This is one of the few resources that I had for support when dealing with my Grandma's decline -- so with affection and respect, I find myself once again posing family dynamics questions to you all!
I left an abusive/controlling/manipulative family and was doing OK in a different state, until I was laid off. My church has supported me for over a year, but as you know we're in a recession, so good paying jobs are thin on the ground. I"ve put forth a valiant effort to retrain and get rehired into a similar role, but doors keep closing.
My family has been pressuring me to go back to another state for a visit of indeterminate length, since my Dad went into intensive care. My Dad was an alcoholic narcissist, so it was imperative that I stay out of his orbit. He's since died just recently, and now the pressure continues for me to go back...Either for the standard sort of memorial gathering, or to theoretically comfort my remaining family members (who wanted as little as possible to do with me after my Grandmother passed, and all chose to side against me--blowing with the financial wind provided in the form of my progressively deteriorating, millionaire father.
In the aftermath of Dad's death, one sibling has made great efforts to mend the fence between us, and even convinced my Mom to cough up a significant amt. of cash in case I wanted to make a pilgrimage back to my Dad's bedside. Unfortunately, when asked by this sibling whether he was still pissed at me, Dad replied that yes, even after being terminally ill, essentially he still felt entitled to his behavior toward me. So I chose not to go back for more abuse.
Now I'm faced with either perhaps entering a homeless shelter with my dependent teenager (in a comparatively wealthy area with a wonderful climate, mind you,) or following my exasperated and somewhat ignorant (of abusive family dynamics) all-male pastoral staff's idea that I should go back to the same economically desperate state, and just "find out for myself" whether the cash they sent for travel expenses was really indicative of behavioral change.
The pastoral staff are mostly well-intended, yet also bone-headed when it comes to the needs of women in my situation--although they're generous, they have no plan other than quick, temporary fixes--and that's what this is. I've explained to the ones who would listen that previously I have had to use the Quick Exit Door to escape from family entrapment.
I have a very bad feeling about leaving the thin social support network we have in this state, to go back to what has repeatedly proven to be a nearly non-existent one in the state where I came from. I know that abuse tends to be cyclical, but I'm not sure my male pastors have any clue about that. My family has proven to be unreliable & abusive, and I really can-t figure out why they would want me around again, except maybe to temporarily soothe their own egos or entrap a convenient female caregiver (the role which abusive Dad tried to coerce me into since I was a teenager.)
My family of origin barely knows who I really am, since they bought into Dad's divisive role assignment. My mother wasn't always as bad as my Dad, but she is incredibly immature; throws adult tantrums, has major boundary/entitlement issues, etc. Not the sort of woman I would choose to spend time or live with--and yet this is exactly what everybody seems to expect from me!
I had to cut off contact due to her drunk phone calls, etc. and now people seem to think that because my Dad is gone, her behavior will have somehow magically improved (!) I have told extended family that my sibling had my parents' POA, in the hope that they would leave me out of it.
My Mom has long shared my abusive Dad's belief that whoever has the most assets is entitled to behave manipulatively and arbitrarily with them, and I have no evidence of that changing, since it was only via my sibling's very slow intercession that the one-time only travel funds were dispensed.
I've had to avoid disclosing personal info of any kind to my Mom in the past, because she uses it all against me (typical abusive narcissism.) And this is the person/situation that my comparatively ignorant pastors suggest that I return to with my teenager!
If I did this I would be going back with just an old car full of possessions, leaving my furniture in storage in the other state (several days drive away.) My gut says that because I don't have backup (am expected to rely on my Mom's hospitality,) it is likely to be another trap. My family is adept at waving financial carrots when it suits them, just for their own entertainment/sense of control.
I'm even afraid to have verbal contact with my Mom because she is so off the map, and now people expect me to become dependent on her hospitality/fulfill the dutiful daughter role...???
I could really use your insight on this one, thanks for sharing your wisdom!