Many of us, myself included, come from a dysfunctional family which adds a lot of weight to the challenges of caregiving. I have read stores on various threads on other topics and decided it would be good to have a thread just for this topic for people to share, vent and discuss.

The idea for this thread originated on the thread named "The Caregiver....How are YOU doing today?"

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Ali, did someone tell you that you had to see family for the holiday?
You don't. Why not take it easy on yourself? Maybe psych would prescribe taking a break from your family this year. You really do not have to do it, you know.

Where, if anywhere, would you like to go? Even a staycation.

Beatty, I'm pretty sure two strong daiquiris would cure everything that ails me, at least for a day. 😄 Sorry to hear you experience this torture at night, too.

Glad, I think it's RSV, but who knows? I have lung funk as well.

Golden, thanks for the input and support. Really, I'm doing just fine as school has ended, and my schedule is much lighter, but then this dumb sinus/sleep/breathing/panic business has been driving me crazy for a couple of months. I'm thankful it wasn't this bad before, like during school.

This new panic is just a mystery to me. It started around July, but I figured it was due to school... but then it kept going. And the idea of being on edge and highly emotional during the holidays -- the one time a year I'm around family -- is freaking me out. I wish my psych would prescribe something like five benzos for emergencies, but no matter how much I plead my reasoning, he won't do it.

Sinus problems, night panic, hot flashes - my triplet of visitors that have been destroying my sleep. Grr.

I'm going old school with saline nasal washouts, deep breathes & wet wash clothes.

But a prescription for a beach holiday would fix it all in a jiffy... Maybe adding a drink with a tiny umbrella in it 😁🍹

sharyn -sorry to hear about your fall and that you are bruised and sore. Hope you get better soon. Also sorry to hear about your son but I totally understand. There comes a point when you need to detach. 33F sounds just fine to me lol.

ali - health issues, oh dear. Re holidays - be sure to do what is good for you. Toss the FOG out the window.

I have had something similar to waking with panic attacks and I have had a lifetime of sinus infections. They can be very painful. I have found pseudephedrine to be a lifesaver. Just be sure you keep well hydrated. I can't sleep with a stuffy nose either. I fnd that pseudoephedrine with ibuprofen does a good job. Another thng that has helped me is mucinex (guaifenesin) which loosens the mucus so the sinuses empty out better.

Like I said I have woken up with my heart racing and panicking when I was around "that" age. Getting on thyroid meds helped. So did a bit of ativan and eventually an antidepressant which was one which also relieved anxiety. Never had hot flashes. Hope you get the female stuff sorted out. The difficulty getting a breath might be a sleep apnea caused by the stuffiness. I have that occasionally when I am more stuffed up that usual. It's very unpleasant.

Hugs and prayers. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate.

I feel for you Ali. I went through a really bad spell with panic attacks for a while. They were debilitating. I also have had sinus problems too. I've found a lot of SSRI's cause sinus problems for me. I don't know if that's the case with most people. Anytime I've been prescribed one they'll work for a while and then inevitably the sinus issues start and I'll have to wean myself off. Are you taking any SSRI's? Maybe try slowly eliminating things you may be taking and you'll discover a culprit in there?

Or it could be the dreaded M too. That really threw me for a loop.

I hope you start feeling better fast.

Ali, I wonder if it could be RSV. Adults can get it too.

Feel better soon! And Xmas, don't push yourself.

Thank you, Send. There is not a single thing I haven't already done, and am currently doing, to get relief. The Sudafed was a new idea today; I agree, it likely won't help but I'll give it a shot.

I think I'm beyond any practical advice, though I appreciate the kind intentions.

I was at my doctor's yesterday. Seems I have to wait this out and see what specialists say.

I'll be ok. I have allergy & anti anxiety meds to help, as needed. My biggest issue is not sleeping due to inability to breathe well and having panic attacks/hot flashes at night.

And then the crying/breathing attacks during the day. Whew. It's been a rough ride. Thanks for the compassion and support, all. Much appreciated.

The meds mentioned Ali are very drying: pseudoephidrine, Sudafed. Dry = pain.

Thank you, Barb. 💜

Thank you, guys. I needed this right now.

My PCP thinks all of my breathing issues lately are related to sinus infection/sinusitis. I'll see what the ENT says and go from there. I've never had asthma, but it has felt like that to me at times. Constriction, I can't get the air in there.

I'm so sorry you're feeling rotten, Ali.

Do you have asthma?


Ali I hope you have gone to or will be going to the doctor. Just to get fully checked out. Keeping you in my thoughts for getting better. You are always such an upbeat and positive person on this forum.

Thank you, Send. You just reminded me that I wanted to get some zinc. 💙

Thank you so much, Gershun. 🧡

The problem is that my upper sinus area is SO painful at times. I've never taken pseudoephedrine, but I figured I'd give it a shot to alleviate some pain and pressure. The tension in there is making me nuts.

I don't have a clue what's going on with my womanly bits. I hit menopause, I guess? But in a such a way that it makes me think there could be something else going on. Gyn appointment is scheduled for March -- they couldn't see me sooner, and the nurse didn't think it was an emergency. I don't think it's an emergency, either. But it's misery making.

Has anyone else ever experienced nighttime adrenaline surges + hot flashes..? I looked online, and it seems it could be related to the big change. I have them constantly, sometimes every night for several days, then not so bad, then they come back.

I'm just going to drug/sedate myself to get through until next year... lol. Half kidding, half not.

Not qualified even to weigh in on your issues Ali.
But here it is.
Ditch the Sudafed.
Suck on a lozenge with Zinc and lemon.

Ali, so sorry to hear this. You know you can always confide in us here. We all love you.......but when you are ready.

Don't let Christmas obligations get you down. They are only obligations we put on ourselves. At the end of the day do what is best for you.

*Ugh. I've been having some health issues lately. I put them down, but I'm deleting them for now. I'm feeling somewhat anxious about the upcoming holidays and how to navigate a trip to see family while I'm feeling pretty miserable.

I'm having a new type of panic attack -- crying jags and shortness of breath. I'm not upset at anything; it's just a physical response to some illness and hormone changes. The idea of being around my family when this is happening is upsetting, though.

too bad this thread is so popular. obviously, many people are surrounded by abusers.

🥰 my message here is just to send out a healing hugggggg, to anyone who needs healing, for whatever reason (abuse or no abuse).


Hello everyone, I don’t get to comment regularly due to chronic pain and yesterday I tripped and fell onto the corner of a nightstand. I’m bruised and very sore.

I wanted to talk about detaching. I agree with Goldens explanation of the difference between ignoring and distancing. Distancing still hurts because you want the relationship, however continuing the relationship as it is causes much pain too. You have to protect yourself against the assault of abuse to prevent further damage.

im going through this now with my son once again. His car was repossessed a while back. I/we don’t have the money to bail him out once again plus never getting paid back. His HR dept was able to get him a grant to pay off what is owed on the car so they should have the car back by tomorrow. He is 42 years old for goodness sacks. His wife told me she was looking into plane tickets for her daughter to send her to visit a dear friend over Christmas break for a week! I’m like yes! You will not get our help when you are looking for other ways to spend more money instead of paying bills. My son needs to put his foot down.

it is cold here with a high of 33 F today. I know many of you have much colder temps so hang in there. Sending all of you good vibes and good health.

Thank you Barb! Yank you Golden! Thank to all the prayers and positive energy.

This is all so rare for me.

Stresses I am so sorry that you are going through this pain and abuse.
Similar behavior broke my brokenness heart more with my mother the samevwaybit always had and it hurt deeper when I was worried about losing her and her demise.

I wish I could give some advice. One thing that helped me was to remember my mother had dementia. I also had decrease time around her on necessary interaction. I felt she struck out harder strike because shr was scared and I was the scared scapegoat and still there taking it maybe made
Sone aspect normal
I don't know.
Its no excuse or sense to this abuse.

One thing is you will find strength and growth here.

A wealth of wisdom and love here
Rays of love and healing to us all.

It wonderful the concern and advice. Addressing all angles.

Be strong. Give yourself a break

@ burnt and bundle

I am not in disagreement either of you. If by ignoring you mean simply not paying attention to bad behaviour, I agree. The narcissist needs attention positive or negative and will work to get it by any means. Not giving them that attention is a good way to handle it and to discourage more bad behaviour. You can train dogs by ignoring unwanted behaviour. If ignoring also means a form of denial (ignoring your feelings) such as pretending to yourself that it isn't that bad, or that it doesn't hurt you, or that it's your fault, that they were justified, then it isn't good for you.

Detaching and distancing from someone who behaves badly towards you, is, I think, always a good safe move. Detaching involves working on yourself so that you emotionally temper down your reactions to someone's bad behaviour. And that's a whole other kettle of fish. Distancing may mean seeing them less often, hanging up the phone when verbal abuse starts, leaving the room and so on. Actually creating more physical distance between you and the abuser.

burnt - I am sorry for the abuse you received as a child and very glad you finally accepted the truth about your relationship with your mother. That is such an important step towards healing. I do think narcs lash out at those they feel safest with, meaning those that will not lash back, or with whom they will not lose face or have consequences. You yourself have said in other posts that negative consequences work to reduce the abuse. It didn't work with my mother. I did try it, I tried every different form of response I could think of one bad summer and it didn't change her behaviour one iota, but I gather it worked with yours and I am glad it did.

VSO - so sorry you are going though this bad patch with your mother. Your profile doesn't tell us anything about her. Does she have dementia? If so this may be that the disease is progressing. Might be an idea as well as checking for a UTI to tell her doctor about this behaviour and see if he has any meds that will help her. Meanwhile do something good for you regularly.

duck -so happy you are happy!!!! Long may it last.

"I hope you have a great day."

thank you! i needed that :).
hugs from over here!


Thank-you for your good comment and for understanding. I hope you have a great day.

dear golden :),

i see what you mean, the difference between ignoring and detaching. and i definitely don't mean ignoring as in denying. detaching from abuse is a very good idea! i agree with what you say! :)

dear burnt :),

sorry to hear your family is so abusive. huggggg.

"Ignoring means something different to me. Every bully and abuser craves attention. It doesn't matter if that attention is positive or negative as long as they get it."

yes, that's what i meant by one must try to ignore what the abuser says.

"Ignoring them and seeming like their lashing out or verbal abuse does not affect you in the slightest, is your weapon against it."

exactly, don't let them see they hurt you. they want to see you hurt.

sending healing hugs to us all,

bundle of joy :)

VSO, I think I have you confused with "Venting is Back"! Sorry.

If this abusive behavior on you formerly nice mom's part is new, have you looked into what might be causing it? UTI? Unacknowledged pain? Undetected stroke? Undiagnosed depression? At one time or another, all of these affected my mom.

A change in a person's typical personality or way of functioning is NOT part of normal aging and deserves investigation.


I totally understand where you're coming from. Abuse always hurts no matter how thick a skin we have because we all still have a heart. It even hurts me and the context of my life has turned my skin into the IronMan suit.
I come from an abusive family. My mother is a bully and I was always her scapegoat since I was a little kid. How parents treat their children early on is what sets the stage for how others will treat them. It was perfectly fine with my parents for others to treat me as badly as wanted. Throughout my childhood and early adolescence I thought I was a worthless piece of garbage that deserved it. Then I met my first husband the most decent and moral person ever and his beautiful family. I learned from them that love also means dignity and respect. A person doesn't love another when they don't treat them with dignity and respect. When I learned this and finally accepted that my parents didn't love me as they should have I became able to control how deep I'd let my mother's abusive behavior or anyone else's cut me.
I will spit in the face of anyone who says to me that a person lashes out at the one they love the most. The one they feel the safest and most comfortable with. I have learned to make that person very uncomfortable very quickly. This is how I've been successful at caregiving for so long.
Ignoring means something different to me. Every bully and abuser craves attention. It doesn't matter if that attention is positive or negative as long as they get it.
Ignoring them and seeming like their lashing out or verbal abuse does not affect you in the slightest, is your weapon against it.
This is how I've managed to deal with senior brats, a needy bullying mother, and elders lashing out at me as their caregiver for the last 25 years.
By ignoring. When a person wants a fight, or some drama, or lashes out to spread their misery around, nothing gets them harder than ignoring them.
You still feel hurt from the abuse, but it helps you to not give the person the reaction they crave.

Barb, thanks! She hasn’t always been this way to me. I’ll keep in mind what you say.

BOJ, thanks!

Golden, thanks! Very useful to see the difference between detaching and ignoring! I’ll try that!

I'm going to comment here on detaching versus ignoring. I don't find that I can ignore it when someone is abusive to me. Hearing or feeling abuse has a negative effect on me. It hurts me.

Following that I have choices as to how to deal with it. For me if I try to ignore i am pushing my feelings down and trying to deny them and that doesn't work for me. The hurt doesn't go away. It still damages me. It needs to be acknowledged. Feelings are there to guide us in our choices.

Distancing and detaching are not then same as ignoring - they are gaining physical and emotional distance from the source of the hurt to prevent further hurt and give us time to process our feelings. You can't change some one else - only yourself. I find accepting that the abusers are what they are helps me to not pretend or hope that things are or will be better. Then I can move from there to make healthier choices for myself.

"Maybe ignoring is more like denial, where we pretend to ourselves that something isn't happening. Detachment could be, we acknowledge to ourselves that it is happening, accept that we cannot stop it from happening, and decide that we are not going to let it destroy our sanity"

Any 12 step program can help. Working on codependency can help. Melody Beattie has some good books on co-dependency. I don't think ignoring helps. Just my opinion.

VSO, I am curious why you are surprised by your loved one's ill-will. Haven't you said that she's always been mean to you?

1. Assume she will always treat you like a piece of $hit.

2. Understand in your heart of hearts that it's because she thinks SHE is a piece of $hit and was treated as such by someone who ought to have loved her.

I wonder why you think it's wise or healthy to keep showing up. You are clearly a trigger for her. Not good for you either.


Not good for you either.

hug!! for people surrounded by abusive people, hang in there. it’s tough.

1. they do not have your best interests at heart. on the contrary, it might be years they’ve been trying to destroy you.

2. they will not change. so if you continue to be near them, you’ll keep receiving it.

3. realize that they’re horrible people.

4. you continue being you. and if they’ve destroyed you in some way, go get YOU back.

and take this with you:

some luck 🥰

VSO, hug!!!

it’s hard, but somehow one must try to ignore what abusers say.

Margaret, good idea. Next time I can say that. This time, I was too surprised by her ill will.

Barb, I tell her not to do those things. I walk away. But this time I was stunned by it all. My body froze. The last thing she yelled about was the haunting threat.

If at any point in the future I bring up what she said and did, she’ll yell and spit again.

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