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Questioning the last 12 years

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

Last night DH and I argued about SD18 again. I realized during the discussion that he is a major part of the problem and has made things far more difficult for me than he needed to. 

I’m coming from a place of hurt and pain right now. I’m processing the loss of a relationship with my IL’s and I’m processing the fact that SD18 has never wanted a relationship with me and continues to be a real source of pain in my life.  She has diagnosed borderline personality disorder and currently refuses any type of help. She brings chaos and drama wherever she goes and has significantly impacted my mental health and my DD15. I’ve given so much to SD18 and IL’s it is just painful.  I loved SD18 like my own daughter, and I loved my IL’s as my own family.  For 9 years my MIL lived with us to help out when we had my 2 SD’s (.50% of the time).  We had other options for childcare, but I loved her and enjoyed having her around.  Also, it seemed like the best thing for my SD’s they had a very close relationship with her, so it made them comfortable.  I thought so much of her and my now deceased FIL we took them on several vacations where we paid for the majority of the trips.

A lot has changed since then.  Now my SD18 has discarded myself and my daughter.  She tells people terrible and untrue things about me and I have no way of defending myself because I can’t even guess what is being said.  MIL is on team SD18 and has turned the rest of the family against me. Ouch.  I lost my own Mom 8 years ago and MIL became really important to me…so it was even worse.  MIL and BM are now very close so I worry that MIL will turn SD13 against me too.  Lord knows BM and SD18 put lots of pressure on SD13 to hate me too…so far, she doesn’t, or if she does, I’m unaware.

DH is very passive and initially did not step in to defend me to MIL or anyone else in his family.  He just buried his head in the sand.  This allowed SD18 and MIL to say whatever they wanted unchallenged and of course everyone believed them (still believes them).  DH kept telling me to just let it go and he would rather not have a relationship with his family than to confront this. Basically, he said if his family was behaving like this he didn’t want to be around them, but I don’t think it’s the truth.  I think the truth is my DH is sadly very weak.  I think he has never been able to stick up for himself or anyone else.  Unfortunately, his weakness has put me in the position of villain in MIL and SD18’s story.  DH did a few months ago confront MIL (years later) about all that had been said but it led to no change.  DH said she alleged all sorts of things about me and refused to back down on any of it.  MIL of course made it clear she doesn’t blame DH, it is all me.  BM, MIL, and SD18 all have the same narrative.  That I am controlling DH and he only does what I tell him.  This is so far from the truth of my life with DH.  He strangely has no problem sticking up to me and often goes too far and becomes hurtful.  It is what frustrates me the most about DH.  I take all of his venom and he gives the people that deserve it none of it!

I realized that he has no problem saying the hard things to me.  He often says them in the most hurtful of ways.  I realized he hides behind my strength through all of this but in the background, he is the one making the decisions on how we handle SD’s, BM, and IL’s.  I am the kind of person that is open with my feelings and people know where they stand with me.  I don’t pretend anything I just am what I am.  He is everybody’s favorite person.  Mr. good guy with everyone.  Last night though I went to sleep realizing that Mr. good guy is actually Mr. bad guy for me.  Now I’m processing this and struggling.  I resent him, I’m angry, and I’m tired of shouldering all of the blame.  It honestly has been too much.  I’m a really strong person but why should I carry this weight.  It really isn’t mine to carry.  These are really his weights to carry; his daughter, his ex-wife, his family.  Why am I the one carrying it all.  I’m confused and sad and overwhelmed and I just want to scream.

Comments

beebeel's picture

You feel all of these negative emotions because of the swirling vortex of dysfunction that is your dh's "family." I'm going to make a safe bet that SD isn't the only NPD agent among them. And untreated NPD can drive the most mentally sound into the pits of insanity. These people can't see reason. They don't think rationally and they don't care about others. 

 What you perceive as "weakness" in his "inability" to stand up to them, is more likely a survival mechanism. Standing up to a NPD is an exercise in futility. They don't care if they hurt others and they aren't going to change due to someone else telling them they should. It's useless and he's likely learned that the hard way.

So, if your DH wants to cut them out of his life? Let him. There is no way to win with those people. They will never have a healthy relationship with anyone as long as they allow their mental disorders to go untreated. And if he insists on keeping them around for the superficial relationships he must have wirh them, I suggest separating yourself from this shitty merry-go-round.

simifan's picture

 

The only thing I would add to this is to get yourself a good therapist. You deserve better. 

 

Gimlet's picture

Spot on, beebeel.

OP, beebeel is right.  There is no "standing up" to people like this in the sane sense, where you resolve things.  It sounds like his family is dysfunctional to the core and because you were doing what they wanted in the past, they were "nice" to you.   My family is this way.  I could easily go back to having relationships with them if I agreed to swallow my own needs and drop my healthy boundaries, pretend like their actions were acceptable, and toe the line with the delusions about my family members.  But interacting with them is engaging with them.  It opens the door for the crabs to try to pull me back down into the bucket. 

I can't, and I won't, go back there so I choose no relationship with them because they are incredibly selfish and damaging people.  The difference I have with your husband is that I did not scapegoat my current or previous partners (the purpose of that is to pull your DH back into the fold and to "excuse" his transgressions by blaming them on you - my family did this with my ex, but I had good boundaries in place by the time my DH came around) and your husband IS doing this to you by taking things out on you.  I had zero problem telling my family like it is, and I am sorry that your husband was not able to make you feel like he had your back.  My DH KNOWS I will go straight up medieval if any of those people ever, ever messes with him.   

Going no contact is probably his best option and it is DEFINITELY your best option.  If he chooses to maintain a superficial relationship with them, that's his business.  You can't worry about what they think of you, because they are mentally ill and dysfunctional and you have no control over that.   You can't control if SD13 is alienated.  You can only focus on your own mental health and the mental and emotional safety you need to provide for your daughter.  

Here's a poem (The Journey by Mary Oliver) that I read when I'm feeling bogged down about this stuff.  I hope it helps you as much as it helps me (thanks Aniki!)  Bonus poems underneath it. 

https://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/maryoliver.html

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

This was pretty eye opening for me. I don't know why it never occured to me that I'm probably dealing with many people in his family with some sort of NPD.  Also, the thought that this is his survival mechanism to survive all of the craziness makes a lot of sense.  I'm realizing how little I really know about how to interact with people that have NPD and that there really is no winning.  I keep thinking there is a way to have DH's family in our life, but really...there isn't....and holy cow do I want off of this shitty merry-go-round.

Evil3's picture

My mother was BPD and my dad an extreme narcissist. When there's a personality disordered person in the family, it isn't just that person who is disordered. I don't mean that others in the family literally have a personality disorder as well. I mean that it's a borderline family and not a borderline person. That person gets enabled.

There's a saying that when you know better you do better. You've grown in some way and now the blinders are off and you're seeing your DH as being the extreme conflict-avoidant man he is. Conflict-avoidants can be so extreme that they play both ends against the middle and even sell out the healthiest person because they want to stay in denial. You're the one bringing issues to the forefront and neither your DH nor your MIL like that, so they point fingers at you. It is usually the healthiest person, or the person who isn't in denial who gets the brunt of the blame.

You have a decision to make. You will have to decide if you can live in this dysfunctionaly family for the rest of your life or have a come to Jesus meeting with your DH and get him into marital counselling. You have your DD to think about in all of this. Don't make the mistake of thinking that she has only three more years of this crap. A lot of damage can be done in three years. Do you want to provide a healthier, more peaceful home for your DD? All of this is something to think about.

futurobrillante99's picture

My XH2 would save all his nastiness for me and was everybody's favorite guy. He is a covert narcissist. Bad news.

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

Oh geez, I hope not but I'm going to keep my eyes open for it now.

CLove's picture

What are you confused about? I dont mean that in a bad way. Are your feelings conflicted, or are you in confusion about where to go next? Like a rat trapped on a ship that you just found out was sinking.

You must start with "D"H although he doesnt sound very "D". Try to communicate with him, try to get into counseling. Actually start with YOU. What are you willing to put up with and for how long.

Are you willing to continue to be DH's punching bag scapegoat?

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

I am confused aout where to go next. Its hard to throw away a 12 year relationship that was more than 50% good, especially with how close he is to my daughter and how hard it would be for her.  I'm also not ready to give up, but I feel like there is a lot to process and accept in the crazy world of my DH and his family. You are right for sure though DH needs to be "D" or I'm out.  I really am done being the punching bag, the shield, the scapegoat.  We've been in counselling for years but I think I've given him a pass on too much bad behavior because all he was going through with SD18 and his shitty family.  We had a particularly good session via phone with our therapist last night where she suggested a lot of what you all are saying.  That I'm in the role of scapegoat and punching bag and he argued against it for much of the session, but the therapist did not allow him to deny it and it was groundbreaking.  

Exjuliemccoy's picture

There are a couple of things I want to say:

First of all, I'm glad you shared your story, OP. I know, it sounds so crazy and unbelievable, but what you're experiencing happens more often than most people realize. It's happening TO you because of the toxic, highly dysfunctional family your DH hails from.

Secondly, Beebeel is spot on about your H's unwillingness to protect you or stand up to his family being part of a survival mechanism. The females in his family are the dominant ones, and he's been conditioned to accept that. He turns on you because as the pressure and discomfort increases, you are perceived as the cause, and also the easiest one to blame. If only you would just shut up and paste a smile on your face, everyone could be COMFORTABLE again and go back to their familiar dysfunctional dance.

Third - I've been through what you're experiencing, and our stories are somewhat similar. I married into dysfunction, and bent over backwards to try to fit in with the (female dominant) in laws. I was open, giving, and loving. I turned the other cheek more times than I can count, sacrificed, and ate a lot of excrement while trying to facilitate closer relations. I could not understand why my H avoided his family, and tried to "fix" that. When I finally disengaged from abusive narcissistIc OSD, all H@ll broke loose. OSD was very close to my H's sisters, and they went to war against me for upsetting the balance of power. My macho, authority figure Alpha Male quaked in his boots and allowed them to play games, attack me, scapegoat me, and try to drive a wedge in our marriage. He also tried to gaslight me and pressured me to make up with his sisters, despite knowing I was right about his daughter. I lost a lot of respect for DH, and our marriage was on shaky ground for about a year.

That was almost a decade ago, and things are much better now. I'm in a good place, and free from the crazymaking of my H's family of origin. Still married, and my H respects me much more now because he perceives me as strong instead of weak. There is a level of truth and understanding between us that wasn't there before. He knows he almost lost me, and that I have hard limits. My H is free to have a relationship with his siblings and daughters, but he chooses not to because they are all about enabling, exploitation and pretense, and because it's simply too much work.

I know you're going through a very difficult time right now. You're hurting. You feel betrayed and used, you don't know who to trust or even what's real. You're angry with your H for being weak and not protecting you, and probably even questioning your own judgement. But know this: you've come to the right place, and the women who've commented on your post are some of the wisest and most battle hardened on this site. Each of us grew up with dysfunction, married into more of it, and have done the hard work on ourselves to learn, grow, and overcome it. We are survivors, and you can survive this, too. Find a therapist for yourself, a safe harbor who will support you and help you process what is happening around you. Maintain your boundaries, don't engage with the in laws, and let your marriage drift while you focus on your self and healing. We are here for you.

Gimlet's picture

If only you would just shut up and paste a smile on your face, everyone could be COMFORTABLE again and go back to their familiar dysfunctional dance.

Yep, exactly.   Succinct and accurate.  I also agree with finding a good therapist, it helps immensely. 

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

Thanks so much for the help.  I had no idea how good a site like this could be.  I really am out of my elelment with all of this.  I don't have a lot of experience with people like my DH's family.  In retrospect I've handled this all wrong.  I did everything to fit and my DH's family and he definatley tried (tries) to get me to "just shut up and paste a smile on your face, everyone could be COMFORTABLE again and go back to their familiar dysfunctional dance" that is really exactly what has been going on.  I feel hopeful hearing that you and your H are still together.  I'm not ready to throw in the towel as there are many good things about my marriage and my DH, but I have to have change.  It helps so much to hear others stories and know I'm not alone. My DH and I see a therapist toghether who really helps but it is mostly working on him and his family issues.  I've tried two times to find my own therapist but it just ended up being more of a drain than a help.  I'm usually so busy with work and my daughter's activities finding significan time for therapy feels like too much of a chore.  I know I need to do it though. Thank you so much please keep sharing with me!!!  

Gimlet's picture

It is worth the time and effort (and more importantly YOU are worth the time and effort) to find a therapist just for you.  Your needs and emotions are just as valid as your husband's, and they are different.  The focused time that you will spend with your therapist on your perspective is critical.

Edit: The added benefit of this is that if you do decide to leave, it will help you sort out any patterns you might have when choosing  a partner.   We all have them. 

GoingWicked's picture

You cannot change these people or their opinions.  I'm sure your husband realizes this, which is why he's not arguing.  It's pointless.  I agree with you, it's frustrating and sad, when you put your heart, your time, your effort into people, and they turn around and do something like this.  

The absolute best thing you can do right now is to put up a wall around your heart.  They are not allowed in your home, you don't contact them, block them from contacting you.  Refuse to listen to gossip from your husband or other relatives, tell them you don't care to hear about it and change the subject.  Draw that line in the sand and refuse to argue about it with your husband.  Tell him this is the law. Eventually these people will have absolutely no hold over your happiness, and I think you will be surprised when you realize they've been dragging you down a lot longer than you thought.

shamds's picture

hubbys 3 kids with her have this to varying degrees. The kids like to dish out the same treatment to me and its like because bio mum does the same to the daughters that they need to control me too like i’m at the bottom of the peckung order.

my husbands attitude in the beginning was “i want a happy life and no drama as it was daily trauma and drama from exwife” and that to me translated like i was expendable and i better suck it up and tolerate shit treatment and i finally after about 3 yrs of marriage had said enough.

hubby sulked for several days and tried to get me to go on meets with his kids and when i asked him if he’d put them in their place because i was not tolerating disrespect and shitty behaviour from them towards me or my kids with hubby and would hubby hold them accountable on the spot for their actions he had no answer 

whenever hubby would sulk he wants this 1 hppy family idea i had to spell it out that it isn’t possible with the shitty behaviour of skids and it was disrespectful of hubby to expect we tolerate crap behaviour.

i disengaged completely about 15 months ago and told hubby firmly unless there is better behaviour i will not expose myself or my kids to skids. Hubby claims they are sorry but its the same bullshit... they have made no attempts to maintain contact with us yet along with hubby so its just more smoke coming out of their arses.

i’m lucky that my il’s see skids behaviour and confront me about the shitty behaviour, especially ss and even his uncles or cousins catch him out on it. One thing i hate is when my sil’s claim skids are good its just their mum like its an excuse why they are shitty people when that is what they see as normal..

Coco0806's picture

This week has been sad for me. My husband has a son with his ex they were never married and only together for a few months. When we started dating we had a lot of problems with the BM, a year later I found out I was pregnant and things got worse we couldn't even post a picture together on fb because she would get mad, she would also say shit about me and curse at me. This really got to me to the point were I cried every night. Months later I nearly lost my pregnancy because of depression.

My husband works out of the country so we are never really together, we only visit him once a week. His son lives in Mexico(just as my daughter and me) but DH sends money and visits him once in a while. What bothers me is that his parents NEVER come visit our daughter, but they treat his son like a golden child. They always pick him up from BMs home, his family is all friends with her, they always help her, for the "sake" of the child. The child is obese and a spoiled brat. BM is already married with a new baby and they even went to meet the new baby. My daughter will turn 2 this week, and they want to be at her party, and they told my husband that they're missing out of my DDs life. I'm so mad and sad, I've cried a lot this week and just the taught of having to see them makes me lose my sleep. I've been living alone with my daughter just like BM, but they've never even cared to see if they're gd is okay, but they expect to be at her birthday:):):), and also want to bring SS and play happy little family.