Domino, I didn't read your entire post, but I "get it" about this family. Because I didn't read the entire post, I'm unclear as to whether or not this "family" is cohabitating in this run-down house that you were pressured into buying, or if there are children as a result of your marriage.
I can't (and, won't) tell you what to do - you've engaged in counseling to save your marriage, but this marriage is doomed, regardless of how much counseling you've engaged in with your husband. He is allowing this abuse, and you clearly have a choice before you: stay and manage this misery until such time as your husband (and/or his family) calls it quits, or get the hell out and recover from these experiences before you get involved in an extramarital affair or choose another narcissist. That's it.
If there are children as a result of this marriage, you have my most heartfelt pity because those children will (without fail) be raised to become perfect narcissists, themselves, or perfect victims.
From my personal experiences, my own past issues (from early childhood, on) are directly related to the sociopaths that I ended up marrying during the past 30 years. The first one was abusive on every level, and the second one was a seemingly benign predator that married me for my money and maintained a deviant, violent sexua| "double-life" that was exposed over a year ago. The financial frauds that the second exspath included coercion, forgeries, and raiding of my private investments. Because I did not understand myself, first, I did not understand the set up and long-con of this second exspath which has resulted in life being utterly destroyed. Financially, spiritually, sexually, emotionally, and physically, I was left completely dismantled.
Having typed that, this whole-self devastation has resulted in my determination to learn from these experiences and to educate others about what sociopathy is, who a sociopath might be, and how to protect one's Self (Self = soul) from experiencing the same devastation that I have. This is my opportunity to learn about boundaries and construct them. This is also my opportunity to recognize that I do not (do not) have to tolerate anyone's "bad behaviors" because I crave approval and acceptance. I am learning to validate myself so that I can choose whether or not to "trust" another human being. I do not "feel" obligated to tolerate any type of behavior that I find inappropriate, distasteful, dishonest, or harmful to me or others. Although I'm recovering and I'll be okay, in due time, I would not wish my experiences upon another human being, even the predatory exspath that destroyed my life.
The family dynamics of your husband echoes that of the second predatory exspath, and these dynamics will never, ever, EVER change. Certainly, there is an "environmental" influence, but there are also questions about the role that genetics plays in sociopathic tendencies. Some of the behaviors and actions that you're describing are hard-core sociopathic tendencies, and there is no "safe" or "successful" method of managing these tendencies. Sociopathy cannot be medicated, surgically removed, counseled away, or spiritually zapped. It is a lifelong and terminal disorder that results in damages, across the boards.
Visit the following website to learn more about sociopathy and recovery: www.lovefraud.com
I wish you the very best.
EDIT ADD: Domino, I went back and read over your post and it seems that you did not produce children within this marriage. A very wise decision. But, what I also am reading is that you believe that the marriage is "strong" and that you will "make it work." I would urge you to visit the website that I posted, above, and learn more about your situation. The marriage isn't "strong," by any stretch of the imagination, and the only thing that seems to be "working" in overdrive is the blatant abuse that you're enduring and tolerating to please the husband and his family.
There are very few things in this lifetime that are a certainty. But, what is vital for you to accept is that, the more years that go by, the more damages you will suffer regardless of whom is perpetrating the damages. The family dynamics that you're describing are almost carbon-copied of the ones that I experienced with the second exspath, and these people (and, their son) are never, ever going to change.
Again, my most sincere best wishes to you.
Weary, I'm so sorry for your experiences.
Its sounds as if there are a number of toxic dynamics going on in this "family," from the MIL to the husband and on to the step-son. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to "save" this marriage. You can only "save" yourself. If, by chance, your own personal changes promote positive effects upon the relationships, then that's terrific and the marriage may become healthier, in due time. However, from what you typed, there is a reason that the first marriage ended in divorce, and probably not because of what your husband has told you. The dynamics of this family sound abusive, on every level. There is clearly an absence of boundaries, on every level. From the MIL to the stepson, it's no-holds-barred as far as inappropriate behaviors go.
I would gently suggest that you consider the option of individual counseling to learn techniques to manage this toxic environment as far as you are concerned. I would also contemplate the possibility of taking immediate actions to prevent further trampling of boundaries.
For instance, at 16, the stepson should be out working at a part-time job, preparing for college, engaging in extracurricular activities, and so forth. That he is addicted to video games is 100% the fault of his parents - video games, television, DVD's have ALL replaced healthy family interactions as a means of babysitting and managing children, today. If they're quiet and not causing problems, whatever they're doing on their computers doesn't matter in many, many families. This kid is going to be a burden if he isn't forced into some sort of "normal" pattern of behaviors. Is the stepson taking Ritalin or Adderal? Those drugs are other means of management to alleviate parents from taking a role in raising their offspring: if they're quiet, we don't care HOW that quiet is facilitated. Setting boundaries without saying, "These are your boundaries," will be difficult, at first, and absolutely cause problems, but the internet, cell phones, and all technological devices need to be EARNED. Kid wants internet? Then, he can darn well take out trash, mow the lawn, do the dishes, and begin changing his language BEFORE the internet is restored. Password protect the WiFi. Disconnect and store all video consoles away until they've been earned. TEACH this kid about rewards and consequences.
MIL is a different story. If she arrives unannounced, nobody answers the door. If she continues creating a scene, call the police and have her escorted from the property. Post a "NO TRESPASSING" sign on the porch at eye level so that there can be no questions. This woman has to earn the privilege of coming to your home.
This MIL is not going to change. The spouse is not going to change her. So, the choices are that you can remain in this environment and do nothing until you lose your mind. Or, you can remain in this environment and engage in individual counseling to learn positive steps that you can make to help yourself cope. Or, you can contemplate ending this contract of marriage. At any turn, none of the options are pleasant (as is often the case). So, whenever you have some moments of calm, quiet, and balance, it would be a good idea to contemplate these choices, write down your personal goals, and imagine (NOT PREDICT) what your life will be like 5 years from now, and then 10 years from now.
Also, please, consider the extreme levels of anxiety that you're experiencing within this whole family dynamic. Anxiety can cause dreadful physical, spiritual, and emotional issues, and this is why I suggest counseling - a trained professional can give you the tools that you need to cope and manage your situation.
Brightest blessings to you on this challenging journey.
Right. I feel that I "know" that there is something seriously wrong, but I'd like feedback and insight just to affirm my intuition, on this.
My eldest son has tried to make a turnaround, but he's still Borderline, and always will be. After his second marriage ended, he immediately hooked up with a young woman from Russia, online. He claims that they met on a political chat board, but I don't believe that any more than the moon is made of green cheese. Regardless, he went to Moscow on 3 occasions to hook up with this woman and finally brought her over to marry her.
On his dime, he transported her over here, has paid for her naturalization process, married her, etc. Now, she's in her 8th month of pregnancy, which was a "surprise" to my son, and she is behaving badly, IMHO.
It began when I met my son, last year, and he and I had a long, long talk about the past, and the present. When I met his Russian wife, I asked her many questions that were appropriate - I am the elder, here, and I asked questions about her plans, her goals, her homeland, etc., and she later complained that I had asked "awkward" questions.
Since she became pregnant, I had offered to help them both out when the baby was born, and the offer has been rejected, numerous times. "You don't need to help. We have a neighbor who will help." Then, I sent a birthday gift to this woman and she sent the gift back because they weren't skin-tight garments that she's accustomed to wearing - I thought that she'd want to be comfortable during the summer months of her preganancy, as anyone would, and this was not the case.
THEN, I sent baby clothing that I had found and received a message from her that, while she appreciated the clothes, they had enough and they wouldn't be using any baby clothes that were used, unless they "knew the baby that had worn them." They would not be accepting clothing that was "worn too much" or unwashed, unclean, etc., and that they would only be using new cloth diapers.
Whatever - I'd already accepted the fact that I will not be involved in my grandchild's life, and I'm not going to go screaming about grandparents' rights. It's a waste of time, money, energy, and emotions, and I cannot change this situation.
My concern is that this woman has scammed my son for a green card and citizenship in this country. He has paid for all phases of the naturalization processes, including trips to locations and the fees that accompany all of the paperwork. AND........this woman contacted me 2 years ago to complain of my son's abusive behaviors on both FaceBook and through her private Skype account. I believe that she's setting him up for a domestic violence / abuse complaint that will automatically guarantee her a green card, housing, welfare, and every other service to become a citizen, once the baby is born.
During these complaints over FB and Skype, she asked about previous relationships and my son's anger issues, to which I was open and honest about and suggested that she contact the Domestic Violence Hotline. She contacted my younger son in this very same manner at the same time, as well - I didn't know this until last night, and my younger son didn't know about her contacting me, either.
Any insights on this? I'm managing my concerns about this situation, but there is something very wrong with this whole situation, I can see it, I can smell it, and I can almost predict what's going to happen simply because of this woman's odd behaviors, etc. This is NOT a cultural misunderstanding as I know many, many immigrants who do not behave this way, and I have never had a gift given back to me or thoroughly criticized by anyone during my entire lifetime.
Thanks for any input!
To clarify: after the woman had contacte my younger son, and myself, she deleted both her FB page and her Skype account, and now communicates with her mother in Russia via some sort of Russian Skype Equivalent.
Suddenly, after the complaints, everything was wonderful.
During the Skype and FB communications, she asked about my eldest son's past and steroid use and clearly stated that they had been trying to concieve a baby, but had been unsuccessful. THEN, when she came up pregnant a few months ago, my eldest son said that the pregancy was completely unexpected.
Too many red flags are flapping, here, and I'm going to have to make some decisions about my own choices that will likely be unpleasant.
Thank you for the input, and I believe that I'm sticking with my intuition, here. In the past 5 years, I've done some serious personal recovery and realignments of my personal beliefs and effort to remain objective. The facts are the facts, and my youngest son is overwhelmed by the "possibility" that his sister-in-law "could be" a scammer. He acknowledges that this woman is behaving very badly, and has behaved very badly in the past.
Emotionally, I'm very sad about this situation - it's sad on every level and the baby is, indeed, my grandchild. I can only say this because my son and his wife do not spend a moment away from one another, and it's not the "healthy" kind of attachment. She doesn't work or even drive, and my son is disabled and has always been seriously isolated. It's very unhealthy, and I've read countless articles of how this will likely go down: he's a mess and she's going to accuse him of abuse and/or threats of violence. Because she's married to him, she'll be granted a green card as the baby is a born citizen, and she'll be eligible for every welfare program available, including legal aid. My son, on the other hand, will be forced to pay alimony and child support and there's nothing that I can do to prevent it. It is what it is.
Walking away from this situation is the only thing that I can do, practically speaking. And, I've been practicing separating my feelings from facts, and this situation is rotten from the gate.
I won't tell my son what I believe, or even hint at my concerns. It would only give him a cause to hold onto this sham of a marriage even tighter. Big, "ugh," here but it is what it is.
Thanks so much, BlueRose - it just is what it is, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do. Even contacting ICE won't have much impact because they're legally married, and that's how she got into the U.S. She didn't come over on a work visa, and that's enough of a red flag, right? Now that she's going to have a baby next month, that'll be the final thing that she'll need to finish her task.
I did a lot of research on this when this woman's behavior began to change, suddenly. Of course, I was verrrrry dubious about the whole thing from the beginning, but my son is a grown man, and he made this decision, himself. To interfere would only make matters worse. And, you know my history and the issues with this son from years back - it's not going to be pleasant.
So, I've accepted the situation as it is, and I realize that there is absolutely nothing that I can do to prevent the inevitable. (sigh) Oh, well.........
Good to "see" you, and I hope that all is well with you! Thanks, again!!!
Well.......I did contact this woman via an assertive (NOT angry) written message to indicate to her that returning gifts and criticizing / complaining about what was gifted is 100% unacceptable in this country. I also pointed out that grandparents are held in high esteem to do for their grandchildren as and how they can. I stated that she needed to contact me using her own email account, or Skype account, or even using her own cell phone, but that my son should not be the go-between.
I received an outrageous rant, this morning, from this woman. It was accusatory, ugly, and of the utmost disrespect imaginable. She went so far as to call me a "racist" with reference to a comment that I made that she didn't understand the customs of this country and that it might create problems for her in the future, since she didn't arrive in this country on a work or student visa - she came into this country strictly on a marriage visa, if there IS such a thing.
I do not care, one iota, about this woman, and my eldest son allowed this whole thing to blow up by misinforming this woman about his past, how many marriages he's had, what the circumstances were that ended each marriage, and that I had somehow had tried to interfere in his second marriage. I never spoke to his second wife and only met her on the occasion when I picked up my youngest son who had been living with them for a short time.
She is now in the TEXTBOOK final phase of isolating my son from his family, will be delivering this child, soon, and she will likely file charge of domestic abuse and/or violence once this child is born. Every aspect of this woman's behavior is listed by the US Embassy as patterns of green card scammers. From arriving in this country at my son's expense, to the marriage within 90 days, and the subsequent drama/trauma and unexpected pregnancy, this final effort to isolate is absolutely noted as predictable.
I am out. I am done. I cannot risk my progress for any man, woman, or child, and this whole episode has made me sick to my stomach.
This morning, I became very sad and angry about this woman's behaviors because I had kept up a false hope that both of my sons and I could enjoy a healthy relationship, finally. Well, that's just not the case. The eldest son is (as I mentioned) Borderline and Cluster B. He has extreme control and anger issues, is an admitted abuser, and he ended up marrying one just as devious as he is, if not more so.
So........a note to parents out there who are trying to mend fences with adult chidlren and feeling guilty for whatever rift that exists: if you have stood accountable for the mistakes that ALL parents make, including ones who escaped dysfunctional dynamics, and apologized to your adult child, you have done as much as you can. The rest is up to them because, as adults, they are making their own choices.
I still love my eldest son and care about his well-being, I will not be drawn into this mess, even if a grandchild is involved. I cannot allow myself to become attached to a human being that I will never have contact with.
Bruised, I'm so sorry that you've experienced this.
I would like to suggest that you take advantage of every service available through "Victims' Services." If the police were involved, he will face criminal charges that have nothing to do with you.
I would also strongly urge you to file for a restraining order and POA (Protection Of Abuse). You can do this through the civil court and an advocate from Victims' Services will help you through the entire process, from filing and everything else.
Lastly, I would encourage you get involved in counseling, ASAP - strictly with a specialist that deals with abuse, domestic violence, PTSD, and anxiety. There will be peer counseling available, and that's up to you, just as professional counseling will be.
You didn't do anything to deserve this, Bruised. Please, change your CZ ID name because being bruised is temporary - you will survive, recover, and heal from these dreadful experiences just as I did. "SoulfulSurvivor" isn't just a silly name that I chose.
Brightest blessings of healing, comfort, and courage to you.
#207067, I'm sorry to read of your confusion and angst. You mentioned that the father and your partner seem to have Asperger's, and I'm curious if either of them have been diagnosed. Not that it matters, but extreme narcissism can present as various conditions and disorders, and a true narcissist can alter themselves with intensive counseling therapy and guidance, but there must be a personal willingness to take this course. There is no medication, wish, negotiation, shaman, essential oil, supplement, cleanse, or religious epiphany that will zap someone out of their current issues and onto a path of emotional health. Accepting that fact, and the fact that we cannot "help" them in any way, shape, or form can help us to make practical choices and decisions with regard to our own safety and well-being.
You are celebrating a year in recovery? EXCELLENT for you!!! This is something that is a milestone and of great importance to you and nothing should be allowed to threaten your personal progress and growth.
I cannot tell you what you should or should not do in this situation. But, I can tell you what I have experienced, personally. Entering into a family with strong dysfunction does not ever, ever, ever get better. The dysfunction is its own entity within the family dynamic and the refusal to discuss "The 300lb Gorilla" is ongoing and probably the most glaring of all symptoms of dysfunction. It's a pretense that "everything is perfect," and any challenge of that pretense was met with a vehement denial and systematic shunning that I was unable to avoid, particularly if I spoke truthfully. One example of this was when one of the exspath's cousins became pregnant at 16. The family was talking about this at a family gathering and I mentioned that her education would continue if she gave her child up for adoption - the girl was not going to become a successful adult without some sort of education and had no business attempting to raise a child when she was clearly unprepared emotionally, physically, financially, or spiritually. The whole family turned on me in a group and began a 2-hour rant of how she would be a "fine mother" and that she would "have help." Well, the end of that story was that the girl had her infant taken from her because she was found unfit. Then, she became pregnant, again. Same outcome. Again, with the same outcome, and once again, with the same outcome. This girl-turned-adult produced 4 offspring for which she was completely unfit to raise, had those children legally removed from her custody, and the offspring became wards of the State to the tune of roughly $14,000 of taxpayers' contributions, per child. And, I was the monster for having stated the obvious?
That was just one example of nearly 14 years of extreme dysfunction that expanded across this entire family tree. I kept up a CZ blog, "Coping With Betrayal," as I exited and recovered from this relationship that might be worth a glance.
The whole point of mentioning any of this is that it was just one example of how dysfunctional dynamics in a family do not get better. People pretend, they hide "secrets," they obfuscate, and they enable dreadful and unacceptable behaviors. What you will determine to do for yourself is going to require some deep contemplation and separation of emotions and facts. What we want and what truly is are two quite different things that rarely cross paths. Accepting that fact might be painful and unpleasant, but the practical mind speaks truthfully.
I wish you the very brightest of blessings, and I hope that you post back.
I am terribly sorry that you've had such a terrible time, particularly with a very diseased parent.
First of all, you did not have a choice in whom your parent(s) would be. You had no control over this and you do not have control over how your mother behaves, treats you, makes choices and decisions, etc.......she is what she is. You did NOTHING to "deserve" this, either. It's just what everyone experiences with the Human Condition. Not to minimize your experiences and current health issues, but it is not uncommon in such an environment of dysfunction.
I would strongly suggest that you consider getting out of this environment, if there's any way possible. Go stay with a relative or even ask your psychiatrist what your options might be. The environment that you're living in is what is making you so sick - this is a fact, not an opinion. It is a fact that it is typically females living in long-term abusive relationships that develop auto-immune diseases. I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis and, at one point, was literally unable to take care of myself as a result of these conditions. But, I've been doing better since I got involved in some intensive trauma counseling with a specialist.
Then, it might be a very wise option to stop attempting to "heal" yourself, at this point. RECOVERY comes first - and, that means recovery from the abuses that you have endured throughout your life, to date. This is why a strong counseling therapist (psyCHOLOGIST, not psyCHIATRIST) is almost a life-saving imperative for anyone who has suffered a dysfunctional family environment. Seeking counseling and processing the traumas will release a lot of the anxiety, etc., that is part and parcel of dysfunction.
Another option is to start over with your personal care using BENIGN rituals like oil-pulling, and other non-invasive protocols. Some of the things that are recommended can be very, very, VERY unhealthy, and taking 3 enemas of ANY kind on a daily basis is 100% unhealthy. It is interrupting the body's natural physiological functions, even if you believe that you have candida. Candida means NO sugar of any type - refined, in natural occurance, honey, fruit, starches (potatoes, pastas), etc..........no carbs of any kind. This is a challenge and can only be done one day at a time.
My best and most sincere blessings to you - help yourself to recover, and the healing will follow, spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc........
Iodinelmnop, I believe that you are well-meaning with your "advice," here, but it may be helpful to read the entire mind-body-spirit message of the original poster.
Telling people what they should or should not do are deep waters to tread in the event that we are making improper mandates to people, online. We cannot see these people with our own eyes - we cannot hear the tone of their voices, view their body language, or palpate their lymph nodes for swelling. We only have typed words to go by without any actual data to confirm or refute self-diagnosis, particularly in someone who is only 19. At 19, there is a tremendous amount of angst and transision, especially as conveyed by the original poster. She has been living with a lifelong source of trauma which can (and, typically does) create horrific physical symptoms if the traumas are ignored and left unprocessed. Self-diagnosing can be a very dangerous endeavor.
Seeking help and guidance from a practiioner - holistic, herbalist, allopathic, whatever - is more practical. Additionally, if the original poster is seeking the services of a psychiatrist, chances are that she's been prescribed a load of psychotropic medications which can actually create tremendous physiological side effects with some very serious consequences, since psychiatry has long-since moved OUT of the business of treating clients, and INTO the business of medicating them, regardless. Some natural approaches can (and, do) actually create terrible reactions in individuals who are taking psychotropic medications like anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, etc. It's very, very dicey territory and the "professionals" are just now beginning to see long-term effects of using these medications.
So..........in my most humble opinion, it is practical and wise to share compassion and concern, but very dangerous to advise on the internet.
Iodineperson, you wrote, "Anyway I find it a little disturbing that you would try to stop Dawn's progress," and it is untrue. I'm not trying to "stop" anything. Your response is about your being "right," and not allowing for a balance in protocols and personal recovery. What makes you believe that you know what I have or have not done for my personal health? How do you assume to know what would or wouldn't be of help to me? Did you read any of the other responses that reflected a concern that "Dawn" could actually be harming herself? What a nasty and arrogant posture to take when someone makes a suggestion that doesn't fit into your personal processes. This isn't about you. It's about a young woman trying to find help, and that means a balance of all things - protocols, emotional health, physical and spiritual (NOT religious) well-being.
To the original poster, "Dawn," I wish you the very best and you'll sort this out, in dute time, making the right choices for yourself. Trust your instincts whenever you're able to - in any dysfunctional FOO (family of origin), we are often programmed to ignore what our gut instincts are telling us. Your concerns are valid and there are a number of things that you can do to find a grounded balance for yourself, personally. We are each individuals and what may work for one person may not work for another, which is why a lot of allopathic approaches take time to sort through on the medical end.
There is one thing that is consistent across all boundaries when it comes to dysfunctional FOO's, and that is that narcissistic and sociopathic parents create a dreadful emotional and physical morass for their offspring to navigate. That you are reaching out and doing what you can to change things is a huge plus for you - it means that you are willing to do the work, whatever that may be for you, personally.
If you can get out of your current living situation, you may see a change in all of the symptoms - it's possible. Best and brightest blessings to you, "Dawn."
Dogo36, I am sorry that you're having these experiences and that a child is involved. Are there issues of domestic violence or abuse involved in this relationship? Is this a relationship with a contract of marriage involved? What are the impacts upon your son with regard to your partner's behaviors? Is your son acting-out in school?
The issues with "narcissism" are myriad and many point to this behavior as being a "symptom" of deeper conditions like sociopath/psychopath. The revision of the DSM-V has actually noted that "narcissism" can be a symptom of psychopathy, even though that's not always the case. Even the professionals have a very difficult time assessing individuals who are psychopathic simply because they can pretend to be whatever they believe the other party wants.
I don't know what else can be done other than taking out a Restraining Order against your partner and having them removed from the premises by the police. This does, however, put your son in jeopardy because most Family Court Judges do not adhere to the understanding that an abusive partner will also be abusive to the children involved, and write a Court Order to allow for visitation. This might require legal assistance.
The one thing that I will caution here, and that is against using psychological and/or psychiatric terminology when discussing your partner. For whatever reasons, the professional community does not appreciate a non-professional offering their own assessment. So.......speak in terms of facts, behaviors, consequences, etc..........not in terms of beliefs, opinions, or personal views UNLESS someone directly asks, "And, how does this make you and/or your son FEEL."
Best wishes to you and blessings of comfort and protection for you and your son.
PeacePlease7, I don't know if you saw my response to your earlier post, but it might be a very good option to look into counseling therapy with a licensed specialist who works strictly with trauma.
It is a recognized behavior with long-term trauma survivors that they live in the past and the future, at all times, and this is what creates the cycle of depression and anxiety. It is. I know it from my own personal experiences in recovery and healing........
Two blog sites that deal specifically with trauma survival, domestic violence/abuse, and survival of sociopaths/psychopaths:
Check them out. And, consider contacting your local domestic violence hotline to get some assistance in finding a strong trauma specialist and other victims' resources that will help you recover, and then to heal.
PeacePlease7, I've been where you are, believe it, or not. I've been contributing to this, and other sites, and advovating for victims of domestic violence and abuse for many years, now. It has taken me this long to finally experience recovery and actually begin the healing process.
With what you are experiencing, it's no wonder that you're in a vortex of fear, depression, and anxiety. It might be an option to apply for every program of public assistance available where you live. If you are in the US, apply through the County Human Services Agency to secure the help that you need for yourself and your child.
If you're doing counseling through a charitable organization, you might not be able to engage with a trauma specialist, so ask your counselor for management tools and techniques that will help you to get a handle on the anxiety, to start.
You will sort it out as you can, for your child and for yourself so that you'll emerge from these horrific experiences as a calmer and wiser human being.
I don't agree with you, when one has to go through the pain of divorce life becomes very difficult and one can't just forgive the partner. I am going through divorce and fighting for justice with the help of divorce lawyer Fairfax, VA and will win for sure.
Hi, there.........I'm so sorry for your grief and confusion, but reaching out and taking ownership of your personal choices is HUGE, on your part, because it is an effort to "do something" instead of pretending or ignoring the core issues.
With regard to the childhood friend and the disappointment that he didn't turn out as expected, that just is what it is. If he is "alone" in his fight with cancer, it is not your "fault" or "responsibility," by any stretch of the imagination. Something about this person caused you to feel alarmed enough to get the heck away from him, and the fact that he has a dreadful disease has nothing to do with it. Just for your own edification, remove his struggle with cancer from the equation: if he were NOT "dying" from this disease, would he be a different person? Probably not. Drug addiction tends to ravage a person, on every level, but the addiction is usually a symptom of some underlying disorder. So..........this guy would have been toxic to you, cancer or not.
I'm sensing a tremendous burden of guilt, and it's very easy to suggest to someone to let go of the guilt, but quite another thing to accomplish it. We are all human, we all make mistakes in judgment, we all do things that we are not proud of, and I'm getting this sense that you're feeling guilty for his struggle with cancer - that you should, somehow, "be there" for this person, EVEN THOUGH your fight-or-flight instinct is telling you that he is a danger to you. Perhaps, if you accept that this guy is what he is and that you are not responsible for WHAT he is, you can not only let go of your guilt, but also the fantasy of what you expected.
I wrote this parable in another response, but it's appropriate here, I think. A man is at a shoreline getting ready to cross a body of water in his boat. He sees a rattlesnake moving back and forth at the water's edge and the snake says to him, "Please, I need to get to the other side. Will you take me with you in your boat?" The guy responds, "But, you're poisonous." The snake reassures him, "I promise I won't bite you if you take me across. I promise." So, the man agrees and, as he lands on the opposite shore, the rattlesnake bites him. "But, you promised you wouldn't bite me!" he cried. The snake said, "What did you expect? I'm a snake, and that's what I do."
The point is that, for whatever reason, something was lacking in your life enough for you to build a story around someone else. Certainly, feel compassion for this person who is battling cancer, but attending to your Self (Self = "soul") and recovery/healing your own Self is primary, right now. That can be done through conventional counseling therapy, or via group support, or in many other ways. But, it might be helpful to determine why you feel compelled to base your own comfort and happiness on someone else. When WE are confident, self-assured, and self-validating, we don't allow toxic people into our lives, regardless of their personal situation. We pick and choose whom we allow, and we don't make ourselves "feel badly" about making those choices, or maintaining our personal boundaries.
On a strict aside, here, I was in contact with a former love from 35 years ago. Out of the blue, we communicated, and I had always felt SAD that I had left this guy when I was in college. I am an artist, and he didn't approve of what I was and made no bones about it. And, he was also very possessive and controlling, so I walked away from him and always believed that he could have "changed" if he'd loved me enough. Well, in this single conversation with him, 35 years later, he made it very clear that he was STILL the same person that he had been, and was still just as narcissistic, if not worse. He said, "There's nothing wrong with two old friends chatting, is there?" I thought, "Old friends? We were lovers, and we had planned on marrying! We were intimate for 2 years, and he's talking about 'old friends?'" So, the young adult fantasy that I had maintained for 35 years about this man evaporated within the span of 30 minutes. I couldn't change a snake into a kitten.........
Best wishes to you and most sincere bright blessings................
Again, I'm so sorry that you're having these experiences. And, I read your original post, again, and you did mention that you'd suffered trauma.
The thing here is "living for other people" does not work. It doesn't. You are precious in this Universe - there is only one of you, and there are no others. Finding that pearl of Self is something that only you will be able to do for yourself, if you choose to. I will say that, from my own personal experiences (and, in my experiences with others) that living to help, save, or rescue other people never ends well - the expectations that the individuals that I'm helping are never met. Typically, I "attracted' and chose very disordered people with the belief that I could affect positive changes for them - and, it's simply not true. I didn't *like* this fact, one tiny bit, but it was something that I came to "accept" as I moved through my personal recovery and into personal healing.
There are many options available to you, if you choose to explore them. I wish you the very best on your personal journey.......
What typically happens when a sociopath works a room is that they misdirect. Being in a group that might be influenced by sociopathic behavior is often more difficult to manage - the drama/trauma/negativity is compelling and can be addictive.
Most of the socipaths that I've encountered kept in line with the "piecemeal" tactic. I pay close attention, these days, to how each individual acts, and reacts in a social setting. The boundaries remain up, and are adjusted accordingly.
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