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  1. #1
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    What would you call this?

    here's the thing, I can't figure out whether all of the stuff in my family is "okay" or not.... it just seems so "normal" by now that I guess everyone has gotten used to certain ways of acting around each other and playing certain roles. A friend of mine said to me that the way I am acting is like allowing someone to push me instead of hitting me. so, as long as they don't hit me it's okay, but if they push me I let it go. She's one of my best friends but only knows maybe 10% of this but she says she's worried about me. Now that makes me wonder, if she doesn't know half of what's going on and she's worried, does that mean that things really are so bad? Am I just trying to downplay them b/c I've gotten used to them or b/c I feel helpess in changing the way my family is? Another person told me to run as fast as I can, to get away... why should someone have to run from their own family?? It's not like I'm being physically hurt. I'm enablin a lot of their behaviour, but how do I get out of this cycle? How does someone even get themselves into this situation?
    Why is there that discrepancy btwn what's acceptable for other people and what's okay for myself, why are these standards different?

    I'm so tired of fighting to get myself out of this, why should I always have to be the one fighting, why can't they get themselves some help.. I might be able to learn not to let family stuff affect me but I can't change them and I want to help each and every one of them so bad and I can't. And that's the worst feeling in the world. My sister has been dealing w/ depression since a very long time and is borderline pipolar, my dad is engulfed in his work and is miserable, and my mom is becoming more lonely every day and depressed b/c she resents her life. So in the end, my mom starts resenting me and my "perfect" life, so no matter what I do it's either not good enough or I should feel guilty b/c it's good and I guess she'd rather see me being miserable? I have no idea. She spend the whole last weekend yelling at me for no reason. She blows up at me almost every day for no "obvious" reason. And I thought I was able to deal w/ this somehow but after what my friend said, she's right.... I'm too afraid to call my mom telling her I'll be an hour late and so I live my life in fear of my mom's reactions.... is this emotional abuse? That she goes from being this loving, caring mother to being this mean person throwing insults at me and my friends and my life but then again begging me to help her or them when she can't do it anymore and is losing it again?

    They all have so much potential, I don't understand why they choose to live being so miserable, letting things get worse every day and then complaining about life... I know I'm not the best person to go out and get help myself but I have different reasons and at least I don't let my problems affect them where as their lives are suffocating me. Playing the "perfect" daughter and sister doesn't work anymore, they resent me and have said so and even when they don't I know they do.... and I am resenting myself more and more b/c I can't even live up to being the good daughter or sister...

    Is this okay or isn't it????

  2. #2
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    What would you call this?

    >>Why is there that discrepancy btwn what's acceptable for other people and what's okay for myself, why are these standards different? <<

    Therein lies the crux of your problem, hon. There is no difference in standards. What's acceptable for others is acceptable for you. The only difference in the standard is the difference that you, yourself, are assigning. We're all human. They are, and you are.

    You cannot "fix" the lives of your family members. They must do that. You must be responsible for your own life, and your own happiness. In order to stop your enabling behaviors, you have to develop a set of game rules, so to speak. Once you have decided how you want to live your life as it relates to your family, you need to let them know what the rules are. You have the right to do this, you just have to utilize that right.

    Make it clear that you love them, and care about them, but you're not going to be a punching bag for them. Let them know that they must take responsibility for themselves, as you will take responsibility for yourself. Let them know that you will not tolerate being treated poorly because one of them is having a "bad day". Once you've laid the ground rules, stick by them. It's not easy at first, but it does work. Sooner or later, they'll get the message that you're not going to be the doormat anymore. You'll feel lots better and, in the end, so will they. :)

  3. #3
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    What would you call this?

    Eunoia,

    Being pushed (which is part of the definition of domestic violence) is not any different than being punched, hit, kicked, etc. I have to agree with Thatlady. You can change but you cannot change your family. All one ever hope for is to be the good enough daughter, sister, mother or insert name. Many times we have to exclude those from our lives when they are domestically violent.

  4. #4
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    What would you call this?

    and my mom is becoming more lonely every day and depressed b/c she resents her life. So in the end, my mom starts resenting me and my "perfect" life,

    I have to say that when I read this statement, I suddenly became cold. My mother used to threaten suicide in my presence all the time- at least several times a month- from the time I was seven years old to when I was eighteen years old and finally became fed up and left the house. Did I think of it as abuse? Of course not! She was threatening suicide with a knife, scissors, pills, gun, what have you... I was keeping her alive, or so I thought. I was weeping and begging, and giving reasons for her not to kill herself.

    When I was in my late twenties, I tried to kill myself and ended up in therapy with a psychiatrist. When I brought up my heroic moments of preventing my mother from killing herself, he pointed out to me that what she did to me was no better than sexual molesting of a child. She needed me to do all of that begging and explaining and crying so she could feel better- just like a child molester will feel better after doing stuff to a child, just like an alcoholic after a drinking binge.

    What I am trying to convey here is that when you think that what might be happening in your home could possibly be harmful, you are better off going to a doctor, therapist or councellor and asking about it. There is no harm done if you turn out to be wrong. But the only way to wake up any of your family is to refuse to allow the abuse to continue on you at least. There are resources available to get you out of a potentially bad situation, and into something possitive for yourself, if not them as well. Just remember that you truly are worth it.

  5. #5
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    Re: What would you call this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eunoia
    here's the thing, I can't figure out whether all of the stuff in my family is "okay" or not....

    Is this okay or isn't it????
    Hi Eunoia,

    The fact that you ask "is it okay or not" already implies your doubt and implies that you don't want to tolerate the behaviors you don't like and want, anymore. For whatever reasons. Call them what you will abuse/negligence/rudeness/nastiness, but the bottom line is ... "you want no more of that".

    In my books, thats enough information for you to decide what you can and will tolerate and figure out how to go about having what you DO want and/or will tolerate with your family, how you can go about having that, if possible, and figure out how to avoid getting experiences that you DON'T want with them.

    I know that for myself there was a time I finally had to back away from certain people because they just hurt me and/or my life too much ... I still cared ... but I chose to back right away and love from a distance where I couldn't be hurt. They couldn't or wouldn't change.

    I think the toughest thing in the world is to back away from family ... especially a parent or a child, or a sibling ... when they don't understand and they react negatively.

    These are just some of the responses I felt to your post. I hope some of my words help you to clarify, a little better for yourself, some of your needs and priorities for yourself?

    I learned that sacrificing myself to my own detriment for the sake of a loved one/loved ones ... was no gift to myself, or my loved ones. My own life ... I have to live it and I need all my inner and outer resources to take care of myself and tackle what people and experiences life tosses at me .....

    I don't envy your position right now because I know the push and pull between love/concern/loyalty ... and neccessary self-preservation. Self=preservation MUST come first .... wish I'd clued into that fact years ago about some folks. But I didn't. I know better now and am willing to sacrifice an involved relationship with WHO hurts me too much, for what helps me to live a healthier/happier life. I'll even sacrifice being with people I love most, if having them involved meets hurting my life too much.

    Finding ways to have an involved relationship without exposing self to harm/negatives can be a real struggle, I know :( Sometimes there is no way. But sometimes there is. Depends on the people involved.

    Good luck with sorting this out. It's gotta be hard on you.
    Hugs from Kanadiana ...

  6. #6
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    What would you call this?

    Hey Eunoia,

    I just wanted you to know that I identified with your confusion about wondering "Is this okay or isn't it????".

    I also identified with your mom's seemingly unstable emotions and her blatantly directing them at you. Sometimes I found it tough to not let it "get to me". In my case, I need to remind myself that my mom is ill. She chooses not to seek help and over the years, I have learned that there is nothing I can do about it (and I've tried).

    I found it particularly challenging to finally come to the realization that I actually have no control over my mom or my sister or my dad or my step mom and to some extent even my son. I still struggle with accepting this, but I'm making progress :)

    Realizing this meant that I couldn't "save" them or even help them. And that meant that the only thing I could really do to make anything better was to stay focused on myself and ensuring that I'm taking care of me and my son. I still find this difficult, but it actually created some room for a different dynamic in my relationship with her (and maybe even my sister?).

    I actually severed my ties with my mom for a while after a particular incident. After some time had passed we tried communicating again and found a way that works for both of us. We communicate through e-mail only. I know it sounds weird, but it works. She still hasn't gotten any help but I don't feel like my son and I are in danger and I really enjoy our conversations. It's been very good for both of us.

    I really like what ThatLady wrote:

    Once you have decided how you want to live your life as it relates to your family, you need to let them know what the rules are. You have the right to do this, you just have to utilize that right.
    Make it clear that you love them, and care about them, but you're not going to be a punching bag for them. Let them know that they must take responsibility for themselves, as you will take responsibility for yourself.
    Obviously in the case with my mom, I needed a "break" and then needed to completely redefine our relationship, but I find I've had to do as TL suggests with my son. It does work and I've found that it's actually better for me AND him when I respect myself and make it clear that he needs to respect me too.

    Take it easy and I look forward to hearing how things go for you.

  7. #7
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    What would you call this?

    thank you guys all so much for taking the time to reply, it really means a lot. You've all had some really good points, really! See I think I do know that a lot of this isn't "right" per say but it's so difficult being in this situation, and yes, it is so much more difficult b/c they're my family. I keep trying to justify what they do, b/c I don't understand but I'm running in circles here. Sometimes I wonder, whether I am just imagining all of this... am I??? my mom sure seems to think so, she thinks I have no reason to not be "okay" (not that she knows anything anyways) and thinks there's nothing wrong w/ the way she acts or the things she says. For example, she started accusing my friends of being "superficial" b/c "they don't know what it's like" (referring to family probs) but besides the fact that she's attacking people that can't even defend themselves and who do have issues of their own, she doesn't seem to understand that she is hurting me too by saying these things. She thinks it's okay b/c they're an easy target and anyone who has a "good life" pretty much pushes her over the edge.... what a horrible way to live her life though, resenting other people... would her life be so much better if everyone else's was miserable? I doubt it.

    By controlling me the way she does she thinks she's being caring and showing me her love. By yelling at me she thinks she has the right to do so b/c I'm such a bad person in her eyes. By telling me I have never done anything to help w/ the "family issues" (mostly sister related) she is forgetting about all the things I HAVE done, but she truly believes she's been the savior and I've stood by,.... but there's still problems!! What about the times she'd call me up crying about things while I was at school or work or w/ friends... what about having to take care of her when she was too low to take care of the most basic things? What about all the sacrifices I have made to "be there" by not going out or turning down opportunities?? As much as she needs me to hold her together, she despises me. Taking care of myself in midst of all of this, has somehow always become a thing that was left aside... I guess I can't save them though, but only focus on saving myself 1st so to say. But HOW do I do this??? I feel as soon as I try to put myself 1st I am letting my family down and I can't help by fear making things worse or "contributing" to the problems...

    I am doubting every decision I make, thinking of which one will make her less mad. I don't particularly feel like I like who I am deep down so I guess by trying to be that "perfect daugher" or sister I'd be able to be someone, be worth something, but I've apparently failed at that too. My mom has her good sides, she really does, so does the rest of my family... I'm not trying to come up w/ excuses but I do understand that things are difficult for all of them... but do you know what shocks me the most? When my mom says "I love you" I just look at her or stare into space and either say nothing or say "okay". I do love her deep down but she's hurt me so much, I feel like she HAS punched me so much, that I can't bring those words across my lips... and that's sad.

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