Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof

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catta

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Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« on: August 07, 2020, 01:10:28 PM »
My dad has been undergoing chemo/radiation treatments. He's nearing the end of them and it's becoming super super hard on his body. My mom is taking care of him full time. It's hard. I won't go into detail, I just wanted to acknowledge that both my NPD parents have not had an easy time lately, and I have a lot of sympathy for that.

But now I need to vent. Background: I live multiple states away. I am in my second trimester of my first pregnancy. I found out I was pregnant half an hour after the COVID19 national emergency was declared and I have literally not left my house since except to go to a doctor appointment. I'm one of those "lucky" pregnant people whose morning sickness never went away. I am also depressed (generally and a lot more so with pregnancy hormones).

Normally I can maintain pretty good boundaries with my parents (one-sided boundaries, but still boundaries) but since cancer treatment started, all bets are off. They text me whenever, whatever they feel like. I get different stories from each of them. I never know what is true, if anything. My mom will exaggerate crazily for attention and then when she gets the attention she wanted (from me or someone else) drop off the face of the earth until she needs more. Sometimes she ignores my other family members' texts for days at a time and I'm expected to fill them in-- then as soon as I do, my parents will resume contact and contradict what I said. They don't care how any of this affects me, except sometimes they are angry that it's not affecting me ENOUGH. They haven't asked me how I am since April when I told them I was pregnant.

Flash forward to now: last night my mom had to take my dad to the ER. He might have sepsis. They checked him in. My mom had to go home until morning visiting hours started. This morning she called me IN ABSOLUTE HYSTERICS to reiterate everything she told me over text last night. I'm trying to be supportive because this is a stressful situation, but when she is hysterical, I crawl into my turtle shell. She is very dangerous like that, in my lifetime of experience. I can't and don't want to relate to her. I also feel very resentful because I don't think I would put this amount of emotional burden on MY pregnant daughter.

(Side note: A few years ago, my partner was unexpectedly hospitalized for a mysterious and life-threatening condition that, for awhile, doctors told us "was certainly a symptom of cancer that had metastasized." It was not, and he eventually made a full recovery, but that was VERY scary time. I called a lot of people to let them know what was going on and made a point of NOT being hysterical because it would have felt VERY unkind. I found other ways to get support from friends/family/my therapist and for the most part, I think that I handled my own anxiety in a healthy way. So while I don't know how a "normal" person would react, I have a pretty good idea about how I would react, and it's NOT like my mom.)

Anyway, I'm taking the day off work because I didn't sleep all night and my heart won't stop pounding. Since talking to my mom, I'm having cramps (I think/hope it's GI distress, not anything pregnancy-related). The baby is kicking me hard, and I think it's because of all the adrenaline. And my mom is still texting me her stress texts, things that contain no real information, just trying to make me feel like I'm not "doing enough."

I feel physically ill. I need it to stop. I don't know what to do, though. I think I just have to wait it out.

Thanks for listening. I have my partner here and he's very supportive, and I don't feel like I'm in any danger (medical or otherwise), so please don't worry. I just really needed to vent.

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Andeza

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2020, 02:14:13 PM »
Hugs to you! This is awful, and I want to validate you in that no, none of us would throw this kind of drama onto a pregnant daughter. It is very inconsiderate of your mother, regardless of her own stress.

When I was pregnant, my thyroid levels went wacky. I had to be on low dose medication. While I was, a lot of my general anxiety lowered. You might ask your doctor/midwife to look into it if they haven't, not all of them do as I found out. My second trimester was when it showed up, right around 20ish weeks.

I hope you can distance yourself from the drama. The stress is not something you should have to carry right now. It's hard enough growing a little human without other people's nonsense adding to the mix. Can you give your phone to your partner until the storm blows over? I don't know, just feel so bad that you're dealing with this.
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.

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catta

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2020, 05:46:40 PM »
Thank you for the advice!! I will definitely ask my doctor about thyroid levels... I only visit every 6 weeks because of COVID, but this month I'm having that glucose test and other bloodwork done so it seems reasonable to ask then.

I honestly feel like it would be healthiest for them to communicate with my partner exclusively ALL the time, but I really struggle with the amount of drama that would cause. Most of the time it feels safer to quietly build boundaries that they can't quite put a finger on. (Obviously that plan isn't working right now though!)

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Andeza

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2020, 06:08:21 PM »
The way I look at it is this: if I don't have to hear about it, I don't have to worry about it. Specifically the drama. Might be a bit head in the sand so to speak, but I'm cool with that. You, ultimately have to make the choice that feels right to you with the information you have at this moment in time.

I did the glucose test as blood work only, by the way. Didn't upset my stomach that way.  :bigwink:
Remember, that there are no real deadlines for life, just society's pressures.      - Anonymous
Lasting happiness is not something we find, but rather something we make for ourselves.

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Adrianna

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2020, 01:58:09 PM »
Itís telling that they havenít asked you once how you are doing, knowing youíre pregnant. Sadly this falls in line with how most of us were treated. Our needs do not matter to them. We are here for one reason in their minds -to serve them. My father knows I see an oncologist and doesn't ask how I am (Iím fine, but high risk so I get checkups twice a year.) He couldnít care less. In fact I wouldnít be surprised if he forgot all about it. I expect no act of care or concern from him, ever. Sorry you are in a similar situation but itís par for the course for children of narcissists.

I can tell you are a deeply compassionate person. You need to have compassion for yourself though too. You matter and this level of contact with your parents is unhealthy and toxic, which you already know.

Shut the phone off. Check messages once a day. If necessary ask your partner to be the gatekeeper. You were likely never taught to value yourself apart from what you could do for your parents. That changes now. Your priority is your health and your baby. Your parents are adults. They think itís your job to be their dumping ground but itís not.

Time to turn it around and give yourself the same level of concern that you had given your parents. Consider interaction with them a damaging event to be avoided. You donít need this stress during your pregnancy. If your parents did not have personality disorders they would see that.
Practice an attitude of gratitude.

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lotusblume

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2020, 01:42:20 AM »
Hi Catta,

Have you thought of being direct and standing up to them? Specifically, your mother?

ďMom, I know you are dealing with a lot, but I am not your therapist, and frankly your emotional outbursts are causing me to react with physical anxiety, which would be alarming at any time, but especially since I am pregnant. It is literally dangerous for my health and my unborn babyís health to get to that level of stress. I need you to find someone else to talk to about your pain. I also have my own pain and emotions to deal with about my father.

Please from now on, I will only be taking calls at x frequency, I will only be accepting emails and phone calls during emergencies only, or only text message between this time and this time.Ē (Whatever your boundaries are, and then stick to them and ignore whatever falls outside your rules.

Coming from someone who was formerly enmeshed with her FOO and parents, it sounds like there is extreme enmeshment going on right now, heightened by the constant emergency of your mothers emotional reaction to your fathers illness.

No one is showing you any empathy here. You can put yourself first, and put your baby first.

Wishing you all the best and take care of you and little one!

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Marisa

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2020, 01:34:15 PM »

Shut the phone off. Check messages once a day. If necessary ask your partner to be the gatekeeper. You were likely never taught to value yourself apart from what you could do for your parents. That changes now. Your priority is your health and your baby. Your parents are adults. They think itís your job to be their dumping ground but itís not.

Time to turn it around and give yourself the same level of concern that you had given your parents. Consider interaction with them a damaging event to be avoided. You donít need this stress during your pregnancy. If your parents did not have personality disorders they would see that.

THIS. I agree with every word that Adrianna wrote above. Your health and your babyís health must come first. Your motherís inability to handle her own stress and anxiety doesnít fall on you to carry. She is like my mother in believing that her feelings are always the most important. If you try to explain why her actions are stressful to you, she will say that it is even more stressful for her. There is no logical or compassionate explanation that will work on a disordered person. They lack the capacity to see you, hear you, understand, or even care more than they care about themselves.

Shut the phone off and allow yourself to not be in reactive mode all the time. Allow your partner to respond minimally. It feels difficult to do that at first but it will get easier over time. Wishing you the best with your pregnancy!

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catta

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2020, 02:48:04 PM »
Thanks to everyone for your support... it is very helpful to know I'm not overreacting (I'm NEVER confident that I'm not overreacting!)

After a few days of not really sleeping and lots of nausea and crying, I talked to my therapist. She helped me write out a letter to my parents to ask them to contact only my partner for the time being. But my partner would not agree to that, because he doesn't like interacting with my parents either, so we worked out a compromise, asking my mom to text both of us so that I can take breaks from my phone and he can share the information with me as appropriate. This basically accomplishes the same thing-- my mom will use a lot more care in communicating with both of us than she would in communicating with just me.

It took me about 5 hours to come up with something that I wouldn't feel insanely guilty about-- despite all of you, my friends, and my therapist telling me otherwise. (Also, I would have advised anyone I cared about to do the same thing!) But surprisingly! her response was very understanding and nice. I think it's because I framed it as "my doctor says I need to limit stress to take care of the baby" not "I need to limit stress because I feel sick." (Also maybe because, as I mentioned above, she is more careful in how she talks to my partner.) But whatever. It's helping!! My dad is doing a lot better, too, which is also helpful.

Thanks again for all of your responses!!

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Adrianna

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2020, 09:05:31 PM »
Smart idea! She may be on better behavior since she has to message your partner as well. They save the truly awful behavior for just us.
Practice an attitude of gratitude.

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Hepatica

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2020, 09:56:20 AM »
Dear catta,

I think it's good that you have your therapist there to advise and that you are tweaking things to reduce your stress levels. That's excellent advice. Keep checking in with yourself and see how you are and if you need to reduce contact more I hope that you don't feel guilty. Your health is very important and you don't deserve your mother's need for attention to shadow your own health and emotions.

I am so sorry that her hysterics reached you and moved you into survival mode. It frankly makes me mad. She has no right to do that and I hope you screen all calls from her in future so it doesn't reach you. You are not required to listen, deal with, manage, respond and absorb her emotions.

My process of coming Out of the FOG was when my mother went into hospital with sepsis and I was fairly uneducated about PD's. I went in blind and tried to help in the midst of the disorder of my mother's illness (emotional and physical.) Six months of it and I woke up finally to how sick my family is. They are at their worst when the world challenges them and when they can't blame the illness bc it's an invisible thing, they lashed out at everyone else, including me - and I had no idea I was living with C-PTSD.

Now I know and I look back and feel a lot of sadness for what I went though. Of course I felt sad for them as well, but it was really hard to see my mother blowing up at everyone the way she did to me when I was a child.

Because you're pregnant you have every right to be extra protective of yourself and your baby. If you need to go completely No Contact, it's okay. If they cannot individuate and see that you are vulnerable you have to be firm. Let your mama bear out. Get mad. Get protective of yourself. They will have the support of friends and medical staff to support them through this.

It's not yours. Their struggle is not yours. Keep telling yourself that. 

I know how hard it is. But trust that the medical staff have your parents. You cannot save them from this. Esp. if they are dumping raw emotional on you, you cannot even step in at all. It will cause you way more stress that you should have.

I think shutting off phone and letting things come thru via text only and having your partner field it, if he can, is a good idea. I do that now with my husband. He only tells me what I need to know and he's very gentle about how it's conveyed. But I will no longer help my parents. It was too stressful. I learned that I cannot put myself through that as I recover from C-PTSD.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2020, 09:58:54 AM by Hepatica »
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Jolie40

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Re: Dad in hospital, my stress is through the roof
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2020, 03:01:58 PM »
catta,

no advice but just want to say Congratulations!

children are a Blessing!

 

« Last Edit: October 11, 2020, 03:09:12 PM by Jolie40 »
be good to yourself