Living with emotionally challenged family
I grew up with an abusive older brother, and parents that did not protect me. Now, with my bad health I am back living with my parents. Just a few years ago I broke and confronted them all. It went very poorly, although I was very fair, and mostly even tempered. Since, I have disconnected from my brother. Anyway, my daily struggle is trying to interact with my parents. My dad has always been emotionally unavailable. He pisses me off a lot with his arrogance, lack of contributing, and total self -centeredness. Ive recently been working on letting that go, the relationship i always wanted with him.
It helps to think of him as handicapped, his limits of interacting as a human do not near match mine.
My mom and i have a love/hate relationship. Shes very closed off and rigid. She can still be verbally abusive, although im always the bad guy.
They just dont have enough touch with reality. My mom tries to will problems away, ignore them, then they arent real.
Right now im tolerating a lot, trying not to say anything, not wanting confrontation. But still setting boundaries and standing up for myself in a right way when need be. My heart pulled in every direction. Confusion. Hurt. How can they not see such simple things? The truth?
Its extremely difficult when they cant even talk about a problem. To work through it. But what do i know??…ive only been in therapy over half my life..
They wont go.
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Hi, @januaryjane – I can see that you have been through a lot and are trying to work through past hurts and find a way forward to relate to your parents while you are living in their home.
Sounds like you are standing up for yourself when necessary, but keeping quiet when you can tolerate what you see going on.
One of the things you mentioned doing is to let go of the relationship you've always wanted with your dad. I have had to do that, too, with certain relatives: basically just allow myself to grieve that I don't have the relationship I really wanted with them. I have found it freeing to acknowledge it as a real loss that I'm free to mourn.
I'd like to invite @gingerw @secretwhitepop @amberpep @kdo0827 @sandij @rwinney into this conversation to offer their input and perhaps share from relevant experiences and any successes they have had with relationships to their relatives.
You said that your parents cannot see such simple things or the truth. Will you share more about that, januaryjane? What would you say they are missing?
Hello @januaryjane. I'm Rachel and have been asked by @lisalucier to join in on responding to your recent post. I must be honest and admit that I have not directly experienced what you speak of however, that does not prevent me from responding.
Although I may not experience the family dynamic you do, every family has their issues. I'm a child of divorce and a chronic pain mother. I've been around the block with many issues of family dynamics incuding divorce, drug/alcohol addiction, disease, pain etc…
It hurts me to read your words, I feel compassion for you. It sounds as if you are realizing that expectations can be very hurtful. When your family doesn't live up to your expectations, it makes you mad, sad, frustrated.
Each human is so complex with stories, paths and journeys supporting how we each behave. Sometimes people aren't capable of seeing the hurt they cause because they've never bothered to seek help for themselves and the cycle continues.
You have alot to deal with and I give you all the credit for speaking so clearly about your feelings. It seems counseling helps you come to better conclusions regarding your family and coping, that's a good thing. You appear intelligent, strong and brave. Keep up the good work!
Best of luck to you and my hope is that you continue to persevere through your challenges, both physically and mentally, by realizing you can be better than your family if you set your mind to it. Also, if you can, search for the good in your family even if not as expected.
@januaryjane I read a lot of my own story in your words. @lisalucier and @rwinney have said some wise words.
Like you, I have had to dismiss family members from my life because they were to caustic for me, too dangerous for my mental health and ability to function. Unfortunately you are in a situation of needing to live with your parents. I think you are on the right path in how you relate to them. I had to realize, through counseling, that my parents and family were doing the best they could, given their own circumstances, and what they might have experienced growing up. We cannot change someone else, we can only look at how to relate that is the healthiest for us as an individual. Perhaps in the future you will be able to live apart from your folks, and will discover that beautiful person you are inside. In the meantime, continue the work you have been doing, and know that for yourself, you are taking care of you best you can. You cannot bow to others who would put you down.
They dont really take ownership for their actions, then or now. They dont see that what they did, neglect me, not keep me safe. But im the one who has to live with the consequences. Growing up i never had help or understanding. Even as i fought these demons with therapy and medication. They still dont "get" these are life long wounds. From pills to ptsd, they are never there. Never really tried. Thats a double whammy when its your parent and they helped with the damages. Its not me forgiving them, ive done a lot of that. But sometimes im treated so crappy, or think i have to keep my mouth shut about anything that might offend them. And im a pretty mature and responsible person. Theres also no conflict resolution. Ive tried, many ways, but things cannot be solved through verbal communication. My mom thinks im trying to start a fight or argue when im trying to approach a subject that needs to be talked about. Im always the bad guy so i decided to quit. Although i will speak up if need be. Its just crazy, so unhealthy.
And the fact that they dont see my brother for the heartless creature he still is, amazes me.