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Breaking a trust can never be undone

I have been questioned why I did not intervene if I had concerns about drug taking when we visited our son and his partner while collecting and delivering our grandson.

It’s simple, lack of evidence. If anyone makes an accusation and in effect calls someone a liar without corroborated evidence then the ramifications are immense. Forget slander; it’s the end of a relationship. In our case it would have broken our family apart. Sorry’s will not cut it. Trust has gone forever. It may look fine and dandy three or four years later but the latent defect in the relationship is still there.

Please don’t think I am saying we were not concerned, but the only drug I can identify is cannabis due to its smell. We were told cannabis was not their concern. Any other drug and I am lost. It was other drugs!

When we visited, the house was often tidy, often untidy. Being untidy, particularly with an active child is not a crime. An early riser is our 3 year old grandson and a partner who has sleeping tablets means she has to go to bed early, which places addition pressure on family routine and duties.

Our son works hard and we often recognised sleep deprivation. Our sons partner often was tired and again sleep deprivation was not an unacceptable diagnoses.

Getting my point across to the social services was difficult. I pointed out that when they act without evidence, using their instinct, they walk away with impunity, and don’t have to pick up the pieces of a false allegation. We have not got their instinct!

Caution and evidence is required.

Concluded the same as the general advice

No matter what he did it was never appreciated, and always not enough. A conclusion was arrived at independently, but we agreed

Summarising our sons expressed feeling: If I can do no good and always suffer repercussions then do less and be in the same position. This removes the constant harassment and pressure to perform.

So, skilfully he is going to cut his ties with his ex-partner and maintain his relationship with his children. This will not be without trauma and tantrums from her. (Gaslighting and Boarder Line Personality Disorder.)

My forward thinking concern is future relationships for them both. The sooner she identifies there is a break in their relationship and she can no long dictate life for our son the sooner she will accept their only ‘life connection’ is their children the better.

It harsh to say this, but their children need to grow up in a safe and unbiased environment where partners are not being challenged or defending their actions morning, noon and night. A toxic life style is not even appropriate for just adult families.

This is not ideal but looking at the underlying causes and environment is necessary.

Not surprised, but pleased in a way that my suspicions, while founded, were slightly wrong

Recently, based on observations and a little research, I thought a family member had the traits of someone Gaslighting someone. It was the narcissistic traits and the relentless nature of her behaviour (two, three years) that caused, and still do cause, that underlying feeling of uneasiness about her motives and her desires for the future.

Now a diagnoses of Boarder Line Personality Disorder has been given it now becomes a reality that can formally be addressed. This will, like all the other mental health things going on in our family, take time. Whether any relationships can be salvaged is unlikely.

Blocked her number

Everything was in place for the post Christmas visit to us so an animated telephone call saying the visit would not happen if our son would not unblock her phone was a surprise.

She was insistent that no phone contact means she will not allow the visit to take place. Being able to contact him while he had the children is not unreasonable.

We made several telephone calls to both parties and agreed that he would unblock her calls for the duration of the visit and the children were with him.

It transpires that she had called him about 15 times on the trot and was abusive in all of them. Don’t know what about but not worried.

She mentioned that our son had not seen his children for 10 days. Which is wrong by the information we have.

During the call to us she declared that she knows she had pushed him to far and was very sorry and felt it was wrong.

Our son said he was really not prepared to take any more abuse and it was not his intention to permanently block her as there are valid reasons to stay accessible.

The next day the visit did not start well, but we don’t know why.

Who should know?

I am a stickler for recording things, call it obsessional!

I mentioned to our son that he should write the facts down as he remembers them now, as they fade and get contaminated by other memories

If the children arrive at play school with bruises or cuts questions will be asked.

We know exactly how his ex-partner portrays events and will tell miss-truths to anyone who she needs to tell, and I feel he would be named as the culprit for hurting his children to shift the blame.

I am not sure whether I have written this before but in my opinion she could get an innocent man hung.

Christmas – when someone can screw you over

The decorations are up, the food brought and cats asleep. Arrangements have been made to visit the old family home and start Christmas Day in an amicable way – children, presents, mince pies. 🙂

Christmas Eve our son was told that his ex-partners’ father was coming around on Christmas morning and she did not want to rush him away so he could not come around.

So Christmas Day was cancelled at short notice so my son did Not see his children as her father had preferential claim to see them.

We were told that our son had cancelled the day because he wanted to spend Christmas Day with his new partner.

So, Christmas Day for our son and his children was morphed into Boxing Day.

A little later the duration of his absence was used against him to berate him for not coming around over Christmas to see his children.

In my opinion that’s what we are dealing with: Vindictive actions dished up with sweetness and mistruth.

Physical Abuse

Parental duties are taken seriously by our son. He has their children every other week end and visits two nights a week.

He arrived and things were satisfactory. About the time she was to leave to go out a return time was discussed and she declared she expected to be much later than they had previously agreed. This was not really acceptable so he said no and an argument ensued.

An impasse was reached and he decided to simple leave. This was met with a physical assault. Gripping him forcefully around his neck and refusing to let go. He said OK he would stay to escape the situation and made his way to the back door and was followed and hit. His path was blocked so he returned to the front door and got out. He was followed into the street where shouting continued and more physical abuse ensued. He did away finally.

The disturbing thing is their children witnessed the whole event.

Fighting upstream is difficult

When disruptive and hurtful personalty traits are repeated against a partner they suffer unseen hurt. The problem eventually becomes: how long do you continue a relationship, even if there are children involved, while being an abused.

Here enters a problem: I am no expert but just a good witness, but I am very cautious to blame.

Witnessed

  • Regular belittlement, or putting their partner down in subtle ways by slight of tongue
  • Blaming their partner for the abuse or arguments
  • Often not acknowledging that abuse is happening
  • Playing abuse down as though it was just banter
  • Will not accept or unwilling to recognise the needs and feelings of others

Not witnessed – told by one side or the other

  • Reacts with rage or contempt
  • Tries to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Willing to mislead people in by not stating the whole truth

This is not what a healthy relationship looks like or is based around – the opposite really.

These traits did not take long to be noticed in the relationship,  the thought process was simple; there is a nice person in there, a nice person that I love, and early in the relationship they were passed over as being how that person was when in certain circumstances.

Time passed, and when we met as a family the verbal abuse was more noticeable and less easy to pass off.  Why are you abusing this person?  What have they really done? Why are you continuing to dig at that person long after the event?  The cause did not warrant that level of response.  Often it was in full view of other family members, and those that had not witnessed it before did not see it for what it was – abuse.

Street angel, house devil, comes to my mind.  Behind closed doors reasonable adult judgement was not shown.  In public sweetness and light was the beacon to watch.  Arguments would start small and escalate out of control, often introducing spurious concerns unconnected and a goading process would unravel until stalemate existed and emotions were left very high.  Going to work etc. was the solution, but for only one person.

Emotionally, on both sides, there was no place to go, no unsaying something could be done to reset the status

Counselling has been tried but that has to be done as equals who both must want to explore the possibilities of recovery.  This can only be fruitful if both people accept that they bear a part of the cause.  One party does not feel there is anything wrong with their behaviour, actions or demands and will always want to win at any cost.

The response was to try and not get sucked into arguments so as to calm the situation, but this would cause the situation to get worse as claims of being unreasonable or objectionable would be made.

We are unsure of exactly how the ‘other’ family see the situation, but we do know there has been unfair pressure placed on one person to leave the family home.  So in effect a three woman attack (the aggressor, her mother and grand mother) has been made on one person.  A lesser person would have walked away months, if not longer, ago if were not for the children!

We have, and will always supported them both as we want their relationship to continue in a healthy way and fully understand this will be apart but the children must be protected and grow up with loving parents and a support network around them.

Gaslighting

I recognised a pattern of events and wondered whether there was a known condition that would explain what was driving these situations and therefore provide a solution to resolve the issues. Yes.

I was surprised, very surprised. It is a phenomena known as Gaslighting (been used in the plot of film – Gas Light 1940) that describes how a person systematically destroys the confidence of another by undermining their self esteem to a point where they sanity is also destroyed.

I researched further and read the accounts of Gaslighting and there were too many occurrences I witnessed that for me not to say there was in my opinion Gaslighting taking places. I was shocked!

Please accept I am a layperson, not a mental health professional but it left me worried.

The chilling thing is: all the advice about the outcomes were the same – leave as you have no fulfilling relationship and you stand a chance of serious mental health repercussion yourself.

Problem: there are children in the relationship.

Going through the mill of coercive control

A family member and their partner are having a difficult time with their personal relationship and there is only so much moral support and guidance you can give them without becoming frustrated as the facts of the situation are taking them to separation and children are involved.

Their relationship is fragile.  One of them pushes the emotions of the other without understanding there are penalties and consequences of all life’s actions – with speech it is a memory.  There is an accumulation effect where previous ‘pushing’s’ are added too and a saturation point will arrive where change or break is the fork in the road: Decision time!

One person will simple talk in a passively aggressive way to the other and not listen to reasoned argument.  They have a point they want to get across at any cost and will not give in for any reason no matter how rude they are or how off topic they become. Tempers and emotions on both sides are raised.  The other person is engaged with the argument but is, due to the relentless barrage over a two year, or longer period, ow tries to become disengaged; but this aggravates the situation and that is then the new snippet argument that is taken forward.

No matter what happens it is only stopped by walking away and taking further abuse about not wanting to conclude the argument that is circular in nature and can’t be changed with out a mindset update.

It’s all about me: gas-lighting? Narcissistic attitudes?  An abusive relationship?

Joint counselling has been tried, but one side does not acknowledge there is a real problem and even if there was it’s not mine attitude is prevalent. I have not witnessed this but from conversations it is evident that one party is guarded in the conversation during counselling for fear of retribution at a later date. There was a fortuitous event that meant only one person could attend and true openness was allowed.

Footnote: separation is now happening but counselling has been agreed. I just hope the children are not held hostage!

Moving out!

Leaving relationship where children are involved is not done on a whim. The reason will become distant memories in the future, but the pain will keep you awake at night.

Environmental Psychology has explanations on what attracts people. Earning potential is just one aspect of this fatal attraction. So when one partner can’t see the benefit of earning more than just a subsistence wage but wants a higher life style it should not be rocket science to see there is a mismatch in life’s expectations.

Time came when the balance of sanity had to be addressed. A new home for a single person was found and they moved out.

Partner has a hard time

The partner in this relationship is suffering greatly.  He phones home during the working day to a non-greeting.  He arrives home from work to simple see his partners feet disappear up the stairs to leave him looking after his son.  No feelings are shown to him.

When we are altogether he just gets harsh and rude disparaging words grunted towards him.  He can do no good.

He does a very physical job and if I don’t say so my self works very hard for the money he earns.

I see the damage being caused to his feelings and it hurts me.  He is standing by his partner and child but for how long is the question.

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