Releasing the past in order to find myself

Friday, September 9, 2016


I'm not sure if anyone is still out there reading this blog.  I know it's been awhile.  I have still been working on dealing with my Ns, but I've needed to do some more personal work, rather than the more lengthy blog posts.
It's been 4 years since I went NC with my sister.  When she lied on FB about having cancer, I'd had enough.  I asked her to change her relationship with me.  I changed my relationship with her.  I refused to participate in the drama, the codependency, the enmeshment, and, most of all, the enmeshment.  But the merry-go-round of drama continues to go around with her.  Last year, she rushed to my grandmother's death bed to "make amends" after 15 years of estrangement.  (She N-raged against my grandmother and then blamed my grandmother for not "reaching out" to her and making her feel better.)  She managed to "martyr" herself into getting the most money of any of the grand kids out of my grandmother and my grandmother's car.  She also used the opportunity to try and force me into contact.  The latest drama is centered around her break up with her long-term and abusive (she's abusive too) boyfriend.  Again, she suddenly wants to "fix" our relationship.  But really she just wants me to take on her issues again.  She has been buzzing around a lot lately, trying to see what she can do to get me to interact.  Up to this point, I have held strong.  
I slowly went more and more LC with my mother too. She had started in picking on my oldest son and I'd had enough.  So, I severly limited contact between her and my kids.  And I started to fade away.  Although NM was clearly not happy about it, she didn't bring it up, but rather, silently seethed.  In May, while visiting for my youngest son's birthday, NM spent over an hour trying to pick a fight with me.  She kept bringing up ridiculous subjects that she knows are touchy subjects (one being politics) and tried to force me to get angry.  What she was really aiming for was to confront me about my NC with my sister and my LC with her.  She mimiced me, made fun of me, belittled me and basically treated me disrespectfully.  I finally lost it and told her:  treat me with respect and like an adult or we won't have a relationship.  I finally told her (quite calmly but VERY firmly) that I was done with the relationship as it was.  She (literally) glowered at me.  She glared unblinkingly at me.  I asked her twice to stop.  She didn't, so I left.  She then started in on my husband, complaining to him about me and saying what I was doing "wasn't right" (I'm assuming what I was "doing" was going LC/NC).  He defended me and she claimed to "understand" that he was defending his wife, but that he "knew" I was in the wrong.  I grey rocked her for the next day in order to keep the peace for the sake of my son.
After she left, she sent me several texts and an email, apologizing for "her part" in the disagreement and that she "wanted our relationship back the way it was".  When I didn't respond, she started texting and bugging my husband again.  I finally responded that things weren't working as they were, that things needed to change, and the relationship would require some work.  I haven't heard from her since then.  Of course, until now, when she wanted to come for my older son's birthday party (not his actual birthday, but the party.)
I know,  I should just cut her off.  (Especially after watching the co-dependent mess she participated in with my sister this summer.  After the break up, my 36 year old sister moved back home for a month, sponged off my mother, and then moved back out when they couldn't get along.  Shocker!  NSIS had been making up more fake medical issues and expected everyone to rescue her.  Really, she just needs a therapist.  But God forbid, she gets on of those.  She verbally abused my father, threw tantrums, and basically caused havoc.  And NM lapped it all up, enjoying the drama and then complaining about being involved in the drama.  And then she and NSIS would go on FB and act like the perfect mother and daughter.)
My sons (especially the oldest) still loves their grandmother.  I still don't feel completely right about going NC.  I am allowing NM to come for one day for the birthday party.  And I'm dreading it (as my sons skip around excitedly for grandma to come).  I have no doubt she's still seething and looking for ways to get revenge (she is a horribly vengeful person).    I can see now how much the stress and anxiety around these two woman makes me sick.  I have had nightmares and been irritable and depressed.  I plan to grey rock the shit out of her (it will help she has my step father with her this time.  She behaves somewhat around him),  But I'm dreading it.  My husband is against NC.  He feels my kids will resent me for cutting off their grandparents (my MIL is a narcissist too.)  We have little to no extended family around our kids.  (They have 4 uncles/aunts +their spouses; none of whom makes any effort to be in their lives.  My BIL and SIL only live five minutes from us and we never see them.)
The whole situation makes me sad.  I do feel a lot stronger than I have in the past.  I feel more self assured.  Standing up to NM in May really helped my self-confidence and independence.  But I still feel mired in the shit.  I still feel sad, and lost, and lonely.  I feel like a person without a "home".  I worry about my kiddos.  I worry about the covert manipulation by their grandmothers.  I worry about them feeling isolated and alone without extended family.
We also don't have many close friends.   We are working on it, but it's been a slow process.  People our age have friends and don't need new ones.  I had made one friend, but after I asked her to watch my home for a week, some sides of her came out that I was not thrilled about (she wasn't honest and allowed her kids to have a play date with another kid at our home).  That relationship is on "pause" while I figure out what to do (our kids are close friends, so, yet another decision that can effect my kids).
I'm stuck also trying to explain things to my kids.  I don't believe in completely not saying anything to the kids.  As with any difficult subject, I think it's important to share age-appropriate information.   I don't want to like giving my sons the impression that their grandmothers are great people and people we should want to be around a lot.  I don't want to participate in them being "groomed" by their grandmothers by acting as if grandma is normal.  Both my kids are very perceptive and have picked up on things.  But they are young, and I've been warned to not burden them emotionally with "adult" issues.
On the plus side, my father finally has heard me.  When my grandmother died, I finally let it all out.  That I was in therapy.  That I had PTSD.  That I had been suicidal.  That the relationship with my mother and sister was horribly toxic to me.  My father isn't particularly warm or open emotionally.  H has had his own trauma and suffers severe depression (which made him angry and abusive when I was a kid.  He's getting treatment and is a lot better).  But he, at least, understood and told me I was doing the right thing.  Of everybody in this world, he is the only other person who understands the depth of the problems with my mother and sister.  He's a victim of them too.  He's not great at support, but he's at least been there somewhat.  So, it's something.

So, I'm still plugging along.  But I wonder if it will ever get significantly better.  To where this doesn't weigh on me so damn much.  To where I can detach and completely focus on my own family.  It bothers me SO much that this takes up so much of my energy and emotional space, which takes me away from my own family.  As I watch my kids grow so quickly, I don't want to waste this time on unnecessary drama.  Which is why I moved away from the Ns in the first place.  But I become frustrated with the time and effort it takes to make progress.  I wonder if I"m progressing fast enough to not harm my kids.  I wonder if I'm doing the right things by my kids (am I being selfish with LC/NC?  Is it fair for my kids to have no extended family?  How much contact is reasonable?  How much should I share?  How can I protect my kids from the covert nature of my Ns? It goes on and on.)

Wish me luck in the next few weeks.  It is so frustrating that all my Ns come hoovering around during important times in my kids' lives.  I think I'll make it through, but I am so anxious....


  1. It's impossible to avoid drama when the Ns bathe in it; but it does become easier to step back as you recognize when they're attempting to drag you in. My siblings' children all but one learned to recognize the crazy and interact without being sucked in. They were in their teens and twenties when they figured it out. Keep fighting for you.

    1. Thanks Judy. Sometimes I feel so frustrated that things aren't "better". But you are right, life with Ns (even in NC) brings drama.
      I appreciate the reminder to keep fighting. Some days that's easier than others....

    2. Sadly, with Ns, there is no "better." There is, however, the ability to distance yourself from the drama. You're learning. Be patient with yourself. As to some days being easier than others... amen to that.

  2. So nice to "see" you, Jessie. It sounds like you're doing a lot of anticipatory grieving and that's so hard and heart breaking. That event in May, wow: you're seeing how pathetic and petty they really are instead of this large, looming all powerful being. The "bad news" is the naked truth they are unwilling to change their behavior even in the face of sacrificing any relationship with you and the family. So they can be "right" and you'll be distant. And perhaps eventually, gone.
    I know from my own experience LC/Boundaries don't work with these people but I think FWIW, everyone should absolutely try them. That way when it comes to no other option but NC it won't feel "good" emotionally but intellectually you'll know you did every last thing you could to have a relationship with them and the reality is, they de facto force NC. Their behavior says "NO! I refuse to recognize you as a human being in your own right, I refuse to respect you or your autonomy." This helps ameliorate the guilt that accompanies a self-lacerating conscience associated with PTSD.
    Your DH sounds like a wonderful man. When it comes to making decisions such as this remember he comes from a very similar background as you and doesn't yet appear to have the clarity you have. I'm not sure his judgement is as sound as your's. It seems you're doing well with your T. I bet it doesn't feel like it at times but you are getting stronger and more realistic.
    Thanks so much for the update. You are missed!
    best wishes-

    1. HiTW! Good to hear from you too an thanks for your thoughts. I will try to make it back here a little more frequently. I know have two kiddos in school, so I think I'll have some time to think finally. :)
      I think, more than anything, I had to throw up the boundaries for my own sake. As you said, I needed to know that, no matter what I did, things wouldn't change. And that I've done all I can (it also has helped my DH come to the realization that things can't just "get" better if I "make them respect" me. He actually said that, that I should "make them" respect me. He sat and watched the whole thing explode and was able to see the outcome.)
      NC always felt (and I think it should be) a very final decision. So, I've always wanted to play things out as far as I can to make sure I'm really making the right choice. And yes, the grieving that has come with it has been very painful.
      I also agree that my DH is not in the same place as me (yet). Many times in the past, I would get advice from well-meaning ACoNs who would suggest that he should just "support" me or, alternatively, that he was never going to change and I had to force issues with him. I've always realized he comes from the same background as me, so I've tried to be (relatively) patient. And he has come a very, very long way. And it has been very painful, for both of us, in this past year as we try to figure out which path we will go down. I am grateful he has begun to prioritize me and "our" family.
      Hope you are well TW!

  3. Been thinking about you a lot these last few days, Jessie. I remember the period I called "sword fighting" when I was implementing what is now called LC and Boundaries. Fencing involves both people advancing and retreating back and forth and this is what I felt was happening once I started curtailing contact. For a short time, I'd be given some space and then her aggressive advance would start again. I didn't examine my thinking at the time and my default when the Boundaries weren't working was the belief I must be doing something wrong-otherwise my Boundaries would "work," right? So I'd try harder/differently and get frustrated with myself all over again. When is enough enough? How come *I* kept failing at this? All the while ignoring the obvious-that she was fighting me every step of the way. I valued her and our relationship far more and deeply than she valued me. All the feelings you describe, sad, frustrated, tired, anxious, uncertain were plaguing me as well. I just wish someone had told me something like Boundaries do work-but not with a particular subset of people. I kept blaming myself for the whole mess. I would have been thrilled to have even a formal but distant relationship and she was damned if I was going to get any "concession" from her-like acknowledgement I'm an autonomous adult with my own Identity apart from being her "possession." As hard (understatement) as that period was, I'm really glad I hung in there and tried every kind of remediation tool I could imagine. I also believed then and now NC was a very serious and final irrevocable decision. It is a death, the absolute last resort.
    I hope these weeks/months with the Ns are not beating you down horribly. Why does life demand the most from us when we have the least to give? I don't know. Maybe I needed to learn to crawl before I could "walk." Sometimes, it really isn't about us but paradoxically, it is intensely personal.
    Take care, Jessie. Hope you're OK. Yes, you *are* a Natural Mother. IMO, your kiddos are and will be fine.

    1. I was actually having a very bad day, so I appreciate you checking in. I've been on a forum (talking in a more informal way) and most people say NC is the absolute way to go. But I feel, like you, it is an absolute death. It's not the tactic you start with. I do feel like I'm sword fighting her and, while I get she won't respect my boundaries, I do feel the need to see how far back I can push her. What is bare minimum of contact I can handle. I would also be fine with a distant but formal relationship. On my end, I'm detached from her. While I do long for a family and a "mother", I'm completely detached from HER as a person (if that makes sense). I realize that it will never be, even close, to what I want with her.
      My biggest struggle is that there are so many other people besides me to consider. The biggest being my kids. Am I sending the message that family just "gives up"? Will they resent me for distancing them from all extended family (there is really not a decent one among them, except my dad. And he's not really the loving, close, grandfather type. And he lives far away. My husband has struggled with "losing" his family. And for a long time, he claimed it was my fault. He loved his "big, extended" family and the truth of who some of them are has been heart breaking for him. And while some of his extended family WERE great, they are so old now and disconnected that they wouldn't really be the family for our kids. Our kids extended family are all nut jobs, selfish, self-involved, and emotionally shallow.....if not having bigger issues. My heart breaks for my kids. We don't have a lot of close friends (most were also "users" who had superficial relationships with us). We don't have church or other affiliations. I worry about that. I would like to maintain some relationship with the few extended family members I can. I don't want my kids to be so resentful, they run to my mother (not necessarily out of my own fear, but fear of what she will do to them. She is very, very covert and subversive. The damage she does is very hard to see. And she creates co-dependence. It's just very hard.

  4. Hi Jessie!! You have no idea how many times I have checked your blog for an update. There were a few months that I didn't check and really started to think she's done with this and is trying to manage it. This morning I woke up and thought about you and just decided to check & here you are! You have had a lot or a ton on your plate. I can so relate to how you are feeling about not having a "home". I've been thinking about the same thing for the last couple of months. What is "gray rocking"? Is this a new term for the narc's out there? Anyway, Great post and glad you are still there. I've come to accept nothing will change with this madness. Only I can change my part of it. Recently, my aunt died and she is giving some of her estate, to NGC and I. I had found out over the summer that my NGC purposely chose not to provide any contact information to the attorneys handling her estate. I pointed this out to my NM and she didn't even bat a eye about it. That's when I finally decided my part in this is done. They will not change and I cannot be affected by it anymore. It's been over 5 years now that I've been "dealing" with this reality of how I was raised and I can't change them. I can only change my response to it and they hate that but oh well. I'm so glad you posted. You write so very well and you write exactly about how we all feel the same thing. Thanks for the update!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I am managing a lot better. But I also needed a break from the blog because, frankly, I didn't have time for it. I used to write when my kids napped. But they stopped napping and I had no time (it's difficult to process when someone's asking your for something all the time, and by the end of the day I was too tired). I had found some other support systems to fill in.
      Grey rocking is also called medium chill. It's where you make your self bland and boring, so as to not give any supply to the N. Only discussing bland and boring things and not giving any emotional reactions. If you google it, I'm sure you'll get a much better description and some examples than I am giving. It really does work.
      And, you are right, you can only change yourself, not the Ns. They will not like it, but you need to do what is best for you.