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Help mother or set up boundries?
October 22, 2006
10:21 pm
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sis_who_got_help
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I am new here. I am hoping that I can get some support.
I come from a long line of codependants. At least 4 generations of abuse. I went through 3 1/2 years of counseling (hense the nickname). I've been very good about maintaining healthy boundries with my family. Recently, things got too close and I had to reinforce those boundries to protect myself and my family (husband and kids). I am feeling sad and hurt that my mother and brothers are back on a self destructive course and desperately want to jump in to try and stop that course. I know that nothing I do will fix them unless/until they want help. All I can do is protect myself. But a part of me is feeling so guilty for not doing more. My husband doesn't have a lot of codependance in his family, and he is being as supportive as he can be. I find myself wanting to go back into that cycle and try to "rescue" my mom and brothers,but at the same time I am repulsed by that desire. I know that maintaining my boundries is what I should do, but it's so painful.

October 22, 2006
10:53 pm
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Randomwomen2
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All you can do is protect yourself and your children. If and when they want help they will get it. Unfortunatly there is nothing you can do except for put up those boundries. Welcome to this site. There is a book that could help you through this its called "Co dependancy no more"

October 23, 2006
11:53 am
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chelonia mydas
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Sis,

Welcome to the site 🙂

Maintaining boundaries can be hard- especially when you feel the pull of their needs- but it is possible to do.

I am glad to read that you got help and have been setting and maintaining boundaries. It is good that you are putting your husband and children first and doing your best to minimize your involvement with your Mom and brothers- especially when they are being unhealthy for you and your family.
You are right, you can't save everyone- especially those who don't want to be saved.

It looks like you are doing a great job of breaking the cycle of abuse that runs in your family. It can be done and sounds like you are doing it.

We have some things in common.
I too am from a family of muliple generations of abuse and addiction. I am also the sister who chose a different path and am trying to break the bad cycles in my life.

My mom and two younger sisters all live close together and continue to play through all those codependant/addiction cycles over and over again. I moved away and have maintained at least 1000 miles between me and them. The physical distance has really helped me maintain boundaries.

Right now I am holding my ground with my mom- but feeling guilty about it. If you are interested in more of that story read the thread "mother apologized for abuse- feeling overwhelmed". I haven't figured out how to stop worrying about them and feeling guilty for choosing to maintain healthy boundaries. If you find something that works, let me know. If discover something that works, I'll let you know.

Hugs and support from Chelonia

October 23, 2006
11:58 am
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needtoheal
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welcome....

i am new here too...and already havebeen embraced by the most caring and supportive people..

keep your boundaries up and protect your family..

you cannot do anything to help your family.. they need to help themselves
like we all have said to you..

thinking
of you & welcome

need

October 23, 2006
12:13 pm
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atalose
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Keep your boundaries up and pray for your relatives.
Has there been some kind of crises in your family where you are feeling compelled again to jump in?

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

October 23, 2006
5:58 pm
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Rasputin
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Sis -

There are so many good books about abuse, emotional healing and setting up boundaries.

Here are some:

- Finding peace for your heart, by Stormie Omartian. Excellent book wherey the author was raised up by emotionally-ill mom who abused her all along. Its spiritual, practical and psychological book which I used for my own emotional healing.

- Beauty for ashes, by Joyce Meyer. The author herself suffered from sexual abuse, workaholism and some other addictions like anger, depression, smoking etc.

- Boundaries, by Dr. Herny Cloud.

All these books will be a helpful and handy tool in your healing process.

Blessings, Ras~

October 23, 2006
10:20 pm
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virginia
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Help! I know all about those feelings of guilt, and wanting to fix, but not being able to. My sister has two grown sons, and neither of them have taken responsiblity for themselves or for the children that they have fathered. Each still abuses drugs, money, one son had a vehicle but did not make the car payments and lost the car. This is where my co-dependent sister is slowly killing herself. She was married to their alocholic husband for 17 years, and now feels like no one loves her or her children, and she makes excuses for the boys. The boy who let the car go back, now expects his mother to get up every day, take him to work, then pick him up in the afternoon. The other son lost his home, and now has moved in with the mother and this other son. My sister is really having a hard time financially, and she does not have a reliable vehicle, and this is where I become an enabler. When her car breaks down she will call me, and because my husband and I have a third vehicle, I will allow her to use our car. This has been going on for awhile, and now my husband is fed up with it, and he gets upset with me for giving in to her. Truth is I KNOW I should tell her no, but then my dysfunctional feelings come into play, and I will give in.
Someone help me please, be strong enough for my sister's well being as well as for me.

October 24, 2006
3:59 am
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sis_who_got_help
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There is a new crisis that has caused me to want to jump in. My brother who is extremely addicted to drugs left his common-law wife and their 2 children (16 months & 3weeks old at the time) two months ago for another women who was as addicted as he was. Now, she thinks she's pregnant. They are living in a house that my mom is paying rent on but not living in and the electricity and heat have been shut off for non-payment of several months. Mom was doing really good about not giving extra money (besides paying rent) & so she was allowed to see me and kids any time she wanted, but last week when new baby was brought into play, she regressed totally & so my boundries went back up. I don't have any desire to save my brother, and I'm having contact with my nephews through their mother only (not my brother). But I cannot stop myself from wanting to save my mom. I haven't had any contact with her for 4 days and it's driving me crazy. But I'm maintaining my boundries and have told her that I will not have contact with her unless she agrees to some type of counseling. Any type of counseling. She refuses to get help saying there is nothing wrong with her and is telling the family that I am trying to create drama. I haven't responded back because I am maintaining my boundries. (hearing this stuff through nephew's mom. Told her I don't want to hear any more) I have contacted several drug centers to have a naranon meeting location ready if she says yes, but it's a pipe dream. She thrives on being needed. She feels completely inadequate unless she is needed. And until she wants to break that, I cannot do anything. So, I'm keeping busy with my children. Focusing on myself and my marriage and things I can do to reinforce to my husband that I love him and reinforce to myself that it is okay to step back. I also am reinforcing to myself that I am worthy of my own love and that I can put myself and my happiness first and not feel guilty. My husband is very supportive and he knows my history but this is the first time he's seen it first hand. It's very scary to him how my mom has regressed so fast. But he's sticking with me and we're sticking to our guns together. It feels good to know that I am doing what's right, but feels awful at the same time.

October 24, 2006
7:59 am
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virginia
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Right on sis!
I am with my sister as you are with your mom. My sister does the same thing with her boys, helping them financially, and providing a place for them to live. That is why my husband gets upset because I help her. He says, until she wants to help her self, the things I do are futile. But I feel like if I do not help her, I am abandoning her. This boundrie things sounds good, but how when you know someone is in need, do you back off?
To sis who got help, I so understand what you are going thru, and hopefully someone will give us the courage to get on with our lives.

October 24, 2006
9:08 am
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atalose
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It sounds like you are setting healthy boundaries for yourself with your brother and not being in contact with him. When it comes to your mother, it sounds like you are setting boundaries in order for her to change, that sounds controlling to me. You are not in contact with your mother because she is not doing what you want her to do. Even if that is for her own good, you can't control someone else or make them healthy by forcing something on them they are not ready to accept. Your mom may never see herself in any other role besides caretaker and being needed.
It sounds like you are torn with having no contact with your mom. Would it be better to set a boundary of not talking about your brother or the situation with your mom instead of having no contact as all with her because she is choosing to help your brother?
You could explain to her that it upsets you to see her being used by him and it upsets you seeing how her help is not really helping him and tell her you prefer not to talk about that at all while you are together.
Then if that doesn't work, do the no contact. Often our own behavior sets examples for them. I went thru this with my mom over my dads drinking. She is the caretaker the one who needs to feel needed and he is the demanding one that fills her caretaker needs. She was the master of her own misery and for years I would punish my mother because I wanted her to change. I learned to set my boundaries about the situation and stuck to them. My mom and I can enjoy life together, shopping, being with my kids and it's worked out for both of us.
Rethink your boundaries and see is it really set for you or is it really an attempt to get your mother to change.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

October 27, 2006
1:20 am
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sis_who_got_help
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I have talked to my mom, briefly once. She wanted to come to my family's picture session (we do christmas pictures every year) and I told her it was okay. She didn't show up and called me an hour before the photo session asking for a ride. She is staying 40 minutes from my house so it was impossible for me to go get her & make it back in time for the pictures and she knew that, but she called and asked and was crying when I said I couldn't do it. I felt angry but didn't say anything to her about it. I have heard that she is getting an apartment with my brother and his new girlfriend now. I have spoken to my therapist who says that for now I should have conversations with her if/when she calls, but not go out of my way to contact her. He said that maintaining healthy boundries is going to be difficult but that I am doing the right thing by telling her to go to counseling. So, I guess I stay the course. My husband is going to call her today to find out what she wants to do about her turtles (which are in a 55 gallon tank at my house). We'll see what happens from that conversation.

October 27, 2006
11:11 am
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lovetocrochet
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Sis,

It sounds like minimal contact is the right thing. If your bio-family doesn't like being told no to their demands, that is their problem.

I understand the guilt thing. I haven't spoken to my bio-fam in four and a half years for the sake of self-preservation and yet I feel like such the "bad daughter." But that is also something that they would want! They already felt that way about me my whole life.

You seem to know what's going on, and you are right - you can't help those who don't want to help themselves or see that they need help. I think your therapist is giving good advice, and if you need to stay the course, then stay the course.

October 27, 2006
3:58 pm
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truthBtold
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Gosh, this thread is really hitting home for me as well.

One excellent book that I refer to time and time again is: "Emotional Blackmail" (When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You) by Susan Forward, PhD

She is also author of the bestseller "Toxic Parents"

Hang in there sis - you're doing great!!!

October 28, 2006
11:28 pm
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sis_who_got_help
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My mom called again this Friday to see if I would pick up my brother's kids and take them to him. I almost laughed out loud. I didn't though. I told her that I was busy with my husband and my kids and that we had plans all weekend. She was very upset that I am "totally selfish" and "can only think about my self and my problems" and I told her that I was busy and had to go. I have been told that she is saying negative things about me to her side of the family and they are having a birthday party this weekend, but I'm not going. I called the hostess of the party and told her that my brother-in-law is in town (which is true).He just got back from Iraq and is going through a divorce. So, that way I didn't get into the whole mom situation and I gave a valid reason for not going to the party. I know that I will be made out to be the bad guy in all of this and really don't care. I am tired of the manipulation and the guilt. I don't want to be around my mom's side of the family right now because there are only 2 of 6 kids who have gotten therapy and broken the codependant cycle. The rest of them are stuck in the cycle and look down on anyone who isn't still in the cycle. So, we are instead going to a pumpkin patch. That should be fun, dressing up the kids and going on hayrides. That way, I am completely and positively distracted during the party so that if I get a phone call, it won't bring me down or make me feel bad.

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