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Here we go again. Another two weeks, another blow up. Emotional abuse, I call it, and covert narcissism. UPDm tells me that I have a mental health problem and need counselling. And that I'm selfish, and she's told her friends what an awful daughter I am. Same old stuff. She fabricated something I was supposed to have said to her, which sounded very harsh, and I would never say that to anyone. She totally refused to believe me that i never said it, and told me I must be going senile. Eventually I told her she was stressing me out, and she put the phone down.

I saw my adult children yesterday and we talked about her latest antics. Things are ramping up! I don't think she's ever called them (or rather, demanded that they phone her) before, in order to talk to them about me. But she felt they needed to know that I'm not the nice loving person that I appear to be, and there's a nasty side to me. They were both shocked that she did that, and both told me that everything she's said about me was in fact her problem. They've not heard of the term projection, but they certainly picked up on the fact of it. Oh, and she also told them that she was going to cut me out of her will. They said she contradicted herself every second sentence, and lied about the frequency of my phone calls and visits etc. They didn't believe a word she said. One of them said nothing back because he knows there's no point, he just did mc. The other defended me and she eventually put the phone down telling him he wasn't very sympathetic, unlike his brother!!

I haven't spoken to her since (only three days, but it's normally every day), and I am really upset and angry. I put up with a lot in order to keep our relationship going, but she's overstepped the mark involving them like that. In her head I'm sure she thinks she's protecting them from me! And when my anger wains I do start to question my sanity. Good ole gaslighting, brainwashing, call it what you will  :stars:

I'm so sick of being the bad guy when I try so hard to help her, and appease her, and smooth the way. She'll never be happy until she's rejected every single person that still has the will to actually want to make her happy. Then she can truly wallow.
Thanks everyone for your really insightful replies. I like the point that pretty much all of you made, that the kids are looking for calm not more conflict when they're at dad's. I tend to be a fixer and want to DO SOMETHING about a problem immediately while my boyfriend generally sits back and lets things play out. Usually the right course of action ends up being somewhere in the middle, and I think that's what I'm hearing here.

Medowynd, thanks for putting so much wisdom so succinctly. Lifeline, thanks for reiterating and for giving me a good, therapist-approved script. It sounds like you are dealing with a LOT and handling it as best as possible. Arkhangelsk, I think your situation is probably closest to ours because of the ages of the kids and the issue of parent's significant other in there (aka me and your boyfriend). I love the idea of using questions as a go-to rather than telling the kid what to think - it forces them to use their own critical thinking rather than just decide "is mom right or is dad right?"

The kids are 10 and 7 and you all were spot on - the younger one is pretty much fine. It's really the 10 year old that I'm worried about.

The kid is definitely a people pleaser and takes it upon themselves to fix conflicts. Like for example one time there was one thing left of dinner and boyfriend and I were doing the whole "no you take it" and the kid goes "actually I decided I do want it!" Now we were not arguing, if anything we had been kind of joking around. But 10 minutes later kid goes "I just took it so that you guys wouldn't fight about it anymore." I was floored - here's this kid eating food that they don't want in order to prevent perceived fighting! What else are they internalizing, and what bad decisions are they making to prevent perceived conflict? Now that was a long time ago. I think as the kids have grown more confident in their dad's and my relationship that sort of thing has subsided. But do I think kid is probably still taking on the burden of preventing mom and dad from fighting, and it is probably playing out in ways that we don't even know are happening.

The good news is, we've been working on expressing yourself and saying what you want and don't want. I think it has made a positive difference in helping kid not just do what they think other people want them to do. I also think both kids are noticing differences between mom and dad (like, when dad says something, it happens, when mom says something, it often doesn't happen). So I hope those differences, combined with their critical thinking skills, will help them push back in their minds on whatever gaslighting might be happening.

Thanks again, you all have given me a lot to think about. Boyfriend and I are already brainstorming the sort of meet-in-the-middle solutions, like what Arkhangelsk said about helping to make fathers day cards, that will send the kids the message that we want them to feel like they can love both parents.

<3 to you all,
Co-parenting and Secondary Relationships / Re: Necessary communication
« Last post by Arkhangelsk on Yesterday at 12:22:43 PM »
That was super useful, Elly.

I used Our Family Wizard and will second the opinion that it can be useful.  It makes it easy to keep track of communications and print them for court.

Another thing I would add is ask yourself if you really, really need to begin a communication.  Yes, you need to know what the summer vacation schedule is  No, you do not benefit from asking to swap days because you have work travel.  You can get an overnight babysitter way more easily that you can negotiate with a terrorist.  Just because something *should* be doable, does not mean you should talk about it.  Solve anything you can in a way that does not require you to engage.
I do hope I don't come across as paranoid, but I've come to a couple of fairly unpleasant possible conclusions. Either Mum (and probably Nstep-dad) genuinely believe that I'm weak, incapable of making decisions and slightly stupid - which I don't believe to be true because literally no-one else I know thinks that of me, or (and this is truly horrifying) they are trying to gaslight me into believing I'm weak, incapable and stupid in order to serve their own agenda. Either way, this is all pretty toxic, isn't it?  :(
I think you simply live out your boundaries. If you want to stay NC, you stay NC. If they try to engage in circular conversations, you opt out. If they try to get DH to engage, he can say he has nothing new to add and doesn't intend to reopen the conversation at this time. Or he can choose to not respond at all.

Personally, my view on whether my ILs are ready to reconcile or not is like that one judge's definition of pornography: "I know it when I see it." I think you will also know it when you see it, and it doesn't sound like that's the case yet.
Working on Us / Emotional Flashbacks and "peeling the layers of the onion"
« Last post by newlife33 on Yesterday at 11:56:52 AM »
Just wanted to see if anyone can relate to or share their experiences with emotional flashback.  I suffer from C-PTSD from over two decades of living with a narcissistic family.  I have done about 16 years of therapy and am really finally starting to reclaim my life.  One thing I have focused on this year is emotional flashbacks, and its been crazy how many I have.  I find myself sometimes almost frozen, and I flashback to being a child and being in a situation in which I was being neglected, abused or uncomfortable.  I then have to try and figure out what was done to me, then I roleplay and correct the situation in my head.  Depending on how extreme the flashback sometimes I need just a few minutes to move on, sometimes it takes weeks of not getting out of bed except to go to work. 

An example:  Today I flashed back to going over to one of my fathers "friends" houses.  He had this big living room upstairs, and he will call me up like some pet or model and have me sit up with him and his friend and be forced to talk about adult stuff and finances and all this other weird shit no normal middle school student would ever want to hear.  Back then, I just sat there and awkwardly and very uncomfortably played along and just prayed it would end quickly.  Now though in my head I role play and tell them I don't want to really hang out with them because they don't interest me in terms of conversation, then if that doesn't work I just say I'm on the computer and keep repeating that, then I run outside and play soccer, and as a last resort I would be willing to use physical violence or verbal aggression to express that I was being abused.

I've probably done this 100 times or more in my head, and the more I heal the better I feel.  Has any one else done this?  Does it ever end? 
Sorry for the confusion louisebt... I would say I am just as confused as you are!

I'd love to move out, but the reasons I have not moved out of her house are because I don't really have anywhere else to go given my circumstances and other factors. I'm also trying to recover from agoraphobia, which takes time. Leaving the house/street/town is very difficult at the moment, let alone having to move into a new place. M does not consider how hard this is for me. She's only looking out for herself.

Personally, I don't feel she really wants to sell the house nor wants me to move out. She has no reason to sell the house. Her unhappiness 'living with me' is no reason to sell her house nor is her unhappiness anything to do with me. She has a garden she adores and loves to have her young grandchildren stay here. She claims to be going into a retirement village. She will hate it in a retirement village.

She needs chaos. She needs drama. She needs to assert her dominance and conquer over me, so by selling the house, she feels it sends me a message, 'this is what I can do if you don't do as I wish!' These are the dysfunctional behaviours of an ill person... she isn't aware of what she's doing and the impacts her actions have on others, particularly myself. She has more dependence on me than she'd like to admit and there will be accusations of abandonment from her if or when I do leave.
Elly, I've been thinking about this some more and one last thing I had was: You are in a unique position to just let him be himself. Give him a safe space to express his likes and dislikes, try to develop talents like drawing or music, etc. That will be incredibly helpful in establishing his own sense of self as opposed to just doing what his mom wants him to do.
Going No Contact with a PD Parent / Re: They don't quit, do they?
« Last post by newlife33 on Yesterday at 11:48:36 AM »
I know what you mean.  My sociopaths family tried to break into my apartment, showed up unannounced multiple times, left messages on my car, sent me handwritten letters, called my work place, tried to create "emergencies" to shock me into contact and many more things.  I had to sell my car, move apartments, cut out friends and I'm considering moving jobs as well which is ashame because I like my job, but I live in constant fear that they will show up and do something insane to try and contact me.

I see them less as the terminator and more as a terminally ill heroin addict.  We are the heroin supply to them, and they take desperate measures to try and get a fix before they die,
Opensky - they're at "his" house. I was there sorting through the literal pile of crap he left for me in the garage, and I had just happened to drop stuff off for the kids' weekend with him. He likely used the cameras to see that I was there...then sent the text demanding I drop off underwear and socks for DS.
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