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Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1945
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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I come from a dysfunctional home with psychological issues

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I come from a dysfunctional home with psychological issues & abuse & my fatherwas a chronic, "coping" alcoholic. I'd say my Mother is BPD.I am the oldest of 5 children & whome I parented a lot.I am a psychologist/therapist.My now deceased father got my only brother, for sexist reasons,enduring power of attorney over our 87 yr old mother's affairs 3 yrs ago. I had suggested he set something up for her for after he died as she couldn't manage things herself. We are in Australia.I am not mentally ill. I am genuine & have just discovered this site while researching abuse yet again, looking for ideas re handling my brother & sister. I have only limited funds available right now.

Since our father's death, my brother & a sister who lives near him & who is 2 yrs older (I am 8 yrs older) have jealously guarded their managment of our Mother's affairs. Our youngest sister committed suicide years ago (she had married an abusive man) & the one closest to me in age lives in another city (& is markedly BPD). They become abusive (in a range of ways) if I try to play my part (non-abusively) above being told what to do. They are significantly abusive, eg, see I am sure about this. I am not saying I am "perfect", but I am not like them & I try to br respectful & compassionate. My long-term husband is abusive.

I would like advice on how to deal with these 2 siblings.Our mother is currently in hospital & there are matters of concern re this.My normal, civil attempts to discuss get serious abuse back. Should I just give up? Our mother is not totally "normal" at the best of times (she varies) & is less so now that she has been put on risperidone & epilim in the hospital to quieten her down. She is becoming dependent & bed-ridden & this is of great concern to me, among other matters.Should I just wash my hands of this & move on? I find their abuse frustrating & distressing. It covers a range & is basically personally abusive & irrational & unreasonable, eg, telling me I am "bullying" & "divisive" and what I have & haven't done (not true). The way they do it is like being yelled at. I have had no contact now, after years of abuse, with my other sister after she said to me, a couple of years ago, "For a psychologist you are a lousy person.". I had not done anything to warrant this except in her eyes.
Hello & Welcome to Just Answers.

This is a tough situation, but since you're in the field, I'm going to tell you what I really think and hope that you can hear that I have compassion for your situation.

When you have a family this dysfunctional, you can't hope to have a normal parental illness or death. The crazy that's already there spirals out of control and the sane person gets trampled on as they try to 'do the right thing' and get proper closure and help out the elderly relative. It just doesn't work if you have any expectation of normal with the other relatives. Adult children of the dysfunctional can't do the 'normal' things when their parents become just ends in utter chaos, and the unreasonable relatives will blame all of it on you. They'll project it all on you and you'll be the scapegoat no matter what you do.

In light of that, I suggest to people in your situation to be very careful of 'romantic' notions that when things really turn for the worst health-wise with the elderly parents, that you back off and decide exactly what it is you want to achieve for yourself only. Make your expectations low, get in and have a talk or say what you need to say and then back out as far as you can go.

The dysfunction in families HATE the ones who get away. It's just too scary for them. They don't come around and they don't change. Let it go. Mourn your losses and stay far away. Imagine them to be in an aquarium like interesting fishes, but nothing more intimate, personal or deeper than that. They're not going to let you help.

Its more likely that they're going to abuse your mother like she probably did them, and you won't be able to stop it. Everyone has their own way of working through childhood pain, and for some people this happens when the parent becomes infirm. They really take it back out on them. It's not something you hear spoken of much, but I see it often as abusive, unprotective or personality disordered parents become incapacitated. Payback time is a difficult thing to watch as the wolverines circle the infirm parent, but there isn't much you can do about it without the pack turning all their rage onto you.

I suggest you step back and take care of yourself while mourning your losses.

My best to you.

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