Being forced into caretaker role

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JollyJazz

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Being forced into caretaker role
« on: July 05, 2021, 12:53:23 AM »
Hi All,

I hadn't seen my FOO for a while but I did pop back to my home town for my birthday. My upd brother (47) is staying with my (upd) parents. For the record I'm fairly cagey with my brother as he was a total bully to me, physically and emotionally abusive etc. growing up.

Anyway, I kind of had a recent breakthrough about how much I've been put in the 'caregiver' role.

So my brother is going through a separation and staying with my parents. Basically mother keeps telling me I have to tip toe around him. Anyway, I briefly stopped in and I dealt with being ignored, loudly talked over, constantly mansplained to (about an area of my own expertise). Anyway, I was trying to fit perfectly into the role and mum ended up telling me I was 'rude' because one of my facial expressions wasn't right when my brother was talking. I did feel upset.

I've basically been told my whole life by people outside of my family that I'm kind, nice etc. But around my family I just end up feeling like I'm never nice, kind enough and my head starts feeling confused. I just end up feeling like I'm the bad one. Although logically I know what's going on. Can anyone relate?

Anyway, I'm away now, but it just really annoys me when my brother puts himself in the victim role and as depressed but can be rude to me, but I'm watched like a hawk for the remotest sign of slipping out of the caregiver role...

Anyway, I can see where all of this caregiving started but I feel like I'm recovering from my latest contact

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Being forced into caretaker role
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2021, 04:22:33 AM »
Isn't it amazing how the situation does not change? The moment we step back into the family situation, it is as if time stood still.  But you have changed. You see things more clearly now. Did you use the tools from the toolbox? Did you mc the mansplaining? Of course that would be considered 'rude'.  The expectation probably was that you get on your knees with admiration. I am proud of you that you were 'rude'. 
Exposing yourself to this set up in small dosis it might actually be helpful and healing - it is a reminder of your training and default mode, and a good place to practise your new skills. But like any toxine - very small dosis only.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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Sapling

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Re: Being forced into caretaker role
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2021, 07:12:19 AM »
Hi Jollyjazz,

This does not sound fun at all. I'm not surprised that your FOO make you feel confused about whether you are a "nice and kind" person. PDs don't want kindness. They want enabling, indulging and coddling. They want compliance. The minute you don't give them what they want they will act as if you are being unkind, rude, aggressive, [insert any other unpleasant accusation here] etc They will do this especially if they know you are conscientious about relationships and how you treat other people. As you said, your mother doesn't want you to be kind to your brother- she wants you to "tiptoe around him".

"Anyway, I was trying to fit perfectly into the role and mum ended up telling me I was 'rude' because one of my facial expressions wasn't right when my brother was talking. I did feel upset."

I imagine that trying to fit into this role would only make things worse because you have to interact with them on their terms and they get to tell you whether you're doing it right or not. Its easy to slip back into old patterns when we go back to see FOO, but you have so much insight now! Even though this last visit was painful and upsetting, at least you can see now, in ways you couldn't see when you were growing up, that you are not the problem. They are.

I can relate to what its like when parents enable a PD sibling and expect you to do the same. I'm trying to make it a point to visit the toolbox before I see my FOO (kind of like it's a stop on the way to see them) so that I'm reminded of what to do in those moments when they inevitably try to force me into old roles. Maybe something like that could help bolster you next time.

Sending you a big hug as you recover from this and move forward with your new insight  :bighug:

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JollyJazz

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Re: Being forced into caretaker role
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2021, 08:32:40 AM »
Notrightinthehead and Sapling,

Thank you sooo much!
This is just what I needed.

You're right, I do have more insight now. I can see what is happening. Emotionally it caused a whirl but intellectually I can see what's going on!

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Did you mc the mansplaining? Of course that would be considered 'rude'.  The expectation probably was that you get on your knees with admiration. I am proud of you that you were 'rude'.

Lol!!! Yes, it's an incredible double standard! I think you are right it's good to see what's going on in very tiny doses!

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They want enabling, indulging and coddling. They want compliance. The minute you don't give them what they want they will act as if you are being unkind, rude, aggressive, [insert any other unpleasant accusation here] etc They will do this especially if they know you are conscientious about relationships and how you treat other people.

Lol! Yes this is just what happens in my family. After reading 'stop caretaking the borderline or narcissist' and I'm now on 'The disease to please'. This is certainly the role I've been plonked into! Urghh. They have a real aversion to even saying anything nice to me, but I'm meant to be constantly nice to them. It's just take take take.

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I can relate to what its like when parents enable a PD sibling and expect you to do the same. I'm trying to make it a point to visit the toolbox before I see my FOO
thank you, yes I'll keep up the toolbox. I do appreciate the understanding ☺️

It's just so disturbing how much ganging up there was in my family and how I had to bend my assertiveness out of shape.

Anyway, I'm working on it all. Thank you both so much for your support  :)




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Sheppane

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Re: Being forced into caretaker role
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2021, 09:21:05 PM »
Hi jollyjazz

I really relate to this.  " Anyway, I kind of had a recent breakthrough about how much I've been put in the 'caregiver' role." Oh yeah !!!!!!

I can relate very similarly to what you said about being "rude" because your facial expressions didn't match up. My mom told me before that  she knows I care about my sibling but what I say or text isn't " what she needs to hear ". It's a control mechanism to tell you that you are not playing the role that the family system requires of you. For me what I do is never " enough". I can relate to the tiptoeing/ walking on eggshells.
All we can ever do - i have learned through this forum and other supports is show up and speak our truth.
For a long time I was walking on eggshells and tiptoeing to what I felt others needed of me. Then I realised they are grown adults. They have a responsibility to manage their feelings- even if they are going through a separation or any other life stress. Big difference in supporting someone  compared to feeling trapped in a caretaking role. I really relate.
Actually all you need to do is take care of your life . You can support someone else but that's it.  If pressure  comes from FOO to do more - leave it there.
If you've not already read I would recommend Margaret fiejlstad book " stop caretaking the borderline or narcissist". I have read many books - this one got me over the line.
Good luck !

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JollyJazz

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Re: Being forced into caretaker role
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2021, 02:04:10 AM »
Hi Sheppane,

I'm sorry that you go through this as well!

I feel like it really goes for the jugular when we've been conditioned to be nice, then even the tiniest subconscious bit of assertiveness or irritation, saying 'no'. We are told it's just not okay...

Yes I'm a big fan of that book  :) Im glad that you like it too.

It's amazing how they also have incredible double standards!

I think they really LIKE bring in sulk mode, tantrum mode. It's a position of control.

Anyway,I had a good chat with T about it.

Best wishes for you too