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MrsRuss0114
MrsRuss0114, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 214
Experience:  B.A.Psychology, MSW, LCSW, HS-BCP; 8+ yrs experience.
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New expert please I am troubled by guilt regarding my avoiding

Resolved Question:

New expert please:

I am troubled by guilt regarding my avoiding visiting my 86 yr old mother in her nursing home.

She is well cared for there & my brother & sister jealously guard her care. They cannot exclude me but make my involvement difficult & do so in many ways, including practical logistics.

I communicate well & am a psychologist. But I come from a dysfunctional family & cannot succeed in communicating with the people involved - things move into dysfunction on their part as soon as I assertively & nicely level.

My mother has a long standing mental disorder & is very influenced by whoever is around her, including my brother & sister. She is not "real", ever, which is something I have had to come to terms with. She is at least BPD but can seem bi polar.

I find that mixing with my mother & siblings is disturbing to me & so I have limited my involvement with them for years. Things have become worse since my father died. He had set things up so my brother had ebduring power of attorney over our mother's affairs. Sadly he moved our mother into a nursing home & has just sold her house.

My concern is with regard my guilt. Part of this is wondering if I am being cold & unreasonable.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  MrsRuss0114 replied 3 years ago.

Russ0114 :

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).

Russ0114 :

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.

Russ0114 :

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.?

Russ0114 :

If you found this helpful please press accept, feedback is encouraged and welcomed. I'd love to continue to dialogue with you regarding this matter so feel free to respond.

Customer:

Thank you Russ. I appreciate your feedback.

Customer:

Thank you Russ.

Russ0114 :

Hello, for some reason your response is not popping up in the chat box, would you mind pasting and sending it again?

Russ0114 : Sorry, I had to switch devices.
Russ0114 : You're welcome, these types of situations are never easy to deal with alone and then you add other outside factors such ad the ones you're dealing with and it makes a tough situation impossible.
Customer:

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).

Customer:

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.

Russ0114 : Hi, I just received you reply.
Customer:

Good.

Customer:

Now it seems to be working.

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

Do you have to chat with a number of people at once?

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

Yes. I am affected by abuse generally.

Russ0114 :

No, I'm just chatting with you currently

Customer:

I want them to act caringly & rationally.

Russ0114 :

And yet, you know how they truly are, have been and will probably continue to be.

Customer:

I think I am triggered by being abused & also by their acting uncaringly & irrationally.

Customer:

I have to say that they aren't very kind or sensible.

Russ0114 :

I think it's your desire for them to be different and them not being so that hurts you.

Customer:

I'm not sure abut that.

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

I thin it is the wound that hurts when they "stab" me

Customer:

think

Russ0114 :

I get it.

Russ0114 :

Has your relationship with your family always been this way? Have you ever had a good relationship with your siblings?

Customer:

I know how I process what they do matters but it seems to be more than this. Maybe that is an illusion.

Customer:

No

Customer:

I am the oldest of 5 & parented them. Actually it was "ok".

Russ0114 :

When you say more than this, what do you mean?

Customer:

But as adults, we got along in a distant way but I was also elsewhere a lot, eg overseas

Customer:

It sems deeper than simple thought errors amenable to CBT

Customer:

Some traumatisation is at a non verbal level anyway.

Customer:

I come from a really messed family

Customer:

Our father was a coping chronic alcoholic

Russ0114 :

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?

Customer:

Our mother was mentally ill & I knew I was "older" than her when I was 5 yrs old

Customer:

Our mother did not get ill

Customer:

She has been mentall ill since I knew her

Russ0114 :

What caused her to be placed in a nursing home? Her mental health issues?

Customer:

My brther & the sister closest to him in age wanted her in a home.

Customer:

He told her she was going

Russ0114 :

And did they include you in the decision making process?

Customer:

No

Customer:

My father got my brother legal power re our mother before he died

Russ0114 :

Ok

Customer:

Later he enlisted that sister's help

Customer:

My sister has mental issues & I believe my brother is not smart & is an alcoholic

Customer:

They are also very abusive & controlling

Russ0114 :

So there are lot of co-factors involved

Customer:

Our mother & father opted out basically when they were young & I took up the slack

Customer:

Life is always complex

Russ0114 :

And at what point did you leave to go overseas?

Customer:

When I was 23

Russ0114 :

You are absolutely right, life is always complex; nothing is truly easy.

Customer:

I am 6 & 8 Yrs older than those middle 2 kids in my fOO

Russ0114 :

Do you feel they felt like you abandoned them?

Customer:

No

Customer:

I had done what I could for them by then

Russ0114 :

Do you feel like they resent you for something leading them to act the way they do towards you?

Customer:

I don't know

Customer:

I don't know what they are thinking

Customer:

They don't converse with me frankly, openly & normally

Russ0114 :

This is possible, if you were like a parent, practically raising them until you left for overseas, they could feel some sort of resentment.

Customer:

Maybe

Russ0114 :

In addition to that not truly knowing how to appropriately deal with life's events without being hurtful, abusive and controlling.

Customer:

Yes

Russ0114 :

Because of your parents issues, could these things be learned behaviors?

Customer:

Yes

Customer:

But they could grow too

Customer:

We are not young

Customer:

They are not wise or rational

Customer:

I am not saying I am "perfect"

Russ0114 :

Have they acknowledged their issues or are they in denial about them?

Customer:

They are in total denial

Customer:

All of them

Customer:

Except our youngest sister who is dead

Russ0114 :

Sorry to hear that.

Customer:

She was not in denial, like myself

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

She married a massive abuser & it all got too much for her a long time ago

Russ0114 :

If the rest of your siblings are the same way, they probably look at you and think you're the one with the problem.

Customer:

I am married to an abuser too

Customer:

I don't know what they think

Customer:

An abuser does not talk straight

Customer:

And they project a lot.

Customer:

I do not as I learned at a young age that logic matters. And truth.

Russ0114 :

So it's almost like you can't escape the abuse as it's in every aspect of your life.

Customer:

Also I value community, peace & harmony & cooperation & shared decision making

Customer:

In my soul I am free. I work on that.

Customer:

Bu I am surrounded by abusers & the mentally ill.

Customer:

But

Russ0114 :

That's definitely a lot to deal with on a daily basis.

Customer:

Yes.

Russ0114 :

Whose your support system?

Customer:

None

Customer:

I try to hang onto God

Customer:

And thinking wisely & well, etc

Russ0114 :

Have you ever considered trying out a support group or starting one?

Customer:

I have tried DV groups but I am a misfit there.

Customer:

I work & that takes my energy

Russ0114 :

That's awesome, and you have to continue to do that and keep reminding yourself that in your soul you're free.

Customer:

Sure, but it not enough. It is hard to run on low gas

Russ0114 :

I understand.

Customer:

I am only at a certain level & no higher but I try to rise to it

Russ0114 :

Are you involved in any professional organizations?

Customer:

APS, Australia

Russ0114 :

If you're out there on your own, you'll always feel as if you're running on low.

Customer:

It fluctuates but it gets low often & I have to work at keeping on

Russ0114 :

Are you able to take some time to do things that you enjoy?

Customer:

Sure

Russ0114 :

And are you able to do that often or just sometimes?

Customer:

But it seems I can't get what I really want & need to fill my tank

Customer:

I'm somewhat self actualised but I have broken parts (as if I do)

Russ0114 :

Do you think your siblings will ever change?

Customer:

I have a problem of membership with the place of worship I fit with.

Customer:

I gain from Buddhist studies & a Buddhist meditation group (Tibetan) but I am not a Buddhist

Russ0114 :

Problem?

Customer:

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

Russ0114 :

And because you're not a Buddhist you can't worship with them?

Customer:

And I am married to a non Jew & so I can't convert (not that I should have to)

Customer:

My Buddhist group doesn't worship. It is Rigpa under Sogyal Rinpoche.

Russ0114 :

Have you searched for other people who may fit into your same category?

Customer:

But I guess it is true they talk & do stuff I don't agree with - almost worship - in a way

Customer:

How to search?

Customer:

And I need guides, Rabbis, not a bunch of lost souls

Customer:

And I love synagogue worship

Customer:

I believe as a Jew

Customer:

I am a Jew

Customer:

But I can't prove it

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

I can prove my father was one I think but that doesn't count

Customer:

I know of no such people as myself.

Russ0114 :

Have you tried doing your own geneolgy research, enlisting the help of a geneologist/

Customer:

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.

Customer:

What i know I know by family word of mouth

Customer:

My great grandmother was my main informant.

Russ0114 :

Understood.

Customer:

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"

Russ0114 :

And do you feel supported in that environment?

Customer:

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.

Customer:

I am an alien as with everything else.

Customer:

I find it immensely hard being an alien

Customer:

But I have to be myself, or try to

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

I see no solution except eating crumbs & trying to be sane, etc

Russ0114 :

You're right because changing who you are will probably only make you feel worse.

Customer:

I have my work but that is not enough

Customer:

My integrity is very important to me

Customer:

But I have tried options, But they won't work if they don't match

Customer:

I need connections & real belonging & communal connection

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

It would be nice to have the right partner but it is too late for that. True.

Russ0114 :

Is it possible that what you're looking for is not in Australia?

Customer:

Yes, sad but true, I think.

Customer:

Yes. Or at least not where I am in Australia. But it is too late.

Customer:

I am too old & impoverished.

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

Well, I could try to be ready to go & look. Maybe that is a good dream.

Customer:

And I am trying to adapt to the idea of letting go more

Russ0114 :

And if it's meant to be, an even better reality.

Customer:

I am no judge of that.

Customer:

I suppose the crucial bit is if it is meant to be.

Customer:

I need something to hang onto better now

Customer:

I find it immensely hard living like a hungry ghost

Customer:

I try to learn how to do that but I keep falling short

Russ0114 :

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...

Russ0114 :

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.

Customer:

Nothing much fundamentally. We do not live in an ideal world or should I say I have mislaid my wish fulfilling gem?

Customer:

I will ponder on finding true happiness. It seems like a considerable conundrum.

Customer:

Maybe I could set something in a better way of going in me

Customer:

I'm working on that.

Russ0114 :

It's never easy but my hope for you is that you find all that you're looking for.

Customer:

Thank you for our talk. I have to go now or I can't cope in the morning from lack of sleep.

Customer:

Bye

Russ0114 :

You're most welcome and feel free to find me again if needed.

Russ0114 :

If you've found our interaction helpful, please press accept, feedback is welcomed and encouraged! I wish you the best.

MrsRuss0114, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 214
Experience: B.A.Psychology, MSW, LCSW, HS-BCP; 8+ yrs experience.
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MrsRuss0114
MrsRuss0114
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
155 Satisfied Customers
B.A.Psychology, MSW, LCSW, HS-BCP; 8+ yrs experience.