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Totally exposed

Old 07-22-2014, 11:00 AM
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Totally exposed

Trying a new thread in hopes of gleaning direction or experiences. I feel that I have accomplished quite a bit in addressing the whys of my ACOA issues in order to build a better me...I can sometimes count 1 thing as a lot btw.

So I have successfully fortified my walls to keep MY extended family out. Been operating pretty good, letting go of guilt, working on building an exceptional tool box to survive as an adult. I'm a 1000 miles away from anyone in MY family, on purpose, but now I make it clear vocally that I want no part. The past two weeks have been pretty tough however. I have 2 (local) completely out of control mothers in law (wife's) that have been jockeying for authority when it comes to our childrens rearing and their emotions. On top of that, my S/O has begun work through therapy, in possibly coming to terms with her own families dysfunction while this onslaught unfolds on both of us. Both MIL's refusing to come to birthday parties, both inappropriately telling our children to not cry or be sad when we take them to sleep overs. ALL of which has left me with feeling I need to help make it stop.

This now explains why our children's recent anxiety may have appeared and I admit, MY projection/impression does not help and flames the situation. I feel totally rocked in that I thought I had a new NORMAL foundation only to feel it sag in the middle. I feel completely reduced to square one, totally exposed in this moment. I'm right back to conflict, anxiety and most disturbing, rage. Anyway, it seems I may have been caught watching the paint dry in feeling I was done or that I had reached the proverbial other side of these supposed defects. One thing for sure, any amount of perceived emotional pain that is set upon my children and my Wife has very clearly brought me all the way back to, "WTF is my problem" and completely shot any feelings of empowerment I've picked up along this journey. Wow, what a wake up call.

Last part of my tangent. I know what I need to do and to say, I think but I'm struggling with the (possible) after effects. How could I possibly explain to my children why their grandparents who live a block away are not allowed to come over anymore? How can I bring myself to shut down, for good, the romantic desire to have a REAL family around us? So much easier by phone, isn't it?
Thanks for letting me vent and most importantly, to seek.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:07 AM
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You say the kids get upset about things said at sleepovers at the MILs' houses?

Can you only allow interaction with the children when you or your wife is present? I think the MILs would have to behave better at your house, what do you think? Then each "offence" could be dealt with at the time.

It is unfortunate that there is a refusal to come to birthday parties - the grandmas are the ones losing out. Sounds kind of territorial.

Is it absolutely necessary to completely cut them from the children's lives? Most grandmas say stuff that is a little weird. They're different people and don't have the same child-rearing ideas as the parents. It isn't usually life-ruining - unless there is a lot more to this than what you are saying. Are these women alcoholics?
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:13 AM
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Well. You certainly arent alone in wanting a normal close knit extended family. I still crave it and my husband's family is at least as dysfunctional as mine. He has in many ways come to terms with this and is ok. Me? I still want the Waltons.

I think it is important to find out what your kids think of the situation. You dont want them to think that somehow it is their fault. Why the hell wouldnt these women come to your home for a birthday party? Are these sleepovers a regular occurance? Have the kids always gotten upset about sleeping over?
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:45 AM
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Sometimes triggers for us are normal for others. MIL's especially. If they are not alcoholics then I try to let normal happen even if I don't understand it completely and I have to let go of my control. Kids are always going to cry when left even in good care, that is normal. We have a hard time letting go of control because we think all heck will break loose if we aren't on top of everything. Kids will always hear contradictory views from others, but my rules are constant with them and the majority of time. They learn who to depend on and obey. I can't keep them from everyone because their rules are a bit different. My MIL used to not have a set bedtime and I was sure it was going to be the ruin of my kid, but sure enough it wasn't. I looked at INTENT of others and if it wasn't evil then ok, I also looked at OUTCOME of others and if it wasn't evil, then ok. If it was evil then all bets were off and the kids didn't see them. But I had no normal to compare it to so I did a lot of reading and relaxing.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:34 PM
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Wow.....update. Boundaries and an understanding with respect were voiced and accepted by the more "rational"/step of the two MILS. Real MIL became "kick the can down the road" party and my wife was just not ready to tell her she would speak to her when ready. So.....I must admit....I stewed. Anyway, she only texts me to see the kids and asks permission. She couldn't commit to time so I said I will try and be sure they are here, just call. Sure enough, she texts a few hours later.....I'm on my way! Kids just left, sorry, they will be back in a couple hours. 5 minutes later, car barrels up driveway, she flings open the door and throws a bag of whipped cream and a 10lb bucket of ice cream across the floor and says.....I DEMAND TO KNOW WHY YOU ARE HIDING MY GRANDCHILDREN FROM ME!!!. She caught me at a pretty stressful moment and I let her have it. Who knew that telling a 68 year old woman to be an adult would make someone go wire coat hanger crazy? Anyway, she is not allowed back, I took it upon myself to make the decision. Unfortunately while I screamed at her, our kids came back from play date and heard me yelling. Of course, my fault for being mean and I MADE her go......crushes me, makes me revert to Less Than in a heart beat. Good news though, my 8 year old and I had a very good discussion and it made sense to him as to why I was angry and he knows it doesn't have anything to do with him or his brother or me for that matter....kinda not me. So, to show us she is an adult, she canceled her cell phone, which we pay for and stuck us with a $300 cancel fee......I can't make this crap up....life on life's terms.....gotta love it even though I hate it
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:00 PM
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i have to learn how to protect my kids but also how not to mask protecting of kids to get my own way if i dont like someone, as i could be very good at that if i put my mind to it

my kids mum for example i hated her at one time and i tried all sorts of rescrictions to be applied for her to have contact with the kids believing i was right as she was still drinking and a danger to my kids
i took not a blind bit of notice of one of my sons who really loved his mum weather she was a drunk or not
in the end i truely love my kids enough to put my own personal feelings away and let them have what ever will make them happy

i took all restrictions off and let the kids have as much or as little time as they wanted with there mum, despite how i felt, it wasn't about me it was about what is right for my kids and there love for there mum

in the end the kids one by one got fed up with there mums drunkenness and just gave up themselves wanting to be around her with no help from me

kids know who is good to them and what is right and wrong, when my son was 14 he left my care to go and live with his mum as she would let him smoke and drink
i could of had the law on to it but who would of been the bad guy if i did ?
my son would of hated me for taking him away so i left him to live with her
within 4 months he came back home to live with me and his siblings as he wanted to try and help his mum but found out in the end he couldn't
he got hurt in the process but he also had to grow from it, we can not protect our kids from things like this forever not when they get to be hot headed teens that much i had to find out for myself

i know my lad was much older than your kids are but i only use this to help maybe jog you to look at you and your own feelings.
make sure you find out how the kids feel if they love there grandparents then you will have to work around it so they can continue to carry on with there relationship with there grandparents
if they can not stand the sight of them then that is a different matter and you could tell the grandparents were to go and know it will not hurt your kids, the grandparents would then have to accept its not about them.

so i guess the message is be clear as to the motives behind your actions and good luck to you : )
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Old 09-11-2014, 03:42 PM
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OGK- your MIL is a nutter. Total lack of respect. What right does she have to speak to you in that way or throw things? Good for you for setting bondaries. I had a nasty MIL myself. Its best to just tell your wife if she wants the kids to have a relationship with her mom she needs to organize it and you dont want any part in it.
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by OGK View Post
How can I bring myself to shut down, for good, the romantic desire to have a REAL family around us? So much easier by phone, isn't it?
Admit you're powerless of the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction-that our lives had become unmanageable .... and surrender

Just a suggestion, mon ami :-)
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by OGK View Post
So, to show us she is an adult, she canceled her cell phone, which we pay for and stuck us with a $300 cancel fee......I can't make this crap up....life on life's terms.....gotta love it even though I hate it
.... What have I seen you write before - "I'll show you, I'll hurt me"? I think MiL may have just done a classic example.

What next? Any ideas? How's the missus/kids with all this?

My kids never want i.e. volunteer to see the grandparents; 3 still living, 2 are active alcoholics (one seriously ill from the effects) and the other, well dysfunctional but they seem to know that she's dysfunctional and she's mostly harmless. They call her Grandma Crackers (if you're not familiar [do you use it in the U.S] crackers can mean crazy) :-)

They now tell her to stop, or 'mind your own business'. That's their line I like most. The youngest one - I know not where it came from, said 'You're not God, stop it'.

As desypete suggested, mine too know what and who they like and they don't like rigid control, criticism, being told their feelings are wrong. They just don't like it and (I take no credit - you know my history) they don't accept it (anymore).

What they do like is those people who give them time... and chocolate. They're not daft.
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:50 AM
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I've found when confronted with irrational anger the best response is not to react. It's the other persons anger. They may want to put it on you, just side step it. As ACOA we are people pleasers and reactors. It's not easy to break that habit.

For example, when she called, you told her they would be back in 2 hours. When she came over anyway all full of rage asking why you are hiding the kids, just respond I'm not. They are playing with friends and will be back at xx o'clock. If you want to wait, come on inside, I'll put on a pot of coffee and make some room in the fridge/freezer for your stuff.

Just offer no resistance and maintain your composure.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:59 AM
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No question, great advice and I knew that and had been practicing that but unfortunately in confronting that behavior in real time, f2f, my old self busted out. I knew it in the moment but like I have recently learned, retreating to childhood "protection" bled through. Most if not ALL of my practicing up to that/this point had been done in a relative vacuum as my attention was hugely spent on "MY" FOO, very far away. Ambushed says I, not an excuse but a very good teachable moment for me. This process still reminds me of the stadium lights going out with 3 minutes to go, then they flicker on and then flicker back off with the ball in the air. Accepting that I must accept and also learn, has provided me with the necessary breathing room to continue making adjustments as I venture forward.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:04 AM
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Flipped the switch on my ass....a tip of the cap to her for sure. Realizing that our boys can have a healthy conversation about it after and provide healthy feed back was a HUGE shot in the arm for me. I couldn't help but think of my own childhood trauma and think....why the F didn't anyone do that for me? Thanks my friend, this all helps....mind the shovel;0
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:11 AM
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No it's not a suggestion, it's an order isn't it? Yes, I agree, 100%. A simple remedy I still obviously try to spit out. So at this point of your journey, do you find yourself romanticizing still on that fairy tail extended family unit? It must be natural yes? I don't think that part of me can be untaught and not sure I want it too either. Perhaps now that I can identify it, I can start to transfer it into Action to Accept "MY" family as that example and BE that example?Nothing changes if nothing changes.....dam those quotes really mean something.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:17 AM
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Work in progress. She's(wife) working on HER stuff now and she knows enough now to realize that she absolutely can not engage without total annihilation yet. I respect that, and the parallel journey for us really has brought a big sense of support for us both....from each other. It's also not my problem to fix, and I admit, especially when my children are concerned, I have a hard time not TRYING to fix this still.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:20 AM
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Sorry folks, it doesn't look like I'm responding to specific posters comments correctly. I'll practice more over the weekend.
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by OGK View Post
Sorry folks, it doesn't look like I'm responding to specific posters comments correctly. I'll practice more over the weekend. OGK
Had me wondering. Was like hearing just one side of a phone call.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mracoa View Post
Had me wondering. Was like hearing just one side of a phone call.
This was to yours. Sorry bout that.

MrAoca says......I've found when confronted with irrational anger the best response is not to react. It's the other persons anger. They may want to put it on you, just side step it. As ACOA we are people pleasers and reactors. It's not easy to break that habit.

For example, when she called, you told her they would be back in 2 hours. When she came over anyway all full of rage asking why you are hiding the kids, just respond I'm not. They are playing with friends and will be back at xx o'clock. If you want to wait, come on inside, I'll put on a pot of coffee and make some room in the fridge/freezer for your stuff.

Just offer no resistance and maintain your composure.


No question, great advice and I knew that and had been practicing that but unfortunately in confronting that behavior in real time, f2f, my old self busted out. I knew it in the moment but like I have recently learned, retreating to childhood "protection" bled through. Most if not ALL of my practicing up to that/this point had been done in a relative vacuum as my attention was hugely spent on "MY" FOO, very far away. Ambushed says I, not an excuse but a very good teachable moment for me. This process still reminds me of the stadium lights going out with 3 minutes to go, then they flicker on and then flicker back off with the ball in the air. Accepting that I must accept and also learn, has provided me with the necessary breathing room to continue making adjustments as I venture forward.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:05 PM
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Forgot to mention OGK. When responding it is usually a good idea to mention the name of the poster you are responding to. My bad. LOL!

I am going to guess you are asking me about the big ole loving family? Any hopes I had are gone. People seem not to care about that anymore. Plus, with my mom's brilliant ability to drive everyone away with her absolute selfishness my family has shrunk to little more than my husband and sons. I need to develop a strong foc(family of choice)
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by OGK View Post
No it's not a suggestion, it's an order isn't it? Yes, I agree, 100%. A simple remedy I still obviously try to spit out. So at this point of your journey, do you find yourself romanticizing still on that fairy tail extended family unit? It must be natural yes? I don't think that part of me can be untaught and not sure I want it too either. Perhaps now that I can identify it, I can start to transfer it into Action to Accept "MY" family as that example and BE that example?Nothing changes if nothing changes.....dam those quotes really mean something.
No I no longer romanticize on the fairy tale extended family...

Seriously... of the 3 living parents, my nippers grandparents; 1 actively drinking (FIL), 1 trying to drink whenever possible (AM), 1 is other dysfunctional. I can't change that, I'm powerless over my alcoholism so I must be doubly powerless of theirs. I can't fix them, I no longer try.

Of my sisters 3- they're all nuts to a larger or lessor extent (mostly larger). Not dangerous, but I'd only trust one of them with my kids for any length of time (24 hours or more). The SiL and BiL... they can't get past 17:00 without a drink.

It would be lovely to have caring capable grandparents and family and in laws that popped over for laughs and conversation, but if they'd been anything like that when my partner and I were young then I wouldn't have had the pleasure of making your acquaintance here (and about), mon ami :-)

Trying to fix my foo issues through my family in the here and now is the insanity. Seriously, I now know that they're not going to change, or at least that I can't change them and I've stopped -a-wishin-an-a-hoping for such magic.

I've surrendered.... that romantic notion anyway :-)
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:13 PM
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Mako- do your children have cousins and if so how do you deal with that?
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