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hollygolightly

Strategies for managing family members that hoover?

67 posts in this topic

So sibling has messaged me to see how I am doing etc.

I have not really been talking to them since March. How long do you think you can ignore someone? When do you need to lay down some really firm boundaries or end the relationship?

Of if you didn't want to go through the drama and fire works of ending it with them how would you manage the relationship and their hoovering without getting sucked back in? Is that even possible?

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I don't know if you are saying that sibling is trying to hoover because they asked how you are doing, or whether she is known to do this in the past but this is my strategy for my own sister who for many years tried to have me reconcile with my mother.

I had to have compassion for her - she did not know the mother I knew, for a vcariety of reasons...so I gave up trying to tell her my feelings thoughts and views of our mother - in essence they were not the same woman so it was pointless arguing about it.

I would never mention my mother. When she mentioned her, I feined disinterest - just "Uh huh" "yeah?" "Mmmhmm" then I would follow with a long silence if there wasn't an obvious way to change the conversation. Long and short, it became pointless and frustrating to mention my mother to me. Now, we just skip the subject and have a realtionship that is us, without her in it. It's quite good actually because Mother used to b*tch to me about sister.

Anyway, it was a gradual process, I had to defend my position of "I just don't want to talk about it" (with you) like a broken record. Eventually we have morphed into a comfortable spot.

That's what I did anyway. Another way to approach questioning is to say "Why do you want to know?" and when they give their reason if they have one you can say "That's great, interesting, unusual, strange...still, I don't want to talk about it"

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Bingo They are not the same people. I am dealing with this in my husbands family this week. His younger sibling has Narcissistic traits. He is the golden child. The old child has rules and follows them. My husband the second child has rules and follows them too! The youngest child does not have rules at all. He will not follow them if they were given to him. So he does all the things to create discomfort in his other brothers lives. I have come to the realization this week that his mom has a heck of a lot to do with the whole problem. She knew that the boys are not talking and arranged a dinner spot. The knew about him coming to the house all day. That younger spoiled child was even on puts with his mom. She calls and offered to have him do something for her and offered to pay him. Then tells my husband like 10 minute before he shows up. seriously he would have to grab all his stuff and scramble like a mad chicken. Then the brother stands in the middle of the door like blocking it. She knew and set it up so they would run into each other. I believe as of this week she like the boys squabbling because it brings attention to her and she feel useful as they have to talk through what she does. Well me and my sister in law of the oldest brother agree She need to set up rules in her house or she will risk losing all of us. Everyone handles it different. Some bark and push back others say no more and keep a distance.

The youngest golden child is having a different experience. He has a parent that is attentively concerned about him. He has no handicaps. Yet the two children she treats different are both colour blind. I have a pack with my husband and we are banning together to not let my Narcissistic EX bug us while I am trying to not let his Narcissistic brother get to us either. I told him today that if it get out of hand I might want to move very far away. We keep running into town folk that are having bad experiences with the younger golden child. He has been rude or charged them unreasonably. Most will pay and never use him again then spread the word.

I thought you were in no contact with your sister? This is not going well if a email make you want to jump to a response. Someone here posted a great article on a electronic duck that was abusive and pecked her baby ducks harder. Those babies would swarm the mom. So I think you have the feeling like the baby duck. The email remind you of the peck and you naturally are drawn to the response waiting to be there. That feeling is hard to kick.

When we went no contact with my family. The hardest thing was those mandatory times most people contact each other. Like Christmas, birthdays, and other things that the average person would think not of wishing someone well. Even if you really do not like a person you sometime still sign group cards or even sing to them happy birthday in group settings. We are very programed to respond to email and answer the phone even if it is a undesirable call. In life we can usually say no thank you and hang up. Your experiencing the desire to connect which is that little bruised duckling. Also the want to just answer a silly email. No contact is a very hard line stance and it goes against our nature. Most people try to mentally feel like someone died but that is a really singular way to look at it. For one you still have to acknowledge the lineage on paper. You can not just write someone out of your life. So you acknowledge the fact that you were born into a large family. Then the relationship dropped and you have to now ignore a breathing living moving human being. Some people have very strong sprits. It would be a challenge to befriend a strong minded forward person.

I think your experiencing how hard no contact truly is. Here you are sitting with someone and I bet they have not thought more than ten minute as to what and why you're going no contact and how many forms in takes. Conversation can feel evasive at times. I do have to tell you I did have to hammer back at my mom with her no contact thing. She was trying to control me by saying I was not allowed to share anything other that this picture of her on my profile page. I said you have overstepped your line I no not now and will never agree to limit myself. I am a free being and I am allowed to LOVE! You can choose to go no contact but you can not control my love for you and day I can not share my experience of good. This is your HATE from your sibling and I will not allow you to mirror that hate to me. If she wants a relationship with me she needs to be loving. For one her boundaries are with the siblings. Not me! I have been dragged through the mud and I have done nothing. It is about tapes in her head that play. She will have to fight that her whole life but by trying to control me she is like giving the tapes free rien like those are more important than me and true life. The crime is over this is about true and credible protection. She is eliminating the main sources but you can not eliminate all the sources of contact. If the other members act up you add them to the works. But to turn around and try to control how I love and what I share. That is abusive in it own form. It is not recognising my vitality as a person. So we will have to come to grips with some of that. I gave her the ability to heal and did the no contact thing too! She does not have the right to say I can only show this picture and that way. That is trying to force me to be her source and I will full on reject that.

I am finding like big girl says is you have a relationship without talking about it but do not control the relationship or that other persons ability to shine as a individual. If you want to kindly just stick a nail in it. If they are persistent you can always type up a short sweet official one liner. Say please do not contact me and quite sending me email have the thing notarized and delivered by a carrier where they have to sign for it. It might be just a strong offical feel that they might think they will be sued for harassment if they continue to persist. I would only do that if you're told them and had it. Really had it!

It might be overkill but they really might get the point. I would be so embarrassed to even get a letter such a way I would stay clear.

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Big Girl, Chavah,

Sibling is hoovering as well as trying to poke me to test the waters so to speak. The way our relationship pattern goes is that there might be a huge fight, this is stuffed under the rug while we don't speak to each other for a bit. Then someone eventually tests the waters and I get sucked back in. In the past this has totally been my fault. Sibling and I have a weird bond and I guess I always ended up starting to talk to them again because of that.

I have intended to be done with them, especially after them telling me they want to stay out of the whole abuse thing. My mistake is every assuming that they will just let me go. And that too me is where it becomes hoovering. On a different level than some abuser for sure, and much different than the major hoovering of PB. But it's still there even if more subtle. I keep thinking that if i just don't talk to them they will let me go, or there will be something about me and my current decisions that will cause them to walk away from me.

But no, will always have to be the one to end things, to be the bad guy so to speak. I guess I am just so pooped out. Every time I draw a boundary there is this exhausting fight over it. And I feel like I have to invest all this time communicating it so they understand and then they refuse to anyway. So I was hoping ignoring them would work, but it doesn't. They come back eventually and test the waters.

And I also think it's not coincidental that they are asking how I am in light of all the Godmother drama. It's possible they know all about it.

The therapist told me that at some point if I really want to move beyond the hurt and anger in our relationship it would be very helpful to do counseling together. To discuss at what point in time for each of us we had an incident define our viewpoint of each other and the relationship. She also said this doesn't have to be "now". It could be farther down the road.

For my part counseling with sibling is infuriating- to sit there and listen to there very adamant perspective of who I am, who I must be. Also they have said they have no interest digging around in the past, they are happy in their own lives and don't want to touch the abuse stuff. They want to have the "fun" relationship.

And I think I have mentioned before how this relationship doesn't work, they don't want me to have any feelings just be who they want me to be. And you can't communicate anything to them, even something as small as "when you say that, it hurts my feelings". The abuse is too big a portion of my life right now to not feel suffocated pretending to be what sibling wants.

And I don't think counseling can happen right now, I don't have the energy to devote to slogging through so much stuff with them at the moment.

So therefore I need to make a decision about the relationship and actually do something, hoping to ignore them seems a little wishful...

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I don't know if you are saying that sibling is trying to hoover because they asked how you are doing, or whether she is known to do this in the past but this is my strategy for my own sister who for many years tried to have me reconcile with my mother.

I had to have compassion for her - she did not know the mother I knew, for a vcariety of reasons...so I gave up trying to tell her my feelings thoughts and views of our mother - in essence they were not the same woman so it was pointless arguing about it.

I would never mention my mother. When she mentioned her, I feined disinterest - just "Uh huh" "yeah?" "Mmmhmm" then I would follow with a long silence if there wasn't an obvious way to change the conversation. Long and short, it became pointless and frustrating to mention my mother to me. Now, we just skip the subject and have a realtionship that is us, without her in it. It's quite good actually because Mother used to b*tch to me about sister.

Anyway, it was a gradual process, I had to defend my position of "I just don't want to talk about it" (with you) like a broken record. Eventually we have morphed into a comfortable spot.

That's what I did anyway. Another way to approach questioning is to say "Why do you want to know?" and when they give their reason if they have one you can say "That's great, interesting, unusual, strange...still, I don't want to talk about it"

Thank you for the thoughts,

I was wondering about handling sibling in this way, in the way I would handle PA's sibling who is a busybody. You would just be very polite and short. When they ask you how you are doing you would say "oh lovely thank you for asking, hope you are doing well".

I also like how you just refuse to talk about things until they give up- that's a great idea.

I do feel compassion toward sibling in that she knows everything I know, but that part of her that knows and understands perfectly is asleep. The part of her that is awake is this aggressive protective warrior woman who will cut you in two if you question reality as she understands it. And while I can see exactly how this coping mechanism is functioning I put up with a lot of abuse from the warrior woman.

I guess I could always try the short and managed communication and see how it works before I have to take things to a more permanent level. I would also focus on not talking to them as often or responding to every message, just generally not being available, and only communicating short and polite once and a while...

It's interesting how you say that you both saw a different Mother and to each version felt like the real version. That is how it goes with sibling and I about our reality of growing up. If only because sibling is in such major denial right now. It is almost pointless to argue about it... and I think that is why therapy is again so frustrating because you are trying to discuss a childhood that for one person occurred in oz and the other wonderland.

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Holly, so perhaps you need to just ignore their testing of the waters. Perhaps you feel like you need to give a response based on your past relationship with sibling, but truly no response is necessary.

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I thought you were in no contact with your sister? This is not going well if a email make you want to jump to a response. Someone here posted a great article on a electronic duck that was abusive and pecked her baby ducks harder. Those babies would swarm the mom. So I think you have the feeling like the baby duck. The email remind you of the peck and you naturally are drawn to the response waiting to be there. That feeling is hard to kick.

I did, in that I was trying to slowly not talk to them anymore. I kept hoping they would let me go. That was wishful thinking!

No contact is a very hard line stance and it goes against our nature. Most people try to mentally feel like someone died but that is a really singular way to look at it. For one you still have to acknowledge the lineage on paper. You can not just write someone out of your life. So you acknowledge the fact that you were born into a large family. Then the relationship dropped and you have to now ignore a breathing living moving human being. Some people have very strong sprits. It would be a challenge to befriend a strong minded forward person.

I think your experiencing how hard no contact truly is. Here you are sitting with someone and I bet they have not thought more than ten minute as to what and why you're going no contact and how many forms in takes.

Yes I think your right it really does go against our nature! And then add on manipulators who kick, scream and tug at heartstrings when you put in the slightest boundary it makes it so much harder. We don't really want to hurt them!

Yeah it is hard, mostly because it comes with a lot of uphill battles to get boundaries in place.

I do have to tell you I did have to hammer back at my mom with her no contact thing. She was trying to control me by saying I was not allowed to share anything other that this picture of her on my profile page. I said you have overstepped your line I no not now and will never agree to limit myself. I am a free being and I am allowed to LOVE! You can choose to go no contact but you can not control my love for you and day I can not share my experience of good. This is your HATE from your sibling and I will not allow you to mirror that hate to me. If she wants a relationship with me she needs to be loving. For one her boundaries are with the siblings. Not me! I have been dragged through the mud and I have done nothing. It is about tapes in her head that play. She will have to fight that her whole life but by trying to control me she is like giving the tapes free rien like those are more important than me and true life. The crime is over this is about true and credible protection. She is eliminating the main sources but you can not eliminate all the sources of contact. If the other members act up you add them to the works. But to turn around and try to control how I love and what I share. That is abusive in it own form. It is not recognising my vitality as a person. So we will have to come to grips with some of that. I gave her the ability to heal and did the no contact thing too! She does not have the right to say I can only show this picture and that way. That is trying to force me to be her source and I will full on reject that.

I am finding like big girl says is you have a relationship without talking about it but do not control the relationship or that other persons ability to shine as a individual. If you want to kindly just stick a nail in it. If they are persistent you can always type up a short sweet official one liner. Say please do not contact me and quite sending me email have the thing notarized and delivered by a carrier where they have to sign for it. It might be just a strong offical feel that they might think they will be sued for harassment if they continue to persist. I would only do that if you're told them and had it. Really had it!

It might be overkill but they really might get the point. I would be so embarrassed to even get a letter such a way I would stay clear.

I can understand you mothers panic about you being in contact with family members, but that is your right as an adult to be able to decide how to navigate those relationships for yourself!

I am thinking about how to do the short and simple type of communication before I have to stick a nail in it as you say. It's hard though... sigh

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Holly, so perhaps you need to just ignore their testing of the waters. Perhaps you feel like you need to give a response based on your past relationship with sibling, but truly no response is necessary.

Hi Joyful,

yes I totally feel some obligation to respond! Especially based on past relationship. Do you think no response is needed because this is a different situation outside your normal relationship etiquette? I was thinking how much I dislike Fairy Godmother ignoring me without any given reason and I did not know when that might not be kind to do to someone else. Or if it is okay to ignore someone who is trying to pull you back in, because you are not able to have a more normal level or relationship communication about why you were ignoring them?

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If you don't want to respond, then don't respond.

Like you said, you can explain your perspective til the end of time and they still won't "get it."

Normal etiquette doesn't apply in abusive situations. Abusers will always take advantage. Of course it's not "kind" or "polite," but that's why they count on you responding. And you know what? It's not the end of the world if you are "unkind" or "impolite." You need to protect yourself. That's more important than being kind or polite. Did you read The Nice Girl Syndrome?

There's no need to consider therapy with your sibling if you don't want to do that. Frankly from what you've said, it sounds like it would be torturous and not achieve any benefits for you, anyway.

If in the end you cannot keep from responding, you can always say "Okay thanks," and then not respond to anything else that follows (because it will). But at some point, you will have to stop responding or else you will get sucked back into communicating with them. If you don't want to communicate with them, the only answer is to not communicate with them.

You have the power, even if it's not necessarily "nice."

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I think Quaddie is absolutely right. This isn't about being "nice" or "polite." After all, that's what has drawn you back in before. You couldn't be rude so you responded, which drew you right back into the whole mess. I know you disliked what Fairy Godmother did, but honestly she doesn't have to respond to you just because you asked her something. That is her right. Just as it's your right to not respond to sibling.

ETA: I know it will feel terribly uncomfortable for you to not respond because it goes against the grain. You're a nice person. But that doesn't make it wrong. Etiquette doesn't necessarily apply here.

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Be rude!

You know what? I have some ideas.

I may get a little inappropriate, so feel free to ignore me...

I've noticed you have a really high level of concern for doing things "right" and "correctly." I'm guessing - and I could be wayyyyyyyy out of bounds here, and it's really the province that belongs between you and your therapist, lol... but I'm guessing it may have something to do with growing up abused and taking on the shame of the abuse, as if somewhere one feels it's one's "fault" for being abused, and if only one could be "good" enough - "perfect" enough - then the abuser wouldn't abuse.

So then it turns into this fear of doing something wrong that would make one "bad" and then, instead of helping to avoid abuse, it seems to justify being abused (even retroactively, maybe? Yeah, I'm not a psychologist and I don't play one on TV, lol). So there's this quest for and extreme level of concern for making sure one does everything exactly correctly.

That's just a guess, and like I said, I could be way wrong or out-of-bounds.

Anyhoo...... People have a right to be imperfect and still not be abused. Imperfections do not justify abuse. That's really really hard to internalize. I was starting to, and then my last work experience blew it all to he|| in my head...

So the only way to unlearn it, I think, is in fact to do things "bad" or "wrong" and experience the world not falling apart.

So here's my idea.

Practice being an @sshole. :D In ways it doesn't matter, and nobody really gets hurt. Empower yourself to be a jerk sometimes. ;)

Possible Example:

- Find a fast-food place that's far away from where you normally would go. In the drive-through, order something and be aggressive about your order. Get grumpy! When they screw it up (because they will, because you'll change your mind mid-way through to make sure they screw it up, lol) - get angry and say "No! That's not what I ordered! What I want is a POWERADE WITH NO ICE!!!" Be what feels like a total jerk. Be strong, even aggressive. Shout at the stupid little speaker.

- Then - don't eat the food (if you're worried they might have spat in it or something, lol).

- Drive away.

- Practice not feeling guilty for having been a total jerk.

:)

Other Things:

- Find something else that you can do "wrong" - and do it wrong on purpose.

- Don't apologize for doing it wrong!!!

Develop your Inner Jerkness. It's fun!!! :D

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If you don't want to respond, then don't respond.

Like you said, you can explain your perspective til the end of time and they still won't "get it."

Good point, I guess sometimes I fall back to feeling obligated to do things I don't feel like doing. And yeah If you could see the lengths of previous discussions with them you would be floored- or maybe not lol. I did the same thing with them as PB, lengthy, thoughtful emails from which they took nothing, understood nothing.

Normal etiquette doesn't apply in abusive situations. Abusers will always take advantage. Of course it's not "kind" or "polite," but that's why they count on you responding. And you know what? It's not the end of the world if you are "unkind" or "impolite." You need to protect yourself. That's more important than being kind or polite. Did you read The Nice Girl Syndrome?

I guess sometimes even though I know Sibling can be abusive and hoover I really cut them slack when I compare them to the abusive behavior by PA. So sometimes they don't seem abusive enough to justify such hard lines in the relationship. However if I were to thougtfuly re-examine all my previous posts about them as well as much or our interactions I might be able to really refute that idea.

I did start the nice girl syndrome, it's on my nook and I just need to get back into it again.

There's no need to consider therapy with your sibling if you don't want to do that. Frankly from what you've said, it sounds like it would be torturous and not achieve any benefits for you, anyway.

If in the end you cannot keep from responding, you can always say "Okay thanks," and then not respond to anything else that follows (because it will). But at some point, you will have to stop responding or else you will get sucked back into communicating with them. If you don't want to communicate with them, the only answer is to not communicate with them.

You have the power, even if it's not necessarily "nice."

Okay, that makes sense. I really don't want to do therapy with sibling! Yes it would be torturous, and I suddenly feel like a stranger to myself when sibling invokes a part of me that gets really angry with them.

Okay good advice if I fall victim to being the nice girl, or victim to my ideas of family duty that are hard to shirk.

Thank you I guess I do have the power, even if it does not feel nice.

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I think Quaddie is absolutely right. This isn't about being "nice" or "polite." After all, that's what has drawn you back in before. You couldn't be rude so you responded, which drew you right back into the whole mess. I know you disliked what Fairy Godmother did, but honestly she doesn't have to respond to you just because you asked her something. That is her right. Just as it's your right to not respond to sibling.

ETA: I know it will feel terribly uncomfortable for you to not respond because it goes against the grain. You're a nice person. But that doesn't make it wrong. Etiquette doesn't necessarily apply here.

Thanks joyful,

yeah the trying to be nice is part of what draws me back in. I forget because I didn't ever think I had the right during most of my life with these people that I do. As you say Fairy Godmother has the right to not respond.

Thank you, its hard to not feel like it makes me wrong! And thanks for the clarification about relationship etiquette, that can be a hard one to decide on sometimes.

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Be rude!

You know what? I have some ideas.

I may get a little inappropriate, so feel free to ignore me...

I've noticed you have a really high level of concern for doing things "right" and "correctly." I'm guessing - and I could be wayyyyyyyy out of bounds here, and it's really the province that belongs between you and your therapist, lol... but I'm guessing it may have something to do with growing up abused and taking on the shame of the abuse, as if somewhere one feels it's one's "fault" for being abused, and if only one could be "good" enough - "perfect" enough - then the abuser wouldn't abuse.

So then it turns into this fear of doing something wrong that would make one "bad" and then, instead of helping to avoid abuse, it seems to justify being abused (even retroactively, maybe? Yeah, I'm not a psychologist and I don't play one on TV, lol). So there's this quest for and extreme level of concern for making sure one does everything exactly correctly.

I think you have actually concisely described my fear and the process through which I go to do things the right way! The therapist and I have discussed this perfection and powerful fear of mistakes issues, but only as it has applied to general life things/mistakes. I think I forget how much it drives the way I communicate with Sibling and PB, both of whom just wait for me to step outside the rules/guidelines and then pounce justifying whatever reaction they feel like. And if I do stay the course and do things quote "perfectly" they pout and sneer "well you did everything right", and they are not happy about it.

Yes you are right I do unconsciously think If I am good and perfect enough the abuse won't occur. This applies to the sexual abuse but also, verbal and emotional abuse as well. And then the other mission of this perfectionism is that if I am the perfect little good girl maybe PB will want me/ love me.

I did take the shame for the abuse and internalize it. I also was the family scapegoat, abused by PA, PB and Sibling. Too PB and Sibling I was often a little f word up, dumb, dumb who couldn't do anything right. I was perceived to be a complete air head which led the further scapegoating.

I think you say it perfectly here: "So there's this quest for and extreme level of concern for making sure one does everything exactly correctly."

Anyhoo...... People have a right to be imperfect and still not be abused. Imperfections do not justify abuse. That's really really hard to internalize. I was starting to, and then my last work experience blew it all to he|| in my head...

So the only way to unlearn it, I think, is in fact to do things "bad" or "wrong" and experience the world not falling apart.

I like your thought here that I have the right to be imperfect and it does not justify abuse! :) Yes it is really hard to internalize because the abuse seemed to be a punishment when you messed up, so therefore you deserved it.

We talked about just being able to make mistakes in therapy, but its still super hard for me lol, as you can imagine. My inner perfectionist screams "oh my god what have you done!"

I also just remembered that there is no forgiveness for mistakes, any time I lay down a boundary or make a mistake in how I communicate I apparently mortally wound PB and Sibling and the are hurt beyond repair (cue fainting fit).

So here's my idea.

Practice being an @sshole. :D In ways it doesn't matter, and nobody really gets hurt. Empower yourself to be a jerk sometimes. ;)

Possible Example:

- Find a fast-food place that's far away from where you normally would go. In the drive-through, order something and be aggressive about your order. Get grumpy! When they screw it up (because they will, because you'll change your mind mid-way through to make sure they screw it up, lol) - get angry and say "No! That's not what I ordered! What I want is a POWERADE WITH NO ICE!!!" Be what feels like a total jerk. Be strong, even aggressive. Shout at the stupid little speaker.

- Then - don't eat the food (if you're worried they might have spat in it or something, lol).

- Drive away.

- Practice not feeling guilty for having been a total jerk.

:)

Other Things:

- Find something else that you can do "wrong" - and do it wrong on purpose.

- Don't apologize for doing it wrong!!!

Develop your Inner Jerkness. It's fun!!! :D

This is a good idea in a way to developing being comfortable with yourself when you step outside your preconceived boundaries. But oh my this would be so hard for me to do! I literally feel like the world will end or I must really be a horrible person when I have less than stellar encounters with people. Unless we are referring to the insurance company then I am a complete powerful, fearless Goddess on a mission and I can be angry. But then it is usually because they have tried to revoke something they should not have, so I feel like I have a justified reason!

I do like what you are suggesting overall though and will think about ways I can make this work for myself, and try to make it fun lol :)

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When I read Quaddie's last post, I couldn't help but think of Edelweiss and her coffee episode. I can't remember when that was but I distinctly remember her saying how powerful it felt to return a cup of coffee because they hadn't made it correctly. Perhaps instead of being a complete @ss you could start out small and just return a cup of coffee that someone made wrong.

I have a hard time with perfectionism as well. I have the same feeling that I need to be perfect or I'm somehow wrong. It's taken me years to get to the point where I can enforce my boundaries, and then I'm still not perfect at it. LOL, I just noticed I said I'm "not perfect at it." As if you CAN be perfect at enforcing boundaries.

Anyway, your issues with sibling remind me of my relationship with my mother. I think there was a lot of co-dependency between us and I finally started ignoring her e-mails and phone calls to me, for something like 3 months, because every time I communicated with her I would have an emotional meltdown. I didn't respond to her unil I felt I could have that conversation without breaking down. Funny thing. She never even mentioned me not responding to her. She just went on like nothing had happened.

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I also just remembered that there is no forgiveness for mistakes, any time I lay down a boundary or make a mistake in how I communicate I apparently mortally wound PB and Sibling and the are hurt beyond repair (cue fainting fit).

I actually lol'd at that...

Hmmm, my counselor would say, "but that's them. THEY are the ones who are being (unfair - insensitive - inconsiderate - fill-in-the-blank). Not you."

There's no way you can please them. No matter what you do, you're "automatically" framed as "wrong." And it's not about how you do things, or what you do. It's just the way they are choosing to see you and behave toward you.

It's not you, it's them. But they've trained you that YOU are "responsible" for their hurt or mortal wounding. Oh what a tangled web.... they abuse you, and you're responsible for their being hurt by your being affected by the abuse you experienced. That's a completely crazymaking internal mess.

It's not that you are wrong for anything you did. It's their craziness.

You've tried words and words and it's not "helping." They're not receptive to your perspective, no matter how you try to explain. They don't want to know. They don't want to hear. It's like beating your head against a brick wall.

Just a note to clarify: The point to my "be a jerk" exercise IS to "do things wrong" and learn that the sky doesn't fall in even if you do. The coffee return thing would be if you have trouble standing up for something that is rightfully yours because you've been conditioned it's wrong to stand up that way. They're kinda two different things.

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Just a note to clarify: The point to my "be a jerk" exercise IS to "do things wrong" and learn that the sky doesn't fall in even if you do. The coffee return thing would be if you have trouble standing up for something that is rightfully yours because you've been conditioned it's wrong to stand up that way. They're kinda two different things.

I see your point, but personally, I think they are the same thing. You said that "you've been conditioned it's wrong to stand up that way." So wouldn't it then stand to reason that standing up for yourself would be "wrong" and achieve what you wanted to accomplish...learn that the sky doesn't fall in when you do things wrong. But, it might be more palatable for someone that is so conditioned to always doing everything "right." It's a smaller step, but achieves the same thing, IMO.

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The difference is that one thing isn't "wrong" but has been conditioned as a belief, but because it's objectively "within rights" it's easier to tell yourself there's nothing wrong with it. The other thing is truly is "wrong" and yet is just part of being human and imperfect. I think you're saying the perception is basically the same, but imo the underlying premise is very different and would have different effect.

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I'm jumping in here without reading everything Holly - in regards to handling emails etc that you don't want to respond to.

It is absolutely not essential to reply - my mother sent me birthday cards for a few years - the first on e I opened after a couple of days - I tried to resist but I couldn't stand 'not knowing' what she'd said. It was about how I should forgive her because she wasn't perfect - phoey RIGHT! but it sent me into guilt for some time - maybe I should forgive, maybe I'm being a beyotch not giving her ANOTHER chance, but I didn't reply - I went through those feelings with my 'team', my MIL (who knows my mother well) and my husband and each of them were telling me that she'd been given enough chances, and each time she'd chosen to do the same thing over and over....that she was not 'normal' in the sense of having a conscience about what she'd done and often played the guilt card with me, that she'd had many other options in her dealings with me but had chosen her path.

I got past the feelings of guilt.

Then the following year I didn't open the card, but I kept it in my car for some weeks, about three I think and I threw it out because my young daughter kept asking if she could open it...I certainly didn't want her to!

The next year I threw out the card as soon as I got it - the guilt was no longer there, I went from recieving to no guilt in 3.5 secs. Anything new like this is about getting over hurdles of past conditioned thinking. You get an email and think you HAVE to respond. OP, as your sounding board, your 'team' are here telling you that you can change that thinking and experience real freedom - really, ...you're allowed!

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When I read Quaddie's last post, I couldn't help but think of Edelweiss and her coffee episode. I can't remember when that was but I distinctly remember her saying how powerful it felt to return a cup of coffee because they hadn't made it correctly. Perhaps instead of being a complete @ss you could start out small and just return a cup of coffee that someone made wrong.

This is a good idea too, I usually would never send anything back!

I have a hard time with perfectionism as well. I have the same feeling that I need to be perfect or I'm somehow wrong. It's taken me years to get to the point where I can enforce my boundaries, and then I'm still not perfect at it. LOL, I just noticed I said I'm "not perfect at it." As if you CAN be perfect at enforcing boundaries.

This makes me laugh because it is something I would say, "not being perfect at not being perfect". Yes it is that feeling that if everything isn't just so- you are wrong!

Anyway, your issues with sibling remind me of my relationship with my mother. I think there was a lot of co-dependency between us and I finally started ignoring her e-mails and phone calls to me, for something like 3 months, because every time I communicated with her I would have an emotional meltdown. I didn't respond to her unil I felt I could have that conversation without breaking down. Funny thing. She never even mentioned me not responding to her. She just went on like nothing had happened.

That is funny she never said anything. I feel like I need time and space before I could have that detached relationship like how you are saying how you waited to respond till you felt more solid.

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And speaking of the devil,

after being ignored they decided to call today. I did not pick up.

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The next year I threw out the card as soon as I got it - the guilt was no longer there, I went from recieving to no guilt in 3.5 secs. Anything new like this is about getting over hurdles of past conditioned thinking. You get an email and think you HAVE to respond. OP, as your sounding board, your 'team' are here telling you that you can change that thinking and experience real freedom - really, ...you're allowed!

It sounds like this will be a bit of a process working out the guilty feelings, but its really nice to hear that someone has come out the other side and is doing well.

Very grateful to have such a lovely sounding board :)!

Thank you for helping give me give myself permission to change thought processes and be free. Sometimes it really does take other people telling you that you are free for you to realize it.

I'm jumping in here without reading everything Holly - in regards to handling emails etc that you don't want to respond to.

It is absolutely not essential to reply - my mother sent me birthday cards for a few years - the first on e I opened after a couple of days - I tried to resist but I couldn't stand 'not knowing' what she'd said. It was about how I should forgive her because she wasn't perfect - phoey RIGHT! but it sent me into guilt for some time - maybe I should forgive, maybe I'm being a beyotch not giving her ANOTHER chance, but I didn't reply - I went through those feelings with my 'team', my MIL (who knows my mother well) and my husband and each of them were telling me that she'd been given enough chances, and each time she'd chosen to do the same thing over and over....that she was not 'normal' in the sense of having a conscience about what she'd done and often played the guilt card with me, that she'd had many other options in her dealings with me but had chosen her path.

I got past the feelings of guilt.

Then the following year I didn't open the card, but I kept it in my car for some weeks, about three I think and I threw it out because my young daughter kept asking if she could open it...I certainly didn't want her to!

This is really helpful to hear your process, and oddly I have gone through this a little with PB. Last year I scowled at the over flowery sentiments in the card that felt fake, and this year I simply shredded the card- moved from guilt to anger!

When I think about the relationship with PB and Sibling, it isn't normal either, and they choose over and over again the same things and stay in the same place. And they don't seem to have much self awareness or self reflection.

It sounds like you know (sadly) exactly how I am feeling!

Thank you!

I am really in the phase of deciding for myself, and doing the potentially wrong thing does freak me out. But I am not just dealing with normal relationships and sometimes I still forget that. All the stories and advice help quite a bit.

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Yeah, you're not dealing with normal, here. Stay true to yourself.

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Yeah, you're not dealing with normal, here. Stay true to yourself.

Yeah they are special...

Thanks Quaddie :)

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I am really in the phase of deciding for myself, and doing the potentially wrong thing does freak me out.

I don't think there is 'right' or 'wrong', there are choices....and there are consequences to each choice. I chose to shut my mother out of my life - and in doing so I gave myself a certain level of peace - I don't have to think about her or her games anymore, that's golden to me, I am seen as the 'difficult one' but those people don't have to live my life so boo hoo, what do I care? It does make things difficult for others, it makes things awkward when people from the past ask how she is (I've learnt to just say " I honestly don't know, sorry")

If I had chosen to keep her in my life I would be dealing with second guessing myself, being afraid she would do me over again and using me when she felt it advantageous for her - but my children's Nanny would be part of their life and she may help us out from time to time. I had to make the choice.

I made it and I accept that no choice would have been perfect, each had their pros and cons which are not all listed here.... and there is nothing stopping me changing my mind at any time either - I just have to accept the consequences of the time passed.

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