Family Pressure Cooker

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Or maybe I should say Mother Pressure cooker?

    My mother wants to have a meeting with her, me, Jessie and gfgbro, and then one with thank you instead of Jessie. She wants to "prove" to them that he won't hurt them.

    I am about 2000% against this. In the past this has happened. They want Jessie and I to say exactly what Jessie is afraid gfgbro will do, so that he can promise he won't do it. Also so he can say what he hates about them, the way they treat my parents, etc... in a "calm" way so that we can "make peace".

    been there done that in the past with-o the kid. Been having "talks" and letters about this for years, since before my kids were born. He will NOT say that he has to "protect" my mother from us in front of her, but he will call afterwards to tell me that.

    He has done it for 20+ years.

    I am NOT allowed to mention anything he has done in the past because I am supposed to "forget" when I forgive. Jess and I will still be told how awful it is to "cut him out of our lives" and it cannot stay because he would not "hurt" us in any way and he is not abusive in any way because he goes to AA meetings and lives a 12 Step life and we don't so we don't know how to live a good life.

    That is pretty much verbatim of the "rules" I have been given for how life is supposed to work. he can say I am bitter, vindictive and hold a grudge about everything, but I cannot say that we are afraid of him because he has backed us into a corner every time he gets upset and wants to tantrum or have a tirade.

    He has done this for years, and treats my husband, kids and I this way regardless of the "talks" and "agreements" we have had to 'work things out". Those talks have always boiled down to I am in the wrong, I need to apologize, and he can do what he wants. Of course his apologizes are okay in front of my mother and in writing but there is always a call the next day to say that he was wrong but wouldn't have had to be wrong if I had just behaved and listened to all he wanted to say.

    There is NOTHING that will convince him that his "freedom of speech" does NOT mean that I have to listen or that he somehow "deserves" to say whatever abusive thing he wants in whatever manner/time/group of people he wants to say it.

    I am SOOO not interested. My therapist and J's therapist say it is not a bad idea, it is a TERRIBLE idea and will only increase the trauma and fear.

    Why is it that my parents can only enjoy us if my brother is there? What is it that is so wrong with us that we can only be enjoyed as a family in his company? Are we so awful, so devoid of interest to others that my brother has to be there to make us interesting? When he is around we barely speak. husband and I give NO personal info in his presence because it is ALWAYS used against us. I have not said anything specific to my parents in a couple of years because he is always there and there is always a call or lecture or letter later that uses it to say how awful we were.

    heck, the last personal thing we said was 3 years ago when I said I decorated cupcakes for Tyler's class. I got a lovely lecture for the next 20 minutes about how terrible that was because I filled the kids full of sugar, empty calories and food colorings to make them all have adhd. then he said that he bought his daughter's class special candy that looked like spongebob lollipops that were gummy candy. NOT health food, by the way, just fancy gummy suckers.

    I am totally serious here. We say NOTHING when he is around. And yet we cannot go over to my parents because my mom wants us all there or none of us there.

    I have said I won't make a scene or a fuss if he pops in while we are there (he drives past their home on his way home to make sure our cars are not there because we "take advantage" of them and they "cannot protect themselves" from us. THEY don't say this, and he doesn't admit to the drive-by to them, but he has bragged about it to me (even said I owed him $30 for the extra gas it takes to drive by every day, ten blocks out of his way!).

    I am feeling pressured and like an ambush is coming. ADvice? Help!?!

    Thanks. I hate this. I just want to be able to spend time with my parents, and have my kids enjoy their grandparents, with-o all this garbage. But it HAS to be that my gfgbro can be there if we are there.

    Mostly I don't ever go to there home anymore. just too much baggage. I miss my parents.
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Susie, I don't think your mother understands yet how much pain and fear this causes you and your children. Just like when we're trying to change a long-standing pattern in our children's behaviour, we get a lot of push-back before they realize that yes, we are completely serious and DO mean what we have said.

    I think your mom is exerting so much pressure because she figures you'll back down eventually. But you can't. You mustn't. Now, more than ever you must stand your ground. For your sake and your children's sake. If you don't, you'll just teach your gfgbro AND your mom that with enough pressure you will fold. And then they will not take you seriously the next time you try to stand your ground.

    I'm sure it hurts your parents as much as it hurts you not to get to spend time together. But your mom can't control this situation because it's not hers to control. As you so eloquently said, you have to be a parent first, a wife second and a daughter third. Sister comes somewhere further down the list in my opinion. Where, depends on the type of relationship you have with your brother. In your case, I think you have no obligations at all.

    Don't try to understand why your mother feels the need to have both of your families with her or none. It doesn't have any logical bearing. Just remember that in order to protect your family, you can't allow that situation to happen. Stand firm Susie. We're behind you 100%.

    Sending hugs and strength,
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    ((((Susie)))) I'm so sorry over how much you miss your parents and the pains it causes you to deal with this entire situation. But I agree with Trinity - you must not cave on this. It's taken you soooo long to get this strong against your gfgbro - for the protection of yourself and especially your children. No, you cannot allow him even an inch and your mother is asking this of you by trying to have you all sit down together. It's not a healthy move for anyone - not even gfgbro or your parents, Know what I mean??

    I think if you want to spend time with your parents, it needs to be by your rules, at your home without gfgbro's interruptions. Please do not give in to this pressure. I remember feeling your pain through your posts about gfgbro in the past and I would hate to see you or the kids go through that again. It's wrong for your mother to place her or your gfgbro's needs over you or your childrens. She should be able to respect your wishes on this. Clearly, there has been an ongoing problem and she knows it. Hugs - hang in there.
  4. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I agree with the others. It's time to make YOUR rules for your parents and stick to them. Only see them at YOUR house. If they don't like the rules, then they don't have to come. But you have offered. It will then put the, well, 'ownership" of the problem on them and not on you.

    And at all costs I would keep away from gfgbro. Period. End of discussion.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    *HUGS* Susie. I haven't been here long enough to really know your situation but I do agree with the others telling you stay strong, stand firm, and don't agree to anything that feels off or wrong. Unless you can hire a few armed guards.
  6. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I agree with the others, that you really need to keep firm as you have been. No big scene, just tell your mom that you are not interested now and won't be in the future. That you've made peace (okay, stretch it if you have to) with not having him in your life as have your children. Tell her maybe that you understand how she wishes it COULD be, but that isn't how its worked out. That you have nothing more to say on bro. However that you do miss them and want to continue to develop ways to be close and spend time together without bro, and build a new type of relationship that is one on one with you and them because it's the way it has to be.

    I know that it must be so hard, I've been following your posts on this for a long time and I feel for you, and relate completely. I think that over time, your mom is getting better at seeing it isn't working. It is almost natural for a parent to continue to find last ditch efforts to make to attempt to make it how she would ideally like it. I do think over time, with you maintaining your consistent stance, that she will ease off and eventually accept. She doesn't ahve to like it or understand it. It's okay if she doesn't. She does have to eventually realize though that it is time to let go of her ideals for her children and just manage with the status you and your bro have at this stage.

    Hang in there, you are doing a great job of standing up for yourself and your family. (((hugs)))
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Susie if your warrior Mom red flags are going off in neon then listen to them. Your priority is YOUR family first, extended family comes after that, including your parents. You can be a reformed alcoholic/drug addict and work the 12 step program and still be a major *ss. That 12 step program doesn't change personalities. Your parents are still being the enablers and your bro is still being a manipulative jerk (thinking a MUCH stronger word).

    As I said before I understand how your Mom feels but attempting to push you into this is wrong, period.

    When Katie contacted us I did not push easy child into speaking with her at all. It was her choice. Katie had hurt her terribly.....much more than I had ever thought........and she has a right to those feelings. Even now the rift between her and Katie is not healed completely. She is wary and unsympathetic to the nth degree where Katie is concerned........but will bend over backward for her niece and nephews. Like I said, being the Mom in such a situation svcks but it is between the two girls not easy child and I, nor Katie and I. Know what I mean??

    You do what you feel is right. And let the rest go.

  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Would your mom visit yours or Jessie's therapist with one of you? Let the therapist explain? I would imagine this would tick off gfgbro, too, and he'd likely be calling the therapist. Then the therapist could hear, if they wanted, first hand what gfgbro had to say...

    Or...there's a nice house for rent down the road here. I'd love to have you as family.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Susie, over the years, this seems to happen repeatedly. Although to be fair, your mom sounds 50% out of touch with what your brother is doing and 50% like she sees a problem with siblings and wants to find a way to resolve it. You have a lot of anger and a lot of defensiveness(rightfully) regarding your brother and what you see as parents giving him an unfair amount of parental love and tolerance. I'm not sure your parents would agree since they have admitted that he is "difficult" and not trustworthy.

    It really seems that this has been a revolving door of accusations, hurt feelings, apprehension and even sibling rivalry over who gets more from your parents. Really sort of a child parent thing instead of adult siblings growing away from the constant need for parents involvement or approval.
    I find it difficult to figure out whether mom is the good guy or the enabling bad guy. Depends a lot on what she does that day.
    I'm not judging here, since I have a hard time following who has done what to who and who enabled who.
    One thing is clear, you do not want anything to do with your brother. It is your adult choice and nothing mom says or does is going to change that from what I can tell. You don't own anyone an explanation. It is your choice.

    At this point, family counseling with a professional who will arbitrate is the only way I can see that the family will make progress to the point that everyone will find some peace with the situation.
    Families are tricky that's for sure and I have some issues where I feel a sibling gets lots of undeserved positive attention from my parents. Nothing like the threats, fear or accusations that goes on with yours but the feelings are similar.
    I hope you can find a way to pull away from the toxic intertwining of the siblings and their family.
  10. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Susie, as the parent of adult grown children, I too have suffered from the Rodney King illness called "Can't we all just get along" at various times. I have three that barely can tolerate each other in the same room without old hurts and grudges comming into play-they all revert to being children instead of grown adults. As I have gotten older, my memory now keeps recalling those Norman Rockwell paintings, especially the one that has the family around a Thanksgiving table and I have to slap myself out of it. We are all so programed from birth with this ideal of "family" blood is thicker than water, family needs to stick together, blah blah blah. It causes a lot of angst to come to the realization that there are people in your family that you wouldn't give the time of day to if you were not related, whether its your parents, siblings or kids for that matter. But as an adult, despite family pressures, you need to do what you need to do to feel safe and if that means walking away giving your parents an open invitation to visit you, but you are not going to go over there and possibly subject yourself to gfgbro, then that is what you need to do - its your decision.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Having no siblings this one is hard for me to comment on. I do have step siblings that I know absolutely get more attention from my step-mom and father because well...they are my step-moms kids and they live in the same town as my parents. I have no idea how it would work if we all lived closely but I dont think we would be complete outcasts and I cant see anyone deliberately attempting to hurt any of us.

    That said, I think I would do the inviting of your parents to your house. That way it is on your terms. They are free to come over, brother is not. Just that simple.
  12. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    I'd play pass the bean dip with her. Reiterate that you will not see him, will not have your kids see him, will not discuss it and will not compromise. Tell her bring it up again and you'll be forced to cut her off to access to you and your family until she agrees to your terms. I've had to do this myself but if she leaves you no choice but to do that that is her choice and the consequences of that choice.

    It's either respect the line drawn in the sand with no negotiations or see ya. Gentle reminders when she brings it up like "we are not discussing this, please respect my wishes" (not YOU words, that's what makes people defensive). If she continues to push it "I'm sorry, I have to leave\hang up now, thank you for your hospitality\call. I appreciate it".

    Plain and simple (logically anyway but emotionally it's tough) stick to your guns, keep that line drawn in the sand.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Stay strong, Susie. You've been through this b4.

    I'm on my way to a cousin's wedding ... shades of the same thing. They've invited some "out-laws" who have stolen from husband's family home (his dad had a stroke many hrs ago and they assumed he would die. He recovered ... and they got caught red handed); lied to everyone; had drinking and drug issues; moved 5X because they can't get along with-everyone ... the mother of the bride is one of these "blood is thicker than water types," and a Rodney King "Why can't we all just get along" types. (Love that expression!)

    I'm hoping there are enough people that all we have to do is nod in passing and keep walking.

    Fingers crossed. Stay strong. :)
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    You are absolutely right in protecting yourself and your children. Many, many hugs.
  15. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Your mother is not respecting your boundaries - the reason doesn't really matter, in my humble opinion. It's time to draw your line in the sand and stick to it.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Either what Fran said............or What I say - NO. period. You poor thing. (oh wait - that's right you don't WANT to be the victim anymore) UGH. Yeah - maybe what Fran said then - Once and for all then NO MORE PERIOD.

    God it's a wonder you don't have to buy stock in calamine lotion.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Thank you everyone!!

    There IS a lot of hurt and confusion on my part. I think mostly because I would be THRILLED to go on and NEVER mention any of the past stuff that has been done. The problem is that while I am expected to not bring up anything that happened in the past (including yesterday as the past, and anything that brought things to a head is supposed to be in the past and never mentioned by me.) No one else follows that restriction. MY behavior, and my husband's and childrens' behavior is all thrown in my face at any discussion of "problems". If I say that what we did was wrong, but was done because Y was done TO US, I get chewed out all over for "bringing up the past". Some of the things that I end up getting criticized and taken to "task" for are things that happened decades ago, including things my children did before they were old enough for school. Yet if I mention something that happened a month ago I am "holding a grudge" and "dwelling on the past" like I have done since I "got out of high school".

    I just don't understand how I am not ever supposed to express my issues with things that happened in the last few months while being yelled at and told I am terrible and awful and a horrible mother, sister, daughter, friend and human being for things I did years ago or things my husband and kids may have done years ago. NEVER are ANY efforts on my part to change given any credit or praise, not whenever we have gotten together to "talk things out" in the past.

    It is why I am so unwilling to "discuss" things now. Just not interested because the same thing has happened at so many past "discussions". They are not even discussions. It is all about how awful Susie and husband and the kids are. After a few minutes of my bro saying that my mom jumps on the bandwagon. If I have a problem I am expected to have the exact date and time that it happened or it is not something that "really happened" but it ignored because I "cannot support" what I am saying with a specific date and time for each time that i say it happened. I am NOT joking. I am also the ONLY person this applies to. My father won't join the discussion because he thinks it is all BS and won't get gfgbro to change anything, or to stop doing things like changing the locks on his house with-o him knowing about it.

    There is some sibling rivalry and feelings of great hurt over that. I won't deny it. I also see that I am NOT the only one in our family to feel it. My gfgbro is a HUGE "beancounter" and if he thinks my parents have spent $$ on us, or on my kids, that is more than they spent on him and his daughter he gets FURIOUS. He will then drop unsubtle "hints" until they give him something. Not cash because he is "self sufficient" but a couple of months with no truck or mortgage payments (they hold his notes because he cannot qualify for a loan because the way he handles his business and at many times cannot even qualify to rent a tool, much less a place to live.) is expected.

    Gfgbro and I are so totally different in likes, personality, and generally who we are. He has done things that I find HORRIBLE and awful and illegal. I have been accused MANY times of "turning him in" and "calling the cops" on him. I have ONLY done that once, at his then wifes SPECIFIC and direct request. she BEGGED me to report him for child abuse because he would get mad and scream and throw things at her while she held my infant niece. throwing things like dishes, candles in jars, etc... I still waited until I SAW him do it, and then reported him. It was incredibly hard to do, and his then wife refused to admit she asked me to do it. It was the right thing to do, but is still held against me by my mother. My father privately told me that he was about 24 hrs away from doing the same thing, but he wouldn't tell my bro that.

    If it wasn't for my parents we would have NOTHING to talk about or to do with each other. As it is, I have to stand strong on this. Not because I hate him, because I don't. Because it is just such a TOXIC relationship. I am quite ready to have peace in my life. If my mom insists on this I may have to say some things I don't want to tell her.

    I hate hate all this koi.
  18. ML

    ML Guest

    I'm coming in late to this and don't have anything new to add. I read through the responses and they were very insightful and I agreed with them wholeheartedly. You have to stay strong in terms of doing what you feel is the best thing for YOU and for the kids. You have our support and love and confidence because we know you can and will make the best decision for your family. Love, ML
  19. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Thinking of you susie! it's tough being in this situation, but you do have an out. The counselors claimed regression for your daughter and can have to do what's best for her! Takes ALLLLL the blame off you!

    Rattling beads that you gain some sense of rest on this as well as that your mom gets a clue that not all families function like th cleavers! Heck, my family put the "fun" back in dis-fun-ctional (as well as funeral...but that's a totally different story!).

    Feel better!

  20. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Susie, I have nothing new to add, but I do have something to send - extra rhino skin - this one is specially formulated for dealing with people who just won't listen!

    Stick to your guns, my girl.