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RoseRed135

A line in the sand: Part 2 - looking "in the mirror"

38 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

In the thread  "A line in the sand - the 'blame game'," Oscar pointed to the value of a parent/PIL's examining their own behavior to see where they may have made some mistakes. It seems to me that this touches on another line in the sand between many parents/AC  and PILs/CILs in difficult relationships.. Often here and on some other sites, members advise a mom/MIL (or dad/FIL) who is in a strained relationship w/ their AC/CIL to do just that. In fact,

But on EP/EGP sites/forums, I often see the opposite advice given. Parents/GPs who are newly CO or feel they're on the verge of being CO, are often advised not to try to figure out what happened, as far as I've seen. This school of thought seems to be that they could "wrack their brains" trying to figure it out and do nothing more than "drive (themselves) crazy." I've also seen a lot of, "If they want you out, they want you out, and it really doesn't matter what you did. So don't think about it, just try to move on." And "MILs aren't always wrong," etc.

Hmmm... Moving on is often a good idea, IMO, and in some cases, the only viable choice. And, of course, MILs (and FILs, etc.) aren't always at fault or totally at fault, etc. No doubt, also, there are a few DILs/SILs who enter marriage w/ the intention of driving their PILs away and will use any excuse (very few, I hope). But not thinking about you (general parent/PIL) part in the problem at all? IDK...

Perhaps the "examine-your-behavior" advice is geared towards helping the parent/PIL find a place where they can begin to reverse the strained relationship? While the "don't-think-about-it" advice is aimed at trying to protect the parent/PIL from further pain? Is there value in both approaches? Or ??

Edited by RoseRed135
major typo
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I don't think there's any value in deliberate ignorance.

Even if the original relationship is fractured beyond repair, chances are, whatever issues you brought to that relationship exist in other relationships, and could damage those as well.

The more you look in the mirror, the more you may find that needs addressing.

Self awareness leads to self improvement, and that's never a bad thing, imo.

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God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

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If the IL had been empathetic and introspective enough in the first place, they'd have probably never been CO or LC in the first place.

When ACs get married and have kids (or not), it's natural for changes to happen along with the transitions. New rules, new expectations, new personalities might not align with what the parents of ACs wanted. If the AC's parents continually shut down and hang on to what it is THEY want, there will be friction.

ACs with spouses and kids don't exist to make their parents happy, and when parents of ACs complain or guilt with only their own wants and feelings in mind, it damages the relationship. The ACs have got to prioritize their marriage and their children over their parents.

That can be a bitter pill to swallow.

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

 

Hmmm... Moving on is often a good idea, IMO, and in some cases, the only viable choice. And, of course, MILs (and FILs, etc.) aren't always at fault or totally at fault, etc. No doubt, also, there are a few DILs/SILs who enter marriage w/ the intention of driving their PILs away and will use any excuse (very few, I hope). But not thinking about you (general parent/PIL) part in the problem at all? IDK...

 

 

It's important for both parties to examine their behavior to see if how they act/behave/react could be causing issues.  From my experience I put years into trying to figure out what the heck I was doing to make my DH's husbands brother and SIL treat me and my girls horribly.  I'm sure there was something I did but frankly I could never quite figure it out.  At one point I asked the only thing SIL could think of is 'when you ask if you can bring anything you're implying I won't have enough.'.  Some people you just can never please no matter how much you try and it's just better to move on.  It can save you and the other person pain and time.

 

Edited by RoseRed135
to reflect editing of quoted comment
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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Mdgrandma said:

I hope that this was a typo.  or course MILs/FILs/parents aren't always at fault ;)

 

 

Yes, it was a typo - a major one! Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I'll go back and edit it, right now. :)

ETA: Done. Of course, as a result, I edited your quote of my comment, also.

Edited by RoseRed135

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When I first came to this board and began to describe the problems I had with my ODS and ODIL the advise I got was to look at myself, I must be doing something wrong. Well being human, there were some minor things I could improve on, but nothing I had done explained the way I was treated. But I tried so hard to make ODIL happy and nothing I did made her happy, that I ended up even more miserable when I did see my ODS and his family. It wasn't until another poster pointed out the obvious, that even if I was perfect and did everything perfectly, that still wouldn't mean my ODIL would like me. For me, accepting the situation and just moving on, live and let live, really was the best answer for my situation.

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Rose, how in the world could self examination be wrong?

MIL said esamina, often. Really often. (I'm not sure of her ethnic spelling, but I generally understand her point).

Esamina your heart for God. Esamina your behavior. Esamina your attitude.

Kinda the Jan Brady thing, esamina esamina esamina.  ;)

Really, examining ones behavior is good. I think it would be great if everyone self-examined because we all make mistakes.

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I think if you are a normal, mentally/emotionally healthy person, it's quite common to look at yourself and wonder what you had said or done to contribute to situation. Sometimes there's something obvious, sometimes you can't think of what it is but it's there, and sometimes the other side is just so crazy it won't matter what you say or do.  

But most of us are here because we're not dealing with mentally/emotionally healthy ILs, or some real basic incompatibility. 

 

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My oldest GD is a very mature 13.  She spent last week with me.  She wanted to bake and I help her find all the supplies she needed.  She made a spill and I even helped clean it up and told her to continue.  She said at home if she made a mess she was banned from the kitchen...that is just how mother is.  I said yes, she has always been that way and since as a teen she already recognized it, maybe she did need to be more adult about her dealings with her mother for her own sake.

Was I wrong in asking a young teen to be more mature than her 30 something mother...probably, but it is called self preservation IMHO.  If you know a parent is going to react in such a way, maybe just not ask to do the activity if you are not up to the reaction when a spill is the usual for this 60 something granny anyway.

This is a "looking in the mirror moment.

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:)  Image result for looking in the mirror moment

Anonymous poster hash: ea945...f93

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Posted (edited)

I think these estranged GPs are being given very poor advice, at least if the goal is to heal the broken relationship. Being unwilling to "look in the mirror" will almost certainly inhibit moving forward. Its frustrating to hear that this attitude is being encouraged and thus, perpetuated.

I agree with Oscar, some folks who find themselves estranged from their AC/GC have such little self awareness and insight that wracking their brains would probably be futile anyway. If peoplr are capable of a broader perspective, they would not likely find themselves at an impasse with their AC, which IMO, is often a result of not wanting to accept the changes that go along with children growing up, marrying and having children (or not), and having autonomy and authority within their own family. 

Aside from being unable to see, there is sometimes an unwillingness to examine one's behaviour or role in the estrangement. This is about not wanting to take responsibility and not wanting to change, IMO. In this sense, it's a way to preserve one's self and beliefs about what is "right", and/or the right to continue past behaviour. 

I was astounded when my PILs stated that they'd "searched and searched" for solutions to our issues. This tells me that they are one part clueless about their behaviour, and another part unwilling to let go of the GP experience they feel entitled to. My FIL is not a stupid man, and so I'm not sure that he lacks the ability for insight like my MIL might, but what I am almost certain of is that they don't WANT to look at themselves, because they don't want to admit wrongdoing, are too proud to apologize, and don't want to forfeit the right to pursue their agenda. They would rather CO, litigate, or continue to blame us. Ironically, all of these scenarios lead down the same road of estrangement, when the driving force behind their campaign was supposedly to obtain more involvement with us. If they had simply accepted the relationship on our terms, instead of trying to force their wants/needs, they would have continued to be involved. 

I'm guessing that the people dispensing this self-defeating advice are or have been GPs in the same situation. They possibly feel, as my ILs do, that they have no other choice but to move on. There is always a choice, though some would rather hang it up rather than play by the rules of their AC, or eat crow and apologize. And so, to each their own.

Sometimes estrangement is the best thing. Although I did not enter my marriage with the intention of CO my ILs, nor did I even consider that we would ever be estranged, after all that's been said and done, I am relieved to not have them in our lives. As in any relationship, if it is not working, and there are no viable options to improve it, then people should move on. The ties of family can only be stretched so far before even they will snap.

Couldn't the GPs, the older and wiser folks involved, take the higher road, and apologize even if they don't feel they are entirely at fault? If not because they should know better, than because they risk losing not only the relationships with their AC, but also their GC? This seems like a big sacrifice. I would think that with all of their experience and supposed wisdom, GPs should be in a position to take the lead in resolving problems with their AC, rather than perpetuating them.

Edited by Parenting3
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On 6/15/2017 at 6:14 PM, RoseRed135 said:

In the thread  "A line in the sand - the 'blame game'," Oscar pointed to the value of a parent/PIL's examining their own behavior to see where they may have made some mistakes. It seems to me that this touches on another line in the sand between many parents/AC  and PILs/CILs in difficult relationships.. Often here and on some other sites, members advise a mom/MIL (or dad/FIL) who is in a strained relationship w/ their AC/CIL to do just that. In fact,

But on EP/EGP sites/forums, I often see the opposite advice given. Parents/GPs who are newly CO or feel they're on the verge of being CO, are often advised not to try to figure out what happened, as far as I've seen. This school of thought seems to be that they could "wrack their brains" trying to figure it out and do nothing more than "drive (themselves) crazy." I've also seen a lot of, "If they want you out, they want you out, and it really doesn't matter what you did. So don't think about it, just try to move on." And "MILs aren't always wrong," etc.

Hmmm... Moving on is often a good idea, IMO, and in some cases, the only viable choice. And, of course, MILs (and FILs, etc.) aren't always at fault or totally at fault, etc. No doubt, also, there are a few DILs/SILs who enter marriage w/ the intention of driving their PILs away and will use any excuse (very few, I hope). But not thinking about you (general parent/PIL) part in the problem at all? IDK...

Perhaps the "examine-your-behavior" advice is geared towards helping the parent/PIL find a place where they can begin to reverse the strained relationship? While the "don't-think-about-it" advice is aimed at trying to protect the parent/PIL from further pain? Is there value in both approaches? Or ??

I noticed that as well at EGP forums- The dont wrack your brain advice, appears to me, is being offered by those who had -- wracked their brains- And actually made an effort-  But it didnt work out, so they moved on- Not without experiencing sadness, or remorse or reflection- But simply realized that wallowing in their wishes that things were different wasnt healthy, beneficial or necessary- Many seem to be enjoying their marriages even moreso, devoting more time to each other instead of emotionally stretching themselves thin with worry and concern about relationships that they and their adult chdren failed to successfully navigate-

 

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, missmm said:

When I first came to this board and began to describe the problems I had with my ODS and ODIL the advise I got was to look at myself, I must be doing something wrong. Well being human, there were some minor things I could improve on, but nothing I had done explained the way I was treated. But I tried so hard to make ODIL happy and nothing I did made her happy, that I ended up even more miserable when I did see my ODS and his family. It wasn't until another poster pointed out the obvious, that even if I was perfect and did everything perfectly, that still wouldn't mean my ODIL would like me. For me, accepting the situation and just moving on, live and let live, really was the best answer for my situation.

Thanks for reminding us that there are some situations where MIL is not at all at fault and the issues are w/in her DIL. I think it's good you did look at yourself, though, JIC.  And, at least, as a result, you could move on truly confident that you weren't doing anything "wrong." I'm sorry you were unhappy w/ the visits for a while, but glad you have come to peace w/ the situation

So I can see where the "just move on" advice would be good for a MIL who has already self-examined and made changes to no avail, as in your case. Not so sure if it's helpful to automatically tell a MIL not to examine her own behavior, as I sometimes see on EGP sites.

 

Edited by RoseRed135

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Parenting3 said:

 

I'm guessing that the people dispensing this self-defeating advice are or have been GPs in the same situation. They possibly feel, as my ILs do, that they have no other choice but to move on. There is always a choice, though some would rather hang it up rather than play by the rules of their AC, or eat crow and apologize. And so, to each their own.

Yes, most of the time the ones giving the "don't wrack your brain advice" do appear to be CO GPs who feel they wracked theirs w/ no results. And, sometimes, IMO, as MMM points out, there really is nothing they could have found that would make things better. But other times, unfortunately, like Parenting's ILs, it seems to me they either missed seeing their mistake (honestly didn't realize repeating this/that offense could lead to a CO) or refuse to see it ("That's a ridiculous issue!"), etc. But either way, yes, I agree, it reflects their perspective on their own experience.

5 hours ago, Komorebi said:

I noticed that as well at EGP forums- The dont wrack your brain advice, appears to me, is being offered by those who had -- wracked their brains- And actually made an effort-  But it didnt work out, so they moved on- Not without experiencing sadness, or remorse or reflection- But simply realized that wallowing in their wishes that things were different wasnt healthy, beneficial or necessary- Many seem to be enjoying their marriages even moreso, devoting more time to each other instead of emotionally stretching themselves thin with worry and concern about relationships that they and their adult chdren failed to successfully navigate-

 

 

Edited by RoseRed135

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Posted (edited)

I think it always helpful to consider what oneself brings to a relationship, negative, positive or both.

My S2BX had not spoken to his parents in three years.  When FIL learned of our impending separation his response was "It takes two to tango".  It was interesting to me he had that opinion of my and S2BX's relationship but no ownership in the estrangement between him and his son.  Maybe my PILs took some of the advice on the estranged GP websites.

A quick ironic story about self-examination.  My S2BX had a history or infidelity and criminal behavior.  It caused me a lot of stress and anxiety.  While I considered divorcing him, S2BX went as far as to threaten suicide and MIL called me and flat out told me that I could not consider divorce because S2BX might kill himself; that it would affect the kids poorly because "Children of divorce are all screwed up" (MIL's words); and that I should consider her feelings "as a mom".  (I had feelings "as a mom" too and I was concerned about what my kids were being taught was normal, acceptable behavior.)  MIL & S2BX told me they thought I was the one with the problem and that I had been taking his little mistakes too seriously.  They thought I should see a doctor for medication.  I took their advice and saw my doctor.  I told him how I was feeling and what I had been dealing with.  He diagnosed me with depression and prescribed anti-depressants.  After taking the anti-depressants for a couple months, I only became more convinced that I had perfectly good reasons to be unhappy with my spouse.  

He no longer lives with me, thanks to a restraining order and is in contact with his parents again.  I am thankful I am no longer gaslighted on a daily basis and have sympathy for PILs that they are most-likely the current victims of his lies.  I doubt very highly they have sympathy for me, but I'll be okay without it ;).  I hope they'll take the advice that gives them the most peace.  They are getting up in the years and could do without the grief.

Edited by LilMommy
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2 hours ago, LilMommy said:

I think it always helpful to consider what oneself brings to a relationship, negative, positive or both.

My S2BX had not spoken to his parents in three years.  When FIL learned of our impending separation his response was "It takes two to tango".  It was interesting to me he had that opinion of my and S2BX's relationship but no ownership in the estrangement between him and his son.  Maybe my PILs took some of the advice on the estranged GP websites.

A quick ironic story about self-examination.  My S2BX had a history or infidelity and criminal behavior.  It caused me a lot of stress and anxiety.  While I considered divorcing him, S2BX went as far as to threaten suicide and MIL called me and flat out told me that I could not consider divorce because S2BX might kill himself; that it would affect the kids poorly because "Children of divorce are all screwed up" (MIL's words); and that I should consider her feelings "as a mom".  (I had feelings "as a mom" too and I was concerned about what my kids were being taught was normal, acceptable behavior.)  MIL & S2BX told me they thought I was the one with the problem and that I had been taking his little mistakes too seriously.  They thought I should see a doctor for medication.  I took their advice and saw my doctor.  I told him how I was feeling and what I had been dealing with.  He diagnosed me with depression and prescribed anti-depressants.  After taking the anti-depressants for a couple months, I only became more convinced that I had perfectly good reasons to be unhappy with my spouse.  

He no longer lives with me, thanks to a restraining order and is in contact with his parents again.  I am thankful I am no longer gaslighted on a daily basis and have sympathy for PILs that they are most-likely the current victims of his lies.  I doubt very highly they have sympathy for me, but I'll be okay without it ;).  I hope they'll take the advice that gives them the most peace.  They are getting up in the years and could do without the grief.

True that- It does take two to tango- But your husband brought a 3rd person onto the dance floor of your marriage -- without your consent-

I believe you will be, too- :)

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I want to add that for me "moving on" didn't mean CO or even LC. It meant accepting that invites may not be accepted and that we may not be invited to their family events.  It meant making the usual invites but not making any extra efforts than I would make for any other family member. It meant letting go of worrying if ODIL would like the vegetarian option I made for her while still making sure there were options as part of a meal. It meant letting go of expectations of being as involved with my grandchildren as I had hoped and instead living in the present as much as possible so I could enjoy the time I have with them. It meant letting go of many other hopes and dreams and trying to leave the door open for other things that may happen instead.  I'm not blind to her "issues" and while I have some sympathy for her, I feel no need to help her with the problems that arise from her choices. It was harder (continues to be hard) to let go of worry about the impact of those choices on DS and the children.  I try very hard not to worry about my DS and GC, DS has his own choices to own and one day the GC will have to do the same.

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I applaud you mismm...sometimes all we can do is "accept" how things are and move on.

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On Friday, June 16, 2017 at 8:40 PM, ImpishMom said:

I don't think there's any value in deliberate ignorance.

Even if the original relationship is fractured beyond repair, chances are, whatever issues you brought to that relationship exist in other relationships, and could damage those as well.

The more you look in the mirror, the more you may find that needs addressing.

Self awareness leads to self improvement, and that's never a bad thing, imo.

Keep looking in the mirror EGP, you are bringing something negative to the war, usually oversized expectations of what gma "needs and wants". 

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Posted (edited)

mirror.jpgwar - 1 - wôr - a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state-
         2 - an American funk band from Long Beach. California, known for the hit song "Why Can't We Be Friends?"-
 
A state of armed conflict "between" different nations, states or groups within a nation or state -- or in this case family- Armed conflict, meaning both sides bring something unnecessary to the table -- super-tall, 3/4 extra-fat Latte with 15 pumps of vanilla, double caramel drizzle and triple whip -- no lid- I changed my mind, I want a lid- Slightly askew, to the left- I want it to look roguish-  No right, to the right! The right!! Oh, my God, it slid .. Now you have to start over .. Again .. 
 
Edited by Komorebi

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7 hours ago, SueSTx said:

I applaud you mismm...sometimes all we can do is "accept" how things are and move on.

SueSTX, sometimes I think of you and know you have had to do pretty much the same thing and make the best of what you got.

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22 hours ago, LilMommy said:

I think it always helpful to consider what oneself brings to a relationship, negative, positive or both.

My S2BX had not spoken to his parents in three years.  When FIL learned of our impending separation his response was "It takes two to tango".  It was interesting to me he had that opinion of my and S2BX's relationship but no ownership in the estrangement between him and his son.  Maybe my PILs took some of the advice on the estranged GP websites.

A quick ironic story about self-examination.  My S2BX had a history or infidelity and criminal behavior.  It caused me a lot of stress and anxiety.  While I considered divorcing him, S2BX went as far as to threaten suicide and MIL called me and flat out told me that I could not consider divorce because S2BX might kill himself; that it would affect the kids poorly because "Children of divorce are all screwed up" (MIL's words); and that I should consider her feelings "as a mom".  (I had feelings "as a mom" too and I was concerned about what my kids were being taught was normal, acceptable behavior.)  MIL & S2BX told me they thought I was the one with the problem and that I had been taking his little mistakes too seriously.  They thought I should see a doctor for medication.  I took their advice and saw my doctor.  I told him how I was feeling and what I had been dealing with.  He diagnosed me with depression and prescribed anti-depressants.  After taking the anti-depressants for a couple months, I only became more convinced that I had perfectly good reasons to be unhappy with my spouse.  

He no longer lives with me, thanks to a restraining order and is in contact with his parents again.  I am thankful I am no longer gaslighted on a daily basis and have sympathy for PILs that they are most-likely the current victims of his lies.  I doubt very highly they have sympathy for me, but I'll be okay without it ;).  I hope they'll take the advice that gives them the most peace.  They are getting up in the years and could do without the grief.

Whuuuuuuut?????

"STBX"? Sorry it didn't work out, LilMommy. But kinda glad you're getting out of that cacastorm. All good vibes to you.

(PS....I have ZERO sympathy for your ILs. They taught him everything he knows.)

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th?id=OIP.UCc1ehtJGL_jkGTvvtkTqAExDM&w=2

Anonymous poster hash: ea945...f93

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On 6/18/2017 at 11:50 AM, Komorebi said:

True that- It does take two to tango- But your husband brought a 3rd person onto the dance floor of your marriage -- without your consent-

I believe you will be, too- :)

Thank you, Komo.

Actually, he brought at least 35 before I stopped counting.  They were, let's just say, "professionals".  

At first, I blamed myself and he happily obliged.  Eventually, I realized he was making all those arrangements while hiding in the bathroom or pretending to have work-related chores, while I hosted his parents and friends without his participation.  It occurred to me I was standing on my head for a guy who treated me, our children and even his own FOO, like crap.  When I asked him why he doesn't pay his "professionals" to host his FOO, he went into a tirade about what trash the "professionals" were.  That's when I saw how much he objectified women.  

So, even going along with taking all the blame myself, led me to open my eyes and see that it wasn't all me.  Eventually, I saw that it was a whole lot less about anything I did and more about him and how he feels about himself.

That's why I fully support self-examination whether one is the whole problem, part of a problem, enabling a problem or not contributing at all.  No matter what part someone holds in any problem, they can always choose to change their behavior, participation and/or reaction to it.

I have no doubt there are estranged GPs out there with terribly disrespectful ACs (I was married to one of them.)   

My PILs certainly had their issues, but I don't think they'd have been as big an issue in our lives if my husband was present in our marriage.

While my S2BX was more than willing to jump on the blame-the-parents bandwagon, I feel that can only go so far.  Just because he can blame them for something they taught him or neglected to teach him doesn't mean the responsibility isn't on him to do better.  

 

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