How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

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How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby Mara » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:08 pm

i’ve been No-contact with the ILs for over two years now and separated from EH (estranged husband) for the same. I am very low contact with EH. But I can hear his parent’ opinion so strong in everything he says. They’ve always made me the scapegoat for everything. For example, the reality is that my children And I left EH due to his dangerous and abusive behavior. Before I finally left, many people, including some of you here and my professional therapist, were trying to help me see we were no longer safe. BUT the IL’s perspective is that EH was sick (mentally ill) and I ABANDONED him and LEFT HIM FOR DEAD. EH is always telling me that the ILs think I am a bad wife, that I’m not able to “take care of him,” that I don’t love him or never loved him, that I used him as a sperm donor....

None of this is true. I don’t know all the terminology for what they are doing, but I can see that they are trying to blame me for everything and put me on the defensive when it is EH that needs to take responsibility for his actions that have harmed our family and broken our marriage. I’m glad I am low contact/ no contact with them all, because they are still having an affect on me. Thankfully not as much as when I was surrounded constantly by these evil people and their abuse.

I’ve told EH the same thing over and over and OVER again: that I left due to his dangerous and abusive behavior, that I feared he would not just physically hurt me (which he has done in the past), but cause me to miscarry our youngest child. I’ve told him that I would like to pursue reconciliation, but that absolutely can not happen if he doesn’t first take responsibility for his abusive behaviors and beliefs by doing intensive counseling or a program for abusers. After he worked on himself then we would have to SUCCESSFULLY go through couples counseling to work through the issues we had.

I am tired of repeating myself when EH just remains in denial of the truth and has his family to prop him up and tell him all these lies he would rather believe.

The other day, EH texted me once again the junk about “you abandoned me and you hate me even though I actually love you.” I haven’t replied and I just don’t know how to respond to him going forward. I usually say, “I’ve already explained to you repeatedly what needs to happen before we can reconcile.” Lately, I’ve been arguing with him a lot to refute his lies and establish what the truth is. But this is stressful and exhausting for me and he doesn’t seem to take any of it to heart.
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Re: How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby Melody » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:19 pm

"I don't hate you, but if you really loved me, you'd work on making things right."

Hugs Mara! When I was a single mom I used to go to Baskin Robbins with the kids and pig out on "Love Potion 31" - Vanilla Ice cream with Raspberry jam threads and chocolate covered raspberry hearts. I know that sounds stupid but I kind of miss it now.
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Re: How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby rubycrownedkinglet » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:34 am

You may want to make a one-paragraph summary, only repeating what you have already said/written. Copy-paste it and repeat it again and again. It gives the impression that you are just repeating the truth that isn't changing, and neither are you.

What I did was I had two sentences that I told my ESIL. The sentences said the same thing exactly, just worded differently. I alternated them again and again, and she gave up trying to convince me to do something to which we'd already said no.
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Re: How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby WhyOhWhy » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:47 pm

As you know, just because someone has an "illness" doesn't mean we need to stick around and be abused by them. They are all using his illness as a crutch to enable his behavior, and of course they blame YOU for the result of his behaviors rather than on HIM.

Yes, he's sick, and he clearly needs help, but you made the right decision to allow his therapist and FOO to deal with that. THEY make the choice to deal with him. YOU don't have to.

Please consider limiting your contact with him to only the very barest and minimalist of occasions. I don't know legally what you are obligated to deal with in terms of contact, but that contact should NOT include him constantly continuing his emotional abuse of you (via guilt, shame and blame). Only speak to him about what is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

He doesn't "get it"?? Sick people rarely do, and unfortunately you will just have to accept that his warped thinking is a result of his mental illness. He WON'T just suddenly understand, and he WON'T take responsibility for his own actions because he literally physically and mentally cannot see them. Truly psychotic people don't realize they are crazy, as the saying goes.

I am so sorry that it is painful for you to hear that he is still sick and that he still enjoys trying to upset you. Stand strong and tall and realize that it is ALL about trying to upset you! You don't have to allow him that "victory", though. It's natural to feel upset, but keep moving past it and live your life as best as you can. He will have to fight his own demons without sharing them with you. Shut down any conversation that strays away from whatever info he is entitled to about his children IMMEDIATELY. Only give him the letter-of-the-law amount of contact, and shut down anything else.

**hugs**
I will not let them drag me down to their level again
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Re: How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby PutMILinherplace » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:50 pm

"Its your lie, tell it anyway it makes you feel better about yourself. (Ok, maybe leave that sentence out) We both know its not true. No matter how many times you lie to yourself or anyone else it doesnt change the truth. I really am done playing this game with you. I hope you get the mental help you so desperately need. "

Then do not respond to any texts he sends about it ever again. Ignore the subject completely . Do NOT argue. Honestly nothing you say or do will change it. You can not change another person's behavior only your reaction to it. Stop reacting. And you have to stop caring what they think. Again, nothing, please read that word again, NOTHING you do or say will change that so why are you wasting your emotional energy on it.....no why are taking emotional energy from your child and wasting it on this? Stop. It wont change. You dont fret when a tree falls in your yard. You cant do anything about it or change it so why worry about it?

If you run into a flying monkey somewhere and they start in on you, do a deep and sad sigh, and go, "Oh, is that the lie he is telling now? I wish he would get help for his mental illness and stop abusing people. Its really the only chance he has. If you really care so much about him please get him some mental help. I couldnt because I was too busy protecting myself from his abuse. Maybe YOU can help him. I pray you can. Goodbye." then walk off even if they are still talking to you."

I sort of did that with my MIL. When someone called or started in on me that it was sooo wrong not to let the wuving grandmother (gag) see her widdle grandchildren I turned it around and said,
"You are wrong, I have not kept her from seeing the grandchildren. She has chosen not to see her grandchildren. I usually got a shocked silence at this point She has chosen not to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and she has chosen not to go to a licensed physiatrist, therefore she has chosen NOT to see her grandchildren. " This was usually enough to shut them down PLUS my MIL stopped talking to people because she didnt like the fact that people suspected she was drinking or crazy.
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Re: How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby GirlMomX2 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:42 pm

Mara, you are the only mother your children have so you be the one they deserve even if you have to fight the world (including their own father) to do it! And you are helping him too! Abusers have a lot in common with addicts. When you stayed with him and tolerated his abuse, you let him know that you were ok with it. But when you left you took away your enable-ment of his actions. People will not change unless they HAVE to. So if you cant help somebody UP (enabling), help them DOWN (cut them off). They will get to the bottom and only then start to claw their own way up. As far as how to respond to them, what says you have to? They want a reaction from you to twist your words. Stop giving these people what they want.
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Re: How to respond to toxic relatives who just don’t get it?

Postby Mara » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:39 am

Thank you all for the responses! I don't visit the site much since it is difficult to use on my phone, but it really means a lot to know there are people who care and have my back when I feel like it's me against all these toxic people.

Melody wrote:"I don't hate you, but if you really loved me, you'd work on making things right."


Melody – that is a great reply! Also sounds like a fun memory going to Baskin Robbins. My toddler is too much of a handful to allow me to enjoy something like that though =) I occasionally leave him with my parents and go out with my older kids, it’s so much more relaxing and enjoyable that way!

rubycrownedkinglet wrote:You may want to make a one-paragraph summary, only repeating what you have already said/written. Copy-paste it and repeat it again and again. It gives the impression that you are just repeating the truth that isn't changing, and neither are you.


Rubycrownedkinglet – That’s kind of what I’ve been doing! I’d go further back into my text thread and copy/paste/send! Or take a screen shot of an earlier, identical conversation and send it to him. I heard someone once call it the “brain dead method.” You don’t have to use any energy to keep repeating the same thing over and over, but the other person is using all their energy to try to get you to engage.

WhyOhWhy wrote:As you know, just because someone has an "illness" doesn't mean we need to stick around and be abused by them. They are all using his illness as a crutch to enable his behavior, and of course they blame YOU for the result of his behaviors rather than on HIM.


WhyOhWhy – YES! So true. PILs enable EH so much. Also, EH and the PILs are masters of deflecting blame. I believe that the PILs are causing EH to miss his visiting with the kids, but HE was accusing ME of preventing him from seeing the kids. It was completely absurd because I have always encouraged and facilitated his visits with the kids, but usually when he doesn’t show up, his parents have something to do with it.
The whole thing of not blaming someone with mental illness for their symptoms vs holding an abuser accountable is difficult for me. I used to think his abuse was a result of his mental illness. Now I believe the underlying abusive behaviors and thought patterns were always there, but when he is in an episode (especially mania), he doesn’t have the self-control or ability to see the consequences of his actions, so it all comes out without any restraint.
It’s just hard. We can’t reconcile unless he deals with his abusive behavior and complies with the treatment plan for his illness. But if he is unable or unwilling to do either of those things, there is no way forward…


PutMILinherplace wrote:I sort of did that with my MIL. When someone called or started in on me that it was sooo wrong not to let the wuving grandmother (gag) see her widdle grandchildren I turned it around and said,
"You are wrong, I have not kept her from seeing the grandchildren. She has chosen not to see her grandchildren. I usually got a shocked silence at this point She has chosen not to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, and she has chosen not to go to a licensed physiatrist, therefore she has chosen NOT to see her grandchildren. " This was usually enough to shut them down PLUS my MIL stopped talking to people because she didnt like the fact that people suspected she was drinking or crazy.



PutMILinherplace – I’ve been doing a pretty good job at not reacting and just ignoring a lot. The hard part is my anxiety of he said/she said situations when it is their lie vs my truth. I’ve been burned by that in the past. I especially fear it related to going to court for custody of the kids.

That’s great how you were able to turn it around on your MIL! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


GirlMomX2 wrote:Mara, you are the only mother your children have so you be the one they deserve even if you have to fight the world (including their own father) to do it! And you are helping him too! Abusers have a lot in common with addicts. When you stayed with him and tolerated his abuse, you let him know that you were ok with it. But when you left you took away your enable-ment of his actions.


GirlMomX2 – Thank you, this is so true and so important to remember. Being a single mom to young kids is so tough and I don't need these toxic people stealing more of my time and energy.
I don’t think the PILs will ever allow EH to “hit rock bottom.” They will continue to enable him and rescue him from the consequences of his actions, but they are just digging their own graves with the stress and exhaustion of it all.
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