The FOO too

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The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:25 pm

I've lightly touched on my own family in different threads. My own Mom has had some issues largely stemming from how she was raised (disabled parents, wrong side of the tracks). It has created trust issues where she will silo herself off and manipulate other people into her corner. I've watched her do this with her sisters, my brothers and my dad.

It's like being on a ship, one minute she acts/pretends that she wants to come or makes very grand promises ("I'm going to visit once a month!", "We're selling our car and decided to give it to you.", "We'd like to give you the money to buy your house."). Now, all of these were without my request...the less we get from her the better. It's the lack of follow through that makes us very suspicious of her.

I have not spoken to my own brothers in 6 years. She's very good at dividing, playing to their insecurities and framing them as my fault. After a while, I stopped trying to play the game. Both brothers call her once a day and actively participate in the gossip/perception game. We refuse. We treat mom and dad well when they are here and don't ask any questions about my brothers. When my dad would drive through to visit his parents, sometimes he would stop and other times he would not. One time we overheard a phone call between him and mom where mom was encouraging him to not stop at our house for long as it would not be fair to the other grand kids.

Lately, mom has been working on dad (who usually stays neutral and ignorant of her issues). This has led to him being a bit more negative/angry/entitled when we've spoken. Little things like "I hope you can remember our phone number". This past Christmas, they did not come up to visit but instead hastily sent a package just before Christmas eve saying that my dad could "no longer drive for weekend visits (but don't tell dad that I (mom) said that.". Very fishy. The package contained, a deck of cards for a 3 and 7 year old. Nice. We said nothing.

A few weeks later, a large gift arrived with no name or location. We were able to track it back to my dad by the sending company. The gift was only for our older son. Our belief is that my parents went to visit my older brother (though they said they were not going to visit anyone) and then sent the larger gift out of guilt (it's my dads way).

In late January, my dad called to see how they liked it and I shrugged it off (we sent it back as we did not have a gift for both, we used the gift receipt for both kids). We asked dad about "not being able to drive" and he said that was ridiculous and my mom got on the phone. She never gets on the phone, just listens in, in the background and interjects now and then. She was very defensive about the comment that he could not drive (because she told us not to say anything to him). Believe me, she's not doing this because he may have an issue...if she can turn him against us that means she does not have to come visit.

Now our oldest birthday is coming up...we've heard nothing from them for months and we get a phone call....very entitled about what my oldest wants for his birthday.

We're not sure how to respond? Hopefully you can see the "crazy" here where we go back and forth. I was going to bluntly tell them to just send him another deck of cards...but I'm sure they'll somehow take the "moral high ground"...."We thought he'd like that".
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Re: The FOO too

Postby Yacky » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:55 pm

This sounds sooooooo familiar (making promises not kept, sending a gift to one and not the other in order to hurt feelings, acting entitled and EXPECTING you to sweep everything under the rug and pretend everything is fine and respond to them quickly at their beck and call).

Personally, I'd ignore the communication. If they want to send something for your oldest, intercept it and then decide if it is appropriate to actually give it to him.

Toxic people love to use "gifts" as weapons to hurt people's feelings and to gain control over situations. The only real way to stop that is to stop the communication and contact that allows them to play these little games.
~~ Some people really need a great big high-five....to the face....with a baseball bat ~~
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Re: The FOO too

Postby PutMILinherplace » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:57 pm

One of the things I had to do with my MIL was put a no gift rule into place. My DH , who was a DuH at the time, didn't understand why. He didn't just see why we couldn't throw it away. I have discussed before on this forum why a narcissist gives gifts. In your case, its to show favoritism and cause division in your household. Whatever their problems are is irreverent. You are now a parent and your kids well being are all that matter. Your mother is trying to set up an "ally" with your older son; buying his love sort of thing all the while making sure the youngest knows that he is not worthy of her love. DONT LET THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I were in your shoes , and I was, I would put in place a no gift rule. All gifts are returned or thrown away. If asked you can tell them, "because you seem to want to cause discord by purposely sending gifts to one and not the other, we have instituted a no gift rule."

If they whine that they just forgot or something you can tell them then this will make it soooo much easier on them. Now they don't have to worry about it.

If they become indignant with some smarta** comment about , well I didn't know I have to be so fair.....or some such bs, you can say, well now you do.

Don't let them get away with excuses or passive aggressive comments. Tell them you are don't with their behavior and until they can behave, you are done.

We thought he'd like that".


and if they pull that, you can tell in a sarcastic voice, yeah, I am not surprised YOU would think that. When they ask why, you can tell them you are just not surprised.

The next time dad is coming through, I think I and kids would be busy. I know you love him but he has made it clear he has no intention of stopping your mother's nasty behavior and since he is going along with it that makes him just as guilty as your mother. Time to do some cutting off contact.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:41 pm

The next time dad is coming through, I think I and kids would be busy. I know you love him but he has made it clear he has no intention of stopping your mother's nasty behavior and since he is going along with it that makes him just as guilty as your mother. Time to do some cutting off contact.


We've slowly come to this conclusion that he is complacent in this although we know his relationship with my mom is strained. Dad runs a store and was in the position to sell it, but the deal fell through at the last minute. A few other offers came up quickly afterward, however he makes no move to sell his store. He stays at his store from 7am until 7pm six days a week and half days on Sunday. He has no want to spend time or travel with my mom. We've tried to let him know we understand his situation and that he is welcome and she is not...but I think he gets HECK for it when he does. It's just easier for him to choose her and not us, I understand and would never break up the relationship, but if it is a package deal then you're right. They're both out.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:44 pm

PutMILinherplace wrote:One of the things I had to do with my MIL was put a no gift rule into place. My DH , who was a DuH at the time, didn't understand why. He didn't just see why we couldn't throw it away. I have discussed before on this forum why a narcissist gives gifts. In your case, its to show favoritism and cause division in your household. Whatever their problems are is irreverent. You are now a parent and your kids well being are all that matter. Your mother is trying to set up an "ally" with your older son; buying his love sort of thing all the while making sure the youngest knows that he is not worthy of her love. DONT LET THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I were in your shoes , and I was, I would put in place a no gift rule. All gifts are returned or thrown away. If asked you can tell them, "because you seem to want to cause discord by purposely sending gifts to one and not the other, we have instituted a no gift rule."

If they whine that they just forgot or something you can tell them then this will make it soooo much easier on them. Now they don't have to worry about it.

If they become indignant with some smarta** comment about , well I didn't know I have to be so fair.....or some such bs, you can say, well now you do.

Don't let them get away with excuses or passive aggressive comments. Tell them you are don't with their behavior and until they can behave, you are done.

We thought he'd like that".


and if they pull that, you can tell in a sarcastic voice, yeah, I am not surprised YOU would think that. When they ask why, you can tell them you are just not surprised.

The next time dad is coming through, I think I and kids would be busy. I know you love him but he has made it clear he has no intention of stopping your mother's nasty behavior and since he is going along with it that makes him just as guilty as your mother. Time to do some cutting off contact.


That's a good idea. My mom does use gifts as weapons. For two years, she gave us money toward their college and then POOF stopped with no explanation. We always thanked her and told her how much we appreciated. It's very odd that the better she is treated the worse she reciprocates. We've had a very strained relationship my whole life...if I ignore her or let her start a fight (and I win) she seems to like that better.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby PutMILinherplace » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:55 pm

It's very odd that the better she is treated the worse she reciprocates.


This is typical of a narcissist. When you treat her well or take her gifts she thinks this means she can treat you like crap. She has "bought" the right to treat you as she pleases. My DH, back when he was a DuH, couldn't understand why if the kids and I were not to get gifts why HE couldn't accept gifts from his mother. I told him because I paid dearly for it. When DH got anything, my MIL thought that meant she had bought the right to treat me like crap. I told my DH I was unwilling to pay anymore and I would see to it HE got from me what I got from his mother. His excuse to not doing anything about his mother was he just wanted peace. I saw to it he didn't get any peace at all.

So not, its not odd. It is actually normal behavior for a narcissist which is why you have to separate yourself and more importantly your children from them. When you start treating them "badly" or ignoring them or not putting up with the behavior they will start up the gift giving again. See it as the carrot on those old box traps for rabbits.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:08 pm

PutMILinherplace wrote:
It's very odd that the better she is treated the worse she reciprocates.


This is typical of a narcissist. When you treat her well or take her gifts she thinks this means she can treat you like crap. She has "bought" the right to treat you as she pleases. My DH, back when he was a DuH, couldn't understand why if the kids and I were not to get gifts why HE couldn't accept gifts from his mother. I told him because I paid dearly for it. When DH got anything, my MIL thought that meant she had bought the right to treat me like crap. I told my DH I was unwilling to pay anymore and I would see to it HE got from me what I got from his mother. His excuse to not doing anything about his mother was he just wanted peace. I saw to it he didn't get any peace at all.

So not, its not odd. It is actually normal behavior for a narcissist which is why you have to separate yourself and more importantly your children from them. When you start treating them "badly" or ignoring them or not putting up with the behavior they will start up the gift giving again. See it as the carrot on those old box traps for rabbits.


Interesting. Logically, it makes no sense whatsoever which is why it's hard to have an open conversation. My wife and I stepped through the conversation and I knew every answer I would receive in turn from my FOO. Any vague argument of their unusual behavior is met with "it's all in your head" and if I discuss the "gifts" because they are odd (what grandparent gives their grandchild a deck of cards?) would be met with their sorrow/angst "we thought they'd like it" and color me as an ungrateful SOB.

My dad slipped once when he was here and showed my son pictures on his camera of a get together at their house with my brothers and their significant others. He called it a "family reunion" and I laid into him as we were not invited or even told. He actually started crying and would not say anything. It was never brought up again. They (my FOO) are very secretive. We know nothing about them which is all driven by my mom's insecurity. We cannot "make" her feel welcome or secure...it seems to make her more angry. We cannot seem to leave them alone...she starts calling and making angry demands. She'll call the house and without a hello or how are you ask odd ball questions "Did you know such and such died?" or "Where is XYZ from when you were 10?" then quickly get off the phone. None of this can be explained to them in any rational way as they go back into defense mode. My dad used to see it and now he does not.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby PutMILinherplace » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:23 pm

and color me as an ungrateful SOB.


Let them. You are going to have to train yourself to not care. I know that can be difficult but you need to. I got the rep of being the b****h that DH's name married because I wouldn't let them use me as a bed and breakfast. Peeved my MIL off to no end when I told her good, I am glad to have that rep and wear it with pride. It kept the fools from calling me for money or showing up on my front door.

We cannot "make" her feel welcome or secure...it seems to make her more angry. We cannot seem to leave them alone...she starts calling and making angry demands.


Stop trying . You can NOT do anything. You will not change a narcissist's behavior, you will not make her a loving mother/grandmother, no matter what you do it will not change her. All you can change is your reaction to it. Sorry I know that is rough to hear but you need to accept this truth so you can protect your kids and move on with your life. Your first priority is your wife and those kids.

And so what if she calls and makes demands. Does she pay your phone bill? No, then guess what that phone is for YOUR convenience . You do not have to answer it. You do not have to listen to any messages on the voice mail. The sec you hear her angry or whinny voice, delete it. You do not have to give in to any demands. Let her demand all she pleases. Who cares! If you are talking to her, laugh and go , gotta go mom, goodbye and then HANG UP. You are a parent and have far more important things to deal with.

Now let me ask you an honest question. I want you to think about this. If this woman was not related to you in any way, would you have ANYTHING to do with her? Think about it. Why does having a bit of the same DNA give her the right to treat you and your kids like crap? It doesn't give her any rights. She is only doing what YOU are allowing her to do. So stop allowing her.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:42 pm

A little bit about me...before I can act on something I try to understand it. What you're saying is filling in some gaps. For instance, when they come up we would surprise them and pay for dinner. Boy did that get mom upset (dad was caught off guard but thanked us). Ever since then, we are not physically able to pay for dinner as he makes sure to take care of it before the check comes. It helps to hear something in a different context...if that makes sense. I've probably heard the same thing a number of times on this board but this time it started clicking.

Now let me ask you an honest question. I want you to think about this. If this woman was not related to you in any way, would you have ANYTHING to do with her? Think about it. Why does having a bit of the same DNA give her the right to treat you and your kids like crap? It doesn't give her any rights. She is only doing what YOU are allowing her to do. So stop allowing her.


I understand and this thread reads like I'm more defensive of them than I am. I've been defending my dad as he is/was on our side for a time. Something has happened in the last year and he is more on her side now. We think the SIL and brother have worked on him (we know that is SIL MO). There were some events I was not able to join dad for (I was out of state) and we're fairly certain mom didn't tell him. He never asks and I'm sure they remind him of it and color his perceptions. We're at a point that if he cannot make logical decisions and discussions on these questions and believes the lies...there is nothing we can do. I will not start a daily phone call to "square things" from the lies they are fed.

My mom is a big bag of hate. I've fought with her and her alone most of my life. When I was younger I'd lay out the argument for dad and he would put her in her place (this was most of the time...mom is driven by insecurity, fear and anger). We've (jointly the wife and I) have allowed them because we have no one else. We cut off our my ILs (physically angry narcissist and possible sociopath) and kept my FOO because dad is the only grandpa the kids have and like. Alone, he spends time with them, reads them books and treats them well.

To answer your question, no, we don't allow that behavior of people period (family or no). I have no problems cutting them off and have the support from the wife on it too. I've never let mom treat my wife or kids badly...but we're getting there now and choices have to be made.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby PutMILinherplace » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:51 pm

I want you to go to the library or amazon and get the following books. These are what helped open my DH's eyes. They will help you understand that everything you have described is sadly normal for narcissists.

How to deal with Toxic In-laws by Dr Susan Forward

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life also by Dr Susan Forward

Life Codes by Dr Phil (don't worry its NOTHING like his daytime talk show. ) This one has some really great insights on why toxic/narcissist act the way they do.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker


These 4 books will give you quite an education on narcissists. You will be shocked about how well they describe your family....and by your family I really mean all of us who have had to deal with this ..not just yours
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Re: The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:58 pm

Thanks! I'll look these books up. I've had an education on the personality type at work. I think the psychology of your family make it harder as they can hide in plain site. A family narcissist tricks are more hidden because they are familiar.

Do any of the books help with defenses? I know NC is about the only solution but the wording and actions can be done in a specific fashion that only they will understand. With my IL they got the hint pretty quickly and stopped calling after I stood up to his behavior. His (my FIL) was more direct though...this seems very nebulous and hard to frame.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby Melody » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:32 am

SonOutLaw - I write a lot about FIL and stepmonster - but barely about DH's mother (who adopted him when he was days old). I don't write about her or SFIL because I've only met them a few times in 13 years. Your mother sounds like how I've heard DH's mother described, and certainly fits the small amount of interaction I've had with her. Of course your situation is a bit more complicated since FIL and your family could have been a nice relationship.

DH moved out of his mother's house and into his father's when he was 12. I started to wonder why DH had stopped speaking to her for YEARS.

When we met, DH's mother comes across initially as very charismatic and warm. She was intense. She visited when DH and I were engaged - showed up hours early when It was just me and the kids home. She went through photo albums and her entire family history. If SFIL wasn't a racist, I'd really like him - he's got some nice qualities and was always a "pal" -but not a parent - to DH. We all had a nice pleasant dinner.

And then quite quickly it started to become apparent. She made a ton of promises to my older daughter - ones she quickly broke - which is a life-long pattern for her. DH's mother also started going on and on about how DH's father beat her - something that immediately sets off DH because he heard it for years. His mother broke some generational boundaries expecting DH to take her side. And knowing DH's father - I don't believe it. He is a big man with a temper but even he hasn't beaten stepmonster (who - sorry - so deserves it - I want to hit her!) then I don't believe he hits women - ever.

And then the gifts came - a little over the top and trying to gain affection. Then DH's mother (who mind you I just met) wanted me to put my OD on a plane to see her and she told me it was "fine" for me to just pull her out of school for a week or two. WTF? Boundaries? Meanwhile, DH struggled in school because he missed so much and then there was the constant moving - sometimes at night. Hmmm.

After a silly argument that she started before the wedding - about how many members of HER family we were inviting in a limited size venue, (and we made it clear she and FIl were absolutely invited - DH even struggled to find the right "You're my mother" songs) they were again estranged.

So sorry, blabbing away. The point is, almost no contact, almost no drama. DH even admitted that his mother causes so much less stress and problems then his father and stepmonster. His mother has the good sense to stay away and leave us in peace!
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Re: The FOO too

Postby PutMILinherplace » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:14 am

First, yes these books will give you strategies to deal with the behavior.

I know NC is about the only solution but the wording and actions can be done in a specific fashion that only they will understand.


No contact is not the only solution IF and only IF you have a person who is not extremely toxic and they admit they need to change. This is an extreme rarity. Sorry.

No they will not understand. They can never understand why someone would have nothing to do with their wonderful selves. So they will ramp it up with phone calls, messages etc. You have a huge advantage by not living close. (A blessing I wish I had. For 16 1/2 years I lived next door to my toxic MIL but went NC for over 7. Difficult but not impossible)

From the sounds of it your best bet is just to fade away. Answer no phone calls, (I would delete any messages without listening to them) throw away any letters & packages without opening them, block them on ALL forms of social media, block any texts from their numbers, be busy. If you have been considering moving, now would be a great time and leave no forwarding address. If any stop by, you don't have to answer the door. If they don't leave , call the cops. That is what they are there for. I did that to my MIL, scared the crap out of her, it was great. :twisted: but she left me alone after that.

As for your father, he has MADE himself a casualty of war. He has become a flying monkey. So he had to go. He brought it upon himself.

and kept my FOO because dad is the only grandpa the kids have and like
.

That doesn't make him a good grandpa or good for your kids. Listen I have a baby brother who I love. My kids LOVED him! But he is toxic and a militant atheist (this is not a real atheist. This is someone who just used atheism as an excuse to hate Christ & those that follow Him) When my eldest was just beginning to talk, he tried to teach her to say g*****n because he thought it would be great for her to go to church and say it in Sunday School. He didn't care that the other parents would not want their children around her because they might think she is a bad influence. He told me nothing would make him happier then to see my children reject Christ. He also married another narcissistic, toxic liar. I wont even go into the illegal stuff he was doing too. He was my baby brother, my kids only uncle and they adored him. But he , and his wife, were a danger to the emotional and spiritual well being of my kids. I had no choice but to cut him out of our lives 8 years ago.

Here is something else to think about. You don't have to be related to someone by blood or marriage to be family. We have a friend now, well actually he is more like a brother, that my kids consider an uncle. They are closer to him & his family then to anyone else. They ARE family as far as we are concerned. You can form family bonds elsewhere. But until them, just make sure YOUR family (Hubby, wife, & kids) are good enough. All the other stuff, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc are bonus, NOT the main and most important part of the family.

Going NC can be hard but you sound like you have an advantage many of us only dream about. You are almost there anyway. Now you can fade away and not deal with it.
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Re: The FOO too

Postby SonOutLaw » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:19 pm

Thanks for the advice all! We went NC and the crazy has been raised a bar. We've given, years ago, my mom our cell numbers. She always calls the home number, especially if she's trying to avoid me she'll call when I'm at work. Sometimes she'll use my cell, if she wants to avoid my wife. She always claims she doesn't know our cell numbers when we tell her we're not going to be home. After blocking the number, she immediately calls mine and my wifes number wanting to know if "anything is wrong". Same thing that happened last time we went LC. Funny, they never ask that when they're meddling/manipulating or when they don't call for 4 months.

It makes no sense...try and get them to have a relationship, they can't be bothered with any contact. Cut them off and thats all they want is contact. It's definitely gas lighting!
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Re: The FOO too

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:49 am

SonOutLaw wrote:It makes no sense...try and get them to have a relationship, they can't be bothered with any contact. Cut them off and thats all they want is contact. It's definitely gas lighting!

It makes no sense to regular people because we aren't like them. The real truth, sad though it is, is that they don't really care so much about us. But the idea that we don't care about them is unacceptable. So we must stay around to give them the admiration they are due. To them, it's perfectly fine to take us for granted while we cooperate and make the effort in the relationship, but if we withdraw or cut them off, then we are taking something away...from them.

Oh no, that is an unacceptable action. We are overstepping our bounds and depriving them of something they now want because they can't have it.
Doesn't this behavior seem like the typical 4 year old or the typical narcissist?

My ESIL made more phone call attempts to us after we cut her off than she ever had before (in her whole life). And those are just the calls we knew about. She could have attempted to make more from the multiple numbers we blocked. She also sent more letters and cards after than she ever had before. Her goal was to keep us available to her, of course so that we'd give her money. But she also wanted someone to elicit sympathy from and she believed we were forced to listen because we were faaaamily, and we had no choice in the matter.
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