Hello, it doesn't sound like you're being cold and unreasonable at all. Your limited involvement doesn't sound like it came from you just saying to heck with my mother and her issues I'm going to live my life, there are some very huge barriers that have been placed in front of you. It looks like you're doing all that you can to be there for your mother but at the same time, you can't subject yourself to anymore dysfunction than can be tolerated. This is a very unfortunate situation and sadly, it's one that I see almost on a daily basis working in a hospital (long term care setting).
I'm sure your family doesn't do anything to help you feel any less guilt. As our parents children, sometimes we feel a great sense of obligation but when you're constantly being thrown roadblocks and you've used all of your "tools" to get rid of or around them only to find more in their place it does become impossible to deal with.
With your mother's mental health issues, it's quite possible that no matter what you try, it'll never be enough especially with your siblings influencing her. If you've set your boundaries, stick to them, do as much as you can without subjecting yourself to any mental scrutiny and rest knowing you did your best.?
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Thank you Russ. I appreciate your feedback.
Thank you Russ.
Hello, for some reason your response is not popping up in the chat box, would you mind pasting and sending it again?
Everytime I press enter, what I write disappears so I will write this in a chunk. Sorry. I appreciate the validation. I have done many years work on myself regarding my situation with my family but I have still not reached being untouched by their unpleasant & controlling behaviour. There is a lot that they do that can be called abuse & it triggers me though I don't act that out. It is my being triggered that is my achilles heel with them. I am still working on that. At least I don't sink to being abusive or twisted as they do. But I do go into avoidance after trying as best I can. Maybe what bothers me the most is whether my mother is sad I am not there for her. But I must say it is hard on me visting her & experiencing her usual self centerdness & phony & ever changing games of pretend & which typify her. I am trying not to be judgmental & to feel more loving towards her (& my brother & sisters - I have one elsewhere who is a raging borderline) but the fact is I do in my heart but in practice I feel I can't stand their behaviour. I suppose this means I have issues still & I would like to overcome them & have more compassion & be more imperturbable inside - on the outside, I behave ok except that I really don't want much to do with them (& don't).
I am not sure what is going on with this chat process. I haven't done it before. I am not sure what I am writing is going anywhere. Also it is very late here in Australia & I need to go to bed.
Now it seems to be working.
As you know, although we say "words can never hurt me," we know they do. And this is why you're still affected by your siblings.
Do you have to chat with a number of people at once?
Despite you knowing how they are, it's your humaness that wants things to be better and still gets hurt when they turn out to be the same.
Yes. I am affected by abuse generally.
No, I'm just chatting with you currently
I want them to act caringly & rationally.
And yet, you know how they truly are, have been and will probably continue to be.
I think I am triggered by being abused & also by their acting uncaringly & irrationally.
I have to say that they aren't very kind or sensible.
I think it's your desire for them to be different and them not being so that hurts you.
I'm not sure abut that.
It's like you know what you want from them and maybe tell yourself that at some point they can be that but when they don't it's a huge disappointment and let down.
I thin it is the wound that hurts when they "stab" me
I get it.
Has your relationship with your family always been this way? Have you ever had a good relationship with your siblings?
I know how I process what they do matters but it seems to be more than this. Maybe that is an illusion.
I am the oldest of 5 & parented them. Actually it was "ok".
When you say more than this, what do you mean?
But as adults, we got along in a distant way but I was also elsewhere a lot, eg overseas
It sems deeper than simple thought errors amenable to CBT
Some traumatisation is at a non verbal level anyway.
I come from a really messed family
Our father was a coping chronic alcoholic
And do you think that things got to this point when your father passed away or when your mother became ill and had to go into the nursing home?
Our mother was mentally ill & I knew I was "older" than her when I was 5 yrs old
Our mother did not get ill
She has been mentall ill since I knew her
What caused her to be placed in a nursing home? Her mental health issues?
My brther & the sister closest to him in age wanted her in a home.
He told her she was going
And did they include you in the decision making process?
My father got my brother legal power re our mother before he died
Later he enlisted that sister's help
My sister has mental issues & I believe my brother is not smart & is an alcoholic
They are also very abusive & controlling
So there are lot of co-factors involved
Our mother & father opted out basically when they were young & I took up the slack
Life is always complex
And at what point did you leave to go overseas?
When I was 23
You are absolutely right, life is always complex; nothing is truly easy.
I am 6 & 8 Yrs older than those middle 2 kids in my fOO
Do you feel they felt like you abandoned them?
I had done what I could for them by then
Do you feel like they resent you for something leading them to act the way they do towards you?
I don't know
I don't know what they are thinking
They don't converse with me frankly, openly & normally
This is possible, if you were like a parent, practically raising them until you left for overseas, they could feel some sort of resentment.
In addition to that not truly knowing how to appropriately deal with life's events without being hurtful, abusive and controlling.
Because of your parents issues, could these things be learned behaviors?
But they could grow too
We are not young
They are not wise or rational
I am not saying I am "perfect"
Have they acknowledged their issues or are they in denial about them?
They are in total denial
All of them
Except our youngest sister who is dead
Sorry to hear that.
She was not in denial, like myself
It's true that we all could grow and learn but if we're in denial about our issues then we see nothing wrong with what we're doing.
She married a massive abuser & it all got too much for her a long time ago
If the rest of your siblings are the same way, they probably look at you and think you're the one with the problem.
I am married to an abuser too
I don't know what they think
An abuser does not talk straight
And they project a lot.
I do not as I learned at a young age that logic matters. And truth.
So it's almost like you can't escape the abuse as it's in every aspect of your life.
Also I value community, peace & harmony & cooperation & shared decision making
In my soul I am free. I work on that.
Bu I am surrounded by abusers & the mentally ill.
That's definitely a lot to deal with on a daily basis.
Whose your support system?
I try to hang onto God
And thinking wisely & well, etc
Have you ever considered trying out a support group or starting one?
I have tried DV groups but I am a misfit there.
I work & that takes my energy
That's awesome, and you have to continue to do that and keep reminding yourself that in your soul you're free.
Sure, but it not enough. It is hard to run on low gas
I am only at a certain level & no higher but I try to rise to it
Are you involved in any professional organizations?
If you're out there on your own, you'll always feel as if you're running on low.
It fluctuates but it gets low often & I have to work at keeping on
Are you able to take some time to do things that you enjoy?
And are you able to do that often or just sometimes?
But it seems I can't get what I really want & need to fill my tank
I'm somewhat self actualised but I have broken parts (as if I do)
Do you think your siblings will ever change?
I have a problem of membership with the place of worship I fit with.
I gain from Buddhist studies & a Buddhist meditation group (Tibetan) but I am not a Buddhist
I am a genetic, assimilated Jew & found my way "back" by a miracle but my crazy family has hidden the evidence on my mother's side, the crucial side
And because you're not a Buddhist you can't worship with them?
And I am married to a non Jew & so I can't convert (not that I should have to)
My Buddhist group doesn't worship. It is Rigpa under Sogyal Rinpoche.
Have you searched for other people who may fit into your same category?
But I guess it is true they talk & do stuff I don't agree with - almost worship - in a way
How to search?
And I need guides, Rabbis, not a bunch of lost souls
And I love synagogue worship
I believe as a Jew
I am a Jew
But I can't prove it
Social Media, general internet, true but if you find other people who fit into your category, they may have resources or information to help you get linked to what you're truly looking for.
I can prove my father was one I think but that doesn't count
I know of no such people as myself.
Have you tried doing your own geneolgy research, enlisting the help of a geneologist/
I tried my genealogy research & I discovered my maternal line committed identity theft. The only way is via a miracle of going overseas & "digging" but the trail is very cold.
What i know I know by family word of mouth
My great grandmother was my main informant.
I am a very religious & spiritual person & always has been. I have tried hanging out in all sorts of religious places in the past but none fitted till I got where I fitted by "accident"
And do you feel supported in that environment?
I am not happy attending the synagogue like an invisible (in effect) barnacle though I have for years & attend some classes & dinners. But I get no support except spiritual.
I am an alien as with everything else.
I find it immensely hard being an alien
But I have to be myself, or try to
It's a struggle to always feel as if you're alone in all that you do. You have to keep searching until you find a place or some arena of support that will fulfill you.
I see no solution except eating crumbs & trying to be sane, etc
You're right because changing who you are will probably only make you feel worse.
I have my work but that is not enough
My integrity is very important to me
But I have tried options, But they won't work if they don't match
I need connections & real belonging & communal connection
With all that you've shared, and I think I stated in my initial responses to you, I don't think you're being cold and unreasonable regarding your situation. I think you're doing the best that you can with what you've got.
It would be nice to have the right partner but it is too late for that. True.
Is it possible that what you're looking for is not in Australia?
Yes, sad but true, I think.
Yes. Or at least not where I am in Australia. But it is too late.
I am too old & impoverished.
Then maybe that's the research you can begin because there may come a point where you'll have to go where you can get the things you need. It's never too late.
Well, I could try to be ready to go & look. Maybe that is a good dream.
And I am trying to adapt to the idea of letting go more
And if it's meant to be, an even better reality.
I am no judge of that.
I suppose the crucial bit is if it is meant to be.
I need something to hang onto better now
I find it immensely hard living like a hungry ghost
I try to learn how to do that but I keep falling short
You have to be willing to change some things, if you're not being fulfilled in your marriage, what can be done to change that and taking every possible alternative into consideration. If you don't feel like you belong where you are, what can be done to change that...
You shared that it's too late, you're too old and impoverished but none of those things should keep you from seeking true happiness.
Nothing much fundamentally. We do not live in an ideal world or should I say I have mislaid my wish fulfilling gem?
I will ponder on finding true happiness. It seems like a considerable conundrum.
Maybe I could set something in a better way of going in me
I'm working on that.
It's never easy but my hope for you is that you find all that you're looking for.
Thank you for our talk. I have to go now or I can't cope in the morning from lack of sleep.
You're most welcome and feel free to find me again if needed.
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