G.U.I.L.T.

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airgreenland

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G.U.I.L.T.
« on: April 02, 2018, 09:20:19 AM »
Hi All,

I wanted to ask opinions on the best way to balance guilt (for walking away) with the need to preserve your own mental health. I find it taxing. I, effectively, was ignored by my siblings most of my childhood/adolescence, never fitted in and was the target of one sibling's aggression/acting out. I then went on to have a superficial relationship with a few of my siblings (excluding the aggressive one as he is a major trigger) until one day it all blew up in my face and I had a nervous breakdown. After that, I saw the light and put up some boundaries, asking my mother not to mention anything re my siblings' lives when we spoke. After that, she subtly enforced a reduced contact (no phone calls now, just texts) to which I'm struggling to respond. I fear it's a subconscious may to tow me back into line (to be the family scapegoat) and to engulf me with guilt for daring to challenge the illusion that nothing happened to me. BTW, she knows everything as I've tore my heart open to her over the years. Each time I bring it up, I'm made to feel guilty for mentioning it, in the most subtle of ways.

I know my truth, but it wavers. I sometimes start to think it wasn't all that bad, but I know that's not true and that's what I've been conditioned to believe. I've been referred to as childish (for not wanting to be around certain siblings - because I just can't), a moaner, too sensitive and now that I had a breakdown it adds further fuel to the fire that I'm the family screw up. I came from a dysfunctional family and I was the container for all the negativity that couldn't be brought to light. I also know that deep down I'm a good person but I'm swimming/drowning in a pool of forced deceit that I can't seem to get out of.

I'd be grateful to hear others who've struggled with similar scenarios.

Thanks a lot :cool2:
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 09:34:49 AM by airgreenland »

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Summer Sun

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Re: G.U.I.L.T.
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 11:55:49 AM »
Welcome to OOTF Airgreenland.  It sounds like youíve been through the wringer with your FOO,  I am sorry for all the pain youíve experienced and the trauma of a breakdown.  It has been a lot for you to bear.

The best way to balance your guilt for walking away with the need to preserve your own health will Iím sure be different for each of us.  What has worked for me is knowing that I am responsible for my own mental health and as the FOO SG, it felt like death by a thousand cuts.  It came down to me or them as I was experiencing suicide ideation.  My T said to me once, ďIf is is too painful for you, you donít have to put yourself through this.  See if you feel different in 3 months.  In 6 months.  In a year.Ē  It was the permission I needed to walk away.  It has been over a year and my mental health is much better.

I have gone through the grieving process, a difficult journey.  This does not mean I do not experience waves of abuse amnesia (maybe it wasnít all that bad, maybe I am too sensitive). I refer back to my journals, or recall the last straw situation.

It does sound like your M is trying to control you, and, being called too sensitive is a typical PD response.  My T explained to me that when we grow, become stronger, and put up resistance to abuse and place boundaries, our FOO will do whatever it takes to force us back into our role.  It is like a mobile.  Pull one string and all the others are flailing around.  You are pulling a string and all they want is stability in the FOO dysfunction, stay still, put up and put out is all they want.

I encourage you to read through the toolbox, familiarize yourself with the behaviors, many of which you will likely recognize.  Also the what to do, what not to do section.  In short, this website is an amazing resource to deepen ones knowledge and understanding of PDís, as well, a supportive, caring, inspirational environment. 

Know that you are lovable, know that you are resilient.  Know that you are important and valuable enough to fight for your own mental health and well being.  Please surround yourself with the support of FOC, Friends, resources, support groups.  Do you have a T?  This is so helpful navigating OOTF. 

Hugs,

Summer Sun





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

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coyote

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Re: G.U.I.L.T.
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 11:59:41 AM »
airgreenland.
Welcome to OOTF Guilt is part of the FOG anacronymn for a reason. It is a major tools used by some PDs to maintain control over us. You have come to the right place for information and support. I am moving your post over to the Welcome mat so you will have more visibility and get more responses. Thanks for posting and I look forward to seeing you on the boards.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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Starboard Song

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Re: G.U.I.L.T.
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 12:33:34 PM »
I saw the light and put up some boundaries, asking my mother not to mention anything re my siblings' lives when we spoke.

Goodness! I am so sorry you are going through this. One danger we all face is that, when we have the strength to properly address someone who is always hurtful, others who innocently don't understand, or who see a different side of the same person, or who not-so-innocently enable the victimizer -- we can lose all these people, too. I believe it is very important to not allow the PD people in our lives to steal away from us other people in our social network or FOO.

To protect ourselves, I encourage everyone to take a few steps:
- Avoid for-me-or-against-me thinking. It took most of us a great deal of time and pain and learning to get where we are, so we must be compassionate to those who haven't caught up.
- Avoid over-diagnosing: plainly wrong and hurtful behavior is the problem, so we should focus on those.
- Learn about good and enforceable boundaries.

Boundaries are very hard to establish and maintain, but they are easier to manage when they follow a few principles:
- Boundaries should be about what we will do and what we will not do.
- Boundaries should not expressly control or direct others.
- Boundaries should be enforceable without resorting to a nuclear option.

So, if I have someone who insists on always criticizing my spouse, I can say, "Hey, I understand your concerns, and I have heard them out. If you need to discuss this any further, or ever again, I will need to leave or end the call. I will never again listen to any further criticism of my wife." Their dignity is intact: they can behave however they want. I am describing my behavior. And I can enforce that without ending anything more than a call.

I am an amateur. But I encourage you to read up on boundaries and all their pitfalls. Done right, you should be able to maintain a relationship with most of your FOO. If you cannot, no judgement here. But I don't want you to lose more than you must.

Good luck! Be strong!
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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airgreenland

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Re: G.U.I.L.T.
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2018, 01:12:59 PM »
Thanks for all your replies. I do have a T and it's helping I think. I'm just still bathed in this split conditioning that I've done something wrong. And yet, I know I haven't. Each time previous I've been around my FOO, I revert back to the same person I was around them growing up. Effectively, I'm afraid of them. This only serves for them to see me as awkward, shy, not confident etc. It's like I'm their puppet. When I told my M not to mention them when she calls, she replied, "Well, what will we talk about then?" - They have kids etc and I don't. When she said that, it hit me like a tornado. The realisation that my history didn't matter, it was an inconvenience, an itch she wasn't prepared to scratch.

Even when I fell ill, she suggested my abusive PD sibling get in touch with me (he also went through depression) - someone I hadn't spoken to for 4 years. How crazy can crazy get?

Sorry for ranting here.

Thanks again

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Starboard Song

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Re: G.U.I.L.T.
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2018, 02:13:10 PM »
How crazy can crazy get?

Quite crazy, I'm afraid. But you have your FOC, your T, and a lot of people here to help you remember that YOU are not crazy, YOU are not mean, and YOU deserve respect.

 :bighug:
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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Bonnie78

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Re: G.U.I.L.T.
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 06:11:01 PM »
Oooh!  I know how you feel!  I was physically abused by a sibling also.  (I only have one older brother and he is the Golden Child who can do no wrong.)  I spent a lifetime trying to get my mother to see the abuse, stop the abuse, help me.  I finally distanced myself from him and like your mother, mine would constantly talk about him, imply I was overly sensitive and asking her to "choose" between her children and try to find ways to push me into seeing him.  And she would constantly give him things.  A never ending stream of financial gifts that I never shared.

I finally realized within the last year that the reason my brother abused me is because my mother wanted him to.  She could have stopped him but she didn't.  Anything else she didn't want to happen, she managed to prevent.  But not that.  Divide and conquer is the hallmark of the narcissist.  She does not want her children to love each other, get along and potentially join forces against her.  By pretending not to see it or saying she can't do anything about it, the covert narcissist maintains plausible deniability about her aggressive intentions.  After all, SHE'S not the one hitting you or being overtly aggressive, she's merely enabling someone who is (and pretending she's not.)  She wants everyone competing for her love and affection.

It's beyond manipulative and evil and the best thing I ever did was to walk away from her.  If you've never read Lise Winne, try Googling her and "parents who pit siblings against each other."