Knowing you are done; any advice?

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My 80 year old mother has early dementia and lives with dad. Mom has had narcissistic traits my whole life, dad is her enabler and older sister can do no wrong. I feel like I survived a horrible weekend of family mobbing and emotional attack. I think I reached a point where I am done. I suppose that’s where I’d like your advice, or perhaps I'm just looking for permission to move forward without them.


Relations with my family have been delicate for years. I remained engaged out of duty to my elderly parents. The tipping point was last weekend when my sister’s son got married. Shortly after I accepted the invitation, I heard sister was not happy I accepted and was going to un-invite me if I didn’t mend our relationship. A couple weeks later, my nephew called and asked me to do a reading at the service which I was honored and accepted. After that, things spiraled downward. Sister called telling me it was her son’s wedding and I shouldn’t attend if we were on the outs, and that I had no relationship with her son, and didn’t deserve the honor of doing a reading. Perhaps I should have bowed out, but I thought it would be too hurtful for my nephew. I told her there would be time for us to work out our differences, but for now let’s get along for her son’s sake. I told my sister she could un-invite me but it would be her choice. She said she wouldn’t do that, but then refused to tell me the location of the rehearsal dinner. Our voices were raised, my hands were trembling with emotion and all she kept saying to me was “listen to how bad your voice sounds.” I felt so berated. I told her I was going to hang up and I realized the phone had gone silent on her side. I believe it might have been that she silenced her phone and put it on speaker so her daughter could hear.


That was the last contact I had with my family until the day of wedding. I arrived with a smile on my face, and the bride and groom greeted me with a hug. My sister, parents, and sister’s daughter never even looked at me. I nervously did the reading and the whole thing went off without a hitch until the reception.


I sat at the table with my parents and looked after them. I tied my dad’s shoes. I took mom to the bathroom and reapplied her lipstick. After dinner, sister’s daughter came up to my husband and asked what her mom did to me that was so wrong. Fortunately, my husband claimed ignorance and stayed out of it. In the bathroom, a longtime family friend said she was sorry there had been so much fighting in the family – gossip which didn’t come from me. When I returned to the table, my sister’s husband walked by, grabbed my arm, dragged me into a corner, and got close to my face asking what was wrong. He told me my sister was really hurt. I had to put my hand on his chest to get some distance. I felt physically attacked. I wanted to scream, but smiled and said “thanks for your concern. We’ll work things out in time.” When I returned to the table, my dad told me he was going to get my sister so I could make up with her. I told him this wasn’t the time or place. He then told me I ruined the whole entire wedding. With that, I grabbed my purse and left.


I have not heard anything from them since, and I actually don’t want to ever see or hear from any of them again. I am prepared to have my life without them. This means I won’t be around to care for my parents. I just feel so abused personally and emotionally and want nothing more of it. Thanks for reading.

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Wit are you and your sister on the outs? Does it have something to do with the caring of your parents?
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Reply to staceyb
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Aren't families wonderful. No problem with my side just wish we lived closer. Now my husbands...one SIL does not like me. She is condesending and picks at things. I chose not to talk to her for 10 yrs.

Your sister has the problem, not you. First, the wedding was her sons, she had nothing to do with uninviting you or you not being able to speak.

I have a feeling that you were someone who didn't like confrontation. You also were pretty much easy going and could be made to feel guilty. You get tired of being a floor mat. Problem, when you start to fight back its, oh my! And, you should apologize when its u who should have the apology. Maybe at one time you wanted everyone to like you and couldn't understand why they didn't. I have gotten to the point, I don't care anymore.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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GingerMay Sep 7, 2018
Thanks JoAnn. Yes, I always wanted my family to like me. They just never did. I couldn't understand why they didn't like me. My caregiving was a way I tried to prove to them that I was worthy of their love. It just didn't work. We never got closer, they never even seemed to notice. As I read about narcissistic families, it all makes sense. It is sad, but the clarity is liberating and healing for me will come.
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Ah ye olde scapegoat role - I know it well
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Reply to Scaredtaker
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GingerMay Sep 7, 2018
Yes, indeed I am the family scapegoat and it seems you relate Scaredtaker. I never knew the term prior to the family mobbing last month, but I researched narcissistic family dynamics and am aghast as it seems they are writing my life story. The narc parent and enabling parent commonly assign a golden child and scapegoat. Golden sister complained to parents that I hadn't been calling her enough. I ignored her and inflicted the narcs worst hurt. It is difficult for me to have good relationships with my parents because they only support my sister. My dad won't talk to me on the phone. The last time we spoke he said he doesn't care if I have any relationship with him at all and his only desire is that I "make up" to golden sister. He has said that before and I never believed him, but I do now. I guess he chose a side which parents are never supposed to do. I have been no-contact with entire family for over a month and feel better than ever. I have some guilt that I've walked out on my parents in need, but then become overwhelmed that I am driving myself right back into a Lion's den and so I have chosen to save myself and my sanity. Sad choice, but I am sticking to it.
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You know you are done.
Do not doubt yourself, own it.
Be free GingerMay!
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Better to be outta' that nutty family. Since your nephew contacted and welcomed you, you could keep in touch by e-mail.

To heck with the rest of them.
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Reply to SueC1957
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You have no responsibility to have anyone in your life who does not treat you with courtesy and respect - even if they are relatives. You may find your life is much more peaceful and enjoyable without the drama queens tramping through it.

I wouldn't let your sister push you out of your parent's lives. I would continue to call and visit the parents (with no notice so they cannot call the sister and let her know when you will be there). If your dad tries to play the make-up card again I suggest telling him that your sister started the estrangement and that the first step toward conciliation would be a sincere written apology that left the timing on any future contact in your hands. As long as your sister continues to aggressively demand that you accept her mis-behavior there is no chance of any fence mending. Don't discuss particulars with your parents. The relationship between you and your sister isn't anyone else's business.

When/if your sister's adult children contact you, I would treat them as individuals - they are not responsible for their mother's behavior. As adults they have a right to have a relationship with their aunt even if their mother doesn't. From your description, at least one nephew values his relationship with his aunt in spite of his mother's views.

I applaud your handling of your BIL at the wedding. I would have been very tempted to tell him he could let go of my arm before or after I smashed his jewels.

Good Luck!
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Reply to TNtechie
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Your post reminds me of Marley’s Ghost in “A Christmas Carol”. You are dragging so many boxes and chains you can barely function.

What would you like to have happen? At this point, from your post, I believe it must be all or nothing.

My husband and I and his family are no longer close. I don’t hear from any of them and was horrified when my son told me a few weeks ago that 2 of my sisters-in-law had wanted to visit, presumably with an hour's notice. I don’t want them here and told my son, who is still close to his cousin, that my SIL’s should be discouraged from visiting. I want nothing to do with any of them. They have been no help to me since my husband became bedridden and never call or even email.

My life is not over because I have cut these people out of my life. Your’s shouldn’t be either. I’d suggest therapy to find ways to deal with your past history and your decision to “cut bait”. You will become the proverbial “black sheep” of the family so make sure you’re ok with that. . Find new interests to keep you busy. You will be ok without these toxic people. And probably better for it. Good luck.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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