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It's all unravelling and I am overwhelmed

(35 Posts)
threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 09:25:08

Everything is such a mess I don't know why I'm even posting, my family is falling apart at the seams and my lovely mum is really suffering and I don't know what to do.

I was brought up in an unhappy home, my father was abusive physically and mentally. My mum divorced him but kept letting him back in sporadically.

My elder sister was my tormentor from the moment of my birth and throughout my childhood and adolescence, until she moved out to live with her physically and verbally abusive husband. Myself and my mum have watched my sister's life become more and more problematic, her children are deeply unhappy and one of them I would say is actually dangerous. The atmosphere in their home is oppressive and the unpredictable. They name call, there is violence. There is little love that I can see, and definitely zero respect between any of them.

After a number of incidents, i made the conscious decision that I needed to take a step back because all the drama was getting me down. Visiting their home made me physically sick with anxiety. I hate the way they treat each other, it reminds me of my own childhood. For the sake of self preservation, and because I didn't want my dc exposed to such behaviours, I quietly stepped back.

An important event has come around for my sisters eldest dc, in which I have been asked to play an active part. I said yes. However another couple of incidents have come up and I have said I won't be attending the party afterwards (it would be too outing to tell here, but rest assured I have very good reason)

Well its all kicked off with my sister. I think she is having a breakdown and I also think my mum is near to having one herself. Everything is unravelling. My mum has cried since Thursday and is barely able to get out of bed. I've never seen her like this. Apparently my sister is in a similar way.

I feel like it's my fault because I have set my boundaries and refuse to attend a party which will potentially be dangerous and life threatening. My mum backs me up in my decision as I have been through hell myself over the past 5 years. But she hates to see us fighting. She blames herself for everything, how she wasn't there as she had two jobs, and that my sister was getting away with abusing me.

My sister gets drunk sometimes and apologises for the way she treated me but it's not enough. I am not over it. And I am sick of having to bend for her to make sure she doesn't have hurt feelings, it's preposterous that I should always have to placate the one person who made my childhood so miserable. Just because she is the sensitive one and I'm the "strong" one.

God there is so much more to this story, but I have to stop now because it's overwhelming. And I am sure most of you won't get to this point!!

Not sure what I am asking or trying to achieve with this. It's kind of therapeutic writing it down I guess.

maxiflump1 Tue 12-Jun-18 09:42:21

Didn't want to read and run and can't offer any practical help but just wanted to say Its not your fault OP. I don't blame you for taking a stand: you can't be responsible for your sister. She is a grown woman and has made her own choices in life. She sounds pretty toxic It must be very tough for your mum as well but again this isn't your fault. Your mum needs to understand that you are your own person and I guess all you can do is try and support your mum as best you can. Do you have anyone to confide in? DP? Good friend? thanks

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 09:58:54

Thank you so much for replying.

I have a very good friend and a fantastic DP who I have and do confide in. DP is my absolute rock. They say similar to you and I know deep down I am doing the right thing but I just feel so bad for my sister. She did go through her own stuff growing up. I think she blames my arrival for the divorce of my parents (I do too) but it meant she hated my very existence...I didn't stand a chance with her.

I know she is trying her best but she is in the FOG and can't see the wood for the trees. I have tried and tried to help her, talk to her, but she just wont accept the help nor talk about any of it. She would prefer to keep things superficial and on the surface I think because she finds the past too painful to confront. But her current situation is not good and I hate to see her children unprotected from the same sort of life I had growing up.

I don't know how to help my mum either. I feel so useless

Annasgirl Tue 12-Jun-18 10:18:06

Your sister and your mother are adults and they are not your responsibility OP. You need to take care of your own DC - they are your responsibility.

Have you ever had counselling? You sound like you need to work on your self esteem - no child, and I mean no child ever, is responsible for their parent's divorce and you should not believe this as an adult.
You seem to have made great progress in your life with your wonderful DP and your DC. It is amazing that you have come through your background and been able to achieve a stable loving home. Be proud of that and build on it to get to a point where you can accept that you have to leave these people behind.
If and when they are able to move on from their current behaviour you can start again.
However, there are other children involved here and you may need to involve police or social services if they are at risk. That is why you need to talk to someone in RL who can advise on the whole situation.

Bluntness100 Tue 12-Jun-18 10:24:40

Your mum has been in bed crying since Thursday because you won't go to the party but will still go to the event, and your sister similar? This seems very extreme and both clearly very damaged.

You will just need to stick to your guns. Do what is right. There isn't really another way.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 10:35:21


Reading that bit about no child being responsible for their parents’ divorce – thank you for writing that down. Logically I know this to be the case (It would kill me to think my dc blamed themselves for the breakdown of me and their father). But I needed to hear that about myself. There were circumstances around my birth that did mean my father rejected me and they divorced soon after I was born, so yes, I did grown up believing I was the reason for their break up.

I have had a bit of counselling – but the free sessions ran out just as we were getting close to uncovering some deep rooted stuff (it took me a while to open up and trust the counsellor). I can’t afford counselling really, although I may look into it and see if I can get anything cheap in the area, or go on another waiting list.

I have worked bloody hard to get where I am today. I have had a string of abusive relationships. But after I had DC I opened my eyes and made some decisions. I had to cut off certain people in my life but I always kept the door open for my sister because of her children and my mum and because I love her and she is important to me.

I just wish I could protect her children. She has had some interaction with children’s services due to her eldest dc behaviour. I had hoped something would come of that but nothing seems to have come of it.

She hasn't been in touch since last week - I am waiting for her reply but she seems to be ignoring me

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 10:44:07

Bluntness100 - the party is the tip of the iceberg. Its not really about the party. This is really deep rooted stuff that has come to the surface. You are right though, we have all been badly damaged by the past.

GandalfsWrinklyHat Tue 12-Jun-18 10:48:09

So sorry for what you’re going through. You should ask mnhq to move this thread to the relationships board. You’ll get lots of great advice there. There is a long running thread for people with toxic families. Best wishes x

Abitlost2015 Tue 12-Jun-18 10:50:21

None of this is your fault. You are not rocking the boat. The boat sank ages ago. You are now sailing a different ship. Your mum and sister will struggle with your new attitude because it reminds them of their own faults. But that is nothing to do with you.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 10:52:45

Hi Gandalf, thank you.

I am majorly paranoid about being recognised on here, it has happened to me before - my abusive ex found a thread and used it as a way of furthering his abuse. This is why I posted in 30 days only, as it will be removed. I have asked MNHQ to remove too many threads and worry I will be banned!

SomeKnobend Tue 12-Jun-18 11:00:21

You don't owe these people anything, what are you doing allowing yourself to be involved in their lives and feeling their problems as if they are your problems? Cut them the fuck out. It sounds like things felt much better for you when you minimised contact before, but all of a sudden there's some "event" and you've allowed yourself to be sucked right back into the middle of this shit show. You can't rescue your sister's kids, her shitty choices will fuck them up the same way they fucked you up. Just protect yourself and your own kids by keeping the hell out of their lives.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:01:00

Thank you abitlost

I've never seen my mum cry before and she has never had a depressive episode to my knowledge. This is why I am struggling so much. She keeps apologising for my childhood, but I keep telling her she didn't know about mine and my sister's relationship because she had to work two jobs to keep a roof over our heads and feed us etc. My father never contributed, even when he was living with us.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:02:45

SomeKnobend - I know you are right but its really hard. Her DC asked me personally to do this and I just couldn't say no.

ReadytoTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 11:04:40

Your mum is piling all her guilt on you so you can tell her its ok. Its really not ok. She divorced your abusive dad but then allowed him to keep coming back, which no doubt seriously affected your sister who took it out on you. Your mum failed to stop that too. Are you burying your own feelings to protect your mum? You're blaming your sister but this is your parents fault.

SleepingStandingUp Tue 12-Jun-18 11:04:46

You have to keep yourself safe and if that means not going, so be it. Sister will get over it.

Can you talk mum into going to the doctors? It seems an overreaction which makes me wonder if she's depressed generally,?

Have you reported your sister previously to SS?

Atalune Tue 12-Jun-18 11:08:07

You’re dong the right thing. Protect yourself first.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:08:30

I do feel protective of my mum, readytotalk

I saw her being beaten by my dad and that has stayed with me. I understand what abusive relationships are though, and that its not that easy to just leave and abuser. He had a hold on her. But yes I accept that the parents are ultimately to blame. She has admitted her faults and mistakes and she doesn't know how to deal with her guilt. It kills me to see her like this, I can't help it. I think I see her (weirdly) as childlike.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:09:30

I haven't reported to SS, but she is in the system from when she went to children's services. They don't seem to think there is a problem though

Buckingfrolicks Tue 12-Jun-18 11:11:32

Awful situation I'm so sorry. You might want to read up on the Karpman or Drama triangle (same thing) as it sounds very relevant here. You're doing the right thing but are being pulled into feeling the need to rescue your mum.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:14:51

off to google, thanks bucking

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:21:53

wow, well my sister has the victim mentality for sure. She would certainly see me as persecutor ( although I wouldn't necessarily see myself as this) and I play rescuer to my mum.

I want out of this bullshit drama. The guilt is still strong though. Why can't I shift this feeling?? I feel sorry for my sister and mum. I am nearly at the point of not caring but not quite there yet

Fightthebear Tue 12-Jun-18 11:32:51

Do what you need to protect yourself and your dc op.

The rest is a shitstorm you cannot fix.

ReadytoTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 11:49:12

Have you ever had counselling or cbt? I'm having cbt and its really helping me. Your mum is looking to you to rescue her. She's putting her guilt onto you and you don't feel like you're allowed to be angry at her because she needs protecting. But who is protecting you?

Im not saying your mum didn't suffer. Undoubtedly she has. But none of you can pretend that her actions didn't have a real and profound effect on you and your sister and she's ultimately responsible for that. It probably feels safer for you to blame your sister than your mum because you feel your mum is more fragile.

threedots Tue 12-Jun-18 11:56:33

I think I would benefit from CBT, but not sure how to go about it, would the GP refer me, and would I have to pay for it? Is there any way I can do it myself through self help books or online courses?

You are right, if I am brutally honest with myself. It is easier to blame my sister because she was the immediate and consistent source of my pain, and I am so angry at her fro treating me so badly and livid that she would allow her children to go through what they are going through. My mum I see as fragile and I must protect her.

I think my sister sees me and my mum as against her too. I would say if you asked her she would claim that I am my mum's favourite. This is also deep seated. My sister and mum didn't bond properly when she was a child because of certain circumstances. I think she felt abandoned by my mum, but in the same token I felt abandoned by my dad (my sister would be whisked away on holidays with my dad - I was never invited)

ReadytoTalk Tue 12-Jun-18 12:25:12

If you start by calling your GP then they should be able to refer you for some help. Private treatment costs a bomb but if you can afford it then you will be seen quicker. I was recently referred on the NHS and I had to wait a few weeks for an assessment but then they offered me a choice of either CBT or counselling. If you put the wheels in motion now then the sooner you will be helped. It sounds like there is a lot to unpick with your family relationships and personally the CBT is helping me to stop taking responsibility for other people's feelings which is a massive problem in my life. You said up thread that you were getting to the point where you almost didn't care anymore. I suspect that that's not true if you're anything like me. I think what you're doing is trying to withdraw from it all because it's causing you too much pain and you are trying to convince yourself that you don't care when actually you care too much.

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