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I have read your post a couple of times now - let me commend your for asking a specific question :) I am so sorry that you find yourself in this exceedingly difficult situation and I can only imagine what it must be like to try and get back to a more normal and desired life - the life you all want.
Just so you know, I have dealt with many other, very similar situations as you are dealing with.....
Having said that..... Your specific question is, "How does my husband keep everyone on [his] side for what may take years? OK.....
Please stay with me here........I don't know if that is a reasonable expectation.... Generally, I would suggest that your husband does not have the right or authority to tell others how to live (ouch- I know). And if he takes that approach, I'm afraid he may be setting himself up for disappointment that will exceed even what you are facing at this time. HOWEVER........
......... In your case there may be a way.....
Please go on.
He may be able to get other family members to agree to stay on his side by framing this the correct way... That is to say, approach them (and this is important) INDIVIDUALLY and present this as a "request" AND the reasons why he believes this is best FOR THE CHILDREN :)
There should be an ongoing dialogue with the family members and once all (or most) have agreed - it doesn't have to be individual discussions anymore. ALSO, as he approaches the individuals, he should mention that others have agreed to his request (presuming this is true - and I'm sure it will be).
Once again, it's important to keep an ongoing dialogue with family members regarding this issue AND it's VERY IMPORTANT to report any (even the smallest) improvement that he becomes aware of in the kids behavior - this will reinforce the intervention he has prescribed.
As I mentioned, I have used similar techniques with others in similar situations and have found success.
One of my passions is the study of ethical influence, and that along with much of the other psychological principles have guided my practice to help many people who have needed some guidance.
How am I doing?
He has approached it with his family as a request for their support. He has also stated that he will no show ill will if they choose otherwise. All of his immediate family members have agreed and want to support him. He has been dealing with this problem for several years now and the family is very familiar with his children's refusal to show him ANY respect whatsoever. Each family member has informed the other of their intentions. I have noticed no break in his children's irrational or abusive behavior at all over the years and am quite concerned that this will not change. His children are very persuasive people and I know will use any method to gain control. They have used abusive and threats. I know it sounds weird but this is the case. They are also guided on by their mother, my husband's ex-wife, whom he has chosen to have no contact with since their separation and divorce. I am still concerned that my husband's sister-in-law, being a VERY passive person, will continue her patronage of the children which we don't believe will help the situation.
I must say that I commend your husband for handling this in the manner that he has. And if I'm reading into the situation as I believe I am (and your last post reinforces my original beliefs) he has taken the right path - and one that I rarely see! Usually, I am trying to convince my clients to take these kind of tough measures!!!
Your last sentence in your last post seems to be what is most concerning to you....
Yes, it is. His children are looking for anyone who they can manipulate. And she is an easy target.
AND... please forgive me for my presumptions but it sounds like significant dysfunction on the ex wife's part.... and as for the sister-in-law....
You are correct about his ex-wife. His sister-in-law is actually his brother's wife who is a wonderful wife and mother.
.... Well, I don't know if I (or anyone for that matter) can give you anything that will be 100% effective 100% of the time. I would humbly offer that you are fortunate to have only ONE such person that may be targeted by the kids (because as you indicate she is so sweet and trusting) - of course this makes sense.... she sees only the good in people and doesn't like to see people hurt so.... she they know who to target.. am I right?
Here is what may be the best way to deal with her.... 1) Ask her if she would please refuse to have contact with her, "because you [she] may be hurting them more than helping them"You may not get her to stay away, so.... get her cooperation to let you know if they try and contact her
Even if she talks to them ask her to set up boundaries on her discussions - you may need to coach her on this - even do some role plays - I bet you can think of lots of things that the kids may try help her.
While you are doing this, it would be a good time to point out that this is necessary because the kids are trying to use her to hurt the other family members and she need to be strong so that others can live healthy emotional lives.
Still with me?
Yes. This is sounding very reasonable.
Sorry. I had to step away for a moment. I have another question. Are you able to continue?
Yes, if you are nearby, I'm back.....
Hello again. If you are still there I would like to continue our conversation. Please let me know.
I thought it might be best to give you some more informatio, ask my question and wait for your answer.
Over the past few years my husband's children have exposed more of their true charachters to the family. In the past while my husdand was still married to his ex he covered up for them in order to make it look like he had the perfect family and life. He no longer does this. His son has proven to have an abusive personality and still seems to be a child at age 27. He carries on an abusive rant over some rules and changes that my husband made at the family cottage when his son continued to disrespect the property. His son wants control of the place and it has been taken away from him.
My husbands daughter on the other hand uses lies, manipulation and threats to try to control her father. While I am afraid that the son may have caused permanent damage to the relationship with his father his daughter is the greater threat to herself, my husband and the family's well being. She may very well be manipulating her brother who now appears to be "the bad guy" and she has taken a step back from the scene and now appears to be the innocent one. As previously mentioned she excluded her father from her wedding saying that he was not welcome until he "fixed her issues." His daughter is now planning on having children and will most likely withhold his grandchildren from her father unless he meets all of her demands. My question is; Is irpossible to mend this dysfunctional relationship and not not be held ranson to his daughters demands over time and how? How can my husband cope with this change in his family dynamics
OK... You have given me some additional info here.....
The answer to the question is it possible to mend this relationship - the answer to that is a definite YES!
Any relationship can be mended if all parties are willing to work on it. It starts with forgiveness and then you must work on trust. It's not easy, but I have seen many seemingly impossible relationships mended in my many years of experience.
But in order for this to happen, it takes all parties to be willing to work on it. I'm not sure I'm hearing from you that everyone is "there" yet????
If the daughter chooses to use her kids as bargaining pieces or for ransom to her demands, that would be a problem. And it would be her choice to try and mend the relationship.
Now, you have asked about how your husband is to cope with this change in family dynamics..... well.......... I must be honest with you..... this discussion has taken quite a turn.....
..... We were working on getting the cooperation of other family members to have no contact with the kids, to finding ways to work things out or deal with a change. I understood that your husband intended to keep the kids at bay until they decided (or learned) to behave in a prosocial manner. If he wants to have a relationship with his grandkids, it's going to be hard if he doesn't have communication with his daughter.
Do you see my confusion?
Yes, I did cause some confusion. My second question on how does my husband cope refers to the current situation of his cutting ties with his children. Although you and I and he believe that this is the right thing to do it is still difficult...they are his children. I think that he has the family's co-operation except for the sister-in-law as mentioned who may be sympathetic to his daughter. I think the problem here is that the grandchildren issue will become an issue before anything is settled with his daughter. I guess that we just have to hope for the best. Although, as mentioned, his daughter will not give in easily if at all. It sounds as though the best thing for my husband to do is to be strong, hold onto his values, keep his brothers and sisters on side and informed and to hope that his son and daughter will want to try to mend the relationship. Do you agree?
I absolutely agree! It will be very difficult for him (for any parent - as I mentioned earlier that most parents can't even conceive of this idea) but it is the right thing for all involved. Remember, it is their behavior that is problematic - not the behavior of the other family members.
The grandkids will be an issue, but as you say, it is best to deal with todays issues today and not worry about tomorrow's issues until they arise. She may not have kids for many years for all we know....
Thank you very much for your opinion. One last question please; any advice on how to deal with a manipulative person like my husband's daughter?
My guess based on what you have posted is that she has some borderline personality tendencies. I imagine there are times when people around her feel like they are walking on eggshells.
It is most challenging to deal with this kind of personality... However there are ways. Most importantly be on the lookout (consciously) that they will constantly try and manipulate every person and every situation - they are charmers and manipulators. So just when you think things might be going well... LOOKOUT!
Don't be afraid to revisit any situation.. in other words if you walk away in agreement with her and then a period of time later realize that you were manipulated - don't be afraid to tell her that you have reconsidered - don't let her guilt you into anything.
Set up clear boundaries as well.
and... practice some specific language to use.. such as "I'm not comfortable with that" or "Let me get back to you" or "it seems that you are clear on what you want - I will need some time to decide if that's best for me also, you understand don't you?"
I can recommend a wonderful book. I can't recall the author right now, but the title is Stop Walking on Eggshells. You will love it and so many things will become so much clearer to you :)
Thank you so much for this information! I have been doing some research on line for some time now and Borderline Personality Disorder has come up on several occasions. I was almost afraid to put a name to it but it would help to know what we are dealing with here. I will pick up the book that you mentioned and am looking forward to hearing more on this topic. You have been a great help to me today; Thank you very much! I will sign off now. I believe that I should also press A