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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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Worry less and listen more...
You are not obligated in any way...
"We" put soooooo much guilt on ourselves....I am an only child of Catholic, Italian parents....and I am 60 years young...Never had a life of my own...and now taking care of my father...soooooooo we are all singing to the choir!!!! Start NOW..live YOUR life
xo
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Rosses003 Oct 3, 2018
I’m 45, very similar situation to yours. I know I have not had a life in my 45 years of life, and I know I’m very afraid to get to where you’re and feel I had a life yet didn’t live it, but at least I know, in my heart, that even though I’m not necessarily living my life the way most would undertand one should ‘live’ life, I’m doing what is right, at least what per my book is right. Feeling that one is doing the right thing, according to each one of us, is living life in a way that at least brings peace to our paths.
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Hi ginger
you are doing what’s best for you and your hubby. He is your life partner not them. I’m from a narcissistic disfunctional family and I’m the one that has suffered because I never wanted to cut ties. At one time I was the golden child but now since there is no one left but me my husband and son, I’m the hateful selfish daughter. We told my mom three weeks ago that after living with us for over 8 years it was time for her to think about independent living. Our lives have been hell since that day. My point is you need to do what’s best for you and your hubby. You’re not doing anything wrong except getting mentally healthier and you should be commended for that. BRAVO. When is enough, enough? I think you know the answer now. Keep doing what you’re doing to make you happy healthy and sane
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You might enjoy CoDependents Anonymous meetings. We talk about these issues.
BetseyP
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Ah, I understand. Same dynamic in my family, with me as the scapegoat. Your situation is much more amplified however. I feel for you, and it sounds like you are doing everything right. I never had any luck getting my family, my golden child sister especially, to see things differently no matter how absurd her actions are. Keep up the fantastic life! Sounds like you have it together! Have you read A Time to Heal by Timmon Cermak? It put me on the road to greater understanding and healing. Best book out there in my opinion. https://www.amazon.com/Time-Heal-Recovery-Children-Alcoholics/dp/0380707225
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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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There are some of you who say you had to let the relationship with your sibling (s) go because you felt they weren't doing enough to help you with the parents. Some of you say you have moved on from the relationships. Yet I read on these posts that many of you describe your siblings in very bitter ways: narcissistic, pathetic, toxic, lazy, selfish, etc. It seems to me that some of you are still holding onto those high expectations and are very unwilling to let go of your anger, disappointment, and resentment towards your siblings. In other words, you act as if you have moved on, but you really haven't. If this is so, I believe you will always be suffering. If you have true acceptance and forgiveness--maybe some unconditional love for those people whose behavior you can't control, you might feel less stress, less toxicity around you, and move your life in more positive directions. As for myself, I dwelled in the drama of hating someone to keep the pity party going for a while. I realized that is wasn't healthy behavior, because number one, it was a waste of my time. They could care less how I was feeling. They had moved on in their lives. Two, it did nothing to improve the situation. There wasn't any less of a burden, and the anger controlled every aspect of my life. I tried to flip a switch but my mind would always came back to the resentment I felt.

I don't mean this to be patronizing towards anyone. Being a caregiver is a tough enough. I'm just thinking that the people who have truly found peace in a tough situation are the posters that talk about true forgiveness and love. Hate just blocks anything good from coming your way.

(Venting to release your pent up emotions is another thing, and a great way to relieve stress.)
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jacobsonbob Sep 22, 2018
This reminds me of a saying I heard or read some years ago: "Holding a grudge is allowing someone you don't like to live rent-free in your mind."
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GingerMay, I was inspired reading your post. It's so refreshing to hear of someone who takes positive steps to free themselves from toxic situations. I was also glad to see that you weren't feeling guilty, either. That seems to be a common sensation that a lot of people feel when they do the right thing, which, I have trouble understanding. You'll know if and when you want to re-establish contact. Sometimes, stepping back from a situation helps us see it more clearly. No doubt your family loves you, though, and miss you a lot.

It sounds like you might be a little disillusioned, though. Have you gone out for a nice time lately? Just gone out and done something that you used to really enjoy? I was thinking about the state of things within my life yesterday and feeling very serious, when, it hit me. I REALLY need to go out with some friends for dining and drinks (my preference is champagne), recall funny stories from my wilder days with friends, let go of my worries and dance (actually dance). I'm not sure it will help, but, it made me feel better just planning it. Take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing.

Oh, you may be too young to care about this, but, I got Paul McCartney tickets and it's amazing how exciting it is to look forward to seeing him in concert. Looking forward to happy times is super fun too.
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A few years ago I lost 3 pets within a month of each other. Granted they were seniors but I always wondered if the stress of the moment - from family and the dog who was going through a tough time - was the cause of the strokes in my two senior cats.
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I think everyone just has to figure out how to survive. I know people who seem to be getting love and support from their families but I know many more who have to draw boundaries. I have a brother that can't be in the same room with me. I deal with him as little as possible, but it's the other siblings who have let me drown in the crisis that is our parents. It's amazing to me how each has selective memories of things that happened in our lives. I don't know who these people are now and I certainly don't understand their current values. Selfish and/or narcissistic. I do find the people with children have made a break from being involved in anything that doesn't directly pertain to them or their children, even though the children are grown up with their own children. So they are boring, too. When I have cleaned up this mess, I will have to re-invent my life somewhere else as an only child.
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BetseyP Sep 24, 2018
It's not necessary to do these things alone. Books are good, go out for champagne might be good, but there are groups that can help you heal.
BetseyP
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GingerMay;

Sorry for the loss of your kitty. :-( It is never easy to lose our fur-friends. Hope the new kitten brings some brightness into your life and helps heal the pain (no, they can never replace the lost one, but can help fill some of the emptiness in you!)

Is this just life? Yup. Despite all the smarmy movies and TV shows where home life is all hearts and roses, real life is not like that for everyone. There certainly are families where everyone cares for and loves one another, but then there are those who are too self-centered or just plain mean and we all pay for that. I've said it before: We can pick our friends, we can pick our seats, we can pick our noses, but we CANNOT pick our families! Although for the most part our family was somewhere in the middle, not lovey-dovey, but not outright throat grabbers, it still was not great. Out of concern and some care, I made sure mom is taken care of and continue to do what needs to be done, despite limited (if any) help from my brothers.

In cases like your sister's, I think what you have done is best. Dissociate. Let the bad feelings go, because they will only eat away at you and do nothing to her. She wants to be a jerk, wallow in self-pity or anger, let her. It will eat HER up, not you. Do NOT take anything she says/does, nor what your parents might say/do based on the garbage SHE feeds them, to heart. Focus on doing what you can now for and with your husband (and new kitten!) Take time for yourself too. These are things that you seem to be doing already, so stick with that! Take anything they say/do with a grain of salt and let it slide off. Consider it their loss, not yours. Although it is hard to accept that perhaps children will not be in your future, at least consider how difficult that would be while caring for your husband - who would suffer most if you had to spread yourself that thin?

As for your parents - you could try to maintain some contact, but draw the line if they start criticizing. Make it known that you will NOT accept the blame for your sister's behavior, that you wish to have a relationship with them, but will leave any time they start to get on your case. It will be more difficult with your mom if she is in the early stages of dementia, but perhaps dad will see some sense. Draw the line in the sand and stick to it! Drawing that line should not include taking on any "weight" or any negative connotation. This is where you stick up for yourself so you can say I will accept this and no more.

My older brother (who I also call the "golden child") was physically and verbally abusive to me growing up. Once we got older, spent time with other people, went off to college, jobs, families, we had very limited contact. Generally it was some family gathering of some kind, many years apart. Given multiple people around and nothing really to be done except visit, he was "okay." He has come up a few times to assist in clearing out mom's condo (we moved her Jan 2017 and only just got it sold!), which I appreciated. Calls/texts between times were fine. However in retrospect, he was somewhat "testy" when he was here. I missed the signals during those times. His last trip (May), he was verbally abusive and finally physically abusive - I kicked him out and will have nothing to do with him going forward. I did discuss this with his daughter and found out that he was abusive to her (I suspected that) and possibly her mother as well (they split up, we heard nothing about why; she has passed, so we will never know.) So, what you see is most likely who your sister is, and unless she wants to change herself and resume a familial relationship with you, so be it. You do NOT have to cow to her demands, you are NOT responsible for her petty issues and you do NOT have to maintain any relationship with her. Sure, your parents would like you to get along, but what we want and what we need is not always the same thing!
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GingerMay (and anyone else this might apply to):

This is actually part 2 of my post, but I am posting it first. This can "stand alone":

BTW, in the process of deciding my brother was no longer welcome in my life, I did some research. Sibling abuse is not well studied (it is often chalked up to rivalry, boys being boys, sisters cat fighting or whatever) but is considered to be MORE widespread that any other domestic abuse!!! Parents often do not see it or recognize it. Generally it is perceived as rivalry or some other platitude. However it IS real!!! From my past memories of what he had done to me, AND seeing how he treated his daughter at a young age, I KNOW that this brother has some serious issues, and at this point I AM DONE. I do not care that he is my brother. I do not care what he thinks or feels about this (generally when he has these "moods", an hour, a day or a few days later it is like it never happened - SURE, for YOU jerk!) Mom has dementia, but still knows us. She is in MC place and he is 2 days drive away, so we NEVER need to be together again. I AM FINISHED!!! I do not have to harbor any feelings about him now, and won't have to worry about being abused again. THAT is the weight off my shoulders, and I suggest you accept what you have to and NOT let it weigh you down! They choose their bed, let them lie in it - you do not have to get in that bed with them!
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Hi Ginger May, I can really relate to your story. Along with a very toxic and narcissistic sister where you are dammed if you do and dammed if you don't, I am grateful to have a loving and kind sister to whom I can talk. I hope you have a good friend you can talk with who understands. What has really worked for my sister and I is LOVE. Your yoga, chi energy, acceptance and forgiveness is wonderful. Your sister in her warped and narcissistic way wants that wedge between you and your parents. Keep in contact with your parents when you feel strong and loving and have love in your heart. I have found sometimes just writing a loving letter or card showing gratitude to your parents for being your parents in this life helps. Don't let your sister define you. I have to dig deep not to react to some of the toxic stuff my sister does and I have released her from my life with forgiveness and love. I realized that I am learning to be stronger and showing more love because of this. Love really is the most powerful energy. Sending lots of love across the universe to you.
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GingerMay Sep 25, 2018
Thank you Bindie. I agree love is the way to go. I don't know if you are old enough to remember that song from the 70's called "Love is the Answer"? I think England Dan and John Ford Coley did it? Anyway, I think of it often. It takes me to a place when I was a kid and life was simple and it lifts my spirits to a higher place than all the badness that I cannot escape from in my family. I love my parents dearly, just cannot tolerate their constant show of disdain toward me. Love, wish for healing and release.
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Oh my, hugs to you.

"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."

I can tell by the above statement that you've given yourself a healthy response to a bad and unfair situation. Sometimes that is all we can do.
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GingerMay: Keep moving forward with that positive vibe. You've got it right. God bless you!
Llamalover47
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WOW, Lin1958. I read some of your past posts. Golden Child Brother should have been responsible for your mother a long time ago. YOU gave up your job to take care of her? Why wasn't she paying you? Why weren't YOU worthy of payment (and why was your brother???).

And then to have her and your brother badmouth you?

So now Golden Child does the fulltime caregiving for your mother? Don't feel too badly if it isn't optimal. Remember, you were badmouthed and Golden Child can do no wrong.
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Lin1958 Sep 21, 2018
It’s been a tough road. Trying to make my sweet aunt comfortable right and trying not to focus on anything else. I live right across the road from my mom...so it’s still my responsibility to get her to dr appts, pick up meds, etc...but now I sleep in my own bed. Really hard to look either of them in the eye right now. Thanks for your post. Nice to know there are some out there who care...
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GingerMay, You've definitely got this right. No second guesses, you're right on target. It's painful and the family will never get it, but you're putting them outside of your life so you can create the life you want and need. Never look back! You go, girl!!!
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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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Sending love and a big high five. I commend you for taking care of yourself, your life and your husband. I hope you will be able to make peace with your sister in the future. She is probably in a tough spot too. I was the primary caregiver for my Mom and my sister was out of state. But she always supported me, listened and agreed with every decision I made. Don’t know what I would have done without her. Just trying to say that even though your sister may be treating you horribly, her heart may be breaking over Mom’s dementia too.
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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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Sounds like you're headed in the right direction. You have to take care of yourself first, otherwise everyone will be miserable. Sending thoughts your way, yoga is good for the mind and body along with your new furry family member.

Keep your head up and keep shining above all.
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Yes, you have got it right. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

You are moving on rather than playing the martyr. You are an inspiration!

Many, many people must come to the decision that life away from family of origin is "really livin' the dream." You are one of them.

Keep on pursuing your interests and desires. Find your bliss!

Thanks for sharing this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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You're doing it right. I'm still learning the lessons.
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You are doing the right thing - for you!  I recently pulled back and luckily my mom went to visit other friends/relatives for 2 months.  Did I ever need a respite from all the family drama - no assistance but plenty of back-stabbing negativity, judgment and criticism!  I had had it and felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown.  It took 2 weeks of a lot of sleep, meditating and just being alone in the universe to feel like myself again.  I started to feel happy - people actually commented on how "rested" and "happy" I looked.  I realized it's not ME - it's being around a$$holes!

I'm now back to caretaking duties but with a new outlook.  I refuse to be the scapegoat - the "red-headed stepchild" as I'm the only daughter and have 2 brothers that do very little.  I got reamed for wanting to secure addition assistance for my mother who lives with me and is almost 92 -  since I work full-time.  MY SIL proceeded to send me a text and basically tell me I was just acting like I "wanted people's pity AND I wasn't the only one that had to take care of a home as she also had to"....WHOA....WHAT????   excuse me - she is retired, her father died and left her lots of money and she's basically been with my brother for 30 years.  Both of her parents are gone and she has no children.  I cannot begin to tell you the RAGE I felt.  I was making myself sick being consumed by it. 

So I took a huge chance - and stepped back and started seeing friends, going shopping, the movies, brunch.  Just taking time for ME!  So considering you do have ill husband - please take care of your family!  These narcissistic parents will wear you down to a pulp!  God Bless!
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Ginger please take care of yourself first! I made the grave mistake of moving my widowed father with dementia to live 4 minutes from me, and the “I wonder what he’s doing now” is in my head 24/7. It just doesn’t turn off! He’s angry, resistant, fails to take meds without help, doesn’t drive (although he’s made it MY job to find a doctor to clear him for driving!) and he can’t go to AL because he chain smokes and WONT walk outside to the gazebo to smoke! He doesn’t care. So he sits on his balcony all day smoking.
it sounds as if your plan to disassociate and regain some of your life back is working for you. I agree with others- seek counseling- even if it’s just to vent. I had a mini-meltdown at my family doctor while I was there for something else and she gave me Xanax!!! I thought I was doing pretty good at handling things but what I considered “everyday life” was clearly not working!
You have a plan- you know what you need in order to function. In time, you might be able to open up a conversation with your family, but on YOUR terms.
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ginger, your break and some new lifestyle improvements sound good to me too! Sorry about your kitty who passed. Praying your husband will improve. I second susan’s post above; if you do not have a counselor I would start with one. You may not keep just being ‘fine’ with everything, and when (not sure it’s an if) you end up in contact again it’d be great to do so with more knowledge and tools under your belt. Perhaps you can learn some ways to connect better with dad and ease his burden too. I am the only child of a borderline/narcissist mother, no father, I understand so much of what you describe. Wishing you peace!
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As you say, "Life Happens."

You cannot change anyone other than yourself - and you seem to be on a very positive track. While heartbreaking, it seems to me you are handling things in a way you can live with.

"Golden Child" reminds me of, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" - and just be thankful you aren't the squeaky wheel. You are a well-centered individual.
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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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Amen. Your challenges are heartbreaking. Yet you sound like somehow you are keeping your priorities straight: yourself, your husband,the things you can control. If you let yourself be dragged into their web, both you and your husband would suffer and I guarantee you nothing would improve. I love the steps you are taking to give yourself and husband the best quality of life you can. Keep the small joys in mind. I applaud your devisions.
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kdcm1011 Sep 21, 2018
I agree with all keepingup wrote. It’s focusing on the positive strides you have made. What you are doing inspires me to help my husband stick to his well-earned boundaries, as he is going thru quite a lot of the same — narcissistic mother, Golden-child sister, he is the doormat, etc. Hugs to you from CT!
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My siblings stopped speaking to me ten years ago, all having to do with money. They also semi cut contact with my mother, seeing her randomly over the years. She died in June, my one brother had no contact since dec 2016, and the other one dec 2017, I felt horrible for her. I grieved their loss as if they had died when they cut off contact. At some point you have to do what is right for you. I have found friends that are more like family. There will always be a void but somehow you will get thru it. Talking with someone does help, also writing your siblings letters and never mailing them helps get it off your chest. It can be a long stormy lonely road. Hugs
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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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