"Pray, pray, pray" a guest contributor shares watching her daughter in a difficult relationship
Today’s guest shares an important perspective for those of you who have loved ones in relationships with an addict or narcissist. Certainly she is not alone in her experience of supporting her daughter throughout her hard marriage. This writer's story is the inspiration behind the Bystander Basics class.
"The first thing to know is you will be hurt. The second thing to know is that you will cause hurt. And the final thing to know is that you both love each other very much and no matter what, you are there for each other. The closer you are, the more hurt will occur. Watching someone involved with a narcissist is one of the most painful, frightening experiences you may have. And most times, all you will be able to do is pray.
The first behavior my husband and I noticed that was odd was the couple would be unable to attend social gatherings. When the couple went on a picnic instead of a service project, we began to wonder. The second thing we noticed was our daughter was unable to make a decision for the couple on her own. The simplest of requests would be the catalyst of a 20 minute heated discussion between her and her husband. And finally, when it had become obvious that he was isolating her from everyone, we became terrified for her safety.
Wanting to be supportive of him and their relationship, we spent 10 years trying to help him (emotionally and financially) If he just had a decent job option . . . If he just had schooling . . . If he was doing something he wanted . . . If he were to see a doctor . . . If he takes his medication . . . If he spent time with my husband learning how to be a husband . . . If he spent time with our son perhaps he would learn . . .If, if, if . . . But we had to realize that we could not fix him. We could not take that step for him. He would have to decide to move forward.
What we found was that when with us, he was the model son-in-law. But away from us, he verbally abused our daughter to the point that she was emotionally bruised. If we asked about him, she was defensive. If we didn’t ask about him, she was defensive. Gratefully, she would talk with a sister-in-law. So we would call the sister-in-law to check on her. Her husband continued to isolate her. If I asked if they could come to an activity, the answer would be no. If my husband asked, the answer would be yes. If I went somewhere with my daughter, her husband would call her repeatedly while we were together. Often he would put her in a position where she would be forced to hurt us or hurt him. We tried to make sure that we were not the instigator of such situations. Our concerns reached a point, I went to her house and asked her if she wanted to come home with me that very night. My husband and I even went to their marriage counselor with our concerns. But we had to realize we could not get our daughter out of this situation. She would have to take that step.
So my advice. If they talk, listen, listen, listen. If they are forced to hurt you, forgive, forgive, forgive. Never, no matter the provocation, go away. You are the safe place. So take care of yourself. And finally pray, pray, pray. So when either he or she is ready to move forward, you are there."
If you have found yourself in a similar situation, know you are not alone. Statistics show one in four men identify having a pornography addiction and one in six women - that means as many as 25% of marriages leave the parents of those couples with fear and uncertainty. The Bystander Basics class is a great option for you. Reach out and get the support you need firstname.lastname@example.org