When Family Tragedy Strikes?

  • 5 Replies
  • 1263 Views
*

Liliuokalani

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 412
When Family Tragedy Strikes?
« on: March 24, 2016, 11:47:40 AM »
So as some of you may know, I'm VLC, as close as I can be to NC with my parents. Of course my mom still likes to text me from time to time and act like nothing is wrong. Happy Super Bowl Sunday! She'll say, or she'll invite me for the holidays. She used to not text me at all except about my mail, but I think she has decided to "forgive" me so graciously and now wants me back in her life. Most of the texts go unanswered.

Well last night my mom texted me a long one, that her mother broke her pelvis a couple weeks ago and is now using a walker. She apparently broke her pelvis falling down the stairs, and then didn't want to call 911, so she stayed that way all night and then called my uncle in the morning to take her to the hospital, and now uses a walker to get around. Wow. My mom's side of the family is so insistent on pretending everything is ok that they won't even acknowledge emergencies. I can see where my mom gets it from. When my dad's mom broke her pelvis, she called 911 right away, doesn't need a walker, and still lives by herself, totally independent. Not that needing a walker is a sign of weakness or anything, but perhaps if my mom's mom had called 911 sooner she may be doing a little better. She also could have died.

Also, my mom's dad went to the hospital last night because he's been having some arrhythmia episodes that are symptomatic. My cardiologist uncle told me because I found out actually through my dad's mom that my mom's dad had been to the hospital before, and then found out through my cardiologist uncle exactly what happened, when I was living near him doing my cardiology rotation for med school. Sound confusing? Yeah, it's confusing me too, this weird web of how I'm getting family news.

Even if I wasn't NC, I would be the last to know. Even when I'm living close to my parents and talking to them regularly, I'm the last to know. The only reason I was the first to know about my mom going to the hospital, is because i was living in their home, and then I immediately informed my siblings. Even when my mom told me not to. Because I am not like my mom's family, and I don't think illness and tragedy should be hush hush. Even my brother, who doesn't bother with anyone and makes very little effort to be in contact with the family, who visited my mom the least of anyone when she was in the hospital, seems to get news before me. What the hell. But I digress.

So I have no idea what to do. My relationship with my mom's parents is almost non-existent. My grandma sent me a birthday card once a few years ago, and in it she was guilt tripping me for not visiting when the grandparents all came to visit, because I wanted to avoid my parents and whatever passive aggressiveness they would attempt while I was there, or even worse, ambushing. I sent her a card back saying that birthday cards are for wishing happy birthday, not for telling me what I should have done. And then I never received communication from my grandparents ever again. So now they are reaching the point that they need assistance, they refuse to talk to any of their children about end of life care unless forced, and now my grandpa is in the hospital again. And I'm face with the fact that they are nearing the end of their lives and I have no idea what to do.

My mom actually said "I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier." She NEVER says I'm sorry. Never. Even when she ran into my car with her car once, her first reaction was to tell the family that I hit HER car. Her brain does not process personal fault. So my guess is that she's pretty upset. It's her drama now and she wants me to rally around her like the rest of the family is probably already doing.

What the hell do I do? There's no guidebook for NC in these situations. My relationships with all my extended family are, quite frankly, confusing to me. I've basically had a pretty distant relationship with most of the family, my parents did a pretty good job of isolating themselves mostly, so except for the occasional reunion, I have a very awkward, odd, detached relationship with my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and try to just forge the relationships as they come my way. Luckily when I was in New York, my cousins on my dad's side would visit, they would contact me, and it was a bit easier for me. Not my mom's side of the family. And my dad's mom is like a kindred spirit, she never hesitated to help me in med school even when she didn't understand my issue with my parents, she is strong and independent and empathetic. My dad's side of the family does not pretend to be perfect. And when tragedy happens on that side it's a bit easier for me to figure out what to do.

Do I reach out to them? Do I stay away? I supposed I could send them a card. I could call my cardiologist uncle again. I really don't want to call my mom, even in her time of need. I feel guilt, confusion, sadness, anger. I'm so angry that my grandma didn't call 911, I'm so angry that my mom is trying to drag me back in to her life. I'm angry that her whole side of the family stubbornly creates this cookie cutter world of perfection on the outside, my mom especially, and when tragedy happens I don't think they even reach out to each other. It's a family of passive aggressive gossip and could shoulders. It's a weird world I have no idea how to navigate, even when one of them was my own mother. I guess it's good I don't understand it.

Quite frankly, my life is a mess, and I don't want to deal with them. I'm just trying to live, I barely have a penny to my name right now, my rent is almost due and I know I won't have it, I just found out I have to wait another six months to try for a residency, my future is very uncertain. I'm in the middle of my own crisis and don't want to deal with theirs. I know this isn't rational or reasonable but, how dare they create this burden! Argh! If they didn't try to pretend like everything was ok, they would probably be much less of a bother for their kids. Instead they do things like lay on the floor all night and hope they don't die. And by the by, my grandma was a nurse and my grandpa is a doctor. It's true what they say, they really do make the worst patients. In my old world, in my controlling family, my parents would basically tell me my obligation, to call or not, they would be the ones arranging to visit the parents, etc. Now no one is telling me what to do, which is great, but also confusing. I would do what my gut says, but I think even my gut is confused.
My mom is uBPD, my brother uNPD, my family is heavily enmeshed. I went NC five years ago and have never wanted to turn back. So I work very hard every day to work through my cPTSD and become a successful doctor. I'm tough as nails and a deeply loyal friend, with a furry daughter to help me through.

*

closure_with_clarity

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1388
Re: When Family Tragedy Strikes?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 01:16:29 PM »
In my old world, in my controlling family, my parents would basically tell me my obligation, to call or not, they would be the ones arranging to visit the parents, etc. Now no one is telling me what to do, which is great, but also confusing. I would do what my gut says, but I think even my gut is confused.

You hit the nail on the head with the dilemma we adult children of a dysfunctional family face when we come OOTF......struggling with doing what feels authentic and right for us as an individual. And, not being dictated and told what to do and how to act, which is how we were conditioned.

You are not close with this grandmother and she has shown herself to be an anchor in the dysfunctional family dynamic, so do not feel obligated Liliuokalani. Perhaps send a card if that is what you feel comfortable with. In fact, that is what healthy emotionally functioning do when an illness involves someone they are not particularly close with, including a family member. They send a card and  simple/brief cordial well wishes.

I'd also tred very lightly with your mom and perceiving she "may" have changed. Dysfunctional and toxic people have a way of making another's illness all about them; a means to hoover and manipulate people back into the dysfunctional family vortex.  They use these instances to garner attention and sympathy for themselves, along with as a means to hoover.

I've found some semblance of closure with wishing my toxic family peace and wellness from a safe distance. I truly do not wish them any ills, while at the same time I keep a very safe distance when tragedy strikes so I do not get sucked back into the dysfunctional family dance.

When crisis strikes dysfunctional family members, we former enmeshed enablers have a learned response of falling back on old habits, like fix-it and rescuer syndrome. Remember, you are not responsible for another's feelings, behaviors, and poor decision making processes, so resist the impulse to jump and rescue them from themselves.

In these instances, I think it is initially doubly hard to not fall back on old habits, when a person is in the "helping professions" on top of coming from a toxic/dysfunctional FOO background too.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 01:20:55 PM by closure_with_clarity »
Let go of the people that dull your shine. Poison your spirit. And bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.  :)

*

magenta22

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 223
Re: When Family Tragedy Strikes?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 02:50:09 PM »
Do not break NC. She is trying to reel you back in into the drama and dysfunctional "family". Since we where trained by them from childhood to be their emotional and physical caretakers it's hard to say no. Keep your no contact for your emotional well being, in time you will get better. Your mother is an adult and it was a show of how cruel she is not to have called 911 immediately.  If you go back you will be dragged again into being the scapegoat or caretaker. Hugs! I totally understand what you are going through, but your emotional health comes first.

*

Scout

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1027
Re: When Family Tragedy Strikes?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 03:04:40 PM »
Send a card--if it would make you feel better.  Call your uncle, but only if you like him. 

If you don't want to talk to your mother: don't.  It sounds like you have a large family and she has plenty of people to commiserate with.  That's not what determines whether one should break NC or change VLC to LC (your health and well-being does) . . . but it's a plus. :)

*

Liliuokalani

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 412
Re: When Family Tragedy Strikes?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 08:09:15 PM »
Thank you so much everyone, you have all given helpful advice!

closure_with_clarity- Your advice makes a lot of sense to me. When my mom was in the hospital I certainly jumped in as a med student to help her out as much as possible. I think that fed my mom's sense of drama as well as making the rest of the enmeshed family jealous and angry. I very quickly became the scapegoat, or at least more so than usual. Ever since I started med school honestly I have been the scapegoat. Because I am actually pursuing my lifelong dream... ugh. I don't really think my mom has changed, I do kind of have a sneaking suspicion she apologized to me just to real me in, so I'm kind of glad to hear you confirm that. I suppose I should just send a card if I wish and do what's best for me. Although I do think the family will use that as ammo to convince aunts and uncles that I don't care. I'm sure they made an effort to spread their poison at my aunt's funeral last year, even though I sent flowers and a card, and also called my uncle a couple times. I know some of my aunt's and uncle's aren't speaking to me, and I find that really a bummer... for them. They're missing out on my love because they won't bother to listen to my side of things.

magenta22- actually my grandma lives in another state from my mom, she herself didn't want to call 911. It was a personal choice to not be helped. Which is insane, in my opinion. Why in the world would you not call 911? As a former nurse she of all people should know that hip fracture in the elderly is a serious cause for concern.

Scout- you're right, my mom and dad both come from rather large families (oh Catholics), so she does have plenty of help. But I know they will be singling me out if I try at all to become involved. My grandparents used to visit us once a year, that's about all the contact we had. And those few days they visited were not really a happy time, they were kind of a stressful time.

I think I will probably send a card, maybe not much else. I am curious about my uncle, but I'm sure my mom will text me updates whether I want them or not. If she tries to reach out I think I will keep a polite distance, though I'm sure it's easier said than done. Oh man. My messed up family.
My mom is uBPD, my brother uNPD, my family is heavily enmeshed. I went NC five years ago and have never wanted to turn back. So I work very hard every day to work through my cPTSD and become a successful doctor. I'm tough as nails and a deeply loyal friend, with a furry daughter to help me through.

*

closure_with_clarity

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1388
Re: When Family Tragedy Strikes?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 09:16:28 PM »
I suppose I should just send a card if I wish and do what's best for me. Although I do think the family will use that as ammo to convince aunts and uncles that I don't care. I'm sure they made an effort to spread their poison at my aunt's funeral last year, even though I sent flowers and a card, and also called my uncle a couple times. I know some of my aunt's and uncle's aren't speaking to me, and I find that really a bummer... for them. They're missing out on my love because they won't bother to listen to my side of things.

My FOO is multi generational dysfunctional and toxic too,  including most of the aunts, uncles, and cousins. I concluded some time ago that I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't, so now I just don't. When my grandfather (ultra uNPD)passed 12 years ago, I flew back to dysfunctional FOO ground zero for a week to attend the funeral, help with arrangements, and be there for moral support.  I didn't impose on a single person having rented a car at the airport and secured a hotel room. Yet, with the way they treated me, you'd think I not only imposed of them, but committed a major crime. All I got was passive aggressive jabs about how I wasn't doing enough and that my suggestions for a donation to a charity in lieu of flowers was insulting to the family. What ever I said or did was open for scrutiny and to be picked apart.....in hindsight it was classic scapegoating.

I flew up there because I was worried about what they'd say and do if I didn't attend. Looking back it is now obvious, if I didn't attend, they'd still be picking me apart and finding fault. Damned if I do, damned if I don't, so now I just don't bother or exert myself.  :tongue2:

I've learned to not let the dysfunctional FOO passive aggressive fest bother me anymore. It is a poor reflection of them and not me. And, like you I have concluded that not being a genuine and sincere part of my life is a loss to them and not me.

Let go of the people that dull your shine. Poison your spirit. And bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.  :)