Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?

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LilyITV

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Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« on: December 27, 2018, 05:28:19 PM »
My dad is the biggest gossip on the planet.  He loves to gossip and tells me everything he knows about everyone he does not like and he is quite vicious.  He gossips about his other brothers and sisters to me and even people I don't know.  When I was younger, I was so concerned about not doing anything to cause my dad to talk about me to others.  I didn't want to be in the "out" group.  But slowly over time, I drifted apart from him.  Now that I'm in therapy, it's like I've made a complete break with him mentally. 

Now I'm noticing that he's gossiping about me to my brother.  It's not the "malicious", make stuff up  about somebody type gossip, but more of the "I don't like the way you're living and handling life so I'm going to talk about you and how unhappy you're going to be until you do what I want" type gossip. 

Over the holidays, my brother came to visit me.  I have never spanked my children and I try to use a positive parenting style(total opposite of how my father raised us).  My children are not obedient and well behaved like my father thinks they should be, but I care more about them being happy and well-adjusted.  My father has never been able to accept this and lets me know in passive aggressive ways that he thinks my kids are rotten, that they will grow up with all sorts of problems if I don't get them under control, and that my brother's kids are doing better than mine. 

Well, my youngest son is 4 and after being extremely shy for a good part of his life, is finally starting to come out of his shell. While my brother was visiting with his three kids, my son was *totally* out of his shell and letting out all of his wild little boy energy while he was enjoying playing with his cousins.  Apparently, my brother was talking about my little boy's behavior  with my father, because when I went to visit my dad over the holidays, he was treating my little boy like he should be juvenile detention or something.  My little boys was kind of spinning in a swivel chair, not even in a rough way but in a little boy way, and my dad was acting like he was out of control or something.  My dad said he had heard from my brother about how my little boy was acting, and he did not want him to tear up his house too.  Mind you, my dad hasn't visited me or my kids in over six months and I hadn't been by to visit him either, but controlling my boy took precedence over having a good time with my kids.  I half-jokingly told my dad if he didn't like the way my children were behaving, then I probably should just not visit him anymore and that we were guests and he was being rude to us. 

Another thing he's been gossipping about is my husband and teen stepdaughter.  Everyone knows how difficult it can be to navigate step relations, and my dad clearly does not approve of my blended family.  Teens are trying and stepdaughters are trying at times and sometimes my husband is overly indulgent out of guilt, but my dad has zero tolerance or tact whenever we're having a rough patch.  Recently my husband allowed my stepdaughter to get a big dog against my wishes.  I messed up and told my brother, he told my dad, and now dad is going ballistic about the situation.  I know it was my fault for bringing it up, but in the moment I was frustrated and I let a little bit of info slip.  Now dad is ballistic and probably going to be telling me to get a divorce because I'm not being respected, can't allow a big non-housetrained dog in the house, etc.  Stepfamily dynamics are already difficult enough, and I don't want my dad adding fuel to the fire. 

I'm trying to figure out whether I am being overly sensitive or if I should say something to my dad about his gossiping.  Or maybe I just need to not share any personal details about my life at all with my dad and brother??  I have not heard the gossiping but I have a very good idea of how he is talking about me from how he talks about others to me. 

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2018, 10:59:59 PM »
Hi lily
I hear you... Difficult situations of family behaviours on top of an already difficult situation can be hair pulling, but deflating and confusing.
It sounds like you are doing a great job in parenting and reversing the maladaptive parenting that you yourself received and that is v commendable.
I am not a parent but I do have a father who can be negative and disturbing. I am learning to not share much personal info with him and this is working well...
Also what I have learnt to use is the following formula
1 when people say xyz
2 it makes me feel....
3 what I need is.....
4 would that be OK with you

I'm not sure if this would work with your f? He sounds that his behaviour is a lot of projecting and strong person ality...
How I view my f is he is a deeply unhappy and lost soul this helps me as I can then put his anger into a context where I remember he is unwell and doesn't have the skills required for healthy functioning. I'm learning I can't change him and it would be a battle ground trying to but what I can do is change my own behaviour to keep safe and sane..
Hope some of this helps you. I am learning in order to have health around me I need to create safe boundaries which arnt hard but have some strong flex to them. It's been a other grieving process for me... Letting go some more of the idea of a healthy dad who loves...


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finallyfree

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2018, 11:19:21 PM »
Hi Lily, I am so sorry your navigating this. I have been there too. What I wish I had initially done in the past was to just learn to not let my guard down and share things with either my parents or siblings. It was just all gossiped about and used against me. I agree whole heartedly with Boatsetsailrose. She has a great approach to this type of situation. What a great way to look at it. I hope things improve for you soon.

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Libby183

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2018, 09:50:05 AM »
It all sounds so familiar, Lily. My parents created lots of tension between my sister and I, by gossiping, and this was intensified when our children came along. My sister was GC but mother still gossiped to me about her poor parenting, so heaven knows what she told my sister about my parenting. My parents were horrid gossips about every one, because it made them feel better about themselves.  My Nmother was so controlling that boundaries etc couldn't ever work, so it became NC - more their choice than mine. I think this was best for my children, and your post suggests very strongly that you are doing right by your children with the approach you are taking.  Putting them first, even if that goes against your father's ideas. Whilst in the FOG, I put my parents wishes abve my childrens' happiness. It felt wrong but I felt controlled by their entitlement. It was not a good approach.

Don't know that this helps at all, but wanted to let you know that I understand your concerns and think you are on the right track.

Libby.

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LilyITV

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2018, 06:05:50 PM »
Thanks so much for the responses! 

Boatsetsailrose, those sound like great suggestions.  My dad has never cared about how his feelings impact others if he thinks he is right, but I am going to try this when dealing with him more.  I really want to learn to assert myself more. 

finallyfree, yes I think I'm just going to have to be more careful in what I share with him and my brother.  It's really tough but otherwise they're going to keep talking about me and getting in my business.  I definitely don't want my dad influencing my relationship with my husband and kids.

Libby183, you know I never thought of my dad as a narc but when I look at the list of traits, he does seem to have a lot of them and I definitely have a lot of the traits of children raised by narcs.  That must have been so difficult to go NC with your mother.  With my dad I kind of drifted into a low contact type of relationship with him but I can just imagine how much harder it is to do that with a mother and to have to make a conscious choice to break free of her control. 

It was also easier for me than my brother because my dad has always made it pretty clear that he wanted a needed a son (not by words but def by actions) and when my brother came along, he was hyperfocused on him.  I was free to just do my own thing.   

 

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Blueberry

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2018, 06:36:35 PM »
Lily, you aren't being "too sensitive"! I don't have children myself but my parents carry on this way about my nephews, especially one of them, without having any inkling that the problems my B had with parenting were related to the way we were brought up (no healthy boundary-setting, just boundary setting by emotional hurt or worse) and without any idea that the parents of the child get to decide how to bring up the child and not the grandparents. 

I don't mean to suggest that you have problems, you seem to be managing well. My B is managing better now, but it doesn't matter, my parents still harp on about my 'deficient' nephew anyway.  They don't say 'deficient' but that's what they mean. My parents doing that around me used to trigger me terribly. I couldn't stand hearing all that stuff and how oblivious my parents were to their own huge shortcomings in the parenting line. For me the only way to deal with it has been to go VVVLC. We are in occasional email contact. That's it. I've tried and tried over the years, to become 'less sensitive', to put all my ICs and Inner Teens in inner safe places when in contact with my parents etc etc. Since I realised any contact (even email) has the potential to retraumatise me and anything more than email inevitably does, I've been steadily reducing contact.

Do you know our sister website Out Of The Fog? It's for people dealing with narcs and other personality-disordered people (with or without a diagnosis). There's a forum, but also very useful toolboxes, e.g. http://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-1/ (also what not to do). It might help you to read over there in addition to the responses on this thread.

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LilyITV

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2018, 07:25:45 PM »
Blueberry, thanks for the link to OOTF.  You know, I hadn't ever gone over there because I had never thought of my dad as a narc.  But now I'm thinking whether he is full blown NPD or just has strong narc traits and tendencies the site should be helpful to me.  What you described going on in your family seems really similar to my family dynamics. 

Low contact has been good for me so I think I'll keep it at this level.  There was a time when I was sad about the lack of contact but keeping it at this level keeps the relationship very positive. 

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2019, 03:18:44 PM »
Hi lily
I've more recently gone LC with my f and as you say 'keeps the relationship more positive'. I can keep the focus more on my own growth and development

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Blueberry

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Re: Should I tell my dad to stop gossiping about me with my brother?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2019, 03:24:30 PM »
Blueberry, thanks for the link to OOTF.  You know, I hadn't ever gone over there because I had never thought of my dad as a narc.  But now I'm thinking whether he is full blown NPD or just has strong narc traits and tendencies the site should be helpful to me. 
Exactly. I'm not even sure if my FOO mbrs have NPD, I tend more to BPD possibly combined with denied, unacknowledged and untreated cptsd in two cases. Still the site is really helpful to me in specific phases of my healing.