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Gaslighting, what next?

(6 Posts)
appletarts Mon 22-Apr-13 10:32:07

I have realised with overwhelming relief that my sister has been gaslighting me for years. Finally I know my instincts were right and I've been claiming back my feelings and my reality after her telling me for 20 years what I feel, think, must do next etc and becoming rageful and punishing if I have any identity of my own. Situation at present is there has been a big bust up and I can comfortably leave it there and go nc. BUT her son has kids the same age as my kids and although she has tried her best to destroy all these relationships, her son is not bold enough to keep relationships with us going unless she is in the picture. She had begun to mess about between me and my kids and that's why I can now go nc, suddenly feels easy. However, what about all the kids and my nephew? I have an image of my family tree trying to flower and none of us can get op and have relationships with her poisoning things all the time, so I'd like to cut her out like dead wood but I don't think her son will see it that way, after all she is his mother and he has lots of fear, his wife is not much better. Do I keep polite contact with her and essentially ignore her to keep the relationships going with everyone or tell nephew that when he can come alone with kids/wife etc then we'd love to see them. TBH I can't stand the sight of her but her power over me has just vanished. What did you do with the gaslighting relationship once you realised what was happening? Oh and she is very very cruel in words and actions.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 10:42:42

How old are the children? Generally you can't have a relationship with her children and not her. However horrible she is, you can't realistically ask her children to divide their loyalties and choose their aunt over their mother any more than you'd be happy for someone to do that with your own DCs. Keep up with the social norms e.g. sending birthday cards for the kids etc., and maybe they'll want to contact you when they are old enough to make that decision. But, until that point, I think losing the nephews/neices has to be treated as 'collateral damage' of getting your peace of mind.

appletarts Mon 22-Apr-13 10:52:39

Her son is 25. I'm referring to his kids and my kids who are little. He lives away and sees us when he comes home to see her. I can appreciate how he might feel divided and compromised if I ask that he comes alone to see us, without his mother. But then again he is a grown up and these things happen in families sometimes.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 22-Apr-13 10:59:55

If he's 25 he can decide for himself if he wants to stay in touch but don't be suprised if he drops contact.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 22-Apr-13 11:03:40

He may well drop all contact because like many children of such toxic parents he has FOG in spades; fear, obligation, guilt. He may also always want to seek his mother's approval, approval that she will never give by the way.

You cannot on one hand keep polite contact whilst on the other ignoring her; that is never going to work out for you. Going nc in your case is a perfectly reasonable option, toxic people do often start on the children of whom they see as "errant" offspring anyway. Also this woman brings nothing at all positive into your life let alone your own childrens in any event.

Have you ever read up on narcissistic personality disorder with regards to your sister?.

CaptChaos Mon 22-Apr-13 11:53:29

If your nephew is 25 he can make his own decisions, however, I wouldn't hold your breath.

If your sister is as toxic as you say (and I don't doubt she is for a second), then she will have irrational dislikes and take against people randomly. Your nephew will have lived with her doing this all his life, one minute someone is her BFF and the next they are the devil. One of the coping strategies you quickly learn is to go along with these irrational hatreds, even feed them, because it takes the spotlight off you and your 'shortcomings'. It is all part of the FOG.

It's a shame that you might lose contact with someone you care about while going NC with a toxic family member, but in the end you have a responsibility to protect yourself and your children from all the awfulness which surrounds them.

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