Too Good To Be True

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I KNEW it was too good to be true!!!!!!!

    I KNEW my mom would NOT keep her nose out of it or recognize my right to keep bro away from my kids.

    Yesterday was all "I don't want to know, to be in the middle, happy to enjoy you for you, etc...."

    I just got a call telling us my niece spent the night. Gpa ran into xsil at the pharmacy. She felt awful, has an infection, Gpa brought niece home. No biggie. My kids still want to see my parents. She just wanted to not "blindside" us.

    Fine. I will not go out of my way to see niece, but I won't punish my parents for being nice to her mom.

    THEN my mom tells me that the ONLY thing bro had a problem with was how husband talks about me around them. He made some comment AT EASTER about me. Six weeks later my bro had to corner him to berate him about it? The phones and mail didn't work unless my kids were around???

    Mom then says husband left Easter with-o saying goodbye or thanks and mom was a little upset by it. Gfgbro saw it and was upset. I could see that. IF gfgbro hadn't CHASED us out of there. He SPECIFICALLY told husband that all he did was upset them and had no right to be aorund them.

    My parents are not always thrilled with husband. husband TRIES. But he doesn't answer overly personal questions except with a joke. He will NOT go into details of his job search and his plans in the meantime with them. My mother STILL wants him to outline his actions every week to prove that he is spending 40 hours a week jobhunting. TO HER. Not for his own use, to manage his time. TO HER. She has called me upset about it, just like last time he was job hunting.

    My mother has claimed to not want to know the problems with my marriage. But she asks very pointed questions of us AND the kids to find problems that don't exist and are none of her business if they do. When we first married she did some triangulating to make sure I wasn't "changing loyalty" away from her. It took a little while for me to see, but husband and I figured it out. We have tried to be very careful not to give her places to try to dig into our relationship. She has even offered to "fund" a divorce a couple of times.

    husband is not perfect. He drives me nuts pretty often. He does a couple of things my mother and father dislike. It is reciprocal. He hates the way my mom runs him down and pushes gfgbro forward as the "perfect" child. She explains away anything gfgbro does and brings up stuff I did before we were married or even earlier. Even more he HATES that if a joke can be taken in the wrong way it will be - if husband tells it. But bro can repeatedly tell us, esp ME, the "joke" about why the woman had 2 black eyes. (She should have listened the first time is his "punch" line) It is told every time gfgbro doesn't like the way Jessica or I behave.

    husband also uses the word "yell" to mean berate. It is how his entire family, and MANY other people I know, use the word. It does not always mean that voices are raised. husband is far more upset by that low vicious voice than by shouting. Mom and gfgbro, and to some extent I, use the low tone when angry. I do it less because I learned it isn't effective. He shuts down rather than copes, so if I want change I use a more effective tone of voice. Both Mom and gfgbro use it to sink in claws when other people are a couple of yards away or if kids are just a few feet away. I know they do because they do it TO ME. If husband says that they "yelled" at him he refers to the below the belt hits and that vicious tone of voice, not raised voices. It has been almost 20 years. There are words that mom and gfgbro use that are not in line with the dictionary definition, but that doesn't count. All husband has to say to have them trumpet that everything he says is wrong is to use the word yell. That ONE word, used inaccurately but consistently, will have them GLEEFULLY saying that nothing he says is true. Everything is a lie because he used that ONE word the way he learned it growing up. I had NO idea that entire arguments were untrue and terrible behavior was fine if one person used ONE WORD inaccurately.

    Isn't this junior high behavior? Don't adults either say something to work it out OR get over it and move on? I know, if husband responded to gfgbro, that he did it out of protectiveness after seeing me in tears and seeing our kids frightened. He would move heaven and earth to keep me from crying and them from being upset. Esp after so many years of gfgbro's koi.

    And my mother's koi. I am SO not surprised that she called this morning. She knows that every Sunday I am home and husband is at church all morning. It is her fave time to pull this koi.

    I am sure husband is not blameless. I am also sure that neither he nor the kids did anything to deserve abuse. period.

    The facts are that the ONE thing that I said MUST change for gfgbro to have a continued relationship with us is to never again pull the "you must listen to me say what I want, however nastily I want to say it, for as long as I want to say it" and not let us end the talk until we are both calm enough to be rational. For YEARS, since before Wiz was born, that is the ONE thing I have asked. I drew a line in the sand. Gfgbro knew it. I gave him a "second" chance about a year ago. It was the ONE thing that I mentioned. I have begged forgiveness for stuff I did NOT do, just to keep peace and make my mother happy. I have made HUGE efforts to change the way I speak and act around my bro, at his demands. I asked ONE thing. A reasonable, rational, not even very big thing.

    No way gfgbro got his dysfunction alone. no. WAY.

    It is time for me to stick to my line in the sand. No more nightmares for my kids. Period. No more gfgbro.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im pretty sure by now that Tony would have taken your brother out behind the wood shed a time or two but I guess that would have been not taken too kindly huh?

    My mom treated Tony badly...really bad. Nothing he did was good enough for her even though he did everything she asked. What was really strange was she threw up my first husband in his face when he was a no good, no account, dead beat, wife beating loser. Really strange! There is no comparison between the two men.

    It was really like she had more "fun" putting down the good in life. Im really glad I didnt have siblings because that would have just been another ball of wax to deal with. She treated my kids so differently too. My oldest was her favorite and she showered him with everything. He was my first husbands kid and she just treated him like gold. Jamie was evil incarnate. She called him the little b child. To his face. Cory was just a PITA.

    Did I mention Tony hated her and only put up with her because I was an only kid?
  3. ML

    ML Guest

    Oh Susie, I am so sorry. This is so unfair. Your parents have got to learn boundaries. As some said to one of my posts earlier this week, your relationship with husband is OFF LIMITS to them.

    The only thing I can come up with is detachment. I encourage you to hit up a few meetings this week and submerge yourself in the messages "letting go" and the serenity prayer "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ...."

    You cannot change these dymanics but you can change your part in the dance. You can stop dancing. It's a matter of survival.

    I hate to see you hurting.


  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Susie, I know it's not your dad, but I really think you need to detach from both mom and bro, whick may mean you detach indirectly from dad.

    Even if it's only for a short time, you and your family need to find some self preservation and as long as you have even the shortest of conversations with (about things that are none of her business especially) you will have those koi-like feelings rushing around you, which is not healthy for you, or your family. If I were you, I would take a break from the fan for as
    long as possible. An al Anon meeting may be helpful for sure.

    Many hugs.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Al Anon is really helping. It is one of the places that really made me SEE that it is abuse. For years gfgbro's activity in AA was used to point out his emotional health. It was also used as his "qualifications" for pointing out how unhealthy husband and I are. Everything he points out is what he hates in himself. I will be continuing to greatly limit the time I spend with my family. To date I have not used my health as an excuse to get out of things. I spend a good part of most days feeling like I am going to barf. Even a sheet hurts bad enough on my skin that I want to cry. Almost ALL the time. I have a bunch of bruises that appeared out of nowhere. No rhyme or reason. Just appeared. Add almsot daily migraines, muscles that spasm so hard I sometimes wonder if they will tear off of the bone they attach to, bones that ARE softening and VERY painful, and so many other problems, well, seems to me it is time to stop pushing so hard to go see them so often.

    Bro does not have to believe I am sick. My doctors do. My other medical people do. Most of them wonder why I am not suicidal all the time. They have said this to me. Heck, my psychiatrist is amazed that I have not tried to kill myself to get away from the pain. The docs cannot do much more. They don't have a whole lot that hasn't been tried. My therapist says it would be totally understandable if I did kill myself. I will NOT do that to my husband and kids. THAT is why I have not tried and why I fight like HE&& to not think like that.

    We don't have a lot of drama at my house. The most drama comes when Jess has her knee give out and she falls. She and thank you do not fight much. If they snap at each other they apologize. ON THEIR OWN. IN LESS THAN 5 MINUTES.

    This is totally foreign to my family. My mother thought we were dead or sick if we were not fighting. She instigated some of them when things got too calm. She won't admit it, and saying it is "heresy" but it is true.

    Janet, taking gfgbro out for a beating would be useless. He is incapable of learning. He would use it to either sue or wait behind something and shoot husband. Or drop a brick on him from a tree. My father actually DID once drop a brick on someone from a tree. He waited around a corner with a 2X4 for another guy. He told us all about it when we were younger. It is the only way my bro would handle a physical confrontation.

    I refuse to allow them to break up my marriage. Nothing they do will get them to that goal. I am not holding grudges, or retaliating, just living my life.

    husband is NOT a saint. He makes mistakes. He also apologizes. From the heart. It is bogus to wait almost 2 months and then claim a problem. It is also bogus to invent things to justify alcoholic behavior and other dysfunction. I just hate that it has taken me so many years to see this for what it really is. I do hope and pray someday that my bro can be truly happy with himself, whatever he is.

    I just want them to leave me alone. Why is it so hard? I just don't get why this DRAMA has to be part of life. husband and I have rarely had fights. Once in a great while. Usually we just talk about it if we have a problem, work it out easily and move on. My parents cannot even do that. I am seeing problems more and more and more, and am ready to let them cope with their "stuff" and leave me alone.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Sending many gentle hugs and lots of strength. I think you're doing what's right to protect you and your family.
  7. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    You're doing the right thing. If gfgbro did not learn this behavior from your mom, she is at least enabling it.

    Boundaries. It's not going to be easy. They're going to push. You're going to have to be firm.

  8. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Sending hugs and congrats on trying to detach. Remember, nobody can make you miserable without your permission. With family, it is hard to draw that line in the sand. I am struggling with issues like that myself right now but I know that, ultimately, I am the one who has to lay down the law and stick to my guns and let the chips fall where they may (and whatever other overworked saying apply:tongue:). You have to do what is right for you and your husband and your kids. If that means demanding that your mother and whoever else learns some new behaviors, so be it.
    Good luck.
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I really think you should pull that list out with the detatchment phrases and use them on your mother.

    "I'm sorry you feel that way Mom"

    "That's quite the personal question."

    "I'm sorry to hear that"

    "I'm sure you'll figure something out"

    And then change the subject or hang up.

    Notice I said hang up as in ...on the phone and NOT in person. I think you need to (for YOU) just not see them for a bit. Partly for your own sake and partly to get your point across to your mom. If she pitches a fit, keep your cool and use difficult child tactics on her.

    "I'm sorry you're upset, but X is the rule and Y is the consequence" and then go on with your day. Know what I mean??

    Hugs. I'm sure this hurts and is difficult but I know you can do it!
  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    It is sadly common that toxic people, when being pushed out of peoples lives for darn good long standing reasons, increase efforts to cause problems. Then, it sounds like your parents and you have a relationship that does allow for some decision making processes to be assumed a group decision (I mean by that, sounds like your mom in particular sees herself as having some right to a role in deciding choices in your life, your husbands, your childrens).

    While I completely see that somehow you will find a way to break the tie to your difficult child bro (you seem ready!), I wonder if you've considered that your mom is going to be a problem that will interfere with the process simply because she thinks one way, and doesn't understand that she truly has no say, and no right to a say, in decisions you make.

    Hard as it is, this cycle needs to be broken and most parents of your mothers age, are too set in their ways to choose to change. They see it as the way it is, and will remain.

    This leaves you. And your husband and your kids. And it may require putting up with your mom playing the wounded party for a while. And perhaps in defense of your moms feeling, even your dad playing the wounded party or supportive of your moms wounded person party. Know what I mean?? But they love you. And sometimes there is no "talking through it" to come to a understanding. Sometimes for your own sake, you have to take the rocky path to get to the end desired goal of having a relationship with your mom and dad, leaving your bro in your past, and while respecting their relationship with your brother, they too need to respect your lack of one. Probably the best thing is to just insist on not mentioning him, keep their relaitonship their own, and yours as yours. Period. Middle ground WILL continue this toxic cycle you are all in right now. And you can stand your ground and not see your bro again ever. And you will still suffer the after affect, due to the dynamic about this topic that is in place with you and your parents. Your parents are going to be who they are to your bro. Period. They aren't going to suddenly reject him and recognize how awful he has turned out to his own sister and demand a change from him or cut him out of their lives. Really, nobody is stupid about our kids. THey are in denial, its easier. They know their grown son acts like a complete prat. They simply are in the mindset many are, to not rock the boat. And rather than rock his boat and take on his ****, they stand firm to YOU by interfering and demanding certain things from you. Why? Because they can count on you being the one to not **** on them and to be more easily "managed". Are your parents bad people? Nope. They are quite typical it sounds, and loving, if misguided.

    So what can you do? YOU? That is what it boils down to. I can envision you saying "I will NOT discuss him with you. Not my lack of relationship. History is that, its gone. There is no future. As for your own relationship with him, that is your own personal decision and your right. I do NOT want to hear about your conversations, relationships, joys or problems with him, his life, his marriage or kids or anything to do with him, simply because it will lead to more particular conversations and land us right back here. And I'm DONE with here. As your daughter, I am asking for a continued healthy relationship with YOU. And I hope that happens. When you are ready for that, I'll be overjoyed. I do NOT ask you to choose, that is not part of some secret agenda. I simply have made a choice MYSELF, and thats it. You don't need to like it. I don't like lots of choices others make. But it is what it is. I don't want to hear opinions on my choices at all in fact because they change nothing about the decisions but they WILL impact OUR relationship, probably for the worse. And is that at all worth it? No it isn't. I look forward to a healthy relationship with love and laughs and visits etc. I can't imagine either of you would want to place a pricetag on that relationship of my continued endurance of what is deemed by me, my husband and kids, as abuse by a sibling that I have no relationship with. So, having said all that, it need not, and best not, even be discussed again, as there is no discussion room. This was me informing you of where I stand, not requesting nor needing validation in my choices, permission, dialogue, opinions, expressions of regret etc. Having said all that, I feel SO much better as our relationship means much more to me than I can say and I have done what must be done to ensure we can be happy in our each others lives. Moving on, how about dinner Sunday?" ;)

    And I can see a potential for a bit of a problem with them accepting it. But over time, the distress of waiting for them to come round is going to be shorter than if this never ends, drags around and around the mulberry bush ya know? Because one can have your bro out of your life, but hes NOT gone if he's in your conversations and relationship with your parents. At this stage, difficult child bro has alot to be responsable for in causing this. However in spite of whatever protecting of him your parents do, he is NOT responsilbe for their choices or if they allow him to manipulate them. That is on their shoulders and is kinda sad really. So breaking your parents unhealthy patterns with your brother in terms of how they handle his issues via you? Can only help you.

    I'm so sorry you go through ****. I do think it may be difficult for you to envision your parents being upset with you. Especially understandable since you've hoped obviously for a long time for them to see gfgbro the way you know him to be and to stand up for you and say Hey, No way! But it is what it is. And you love your parents. So rather than resent them innerly (who wouldn't in spite of loving them") and allow this emotional sparring to continue, you may want to really consider the least of two evils as your solution. Just stand up, say it, and then live it. And be prepared to have your parents distance themselves in hurt for a bit if they go that route. They seem clearly the type that will eventually grasp you mean what you are saying, and you can move forward then with them on a new and healthy path. Short term pain can mean long term gain.

    Hang in there whatever happens. It is so hard handling adult family dynamics for so many of us. I'm glad you have your husband and your kids. And your parents too, who seem to clearly love you very much. The will let go of their need to try to be peacekeepers and truce negotiators if you eliminate the possibility completely and firmly.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Thanks. You are totally right. I tend to stew over problems, esp if someone has berated me or accused me of blatantly false things. Since I was a small child I have had a very hard time emotionally if fights were going on. It has been held up as a shortcoming of mine many times.

    I am making a strong, determined effort to NOT do this. If I find myself puzzling over it I change what I am telling myself as soon as I realize it. I do let the kids and husband vent to me about it. In many ways gfgbro's accusations are exactly what happens when you point a finger at someone else - even more fingers point at you.

    I CAN see how bro misconstrued facial expressions of mine. He has many strong Aspie traits.

    I can also identify the parts of all of this that bugs me the most. One is that he doesn't behave around my kids. Totally unacceptable. The other is that for every thing he accuses me of, esp holding grudges, he brings up things I have done years ago. The thing that bugs me the most about my mom is that she never says it is wrong for HIM to do it, but I cannot even have memories to share, good or bad.

    I do a LOT better with an issue once I figure out exactly what MY biggest problems are with it. In the past I would write letters and try to have talks with my mom and gfgbro trying to explain, to ask forgiveness and even to ask for help changing. Most every therapist we have ever seen has tried to show me that it is not a healthy relationship. Even ones who only treat the kids end up bringing gfguncle (guncle?) to me when we are talking separately from the kids. Several even brought up my mom's part in this and other unhealthy things she does.

    This time I am not writing letters to them. Ones to send or not send (often I used to write them and not mail them because I couldn't figure out how to write one that did not have them nitpicking every detail to say that it is all wrong.

    I am working on ME so that I can finally start to heal from this. I am ready for my mom to cry at me. Even for my gfgbro to try to push his way into my home. I have a safety plan because he HAS tried things in the past.

    My dad tries to ignore the koi. He will get upset with me long about either Mom's birthday or Christmas because I am "making her cry" because she cannot have her kids together to celebrate. It will hurt. It also won't work this time. I have promised husband.

    I am at the point that I don't cry over this. Boy did I. I problem will in the future, esp as I process all of the patterns and learn new ones. I did not say TRY to learn new ones. Cause I am NOT going to TRY. I am going to be a Nike and "just do it".

    You are SOOO right about these patterns being taught by my parents, and about their unwillingness to change. They have not stopped learning and in fact may be able to grasp this and adjust with-o too much fuss. Pigs fly while peeing grape jelly too.

    In the long run my family will be much healthier for this. If my parents and gfgbro and other relatives cannot become healthier it is not my problem.

    I just hope and pray that my kids learn healthier ways to cope along with me. I think they will!