Author Topic: Can I trust my gut reaction?  (Read 994 times)

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Offline Marina

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Can I trust my gut reaction?
« on: December 27, 2016, 11:02:06 AM »
My Christmas with a group of friends and acquaintances was (surprisingly) peaceful, fun, and satisfying.  I planned to go to this gathering to just stay out of the dumps emotionally, but it turned out to be a lot better than that.  I thought I would miss being with family (DS/DIL, GC), but I did not.  I think that speaks of the healing I've been experiencing as a result of cutting off the relationship with them this past year. 

My problem is that I feel that I'm being drawn in again by invitations to family gatherings.  I cut off the relationship with DS/DIL because my feelings and desires were not considered and instead DIL was getting more and more hostile and hurtful towards me (GC being used as pawn) and DS was looking the other way.  Now DS says he wants to patch things up, but he doesn't know what the issues are!?!  --even though I had previously explained myself in writing and he discounted what I said out of hand without discussing it with me.  My mind says give it another chance, explain better, etc.  But my gut says don't do it.  I feel utterly tired thinking about going through this again and not being validated and cared about.  There are real issues that need to be worked out, but by DS not "knowing" what they are seems like he is in total denial and that talking won't do much.  Over the years, I've brought up concerns and they were ignored.   

I am feeling very reluctant about engaging with DS and GC at this time, even if it's without DIL.  I don't want to be drawn in again emotionally when I have no confidence that anything has changed.  I think it will set me back emotionally when I feel I have been making strides in detaching.  But how will I know that my DS is sincere in reaching out to me to work out our problems?  He had been sincere in assuring me that I would have regular contact with GC, but DIL made sure to sabotage that by playing mind games and DS did nothing.  I would really appreciate some feedback on this from WW.  I need some clarity in taking a stand.   

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2016, 11:20:24 AM »
I am impressed with your reluctance, M. Your son seems to be making it clear that he doesn't know what the issues are. Huh? There's your red flag. He can't participate in a resolution to a problem he is in denial about. His wife is who and how she is...and that's his priority from my viewpoint, as it should be.

You are healing. Your life matters. You did an outstanding job at Christmas. I say celebrate.

If you feel you need to respond to DS, I would write to him asking him to please provide you with the information of what he sees as the problem and his suggestions regarding solution. My guess is he sees you as the problem. That's not a working premise.

You're healing is precious...priceless...irreplaceable. (Not that I have any feelings on the subject!) Hugs...
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Marina

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2016, 11:22:47 AM »
P.S.  At the time of my cut-off from DS/DIL, I would think that the healthy, caring reaction from DS would have been: You are obviously hurt, let's work this out.  Instead, I got: You are obviously hurt, I didn't do anything intentionally, facts are unclear, the problem is between you and DIL, etc.  Then DS dropped it and came back later with invitations for visits, as if nothing happened.   

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 11:48:34 AM »
There's an expectation there. A very reasonable and logical one, if that counts. I'm not sure it does. It seems to me DS is doing what works for him in an uncomfortable and apparently, with his wife, at lease, non-negotiable situation.

It's about them...their values, partnering skills, mutual respect. Collateral damage (to you) is probably of little concern in the face of all of that.

I still say 'bravo' that you are moving forward, successfully.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2016, 12:06:45 PM »
Hi M!  Congrats on having a great time for the holidays!!!  Once I figured out that my life was more enjoyable when I was not around my DS/DIL I found that they no longer had the hold over me that they had once enjoyed.  Suddenly the thought that they might not show up for an occasion was pleasant instead of hurtful and my DIL no longer had the power to hurt me the way that she had for years.  We actually let them know that we were enjoying holidays more.  The emotional separation is the next and most liberating step. 

It is worth mentioning that the change that made the difference was a change in me and not in my DS or DIL.  Good luck and remember that we all take trips back into the emotional abyss sometimes, we just choose not to live there and we rely on each other for the hand up we need to escape the darkness. 
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Marina

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2016, 12:19:28 PM »
As I have expressed, it doesn't look like I can expect any validation from DS, but I appreciate the validation here that my expectations are indeed reasonable.  I struggle with validation because my needs and feelings were largely disregarded by my FOO and in my marriage.  I'm working on figuring out what I want and need and if/how I can provide that for myself.  Dealing with DS/DIL seems like a real distraction in that regard.     

Offline Stilllearning

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 06:31:49 PM »
Marina I found that I had to quit thinking about or trying to fix or expect validation from anyone about my DS/DIL issue.  Whenever the thoughts about it raised their pesky heads I would force-ably turn my thought to something that I was happy about.  The less time I spent focusing on things I could not fix the better I felt.  The more time I spent thinking about the things in life that made me happy the happier my life became.  Thinking about my DS/DIL still makes me unhappy so when I find my mind wandering there I consciously turn my thoughts to more pleasant things......my next camping trip, seeing my sister, fixing a new recipe, going hiking or something I really enjoy.  The problem is still not fixed but I do not let that issue ruin all the rest of my life, which is filled with wonderful, accepting, loving and happy people who got tired of hearing me complain about my DS.  They are back in my life now and the hole left by the absence of my DS/DIL/GC is smaller because of them!!  I figure that I raised a child who was independent enough to live his life the way he chose in spite of my objections so I did my parenting job very well indeed!!   
Your mind is a garden your thoughts are the seeds
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.
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Offline Marina

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 11:02:48 AM »
Since my original post, there has been no communication between me and DS, which is okay.  In retrospect, I think I was vulnerable and stirred up emotionally because of the holidays (those pesky holidays) and the situation got to me.  The invitation I got from DS was at the last minute and I'm not sure why he even bothered, except that perhaps it took DS/DIL off the hook in case extended family asked about my absence.  That way, it was on me--they invited me, I declined, for whatever reason?  There was no serious attempt to resolve anything between us.   

If/when this comes up again in the future, I will follow Luise's suggestion and ask DS to tell me what he thinks the problem is and how to solve it. 

In the New Year I'm turning my focus on myself to work on some tough issues apart from DS/DIL.  I need to make some important changes in my life and that is scary. I wish I had more energy and enthusiasm to be up for the task (sigh).  I will try to incorporate more activities that bring me joy.     

Offline Marina

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2017, 11:37:48 AM »
I was just thinking what a kindness it is to be told the truth (by Luise) that I am "collateral damage" in my relationship with DS--painful to hear and hard to absorb, but important to come to terms with.  I recognized it myself, but got muddled in my thinking by the good intentions of a friend who is ever hopeful and not wanting me to be hurt.   She had encouraged me to "try again." 

It feels so good to stop banging my head against a brick wall.   :) 

Offline luise.volta

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Re: Can I trust my gut reaction?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 11:46:28 AM »
Good for you! It took me a long time to get I had the right to have 'selective hearing' with those not 'wearing my moccasins'. No matter how well intentioned, with the exception of trained counselor the advice from someone who hasn't 'been there and done that' is fantasy. In desperation we may follow it, but they simply don't know and can do more harm than good.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes it's a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I'll try again tomorrow." -- Mary Ann Radmacher