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RoseRed135

A line in the sand - the "blame game"

49 posts in this topic

On 06/06/2017 at 3:12 AM, SueSTx said:I don't believe in casting "blame" either, but it does seem that if there is an issue between parents and AC it 'must' be the patents fault because they are doing something wrong.

It goes against everything for an adult child to give up the approval and love of their parent. 

I think, generally, there would be a serious issue in the attachment between parent and child for this to be possible.  

Exceptions for mental health problems that affect mental capacity etc. 

I've been doing work with ODS child therapist around attachment.

One of the points I've taken out of it all is that parents direct a lot of very damaging behaviours towards children in the name of love and closeness. 

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they generally caution the new member not to put too much blame on their AC, but rather to take as a given that their CIL (or their CIL's mom) is causing the problem.

And that's often the worst advice anyone can give a parent of an estranged AC or ACIL. That advice discourages a PIL from examining their own expectations and behavior and how it might have led to the estrangement. And it doesn't matter whose "fault" it is, if a parent of an AC is loving and respectful of her AC and ACIL's marriage, they'll back off due to the realization that AC and ACIL are now their own family unit, independent of the parent of the AC.

I'll never forget overhearing my FIL talk to my DH on my ILs' front porch.

At the time, I couldn't figure out why DH was always in his parents' back pockets: "My mom said we should.....Dad said he needs me to.....I heard some news today about SIL.....My mom wants us to....They're getting everyone together this weekend, so lets....." And then I looked at the call records for the previous four months. An outlandishly high number of calls, almost every dang day. (If my ILs were healthy for our marriage and more "hey, how you doing. Getting my nails done, going out of town. How's work? Oh, that's too bad. Well, you'll figure it out. Bye!", then the frequency might not have been a problem).

A lot of the time, ILs were gossiping about other family members, asking DH to do things for them that they were capable of doing themselves, guilting him or ordering him/us about. DH was still enmeshed. So I presented everything to DH and he had cut back on answering/making the phone calls, but one night, MIL woke us up at 10 pm to tell us about how her friend's son committed suicide. This was after a long string of her venting and emotional instability. DH kindly told her to stop calling so late at night and so frequently. The next morning, after stewing all night, I was not so nice in telling her to back off, because I heard her response when DH too softly asked her to stop calling so frequently and too late at night-- she defended what she did, pulled the faaaamily card and then huffed off the phone. And, of course, lied about what I said when she later complained to FIL.

Days (weeks?) later, we were at a family function at PILs'. I was playing in their garage with nephew. I could hear FIL mumble something, and I could hear DH say, "This isn't HER, dad, it's ME. I want Mom to stop calling all the time and late at night." I distinctly heard FIL say, "Well, as long as it's not Oscar making you do this."

And I thought.....REALLY?! Really! What's it to HIM? So WHAT if I was the one who was "making" DH reign in his parents' invasiveness and influence? If FIL respected our marriage, he wouldn't make it a "Well, son, as long as you can make US happy, who CARES what DIL thinks" situation. It was then that I knew for sure that PILs expected me to not only be an outsider in their family, but in my own marriage with DH, and an outsider in my own home who was expected to welcome bad IL behavior, no matter the cost to my own health and happiness, or DH's health and happiness, or our health and happiness together.

They just didn't give a tinker's dam about anyone or anything but themselves, and DH's allegiance to THEM.

Turning an IL against the ACIL, by insisting it's the ACIL's fault, is just about the worst thing anyone can reinforce.

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If minor children "always: agreed with their parents, where does teen rebellion come in?

I think I did a pretty good job of 'raising' my two to be independent thinkers.  I know for fact that they disagreed with me and were open in discussing why.  There were even times when I came to their side of an issue.

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Posted (edited)

On 6/14/2017 at 5:35 AM, oscarsmaman said:
"........they generally caution the new member not to put too much blame on their AC, but rather to take as a given that their CIL (or their CIL's mom) is causing the problem."
 
And that's often the worst advice anyone can give a parent of an estranged AC or ACIL. That advice discourages a PIL from examining their own expectations and behavior and how it might have led to the estrangement. And it doesn't matter whose "fault" it is, if a parent of an AC is loving and respectful of her AC and ACIL's marriage, they'll back off due to the realization that AC and ACIL are now their own family unit, independent of the parent of the AC.

....I could hear DH say, "This isn't HER, dad, it's ME. I want Mom to stop calling all the time and late at night." I distinctly heard FIL say, "Well, as long as it's not Oscar making you do this."  And I thought..... REALLY?! Really! What's it to HIM? So WHAT if I was the one who was "making" DH reign in his parents' invasiveness and influence? If FIL respected our marriage, he wouldn't make it a "Well, son, as long as you can make US happy, who CARES what DIL thinks" situation.
 

ITA ^^^

Seems silly to assume either AC or ACIL have nothing to do with decisions regarding their life. While I don't believe our kids are mindless twits who can be forced to do what their spouse desires - I do believe/hope the couple have equal input on choices they make. My husband and I are both perfectly capable of privately expressing our view on any topic. Neither of us worry about family thinking who may have actually made a compromise (2 yes-1 no, however), we won't tell. Why not assume our kids do the same as us?

Nobody is such a fool as to prefer keeping parents happy above their spouse - I just don't see that happening.

Our MDS has apparently been worried over DILs pregnancy. He asked us to quit work, but wouldn't explain why. We both said not until we have a real reason. Theirs to decide if we needed their private details. MDS is a chatterbox, he did the very wrong thing and told his Dad way too much (we'll never tell). But, he did the tiny correct thing and let us know why he needs us not working out of town, currently. DIL surely didn't "make" him do anything. And his explanation, bed-rest, did cause us to become more involved.

My wonderful PILs could have correctly deduced that I was upset by their horrible behavior surrounding pregnancy with ODD and was ready to send MIL to Italy in a box, but my husband did whatever he did to calm them, and seemingly didn't throw me under a passing bus. MIL allowed "God's perfect Angel says Janey and bebe Cherub needa rest" - true, crazy woman!

Assume perfect AC is involved, make that fit your interpretation.

Edited by JanelleK
space, clarity
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6 hours ago, 1004 said:

It goes against everything for an adult child to give up the approval and love of their parent. 

I think, generally, there would be a serious issue in the attachment between parent and child for this to be possible.  

Exceptions for mental health problems that affect mental capacity etc. 

I've been doing work with ODS child therapist around attachment.

One of the points I've taken out of it all is that parents direct a lot of very damaging behaviours towards children in the name of love and closeness. 

I agree that parents can do a lot of damaging things to do their child in the name of "love", and a parent's intent can range from coming from a good (but ill-formed) place to doing these actions with malice, and that for an AC to give up love for a parent there must be some issues behind why, however, I think it is completely normal for an AC to stop seeking approval from his/her parent.   I believe that approval comes from within as an adult and seeking it from another person including your parent is not being true to yourself.

I think the 'blame game" can start when an AC begins to make decisions for self which is part of normal adulthood rather than for the approval from parents. 

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6 hours ago, JanelleK said:

Nobody is such a fool as to prefer keeping parents happy above their spouse - I just don't see that happening.  

Unfortunately, there are spouses that seem to be more concerned with keeping their parents happy than their spouse.  Whether or not they are aware of the consequences of that kind of behavior is a mystery.  

There were many times my husband threw me under the bus and told his parents that I wouldn't accommodate them rather than the truth that he wouldn't accommodate them without me present as his buffer.  

In my S2BX and PIL's case, I can see why they'd blame me, because he presented it that way to them.

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9 hours ago, LilMommy said:

Unfortunately, there are spouses that seem to be more concerned with keeping their parents happy than their spouse.  Whether or not they are aware of the consequences of that kind of behavior is a mystery.  

There were many times my husband threw me under the bus and told his parents that I wouldn't accommodate them rather than the truth that he wouldn't accommodate them without me present as his buffer.  

In my S2BX and PIL's case, I can see why they'd blame me, because he presented it that way to them.

So sorry this happened to you, LM, but I liked your post b/c I agree - there are some Hs/Ws who are more focused on their parents' happiness than their spouse's. That often leads to some of the problems we see here, of course, and is part of what leads, sadly, to divorce, as I know you know.

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22 hours ago, 1004 said:

It goes against everything for an adult child to give up the approval and love of their parent. 

 

DM used to be fond of saying, when we had an argument,  that she "understood" that even as an adult, I "still wanted (her) approval."

No. What I wanted was for her to stop assuming her (stamp of) approval was needed on my (or DH's and my) choices and to accept these choices, whether or not she approved.

Eventually, though, I realized that I had to stop getting drawn into these arguments and just change the subject, etc. - not just for my own sanity, but so she wasn't getting the wrong message.

16 hours ago, BSW said:

I agree that parents can do a lot of damaging things to do their child in the name of "love", and a parent's intent can range from coming from a good (but ill-formed) place to doing these actions with malice, and that for an AC to give up love for a parent there must be some issues behind why, however, I think it is completely normal for an AC to stop seeking approval from his/her parent.   I believe that approval comes from within as an adult and seeking it from another person including your parent is not being true to yourself.

I think the 'blame game" can start when an AC begins to make decisions for self which is part of normal adulthood rather than for the approval from parents. 

 

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13 hours ago, LilMommy said:

Unfortunately, there are spouses that seem to be more concerned with keeping their parents happy than their spouse.  Whether or not they are aware of the consequences of that kind of behavior is a mystery.  

There were many times my husband threw me under the bus and told his parents that I wouldn't accommodate them rather than the truth that he wouldn't accommodate them without me present as his buffer.  

In my S2BX and PIL's case, I can see why they'd blame me, because he presented it that way to them.

I think the approval dynamic can work both ways.  AC continues to seek the approval from parent(s), and parent(s) continue to play the role of commander in chief(s) of AC's life .   Enter spouse who is not part of this approval dynamic between AC and parent(s), and has a different idea of how things should be, and you can see how a spouse can be thrown under the bus by an AC who continues to seek parental approval.  

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55 minutes ago, BSW said:

I think the approval dynamic can work both ways.  AC continues to seek the approval from parent(s), and parent(s) continue to play the role of commander in chief(s) of AC's life .   Enter spouse who is not part of this approval dynamic between AC and parent(s), and has a different idea of how things should be, and you can see how a spouse can be thrown under the bus by an AC who continues to seek parental approval.  

Yep, I can totally see it.

I just can't understand the logic behind it.  I mean, I get that an AC might want to escape the feelings of shame they'd feel if a parent was disappointed in them, but wouldn't there be just as much shame in scapegoating a spouse?  I guess considering that would require some emotional intelligence which, sadly, some people don't have.

 

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Posted (edited)

50 minutes ago, LilMommy said:

I just can't understand the logic behind it.  I mean, I get that an AC might want to escape the feelings of shame they'd feel if a parent was disappointed in them, but wouldn't there be just as much shame in scapegoating a spouse?  I guess considering that would require some emotional intelligence which, sadly, some people don't have.

I have a question, may sounds sarcastic, I don't mean it that way. Grown AC seek approval for what? 

We're parents of 5 AC. They dump issues on our laps, not because we want to deal, but because they get in messes and ask for assistance. They don't seem to care what we think of their choices, there is no jade-ing going on.

We say yes we can or no we won't, thankyouverymuch. ETA: we don't jade either, or not much.

We stopped dissecting our kids choices (with them) when they graduated from grad school and started living independently. And though our girls/their kiddies live here we still don't tell them what to do. We certainly talk to each other about how bizarre our AC act and how our parents must have felt the same (as we do now) when we had ODS and MDS 13 months apart. We did crazy stuff with less than zero funds to backup our silly selves, our AC are surely allowed that same freedom.

I'm not talking about iccky people like LilMommy's S2BX and his horrid parents - but normal, decent folks.

Edited by JanelleK
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I agree with Janelle..in my experience, normal decent AC who were raised by normal decent parents want their AC to lead their own lives and the parents/grandparents just want to have a supporting role in their extended family.

Even my MIL (the meanest person I ever knew) didn't have a chance in hades of hubby ever worrying about how she felt about his decisions made as an adult.  I certainly didn't worry about how she felt about me either. 

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4 hours ago, JanelleK said:

I have a question, may sounds sarcastic, I don't mean it that way. Grown AC seek approval for what? 

We're parents of 5 AC. They dump issues on our laps, not because we want to deal, but because they get in messes and ask for assistance. They don't seem to care what we think of their choices, there is no jade-ing going on.

We say yes we can or no we won't, thankyouverymuch. ETA: we don't jade either, or not much.

We stopped dissecting our kids choices (with them) when they graduated from grad school and started living independently. And though our girls/their kiddies live here we still don't tell them what to do. We certainly talk to each other about how bizarre our AC act and how our parents must have felt the same (as we do now) when we had ODS and MDS 13 months apart. We did crazy stuff with less than zero funds to backup our silly selves, our AC are surely allowed that same freedom.

I'm not talking about iccky people like LilMommy's S2BX and his horrid parents - but normal, decent folks.

Agree here, also. Except that, IMO, there's a middle realm of parents and/or AC who have difficulty letting go of the parent/little child relationship. The difference between these and the seriously enmeshed ones, I think, is that the former adjust eventually, while the latter never do or have an excruciatingly hard time doing so. DM, for example, was among the former - certainly a "decent" person - sometimes a wonderful one - but had to learn to let the parent/child relationship make its normal, natural shifts. 

Also, I think some AC make the mistake of trying to get their parents to understand their choices, even if they're not looking for approval. I was one of those when I was a very young adult (and that probably didn't make it easier for DM to change).. I didn't care if DM disapproved of this/that choice, as long as she showed she understood where I was coming from/if she would, at least, say, "I see your point," etc. It took me a while to see I couldn't necessarily expect that either and, frankly, shouldn't expect it/that. Soon enough, fortunately, and before I met DH,  I realized it was enough - more than enough, really - that I understood and was happy w/ my own decisions.

2 hours ago, SueSTx said:

I agree with Janelle..in my experience, normal decent AC who were raised by normal decent parents want their AC to lead their own lives and the parents/grandparents just want to have a supporting role in their extended family.

Even my MIL (the meanest person I ever knew) didn't have a chance in hades of hubby ever worrying about how she felt about his decisions made as an adult.  I certainly didn't worry about how she felt about me either. 

 

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On 6/14/2017 at 8:35 AM, oscarsmaman said:

 

And that's often the worst advice anyone can give a parent of an estranged AC or ACIL. That advice discourages a PIL from examining their own expectations and behavior and how it might have led to the estrangement.

This ^^^ gave me the idea for another, related thread:

 

 

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7 hours ago, JanelleK said:

Grown AC seek approval for what? 

I know the question wasn't meant for people like my PILs and S2BX (thanks for the laugh, BTW).  

I think the keyword in your question is "Grown".  I don't see mature adults seeking approval.  IME, the approval is sought by immature adults and/or those with a strained relationship with their parents.

 

 

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Thinking about this topic again... One of the reasons some moms/MILs/GMs give for blaming their DIL or SIL, etc., is that they claim to have "concrete evidence" (my words) of their AC's love and appreciation of them. What is this concrete evidence? Usually dozens of cards, etc., thanking the mom/parents for help and support, etc., over the years - often right up to the point of CO.

Thoughts?

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The evidence that someone was liked is in greeting cards? Sounds as if someone is in denial.

Anonymous poster hash: ea945...f93

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So receiving cards mean the sender has affection for the person receiving the card?  I thought it was more of a "respect" sort of thing...sending good wishes or sympathy to another person.  I send cards to people I don't necessarily like or admire simply because it is "the thing to do".

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Personally, I've never liked greeting cards. We tend not to do them. I'd rather take the time to call someone, than grab a card.

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IMO, some of the "thank you, Mom and Dad, for all the help and support you've given me/my family" might be to show the parents that they haven't forgotten the good things - maybe in the hopes that if they end up COing them, it won't be b/c they don't appreciate the positives but just can't accept the negatives anymore... Just a thought...

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Or some of it may be knee-jerk behavior -  as in, "Well, it's Mother's Day, so I'm supposed to say, "To a great mom... Thanks for all you've done, etc."

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Posted (edited)

On 7/18/2017 at 5:54 PM, RoseRed135 said:

"Well, it's Mother's Day, so I'm supposed to say, "To a great mom... Thanks for all you've done, etc."

It's really hard to find snarky MD cards; so what one gets is usually dripping with sentimental touchy-feely words. Using a MD or FD card to show that all is just peachy between AC/parents is like believing that the salutation of "Dear" in a letter from the IRS is an example of their affection and high regard for you. 

Edited by Aravis
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For the last MD's card I made for MIL, I took off the HAPPY and it just said Mother's Day. It was easy because it was a rubber stamp I had so I just didn't ink up the word happy.I quit after that and DH didn't pick it up so all she got after that last card was a simple text for a couple of years and now she gets nothing. No acknowledgement, nothing from DH. I should say DH never really signed any cards anyway, once in a while, every few years he'd sign one but not very often. I was the official signer of all cards to everyone.

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On 6/6/2017 at 6:08 AM, ImpishMom said:

Because it's easier to believe a 3rd party, the 'stranger' is the one to blame, than the person you love, or even yourself. Same reason that ppl blame the other man/woman rather than their spouse for cheating, or are angrier w/them than their own spouse.

"He/she wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for their spouse!" in some ways is true, but not in the way the person means it. Marriage = changes. It is SUPPOSED to result in a shift in loyalty. Plus, there are times when a new person on the scene causes realization that things that were 'normal' or 'just the way he/she/it is' really isn't normal or ok or acceptable.

"He/She ALWAYS_____!" Yep, but now they have a spouse who's needs/wants/traditions/family also comes into play and is of equal consideration.

"In this family, we ____" Yep, but now your AC is married, and their spouse doesn't have to do what you always have done.

People change. They're supposed to. But, before they're married, it's often easier to go along with what's always been, rather than not. Once they're married, it can happen that they now have someone on their side, supporting changes, different ideas, that are unwelcome and bucking traditions.

Totally agree with the bolded. Adults are responsible for their own actions, their spouse can't "make" them estrange or ignore their parents.

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