The Path Forward Virtual Retreat Febuary 2021!



Just shaking my head...am I wrong about this?

16 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 Jan 6 - 10AM
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

Just shaking my head...am I wrong about this?

DH and I have a situation with his Nsister (NSIL to me) and his parents that I am wondering if an approach we are talking about taking is an advisable course of action.

Once again his parents are allowing themselves to be duped by their daughter's nasty and backstabbing behavior. For a few years now, she has barely been on speaking terms with her father after a terrible fight. She used my husband as a buffer between herself and her parents and we picked up (as usual) all the slack of helping her parents out when they needed it, spending time with them etc.

Well DH has gotten wise since then and keeps his distance from her. This makes my NSIL very angry that she can't manipulate DH and it also makes her worried that she will get written out of any inheritance, so now she is kissing up big time to her parents and trying to create a triagular situation to make DH and I look bad. The thing is DHs parents are starting to fall for it. His parents are generally good people but they are getting elderly and his dad especially wants that mythical happy family relationship that always seems to elude him because of his daughter's consistently bad behavior when she doesn't get what she wants. Exhausting...isn't it?

DH and I have talked about our strategy. We plan on minimizing contact with his sister and family. We plan on focusing and doing the best we can for his parents. One strategy that I am insisting upon, but don't entirely know if it is advisable is this...sometimes the parents will talk about how wonderful their daughter is for doing the tiniest little thing, or her husband or her kids. Or if they happen to be around they will let it drop that they did something for DH's parents, some small trivial thing and act like they are great big heroes.

I am insisting and DH agrees that when his parents are dropping these "admiration bombs" or when NSIL and their family does that, that we meeet those comments with a bit of raw honesty. IE..."wow you visited mom and dad? Well that is great, you should do that because you only live 10 minutes away while we live an hour away from them". Or if it is his parents dropping the admiration bomb about how NSIL or family did something wonderful, saying "well it is about time they got over here and tried to be helpful. How come they don't do that more often?" seems to quiet that kind of talk.

Maybe I am misguided here, but the few times we did that unintentionally it did get them to be quiet and we are bothered by less of this self congratulatory behavior. Am I wrong about this approach? I hate to be hurtful to his parents but I am not sure DH and I are obligated to keep up the family myth either, especially when it benefits his sister and causes us grief.

Jan 7 - 10PM
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

The light bulb went off....thank you Journey!

Journey, I think I found some answers tonight and I have your post to thank for it. I posted to you earlier my thoughts on enabling bad behavior. Afterwards I went to the movies to get my mind off of things and it was then that the answer came bubbling up. I kept thinking of the word enabling over and over again. I see now that I am looking at N behavior through the lens of someone who is very used to dealing with alcoholics. Had them in my family and worked for a drug and alcohol rehab for years and years. So, you get it drilled into your head not to enable bad behaviors. Sometimes honesty and intervention become a necessity to help save someones life and you employ them as you can. If DH's NSister was an alcoholic or drug addict, I could much more readily be honest with them about it even if we didn't agree. I could more easily be vocal about boundaries and it would be more readily understood by his parents. They understand that sort of condition. But how could I begin to explain N to them? They are elderly and really wouldn't understand. Sure many of us throw the N term around casually, but I must admit I didn't fully realize how insidious N is. I must admit I felt panicky when I could fully grasp what it would mean to deal with his sister from then on. Sometimes you have some hope of an addict recovering. But good luck getting an N to admit to anything much less doing something about it. So Journey while I am back to square 1 and really have no idea how to begin to deal with NSIL without feeling trampled all over LOL, at least I have learned I can't use the lens I've relied upon for many years. That is a start and a help. Amazing how sometimes you can help yourself if you bounce things off of someone who is receptive, compassionate and has valuable opinions to offer. Many thanks! Voice of Reason
Jan 8 - 6AM (Reply to #14)
TooSoft
TooSoft's picture

an aha moment, voice of reason:-))

Hi Voice of Reason, for sure dealing with a narcissistic is totally different to dealing with an alcoholic. I guess the main difference is the alcoholic, if he's at treatment, has come to the point where he wants to change his life and behaviour and he sees his alcoholism is destructive and hurts the people he loves. And that is not so for narcissistic personalities. In my opinion, the npd does not look for help,and seems to, in fact not need help. Like, for example, my ex n friend devalued me and I still don't know why. But my point is that I thought she needed me in her life (she had no r/s with any family member and has a narc mother).,I took her under my wing as such and always included her in my social life and we did have a good friendship at the start. It wasn't like I didn't enjoy her company or anything like that. We did have good times and I enjoyed her company but it was only towards the end of the friendship that I began to see that she was not someone who was going to be there for me if I needed her. But it amazed me how she was just done with me and she is getting on with her life without me, while i'm still missing her, if i'm honest, I do miss her and i'm still picking up the pieces since May 2011. I think in your case it is a case of *grin and bear it* i'm afraid. And i'm sure your husband's parents find comfort in the fact they can rely on your husband and you to be there for them and thank God they have you. I can't begin to imagine the amount of emotional pain she has caused them.
Jan 8 - 8PM (Reply to #15)
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

Sorry to hear it Too Soft

Too Soft, So sorry about your experience with your friend! You are right it is so shocking how quickly dismissive Ns are. I spent some time early last year trying to quickly get up to speed on Ns and I have to say the whole concept was mind boggling. You start to see all of the permutations and ramifications lay out in front of you and the remorselessness of it all. I try to think of it as my NSIL will just be a perpetual 11 year old at heart, a conniving sneaky one at that. Yes you do miss your friend I can imagine. Ns are charmers and seem to have a magic to them that make everyone else seem dull. My NSIL and her codependent husband could be a complete blast. I think now I am suspicious of charming people LOL
Jan 7 - 2PM
Journey
Journey's picture

It is understandable the

It is understandable the frustration you feel by your NSIL, wanting to stamp the truth for all to see and not letting the narc get away with the masked behavior of false caring. The course of action you are suggesting for yourself and your DH however, is a passive aggressive way to stamp that truth. His elderly parents have suffered a long time because of NSIL... why take what little joy they can now receive from her - even if you KNOW what is given is self serving on the part of NSIL. It just seems to me that at the end of the day, you will feel better about yourself and your role in your extended family's lives by maintaining your own integrity by taking a higher road and doing the best YOU can for them... regardless of what SNIL is doing or why she does it. Journey on...

Journey on...

Jan 7 - 6PM (Reply to #12)
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

I see what you are saying Journey

Thank you for the compassion Journey. As I mentioned in another post I do take issue with enabling. We truly don't want to be passive aggressive with them, but it is acting a lie and lies build upon more lies and well that is how we have the troubles we do with this. It is galling to see her get away with that behavior. And knowing that it will be quite a few years before we can break away from it. His parents need us and we both want to be there for them. I do have to admit it is a struggle knowing where exactly to set the boundaries, how to not feel like we are enabling bad behavior and still be a valued part of his parents lives. I guess that is what is underlying my original post. Can I also confess I really hate the biblical story of the Prodigal Son LOL? I am not religious but that story comes to mind over and over again in dealing with this ;>
Jan 7 - 1PM
Hunter
Hunter's picture

http://www.lisaescott.com/for

http://www.lisaescott.com/forum/2012/01/05/im-absolutely-stunned#comment-183434
Jan 7 - 5AM
TooSoft
TooSoft's picture

Hi. I feel so sorry for this

Hi. I feel so sorry for this your husband's parents - when narc daughter does something positive, they make it bigger than what it is probably because they're so delighted she looks like she cares. I think if they make a positive comment about her, it would be best to agree with them, if it makes them happy.
Jan 7 - 5PM (Reply to #9)
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

Much appreciate the reach out Too Soft

Thank you for your compassionate feedback it is the one thing that drew me back to the board. My husband and I have tried that. It only seems to make things worse, they hope again, the hopes get dashed and DH and I have to help pick up the pieces again. Basically it feels like enabling and tacit agreement that we are just going to sit back and tolerate his sister's bad behavior. Having worked for a drug and alcohol rehab I have a problem with enabling someone. Injecting some reality might help us preserve our boundaries. His parents are wonderful people I do not want to hurt them. Pretending everything is wonderful and nothing is wrong with his sister is just not working and it feels dishonest. I guess we just start taking a hard look at exactly how we want to interact with them without bending our boundaries out of shape. Thank you again.
Jan 6 - 11AM
Pumpkin
Pumpkin's picture

I agree with Hunter

I agree with Hunter. I go through the same in my family. One sister who maybe visits twice a year, she lives nearby. The facts are they still love her, period. I know how it hurts when they go on about little things but I figure they are entitled to look through the rose coloured glasses if they want.

Pumpkin

Jan 6 - 11AM
Hunter
Hunter's picture

When you point the negative..

When you point the negative.. You look like the bad guy.. This is their daughter.. They are old and wearing Rose Colored glasses.. My Father always told me " Never count on other people's money" Why do you care what she does and to whom? These people are adults.. They are allowed to make their own choices based on their daughter.. If you care for his parents then you should respect that this is their daughter .. By insulting her and them .. Who is the one who looks foolish?? When visiting his parents .. Spend time with them separately from SIL.. if they bring her up change the subject.. Hunter
Jan 6 - 1PM (Reply to #2)
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

Wow I might have done a better job figuring this out on my own

While I appreciate and respect opinions that differ from my own I didn't come on here to be insulted but to look for some inspiration. Why should I care what they think? Well I see how devastated and hurt my husband is by their actions, and the actions of a despicable remorseless person against my DH, sure I have opinions about it. The inference that I care about their money and resources is off base and frankly disrespectful. DH and I don't care about that, no one owes us a living. However when it comes to worrying about our inlaws maintaining resources to take care of their own needs, vs the needs of a very selfish and manipulative daughter, well then yes I do care. Who wouldn't? So wow while this board has the power to help inspire and help heal hurts sadly I see it is a vehicle for some very short sighted and judgemental comments. Too bad...we really want to do the right things. I guess I won't get help with that here.
Jan 7 - 1PM (Reply to #3)
Hunter
Hunter's picture

I guess you won't get the

I guess you won't get the answer here you are looking for.. ReRead your subject matter... Being here means facing reality., you my friend, are trying to control an uncontrollable situation. Accountability starts within...what other choose to do… Is up to the individual.. I could make a very long list of things the way I'd like them to be .. Ain't gonna happen.. Hunter
Jan 7 - 5PM (Reply to #4)
voice of reason
voice of reason's picture

Hunter with all due respect

Hunter, If someone needs to reread something it is YOU. You basically flipped through my post, obviously did not bother to understand what I was saying (ie smug little saying of yours about other peoples money, how presumptuous and ill informed of you to even comment like that)and if you had any real understanding of NPD you wouldn't make D and D comments like you did. If I needed more D and D in my life, hey I can just hang around my NSIL As you should well know, anyone who makes the discovery that someone in their family or close to them is N it is a horrifying journey. You don't know my life and you don't know how I spent the last 9 months basically getting a crash course in NPD, lying next to my husband each night wondering how I was ever going to explain to him precisely why we will never have a normal relationship with his sister. Removing, pretty much all hope that we could ever have one with her. So thank you for the posturing but I will move on to more positive people. I know plenty about accountability having worked in a therapeutic community for several years. Perhaps someone else can benefit from what you have to say.
Jan 8 - 8AM (Reply to #6)
Goldie
Goldie's picture

This needs to STOP NOW

Journey and Hunter are both moderators here and I am the lead moderator. You need to read our guidelines. Take what you want and leave the rest. This open comparison of which answer you prefer will not be tolerated. I find both of the answers to be valid and as I have said many times on here, if you have a problem with a moderator send me a PM. We do not play these games on here, this is life and death for many of our members and this drama is not acceptable here on the open forum. I am thrilled that you and Journey have made a connection and this is how it works. Do NOT openly discuss on this forum who is the more compassionate and which answers you prefer. Take what you like and leave the rest. I want no more discussion about this, it is not how this forum works. These women are ALL excellent moderators. I chose them myself for the love, compassion, wisdom, and FREE care they give to our members. BTW Hunter and Jouney both said the same thing, just in different ways. I know for a fact that Hunter is one of the most loving caring compassionate people you are ever going to find. She has personally helped hundreds of women get out of unhealthy situations. This needs to be the end of this. Please do not respond to my post on the open forum, I will not entertain or debate this on an open forum where our members need to be free from this conflict. I want to see you heal and recover from this horror you are facing with the SIL and I am in your corner, I am also in Hunter and Journey's corner. Now move past this, and PM me if you have any further problems. God bless, Goldie
Jan 7 - 5PM (Reply to #5)
Hunter
Hunter's picture

Ok..

OK then keep doing what you're doing.. Seems to be working great.. I guess the others who offered advice are clueless too.. "other peoples money " funny when I wrote that I was referring to your sister in Law.. Hmmm interesting.. Best of Luck Hunter