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Family member, 62, lives alone. Past bad experiences with father, and grandmother. Emotionally abusive. Wife left him, had to pay maximum, he says more, child support. Crooked deal according to him. Repeats these stories to all family members. How he was so taken advantage of. Not good, I agree. I am his sister. But these people are long dead, now, with exception of ex.
Dad dead since '05. Grandmother since 92. Just days ago, he said yet again, "Why did my Daddy do that to me??" I don't know. You would have to ask him.
He is unable to let go of past. Relives it in the telling to the point I have seen tears in his eyes. It upsets him to relive it, can't get that across. And it upsets all of us, to hear these negative experiences retold, and often. Used to think I was this emotional trigger to his past, until I found out he did the same to other family members.
He admitted just recently he has low self esteem as well.
Dementia? Metal toxicity? OCD? What could cause this?
He keeps saying we "just do not understand!" He is right. The past is ancient history. All of us have had bad experiences.
Any thoughts?
Thanks

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I think abused people don't 'get over it' not ever. Some learn to live with it some don't. It actually doesn't matter what type of abuse it was it's happened it was real and you were disempowered by it and thats's the rub. Even when you try to get the power back and some of us do there is still a little chink in your armour. For me it is the smell of Faberge Brut. One whiff and all my best intentions go out of the window and I become a blithering idiot (well more so than normal) and god forbid anybody take my hand and say shhhhhh its all right as they pat my wrist - they are more likely to end up unconscious because I automatically lashed out than anything else.

So even if he did come to terms with what happened the residue is there and as he gets older and less able to command anything so the disempowerment returns. I do the woe is me sometimes - I know I do but I don't actually want sympathy from it I just need to vent it out from time to time. I so hope that doesn't become more often as I get older. Therapy will help but the chink will remain
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Also ( I am on a roll here), if he was abused, it just doesn't go away with time but can fester. People don't just forget abuse. They have to really work at getting better and surviving it. I know because I was emotionally and verbally abused growing up and mom emotionally abused me until she died. So I have some empathy with your brother.
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Oh, I almost forgot, no she did not have dementia. She was sharp as a tack until days before she passed.
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My mother was exactly like this as well. Especially in her older years. Her parents divorced, she live with a father who paid very little attention to her, she never had decent clothes to wear, her step mother was horrible to her, my dad was a pain in the butt, no one ever came to visit her, no one cared about her. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

She needed therapy and medications. I think this is mostly depression and the "poor pitiful me" way of thinking. Mom actually had a pretty loving family.

Your brother needs someone to talk through all of this with. A professional is ideal but don't expect him to change his thought patterns without a lot of help. Good luck and limit your time around him. He will wear you out, mom did me.
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Thanks! Wonderful insights. I appreciate all of these. Love to hear more thoughts.
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You really should not rule out dementia or alz. My father did the same EXACT behavior for a few years before being diagnosed. ..Dwelling only on how he had been done wrong by mr. x, ms. y and so on, over and over and over.

Anti anxiety drugs have helped with this.
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There are antidepressant meds he could take that might help, in conjunction with talk therapy, if he still has the cognitive ability to gain insight.
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It sounds like ruminating. It's rather common. It's actually very difficult for the patient to control without therapy. Here's an article about it.

psychologytoday/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201306/the-seven-hidden-dangers-brooding-and-ruminating
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He is miserable. If he is willing to let go of the misery a therapist could help. It is too bad he didn't have some counselling back when these dreadful events were happening. (Or if he did, that it wasn't the right approach or the right counselor or he wasn't ready ... that for some reason it wasn't sufficient.)

It sounds like he has taken the opportunity to talk about these events to you and others. That doesn't seem to be enough to get him past it. I don't know if it would help him, but you could help yourself by not listening anymore. "Brother, I am so sorry you had that experience. I think you should talk to a counselor about it. You deserve that support. But I can't change the past for you. Let's talk about something else. Did you watch the game Sunday?" If necessary leave or close the phone call, saying you'll talk to him later and hope he is willing to talk about something else then.

Be supportive and sympathetic and urge him to get the help he deserves. But don't let those topics be your only connection to him.
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Didn't mention he is retired, but a workaholic!!
In fact I read that if a person does alcohol or drugs, beginning age 14 and does until age 30, then quits, emotionally he is still 14. Never learned to cope! Recently came to realize that emotionally he is about that age.
He buried himself in work, beginning in teen years, parents divorced, and we lived with Dad's mother, and him when he bothered to drop in from his other family.
But we can not change past. He stays very busy. He learned that in teen years.
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He talks about those things because he doesn't have anything else to talk about. Probably a somewhat depressive personality. Tell him he might feel better if he took some B12...the feel good vitamin. Can't hurt. Might help.
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TigerLou, I doubt this is dementia, it sounds more like he is still very upset over the past, and you can't blame him.

Is your brother employed? He needs to keep himself busy so won't have time to dwell on the past and how so much went wrong. If he is retired, find some type of volunteer work he can do, volunteering is such a feel good thing :)
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I love him, but he seems to lead a rather tortured existence. Can't seem to get him to go to DR. Daughter makes appts. he cancels.
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