One last post and I will leave you alone ;)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BusynMember, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    My daughter texted and said she is taking a little break because our conversations have not been going well of late. Duhhhh. I need honest feedback here.

    She will eventually call me again, which sort of scares me, and I think she will end up yelling about vaccinations and conspiracy theories and saying I am not supporting her again in a nasty way. I am not convinced that it will go any better even if I say not a word. Then I could be accused of not being interested.

    Pretend this was your kid being loud, bossy and threatening to cut you off without knowing why she would do it, really. But my grandson is never going to see me if she cuts us off.Would you....

    1. Do your best to say as little as possible

    2. Say "Im listening" every so often but offer nothing

    3. Stand up for your beliefs even though this will cause an estrangement

    4. Anything literally anything else!! Dont hold back!

    Today Lee took a day off from his brand new job to have a family day. They rode bikes and are going to see the Pokemsn movie. Lee is not a hard worker and I dont talk about it to him but I am venting here. Watch him lose this great job too, but that is for another day. way to talk to my daughter when she calls. That is why I posted. It scares me so much to think of it, I have considered not picking up the phone. Iam such a chicken and deplore confrontation

    I need a plan in advance. Every single idea is welcome!
  2. cuz_is_back

    cuz_is_back New Member

    Just to keep peace, I bit my tongue. Psychiatrist told me, long ago, there's nothing you can do so why put yourself through it! :)
  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I guess so. Just listen. It may work best

    Cant say I am not trying.

    Other suggestions?
  4. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    When my daughter becomes rude or disrespectful with me, I hang up the phone. That is my boundary and it is non-negotiable. She has stayed silent sometimes for months when this has happened and that's OK. This is about my peace of mind and my healthy boundaries. Did I miss my granddaughter during those times? Yes, I did and sometimes I worried. But it was also space for me to focus on myself, which is what I should be focused on. It rarely happens these days. And when it does the silence only last a day or two.

    Right now your daughter is a tyrant. She gets to spout her crazy ideas and if you don't agree with them then you're not supporting her. And if you don't say anything, you're not supporting her. Do you see the corner she has you in? It's not OK. It's disrespectful. in my opinion next time you talk to her if she starts bringing that subject up I would say, "This is a difficult topic for us, so let's not discuss it anymore." and change the subject. If she tries to come back around to it I would tell her it makes you uncomfortable and if she brings it up again you will hang up. If you say this you have to follow through. If she gets crazy and starts yelling you have to hang up. If she returns to the topic, you have to hang up. When you begin setting and maintaining boundaries she will likely ratchet up her poor behavior. When I first started doing it my daughter would call and call and call. I wouldn't answer and she would leave insane, screaming messages. I just turned my phones off. It took her awhile to get it- that I was really setting boundaries and following through. But once she got it things got a lot better. That doesn't mean there aren't still times when she slips or I slip, but overall it's much better. I know how hard this is. It sounds very simple, but it's not. Good luck.
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I am terrified I will lose them for good or I would do it. Were you afraid of that? How did you know she eould ever come back? Please please explain. If I were sure she would eventually come back, I'd get tough.
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    You need to respond in such a way that you repeat what she said, so that she knows you heard her. There is a fine line to do it in such a way that does not discredit what she said, but on the other hand doesn't explicitly say you agree. There is a term for this...but my mind is blank.

    She says something extreme about vaccinations, you respond, you read that xyz can cause abc? You must find that scary. Or, she says.. Xyz can help abc if you do this/that etc. you can say, you are really studying this info. I can tell you want to do what you think is best for my grandson.

    See, it's dancing around the subject, letting her know you heard her, and that these ideas come from a place of concern for her son. I've been to a lot of dances... You don't have to agree with her...but she needs to know you heard her. And you do that by mirroring what she said.

  7. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Ksm, best advice ever. Thanks a mother in law!!
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    there are other phrases you can say... "That must have been difficult for you." Or, "You've given this a lot of thought."

    It's important to her... Her son is important to you. So you play the game and dance the dance.

    Now if there is evidence that the child is being abused, that us a whole 'nother ball game. But you have not alluded to that. So far, the parents have the choice to vacinate or not. It's not a fight you can win...or if you win, you loose contact with grandson.

  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Amazing. This should work!

    I am not trying to tell them what to do. Never have. He is their son. It is their choice. Maybe I am just not listening. I can listen even though I dont agree and I dont have to refute anything.
  11. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I didn't know. What's important is that we are OK with ourselves no matter who is or is not in our lives. There is no way to know what will happen. But the only way we can take care of our own health and happiness is by developing and maintaining healthy boundaries. This means not allowing ANYONE to treat us disrespectfully or to manipulate us. We cannot control someone else's behavior or actions. All we can control is our response to them. I choose to live a peaceful life. If someone is bringing discord into my life I don't allow them to interact with me until they can bring energy that is positive. This isn't about your daughter. This is about you!
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  12. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Thanks. So do you speak to your child?
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Busy. I hope this IS NOT your last post. This is what we're here for.

    All of the above.
    I think you've been on pins and needles. Afraid even to breathe, so as to not say or do the wrong thing.

    This is no way to live.

    I agree with everybody above. But I think first you need to acknowledge to yourself how you feel. And it seems to me you feel angry, you feel you've been mistreated, you are afraid, you feel like you've been unjustly silenced. You feel there's no way to win; no right thing to do. And there are a whole lot of other feelings. I would feel enraged that I was in this situation where I can't speak up to protect my grandson and my daughter for fear that I would lose them entirely.

    I think honoring your feelings, understanding what they are, getting them out in some way is essential FIRST. Not to her. But in relation to yourself. Whether it is at an Al Anon group, or through expressive writing (Julia Cameron's book, the Artist's Way talks about "morning pages" which is a way to get out onto the page what you feel..) Posting.
    You see. When I was reading the options of how to respond to her, when she next calls, I visualized saying something like this: I love you so much. I know that you feel frustrated with me that I don't understand about the vaccines. It's just that I don't know what to say. I just want everything to be okay with us. I love you so much.

    I am not saying to tell her this. I wrote that because it felt to me what is at the heart of the matter. All of the other feelings--the anger, frustration, confusion--at bottom, is love, and hurt.

    Beneath the anger and fear and frustration. Is the deepest love. And I find that in all of my dealings with my son there is always this, at root. It may be hidden by anger, fear, frustration, etc. but it's always just plain old love.
    I think what Eliza means here, is that we cannot control the result. What we do has to be heartfelt, coming from what we need. Whether it is to express love or to set limits. It begins with us.
    This is a tough one. Because things have gotten out of control. Clearly, she is out of control with you. She is not hearing you. She is not listening to you. She is not giving you space. She is threatening you with retaliation.

    Now. This could be stress. It could be mental illness. It could be the result of domination and control by Lee. Whatever the reason, this should not be happening, to you. And you are the one who is responsible to stop it.

    As Eliza says, (to paraphrase) we can't control what anybody wants to do to us, and in fact does to us. We can only remove ourselves from this. Get out of the way. Don't listen. Not be there.

    So. The issue is not how you respond to her. it is listening to yourself. It is how you respond to yourself. But that requires first. Stopping. And reframing the question.
    What's the "best way to talk" to you? To hear yourself, your needs.

    What do you need to hear? From you? What do you need to do ? (Not with her). What do you need to say?

    Do you need a break? Do you need to write her a letter (not necessarily mail it)? Do you need support in the form of therapy or Al Anon?

    I think all of this is traumatizing. She is battering you. You have been her victim.

    How can you change this? What do you need to walk this back to health?

    I agree with Eliza. This is not about her. It's about you.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  14. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Yes. We have a much better relationship now for several reasons. One is that I focus on myself and not on my daughter. Her life is hers, for better or worse. Most of the time I am able to have a relationship of "loving detachment" with her. This doesn't mean I don't care about her or that I don't sometimes wish she made different choices. It means I realize the choices are HERS to make, and if I don't agree with them it's not my place to say that. Sometimes when she's telling me something crazy I just give non-committal feedback. Or if she gets herself in a jam and complains about it to me, I just say, "You're a smart woman. You'll figure it out." And this is all true because she is an adult, so she needs to travel her journey in her way. Sometimes I want to scream at her because I think what she's doing is stupid, but I don't.

    Our relationship has also changed because I don't allow her to treat me in ways that I find disrespectful or manipulative. This makes me more comfortable in the relationship and it makes it easier for us to communicate. Don't get me wrong. It's not perfect and we still have issues or troubles sometimes, but it's 90% better than it used to be. I don't think it's bad to take a break in communicating with people we are in relationships with, especially during difficult times. If you get some space you can sometimes be more objective about the relationship and discover ways that you can change to make it more positive. All we can control is ourselves, so that's where our focus should be.
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  15. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I agree with the advice you have gotten.

    Your daughter is “punishing” you by cutting you off for a while. She expects that, when she resumes contact, you will be grateful and that you will say what she wants to hear.

    I know people who are anti-vaxxers, and none of them make this the centerpiece of their lives. They talk about other things. I am on a homeschooling email group, and the discussion came up because of recent events. The few that don’t vaccinate do not try to influence others or tell others the errors of their ways.

    I think it is really bizarre that your daughter is so meshed into this lifestyle that she can talk of nothing else. It is not normal behavior.

    I encourage you to take some time to decide how you want to approach this going forward. It has become an abusive relationship and you can’t allow that to happen anymore.

    As to the part about your son-in-Law not being a hard worker and the possibility of him losing his job—I hope they don’t expect you to support them when he is out of work. He will never get serious about his employment as long as he has a backup plan (your money).
  16. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I am humbled by the great advice I am getting. I am definitely being abused. My son still lives with me and he can hear her screaming over the phone if we are in the same room and has to walk away and shut his bedroom door. Later he will tell me she is nuts and I should stop listening.

    I have decided to use active listening since that doesnt require my opinion. If she does insist on an answer I will say "I am listening and will check it out." If that gets her mad, I give up. She is obsessed with both vaccines and how healthy food can stop people from EVER getting sick and I cant move her off topic. I never tell her how to live her life. How useless is that?

    In the end it is her choice whether or not to be civil. Or to talk to me.

    No, we will not give them money. Lee is smart and can hold down a job. If he quits another job, its up to them to make ends meet. We have given them money in the long ago past and are done. But Lee's parents help them out so we never get asked anymore. A good excuse for Lee to quit jobs so he can do nothing. Not my business.
  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Your son is right. He doesn’t like to hear his mom being abused.

    Use active listening, yes, but don’t let this stuff take up too much of your life. Decide how much time you are willing to devote to listening to this stuff, and stick to it. Think of excuses to cut the conversation off when you have had enough. Less is more, in this case.
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This has become a very useful thread for me. Thank you everybody. Again. I realize I am trying to manage my own feelings through control and manipulation of my son. For me the feelings become so intense that I am willing to cave, to literally surrender, defeat myself, in order that he come back here, in order that the feelings in me stop.

    What this is is a real disordering of how I perceive reality. Because NOTHING out there really has any effect inside one. Only our thoughts and actions effect our inside; only these can make the pain go away.

    It seems to me that Eliza changed her way of knowing the world, and by inference, herself, and that I could do that too. She holds the OUTSIDE world as OUTSIDE. She chooses whether or not to take it in:
    And conversely, she owns her inside world, her own thoughts and feelings. Inside is her terrain. While she may not control her immediate reactions, feelings, she accepts that POTENTIALLY she has control here.

    She holds the INSIDE world as hers, as personal space. She does not cede it to her daughter or any other person. She insulates herself from being triggered, by arranging her life in such a way that such is minimized. She has tools to identify and deal with triggers, as they occur. And then she goes on her merry way. She does NOT surrender to the trigger. Nor does she define herself by it. Triggers lose their power, because she does not allow them to ignite her.
    She takes responsibility for what happens to her in this life. That seems to be based on primarily accepting reality. A spade is a spade. It's not a heart. She does not keep trying to persuade the spade to change into a heart. (This is so helpful. Apparently, I believe I have powers to transform the suits in decks of cards.)

    Thank you ladies.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  19. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I can only do what I can do. I will try much of this great advice, but I can't control my daughter and her reaction to anything.

    Meanwhile her talking about vaccines had some good results. I am getting a shingles shot today, something I wasnt that aware of until she started ranting against it and I am going to make sure I am immune to the measles to. If not, a shot. I certainly won't tell Kay about it. She will flip out. She said she is telling us about vaccines because she loves us. I think she Is. But tell me once, not 100 times!
  20. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Copa really explained my attempts to maintain my peace of mind perfectly. Mind you, it took me years to get to where I am, and I have good and bad days. However, because I truly believe I control my mindset, reactions, and emotions I am much better at maintaining my peace of mind no matter what is going on around me than I was in the past. I really love challenging myself, so when things get chaotic I look at it as an opportunity for me to test myself and hone my skills at keeping my peace of mind no matter what. One thing that really changed my perspective was when I truly believed and internalized this: the way someone treats you says everything about them and nothing about you. That totally reframed my interactions with others and gave me a strong sense of myself. If I am acting based upon my core beliefs then what I am doing is the right thing at that moment and I am able to do or say it calmly and with conviction. I also have to give credit where credit is due. Watching my dogs and the way they live in THIS moment and react to their environment rather than trying to force their will onto their environment really impacted me. I have to work on this every day, but I find it helps me not only in my relationship with my daughter, but in all of my relationships.
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