The Worst Advice I've Received

Welcome to 2013!

If your 2012 was anything like mine- chances are this new day and year is something to celebrate!!! 2012 was one of the worst years of my life, shortly behind 2011 which was utter hell. But 2013 marks a new year with absolutely no N's in it.

In thinking over the best advice I could possibly share with those dealing with N in laws, the worst advice I've ever received has resurfaced as well. I realized in sharing the WORST tips for dealing with N in laws ever- I could possibly be more helpful than sharing what has worked for me. So here are a few tips that I shake my head at now, sigh and realize I will NEVER ever go back there to when I actually thought they might work in dealing with the N's in my own life. Some of them are no-brainers, so bear with me. Others are a little harder to see the purpose of but I will explain those as I go.

- Meet with them to let them know you 'understand' where they are coming from.

HAH! Ok so this little gem comes from our old pastor in premarital counseling. Oh. My. Word. NO! Honestly I hated premarital counseling from start to finish. It was all pointless for us. Our biggest fights revolved not about money, sex or things starting off our marriage but about the in laws. Our grief did not come from the fact we were simply childish or selfish- but because people were TRYING to ruin our marriage from the get-go. Looking back, I realize the pastor was only trying to help. But he didn't at all. I despise all the advice we ever got from the church along with this little gem of non-wisdom. Another reason I stress anyone going into therapy or counseling to draw on the points of the N's that are clearly not 'normal'. Normal people confrontation and resolution simply do NOT work with them. Letting them know you 'understand' where they are coming from even if you do NOT understand because they are crazy- is possibly the worst thing you can say to them. They don't CARE if you understand or not. They want you to DO what they want you to DO. It doesn't matter if you understand them or not as long as they get the desired result of you kissing their butt. Worst advice ever. Okay moving on.

-Meet with them to talk things through.

Um. NO. Just no. So many people when starting out a drama-filled episode with an N want to try to make things better by talking about what the N is angry about. This goes against the very fiber of what an N is made of. There is no reasoning or arguing with them so they see your point of view. They will NEVER see your point of view as long as it conflicts with something they want. This is at the very core of an N-type person. Their wishes, desires and will is ALWAYS greater and more important than you or even hurting you in the process. There is no talking things over with them. YOU listen. THEY talk. At the end they'll expect you to change your mind and 'come back' to the family fold. Every freakin' time. Meeting, especially in private, to talk over something the N is mad about is never a good idea. They just want to bully you into doing what they want. And if it's behind closed doors, you better bring your best running shoes cause that's a fight waiting to happen.

-Telling them you forgive them.

SO thankful I never did this with my in laws. I've heard of a couple that did this, thinking it would help ease the tension with her family. Their answer? "Forgive us for what? We didn't do anything!" Yup. Classic N response. Of course some might EXPECT an apology FROM you. Or expect you to forgive them when they make a non apology. Without true remorse from the N, there is nothing you can forgive. To them, there's nothing you can even acknowledge about them that was forgive-able. I know, I know. You may think this will help you, and it might. But there's no need to tell THEM that especially when they aren't sorry. You're just asking to be called super sensitive and imaginative if you forgive them for something they don't think was wrong and never will.

-Forgive and forget.

Great notion, right? Sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened. N's love to do this. Usually after a non apology or months or years after an event at which you stopped speaking to them. It's their way of moving on. Also, their way of keeping you under their thumb. If you forgive and forget when they aren't even sorry you're letting them take control of you in a way no one should. You're saying it's okay to ignore the injustice or hurt they caused. Being sorry for the hurt is not sorry for their actions. Don't fall into the trap of believing things can go back to 'the way they were'. The N's have shown their true colors and if they are not sorry it will most likely happen again.

-You should invite them to _____ .

Going along with the 21 rules of no contact I've found this as an important one to follow. If you do not feel comfortable with someone in your home- don't invite them. And if you feel the heebie jeebies when they are around YOU- what on earth would you want them around your children for or other family members who rely on you for protection?? Just because they are family does not mean you HAVE to invite them. I wish we had not invited the N's to our wedding. The day would have been infinitely happier and guess what? They were miserable looking anyway. It's my opinion that it's another huge lie that N's say when they 'want to celebrate with you' something important in your life.  They don't. They want to steal an opportunity to be praised and worshiped. They want to steal a little of your joy to make themselves feel better. It's all for show. Do you really want to put on an act for things you should genuinely be happy over? Don't invite them. Surround yourself with those you love and who LOVE you, friends 'family' etc. If you want to invite them that's one thing but if you don't- you don't have to.

-Do something to ease the tension.

As if it's YOUR fault. Another lovely gem from our premarital counseling. The pastor knew full well what the N's had done and said to us and yet left it up to US in the last months leading up to the wedding to 'do something'. Do WHAT?! The fault was never with us. There was and still is nothing we could have said to make things better. If the N hasn't said anything about the abuse even when you call them out on it- they're NOT sorry. You can lead an N to water but you can't make them drink. You can pave a road with good intentions and high hopes and if they don't see the problem in their actions- they won't change. I see this so often. So many wives are guilted into believing they can do something to make things better when it's not even their family causing the trouble. You owe them NOTHING. You owe yourself EVERYTHING. Forget about easing the tension- focus on being happy in your own life and taking care of your hurts after the N's have trashed your feelings and mental health. It's ok to turn attention inwards. It's ok to do things to make yourself feel better. There's often nothing you can do to help an N if they are throwing drama over something trivial. Like a child, sometimes the best way to deal with a tantrum is to let them have it out on their own out of earshot.

If you are reading this and your 2012 was filled with tears and headache and heartache from the N's- know that this year can be so much better! Big hugs to you and it's my hope that this year your heart can heal from the hurtful words, the mean looks, the nasty gossip and slander that went on this past year. That you are able to take a break from the drama and just say 'no' to give yourself a better 2013.

I want to encourage my readers to do something NICE for yourself today! You deserve it. If you're reading this blog or even have to search the web for toxic in laws, resources and books allowing you to give yourself the space you need- look no further. Sometimes it's ok to take a break and treat yourself to something nice simply because you've been through a lot.

During this past year I realized that for me healing from the N's has taken a LOT of time. I'm still on the road to recovery from their abuse. First, I needed to take time to myself. To love myself and care for the wound they inflicted on my heart. To preach against the lies in my head that they planted there. Next, I needed to forget for a while. Simply to be happy and allow myself permission to NOT think of them at all and live my life. Finally, I've found sharing through this blog to be helpful. Getting the story out there.

I still have nightmares about them. I still fear them ever coming back into my life. I am still anxious that someday they will 'find me'. Hopefully someday I won't care if they do or not. Every day I still have to make a mental picture of the brick wall in between me and them. A mental picture of me throwing out the crap they've given me, the emotional baggage their abuse inflicted that is still weighing me down. By the end of this year, I hope to be in a different place. I hope they are dead to me and that every day is another handful of dirt over the grave of pain and misery they've dug themselves into.

Comments

  1. Hi Gracie,
    You have lived through the bad advice, and so have we. I think we lived through it because it is the way to resolving a conflict with normal adults, but we all know that Ns are not normal adults by any stretch.

    I think the biggest problem in dealing with Ns is that most of the time people don't know what they are dealing with until they have gone down some of these roads.

    Thank you for sharing with us all.

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  2. I think the biggest problem in dealing with Ns is that most of the time people don't know what they are dealing with until they have gone down some of these roads.


    ^^^ exactly this!
    thanks for sharing as well. It's really true- what would work for normal adult conflicts does not work with these people. :/ I only wish there was a way to save us all the heartache before trying all these dead ends out first! If only we could have a bright, big BAD IDEA light bulb going off with a siren before agreeing to anything ahead of time. ;)

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