Wow wow wow Ted, I guess like everyone else here, I'll just add my 'that really sucks'. My mom was a bit like that. But because they live so far away it didn't come up much, although my mother did disrespect my wishes re. discussing politics with my ex on Facebook at a time when I wasn't sure what might set him off (he's gone in a dark direction politically). But eventually I got through, I think, or rather - my brother really laid into her for it and she listened to him. Of course my mom is shit with boundaries and she actually flirts with and ogles my boyfriend. it's sooooo inappropriate.
PRACTICALLY I think there's room for compromise on this, like some holidays but not others, but compromise goes two ways and it doesn't sound like your parents are willing to do that.
Ugh, she flirts with your boyfriend? ::shudder::
Just between you and me: if there were displaying any sympathy and understanding, if they were showing any kind of respect for my independence and the primacy of my relationship with my wife and children over their relationship with my wife and children, if this were mostly a matter of "we're just not sure how exactly to do right by your STBX," I would be open to discussing and potentialy making some compromises, even though my position is already quite reasonable. But that's definitely not where they're coming from.
ted - oh yes - she REALLY likes him. He's a 'super' person. She's let me know I don't quite deserve him. (He is super actually and I do feel very lucky.) This year on her birthday she sent HIM a gift. My partner and I joke about it, but really it icks us both out. Apparently it's not an un-common thing for narcissistic mothers to do. But yuck.
We're engaged and I haven't even told my mother because it icks me out so much. But I have told her we're moving in together, which she's super excited about.
I think you're doing more than your duty to even be in family counselling with them. I'm really sorry you're having to deal with this.
There is a question about which I could use some advice. In the last counseling session, I laid out those boundaries and said it was my last session, that I considered four years and many counseling sessions to be enough defending and explaining myself. The counselor balked, and argued that we should meet at least one more time so he could give us his opinion. I’m of the mind to call that off, and I’d like to explain why. Please tell me what you think.
I agreed to joint counseling sessions for the purpose of having the counselor facilitate a conversation. They had refused to discuss our issues without a third party present. I was hesitant, and explained from the start that I would not go to counseling to argue our cases before an arbiter. I'd go to a counselor to have him facilitate a conversation—to help us hear each other—but not to have him decide who was right and wrong.
This final, let-the-counselor-weigh-in session feels wrong to me, and I feel threatens the progress I just made. I don’t think my parents are capable of hearing his advice, taking it as just an observation, and realizing the real issue remains solely between them and me. Even if his advice is one-sided in my favor, I'm uncomfortable, because I certainly didn’t do all this to argue my case and see how much the judge agrees with me. If his advice turns out to be his typical meet-in-the-middle crap, then they’ve got an appeal to authority to wield. What if I don’t agree with the counselor, and want to keep my boundaries set where they are? Then I’m even more of a rogue in their eyes—“He doesn’t even take the advice of counselors!”
I believe if people want help figuring out what to think, that’s the purpose of individual therapy. Go on your own, figure out what you think, and bring it back to the relationship. I’m not very keen on joint therapy at all, but if anything, I believe its place is solely to facilitate communication. A joint counselor should be very, very careful about inserting himself into the relationship and becoming an arbiter.
All that to say: I’ve said my piece, and I really don’t want to go back to hear the counselor’s diagnosis and prescription. His argument for another session was, “I haven’t had a chance to tell you what I think. Who goes to a dentist or a doctor or something and doesn’t wait for and follow the doctor’s instructions?” Umm, red flags for me.
Post by choosinghappy on May 23, 2018 15:11:25 GMT -5
Well he’s NOT a dentist or a doctor and shouldn’t be giving you “instructions”. I agree with your reasoning for feeling like one more meeting would be detrimental rather than helpful to whatever “progress” you’ve made. Sounds like he views his role differently than how you intended. Don’t forget he “works for” you. If you don’t think it would be helpful, don’t go.
But I don’t have a suggestion for how to tell your parents that in a way that would make sense to them...
Post by greatcoastal on May 23, 2018 17:50:23 GMT -5
I'm going to go off course ( a little) my guess is your parents have become "crusty Christians". That's a term my pastor uses. It reminds me of the crusty marriages on here. It's people who have been at "church" a long, long time. They no longer volunteer for anything, they feel they served their time long ago, let someone else do it. (the same in a SM-I did my time, let others do that while married) Then there are the ones who cherry pick through their Christianity and choose the path of least resistance while wearing the "christian" label. (just like the spouses who wear the married label but ignore their vows)
Lots of talk and no action. Or their actions are a full 180 of their words.
It reminds me of the time I first met my "holier than though, Bible quoting MIL". I ran out of fingers -twice- while counting how many times she used the word "I" in what was supposed to be "our" conversation. Also how much she demoralized her H. Sadly he was a well trained "yes dear servant".
later in the day i was riding in the car with my girlfriend (now ex) her sister, brother, and sister in-law, they asked me what did you think about "S"? ( my later to be MIL). I told them how I ran out of fingers and felt sorry for their father. Interestingly enough they where proud of me , and thought I would fit right in. Sadly it ended up to be true.
Sounds like you are exposing their "crustiness" and the only thing they are capable of doing is getting crustier.
Gotta do what's best for you brother, no one else in this situation seems capable.
OMG - that's outrageous! Unless they were absolutely out-of-time in the session, even so. But 'instructions'?? Eh... QUACK!!!!
Personally I wouldn't be able to stay away out of dead curiosity. Though that's probably not a healthy attitude and my first instinct is that he's drawing you back for the ££.
But let's say you do go - basically it's a win/draw situation for you because
1. He takes your side and your parents comply. - WIN 2. He takes your side and your parents don't comply - well, that's where you were already -DRAW 3. He takes their side and you've already come to peace with your decision anyway and are doing what you fee is right anyway. -DRAW
I agree with choosinghappy as well - I don't think there's any way you could explain your decision not to attend that would satisfy your parents. And you might be ok with that.
Post by GeekGoddess on May 24, 2018 10:07:24 GMT -5
I’m in the “I would go out of curiosity” camp. After 4 years already, I have NO IDEA why the counselor has not ALREADY shared his opinion. What has he been holding onto?
However- if you think or feel that going would erode the remarkable and adult boundaries that you set - then by all means follow your gut. Your gut knows what’s best in most situations. Listen to YOU, not anyone else. That’s not being selfish, it’s being self-honoring.
ted, if your curiosity gets the better of you, you could always have a one-on-one session to get the counselor's amazing insight. And you could use the time to give him a piece of your mind about his lack of support for your boundaries, and enjoy the satisfaction of firing him in person. It all depends on whether it's worth your time and the cost of a session.
Last Edit: May 24, 2018 10:41:38 GMT -5 by DryCreek
I'm fighting with the anticipatory guilt and anxiety of doing that of which these people won't approve, but I realize that isn't the healthy, strong part of me talking. I plan to write an email this weekend, bowing out of the next session scheduled for next Saturday. I'll let you know what happens.
Thanks again; I really appreciate everyone's feedback.
Post by GeekGoddess on May 26, 2018 11:16:06 GMT -5
ted - you are totally within your rights to bow out. AND to NOT feel bad about that! If the counselor had some insight, I still think he could have brought it up within 5 sessions. Seriously - he shouldn't just "keep it to himself" during those meetings. Part of our payment is to get their thoughts shared with the attendees, for crying out loud. It does not honestly sound like another visit will be helpful for you. You have done excellent working identifying, defining, and communicating your boundaries. Stick with that. You have said your piece. There is no more need for input. You have decided. Stay strong, brother. Don't feel bad for not going. You don't owe it to anyone. You do owe it to yourself to GO WITH YOUR GUT.
Ted, I’m truly sorry. It’s an absolute heartbreak to feel betrayed like this by family. However, you know your family, so deep down, you know what they are like, so even though it hurts, I don’t think it’s too much of a surprise to you that they treat you this way. You most likely have witnessed similar lack of support throughout your life.
You need to let these toxic people go, if you can. They drag you down. It’s incredibly hard to do, but if you don’t, you will be seeking approval from these arsewipes for the rest of your life. Let her have them. They sound like they are made for each other...a bunch of narcissistic manipulators.
Grieve, and live your life. It’s a big loss in one sense, but it’s really the loss of an illusion that you actually had a loving and supportive family, and you never did. Loss of illusion and dreams are incredibly hard to bear, but you will get through it. Stick to your boundaries, but don’t share your boundaries with them. Fu*k them!
solodriver: Happy Birthday shamwow!!
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solodriver: Maybe over what happened last weekend with the discussion board men vs. women
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