Advice on narcissists
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An_239572 posted:
My boyfriend had no emotional boundaries with his mother when we met. Over time he established some healthy ones - not calling constantly, independent (as well as family) vacations, living 5 hours away, visiting less often, etc. Yet, he never stood up for me when she's belittled, insulted, and threatened me. I stood up for myself and her negative and aggressive behavior towards me subsided. I had thought we'd all reached an understanding and everything was ok. I recently got a great job, and he and I had discussed getting married and having kids.

I just learned that she more or less forced him to co-sign the refinanced mortgage on her house and that she's put him on the hook for other financial responsibilities. (Sign it or your parents lose their home and you lose your inheritance.) All of this is in an effort to keep him under her emotional and financial control, even though now he bears the responsibility but little of the decision-making power.

I feel like I've been drop-kicked. He didn't consult me, and clearly our relationship would never have worked due to that alone. I'm struggling to disentangle him from my life and find a new apartment. Luckily I have a great job and good friends. Please tell me that the next time I put my heart on the line that I won't have some awful potential mother-in-law crush my hopes and dreams by refusing to let her son go. I also know to run away screaming from a guy who has no true boundaries with his mother at the age of 34.

I'm trying to process all of this, but it's really a struggle and I still feel raw. Most of my family and friends have said that it's far better to get out of this situation now than to have gone any further. And I know they're right. It's still just a painful experience.
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cjpxx responded:
This sounds like a classic case of a man who hasn't figured out how to make his own decisions and put God first, and his wife second.

First thing you will have to understand - and I hate saying this - is that you can't make him. There's nothing you're going to be able to do that's going to change him without the power of the Holy Spirit really working something drastic in your lives. And that hasn't happened yet. Sounds like you have kids? This isn't good. But what you can do is control what you do and what you say. Chances are, this man loves you a lot more than you think he does. Just because he doesn't put you first doesn't mean he doesn't think he puts you first, and even if he knows he doesn't, it doesn't mean he doesn't love you romantically more than any other person he's ever loved. So you've done the right thing. You are reaching out for help.

1. Is he willing to get help with you? Could the two of you visit a faith based or a Christian counselor until you can work through this? I believe it's not good to visit a counselor without him. Of course, at times, you will need to - but in my opinion, anyone who counsels without hearing the other 1/2 of the story is a bad counselor and shouldn't be in practice. Relationship counseling needs to be a joint effort. To get him to go, you need to present it as something positive. Something fun. Something like a date. Maybe bargain with sex or dates. It is fun because it helps you grow together! And you have to have that mindset. Really watch what you say and don't present it as, "You are doing this, and I want to go see a counselor" because that can come off as attacking. You have to present it as, "I love you and I really would like us to do this together because it will help us grow together and be better people individually also, and I believe that counseling is something everybody needs and the people that are prideful and weak maybe have a problem with it, but people that are strong and that want to work on problems and fix them and have a good life go fix them just like sometimes people avoid the doctor because they don't want to be told not to smoke cigarettes anymore or not to overeat anymore, but people that want to be healthy and have a good life go to the doctor when they need to".

It sounds to me like you think he has established some healthy boundaries when all reality is he really hasn't. He is fooling himself and you, because look at the boundaries you are listing. They are "Take him away from his family, take him away from his family, take him away from his family"... Living 5 hours away isn't a boundary that is necessary for a man to put his wife first and make decisions about finances and your personal life with you. A man can live right next door to his parents and still put his wife first in everything, and make his decisions with his wife, taking the opinion of his parents into consideration in a healthy way.

Look at this from his mother's point of view. Does she feel like you are trying to pull him away from his family? She might, even if she says differently. So that's going to influence her behavior a great deal. If she has belittled you, insulted you, or threatened you - that's a sign that she feels as though you are a threat. Why? Because you are taking her son away form her.

"A man shall leave his mother and cling to his wife" does not mean a man shall destroy the stability of the relationship he once had with his mother because he has a wife. The mother is on the outside, and she's probably doing the best she knows. And regardless of if she does things the right way or not, that is not where the problem lies. Your husband is a grown man, and he's certainly not acting like one. That's the problem! Not her. So when he doesn't defend you, that's all that surprising. Why would he? It's his fault, so to defend you he has to first realize what he's doing. And he's not strong enough emotionally to realize what it
 
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cjpxx responded:
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means to be your first, so why would he be strong enough to defend you? And certainly if he did defend you, it's going to be in the right way, anyway. Defending you is not the root of the problem, because he has to grow a set and be a godly man and put his pride aside and put his defenses down and .. and... and... before he's going to defend you in a way that's not hurtful to his relationship and your relationship with his mom. And if you don't care about if it is hurtful to her, then you have all that growing to do also.

"I stood up for myself" - and you thought it was fine. No, no, no! It will be better... maybe... but if your husband isn't with you, then that's never going to work the right way either. Because it's his family. When you find yourself having to stand up for yourself - again... the problem is NOT with the mother! Though you may find yourself maybe even despising her or the family... that's you fooling yourself into thinking it's them. It's not them. It's him. And every time you stand up for yourself, it's because he has chosen to be a coward and go stick his head in the sand.

"She forced him to...." No no... again. she doesn't force him to do anything. She raised him. He turned 18. He is married now. If he's old enough to be married, and old enough to have kids, then he's old enough to be a man. No one forces him to co-sign on a mortgage. He did that because he loves his mother and she needed a co-signer. And frankly, if a mother needs a co-signer, the son should step up and co-sign. But you are viewing him taking care of her as a threat to you. This goes back to your relationship with her. It's not good! She sees you as a threat. You see her as a threat. And what's the problem here? Is it that both of you women are just crazy and don't know how to get a long or is it that he doesn't communicate well either one of you or is it that you don't feel like the wife or is it a serious of many things? You should feel glad to co-sign for her, unless she's not going to pay her bills and unless you and he can not afford a decision like that in order to make it... but how many things did she do for him? At some point, it flips, where the kids take care of their parents. And if you view that as a threat to you, then you've got another problem. Because it should be a joy to take care of your parents. He won't have his mother around for forever. My parents don't need anything yet from me, and I kinda wish they did. Although if they did, it would be more depressing, because they're already in their sixties. Soon, they will need stuff from me. I may have to buy a car for my mom or help with payments on this or that. That's what family is. And a family taking care of each other perfectly would look more like everyone's money pulled together, and the bills paid in order of the highest need first. Unfortunately, we don't do that because it would never work out. There are too many people that make too many terrible financial decisions for that to work, and we have this freedom to go ahead and go more individualistic and say to our siblings, "Sorry! You don't have money because you make these decisions". But when he does help out his family, it should not feel like a threat.

Maybe he doesn't consult you because he feels like you're just going to get angry with him. Remember, he's a coward! So until he grows up, you have no choice but to be gentle in the way you speak. If you're not, he's just going to shut you out. But you can gently communicate some of these things to him. You must:

1. Be careful not to attack his manhood. Don't say things like "Could you grow up?" or "Could you grow a pair?" That will get you nowhere

2. Take the blame when you're to blame! Say the words, "I'm sorry", and put your pride aside for the sake of your kids so that you can find better ways to communicate with him.

3. Know what you can and can't control

4. Realize all these problems connect
 
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cjpxx responded:
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5. You can NOT blame your relationship problems on the mother-in-law. Have you ever heard that song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcFkUHvlf5A Guess what???? That song is out there because what you are experiencing has been experienced by others before. And if you feel that way, you should be able to communicate to your husband about that. But it sounds like your communication is lacking a mutual respect for each other. That's huge! And a reason marriages fail. But maybe leave for a while first, and see what happens. Only you know if you have to get out or not, but you are getting out before you understand fully what the problem is and before he understands, also. That doesn't seem like it's going to change easily if neither one of you understand what to do or how to fix it, but at the same time, you have to know why it didn't work. He's not putting God first, he's not praying with you, and/or he's not putting you second. Family comes what? Third? That's the problem. A mother can not refuse to let her son go. That's not how it works. A mother can refuse, but how it happens is that the child turns that relationship into friendship, slowly, gradually, and in a healthy way, as they grow up and become their own person. But he's not the only man at age 34 who hasn't yet figured this out. You might need to think about if you love him, and if you think you guys are compatible, or if you know that you have to get out. Because you will be attracted to someone else, and they likely won't be 22. They will be 34 or older, and they will also be set in their ways. Maybe it won't be the problem of him not putting you first. Maybe it will be something else. But there will be problems. Marriage is a serious of problems. What you need to figure out might be things that are more solid. Does he represent "love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not self seeking. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Love does not delight in itself. Love rejoices with the truth. Love never fails" better than you do? Is he loving you? Does he help you get to heaven? Is he trying to make it work? Have you even tried to say, "You don't put me first?"

Have you said that over and over till you're a broken record, and nothing has changed, or have you said that, and you do see him trying, and you do see him changing. Even if he hasn't yet figured out how to, he's trying.

Most of your family and friends are going to take your side. Remember, only you know.

Try buying this book for him before you leave the house.

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Praying%C2%AE-Husband-Prayer-Praying/dp/0736919791/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370373081&sr=1-3&keywords=power of a praying husband

Listen to this with him, not separately:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-MYXZEc8sY

Notice his reaction. You will know. But don't think that this is somebody else. A relationship is 50/50. This is you and him. Not his mother. Not anyone else. You and him. And if it doesn't work, that's because of you and him. 50/50. Be strong. Don't be afraid to go ahead and move into an apartment if you have to catch his attention. And you will see his reaction, but you have to make it clear to him that he's not putting you first, what that means, and how he's supposed to do that. And you have to figure out yourself what that means and how he's supposed to do that because you seem to think that moving does it, and it doesn't. Some of these other things that you think does it, they don't. He can completely "divorce" his family for you, and it would bring nothing but problems for the two of you. He can never speak to his mother again, and it would not fix anything. it would not make him put you first. He is either going to do that or he's not, but right now, neither one of you seem to know that that's where the issue really is.
 
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cjpxx responded:
The words of Jesus in Matthew 19 talk about how from the very beginning, it was this way - that a man should not divorce his wife. Also - that a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. Then Jesus says that Moses permitted divorce but that man who divorces except because of marital unfaithfulness commits adultery. And that any man who can not divorce should not divorce but not everyone can accept this. Those who can should.



The way I read that is - if a man is abusive to you - actually abusive where he is physically harming you or you are scared he might kill you - then I think you don't have to accept that word. There are situations when a woman needs out. But all these reasons why people get divorced aren't permitted by the words of Jesus Christ. Divorce happens over a lack of money, too much arguing, a man hits a woman once, a man is impossible to live with and the woman is not happy, etc. etc. etc.


"no emotional boundaries with his mother" - what do you mean by this? i think he should be able to call his mom as much as he wants. Every day if he wants to. That's good. Not making independent decisions is different. Visiting a lot is good. But if he were to lie to you in order to go visit his family, then you've got the problem of him knowing that you're trying to take him away from his family.



"she's belittled, insulted, and threatened me." - why did you marry him, then?



"I stood up for myself" - I would think this would only cause problems but it seems like it helped, so that's awesome! Good job!



"she more or less forced him to co-sign the refinanced mortgage" - she didn't force him to do anything. That is just an excuse. If he's a man, nobody forces him to do anything.



"put him on the hook for other financial responsibilities" - you're listening to his excuses. If he owes her money, he should help her



"Please tell me that the next time I put my heart on the line that I won't have some awful potential mother-in-law crush my hopes and dreams by refusing to let her son go. I also know to run away screaming from a guy who has no true boundaries with his mother at the age of 34. " - so you left him over it, which in my opinion is wrong. You don't divorce over that.