Tag Archives: dysfunctional family

And Life Got Even More Interesting..

Last Thursday evening, I ended up in a heated discussion with my parents over the phone.  It got ugly.  Really ugly.  Honestly, I don’t remember all of the details of the conversation. I was so hurt by it all I blocked a lot out immediately.

 

Funzies.  Not.

 
My father called Thursday night.  He apologized as soon as I answered for not going to the mother in-law’s funeral.  “We would’ve gone, but we didn’t know until we read it in the paper..”   I noticed his tone was kinda shaming, like I should’ve told him, but I ignored that.  I said, “Why would you have gone?”  “We wanted to pay our respects!”  “To a woman who hated me from the day we met & treated me like dirt?”  He went on to say they wanted to pay their respects & see my father in-law.  I said she treated me like s**t for years, why give her any respect?  He started back peddling & said, “I told your mother that..”  Yea, spare me.  I don’t believe that for a moment.  Somewhere in the conversation, I forget exactly where, I also told him I felt betrayed that he cared more about her than me.  He didn’t say a word in response.  When he spoke though, he did ask if we’re still married.  Apparently since I didn’t attend her funeral, my father assumed we were separated.

 

He then brought up the cemetery plots my parents bought Eric & I so we could be buried with them probably 15 years ago by now.  (Mind you, they never asked us if we wanted that, or even if we wanted to be buried over cremated.  It was decided we would be buried with them, period.).  He asked what I wanted them to do with them.  I said get rid of them. I’m being cremated & Eric doesn’t want to be buried in Glen Burnie any more than I would.  He said he was sure Eric’s father had Eric’s plot anyway, since he’d want to be with his son.  Really?!  Also, why do we need to discuss this now?!  I told him Eric would figure out where he wants to be buried, & I can’t deal with any of this conversation right now, because I lost one of my babies.  He said he was sorry to hear that, & I thanked him.  Also said please don’t tell mom, because I don’t want to hear the usual “she’s better off dead than with me as her mom” comments.  He said he wouldn’t, but I’m not holding my breath.  Then my father asked if Eric was home, & I said no.  “Oh. Mom wants to talk to him.”  I said tough, he’s not here.  “I guess she’ll have to talk to you then..”   How nice.  Oh joy…
So my mother got on the phone & started the same apologizing for “disappointing my father in-law” by not being at the funeral.  Yea, like he lost sleep over this. He’s seen my parents in person twice in almost the 22 years Eric & I have been together.  Guessing they weren’t even a blip on his radar since he was busy burying his wife of 65 years!   I said “You too eh?  Nice.  Why are you two so damned worried about her?!  Why do you care at all after how badly she treated me all those years?!”  My mother said, “That’s Eric’s mother!”  I said, “But I’m your daughter!  I feel really betrayed!”  You could’ve heard crickets.  Dead silence for a few seconds.   Then my mother asked if I would’ve been mad if they went.  I said, “Yes!  She treated me like dirt!  Don’t you know anything about loyalty?!  She then said, “But she’s his MOTHER!”  I reminded her that this lovely mother in-law of mine choked me when we told her we got married.  More crickets.  SERIOUSLY?!  Not a peep?!  I sarcastically thanked my mother for caring so much more about Eric’s mother than me.  That’s really fricken awesome.  I said more but I forget what it was.  My mother kept playing deaf saying, “I can’t hear you Honey- you need to speak up!”  I was yelling!   It was a game to her to make me yell more.  I know it well- she does it often.  (in all honesty she has hearing trouble, but she also uses it when convenient to her.)  So I said “Yanno, I can’t deal with you & this topic.  I’m done talking about it.  What else do you have to talk about anyway?”  “Well my back hurts….”  “I’ve seen Dr. Silva twice since I went to the hospital…”  (went to the ER a couple of weeks ago & learned she has vertigo- nothing serious).   I said, “Of course.. whatever.”  That really ticked her off & she said, “Well I guess I should let you go then.”   She was obviously really mad I didn’t  care about her health complaints.  I said, “Yes, you really should.  Goodbye.”  We both pretty much hung up on each other at that point.

 

Sadly, I knew a fight was coming when my husband said his mother’s obituary would be in the local papers earlier in the week.  My parents get a local paper & my mother reads the obituaries first thing.  I knew my mother would want to make some fuss over this to me, rather than simply send her condolences to my husband.  I didn’t expect her to say they should’ve gone to the funeral though.  Unfortunately because of grieving after losing my precious little kitty last Monday, I’m more sensitive than usual.  That along with the surprise of attending the funeral being an option hit me harder than it normally would have.

 

Normally, I don’t flip out on my parents or cuss at them.  I’m a pretty reasonable person, & able to tolerate a lot of hurtful words & actions from them because I am so accustomed to them.  You would think they would’ve been surprised I raised my voice & used bad language, but they acted like this happens every day.  They both were completely unaffected by my reaction.  Stone cold!  Neither had one word to say when I said I felt betrayed that they cared more for someone who has hurt me than me.  Honestly, being ignored like that hurt more than when my mother has told me I’m stupid for feeling a certain way.  Being ignored is the ultimate invalidation, I think.  It says, “You’re not even worth acknowledging.  You don’t matter enough for me to use my breath to speak to you.”

 

So now, I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I really don’t.  My mother was extremely angry with me last night, so she may not want to speak to me again.  And frankly, I’m fine with that.  I’ve opted to go low contact for years now, & it’s been hard.  (No contact never really felt right which is why I stuck with low contact)  Maybe this is God’s way of ending it.  I don’t know.   Time will tell, I suppose.

 

I did get a call from my father yesterday morning.  He said he was sorry- he & my mother thought they should pay their respects to the Rug family, it wasn’t anything against me, I matter (could’ve fooled me!) & also there was no excuse for how badly my late mother in-law treated me.  My father likes to say what he thinks you expect him to say, but truthfully, he doesn’t have the empathy to understand truly what I feel.  There was more to the conversation, but it wasn’t even worth talking about.  I’m sure he thinks it means all is fine now, but it’s not fine.  In fact, I wasn’t even going to answer his call, but I know my father- if I didn’t take that call, he’d call me back constantly until I answered.  I hate that, so I figured I might as well get it over with.

 

I also wonder… I firmly believe that if you opt to confront narcissists, your best bet is to be calm & collected.  Don’t show that you’re hurt or angry because it only gives them more ammunition to hurt you.  During our argument, I was completely the opposite of that.  I wonder if that was what they needed.  Neither of my parents get consequences for their actions from anyone but me, & I have let a LOT slide.  Maybe it was time they saw all the pain that their actions have caused.  Maybe it sunk in on some level that they caused me a great deal of hurt by caring more about complete strangers than their own daughter.  I doubt it, but I sure hope so.  I hope this all wasn’t in vain, & there was a real purpose for it.  I believe God can make something good come out of anything, so He can do it with this situation too.

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Handling Holiday Drama

The holiday season has begun.  This is a lovely time of year & my favorite season – the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, hoodies & hot chocolate or tea come out.  I absolutely adore fall!

And then there is the stress dealing with demanding relatives.

I used to love the holiday season as a kid.  My parents & I went to my grandparents’ home in northern Virginia on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s for a big family get together.  It was always fun.  But then I grew up & got married, & was no longer able to visit my grandparents’ home for the holidays.  My ex husband wanted to spend every Thanksgiving & Christmas with his family that lived about 2 hours away, & it had to be on the exact day- never a visit before or after the holiday.  It also didn’t matter if I was sick or didn’t want to go.  He told me he was going to be with his family.  I could go with him or not- he didn’t care.  Our anniversary was Christmas eve, & to me, it always felt like he endured our anniversary while watching the clock, anxious to get to his family’s gathering the next day.  Not a lot of fun.  Then after our divorce & I later married my current husband, his mother demanded we attend their family get togethers, sometimes at his parents’ home, other times at one of his sister’s homes about 3 hours away. Often, I also had my mother demanding we spend time with my parents on at least one holiday.  Needless to say, after years of this, I no longer love the holidays.  I no longer celebrate them.  In fact, I dreaded them for years.  I’ve been told that is wrong & I need to let go of the bitterness & celebrate the holidays again, but I no longer feel the desire.  I’m fine not celebrating, thank you very much.

Sadly, I know I’m not alone.  Many of my friends feel the same as I do & for very similar reasons, so I am sure there are many of you reading this that also feel the same way.  To those of you who dread the holidays, you’re in good company!  Don’t let others dictate how you feel- you’re allowed to celebrate them or not celebrate them.  If you opt not to celebrate them, why not do as I do?  I take the day as a quiet day to myself.  I often get Chinese take out & relax with good movies all day, or maybe work on my latest book.  It has turned into something to look forward to instead of a day to dread.

If you feel obligated to spend family time with your relatives or in-laws, just remember- you are an adult, & you can determine when you spend time with them & how much time you spend with them.  I know many in-laws are like mine- expecting their daughters in-law to act as if she doesn’t have a family anymore, & spend the holidays with her in-laws, ignoring her parents.  If you feel you must do this yet you resent it, then set a time limit!  Tell your husband you don’t want to spend all day with them, maybe two hours instead, & that you want to spend time at home with him too.  Or, suggest you visit his family the day or weekend before or after a holiday, & spend the actual holiday home with him.

Unfortunately I know some men are more concerned about spending a holiday with their family of origin than their wife.  As I said though, I’ve turned holidays into a day to look forward to & you can do the same thing. It is either do that or be angry, so why not try to turn this negative into something more positive?  Do something you enjoy that your husband doesn’t.  Take a long bubble bath.  Give yourself a manicure.  Participate in your favorite hobby.  Read a good book.  It just makes more sense to me to try to be positive about this than be angry about something that won’t change until & unless your husband wants it to change.

A funny story- about 10 years ago, I was in counseling.  My counselor was great- he was very nice, understanding & supportive.  One time I saw him just after Thanksgiving.  He asked what my husband & I did. I told him- hubby went to his parents’ house, & I stayed home knitting & watching movies.  He was flustered!  He understood why I didn’t speak to my in-laws, so he was shocked my husband went without me.  I told him it’s happened many, many times.  “But aren’t you angry?”  I said no.  “But!  But!  You have a right to be angry!”  I told him I know that. I also know it doesn’t do any good since I can’t change my husband’s behavior.  I prefer to change my perspective & just enjoy my quiet day at home.  Poor man.. he didn’t know what to say!  LOL  He did understand my point, & agreed with me.

Anyway, just remember- don’t give in to holiday pressure from demanding & often dysfunctional relatives!  Do what you feel comfortable doing!  You have every right to celebrate or not celebrate the holidays however works for you!

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing on Thanksgiving?  I’m going to spend my day relaxing, probably with netflix on the TV, furkids by my side & maybe getting in some writing.  My husband will most likely spend the day with his parents.  My mother invited me twice to go to dinner with my parents, but I refused.  She isn’t happy about it, but she will survive. She will survive & I will enjoy a peaceful, relaxing day!

I wish you, Dear Readers, a very happy, peaceful Thanksgiving as well!  xoxo

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Gifts & Narcissists

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for picking out.

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, this isn’t the case.

 

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with such “trivial” matters, so they will choose what they like or what they think you need instead.

 

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Clothing in a color or style that they think you should wear instead of clothing you like, or a CD from a band they like instead of from a band you like.  Probably fifteen years ago or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned the fact I don’t like to cook.  I do it of course, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me a lot of cooking paraphernalia.  I got spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen in my life (I did find a good use for it eventually.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol)

 

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!  Yay for the narcissist!!  My mother gives me things constantly, often things she has gotten as gifts but didn’t like, clothes she wants rid of, clothes she will buy for me because she likes the color/style (not that I like them), or things she has received in return for donating to a charity.  For the longest time, I felt like I should hold onto these things, I think because on some level, I thought these gifts meant she actually cared for me.  Once I realized that she was giving me things not to bless me, but to serve her own agenda or clean out her own junk, I didn’t feel that need any longer to hold onto her gifts.  Some, yes, but not many.

 

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  My in-laws are like that.  Gifts come with strings attached.  They give my husband birthday & Christmas cards with money, & in return, he is to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous.  (Not that he shouldn’t help out his aging parents of course, but when they call him to take one of them to the emergency room rather than 911 in an emergency, something is very wrong!)  Have they ever spelled this out?  No.  It is an unspoken rule, as many narcissistic families have.

 

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist somehow.

 

If you receive a gift from a narcissist, just be forewarned- the gift probably has some pretty hefty strings attached to it!

 

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My New Book About Maternal Narcissism Is FINISHED!!

I am VERY happy to announce that my latest book, “It’s All About ME! The Facts About Maternal Narcissism” is finished!!!!!

Print version is available here..(available for sale on this site only since I haven’t gotten the proof to approve yet. Once that’s approved within the next week or so, it’ll be on Amazon, B&N, etc)

http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/its-all-about-me-the-facts-about-maternal-narcissism/paperback/product-21801975.html

Here’s the ebook version…(currently only on publisher’s site only, but once approved within a week or so, it will be in the ibook store, B&N, etc.)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475489

And now, I’m taking a well earned break.

This was a very challenging book to write. God had His hand in it the whole time, which is the only reason I was able to write it. He kept showing me things that I needed to include. Some things I admit, I thought “You’re kidding right?” Then something would happen & I realized that yes, this needs to be in the book too. It was a fascinating experience for sure, but emotionally difficult, hence the break.

I plan to focus for a while on this blog as well as building up my forum. If you haven’t seen it yet, come by & check it out at:

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

At the forum, I have several different categories where you can post. Not only about narcissistic mothers & the damage they cause, but more positive categories too, such as pets, hobbies & the Christian life. After all, no one can focus on the abuse they endured or even their emotional healing 24/7. Everyone needs a break sometimes. I hope to see you there.

Also, I still would like to create a free ebook compiled of stories from those who have been through abuse, & have survived with God’s help. I only have a couple of stories so far. Would you considering writing yours? You can do so anonymously if you like- just use fake names. Your story can encourage others, no matter what you have been through, or where you are in your healing process. For more details, please check out the link below. I hope to hear from you soon! ❤

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/Make_A_Difference.htm

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Keeping Blame In Perspective

Many people who have survived an abusive situation are told you can’t blame your abuser.  He or she didn’t know what he or she was doing.  Or, that person is mentally ill.  Or, he/she was abused as a child.  Or a plethora of other reasons a person can’t be mad at their abuser.  This invalidates the pain the victim feels!  It immediately makes you feel guilty because you have problems stemming from being abused.  I know- I have been in this position myself.

While I’m not saying we need to blame every problem in life on being abused, I am saying we need to keep a healthy perspective on it.  In my case as an example, my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Borderline Personality Disorder.  When I first learned of her disorders, I felt guilty for having problems that stem from her abuse when I was growing up.  I didn’t think I should hold her responsible- after all, these are disorders!  She must not be responsible for how she acts!  Then I can’t be angry or hurt or have problems that stem from things she did to me.  Besides, that was a long time ago..

Then I learned that personality disorders describe a way someone behaves, rather than physical brain damage, such as Schizophrenia or PTSD.  And, many of the things my mother did to me were hidden, even from my father.  That tells me she knew what she was doing was wrong.  After all, if one is proud of one’s actions, they aren’t hidden.  

I have since learned to have a healthy perspective.  While I do blame my mother for me having C-PTSD, I take responsibility for how I cope with it.  I blame her for my lifetime of low self-esteem, yet I try to find ways to keep a healthy self-esteem.  While she is to blame for the damage done to me, it is my responsibility to heal as best I can.  Part of that healing, I believe, is knowing that the damage done is NOT my fault!  I did nothing to deserve the horrible things that were done to me!

You did nothing to deserve the abuse you endured either!  Keep the blame for what was done where it belongs- squarely on the abuser.  You have absolutely NO responsibility for what was done to you.  However, you DO have a responsibility to heal.  Ask God to show you how- what steps you need to take.  And, as you heal, you may find out that God wants to use your story to help others heal, & inspire others.  That may help you heal even more than you know!  Blessing & inspiring others is a beautiful feeling!  

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December 24, 2013

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas! 

Meet my 9 year old American Eskimo dog, Dixie here to brighten your Christmas eve.

 

Image Image

My prayer is that everyone reading this will enjoy their Christmas, & celebrate the joy of the birth of Jesus.  If you come from a dysfunctional family like I do, I really understand how difficult this time of year can be for you.  It is so hard to enjoy family get-togethers when you are surrounded by dysfunction, manipulation, stress, etc.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m bitter about the holidays myself.  I don’t like the drama & “forced family fun.”  But please, don’t get lost in the bitterness or anxiety of the season.  Do nice things for yourself to help you enjoy the time.  There are many of us out there who share your feelings about holidays for various reasons.  You are NOT alone!  There is also nothing wrong with you for how you feel- you were made to feel this way but less than positive circumstances.  Don’t feel bad for that.  All you can do now is try to enjoy the holidays to the best of your ability, & limit your exposure to negative, abusive people.  I offered some coping tips myself in another blog post- I suggest you go back & read it if you haven’t done so now.  Here is the link: December 14, 2013 

Don’t forget to take good care of yourself, Dear Reader.  & remember, God loves you- He is with you, & loves you so much.  I love you too!  Thank you for being my fan.  ❤

 

 

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December 3, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d add a bit to yesterday’s post….  

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but one thing that has made me dislike the holidays is in-laws.  I am on my second marriage, & both sets of in-laws I have had share one thing in common- expecting their adult children & their spouses to spend the holiday with them.  Period.  No excuses.  Why that is, I have no clue, but I don’t believe it’s right.  For one thing I believe the day should be spent with husband & wife together (& small kids at home too, if they have them).  Extended family can be visited within a few days of the holidays.  My grandparents always had their Christmas celebration on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, everyone could relax on Christmas day & enjoy it.  This always has made so much sense to me.  

For another thing, what about my family?  What if I wanted to spend a holiday with my family rather than his?  I’ve learned that is not something to admit- saying that warranted the evil eye from both mothers in-law.  I quickly learned not to say that, & give up hopes of spending the holiday with anyone in my family.

And lastly, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with your in-laws like me, why would anyone want to spend an entire day together?  How is that a joyous family celebration?  It saps all of the joy out of your day spending it with people who you know dislike you, & who you dislike.  It certainly has for me.  I dreaded the holidays for years, & got depressed each holiday season knowing I would spend a holiday with people who were less than thrilled I was a part of their family.  

I guess I just wanted to say please think before arranging your holiday get together.  It’s not fair to demand your adult children run to your home for a holiday.  There are 364 other days in the year- why not pick one of them to get together?  If you force them or use guilt to manipulate them into coming over, they &/or their spouses will end up resentful.  It can damage your relationship greatly!  I loved my first mother in-law, but when she knew my ex & I were having car trouble, yet still demanded we drive that car (our only one) well over an hour away, in the cold, to the Christmas get together, it greatly damaged my fondness for her.  This was in the days before cell phones, so if the car had left us stranded, I have no idea how we would have gotten home.

And remember, your adult child’s spouse has a family too.  Demanding they spend the day with you tells that person they & their family aren’t as important as you & your family.  That hurts!  It also stirs up strife between the couple.  They feel stuck in the middle since both have families who want to spend a day with them.  It is NOT a pleasant place to be!

Lastly, I understand not everyone is pleased with their son or daughter’s choice of a mate.  Some personalities just clash.  If that describes your relationship with your son or daughter in-law, then please, for your adult child’s sake, try to be civil.  You don’t have to be phoney.  You don’t have to try to become best friends.  Just practice basic politeness & civility.  Showing your dislike of that person not only hurts him or her, but shows an incredible disrespect for your adult child.  It also stirs up problems in their marriage, & makes the adult child feel stuck in the middle.  Do you really want to do that to your son or daughter?

As for daughters & sons in-law, this also applies to you!!  Practice civility with your husband’s or wife’s parents.  I know first hand how hard it can be when an in-law is mean you, but do it anyway!  

Also, don’t run to your spouse complaining about his “psycho mom” or whatever other things you’d like to say.  I know you want him or her to understand your position, but that is still his/her parent.  It’s difficult for someone to accept his/her parent is capable of doing such nasty things, especially to someone they love.  Instead, talk to a friend or relative, or write in a journal.  At a less stressful, busy time, it is more appropriate to discuss in-law problems with your spouse.  Gently & with sensitivity, of course!

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