History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.

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Dutch Uncle

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History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« on: January 19, 2016, 09:39:47 PM »
I'm a bit in 'dire straits' as I think the phrase is.
I'll try to keep this short. In the process I might have to cut a few corners for brevity sake.

***trigger warning on emotional abuse by parents***
*** and trigger warnings on 'those who let it happen'***

My brother is repeating the story of the dysfunctional marriage of my parents. And then adds some.
He used to be an ex-pat, but has remigrated last year. In the process he basically kidnapped his kids: Visa regulations here effectively make sure his wife (whom he hates with a passion) can't be with her kids for half the time a year. Don't ask me why, but that's the way it is, and my brother remigrated just the same. In spite of this. With the emphasis on "spite". To spite his wife, no doubt.
I bet he's more upset she can still come here half the time, than the other way around.

So far I have avoided visiting him (and them). For four months now. Not that bro has been particularly inviting. But he has hoovered.
Bro is doing his kids a great disservice. On the outside he's showing off the 'happy ex-pat returning home and giving his kids a chance to experience part of their heritage' scheme, but in reality he's mentally, psychologically and emotionally abusing them.
Robbing your kids from their mom, and robbing your wife from her kids….  :sadno:

Perhaps his wife is being caught/trapped in his schemes, perhaps she schemes herself as much as bro does. I don't know. But she's an adult.

Their kids are not.
That's where the 'dire straits' come into play.
I'm convinced the kids are paying the price for the trainwreck this marriage is. The loss both parents are refusing to take when they would divorce: the kids are emptying their piggy-bank to compensate.
IMHO bro and SiL are both chickens. But hey, look who's talking: it took me 50-odd years to clear up my act with regard to keeping dysfunctional relationships, and I'm still struggling. I can't say I'm holding the moral high ground here.
And I never married, nor had kids, so what do I know.

Part in me just wants to end the abuse my nieces and nephews are in. And I bloody well know what abusive situation they are in: my parents marriage was a shipwreck as well, and they fought it out over our heads when we where kids. My brother is well 'groomed' so to speak. And my parents still fight tooth and nail 15 years after their divorce, so they think all is great: marriage is just a lifelong battle until you die. Even after you are divorced.
Codependecy much? I bet it is.

So confronting bro is a losing strategy: he has his back covered by our  *cough* parents *cough*. Not that if he hadn't he would behave much different I guess. But that's beside the point: he has their 'blessing' if only because it's the only thing they know how to. Therapist/HPD-Mom is probably thrilled: real life drama that she can counsel… the opportunity is too great to pass on, let alone reach some sort of solution/closure. That would rob her of her 'Therapist/Histrionic/Narcissist supply'.
So I can count on all of the 'involved' to put their best effort in "keeping things as they are".

But the kids, The Kids, THE KIDS… Aaargghhh….
Prevention is a big thing, yet I see no way to prevent this trainwreck from causing more harm. I did confront bro a few times in the past, in no uncertain terms, that he was screwing up royally. For himself, for his wife, for his kids and I even appealed to friendships he was threatening by his outrageous behavior. (not al at the same the time ;) )

Now he has pulled this.
For my own sanity, I know it's best to stay away from this all. And that basically means NC with his whole FOC, now that they are here. But it's hard. I know what's going on (because I'm sort of the 'confidante' of bro) but I can't tell the kids. They are mid-teens, so even besides the obvious denials my bro will throw out in front of his kids, they are too young to comprehend the mess, and bro's gaslighting, scheming and denial will only ADD to the psychological abuse. (and most probably SiL will stick to 'hubby' in this regard. She too has a facade to keep up. For whatever reason.) These kids ARE dependent on their parents. No way to change that.

So I see myself faced with having to choose the lesser of two (many?) evils: 'abandoning' their kids, for then at least I will not have participated in the staged Drama of 'the Happy Remigrated Ex-pat Family that is Not.'
But then I do let the kids fend for themselves, while they pay the bill/price for their parents dysfunction, while I KNEW.
So many people have posted here: "But what about the bystanders/neighbors/family that knew!"

I'm one of them.
And it tears my gut out.
I feel "damned if I do, damned if I don't."

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 11:37:41 PM »
Thank you, Waterman.

A toxic soup. Well put.
And thanks for the reassuring words that through all this mess, my "healing mind" is speaking.
And I should listen to that mind.

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Kizzie

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 11:49:38 PM »
I was in much the same situation with my B Dutch and went through the same agony trying to figure out what to do.  In the end I decided to go to Child Services, tell them my concerns and see what came of it.  Before I could do so though, my B's marriage imploded and Child Services ended up getting involved anyway (one of the children phoned 911 when things got physical between my H and his ex).  They were teens at the time and were supervised by CPS and saw a therapist for about two years.
 
I honestly am not sure what CPS would have done if I had talked to them in that my B and his ex were both professionals, looked like “good” parents, and could charm a bee out of its honey.  Their abuse was emotional and covert so I had real doubts about how my concerns would be received and if any action might have been taken.  If events had not unfolded as they did I'd like to think I would have chosen to go ahead, but it was not a promising avenue I will admit. 
 
My H and I did express our feelings to my B (we had been NC) and my parents about how the children were being treated, but did not get anywhere. My B and parents spun a story for themselves and family and friends that the ex-wife was the villain, classic NPD move.  Very, very frustrating and yes gut wrenching.  Our only consolation is that at least the children did have CPS and therapy.  Whether that was/is enough we don’t know. I would like for them to know at some point that I am involved in advocating for children and adults who have been abused, and perhaps that will open a door.  I don’t quite know how that might happen but I hope it will.

Part of the reason I started this site was so that we could all speak up if only indirectly, and to gather resources in one place that would help young Kizzie’s,  Dutch’s, and maybe my nieces and nephews to figure out what was going on, and validate their experiences through the forum at an earlier age than so many of us at OOTS.   
 
I know how gut wrenching this is;  I really do believe that just by being here we are doing something  :hug:
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 12:06:31 AM by Kizzie »

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 12:11:23 AM »
Thank you Kizzie.

I'm confused, and it has taken me some time to even put this out here.
Something in me hopes that while my nieces and nephews may at some point blame me for having 'abandoned' them, they will not blame me for having (continued?) to enable it all.

Perhaps, like you have experienced, my refusal to enable (if only through passive-aggressive NC) will have things blow up, and CPS will be involved through the kids action, or otherwise. (I have  no knowledge, nor suspicion, of physical abuse though. Alas, I'm tempted to say. It would give me some leverage with the officials, perhaps. Emotional and psychological abuse is so much more insidious.)
Perhaps the kids will nag and whine and complain they don't like it "up north in the cold" (their country of origin, for all practical purposes, has been a tropical one. They must dread the cold, rain and ever shortening days. And while the days are lengthening, the cold will only get worse for some months to come...) and by the end of this (school) year they'll return.

I really don't know. But I stand firm in my resolve I will at least not enable.
That's the least (and probably also the most) I can 'do'.
Yet, it feels pretty impotent.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2016, 03:56:24 PM »
This post is for a large part to re-realize the whole story for myself (and my recovery journal) …
And that in fact I'm ending a codependent relationship here...

I was searching through my e-mails for something different when I found this… from 2008…send to my bro… After someone cheated him with pretending she was pregnant of him, only to have the child being born 3 (!) months *cough* early *cough*… weighing 6 pounds.  ;D

Quote
"You should take on anew the responsibility you have for your kids with all the energy you can muster. You've put them on this earth, and it's your task to fully coach/guide them on their path to independency/self-sufficiency and adulthood. To dream off a third child you could have had with another women/wife is not part of that. And you might consider taking up the responsibilities (and yes, that includes love/care) to your wife, to whom you once pledged to stand with her in "good and bad" times, and who has carried two children of you.

Throw off your stubbornness and go back to behaving like a man!"
(Note to moderators: It's a translation from Dutch.)

My Inner Critic (or who-/whatever) still rise to tell me: "Yeah, yeah, yeah… You still don't do anything to stop the abuse, *!"

But when I come to my senses, I do tell myself: "Dutch, nobody can't say you don't let your bro have it when it matters. That now, 7-8 years later, he is still messing things up deliberately and consciously… There's only so much one can do..."
« Last Edit: January 24, 2016, 04:07:38 PM by Dutch Uncle »

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Kizzie

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2016, 07:12:33 PM »
I know your post was for you Dutch, but it's something I struggle with too so wanted to add some thoughts.

 I don't think that anyone with a PD does actually see that their behaviour is off. Some would say "will not see" but I've come to see it as "can't" more than "won't" - something has become broken or disconnected inside (thus the fact that NPD is considered very treatment resistant).  Take Alice Miller, she could not see her own N and she was a champion for the rights of children.  So directly confronting N's is not likely to spur any change sadly. 

I suppose there might be some value in letting our PD FOO know we are not in agreement with how they are treating their children, but even that is doubtful.  When I spoke to my B and parents, it only served to confirm that I had the problem and not them.  That's why I considered going to CPS actually, I couldn't get anywhere with them. For the record, my GP thought I wouldn't get anywhere at CPS because my B and his wfe were professionals and the abuse was emotional, and my H cautioned me against going because he thought I would be dismissed, invalidated and/or start a war within the family that would see my FOO doing the "pile on" to me. 

I look at Martin Miller and I see us - struggling to be heard in the face of what seems to have been/be a child positive environment to grow up in: therapist mothers, one who is famous for her stand against child abuse; pilots, nurses and others society holds in esteem (e.g., priests, sports coaches, volunteers with children's programs such as Scouts, the list goes on), and cannot/will not believe are abusive of children. No-one believed Martin; his own M campaigned against him, but he continued to speak up and that is changing. Barbara Rogers at http://screamsfromchildhood.com/martin_miller_review.html writes:

The openness and honesty of [Alice Miller's] son have now granted me the truth, which I could not find by myself. I am deeply grateful to Martin Miller that he wrote this courageous book.... [W]e owe to Martin Miller the decisive enlightenment about this story, which was hidden, and would almost have perished, in the fog of admiration.

So perhaps by working  on our own recovery and becoming more visible as survivors (in whatever way is comfortable/relevant for us), much like Martin we raise awareness of childhood abuse in all it's forms, overt and covert, and draw attention to perpetrators who are seemingly solid citizens. And  by doing these things if an Uncle Dutch or Aunt Kizzie does go into CPS they will be not be dismissed out of hand, professionals and society will become more attuned to child abuse, children will take a chance and break their silence earlier on, etc ....

Ever hopeful.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2016, 08:44:33 PM by Kizzie »

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tesscaline

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2016, 10:35:09 PM »
This sounds like an incredibly difficult situation to sort through, Dutch Uncle.

I'd like to echo what Kizzie said about PD's not having the ability to see that there's anything wrong with their behavior-- even when confronted, and maybe even especially when they're confronted.

With my M, having CPS show up just enforced her delusions that my D wanted to "steal" her children. It didn't make her think she was doing anything wrong at all. Meanwhile, my D wasn't even the one who called them, and had no idea they had even paid her a visit. She was (and still is) incapable of seeing her own faults, and thus incapable of having confrontation or intervention effect her behavior for the better.

One thing I'm curious about is if you're able to have contact with the children (email, text, phone, etc.) that doesn't have to involve your B? If so, is it possible for you to be supportive of them through talking to them and offering validation of their situation? I get that might be too much to take on.  It's totally understandable if it's not something you can do.  But I think back to my own experience as a child, and having at least one adult who understood what I was going through, who believed me, even if they couldn't make it stop, would have saved me so much suffering.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2016, 09:41:07 AM »
Thank you, tesscaline. And Kizzie.

One thing I'm curious about is if you're able to have contact with the children (email, text, phone, etc.) that doesn't have to involve your B? If so, is it possible for you to be supportive of them through talking to them and offering validation of their situation? I get that might be too much to take on.  It's totally understandable if it's not something you can do.  But I think back to my own experience as a child, and having at least one adult who understood what I was going through, who believed me, even if they couldn't make it stop, would have saved me so much suffering.
Since the kids are thoroughly gaslighted, and have been for ages (through most of their lives. They are now mid teens, and as I hinted at my brother wants to be rid of his wife for at the very least 8 years now) it's hard to be supportive for their 'plight'. Insofar that I don't even know if they 'know' something fishy is going on. I suspect their emotional intelligence must 'tell' them this, but to what extend this enters their consciousness, and they can allow this for themselves… I have no awareness of that.
They have lived abroad for ever, so there never has been much contact between me and them, and certainly none where not at least one parent was present.
I do mail them on their birthdays (since they became teens), but that has been the only 1-on-1 contact I have had with them.
Now that they have remigrated, I have fallen out with the rest of the FOO (shortly before that even, bro knows this) so I'm hardly attend family-gatherings, if any, so in a factual way I'm also distancing myself from them there as well. Bro is probably badmouthing me over this, as he does in front of me as well.
So 'bypassing' their parents is not really a feasible thing, given the overall circumstances.
In general though I think they regard me as a 'safe' person, so I can only hope that once they reach adolescence and start living on their own they may contact me if stuff is bothering them. And I think the best way to keep this future option a possibility at least, I should refrain from enabling this crazy and abusive situation by going along with the pretense.

I'll make sure I keep sending hem birthday-letters, as I have done, where I always have expressed interest in their lives, their development, their experiences (as far as I empathicly can by (internally) referencing to mine at their age) etc.
I am open to contact with them, and if they'll contact me directly, I'll respond welcomingly. And if they want to come over/meet just for fun, that's what we'll have.  :thumbup:

So perhaps by working  on our own recovery and becoming more visible as survivors (in whatever way is comfortable/relevant for us), much like Martin we raise awareness of childhood abuse in all it's forms, overt and covert, and draw attention to perpetrators who are seemingly solid citizens. And  by doing these things if an Uncle Dutch or Aunt Kizzie does go into CPS they will be not be dismissed out of hand, professionals and society will become more attuned to child abuse, children will take a chance and break their silence earlier on, etc ....
Thanks, and I tend to agree this is the best we can do. It just is heartbreaking to know it's not enough to break the current cycle of abuse.
I do take some comfort in that while I'm now working through my own abuse by my FOO, and still in the early stages of recovery, that by the time these kids reach (early) adulthood a few years from now (for the eldest), and issues possibly can be raised/talked through on a more equal level (adult-to-adult), I'll be more even-keeled and will not drift into EF's.  ;)
As it is, I feel very emotionally drawn/bonded with these kids. In fact I talked about all this with a friend, and told her that one of the reasons I must now keep my distance, is that I fear I'll explode, spill all the beans and will leave the kids shattered by all they have now heard but will be left in a household where the gaslighting will continue and most if not all I 'spilled' will be denied or at the very least minimized.
If I would do that, I'm convinced I will only have made things worse and more confusing for the kids.

I forgot where I've read this the other day, but sometimes it's a good motto to "don't just DO something, STAND there!".  ;)
« Last Edit: January 26, 2016, 11:06:56 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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Kizzie

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 05:19:34 PM »
Here's to recovery and being there if/when there is an opportunity  :thumbup: 

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Blueberry

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2017, 08:35:05 PM »
I'm new on here.
This topic caught my eye since I realised last time I saw FOO in the summer that yes the burden has certainly been passed down onto the next generation, despite my having been open with my siblings about what was done to me and how that has played out in my life and continues to do so. A small nephew has strange behaviour, different from my behaviour in childhood, but definitely strange, as in worrying.

**** trigger warning physical abuse ****
I'm hoping I misunderstood my brother that when life is too stressful his elder son, the same small nephew, suffers.
After much soul-searching, I have decided to not say anything further because iIn another context this brother told me in no uncertain terms to butt out of other brother's life, though it's not clear exactly what that means.  :stars: However that belongs in another topic.

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Three Roses

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2017, 09:03:33 PM »
Welcome!

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silentrhino

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2017, 12:35:29 AM »
Hi Dutch, I'm late to the party on this thread I know.  I have two nephews being abused by their BM who is my extra DNA, the way I refer to my FOO, sorry for all the abbreviations.  One nephew is the most "wonderful perfect child in the world!!!" while the other is "the worst, the devil, the worst kid in the universe!!".  I watch from the outside and wonder what to do, trying to deal with my narcissistic sister make ME insane, so I can't get too close.  These nephews are approaching 30 and guess what, they have major issues, both of them.  I know I have failed them but their mother is too toxic for me, she makes me physically sick.  I am not strong enough to tackle her and help them, she's much older than me and abused me regularly. 

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Blueberry

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2017, 01:20:01 PM »
Silentrhino, please do not be so hard on yourself! You have not failed your nephews, their mother has. You sound as if you are still in the thick of it yourself. I mean, your sister makes you physically sick etc. To me this means you still need to be good and compassionate towards yourself and that you yourself should be your top priority at the moment.

Also you say that your nephews are themselves adults now. They are more capable of getting help for themselves than say a small child, even if still living under same roof as their M and/or very much controlled by her emotionally.  (You don't say and you don't have to that this is the case, but it could be.)

When you feel strong enough, you could maybe help them in tiny, indirect ways. Be there for them occasionally, meet for a coffee, go for a walk or a cycle together, maybe just with one of them, not with both, especially if they stress each other out, which might well be the case if their M played them against each other.

But always keep in mind that your healing and well-being should be top priority. If you get uncomfortable because of your extra DNA even vaguely becoming part of the equation, then save yourself. That's just the theory of course, I don't manage what I'm preaching to you all the time either!

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silentrhino

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Re: History repeats itself. Another generation being abused.
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 02:39:23 AM »
thank you for your kind words, I feel them through this forum, I do try to help "the boys" although they are now men, I don't see them acting like men.  They do dislike each other strongly but I do care for both of them. I can't care for their mother which means I don't see much of them.  Her sexual abuse of me as a young boy is a factor in a lot of my issues and I can't be around her.