Emerging Realizations

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Phoebes

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Emerging Realizations
« on: July 26, 2018, 04:38:59 PM »
I think this may be the hardest part about this process so far. Realizing GCs is not as "enlightened" about this as I thought. A little background: I've always thought I was so fortunate to have a loving and kind sister (I still think that), that as long as I have my sister in all this, I'll be ok, that I don't have a supportive family except for my GC sister (and brother in law at the time I was thinking this long before NC). I love my GCs and we have had many good times and she has been supportive. Even through my NC phase and difficulties there. She is not the malignant N kind of GC. Just the favored one who is more like Nm.

I've always moved around (for my own reasons) and I landed in a great town that I grew to love. On my own. My own home and space. In time, GCs and BIL moved there too, which I enjoyed. I enjoyed my new nephew soon, but the boundary-crossing began- oh good a built in babysitter! THEN, and you can imagine the horror, my Nm got married and they decided to move there too! Kid 2 came. So, I was repeatedly being asked to babysit and if I said no was told "why, you're not doing anything. Oh it's so rough spending time with your nephew, etc"

So, pretty soon, I moved to a nearby city to start a new life, but still be close. I felt horribly guilty as well as sad to leave. I had mixed emotions and it took a long time to overcome the guilt, and I think I still have some of that lingering. Anyway...

With having gone NC with Nm and her new family, and missing holidays, etc. it's been hard. I've been sad to not feel like I can be engaged with the kids more on holidays, but we make our own time. As time has gone on, GCs has gotten more impatient with me. I can see she may have thought I'd just get over myself and default back to normal. She told my cousin she feels stuck in the middle. (I don't talk to her at all about Nm other than initially telling her the situation, why, and that I didn't expect her to change her relationship with her at all, this was just me doing what I need to do. She said she totally understood). I guess Nm talks about me, but GCs says they don't talk about it.

BiL turned abusive, so she left him. She has been raising the kids alone, and I know it's hard for her. I keep empathizing with some of the "changes" as just being a result of so much stress and try to let it go.

However, now that time is going on, kids are growing, she has spent more and more time with Nm and her Nh as babysitters(especially since I'm not around to take up slack), dynamics that I may have underestimated are showing up. Like, the kids have some very dysfunctional behaviors, and when I am there to witness it, GCs's stress comes out in the form of lashing out at me. Little jabs, put-downs (I wouldn't know what kids act like since I don't have any-this behavior is perfectly normal, etc.). The discipline started off as getting spanked with a red spoon for each "wrong doing" to "teach them" many times a day, to now realizing that was wrong, and now anything and everything goes. They are showing a lot of N tendancies already and NO ONE in the family enjoys being around them. GCs can't understand why this is and blames everyone's "selfishness" for not inviting them and especially if anyone says anything about it. It's never met with self-reflection or realizations. I feel sorry for the kids because they are not being taught, and GCs feels sorry for them because they don't have any real family connections with the other kids.

It's hard for me to understand because I can see if they were in my home for 5 minutes acting like that I would not be able to handle the stress. Plus there is a continuously barking dog. I spent a week with them recently and was told they "only act this way when I'm around" (I've been told this many times, but I find it interesting that they are like this in the background when I'm on the phone). When GCs complains about tension and stress I gently say things like, well, would making the kids a,b, or c, or training the dog, etc alleviate some of the stress, to which I get an immediate scoff and "yeah right." Etc..

They actually don't act anything like this when I have them individually staying with me, so I know there is a dynamic going on with mom around and when they're together. Fighting for attention or whatever.

I know there is a lot of stress there and I feel bad for her. BUT, last time it was so bad I have this sinking feeling like she has clung to my Nm for support, not had good support elsewhere, doesn't see me as engaged enough, and I am seen as a problem. In the meantime, she asked me to drive there to babysit, and my entire insides clenched up and I got really anxious and I just said I was busy, but I feel, if I'm being honest, I don't want to be in that dynamic anytime soon! More distance for the kids, but I can't fix it. I think it runs a lot deeper than I thought. She is a GC raising N-kids with lots of neurotic and extreme codependent behaviors. It's always screaming, yelling, demanding, arguing, huffing and puffing, interrupting, calling out loudly from the other room, refusing to cooperate, demanding food and refusing to eat. Lots of controlling craziness.

I'm ranting a little bit here, but I think I'm realizing noting about this is normal, and I am fitting into my scapegoat role quite nicely without even realizing it! Until now! And I feel like my #1 support has faded away without my realizing it, and the kids I want to have a great relationship with may not be capable before too long if something doesn't change. I'm trying on my end but, but I fear this is turning into VLC with them too.

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Blueberry

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Re: Emerging Realizations
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 07:38:16 PM »
This sounds somewhat familiar, though some stuff different. It's a tough situation. Just want to let you know I read and I'm sending  :hug: :hug: and good thoughts.

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Libby183

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Re: Emerging Realizations
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 09:34:23 AM »
Hi Phoebes. I am really sorry to hear about your situation with your sister and her children.  It must be so hard to feel you have lost the support of your sister,  and the connection with her children.  I too lost contact completely with my GC sister and her children when my parents and I established NC. Like yours, she wasn't really mean,  but always seem to side with our parents, whilst refusing to discuss anything.

What I have to say is either completely wrong or of no use at all to you,  but I do wonder if a lot of these issues are present in many,  many families,  but intensified in narcissistic families.

I have been thinking about this because I have noticed a real pattern in my in-laws and some neighbourhood families,  none of whom appear narcissistic. 

When my husband's neice had her children , we were very close to them. They live a three hour drive away but we made regular efforts to visit - none of our in-laws have ever visited us in the 25years of marriage. These boys are around three and five now, and I realise that they don't even bother with the five minute drive to my parents in-law to see us on our visits, and we are not invited to their home.

I have noticed how, when we did see them, MIL called her daughter (their grandma),  who called their mother, to come and see us. Even in this supposedly normal family,  there is this unhealthy enmeshment, that has become stronger and stronger as these boys have grown.  I notice a lot of things that remind me of my relationship with my nm when I had my children.  I find it all very triggering.
I don't see any scope for maintaining a relationship with these boys (the oldest one is already quite difficult,  perhaps).

When children come along,  I think there is so much emotion that new parents become enmeshed with their own parents and too reliant on them. There isn't a lot of room for anyone outside of the immediate family especially when personality disorders are at play as well. It's OK when they are babies but then relationships seem to alter.

Sorry for my rambling - I think I just want to say that I understand what you are experiencing and that it's really sad that society (even without pd's) seems to operate this way.

Even though I have three grown-up children,  I am unlikely to be a grandparent. It would have been nice to be in these boys lives,  but I accept that it's unlikely.

Take care

Libby