March 17, 2018 at 10:01 am #197815
I haven't posted yet and would love your input or outside wisdom. I am having trouble feeling good enough without family support. I lost my mom 11 years ago to suicide so my dad, who was basically always busy, had to care for my 2 siblings and I. I am the oldest so a lot of times I felt it was my responsibility to care for everyone. Now that we are all grown up and are on our own (no one lives at home anymore) it feels like I don't even have a family.
Both of my siblings moved out of state and my dad is still busy with his own life (he doesn't ever reach out). Ive tried to reach out several times and talk but it seems it gets nowhere. Unfortunately it seems like I am the only one who cares and who is even upset about this. It is making me feel worthless and unsure what to do next. I feel like its hard to have self esteem when the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally barely speak to each other. I feel alienated from my friends who are close with their family. Has anyone else gone through dealing with a family that is not close? I am in counseling as well which does help.
Thank you so much for readingMarch 17, 2018 at 11:00 am #197833
I have experience with “the people who are supposed to love (me) unconditionally” and who do not… love me unconditionally.
My mother would have loved me if her condition was met, which was that I was born not a baby, but an adult who was financially secure, well mannered, a great sense of fashion, one who would never disagree with her and would never say or do anything that she disapproved of. Then she would have loved me, then she would have valued me as someone who can do something for her, someone who she could look up to.
This is my experience. But yours is different. If you would like to share more, about your mother's suicide, if you are able and willing to share, please do. It reads like an event that followed and was followed by a lot of significant causes and consequences.
anitaMarch 17, 2018 at 11:11 am #197835
I have dealt with that trauma but in my mind what was ‘supposed' to happen after a loss is the opposite of what happened. No one came together to support eachother- it just drew a wedge in between everyone. Even went their own ways and distance grew. It seems like when I express my emotions it upsets people because they would rather sweep everything under the rug.
I can relate to what you say because we all ‘get along' if everyone does what they are supposed to do and no one makes a fuss. If anyone rocks the boat or expresses real human emotion that is inconvenient and does not work.
I have tried many times to bring us together, as the oldest I try to fix everything, which ends up blowing up in my face. The part now I am having difficulty with is ACCEPTING the reality of the situation. How did you accept this relationship with your mother? I cannot change it or make people care that dont.
Thanks for your response.March 17, 2018 at 11:26 am #197841
You are welcome. It reads to me that you have a good understanding of the situation and what motivates everyone. Your father and siblings don't want closeness because it requires what is under the carpet to be exposed and examined. They don't want to do that. You want closeness and willing to examine what is under the carpet. Only you are alone in this quest.
I have tried for many, many years to fix my mother, to achieve closeness with her.. I tried even when I didn't know I was trying. All in vain. After decades I realized that indeed all was in vain, all my efforts, my time, my energy, the loss of my youth, the loss of experiences I didn't have and wished I did.. because I was busy with attempting the impossible, again and again… and yet again.
I no longer have any contact with my mother. Seeing her or hearing her voice was enough to trigger my acute distress and so, I had to cut contact with her so to begin my healing process. I have some contact with my sister but not deep communication because although she is nice to me, she still is very much under my mother's spell, not able or willing to face what is under that carpet, figuratively.
If you find a person who is compatible with you, able and willing to examine what is difficult to look at, a person who values what you value, then you will have a meeting of the minds and hearts with that one person. A genetic link is not necessary.
anitaMarch 17, 2018 at 11:40 am #197847
It is interesting you say you cut contact because I have recently done that as well. I felt like all my attempts got nowhere and I couldnt take it anymore. My father has always been preoccupied with his own life and I could never understand it. I also, like you, broke my heart over and over trying to understand – because I wanted closeness to my family (still want). They also all have significant others- and I do not, so that makes it incredibly alienating as well. Luckily I have great friends but most are married and have families of their own.
When I was younger I kept myself constantly distracted so I didnt have to acknowledge the dysfunction- but now through healing and working on growth and introspection I do feel better but also I feel incredibly alone. I guess it is comforting hearing you say that it helped you find peace and move on by doing that. I guess I feel guiltyMarch 17, 2018 at 11:55 am #197853
Your last word in your recent post is guilty. I have decades of guilt torture behind me. My guilt started early on and persisted. I know guilt too well. The guilt I know is based on incorrect thinking, thinking not congruent with reality, but it was painful nonetheless, as if it was based on reality.
I believed that I was responsible for my mother's pain and it was my job to undo the damage I believed I caused her, hence the fix-her compulsion. I didn't understand that her pain was not caused by me, that she experienced her pain before I ever came into her life. I didn't understand that in the context of she and I, it is she who damaged me.
anitaMarch 18, 2018 at 4:57 am #197895
In my last post to you I responded only to one word in your last post. I want to respond to the rest of your recent post.
You wrote: “When I was younger I kept myself constantly distracted so I didn't have to acknowledge the dysfunction”.
You also wrote: “The part now I am having difficulty with is ACCEPTING the reality of the situation.”
Notice this: just as you kept yourself constantly distracted so you “didn't have to acknowledge the dysfunction”, your father and siblings too (perhaps siblings to a lesser extent than your father) are keeping themselves constantly distracted so that they don't have to acknowledge the dysfunction.
And this is part of the reality that you may not be adequately aware of: they are motivated to stay away from emotional pain by keeping themselves distracted and engaged in life otherwise. Staying away from pain is any animal's instinct, reliable. You can't undo their instinct to avoid pain. It is also possible that if closeness with your family materialized, you would withdraw from it yourself.
anitaMarch 18, 2018 at 5:58 am #197909
I am the only one who has really gone to counseling and self reflected so now after doing the ‘hard work' I feel like I could have an authentic connection. The problem is that no one else wants that or wants to face their problems. A dysfunctional family pretends problems dont exist. So I guess in this thread I wanted to see how others accepted their dysfunctional families. As you said you chose to move on but struggled with some guilt. I wonder why we do that to ourselves? Moving on makes me feel guilty, but also trying to make people change is impossible.March 18, 2018 at 6:28 am #197913
I understand that you are the only one in your family to be doing the hard work that you are doing. Thing is, there is more hard work to be done and … you are doing it. You are in that long, long difficult process. It takes a long, difficult process to heal.
You wrote that you wonder “why we do that to ourselves?”- why still trying to make people change, which is impossible.
My answer: because we believe deep inside, and have believed for many years, that the way for us to move on is to first change these people in our original family. We don't believe, deep inside, that it is possible to move on before these people are changed.
The reason for this core belief is that for a child, it is reality: the child needs the parent/s to be okay so to be fed, sheltered, etc., just like the young of other animals. This is why we as children focus on the well being of our parents, if they are struggling, and as adults, we still do. We don't realize that we no longer depend on parents for our survival.
March 18, 2018 at 6:38 am #197917
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by anita.
* One more part to my answer: children automatically feel responsible for a parent who is struggling, believing it is a wrongness in them that is the cause to a parent's struggle, so we get busy trying to correct that wrongness and make up to the parent for the perceived wrongness.
The reasoning behind this is that when a child takes responsibility (for what he or she is not responsible for), she then believes that there is something she can do to change a dangerous situation, to make it safer.
If the child believed there was nothing she could do, then there is no hope for changing a dangerous situation and making it safe. Such hopelessness cannot be endured by the child.
anitaMarch 19, 2018 at 5:23 am #198049
Sometimes I have feelings of acceptance over this situation and then all of a sudden my anxiety comes out of nowhere and I get worried and feel guilty. Do you feel like this ever? how do you deal with those feelings? Today I am feeling really bad about itMarch 19, 2018 at 7:21 am #198069
I don't feel guilty anymore. I still feel fearful sometimes, only a moment ago I did. I looked at your three line post and for a moment I feared aggression there, against me, some type of criticism. You gave me no reason to fear you. The fear exists in my brain before I knew of your existence, of course. It is decades old, the fear of my mother expressing aggression toward me, as she has done many thousands of times. This old fear, registered in my brain, got activated a moment ago.
What do I do with fear? I notice it and stay with it for a moment, not rushing to escape it.
This one sentence I wrote above takes months and years, in my case, to put into practice. It takes more to do this very day, for me. Here is the fear- notice- stay. Stay. When you stay still for a moment, after that initial spike of fear, it doesn't feel like fear anymore. It passes on. It doesn't stay… if you stay with it.
Tell me more about your guilt, will you?