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Thank you onestepatatime. I have been gently nudging him a bit to try and sort things out so I will back off. Will also try to make this totally about him and not my feelings towards his mother. Great advice, thanks.
If you feel his mother is a narcissist, then reddit raised by narcissists forum can be eye opening. I found Dr Phil's Life Code helpful in learning to not be abused by bad people. Counseling to help both of you, but especially him, learn to cope with the chaos and have boundaries is helpful. And for you to realize that this is his problem and you can't fix it. Just support him and not try to be the change agent. Support him by saying what his mother does is not right, etc. Don't be part of the problem, you will never get an apology. It is not about YOU, it is about the lack or mental illness or personality disorder inside of the other person. Don't be so defensive you cause more problems. Defend him and show him how the bad behavior is bad behavior. He likely will have to cut contact but this is his decision, not yours. You also have to realize you have no power in this situation and you gotta back off. Yes, his mom owes him money but he has to decide or learn to have boundaries with her. You can also help him grieve for the "ideal" or "good" mother he wishes he had and secretly hopes she will one day become. He has to decide this will never happen in order to cut ties. Good luck. It isn't easy. It is how it is and marrying this man or making babies with him will mean always having MIL in your life. Not every parent is good or loving or capable of being a good parent.
I'm not the one suffering from family issues, in this case it is my boyfriend (BF). He has had quite the childhood, his father left before he was born and has not made any effort to establish contact, BF got in touch once and met him and said it was terribly awkward and has not heard from him since. He had an uncle (actually his fathers brother) who was essentially like a father but he tragically passed away when BF was still young. BF's mum had another child to another man (who also left) but sadly the child got sick and passed away at 2 years of age. BF's mother had a history of drug abuse but when very far off the rails after the death of the child. The uncle (who was still alive at the time) managed to get her to get her act together but she has been a chronic marijuana smoker ever since (for roughly 20 years now). She hasn't been able to hold a job for very long and her social skills are lacking. The rest of BF's extended family are worse than her, a mixture of meth addicts and criminals and people who have lost their children to child services. BF's maternal grandparents are really the only ones he can somewhat communicate with, ma is a chronic gambler with depression and anxiety (assuming because of her children) and pa has always been the kind to keep his mouth shut to keep the peace, BF's best relationship is with his pa, but sadly pa is old and very sick. BF's relationship with his mother has always been stained, she blames him somewhat for her financial situation and she makes him feel guilty for not spending more time with her and moving away. He has sought counselling for this since he was in high school. After some time with a counselor, the counselor best advice was "get as far away from her as you can".
I have been on the scene now for 2 years, we are both in our late twenties. My first interaction with BF's mother was when BF went to visit her, we live quite far away, 2 days drive. This was the first time in a year or so he had gone to see her (she never visits him because she cant get her weed on a plane). She didn't like how much he had changed and he was having problems accepting her lifestyle so they had a big fight. After this fight he left the house and went to a motel. This is when i started getting phone calls and messages from a woman i had never met saying absolutely awful things, like how i was the devils daughter who had brainwashed her son (i'm an atheist and BF is christian but i have never tried to sway his faith), how i have turned him into a money hungry yuppie, how she was going to "get rid" of me, but mostly just abuse about my appearance "fat c**t" "lard arse b***h", things along those lines delivered in a mixture of texts and voicemails. Meanwhile i get a tearful call from BF about whats gone down.
He begins his journey home the next day and restricts contact with her for a month or so to let her "cool off". After the cooling off period things somewhat go back to how they were before, BF makes the usual twice weekly calls to him mother to listen to her complain about how she has lost another job (never her fault, always because of someone else of some external factor) and has no money (should also mention that she owes BF a very decent amount of money, somewhere in the 30k vicinity), she never asks about his life or job or friends. After another year goes by we decide it's time for her to actually visit us, to meet his long term girlfriend and to glimpse her sons life. She needs to borrow more money so this time BF loans it but with the stipulation she comes to visit, BF pays for flights and she stays with us free of charge. She agrees and comes to visit. The first couple of days go ok, we take her sight seeing but every night BF and I have a debrief on times when we had to hold our tongues so as not to start a fight. But day three rolls around and she has a breakdown over some gifts I have given BF and things I have done for him (not to brag but i'm quite a thoughtful girlfriend), she goes off at me for stealing her thunder and being so perfect, things like that. The next day she 'apologizes' by saying "sorry, but you shouldn't be doing those things" i calmly and respectfully say that as his girlfriend i'm well within my rights to do things like that for him, the conversation descends from there with her saying about how her son is now a soul less money hungry yuppie, again i try to reason with her explaining that he has goals, he wants to buy a house and he needs money for that and he is doing very well in his career and she should be proud of him. It ends with her storming off in a huff and me going to work. a few hours later BF turns up at work on the verge of tears saying that they had another huge fight and she asked to be dropped in the city and she would make her own way to the airport (her flight home was that night). For the rest of the day we both received countless texts and phone calls with absolutely vile abuse. At one stage she said to BF that she wished it was him that died and not his bother. The abuse continued for days until i eventually blocked her number and BF went away for work to a remote area with no phone reception. He was away for three months.
We are trying to come up with strategies to deal with the situation but nothing we (or any counselors) come up with will work. The only options seem to be continuing a very limited relationship that brings no joy to BF at all as it basically involves him constantly holding his tongue so as not to start a fight, i don't want contact with her until i get a REAL apology from the things she has said and also starts to make amends for things and sees a counselor herself, but BF says this won't happen ever, he's never had acknowledgement let alone an apology for the things she has said to him and he has begged her to get professional help since he was in high school. The other option is to just cut her out of his life completely. This option saddens BF greatly because he feels that he has "no one" after that, he is incredibly sad that he has no family to be a part of and he is also worried that his mum might kill herself if he cuts her off.
I say to him that family doesn't mean anything, that you have to earn the right to be family, i use the examples of my family that my dad basically doesn't have contact with his mother, father, brothers and sisters because he simply gets nothing from having a relationship with them. My dad basically became part of my mums family, he loved my maternal grandparents like they were his own parents. I've told BF that he'll never be alone, he has me and my family and also other friends, but it's just hard.
It's a big strain on our relationship and also a huge drain on his mental health. Whenever we try to strategize we just end up coming to the same conclusions, which basically make us feel like the situation will never be resolved.
I'm sorry for the VERY long post, but i'm after any resources people might know of to help children in this situation? there seems to be a plethora of information and help for parents who have estranged children, but finding resources for the children is difficult.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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