Slow down and look around

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robin_should

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Slow down and look around
« on: June 18, 2016, 08:51:45 AM »
Hi Friends,

I'm new to this forum yet I've been clinging to it for support and awareness for the last few weeks as all your stories resonate so much with my family experience.
I'm the youngest of 6 and from an early age was viewed as different than the rest of the boys. I differed from them as I liked reading, played with dolls (with my one sister), had a vivid imagination etc. However, I enjoyed boy things too, football etc. As I entered adolescence I became the target of their abuse, mainly slurs, insults, ostracism, the odd black eye etc. I still think to this day that they display signs of homophobia although they tell me this isn't the case. My father had an alcoholic problem coupled with anxiety and I sense that in order to relieve their issues on this I was dumped on - feelings were not allowed in this family. I believe that 2 of my brothers are uBPD/NPD as I was continually and heavily hounded by one of them. Outbursts of rage, intimidation, ST for 9 years, mocked, discussed when parents were out of earshot, how I talked, stood, walked etc. - what a queer! I've cut him out of my life and let him in again only to now realise that when I did let him in again, his behaviour towards me had not really shifted from childhood. I've been NC with them both for 4 and 3 years. I've been such a doormat. I internalised everything. I now hate myself more than they ever did. I've sustained friendships that I now see as toxic. Subconsciously I deserved it.
My father has since died. With others, the relationship involves the odd meaningless text message while their bond with each other remains in place as it was in childhood. They visit each other, go on holidays together and no doubt discuss me and my diagnosis to make them feel better about themselves. I've raged at my mother for my treatment which she listens to and has apologised for but "wasn't aware it was going on" which I find hard to believe. I'm aware she had a lot to deal with. She herself is very religious. She never abused me. Neither did my father. She also politely tells me to "stop going on about it" when I see her (infrequently) when it gets brought up. I tell her how I feel in that environment and then months later will ask me when am I coming home? (I live abroad). WTF? I can't help myself. They now view me most likely as the one who has mental health problems, is overly sensitive and who lives in the past as I don't go home, visit nephews/nieces, make an effort etc.. But the reality is I can't. I can't be around them as a unit. When I do, I return to that arrested state, the one that doesn't react. I entertain panic attacks. I'm hyper vigilant. I drip shame everywhere. I walk two feet on crutches. I look into cracked mirrors. I try to fit something good about myself to slide into their reality. It never fits. How can I expect anyone to understand this should they not have experienced the same thing? It's so messed up. I've heard that I should "make more of an effort" - WTF? I abhor them. I do truly. I wrote my sister a nasty email a few years back after she told me to stop being "childish" in my stance on the family. I really did vent on her. They do know how I feel. 
I now see how my role as family SG/BS needs to be maintained for the family dynamic to work and recently I have been beginning to realise that I will no longer fulfil it. Things came to ahead a few weeks ago when my SIL visited with her husband (my brother) and two kids. I barely know the woman. She's quite covert with her snide remarks and comments and in my gut I've never liked her. As she doesn't know me and most likely views me as the unit view me (negatively) she inferred something about my sexuality and that I'm paranoid - I reacted as it was due to my earlier abuse to which she screamed at me "to shut the hell up about that shit" - I froze at which point I walked off, leaving them hanging in the city centre. I said I'm not taking this anymore. I didn't contact them for the remainder of their trip. They didn't either. I felt finally I had stood up to them and won't take their shit, however subtle. Sadly, this will only give them more ammunition to confirm my mental diagnosis as a nut. I sense they were only sent out by the extended family to snoop on me, abuse by proxy etc. (FMs) as I have no real relationship with this brother. They will now of course turn this around to make them look good - 'we came to visit the little shit and he walks off - how ungrateful!!!' I realise I've been guilted into remaining at the core end of this 'family' out of obligation. They don't love me, care to get to know me, want to understand me etc. I don't either. What do they fear/see in me? What do they want from me? I have nothing to give them but pain.
With the help of this website and others I sense that I'm coming Out of the FOG and realising things that I've previously not been prepared to do. And because of this I feel heavily depressed coupled with the odd day of pure strength. I keep coming back to this website. I can't sleep yet I know I'm climbing a steep mountain with an old donkey as company. I reckon we'll reach the top soon.
Forgive this lengthy post.
I hope others can see parts of themselves in the above and throw me a few bones of encouragement, advice etc.
Thank U.

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BullyBuster

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2016, 10:43:18 AM »
I am sorry for what you've gone through with your family. Toxic family members are dangerous and your feelings are valid. NC is often the only choice for many victims. Your emotional well being is important so do what is best for you!

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2016, 04:53:46 PM »
Thanks for your reply. The irony that my emotional well being is important in a family that doesn't discuss emotions is bitter pill to swallow. Why are they monsters?

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Deb2

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2016, 04:11:34 PM »
Wow, I am sad to read all you have been through. Sending cyber hugs. I wish I could give an answer as to why they are such monsters, but I can't. One thing I have noticed, though, is that when the scapegoat leaves, FM's are sent to rope them back in. For whatever reason they can't function without that SG.

Some of the best advice I ever recieved was to make a new, chosen by me, family. To find people who love me just as I am. I don't need abusive people in my life. I have people in my life that are closer than my sister ever was. You can do that too. Find people with common interests. Live your life. The best revenge is living well. Oh, and my BIL iis probably NPD but my hudband is very low contact with him. His best friend since 1st grade is closer to him and more like a brother. You do not need mean, abusive people in your life.

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Lillith65

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2016, 09:24:49 AM »
Quote
They now view me most likely as the one who has mental health problems, is overly sensitive and who lives in the past as I don't go home, visit nephews/nieces, make an effort etc.. But the reality is I can't. I can't be around them as a unit. When I do, I return to that arrested state, the one that doesn't react. I entertain panic attacks. I'm hyper vigilant. I drip shame everywhere. I walk two feet on crutches. I look into cracked mirrors. I try to fit something good about myself to slide into their reality. It never fits. How can I expect anyone to understand this should they not have experienced the same thing? It's so messed up. I've heard that I should "make more of an effort" - WTF? ......,
I now see how my role as family SG/BS needs to be maintained for the family dynamic to work and recently I have been beginning to realise that I will no longer fulfil it.......
I realise I've been guilted into remaining at the core end of this 'family' out of obligation. They don't love me, care to get to know me, want to understand me etc. I don't either. What do they fear/see in me? What do they want from me? I have nothing to give them but pain.
With the help of this website and others I sense that I'm coming Out of the FOG and realising things that I've previously not been prepared to do


Hi and welcome.,
I could have written the words above. I don't know how old you are but I am in my 50s now and my family has never got any better. What has improved is my ability to use medium chill, gray rock  and no contact. As a result I am feeling better about myself and seeing things more clearly. When I was younger I knew that my FOO was dysfunctional and even studied psychology to try and understand myself and them. I was (still am) fascinated by human behaviour because of the chaos and conflict around me. Sadly the more I learned the more I discovered that the only thing I could I change is myself. I shook off a few fleas and still have some legacy effects but I am improving.
I am however still mourning the family that I wish I had had but try not to feel bitter.
I hope that you find peace.
You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm - anonymous.

Part of my story: https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=54885.msg488293#msg488293
https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=54892.msg488385#msg488385

NC uPDM; NC uBPDSis

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2016, 04:50:22 PM »
Thanks for both replies.

Does it get easier? What I mean by this is the guilt you hold of not wanting to belong to a sinking ship? When you attempt to break away and in doing so justifying it by mentioning the past which you're told to stop going on about, how does one make peace with this major brain signpost?

And also the guilt/shame over what happened to you coupled with the anger at them - how best to get over this peacefully?

I am in my 30s

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Deb2

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2016, 07:22:06 PM »
It does get easier. That's because the longer you stay away from those toxic people, the better you feel about yourself. The guilt goes away when you start believing YOU deserve better from people who are supposed to love you.

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moglow

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2016, 09:59:56 PM »
Hey Robin!

Growing up with a bunch of bullies is debilitating, and takes time and effort to overcome. Having your own family gang up and encourage the same in each other - the one place where we should feel safe to be who we are?? That's an ongoing message that's hard to ignore.

Trying to talk about the abuse when you're ostracized doesn't lend much in the way of support or even an encouraging ear - I wonder that you still speak to them at all. It sounds like they've long since shown you who they are.

You dont have to justify or explain anything to them by stepping away. Not one word. Nothing you can do or say will get through -- they will reach that conclusion on their own. Or not. You've tried talking to them and it's done nothing but hurt you further and expose you to more abuse. If they need a punching bag, they can implode on themselves. You have nothing to feel guilty about here.

Hold your head high and build your life with your family of choice, those who are and have been in your corner. Get out there and find support. And joy. And unconditional love. Don't let small minds hold you back.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2016, 11:34:04 AM »
Hi Moglow

Thanks for your insight. It truly helps.

Nothing kicks you down more than being invalidated over what went on - just to keep them from feeling guilty. I sense that my family prefers to keep me at a guilted safe distance so that they don't have to get to know me. Because if they did, they'd realise how shitty they were towards me.

Also, the fact that you're told to stop going on about it? What's all that about? As if I'm too sensitive? I mean, really...

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Candywarhol

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2016, 01:46:23 PM »
robin_should, I am so sorry to hear how you've been treated. :sadno:
You sound like a sweet, intelligent person.

  I've been such a doormat. I internalised everything. I now hate myself more than they ever did. I've sustained friendships that I now see as toxic. Subconsciously I deserved it.

Please don't blame yourself. Their behaviour is crazy-making. They're taking no responsibility for how they've treated you.
It sounds like you have a pretty good take on the situation and your role as the SG.
That's great to recognise that.

I've taken such advice as some others have given you here in terms of finding a FOC, being myself, detaching from my FOO and learning to love who I am WITHOUT their approval.
It works! In the process of detaching, so many new people came into my life and a number of old friends popped up on the radar again, seemingly out of the blue. But I don't think that was a coincidence. I now firmly believe I was so
enmeshed in my FOO and their crazy-making that there was no room for my FOC:

Once that ball get's rolling for you, I imagine the healing process will speed up and you won't think about them so much anymore.

I wish you all the very best!  :bighug:

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2016, 03:35:10 PM »
Thank you candywarhol

If asked to join future family events how would one respond (knowing they know and are in denial of why I won't attend)?

Does it seem feasible to you that your name is always trashed by them without them even knowing you?

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Candywarhol

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2016, 03:43:15 PM »
Personally, I wouldn't go until I felt strong enough to just let their s**t bounce off me (remember Wonder Woman's bracelets? ;) )
Obviously it's a decision you need to take for yourself but I'd certainly ask whether I want to subject myself to being devalued and abused. Is there anyone else at these family events you would be glad to see and spend time with and who respects you?
If so, perhaps you could explain to them that you'll be staying away for a while, thus keeping a "shoe in the door" so that you'll still be invited and can turn up to a family gathering when you're good and ready.

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moglow

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2016, 04:19:44 PM »
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Also, the fact that you're told to stop going on about it? What's all that about? As if I'm too sensitive?

Playing devil's advocate here - I'm guessing that (maybe) on some level they're ashamed of their own behavior. A lot of people are strong proponents of "you need to move past that, it all happened years ago" with little to no acknowledgment that just because a lot happened in the past doesn't mean that anyone ever stopped abusing you, that there wasn't serious damage done, or that no one has ever bothered to apologize or acknowledge it on any level.  To keep bring it up is just twisting a knife and they are simply not willing to go there.  Not now, and honestly, they may never.

You can't change them or force them to do anything, and holding on to that hope is probably only causing you more harm as time goes on.  I wonder - are you seeing a counselor or therapist to help you work through this?  If you're not, think about it.  It might really help you, having someone to talk to about what happened and what's going on. 
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2016, 04:42:24 PM »
I don't really think they are ashamed - at least I think some of them have gone reverse victim with the focus on them, i.e. myself closing the door on them. Maybe that's their way to justify it. I'll think about the therapy yes. What hurts the most is that my mother claims she was unaware of this going on - I was ignored for 9 years. How could you not be aware!!!???

Sorry, thanks for all your replies. I'm still in the anger stage.

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2016, 04:45:06 PM »
And no, there is not really anyone at the events that I could mingle with. It's all 'how are you? - good, you? How's work? Great. You?' Full stop. Our combined awkwardness pitches a tent so high you could get knocked over. I've noticed that when I have previously brought friends to these events, they would get on better with them. Engage them. Am I that horrid? They then mingle off together with themselves (not with my guest), joke, laugh. And I'm hanging around waiting for a slur to be hurled. There are now in-laws, kids etc who must view/see me as someone who got off at the wrong stop heading to the psychiatric unit. What a weird world we live in.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2016, 04:50:22 PM by robin_should »

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Candywarhol

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2016, 05:34:48 PM »
Th reverse victim is almost like another member of my family - it shows up THAT often.
I suppose that's just dysfunction.
They mingle with your guest because they want to make themselves look good, I'd imagine.
My UNPD sister is always at that - it's so easy to keep the mask on at smalltalk etc. and everybody thinks she's
the most congenial, together bubbly person ever.
Your mom is in denial. She can't possibly admit she knew what was going on because that would make
her somehow complicit. There's so much shame and guilt in dysfunctional families that I wouldn't be
surprised if your mom is holding a big load of it for the others. I'm not trying to defend her - it's just human behaviour, effed up, but human just the same.

Please don't let their treatment of you make you believe you're horrid or wrong - you're a scapegoat. I've hear fit said that
scapegoats manifest the symptoms of the mental disorders of the other member of the family/office/church group without being ill themselves.

Moglow's suggestion to get outside support is wrath considering. It helps to clear thoughts and put all the mixed feelings that we have into their proper place.
All the best

Candywarhol

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robin_should

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2016, 08:07:34 PM »
How do you mean holding it for the others? They most likely play it down when speaking to her about it as I only speak to her about it.

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moglow

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Re: Slow down and look around
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2016, 09:08:59 PM »
I don't really think they are ashamed - at least I think some of them have gone reverse victim with the focus on them, i.e. myself closing the door on them. Maybe that's their way to justify it. ... What hurts the most is that my mother claims she was unaware of this going on - I was ignored for 9 years. How could you not be aware!!!

Yes - and no. My mother will get all defensive when called on stuff, will absolutely paint herself as the wronged party. Actually, she does it damn near any time she's confronted with something disagreeable. I put it down to her being embarrassed but too gutless to just own it. One on one she's all justifiable anger in her mind, can't imagine why you'd say such horrible things to her, then repeat it In a whole other frame of mind. In a group where she has perceived allies, she will likely go OFF - or if she can gain their sympathy, dissolve into martyr mode. What *won't* happen is her admitting she is wrong or providing anything remotely resembling an apology.

From what you've said, I don't see you getting an admission of anything from them that's going to help you move past this. By allowing the bullying to go on so long (and therefore "approval" of a sort by your parents), y'all didn't form the bonds a lot of siblings have. 

Just to be clear - I work for one of mine. If I didn't, we'd probably very rarely speak. Hell, as it is we talk about the business and that's pretty much it. We live in the same town within a mile of each other and when I didn't work here, there was no real contact. There's no animosity there (on my part, at least), but we don't have much of a bond either. In many ways he has remained the bully I grew up with, but we dance around it to make the business work. Yes, it's deeply uncomfortable at times, but I manage. This is my job and overall I do it well - we both know that. That doesn't mean his little digs and jabs don't hurt.

But back to you - at some point for your own sake, I hope you can find a way to set that burden down and walk away from it. Closure, for lack of a better word, is something we find within ourselves. Nothing they can say or do will right the wrongs or answer the whys you have to have floating in your mind. We all have to work on that, right along with you. Believe me, you're not alone.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!