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Family of origin Issues

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 morningglory (original poster member #80236) posted at 9:03 AM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

Sorry if this thread meanders. It's partially a vent thread, and partially a need for solidarity thread, from anyone who's experienced anything similar.

One current stressor for me is that since leaving my FW, I've had to purchase a new house in the midst of the housing boom, and my area has skyrocketed in price over the past years, and I can't leave (my hometown, custody rules, good job). House shopping last summer was extremely stressful but I was fortunate enough to buy a very small but cute house, exorbitantly priced for what it is, but fairly priced for the market. I'm glad to have it, as any kind of renting situation would have been about as expensive and much less satisfactory. It is very expensive, however, and as a teacher I don't earn much. I invited my mother to live with my chronically ill teenage son and me, as she was selling her home, and I knew her rent would help me financially, and it does. That's the good part.

The bad part is that I hate living with her. I used to get along better with her prior to moving in, but something has snapped with me and now I viscerally dislike having her around. I am usually at work, and when I am home, spend most of my time in my upstairs room (my son's room is down the hall from me, so we can communicate well upstairs). We don't eat as a family because I couldn't stand it. I mostly eat take-out because I'm gone so much and don't like hanging out in the kitchen, where she might try to chat with me.

Why did this change occur in me? I suspect it's something to do with the extreme stress of the breakup, feeling frightened of having no home until I lucked into this place, and then having to have my mother move in, so that I feel almost like a teenager again, after 30 painful years of adulthood, with not much to show for it. I'm also irritated by some things she does. For example, I told both her and my sister (who is my mother's favorite and has the perfect husband and kids and everything has to be all about her), that I wanted to first show the house to my sister and her family at Christmas, after I'd really finished moving in and had it looking great and decorated. Well, both mom and sister ignored that clear request and my mom had my sister over while the house was still a mess and unfinished, ruining my pride in showing off my new home to them. So I've been cool to my sister since then, and that might have been the specific trigger for the irritation I feel toward my mother, who has always blatantly favored my sister in both word and deed. Never mind the fact that my sister would never in a million years let my mother live in her perfect house...

Then there's the time she poured grease down the kitchen drain. I did freak out and yell a bit, not excessively at all, just in shock, like "No! Don't!" and she got very offended. I was horrified because I know from living in other homes what ruined pipes can cost to fix, and I DON'T have the money. It also irritated me again because I know that if it were my sister's house, she would not have dared pour grease down the drain, and if my sister had got angry, she would have apologized rather than got offended. She never apologizes to me, no matter what she screws up. She just shrugs and says, "I broke this," etc.

Backstory on this is that I was angry at my mother for years as a teen and young adult for not being a good mother to me for most of my childhood. She and my father divorced when I was around 10, and were screaming at each other for quite a while before that. For years afterwards, she checked out of parenting, slept all day (she was a night nurse), and left us to get through life on our own. I wore the same two outfits to school for several weeks at one point because no clothes were washed, and would eat jars of frosting or microwave popcorn for dinner because there was nothing to eat. My brother and I suffered a lot from this, my older sister not as much because she was more independent already. Socially, I was an awkward child and got no guidance from home, so I had to learn all of "the rules" the hard, painful way. My grades suffered and she never commented or intervened, so nothing on that front improved and despite high intelligence, the chance to get a well-paying career was closed to me, too. I did go to college and managed to scrape through to becoming a schoolteacher.

My father was sexually inappropriate with me as a child (left porn around which was a bad influence, would shower with me, etc.) While my sister was my mother's favorite, I was my father's favorite, but it didn't last. He left for another state across the country when I was in high school and I never saw him but a couple of times after that, and he made no effort to stay involved. He wasn't a good father when he was home, anyway. Once he purposefully bumped my sister with his car because she wasn't getting ready for school fast enough. I remember him yelling a lot. That, and him being sexually suggestive with me, is my main impression of him. He called me once, a year or two after he'd taken off, annoyed that I hadn't called him on Father's Day. Like I was supposed to boost his ego for a job that he never properly did. Neither me nor my siblings saw him for a few decades, then he tried to get in touch as he neared death a few years ago. My younger brother was into it and reestablished a relationship with him, but I ignored him, and ignored his death when it happened. My younger brother has never really forgiven me for that. Why he thinks I owe my father anything, I don't know.

While my father was a dropout from our lives, I had gone through multiple bad relationships with men, had a child in a stressful situation because his father was verbally abusive and also threatening (he literally tore the kitchen apart when I was 8 months pregnant with his son, due to me meekly expressing disappointment with not getting a real birthday present (or even a "happy birthday") after spending the whole day entertaining his family over Thanksgiving. I coped with that and much more, including my son's autism (which is not his current illness) without a father's help. Why would I go to his funeral many years later? I wish I'd had different parents.

My sister is self-centered and controlling. When my brother dared post a picture to Facebook of her daughter when she was born, she wouldn't speak to him for almost 3 years, and we had to have 2 separate Christmases, one for her, one for him, etc. two separate Thanksgivings, etc., for years, due to her attitude. I do love my nieces, though. I've tutored the older one in math, for free, of course. I've babysat, and waited for her to come home hours past the promised return time. Always get a thanks for this, but not much reciprocation in terms of action or real concern about my son. The stress of his illness is getting to me, too, of course. It's such a tragedy that I can't even stand to write about it in detail. Suffice it to say that it's a major stressor.

After the breakup I enrolled in graduate school so that I can eventually become an administrator and earn more money. In the meantime, I have to let my mother live here for as long as she's willing to stay. I'm partly worried that she'll move out because I'm not being her friend, but frankly I'm just not mentally able to be her friend now. I wish she wouldn't act so obtuse, like nothing's wrong and I should want to cheerfully chat. She knows my son is sick, that I was financially soaked by this home purchase, that I was kicked out of the home I shared with my ex, despite how I'd tried to make it work with him. But she doesn't really seem to comprehend that I'm under extreme stress and just want to be left alone. That any energy I have has to go to my son, my job, my graduate program. Not making nice with someone who has been disrespectful to me and has always ignored my pain. Where the hell was she when my father was showering with me? Why didn't she say anything in response when I was pregnant and told her I was being cheated on and verbally abused? Why can't she see what I'm going through now? If she sees, why doesn't she understand that it's hard? She acts like the problem is with me.

She acts like a very mild, pleasant person, and in practical terms she can be helpful, such as making dinner for my son on weeknights, but at an interpersonal level, I haven't ever felt she's been there for me. After the break-up, I've been thinking more about standards and boundaries in relationships, to avoid being mistreated again, so perhaps that's led to this, too. I have felt a lot lately that I'd rather not spend time with anyone who doesn't treat me well. And this is new for me. I used to accept sub-standard treatment.

Anyone had a similar experience?

[This message edited by morningglory at 9:26 AM, Monday, May 9th]

posts: 173   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8734305
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 11:14 AM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

Yep. This is very similar to my own life on a million levels. I have had tons of therapy over many years to straighten out my head, and honestly, it's still not always straight. The inconsistencies, avoidance of reality all around us, lack of proper love, care and boundaries--it all wrecks our core being. You simply do not have any clue who or what you are seeing in people and in situations. It's always smoke and mirrors.

So...your mom. It seems clear to me that who she truly is--this avoidant enabler of selfish people--is unacceptable to your adult self. Your gut is screaming for proper boundaries and distance with someone who does not deserve or respect you, but you need her help and income. I'll be honest, you need:

1. IC.

2. To stop needing her help with money and your son (easier said than done, I know).

3. To stop needing her love and approval. She's clearly neck deep in her own dysfunction which is why she allowed the showering and your sister's untimely visit. She is not healthy enough to enforce boundaries for anyone. You can't change her and she's not intentionally hurting you, but she is unhealthy. You cannot attach your self-worth to someone so unhealthy. They are incapable of loving properly because they cater to their own demons.

When you can draw boundaries between her and what she wrongly allows and you, you will feel much better. Time to make a plan for getting her out. In the absence of that (and even harder), time to have a sit down with mom where you tell her what is and is not permissable in your home and life. And then tell her what will need to happen (she moves in with your sister?) if she cannot respect your wishes. Then detach from her blame, shame, rage and whatever she throws at you and enjoy the self-esteem boost from drawing boundaries in your own life.

When I finally drew boundaries with my mom, my mental health improved by leaps and bounds. This does not make you cruel or selfish; it makes you healthy. She and the rest of your family have trampled on your personal boundaries all of your life. Time to say no and mean it.

Best wishes.

Get to IC!

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 11:17 AM, Monday, May 9th]

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5467   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8734315
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OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 11:47 AM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I wanted to add that feeling indebted or grateful to those that hurt us brings on the worst kind of mental health crisis! We feel GUILTY distancing or protecting ourselves. This is the trick that abusive partners use, and those of us conditioned by our first families are most likely to fall for it! Our families aren't evil, but they are operating at a highly dysfunctional level where there are golden children and scapegoats. You know which role we've been conditioned for.

You must save yourself. There is no other way to feel strong and healthy.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5467   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8734318
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 1:11 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

I feel your pain.

I’ve watched family members be mean to me, my Husband’s family is fraught with passive aggressive bullsh$t and the like.

Detach from your mother. Stop being disappointed by her behavior. If you have no expectations from her (or minimal) then you will be on a more even keel b/c you won’t be continually disappointed.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11862   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8734327
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MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 2:55 PM on Monday, May 9th, 2022

You are not alone in this. (See the narc thread I put in here.)

Really, you're orphaned with living parents.

I got to a point where I couldn't stand my mom either. I can't imagine how much torture there is in having to live with her too.

You visceral (gut) reaction to her is the result of all the years of abuse you've endured at her hands. The neglect is breath taking!

I'm so sorry you're in this situation, but you're not alone.

I had to cut my mother out just on last Tuesday. Her disrespect for me made the choice obvious and clear. Luckily, she's in FL and I'm in MI, so I don't have to see her much (and I won't going forward). It's a blessing.

The oil down the sink! NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Have you ever seen the articles on the "fatbergs" of the London sewers? Google it- it is so disgusting!

Maybe print a picture of them and tape it above the sink with a huge "NO OIL DOWN THE DRAIN" sign!!

Yeah, the whole, "let's pretend nothing is wrong" thing drives me nuts. She's really only capable of a superficial relationship.

When can you leave? After your masters is done? Teachers are in pretty high demand where I'm at, so finding work in other areas may be an option. There are great areas that are lower cost and away from your family.

Here's to hoping for a great new start for you and your son after your masters is complete. And you're an amazing person- you had NO help growing up and have raised yourself into a giving, caring, intelligent person. This is no small feat considering where you started from in life.

WW Dday July 2019

posts: 656   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8734347
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 morningglory (original poster member #80236) posted at 12:49 AM on Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

Thanks for your support, everyone.

posts: 173   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8734448
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