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dev2009
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Hi,

This is my first time posting here.

I am hoping someone can help me figure what’s going on around me.

I am not sure, which category this post fits in, so going to post it in general.

This is going to be a long story. So bear with me.;)

There are four key players in this story. Me, mid twenties, was living abroad. My elder sister of 6 years, single, living abroad. There is also my mom of 60 years and dad of 67 years.

All this recent events started culminating last April. Before that I though we were the typical normal family with the usual ups and downs. Well what happened was my father left home and went MIA for a month, saying he couldn’t live my mom. He came back and both started accusing each other of mental illness. We flew down, immediately after father hospitalized my mom of having some disorder. The doc said he couldn’t figure out who was ill, and she was discharged to be observed by us. As time went by, it became apparent, mom was more ill than dad, she was always paranoid. If I walked down the street to the shop next door and got late, she would become highly agitated and paranoid and assume I went joyriding. She would call everyone names and say things, but the next minute she would forget that she said all those. She would have sudden mood swings. Also she was talking about death all the time. She had a dream about dying on her birthday. Two months passed, both of them saw one psychiatrist. Dad continued to see him. Mom refused to see him or any other doctor saying she wasn’t ill. But she would get aggressive on those occasions. Once a doctor came for a home visit, we couldn’t get the doctor to see her, as we couldn’t handle her, after he had left. Well, at this time, dad severally depressed and was very aloof and very passive. I was for forcing and get my mom help and sister against it and we shouldn’t hurt her. But my sister left back abroad. Things started get worse at home, wasn’t allowed go out or do anything because of her paranoia, agitation. I was getting depressed being JUST stuck. After which, I got help from some of my friends and went to see a psychiatrist (best in my country), who suggested forcing my mom into the hospital and getting help. Dad was okay with it, sister was not, she just got angry and stopped talking to me for a while. That was one traumatic day, where she was sedated and taken in ambulance to the hospital. In the hospital, she diagnosed with a delusional disorder with paranoid symptoms. She has been on psych meds since then (this was last aug). She tried several to avoid taking drugs, such as trying to hide the med. Or take the med orally as normal person. And would non chalantly walk to the toilet or window to spit it out. Now she is forced to stay in one place for about 20mins after taking the drugs and water. Well that is the psychotic part of her story. There is another more weird side to her. Looking back now, little things earlier than last year suddenly seem very different. It seems she had some sort of a personality disorder over the years. Well, while in high school, she would get slightly agitated during meal times, if meals were delayed and the best thing was to keep needs met and worry about ours later. That’s one, she has always been overprotective. Now it seems like it was bit more than normal, well, we were disconnected bunch from the rest of the world. It was always the four of us. Maybe her paranoia kept us from connecting from the rest of the world? Anyway looking after her has been hell. Because she is some sort passive aggrieve, narcissistic person. To everyone and anyone she meets, she would complain, I am not giving food, clothes on a very subtle way. It’s not very aggressive behaviors. Not directly confrontational either. And people believe her. Most of the extended family think she cannot be this. Psychotic and a personality disorder. For them, she acts, talks as if the best mom in the world. During psychotic part was never visible to anyone outside the four of us. No can believe that she has a personality disorder and had a psychotic side to her. And she is toxic as hell, she would use fear, guilt and obligation to get anything from anyone. From my girlfriend and my counselors help, I have managed to become aware of these manipulation games and avoid them. Earlier I would give up all my needs for everything she would want. But it’s now getting very difficult to take care of such person on a daily basis, how much u become aware. Mom was only child, her parents had. She was treated like a princess (mom says so). No household chores, maids to look after. Etc.

During this period, my dad was diagnosed with post-traumatic-stress-disorder which had been undiagnosed for years. He had reactive depression because of mom symptoms. He was on anti-depressdents. He got some therapy for PTSD. He is now much better in his daily life. He is much more relaxed and happier. He sort of knew about my mom condition, he tells now that mom didn’t allow him touch/cuddle the babies(me and my sister), when we were small. But really found who he wife was when he retired 7 years ago. Until then, work was some sort of escapism for him, I guess. But he is also some sort of toxic parent. Even now, he thinks I have to follow his rules, since he is my father. This does kind of explain how they managed to live together for 30 years, undiagnosed. A normal emotional healthy person would have figured out he/she needs are not met, and something must be wrong. He and mom were quite okay to live with each other. But right now, he now unable to cope with my mom. For example, giving med to mom, he cannot be firm about it. The moment mom makes comment; he curls up a like baby metaphorically saying. He can’t seem to indentify his needs. He has learnt to give up his wants and needs to over mom wants.

Next person is me. I have been in counseling for about 2 years before all this happened. I was trying to fig out what was wrong. I had some episodes of insomnia, tension headaches, bad breakup, and two severe depressions during my college days.. Now in hindsight, it seems I was having a mental block about my past, my childhood and my family. So far, I have been working on CBT kind of therapy with my counselor to deal with it. Lot of things are clearer now, I might have had some sort of OCD when I was small, undiagnosed. I would clean my schoolbag and desk obsessively until there was not even speck of anything is left. I would play music I would get it perfected. I had problem while working(after college) because of perfectionism, which caused me to get overly stressed about everything. This part, I have managed to get it under control. Some of my thoughts and ideas have been delusional of grandeur nature.:) Well, I was playing manipulative games in my relationships until what was going wrong. I am attached to amazing girlfriend now, who has supported me all through this, and help me through the psychotic episodes of my family. I was emotionally numbed through out my college years and now starting to feel and accept life with help of counseling. I admit, I have all negative qualities of parents, narcissistic nature, passive aggressiveness, last of trust and empathy they seemed to programmed into me. I am struggling to overcome them. These things tend to come up my relationship and sometimes I feel I am self sabotaging my relationship.

Last person is my sister. For some reason, she cannot cope with the current situation, during the decision of hospitalization of mom, she just got angry and started crying, and refused to talk to me. After seeing mom getting better, she started to talk to me and saying I was right. Well, after-which we went to see psychologist about moms personality traits. When talked about symptoms to the psychologist, she got upset and she our childhood was normal and typical. She accused me of lying and got angry, yelled at me in pubic for destroying our family. She apologized later. I have been insisting she goes to counseling, but she doesn’t seem to think there is a need. Well, I see lot of mom, personality traits in her. That’s, she unable to relate to other people, she unable get into proper relationship because of that. Even now, she falls into mom guilt games, lives and worships the ground mom walks on.

Well, this is summary of the story.:-P.

Hoping for advice and resource for coping.

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dev2009 I am so sorry your story got lost in the pile!!!:(

You have been through quite a bit, and I admire how much you have put together. It's not easy to have perspective on the only life you've known. And it's even harder when people around you cannot see what you see in your mother's behavior. I'm glad your dad and you got some help!

Your sister sounds very frightened. Can you give her more time to gain some courage?

Again, I am very impressed with the work you've done to put things together in a very tough situation. Thank you for sharing your story with us. How are you doing now? I think you deserve a medal!

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Bev2009,

First, let me welcome you to our community. I know you will receive a lot of support here. "Finding my way," has already responding and thanks, "Finding."

Speaking for myself, I don't know how to respond to what you have written because I do not know what you are asking. In fact, you provided a lot of information but, in a curious way, you did not reveal much about who you are. I would like to know what other members think about that?

How can we help you? What is your difficulty, and, based on the family history, I assume you have lots of them. Clearly, life has not been easy for you but, what are you struggling with?

I will take a "shot in the dark" and suggest to you that you need to put some distance between yourself and your family.

Can you tell us more about you and about what you need from us?

Allan :confused:

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Thank you for support “finding” and Allan.

I didn’t revel too much about me, because of fear of anonymity. Due my mom’s illness, I have been stigmatized by family and friends. My extended family member called me up and scolded me for doing this my mom and to the family several times.

I am sri lankan. I was living in Singapore and now back here in sri lanka. Well, I was working as a computer engineer and quit my job to take of them.

Yeah. Lots of issues. I was sort of venting out my difficulties. Let me try and pin down one at a time.

1. Is there any help for my sister? I keep hoping she will change and understand why going on, and help. It’s unfair for me take the burden of responsibility for everything. It seems she is not doing it intentionally. She doesn’t seem to be aware. But she easily falls into guilty games by mom, and unfortunately that makes look like the bad guy, while she is obedient one. Also I have noticed she also has some sort of paranoia.?

2. How do I put distance between them and me? Right now, for mom, I don’t have much of guilt. But for dad, even though he is similarly narcissistic, I sympathetic to the fact, he had stayed in this marriage because of the children. But I do blame him for not getting her help earlier or not leaving with the children.. but for my mental health, it might be best to live away as soon I can arrange for it.. I guess some sort of home for them is the best option. But again how do I put emotional distance mentally. Even though I can live far away, I don’t one phone call or visit, to spin my life away.

3. What does this mean to me? I should get professional diagnosis to find out whether I am suffering from some illness as well. But personality wise, I have the same traits as my parents. I only starting realize some of them now. I realized I used to play manipulation games. Also I am self-absorbed as well. How do be different? My fear is I don’t want to end up like them.

4. How does this apply whether I can have mentally healthy children? Has anyone raised this questioned before? Looking at my family, it seems like a genetic thing. But I heard about choice theory by william glasser? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choice_Theory) Is that simple? Is mental illness about bad love relationships.

Thanks

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dev2009, Choice Theory sounds interesting, and thanks for the link. I'm sure Allan could comment more knowledgably on that. I agree with bad relationships being a chief cause of mental illness! And Mark tells us that relationships are also how to heal. So I would say, seek out positive relationships, and seek to be a positive person in your relationships and that will eventually help you develop what you missed growing up, and may offset the negativity of painful relationships that are still current. This could feel unobtainable, but look how far you've come already!

As for your sister, she sounds quite wounded by all these dynamics and not quite as intact as you. You might need to accept her limitations and realize her pace toward healing will be even more of a struggle than what you've had to go through. It is quite possible that she may never see things from your perspective. That doesn't make you wrong or her wrong, it is just what each of you is able to handle.:D

So really, it isn't so much that a diagnosis will help you so much as moving forward with positive relationships in your life. Hang with us if that helps!!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi,

I think it's time to put some distance between me and them. Even though I am the caregiver, they are still trying to control me. These are their self destructive lifesytles and choices to be unhappy. My parents sound exacly like the people in the book Toxic parents by Susan Forward. I only read some excerpts.

But how do i put distance? change my name, tel no?

do i confront them about this? or just quietly go? they might come after me if i do that..

has anyone done this before?

thanks

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Hi Dev2009 & welcome to our Community.

I think it's time to put some distance between me and them. Even though I am the caregiver, they are still trying to control me. These are their self destructive lifesytles and choices to be unhappy. My parents sound exacly like the people in the book Toxic parents by Susan Forward. I only read some excerpts.

But how do i put distance? change my name, tel no?

do i confront them about this? or just quietly go? they might come after me if i do that..

If you are thinking of going your own way & leaving your mother to it, My suggestion is, to inform your mother of what your plans are? You don't have to necessarily let your parents know that it is them, who have drove you away.

Sorry Dev but I'm a bit confused as of to the living arrangements! Correct me if I'm wrong but... Did you say that you & your parents are living together, and your sister is living abroad somewhere? Or are your parents living apart?

You could think about talking it over with your sister. If your sister is dead against the idea, then I would ask her to start playing her part in this relationship as there her parents as well as yours, and you've done your bit of being caregiver, now it's hers.

Your both in the same situation. Both single, (even though you have a girlfriend, your not married) No commitments, (children) The only difference is that your sister lives abroad. But she will have to sell her property abroad & come & take some of the responsibility! You had to give up your career!

If she won't do that, then you could do with talking to your local Welfare Officers, Social Services etc. They may be able to arrange for Home-Care to visit x amount of times a day? They could also plan days out, visit Daycare Centers. Don't forget that the home-carer's will be trained in mental health & will be able to handle the situation professionally!

That was my job before I started suffering with my own mental health! I was a Support Worker in the Community, with the elderly, for Seven years. I gained the sufficient knowledge & qualification's, to support that role!

I wish you luck Dev2009

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thanks paula,

well I used to live abroad.

Now I am living with them and taking care of them.

how do i actually do it(putting distance), even though I know this would be good for me.

there is no support system in this country like welfare officers etc.

When I leave, I know definitely everything would fall apart. my sister or father doesn't have authority over my mother to give medicine even. But I am unable to continue this for long, as I don't get the support of my father or sister.Father challenges everything i do and calls me immature and sister just cries every time some decision has to be made.

I have been very depressed for the last several months. :)

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Hi Dev

Is there no support for the Aged whatsoever? There's got to be something for the elderly, surely! The elderly are very vulnerable and need help with certain issues like your mother!

how do i actually do it(putting distance), even though I know this would be good for me.

there is no support system in this country like welfare officers etc.

When I leave, I know definitely everything would fall apart. my sister or father doesn't have authority over my mother to give medicine even. But I am unable to continue this for long, as I don't get the support of my father or sister.Father challenges everything i do and calls me immature and sister just cries every time some decision has to be made.

I have been very depressed for the last several months.

It's understandable that you've been very Depressed! If this is affecting your health like you say it is, then I suggest that you make an appointment to see your Doctor & explain the situation to him. He may be able to help? You never know till you've tried!

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this is a third world country. there is no help at all.. the whole country has only 25 psychiatrists.

that why I pushed them to move to uk with my sister. but my dad doesn't want to make the change and my sister doesn't have the authority over mom to keep her.

there is battle of logic vs irrational emotions in trying to put distance with them.

overwhelming set of emotions like guilt and fear.

I know they will self-destruct after I leave. But I cannot do this for long. I am not responsible for their choices in life.

but its still hard.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi again, Dev2009,

I am not a fan of William Glasser because he boils everything down into symplistic terms. In other words, you will not find much help there.

In many ways, the family is traumatized and suffering from PTSD due mainly to you mother and her behavior. I am not suggesting that she has done these things deliberately but, rather, as you say, she is mentally ill.

I know that you come from a traditional society and, so, everyone feels responsible for everyone else in the family. We, here in the West, think of leaving the family as the easiest solution because we tend to think in terms of the individual and the Western family system has really weakened.

However, you have lived abroad and I would urge you, as others have, to save your life and go abroad again and start a new life. The same for your sister. Perhaps you can help each other by leaving together.

Your fear that the family will self destruct if you leave appears to me to be the result of manipulation and guilt. If they "self destruct," that is their choice plus, what do you mean by "self destruct?"

Reading what you have written makes it apparent to me that you are highly educated and could have a great future elsewhere. I know that goes against traditional values but, life is short and don't you deserve the chance to live a full and happy life?

What do you and others think?

Allan

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thanks allan.

Even though I was born here, I have always been in conflict with the value system and culture. I value individual over many things.

I am always in conflict over here with people/culture since I am have come back here. I was definitely happier while I was overseas.

Self destruct meaning, mom will try and manipulate into not taking medicine(dad is not strong enough to do it i think) and dad will not also be able handle the psychosis and soon or later will get depressed or get some stress induced disorder. mom will lost control of diabetics and inch faster towards a fatal coma or psychosis will drive one of them to some fatal event. This was pretty much the state they were in, until I got them help...

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I have made my decision.

It's time to save myself. But its not going to be easy, i guess.

I found this book online. first pages seems very similar to my story.

thinking of getting it.

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

by Susan Forward (Author), Craig Buck (Author)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Dev,

Susan Forward is a terrific writer and that book, Toxic Parents, is excellent. Yes, read it and let me know what you think and how you feel about the book and how it applies to your life.

Allan :)

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All this recent events started culminating last April. Before that I though we were the typical normal family with the usual ups and downs. Well what happened was my father left home and went MIA for a month, saying he couldn’t live my mom. He came back and both started accusing each other of mental illness. We flew down, immediately after father hospitalized my mom of having some disorder.

Lisa11

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Two months passed, both of them saw one psychiatrist. Dad continued to see him. Mom refused to see him or any other doctor saying she wasn’t ill. But she would get aggressive on those occasions. Once a doctor came for a home visit, we couldn’t get the doctor to see her, as we couldn’t handle her, after he had left. Well, at this time, dad severally depressed and was very aloof and very passive.

Lisa11

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That was one traumatic day, where she was sedated and taken in ambulance to the hospital. In the hospital, she diagnosed with a delusional disorder with paranoid symptoms. She has been on psych meds since then (this was last aug). She tried several to avoid taking drugs, such as trying to hide the med.

Lisa11

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hi all,

I'm coping better now these days...started reading the book toxic parents.. I can so relate to that book in almost every chapter...

I have another question. This is because I am trying to get back to with girlfriend..

well, for someone with my back ground...it's bit hard to fig out what is normal or what it should be...

there is no reference line.. usually it's your parents that gives the reference...but when you come from toxic background...how do you fig it out...For example parental love...I know enough to know that what I had wasn't the norm.

for longest time I was attracted to emotionally unhealthy people..I learn't through imago therapy that I was more attracted to negative traits of my parents.. This helped to fig out the attraction part of a relationship.

how do i know when what is really a positive relationship? whether I can love and accept love for real, where I don't what this love is?

well for intimacy,

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/definition_intimacy.html

I sort of get this part in the 2nd paragraph. Clearly I come from family with an enmeshed identity. I am in the process of unraveling this mess. I think earlier relationship, I had a loss of self, this sort of explains the fact I wasn't forming a balanced relationship...

well most of these is done intellectually and I keep waiting for my emotional side or the subconscious to play catch up. I understood why from the book, I have a lot of toxic beliefs, that are ingrained to me by my childhood environment.

so do you pick reason and hopefully emotional side or the subconscious will catch up and find peace?

Any advice?

-dev

Edited by dev2009
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dev, I admire your efforts here. You are really working hard on your issues and are getting somewhere with your insights as to how your upbringing has impacted your ability to relate to people. So now what, right? I hear you really struggling to solve these deficits with your brain power. That's your strong suit, right?

"so do you pick reason and hopefully emotional side or the subconscious will catch up and find peace?"

I'm no expert, but reason and intellect alone will not do it.

"how do i know when what is really a positive relationship? whether I can love and accept love for real, where I don't what this love is?"

What's missing is the dimension of feeling maybe... the heart. Could that be a problem area because the troubles you had growing up made your feelings shut down for protection? It's your heart & feelings that tell you the quality of relationship you are in... you feel it. You need your reason too, but reason alone won't show you what love is. Just my 2 cents. :)

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thanks finding my way..

so far it has been using reason to play catch up with emotions..

couple of years ago, with the help of my therapist, I realized that I have never allow myself to ask the question "how do i feel about this/person/event?"..I started to incorporate that questions into myselftalk...

I have started to feel and identify emotions....there are more times, when either don't feel or overwhelmed with it, and go into depression and it weeks to identify or feel again...

I am trying to this exercise daily at least, to ask myself about feelings of the daily activities and actions...haven't been that regular yet, cos this is hard..

There is good analogy about all this i came up with recently..

It's as if I have never been explained about certain color, say black. I didn't know it existed.

So in a room, I would never identify the black objects...But now I know there is new color. and very occasionally I would see some shades of a grey ...

actually there is not just single color, it's whole rainbow of emotions;)

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