? Doesn't it stand without reason that if someone is a big part of my husband's life, they will also be a big part of mine? Why should I not expect to be supported and nurtured by the people who claim to have supported and nurtured my husband his whole life? And why in hell should I ever let go of those expectations - whether for myself, for my husband, for my children...or even OF myself, and OF my husband? After all, I don't hold anyone to higher standards than I would hold myself.

And for the record, referring to me as "someone else" is a gnarly indication of "been there's" disregard for my humanity.

Hold your head up high and rise above all this petty rivalry. What is important here, is that you know your DH loves you, if his family doesn't, so be it. Drop those expectations right now and you won't be disappointed the next time DH FOO, behaves in their usual manner. When they succeed at hurting you, they win. Don't let your bruised ego dictate your behavior.

And, we're back to the "see how much I care about you" tactic. Except that the person she is calling "petty" is me. And the only feelings she has labeled "important" are her own. And she shows no empathy for Jonsi, who she herself acknowledges has not been shown love by her husband's FOO. And she thinks I should drop my standards so that I won't be disappointed by people shitting all over me. And she thinks those people have a right to shit all over me. And she indicates that MY behaviors are somehow bad.

I'm not even sure how she could possibly know what my behaviors have been, given that ninety percent of the list I offered were direct examples of NMIL's behaviors, rather than mine.

All the while this woman is pretending to have concerns for my well-being, she's actually just brushing off my needs and dismissing my feelings. She tells me that I'm the one with the bruised ego.

Ah. Well, you know, that's always fresh...coming from a narcissist.

Right now you are probably thinking, "What? Didn't this person read a word I wrote?" Well, I did read every word and some twice. I too have had a MIL from hell. Yes, it was a real bummer, but at the same time there is no way I am going to accept the responsibility of tearing apart a family that LOVES. Yes, it may be a very disfunctional way of showing it, but that is all they know. Penalizing these people for not conforming to your own idea of what a family is, will change nothing.

This person who is purporting to understand how I feel because she also had a "MIL from hell" is contradicting herself now. She says SHE won't be responsible for tearing apart a family that LOVES, meaning of course, that I am responsible for doing just that. She downplays her own supposed misfortune by saying that "having a MIL from hell" is just a "bummer" and one should just suck it up and live with it. But, the way I see it, having a "MIL from hell" is truly devastating - and not because of what that fact means for me. I am more saddened by my MIL's behaviors for what it means for my husband, than I am saddened or angry for myself. Because having a "MIL from hell" means that my husband has a MOTHER from hell. And no child or adult child should ever have to be faced with such an unfortunate and unfair circumstance.

And do you see the contradiction? Let me spell it out, in case you missed it:

you know your DH loves you, if his family doesn't [love you], so be it

accept the responsibility of tearing apart a family that LOVES

So my question is, in this black and white world, which is it? According to "been there," they either love, or they don't. First, she allows that DH's family probably doesn't love me. Then, she offers this blanket statement that they LOVE. Not that they love specifically, but that they have the capability of loving generally.

If the second assertion were accurate, then they would certainly be able to love me.

And I'll say again what I've said before: Conditional love is not love. And showing love under the "condition" of dysfunction is not showing love...it's showing dysfunction. Let's call a spade a spade here. Dysfunction and love are not even related, they are two separate themes within the dynamic of any relationship. One really doesn't have much to do with the other, except that they happen to co-exist together. But "love" is not something that can be shown in a "dysfunctional way." Love is just shown as love - it is pure and elegant and easy.

Are you using your list of slights as evidence to justify tearing this family apart? I'm sorry you have to endure the behavior of a sick individual, but life is tough. Did you think it would always be bliss?

This is not the first time I have been accused of "nitpicking" when it comes to how I have been treated by DH's FOO. (Right, right - NOTHING that I have listed could be seen as a major fuck-up on NMIL's part, I've just managed to over-react to every little slight that has occurred). It's also not the first time I have been accused of "tearing" his FOO apart. What I find interesting in these lines is the continued reference to "this family" which is creepy because it's almost as though "been there" has stopped talking about me and my story and is now talking about her own. It's also creepy because it's rather nauseating to me that so many people seem to want to separate me and my husband by splitting him down the emotional center and having one half belong to me and the other half belong to his parents. That's a concept that needs to be refuted in and of itself! My husband makes his own choices, now more than ever. It was not me that forced him to choose between his FOC and his FOO, nor was it me that demanded he strive to make everyone happy at the expense of himself.

Furthermore, I don't HAVE to endure the behavior of a sick individual, even if "been there" and others like her would have me do so. I am not obligated to "endure" anything. And that's precisely why I have chosen not to.

By being hell bent on cutting your DH from the herd, so that you are his only focal point, you are putting yourself in the same category as your MIL, "control freak". Trust me, your MIL could be alot worse. You don't have to love or respect your DH FOO, but respect your DH enough not to demand he choose between you and them, you will win in the short term, but the real looser would be your DH.

The phrase "cutting your DH from the herd," gives me the willies. Not only does it make me out to be the bad guy (see: imagery of a hungry lion separating an innocent baby deer from it's herd) but it also implies that DH suffers from some sort of wimpy pack-mentality.
Then she just comes right out and calls me a "control freak."

And THEN she trots out the old, "She could be worse" card. That falls right in with the "If she's not a genocidal dictator..." line.

And finally, she accuses me, once again, of demanding that my husband choose between "them" and "me."

On that last point: I never demanded that. And when "they" did, I'm glad he picked me.

Remember, you too, are a mother. Karma is a boomerang. I pray that you will never be in a position, when your son marries, that your own DIL will deem you unfit to have contact with your own DS and subsequent grandchildren. This would rip your heart out. I am sure your own MIL is no different. Please, I implore you, as one who has been there, choose the path of love. Be the change.

Unlike SOME people, I have never forgotten that I am a mother.

I know what karma is. I also know what condescension looks like. 

I also pray that I am never in a position where my DIL feels I am unfit to have contact with her husband or their children. Because if I make her feel that way, and she feels I am not safe to maintain a relationship with, then I will have failed in some very terrible way and I will be devastated for having hurt them.

My own MIL is very different. She has no heart.

I have chosen love. All along, and passionately so.

Good luck to you and your family. I hope it can remain a family.

What a way to end it, with all that contempt dripping off the end there. 

I don't have to hope that my family will remain a family. DH and I will nurture the bonds we have created. We will work at solving our problems and fixing our dysfunctions. We will be honest with each other and with the world around us. We will struggle together, live together, and love together for the rest of our days. We will keep our promises and we will do all we can to ensure that our children grow up with the best possible chance at succeeding in life. Our family will continue to change and grow. Our love and respect for each other will not flounder, it will not fester, and it will not stagnate.

And that's all I have to say about that.

26 comments:

  1. The problem with trying to convey our experience to others in text, is that the literal meaning of the words we choose will never adequately illuminate the creepy and soulless affect of the personality disordered. It's all in their presentation.
    I could give you transcripts of conversations with my mother that would seem innocuous.
    But leave me pissed to the nth degree or desiring an eight hour shower with scalding hot water and steel wool.

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    1. Q - I see what you mean: it's so, SO difficult to accurately convey what's "wrong" with NMIL to others. I mean, my parents get it, my FOO gets it, but most other people just don't. They don't want to, or they can't wrap their minds around it, and then they just think it's me being "nitpicky."

      But the other thing is: I'm betting that if I saw the transcripts you are referring to, I could see through it - the creepiness and soulless affect of you psychopath NM wouldn't be lost on me. I just don't think too many other people have that ability (or desire, I guess you could say.) I'm really committed to telling the truth AND seeing the truth...I work really hard at the latter.

      And of course, the problem with talking ABOUT the character disordered TO the character disordered, is that it feels like you're dealing with the exact same person. There wouldn't have been a point to me writing this response TO the woman who commented, because the result would have been the same as if I had said it to NMIL.

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    2. SO TRUE. Other people don't get it at all. They think that maybe my husband was "mistaken" and that his NM in fact never meant to belittle him, that she does truly love him "in her own way." Then somewhere in the conversation they work in that "really, she did the best she could while being a single mom."

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  2. This person seems very threatened by the idea of withdrawing from toxic dynamics for the health and well-being of one's immediate family. She's saying: I'd rather be disrespected than blamed for tearing the family apart. That's her bottom line, fair enough, but it need not be everyone's.

    Fear of being blamed for "tearing apart a family" is not a good reason to refrain from addressing issues. Putting up with disrespect is not some heroic high-ground.

    Here's my bottom-line: I'd rather be blamed for tearing the family apart than be disrespected. Just as valid. And I'm not going to try to shove it down anyone's throat, either!

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    1. "This person seems very threatened by the idea of withdrawing from toxic dynamics for the health and well-being of one's immediate family." I think you were just talking about that concept on your blog the other day, right? I think what you wrote was something along the lines of how there is nothing wrong with walking away from an abusive situation.

      Funny...I think our "bottom line" is exactly the same: I'd rather be blamed for tearing the family apart than be disrespected, too. That's exactly what has happened. And you know what? I can live with that.

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  3. Wow. Your recognition (and subsequent dissection) of this response from "been there" was truly a joy to read. I think you were completely on the money in that you somehow got someone else's NM or NMIL by the tail rather than a normal, well-intentioned person.

    It was downright creepy to see so much criticism, judgment, hostility and dismissal wrapped up inside what "been there" onviously thought would come across as a kindly and thoughtful response. Uggh, parts really made me shudder.

    When she referred to your post as "your deposition" it really hit a nerve with me. It seemed like such a cruel jab at your careful explanation of all the events that led up to the NC decision by your DH. Depositions are obviously given under oath...was she making fun of you sharing the truth of what happened? Was she trying to say that you were presenting the truth in a manner that would allow you to win the "litigation"?

    But most bizarre of all, she sounded like she was appointing herself as judge and jury of your truths. Weighing your deposition to determine where you went wrong, what your ulteriour motives were, and if you deserved to be ruled upon favorably or to be condemned.

    It is just amazing that N people have a seemingly boundless ability and need to be seen as benevolent and wonderful, when in reality they are malignant influence on everyone around them.

    Thank you for sharing this response from "been there" and for unveiling her bad intentions for what they really are. Each time I see something that could have been written or said by my NM get thrown open to the light and broken down and displayed for what is truly being said, I cheer. I'm very new the realization that I am dealing with a NM and am storing away these wisdoms and insights like little gems!

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    1. Kam - Your point about her use of the word "deposition" is SO right on. I couldn't put my finger on what bothered me about it but I felt like there was a negative connotation going on. Your analysis of that one word is fantastic (Thanks!)

      I think your keen insight will be a big help in your own journey towards discovering the truths about your NM. It's not an easy journey, but I SO feel that it's worth it. You've got some great gems of your own and I'm so appreciative that you've shared with me!

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  4. In her mind she is being fair. She said there are two sides to every story. Too bad she is only getting yours.
    That she sided with your MIL based on nothing, shows she had some hidden agenda.
    So you are correct in thinking she was headed for the same brick wall tactics you get from your MIL.

    There ARE little tells sprinkled in the conversations with an N that anybody can hear if they listen. I think that's part of why they drone on and on. When they are not raging.
    By the time you realize there was something said that is out of whack, minutes have gone by. Since there was no objection at the time a bizarre statement was made, your appeals to logic are denied.
    Their are clues everywhere.
    Something like.....I never borrowed his car, and it already had that dent when I got it.

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    1. Q - As always, you make excellent points. "By the time you realize there was something said that is out of whack, minutes have gone by." I think that's why I find it a bit easier to see the "tells" in writing than in person. In writing, you've got all the time you need to analyze and think it over. In person, those minutes are precious.

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  5. Don't you think it is telling that they too have time to analyze and think their words over in text, but still can't manage to get it right.

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    1. Yes!!!

      Wow, Q. That thought gives me the chills.

      Do we have a Nurse Ratched, anyone?

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  6. Can I say one more thing? I can't type for shit. Putting words to paper is zero sum for me. If I get my two fingers on a roll, I sacrifice mental capacity for typing agility. That diminished capacity shows up in me using their and there interchangeably. I know better.

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  7. Q - You can say as much as you like.

    I know the feeling - I hate it when I make grammatical errors like that.

    But anyway, your fantastic insights are no less appreciated, with or without grammatical errors.

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  8. This woman is dark underneath. Sounds like a narc defending other narcs.

    "My dear Jonsi. Let my point out something that you, yourself have pointed out to the readers of this blog innumerable times; you've married into a disfunctional family."

    Okay, it starts pretty badly. Maybe it'll get better. Usually things on the internet that start badly just end up really bad.

    "OK, now that THAT is established, what do you do about it? I don't know. I do know one thing you don't do. Don't expect that just because you have married into the family that THEY are going to change. Judging by the amount of research you have put into your post, you surely know that the narcisistic personality does not respond well to counseling and is the least likely personality disorder to ever change for the positive."
    What do you do about it? You didn't ask for any advice. She keeps saying "married into it", like now you've married into a herd and have to step down, stay down with the rest of the pack.

    "Yes, it would be nice if all was warm and fuzzy, but according to you, it is not. I am quite curious as to how the other side of the story would go, but we don't have that, so I will base my response on what you have said."

    She's "quite curious" because she's pretty sure they're right and you're obviously wrong, as is implied throughout the entire message. Their side being the more important one but, sigh, I guess we can pretend that your side is important for a second, hah! How fanciful!

    "Many of the things listed in your deposition may have been offensive, yes, but some of these slights are not anything to hold on to and let fester. This will only harm you, not the one your anger is directed at. I get the impression you feel your MIL is trying to usurp your power. Is this a power struggle? It is if you make it so."

    Yeah, I picked up on the "anger" rip, only this is one of the stupidest uses of it that I've seen. How can your anger hurt you if it's directed at someone else, namely, the bitch who hurt you? Yes, she's trying to "usurp" my power and knock me down a notch, and it's a power struggle because she made it so because that's the kind of bitch she is.

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  9. "For example, you asked your MIL not to post pictures of your DD on Facebook, in order to respect your privacy. Good Lord. Really? You have every right to do so, but why would you? Are you hiding something? If you had a brand new grandchild, would you not be bursting with pride and want to share those pictures with your friends? Or is this one way for you to draw a line in the sand and see if MIL crosses that line, then you can say, "my MIL doesn't respect my wishes"? MIL wearing white to your wedding, bad judgement, poor taste, yes, so what? Did you wear white to your own wedding even though you were pregnant? Either way, so what? You get my point."

    Now this makes no sense. "You have every right to do so" "but my God, really?" How do those two sentences go together? Black but white. She doesn't "doesn't respect your wishes." She actually doesn't respect your wishes. Yes, if she punches me in the face I will say, You have punched me in the face. That is over the line. Bye. Now these wedding dress statements, the analogy she's drawing between MIL wearing white and pregnant you wearing white... Assuming you were pregnant or maybe she was just assuming some girl was pregnant, then her committing the "disrespect to herself" of wearing white is somehow the same as the "disrespect" of a MIL wearing white to the bride's wedding. This one really disturbed me because she's saying that someone pregnant wanting to wear white and wearing white to their own wedding is some kind of atrocious sin and they are a valueless piece of shit girl for doing that. Dumb pregnant girl, thinking you have the right to wear white, NOT.
    So basically, pregnant you wearing white while you're pregnant has no right to complain about MIL wearing white, because you're both committing fashion "faux paus."


    "I would also like to point out, right now you hold all the cards. Your husband is willing to separate completely from his FOO for you!!! Isn't that enough? Yes, you can continue to drive a wedge between your husband and his FOO, whom he was probably quite content with, until someone else came along and decided to keep track of every slight and insult, as evidenced by the degree of your note taking over the past 2 years OR you can let go of your expectations that his family will ever treat you the way you feel you deserve to be treated. Hopefully, this family is only one small aspect of your life and you have other areas where you get your support and nurturing."
    Isn't that enough? Your husband giving up everything he loves and so important to him? Meaning the psychotic family that never does him any good. So guilty, Jonsi. Yes, his family is psychotic and I want to defend him from them and tell 'em to fuck off. His family isn't a small aspect because it's important to you to talk about how crazy they are. So I "hopefully" nothing.

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  10. "Hold your head up high and rise above all this petty rivalry. What is important here, is that you know your DH loves you, if his family doesn't, so be it. Drop those expectations right now and you won't be disappointed the next time DH FOO, behaves in their usual manner. When they succeed at hurting you, they win. Don't let your bruised ego dictate your behavior."
    They're not abusing you because you've set up too high expectations for them. They're punching you for no reason. When they "succeed at hurting you", they just suck. This isn't a petty rivalry where the two sides are both making a big deal out of something small. Who's petty? Not Jonsi.

    "Right now you are probably thinking, "What? Didn't this person read a word I wrote?" Well, I did read every word and some twice. I too have had a MIL from hell. Yes, it was a real bummer, but at the same time there is no way I am going to accept the responsibility of tearing apart a family that LOVES. Yes, it may be a very disfunctional way of showing it, but that is all they know. Penalizing these people for not conforming to your own idea of what a family is, will change nothing."
    When someone starts by predicting what you're thinking...it's time for some condescending and pointing to their degree in "I'm better than you."
    Oh, okay, you did read the words, some of them even twice! But right now, I'm thinking you it doesn't matter how many times you read the words, you'd still be a dickhead. "Bummer" is a narcissist's favorite word when trying to relate to human sadness. Yeah, I had a MIL from HELL. It was a bummer. I don't know, not getting my favorite popsicle from the ice cream truck because they ran out is a bummer. How is marrying and loving one person going to tear a whole family apart? Penalizing these people by not having anything to do with them and talking about how much they suck will change lots of things.

    "Are you using your list of slights as evidence to justify tearing this family apart? I'm sorry you have to endure the behavior of a sick individual, but life is tough. Did you think it would always be bliss?"
    No, she's using this list of slights to show what a bitchass family the in-laws are. She did not think it would always be bliss. And thinking it would always be bliss isn't a reason to be punished.

    "By being hell bent on cutting your DH from the herd, so that you are his only focal point, you are putting yourself in the same category as your MIL, "control freak". Trust me, your MIL could be alot worse. You don't have to love or respect your DH FOO, but respect your DH enough not to demand he choose between you and them, you will win in the short term, but the real looser would be your DH."
    What's wrong with wanting to help him get away from a herd of psychopaths. Jonsi probably is a better source of interest than them anyway. NMIL could be worse but she's already a grade A basement of Hell psychopath anyway. Why is the only way for DH to win to choose the batshit family?

    "Remember, you too, are a mother. Karma is a boomerang. I pray that you will never be in a position, when your son marries, that your own DIL will deem you unfit to have contact with your own DS and subsequent grandchildren. This would rip your heart out. I am sure your own MIL is no different. Please, I implore you, as one who has been there, choose the path of love. Be the change."
    HERE COMES THE THREATS! Boomgerang, scary. The only boomerang in this situation is you.

    "Good luck to you and your family. I hope it can remain a family."
    Good luck to you and your family. I hope everything stays the same and nothing changes and the both of you stay in Hell forever. You guys might get out, God forbid.

    Basically, she wants you to shut up because you're being honest.

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    1. Oh Lisa, you rock my world. Tell it, girl!

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  11. Sorry I change pronouns so much, Jonsi, if that's a little weird. I say you, I, or Jonsi. I wanted to break it down and sometimes I wanted to write like it was directed at me but I don't want to take away your situation.

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  12. Lisa. I hate it when you hold yourself back on your comments. I think you should tell us how you really feel.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA@!A!A!A!

    Good catch on the wearing white to the wedding issue. That's one of those things that will fly right over a guys head.
    I think the woman is...what do they call it? Transference? Displacement. She can't get at her daughter in law so you are her proxy.

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  13. This is so great! I'm grinning from ear to ear, everybody's responses just nail everything, Jonsi, thanks sooo much for putting this under a brilliantly lighted microscope!

    Yeah that woman has no reading comprehension skills, she did read every word and some twice, and she still couldn't understand anything! --quartz

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  14. This is a fantastic post. I loved how you laid it all out. This was my absolute favorite part: "You can be proud and not spew your entire stash of photos to the rest of the world. Truly being proud is a feeling you get deep within yourself that does not require outside validation or a need to be heard. I don't need anyone else to know I'm proud of my babies. I don't need to prove it to anyone either. Pride doesn't require proof. Love doesn't require a stage." Awesome, I love it! Too bad they will never get it.

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  15. I read the post from L above. The thought of Kathy Lee from the Regis and Kathy Lee show popped into my head. I don't think I ever watched that show. At least while she was on. But I can tell you the name of her kid. Cody.
    She lugged that kid around like a sack of potato's. Cody this. Cody that. Cody smile for the camera. Just hearing the name makes me want to heave.
    Talk about a doomed adult. He won't be able to get drugs into his system fast enough to kill the sound of that yapping mother.

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  16. The whole "response" reeked of every diagnostic criteria of NPD. Clearly your presence and statements were wildly triggering to this Narc who just couldn't "wait to pontificate"/dice/slice/split/undermine/condescend and "share" HER "experiences."
    Laying out the facts as clearly as you did speaks to the most SIGNIFICANT indicator/dimension of Personality Disorders/Cluster B-style in that your post demonstrated "....an ENDURING pattern...that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture." (DSM-IV: General diagnostic criteria for a Personality Disorder.) EVERY single Cluster B PD speaks to a "Pervasive pattern of" behavior etc.
    Since PDs are so ubiquitous it's not surprising to bump into them here, there, everywhere. Only a Narc-with-an-agenda would respond to your post in such length with carefully crafted "cherry-picking" etc. wrapped up in the odious/transparent attitude of a "Messenger from On High." Since we've spent lifetimes with these "types" of narc parents we are particularly well-versed in the tactics/deceptions-ie, LIES they utilize to keep us in our places: Worshiping at the alter of SELF-first, last, always.
    "My dear Jonsi," YOU ROCK Woman!!!! heh, heh...I can just visualize the true rage on the other end which permeates the entire response and is so thinly veiled-I bet she just pounded the piss out of her keyboard!
    TW

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  17. The woman is just plain creepy. Sure sounds like your NMIL!

    I for one, am sick and tired of people that don't "get" the cumulative effect a thousand little slights have on victims of narcissists. Taken one by one maybe they do appear petty to an outsider but I challenge anyone to live with this shit day in and day out, then emerge unscathed. I'm sure my NPs calculate their little digs so I'll look like the nutbar!

    What century does this bitch live in that she doesn't know the bride is entitled to wear exactly what she wants at her own wedding, pregnant or not?

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  18. I really like the part about you holding you head high and rising above this petty rivalry.
    Typical narcissist advice.
    That's like telling you that if you step in shit and come back from the ladies room of a five star restaurant, trailing 15 feet of toilet paper behind on your shoe, just act like it's not even there.
    That's what I do.

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    1. Hahahahahahaha! Ah, Q. That was hysterical. I just read your comment aloud to DH, and we're both laughing over here.

      Thanks!

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