Illness and dealing with parents.

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Orangeblossom77

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Illness and dealing with parents.
« on: March 29, 2016, 08:58:23 AM »
Hi, I'm new here. I am distant with parents. I have two sons and a marriage myself. Mum has some kind of MH problems / personality disorder. Has divorced my dad, convinced he has affairs (no evidence of) has over the years turned my brother and I against him, but continues to see and visit him. Does a lot of blaming / shaming with me and quite a lot of silent treatment growing up. When I left to go to uni started dramas, says I take drugs and blames me for health stuff. She was sectioned due to psychosis which she says is due to the stress I gave her. All depressing.

So now I'm ill with Shingles. She was recently in touch asking when school holidays are and now they have booked to visit me (from other end of country). I told them yesterday of the Shingles and that would be ill for a moth so they couldn't come. They didn't listen, they both say they will call at the weekend to see how I am then and hope they will still come.

They visit together despite being divorced and am too ill too see them. She is very anxious and seems to want reassurance and needs to see me to see if I'm OK. He is lonely as she has just left him again and was hoping to visit me. Guilt, guilt. It's all about them isn't it.

Would like to go NC but feel guilty and husband says I'm 'being mean' to them. Have children too which makes it difficult. Sometimes they write to the children who are in primary school asking them to visit etc. which makes me cross. Other family aren't really helpful. Also, I kind of feel that maybe she does have real MH problems and therefore this isn't her fault....not sure.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 09:00:50 AM by Orangeblossom77 »

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practical

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Re: Illness and dealing with parents.
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 10:26:12 AM »
Welcome to OOTF!

You are seeing it correctly, it is all about them. There is something called Boundaries that you will read about a lot here on the boards. There is information in the Toolbox     as well as here http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=24.0 , which might help you dealing with this and future situations along the same pattern. I think I would send them an email stating that you are ill and will not see them. If they still feel they want to travel, it is up to them, but you are not able to spend time with them. Then you have to be prepared to not open the door, or have your H open it and tell them "No". This is your life, your health, and you are an adult with the power to make the decisions that are best for you. Whether your M has MH problems or not, does not negate the need for her to respect your boundaries, it does not mean you have to be doormat she can just walk over because her needs are all that counts.

Check out FOG, JADEing and Medium Chill in the toolbox too, to help you deal with this situation.

Establishing boundaries and then keeping them in place can be very scary, but you can do it and you'll be amazed how liberating and empowering it feels. Try to see your parents as toddlers, where saying No once is often not enough, so you have to repeat it and then stay firm.

I hope you feel better soon!
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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daughter

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Re: Illness and dealing with parents.
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 11:13:24 AM »
It's important to communicate very clearly with pd-disordered parents, because otherwise, their "needs and expectations" will override / top yours every time.  So "gee, I've shingles" from an adult-child would be sufficient notice to a well-adjusted parent to read "not a good time to visit".  Here in your situation, I'd be super-frank: "sorry, please don't come visit; I'm ill with the shingles, I've a month-long recovery ahead, and I'm in no situation to have you visit, don't book tickets, don't make plans to come here", repeat as necessary, over and over, as they continue to push.

Whether it's your mother's "fault" that she has mental health issues, or she's just garden-variety pd-disordered badly-behaved boundary-resistant npd-parent, that's not your problem to accommodate in regards to your own health and welfare.  You're not responsible for "making mom happy", despite what both your parents apparently expect of you.  Likewise, your children's welfare is more important than "accommodating grandma", and that includes monitoring the emails and letters sent to your children, because they're not to become pawns or proxies in furthering your mother's expectations and demands.  In regards to DH, I'd get him a copy of Nina Brown's excellent paperback "Children of the Self-Absorbed", and speak frankly to him about your childhood and adult experiences in regards to your parents.  Our parents aren't "owed" access to their grandchildren, and badly-behaved pd-disordered parents inevitably become badly-behaved grandparents too. 

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Orangeblossom77

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Re: Illness and dealing with parents.
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 01:42:11 PM »
Thanks to both of you for your helpful replies. Yes, boundaries is something I have tried to establish in the past. For example I see them on neutral territory for example a cafe as husband won't have them in the house for several reasons. Anyway. As mentioned I have texted them (they don't have email) "I need a month to recover from Shingles with no visitors. Thank you for understanding." (to each of them) I got odd replies, from her as if didn't get it. "Hope you're better today" and "Camomile lotion should help". I mean sort of kind-seeming but then on the phone kept asking me to visit her 'to recover'. Both keep saying they'll ring me at the weekend to 'see if I'm better". Sigh.

Problem is, if I don't see them things spiral and they start ringing e.g. husband's family, the GP, even the police as they 'are concerned'. The is instigated by my mum and my dad joins in, doesn't seem to realise this is abnormal behaviour.

Not sure whether husband will support or not. He has in the past.