Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired

  • 10 Replies
  • 2403 Views
*

Milarepa

  • Member
  • 57
  • "In maturity I practiced innocence."
    • View Profile
Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« on: December 01, 2014, 05:53:43 AM »
So, Thanksgiving was messy...

My dad, who is a sloppy narcissist with borderline tendencies, once again got in my face about not being dutiful enough. This is the dynamic we've had since I was six years old, when he (TW) would grab me and plant sloppy kisses all over my face without my consent and then get butthurt when I'd wipe his drool off my face. This interaction is completely emblematic of our entire way of interacting: he barges through my boundaries, I object, and then he gets hurt / offended.

This time around, his snit fit was set off by a text exchange we had a month ago, which was preceded by me needing to cancel a lunch with him because I was too depressed to feel safe being around him:

Quote
Dad: I am missing you. I am glad to see you under all circumstances, even if you are blue. We have no  date to get together in November. Since I am gone all of December, my early birthday request is to see you at least twice in November, once for a daddy-daughter lunch and then you and Noah or you alone at Thanksgiving.
Me: Hey Dad, Im going to be out of town for the first week of November, but I think I could do something the week of the 10th. As for Thanksgiving; Im not sure what our plans are yet. Last Id heard, [Husband] was talking to his dad about us maybe going to [Husband's Hometown] for Thanksgiving this year. If were not around, maybe we could grab lunch the three of us before we leave town?

Then he didn't reply to me for a month. I ended up doing some last-minute organizing with my stepmother to find some time with his side of the family over the long weekend. And, as was revealed around the dinner table when my husband and I got there, my text response was not satisfactory in some regard (I'm still not sure how) and he decided to withdraw to punish me, and then got mad when I didn't come chasing after him to find out what happened.

I told him that he had every right to withdraw if he wanted, but asked him how I was to know if he was hurt by my response (still not clear as to why) if he didn't tell me so. He hemmed and hawed, and then demanded that I call him once a week, which I did not want to agree to. Then he accused me of having no empathy for his deep, deep pain that I'm not in touch more; to which I said, "that's your point of view," and he said, "no, that's The Truth."

Would you want to be in touch more with someone who behaved this way? I know I don't. This dynamic seriously hasn't changed in 25 years and I'm so exhausted that I don't know what to do. I've been trying to coach him on appropriate ways to engage with me, but nothing has worked and I'm kind of at my wits' end. I'm glad he's leaving town for a month because it will give me time to strategize and think a bit.

At this point, I'm considering cutting him out of my life permanently. Our relationship has been reduced to awkward lunches once a month and the occasional family dinner with him, my stepmom, and my half-siblings wherein we struggle to find safe things to talk about and I can practically smell his anxiety. It's like being on a date with someone who has been using you as a human pacifier, knows you're going to dump them, and desperately needs you to soothe whatever tumult is going on inside of them.

If it weren't for my half-siblings and my stepmom (whom I really adore), and the fact that he has a lot of money, I would probably have given up on the relationship a long time ago. My therapist thinks I can find a way to have a relationship with him that lets us actually enjoy one another and will preserve my relationships with that side of the family (not to mention my inheritance) without giving up one smidgen of my well-being, but I'm very skeptical. Whatever strategy we employ, it will need to involve no requirement of change on his part; since I'm not sure he's capable of it.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Would love any perspective you're willing to provide.

Happy Holidays,
Mila

*

Badmemories

  • Member
  • 337
  • Keep On Keeping On
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2014, 04:50:13 AM »
Hi,  :wave:

 I see no one has answered this, probably because there is really no set answer. The best place I can tell You to go is to the OOTF site, out sister site. What works for ONe person does not work for another. That site will help You to discover Why You feel that way...and also has a toolbox full of Ideas to think about.

the unchosen site discusses Family issues!

http://outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?board=4.0 Hope that You can get answers from there that You need. You might post this question on there, and see what response You get... There are so great posters on that forum that understand the family dynamics better than I do!

Keep on Keeping on! ;) :hug:

*

Butterfly

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 397
  • Flying Free
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2014, 12:58:57 PM »
Hi there. My experience with uPDm who frequntly tantrums with either PA episodes or withdraws with silence punishment is to let her have her tantrum and remain unflapped. I'm in contact less than she wants but am in contact and brief visit twice a week which is far more than most people get from their grown offspring. She should be grateful but chooses instead of pout and complain to others what a distant daughter I am. Meh.

You've got the right attitude but you're letting it eat at you and you probably ruminate about dialog and interactions. My therapist recommended I view it as their game, I can step in, play or not play and interact as I wish, then I leave the game and I forget it. Perhaps a brief review of lessons learned but no need to replay the game in my head over and over.  Just leave it behind and move on with my goal of enjoying my life. In my head I say 'well that's over' shout Next! As if waiting on the next customer (Me and DH and *my* life) With maybe an audible 'ahhhhh'  I found this view very helpful and freeing.

My first thought in response to your subject line is 'it's not up to others to have boundaries its up to us to have our own and enforce them' because we can't control others, can't even expect them even to have normal social graces. We're often dealing with toddlers in adult bodies. OOTF is definitely the place for support with that issue.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 01:01:01 PM by Butterfly »

*

Badmemories

  • Member
  • 337
  • Keep On Keeping On
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2014, 05:22:05 PM »
Milarepa,  :wave:

Here is a good but LONG post on boundaries posted in OOTF. It is the best that I have seen and this post helped me a lot!

http://outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=24.0

Keep on keeping on! ;) :hug:

*

C.

  • Member
  • 1029
  • Learning from reciprocity as I heal from CPTSD.
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2015, 09:38:45 PM »
I am new to this forum and reading through old threads and posts.  Your post here hit a chord for me because it sounds a lot like the inappropriate behavior of my ex-husband with our daughter.  I actually made the decision to divorce him final when I read about Emotional Incest and saw how exactly it paralleled his interactions with our adult daughter.  On one hand I think that we are all quite fortunate that it didn't lead to sex abuse with her.  On the other hand, as we know with CPTSD, the emotional abuse/neglect is harder to accept, easier to deny, and requires great effort for healing.  What you describe sounds like emotionally incestuous actions and words by your father.  There are a number of books out with Emotional Incest in the title if you haven't already found them.

I'm not sure what the outcome after the holidays was for you, but I hope for the best for you.


*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 7598
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 07:26:48 PM »
Hi Mila - I just read your post too as I was not here much in the fall because of work.  My F used to do that too when he was loaded (alcoholic) and I hated it. I would go and wash my face but he was too out of it to notice.

BadMemories steered you to a really good site for understanding behaviour like your F's. Some great strategies at Out of the FOG for sure. It is really exhausting dealing with that kind of behaviour and detaching from it as Butterfly has suggested is what seems to help most people. You've probably found these techniques already, but if not check out Low Contact (LC), Medium Chill and (if things are bad enough) No Contact (NC). 

My M has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (as does my B)  and eventually I went LC with her (and NC with my B and my M's flying monkeys) when I realized from being at OOTF that PD's do not change and that the damage to me (CPTSD) by being in closer contact with them was not going to get any better, if anything it was getting worse because of the accumulation of trauma. I just felt worn down by PDs.

Since going LC and NC life has improved so much.  This year my family and I had our first Christmas ever (and I am in my 50's) without any FOO drama - it was wonderful!   Holidays for those with a PD are an excuse to ramp up the drama so I've always dreaded them, but now I'm keen to have more like Christmas  - fingers crossed you will as well.  ;D

Hope this helps.

*

Milarepa

  • Member
  • 57
  • "In maturity I practiced innocence."
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 10:57:05 PM »
You've probably found these techniques already, but if not check out Low Contact (LC), Medium Chill and (if things are bad enough) No Contact (NC). 

I've been keeping up some combination of Medium Chill and LC with my father for about four years after having gone NC with him twice for a period of about three years total in my 20's. It is precisely this that he is complaining and tantruming about, and threatening to disown me over. He thinks he's entitled to weekly contact.

I know that he is not entitled to any contact with me, let alone contact on his arbitrary timetable. Nevertheless, I find myself very triggered into an emotional flashback by the experience of dealing with this most recent tantrum and exhausted by the constant effort of maintaining my sanity and dignity while trying to climb out. Any self-care tips?

PS: I'm *so* glad to hear that your holidays were drama-free this year. I'm glad for you and it gives me hope for my own drama-free future.

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 7598
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 04:46:28 AM »
Self-care for me meant telling my M straight out and then reinforcing it (constantly - they do not learn quickly!!) that I would not tolerate tantrums or even complaints. that was tks to OOTF and finally figuring out why she is the way she is.  Anyway,  If she started I would hold up my hand (i.e., talk to the hand) and if she didn't stop I would leave and tell her she must be respectful and civil in the future. If it was on the telephone I would say the same thing and hang up if she did not stop.  If it was in an email I would tell her once in a return email and then I would not respond again until she stopped.

I had to do that because like you I was exhausted by the drama and I simply could not take it any more.  It was me or her and as I've said elsewhere I chose me (although when it gets to that point it's so not much a choice any more).  And in addition to the above we moved to the other coast which helps with the daily drama so much.   ;D  A big part of our moving was to get out of range of PD FOO.  Are in you in close vicinity to your F?

Still she does try me on for size (sometimes knowingly, sometimes out of habit), and always will I think, but she tows the line much more quickly nowadays. I hope this helps, I could feel your exhaustion as I read your post and I feel for you :hug:

*

Milarepa

  • Member
  • 57
  • "In maturity I practiced innocence."
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 11:09:22 AM »
Your post here hit a chord for me because it sounds a lot like the inappropriate behavior of my ex-husband with our daughter.  I actually made the decision to divorce him final when I read about Emotional Incest and saw how exactly it paralleled his interactions with our adult daughter.  On one hand I think that we are all quite fortunate that it didn't lead to sex abuse with her.  On the other hand, as we know with CPTSD, the emotional abuse/neglect is harder to accept, easier to deny, and requires great effort for healing.  What you describe sounds like emotionally incestuous actions and words by your father.  There are a number of books out with Emotional Incest in the title if you haven't already found them.

I'm not sure what the outcome after the holidays was for you, but I hope for the best for you.

I have actually read quite a bit about emotional incest, but it's very validating to hear another person come up with that language to describe my experience independently of me using the term. I'll share a quote with you from Robert A. Johnson's Lying with the Heavenly Woman: Understanding and Integrating the Feminine Archetypes in Men's Lives. (Johnson's thesis is that men must get their internal feminine in order if they want to have successful, healthy relationships with the women in their lives. He talks about "contaminations," inappropriate overlays between archetypes and three-dimensional women, and their various impacts on relationship.)

Here, he talks about incest (covert or overt) as an overlay of anima energy onto a daughter:

Quote
The anima and the daughter is so explosive a combination that little has been said about it until recently. When the taboo was lifted, a flood of women spoke out about being molested, physically or psychologically, by their fathers in childhood. A mans anima, especially for Westerners, with its habitual overlap into his sexual realm, has absolutely no business being projected onto a daughter. Little can destroy a daughter so quickly as anima attention - criminal if it is overt, damaging if it is subtle, from her father. If a young girl learns her intimate sexual courtship attitudes from her father she is robbed of a father image and introduced to an incestuous way of life that is horribly damaging.

No man with even rudimentary understanding of the several feminine elements in his personality would bring his anima to his daughter. But that understanding is rare, judging from the statistics on the mistreatment of children. Of all the contaminations a human is capable of, this is one of the worst.

If you haven't read Lying with the Heavenly Woman, it might be a useful one for you (and your daughter) to look at. It's a quick read and really helps in understanding how men relate to the feminine and to women.

And thank you for the support! The rest of the holidays went really well. I had a hard time at my older cousin's wedding recently (my N F did not attend) just because she has such a close and loving relationship with her dad (my uncle) and it made me very sad to realize that I didn't even want that anymore.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 11:18:10 AM by Milarepa »

*

Milarepa

  • Member
  • 57
  • "In maturity I practiced innocence."
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 11:16:38 AM »
Self-care for me meant telling my M straight out and then reinforcing it (constantly - they do not learn quickly!!) that I would not tolerate tantrums or even complaints. that was tks to OOTF and finally figuring out why she is the way she is.  Anyway,  If she started I would hold up my hand (i.e., talk to the hand) and if she didn't stop I would leave and tell her she must be respectful and civil in the future. If it was on the telephone I would say the same thing and hang up if she did not stop.  If it was in an email I would tell her once in a return email and then I would not respond again until she stopped.

I had to do that because like you I was exhausted by the drama and I simply could not take it any more.  It was me or her and as I've said elsewhere I chose me (although when it gets to that point it's so not much a choice any more).  And in addition to the above we moved to the other coast which helps with the daily drama so much.   ;D  A big part of our moving was to get out of range of PD FOO.  Are in you in close vicinity to your F?

Still she does try me on for size (sometimes knowingly, sometimes out of habit), and always will I think, but she tows the line much more quickly nowadays. I hope this helps, I could feel your exhaustion as I read your post and I feel for you :hug:

Thanks!  :hug: I think I've basically done my own version of this. In my last few e-mails to him I've told him that at this point, the only place I'm willing to have contact with him is in family therapy. I asked my T to refer us to someone who works with N / PD's and gave my dad the number of that therapist. I told him to call, find out when she's available, and give me some times that work for the both of them. So far, he hasn't taken me up on it.

What I'm referring to with respect to self-care at this point is figuring out how to get myself back into the boat. I'm doing a pretty good job of maintaining my boundaries with my N father, but this whole episode has all of my inner children in a tizzy of abandonment fear. The adult me is struggling to contain a room full of children who are all petrified of losing their daddy. Just because the adult me can see what he is doesn't mean that all the kids are onboard with continuing to set boundaries that may ultimately lead to him disowning me / us.

My T says that the best way to manage this is to work on my relationships with each of those inner children (indulge the 12 year old in as many Star Trek fanfics as she wants to write, etc.) and use the trust that develops between adult me and kid(s) me to help integrate myself around this decision to keep him at a distance. I think that's solid advice. I'd love any other internal self-management tactics that y'all have discovered when you encounter EF triggers while managing LC / medium chill relationships with PD parents.

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 7598
    • View Profile
Re: Dad Has No Boundaries and I'm Tired
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 08:10:44 PM »
Oh I see what you mean Milarepa, sorry I didn't get that.  I love the image of getting the kids in their car seats lol. 

I do know what you're talking about and I did have terrible EFs when I first went LC and stood up to my M. I did not realize how terrified I was (well at some level I obviously did and that's why it's so hard to get the IC to come out and then when you do it's hard to get them back in their car seats as you say), but those big EFs made it abundantly clear to me that I have very frightened IC on board. It was a shock actually to feel that rather than just read about it. It's no wonder we are reluctant to go back into the trauma, but I do think it's the only way out.

I recall my inner dialogue with my IC during those big EFs was saying over and over again that it would be OK, that the way things were were not good for us and that adult me would get us through this.  I rested as much as I needed to, I told her she was brave and courageous for all that she had been through, that I was there now and I would look after us.  I even bought a giant teddy bear at one point -- it sits across from the bed and smiles at me every night and I love the feeling that it gives me (my IC is delighted with him). When I have a bad day I will snuggle into it and nap or read.

One thing I've written about doing in terms of IC work is enticing my IC to come out and have fun now that I know just how much fear (and now sadness) there is around abandonment and that getting into that would be tricky. So I thought "Well, maybe the fear will subside if I show my IC a good time" and I do think it's done a lot for soothing, reassuring and building trust.  What child doesn't like an adult that spends time with them having fun?  So a Star Trek festival it is lol!  Give them some fun, joy even, it's healing  :yes:

The other thing I tell my IC is that as much as possible I will keep stress away or lowered, that moving away from PD FOO was a gift to us of peace and more normalcy on a daily basis (at long last). That has done wonders for the fear level!  I also talk to my H and now my T about EFs as openly as I can to honour my ICs feelings if that makes sense and that does seem to defuel them.

So there's a bit about what I've done thus far - hope some of it is helpful.  :hug: