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Estranged adult children


SKL
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28 minutes ago, Slache said:

One thing you have to remember is that abuse victims are conditioned to not name our abuse out loud. I've probably voiced 5% of what my MIL has done to me and 1% of what my mom has. Normally if I say it out loud people assume I'm lying. A father sexually assaulting his daughter is considered believable and a reason to cut him off, but if I told you my MIL beat her own face with a block of cheese and told people I did it so she could have my kids it sounds insane. Everything from the lie, to staring me in the eye while she did it to using a block of cheese instead of something that would actually bruise, the whole thing is just weird. Holding my hands so hard her nails left dents while she cried at me with her eyes open telling me she loved me and begging me not to ever move out of her home. Testing food allergies because she knows her DIL's are liars and putting a child in the hospital because of it. People don't believe these things and it ruins relationships. It's easier to say "She doesn't respect our parenting or marriage, constantly tries to intervene and we find it overwhelming," because at it's core that's what she's doing, and it's the most overwhelming thing I've ever faced.

I am so sorry. And boy do I know that grin. I hate that grin.

Especially psychological abuse victims.  And it's not just the abuser who gaslights their victims, but most of the victim's supporters/friends.  "oh, it can't have been that bad?  you're just oversensitive."  etc.  It is very common for victims of psychological abuse to think they are crazy.  I recently watched a video from Dr. Ramani where her feelings were *really* coming out.  One of the things that makes her  most angry is the person's potential that is destroyed by psychological abuse.

and if you're not lying - you must be engaging in hyperbole.   Those on the outside, who've never experienced this (and even some who have) can't believe a PARENT would  do this to their own child.   

I've head enough that I just don't talk about her to other people.  and if I do say anything about her, I leave it at: she wasn't a very happy person.  Or, she would have been happier if she'd stayed in Missouri.  (though after talking to 2nd cousins on that side - I'm glad she didn't.  She was NOT a one-off of her sisters!

I had 2 copies of my grandparents 50th anniversary picture.  I couldn't look at it.  It was THAT smile.  (which can still make me shudder.)  I gave them to my siblings so I no longer have a copy.

12 minutes ago, SKL said:

I have heard several things you do not want her to do/say, but my question is, what do you want her to say instead?

the ideal - is for them to engage in introspection and *sincerely* take responsibility for their screw ups.   To actually listen to how it affected us.  (and yes, I have one who can be emotionally very volatile - I listen to them, and know that this is important to THEM.

I'm not talking the "the parent was genuinely trying and made the wrong choice."  - I'm talking the parent was only thinking of themself and their own convenience and didn't really give a rip as to what was best for the child.  (or how much damage what they were exposing their child to/saying to their child, was hurting that child.)

the reality is -  parents who do this, are not capable of that type of introspection.

Don't try and teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

And part of the issue with young adults is that they don't understand the context of what their parents did, because they themselves haven't had the same stressors, at least not yet.  In the OP situation, the young adult has no plans to be a parent and I don't know if she ever plans to marry.  How can she understand the limitations of a young parent trying to raise kids (3 teens [one with special needs] and a tot and sometimes grandkids), care for Grandma with dementia, hold a job, battle physical problems, and educate him/herself?  As the baby of a relatively small nuclear family in a modern home, how can she understand the effects of being born into a shack with no electricity or running water, with 15 siblings, dropping out of school at 15 to have her first baby, and then dealing with an abusive [as in break your jaw abusive] first/ex-husband?  Miss protected-from-the-world considers herself to be entitled to parents who have no baggage and no challenges?

I don't disagree.  But I think the appropriate thing is to keep conversations open with your kids.  Hear them when they have feelings and respond.  It's fine to tell your kids you're human and are doing the best you can with the bandwidth you have.  Let them know about your own feelings, obligations, challenges and restraints.  Not in a "you kids don't know how good you have it" way.  But it a "I'm sorry we haven't been communicating well.  Grandma's health has really been overwhelming me and stressing me out.  How can we move forward?"  Model healthy boundaries and emotional response.  Get kids that need mental health care help if they need it.  Get yourself mental health care if you need it if your own baggage is keeping you from healthy relationships.

Snapping and shutting down lines of communication and invalidating feelings for years is one easy way to get to a place of having an adult kid that doesn't have time for you.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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1 hour ago, Kassia said:

 

 

Gardenmom5 got it right.  MIL is very immature and can't be reasoned with.  Instead of discussing an issue, she starts to cry OR she gets mad and has a tantrum and tries to shut down communication by saying she's a terrible mother.  At that point, the conversation goes from trying to explain/discuss something to consoling her.  She never has to take responsibility for anything by doing this.  
 

Oh at some point I’d concede that she’s right, she IS a terrible mother because she refuses to take responsibility for her actions and apologize and change her manipulative ways.

I hate it when people try to force you to walk on eggshells around them.  I call them on it.  It makes people with personality disorders afraid of me, but I don’t have to put up with that stuff more than once.

Ironically normal people usually say I’m really sweet.  It’s only narcissists who think I’m a total witch. 

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I gotta say, saying stuff like this will be singularly unhelpful if your children ever complain about your behavior… 

Well this isn't about me, but I do have more understanding of my mom's behavior because of knowing some things she lived through.  Not perfect understanding, because my life was better than hers, but at least I could appreciate her efforts to rise out of that life and make a better one for her kids.  Of course it helped that I didn't have someone constantly talking into my ear that I must hold my parents accountable for everything that ever did or didn't happen in our home.

I don't have a ton of baggage / challenges myself, but I do have some.  There are things I can't wish away, such as in-born mental health issues and a family structure that simply is what it is.  There are other things that I consider net positive but they consider net negative, because they aren't mature enough to understand yet.  It will be my kids who are hurt by anyone who talks them into walking away from their family over such things.

Edited by SKL
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Interestingly, part of what got me to finally talk less to my mom was having MORE perspective. When I had my own kids, it became much clearer that healthy people did not do the kinds of things my mom was doing.

As my oldest gets older, I do find myself having somewhat more empathy for my mom, mostly because I'm seeing how hard it can be to be brought up by an unhealthy family and not to know how to behave better. (Her mom was a complete narcissist, and a much worse one than her: she was actively unloving as opposed to my mom, who is just clueless, insecure and narcissistic, but with a core of love for me still.) But it still doesn't mean I want to talk to her more, because talking to her makes me a worse person -- it's like constantly looking into a funhouse mirror. Spending time with people who don't think of you as an individual is exhausting and pointless and I don't want my kids to be around that. 

The problem wasn't that my mom made mistakes, but that she was never willing to admit it (neither in words nor in actions). If you are so deeply insecure that you can't ever even apologize or work on improving things, then nothing ever does get better. You're stuck. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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8 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Especially psychological abuse victims.  And it's not just the abuser who gaslights their victims, but most of the victim's supporters/friends.  "oh, it can't have been that bad?  you're just oversensitive."  etc.  It is very common for victims of psychological abuse to think they are crazy.  I recently watched a video from Dr. Ramani where her feelings were *really* coming out.  One of the things that makes her  most angry is the person's potential that is destroyed by psychological abuse.

and if you're not lying - you must be engaging in hyperbole.   Those on the outside, who've never experienced this (and even some who have) can't believe a PARENT would  do this to their own child.   

I've head enough that I just don't talk about her to other people.  and if I do say anything about her, I leave it at: she wasn't a very happy person.  Or, she would have been happier if she'd stayed in Missouri.  (though after talking to 2nd cousins on that side - I'm glad she didn't.  She was NOT a one-off of her sisters!

I had 2 copies of my grandparents 50th anniversary picture.  I couldn't look at it.  It was THAT smile.  (which can still make me shudder.)  I gave them to my siblings so I no longer have a copy.

I think a big part of it is that we just can't fathom what we can't fathom. I haven't robbed a bank or killed someone in a fit of rage, but I understand why someone would do those things. But to intentionally hurt your child multiple times a day because you like hurting them? Because that's the only thing that makes you feel empowered and that's all you really care about? I don't understand that and if someone told me their mother did that it would be upsetting and unbelievable. I have children. I know how mothers behave because I am one, and mothers don't do things like that. In fact, we go to great lengths to prevent them from being hurt.

I understand people not understanding.

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15 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I'm not talking the "the parent was genuinely trying and made the wrong choice."  - I'm talking the parent was only thinking of themself and their own convenience and didn't really give a rip as to what was best for the child.  (or how much damage what they were exposing their child to/saying to their child, was hurting that child.)

the reality is -  parents who do this, are not capable of that type of introspection.

Don't try and teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

And honestly, that's hard for me to fathom still. I haven't seen my mom for a few years now due to COVID, and when I don't see her for a while I start forgetting how selfish she is. It takes seeing her again to remember that some parents genuinely don't think much about how something affects their kid, except insofar as it reflects on them. 

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11 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Interestingly, part of what got me to finally talk less to my mom was having MORE perspective. When I had my own kids, it became much clearer that healthy people did not do the kinds of things my mom was doing.

As my oldest gets older, I do find myself having somewhat more empathy for my mom, mostly because I'm seeing how hard it can be to be brought up by an unhealthy family and not to know how to behave better. (Her mom was a complete narcissist, and a much worse one than her: she was actively unloving as opposed to my mom, who is just clueless, insecure and narcissistic, but with a core of love for me still.) But it still doesn't mean I want to talk to her more, because talking to her makes me a worse person -- it's like constantly looking into a funhouse mirror. Spending time with people who don't think of you as an individual is exhausting and pointless and I don't want my kids to be around that. 

The problem wasn't that my mom made mistakes, but that she was never willing to admit it (neither in words nor in actions). If you are so deeply insecure that you can't ever even apologize or work on improving things, then nothing ever does get better. You're stuck. 

Yes, some of our parents are deeply insecure.

Personally, I don't think accusing them of their faults fixes that, or helps in any way at all.

I don't think it makes sense to blame or attack people (of any age) for being insecure.

It sounds like you have a relationship with your mom.  You haven't written her a "you are dead to me" letter.  I think you are probably doing fine.

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15 minutes ago, SKL said:

Yes, some of our parents are deeply insecure.

Personally, I don't think accusing them of their faults fixes that, or helps in any way at all.

I don't think it makes sense to blame or attack people (of any age) for being insecure.

Who's attacking her for being insecure?? I've never even talked to her about it. The problem is that the insecurity makes it impossible for her to fix ANYTHING or to even hear me. Even small, gentle requests like "please give me some down time after a fight" would become a huge issue, never mind more complicated stuff. 

I couldn't ask her not to make fun of my kids to their faces. I couldn't ask her not to comment on my appearance. I couldn't ask her not to get into power struggles with a toddler. I couldn't ask her not to set my sister against her dad's family (they had a terrible divorce.) I couldn't ask her not to lie to me about why my sister couldn't visit for my birthday. EVERYTHING because a referendum on her fitness as a parent instead of a conversation about a specific issue. 

 

15 minutes ago, SKL said:

It sounds like you have a relationship with your mom.  You haven't written her a "you are dead to me" letter.  I think you are probably doing fine.

I actually stopped talking to her for 6 months a few years back. I needed the reset before I was able to actually enforce some boundaries. 

The power structure of our relationship is definitely different than it used to be now. She KNOWS I can stop talking to her if I like, so she no longer acts like she can behave badly with impunity. Nowadays, the way she treats me is much more like the way she'd treat her husbands and much less the way she treated us as kids -- she's much more tentative and careful. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 hours ago, SKL said:

And part of the issue with young adults is that they don't understand the context of what their parents did, because they themselves haven't had the same stressors, at least not yet.  In the OP situation, the young adult has no plans to be a parent and I don't know if she ever plans to marry.  How can she understand the limitations of a young parent trying to raise kids (3 teens [one with special needs] and a tot and sometimes grandkids), care for Grandma with dementia, hold a job, battle physical problems, and educate him/herself?  As the baby of a relatively small nuclear family in a modern home, how can she understand the effects of being born into a shack with no electricity or running water, with 15 siblings, dropping out of school at 15 to have her first baby, and then dealing with an abusive [as in break your jaw abusive] first/ex-husband?  Miss protected-from-the-world considers herself to be entitled to parents who have no baggage and no challenges?

Larry Elder (pretty sure it was him.) shared the story of his relationship with his father.  When he was 17, he stopped talking to him.  (He still spoke to his mother.)  It was years before he finally confronted his father to tell him what he'd done that made him so angry,, he stopped talking to him.  His father listened.  He didn't interrupt.  When it was over, he said "let me tell you about my childhood".  They've since developed a good relationship.

Kids need to hear what our lives were like growing up. - in appropriate ways.  It can prevent a lot of those types of estrangements and need for reconciliation.
Listening to our kids, their concerns, etc. - and respecting them - goes a long way to maintaining these relationships.

when a parent only thinks of their children to be seen and not heard, and as an extension of themselves - that leads to problems.

 

1 hour ago, Katy said:

   It’s only narcissists who think I’m a total witch. 

Narcissists despise the people they can't control.  They fear them.  (at heart narcissists are insecure, no matter how deeply it is hidden.  Secure people do not seek to coercively control and manipulate others.)

It was funny to watch dh with grandmama.  He was excruciatingly polite - and cheerful.  she hated him so much, because she couldn't control him, she tried to convince me he was having an affair because "everybody does it".

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

And honestly, that's hard for me to fathom still. I haven't seen my mom for a few years now due to COVID, and when I don't see her for a while I start forgetting how selfish she is. It takes seeing her again to remember that some parents genuinely don't think much about how something affects their kid, except insofar as it reflects on them. 

 I would have to remind myself.  I have made a conscious effort to remember some of the garbage my brother has done that has earned him a banishment from my house. (I'll meet him other places, but he's not allowed in my house.)  and that yeah - his behavior was that outrageous and he's not to be trusted.

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4 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I would have to remind myself.  I have made a conscious effort to remember some of the garbage my brother has done that has earned him a banishment from my house. (I'll meet him other places, but he's not allowed in my house.)  and that yeah - his behavior was that outrageous and he's not to be trusted.

Yeah, I have to do that sometime. Otherwise, I just forget, because I spend so little time with people who think of you as an extension of them. 

For a rather silly example, it's literally been years since I've felt judged for feeling tired or sleepy or needing a break 😛. But this was a constant theme in my mother's house. And it can be hard to remember how crazy all the walking on eggshells makes you. 

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

Well this isn't about me, but I do have more understanding of my mom's behavior because of knowing some things she lived through.   

Just want to add/ask:  where does the child understanding the adult's childhood end, and the adult taking responsibility for overcoming a lousy background begin?   

Because those are two entirely different things.  some adults will put all the onus on the child to cater to them, and have zero interest in being an adult and taking responsibility for their own behavior.

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I do think I'm learning something here?  That listening to our kids may be a big factor in how they handle these relationships in the future.  I think about my mom, and she's always been a good listener.  She may come to completely different conclusions than I do, but at least we feel like we can say things that need to be said (though how they are said matters).

My mom has seriously been through a lot.  I do feel she has a lot of insecurity, and that's not going to change.  I'm never going to push that button if I can help it.  I don't need to.  I'm a mature adult and can think before I speak.  Or not speak.  🙂 

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Just want to add/ask:  where does the child understanding the adult's childhood end, and the adult taking responsibility for overcoming a lousy background begin?   

Because those are two entirely different things.  some adults will put all the onus on the child to cater to them, and have zero interest in being an adult and taking responsibility for their own behavior.

It depends.  Some adults are better equipped to understand and deal with their own baggage than others.  I will compare two anonymous but real moms in my life.  Both had a lousy, abusive, impoverished childhood, and quit school as early as legally allowed.  The first mom has a lot of native intelligence, married (and stayed married to) a stable and nonviolent man, had her first child at 19, and continued her education when able.  The second mom has average intelligence, had a horrible abusive first husband (ages 15-20ish), had her first child at 15, and didn't go as far in her adult education.  Unsurprisingly, the first mom has a better, but not perfect, ability to introspect.

As to when the child should start "being the adult" - again, whenever that is developmentally possible, which will depend on the individual's native gifts and experiences.  The child isn't necessarily limited by his/her parent's limits, especially where intelligence, education, and life experiences favor the child.

I would like to think that more college education would be a pro factor in this discussion, but unfortunately, there are some influences in college that don't foster mature adult thinking IMO.

Edited by SKL
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1 hour ago, SKL said:

I do think I'm learning something here?  That listening to our kids may be a big factor in how they handle these relationships in the future.  I think about my mom, and she's always been a good listener.  She may come to completely different conclusions than I do, but at least we feel like we can say things that need to be said (though how they are said matters).

My mom has seriously been through a lot.  I do feel she has a lot of insecurity, and that's not going to change.  I'm never going to push that button if I can help it.  I don't need to.  I'm a mature adult and can think before I speak.  Or not speak.  🙂 

Yes, I think the ability to listen and also the ability to acknowledge another perspective is really key. 

You have to understand that some of us with limited relationships with their parents have NEVER gotten their parents to acknowledge any complaint whatsoever. Not even to the extent of "I can see that this would bother you, but I can't help it." The blog post I linked earlier in this thread gives some excellent examples of what that can look like. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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I grew up as the only child of a single mother who was a good, loving mother when capable but who was also periodically in and out of the hospital with mental health issues.  Over the years, I have had to make some tough decisions, and I do understand the need for strong boundaries.

We’ve unfortunately also been on the other side of it when our young adult child made some decisions that were a disaster for his mental health.  We were surprised and confused when he pointed to us as the source of his issues to counselors, friends, extended families, church members, etc.  We’re imperfect and made some mistakes, and we listened and apologized for things we felt were wrong.  But some of his accusations were (in our opinion) highly exaggerated, and some were quite simply untrue.  We didn’t bother trying to defend ourselves to others, but I felt such shame and confusion.  

I spent so many sleepless nights going over and over his childhood - Was it this? Was it that? Should I have done this or that?  Was I a bad homeschooler?  Is homeschooling inherently bad?  I looked at photo albums, homeschool records, etc.  I looked at my other kids who seemed just as happy as their brother had seemed.  Were they really happy?  I no longer knew what was true.

My other teens refused to speak to their brother (despite me encouraging them to).  They were angry at his treatment of us and his portrayal of our family.  My 17 yo came to me one day and said, “Mom, there’s nothing wrong with anything you’ve done.”

Our son is still young and needed us, so we just tried to be supportive.  Almost a year has passed since this began.  He has apologized and admitted that his accusations were undeserved.  He recently showed me some kind of social media post honoring his dad.  Last week, he told me he didn’t like all aspects of homeschooling, but he felt it was good for him and he doesn’t say it often enough.  He said he hadn’t had a bad experience growing up.  He was just going thru some growing pains.

Of course, we forgive him.  But I still wake up in the middle of the night, recounting everything and wondering where I went wrong.  I second guess everything.  I struggle not to hold my younger children at arm’s length, knowing this may one day be the outcome.

We thankfully have decades long friends who have seen our family up close and supported us through the whole ordeal.  But there are some extended family members who did not see our family up close and are sure there is more to the story.  We *must* have done *something*.

Sometimes there’s more to the story, but not always.  Sometimes those seeing from the outside are getting a fairly accurate view.  No matter how well we parent, we can’t control our children’s feelings, thoughts, and perceptions, and the result is sometimes hurtful and unfair. 

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13 minutes ago, JazzyMom said:

I grew up as the only child of a single mother who was a good, loving mother when capable but who was also periodically in and out of the hospital with mental health issues.  Over the years, I have had to make some tough decisions, and I do understand the need for strong boundaries.

We’ve unfortunately also been on the other side of it when our young adult child made some decisions that were a disaster for his mental health.  We were surprised and confused when he pointed to us as the source of his issues to counselors, friends, extended families, church members, etc.  We’re imperfect and made some mistakes, and we listened and apologized for things we felt were wrong.  But some of his accusations were (in our opinion) highly exaggerated, and some were quite simply untrue.  We didn’t bother trying to defend ourselves to others, but I felt such shame and confusion.  

I spent so many sleepless nights going over and over his childhood - Was it this? Was it that? Should I have done this or that?  Was I a bad homeschooler?  Is homeschooling inherently bad?  I looked at photo albums, homeschool records, etc.  I looked at my other kids who seemed just as happy as their brother had seemed.  Were they really happy?  I no longer knew what was true.

My other teens refused to speak to their brother (despite me encouraging them to).  They were angry at his treatment of us and his portrayal of our family.  My 17 yo came to me one day and said, “Mom, there’s nothing wrong with anything you’ve done.”

Our son is still young and needed us, so we just tried to be supportive.  Almost a year has passed since this began.  He has apologized and admitted that his accusations were undeserved.  He recently showed me some kind of social media post honoring his dad.  Last week, he told me he didn’t like all aspects of homeschooling, but he felt it was good for him and he doesn’t say it often enough.  He said he hadn’t had a bad experience growing up.  He was just going thru some growing pains.

Of course, we forgive him.  But I still wake up in the middle of the night, recounting everything and wondering where I went wrong.  I second guess everything.  I struggle not to hold my younger children at arm’s length, knowing this may one day be the outcome.

We thankfully have decades long friends who have seen our family up close and supported us through the whole ordeal.  But there are some extended family members who did not see our family up close and are sure there is more to the story.  We *must* have done *something*.

Sometimes there’s more to the story, but not always.  Sometimes those seeing from the outside are getting a fairly accurate view.  No matter how well we parent, we can’t control our children’s feelings, thoughts, and perceptions, and the result is sometimes hurtful and unfair. 

I wish we had a "care" emoji.  I'm so sorry you went through that.  How devastating.  I am so glad that he is through the other end and working hard on making amends to you. Raising kids is such an art and no matter how hard we try, we aren't in control.  Once when one of my dc was going through a hard time I was literally crying bc I was making the "right" decisions, but everything was going wrong and I was cast in the saga (by other parties who had influence on dc) as the evil parent in a TV drama. It sounds silly, but it was so very hard.  I am sure that you made mistakes as we all do, but it is so great you have a strong support system, your other kids were there to speak truth, you kept your relationship with your ds at a place where he could come back and admit what he did wrong.  Anyway, my counselor at the time of the above issues was wonderful at listening to my pain and then asking, "What is going well.  What good do you see."  I just don't want you to beat yourself up about this, okay?

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16 minutes ago, freesia said:

I wish we had a "care" emoji.  I'm so sorry you went through that.  How devastating.  I am so glad that he is through the other end and working hard on making amends to you. Raising kids is such an art and no matter how hard we try, we aren't in control.  Once when one of my dc was going through a hard time I was literally crying bc I was making the "right" decisions, but everything was going wrong and I was cast in the saga (by other parties who had influence on dc) as the evil parent in a TV drama. It sounds silly, but it was so very hard.  I am sure that you made mistakes as we all do, but it is so great you have a strong support system, your other kids were there to speak truth, you kept your relationship with your ds at a place where he could come back and admit what he did wrong.  Anyway, my counselor at the time of the above issues was wonderful at listening to my pain and then asking, "What is going well.  What good do you see."  I just don't want you to beat yourself up about this, okay?

Thank you.  It all feels so fresh, so some days are still hard, but I am glad things are improving.  I do want to move forward and focus on what’s going well.

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On 7/28/2021 at 12:45 PM, gardenmom5 said:

t was funny to watch dh with grandmama.  He was excruciatingly polite - and cheerful.  she hated him so much, because she couldn't control him, she tried to convince me he was having an affair because "everybody does it"

 

.

Edited by Indigo Blue
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Not to derail things, but in my mind I wonder, for these people who go no contact, could they in any way be committing elder abuse in the eyes of the law? I’m not “no contact” (just guarded,  keep myself protected emotionally, and am “less contact”), but I wonder how do NPD elders fare alone in their last days? If relatives come out of the woodwork in the last days to minimally help, don’t hospital workers and social workers wonder what is going on? Does no contact and “you are dead to me” mean these people literally die completely alone without any family being contacted or questioned? I’ve been wondering this ever since I began to learn about NPD and all the terminology that goes with it. 
 

 

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18 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

Not to derail things, but in my mind I wonder, for these people who go no contact, could they in any way be committing elder abuse in the eyes of the law? I’m not “no contact” (just guarded,  keep myself protected emotionally, and am “less contact”), but I wonder how do NPD elders fare alone in their last days? If relatives come out of the woodwork in the last days to minimally help, don’t hospital workers and social workers wonder what is going on? Does no contact and “you are dead to me” mean these people literally die completely alone without any family being contacted or questioned? I’ve been wondering this ever since I began to learn about NPD and all the terminology that goes with it. 

Yes. We have a paper trail to attempt to cover us if anything is said.

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I struggle with knowing how much to tell my kids about what things were like growing up.  We've talked about my mom a bit, in relationship to what it's like for them to interact with her, but I haven't told them about some of the more egregious stuff.  And my mom isn't a narcissist.  She's just.....I dunno, confusing.  She will say things and five minutes later deny she said them.  It makes me always doubt my memories and my reality, and it's entirely likely that I am wrong about some stuff.  It's just all kinds of awkward.  

Even though my kids are older, I just am reluctant to tell them too many details about bad things that happened to me.  I'm not sure that that's right or not.  I started off not telling them because they were little and I didn't want to damage their belief that people are innately good.  But at some point I probably should tell them.  I guess.  It's just awkward to bring up now.  

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10 minutes ago, Terabith said:

  I started off not telling them because they were little and I didn't want to damage their belief that people are innately good.  But at some point I probably should tell them.  I guess.  It's just awkward to bring up now.  

There are books. You can frame it as part of a personal development/Health course.

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18 minutes ago, Rosie_0801 said:

There are books. You can frame it as part of a personal development/Health course.

That's my plan. Emotional Blackmail, Boundaries, Waking on Eggshells, and Toxic Parents are all on my list.

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41 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

Not to derail things, but in my mind I wonder, for these people who go no contact, could they in any way be committing elder abuse in the eyes of the law? I’m not “no contact” (just guarded,  keep myself protected emotionally, and am “less contact”), but I wonder how do NPD elders fare alone in their last days? If relatives come out of the woodwork in the last days to minimally help, don’t hospital workers and social workers wonder what is going on? Does no contact and “you are dead to me” mean these people literally die completely alone without any family being contacted or questioned? I’ve been wondering this ever since I began to learn about NPD and all the terminology that goes with it. 

Not to my knowledge in the USA. There are plenty of people who get moved into a nursing home and never have a visitor until they are put on hospice or die. I worked for one nursing home frequently in the first year of nursing school and took care if a woman for 8 months.  She was very sweet.  She never had a visitor until she had a sudden decline. It was found she had some sort of cancer.  There was a sudden flurry of visitors. One of them told me she was her daughter and asked how she was to take care of.  When I expressed she was lovely the woman fell apart.  She said she was the worst narcissist she’d ever heard of and when she needed care they decided as a family she had to go in a nursing home because they were all afraid they’d be as abusive to her as she had been to them growing up. She was both relieved her mother was well liked and being well cared for AND upset she hid who she was so well. 
 

I also worked at a Catholic hospital where there was a “frequent flyer” who kept being violent and kicked out of nursing homes. Eventually no one would take him. One of the hospital staff members came to love him and adopted him.  None of his family or old friends would have anything to do with him.  He was cranky & violent with people he didn’t like, but he liked me.  I never saw that side if him. 

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51 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

Not to derail things, but in my mind I wonder, for these people who go no contact, could they in any way be committing elder abuse in the eyes of the law? I’m not “no contact” (just guarded,  keep myself protected emotionally, and am “less contact”), but I wonder how do NPD elders fare alone in their last days? If relatives come out of the woodwork in the last days to minimally help, don’t hospital workers and social workers wonder what is going on? Does no contact and “you are dead to me” mean these people literally die completely alone without any family being contacted or questioned? I’ve been wondering this ever since I began to learn about NPD and all the terminology that goes with it. 
 

 

The definition I have of elder abuse is, "Elder abuse is any action by someone in a relationship of trust that results in harm or distress to an older person. Neglect is a lack of action by that person in a relationship of trust with the same result. Commonly recognized types of elder abuse include physical, psychological and financial."

To me, an estranged adult child is not in 'a relationship of trust' and therefore can not engage in the kind of neglect being described here.

I imagine elders who have fully estranged adult children fare about the same as childless elderly adults in their last days. I assume hospital workers and social workers are quite familiar with both of those scenarios. If there is no contact information, I guess that means that nothing at all is done with regard to the family. If there is some way to contact a 'next of kin' (to inform them of the person's passing, or to let them know beforehand) workers would probably try -- but that doesn't make the contact-ee responsible for 'neglecting' someone they haven't been in relationship with for years.

In Canada, a person without family support receives social services (as well as medical care) regardless of if it's due to estrangement or childlessness. (I wonder if the American awareness of hospital bills might contribute to worries about being 'held responsible' for an estranged family member?)

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I did hear once that some state was trying to change the law and force children to be financially responsible for their parents medical bills.  I want to say it was in Minnesota.  I don’t know whatever became of it, but I would guess medicaid laws superceded it if it ever got through. 

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5 minutes ago, Katy said:

I did hear once that some state was trying to change the law and force children to be financially responsible for their parents medical bills.  I want to say it was in Minnesota.  I don’t know whatever became of it, but I would guess medicaid laws superceded it if it ever got through. 

I think that there are several states where elder care expenses fall to the children by law, but that those laws are not being enforced.  I find that alarming all the way around.

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7 hours ago, SKL said:

Well this isn't about me, but I do have more understanding of my mom's behavior because of knowing some things she lived through.  Not perfect understanding, because my life was better than hers, but at least I could appreciate her efforts to rise out of that life and make a better one for her kids.  Of course it helped that I didn't have someone constantly talking into my ear that I must hold my parents accountable for everything that ever did or didn't happen in our home.

I don't have a ton of baggage / challenges myself, but I do have some.  There are things I can't wish away, such as in-born mental health issues and a family structure that simply is what it is.  There are other things that I consider net positive but they consider net negative, because they aren't mature enough to understand yet.  It will be my kids who are hurt by anyone who talks them into walking away from their family over such things.

Yeah, my parent went through major trauma age 10-16 - and was a mum, without any kind of care for that trauma, five years later.

Absolutely it helps me contextualise her abusive behaviour. I imagine it's orders of magnitude easier to contextualise non-abusive disappointing behaviour. 

I've often had the opposite problem - of extending too much grace, at the cost of my own anger - but I now feel comfortable finding a balance between acknowledgement of how badly she was failed, and anger at how badly she failed me...and an ability to move on. 

Of course, moving on doesn't always look like a close, loving relationship. In my case, it's pretty close tho superficial in some ways. I can understand ppl who go LC. 

I just agree it's better to move on, in whatever way, with that understanding that our parents, like us, are fallible humans with many flaws, and like us, their behaviours were always driven by a multitude of factors, not all of them entirely within their control. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Katy said:

I did hear once that some state was trying to change the law and force children to be financially responsible for their parents medical bills.  I want to say it was in Minnesota.  I don’t know whatever became of it, but I would guess medicaid laws superceded it if it ever got through. 

Several states have those laws and some have been enforced. Some guy was forced to pay $800,000 in I think Connecticut.

4 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

I think that there are several states where elder care expenses fall to the children by law, but that those laws are not being enforced.  I find that alarming all the way around.

Some are. It's called filial responsibility.

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1 hour ago, Terabith said:

I struggle with knowing how much to tell my kids about what things were like growing up.  We've talked about my mom a bit, in relationship to what it's like for them to interact with her, but I haven't told them about some of the more egregious stuff.  And my mom isn't a narcissist.  She's just.....I dunno, confusing.  She will say things and five minutes later deny she said them.  It makes me always doubt my memories and my reality, and it's entirely likely that I am wrong about some stuff.  It's just all kinds of awkward.  

Even though my kids are older, I just am reluctant to tell them too many details about bad things that happened to me.  I'm not sure that that's right or not.  I started off not telling them because they were little and I didn't want to damage their belief that people are innately good.  But at some point I probably should tell them.  I guess.  It's just awkward to bring up now.  

I struggle with this too, not least because they actually have good relationships with my mum. Apparently that's not uncommon. 

Sometimes when my kids are 'disappointed' with me over some non-trivial to them thing, but objectively not poor parenting ( still reading J.K. Rowling comes to mind) I almost wish I could tell them how their beloved grandmother used to beat me round the head and how I've forgiven her almost entirely...so maybe they can not lose the plot because I've got a Strike novel on my Kindle and quit with the muttering about 'problematic' and 'violent'. 

But of course, I don't want them to know that, because I don't want to damage their relationship with my mum. 

So, screwed both ways, really. Give grace to the kids, give grace to the parent...sometimes I would like to suggest they give some to me!

 

 

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30 minutes ago, bolt. said:

The definition I have of elder abuse is, "Elder abuse is any action by someone in a relationship of trust that results in harm or distress to an older person.

Yeah, I got accused of elder abuse for not facilitating enough sugary foods to a diabetic and not making Christmas magical. They had me taken to court over it.

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6 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

I struggle with this too, not least because they actually have good relationships with my mum. Apparently that's not uncommon. 

Sometimes when my kids are 'disappointed' with me over some non-trivial to them thing, but objectively not poor parenting ( still reading J.K. Rowling comes to mind) I almost wish I could tell them how their beloved grandmother used to beat me round the head and how I've forgiven her almost entirely...so maybe they can not lose the plot because I've got a Strike novel on my Kindle and quit with the muttering about 'problematic' and 'violent'. 

But of course, I don't want them to know that, because I don't want to damage their relationship with my mum. 

So, screwed both ways, really. Give grace to the kids, give grace to the parent...sometimes I would like to suggest they give some to me!

 

 

I might be a jerk, but I tend to tell the truth about people. And I let the chips fall where they may. 

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1 minute ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Yeah, I got accused of elder abuse for not facilitating enough sugary foods to a diabetic and not making Christmas magical. They had me taken to court over it.

Wow.  How did the court react to that?

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

I might be a jerk, but I tend to tell the truth about people. And I let the chips fall where they may. 

I don't think there's utility in it. 

This parent has been a good grandma. Abuse is long, long in the past. Telling so that my kids will feel bad doesn't seem like a very good reason. 

It would be different if they had a poor relationship with my.mum, or if she was still abusive. 

I would just like for my kids to sometimes extend me a little grace, that's all. 

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2 minutes ago, Katy said:

😯 I really wish I could like your posts.  I’m sorry you went through that. 

They threatened to take me to court again if my daughter changed her behaviour towards this person too. They haven't, but possibly because I have no parental responsibility and their lawyer told them there cannot, therefore, be a case to answer. Or they got bored, I dunno.

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56 minutes ago, Katy said:

I did hear once that some state was trying to change the law and force children to be financially responsible for their parents medical bills.  I want to say it was in Minnesota.  I don’t know whatever became of it, but I would guess medicaid laws superceded it if it ever got through. 

Filial laws are not a thing in Minnesota.  If it came up, I never heard about it.  But ridiculous things that will never pass come up every year so it would surprise me if someone proposed it up in the legislature.  

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25 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

I don't think there's utility in it. 

This parent has been a good grandma. Abuse is long, long in the past. Telling so that my kids will feel bad doesn't seem like a very good reason. 

It would be different if they had a poor relationship with my.mum, or if she was still abusive. 

I would just like for my kids to sometimes extend me a little grace, that's all. 

(:don’t quote  please)

This is the same in my home.  I understand now the stress and poverty my mom was raising me and two of my sisters under(things changed as time went on and my younger siblings had a very different childhood).  My mom is a wonderful grandmother and my kids are close to her.  I don’t know what, if anything, I will tell them.

I knew from the time I was very young that my grandmother had been incredibly abusive; things that absolutely would have had her parental rights terminated today but was overlooked in thr 1960s. My mom was rather indiscriminate about what she talked to her friends about in front of us.  It greatly confused me because my grandmother was amazing to me. People change, but I was confused as a child.

 

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9 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

How did the confusion manifest, @Mrs Tiggywinkle

Because I’d hear her telling her friends about things her mother had done to her, and later on when I was older she’d tell me.  My grandmother took me on trips, bought me clothes and toys when my parents couldn’t afford the basics, had marvelous sleepovers where we’d watch old Disney movies and laugh until we cried. I couldn’t understand as a child who the woman who had done those things to my mother was so amazing to her grandchildren.

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I live in a state with filial responsibility laws, and technically any nursing home or assisted living facility can come after us for our parents’ medical bills (or otherwise).  It has caused me some sleepless nights, as we do indeed receive their bills with our names on them, not that we have ever implied or agreed to be responsible for those bills.  At $8-$10K a month each, they are burning through the LTC insurance and assets, and fast. We have gotten one on Medicaid, and the facility was extremely helpful in guiding us through that process. 
 

But it’s been explained to me by an attorney friend that these laws are very rarely enforced, and that most judges see sandwiched parents paying for braces and college - and it’s simply not enforced.  


That’s off the thread topic, but in case anyone just learned about filial laws on this thread, I thought I’d toss it out there to give some perspective.

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10 hours ago, Katy said:

If the behavior is abusive and the parents refuse to acknowledge they’re being abusive to adults and stop it, the option is to: 

1) let grandchildren witness their parents being abused and allowing it, teaching kids abuse is okay, OR

2) teaching them abuse isn’t okay and shouldn’t be put up with, and it’s better to walk away than let the abuser continue to abuse you. 

I’d rather teach my children the latter. 

This is what prompted the fall out with my dad. Wife #3 was abusive and likely had a personality disorder. She started picking nasty fights with dad in front of the grandkids, which wasn't ok. She would start fights when we were a captive audience and couldn't leave, like while we were in the backseat of the car dad was driving. I saw her hit my dad in front of my nephew and son at his birthday party, and then she threw a broom across the room my son was playing in.

I confronted dad and said "I don't know what's going on here. Are you ok? Whatever is going on, this cannot happen in front of the grandkids ever again.  This isn't ok". 

Wife #3 lost her mind when she found out I said something to dad,  threatened to "make it like my son never even existed". 

Dad kept trying to sweep it all under the rug. Like, "It's fine! Stop being so difficult, Miss Lemon! You are over-reacting!"

The whole thing was bananas. Like, your crappy wife hits you and threatens my kid as a way to hurt me, but now *I* am the bad guy because I won't put up with it?  Nah, hard pass. Letting my son witness that sends a horrendous message.  

I wish I had handled that situation with far less screaming. I feel badly about that part. But I don't feel bad for defending myself and my kid, and for refusing to participate in abuse.  

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6 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

I struggle with this too, not least because they actually have good relationships with my mum. Apparently that's not uncommon. 

Sometimes when my kids are 'disappointed' with me over some non-trivial to them thing, but objectively not poor parenting ( still reading J.K. Rowling comes to mind) I almost wish I could tell them how their beloved grandmother used to beat me round the head and how I've forgiven her almost entirely...so maybe they can not lose the plot because I've got a Strike novel on my Kindle and quit with the muttering about 'problematic' and 'violent'. 

But of course, I don't want them to know that, because I don't want to damage their relationship with my mum. 

So, screwed both ways, really. Give grace to the kids, give grace to the parent...sometimes I would like to suggest they give some to me!

My mom told us about the more or less legal physical beatings while we were still young and had a good relationship with Granny.  Usually after hearing that Granny had told us something like "never hit a kid in the face, God created a better place."  It used to make my mom laugh and then she'd spill.  She also told us about how she had to change her younger brothers' diapers when she herself was still a preschooler, had to stand on a chair to wash dishes, etc.  She waited until we were teens to tell some of the meaner things, and some horrific things I never knew until I was an adult.  There may still be some things I don't know.  As for my dad, he always called Granny "Barracuda," so we knew he really didn't like the way Granny treated Mom, as a kid or as an adult. 

My mom never cut her mom off.  Her comment was "you only get one mother."  Her mom really gave her a lot of grief throughout her life.  Her dad, on the other hand, was dropped after he couldn't bother to attend the funeral of his son (who was murdered in his 20s).  He had done enough for God to cut him off long before that.  😕

And to be consistent ... my grandparents had some hard things to deal with also.  And so it goes.

As for me telling my kids about my childhood ... I don't hide the fact that my mom used corporal punishment and really colorful language, but I don't think it was "abuse," and I don't portray it to my kids as such.  I have told my kids that my mom's cussing was lots worse than mine, but my kids don't believe me.  😛  Do I think everything my mom did was great?  No, but if I put myself in her shoes, I could probably see myself doing similar, or being tempted to.  And I have had my not-so-supermom moments myself.

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