Home→Forums→Tough Times→How to move on from guilt/family obligations?
- This topic has 25 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Tee.
December 31, 2022 at 8:07 am #412907
I put myself in a horrible position due to generations of passed down guilt. I’m now stuck being the sole friend/companion/emotional support/aid to my mum, who is the sole caregiver of my old, disabled gram and sickly, ailing father. I’m so resentful of others my age living their lives, as they should (I just turned 30).
There are no other family members to help. My younger brother died in an accident years ago. She can’t afford to put either of them in a nursing home, and bringing in outside help is just as expensive.
My friends say these aren’t my responsibilities, just move away and live my life. But they don’t get it. If I moved away, all I’d feel is guilt, knowing my mum is all alone. I wouldn’t be able to be happy knowing she’s now suffering with all this burden. Plus, I’m sure she’d still be calling me and telling me all the problems, so I wouldn’t really be getting away from it anyway. She says she wants me to live my life, but at the same time she’s so dependent on me.
I had a chance at having my own life, with a man I really loved years ago, but my family kept me away from him. Now he’s married. How do I move past the resentment that they kept me (and continue keeping me) from a happy, normal life of my own? My life is just such a sad existence of going to work, dealing with them, and being too exhausted for much else.December 31, 2022 at 9:10 am #412913AnonymousGuest
I relate to you not having your own life to live, but instead, living for the sake of someone else’s life and doing so because of guilt. You used the word Lost, in your screen name. I used to think of my life as Stolen: stolen by guilt, guilt perpetuated by my mother. She robbed me of my life and the weapon she used in the robbery was Guilt. Guilt with a capital G. The ways that my mother instilled this Guilt in me were probably different from the ways your mother did, and my mother’s motivation was probably different from yours. But the result is the same: lost/ stolen lives, to a large extent.
If you look at the bigger picture of your circumstances, there are 4 people involved: an old, disabled elderly woman, an ailing middle-aged man, a suffering middle-aged woman, and a suffering younger woman (30). Who is the Winner in this picture?
I am asking because I want to have a conversation with you, Lost1Flow- hoping that a conversation will help you find a way to move forward from this very difficult dilemma.
anitaDecember 31, 2022 at 9:57 am #412917
Thank you for your reply. I’m so sorry you’ve dealt with so much with your mom as well. How did you move forward? I’d so appreciate hearing how someone else dealt with the G, so well put!!
I’m not sure I understand your question? “Who is the Winner”? I don’t see anyone as a winner in my current situation. Am I just feeling sorry for myself, is that the underlying suggestion? I’m still ahead as the winner because I have my youth? I know the elders need my support. I am trying best I can. It’s just been years already and who knows how much longer. It’s just so hard to see my peers all living a very different existence, and as much as I try to stop comparing, it’s very hard. I didn’t mention before I have a lot of health problems, which maybe would be limiting my full potential of life anyway.
Thank you again for your reply.December 31, 2022 at 10:20 am #412922AnonymousGuest
You are welcome, and thank you!
“I’m not sure I understand your question? ‘Who is the Winner’? I don’t see anyone as a winner in my current situation. Am I just feeling sorry for myself, is that the underlying suggestion?“- no, not at all, this was far from what I had in mind when asking this question. What I had in mind was to move toward the possibility that your life has been sacrificed so far supposedly for the well-being of others… but there is no well-being for the others: they are still suffering… so what is really the value of your sacrifice? Maybe there is another alternative which would mean that the others’ suffering will be minimized but not at the cost of your life.
“I’m still ahead as the winner because I have my youth?“- no, you are the winner; you are the loser because you already lost all of your 20s and your teenage years before that.. and the sacrifice of your 30s is next, if there is no change in the situation.
“I have a lot of health problems, which maybe would be limiting my full potential of life anyway“- what are these health problems, if I may ask?
You asked me in the beginning of your recent post: “How did you move forward?“- it’s a long story that will take more than one post to answer, but I’ll tell you this, for now: first, I wish I moved forward many years before I actually did (and I wish that you will move forward way sooner than I did); second: I literally left my mother and country, moved continents and oceans away.. felt an intoxicating freedom at first, but too soon, the Guilt took over (just like you suspect it will in your case, if and when you move on). Freedom from Guilt took way more time and way more work than crossing those physical continents and oceans!
anitaDecember 31, 2022 at 11:31 am #412933
Kudos to your bravery in making such a big move and change! That is inspiring.
You are very right that perhaps all of this effort and lost/lives is in vain if the situation really is not improved with my presence anyway. I feel it must be helping in some way being a partial caregiver than not at all though… but at what cost, as you pointed out? I really wish there was some other alternative I have not thought of.
In terms of health, my largest issue is chronic pain, which often leads to chronic fatigue due to lost sleep/insomnia. I’ve tried meditation, therapy, journaling, exercise, yoga, holistic meds, conventional meds. I really thought some of the former would also help open my mind to alternative solutions here.
What processes/tools did you use to work through your personal challenges with moving and dealing with guilt? Perhaps there is something else I haven’t tried…
Thank you 🙂December 31, 2022 at 11:41 am #412938AnonymousGuest
I will reply to you, Lost1Flow, in about an hour, or less.
anitaDecember 31, 2022 at 12:33 pm #412944AnonymousGuest
Thank you! “I feel it must be helping in some way being a partial caregiver than not at all though… I really wish there was some other alternative I have not thought of“-possibly, a person in a situation similar to yours, can be helping a lot more from afar: let’s say, living in another country and making enough money to send to your mother, money that can buy her more help than what you are giving her in-person. Imagine your mother managing her responsibilities on her own for a year but then being rewarded with large cash transfers. I am saying that it is possible for some people, in some situations to make this happen.
“In terms of health, my largest issue is chronic pain, which often leads to chronic fatigue due to lost sleep/insomnia. I’ve tried meditation, therapy, journaling, exercise, yoga, holistic meds, conventional meds. I really thought some of the former would also help open my mind to alternative solutions here“- I wonder if Guilt expresses itself in the form of your chronic pain, and if resolving your Guilt will also resolve some, much or all of your chronic pain.
“What processes/tools did you use to work through your personal challenges with moving and dealing with guilt? Perhaps there is something else I haven’t tried“- Guilt is so difficult to resolve that whatever you try, will not result in the disappearing of Guilt. So, you have to take the realistic, long-term approach. I am guessing that with the right approach and hard work, it will take you a couple of years to significantly lessen Guilt on a regular, continuous basis (beyond a temporary relief from guilt here and there).
If you would like, for the purpose of my understanding of your personal guilt, you can tell me what you meant by “generations of passed down guilt” (in your original post), and how your Guilt started, in what circumstances and at what age.
anitaDecember 31, 2022 at 1:03 pm #412945
Thank you, Anita. You’ve given me a lot to think about and some hope 🙂 Very thankful!December 31, 2022 at 1:10 pm #412946AnonymousGuest
Dear Lost1Flow: You are welcome! Post again anytime, and I will reply. Happy New Year!
anitaJanuary 1, 2023 at 4:18 am #412986
Thank you, and Happy New Year! May it be filled with endless positive possibilities for you and for all 🙂January 1, 2023 at 6:55 am #412989AnonymousGuest
Thank you, Lost1Flow, may you… Find your Flow this year!
anitaJanuary 1, 2023 at 7:26 am #412990TeeParticipant
I’d like to address something you’ve said about your family:
I had a chance at having my own life, with a man I really loved years ago, but my family kept me away from him. Now he’s married. How do I move past the resentment that they kept me (and continue keeping me) from a happy, normal life of my own?
Your family prevented you from building a life with the man you really loved. Since you feel resentment towards them, it tells me they have wronged you. Because he wasn’t a bad person, was he? You could have been happy with him, or at least you could have tried. But your family somehow convinced you to forego that marriage and stay with them, perhaps so you can take care of them?
Your mother says she wants the best for you:
She says she wants me to live my life, but at the same time she’s so dependent on me.
But let me ask you something: when you wanted to marry the man you loved, how supportive was she of that?January 1, 2023 at 11:50 am #413003
Thank you, going to try to start the year on a positive note!
It was complicated with him. We had problems, but we were both very young. She always thought I deserved someone who “treated me better”, but I honestly was happy enough. I knew no relationship was perfect. I think she was jealous that he was taking away my time from her, which I only really realized when I was away from it.
She has been a good mother me, though. I’m painting a terribly one-sided picture. I know she made sacrifices for me growing up. But it’s definitely a case of the lost/lives for her as well.January 1, 2023 at 12:35 pm #413018TeeParticipant
you’re welcome, and happy New Year to you!
She always thought I deserved someone who “treated me better”, but I honestly was happy enough. … I think she was jealous that he was taking away my time from her, which I only really realized when I was away from it.
It does seem your mother wasn’t motivated only by her concern for you and your well-being, but also by her self-interest to have you near her, being completely dedicated to her.
You say that you are her “sole friend/companion/emotional support/aid” – which means you are meeting all of her emotional needs. No wonder she wants to keep you just for herself.
But that’s pretty selfish of her. When she says she wants you to live your life, I don’t think she is really honest about it. Because if you lived your own life, cared about your own needs and even had someone else in your life – you wouldn’t be able to care for her so much, and be her emotional crutch.
She has been a good mother me, though. I’m painting a terribly one-sided picture. I know she made sacrifices for me growing up
Maybe she did make sacrifices for you, but now she is asking you to sacrifice your life for her. Good parents usually don’t expect that kind of sacrifice…
I am sorry if this isn’t the most positive note to start the new year on, but I feel it’s the reality that needs to be taken into account…January 1, 2023 at 3:10 pm #413026
I definitely agree with you. It is selfish, and it’s just me feeling badly because she has no one else to lean on. I’ve tried encouraging her to make new friends, but she doesn’t put in any real effort. Now I can understand she doesn’t have the time, but in the past, it was easier to just rely on me. I know it’s really a bad corner I’ve painted myself into lol