How honest should I be?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Shortylicious. Show Shortylicious's posts

    How honest should I be?

    Need some family advice. I'm going to be a little vague in order to preserve my anonymity.

    I have a family member who is asking for a favor that will require my time and money. She has asked for and received similar favors from me and other family members in the past. But this time, I am going to say no. She is a really difficult person to be around- very caustic, controlling and belittling. Some people close to her have confronted her about her behavior, but she will not see it. To her, she's just being honest and other people are verbally abusive (when they call her on her behavior).

    In the past, I have given in to her requests because I don't see her often and I felt like it was the 'family' thing to do. Additionally, she has a lot of upheaval going on in her life (granted, mainly her doing) and I didn't want to add stress. But this time, I'm at the end of my rope. I just can't do it. Other family members who have helped her too are now saying they will not. She asks too much, treats us so badly and never ever reciprocates. We only hear from her when she wants something.

    So my question, when I say no, do I tell the truth? That I'm saying no because I don't want to deal with her? (Knowing that this will create drama and will not change her behavior) Or, do I just say that my schedule and commitments are such that I cannot give up the time (or money) to help her? (Knowing this will result in guilt trips and future requests for favors)

    Thanks in advance for the advice.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    Hi, Shorty,

    First, congrats on arriving at this difficult but healthy and necessary conclusion and decision.  Stand by it no matter what.

    We have a similar family member, and I've been reading two very helpful books that I will recommend.  I can't determine if your trouble maker is a true narcissist or if she's just selfish.  But, the boundary book will be helpful either way.  Take a look at the Oz one, read the "surprise me" exerpts and, if it applies, order that one, too.

    The family member (my BIL) we are dealing with absolutely has NPD.  It's heinous.  And, if it helps you to know, I told him the truth at Thanksgiving this year as to why I want nothing to do with him.  I'm a very reserved, gracious person.  And, this is what I said when he was badgering me to explain why I don't like him (in front of my in-laws, by the way):  "I don't like you because you're a selfish, deceptive, manipulative, meddling, jacka$$."  It wasn't fun, but I highly recommend doing it, and doing it with witnesses so it doesn't get turned around on you.  It's out there, now, and we're all dealing with it.  I talked to my in-laws about these books and they asked me to send them to them, which I have.  They are reading them now as is my SIL.  This person wrecks the family in a big way.  I hope this education marks the end of a very long era of unbridled destruction.

    The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists

    Where to Draw the Line
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Amethyst2. Show Amethyst2's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    In Response to How honest should I be?:
    "Some people close to her have confronted her about her behavior, but she will not see it. To her, she's just being honest and other people are verbally abusive (when they call her on her behavior). 

    To me, this right here is very telling.   You (and others), see her behavior as abrasive; she sees others as "verbally abusing" her.  Such a disconnect!  Think about *how* others have approached her.  She clearly became very defensive...could a different way of broaching these subjects be more successful?  I'm gonna suggest a classic response to this situation -- could you (and, if possible and apprpriate, the others who have spoken to her) arrange an appointment with a therapist to talk about ways to deal with this person?  A therapist might be able to figure out a way to get her to *listen* to what you're saying.  Maybe you've already done that.  If so, and you are truly at the end of your rope, then saying "no" may be the way to go -- but maybe soften it with "but I will help you (fill in the blank)" with something  that you'd feel comfortable offering.  Just so she doesn't feel shunned; and that a hand (with limits) is being offered to her.  Positive reinforcement might help --  be around her when she's behaving herself; when she misbehaves, take yourself out of the situation.  Again, a therapist could be more helpful here -- maybe even (eventually, if she's willing) get the group of you (including her) to an appointment.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Shortylicious. Show Shortylicious's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    Kar-
    Thank you so much for the advice. I will definitely check out the books. I'll be seeing the rest of the family at Christmas (she won't be here) and will let them know what I plan to do. I can put her off until after the holidays as her 'favor' isn't for another few months. She is a classic narcissist and has been diagnosed borderline personality disorder. While I am sympathetic that she has had some tough situations in her life, I can no longer accept her behavior. We had a falling out once that lasted many years, but I mended the fences for my family's sake. This time, I don't think my family is going to be pushing for me to preserve the relationship. And, even if the do, it'll be up to them to do it. I'm done!
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Shortylicious. Show Shortylicious's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    Amethyst...
    She has been to a therapist. Several. The one who told her she has issues (borderline) was a 'crackpot'. She has been able to manipulate the rest into believing that the world is out to get her and she's really doing everything she can to change. Recently, I was on the phone with her, and she was telling me how her husband told her (in a nutshell) that she was rude to people. She couldn't believe it. And then in the very next breath (she was on the phone at a store at the time) she said to a salesclerk "do you work here or are you just standing here talking to yourself?"!! And she then told me how she told her accountant that he couldn't add 1 plus 1.  Her very qualified accountant.

    You know that voice in your head that tells you when you're being (or have been) a jerk? She doesn't have that.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    Shorty, from you OP, I figured NPD might be the issue.  You will find the Oz book TREMENDOUS.  I hope and pray you really will order it right now so it comes before Christmas.  The first 3 chapters will help emmensely by exposing things that even those who have dealt with her her whole life don't know.  Like, for instance, that ironically (for a self absorbed person like a narcissist) she has NO SENSE of true self and sees others as extensions of her own being.  That's why she expects that everyone will do her bidding just as she does her own arm or leg.  When anyone resists, it's like telling her leg to take a step forward and it doesn't.  That's where the extreme anger arises from when anyone doesn't do what she wants.  Sound interesting?

    And, don't bother explaining NPD to someone who hasn't had the VAST DISPLEASURE of knowing someone with the disorder.  No offense to anyone who is that lucky (I was that person for 36 whole, wonderful years), but it's impossible to understand until you experience a person with no sense of self who lives to control others in place of being able to live as a defined person.  The Oz book goes into how therapy is practically useless for the person with NPD, but it is almost always necessary for anyone exposed to them for a long period of time because the NPD person is intent on and adept at destroying everyone around them.  There are 9 methods they use (Chapter 3), and they WORK.

    ETA:  By the way, the badgering to explain why I "don't like him" was really a response to my cutting him off as a person and announcing to the family that I will be cordial at family events with him and nothing else.  You can imagine the drama he was drumming up with that.  He said, "You must have been sexually abused as a child to think that I'm abusive - you are confused.  Let's have a family meeting to get to the bottom of this [so I can manipulate you back into my clutches to destroy you on a daily basis again]."  That's when I said, "You can make up whatever crazy reason for my disliking you that you want and hope with all your might that people believe it, but the fact is I don't like you because...(what I said above)."   After that he screamed at us for not having been able to conceive a child yet and that I'm a useless c___.  In front of his parents.  I just stared him down, not retreating from my position.

    NO ONE who hasn't lived this nightmare can understand.  I know I couldn't before I met him.  It took me 3 years to figure out what the problem really was and that all my difficult people skills (of which I have many and am good at using) would fall useless to the ground on him.  Forever.  So, not being one for futility, I announced we were done.  The drama that has ensued has impacted everyone but me, but not for long.  They all have the book.  He accused me of "ruining his life."  I probably am by educating his poor, hapless family who has been under his reign of terror for about 40 years.  Somehow, I don't feel bad about it.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Amethyst2. Show Amethyst2's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    I stand corrected...this is a very difficult situation that definitely requires firm boundaries.  No excuses.  I'm sorry I didn't catch that at first read...Too much benefit of the doubt!

    I've only had a few encounters with someone with BPD in the past, and I cut that person out of my life pronto.  This is not someone in my family -- that adds a whole 'nuther element.  I take it your family has talked/is talking to someone about how to deal with this?

    Kar, bless you!  I hope the books are helpful...
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    Amethyst, I hope I didn't offend you by saying you (and anyone else not famliar with NPD) cannot possibly understand.  Your skills and advice is 100% valid for every other type of "difficult person."  NPD individuals do not have a sense of self so things that work on those who do have a sense of self (however disordered they might be) don't work on them.  There is a different set of rules you need to be aware of when dealing with a person with no sense of self, and they are completely atypical tactics.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    Oh, phew, Amethyst!  I'm so glad you do understand but sorry that only means you've dealt with this before.

    ETA:  You have to know the books are awesome if I dared tell my dear in-laws about NPD and that I think he has it and, by the way, here's a book that says your son can't love you.  Um, if I had the guts to do that, they have to be worth it, right?!  Please, please, please, Shorty, buy the Oz book.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Maldenlady. Show Maldenlady's posts

    Re: How honest should I be?

    In Response to Re: How honest should I be?:
    [

    Hi, Shorti and Kar -- Yeah, my experience was with someone I didn't know very well.  At first, everything seemed fine.  As time went on, there was an incident where -- out of the blue -- she yelled some epithets at me in public.  I was literally stunned, and shocked into silence.  Had that feeling of whiplash; "what the heck?!?" it was a complete surprise.  Over time, I learned that people who are borderline are prone to this.  You can either be their heaven-sent savior, ("oh, you're my best friend; I can't  trust anyone but  you; only you understand me when no one else does"); or the devil incarnate.  That's the way they roll.  A  very sad, difficult way to lead life.  There are many therapists who will not work with Borderline people, because they can be so difficult.  Kar, you're right; if this is someone who is borderline, ya gotta place very blunt, firm boundaries and keep them.  Sad for them; but for those they lash out at, it's nothing more than protecting oneself.
     
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