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family stuff - why do I keep worrying about them? (long sorry)

(16 Posts)
TheArmadillo Mon 03-Aug-09 22:05:05

I distanced myself from my parents in january - lots of problems with them and them wanting complete financial, emotional, etc control over me and ds - while wanting my dp out of the picture. I still have contact with them but it is kept on my terms and at a superficial level.

However, something has come up and shown me how much I still worry about them adn want to protect them.

Basically my parents have gone on holiday for a month. My sis (24yo) still lives at home and is there while they are away. My mum's siblings (who can be worse than she is) have decided and told my parents the day before they went on holiday that they have been chosen to host the family bbq on the day after they come back from holiday. My dad phoned me up in a bad mood to tell me about it and make me promise to come.

I am worried about them cos both of them are not in the best of health and the flying back from half way across the world is going to take a lot out of them.

I phoned sis to offer to hold it at my house (I don't want these people in my home but it seemed like the only alternative) but she said she is doing it all so it won't be a problem. The phone call ended badly with me saying 'yes but you realise you actually have to do it - not just say it' (obviously I didn't expect that to go down well)

However sis is one of the laziest people in existence. She will half do jobs. My mother has also perfected the 'martyr syndrome' so even on the slim chance that my sis does do it she will redo everything anyway and make herself ill again (whilst slamming everyone else for 'never bothering to help her'). All of this will be conducted at full volume. My sis will have tantrum. My dad will actually do everything while being screamed at by everyone (and giving back as good as he gets).

By the time anyone arrives all of them will refuse to serve, tidy up or generally do any work - seeing it all as my job hmm. I will run round after everyone having the family tell me how wonderful my sis is and how I don't deserve her or my wonderful parents. I will have to field aunt1 telling my ds he will be coming to stay with her (not over my dead body - last time her dog attacked him and ds was blamed for it).

I will be questioned on when I am going to get a proper job/life (and what a waste I have made of it so far), subjected to daily mail esque rants, have my dp slagged off and told how I am failing at child rearing (this is just an extension of my parents views). And compared unfavourably with sis (who as you may have guessed I don't get on with).

So despite all this why do I worry that my parents are taking on too much and that this will compromise their health adn want to protect them all from it? Why am I worrying about them when they are frequently awful towards me. Why do I still feel angry with my mum's family because of extremely selfish things they have done to her, when I know she has done similar and/or worse to me. Why do I still feel the need to protect them and not let them just get on with their own mess hmm They are perfectly capable of standing up for themselves or telling sis enough is enough.

It did shock me when my dad phoned that he was also slating sis - up till now she has been his golden girl incapable of doing wrong. But her behaviour is unbearable now. Though I do get annoyed at him for putting all his problems with my mum/sis onto me - everytime I see him he tells me all they have done and how bad they are and then slamming me if I try to sort anything out but refusing to do anything himself. I'm getting fed up of listening. He needs to stand up to them. Oh and also regularly telling us about any future event 'oh I expect I'll be dead by then' hmm (he's only in his 50s and his not great health is caused by the fact he's hugely overweight and won't do anything about it). I didn't get on with him when I was a kid at all.

My sis can't even bear being in same room as me and has done things to ds I can't forgive.

My mum says unforgivable things to me and is a control freak (to put it briefly).

SO why do I feel responsible for them? Why can't I just stop caring?

Mintyy Mon 03-Aug-09 22:08:37


I would have thought you will care less the longer you spend apart from them.

beanieb Mon 03-Aug-09 22:09:16

having read your other threads I'm sure you know that you shouldn't be thinking of getting involved. Must be hard though.

I think that perhaps if your dad is the one who has told you and wanted to make you promise to come, that you should see it for what it really is - another attempt to make you feel bad and to control you.

Can you get some counselling to help you through?

TheArmadillo Mon 03-Aug-09 22:20:30

I have tried several times to get counselling - first drs refused, second put me on a waiting list that when we moved I had been on for 9 months and was still waiting. I have given up and haven't even tried with this new practice.

I found a private counsellor but then dp lost his job before I started so could no longer afford it. I am coping better now but have given up hope of ever getting any (at least until dp is back working - but who knows when that will be).

I struggle with my relationship with my dad because he is no longer the angry always on the edge of real violence (he did some bad stuff but never terrible) he was when I was growing up. I am no longer scared of him as he is now broken and pathetic. But I am still angry at him for always colluding with my mum adn trying to force us to go along with her crazy demands nad never stnading up to her himself. Plus bitching to me about it constantly while never doing anything about it.

I feel sorry for my sis as I know why she is the way she is - but again she won't do anything about it.

I spend too much time excusing them still by finding reasons/excuses for what they do.

Every time I think I've got a hold on this I get dragged backunder by it all.

Also had disturbing news about ex friend this weekend so was all up in air about that too.

You are both right though I need to keep keeping my distance from them adn in time it should improve. I think I'm also feeling guilty cos just been on holiday with ILs who I get on with brilliantly and get a lot of support from. I went to see my parents when I got back adn they put guilt on me for it as they don't think I should really have anything to do with them (just cos they are dp's family)

Jux Mon 03-Aug-09 22:31:33

Don't go. Don't go. Don't go.

Then they can all shout at each other and you can have a nice time doing something else.

TheArmadillo Mon 03-Aug-09 22:39:49

I am considering faking an illness tbh. Also I have to rely on them for lifts and the buses won't be reliable (if they turn up at all) on a bank holiday. BUt only if its my dad as I wont get in car with sis (and def wouldn't let ds in it). It means though they control when we arrive and when we leave etc.

I get fed up to a certain extent of the rollercoaster of emotions that are stirred up when dealing with my family.

Jux Tue 04-Aug-09 16:28:15

Just keep away. Sounds like an absolute nightmare.

KIMItheThreadSlayer Tue 04-Aug-09 16:49:46

Why on earth have you let them bully you in to going?


TheArmadillo Tue 04-Aug-09 17:00:29

thanks - my resolve is strengthening.

I really don't want to

KIMItheThreadSlayer Tue 04-Aug-09 17:04:06

Tell them you think you have swine flu and can not go. Hopefully that will stop them coming round also

pugsandseals Tue 04-Aug-09 18:56:15

Do we share a family or something?
Had this with my parents forever. We eventually moved away, had very big arguements and I refuse to see them (last saw them 3 years ago).
You can escape! We did, and although I know how easy it would be to feel guilty & ring them if I did, I know I'd end up right back where I started- I'm just not strong enough.
DH has been fantastic. Although he thinks I should be in touch & could cope, he understands totally that I need time & my life has never been so calm.
I hope to get back in touch eventually (I think), but for now stability for us & DD are much more important.
I hope my experience helps!

pugsandseals Tue 04-Aug-09 18:59:12

By the way-
If and when you make the break, be prepared for tantrums & huge amounts of mental bullying!
Get through that & it's like the sun coming out!

Jux Tue 04-Aug-09 21:24:46

Arrange something to do on the same day. Then tell your family (if they ask) that you have a hospital appointment and simply cannot cancel it as you've waited nearly 6m for this one. (Should they say they didn't know there was anything wrong you can respond pointedly with "well, you wouldn't would you?").

toomanystuffedbears Wed 05-Aug-09 00:15:36

It is conditioning as Mintyy suggested. And just a bad habit to think about them...habits are hard to break, especially brain habits. Have plenty of other things to think about instead (change the channel strategy). I design quilts in my head, caculate fabric yardage, how long it might take to make. I think it is called CBT-Cognitive Brain Therapy. Train your brain to leave it and just "don't go there" anymore.

It sounds like:

It is not emotionally healthy for you to be around your family of origin.

Concentrate on the bonafide number one priority in your life-your immediate family.

KIM/TS- I had that thought too: SF. Perfect and may be used indefinitely wink as symptoms and conditions seem hard to define with absolute certainty. As parents' health isn't tip top that may be your ticket to a peaceful holiday season as well wink wink -you couldn't possibly risk exposing them-just looking out for them (ney, yourself actually grin).

Sometimes relationships just expire, including those with family.

TheArmadillo Wed 05-Aug-09 18:25:09

Thanks for these.
I think I will def not go.

You're right that it is conditioning - at least now I am beginning to think about it a bit more rather than just reacting (well almost). Hopefully the rest will come wtih practice.

cocolepew Wed 05-Aug-09 18:31:12

It sounds like you're not keeping enough distance. Don't go, they are perfectable capable of saying that they wouldn't/couldn't hold the BBQ, It was their choice to say yes to it.

Hold strong and good luck smile

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