"Divorcing" my son-in-law

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Evolving
@evolving
last year
46 posts

The back story: my daughter eloped 13 years ago at age 19, with her husband whom she'd mostly had an online relationship with for 6 months. He was in the Navy at the time, and they'd met twice before when he came home for long weekends. Both of them were very naive and had no education outside of high school.

She got pregnant right away, having their first baby at age 20. They had their 2nd child in 2010. Their relationship has always been turbulent, and my daughter has had to "leave" him a few times, due to his temper, verbal abuse and moodiness. As far as I know, there has not been any physical abuse, other than him "grabbing or shoving" her.

In spite of my extreme dislike and distrust of him, I have been generous with my time and money, helping to support them in times of stress and financial hardship. My daughter almost died in 2013, having a ruptured appendix with gangrene, and complications after the surgery. Because of her being in the hospital, I lived in their home for about 3 weeks to take care of the kids while my son-in-law worked.

I have never felt loved or appreciated by my son-in-law. But, what can I expect from someone who is so immature and detached? When I've visited, I have done everything I can to stay out of his way, and not interfere with the household. I focus on my time with the grandkids, and having fun with them.

Three years ago, he was diagnosed with PTSD - although he has never seen any battles or have had to handle guns, etc. He was on a battleship and worked in the radio shack. He has been in counselling ever since (with 2 different counselors), and also marital therapy with my daughter. He's obtained a therapy dog, and has been put on multiple antidepressants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications. I have seen no improvement in any of his actions or behavior in spite of all of these treatments.

He continues to treat my daughter and the kids poorly, calling them names, putting them down, and is very controlling in the household. Everyone walks on eggshells around him. He isolates her from her friends and family.

In the spring, she told me that she's had enough, and wants to leave him. I was trying to support her, encouraging her to build a plan to leave. She has now totally back-stepped again. I am at my limits with his behavior, and no longer want to be around him at all. His disrespect to my daughter is now rubbing off on the kids, and it kills me to witness it. They are turning into whiny, smart-mouthed kids, just like him. They are all demanding of my daughters time and attention, and she gets no rest. I find myself becoming angry and needing to constantly bite my tongue. My stomach is in knots, and my anxiety rises. I worry for their health, their safety and their future.

I have decided that it is not healthy for me to be in this environment, and that I am setting new boundaries for myself. If I am to visit with my daughter and the grandkids, I will only do so when my son-in-law is not around. I made this decision about a month ago, and have not heard from my daughter since then. Last week, she posted a quote on facebook, priding herself for being such a "strong woman", as she stands by her man.

I see this road as continuing to be long and circular. I am just wondering if anyone out there in the empath community has ever gone through something like this? How did you stay strong in your commitment to yourself, to keep your sanity and inner peace?


updated by @evolving: 02/05/17 11:09:07PM
Rene''
@rene
last year
1,194 posts
Sounds like your daughter is an Empath also. I have a daughter in law who's a narcissist and a , lost for better words, a stupid lier. She lies about anything and everything just to have a conversation. I have only been to jail once in my life and it's because I tried to choke her eyes out. Her and my son was separated and he had the oldest little girl who was a year old at the time, long story short, she was there to take the baby from my son by force, her and her father. I was holding the baby and she hit me several times on the side of my head with a pry bar to the point it wasn't hurting anymore , I was shielding the baby incase she missed me , my son come around and grabbed the baby and I grabbed her up by the neck and just about killed her. When we fell to the ground I seen blood dripping on her face and my sister started screaming"your bleeding" but I wouldn't let go. My son got on the ground begging for my to let go cause he didn't want me to killer her in front of the baby. I said "take her in the house then"! The blows to the head started making everything fuzzy and I started getting weak and I loosed up and she crawed out from under me and caught her breath. No, that wasn't very lady like or Empath like but I was about to send her back to source! For a mother to beat someone like a mother to her with her on child in my arms is crazy. We went to jail , my charges was for fray and hers was assault with a deadly weapon. I now have custody of that child. They got divorced but as faith would have it they got back together and have another baby. And lives next door to me. Yep, only a Empath would tolerate her after everything that happened. That was three years ago. I am still having trouble from being beat in the head and having it split open. , my eyes cross and sticks. But I can live with it. She does not cross me though. She still lies all the time but try's to stay in my good graces. She's lucky to be alive. So yes, I know what you are going though.Until your daughter decides enough is enough, there really isn't anything you can do especially if he is a narcissist. She is under his control. So sorry to hear that. It's a tuff situation. She has givin in instead of giving up. So sad.But everybody, it's not everyday I try to kill someone, please try to understand my circumstances. She could of killed her own child.Ok...I must go ground now. Lol.
Rene''
@rene
last year
1,194 posts
Thank you dreamer. I sure appreciate it. I feel your love. I am a dreamer also. Thank you
Evolving
@evolving
last year
46 posts

Dreamer,

Well, even though you "didn't know why you were sharing this with me" - I know...because I can relate.

It turns out that when he was in therapy, that one of the things that was uncovered, was that he was a neglected child. His mother has no capacity for bonding or nurturing. She was diagnosed with codependency and depression years ago. She has admitted to "playing the system", because she didn't want to work anymore, and she knew that she needed to be formally diagnosed with a mental disability. So, she did a faked suicide attempt by taking an overdose of one of her antidepressants, spent some time in the hospital, continued her outpatient therapy treatments. She had to apply 3 times for disability, because she kept getting turned down. Her persistence paid off. So, for years now she's been collecting disability, as she takes long vacations and goes out for lunch with her friends. She is one sick woman.

When my son-in-law wrote her a long letter, wanting to meet with her to discuss his childhood, she simply replied by saying that she had no idea what he was talking about; that while she wasn't a perfect mother, that she did the best that she could; that he needed to just "get over his hangups". So, even though she has spent years in therapy (she still attends support groups every week), she is *unable* (unwilling) to see the benefit of meeting with her son, and trying to make an emotional connection or understand him.

I certainly know that all of this affects his personality, and I do feel for him. He has only ever shared a few highlights about his childhood with me. The rest I was told by my daughter, who swore me to secrecy..."he'd kill me if he ever found out that I told you!". My instincts tell me that he is trying to do the same thing, and use the system. My daughter told me that he has talked about getting a disability diagnosis, and stopping work. Even though, in spite of all of his symptoms, that he has proudly bragged that "he has never missed a day of work in his life!"It is such an oxymoron!!

I've had my share of therapy over the years, too; I know that things don't get better overnight; that healing is a process; and I've learned that hiding anything away, instead of exposing it, only allows it to fester all the more. As I said, he's been in therapy for years now, and has had ample opportunity to vent, share and start to recover from his childhood injuries. When he started his therapy, I told him that I"d be happy to go with him, if there were any issues that he wanted to address with me, and that this would be a safe place to do it and have the benefit of a therapist with us. I've reminded him about this several times, and he's never attempted to schedule anything for us.

I am so sorry that you've endured such a tortuous relationship with your parents, Dreamer. I can feel the pain in your words, and I wish that I had some magic formula for you to make it all better. It is during times like these that I have to reflect on the quote of, "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger." You have been through a lot. You have survived. You are a very aware individual, and can see the big picture. Be gentle with yourself as you continue to recover. I know that it is a process, and you taking care of yourself is the most important thing.

Thank you for being brave, and sharing your story with me. I appreciate that you took the time to type so much.

Hugs and blessings,

Evolving

Evolving
@evolving
last year
46 posts

Rene -

Well, I tried to choke my narcissistic ex-husband once. Our marriage had been over for 4 years, and he refused to cooperate with the process. He refused to leave the house. He refused to take any action to complete the divorce process. We were living in the same house, and going our own ways during this time. He actually had a place to go, as his mothers home had an apartment attached to it, and it was unoccupied for years.

I did not leave, because I was the one who was working full time, paying all the bills, caring for our daughter and doing all of the house and yard work. He just slept and ate there. I wanted to keep the home for our daughters sake, to continue in the same school system, and keep her friends. I wanted as little disruption to her world as possible.

It came to a head one morning, when he started to threaten that he was "going to take me down, and that I was going to lose everything." I said,"Why? This is your daughters home! She doesn't deserve this, and neither do I! I have been tolerant and patient and given you plenty of time to make plans!" He started to curse at me and call me names...in front of our daughter, which he'd never done before. I told him to stop it, and when he saw me becoming upset, he taunted me all the more, daring me to do something about it. "Do you think you can take me?"

Well, 20 years of lies, emotional, mental and financial abuse all came to a head at once, and I attacked him. I tried to choke him, too. Sadly, this was in front of our daughter. I am such a nonviolent person, that I had no idea that I could act with such rage. We struggled for a few minutes, until my daughter said that she was going to call 911. It hit me that I could go to jail, and have her taken away from me, and that I might not ever see her again! Somehow, in the madness of that moment, I took the phone away from her and said, "No, I'm going to call 911!" M ex knew what that meant, that I was going to report him for abuse.

He immediately left the house, cursing at me. BUT! This incident was what made him finally leave the house, and start to complete the divorce process. After waiting for years, it was finally done within a few months. I was so relieved. He finally moved into that apartment at his mothers house.

However, I was haunted by those moments for years, and plagued with guilt. I wonder how much I scarred my daughter, to have witnessed that event. I'd wondered if I'd turned into a monster? I had a hypnosis session years later, and it was during that time that it came out that the situation that I reacted to was years in the making; that I had reached my breaking point; and that this situation was unique in my life, and that I will never find myself in a situation like that again. It was once, and done!

I was finally able to forgive myself and let it go.

Rene, I can understand your level of desperation when you acted to protect your granddaughter! I understand your lashing out at a crazy person. I am sorry that you had to pay such a high price for it, with ongoing physical difficulties and having to go to jail.It is unbelievable to me that after all that drama, that your son would return to such a relationship, have another baby...and, end up living next door! What is it about narcissists that they are so damn manipulative to such sensitive people?

I thank you for sharing, as I feel that you have prepared me for what my lie ahead. How do you manage to have any relationship with them? Is it all superficial? Do you spend time together as a family, or do you visit with your son and new grandchild without her? What about holidays? What about financial support? Or, do you live separate lives and just walk by each other and say hello? How do you keep your sanity with it all?

Thank you so much for sharing!

Peace and blessings,

Evolving

Rene''
@rene
last year
1,194 posts
I have a forgiving heart, not that I have forgotten the event and I will never forget it. I set high boundaries with her. She no long manipulates me or my words. She doesn't have the mothering and house keeping skills she should have and them living close gives me access to the baby, making sure she is being taken care of.For my son...i don't know what to say about him. He knows she lies and starts trouble with everyone she knows I don't understand the attraction there. She's worse than I have explained in my other post. She was once engaged to my you get son and they called it off then 6 months later she was with my older son which cause a family disruption. Then, on the occasion of the fight, she had left him to be with the one she was engaged to in the beginning which is unheard of but that didn't last long. The hardest thing wasn't her beating me in the head but it was seeing my sons at odds with each other. It's a very dis functional situation to say the least but they have finally started speaking again. It is hard but if I cannot not carry hatred in my heart or I become hatred so I take one day at a time with her. I wish I could say she had learned a lesson from this but she has not and its due to the narcissism. She gets a thrill by cause trouble and conflict. Now that you do not see your daughter and the kids , her husband has probably blamed the all the problems on earth on you, just to gain your daughters trust and so he can be the HERO of the situation.
Evolving
@evolving
last year
46 posts

Rene,

Wow! You're right. I can see that happening!

Well, if their lives are better off without me, then so be it. I have to accept the situation as it is, and realize that I will not be a presence in their lives. I have enough going on to keep me busy and focused on my future.

I've been angry and worried for years. My feeling this way certainly hasn't bothered them in the least.For now, I am just sad and numb, and learning to accept. It is hard not to hate him - for all of the pain and heartache that he has caused my daughter and grandchildren. I guess my recovery will be learning to love myself through this part of my life.

I admire your very tender and forgiving heart. You are an extremely strong woman, and I appreciate your taking the time to give such details about your situation. I send you love and light, too, and hope that you and your grandchildren stay safe and nurture loving relationships.

Hugs,

Evolving

Evolving
@evolving
last year
46 posts

Dreamer -

You don't talk too much! These are complicated situations that we are describing! I appreciate all of the insights that you have shared with me. It helps me to feel less alone in this situation, and see that someone else understands, and has been there. And, has found ways to cope and go forward.

It is not in my nature to be a hater - but, I know right now that I am. I've been holding back my anger towards this guy for over 13 years. Yet, even if I vented to him, he wouldn' t get it. He is not self-aware, and he looks at his life and actions through so many filters. He doesn't even have any friends in life to talk to and learn how to be more sociable and share his life stories.

I've wanted to keep believing that he could change, because my daughter wants to believe that he can. With all of the help that he has been given, with no progress, I believe that YOU are correct...that he is not invested in changing. He benefits more from having *reasons* (excuses) for his poor behavior.

In the past year or so, I've been learning about the teachings of Abraham Hicks. I've been focused on learning the concepts of how to look at life differently, and from the angle of how everything is always working out for my good. This situation is one of my stumbling blocks. I want to know-how to easily slip into that positive vibration mode, when there is chaos and negativity around me. I am meditating daily, focusing on learning to direct my thoughts and empty my mind. I am a work in progress.

You are right, in that I will always be there to let my daughter vent, and be a safe place for her to fall. Somehow, I still feel like that this will happen down the road. I want to/need to be in a good place when this happens. I need to work on me...

I hope you catch a better night's sleep tonight, Dreamer!

Sending love and light,

Evolving

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