Depression after No Contact

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Artsy

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Depression after No Contact
« on: July 08, 2016, 12:24:41 AM »
Hi all,

So I've been through a myriad of emotions and stages since I went no contact with my abusive PD older siblings (three of them), and depression is one of them. Depression and CPTSD symptoms of tension, anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, hypervigilance, and reliving incidents over and over again, lessen when good things happen in my life and when I have long stretches of no reminders of them.

My therapist said, however, that I have a clear cycle of getting overwhelmed with anxiety and then falling into depression even when I'm not exposed to my siblings. My own brain constantly goes back to them and I find I can get triggered just by the memories.

If I'm unfortunate enough to have the slightest exposure to my siblings, I starting over again, usually with a huge depression that takes some weeks to crawl out of. That's where I'm at now.

Recently, my older brother was stalking my Facebook page, and learned that my son graduated. Careful to avoid the one mode of communication I left open to him, he sent emails to my old (shut down) email (one he knew very well was shut down), and - just to make sure I got his message - cc'd it to my husband (which he'd never done before).

He said he was outraged that he was not informed of my son's graduation. This may sound reasonable to someone who doesn't understand PD's, but he has shown no interest in my kids before. He has had 19 and 24 years of access to my children and never once (in all that time) remembered their birthdays or responded to family posts. NOW, that I'm the family pariah because I went NC, he's a loving uncle whose heart is breaking for my children.

My husband told him that he really needed to use the mode of communication I gave him and to speak directly to me. To check a block, in an attempt no doubt, to alienate me from my husband (two siblings, their children, and his own children apparently are not enough,) he texted me this disingenuous message acting pathologically clueless in pure gaslighting form. My brother carried on like he had no idea that I gave him this mode of communication (one of many lies he's used to avoid respecting my boundaries,) and I just gave it to him strait.

I told him that he already had access to both of my boys and could congratulate and "love" them directly. Heck, one of them doesn't even live with us any more. I finally called him out and said it was clear he was listening to lies about me (my other 2 older siblings who have quite the smear job and have gathered a mob), and that I wasn't going to stand by while he involved my children to hurt me or suggest I would ever isolate them from people who love them. I also reminded him that he doesn't know either of them despite all the access he's had to them over the years and that I didn't believe the graduation really mattered that much to him. On the other hand, it meant a whole lot to me, and I wanted to enjoy it without the pitter patter of hateful feet all around me (needless to say my kids didn't care one way or the other).

I was anything but medium chill, but I figured, whatever, I'm NC and I'm not convinced I can ever go back with how hostile they've been. They are just too sick and in such a formidable gang. I mine as well go out honestly.

He kept gaslighting and I finally just stopped the exchanges. Predictably, he never contacted my son to wish him congratulations.

In other news, the only niece who is speaking to me, came into town and wanted to see both me and my PD sister (need I say more). Trying to make time with both me and my other sister, she did her very best and I tried to protect her from the drama (this is a 14 year old we're talking about). My PD sister disparaged me to her and kept sabotaging the times her and I were planning to meet (quite shamelessly I might add), even suggesting that I would likely stand my niece up, so she should just plan on not meeting me.

I just kept my cool when my niece shared this and just redirected it back to her and I, asking if she'd ever had that experience with me (of me standing her up), and she said, no. So I just left it there.
My niece wanted to talk about her experience with the PD sister, and I wasn't sure how to respond. I was able to keep it parental, but I learned a lot and am cycling again.

My sister kept having my niece call me to ask if I would go pick her up at various locations (to save the PD a drive) and then told my niece (without even having my answer) that when I arrived she (my sister) would have to be out of the room because she couldn't bare to see me. I wouldn't go within a city block of my sister, and she knows this, so she was just playing a game with my niece.

I kept trying to avoid having too direct a conversation with my niece who kept spilling it and I found myself having a very candid conversation with her about boundaries and how we could figure out how to manage at least a 2 hour block of time to visit when she comes to town to keep her from getting pulled in again. I came up with three solutions: 1.) we will have a beginning and ending time that we plan to see each other - my sister kept cutting off my times with her (like giving me one hour with her to see a movie - PLEASE); 2.) I will pick her up to and from my parent's assisted living facility - if adults want me to provide transportation they needed to ask directly. I told her - "If you are asked to ask me for a favor just tell whoever that they need to ask me themselves." I told her for future reference all requests she makes on behalf of others will be declined, so she shouldn't get HER feelings hurt. 3.) If she can it would help if she planned me and her aunty on separate days (but that's a pipe dream).

I've been getting through my days pretty well since, but when I get quiet and alone, I realize I'm very depressed.

Any thoughts or input?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 01:00:19 AM by Artsy »
"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.

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BettyGray

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Re: Depression after No Contact
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2016, 08:58:14 AM »
Artsy, I am so sorry you are going through this. I am also the youngest of 4 and grew up in a house full of PDs- both parents NPD. My 3 older siblings never protected me. I am the pariah because I escaped and have had success in marriage and career. They stayed close to my toxic parents and turned into 3 miserable, bitter adults, unable to have lasting or stable relationships, and unfulfilling work. Imoved away 20 years ago and not once in that time did either brother send a birthday card or try to keep in touch at all. My older Narc/uBPD sister did keep in touch, but I think she was just my mom's flying monkey, repeating everything I said back to mom. Sis was a bully to me growing up and keeping a "relationship" open with her over those 20 years was very stressful.

I also suffer from depression, anxiety and CPSTD. I went NC in December, a and the first few months were horrible. The depression was so bad I couldn't work, the anxiety and paranoia that they would just show up made me fearful to leave my own home. I didn't have a ton of guilt, but the anger came out of me big time and I am working through it. It was a flood of different pent up emotions from taking the abuse for over 40 years.

 The intense emotions and ups And downs are a normal part of separating yourself from the dysfunction, but it is excruciatingly painful. Especially if they keep bothering you and trying to force contact.

I too have the post anxiety depression. All the pressure and tension produces sort of a depression "hangover" that lasts for days or weeks. I had to go back on meds to stabilize and it helped a great deal. Glad to hear you're in therapy. It sounds like classic scapegoating - your siblings sound like they were already unhappy and hostile and you're just their pin cushion. The pent up rage PDs have can be scary and getting yourself and your children out of it is the best decision.

It will take awhile to work through the feelings but the intensity will die down eventually. I was grateful after NC if my NM left me alone for a whole week. Of course she didn't respect my wishes for NC, she kept on contacting and driving me crazy. If I got to 2 weeks or a month without a contact attempt I was able to gain a shred of clarity. In time you will start to turn corners and feel like a different person. A life without the incessant dysfunction and scapegoating opens up a space for you to have an identity of your own. Which (being the last of 4 with no allies in the family) is something you probably never had. Hang in there, don't respond to anything, be rigorous about NC. Get some space away from it if you can. Good luck to you.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 09:01:38 AM by Liz1018 »

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Summer Sun

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Re: Depression after No Contact
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2016, 12:36:04 PM »
"Depression and CPTSD symptoms of tension, anxiety attacks, sleeplessness, hypervigilance, and reliving incidents over and over again, lessen when good things happen in my life and when I have long stretches of no reminders of them. "

 :yeahthat:

Artsy, I'm sorry to hear what you've been through.  This seems to be so typical, every dysfunctional family must have a scapegoat.  Your it.  I'm it too.  It is so painful.  The people you should be able to count on for love, acceptance, support, betray you, and if that's not enough they are compelled to undermine your relationships with others.  I am going through very similar CPTSD  symptoms, depression, anxiety etc for the same reasons.  Mine are covert in smearing.  Drop an innuendo here and there, out of concern or in their victim hood (fill in the blank).

Currently MC with PD's though am being punished with ST (which is actually a reprieve on one hand so I must be making some progress) for not cooperating with being used and for comments disagreeable to uBPDbro.  My anxiety is now around the next contact.  Someone wrote hear about shadow boxing... I'm anxious about the next punch, not knowing when and where it is coming from.

The boundaries for next contact with your neice are excellent.  Direct, specific, not unkind or malicious.  She will learn from your example.  I wish you well in maintaining a relationship with her, and better days ahead.  May the clouds dissipate and the sun shine down and warm you.  You are valued to those that truly know and love you.

Summer Sun
"The opposite of Love is not Hate, it's Indifference" - Elie Wiesel

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Artsy

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Re: Depression after No Contact
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2016, 02:27:52 PM »
These are really wise and thoughtful replies. Thank you so much Liz and Summer Sun. This web site has been very helpful in helping me get out of my depressions because there really are a lot of articulate and wise people on here (like you) :)

I've been dreaming about my siblings again, but sometimes I think that's a good sign. I'm not having nightmares, just thoughtful dreams, like I'm trying to work it out while I'm sleeping. It's just like untangling a massive knot that Rumplestilskin set up for me.

My therapist keeps telling me that I don't need to untangle that knot, and that there's nothing to fear any more. I believe her, I just wish my brain and body believed her. I really do see progress when I go a while without exposure.

I'm trying to see this all as "the first Christmas syndrome" after someone dies. A grieving person has to navigate all the "firsts" after the death. This is the first visit from a neutral family member since the big debacle. Now I know how that's going to go.

My brother's children adore me, so I'm not at all sure what is going to happen with them. They are sitting much better than the niece who came to visit, to be used like pawns on the chess board. I keep trying to remember these kids know their parents and may surprise me. I don't want to be closed off to them, but I also need to protect myself.

I'm contemplating sending Christmas gifts to keep the door open, but anything I do will be cast in a terrible light. I know, in the end, nieces and nephews, will be shamed if necessary to avoid me, so I may not do it to keep them out of the fray. I can't win either way. If I send gifts them I'm being outrageous, if I don't send gifts than I'm being a terrible aunt.

My brother's very cult-leaderish and wicked smart, like the others. When they smear, they know how to smear. We all learned it well from my NP mother.

Anyway, thanks again for the replies. They both articulate what I'm going through perfectly. Sometimes that's all I need, as I truly become paralyzed and speechless sometimes, finding no words for whats happening. I especially like the "shadow boxing" analogy - that is exactly it.
"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone." Robin Williams.