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Heal NPD :: Open Topic :: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing
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TcBrown
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Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 23:30:12 MonApr 18 2005 )

As I was getting ready for work today there was a knock on my door. I was already late and feeling flustered, so it was not a good time for surpries. When I opened the door I was greeted by brother-in-law, who almost literally had smoke stemming out his nostrils.

He launched into a four-letter expletitive tirade against me and what he calls my "f--ked family". It seems that his kids were crying this morning and I was the reason they were upset. It seems he's upset because ever since I moved into the area his wife/ my sister has changed a lot in her interactions with him. She wants him to enter therapy, and address some of the many issues which could bre related to NPD. He went on to say she's been spending too much time with me and not addressing his needs, and doing the things he thinks she should be doing. He acknowledged that there marriage was not good before I came to the area and he simply does not know how to deal with everything that is happening. He told me that the last thing in the world he wants to put his kids through is a divorce, especially an ugly one, and this one was shapping up to be very ugly. He said that if this happened there would be hell to pay. He than stared at me for a few seconds, said "f--k it," and stormed off.

My initial reaction was defensive and wanted to tell him I am not the cause of his problems. As he was launching into his tirade I felt myself consciously thinking about the twelfth principle of Attitudinal Healing in that we can choose to see ourselves and others as either extending love or giving a fearful cry for help. I was able to avoid responding in anger because I say the cry for help, but I was frozen in terms of exactly what peaceful reaction I could have. The immediate problem was over almost as fast as it started.

Later in the morning I was called out of the office to take a call from my sister. She wanted me to meet her for lunch as she had her two kids with her. It seems the most problem started this morning when her husband blew up at their daughter for not having her homework done. About that same time my sister was getting something out of her son's backpack and a ball fell out and started bouncing across the breakfast table. Their son tried to grab the ball and knocked over the orange juice. This sent their father further into a rage and had everyone in tears. My sister decided the kids didn't have to go to school because they were so upset. It seems she told them to pretend they were going to school and actually had them with her as she was running errands all day. This worked until a little while ago when she reported that encountered her husband at one of the places they were going. In other words her day has been already as confusing as mine.

I am sitting here already trying to juggle the emotions of a new relationship, a stressful job, a 14 year-old temporary (I hope) foster kid, and now it seems I am to blame for the fact that my sister's marriage is crashing and burning. At one level I know this is not true, but it brings out a lot of fear in my because I have a lot of unresolved issues and fear about my parents divorce and other early traumas in my life. In one way the fear I was feeling this morning almost felt as though it was the fear of a very small child who really didn't know what to do in this situation.

Now that I see the fearful cryful for help both in myself and in others I am clearly struggling with how to respond peacefully. This is shaping up to be a much more colorful period in my life than I was hoping for and I hope I have the strength to work through everything with a peaceful heart.



---
Instead of quoting the Budda, be the Budda, be "the awakened one," which is what the word budda means.

Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"

 
 
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talia49
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 05:32:45 TueApr 19 2005 )

Hi Tc,

First off, I'm impressed you were able to control the impulse to not respond in anger. Not so sure I could have done that. I don't like being put on the defensive at all.

I can see how it would have triggered a "fearful cry" from the small child inside.

Personally, I think that small child is the only one who needs the attention and response of love.

Seems your brother-in-law wanted to vent and you were "it".

If it were me, the only peaceful response I can think of would be, "I'm sorry you feel that way".

Then I'd look at Lesson 5???

Looks like your brother-in-law is in denial. The success or failure of his marriage isn't your responsibility anymore than your parent's was.

talia




  
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 16:29:28 TueApr 19 2005 )

I am likewise impressed you refrained from any kind of lashing back at your brother-in-law. I was thinking about the idea of how we are all teachers and students to each other as I read this. Maybe your brother-in-law has an important teaching about living a peaceful life? I hope your inner child knows their marriage problems are not your fault and hope that use this as a chance to grow and to heal.

  
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TcBrown
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 17:19:55 TueApr 19 2005 )

Thanks for the reminder of lesson 5. I have surprised myself with how peaceful I have been in the face of the kind of emotions which historically have set off major outburts of rage. I have some reason to really believe these messages of AH are becoming more than theories that should work, and are showing signs of really changing my outlook. I still have a certain degree of anixety around what happened yesterday ,but my adult self knows I am not responsible for what is happening in my sister's marriage. I talked with my sister late last night and she says that they had a three hour discussion without the kids around. I don't know if they came to any kind of resolution or not, but I'm sure she'll share what she thinks I need to know at some point in the future.

Things got more complicated this morning because my sister called with the news that her husband's mother died earlier this morning. This has been anticpated for a long time because she's been going downhill at a steady rate for the past couple of years. This may derail their dealing with some of their emotional issues, but I have a feeling it is only a temporary sidetrip.

Right now I'm trying to decide what the appropriate response to my brother-in-law should be. If I choose peace of mind do I ignore this since I never met his mother or do I send a card or note of some kind expressing sympathy?



---
Instead of quoting the Budda, be the Budda, be "the awakened one," which is what the word budda means.

Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"

 
 
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 17:32:49 TueApr 19 2005 )

It is your sisters mother-in-law. Some sort of response would be polite. She was part of her family.

I'm glad you are finding healthly ways to deal with things Tony.

  
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TcBrown
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 13:39:39 WedApr 20 2005 )

This is a case where I am very aware of my split mind. My ego is still feeling like separation after my brother-in-laws actions, but my soul is looking for a connection. My sister has asked if I would be willing to attend the Memorial Service this weekend. I have not replied because I don't know the answer. My fourteen year-old house guest perched himself into the sink, a.k..a his thrown :npdhumor: and lectured me about peaceful responses to my brother-in-law. Deep inside I know he's right but I still haven't discerned exactly what a peaceful reply might be.



---
Instead of quoting the Budda, be the Budda, be "the awakened one," which is what the word budda means.

Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"

 
 
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 20:28:25 WedApr 20 2005 )

I dunno Tony... I'm shaking my head sideways because I , like you, would have wanted to explode right back in his face, so I guess you should be commended for your ability to stay calm.

I'm not so sure if there isn't a half-way point, however, something between doing nothing and exploding.
I'm a true fan of Dr. Phil and his ability to call a spade a spade when it's begging for proper identification.
I'm leaning towards "Hey man, take a look at your dumb-azz standing here blowing-off on my doorstep. You are welcome to return and discuss this WHEN I'm available, and WHEN you are chilled and ready to admit your temperament is an issue in all of this. I want your marriage and my sister's marriage to improve, and I'm here if you desire to cooly discuss matters."

Since I know nothing else about the relationship, I can't comment any further, but I do feel certain his temperament is an issue. I honestly believe it needs to be pointed out to him as much as possible, in as unthreatening of way as possible, yet never ignoring the truth.
I think there is a standard of behavior from him which must be demanded by you, and you need to command his respect.
Know what I'm saying?

I definitely think the respectful thing to do is to go to the memorial service. I understand your issues regarding that completely... but I think if you know you've done what is right, it will bring peace to yourself....so long as it doesn't cause a disruption from him during the service, which I highly doubt.

Good luck!
-gene


  
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TcBrown
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 15:32:40 ThuApr 21 2005 )

Thanks, I believe deep down my brother-in-law knows his temperment is an issue. Its just that he does not know how to handle his feelings. My sister has told me this is a recurring problem in their relationship where he allows all of frustrations to build within himself until he finally reaches a place where he has to explode. Usually he calms down fairly quickly after letting off steam, its just I don't handle the role of receiving this kind of thing as well as maybe I could. Sound familiar my NPDer friends? I know he is on medication for ADHD, but their finances currently prevent them from continuing with family therapy that my sister thought had been making some really good progress. He's not a bad person underneath it all and I believe he really does love his kids, but he just has a really hard time with emotions.

I agree there is a half-way between not doing anything and exploding right back. I'm still searching within myself for what that might be. For now, I've decided to attend the Memorial Service to support my sister and the kids in their grief.

Tony



---
Instead of quoting the Budda, be the Budda, be "the awakened one," which is what the word budda means.

Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"

 
 
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 16:07:46 ThuApr 21 2005 )

Nobody handles being on the end of a rant very well I don't think Tony. I know I've been on both ends and it's no fun either way!!

I'm glad you are attending the service Tony. Family is so important, I think we tend to take it for granted. I know I do!

Mel

  
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TcBrown
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Re: Unwanted opportunity to practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing ( 15:43:53 TueApr 26 2005 )

The Memorial Service was difficult but not because of the problems with my brother-in-law, but my own difficulties accepting death. My sister says her husband is having more difficulties accepting this death than she thought he would. He is someone who has a very hard time showing any emotion other than anger but he is noticeably subdued.

Nothing more has been said about our encounter but I don't feel there is a need on my part at this time to delve into what happened in order for me to be peaceful. Actually I've been thinking his actions have reinforced the idea that we are all students and teachers to each other. His teaching is important to me because I can see all too easily myself in the role of the person crying for help and not knowing how to express myself in a healthy manner. I suppose one could suggest there is some empathy between the two of us. This is not the first time I have felt empathy for him because I have a certain compassion for people living in so much pain they don't know how to heal. I often can read his emotions going on his facial and body language and later learn that what I was experiencing was very close to how he felt. Perhaps there is a sixth sense shared among NPDers?

This whole thing has caused me to pause and see how I have often times lashed out at people who had done nothing wrong simply because I needed a place to vent my frustations. It never occured to me at the time these other people might have feelings and not appreciate being a release valve for my anger. Its not I see myself as a victim of my brother in law's behavior, but I did experience my own emotions which did not feel good. So I see a little clearer how some of these people who had never done anything to me might have felt when I blew off some steam in their direction. One of the questions I was asking myself was, "What the f--k just happened here?" I have the impression that many people have had the same thought after dealing with me. Something to contemplate as I continue this big adventure we call life.




---
Instead of quoting the Budda, be the Budda, be "the awakened one," which is what the word budda means.

Eckhart Tolle, "The Power of Now"

 
 
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