Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Jabberwockey, May 24, 2015.
Love this Jabber!!! Thanks for posting.
OMG! That's one reason why I moved out here with hubby. No drama. Nothing to worry about.
YES! YES! YES!
This one really affects me personally as my sons current mission is apparently to demonize me to Lil, to turn me into the classic wicked step parent.
The old divide and conquer technique. Doubt that it will work.
Have already said this to Jabber who is sitting right next to me...Our son does NOT talk bad about him! He's NEVER said anything bad about him. The worst thing he's said was "He'll just yell at me."
Honestly Jabber...most of this is in YOUR head...not his!
When we say no they ramp up in ways known and not-yet-known. Just let him do it---you know the truth.
I would be prepared for him trying to "split" you two.
That could take several forms. He could go to one of you and try to rat on or set up the other.
"Dad is hard and hostile to me, Mom. This is really working against my succeeding. If I could only have a chance to really put this into place, without his negativity. I think working in prison all those years really distorted his thinking. Can we try, Mom, to work this out?"
Or, the flipside: "You and I are reasonable and rational Dad. We think alike on this issue. Without reacting and losing focus. But Mom lets her feelings get in the way every, single time. I know we can work something out, Dad."
Here is a brief definition of splitting from Wikipedia:
"Splitting creates instability in relationships because one person can be viewed as either personified virtue or personified vice at different times, depending on whether they gratify the subject's needs or frustrates them."
To sum it up:
Seductive to one of you, rejecting of the other. It can shift according to the circumstances or his needs.
Playing one against the other.
Or he could provoke one of you so that he can make that person look like the bad guy, to take the heat off himself.
Actually, I would be surprised if this does not happen. It happens in my household all of the time.
"He'll just yell at me ~ because he doesn't get it, mom. He's not like you and me. That is part of how this happened. I needed more from my father (which will always remain some unspoken amorphous thing no one wants to clarify) to be the man we both need me to be. Help me, mom. He doesn't understand "us", he is different than "us"."
That's how it was in my house. From both kids, about their father. At our house, it was the one who could get to the guy with the money who was both the target and the good guy in this version of good cop/bad cop manipulation. I would be the good cop who understood why that money was needed. D H would be the grouchy old bad cop who never let us eat pizza in front of the T V on Saturday night or else why did we only do that when he wasn't home. We had so much fun together ~ remember mom, when I was little we did that. (Touching the mother heart, here; hope and pain and loss and grief so you can't really see anything just the way it is, anymore.) And etc. It worked for years and sometimes, it still works. We are vulnerable to our children. It must be a forever thing because I am still a pretty big sucker where the kids are concerned. And for D H? We are still trying to figure out just how big an a**ho** D H really is.
Both D H and I are trying to figure that out. Over the years, everyone began looking at themselves and everyone else differently and no one knew what was really true, anymore. The only thing I did know was that it wasn't my kids who were at fault.
That is still true.
They are perfect in every way (other than those one or two little problems with addiction or emotional illness ~ which could happen to anyone) to this day.
I don't know why I think that way.
Because I'm the mom, I guess.
Not nearly that deep. Just "He'll just yell at me, when instead you are likely to do what I ask, because you're soft on me and he's not."
There's no demonization. There's no one against the other. He comes to me because I've always been the light touch and Jabber hasn't. And there's the fact that for many years of his life Jabber has either 1) worked in a prison and didn't just have a phone he could answer or 2) worked nights. That's all there is to it and Jabber is just too sensitive about it.
Not that there's no reason to be upset by it. After all, it would hurt my feelings if he called Jabber all the time and never did me. But it isn't that he dislikes his dad or has some evil plan. He knows I'm more likely to give in and yes, he's just closer to me like I was my mom. That didn't mean I didn't love my dad to pieces...but if I wanted or needed anything, I called mom.
That's all it is. End of story.
Good morning, you two.
Good morning Cedar.
Have re-read my last post.
I want to make clear that I don't think Jabber is exaggerating, he's just incorrect about motives. Our son does always call me. He calls Jabber only as a last resort. It's wrong of him and hurtful to Jabber but there's no evil intent behind it. He just does it because of habit and because he knows I'm a light touch. My only reason for my post is that it isn't a intentional attempt to somehow make Jabber into the bad guy.
I guess though, if Jabber feels it might be an intent to make him into a bad guy, everyone needs to consider that the other person's pose is possible. Its an important part of the process to remember that as much as we FIRMLY BELIEVE that we and only we "get" our Difficult Child's...we may be befuddled, or carrying our own baggage.
People (always men) told me for years that my Difficult Child was manimpulating me. I was convinced, for years, that he was too gullible, too naive, too simple to manipulate anyone. But you know what? He was/is manipulating me. It isn't conscious as in "haha, I can get mom to do xxx if I present it this way". But he knows how to get me to do what he wants, and he knows what his dad will do that I won't, and he knows to try to split me away from my SO...splitting IS manipulation.
So I feel your need to believe his innocence...and I feel it would be healthy for you to consider that maybe he is manipulating you without forethought or malicious intent, but manipulation nevertheless.
I've always assumed forethought or malicious intent as a requirement for manipulation.
But... maybe not.
It's worse when it's malicious. But "innocent" manipulation is still manipulation.
I know for sure that gaslighters don't always intend to gaslight...it is more their urgency to protect their own lifeview (although they can deliberately gaslight as well.) I could be wrong about the definition of manipulation...
Aside from Lil and Jabber's son even, I agree with this strongly. I used to spend hours and hours thinking: what does it say about me and about him that he would lie to me, steal from me, use me, play me against his dad? What kind of a person does that? If he is that kind of a person, then....on and on and on. My mind would go.
Finally, I realized that it's addiction. That's what it is. It's a primary diagnosis of mental illness. Being driven by drugs, possibly my son's first and last thought or urge always was---what is the fastest way to get what I want?
Bingo: My mom!!!
Then, if that doesn't work...bingo!! My dad...
Then if that doesn't work...bingo!!! whoever was next on the food chain.
Just a simple, what is the fastest way to accomplish my goal?
Not malicious, not even thinking about the effects on anybody or anything, not even conniving in the sense of the word that we are thinking about...simply driven by the urge/pull of drugs.
1 + 1 = 2.
No more, no less.
He played me against his dad, and vice versa, for years. He would tell me one thing, tell his dad something else, and then circle back again. We were divorced so it was pretty easy to do. Finally, his dad and I got on the same page and then the fun stopped.
It is absolutely manipulation! I'm not saying it isn't.
He knows he can call and ask me for stuff and I'm MUCH more likely to say yes. He knows if he cries and carries on and tells me how sad he is and how awful his life is and how he has no one and nothing, it will rip mom's heart out. Dad, not so much. Maybe he thinks is a macho thing and dad will tell him to man-up. Funny, since I'm the one who has used the words "grow a pair". In fact, last time we actually spoke and I ended up calling Jabber to tell him he wasn't coming to do his community service, my words were, "Fine! I'll call him since you're too much of a p***y to call your own father!" His response was, "He'll just yell at me and blah, blah, blah" and I responded with "WHAT DO YOU THINK I'M DOING?"
But he still called me. And guess what? I did what he wanted...I called his dad...and he didn't have to.
He calls me because it works. And yes, because it's habit.
So you see, I don't disagree that it's manipulation. My only problem is with it being something to turn Jabber into the "classic evil stepparent".
For starters, he's NOT his stepparent - he's his parent. Adopted is NOT step.
It hurts me that our son always calls me and puts me in between the two of them. It also hurts me that Jabber feels that he isn't loved by our son and that our son is that...mean? I don't have a good word for it. Thoughtless? Yes. Self-serving? Yes. Hateful and intentionally targeting HIM? No.
Separate names with a comma.