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  • #374362
    Bob256
    Participant

    The past few years of my life have been a downward spiral:

    1. I developed a chronic condition similar to chronic fatigue syndrome.
    2. Many family members had medical emergencies, and my eldest cousin died.
    3. I became more interested in fitness and health and lost over 60 pounds, which was stressful.
    4. As coronavirus hit, my family has fractured.

    Currently, I’m working on applying for colleges and starting my life but here’s the story. When I was born, both my mom and dad were not married are were dating at the time. However, they separated, and my childhood was filled with arguing court battles, and stress. Over the years, the time I spent with my dad dwindled to almost zero as I became a young teenager, and I spent most of my time with my mom. However, my grandmother, from the beginning, seems to be in control of everything my mother did. I am talking from what she said, how she raised me, and every aspect of her life even up to this day. In school, I never really had any close friends, but the bond between my grandmother and I was strong. I loved her deeply, and I still do. However, everything changed last November and revealed things I had been blinded to.

    My mom and dad have always had problems with each other, but I felt I was brainwashed to hate my dad. Even to this day, I can’t really talk to him about things going on in my life. I know both of my parents, in the end, care for me, and I am lucky to grow up in two “stable households”, and am grateful to be in an upper-middle-class family. However, November 2019 I met a girl, and we clicked instantly. This was when everything changed. My grandmother and my mother went absurd. I never anticipated this. My grandmother lives with my mom due to health issues. And at the time, I lived with my mom. I was harassed, they both said rude comments about the girl I was interested in, and constant arguments happened for months. In March, my mental health was declining, and my physical health was too. I decided to go live with my dad for a while. For months I did not have any contact with my mother or grandmother. At my dad’s, I was able to focus on my mental and physical health. I began to exercise more, read, concentrate on school and college searching, and not once did I feel he was stressed or rude towards me. My dad has done things in the past I disagree with, but I realize now I was told lies about him. For example, my grandmother and mother always put down my dreams. I hope to major in economics or mathematics, a field I love, and I’m aspiring to go to my dream school for graduate school. However, they both told me I need to give it up and continuously put my goals down. On the other hand, my dad continually tells me “Focus on your goals; I don’t care about the money we can work that out, work hard, apply to your dream schools, and keep up your grades.”

    My goal was to restore the relationship I had with my mom’s family. I deeply care for them. I did said things to them that was hurtful after months of harassment, but I took months, reflected on my comments, began to meditate, and I apologized to them. I truly feel that I have grown after the past year I’ve been with my dad and I was hoping to become a better person. However, I have seen no improvement on their part, and they refuse to apologize to me. I feel like I have exhausted every attempt to heal with them.

    My mental health is again declining from the stress this has put on me. I would do anything to have the happiness I had when I was little with my mom. I miss the time we spent together, close pets I have not seen in a while, and other small aspects. Sometimes the stress gets so bad that I dream about it, wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get any sleep.

    I’m lost at what to do now. I worry that my mental health will be at severe risk if I visit them more. Hopefully, I will be going off to college soon and plan on getting back into the gym and getting involved in more things. I don’t want to cut my mom and her family out of my life, but I feel its increasingly heading towards that.

    #374432
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Bob256:

    I will read and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 12 hours from now.

    anita

    #374436
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Bob256:

    First, I will retell what  you shared, with quotes, second- my comments. You shared that your parents were never married, and later separated. They “always had problems with each other”, and your childhood “was filled with arguing, court battles, and stress” while you lived in “two ‘stable households'”, mostly with your mother, and from one point on, with your  grandmother as well,  “in an upper-middle-class family”.

    Your grandmother dominated your mother, being “in control of everything my mother did.. what she said, how she raised me, and every aspect of her life, even up to this day”.

    When you met and clicked instantly with a girl, November 2019, your grandmother and mother harassed you and made rude comments about your love interest, “constant arguments happened for months”, and you “said things to them that was hurtful after months of harassment”. Your mental and physical health was declining, having gained excess weight and developed “a chronic condition similar to chronic fatigue syndrome”, and you decided to live with your father for a while.

    For months at your father’s, you had no contact with your mother and grandmother, you “began to exercise more, read, concentrate on school and college searching, and not once did I feel he was stressed or rude towards me”, you lost a lot of weight, and you now you realize that your grandmother and mother brainwashed you against your father, having told you lies about him.

    Your grandmother and mother discouraged you from pursuing your dream of majoring in economics and mathematics and later applying to your dream school for a graduate degree, “continuously put my goals down”, wanting you to pursue a path that will make you more money, while your father encourages you to pursue your dream, telling you: “I don’t care about money we can work that out, work hard, apply to your dream schools”.

    Your health at your father’s home improved, but you decided to “restore the relationship I had with my mom’s family”, you apologized to them for the hurtful things you said, but “no improvement on their part, and they refuse to apologize to me. I feel like I have exhausted every attempt to heal with them”.

    Currently, while you are “working on applying for colleges and starting my life”, your “mental health is again declining from the stress this has put on me”. You are conflicted: on one hand, your grandmother and mother are bad for your health (“I worry that my mental health will be at severe risk if I visit them more”), and on the other hand, you “would do anything to have the happiness I had when I was little with my mom. I miss the time we spent together.. I don’t want to cut my mom and her family out of my life”.

    My comments: (1) the happiness you had when you were little- you can’t get it back. A big part of that happiness has to do with having been a young child whose world is magical. In a young child’s mind everything is possible, the sky is the limit. What appears trivial to you as an adult, appeared magical back when you were a young child. You can’t get that young-child magical brain back, therefore you can’t get that happiness back.

    (2) Your grandmother controlled your mother, probably never apologized for it. I assume your mother rebelled against her controlling mother once in a while, and there was tension and arguments between the two. And yet, your mother wants to control what career path you take and what girl you should date (and she did not apologize to you just like her mother did not apologize to her).  I suppose she is keeping the family tradition of controlling a child into adulthood. I figure that just as your grandmother did not change her controlling, argumentative behaviors with your mother, your mother is not likely to change her controlling and argumentative behaviors with you.

    (3) You closed your original post with: “I don’t want to cut my mom and her family out of my life, but I feel it’s increasingly heading towards that”- I think that it better head toward that, so that your health improves and you can re-start your adult life healthier. Better choose your health over nostalgia (nostalgia= a state of longingly remembering and wanting back the lost happiness of earlier childhood, a happiness an adult cannot possibly get back).

    anita

    #374846
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Bob256,

    It seems last year’s been a big journey of growth and self-awareness for you, and you’re seeing things much more clearly than before. It does seem like your mother and grandmother don’t have a good effect on you, since they probably have expectations from you and can’t accept you as an independent person with your own goals and dreams. Your father on the other hand seems to support you in going after your dreams and is willing to help you pay for the college. That’s excellent!

    I agree with anita – if your mother and grandmother aren’t open to repairing the relationship, and are only willing to accept you on their own terms, it’s better to stay away. I understand it hurts to keep a distance, because you love them both, but if you cannot be yourself around them and they don’t respect your choices, you have to protect yourself. Because as you said, being around them affects your mental health.

    Perhaps you need to grieve the loss of the close relationship from your early childhood, grieve all the pleasant moments you had with your mom and granny. And then let go, because now, this closeness isn’t possible any more, because they don’t accept you for who you are. You can still love them and have gentle feelings for them, but at the same time, keep your boundaries and don’t allow them to disrespect you. So you keep an open heart, but you’re also prepared to protect yourself from harm.

    It’s good that you’re going away to college because that will make it easier for you to stay physically separated, and yet in touch with them from time to time, if you choose so.

    Good luck and stay strong!

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