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O/T? Dating again; Parent still holding a torch for XAH

Old 09-03-2014, 01:09 PM
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O/T? Dating again; Parent still holding a torch for XAH

My immediate family and I have always been at odds. I was the black sheep, I was a scapegoat. I suspect my mother is NPD, and her and my father are embroiled in a fifty year codependent relationship revolving around her narcissism and anxiety and his depression. I live in the same town as my folks do, and I rent a house from them. There's **% of the time no problem with this arrangement. Otherwise I am completely financially independent of them really for the first time ever. I have usually pretty good boundaries with them anymore and am able to usually maintain emotional distance despite our close proximity. My folks don't always like my independence, but I'm mostly okay with that rift. It's been a pretty amazing journey for me, actually. I used to never jump without clearing where, when, and how high with them first. Lots of enmeshment in the past, but LOTS of improvement. Still room for more improvement.

My sisters and I are pretty distant in age, which led to a natural rift. My mother orchestrated our relationships for a long time, which led to more discord, but for the first time my sisters and I are starting to talk and learn about each other without her puppeteering. Still there is always an impression that I'm damaged, that I'm irresponsible, that I'm shifty and can't be trusted, that I'm prone to disaster. I've done a lot of work to change that image, knowing some of it was based in reality and my own crappy choices. My mom likes to hang on to that narrative though, which can sometimes lead to problems for me.

I have been separated from XAH for about two years, and the divorce was final in June. It took forever, and I was relieved when it was over. Last winter, I began seeing someone very casually and I really like him. Just recently we became Facebook official (21st century dating is absurd). Part of the reason I took it so slowly was that I wanted to implement the lessons I'd learned here and in counseling, and put myself in a good place for a relationship. I also didn't want to exacerbate any yucky feelings in my family or with XAH by openly dating during the divorce, so I kept things pretty private. It was known generally that I was seeing someone, but now he has a name and a face.

My kids are good with it, and I'm pleased with the trajectory so far. However, my mom in particular still holds a torch for XAH. She goes so far to say that if XAH would "just get better" we'd get back together in a HEARTBEAT. She likes to run the family on her own fantasies, so she'll forget his EXTENSIVE emotional and financial abuse and abandonment if it serves her fantasy. Occasionally I remind her that he used drugs under my roof, stole money from me, from her, from my son, that he used to huff computer duster and drink vodka all day and refuse to work while I worked three jobs. She always looks at me like, "Really?" Like she wasn't a firsthand witness to it. She's been telling my sisters and their adult children how much she misses XAH, and makes a point of seeing him "accidentally" whenever she can. She repeatedly writes me emails trying to ride along when I pick up my daughter there from supervised visits. She wants to see how he looks. She's fantasizing that one day he'll wake up and not be an addict. I tell her no, don't answer her requests at all, and actively discourage things like "surprise" visits at the babysitter's house on all sides. When she seems open, I sometimes talk to her about codependency and alcoholism, and sometimes she seems to understand. Other times, she forgets I said anything at all. She actively discouraged me from divorcing, and says that her wish for me is that we will reconcile.

It's ******* nuts.

I can't control her, and I can't control her crazy. She's in her seventies, and I feel like going no contact with her would be drama that's not really what I want at this stage in my life or hers. I'm already pretty minimal contact with her, and don't share much with her about my dreams, failures, and goals. Short of calling the police or getting a RSO, which I think is way out of line here, I haven't been able to get her to stay in her lane. There's really nothing new here -- all this is old hat really -- EXCEPT that the narrative that XAH and I are soulmates that are only temporarily separated really, literally, viscerally disgusts me. He was cruel to me, and his family was cruel to mine, his disease exhausted and controlled me and had me saying and doing things I was ashamed of, and I am 1000% better off without him in my life. I am capable of compassion for him from a distance, but the idea of being with him again, or my friends and family longing for this, in any capacity wants me to set my whole life on fire. I went to great lengths and expenses to see that he doesn't have unsupervised access to our daughter because he was so destructive to me and my kids, and the idea that I might be with him again -- even in her crazy-ass mind -- makes me want to scream.

So here I am on the cusp of a relationship that is with someone who makes me feel good and is a cheerleader for me, who encourages all kinds of healthy behaviors and doesn't hesitate to have my back, one that I took a long time feeling out and think will be a net positive no matter how it turns out, and my own mother is waving that off and telling everyone we know, friends, family, acquaintances, neighbors, that my divorce was a tragedy and I'm deep down still in love with XAH.

What do I do? Nothing. What she thinks of me is none of my business. It still hurts. It still feels like she's undermining my progress. Maybe she's trying -- but not really, because I think her narcissistic tendencies don't allow her to recognize me as a separate person with feelings that are different from hers. I don't know what to do about that, or to feel about these feelings. I'm really not in need of her validation or approval at all, but I wish she'd mind her own business. I know that's too much to ask. But her behavior continues to cause anxiety for me, and causes me to have awkward conversations about whether I secretly nurture a fairytale love for my abusive, alcoholic ex.

Addiction is not a tragic romance. It's just tragic.

Looking for some levity and shared experience.
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:16 PM
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I don't have any bits of wisdom, but want to say I think you are doing wonderful! It would really hurt to have a mother who cannot see past her own wants and needs, but that is how a personality disorder works.

I think you are doing all the right things. Just keep to your side of the street and enjoy yourself in a new and positive relationship.

XXX
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:17 PM
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Oh Florence! I am so happy for you in your new life and I am so sorry about this insanity with your mother.

Obviously detaching from her crazy-a$$ delusions is the only healthy, grown-up solution, and what I am going to propose is very manipulative, so take it with a grain of salt:

Maybe you could say "Mom, UMG (unmarried guy - your beau) is so good to me and my kids and we are just so fond of him. It really hurts his feelings to believe that you appear to like XAH better than him. Would you mind not telling people that because it keeps getting back to UMG and makes him so sad."
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:34 PM
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Maybe you could say "Mom, UMG (unmarried guy - your beau) is so good to me and my kids and we are just so fond of him. It really hurts his feelings to believe that you appear to like XAH better than him. Would you mind not telling people that because it keeps getting back to UMG and makes him so sad."
Heh. What I do say is, "NG is so good to me, and XAH was a disaster. It's REALLY WEIRD that you want me to be with someone who was so bad to us/stole from us/lied to us/is still an active addict."

If I'm playing armchair psychologist, a lot of this stuff is all about her fear/anxiety about her decision to stay with my depressive/verbally abusive dad and isn't about me at all. STILL SUCKS.
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:38 PM
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That is awesome you are dating someone new. You are positive and healthy about things, so happy for you.

To counter Stella27 above, I actually would not bring up new guy's feelings or anything resembling using him to get your mom to change. I don't think it is a good idea to attempt to change mom's behavior using your new man.

If you want to say something to mom, I would be polite, direct and curt. Just my 2 cents.

Yay to new man!
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
Heh. What I do say is, "NG is so good to me, and XAH was a disaster. It's REALLY WEIRD that you want me to be with someone who was so bad to us/stole from us/lied to us/is still an active addict."

If I'm playing armchair psychologist, a lot of this stuff is all about her fear/anxiety about her decision to stay with my depressive/verbally abusive dad and isn't about me at all. STILL SUCKS.
Yes. More like this.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:12 PM
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She sounds like she's a classic NPD person, to me... and with that, NOTHING can be done. NOTHING you say will change that and the further you try to engage and EXPLAIN the crazier you'll get about it. You are feeding her supply as long as you engage about it. It's has nothing about her really feeling that way about him and it has everything to do with her knowing how to get your goat. I understand that she's in her 70's and it would cause more drama to go NC, so I recommend putting in a VERY FIRM BOUNDARY that none of this is up for discussion (and it's really none of her business!!). Oh sure, she'll find other ways to try and engage to get your goat (or just ignore you and keep on about HIM)... but it's up to you on staying firm of YOUR boundary you put in place and you will not engage (e.g. feed her the supply she seeks). She may eventually get tired of playing her NPD game and move on to the next victim. Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:11 PM
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Oh Florence, I am so happy for you.

Enjoy your time with the new guy, you certainly deserve it, friend.

As far as mom, ( and I know you already know this) not a damn thing you can do about what she say to others, but you certainly have the power to manage what you and her discuss in a one on one situation.

Don't let her run you off in the ditch, when she starts her crap, change the subject, or if she persists, remove yourself, she may not ever get the hint, but you certainly will feel better about not allowing her meaningless words to control your life.

Hugs to you,.
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