Releasing the past in order to find myself

Monday, July 6, 2015

"She's beautiful, inside and out" (Or, why am I such a misfit)

Fellow blogger, Judy, often titles posts "Brain Dump" when needing to get something off her mind. This is going to be a "Heart Dump" post.  I just need to get some feelings off my chest so they quit festering.

While all of this stuff has been going on with MIL, I've seen her family hardly do anything to help her or my FIL out.  One BIL went down and actually helped.  We tried (twice) to stop by and see her.  Her GC, seemingly, had lakes to visit and other activities to do.  DH finally organized a trip for all of MIL's kids to come and see her.  That was it.

Yet, they continue to play big, happy family on FB.  (I know, I shouldn't look at FB.  They are all on "restricted" status, so I can't see if I don't look, but sometimes I get curious.  Plus, it keeps me in the loop, so I'm never taken by surprise by their antics.  It also helps to keep track of what they are lying about.)  They talk about "family" and hanging out together....yet, when BIL and SIL were up at a family vacation home, all I saw were tons of photos of the FRIENDS they took up (probably to show off).  One of our mutual friends describes it as BIL's "fan club", which seems about right.

It was SIL's birthday, and they all made a HUGE deal wishing her happy birthday.  Every one of them has an addiction to exclamation points.  (Seriously!!!! Everything they say is followed by them!!!!! I don't even think they know how to use periods!!!!!)  BIL said "Happy Birthday, Sis!!!"  She is not his actual sister.  He has NEVER referred to me as his sister.  In fact, he didn't even wish me a happy birthday this year.  Or the year before that.  He and SIL are not particularly close (although SIL and BIL are very dependent on this BIL for "advice".  They treat him sort of like a parent and he loves that they "look up" to him and "admire" him.  He likes that they maintain the image of himself that he has created.)  My other SIL, whom I used to be close too until I found out she sold me out repeatedly, made a big gushy thing about "can't wait to see you!!!!!".  I live five minutes from her house.  I haven't seen her in months (unless you count her crabby, pouty butt at my son's birthday party.  She was hung over and had all kinds of attitude about having to be there.)

I know it's an act.  I know that it's phony.  I know that I don't want any part of that bullshit.  And I refuse to play into their egos.  But it still upsets me.

My NM and NSIS just got back from a vacation they took together.  NM was in Vegas for a conference.  She had told me she was having my aunt come down and stay with her a few days.  She did not say that she was having my sister come down.  NM tells me all of her comings and goings, so to omit this information was intentional.  I got to find out on FB, when they started posting tons of gushy photos of the two of them gambling and drinking.    They kept saying how "beautiful" the other one was and how much FUN they were having, just the two of them.  I had no desire to be there (I took two "girls vacations" with them a decade ago.  Either my sister or I were crying the entire time.).  And I guess I probably should have appreciated not being put on the spot and asked to go.  But there seemed to be an insensitivity to their posting all their photos.  NM has repeatedly told me how "close" they are now (in the time that I've been NC with NSIS).  NSIS has been making such a big deal about what a "wonderful mom" NM is.  Although I don't think they were trying to send me a message by posting them, I can't help but think that they hoped I'd be jealous.  Or mad.  Or feel badly about it all.  That's just how they are (I know this, because I've seen NM do it to other people.)

I'm sure it's very phony (after the first drunken night and all of the posts, I saw nothing for the next few days until NM changed her profile photo to one of her and my sister.  The previous one for the past two months had also been of her and my sister.)  I've watched my mother "construct" posts before to make things look better than they are.  I wonder if their relationship is always as "happy" as they claim it to be (I'm not sure how it could be.  Before I went NC, they both complained about the other one often . I can't imagine that everything has changed in that time.  Although they certainly seem to want me to think so.  I wonder if they want me to believe it's BECAUSE I'm out of the picture.)

But it does hurt.  It irritates me and rubs me the wrong way.  But why?!?  Why do I care?  Why can't I let all of this go?  Why does it matter to me that they are continuing on with their charade (or maybe they all really believe they are "one big happy family....without Jessie".  I know partly it makes me doubt myself.  Like maybe if I tried just a bit harder, looked the other way when they pulled out their bullshit, let things go, I could handle it.  Or that maybe I'm just a fucking misfit and can't manage to fit in.  How can they all continue on like this?  Do they really think this is what "family" is?  Surface crap that doesn't actually extend to real love, compassion, or consideration?  The only one of my BILs (my husband's blood siblings) that acknowledges my kids on their birthdays is the one that has to (because his kids are invited to the party).   None of them acknowledge my DH on his birthday.  My sister has ignored my children since I put up the boundary that I would only speak with her on email and only after we addressed some of my concerns about our relationship.  She claims she LOVES them so much, yet does nothing of substance to prove it.  NM has never bothered to ask why I feel the way I do regarding my sister, has not asked if something is wrong with me (I mean, if your daughter pulled away from you, wouldn't you ASK if everything was OK).  NM actually doesn't ask about me at all.  When she does contact me, it's to bitch about my step siblings or talk about herself.  I know THAT is the reality of the situation, so why do these phony displays of love bother me so much?

I'm just so frustrated with myself.  I want to move on.  I want to not care.  I want to let them live their phony bullshit without me.  Why can't I?


  1. Because you're in mourning, and it takes time. In our case, lots and lots of time because the people haven't died, only the relationships.

    What I've been noticing lately is that the reason I'm struggling most often is because all the right words are said, and I forget that the words and the actions are not connected in any way, shape, or form. NM sounds so sane and reasonable sometimes, especially around people she wants to impress, and then I see what she does and says when there's no audience. I know we talk about the gaslighting, but talking about it and seeing the total and complete disconnect is jarring, to say the least.

    You are worth protecting from the insanity, even when it feels lonely. I'm still working on it, but I AM working on it.

    1. Thank you, Judy. You make some very good points. Sometimes I feel like I'm mourning a thousand little deaths of the relationship. Over and over and over.

      I had never thought about it as gaslighting but that makes perfect sense (I tend to notice the more obvious gaslighting, the intentional stuff). And maybe that's why it makes me so crazy. I just can't fathom how they can live in a world where nothing connects. This was my biggest issue when I was actually more involved in the relationship. I couldn't see how they "saw" something so drastically differently than I did. And it is jarring. I appreciate that you can understand what I am feeling.
      And yes, it does feel very lonely. I feel like the only person who sees it sometimes which makes me wonder if I really AM crazy. Sigh. I'll keep working on it too.
      Thank you Judy.

    2. You nailed it when you said "nothing connects."

      They are disconnected from themselves; I sometimes wonder if they might actually be dissociating a lot. --quartz

    3. That's a really good point Quartz. I hadn't thought about it that way: that THEY are dissociating. When I went to therapy, we discussed me struggling to find my identity and believe in myself. But when I was NOT around my Ns, I seemed to have a very good idea about what reality was. I hadn't thought about how dealing with someone who is dissociating - while telling you that it is reality - could really make me doubt my own sanity.

    4. "I just can't fathom how they can live in a world where nothing connects." I couldn't work out how they do this either but I've come to the conclusion that they don't notice because they are constantly distracting themselves with stuff to make themselves feel good about themselves. They're not trying to have healthy relationships with other people, they use people to fill themselves up with NS. Their approach is completely different from ours.

    5. Yes, I suppose that's true Kara. It is just so hard for me to wrap my head around. I do think that the "distraction" technique makes it a lot easier. And I suppose if you don't really care about relationships, that makes it a lot easier to live in fantasy land too. You get to be the "star of the show" and everyone else is just a bit player that moves in and out of your life.

  2. I remember all too well the times I would question whether or not if I was seeing things correctly. Years ago, I had worked with this gal who was as I know it now, a narcissist but she wrapped it in Christianity. She would be behaving so inauthentic at times, I wanted to shout out to others "are you seeing this?" but I didn't. You are not crazy, you are very sane, very strong and very real. They all are in denial or can't even recognize what sanity is since they have been born and conditioned in this mess. This blog is your outlet. It reassures you are not alone and neither are the readers that think the same way you do. I get the facebook's not real and in their sick minds, it makes them feel like they have some relevance. They really don't like themselves but FB makes them feel better which is a complete lie. In time, this will pass and you will see that you know and feel your truth which is a much better place to be than where they are at. - Kel Ann

  3. Facebook is just such a perfect venue for N's and their ilk - life can look so perfect in a snapshot and a witty post. If only... Sometimes I've felt like I was looking at my NFOO the same way I watch a horror movie - with my hands up over my face, peeking through my fingers. There's a horrible draw to the drama that we lived with for so long.

    Any contact with the crazies in my NFOO increases my anxiety, my sense of loneliness, and my sense of not belonging. I know that I have a terrific advantage - I live on a different continent than my NFOO and they have absolutely no way of contacting me - they don't even know my address or phone number. I've blocked the crazies on email and FB and warned the siblings that I do have contact with that they are not to even mention the Nsibs in casual conversation, nor are they to say anything about me to them - and if they do, I will sever contact with them as well. A hard line for someone who acted like a doormat most of her life!

    I think that for me, it's speeded up recovery - it's been a bit like creating a womb for myself, a warm, loving place where I can learn to be who I was meant to be before the Nparents plopped me into the role they needed filled.

    Thanks for this post - it really helped me to clarify my relationship with the crazies in my NFOO, an undulating mass of anxious, gossipy, back-stabbing, trauma-bonded people whose concept of relationship is toxic and who I need to stay far, far away from!

    1. Yes, I think a continent would surely help! I dislike checking on FB, but since I'm only LC with NM (NC with NSIS, but she hoovers quite regularly) and LC with my N-in-laws, I feel somewhat more secure keeping an eye on them (sounds crazy, but otherwise, I'm stuck dealing with emotions in the moment and they often catch me off guard. It helps me delay panicked reactions to them.)
      I'm glad you are doing well and that this post helped. Staying far, far away is a good idea!

  4. Nothing connects is soooo good! The words they say aren't reaching the heart. It has no real meaning. It looks good, but tastes like shit type of thing.