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I assume this is just life, but don't know. I have posted before but maybe I just need to vent or feel like I am not invisible. Are these things normal? Am I handling it right?
A couple years ago my dear husband was diagnosed with cancer. I cannot express the anxiety. I had been wanting to have a baby, but am realizing that is a dream I will be unable to fulfill. The grief is like a constant companion nobody sees.
Around the same time as the cancer diagnosis, it became clear the changes in mom were caused by dementia. Dad is in denial, crying frequently, and needing support emotionally and with practical things. Mom has narcissistic behaviors and older sister is an amplified version of her. The two of them triangulate and dad just goes along and things are never in my favor. In an attempt to get peace in my life, I stopped contact with my sister 7 months ago. As for the parents, I live an hour away and have done a lot, but just can't anymore.
Over the summer golden child sister had an 80th birthday party for our mom while my husband and I were out of town so we were excluded. Parents said I should have rearranged my schedule to meet sister's timing. Then, sister's adult son got married and the family blew into a rage that I accepted the invitation while I was at "odds" with my sister. Sister threatened to un-invite me unless I made up to her. I explained you don't aggressively demand such a thing and if sister wanted to un-invite me it would be her decision. Through our parents, I heard she was calling me undeserving and angry. Parents said she was just hurt (narcissistic rage is a better description) that I had been ignoring her. Parents are angry with me and want me to apologize.
So, I have been no contact with my parents for almost 2 months and no contact with golden child sister for 7 months. I am not mad at anyone, I just need peace. I need a healthy environment for my life and my husband. I have heartbreak about all of this as I am the one who bears the weight of drawing the line. I have educated myself on the role of a family scapegoat and it is my life. Our dear little pet kitty died a couple weeks ago, and we adopted a kitten from a shelter who seems adorable. I am doing yoga and cooking healthy foods, and even decorating our home to bring positive "chi" energy. I feel better overall. I am practicing acceptance and forgiveness. Just hope I've got this right.

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Ginger, I’m so sorry....about everything. Removing yourself from the toxicity that is your family was the only thing you could do. Stop listening to “he said, she said” when you hear they’re insulting you. They have their own toxic little triangle.

You are making progress. You say you’re feeling better. That means you’re doing it right. Kisses to the baby kitty!
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You're not invisible. :)

Your ability to stand back from this situation and name it all with clarity is impressive. And yep, this is life, "normal" isn't really relevant. It just is what it is. And even when you can see it with clarity it can still be heartbreaking. Good for you for taking care of yourself so well, so you can be there for your husband and your kitty. If all that feels right then it is right so keep it up.

Jane
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Thanks all for your replies and taking time to read. You have made me feel like I'm OK with everything going on with health issues and coping with the associated drama. All the best to everyone here as well. It is nice to have this forum to share and discuss. ((cyber hugs))
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Wow, good for you that you have taken these steps to take care of yourself!! I grew up in a family of a narcissistic father, a "golden child" brother (he bought a motorcycle when he was in his 30's and my father called ME up and started screaming at me that I should have stopped him!!) and a mother who stuck her head in the sand and just ignored it all. I went through 5 years of counseling long ago, that started with something unrelated to my family, but ended up figuring out it was BECAUSE of my life growing up and my family. Anyway, over the years I have always remembered things I learned in counseling, mainly that I am an important person and I am entitled to live a life that I choose. And, just because they are blood doesn't mean you have to allow a toxic person into your life. If you wouldn't choose them to be in your life otherwise, don't allow them to be just because you are related. This applies to parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. Also, through this forum I've learned things such as guilt is a useless emotion...it does nothing to help us but everything to hurt us, so we have to learn to let go of it. There was one point in my life where I didn't speak with my brother for 7 years, and with my parents for over 1 year. While I was sad about it, ultimately when we did get "back together" it was a healthier relationship. I showed them that I was serious about not being bullied and controlled and if they wanted to be a part of my life, it had to be in a respectful, acceptable way. Unfortunately, you also can't change people, but you can alter their behaviors, which is what I believe happened in my case. My dad didn't stop being a narcissist. but he did respect me more and learned how to act in a more acceptable way around me. When I would notice he was starting to "slip" into some old behavior, I would walk away from him, change the conversation, etc. and sometimes pull back on calling or seeing him for a while...until he could treat me with respect again. By the time he passed away, I believe we had the best relationship we ever had had, or would have. We never had the daddy-daughter relationship you see in the movies.....I was never "daddy's little girl"....but we had something that was ok. However, to have that was often hard work, and when he passed, I actually felt a huge sense of relief, which, to this day, makes me realize that the choices I had made along the way to step away from him, to take care of myself, were the right ones. Because even after things were better between us, there was still always tension and stress, which I didn't realize so much until he passed. I can't imagine what it would have been like if hadn't taken care of myself! As for my brother, we live 3000 miles apart from each other, but have a reasonable relationship now. The first time I saw him in 7 years was when my dad had passed. Mom is now living with my brother, who, surprisingly, stepped up to the plate when I no longer could take care of her. We have a good long distance relationship, but when we do get together in person, there definitely is still a lot of tension and we often get into a "tiff." My brother is a cop, and treats everyone with a "cop" mentality. A huge part of the reason he is in the middle of a bitter divorce. So, I have to "work" at our relationship the same way I did with my dad....keep the in-person visits to a minimum, walk away when brother starts disrespecting me, etc. I'm not sure what kind of relationship we will have once mom is gone, but I am ready to accept whatever happens because I know I will be in charge of myself and whatever happens will be because it is what is best for me. Blood or not.

So keep doing what you are doing!! You are entitled to live a happy, healthy life and if others are standing in your way of doing so, go around them however you have to, but don't let them interfere!
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Thank you everyone for replying. I have read through all your posts with a grateful heart and many hot cups of coffee. Approaching 50 years of age doesn't come without travelling peaks and valleys. I suppose, if we are lucky, we learn and grow through those experiences. I am choosing to not let anyone take the peace that resides in my heart. For some reason, it seems some people closest to us are only satisfied if they think they have snuffed it out. I'll never understand it. I will continue on my path of peace and love. Blessings to you all.
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Very good job so far... It takes tough choices, & you have already made several good choices toward preserving your own peace. In our gut we know he much we can take, & who is toxic, & when "no-contact" is needed. Stay on track, you're going to do well, if you don't waiver: (especially when the holidays come). Hang tough👏😊👍
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You are a person who is gifted to be able to “see the forest among the trees.” I hope my response is not a negative thing, because I embrace the supportive answers given more than anything in my life right now. I take part in caring for three persons in poor health, two in extreme pain (one is my dear husband). It’s been a long road, with therapist,  to work through my limitations and to constantly reaffirm that I need to put my husband first and the life we built together first. 

At this moment of reading your question, I realize that part of what is so difficult is realizing that I am the healthy one who has so far eluded age-related decline. I feel like a survivor among loved ones who are going through agonizingly slow, self-aware death marches. It feels unbearable. I carve out exercise and alone time with a bludgeon tool, and usually cry through the self-sustaining activities I do. When my heart feels torn to pieces, I go numb and automatic. Having to live with knowing you will likely go on with your good nature when others can‘t/won’t/don’t – ultimately your life is yours and between you, your guiding star. You are doing a fine job of mediating complex forces beyond your control. You are admirable, and your post has probably touched and helped a lot of others. Please take faith in that.
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Ginger, you need to find a therapist or a social worker who will help you deal with your feelings and sort things out. I know it sounds cliche but it really will help. You can do 100 activities to get your mind off of things but the feelings are still there. You’ve had a lot to deal with. I promise that finding someone to talk to will lift the burden you’re carrying.
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JoLoBx Sep 21, 2018
Absolutely agree. The fact that you may be doing the "right" things will not make you feel better, because if you were feeling better, you wouldn't be writing about it here. Talking to a social worker will help you. I have been there so I know what I am talking about. Your burden will be lifted.
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I’m trying to do the same thing in my life. I have sacrificed my life to take care of my mom, only to listen to her and my “golden child” brother disparage me for hours on end on a security system they knew was there. It was heartbreaking. My mom’s 103 sister lives with us now and is not doing well. Since my brother took over my mom’s care, she is in bed almost 24/7...but it’s what she wants, so I’m trying to stand back and let go. My brother has taken her for $250,000 to date and she barely has enough to live on at this point. I took my name off all accounts last week so I wouldn’t go down with her. My husband and I are desperately seeking peace as well. Praying God’s mercy and comfort on u as well!
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Ginger, when you feel peace from within, you know you are doing what is right for you and your husband. Educate yourself about narcissism and keep your boundaries and priorities firm. It takes time, but a family that toxic and disrespectful to you and your husband should not be tolerated. It's clear you've tried contact and it's just too much drama and wasted energy with you always being beholding to them.
I've lived with a narcissistic mother for years, and would have gone no contact years ago had it not been for my beloved aunt who lived with her. So I developed firm boundaries which I still maintain now that it's just my mother who is 91. Though I love her, and grieved a mother-daughter relationship years ago, I'm fortunate that I don't have other siblings to navigate. My mother alienated or pushed away almost everyone who was friendly to her, so she is careful not to go too far with me because I help her every week and take her to doctor and dentist appointments. We're now in the process of getting some help to come in a couple of times a month to do her laundry and light cleaning in addition to what I already do for her. I wish you the best and everyone else whose lives are complicated by the narcissistic parent.
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