Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Not being a proxy and stories of someone I don't know

I have visited my FOO, after they have come home from the week-end house. We had quite a normal chat until the topic of weight came. DB has always been very thin, but now due to some medical issues, he has lost a lot of weight from that, and is now around my weight. NM immediately had to comment that when she met EF, he was 2 pounds less than DB is now. And then went on to explain how fat EF is now, and that he should really lose a lot of weight, and would look much better. And that I have to tell him to lose weight. I told her no. I said it is none of my business. She blew up and started stating that it shows how I not consider myself a part of the family anymore, and that I should comment on EF being fat, if I consider myself a daughter. I stood up, calmly told her that their relationship issues are not mine, and that I am neither a postman, nor a proxy or a firewall, so if they have anything to talk about, they should do it among themselves. And that I did not come to listen to anything like this, and that I was leaving. She started saying something, but EF told her to stop. I started walking towards the door and she shouted after me that I should at least kiss her. I said bye and went home.

I consider this a success.

The next time I've seen them (this morning), she started with telling me that I should really not 'behave that way' as I did when I told her no. And that she was really only asking for my help. I told her, that it is still their issue, not mine, and went to the kitchen. She dropped the subject.

A few normal topics later, she started telling me about the old lady who runs the grocery store in the countryside, and that NM has learned that the old woman sometimes had her grandchildren visit. And that she said that the grandkids were around since the second child was 'too much' for their mother, and that she wasn't able to handle them. And went on explaining how some mothers just simply are unable to take the burden of having children around and how they are not the type who can handle kids (and of course how selfish they must be). That there are moms who are simply not the 'mother types', and who cannot deal with children no matter what they do, because they just cannot focus on anything else than their own interests and 'wanting to have fun'. So thus, the mother in the story ditched her children to a poor grandmother, where the kids were bored to death, because 'there is nothing fun to do at a grocery store anyway', and how awful this was. Obviously, poor grandma was only the victim of the vicious mother, who has abandoned her children because she wanted to have fun.

I have sensed she expected some reaction from me, but I just didn't react. She realized that she couldn't trigger me into saying anything, so she went on throwing words around such as 'mother', 'inappropriate', 'unable', and the like.

There was no rational reason behind her talking about someone she has only seen like four times in her life in such a detailed way. I am absolutely sure that this was one of her usual 'just talking about someone else' meaning that she was talking directly to me, about me.

Got the message, NM wants to take my children, because I will be an inappropriate mother.

No way.

When I left, she literally jumped on me and kissed me, before I could even resist.


  1. So all that about the woman running the grocery store is really a jab at you and kids you haven't even given birth to yet?
    If my mother wasn't who she is I would say you're really stretching it. But that's exactly what they do.
    And she gives you a rash because you are too good to join in on the ripping another family member a new one.
    I know you are butting your head against the wall, but it's so like them that I am chuckling just a little bit over here.

  2. In my experience, when an N speaks, there is usually an underlying message and motive that is never spelled out directly.

  3. Sounds like you're making some progress.

    I started walking out when NF got out of line and extended my absence/silence each time. A bit like giving a criminal a stiffer sentence each time they re-offend.

    A "normie" might see the remarks about the grandmother as idle gossip but ACoNs know better!

  4. I am cheering for you. Great way to stop triangulation. (Triangulation comes right after gas lighting for a favorite pastime activity for Ns.) Telling her no and backing it up by leaving is awesome. Gossiping about others, spouting opinion as fact and setting in place what you are to believe or not believe is a days work. If I hadn't lived with it myself, I wouldn't see it.

    Another perspective on grandmothers. I am delighted when my kids go on a date and let me watch the grandkids. I also work at being the kind of grandmother that my kids could trust watching their children. So sad that your mother is so focused on the negative.
    Cheering you on,

  5. Cripes. You spend time with your mother, why?

    Sorry. That sounds judgey of me. But holy cow, your mother is obnoxious.

  6. scatha, What's your bottom line? What's your personal "End Game?" That's entirely your business but here's what I learned and this is just me, not you, OK? If I don't have a VERY CLEAR "THAT'S IT" or, "OK, this is what I needed to see BEHAVIORALLY" before I tighten up my boundaries behaviorally or ultimately walk away, I'll never know if I've reached it, or for that matter what the hell "It" is.
    Now, I have a sense of the "Cultural" Issues. The reality is Cluster Bs transcend all cultures, all socioeconomic groups, both genders and all ages-certainly above the age of 21. IMO, you handled the situation beautifully by refusing to become drawn into the very obvious "threat"/drama. My sense is you're scared to death of this woman and what she *might* do.
    "She literally jumped on me" is considered BODILY ASSAULT where I reside. Do you understand this is considered a Criminal Offense? What happened next-whether it's a kiss or a knife doesn't matter-it's Criminal. Regardless of the relationship. You weren't prepared for that move were you? Do you see how she's picking up on your behavioral cues and upping her "game?"
    My thought is please consider where you're going, behaviorally what you need to SEE in order to achieve what ever your GOAL is here. That's personal to you. Mine was to have a formal but distant relationship with my MNmother. It didn't work. But if I didn't have a clear-cut GOAL with corresponding BEHAVIORS I'd never have made ANY decisions nor had some way of "measuring" whether or not my attempts were creating the reality/outcome I was seeking.

    1. TW, I tried to have what I called a "superficial" relationship with my NPs. Much like your relationship with a passing acquaintance or neighbour you bump into now and then.

      I also tried a technique called Medium Chill (http://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=114204.msg354333#msg354333).

      Both of these were a complete failure because, as you know from experience, people like Scatha's NM thrive on confrontation and drama. If they don't get it, they just keep upping the ante until their sick needs are fulfilled.

      Personally, I reached a point where I asked myself, "Is this the life I want for myself?" My answer was a resounding, "NO!"

      To contemplate a life of constantly walking on eggshells, yet still being verbally/emotionally abused, was a pretty dismal prospect and certainly not the way I had envisioned my senior years.

      Scatha: Get out while you still can!

  7. Scatha,
    First, Congrats on your beautiful handling of both conversations! You were spot on, and you deserve big praise for walking out when you did. Second, also, for not letting NM shame you about the way you "behaved" when you left. I think you're absolutely right about her throwing around "trigger" words. My own NM used to do this all the time (we don't talk now, since the plagiarism). Always trust your intuition. Narcs are brilliant at knowing which words and topics could call us out; not letting them catch us is our only duty to ourselves. Then, sit back and listen to them natter on about people they barely know, about the most ridiculous things. Once, about ten years ago, my NM came to visit, and walked in the door and proceeded to talk about some stranger's bunions, for about 5 minutes, until I interrupted her. I'm not making this up! I still don't know what she was trying to trigger, but I suspect it had something to do with being older and traveling being hard on the feet! OY. Nice work Scatha!


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