Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Responsible For Their Own Results

A confidant and fellow blogger, Mulderfan, recently turned me on to a post on the blog Emerging From Broken, by Darlene Ouimet, entitled, "Dysfunctional Families and Holidays - When You Feel Like The Bad Guy." I asked Darlene's permission to re-post some of what she had written here, as it's just too good not to share. I felt that the similarity of her story to mine was uncanny and I'm fairly certain that my fellow members of the Evil DIL Club would probably agree. Here are some excerpts (for the whole piece, click here).

I watched a show the other day where the in-laws were totally against the daughter-in-law and the whole family (the husbands parents and grown siblings) went on the show to publically gain validation that they were ‘right’ to be against her even though her husband was totally FOR her. They were all insisting that he couldn’t really be in love with her. And if they couldn’t conceive of it, then it must not be so. They dictated ‘respect’ to her. They demanded that she have respect for them but it wasn’t mutual respect, it was that one sided kind of respect. She was supposed to respect them even while they looked down on her and they were very open about their beliefs that their son had made a mistake in marrying her. These people ganged up on the woman (and it seemed to me to be because she had different viewpoints than they did) and never considered that the grown son/brother had a choice or could think and make decisions for himself. The married couple had been together for around 10 years and had two children but his parents and siblings refused to believe that he had chosen his wife and that he was happy with his choice! They insisted that his wife changed him, and that he wasn’t ‘himself’ anymore. They begged him to “come back."

The grandparents were so disrespectful of their daughter-in-law that they justified disregarding the daughter-in-laws rules when it came to the children and they publically refused to respect her choices when it came to those children. These parents/grandparents thought they had a ‘right’ to do and say whatever they wanted!

It really reminded me of my life and the way my in-laws regarded me. And because of their actions and disregard, my in-laws lost their son and their grandkids...When my husband drew HIS boundary, his family blamed me...my husband’s dysfunctional family never considered that he might draw the line with them because he never did before and they were comfortable and confident that he never would. His parents and their parents before them believe in entitlement and parental rights which is at the root of the dysfunction in all dysfunctional family systems.  They believed that they “owned him” and a dog is always loyal to its master even if it falls in love with another dog. My father in law believed with every fibre of his being that his ‘dog’ would never dare to have a mind of his own and make a choice of his own. He believed that ‘his dog’ would always be loyal to him and comply with his wishes. He never considered that ‘his dog’ his prize possession, his well-groomed and very brainwashed son would wake up and see the truth. That is how he raised (groomed) ‘his dog’ after all...My abusive father in law never considered that HIS actions were disrespectful, abusive, manipulative and dysfunctional...

What a huge insult to my husband when his family blames me for the fact that he no longer sees them. There is a message in that too; they are communicating that my husband, their son, is stupid. That he is not capable of standing up for himself, and that he ‘lets his wife’ make all the decisions FOR HIM. They are calling him a wimp, saying that he has given his power up to a mere woman. They are communicating that he is unable to make his own decisions and unable to think for himself. I remember when my husband realized this truth; he was hugely insulted and it made him really angry. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that the truth is that this is the way he had always been treated anyway. He was regarded this way long before he ever met me...

And am I the bad guy here? I don’t think so. These people are responsible for their own results...


  1. Sadly, Jonsi, you're not alone but it is nice to find a piece that is so validating it makes you wonder if your DH's FOO have been cloned.

    My NPs did not approve of my choice of husband and the day I phoned to say we were engaged NF's response was, "Who would marry that arsehole?. That was in November of 1979, after we had dated for 7 years! When I phoned to say he had died on February 29, 2008 the first word our of NM's mouth was, "Good". I'll leave you to fill in the blanks between those two events.

    Any reasonably sane parent would be happy that their child found a life mate and created their own family with someone who loved and supported them but N's see their kids as "property" to be used/abused to further their own warped agendas.

    Fuck 'em!

    1. Seven years? Reminds me of the point in Darlene's post above when she talked about the couple on tv who had been married for ten years.

      Ten years!

      And still her in-laws were trying to convince the world that she was the wrong one, that she had changed him, and that he'd come back some day. That's just sheer craziness and delusional thinking right there. I'm fairly certain my in-laws will be thinking that way forever too.

    2. They were "sort-of" OK with him when we were dating and he never witnessed any of NF's rages. Once we were married and he became "family" they began treating him like shit and, to keep the peace, for my sake he tolerated it for years. NF escalated because he saw my DH as weak for being so kind and forgiving. For the last ten years of his life he openly hated them for the way they treated me and saw them as little as possible.

      I was almost THIRTY-FIVE when I got married! Guess they expected me to stay single and at their beck and call forever.

      I'll admit, I haven't always been thrilled with my daughter's choices because I had hoped she'd marry Prince William and eventually become the Queen of England. I keep my mouth shut because the bottom line is she is an adult who is free to make those choices and as long as she's happy, I'm happy!

    3. "...as long as she's happy, I'm happy!"

      And THAT is where the narc parents fail. Every time.

  2. It truly baffles me how THEY demand respect but don't give it and then complain when it isn't given. THEY claim to love their wonderful child while at the same time they deride the child then can't understand why the child feels like they're stupid. My sister and I were talking today about how confusing it was to be punished for things the NM did by the NM.

    1. You know, I was thinking today about how I wonder whether they think they can get away with it because no matter what YOUR emotional age, they always look at you as though you're a child, and since they see children as "lesser-than" there's absolutely nothing that stops them from abusing you, treating you like a doormat, or not taking "no" for an answer.

      I was wondering about whether EFIL and L, specifically, accept "no" as an answer from people they consider to be "adults" since, by their actions, they neither respect us as fellow adults, nor do they take no (from us) as an answer.

      It makes me wonder - is their anyone they DO respect? With EFIL and L, they CLAIM to "respect" God, but even that seems a farce to me.

  3. Thanks for this Jonsi. I actually saw a show very similar to this one. Same situation. But the siblings kept crying at the brother "come back. Be who you used to be!" They based him being "different" on dressing more professional and not liking soul food anymore. You know, because that defines a person. Anyway, he kept saying, I was a kid back then! I can't be that anymore! I've grown up, that's why I'm different!

    The show ended with hugs and other such bullshit. But you know nothing was going to change. These people would mourn the loss of someone who just grew up, and continue to blame the guy's poor wife.

  4. Somehow, this post and all these comments triggered THIS in me - when we would all get together, my parents would always tell the same stories. In this (my) case, the stories about me, from when I was 7 or 8 years old, where I had made some silly mistake or made a goof out of myself. Over and over and over. It isn't like there weren't stories wherein I had made an ass out of myself when I was OLDER, they just kept telling the stories from when I was a little child.

    I was perpetually that 8-year old. Possibly as old as twelve! by the time my dad died. But NEVER an adult to them, as evidenced by these (constantly repeated like alzheimers patients) stories. It got to the point where all they had to say was 'remember that time...?' and i would interrupt 'yes yes, I played baby jesus in a manger in a play, hilarious, right? can I have another gallon of wine please' - we would all roll our eyes. Other sisters have other similar stories.

    So Jonsi, my response to your question as to whether they accept 'no' from people they respect - they will never respect DH because he will always be (that childhood name they constantly call him), not a grown adult with a wife and family and a career and all of that.

    And who do they respect? Only anyone with more power. More standing in the community. Certainly not anyone they feel 'better than'. Seems narcs never take 'no' or the equivalent from say, a waitress, or mechanic, or store clerk. Call the manager! I want to speak to your supervisor! You can't talk to me like that!

    1. [[Sigh]] Yes, Gladys. It's as I expected.

      As I was reading this, I got to about the middle and I thought, "Yes, that's what they did to DH too. He was perpetually always the 8 year old boy, or the awkward teenager." In their minds, he was and always will be a boy, a child. And it's not like they respect children either.

      All the more reason to keep them out of our damn lives forever. Who needs that shit?

  5. The thing is, I TOTALLY learned from this. I hardly EVER tell stories about Mike from when he was little, unless they are fab stories of him dressed as Davey Crockett or whatever. I don't tell the stories of him embarassing himself. Who wants their friend or girlfriend to hear that crap? It isn't like at 21 he suddnely stopped making mistakes, lol - there are NEW stories! I jest.

    I don't want people telling only stories that make ME look stupid, even as an adult. Being a child is not a license for everyone else to point and laugh. Growing up is hard enough.

    Raising a strong independant child, and then LETTING that child grow to be an independant adult <--that is the point of parenting. NOT keeping that human being a child, attached to his mommy, putting mommy FIRST, for the rest of his life. And your NMiL is doing the same thing with her daughter.

    Letting her kids fly away is terrifying to your NMIL. The whole point of her existance would be gone if that happened.

    For ME - having Mike be grown and up and out has been a RELIEF for me. I'm not responsible for every decision he makes now! I know his girlfriend, she is wonderful, but hell - I don't even know her middle name. Even if I lived in SD, I wouldn't go 'shopping and lunch' with her, and she would think I was NUTS if I wanted to! I love him, I will love THEM if it comes to that, but I don't OWN THEM.

    Being enmeshed in someone's life is so time consuming. It isn't that we don't CARE about people, but us normal people with boundaries HAVE BOUNDARIES I guess.